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Africa, the laud of mysterious memories and monstrous realities, the progeni- 
tor of pyramids, baobab-trees, negroes and boas, lies now between two fires. 
The rattle of Minie riiles is beginning to be heard at the Cape, and its echo 
resounds from the Atlas. Kabyles and Kaffirs are measuring their strength 
with France and England, and the issue cannot be doubtful. Having once 
tasted the sweets of conquest, neither of the two great Western Powers will be 
disposed to resign them in a hurry. Rather may we look to their grasping at 
their neighbour's goods, till some fine day finds French sentinels fraternising 
with the Cape corps on the Niger, and the Mountains of the Moon surveyed by 
laclauds de Paris and honest cockneys. 

As to the adviantages derivable from European colonies in Africa, South or 
North, they are yet a matter of expectation. Hitherto the moderns have 
certainly suffered more and done less than the Romans in African cam- 
paigns. Algeria, the granary of Rome, has been the grave of the French 
soldier ; and yet a nursery for a goodly crop of iron men of the Changarnier 
stamp, who have done brave service in the streets of Paris. The French 
Regency may be looked upon as an issue to relieve the apoplectic symptoms 
of the mother country, and a- drain for her floating capital ; but as to any 
positive returns derived by France for her outlay in that quarter, we confess 
ourselves unable to discover them, except in the shape of cotton and the above 
African chiefs, who have sharpened their wits and whetted their swords, as well 
as their appetite for slaughter, in Algerian razzias. That the future will show 
better things, is our firm belief. Algeria and Morocco, under an enlightened 
sway, and pacified, might in all probability yield glorious crops, and afi"ord a 
noble field for commercial speculation. Nor is the day probably very distant 
when Cape Madeira and other Cape liquids, as well as solids, \till find their 
way in great abundance into the English market. That we have not exag- 



gerated the corn and olive crops of Barbary, and the cotton and warrior crops 
of Algeria, will appear from facts in the sequel of this work. 

In this age of wonders, the greatest wonder is, that the multitude still follow 
the broad road of doubt, that the word ' impossible' is not oflFensive to all ears 

Thomas Grey was branded a madman and died a lieggar because he was a 
fast man, and his thoughts were too locomotive for his generation; and yet we 
deny social progress and doubt Utopias. The Crystal Palace has extinguished 
Aladdin's lamp, and the dreams of the Arabian Nights are eclipsed by the day- 
ligh't of science. The earth is girt with telegraphs ; and yet we cannot con- 
ceive that the hour is at hand when humanity will be electrified by the spirit of 
liberty. We live in a golden age, but we cannot place faith in a coming com- 
monwealth ; serenaded by sirens, and rocked to sleep by the Muses, we yet 
laugh at the idea of a future harmony. We cannot get up the steam of faith 
in a dawning Millennium, and our clairvoyance is dazzled by the excessive 
light of the coming day. 

The regeneration of man is daguerreotyped in characters of light, but we 
are blind to God's photographic art ; the age of reason and the reign of love 
is rapped out by unearthly hands on our parlour tables, but we are deaf to 
the summons of the seventh heaven. 

To tunnel the Atlantic and electrify China were thought sober prose, and 
shares in a gas-company at Jeddo would be at a premium to-morrow ; but to 
irrigate the desert, set free the Poles, and make Europe Christian, is too much 
for our faith. 

With faith in our hearts, science in our heads, and ready hands, we can 
exalt the valleys and make low the mountains. If France is true to herself, 
with Algeria at her doors, she will better herself and bless the nations. The 
wilderness will blossom as the rose, springs will gush forth in the desert, and 
flower-beds will cover the marshes ; and we may anticipate the day, without 
any stretch of fancy, when ostrich expresses will furrow the Sahara, and 
teams of zebras or quaggas run daily from Algiers to the Cape via the Niger. 
We starve amidst plenty ; with our lips to the ])rim, we die of thirst : beggars 
are wc, though Midas's wand is in our hands. 

A wise combination and economy, a perennial exodus, and, above all, con- 
struction substituted for our destructive habits, would make the world roll in 
riches and revel in luxuries. 

Instead of sitting down by the stagnant waters of Conservatism and weep- 


iiig, Ave should be up and doing, and putting our hands manfully to the wheel, 
soiTOw and sighing would flee away, we should wipe away all tears, the lion 
and the lamb would lie down together, and a little child would lead them. 

The French have much and can teach much of the wonders of science to 
their Arab brothers. Yet lack they one thing, which I ween they might 
learn better in the tabernacle of the wilderness than in the Madeleine — the 
power of faith. 

If they unite these two levers, they will not only remove mountains, but 
raise the earth. True science ends where the Arab begins, in a child-like be- 
lief in the infinite power of God and the inexhaustible resources of his creation. 
Finality is destruction to science and death to religion. 

We have in some measure outgroAvn the age of speculation ; we are be- 
ginning to drop theories, and to be alive at length to the all-sufficiency of facts. 
It will soon be too late to write down, talk down, and preach down discoveries ; 
nor will the magistrate or the priest be able to fulminate excommunication 
against new truths. Science, facts, and machinery are beginning to explode 
the conservative prejudices of the fore world, and to free the mind from 
the thraldom of custom and circumstances. And though the world is thus on 
the move tovt'ards the broad daylight of truth, we need not fear that it will ex- 
tinguish the poetry of the past or the mysteries of nature. God's facts are ever 
full of poetry, and man's highest wisdom is at best such foolishness before 
high heaven, that he need never fear the danger of exhausting the secrets 
of the universe. 

Imbued with the spirit of the times, the author has endeavoured impar- 
tially to collect, compare, and condense as many useful facts as possible in this 
volume. His object has been to make his countrymen familiar with an impor- 
tant and interesting region and people hitherto little known to us. The pre- 
sent critical position of the Ottoman empire adds additional interest to all terri- 
tories verging on its frontier, and all tribes having an affinity with its popula- 
tion ; and Algeria being the only French colony of note, and nearly equal to 
France in size, and having been once the granary and glory of Rome, has ap- 
peared to him well worthy of careful study on many grounds. Amongst the 
Arab tents, moreover, the reader will find many traces and footmarks of holy 
men and apostolic times. A classical soil and the cradle of Hannibal, the sunny 
shores of Tunis and Hippo are also dyed ■nith the blood of a noble army of 
Christian martyrs ; and thus this historical land possesses all the attributes cal- 
culated to secure the interest of the student and the traveller. 


Ill short, it has been the author's endeavour to make the book as practi- 
cally useful as possible, whether it falls into the hands of the many or lies on 
the desk of the few. He might easily have expanded his matter to an incon- 
venient bulk ; but his limits and convenience restricted him to more moderate 
dimensions, — a circumstance which will probably be far from exciting regret in 
the reader. 

In consulting the best and latest authorities on the subject, he has found 
almost all his materials in French works. The principal English books that 
have appeared on Algeria within the last twenty years are chiefly confined to 
temporary and local observations. 

Those who wish to obtain the amplest details respecting all branches con- 
nected with the colony are referi'ed to the volumes of the Ewploration Scienti- 
Jiqiie, and the Tableau de la Situation for 1850, from which the author has 
gathered his most important facts, having likewise, in most cases, conformed 
to their spelling of Arabic names. 

In giving the angle of the slopes of mountains and rivers, (fee, the deci- 
metres, centimetres, &c. have been merely reduced into inches and decimals 
of inches. The reader will find it convenient to bear in mind that a metre 
is rather more than a yard, or about 39 inches ; and the author has considerately 
translated throughout the French measures into corres])onding English mea- 
sures, in order to prepare the tender British intellect for the grievous transition 
to the decimal system. 

Hampstead, \st January, 1854. 







Problematical countries — The march of discovery — African character- 
istics and mysteries — CafFi'es and Kabyles — General survey of North- 
western Africa — Its topography generalised — Herodotus — The desert 
— The successive tides and strata of humanity — France in Africa — 
The fall of Carthage a warning for the ages 19 



The Zones— Tell and Sahara— Orology— The Atlas chains— The Aouress— 
Potamology— Primary Basins— The Shellif— Lake JMebir- El H'od'na 
and the Quad Mzab— Secondary basins— Natural hydraulics —The 
lakes — Tertiary basins — General organic laws 29 



Political divisions of North-West Africa— Political divisions of Algeria- 
Latitudes and longitudes— Ai-ab mensuration— Tui-kish divisions and 
subdivisions — Scientific French division — Six districts — Distinction of 
Tell and Sahara— Esoteric analysis — Exoteric delimitation— Surface — 
Arab appellations — Zones and departments ..... -13 



Principal features of the province of Algiers — The Shellif — The Haratch, 
the Massafran, and the Isser — The Mitidja — The Sahel — Sidi-Ferruch 
— Cape Matifou — Algiers — The old Port — The new Port — Streets — 
Houses — Bazaars — The Casbah — The Faubourgs .... 57 



Religious edifices — Baths — Fountains — Drains — New civil edifices — His- 
torical statistics of Algiers — The poetry of Eastern life — Antagonism 
of the social states of Europe and Africa — New military edifices and 
defences 84 



Precincts of Algiers — The two Mustaphas — Jardin d'Essai — BufFarick — 
Model farm — Maison Carree — The Cafe of Hammah — The Consulate 
of Sweden — Ayouu Beni Menad — Pointe Pescade .... 97 



Characteristics of Algerian scenery — Interior of the province — Blidah — 
The ChiflFa— Medcah— MiUanah— The River of Silver— Teuiet-el-IIad 
— Boghar— The Koubber Romeah— Scherschell— Tenes— The Darha— 
Orleansville— Aumale— The Oases of the Beni-Mzab— The Bedouin 
Tribes 11<5 




Excursions — The orauge-groves of Blidah — Coleah, its delightful neigh- 
bourhood and ]Moorish population — the Col de Mouzaia — M. Lamping's 
expedition to the South — The Atlas — The Arabs — The Little Desert — 
Sergeant Blandan — Mere Gaspard — Milianah — Expedition to the 
Ouarsenis under Changarnier — The march — The bivouac — The block- 
ade— Teniet-el-Had 132 



Outline of the coast — Mostaganem — Arzcu — Oran — Femours — Oran — 
Mers-el-Kebir — The Gulf of Arzeu — Antiquities — St. Marie — Origin of 
Mostaganem 149 



Outline — Tlemsen — Mascara — Tagadempt — Mazounah — A tour through 
the province — St. Denis — Slascara- — Sidi Bel Abbess — Tlemsen — Ne- 
mours—The far South— Tiarct 163 



The coast — Djidjelli — CoUo— Philippeville — Bona — The port — The town 
— The buildings — The population — Sanitary condition — Mount Edough 
— Trip to La Calle — An Arab tribe — La Callc — Bastion de France . 194 





Interior of the province — Broad outline — Analysis — Baron Baude — Natu- 
ral features of Numidia — St. Marie — Constantina — Madame Prus — 
Boi-rer — Guelma — Gerard the Lion-king — Constantina — Betna — 
Aoures — El-Gantra — Biskra — The Oases 222 



Authorities — Broad outline — The different Kabylias — Great Kabylia — 
Etymology — History — Analysis of its topography — Bugia — Its road- 
stead — Its tribes — Expedition of Marshal Bugeaud — The Zaouias of 
Sidi-Ben-Ali-Cherif— Kuelaa— DeUys 250 


^olttwal, Social, aniJ Natural. 



Native population of Algeria — Characteristics of the Kabyles contrasted 
with the Arabs — Superstitions — Industry — Manufactures — Manners — 
Weddings — Women — Administration — Laws — Authorities — The Ma- 
rabouts — The Zaouias — The Anaya — Illustrations of Scriptural and 
Classical antiquity 269 





Agriculturists and Bedouins — Tents — Furniture — Women — Distinctions 
of Arab life — Patriarchalism — Feudalism — Douars — Horses — Falconry 
— Illustrations — Markets — Legends — Scriptural Customs — The Arabs 
of Constantina — Administration of the Tribes — Bedouin Officials — 
Statistics — Bureaux Arabes 300 



Etymology — Moorish women — Toilette — Weddings — Divorces — Turks — 
Their government — Their costume — Yousouf— The Koulouglis — Their 
characteristics and laziness — The Jews — Their servility and persecu- 
tion — The corporations 324 



Utility of Slavery — Mahometan and Christian slavery — Degraded state of 
the Niger basin — The Slave-trade in Africa — The Blacks in Morocco — 
Unfortunate results of the attempt to stop the Slave-trade — The Djelep 
— Native Arts and Sciences 339 



European settlers — The French colonists— General character of European 
settlers — Latest tables — The component nations — Spaniards — Maltese 
— Italians — Native population . - 348 





General survey of colonisation — Government decrees on rural property — 
Concessions in land — Decree of the President, 1851 — State of general 
colonisation in the colony — Province of Algiers: Civil territory, 
Military territory — Province of Oran : Civil territory, Militaiy terri- 
tory — Province of Constantina : Civil territory, Military territory — 
New projects — Penitential colony at Lambessa — Agricultural colonies 
— St. Denis and Robertville, &c 354 



TheOol-ama — Three classes of them — Sheikhs — Khatebsand Imams — The 
Mufti— The Santons, and other orders — The Dey'S Ministers — The 
Kaids — The Kadis — French civil administration — French tribunals — 
Mussulman tribunals and schools ....... 377 



Roman razzias — Strength — Native troops — Zouaves- — Spahis — French — 
Chasseurs d'Afrique — Sanitary statistics, &c. — The African chiefs — 
Changarnier- — Cavaignac^Canrobert 388 



The reign of Mythos — The Semitic and Indo Germanic conflict— The 
Phoenicians— The spirit of Carthage— The first Punic war — Tlie mer- 
cenaries—The second Punic war — Hannibal — Canntc — Scipio— Zama 



— The fall of Carthage — Jugurtha — Metellus — Marius— Juba — Chris- 
tian Africa — Donatists — Circumcellions — Tertullian — Cyprian — St . 
Augustine — The Vandals — Belisarius — The Arabs — Their dynasties — 
The two Barbarossas — Charles V. — Piracy — Lord Exmouth — The 
French invasion — Rovigo— Trezel — Abd-el-Kader — The cave of Khar- 
tani— Capture of Abd-el-Kader — His liberation — Zaatcha — Laghouat . 404 


Antiquities of Algeria . . 447 

Language ^^1 

Commerce and Agriculture • 464 

Natural History, Geology, &c 480 






" Trascorser poi lo piagge ove i Numidi 
Menar gia vita pastorale, erranti. 
Trovar Bugia ed Algieri, iafami nidi 
Di corsari ; ed Oran trovar piu avanti ; 
E costeggiar di Tingitana i lidi, 
Nutrice di leoni e d' elefanti ; 
C or di Marocco fe il regno, e quel di Fessa ; 
E varcar la Grauata, incontro ad essa." 

II Gerusalemme del Tasso, 1. 51, c. 21.* 




'E read in the venerable pages that record the creation of the world and 
of humanity, how God spake unto the latter, and said, " Be fruitful 
and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it." Ever since the early 
days when these memorable words were spoken by the Almighty, we find, 

* " They view where once the rude Numidian swain 
Pursued a wandering life from plain to plain, 
Algiers and Bugia then they reach, the seat 
Of impious corsairs ; next Oran they greet ; 
And now by Mauritani's strand proceed, 
Where elephants and himgry lions breed. 
Morocco here and Fez their cities rear ; 
To these opposed Granada's lands appear." 

Hook's Tasso, 1. 149-155, b. 15, p. 302. 


from the twilight of tradition to the daylight of history, that as ages 
have rolled onwards, the children of men have, as a steady current, in- 
undated the length and breadth of the habitable globe. Asia, the cradle 
and nm^eiy of the human race, was probably first peopled ; and as adven- 
ture, or curiosity, or war, or the want of space, urged the bolder spirits 
to move on, the tide of human beings swept into the neighbouring hemi- 
sphere, and ultimately reached the remotest coral islands of Pol3Tiesia. 
Though this chronic exodus and perpetual emigration was undoubtedly 
checked for a season by one or more diluvial catastrophes, yet whenever 
the generations succeeding those that had been submerged or sufferers 
had recovered from the injm'ies thus received, they invariably rushed 
onwards once more in this progressive movement, till at length every 
spot of land that covild offer a home or sustenance to man had been 
subdued and visited. Some of these early colonists appear to have 
always, or generally, maintained a friendly or hostile intercourse with the 
parent races and regions ; whilst other, more forward wanderers, have 
deviated so widely from the beaten track of nations, as to have lost all 
connexion with, or memory of, their early home. 

Severed from the mother-country by pathless wastes or icy fields, they 
gradually lost most traces of afiinity with the parent stock, and the ebony 
skin and uncouth utterance gave but few signs of relationship with pale 
faces and the musical Sanskrit. A mystery came at length to shroud 
these strange progenies in fabulous forms, till they and their country 
became an enchanted sphere. 

Though modern science and discovery have done much to clear up 
the mystery, and restore the severed links of nationality, yet the salt 
wastes of Mongolia, and the icy horrors of the pole, still bid defiance 
to the heroism of blue-jackets and the scientific fanaticism of Asiatic 

But among all the problems and vetos for the exploring mania of 
modem times, no portion of the globe has offered so fatal and fabulous a 
field as Africa. So deadly is its very air to the Indo-European races, 
except at its extremities, that the Caucasian man, treading its wastes 
and jungled forests, is inevitably doomed. It is true that many Semitic 
tribes seem to have assimilated better with the climate, but it is at the 
expense of their intellectual life • and save in the Moorish monarchies 
of Northern Africa, experience proves that the Arab conquerors of this 
burning hemisphere have speedily been scorched almost to the grovelling 
level of the Negro. 

As regards European and scientific travellers, it may justly be pro- 
nounced that its shores are their ne plus uUra. Niger exj)editions, the 
sickly Congo, and the statistics of Sierra Leone, shew in clear figures the 
uncongcniality of the African climate to European constitutions. Hence 
all exploring expeditions into the heart of this terra incognita have been 


more or less failures. Holocausts of brave spirits have been the martyrs 
to scientific fanaticism on its fatal plains. Nor is it climate alone that 
offers serious impediments to the adventurous traveller. The comparative 
deficiency of large rivers and extensive mountain-chains, which operates 
directly on the climate in aggravating its heat and diyness, acts indirectly 
as a serious obstacle to commercial and all other intercourse and transit. 
But among the obsti-uctious that have hitherto checked the course of Euro- 
pean adventure and travel in Africa, we must especially place the excep- 
tional and conservative character of its populations. If we turn to the 
British possessions at the Cape, we form an acquaintance with the blood- 
thirsty Zoola, the treacherous Caffre, and the Boschman, who, with the 
inhabitants of the Andaman Islands and of Tierra del Fuego, appears to 
represent the lowest degradation to which human nature can descend. 
Higher u}), on the east coast, we meet with the atrocious populations of 
Arkeeko,'"' who seem to blend in perfection all the vices of savage and civi- 
lised life. Penetrating into the interior, Ave encounter the superstitious and 
jealous Abyssinians, who in their bloody banquets and forays acquire and 
strengthen that ferocity which naturally appals and deters the helpless tra- 
veller. Their neighbours the Shangallas and the Gallas, with their poisoned 
arrows and licentious customs, would shake the firmness of all wanderers 
save such a spirit as Bruce. If we except Egypt, the whole of Northern 
Africa forms no exception, but, on the contrary, powerfully corroborates 
our view of the character of its population. The Kabyles of the Atlas 
exceed most races in cruelty and charity jf and the Bedouins of the Sahara 
are notorious for hospitality, perfidy, and bigotry. The shipwrecked 
crews who have tasted of Arab clemency on the coasts of the Desert, 
and the fate of French prisoners in Algeria, can best attest the sympa- 
thies and wai-mth of the Ai-ab heart for suffering humanity. The reader 
will shortly be presented with some striking proofs of the accm-acy of 
these remai'ks. 

The western part of Central Africa has long been eminently repulsive 
in a moral point of view, from the bloodthirsty tyranny of its chiefs and 
people, and the atrocious practice of kidnapping and selling neighbours 
and countrymen into bondage. The ferocity of the king and people of 
Dahomey and Ashantee contributed for many years to deter the approach 
of the adventurous traveller even more powerfully than the deadly sun of 
Guinea ; and though recent events have made some alterations in this 
respect, exploring expeditions into Central Africa are still attended with 
imminent personal risk, as well from tlie unfriendly elements as from the 

* Major Head's Life of Binice, p. 209. 

+ For an explanation of this apparent enigma, the reader is referred to the chapter 
on the Kabyles. It will be sufficient here to observe, that this singular peojile, though 
ferocious and blood-thirsty in battle, have numerous institutions analogous to the monastic 
systems and freemasoniy of Eiu-ope, fostering learning and dispensing brotherly love 
throughout the land. 


inhospitable character of its people. Thus a barrier seems to have been 
placed by the hands of the Almighty to break off all intercourse between 
the poison of European civilisation and the conservative barbarism of 
this mysterious hemisphere. Yet there is much to attract the interest 
of the philosopher and fix the attention of the naturalist in this strange 
land of prodigies. Nature appears there in a new, a larger, and a more 
exuberant charactei", and deals largely in anomalies and monsters. From 
the days of Herodotus downwards, Africa has been the chosen home of the 
marvellous ; and though much that has been related and received concern- 
ing its prodigies must be attributed to the ci'cdulity of an unscientific age, 
enough remains to justify us in pronouncing it the parent of paradoxes. 
Thus in the human race, anomalous in its psychical and physical develop- 
ments, it presents us with the Negro shading into the Boschman and 
the Hottentot. Passing to the inferior mammalia, we have the came- 
lopard, the quagga, and the multitude of strange beasts that Gordon 
Gumming has found teeming and roaming through the wilds and wastes 
of the Cape district. Again, among birds, we observe the anomalous 
struthious species, which though extinct in New Zealand, yet multiplies 
and flourishes in the plains of Africa. Nor is the vegetable kingdom 
deficient in anomalies, presenting us with the gigantic baobab; and in 
the geological aspect of the continent the eye is astonished at the end- 
less oceans of sand, and startled by the almost unparalleled variety of 
stratification found in Algeria. 

Much more might be added to prove hoAv deserving this vast continent 
is of the study of scientific men. The ancient Abyssinian church, with its 
theocratic hierarchy and oriental traditions; the anomalous character of 
Abyssinian mountains, and ajopetites which modern discovery has con- 
firmed, after a sceptical age had ridiculed the superior wisdom of the 
gallant Bi-uce ;'"' the fabulous massacres and female body-guards of Ash- 
antee and Dahomey,t and the strange practices of the Kabyles of Atlas, — 
all worthily keep up the character of Africa as the land of marvels, and 
point it out as a legitimate field for scientific research. 

Happily or unhappily, its extremities are now in the hands of the two 
most polished nations on the earth ; and the day cannot be far distant 
when a more familiar intercourse will spring up between the Gaul and the 
Kabyle, the Briton and the Caffre. Though the introduction has been 
rude, and ushered in by a running accompaniment of powder and shot, 

* Tho reader wll find an account of the singular geological formation of Abyssinia, 
and of tho raw steaks constituting a chief ingi-edient in Abyssinian diet, in Major F. B, 
Head's Life of Bnice ; whose revelations will be seen there verified by the testimony of 
other subsequent wanderers : pp. 235, 244. 

+ For a description of the sanguinary practices and negro amazons of Dahomey, see 
Commander Fred. E. Forbc's Dahomey and the Dahomans, being tho Journals of two 
Missions to the King of Dahomey and a residence at his capital, in tho years 1849-50 i 
Tol. i. p. 23. London, 1851. 


there is reason to anticipate that Christianity, commerce, and science, 
heralded by the bayonet, will caiTy the blessings of lawsuits, civilisation, 
and doctors, into the heart of Africa, and make us acquainted with its 
deepest recesses. 

European valour and enteriirise have already made rapid strides in 
advance ; and the northern and southern extremities of this vast hemi- 
sphere have been carefully and scientifically examined and explored. 

This remark applies especially to North-western Africa, which, parti- 
cularly when viewed in relation with its past history, is much more 
worthy of study than the fertile but obscure plains and valleys of the 
Caffre district. 

Barbaiy, or North-western Africa, is undeniably the finest part of that 
continent. More accessible to Em-opeans than any other region, it is also 
more calculated, by its fertility and temperature, to become once again the 
theatre of a gi-eat people. It combines all the qualities that are most 
adapted to captivate the imagination of the antiquarian and the scholar, 
to draw forth the energies of the merchant and the speculator, and to en- 
gage the researches of the philosopher and the man of science. Once the 
granary of the Roman empire, it seems intended by nature, under a more 
happy administration, to replenish the less-favoured regions of the north 
with the exuberance of its productiveness. Long oppressed by a barba- 
rous and benighted people, it has been for centuries, like Italy its ancient 
master, the prey and theatre of injustice and rapine, though lately a 
brighter day appeared once more about to dawn upon its shores, under 
the happier auspices of republican rule. These observations apply more 
particularly to Algeria; yet all the Barbary states are so closely connected, 
that the civilisation of one is certain to become infectious. 

Historically speaking, the region now under survey is one of the most 
interesting on the face of the globe. To give the reader a general idea of 
this part of the continent, historically and topogTaphically, before descend- 
ing to details, we shall now lay before him its principal landmarks, and 
the most striking events that have rendered its name illustrious among 
the nations. 

Barbary, pi'operly speaking, constitutes the whole of North-western 
Afi-ica, and extends from the frontier of Barca and the Gulf of Sidra on 
the east, to Cape Nun on the west. This vast territoiy, which includes 
the regencies of Tripoli and Tunis, the French vice-royalty of Algeria, and 
the empire of Morocco, corresponds to ancient Carthage, Numidia, the 
two Mauritanias, and Gfetulia. It is our purpose in the present work 
to give a minute description of the French possessions in Africa, and a 
general outline of the other states that constitute Barbary, and are situated 
in North-western Africa. On the present occasion we confine ourselves to 
a cursory sketch, historical and geographical, of the whole district, chiefly 
with the view of directing the reader's attention to its interest and im- 


portance. The tract under consideration embraces little less than 2000 
miles of coast ; but its breadth varies gi'eatly, according to the proximity of 
the sandy waste that occupies the heart of Africa. It is intersected by the 
great Atlas chain, which, under different names and in different branches, 
runs east and west through the whole region, generally parallel with the 
coast, and reaching from the Avestern ocean to the borders of Egjqit. Its 
rivers are mostly insignificant, the distance between the Atlas and the sea 
not admitting of the formation of a large volume of water. 

The father of history has correctly divided this temtoiy into three dis- 
tinct zones, naturally formed by the character of the soil, and correspond- 
ing very exactly with the modern divisions. The first zone, bordering on 
the coast, and forming the Tell of the modern Arabs, he calls the in- 
habited land ; the second zone he styles the wild-beast country, — this re- 
gion represents the pastoral uplands now called Sahara, a name inaccu- 
rately extended to the Desert ; and his third division consists in the sandy 
waste which is the Desert proper of all ages. The second or pastoral 
zone, the Sahara of the present day, corresponds in part to the ancient 
Gaitulia, and is situated south of the Atlas, between the 30th and 34th to 
35th degrees of N^. latitude. 

The Great Desert occupies the entire breadth of Africa, and stretches 
through Arabia and Persia into Northern India. Its width varies, being 
greatest between Morocco and Soudan, and narrowest between Tripoli 
and Bornou, the route followed by Denham and Clapperton. 

Having thus given the reader a faint outline of this interesting region, 
we shall endeavour to present to him, in a series of brief sketches, the nu- 
merous remarkable social and political revolutions that it has undergone. 

The history and geogi'aphy of North-western Africa present the image 
of a vast archipelago, containing to the north steep and verdant islands, 
and to the south flat and sandy islands separated by long intervals, and the 
sea that severs them has risen and fallen in successive tides, encroaching 
on them at high-water, and losing ground during the ebb. Occasionally 
during the flood the waves have covered the tops of some of the lower 
islands, whereas at low-water some of the sj)ace separating them has been 
left dry, and the waters receding even below the lowest gorges, the islands 
have lost their character, and the archipelago has become a continent. 
Yet some of the sandy and rocky summits have never been reached by 
this stormy sea. Such has been the picture presented by Northern Africa 
in its historical and geological development through the phases of time 
and the fields of space ; the j)hysical characteristics of the soil accurately 
corresponding to the social phenomena that they represent. The steep 
islands are the mountainous ridges ; the flat islands are the oases ; the 
secular tides are the invasions. All these islands representing groups of 
the same nation, whilst the flood that sweeps round them is in its turn 
Phoenician, Eoman, Vandal, Greek, Arab, Turk, and French. 


Successive tides of humanity have tlius flooded the plains of North 
Africa, each leaving deposits behind ; and the mountain-chains, as usual, 
have been tlie refuge of the oldest and most conservative hordes. Thus 
the i^resent Kabyles, or Djebalis (highlanders), of Algeria are to all in- 
tents and purposes the same people as the primitive Numidians of the 
time of Sallust and Polybius. The most important element among the 
different nationalities represented in Noi-thern Africa is undoubtedly the 
Semitic, which forms the staple of its population ; and it is probable that 
the aboriginal Numidians of tradition, the Carthaginians, Arabs, Moors, 
and perhaps the modern Kabyles, all belong to that remarkable family of 
the human race. 

The MediteiTanean cruiser that sails along the coasts of Mauritania 
and Numidia hails the classic kingdoms of larba, of Dido, of Juba, of 
Jugurtha, of Siphax, and of Massinissa. The traveller while pacing its 
sunny shore recalls the glories and the heresies of the North-African 
church ; its Cyprian, its Augustine, its Hippo Eegius, and its Cii'ta. Pass- 
ing the supposed site of the ruins of Utica, his mind dwells on the heroic 
death of Cato, the last republican, whose lofty spirit preferred a violent 
death, rather than bend to the general oppression of the empire ; standing 
on the ruins of Carthage, he reflects on the revolutions of empires, the 
Scipios, Hannibal, and Regulus. The image of the gentle, saintly king 
of France floats before him, as he lies on his couch of ashes on that pes- 
tilential shore.* Crossing to Goletta, the fort of Tunis, he sees the Avails 
and towers that bear witness to the Christian zeal and valour of a Spanish 
emperor and a British admiral.t In one place he crosses a river in whose 
turbid stream the veteran Massinissa found his last home ; farther on, 
he reaches the spot where Genseric and his Vandal host, descending 
from Spain on the devoted land, proceeded to convert the granary of 
Rome into a howling wilderness. Not far hence he views the plain where 
the Greek army of the gallant Belisarius levelled the Vandal pride with 
the dust. Or if he visits the crumbling battlements of Kairwan, Tlemsen, 
or Fez, his mind reverts to the days of Arab glory, when the gallant band 
of Islam flashed like a meteor over the valleys and plains of Mauritania, 
and plunging on their fiery chargers into the Western Ocean, threatened 
to reduce the stormy sea into subjection to the Crescent. A melancholy 
grandeur hovers over this historical land, and the shades of mighty hosts 
and nations long since gathered to their fathers seem still to linger and 
haunt its spectral cities. 

" Giace 1' alta Cartago ; appena i segni 
Dell' alte suo riiiue il lido serba. 

* St. Louis, A.D. 1270. t Charles V. in 1541, and Blake in 1655. 


Muoiono le citta, muoiono i regni ; 
Copre i fasti e le pompe arena ed erba : 
E r uom d' esser mortal par clie si sdegni : 
nostra mente cupida e superba." 

Tasso's Gerusalemme, 1. 15, c. 20.* 

Taking a broad survey of the chronology of North -west Africa, we 
have first the j^rimitive immigration of the Berbers or ancient Libyans, 
assuming that people, according to its oldest traditions, to have come 
originally from the Semitic corner of Asia. These are followed by Phoe- 
nician colonists, the founders of Carthage, who still belong to the Semitic, 
and are eventually subdued by the Romans belonging to the Indo-Ger- 
manic stock. The Vandal invasion brings in a new branch of the latter 
variety, constituting a part of the great Gothic family that swept over 
Europe at the fall of the Roman empire ; but after a short triumph, they 
shared the fate of their predecessors, and were forced to submit to Justi- 
nian and the Byzantine Romans, who once more regain the supremacy 
on the African shore. From the fall of Carthage to this period, from 
c.c. 146, to about the latter half of the seventh century of our era, dif- 
ferent families of the Indo-European variety had held sway in North- 
western Africa ; but about the beginning of the eighth century a flood 
of the Semitic tide once again deluged the land under the name of 
Saracens and under the crescent of Mahomet, which brought the cross 
into subjection and extinction on those shores, after it had reigned there 
about five hundred years. This Arab or Saracen family of the Semitic 
variety held sway in Barbary from the eighth to the tenth century, when 
a band of daring desperadoes, belonging to the Turkish branch of the 
Mogul variety, reduced the Algerine portion to subjection, and ruled it 
with a rod of iron, till the French conquest in 1830 restored the cross 
and the supremacy of the Indo-Europeans. Morocco has invariably, Tri- 
poli and Tunis have generally, continued under Arab or Semitic rule since 
the conquest in the eighth century, though the two latter regencies have 
been nominally subject to the Sultan of Turkey for a long course of years. 

This cursory vicAV of the history of Barbary Avill shew that it has been 
the theatre of numerous important and violent revolutions, and will serve 
to fix the attention and engage the interest of the intelligent reader. The 
minuter details of its history are reserved for a future chapter. 

There is another consideration that increases the interest which sur- 
rounds a study of this remarkable country ; I mean, the present ])osition 

* " Ill-fated Carthage ! scarce, amid the plains, 
A trace of all her iiiined pomp remains ! 
Proud cities vanish, states and realms decaj', 
The world's unstable glories fade away ! 
Yet mortals dare of certain fate complain. 
impious folly of presuming man !" 

Jlooles Tasso, 1. 14-6, b. 15. 


and future prospects of the French power in Africa. If we examine tlie 
causes of the disputes and struggles between nations, it is probable that a 
large proportion will be found to oiugiuate in misunderstandings and igno- 
rance. A more accurate survey of, and a closer acquaintance with, the 
position and power of our neighbours would generally or frequently an- 
ticipate and prevent the deplorable results to which we have alluded, by 
enabling us to arrive at a correct comparative estimate of our strength and 
resources, and by teaching us what we have to expect. 

The progress of the French power in Africa is an instructive example 
of the aggressive and invasive spirit and propensities of our neighbours ; 
and it is important to remember that the French government has within 
call a i:)owerfuI army of above 100,000 veterans, inured to hardships and 
war, and officered by men who have grown grey in camjis. 

The observations of an eminent writer on the fall of Carthage are 
moreover especially applicable to this country and to the present situation 
of the continent. " The fall of Carthage," he remarks, " has been ascribed 
to that neglect of her maritime forces which was manifested during the 
last Punic war. When Scipio crossed from Sicily to Africa, there was not 
a fleet to oppose him. But the principal cause of her decline and ultimate 
overthrow was the fierce hostility of rival factions within her own walls. 
* * * In the fate of Carthage was exemplified the usual result of a popu- 
lar government and of civic contention ; the voice of clamour is silenced 
only by the shouts of a triumphant foe, who puts an end to the rivalry of 
parties by treading all distinctions under foot.""' 

A memoi-able instance of this truth was afibrded in the coiqy d'etat of 
December 1851. Let us hope that the ruins of Carthage and the present 
slavery of France will have a warning voice for England, and teach us to 
avoid the abuses that led to these catastrophes. f 

From the preceding remarks the reader will perceive that the past and 
present history and position of French Afi-ica and its borders are an in- 
structive study for the philosopher, the statesman, and the patriot; and 
though our limits have necessarily prevented us from dwelling on the 
mysterious valley of the Nile and the past glories of Cyrene, the anti- 
quarian and the politician will be amply rewarded if they extend their 
minute survey to the north-eastern part of this land of the sun. The 
wonders of early Egyptian culture, the wealth, luxury, and learning of 
the Pentapolis and Alexandria, and the Mameluke beyliks of Kahira, 

* Dr. Paissel's Barbary States, p. 83. 

+ Some of the more inflammable spirits of lajeune France have been ready to antici- 
pate as one of the resvilts of the new Franco now occupied on the north coast of Africa, 
that the classic Mediterranean will be shortly converted into a French lake. We confess 
our inability to do justice to this conclusion while our batteries of Gibraltar frown on the 
Straits, and imless our modern vikings are sadly degenerated fi'om their sires. 


are calculated to command the reverence and dazzle tlie imagination of 
the ages. 

Having thus given a \dew of what he has to expect among the plains 
and valleys of old Atlas, we shall transport our reader on board one of 
the numerous steamships that plough the waters of the MediteiTanean, 
and after a rajiid and easy passage deposit him on the quay of Algiers. 






AFRICA, fi-om the nortli to its centre, is divided by nature into three dis- 
tinct regions. The first, to which the name of Tell, or the corn- 
country, has been aj^plied, ascends by a gradual slope to the region of high 
table-lands. The latter, forming the second region, extends, under the 
name of Sahara, fr-om the Tell to the Desert, which is neai-ly on a level 
with the sea. The high table-lands of the Sahara afford pasture for nume- 
rous flocks of sheep ; and at intervals you meet with oases containing for- 
tified towns, forming depots for the corn and merchandise of the nomadic 
tribes. To the eastward of the oases of the province of Oran, in Algeria, 
begins the country of the Beni-Mzab,* which contains seven important 
towns, forming emporiums for the whole commerce of the south, and 
peopled, according to tradition, by the descendants of the Moabites. The 
fact is, that almost all of them have blue eyes and fair hair, whilst their 
language also differs from the Arabic. They are, moreover, schismatics, 
because they do not belong to any of the four authorised Mussulman sects. 
But the severity of their morals, their union, and their honesty, have given 
them a high reputation ; and their active character has centered in their 
own hands most of the barter trade between the Tell and the Desert. 

To the south of these table-lands of the Sahara, parallel to the Tell 
and to the sea, begins the third region of Africa, consisting of the Desert ; 
but not such a desert as is pictured by a European imagination — sand, and 
nothing but sand to the end of the chapter. The desert is in reality com- 
posed of immense plains, analogous to the steppes of Russia, the pusztas 
of Hungary, and the llanos and pampas of South America, with this essen- 
tial difference, that they have no wood or vegetation, and very little water, 
which is confined to certain favoured spots few and far between, that be- 
come the necessary halting-places of the traveller. "J" It is true that tracts 
of sand frequently occur, Avhich have been spread over its surface by the 
action of the winds ; and the natives often apply to them very singular 

* '-r'lf'^ Li"''^ Beni-Mzaht t Humboldt's Views of Xatm-ej pp. 2-3. 


appellations, such as veiyis or nets, according to the shape given to them 
by the caprice of the winds. But the desert contains in like manner 
oases, and whole countries clothed with vegetation and inhabited by a 
numerous population, such as the Great Oasis of Touat. Beyond these 
vast plains rises a chain of mountains, rivalling the Atlas in verdure and 
vegetation, and forming the country of the Touaregs, who are the buc- 
caneers of the desert. Lastly, to the southward of these mountains, you 
reach the laud of Soudan, the Negroland, the chosen home of the mar- 
vellous, and the seat of fabulous realities. A straight line drawn from 
Algiers to Kachna, at the distance of more than 800 leagues (2200 miles) 
from the coast, passes through the three regions that we have just de- 
scribed ; and there is every reason to believe that the whole of N"orthern 
Africa presents similar characteristics and divisions. The kingdom of 
Haoussa, of which Kachna is the metropolis, was conquered about thirty 
years ago by a white Mussulman race called the Foulanes ; and thus, by 
a singular chance, whilst a Christian power was establishing its dominion 
in Northern Afi'ica, Islam was imposing her arms and her creed on the 
centre of that continent. 

Between the Tell and the Sahara are vast undulations of ground, 
celebrated for their pasturages, and called the Sersous.* This district 
is the residence of wandering tribes and vast flocks of sheep, which con- 
stitute their sole wealth, as they abstain from all agricultural pursuits. 

Nominal Algeria, f that is to say, the old regency, is divided by a line 
running nearly east and west into two distinct zones, called by the natives 
Tell and Sahara. The Tell, according to some authorities, takes its name 
from the Latin teUus (cultivable land) ; it constitutes the zone bordering 
on the Mediterranean, and is the land of harvests and agriculture. The 
Sahara stretches to the south of the Tell, and forms the region of pastures 
and fruit. Hence the inhabitants of the Tell are agi-iculturists, and those 
of the Sahara are shepherds and gardeners. The Tell is formed of a series 
of fertile basins yielding almost exclusively different kinds of corn, espe- 
cially wheat and barley ; and its flattest parts compose one of the richest 
countries in the world, but at the same time one of the most uniform. 
The chains separating the basins are clothed with timber, but being- 
peopled by Berbers are inaccessible to the Arabs. 

The Sahara was long a fabulous land, being called by some the Great 
Desert, and by others the Country of Dates, — contradictoiy appellations 
resulting from the confusion and imperfection of geographical knowledge 
previous to the French conquest. It was very generally supposed that 
from the mountains of the Tell to Nigritia there stretched one continued 

* See note, p. 110, of Marshal de Castellano's Souvcnii-s do la Vie niilitaire en Afrique : 
Paris, 1852. 

t See the Exploration scicntifique dc I'AlgCrio ; Study of the Roads followed by the 
Arabs, by E. Carettc, introduction. 


plain of sand, a wilderness infested by savages. Such is not, however, 
the true aspect of the Sahara, which consists of a vast archipelago of 
oases, each offering an animated group of towns and villages. A large 
belt of fruit-trees surrounds each of these villages, among which the palm 
rules supreme from its height and value, though you have also pome- 
granates, figs, apricots, peaches, and vines. This massive verdure, with 
its profusion of fruit and shade, may give the reader some idea of the 
strong love entertained by the people of the Sahara for their country, 
which must not be regarded in the light of a desert till you have advanced 
a great distance beyond the southern limits of the regency. 

The Sahara also stretches to the south of Tunis and Morocco, the nor- 
thern zones of those countries being likewise styled Tell. The Algerian 
Sahara is comprised between the Tunis Sahara to the east, the Algerian 
Tell to the north, the Desert proper to the south, and the Morocco Sa- 
hara to the west. 

Considered orologically, Algeria consists principally of the assemblage 
of several chains of mountains running parallel to the sea-shore, ^. e. in an 
east-north-easterly direction, and intersected in their eastern extremities 
by other transverse chains running cast-south-east. It resvilts from this 
conformation that Algeria is divided naturally into two parts : one western, 
where the accidents of the ground are very simple, and almost all subject 
to the same direction ; the other eastern, presenting frequent crossings or 
breaks, and for that reason displaying the loftiest points. The north of 
Africa presents, as I shall shew, three directions of mountain-chains : one 
parallel to the Mediterranean, running in an east-north-east direction, and 
constituting the dominant ridge ; a second chain running in a north- 
north-east direction, and determining the general direction of the coasts 
of Morocco on the Atlantic Ocean, and also that of the Tunis coast — the 
third direction is east-south-east, and presents itself distinctly in the ridges 
of the province of Constantina and the regency of Tripoli ; it determines 
the direction of the sea-board in the latter country. 

This compound chain has its highest point in Morocco, where the 
mountain named Miltsin, near the capital, attains an elevation of 3475 
metres (11,398 feet) above the sea. The ridge sinks rapidly in the vi- 
cinity of Mlonia, and its lowest points are about the meridian of Mos- 
taganem. Mascara, and Saida, i. e. about the second degTee west longitude 
from Paris, Avhere its o-reatest elevation does not exceed about 700 metres 
(2296 feet). Farther east the mountains rise again as far as the Chellia, 
the culminating point of the Aouress ridge, situated 108 kilometres (67 
miles) south of Constantina, and rising to the height of 2312 metres 
(7583-36 feet). 

The Aouress mountain is the highest summit in Algeria and in the 
whole country that lies behind Morocco and Abyssinia. To the east of the 
Aouress the mountains rapidly sink to the Halouk-el-Mkhiba, 110 kilo- 


metres (68-4 miles) east of Tebessa; this mountain is 1445 metres (4739-60 
feet) high, and its summit seems to command the whole regency. The 
Rarian, which is almost the only chain in Tripoli, does not appear to rise 
to a gi^eater elevation than 800 or 1000 metres (2624 or 3280 feet).* 

Algeria, at the time of its sovereign Hussein Pasha, comprised a great 
part of the northern shores of the continent of Africa. Its territory at 
that period extended from the fourth degree west to the sixth east longitude 
of the meridian of Paris,t and from the thirty-fourth to the thirty-seventh 
degree of north latitude. The Atlas chain nms through this territory, fonn- 
ing a segment of a circle, of which the extremities approach the sea, while 
the centre departs from it and approaches the desert. This great chain of 
mountains must be divided into three zones, which extend east and west 
in nearly parallel lines; and which may be appropriately styled the Great 
Atlas, the Middle Atlas, and the Little Atlas. Each of these zones pre- 
sents almost similar sinuosities. Between the sea and the Great Atlas, 
which approaches the desert, is the Middle Atlas, a secondary chain, cut 
by another longitudinal chain, which from east to west approaches more 
and more to the shore; this latter ridge is the Little Atlas. A number of 
smaller chains lie between the principal ones and the sea, forming so many 
ascending steps or degrees. The most northerly point of the Great Atlas 
is about 15 leagues (37 miles) from Setif, not far from the source of the 
Ksour and Bousellam. To the west of Tlemsen, in the province of Oran, 
the Middle Atlas is linked to the Little Atlas, | which latter range runs 
over a space of about 100 leagues (250 miles), and reaches the Shellif, 
which breaks through it at six leagues (15 miles) distance from Medeah. 
This chain, which forms an elbow to the east by another branch (or spurt), 
appear-s to advance south to join the Great Atlas ; while on the other 
hand, by the Bibans, it follows an easterly direction to form a northern 
angle at Constantina. It reappears on the right bank of the Seybouse us 
far as the frontier of Tunis. 

At six leagues from the sea the Tafna cuts the Little Atlas, and the 
latter commands successively the right bank of the Isser and the left of 
the Sig, which it crosses as well as the Habrah. Then it draws near the 
shore, which it follows almost in a parallel line for 60 leagues (150 miles) 
till it alnits in the Col de Mouzaia. Soon after having passed this point, 
under the name of Djordjora, it dominates the Adouse, and for a moment 
disappears at Bugia; but a little distance fai'ther on it is again seen draw- 
ing near the Middle Atlas. 

The Atlas thus presents groups of parallel mountains intersected by 
and containing a scries of basins furrowed by streams in different di- 

* Exploration scicntifiquc ; M. Carotto's Goographio ct Commerce de I'Algdrie in(;ri- 

t From 1° 39' 45" W. to 8" 19' 15" E. of Greenwich. 

X Many geographers regard the Middle Atlas merely as a branch of the Littlo Atlas* 


rectlons. Those rising near the sea, having hut a short course and a very 
i"apid descent, are at certain seasons furious torrents, and at others dry 
beds. Those, on the contrary, that come from farther inland have to pierce 
a channel through the] transverse ranges. Such are the Ouad-Rummel 
and the Shellif, which have to break the barrier of the Lesser Atlas.* 

In looking on the map of Algeria,f it may be seen that this country, 
which extends in length between the Great Atlas and the sea about 250 
leagues (625 miles), with a mean breadth of 120 leagues or 300 miles, 
is divided from one extremity to the other into two regions by the chain 
of the Little Atlas, the superior region lying between the Great and Little 
Atlas, and the inferior or maritime between the Little Atlas and the sea- 
coast. If you seek for the communication that nature has effected be- 
tween these two regions, you will find dark and hilly defiles, by which 
at three or four points the waters of the first region find their way to 
the sea. These issues, opened by the force of the waters, are also occu- 
pied by it. Man can hardly venture among them ; and thus the two re- 
gions which these issues were intended to unite are still left isolated. 
The division does not stop there. From the intermediary chain of the 
Little Atlas numerous branch ranges are thrown out to the north and to 
the south towards the Great Atlas on one side, and towards the sea on the 
other. These two regions are thus divided into a multitude of valleys, 
with no common communication between themj so that the country, di- 
vided into two long halves by the Little Atlas, and subdivided into nu- 
merous fractions by these branch ranges, somewhat resembles a chess- 
board depicted by the mountains, natural barriers being thus offered to 
the communication of the population inhabiting it. You may search in 
vain for a natural centre to the broken country ; natui'c has refused it. 
Neither are secondary centres to be found ; all the maritime region is 
composed of narrow valleys running to the sea, and these being ranged 
parallel to each other, resemble the stalls of a stable. Each glen has its 
river, or more correctly its torrent, flowing from the far end, and follow- 
ing a direct line to the coast. The valleys of the superior regions are 
more extensive by reason of the waters, which, kept back by the barrier 
of the Little Atlas, have formed vast basins. But they do not commu- 
nicate one with another ; each is a little world in itself ; and to com- 
mand two contiguous basins, it is necessary to take up a position on the 
chain dividing them. We have previously seen that from Algiers to 40 
or 50 leagues (125 miles) inland is called the Tell, and presents a surface 
of about IG millions of hectares.^ 

* M. Berbrugger's Alg€rie historique, pittoresque, et monumentale, — Introduction, bv 
M. Do la Have, editeur : Paris, 1843. 

f This excellent description of the physical characteristics of Algeria is derived from 
an article by the late M. Jouffroy in the lievue des deux Mondes for June 1838. 

X It will be convenient for the reader to remember that there are about two and a half 
English acres to a French, hectai-e. 16,OCM3,OO0 hectares = 40,000,000 acres. 



The principal river of Algeria is called the Shellif, after -which we shall 
enumerate the others in what appears to us the natural order of priority. 
These are the Seybouse, the Summam or river of Bugia, the Habra, the 
Tafna, and the Ilummel ; the three latter being nearly equal in velocity. 

The Shellif has the same length of course as the Garonne and the 
Seine, but its basin is not equal to one-half of theirs. It appears about 
equal to the j\Iarne. In the state of Tunis the Medjerda has only two- 
thirds the length of the Shellif, and it is also probable that it rolls along 
a smaller volume of water. In the empire of Morocco, on the contrary, 
the Omm-er-Rbia and the Tensift, though somewhat less in length of 
course than the Shellif, seem to contain a more considerable body of water. 
The Ouad-Sbour, which passes near Fas, is also an important river. These 
are the principal water-courses in the north of Africa, and the mountains 
from which they rise are the highest.* 

Before, however, wc proceed any further in individualising the rivers 
of Algeria, we shall lay before the reader the intimate connexion between 
the highest lands and largest water-courses of Barbary ;t thus generalising 
the relation between the orology and potamology of the district luider 

There are four great water-courses in Algeria, and in all Bai'bary, 
forming the four great arteries of the country. To the east the valley 
of Lake Melr'ir exceeds the eastern frontier of Algeria, and crosses in all 
its length almost the whole regency of Tunis. To the north the valley 
of the Shellif reaches the northern frontier of the region, which is the 
Mediterranean. To the west tlie Ouad-Seggar reaches and passes the 
western frontier to enter the empire of Morocco. To the south, the Ouad- 
Mzab reaches the borders of the desert, which is the southern limit of 

The region whence all the streams flow is a platform commanding all 
the low lands of Algeria. The sources of the four rivers lie near together; 
thus the Melr'ir' lake and the Ouad-Seggar are supplied by the southern 
and western slopes of the Djebel-Amour. This mountain, which com- 
mands all the plateaux of the four rivers, must be one of the highest in 
Algeria; and hence the peak of El Ga"da, which separates three of the four 
great basins, and is held by tlie natives to be the top of Djebel-Amour, is 
one of the highest summits of French Africa. 

The seven basins, of which the east and centre part of the Algerian 
Sahara consists, may be divided into two distinct groups : 1. to the 
north, the basins of the Upper Shellif, the Zar'ez, and the H'od'na ; 
2. to the south, the basins of the Ouad-^lzab, the Ouad-Bir, the Ouad- 
Souf, and the Melr'ir'. Except the Shellif, all these basins are shut ; they 

* Exploration scientifique ;' Geologic par M. Eenou, Par. I, G^ographie physique, 
t See Exploration scientifique de I'Alg^rie ; Recherches .sm- la G^ographie et lo Com- 
merce do I'Algtiiie mcridionale, par E. Carette, Capitaine de G^nie, p. 70. 


also correspond in a general relation of direction ; thus the bottoms of 
the north basins and the bottoms of the south basins are situated in two 
parallel lines, in a N.N.E. direction, and distant about 250 kilometres 
(155-4 miles). 

In this interval the lines of the ridges, like the lines of partial bottoms, 
also obey the direction of the extreme lines. If this E.N.E. direction, 
Avhich especially determines the configuration of Western Algeria, pre- 
vailed also in the east of the regency, the basin of El H'od'na and that 
of the Melr'ir' would send their waters, like the Shellif, to the Medi- 
terranean. But another chain running E.S.E. extends without inter- 
ruption from the Djebel Dira, under the meridian of Hamza, to the meri- 
dian of Tebessa for about 400 kilometres (248-54 miles), and bars them 
effectually. The chief rings of this chain are the Djebel Dira, the Ouen- 
nour'a, the Bou-T'aleb, the Mest'aoua, the Aoiiress, and lastly the moun- 
tains of Amamra and of the Nememcha. This first chain forms the 
basin of El H'od'na ; another parallel chain rises to the southward, which 
bars the basin of Lake Melr'ir', and determines the direction of the in- 
ferior branch of the Ouad-ed-Djedi. It is at the Djebel Metlili that this 
second fold is knotted on to the E.N.E. chain, and it is at the foot of 
their southern slopes that the Sahara ends. The rivers that descend from 
the Djebel Aouress all cross this second chain, to lose themselves in the 
Ouad-ed-Djedi. This circumstance, joined to the great quantity of snow 
that feeds them, and to the great degree of cold prevailing in these 
regions, is an evidence of the elevation of the Aouress gi'oup, which is 
the highest mountain-ridge in the eastern part of Algeria. Thus the 
dominant masses of the Sahara, and perhaps of all Algeria, are the Djebel 
Aouress and the Djebel Amour ; they determine the direction of the 
greatest valleys, the one to the east and the other to the Avest ; and the 
Ouad-ed-Djedi forms the link that unites them, since it receives the 
southern waters of both. 

Having thus endeavoured to analyse the great organic laws of the 
orolog}' and potamology of Algeria, we shall proceed at once to indi- 
vidualise the characteristics of the principal streams of the region under 

The doctrine of basins may be styled the philosophy of topography, 
giving at once the key to the physical geography of a country. We have 
seen that Algeria contains four primary basins, and that it is subdivided 
into a number of secondary and tertiary basins. 

The primary basins are the channels of, 1st, the Shellif j 2d, the Ouad- 
ed-Djedi and Lake Melr'ir' ; 3d, the El H'od'na and Chott-es-Saida ; and 
4th, the Ouad-Mzab and Lake ]Srgou9a. 

The secondary and tertiary basins contain a series of salt lakes or 
rivers ; the latter, or tertiary, generally situated between the Little Atlas 
and the sea. We shall first give a brief survey of the hydrography of the 


primary basins, subsequently noticing the others; and we shall begin with 
the basin of the Shellif, the only Algerian river that finds its way from 
the Sahara to the sea, because it flows through the only open primary 

The Shellif rises in the north slopes of the Djebel Amour, 300 kilo- 
metres (186 •41 miles) in a straight line from its mouth, but including its 
bends 600 kilometres (372-82 miles). Its two chief upper tribvitaries 
are the Ouad-Sebgag and the Ouad-el-Beida. The former, issuing from 
the rocks of El-Khiar, falls into the Ouad-el-Beida, which, after traversing 
the plain of that name, crosses the plain of Seresso under the appellation 
of Ouad-el-Touil, receiving a number of small tributaries before reaching 
the Shellif. 

The Ouad-ed-Djedi is the chief tributary of Lake Meliir, the first basin, 
flows 300 kilometres (186-41 miles) between the cultivable lands on one 
bank and the sand on the other, and is often nearly dry, but after rain 
a mighty sheet of water. Its name is thought to be derived from the 
Berber, Idjdi, sand; Trzer Idjdi, the i-iver of sand, corrupted in Arabic 
into Ouad Djedi, the river of the goat. When the arable land forms 
both its banks near El-Ar'ouat', it changes its name to Ouad-Mzi, a Ber- 
ber term. It rises in the Amour, and is formed by several sti-eams, the 
Ouad-el-Richa being the principal, rising by one of the highest summits 
of the Amour. The Ouad-ed-Djedi is formed by the union of the Ouad- 
Mzi and the Ouad-Msaad coming west, the confluence being a little south 
of El Arouat ; it receives afterwards the Ouad-Bedji'an, the Oimd-Mlili, a 
river of fabulous size, owing to its vast channel, and a number of other 
streams near the Aouress; all these flow in on the left, coming from minor 
basins. The right bank presents few tributaries save the Ouadi-et-Tell, 
a valley 130 kilometres (80-77 miles) long and 25 kilometres (15-53 
miles) wide. This channel is generally dry on the surface, with water 

The basin of El Hodna is occupied by the salt lake or Sebklia Msila, 
commonly called Chott-es-Saida, the bank of the Saida, which is, like the 
Melrir, a vast salt-mai-sh. The Ouad-Msila rises on the north slope of a 
mountain, and flows round to the south of it. A number of other Ouads 
flow into the marsh, the chief to the north being the Ouad-Msila; to the 
east the Oaad-Metkaouk, of the same rapidity as the Eemel at Constan- 
tina, and never dry. The chief stream on the west bank of the Chott is 
the Ouad-ech-Chelal, which changes its name several times, and receives 
many tributaries from the Djebel Dira ; on the south we have the Ouad- 
bou-Sada and the Ouad-ech-Chair. 

The Ouad-]\Izab is the largest valley that pours its waters into the 
salt lake Ngou^a, n has fond, or mai-sh without an outlet. Its chief tri- 
butary, the Ouad-Metlili, rises ,at the west part of a plateau called El Ferad, 
forming Djebel Mahigucn, a day's journey south of El Arouat, and parallel 



to Djebel Amour. First it bears the name of Ouad-Mahigucn, then of Ouad- 
Metlili near that town, and soon after reaches the Ouad-Mzab, which also 
comes from the Mahiguen, and first bears tlie name of Ouad-el-Abied, tlie 
white river. After passing through the oases, it falls into the Ouad-Xoumrat. 
A number of other streams swelling the current, it falls, under the name of 
Ouad-Mia, into the lake Ngou9a. All the streams of this basin dry up, and 
deluge the country after rain. Notice is given by horsemen directly the 
northern horizon blackens, gun-shots are fired as soon as the torrent ap- 
pears, all objects are removed, and soon, with a terrible noise, the flood 
rolls on, and the Saharian city stands by magic on the banks of the waters, 
which rise to the palm-tufts; but a few days only elapse ere all disappears.* 
The rivers of Algeria divide it into a great number of basins, of which 
the followino- is a I'ouirh estimate: 

Basin of the Shellif . 

Habra and Sig 

river of Bugia 


Rummcl, or Remel 
















The shut basins contain a much larger surface; the chief being those 
of Melrir and Ouaregla; those of the Tell of Constantina may embrace 
about 125 square myriametres (4424-5 square miles). The following 
table eives the inclination of the chief rivers : 


Chiffa, in the Mtidja -0031 

Seybouse, plain of Bona .... "1053 

Rummel or Remel, from Constantina to the sea '0975 

Taftia -0975 

Mazafran, from Kolea to the sea . . . "0507 
Harrash, from the middle of the Mtidja to the 

Maison carr^e "0250 



The inclination of jJ^p-=-0025 (about 1 inch in 390) is very common in 
Algeria ; it is ten times greater than that of the Loire between Orleans 
and Tours, and twice that of the Meurthe between Saint Die and Nancy. 
The great mountain districts of Europe alone present similar inclinations. 

These remarks apply also only to the lower part of the course of Al- 
gerian rivers. Cascades are frequent, the most remarkable being that of 
the Remel at Constantina, where it falls 70 metres (219-60 feet) in one 

* Exploration scientifique ; Geologie, par M. Renou, Par. I, Geographic physique, 

+ Height of the rivers at different points in their corn-se : 

feet. metres. 

Quad bou Sellam, near Setif .... 3280 . . 1000 

Remel above the cascade 1577*68 . . 481 


The surface of the lakes alone is considerable; the whole south-east of 
Algeria presenting a country partly occupied by Sebkhas, and covering 500 
square myriametres. The following estimate of surface may be depended 

Sebkha, or Salt Lake, dry in summer. 
The Great Chotts of the province of Oran liectares. acres. 

together 255,000 . . 012,000 

Chott-el-Hodna, orthelakoofMsila . .150,000 . . 360,000 
The East (Chergui) Zarez . . . .56,500 . . 135,600 
The West (Gharbi) Zarez .... 28,300 . . 67,920 

Sebkha of Oran 31,250 . . 74,500 

Sebkhas ofthe plateaus of Constantma . 40,000 . . 96,000 

Salt Lakes, never dry. 

Fzara, near Bona 14,300 . . 34,320 

ElMaleh 867 . . 20,808 

Fresh Water. 
El Houbeirat, near La Calle . . . 2848 . . 6635-2 

El Horn- „ ... 2367 . . 5680-8* 

The limit of the MediteiTanean basin is formed by a sinuous line gene- 
rally parallel to the main line (consisting of the long chain running east- 
north-east, and containing the Djebel Amour), except at the centre, where 
it reaches the summits of the Djebel Amour. It has a surface of about 
1300 square myriametres (52,050 square miles) ; but it is decomposed into 
a number of closed basins, such as 

Basins of the salt lakes of Oran and Arzeu 
Sebkha of the plain of the Mina . 
Basin of the Fzara, near Bona 

or about 32 square myriametres (123*2 square miles), which reduces to 
12G8 square myriametres (48,818 square miles) the surface of the basin 
that sends its waters to the sea. 

The salt lakes, or Sebkhas, of the north slope present very clearly the 
two directions that prevail in Algeria; the seven principal lakes, lengthened 
out to an extent of about 750 kilometres (466-03 miles), describing an 
east-north-cast direction ; whilst those of the province of Constantina fol- 
low an east-south-cast direction. The former present a total svu-face of 
725,000 hectares (1,740,000 acres); the othei's, about twelve in number, 
may have about 35,000 to 40,000 (84,000 to 90,000 acres). 




. 595,200 


. 75,000 


. 772,800 

feet metres. 

Remel below the cascade 1348-08 . . 411 

Seybouse at the confluence of the Ouad Chorf and 

OuadZenati 918-40 . . 280 

Chiff'a, issuing from the cutting .... 492 . . 150 
* The last two are each of them three-fourths of the lakes of Thun and Brienz in 


The aspect of Algeria is uniform; the existence or absence of forests 
being the greatest feature. The country at Constantina is bare, at La 
Calle woody. Drawing near the coast, you first see the higher summits; 
but soon you come under a lower ridge of 1000 or 1200 metres (3280 
or 393G feet), almost always green, from Tunis to Tangiers, though there 
are some breaks in this ridge at the towns, especially at Tenes and Oran.* 

The three prevailing directions of the mountains are not always clearly 
perceived; at Constantina they look like a chaos. The highest points 
seen from that town are the Guerioun, 1727 metres (566450 feet), and 
the Nif-en-Nicer, 1534 metres (5031-52 feet) in height; from the Chet'tba, 
eight kilometres (4-34 miles) from Constantina, you see the Aouress ; the 
Djorjora is seen eight kilometres from Algiers ; and the Ouanseris at an 
immense distance. 

The Sahara is divided into two regions : the northern mountainous, 
more populous, and better watered; the southern lower, less peopled, and 
consisting of oases, and containing 253,000 square kilometres, or 97,405 
square miles. 

The separation of Tell and Sahara is more simple to the west, but 
complicated to the east, where the line of sej)aratiou descends to the south 
face of the Aouress. This results from the greater height of the mountains, 
for the Chot't region in the west corresponds exactly to the Sbakt of the 
province of Constantina; but the lowness of the western mountains makes 
the land sooner arid, there being fewer streams ; while in the east the lands 
around the salt lakes are often very fertile ; hence the Tell is broader there. 

The division of the two parts of the Sahara is very simple ; it is the 
foot of the mountains, forming an obtuse angle, the west side parallel to 
the great ridge or watershed, and the east side parallel to the E.S.E. 
chain ; the same angle is described by the great salt lakes. This limit 
is dotted Avith a line of k'sour, or walled villages, starting from Figuig to 
the west, and joins the frontier of Tunis north of Nefta. This is a great 
channel for the Mecca caravan. 

The Ouad-ed-Djedi and the Lake Melrir indicate the same limit ; the 
west country is not quite so well known. This north zone has every 
where a breadth of about 300 kilometres (186-34 miles). 

The Sahara has a west and east slope, traceable, but not so clearly, 
into the Tell. Their line of demarcation runs a little east of Algiers, passes 
by the Djebel Amour, then near Stiten, and on the east limit of the oasis 
of Touat, Avhere it cuts the meridian of Paris in lat. 27°. A low chain of 
hills coasting the road from Algiers to Timbuctoo separates the two slopes. 
Dividing Algeria into two slopes, north and south, or east and west, the 
Djebel Amour is the pivot and focus of its physical geography. The water- 

* Exploration scientifique, sciences physiques ; G^ologie de I'Algc'rie, j>ar M. E. Renou 
lere partie, G^ogi-apliie physique, pp. 1-14. 


courses, of which the Shellif and Ouad-Djedi are the chief, irradiate from 
this centre, whose height is about 1600 metres (5248 feet). 

The oases depend entirely on the orography of the countiy, the moun- 
tains supplying them with water, and giving them life. 

Metlili and the Ouad-Mzab towns alone occupy valleys where streams 
run beyond them. In all the other oases the rivers come to an end. 
The angle and height of the mountains near Biskara explain the knot of 
oases there. Ouaregla receives not only the north waters, but an im- 
mense ton-ent, the Ouad-Mia (100 streams), from Insalah, in the oasis of 
Touat. Other oases, like Ouad-Souf, have a knot of sand-hills instead 
of a flat bottom ; this makes them salubrious. 

All the south-east of Algeria is a flat uniform countrj', consisting 
almost entirely of one sebkha, and embracing, with a part of the Tunis 
Sahara, 500 square mp-iametres (19,250 square miles), looking like the 

Including the villages of El Goha and Ocdan, and all the tribe of 
the Chamba, which would extend its south limit to the 30th degree of IST. 
latitude under the meridian of Paris, Algeria would have a surface of 4700 
square myi-iametres, (it has 390,900 square kilometres, according to the 
Tableau de la Situation, i.e. 150,496-5 square miles), only one-tenth less 
than France. The centre would then fall about the 34° 7' lat., and 1° 4' 
east long, of Paris (3° 23' E. of Greenwich), i. e. between Demmer and 

The division of Algeria into Tell and Sahara resulting from orology 
and potamology, or what we may call natural hydraulics, depends on 
geological and meteorological causes, to be determined by the quadrant, 
the anemometer, and general scientific analysis and synthesis. It cannot 
be doubted that a great icy chain of 5000 or 6000 metres (16,000 or 
19,000 feet) elevation in Central Africa would convert the Sahara into a 
Brazil or Hindustan. 

Heights of the Plains, Lakes, and Marshes. 

metres, feet, 

Medjana, south of Setif 1000 

Hachem Reris dilain of Mascara) . . , . 350 

Mitidja (at Mered Blockhaus) 148 

Salt lake of Oran 60 

Marsh of Bou Farik 4.3 

Marabout of Sidi Denden, on a hillock m the plain of Bona 38 
Lake Houbeira, La CaUe ..,.., 30 

Lake Fzara, Bona 

Plain of Bona 


* The length of Algeria between Tunis and Morocco, i. e. the mouths of the Zena and 
Adjeroud, is in a straight lino 974 kilometres (605-23 miles). This estimate is less than 
M. Jouffroy's ; but it is that of the Exploration scicntiliquc, and is probably the most 



Slopes of Plains. 

From camp of Ouad Khmris to the sea iu the Mitidja . -4875 
Plain of Oran towards the south, between the town and 

the salt lake -234 

Plain of Tlemsen towards the north .... -6084 



Central Asia has much analogy with the Sahara, especially in climate : 
the distance from the sea occasioning extremes, at 45° N. lat. in Asia, you 
have the cold of Iceland and the heat of the Gambia. 

The undertaking of the French to reclaim the landes of Gironde by 
planting is not impossible in the desert. Many shrubs live with little 
watei', and might attract rains and give birth to springs. The attempt 
is somewhat problematical and hypothetical, yet experience can alone es- 
tablish its practicability or impracticability ; nor should we be too ready 
to pronounce innovations Utopian in this age of wonders. 

The height of the Ouanseris, whose name has been so disfigured, has 
now been ascertained. It can be easily seen from Medeah, 106 kilometres 
{(i5 miles) oft', and from the Plateau des Santons above Oran, though 220 
kilometres (13GG4 miles) off. In January 1842 it was all white with 
snow. The Aouress presents gentle slopes, the Djordjora steep ones, with 
sharp needles, and some points covered with snow the whole year. The 
Dolomite mountains, near Tlemsen and Ouchda, are the steepest points 
in the west. 

As regards the slopes of the plains in the Tell, those of Bona and of 
the Habra are the flattest ; in the south-east Sahai-a, as previously observed, 
you find immense flat j^lains, little raised above the sea. 

Heights of Algerian Mountains. 

ChelHa (Ao<iress) . 108 (66i miles) S. of Constantina . 
Djerdjera . . 94 (58 miles) E.S.S 24° of Aly . 

Ouanseris . . 78 (48 miles) S.S.E. of Tenes 

Amour . . . 155 (96-31 miles) S.E. of Tiaret . 
Mouzaia ... 157 (96 miles) S.E. of Blidah ... 
Zakkar ... 7 (4 miles) N.E. of Mihanah 

Gonfi ... 47 (29 miles) W. of Philippeville (7 capes) 

Edough (Idour) . 10 (6-20^miles) W. ofBona. 

Kahar, Moimtainof Lions 15 (9 miles) N.E. of Oran . 
Bouzareah , . 4 (2-48 nules) W. of Algiei-s _ . 



. 2312 


. 2126 . 


. 1800 . 


. 1600 . 


. 1597 . 


. 1534 . 


. 1096 . 


972 . 


615 . 


402 . 


The mean slopes of the mountains are as follows 

The Santons, at Oran, S. side 
Gouraia (sea-face) Bugia 
Zakkar, near Miliana . 
Bouzareah, near Algiers, N.E. slope 
Mouzaia, near BUdah . 














It may not prove unacceptable to the reader to 1)6 presented liere with 
a table of the elevation of the chief towns in Algeria. 



Telegraph of Djemadra above Blidali 

. 1400 






. ilOO 



. 920 



. 900 


Fort Gouraia, 2 kilometres N. of Bugia 

. 671 



. G56 



. 500 


Mascara . . . 

. 400 



. 286 


Emperor's Fort, Algiers . 

. 210 

. CS8-80 

Casbah Algiers . . . 

. 124 

. 416-72 

Casbah of Bona .... 

. 105 

. ^44-40 

Oran, top of the town 

. 100 





Algiers, Place du Gouvernement, lowest 


of the town .... 



Such are the broad features stamped by the hand of nature on this 
country, which, like all other inhabited lands, has been arbitrarily decom- 
posed by man, according to the whim of despots or the sway of races. The 
political divisions of Algeria will be enumerated and analysed in the fol- 
iovring chajiter. 

^Political ^fograplji). 





NORTK-WESTERN Africa lias been variously divided at sundry epochs, 
according to the predominance of races and dynasties. The territory 
of the Republic of Carthage appears to have corresponded in a great mea- 
sure with the present regency of Tunis ; but its influence extended over a 
much wider surface, embracing the greater part of Northern Africa, and 
■comprehending a great multitude of tributary hordes, who, like the present 
Arabs, led a nomadic life. To this class belonged the Numidians, with 
many tribes of Libyans, including possibly the Gaetulians. The territory 
of these tribes Avas naturally fluctuating, in consequence of the roving- 
mode of life of its population ; but as soon as the Numidians stand forth 
as a free people, and assert their right to distinct individual nationality, 
their territory seems to have answered with tolerable accui'acy to the 
present province of Coustantina in Algeria. The two Mauritanias, as 
they were afterwards called by the Romans, comprehending the remaining 
portion of Algeria and the empire of Moi-occo, were brought into a state 
of partial and nominal dependence on Carthage by Hamilcar, the father of 
Hannibal. But it is diflacult to assign any definite limits to the lands 
occupied by those nomades at this early period of history. The con- 
test between Syphax and Massinissa, and the tragedy of Sophonisba, at- 
test the uncertain sway of Carthage over her turbulent neighbours. 

After the Roman conquest we arrive at more precise temtorial notions 
respecting North-western Africa. The immediate district dependent on 
Carthage received henceforth the name of the Province of Africa.* Nu- 
midia was made tributary to Rome under native princes, and its capital 
retained the name of Cirta, till the Emperor Constantine confeiTed upon 
it his own title, which it has retained to the present day, though corrupted 

* Michelet's History of the Roman Republic, oh. iii. iv. v. ; Herder's Philosophie der 
Gescliichte, b. xii. sec. 4 ; Dr. Russel's B;irbary States, ch. i. Montesquieu, Grandeur efc 
Decadence des Romains, ch. 4. 


by the Arabs into Cossantina.* Mauritania was divided into two pro- 
vinces, Maiuitania Gsesariensis, extending from Numidia to the River Mu- 
lucha, and Mauritania Tingitana, from the latter stream to an indefinite 
limit, corresponding to the present southern border of Morocco. The first of 
the provinces in question answers pretty accurately in length and breadth 
to modern Algeria, the second is represented by the empire of Morocco. 
The country to the south of these provinces, known by the name of Gx- 
tulia, was in a great measure independent of the Roman sway, and em- 
braced a considerable portion of the three Saharas of Tunis, Algeria, and 
Morocco, besides an unlimited stretch of the true desert. Further details 
respecting these divisions will be found in the chapter on archaeology. 

The political geography of North-western Africa in the middle ages 
is an obscure and intricate matter, as shifting and transitory in its demar- 
cations as the Saracen dynasties that ruled it. 

After the Arab conquest, the capital of North-western Africa, while it 
remained subject to the Asiatic caliphs, was placed at Kairouan or Kairwan, 
a city which they erected in the province of Africa, or the territory of Tunis, 
fifty miles south of the latter town, and twelve miles from the sea. Under 
the African Khalifsf the capital was at Mehadia. After the yoke of the 
Fatimites had been thrown off by the Sanhadja Berbers, the first branch 
placed their capital at Achir, on the road from Bou-Sada to Bugia, and 
afterwards restored it to Kairouan ; the second branch placed it at Bugia, 
in the province of Coustantine of modern Algeria. The Almoravides, 
another independent dynasty of Moorish sovereigns, made Morocco their 
capital ; and the Almohades, who succeeded them, followed their example 
till the division of their empire. Then the branch of the Beni Mrin made 
Morocco and Fez their metropoHs; that of the Beni-Zeian settled at Tlem- 
sen in the province of Oran in modern Algeria, and that of the Beni-Hafes 
at Tunis. 

The reader will perceive fi-om this outline that the political divisions 
of Barbary during the middle ages were as confused and intricate as those 
of our European sires. At the period of the Turkish conquest in 1515, 
Algeria in particular had been parcelled out into a multitude of petty 
states, each governed by a petty sovereign, and all independent of each 
other. But leaving these insignificant divisions, which topcgraphically and 
ethnologically are of no more importance than some of the smaller coun- 
ties of England, we shall proceed to lay before the reader a compendious 
sketch of the political divisions of North-west Africa since they have re- 
ceived a permanent and definite seal by the Turkish conquest. After the 
brothers Barbarossa had reduced the territory of modern Algeria to sub- 
jection, they distinguished it from the Empire of Morocco to the west by 
the mountains of Trara in the province of Oran, and from Tunis to the 

; * iJ^Jb.:. i Qosanthina. t The Fatimite dynasty in Egypt. 


east by tlie Oiiad-el-Zaine, a river near La Calle. The breadth of the re- 
gency has always been somewhat fluctuating, owing to the sandy border that 
forms its southern limit ; but during the Turkish sway the tribes of the 
oases of Zab and the Mozabites inhabiting the Beni-Mzab district were 
partially and nominally subject to the Janissaries, who maintained a gar- 
rison at Biskara. The empire of Morocco, since it came under the sway 
of the present dynasty in 151 9, has been confined to the limits of the 
ancient Tingitanian Mauritania, extending from the river Mulvia on the 
east to Tafilet in the south, and comprised between the Atlas and the 
ocean. Tunis, since 1520, has corresponded in most respects to the an- 
cient territory of Carthage and the lloman province of Africa, the Zaine 
river forming its west limit towards Algeria, and the island of Jerba its 
east limit on the side of Tripoli. The breadth of this regency varies from 
100 to 200 miles. 

Having given this rough outline of the political divisions of Rarbary 
down to the French conquest in 1830, we shall proceed to fill up the can- 
vass with minuter details as regards the regency of Algeria, the special 
subject of the present work. And first, as to the territorial subdivisions 
of Algeria under the Turks, it may be desirable to state here that the 
regency under the Ottoman rule was governed by a despotic sovereign 
nominally dependent on the Sultan of Turkey, and named the Dey. The 
seat of his residence was Algiers, which was regarded as the metropolis of 
the whole regency, which comprehended four provinces or beyliks. These 
were governed by three beys, who were officers nominally subject to, but 
virtually independent of, the dey. The beylik or province of Algiers, being 
immediately dependent on the dey, did not stand in need of a special bey ; 
consequently, though there were four beyliks, there were only three beys. 
The other beyliks, after Algiers, were Oran, the western, capital Oran ; 
Tittery, the southern, capital Medeah, 73-32 miles from Algiers ; Con- 
stantina, the eastern, capital Constantina. Since 1830 the province of 
Tittery has been added to that of Algiers, and hence the present vice- 
royalty of Algeria contains three provinces : 1. Algiers to the centre; 2. 
Oran to the west ; 3. Constantina to the east. Of these the last is much 
the largest. Proceeding to analyse the individual provinces, we find that 
the distance of the city of Algiers from the nearest and principal points 
in France is as follows.* The pharos of iVlgiers is 758 kilometres (471 
miles) from the bottom of the port of Marseilles, which represents about 
the centre of the town. Algiers itself lies 7° 26' south and 2° 34' west of 
Marseilles. The distance from Algiers to Paris, measured between the 
centres of the two towns, is 1342 kilometres (833-88 miles). The dis- 
tances of Algiers from the extremities of France are, that from Port Ven- 
dres G45 (400-79 miles), and from Dunkirk 1585 (984-88 miles). All these 

* The latitude of Algiers is 20" 49' 30'- N. 


distances have been obtained by mathematical calculation. The town of 
Oran is in 35° 45' 57" N. lat. according to French observations (35° 58' 
English obsei-vation), and in 2° 4' 52" W. long. (24' W. of Greenwich) ; 
and its distance from Algiers is QQ leagues (165 miles) west, and fifteen 
hours' sail from Carthagena in Spain. 

The town of Constantina is in 36° 22' 21" N. lat. (36° 28' in the Ca- 
binet Atlas), and 4° 16' 36" E. long. (6° 26' E. of Greenwich), and is 320 
kilometres (198-84 miles) E., and 7° 17' S. from Algiers, as the bird 
flies. ■•'■ In estimating land-distances in Algeria, it is very essential to be 
careful in making the statements of the natives an authority. Arab mea- 
sures are always uncertain, and often incorrect. Their principal distinc- 
tions in mensuration are: 1. the day's march; 2. the hour's march; 
3. the mile ; 4. the farsekt.f The day's march is necessarily very vari- 
able, owing to Avhat may be called subjective and objective circumstances ; 
e. g. the motive of the traveller, and the nature of his vehicle, or the 
country over which he journeys. The only divisions of the day known 
to the Arabs are the times of prayer, or the position of the sun : these 
are — El fedjer, daybreak ; Es s'bah', sunrise ; El oul, 10 a.m. ; El alem, 
mid-day ; Ed dohor, 1 o'clock, p.m. ; El acer, 3 or 4 o'clock, p.m. ; El 
mor'reb, sunset ; and El lil, nightfall. The term ' mile' when used by 
the natives in Africa is also a variable and optional distance. By the 
French, however, the distances throughout Algex'ia have been ascertained 
with their usual mathematical accuracy ; and it has been found that 
the actual extent of the whole vice-royalty from east to west, including 
Great Kabylia, is between 240 and 250 French leagues (625 miles). This 
estimate agrees imperfectly with that of Dr. Shaw, about 100 years ago, 
who gave the regency a length of 480 miles. Its breadth from north 
to south, that is to say, from the Mediterranean to the time desert, varies 
from 60 to 200 leagues (120 to 500 miles), containing, according to the 
computation of Marshal Bugeaud, an Arab population of from three to 
four millions, though other authorities represent it as much less or 
greater.:}: About two-thirds of this territory j) resents a surface of rugged 
and wild mountains, intersected, however, as we have previously seen, by 
numerous fertile valleys in many parts. § It was in 1843 that, accord- 
ing to the division of the Minister of War, French Africa was divided 
into three provinces, Algiers, Oran, and Constantina, each of which were 
made to contain several subdivisions. Thus Algiers was divided into Al- 

* These diverging mensurations are from the Exploration scientifiquc, and the Cabinet 
Atlas and Universal Gazetteer. 

"f" The farsekt is probably derived from the Persian mUe, forsang, Tzapaa-ayyTis, con- 
sisting, according to Passow, of 30 stadia, or 3750 paces, three-fomi;hs of a German mUe, 
or nearly foin- English miles. 

X For further particulars on the population the reader is refciTcd to the chapters on 
the native races and statistics. 

§ Dawson Borrer's Campaign in the Kabylie (Longmans, 1847), p. 233. 


giers and Tittcry ; Oran into four, namely, Oran, Mascara, Mostaganem, 
and Tlemsen ; and Constantina into two, Bona and Setif.* 

The old province of Algiers was bounded to the east by the river Boo- 
berak, to the west by the Massafran, and was much smaller than the two 
others (the Tell), being scarcely sixty miles in length and breadth. Under 
the Turkish sway, as previously observed, the territory or pro^^nce of Algiers 
Proper was independent of the other beys ; and its kaids or mayors were 
immediately under the dey, whose direct authority thus extended over a 
circuit of six square German milest (120 English square miles). It is 
proper to add, that the limits of this territory were very fluctuating, 
owing to the caprice of the deys, who found it frequently convenient to 
extend their direct authoi'ity by encroaching on the teiTitory of the re- 
fractory or obnoxious beys. Thus Blidah, which properly belonged to the 
province of Oran, and the plain of Hamza to the iron gates (a mountain 
pass), were administered by the aga of the Arabs, who had the direction 
of the province of Algiers. ^: 

The Turkish province of Tittery, which has now been swallowed up 
in that of Algiers, was much smaller than those of Oran and Constantina ; 
and its name has been derived by some from the Arabic iteri,§ cold, be- 
cause it contains some snowy mountains. The four chief divisions of 
Algeria under the Turkish inile were frequently classified as follows : 1. 
the western province, or Mascara ; 2. the territoiy of Algiers ; 3. the 
middle or southern province of Tittery ; 4. the eastern province, or Con- 

The westei-n province was that of Mascara, now called the province of 

This province embraces now a surface of 102,000 square kilometres 
(39,270 square miles), wath a population of 600,000. The present pro- 
vince of Algiers contains a surface of 113,000 square kilometres (43,50.5 
square miles), with a population of 900,000 persons. || 

The province of Constantina lies between the meridians of the rivers 
Booberak and Zalne, and is nearly equal to the other two in extent, being 
upwards of 230 miles long, and more than 100 broad. This province 
has a surface of 175,900 square kilometres (67,721-5 square miles), vdih 
1,300,000 inhabitants,*! and includes the remai'kable district of Algeria 
known by the name of Great Kabylia, which has long been celebrated 
for the sturdy independence of its mountaineers, and has lately become 
the theatre of some of the boldest French exploits in Africa. As we 

* Dawson BoiTer, c. 16, on the Arab tribes. 
+ Nachrichten imd Bemerkungen, &e. 

X Adr. Berbrugger's^AJg^rie historique, pittoresque, et monvanentale : folio, Pai-is^ 
1843, p. 27. ' § Blofeld. 

II Tableau de la Situation des Etablissements fran9ais en AlgiJrie, ISoO, p. 719. 
^ lb. p. 719, 


propose devoting a special chapter to tins interesting region, we shall 
confine ourselves on the present occasion to a few brief statements re- 
specting Great Kabylia, which contains a surface of 7800 square kilo- 
metres (3003 square miles), with a population of 370,000, and an average 
number of 80,000 fighting men, presenting a sea-face of 14G kilometres 
(90"72 miles) on the Mediterranean, between Dellys and Bugia. 

Previous to the French conquest and exploration of Algeria, there can- 
not be said to have been any proper or accurate political divisions in the 
country. It is only lately that they have been methodically established 
for the sake of convenience ; and we here introduce those approved and 
suggested by the scientific exploration of the French government.* 

1. The Algerian Sahara is intimately bound to the Tell ; and the 
union of the two regions constitutes Algeria. 2. All the partial threads 
that compose this web are divided into three distinct parcels. Thus some 
are found in the east Tell (Bona, Constantina, Setif) ; others in the centre 
Tell (Algiers, Medeah, Milianah) ; others, again, in the west Tell (Oran, 
Mascara, Tlemsen). 

The Sahara is further divided into three parts : 1. the east Sahara ; 
3. the central Sahara ; 3. the west Sahara. Thus Algeria, besides two 
transverse zones, is decomposed into three meridian segments, formed of 
the corresponding parts of the Tell and Sahara. We shall henceforth 
adopt this classification. 

Algeria, politically regarded, means all the territory comprised, really 
or nominally, in the old i)ashalik. This territory is divided by the com- 
mercial habits of its population into three meridian segments, called, 1st, 
East Province ; 2d, Centre Province ; 3d, West Province. These corre- 
spond to what the natives call Beilik-ech-Cherguiia, Beilik-el-Oustaniia, 
Beilik-el-R'arbiia. Each province is divided into two regions — 1st, north. 
2d, south — essentially different, and belonging to the Tell and Sahara. 
Hence Algeria is divided into six distinct regions, called thus : 

For Europeans. For Natives. 

North. Tell. 

East Tell Tell-ech-Chergui. 

Centre Tell Tell-el-Oust'ani. 

West Tell TeU-el-R'arbi. 


East Sahara S'ali'ret-ech-Cherguiia. 

Centre Sahara S'ah'ret-el-Oust'^niia. 

West Sahara S'ah'ret-el-K'arbiia. 

It will be seen that in the political as well as in the physical geo- 
graphy of Algeria the great characteristic distinction is that of the Tell 

* See page 81, part ii. of E. Carette's Recherches sur la G^ographie ot lo Commerce de 
I'Alg^rio mdridionalc, in tho Exploration scieutifiquo : 4to, Paris, 1S44. 


and Sahara. Before we proceed to determine more accui'ately the fron- 
tiers of the viceroyalty, we shall pause for a short time to consider the 
most striking natural and social features of these regions. By deter- 
mining the northern border of the Sahara or southern zone, we shall be 
able at once to determine the outline of the Tell. 

The limits of the Tell and Sahara'"' are determined by their produce. 
There are, however, transitional, hermaphrodite regions or zones, where the 
date and the ear of wheat equally ripeu ; and there are others again which 
produce neither : these latter zones, being unenclosed and unfit for culture, 
come under the head of Sahara. The natives distinguish the zones thus : 
the country where corn is the rule belongs to the Tell ; the country where 
corn is the exception belongs to the Sahara. 

The Ouad-R'is'ran divides Algeria and Tunis throughout its course. 
At the point where it enters the plain of El Mitli there are ruins also 
called R'is'ran. Here the limit of the Sahara touches the frontier of Tunis. 
These ruins are at the foot of a chain of mountains which is prolonged 
without inten-imtion east to the Djebel H'adifa, near Gabes, in Tunis, 
west to the Djebel Metltli, near El Gant'ra. The edge of the Sahara 
follows the foot of these mountains. Leaving the ruins of R'is'ran, the 
limit of the Sahara of Algeria, all through the countries that we have 
studied, may be divided into three parts : the first extends from R'is'ran 
to the Djebel Metlili, and remains constantly in the basin of the lake 
INIelr'ir'; the second extends from the Djebel Metlili to the peak known 
as the Grin-el-Adaora, (the little horn of the Adaora), and follows con- 
stantly the basin of El H'od'na; the third extends from Adaora to the 
village of Frenda, and remains throughout in the basin of the Upper 

It follows that the Algerian Sahara does not advance so far north in 
the eastern as it does in the western part of the viceroyalty. R'isr'an 
is in lat. 34° 20', and 140 kilometres (86-99 miles) from the coast. In 
the meridian of Dellys it comes to lat. 36°, and only 80 or 90 kilometres 
(49 "06 or 50 92 miles) from the coast. Thus in the east and centre the 
Tell or corn-country passes beyond the limits of the basin of the Medi- 
terranean ; in the west it does not reach those limits. The valleys of the 
Ouad-ed-Djedi and Ouad-el-Arab produce in their lower parts dates and 
grains, and are thus of a hermaphrodite nature. To the west the upper 
basin of the Shellif only produces dates. Hence on the limits of the 
Sahara there are doubtful districts, to the eastward doubly productive 
valleys, to the west immense ungrateful steppes. These intermediate 
zones present" three basins : to the east, double culture, that of dates and 
corn ; to the centre, double culture intermixed with pasture ; to the west, 
pasture only. 

See chap. iii. of E. Carette's Kecherchos sur la Gdographie, &c , ubi supra. 



We have seen that the Algerian Sahara is divided into basins : 1st, 
that of the Ouad-lMzab ; 2d, that of the Ouad-Zargoun ; 3d, that of the 
Upper Shellif. The Ouad-Zargoun only enters partially into this terri- 
tory, which may more correctly be analysed into four primary basins : 
1st, the Lake Melr'ir' ; 2d, the H'od'na ; 3d, the Upper Shellif ; 4th, the 
Ouad-]\Izab : and into three secondary basins ; 1st, the Za'r'es ; 2d, the 
Ouad-Rir' ; 3d, the Ouad-Souf. It is proper to add, that the inhabitants 
of the Sahara know no other division of the country than that into oases 
and tribes. 

The contrast between the Tell and the Sahara and their populations 
may be summed up as follows : 

"The knowledge of the solar months, though necessary in agriculture? 
is less spread in the Tell than in the Sahara. In the Tell the marabouts 
give the signal for tilling and harvest. In the Sahara, where the labour 
is more individual, each proprietor regulates himself the order of his work. 
In the Tell there is great ignorance and apathy when epidemics prevail 
or approach ; in the Sahara, on the contrary, there is much foresight. 
The Sahara contains a great many towns and villages, whose construction 
does not imply any great skill, but much more than a tent, the usual 
dwelling of the Tellians, excepting the mountaineers of Kabylia, who live 
in houses. The Tellian only knows his neighbour ; the Saharian is a great 
traveller. The first only knows the day's march as a measure of time ; 
the Saharian knows the Roman mile. The Saharian believes in labour, 
and seeks it — he is strong, active, and clever; the Tellian lazy and 
awkward. The first men who greet you on landing at Algiers are Sa- 
harians, who constitute the porters and carriers of the capital. The 
question then arises, is there more civilisation in the north or south of 
Algeria among the natives 1 Except the Kabyles, who inhaljit the moun- 
tains of the Tell; there is decidedly more civilisation in the south, and 
even the Kabyles themselves are greatly inferior to the Saharians in 
sociability, though equal in industry. The Saharians have a loftier mind 
and a more lively imagination ; allegory is common among them, and 
some know even how to paint. They are the only popidation in French 
or all north-western Africa who shew a little vein of culture. If European 
civilisation penetrates Algeria, industrial arts will go to Kabylia, but 
letters and sciences to the Sahara."* 

Having now analysed the chief features of Algeria esoterically, we 
shall proceed to determine its limits more clearly in an exoteric point 
of view. 

We have said that the Trara mountains have been generally regarded! 
as the western limit of Algeria, and stretch a considerable distance from 

* E. Carctte's Rccherches, kc. p. 236. 

t Dr. Shaw's Travels in Barbary : Nachrichton iiber d. Alg. Staat. 1798, 1800, 3 th 1 tb. 
p, 19 ; Dr. Kussfl'a Barbari,- States, p. 315. 


north to soutli, the northern point constituting the promontory known by 
the name of Cape Hone. Some writers have represented the river ^MuUo- 
vilia or Malva to be the limit, which may have proceeded from the cir- 
cumstance that the district between the Trara mountains and the Malva 
river is almost a desert, and a kind of neutral ground in the possession 
of roving tribes independent of Morocco and Algeria. The distance from 
the Trara mountains to the Ouad-Zaine, the east limit of Algeria, is from 
r 40' W. to 9° 15' E. of Greenwich (4° 39' W. to 6° 54' E. of Paris). 

A short distance to the west of Cape Hone is Twunt, which, with the 
Ti-ara mountains, is, according to Blofeld, the west end of the province of 
Oran and of Algeria. 

The natural frontier of the Algerian Sahara to the south was long a 
doubtful matter ; nevertheless it has one which consists in a chain of 
oases in Algeria. These ai-e cut off sharp from the south by an abyss of 
sand ; and proceeding from east to west, they occur in the following order : 
the Ouad-Souf, the Ouad-Rir, the Temaim, Ouaregla, the Ouad-Mzab, 
El Abied, and Sidi Cheikh. Beyond this chain of oases, sands and 
droughts are effectual barriers to the advance of ambition and commerce. 
This desert is also the southern limit of Tunis and ^Morocco ; and North 
Africa obtains in this manner the character of an island, whose clear limits 
are the ocean, the Mediterranean, and the desert. 

We have previously observed that very false notions have long pre- 
vailed respecting the great southern waste that occupies so large a portion 
of the surface of Northern and Central Africa. Sand is the smallest com- 
ponent element of this district, and only extends a few days' march from 
the coast, and then you reach a stony and arid table-land cut up into im- 
mense valleys of 50 or 60 metres (19G-8 feet). This plateau abuts on a 
mountain-chain running from Cape Bojador to an unknown limit to the 
eastward ; but to the northward these mountains touch on Morocco, and 
are clothed with forests. Sand is only met with in the lowest places, 
Avhere you also find well-water, whereas the hills and plateaux have 

The oasis of Touat is surrounded at some distance by mountains to 
the we^ward and north-west ; the country that separates it from Morocco 
is scattered with them, but we know nothing of their distribution. Be- 
tween Morocco, Algeria, and Touat lies an uninhabited desert without 
any water, and south-east of Algeria exists a like country stretching to 
R'dames ; but between the two, near Ouad-!Mzab, there exists a moun- 
tainous country which extends only a little way east and west, and appears 
to end a little before El Goh'a. The whole road from Algiers to Touat 
only presents sand around El Goh'a, which stands about half-way from 
South Algeria to the oasis. The desert resembles many other countries 
topographically, but it is distinguished by a number of gi'eat shut basins 
with a sandy bottom, flat, and more or less salt, containing brackish water 


a little underground. The Ai-abs call these plains, which have beds of 
salt, E'out.* 

Passing from the southern frontier of Algeria to the east, we find that 
the Algerian oasis nearest to the regency of Tunis is the Ouad-Souf ; and 
the Tunis oasis nearest to the regency of Algeria is the Belad-el-Djerid, 
of which Neft'a and Tozer have an almost equal right to be called the 
capitals. The frontier-line is not accurately determined, but falls near 
the sand-mountain Bou-Nab, belonging to the Algerian tribe Kbeia ; and 
the wells El Asli, belonging to the Tunis tribe Neft'a. There is a large 
space of neutral ground between the two ten'itories to the north of these 
oases in the vast basin of the Lake Melr'ir'. 

Negotiations have taken place between the French government and 
that of Tunis, in relation to certain points, within the last few years, since 
when the border-line has been more accurately determined. The limits 
of the two states in their southern part are, the wells of Bou-Nab, the 
sand-hills around the Ouad-Souf, the plain El Mita and Ouad-Pi.'isr'an, 
the course of the Ouad-Helal, the defile of Bekkaiia, the ruins of H'idra, 
the course of the Ouad-H'idra, the Ouad-Serrat, and the Ouad-Malay. 

The reader should bear in mind that there are many neutral grounds 
in Algeria, occasioned by the hostilities of tribes, some of them being 78 or 
80 kilometres (50 miles) in width. 

A few years ago there were but two practicable roads from Algeria to 
Tunis, that along the shore, and that of the Sahara ; every where else the 
traveller was murdered; and you could only follow the first-mentioned 
route by paying the tribe of E'ezoan a duty of 25 fr. per mule.-j- 

We have seen (p. 49) that the Ouad-R'isr'an divides Algeria and Tunis 
throughout its course, and at the point where it enters the plain of El 
Miti are the ruins of li'isr'iln, where the east end of the Algerian Sahara 
touches the frontier of Tunis. 

The French documents on the limits of Algeria and Tunis near the 
coast are somewhat contradictory. | Thus the maps prepared at the Depot 
de la Guerre have successively placed it at the ruisseau of Saint Martin, 
near La Calle, and at the Ouad-el-Zaine, two leagues farther east. Ac- 
cording to M. Berard, it ought to be the channel leading from the lake of 
Tonegue at one league and a half east of La Calle. 

Marmol§ and Gramaye|| include the island of Tabarca in the province 
of Constantina ; Pierre Dan^ also places the limit of Algeria towards Ta- 

* Notice g^ographiquo sur I'Afriqiie septentrion.ile hy Ronou, in the Exploration scicn- 
tlftque, p. 332. 

f Rechei-ches, &c. of E. Carettc, in the Exploration.scientifiquo, p. 17. 

X Baron Batide's Alg-^rie, i. p. 2QD, appendix, note. 

g Africa of Mamiol, b. vi. c. 2. 

II Gramaye's Africa Illustrata, 1. 10. 

If Picvro Dan, Histoiro do Barbarie ct do ses Corsaircs : 4to, 1637, liv. ii. c. 1. 


barca. Dapper* places Tabarca in the province of Bona ; and he fixes 
the western limit of Tunis at the Ouad-el-Burbar and El Zaine, the ancient 
Tusca. Peyssonel,f about 1724-5, pkces the limit of the two regencies at 
Cape Roux. 

Dr. Shaw says (1732) that the Ouad-el-Erg was for many years the 

limit of the two regencies ; this stream flows from the lake of the Nadis 

(of Tonegue) five leagues east of La Calle.+ But as the territory between 

'the Ouad-el-Erg and the Zaine was often put under contribution. Shaw 

places the frontier at the Zaine, four leagues farther east. 

Shaler, the United States consul at Algiers (in 1826), places the limits 
at Tabarca, at the mouth of the Zaine, in 9° 1 6' E. long. 

Numidia and the territory of Carthage were in like manner separated 
by the Tusca, now the Ouad-el-Zaine ; Tabarca and Yacca were Numi- 
dian towns. In 1741, the Lomellini of Genoa paid 25,260 li^-res to the 
government of Algiers, and 15,285 to Tunis, for the island of Tabarca ; 
hence it is evident that Algiers must then have laid claim to the left bank 
of the Zaine, because to the west of La Calle the commerce of the coast 
belonged at that time entirely to the French. 

Half-way between La Calle and Tabarca, and at the distance of three 
leagues from each, Cape Roux advances into the sea ; and Mount 
Khoumir, whereof the cape is a prolongation, rises in shai-p peaks to an 
elevation of 1000 metres (3280 feet). Its almost inaccessible ridge bi- 
sects the contested territory, and has been placed as a limit between the 
two regencies by the hand of nature; hence 'the Algerines and the men 
of Tunis have never attempted to establish themselves permanently on the 
opposite side of this cape to their own country, without the aggression 
leading to discord and strife. 

Algeria, limited to the oasis ofMetlili and of Ouai-regla, presents the 
following surface : 

Tell 1480 square myriametres. 56,980 square miles. 

Sahara, (North zone 1400 „ „ 53,900 „ „ 

or S'ah'ra 1 Oases . 1320 „• „■ 50,820 „ 

4200' 160,700 

AYe have already seen (p. 41) that, comprising the villages of El Goha and 
Ocdan, and all the tribes of Chamba, which would extend the southern 
limit to the thirtieth degree of latitude north of the meridian of Paris, 
Algeria would have a surface of 4700 square myriametres (180,950 square 
miles), or only one-tenth less than France. The centre would then fall 
about 34° 7' k. lat. and 1° 4' long. E. of Paris, or 3° 23' E. of Green- 
wich ; or in other words, between Demmel and Ksir-el-Riran. 

* Dapper, Description de I'Afrique > Amsterdam, pp. 188, 189, 199. 16S6. 
+ Pej-sonnel, Voyage dans les R^gences d' Alger et de Tunis : 2 vols. 8vo, Paris ; pub- 
lished first in 1838. " 

J Berard says Ih leagues (3i miles) E. of La Calle, which is probably nearer the truth. 


The length of Algeria between the frontiers of Tunis and Morocco, i. e. 
between the mouths of the rivers Zena and Adjeioud, is in a straight 
line 974 kilometres (G05-23 miles). This distance is about the same 
as that which separates the Point of Uaz, in Caj^e Finisterre, from the 
mouth of the Lauter in the Rhine ; the direction is about the same, and 
the eastern extremities fall under the same meridian ; but the Point of 
E,az exceeds the extreme west meridian of Algeria, because of the dif- 
fei-ence of the length in the degrees of longitude.* 

The etymology of the word Tell is doubtful. The talebs (c__^U?), 
who are the Arab savans, call seheur the inappreciable moment that pre- 
cedes daybreak, when night is no longer night, and day is not yet day ; at 
the period of the Ehamadau, as soon as you can distinguish a white thread 
from a black one, abstinence is incumbent on all true INIussulmans. The 
seheur precedes that instant, and it is more easily appreciable in a country 
with a wide horizon ; hence, according to these sages, the name of Sahara 
has been given to this region of lofty plateaux which comes after the Tell, 
of which the etymology, according to some authorities, is not the Latin 

word tellus, but the Arabic word tal (Jit to tarry ; \^ (toul), lencjtli), 

which means ' to be last,' because the seheur is only seen there later. 
Whatever may be the true history of these etymologies, the French under- 
stand by Tell the land that yields grain ; and by Sahara the land of flocks 
and pastures. As an Arab named Mohamed Legras once expressed it to 
Marshal Castellane, " The Tell is our father ; she who married it is our 
mother ;" or according to the saying of the nomadic tribes, '•' We cannot be 
either Mussulmans, Jews, or Cliristiaus ; we are the friends of our bellies. "t 

The Arabs themselves sometimes style the people of the divisions of 
Barbary, including Algeria, by their productions. Thus they call the in- 
habitants of the towns the gold jyeople ; the inhabitants of the Tell, the 
silver people ; and the inhabitants of the Sahara, the camel ji^opl^-X 

A name commonly applied by the Arabs themselves to the Sahara 
is Blad-el-Djerid (the country of dates) j an epithet that older European 
geographers caused to supei'sede the more correct appellation of Sahara, 
which tliey erroneously transferred to the Great Desert. The Arabs of the 
Sahara, in familiar conversation, frequently style themselves Djeridi, Avhich 
might be rendered pahners.§ 

We have previously stated that the first plateaux of the Sahara are 
named Serssous, and form a succession of mamdons or mounds of almost 
equal elevation, following each other in succession for an immense distance ; 
you would take it to be the swell of the sea magically stayed and petrified 

* Exploration sciontifiquo. 
f Souvenirs do la Vie militaire, &c. pp. 253-4. 

X Lo Oraud D^sort ; itin(5rairo d'uno caravane au pays dcs NogroSj by General Daumas : 
1850, p. ;54. 
§ Ibid. 


by some invisible hand. Amidst each of these inundations are found 
sprin<^s of fresh water ; and fertile pastures, with short and thick grass, 
stretch away, supporting and nourishing those sheep so famous for their 
delicious meat and valuable Avool, Farther on and beyond the first horizon 
of mountains, at twenty leagues distance from the mountains of the Tell, 
begins the I'eal Sahara : there Count de Castellane was informed that the 
traveller meets vast, empty, and naked plains and mountains ; oases with 
tapering palm-trees, and other lands where towards the s])ring and during 
the winter you can still find pasturage for the flocks ; and farther still, at a 
great distance, you come to the mysterious world of sand."' 

Tlie surface of Algeria, including the Tell and the iSahara, is reckoned 
at 390,900 square kilometres (lyO,4:96-5 square miles), which amounts to 
about fom'-fifths of the superficies of the eighty-six French departments.t 
This territory contains 1145 tribes, with a population of 3,000,000; to 
which if we add the population of the towns, we shall obtain a grand total of 
3,196,14:0. Except some Kabyle districts between Dellys and Philippeville, 
and a few tribes on the borders of Tunis, the whole Algerian Tell (137,900 
square kilometres, or 53,091-5 square miles) may be regarded as entirely 
subdued by France. The Sahara, embracing L'53,000 square kilometres 
(97,405 square miles), also acknowledges the French authority; but its 
population is much thinner and more scattered than that of the Tell, and 
the French troops only occupy a few detached posts in it. The infiuence 
of the tricolor has now penetrated to the southern limits of the Sahara, 
especially since the capture of Zaatcha and Laghouat, and the French 
authorities have representatives in the whole zone of the oases. | 

The esoteric political divisions of Algeria have undergone considerable 
modifications since the organic decree of the 15th of April, 1845, which 
maintained the old division of the regency into three provinces. In the 
first place, the territory of each province was subdivided into three zones : 
i. e. the civil zone, under the administration of the common law as decreed 
by the legislature of Algiers, and under the direction of the civil power, 
save in the case of certain restrictions applicable to natives. 2dly, the 
mixed zone, where the European population being thinner was placed under 
an exceptional regime, all the administrative, civil, and judicial functions 
being performed by military men. 3dly, the Arab zone, which was ad- 
ministered by martial law. 

* Souvenirs, &c. p. 255. 1852. 

+ The Tableau do la Situation and the E.xploration scientifiquo difler slightly in their 
•estimate of the surface of Algeria, the former reducing it to 150,49li"5 square miles, and 
the latter extending it to 160,700, making a difference of 10,204 square miles. The ten- 
dency of all colonial governments in general, and of the French in particular, to extend 
their limits, easily accounts for the inclination shewn by our neighbours to encroach on 
.the sands of the deserts, ultimately embracing a surface of 180,950 square miles, and reach- 
ing the 30th degree of N. lat. See page 53, and Le Sahara Algerien, by General Daumas. 

J Tableau de la Situation, &c. 1850, pp. 77-79- 


The particulars relating to the administration of Algeria being minutely 
described in another chapter, we shall here confine ourselves to changes 
in the territorial divisions ; one of the most important of which was that 
which, by a decree of the executive power of August IGth, 1848, decided 
that the colony should be subdivided into parishes. By the decree of the 
9th of December, 1848, the old division of Algeria, into three provinces 
was still preserved ; but the distinction between the civil, mixed, and Arab 
zones was suppressed, and Algeria was simply divided into civil territories 
or departments, and into militaiy territories, whose limits were fixed by the 
executive power. The civil territories have been erected into three depart- 
ments, taking the names of the three provinces.* 

Before concluding our sketch of the political geography of Algeria, it is 
Avell to describe a few divisions of the territory peculiar to the natives, and 
M'hich we have hitherto omitted. 

A general and wholesale division applied by the Arabs to the whole of 
north-western Africa is that according to the cardinal points. The south, 
a vague and indefinite term applying to the Great Desert and Soudan, is 
the Guebla. The west, including Morocco, and if you confine yourself to 
Algeria, the province of Oran, is El Garb, or J'harb, whence the native 
name for the empire of Morocco is Moghreb, and its people are styled 
Moghrebins. The east is described by the word Cherg, and admits of an 
unlimited extension : in its narrowest sense it may mean the province of 
Constantina in Algeria; in its widest sense it may embrace Egypt, Arabia, 
and the Levant. 

Exoterically the Arabs call all other countries Beurr-el-Adjem (except 
the Berber districts) where the Arabic tongue is not spoken, even if the in- 
habitants should be Mussulmans. The spelling of Adjem is the same as 
that of the word adjem, meaning ' ox;' and we are disposed to think that 
the Arabs in their pride compare all who do not speak their tongue to 

beeves ; adjel ( J-s-) in the singular signifying the ox that has not been 

broken into the yoke, i.e. a calf t 

Empires depart, races dissolve, religions change phases, form, and sub- 
stance; but the handwriting of the Almighty on the trackless sands and 
the everlasting hills remains the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever. 
Carthage has become desolate, and the royal Hippo a habitation for 
dragons ; but the three zones of Herodotus still remain as fresh and dry 
as ever, whilst old Atlas cuts the blue vault with his peaks, and the grace- 
ful palm still nods its crest unchanged over the waving murmuring oasis. 

* Tableau do la Situation, &c. 1850; pp. 77-79. 

+ Le Gi-and Desert, &c., by General Uaumaa, p. IGl. 






HAVING given a general outline of the physical and political character- 
istics of Algeria, it is our purpose to launch forthwith into a minuter 
topographical analysis of the regency. And in order somewhat to 
diminish the dulness of dry details, we propose to interlard our pages with 
copious and apposite extracts from the most recent visitors in Algeria, 
illustrative of the scenery and topography of French Africa. 

Before analysing the province of Algiers, we shall begin, as in our larger 
survey of the whole regency, by a broad outline of its natural features. 

This province comprises, like the other two, its Tell and Sahara, and is 
bisected twice by the two Atlas chains. The Djebel Amour towers aloft 
in the southern part of the Sahara, which is watered by the Ouad-el-Djedi, 
which passing the town of El Agrouat orLaghouat, flows east into the pro- 
vince of Constantina. Farther north we find the two Zarhez lakes, called 
Chergui and Gherbi, east and west. 

In the east of the province the chief feature is the Djorjora range of the 
Atlas in Great Kabylia, which will be described in another place ; and near 
the sea we have the Great Mitidja plain and the Sahel coast-ridge, of which 
more presently. The chief river is the Shelliff,* rising at the Djebel Amour, 
at a place called Sebbeine-Ain, the 'seventy fountains.' Its first tributary 
is the Nahar-wassal, from the west. Running N.E. it flows past Boghar, 
near the sanctuary of Sidi-ben-Tyba, a little below Medeah; then pass- 
ing close to Millianah, it flows west, washing the walls of Orleansville, 
near which town it enters the province of Oran. It receives large contri- 
butions the whole way, especially the Ouad-Midremme, the Ouad-Aradji, 
and the Ouad-Foddha. Tlie river Haratch is the Savus of the ancients, 
and about one hours' march to the east of Algiers. It is a considerable 

* Blofeld's Algeria Past and Present. 1844. Blofeld asserts that the whole course of the 
ShollifF from the Sebbeine Ain to Djebel Diss, i- e- the mountain of Spartum, or reedy grass, 
is little short of 200 miles. 


stream, wliich takes its i-ise in the mountains of the Little Atlas to the 8.E. 
of Blidah, a French post and small Arab town situated about 10 leagues 
(25 miles) almost direct south of Algiers. The Haratch traverses the 
Metidja plain, where it is about 11 leagues broad (29| miles), and falls 
into the bay of Algiers 3 or 4 miles to the east of the metropolis. The 
water of the river is muddy and brackisli, and in Avinter it is subject to 
great inundations. Its principal ford is called the Gue de Ccmstantine; 
and when Mr. Borrer visited the regency, the French wooden bridge was 
carried away, in November 1846, during the prevalence of an unusually 
wet season, which occasioned extensive and disastrous floods in the Mi- 
tidja plain. The wooden bridge in question sailed down the torrent on 
that occasion, and went to pay a visit to the strong Turkish bridge which 
is built five miles lower down."' 

The Isser's chief source (according to the French map of the province 
■of Algiers, drawn at the Depot general de la Guerre, for 1846) seems to be 
near Berouaguia, about 15 miles S.S.E. of Medeah, and in the territory 
oftheBeni-Hassan. From thence flowing under different names in aN.E. 
direction for about 4o miles, it suddenly turns in the territory of the Beni- 
Djaad almost direct north, and flows into the sea some o miles to the 
west of Cape Djinet, a promontory situated about 45 miles to the east of 

We shall pause for a moment to remind the reader of the present poli- 
tical division of the province of Algiers, which, as has been previously 
observed, contains at the present time the territory attached to the metro- 
polis and the province of Tittery, according to the divisions under the 
Turks. This division of the viceroyalty is still much smaller than the 
other two constituting the provinces of Orau and Constantina, from the 
former of which it was till lately separated by the river Massafran, and 
from the latter by the river Booberak. The province of Algiers is ana- 
lysed into two subdivisions, which are those of Algiers and Tittery ; and 
contains only 113,000 square kilometres (43,505 square miles). t Nor is 
it in general so mountainous as the other provinces. The sea-coast to the 
breadth of five or six leagues (12 or 15 miles) consists principally of rich 
champagne grounds, behind wliicli are a range of rugged mountains com- 
posing part of the Little Atlas chain, running almost straight and parallel 
to the coast. Beyond this range, and particularly in the neighbourhood 
of Medeah, Tittei'ie Dosh, and Haniza, the ancient territory of the Tulansii 
and Banniri, are extensive plains, though none of them equal to that of 

The latter plain, sometimes written Mitidja, together with the range 
of hills called in Arabic Sahel, on which the metropolis is built, constitute 
the most important features of this province. The Mitidja is a vast level, 

* Dawson Borrer's Campaign in the Kabylie, p. 16. 

t Tableau de la Situation doa Etablissemonts, &c, 1849-50, p. 719. 


situated between the north slope of the Lc'sser Athxs and the Sahel, and 
bounded to tlie east by the lofty mountain-range of Kabylia, in the pro- 
vince of Constantina. It is watered by two rivers, the Haratch and tlic 
Massafran, and is as flat as a billiard-table over its whole superficies. It 
varies from three to five (and some say eleven) leagues in breadth, forms 
a semicircle of about fifteen leagues, and touches the sea in two places, — 
at the Fort of Maison Carree, a little to the east of x\lgiers ; and just below 
Scherschell, formerly in the province of Oran. The Mitidja entirely dif- 
fers from the Sahel, or as it is sometimes called the Massif, or chain of 
Algiers. It has been in turn noted for its fertility, for its barren sands, 
and for its unhealthy marshes. All these statements ai'e true, though 
apparently contradictory, as the jilain contains all these differences in its 
ample embrace. Several Roman roads used to cross it; the most important 
of thcnij following the coast, can be traced to the eastward and west of 
the metropolis in the direction of Dellys and Scherschell. ■"' 

This plain is represented by eye-witnesses as a perfect desert now, 
compared with what it was in 1830 and previous to the French conquest, 
when upwards of twenty thousand Moorish villas and farms are stated to 
Lave dotted its verdant surface.f 

The Mitidja is a fine valley, eighteen leagues long and six or seven 
broad (45 miles long and 14 or 15 wide); it is only slightly undulated 
even at the water-shetl separating the basins of the Haratch and Hamiz 
from that of the Massafran. J The Atlas and the Massif or chain of Algiers, 
which limit this plain, rise almost suddenly from it without any slopes. 
The Mitidja to the west is bordered by the Sahel hills, which do not 
attain any veiy considerable elevation, and are cut through by the 
river Massafran in order that it may reach the sea ; and to the north-east 
its boundary is formed by the sand-hills that the Haratch and Hamiz 
cross at their mouth. It is well cultivated near the mountains, and marshy 
in its lower parts; its aspect is generally bare : yet in some parts you 
see, especially to the south, agricultural establishments and Arab ham- 
lets surrounded with impenetrable hedges of Barbary figs, and with plan- 
tations of olives, carob, jujube-trees, and some elms. The northern slope 
of the Little Atlas is covered Avith brushwood, chiefly oaks and lentisks, 
and is cut by great valleys, from which issue the streams that water 
the plains. 

Having completed our description of the Mitidja plain, we turn next to 
the Sahel range, also known by the name of the Ijoujareah. This hilly 
district, containing a superficies of twenty-five square leagues (125 square 
miles), is washed to the north by the sea; to the east by the Haratch; to 
the west by the Massafran ; and the south descends abruptly into the plain. 

* Baron Baude's Alg^rie, 1841. Tho French in Algiers, by Lady Duff Gordon, 1845. 
f St. Marie's Visit to Algeria; D.Borrer's Campaign, &;c.p. 16; Pananti's Avveuture, 1817- 
X Berbrugger, Introduction, p. 6. 

60 siDi-FEimucn. 

It is Intersected by numerous valleys, which are well watered in winter, 
but dry in summer. The Sahel, which constitutes an isolated range, oc- 
cupies in front of the Mitidja an almost elliptic area of 33,U00 hectares 
(82,000 acres); the sea bathes its northern hemicycle, and Algiers is built 
on its side exposed to the Levant or east. The soil of the Boujareah 
is in general strong and good : the thickets that cover a large part of 
its surface consist principally of carob, lentisks, wild olives, &c., which 
are greatly injured by the cattle that are suffered to wander over the 
country. Here and there, however, you meet Jerusalem pines, whose 
vigour shews the nature of the soil to be adapted for the growth of wood. 
The Sahel hills are the last slope of -this range to the south, and rise 
suddenly from the plain to the height of 150 metres (487 feet). The 
Boujareah has lost many of the sources that it once had, which supplied 
in the time of Pere Dan one hundred fountains in Algiers. The Ouad- 
Kniss, called by Nicholas de Nicolai (1587) the Savo, used to be a large 
stream, and is now only a thread. It contains, however, many dry springs, 
the drying up having resulted in all probability from the stripping of the 

The ridge of Algiers presents a very regular system of gradually as- 
cending hills, cut by numerous gullies ; it sheds its waters to the south 
into the plain, to the north they fall directly into the Mediterranean. The 
culminating point of the Boujareah is 400 metres (1300 feet) above the 
sea. This massif or ridge is covered in the neighbourhood of the town 
with agreeable habitations, where abundant springs keep up perpetual 
freshness and vegetation ; but it does not present a pleasant appearance 
on the top : the laud there is dry, stony, and covered with short shrubs ; 
but the ravines when watered are woody, and capable of great cultiva- 

In individualising the minuter features of this province we shall begin 
with a description of the sea-coast, and deposit the reader at first on the 
peninsula of Sidi-Ferruch, where the French army landed in the invasion 
of 1830. After leaving the river Massafran, the western limit of the pro- 
vince under the Turks, the first object that meets the eye is a small tower 
upon a rocky cape or isthmus, stretching about a furlong into the sea.| 
This is the marabout, or tomb and sanctuary, of Seedy or Sidi-Ferdje, or 
Feredje, corrui)ted by the French into Sidi-Ferruch. This building stands 
on the extremity of the peninsula, which is situated about half-way be- 
tween Scherschell (Julia Cssarea) and Algiers (Icosium), and advances 
about one-third of a league (two-thirds of a niile)§ into the sea, with a 
breadth of 8000 metres (2G,240 feet). The isthmus leaves two bays, one 
to the eastward and the other to the westward, or to the right and leftj 
bordered with wide beaches and sand-hills. The ground of the peninsula 

* Baron Baudc's Algdrie, 1841, i. pp. 78-81. t I<lem. 

X One-eighth of a mile, according to Blofold. § According to Berbrugger, 


is mostly low and sandy, but it rises to the extremity and forms a rocky 
eminence with several constructions. The chief among them is the mara- 
bout above mentioned, Avith a minaret or square tower, to which the Spa- 
niards have attached the name of Torre-chica. The Arab name is Sidi- 
Feredje, the latter being the name of the native saint buried there, and the 
word Sidi being an Arab title coiTesponding to our lord. The creeks of 
Sidi-Ferruch offer at present a refuge and shelter in stormy weather to the 
sandals of the country and other small craft. They anchor, according to the 
wind, to the east or west of the peninsula. The natural jetties of rocks 
by which these creeks ar» protected might easily be converted into moles.* 

The peninsula can boast of five wells of brackish and one stream of 
good water ; and at the distance of about nine miles to the north-east 
beo-ius the high chain of Boujareah, here called Sahel, a word meaning 
coast, shore.t Between Sidi-Feredje and the Sahel are some plains, on 
one of which, bearing the name of Staoueli, an engagement took place be- 
tween the French army and the Turks in 1830. 

Before Khaireddin Barbarossa had made a port at Algiers, Sidi-Feredje 
and Cape Matifou were frequented by the merchant-ships that resorted 
to the capital. After this change it was still preserved from total neglect 
by the veneration attached to the marabout, whose name, according to 
Baron Baude, ought to be spelt Esseid-Efroudj, an epithet corresponding 
to the Catholic, appellation mon sieur St. Denis. The Mussulman popula- 
tion have long been firmly persuadt'd that miracles are performed on this 
spot by the supernatural power attributed to the saint j and a marvellous 
legend records how a Spanish captain who had offended the saint had his 
ship three times enchanted back to the isthmus because he had some 
portion of the Sidi's property on board. The third miracle operated, of 
course, conclusively on the mind of the obdurate Spaniard, who forthwith 
underwent circumcision. It is somewhat remarkable, however, that long 
before the French conquest a tradition was current in the country to the 
effect that the French would enter by Sidi-Feredje, and leave it by the 
Isser.| The surface of the peninsula is about eighty hectares, and the 
marabout on the top of the rock is not wanting in elegance. The promon- 
tory terminates in the shape of a T, created by a bank of high rocks which 
is prolonged by islets, and forms on its sides two little shelters sufficiently 
valuable on this exposed coast. On the platform of the marabout, on the 
14th of June, 1830, the lily flag of the Bourbons was hoisted by Jean 
Sion, captain of the maintop of the Thetis, and by Fran9ois Louis Beunon, 
a sailor on board the Surveillante, who were the two first Frenchmen of 
the expedition that landed on the African shore. § 

The marabout of Sidi-Feredje has long been a noted landmark for 

* Baron Baude, ii. p. 56. , f i}^>- l-J 

J Baron Baude, i. 55. • § Idem, p. 54. 


sailors, who generally know it by the name of Torre-chica, a term meaning 
in Spanish ' the square tower;' and the peninsula is avowedly one of the 
most convenient landing-places on the coast of Algeria ; hence its great 
importance to the power possessing or invading Algeria, a fact ascertained 
by the French in 1830. If a fort Avere built on the rock of the marabout, 
the landing would be rendered almost impossible, and elsewhere it would 
have been attended with great risk. The genius loci and the fortified lines 
traced in 1830 would put an establishment in perfect safety from all at- 
tacks of the Arabs on the land side. 

To the westward of Sidi-Feredje, between the point of Scherschell and 
Cape Aqnathir, are every where scattered the remains of ancient cities. 
Scherschell, which we shall describe more minutely in another place, is a 
little town of potters and corn-merchants formerly included in the pro- 
vince of Oran, and is thought to stand on or near the ruins of Julia Cae- 
sarea, the capital of Caesarean Mauritania, and the royal town of Juba II. 
under the protection of Rome. 

As we propose to devote a special chapter to the archfeology of Algeria, 
we shall avoid any farther details of antiquities on the present occasion. 
Not far from the mouth of the Massafran, and below the town of Coleah, 
is another marabout named Sidi-Fouqua;* and between Sidi-Feredje, Eas- 
Accon-Natter, and Algiers is the tomb of Sidi HallifF, another marabout 
about half-way between the peninsula and Algiers. Haifa league W.N.W. 
of Sidi-Hallift" is the Ras-Accon-Natter or Cape Caxines, beyond which 
and about three miles to the south-east is the harbour of Algiers. f 

As the port of Algiers is described in another place, the present obser- 
vations apply to the bay. Pointe Pescade, one league and a half north-west 
from Algiers, is the most advanced portion of the chain of Boujareah. 
Proceeding thither from the capital, you coast along a beach of about 800 
metres, shut in between the point of Sidi-Kettani and that of the Salpe- 
triere. A little farther on, two sources flow from the hollow of the rock 
into the sea ; and Moorish women, with their attendant negresses, are re- 
ported still to frequent them, as in the days of Henri Quatre, performing 
various ceremonies savouring of sorcery and fetichism, such as burning 
incense and myrrh, and cutting off cocks' heads.:j: The road from the 
capital to Pointe Pescade crosses several ravines, which are dry six months 
in the year, and is bordered in some parts on one side by the sea and 
dangerous precipices, while on the left it is flanked by steep slopes. The 
soil consists of argilo-calcareous earth mixed with stones. § 

Nine hundred metres (2952 feet) north-west of the jetty of Khaireddin, 
the point of Sidi-Kettani projects to the E.N.E. towards the high sea, by 
a reef of submarine rocks, which ends in the rock Mhatem at 460 metres 

* Berbrugger's Algeria, 1843, p. 2. + Blofeld, p. 30. 

J Baron Baudc, ii. 57 and following. § Idem, i. p. 117. 


(1508-80 feet) from the land. The latter islet is only covered by forty 
centimetres (lo-lG inches) of water. ■■^' 

To the south of the capitalt the coast forms a small creek, where it 
might be sujiposed that vessels could safely find shelter; but during the 
north winds there is a very dangerous surf. The European merchant-ships 
used to be obliged to anchor in the bad creek called of the palm-trees, situ- 
ated towards the middle of the faubourg Bab-azoun, beyond Ras-Tafourah ; 
and they were in constant danger there, as the least wind raised a heavy 
swell, from which they had no protection. :{: The rock continues to the 
opening of a deep ravine, which discharges the rains from the neighbour- 
ing heights into the sea ; beyond this an extensive beach presents itself, 
which insensibly curves northward to the river Hamiz, forming thus the 
gi'eatest part of the circuit of the bay. This beach is generally very wide, 
and when the sea-breeze sets in, the waves break continually over it, even 
in fine weather ; viewed from the hills by the Fort of the Emperor, it pre- 
sents a wide border of foam. The eastern part of this bay is closed by a 
steep and precipitous shore, which rises gradually to Cape Matifou. At 
this extremity there is a very good anchorage upon a bottom of sand and 
mud, and sheltered from the east winds. Crossing the Hamiz, another 
considerable stream, you arrive at Temendfuse, corrupted by the Franks 
into Matifou, a low cape with a table-land in the middle of it, and a small 
castle built by the Turks to defend the adjacent roads, which once consti- 
tuted the chief station of their navy.§ 

Cape Matifou was the station of the Turkish galleys that used to bring 
a new pasha to the Algerines from Turkey every three years, and his arri- 
val was always notified to the city by a gun-shot. || There exist several 
remains of an ancient city named Rusgunise at Matifou, Avhicli will be 
noticed in the chapter on Archaeology. Cape ]\Iatifou forms the eastern 
limit of the gulf of Algiers. Between the mouth of the Hamiz and the 
northern slope of the cape there stretches a mile of highland, and this spot 
would be healthy were it not for the vicinity of the marshes. After the 
disastrous tempest which scattered the fleet and hopes of Charles V. in 
1541, he was forced to march from Algiers to Cape Matifou in order to 
embark his troops. He embarked from the ruins of BusgunicC, of which 
there existed at that time more remains than appear at present. His army 
marched on the 27th of October from the suburb of 

kilometres. miles. 

Babazoun to the Haratch 9 . 5*59 

The 28th from the Harateh to the Hamiz . . . 12 . . 7-45 

The 29th from the Hamiz to the ruins of Rusgmiifc .3 . . 1 '86 

Distance by land from Algiers to Cape MatL'bu . . 2i 14-90 

* Baude, p. 30. 

f Described more minutely in the following- chapt' 

i Berbrusrerer. v. 27. is Blofeld. v. 30 and fol 

Berbrugger, p. 27. § Blofeld, p. 30 and following. |] Berbrugger, p. 27. 


The emperor embarked on the first of November on the fleet of Andrew 
Doria, which weathered the Cape Matifou after unheard-of difficulty.* 
Further details of this interesting expedition will be found in the chapter 
on History, 

Cape Matifou is a very important strategical position to the power in 
possession of Algiers ; for it is evident that at the spot where Charles V. 
embarked a discomfited army in a stormy season, others more fortunate 
might accomplish a successful landing ; and the disposition of the ground 
would enable an enemy to establish himself strongly thus near to the 
capital. These reflections led Baron Baude to perceive and suggest the 
importance of building a fort on the cape.t 

Thus it appears that the gulf of Algiers forms a semicircular indenture 
in the coast, three leagues in diameter and open to the north. | Its shores 
are mostly desert, and the bottom of the bay is bordered by sand-hills, 
which though not exceeding an elevation of forty metres (130 feet), yet 
effectually stop the waters from the plain of Mitidja, in such wise that 
even the Haratch and Hamiz can hardly get through. Hence there re- 
sults a zone of marshes one league in depth, which at a rough estimate 
presents a surface of 1200 hectares (3000 acres) to be drained. 

Beyand the rivers Regya, Budwowe, Corsoe, Merdass, and Isser, which 
run not far from each other and descend from the Atlas, is the little port 
ofDjinet, where a quantity of corn is annually shipped for Europe. Djinet 
is a small creek with a tolerable anchorage before it. The sea-shore, Avhich 
from Algiers to Temendfuse, and thence to this place, had few rocks and 
precipices, begins here to be rugged and mountainous ; and among these 
hills, three leagues further east, is the mouth of the Booberak, which 
formed the east boundary of the province and sej^arated it from that of 
Constantina till recently. § 

Before we make a tour into the interior of the province of Algiers, we 
shall transport the reader, with his kindly permission, to the busy quays 
and streets of the capital, and make him familiar with its scenery and 

The distance from Algiers to Port Maliou in Majorca is 64 maritime leagues.]] 

To Palraa 57 „ 

To Ivi9a 58 „ 

We have already seen that Algiers is built on the northern slope of 
the Boujareah range, whose highest point is 1312 feet above the level of 
the sea, and which has a circuit of 90 kilometres {55-02 miles). The 
sea defends 44 kilometres of this ridge (27-34 miles), and the Haratch 

* Baron Baude, i. 73. + Idem, p. 76. 

:J: Blof'eld represents it 8 to 9 miles wide and 4 deep. 
§ Blofeld, p. yO and following. Il Twenty-four hours' voyage. 


and Massafran 10 (G20 miles); thus leaving only 25 (14-53 miles) to be 
defended by art to protect this Avhole district.* The name of Algiers 
comes from the four islands which are situated out at sea in front of the 
town. These were called in Arabic Ed-Djezair (the islands), contracted 
into Djair.f The metropolis stands in 36° 40' 30" N. lat., and in 3° 28' 
E. long, of Greenwich. The present lighthouse is built on the founda- 
tions of the fortress erected by Peter of Navarre on the largest of the four 
islets, whence it was called Peilon, the augmentative of the Spanish word 
pena, rock. 

The present metropolis of Algeria must be divided into two parts : 
the new town, which is entirely French in its character, and is built on 
the lower part of the slope and along the sea-shore ; and the old town, 
which occupies the higher region, and is crowned by the casbah or castle, 
the former residence of the Dey.| The suburb of Bab-el-ouad, or the 
water-gate, almost entirely in the hands of the Europeans, stretches along 
the sea-shore to the north-west, and that of Bab-azoun to the south-east of 
the town. 

The town of Algiers is a mile in length in front of the sea. The 
streets of Bab-azoun, and Bab-el-ouad to the northward of the former, 
both run north and south 3083 feet across the city. The Casbah street, 
old, toi'tuous, and steep, leads down from the castle, and the old town to 
the lower town and the port.§ The Place des Victoires is situated at the 
foot of the Casbah, and the street of Porte ISTeuve or Bab-Edjedid tei'mi- 
nates at one end of the former place, and] at the other leads to the gate 
south of the Casbah. The Place du Gouvernement is a large oblong space 
planted with orange-trees, and surrounded with houses built in the Euro- 
pean style ; and all persons going from one end of the town to the other 
are obliged to pass through it, which makes it the centre of bustle and 
activity, presenting a motley crowd of Arabs, Moors, Jews, Frenchmen, 
Spaniards, Maltese, Germans, and Italians. || Along two sides of the Place 
du Gouvernement are ranges of houses in the European style, four stoi'ies 
high, and fronted with ai'cades and balconies. When visited by Count 
St. ]\farie in 1845, some Moorish houses situated to the right, recently 
burned down, had been replaced by some wooden barracks ; the only 
ancient structure then remaining on that spot being the remains of a 

* Baron Baude, vol, i. p. 53. f ..» ' isk Djezah: Berbrugger, p, 27. 

+ The new town is called lli^ (Outa), the plain ; and the old town jj-^^ (Djebel), the 

§ Count St. Marie's Visit to Algeria, 1846, pp. 4, 5. 

II The weU-knowu CasT^ah Street is a long and very steep street, interrupted occa- 
sionally by steps on account of the steejaness of the acclivity. Its shops were all lighted 
and open when Count St. Marie passed through it in the evening ; and on all sides were 
to be heard instruments of music, Moorish, French, and Spanish, with a great noise of 
bawling, singing, &c. He also observed much drinking m the shops. Visit, p. 36. 



tower called the Janina, surmounted by a dial. To the left the Place is 
closed by a balustrade breast-high, behind which is a battery of eight guns ; 
and farther down are seen the quay, the port, the vessels lying at anchor, 
and the high sea. 

The street of Bab-azoun has two rows of houses built on the same plan 
as those on the Place ; and the Bab-el-ouad Street,* as previously remarked, 
is built exactly like the former, and parallel to the shore. The Marine 
Street runs to the right of the Place du Gouvernement, and in it are situ- 
ated the old baths or hammams of the Deys. You descend to the port 
through the Marine Gate, passing by the balustrade of a spacious terrace 
adjoining the Admiralty, and after emerging from the arches of the latter 
edifice you find yourself in the rear of the lighthouse. 

The three streets of the Marine, of Bab-el-ouad, and of Bab-azoun abut 
in the great central Place. The two last form in reality only one, fol- 
lowing the slope of the hill from north to south.f 

Leaving Algiers by the Gate of France, Avhich was close to the sea 
during the existence of the old port, you crossed a mole, about 300 paces 
in length, to a small island (the Pefion) almost parallel with the walls of 
the city. This island is about 180 paces long and GO broad, and at that 
time it was entirely covered to the height of 12 feet with masonry, laid on 
a foundation of reeds and sand. UiJon this stone platform were erected 
strong fortifications and arsenals, with a lighthouse in the centre. Thus 
the port appears as an irregular square bounded on three sides by the 
city, the mole of Khaireddiu, and the islet. On the arrival of the French 
at Algiers, this port, which had originally been constructed by the labour 
of 30,000 Christian slaves, under the direction of the celebrated Barbarossa, 
was in danger of destruction in spite of the immense works, the only oc- 
cupation of thousands of captives. The foundations were undermined 
and contained numerous cavities, while the upper parts were decaying 
and full of fissures j in short, it would soon have become so ruinous that 
a violent sea, so frequent and terrible in these oflSngs, would easily have 
completed its demolition. 

The French, however, soon turned their attention to the port, and 
threw in by the jetty enormous blocks of granite and marble. The ex- 
perience of a few years, observes Mr. Blofeld, has proved the efiicacy of 
this 2)lan ; but they had still to adopt means to save the mole, which, built 
upon moving sand, isolated and projecting, and upon which the waves 
broke with violence, was partly washed away, and required new founda- 
tions. J The French therefore formed a pile of blocks of marble all round 
the mole ; this pile, however, sank below the water the following winter, 
but its ovcrtlirow consolidated a base upon which it became more easy 
to establish other works. These embankments were fortunately disposed 

* Count St. Mario, p. 27. t Baron Baudo, i. p. 102. 

J Bloflld, p. 27. 


by the sea much better than art would have done. They formed an 
inclined plane, which blunted the force of the waves and presented a 
strong foundation on which were erected other works, that not only pro- 
tected the ancient ones, but added to the extent of the port. The latter 
was, however, always much exposed to the north winds, and even within 
it vessels have been destroyed by the swell of the tempests , It is true 
that the works undertaken since 1836 made an improvement, and the 
most recent additions and alterations, as will be seen farther on, have 
rendered the anchorage quite secure. During fine Aveather vessels anchor 
within a mile or a mile and a half of the coast, as at that distance there 
are from sixteen to thirty fathoms water, with a bottom of soft mud ; 
but it is advisable to use chain -cables. Ships never anchor to the 
north of the lighthouse, as all that part of the coast is rocky : they 
might, perhaps, do so opposite the flat shore of Bab-el-ouad, and in front 
of a valley you meet there ; but there are rocks in the environs, and they 
could not remain at their moorings during east winds. The old defences 
of the port, as encountered by Lord Exmouth, and found by the French 
in 1830, consisted on the Mole and Pefion of, 1st, the lighthouse battery 
of fifty guns ; and 2dly, another strong battery north-west of the for- 
mer and east of the port, with seven mortars. Several heavy guns sur- 
mounted the gateway that commanded the mole, aud 1 2 batteries of heavy 
guns were placed at different distances at tlie waterside, in front of the 
town. They were left much in the same state for some years after the 
French conquest ; aud Capt. Rozet* remarked during his visit, that the 
finest work after the Casbah was the united buildings of the mole and 
marine forts, which were mounted with 237 guns under the Turkish ad- 
ministration, and were the strongest defence of Algiers. Further par- 
ticulars respecting the topography and history of the port are furnished 
by M. Berbrugger, who observes that nature had placed before Algiers 
the elements of a port of middling extent. A chain of reefs starting 
from the shore, and following a south-east and north-east direction, nms 
out and joins, at the distance of about 230 metres (7o4-40 feet) towai-ds 
the open sea, four islets arranged side by side, from north to south. This 
reef has a shape similar to that of the letter T ; and it is very likely that 
at a distant period it afforded very good shelter, but that the effect of the 
waves on its schistous masses has loosened considerable pieces, and made 
breaches which were noticed even in the sixteenth century. However 
this may have been, the present port is the same as that of the Romans, 
as is proved by the remains and direction of the Roman via in several 
points of the Rue de la Marine. It was also the same under the Arab 
chiefs ; and as fast as blocks were washed away by the sea, the Turks sub- 
stituted others. The French at first did the same, but soon found that 

* Voyage dans la Regeuce d'Alg^ric, par Eozet, 2 vols. Svo, 1833. 


it was an endless because an imperfect process. In 1831, M. Noll, en- 
gineer of tlie hydraulic works at Toulon, was charged with the duty of 
remedying this, and succeeded as well as he could ; but for want of a 
foundation, he could not restore the basis of the jetty at the same time 
that he had restored its body, so that the breaches extended, and it was 
necessary to have an additional defence of hydraulic lime and gravel to 
stop them effectually. 

The mole, whose direction is almost perpendicular to that of the winds 
that blow the strongest into the roads, is much more exposed to injury 
than the jetty. The projection of the pier-head was repaired in 1831, 
but destroyed in the winter of 1832. Subsequent efforts to repair the 
jetty and mole did little good, when violent winter- storms in 1833-4 
shewed that the system of loose stones piled round the mole might en- 
cumber the harbour with dangerous shoals. M. Poirel then suggested 
the Roman plan of using artificial blocks of hydraulic lime Avith gravel : 
this system was employed at the bridge of Caligula at Pozzuoli (Puteoli). 
A number of plans were now suggested ; but of these, two projects became 
the favourites, called the great and little projects, or the Projet Rafpneau 
de V Isle and the Projet Poirel. Nothing was decided in 1842,''- and the 
matter seems to have remained in abeyance ever since ; but we learn 
that the energetic government of Louis Napoleon is seriously engaged in 
making a great harbour at Algiers. 

Writing on this subject in 1841, Baron Baude considers three pro- 
jects for the improvement of the port most deserving of attention; 1st, 
that of M. Berard, author of the Xautical DescrijJtion of the Coast of Al- 
geria ; 2d, that of J^I. Sander Rang, captain of a corvette, and that of M. 
Poirel, civil engineer and inspector of bridges and highways in Africa, i 

M. Berard suggested a circular jetty uniting the north end of the bat- 
teries of the mole with the land, and leaving a space of about nine hec- 
tares (22 acres) between it and the jetty of Khaireddin, which would have 
to be opened in the middle, and the present port would then answer the 
purpose of outer port. M. Sander Rang and ]\I. Poirel both propose to 
make ojiposite the quarter of Bal)-azoun a large port, of which the present 
one would constitute the bottom. Several serious objections are made 
to these plans ; and Baron Baude suggests with reason the propriety of 
making the new port ojiposite the Bab-el-ouad suburb, north-west of the 
town, the only side where there is room for the accommodation of an 
increasing population and commerce. He proposes to run a jetty fi-om 
the Sidi Kettani point to the Mhatem rock, thence bending south-east 
towards the lighthouse rock ; another small mole would run out towards 
it from the Penon rock ; and between these two would be the entrance of 
the new harbour, which would contain twenty-four hectares (GO acres), 

* Berbruggor, part i. 


only eight (20 acres) less than Marseilles, and the shore would offer an 
admirable site for warehouses.* 

With regard to the improvements of the harbour projected by the 
present government of France, we find they are now in operation and 
i:)artially completed. It appears, moreover, that although their improve- 
ments are by no means finished, the government of the Prince Presi- 
dent recently ordered Vice-Admiral Baron de la Susse, commander of 
the squadron of evolutions, to ascertain from practical experience whe- 
ther the means of causing a fleet to enter and anchor in the port are 
satisfactory. From a report of the vice-admiral, the substance of which 
was published in the Moniteur, it seems that five men-of-war, towed by 
steamers, severally entered the port, and east anchor at a cable's length 
from one another, near a place indicated by the naval authorities. A 
sixth man-of-Avar also entered, and anchored on the line set apart for 
steamers. The steamers of the squadron afterwards anchored, as did also 
those of the local service. All these ships did not encroach on the space 
reserved for merchant-vessels, and three men-of-war and steam-frigates 
in addition might also have been placed without inconvenience. Accord- 
ing to the observations made by the admiral, the removal of a rock called 
Roche sans Nom, situated about the middle of the port, would allow a 
fleet of at least twelve men-of-war and as many frigates to anchor, in 
addition to the mercantile vessels. Orders have been given to have the 
said rock removed forthwith ; and the port, when completed according to 
the plan definitively adopted in 1848, will be surrounded on the northern 
side by a breakwater 700 yards long, on the south by one 1200 yards in 
length, and the entrance will be 350 yards wide. Each side of the en- 
trance is to be defended by a strong battery. t 

The old mole, uniting the island to the town, was GOO paces long, and 
the phare or lighthouse was 35 fathoms in height. 

Seeing the importance of the subject, it has appeared desirable to com- 
plete our desci'iption of the latest improvements accomplished or projected 
in the port of Algiers, as described by the French official documents, which 
rightly observe that the maritime constructions are of the fii'st importance 
in Algeria, by securing the protection and supplies of the colony. 

From 1842 to 184G various altei-ations were made in accordance with 
the project of Mr. Bernard, inspector-general of woods and forests [ponts 
et chaussees); but they only admitted a sheet of water containing 5G hec- 
tai-es (140 acres) as the military and commercial harbour of Algiers, with- 
out pi'oviding any roadstead. 

It Avas only on the 2Gth August, 1848, that a distinct project Avas 
adopted for its serious improvement and enlargement, in consequence of 
deliberations of the mixed and nautical commissions of Algeria, of the 

* Baron Baude, voL i. 

t See the article of the Paris correspondent of the Times of Wednesday, Nov. 25th, 1852, 



superior administrative council, of the council of admiralty, and of the 
general council of woods and forests. 

The project adopted proposed to make of Algiers a good harbour for 
the military and commercial navy, and to prepare a roadstead in front of 
the port. The means devised were as follows : 

1. A jetty called the north jetty, length above water 700 metres (2296 
feet), including the pier-head; 2. another jetty, called the jetty of enclosure 
{cV enceinte), to measure with its pier-head a length of 1205 metres (3952-40 
feet), and which may be named the jetty Bab-azoun, because it takes root 
at the foot of Fort Bab-azoun; 3. an internal jetty, called Algefna, which 
will answer both as a landing-place and a store (j^arc) for coals. 

Tie two great jetties will be separated by a passage of 350 metres 
(1148 feet), and the sheet of water contained between them will embrace 
about 90 hectares (222-30 acres) of surface. 

The roadstead will be protected, 1. by a breakwater presenting a 
development of 1200 metres (3936 feet); 2. by a south jetty, also 1200 
metres long. The space devoted to the roadstead would amount to about 
700 hectares (1680 acres). 

The north jetty, which it was most essential to build at once, was 
begun the first. In August 1842 its length was 180 metres (590-40 feet); 
on the 31st of the following December, 220 (721-6 feet); at the end of 
1843, 256 (839-68 feet); at the end of 1844, 367 (1203-76 feet) ; at the 
end of 1845, 409 (1341-52 feet); 502 (1646-56 feet) at the end of 1846; 
600 (1968 feet) at the end of 1847; 659 (2161-52 feet) at the end of 
1848; and 728 (2387-84 feet), including the shelving slope at the end, 
on the 31st of December, 1849. This length of 728 metres, composed 
of 530 metres (1738-40 feet), raised 2 metres and 50 centimetres (8-20 
feet) above the level of the sea and finished, and of 112 metres (367-36 
feet) raised 2 metres and 50 centimetres (8-20 feet) above the sea and 
unfinished, and of a submarine part of 86 meti'es (282-08 feet), sheltered 
a surface of 78 hectares (195 acres). At the end of 1850 this jetty had 
reached its entire development, and bad been carried out to its pier-head 
with a depth of 25 metres (82 feet). The sheltered surface already em- 
braced above 80 hectares (200 acres). In 1850 they were engaged in 
finishing the pier-head, on which it was intended to build a fort with a 
double row of batteries. A powerfid battery was built as early as 1848 
at the foot of the same jetty. 

The head of the jetty of Algefna was built at the same period, having 
a length of 81 metres (265-68 feet) and a breadth of 32 (72-36 feet), in 
order to establish a battery. The jetty of Bab-azoun was in process of 
excifution in 1850 ; a pile of timber caulked with oakum, 70 metres 
in length, having been established in 1848-49. 

Up to the year 1846 artificial blocks of hydraulic lime of from 10 to 
15 cubic metres (352-87552 and 52931328 cubic feet, or 13-06946 and 
19-60419 cubic yards) were used for the maritime works at Algiers. In 


184G a mixed system was adopted, wliicli produced a remarkable economy 
in the expense of building. This system consisted in employing rough 
blocks of stone as a foundation to within 12 metres (39-3G feet) of the 
surface of the water on the exterior side exposed to the action of the 
sea, and to 8 metres (2 6 "24 feet) from the surface on the interior, and 
in building all above this with artificial blocks. The pier-heads, in the 
whole of their circumference, are considered as an external facing. 

The different works that remained to be done in 1850 to complete the 
new port and roadstead came under the following heads : 

1. The completion of the north jetty, the building of its pier-head and 
of the fort to crown it; 2. the construction of the jetty of Algefna ; 3. 
the building of the quays going from north to south ; 4. the construction 
of the first branch of the jetty of Bab-azouu, giving it all the length neces- 
sary to found the platform intended for the establishments of the navy, and 
to diminish the swell within the port ; o. the establishment of one of the 
stairs of communication between the quays and the town; 6. the scarping 
of a rock existing within the harbom-, known by the name of the rorhe 
sans oiom (nameless rock) ; 7. construction of the establishments of the 
navy ; 8. completion of the jetty of Bab-azoun, the construction of its 
pier-head and of the fort intended to crown it ; and 9. second stairs of 
communication between the port and the town. 

The whole expense necessary to complete the port, without including 
the roads, which are postponed, is estimated at 41,-592,000 fr. (1,G63,608Z.) 
Up to Dec. 31st, 1849, 14,000,000 fr. (584,000/.) had been spent. Hence 
there remains to be spent in additional work the sum of 26,992,000 fr. 

A powder-magazine in rear of the liglithouse exploded not long before 
Count St. Marie visited Algeria in 1845, reducing the suiTounding buildings 
to complete ruin ; but the damage has been since repaired. The mole was 
at that period 2000 paces long and 6 above the sea, wholly constructed of 
enormous artificial blocks of hydraulic lime and gravel, and the woi'ks then 
in jDrogi'Css were not completed at the time of the count's visit. It formed 
an inward curve, contracting the mouth of the port. 

We trust tliat the previous remarks will have made the reader familiar 
with the port of Algiers ancient and modern ; and we propose now to 
notice the chief buildings and the style of architecture observed in the 
capital. In 1830 the naiTow winding streets of the town underwent a 
rapid change under the management of the conquerors. The greater part 
of them had no written name, and none of the houses were numbered, 
which rendered it impossible to make out any general direction, without 
having a sort of general plan of the distances bet^j-'een the principal objects 
in the city. It was found necessary to widen those streets, to adapt them 
to the convenience of their European inhabitants, and to give them that 

* Tableau de la Situation, iS50, pp. 314, 315. 


straight form so necessary to all wlio estimate the value of time. The 
speculators who travelled in the rear of the army lost no time in erecting 
houses five stories high, which certainly have a very fine effect; several 
streets with arcades have been built ; and, in short, all has been done to 
constrain the natural orientalism of Algiers into a Parisian shape. A rich 
Moor, a man of great experience and good sense, observed to Madame 
Prus in 1850, shaking his head sadly at the sight of one of these lofty 
habitations, the numerous apartments of which accommodated a host of 
lodgers : " They seem little aware that this is a country subject to earth- 
quakes ; for here they are building away as they might do in France, while 
at no great distance from hence the ruins of Orau and Blidah are evident 
proofs of the danger they incur. Let them look at our Moorish houses 
and observe how low they are built, and with what care they are propped 
up on beams, and made so as to support each other even on opposite sides 
of the street. Then let them ask, Avhy have the natives fixed on this mode 
of construction'? and I will answer them, that in 1717 an earthquake was 
felt for nine months, which destroyed three-fourths of the town, while the 
population lay encamped in the fields, and only returned when all symptoms 
of the calamity were over. In 182.5 another convulsion thrcAV down the 
walls of Oran and Blidah, and crushed many of the inhabitants under the 
ruins. Algiers at the same time felt fifty-three shocks in a fortnight. An- 
other took place in 1839 ; and even worse consequences might have ensued 
but for the manner of building adopted since 1717." 

Before this precaution was used, no other remedy against the disaster 
was known but that of strangling the reigning Dey. Though European 
fraternity prefers to strangle saints and heroes rather than despots, it would 
at least be wise in the French if they were to conform to the custom re- 
sulting from this dear-bought experience, and sacrifice elegance to security. 

In visiting the difierent quarters of the city and becoming familiar with 
its architecture, we shall accompany some of many Europeans who have 
described its curiosities. Count St. Marie informs us" that the Fisher- 
man's Quay is at the foot of the Government Terrace, which is ascended 
by a few steps and a sloping jjath. All the men whom you meet there 
selling fish are ]\Ialtesc ; the best fish being the tunny : oysters are rare, 
and different in form and colour from those of Europe. Leaving the Place 
du Gouvcrnement, the party whom we accompany reached in about half an 
hour the boundary of the city at the l^ub-a/.ouu gate, Avhich consisted then 
of double arches connected by a sort of bridge crossing a ditch, Avhich 
runs along the foot of the city wall. The principal gates of old Algiers 
were the following: 1. the new one, Babed-Djedid, on the top of the 
hill near the Casl)ah ; 2. .the Gate of l^ab-azoun, through which you pass 
into the Mitidja plain: 3. the Gate of l^ab-el-ouad, to the west of the 
town ; 4. the Marine Gate, leading to the arsenal and the mole ; and 

* p. 31. 


5. that of Fishermen. On the rit;-lit of the Gate of Bab-azoun, and within 
the city, stands a small marabout, the grated door of which is always open. 
This building is said to be the burial-place of the Emperor'" Barbarossa, as 
St. Marie curiously styles him, evidently meaning the pirate Khaireddin : 
it is held in great veneration by the Arabs. f 

We shall next accompany our friends into the interior of a ^Moorish 
house in the Bab-azoun Street. After ascending a few steps, they entered 
a large court with flags of white marble, having in the centre a basin of 
water with orange-trees about it. Along four sides of this court ran two 
galleries, one above the other, fronted with beautiful carved wood, and 
supported on marble columns. One side of the house in question con- 
tained the city Museum, which possesses a collection of animals, minerals, 
Eoman and Carthaginian tumular stones, and old arms. Within the same 
building you tind moreover a library, also in other parts a college called 
royal. All the houses of the Moors in Algiers are like the one now de- 
scribed. They are massive square buildings, and have no windows towards 
the street, the entrance-doors being low and small. The ceiling con- 
sists of carved wood gilt, and the walls are pierced on the inside with 
small dormer-windows. The walls of the apartments are hung with flags 
and di-aperies, and faced with Dutch tiles or varnished bricks with passages 
of the Koran insci'ibed on them, and gilt or coloured ornaments. On the 
floors are spread in the better class of houses costly carpets and cushions 
of cloth-of-gold. The ground-floor is appropriated to the slaves, and a 
narrow winding staircase leads up thence to the first-floor, which is occu- 
pied by the family ; the flat terrace on the roof being used as a prome- 
nade. The architecture of the Moorish country houses is similar to that 
of their town residences, save that they are surrounded Avith walls two feet 
high, and almost impenetrable plantations of thorny figs and aloes. 

Before we proceed any farther on our fatiguing round of sight-seeing, 
we will seat the reader in a fiacre, and drive to the most prominent object* 
of curiosity. These fiacres resemble a basket made of wood, and hung 
round with curtains of various colours. The drivers are frequently Spani- 
ards, with a small Spanish hat adorned with streamers of velvet. Proceed- 
ing to the old town, we find the narrow streets almost roofed over by pro- 
jecting houses, the fronts of which nearly touch each other from the first 
story to the terrace on the top. The streets in this part of Algiers are 
paved with round uneven stones ; and at this quarter is the Gate of Victory, 
on one side of which is a fountain of white marble, constructed among the 
ruins of an ancient lloman aqueduct. ij; Algiers is built in the form of an. 
amphitheatre, and is commanded by the Casbah ; but the moats and ditches 

* Count St. Marie, always more remarkable for the facility of his style than for the 
solidity of his facts, is a good specimen of the literary discrimination of authors and readers- 
in this veracious age. Examples : Baba-Aroudj is converted into Barbarossa, the amiable 
German oppressor of Milan ; and the Vandal invasion is placed in the seventh century. 

t St. Marie, pp. 4-7, + Ibid, p. 16. 



which run alongside the walls of the city on the right and left used not to 
extend to the walls and bastions of this ancient abode of the deys. The 
Casbah* is hardly recognisable even by the Arabs, from the changes that 
have been made in it by the French, the little kiosk where Deval the 
French consul was insulted by the blow of a fan of the dey (1.827) remaining 
alone unaltered : the walls of this pavilion are lined with porcelain. " From 
the courtyard," continues Count St. Marie, " we descended into some vast 
caverns divided into chambers, where the French found numerous trea- 
sures amassed in 1830 ; but previous to that date their approach was ren- 
dered impossible by a number of tigersf and hyenas being chained near 


to guard them. All other parts of the place are entirely changed, and — 
proli imdor ! — the women's apartments and the harem are converted into 
quarters of artillery ; almost an equal sacrilege to that of converting the 
marabout of Sidi-Ujemyah into a station-house for gendarmes. In a beau- 
tiful little kiosk attached to the Casbah, commanding a magnificent view 
of the sea, the city, and the country, there is now an ambulance or mili- 

* i<^^'i- The word Casbah moans literally ' reed.' Cours d'Aralevulffaire, par A. 
GorgTios, vol. i. p. 189. 

■j- This mast bo an error of tho count, as there are no tigers, but only animals of the 
leopard tribe in Algeria. 



tary hospital. Near this spot are fountains of fresh clear water, and 
marble reservoirs in which the soldiers now wash their linen ; and a small 
mosque at a little distance has been converted into a Catholic chapel, sur- 
mounted with a cross. The French, on taking possession, guaranteed to 
the Arabs the free enjoyment of their religion; but they have turned their 
mosques into Catholic chapels. The Protestants have purchased gi-ound 
for chapels, and the Jews have converted certain houses into synagogues."* 
The Casbah commands the whole town, and the hill on which it stands 
is 500 feet above the level of the sea. Gloomy battlements surround the 
castle, which is capable of accommodating two battalions, but is itself 
commanded by the Fort de I'Empereur on the road to Douera in the Sahel, 
of which more anon. 

" Algiers," observes our friend St. Marie, " is the only town in the 
regency which, by the erection of new buildings and the accumulation of 
French inhabitants, presents the aspect of a rising colony. All the other 
towns which surround Algiers preserve for the most pai't their primitive 
aspect, with the exception of some large buildings erected here and there 
by the French for barracks and hospitals." Descending once more to the 
lower town, we pass from the middle ages to our high-pressure civilisation, 
and fancy ourselves in the handsome streets of a European capital. Those 
of Bab-azoun and of the Marine are spacious and elegant, and contain some 
good shops. The bazaars are constructed in the Moorish style, and in ge- 
neral are most curious.f That in the Rue du Divan is principally occu- 
pied by Moors employed in various embroideries on leather and silk, for 
which the capital is famous, such, for instance, as ladies' slippers, purses, 
portfolios, <kc. Farther on are venders of essence of roses, jasmine, and 
other perfumes ; and in the shops are displayed cliackias, or leathern caps, 
such as are made at Tunis, silk scarfs or fotas, and many articles of the 
same description. The della or auctioneer walks about laden with bur- 
nouses, "djaba dolis," or men's vests, rhhlahs or women's tunics, and frim- 
lahs, a sort of spencer worn by ladies. His fingers glitter with diamonds, 
and his hands are hardly able to grasp all the insaias (anklets), rdites, 
(bracelets), sarmas (ornaments worn by married women), and other ar- 
ticles of value, which he is employed to dispose of for the benefit of 
Moorish ladies pressed for want of money. |: Some immense works, ob- 
serves Mr. Blofeld, have been made in the Place du Gouvernement, and in 
the streets de la Marine, of Bab-azoun, and of Bab-el-ouad ; these have 
a handsome appearance, with their long galleries, their shops, and the 
crowds which animate them. In the street of Bab-el-ouad the passengers 
are more numerous than those in the Strand in London. § In these places, 
excepting in some parts of the Rue Bab-el-ouad, there are no longer any 

* St. Marie, p. 16. t ^Madame Priis, 1850, p. 21C. t Idom, p. 216. 

§ Blofeld, p. 13. 


Moorish houses ; all is changed ; and Avere it not for the throng of Turks, 
Moors, Arabs, Negroes, &c., the stranger might fancy himself in one of 
the principal French cities. 

While on the subject of the shops and bazaars, it is well to remark 
that the shops of Algiers contain now the luxuries, comforts, and fashions 
of Paris, bronzes, porcelain, glass, rich shawls, embroideries, woollen stuffs, 
silks, cottons, &c. 

On leaving his hotel in the Place du Gouvernement, Count St. Marie 
passed through the Janina arch and saw the governor's palace, an old 
Moorish house faced with marble and adorned with marble columns. In 
front of it is the bishopric, a miserable place as to its exterior, which is, 
however, better inside the Avails. M. Dupuch, who Avas bishop in 1845, 
had been previously a counsellor at Paris, subsequently became a Car- 
thusian monk, and ultimately a prelate. Soon after they reached an Arab 
bazaar, consisting of a spacious gallery, ncAvly built and of curious con- 
struction, containing ranges of arches, each forming a separate shop for 
the sale of A-arious merchandise. In one of them the count saw, as at Stam- 
boul, attar of roses, fragrant pastilles, silk fillets of various hues orna- 
mented with gold and silver, bracelets of plaited silk, intermingled Avith 
coral beads, hose, red trousers, girdles or scarfs of gold, and little pots of 
colours — blue for the eyebroAvs, red for the cheeks, and yellow for the 

The barbers in these bazaars are mostly Koulouglis, or sons of Turks 
by Moorish Avomen. In the centre of the bazaar is a little rotunda for 
sales by auction.* The bazaar of the Fig-tree, a small open space, con- 
tains the shops of the richest tradesmen. 

The principal streets of the capital are tAventy feet wide, most of the 
others being just wide enough to admit of three persons Avalking abreast ;f 
and though the loAver toAvu is quite European in its character, the upper or 
Moorish quarter resembles most other cities of the East, containing nar- 
roAV winding streets, obscured by projecting stories and overhanging roofs. :|; 
" The loAver part of the town Avhich surrounds the port," observes M. 
Lamping, "has already acquired a completely European character. The 
streets of Bab-azoun and of the Marine are as handsome and as elegant as 
the boulevards of Paris ; but the upper toAvn retains its Arab appearance, 
and is almost exclusively inhabited by Moors and Jews. The streets are 
there so narrow, that tAVO horses cannot pass Avithout difficulty. The 
Arabs have no notion of carriages." A motley croAvd fills most of the 
great thoroughfares, consisting of various races. Next door to an elegant 
French milliner, an Arab barljer was shaving the head of a INIussulman ; and 
an Italian restaurateur, Avho extolled his maccaroni to every passer-by, Avas 

* St. Marie, p. 43. + Blofeld, p. 3. 

J The Foreign Legion : 1st P.irt of Lady Duff Gordon's French in Algiers, p. IG. 



the neiglibour of a Moorish slipper-maker. Every thing, moreover, in the 
capital wore a martial aspect."' 

In the streets of old Algiers the windowless houses scarcely leave an 
interval of two metres {G-5'6 feet) between them, and the salient eaves 
overhead belonging to the upper stories hardly suffer the passenger to see 
the sky. The narrowness and obscurity of these lanes at first shock the 
European, but the coolness resulting from the same cause speedily recon- 
ciles him to these drawbacks. The only things wanting in the Moorish 


houses are exterior openings to ventilate them. They are in other re- 
spects more picturesque and better adapted to the climate than our archi- 
tecture. The inside of the Bourse of Paris, reduced in scale and with the 
African sky overhead, gives a good idea of the interior of a Moorish house.| 
"I toiled through the narrow streets," says M. Lamping, "up to the 
Casbah, the former residence of the Dcy, the road to which is so steep 

* The Foreign Legion, p. 15. 

t Baron Baudc, vol. i. pp. 50-52. 


that steps had to be cut to form it. As I did not know the shortest path, 
it was at least two hours before I reached the top."* Algiers itself is 
built in the shape of an amphitheatre on the declivity of the Sahel hills, 
and when seen from a distance looks like a huge white pyramid, for 
the town forms a triangle, the highest point of which is crowned by the 

Before we pass through the former gates of the capital to visit the 
suburbs, we shall present the reader with the following sketch of the ap- 
pearance of Algiers on landing, from the pen of Marshal de Castellane, the 
latest authority on the subject. 

*' On approaching Algiers from the sea, it presents the appearance of a 
town tranquilly and lazily reposing along the slope of a hill, surrounded 
by a fresh and verdant country. On penetrating into its precincts, how- 
ever, European bustle and activity belie the indolent exterior of the 
city. The fact is, that Mussulman Algiers is at an end, and is making 
room daily for its Gallican successor. On first landing, the visitor is gi'eatly 
struck Avith the strange and motley crowd in its streets, where every one 
seems to run rather than walk. A novel display of various costumes at- 
tracts the eye on all sides. One moment you meet some Biscris moving 
along with a rapid and cadenced step, carrying a heavy load on a long 
pole; presently an Arab appears in his bournous, then a Turk still sport- 
ing the graceful turban, a Jew with his sombre attire and cautious look, 
the oil-carrier with his goat-skin pitchers, and to crown the tumult thou- 
sands of asses and their negro drivers, curricles with two or three horses, 
baggage-mules J proceeding in long files with provisions for the military 
storehouses, horsemen galloping full tilt conti'ary to the police regulations, 
colonists with white hats and broad brims, or glittering officers lording it 
over every one in conscious self-importance. In short, you have the con- 
fusion and agitation of an ant-hill; every where energy, hope, and its off- 
spring, steady and active labour. 

" The lower town, by the port, is the seat and scene of this activity, 
and pi-esents a great contrast to the silence and repose of the higher part 
of the town, which is the refuge and head-quarters of Mussulman gravity, 
and ofi'ers a labyrinth of narrow and winding lanes where two men can 
hardly walk abreast. Occasionally a white phantom glides past you as 
you thread your way through its uaiTow streets, a door is seen to open 

* The Foreign Legion, p. 38. + Ibid. p. 15. 

J The baggage-miiles are always styled ministers in Algeria; and if you ask the 
soldiers why, they will answer you, because these beasts are charged with the affairs of 
the state, or because they have the telegraph at command, pointing to their long movable 
Oiirs. It happened once upon a time that a real minister, M. de Salvandy, visiting the 
province of Constantina, was escorted from Pliilippovillo to Constantina bj- soldiers of the 
waggon-train. On climbing a hill his ears were suddenly offended by hearing the word 
'Minister !' sliouted out on all liands, amidst a sliowcr of imprecations and blows. Aston- 
ished, he asked what it all meant ; and when informed, he laughed as heartily as any one 
at the joko. — CasU,llan4i's Souvenirs, p. 11. 



mysteriously, and the apparition vanishes. It was a Moorish lady. Tlie 
old despotic spirit oftheDeys seems still to brood over this part of Algiers, 
though the French tricolore has long waved over the Casbah."* 

Having completed our description of Algiers within the old walls, we 
shall transport the reader to the old faubourg of Bab-el-ouad, to the west 
of the metropolis, passing through the gate of that name. The first object 
that here claims our attention is the Fort of Twenty-four Hours, called by 
the natives Bordj Sitti-Takelits (the fort of Madam Takelits), because it 
was built near a marabout of a holy woman of that name. It is situated 
at a few fathoms from the sea, behind the Tophanaj- or battery of Sidi- 


Kettani, another saint honoured here. It is an oblong square with ir- 
regular sides, without lower embrasures, commanded to the west by heights, 
which could not hold out after the town was taken. The French have 
laboured recently to scarp it by cutting down the limestone rock on which 
it is built level with the esplanade of Bab-el-ouad. This fort was built 
in the 1 8th century, and is now occupied by discipUnaires. 

* Souvenirs de la Vio militaire en Afrique, par lo Comte P. do Castollane (now a 
Marshal), p. 1. 1852. 

t Tophana is a Turkish compound wofd meaning ' gim- wharf ;' to^), gun ; fuma, wharf. 


The great changes that have been recently made in Algiers have en- 
closed the Forts Neuf and that of Twenty-four Hours within the present 
walls, which also embrace the old faubourg of Bab-el-ouad. The present 
gate of Bab-el-ouad is opposite the point of Sidi-Kettani ; and the new 
faubourg of Bab-el-ouad stands opposite the anse (or cove) de la Sal- 
jKtriere, and underneath the hospital of that name. 

Between this Fort of Twenty-four Hours and the road of the Jardin 
du Dey (Dey's Garden) you see an isolated structure on a chain of rocks, 
with some luxurious trees rising above its walls. The cupola of a mara- 
bout announces it to be a saint's tomb consecrated to Sidi-Djemyah, but 
he has been vmceremoniously thrust out by a post of gendarmes. The 
garden of the convicts is on the other side of the road, in wdiich you see 
the elegant agave-flower, Avhile Mount Boujareah forms a background to 
the prospect.* 

"Nearly facing the Fort of Twenty- four Hours," says Count St. Marie, t 
'' we entered a garden called the Jardin Marengo. It is a pretty place, 
belonging to Colonel Marengo, formerly the commander of the citadel of 
Algiers. The garden has been cultivated by condemned soldiers, to whom 
it must be a severe punishment, owing to the great heat. Scarcely a day 
elapses without some of them experiencing coiq^s de solell and other acci- 
dents, occasioned by exposure to the sun, whose ardent rays destroy the 
freshness of vegetation; and though much care is bestowed on the cultiva- 
tion, it is not so beautiful as it would be in a more favourable locality. 
In this garden is situated an old marabout, the walls of which were faced 
externally with white, blue, and green porcelain. This little temple has 
been surrounded by flags, and has a very pretty effect. The real name of 
Colonel Marengo was Capon ; and his father, who distinguished himself 
at the battle of that name, received in jest from Buonaparte the appel- 
lation, which is still retained by his son, though it is said that he has 
not much military talent." 

The Fort Neuf (Bordj-el-zoubia) is situated at the northern angle of 
Algiers, and was so called by the Europeans because it was a recent erec- 
tion, having been hardly completed in 1806. It was one of the first 
places that occupied the attention of the French after the conquest, and 
additional works were constructed to put it in a state of defence. They 
began to surround it with a moat, and to make revetements and masoniy 
escarps; which, with other improvements, enabled 1200 men to find ac- 
commodation in its vaults. It Avas, however, afterwards given up to the 
military convicts under Lieut.-Col. Marengo. {: 

Baron Baude observes that the convicts have been usefully employed 
on many Avorks in the port, and that they have formed a good garden at 
the Ijarracks, l)esidcs an excellent cliamp de manceuvres. The system of 
convict-labour has worked well, and they have improved morally and ma- 

* Berbrujger, part i. p. 39. t P- 27. Z Berbrugger, p. 39. 



terially under the treatment they have experienced.* M. Berbrugger, who 
examined into the condition of the military convicts, bears witness to 
the cheering results presented by the instruction and discipline to which 
they have been subjected. The men have been taught general elementary 
Knowledge, and, what is still more important, self-respect and esteem for 
their superiors. There is some good element in most criminals, even the 
most obdurate ; and by touching the right chord, they can generally be re- 
claimed. Vice is much more circumstantial than inherent in man. After 
the expiration of their term of servitude, the men have returned to their 
regiments, where they have almost universally behaved well. 

The old gate of Bab-el-ouadt opened to the north of Algiers, on a plain 
where thei-e is more room for building than on any other side of the town. 
Nevertheless the pirates preferred the hill, thinking that it would place 
them in a safer position ; but since 1830 there has been a determination 
of population towards this plain, and most of the public establishments 
belonging to the colonial government have been erected on that side. The 
space contained between the old gate of the town and the sea is filled by 
the Fort Neuf, which, as previously stated, is a prison-barrack of military 

The Fort of Twenty-four Hours was built in the oldest part of the vast 
Mussulman cemetery stretching from Bab-azoun to Bab-el-ouad, along and 
outside the walls. A new zone of tombs began beyond this circle, forming 
that of the Christians; then beyond that, and in the direction of the ravines 
of the Boujareah, lay that of the Jews. The tombs of .several of the deys, 
such as those of Mustapha, Moussa, &c. were situated in that part of the 
Mussulman cemetery lying between the Fort Neuf and that of Twenty- 
four Hours. They were shaped like marabouts, of a square fonn, with a 
cupola at top; but were destroyed by the Fi-ench in 1830. The ground 
of these cemeteries has been greatly encroached upon by French settlers ; 
and it is anticipai;ed that all traces of them will gradually disappear as 
the European town stretches out on the road to Pointe Peseade, beyond 
the old Bab-ei-Ouad gate.§ 

Proceeding to the other extremity of Algiers, we pass through the old 
gate of Bab-azoun into the old suburb that bears the same name. The 
faubourg of Bab-azoun only exists in the memory of the first-comers to 
Algiers, most of the buildings having been knocked down to enlarge and 
open up the a])proaches to the town. Vei'y little remains of this pic- 
turesque quarter, except Le Quartier des Spahis and some little Moorish 
shops, where the Arabs come to buy rope, and straw mats, iron, pottery, 
<fcc. But the population frequenting this district has much changed of 
late ; and on coming from the steamboat you see there in a few minutes 
specimens of all the Algerian races. The Rue Bab-azoun passes through 

* Baron Baiide, vol. ii. p. 57. t Ibid. 

i Iljid. vol. L § Berbrugger,, p. 1. 



the gate of that name to the country. It was at that gate (the old one 
now destroyed), that during the disastrous expedition of Charles V., Ponce 
de Balaguer, dit de Saviguac, knight of the Temple, plunged his dagger 
into the gate, and fell a victim to his daring gallantry. The walls used to 
be lined with heads of the innocent and guilty ; and on to the iron hooks 
that projected from their sides, criminals, imaginary or real, used to be 
precipitated from above, and remained suspended in agony till death put 


an end to their sufferings. A square planted with trees, and having in its 
centre a basin, is the place of execution ; and at the foot of an escarp on 
the right is a row of curtained carriages (roitures tajnssees), to take tlie 
travellers about tlie environs. A little farther on, you probably meet with 
a native band, whose music being rather more remarkable for noise than 
melody, speedily puts to flight all who have any pretensions to an ear. 
Sometimes you may also meet in tins locality serpent-charmers from 
Morocco, who disi)lay their mesmeric influence over the tribe of creeping 


things. Above this spot is situated the wood and charcoal market, con- 
taining tattered tents, camels, and dirty Bedouins proudly wrapped in 
rags. A little to the right are the barracks of the spahis;* while to the 
left is a fine high building, Avhich is the Caserne du Train des Equipages, 
or the barracks of the waggon-train. + Most of the old structures in this 
vicinity are demolished or condemned, and handsome streets and public 
buildings will shortly meet the eye of the visitor on passing through the 
new gate of Bab-azoun. Between 1841 and 1845 the new faubourg of 
Bab-azoun was created, and considerable expense incurred in levelling and 
paving. The whole district is now within the new Avails. J 

* Native troops. See the chaiDter on the French army in Algeria. 
i* Berbrugger, p. 6. I Tableau de la Situation. 



?tatigtif£5 of ^Igt'ffig. 




IN 1833 Algiers contained 120 mosques and marabouts, fourteen sjoia- 
gogucs, and one Roman Catholic chapel. Three of the mosques had 
in 1843 been turned into Catholic places of worship, and one of them is 
now the French cathedral church, and has some yery beautiful arabesques 
on the Avails and ceiling, and the doors have flowers carved upon them 
in a style not excelled by Qrindling Gibbons. 

As regards the native sacred edifices, they arc commonly divide^l into 
three classes : 1st, the djamas, which are the principal mosques ; 2d, the 
mesjids, called in Egypt mesguid, whence came the Spanish terra ' mez- 
quita,' and our mosque. The khotbah or public prayer is offered up in the 


djamas on Friday, the ^Mussulman Sunday. The third class consists of 
marabouts, which are the tombs and sanctuaries of saints ; of this class 
more anon. The Algerian mesjids are somewhat like our Gothic churches 
in their interiors, but instead of seats and benches, they strew the floor 
with mats, upon which they perform the several stations, sittings, and 
prostrations that are enjoined in the ceremonies of their religion, and 
which are so accurately represented in Lane's Modern Egijpt. Near the 
middle of the mesjid, or more especially of the djama (the great), is a huge 
pulpit, balustraded all round with a few large steps leading to it. In this 
the mufti, or one of the imams,* places himself every Friday, and explains 
some parts of the Koran, and exhorts the people to piety and good works. 
The' wall of the mosque on the side towards Mecca is called kibla, in which 
is a niche representing the presence and the invisibility of the Deity. A 
minaret rises commonly at the opposite end of the mosque, having a flag- 
staff at the top. The mesjids, sanctuaries of marabouts, the muftis, imams, 
and other dignitaries attached to them, are supported by revenues of 
houses and lands bequeathed by will, or appropriated by the public for this 
purpose. f 

A good specimen of a mosque of the second class is presented by that 
of Sidi-abd-er-Rahman-el-Tsalebi, situated between the marabout of Sidi- 
Sadi and the Avest rampart. It is a charming edifice, held in high vene- 
ration by the Mussulman population on account of the saint buried there. 
The flags of the Turkish troops used to be kept in it, and the following 
inscription in Arabic Avas over the door : "In the name of the gracious and 
merciful God : may God shed his mercies on our lord Mahomet ! The 
building has been finished, with the divine help, by the hand of our emir, 
the very powerful and generous El-Hadj Ahmed-ben-el-Hadj Massli. May 
God direct him towards grace by the merits of Zerroug and those of the 
sincere Abou-Beker. Its date, O thou who inquirest, is in the words 
qad djaaltouhou min sabiquin (I have formerly established it)." This 
implies 11 OS of the Hegira, as letters in Arabic have a numerical value. 
A new insci'iption shews the edifice to have been built in 873 ; and it ap- 
pears that the marabout Sidi-abd-er-Eahman was born at Tsaallah in the 
province of Constantina, as his name implies. 

AVe add a list of the duties and obligations attached to this establish- 
ment. 1st, the distribution of alms and aid ; 2d, the repair of fixtures ; 
3d, daily expense in giving food to the natives who resort to it ; 4th, re- 
ligious expenses of all kinds. Offerings daily placed on the tomb of the 
marabout, and the rent of certain endowments, make up an income of 8000 
boudjous (1 boudjou=l fr. SO cents=lA\ Qd.). The expenses amount to 
6,500, leaving an excess of 1,500 boudjous. The officers of the establish- 

* Different ecclesiastical officers of the Moslem hierarchy, of whom more anon, in the 
chapter on Religion and the Law-tribunals, Part XL 
+ Blofeld, p. 136. 


ment consist of an oukil or administrator, three imams, a chaoucli or beadle, 
thi'ee heuzzabius or readers; and one woman to sweep it.* 

In many of the towns of Algeria, especially the capital, since the 
French conquest, the number of mosques being found excessive, several of 
them have been converted into hospitals, warehouses, and even Catholic 
churches. Thus at Algiers two mosques have been turned into the cathe- 
dral and the church of Notre Dame des Victoires. A sufficient number 
of mosques, however, have been preserved and repaired to meet the wants 
of the Mussulman population. 

The French official documents! divide all the mosques in Algeria into 
five classes, save the great mosque of the capital : 1st, the mosques with 
great minarets ; 2d, those with a pulpit for the khosbah ; 3d, the mosques 
with less important pulpits ; 4th, the mosques without pulpits ; 5th, the 
small chapels. Of the 1st class, Algiers has 3 ; of the 2d class none ; of 
the 3d class none ; of the 4th class 4 ; and of the 5th class 1 2. 

Thus Algiers, including the great mosque, has twenty Mussulman 
temples, whose ecclesiastics will be enumerated in another place. 

The Jews have twenty-five synagogues at Algiers ; the Catholics have 
two churches and one chapel ; and the Protestants one place of worship at 
Algiers, and one at Douera (a neighbouring colony). 

Next to fresh air, good water is the first necessary and greatest luxury 
of life. Without plunging into the excesses of hydropathy or teetotalism, 
it may be readily admitted that apitrrov jjlev vcojp, and that aqica fresca is 
equally valuable with the Promethean fire, especially in the realms of the 
sun, where, if any where, cleanliness is next to godliness. Drains, baths, 
and aqueducts were the first care of the Romans, and their vestiges may 
be traced throughout Algeria. 

The capital used to be well supplied with the crystal liquid from the 
Boujareah under the earlier deys ; but Turkish improvidence [neglecting 
the plantations has caused many springs to dry up. The French seem 
at length aroused to a sense of the importance of a good supply, and 
active measures are taking to secure it. In many instances the old Roman, 
and sometimes the more recent Turkish, conduits and channels have been 
repaired and employed; 1400 years not having sufficed to ruin the cyclo- 
pean structures of the masters of the world. 

Between the years 1840 and 1847, the French government has com- 
pleted the erection of nineteen fountains in the capital of the colony and 
its precincts. These works have cost the sum of 141,446f. 22 cents 
(5657^. 17.S. 8(1.), and have been erected in the following localities : 

lino do Chartres, at the angle of Rue Porte Nouvo ... 1 
Rue de Clliartres, at the angle of Rue Bruce .... 1 
On the Place de Chartres 1 

* Berbruggor, part i. p. 31. f Tableau des Etablisscmouts, &c. 1850, p. 362. 


On the Casbah hill 1 

Rue du Palmier ......... 1 

At the corner of Rues Reynard and Rcjjard .... 1 

Rue de la Revolution ........ 1 

Rue de I'lntondance ......... 1 

Rue de Nemours 1 

Rue Bruce . . . ....... .1 

Al'Agha 1 

Rue de Ja Giraffe .1 

Rue de Chartres, comer of Rue du Chene .... 1 

Bottom of Rue de la Casbah 1 

Rue d'Annibal 1 

Rue de Navarin 1 

Corner of Rues du Chat and du Locqdor 1 

Rue de StaouoU 1 

Mustapha barracks of waggon-train . . .... 1 


Draining is another subject to which the French government has de- 
voted a good deal of attention ; and it is somewhat mortifying to reflect? 
that those great nations of the West who boast of their enlightened polity 
and humanising civilisation, should be still distanced in undertakings of 
public spirit by the old-fashioned men of the Augustan age. So evident 
is it that our progress has been very onesided and revolutionary in its 
character. Stern necessity, the cholera, and the footprints of Rome have 
at length roused the French to purge their cities and span the colony 
Avith the mileage of high roads. 

The following are the larger-sized drains which the French call de 
grande section : 

Length. Expense. 

Drains in the Rue de Chartres .... 315 metres 37,89i fr. 26 cents. 

Drains in the Rues Doria, Des Trois Cou- 

leurs, Mahon, Duquesne, de la Marine, 

du Marteau, &c 810 „ . . 45,399 „ 04 „ 

(Middling size.) 

Drains in 45 streets (1842-5) 1279) 149 861 10 

Repairs in 64 streets 1277) " • • -' " 

New drams (1846-9) 2800 „ . . 121,000 „ „ 

6647 metres . . 387,154 fr. 40 cents.* 

A plan has been started for building a great drain, destined to carry 
off all the filth of the town beyond the port, so as to avoid the stagnation 
and efiluvia that result, as at Marseilles, from imperfect sewernge. It is 
to be hoped that this project, which smacks somewhat of colonial gi-andeur, 
may receive the sanction of the government. 

While on the subject of sanitary measures, the following regulations of 
the French authorities to preserve the cleanliness of the town are deserving 
of notice. 

* Total of drains, 21,802-16 feet ; expense, 15,486/. Zs. M. 


By an arrete, or decree of government, of the 2Gtli July, 1843, every 
resident is obliged to have swept that part of the way contiguous to his 
house or other premises, and to clear away the mud opposite his dwelling 
as far as the middle of the street. All rubbish is to be heaped up and 
carried away by the scavengers. All glass, &c. to be thrown aside sepa- 
rately, where it cannot inflict wounds. No fires are to be lighted in the 
streets, nor is it alloAved to tlirow any thing out of the vrindows. From 
the 1st of June to the 1st of October, all the inhabitants are required to 
water the streets twice a day ; for which purpose the water is to be ob- 
tained from the public cisterns only. 

The next subject that claims our attention is the historical statistics 
of the public streets in the capital since the French occvipation. The Rue 
de Chartres was paved with lava in 1841-42 ; and in the last-named year 
the names of the streets and squares were put up. From 1840-1842 the 
squares were planted ; and between 1842-44, the Place Royale, Place Mahou, 
and Place de Chartres were paved ; besides which the streets of Joinville, 
Tanger, and des Mulcts were opened. In 1844 the square of Isly and the 
streets of Mogador, Isly, Joinville, &c. were paved; and from 1845-46, foot- 
pavements and various plantations were made. 

We noAV pass to the new civil and military edifices, the former of 
which we shall classify under the following heads : 1. public justice ; 2. 
education; 3. divine worship ;, 4. general administration; 5. finance; 6. 
municipal; 7. hospitals; 8. archseological and literary. 

Justice. The court of appeal and the tribunal have been esta- 
blished in two vast houses of Moorish construction. The central prison 
of Algiers, built on a half-cellular system, is not quite finished, but it is 
already opened for the reception of prisoners. It is, however, only a de- 
partmental prison, and not a house of detention ; and they still send to 
France prisoners condemned to a longer space of confinement than one 
year. The expense is estimated at 744,000f. (30,160/.) 

Education. A lyceum was founded and built at Algiers between 1847 
and 1849, costing 51,500f (2060?.); and a (mutual) school between 1840-49, 
costing 10,330f. 70 cents. (413?. 4s. 2d.) 

Worship. The cathedral at the metropolis is a vast building, begun 
in 1840, and though not yet completed, is ah-eady partially consecrated 
and devoted to divine woi-ship. A good deal remains to be done before 
it Avill be finished. The expense, up to December 1849, amounted to 
730,215f (29,208?. \'2s. 6d.) A handsome Moorish house, suitably re- 
paired, has been converted into the bishop's palace. A great seminary 
lias also been established in the old camp of Koubali : Notre Dame des 
Victoircs and the chapel of Bab-azouu were formerly mosques, and have 
been previously noticed. 

Administration. The hotel of the Prefecture for the general direc- 
tion of civil affairs was begun in 1845, and finished in 1849 ; expense 


200,000f. 50 cents. (8000/. Os. od.) The central police-station was finished 
n 1847, costing 4729f. 40 cents. (180?. 3s. 8d.) 

Ifunicipal service. When municipalities were established in Algeria, 
in 1847, a new mairy was placed in the new building adjacent to the 
old direction de Vinterieur (colonial office), noAV converted into the general 
secretaryship of the government. 

Hosjyitals. Mediterranean usage entailed on Algiers the necessity of 
building a lazaretto from 1841-42, at an expense of 461,0221". 92 cents. 
(18,476/. 19s. lOd) 

The hopital civil has been established in the old barracks of Janissaries 
at Bab-azoun, the repair of which cost 92,999f. (3720/.) The orphan 
asylum at Mustapha has cost 42,4 15f. (1696/. 125. 6c/.), and the house of 
the sisters of mercy (1848) 30,634f. GQ cents. (1225/. 7s. U.) 

Museum and Libraries. The library and museum were removed in 
1845-6 from the college of Algiers to a house in the Rue des Lotophages. 

This house, the first story of which is appropriated to the museum,* 
and the second to the library, was built about sixty years ago by El-Hadj 
Omar, grandson of Hassan Pasha, on some rocks by the sea-shore, bathed by 
the waves on two sides. It is a splendid Moorish dwelling, and one of the 
most complete and curious models of that native architecture which has 
almost entirely disappeared at Algiers. In this respect the house itself 
may be regarded as a museum. The library, placed, as we have said, on 
the first story, comprises four halls (salles) opening on a pretty gallery 
paved with squares of porcelain. 

We shall pause awhile to dwell on the literary monuments of a patri- 
archal race and of a waning i-eligion contained in this edifice. The first 
~oom contains works of theology and of philosophy, maps, and stamps. 
The second, archives, books of natural history, of astronomy, of mathematics, 
of physical science, of chemistry, of architecture, of medical science, of 
agriculture, of history, and of what relates to war, marine, and belles-let- 
tres. The third compartment contains two i-eading- rooms ; one for Eu- 
ropeans, the other for natives. In connection with the last is a large 
glass cabinet, in which the Arabic mss. are deposited. 

In the European reading-room you find the works relating to Algeria, 
and in general those that ai'e in most demand. 

PrirUed books. This collection is already of considerable importance in 

* The antiquities and specimens contained in the Museum will be noticed in the 
chapter on Archreology. The only curiosity we shall here record is a discovery by the 
celebrated naturalist, Bory de St. Vincent, who, gaping for lions in this virgin field of 
science, was delighted one fine morning to see a singular specimen of natural history 
brought in by a sous-officier. He rewarded the man handsomely, and, enchanted with 
the novelty, he wrote a learned description of his wonderful variety to the Jardin des 
Plantes, describing its singulai- proboscis, resembling an elephant's trunk, and giving it 
the name of rat trompe. Judge of his dismay, after the lapse of a few days, to find that 
the proboscis consisted of another rat's tail artfully put through the nose of the speci- 
men ! St. Marie. 


supplying intellectual food to the metropolis, though it is not large enough 
to meet the wants of its studious inhabitants. The number of books 
inscribed in the catalogues amounts at present to above 5,500 volumes, 
pamphlets, maps, and plans, distributed in 2100 works, classed as follows : 
1st, Algeria, all works and documents, &c. on the colony ; 2d, moral sci- 
ences, including mental philosophy, geography, philology, and archaeology. 

Manuscrijyts. The collection of Arabic MSS. is greater than the wants 
of the place. The natives hold them in high esteem ; but unhappily there 
are but few hard workers among them, and this part of the collection will 
not be justly appreciated till a greater number of Europeans apply them- 
selves seriously to the study of Arabic. 

The period of Ramadhan, which ends in fetes, leads the Mussulmans to 
extraordinary expenses, and always produces a rich harvest of Arabic MSS. 
The year 1850 was remarkable for the number it yielded. The library 
of Algiers has taken advantage of this circumstance in adding to the store 
a variety of good works, especially a geography of Mohereb,* containing 
some curious details on the Roman antiquities of each place. The num- 
ber added to the collection since 184G amounts to 200 MSS. on every 
variety of subject. 

It will be gathered from these observations that the library of Algiers 
contains a most remarkable and matchless collection of matter relating to 
the special literature of Northern Africa. 

At a time when the ancient Moslem empire seems about to fall in 
pieces, when the mysteries of harems and pyramids and mosques are being 
trodden under foot by the Giaour, and the Crescent begins to pale before 
the Cross, it is not without pleasure that we hail all strenuous efforts to 
preserve relics and monuments of that singular race, which, under the im- 
petus of faith, burst like a whirlwind from the desert, sweeping over the 
plains of Africa and the vales of Spain, till the scimitar flashed on the 
banks of the Loire, and the muezzin's call reverberated amongst the val- 
leys of the Basques. 

The historical statistics of the city of Algiers present us with the fol- 
lowing details : In the beginning of the 17th century, Algiers, as described 
by Jean Baptiste Gramaye, in his Afnca Illustrata,-\- contained 13,000 
houses, many of which held 30 families. In the Jews' quarter, the house 
of Jacob Abum had 300 inhabitants, and that of Abraham Ralhin 260. 
There were 100 mosques, each attended by three marabouts, and some by 
30 or 40 ; and there were moreover innumerable oratories. The number 
of baths was 8G ; and besides superior schools, in which the Koran was 
interpreted, there were 86 schools in which children were taught to read 
and write. 

* t__^ .jc« Morocco. 

t .Jciiu JJiiptistc Gramaye was born in 15S0, and his Africa III ustrata was published in 


Haedo counted 10,000 gardens in the district of tlie capital, Lnt the 
registers of the regency made them 14,G'J8 ; and all of them contained 
two or three, but most of them eight slaves. There were at that time 
about 35,000 Christian slaves in Algiers and the neighbourhood. Ali 
Mami had 132, many had GO and 70, and the Dey's bagnio had 2000. 

Hacdo, Avho had lived there, estimates the white Moors at 2500 
families, and the black Moors, or Kabyles, at 700 families. Of Arabs and 
beggai-s there were 3000 ; and the Modajares, driven from Spain, made up 
1000 additional families ; besides which there were 1000 Valencian Moors, 
There were 1600 Turkish families besides the Janissaries, 0000 renegades, 
6000 Janissaries, 136 families of caids or civil authorities, 300 rais or 
masters of ships, 86 scherrifFs,'"' and 800 hadjis, or men who had made the 
pilgi'image to ]\Iecca. Each of the three galleys was manned by 80 Tui'ks, 
the others had about 30 men. The city contained, moreover, 80 black- 
smiths, 1200 tailors, 3000 weavers, 120 cheesemongers, 300 butchers, and 
400 bakers ; it had also 150 Jewish houses, and, according to report, 8000 
Jews. De Breves,+ ambassador of Henri Quatre to Turkey in 1628, gives 
Algiers 100,000 inhabitants ; and Pierre Dan,;|; in 1637, ascribed about the 
same number to it. At the French conquest in 1 830 it had about 40,000, 
though the size of the town in both cases was nearly the same, comprising 
50 hectares and 53 centiares (125 acres). Besides this, the jetty con- 
tained four hectares 09 centiares (10 acres), giving as the general re- 
sult, 54-62 hectares (136 acres). In the most crowded quarter of Paris, 
that of the Arcis, you find about 1554 persons per hectare (2^ acres); 
this pi'oportion would give 80,000 to Algiers. 

In 1841 there were only 16,000 Mussulmans in Algiers ; hence 14,000 
must have emigrated since 1830. This result had been caused in part 
by the increase in prices. In 1830 wheat and barley were sold at 2 fr. the 
hectolitre (1*. 8d. sterling per 22*009667 gallons, or 2|^ths bushels); an 
ox cost 18 fr. (16s.); a sheep, 2 fr. 50 cents. (2s.); 100 eggs, Ifr. 20 cents.: 
and these prices remained almost the same up to 1834 ; but in 1841 pro- 
visions had become almost as dear as at Paris. 

The population of the capital is by some thought to have amounted to 
70,000 before the French invasion. After that date the natives have been 
reckoned for some years at 30,000, analysed as follows : 

Moors 17,000 

Jews 6,000 

Turks 4,000 

Negroes 2,000 

Kabyles and Arabs 1,000 

Biskris aud Mozabites 1,000 


* Scherrififs are descendants of the Prophet. 

+ Eelation des Voyages de M. de Breves, 1628. 

+ Histoire de Barbarie et de ses Corsaires, 4to, 1637. 



To these must be added 30,695 Europeans, which will give a total of 
GO, 695 inhabitants shortly after the conquest. 

In 1833 there were 2,920 houses, 148 public fountains, 14 synagogues, 
one Roman Catholic chapel, 120 mosques and marabouts, and 48 schools 
for boys and girls. In 1843 the city contained, besides, two theatres, the 
Grand Theatre and the Theatre des Petites Varietes,* good libraries, and 
two good newspapers ; one of which, the Akbar, was published twice a 
week, and contained four pages. Three of the mosques had been con- 
verted into churches, one of them constituting the French Catholic ca- 
thedral ; but many of the numerous fountains were dry, and there was a 
want of good water. 

The European population of Algiers has much fluctuated, as will be 
seen in another place. It appears to have reached its maximum in 1847, 
having amounted, on the 31st December of that year, to 42,113 persons, 
whereas on the 31st December, 1848, it had fallen to 37,572 ; and at the 
same date in 1849 it had been reduced to 37,114. Various causes have 
conti-ibuted to this result, especially political agitation, and the greater 
safety and facility of colonisation in the interior.t 

As regards the present statistics of education and public worship at 
Algiers, the fullest particulars will be given on these points in a future 
chapter. We shall hei-e simply state, that the number of European pupils 
of both sexes, public and private, amounted in 1849 to 1178 children. 

Many important alterations and improvements have been effected in 
Algiers since the visits of M. Blofeld and Count St. Marie. If the reader 
casts his eye over the map of the capital accompanying this work, he will 
perceive more easily than by any other method the changes that have 
taken place. First, the old wall and precincts no longer form the boundary 
of the city, Avhich includes the old faubourgs of Bab-azoun and Bab-el- 
ouad, the ^Moorish gates having been destroyed. The city has been sur- 
rounded with new Avails, ditch, and bastions, and a new citadel is erected, 
embracing the old Casbah. Several new gates have been constructed, in- 
cluding the Porte Constautine, a little above that of Bab-azoun; the new 
Porte Bab-azoun, adjoining the fort of that name ; and beyond, the Poi'te 
du Sahel, east of the citadel, and the Porte Vallee, west of the citadel ; 
besides the new Porte de Bab-el-ouad, close to the point of Sidi-Kettaui, 
and the Fort of Twenty-four Hours. Several new streets have also been 
formed, that of Bab-azoun being prolonged, and widening all through 
the ancient faubourg of that name to the Porte Bab-azoun. The new 
street of Bab-el-ouad is a prolongation of the old one, and i)asses through 
the great Place d'Armes, opposite the Jardin du Dey, to the gate of the 

* Algeria, resolved not to bo behimlliand in the amenities of ci\'ilisation, has completed 
a magnificent theatre ; and an excellent operatic troiqjc has just left Paris to commence 
operations there (July 1853). 

f Tableau do la fciituation, 1S50, pp. 94-96. • 


same name. The Rue d'Isly runs from the Porte de Constantine parallel 
to Bab-azoun Stz-eet, passes through the Place d'Isly, and joins the Rue de 
Bab-azoun at the Place de Garamautes by the Rue de Rovigo. Rue Pou- 
driere runs down from Porte and Place Saliel to the Rue d'Isly. A number 
of other labyrinthine streets are christened Rue de Rovigo, and the Rue de 
la Lyre runs from the Place du Gouvernement to the Rue d'Isly ; parallel 
with the Bab-azoun Street several large open spaces have been cleared, es- 
jiecially the Place Nationale, close to the quays, opening into the Rue de 
la Marine ; and a new street, called Rue du Rempart, that runs along the 
quays eastward. The Place Nationale (formerly Place du Gouvernement)* 
is planted with trees, and is the principal square of Algiers. All the old 
rampart to the westward from the Casbah to the old Porte Bab-el-ouad 
lias been converted into the Boulevard Vallee. These, and many other 
minor improvements which have been made, quite alter the character of 
the city, conforming it to a thii-d-class European capital. It is doubtful 
if it is so well suited, however, to the climate and country. f 

After entering Algiers through the new gate, Bab-azoun, it is proposed 
to erect on the left, opposite Fort Bab-azoun, an entrepot de tabac, or 
depot of tobacco, and a halle au hU et aux huiles, or corn-exchange ; and 
all the and on the right of the street between the gate and the Mosque 
of Sibi-Abd-el-Kader is reserved for military constructions. 

It is needless to add, that when these alterations and improvements (?) 
are effected, the whole of the lower part of Algiers will be identified in 
appearance with most large continental fortified and seaport towns ; and 
a long interval will not elapse ere the old town, the Djebel, will melt away 
in the embrace of its juvenile successor, the Outa. 

As a relief to the somewhat dry details of this statistical chapter, we 
here present the reader with the impression made by Algiers on the mind 
of an intelligent French ofiicer, now a Mai'shal of the Empire. 

" The town of Algiers," observes the soldier, " combines the gaiety of 
Paris and the charm of eastern life ; and contains, in particular, one ter- 
race that recalls the enchantment of the Arabian nights. You go there, 
when the oppressive heat of the day is passed, breathe the refreshing 
breeze, while you contemplate the sea with its thousand scintillations, 
above your head hang, apparently suspended, the white walls of the houses ; 
then surveying the bay of Algiers, your eye rests on slopes covered with 
roses and verdure, and on the mountain outlines that fade and shade into 
the Jorjora, whose barren ridges cut sharply the blue canopy of the sky.":{: 

Before we take leave of the island city (Djezair), it may not be un- 
profitable if we offer a few observations on the contrasts of European and 
oriental social life and architecture, and on the main principles mani- 
fested in both. 

* Names in France and its colonies are as fluctuating as djTiasties. 
t Tableau de la Situation. J Castellaue, p. 249. 


• An imperfect idea of this antagonism may be given by saying that 
eastern life is poetry, and western prose. The fascination of the fabulous 
and the hues of romance will ever gild the battlements of Damascus, 
and hover round the minarets of Cairo, casting into a stern shade and 
pallid twilight the dismal machinery of Teutonic and Scandinavian poetry. 
To the sunshine of imagination, Saladin, Alraschid, and the Mameluke 
Beys will ever carry off the palm from Kound Tables and the aureole of 
Roncesvalles. There is a wealth of wonder, a gorgeousness of tint in 
oriental life and thought, that can never square with doublet, point lace, 
trunk-hose, or inexpressibles. 

Chivalry and gallantry first passed from Saracen tents under the crests 
of northern barons, and inspired the rugged breasts of steel-clad Goths 
with gentleness in bravery. Thus, to the airy minaret, the tinkling 
fountain, the tapering (fete, and Ali Bey on his barb, belongs the diadem 
of fancy. Yet the westerns shall have their due, and in the workshops of 
Manchester and the ateliers at Paris, I ween that you shall find miracles 
that put Aladdin's lamp to the blush. Look, however, to the Vulcan, and 
your lamp goes out, for you shake hands with ragged socialism and hoarse 

The mind of man leaves its stamp on his greatest as well as smallest 
creations, and his clothing, his thatch, in short, all that reflects him, is an 
image of, and correspondence to, his character, modified by time and space. 
Hence the social state of a people can be gathered from its architecture 
and its tailoring, which also give the key to the climate that it inhabits, 
to its dominant pursuits, and national propensities. 

The great contrast of Moorish and European houses is a type of their 
national antagonism. The latter are impelled by a vague instinct of as- 
sociation to issue from the castellated isolation of families in the dark ages, 
and to hive together in vast agglomerations of humanity, where the indi- 
vidual and the family become fractions of the social body. Such agglome- 
rations are no doubt without any form or organisation, and only cemented 
by physical position ; but they form the natural and necessary bridge from 
the hostile isolation of barbarism to the complete association of humanity, 
to which all the higher tendencies of modern civilisation are pointing. 
A Moorish house shews at one glance its great distance fi'om this con- 
summation. Generally small, they can only hold one family ; and whilst 
our European houses give free admission to the light of heaven through 
large and numerous Avindows, the Moor gropes about in a pcrjietual twi- 
light, his walls presenting the appearance of a prison. 

These two facts arc symbolical of the great characteristics of eastern 
and western life. The more progressive race, leading a more public life, 
required vaster and more comprehensive edifices, embracing numei'ous 
groups, who find daily the advantage and amenity of a greater social 
approximation between the members of society, accepting material as- 



sociation in tlie first instance as a prelude to tlie general extension of this 
great princii)le to more elevated interests. But in oriental life, wliere 
man has never conceived of a higher association than that of private fami- 
lies in the most imperfect form, through the slavery of woman, no other 
dwellings could be expected than houses uniting the character of castle 
and dungeon. 


It is natural to infer from their residences that one of these hostile 
races is inquisitive, sociable, and accessible, on seeii;g the number of win- 
dows in their houses ; nor can we wonder at the Arab captives at Mar- 
seilles comparing the French dwellings to large ships pierced with port- 
holes. And do not the long bare walls, with a few rare pigeon-holes and 
baiTcd openings, announce a people careless about every thing beyond 
their family group, disdaining to look abroad, and anxious to hide the 
mysteries of the household from the profane crowd 1 The inquisitive 
and restless citizen of the West required the broad daylight and a wide 
horizon to look about him, learn the news, and see what was going 


on ; but a jealous nation, shut up in individualism, could not endure to 
lay bare the privacy of its seclusion to neighbours and strangers ; patri- 
archalism could not brook the fraternising co-operation of our social life. 
Climate has also much effect in modifying the architecture of the two 
races, and shews our folly in trying to naturalise our architecture, diet, 
and tailoring at the Poles or under the Line. 

Nature having been sparing of heat and light to the European, he has 
been forced to exert his ingenuity in making the most of the share allotted 
to him. Like the plant growing in the shade, that stretches and inclines 
towards the glorious sunshine, the European throws open his walls to let 
in the pale rays of his watery sun. But in Africa, with its cloudless sky, 
burning sun, and dazzling light, the severest winter is like a fine autumn 
with us ; and through most of the year shade being the great desideratum, 
windowless walls, cool arcades, courts, and fountains, are the architecture 
indicated by nature and followed by man. 

As regards the latest military works, the greater part of the fortifica- 
tions on the land-side were completed in 1850, including bastions, ditch, 
curtains, &c. On the Islet of the Marine six batteries had been established, 
besides a battery for twelve pieces on the rock Algefna, the battery of El 
Kettani, and the Fort de^ Anglais. They have also established three 
powder-magazines, to contain 300,000 kilogrammes (600,000 lbs.) ; but 
the sea-defences were incomplete in 1850.* 

* Tableau, p. 15. 

33rffiiut5 of 'Hl3itr£{. 




WE propose now to make a few exciirsions in the environs of Algiers, 
in the society of some select friends who will act in the capacity 
of guides. 

" Leaving the back gate of the Casbah," says Count St. Marie, "we had 
before us, on a little eminence, the entrenched camp of Tagarius. It con- 
sists of a large square enclosed by wooden palisades, containing eight rows 
of parallel barracks, with sufficient room between each for the free move- 
ment of the troops. The bedding at that period was miserable, the ham- 
mocks consisting of canvas without mattresses or covering, and they were 
strung by ropes to the walls and to poles. The men quartered there in 
1845 consisted of the celebrated Chasseurs d'Orleans, now known as the 
Chasseurs de Vincennes, the first body of troops that were provided with 
Minic rifles. 

" Pursuing our coui'se (the other side of the Tagarins), we came in sight 
of four rather large hospitals, which, being exposed to all the winds, are 
in a very unfavourable situation. On the opposite side of a picturesque 
ravine which lay open before us, we saw two buildings comprising the H6- 
pitaux du Dey and la Salpetriere, the former of which is very large, and 
situated nearer to the sea than the latter. The principal I'oom in the 
Hopital du Dey is calculated to contain 2000 beds, and was used under 
the Deys as a receptacle for plundered goods. The svuTounding rocks are 
clothed Avith plantations of aloes and acacias. This hospital is admirably 
arranged and conducted, containing clean neat rooms with iron beds, all of 
good quality and in good order." 

On another occasion our friend St. Marie entered the street of la 
Charte within the walls, which was thi'ongcd with people, because the 
market held in the Place de la Charte was about to open. In the middle 
of this square is a fountain surrounded by orange-trees; and it presented 
on this occasion a busy scene, with country people seated in rows display- 
ing the different objects of their cultivation. Various fruits, which are 
almost unprocm-able in Europe at that season (Avinter), were exhibited in 
great profusion in this market, which was crowded with negresses, Maltese, 



Marseilles flower-girls, &c. &c. A short distance after leaving the market, 
our party jjassed a Protestant church of moderate dimensions, which at 
tliat time Avas nearly completed. When they had issued from the gate of 
Bab-azouu, they turned up an ascending road to the right, where a stone 
has been placed with an inscription stating that it was traced out by 
General Berthezene in 1831. 

Following this road they reached the Fort de I'Empereur, which com- 
mands a magnificent view of the coast and town. Between the fort and 
the shore the eye plunges into a large ravine thickly studded with houses 
sun-ounded by gardens ; more to the right is a heap of ruins, which are 
the only remains of our consul's villa; and looking back you see the com- 
mencement of the Sahel and Delhi Ibrahim, a small European village on 
the road to Douera. The Fort de I'Empereur forms a large square on an 
eminence completely commanding Algiers ; but it is no longer fortified, and 
is only garrisoned by one company of disciplinaires.'^ This fort was the 
largest work in the vicinity of the capital under the Turkish government, 
and was named after Charles the Fifth. It is situated to the right of the 
town, and commands the approaches from the land side. The hill on which 
it stands is 1100 metres (3608 feet) south of the Casbah, and 210 {C)88 
feet) above the sea; and it consisted in 1830 of three bastions with a 
cavalier in the centre, and used to mount 50 cannon. t 

After passing the fort, St. Marie proceeded along a broad road called 
the Girdle road, which, however, was not in a fit condition for the passage 
of carts, having on each side hedges of myrtle, haAvthorn, and lilac, and on 
one side a limpid little stream. These features of scenery, added to the 
view of the roadstead on the left and clusters of shady trees on the right, 
made this part of the ride most delightful. Soon after, a pathway down 
a steep declivity brought them to the village of Upper Mustapha, where 
a terrace in front of the restaurant commands a fine view. To the left 
appears the city, with the Fort of the Emperor ; further down the village 
of Lower ]\Iustapha and its cavalry camp; to the right you see the village 
of Koubah;! and nearer the sea-shore the Jardin d'Essai (experimental 
garden), the mills of Hussein Dey, and near the end of the curve, the 
white walls of the Maisou Carrie. Broad roads connect these different 
points, and the picture is enlivened by numerous country-houses and 
green pleasure-grounds. 

The most recent works effected by the military engineers at Mustapha 
are the construction of a forge and a cart-house, a masonry trough, and 

* St. Marie, pp. 20-23 and 47-49. 

+ See the description of this fort shortly after the French conquest, by Captain Rozet, 
Voyage, &c. Prince Piickler Muskau's Semilasso in Africa, vol. i. ; and Dr. Russel's 
Barbary States. 

+ The niilitary engineers have lately established temporary ditches at Koubah, and put 
in order the buildings of this camji before giving it up to the civil administration {des 
domaines). Tableau, &c. 1850, p. 17. 

TnE JARDIN d'essai. . 99 

three aqueducts to bring in a supply of water. Several bureaux for the 
different officials have been added, and some stables built. They have, 
moreover, lately erected there a store for forage on the side C, two masonry 
basins containing 300 hectolitres (about GGOO gallons), and a branch from 
the aqueduct of Hammah to feed them.* 

The villages of Upper and Lower Mustapha are built on the slope of a 
hill; and the latter contains a cavalry camp, which Avas occupied in 1845 
by the first regiment of the Chasseurs d'Afrique, commanded by General 
Bourgon, a man who has distinguished himself in Africa. The camp is 
surrounded by wooden palisades, and the stables form one of the four sides 
of the upper quadrangle. Within its ample precincts are contained a 
small hospital, veterinary hospital, and surgeon's quarters : it possesses 
also extensive magazines of forage, and is supplied with water from a 
neighbouring stream, which requires filtering.f 

Upper Mustapha (Mustapha Superieur) is built on a declivity of the 
Sahel about a league from Algiers, and is surrounded by most exquisite 
fruit-gardens. It was formerly the palace of the Dey's son, and boasted a 
great degree of splendour. The edifice, was built round two courts, the 
smaller of which is adorned with 64 marble columns supporting magnifi- 
cent rooms that formerly constituted the seraglio.;}: Nevertheless the 
bland I'epose of European scenery is wanting here, the lines being rigid 
and iiot sufficiently softened off. On the opposite side of the road stands 
the country house of the Governor, once the Dey's ; near it is an old 
Moorish house occupied l)y the Colonel of the 1st Chasseurs ; and further 
back is the country residence of General Yussuf.§ All these are large 
buildings,^ and the gardens surrounding them contain fine fountains and 

The cavalry camp of Lower Mustapha is very clean, with flower-beds 
under the- officers' windows, besides a cafe and restaurant. The privates 
sleep on iron bedsteads; at the head of the bed are the trappings, arms, and 
bridle of the horse ; at the foot of the bed the saddle is placed ready for 
use, and in eight minutes tlie trooper may be mounted. When visited by 
St. Marie, wild boars, eagles, &c. were roaming about the barracks ; these 
animals having been tamed by the officers, who are much attached to the 
chase. At a little distance, we find a Moorish coffee-house called "the 
Plane-tree,"|| on one side of which is a marble fountain and a small mara- 
bout with fine plane-trees; fixcing this cafe is the railing of the Experi- 
mental Garden. The road, after passing the cafe, followed the curved 

* Tableau de la Situation, &c. 1850, p. 17. + St. Marie, pp. 47-50. 

J The Foreign Legion, p. 16. 

§ A distinguished cavalry officer in the French service, of uncertain extraction, of 
•whom Prince Piicklor Muskau gives an interesting description, and whose romantic adven- 
tures will be noticed in the chapter on the French Army, Part II, 

11 Hammah. 


line of the sea- shore; and after riding some distance, says St. Marie, we 
came to some water-mills on a shady little stream. These mills, the 
rivulet, and a bridge, are all called Hussein-Dey. The bridge is thought 
by the Count to be of Roman construction, and the banks of the stream 
are clothed with a luxurious vegetation. The acanthus, with its broad, 
glossy, dentated leaves, looked at a distance like a Corinthian capital level 
with the ground. The road in this part is overshadowed by enormous 
fig-trees, and the Avild vine and ivy are seen climbing up the acacias, 
orange, and lemon trees. The officers of Mustapha barracks were ob- 
served in this vicinity, on their road to hunt wild boars on the banks of 
the Haratch, armed with Cossack lances, and followed by large Hon dogs. 

The road still descending brought them to the bridge of the Haratch,* 
at the foot of the hill on which stands the Maison Carree. This bridge, 
which is of Moorish construction, consists of ten arches ; but when visited 
by St. Marie Avater Howed through one of the arches only, whilst in the 
rainy season all are filled. At the end of the bridge is a post of native 
tirailleurs, and further on occur a few European houses used as inns. It is 
a curious fact, that all the houses in the villages of Algeria are places of pub- 
lic accommodation, i. e. drink and other refreshments are every where sold. 
Beyond this spot they arrived by a zig-zag road at the summit of the hill 
and before the fort of the Maison Carree, which is a barrack rather than a 
fortress. There are embrasures on all sides of the walls, which are twelve 
feet high ; four sides of the interior are occupied by buildings used for the 
service of the barracks ; and a little square building in the centre of the 
court contains the officers' apartments, the powdei*- magazine, and the 
stables. The fort can contain about 1200 men, and would be the key 
to the road to Algiers if captured by an armed force coming from Fon- 
doulk or Kabylia. " This fort," says St. Marie, " is of Moorish construc- 
tion, but I could not learn the particulars of its origin, though the building 
appears contemporary with the Emperor's Fort. Leaving the Maison 
Carree, and turning your back to the sea, you have before you a distant 
view of the Fondoulk, the Mitidja, and the beginning of the Lesser Atlas 
chain. A few white spots on the horizon shew the site of Blidah. All 
around you in this spot is barrenness and stunted vegetation." 

Men of sense in Algeria spoke in 1845 (the panic year) of running a 
jetty round the shore of the bay, which is a quicksand, for a railway 
leading fi'om Algiers to Blidah, passing the Maison Carree, and afford- 
ing communication with some new villages about to be built at the foot 
of the mountains of Kabylia. 

After the ]\Iaison Carree St. Marie and his party came to a plain of 
sand along the shore, and halted at a sequestered building called the 
Water Fort, now no longer a militaiy post, but the property of a colonist. 

• By an unaccountable ovorBiglit St. Mario calls the Haratch the Shellif' which runs 
west of Miliana. 


They then left tlic sands, pkinging into thickets of jujubes by a patli 
leading in the direction of the Rasauta, a secluded farmhouse, which 
was at that time surrounded by several little encampments of Arabs. It 
belonged at that period to a Spaniard, and was surmounted by a steeple. 
The encampments were almost hidden by plantations of fig-trees and aloes, 
but they perceived that the tents were high and covered with skins of ani- 
mals, and their approach was guarded by numerous Arab dogs, who have 
a natural antipathy to Europeans, whom they would wony and devour if 
they entered a douar (Arab village) without the protection of a native. 
Continuing their excursion, they passed on the left the little French village 
of Fondoulk,* situated nine leagues (22^ miles) E. of Algiers, where there 
is an entrenched camp ; and they proceeded to ford the Haratch,f which 
in this part is a narrow stream with high banks. Soon after passing the 
river they came to a road running through an immense ditch, which the 
colonial government proposed at one i>eriod to carry as a vast moat round 
Algiers in a circuit of ten miles, for the purpose of enclosing and protect- 
ing a portion of the JNIitidja and the remaining district near the capital. 

A short distance further on they reached the Ferme Modele (Model 
Farm), an establishment formed for the purpose of improving the breed 
of cattle, and the quality of fruit, vegetables, ifec. It has, however, proved 
an entire failure, owing to its exposed situation, having been plundered by 
the Arabs, who, moreover, destroyed the crops of corn around it. The fields 
belonging to it are now used for fodder, and as soon as the grass is mown 
it is given to the government, as otherwise the Arabs woiUd burn it. 
When visited by St. Marie, the farm was in a ruinous condition, and he 
was of opinion that it ought to be abandoned. Pursuing their road, our 
party came to a Mooi-ish fountain, which some military wag had christened 
Cabaret du 43me, an inscription then legible on the masonry. Soon 
after passing this spot the road became monotonous, the vegetation on 
this part of the Sahel being stunted in its growth, and consisting princi- 
pally of thickets of brambles. They advanced to a more verdant hill, and 
to some mills belonging to a Maltese, who arrived almost penniless at Al- 
giers a few years ago, and now by thrift and steadiness has been able to 
marry his daughters with handsome dowries. In a ravine at their feet 
they saw from this spot the village of Birkadem,^ containing some colo- 
nists' houses in the European style, a handsome Moorish coffee-house, and 
a white marble fountain in the Byzantine style. All the houses of this 
village have pretty gardens with running streams before them, and the 
neighbouring country presents a delightful pastoral appearance and a 


* The word Fondouk i^-^'i means literally 'bazaar.' A. Gorguos' Coins dWrahe, 
&c. vol. i. p. 219. It comes from the Greek irav^oxftov. 

t Here again St. Marie calls the Haratch the Shellif, p. 54. 
+ I* JVrs- .-J, ' Birkadem/ the Well of the Negress. 


luxuriant vegetation. They proceeded hence along a well-made road to 
the village of Birmandreis, which in most respects resembles that of Bir- 
kadem. After descending another little declivity, they mounted to the 
summit of the ridge, where stands a monument erected to General 
Voirol, under whose direction this road was made. Descending the other 
side of the hill to the capital, they were delighted, as the shades of night 
came on, with the brilliant phosphorescent appearance of the sea at their 

The whole coast from Algiers to the fortified camp of Kouba was 
formerly inhabited by the most wealthy Turks and Moors, who spent here 
in pleasure th.e prizes they gained in piracy. Many of these villas 
are still in good repair, and in the hands of French and Spanish pro- 
prietors ; and the soil around them is very productive, owing to the 
springs which rise in the hills. There still remain many traces of the 
Eoman and Moorish mode of irrigation • but the bold arches built by the 
former have long been in a state of decay, while the modest pipes laid 
down by the latter underground are found to be still serviceable. The 
bay pi-esents the most enchanting scene for a few miles E. of Algiers, 
the sides of the mountains being crowded with beautiful gardens and villas 
built in the Moorish style. On the ridge of the Sahel there used to be 
(1841) a semicircular chain of fortified camps and blockhouses, intended 
to protect this fruitful district against the Berbers. Many of these still 
exist, t 

Opposite the barracks of the Avaggon-train previously described, in the 
faubourg of Bab-azoun, is the roatl winding up to the Fort de I'Empereur 
on the top of the mountain. This was the first of the military roads that 
have now become so common in Algeria; it bears the name of the Chemin 
Eovigo, having been made in 1832, when the duke of that name was 
governor-general. After letting ofi'this branch, the street of the faubourg 
Bab-azoun coasts along the strand, passes between the marabout of Sidi- 
Abd-el-Kader-el-Djelali (frequented by women Avho want to have children), 
and some French guinguettes (drinking-booths) shaded by palm-trees, whose 
graceful shapes and verdant freshness present a strange contrast to the 
prosaic wine-bibbers that frequent the pot-houses underneath them. Beyond 
these European structures the faubourg ends, though you meet a number 
of habitations with shining whitewashed walls, that contrast well with the 
verdant country all the way to the Maison Carrce.;}: 

The square fort to tiie right of the city, fort Bab-azoun, standing on 
the sea-shore, which it commands, is situated one-fourth of a league (two- 
thirds of a mile) from Algiers beyond the Bab-azoun faubourg, and con- 
sists of a simple rectangle of masonry. It has an elevation of 15 metres 
(49-20 feet) ; it presents a fine battery on the side facing the sea; and it 

* St. Mario, p. 64. t The Foreign Legion, pp. 15-18. , 

i" Berbruggor, p. 19. 


stands S.S.E. of, and distant about one mile from, the mole. Beyond 
fort Bab-azoun, one-fourth of a league to the east of Algiers, is a plain 
1200 metres (3936 feet) in breadth, extending to the Mitidja, and enclosed 
between the sea and the coteau or declivity of Mustapha. The French 
have planted what they call a Jardin dEssai (experimental garden) in this 
plain, which is named Hammah. To the east of the Haratch, three miles 
beyond fort Bab-azoun, is the Fort de I'Eau, which is an irregular building, 
but no longer a military post. There used to be several batteries, and 
some still exist, between Algiers and Cape Matifou along the sea-coast, 
the distance separating those two points being 24 kilometres (14'29 miles). 
The Maison Rouge, alias Maison Carree, is situated on a hill above the 
Haratch, and was formerly the Haouch of the Aga, where he kept 2000 
men in garrison ; it consists of a square building, each side measuring 
85 fathoms. 

On a subsequent occasion St. Marie made another excursion, passing 
through Lower ]\Iustapha, Birmandreis, and Birkadem,* till he came to a 
plateau that commands the Sahel range. Turning to the right from the 
Model Farm, and following a narrow road, after proceeding eight leagues 
(2 miles) they saw the chain of the Little Atlas before them. Around 
them an immense plain, the Mitidja, extended on all sides, with only one 
solitary palm-tree visible on its ample surface. At length they arrived at 
Buffarick after a four hours' ride : it is surrounded by verdant poplars, in 
a delightful situation, and is supplied with plenty of water ; indeed the 
supply is somewhat too copious for the salubrity of the place. The streets 
of Buffarick are wide and straight, and shaded by rows of poplars and 
willows. Many of the houses are built of stone, instead of the poor 
wooden ones which used to constitute the Camp of Erlon, part of which 
was still in existence in 1845 at one end of the town, and contained 
some troops. -j- 

" Buffarick," says M. Lamping, " is another fortified camp and a small 
village which stands on the river Haratch, in the middle of the plain of 
Mitidja. The soil is hei'e very productive, but the air so unhealthy that 
the village has been depopulated more than once." Official documents 
add that this place, which was once so unhealthy, has recovered its salubrity 
through the extensive system of drainage that has been introduced. Its 
buildings are spacious and numerous, it is surrounded by a considerable 
extent of cultivated land, and its colonists are in easy circumstances. 
Nineteen farms radiate from this town as from a common centre ; and 
the authorities are now engaged in extending its territory, as its narrow 
limits form the only obstacle to its rapid increase. 

The Mitidja plain, says another tourist, in one place cultivated with 

* The camps of Birkadem and Beni-siam are to be converted into hospitals. Tableau, 
p. 17. 

t St. Marie, p. 78 ; the Foreign Legion, p. 41-, Castellane, .pp. 4, 5. 



com, in another stretching out in wide expanses of brushwood and coarse 
grass or vast marshes, producing forests of lofty reeds, offei-s in some parts 
a fine covert for the wild boar and the panther.* At a spot in the plain 
called Arba there is held once a week one of the greatest markets of the 
neighbourhood, which is much frequented bv Arabs, who bring to it their 
horses, cattle, and other property. Arba is a pleasant spot. Delightful groves 
of orange, lemon, and pomegranate trees, with massive clumps of lentisks and 
wild olives, adorn this portion of the plain ; and at that season (May) the 
earth was gay with flowers of every hue, whilst the song of the nightingale 
was heard on all sides ; and what was better still, the travellers' horses 
were revelling among fine herbage. This position is at the foot of the 
Djebel Monssa, one of the inferior heights of the Little Atlas. Xumerous 
streams water the plain in the neighbourhood, of which the principal is 
the Ouad-Arba ; yet though the water they contain is clear, it is not whole- 
some, being liable to produce diarrhoea, t 

Takmg the gentle reader by the hand, we shall now lead him to some 
of the most picturesque and characteristic haunts andloimges of the natives 
near Algiers. 

On a ridge that commands Algiers, at the distance of 150 metres 
(492 feet), towering over the immense ravine that separates the Boujareah 
from the hiU on which the capital is built, there stand the remains of a 
fort raised by Hassan Pasha. It was built of a kind of mortar which 
reminds one of the Eoman cement, and is consolidated by corner-stones 
of strong masonry, which must have given it the strength of Eoman 
buildings, and in this respect it departs widely from most native struc- 
tures. Enormous facings of wall stand still erect, owing to the gi-eat 
adherence of the materials, and astonish the beholder by their size ; but 
h a ng ing over a precipice undermined by the action of rain-water, they con- 
stantly threaten the demolition of the frail structures scattered over the 
lull beneath. 

It was in these ruins, called by the French the Fort de I'Etoile or des 
Tagarins, that the batteries were begun, intended to breach the Casbah in 
1830, when the people of Algiers, fearing a storm, forced the Dey Hassan 
to enter into negotiations preliminary to the suirender. The Tagarins was 
m rums in 1830, having been blown up by a negress, who, jealous of her 
master the governor, fired the powder-magazine and perished T\-ith him. 

The Emperor's Fort was used as a prison for officers in 1843. If the 
main building rose a little higher above the walls, it would form a toler- 
ably agreeable dwelling, and the delicious view that it commands would 
be a great compensation for a short captivitj" within its precinc-ts. :^ 

The fort is what the French call a chevrd, or astride, on the ridge 
that descends from the culminating point on which towers the Casbah, 
and commands a \-iew of the road to Blidah, by the Sahel ridge, also of 

• Dawson Borrer, p. 20. t Ibid, p. 2L * Eerbrugger, part i. 


the road to the same town that passes by Birkadera and the plain, and 
of a third road that runs along the sea-shore towards the Maison Carree, 
where it di^^des into several branches, some leading to the farms of the 
ten-itory of Beni-Mouca, whilst another terminates in the camps of Fon- 
douk and of Kara-Mustapha, and a farther branch leads to the solitudes 
of Cape Matifou. 

These different roads, which are continually paced by a population pre- 
senting an inconceivably bizaiTe mixture, and animated by an extraordinary 
movement and circulation, offer a most attractive spectacle. 

Add to this the sea-view, the continual arrival and departure of ships 
of war and merchant vessels, the appearance of the pretty villas svir- 
rounding the fort, some of which, suspended over abrupt precipices, look 
like pictures hanging to a wall, — and the reader may form a proximate 
idea of the noble scenery commanded by the Fort de I'Empereur.* 

Though the Barbary pirates were no respecters of persons or of na- 
tions, the ambassadors of Christian states seem generally to have led a 
luxurious and easy life at Algiers. 

The consulate of Sweden was one of those channing country-seats so 
numerous near the capital before conquest, war, and military occupation 
had left fatal traces of their passage in felling most of the noble trees 
that adorned its gardens. The spot where the consulate stands must be 
the site of some Roman structure, from the remains that have been lately 
discovered there ; nor is this strange, as the slopes of Mustapha must 
always have been a favourite spot for \'illas, and most of the consuls 
resided on this side, including those of Holland, Spain, Denmark, and 
Sweden. The residence of the latter is situated on one of the culminating 
points of the slope of Mustapha, and the eye embraces both declivities. 
Few views can equal that which meets the eye from this point ; as you 
behold in one glance all the details of a richly cultivated landscape, 
adorned with all the attractions of art, and the wild backgi-ound of the 
rugged and precipitous mountains that frown above it. The blue watei-s 
of the Mediterranean perpetually breaking against the dark schistous 
rocks of the coast cover the shores with a circle of white foam, that 
presents the appearance of a broad silvery band, diversified at night by 
phosphorescent streams of fire. Mountain, plain, and ocean harmonise 
beautifidly in this graceful view, which the eye is never satiated with 
beholding. -j- 

Between the Fort Xeuf and the .Jardin du Dey. to the left of the road 
of Boujareah, there appear a number of whitewashed tombs, which at a 
distance look like a fiock of sheep iu a meadow. Their shape is very 
like the hull of a ship reversed, and placed on a rectangular base. Some 
of these monuments are of marble, and almost all contain inscriptions, of 

* Berbrugger's Alg^rie, part i. f Ibid. 



which some are very short, only giving a simple enumeration of the names 
and qualities of the deceased, whilst others, much longer, cover the stone, 
and contain many scriptural extracts. This is the Jewish cemetery.* 

Following the road from Algiers to Koubah, the traveller finds at the 
foot of the hills, and oj)i)Osite the Jardin d'Essai, the pretty Cafe of Ham- 
mah, called by Europeans the Cafe of the Plantain-trees. This name is 
derived from the fine trees that shade the native building, whose appear- 


ance, however, has been greatly changed since the conquest. The pitiless 
hand of civilisation has here, as elsewhere, almost demolished the pic- 
turesque. The narrow shady path that used to lead there has been re- 
placed by a wide, straight, dusty road, the work of civil engineers. The 
formal avenues and regular alleys of the Experimental Garden are the pre- 
sent substitutes for the wild and capacious clumps of trees that used to 
sei)arate it from the Mediterranean. Then the noisy French guinguette 
(wine-shop) has hung up its symbolical cork alongside the Moorish cafe, 
tyi)ifying the contrasts of the two races. Thus, next door to the lively, 

• Ccrbrngger, pnvt i. 


gay, and noisy French, adding to their natural excitement the fictitious 
excitement of fermented liquoi-.s, you see the grave and immovable natives 
sipping Mocha and ])ure water, — inoffensive tonics that leave the reason 

Leaving the broad prose of the wine-shop, let us enter the poetical at- 
mosphere of the Moorish cafe, realising the di'cams of Eastern romance. 
Several large mats are extended in the shade of the plantains, and the 
customers may be invariably seen seated there with their legs crossed, or 
recumbent in the scriptural and classical attitude of John and Alcibiades. 
The shop of the qahoiuidji 157^^' or coffee-house-keeper faces the centre 
tree, and contains benches covered with mats ; but it is seldom re- 
sorted to, save in bad weather. Near a stove, always containing boiling 
water, stands the mortar in which the coffee is pounded ; and over it hangs 
a board destined to receive the iiames of those customers who are suffi- 
ciently well known to obtain credit. Some pipes, a few wooden foot- 
stools, and two or three draught-boards, form the rest of the furniture. 
There is a great distance between this simple establishment and the daz- 
zling luxury of Frencli cafes ; but the situation, architecture, and arrange- 
ments of these native Algerian coffee-houses are so picturesque, original, 
and antique, that they give birth to tranquil and primitive emotions, 
foreign to the gildings and trappings of the French metropolis. Though 
frescoes and gilding are wanting, there is nothing to excite the painful 
reflection of palled appetites and bankrupt competition, as in our princely 
houses of entertainment. 

The qahouadji of Hammah, without the dread of failures or rivals, 
passes his happy days at his stove or among his customer>s. Armed with 
a little pair of tongs, he may be seen hurrying to deposit a live coal in the 
pipe of one customer ; whilst he hands a fendjal, or cup of aromatic coffee, 
to another, for the modest price of five centimes (a halfpenny). When not 
engaged in these duties he is always at his post by the stove, concocting 
the precious liquor that forms the basis of his revenues. When the water 
boils, he pours in the bruised coffee, stirs it a few minutes, and then after 
pouring it several times from one pot to anothei-, discharges it at length 
into very small cups, with copper egg-cups as saucers. ,The beverage 
taken in small quantities in hot weather is very wholesome and re- 
freshing, and a happy substitute for those copious libations of debili- 
tating fluids that predispose the system to fever and dysentery. 

The natives do not resort to these places only to drink coffee. They 
play at many games, especially cards, making use of Spanish packs and 
terms. Thus they call the colours, oros, copas, espados, bastos, and the 
court cards, rey, dama, sola, and the others, cucUro, as, seis, itc. The 
frequent intercoui'se between Barbary and the Peninsula, and the Andalu- 
sian origin of many Mooi-s, will expkxin this fact. 

Draughts are also a favourite amusement ; but the squares, instead of 

108 HACiiicn. 

being black and white as with us, are hollow or flat alternately. They 
also substitute for our men two kinds of pieces, whereof one resembles 
the castle, and the other the pawns in chess. , Their mode of play like- 
wise differs somewhat from ours ; e. g. no one can be forced to take. 

But the entertainments of the Eami, or story-teller, are the great at- 
traction. It is chiefly in the Ramahdan ftist that this worthy displays his 
powers. The Thousand and One Nights are the chief fund on which he 
draws ; and when he originates the matter, his improvisations have a 
revolting obscenity to European ears. Some expressions are continually 
repeated in their discourses, such as JU qal, l::^jIJ! qalet, jlli qalou (he 

■C (J 

has said, she has said, they have said), J-'-* J ^- J "J qal fil matsel 

(they say in the story), J^i [J kiman quolou (as they say, &c.), render- 
ing an Exeter-Hall patience necessary to endure such monotonous deli- 

There are some other recreations to Avhich the less rigid Mussulmans 
addict themselves at the coffee-houses, including a certain description of 
intoxication, called kif, not prohibited in the Koran. Some take afioun 
(opium) f others munch a kind of bean named bouzaqa, which is re- 
ported to kill all animals having the appendage of a tail (zaqa). They 
also eat an opiate paste, madjoun ; the women are particularly fond of 
this substance. Boundje is another intoxicating substance that they em- 
ploy ; but hachich,f or Indian hemp, mashed fine, and smoked in very 

* From <i"^j\^ O'^'fydj health, calm, serenity. 

t The botanical features of this plant will he found in the chapter on the Algerian 
Flora ; but we propose to give in this note the substance of Dr. Lagger's remarks on the 
mode of preparing and using the plant. Koempfer says that the tenn i:if is used in Persia 
to designate all substances that generate intoxicating effects. The principal of these sub- 
stances are tobacco, the poppy, and hemp. Silvestre de Sacy informs us that the Arabs 
of Egypt use the term kief to designate the stupor into which the use of the hachich 
throws them. 

In Algeiia they apply the names of Zv/, oihacMch, and sometimes oi teh'ouri, to the 
extremity of the stem of the hemp, including the leaves, the flowers, and the seed, some- 
times smoked by the natives in very diminutive pipes. Those smokers are mostly inha- 
bitants of the towns and villages, and are rarely met with among the Bedouins. The 
Arabs call hemp Manal. European hemp is styled by botanists cannabis saliva, Indian 
hemp oinnahis indica, called huc/dck in Egypt. Mekrizy, who lived in the fifteenth 
century, maintains that the use of hacliich was discovered by Scheikh Haider, who died 
in 618 Heg. (ll'il) ; others attribute it to Scheikh Birazian, who lived at the time of 
Cosroes ; and some have affirmed that it was known to the ancient Greeks. 

Its employment has been repeatedly forbidden by the Mussulman sovereigns. In 
Algeria the French troops and colonists have only used it to become acquainted with its 
effects. In all parts of the regency this hemp is cultivated by the natives in gardens 
surrounding tlie towns, exclusively for the purpose of smoking, or otherwise consuming 
its stem. At Constantina, and in some other towns, they prepare comfits made of it, 
which are eaten to procure jjleasaut dreams. To make the madjoun, the hemp is first 


little pipes exclusively used for purpose, is the great instmment for 
creating kif. 

The inebriation resulting from the use of these substances has generally 
a tranquil character : the persons under its influence have commonly bril- 
liant eyes and a bright complexion ; sometimes a vacant laugh disturbs their 
features, at others a melancholy torpor settles on their face. They say 
that the chief object in view in using them is, because they are powerful 

The coifee-house proprietors are Turks, or Koulouglis ; and some say 
they are employed as spies by government, to report the conversation of 
Moors and Arabs, which is, however, generally vague and extravagant. 

Before we leave this cafe, it should be added that it is built on 
the channel of a Roman aqueduct that descended from the hills of Mus- 
tapha, and abutted at a kind of reservoir, of which some traces were found 
in surveying the Jardin d'Essai. All the remains found on this spot con- 
sist of some foundations, an oval basin paved in mosaic work and cut 
in two by a partition wall, a medal of the Lower Empire, and some frag- 
ments of pottery." 

On the slope of the hills of Mustapha is another interesting object, 
consisting of the remains of a country house belonging to Dey Mustapha, 
and surrounded by beautiful gardens. The hills of Mustapha stretch from 
Bab-azoun in the direction of the Maison Carree, and display all the rich- 
ness of southern vegetation, and the remains of great luxury in Moorish 
architecture. The gardens of Mustapha Dey are situated above the vast 
infantry barracks of that name, and were a favourite resort of the proprietor, 
who used to keep his wives there in the fine season, and retii'ed to 
that spot himself to seek repose after the fatigues of office. The Algerine 
people were very partial to him, and still praise his justice and kindness. 
These qualities probably led to his ruin, as the Janissaries wished for 
sterner and more uncompromising leaders. Having heard of their inten- 
tion to slay him, one day that he was going from the Djemiuah to the 
mosque of Seida,-}- as a last resource, he fled with his khaznadji (finance 
minister) to seek refuge in the sanctuary of Sid-Wali-Dada, situated at 

pounded, and then mixed with honey or butter; but the most usual way of consuming 
it is by smoking. The following is a common preparation of it : hemp-seed is pounded 
and boiled with an equal quantity of sugar and water, in the jiroportion of one-half to 
two pounds of sugar. Among the Harectas (province of Constantina) hachich-leaves are 
given to the horses to give them spirit on fantasia days (ffite-days with sham-figlits). 

The cm-ious reader who wishes to learn farther particulars relating to hachich and its 
ecstatic effects is referred to Ebn Beitar's Treatise on Simples, J. J. Ampere's article in 
the Eevue des deux Mondes, January 1842 ; and M. Aubcrt Roche's experiences of its 
effects in the Vocahulaire d'Histoire Natardle attached to General Daumas's Grand 
Desert, p. 401. 

* Berbrugger, part i. 

■f* A very pretty mosque pulled down by the French. 


Ketchaoua, a little aboA^e the mosque that has been converted into a 
Catholic church. But the road was blocked up by mutineers clamorously 
demanding the head of !Mustapha ; and when the khaznadji entered the 
street, he was instantly cut to pieces. The unhappy dey followed the 
steps and shared the fate of his minister, being hacked to pieces by the 
yataghans of the Janissaries before he had time to reach the door of 
the marabout. 

No one who visited Algiers a few years since can have forgotten seeing 
in the streets of that city a lame old man with a long silvery beard, whose 
gentle and venerable countenance attracted the beholder : he was the first 
native who wore the cross of the Legion of Honour over his oriental dress. 
This old' man was the son of Mustapha Pasha; a circumstance that alone 
would not have secured him much consideration among his compatriots if 
this Koulougli had not possessed a large fortune. Out of office a man was 
nothing in that country ; and frequent revolutions, as well as polygamy, had 
indefinitely multiplied the dcy's children. Hence the humblest European 
visitor at Algiers may now have his boxes carried by the offspring, of those 
proud pirate chiefs, once the terror of Christendom.* 

Important monuments are so rare in Algeria, save in the tov>iis, that 
Europeans are always wont to attribute them to an older people than the 
present possessors of the soil. Thus the bridge of the Haratch has been 
given a Roman origin, though Charles V., in his disastrous expedition of 
1541, fovmd no bridge there, and was forced to throw a flying bridge across 
the river. Lastly, the Arabic inscription given below removes all doubt 
on the subject, proving that it was built in 1149 of the hegira (a.d* 173G) 
by Pasha Ibrahim-ben-Eamahdan. 

During a great part of the year this bridge is as useless as that over the 
Manzanares at ^Madrid ; but in rainy weather it is invaluable, maintaining 
the communication with the eastern tribes. The apathy of the Turks had 
deferred its erection for two centuries, and it was only under the last dey 
that it was secured by the erection of the fortress called the Maison Garree 
by Yahhya Arha. The pirate government, in its usual regard for the 
liberties of its subjects, built it after the following 2>lan. Every one who 
had to pass the bridge to Algiers was obliged on his return, if he had beasts 
of burden, to bring a load of sand, mortar, and bricks. Those who could 
not be turned to account in this fashion were forced to work at it like day- 
labourers ; and when they asked for food after a hard day's work, they were 
paid by a good bastinado. 

The military importance of this spot did not escape the French ; it be- 
came their out-post to the east, and remained so in 1843. Before describing 
the bridge, a word on its builder. Ibrahim was raised to authority on the 

* Berbiniggor, part i. 


12th of Eaby-el-Aouel, 1145 (23(1 April, 17:52). This is proved by his 
seal ; and he bore the name of Khaznadar, having been treasurer before 
he became pasha. He met with a good sliare of misfortunes in his adminis- 
tration, as the Spaniards retook Oran, which they had lost in 1708 ; and in 
1147 (a.d. 1734) Algiers was ravaged by a terrible famine, corn costing 
three ryals (about ten francs) the saa (three-fifths of a hectolitre).* In 
1740 it was visited by the plague, which came from the west, and lasted 
three years. In 1840 a violent storm destroyed a great many ships in 
the port; and in 1742 the lightning struck the Bordj Mouley Hhacan 
(Emperor's Fort), set fire to the powder-magazine, and blew it up with the 
gaiTison. Happily for Ibrahim, his Janissaries were not so superstitious as 
those of Omar Pasha, who was slain, though much beloved, because the 
plague, the locusts, and Lord Exmouth had come in his time. Ibra- 
him, like his predecessors, was almost independent of Turkey. The only 
war he undertook was one with Tunis, which ended in his favour by his 
appointing his subject AH Bey as its governor. Ibrahim died in 1158 
(a.d. 174.5), and was succeeded by his khaznadji, Ibrahim Khoudja. Like 
all the biographies of the Algerine deys, save one or two, this notice is 
meagre enough, a matter perhaps not greatly to be regretted. 

The position of the bridge over the Haratch is eminently unhealthy; 
hence it has always been garrisoned by native troops in French pay. In 
1843 they consisted of native tirailleurs under the Chef de Bataillon Verge. 
A native tribe, called the Aribs, has also been settled for some years in the 
eastern part of the Mitidja. These Arabs are natives of the province of 
Constantina, where being dispossessed of their own territory by more power- 
ful neighbours, they came west, the greater part settling at Hamza; but 
many were granted the Easauta district, which they peaceably enjoyed till 
it was given to the Polish prince Mir. After some discussion the mutual 
claims were adjusted, and the Aribs remain. Besides being shepherds, they 
are ]\Iakhzen, or irregular horsemen ; and their chief bears the name of 
Ben ZekrI, and professes to be descended from the great Grauadan family 
of that name. He is said to be partial to the bottle. 

An attempt was also made to establish an Arab colony near the Ha- 
ratch bridge, consisting of a gathering of Arabs, Kabyles, (fee. from all 
parts of Algeria. This rabble was christened the Beni-Ramasses by the 
soldiers, and has naturally failed, the Frank and Mussulman elements not 
admitting of. an easy fusion and amalgamation. 

There is now only a little village containing a hundred houses, built 
in a straight line, near the bridge. Its inhabitants consist exclusively of 
the native tirailleurs and their families. No cultivation is carried on, 
and the only means of subsistence of the heads of these families is derived 
from their pay. 

* 8.?. 4d. ; three-fifths of 22-009667 gaUons, ?. e. for about 16 imperial gallons, or 2 


We here present the inscription of Ibrahim on the bridge, with its 
translation : 

^A\\ L-j! A-.3i» ^:a ^^ 

^.:.111 t. ^U\ l3jL. ^i- 

^j'AtS li^ ijyk:.j l*ai 

\jyi^-o ^^j^ ^j\;^J 

J (J -^ o ^ o 

i,. ""' ";^>-<J L*''"'*'L'\j ^-^->— ' '■"-"^ 

The anxiety to make each half-line rhyme with the following has caused 
some woi'ds to be removed from their legitimate place by the composer. 
Thus, instead of L:ii at the beginning of the second half of the second 
line, you ought to read tU^i. We annex the English transcription of 
these lines, followed by their translation. 

Tamma benaouana albery allahy an idny banyhi lioudj allahy. 

Eihi Ibraliim Pasha ben Ramahdan amara fas&ra cantharatan lana kamatara. 

Djaala allali sayahou sayan mashkouran oua djezc\oiihou djezaan moufonran. 

Sanata tesan oua arbayn oua mayet oua alf min hadjarati min lahoualizz oua alscliarf. 


{The words in the inscrij^tioyi are siqyposed to he spoken !>>/ men of Algiers.) 

"Wo have finished this wonderful and brilhant stiiictiu-e, with the f)ermission of him 
who undertook it in the sight of God. 

The order came from Ibrahim Pasha, son of Ramahdan ; and the result was the 
bridge you see. 

May God take his efforts as a woi-k worthy of reward ; and may this reward be 
considerable ! 

The 1149th year of the hegii-a of him to whom glory and honour belong. 

The word ' hegira' means flight, as the reader knows ; and the Maho- 
metan era dates from Mahomet's flight from Mecca to Medina. f Ibrahim 
Pasha, of whom mention is here made, came in all probability from Tur- 
key to Algiers, which accounts for the wording being in Ottoman and not 
in Algerian Ai-abic. 

At two kilometres (1^ miles) from Algiers, on the road to Pointe Pes- 
cade, stands a very pretty chapel, now a French cabaret. This is the 

marabout, or koubbah, or q'bor .jj of Sidi Yakoub. We know not on 

wliat principle the saint has made way for the cook, but certain it is that 
religion has here given way to the kitchen, and Bacchus has supplanted 
the holy Mussulman whose remains had reposed in peace on that spot 
for three centuries. Father Haedo calls tlie saint by the surname of 
El-hel-Desi, intended for El Andalouci, shewing that he was a refugee 

* By M. Roinaud, Member of the Institute. ; , f Berbrugger, part i. 


Spanish Moor ; and lie asserts that he went mad towards the end of his 
life. He adds, that he was one of those marabouts who were wont to 
take singular liberties with the fair sex of Algeria, giving a good sound 
beating to the poor women who flocked to kiss his hands. The sly tra- 
veller insinuates that the Algerian ladies, notwithstanding his violent 
habits, did not scruple to invite him and his like to visit them, hoping 
to get young saints by his intercession ; nor did parents or husbands 
oppose this, regarding the practice as a signal blessing. 

The Koubbah of Sidi-Yakoub, built on the top of a schistous rock, and 
encompassed by fine olive-trees, is contiguous to the Hospitals of the Dey 
and of the Salpetri^re, which have been noticed elsewhere. 

Several streams issue from the rock below the koubbah, and flow over 
the strand. This place is named Ayoun-Beni-]Menad, or the fountains of 

The aged natives assert that they received their name from their 
builders, a tribe called the Beni-Menad, living between the western part 
of the Mitidja and Scherschell. These fountains and the koubbah are 
visited with eq^ual fervour by Jews and Mussulmans. The same remark 
applies to Sidi-Ali-Zouoni ; and the Moors state that it is because these 
two saints shewed the Jews some favour. 

The fountains being the residence of genii, a race popular with all sects, 
we need not be surprised at their receiving the attentions of the children 
of Ismael and Israel, though the latter keep to the springs nearest the 

There ai'e seven fountains at Ayoun-Beni-Menad :* 1. Ain-el-Q'hha- 
lah, the black fountain ; 2. Ain-el-Bidha, the white fountain ; 3. Aiu-el- 
Khadrah, the green fountain; 4. Ain-el-Sefrah, the yellow fountain; 
5. Ain-el-Hhamra, the red fountain ; 6. Ain-loun- el-Foul, the beau- 
coloured fountain ; 7. Ain-Oulad-Sergou, the fountain of the children 
of Sergou. j- 

Certain sacrifices are offered up every Wednesday at these fountains, 
respecting which we have gathered the following curious particulars : 

It is necessary to sacrifice a completely black fowl at the black foun- 
tain, a white one at the white fountain, and so forth ; and this practice 

* ,.r--^ df/n makes in the pliu-al /j^'*-^ ayoun, fountaias. The names of the foun- 
tains in the Arabic character are as follows : 

1. -^Isax!^ ^^z Ain-el-Kahm. 

2. '\^f.Ji\ ^^ Ain-el-B>/dd. 

3. 'r<^>- ^\ i-r^-^ Aln-el-Kliadra. 

4. 1 .i..^^l ^.,^ Ain-d-Sfarm. 

5. 1 j^cs^O) ^^..s- Ain-cl-Hamra. 

^- (J*' (J Mr (•'■*^ Abi-lonn-d- 

7. i^z j^ i\£k >*£■ Ain-Oidad-Sergou. 

f The negroes in then- dialect call the Christians Oulad-Sergoxi. 



seems to be of ancient date, as Father Haedo* speaks of the green fountain 
as the Alame-Hader, by which he means the Ain-el-Khadrah; and he re- 
lates that in his day fowls were solemnly sacrificed there to the genii. 

Sheep, goats, and bullocks are also occasionally offered up there, but 
rarely, owing to the poverty of the devotees. The genii are Christian, 
Mussulman, and Jewish ; and the Mahometans relate that Mahomet, not 
wishing the faithful to be tempted during the trying fast of the Ramadhan 
by infidel genii, shuts them all up the night before the beginning of their 
Lent, and only releases them on the 26th of the same month, — in the same 
way that the police in Europe keep a good watch over well-known old 
criminals during holidays. 

The weekly pilgrimages to, and sacrifices at these fountains are for the 
purpose of healing diseases : the process we shall explain presently. But 
the genii are not to be courted with impunity, and the health of the body 
is often recovered at the cost of the soul. The frequenters of these wells 
often become what is called medjnoun (possessed by genii). This disease 
has several developments. Some fancy themselves mendicants, and, what- 
ever their station, go about in rags begging. Others practise what is 
called djehheh, i. e. dance and leap about to the sound of a large drum, 
till they fall down in a kind of trance, in Avhich they can swallow live 
coals, digest nails, &c. This state is evidently analogous to the ^apia of 
the Pythoness and the trances of the dancing dervishes, and may not im- 
probaljly be occasioned by the antesthetic properties of the water or air, 
as in the case of the clefts at Delphi. 

Sometimes the frequenters of the black fountain are seen dancing the 
djebbeb in black dresses on the spot. It would, however, be tedious 
to enumerate all the extravagances connected with this g-ehii-worship, 
though the subject is interesting in a psychological -and anthropological 
point of view. 

We shall now give a brief description of the Wednesday sacrifices. 
Just after the gun-shot fired at dawn, when the gates open, a crowd of 
Moorish women, preceded by negresses with fowls, pour forth towards the 
Jardin du Dey. A few venerable negroes with white beards, and very 
fat negresses, who are the sacrlficators, march in front. 

Arrived at the fountains, the votaries seek their favovu'ite spring. 
The old women throw grains of incense into a little stove, and toss it 
round the body and head of their patients, after which they bathe them 
in the fountain. Young girls arc stripped naked behind a screen formed 
})y the long cotton veils used by the women in the streets ; and after 
their fumigations they soon repair the disorder of their costume, and 
prepare to assist at the sacrifices. 

• ]'':),tlier Il.icdo published iu 1C37 a work ontitlod Topo^-afia y Istoria goueral de 
Argel : VaJladolid, 


A negro, after drawing his knife round the neck of the fowl sevei'al 
times, cuts its throat. Auguries are drawn from the operation. Thus it 
is very unfortunate for the bird to die at once. When dead, the sacri- 
ficator dips his fingers in the blood and daubs the face of the patient. 
AVhcat and other offerings are cast into the sea for the genii after this, 
and the patients depart, carrying water from the springs to complete their 
cure. The cure can be obtained also by proxy. 

It seems strange that one of the fountains, that of the children of Ser- 
gou, should be consecrated to Christians, as that word signifies in the guen- 
aoiuja or negro idiom. But these blacks are some of the chief actors in 
the scene, and many of them before conversion were Abyssinian Chi-istians. 
Not that Christendom has cause to be proud of them, for they cut a most 
disgusting figure in the djebbeb. When thus excited, religious enthusi- 
asm leads them not to bite the thorny leaves of the Barbary fig, or to 
swallow nails and hot coals, but to make a meal like that of the prophet 
Ezekiel,* to satisfy their depraved appetites. 

Many of these curious superstitions and phenomena will remind the 
reader of the convulsionaries of St. Medard, of St. Vitus' s dance in the 
dark ages, and of the Cevennes fanatics, and other epidemic disorders of 
the nervous system wrought by fanaticism and sympathy, and proving 
the uniformity in the psychological and physiological developments of man 
in all phases of time and space, t 

* Ch. iv. ver. 12. 

+ Berbrugger, i. p. 68. See some other interesting particulars on native supersti- 
tions by M. Berbrugger and L. Piesse, in the Legendes Algeriennes, Paris, 184.3 ; also 
Baron Baude's Algeria, vol. i. ; and Relation des Voyages de M. de Braves, Ambassador 
of Henri Quatre in Turkey, 1628. On the djebbeb dance, see Part II. the chapter on 
the Negroes.^ 

Jnten'or of tijc 3I3i'ot)tnfc. 






WHILE our European visitor is engaged in scaling the shoulders of old 
Atlas, or toiling along the dusty roads of Numidia, it may be some 
refi'eshment to his fevered blood to pause awhile under yon shady palms, 
that bend their graceful heads over the whitewashed marabout ; and as he 
wipes the sweat from his brow, to take a svu-vey of the broad features of 
African sceneiy. 

And first, as he casts his weary limbs on the parched ground, let him 
mark well the fiery glories of that southern sun, which no effort of pencil 
or pen can conjure into the misty imaginations of patent cockne3'S and 
hadcmds de Paris. Nothing can give an idea of the sun of Africa to the 
absent ; not even the rising of this glorious orb on the vast expanse of the 
ocean, nor its setting in waves of fire on the savannahs of Guiana. The 
sun of Africa appears gigantic and in unison with the whole aspect of 
nature in this terrible country. The same character of arid grandeur per- 
vades every thing — deserts, rocks, mountains, j>lains ; the vei-y men partake 
of the nature of the lion.* 

After a frugal repast of dates, and a refreshing draught of the crystal 
brook that laves his feet, let our new acquaintance climb that ruinous pile 
to the left, and gaze at the strange scene unrolled before him. His eye 
wanders over a vast treeless plain ; and his spirit is roused by one of those 
mighty impulses that issue from the bowels of the earth in Africa, and to 
which Europe is a stranger. Large salt-lakes at his feet sparkling like 
diamonds, immense waves of land lost in mirage rolling away to the back- 
ground, rocky arid ridges bi'caking the horizon on one side, a dark line in the 
distance seducing the imagination with Mediterranean dreams, the spectral 
Arab flying across the plain, and the dazzling koubbah with its venerable 

* Madame Pnis's Resii'.onco in Algeria. 

BLIDAH. 117 

plantains. As this strange solitary landscape unfolds, tlie spectator is 
filled with indescribable sadness; yet is the feeling mixed with grandeur, 
elevating instead of casting down the soul. The shades of ages hover over 
you; and these plains and motintains, the battle-field and grave of mighty 
nations long since gathered to their fathers, seem to retain some myste- 
rious enchantment that inspires you. Hence the attachment felt by all 
who have visited it to that land of fables, prompting private or commander 
to escape from the monotony of the Bois de Boulogne or Elysian Fields, 
and to seek once more the risks, the accidents of flood and field, and 
those African breezes that are life to the soul.* 

Meanwhile, as the traveller stands wrapt in these sweet day-dreams, 
let him beware of those mighty clouds that come sweeping up from the 
horizon, for they bring with them very unpoetical consequences. And 
now 1 fear that he is too late, and must stand the fire of African water. 
They say in France when it rains hard, that the devil is beating his wife, 
who goes and has a good cry. The devil must be very savage in Africa, 
for the showers in that favoured clime consist of successive sheets of 
water, -J- which have already drenched our poor friend, without throwing 
cold water on the characteristic ardour of a British traveller. I am glad 
to see that, with a red Murray's Handbook in hand, he trudges on soaked 
to the bone, drinking in the amenities of tropical scenery. 

But the storm is past ; and, forgetting his shower-bath, our honest Briton 
stops before the shadowy caravansary, where, seated in a family circle of 
social camels, his spirit holds converse with the glories of a southern night. 
Reclining his head on an ass couchant, he sounds the fathomless depths of 
that dark-blue African sky, resplendent with its millions of precious stones, 
till his mind wanders into the enchanted chambers of some Eastern sor- 
cerer. The silvery liglit of the moon streaming over the landscape pours 
calm and repose over vale and mountain ; whilst the abrupt ribs and ridges 
of the mountains, illumined at intervals by its rays, stand out like so many 
ghosts from the mysterious background. t 

Before we make excursions through the remoter parts of this pro- 
vince, we shall give a broad outline of its more striking features inland. 
Blidah 'isAj (the Bida Colonia of Ptolemy) is situated at the foot of 
the Little Atlas, at the entrance of a deep valley, twenty-nine miles south 
of Algiers. The environs of this town are rendered beautiful by the 
numerous orange-groves that fill the air with their delicious perfume, 
while fruitful corn-fields cover the sides of the adjacent mountains. At 
the entrance of this city you find a cemetery with peculiar sepulchral stones. 
Aerial minarets, cupolas, tile-covered roofs enclosed in groves of trees, 
and a beautiful vegetation, account for the love entertained by its inha- 
bitants for their native place, which they used to style the second Da- 

* Castellane, p. 36-1. flbid. p. 170. 

118 THE CniPFA. 

mascus. Blidah is internally a well-built town, having regular streets 
mucli wider than those of Algiers. It is surrounded by a wall twelve 
feet high and one mile in circumference, with gates at each end cor- 
responding to the cardinal points, and communicating together by a street 
that goes round the interior of the town. The pojiulation of Blidah, 
which formerly amounted to 14 or 15,000, is now reduced to 6000. 
The greater part of the town was destroyed by an earthquake in 1825 ; 
but it was rebuilt on the same site, and is now known by the name of 
New BlidaJi. The houses of the town are built like those of Algiers, 
and some of them looking into an inner court are surmounted by a ter- 

Blidah possesses four stone mosques, which are inferior to those of the 
capital ; and it contained lately many ruinous debris scattered about the 
town, occasioned by the earthquake. The country in its vicinity is well 
cultivated, presenting many fields of corn, potatoes, and flax, surrounded 
by hedges. These fields do not extend to the northward, but to the south 
they occupy nearly one-fourth of the slope of the mountains ; and though 
they contain few houses of stone, many huts of reed and wood are scattered 
over tliem. Omnibuses pass daily through Blidah, on their way from 
Algiers to Medeah.* 

The principal passes over the chain of the Lesser Atlas, between the 
Mitidja and the valley of the Shellif, are : 1st, the Col de Teniah ; 2dly, 
the Col de Mouzaiah ; 3dly, the Portes de Fer, or Iron Gates, a cutting of 
the Chiffa. The Portes de Fer are situated between the peaks of Beni- 
Salah and that of Mouzaiah, the former 1520 metres (4985-60 feet), and 
the latter 1560 metres (5116-80 feet) in height. These peaks are separated 
by an interval of 10,000 metres (32,800 feet), forming the pass.f This 
is the most direct route from the valley of the Shellif to Algiers ; the pass 
is only 400 metres (1312 feet) above the level of the sea, and not much 
higher than the bed of the Shellif. 

The road between Blidah and Medeah through the Lesser Atlas crosses 
the river Chiffa sixty-two times. The engineers have surmounted appa- 
rently invincible obstacles, and the works that they have executed are 
amazing. The rocks approach so near in some parts as scarcely to leave 
room for a man to walk erect ; and during the rainy season it was for- 
merly impassable, being bordered on both sides for eight leagues (twenty 
miles) by steep mountains ; but the engineers have made a road through 
these defiles, confining the river and blasting the rocks. The road now 
rests all the way on a strong embankment confining the waters, is carried 
on both sides of the river alternately, and rises gently to Medeah. At all 
seasons it is now as good as the best English road.;}: ^ 

After emerging from tlie pass you approach Medeah cU cXjl which was 

* Blofold, p. 33. t Baron Baudc. J St. Marie, p. 18. 

MEDEAH. 119 

formerly the residence of the Bey of Tittery, under whose government it 
possessed a barrack for the Turkish militia. Medeah contains still a cas- 
bah and a very pretty palace, and is surrounded by a rather high stone 
wall one mile in circumference, in which are five gates, two of which are 
to the north, and the other three «face the south, east, and west. 

These gates were till lately weakly defended by a few loopholes, through 
which the besieged could fire on the assailants ; whilst above the south 
gate there used to be two 8-pounder culverius of (Spanish manufacture. 
The appearance of Medeah is very different from that of Algiers in the 
construction of the houses, all being built of stone and whitewashed with 
lime ; but the interiors are the same, consisting of a ground-floor, a fii'st 
story, and gallery supported by pillarSi Medeah contains many foun- 
tains, which are, however, in general mere spouts in the Avails ; a pretty 
Moorish coffee-house ; and a caravansary, where you can get a change of 
horses, a rare circumstance in Algeria. This town also contains, or rather 
contained (1843), several mosques and a pulilic school, with a population 
of 6000 or 7000.. Near Medeah stands a remarkable aqueduct, which has 
been supposed to be of Roman construction : but the minarets of the 
mosques are built in the same way, i. e. in stone and bricks of a peculiar 
composition ; and the aqueduct, though ancient, is thought by some writers 
to be the work of the native Africans. 

The environs of the town are beautiful, presenting numerous vineyards 
and orchards and much cultivation, displaying the agricultural industry 
of the possessors. The inhabitants of Medeah are much more active than 
is usual with the Moors and Arabs, being never unoccupied ; even in the 
coffee-houses they knit a kind of sock for the feet, using very thick and 
short iron needles. Many employ themselves, moreover, in different me- 
chanical occupations, such as those of joiners, tanners, smiths, &c. ; but 
their principal 2)ursuit is agriculture. Omnibuses ply to Algiers, through 
Blidah for ten francs (8s, id.).* 

There is every reason to think that Medeah, which stands behind the 
first chain of the Little Atlas, south of Algiers, is of Roman origin, as the 
Arab structures of the town contain several fragments of Latin inscrip- 
tions, and of pottery and other ancient materials. If the distances in the 
Itinerary of Antoninus are correct, it corresponds to Caput Cillani. Leo 
Africanus makes no mention of this town ; and ]\Iarmol calls it Mehedia, 
which is very like its Arab name Mediyah. He describes it as an old 
town, built by the Romans in a great plain at the foot of a high mountain; 
and he asserts that it was formerly very populous, but that it was de- 
stroyed by a schismatic khalif, who subsequently built a castle there, that 
he called Mehedia, from his own name Madhi. Before this event tiie 
town was called Alfara. The remains of this castle, containing many 
Roman materials, still exist.+ 

* Blofeld's Algeria, p. 35. + Berbrugger, paii i. p. 59, 

1'20 moviNCE or Algiers. 

Two roads lead from Algiers to Medeali. The oldest, longest, and most 
fatiguing is over the Teniah, or Col de Mouzaiah, and descends to the 
Olive Wood, a narrow tongue of laud separating the waters of the Chiffa 
from those of the tributaries of the Ouad-Djer. The other road, com- 
pleted in 1842, passes through the cutting of the Chiffa, ascends the 
western bank of that river to reach the vale of Ouzra, and passes over 
Mount Nadhor, whence it reaches Medeah, running parallel to the aque- 
duct. This road is at times impassable in winter, and requires frequent 
repairs ; and like the Khyber pass in Afghanistan, it might be the grave 
of an invading army in the hands of a determined foe. 

Medeah, standing 1100 metres (3G08 feet) above the sea, has a very 
cold climate in winter, though the heat is excessive in summer. Abundant 
falls of snow occur there, obliging the inhabitants to build sloping roofs, 
contrary to their usual custom, which circumstance gives the scenery 
a European character. Olives and oranges* have disappeared here, to 
make room for pear, apple, cherry, poplar, and mulberry-trees ; yet the 
vine thrives notwithstanding the elevation, and the Jews make a noted 
white wine in the environs of this town. 

Medeah is surrounded by a belt of gardens, that give the scenery an 
enchanting appearance. Marshal Clauzel, who succeeded M. de Bourmont 
in 1830, saw immediately the importance of the position, and marched on 
the town at the head of a French force, which took possession at once. 
Its gallant defence by a small garrison under Colonel Clarion against a 
vast host of natives is a brilliant episode in the history of French Africa. -j- 

]\lilianah is situated on the declivity of the Little Atlas, half a mile 
from the rich plain of the Shellif, and two leagues (five miles) from EL 
Herba, which stands on the site of a Roman town. Political revolutions 
had so materially injured the prosperity of Milianah, that we find it de- 
scribed by a generally accurate writer as a small village, exposed to the 
south and south-west, surrounded by dilapidated walls wth three gates, 
each defended by three small towers. | The fact is, that owing to the 
struggle between the French and Abd-el-Kader, it was almost ruined and 
depopulated ; especially when the latter, making Tegedempt his capital, 
forced many of the inhabitants of ]\lilianah to migrate thither. The houses 
of this town are tiled, instead of having flat roofs covered with plaster, 
forming terraces, according to the custom of this country. If access were 
less troublesome, Milianah has several advantages to recommend it, being 
admirably supplied with Avater from the neighbouring mountain of Djebel 
Zeccar, one of the most considerable eminences in this part of the countiy. 
It is surrounded by many fruitful gardens and vineyards, and has a very 
fine view of the rich arable country of the Jendrill, Matmata, and other 
Arab tribes, as far as Medeah. In the spring, devotees from Algiers, 

* St. Marie and Lamping contradict this, see pp. 134 and 138. 

+ Berbruggor, part i. + Blofeld, p. 73 ct soqq. 


Blidah, ]\fedeah, and the neighbouring villages, used to come with great 
reverence to kiss the shrine of Sidi-Yousef, tutelary saint of the city. 
There are also several Eoman remains at Milianah.* 

A large tract of country has been taken from the province of Oran 
and added to that of Algiers, to the west of Milianah, embracing the 
important post of Teniet-el-Had, and the wild Aghalik of the Beni-Zoug- 
zoug, and of the Ouarensenis or Ouarsenis. To the south-east of Milianah 
you reach the Aghalik and post of Boghar, on the verge of the Sahara, 
which contains the two lakes called Zarhcz-Chcrgui (east), and Zarhez- 
Gherbi (west).f Finally, the district surrounding Mascara embraces many 
new French colonies, for an account of which the reader is referred to 
the chapter on Colonisation. 

Near Milianah you come to the Ouad-Foddah, a mountain-stream 
flowing through deep ravines, the scene of a daring exploit of the French 
army under Changarnier and Cavaignac in the year 1842.;}: 

The Ouad-Foddah, or river of silver, has its rise in a high rugged 
mountain called "Wan-nash-reese, the Gueneseirs of Sanson, and the Gauser 
of Du Yal, but properly the Ouanseris,§ eight leagues (twenty miles) to 
the south of Sinaab. It is commonly covered with snow, and on this 
account it is one of the principal landmarks of this country, being visible 
the whole distance from El-Callah to Medeah, towering above a number 
of smaller mountains. It is probably the Zalacus of Ptolemy, while Sinaab 
corresponds with tolerable accuracy to his Oppidoneum. After abundant 
rains, considerable flakes of lead, for which this mountain is famous, are 
brought down by the river ; and as, after being dei>osited on the banks, 
they would naturally glitter in the sun, this circumstance probably gave 
rise to the name of the stream, tlie river of diver. Abulfeda, with 
other later geographers, has been mistaken in deducing the river Shellif, 
instead of only one of its branches (the Ouad-Foddah), fi'om the Wan-nash- 
reese, or Ouanseris mountains. 

The Ouled Uxeire and the Lataff" run on each side of the Foddah, and 
opposite its junction with the Shellif are the walled villages of ^Merjejah 
and of Beni-Pieshid. In former ages the latter had a citadel, 2000 houses, 
and a race of warlike inhabitants, who held sway over this country as far 
as El-Callah and Mascara (province of Oi'an). But at present the castle 
is in ruins, the 2000 houses have dwindled into a few cottages, and the 
people, long subject to the Turkish government, are become equally 
timorous and cowardly with their neighbours, if we may believe Blofeld. 

* Blofeld, p. 73 et seqq. 

t From i^j^ cherq, 'east,' and c^ r^ rorhi, 'west.' The text is the spelling in the 
Talleau. A. Gorguos, Cours d'Arabe vulgaire, p. 130, makes '■western' in the singxilar 
\^.r^ rorhi, plural ^ J' f-^ gharaha. General Daumas spells 'west' J'harh. Some Arabic 
sounds have no adequate expression in the Indo-Germanic languages. 

Z Blofeld, p. 73 et seqq. ; Castellane's Souvenirs, pp. 60-73. 

§ Castellane, Berbrug-ger, and Blofeld differ in the spelling of this name : we have pre- 
ferred Castellane's, as the most recent. 


However, their fruits, and particularly their figs, for which they were 
always famous, continue to enjoy the same reputation as before, and may 
dispute the palm, with those of the Beni-Zerouall for size and delicacy of 
taste. Two leagues (five miles) to the east of the Beni-Eeshid, on the 
north banks of the Shellif, is El-Herba, with a narrow strip of plain fer- 
tile ground behind it. At this spot are several small marble pillars, of 
a blue colour and good workmanship ; but the capitals, which Avere of the 
Corinthian order, are much defaced : there are besides several stone coffins 
at the same locality. 

El-Khadarah is only 13 miles in a direct line from the river Foddah, 
though it is much farther by the road, owing to the steep intervening 
mountains that give it a circuitous course. It is situated on a rising 
ground, on the brink of the Shellif, and is sheltered from the north winds ; 
while one mile to the south, Djebel-Dwee, another high mountain of a 
conical shape, supplies the small and beautiful plain between the ridges 
with a good rill of fresh Avater. The constant green of these plains may 
not improbably have given rise to the name of El-Khadarah }j^>~ Jl^ 
or El-Chuhdary (the green), by which these ruins are known. 

Seven leagiies (17^ miles) east of El-Khadarah, and at a short distance 
from the Shellif, are the ruins of El-Herbah,'* another Roman town of the 
same name and extent as that just now described. This appellation fre- 
quently occurs in the country, signifying pulled dotvn. At this point the 
Shellif begins to widen through a plain as large and fertile as any in 
Algeria, situated at a short distance from Milianah ; and the Atlas Moun- 
tains, which fi'om the Beni-Zerouall to El-Khadarah came down close to 
the river, retire at this plain to the distance of two leagues to the north 
of the stream. 

Such is the famous district of the Ouad-Foddah, beyond which, to the 
south-west by west, you enter a labyrinth of defiles, fantastic cliffs, and 
forests, peopled by Kabyles, and known as the Aghalik of Ouarsenis, of 
which more anon. A little to the right of this rugged district stands 
the new French post of Teniet-el-Had, near a splendid forest of cedars, one 
of the most striking spots in Algeria.-}- This post is built on the plateaux 
called Serssous, its population amounting in December 1849 to 97 Euro- 
peans and seven natives. The last accounts state that the military defences 
of this advanced j)Ost are in a very forward state.;jl 

Almost due south of Medeah and Milianah, near the banks of the 
Upper Shellif, is the Aghalik and the French post of Boghar, which is a 
regularly fortified place with bastions and curtains, situated in nearly the 
same meridian as Algiers. Its population amounts to 127 persons. The 
chief buildings that have been erected at Boghar consist of barracks, hos- 

* More correctly El-Korbah, ^Jr>- (Ju 

+ See an excellent description of this whole district in the first section of Castellane's 
Souvenirs, p. 40 et seqq. 
:;: Tableau, p. 23, 


pital, and magazines ; besides wliich several gates have been finished, some 
streets Lave been formed, and the town is supplied with springs of water.* 

The remaining portions of the province of Algiers consist of the sub- 
division of Orloansville on the sea-shore, west of 8idi-Forruch, tlie Sahara 
or soutliern j^art of the province ; and the territory of Dellys on the coast, 
to the east of the capital. We shall describe those portions of Great 
Kabylia, which belong respectively to the provinces of Algiers and Con- 
stantina, under one head, in the chapter on Great Kabylia, a country 
deserving a special notice. 

We proceed to describe a district situated along the shore of the Me- 
diterranean, which has been taken from the province of Oran and added 
to that of Algiers within the last few years. This territory, which includes 
the towns of Scherschell, Tenes, and Orleansville, stretches from the Hadjute 
district near Sidi-Ferruch and Koleah to the Aghalik of Sbeah. We have 
previously stated, that the eastern boundary of the old beylik of Oran used 
to be formed by the river Massafran, after crossing which sti'eam the 

traveller comes to the Koubber Romeah a,^, , .jj,t in TnvkMi Jlaltapas^j, 
or the treasure of the sugar-loaf, supposed by some antiquarians to be the 
ancient family sepulchre of the kings of Mauritania, and situated on a 
mountainous part of the Sahel or coast range, seven miles to the east of 
Tefessad. A minuter description of this mysterious edifice will be found 
in the chapter on Archaeology. Westward of Koubber Eomeah are the 
ruins of Tefessad, supposed to be the ancient Tipasa ; and beyond this 
point you reach Mers-el-Amouse, or the port of Amouse, which ofiers a 
very safe refuge for shipping in westerly gales; and to the westward of 
this port is a considerable cape called Ras- el- Amouse, after doubling which 
you speedily arrive at Scherschell or Cherchell,| built on the site of the cele- 
brated Jol, or Julia Csesarea, once so renowned as the capital of Csesarean 
Mauritania, of which more anon. It is recorded that Audalusian Moors, 
driven from Spain by the unchristian intolerance of that age, built a city 
on this spot in the fifteenth century, which was thrown down by an 
earthquake in 1738. 

A strong wall forty feet high, supported with buttresses, Avinding for 
two miles through several creeks on the sea-shore, used to secure the town 
on the sea-side. The city, to the distance of a quarter of a mile inland 

* P. 21. Marshal de Castellane says : " Boghar, under the same meridian as Algiers, 
or thereabouts, rises like an eagle's nest at the entrance of a valley leading to Medeah ; 
and Abd-el-Kader had lately established a cannon-foundry and important establishments 
there. We have converted it into an advanced post in the province of Algiers, a place 
of refreshment and rest for the columns operating on this side" (p. 243). He adds : " The 
valley we were following was green and beautiful ; . . . the nearer we approached Medeah, 
the more broken the ground became." Ibid. 

t Tomb of the Christian woman. 

X The name of this town, like all others in Algeria, has been variously spelled by 
Europeans : we have adopted that \Lsed by the Tableau de la Situation. 


from this wall, lies on a plain ; and after rising for the space of a mile gra- 
dually to a considerable elevation, sjweads itself over a variety of hills and 
valleys, and loses sight of the sea. 

One of the chief gates on this side is about a furlong below the top of 
these hills, and leads to the rugged possessions of the Beni-Menasser ; and 
of the two gates on the sea-shore,, the western lies under the high moun- 
tain of Beni-Yifrah, and the eastern under that of Shenouah. Scherschell 
being thus enclosed among high mountains and narrow defiles, all commu- 
nication with it on the land side may be easily cut off. 

A tradition exists here that the ancient city was destroyed by an earth- 
quake, and that the port, Avhich was once very large and good, was ruined 
by the arsenal and other buildings falling into it. The cothon,* which had 
a communication with the western part of the port, is the best proof of 
this ; for when the sea is calm and the water low, as frequently occurs 
after strong south-east winds, you can perceive over the Avhole area of the 
harbour massive pillars and other ruins, which were probably cast there by 
some great natural convulsion. St. Marie, who reached Scherschell by water, 
states that the landing in 1845 was very bad; but the last official docu- 
ments of the French Government shew the present state of the jDort to be 
greatly improved. It appears that the old Roman basin has been dug out 
and restored, and that it is now opened for the purposes of navigation, 
though it is only adapted to receive vessels of low tonnage. The jetty of 
Joiuville, which shelters the entrance to the basin, has a develojiment of 
100 metres (328 feet), and the quays cover a surface of 17 hectai-es and 42 
centiares (43 acres). The expense of these improvements has amounted 
to 388,000 fr. (15,520^.) As regards the defences of the town, it seems 
that the French have enclosed Scherschell with a new wall of masonry, in- 
cluding bastions, of which the plastering and the platforms were two-thirds 
finished in 1851. The expense has amounted to 18,G00fr. (744^.) 

A battery for four guns has been completed on the strand called Zi- 
zerin, and they have built the two intrenchments and the cart-houses 
which are its accessories. The pai*apet of the provisional battery on the 
Islot de la Marine has been partially raised ; two supporting walls have 
been built, one for the internal and the other for the external slopes. 
The provisional battery No. 3 has been comjjleted on the slope of the 
port, as well as its traverse and dependent magazines. The expense of 
these works amounted to 4600fr. (184^.): and it was j^roposed to com- 
plete the works of the enclosure from the Gate of Tenes to the sea ; to 
build two permanent coast-batteries, one on Cape Zizerin, and the other 
on the islet of .Joinville ; and to establish the batteries for the use of ar- 
tillery. The estimate for these works amounts to about 79,0U0fr. (3160^.)t 

Kuidwv, artificial hasin, literally a goblet or drmking-vosscl. Sec Passow's Lexicon, 
vol. i. p. 1381, 

t Tableau do la Situation, j^p. 34-1 and 38C. 

TENES. 125 

As early as 1845 the old Moorish houses of Scherschell were beginning 
to disappear, whilst handsome European edifices were rising in their stead. 
On the beach stand two little white marabouts, shaded with jjalm and date 
trees, and to the eastward you see the ruins of a picturesque Roman 
aqueduct ; but the country is in general rather flat and covered with 
brushwood. The garrison musters usually somewhat strong, and is com- 
monly composed of infantry alone.* 

Not far distant from Scherschell is a rill of water which is received 
into a Roman basin called Shrub-oua-Krub, i. e. " drink and away ;" as 
there is, or rather was, great danger of meeting robbers and assassins at 
this spot. To the west of Scherschell you come to Bresk and Dahmus, on 
the site of two Roman cities ; farther on are several small islands where 
there is good shelter for small vessels ; and beyond these you come to the 
large promontory of Nakkos (the Promontorium Apollonis of Ptolemy), 
so called from a grotto that the waves have scooped out underneath it in 
the shape of a bell. Approaching this cape from the coast of Spain, it 
presents the appearance of a wild boar's head. 

Beyond Cape Nakkos is Tenuis or Teues, a town lying in a low dirty 
situation at a short distance from the sea. The anchorage-ground being 
too much exposed to north and west winds, is the frequent occasion of 
vessels being cast away at this spot. The ]\Ioors have a tradition that the 
Tenessians enjoyed formerly such a high repute for sorcery, that Pharaoh 
sent for the Avisest of them to contend with Moses in the performance of 
miracles. It is certain that they are now the greatest cheats in the 
country, and as little deserving of trust as their roadstead. 

Hammet-Ben-Yousef, a neighbouring marabout, is reported to have 
given the place the following character : 

Arahu:. English. 

Tenes * Tenes 

Ibna ala d^ny. Is built on filth. 

Mawah shem. The .soil of it is stinking. 

Madim. The water of it is black, 

Oua aoua semra. And the air is poison. 

Oua Hamet Ben Yousef And HametBen Yousef 

]\Ia dukkul tsemni. Would not go there. 

Tenes is situated ninety miles west of Algiers ; and a fine road is in 
process of construction, that will unite it to the inland colony of Orleans- 
ville. A new European town has been erected since 1830 at Tenes, out- 
side the sorry old Moorish precincts, of which Hamet-Ben- Yousef gives 
such a deplorable account. -f- 

The improvements that had been effected at Tenes up to December 
1849 consisted of 820 metres (2G89-G0 feet) of ijrincipal streets and 4250 
(13,940 feet) of smaller streets in a state of repair, of two squares, and of 
the plantation of 3000 trees. The expense of these works amounted to 

* St. Marie, p. 193. t Blofeld, p. 74. 

126 DARHA. 

9 GO?. They have also built a slaughter-house and opened a cemetery, at 
an expense of 42,000 fr. (1680?.) 

As regards the fortifications, they have built a battery to defend the 
coast ; the town-wall to the east, south, and west is finished, besides bar- 
racks for 450 men; a hospital for 150 patients, and magazines for provi- 
sions, were also partially completed, together with a powder-magazine to 
hold 15,000 kilogrammes (33,000 lbs.). 

They have also constructed a battery to sweep the anchorage, besides 
an arsenal and different minor edifices connected with the war-establish- 

The total expense of the various military structures amounted to 
31,49U. 15*. lOci:' 

The name of Darha, which means in Arabic 'north,' is given to a moun- 
tainous district of country on the borders of the provinces of Algiers and 
Oran, comprised between the Shellif and the sea from Tenes to the mouth 
of that river, which after having formed its limit to the south, flowing in 
a westerly direction, turns abruptly to the north, and cuts it ofi'in this 
manner on two sides. The population of this country, which is 50 
leagues (125 miles) in length and 20 (50 miles) in breadth, is Kabyle.t 
The soil, remarkable for its fertility, is well cultivated. It contains some 
magnificent orchards, and the principal branch of its commerce consists 
in the sale of dried figs ; but the people of the Darha, being protected by 
their river, and seldom visited by any agents of the government, carry on 
another kind of industry which they find still more lucrative. Some are 
robbers, others are receivers of stolen goods. The latter inhabit chiefly 
the little Arab town of Mazouna. The subdivision of Mostaganem in 
the province of Oran, and that of Orleansville in the province of Algiers, 
are required to preserve order in the Darha. 

The authority of the subdivision of Mostaganem extends over the 
shore-district about the mouth of the Shellif, which is in a less turbulent 
state. The subdivision of Orleansville, on the other hand, has to look after 
the most savage and vagabond tribes. The town of Tenes, situated on 
the sea-shore at the eastern limit of the Darha, is one of the principal 
points from which tlie surveillance is carried on. When circumstances 
have rendered it imperative to concentrate a large force in the Darha, the 
operations of troops from Mostaganem, Orleansville, and Tenes have been 
combined to reach and strike the enemy.;}: 

Orleansville, the capital of this subdivision, was founded on the Shellif 
in 1843. It contained in 1849 a square planted with 3000 trees; 1400 
metres (4592 feet) devoted to principal, and 2400 (7872 feet) to minor 

* Tableau do la Situation, pp. 3-15 and 387. 

f The Kabylcs aro the Berber race, who ai"o thought to be the descendants of the 
ancient Numidians and Libyans. 
+ Castellaue, p. 121. 

ohleansville. 127 

streets ; tlic population consisting of 849 persons. The military works 
and defences of this town are in a very forward state. In tlic western 
part along the Thigaout they have built up supporting walls to strengthen 
the slope. The streets of the ramparts have been completed, most of the 
ditches of the enclosure of the Zmala of the Spahis have been begun, as 
well as the main building.* {Zuiala tvLci, literally baggage, i. e. quai-ters, 
or camj).) 

The enclosures of the Fort or Bordj Ain-Meran, besides the telegraphic 
posts of Ouled-Kosseir, of Temoulga (on the road from Orleansville to Mil- 
ianah), and all those on the lines from Orleansville to Mostaganem, and 
from Orleansville to Tenes, have been built. The principal enclosure of 
the town Has been finished from bastion No. 1 to bastion 7. The east 
and north fronts have to be raised higher, and the plantations and level- 
ling of the rampart streets have still to be completed. A number of piiblic 
buildings have been erected within the town during the last few years, 
including the quarters for the ofiicers of the garrison, cisterns, baths, 
windmills, &c.t 

The present state of colonisation in the vicinity of this town will be 
described in the chapter relating to that subject. 

After this cursory outline of the western subdivisions of the province 
of Algiers, we sliall return to Medeah. That part of the Atlas between 
Blidah and Medeah, which reaches as far as Mount Djordjora in Great Ka- 
bylia, is inhabited by numerous clans of Kabyles. The Beni-Sala and 
Haleel overlook Blidah and the Mitidja ; whilst the Beni-Selim and Haleefa 
sometimes descend into the pastui-e-ground near the banks of the Bishbesh, 
or river of fennel, a great quantity of which grows upon its banks. Farther 
east live a branch of the Meyrowa, within sight of the great plains of 
Hamza, opposite Sour-Guzlan (Aumale) ; below them the Inshlowa and 
Bougaine, which overlook to the south the fertile plains of the Castoolah, 
noted for the feeding and breeding of cattle. Not far from the Castoolah 
are the Kabyles of Mount Djordjorah, of whom the Beni-Alia are the prin- 
cipal on the north side, and the Beni-Yala on the south. 

Five leagues (12|- miles) to the south of Medeah rises the Tittery 
Dosh, as the Turks call a remarkable ridge of precipices, four leagues 
(ten miles) long, and even more rugged than the Djordjorah. On the top 
is a large piece of level ground with only one narrow road leading up 
to it, where the Ouled-Aiga (children of Jesus) have their granaries. 
Beyond this are the encampments of Ouled-In-anne, the principal Arabs 
of the district of Tittery, which lies in the neighbourhood of this moimtain. 
Burg-Hamza, two leagues (five miles) south of the rich plain of that 
name, and five (12^ miles) to the east of the Eock of Tittery, contained, 
before the French conquest, a garrison of one siiffrah of Turks, consisting 
of a table or twenty persons, Avith a lieutenant called an Oda-hashaw, re- 

* Tableau de la Situation, pp. 344-386. t Ibid. 

128 AUMALE. 

sembling the contuhernium of the Romans, who had ten persons in one 
pav'dio, the Decanus corresponding to the Oda-hasliaw. Burg-Hamza 
stands on the ruins of the ancient Auzia, called by the Arabs Sour, or 
Sour-Guzlan (the walls of the Antelope). Auzia was an ancient city, 
three quarters of a mile in circumference; and a great part of the walls, 
fortified with small turrets, still remains. Tacitus has correctly described 
it : " for Auzia was built upon a small piece of level ground, every where 
surrounded with craggy rocks and gloomy forests.'"* 

The French have established a new and rising colony on the site of 
this Roman and Turkish city, to which they have given the historical name 
of Aumale. Placed in a central and healthy situation, at no great dis- 
tance from Bugia and Setif, and united to Algiers by a good military 
road, Aumale is already one of the most important French settlements iu 
the province of Algiers. 

From 1847 to 1849, 21,000 fr., or 840/., have been expended on the 
improvement of the streets in the civil town, and 20,000 fr. (800/.) on 
the military town. In the former, 574 metres (1882-72 feet) of street 
are in a good state of repair; and 40 metres (131-20 feet) have been 
recently opened. In the military town, 549 metres (1800-72 feet) are 
in a state of repair, 1160 metres (3804-80 feet) have been opened, and 
GOO trees planted. Tlie length of the water-conduits and aqueducts is 
2410 metres (7904*80 feet); and their daily supply of water consists of 
290,000 litres (63,800 gallons). 

The expenses of the military works erected between 1846 and 1848 
amounted to 869,005 fr. (34,760/. is. 2d.) The fortification of the mili- 
tary town was finished in 1849 up to the crown work; that of the civil 
town for half its development and as high as the battlements. Magazines 
for provisions^ powder, &c., and other structures for the accommodation 
of the troops, of cattle, and of other supplies, have been also completed. 

The popidation of Aumale amounted in 1849 to 557 Europeans, ana- 
lysed into 463 men, 55 women, and 39 children. The proportion of dif- 
ferent nations amongst the inhabitants presented the following results : 
French, 463; Spaniards, 36 ; Anglo-Maltese, 26; Italians, 21; Germans, 5; 
Swiss, 3; and 2 of some other origin. The natives amounted in December 
1849 to 124 men, 2 women, 8 children, of Mussulman race, 6 Negroes, 
and 9 Jcws.t 

A few miles south of Sour commences ancient Gactulia, corresponding 
in many particulars to the modern Sahara ; and the first remarkable place 
in this direction is Djebel-Deera, where the river Jin-enne has its sources, 
a stream which, after flowing thirty miles tlirough a sandy soil, loses itself 
gradually in the Chott. Most of the Gsetulian or Saharian Arabs dwell- 
ing on its banks are Zaouia or Zouaia, as they call the children and de- 

* Tacit. Annul, lib. iv. f TiiLlcau do lii Situation, pp. 3-14 and 3S4. 


pendents of their marabouts, who enjoy great privileges. The Ouled- 
Sidi-Aisa, tlie most northern of these communities, have the koubbah or 
sepulchre of their tutelar saint five leagues from 8our : near it, on one 
side, stands a large rock, on which it is reported that Sidi-Aisa used daily 
to offer up his devotions ; on the other side is the Ain-Kidran, or foun- 
tain of tar, miraculously bestowed upon them, according to tradition, by 
their progenitor. Six leagues (15 miles) farther are the Ouled-Sidi-Had- 
jcras, so called from another marabout. Here the Jin-enne changes its 
name into that of Ouad-el-Ham, that is, the I'iver of carnage, from the 
number of people who have been at different times drowned in fording it. 
A little higher ai"e the descendants of Sidi-Braham-Aslemmy, who spread 
themselves to Hirman, a dashkrah in the way to Bousaadah, at which 
place the palm brings forth its fruit to perfection. 

Djebel Seilat lies about seven leagues (17^ miles) to the west of Sidi- 
Braham ; and twelve leagues (30 miles) farther in the same direction are 
the Theneate-el-Gannim (the sheep-cliffs). These are situated opposite 
the Burg-Swaary and the Tittery Dosh, at a distance of thirteen leagues 
(32^ miles). 

A little way beyond the seven hills are the eminences and salt-pits of 
Zaggos ; after which are the Saary and the Zakkar, two mountains, one 
twelve and the other five leagues to the south of Zaggos. These, with 
many other rugged and mountainous districts in the Sahara, constitute 
what is called by Strabo the mountainous country of the Gjetulians. 

Six leagues to the east of the Zakkar is Fythe-el-Bothmah ; so called, 
perhaps, from the broad or open turpentine-trees that grow upon the spot. 
Seven leagues (17|- miles) from this place to the north you come to 
Fythe-el-Rotum, that is, the thick or shady turpentine-trees, as it is named, 
probably in contradistinction to Fythe-el-Bothmah. At Herba, a heap of 
ruins a little to the east of Fythe-el-Bothmah, are the sources of Ouad-el- 
Shai-er, or the barley river, a considerable stream of this part of Gsetulia. 
Its course from Herba to the dashkrah of Boufer-joone is teu leagues 
(25 miles) in a N.N.E. direction. At a little distance from Boufer-joone 
below a ridge of hills, there are some ancient ruins called Gahara. Besides 
the palm, which grows in this parallel to perfection, Boufer-joone is also 
celebi-ated for apricots, figs, and other fruit. 

We are informed that to the north of Boufer-joone the Ouad-el-Shai-er 
acquires the name of Mailah,* from the saltness of its water ; and passing 
afterwards to the east of Ain-Difla, i. e. fountain of oleanders, it loses 
itself in the Chott. Over this fountain towers the mountain ]Maiherga, a 
celebrated haunt for serpents, leopards, and other wild animals. Six 
leagues (15 miles) south of Fythe-el-Bothmah are Gumra and Amoura, two 
dashkrahs, with their springs and fruit-trees. Beyond them, at a greater 

* From ^iyc salt. 


distance to the south-west, is the Ain-Maithie, and then Deminidde, 
Avhich, with the dashkrahs of the Lowaate, nine leagues {22^ miles) 
farther to the west, are the most considerable villages of this pai't of 
Gaetulia, or the Sahara of the province of Algiers. They have also in 
all these places large plantations of palms and other fruit-trees. Blofeld 
informs us that the numerous families of the Maithie, Nolle, and Mel- 
licke, with their several subdivisions and dependents, reign all over this 
country, from the Burg-Swaary and the river Jin-enne to the dashkrahs 
of the Lowaate and Ammer, who spread themselves over a mountainous 
district a great way to the west, the same probably with the Mons Phru- 
raisus of the old geographers. The villages of the Beni-Mezzab are 
situated thirty-five leagues (87|- miles) to the south of Lowaate and 
Ammer,* which, having no rivulets, are supplied entirely with wells. 
Gardeiah, the capital, is the farthest to the west ; Berg-gan, the next 
considerable dashkrah, is nine leagues (22|- miles) to the east ; and Gra- 
rah, the nearest of them to Ouaregla, is similarly situated in distance 
and position with respect to Berg-gan. The Beni-Mzab, or Mezzab, 
or Mozabites, as they are sometimes styled, though they never paid any 
tribute to the Algerines, and though, being of the sect of the Maleki, they 
were not permitted to enter the mosques, yet have been from time im- 
memorial the only persons who are employed in their slaughter-houses, and 
who have furnished their shambles with provisions. Blofeld describes 
these sons of Mezzab as being of a more swarthy complexion-j- than the 
Gsetulians or Saharians to the northward of them ; and as they are 
separated from them by a wide desert, without even the footsteps of any 
living creature, if this description of them is correct, they may possibly 
be the most westerly branch of the Melano-Ga^tuli. 

It is well to remark in this place, that throughout the Algerian Sahara, 
and even far into the heart of the Great Desert, the most usual Arabic 
name for small towns, especially if surrounded with walls, is ksom' or 

hessour ,».^, a word probably connected with the Alcazar, or palace 

and castle of the Moors, whose faded splendours still remain at Seville in 

The numbers and organisation of the Bedouin tribes of the Sahara 
throughout the three provinces of Algeria being fully treated of in the 
chapter on the Arabs, we shall simply state on the present occasion, that 
their numbers in the province of Algiers amount to 290 tribes, containing 
1)00,000 individuals, inhabiting a territory of 113,000 square kilometres 

* Few subjects arc involved in greater mystery .and attended witli greater difficult}^ 
than the correct nomenclature and localising of the Saharian tribes ; every traveller 
thinking it proper to spell Arabic names alter his own fashion, and the Bedouins being as 
much addicted to an nlias and an alibi as the most accomjilishcd vagrants in St. Giles's. 

f- Castellano and Blofeld arc at direct variance on this point. Sco 2>p. 26, 74 et seqq. 
cf Blof., and 268 of Castcl, 


(43,505 square miles). The native authorities are, 1. Khalifas, 2. Bach- 
aghas, 3. Aghas or Kaids, 4. Sheieks. The 290 tribes of this province have 
three khalifas, five bach-aghas, and twenty aghas; and the territory is 
divided accordingly into khalifats and aghaliks.* 

Most of the posts that had been occupied by Abd-el-Kader on the 
borders of the Tell and of the Sahara have been rebuilt and permanently 
occupied by French troops since 1844. These posts include Boghar; 
Teniet-el-Had, near Taza ; and Laghouat, to the south of Boghai- and to 
the east of the Djebel Amour. f 

Dellys, Bugia, and most of Great Kabylia, are included by some writers 
in the present province of Algiers ; but we prefer giving a separate 
chapter to the Highlands of Algeria, as we have previously observed. 

* Tableau de la Situation, 18i9-50. t Ibid. 







'E propose now to make clivers longer excursions throughout the pro- 
vince of Algiers, of which the broad features must by this time be 
familiar to the reader; and we shall commence by accompanying Marshal 
Count de Castellane on his journey from the capital to Blidah. 

"The road from Algiers to Blidah in 1842-3 went along the Bab-el- 
Ouad Street, turned to the left near the tomb of Omar Pasha, and sloping 
up the side of the mountain ascended as far as Tagarin (another road has 
been made since). The first object at the feet of the traveller, looking 
down from this elevation, was the little village of Alustapha, — its extensive 
cavalry barracks, the entire bay, the Kabyle mountains, and different ver- 
dant oases, dotting the sandy margin of the sea. Pi'oceeding further in- 
land, this view was soon shut out, and the traveller saw nothing but the 
mammelons or undulations of the Sahel covered with dwarf palms. At 
length the heights of Ouad-]\Iandil were reached, where the eye took in 
the whole of Mitidja. This plain is about five leagues (12| miles) in 
breadth, and stretches to the foot of a ridge of mountains running parallel 
from east to west, or from the bay of Algiers to the upper extremity 
of the level. The declivities of this ridge are covered with leutisks and 
Avild olives; and grey rocks tower on their summits, sprinkled with pines 
and evergreen oaks. 

"To the eastward, near the sea, you distinguish theFoudouk; straight 
before you, in the i)lain, appear the shady groves of Bouffai'ik; to the 
right, at the foot of the mountains, Blidah and its orange-woods; beyond 
it the cutting of the Chiffa and the Col de Mouzaia, spots famous in 
French military history ; further on the Oued-Ger, the Bou-Roumi, where 
much French blood has been shed ; to the centre you sec Oued-Laleg, the 
tomb of one of the regular battalions of the Emir (Abd-el-Kader) ; lii.stly, 


the lake Alloula, the valley leading to Scherschell; and to the westward, on 
the most distant horizon, near the territory of those famous Hadjoutes, 
once the terror of the whole district of Algiers, appears the Chanouan, 
projecting its vast ridge towards the sky, near the tomb of the Christian 

Another traveller (Count St. Marie) made an excursion from Algiers 
into the interior, passing through Lower Mustapha, Birmandreis, and 
Birkadem, after which they came to a plateau which commands the Sahel. 
Turning to the right from the Model Farm, after proceeding along a nar- 
row road for the space of eight leagues (20 miles), they saw the Little 
Atlas before them. At last they came to Bouffarik, which has been pre- 
viously described; and continuing their journey they reached Blidah, which 
looks now like a little Em-opean town, and is by far the most agreeable 
and healthy place in Algeria. It contains a large square, surrounded with 
houses having arcades as at Algiers, and adorned with plantations of 
plane-trees. Looking along the wide and straight streets, you see at one 
end of the town the Bab-el-Sets gate, and at the other that of Bab- 
el-Rahba. The town is walled; and one of its old mosques has been con- 
verted into a Catholic church, while the two other mosques have been 
turned into barracks. Some defensive works have been constructed in 
that part of the town called the Citadel; and the engineers enjoy ele- 
vated and healthy quarters, which were at that time occujiied by Zouaves 
(native infantry)-]- (1845). At the other end of Blidah stands the hos- 
pital, which is lai'ge, but built of wood, and was at that time used as the 
quartei-s of the first regiment of Spahis (native cavah'y).| Outside the 
town, on a detached eminence, stands the Mimiche Fort. 

Blidah is a quiet town, containing few Arabs, and peopled chiefly by 
Frenchmen; and during the early years of the French invasion it was 
taken thi-ee times, after very obstinate engagements. The floors of Blidah 
were a very dissolute race, and were threatened with destruction by an 
old marabout named Mohamed- el -Blidah many years ago. Singidarly 
enough, his warning was justified shortly after by the great earthquake of 
lS2o, when nearly the whole town was ruined. Their first wish was to 
erect the new town at some distance; but the remembrance of its former 
delights acted so powerfully on them, that they rebuilt it on the same site. 

St. Marie and his party left Blidah by the citadel-gate, and found their 
horses waiting for them outside. To the left was a gorge of the Little 
Atlas, and nearer at hand a water-mill on the banks of the Ouad-Kebir. 
Straight before them appeared the white stones of a European cemetery, 
and on the right the ridge of the Sahel. § Advancing to the right, along 
the walls of Blidah, they came to a perfect forest of orange and lemon 
trees, intersected by beautiful walks. The margins of little streams formed 

* Castellane, p. 4. f See the chapter on the French Armj', Part II. 

J Ibid. § Incorrectly styled plain by St. Maiie, p. 98. 


by outlets from the river were bordered by thick bushes of the laurel- 
rose in full flower, and the shady trees surrounding them gave out a most 
delicious perfume. 

This fragrant aroma is so strong that, if we may believe some writers, 
those who have lain down to sleep in these groves have been known to 
be suffocated. A large part of these forests has been cut down to clear 
the approaches to Blidah; and we can only form a very imperfect idea of 
the paradise once surrounding this second Damascus. These delicious 
groves are, even in their present state, superior to those of the Governor 
of Malta and those near Toulon, which are justly celebrated. The orange- 
woods uear Blidah form vast gardens with little fosses between them, 
and enclosed on the side next the road by impenetrable hedges of aloes 
and Barbary figs, present beautiful contrasts in the different shades of 

Our friends next proceeded to the westward, along the banks of the 
Ouad-Kebir, to gain the gigantic precipices of the Chiffa. A sloping road 
led them to the foot of the Atlas, having on its right a gently declining 
plain bounded by the entrance of the gorges. A Avinding streamlet 
crossed this valley, flowing over a bed of pebbles, with here and there 
bushes of laurel- roses growing on its banks. After advancing a little 
more in a sloping direction, they came to the banks of the Chiffa, a tor- 
rent which rises in the mountains. 

The newly-constructed road through the celebrated pass of the Chiffa 
is broad, and here and there spaces are allotted for the erection of tents. 
At intervals of about six leagues from one another are little camps, each 
of six tents, occupied by disciplinaires, whose duty it is to keep the road 
in good repair and to guard it. Many wooden crosses are seen in the 
pass, erected to soldiers who have been killed by the Arabs, or in making 
the road. The pass is very cool, there being only a few places for the 
sun to penetrate, the intervening parts being constantly shaded. About 
half way a little wooden house has been erected, which is occupied by an 
engineei-'s guard and his family. As they advanced beyond the southern 
outlet of the pass, they found a great abundance of vegetation, consisting 
principally of oak, cork-trees, and wild olives, growing on the hills. On 
the opposite side of the plain they saw the camp of Nador, occupied by 
an Arab tribe. The water there is thought to be injurious, owing to its 
passing through copper ore. 

On turning the hill our party found themselves surrounded by vines 
growing in great luxuriance; and the country displayed a highly verdant 
aspect, presenting here and there groves of palm, fig, and orange trees, 
which gave one the idea of the scenery of a vast theatre. Amidst all this 
rich foliage they saw before them the walls of Mcdcah and a few Avhite 
minarets; wliilst on the right an innncnse a(iueduct of Iiomau construction, 
winding like a serpent along the plain, conveys to the town the water of 

MEDEAH. 135 

the mountain springs. Tlic ai'chcs of tliis aqueduct are completely lined 
exteriorly with ci'ceping plants. 

The gate of Medeah through which they passed into the town was an 
ogive arch of masonry, consisting of small pebbles embedded in cement. 
It opened into a tolerably large square, with young orange-trees in its 
centi-e; a fine mosque to the left, which has now become a hospital; and 
some ruinous houses on the right ; whilst at the farther end stands a white 
marble fountain, backed by low moresque arcades,* beneath which some 
Moors and Arabs had assembled to smoke and drink coffee. On the op- 
posite side of the square was another snudl gate, through which it was 
also necessary to pass in order to enter the town. 

Storks are very common on the houses of Medeah, where they are 
highly venerated, and not without cause, as they destroy a large number 
of rats, mice, and serpents. 

Medeah was at that time commanded by General Marrey, who was the 
proprietor of a noble tame lion named Bello. This town has also a Casbah, 
situated on the most elevated spot in its precincts, and contains only 600 
houses. But its garrison was strong, and many soldiers wei'e encamped 
without the town in tents. 

An immense plain surrounds Medeah, intersected by a stream, whose 
course can be traced by the reeds and other plants that grow along its 
banks : wild boars and other game are said to be plentiful in this district. 
The slwps in the town are narrow and few in number, nor do they com- 
municate with the houses to which they belong ; consisting of little moi-e 
than mere niches in the wall, all of which had a sort of portico projecting 
into the street, where the shopkeeper sits cross-legged, smoking and 
drinking coftee. 

Half a league from the town is the old country-house of the Bey of 
Tittery, situated in the midst of gardens, and ])reseuting a pretty appear- 
ance : it commands an extensive view over an open country and hills 
covered with brushwood, whilst to the southward appear some huts and 
patches of cultivation. At the distance of five miles on the j^lateau of 
Aouarah, are the vestiges of a Roman citadel, with two Roman roads 
leading from it, whose traces, however, are soon lost in brambles. 

St. Marie and his party returned to Algiers from ]\Iedeah through the 
Bibans, or iron gates, and Coleah. Proceeding north-west through forests 
of old olives and winding paths amongst brushwood, they passed several 
deep ravines, which contain raging torrents in winter. Having reached 
the summit of a steep declivity, the pathway only gave room for one horse; 
and in the evening they came to a large valley on the northern declivity 
of the Little Atlas, while before them was the passage of the Bibans, or 
iron gates. Here they stopped at a Bedouin douar (village of tents) for 
the uight, where the patriarchal hospitality and manners of their hosts 

* St. Marie, p. 98. 

136 COLE AH. 

reminded the count of the early and sacred records of our race. Con- 
tinuing their journey the next morning, the paths became more difficult, 
and they only saw a few desolate huts, but no inhabitants. At 4 p.m. 
they emerged from a long winding road bordered by rows of thick trees, 
and beheld immediately before them Coleah, situated in a deep valley 
surrounded by orchards and groves of palm-trees. The wall which sur- 
rounded the toAvn was at that time almost in a ruinous condition ; and a 
cemetery containing two marabouts is situated outside it, running in a 
direction from east to west. The streets of Coleah are regularly built ; and 
in the centre of the town is a square planted with orange-trees, and 
having at one corner a mosque, which has been converted into a church, 
while facing it stands a clean and neat hotel. 

Our party proceeded hence to Algiers by Pointe Pescade, which is 
two leagues from the capital.* The adjacent country is exceedingly pic- 
turesque, presenting on all sides pretty country houses, surrounded with 
blooming gardens and orchards. The mountains in the vicinity of Pointe 
Pescade are very steep, and the shore is covered with brushwood as far as 
Cape Sidi-Ferruch, where a pyramid has been erected to commemorate 
the lauding of the French in 1830. Passing some groups of Druidical- 
shaped tombs, they took the main road to Algiers, and arrived about noon 
at the gate of Bab-el- Ou ad. + 

We shall next give ear to M. Lamping, who visited all these spots fre- 
quently while serving in the Foreign Legion, and was quartered in the 
camp at Coleah, towards the end of 1841. He states that " Coleah was at 
that time a true Arab town, standing on the south-east declivity of the 
Sahel range of mountains, in a charming little nook, and well supplied 
with water. It is only twelve leagues (30 miles) distant from Algiers, 
and three (7^ miles) from the sea ; the proximity of the latter making the 
air extremely healthy, and the constant sea-breezes rendering the heat 
even then (Sept. 1841) quite tolerable. From their quartei-s in the camp 
they viewed, stretched at their feet, the vast plain of the Mitidja, bounded 
by the blue hills of the Lesser Atlas I'ange. They were quartered in a 
fortified camp outside the town, on a small eminence which commands it. 

The Mussulman inhabitants of Coleah are pure descendants of the 
Moors ; and M. Lamping states that he had never seen the Arab so 
polished and attractive as at Coleah, not even at Algiers and Oran : in 
those towns their intercourse with the Franks having called forth all their 
rapacity, and spoiled the simplicity of their mannere. 

A corrupt Spanish, called lingua franca, is spoken in all the towns of 

* St. Mario, p. 98 et seqq. 

t Three forts are built on the Pointe Pescade, the west limit of the Bay of Algiers. 
The first at wliich you arrive from the capital consists of a semicircular battery ; the 
second forms a largo towor ; and the third, to the east of the latter, consists of a rectan- 
gular battery. St. Marie (1845). 


Alj^eria near the sea, including Coleah, which is held in gi'eat reverence 
by the Arabs, as it contains the vault of Abd-el-Kader, in which are de- 
posited the bodies of several members of his family. The French, to 
their credit, have spared this tomb. The Hadjutes inhabiting the Sahel 
mountains, to the Avestward of Coleah, Averc the most thievish set of fel- 
lows in Africa at the time of Lam})ing's residence, and long kept the 
hanlieue or precincts of Algiers in agitation and terror, kidnapping and 
violating unprotected females, and ripping up or decapitating sti'ay sol- 
diers and colonists. The country is now, of course, as safe as the 
Boulevards or the Elysian Fields. 

Coleah lies in a gorge ;'" and as there is no lack of water there, the 
most abundant vegetation prevails on all hands, and the soldiers were 
delighted and astonished at the extreme richness of the scene. The 
luxuriant aloe sends up its blossoms to a height of twenty feet, and a 
species of sedgy rush grows as high as a house of moderate size. 

The chief Avealth of the inhabitants consists in large herds of cattle, 
and in fruit-trees and gardens ; it is surrounded by the most magnificent 
fruit-trees as far as the eye can reach, including fig-trees and pomegranates, 
which were then ripe, and on Avhich the soldiers of the Foreign Legion 
feasted sumptuously, though somewhat adventurously, as the figs in par- 
ticular are apt to beget dysentery. 

The wild laurel grows in great quantities near the town, and attains 
a very considerable height ; and M. Lamping adds, " I can boast of 
having tasted the fruit of the laurel as well as the leaf." All the Arabs 
of any education or wealth used at that time to assemble in the coffee- 
house, to whom it supplied the place of theatres, concerts, balls, and tea- 

On another occasion M. Lamping paid a visit to the interior ot the 
province, when the battalion to Avhich he belonged was ordered to march 
towards Blidah across the plain at the foot of the Sahel mountains. This 
ridge of the chain is low at that point ; it is highest near Algiers : but 
it contained most beautiful and fruitful valleys, in Avhich were forsaken 
gardens and villas Avhich once belonged to the Moors. The heights are 
covered with dAvarf oaks and other shrubs, Avhich shelter great numbers of 
Avild boars, smaller and less fierce than those of Europe. The natives 
assert, that the Spaniards brought these unclean animals into the country 
out of spite ; and as swine are an abomination to the ^Mahometan and may 
not be eaten, the breed increased rapidly, t 

The sharp and broken outline of the mountains, and the dark foliage 
of the olives, pines, and cedars which clothe their sides, giA'e a singularly 
Avild and sombre character to the Atlas range. 

At the time of Lamping's visit the road through the ChifFa pass 

• The French in Algiers, &;c. p. 9, t Ibid. p. 72. 


had not been made ; and his battalion hart to ci'oss the Col de Mous- 
saia, or Mouzaia, a much more fatiguing and lengthy way : from the foot 
of the Col de Moussaia up to its highest point is fully seven hours' march. 
The Fountain de la Croix, Avhich you meet on the Col, takes its name from 
a huge cross cut into the living rock, probably by the Spaniards as a pious 
memorial of their conquest.* A large olive-grove grows at the foot of the 
Col on the southern side. 

Medeah is one of the oldest cities of Africa, standing on a plateau which 
terminates on two sides in an abrupt precipice, and is therefore easily de- 
fended. The town is surrounded by the most splendid fruit-gardens ; and 
a Roman aqueduct, still in good preservation, conveys water to it from a 
neighbouring mountain, and proves the high antiquity of the place. It 
is inhal)ited by Jews and Arabs, who seem devoted to the French. "We 
pitched our tents," says M. Lamping, " close to the town, beside a brook, 
where exquisite oranges out of a garden close by offered us some compen- 
sation for the fatigue we had undergone." 

Leaving Medeah, they continued their route due south, and marched 
several days, their road always lying up or down hill. The heat was ex- 
cessive, and their marches were at the rate of from four to six leagues 
(10 to 15 miles) per day. They found the valleys extensively cultivated 
with large crops of corn and rice, but no inhabitants ; and they only per- 
ceived a few miserable hovels of rushes and skins of beasts ; yet in former 
years this tract of country must have been thickly peopled, from the ceme- 
teries of enormous extent appearing in many places. The Bedouins in 
this part of the country are, however, now too poor to buy tents, and 
hence they build the wretched hovels previously described. 

They were now in the old province of Tittery, among the mountains 
of the second Atlas range, which at this point is not divided by any con- 
siderable rivers or valleys from the Lesser Atlas. It is, in fact, impossible 
to tell where the one ceases and the other begins ; all is mountain. Far- 
ther west, on the contrary, the extensive j)lain watered by the Shellif 
forms the natural division between the chains. After several days' march, 
the mountains, which had hitherto been covered with mere brushwood, be- 
came more wooded and romantic in appearance. They passed through 
immense forests of olives, firs, and junipers, the latter of which grew to a 
considerable height. It is I'emai'kable, that on the very highest point of 
all these mountains there stands a marabout. These buildings are, at the 
same time, the temples and the mausoleums of the Bedouin priests. They 
are usually small buildings, from thirty to forty feet square, surmounted 
by a cupola, and commonly built of rough stone and whitewashed, t 

Continuing their progress, they turned somewhat westward; and the 

* This conjcctni-o is quite gratuitous on the part of M Lamping. May not the cross 
be a monument of early Cl>ri.stianity and of the North African Church'.' 
t Pp. 49, 50. 


column drew nigh to the Little Desert, or the Desert of Angad, as it is 
sometimes named. 

One fine morning, after a two hom-s' march, the Lesser Desert was be- 
fore them ; and a most cheerless prospect did it afford. To the southward 
nothing was to be seen but an undulating surface of shifting sand ; on the 
east and west alone the Atlas range was still visible. The palm grows 
better than any other tree in this scorching soil ; but it was only from 
time to time that they found one, and then so stunted and withered was it 
that it could afford no shelter to the weary wanderer. The palm is seldom 
found in groups, — generally single, or in twos and threes ; hence the natives 
call this tree the 'hermit.' To their great joy, they soon turned westward, 
always following the track of a caravan. The heat was burning, and 
they marched up to their ankles in sand ; but towards evening they 
reached a spot recently deserted by Bedouins, with several deep cisterns 
of water, not good enough to drink, but sufficient for cooking, and refresh- 
ing their cattle. These cisterns are filled during the rainy season, and some 
water remains in them till far in the summer. The next day they turned 
still more to the westward; and towards evening they reached the foot of 
the mountains, and bivouacked beside a brook. 

On their return from these burning regions of the south, the column 
once more crossed the steeps of the Atlas chain, where they found the air 
sharp and piercing, even in summer ; and Avhile they could scarcely breathe 
for the heat below, on the top of the ridge they buttoned up their capotes 
(greatcoats) to their very chins. On these airy heights they appeared 
to be in the land of vultures and eagles, which soared and screamed 
around them by hundreds. 

Marching back they followed another route ; and on leaving Medeah 
they crossed the main ridge of the Lesser Atlas to the west of the Col de 
Moussaia, through some defiles which took the whole day to pass. They 
had not, however, to climb so great an elevation as at the Col, as they 
followed the course of a moimtain torrent which forms several consider- 
able waterfalls, the heights on either side being covered with the finest 
l)ine and olive trees, and the whole scene being wildly beautiful. 

Immediately above Milianah is the highest point"' of the Lesser Atlas; 
and the town is built half- way up the mountain, ou a plateau which ftills 
abruptly on three sides. The town contained at that time few buildings 
worth looking at, except the palace of the Emir ; but the French had re- 
paired and considerably strengthened the fortifications of the place. 

Dropping M. Lamping, it is our present purpose to accompany the 
Count de Castellane-j- in some of his rides in the interior of this province. 

* This is not strictly correct, the Zakkar above Milianah being 1900 feet lower than 
the Djorjora belonging to the same chain. See p. 38. 

+Souvenii-s de la Vie Mill take en Afriquc, par le Comte P. de Castcllane (now Marshal), 


An hour after leaving the heights of Ouled-Maudil on the Sahel, Count 
de Castellane entered BoufJarik. Built on an unhealthy spot, in a place 
Avhere, according to an Arab adage, not even the snails can live, BoufFarik, 
notwithstanding its unhealthiuess, which has several times devoured its 
population, is indebted to its central position for a certain degree of pro- 
sperity. Thanks to the works that have been begun, it is anticipated that 
its terrible fevers will disappear. They only passed through this embryo 
town, stopping a few minutes at the cafe of Mere Gaspard, a noted gipsy 
catUlniere (canteen-keeper), who has erected a splendid hotel and cafe at 
BoufFarik, adorned with engravings of Horace Vernet's best pictures, pre- 
sented by the artist himself. 

Before yovi arrive at Beni-Mered, you see the column erected to Ser- 
geant Blandau and his brave comrades. On the 11th April, 1840, the 
mail started from BoufFarik for Algiers, under the escort of a brigadier 
(non-commissioned officer) and four Chasseurs d'Afrique, who were accom- 
panied by Sergeant Blandan and fifteen infantiy soldiers who were going 
to rejoin their regiments. They were advancing quickly, without having 
seen a single Arab, when suddenly four himdred horsemen rushed upon 
the little band from the ravine that precedes Beni-Mered. The Arab chief 
rode up to the sergeant, calling out to him to surrender. A shot was his 
answer • and forming a square, the French soldiers faced the enemy. 
The bullets were bringing them down one after the other, but the sur- 
vivors closed up without flinching. "Defend yourselves to the death !" ex- 
claimed the sergeant as he was hit, " face the enemy !" and he fell at the 
feet of his comrades. Only five men remained of the twenty-five, cover- 
ing with their bodies the dispatches that had been confided to them, 
when the sound of horses' hoofs, galloping up at full speed, gave them 
new life and hopes. Presently fi'om a cloud of dust there darted forth 
a body of horse, Avho rushing on the Arabs sent them flying. The rescuer 
was Joseph de Breteuil and his chasseurs. He was ordering the horses 
to be watered at Bouflarik when he heard the firing. Immediately, only 
o-ivino- time to his troopers to seize their swords, M. de Breteuil set ofi'full 
speed, followed by his chasseurs, mounted at hazard. He plunged the first 
into the tumult ; and thanks to his rapid energy, he was able to save these 
martyrs to military honom-. The rescuer received the same recompense 
as the rescued, Breteuil and the survivors being all named members of 
the Legion of Honour in the same ordonnauce of the king. 

The road to Blidah crosses the site of a wood of orange-trees cut 
down by General Duvivier in the name of military engineering. During 
two years did these trees serve to warm the troops ; and what remains 
of them around the town is sufiiciently beautiful to make a residence at 
Blidah delightful* 

Having been presented to General Changarnier, they shortly left Bli- 

t — --• - * Castellane, pp. 5, G. 

TUE ZACCAn. 141 

dab, escorting him on tlie road to !Milianah. They followed a westerly 
direction, hugging the mountains that rise to the south of the plain. At 
two leagues from Blidah they forded the ChifFa torrent, there lUO metres 
(328 feet) in width, with a deep and rapid current ; and they soon after 
reached Bou-Rounii, where they halted an hour, before climbing the hills 
that separate the plain from the valley of the Ouad-Ger. 

It was not usual to follow the valley of the Ouad-Ger when the com- 
munications between Milianah and Blidah were not open ; its steep ac- 
clivities, covered with lentisks and evergreen oaks, presenting too great 
difficulties. The road of the columns, longer but more secure, used to 
pass over the ridges and abut in like manner at the marabout of Sidi- 
xVbd-el-Kader, where they were to bivouac in the evening. Accordingly 
at three o'clock, after having crossed the Ouad-Ger eighteen times, they 
rejoined the troops that had started the night before, and their tents 
were pitched under the aged olive-trees that were still respected by the 
French axe. The next morning they crossed the valley of the Ouad- 
Adeha, which consisted of heavy clay, following a southerly direction. 
Two roads were now before them : one of which ascends towards Milianah 
by the slopes of the Gontas and the valley of the Shellif ; whilst the other 
passes by the country of the Righas, and reaches the town by winding 
along the declivities of the Zaccar. The latter was the shorter, and was 
selected by them ; and ha\ang reached the plateaux of the Righas, they 
saw before them, on the other side of an immense woody ravine, Milianah, 
built on the summit of a I'ock, surrounded by gardens and verdure. 

An hour after leaving the fountain of the Trembles, they entered Mi- 
lianah by its northern gate. 

Zaccar signifies that which refuses or will not suffer itself to be ascended ; 
and this name is given by the Arabs to the long rocky ridge which com- 
mands Milianah on the north side. The town is built on a plateau at 
the foot of the mountain, and advances like a promontory over the last 
slopes which continue for the space of a league as far as the valley of the 
Shellif. From the sides of the Zaccar, and from Milianah itself, gush forth 
abundant rivulets, diffusing a delightful coolness on all sides ; and around 
the town extend those gardens so celebrated throughout Algeria : lichens, 
mosses of all kinds, a thousand plants with long stems, seem to encircle 
the white houses and tile-roofs of Milianah with a belt of verdure. At a 
distance the eye is deceived, and perceives nothing but a smiling scene ; 
but if you draw near, you find nothing but wliited sepulchres. 

A main street designed by the French, containing a number of canteen- 
shops, traverses half the town, and stops short at the Arab quarter, near 
the minaret of a ruined mosque. The martial notes of the French clarions 
have long succeeded the cry of the muezzin, calling the faithful to prayer 
from its summit. This town had been a kind of advanced post down to 
1841 ; but after that date it became, with Medeah, the basis of the French 



operations in Algeria. By ascending the minaret of the old mosque you 
easily perceive the importance of the position, for you see all the country 
that it commands : on one side the rolling manimelons or hills that 
separate it from Medeah ; then the valley of the Shellif running east and 
west ; and beyond that the rock of Ouar-Senis, commanding the Kabyle 
mountains, whose conquest has cost so much blood and treasure. It is a 
magnificent picture. The country that separates Medeah from Milianah 
is called the DjendeU' 

On another occasion Count de Castellane marched with his column from 
Medeah to Blidah, on his return from the successful expedition undertaken 
to put down the great insurrection of 1845. They passed thi-ough the 
gorge of the ChiS'a, which the Count describes as one of the wonders of 
Africa, and one of the beauties of the world. Picture to yourself, through 
a precipitous cutting five leagues in length, a splendid road twenty- five 
feet in breadth, in some places opened through the rock by blasting, and in 
other places encroaching on the torrent, which has been forced to yield up 
part of its bed. Lichens and all manner of shrubs flourish in the crevices 
of the rocks ; and in some favoured places, where the mould has not been 
washed away, actual forests tower overhead. The river Chiffa has Avorn 
a serpentine channel through these rocks, and receives in its bosom the 
numerous cascades that come tinkling down the wall-like rocks. Suddenly, 
as you advance, the horizon expands, you issue from prison, and your 
dazzled eyes rest on the long range of hills that bound the Mitidja, — on the 
sea, Avhich appears through the cutting of Mazafran, — and on this immense 
plain, so beautiful when seen at a distance. 

In the course of an hour you reach Blidah. Mohamed-ben-Yousef, the 
traveller, whose sayings have become popular in Algeria, pronounced of 
Blidah, " You are styled a little town ; I call you a little rose." No de- 
scription can be more exact. Blidah appears with indescribable grace 
among woods of orange-trees, whose jjerfume announces your approach 
while you are still far ofi". The French maintain that they have embel- 
lished Blidah with all the excellences of French art ; yet notwithstanding 
all their embellishments, it has managed to remain a very charming town, 
— in short, the little rose of Mohamed-ben-Yousef. + 

The country known by the name of the Ouar-Senis extends between 
the valley of the Shellif to the north and the Little Desert to the south, 
having a length of about 15 leagues (37^ miles). It is a vast assemblage 
of mountains, which rise successively to the rocky ridge placed in the 
centre, a regular knot binding together all this labyrinth of precipices, of 
ravines, and of gigantic eminences. The rocky ridge in question has a 
length of 1500 metres (4920 feet), rises above the plateau which forms its 
base to the height of GOO feet, and is protected by precipitous sides. Its 
summit is inaccessible save by means of paths only fit for goats, and runs 
* Castclkmc, \^. 21. Ibid, jx 2i8. 



ill an east and west direction; and at the latter end, after presenting a 
col or neck which answers for a pass, a rocky eminence protrudes in the 
shape of a dome, towering above the rest of the ridge. The reader may 
imagine the difficult nature of a country where narrow footpaths, on all 
sides commanded by eminences and woody plateaux, wind along the tlauk 
of the mountains, only leaving a free passage for one man. This dan- 
gerous ground is inhabited by wild and warlike Kabyles,* sprung from 
that old Berber blood which has ever offered the material of resistance to 
established authority. They consist of the Beni-Eyndel, the Beni-bou- 
douan, the Beni-Bhalia, the Beni-bou-Atab, the Beni-bou-Kanous, the 
Beni-bou-Chaib, <kc. ; tribes with republican forms, only obeying «a djemaa 
(assembly or commission) named by the whole people ; independent, ever- 
lastingly cpiarrelliug, yet united against the common enemy. These tribes 
had already encountered the French soldiers before Castellaue's campaign 
(1843). Tlie first occasion was at the Ouad-Foddha, of glorious memory ; 
later, in November 1842, they were obliged to succumb to the French 
columns that furrowed their territory anew ; but Abd-el-Kader excited 
them to arms once more in 1843. Sidi-Embarek was then in the Ouar- 
Senis with his regular battalions, and endeavoured to stimulate the moun- 
taineers to revolt. 

Three columns were destined to operate in that country, under the 
supreme command of General Changarnier. Each of them had received 
precise instructions, and the common rendez v^ous was the Medina of the 
Beni-bou-Deuan, a Kabyle village, or rather town, situated among those 
mountains. Castellaue's column, under the immediate command of Chan- 
o-arnier, marched direct for the cathedral, as the soldiers had christened the 
rocky ridge above mentioned. The 10th of May, under a bright sun and 
with gay hearts, they issued from the gate of Milianah, descending the 
narrow path which leads in a westerly direction to the valley of the Shellif. 
They were accompanied by 150 horse, who were to attempt on the mor- 
row to surprise a Kabyle village. Scarcely had they reached the valley, 
ere the clarions sounded a halt to give the column time to close up ; then, 
all in order, they started afresh. They were in a friendly and open coun- 
try ; and though their arms were loaded, they marched without precaution. 
First came the general, followed by the cavalry ; then the infantry, pre- 
ceded by a company of sappers with mules carrying implements. This 
company was ordered to march on, without caring for the cavalry or the 
general. Behind them came a part of the infantry ; then the mountain guns, 
with their little pieces on the backs of mules with roughed shoes ; the ambu- 
lance or hospital apparatus, with its red flag, followed together with a con- 
voy of provisions ; lastly the baggage of the corps, sumpter horses, mules, 
or asses, under the surveillance of non-commissioned officers, and followed 

* The native population is divided into two broad distinctions : 1st, the Arabs ; 2d, 
the Kabyles or Berbers. 


by a numerous infantry that closed the march, having at the extreme rear- 
guard mules with cacolets* in case of accidents or diseases. From time to 
time the general's aid-de-camps ascertained that the column advanced in 
good order; and at every hour the chief of the staff ordered a halt to be 
sounded, to give ten minutes' rest to the foot-soldiers, with their heavy 
load of eight days' provision. It is usual to give an hour and a half's rest 
about half-way, for the soldiers to make and drink their coffee-soup, i. e. 
biscuit broken up in coffee, all dipping into a common dish. Such is the 
common order of the march in Africa. 

"We were now marching in the valley of the Shellif," says Castellane, 
" througlr magnificent corn-fields, smoking and talking, laughing and sing- 
ing, or silent and thoughtful, as the mood might be ; but very happily, sad- 
ness was not in fashion among us." 

After a succession of halts, the column had arrived at the bivouacking 
place, near the stone bridge built over the Shellif by Omar Pasha ; and, 
as usual, the portable city was pitched with an admirable dispatch. 

The next morning, at the dia7ie,f the band of the 58th played a gay 
reveil ; and after coughing a little, and dispelling the morning fog by a 
draught of brandy, they resumed their march, foUovv^ing, as the night be- 
fore, the valley of the Shellif. In the evening they stopped at the Ouad- 
Rouina. In the night the cavalry and two battalions started to surprise 
the Kabyle village of the Berkanis; but being discovered, the affair ended 
in a little peppering. The following evening they rejoined the bivouac ; 
and the next morning the cavalry returned to Milianah, whilst the head of 
their column entered the valley of the Ouad-Rouina. A few hours later 
they encountered the bad roads of the Ouar-Senis. One by one, mules, 
soldiers, and convoy advanced in file along these narrow paths, which con- 
tinually ascend, winding up the flanks of the mountains among pines. 
This was a hard time for the infantry ; for to the right and left of the 
convoy some battalions were directed to protect it, cutting across the 
country without any track ; at one time descending the ravines, at another 
mounting the steeps, encountering terrible fatigues, rendered necessary 
by war to insure the safety of all. 

Though they had been in an enemy's country for two days, they had 
not yet met any one ; every where they found nothing but the calm of 
emptiness, — a kind of desert, — when suddenly, in front of them, they be- 
held five or six hundred Arabs, excited and raising loud shouts, on an 

* Portable chairs for the wounded, earned on the backs of mules, of which St. ]\Iarie 
(p. 22) gives the ensuing description : " Cacokls are a kind of pack-saddle of wood and 
iron, carried on the backs of mules, and sui>porting on each side chairs of ii-on, made to 
fold up in a small compass, so that the mule may set out with expeditions carrying pro- 
visions, and return with a load of woimded men, who must be so seated in the chair as to 
form a counterpoise to each other. Some of these cacolets are so ingeniously constructed 
as to spread out like a bed." 

+ The trumpet-call to rouse the troops. 


eminence that commanded tlie narrow patli. The halt was sounded. The 
general i'ormed the Chasseurs d'Orleans in the vanguard ; then he started, 
himself at their head, to drive off the enemy. Under shelter of the figs 
and other trees that clothed this knoll, the Chasseurs d'Orleans escaladed it 
at a run, notwithstanding the fire of the Kabyles, whom they soon drove 
back with the bayonet. A considerable nmnber of the natives bit the dust, 
and the others sustained a vigorous chase; and the French returned with 
a flock which they found in the wood, some killed and some wounded, — but 
such is war. Meanwhile the convoy, having passed through the defile 
after it had crossed a ravine, had established itself near the litle town of 
Beni-bou-Deuan. The houses of this town, which are built of wood and 
plaster, have a great resemblance to the hovels of the French peasants in 
Picardy. They are solid, defying rain and storms ; yet the soldiers had 
soon gutted them, for the dry wood they afforded gave out less smoke, and 
made better soup. Accordingly, in the space of two days, during which 
they awaited the other columns, not a few of them were destroyed ; and all 
would have been converted into fuel, had not Colonel Picouleau and his 
troops soon arrived. 

All the Arab accounts agreed in stating that there was a gathering of 
the population in the direction of the Ouar-Senis. These accounts were 
correct; and on the morning of the 18th of May, a few moments after 
crossing the Ouad-Foddha and becoming implicated in a defile, thcj- per- 
ceived some Arab horsemen; and on debouching on the large plateau at 
the base of the rocky ridge previously described, they saw the enemy. 

The French arrived from the eastward, parallel to the south side of the 
ridge. Before them stretched away a vast plateau covered with trees, 
Avith verdure, vines, houses, and gardens. To the west the plateau termi- 
nated in a high sugar-loaf mountain, separated from the rocky ridge by a 
col answering the purpose of a pass. This plateau stopped short to the 
south, at a ravine in Avhich there flowed a river. The ridge might be 
about 1500 metres (4920 feet) in length, and was surrounded by indented 
rocks ; the precipices of the ridge rising sharp, like walls, from the last 
slopes, to a considerable height. The whole mountain towered above 
the plateau to a height of about 600 feet. Some pines and other trees 
fringed the steep slopes, and stopped where the rock became vertical, but 
climbed higher at two opposite spots, which seemed to. shew that there 
existed two means of access to the summit. In other respects, nothing 
could be more charming than this plateau; a real oasis, which on two sides 
stood out in all its fresh verdure from amongst a rampart of greyish rocks, 
whilst towards the left the eye Avandered over a line of endless mammelojis 
(undulations) to the blue horizon of Tiaret. On their arrival they saw 
the horsemen of Sidi-Embarek ride off to the southward, and numerous 
Kabyles flying along the woody slopes; but from the top of the rock a 
confused and muffled sound and agitation reachccl their ears, and some- 



times loud cries. At intervals some Kabyles appeared on the ridge; and 
a singular effect was produced by scattered groups of horsemen, who, sus- 
pended on some almost inaccessible heights, stood out in bold relief against 
the azure sky. 

The twenty-five horsemen, their only cavalry, were immediately thrown 
out in the direction of the col ; and the Chasseurs d'Orleans, who that day 
formed the vanguard, throwing off their knapsacks, ran in to support the 
little knot of horsemen. Two other companies swept the slopes with the 
bayonet, while the rest of the column established its bivouac in the gar- 
dens. The attack was immediately planned. Lieutenant-Colonel Forey, 
of the 58th of the line, with the Gth battalion of chasseurs and some com- 
■ panics of his own regiment, Avas to attempt an escalade to the east. Two 
battalions of the 58th and Colonel dTIlens were to try and storm the 
ridge by a ravine that ran two-thirds of the way up its sides. It was 
about 1 p. M. ; a bright sun was reflected from the arms and the rocks. 
The general was in the centre under some great trees, giving his orders 
with his usual precision and clearness. Castellane and the staff were near 
him, looking at this magnificent panorama, when some gun-shots and the 
drums beating a charge startled them on the left. These sounds gave 
birth to a new force, an unknown ardour in the sovd. A few seconds 
later, the company of chasseurs whom they had seen exchanging shots with 
the Kabyles in a fir-wood, and trying to avoid the masses of rock rolled 
down upon them by the enemy, passed on to rejoin its battalion, Captain 
Soumain at its head, all bruised by an ox that had been cast down upon 
him. The firing became sharper to the east ; and a horseman soon rode 
up to announce the capture of the smala of Sidi-Embarek by the Duke 
of Aumale. 

At this moment Castellane moved to the east, near the Chasseurs 
d'Orleans. Arrived at the foot of the rock with a part of the battalion, 
Lieutenant-Colonel Forey, an old chasseur officer, ordered the men to un- 
sling their rifles. " We have to escalade the rocks, my lads, with spirit : 
remember you are the Chasseurs d'Orleaus." Immediately the charge 
sounded, and on they dashed over the roots and rocks and broken ground, 
climbing and leaping like apes, mastering all obstacles, despising the balls 
that fell direct among them, and the rocks rolled down on their heads by 
the Kabyles. Thus climbing up on all-fours, they reached a point beyond 
which to advance was impossible. Every Kabyle who peejjed over the 
ridge was reached by their bullets, but many of their hands were crushed 
by the rocks sent down from above. It was a curious sight ; a scene of 
the middle ages ; you might have taken it for the assault of one of those 
ancient castles built on the brink of some precipice. 

As soon as the general came up, he ordered a retreat, to save the lives 
of the brave chasseurs. A Kabjle prisoner pointed out two narrow paths 
.)»y which the enemy had reached the summit, which they considered im- 


pregnable, the tracks being so bad tbat the cattle had to be drawn up by 
roi)es. But as there was no water, a blockade of three days was sure to 
enforce a surrender. 

The 58th had bravely tried to mount, l)ut had been balked by a rocky 
ravine with a slight loss, including (Jolonel d'lllcns. 

The column, divided into two corps, guarded the north and south-east 
slopes; while the reserve and convoy were established in the midst of gar- 
dens, where the pomegranate-trees, interlacing their red flowers with the 
large vines that ran from tree to tree, afforded an agreeable shelter to the 
weary troops. At night the bivouac fires sparkled like so many stars 
along the slopes of the mountain ; and an enormous flame, no doubt some 
signal, shone forth at the east end of the rock ; whilst overhead towered 
the limpid vault of heaven, into whose depths the eye loved to wander. 
A large fire of olive-wood gave a pleasant warmth to the staff-officers, who 
passed the evening in smoking and chatting; while Captain Carayon-La- 
tour, one of the best trumpet-players in France, woke up the magnificent 
echoes of the mountains with his hunting airs. 

The blockade continued till the 28th, when the thirst on the ridge 
reached an extreme that forced the chiefs to demand aman (terms) from 
the general about twelve o'clock. It was a wild sight to behold the flocks 
rush like an avalanche down the dizzy steeps to the river; while from 
the rock whole tribes of men poured down like a torrent, amidst shouts, 
tumult, and dust. Sheep, goats, oxen, women, and children, altogether 
ran down to the water, while the men, with fierce countenances, suffered in 
sullen silence. The soldiers made a glorious supper that night on Kabyle 

Thus all the population of the southern part of the Ouar-Senis was 
subdued at a blow ; but the northern tribes had still to be brought into 
subjection. Accordingly on the 24th they started with ten tliousand head 
of cattle for Teniet-el-Had, a new post established at the watershed three 
leagues from the plateaux of the Serssous. Two days afterwards they 
passed through the magnificent cedar-forest, from which you get a sight 
of Teniet-el-Had. The variety of views and of the scenery, its extent of 
nearly five leagues, and the splendid size of the trees, make this forest 
one of the most curious spots in Africa; yet it is not safe to venture there 
alone, as on all sides there may be seen traces in the shape of a hand- 
grenade, which indicate the presence of lions. Colonel Korte, of the 1st 
Chasseurs d'Afrique, was then the commandant superior of Teniet-el-Had; 
a man of estimable character, of a daring heart, and a perfect horseman. 
In July 1842, under Changarnier, he made a gallant i-azzia on Ain-Tesem- 
sil, a plateau of the Serssous. With 200 chasseurs, supported by zouaves, 
he made a dash at a post of flying Arabs guarded by 1500 horsemen. The 
least hesitation would have been destruction ; but he knew his men and 
his foe, and he cut ofi' the retreat of the fugitives, throwing them back on 


tlie Frencli column. There was much firing, and many chasseurs bit the 
dust ; but Korte brought into camp two thousand camels, eighty thousand 
head of cattle, an immense booty, and a great number of prisoners. 

While this razzia, justly celebrated throughout the province of Algiers, 
was related to them, the staff and column reached the nev/ post. Teniet- 
el-Had (the col or pass of Sunday), thus named from an Arab market that 
is held there on that day, had only been occupied by the French since May 
(1843). No building had at that time been erected, and a simple earthen 
ditch protected the soldiers who were encamped under the great tents of 
the administi'ation ; but the climate was healthy, and the iroorale of the 
troops excellent, hence there were but few sick. The column found pro- 
■visions prepared for them there by the foresight of the general, and after 
a short stay they departed once more for the mountains of Ouar-Senis. 
But the lesson they had received had quelled the insurrection of the moun- 
taineers ; they received the submission of numerous tribes, and were forced 
to return to Milianah on the 7th of June through lack of provisions.* 

* Castellane's Souvenirs, p. 59. 


^ro&hue of (©ran. '€l)t Coa^t. 




THE next province that we shall describe and analyse is that of Oran, 
following the series adopted by the Tableau and M. Berbrugger. 
This land of the west, the cradle and home of Abd-el-Kader, has been the 
nursery of the boldest spirits and the theatre of the most daring exploits 
in Algeria. 

The province contains 102,000 square kilometres (39,270 square 
miles) ; and 275 tribes, including G00,OUO souls, besides 3o,24G Europeans 
and 21,630 natives in the towns : total 656,876. 

We shall, as usual, first give a broad survey of the province, beginning 
with the sea-shore. FoUowino- the coast to the west of Tenes we come to the 
Darha district, part of Avhich belongs to the subdivision of Mostaganem, in 
the province of Oran; and after passing the Djcbel Minis, or mountain of salt, 
and the Zour-el-Hummam, we come to the mouth of the river Shellif, the 

150 ARZEU. 

largest and most celebrated stream in Algeria.* It flows during the greater 
part of its course in the province of Algeiia, and has been already noticed 
in detail. A short distance to the west of the Shellif we come to ilosta- 
ganem, so called, according to Blofeld, from the sweetness of the mutton 
fed in its neighbourhood. This town is built in the form of an amphi- 
theatre, with a free prospect of the sea ; but in every other direction it is 
enclosed by a circuit of hills which overhang it. The inhabitants have a 
tradition, confirmed by some vacant spaces, that the present town is com- 
posed of several contiguous villages. In the middle of it, and near one of 
these vacancies, are the remains of an old IVIoorish castle, erected, as it 
appears from its construction, before the invention of fire-arms. The 
north-west corner of the town, which overlooks part of the port and the 
ditch, is surrounded by a strong wall of hewn stone, where there is another 
castle built in a more regular manner. But Mostaganem being too much 
exposed to every troop of Arabs who can take possession of the hills be- 
hind it, its chief strength lies in a citadel situated upon one of these 
eminences, which has a full command of the city and of the surrounding 
country. The population in 1843 consisted of 2500 persons, exclusive of 
the French garrison. Passing through a fine country, sheltered by a chain 
of hills which bounds it to the south and south-east, the traveller comes to 
Mazagran, a small mud-walled town situated on the western declivity of a 
chain of hills, within a furlong of the sea. This is the place where, a few 
years ago, it was stated by the French Government that 123 French sol- 
diers had successfully resisted 7000 Arabs for three days. After calling 
forth the powers of poetry and painting. Colonel Lievre's exploit turned 
out to be a fabrication, if we may believe Mr. Blofeld.t 

A short chstance beyond this place is the river Sigg. The Habrah, 
another considerable stream, falls into the former, whose mouth is called 
El-Mockdah, the Ford, which, save in the rainy season, is entirely occu- 
pied by the sand, leaving the passage without water. Not far hence, under 
some steep rocky cliffs, are two small ports, one of which opens towards 
Mostaganem, the other towards the port of Arzeu, five miles beyond. 

Arzeu, called by the Moors the port of Beni-Zeian, from the Kabyles 
living near it, was formerly a large community. The land many miles 
behind it presents a rich landscape ; but towards the sea rises a range 
of steep rocks, forming a breakwater to the country. The water used 
now by the p(?oj)le of Arzeu is brackish, being drawn from spots much 
lower than the sea ; but the Avhole city was once built on cisterns, which 

* Lieutenant De France, who was taken captive by the Arabs at Arzeu in 1837, de- 
Bcribos the Shollif as the principal river of the country, rising in the mountains south of 
Miliana, runnino: cast and west, and falling into the sea near Cape Ivi, between the 
Cape of Tenes and the Gulf of Arzeu: The French in Algiers, translated by Lady Duff 
Gordon, p. 124. 

+ Bcrbrugger records it as a fact, part i. 


still remain ; and numerous ruins of aqueducts, temples (one in particular 
in very good preservation), and other large buildings which lie scattered 
along the coast, prove that formerly a very considerable city existed on 
this spot. Leaving Arzeu we come to Cape Ferrat, remarkable for a high 
rock which stands out to sea. At a short distance from this cape is Oran. 

Orau is an important fortified city, about a mile and a half in circum- 
ference, built upon the declivity and near the foot of a high mountain. It 
is naturally a place of great strength, and has been made much stronger by 
art ; yet it is commanded by the neighbouring hills. Oran was taken by 
the Spaniards in 1509, retaken by the Algerians in 1708, and taken once 
more by the Spaniards in 1732, who left it finally in 1792, having adorned 
it with several beautiful churches and other edifices in the Roman style 
during their occupation. 

With a fair wind, the passage hence to Carthagena in Spain takes fif- 
teen hours. 

The country surrounding Oran presents a variety of pleasing prospects 
and cool retreats, numerous plantations of olives, picturesque rocky pre- 
cipices, and rills of water trickling or rushing down them. Five miles 
beyond Oi-an is Mers-el-Kebir, the Portus Magnus of the Romans, so called 
by Pliny from its great size. This harbour is formed by a neck of land 
which advances almost a furlong into the bay, sheltering it from the north 
and north-east winds. Two leagues to the west is Cape Falcon, beyond 
which are the isles of Ha-beeba ; and farther on is Figalo, not far from the 
Sinan, the last of the brooks which fall into the Ouad-el-Mailah, " the salt 
river," whose sources are situated at the southern confines of the plain of 
Zeidoure, through which the stream glides in a variety of beautiful wind- 
ings. It may not improbably be near this river, which might occasionally 
be swollen by the rains, that the elder Barbarossa, after flying from Tlem- 
sen, scattered about his treasure when he was pursued by the victorious- 
Spaniards, his last though ineffectual eflbrt to retard the pursuit of his 
enemies. The Ouad-el-Mailah, a little after its union with the Sinan, dis- 
charges itself into the Harshgoun. 

To the west of the latter are several ancient ruins called Tackumbreet, 
where the city of Siga or Sigeum, once the meti't)polis of Syphax and 
other ^lauritanian kings, was situated. Opposite Tackumbreet is a small 
island, the Acra (Ak-pa) of the ancient geographers, forming the port of 
Harshgoun,* whei'e ships of the greatest burden may lie in safety. Tack- 
umbreet is on the western banks, near the mouth of the Tafua, the ancient 
Siga, whose volume is formed by the Isser (Assanus), the Barbata, and 
other tributaries. -]- 

A short distance beyond the Tafna stands Djama-Ghazouat, which has 
been named Nemours by the French, and constitutes their last post towards 

• Rashgoun, accn-ding to the Tableau. t Blofeld, p. 83. 


the frontiers of Morocco on the sea-boarJ. This little town contained in 
December 1847, 503 Europeans ; in December 1848, 429 ; and in De- 
cember 1849, 405. The nmnber of natives in 1849 was 42. In De- 
cember 1848, 950 metres (311G feet) of water-conduits, and 250 (820 
feet) of sewerage, had been 023ened, for 13,431 fr. (537^. 5s.) ; and 
2492 fr. 46ct. (99^. 14s. 2^J.) had been devoted to the improvement of 
the fortifications. A debarcadere, or landing-place, has been also built 
(1847), 44 metres (14432 feet) in length, at an expense of 10,421 fr. 
Analysing the fortifications, we find that the town wall, or enceinte, begun 
in 1 845, has been finished ; that tlie curtain G-7 has been organised to- 
gether with the interior communications ; that a cavalier has been built 
on the terre-pldn of bastion 3 ; and that a mule's road has been opened 
from the town to the heights of Touent. The expense of the works has 
amounted- to 32,720 fr. (1308^. IGs. ScZ.), and it is calculated that their 
completion will cost 200,000 fr. (8000/.)." 

As Nemours may almost be reckoned a new French colony, seeing the 
small infusion of natives in its population, we shall revert to the state of 
its agricultural and commercial industry in the chapter on Colonisation. 

Six leagues to the west of the Tafna is Cape Hone, the foreland pro- 
truding from the ridge of the Trara mountains, and corresponding to the 
Great Promontory of Ptolemy. This cape nearly coincides with the 1° 40' 
W. long, of Greenwich. A short distance to the west of Cape Hone is the 
river Twunt, which with the Trara mountains has been commonly regarded 
as the western limit of the province of Oran and of Algeria generally. 

Before we pass to the survey of the interior, we shall linger a little 
longer about the coast, and dwell more minutely on its individual features, 
beginning with its capital. 

The voyage from Algiers to Oran is usually performed in thirty hour.«, 
touching at Scherschell, Tenes, ]\Iostaganem, and Arzeu. Let us nov/ 
accompany Baron Baude and his disciple St. Marie to Mers-el-Kebir, 
which they represent as a better port of refuge than Gibraltar, where the 
sea is sometimes tremendous, the action of the winds terrible, and the 
anchorage bad.f In December 1825, fifteen ships wei*e cast away on its 
shores; but nothing of this kind is found at Mers-el-Kebir, where the sea 
is not dangerous, and the anchorage might easily be made unassailable. 
The possession of the fort of Mers-el-Kebir used to be regarded as the key 
of Africa. It is of considerable extent, and the fire of its batteries sweeps 
the bay, at the farther end of which is the city of Oran, unapproachable 
by large ships on account of reefs and shallows. ]\Iers-el-Kebir is a good 
refuge for vessels in storms, situated at the eastern entrance of the channel 
between Spain and Africa ; and the currents of the shore, together with 
the westerly winds which prevail during two-thirds of the year, drive into 

'* Tableau, &c. p. 48. f. Baron Baude, vol. ii. c. x. p. 111). 

ORAX. 153 

tlie bay vessels coming out of tlic Straits of Gibraltar, and check the 
course of those seeking to enter the Atlantic."' Hence this would be a 
good place to intercept the communication between the Mediterranean 
and the Atlantic; and the correspondence of the Peninsula and Paris 
through Perpignan might pass directly through Carthagena and the 
richest part of Spain. f The most prominent part of the fort is sur- 
mounted with a lighthouse. A broad well-made road leads hence to Oran ; 
and when arrived half-way, St. Marie descended to a cavern forming two 
grottoes, in the centre of each of which is a basin of water three feet below 
the ground-level. The water is brown, cool, and brackish, the tempera- 
ture 40° of the centigrade thermometer, and is said to be useful in curing 
cutaneous diseases. ^: 

The position of Oran is delightful, forming an amphitheatre along two 
banks of a shady ravine, commanded l)y the solid and lofty walls of the 
Casbah. The appearance of the place shews its former importance ; and 
the inhabitants are not in the miserable condition of the other towns of 
Algeria. The men look strong and vigorous ; and naturally remembering 
that the Spaniards, Avho once held the place for a long time, thought it 
best at length to withdraw, probably anticipate the same result with the 
French. Hence they are animated by an innate feeling of pride and in- 
dependence, which nothing can subdue. 

"Having crossed the ravine," proceeds St. Marie, "we entered a broad 
well-paved street, planted with old trees, and leading by a gently winding 
declivity to the highest point of the city. Here we came to the gates of 
a barracked camp, adapted for infantry and cavalry, and at that time 
(1845) occupied by the Foreign Legion." 

When St. Marie reached this point, he entered on an extensive plain 
beyond the city, where 6700 Arab Gooms (irregulars) of the division of 
Oran were being reviewed by General Thierry. The French possessions 
in the province of Oran covered in 1845, according to St. Marie, a super- 
ficies of 200 square leagues, the produce of which does not supply even 
the city.§ Five leagues (12^ miles) to the north of the city is a bar- 
ren plain, called by the Spaniards Telamina, the soil of which is mixed 
with salt ; and to the south, masses of ruins shew the sites of Eomau 
settlements, probably abandoned on account of insalubrity. There are 
. some plantations of cotton and madder in this direction ; and prior to the 
French occupation in 1832, the country about Oran presented a flourish- 
ing aspect, but in 1845 there was nothing but ruins. 

The city of Oran is built on two long plateaux, having a deep ravine 
between them, containing a river which turns several mills and suppHcs 

* Baron Baude, c. x. p. 119 ; St. Mario, p. 167, et seqq. 

t Baron Baude, uli supra. .+ St. Marie, p. 107 

§ The Count must have made another grievous mistake here. 

154 ORAN. 

the city with water. It was given up to the dey in 1791 by the Spaniards, 
after an earthquake had destroyed every thing except the fort. Mount 
Rammra rises 500 metres (1640 feet) above the sea, and commands the 
city to the west, being surmounted by a fort called the Bastion of Santa 
Cruz. At the outlet of the road from Mers-el-Kebir stands Fort St. Gre- 
gory ; and to the south, on the sea-shore, is the Fort of Moune Point. The 
western part of the city is terminated inland by the old Casbah, which is 
used as barracks for infimtry, the fortifications being in ruins. In the 
opposite part of the city, on an eminence overlooking the sea, rise the fine 
ramparts of the new Casbah : begun by the Spaniards, it was finished by 
the bey,* who made it his residence. At the south end of this part of the 
city stands the fort of St. Andrew. 

In LS45 the houses at Oran were all in the jSIorisco style, with flat 
terraced roofs; the streets were broad and straight; and it was remarkable 
for the beauty of its chief mosque, ornamented with exquisite open-work 
sculpture. The ravine between the two parts of the city is chiefly occupied 
by gardens and orchards, in which the pale green of the banana conti'asts 
finely with the rich tints of the citron and pomegranate trees. But 
European houses are already beginning to be built in this valley, so 
that these blooming gardens will doubtless disappear by degrees. 

We will next take a survey of Mers-el-Kebir and Oran, in the company 
of our respected friend JM. Berbrugger.t 

Travellers seeking to reach Oran by water are commonly forced to 
land a little to the westward, as merchant-vessels seldom, and ships of 
war hai'dly ever, anchor before the town. The usual landing-place is 
]\Iers-el-Kebir, or the great port, which you reach passing to the westward 
of Oran, and leaving to the left the fort of Mouna, or rather Mona ; the 
name being probably of Spanish origin, and bestowed on the place on 
account of its being frequented by monkeys. Above Mona rises Fort 
San Gregorio, itself commanded by that of Santa Cruz, which placed on 
the culminating point of the mountain was held to be impregnable. The 
little rocky summit on which it is built forms, with the extremity of a 
neighbouring ridge, a very remarkable embrasure, answering the purpose 
of a landmark to seamen at some distance out at sea. 

After passing Point Mona you enter the roads of Mers-el-Kebir, the 
best shelter on the coast of Algeria, and the only spot where great ships 
can hibernate. This bay is encompassed by very liigli land, save at its 
extremity, where a decided sinking of the hills creates the embrasure pre- 
viously noticed. Violent squalls are apt to sally forth from this gully, 
even in summer ; and the Spaniards used to call these gusts of wind pol- 
vorista (dust-bearing). 

* St. Maine says ' dey ;' which is clearly an error, as the dey always resided at Algiers, 
leaving Oran and Constautina to the tender mercies of his beys; p. 17i>. 
t Algcrie, part ii. 

ORAN. 155 

The usual anchoring place is neai* the fort, a fine and solid Spanish 
structure, built by the convicts of the presidios (garrison). It is partly 
cut out of the rock on which its foundations stand, has an oblong form, 
and occupies almost the whole of the little peninsula that forms the 
nortliern {)oint of the bay, and whose neck is closed by a bastion covered 
by a little demi-lune. 

This part of the fortification is formidable ; the ditches, which are 
entirely dug in the rock, having a mean depth of at least 40 feet. Broad 
platfornjs of pa\'ing-stones solidly cemented together can receive nu- 
merous pieces of ordnance, which would be protected on the sea and 
land sides by traverses in masonry of unusual strength and great fre- 
quency. When M. de Bourmont ordered the evacuation of Oran in 1830, 
they blew up part of the sea-batteries ; but the mischief has since been 
repaired. The fort of JNIers-el-Kebir, when the French took possession in 
1830, had 44 guns, 24 to 36 pounders : they were of Spanish origin. 

At the east end of the fort stands the pharos, a little tower jminted 
white, whose summit only rises 28 metres (9184 feet) above the sea. It 
was for a long time only furnished with a tin lantern and a long candle : 
it was provided in 1843 with a fixed light, raised 2G metres (85-28 feet), 
and discernible a league off". 

There are two ways of reaching Oran, one by sea and the other by 
land. Though the distance by water is only three miles, the passage is 
often retarded, especially during east and north-east winds. The road by 
land follows the maritime declivity of the mountains that form the bay. 

The new road, that has supplanted the old footpath, doubles Point 
Mona under Fort St. Gregory, and passes over a vast grotto hollowed in 
the mountain, into which the sea enters by an artificial opening, and 
where vessels are sheltered by artificial means that are placed there in 
stormy weather. In the same locality are great excavations, that answer 
the purpose of warehouses, that have been made in the rock itself, which 
is easy to work. Yet these vast underground passages, Avhich have been 
too nmch extended, do not possess all the solidity that is desirable, and 
since the year 1831 they have been injui-ed by several landslips. 

Immediately after having passed the point of Mona, Oran is before 
you. This town is situated at the bottom of a vast inlet to the west of 
Cape Feri'at, between two strands of sand, and on the two ridges of a 
ravine (Ras-el-Ain, the source of a stream), in which flows an abundant 
stream. That part which stands on the left bank is badly built, and ruined 
m many places in consequence of the earthquake of 1790 ; this is the old 
town, which was inhabited by the Spaniards. On the right bank is the 
new town, crowned by the new castle or Casbali. 

Ihe position of Oran is highly picturesque ; and when the traveller 
descries from the deck of his vessel the two groups of white houses (the 
old and new towns), bisected by a ravine dotted with very pretty gardens, 

loG OllAX. 

in the furm of an ampliitheatre, cut by tougues of laud, whence a number 
of streams come gushing down, setting several mills in motion by tha 
way, the eye dwells with pleasure on the charming features of the scene. 

But as soon as you land, and crossing the beach, you enter the quarter 
of the Marine, which precedes the two others, the illusion ceases, and you 
experience a feeling of disappointment, not uncommon on entering African 
towns. After having crossed this quarter, you reach, at length, the gate 
of the town itself, for the ^Marine quarter is only a kind of European appen- 
dix to Oran. The first thing that meets your eye at the gate is the pretty 
minaret, giving one of the most favourable specimens of Moorish architecture 
in the town, these being but very few in number. (See Cut, p. 149.) 

Standing in front of the gates, you have the old town to the right. 
When seen close at hand, the whole deformity of this mass of crumbled 
buildings is exposed to view ; their ugliness being increased by the loss 
of the usual coat of plaster that gives some degree of decoration to the 
commonest structm-e in Africa. To the left of the elegant minaret of the 
great mosque you see the Casbah. This castle extends above a lofty and 
solid rampart raised by the Spaniards, the only modern people whose 
massive erections call to mind the time-defying structures of the Ptomans. 

The great artery of the town is called the Rue Philippe, adorned with 
sturdy and luxuriant trees, which give it at first the appearance of one 
of the boulevards of Paris. But on a more minute inspection of the 
houses bordei'ing this avenue, and of the population circulating in the 
artery under this canopy of verdure, the traveller soon discovers that he 
is in Africa. The low houses surmounted with terraces, the white walls, 
and especially the men, of lofty stature, with bronzed features set off in 
a characteristic relief by the capuchon or hood of their black bournous 
or cloaks, some of them pacing along with Mussulman gravity, whilst 
others, gathered up near the shop of some Moor, preserve such an im- 
movable attitude that you might take them to be the signs of the shops ; — 
all these features stamp a special character on the locality, and very quickly 
dissipate all idea of analogy to European cities. 

The Rue Philippe abuts in the square, and thence it continues, under 
the name of Rue Napoleon, to the south gate. This artery traverses the 
whole town, and constitutes the principal featui-e of the place; for the 
whole trade and circulation of Oran is centered there ; and if the pedes- 
trian ventures into the side streets, he finds the bustle diminish in pro- 
portion as he leaves the main street, and at their upper extremity he 
encoimters only ruins and solitude. 

The reader must not imagine that the Colosseum of Hassan Pasha, 
represented in the adjoining cut, is an old Roman ruin, as its name, ap- 
plied by Europeans, would seem to imply. The building, now converted 
into barracks, was built by Hassan, the last bey of the western province, 
to accommodate his harem. Its general character is bold and elegant. 

ORAN. 1;j7 

and it is a matter of regret that it lias not been employed for a more con- 
genial i)nrposc. 

We have already described a Moorish house ; and as this only differs 
from otliers in being larger, we shall not enumerate its compartments ; 
and we shall take a future opportunity to speak of an interesting phase 
of Eastern life, we mean the institntion of harems. 

The following description of the entrance to the port of Oran is from 
the graceful pencil of Marshal Castellane : 

" Entering the bay of Mers-el-Kebir at dawn, the traveller is greeted 
with a magical spectacle. First appear the houses of Mers-el-Kebir, cling- 
ing to the walls of the old Spanish fortress ; next, the dismantled towers 
of St. Michael and the line of mountains, which for the space of one league 
borders the bay, separating the port from the town of Oran ; lastly, the 
Fort of St. Gregory, proudly perched half-way up to the right, at the foot 
of Santa Cruz, an eagle's nest built at the summit of an arid ridge, com- 
manding the town and the country. Beneath the fire of the batteries of 
St. Gregory, the houses of the town wind along the sides of the hill, and 
stop at the Avails of the Chateau Neuf, a vast structure raised, facing St. 
Gregory, by the soldiers of Philip V. To the east, along the line of cliffs 
that frown upon the ocean, the eye discovers the mosque, which has been 
converted into the quarters of the Chasseurs d'Afrique, and was built by 
their labour ten years ago ; farther on, along the shore facing ]Mers-el- 
Kelnr, rise the naked slopes of the mountain of the Lions, and, in the 
horizon, the rocks of the Iron Cape (Cap de Fer). Not a shrub is to be 
seen on the whole of these hills and motmtains, though a little verdure 
may be perceived at the entrance of the ravine of Oran, which is almost 
concealed by the angle of the mountain of Santa Cruz. A neat village, 
with its white houses, peeps out of the middle of gardens at the foot of 
the mountain of the Lions, on the sea-shore ; and a slight haze often con- 
tributes in softening tlie harsh features and outline of the land, from which 
the breeze wafts a sweet ])erfume over the sea. 

" The distance from Mers-el-Kebir to Oran is a drive of an hour and a 
half; and during the first years of the French occupation, you were obliged 
to follow a narrow and steep footpath, which led by the fort of St. Gregory, 
and ascended 400 feet above the houses of Oran. Whenever your horse 
or your mule stumbled, you ran the risk of being thrown down into the 
sea. All these dangers are now removed. The soldiers of the garrison of 
Oran laid down their muskets on returning from an expedition, and took 
up the spade, which they wielded so efficiently under the directions of 
engineer officers, that they cut in the side of the mountain a wide and con- 
venient road, in which various descriptions of vehicles may now run with 
ca=c and expedition between the town and the port."* 

* Castellane, p. 295. 

158 ORAN. 

We are informed by Baron Baude that the Spaniards invaded and cap- 
tured Oran iu 1505, under Cardinal Ximenes; and that they lost it in 
1708, at the time of the troubles occasioned by the war of the succession. 
Their administration was clever, and they managed to subdue the Arabs 
in a radius of 15 to 20 leagues (38 to 50 miles), destroying the ports of 
Hone and Haresgot; whilst Tlemsen and Mostaganem paid them tribute 
down to 1551, and the tribes of the Habra, of Canastel, of Agobel, and of 
the Beni Amer, made common cause with them.* 

On the 15th of June, 1730, the Count of Montemar, with 27,000 men, 
landed again at Oran ; and they retained it with a nominal garrison of 
3000 men, often reduced to half that number, till the earthquake of 1791. 
General Damremont took the place in 1830, and the French were well 
received by the natives ; but the Bey Hassan, califa of Sidi-Ahmed, a 
chief of Tunis, to whom the province was yielded by General Clauzel, 
alienated their minds, in consequence of which the French government 
would not acknowledge his acts, and he resigned. Since then the pro- 
vince has been under a French governor, who is almost independent and 
absolute.-)* Lamoriciere filled the post many years with credit. 

The surface of Oran, within the walls, is 75 hectares (187 acres); and 
the population shews that there are 331 individuals per hectare (2^ acres). 
At this rate, if it had the density of that of 

Sedan . 

. 181 


hectare (2 "47 acres), it would reach 

. 13,575 


. 241 

a •> 

. 18,075 


. 2C4 

,, ,, 

. 19,800 


. 415 

,, ,, 

. 31,875 

Toulon . 

. 5-24 

!> ,, 

. 39,300 

In 1839 the French formed one-seventh of the total po2)ulation; whilst the 
Spaniards composed one-fourth, the Jews one-half, and the Mussulmans, 
who before the French occupation Avere the dominant body, are losing 
daily their relative importance. 


The Europeans amounted to . . . . 1042 

Mussulmans ,, .... 440 

Israelites „ .... 2372 

Total 3854 

In is;w 

The Europeans amounted to . . . . 4837 

Mussulmans ,, .... 1003 

Israelites „ .... 3364 

Total 9204 

In December 1847 the European population amounted to 15,191, in Dec. 

* Baron Bande, vol. ii. ]i. 137. 

+ Ibid. c. X. p. 115. Kozct, Voyage, vol iii. :J: II id. 

ORAX. 1.j9 

1848 to 15,324, and in Dec. 1849 to 17,281 ; the native population at the 
latter date numbering 75 G4. Hence the total population of Orau in Dec. 
184D was 24,888.* 

In the twelfth century, when the coasts of the kingdom of Tlemsen 
and those of Andalusia were united under the sceptre of the caliphs, there 
were found at Oran vast bazaars and flourishing manufactures, and its 
port was full of Spanish ships.f In 1373 the Pisans formed great es- 
tablishments in these seas by a treaty of commerce, whose precision and 
equity could hardly be surpassed by the diplomatists of the present day.| 

Oran stands in 35° 45' 57" N. lat., and 2° 40' 52" W. long, of 
Paris ; 66 leagues (1G5 miles) west from Algiers. The harbour has from 
four to six fathoms of water, and is defended from the north-west by the 
point of Fort Mouna. The landing is situated between Fort Mouna and 
the town. Fort Mers-el-Kebir advances like a mole into the sea ; and the 
best anchorage is found in this place, as it is the most sheltered part of the 
bay. The port of Mers-el-Kebir is about five miles by sea from Oran, and 
the intermediary intercourse is carried on by boats called alleges (lighters), 
owing to which circumstance it requires sometimes fourteen days to un- 
load a vessel. § 

According to Lieutenant Garnier, of the Frencli navy, six line-of-battle 
ships, six frigates, and fifty smaller craft, can anchor at Mers-el-Kebir, if 
some of them employ four anchors. |1 The trade of Oran is still con- 
siderable, consisting of grain, cattle, leather, &c.; and there are also 
manufactures of burnouses at this town. The street of St. Philippe joins 
the two parts of the city, which is built on very diversified grounds, and 
possesses six gates. Shortly after the French took Oran, redoubts and 
blockhouses were constructed ai'ound it, and the garrison was raised 
to 4350 men. In 1837, a military colony of Spahis (native cavalry) was 
established at Messerguin, near Oran; and the forts of St. Anch-e and St. 
Philippe have been re-established by the French.^ 

The land surrounding Oran consists chiefly of pastures, but to the east 
some arable land occui"s. 

We shall now lay before the reader the latest improvements effected at 
Oran, consulting the French official documents for our facts. 

The basin of refuge of Oran, undertaken in 1849, intended to contain 
4 hectares (10 acres), is destined for the reception of ships bound to Oran, 
but which are almost always obliged to moor at Mers-el-Kebii*. The docks 

* Tableau de la Situation, pp. 96, 113. 

t Marmol's Africa, b. v. Edrisi, p. 2.30. 

X This painfully interestiuar specimen of imhappy Italy's palmier days under the sun of 
liberty exists in MSS. in the archives of Pisa. " Mantissa veterum diploniatum populi 
Pisani a nobili viro Navaretti rccollectorum quse apud equitem J. Schijipisium diligentcr 

§ Rozet, vol. iii. p. 274. II Tableau de la Situation, 1839. 

■[1 Baron Baude, vol. ii. 

160 OR AN. 

had been estaljlished in ISoO. Thirty metres (98-40 fe^t) of jetty, and 
150 metres (492 feet) of quays, built in 1847-48, occasioned an expense 
of 388,000 fr. (15,520/.) ; and the quays and dry dock at Mers-el-Kebir 
cost 248,000 fr. (9960/.) From 1833 to 1849, 3000 metres (9840 feet) 
of principal streets, and 1100 metres (3608 feet) of branch streets, have 
been opened, costing 280,000 fr. (11,200/.) ; eight squares have been cleared 
and ])lanted with 150 trees, besides a jiromenade planted with trees. 

The aquedjict of Eas-el-Ain has been made (1841-42) 3100 metres 
(10,168 feet) in length, supplying 4,500,000 litres (99,000 imperial gal- 
ons) daily, and costing 70,000 fr. (2800/.) ; and the aqueduct of the Ravin 
Blanc, 1300 metres (4264 feet) in length, supplying 350,000 litres (77,000 
gallons) daily, and costing 25,003 fr. (1000/.), was finished in 1845* Three 
water-conduits have also been built, — one at Oran, the second on the road 
to, and thethird at Mers-el-Kebir, —at a cost of 244,000 fr. (9,760/.) : the 
second is 900, the third 5000 metres long (16,400 feet). 410 metres 
(1344-8 feet) of sewers have been opened in the ravine of Ras-el-Ain 
(1844-48), at an expense of 114,000 fr. (4560/.); and 700 metres of 
other sewers (2296 feet) in the streets of Oran were finished between 
1837-39, for 30,000 fr. (1200/.) Oran possesses a palace of justice, built 
in 1837 for 10,500 fr. (420/.); and a civil prison, built in 1841-42 for 
13,000 fr. (520/.); a school-house, costing 37,000 fr. (1480/.); and two 
churches, costing 149,997 fr. (5999/. 18s. Id.), of which that of St. Louis 
was finished in 1850, holding 1200 worshippers; two cemeteries, es- 
tablished in 1841-43, cost 19,000 fr. (760/.); and a douane in 1845, 
181,157 fr. 53 cents. (7246/. 6s. 3d.) A hospice des femmes was erected 
in 1847-48 for 7300 fr. (292/.); and a caravanserai, afterwards turned 
into a hospital, was built at the same date for 163,270 fr. 56 cents. 
(6530/. 17s. Id.). 

As regards the fortifications of Oran, between 1832 and 1849 the de- 
fences of the coast cost 417,510 fr. 23 cents. (16,700/. 8s. 6d.) ; and the 
land-defences cost 1,083,000 fi\ (43,320/.) The chief works consist in 
repairing and improving the town-wall and the detached forts ; in re- 
pairing the sea-face of the fort of Mers-el-Kebir ; in beginning the coast 
batteries, save that of the Spanish jetty now in progress; in making 
cavalry and artillery quarters, barracks at the Chateau Neuf, the old 
Casbah and the Colisee, magazines, hospitals, ifec* 

We have now completed our survey of Oran, and shall take a ride 
along the coast to Mostagancm, in company with Count St. Mario aud the 
former excellent Bishop of Algiers, M. Dupuch. 

" After breakfast they mounted their horses, the bishop wearing a 
violet-coloured robe with a gold cross on his bosom, and a three-cornered 
hat with two gold tassels. Over his robe lie had thrown a white burnouse, 

* Tableau, p. 387 (1S49-50). 


whicli was merely fixed round liis neck ; l)ut the two vicars who accom- 
panied him were in black ; and they had two men besides, as escort and 
guides. They took the road to Ar/eu, ten leagues {25 miles) from Oran, 
crossing a plain intersected by difficult ravines ; the soil presenting a mix- 
ture of clay and sand, whose fertility was obvious from the healthiness and 
vigour of the vegetation, growing in patches. They observed some thistles 
and other plants six feet high ; but the country looks uncultivated and 
desolate, and some fine olive-trees which they passed still bore traces of 

Advancing, they passed through a village whose Arab name is Kergu- 
enta, containing the ruins of a monument called the Medersa, constructed 
by the first bey who occupied Oran after the Spaniards rfetired. Within 
the building was a small mosque, containing two beautiful tombs of white 
marble. This mosque was surrounded by pillars, and sui'mounted by a 
dome, open at top ; in the centre was a large palm, which reared its 
stately head above the ruins, and overshadowed them with its massive 
foliage. After passing through the village they saw the ruins of an aque- 
duct, almost hid beneath thick acanthus-plants, with water issuing from 
the midst of the ruins. They came soon again into the plain, where all 
vegetation, save dwarf palms, became more and more rare as they ad- 
vanced ; and at 4 p.m. they arrived at Arzeu, Avhere they were obliged to 
go to a miserable hotel by the sea. St. Marie and Baron Baude, as usual, 
agree in pronouncing the little poi-t much better sheltered than that of 
Mers-el-Kebir, and the surrounding locality has been prepared by nature 
for commerce and shipping. The water is unfortunately only deep enough 
for third-class vessels; and the indolence of the natives has left an evidence 
of the great quantity of corn once exported, at the time when the Spa- 
niards forbade the natives to traffic in the port of Oran. The vessels which 
came to Arzei; for cargoes of grain threw their ballast into the sea, which 
has left an accumulation that obstructs the anchorage nearest the coast.* 

The town is commanded by a fort g-uarded by veterans ; and a little 
islet situated in front of the port serves as a jetty, at the end of which a 
large lantern used to be fixed up (1845) as a lighthouse. Very extensive 
ruins, and numerous Eoman medals scattered about the plain at Arzeu, 
shew it to have been the site of an important city, and have occasioned 
some archaeological discussion. The Spaniards built at this place vast 
magazines for barley, wheat, and salt, besides a quay of freestone; but 
after the abandonment of the province, it fell once more into the posses- 
sion of the Arabs, who have suff'ered the buildings to decay, and ruined the 

* Captain Despointes, in his survey of the bay, states preciselj' the same fact. 

+ St. Marie treads on the heels of Baron Baude in his description of Arzeu. Captain 
Despointes' sui-vey of the bay (1833-4), published in the Appendix of Baron Baude's 
Alg^rie, contains the same expressions as those employed by the Coimt. Thus the Captain 



The country around is rich in salt-mines ; the salt they yield being 
better than that obtained in Spain and Portugal, and only requiring that 
kind of labour for which the Arabs are adapted, namely, that of collecting 
and transporting. Arzeu was once the port of the kingdom of Tlemseu, 
which comprised all the valleys of the Shellif. 

Next day they left for Mostaganem, wdiich is about fifteen miles dis- 
tant. It is wonderful that in this undisturbed district the French had not 
constructed good lines of road in 1845, communicating between Mosta- 
ganem, Mazagran, Arzeu, and Oran. Yet the works would be easy and 
highly advantageous to those towns. The Arabs in this part of the 
country are industrious, and the women of Mostaganem make the most 
approved haicks and burnouses. A Spanish merchant, M. Canapa, has 
established a house of business at Mostaganem, which appeared likely to 

The importance of the port of Arzeu, the .largest on the coast of Al- 
geria, induces us to extract a description of its hydrography by Captain 
Despointes, who was stationed there in the corvette Alcyone from May 
1833 to March 1834: 

" Between Cape Ferrat and Cape Yvi you see a great inlet, to which 
the name of Gulf of Arzeu has been given. Almost all along the shore 
which forms this coast you find anchorage, in general open and offering 
little security in winter ; one alone appearing to me to unite all that con- 
stitutes an excellent shelter ; it is that which is named Arzeu. 

During the winter that the Alcyone passed in these roads, it was ob- 
served that in strong gales, those blowing from the sea or north and north- 
east did not enter much into the bay ; only the swell became very high, 
and gave a rise of almost five feet, so much the more inconvenient because 
the broken sea occasioned by this swell often lays the ship on its broad- 
side. The bottom, consisting of white sand mixed with plants, only di- 
minishes insensibly in depth, which renders the holding ground excellent. 

Save in storms, the prevailing winds come from the eastward, passing 
by the north to the west ; those that blow most violently come from the 
north-west arid west. The seals almost calm during the prevalence of 
land-winds ; and, however strong the land or sea winds may have been, 
during a six months' stay the Alcyone was always able to communicate 
with the shore, and a merchant-ship would never have been obliged to 
interrupt its loading. 

A stone quay was formerly caiTied out at Arzeu for a considerable 

says : " The numerous ruins, &c. on shore prove that formerly a considerable city occu- 
pied this spot. . . . Some Roman medals found at a slight depth, &c. . . . The Spaniards 
had built at Arzeu vast warehouses, slieltered by their solidity from the attacks of the 
Arabs. These warehouses wore destined to house wheat, barley, and salt. It appears 
jirovod that the Spaniards not only carried on in that country the corn-trade, but that 
of feathers, of carpets, &c. ; and caravans even came there." It is almost too delightful 
to Slid witnesses agree so closely. St. Marie, p. 186 ; Baudc, App. 


distance seaward, and must have allowed ships to come iu themselves and 
take up their cargoes. The old warehouses arc still iu good condition ; 
but the (|uay would require many re^jairs. 

To give the port its ancient depth, and permit even large ships to 
anchor further in, sheltered from all winds, several dredging machines, 
&c. would be required, and very great care on the i)art of the officer com- 
manding the station. 

The Roman road that led to Mascara abutted near the port. 
Continuing to follow the coast, at the distance of four miles, and 
almost S.S.E. of the point of Arzeu, on the height you see an Arab vil- 
lage, improperly called the village of Arzeu. The neighbouring country 
is very well cultivated, and shews a good vegetation ; and the village con- 
tains many Roman remains. Ships wishing to take in their cargoes to 
the village must conie and anchor at a cable's length from the coast, with 
a depth of seven fathoms ; and their communication with the shore would 
be often interrupted by the swell. 

From this jjoint to the bay of the Macta, which takes its name from 
the river that falls into it, you reckon three miles from west to east, and 
some degrees south. You may cast anchor all along this coast iu sixteen 
fathoms ; still, though the bottom is good, consisting of mud and sand, it 
would not be prudent to trust it except in the fine season. 

At the east of the point that forms the cove of the Macta, the an- 
chorage is better, from the nature of the bottom, which is soft mud. 
Large vessels cannot enter inside the point ; they anchor in nine or ten 
fathoms, and are exposed to the N.W. and N.N.W. winds, which sweep 
the coast and give rise to a very heavy swell. Boats and small craft can 
find easy shelter in some species of basins, the works of man, and which 
probably served formerly as receptacles for the galleys. It would be very 
easy to fortify the cape, which forms almost an island near the dry land ; 
but the river which is found at the bottom of this cove is baiTcd at its 

The whole of this part of the gulf presents charming views. 

Behind the bar, and for a mile up the river, you find four metres 
(13-12 feet) of Avater ; and it would be easy to make this river accessible 
for barges of thirty or forty tons.* The whole shore of this bay is 
also scattered with vestiges of Roman edifices, including a very perfect 

Leaving the Macta, you proceed along the east coast j and after having 
taken cognisance of the village of IMazagran, inhabited by Arabs, and only 
defended by low walls, you see INEostaganem, a i-ather considerable town, 
sui-rounded with walls and provided with a casbah. The least bad an- 

See the Reconnoissance hydi-ograpM.iue de jI. Garuioij lijuteuaat de vaisseau. 


chorage (for none are good) off this place is at six cable-lengths from the 
shore, in twelve or foui-teeu fathom, muddy bottom. You open the citadel 
then, to the east, 40° south. In these moorings you are exposed to the 
N.N.W. winds, circling round to the west, which reign rather frequently 
on this coast during the winter. Save in this locality, the bottom is 
every where scattered with rocks, rendering chain-cables indispensable. 
The N.N.E. and E. winds that come down in squalls from the moun- 
tains need not occasion any anxiety ; they can, however, be felt in the 
bay, and enable ships to make out to sea. In winter it is especially 
necessary to guard against the N.N.W. and N. winds ; and it is prudent 
to set sail when the swell rises from this side, and the weather seems 
uncertain. When once the breeze has begun, it soon freshens, and you 
would be overtaken by bad weather at your moorings. The communica- 
tion with the land is bad enough, on account of the almost continual swell 
that exists on this shore ; and the Moorish boats that come from Oran 
to seek for vegetables and poultry, and other slight goods, are forced to 
draw up on land ; accordingly, they often come and anchor at Arzeu, to 
wait for the wind permitting them to make this manoeuvre." 

M. Despointes did not examine the coast of the bay beyond Mos- 
taganem ; but M. Jules Tessier, commissary of the king in that town, has 
signalised at three miles to the eastward, a creek surrounded by rocks, 
where, according to him, you might, with an expense of 100 fr. (4?.), pro- 
cure an excellent shelter for small trading vessels.* 

M. Lamping, who was quartered at Mostaganem in 1841 with the 
Foreign Legion, states that it contained at that time from 4000 to 5000 
inhabitants, consisting of Arabs, Spaniards, and Jews, besides the French 
regiment in garrison there. The town must have been formerly much 
larger, as is shewn by the number of ruins scattered without the walls ; 
but with the exception of a few mosques, there is no building of any impor- 
tance. The former citadel, called the Casbah, was then in ruins, and only 
garrisoned by some fifty or sixty pairs of storks, who have founded a 
colony on the extensive walls. 

Almost as much Spanish is spoken there as French or Arabic; nearly 
all the natives speaking a corrupt Spanish, a kind o{ lingua franca. The 
younger generation, however, i. e. boys from ten to fourteen, converse in 
French with tolerable fluency, but somewhat marred by their deep guttural 
tone. The ease with which the settled Ai-abs and Bedouins continue to imi- 
tate whatever they have but once seen or heard is very remarkable. The 
district south of Mostaganem may be called the home of the Bedouins, — if, 
indeed, these wanderers have a home. There the richest and most pow- 
erful tribes fix their tents, sow and reap their corn, and feed their flocks ; 

* See Baron Baudc, vol. iii. Appendix. 


purposes for which the country is well adapted. The large plains between 
Mostaganem, ]\Iascara, and Oran, and the fertile valleys of the Shellif* and 
Mina, afford these nomades excellent pastures for their numerous herds, 
and an uidimited room for their horses and camels. During the whole 
•ndnter, and till the month of June, which is their harvest-time, the Be- 
douins camp in these places ; but when the heat has burnt up whatever 
pasture was left, they retreat into the valleys and defiles of the Atlas, 
where food of some sort, though scanty, is still to be found for their 
flocks and herds. 

In October, a fpw days are sufficient, after the parching heat of summer, 
to call into existence, as it were by magic, the most luxuriant vegetation : 
the richest verdure has sprung up beneath the withered grass, the leaves 
of the trees have lost their sickly, yellow hue, the buds have begun to 
burst, and the birds to sing their vernal songs ; in short, this is the African 
spring. The burst of vegetation was the strongest in the vale of Matamor, 
which divides the fort of that name from the town, and which is watered 
by a stream. Every inch of ground there is turned to the profit of man. 
Magnificent fruit-trees, pomegranates, figs, and oranges, and the most 
various vegetables, cover the ground; aud Spaniards, Arabs, Jews, and 
French are diligently employed in cultivating the fruitful soil.t 

Baron Baude supplies us with the following important statistical and 
general facts relating to Mostaganem. At the end of 1839 the popula- 
tion of ^lostaganem consisted of 1428 Mussulmans, 406 Jews, and 2S^ 
Christians. The Mussulmans are very industrious, and their women work 
hard, manufacturing haicks, burnouses, and all sorts of clothing. The 
markets of the town are greatly frequented, especially since the merchants 
PuggimondOj Bigarelas, and Canapa, a Jew from Gibraltar, have established 
themselves there to export grain to Spain. The Koulouglis,^ who arc those 
amonffst the natives that are most inclined to make common cause with 
the French, were the particular objects 6f Abd-el-Kader's animadversion. 
Those ofMazouna and El Callah having shewn their inclination to place 
themselves under the protection of the French, the Emir caused their 
dwellings to be sacked, and part of the inhabitants to be carried off to 
people his new town of Tagadempt. The Koulouglis formed the chief 

• Lieutenant de France describes his visit to tlie plain of the Shellif in these terms : 
" On the ■23d August, at five a,m., we again left Kaala, and marched northwards ; and after 
a march of seven hours, we encamped on the very edge of the plain of Mostaganem, near 
the river Shellif. Oiir camp stood in a grove of ilexes and gum-trees, on the top of a 
mountain commanding the plain ; just such a spot as was selected by knights of old to 
build their castles on, for the better convenience of robbing travellers, &c. . . . I am too 
poor a hand at my pen to attempt a description of the beautiful and fertile plain which 
lay at om- feet, covered with crops of various kinds, fruit-trees, herds, flocks, and tents." 
P' 120. 

f The Foreign Legion, p. 87. 

X Otl'spring of Tm-kish Janissaries and Moorish women. 


part of the ]\Iussulman battalion kept by tbe French at Fort Matamor in 
1841. Many Arab tribes find an opening for their produce at Mosta- 
ganem. ^ First come the Achems and the Aribs : the latter living near the 
Shellif, have flocks yielding fine wool, oxen and horses of a large size; 
the Achems, Avhose territory is adjacent on the south to that of Mos- 
taganem. have likewise an extensive cultivated district. 

Turning to our friend M. de Castellane, we find that " an Arab tale 
relates that two children were once playing during the Rhamadan (fast) 
on the banks of a stream that flowed on to the sea after running a league. 
In the midst of their play, the youngest, gathering a reed, carried it to 
his mouth ; and after giving it to his companion, said, ' Muce-kranem' 
(suck the sweet piece of cane)."* Hammud-el-Alid, the powerful chief of 
the tribe of Mehal, was at that moment debouching on the hills, and heard 
the words of the children. Wishing to found a town on that spot. Ham- 
mud had been puzzled as to what name he should give it ; the two 
children freed him from his difficulty, for he called his city (in a.d. 1300) 
by this name, according to the legend. However widely spread this 
legend may be, the warrior has left more durable traces of his doings. 
The fort of Mehal still exists ; and the works executed by the care of his 
three daughters have made his memory dear to all the inhabitants : for 
they owe aqueducts to the beautiful Seffouana ; their gardens to Melloula 
the graceful ; whilst Mansoura, a woman of great piety, drew down the 
blessing of Heaven on the town by building a mosque that became her 
tomb. It is no doubt to her prayers that Mostaganem owes its prosperity, 
which it always enjoyed, even under the Christians. A ravine watered 
by a stream separates the town from a little hill called Matamore ; the 
numerous silos (underground granaries) that the Turks had dug in it, 
enclosed by a wall with loopholes, having given it its name. 

The principal military establishments occupy the crest of this hill, 
whence you discover a magnificent view. At your feet the town, its 
houses, its gardens ; in front the sea, with its mighty surges, incessantly 
moved by the west winds ; on the right, at a league's distance, high 
mountains ; toAvards the left the eye follows the woody slopes of the hills 
that fringe the sea in the vast bay of the Macta, that rise up to the point 
of the dp de Fer, and shoot up the naked ribs of their grey rocks to the 
blue sky ; whilst at a distance, in the mist, the eye distinguishes the moim- 
tain of the Lions (Oran). The horizon is immense, yet the eye discovers, 
without difficulty, all its details ; but if the air is humid, if no air agitates 
it, ns often happens when c^ir^y weather is at hand, by a singular optical 
effect, distances Ijccome nearer ; and it would a])pear that a few strokes 
of the oar would suffice to bring you to the harbour of Arzeu, which you 

* Compare this account of the origin of the name with that given by BlofeUI, p. 150, 
i. €. ' sweet mutton/ et puis rcvonons a nos moutons. 


perceive, "with its wliite houses, on the opposite shore, at a league from the 
cape. Four thousand natives, colonists from all countries, and a numerous 
garrison, live together in a fi-iendly way at Mostaganem, passing every 
day without cares or grief. The Mussulman says, " it was written ;" the 
Christian, " never mind;" and the result is the same, for they know that 
the French commandant watches over all.* 

* Souvenirs, p. 347. The TaUean gives Jlostaganem 1.300 metres (4264 feet) of street, 
and 1700 of water-conduits, supjilj-ing 700,0001itres (154,000 gallons) per day : the tovrn 
is surrounded with an emliattlcd wall, 10 to 13 feet high, 10,640 feet in circumference, and 
flanked with towers; the coast-battery has 5 guns, and the powder-magazine contains 
55,000 lbs. Pp. 344, 354, 387. 

3Probincc of (3vm. hxttviov. 




LET US now proceed with a bvoad survey of tlie interior of the pro- 
vince of Oran, after which we will analyse it more minutely. 

Returning eastward from the river Twunt, and live leagues (12^ miles) 
south of the mouth of the Tafna, is Tlemsen (according to Arabic pro- 
nunciation, Telemsen or Tlemsan), almost surrounded with trees, and 
situated upon a rising ground, beneath a range of rocky precipices, the 
Sa-rhatain of Edrisi. These are part of the Middle Atlas chain ; and upon 
their first ridge (for there is a much higher one to the south) is a large 
strip of level ground, from which a great number of fountains gush forth. 
These, after uniting gradually into small brooks, and turning some mills, 
fall iu a variety of cascades as they approach Tlemsen, which they supply 
with an abundance of water. 

In the western part of the city thei-e is a large squai-e basin, of 
-Moorish construction, 200 yards long and 100 broad. The inhabitants 
have a tradition that formerly the kings of Tlemsen entertained them- 
selves upon this water, whilst their subjects were here taught the art of 
rowing and navigation. But the water of the Sacratain, as Leo informs 
us, being easily turned from its ordinary course, this basin may have 
been employed as a reservoir in case of siege, being used at all other 
times to supply the beautiful gardens and plantations situated beneath it. 
Edrisi notices a structure of this kind, into which the fountain of Om-Yahia 
discharged itself. Most of the walls of Tlemsen have been moulded in 
frames ; a method of building, according to Pliny, used by the Africans 
and (SjJaniards in his time. The mortar is composed of sand, lime, and 
gravel, well tempered and mixed, and as solid as stone. The several 
stages and i-emoves of these frames are still observable, some of which 
are 100 yards long and two in height and thickness, by which the im- 
mense quantity used at one time may be seen. About 1G70, Hassan, dey 
of Algiers, laid most of this city in ruins to punish its rebellious character, 
and only about one-sixth of old Tlemsen now remains. When entire it 


might be al>out four miles in circuit. Tlcmsen contains many vestiges 
of ancient times ; ami its houses are like the others in the province, low 
and mean in appearance, forming a great contrast to the ruins. It con- 
tains a fort capable of holding 5000 soldiers, with walls 40 feet high, 
circular in shape, like most Moorish forts in the inside. The population 
of Tlemsen was i-educed in IS-i.S to about 20,000 souls, of which 1000 
were Israelites. A few years ago a cannon-foundry was established thei'e 
by Abd-el-Kader. 

At the distance of half a mile from the present city is an immense 
enclosui-e, with walls surrounding it, and the remains of a half tower, 
about 60 feet high by 20 square. Half a league farther on towards the 
Tafna exists half of a similar tower ; and the Arab legend relates that 
these two halves once formed one, but that agreeing in a separation, the 
latter one fine morning walked away from its better half; but some say 
that being built by an Arab and a Jew, they quaiTelled about their claims, 
and the Jew's half took wing one night and perched on its present site. 

On the banks of the Isser, the east branch of the Tafna, are the baths 
of Sidi-Ebly ; and after you have passed them commence the rich plains 
of Zeidoure, which extend through a beautiful interchange of hills and 
valleys to the banks of the Ouad-el-Mailah, for a distance of thirty 
miles. About the centre of them is the Shurph-el-Graab, or " pinnacle 
of the ravens," a high pointed precipice, with a branch of the Siuan run- 
ning by it. The Ouled-Halfa and Zeir are the principal Arab tribes in 
this neighboui'hood. 

Six leagues south of the Sinan is Djebel Karkar, a high range of rocky 
mountains bending to the south ; and beyond them are the mountains of 
the Beni-Smeal, with the Arab tribe of Harars living a short distance 
south of them in the Sahara. Beyond these again, and at the distance of 
five days' journey to the S.S.W., ai-e the villages of Figig, renowned for 
their plantations of palm-trees, and whence the western parts of the pro- 
vince are supplied with figs. Beyond the river Mailah, as far as Oran, 
is the Shilka, as they call a very extensive plain of sandy, saltish ground, 
which is dry in summer, but covered with water in winter. The Am- 
meers have their encampments in this neiglibourhood; a tribe which, from 
its intercourse with the Spaniards when the latter held Oran, have adopted 
some of their manners. To the south of the Shilka are the mountains of 
Souf-el-Tell and TafFarowy, which form a ])ai-t of the Atlas chain ; the 
extensive ruins of Arbaal lie on one side of them, and those of Tessailah 
on the other. The latter, which, from their name, may be the remains of 
the ancient Astacitus, are situated on some of the most fertile plains of 
the country, cultivated by the Ouled-Ali, the enemies of the Ouled-Zeir 
and Haifa. 

Crossing afterwards, almost in the same parallel, the rivers Makerra 
and Hamaite, both of which fall into the Sig, we come to Mascara, a col- 


lection of mud-walled houses, built in the midst of extensive plains, ten 
leagues (25 miles) from Mostaganem, with a small fort to defend it from 
the neighbouring Arabs. The Hachems, who are the Bedouins of this 
part of the country, are called jotvaite, or gentlemen ; before, the French 
conquest they were exempt from taxes, and served only as volunteers 
Avhen required by the government of Algiers. Mascara is built on some 
table-land, between two small hills, commanding a view of the immense 
plain running north-east and south-west for several leagues. Its popula- 
tion in 1843 consisted of about 15,000 persons, including 500 or GOO 
Jews.* Five leagues north-east of Mascara is El-Callah, the largest market 
of this country for carpets and burnouses, and which, though much larger 
than Mascara, is a dirty, ill-built town, without drains, pavement, or 
causeways, being built, as the name implies, upon an eminence among 
other mountains. Several villages are scattered around it, all of them pro- 
fitably engaged in the same sort of manufacture. El-Callah possesses a 
citadel in which the Turks kept a garrison ; and from the large stone and 
marble fragments found there, it may have been a Roman city, perhaps 
the Gitlui or Apfar of Ptolemy. Some leagues farther is the river Mina,t 
which falls into the Shellif at El-Had, near the plain of El-Mildegah, where 
the Swidde have their principal place of abode. El-Had may mean a 
mountain, by way of eminence, such as those of the Benizer-ouall deserve 
■^.0 be called, forming a ridge which runs here parallel with the Shellif. 
This part of the Atlas is famous for the quantity and delicacy of its figs, 
"esembling those that the elder Cato praised when he threw them down in 
'.he senate, saying, " The country where this fine fruit grows is only three 
days' voyage from Rome ;" and history adds, that from that day he never 
rtoncluded a speech without introducing the Avords, " mihi quoque videtur 
vVthaginem delendam esse." Sidi-Abid, a noted sanctuary, is situated 
rbur leagues farther, near the influx of the Arheu into the Shellif. On 
*he opposite bank of the latter stream is Mazounah or Mezounah, a dirty, 
mud-built village, that contains no traces of the fine temples mentioned 
by Dapper and Marmol. It is, however, as remarkable for its woollen 
manufactures as Mascara and El-Callah, and it stands in a beautiful situa- 
tion, under the side of the Little Atlas. The Ouled-Solyma are the 
neighbouring Bedouins. 

Almost under the same meridian as Mazounah, and at the distance of 
* Blofold, p. 83 et seq. Mascara has .'5,960 metres (13,018 feet) of street, and two squares. 
Tableau, pp. 345, 354. 

+ Lieutenant de France describes the country traversed by the Oued Mina in the fol- 
lowing terms: " Soon after midday we saw the villap;c of El-Bordj, but we made a detour 
to avoid it, as it was market-day. Towards night, after ti^avelling over various hills, many 
rocks, and much brushwood, through a savage and uncultivated country, we reached a 
little village at a few leagues from the falls of the Ouod-Mina. The situation of this village, 
at the foot of a mountain, near several streams, is delicious ; rhododendrons, iwplars, 
almond, fig, peach, and apricot trees, cover the whole plain ; and the gardens are kept 
:fresh and grcon by a plentiful supply of water." P. I(i5. 


eighteen leagues (45 miles), is Tagadempt, consisting of the extensive 
ruins of one of the oldest cities in Africa, which was governed by the an- 
cestors of Abd-el-Kader, Avho tried to restore it, and made it for some 
time the capital of his dominions. In 1841 it contained 5000 inhabitants, 
including 200 or 300 Jews ; one straight street, thirty feet wide, built in 
the European style ; with two cafes, and also a manufacture for gims, 
which was able to make eight per day. On the advance of the French 
he destroyed the town, and forced all the inhabitants to desert it; and 
lions are now the principal inhabitants in this vicinity. 

Returning to the Shellif, four leagues (10 miles) from Sidi-Abid, is 
Memunturroy, a large, old, square tower, being probably a Roman monu- 
ment, and so called by the Ouled-Spahi, who live near it. Five miles 
farther from the banks of the Shellif are the ruins of Memon and Sinaab, 
two contiguous cities, the latter about three miles in circumference, and 
much the larger of the two ; but nothing now remains of either of them, 
save some large fragments of wall and some large cisterns. 

The most important French post in this part of the province is Tiaret, 
a little south of the Ouanseris district, in the province of Algiers. 

To fill up. our picture of this province, we have still to notice a few 
remarkable features in its eastera part, and especially the great plain of 
Mina. Starting from Touiza,* the valley Avidens to the last hills which 
sink down gradually at the distance of two leagues into the great plain 
of the Mina. This plain takes its name from a river which has its source 
on the high plateaux of the Serssous, crosses the country of the Sdamas, 
borders the Flittas district, and debouches at the south-west of this great 
plain ; flowing in an almost straight line for the space of three leagues 
and a half (T-J- miles), till it reaches the mountain of Bel-Assel. Then taking 
an oblique direction, it folloAvs for three leagues (7^ miles) this new course, 
till it falls into the Shellif, which comes from the opposite quarter, i. e. the 
east; and the united waters fall into the sea at the distance of fifteen leagues 
(38 miles) from the confluence. Not a tree or any kind of shelter is to 
be found in this immense plain ; here and there are scattered a few bushes 
of wild Barbary figs (jujubiers), sliglit undulations in the soil, and a salt 
lake. This dismal stretch of land has a framework of naked and misty 
hills ; several parts of the plain deeply channelled by the rains are im- 
practicable in winter. The Mina itself flows in a chasm twenty-five feet 
deep, that has been hollowed out by the winter floods. The fertility of 
this part of the plain, which is called the Lower Mina, is proverbial. The 

* " Scarcely have you left the plain of Mina," says Castellane, " before you enter the 
valley of Touiza. This valley ]irecedes the mountains of the Flittas, parallel to the sea 
and to the east, forming a l.irge basin amongst these mountains, covei'ed with lentisks, 
with here and there clearances sown with corn. To the south, and facing Touiza, is the 
defile of Tifour ; to the west, two leagues off, opens the passage of Zamora ; to the east, 
in this natural basin, winds a road leading to the Oued Melah, in the direction of Guer- 
boussa. This road abuts at the khamis or magazine-post of Beni Ouragh." P. 226. 


soil, formed in part of alluvial earth, can be partially irrigated, thanks to 
the embankments that the Turks erected at Relizann, and which the 
French have restored. Some day this African Boiotia will be covered 
with fine cultivation ; but in 1840 it resounded with the dropping shots 
of the Arabs.* 

"At length," says Castellaue, " in December 184G, the order was given 
to prepare for departure ; but it was not for a very perilous expedition. 
The general treated us something like children to whom you give a little 
plaything to engage their attention ; he was going to take us a peaceful 
trip through the districts, where we were only to meet friendly Arabs con- 
gregated to salute the head of the province. Our little troop had soon 
finished all preparations for departure. By an invitation from the general, 
a companion joined us in the shape of a M. de Laussat, concessionary of 
the fine property of Akbeil, ten leagues from Oran. We all loved his 
merry yet serious mind, and his benevolence full of delicacy ; we there- 
fore shook him cordially by the hand, when, punctuality itself, he arrived 
at 8 A.M. in the court of the Chateau Neuf. He was mounted on a bay 
horse, the only one that could be procured in haste ; but its transparent 
skin, and its thinness savouring of famine, caused the poor beast to be 
christened Aiiocahjpse from the outset, amidst shouts of laughter. Not- 
withstanding the bad weather, the reader will perceive that blue devils 
were not our portion when we took the road to Mascara. 

" At the moment of our departure, a violent west wind was sweeping 
the clouds before it; and so soon as we had cleared the first league, nothing 
met our eyes in the long distance but naked land, extending from Fort 
Sainte-Croix, and the ai'id ridges which terminate to the west of Miser- 
ghin, as far as the great salt lake, which we left to the right, and to the 
mountains of Tessalh, rearing themselves up in front of us in a line 
parallel with the sea. All was bare and leafless, for from the Basin of 
Oran the olive-forest of Muley-Ismael cannot be seen. To the eastward, 
near the sea, we saw mountains, hills, and these large stretches of country, 
— every where desolation. Still as we advanced, the tents of the tribe of 
Douairs seemed to thicken; and we shortly entered the fertile 2>lain of .Alelata, 
where the Arab husbandmen Avere tracing shallow furrows with a plough 
similar to that which we see in the drawings of the first ages of Rome." 

Proceeding they found an auberge (or countiy inn), built of boards, 
and a feiit verve cVeau-de-vie (glass of brandy) to dispel tlie damp, on the 
desert l)anks of the TIelat, where the industrious ]\lartin, Lamoriciere's 
well-known niaitre d'hotel, Avas able to get \\\) a kind of cross between. 
French and Arab cookery. " Whilst we were breakfasting, the rain was 
resolved to share in the banquet, and we were obliged to mount our 
horses, the hoods of our cabaus (light woollen greatcoats) drawn over our 

* Souvenirs, p. 219. 


faces to ward off those sheets of water that fall in all their glory in Africa. 
Happily the road crossed the forest of Mulcy-Ismael, and the stonj' ground 
resisted the hoofs of our steeds, joyful at having at last quitted the slimy 
and muddy soil of the Melata plain. In time of war crossing the wood 
is dangerous, and many engagements have taken place there. A little to 
the right we passed the mound where Colonel Oudinot, of the 2d Chasseurs, 
was killed in 1835 in a brilliant charge at the head of his regiment. 
Near the water-trough which General Lamoricifere had established in the 
middle of the wood, in order to quench the thirst of the columns on their 
Tvay, an old wild olive-tree is pointed out, covered with little bits of cloth, 
and piled round with stones. It is the tree under which the Cherif of 
Morocco, Muley-Ismael, stopped, Avhen, 140 years ago, at the head of a 
numerous cavalry (of which the Douairs and Abids formed a part), he 
advanced to attempt the conquest of the country. This forest has taken 
its name from his defeat. Every woman whose husband is at the wars, 
faithful to the popular belief, throws a stone in passing at the foot of the 
olive, and attaches to it a bit of her clothing to preserve him from evil. 
At three o'clock p.m. we crossed the wooden bridge, and the drummer of 
the station saluted the entrance of the genei'al into the village of Sig, 
composed of wooden huts and one stone house. As to the other build- 
ings, they were either half finished or on paper ; and those of the colonists 
whom the fever had not driven to the hospital, passed their time in dis- 
puting. The previous year, when they built the enclosure of the village, 
all believed in its rapid prosperity. This part of the plain was healthy, 
the land proverbially fertile, the cannon resounded through the valley, 
the Arab horsemen were galloping full-tilt along the channels made for 
irrigation, discharging their muskets to salute the arrival of water in the 
plain. In fact, it was a great day ; for, under the skilful direction of the 
captain of engineers, M. Chapelain, the old Turkish dam had just been 
restored. Nothing could be more beautiful than this piece of masonry, 
100 feet wide, raised with large blocks of stone, almost all taken from 
Eoman remains, Avhich covered the ground within a radius of 4000 metres 
(13,120 feet). Stopped between two rocks by this dam, the waters 
spread over the two banks by two principal channels, carrying into all 
the fields abundance and fertility. When, standing on the little bridge 
of the sluices, you turn towards the plain, whilst at your feet you hear 
the redundant waters leaping over the barrier, and rolling as they roar 
into the ancient bed, your eyes discover an immense horizon, a verdant 
and fertile plain, hills lost in the mist ; and on j^our right, eight leagues 
from the Sig, the marshes of the Macta and a series of sand-hills spread- 
ing out like the meshes of a net. 

The general wished to ascertain the causes which prevented the de- 
velopment of a village placed in the best conditions for prosperity ; he, 
therefore caused it to be announced that after five p.m. he would receive 


all the colouists who wished to speak with him. This interview and its 
results will be described in the chapter on Colonisation. Suffice it to say 
here, that owing to the active measures adopted by the governor, a few 
months later, any one crossing the Sig would no longer have recognised 
St. Denis, so greatly was that village transformed. 

" A little beyond St. Denis," proceeds Castellane, " you enter the 
gorges of the mountains which separate the valley of the Sig and the 
Habra from Mascara and the valley of Eghris. The night was dark 
when we crossed these defiles to arrive at the bridge of Ouad-el-Hammam 
(the river of the bath), where we were to bivouac. The next morning 
we had to start forthwith : we left behind us the little redoubt, where, in 
the revolt of 1845, a canteen-keeper, an old non-commissioned officer of 
some regiment, having been shut up in the blockhouse with two stout 
companions, held his post against the Kabyles, and was relieved by a 
detachment going to Mascara. The rain began again to pour dov/n with 
still greater violence as we left the road usually followed by the prulunges 
or baggage-waggons, and we climbed the cross-road at the risk of falling 
into the ravines ; but at length we cleared the famous ascent christened 
by the soldiers creve-coeur (break heart), and we soon after met General 
Kenaud, who came to meet General Lamoriciere, with a great number of 
officers, of Ai-ab chiefs, and with the commandant of the city, IVl. Bastoul, 
who was regarded as the Solomon of the place. We had reached Mascara. 
The history of Mascara is connected with the most glorious recollections 
of the people of the province of Oran. In 1804 Bou Kedach, the dey of 
Algiers, confided the command of the west to one of his favourites, a young 
man twenty-four years of age, named Bou-Chelagrham (the father of the 
mustachio). Ambitious, active, and intelligent, Bou-Chelagrham had sworn 
to avenge the death of his predecessor, the Bey of Chaban, killed by the 
Christians of Oran ; but before he turned his arms against the infidel, he 
wished to reduce the whole province under his authority. 

Until then the town of Mazouna, situated in the Dahra, between the 
Shellif and the sea, had been the residence of the beys ; but being too dis- 
tant from the centre of the province, they had seen a great number of 
tribes escape from their authority. The first act of the new bey was to 
<piit Mazouna, and to transport the seat of the Turkish power to the other 
side of the first chain of mountains, to a spot called the country of the 
Querth, from the name of a Berber tribe which inhabited it. This posi- 
tion, which permitted the cavalry of Bou-Chelagrham to flank the tribes 
of the plains, of the Mina, of the Illil, of the Habi'a and the Sig, placed 
them equally within reach of the southern tribes, which up to that time 
had dared to defy the orders of the beys. The Turkish chiefs posted at 
Mascara liad, moreover, an easy communication with Tlcuisen by the lofty 
table-land near Sidi-Bel-Abbes. 

The town of Mascara (Ma-askeur, the mother of soldiers) was built 


upon the last slopes of the chain commanding the fertile plain of 
Eghris. This place became the residence of the beys up to the time 
when they drove the Christians from Oran ; it soon prospered, and con- 
tained a numerous but not a very moral })Opulation, if we may believe 
the traveller Mohammed-Ben- Yousef, who says : " I had conducted the 
rascals to the walls of Mascara ; they found shelter in the houses of 
that town." Its inhabitants might be sad scoundrels, but it is quite 
certain that their military position Avas excellent. Accordingly at all 
times Mascara was considered by all military men as the key of the 
country ; and when General Bugeaud, having formed a strong column at 
Mostaganem, was uncertain whether he should march upon Tegedempt, 
the new post founded by Abd-el-Kader on the borders of the Tell, or upon 
]\Iascara, to establish his foi'ces there, as General Lamoriciere had advised 
him ; General Mustapha-ben-Ismael, being asked his opinion, gave this 
answer: "At the time of the insurrection of Ben-Sheriff (181U), there 
was a great council of greybeards of Turks and of Arabs. They discussed 
what it was best to do, — to go to Mascara, or to make war on the tribes by 
razzia. The men who were cunning in council, and all who were firm in 
their stirrups, were unanimously of opinion that they should go to Mas- 
cara. I have not the presumption to think that I know more than they, 
and that whicli they then said, I say now : ' Go to ]\Iascara, and remain 
there.'" The army, nevertheless, marched for Tegedempt ; but they were 
soon obliged to return to the advice of old Mustapha and General Lamo- 
riciere. Established in this town during the winter of 1841-42, without 
provisions and without resources. General Lamoriciere was commissioned 
to undertake, and successfully concluded a campaign, which secured the 
peace of the province, and sti-uck the hardest blow at the power of the 
emir (Abd-el-Kader); whilst General Changarnier, the mountaineer, as 
old Bugeaud called him, by his daring energy forced the populations of 
the province of Algiers to sue for quarter. 

Twice ruined. Mascara has now only a few Arab inhabitants ; on the 
other hand, its European population is numerous; and houses, bari^acks, 
and sundry military establishments have been erected on all sides, giving 
the place the appearance of a French town. Built upon two hills sepa- 
rated by a stream, whose Avatei's turn a mill, surrounded by gardens and 
orchards, containing olives, figs, and other fruit-trees, — this ancient capital 
of the emir commands the fertile plain of the Eghris, the territory of the 
liachems, which extends at its feet ten miles in breadth and twenty-five 
in length. Here and there large orchards of fig-trees break the mono- 
tony of this plain, the eye rests on the long ranges of hills, and to the 
westward on the lofty mountains which appear on the distant horizon, 
where their summits seem always floating above the mist. The Arab 
traveller Mohammed ben-Yousef has said : " If thou shouldst chance to 
meet a proud, dirty, and fat man, make sui'e he is an inhabitant of Mas- 


cara." " See if the saying of Mohammed-ben-Yousef is not true," added 
Caddour Myloud, tlie Douair officer, pointing out to us with his finger 
the first Arab whom we met at the gate of Mascara ; and he began to 
laugh with that silent laugh which the habit of ambush-fighting gives a 
man. We were compelled to join in the opinion of Caddour Myloud, for 
in the midst of that motley crowd which pressed forward to salute the 
general, the native of Mascara could be easily recognised. Yet, Heaven 
knows there was a goodly show of Arabs and Kabyles with patched 
haicks. As for the Europeans, each man had the costume of his own 
counti'y, of the north or south, of Spain as well as of Italy ; there were 
specimens of all lands ; and at the moment when our horses could hardly 
make way through the crowd, our travelling companion M. de Laussat, 
who was at my side, suddenly heard himself called by his name and ad- 
dressed in the purest patois of the Pyrenees. Astonished, he turned his 
head ; it was a Bearnais (native of Beam) who had spoken to him, a 
man with a bold and manly face, quite delighted to have met Monsieur 
there. As soon as he had recognised his counti-yman, a stroke of the 
spurs obliged Apocalypse to cross the road, and the hand of M. de Laus- 
sat squeezed with emotion that of the native of his paternal village. Merry 
and contented, this Bearnais had a pretty government grant among the 
gardens of Mascara ; all went well with him, and he made M. de Laussat 
promise to come to his house and taste the wine of his own vintage. The 
halting place was in the square ov place, situate in the centre of the town, 
near a large and carefully preserved mulberry-tree. Scarcely was he dis- 
mounted, when the general began to hold a full court for the expedition of 
business, whilst the band of the regiment played its flourishes ; for it was 
Friday, and on that day the twelve, loomen of Mascara dress themselves 
in all their finery, under pretext of going to hear the music, and coquet 
with their looks with those of the garrison who are off" duty, and who, 
when their service is ended, come to Avalk away their ennui, smoke their 
cigars, and take their glass of comfort at Vives, an illustrious confectioner. 
Vives, who had arrived with the first column that occupied the town, and 
at first could only boast of a canvas tent, had afterwards a wood hut ; at last, 
a stall in the street ; and his fortune progressed on a par with the town.* 
We spent two days at Mascara ; then, all affairs being finished, and the 
Bearnais wine having been tasted by M. de Laussat, we set out for Mos- 
tagancm ; but, instead of striking off" in a line to the right, by the road 
which follows the ravine of the Bcni-Chougran, we took the route of the 

* Lieutenant do France says, their " camp was pitched at the foot of the mountain 
which bounds the plain of Mascara on the north, and a little stream, whose banks were 
covered with oleanders, ran through the midst of it. Mascara stands in the centre of a 
mountain gorge, on a steep and precipitous hill ; the wliite and cheerful-looking houses 
are surrounded by a perfect grove of fig-trees, and a few graceful pojilars and slender 
minarets rise like lances amongst them." P. 144. Its walls are completed, and itsjjowder- 
magazino contains 6(3,000 lbs. Tableau, p. 387. 

EL-BORDJ. 177 

prolonges (baggage-train), and marched to the west, in order to visit El- 
Bordj (the fort), whose outer wall had been erected by the soldiers. We 
were to breakfast and bivouac there, at the foot of the mountain, by the 
fountain whose waters are lost in the plain of the Habra. Whilst chatting, 
we arrived on the little table-land of El-Bordj, where we were to receive 
the hospitality of Caddour-ben-Murphi. The great tents of the bivouac, 
all of white canvas, were pitched at the gate of the enclosure, which caused 
this spot to be named the Fort (El-Bordj). A detachment of soldiers of 
the garrison of Mascara were occupied at this moment in raising the wall, 
and building in the interior (at the expense of the Arabs) stone houses for 
the agha and his horsemen. The general was enchanted with these works, 
which he justly regarded as very important : for the Arab will not be 
actually reduced under our sway till the day when, through all the coun- 
try, the stone fixing him to the soil, he will not be held, as now, to the 
earth merely by the stake of his- tent. He encouraged by his praises those 
brave soldiers who; as soon as peace is restoi'ed, dropping the musket, 
shoulder the pickaxe, and give their sweat, as an instant before they 
would have shed their blood, for the grandeur of France. It was past noon 
before the general had finished looking at every thing ; and after having 
been on horseback since five in the morning, our stomachs cried hunger. 
Our pleasure was great, therefore, when we found ourselves seated with legs 
across on the carpets of the great tents, and saw the large dishes of cous- 
coussou,* the ragouts with piment, and roast mutton, marching in on the 
heads of the Arabs. t Advancing farther, the west wind had brought up 
clouds, and the clouds, after their confounded fashion, the rain in large 
drops, which soon made our horses slip in the muddy declivities of the 
mountain ; very fortunatel}', rain and wind ceased an hour before we 
arrived at the fountain, where Ave passed the night. The next day, at an 
early hour, the country sparkled under a beautiful sun, and'we traversed the 
fields, which were adorned with their first verdure ; saluted by the sharp 
cries of the women of the Douairs, uttered, according to the custom of the 
Arabs, to do honour to the chief of the province. The spectacle which 
surrounded us was truly singular. Animated by the ride, every one 
looked brilliant and joyous. On all sides was heard the sound of arms and 
spurs, all the noises which are the })recursors of combat ; one might have 
said, indeed, that we were preparing to run to danger, whilst we had 
only one hour's march before meeting General Pelissier, commanding the 
subdivision of Mostaganem, who awaited us at the three marabovis with 
the 4th Chasseurs-a-cheval : bronze faces, with long moustachios; tall 
men, proudly seated on their little horses. This regiment was worthy 
of the cavalry whose name alone carried terror into the enemy's ranks. 
Colonel Dupuch then commanded that valiant troop, whose flourishes 

* A kind of pomdge and souji combined. f Castellane, pp. 3il-2. 



animated the march as we crossed the valley of the gardens which precede 
Mostaganem. This valley, covered with fruit-trees and figs, is sheltered 
from the sea-winds by the hills along the coast : it is the usual promenade 
of the inhabitants of the town of Mostaganem.* 

After this trip Lamoricicre and his staff' returned to Oran, where they 
made a short stay, before undertaking another promenade pacijique to 
Tlemsen, &c., which Castellane describes in the following terms : "After 
the departure of the Mareschal and the deputies, nothing more detained 
the General de Lamoriciere at Oran. He gave orders, therefore, to pre- 
pare to depart. We were going to traverse the west of the province, as 
we had a short time before run through the circles of Mascara and Mos- 
taganem. The following day at twelve, after having been accompanied on 
our journey by a companion of joyous temper, a beautiful sun which made 
the moistened grass sparkle, so that it seemed just sprung as by enchant- 
ment from the earth through the early rains, we arrived at the Koman 
ruins of Agkbiel. These ruins, which extend to the south of the hills of 
Tessalah, belonged to M. de St. Maur, who came to receive us at the 
limit of his domains, followed by two harriers, his only subjects. The 
impression which you retain of these places is very singular. If the 
traveller climbs the highest ruin and allows his eye to wander over the 
immense plain, he is seized with one of those sensations which issue in 
Africa from the very bowels of the earth, and which the scenery of France 
has never begotten. Before him, at his feet, the great salt lakes, whose 
crystallisations shine like diamonds in the sun ; to the right are the undu- 
lating lines of the earth, which unite with the mirage- of the air, and seem 
to float and disappear in the mist ; on the left you behold verdant and 
woody hills, whose semicircle closes at Miserghin, to shoot up again in a 
rocky ridge, and Avhose slope gradually rising, attains the summit of Santa 
Cruz, — a rocky bluff" on which the Spaniards chose to found a fortress, 
whence the eye wanders over all the country. More distant, blending 
with the blue sky, the spectator discovers a dark line; — it is the sea, 
whose waves bathe the shores of Provence ; but on the right, the wild 
aspect of the Mountain of the Lions reminds him that he is very far from 
Trance. At some distance from the Roman ruins, our neighbours of Bel- 
Abbes, the Goumsof tliis post, were waiting for us. As the rain continued 
to fall in torrents, so soon as ihe ground permitted us, we set off" at a round 
trot, and at five o'clock our horses wei-e fastened to the cord in the camp 
foi-jned by two battalions of the Foreign Legion, which was bivouacking 
near Bel-Abbes. Situated behind the first chain of mountains, eighteen 
leagues (45 miles) to the south, upon the meridian of Oran, the post of 
Bel-Abbes commanded the flank,s, and assured the security of the plain of 
the Melata, presenting to our columns aprom])t means of drawing sui)2)lies 

i * Castellanc's Souvenirs, p. 3iG. 


when tliey bad to carry on operations at the extreme edge of the Tell and 
Serssous. Founded in 1843, under tliename of Biscuitville, by General 
Bedeau, the establishment of Bel-Abbes belonged to the series of magazine- 
posts which every twenty leagues — i. e. every three marches of the infantry, 
and every two marches of the cavalry — were raised upon two parallel lines 
running from the seashore to the interior, throughout the whole extent of 
the province of Oran. When the war took a decided turn," continues 
Castellane, " Ave owed a great part of our success to two different causes, — 
the creation of magazine-posts, and that of the Arab bureaux, or offices. 
The magazine-posts indeed multiplied our forces, by approximating re- 
sources ; and the Arab bureaux, by securing a proper emijloyment of them.* 
The following day we took the route to Tlemsen, under the escort of two 
fine squadrons of African chasseurs ; for since the Beni-Hamer had been 
led to Morocco by the Emir in 1 845, the year of the great revolt, all the 
country from Bel-Abbes to the Isser Avas empty and delivered up to high- 
waymen. The sole inhabitants now of these fertile hills wei'c some lions, 
whose traces we often saw in the shape of large footprints m^'estically 
engraven on the earth, some hyenas, and wild boars. 

We disturbed their repose by giving them a vigorous chase ; and this 
did very well as regards the wild boars and hyenas, but the lion was gene- 
rally respected. This chase is not without danger; not on account of the 
boar, — with a little skill and coolness one can always avoid the strokes of 
his tusks, — but these cursed Arabs who accom[)anied us, without troubling 
themselves as to Avhether we were in front of them, did not cease firing, 
at the risk of missing the beast and sending the ball through us. It was 
far from Bel-Abbes to the Isser, where we were to bivouac; and it was 
quite dark when the little column arrived at the bank of the river : with- 
out moon or stars, we did not know where to set foot ; and it was neces- 
sary to find out the ford, for the river is rapid and wide in this spot. 
The first who attempted tlie passage tumbled over, a second was not 
more fortunate, but a third gained the opposite side. Then lighting some 
branches of the wild jujube-tree, toi'n from amongst the neighbouring 
bushes, we stuck these torches on the top of our sabres, and the whole 
troop passed without difficulty. At daybreak the trumpets of the chas- 
seurs sounded the reveil. The air was sharp and animating ; a few clouds 
were floating over the blue sky and the tops of the mountains, forming to 
the east and south a kind of horse- slioe, that marked out the basin in 
which Tlemsen is built. The Mansourah and its admirable waters, which 
spread fertility through the environs of the town, was in front of us ; on 
our left, a little behind, we perceived the hills of Eddis, where, about the 
end of December in the year 1841, the solemn interview was held which 
decided the subjection of the greatest pai't of the country.-]- 

* Castellane, p. 3G7. t IWd. p. 363. 


This country of Tlemsen is not, liowever, easy to govern ; at all times 
it has been the theatre of great struggles : and many centuries ago, Si- 
Mohamed-el-Medjeboud (mouth of gold) said, " Tlemsen is the stony 
ground in which the hook of the reaper breaks. How many times have 
women, children, and old men been abandoned in its walls !" The his- 
tory of this town is only a long description of war, since that famous siege 
of Tlemsen, in 1286, by Abi-Said, brother of Abou-Yakoub, the Sultan of 
Fez, — who during seven years kept the Beni-Zian in a state of siege, and 
caused a tower to be constnicted within his camp, the ruins of which still 
exist, — to a blockade which the Commandant Cavaignac sustained behind 
the walls in 1837, with the volunteer battalion {bataillon franc). We 
arrived at the bridge which had been thrown over the KSafsaf by the 
Turks, and before us extended the large olive-trees which shaded the 
entire country, and spread themselves out like a green carpet at the foot 
of the town. Nothing could be more beautiful, more graceful, or more 
charming than this city, whose white houses rested, on one side, against 
the slopes of a rocky mountain, which poured forth in majestic cascades 
its spouting waters, irrigating at their feet a rich enclosure of fragrant 
gardens ; whilst in the distance, hills succeeded hills, and mountains were 
piled beyond mountains, blending with the blue line of the sky."* 

M. Berbrugger gives the following description of General Clauzel's 
march to Tlemsen in 1836 : 

"It was on the 8th of January, 1836, that the French army left Oran, 
under the command of Marshal Clauzel, and took the road to Tlemsen. 
There was an urgent necessity for this expedition, as the French auxiliary 
chief, Mustafa-ben-Ismail, and the garrison of Turks and Koulouglis whom 
he commanded, had just experienced a somewhat serious check ; they were 
closely besieged by Abd-el-Kader in the citadel named Mechouar, and pro- 
visions as well as ammunition were on the point of failing them. Now, 
after having encouraged them to resist the Emir with energy, it was out 
of the question to desert them in misfortune. 

The first day's march took the army by Meserguin to the Ouad-Bi-idia, 
on the northern shore of the great Sebkhah (salt lake), which at that time 
contained, instead of water, a kind of yellow mud or deposit. On the 
second day they halted for the night on the banks of the Ouad-el-Malahh, 
Avhich is also called Rio-Salado, the Spanish translation of the Arabic ap- 
jjcllation. By the way they discovered two emissaries of Mustafa-ben- 
Ismail in the brushwood. This chief announced that Abd-el-Kader was 
in Tlemsen, and that he was arranging to cai-ry off the inhabitants the 
moment that the French appeared. He added that their arrival was 
anxiously expected by the Koulouglis. 

On the third day they encamjjcd in a pretty circular valley formed by 

* Castcllano, p. 375. 



the Senan and another small river. They observed at this spot 
the ruins of a fortress built with blackish stones of a volcanic appearance, 
and forming the remains of the citadel called Qasr*-ebu-.Senau in Nubian 


geography. Edrisi even asserts that there was a considerable town on 
this spot in his time. 

The following day, at Ain-el-Bridje (the fountain of the little fort), 
they arrived at the remains of some Roman structure, situated near a 
fountain, where a stone belonging to an ancient sepulchre has been dis- 
covered. This spot appears to have been the site of a kind of fortress ; 
but the expedition only brought to light a single tumular inscription void 
of interest. 

On the 12th of January they had reached the Ouad-Amiguera, and 
were only separated by five leagues from the end of the expedition. They 
shortly learnt from Mustapha that Abd-el-Kader had departed, taking away 
2000 inhabitants; and on the 13th the expedition approached Tlemsen in 
two columns ; the main body, under Marshal Clauzel, advancing along the 
high-road to the town, reached Ouzidan, a truly delightful spot, whose 
beauty was increased by its contrast to the barren country that they had 
just traversed. The marshal was soon after met by Mustapha-beu-Ismail, 

Qasr or Ksour, the same word as Alcazar. 


and after a short interview entered Tlemsen with his army, amidst the 
salutes and cheers of the Koulouglis." 

The antiquities of Tlemsen are described in another chapter, and we 
shall here simi:>ly state that it is a very ancient Moorish town, built near 
the site of a Eoman city. We cannot thread the mazy web of Moorish 
dynasties that have held sway in Tlemsen, Avhich was once the capital of a 
great kingdom. Omitting many detail's in its history, we proceed to observe, 
that the dynasty of the Beni-Zian falling into disgi'ace through the abuse 
of despotism, saw its vast empire dismembered. Mostaganem, Mazagran, 
Tunis, and many other towns, had chosen individual sovereigns when the 
Spaniards conquered Oran ; and the Turks, masters of Algiers, strove to 
extend their authority westward. The dissensions that arose in. the family 
of Beni-Zian favoured the general tendency to dismemberment that mani- 
fested itself in the kingdom of Tlemsen. The usurpation of Bou-Hamou, 
who seized the reins of govermnent to the detriment of his nephew Abou- 
Zian, increased the confusion. Baba-Aroudj, or Barbarossa, the lucky 
Turkish corsair, who had just founded an empire at Algiers, was then 
engaged in reducing Tunis ; and learning the events at Tlemsen, he re- 
solved to profit by them. He advanced with his army as the supporter 
of Abou-Zian, and the gates were opened without a blow being struck, 
on his promising on the Koran to restore the legitimate sovereign, Abou- 
Zian, whom, however, he at once strangled, exterminating all the other 
members of the family on whom he could lay his hands. The Spaniards 
Avere annoyed at his neighbourhood, and sent an expedition from Oran to 
dispossess him, under Don Martin de Argote. Barbarossa, shut up in the 
Mechouar, was soon reduced to great straits for want of provisions, which 
induced him to attempt a flight by an underground passage ; and though 
he scattered gold and silver on his path to delay the pursuit of the Spa- 
niards, he was overtaken on the banks of the Ouad-el-Malahh, or Rio- 
Salado. After a desperate fight, Garcia de Tineo, a Spanish officer, killed 
Baba-Aroudj, and cut off his head; which being sent to the governor of 
Oran, was forwarded to the monastery of St. Jerome at Cordova. To 
this tropliy was added his vest of red velvet embroidered with gold, which 
the monks used as a priest's vestment (chape). 

Bou-Hamou was rej^laced on the throne by the Sjjaniards ; but Khair- 
cddin, brother of Barbarossa, soon re-established the Turkish power by 
becoming the patron of Messaoud, who disputed the throne of Tlemsen 
with his brother Moussa-abd-Allah, both being sons of Bou-Hamou. At 
length, under the rule of Salah-Rais, pasha of Algiers, the Turks became 
complete masters of Tlemsen, driving away Moulcy-Hha^an, the last prince 
of the Beni-Zian dynasty, under the pretext of his holding relations with 
the Spaniards at Oran. 

Henceforth the annals of Tlemsen became blended with those of Al- 


giers, the last event of note in its liistory being its siege and partial 
destruction by Pasha Baba-Iiha9an, in 1081 ofthe Hegira (a.d. IGT'l).* 

The territory of the town of Tlemsen, backed by the mountain of 
Tyerm, is contracted between the river Ouad Safsaf, — which lower down, 
before falling into the Isser, is called the Sikak, — and the Ouad-Hermaya, 
one of the tributaries of the Tafna. Numei'ous brooks of fresh water, 
some of which are employed as water-power for mills, irrigate this fertile 
soil, whose powerful vegetation presents in a small compass the trees of 
Europe and Africa combined. To the west and north the outskirts of the 
town are decorated by a complete forest of magnificent olive-trees, regu- 
larly planted, and yielding a considerable return. 

The old enclosure of Tlemsen, which has a development of five thou- 
sand metres (16,400 feet), consists of walls composed of a mortar of sand, 
lime, and small stones that have been cast into moulds. This structure, 
remarkable for solidity, has suffered much less from the ravages of time 
than more recent edifices raised in the same place. The modern. enclosure, 
scarcely a third of the ancient, is an earth-wall {en inse) flanked with 
towers. It is often broken, is without ditch, and surmounted with ter- 
races on the east and south sides, having on the former side an angle with 
a demi-lune befoi-e it. 

The interior of the city exceeds even most Arab towns in the irregu- 
larity of its thoroughfares. It contains such complication, and is such an 
inextricable web of confusion, that the stranger once involved in its laby- 
rinths can scarcely find out his starting-place. As a compensation, it used 
to enjoy the luxury (in hot climates) of streets covered with trellis-work, 
but civilisation has of course banished them ; and the houses, which con- 
sist of one story only, are not whitewashed outside, as at Algiers, which 
gives the town externally a dull appearance. 

The mosques of Tlemsen are numerous, but of little importance, save 
the Great ]\Iosque, whose minaret is not deficient in elegance, but unhap- 
pily intestinal wars between the Koulouglis and Arabs have m.uch in- 
jured it. 

The most remarkable monument of Tlemsen is the Mechouar, a citadel 
situated south ofthe town, which it touches, but which it only imperfectly 
commands. This fort, which has no ditches, contains a hundred houses 
and a mosque. The garrison maintained there by the Turks used some- 
times to amount to 3000 men, from which the size of the mechouar may 
be inferred. The French have built handsome barracks in it.+ 

Outside the town, at the tlistance of about one mile to the west, you 
meet a vast enclosure of earthen walls (en ])ise') called JIansourah. It is 
stated that a town used to stand there, though not a vestige of a house re- 

* Berbrugger, part ii. 

t Castellane, p. 377 ; Tableau, p. 387. 



mains. The minaret of a destroyed mosque is the only ruin on the spot ; 
and this monument, which is built in rather a bold style, is ornamented 
with arabesques in very good taste. 


The outskirts of Tlemsen are tolerably well cultivated, and present 
several villages of considerable size : including Ouzidan, near the interior 
bridge of the Ouad-Safsaf j El^Abhad, better known by the name of Sidi- 
Bou-Medin or Medina, a marabout who is interred there in a splendid 
koubbah, which has been sadly injured since the French occupation; Ain- 
el-Hhadjar, at six kilometres (3j miles) to the north-west of Tlemsen; 
Ain-el-Hhout, at four kilometres (24 miles) to the north; El-Hannaya- 
Tralemt and Melitia. You find, moreover, some genuine villages of 
Troglodytes, whose inhabitants are called Rharanizah (people of caverns), 
at Qalaaly, Chelebi, ikc. It is supposed that their dwellings are excava- 
tions made at a remote period in quarrying.* 

From Tlemsen Lamoriciere and Castcllane journeyed west to the post 
of Lela-Marghnia, on the frontier of Morocco, -j- Ijy a road much in- 

* Bcrbrugger, part ii. 

t Souvenirs, p. 379. 

V. isi. 



fested by lions. They halted the first day by some hot springs, in one 
of the strangest situations imaginable. Around them was a dark stony 
gi-ouud, red sandstone soil, with sombre olives clothing the hills. Suddenly, 
at the turn of the road, a magician's wand conjures up a fairy-scene, a 
garden of Armida. Enormous palm-trees shoot up, bound together by 
the creepers of vines and parasitical plants ; and under this dome of ver- 
dure the boiling waters bathe the foot of the gigantic trees. The scene 
exceeds the wildest dream of Oriental poet. It seems like the enchanted 
shades where a mysterious genius makes his abode; and it has its wild 

In the evening they reached the French post of Lela-Marghnia, a quarter 
of a league from the frontier, and separated by a plain of six leagues (15 
miles) from the Moi-occo town of Ouchda. This immense plain is watered 
by the Oued-Isly, and is the scene of the great victory gained by Marshal 
Bugeaud over the hordes of Morocco in 1844. After crossing the scene 
of the battle, Castellane's party reached, at two hundred paces fx*om Djema, 
the funeral column raised to the fallen French, under the shade of large 
carob-trees, in the midst of a meadow; and five minutes after they entered 
Djema. This mazazine is built on the sea-shore, at the mouth of a little 
river, between two steep cliffs, where you perceive the ruins of villages for- 
merly the nests of pirates. Barracks in planks, a loop-holed wall, large 
magazines, some cabarets ; on the shore some fishermen's barks, and small 
craft belonging to the French navy; and in the roads some transport- 
brigs, or at times a war- steamer ; and, amidst all this, busy soldiers, 
cantinieres, and tradesmen; — such was Djema, or Nemoui's, in 184G. 

It is a dull jjlace of residence, the chase and study being the only 
resources of the officers. Their mess-room and cafe was a hut of deal 
planks, and their fare blue wine ; instead of the elegant saloon of the 
Freres Proven9aux, its gilded panels, mirrors, and nectar. But then they 
were jolly companions every one. 

The next morning nothing detained them at Djema-Ghazaout, — or Bug- 
town, as it was then christened. This sobriquet will explain their anxiety 
to leave it. The road back to Oran passed through Nedroma, a cool 
and shady town surrounded by good solid walls, with rich and industrious 
inhabitants, where, according to the report of evil tongues, it is said that 
money is so beloved, that nobody inquires about its source. + 

Leaving Nedroma, they began to ascend the Kabyle mountains; and 
they found on the road a jiopulation furious at being obliged to sul^mit, 
but paying their dues without daring to say a word, for the sight of a 
regiment that escorted the governor made them as gentle as lambs. 
Passing on, they chased a hare under a brilliant sun, after regaining the 
plain, and before crossing the col that brought them to Ain-Temouchen, 

* See Part II., Chapter on the Arabs. 

f Is not this the character of j)Iaces nearer home ? 


on tlie road from Tlemsen to Oran, In the heavy soil of Sidour, a kind 
of dismal swamp of the pi'ovince of Oran, the rain pouring down in 
torrents, their horses kept floundering and' sliding; and the officers in- 
dulged in a cross-fire of oaths. 

At Ain-Temouchen, in the revolt of 1845, the post had but very little 
ammuhition. Colonel Walther Esterhazy attempted a relief with 500 
Arab goums ; and ordering the march, a caid made some observation and 
refused to obey. The colonel blew out the caid's brains, and two others 
shared the same fate. This act of energy overawed the wavering, and 
the post was relieved. This spot, called Chabat-el-Lhame (the fiesh-defile), 
is also noted for the heroism of 1000 Spaniards, who fell almost to a man, 
facing the enemy, overwhelmed by numbers.* Twenty alone escaped to 
Oran, which was reached the same evening by Laraoriciere and the staff. 

We shall next accompany Castellane in an expedition to the oases, un- 
veiling some of the wonders of that region of the sun, While serving in the 
Avest, a servant of the Ehomsit rejoined Castellane's party, bringing a 
letter from the commandant of their little column, giving them order to 
return as soon as possible, because their squadrons were leaving for Saula. 

" We took in much haste the direction of our bivouac ; and we learned 
on arriving that we were destined to form a part of the column of General 
Renaud, which was to leave on the 1st of April for a long excursion in the 
oases of the south. This was, to our minds, a rare piece of good fortune ; 
and when, a few days after, the column with its long convoy quitted Saida, 
we were all delighted to penetrate at length into those regions, of which so 
many strange things are related. A train of mules carried a supply of water, 
as whole days would pass Avithout our finding any ; two thousand camels 
belonging to the Hamians and the Harars were loaded with provisions, 
and extended in single file, descending the slight elevations, and mounting 
the little hills, to the monotonous songs of their conductors. The hares 
fled by hundreds before these new rahatteurs (men who beat up the game 
in battues); and the camel-drivers, frightening them 1>y their cries, and 
throwing their knotted sticks at them, soon got the best of it, and those 
which escaped them fell under the teeth of our greyhounds. At night 
our bivouac resembled a vast market. The Arabs carried the game they 
had got in the day from fire to fire. Upon the table-land of the Serssous, 
political economy might for once have justified one of her axioms ; for it 
was with much difficulty, whilst offering a hare in one hand and holding 
out the other, saying, 'Donar soldi,' that the Arabs succeeded in getting 
rid of their mei'chandise, so terrible had been the massacre of the morning. 
Two days after, we bivouacked upon the border of the Chotts. These im- 
mense salt lakes, dried up in summer, arc only passable in April in a very 

• Castellane. p. 392. 

t A tribo of Arabs in the province of Oran. 


few jtlaccs. Tlic dny after, at the revcil, every one was ready ; alas ! 
we had been awakened long before by the lowing of the camels, which their 
conductors were loading in order to be in time. These cries are one of 
the punishments of an expedition in the south, on the other side of the 
Chotts. We were going to seek the P>led-el-Rhpla (the country of void) ; 
but at the dawn, before we planted our foot upon the other side, the 
long file of camels appeared to assume the most grotesque forms in its 
narrow passage. One seemed to have only an immense head, others 
swelled out like sails, many appeared to send out flames and to float 
in the air ; again, several walked with their legs uppermost, and in per- 
petual motion. This was one of the singular effects of mirage, so com- 
mon in the Chotts,. and which are considered fabulous by those who have 
not seen them. Our guide was an Arab (k ^yroie — a man of the Hamians ; 
a freebooter of the high lands, an adventurer, with the hooked nose of a 
vulture, eyes black and liquid, with a thin, bronzed, calm, and impassible 
physiognomy, a true type of a Saharian. He now directed us to the 
wells, where, imder the branches which covered them, we found an abun- 
dance of pure water. At our departure the branches which protected them 
were religiously replaced ; for a well in the Sahara is a sacred spot, which 
demands the care and protection of every traveller. Our march then con- 
tinued in this country of void, whose wastes have not the grandeur of 
other wastes. They oppress the heart instead of elevating it. It seems 
as if a heavy curse lies on all around ; and we advanced into these- naked 
plains, seeing right and left, and as far as the horizon, ai'id mountains 
without vegetation, offering nothing on which the eye could rest. In fact, 
that part of the )Sahara we were then crossing was of sad celebrity, and it 
is never more than a passage for the nomadic inhabitants of these countries. 
A small body of western Hamians (Garabas), not subjected to France, were 
with their flocks at about twenty leagues (50 miles) from us. The general 
heard this from his scouts; and as for several days we bivouacked only in 
the hollows, and during the day the mirage prevented the dust raised by 
our column from being seen, we were certain that we were unobserved. 
Therefore, at 3 o'clock p.m., a picked body of six hundred infantry, with 
the cavalry and the general, left in the hope of eff'ecting a bold stroke. 
The rest of the infantry and the convoy directed their march toAvards the 
wells of Nama, where we were to meet them the next day. 

" The heat was overpowering; l)ut these men, inured to fatigues, feared 
neither the burning sun nor the chilling rain. At six in the morning the 
column halted ; the Arab scouts returned, announcing that the camels of 
the Hamians were grazing at a distance of three hours' march from us. 
This was an evident sign of their secuinty. The infantry had already 
marched fifteen hours ; and from the spot on which Ave halted to the Avells 
of Nama, Ave were four hours' further march. If the attack proved a 
failure, that would make nearly thirty hours of active duty. The general 


dared not send off the cavalry alone, and to the extreme regret of tlie 
Arabs, who reckoned on the booty, the order was given to take the 
direction of Nama. At one o'clock, after having crossed these sandy 
downs under a burning sun, without having found a drop of water since 
the day before to refresh our jmrched lips, we arrived at the place of 
bivouac with only five men on the cacolets (or sick-list), and that caused 
by accident. The cavalry had gone on before ; and when on the summit 
of one of these sandy undulations, our squadron perceived an immense 
sheet of water, whose banks were reflected in the transparent waves as in 
a Swiss lake, there was a universal shout of pleasure, and we hastened to 
unbridle our horses to water them ; but as we advanced we saw the water 
recede before us at a distance of about six feet, so that we soon discovered 
our error. We were again the dupes of a mirage. However, Ave found 
water in the sand-hills at seventy [)aces on our right. It was neces- 
sary to draw the water from the wells, in order to pour it into the troughs 
which surround them. The next day the baggage and the rest of the 
column had rejoined us a few hours' before, when a most frightful hurri- 
cane swept over us. In ten minutes the whole sky became a curtain of 
clouds ; the thermometer fell of a sudden, and whirlwinds of snow suc- 
ceeded the most overpowering heat. Happily we were all together, other- 
wise it would have been all over with us. At three paces off we could 
not see each other ; and for fear of straying, we were obliged to gather, 
to the sound of the trumj^et, the broom which covered the downs, — this 
being the only aliment we could find to feed our fires. The day after the 
ground was covered with snow. Imagine what the sufferings of that 
night and the two following days were, for this darkness continued during 
that period. At the first returning rays of the sun, the sands of the stony 
ground in the plain absorbed the melted snow. The air, however, con- 
tinued icy cold; but we were advancing south, approaching the mountains, 
of which we soon reached the highest passes. 

" We met occasionally a pistachio-tree of meagre foliage, or the violet- 
flowering broom, growing amongst the limestone rocks and the reddish 
soil. Our men, marching in open column, descended a steep slope in the 
direction of Chellala. The same sullen, desolate, melancholy aspect per- 
vaded the whole district ; and our horses trod on nothing but the alpha, 
a sort of little round rush, or those small shrubs whose salt-flavoured 
leaves are so much liked by the camels. When the eyes have l)een un- 
refrcshed for many days with the sight of verdure, it is scarcely possible 
to imagine the delight with which pure running water, foliage, large 
leaves, and trees whose shade shelters him from the sun, is welcomed by 
the weary traveller. For several days the heat of the sun had been in- 
supportajjlo ; therefore, when we arrived at the oasis of Cliellala, our pre- 
vious suiieriiigs were enough to make us find its sickly fig-trees and scat- 
tered palm-trees very delicious. 

THE OASES. ' 189 

" The general received the homage and the tribute of the town (if an 
assembU\ge of mud-built houses deserves the name), whose narrow miry- 
streets displayed a wretched sickly population. There, as every where 
else, the grasping Jew has taken up his habitation, and meddles in all 
the transactions of the place. This was the first ksour or town that we 
had j)assed in our journey ; but our stay was only short, as our destination 
was now towards Bou-Semroun, an oasis situated more to the south, whose 
inhabitants had refused to pay tribute. 

" A rather broad and sandy valley has to be crossed in order to reach 
Bou-Semroun. On either side rise arid mountains ; and parallel with them 
towers aloft a rocky eminence, in the form of an mverted shell, leaving a 
space between the foot of the mountain aud the base of the rock. A minaret 
gives notice of the proximity of the town, which is only hidden from view 
by a small eminence. From the smnmit of this sand-hill, its gardens of 
palm-trees, enclosed in a narraw ravine of two leagues (five miles) in 
length, appeared like a stream of verdure between tMO banks of sand. 
The inhabitants had fled ; but gun-barrels glittered on the minaret, from 
whence several fanatics, wishing to die in the sacred cause, fired upon the 
infantry sent to occuj)y the ksour." The column bivouacked south of the 
town, between it and a marabout of elegant architecture. Who could 
have constructed it in this remote country 1 Without doubt, some Chris- 
tian prisoner. The Greek crosses introduced in the ornaments made us as- 
sume this. The ksour resembles a citadel, surrounded by a broad ditch and 
good mud walls, having but two outlets. Bou-Semroun could defy mere 
plunderers; and in these narrow alleys, and in these houses of two stories, 
the merchandise, the corn, and the riches of the nomadic tribes, are in 
safety. Happily the unsubdued inhabitants had not thought of defending 
themselves; otherwise it would have been necessary both to sap and mine, 
to have taken their fortress. Open doors enabled us to enter their houses, 
amongst which several ovei'looking the ravine had a certain degree of 
elegance about them ; they were no doubt the dwellings of the chiefs. 
Our bivouac, with its movable houses, had been established close to the 
gardens. After descending the arid dry declivity, the scene suddenly 
changed into one of freshness, of calm, and of repose, cooled by the 
abundant waters of a pure limpid stream. Here every field is sur- 
rounded by an earthen wall (en pise), very solidly constructed ; and a wooden 
lock protects the bai'ley and grass, the pomegranate and the fig trees of 
the inhabitants of the ksour. Enormous tufts of palm-trees shoot towards 
the sky, their lofty crowns meeting above. It was a magnificent park in 
which to repose after our fiitigue. The gardens supplied us Avith fresh 
vegetables, green barley for our horses, besides the cane of the palm-tree, 
which each foot-soldier cut as a remembrance of this expedition to the 

* The name i^ivcn to the Sahaiian towns anJ villages. 


south. To our gi-eat joy, v,'e remained in this lovely spot for a whole 
week ; and we occupied ourselves during tlie halt in inventing fresh 
pleasures and amusements. 

" Inaction was a fatigue, and motion a necessity to us. Thus one even- 
ing, to the sound of the trumpet, as on a village -green, a grand steeple- 
chase was announced for the next day in the gardens of Bou-Semroun. 
The general, as umpire and mayor of the place, was invited, according to 
ancient custom, to preside at the fete. Every body flocked to it; the 
exquisites on horseback, and the humble trooper with cane in hand. A 
cantbiiere, nominated Queen of Beauty, Avas to present the winner with 
a beautiful pair of pistols offered by General lienaud. The stake was 
worthy of the peril ; for never did the Croix de Berny offer, in its most 
prosperous days, greater difficulties : 2400 metres there and back ; walls, 
gates, impediments of every kind; tufts of palm-trees, of which we had 
to keep out of the way.; and to sum up our difficulties, after one stone 
wall came another of earth. The horse had to jump, at a height of three 
feet, through an opening just large enough to admit his body; whilst the 
rider had to throw his legs on to the neck of the horse in ordei' to escape 
injury. iSuch was our race-course. 

" All things came off according to rule. A member of the Jockey 
Club, a real member, gave us the starting word in English, and the gal- 
loping avalanche cleared gates and impediments. But, alas ! there Avas 
more than one fall ; and I assure you that it is no joke, when on the point 
of reaching the goal, to find yourself under your horse's hind-legs, with 
every chance of having your jaw smashed at his slightest movement, 
were it not that the poor beast itself is half dead ; then to see the hoofs of 
all the other horses levelled at your head, as they drop close to it, before 
they can clear the unexpected obstacle which you present to them. The 
sensation of all this is singular and ra,pid, and has at least the charm of 
surprisal. Without broken bones, or even a scratch, we were all Avell, 
and each of us laughed at his mischances to keep up the general hilarity. 

" Thus the time flew rapidly away. Without care, without disquiet, 
without sickness, the column was in condition to have supported the 
severest fatigues. The onions of Egypt were regretted by the Hebrews 
in the desert. Our soldiers may be })ardoned, therefore, for having sighed 
more than once at the remembrance of the small tender onions of Bou- 
Semroun, when the time came for returning northwards; our course 
being first to the east, then towards the south, in order to reach lAbiot- 
>Sidi-Chir(|, a celebrated marabout village in that country. The descent 
in the road was very steep. At length, after i)assing the last defile, an 
immense extent of horizon opened before us. On our right, high crests 
of mountains formed a half horse-shoe ; and the chain extended eastward 
on our left. At the foot of the mountain, sand-hills crossed and recrossed 
each other like a network ; and these yellow sandy billows mingled with 


the distant outline of the horizon. In front of us a flinty plain, two 
leagues in length, separated us from the four villages of the Ouled-Sidi- 
Chirq, encompassed by their fresh shady gardens. 

" The depression which this desolate country had wrought in our minds 
disappeared on seeing these vast distances, leaving in its place an inex- 
pressible sentiment of elevation and grandeur. A mosque, held in venera- 
tion l>y the faithful, occupied the centre of these villages. The chiefs of 
this important tribe, whose religious influence extends o-ver all the Sahara, 
and even over a portion of the Tell, came to meet the general, to ofier 
their homage and the expected tax. It was the 30th of April, and for a 
month there had been no news of France. More than 120 leagues (300 
miles) of sandy desert separated us from the coast ; and here, at the gates 
of these mysterious countries, Ave were going to celebrate the fele du roi 
(king's birthday).* The evening before, the small howitzers that we use in 
the mountains announced the fete to the people of the south ; and the mor- 
row each soldier exercised his skill to obtain the prizes oflered .by the 
general. Horse-racing, racing in sacks, sheep-shooting, games of all 
kinds as in a village fete, took place, accompanied by gay sallies and 
laughter. Each man forgot his fatigue, and scarcely thought of the dis- 
tance which separated him from his family and from France. Two little 
negroes, with some ostriches and haiiks (Arab cloaks), presents to the 
general, reminded us, however, that we touched upon unknown lands ; as 
well as the rumbling of thunder, which is heard every day at the hour of 
prayer (thi-ee o'clock). (By a singular phenomenon, every day in summer, 
towards this hour, gusts of wind and a storm arise in Abiot, and continue 
about two hours.) These distant peals seem echoes of those far-off" lands 
of which so many wonders are told. 

" Indeed it seems that this mountain-chain, whose base forbids the 
farther extension of this vast sea of sand, is a barrier placed by the hand 
of God to stay the northman if he attempt to penetrate into these 
unknown regions. From the summit of these arid peaks, broken only 
here and there by narrow passes, the traveller can contemplate these 
solitudes and tkese sands, to which the voice of the Lord has said, as to 
the waves of the ocean, ' So far shalt thou go, and no farther.' But if 
the Christian must for a time abstain from travelling over them, the Arab, 
under the protection of his Moslem creed, knows not these obstacles ; and 
every year, attracted by the allurement of gain, numerous caravans furrow 
the desert, following the same routes of which Herodotus gives an itinerary. 

" The generally impassible Arab experiences that sensation of uneasi- 
ness which every man feels before embarking on a long sea-voyage, when 
on the point of hazarding an expedition in the desert : in fact, these long 
journeys are much the same thing, since the same organisation and dis- 

* This was in the roigu of Louis Ehilippa. 

192 THE FL1TTA3. 

cipline as on board a vessel are requisite to overcome similar dangers. 
Here, as at sea, when the passage is mure than usually dangerous from 
robbers, one caravan awaits another to double its strength, and then they 
emerge together from the sheltering oasis, and advance without fear. 
The respect wliich is paid to the adventurous traveller on his return is a 
proof of the fatigues and dangers he incurs."* 

Castellane gives the following description of the district of the Flittas, 
between the i:)lain of ]\Iina and the Ouanseris : " One- day that we had set 
off hunting after the natives, very early in the morning, we had penetrated 
into a frightful ravine extending to the west of the watershed as far as the 
Mina. The road that we were following was two feet in width, and ad- 
vanced along the steep slopes of a hill, abutting at the bottom of a ravine, 
whose left side it had previously followed. Evergreen oaks, lentisks, and 
other shrubs covered this dangerous ground. In the centre of the basin, 
the waters had worn a wide ditch through the rich mould, forming a ravine 
in a ravine. During the winter the unbridled waters rush furiously, 
forcing a passage, dragging trees along with them, and boring under- 
ground passages to arrive the quicker at this great central artery, 50 feet 
Avide and 30 deep." But in summer and its five months' drought these 
caverns are accessible, serving as catacombs to conceal the persons and 
property of the rebellious Flittas, who were smoked outf by the French, 
disgorging a torrent of men, women, children, and goais. 

The reader will here remember the teri'ible tragedy of 1845, when 
Colonel (now General) Pelissier suffocated 1600 Arabs, or Kabyles, in a 
cave in the Darha, not far hence; Advancing with Castellane farther 
inland by the territory of the Kerraich, Temda, and the Ouad-Teguiguess, 
we approach Tiaret. 

" The country changes completely on approaching Tiaret. Woods of 
evergreen oaks, some cedars, large prairies, and springs of water, take the 
place of the grey and naked shadows of the hills. A troop of gazelles fled 
before our horses, sometimes bounding through the trees, at others stop- 
ping as if to provoke us, but quickly vanishing if they perceived that they 
were seriously pursued. Occasi<jnally the sun shone out from the clouds, 
. . . throwing its pale hght (it was winter) on a part of the wood, whilst 
the long mountain of Tiaret prolonged the shadow of its Avall-like preci- 
pices. At length we reached the pass of Guertoufa ; and then there opened 
before us, at the height of 200 feet, the crevice through which we had to 
})enetrate. To reach it you have to traverse a stone avalanche or slip, and 
to climb the side of the mountain by a zigzag path. Eagles were ma- 
jestically sailing over our heads. Nothing was heard but the ringing of 
our horses' hoofs, or of our sabres against the rocks. Amidst these ob- 
stacles, the soul is roused, and the sublimity of the view fills it with noble 

♦ Castellane, p. 3G7. 

TIARET. 193 

thoughts, Tlien after we had reached the summit, what an imposing and 
magnificent sight met our eyes ! At our feet was unrolled, immense and 
luminous, the cascade of rocks that we had just passed, over which the 
bayonets of our infantry were glancing and flashing ; beyond these were 
woods, verdure, and meadows ; further still an endless succession of hills, 
undulating like a sea to the horizon. At the extreme limit of the Guer- 
toufa, rose, lighted up by the sun and amidst bluish vapours, the lofty 
mountains of Bel-Assel. A little to the right, the two peaks of Tegui- 
guess stood out, after the fashion of a promontory ; and this sea of moun- 
tains was prolonged for 20 leagues (50 miles), till it met the foot of the 
Ouar-senis, Avhose long solitary ridge commands the country in a radius 
of 60 leagues (150 miles). Its form, resembling a fluted obelisk, gives 
it the appearance of an ancient cathedral topped by a majestic dome. The 
scenery breathed a sublimity and calm that carried back the thoughts to 
primitive times. 

The defile, which extends 500 metres (1640 feet), brings you to Tiaret. 
This post, built of fine masonry, on the limit of the Tell and of the Little 
Desert, is renowned for the sweetness of its water. The Tell, the foster- 
mother of Africa, produces corn, just as the Serssous nourishes numberless 
flocks. It seems as though God wished to establish a barrier between 
these two countries, whereof one is the slave of the other, being mutually 
separated by a rampart of mountains. The mountains of Tiaret are the 
highest of all this chain, and can only be crossed by three passes. From 
Tiaret you discover a part of the Serssous. Beneath your eye stretches a 
plain of- little rocky hillocks, and between each hillock or mamelon 
gushes forth a spring ; and, thanks to the kindly waters, a thick and sub- 
stantial growth of grass shoots up, nourishing immense flocks of sheep.* 

According to the Tableau de la Sitiiation for 1850, the European civil 
population of Tiaret amounted in December 1847 to 85, in December 
1848 to 65, and in December 1849 to 81 persons. The natives at the 
latter date amounted in all to 63 individuals. 

In connexion with its military works, it appears that from 1845 to 
1849, the expenses amounted to 311,074 fr., appropriated chiefly to the 
construction of two baiTacks, a hospital, and a cattle-fold or stockade. 

* CasteUane, p. 23S. 

^lobiiuc of Con^tantiua. Coast. 





THE existing province of Constantina, or the eastern province of Algeria, 
has a surface of 175,900 kilometres (67,72 1*5 square miles), con- 
taining a pojiulation of 1,300,000 inhabitants, and 580 tribes. 

This province lies between the meridians of the Djidjelli and Zaiue ; 
but the old beylik used to extend westward to the Booberak, thus em- 
bracing the whole of that remarkable district known by the name of Great 
Kabylia, to which- we shall devote a special notice. According to the 
older division, this province was neai'ly equal to the other two in extent, 
being upwards of 230 miles long and more than 100 broad. The sea-coast 
all the way from the Booberak nearly to Bona is mountainous, whence 
it obtained from Abulfeda the name of El-xldwah, or the lofty. 

The present eastern limit of the province on the sea-shore is half-way 
between Dellys and Bugia, in the aghalik of Sebaou. From hence to the 
kaidat of Ferdjiounah, you follow the coast of Great Kabylia, passing the 
town of Bugia. As we shall devote a special notice to that portion of Great 
Kabylia which is comprised in the province of Constantina, and also to 
the portion now embraced in the province of Algiers, we shall simply 
state on the present occasion that it presents a wild, mountainous region, 
watered by several rivers, of which the principal is the Summam, falling 
into the sea near Bugia; while the highest summits belong to the great 
range of the Djordjora, chiefly in the province of Algiers, overhanging 
the Mitidja plain, and peopled by the Kabyles of the Zouaona tribe, who 
are thought to be descendants of the Vandals. 

Passing to the east of Great Kabylia, we shall first follow the coast- 
line of this province, which brings us to Djidjelli (Igilgilis), situated near 
the eastern extremity of the Bay of Bugia. 

M. Lamping, who was quartered some time at Djidjelli, or Dschidgeli, 
in 1841, with the Foreign Legion, has given the following description of 
the place : " Dschidgeli lias only a small roadstead, and is built on a rock 


rising out of the sea, Tt belongs to the province of Constantina, and lies 
between Budschia and Pliilippeville : it is inhabited by Turks and Arabs, 
who formerly drove a thriving trade in piracy. Although the town looks 
like a mere heap of stones, it is said still to contain much hidden treasure. 
Notwithstanding that Dschidgeli lies nearly under the same latitude as 
Algiers, its climate is far hotter and more unhealthy ; and the oppressive 
heat has a very remarkable effect upon all new-comers, whose strength 
deserts them from day to day, so that men who were previously as strong 
as lions creep about with yellow, pale faces, and with voices as small as 
those of children." 

Fort Duquesne stands upon the sea, and defends the south-east side 
of the town. This fort is built upon a rock rising so abruptly from the 
sea, that a few half bastions towards the land are sufficient for its defence.* 

The latest official accounts state, that from 1844 to 1849 the sum of 
20,000 fr. (800/.) has been expended on improving the streets of Djidjelli. 
From 1843 to 1848 a channel was made to bring water to the town, 
whose depth is 20 centimetres (7 '80 inches) ; that of the siphons is 
95 millimetres (3-795 inches). The chateau d'eau, or reservoir, can re- 
ceive 15,000 cubic metres (17,640 cubic yards). The expense of this work 
was 107,100 fr. (4284^.); and 640 metres (20D9 feet) of sewerage have been 
made, at an expense of 2500 fr. (100/.) They have also built a civil prison 
at Djidjelli, from 1843 to 49, for G500 fr. (260/.); besides a school, erected 
also between 1843 and 49, at a cost of 3500 fr. (140/.) 

Independently of these structures, a church and a mosque have been 
built at Djidjelli between 1843 and 49; the first of which cost 3000 francs, 
and the last 7300 francs (292/.). 

A market-house and slaughter-house were built at this town between 
1843 and 1849, for 21,300 francs {8o2L); and it has been provided during 
the same time with a cemetery, for 7100 francs (284/.). 

The greater part of the military works at Djidjelli have been com- 
pleted very recently; amongst othei's, the new Porte Constantine lately 

The new wall enclosing the town has been continued; and steps have 
been adopted to defend its approaches on the sea side, A permanent bat- 
tery for nine cannon has been built in front of the hospital; and a provisional 
battery for seven guns has been established at Fort Duquesne. The total 
expenditure on these works has amounted to 83,000 francs (3320/.). 

The remaining works that were required in 1850 were, the completion 
of the town wall (encehUe), and the construction of the permanent batteries 
on the coast. -|- 

Baron Baude, who visited Djidjelli in 1849, states that it stands 13 
leagues (32i miles) east of Bugia; that the port is defended to the west- 
ward by the peninsula on which the town stands; and a chain of rocks 
* The Foreign Legion, p. 22. + Tableau de la Situation. 


breaks the sea in front of the harbour. It is one of the best maritime 
stations on the coast; standing on a headland, instead of at the extre- 
mity of a bay, and having moreover a good harbour. The building 
slips of Djidjelli were once in high repute; and the town contained in 
1839 about 200 sailors. 

Djidjelli, or Gigel, was once a bishopric during the sway of the North 
African Church; and Roman roads led hence to Bugia, Setif, Constantina, 
and Hippo Regius. The town was encompassed for many years after the 
French occupation by numerous blockhouses, placed in a semicircle on 
the surrounding heights. Fort Duquesne stands on the sea-shore, defends 
the S.E. side of the town, and rises abruptly from the water. 

St. Marie* gives the following account of Djidjelli, which he visited in 
1845 : " Left Bugia at 11 at night, and next morning at sunrise we were 
off Gigelly. The port is defended on the west by a peninsula stretching 
towards the north, on which the fort is built. Towards the offing it is 
imperfectly defended by a chain of rocky islets, between which the sea 
rushes with great violence in strong weather. This chain, which joins the 
end of the peninsula, and runs east parallel with the coast, is more than 
200 metres long (G5G feet). 

" Ancient Igilgilis was intersected by some Roman roads leading to 
Bugia, Setif, Constantina, and Hijjpo. The French, Genoese, Venetians, 
and Flemings had commercial houses at this place, which traded in leather 
and wax. " On the 22d July, 1664, the Duke of Beaufort took possession 
of it; and in a small fort commanding the town, which still exists, he left 
400 men, who, dispersing afterwards, were massacred by the Arabs. A few 
Maltese now carry on the coral fishery, and the French garrison is of no 
importance. Leo Africanus gave Djidjelli or Gigel 600 hearths or fires at 
the beginning of the 1 6th century ; and Aroudj (Barbarossa) took the name 
of Sultan of Gigel in 1574; but in 1725 Peyssouel only found 60 houses 
there, "t 

The Ouad-el-Kebir, or great river (Ampsaga), falls into the sea 10 
leagues (25 miles) east of Djidjelli; beyond it are the Sebba-Rous, or seven 
capes, where the Sinus Numidicus of the Romans may be supposed to 
begin, and where also the river Zhoora has its influx. The Ouled Attyah 
and the Bcni Friquanah, two principal clans of the Sebba-Rous, use the 
water of this river; and, unlike other Kabyles, they live in caves scooped 
out of the rock, or found ready-made. When a ship comes near the shore, 
they run in crowds to the coast, and pray to God to give it up into their 
hands; reminding one of the Cornish clergyman, who, hearing of a wreck 
in church, desired his congregation to give a fair start, that he might have 
a chance. 

* Every particular rocordod hy Baron Baude is naturally chronicled hy Count St. Marie 
au pie'l de la lettre, including the wax and leather exports, and the Duko of Bcaulbrt. 
t St, Marie, p. 201. Baron Baude, vol. i. p. 155. 

COLLO. 197 

Baron Baude informs us that the rocks of the Sebba-Rous consist of 
limestone; and that the crests are fringed with pines and carobs, and 
sprinkled with a few patches of cultivation.* 

The llas-cl-Kebir is formed of basaltic prisms of pale green, which are 
found as far as Collo. You may discover the same formation, through a 
glass from a ship, on the top of the lofty peak of Coudia, where it answers 
the purposes of a landmark to point out the anchorage. Turning a rock, 
you now discover the masts of some sandals ;-\ then the end of a quay, and 
a kind of warehouse built of rough unhewn stones; some fine trees, 
planted without symmetry; a mosque; and behind, on the slope, some 
houses of a miserable appearance, covered with hollow tiles. This is all 
that you see of Collo; yet it fills the whole of the little space intei'vening 
between the extremities of two hills washed by the sea, and behind which 
is a pretty plain. It was reported to have 2(JU0 inhabitants in 1840; but 
it did not appear to Baron Baude to contain so many.:}: 

Leo Africanus calls it the most opulent and the safest place on the 
coast. This may not be strictly correct; but its vicinity possesses forests 
of oak, where the Algerian navy obtained its timber; and specimens of 
copper ore have been found there. The inhabitants manufacture a coarse 
stuff, and carry on a coasting trade with Algiers and Tunis. The anchor- 
age before Collo is excellent, and quite sheltered from N.W. winds. Fri- 
gates can anchor at 500 metres (1G40 feet) from the coast; and near the 
land you find 5 metres (1G*40 feet) of water. At 3 leagues (7^ miles) to 
the south of Collo, the small lake which, according to tradition, confirmed 
by numerous ruins, formed the old port, has retained all its depth. It 
is only separated from the sea by a tongue of land of 100 metres (328 feet) 
in breadth; and the Oued-Zeamah is navigable 3 leagues up the country, 
and has its influx here. 

Collo, sometimes written Cull, or in Latin CuUu, stands in a pictur- 
esque situation under the most eastern of the seven capes; but, like Igil- 
gillis or Jigel, its present condition is very poor; and it contains but few 
antiquities. Its harbour is small, though larger than that of Jigel; and 
the neighbouring waters and coast are said to contain many beds of coral; 
but the wild tribes of the vicinity have hitherto, in a great measure, neu- 
tralised this advantage. 

Baron Baude, who touched at Collo on his passage from Algiers to 
Bona, was visited by many natives in boats, bringing fowls, apes, &c., and 
what they called little tigers. Many of the men have blue eyes, clear skin, 
and light hair. The same features are found among the Spahi Kabyles of 
Youssouf at Bona; and they must be the descendants of the Vandals. 
Collo is a very likely place for these children of the north to have retired 
to when Gelimer fled to Mount Edough (Pappua Mons). Procopius says,§ 

* Earon Baude, vol. i, p. 159. + Native boats. J Baron Baude, vol. i. p. 159. 

§ Belisarius Gelimerum perseiiuens usque munitam veuit civitatem, juxta mare sitam. 

198 STORA. 

" Belisarius following Gelimer, came to a fortified city situated near the 
sea, which they call Hippo the Royal. He heard there that Gelimer had 
fled into the Pappuan Mount, and that it would not be easy to capture 
him tliei'e. This mountain, which is situated at the extreme limit of 
Numidia, is steep and difficult of access; being surrounded on all sides 
by very lofty precipices, where the barbarous Mamusii are friends and 
military allies of Gelimer." According to the opinion of Baron Baude, 
CoUo stands on the site of the ancient Cullu. The anchorage he repre- 
sents as good and sheltered, so that frigates can moor at the distance of 
500 metres (1640 feet) from the shore; and 30 fathoms are found in 
many places close in shore. The neighbourhood of Collo has many na- 
tural advantages; forests of oak clothe the land in its vicinity, which is 
also said to possess copper veins.* 

Advancing eastward, at the distance of 8 leagues (20 miles) you reach 
Stora, at the bottom of a cove formed by abrupt mountains. It was com- 
pletely deserted in 1840, when visited by Baron Baude; but it contains 
more vestiges of antiquity than Philippeville. It stands on the site of Rusi- 
cada; and some paces from the sea are the ruins of some reservoirs, fed by 
a neighbouring source: the Avaves also bathe the foot of some old walls of 
rough stones and brick, which may not improbably have contained a fort 
for troops; but the hills surroundmg it are too steep to have allowed of a 
large establishment. To the east the slope is wooded, and capable of 
culture; but the vale of the Oued-el-Kebir is very open, and turns in the 
direction of Cirta. Ancient Rusicada stood on a height that commands 
its mouth, and the ground on that sjijot is covered with its ruins. At an 
equal distance from Cirta and Hippo, it was united to both by a Roman 
road; and the country seems very easy to cut through by turnpike or 
rail roads. The anchorage of Stora is only preferable to that of Collo fot 
small craft; it could not conveniently hold more than two corvettes: and, 
according to Baron Baude, it is not well adapted for a port. 

The Tableau de la Situation observes, that the port of Stora, at a short 
distance from the new colony, is safer than the port of Philippeville. t 

Stora is chiefly remarkable as the port of Philip2:)eville, which we must 
now proceed to notice. 

(]uam Hipponera regiam vocant. Ibi Gelimerum audivit in Pappuam montem confugisse, 
ncc facilem a Romanis captu esse. Hie enim mons in Numidia; finibns extremis, valde 
quidem abruptns, adituque difficilis, i)Cti'is undique altissimis communitus, in quo Mamusii 
barbari habitantes Golimcri amici ac bello socii. — De Bell. Vand. c. i. 

* The Company of La (Jalle bad an agent at Collo, and procured tborc honey, grain, a 
little cotton, oil, and 300 or 400 metrical quintals (88,000 lbs. avoirdupois) of wax at the 
fixed price of 180 francs, besides 30,000 raw hides. Those of oxen and milch cows were 
assessed at 4 francs 50 centimes, and at 2 francs 80 centimes. These relations, long inter- 
rupted, were renewed in 1816 ; and in 1820 the people of Collo drove out the Turkish 
garrison, and pronounced themselves independent ; but they soon recalled it, in order to 
recover tho French trade which they had lost thereby. — liaron Baude, vol. i, p. 1G2. 

'h Tableau, 1839. 

pniLiprEviLLE. 199 

Madame Prus, one of the latest visitors to Algeria, gives the following 
description of this French colony, which was founded in 1838 on the site 
of Itusicada, and at the distance of half a league (1^ mile) from the gulf 
of that name : 

" The town of Philippeville, which was built by the French on the site 
of ancient Rusicada, has the appearance of a fine provincial town thinly 
inhabited. The walls -which surround it defend it from the attacks of 
the Kabyles, who, notwithstanding this, succeeded in setting the town on 
fire a few years ago. Speedy measures, however, were adopted, and the 
flames were prevented from spreading ; but from that time the Bedouins 
of the country were forbidden to remain in the town after sunset. 

" At every step vestiges of the old Roman city meet the eye, but it is 
impossible to obtain any account of them. The toAvn is peopled almost 
exclusively by emigrants from Provence, Marseilles, and Corsica, as is the 
case with all the principal towns of Algeria. It presents a sombre aspect, 
as many of the houses are shut up ; and the number of bills for lodging 
visible in every window are a sufficient proof of the depopulation of the 
city. The hospital and barracks, however, are fine large buildings. 

" The general impression conveyed by Philippeville is, that there exists 
a necessity of filling much ground, without that of accommodating many 

The line of coast that we have been now describing was passed in 
1845 by Count St. Marie, who has left the following account of it. After 
his description of Djidjelli, he proceeds : " We soon arrived on the north 
of Mers-el-Zeitoun, with Cape Bougaroni on the east. The mountains, 
whose bases are washed by the sea, are like those to the west of Bugia, 
wild and rugged, but Avithout the picturesque. They have a grandeur of 
effect, owing to their stupendous masses ; but though verdant, they do 
not present any of those pleasing spots on which the eye of the traveller 
loves to dwell. These shores are said to abound in coral ; but, unfor- 
tunately, the ferocity of the neigbouring tribes does not permit the fishers 
to approach the coast. 

" Beyond Cape Bougaroni the coast becomes deeply indented ; and it 
is indebted to this configuration for its appellation of Djebel Saba Rous 
(the mountain of seven heads). 

" This mountain, which is of calcareous formation, is crowned Avith 
pines and carob-trees, the brightness and freshness of the vei-dure de- 
noting the vicinity of springs. Near each of these sources appear a 
cluster of huts, as rude as the nuipals of the Numidians, and almost 
buried amongst the trees, f 

" The Ras-el-Kebir consists of pale -grey basaltic prisms, which re- 
appear beyond Philippeville. At length, on turning a rock, w^e entered 

* Madame Prus, Residence in Algeria, 1850. 

f Sallust. Jug. cap. 18. Baron iJaude, vol. i. p. 159. 



a pleasant little hollow, at the end of wliicli was situated the European 
town of Philippeville, distant two days' journey from Constantina, to which 
it answers the purpose of a port, serving as the chief point of communi- 
cation with that interesting part of the province. All the houses of Phi- 
lippeville are new and well-built; and the European inhabitants seem happy 
in having established themselves on a fertile soil surrrounded by a good 
air, with plenty of sweet water."* The count proceeds to make the same 
remarks, almost vei-batim, as Baron Baude, on the Ouad-Zeamah, the vale 
of the Oued-el-Kebir, and the woody and fertile slopes around the town. 

It appears from the latest official documents, that the French have 
undertaken, since 1847, civil improvements at Philippeville at an expense 
of about 231,000 fr. (9240^.); including 1023 metres (3454-4 feet) of new 
streets on a large scale, and 5305 (16,400'40 feet) on a small scale, making 
a total of 6328 metres (20,755-84 feet). The Piue Nationale, uniting the 
Grande Place and the landing-place at Philippeville with the road to Con- 
stantina, and comprising in itself alone a length of 1023 metres of street- 
age on a large scale, has a paved road, six metres (19-G8 feet) in width, 
for a distance of 511 metres (1G7G-8 feet) on the slope towards the sea. 
The slope towards the gate of Constantina had been macadamised, in 
1850, for a length of 512 metres 80 centimetres (1681-98 feet), with a 
width of 6 metres. 

Fountains and Drcmis.-\ — It appears that the Roman cisterns have 
been restored, consisting of eight great basins, which had to be emptied. 
The walls, which were in a dilapidated state, have been renewed. The 
conduit between the cisterns and the walls has been restored, and 3752 
metres (12,306-56 feet) have been cleared for a channel to bring the waters 
of the Beni-Melek to them. Another plan is in agitation for bringing the 
waters of the Filfila to them ; the expense of this undertaking being esti- 
mated at 500,000 fr. (20,000/.). As regards drainage, sewers have been com- 
pleted in the Eue Nationale ; that part of it between the sea and the Rue 
du Cirque being on a large scale, as well as that of the Rue des Citernes. 
These two drains answer the purpose of main-sewers. The expense of 
the sewers in the Rue Nationale was 38,395 fr. 25 c. (1535/. 16s. 9^^.) 

Branch drains have been made in the Rues de Stora, Vallee, Marie- 
Amelie, Joinville, Nemours, &c., costing 133,854 fr. 5S c, and executed 
between 1842 and 1848. The new church of Philippeville was not com- 
pleted in 1850, though it had tlien cost 154,643 fr. (6185/. 15s.) 

Philipj)cville being a sub-prefecture of the province, it has been found 
necessary to erect a building for that purpose, which was completed in 
1847, at a cost of 2097 fr. 77 c. (83/. 18s. id.) Among other recent 
civil works completed or in course of erection at this new colonial city, 
we may specify a police-station and a cemetery ; a douane has also been 
partially built, at an expense of 111,000 fr. (4440/.) 

* St. Marie. f Tableau do la Situation, p. 356. 

riiiLirrEviLLE. 201 

Under the head of military erections, we find that the arsenal of 
Phlllppevllle has cost 110,108 fr., and that the wall and ramparts have 
been repaired; magazines have been built at the expense of 308,000 fr. 
(12,320/.), a hospital at 551,000 fr. ; and the general fortifications for 
the defence of the place have cost 1,915,118 fr. (76,604/. 15s.): con- 
sisting chiefly of three provisional batteries to command the anchorage 
of Stora and Philippeville, and to be superseded ,by permanent ones ; of 
the arsenal, containing a well in its precincts ; barracks, especially that 
of the Numides ; the city wall (^mur cVenceinte), quarters of cavalry, and 
the hotel of the commandant, &c. 

As regards the population of Philippeville, the European inhabitants 
amounted in 1847 to 54'J9, analysed as follows: French, 3354; Maltese, 
1088; Spaniards, 223; Italian, (j'2o ; German, 82; Swiss, 4G; divers, 81. 
Men, 2885; women, 14-96; children, 1118. 

In 1848 (Dec. 31) it amounted to 4501 :— French, 2756 ; Maltese, 1320 ; 
Spaniards, 162; Italian, 138; German, 15; Swiss, 26; divers, 84. Men, 
2260; women, 990; children, 1251. 

In Dec. 1849 it amounted to 6653 :— French, 2142; Maltese, 2408; 
Spaniards, 120; Italian, 1426; German, 330; Swiss, 13; divers, 175. 
Men, 2796; women, 1749, children, 2108.* 

The statistics of births and deaths at Philippeville from 1840 to 1850 
present the following figures : In 1840 the births amounted to 16 ; in 
1845 to 149; in the first six months of 1850 to 97; the maximum being 
inl848,262. The deaths were, in 1839,1 ; inl845,244; in 1849, 657.t 
We shall simply enumerate the colonial villages surrounding Philippe- 
ville, as they will be minutely analysed in another place. 

Vallee, Damremont, and St. Antoine, are the oldest of these centres of 
population in the territory annexed to Philippeville. Several more recent 
colonial establishments have been formed on the road to Bona and Con- 
stantina. Of these, more in another place. The port of Stora, now one 
of the chief stations of intercourse with France, and the fine road uniting 
Philippeville to Constantina, Biskara, and the Sahara, must shortly make 
it a place of considerable commercial and general importance.;}; 

Philippeville was founded by Marshal Vallee in 1838, on the bay of 
Stora, and has, according to the Tableau, a good sheltered harbour. The 
citadel at Philippeville is called the Fort de France, and the fort to the 
west is Fort Pioyal. At the opposite extremity is Fort d'Orlcans ; and 
eastward, on a height in the plain, is Fort Vallee. Detached forts have 
also been erected on the heights surrounding the valley in which Philippe- 
ville is situated. The land surrounding this rising town is rich and good ; 
and its distance from Constantina is twenty-two leagues {po miles), the 

* Tableau de la Situation, 1850. 

"f- For further particulars see the statistical tables. 

J Near Philippeville, St. Marie saw some tine plantations of tobacco. 

202 rORT OF BOXA. 

road passing first through an open plain, and then through the defiles of 
the Little Atlas. The population of Philippeville amounted in 1839 to 
290 French and 221 foreigners, 97 women, and 108 children; total, 716.* 

East of Philippeville is the small port of Gavetta ; and after doubling 
Eas Hadeed and proceeding four leagues (10 miles), j^ou come to the 
eastern boundary of the Sinus Numidicus and an island called Tackeesh, 
with a village of the same name on the opposite continent. Proceeding 
eastAvard, you pass Caj^e Hamrah (or red), the HipiA Promontoi'ium ; and 
after doubling this you reach the Fort Geuois, beyond which you arrive 
at Bona.f But we must dwell a little longer on its approaches. Numidia 
was more favoured than any other part of Africa by the Eomans ; and the 
best part of Numidia is the plain enclosed between the slopes of the Atlas 
and the outliers that detach themselves from it to form to the east Cape 
Rose, to the west the abrupt shore of Stora. The sea bathes it to the 
north by the two indentures called Gulf of Bona and Gulf of Numidia or 
Stora. Mount Edough, Avhose long and narrow mass rises like a rampart, 
separates this plain from the sea, running between the two gulfs for 
fifteen leagues (37 miles); and passing behind the mountain, you proceed 
in a straight line fi'om Bona to Stora by a road parallel to it. The Sey- 
bouse falls into the sea at the gates of Bona, and the IMafrag at five 
leagues (12|- miles) to the east; both are navigable from their mouth to 
the entrance of the valleys of the Atlas. 

This plain, by which the French possessions touch the regency of 
Tunis and approach the islands of Sicily and Sardinia, being 180 leagues 
(450 miles) in extent, is better adapted than any other part of Africa for 
colonisation, but has been less resoiied to than any other part of Algeria 
hitherto, chiefly owing to the want of drainage in the surrounding marshes, 
and the want of a good port at Bona. % 

What is called the port of Bona is only a shallow anchorage with l)ad 
holding-ground, weakly defended from the sea by the jioint of the Lion, 
and lower down by that of the Stork {Cigogne), which advances GO 
metres (196-80 feet) into the sea. The anchorage consists of a bed of 
sand stretched over the rock, stirred up and moved in bad weather by the 
surf, and offering no resistance to anchoi-s. A year seldom passes with- 
out shipwreck in the bay of Bona; and on the 25th January, 1835, four- 
teen vessels, including one brig of war, perished there ; eighteen days 
after, six other ships experienced the same fate, l)(.'ing the last vessels 
left in the roadstead. But to the north of this dangerous station, a high 
coast, which ends in the Cap de Garde, runs for two leagues (5 miles) 
in a northerly direction, and presents in its indentures the anchorages of 
Caroubiers and of Fort Genois. 

The first is at the distance of two miles, the other three from the town. 

* Tableau de la Situation for 1839, and Baron Baude. f Blofcld, p. 43. 

+ Baron Baudo, vol. ii. p. 1. 



When Bona was more frequented, marine assurances only applied, in case 
of accidents, to ships anchored in those two hai-bours, from the 15tli of May 
to the 15th September; and during the remaining eight mouths of the year, 
they were only given to vessels mooring under the Fort Gcuois. Since 
the year 1835, the largest ships of the French navy, such as the Jupiter, 
the Suffren, and the Montebello, i-emain all the winter in the anchorage of 
Fort Genois, whence, however, there Avas no road to Bona in 1841. In 
the time of the Romans, the quiet and deep waters of the Seybouse gave 
them a good port ; but for thirteen centuries the alluvial deposits have 
gained on the sea, and the regular bottom of the river is behind a bar, 
alternately open or shut, according to the predominance of the fluvial 
cuiTcnt and the winds in the high sea. 

According to Baron Baude, the only place near the town fit for a port 
is the creek bordered by rocks, before the Stork Fort and the Point of the 
Lazaretto; the sea at this spot being deep, the approach easy, and the 
accumulation of sand impossible.* 

Having brought the reader to the gates of Bona, we shall enter the 
town in the society of some select friends, prefacing a broad outline of its 
most prominent features. 

Bona is the Frank name of this city, and is thought to be a corruji- 
* Baron Baude, vol. ii. j). 10. 

204 BONA. 

tion of the Latin Hippo Eegius, a Roman town situated at the distance 
of one mile on the Seybouse, and from whose materials it was originally 
built by the Saracens. The Arabs call Bona Blaid-el-Aneb, or Anaba, 

ioLi. the city of jujubes; or simply Anaba, from the quantity of those 

fruit-trees growing near it ; and Leo Africanus informs us that Blaid-el- 
Aneb was built out of the ruins of Hij^pona.* 

St. Marie says that the town stands on a flat space of ground, forming 
a pentagon of fourteen hectares (35 acres) in extent, surrounded with 
wretched walls. He adds that its population is not numerous, and that it 
has no trade.-j~ 

Baron Baude assigned it a population of 5338 Europeans in 1840, 
adding, that a bad wall shuts in this population in a pentagon of fourteen 
hectares (35 acres), and separates it from the sea. In 1850, Madame Prus 
gave it a population of 13,000, of whom 4000 were French, chiefly Pro- 
ven9aux (natives of Provence). X 

St. Marie, who landed at Bona in 1845, informs us that at the Quay 
they observed in the harbour many barks about to start for the coral 
fishery. On landing, they saw before them a great Morisco Gate, like 
that of Medeah (in 1845); and on one side was a pretty broad street, 
which, after some turning, led to a square surrounded by houses in the 
European style, as at Algiers. 

Bona is situated low down on the south side of the coast. § On a 
summit, only remarkable for a raj^id ascent, is the Casbah, whose guns 
command the anchorage of the Cassarins. Open on all sides, the sur- 
rounding ground offers no shelter for the advance of an enemy, who would 
find it impossible to mask hnnself by entrenchments, because, throughout 
nearly the whole line of approach, the pickaxe, at the first stroke, comes 
in contact with the solid rock. The Casbah, built by Peter de Navarre, is 
inferior to nothing in modern art. The trifling trade of Bona is, accord- 
ing to St. Marie, in the hands of the Jews. Madame Prus, Avho had the 
advantage of a longer and more recent residence at Bona (1850), gives us 
the following particulars : " The Hue Constantine, which is a kind of 
suburb to the town, is composed both of Arab and French houses. The 
Rue Dann-emont and the Place d'Armes are built entirely in the French 
style; but the roofs are surrounded with terraces, where linen tents are 
pitched, under which the inhabitants spend a great part of their time, 
breathing the cool evening air. 

" A beautiful church was commenced three or four years ago on the out- 
skirts of Bona, near the Porte Damrcmont; but the want of funds, the 
great obstacle to all undertakings of this nature, prevented its further pro- 
gress in 1850. The wits of the town compare the building of this edifice 

* Blofeld, p. 43. t Page 209. t Mad. Prus, pp. 36-38. 

J iJona stands in 36" 52' N. lat. and 7'' 45' E. long, of Groeuwich. 

BONA. 205 

to that of the triumphal arch at Paris near the Barri^re de I'Etoile : it 
would be unfortunate, were the same result to take place in both cases. 

" I must not forget to add, that Bona is more backward in civilisation 
than any other town occupied by the French in this country. Its finest 
habitations, like that of Karesi, offer a strange mixture of modern luxury 
and ancient barbarism. Bona, the distant, the uncivilised Bona, presented 
but few attractions, either to the philosopher or the traveller. The in- 
terest of all has ever been centered in Algiers : thither were dispatched 
the first specimens of Parisian commerce ; there the first French settlers 
formed their establishment ; and, thanks to twenty-one years of civil and 
military occupation, this chief of Algerian cities has lost much of its pi*i- 
mitive character." 

The 4000 French inhabitants of Bona flocked in after the army, and 
the Maltese had even forestalled them. The latter have a monopoly of 
provisions and of household goods; and the French stand no chance in 
competing with them, as they are very sharp in business. The Maltese 
lend out on interest, the ordinary rate of usury being 10 per cent, whilst 
in urgent cases it is raised to 25, 30, and even 40 per cent. They lay 
claim to the office of street-porter; are a very strong, laborious, and in- 
dustrious race, sleeping on the floor of their warehouses, without taking 
off their clothes ; they are, moreover, possessed of great muscular strength, 
four of them being able to cany easily a great cask of wine, suspended 
by ropes to the tops of wooden poles, which they place on their shoulders. 
Their treatment of the Arabs, like that of the colonists generally, is very 
bad and insulting ; a circumstance resulting, in a great measure, from the 
inefficient state of the police, and the charities of Christendom. 

Madame Prus was particularly struck with the singular appearance of 
a Maltese wedding, which presents a greater likeness to our notions of a 
funeral. On the bridal procession the women go together, their heads 
covered with black aprons, including the bride, and followed by the men, 
dressed in a uniform costume, not unlike that of English sailors. The 
catalogue of Maltese charms is crowned by Madame Prus pronouncing 
them perfidious, cunning, and superstitious, with all the vices of Italians^ 
and without any of their virtues.* It is truly gratifying to find that these 
excellent and honest people are classed by the French official documents 
as Anglais. Verily, the Union Jack covers a multitude of sins. 

We propose to enter somewhat minutely into the statistics of Bona, 
and the causes of its unhealthiness, which has become proverbial. In 
1841, Baron Baude remarked that at that time there were fewer women 
in proportion to men in Bona than in any other town in Algeria. The 
French scarcely composed one-third of the number, being much less nume- 
rous than the ]\Ialtese, who had not, however, brought their women with 
them. The proportion of women to men was, in 1839, 
* Residence, &c. 1850, pp. 36-38. 




Europeans 1975 

Mussulmans 699 

Israelites 140 

Total 2812 
















The Europeans were analysedtlius : French, 1114; Maltese, 120G; Italians, 
115; Spaniards, 550; German, &c. 110. The proportion of women to men 
in this number is 28 per cent. There die in France 1 in 39-5, at Bona 
1 in 13-2, though the colonists are not old people. The following table 
contains the statistics of births and deaths from 1833 to 1838 : 

























So much for the Baron's statistics.* The French official documents 
from 1847 to 1849 present us with the following tables : 

1847. French, 2387 ; Anglo-Maltese, 2268; Spaniards, 144 ; Italians, 
1344 ; Germans, 352 ; Swiss, 18 ; divers, 122. Men, 2998 ; women, 
1659 ; children, 1978. Total, 6635. 

1848. French, 3152; Anglo-Maltese, 1541 ; Spaniards, 195; Italians, 
1510; Germans, 152; Swiss, 49; divers, 113. Men, 3194; women, 
1981 ; children, 1537. Total, 6712. 

1849. French, 3229 ; Anglo-Maltese, 1047; Spaniards, 230 ; Italians, 
489; Germans, 101; Swiss, 72; divers, 82. Men, 2802; women, 1387; 
children, 1061. Total, 5250.t 

The uuhealthiness of Bona is proved by the hospital returns. The 
garrison has seldom exceeded 4500 men ; and, independently of nume- 
rous invalids in the regimental infirmaries, the hospital contains habitually 
one-tenth, and occasionally one-third, of the ti'oops. The hospital returns 
from 1833 to 1839 are as follow : 



Dec. 31st. 






























The garrison on the 8th of April, 1832, consisted at first of 100 men 
of the 4th regiment of the line, and rose till October of the same year to 
3500 men. As every soldier enters about twice evciy year, the above 

* Alo-<-rio, vol. ii. p. 33. 

+ Baron Baudc, vol. ii. p. 10, 

f Tableau do la Situation, 1850, pp. 94-96. 

BONA. 207 

hospital returns do not really give a sufficient list of sufferers. It is some- 
what rennirkable that the district of Bona was once very healthy ; but the 
cause of the present infectious fevers that prevail there is well known. 
The space between old Hippo and the modern town was in remote times 
a cove of the gulf. Earth brought down by the Seybouse, and driven up 
by the sea, has converted this cove into a i)lain, many parts of which are 
hardly on a level with the sea. The sand-hills raised by the wind alon^^' 
the coast have made a number of reservoirs in the low places, into which 
the waters of Mount Edough, of the vale of Kharezas, and sometimes of 
the surf", flow ; these waters not being able to flow ofl" again, stagnate and 
give birth to miasmas under the action of a hot sun. There are four chief 
depots of marshes near the town, the most remote being about 1500 
metres distant (4920 feet). 

M. Carette in 1833-4 estimated the amount of land to be drained at 
15-27 hectares (38-17 acres), and the amount of matter required to fill 
them up 100,000 cubic metres (109,200 cubic yards). 

St. Marie describes the pestilential exhalations as occasioned by the 
Herbeyra marsh, adjoining the Constantina gate. 

Two thousand metres (0560 feet) from Bona, to the right of the mouth 
of the Seybouse, is a piece of low and wet ground called the cuve (pit or 
hollow) Herbeyra, whose exhalations I'each the town. It consists of about 
70 hectares (175 acres), and might be easily filled up with the sand of the 
neighbouring sand-hills, or planted over. The marshy meadows of Vale 
Kharezas ought also to be drained."' 

Another cause of the unliealthiness of Bona may be traced to the 
filthy state of many of its streets ; dirt having accumulated in them since 
time immemorial, and having raised the soil considerably in some places. 
I\Iany of the houses, according to St. Marie, are buried 2 metres (G-56 
feet) in ruins. t 

An additional cause of insalubrity is presented by the scai'city of watei', 
the aqueducts having been destroyed in 1832, when Bona was taken by the 
French, who have only lately attempted to remedy the evil. Baron Baude 
states, that it used to have seven fountains carefully kept up under the 
Turks; but in 1841 there was only one; and every household had to go 
half a quarter of a league fi-om the ramparts every day to get theirs. The 
fact is, that in 1832 Achmet-Bey Avished to destroy Bona, and cut all 
the water-conduits.l 

In 1834 Baron Baude states, that the 14 hectares (35 acres) embraced 
within the walls contained 674 houses, of which 288 belonged to the au- 
thoi-ities (the Domaine), 2GG had been appropriated to barracks, and 22 to 
the civil service § 

The latest particulars respecting the sanitaiy condition of Bona, and 

* Baron Baude, vol. ii. p. 21. f St. Marie. 

t Baron Baude, vol. ii. p. 18. § Ibid. 

208 BONA. 

the statistics of its public and private buildings, wliich are now presented 
to the reader, are ol)tained from official documents. 

From 1834 to 1848, 1233 metres (4044-24 feet) of principal streets 
were opened, of which G08 metres (1994-24 feet) were paved, and 625 
metres (2050 feet) macadamised; 3540 metres (11,611 feet) of smaller 
streets have been paved, and may be considered in a good state of repair. 
Seven squares have been macadaniised and planted with 338 trees. These 
works have cost 306,000 francs (12,240^.). 

Several important works have been undertaken to supply Bona with 
water ; e. g. 7750 metres (25,420 feet) of water-conduits, and 5670 metres 
(18,597'60 feet) of sewerage, have been opened from 1833 to 1847. 
Sixty-four regards, or watermen, look after the works. The great conduit 
which brings the water from Mount Edough to Bona forms two siphons ; 
the first of which has a length of 3157 metres (10,354-96 feet), and the 
second of 793 metres (2601-04 feet). Out of the 5676 metres (18,617-28 
feet) of drainage, 350 metres (1148 feet) are vaulted, and can be entered 
and examined from within. The expenses incurred in forming these con- 
duits and drains have amounted to 597,500 francs (23,900Z.). 

A civil prison and tribunal of justice have been erected at Bona 
since 1845, costing 25,000 francs (1000^.) ; and a school- house was built 
in 1845-6, at an expense of 27,000 francs (1080^.). 

The church of Bona, which had already cost 180,000 francs (7200^.) 
in 1850, was not at that time completed. 

The house of the sub-prefecture of Bona, begun in 1846, was not 
finished in 1849 for want of funds, having cost 79,000 francs (3160Z.). 
A market-place was built there in 1846-47, costing 1200 francs (48?.); 
and a cemetery at the same date, estimated at 24,000 francs (960?). 

The Douane of Bona, built in 1844, cost 109,000 francs (43G0/.); and 
a caravanserai, afterwards converted into a native market, was built there 
in 1843, at a cost of 70,000 francs (2800?.). 

The military works erected at Bona by the French government within 
the last few years have cost 1,991,800 francs (79,672?.), from 1832 to 
1849 inclusive. A battery for ten pieces of ordnance has been built at 
the Fort Cigogne, with magazines, &c. ; and a battery for twelve pieces has 
been begun on the rock of the Lion. The town wall and the Casbah have 
been improved ; barracks for 1100 men and 360 horses have been estab- 
lished ; a workshop for 300 convicts has been formed, and a residence for 
the commandant built, besides a powder-magazine at the Casbah for 
30,000 kilogrammes (66,000 lbs.).* M. Berbruggcr gives the following 
graphic description of Bona : 

" Before reaching the anchorage of Tazerain, you pass the Cap de Garde, 
or Cap llougc. The last name is the literal translation of llas-el-Hamrah, 
the appellation applied to it by the natives : the ancients called it llippi 
* Tableau do la Situation, 1850, pp. 313-381. (Travaux Publics.) 


promontorium. Roman mai'ble-quarries, whence they obtained the mate- 
rials for the construction of Hippo Regius and of Aphrodisium, are still 
seen there, together with fresh traces of their quarrying labours ; and a 
great number of fossil shells, some of large size, are found incrusted in the 
schistous rock of the cape. 

A little beyond the cape, towards the town, stands forth the Fort 
Genois; a building of a shining white colour, built on a rock lashed by the 
waves. When Bona was subject to the kings of Tunis, they granted the 
monopoly of the coral fishery, reaching from the mouth of the Seybouse 
to Cape Rosa, to the Genoese. The fishermen, whose industry was inter- 
rupted by pirates, obtained permission to build a fort on a rock in the 
bay; and though opposed by the inhabitants, they succeeded; hence the 
Fort Genois. 

After the anchorage of Fort Genois comes that of the Caroubiers ; then, 
underneath the Casbah, the Ras-el-H'mama (Cape of Pigeons), whose ex- 
treme point has, when seen afar off, a considerable resemblance to a lion 
couchant, — hence the Europeans have christened it the Lion's Rock. Be- 
yond this point you come to the anchorage of Cazerain, whence you 
behold the town of Bona, and the ruins of Hippo Regius, or more pro- 
perly the woody hillock where they lie hid under the olive, jujube, and 
Barbary fig-trees. 

To the west the eye rests with admiration on the imposing mass of the 
Djebel Edough. From its summit, which rises above the clouds, two 
strongly-marked ridges descend to the sea, where, spreading out, they 
form the Cape of Garde and that of the Pigeons. Mount Edough is an 
infallible barometer to the good people of Bona; and when, on a wintei-'s 
day, the clouds are seen trooping up and shrouding its grey sides with a 
misty belt, you may reckon that you will soon be soaked by one of those 
deluges of rain characteristic of Afi-ica. This mountain, whose access is 
very difficult, is inhabited by Kabyles. The Romans, who called it Pap- 
pua, found it very difficult to penetrate into its recesses, when they wished 
to pursue certain contumacious native princes who had fled thither. When 
Bellsarius recovered Africa from the Vandals in 532, Gelimer, who could 
find no security in the towns which had been dismantled by Genseric, 
sought refuge in the Pappua. The people of that mountain, who had re- 
mained in primitive barbarism, though so near the splendid growth of 
Roman civilisation, are reported to have viewed with wonder the effemi- 
nate character of the fugitive Vandals. So completely had they been 
enervated by the abuse of the luxuries that success had showered into 
their laps, that they had sunk fiir beneath even Roman degeneracy and 

At the foot of Mount Edough, and a little in front of the point of rocks 
overhanging the Stork's Fort (cle la Cigogne), is situated the Coral Fishers' 
Bay {des Corailleurs)^ which on fete-days is encumbered with the coral- 


210 BONA. 

fishers' boats, whose crews come to the chapel built on that spot to thank 
God for a successful season, or to supplicate His favour if they have failed. 
The next object is the Lazaretto, and then the Stork's Fort; and after 
passing the latter spot, you face Bona, whose appearance is not at all im- 
posing. It stands on the site of Aphrodisium, so called from Aphrodite, 
or Venus, to whom the inhabitants had raised a handsome temple, and 
whom they had chosen as their patroness. Bona is built of the remains 
of that little city, and of those of Hippo Begins. The natives call it 

aAus. J\ Jkb Blad-el-Auabe (the town of jujubes), or more commonly 

Anabah, on account of the number of jvijube-trees that grew around it 
formerly, but which were cut down by the French soon after their occu- 
pation, in order to free the approaches of the town, and to remove all 
shelter for the Kabyles, who used to practise at picking off the French 
soldiers with their long guns. 

Bona was founded soon after the destruction of Hippo by the Arabs 
(a. D. 687). Its inhabitants lived always independent till the time of the 
Turks, regarding the kings placed over them rather as patrons than as 
sovereigns; and when the latter sought to tighten the reins, they threat- 
ened to surrender to the Christians. The latter took possession of it 
imder Charles the Fifth, at the time of his expedition to Tunis, Alvar 
Gomez Zagal being left there with 1000 foot and 25 horse. He kept 
the town and plundered the country with this weak force; but on Zagal's 
death, the emperor ordered the town to be abandoned, and the fortifi- 
cations to be razed. The Turks took it afterwards from the kings of 
Tunis, who were too weak to hold it; but it changed masters several times 

Beyond Bona you perceive a river, the Boudjema (the Armna of the 
ancients), which, after having watered the vale of Khai-esas, passes under 
the bridge of Hippo Regius, and reaches the bay by trickling through the 
sands that obstruct its mouth. A little beyond is the Seybouse, a rather 
broad and deep river, once the port of the Romans; but its entrance is 
now barred by a shifting sand-bank. The brig Ruse, which was wrecked 
there in January 1835, altered the bar considerably; and this fact may 
lead the way to clearing the mouth of the river eventually, by suggesting 
some mode of deepening the channel. 

Between these two streams rises a green hillock, terminating on the 
sea-side the chain of hills that limit the vale of Kharesas on the S.E. On 
this spot once stood Hippo Regius, a very imjiortant city, of which more 

On the left bank of the Seybouse begins a vast plain extending beyond 
the ]\Iafnig (the Ruljricatus). The sjjlendid i)asturcs that it presented 
afforded to Ahmed Jiey of tliis province the means of paying the annual 
tribute to the L)ey of Algiers, and of pocketing a Ijahuicc of 100,000 fr. 


(4000^.) Being once in difficulties from immediate want of money, the 
plain of Bona alone gave him 500,000 francs (20,000^.) in the space of a 
few days.* 

" We entered Bona," says Madame Prus, "by the Porte Constantlne. 
It was most curious to see the Arab market, which was held outside the 
gates, but within the fortifications. Imagine a number of white figures, 
of the same colour as the walls which surround them, moving busily 
to and fro among the stores of provisions laid out for sale. These are the 
Arabs of the district, wrapped in their white burnouses, or sheepskins. 
Their wares consist of different kinds of fruits, which grow abundantly in 
this country, curdled milk in earthen vessels, butter, &:c. A certain de- 
gree of courage is necessary to penetrate through this crowd and gather 
in one's stock of provisions, as the want of cleanliness, both in the articles 
of food and in the persons of those that sell them, is most revolting. 
They use no ablutions, except those p-escribed by the Koran, which are 
limited to the hands and feet. Their clothes actually swarm with vermin, 
and a visit to the Arab market can never be made without disastrous con- 
sequences; but the inconvenience being unavoidable, the best way is to 
bear it with stoical firmness, and to overcome the disgust which the scene 
described causes to our more refined feelings. 

" jSTothing can be more picturesque than the view from the market- 
place. The old Arab town, half concealed by its high embattled walls, is 
built in the form of an amphitheatre; and about a hundred steps farther 
you see the terraces belonging to the more modern parts of the city. The 
military hospital, and the minaret with its pointed roof, are imposing 
edifices, situated in the Place d'Armes. On the left is the lofty chain of 
Mount Edough, at the base of which is a lovely valley; and on the right 
the blue waters of the Mediterranean. On the sea-shore are to be seen 
the tents of the Bedouin salt-merchants, with their camels lying on the 
sand, and their small lean horses picketed to the gTouud. In the dis- 
tance the Twin mountains appear in bold relief against the blue sky; on 
these were erected the sumptuous edifices of ancient Hippona, several im- 
posing remains of which are still to be seen. Reservoirs of enormous 
size, and the beautiful ruins of the Church of Peace, of which St. Augustin 
was the first bishop, attest the grandeur of the ancient city. 

" The higher classes of the Moors, though they do not conform to all 
our customs, have adopted many of them from the mere impulse of imita- 
tion. They speak French; which, indeed, they find indispensable, from 
their frequent contact with French society. But this accomplishment is 
practised by the men only. A Moorish lady has never been known to 
accompany her husband on any visit, or to make the least change in tra- 
ditional usages. "+ 

" Here we are," observes M. Berbruggcr, " in the interior of Bona, in 
* Berbrugger, part iii. + Madame Prus. 



the Place Rovigo, where the principal streets meet, leading to the gates of 
the Marine, Constantine, Zikhan, and of the Casbah. To the left is the 
house of Youssouf, and at the end you see the taper minaret of the 
mosque. To the right you see a tree whose trunk is surrounded with 
boards, on which are commonly pasted up the proclamations, notices, and 
other official publications. This jilace is also the seat of a kind of perma- 
nent fair, which took a remarkable development after the return of the 
second Constantina expedition. The arms, the carpets, and even the 
dresses of the conquered were exposed there for sale. The Jews and Mal- 
tese, who had followed the army with views somewhat foreign to glory, 
let the French soldiers reap the kurels ; and, after gathering in a more 
lucrative and less honourable harvest, they came back from Constantina 
with the fruits of their industry, which they displayed at Bona. There 
was a complete fever at the time for what were called the souvenirs de 

" The interior of Bona is like that of most towns in Algeria. Seen from 
a distance, almost all apjiear pretty ; but Avhen you enter them, it is soon 
discovered how remote the reality is from the ajipearance. But in Bona 
the streets appeared, even in 1843, less narrow and obscure than those of 
Algiers, which proceeds merely from the circumstance that the houses are 
not so high. Save this difference, the nature of the dwellings is about 
the same. In the business-streets appear little shops without any commu- 
nication with the building to which they belong, and which seem so many 
niches raised four feet from the ground. Every where else in the Arab 
streets you see only completely bare walls, in which you find nothing but 
some openings through which a child's head would pass with difficulty ; 
within, a court surrounded by a gallery supported on columns ; two or three 
long and narrow chambers opening into this gallery, and only receiving 
the daylight through it ; above is the terrace, an almost universal appen- 
dage at Bona. 

" The other side of the square is built in the European style, like 
the Rue de Rivoli at Paris, but in much more modest proportions. This 
kind of building is onerous to the landlords, but it is very agreeable to 
pedestrians, who find under the galleries a refuge from carriages, horses, 
and other cattle, and a shelter against the sun and the rain. In 1843 
this square was almost the only part of the town where French architec- 
ture had appeared, all the other parts remaining in their ancient state, 
save some demolitions rendered necessary to clear the roads for the 
French -wagon-train, which gave a ruinous aspect to many streets at that 

The chief mosque of Bona contains some splendid Corinthian capitals 
and beautiful fluted columns, which appear to be the relics of some Roman 
temple. They may possibly have belonged to the famous Basilica of 
* Berbrugger, part iii. p. 8. 


Peace, existing at Hippo in St. Augustiu's time ; or they may perhaps 
be the remains of the temple of Venus at Aphrodisium. The first Chris- 
tians built their churches with the materials of Pagan temples ; afterwards 
came the Arabs, Avho built their mosques with the ruins of the two pre- 
ceding worships. The same stones and marbles have been devoted by 
succeeding races to form the House of God; as immortal as religious ideas, 
they have only changed in form and arrangement. 

The great mosque of Bona resembles all buildings of this kind. Its 
three parallel galleries call to mind the nave and collateral aisles of our 
churches. At the bottom is a niche turned to Gobla, or Mecca : there 
stands the priest (imam), or the person commissioned to direct public 
prayer. A modern staircase terminated by a i)latform {inombeur) is seen 
to the left ; it is a kind of pulpit, which the imam mounts every Friday, 
before mid-day prayers (el-eulem), to preach to the people. The ground is 
covered with mats, with carpets on the top of them, where the slipperless 
worshippers kneel. When the crowd is great, those who fear unj)leasant 
exchanges take their slippers with them, instead of leaving them at the 

Lamps with several jets hang from vaults by iron chains ; but they are 
never lighted except during the Kamahdan, when the exterior of the 
mosque is also illuminated. An elegant minaret (smd) shoots up over the 
mosque, and is crowned by a gallery whence the mouedclen calls the faith- 
ful to prayers five times a day. Further particulars respecting Mussulman 
worship will be found in another j)lace.* 

With the reader's kind permission, we shall now take a stroll to Mount 
Edough ; and we doubt not that he will gladly exchange the miasmas of 
the marshes for the fresh mountain-breezes. 

Mount Edough offers limestone all along this coast, a formation of 
Avhieh it is deprived for 80 leagues (200 miles) from Bugia to Cape Roux. 
The eastern slope of Mount Edough is uninhabited ; and at the foot of the 
mountain are the remains of the immense jilantations of olives formed in 
the 17th century by Mustapha de Cordenas, a rich Moorish refugee from 
Spain, which Peysonnel found in all their vigour in 1725. On the other 
side of the cape there has been established from time immemorial the 
poor and inoffensive tribe of Ali, which was visited by Baron Baude. 
He found the solitary slopes of Mount Edough carpeted on that side up 
to the highest summits, with that humble arborial vegetation which in 
Africa issues from the struggle between the vegetative force of the soil 
and the devastating teeth of the cattle. Some fruit-trees, vines, little 
fields of maize and corn, and sheds built of unhewn stones, are signs of 
the tendency existing in the Onled-Ali to plant and build on a larger 
scale, if they possessed the means ; but the tribe is so limited, that it only 
constitutes a small family. 

* Berbrugger, part iii. p. 7. 


The only reproach that St. Augustin could make to the Kabyles of 
Mount Edough, during his residence of thirty-six years at Bona, was, that 
they spoke Punic, and did not understand Latin, in which the word of 
God was preached. 

Four leagues and a half south-west of Bona (111 miles), the Lake 
Efzara occupies 10 square leagues (02^ square miles) at the foot of Mount 
Edough. The valley of Kharezas opens in a direct line from Bona to 
Lake Efzara, between the foot of Mount Edough and the hills of Belelida ; 
and, according to Desfontaines, whenever the waters of the Lake Efzara are 
swollen by winter rains, they flow by this valley into the Mediterranean. 

Bona is represented by Bai'on Baude as a better military station than 
the ancient Llippo, from which it is separated by an interval of 1000 
metres (3820 feet). The north-west angle of the plain, which extends on 
the left of the Seybouse, is closed between the head of the Edough and 
the sea by a hillock of 108 metres (354-24 feet) in height, separated 
from the mountains by a narrow valley. Bona is situated at the bottom 
and on the south side of this hill ; and the summit, which is reached by 
steep sloi)es, is crowned by the Casbah, whose cannon, as previously 
stated, sweep the anchorage of Cassarins. 

There are 70 square leagues (437^ square miles) of \Aiim between the 
Efzara lake and the river Mafrag. This surface is divided into two almost 
equal parts by the river Seybouse. The eastern part is a rectangle, and 
touches the walls of Bona by its north-west angle ; the sea and two navi- 
galile rivers defend three sides of it, and on the fourth the Atlas is not 
practicable. The cultivation of these 110,000 hectares (275,000 acres) of 
laud can be always safely carried on. The river Mafrag, the west limit of 
this plain, crosses it at five leagues (12^ miles) from Bona, about parallel 
to the Seybouse, is as broad and as deep, and the navigable part of its 
course appears to extend as far as that of the Seybouse, amongst the 
branches of the Atlas range. Like the latter stream, the Maft-ag is also 
barred up with sand at its mouth most of the year. 

The ruins of Hippo Regius, which Avill be circumstantially described in 
another place,* are situated 1000 metres (3280 feet) from Bona, near the 
mouth of the Seybouse ; and it appears that the city was grouped at the 
foot of two mamelons, one 80 metres (2G2'40 feet), the other 38 metres 
(124-64 feet) in height, and called in Arabic Bounah and Gharf-cl-Antram.t 
The agricultural and other colonies surrounding Bona, and on the 
road to Philij)peville, of which a doleful account has been given by Ma- 
dame Prus, whilst the Tableau de la Situation speaks of them in favour- 
able terms, will be fully dcscriljed in the cha])tcr on Colonisation. It 
will suffice here to mention the name and situation of the most important, 
which are I'eiithievre, Mondovi, and liarral. 

* Chapter on Arclisoolog-y, Part IT. 

t Those particulars are obtained from Barou Baudo, vol. ii. c. 8. 

iiirro REGIUS. 21.J 

Mr. Dawson Borrer, who sailed along the line of coast from Algiers 
to Bona in 1846, gives the following description of the scenery that it 
presented. " The night wind blew cold from the snow-clad heights of the 
Djorjora, as, bidding adieu to Bugia, onward we glided, cleaving the glit- 
tering waters of the gulf. Gigantic rocks jutting forth from the rugged 
shores increased in grandeur as the shadows of darkness fell upon them. 
Here and there, among the Avikl recesses of the mountain heights, the 
glimmering of Kabyle watchfires might be seen. Then, as we turned Cape 
Cavallo, a new scene burst upon us. A vast tract of mountain-side pre- 
sented one glowing sheet of flame. Towering heights were clothed with 
fire ; chased by the reflection, the silver rays of the pale moon no longer 
danced upon the rippling surface around us. Thus does the Kabyle clear 
a space upon his brushwood-clad mountains, that }ie may cast in his grain, 
the sowing season being at hand. After touching at Djidjelli, where the 
French inhabitants are annually decimated by the malaria, and at Philippe- 
ville, we turned Eas-el-Hamrah (the Hippi Promontorium of the ancients) 
about 5 P.M., the third day of our voyage, and soon dropped anchor in 
the bay of Bona. I like Bona. Its wood-clad heights ovei'looking the 
wide blue sea, and its rich plains watered by the Seybouse, the Boojeemah, 
and the liuisseau d'Or, please me. So do also its gardens, in the fertile 
soil of which luxuriate flowei's and vegetables of all sorts, skilfully irrigated 
by that most industrious class of colonists, the refuse of Spain and IMalta, 
who, never idle, cultivate the land by day, and rob and cut throats by 

" Again, how interesting are the moss-clad ruins of ancient Hippona, 
shadowed by groves of olives, jujubes, and carobs ! The wind sighs through 
those noAV-deserted courts, from which the venerable St. Augustin so 
nobly combated the ruinous march of Eoman luxury, and those various 
heresies which then tore the Christian church in Africa. And was it not 
within those walls that, borne down by the evils Avhich assailed the em- 
pire and the church, he died? — Vandal shouts ringing in his ears, as, in 
pursuit of the unhappy Boniface, they filled the courts of Hippona with 
their Arian hordes." * 

Having surveyed the sea-board of this province from Djidjelli to Bona 
and Hippo, we shall finish our description of the coast-line before we 
analyse the inland parts. 

The Seybouse and the Mafrag, the principal rivers between Bona and 
Tabarca, seem to be the Ubus and Eubricatus of the ancients. Beyond 
Cape Rose, five leagues from the Mafrag, is the Bastion, where thei'e is a 
small creek, and the ruins of a fort that gave rise to the name. The 
factory of the French African Company had formerly their settlement at 
this place; but the unwholesomeness of the situation, occasioned by the 
neighbouring ponds and marshes, obliged them to remove to La Calle, 
* Dawson Borrer, p. 32(3. 


anotber inlet, three leagues (7|- miles) more to the east. About two miles 
to the E, of La Calle is the little river Zaine (Tusca), which has served 
for centuries as the limit of the two regencies of Algeria and Tunis. 

There is a little island at the mouth of the Zaine, which continued 
many years in the possession of a noble Genoese family, from the time of 
Andrea Doria, to whom the Tunisians gave it, with the consent of the 
Sublime Porte, as ransom for a prince taken prisoner by Doria. This 
place was defended by a good castle, and protected the coral fishery in 
those seas; but in 1740 the Bey of Tunis took it by treachery from the 
Genoese, put some of them to the sword, and the remaining three or 
four hundred were made prisoners.* 

Having taken this rapid survey of the ground, we shall accompany 
Baron Baude in a trip that he made to La Calle from Bona, in the com- 
pany of M. Prosper de Chasseloup, going by the foot of the Atlas, and re- 
turning along the coast. They went with letters of recommendation to 
the Sheikh of the Merdes, Sidi-Mahmoud, and returned to Merdes on the 
23d of Sejjtember. 

•From Draan, a station in the plain 12^ miles from Bona, to the 
douar of the Merdes, you travel seven leagues (17^ miles) all in the plain. 
To the south lies a high mountain, and to the north you leave the isolated 
hills of Sidi-Denden and of Kennader. The soil consists of a clay mixed 
with sand, of Avhich the fecundity is attested by the vigour and per lection 
of the thistles and other large jdants that cover it, which sometimes rise 
higher than a man even on horseback : there Avas, ho-\vever, no cultivation, 
and they only saw a dozen scattered trees on the road. They had crossed, 
by the fords of Sidi-Denden and Sidi-Abdelaziz, the Seybouse and the 
Mafrag, which, on issuing from the mountains, offer a nan-ow bed, which 
is, however, as navigable as that of the Saune at Lyons. They were now 
in the true Arab country ; and ascending, for half an hour, the right bank 
of the Mafrag, they reached the top of a mountain, whence their Arab 
escort dashed on to the douar, and Sidi-Mahmoud came forth to meet 
them, pressing his hand to his heart in the oriental fashion. Two poor 
sources of water, and some i)lantations of maize and tobacco, are the chief 
merit of the valley. At a short distance arc the remains of a Eoman 
dwelling; and from the neighbouring summits the eye roves E.S.E. along 
the exten.sive valley by which the INIafrag descends from the Atlas. At 
this point the Arabs call it the Ouad Merdes, from the name of the 
tribes on its banks : that of Mafrag, which is given to it lower down, comes 
from the bar of sand raised by the wind at its mouth; for the rivers and 
brooks of Barbary frequently change name as they j)ass from one tril)e to 
another. The rock of the mountain at this spot consists of red sand- 
stone, which is a very extensive formation in this vicinity ; and no other 
rock is seen from Draan to La Calle, and from La Calle to Bona. These 
* lilofold, p. 43 et scqq. 


fii'st degrees or steps of the Atlas liave the same character as the Boud- 
jareah, near Algiers. The rich clay of the plains ascends to the foot of 
the rocks, a luxuriant verdure clothes their sides ; and the reason Avhy the 
trees do not grow higher is, notwithstanding Sallust's o])inion, the destruc- 
tion of the inhabitants. 8uch Is the Baron's view of the case, to which 
we do not pledge ourselves. 

At midnight they started with Sheikh Hafsi, of the tribe of the Beni 
Urdjiu, with sixty horsemen, by a fine moonlight. During the first hour 
they marched over a heavy land ; then they came to, marshy ground, dried 
up by the sun and covered with great reeds. This district is called Ras- 
Mafrag, or the head of the Mafrag, and is the parent of unhealthy miasmas. 
After passing it you come to a strong and stitf soil, watered by many 
brooks, where they halted for three hours. The neighbouring woods, which 
had been ignited by the Arabs, presented the appearance of a vast confla- 
gration. At the morning dawn all the Arabs of the party threw them- 
selves prostrate in prayer, presenting a striking and patriarchal scene ; and 
after performing their devotions, they proceeded, and at 8 a.m. they were 
received with Semitic and scriptural hospitality by the principal douar of 
the Ouled-Djeb, at which spot the plain ends, woody mountains enclosing 
its rich pastures. 

There are no palms, agaves, or cactuses in this neighbourhood, which 
give an African character to the country around Algiers. The forest by 
which the douar stood clothed the two faces of a mountain, whose foot 
was bathed by the lake El-Malah. Bed sandstone here and there 
pierces the sand of Avhich the soil is composed, which, however, is often 
very moist. Cork-trees {chene liege) are almost the only timber in these 
woods ; but no use is made of them, though they might be turned to such 
a useful account. The Arabs burn down large tracts of these celebrated 
forests, which extend northwards to the sea, westward to Cape Rose, and 
eastward to the frontier of Tunis, embracing a surface of no less than 
20,000 hectares (50,000 acres), and all forming what are called jn-opiUes 
domaniaux, or government property. Baron Baude represents in strong 
language the folly of neglecting such a valuable possession, not only for 
its intrinsic value, but also because if the country were stripped, it would 
speedily become a desert. 

When our party had arrived at the end of lake El-Calah, it was not 
far to La Calle; and they found the country delightful, though rather 
marshy. They observed that the Arabs in that vicinity had learnt many 
expressions of the Broven^al dialect from the old French mariners and 
merchants who were wont to frequent La Calle. Strange that these 
primeval cork-forests should witness the marriage of the gale science and 
the Prophet's sacred tongue, and that troubadours aud marabouts should 
shake hands on the ruins of Carthage ! 

On the 25th they were on horseback at daybreak, and soon ar- 

218 LA CALLE. 

rived on the banks of the lake EI-Garah, where the scenery reminded 
them of that of Scotland ; and two hours after starting, they beheld La 
Calle at their feet. This town, which was burnt to the ground on the 
27th of June 1827, was taken by M. Albert Bertier on the 22d July 
1836 with only fifty zouaves (native troops). 

The port* is commanded to the south by the post of the windmill. 
On the j^/rt^/e dufond (or beach) at the bottom of the harbour, besides a 
well and an excellent spring, are the ruins of a lazaretto and a mosque. 
The town is built on the peninsula of rocks, three hectares in extent 
{7^ acres), which encloses the port ; and over the land-gate is inscribed 
the date of 1677. The only remains left of the old buildings consist of 
a few vaulted warehouses and walls ; and the rock is, unfortunately, a 
sandstone {gres) of a loose texture, in which the sea makes inroads, 
undermining the pavement. The French establishment at La Calle is 
of the same date (1520) as the first occupation of Bona and Coustantina 
by the Turks. Francis I., Henry II., and Charles IX., were allies of the 
Turks and Selim II. against the house of Austria, the old hereditary foe 
of France. Between 1560 and 1604 was the period of the greatest con- 
cessions and power enjoyed by the French at La Calle ; and from the 
time of Francis I. to Louis XIV., the whole secret of this anomalous 
coalition between the very Christian king and the head of Islam may 
be traced to the great contest between France and Austria. 

After the decline of the latter power, the concessions came to be only 
commercial; and in 1694 was concluded the traite de Pierre Hely, which 
was the basis of the French relations with Algeria down to the conquest. 
Its chief enactments were repeated almost verbatim in the conventions 
of 1714, 1731, 1768, and 1790. Pierre Hely and his company enjoyed 
the monopoly of the whole trade of La Calle. Cap Negre, Bona, Bastion de 
France and its dependencies, for 34,000 gold roubles (105,000 fr.; 4200^.). 
In 1719 it jjassed to the French India Company; in 1741 to the African 
Company and to Marseilles, with a capital of 1,200,000 livres (48,000/.). 
Six per cent was always obtained by the shareholders ; and from 1772 to 
1777 each shareholder received 300,000 fr. (12,000/.) every year as his 
dividend. The African Conq)any was in a particularly flourishing state 
under Director Martin ; but it was suppi-essed, with all other monopolies, 
in 1794. 

The garrison used only to consist of fifty veterans Avith a captain. We 
have already referred to the prevalence of Provencal among the tribes sur- 
rounding La Calle, whose population in 1794 amounted to 600 persons, 
amongst whom, no women being allowed, it is reported that most de- 
plorable immorality prevailed, j- 

* Bfuulo, vol. i. p. 182. 

t See Abb<J Poirct's Lettrcs ilicritcs do I'ancicunc Numidie pendant les ann^es 1785-6, 
2 vols. Paris, 178y. 

LA CALLE. 219 

A mean exportation of 90,000 hectolitres (247,010 bushels) of wheat 
used to be annually effected by the Company. The price of the local load 
(153 kilogrammes; 5-OG bushels) varied from 7 fr. 50 c. {6s. 3d.) to 15 fr. 
(12s. 6d.) per load; thus making 5 fr. 51 c. (4^. 7d.) per hectolitre, 
or 3 bushels 40 lbs. 

The Company used also to export considerable quantities of barley, 
maize, and beans. 

At the present time there are fine plantations of tobacco around lake 
El-Hout, and among the Ouled-Djeb, the Djeballah, and the Seybas ; and 
M. Pasquier, director of the administration of tobacco, pronounced the 
specimens that he saw equal to those of America, which fetch 100 fr. (4Z.) 
per metrical quintal (220 lbs. avoirdupois, or 4id per lb.). The cork- 
forests in the vicinity of La Calle might also be the source of a flourishing 
trade, and provide abundance of wood for the army. 

The lofty hills that border the coast of La Calle are covered with 
shrubs, and above the post stands a very fine group of mulbeiTy-trees. A 
beautiful panorama is unfolded to view on the top of these hills ; the land 
gently dips to the lake El-Garah to the southward, and to the east to lake 
El-Hout, whose waters bathe the feet of the green slopes. Eich valleys . 
extend between woody hills, whose varied summits project in one place 
into the azure sky, and in other places stand out from the dark sides of 
the Djebel Koumir.* 

The lakes, whose Arabic appellations are mercilessly disfigured by the 
Fi-ench, have also long enjoyed European sobriquets, applied by the 
Provencal traders to La Calle. Thus, the Guilta-el-Malah Avas the Etang, 
or pond, of the Bastion; the Guilta-el-Garah, the Etang de Becmmurchand; 
and the Guilta-el-Hout, VEtmig de Tonegue. " The plain near the latter," 
says Baron Baude, " when we visited the douar of Moussa, was the Plaine de 
Terraillane." The territory of La Calle is shut in by three lakes, two of 
which, those of Tonegue and of the Bastion, flow into the sea, the third 
of which almost shuts in the space between the other two. The Etang de 
Beaumarchand is at the distance of 1000 metres (3280 feet) from that of 
the Bastion, and at 2000 metres (6560 feet) from that of Tonegue ; and 
you might thus enclose by 3000 metres (9840 feet) of ditch an extent of 
three or four square leagues {25 square miles), embracing some very good 
land. The centre pond is thought to be the cause of the fevers that pre- 
A-ail there from June to September, which are, moreover, aggravated by 
the frequency of the southerly winds. This pond is shallow, and might 
be drained. 

All property belongs to the crown at La Calle, and the carcasses of 
the houses that cover its surface are gratuitously granted for five years if 
tlie tenants make them habitable; but when buyers congregate and capital 
pours in there, they will be sold. 

* Baude, vol. i. p. 20^5. 


Leaving La Calle, the baron's party proceeded along the heights to 
Bona ; and after advancing two hours, they saw, on the hanks of a cove 
of white sand to the right, the ruins of the old Bastion de France. All 
the rivalries of empires and the passions of human nature have contended 
on this little spot, which is now nothing but a ruinous tower. 

There is a lake to the south of the bastion; and a channel, 600 or 800 
metres (2624 feet) long, leading to it, is almost dry at times, the waters of 
the lake being frequently very low. The variations in the level amount 
to two metres (6-56 feet). This lake used at one time to be a port for 
coral boats and for the bastion; its depth at the lowest water- mark is 
two or three metres (9-84 feet) ; it penetrates two leagues (5 miles) in- 
land, and it contains an area of about 2500 hectares (6250 acres). Its 
navigation would be useful, from the nature of the woods and laud sur- 
rounding it ; and it is said to be well supplied with fish. 

The cork-forests continue to Cape Eose ; but they are interrupted by 
the delicious valley of Djeballah, whose soil, defended from the south and 
sea winds by the elevation of the surrounding hills, consists of a rich 
and light loam, made still richer by irrigation. There is a good landing- 
place in the stream that waters it, and this little harbour is called 
by the Italian coral-fishers Porto delle Cannelle — in French, Port Canier 
(Reed Harbour). It is a port of refuge for small ships from westerly 

Almost all the land of the Djeballah is divided into cultivated fields, 
and produces an abundance of tobaico, maize, wheat, &c. ; and the oxen 
and horses show in their forms the goodness of the vegetation. The tribe 
of the Djeballah has about fifty tents, almost all of which are scattered, 
and not congregated into douars, these Arabs not being nomadic, but 
settled. A range of cliffs is detached from Cape Rose, and runs gently 
down to the mouth of the Mafrag. The land slopes back from it to the 
south ; and the water from this range flows back into the Mafrag in an 
opposite direction from the sea. A large sandy zone, furnished with 
shrubs, extends along the gulf of Bona ; but as soon as you come to the 
first village of the Seybas, you find all the fertility of the plain. Here 
and there appear fine fields of tobacco and corn ; and the tribe of the 
Beybas, though ravaged by the plague, has 100 tents, and is one of the 
richest in the plain. 

" Towards half-past four in the morning," proceeds Baron Baude, " we 
left our fr-icnds the Seybas, and at 7 a.m. we entered the large gully that 
forms the mouth of the Mafrag in the sea through the sand-hills : it was 
completely choked by a bar about twenty-eight metres (91-84 feet) in thick- 
ness, composed of sands heaped up by the waves of the sea; — we passed 
over dry-shod. To our kit the river was at least 200 metres (6;)G feet) 
wide, and seemed very deep ; in its rise it forces the bar, and nothing is 
more variable than its entrance. The sand-hills that border the sea to 


the right and left of the mouth of tlie ]\Iafrag are of pure sand; but by tlie 
effect of filtering, the bottom of the soil is almost moist there, consequently 
they are covered with the richest verdure ; they are crowded with the 
olive, the carob, and the cork-tree, whilst the vine entwines them in its 
festoons. The douar of Sheikh Hafsi was at a short distance from the 
Mafrag, on the banks of the lake Beida ; but notwithstanding his hospi- 
table entreaties for us to remain, we went on. The territory comprised 
between the Mafrag and the Seybouse is occupied, under our protection, 
by the tribe of the Beni-Urdjesi, whom General Uzer wisely established 
there, when it fled the persecutions of Ahmed, bey of Constantina. It 
touches the gate of Bona, and has become rich by trade. From the 
Mafrag to the Seybouse you follow the whole of a valley which runs be- 
tween two parallel lines composed of sand-hills formed by the sea ; at 
high water the two rivers sometimes communicate through it. An excel- 
lent ferry-boat has taken the place of the floating isle of rushes on which 
the Arabs used to cross the Seybouse." 

From La Calle to Bona is a march of thirteen hours and a half. They 
met no lions on the road, though these quadruj^cds are reported to be 
common there.* 

Having now taken the traveller along the coast of the province, we 
shall give first a broad outline, and secondly an analysis of the interior. 

* Baron Baude, vol. i. p. 213. The TaUeau gives La Calle a population of 400 in- 
habitants in 1849, and states that the town-walls have been impx-ovod, and a battery 
established to defend the port. Tableau, 1850, pp. 96, 113, 345. 

^lobtiice of Con^tauttna. {-ntrn'or. 




THE whole of tilis province, between its old limits, the rivers Booberak 
and Zhoore, from the sea-coast to the parallels of Setif and Coustan- 
tina, is mostly a continued chain of very high mountains. Near the above 
parallels it is diversified with a beautiful variety of hills and plains, with 
a greater or less adaptation for cultivation, till it ends up the Sahara in a 
long range of mountains, probably the Buzara of the ancients. The dis- 
trict of Zaab is immediately under these mountains; and beyond Zaab, at 
a great distance in the Sahara, is Ouadreay, another collection of villages. 
This part of the east province, including the parallel of Zaab, answers to 
Mauritania Sitifensis; or the first Mauritania, as it Avas called in the 
middle ages. 

The mountainous region between the rivers Zhoore and Seybouse is of 
no great extent, seldom reaching more than G leagues (15 miles) within 
the continent. From the Seybouse to the Zaine, except near Tabarca, 
where it begins again to be very mountainous, the countiy is mostly plain, 
though sometimes diversified by hills and forests. The same variations 
are found below Tuckush, along the encampments of the Hareishah, Gra- 
rah, and other Bedouins, as far as Constantina, where may be occasionally 
seen a small species of red deer not met with in other parts of the colony. 
Beyond this parallel is a range of high mountains, the Thambes of Ptolemy, 
extending as far as Tabarca, behind which you find pasture and arable 
land, ending in the Sahara, as Mauritania Sitifensis did before in a ridge 
of mountains, — the Mampsarus, probably, of the ancients. 

Part of the Africa Proper of Mela and Ptolemy, the Numidla Massy- 
lorum, the Metagonitis terra of the classical authors, was comprehended in 
this part of the province. 

Leaving that j^ortion of the province which belongs to Great Kabylia* 

* Consisting of the two great basins of the Ouad-Summaiu and the Ouad-Adjeb, or 
Bousellam ; the first draining the high lands above and around Anmale, and the latter 
coining down from Setif, and joining the former a little above Bugia, where they both 
fall into the sea. 

SETIF. 223 

for another occasion, we proceed to remark that Mount Atlas, throughout 
the province of Algiers (formerly Tittery), as far as Mount Jurjurah, runs 
parallel to the sea; but, after passing that point, diverges to the S.E. 
In the same direction rise the lofty mountains of Ouan-nougla and J'aite; 
succeeded afterwards, but in a direction more parallel with the sea, by 
those of Oulad-Selim, Mustewah, Aouress, and Tipasa, which run into the 
Regency of Tunis. Three or four leagues south of Mount J'aite is Mes- 
sellah, the frontier town of the province to the west. It is built on the 
southern skirts of the ])lains of EI-Huthna, 9 leagues (22^ miles) to the 
S.S.W. of Sidi-Embarak-Es-mati, and 16 leagues (40 miles) S.W. of Setif. 
Messeilah is a dirty place, like all villages in this country; the houses 
being built with reeds daubed with mud, or tiles baked in the sun. The 
air is too cold for dates in this spot, and other places on the skirts of the 
Sah'ra; and the gardens surrounding it only contain peaches, apricots, and 
the fruits of North Africa. Messeilah means a situation, like that of this 
town, on the banks of a running stream. At the same distance on the 
other side, i.e. north of the Djebel J'aite, commences the plain of Medjaua, 
shaded to the northward by the Dra-el-Hammar, and to the west by the 
mountains of Ouan-nougla. These plains are large and fertile ; but 
numerous pools of foul water, as the name denotes, filled in the rainy 
season, and stagnating in the spring, give . birth to agues and fevers, etc. 
Several heaps of ruins are scattered about, of which the Turks have built 
a fort. The country presents nothing remarkable till, passing by the vil- 
lage of Zammora, i.e. of olive-trees, we come to Setif (Sitipha or Sitifi), 
the ancient metropolis of this part of Mauritania, which made a brave 
resistance to the invading Saracens. This city may have been per- 
haps a league in circumference, and was built on rising ground facing the 
south; but it scarcely contains a fragment of Roman remains, the few 
structures that are now seen being the work of later inhabitants. The 
fountains, which continue to flow very plentifully near the centre of the 
town, are equally convenient and delightful.* The town contains four 
good streets, and is well fortified. 

Setif is situated to the west of Constantina, and at the distance of 
about 20 leagues (50 miles) south from Bugia, and contained in 18iL», 64G 
Europeans and 436 natives. 

The ancient Sitifis colonia, after being the capital of a fine pi-ovince 
during the Roman sway, presented in 1839 nothing but a heap of ruins, 
near which the Arabs held a market every Sunday. This town is situated 
on an immense table-land, whereof the elevation above the level of the sea 
is represented to be 1400 metres (4592 feet); accordingly it is exposed to 
severe cold, and snow is seen there during almost six months of the year; 
the wind, moreover, sweeps over this high land with extreme violence, 
driving vast clouds of dust before it. 

* Blofeld, p. 43 et seqq. 


Setif is perhaps the healtliiest spot occupied by the French in the whole 
of Algeria; and it is supplied with excellent water. 

The distance from Constantina to Setif is about 30 leagues (75 miles), 
and is traversed by two roads. The shortest passes through the territory 
of the Abd-el-N"our, presenting a rich country entirely stripped of trees, and 
without the vestige of a town or camp; the only traces of human struc- 
tures consisting of a great number of ruined Eoman monuments, which 
offer, however, little interest. The other road passes by Milah, Ma-Allad, 
and Djemilah. Both roads are impassable for carriages. 

The plains and rich pastures of Cassir-Attyre lie a little to the south 
of Setif, and are cultivated by the Raigah, a clan of Arabs famous for 
breeding cattle, especially horses, which are considered the best in the 
country. Near the Raigah are the Ammers, a powerful tribe. Eight leagues 
(20 miles) S.E. of Setif are the ruins of Taiggah and Zainah, situated half 
a league from each other, in a fruitful champaign country, under Djebel- 
Mustewah, the principal abode of the Ouled Abdenore, a very numerous 
and powerful clan. Taiggah and Zainah are rarely mentioned apart, but 
from their contiguity are conjointly called Tagou-Zainah. A small brook 
runs between them; and at Zainah, among other ruins, is a triumphal 
arch, supported by two large Corinthian pillars. Five leagues to the east 
of Tagou-Zainah, on the northern skirts of the Djebel-Aouress, is situated 
the sepulchral monument of Medrashem, or Mail-Cashan, which is similar 
to, though not larger than, the Koubber Romeah,* and has a cornice sup- 
ported by pillars like the Tuscan order. The district near this spot is 
named Ain-yac-coute, probably from the Aiu-yac-coute, or diamond (i.e. 
transparent) fountain, situated near the centre of it. Fragments of 
Roman highways and other ruins are scattered all over it; among which 
the principal are those of Om-oley, and Sinaab, a league or more to the 
west of Medrashem, on the road to Zainah. Tattubt, bordering on the 
Ain-yac-coute to the N.E., is about four leagues (10 miles) from Om-oley 
and Sinaab, and about eight leagues (20 miles) to the S.S.W. of Constan- 
tina. It has been formerly a considerable city ; but at present is almost 
entirely covered by earth and rubbish. Tattubt seems to be the same 
place as the Tadutti of the Itinerary ; and lying between Lambcse and 
Gemellse, as the ancients called Tezzonte and Jimmeilah, may justly lay 
claim to this situation. Ten leagues (25 miles) to the south of Tagou- 
Zainah, and 12 leagues (30 miles) from Medrashem, are the remains of 
ancient Thubana, now Tnbnah, situated in a fine i)luin near Bareekah and 
Boomazooze. Seven leagues (17^ miles) S.S.W. of Tubnah, and 16 
(40 miles) S.E. of Messeilah, is the village of Em-dhou-Khal, surrounded 
by mountains; and at this spot you meet with the first plantation of date- 
trees; but the fruit does not ripen so well as in the Zaab district, which is 
at no great distance from this sj)ot. The Sliott is a large valley or plain, 
* Sco Chapter on Arcluoology, I'art II. 


which runs, with few inteiTui)tions, between two cliaius of mountains, from 
the neighbourhood of Em-dhou-Khal to the west of the meridian of Mes- 
seilah. The word commonly means the sea-shore, or the banks of some 
lake, &c. ; but the meaning in this case is, the borders or area of such a 
plain as, according to the season, will be covered witli salt or water. 
Several parts consist of a light oozy soil; and after inundations, its quick- 
sands are very dangerous." 

Crossing the Bou-ma-zooze, opposite Tubnah is a large mountain of 
very good freestone. It is called Muckat-el-Hadjar, i. e. the quarry; and 
the Arabs have a tradition that the stones employed in building Setif 
(and doubtless other neighbouring cities) were brought from this place. 
Four leagues to the north of this quarry is Boo-muggar, a fruitful little 
district, with some traces of ancient buildings. Between it and Eas-el- 
Aiounne is the village of Nic-Kowse, or Ben-Couse as it is called by the 
Turks. The inhabitants are chiefly Zaouia (or members of a religious col- 
lege and confraternity) ; and the village is situated in a valley, with a circle 
of mountains at a modei-ate distance from it. A rivulet runs by the vil- 
lage to the west; but being impregnated with nitrous particles, which are 
numerous in this neighbourhood, the water is seldom used for drink. 
Nic-Kowse contains A^estiges of an ancient city; and the inhabitants pretend 
to show the tombs of the Seven Sleepers, asserting that they were ^laho- 
metans, and that they slept at this place, and not at Mount Ochlon, near 
Ephesus, from a.d. 258 to 408. 

The powerful clans of Lakhader, Coussom-e, and Hirkawse inhabit the 
mountainous district to the east of Tubnah and Nic-Kowse, as far as 
Djebel Aouress. The latter is the Mons Aurasius of the middle ages, 
and the Mons Audus of Ptolemy : it does not consist of one mountain 
merely, but forms a large knot of lofty eminences, with several beautiful 
valleys and glens betv/een them. Both the higher and lower parts of 
Djebel Aouress are very fertile, and form the garden of the province. 
This group or knot of mountains is reckoned to be about 120 miles in 
circuit. The northern part is possessed by numerous clans, such as the 
Bou-zenah, Lashash, Maifah, and Bou-aref ; and the district is so fortified 
by nature, and defended by so brave a people, that the Turks could never 
subdue it. A high pointed rock, on which their dashkrah is situated, is 
probably the Petra Geminiani, or the Tumar of Procopius. Numei'ous 
ruins are scattered over the hills and valleys of this district, including the 
remains of Lambese or Lambasa. The Kabyles of these mountains of 
Aouress are quite different to their neighbours in appearance, their com- 
plexion not being dark, but fair, and their hair of a deep yellow. Though 
Mahometans, and speaking the Berber tongue, yet their physical charac- 
teristics make it probable, that if they are not of the tribe mentioned by 
Procopius, yet they must be a remnant of the Yaudals, who, though dis- 

* Blofeld, p. 55. 


possessed at the time of their strongholds, and dispersed among African 
families, may have collected together afterwards. Between Djebel Aouress 
and Constantina is the high mountain of Ziganeah, at the foot of which is 
Physgeah, formerly a city of the Romans, where there is a plentiful foun- 
tain and reservoir, according to the name, the water being foi'merly con- 
ducted by aqueduct to Constantina. 

This city, the capital of the province, was called Cirta (Sittianorum) 
previous to the time of Constantine the Great. It is situated beyond the 
Little Atlas, 48 miles from the sea ; and in history it appears as one of 
the principal cities of Numidia, which is proved by the extent of its ruins. 
Its position was, and is, very strong, the greater part of the city standing 
on a high peninsular promontory, inaccessible on all sides except the S.W., 
where it joins the continent.* This promontory is a mile in circumference, 
somewhat inclined to the south ; but to the north it ends in a perpen- 
dicular precipice of 600 feet ; hence it commands a beautiful view over 
valleys, mountains, and rivers, the prospect being bounded to the east- 
ward by an adjacent ridge of rocks much higher than the city. But to 
the S.E. the country is more open, with a distant view of the mountains 
of Sidi-Rougeese and Ziganeah. In these directions the peninsular pro- 
montory is separated from the continent by a deep narrow valley, with 
perpendicular cliffs on both sides, where the Rummel, or Ampsaga, conveys 
its stream. On the most elevated point of the city, at the Naugh, is the 
Casbah, an old edifice now used as French barracks, and commanding 
Constantina. Below it are corn-mills, turned by the Ouad-Rummel ; and 
there are many gardens on the banks of this river, in the part called El- 
Hamma. The streets of Constantina are paved, but narrow and winding ; 
whilst almost all of them are steep, the houses being generally two stories 
high, the most beautiful being built of Roman remains. The street of 
the Jews is remarkably singular, overhung with vines richly laden with 
fruit, and very shady ; and at one end is a minaret with a glittering cres- 
cent. A pleasing calm prevails, not found in European cities. The ap- 
pearance of the buildings, the gravity of the customs, the imposing step, 
the faces of the Moors and Arabs in the silent shops, compose a pleasant 
scene.-f- The ancient palace of the Bey is a remarkable monument. Ahmed 
Bey, before the French conquest, had employed in its decoration the 
columns and materials, &c. of the finest buildings in the province. Hence 
Constantina is rich in antiquities. The chief gate of the four in this 
town is on the neck of land facing S.W., about half a furlong broad. All 
this spot down to the river, with a strip of plain ground parallel with 
the deep valley already described, is covered with ruins. Ancient Cirta 
stretched as far as this ; but modern Constantina is not so large, but con- 

• Blofeld, p. 59. Dr. Shaw. 

+ Blofeld, p. 59. E. Carotto, Exploration Scicntifiqiic. liccherchcs sur la G<?og-raphie 
et le Commerce, &c. E. Carette, p. 24.3. Madame Prus, p. 159. 

MEELAH. 227 

fined to the peninsular promontory. The gate to the S.W., and that facing 
the S.E., are both splendid monuments of Roman architecture.* 

Constantina has thirteen principal mosques, besides a great many in- 
ferior places of worship. The inhabitants are industrious, many of them 
being tradesmen and artisans. Saddlery and shoemaking give occupation 
to very many persons ; but the principal riches of the country arise from 
the cultivation surrounding the city. Horned cattle and sheep are nume- 
rous ; and from the wool of the latter the natives fabricate coarse cloth, 
which meets with a quick sale. The women spin and weave capital bur- 
nouses. The climate of the country, and city in particular, is very healthy, 
but cold, though the plains near it are generally very hot.t Ruined in 
311, in the wars of Maxentius against Alexander, a Pannonian peasant 
who had assumed the purple in Africa, it was re-established under Con- 
stantine, who gave it his name. Its population, which consisted before the 
French conquest (1837) of Moors, Turks, Kabyles, and Jews, is reported 
by the natives to have amounted to 40,000. The Kabyles formed one- 
half, the Moors a quarter, the Jews and Turks the remainder.^ 

Constantina, fortified as it is by nature, and by the works which are in 
process of ei-ectiononits precipitous front, would defy the most powerful force. 

Below the bridge the Rummel turns north, and runs nearly half a mile 
through underground passages, with openings for the natives to get at the 
water. Were it not for this outlet, the river would form a vast lake, and 
lay a great part of the neighbouring country under water. A quarter of 
a mile to the east of Sidi-Meemon, the Rummel falls from its subterranean 
channel in a large waterfall ; and the highest part of the city lies above it, 
whence, till lately, criminals were cast into the river. A little beyond 
the falls is Kabat-bir-a-haal, a neat transparent fountain full of land-tor- 
toises. These animals, which are devoured by the natives, are thought to 
be demons; a mythos containing, as usual, an ingredient of truth, since 
their flesh is the occasion of fevers and other maladies. 

Five leagues north of Constantina is the city of ]\Icelah (Milevum,. 
Mileu), built among beautiful mountains and valleys. The surrounding 
gardens are full of fountains, one of which has a Roman basin ; and this 
place chiefly supplies Constantina with herbs and fruits, the pomegranates 
of Meelah being, in particular, very large and fine, and held in high re- 
pute. Leo and Marmol speak of the excellence of its apples, and assert 
that the city Mileu took its name from them. 

Proceeding eastward from Constantina, you pass by Alligah and An- 
nounah, containing ruins, and arrive at Hammam Meskoutin, i. e. the hot 
or enchanted baths, situated on low grounds, and surrounded by high 
mountains. It consists of several very hot fountains, which afterwards 
flow into the Zenati ; and not far from them are other springs which are 

• See ArchiEology, Part 11. t Blofeld, p. 59. 

J Ibid. Pananti gives it 100,000 inliubitants : Aventure, vol. ii. p. 11.. 


intensely cold, — an instance of the sharp contrasts so clear to nature. A 
few ruined houses stand near the springs. All this part of the country, 
from Constantina to the Zenati, consists of fruitful hills and valleys, mixed 
with some beautiful plantations of olives and forests. The district of 
Boukawan is eastward of the Hammam Meskoutin, on the north of the 
river Seybouse; and on the other side of the district of Mounah are the 
possessions of the Beni-Salah, a warlike clan, with the ruins of Ghelma, or 
Kalma as the Turks pronounce it. A modern town has arisen on this 
spot, out of the ruins of the Calama of antiquity ; and it promises, under 
French protection and patronage, to match, and even outstrip, its ancient 
prosperity. Behind Mounah is Tiffesh (Theveste or Thebse), the only 
city in the district of Hen-neishah, and a place which has retained its 
ancient name, though the walls have been destroyed by the Arabs. It 
stands in a fine plain containing a brook, and is nineteen leagues E.S.E. 
of Constantina. Near Tiffesh is the country of the Hen-neishah, not only 
a powerful and warlike, but a graceful and pleasing tribe. This district is 
the most fertile and extensive of Numidia, comprised between the rivers 
Hameese and Myskianah, the latter the most southern, the former the 
most northern branch of the Me-jer-dah ; almost every acre of the territory 
is watered by a brook ; and there are but few of these without a city on 
them or near their banks, though most of them are now in ruins. To the 
south of Hen-neishah, near the banks of the Melagge, is Tipsa (Tebessa, 
Tipata), now a frontier city, . standing in a fine situation, not far from 
mountains, and containing an ancient gate and some part of the old walls. 
This was formerly a place of importance, and a large underground quarry 
is situated in the mountains near it. The river Melagge, a little to the 
north of Tipasa, is a continuation of the ]\Iyskianah, and has its sources at 
Ain-Thyllah, the western confines of Hen-neishah. A little farther the 
Melagge, fl.owing to the N.E., takes the jiame of Serrat, and forms the 
east boundary of Algeria. This stream, when joined at a little distance 
by the Sugerass coming from Millah by Hameese, and Tiffesh to the west, 
assumes the name of Megerda (Bagradas). Near the western banks of the 
Serrat, ten leagues from Tiffesh, is CoUah, Gellah, or Gellah-ad-Snaan, a 
good-sized village built on a high pointed mountain, with only one narrow 
road leading up to it. This place, which could only be reduced by famine 
<^r taken by surpi-ise, was formerly a convenient sanctuiiry for criminals 
from Tunis and Algeria.* 

Tliat part of this pi'ovincc which belongs to the Sahai'a contains, ex- 
clusively of the distant city of Ouerghela or Ouaregla, and village of 
Engousah, the two considerable districts of Zaab and Ouadreay, with their 
numerous ksours and villages. These phices are commonly a collection 
of dirty huts, built entirely of mud walls, with rafters of palm-timber ; 
and all their inhabitaxits are employed in the cultivation of the date. 

niSCARA'. 229 

Tlie district of Zaal) (the Zebc or Zabc of the ancients), onco a part of 
Mauritania Sitifensis, and also of Gretulia, is a narrow tract of hand lying 
immediately under the mountains of the Gi*eater Atlas, and dis])lays a 
chain of villages, with few intermissions, fr-om the meridian of Messcilah to 
that of Constantina. Dousan, Toodah, Sidi-Occ'ba, Biscara, and Oumil- 
hennah receive their rivulets from the Tell; but the fountains and brooks 
that contribute to the others rise within the Sahara, or else ooze from the 
southern skirts of Mount Atlas. The Ducd-Adje-dee, or Djedi (that is, 
the river of the kid), receives these streams j and after running to the south- 
ward looses itself in the Melrir, an extensive tract of the Sahara, of the same 
saline and absorbent quality as the Shott above described. This river is 
probably the Garrar or Jirad of Abulfeda. There are no other great stream.s 
on this side of the Niger, and it may possibly be the Gir of Ptolemy, though 
placed by him much more east or south-east, among the Garamantes. 

Biscara, the capital of Zaab, was- once the residence of a Turkish 
governor and garrison, and contains a small castle built by the Bey of 
Constantina. Its chief strength consisted in six small cannon. Surrounded 
by a brick wall, this city has much trade in slaves, &c. and other produc- 
tions of Nigritia. Many of its inhabitants mi grate to Algiers, Avhere they 
work as porters, &c., and form a corporation. The village of Sidi-Occ'ba 
is famous for the tomb of the Arab general of that name, who is its tute- 
lary saint. The tower of Sidi-Occ'ba is reported to tremble when you call 
out, Sizza hil ras Sidi-Occ'ba (' Shake, for the head of Sidi-Occ'ba'). This 
wonderful tradition may, like others, be founded on fact, resulting from one 
of the mysterious miracula of gravity and acoustics. Nor would it be the 
first stumbling-block to shake the faith of the sceptic ; — a tower at Ptheims 
exhibits somewhat of a similar phenomenon when you ring one of its bells. 
Roman remains are scattered throughout the district, with traces of the 
care they bestowed on the channels of irrigation. 

The eating of dog's flesh is said still to be a common practice in Zaab, 
as among the Carthaginians and the Guanches of the Canary islands, which 
thence received their name. It is also well attested that there are humau 
puppies in the Sahara, where they present the same phenomena and cha- 
racteristics as in the Elysees and Regent Street, Avith a slight difference 
in their exoteric development. 

Ouad-reay is another collection of villages like those of Zaab, twenty- 
five in number, running in a north-east and south-Avest direction, their 
capital, Tuggurt, standing on a plain without a river. There arc no founi- 
tains in this country, but they obtain water by digging GOO or 1200 feet, 
at which depth they invariably reach it ; the ground being ]ierforated by 
innumerable subterranean streams called Bahar-taht-el-Erd (th.e under- 
ground sea), a phenomenon noticed by Dr. Shaw. They dig through 
several layers of sand and gravel till they reach a flaky stone like slate, 
known always to lie above the Bahar. This layer is easily broken through, 


and the water rushes up so quickly that the man who digs through it is 
sometimes drowned. 

Thirty miles south-west of Tuggurt is Engousah, the only village of 
sevei-al in this situation which existed in the time of Leo. After Engousah, 
at five leagues distance to the west, is the noted and populous city of 
Ouaregla, the most remote community of any size and importance this side 
the Niger. These several cities and villases, toirether with those of Fiifig 
and of Beni^Mezzab, are justly compared by the ancients to so many ver- 
dant spots in a great expanse of desert, and belong probably to the country 
of the Melano-Gsetuli. 

After describing Gsetulia, Ptolemy reckons the nations to the south- 
ward, among which the Melano-Gaetuli and the Garamantes were the 
principal. These nations certainly extended behind the greatest part of 
Algeria, Tunis, and Trii^oli ; or from the meridian of Siga, near Tlemsen, 
to the Cyrenaica, 35 deg. more to the east. And as, inclusive of the 
Bedouias, there are no nations in this direction besides the Figigians, the 
Beni-Mezzab, the inhabitants of Ouad-reay and Ouaregla to the west, and 
those of Gaddeniz, Fezzan, and Oujelah to the east, it is probable that the 
Melano-Gsetuli must have been the predecessors of these western Libyans, 
as the others to the east were, for the same reason, the successors of the 

The country of the Beni-Mezzab is very fertile ; and besides a consider- 
able commerce with Gadamis, Bornou, Timbuctou, and the whole of Soudan, 
it disposes of the produce which it draws from those countries to the in- 
habitants of Tunis and Tripoli. In short, it has to a considerable extent 
a monopoly of the roulage or carrier-trade of north-west Africa. -j- 

Proceeding to analyse the ways and by-ways of this province, we shall 
join several parties of travellers, some of whom are old friends. And first 
we shall follow the expeditionary column under Marshal Clauzel, that 
marched from Bona to Constantina in the autumn of 1836. Baron Baude^; 
and M. Berbrugger,§ who both accompanied the column, have left a minute 
diary and description of their adventures. 

Marshal Clauzel, who was then governor of Algiers, commanded the 
expedition, which Avas accompanied by the Duke of Nemours, who had 
with him General Edward Colbert, Colonel Boyer, and Lieutenant-Colonel 
Chabanne. The marshal was himself escorted by nine aides-de-camp ; 
Colonel Duverger was chief of the staff, and had eleven officers under his 
orders. Colonels Tournemine and Lemercier commanded the artillery and 
engineers; and each Hat major or staff reckoned six officers. The adminis- 
tration was confided to M. Malain d'Arc, military intcndant of the army 
of Africa ; and the chief surgeon was Dr. Guyon. 

The army, consisting of 87GG men (7410 French and 1.35G Turks, &c.) 

•* Jilofold, p. 73. t Ibid. X Baudo's AlgJrio, vol. ii. eli. ix. p. 44. 

§ L'Alg(5rie, liistoriquo, etc. part iii. 



started on the 13th of November from Bona, when the marslial, with the 
main body, reached at 7 p.m. the right bank of the stream of Bouinfra. 
On the 14th they ascended towards the ancient Ascurus, and the marshal 
stopped on the banks of the rivulet of Nechmeya, two leagues (five miles) 
from the bivouac of the previous night. On the 15th they started early, 
the weather being fine, and reached the Seybouse. From the camp of 
Draan to the Bouinfra the country is very broken ; mountains clothed with 


shrubs, isolated from the Atlas chain, and only to be compared to truncated 
volcanic peaks, rise like islands from the middle of the plain. For part of 
the journey the soil is meagre and light ; but it became excellent again on 
approaching the Bouinfra. After passing this stream, you enter, not to 
leave it again till beyond Constantina, a country of jura limestone forma- 
tion : you have before you a branch of the Atlas, that encloses on the north 
side the valley of the Seybouse ; a narrow hill is detached perpendicularly 
from it, and advances like a spur into the plain. The road begins by 
following its back, and passes near the ruins of Ascurus, traversing a his- 
torical country scattered with ruins. About the Bouinfra the ground is 
well wooded, and crossed by several limpid streams. From the Col you 
descend along a pretty valley to the thermal waters of Hammam-Berda, 
which are probably the Aqua? Tibilitante of the Itinerary of Antoninus. 


Tliey flow into a bnsin of masonry, and are abundant, clear, insipid, and in- 
odorous ; their temi)erature is that of ordinary baths, i. e. from 25 to 30°.* 
The site is agreeable, the soil fertile ; and the vigour of the rose-laurels 
announces that the streams, whose courses are marked by festoons of 
flowers and foliage, are rarely dry. The Roman establishment on this 
spot must have been consideral)le, but the foundations alone remain. The 
attention devoted by the ancients and the Orientals to multiply baths 
depends on hygienic causes, which cannot be neglected with impunity. 
The vale of Hammam-Berda debouches mto that of the Seybouse, opposite 
Guelma : the river has at this place a width of 60 metres (196 80 feet), 
and its current is very rapid ; its left bank is covered with marshes. 
Guelma, or rather the heap of ruins which bears that name, is on the 
other side of the Seybouse, 1500 metres (4920 feet) from the river, on the 
even but rather steep slope of a hill. The ancient enclosure of Guelma 
(Calama) contains a space of from seven to eight hectares (20 acres). 

On the 1 6th the troops ascended the vale of the Seybouse, finding but 
little cultivated ground on the road, but numerous flocks of sheep within 
reach. At 2 p.m. they halted at j\Ijez-Amar, at the foot of the Ras-el- 
Akba, where the Seybouse receives the Oued-Chcrff", which takes its source 
15 leagues to the south-west, not far from the luins of ancient Tigisis. It 
makes a curve to the north to turn the Ras-el-Akba, by the deep cutting 
at the entrance of which are the famous thermal springs of Hammam- 
]\Ieskoutiu. The little plain in which it debouches is raised from 20 to 
30 metres (98-40 feet) above its bed, the banks being rocky and almost 
vertical. The road followed this day was the scene of Jugurtha's triumphs 
over the Eoman Aulus, of which more anon. On the 17th of November, 
crossing the Seybouse, they began to climb the Eas-el-Akba. The Arabs 
relate wonderful stories of the altitude and marvels of this mighty natural 
pile, which may be compared to the Col de Tarare in France, save that 
the forms of the rocks at the Ras are much sharper, and the Col is com- 
manded on two sides by lofty rocks. The mind is almost filled with a 
feeling of oppression and discouragement at the aspect of this country. 
You see, as far as the eye can reach, mountains swelling uj) in gigantic 
masses, between which you can perceive no way to steer ; all around is 
naked ; and in this immense horizon you seek in vain for a tree or a little 
brushwood. Halting at the foot of the Eas-el-Akba on the 18th, some of 
the party drew nigh to the ruins of Announah, which are still considerable, 
and are situated in a singular inaccessible position half-way up the cliffs. 
On the 1 9th the column, after having crossed, marching westward, two 
oflshoots from the Eas el-Akba, came about 10 a.m. to the banks of the 
Seybouse, not far from the marabout of Sidi-Taintam. The Seybouse is 
here called the Oued-Zenati, from the name of the tribe whose territory it 
crosses : it has only a small stream of water ; hence the great volume of 

* Reaumur. 



water that tlie army crossed the day Lcforc must liave come from the valley 
of AUiga. 

The llas-el-Akba forms a kind of promontory, round which the Scybouse 
doubles. The distance from Mjez-Amar to Sidi-Tamtam is 22 kilometres 
(13-G6 miles) by the mountain, and 3G kilometres (22-49 miles) by the 
banks of the river. Following the gorges of the Hammam Meskoutin, 
you meet, at 20 kilometres (12'42 miles) from Mjez-Amar, the vale of 
AUiga, which takes the direction of Constantina, and where you find the 
traces of the Roman road from Sicca Veneris (Keff) in Tunis to Cirta. 



'^1 fn,- 


By this road the distance to Constantina is only 46 kilometres (2858 
miles) ; while continuing to ascend the valley of the Seybouse, in order to 
descend that of the Bou-Merzoug, you make a circuit of 74 kilometres 
(45-98 miles). 

On the 20th of November the army marched from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., 
a cold wintry wind sweeping a.cross their path. On quitting the basin of 
the Seybouse, it enters a rich well-cultivated plateau, on which are many 
douars. The column turned to the south of a group of rugged mountains, 
and descended by the vale of the Oued-Berda into that of Bou-lMerzoug, 
which throws itself into the Eummel above Constantina. At last they 
arrived at the clayey table-land of Soumah, whilst the winter's sun shone 
on a group of white houses 3 leagues (7| miles) N.N.W., half masked 
by the plateau of Mansourah. This was Constantina. The army halted 


around a Roman monument, of wliicli a further description will be given 

On the 21st the army reached with difficulty the banks of the Bou- 
Merzoug, a torrent which, swollen by the recent rains, rolled its furious 
waves over the sli])pcry rock in its channel. The column met Avith less 
delay in traversing the lesser tributaries, and about 2 to 3 p.m. they 
arrived together on the plateau of Mansourah, when they beheld the 
whole of Constantina, from which they were only separated by the deep 
ravine, at the bottom of which rages and roars the Rummel. 

The depth of the channel of the Rummel beneath the highest part of 
Constantina is 100 metres (328 feet) ; and the towers of Notre Dame 
at Paris, if you seek an object of comparison, are only 66 metres (216-48 
feet) high. The river traces a cincture of 1500 metres (4920 feet) at the 
foot of the town ; it has a fall of 75 metres (246 feet), and the precipices 
on all hands are vertical. The frame is worthy of the picture. " Moun- 
tains covered with snow surrounded us," says Baron Baude, " on all sides, 
whilst the damj) clay was the only bed of the soldiers. The plateau of 
Mansourah alone is formed of alternate beds of rock and of marl." With- 
out dwelling on the hardships and sufferings of this brave army, or cri- 
ticising the errors of the government or commanders, who have been 
respectively blamed for exposing it with insufficient means at a most 
inclement season, — it will suffice to say, that the attempts at storming 
failed; and provisions also failing on the 24th, the ai"my began its retreat, 
after destroying its tents, baggage, &c. 

The distress of tlie column on the retreat was very great, and many 
veterans of the Russian campaign (1812) declared that its horrors and 
sufferings were exceeded ; yet all was borne with heroism and a British 
patience by the French troops. The retreat is also remarkable for a dis- 
play of coolness by which Changarnier made himself conspicuous for the 
first time. The circumstance was as follows. On the 24th the French army 
marched slowly, amidst the continual fire of the Arabs of Achmet Bey; it 
held them in check by its tirailleurs, and the foe fled as soon as the French 
soldiers faced about. However, half-way to the monument of Soumab, the 
battalion of the 2d closing the march, the enemy, reckoning on their supe- 
riority of numbers that the victory would be secure, decided to charge. 

Commandant Changarnier rallied his men, running in to form square, 
and awaited the enemy at twenty-five paces. " Tliey are 6000, and we 
are 250," he said to the soldiers : "you see very well that there is notliing 
to fear 1" The volley, directed with the steadiness of parade, dispersed the 
Arabs in two minutes. There were thirty-four killed or wounded in the 
Bquare ; but it stood firm, and saluted with the cry of " Long live the 
King !" ( F('?;e le lin) the flight of the enemy, and some tirailleurs detached 
in pursuit killed the dismounted men.* This warm reception prevented 
* Earon Baudc, vol. ii. c. 9. 


a repetition of any attacks on the part of the enemy during the retreat, 
in the course of which the troops ransacked the silos, or corn-holes, of 
the natives most successfully. Csesar has given an exact description of 
these silos, which must have been identically the same then.'^' 

On the 25th and 26th of November the army continued its retreat, 
and on the 27th arrived at the broken plain of Sidi-Tamtam, which 
stretches on the left bank of the Seybouse, whilst on the right bank the 
first slopes of the Ilas-el-Akba embrace in their concavity the bend that 
the river describes in this place. The French army drew uji on the moun- 
tain at 7 A.M., and beheld the same spectacle that Caesar recorded 1881 
years before, when 30 Gaulish horsemen, on his retreat to liuspina, drove 
back into the walls of Adrumetum 2000 Moors who pursued them. 
" We were on the slope," says Baron Baude, " as on the steps of a 
theatre ; the 3d Chasseurs d'Afrique alone remained in the plain, drawn 
up in line j)erpendicularly to the river, and separated from the Arabs of 
Achmet by the bivouac we had just left. Suddenly a savage cry arose, 
and the Arabs rushed like famished jackals on the abandoned camp. Like 
sheep before the dogs, the Arabs ran away amidst the laughter of the 
spectators, scattered by tlie charge of Captain Morris." (Compare CsEsar 
Be Bello Afr. c. G.)f 

From Constantina to the Eas-el-Akba the country is very fertile, but 
very melancholy in its character, though pictiiresque. The soil consists of a 
bed of tenacious clay, without any mixture of pebbles : it is well fitted for 
the cultivation of corn, almost every where grassed over, and pierced at 
intervals by banks of limestone. " For 20 leagues (50 miles) we only saw 
one little copse of half an acre at some distance from the road, and one 
shrub on the plateau of Oued-Berda. At the gates of Constantina alone 
some vegetation reappears, without the soil having in appearance changed 
nature. The thickness of the turf; the beauty of the corn, of the barley, 
and of the beans found in the Arab silos ; the excellency of the chopped 
straw for the horses, — announce a very great productive energy in the soil. 
A numerous population existed here under the Romans, and you meet 
with ruins every where : not of rustic structure, like those of Hippo ; ma- 
sonry is every where employed, and there must have been plenty of wood 
in the country at that time for the use of such cities. "J 

The wooded vales of Mjez-Amar and of Calama appeared the more 
beautiful from their contrast to the naked declivities of the llas-el-Akba. 
On the 28th of November the staff" passed the Seybouse to go to Guclma. 
The surrounding country is rich, graceful, and woody, like the left bank. 

* " Est in Africa consuetudo incolarum, ut in agris et in onmibus fero villis sub terra 
specus, coudendi i'rumeuti gratia, clam habeant, atque id propter bella maxime hostium- 
que subitum adventum praeparent. Qua de re Ca;sar certior per indiccm factus," &c. — 
De Bello Africano, c. (35. 

t " Accidit res incredibilis, ut equites minus xxx Galli Maurorum equitum duo millia 
loco pellerent, m'gereutque in oppidum." + Baron Baude, ibid. 


We shall here take leave of our brave column, Avhich lost many men 
in hospital at Bona from the hardships incurred in the expedition, who 
were, however, amply avenged next year, 1837, on the fall of Con- 

As regards the plain of Bona, Baron Baude remarks further, that much 
is said of its fertihty, and that it is the only point on Avhich all testi- 
monies are agreed. " I ran over it in many directions; and notwithstand- 
ing some thin and marshy ground, I know in no department in France 
a similar extent of land so good. The soil is a mixture of sand, clay, and 
marl ; the banks of clay are almost every where adapted for making bricks, 
and in many places for pottery; they preserve the freshness of the ground, 
preventing it from absorbing too quickly the rain;, and most probably, by 
sinking v/ells, you could obtain good water there, such a stratification 
giving good hopes for the success of Artesian wells. 

" A great advantage is also found in a vast bed of hydraulic limestone 
4 leagues (10 miles) from the Seybouse, and 9 from Bona, on the road to 

So much for Baron Baude. We shall now accompany our old friend 
Count St. Marie, who travelled from Draan to Constantina, in 1845, with 
two squadrons of the Chasseurs d'Afrique. " The French post of Draan 
is five leagues (12^ miles) east of Bona, and stands on a height which rises 
Avith gentle acclivities like an island in the midst of an immense plain, 
on which nothing is to be seen but thistles parched by the sun. After 
leaving the camp of Draan, we found the country before us scattered with 
little hillocks, as if they were detached masses from the chain of the 
Atlas." Every object on the road is noticed almost in the same words as 
those of Baron Baude ; yet it were, perhaps, uncharitable to liint at pla- 
giarism, the country being bald, and its characteristics few. The volcanic 
hills, the light soil, the rich banks of the Bouinfra, the detached spur of 
the Atlas, the ruins of Ascurus, the s])rings of Hammam-Berda, the foliage 
of the laurel-rose, Guelma and its ruins, the Seybouse and its breadth and 
velocity, which they broke by making some of the cavalry stand higher 
up the stream, — all these features are chronicled almost- in Baude's words, 
as likewise the dreary view from the Eas-el-Akba, the ruins of Announa, 
and the unfortunate Cornelia, who only vixit annos xix. We shall spare 
the reader a verbatim repetition of the Baron's description, merely adding, 
that precisely the same features are noticed by St. ]\Iarie as those pre- 
viously noticed by the Baron, and in the same words; and after passing 
Sidi-Tamtam, Bou-Merzoug, and Soumah,t we are delivered at the gates 
of Constantina. Wc have i)urposcly confined ourselves to the tenderest 
criticism on the Count ; but it must be admitted that it is somewhat un- 
fortunate that he shews such a close affinity to the Baron. Arrived at 
Constantina, liowcver, we may safely trust him, as the Baron never even 
* Baron Briudc, ibid. t St. Marie, pp. 232-237. 


peeped over the walls ; and we can check any of the Count's disposition 
to build castles in the air by posterior authorities whom he could not 

" Constantino," says the Count, " is encircled by the river Eummel, and 
commanded by the heights of ^[ansourah and of Sidi-Mecid. The last is the 
Jewish burial-place, and its summit is 3-30 metres (1148 feet) above the city. 
On the south-west the heights of Condiat-Atz, fronted by a little hill covered 
with Mussulman tombs, also commands the approaches to the city. The 
table-laud on which the city is built overlooks extensive and fertile plains. 
The Ouad-Rummel leaves the city at Sidi-Eachet, where it forms a cascade 
falling into a great ravine, which extends along the south-east and north- 
east sides. At the northern extremity of the city stands the Casbah. 
Here the Rummel forms a new cascade, the Tortoise-fall, and then leaves 
Constantina, continuing its course to the north. At the point of El- 
Kant'ra, the river for a little distance takes a subteiTanean course ; and 
after flowing once more a short distance over ground, it again disappears. 
In this manner it is lost sight of four times, being concealed beneath a 
natural bridge of from 50 to 100 metres (1G4 feet to 328 feet) in width. 
The three gates, Bab-el-Jedid, Bab-el-Ouad, and Bab-el-Ghabia, are united 
by an ancient wall 30 feet high ; but there are no moats. Outside the 
Bab-el-Ouad (Water-gate) you fiud a little suburb inhabited by artisans. 
At this place are also situated the leather, wax, and wool markets. A 
mosque, in good preservation, stands next to the old building once used 
as stables of the Bey, and capable at that time of containing 800 horses. 
The walk, howevei', are not very solid, and have no proper foundation. 
The bridge of El-Kant'ra is broad, rests on three tiers of arches, the 
lowest of which is Roman, and crosses the river at the great chasm inter- 
vening between the city and the mountain. At the highest part of the 
city rises the Casbah, which contains now nothing but ban-acks, and is 
only mounted with a few guns. Lower down are some corn-mills, set in 
motion by the Rummel. Gardens and orchards line the banks of the river 
on the north side of the city, in the quarter called El- Gemma. The form 
of the city of Constantina is compared by the Arabs to .that of a burnouse 
spread out at full width, the Casbah representing the hood."* 

The city contains three squares, to which the French have given a 
look of regularity, by pulling down many old buildings, and planting 
trees; thus converting them into pleasant promenades. The palace of the 
late Bey Ahmed is remarkable for the tine columns of marble that adorn 
its front. 

" The chief branches of industiy at Constantina are the manufacture 

of saddles, boots, shoes, and a sort of gaiters worn by some of the Arabs. 

There are also some forges, in which iron brought from Tunis is wrought 

into agricultural implements, bridle-bits, spurs, and horse-shoes. The 

" * St. Marie, p. 237. 

238 GUELMA. 

burnouses and liaicks made by the people of Constantlna are the best in 

Madame Prus soon arrived at Guelma, which town is situated on the 
summit of the mountain Serdj-el-Aonda, and must have been a place of 
considerable extent and importance in the time of the Romans. This town 
abounds in antiquities; for the examination and correct valuation of which, 
a scientific commission has just been appointed by the government. 

All the towns of Algeria resemble each other. The houses are square, 
whitewashed with chalk, surmounted Avith a terrace; and the walls de- 
prived of all ornament in the shape of windows, and only provided with 
small apertures to admit air. 

Guelma must have been very difficult of access in times of siege; de- 
fended on one side by the steep mountain on which it is situated, and on 
the other by a lake formed by continual showers on the marshy plain, it 
afforded but little chance of success to a besieging force. The Seybouse, 
in its frequent inundations, overflows the road, which prevents all commu- 
nication; thus, during six months out of twelve, it is necessary to use 
horses, mules, or camels to go the short distance between Guelma and 
the neighbouring towns. Guelma was the ancient Calama of the Romans 
(it is often spelled Ghelma).t 

Passing to Constantina, Madame Prus remarks that several houses in 
the town have tiled roofs instead of terraces; the interior arrangement is 
generally the same as at Bona, and the other towns of Algeria. The as- 
pect of the town is gloomy, and the streets are narrow and dirty in the 
extreme, although the greater number of them have been recently paved. | 

Vaulting into the saddle, we shall next accompany Mr. Borrer in his 
tour from Bona through Constantina to Blscara. 

" Oct. 19th, 1847, at 4 a.m. we left Bonaby the Porte de Constantine, 
with guns slung at our backs, pistols in our holsters, and muffled in a 
thick burnouse, which did not, however, keep out the cold. With a spahi 
for escort, we galloped over in three hours to the camp of Drean, the first 
military post on the road; having traversed an open naked country, which 
was, however, well adapted for the growth of corn. You pass an ancient 
Roman bridge over the Bou-jeema, or a branch of that river about two 
hours from Bona on this route. Drean is a mere collection of barracks 
formed of planks, with an earthen rampart, and a slight foss surrounding 

* St. Marie, p. 2.37. + Madame Pnis, p. 159. 

+ Madame Prus (p. 192) describes Constantina as situated on a high mountain, level at 
the top, and surrounded on three sides by the Ouad-Rummcl, a deep ravine with precipitous 
banks. To the south this plain joins the hills on the left of the Rummel by the isthmus of 
Condiat Atz, while at its north-east angle a gigantic bridge is thrown over the ravine, 
consisting of two rows of arches, one above the other. This bridge was constnicted by the 
Romans, and restored by the Spanish engineers, and ^rves as a means of communication 
between the town and the table-land of Mansouiah, over which lay the route of the 
French army before it arrived at the fortifications of Constantina. 

GUELMA. 239 

it, situated on a naked mamclon, and containing at tliat time a troop of 
spabis. Leaving Drean, they soon reached the next military post, Nech- 
niaya, a stone building and some huts of planks serving as stables, can- 
teen, &c. Soon after leaving Nechmaya, we traversed a district covered 
Avith brushwood, wild hills and massive isolated rocks varying the scenery. 
The road from Bona thus far is good enough; but here in winter the traf- 
fic is sometimes quite stopped by the swelling of the streams. Soon after 
we came to a fountain of clear water, both warm and mineral, and con- 
taining the remains of Roman brickwork, which shew that they were not 
neglected in antiquity. This spot is called by the Arabs Hammam-Berda. 
Oleanders and other shrubs luxuriate upon the margin of this ancient 
spnng; numerous mocking-birds find covert in their branches, and fill the 
air with sweet music. There is fine pasture-land around Hammam-Berda; 
the soil being in-igated, besides the bath-stream, by another brook, whose 
rapid and plentiful current turns the mill of some French speculator. 
Farther down, before it joins the Seybouse, this stream waters many beds 
of water-melons belonging to the gardens of Arab and French colonists. 
A wooden bridge has been erected over the ford of the Seybouse, at which 
we now arrived, close to Guelma. This town (once Calama) is situated 
on the S.E. bank of the Seybouse, about a quarter of a mile above the 
bridge, and on the slope of a hill of gentle inclination.* As the traveller 
slowly wends his way up the winding road to this French post, and be- 
holds strewn around him vast blocks of fine stone, skilfully squared by 
the Roman chisel, mingled with fragments of marble columns, he can but 
meditate on the instability of human power, and how the might of nations 
is entombed by time. Draw back the veil of ages, and the double-peaked 
summit of the wooded Maouna overlooks a noble city; her towers, her 
temples, and her palaces radiant with Parian marbles. Forty thousand 
inhabitants within her walls bow to learning, art, and luxury; beyond her 
gate extends a richly-cultivated plain, its teeming slopes watered by the 
winding Armua, which, leaving its tribute here, then hastens on its rapid 
course to refresh the delightful gardens of the royal Hippo; ships freighted 
■with Oriental luxuries are borne upon its bosom, before it mingles its 
waters with the sea. Tempora mutantur ! The Mare's Saddle, as the Arabs 
name Mount Maouna, which forms the background of Guelma, now over- 
looks some few score French houses, garrisoned by about 800 men, chiefly 
spahis and the Foreign Legion." 

The amount of the civil popuhxtion of Guelma in December 1849 
was 1399 souls. -|- 

It contains one street of considerable length; the houses built chiefly 

* The reader will have noticed that two gentlemen, Baron Baudc and Mr. Borrer, de- 
scribe Guelma as seated on a slope, while Madame Prus says that it stands on the top of a 
hill. We leave it to the gentle reader's callantry to determine if the opinion of one 
lady should outweigh that of two gentlemen, 

+ Tableau de la Situation, p. 96. 

240 GUELMA. 

of massive Roman remains turned up on the spot, and therefore not quite 
so likely to be tumbled down by the fii'st slight earthquake or violent 
rains, as most of the pasteboard settlements of the colonists. Building 
was actively going on there (1847), notwithstanding the financial crisis of 
the colony, money fetching 20 and even 30 per cent at Guelma in 1846. 
The original plan drawn for this French post is based on a population of 
7000 souls. In 1842 there were 92 inhabitants; in 1843, 108; and at the 
end of 1844, 317.* There is one French regulation much to be admired, 
that of allotting gardens to their soldiers. At Guelma a fine piece of 
ground has been cultivated by them, and those industriously inclined 
spend their leisure-hours there. There is also at Guelma a pejnniere to 
supply the colonists with seeds, trees, and other vegetable products: "it 
was shown me," says Borrer, " with much boasting of its beauty and pro- 
mising nature; yet rank weeds and little else luxuriated in it. The circle 
of Guelma, as far as I have visited it, is, I should say (barring its distance 
from a sea-port, viz. 26 leagues, and that not to be traversed by mer- 
chandise in the rainy season), a promising point of colonisation; for its 
plains and its valleys are rich, and watered by numerous streams. The 
chief of these are the Seybouse, the Qued-Scherf, the Ouad-Bou-Hamdou, 
and the Qued-Zenati. Tobacco, mulberries, and corn would undoubtedly 
flourish here together; and it is reported that cotton and indigo have suc- 
ceeded in the 'pephiiere, — ^ which one would have scarcely expected at such 
an elevation. There is as yet very little land brought into cultivation in 
the vicinity of the town; but the soil is good; and to the west of the town 
is a delightful little valley, with a fine- stream, where there are gardens suf- 
ficiently extensive to sujjply their owners Avith vegetables. The climate is 
much the same as that of Cunstantina, though not quite so cold in winter. 
Dysentery and intermittent fevers are the prevailing diseases, as in most 
colonies; but every thing considered, it is a healthy position. Guelma is 
rather a desirable spot for the sportsman. Hares, red-legged partridges, 
quails, and at the present moment (autumn) the little African quail, re- 
markable for having only three toes, abound there. As for lions, the lion- 
king, as the Arabs have christened that renowned Nimrod, Spahi Gerard, 
has made them rather shy in the neighbourhood. He is incorrectly reported 

* The last Talleau or Blue-book, gives the following account of the statistics of 
Guelma: — Population in December 1847, 73G ; in December 1848, 1102; in December 
1849, 1399. As regards strectage, 810 metres of large, and 2853 of small streets, have 
been opened from 1845-9 for 18,100 fr. ; and 400 metres of drains have been opened for 
35,700 fr. A school has been built for 1(5,200 fr., and also a church and presbytery, costing 
69,875 fr. A cemetery was also opened in 1847, at an expense of 5000 fr. 

Under the head of fortifications, it appears that they have finished the curtains of the 
reduit between towers 1 and 18, 3 and (J, and the tower 18. They luid likewise finished in 
1850 the little bastions of the city-wall, and a part of the ditch. Barracks have also been 
completed to liold 400 infantry and 170 horse, besides a hospital and magazines. The 
total expenditure from 1813 to 1849 was 231,510 fr. 4 cents. (9_G0;. Si. Sd.) Tableau, 1850, 
S Travaux publics. 


to have been decorated for his courageous feats in lion-slaying. No less 
incoiTcct Avas the late report of his death. It is a curious fact enough, 
however, that he owes his life to a lion; and thus it was. He was one of 
the unfortunate battalion which was a short time back leaving Guelina for 
Tebessa, a French post lately established ou the confines of Tunis; and 
who, deceived by the apparent friendship of an Arab sheikh, fell a prey 
to Numidian treachery, every father's son of them being most barbarously 
massacred, stive Gerard. The spirit of Nimrod watched over our spahi. 
A lord!}' lion, crossing the route of the battalion, a short time before it fell 
into the hands of the Philistines, was fired at and grievously wounded by 
Gerard, who, dismounting, swore by his beard that he would have the 
skin of the beast. Plunging into the thicket, he followed tlie lion all that 
and the next day, when he at length reached the king of beasts, and slew 
him. The chase over, our hero turned back to the route of the battalion; 
but he wandered many days and found it not. During this time his com- 
rades were all killed, and he was thought to be among the dead. But one 
fine morning he marched into the auberge at Guelraa usually frequented 
by him, with a fine lion's skin, and asked for breakfast from the landlord, 
who, petrified, thought he saw a ghost. But he ate so Avell, that they soon 
found, to their joy, it was Gerard himself in the flesh. Even hostile tribes 
often apply to him to slay lions; and so great is the license he has gained, 
that his superior ofticers allow him to absent hnnaeli a discretion when thus 
summoned to the chase. The darkest nights are those chosen by him for 
his s])ort, the glare of the lion's eyes then oflfering the surest mark."' 

Borrer s}>cnt three days at Guelma,-]- and walked one day with his giin 
some distance up the banks of the Seyboase to the west of the city, where 
they became wild and craggy. The Arabs of this part of Algeria struck 
him as far superior in aspect and manners to those of the province of 
Algiers. Many are handsome, with fine oval countenances, large black 
eyes, small aquiline noses, and snowy teeth. The women wear large silver 
rings in their ears, of great weight, and as large as anklets; besides nu- 
merous other ornaments, such as little looking-glasses, and especially a 
wooden hand attached to the breast; the fingers representing the number 
5, to Avhich they attach a special virtue. 

The following day he left Guelmafor Constantina, with an escort of two 
spahis, and arrived in the evening on the borders of a wide plain called 
Beni-Simsen. Here he found the Zenatia, a ])owerful tribe who drink the 
waters of the Oued-Zeuati. " I had a lettci' for the caid of this tribe. It 
was the hour when the flocks and herds were wending their way to the 

* On Gerard, sec Leaves from a Ladfs Diary of her Travels in Barlary, vol. i. p. 271 

•|" Captain Kennedy, who passed through Guclma in 1815, describes the garrison as 
forming ahiiosc the whole population of the place. Algeria and Tunis, vol. ii. p. 221. 
The only hotel at Guelma in 1818 was a ^uint/uctte (pothouse), called Ilotel des Voya- 
gours. Ladfs Diary, vol. i. p. 268. 



douar, there to seek, within the circle of tents, shelter during the night- 
season from wild beasts and robbers. The caid with the elders of the 
tribe were sitting in a ring npon the ground, withdrawn a slight space 
from the douar, holding council. Immediately upon our approach he 
arose, and proceeding to the douar, after the usual salute, salaam alikum, 
showed us into a good tent spread with matting." A large car})et in the 
centre, used as the seat of honour, was assigned to Borrer. A sheep was 
then driven before him and slain, and an enormous dish of cous-coussou was 
brought in about midnight. The mutton being rather tough, his spahis 
kindly tore off the most fat and delicate morsels with their fingers, and 
stuffed them into his mouth. This douar consisted of about 900 tents, 
and the caid said that he could at any time lead forth 2000 horsemen 
equipped for battle. The chief soon retired ; but the noisy conference of 
the spahis and Arabs, and the rushing forth of the dogs to chase away 
hyenas and jackals, effectually chased away all slumber from Borrer, who lay 
on his saddle till 3 a.m. Mounting in the dai-k, and amidst much rain, they 
forded the Oued-Zenati, and proceeded across the vast and naked plains of 
the Beni-Simsen. In the act of crossing the Oued-Zenati, BoiTer's saddle 
turned round, and he found himself on his head in the mid-stream, with 
one of his feet hanging in the stirrup. He released himself; but his steed 
galloped off in the dark, and trouble enough they had to capture him. A 
good ducking, and his gun-barrels full of water, were the fruits of this un- 
expected evolution. " Day had long appeared, but still we were upon this 
eternal plain, and the rain fell in torrents. At last we arrived at the base 
of a vast range of mountains, of which Djebel Bahbara and Djebel Bougareb 
are, I believe, the most lofty, the latter being about 1300 metres (4208 
feet) in elevation. A furious wind assailed us in the gorges of the moun- 
tains, howling among the savage rocks, and at times almost sweeping us 
from our horses ; added to which, the rain had begun, and galled us so 
severely, that we were several times compelled to halt and turn our backs 
to it. 

" It was now 4 p.m., and not an Arab tent had we seen ; not a morsel 
of any thing except hail had entered our mouths since 8 o'clock the even- 
ing before ; moreover, one of my spahis' horses broke down with fatigue." 
They had passed numerous remains of ancient, a])parently Eoman, struc- 
tures in the plain. About three leagues {1\ miles) from Constantina 
they met an Arab, from whom Borrer begged a handful of dates, and de- 
voured them with gusto, though hard and full of worms. They saw to 
their left the remains of a Roman post on a height named Souniah, and 
forming a shoulder of the Ujcbel-Oued-Msetas, the elevation of which is 
about 1183 metres (3880 24 feet). About 8 o'clock they descended into the 
valley watered by the Bou-Marzeg, which has its confluence with the Oued- 
Ilummel (the Ampsaga of the ancients) about a mile south of Constan- 
tina. Soon after, they reached the bridge of El-Gantra, suspended over the 


fearful chasm in the rock, 700 feet in Jeptli, which forms a natm-al moat 
to this strangely perched city of Constantina.* 

"I am just returned," writes Mr. Borrer, "from breakfast with General 
Bedeau, the commander-iu chief of this province. He appeared to me a 
man of profound understanding, united with great fluency in expressing 
his ideas. He is, indeed, generally admitted to be one of the most able 
men the French have in Africa. General Bedeau and Marshal Bugeaud 
ran their course together; the former having distinguished himself as lieu- 
tenant, under the command of the latter, at the siege of Saragossa (1809). 

" The palace in which the general resided was built by Achmed, the 
last bey of this city. It is a spacious and handsome specimen of Moorish 

* The following are the latest official statistics of Constantina : — European population 
in December 18^7, 2013 ; December 1848, 2590 ; December 1849, 2050. Native population 
in December 1849, 20,944 ; analysed into 16,835 Mussulmans, 673 negroes, and 3436 Jews. 

In 1848, according to the Lady's Diary, there were 20,882 natives, and 1919 Europeans. 
The town, according to the same authority, is dirided into two parts, one native, and the 
other European. No carts pass along the narrow streets ; camels, asses, &c. taking their 
place. 350,000 fr. are annually spent in providing the town with water (vol. i. p. 222)- 
The Hotel de I'Europe is a dismal Moorish house. 

As regards the civil works, in 1849 none of the larger streets of Constantina had been 
opened in accordance -with the plans and surveys made and levels taken, save 205 metres 
(672-40 feet). The old pavement of the bridge of El-Kan tara has been replaced by a 
pavement of sandstone (e« gres). The}' have planted 150 feet with trees, and cleared 800 
metres (2624 feet) in the Place de la Breche from rubbish. In the 640 metres (2099-20 
feet) of small streetage they have replaced the old limestone pavement by a causeway with 
side-gutters, all buUt of sandstone. All rubbish has been cleared away,-and they have 
levelled the Places du Commerce, du Palais, and the Carref >ur d'Orleans. The expenses 
for streetage from 1843 to 1849 amoimted to 50,949 fr. 80 cents. (2038/.) In connexion 
with waterworks, the conduit from Midi-Mabrouck to the cisterns was finished in 1848, 
consisting of two tunnels, — one of 202 metres (662-56 feet) in the rock, the other of 764 
metres ('2505-92 feet) of masonry, — a principal conduit of 2447 metres (7826-16 feet), and 
secondary conduits of 1467 metres (4811-76 feet). A siphon of a large size receives the 
waters on the plateau of Mansourah, and brings them to the Casbah : expense, 438,000 fr. 
Other -waterworks were in contemplation. Four fountains have been also established ; 
800 metres ('2624 feet) of new sewerage, and 1200 (3936 feet) of old opened. The fountains 
are those of El-Kantara, of the Pont d'Aumale, of La Pdpiuifere, and of Sidi-Mabrouk. A 
canal is also being built from the Rummel, called canal de derivation, 2 metres (6'56 
feet) broad, and 1 metre 4 centimetres deep. When finished, it will be 6751 metres 
(22,143-38 feet) long, and cost 120,000 fr. (4800/.) The other hydrauhc works have cost 
536,100 fr. (21,440/.) They have installed pro\-isionally a tribunal de premiere instance, 
built a school for 18,000 fr., and opened a church and presbyterj-, by appropriating an 
old mosque, for 19,570 fr. The fortifications from 1838 to 1846 "have cost 2,739,5-20 fr 
(105,588/. 16,?.) : consisting of the Port ValMe, and that part of the front belonging to it ; 
the post of the Casbah ; and the greater part of the curtains 2 and 3, and half of bastion 4. 
The infantry barracks can hold 2000, the cavalry, called Bardo, 920 men. A hospital on 
the east side can hold 650 sick. Large bomb-proof magazines have been built near the 
Port Vall^, and under the barracks of the Casbah ; and two powder-magazines, holding 
60,000 kilogrammes. An arsenal has also been constructed at a cost of 142,492 fr. 
Tahlenu, pp. 345, 356-7, and 388-5. 

Captain Kenned}-, in vol. iL chap. xii. of his Algeria and Tunis, gives a good descrip- 
tion of Constantina in 1845. He pronounces the town to be an assemblage of densely 
crowded houses, with tiled roofs. The Place Royale was in 1848 a heap of rubbish, and 
the Place Nemours consisted of miserable Moorish houses. Two streets nm from it, Cara- 
man Street and Ronand Street. Diary of a Lady, &c. vol. L p. 227. 

244 I'LAIK or ISMOUL. 

architecture, with its marble pavements and cloistered courts, surrounded 
by extensive galleries, on which, as usual, the doors of the various apart- 
ments open. The walls of the vestibule of this building are ornamented, 
or rather disfigured, with Arabic frescoes, delineating, with great contempt 
for perspective, Istamboul, Algiers, and numerous other seats of Islamism, 
together with sea-fights and other designs." 

Mr. Borrer left Constantina about 7 a.m. on the 28th of October, with 
an escort of two spahis, en route for Biscara via Betna. Their first halt 
took place at 10 a.m. at Ain-el-Bey, a source of sweet water; and you find 
there steps and brickwork apparently of Turkish construction, and near 
at hand are the remains of a Ilomau fort. About 4 p.m. they reached the 
great jilain of Ismoul or Bayla, rich in pasture, and containing innumerable 
Arab herds. The country traversed this day before coming to the plain 
was undulating, totally unwooded, but containing much corn ; and the 
Arabs were busy ploughing it, as it was the season of the first rains, Avhen 
they sow wheat and beans. They are rather odd agriculturists, beginning 
by running the plough round a given space, leaving a furrow ; they then 
cast in the seed upon the rough space thus marked out, and then plough 
it ; and mark out and plough several successive spots in the same manner. 
Their ploughs are very light, have only one handle, and only serve to 
scratch over the soil. The Arabs are too indolent to pull up the stumps 
they meet, and run the plough round them. When one spot is much over- 
grown, they go to another, as there are no landmarks or fences. The vast 
]>laiu of Ismoul is enclosed on the east, west, and south by lofty limestone 
niouutains, the summits of which are broken, presenting forms often bizarre 
enough. Successive convulsions of nature have upheaved the rocks, the 
rains and winds have removed the debris, and thus these natural turrets 
stand alone on lofty pedestals. " Opposite our encampment to the east 
rose the vast Guerioun, of about 1700 metres (557G feet) in height^ pre- 
senting on this side one unbroken precipice. A great marsh between us 
and the mountain was swarming with wild fowl, especially Egyptian geese, 
which are beautiful birds, and Avhose representations arc found sculptured 
on the banks of the Nile; swans, spoonbills, &c. also abounded." 

The unhealthy spot where they were had been chosen for a settlement, 
though very subject to malaria, probably because it presents fine pasture- 
ground, plenty of water, and no dwarf palms. Hence this locality is better 
adapted for ])oor colonists than the arid si)ots often chosen in the province 
of Algiers, which are frequently at a distance from water, and produce 
nothing but cat-weed. Much rain falling in the night, converted the 
plain into a vast sheet of mud and water, full of deep holes, dangerous to 
pass. Drawing near a wretched douar, Borrer fell into a ailo full of water ; 
and in the douar his gun went off accidentally, singeing a grcy1)eard, and 
hitting a tent full of Ai-ab women. Hai)pliy the natives, though astonished, 
thought it a British fantasia.''' Soon after they came to the foot of a 

* Arab wclcoino, when tlroy dash up full tilt, atul fire thoir guns under your horse's belly. 

BETXA. 24;j 

mountain called Bee de I'Aigle, in Arabic Djebel N'efensser. A large 
cemetery met with here shows the unhealthiness of the spot. A neigh- 
bouring mountain is called Djebel Harlouf, the hog's mountain : and when 
Borrer asked some questions relating to it, an Arab, thinking that he called 
him a hog, threw a cannon-ball at him; but Borrer fortunately rode him 
down, avoiding the blow. 

After passing two salt lakes, divided l)y a muddy isthmusy and crossing 
another great plain, where they drank at a noted spring, Ahi-yac-coute 
(the diamond fount), they were preparing to bivouac on the plain in the 
wet, when they saw the glimmer of Arab fires, and reached a Avretched 
douar of seven tents. Little sleep did Borrer get that night, as herds of 
goats, which formed part of the family establishment, amused themselves 
in dancing minuets upon his person. Near this douar is the line monu- 
ment called Medrashem by the Arabs, and by the French the tomb of 
Syphax, of which a description is given elsewhere. An hour beyond; 
Medrashem they came to a rich plain and immerous tents of the Haractas, 
amounting to 300, divided into douars containing from 10 to 20 each. 
The inquisitive, simple, and waggish sheikh of the tribe asked BoiTcr how 
long the French sultan would live, believing Europeans to be omniscient. 
He also gravely clipped the beards of the elders with Borrer's scissors, and 
unceremoniously brushed them with his tooth-brush. At half-past four 
they came to Betna, having traversed a hilly country, here and thero 
slightly v/ooded, chiefly with stunted junipers. On the way he noticed 
many Eoman vestiges, particularly of the great via from Constantina to 
Betna, and probably leading from Lambese to Sitifis. 

The ruins of Lambese are very extensive, and above two leagues 
(5 miles) east of Betna, in a nook at the north bar of the Djebel Aouress. 
They will be noticed at a future place. 

There were 2000 troops at Betna* in 18t(), partly cantoned in tents, and 
partly in small barracks. The camp formed a s(piare, enclosed by a slight 
foss, or ditch, and an earthen raUipart. A camp had been proposed in 1843^ 
by the expeditionary column under the Due d'Aumale, near the base of 
Djebel Soulthan to the west ; but the fiei'ce attacks of the mountaineers 
made them recede farther into the plain. 

The Kabyles of Djebel Aouress are a peculiar race, veiy fair, and more 
like Germans than Arabs ; they speak the Showiah dialect of the Berber, 
and are warlike and industrious. Those who are subdued pay more regu- 

* The Tahleau spells Betna " Batn.a," and gives it in 1847, 268 European inhabitants ; 
in 1848, 385 ; and in 1849, 340. 400 metres of streetage were in good repair in 1849, and 
7500 feet of trees had been planted in the promenade along the P^pinifere ; 1800 metres 
(5904 feet) of large street, and 4500 (14,760 feet) of small voirie, were opened between 
1845 and 1849. Expense of all these works, 12,500 fr. (500(!.) A fountain, htcoir, &c. 
have been established in the part of the town south-east of the military quarter, expense 
15,100 fr. (604^.) Drains and a water-conduit had to be made in 1850. The town w;ill, 
and that of the military quarter, has been raised to a mean height of 2 metres 30 centi- 
metres. Two infantry barracks are completed for 1248 men, and officers' quarters, maua- 
zinos, and stables : expense, 760,000 fr. (30,100.'.) 

24G EL GAXTrwV. 

larly the taxes than the Arabs of the plains ; for the latter being vagabonds, 
can cut and run when they list, whilst the dashkrahs of the Kabyles are 
stationary. At present those within the circuit of Betna are quiet. 

These Kabyles are living tokens of the Vandal hordes that came from 
Spain in the fifth century. A forest of fine cedars is found on the Djebel 
Soulthan ; and Djebel Aouress abounds in walnuts, S])auish chestnuts, and 
other of the more hardy fruit-trees, on this its north aspect ; whilst its 
southern valleys produce grapes, oranges, lemons, peaches, apricots, &c. in 
great abundance, and of very good quality.* 

Borrer left Betna November 5th, after waiting two or three days for the 
sheikh El-Arib, who was on his way from Constantina to his winter resi- 
dence in the neighbourhood of the Zaab of Biskra. The principality of this 
noble Arab embraces three khalifats, extending over a portion of the Djebel 
Aouress, as well as a vast tract of the Sahara. He is said to be the most 
pow^erful sheikh in alliance with the French, and his riches are reported to 
be enormous. Three days after leaving Betna, Borrer passed his smala 
(household), consisting of numerous women and children, 1000 camels, and 
many fine falcons and greyhounds. He could not wait for the sheikh at 
Betna any longer, owing to the severe cold ; and at 11 a.m. he commenced 
-his journey, escorted by three spahis and six Arab goums (irregulars). 
At 5 P.M. they found a little douar, after crossing an uninteresting naked 
country. " We were now on the plain of ]\lerdjet-el-Ksour, or plain of the 
castle ; so called because of the ruins lying on it bearing the name of Ktar- 
el-Louz, the fountain of the almond-tree. This plain is ten leagues 
(25 miles) from Betna, and five (12-|- miles) from El-Gantra ; and the 
douar where they stopped is called Beu-Juraba ; whilst a little river, a 
quarter of a mile west of it, is named El-Ksour." Next morning they 
crossed the remainder of the plain, and entered among some rugged and 
sterile mountains. Here and there strata of limestone were exposed to 
view ; and hills, whose profile w^as polished by the action of the weather, 
lay in their course. This district was watered by numerous mountain 
streams, the chief of which was the Ouad-Fdala. The waters of the rivers 
this side of Betna flow towards the desert, the country forming an inclined 
plane to the south ; Avhilst on the other side of Betna tlicy fiow northwards 
to the sea. The Sahara is said to be on a level with the Mediterranean. 

The approach to the oasis of El-Gantra is striking. After toiling for 
two days across wide-spread plains, entirely without trees, and succeeded 
by rugged mountains more arid than the plains themselves, suddenly the 
traveller comes to the base of a tremendous wall of rocks, rising several 
tliousand feet into the air, and seeming to bar all progress. Presently a 
file of camels, with dates from Zaab or Tuggurt, comes foi-th ; and turning 
a sharj) mountain caj)e, the wanderer beholds a narrow breach of ])crhaps 
forty feet in width, through which rushes a mountain torrent. Tliis was 
the Calceus Herculisf of the ancients, Avhore the atliletic demigod was 
* Borrer, p. 369. + Kick of Hercules. 


reported to have kicked a gap iii the mountain. It is, in fact, the gate of 
the Sahara, or, as the Arabs call it, the nwuth of the Sahara. Through this 
gate the tribes of the east Sahara pass and repass to and from Coustautina 
with their long trains of ciimels laden with dates, haicks, and other pro- 
duce of the desert and of its inhabitants. The precipice on the right- 
hand of the gorge, as you come from Betna, is the abrupt west end of the 
Djebel Aouress ; that on the left is the east face of Djebel Metlili. A 
beautiful E.onian bridge of one arch spans the Oued-el-Gantra, and the 
road i)asses between beetling cliffs after crossing the bridge. Emerging 
from it, suddenly rich groves of palm-trees, pomegranate, fig, and apricot 
trees, meet the astonished gaze, and the murmuring Oued rushes into this 
terrestrial paradise. The town of El-Gantra is shut in by mud walls, with 
ehoppeil straw and palm-leaves mixed in it, the whole being baked in the 
sun. Watch-towers are found at equal distances on the walls, strength- 
ened by rafters of palm-timber, and built of the same materials as the wall. 
The houses are all built in the same way, roofs of palm-trunks being laid 
lengthways, the interstices tilled up with mud, and overlaid with long 
palm-branches. The whole oasis inside the walls is divided into innumer- 
able small square enclosures, each of which is further coutined within its 
own mud wall. The only way to get into these gardens is through a hole 
in the surrounding wall of each. A door is attached to these holes, made 
of palm-branches, small palm-trunks, or a rough slab of stone, by pushing 
which aside, and almost on hands and knees, you obtain entrance.* 

The Ouled-Zaid inhabit this tndy African town, of which tribe Sidi- 
Mokaran was the old caid. The roof of his vestibule was supported on 
square pillars of mud ; a raised platform at one end was covered with car- 
pets and mats, whilst the horses occupied the other end. Borrer and 
escort were regaled with dates, cous-eoussou, chickens peppered with chilis, 
and pancakes swimming in honey. The old sheikh tore up the meat and 
fed his guests with his greasy paws. The caidf was very tall, thin, and 
pale, with a silvery beard and gentle manners. At night, a snoring chorus 
of the old caid and his escort drove out poor Borrer into the night air, 
where he was richly rewarded by a lovely moonlight scene in the oasis. J 

Dates, capsicums, and chilis constitute the riches of this plain, which 
is the most northerly point at which dates arrive at perfection. Passing 
through rocky hills and rugged basins to the south, Borrer halted in two 
hours at a hot spring, thirty feet square and Irom two to four feet deep, 
surrounded by a marsh. Tradition says that El-Hammam was carved by 
Hercules, and Roman steps may be discovered at the north-east corner of 
the water. An hour hence they passed the base of a high mountain, called 
the Salt mountain, consisting entirely of rock-salt ; and at 11 a.m. they 

* Borrer, p. 369 et seqq. 

t We presume the same indinilual iii this case enjoyed the dignity of sheikh and caid. 

J Borrer, ut supra. 

248 BISKRA. 

came into tlie plain of El-Outaia. Here is another city on the hanks of 
the 0\ia(l-el-Gantra, now called Ouatl-Outaia. You find corn, a little pas- 
ture, and gazelles in the plain. A great many tents are pitched in the 
plain, close to the town ; ahout an hour after passing which, to the south- 
east, they observed two lofty monticules and a Eoman station. At the 
southern limit of the plain they saw the Avide-spread Sahara, and in the 
foreground the palm-bearing Zaab of Biskra.'- 

The Sahara was graphically compared by the ancients to a tiger-skin, 
the oases answering to the dark spots. 

Biskra is overlooked to the north and east by the range of the Djebel 
Aouress and Djebel Nemenchia. To the north-west are those of Djebel- 
bou-Ghezal, Djebel Matraf, and Djebel Silga, the southern face of which is 
often white Avith the snow blown by the desert winds. The northern face 
is that of dark limestone rocks ; but beyond Biskra, and to the south- 
west, the eye roves over a vast unbroken expanse. 

A few salt streams water the oasis of Zaab. The mud walls of Biskra 
are overshadowed by fine palms; and the French citadel (1845) was made 
entirely of a great number of palm-truidvs, and of cedar-wood from Mount 
Aouress. The fort is built on a mound in the centre of the oasis ; and they 
are talking of building a new one on a rocky mound in the N.E. part of 
the oasis, the present position being too much cnbosomed in palm-groves. 
In 1844 every officer of the garrison was massacred by the treachery of 
the Ouled-Nail, who were admitted into the citadel. The garrison was 
thought by Borrer to be too small, as Biskra is at the distance of four 
days' forced march from Betna, and eight from Constantina. The citadel 
had only three or four little guns, and would fall an easy prey to an 
enemy. At that time there were many encampments of nomadic Arabs 
around Biskra, there bein-g a great exchange trade between the Sahara 
and the Tell through Biskra, which obtains from the latter (Tell) grain, 
cheeses, wool, figs, horses, asses, arms, &c. 

The Ouad-Biskra, in the eastern part of the oasis, is a turbid and salt 
stream ; but the French were engaged in making an artesian well. The 
Bahar-taht-el-erd (underground rivers) is a common phenomenon here. 

The inhabitants of this oasis still eat dog's flesh, but only in cases of 
fever as a remedy. There are forty oases around Biskra, which contains 
3000 native inhabitants, and 1 15,000 palm-trees in its precincts.t The 
caid was in 1846 a handsome man; and the governor, M. St. Germain, 

* ]5orrcr, p. .3G9 ct scqq. 

t Tho Em-opcan civil population of Biskra amounted in 1847 to 132 ; in December 1818, 
to 89 ; and in December 1849, to 98. 2000 trees have been planted around tho new post, 
and divers works of levelling have been effected. The outer wall of the Fort St. Germain 
has been raised to its proper height on three faces ; the fom-th fixco had reached the battle- 
ments. One .small bastion is quite finished, and tho other three arc raised to 3 metres 
(9-84 feet) in height. Barracks for 400 men were being built, with subordinate buildings 
connected with the military department. Tableau, p. 389, &c. 

siDi occ'ba. 249 

gave a soiree to him and the beauty and fashion of Biskra, while Borrcr 
was tliere. There is the minaret of an ancient mosque just outside the 
S.W. walls of the citadel, and some Roman columns stand near it; but there 
are no other ancient remains. Some hot springs, known to the Romans, 
exist near Biskra, Avhich produce the finest petrifactions. The officers' 
gardens are N.W. of the mosque, and at the foot of the citadel, consisting 
of four or five acres, enclosed by a mud wall, and containing palms, chilis, 
capsicums, millet, and water-melons.'-" 

The climate of Biskra is very hot. The best dates come from Oued-Sc- 
ref, to the S.E. of Biskra, and are called by the Arabs de-(jkt-en-nov;r dates. 
The harvest begins at the end of October. In planting palms, the young tree 
is put into deep holes with manure, as much sand being cleared as possible. 

8idi Occ'ba is an oasis eight leagues (20 miles) S.E. of Biskra, taking 
its name from the famous Arab general, contemporary with the Prophet, 
who built Kairoan and worked miracles. This oasis is renowned because 
of his tomb, and on account of a tower which trembles visibly if you shout 
" Tizza-bil-ras-Sidi-Ok'ba." Borrer was unable to visit it, on account of 
the revolt of some tribes ; but he went to Tolga, an oasis twelve leagues 
(30 miles) S.W. of Biskra, visiting en route the oases of Bouchayroun, 
Lichana, Za'dch'a, and Farfar, all very similar to Biskra, and containing 
little mud-built towns. The caid of Tolga was a noble-looking man of 
forty, mounted on a fine black mare, who gave Borrer a grand enter- 
tainment of dates, pi-lau, fricaseed chicken, stewed cucumber, cakes in 
honey, and a grand dish of cous-coussou. All these dishes were made 
very hot with chilis and capsicums. Afterwards came coffee and pipes. 
He here beheld the largest scorpion that he had ever seen, adventurously 
killed by an Arab with his bare foot. 

Tolga, which was almost laid in ruins by Abd-el-Kader in 1 844, is an 
oasis comprising three nnul-built towns and extensive date-gai-dens.-j- 

It is with regret that we here take leave of Mr. Borrer for the present, 
while we proceed to give a description of the most recent condition of 
some ])oints that we have not visited in the interior of this province and 
of that of Algiers, constituting the wild mountainous region known by 
the name of Kabylia, or Great Kabylia, which, from the remarkable 
features of the territory, and the singular character of its population, the 
aw-oY0o)'oi of Algeria, has appeared to us deserving of a separate notice. 
The antiquities and colonies of the province of Constantina will be de- 
scribed in special chapters. |. 

* Borrer, pp. 331-370. t Vov\. p. 355 et soqq. to the end of the chapter. 

:J: The reader will find many additional particulars relating to Bona in Captain Ken- 
nedy's Algeria and Tunis, vol. L chap, xiv., and vol. ii. chap. ii. ; and also in the Ladi/s 
Diary, vol. i. p. 24-1 et seqq., and vol. ii. pp. 1 to 38. Both authorities agree in praising its 
theatre, and in condemumg its port and its Maltese population. The Lion d'Or was a 
good inn in 18J5, near the Grand Square ; and "the Lady's Diary pronoimces Bona the 
pkasantest town in all Algeria. 

^vtRt ISabnIta. 




THE following description of this singular region of Algeria is derived 
from three principal sources : 1st. The Exploration jScienti/ique, by 
Captain E. Carette ; 2d. La Grande Kabylie, by General Daumas and 
Captain Fabar ; 3d. Dawson Borrer's Campaign in the Kabylie.'''' 

Algeria has, like France, its north and south poles, its laugue d'oc and 
its langue d'oil, its industrial genius and its jioetic genius : in a word, 
Kabylia, the focus and home of workmen ; and its Sahara, the nursery 
of sj)eculators and adventurers. 

All the mountaineers of Algeria come under the appellation of Kabails, 

Kabyles, or Djebalis : the former term being hypothetically derived from 

the Arabic kahail, a tribe ; and the latter proceeding more certainly from 

the Arabic word djebel, a mountain. But Kabylia par excellence, — Kabylia 

properly so called, as M. Carette styles it ; or Great Kabylia, as it is named 

by Colonel Daumas — is that large mountainous district which forms a stern 

barrier between the provinces of Algiers and Coiistantina, and that frowns 

to the eastward over the Mitidja plain ; being, in fact, a ramification of the 

Little Atlas, which, after running parallel with the sea-coast throughout 

Algeria, inclines about thirty leagues (75 miles) S.E. of Algiers, more to 

the 8.8.E., throwing out at the same point a series of exceedingly lofty 

mountains, the most elevated of which is the ridge of the Jurjura, or 

Djorjora (the Mons Ferratus of the ancients), which gives its name to the 

greater part of the mountainous district above referred to. The northern 

extremity of this almost inaccessible region, laved by the Mediterranean, 

presents, according to Borrer, a sea-face of about sixty or seventy leagues 

(150 or 175 miles), commencing seventeen leagues (42| miles) east of 

Algiers. Its depth inland is from twenty to forty leagues (50 to 100 

* Captain Kennedj', vol. i. chap. xiii. gives a generally correct account of Kabylia, 
inlcr.spcrscd with occasional errors. 


miles) ; and its breadth extends from the eastern limit of the ^litidja 
to Phili])2)eville. Its limits are, however, in reality very imdelined ; and 
a great part of the territory was, even in 1848, independent, though the 
most exposed tribes have for some years been nominally subject to the 
French. Its population is considerable, and it is estimated that it can 
muster 80,000 fighting men * 

The surface of Great Kabylia, according to M. Carette, embraces 7800 
square kilometres (3003 square miles), with a population of 370,000; 
which would give 47 inhabitants to each scjuare kilometre (122 per square 
mile), and 5-24 acres to every inhabitant. In France the proportion of 
the population to the territory is 60 288 per square kilometre, -60288 
individuals per hectare, or 244 per acre, or about 1 65 hectares, making 
about four acres to every inhabitant. Therefore the proportion of the 
population of Great Kabylia is four-fifths of that of France ; or, taking 
the population of France as unity, it stands as 77942. 

The specific population of Great Kabylia is four and a half times 
greater than that of the rest of Algeria, which only contains, at a mean 
estimate, 767 inhabitants per square kilometre (247 acres). 

We have already stated that the population of Great Kabylia amounts 
to 370,000 persons; and the number of villages being 1533, each village 
has a mean of 245 inhabitants, and a maximum of 3000. The whole sui'- 
face of Great Kabylia being 780,000 hectares (1,926,600 acres), and the 
number of villages 1533, each centre of population occupies a mean space 
of 500 hectares (or 1235 acres). f 

Great Kabylia is distinguished from the other parts of Algeria by 
three special features : 1st, the exercise of professional arts ; 2d, the taste 
for, and custom of work ; 3d, the stability of the dwellings. 

Kabylia properly so called occupies, according to M Carette, on the 
sea-shore an extent of 146 kilometres (9071 miles), comprised between 
the mouth of the Ouad-Nessa to the west, and that of the Oued-Agueriouu 
to the east ; the former stream flowing near Dellys, the latter towards the 
extremity of the Gulf of Bugia. 

* These remarks are from Dawson Borrer's Campaign iti the Kahylie, p. 1 et seqq. 
+ The foreg-oiug calculations are mainly derived from E. Carette's Kahi^lie proprement 
dite, vol. i. 1. ii. p. 113, in the Exploration scieiitijique. We have found it necessary, how- 
ever, to rectify a serious error of that author, or his printer, by which ho estimates the 
population of Kabylia at 4? persons per hectare, and that of France at 6 individuals per 
hectare. Now, as he gives the surface of Kabylia at 780,000 hectares, and its population 
at 370,000; as, moreover, 780,000 hectares make 7800 square kilometres, and he gives Ka- 
bylia 47 souls, and France 60, per square kOomctre,— it is evident that M. Carette or his 
printer has made the proportion per hectare ten times too great. To verify our con- 
clusion, and accustom the reader to decimal calculation, we give the comparative French 
and English measiu-es of sm-faces again : 

100 square kilometres = 1 square myriametre = 38-5 square miles. 

100 hectares = 1 square kilometre 247 acres. 

10,000 square metres = 1 hectare = 2-47 acres. 


On the land side it is circumscribed by various gi'oups of tribes ; and 
the approximative surface of the whole region is nearly 800,000 hectares 
(about 2,000,000 acres) ; that of the island of Corsica being 980,510 
(2,451,275 acres). 

The general idea which has been held respecting the continent of 
Africa, and the false inferences drawn from partial information, have long 
given currency to serious errors as regards Algei-ia, which is considered 
as a country of plains and marshes ; while the accidents and the dryness 
of the soil, on the contrary, are its characteristic features^ The shore of 
Algeria is almost always mountainous. Between the frontier of Morocco 
and the Tafna exists the chain of the Traras ; and Oran, like Algiers, has 
its undulating Sahel. 

From the mouth of the Shellif as far as that of the Mazafran, that is, 
for a length of sixty leagues (150 miles), with a depth of from ten to 
twelve leagues (30 miles), rises and branches out the chain of Dahra. 
That of the Little Atlas is connected with it by the Zaccar, and shuts in 
the semicircle of the Mitidja. Having reached this point, the mountain- 
system rises to a greater elevation, widens, becomes more complicated in 
its character, and decorates the Avhole extent of the coast as far as the 
neighbourhood of Bona. This is not all : we must i-eckon, moreover, in 
the interior, the Ouarenseris, which faces the Dahra, commands it in ele- 
vation, and exceeds it in extent ; besides other great masses parallel with 
the preceding ones, and which separate the Tell from the Sahara in the 
same way that they have cut it off from the ^Mediterranean. Such are the 
Djebel Amour, the Aouress, &c., of which we have already treated. 

These mountainous regions embrace nearly the half of the Algerian 
territory, and nearly all of them are inhabited by Kabyles, a I'ace, or mix- 
ture of i-aces, quite distinct fi'om the Arabs. The various Kabylias have 
no political tie between them : each of them constitutes merely a sort of 
nominal federation, in which exist so many independent unities — of weak 
or powerful, religious or warlike tribes, subdivided in their foi-m into frac- 
tions and villages, all equally free. Although they present a striking 
analogy in manners, origin, and history, the proper analysis of facts 
requires that they should be considered separately. All these Kabylias 
constitute so many detached pages ; such as those of the Traras, of the 
Ouarenseris, of the Dahra, of the Little Atlas, of the Jurjura, and many 
others. It is with the latter alone that we are at present concerned, the 
Kabylia of the Jurjura, which by many writers has been emphatically 
styled the Kabylia, and which we shall call, on account of its relative im- 
portance. Great Kabylia/'^ 

This region embraces all the surface of the vast square comprised 
between Dellys, Aumale, Setif, and Bugia. These limits may be brought 
under the foregoing distinct heads ; and though they are fictitious limits, 
* La Graiulc Kabylio, General Davimas, p. 3. 


inasmuch as they do not resuU from geographical configuration, they are 
rational limits in a political and historical point of view. 

The Kab}lia, which is about to occupy us, has engaged the popular 
attention in France more than any other. Many causes have contributed 
to this effect. Its extent, riches, and population ; its proximity to Algiers, 
which has naturally become the source of some commercial relations ; its 
ancient I'enown for independence; and its inaccessibility, owing to the 
great mountains that cover it, — have combined to fix the public attention 
on this important region : and during some years there has been much 
uncertainty al)0ut what policy should be followed with regard to it. Im- 
portant events have lately settled this question, at the same time that they 
have thrown nmch light on all its phases. 

The learned are not agreed upon the etymology of the word Kabyle. 
Some assign a Ph(]enician origin to it. Baal is a generic name of S}Tian 
divinities, and D in the Hebrew language serves to unite the two terms of 
a comparison {K-Jkud, bll D. as the worshippers of Baal). In support of 
this hypothesis, which would also determine the primary cradle of the Ka- 
byles, the partisans of this derivation cite analogies of pi'oper names, such 
as Philistines and Flittas (Kabyles), or Fhssas ; Mohabites and Beni- 
Mezzab, or Mozabites ; besides some others. But Colonel Daumas rejects 
this etymology, because it is not supported by the writers of antiquity. 
In Herodotus we find the name Kabal applied to some of the Cyreuaic 
tribes, but we find it nowhere else .among the classical authors ; and no 
trace of it exists amongst the numerous authors of the Roman epoch, his- 
torians or geographers, who have left so many documents concerning the 
two Mauritanias. 

It was only after the invasion of the Arabs that these mountaineers 
began to be called Kabyles ; hence the origin of the name is more pro- 
bably Arabic, and ought to be derived from one of the three following 
roots : 

Kuebila = Tribe. 

JKabel = He has accepted. 

Kobel = Before.* 

The first would result from the national organisation of these highlanders 
in clans. The second, from their conversion to Islam. Compulsion, here 
as elsewhere, would have enforced at least an exoteric profession of the 
new creed ; and they would bow to the crescent to escape taxation or the 
sword. They would accept the Koran. The third derivation is not less 
plausible. In calling these mountaineers Before, they would have pub- 
lished a fact in harmony Avith all tradition, history, and experience ; i. e. 
that the aurox^^wt ^^^^ invariably driven to the mountains, the last 

* Q'byla, tribe ; j>/«. q'b^yl cX^i tS:}^- -■ Q'^al, /<c has accei^td J-J. 3. Q'bel, 
before Q-^. 


strongholds of independence, by the succeeding tides of invasion- 
Amongst the Kabyles, the mixture of the German blood left by the con- 
quest of the Vandals is still betrayed by physical traits ; and etymo- 
logists endeavour to add to this some additional evidence derived from the 
approximations of names, such as Suevi and Zouaouas, Huns and Ouled- 

We shall lay no great stress on these apparent linguistic affinities, 
which are subject to much uncertainty. t 

For the histoiy and language of Great Kabylia we refer the reader to 
the chapters on those subjects. It will not, however, be inapposite to 
make a few remarks on the names of Gouraya and Jorjora. Above the 
town of Bugia, the clief lieu of Kabylia, rises a vast mountain mass 
called Mount Gouraya, and inhabited by a Kabyle tribe, the Beni-Labeos, 
that is undoubtedly of Vandal origin. The term Gora in the Sclavonic 
language signifies mountain ; and there can be little doubt respecting 
the derivation of this name. Gourgoura appears also to be the Berber 
name of the culminating peak of Kabylia, which has been altered by 
the Arabs into Jorjora. There can also be little doubt respecting the 
origin of this term, as it is pure Russian for the mountain of mountains 
{Gorgora), and is evidently a northern importation. The Prince of Mir, 
a Polish refugee who, as before stated, occupied the Eassautah, a villa 
near Algiers, in 1841, informed Baron Baude that a considerable number 
of Sclavonic words occur in the Kabyle tongue, or rather special dialects 

We have described Great Kabylia as a vast square, whereof the 
corners extend to Aumale, Dellys, Bugia, and Setif The sides of this 
square are formed, by more or less broken lines, as follows : 

West face. Between Aumale and Dellys, the new road from Algiers ; 
the Gued-ben-Ahmoud as far as its confluence with the Isser, at the bridge 
of Ben-Hini ; the Isser as far as Bordj-Menaiel; the Gued-Sebaou, from 
the Bordj of the same name to its mouth. 

North face. From Dellys to Bugia, the strand of the sea. 
East face. From Bugia to Setif, nearly a straight line. 
South face. From Setif to Aumale, the road of the Bibans, followed 
in 1838 by the column coming from Constantina ; and afterwards the 
Oued-Lekal, after leaving Kaf-Radjala. 

The country within these limits covers a surface of about 500 square 
leagues. § Golonel Duumas gives it 2.50,000 inhabitants, disseminated in 
the proportion of /iOO i)ersons per square league. || This fact docs not 

* Ouled signifies child, descendant. 

t La Gran<lc Kabylie, General Daumas/ p. 6. J Baron Baude, pp. 131 and 69. 

§ .^00 sqiiarc leagues would give about 3279 square miles ; somewhat more than the 
estimate of M. Carette. 

11 1 square league = 6 square miles, at 2J miles to the league. This gives 85j persons 
per square mile, an estimate differing from that of M. Carette by oae-third. 


correspond with the appearance of the valleys of the Summani, the Se- 
baou, and the Adjeb, which are as populous as most French departments ; 
but we must bear in mind the solitary character and barrenness of the 
numerous rocky ridges. 

It would exceed our purpose to enter into all the details of the phy- 
sical and political geography of Great Kabylia. The reader would be 
wearied by a minute enumeration of names and localities that could leave 
no definite impression on his mind. On the other hand, a bold outline 
of the broad features of this curious land and people cannot be unaccept- 
able to the intelligent reader. 

There exists a strong analogy between the moral and material phy- 
siognomy of the country. The territory exhibits a number of little val- 
leys separated by the chief and presiding chains, and constituting real 
arteries in which the principal vitality of the country circulates. On 
examining these primary basins more closely, a number of secondary 
valleys are discovered opening into them, their sides being formed by 
elbows of the principal ridge, and carrying off its waters. These little 
rivers in their turn receive torrents, and these torrents are fed by rivulets 
or waterfalls ; thus you ascend by a chain of perpendicular systems, from 
the basins to valleys, from valleys to dells, from dells to ravines ; and each 
of these geographical elements has its proper name and details, and would 
admit a particular description. But to simplify the features of this region 
and make them comprehensible, we shall confine ourselves to the three 
great valleys : that of the Oued-Adjcd, which is, however, properly only 
a branch stream ; and the two principal basins of the Sebaou and of the 
Summam, having their issue in the sea. 

The first of these water-courses descends from the vicinity of Setif, 
where it bears the name of Bou-Sellam ; and meeting Mount Guergour, 
it pierces a nan*ow passage through rocky masses. But this cutting is 
almost every where inaccessible ; consequently the road from Setif to 
Bugia can only reach the course of the river lower down. The latter con- 
tinues traversing a broken country as far as the Summam, running along 
the side of mountains of a middling height, but in-egular, chaotic, and 
impracticable. This broken ground is nevertheless covered with good 
vegetable mould, and conceals many mines in its bosom. 

The chain of the Djorjora, which is the highest ridge in the country, 
determines the existence and the form of the two other almost concentric 
basins, which are those of the Summam and of the Sebaou. The chain in 
question runs parallel to the shore comprised between Bugia and Dellys. 
Its rocky pinnacles rise more than 2000 metres (C5G0 feet) above the level 
of the sea. Save in the case of some naked ridges, pathless hollows, and 
accidental rents, the soil is generally covered with a thick bed of vegetable 
mould, a rich and productive soil : wanting neither wood nor water, it 
seldom presents insurmountable obstacles, and in every respect is much 


better adapted for travelliug and iutercourse thau any of tlie other Ka- 

The watershed becomes naturally a geographical and political frontier, 
between the northern waters flowing into the Mediteirauean, and the 
southern slopes, whence the eye descries an endless succession of moun- 
tains and valleys, and embraces as it were a sea of solid waves. Not only 
do the basins of the Summam and of the Sebaou describe on opposite sides 
of the Jurjura two concentric rings, but their ver}- topograj)hy presents, 
moreover, a symmetrical contrast : their slopes follow an opposite deve- 
lopment ; the Sebaou flows from the east to the west, and falls into the 
sea after having encircled Dellys ; whilst, farther on, the Summam de- 
scends in an inverse direction from the west to the east, but similarly en- 
circles Bugia before it empties itself into the sea.* 

The principal town of this remarkable region is Bugia. Let the reader 
imagine a narrow and rocky beach on the sea-shore, then a very steep 
declivity about twenty metres (65'60 feet) in height; afterwai'ds a gentle 
slope, forming a kind of plateau, which runs up to the precipitous sides of 
the Gouraya ; and towering above all, that mountain itself, spread out like 
a curtain behind the town, raising its indented crest to about 700 metres 
(2150 feet) above the level of the sea. 

Such is the situation of Bugia. One essential feature fixes the atten- 
tion at this spot J namely, the ravine of Sidi-Touati, which divides the 
toAvn in two, and carries off" the waters fi*om the Gouraya, below the Gate 
of the Marine, almost down to the landing-place. Seen from the sea, 
this cutting leaves to the right the hill and quarter of Bridja, one of 
the extreme points of which closes in the anchorage of the town, and 
commands it by the guns of Fort Abd-el-Kader, built on its sides. To 
the left of the ravine you see the hill and quarter of Moussa, commanding 
the oi)posite declivity, and embracing two forts in a respectable condition 
for defence : — first, the Casbah, almost at the edge of the shelving beach ; 
and Moussa, facing the mountain, t Historical associaton, as well as the 
romantic position of this town, perched upon the rocks at the foot of 
i\Iount Gouraya, the base of which is laved by the waters of the noble bay, 
renders it interesting to the wanderer. The population of this frontier 
town of Kabylia, which figured before the Fivnch invasion in 1833 at 
several thousands, is now diminished to about .jOU lun-opeans and to a 
very few natives, and is almost wholly comi)osed of vendors of such neces- 
saries of life as are required by the garrison, by which they are attracted, 
and from which they gain their subsistence.;;}; Bugia thus ranks third in 
population, compared to the other points occupied by the French on the 
coast of Algiers ; Bona and Philippeville containing a superior population, 

* For this excellent sketch of the phj-sical geography of Great Kabylia, I am indebted 
to Colonel iJaumas and Captain Fabar. See La Grande Kalylie, chap. iv. p. 133. 
f La Grande Kabylie, pp. 84-5. + Dawson Borrcr, ji. lUl. 

BUGIA. 257 

and Djidjelli, Dellys, and La Calle an inferior." This statement of Mr. 
Borrer cannot include the province of Oran. 

The distance from Bugia to Algiers by sea is thirty-five leagues (87^ 
miles);'" and it is situated thirty leagues (75 miles), rather N.W., from 
Constantiua; twenty leagues (50 miles) from Setif (Sitifis) ; and fifty (125 
miles) from Bona (Hippoua), the ancient episcopacy of the venerable St. 

St. j\Iarie thus describes the approach to Bugia by water : " After 
doubling Bouac Point, we came in sight of the Monkey Valley and of the 
Marine Garden, the verdure of the latter presenting a fine contrast to the 
gloomy rocks surrounding it. Then passing Fort Abd-el-Kader, after 
having nearly doubled the great jetty formed by the Gouraya, we descried 
Bugia, situated on some rapid declivities fronting the south. Notwith- 
standing the forts, and the large extent of the ground it covers, Bugia is 
only a mass of huts, not a town ; and its streets are, in point of fact, 
nothing but rough footpaths, running, without any order, between I'ows of 
irregularly-built houses. The ruined debarcadere, or landing-place, had 
been complained of by Baron Baude in 1841, and Avas still a national dis- 
grace to the French in 1845."-]- Two thousand men then occupied a bar- 
racked camp on a point suited for the defence of the place, but deficient in 
water, the stream that used to supply the town being lost among ruins. 
The French might recover this, if they had the intelligence and zeal of the 
Romans and old Arabs. From the camp to the summit of the Gouraya 
there is a road opened, under the direction of General Duvivier, in the 
rear of the great walls. This road extends to the length of 4000 metres 
(13,120 feet), over a calcareous rock, covered by a stratum of argillaceous 

The lentisk, the mastic, the vine, and the wild olive, grow here luxu- 
riantly, and would flourisli vigorously if the cattle were prevented from 
ranging among them. The summit of the Gouraya is QS2 metres (223G-96 
feet) above the sea ; but St. Marie is mistaken in stating that on the 
northern side the elevation is 700 metres (229G feet), and on the southern 
2000 (G5G0 feet). The efiect of this prodigious mountain-pile is quite 

The mai'about of Sidi-Bosgri, on the top of the Gouraya, was thought 
as efficacious a pilgrimage for the infirm as that to Mecca ; but being 
taken, after a hard fight, in 1833, by the French, a fort has been built on 
its site, which commands the mountain. Colonel Larochette has improved 
its defences by making a path from the fort, following the crest of the 
Gouraya, and descending to the plain, passing by the precii)ice of the 
Dent. This road is so constructed, that you can always see the move- 

* Borrer, p. 161. Mr. Borrer says in another place, that Bugia is 45 leagues to th^ 
east of Alg'iers, — which must mean by land, 
t St. Marie, chap. vi. pp. 197-200. 



ments of your assailants and mask your own, whatever tliey may be. 
Still, when you wish to go along it, even at present, it is necessary to 
have an escort of about thirty tirailleurs to clear the borders. This road 
leads down to the blockhouse of Doriac. 

Five advanced posts complete the defence on the land side.* St. Marie 
states that the marabout of Sidi-Bosgri was heroically defended by the 
Kabyles in 1833; and that the blockhouse was nobly defended, at a later 
date, by ten Frenchmen for three days against a host of Kabyles. The 
walls riddled with shot attest the heat of the combat, in which the 
French, with the chivalry for which they were once famous, refused to fire 
on a sheikh's widow, who urged on the assailing Kabyles with the greatest 
energy. The cattle and the soldiers of the garrison did not venture for 
many yeai-s beyond the five advanced posts before alluded to, for fear of 
being captured or slaughtered by the Kabyles. The cattle, when sent 
out to graze, used to be accompanied by dogs to beat about the bushes, as 
in a hunt, and drive off the Kabyles. t Baron Baude, who appears to be 
copied by Count St. Marie, gives the following description of the country 
beyond the Gouraya : " In the midst of the chaos at your feet, as you stand 
on the top of that lofty pile, a deep hollow opens, which becomes bifur- 
cated at the distance of three leagixes (7^ miles) from Bugia. This is the 
vale of Soumah, and beyond it lie the beautiful plains of Zamoura and 
Setif" The dingles in this neighbourhood show traces of cultivation; but 
the villages of Dharmassar and Sumnia had been burnt at the time of St. 
Marie's visit. | The bottom of the cistern, which forms the plain of 
Bugia, may contain about 6000 hectares (15,000 acres); but it is only 
cultivated on the right bank of the Summam. 

The Gouraya towers to the east and north of the town, is connected in 
the interior with Mount Tondja, and being prolonged into the sea, gives 
birth to Cape Carbon. To the southward, a pretty bay entered the land 
to receive the waters of the Ouad-Summam.§ 

On the sides of Djebel Gouraya was once situated the famous koubba, 
or domed tomb, of the fair Kabyle saint, Lella-Gouraya, Avhich is now 
replaced by a French fort commanding Bugia. Upon the right is the 

* Baron Baude, vol. i. p. 133. In November 1833, the year of the conquest of Bugia, 
four blockhouse.s had been constructed: i.e. those of Bou-Ali, covering the plateau of 
Moussa ; and those of Salem, Rouman, and Khalifa, situated on the western plateaux. At 
the same time Colonel Lemercier was also laying the foundation of a very fine work, in 
erecting Fort Gouraya. In the beginning of 1834, Commandant Duvivier built another 
outwork, the blockhaus de la plaine; and in 1836-7 wore erected the Fort Lemercier and 
the towers of Doriac and Salomon. La Grande Kabylie, pp. 93-96 and 125. We learn 
from the Tableau that the defences and the landing havo been improved, and a lighthouse 
erected at Bugia. 

t St. Mario, p. 200. + Ibid. p. 201. Baron Baudo, vol. i. p. 133. 

§ Col. Daumas, Grande Kabylie, p. 93. The bay of Bugia is described by E. Carctte as 
a largo bight or indenture, comprised between Capo Carbon to the westward, and Cape 
Cavallo to the east. La Kabylie propremont dito. 

BUGIA. 259 

Oiiad ]\rcssaoud or Summam, forniiug here the east boundary of the phiin ; 
the opposite shores being covered with massive groves of olive-trees, and 
overlooked by wild mountains clothed with wood, and held by the fierce 
Beni-Bou-Mcssaoud, who, with the Mezaya, an equally warlike tribe, long 
kept the people of Bugia cooped up in their walls, rendering it, even down 
to the visit of Dawson Borrer (18-47), a mere military post held by the 

Two entrenched camps have been made near Bugia, one higher and 
the other lower, constructed on the Gouraya range ; and a road has been 
made from the camps to the summit, 4000 metres (13,120 feet) in length, 
at an inclination of one-tenth. The lower camp, which is 120 metres 
(393'60 feet) above the sea, is calculated to contain 2000 men. There 
is every probability that Bugia, under an enlightened government, would 
recover much of its ancient political and commercial importancCj* its 
position being central and convenient, and the district of Great Kabylia 
containing the most industrious race in Algeria. According to the ob- 
servations followed in the Cabinet Atlas, Bugia is situated in 3G° 49' N". 
lat., and in 5° 28' E. long, of Green wich.f General Daumas, in the map 
accompanying his work on Great Kabylia, places it in 3G° 45' N. lat., and 
in 2° 4G' east of Paris. ;{: 

The country surrounding Bugia is very fertile. The river Bou-Mes- 
saoud is here of gi-eat depth and of considerable width, with a muddy 
bed ; and in winter its channel is much subject to overflow, through the 
operation of the mountain torrents. The Summam closes its career flow- 
ing through an agreeable plain of moderate extent, surrounded on all 
sides of the horizon by a framework of picturesque mountains. 

Bugia, suspended amongst rocks that seem ready to swallow it up, and 
the waves that eat away their base, only communicates with the smiling 
valley, descried from its walls, by a somewhat narrow tongue of land. 
Hence the mountaineers form its nearest and most formidable neighbours, 
owing to the nature of the locality and other accidental circumstances. It 
so happens, moreover, that the tribe of the Mzaias, which is in possession 
of those heights, is reported to be one of the most warlike, poor, and 
savage of all. Its territory is carefully cultivated, but the spots of good 
mould are not sufficiently abundant to support the inhabitants. Accord- 
ingly a certain number go forth to work elsewhere; and those who remain 
are never backward in any thievish or warlike enterprise. They can 
muster 800 foot-soldiers. The plain belongs to two tribes — the Beni-Bou- 
Messaoud and the Beni-Meniouu; which can each of them bring from 500 to 
600 firelocks into the field, with a small body of horsemen. Their district 

* Great quantities of wax used to be exported from Bugia ; whence came the French 
name for wax-candle, hoitgie. Kennedy, vol. i. p. 2(51. 

t Universal Gazetteer, in the Royal Cabinet Atlas, p. 20. 
J See the Chart, p. 488, of La Grande Kabylie. 


is more thriving; for instance, they can boast of fine flocks, of corn, flax, 
a great many bee-hives, olive-trees, and some tolerably flourishing vil- 

Still, neither of these three tribes is so powerful as those more in the 
centre of Great Kabylia.* 

The roads of Bugia are the best in Algeria. They are, it is true, some- 
what exposed to squalls and to a heavy swell; but these evils are remedied 
by their excellent anchoring-ground. To seaward of a space of about 60 
hectares (150 acres) situated before the town, and suited for mei'chant- 
ships, the anchorage of Sidi-Yahia can receive, from Pointe de Bouac to 
Fort Abd-el-Kader, four line-of-battle ships, six frigates, and a consi- 
derable number of smaller craft. The Turks were in the habit of putting 
up their fleet in Bugia roads in the winter. Recent travellers agree that 
the famous inlet at Cape Carbon, into which, according to ancient geo- 
graphers, ships could enter under full sail, would now scarcely admit 
a boat.-f- 

Behind Bugia rises Mount Gouraya, 670 metres in height;;}: whose 
rocks consist of limestone, and are covered to the top with argillaceous 
earth, wdiose fecundity counteracts the usual efi"ects of exposure to the 
south. The lentisks, carobs, vines, and wild olives which clothe its sides 
and summit, only require protection from the cattle, to supply the base 
of the mountain with abundant sources, by attracting and retaining the 
rain. The great rents of the Simplon, St. Gothard, and Splugen offer 
nothing comparable to this prodigious up-h-eaving of mountains. The 
view from the Kighi is more extensive, but less imposing, than that of the 
Atlas from the Gouraya, which reminds one of the imperfect work of the 
Titans, described in Virgil : 

Ter sunt conati imjionere Pelio Ossam 
Scilicet, atque Ossse frondosum involvere 
Olympum. Georg. lib. i. 

Approaching Bugia by water from the south-east, the rocky mass of 
the Gouraya seems detached from the shore; and the deep gorge inter- 
vening between it and the mainland indicates at once the position of the 
city of Bugia, and the course of the Roman road which led from Rusguni* 
and Rusucurrum, and descended to Saldaj (Bugia) on the south reverse 
of the mountain. 

The Arab and Mussulman population generally appears to have almost 
entirely deserted Bugia; and the European population, which at one period 
since the conquest amounted to 7-iO persons, scarcely numbered 100 in 
1841. It has been, in fact, merely a military hosj)ital; and all travellers 
agi-ee in condemning the folly of the French government in not improving 

* La Grando Kabylio, p. 91. t Baron Baudo, vol. i. p. 139. 

t Borrer, p. 161. 


the port, wliifli affords such fine natural advantages. There are many 
channels for commerce in the neighbourhood of Bugia : to tlie south-west, 
the valley of the Adouse ascends, following the base of the Djorjora to the 
plain of Hamza, whence you descend towards Algiers; to the south, the 
Adjelly pierces in a direct line the chain of the Atlas; and its valley opens 
at 20 leagues (50 miles) from the sea on the fertile plains of Medjana. It 
cannot be expected that the French will derive any benefit from the con- 
quest of Bugia, till by force of arms or arts they can prevail on the fierce 
highlanders, by whom they are encircled, to alky the bitterness of hos- 
tility with which they regard the invading Christians. As for any colonist 
who may be tempted by visions of hecatomboian cattle reared upon the 
fertile shores of the river Bou-Messaoud, his lot will be but an unhappy 
one in the present state of affairs at this point; for Bugia is, in fact, a 
mere military post, the very sentinels upon the walls being ever and anon 
hailed by the whistle of a Kabyle bullet. A certain. Scherif Mohammed, 
who has annoyed the French considerably from time to time, lives at pre- 
sent in the neighbourhood, encouraging the spirit of revolt; but from 
the checks he has lately received, he is now compelled to content himself 
by sending out occasional marauding parties; keeping up a kind of guerilla 
warfai-e, which holds in a state of harass and alarm both the garrison of the 
town, and the few allied Arabs in the neighbourhood. 

" A night or two befoi'e my arrival at Bugia," writes Mr. Borrer in 
1847, "a band of this mountain-chief's foragers were outwitted by an am- 
buscade of indigenous cavaliers in the French ser^dce, and sadly mauled. 
In fact, there is a continual sparring going on between these sturdy sons 
of the Mons Ferratus (Gouraya) and the present tenants of Bugia. No 
sooner are the French flocks, or those of the allied Arabs, led forth to revel 
in the fat pastures of the Oued-Messaoud, than hungry eyes gloat upon 
them from the thicket-clad heights around, and a sudden swoop carries off 
shepherds and sheep. If, on the other hand, the hostile mountaineers are 
tempted to descend with their own herds, the same fate awaits them; so 
that a system of aggression and retaliation keeps both jjai'ties in. a delight- 
ful state of qui vive." 

^\ e shall now give the reader a peep into the wilds and recesses of this 
Alpine region, ere we pass on to consider its ethnology. 

Our old friend Mr. Dawson Borrer accompanied the French expedition 
under Marshal Bugeaud in the spring of 1847, which penetrated into the 
heart of Great Kabylia and subdued all parts of it, except its most retired 
and rugged fastnesses. We shall present the reader with an outline of his 
progress, to break the monotony of dry details. 

After leaving Algiers they marched to Arba in the Mitidja, a district 
which we have already described. The column, consisting of eleven bat- 
tahons, two squadrons, and two sections of mountain guns, advanced 


thence to the foot of the Little Atlas, which they reached about half an 
hour after quitting Arba. The slopes of the mountains are there clothed 
with brushwood, chiefly lentisk, stunted bellotas, and myrtle, intermingled 
with the bright-flowered coronilla and the dwarf gum-cistus. A road has 
been cut along the face of the Djebel Moussa, leading to a newly-established 
French post named Aumale (the Sour-Guzlan of the Arabs, and the Au- 
zia of the ancients), which lies about four days' march S.E. of Algiers. 

The mountains they were now traversing are intersected by very deep 
and beautiful valleys, up the steep slopes of which were clustered numerous 
gourbies, or huts forming villages, or dashkrahs as the mountaineers name 
them. These huts are constructed of rough stones or masses of turf, the 
interstices filled up with mud and cattle- dung. The roofs are thatched 
with coarse straw or reeds and branches of trees. The extreme lowness of 
these dwellings is remarkable, the walls of few being more than three feet 
in height, so that the branches covering the roofs often touch the ground 
at the eaves. One large apartment alone is found in each hut, a portion of 
which is enjoyed by the family, and the rest by their live-stock. It is only 
in the centre that you can in general stand upright, immediately under the 
ridge of the roof. In the neighbourhood of these villages the land is well 
cultivated, and crops of remarkably fine bearded wheat were at that season 
. (May) shooting up from the ground.* 

Without accompanying the column all the way in its victorious course 
down the valley of the Summam, whence, after subduing most of the tribes 
by violence or terror, and after forming its junction with General Bedeau's 
column from Setif, it marched on to Bugia, having subdued the greater 
portion of tlie lowlands of Great Kabylia, — ^we shall dwell on some of the 
most striking features of the region. 

Marshal Bugeaud encamped with his troops on the 15th at Sidi- 
Moussa, on the banks of the Summam. On the opposite bank the rich 
but strong country of the Beni-Abbas rose in the form of an amphi- 
theatre. Their numerous villages, clustering together, are perched on a 
series of steep svmimits, the most inaccessible and populous being Azrou, 
which Avas stormed, sacked, and bvu'nt by the French. This example 
struck such terror into the neighbouring tribes, that most of them sub- 
mitted, esi)ecially the confederation surrounding the zaouia of Sidi-ben- 
Ali-Cherif, forming a little theocratic state. This sacred college and kind 
of monastery is situated near Chellala, on the opposite or left bank of the 
Summam, and is the nursery of numerous tolbas [savants) and of won- 
derful legends. It contains three venerated tombs : those of Sidi-Mo- 
liammcd-ben-Ali-Chorif the founder, of Sidi-Said, and of a famous mara- 
bout Milah. The family of Sidi-Said holds the chief authority, and all his 
descendants are reputed to have been blessed with one male child and 

* Campaign, &c., by Dawson BoiTor, p. 29 ct scqq. Compare chap. xiv. p. 282. 


Leir. But these unlueky chiefs, like the Abyssinian olive-branches, are 
bound never to leave the territory of the confederation. One daring fellow 
who peeped over was struck blind, like our peeping Tom. Near the 
founder's tomb are two colossal walnut-trees, which must not be touched 
without the permission of the tolbas, or before the fatah has been said 
over them. A sly taleb venturing to pocket a nut, a leech falling from 
heaven bit out his eye. This zaouia, pre-eminent for strict morals, is 
served by the villages of Chellala and Ighit-ou-Mered, whose inhabitants 
are forbidden to have any education, that they may not aspire to become 
masters instead of servants.* This zaouia possesses vast property, and is 
supported by ready donations. f 

Leaving the column, we shall proceed to analyse the unsubdued district 
of the Zouaouas, the singular town of Kuelaa, and finally Dellys. 

The country of the Zouaouas J embraces the highest and most arid 
part of the mountains. Their soil is poor and affords little gi'ain, the tribe 
prefeiTing to cultivate vegetables, flax, and tobacco. Fruit is not wanting, 
including carobs, olives, figs, pomegranates, apricots, api)les, (be. Sweet 
acoi'ns are very plentiful, and eaten in cous-coussou by the Zouaouas. They 
have much game, including hares, partridges, quails, pigeons, <tc. Lions 
are rare, but panthers are more common; and to destroy them they often 
employ a kind of infernal machine, with a piece of meat near it as 
a bait. § 

The Zouaoua mountains also contain a host of hyenas, wild boars, 
jackals, ttc, and especially vast numbers of apes;|| but the produce of the 
country would be quite insufficient for its inhabitants, if they were not a 
highly industrious race. ^ 

Most of the towns of Algeria seem built under the impression of fear; 
and Kuelaa is a veritable miracle on the score of unassailableness : the 
only exposed approach is Bouni, on the side of Medjana. A natural phe- 
nomenon indicates clearly the separation of the Arab and Kabyle territories 
at this spot. Near the village of Djedida a colossal gate opens between the 
rocks, separating two countries of strikingly opposite charactei*s. To the 
south is the rich Medjana plain with its golden harvests. To the north an 
abrupt and rugged ground and sterile soil, yet, as you advance, improv- 
ing and displaying picturesque mountain beauties. Passing mighty rocks 
and a splendid cataract, you reach the plateau of Bouni, separated from 
Kuelaa by three leagues (7|- miles) of broken territory, whose difficulty 

* How like tliis to the superior wisdom of some enlightened classes nearer homo ! 
+ La Grande Kabylie. 

+ The name of the Zouaouas is frequently extended to all the Kabyle tribes inhabiting 
the ridge of the Jurjura, between Dellys and Bugiii. 

§ La Grande Kabylie. |1 See the Fauna. 

^ See following chapter. 

264 DELLYS. 

exceeds the fabulous, the path being for the most part along a ridge like 
Mahomet's razor, with fearful precipices on both sides, and only at times 
one metre in width. At length you reach the plateau of six kilometres 
(4|- miles), only united to earth by this narrow ridge, standing on Avall-like 
precipices, and commanding a vast vat-like basin. This sport of nature 
holds four villages, composing the town of Kuelaa. Ruins at the north- 
east point, called Bordj-el-feteun, point out the civil dissensions of its 
brilliant rulers the Mekhi-anis, one of whom built the Casbah, now in 
ruins, and brought four vast cannon of European origin to Kuelaa. The 
people are now governed by a natural Djema, and can raise 700 firelocks. 
They belong to the soff of the Beni- Abbas. (See chap, xiv.) 

The aspect of Kuelaa is smiling. The houses, built in the Moorish 
style, are often white-washed, always tiled. The great mosque commands 
the town, and has a graceful appearance, the porch being decorated with 

Unhappily the town has no water. Seven basins have been dug in 
the rock by an alley separating the quarters of Ben-Daoud and Ouled- 
Aissa (the son of David and the children of Jesus), but the water only 
trickles there in drops. In winter they have plenty of rain, but in the 
droughts they have to resort to the Oued-Beni-Hamadouche, winding at 
the bottom of the ravine, half a league {\^ miles) off by the steepest 
roads. The banks of this river present a little cultivation, but the people 
would starve were it not for their great industry. Men and women work 
hard, making immense quantities of woollen garments, and many of them 
migrating to the towns of Algeria and Barbary. The women are noted 
for their beauty and toilette; and the strong jiosition of Kuelaa has made 
it for ages a kind of sanctuary for pei-son and property in this anarchical 

Turning to Dellys (in Arabic Teddel), the west limit of Great Kabylia 
on the seaboard, we find that this town stands on the supposed site, and 
is built of the remains of, Rusucurrum, one league from the mouth of the 
river Booberak, and forty-five miles east from Algiei-^. St. Marie, who 
passed Dellys in 1845, on his voyage from Algiers to Bona, describes it as 
the first well-inhabited place on the coast within a distance of twenty 
leagues from Algiers. The surrounding hills show careful cultivation ; and 
a succession of delightful gardens indicates amongst the inhabitants a 
certain love of order and repose, not to be met with in other parts of 
Africa. -j- 

* La Grande Kabj-lie. 

t Baron Baude, vol. i. p. 127- St. Maiie, p. 197. Diary of a Lad/s Travels in Bar- 
barj', vol. i. p. 155. Nicholas de Nicolai, who was at Dellys in 1551, remarks : " C'est une 
villc habitoe d'un pcuple fort rcJcr^atif et plaisant, dont prcsque tons s'adonnent aujeu 
<le la harpe et du luth." He gave it 2000 fii-cs ; and Grumayo agrees in his statement. 


It appears from the latest official documents,* tliat a landing-slip, fifty- 
five metres (180-40 feet) in length, and built of masonry, was constructed 
at the port of Dellys in 1847-8, costing 4G,G11 fr. 29 cents. (18G0/. 95. 5d.) 
The Place Nationale was partially cleared of rubbish in 1850 ; and 1790 
metres (5871-20 feet) of principal streets, and 1470 metres (4785-20 feet) 
of branch streets, were opened from 1844 to 1849. The springs within 
the walls supply daily 43,200 litres (9504 gallons) of water ; whilst the 
ain, or conduit, of Mezel-el-Foukani, finished between 1844 and 1849, at 
an expense of 7260 fr. (290^. 8s. 2d.), has a length of 225 metres (738 
feet), and yields a daily supply of 21, GOO litres (4752 gallons). The con- 
duit of Ain-Bouabada, called Sidi-Souzou, was finished in 1849, at a cost 
of 15,400 fr. (616Z.), having a length of 500 metres (1G40 feet), and 
yielding a daily supply of 28,800 litres (633G gallons). The latter con- 
duit has been brought in as far as to the fountains within the walls. 

A building connected with the maritime service, and called direction 
du port, answering to our harbour-master's office, was built in 1844-G, cost- 
ing G4G9 fr. (258Z. 15s. lOcZ.) ; as well as a bureau Arabe, built at the same 
date, at an expense of 1G,717 fr. (GGS^. 14s. 2(7.) 

The precincts of Dellys are occupied by a certain number of petty 
tribes, who in a great measure identify their interests with those of the 
town, forming a distinct confederation from the other Kabyles. Its prin- 
cipal members are the Beni-Slyems and the Beni-Thour, and they can 
raise 1400 muskets. Dellys numbers about 1339 inhabitants, of whom 
308 are Europeans. j* 

After leaving Dellys, as you proceed eastward along the coast of 
Kabylia towards Bugia, you pass the i)ort of Zuffoone, commonly called 
Mers-el-Fahm (the port of charcoal) ; and doubling Cape Ash-oune-mon- 
Kar, where stood the ancient Vabar, the next remarkable place you 
come to is Mettsecoub (the perforated rock). The Spaniards have a 
tradition that Raymond Lully, in his mission to Africa, was in the 
habit of retiring to this cave for meditation. Not far hence is Bugia. | 
St. Marie, who also sailed along this coast, speaks thus of its appearance : 
" Leaving- behind us Cape Sigli, Ave saw at sunrise the islet of the Pisans, 
a wild rock, on which innumerable sea-birds alight.§ This part of the 
coast is rocky and mountainous, and their forms indicate a calcareous 
soil. Here and there thin black spaces mark the spots where the Kabyles 
have burned the dwarf-palms and other wild vegetation, to clear the un- 
cultivated ground for sowing."|| 

Having completed our survey of the topography of Algeria, we proceed 

* See the Tableau (1850), p. 344. 

t Diary, vol. i. p. 155. i Blofeld, p. 4-3. 

§ Query : might it not contain a deposit of f^iauo ? 

II We shall revisit this iuterestiug region in a future chapter. 


in the following cliapters to analyse the physical characteristics, manners, 
customs, and laws, the arts and sciences, of the different strata of humanity 
that have been deposited on this shore by the tide of time.* 

* Baude, vol. i. p 127. St. Marie, chap. vi. p. 197. For a description of the topo- 
graphy, &c. of Algeria in the earlier years of the French occupation, see Nouvelles A n- 
nales des Voyages, Dec. 1833; Apergu historique et statistiqne sur la Regence cV Alger, <Lx. 
par Sidi-Hamadan Ben Othman Khoja ; A Review of Rozet's Voyage, par Laurenaudifere ; 
Appd en faveur d' Alger et de VAfrique du Nord, ; and the works of Poiret, Hoest, 
Norberg, Brims, Langier de Tassy, Renaudor, &c. Many additional details relating to the 
topography of Algeria in 1845 and 1848 will be found in Cai^tain Kennedy's Algeria and 
Tunis, and in the Diary of a Ladijs Travels in Barhary. 0\\r limits prevent us from 
dwelling any longer on this branch of the subject ; but we especially commend to the 
reader's attention chaps, i. ii. and xii. of the first volume of Captain Kennedy, and sec- 
tions 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 11, 12, 13, and 14 of the Diary, on the city of Algiers. 

PART 11. 








THE existing Mussulman population of Algeria is much like that of Gaul 
when conquered by Caesar, foi*ming one great community with one 
dominant Umguage and religion; but there exists no durable tie, and there 
are many divisions. " In Gallia," says Csesar, " non solum in omnibus 
civitatibus . . , sed pene etiam in singulis domibus factiones," &c.* 
CfBsar fomented these discords, and conquered Gaul ; the Turks did the 
same at Algiers, fomenting the natural antipathy of the Kabyles and Arabs. 
Divide et impera was their motto, and it succeeded, their instinct having 
taught this principle to the Ottoman rulers. 

Numerous revolutions have visited North Africa; but the populations 
that they have deposited have not, generally speaking, gone far from the 
coast, and the older races remain commonly in the Sahara and the Atlas. 
An exception is found in the Aouress mountain, which seems to be inhabi- 
ted by a tribe of Vandal origin. The Biskris and Mozabites, who have a 
colony at Algiers, are pronounced by some authorities the same people as 
the Gsetulians of the ancients, to whom Rome gave the right of citizenship. 
They live in the Sahara, and have not meddled with the quarrels of the 
people of the Atlas. We shall shortly examine their characteristics more 

The ancients have not given a very flattering picture of the Kabyles, to 
whom we shall first direct our attention. These tribes, belonging to the 
Berber race, are the aborigines of Algeria, living chiefly in the Atlas, par- 
ticularly the Djorjora and the Darha; and they have been thus described by 
Procopius: "Inured to hardships, they live in little huts in which it is 
scarcely possible to breathe ; in winter or summer alike regardless of snow 
or sun, or any other necessary evil. They sleep on the bare ground, or 

• Do Bell. Gall. i. 6, c. 11. 


occasionally the more lucky among them may put something under them. 
They are forbidden by law to add additional clothing according to the 
weather ; but their dress is torn and dirty, and they wear a rough tunic in 
all weathers. They are without wine, bread, and all the other usual neces- 
saries of life ; but either roasting or kneading into flour wheat, corn, or 
at least barley, they devom* it after the fashion of wild beasts." * 

The Turks looked upon them as a barbarous and perfidious race, with- 
out fear of God and without faith to men, keeping peace only with those 
who kept them under by terror. Similar was the opinion entertained of 
them by the ancients. " They have neither any fear of God or respect for 
man, nor do they pay any regard to their oath. . . . Lastly, they have 
no peace with any one, save with those who coerce them through fear."f 

Let us compare these statements with their actual position. 

Having given a description of the topography and population of Ka- 
bylia, we proceed to lay before the reader a compendious account of the 
character, manners, and customs of the Kabyles, and of the productions of 
their territory.;}: 

The dominant characteristics of this region have been : 1. Independ- 
ence of the Turkish or French yoke. 2. The use of the Berber tongue. 
3. The stability and relative luxury of the habitations. 4. The cultiva- 
tion of fruit-trees and the exercise of professional arts. 

The Kabyles delight in a sedentary life ; some inhabit huts of mud and 
turf or rough stones, and others reside in solidly and well-constructed vil- 
lages. They are a highly industrious people, great cultivators, and make 
their own agricultural implements, arms, gunpowder, haicks, carpets, 
leather, &c. Yet this race is very unsociable with strangers ; and while 
the Arabs correspond to the French families that speak the langue d'oc, 
with southern imaginations, personifying material forms, — the Kabyles 
have a northern precision of thought and expression, confining themselves 
to a precise and critical statement of facts. § 

Patriarchalism is the dominant principle with the Arabs, communism 
with the Berbers or Kabyles. They are not acquainted, like the Arabs, 
with the distinction between the terms Oulud and Beni, as applied to noble 
and servile tribes. The only distinction that they make in employing 

* Marusii duns assueti, in parvis tuguriis iibi vix rcspirare licet degimt, hyemis ac 
astatis tcmporibus, neque nivibus, noquo solibus, neque alio qiiocvimquo malo necessario 
curantcs. Doniiiuiit mulo humo ; si qui beatiores inter eos, aliquid substcraiunt. Vestes 
iusuper secundum tompora variaro ox lege prohibentur ; sed laccrara vestem atque cras- 
sam, tunicamque asperam in orane tempus induunt. Fane vinoijue et aliis bonis omnibus 
Usui necessario carent, sed triticum, sive selaginom, sivc hordeum minime ant coquemtes 
aut in farinam terentcc more bolluarum passim depascuntur. — Proc. Be Bell. Vand. i. 2. 

t Illis nequo Dei metus est ullus, neque hominum reverentia, neque item jusjurandi aut 

hominum ulla cura Donique cum nullo i)acom habout, nisi cum bis quoi-mn metu 

coerceantur.— Z)e Bell. Vand. i. 2, 

+ Sco vol. i. chap. xiii. of Captain Kennedy's Ali/tria and Tunis. 

§ La Kabylio propremont dite, by E, Carettc, in tbo Exploration SciontiQquo. 


these Arabic designations is, that they commonly style the lay tribes Beni, 
and reserve that of Oulad for the marabouts. The Berber generic term 
for tribe is ait, which they give without distinction both to nobles and 
villains, for ait has not so much of a family meaning as Oulad and Beni. 
It signifies properly the people, the followers, while Beni and Oulad imply 
direct descent ; thus familism is not such a dominant influence among the 
Kabyles as among the Arabs/'' 

The Kabyles are very frugal in their habits, their principal food con- 
sisting of pancakes, called galette, baked upon a plate of clay; milk, honey, 
butter ; figs soaked in oil, of which they consume great quantities ; and the 
everlasting cous-coussou. t 

The moral and physical characteristics of the Arabs and Kabyles are 
thus contrasted by Colonel Daumas : 

" The Arab has black eyes and hair ; many of the Kabyles have blue 
eyes and red hair: they are also generally y« ire/" than the Arabs. The 
Arab has an oval face and a long neck ; the Kabyle, on the contrary, has 
a square face, with the head approaching the shoulders. The Arab never 
shaves ; the Kabyle shaves till he has attained his 20th or 2yth year : at 
that age he is a man, and lets his beard grow ; it is an indication of the 
judgment that he has acquired, and of his i-eason which is maturing. The 
Arab covci-s his head at all seasons, and clothes his feet Avhenever he can. 
The Kabyle, in winter and summer, through sunshine and shade, goes bare- 
footed and bare-headed.":}: 

The Kabyles differ in all things fi'om the Arabs. The first live under 
roofs, the last under tents ; the Kabyle fights in preference on foot, the 
Arab on horseback. Their languages have no analogy. The Arab flies 
our contact ; the Kabyles of the tribes that are most hostile to the French 
do not hesitate to come and seek labour in the towns, and the Amaz- 
irghes of the Riff' in Morocco have latterly immigrated in considerable 
numbers into Oran. In short, the Kabyles are the conquered, and the 
Arabs the conquerors ; hence their hereditary hatred.§ If by chance you 
meet a Kabyle with his feet covered, it is accidentally, and merely with the 
skin of a beast just killed. When they cover their feet, Avhich is unusual, 
they wear a slight sandal of raw hide, whilst a kind of buskin of the same 
material is often worn up the leg. || Those who border on the plains some- 
times wear the chachia (Tunis cap). 

The Kabyle has for his only clothing the chcloucha, a kind of woollen 
shirt which falls below the knees, and costs from 7 to 8 fr. [(is. 8d.) ; 
he protects his legs with footless gaiters, knitted in wool, which they call 
bougherous. When engaged in work, he puts on a large leathern apron cut 

* La Kabylio proprement dito. General Daumas, La Grande Kabylio. Baron Baude's 
Algeria, vol. iii. p. 221. 

+ Dawson Borrer's Campaign, &c. + La Grande Kabylie, p. 21. 

^ Baron Baude, vol. iii. p. 221. |1 D. Borrer, chap. i. 


like that of the French sappers; and he wears the burnouse when his means 
allow him, keeping it an indefinite period, regardless of spots or rents : 
he received it from his father, and he bequeathes it to his son.* Some 
authorities entitle the Kabyle shirt khandoimi, and describe it as having 
loose sleeves ; and their burnouse they describe as a white, or black and 
white, woollen mantle with a large hood.f 

The Arab lives under his tent— he is a nomad on a limited territory ; 
the Kabyle dwells in a house — he is fixed to his spot of ground. His 
house is built of dry stones or unburnt bricks, which he puts together in a 
somewhat rude fashion. The roof is thatched, but among the rich it is 
covered with tiles ; and this sort of cabin is called tezaka. It consists of 
one or two chambers; the father, mother, and children occupying one-half 
the building to the right of the entrance-door. This family dwelling is 
called dounes. The other part of the house, which they name Main, to 
the left, serves for a stable for the cattle and horses. If one of the sons of 
the house is married, and requires a menage of his own, they build him a 
dwelling above by running up another story. | 

Whoever undertakes a journey, ought to set out on a Monday, Thurs- 
day, or Saturday : these days smile on the traveller. Happy the man who 
begins his journey on a Saturday ; the prophet preferred that day to the 
other two. They travel, it is true, on Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday ; 
but then the traveller is never free from anxiety during his whole transit. 
You must never begin a battle or skirmish on a Tuesday. Thursday is the 
day on which the bridegroom ought to introduce his bride to the conjugal 
roof : it is always a good augury ; because the Avife awakes on a Friday, 
which is the Sunday of the Mussulman. No one is to be lamented who 
dies during the Ilhamadan,§ during which the gates of hell are closed, and 
those of paradise always open. It is a happy presage if you see a jackal 
when you rise in the morning; and tAvo crows at the moment of setting 
out are a sign of a prosperous journey. It is a bad sign to see a hare at 
night ; and a single crow before commencing a journey is a reason for 
anxiety. The Kabyles, so incredulous on the subject of witchcraft, are 
less so on the question of demons. They say there are some in all seasons, 
except during the Rhamadan ; because God compels them to remain in hell 
during the sacred month. They fear them extremely. A Kabyle will never 
go out of his house at night, without conjuring them in the name of the 
all-powerful and merciful God. He will do the same also when he passes 
near a spot where blood has been shed, because the demons love blood, 
and are sure to resort to those spots. There exists also, if it be not a pre- 
judice, at least a universal contempt for the she-ass ; and to such an extent 

* Daumas, chap. L Dawson Borrer, p. 1 ot sc.]q. 

t Dawson Borrer, chap. i. X Daumas, La Gi-aiulo I^abylic, p. 22. 

§ This word signifies the sacred month of the Mussulmans, during which they fast till 


do they carry it, that amongst certain tribes a Kabylc would not see one 
enter the house for any thing iu the world. They have a legend which 
would explain this aversion by an act against nature in the time of the 
ancient Kabyles. The Arab detests work ; he is essentially idle ; during 
nine months of the year he only thinks of his pleasures. The Kabyle 
labours immensely, and at all times ; idleness is a disgrace in his eyes. 
The Arab tills the land a great deal ; he possesses a great number of 
flocks which he tends ; but he plants no trees. The Kabyle grows less 
corn, but he gardens a good deal ; he spends his life iu planting and 
grafting ; he has lentils, grey peas, beans, artichokes, turnips, cucumbers, 
onions, beet-root, red pepper, water-melons, and melons. He also culti- 
vates tobacca ; he has for some time grown potatoes ; he has fruit of all 
kinds — olives, figs, nuts, oranges, pears, apples, apricots, almonds, and 
raisins. The chief riches of the country consist in its olives, many of 
which are grafted, and attain sometimes the dimensions of the walnut- 
tree. The olives, which are of excellent quality, form a great part of the 
Kabyle's nourishment ; but an enormous quantity remains to be sold 
either as fruit or as oil. The latter is exported in goat-skins to Algiers, 
Bugia, Dellys, to Setif, and to all the markets in the interior. The arable 
land not being very abundant in proportion to the population, the Kabyles 
do not neglect a moi-sel of it. They give two ploughings to the ground, 
and manure it, but seldom suffer it to lie fallow ; nor do they practise 
rotation of crops. Generally speaking, their fields are kept pretty clean, 
and some of them yield as much as twenty-five for one. The wheat is 
threshed in a barbarous fashion by means of bulls, which work in a 
circle on the barn-floor; and being winnowed coarsely with the end of a 
board, does not pass through the sieve : it is preserved, like that of the 
Arabs, in silos (in Arabic, metmora) ; and also in large osier-baskets, 
which are very wide at the bottom and narrow at the top. The Arab 
travels sometimes in search of pasturage, but he never goes beyond a cer- 
tain circle. Among the Kabyles, one of the members of the family goes 
away for a time to seek his fortune ; thus one sees them every where — at 
Algiers, at Setif, at Bona, Philippeville, Constautina, and at Tunis. They 
wox'k as masons, gardeners, reapei's j and they tend flocks. When they 
have gained a little money, they return to their village, buy a gun and an 
ox, and then marry. 

Baron Baude says we call Kabyles all the inhabitants of the Atlas 
and of the shore whose establishment preceded that of the Arabs, and who 
do not speak their language. This definition is in the main correct, though 
likely to give rise to sundry inaccuracies. 

The Kabyles, on their part, do not distinguish the European nations 
respectively, and think us the same people as the ancient Romans, hence 
they call us Bomui ; and the native Kabyle who serves in the regiment of 
Zouaves, a mongrel force raised by the French in Algeria, is thought to 



serve in the Eoman troops. The Baron was disposed to think, however, 
that they had as many shades of difference among them as the different 
nations of Europe : in some places they present us Avith dark skins and 
fine hair, in others with light hair and fine clear complexions. This re- 
mark is true, if we give the same extent as the Baron to the term Kabyle ; 
embracing the blue-eyed tribes of the Aouress and Mount Edough, and the 
Kabyle Jews. 

He further states that their habits and customs change according to 
the tribes : some, like the Mezayas near Bugia, and the mountaineers of 
the Chifia, have no other industry than robbery, and no other law than the 
sword ; others, again, are superior in honest industry to many European 
populations. The inhabitants on the slopes of the Djordjora, who are cor- 
rectly thought to be the descendants of the Vandals, build houses which 
remind one of European structures, and have no resemblance to Moorish 
edifices. They work mines, know how to extract the ore of iron and lead ; 
manufacture gunpowder, steel weapons, and firelocks ; they also make 
a great part of the haicks, of the coverings, and burnouses, that are used 
not only all over Algeria, but also in the empire of Morocco and in the 
regencies of Tunis and Tripoli. They have factories {des comjjtoirs) like 
those of the Pisans in the middle ages ; and if we take into consideration 
the simplicity of their implements and the finish of their work, we must 
confess that their workmen are not less dexterous than ours. They seem 
to have institutions like those of the ancient Germans of Ca?sar and Ta- 
citus. Thus, from the age of twenty to twenty-five years, all the male 
population are subject to military service ; after the age of twenty-five 
they make a kind of mobilised reserve in case of war ; and after a certain 
age they cannot be called out except in cases of great danger.* 

Strictly speaking, the Arab is not industrious, although he manufac- 
tures saddles, harness, horse-bits, tfec.t The Kabyle, on the contrary, is 
industrious : he builds his house, he is a carpenter, he forges Aveapons, 
gun -ban-els, and locks, swords called Jiissas, knives, pickaxes, cards for 
wool, ploughshares, &c. They moreover manufacture gun-stocks, shovels, 
wooden shoes, and frames for weaving. The burnouses and habayas 
(woollen garments) are also made by them, together with the haicks for 
women, and the white chachias (caps). Their earthenware is renowned ; 
and they make the oil from their olives, which they gather on their own 
property, besides preparing the mills themselves for pressing them. The 
following is the most usual form of the Kabyle oil-jjress : a large basin, 
formed of one piece of wood, having at each extremity of one of its diameters 
a vertical post, which works in a horizontal bar ; the latter being pierced in 
the middle, a wooden vice is let througli, terminated by a millstone of a 
diameter little inferior to that of the basin. The vice presses upon the 
olives, which, having been previously boiled, are placed under the millstone. 
* Baron Baiido. t Daumas, chap. i. 


The Kabyles also prepare tlie hives for their bees, and extract the wax ; 
and in preparing flour for their bread, they only use portable mills at 
home. They are acquainted with the art of baking tiles, a hundred of 
which cost from two francs (I5. 8^.) to two francs fifty cents. In certain 
localities they make coi'k soles ; and they are also familiar with the prepara- 
tion and use of lime ; but they are very careful of it, only using it to whiten 
the mosque and the koubbas (the tombs) of the marabouts. They make 
use of plaister (whitewash) for their houses, this article seeming to be very 
plentiful in their territory : the quarry of Thisi, among the Beni-]\Iessaoud, 
at a league and a half from Bugia, furnishes a great quantity of it. They 
prepare black soap from the olive-oil, and salt- wort of sea-weed or the 
ashes of the laurel-rose ; they weave baskets in which to carry loads, 
and prepare table-cloths of the dwarf palm, besides spinning cords from 
wool and goat's hair. In short, they carry their industrial cleverness to 
such a pitch, that they manufacture even false coin.* 

We shall proceed to enlarge on some of the branches of industry pre- 
viously mentioned, beginning with the last. From time immemorial the 
Kabyles who were established at Ayt-el-Arba, a considerable village of 
the tribe of Beni-Janni, gave themselves up to this guilty practice. Other 
less noted gangs are still found in the village of Ayt-Ali-ou-Harzoun, 
15 leagues south-east of A}i;-el-Arba, 40 leagues (100 miles) distant from 
Algiers. The spot to which these coiners repair is the summit of a moun- 
tain protected by a very narrow and almost inaccessible defile. It is there 
that, sheltered from all attack, they imitate the copper, gold, and silver coins 
of all the countries of the world. Their first materials are partly furnished 
by the neighbouring mines. Copper and silver they have brought to 
them from all the barbarous parts of the country, even from the Sahara, 
by men who not only transfer the produce of their country to Ayt-el- 
Arba, but also come to buy adulterations. They pay them with monies of 
good alloy, on the footing of 25 per cent. The simple inspection of a piece 
of counterfeit proves that the procedure employed to obtain it is gene- 
rally that of fusion. In fact, all the pieces present a diameter slightly 
inferior to that of the models ; a result occasioned bythe contraction 
which they have suffered in casting, after extraction from the mould con- 
taining the impression of genuine pieces. The relief of the figures and 
the letters is generally badly wrought, and the aspect of the metal is faded 
or coppery. It must be owned, however, and all who have seen them will 
bear out the assertion, that the greater part of these false pieces efliectually 
deceive you at first sight, and some really require a very minute examin- 

The methods of prevention employed under the Turks, in order to 
oppose the uttering of false coins, were conformable in every thing to 
the despotic and arbitrary procedures which the authorities at that time 
* La Grande Kaby!io, p. 27. 


sanctioned. The people of Ayt-el-Arba, and those of Ali-ou-Harzoun, 
never going from their retreat, were obliged to confide to others the care 
of hawking about tlieir products ; for though the Kabyles protect the 
manufacturers of false coin, they are quite merciless towards any man 
who would try to circulate it in the country. It is therefore necessary to 
send it out of Kabylia ; and the Beni-Jauni, the Beni-Menguelat, the Beni- 
Boudrar, and the Beni-Ouassif, were generally charged with this mission. 
The estrangement of the other Kabyles from these tribes proceeds, no 
doubt, from this cause. These people were watched with peculiar jealousy, 
and could not travel in the interior of the district without the permission 
of the caid of Sebaou, who never granted it without imposing a duty of 
two Spanish douros (9s.). If he omitted to show this permission, which 
they moreover refuse to all who are susjiected of trafficking in coin, the 
first traveller who arrived was obliged to submit to the confiscation of his 
merchandise, mules, &c. 

Three years before the conquest of Algiers by the French, false coin 
had multiplied so excessively, that the Agha-Yahia, who had a great re- 
putation among the Arabs, furious to find his vigilance of no avail, caused, 
in one and the same day, men of all the tribes who were known to have 
devoted themselves to this profession to be arrested in the markets of 
Algiers, Constantina, Setif, and Bona. They imprisoned in this way a 
hundred individuals, whom the pasha sentenced to death if they did not 
deliver up the moulds which they used in their manufacture. The people 
of Ayt-el-Arba, in order to save their brothers, sent all their instruments, 
and the prisoners were not set at liberty vintil a large fine was paid. This 
check which the false coiners experienced did not give them any distaste 
for their trade. Ayt-el-Arba lost no portion of its prosperity ; and the 
number of merchants who came there to supply themselves from all parts, — 
from Morocco, Tunis, from the iSahara and Tripoli, — did not at all decrease. 
A Kabyle taken in the act of issuing false coin was put to death without 
any formal process. It was the only case in which justice was inexorable, 
and in which the money which redeemed all other crimes was not able to 
weigh down the scales on their side. Those branches of labour which are 
more honourable, but not so exciting to the curiosity, are perhaps not so 
well known. 

The manufacture of powder is confined to the tribe of the Beboulas : 
they make it in great quantities there, and by processes similar to our 
own. Saltpetre abounds in natural caverns, and it is found incrusting 
their walls. Being collected like our sweepings of saltpetre, it is first 
waslicd, and then obtained by eva])oration. Charcoal is procured from 
the laurel-rose, and possesses the best qualities. Sul})hui- is inq)orted from 
foreign countries. The ])roportions are regulated as with us, and the dry- 
ing is performed by the sun. This Kabyle powder, which is not quite so 
strong as ours, is neither smooth nor equally granulated ; but it does not 


stain the liand, and answers as a good powder for war. The Kabyle 
cartridges are well rolled, and they arc much boasted of in the market. 
The lowest price of the cartouch is iO cents (4c/.), which appears extremely 
high. The l)alls are of lead, and very irregular in size. The working of 
lead-mines is carried on upon a considerable scale in the tribe of the 
Beni-Boulateb, near Setif. This metal is found also in a mountain near 
Msila, and in another called Agouf, also amongst the Reboulas ; this last 
is reported to contain silver ore. In all cases they obtain it by simple 
fusion, and it is exported in pigs or balls. Copper is also found in Ka- 
bylia. It is extracted, and employed in making female ornaments. Melted 
with zinc, it forms a brass which is very useful for powder-horns, the 
mountings of flissas, handles for poniards, &c. Tavo very abundant iron 
mines are renowned in Great Kabylia ; one amongst the Berbachas, the 
other amongst the Beni-Slyman. The vein of ore is smelted in furnaces 
heated by charcoal, after the Catalan method ; the bellows are made of 
goat-skin, and plied by men. The tribe of the Flissas prepare steel wea- 
pons, bearing their name, with the iron of the Berbaches and the steel 
brought from the East. The principal manufacturers of fire-arms are the 
Beni-Abbas. Their gun-locks, which are more celebrated than their gun- 
barrels, unite elegance with solidity ; they are exported as far as Tunis. 
Their gun-stock is made of the walnut-wood, and they mount the whole of 
their steel weapons. In the midst of this vast industry of the men, the 
women do not remain idle. They spin wool, and weave it into a sort of 
white stuff", which serves for clothing for both sexes. Their trades are 
established ujjon the model of those of Algeria. The flax, gathered in 
little bunches, then dried in the open air, and lastly pounded and spun by 
the women, makes a coarse cloth which is employed for many uses. The 
women co-operate in making the burnouse, which in some tribes, for in- 
stance the Beni-Abbas and Beni-Ourtilan, becomes an object of exporta- 
tion, these people having more than they require for their own use. 

The Arab occupies himself very little in preserving his arms; it would 
require some care: "a black dog," he says, "bites as well as a white dog." 
The Kabyle, on the contrary, considers his gun his chief luxury; he pre- 
serves it from rust; and when he takes it out of the case, he holds it with 
his handkerchief, that it may not be soiled. The Arab, physically idle, is 
somewhat inert even in the impulses of the heart; but amongst the Ka- 
byles anger and conflicts attain inconceivable propoi-tions. The follow- 
ing is a recent example. A man of the tribe of the Beni-Yala met, at 
the market of Guenzate, another Kabyle, who owed him a bai-ra (seven ' 
centimes). He reclaimed his debt. " I will not give thee thy barra," 
replied the debtor. " And why V " I do not know." " If thou hast ' 
no money, I will Avait still." "I have some, — but it's a kind of whim 
which has taken hold of me not to pay thee." At these words the cre- 
ditor, quite furious, seized the other by his burnouse, and threw him on 



the ground. The neighbours joined in the struggle. Two parties were 
soon formed, and they had recourse to arms. From 1 o'clock till 7 in 
the evening, it was impossible to separate the combatants; 45 men were 
killed, and that for about a halfi)enny ! This quarrel happened in 1843; 
but the war which was kindled through it is not yet extinguished. The 
town has since been divided into two hostile quarters, and the houses 
which stood on the ft'ontier are now deserted. 

The Arab is vain : he appears humble and arrogant alternately. The 
Kabyle remains always wrapped up in his pride. This pride gives import- 
ance to the smallest things of life, imposes on all great simplicity of man- 
ners, and exacts a scrupulous reciprocity for every deferential act. For 
instance, the Arab kisses the hand and the head of his superior with forced 
compliments and salutations, troubling himself little whether or not his 
politeness is returned. The Kabyle never pays compliments; he kisses 
the hand and the head of a chief or of an old man ; but whatever be the 
dignity or the age of him who has received this politeness, he is bound 
immediately to return it. Si-Said-Abbas, a marabout of the Beni-Haffif, 
was one day in the market, on a Friday, of the Beni-Ourtilan. A Kabyle 
called Ben-Zeddam approached and kissed his hand; but the marabout, no 
doubt not thinking about it, did not return the salutation. " By the sins 
of my wife," said Ben-Zeddam, who placed himself in front of Si-Said with 
his gun in his hand, " thou shalt instantly return me what I gave thee, or 
thou art a dead man." And the marabout performed the act. The Arab 
is a liar; the Kabyle considers lying a disgrace. 

The Arabs in war usually proceed (say the French) through surprises 
and treachery. The Kabyle acquaints his enemy with his intentions ; 
and this is done in the following manner : the token of peace between 
two tribes consists in the exchange of some article, — it may be a gun, a 
stick, or a bullet- mould, &c.; this is called the mezrac (the lance). All this 
leads to the conclusion, that before the invention of fire-arms, the deposit 
of a lance was, in fact, the symbol of a truce and good faith. Should one 
of the tribes wish to break the truce, the chief simply returns the mezrac, 
and war is declared. The Arabs are satisfied with the dia, the price of blood 
in expiation of a murder committed on one of the members of the family. 
With the Kabyles, the assassin must die. His flight will not save him; 
for vengeance is a sacred obligation. Into whatever region, however dis- 
tant, the murderer may fly, thither revenge follows him. A man hajipens 
to be assassinated; he leaves a son very young; the mother teaches the 
child very early the name of his father's murderer. When the son is 
grown up, she gives him a gun, and says, "Go, revenge thy father!" If 
the widow has only a daughter, she makes known that she will receive 
no money for her,* and will give her only to him who kills her husband's 
murderer. There is a striking analogy between their manners and those 
* The Kabyles buy their wives, as wc sb;ill show further on. 


of the Corsicaus ; and it is still more delineated in the following traits. 
If the really guilty man escapes vengeance, and evades all pursuit, it 
passes over to the nearest of kin ; whose death, in its turn, requires new 
reprisals. Hatred thus enters the two families, and becomes hereditary. 
On both sides, friends and neighbours marry, factions ensue, and actual 
wars may even result from it. The Arabs practise hospitality; but there 
is more of policy and ostentation than of heart in it. Amongst the 
Kabyles, though their hospitality is of a less sumptuous nature, you can 
nevertheless perceive in its forms the existence of good feeling. A stranger 
is always well treated, whatever may be his origin. These attentions are 
still more marked towards refugees, whom nothing in the world could 
induce them to deliver up. The Turks and the Emir Abd-el-Kader have 
always been frustrated in any demands or efforts contrary to this noble 
principle. The following is a generous custom amongst them. When 
the fruits, such as figs, grapes, &c. begin to ripen, the chiefs publish a 
decree that no one, during fourteen or fifteen days, under pain of a 
penalty, shall touch any of the fruit on the trees. At the expiration of 
the time fixed, the proprietors assemble in the mosque, and swear on the 
holy books that the command has not been violated. He who cannot take 
the oath pays the fine. The poor of the tribe are then consulted, they 
make out a list, and each proprietor by turn feeds them till the fruit-season 
is passed. The same thing takes place during the bean season, an article 
much cultivated by the Kabyles. At these periods every stranger may 
enter the gardens, and eat as much as will satisfy him, without any in- 
terruption; but he must not take away any thing with him: for a theft 
is doubly culpable on these occasions, and might cost him his life. The 
Arabs cut ofi' the head in combat ; the Kabyles, amongst themselves, never 
do this. The Arabs are accustomed to rob wherever they can, and espe- 
cially in the day-time. The Kabyles commit robberies chiefly by night, 
and only amongst their enemies. In this case it is an act worthy of 
praise ; otherwise, quite the contrary. The Arab has preserved some tra- 
ditions concerning medicine and surgery. The Kabyle has neglected 
them; consequently we find many chronic diseases amongst them. The 
Arab does not know how to increase the value of his money; he buries it 
in the ground, or uses it to increase his flocks. The Kabyle, contrary to 
the Mussulman law, puts it out at large interest, — for instance, at 50 per 
cent per month ; or he buys at a cheap rate, and forestalls the harvests 
of oil, of grain, &c. The Arabs class musicians in the rank of bullbons; 
and the man amongst them who would dance is dishonoured in all eyes. 
The Kabyle likes to play on his little flute ; and every one dances, men 
and women, relations and neighbours : the dance is performed with and 
without arms. 

When a marriage is celebrated among the Arabs, they perform eques- 
trian games before they bring home the bride. With the Kabyles, the 


relations or friends of the bridegroom shoot at a target. The mark is 
generally an -egg, -a peppercorn, or a flat stone. This custom causes 
a great deal of gaietj, for those who miss the mark are subject to 
much joking. When a Kabyle wants to marry, he informs one of his 
friends, who seeks the hither of the girl of his choice, and makes known 
the desire. They fix the marriage-portion which will be paid by the 
husband ; for he literally buys his wife, and a great number of girls is con- 
sidered to constitute the wealth of the house. These portions amount to 
upwards of a hundred douros (251.). It sometimes happens that the future 
husband does not possess the entire sum ; he is then granted a month or 
two to collect it, and during that time he may visit the house of his futui'e 
wife. When he has succeeded, he leads her, as his fiancee, first through 
the village, armed with a yatagan, a gun, and a pair of pistols ; after 
which he takes her under his own roof. This ceremony is performed with 
great pomp. Each village has its band, composed of two kinds of Turkish 
clarionets and drums ; and these musicians figure in the nuptial cortege. 
They sing as they go, and the women and children make the air resound 
with their joyous cries, " You ! you ! you!" They fire a number of guns ; 
and the young people of the village, all or a part of them, according to 
the wealth of the hu.sband, are in^vated to a great repast. 

Amongst the Arabs, when a male child is born, they rejoice and make 
comjiliments, but the fete is held in the family alone ; if the mother has a 
female child, the women alone rejoice. The birth of a male child amongst 
the Kabyles causes an assembling of all the neighbours and friends of the 
surrounding villages. They fire guns and shoot at the target ; and seven 
days after, the father gives a great feast. Circumcision does not take 
place till the age of seven or eight 3'ears. If a girl is brought into the 
woi'ld, there is no change in the habits of life or appearance of the house, 
Ijecause she does not at all increase the force of the tribe ; since the child, 
when old enough, will probably marry, and will perhaps leave the country 
in order to follow a new master. 

When one of the family dies amongst the Arabs, the friends and 
neighbours assist at the burial, and then each one returns to his business. 
Amongst the Kabyles, the whole village is present at the funeral. No one 
must work ; and with the exception of the relations of the departed, all 
unite in giving hospitality to the Kabyles of other villages, who have come 
to add their tribute of grief. The dead are not placed on a bier : after 
being carefully washed, they are wrapped in a sort of cloth, and are then 
committed to the earth. The Kabyle women enjoy much greater liberty 
than the Arab women ; they are more considered in society. For in- 
stance, the Kabyle woman goes to market to get provisions for the house, 
to sell and to buy. The husband would be ashamed to enter into house- 
hold details like the Arab. The Arab woman cannot appear in the assem- 
blies of men ; she always holds her handkerchief, or veils herself with the 

WOMEX. 281 

kaik. The Kalnle woman seats herself where she chooses ; she talks, she 
sings, and her face remains uncovered. Both from infancy wear a small 
tattooed pattern on the face ; but that of the Kabyle women presents a 
remarkable peculiarity : it has generally the form of a cross. The usual 
position of it is between the eyes, or upon one of the nostrils. The 
Kabyles continue this custom, without knowing the origin of it, which 
appeal's to have been derived from the early Christian times. A fact 
worthy of remark strengthens this conjecture : it is, that no taleb or 
marabout will marry a woman thus tattooed, until lie has made the sign 
disappear through the application of lime and black soap. It is right, 
however, to observe, that the Koran prohibits all tattooings, branding them 
with the name of Ketibet-el-chytan (writing of the devil). The Ai-ab woman 
never eats with her husband, and still less with her hosts. The Kabyle 
woman takes her meals with the family, even when sti'angers are present. 
The Arab woman is never considered free in her actions. The Kabyle 
woman, if abandoned by her husband, returns to the house of her father 
or her brother ; and as long as her isolated mode of life lasts, enjoys pei'fect 
freedom from moral restraint. A woman who is divorced acts precisely 
in the same way. This license -will explain the pretended custom which 
is attributed to the Kabyles by several historians, of offering their Avives 
or daughters to distinguished guests. Owing to a certain number of 
free women being found in each tribe, the Kabyles appear to have been 
preserved from a kind of debauch contrary to nature, and so frequent 
amongst the Arabs, but which with them would be punished with death. 
In certain tribes, and especially amongst the Yguifsal, the Avomen and 
girls who live by jjrostitution pay each year, on new years day, a sort 
of duty, which does not amount to more than five douros {\l. 5s.) : this 
money is thrown into the public treasury. They cease to pay when they 
marry or give up their condition. But this custom is not general. After 
what has been said, it will not appear sur])rising, that the Kab}-les attach 
much less importance to the virginity of the young girls they marry than 
the Ai'abs. 

The Arab woman who receives no news of her husband duiing one 
or two years, or who has nothing at home to live upon, asks for a 
divorce, and the law directs the cadi to grant it. The Kabyle woman 
can only be married again on having a certain proof of her husband's 
death. If her position is unhappy, they give her work, or the tribe 
gives her assistance. Still, divorces are very usual amongst the Ka- 
byles ; but they are in a great measure at the whim of the husband. 
" / leave thee for one hundred douros" says the man who wishes to be 
divorced from his wife ; and the Avife retires to her parents Avith that 
sum. If she marries again, she is bound to restore the money to her 
first Benedict; but if she does not form ncAv ties, she keeps it. This 
measure is necessary, as girls have no right to inherit property, owing to 


the chance of their behig married to husbands of sti'ange tribes. The 
more daughters a Kabyle has, the richer he is,* as each of them brings 
him in a dowry, and he has to give none. The common women amongst 
the Arabs are generally dirty. The Kabyle women are cleaner, and they 
are obliged to make two toilets in the day: in the morning they wash; in 
the evening they adorn themselves with all their ornaments, they apply 
the heuue, &c. This custom, it seems, results from their appearing at the 
guest's table. li is possible that this attention to their persons has con- 
tributed to establish the reputation which the Kabyle women have of sur- 
passing the Arab women in beauty. This renown has always existed ; 
but it refers principally to the distinction of forms. In short, not only are 
the Kabyle women more free, more considered, more influential than the 
Arab women ; but they can even aspire to the honours, the odour, and 
the power which appertain to sanctity. The koubba of Lella-Gouraya, 
which stands above Bugia, immortalises the memory of a girl who was 
celebrated for her science and piety. The legend relates, that after her 
death, she returned to instruct her faithful disciples> who assembled again 
round her tomb. In Kabylia there are also other koubbas consecrated to 
women; and without departing from living examples, we may cite, as 
enjoying a high reputation of this kind, the daughter of the famous mara- 
bout Sidi-Mohamed-ben-Abder-Rahman Kafnaoui,-!- who receives religious 
ofterings at the tomb of her father, and whom all the Kabyles recognise 
under the name of Bent-el-Sheikh;|; (the daughter of the Sheikh). 

Politically speaking, Kabylia is a sort of wild Switzerland. It is 
composed of tribes independent of each other, at least in rights, governing 
themselves, like the Swiss cantons, as distinct states, but whose federation 
has no permanent character or central government. So many tribes 
constitute so many unities ; but these unities group together variously, 
according to the political interests of the day. From this result offensive 
and defensive leagues, which bear the name of soff (rank, line). The 
tribes thus allied say, We make but one rank, but one single line. Com- 
mon interests, old or new alliances, relations of neighbourhood, of transit, 
of commerce, — such are the causes which determine the formation of a soff". 
The soff" obliges the contracting tribes to share in the common good or bad 
fortune. It is proclaimed in a general assembly of their chiefs. The 
latter regulate also the plan of military operations, the number and the 
order of the combatants, their points of reunion ; and finally, they elect a 
supreme chief. When it is one particular tribe which has summoned 
the soff", in order to secure itself against danger, or be revenged on an 

* Strange contradictions in humanity ! The Rajpoots regard many girls as a curse, 
and practise extensively female infanticide. See Ward's View of the History of India; 
Jilaquifere's Asiatic Researches ; Millar's Inquiry into the Distribution of Ranks, &c. 

f Sid, or Si by abbreviation, sieur, lord, Sidi, my lord. Abd, servant. Rahman, 
mercy. Ahd-er-Rahman, servant of mercy. 

X Sheikh, old, venerable ; and chief. 


enemy, it furnishes in general the chief of the expedition. The auxi- 
liaries who come and fight on the territory, and for the cause of an ally, 
bring with them also their arms and provisions. The succoured tribe 
does not furnish them with any thing, unless the war is prolonged beyond 
their expectation ; they then beg their defenders to remain with them, 
after tliey have consumed their provisions. Certain tribes pass fre([uently 
from one soff to another, whether it be from temper, from a political fluc- 
tuation inherent in their situation, or sometimes because they are induced 
by money. In this last case, they lose much in the public esteem ; they 
tise them, whilst despising them. Soffs are formed in consequence of en- 
mities common to many tribes, when these latter war against each other. 
It resembles the league of the Catholic cantons against the Protes- 
tant cantons in Switzerland. There are accidental, momentary soffs ; 
while others have motives of such stability, that they last for ages ; and in 
cases of universal peril, great soflfs are spontaneously constituted to pre- 
serve a common defence. Let the marabouts preach the djehad (holy 
war), let them dread the invasion of the Christians, and all Kabylia, in 
this emergency, forms only one soff. Many soffs may spring out of this 
single one, but all animated with the same spirit, if they learn that the 
enemy is going to pour in by a number of points at once. The tribes 
menaced in each direction concentrate themselves then into so many par- 
ticular soffs, who seek as much as possible to unite their operations. But 
egoism and rivalries continually oppose this. In too-numerous gatherings 
certain rival families aspire to command. Sometimes they separate, having 
decided on nothing ; and sometimes those who disagree abandon the com- 
mon cause. There exist, in fact, amongst the Kabyles (strange disparity 
in the midst of the most republican manners) some great families of reli- 
gious or military origin, whose uncontested influence rules many tribes at 
a time : they ai-e those who furnish chiefs to all the soffs which have some 
little importance. Every other candidate retires before their members. 
It is also in the bosom of these families that all governments aspiring 
to hold sway over the Kabyles are forced to take their instruments : they 
have accordingly conferred on these the titles of khalifas, of aghas, &c.* 
This policy was that of the Turkish pashas, and afterwards of Abd-el- 
Kader ; and it has now become that of France, by the force of circum- 

We shall not dwell in detail on these preponderating families, though 
they play a considerable part in the coiu'se of Algerian history. That 
which it concerns us here to prove is, the essentially fickle character of the 
confederations, the absence of any permanent tie, of all central adminis- 
tration ; and, to conclude, that one must descend into the bosom of the 

* Khalifa, lieutenant. Employed alone, this word signifies lieutenant of the supreme 
chief, or even of the Prophet. In this last sense, we have translated it by Cal>f. Agha, 
chief ; quite inferior, almost always military. 


tribe, properly speaking, to heyin to discover the appearance of a regular 

They call Arch or Kuehila one entire tribe. The fractions, Ferka, of 
the tribe are called moreover Krarouba, Feklied, Areg {cAYoh, thigh, veins). 
These fi'actions sometimes, in their turn, are resolved into Dechera, vil- 
lages. According to the Kabyles, the tribe, arch, is the body of the 
man ; fehhed, dreg, are its members or veins ; and dechera, the lingers 
which terminate the feet or the hands. The tribe and its fractions find 
equally their image in the fruit of the carob-tree ; for it is composed of 
one cosse, in which are contained several gi-ains, krarouba. Each dechera 
appoints a chief, whom they call Amin.'" This election depends on uni- 
versal suffrage ; all Kabylia takes part in this, and the general wish is 
not in any way limited ; notwithstanding which, they very well know 
there, as elsewhere, how to influence in favour of rights of birth, to inti- 
midate by influence, to seduce by riches, and to captivate by eloquence. 
These great assemblies are DjemmCis ; f but, in a more special sense, the 
djemma of a tribe is an assembly of all the amins elected, as has just been 
said, by these divers fractious — deliberating in common upon the national 
interests, gi'ving judgments, and taking general measures, kc. This same 
djemma proceeds also to the election of a president amongst the members 
who compose it, who bears the name of Amin-el-Oumena (the amin of 
amins) ; who becomes also the regular chief of the whole tribe, and to 
whom the command of the warriors they set on foot belongs on the day 
of battle. His pjrerogatives are otherwise very limited, unless an illus- 
trious birth confers others founded on the moral aid of public opinion. 

In all cases, however, and were it only fur the sake of form and pre- 
cedent, this president takes the advice of this djemma upon the smallest 
affiiirs. X In it, properly speaking, resides the government. The duration 
of power granted to the chiefs is not the same in all territorial districts. 
Amongst certain tribes they are renewed every six months ; with others, 
every year; but with all, bad conduct would cause their immediate removal, 
just as any signal services would cause them to be prolonged. In every 
case the people must pronounce. The amins are charged with the 
maintenance of public order, as well as the observance of the laws and 
customs; and in this connection we shall introduce a series of facts all pe- 
culiar to the Kabyles. Alone amongst all Mussulman nations, this singu- 
lar people possess a code of their cnvu, whose pi-escriptions are derived 
neither from the Koran nor the sacred commentaries, but from past cus- 
toms which have been maintained through ages, even throughout the 
changes of religion. It is tliis customary right which the amins consult 
on all occasions. The old men, the greybeards and the Solomons, have re- 

* This title answers to that of Caid amongst the Arabs. 
+ Djemmtl signifies also mosques, tnKX^ata = Ani;l. meeting, 
X Eui-opean presidents have rarely shown such modesty. 

ciE£Tie«i h tzadGdosaDT-. ami lihtgy fwt j tmwE Ae <l|Wiiil to Ujmuim^ it iagsei 

~- ^ ase Ae penal ana^aBCMs ftr the soBi 

rTTi'^niE SZLCIDi: 

Jt E in'-XTf^ -vr -r.-ri Txr: ■u.. - a. T»»y 

• rj-ri^ J Sr.7ITl» £S Sane T^i^ 













1 ,' 



















































the dayoffefis;^ :.-_i^c* - 

The r^ of the Sue is e:_ _ - 

remaiBS ahuadoned to lise w^ssie ic a fxiriTaias-ee i:>f live ehi-es. as is. dbe 

Ay ah adbnilSKtlST ~ -~ " — ^^ ^ " '" — .^^ - - _ . _ . — . — 

inaj bai^ an an: 

legal text, ^o airi'tiis^iunr amagt e- 

C"M rwi»g al-aft ~.: - --^- ^.'— ; _ - - * r.^ - - _ . : 

Miiiten, ban t i?^ 

maiked flia.: 
stiolen .gooc? 

latkso is to e- " "• ". . *■ ----■:- ■ — - --- 

One may it: _ 
state, ai lit 

dsaueecffre.. .: ;_.. ^.r; . . _.: . ..: 

tbe Kabjie law (im nMs gabjeier is -wcS -IcsaTiT^ e^ tfec . ■ ■ .-fri- 

!&ed pecfile. T^ ". " " ~ 

<^ retafiatkHE : *^ 



an exile for ever : this is the public revenge. But the field still remains 
open for private vengeance ; it is for the parents of the victim to apply the 
retaliation in all its rigour. The law shuts its eyes on these bloody repri- 
sals : opinion exacts them, and prejudice absolves them. One more re- 
mark only remains to be made on the preceding code : there is no bastin- 
ading. Contrary to the ideas received amongst the Arabs, this punish- 
ment is considered infamous in the eyes of the Kabyles. No amin can 
dare to order it in the whole extent of his jurisdiction. We may judge by 
that how dangerous it might be to employ agents not familiar with the 
customs of the Algerian races. We have remarked, that the office of the 
amins is limited to the interior police of the tribes ; and that their privi- 
leges being very restricted, their influence does not suffice to preserve order 
and public peace in the country. Accordingly they are not required or 
expected to exceed the limits of their little authority, because for graver 
matters there exists a vague power raised very much above their petty 
jurisdiction : this is the power of the marabouts. Marabout'''' comes from 
the word mrabeth (united). The term Marabouts signifies a people united 
to God. When enmities arise between two tribes, the marabouts alone 
have the right to interfere, whether to establish peace or to obtain a truce 
of longer or shorter duration. At the time of the election of chiefs, the 
marabouts have the right to propose to the people those who appear to 
them the most worthy. They then recite the fatah-f over the elected. 
When one tribe has gained an advantage over another and Aveaker one, and 
this last is resolved to perish rather than surrender, the marabouts compel 
the victorious tribe to declare themselves vanquished. Admirable skill of 
the human heart, which knows how to apportion to all their due share of 
vanity ! Actions of this kind are not rare ; and such is the character of 
this people, that there is no other method of preventing their weak pride 
from destroying them. When important circumstances require a gathering 
of the tribes, the chiefs order it to be made public in the market places; 
and with the exception of the sick, of old men, women, and children, no 
one fails to attend the meeting, however far they may have to go. On the 
day fixed, the tribes being grouped sepai-ately, the marabouts advance to the 
centre, and explain through the public crier the cause of the meeting, de- 
manding what advice they should follow. Each man has his say, each is 
respectfully listened to, whatever be the class ; and the Various opinions 
havino- been received, the marabouts unite in a committee, and the i)ublic 
crier makes known to the people their decision. If no voice is raised to 
make any new remonstrances, they invite the assembly to clap their hands 
in sign of consent. This beii\g done, all the Kabyles discharge their pieces, 

* The French havc"-ivon, by extension, the name of marahout to the little monuments 
which enclose the tombs of the marabouts, and which arc called in reality kouhhas, domes. 

t Fatah, special prayer to obtain success for any undertaking ; the first chapter of the 


"wliieli they call el meiz (the decision). The things they relate of the in- 
fluence of the marahouts in the Kal)yle land are so very surprising,', that 
one hesitates to believe them. The mountaiueei-s, they say, do not fear to 
butcher their own children, if they receive the order from a marabout. The 
name of God invoked by a wretched being whom they intend to rob, does 
not protect him ; that of a venerable marabout saves him. The maraljouts 
command the markets ; and the authority of the amins falls to the ground 
before theirs. 

Not only are the markets free, exempt from all customs, taxes, and 
rights ; they are also inviolable. With the Ai*abs, a man who has com- 
mitted a fault or a ci*ime may be arrested in the open market ; in the 
Kabyle markets the marabouts do not tolerate arrests or acts of revenge, 
for any reason whatever. 

This influence of the marabouts is the more remarkable, as the 
Kabyle people are much further removed from religious ideas than the 
Arabs. They know nothing of prayers ; they do not properly observe fasts 
or ablutions ; they limit their religion nearly to this : " There is but one 
God, and Mahomet is his Prophet." It is said, that there are Kabyle 
tribes where the poor people do not fear to eat the flesh of the boar ; and 
they almost all drink brandy of the fig, made by the Jews, of whom there 
is a great number in the country. The precepts of religion are only fol- 
lowed by the mai-abouts, the chiefs, and the tolbas. 

The cause of this passive obedience of the people is found entirely in 
the industrial spirit, which makes them comprehend of what importance 
order and peace are to commerce. 

The marabouts, moreovei', have taken advantage of this general re- 
spect to institute one of the most beautiful customs of the world, the 
Anaya, with which the reader -will become acquainted fm-ther on. The 
public veneration for the marabouts does not solely display itself in 
honours, deference, and privileges. These holy men live on the people, 
and by the people, as in Christendom ; one might almost say, that all the 
riches of the nation belonged to them. Their zaouias, or common habita- 
tions, of which we shall speak hereafter, are repaired and provided, with- 
out their even paying any attention to it, nay without their expressing a 
desire to that eff'ect. All their -wishes are anticipated ; the community 
interest themselves in all the details of their private life ; they bring them 
water, wood, food, &c. If they are going to beg in the villages, each one 
hastens to them, and inquires concerning their wants, ofters them horses, 
and loads them with presents. 

The Kabyles pay taxes, which are the zekkat and the achour pre- 
scribed by the Koran, and fixed at a hundredth for the flocks and a tenth 
for grain. But, contrary to the Arabs, who give these contributions to 
the Sultan, the Kabyles, organised as republics, bring all to their mosques. 
They enaploy it in defraying the expense of schools, in succouring the poor, 


in feeding travellers, in keeping- up worship, in practising hospitality, 
or in buying powder and arms for the distressed members of the tribe, 
who are called, like the others, to march on the day of battle. For 
with the Kabyle people, as soon as it is meditated to revenge au injury 
or repel an aggression, all must rise up, whether they have arms or 
not. Those who have no guns take sticks, throw stones, and keep with- 
in reach of those engaged, their duty being to remove the dead or the 
wounded. The women sometimes take part in these bloody dramas, in 
order to encourage their brothers and husbands : they bring them am- 
munition ; and if one of the warriors has fled, they put a lai-ge mark with 
charcoal on his burnouse, or woollen shirt, as a symbol of general con- 

The general recruiting or conscription for the public defence is regu- 
lated by a formality which approaches a good deal to the French recruit- 
ing system. When a boy has completed his first rhamadan, that is, his 
fourteenth or fifteenth year, according to his constitution, he presents 
himself to the djemma. He is then declared fit to carry a gun. They 
inscribe him as one of the defenders of the tribe, Avhose good and evil 
luck he is henceforth to share. They read over him the fatah ; and if his 
father is poor, they buy him a gun from the public funds. 

Consequently every man must be considered as a soldier, who serves 
from the age of fifteen till the age of sixty at least. It is a strange mis- 
take, aud too common to be passed over, to estimate Kabyle population 
according to the number of guns, or reciprocally in the proportion of one 
warrior to every six persons, as is done in Europe. The combatants in 
this country must evidently form a third of the entire population ; and 
calculating on this datum, we shall not depart widely from the truth. 

The Kabyles, besides, are accustomed to labour (souiza) imposed by 
the state ; liut not like the Arabs, who must do it to increase the goods of 
the beylik. The Kabyle only labours for the mosque, his marabouts, the 
common fountain, or the roads, which may be useful to all. He will 
labour also to dig a grave for one of his compatriots. 

These are all the debts due from the Kabyle to. the state. We see 
how he contributes with his person and his purse to public affairs ; but 
what we seek in vain for is, an administration capable of regulating all 
these efforts, and of deriving from them the greatest good possible. An- 
other tiling wanting is, a competent public authority to enforce them 
when needful. It seems that opimon is the only tribunal before which 
all delinquencies against the state can be summoned. 

Such is the pride of the Kabyle, such is his instinctive inclination 
towards absolute equality, and perhai)S also his supercilious defiance, that 
he looks upon it as his duty, so to speak, to sui)press all depositories of 
social power. The marabouts, who possess the principal part of it, exer- 
cise it with discretion and in a persuasive manner. As to the amins, the 


smallest abuse of authority on their part leads to a refusal of obedience, 
expressed iu the most energetic terms. Enta cheikh, ana cheikh, literally, 
" Thou chief, I chief." If it were possible to form a correct idea of what 
the actual life of the Kabyle would be according to the ^jrohahle conse- 
quences of a government such as we have sketched, what a fearful picture 
would be presented to our eyes ! No unity in power, no cohesion in the 
masses ; every where intrigue and political rivalries, every where private 
prez'ogative braving the general interest; no social hierarchy, no preventive 
foreseeing authority endowed with the initiative, as in our happy rate- 
paying parishes ; opinion without any consistency, the impunity of the 
strong, the oppression of the weak, all disorders at their height : this is 
what would, of course, await them. But happily this primitive society is 
saved by a phenomenon quite the reverse of that which characterises old 
nations. Whilst our admirable laws and philosophical constitutions ai'e 
unaccountably crippled through the irregularities of our morals ; here, on 
the contrary, religious institutions and inviolable customs admirably cor- 
rect the insufficiency of the political machinery. Thus, this sadly repub- 
lican people, who carry democracy to the length of individualism, have a 
teiTcstrial providence and a sultan. Its providence is the institution of 
the zaouias ; and its sultan is a sacred custom which bears the name of 
anaya. We will attempt to describe these institutions clearly. 

Every zaouia is composed of a mosque ; a dome (koubba) which covers 
the tomb of the marabout whose name it bears ; of a place where they 
read the Koran ; of a second, reserved for the study of sciences ; a third, 
serving as a primary school for children ; of a habitation destined for the 
pupils and tolbas, who come to perform or perfect their studies ; also of 
another dwelling in which they receive beggars and strangers ; and some- 
times there is a cemetery at hand, designed for pious persons who may 
have solicited permission to lie near the marabout. The zaouia is, alto- 
gether, a religious university and a gratuitous auberge. Under these two 
points of view it offers a multitude of distressing analogies with the mon- 
astery of the middle ages, with which it is impossible not to be struck 
in reading the following details. 

Every man, rich or poor, known or imknowu in the country, who pre- 
sents himself at the door of any zaouia, is received and provided for during 
three days. No one can be refused ; no example of any refusal of this kind 
is on record. The people of the zaouia, strangely enough, never take 
their meals, either morning or evening, without being first assured that 
their guests have had all their wants satisfied. The principle of hospi- 
tality extends even to such childish and unmanly lengths, that if a horse or 
mule has wandered, and arrives by chance without conductor, they are 
always received, installed, and fed, till the owners reclaim them. 

It is to be regretted that this unconditional reception of unsheltered 
strangers in the house of God causes the misery of hunger and general 



destitution to be, properly speaking*, unknown to the Kabyles, the life of 
the poor consisting in a long pilgrimage from zaouia to zaouia. 

Considered in the light of colleges, all the zaouias include three degrees 
of instruction. 

The primary school is unhappily open to all children, whether Kabyle 
or Arab. Some parents send them from great distances, rather than have 
recourse to the small schools of their tribes. They pay six douros (30s.) 
beforehand for each cliild, providing, however, that they are fed, lodged, 
and clothed at the expense of the establishment, till the time of their 
leaving school : this is the common rule ; but we shall see later, that the 
rich add to this very considerable presents. 

The child is first taught the religious formula of Islam : " There is no 
other God than God, and Mahomet is his prophet;" afterwards, half a 
dozen jjrayers, and some verses of the Koran. The greatest number of 
the Kabyles learn no more than this ; they return to the bosom of their 
family, to take part in their labours as soon as their physical strength 

Those who prolong their education learn to read and write, to recite 
the text of the Koran, &c. After six or seven years, this secondary edu- 
cation allows them to enter again the tribes as tolbas, and to open small 
schools for the chikh'en of the people. 

When a pupil quits the zaouia, his masters meet together, and one of 
them reads the fatah over him. The young man, in his turn, thanks 
them, and he usually does it by this form, Avhich is almost prescribed : 
" O my master, you have instructed me, but you have suffered much 
evil on account of me. If I have caused you any pain, I ask pardon for 
it on the day of our separation." We must just mention that the neigh- 
bourhood of the zaouias, like Oxford or Cambridge, suffers sometimes 
from the turbulence naturally consequent on numerous reunions of young 
people ; such as quarrels, thefts, besides the frequent visits of the Kabyle 
women Avhom the law has emancipated, &c. The chiefs of the zaouias 
spend their lives in settling the disputes Avhich each day brings forth, 
owing to some new folly of their disciples. 

Finally, the transcendental branches of study, especially in some of 
the most renowned zaouias, attract tolbas from distant regions. They 
come not only from various parts of Algeria, but from Tunis, Tripoli, 
Morocco, and even from Egypt. These learned men pay at their entrance 
four boudjous* and a half for the whole of their stay, which is entirely at 
their own option. They learn in the zaouias : 

1. Heading and writing. 

2, 'J'he text of the Koran, so as to be able to repeat it completely 
without fault, and with the proper ])sabno(ly or intonation, which tends 
to preserve the purity of the language. 

* A picco of mouoy_of about the value of 1 fr. 75 cents. 


3. Tlie Arab grammar (Djai/rouniia). They do not tcacli tlie Berber 
language : its elements, as a written language, no longer exist, save in a 
few ancient inscriptions lately discovered among the Tuaricks. 

4. The divers branches of theology [Touhhid-d-tassaououf). 

5. The law ; that is to say, the commentary of the Koran in a legal 
point of view, by Sidi Khelil, who is in credit with all the rite of Maleki, 
and in consequence with most of the Arabs of Barbary. 

6. The conversations of the Prophet (Iladite SUhuh MoJutmraed). 

7. The commentaries on the Koran (^Tefessir-el-Koran) ; that is, the in- 
terpretation of the holy text. They reckon seven or eight commentaries 
which have authority : El Khazin is the most esteemed. 

8. Arithmetic {Haccd-eb-ghrohari) ; geometry [Hagab-el-jnember) ; as^ 
tronomy (^Aem-el-faleuk). 

9. Versification (Alem-el-Aaroud). Almost all the tolbas are poets. 
The different zaouias entertain amongst themselves dissensions and 

college rivalries : opinion classifies them, the esjjrit de corps mixes up 
with them, and a Taleb would never leave his own zaouia for another; he 
would not even be received in it. The most celebrated zaouias are those 
of Sidi Ben-Ali-Cherif (amongst the Joullen) ; Sidi ]\Ioussa Tinebedar 
(amongst the Beni Ourghlis) ; Sidi Abd-er-Rahman (near de Bordj-el- 
Boghni) ; Sidi Ahmed- Ben -Driss (amongst the Ayt-Iboura). These 
reckon a considerable personnel, or household. 

' Sidi Ben-Ali-Cherif, for example, contains permanently two or three 
hundred pupils and tolbas, with a variable number of passing guests, of 
whom the mean daily amount may be valued at more than a hundred, and 
the maximum at four hundred. The zaouias are then, properly speaking, 
benevolent institutions; they furnish gratuitous hospitality, education for 
almost nothing; they do it on a large scale, and necessarily at a great ex- 
pense. In what consists their resources % The zaouias are an object of 
especial veneration to the people. It is there that the Kabyles resort to 
oaths, when they have some claims, or any discussions with regard to 
debts, thefts, &c. The Kabyles upon Avhoni many misfortunes press go 
to them from afar, in order to ask of God (through the mediation of the 
holy marabouts) an end to their afilictions. The mother who cannot 
bring up her children, who sees them about to die young, comes and prays 
God to preserve them. The woman who is barren is conducted there 
by her father or husband, hoping for the blessing of offspring. 

The mosque of Koukou is the most celebrated for miracles of this last 
description. They attribute them to the stick of Sidi Ali-Taleub, which 
the barren woman must agitate in every direction in a hole made in the 
very centre of the mosque. They also rub the backs of the sick with it, 
in order to cure them. According to tradition, Sidi Ali-Taleub has only 
to aim at the cheek of his enemy with tliis Avonderful stick, in order to 
make him fall down dead. This, if true, would be a powerful case of 


rapping. The sick also use as remedies the stone of the sacred totnh, 
which they pound, and then swallow together with many other things. 
Superstitious beliefs vary at each zaouia. In seasons of drought, they 
make large processions around all, without distinction, to ask for rain (a 
striking similarity to the Catholic requests). In short, although each 
tribe has its mosque, religious persons never fail to go and say their 
prayers on a Friday in the nearest zaouia. 

The zaouia that has once obtained a position receives a portion of 
the ackou?' and of the zeklcaf, otherwise usually appropriated to the 
mosques. Besides, there are certain tribes of the neighbourhood who, in 
many cases, have declared themselves its servants, and consider it an 
honour to make it presents iziarali), bi'inging to it a constant supply of 
oil, honey, dried raisins, figs, fowls, &c. They also send sheep, goats, 
sometimes even money to the zaouia. The pilgrims, and above all those 
who implore a celestial favour, make rich presents. A family whose 
children are instructed at the zaouia give according to their means. 
There are also accidental profits ; but the zaouias, not trusting the munifi- 
cence of the voluntary system, have luoreover landed property, which the 
founders have either settled upon them in estates belonging to themselves, 
or that they have obtained through the extinctions of the Hahous* 
They confide the cultivation of those lands to their own servants, or, 
according to the Arab custom, to farmers, who deduct a fifth of all the 

In case of need, they appeal to the piety of the believers, and the latter 
furnish them with a general contribution in labour (touiza). But the 
fixed revenues are nothing in comparison to the produce of voluntary 

A zaouia which does not possess an inch of land may be much wealthier 
than those possessing the largest landed property. -j- 

Each zaouia is placed under the authority .of a supreme chief; and this 
authority passes hereditarily from male to male, in the family of the 
founder. When this family becomes extinct, all the tolbas of the zaouia 
assemble, when one of them is elected chief for one year only. If this 
person justifies the choice of which he has been the object, if he maintains 
his reputation for sanctity in the establishment, he retains his power, and 
becomes the stem of a new family of chiefs. On the other hand, should 
he prove unwoi'thy, they renew the election every year, till it falls ou a 
man i-eally deserving of the situation. 

It is the permanent chief of the zaouia who administers the smallest 
details, through his tolbas and servants; but Avheu the chief is only an 

* Tho Jiahous is the donaticm of a fixed property to a religious institution, which is 
bound to yield a usufi-uctuar\- maintenance to the testamentary heirs till their extinction, 
when it reverts in toto to the institution. 

t The voluntary system among'st a religious people would naturally work better thau 
with -as. 


annual officer, tlic tribes wlio serve the zaouia choose themselves the ad- 
ministrators of its property.* 

Tt is well known that there are religious orders existing amongst the 
Mussulmans, and that they are scattered over Algeria. Amongst the 
Kabyle zaouias, only a small number belong to the Brothers (Ivouan) ; 
we shall, however, say a few words concerning them. 

The order Avliich is by far the most widely spread is that of Sidi Mo- 
hammed Ben Abd-er-Rhaman, bou Koberein. This surname is founded 
on a marvellous legend, though recent enough. Sidi Mohammed had 
just died, and had been buried in the .Jurjura, when the inhabitaxits of 
Algiers, where his vii'tues were in high repute, went to pray at night by 
his tomb. By some neglect, they were not watched ; and these people, 
through a pious fraud, appropriated to themselves the body of the mara- 
bout, which they placed near the road to Hamma, a little before you arrive 
at the Cafe of the Plantains, f in the spot where now stands the koubba 
of this marabout. 

But this event was soon made known to the Kabyles by public 
rumours. They felt a terrible indignation at it ; and a long- enduring 
revenge would no doubt have followed, when they were luckily advised to 
examine the tomb which they, possessed. They opened it, and, marvellous 
to relate, a second edition of the remains of the marabout was found there 

The Derliaouas, or rebels, are the puritans of Mahometanism, and, 
like our dangei-ous liberals, always in revolt, and perpetually struggling 
against the authority of the Sultans and the social hierarchy. 

In Kabylia they are especially found near Zamora, amongst the Beni- 
Yala. Their chief is an important man, Hadj-Moussa-bou-hamar (master of 
the ass), whom we have seen lately joining in the struggle against the Emir. 
The A naya is the sultan of the Kabyles : no sultan in the world can be 
compared to him ; he does good, and raises no taxes. A Kabyle will 
abandon his wife, his children, his house, but never his Anaya. 

Such are the passionate terms in which the Kabyle expresses bis 
attachment for a custom truly sublime, and which we find amongst no 
other people. 

The Anaya bears some analogy to a passport and safe-conduct, with 
this difference, that the latter derive essentially a legal authority from a 
constituted power, whilst every Kabyle can give the Anaya ; and with tliis 
additional difierence, that as much as the moral support of a prejudice may 
be carried beyond the watchfulness of the police, so much the security 
of him who possesses the Anaya exceeds that which a citizen may enjoy 
under the common guardianship of the laws. 

Not only does the stranger who travels in Kabylia imder the protec- 
tion of Anaya defy all present violence, but he also braves for a time the 

* Castellane, pp. lS3-i ; La Grande Kabjlie, p. 67- + See Part I. chap. \-i. p. 106. 


vengeance of his enemies, or the penalty due to his former acts. The 
abuses which might arise from so generous an extension of the principle 
are limited in practice by the extreme reserve of the Kabyles in making 
the application of it. 

Far from lavishing the Anaya, they limit it to their friends ; they 
accord it once only to the fugitive ; they regard it as a counterfeit if it has 
been sold, — in short, they punish with death the usurped declaration. 

In order to avoid this last fraud, and at the same time to prevent all 
involuntary infraction, the Anaya manifests itself generally by an ostensi- 
ble sign. The man who confers it delivers as a proof of his support any 
object that is well known as having belonged to him, such as his gun 
or his stick ; he often sends one of his servants, and he himself will not 
unfrequently escort his protege, if he has any particular motives for 
suspecting that the latter will be annoyed. 

The Anaya naturally enjoys a consideration more or less great ac- 
cording to circumstances, and especially it extends its influence according 
to the quality of the person who gives it. Coming from an inferior Kabyle, 
it will be respected in his village and in the neighbourhood. On the part of 
a man in credit amongst the neighbouring tribes, it will be renewed by a 
friend who will substitute his own ; and thus it proceeds from neighbour 
to neighbour.* 

Granted by a marabout, it knows no limits. Whilst the Arab chief 
cannot extend the benefit of his protection beyond the circle of his go- 
vernment, the safe-conduct of the Kabyle marabout extends even to those 
spots where his name would be unknown. Whoever is the bearer of it 
can traverse the whole Kabyle country, whatever be the number of his 
enemies, or the nature of the complaints existing against his person. He 
will only have to present himself on his route, successively, to the mara- 
bouts of the divers tribes; each one will be anxious to do honour to the 
Anaya of the preceding patron, and to give his own in return : thus the 
stranger cannot fail to reach the end of his journey happily, going from 
marabout to marabout. A Kabyle has nothing more at heart than the 
inviolal)ility of his Anaya ; not only does he attach to it his own indi- 
vidual point of honour, but that of his parents, his friends, his village, his 
entire tribe, answer also morally for it. A man who would not find 
a second to aid him to take vengeance for a personal injury, could raise 
all his compatriots, if there were a question about his Anaya not being 
* A very similar institution to the Auaya exists among- the Circassians, by whom the 
protector is callod konak (Revelations of Mtissia, vol. ii. p. 295). It may have arisen at the 
time when Arian Christianity shod its light over the desolate shores of the Black Sea ; but 
it is probably of more ancient date, and must bo attributed to the gallant and generous 
character of these martyrs to European civilisation and orthodox covetousness. (See Bell's, 
Langworth's, and Spencer's Travels in Circasda.)— Another illustration of the Anaya 
may be traced in the custom of tayo at Otaheitc, the Friendly Islands, &c., before the 
missionaries, the whalers, small-pox, and whisky, had done their work. See Cooke's Third 
Voijarje, vol. ii. p. 139 ; La Peyrouse; The Mutiny of the Bounty, &c. &c. 


recognised. Such cases must rarely occur, owing to the force of prejudice; 
nevertheless, tradition has preserved this memorable example. 

The friend of a Zouaoua* once i^resented himself at his dwelling to ask 
for the Auaya. In the absence of the master, the woman, rather embar- 
rassed, gave to the fugitive a bitch very well known in the country, and 
the man started with this token of safety. But the bitch soon returned 
alone, and covered with blood. The Zouaoua was greatly troubled ; the 
people of the village assembled, they followed traces of the animal, and 
discovered the dead body of the traveller. War was declared with the 
tribe in whose terx'itory the crime was committed ; much blood was shed; 
and the village compromised in this quarrel still bears the characteristic 
name oi Dacheret-el-Kelba <t-.I^ Jl Cl^^^-i) J ' village of the bitch.' The 
Anaya attaches itself also to a more general order of ideas. An indi- 
vidual who is either weak or persecuted, or under the stroke of some 
pressing danger, invokes the protection of the first Kabyle he meets. He 
does not know him, nor is he known himself, — he has met his protector by 
chance ; but this is of no consequence, for his prayer will be rarely re- 
jected. The mountaineer, delighted to exercise his patronage, willingly 
grants this accidental Anaya. Women invested with the same privilege, 
and naturally comjiassionate, seldom refuse to make use of it. They cite 
the case of a woman who saw the murderer of her own husband about to be 
butchered by her brothers. The wretched man, struck with many blows, 
and struggling on the ground, managed to catch hold of her foot, crying 
out, " I claim thy Anaya ! " Whereupon the widow threw her veil over 
him, and the avengers let him go. It is known throughout Bugia, that in 
the month of NoA^ember 1833 a Tunis brig was wrecked in going out of 
the roads, and that all the shipwrecked persons were put to death as 
friends of the French, with the exception of two Bugiotes, more compro- 
mised than the others, but who had the presence of mind to put them- 
selves under the protection of the women. These scattered traits, which 
might be easily multiplied, prove that a great influence is given to senti- 
ments of fraternity and of mercy among these people. Their existence in 
the midst of Mussulman society, invai'iably so severe in matters of justice, 
might cause some surprise, did we not remember that amongst a people 
very much distributed, under very little control, proud, and always in 
arms, and where consequently internal dissensions must abound, it was ne- 
cessary that customs should supply the want of spies and police, in order 
to give security of transit to industry, commerce, and cheating. The 
Anaya produces this effect. It suppresses also many revenges, by favour- 
ing the escape of those who have excited them. In fact, it extends to all 
the Kabyles an immense net-work of reciprocal benefits. 

It must be admitted that these people are very far removed from that 

* A tribe of Kabyles iuhiibiting the Joijora. 


inexorable fatalism, that rigorous abuse of force, and tbat complete sacri- 
fice of individualism, which have followed the march of the Koran every 
where throughout the globe. How is it, then, that here we meet with 
tendencies so much more humane, charitable impulses, sudden move- 
ments of compassion? Some respectable authorities consider them, with 
emotion, as a feeble gleam of the great Christian hght which formerly 
illuminated Northern Africa, before the Church was developed into Ca- 
tholic and evangelical perfection. 

We have now given a broad sketch of Kabyle society. 

We shall be much deceived if the picture speaks only to the eyes ; it 
will clearly develop to the mind the great mixture of races and creeds 
which has been working for ages upon this obscure part of the African 
coast. A single impression results from this whole delineation, which it 
is easy to sum up. The natives whom the French have found in pos- 
session of the Algerian soil constitute really two nations. These nations 
every where live in contact, and every where an insurmountable abyss se- 
parates them; they agree only on one point : the Kabyle detests the Arab, 
the Arab detests the Kabyle. An antipathy so endm-ing can only be at- 
tributed to a traditional resentment, perpetuated from age to age, between 
conquering and conquered races. Corroborated by the indelible existence 
of two distinct languages, this conjecture becomes a certainty. 

Physically the Arab and the Kabyle are so dissimilar, as to prove their 
diversity of stock. Besides, the Kabyle is not homogeneous ; he presents, 
according to the spots that he inhabits, different types, some of which 
betray the lineage of the barbarians of the north. 

In their morals, also, there are varieties. Contrary to the universal 
results of the Mahometan faith, in Kabylia we find the holy law of labour 
obeyed, woman nearly reinstated in her rights, and a number of customs 
which, unUke those of modern Christendom, breathe equality, fraternity, 
and Christian piety. Some of these advantages may possibly result from 
the influence of the ancient Christian Church on the Kabyles, before plu- 
ralists and cant had defaced its fair form, and disgusted all honest and 
honouvaljle men with the mask of sanctity allied to rottenness and atheism. 
Yet the greater part of their beautiful customs we would attribute to the 
palaBological socialism of the primitive races on this planet, when men 
held converse with their God, when they entertained angels, and before 
the love of gold and glory had drawn a veil between heaven and earth. 

The following customs among this interesting people, gasping for 
breath in the accoktde fraternelle of France, have appeared to us worthy of 
record as memorials of Christian and classical antiquity. 

The institution of zaouia has been minutely described in a former 
place ; but we have reserved the account of one of its afiiliated societies 
for the present occasion, on account of its remarkable approximation to 
Christian monasticism. A certain class of religionists among the Kabyles 


are called derouiches (detaclied), men detached from tlic world, and form 
a very remarkable sect, Laving striking points of affinity with the ascetic 
hermits of the Thebaid. In the country of the Bcni-Eaten, a distinguished 
marabout, Sheik-el-Mahdy, affects to lead his followers to a state of holi- 
ness by the following process : — Each candidate is rigorously shut up in 
a little cavern or cell, in which he can scarcely turn or stand upriglit. 
His food is gradually diminished during forty days, till at length it does 
not exceed one fig; some even bring themselves to take nothing but a 
carob in the twenty-four hours. In proportion as they gradually lose 
their relation with material life, the disciples acquire a second sight; they 
are visited with dreams from on high ; and at last the mystical relation is 
established between them and the marabout, when their dreams coincide, 
and when they are visited by similar visions. When this crisis has arrived, 
the Sheik-el-Mahdy gives a burnouse, a haikh, or some other object as a 
sign of investiture, to the accomplished adept, and sends him forth into 
the world to make proselytes. There exist accordingly affiliated lodges, so 
to speak, of the great master lodge among the Beni-Ourghlis, the Beni- 
Abbas, the Beni-Yala, &c., amounting, perhaps, to about fifty. Their 
praxis is always based on the severest asceticism; and all pleasures, such 
as women, tobacco, &c. are scrupulously proscribed. The state of prayer 
and contemplation is perpetual among them.* 

The philosoithic inquirer into the phenomena of human nature might 
be inclined to attribute this institution to the spontaneous disposition 
that exists in certain individuals, in all ages and counti-ies, for the mystico- 
ascetic life. He would j^robably remind us of the Hindoo yogi, and the 
bonzes of Buddha, and give them all a common origin in the instincts of 
the human heart. A local examination of the Kab}le institution gives a 
different version to the storyj-j- and the same facts here again, as in so 
many cases, are adduced in support of the most opposite theories of the 
closet. Thus some authorities would persuade us that there is no suffi- 
cient evidence to establish the tradition current among them, that the in- 
stitution is derived from Ali-Ben-Ali-Thaleb, the celebrated son-in-law of 
the Prophet; adding that it is quite certain that it was imported from 
Egypt by Sidi-Abd-er-Eahman, a disciple of Sidi-Salem-el-Hafnaoui; and 
reminding the reader that Christianity has left in Egypt the deepest traces 
of the mystical ecstasies and the prodigious abstinence of its cellular 

It is the opinion of General Daumas, who has long been conversant 
with the subject, that the deeper you dive into the mysteries of the Kabyle 
life and society, the more traces you find of their having once been a 
Christian people. One of the strongest apparent evidences of this state- 
ment is found in their usages and customs, which have the force of laws. 
All other Mussulmans over the whole globe look to the Koran as the com- 
* La Grande Kabylie, p. 69. _ t Ibid. 


plete and universal code, embracing tlie whole life of man, and regulating 
the smallest details of public and private life. The Kabyles, on the con- 
trary, observe particular statutes derived from their ancestors, and which 
they attribute to a j)re-Saracen period. On many important points, such 
as the repression of thefts, murders, &c., these statutes do not agree with 
those of the Koran; they seem to approximate more to our penal notions; 
but a circumstance that appears to give conclusive evidence of their Chris- 
tian origin is, that the name these statutes bear is Kanouns.'* 

We have previously adverted to the prevalence of the sign of the cross, 
which is tattooed on the faces of the women in many parts of Kabylia. No 
less than three of the most eminent French authorities -j- have attested this 
fact. These fleshly inscriptions are an incarnate proof of the Christian 
past of many of the Kabyles, particularly such as are probably of Vandal 
origin. They are found especially among the tribes of the Gouraya, are 
probably a result of the Vandal invasion, and consist in the mark or sign 
of the cross on their forehead, cheeks, and the palms of their hands. It ap- 
pears that all the natives who were found to be Christians were freed from 
the burden of certain taxes by their Arian conquerors ; and it was arranged 
that they should profess their faith by marking the cross on their persons, 
which practice was thus universalised. These crosses do not exceed yq^ 
of a metre (-58 inches) in size. The tattooing is of a beautiful blue colour, 
and is in much better taste than the patches worn by our grandmothers ; 
its effect is far from displeasing on the faces of their women, who are re- 
markable for grace and simplicity. 

Our final inference from these facts is, then, that the Kabyles universally 
have preserved strong traces of their primitive convictions and customs, 
which in certain cases and among certain tribes are cleai-ly attributable to 
a Christian origin. 

All travellers who have visited the hills and valleys of Numidia bear 
witness to the identity existing between the habits of its present popula- 
tion and those recorded by the pens of the classical authors. It is natural 
to suppose that, before the aboriginal Numidians and Libyans were driven 
to seek refuge in the fastnesses of the Atlas by the Arab irruption, they 
roamed over the plains at their feet, Avhere the genius of the country would 
force upon them the same mode of life that is now led by their conquer- 
ors. And the two peoples being moreover families of the same Semitic 
variety, there would necessarily be but a slight difference between the habits 
of the pastoral Libyans of old and the modern Bedouins. Hence the fol- 

* It will bo evident to the reader that tlie resemblance of this word to the Greek 
xKvm, rule, canon of the church, must be more than accidental. The expression has, 
however, long been used in Turkey, See Von Hammer's Geschiclde des Osmanischen Jieichs 
band iii. p. 481, Kanim'i Raja. 

+ Marshal de Castellane, General Daumas, j). 40 and Buron Baude ; also Captain 
Kennedy, vol. i. p. 27(i. 


lowing description given l»y Virgil of their mode of life admirably illus- 
trates the habits of the wandering Arabs : 

Quid tibi ptistores Libj-se, quid pascua versu ? 
Prosequar, et raris habitata luapalia tectis 
Saepe diem noctemquo et totum ex ordine mensem. 
Paseitur, itquc pocus longa in dcserta sine vdlis 
Hospitiis ; tantum camj^i jacct. Omnia secum 
Armentarius Afer agit, tectumquc, laremque, 
Armaque, amj'clieumque canom cressamque pharetram.* 

Flocks still constitute the sole riches of the southern tribes on the con- 
fines of the desert ; hence they still preserve the nomadic habits of their 
forerunners, and the nature of the soil does not, in fact, admit of any other. 
Now, as in the days of Virgil, their flocks and shepherds plunge into bound- 
less and shelterless solitudes; days, nights, months are passed in the pas- 
turages ; and no change could be traced if bows, arrows, and quivers were 
substituted for guns, powder, and balls. Nor is the previous description 
inapplicable to many tribes of Kabyles in the present day, especially those 
inhabitants of the vast district of the Aouress and the clans of Little Ka- 
bylia or the Dahra, who lead chiefly a pastoral and wandering life, and 
whose principal riches and industry consist in herds and flocks and in the 
l)roduce of the dairy. 

Having now given an imperfect sketch of the physical, moral, and social 
characteristics of this interesting people, we pass to the Arabs, who still 
remain the dominant race in Morocco and Tunis, though they now lie 
prostrate at the feet of France throughout Algeria, t 

* Georg. lib. iii. 

+ On the Kabyles see General Daumas's Grande Kahylie ; Castellane's La Kabylie, 
13. 395 of his Souvenirs ; Captain Kennedy, vol. i. chap. xiii. ; and Captain Carette's Ka- 
hylie pivprement dite, 2 vols, of the Exploration Scientifiqite. Sec also, on the Berbers or 
Kabyles, the Appendix, p. 144, of WOde's Narratice of a Voyage to Madeira, Algiers, tt-c. 

Leo Africanus and Marraol deduce the aiyimAogy oi Berber from the Arabic harbar, 
'hot,' and from Ber, a proper name. Dr. Pritchard states that Bar bar was an Egyjitian 
name for the maritime countiy on the Red Sea. The Coptic Bep/Jep, ineaning hot, may be 
the root of the name, which is derived by Gibbon from Btp/Soip, meaning to cast out, i.e. out- 


CIjc 2li-at)^. 






THE Arabs are in general agricultural or joastoral in tlieir mode of life. 
This difference of pursuits begets a difference of cliaracters and of 
manners. In the former case, their stationary habits reduce them into 
subjection to a regular form of government, and they present a social state 
approaching our own. The Arabs of this class are the descendants of 
those Saracen hosts who, under the first caliphs, took possession of a great 
part of Africa, and even invaded Spain. The pastoral Arabs are only 
bound to the soil by a transitory interest; pitching their tents at random, 
they are not the slaves of any cumbrous law-machinery, and they lead a 
mode of life foreign alike to that of polished and of savage nations. 
Hence their interest. The latter class constitute the Bedouins,'"' or no- 
madic Arabs, who are the principal inhabitants of the vast plains and 
deserts that stretch over ISTorth-western Africa, and who, though divided 
into independent, and often hostile tribes, form but one people, as is 
evidenced by the community of language subsisting among them. 

The Arabs of both classes are of the middle height, and remarkably 
strong. Their physiognomy is expressive; they have a quick and ani- 
mated look, and brown or olive complexions, but seldom black, like that 
of the negroes. The type of the women is the same as that of the men, 
whose manly faces are more oval than those of the Moors, with much 
more prominent, but less agreeable features. Their step is light and 
clastic, and their attitude often recalls the nobleness of antique statues. 
Their hair is generally black. 

Extremely adventurous and daring, the Arabs meet their enemies in 
the field with assurance; they treat the van(piishcd with harshness, but 


* The word Bedouin, pronounced ledaouy, written iC«^JJ> comes from Icdow *SJ 
lert. Gorguos, Cours d'Arule vulyaire, vol. i. p. 183. 


without indulging in the cruelties practised by the Berbers. Their habi- 
tations are very well built of branches of ti'ces kept together by cement, and 
occasionally consolidated by unhewn stones, which, however, are made to fit 
together perfectly ; these huts arc grouped to the number of ten or twelve, 
and sometimes even of thirty or forty, forming villages, surrounded by 
hedges of cactus growing to a great height. In the midst of this gi-oup 
stands the hut of the scheik, or chief of the tribe, and a mosque, which is 
nothing but a lodge built like the others, only of larger dimensions. 

In speaking of these habitations, our i-emarks must be confined to the 
first class, or that of the agricultural Arabs ; for the Bedouins''^ live in- 
variably in tents, named hymas or kymas. A collection of these hyraas, 
which are generally placed in a circle of ten, twelve, or fifteen, forms a 
doiuir.\ These tents are composed of black or brown stuff, are of an ob- 
long form, and supported by stakes, which moreover answer the purpose 
of suspending clothes, arms, harness, &c. ]S"o beds are found in them, the 
Bedouins rolling themselves up at night in a haikh. The middle of the 
douar is commonly empty, like a court; and each family possesses in gene- 
ral two tents, one for the family, the other for the cattle. 

The simplicity, or rather poverty of the family is remarkable, their 
household only comprising the following articles : some camels, goats, and 
fowls, a mare and its harness, a tent, a lance thirteen feet long, a curved 
sword, a musket, a pipe, a pot, a hand-mill, a coffee-pot, a mat, some 
clothes, and some gold or silver rings for the women's wrists and ankles. 
With these the Arab is rich. 

The best clew to unravel the mysteries of Arab life and manners will 
be found in their religion. We shall soon go astray in estimating their 
character, if we lose sight of this mainspring of all their thoughts and 
actions. Unlike the anxious, bustling, and prosaic populations of modern 
Christendom, the Arab still holds to the faith of his sires with a glowing 
devotion ; he sees the arm of the Lord and of his angels in all the acci- 
dents of time ; and conscious of the measure of man's power and days, 
reverence and submission become tlie predominant elements of his nature. 
This feature of the Arab temperament constitutes what will be regarded 
as puerile weakness or sublime philosophy, according to the favom-ite bias 
of the critic ; but all who have observed INIussulmans in general, and the 
children of Arabia in particular, under the stroke of affliction and in the 
hour of death, bear witness to the manly resignation and dignified bearing 
that they display in those seasons of distress and trial. The wisdom of 
this world and the metaphysics of the nineteenth century having decided 
that the laws of nature are the supreme arbiters of all things, and that the 
idea of a special providence is an idle dream, we can only regret that the 

* For an excellent estimate of the Arab character and of Mohammed, see Sismondi's 
Fall of the Roman Empire, vol. ii. chaf). 13. See also Diar>/ of a Tour, <L-c. vol. i. p. 52 

+ Z>o?tar comes from the Arabic word \\j dar, house; diminutive ir^'J douira, 
little house. 


happy scepticism of our free-thinkiiit;- Europe cannot imbibe some of the 
comfort and the faith of the Oriental and the Arab, without falling victims 
to the deplorable heresy of predestination and other mysticism. 

Notwithstanding their faith, always ready to fight, the Arabs go about 
armed cap-a-2yied, with a musket in a sling, a yatagan, and pistols. Every 
man must bear arms ; and in some cases women and children do so too. 
Their mode of fighting resembles that of the Berbers. They ride up to 
the foe in groups, and drawing near, they break into a gallop describing 
an eccentric curve. After reaching the farthest point they fire, and ride 
back to the main body to load and dart off anew. If the affair grows 
serious, and they must come to close quarters, they put their gun in the 
left hand, draw the yatagan, and set-to bravely. When celebrating a fete, 
they are fond of mock fights resembling tournaments, and called fantasias. 

Those too poor to have a horse are armed with muskets, blunderbusses, 
yatagans, and clubs. They are good pedestrians, and stand privations 
well. It may be said that the common i)eople live in perpetual misery. 

The founders and the first-born of Islamism>, the Arabs are sincerely 
religious, though some are negligent in their devotions; they are ex- 
tremely superstitious, — suspend wooden hands to their children as a talis- 
man against the evil eye, and amulets on themselves and their animals, con- 
sisting of bits of parchment with texts from the Koran, &c. 

They are laudably respectful to the aged, who, if infirm or blind, are 
always escorted by one or two lads. The Bedouin cemeteries are rather 
neglected; but if one of their warriors dies, all his relations congregate on 
horseback and celebrate his obsequies for eight days around his tomb; and 
they will encounter almost any risks to carry off the fallen in battle. 

The rich Arab women dress sumptuously, wearing chemises of fine linen, 
drawers, and a kind of silk vest, over which they place a long coloured 
robe reaching to the knee and having large sleeves. In ceremonies th^y 
throw over them a long red or blue cloak, fastened round the shoulders by 
silver hooks; and they have anklets and bracelets of the same metal. The 
Bedouin women are commonly ugly, tattooing and painting their faces, 
breasts, feet, and hands blue; which, added to their dirtiness and sweat, 
makes them horrible. They look on the patterns tattooed as ornaments, 
or rather national crests, pricking them into their skin with needles made 
on purpose. They leave their faces uncovered; and it is only on long 
journeys that they wrap them over with a piece of linen. The dress of 
the common Bedouin women consists of a long chemise of Mhite wool, 
with short sleeves, and a rope for their girdle. Their hair, rolled up on 
the head, is surrounded with a great red cord in a few coils, imitating a 
turban ; but frequently long tails of hair fall on their shoulders, while 
other smaller ones hang on their foreheads, with bits of red riband tied 
to the end of them. Their woollen chemise, hanging loose like an apron, 
is kept straight by an immense copper pin and ring fore and aft; and mas- 
sive copper rings adorn their cars. \ 


They commonly look miserable, witliered, and old when still young; 
yet some girls of fifteen display the beauty of regular features and the 
comeliness of youth. 

They have little feeling for each other; and in the case of accidents at 
Algiers, when five or six Arabs have been buried under ruined houses, 
«fec., not an Arab, even a relation, has been seen to raise a hand to help 
them. Fatalism and their want of socialism explain this. 

Hospitality is, according to some severe writers, only a name amongst 
them, and the power of the sheikh cannot protect travellers among them 
from theft. Algeria is roved over by hungry Bedouins anxious to pounce 
on unprotected males and females; and it is added, that in dealing with 
men of different i-eligiou, they, like many Christians, do not scruple to lio 
and cheat.* 

In receiving these and other statements of French writers about th<^ 
Arabs, it is necessary to observe great caution, as it is the interest of th« 
conquerors to represent their victims in the most odious light possible, ia 
order to justify their OAvn injustice and cruelty. f 

The reader has already learnt much in the preceding chapter regarding 
the contrasts between the Kabyles and the Arabs, or the primary and 
secondary strata of Algerian population. Summing up these differences, 
Baron Baude has happily expressed them in one sentence : " In short, the 
Kabyles are the vanquished, the Arabs the victors — hence their hereditary 
hatred." The story of the Cumri and Sassnach is wide as the poles, and 
Ireland's complaint is an eternal truth. 

The Arabs appeared in the seventh century, when they finished the 
conquest of the Roman establishments in Africa, so well begun by the 
Vandals, and upset the dominion of the latter. The superiority of their 
cavalry made them masters of the plains ; whilst the mountainous regions, 
where the attack was less easy, and the defence more feasible, remained in 
the possessiorf of the oldest inhabitants. The limits of the Arabian estab- 
lishment have thus been cut out according to the irregular relief of the 
territory ; and this tide of humanity has spread and been broken, almost 
like a fiuid that has only reached a certain level. 

The Arabs, or Saracens, were organised like all other peoples that have 
installed themselves by force of arms in a new country. They consisted 
of chiefs and soldiers, practising the command and obedience of feudal in- 
stitutions ; which were, and still remain, identical in the barbarous form 
of government and society once prevalent in Europe, and in that now 
dominant in north-west Africa. These institutions were preserved, from 
the necessity felt by the masters of maintaining a firm footing among a 
conquered people ; and the Turks subsequently made use of them also. 

* Berbrugger, part iii. ; Captain Kennedy, vol. i. p. Hi, vol. ii. pj-). 203-214. 
t See the Chapter on History, and Diari/ of a Tour in Barhanj, vol. i. p. 277- 


In short, feudalism is the organic law of transitive races in the early stage 
of development. Thus, each tribe forms a little state, subject to an in- 
flexible hierarchy. PoAver is hereditary among them, and military service 
is looked upon as a tribute due, in the same way as the fruits of the land 
and taxes. Differing from the Kabyle tribes, whose government is fluc- 
tuating and various, the Arab form of society seems to flow from one 
single principle. 

Nevertheless, the Arabs of Barbary are divided into two sects, those of 
the east and west : the former profess the rite of Hanefl ; those of the 
Avest the rite of Maleki. The Hanefis acknowledge the Sultan of Turkey 
as their spiritual head, and the latter bow to the Emperor of Morocco ; 
and in countries where creeds are the great causes of separation between 
populations, this dittereuce has important consequences.* 

The Arab tribes may be divided into three classes ; those inhabiting 
the Tell ; those holding the plateaux in the more elevated districts ; and, 
thirdly, the Djeridi of the oases. The first, who are agriculturists, inhabit 
that part of Northern Africa called the Tell, bounded by the Mediterranean 
to the north, and often by the movmtains of the Lesser Atlas to the south, 
though, as we have previously seen, the district called Tell stretches far- 
ther inland in the east than in the west of Algeria, This country is in 
general very fertile, with good crops. The second class, belonging to 
the pastoral society, live in the plateaux between the Tell and the oases, 
which, though not so rich in grain, afford very good spots for pastures : 
they also roam over the vast plains of the Sahara. The third class inhabit 
the ksours, and carry on the barter and carrier trade of the interior. A 
simpler and shorter division is that into Tellians tmd Saharians, previously 
noticed, f 

The influence of blood-relationship, aristocratic government, and the 
love of roaming, are common to all these classes and subdivisions. The 
Tellians, being agriculturists, are less addicted to roving than the Saha- 
rians, who, being shepherds and carriers, are always on the move for fresh 
pastures or for speculation. Many tribes are powerful and numerous; 
but war, disease, itc. have much reduced others. Heads of families are 
treated Avith great respect by their oflspring, who, settling around the 
patriarch with their slaves, form a douar or circle of tents, '^'•^^^ hjma, 

of which he is sheikh ■'fr:-^,X having an independent authority over its do- 
mestic economy. Several douars uniting for safety form a/arka, and the 
sheikhs form together a djemaa (or council) to watch over the common 
interests of the farka ; one amongst them, on account either of his supe- 
rior nobility, age, intellect, or energy, being generally appointed the head 
or president of the assembly. 

• Baron Baudo. + Capt. Kennedy, vol. i. pp. 203-212. 

\ Meaning elder, senior, signer, scigneiu-, lord. 


Xobility of blood is much respected among the Arabs, Avho arc a noma- 
dic phase of tlie pastoral society. All descendants of Fathma, the daughter 
of Mohammed, and of Sidi-Ben-ebn-Thaleb, his brothei", are regarded as 
noble, and are called sherif ov sidi (meaning lord or mastei'). Amongst 
other privileges, they can only be judged by their peers. The descendants 
of the tribe of the Koraiche prophet, and those of the first invaders of 
Western Africa, are also noble, but of the military class. The marabouts'"* 
are the lords spiritual, whose influence is far greater than that of all others ; 
they are commonly men of austere lives, devoted to the study of the Maho- 
metan law ; and they are reported not unfrequently to have the gift of mi- 
racles and prophecy. Surrounded with a halo of holiness in life, after death 
their koubbahs or tombs become places of prayer and pilgrimage, besides 
being sanctuaries for criminals. Upon the woody slopes of the Atlas and 
the large plains of Algeria the white domes of these sacred sepulchres often 
attract the eye of the Avanderer. The marabouts frequently unite and form 
a douar, or even a farka, near some chapel erected to the memory of a 
deceased member of the fraternity. There they instruct youth in the law, 
&c., forming a zaouia, such as we have described in the last chapter. 

Before we give an outline of the present administration of the tribes, 
we shall introduce another description of a douar, or village of tents, from 
the pen of Baron Baude : 

" The arrangement of all the douars is similar, consisting of about 
20 huts or tents, according to the season, one of Avhich is devoted to each 
family. The tent is made of a black and very thick woollen tissue, which 
swells with the damp and keeps out the rain, requiring much labour in its 
manufacture. The weather being very fine duriiig two-thirds of the year, 
they only require a roof of branches, supported on pickets of wood, for 
their huts, brushwood being piled up on the weather side. These huts, 
placed at about 10 metres apart, form a circle, with the cattle in the centre, 
and contain numerous savage dogs as guardians. The douars are moved 
when the neighbouring pastures are exhausted, seldom remaining in one 
place above three months together. The great quantity of dung accumu- 
lated by their cattle forms the only manure they employ."-}- 

Baron Baude describes an Arab entertainment in the douar of the 
Mcrdes, near Bona, in the following terms : " After sunset, the Mussul- 
mans take a meal ; and the preparations for ours were being completed 
as we came back from our walk. ]\lats were laid on the ground, and all 
the guests crouched round, excepting the host. The meal was served up in 
pots made of old wood, and consisted of hard eggs, honey pancakes, boiled 

* Borrcr, ch. IG, derives tho word from the Arabic rlth (Daumas says mrabcth, lie), 
'to devote oneself;' the participle of the verb mrbth. M. Gorguos describes the word as 
m'rdhot — Jl v^ i^articiple of the 3d form of tho verb r'bot \iij 'tostje.' Cours d'Arabe 
vulgaire, vol. i. p. 237. + Baude, i. p. 174. 



fowls, and cous-coussou. The pancakes were to be dipped into a copious 
sauce of an ochre-colour; and Mahmoud (the sheikh) began to stir up this 
mess with his greasy paws, which induced the Baron's party to decline 
taking any. The fowls were awfully peppered ; but they found the cous- 
coussou excellent.* After the meal, some water and soap were brought, 
all washing their hands and beards in it, and some of the company rinsing 
their mouths with the same foul water. 

A night in a douarf is distressing to Europeans, the fleas and mus- 
quitoes allowing their victims no rest. This veritable plague is so delete- 
rious, by depriving you of your rest, that it greatly debilitates the French 
troops, colonists, and visitors, rendering them unfit for work and ill, many 
having died in consequence. The Arab women anoint themselves with 
oil to keep off these enemies. Hard is the life and sad the slavery of Arab 
women, like all females in the pastoral phase of society. They go often to 
the wells, carry heavy loads of wood, have to grind the corn unceasingly by 
day, whilst at night they often have no rest, being obliged to spin wool, and 
weave the cloth for their tents. The Arabs are very jealous of the effects 
of civilisation in emancipating their women ; but Baron Baude informs us 
that the ties of family are not felt among them. This remark evidently re- 
quires qualification, familism being the pivot of pastoral society; but he pro- 
bably alludes to the spiritual ties aud tender regard for women appertaining 
to the Christian and Germanic phase of civilisation being unknown to them. 

Madame Prus gives the following description of an Arab encampment 
near Bona in 1850 : "The tents were very low, and of an extremely thick 
tissue of camel's hair, by which they were enabled to resist the scorching 
rays of an African sun, and also the torrents of rain which inundate the 
whole country during the wet season. Not a single tree, not a plant, re- 
lieved the eye from the monotony of this arid spot. One of the extremi- 
ties of the plain was bounded by the Bourzizi mountains, whose rocky 
summits appeared in sad harmony with the still and deathlike face of 
surrounding nature, though the valleys which are occasionally found among 
the table-lands offer a scant pasturage for cattle. 

" The tent of Abdallah was divided into two rather large apartments. 
One of these was occupied by his family, wives, chickens, cats, and dogs. 
The other, into which I was introduced, was his hall of reception, Avhich 
was also used as his dormitory when he wished to sleep alone, aud became 

* Baude pronounces cous-coussou better than English puddings, and a good addition 
to European cookery-books. It forms the bread, soip, bouilli, and dessert of tlie Arab, 
and is made of wheat bruised by the women in hand-mills, and then thrown into a great 
vessel shaped like a kettle-drum, a little oil being mixed with it, till it forms lumps of the 
size of millet grain; after which it is boiled over steam, and mixed with milk, broth, butter, 
&c. (vol. i. p. 176.) For Arab life, see Capt. Kennedy, vol. i. pp. 138, 205-212 ; and Dianj 
of a Tour, vol. ii. pp. 184-9. 

t A douar is called a smalah when it is the residence and contains the household of a 
notnd ohijf. Kennedy, vol. ii. p. 99. 


his private sitting-room, in which he smoked from morning till uight, 
cross-legged, according to the fashion of the Arabs."* 

You see their horses to the best advantage in the province of Bona, 
The equipment is well known. They have a saddle withoat crupi)er, with 
the high pummel and cantle of the Mamelukes, bridles with blinkers and 
chain bits, besides very short stirrups placed farther back than ours. In 
riding the leg is accordingly much bent; and they use iron spikes, 15 cen- 
timetres (o'8.5 inches) in length, instead of a spur. The seat is very fa- 
tiguing to those unaccustomed to it, nor would it answer for trotting — a 
pace never used by the Arabs, who stand in their stirrups at a gallop, lean- 
ing slightly on the top of the cantle. Common people ride bare-legged; 
but the sheikhs wear red morocco boots, in shape something like those of 
our knights of old: they have a very good appearance. f The Arabs are 
like childi-en, and abuse their horses ; whence they indulge in the fantasia, 
a kind of mock fight to welcome a guest, goading their steeds at full 
speed with bleeding flanks. Fine horses can be obtained from Tunis for 
fi'om 500 to 800 fr. (20^. to 3GI.), with large limbs like English horses ; 
and a good breed of this sort is found at La Calle, and is in request for the 
3d regiment of the Chasseurs d'Afrique, at 242 fr. {91. lis. 2d.) each. 
Castellaue, in his trip through the Sahara, writes: "In the course of our 
ride we admired, as ever, the boldness of the riders, and the beauty of their 
steeds. We were especially struck with one mare of Mohamed, the friend 
of our friend Rhaled, so light that it might, according to the Arab phrase, 
have galloped on a woman's bosom. As Ave were praising its beauty, 
Rhaled said to us : * She had a sister, who alone could contend with her. 
They were the envy of all, and the pride of their master, when Mohamed 
was led up a prisoner by the horsemen of the Emir. He managed to 
escape ; but scarcely had he reached his douar, ere the chaousX of the Sultan 
were signalle.l as coming. Llohamed immediately vaulted on his good 
mare ; and when the horsemen arrived at the tent, they found the chief 
flown. It was impossible to overtake him ; yet one of them, as thd only 
chance, leapt from his horse and ran to the other mare that was still tied 
by a rope ; but Mohamed's boy shot her dead with a pistol. This mare 
alone could overtake her sister, and the child had saved his father.' " § 

A mare is looked upon as the best property, as a fortune. || She is 

* P. 91. 

f Baron Baiide, vol. i. p. 203; Dawson Borrer, p. 18. Lamping informs ns that the 
Arab chiefs consider the skin of the tiger (?) and panther as one of their larincipal orna- 
ments. The head of the animal is generally fastened to the saddle-bow (the head and 
teeth are essential), and the skin waves to and fro with everj' motion of the horse; so that 
at a distance one might almost imagine that some wild beast had just taken a deadly 
spi-ing upon the rider.— TAe French in Algiers, p. 9. 

J Constables and executioners. § P. 256. 

II The Ulemas relate that when God wished to create the mare. He spake to the -(vind : 
" I will cause thee to bring forth a creature that shall bear all My worshippers, that shall 
be loved by My slaves, and that will cause the despair of all who will not follow My laws." 
And He created the mare, saying : " I have made thee without an equal ; the goods of this 


preferred to the horse, entire or gelding; for she does not neigh, she is 
docile, and supplies milk on an emergency. All who can afford it possess 
one of these animals, and they -pass hours in looking at them. They are, 
in fact, the Arab's companion and friend, sharing his adventures, perils, 
and wars, and bearing him from danger with the speed of the wind. Ac- 
cordingly, wonderful is the care their owners bestow on their grooming 
and toilet, combing their manes and tails coquettishly; and after washing 
their legs, smoking their pipes in ecstasy while they gaze at and admire 
them. When idle the grass of the pastures is their food, but under toil 
they are indulged with a light feed of barley. 

The Arab race of horses is admitted to bear off the palm, the Arabs 
boasting that they proceed direct from the studs of Solomon. But the 
Bible contradicts this Bedouin boast, for we read that Solomon " had a 
thousand and four hundred chariots, and twelve thousand horsemen . . . 
and Solomon had horses brought out of Egypt."* Hence the great king 
had no studs, Solomon being satisfied with improving his proverbs. 

However this may be, the beauty of the Arab breed is proverbial, which 
they attribute to the care they take to prevent misalliances, and to their 
genealogical trees. The birth of a foal always takes place before six wit- 
nesses, who all sign an act of nativity in a proper form. It is an article of 
belief with the Arabs, that they would be unlucky in this life and punished 
in the next, if they practised any deception in all relating to the pedigree 
and parentage of the horse. 

English jockeying might profitably study the ethics of the Arab turf. 

Mediaeval manners are still dominant amongst the Arabs, and our 
.-cbivalric ancestors would feel quite at home in the Sahara. Falconry is 
•quite in fashion among the chiefs, and is thus described by Castellane : 
" Farther on, two hares, frightened by the sound of our horses, darted 
from their cover, and the falcons were let loose again. As long as the 
hare can run, it escapes its enemy ; but when it begins to waver, that it 
may seek a refuge, the bird darts on its back and begins eating its brain 
and its eyes. Falcons are like men ; some are good, and others bad. It 
was good fun to hear the Arabs banter, jeer, and almsc the latter ; and it 
was amusing to see the pride of the proprietor of the best bird. It is 
during the summer that preparations are made for the winter hunts. The 
bird when first learning to fly is caught by the fowler; and even before it 
is tamed, it is taught to run after its prey : it is initiated at first into easy 
hunts, and taught to Avait for its master's order, to recognise his voice 
and his signal, to dart at the skin of a hare tin-own into the air, and to 
-answer different cries, which the voracious bird obeys with an unparalleled 

world shall be placed between thy eyes ; every where [ will make thee happy and preferred 
above all the beasts of the field, for tenderness shall every where bo in the heart of thy 
master ; good alike for tho chase and retreat, thou shalt fiy, though wingless ; and I will 
only place on thy back the men who know Mo, who will offer Mo prayers and thanks- 
givings; in short, men who shall be My worshippers." — Castellane, p. 255. 
* I'Kings X. 26, 28. 


al'clour. In this manner the falcon of the Arab becomes once more the 
bird of the middle ages, surrounded with attentions,, with glory, and even 
with honour. 

" The chiefs had their right hand armed with a glove called smegue. 
This glove has no fingers. The Arab exquisites have them made of tiger 
and panther skin. On this the falcon i)erches; not unfrequcutly two or 
thi-ee find room, — one on the shoulder, and another on the strings of 
camel's hair surrounding the cowl of the haikh."* 

Here follow a few illustrations from the pens of eye-witnesses. 

The following night-scene described by Baron Baude, on his trip from 
Bona to La Calle, gives a good idea of the poetry of Arab life : " The 
moon in all her splendom- silvered the surface of the lake, and its light, 
was mixed under our black tent with the glare of the fire of dry rushes. 
Above the heads of the crouching Arabs stretched out those of the Numi- 
dian horses, the faithful companions, who seemed to take part in their 
recreations. The animated faces of our hosts, as attentive to the story 
being told as to the roast mutton, seemed lighted up with the departed 
elegance of their race ; and we, the descendants of those barbarians who 
learnt civilisation from them, were almost envious of their present con- 

A good insight into Arab life is given in ISfarshal Castcllane's descrip- 
tion of a market held every Thursday at the little magazine-post of Kha- 
mis, among the Beni-Ouraghs, built, like all such French posts in Algeria, 
on a line parallel with the sea near Mostaganem. Markets in Africa are 
not only places of sale, but bazaars of news ; and the whole population, 
Arab and Kabyle, frequents them. On market-days, breaking their repose 
and silence, multitudes of Kabyles and Arabs were seen trooping in from, 
all sides, from the mountains and the valleys, from eveiy path, some 
driving sheep, others horned cattle, many carrying loads of corn, beans, 
wool, or manufactured stufis, but all armed, and many Avith their muskets.- 
dnly, or that knotty stick, one blow of which can break the hardest heads. 
Jews, with dirty turbans, drive in their half-starved mules, displaying their- 
goods at the spot pointed out by the caid and police, and erecting a little 
tent of bad cotton to guard them from pillage. The first hours were 
usually devoted to business. The butchers skinned the sheep they had 
killed, uttering his-millalis,\ and suspended the flesh to little fir-trees, 
whose branches served as skewers ; cattle-dealers Avere standing near 
their beasts, awaiting ])urchasers ; the corn and bean merchants were 
shouting and quarrelling about a halfpenny; but the noisiest of all was 
the Jew. As every where else, he was here the agent and the jobber, 
over-reaching, selling, and stealing. In Algeria the Jew supplies cotton, 
pepper, cloves, sugar, and coffee ; antimony for the women's eyes, Itenna 

* Page 255. 

t In the name of God: an invocation always cmploj-ed in slaughtering any thing ia 
Mussulman countries. 



for their nails ; a gunsmith, he mends their arms ; he repairs rings and 
makes jewels, and silver ornaments for the chiefs. Nothing comes amiss 
to him ; he craAvls through all trades. You may see him every where, 
hurried, agitated, thrusting out his dirty hand, greedy, quarrelling, inde- 
fatigable, asking for justice from the caid, whose decision is law. A volley 
and tempest of shouts, eloquence, and special pleading, is at once silenced 
by his verdict. 

The first hours and business over, the hum of men increases. The 
groups thicken, the state of affairs is canvassed, — sometimes general poli- 
tics, at others disputes between tribes. 

Envoys of the Emir gliding in among these groups used to fan the 
flame of rebellion at the market of Khamis ; and the religious fraternities 
of the zaouias exchanged the messages confided to their fanaticism."" 

The religious colouring and phase of the Arab character is finely 
developed in the following description of Castellane : " In the winter of 
1841-42, whilst General de Lamoriciere, on the side of Mascara, was 
striking rude blows at the power of Abd-el-Kader, the authority of the 
khalifat of the Emir, Bou-Hamedi, Avas seriously shaken in the west of the 
province. Mouley-Chirq-Ben-Ali, of the tribe of the Hachem, had been 
the instigator of this movement. His influence was great, for he had long 
commanded the country as lieutenant of Mustapha-Ben-Tami, an ancient 
khalifat of the Emir. 

Dismissed from office by Bou-Hamedi, when the latter replaced Mus- 
tapha-Ben-Tami, Mouley-Ben-Ali had sworn to avenge himself; and he 
kept his word in the following manner. Ben-Ali was patient in his 
vengeance ; he knew how to await the hour and the moment. His first 
care was to go the round of the tribes, and by his words to prepare 
their minds for a change ; and then as soon as the moment seemed 
favourable, feeling that his own authority was not sufficiently strong for 
him to raise the standard himself, he cast his eyes on a man whose reli- 
gious prestige might increase his power. Si-Mohamed-Ben-Abdallah, of 
the great tribe of the Ouled-Sidi-Chirq, was chosen by him. The religious 
influence of this tribe of marabouts extends from the oasis to which 
they have retired to the sea-shore. Having been established many years 
in the country of Tlemsen, Mohamed-Ben-Abdallah enjoyed a great repu- 
tation there. His piety was proverbial ; and the people of the douars re- 
lated, that every Friday he went barefooted to the tomb of Si-Bou-Medin, 
passed the night there in prayer, and that the words of God came from 
his mouth when he (luitted the holy place, because the Spirit from on 
high had visited him. This belief soon became general, and all were 
prepared to recognise him as chief. The old chief Musta})ha-Ben-Ismail, 
informed of the agitation which reigned on the side of Tlemsen, know- 
ing that Bou-Hamedi began to conceive serious alarms, and had not 
been able to succeed in getting possession of Mohamed-Ben-Abdallah, 

* CastoUano, p. 181. 


thought that the marabout might serve as a powerful lever wherewith to 
attack the Emir. Upon the report of Mustapha, General de Lamoricicre 
authorised our old ally to put himself in relation with Mohamed-Ben- 

Assistance and protection were guaranteed to him, and their first in- 
terview was arranged ; but on the 3d of December, at the veiy moment 
when it was about to take place, Bou-Hamedi stopped the advance of 

Three weeks later, recovering from this check, Mohamed demanded 
another interview ; and Colonel Tempoure, supporting the goum* of Mus- 
tapha with a little column of infantry, set out in the midst of tremendous 
weather. On the 28th, accompanied only by some officers and people of 
Mustapha, he marched forth to meet the new chief. 

The horsemen extended in long files over the precipices of a lofty 
mountain ; at their feet the valley of the Tafna spread itself out, with its 
rich cultivation. On the horizon appeared the white walls of Tlemsen, 
the town of the sultans. Suddenly, at the Avinding of the mountain, they 
perceived the hills and undulations covered with the people of the tribes. 
The standards on both sides halted, the horsemen remained immovable, and 
the chiefs advanced between these living hedges. Mustapha first put his 
foot to the ground; he thus rendered homage, in the presence of all, to the 
religious character of Mohamed-Ben-Abdallah : but the latter dismount- 
ing, pressed him in his arms, without permitting any other mark of defer- 
ence. Those who assisted at the interview have since related that General 
Mustapha, after having bowed before the French chief. Colonel Tempoure, 
pronounced these words : " This is the day of my life which has afibrded 
me the greatest happiness, for I perceive that my endeavours have suc- 
ceeded in establishing esteem and friendship between the French and so 
venerated a character. Thanks to the omnipotent God, this day is the 
commencement of the union which ought to be sealed between the two 
races, under the protection of the Great Sultan of France. As for myself, 
my few remaining days cannot be better employed than in labouring for 
the peace of the country and the elevation of the house of Mohamed, — 
of thy house, O Mohamed, already so illustrious amongst us." 

Mustapha then, with that dignity which never deserted him, pointed to a 
clump of dwarf-palms ; and all seating themselves in a circle, the conference 
commenced. It was short ; and the conditions were soon settled. The last 
addresses having been delivered. Colonel Tenii)oure presented the Arab 
chief Avith the donations brought to do him honour. All then rose. The 
chiefs mounted their horses, and kept united round Mohamed; Avhilst stand- 
ing up in his stiiTups, the marabout pronounced the prayer Avhich was in- 
tended to call down the Divine blessing on their enterprises. His eye 
was burning, his features pale and Avoru by fasting and vigils, his voice 
* A contingent of iiTegulars fui-nislied to govcniment by the tribes. 



deep and hollow. It was an imposing and majestic spectacle. " O 
gracious and merciful God/' exclaimed Mohamed, "we entreat Thee to 
give peace to our unhappy country, laid waste through a cruel war." And 
the voices of the two thousand horsemen repeated at the end of each line : 
'• merciful and gracious God, we entreat Thee to give peace to our 
unhapjn- country, laid waste through a cniel war." " Have pity," con- 
tinued the chief, raising his eyes towards heaven, " have pity on this po- 
pulation reduced to misery ! Grant that abundance and happiness may 
again be restored to us I Give us the victory over the enemies of our 
country ; and may the holy religion revealed by thy Prophet be always 
triumphant!"' And with one voice all the warriors i-esponded : "Give us 
the victory over the enemies of our country, and may the holy religion 
revealed by thy Prophet be always triumphant !" The murmur of these 
prayei-s reached even the horsemen of Bou-Hamedi, announcing to them 
the gi'eatness of their danger. The hour was in fact approaching when 
Tlemsen was for ever to become French.* 

Fairy and religious legends are dear to the Arab heart, amongst which 
the following combines a Semitic mysticism with a European rationaUsm, 
and is not imworthy of the Avisdom of Solomon. 

Sidi-Mohamed-ou-Allal, be it known, was a man of God celebrated for 
the pious legends which he loved to relate. The following is one Avhich 
the traveller never fails to hear, who stops for the first time near the 
venerated marabout the last abode of the holy man : 

One day Sidna-Aissa (our Lord Jesus Christ) met Chaytan (Satan), 
who was driving four asses before him, heavily laden, and said to him : 
•'^ Chaytan, why, thou art become a merchant, then ?" " Yes, Lord; and I've 
so much business on hand that I cannot do justice to it." 

'• What business do you carry on, then ?" " Lord, an excellent busi- 
ness; just see. One of these asses — and I choose them amongst the 
strongest in Syria — is laden with injustices; who will buy them of me? — 
the sultans. The second ass is laden with envies; who will buy them 
ef me 1 — the learned. The third is charged with thefts: who will pur- 
chase them ? — the merchants. The fourth carries, together "s^-ith perfidies 
and wiles, an assortment of seductions, which are related to all the vices; 
who will buy them ] — the women." 

" Wicked one, may God curse thee I" replied Sidna-Aissa. '• What is 
that to me, if I gain ?" replied Cha}-tan. 

The next day Sidna-Aissa, who was saying his prayers at the same 
spot, was disturbed by the swearing of a donkey-driver, whose four asses, 
overwhelmed by their load, refused to go on; and he recognised Chaytan 
by their load. " Thank God ! thou hast sold nothing," he said, addressing 
him. " Lord, an horn- after you left me, all my panniei-s were empty; but, 
as usual, I had difficulties about the payment." 
* CastcUane, pp. 369-371. 


" The Sultan caused me to Le paid through his khalifa,'-' who wanted 
to cheat me about the sum. The sages said they were poor. The mer- 
chants and I called each other thieves. The women alone paid me hand- 
somely, without bargaining." 

" And yet I see thy panniers still full," objected Sidna-Aissa. " They 
are full of money; and I am carrying it to the kadi (to justice)," replied 
Chaytau, di'iving on his asses. 

" my brothers," added Sidi-Mohamed-ou-AUal, " the free man, if he is 
grasping, is a slave; the slave is free, if he lives on little. Choose tents to 
repose in, and for your last dwelling the cemeteries. Xourish yourselves 
with the produce of the earth, satisfy your thirst with the running water, 
and you will leave the world in peace."t 

]\Iany prophetical legends are cuiTent amongst the Arabs relating to 
the rise and fall of the French power in Algeria. A holy marabout, Si- 
Akredar, many years before the conquest, had announced it in these 
widely-diffused couplets. 

" Their arrival is certain in the first of the 70th; for by the power of 
God I am informed of the matter. The hosts of the Christians shall come 
from all sides; the mountains and the towns shall shrink from us. They 
will come from all quarters, horsemen and foot; they will cross over the sea. 

" They will descend on the strand with a host like a raging fire, a 
flying flash. 

" The hosts of the Christians shall come from- the side of their country; 
verily it will be a mighty kingdom that shall send them forth. Verily 
the whole country of France shall come. Thou shalt have no rest; and 
the cause shall not be victorious. They will arrive like a ton-ent in a dark 
night; like a cloud of sand driven before the wind, 

" They will enter by the eastern wall. The churches of the Christians 
will be raised; the thing is certain; and then thou shalt see them spread 
their doctrine. 

" If you wish to find protection, go to the land of Kairouau; if the 
Christian hosts advance, and their coming is certain. And the Cliristian 
expedition will smite Algiers, and they will spread themselves abroad 
there. They will rule over the Arabs by the all-powerful command of 
God; the daughters of the land Avill be in their power. 

" After them will appear the powerful of the golden mountain; he will 
reign many years, according as God shall will and ordain. Eveiy where, 
all inhabited places shall be in anguish, from the east unto the west. 
A^erily, if thou livest, thou shalt see all this."^: 

The departure of the French has been similarly announced by Si- 
Aissa-el-Lagahouati, another venerated marabout, in these terms : 

* Lieutenant. 

■f- Le Gi-and Desert of General Daumas, pjp. oO-jL Castcllano's Sovivenii-s, pp. 276-7. 

J Castellane, pp. 12S-9. 


" Publish, O crier, make known what I saw yesterday in a dream. 

" The coming evils shall surpass all imaginable evils; the eye of man 
shall never have seen the like. The man shall abandon his child. A bey 
shall come to us subject to the Christians. His heart shall be hard; he 
will rise against my master, a man of noble origin, whose heart is gentle, 
who is handsome and prudent, and whose commands are just. 

" Make known and say: ' Quiet yourselves ; he who has come hath dis- 
persed them ; they have fled behind the salt lake; they have mounted to 
the summit of the Kahars; the Christians have left Oran.' "* 

Though such oracular language might seem to savour largely of fana- 
ticism, and be thought to fall under the head of remarkable coincidences, 
the march of science warrants us in throwing out the conjecture that it 
may not improbably belong to the category of natural prevision; and that 
a more searching analysis of the anthropological development of all reli- 
gions will classify it with the sibylline and ecstatic phenomena of all ages 
and of all degrees. 

We shall present the reader with one more specimen of Arab legends, 
and then proceed to other matters : " In past ages the kings of Tlemsen 
had dealings with the fallen angels. These sovereigns were called Beni- 
Meriin (interpreted, the language of thunder); and by mysterious combina- 
tions of figures, or by throwing sand on a black table, they predicted the 
future, chastising those who had offended them by the aid of the devil, 
their ally. Now it came to pass that one of the Beni-Meriin was struck 
by the appearance of a girl whom he once met drawing water from the 
Tafna. Proud of his power, he thought that a nod would give him a new 
slave; but the girl, plighted to a warrior of the tribe, was deaf to the 
sultan's bribes. Furious at this refusal, the king swore to revel in the 
tears of her who refused him her smiles. Accordingly one evening, when 
the girl glided from the douar to meet her lover under some palms, the 
sultan called to his aid the evil spirit. At his command the demon seized 
the two young people, dragged them into the earth, and at once the 
country changed aspect. It used to be called the valley of flowers; but 
these were replaced by the dark olive. The palm alone, where the lovers 
met and vanished, still stands; and a wonderful spring has gushed forth 
from the spot, consisting of the tears of the unhapi)y pair, who shed them 
incessantly in their undergi-ound prison, where they are still kept by the 

Both the stationary and the Bedouin or wandering Arabs still retain 
many customs described in sacred and profane history, and are in almost 
every respect the same people as we find mentioned in the earliest re- 
cords. The Bedouins in particular still preserve the simple and primi- 

* Castollane, p. 129. Captain Kennedy gives a full version of Si-Aissa's pi-ophecy, 
which was uttered 130 years ago. See vol. i. ch. 11, jj. 235, containing General Marrey's 
account of hia expedition to Lagahouati in ISi-l. f CastcUane, p. 381. 


tive habits of tlieir ancestors, and a strong attachment to a pastoral life, 
so well adapted to the vast plains which constitute their proper home, to 
the heat of their climate, and to their serene and beautiful nights. They 
speak the Arabic language, and affect to have preserved the purest pro- 
nunciation of this their i)arent tongue. Of all the nations on the face of 
the earth, these are probably the greatest conservatives, having scarcely 
deviated in any particular from the mode of life chalked out by their sires. 
Save in religion, they are precisely the identical people with the Arabs at 
the time of the composition of the book of Job, and afford an admirable 
illustration and verification of the descriptions contained in that book. A 
traveller arriving amongst them is delighted to find the same dresses, 
mannei-s, and customs as are portrayed in Oriental romance and historical 
paintings representing scriptural subjects. Their present habits are also 
found to be strictly conformable to the statements of Strabo, Leo Afri- 
canus, and Pomponius Mela, of whom the latter especially has left such 
clear and accurate accounts, that you would almost take him to have been 
a modern traveller in the plains of Northern Africa. We shall presently 
revert to this part of the subject. A visit to the tents of this interesting 
people transports you at a bound among the holy fathers of our race, and 
makes you an eye-witness of the sayings and doings of the ancient of 
days in the Fore-Avorld.* 

Like the daughters of Judah, their women go forth every evening to 
the distant well,"!- to draw water for household purposes and for their 
camels. They are, however, somewhat less gracious than Dinah ; and if a 
stranger approach, they immediately let fall their veil, and cover their 
face, as Rebecca did on the appearance of Isaac: and should they meet a 
foreigner on the road, they go aside and sit down, turning their backs to 
the road. 

The Bedouins grind their corn in their tents, employing some mill- 
stones with wooden handles ; and their women are commonly engaged in 
this work: which proves the accuracy of Moses' expression, who speaks of 
the women labouring at the mill; and explains our Saviour's words when 
he says, that "two women shall be grinding together; the one shall be 
taken, and the other left.":j: 

They clothe themselves with a w^ooUen garment five or six feet wide 
and three yards long, called a haik. It is a kind of blanket or quilted 
counterpane, of a white colour and fine material, and forms a light and 
becoming, but a very inconvenient article of apparel; for it gets loose 
and falls off every moment, needing constant attention to gather it up 
and fix it again. To this end a girdle or band is required; and probably 

* Pananti's Awenture, vol. ii. pp. 108-123 : gli Arabi Beckuni. 

+ According- to St. Marie, the Arab women lead very hard lives, and have to go forth 
to the weU and draw water many times in the course of the day. Pananti, ubi supra. 
J Luke xvii. 35 ; St. Marie ; Pananti ; Blofeld. Diary of a Tom-, vol. ii. p. 183. 


from this has been derived the scriptural expression^ " to have your loins 
girt,"* in order to have strength and activity. 

The following patriarchal scene from the pen of Count St. Marie gives 
a pleasing picture of the poetry of Arab life, and its illustration of scrip- 
tural subjects : " We soon arrived at the gates of ]\Iedeah," he writes, 
" where, near a little fountain, there was a caravan which had stopped 
there at sunset. Camels were feeding on the grass and shrubs on the 
road-sides. A group of Arabs were at prayers, with their faces turned 
to the east, in the direction of Mecca; and some children were imitating 
the pious example of their parents. No one stirred on our approach. A 
burnouse spread on the ground served as a carpet, on which, barefooted, 
they alternately lay down prostrate and stood erect. There was some- 
thing very imposing in the calm dignity of manner with which those men 
invoked the Deity. When the prayer was ended, they turned to the eldest 
man of their party and embraced him. Then resuming their slippers, and 
driving their camels before them, they penetrated into the sinuosities of a 
ravine, and were soon out of sight.f 

The Arabs are rich in proverbs, many of which present a family like- 
ness to those contained in the sacred oracles of the Hebrews. In all 
eastern proverbs there is great depth of thought, and they express opinions 
which are the result of long experience and reliection. We extract the 
following from the travels of Count St. Marie, as a specimen of this style 
of wisdom. " If your friend is made of honey, do not eat him up." " If 
you travel through the country of the blind, be blind yourself." " When 
you are the anvil, have patience; when you are the hammer, strike straight 
and well." " He who cannot take a hint, will not comprehend a long ex- 
planation." " The mother of the murdered man may sleep ; but the mother 
of the murderer cannot." " I like the head of a dog better than the tail 
of a Hon." " Take counsel of one greater and of one less than yourself, 
and afterwards form your own opiniou."|; 

St. Marie relates, in another part of his light and graceful work, how 
he saw beneath the shade of some stately old plane-trees an aged Moor 
seated, wrapped in a white burnouse, and tranquilly smoking his pipe. 
Before him lay a youth reclining on the ground, passing a ehaplet through 
his fingers. This group, with the surrounding objects and brilliant colour- 
ing, was like a Bible scene. Nothing was wanting : the large mountain 
dog, the curved shepherd's staff" the camel crouched in the foreground, 
ruminating with upraised head and gazing at his master, all combined to 
l)crfect the picture. Save the pipe, the group might have figured in an 
altar-piece of the old masters. § 

* Piinanti states, howovor, in another place, that tlio liaik is also bound round the 
head by the men, by a cord that assumes the shape of a turban; while the women fix it 
with & fibula (vol. ii. pp. 111-112). 

t St. Marie. J Ibid. § Ibid. 


We learn from tlie same authority, that there is- a legendary story 
relating to the river Oucd-Kebir, near lUidah, which ealls to mind an inci- 
dent of the Bible. The true believers affirm that once upon a time, water 
having become scarce in Blidah, Mohamed, the marabout whom I have 
already mentioned, struck with his stick one of the mountains of the Atlas 
range, and a spring gushed forth, which has never dried up. This spring 
is the source of the Oued-Kebir.* 

"We find in the pages of Baron Bande s Al(/er{e several interesting illus- 
trations of scriptural expressions and descriptions, which afford useful ma- 
terials for future exegesis. On the Baron's trip from the Camp of Draan 
to La Calle, to which we have adverted elsewhere, he was entertained one 
night at the douar of the Merdes' tribe, in the tent of their sheikh, Sidi- 
Muhmoud. It ai)pears that " mats were spread on the ground, and the 
guests crouched around them, all excepting the host, who, without touch- 
ing any dish, stood opposite them, watching over the attendants, and 
anticipating their least wants." It was thus that Abraham received his 
guests, according to the sacred narrative (Gen. xviii. 8) : ' And he took 
butter and milk, and the calf which he had dressed, and set it before them; 
and he stood by them under the tree, and they did eat.' "f On their return 
from La Calle to Bona, the Baron further relates how " they arrived at 
the douar of Abdallah-ben-Hassan, and received the hospitality of the 
ancient patriarchs, such as we read it described in the same chapter of 
Genesis, verses 6 and 7 : ' And Abraham hastened into the tent unto 
Sarah, and said, Make ready quickly three measures of fine meal, knead 
it, and make cakes upon the hearth. And Abraham ran unto the herd 
and fetched a calf, tender and good, and gave it unto a young man ; and 
he hasted to dress it.' 

" Abdallah himself had, like Abraham (Gen. xxiv. 35), ' flocks and 
herds, and silver and gold, and men-servants and maid-servants, and 
camels and asses ;' and his French visitors, on seeing his flocks at sunset 
come trooping in from all quarters, formed a high idea of his riches. 

" On reading these descriptions, the image of the venerable Job, or the 
race of Arab proprietors of whom he was the type, is brought vividly before 
the mind as a living reality. Stepping over the Mediterranean, we find 
there are still men whose substance is 7000 sheep, and 3000 camels, and 
500 yoke of oxen, and 500 she-asses, and a very great household ; so that 
this man was the greatest of all the men of the east' (Job i. 8).";{; 

" The young girls," says M. Lamping, "are to be found every morning 
at sunrise outside the gate of the town (Coleah), standing by the fountain, 
at which they assemble, with stone jars on their shoulders, to fetch water 
for the daily consumption, This truly eastern scene calls to mind Rebecca 
at the well, drawing water for her father's flocks."§ " The moment the Arab 

* St. Marie. i* Baude's Alg^rie, vol. i. p. 176 et seqq. 

X Ibid. p. 176 et seqq. § The Foreign Legion, p. 5. 


hears the call of the muezzin,* he throws himself upon the earth, wher- 
ever he may chance to be, and touches the ground with his brow ; then, 
rising again, he stretches his arms towards heaven, with his face turned in 
the direction of Mecca, his white flowing burnouse and his long beard 
giving him a venerable and patriarchal air. Thus surely did Abraham, 
Isaac, and Jacob worship their God."-j' 

The conservatism of Arab life gives us contemporary illustrations of 
the days of Joseph, Jonathan, and Joshua. On meeting they still say, 
like their fathers, placing their right hand on their breast. Salaam alykmn'^ 
(Peace be unto you). Friends kiss each other's hands, heads, and shoulders. 
On great occasions the women also salute their husbands by kissing their 
hands. Inferiors kiss the feet, knees, or clothes of their superioi's, and 
children the heads of their pai'ents.§ 

Madame Prus observes, there is nothing more singular or picturesque 
than the api)earance of these Arabs arrayed in the majestic drapery of 
their burnouse, and reminding one strongly of the old engravings repre- 
senting the patriarchs of the Bible. Their aspect and bearing are noble 
and dignified, and their imposing attitude might offer many a model to 
our actors. II 

The Arabs of the province of Constantina differ considerably from 
those who inhabit the other parts of Algeria; their language, customs, edu- 
cation, and character form a complete contrast to that observable else- 
where. It is surprising, at first sight, to find that the different shades 
which thus characterise fractions of the same people should be in perfect 
unison with the geographical position which these several fractions oc- 
cupy. For instance, in the west the Arab is ignorant, coarse, warlike, 
and rough in the pronunciation of his local idiom, which has undergone 
greater change than any other ; whilst the iiahabitants of the eastern pro- 
vince bear a diametrically opposite character. To account for this sin- 
gular fact, we must bear in mind the mode in which the Mussulman 
conquest operated. This movement proceeded from east to west ; and 
thus, as always happens in enterprises of this nature, the most adven- 
turous and hardy advanced the farthest. It was in this manner that a 
bold Arab chief pushed on as far as the ocean, accompanied by a dashing 
train of cavaliers ; but being farther removed than the rest of the nation 
from the general and original fountain of this stream of population in 
Arabia, this band of adventurers became more deeply imbued with the 
spirit of resistance, and it had to sustain longer and more inveterate 

• M. Lamping sayi? ' marabout;' which may be correct in the coniitrj' districts of Al- 
geria, where they have no mosques. But the usual official who in Mahomnicdan countries 
call the faithful to prayers, as an incarnate bell, is styled the muezzin. 


i" The Foreign Legion, pp. 5-G. J >S ^li f,\^- § Berbrugger, iii. 15, 16. 

11 Ilcsidcnco in Algeria, 2'. 3, 



struf^gles. It is easy to believe that such a state of hostility, so favourable 
for the ])rcservation of warlike tendencies, should influence unfavourably 
every thing relating to education, to language, and to manners. These 


wanderers, pushed onwards by the tide of conquest, have therefore much 
degenerated in these respects, both because of their greater distance from 
their compatriots of Arabia, the source of all their national light, and also 
because of their closer proximity to the rough and ferocious Berbers, the 
ancient masters of Morhereb.* Besides, as the Roman dominion established 
itself first in the eastern part of Northern Africa, and had taken deeper 
root there than in the west, on account of the gi-eater duration of its sway ; 
and as, on the other hand, the Vandals came from the west, and their de- 
vastating fury received no check till it reached the walls of Carthage, — it 
seems to result from these two conflicting causes, the one constructive and 
the other destructive, that the provinces in the east at the time of the 
Arabian conquest were the least degenerated from their ancient splendour. 
Accordingly, it is in this section of the country that the finest remains are 
brought to light in the present day, attesting, by their massiveness and 
finish, the power, wealth, and good taste of these masters of the world. 
It is therefore probable, that in this favoured region, the sight of these 

♦ C—^.i^^l elMorreb, the setting ; the Arabic name for tLe empire of Morocco. 


imposing vestiges of Roman grandeur, and the influence of a civilisation 
which survived the attacks of the barbarians, contributed in softening the 
conquering Arabs who settled there, and in vanquishing them, in their 
turn, by the ascendency of an undoubted intellectual superiority, as the 
Vandals had been likewise subjected before them. Whatever truth there 
may be in these explanations, the facts are self-evident, and it suffices to 
go from Algiers to Bona to be convinced of this. 

The difference of language is the first thing noticed : in a general 
point of view, this consists in a greater softness of pronunciation. 

Amongst the Arabs of the province of Constantina, the courtesy of 
manners corresponds with the softness of the language ; and they are 
much more disj^osed to give a friendly reception to the Christians than 
their countrymen farther west. The rapid progress of the French rule in 
the east of Algeria testifies to this. On the^ other hand, the people of 
Constantina have not the warlike spirit of the western tribes ; and who- 
ever has seen the two races in 'action can appi'eciate this difference. A 
troop of chasseiirs dispersed some hundreds of Arabs in 183G, near the 
marabout of Sidi-Tamtam ; whereas the Beni-Amer and Garbas were seen, 
in 1835, to stand dischai'ges of grape-shot with the steadiness of veteran 
European troops. 

The costume at Constantina does not difier materially from that found 
throughout Algeria ; only the people are generally more attentive to 
dress, and the white burnouse is commonly worn, whereas black and 
brown prevails in the west.* 

We must now proceed to analyse the political and social organisation of 
the Arab tribes, 1145 in number, composing a population of about three 
millions, and inhabiting the surface of Algeria, Tell, and Sahara, which is 
estimated at 390,900 square kilometres, equivalent to four-fifths of the 
86 French departments, or 150,000 square miles. We have seen that 
Algeria under the Turks comprised four provinces, three of which — Oran, 
Tittery, and Constantina — were governed by Beys, and the territory of the 
city of Algiers by the Dey in person, on whom the three Beys were no- 
minally dependent. In 1843, by a decision of the French Minister of 
War, the possessions in Africa were classed in three divisions, Algiers, 
Oran, and Constantina: Algiers containing two sub- divisions, Algiers and 
Tittery ; Oran four sub-divisions, Oran, Mascara, Mostaganem, Tlemsen ; 
and Constantina containing two. Bona and Setif. The latest division is 
the following: — 1st, the province of Algiers is analysed into six sub- 
divisions, whose chefs lieux are, Algiers, Blidah, Medeah, Aumale, Mi- 
lianah, and Orleansvillc. The province of Oran has five sub-divisions, — 
those of Oran, IMascara, Mostaganem, 8idi-l)el-Abbcs, and Tlemsen. The 
division of Constantina admits four sub-divisions, — Constantina, Bona, 
Setif, and Ijatna. The Governor -general is the supreme head of the 
* Berbruggnr, part iii. pp. 17-18. 


regency, and under him there are, first, the governors of the two other 
provinces ; secondly, each sub-division is under superior officers ; and 
thirdly, each sub-division is distributed into circles, under French com- 
mandants. There are eleven of the latter in each province ; and a bureau 
Arabe has been attached to every military commandant since 1844.* 

The circle comprehends generally several kaidats, who, when the state 
of the country allows it, are placed under the direct orders of the superior 
commandant, Avitliout obeying an agha. The khalifa or the bach-agha is 
dependent either on the commandant of the division or of the sub-division. 

The sheikh is appointed by the commandant of the sub-division, on 
the recommendation of the kaid. The assembly of the notables of the 
douar, who assist him, is called djemaa. 

The kaids are chosen amongst the most distinguished men of the tribe, 
and appointed by the commandant of the division, on the recommendation 
of the commandant of the sub-division. The kaids receive no fixed 
salary ; they derive emoluments from the raising of tribute, &c. 

The aghas are named by the minister of war, on the recommendation 
of the commandant of the sub-division, transmitted through legitimate 
channels. They form three classes, whose salaries were fixed, in 1847, at 
1200, 1800, and 3000 frs. (48Z. to 120^.) 

The khalifas, bach-aghas, and independent aghas are also named by 
the minister of war, on the recommendation of the commandant of the di- 
vision, transmitted through the governor-general. The khalifas have 
12,000 frs. (480^.), bach-aghas 5000 frs. (2001.), besides perquisites con- 
nected with their office. 

The khalifas and bach-aghas, when called upon, with their horsemen, 
to join the French forces in the war, are dependent on the orders of the 
-French commandants. In their judicial ca})acity they can inflict fines, 
revise the judgments of the aghas, kaids, &c. of the territory they govern, 
and are responsible for the regular payment of dues, «irc. The duty of the 
agha is to act on the orders of the khalifa, or direct orders from the French 
authority ; he arranges the military aflairs of the khalifat, sees that pun- 
ishments ordered by the khalifa are duly executed, and has power to 
inflict fines to a certain amount ; renders accounts to the khalifa of com- 
plaints made against the kaids beneath him, and arranges the collection of 
imposts, (fee. The office of the kaid is annual ; and on his investiture he 
has to provide a horse fit for military service, as an acknowledgment of 

* Tableau, 1S50, Appendix, from pp. 713 to 722 ; also, Dawson Borrcr's Campaign 
in the Kabylie, c. 16, on the Arab tribes. The douar is the basis of Arab social organisa- 
'tion, A certain number of douars, forming a ferka, obey a sheikh ; the assemblage of a 
number of ferkas, sometimes only one, a tribe, commanded by a kaid. A group of several 
tribes forms either a grand kaidat or an aghalik, under the orders of a kaid-el-kijad (caid 
of caids), or of an agha. Several aghaliks may form a circumscription dependent on a 
bach-agha (chief of aghas), or on a khalifa. Such is the hierarchy of the Arab powers 
that be. 



vassalage to the Frencli ; he then receives the burnouse and seal of office 
from the government. This feudal custom is derived from the Turkish 
times. The kaid has to see that the warriors of his tribe are ready 
for service, and to command them during the war ; is responsible for the 
execution of all orders issued by his superiors ; is charged with the interior 
police of the tribe, particularly that of the markets, where he is obliged to 
be present, either in person or by his lieutenant. He has to decide con- 
troversies between the douars of the tribe in cases of small importance, 
and to refer to the agha those of greater weight ; he has also the power 
of arresting criminals, of whom he must render account to the agha, and 
that officer to the French authorities ; he has also the right to inflict cor- 
poral punishment and fines to a certain amount, etc. The sheikh has to 
settle disputes in the ferka, to see the taxes levied, and to exercise police 
functions, &c., which makes his office like that of the maires of French 
parishes. Each tribe has a kadi besides a kaid. The duties of his office are 
to give judgment upon civil questions relating to person or j^roperty, or 
such infractions of the law as relate to marriages, divorces, successions, 
the guardianship of orphans, &c. He takes the oath of vassalage between 
the hands of the procureur-general of Algiers, or the commandant of the 
sub-division. This office is held for life, unless his conduct is so bad as to 
render his deposition necessaiy. The Icadis in the towns, and attached to 
the bureaux Arabes, receive salaries ; those of the tribes none, obtaining 
perquisites and enjoying immunities there. Below the office of the kadi 
is that of the oukil-bit-el-mel, an officer nominated in each sub-division by 
the commandant of the division, to watch over certain fiscal interests, to 
find out vacant heritages, to collect state duties on successions, &c.* 

Hence it appears that the government of the Arab tribes is in the 
hands of the military authorities, aided by the bureaux Arabes. The 
duty of the heads of this office is most important, all the affairs of the 
government with the natives being transacted through them. They 
must know the language of the country, and the laws, customs, and 
characters of the Arabs ; they must also be shrewd and resolute diplo- 
matists, Avith sound notions of justice. Their duties are laborious and 
extensive ; and the race with which they have to deal is intriguing, sen- 
sitive, and hates the French government. They are the intermediaries 
between the tribes and the administrative commissions in all that relates 
to fixing imposts, recovering government property, regulating the pay- 

* The tributes imposed on the tribes are of two kinds, — the achour (tithe) on corn ; 
iind the zekkat, a tax of rohgions origin on flocks. In the province of Constantina the 
latter is replaced by the hokor, a kind of land-tax in money. In the achour, each zouidja 
(17 to 2.5 acres) must pay the state a measm-o of wlioat and a measure of barley : it is often 
raised in money. The zckkat yields one sheep per cent, one ox in thirty, one camel in 
forty. In the east province the hokor j-ields 25 frs. per djebda or zouidja. The Saharian 
tribc-s pay a lezma, a low tax in money, proportioned to their wealth. In the ziban or 
jgaab of Biscara each palm-trco returns 40 ceutimos {id.). Tableau, 1850, p. 718. 


ment of the native troops supplied by the tribes when called for, settling 
disputes between natives and colonists, attending to markets, listening to 
reclamations, and administering justice. Theirs is a delicate and a diffi- 
cult situation, requiring much caution to fill it with propriety. If it 
falls to a man worthy of it, he becomes a great prop to the existence of 
the colony, for through him chiefly can some moral ascendency be gained 
over the Arabs.* 

The administrative commissions instituted in each sub-division and all 
towns, by ordinances published by Marshal Bugeaud in 1842, have to 
watch over government property, and to regulate tribute, fines, &c. from 
the Arabs. The proper execution of the duties of the commission depends 
much on the skill, &c. of the head of the bureau Arabe. 

What we have said will suffice to give a general notion of the tribes; 
and we shall add below some particulars relative to the political state of 
tlie Arabs. -j- 

* Borrer, ch. 16. Castellane observes : " The Arab bureaux represent the centralisa- 
tion of all the interests of the country in military hands. The chief of these officers repre- 
sents the old Turkish cliiefs, who were the chiefs of the margzhen" (page 367). Tableau, 
p. 715. 

+ The population of the pro\dnce of Algiers consists of 290 tribes, or 900,000 souls. 
Of these, 17-5 tribes are administered directly by the commandants of circles and the 
bureaux Arabes ; 35, indirectly by the latter ; 52, more distant in the Sahara, acknow- 
ledging a feudal vassalage to the French, but with perfect administrative freedom ; 28 
unsubdued, all Kabyles. The government of the subject tribes is managed by a di\-ision- 
ary direction of Arab affairs, five bureaux of the first class, five of the second, three kha- 
lifas, five bach-aghas, and twenty aghas. Auxiliary troops, horse and foot, 570. There 
is, moreovci', at Algiers, connected with the governor-general, a political bureau of Arab 
affairs, centralising all the administration of the tribes. The pro^dnce of Oran has 600,000 
natives, or 275 tribes, all subdued, 45 indirectly governed, and 28 left to the French com- 
mandant, or the great native chiefs of the Arabs. This province has a di\'isionary direc- 
tion of Arab affairs, four bureaux of the first class, and six of the second. The native 
chiefs are analysed thus: — three khalifas (of whom one only in the Tell), and 22 aghas. 
335 natives, horse and foot, are paid by France. The province of Constantiua contains 
1,300,000 inhabitants, or 580 tribes. Of these, 240 are governed directh', 200 inflirectly, 
80 mediately ; and 60 are unsubdued, being Kabyles. This j)rovince has a divisionary 
du'cction of Arab affairs, three biu^eaux of the first class, and six of the second. It reckons 
three khalifas ; and three other chiefs exert the power and receive the pay of khalifas, 
withoiit the title. (Tableau, 1850, pp. 719-20.) The province retm-ns 260 auxiliary horse 
and foot. In short, France has subdued, and governs directly, 897 tribes, occupying the 
most fertile pai-t of Algeria, The tribes indirectly governed by means of delegates amount 
to 160, and the unsubdued in 1850-1 to 88 ; the latter inhabiting mountains or deserts, and 
depending for subsistence on the subdued tribes. 

iPoorg, Curfew, lioulouglig, Sctog, kc. 




VARIOUS opinions have been advanced in connexion with the origin of the 
Moors,* who inhabit exclusively the towns chiefly on or near the sea- 
coast, except when driven from them. One authority represents them as 
the produce of different migrations ; j- and another describes them as Arabs 
in race, but fallen, without the institutions of those in the country, adding 
that they have been formed by emigrations from Spain, and of families 
separately detached from the tribes. ;{: It is very probable that there may 
be some admixture of the old Berber blood in the Moorish veins ; but it 

* The name of Moors is very g'eneral, and has been used in Europe in the sense of 
African Arabs ; but it properly denotes Arabs settled in the towns and stationary, ia 
distinction from the Bedouin Arabs, and those who practise agriculture in the country, 

styled fellahs ^^ in Egypt (from the verb flak ^LJ, to trace a furrow, to plough. Cours 

(TArale vulgaire, par A. Gorguos, pp. 231-2). Dr. Shaw derives the word Moor from 
'l^^'?, a ferry J or, as Genesius (Lexicon, p. 596) interprets it, transitus, locus transeundi. 
Hence Mauri would mean persons living near a strait or ferry, such as the Straits of Gib- 
raltar. There are, however, other derivations, such as 3~l37^^ the west, occidens (Ibid. p. 

603) ; evidently the same word as the Arabic ' > .jLoJ 1 el morreb, the setting, i. e. Mo- 
rocco. This derivation appears to us much more probable, though not conclusive, as its 
claim may be disputed by the Greek /junpor, /iui/pow, which Passow renders dunkel, u%- 
scheinhar, dark, — (Lexicon, 1830, vol. ii. p. 93, where he derives m""?"? from /-laipw and 
fxapnaipw, properly meaning to shine; but the derivation, according to him, has passed 
into the opposite meaning, signifying the same as a/iurpov, i.e. without light),— a word still 
used in the Romaic, as /iui.pu?, mavros, hlaik, appearing in such names as Mavrocordato, 
Mavrapanagia : the modern Greeks, as is well known, having in the diphthongs, &.c. re- 
tained the use and pronunciation of the vau or diganima, though they have lost the letter, 
which has been transfen-ed to the upsilon. (Eichoff's Parallfelo dcs Langues de I'Europe et 
do rinde, &c. p. 47.) 

t Blofold. I Earon Baude. 


has been cliiefly supplied by the Saracen invasion, and is now far from 
the purest in the world. Rou2;hly handled and cowed by the Turks, this 
class has lost that confidence in itself which flows from the spirit of clan- 
ship in all the Bedouins. In vain do you look for the noble bearing, the 
daring chivalry, the love of science, that distinguished their Andalusian 
and Arabian ancestors, that cast a radiance over the dark ages, and 
the great qualities of their ancestors is a rare sagacity, dissimulation, and 
heralded the triumph of intelligence in the better day about to dawn on 
the West.* The Servant of the Merciful -f- would no longer recognise in 
them the same race as those gallant soldiers and glowing worshippers who 
raised the Alhambra and fought for the Vega. Al-Rashid and Averroes 
would turn aside and weep over their degenerate posterity. Verily the 
crescent hath begun to wane. All that remains to the modern Moors of 
constancy. Yet these men are the offspring of those who filled Spain, with 
monuments of fabulous beauty, and who lighted up the torch of the 
sciences when the world was plunged in night. 

It appears that since the Turks have held sway at Algiers, many 
Christian renegades have married Moorish women, in such wise that the 
people called Moors are a very mixed race. Yet many families can still 
boast of a pure blood ; nor is it diflficult, notwithstanding these numerous 
crossings, to detect the true Moorish type. The men are mostly above 
the middle height ; their walk is noble and grave ; they have black hair ; 
their skin a little bronzed, but rather fair than brown ; aquiliue noses, full 
faces, a middle-sized mouth, large but sleepy eyes. Their features are 
less marked, and some say less, others more handsome than those of the 
Arabs and Berbers. Their body is very i-ounded, and they have generally 
much embon])oint, by which you may always distinguish tlie race.| 

The Moors have adopted most of the Turkish tailoring with its sway. 
Their costume, though not nearly so elegant as that of the women, is quite 
oriental: consisting of very full drawers {seroual), leaving their legs bare; 
a very ample vest [greliter), two waistcoats embroidered with gold or silk, 
and a turban. As chaussure, they wear slippers of morocco leather, called 
babouches. Stockings, they have none. Some fold a burnouse, and throw 
it over their arm as an ornament. 

Notions of beauty are wide as the poles, and sesthetical disputes betray 
bad taste. Though Moorish women are not exactly fat, fair, and forty, 
they are valued by weight, ignorant to excess, and sleepy though not 
sleeping beauties. Chinese feet, European stays, Bloomer eccentricities, 
and Hottentot Venuses betray the variable principles of aesthetics; nor 
need we be surprised to learn that a camel-load of female flesh is thought 

* Berbiiigger, part iii. 

+ j^Wis-i (Jl iX^ .4&cZ€rra7tma«, the celebrated caliph of Cordova. 

J Berbjiigg-er, part iii. 



a beauty by the Moors, and that girls are fattened for marriage like 
turkeys, occasionally dying under the spoon. 

The costume of the Moorish women is handsome and various. We 
will examine its mysteries and different phases of development. 

The neglige. — This costume among the poor is extremely simple ; con- 
sisting of a chemise of a transparent stuff, and long breeches kept up by a 
string drawn round the waist. The rich, and even those of the middle class, 
have a more dressy and a more complicated neglige. They never go bare- 
headed; and the head-dress of the young girls is generally a little close-fit- 
ting velvet cap, called quonibat, which only covers the top of the head, and 
is tied under the chin by a thin bridle. Sequins are frequently placed and 
fixed in concentric rings in it, and by their number give an idea of the 


wealth of the parents, — or rather of their pride, for you see persons of nar- 
row finances make use of this luxury. The hair falling down in long plaits, 
or squeezed into a long riband, almost always of a red colour, and of which 
the two ends full below the knee, reminds one of the queues of Frederick 
the Great's grenadiers. With young women, the cap called quonibat, or 
the little red chachiyah of Tunis, serves only as a support to a coiffure that 
we are about to describe, and which is not meant to be seen. A cap 

MOORISH ladies' FULL duess. 327 

{nChliennah), almost always black and red, is placed on the head so as to 
leave all the anterior and superior part far above the beginning of the hair 
quite uncovered; it is knotted behind on the niddock, and the united ends 
fall on the shoulders, enveloping them with long curls of black hair, that 
float and wave gracefully as the fair, or rather unfair, lady moves her pate. 
Sometimes the hair, instead of remaining free, is squeezed into ribands in 
the way already described. 

The matrons go out often with a more or less lofty sarmah, a kind of 
tiara of gold or silver, which has some analogy to the cap of the French 
cauclwises. Very old women preserve this costume even indoors. 

A corsage or bodice of silk {frimlah), very tight, compressing the 
bosom and bringing it unnaturally upward and forward, slightly di- 
minishes the extreme transparency of the chemise. A large and richly- 
worked zone (euzame) of silk and gold also conceals a part of the body 
above the trousers, which are placed very low. 
Let us now attend to Mooi'ish female full-dress. 

Over the head-dress of which Ave have spoken farther back, the Alge- 
rian women, when they wish to adorn themselves, place a second cap 
(dsisbah), which covers a pai't of the forehead, and is knotted in front at the 
top of the head. Their little bandeau of brilliants (zriref) resembles that 
of our European ladies ; only instead of its being applied immediately on 
the forehead, it is tied to the rim of a silk kerchief thrown over the head. 
They wear on solemn occasions a kind of open tunic (r/t lilaJi), in 
which gold and silver ai'e married in capricious arabesques on a ground of 
red or blue silk. They also gird themselves with a long piece of silk with 
broad stripes [foutah feuchetanne), which is tied in front and falls down 
to the ground. 

Besides the clothes of which we have spoken, jewels rich in material, 
but in bad taste, complete the costume of a Moorish lady, Avho is seldom 
able to put on all her ornaments. Long drops [menagueche) laden with 
diamonds hang from her ears. The young girls wear round their neck a 
collar of sequins, called mdibehh ; and the married women put on a similar 
ornament {qudadah), but composed of diamonds. Msais, or gold rings, 
encircle their arms; the Bedouin women lieiug satisfied with horn rings, 
called mquais. The legs above the instep have gold and silver rings, 
called rdise when they are massive, and khalkliol Avhen hollow. Their 
hands are also laden with rings having brilliants, and a kind of seal called 
khouatim, or hraiim. In short, to our notions, a Moorish lady in full- 
dress must be an incarnation of splendid misery.* 

* Nor have we yet done with her troubles ; for sho is, moreover, the victim of gyneei- 
dal cosmetics. With a preparation of gall-nuts (afsah) they paint their eyebrows black, 
in a broad band continued across the forehead ; and they darken the inside of the eyelid 
with g'hkol or antimony. This gives liveliness to the eyes, but hardness to the face. The 
juice of the jjlant henna, yielding a red dye, is jjut on the nails, on which a deep coat is 



Moorish women at home. — If out of doors they are heavily clad, in- 
doors the Moorish ladies are what we should call almost indelicately, though 
very gracefully, attired. 

When the ]\Ioorish lady sallies forth to the bath or her devotions at 
the marabouts of Sidi-Abd-el-Eahman-el-Tsaalebi, of Abd-el-Quader, or of 
Sidi Mohammed, &c., she adds to her undress a long white Mameluke 
trouser (serouah el zankal) if marriageable; but of colour if she is not yet 
nubile. She throws on her shoulders a floating tunic of clear stuff {liliaik 
el tdhhif) which slightly hides the transparency of the shift : this tunic 
is fixed in its upper part by long gold or silver pins (bzaiim). She girds 
the foutah and knots the eudjar, or handkerchief that is to hide the face. 
Lastly, she covers her head and most of her body with a long and broad 
piece of white cotton, of which the upper part is put on the forehead, 
leaving betw^een it and the eudjar only a little space free for the eyes. 
This piece of cotton or linen {foidaJi enta snanig), which is called takhe- 
lilah when it is of silk, frills back behind half-way down the leg. The 
Moorish women, pinching the stuff on both sides of the head, bring back 
the hand under the chin inside, from which it results that they are exactly 
enveloped on all sides, and only the lower part of their legs is visible. The 
whole coquetry of the native ladies is concentrated in the movements that 
they give to this dress. Those who wish to be seen put apart their hands, 
which hold up the takhelilah, and raise them by removing them from the 
head as high as the top of the forehead. This sudden manceuvre uncovers 
all that part of the face •which is not hid by the eudjar, and offers a speci- 
men from which an amateur can judge of what it is not allowed the lady to 
show. She also displays the rich belt and elegantly embroidered bodice 
that shines under the transparent tunic. The foutah enta snaniz and the 
takhelilah are articles peculiar to the Algerines. Every where else the 
women, when going out, jiut on a long piece of coarse wool (hhaik) falling 
to the ground, and showing only one eye. 

A few words on jjolygamy ere we pass to other matters. The position 
of woman is the key to a nation's social state; and her slavery among 
Mussulmans accounts for the low scale of their civilisation. Yet uni- 
formity on this globe is impossible; nor can the morality of the poles tally 
Avith that of the line. We have sacred and patriarchal authority for poly- 
gamy in certain ages and countries; and though it cannot co exist with 
Christian civilisation and Germanic chivalry, it has been proved to be the 
legitimate offspring of the Semitic phase of human nature. In short, there 
may be circumstances in time and space that justify the institution in the 
oycs of reason and I'cligion ; though, notwithstanding the arguments of 

niljbed, to increase the blush of that part of the nails which is seen. Their hands and feet 
are also painted with a disagreeable black tincture ; and the marks, or characters {cha- 
mah), inscribed by nature on some persons arc much valued. Artificial signs are also 
sometimes made, called Ichanat. Berbruggcr, jjart iii. 


Milton,* it is evidently incompatible with the highest spiritual and social 
phases of humanity. 

Marriages among the INIoors, as with most other ]\Iussuliiians, are 
contracted through third parties and gossips, the young people never 
meeting till the wedding-day." The affair is a regular market, a bar- 
gaining, like a London season. The gossip is bribed by a young man 
to go and examine his ideal mistress, whom he knows only by report; 
she goes, and gives a coloured report on her return, being bribed by 
the parents. If the parties are agreeable, and the old folks think the 
young man has a position, they close. 

On the wedding-day she is bathed, painted, daubed with blackened 
corks and henna, and decked out in her best attire. She is marched 
through the streets, accompanied by lanterns; and all the women have 
a grand feast at the bridegroom's house. The men, poor fellows, sup 
together apart; the wretched bridegroom eating alone, that he may not 
take too much and misdemean himself. At midnight, when the mosques 
open, the unhappy pair are left alone, all the guests retiring. 

The Moorish women are very fruitful, and marry ridiculously young, 
being mothers at nine or ten. They nurse their children, and doat upon 
them when young, but hate them when older, — particularly if they are 
boys, as they think that they have inherited their father's hai-sh character. 

The Moorish men are mild and lazy, gambling, smoking, and sipping 
coffee all day. The few that reside in the country live like the Arabs. 
They do little work; and that little is mostly done by the women, who 
bruise the corn in hand-mills, before it is sent to the public ovens. The 
French occupation has ruined many, and injured most Moorish families, 
by raising the prices of all commodities. The only trades practised by 
the Moors are those connected with luxury, requiring only dexterity and 
little strength. Cross-legged, and smoking pipes made of jasmine-wood, 
seated in little shops like boxes, they embroider, plait silk, or make 
slippers. This industry cannot support their families; and they are under- 
sold by Europeans. Hence their misery is great; and 8000 francs of 
alms per month was given to 2000 Moors at Algiers in 1843. The 
Moorish population of Algiers being 12,000, and many individuals repre- 
senting families, we may infer that half the Moorish population required 
charity. Crowds of naked beggar-children infested the streets. Thus 
African society begins its acquaintance with civilisation where ours ends, 
— with pauperism, prostitution, and mendicity.t 

We shall next attend to the Turks, — that handful of stern Janissary 
soldiery which held sway for three centuries at Algiers by the terror of 

* The reader who may be curious to read Milton's clever defence of polygamy is re- 
ferred to his Treatise on Christian Doctrine, translated by his Grace the Archbishop of 
Canterbury, 1825, pp. 231-241. 

f Berbrug-ger, part iii. 


its arms or name. And now we pass from the Semitic to the Mogul va- 
riety, or rather to a mixed race. In 1830, when the French hmded at 
Algiers, the Janissaries did not amount to 3000 men;* but we must re- 
member that recruiting in the Levant had ceased for three years, owing 
to the blockade of the French fleet, and that many Turks had perished. 

From the statistical returns of the 124.5th year of the Hegira, answer- 
ing to A.D. 1829, there were 787G.t 

The Moorish population in 1849 amounted to G0,928 souls. 

Under the Turkish sway, the Arab and other tribes were made ac- 
countable for the crimes of one of their members; nor was this unjust, as 
the tribe had all the means of keeping up the police of its own district.:}: 

The Turks, though so small a minority, governed the whole country 
despotically through the Janissaries; respecting no person, from the Jew 
to the Dey. The service or duty of the place, the raising of taxes, and 
piracy, were all carried on by the Turks, and with them; and though a 
mere handful of men, the other troops of the regency obeyed them. 

Their nmnber has greatly diminished since the French conquest, and 
they are fast disappearing. § 

* At Algiers ...,.,, 3976 

Province of Oran 

Do. of Tittery 

Do. of Constantina . 

Movable column to gather taxes 




Total 7876 

t But there were many superannuated Janissaries besides these. The Odjak (ijroperly 
Oda), or Company of the Janissaries, only admitted, as is vpell known, Tm-ks from the 
Levant, or Christian renegades; no native of the regency being permitted to enter its 
ranks. Yet they were far from being all natives of Turkey, or true Osmanlis ; consisting 
of a singular comjjound of Tm-ks, Greeks, Corsicans, Circassians, Albanians, Maltese, &c., 
and renegades from all Europe : forming an association of piracy abroad, and oppression 
at home ; but acknowledging the sovereignty of the Porte, and speaking its idiom. Yet 
the Tiu-ks had not come at first as masters, but as auxiliaries, like the Anglo-Saxons 
nearer home. The Janissary force was recruited at Smyrna and Constantinople only, 
in virtue of a treaty with the Sultan. Berbruggcr, part iii. 

I In 1810, one fine morning, the Turks hung thirty Biskris at Algiers, on account of 
an insurrection of their compatriots in the oasis of Zaab; and in 1823 the Kabyles near 
Bugia having made some Janissaries prisoners, the Dey seized all those in Algiers, thereby 
saving the heads of his Turks. The latter kept with all the tribes kaids, who were over- 
seers, like the missi dominici of Charlemagne ; and they only used violence to get what 
was owed them when other moans failed, after wliich a body of Janissaries was sent to 
enforce compliance. These often disarmed the whole refractory tribe and pillaged it, but 
respected the women. Baron Baude. 

§ Prince Plicklcr Muskau, who visited Algiers in 1835, and wrote a very amusing 
accoimt of his adventures in Algiers and Tunis, called Semilasso in Africa, saw them still 
ere their feathers luid much drooped ; and relates, in glowing colours, the gallant bearing 
of tlie upahis in their scarlet bournouse, and the dashing cliivalry of Yousouf, a Janissary 
from Tunis, whose adventures arc almost fabulous, and may servo to freshen the di'^-ness 


We learn that those who remain at Algiers are generally fine men, 
with fair skins, a stern look, and strong features. They live like the 
Moors, with whom they may be easily confounded; and you may at times 
meet them on the walks, in the cafes, bazaars, shops, &,c. Their dress 
is nearly the same as that of the Moors; and they commonly like light- 
coloured clothes, and a shirt of gauze with full sleeves, large trousers 
scarcely reaching to the ankles, a silk girdle, and a caftan over it very 
frequently. The sleeves of the caftan are very broad; the front is deco- 
rated with agrafes, and gold and silver embroideries. Old Turks, or those 
invested with dignities, wear a long pointed beard; the young men only 
wear mustaches; but all shave the head. The younger Turks wear the 
fez-cap and no turban; but with the Turks of a certain age, the turban is 
a long and narrow roll of silk, muslin, or cachmere, wound round the 
fez; and the arrangement of the folds, as well as the materials of this 
article of dress, bespeaks the class or profession of the wearer.* 

Captain Rozet, who visited Algeria soon after the conquest, has left 
ample particulars respecting the Janissaries, whose morals do not appear 
to have been very strict; for he states that, after exhausting all the volup- 
tuous enjoyments natural to man, they were addicted to unnatural prac- 
tices of classical notoriety; nor is this practice, unfortunately, confined to 
the Turks. -f- Children of Turks and Christian women enjoyed the consi- 
deration of Turks, and could become Janissaries; but children of Turks 
and Moorish women were an inferior cast, excluded from the dignities of 
their fathers, and named Koulouglis, — from the Turkish words koid, slave; 
and ougMi, sons. 

Agriculture was despised by the Turks, whose beautiful gardens were 
commonly cultivated by Kabyles, or Christian slaves. ]\Iost of the Tm*ks 
engaged or speculated in piracy, and some in trades, selling jewels, es- 
sences, perfumes, and valuable stufis. They also engage extensively in 

of barren description. Yousouf is said to be a Chi-istian and an Italian by birth, 
kidnapped and brought to Tunis in earlj' childhood, when his beauty striking the Bey, 
he named him one of his pages. An iU-starred intimacy soon sprang up between the 
handsome Yousouf and the Bey's daughter; and they were surprised in one of their in- 
terviews by a slave, whom Yousouf killed, cut up, and concealed, to prevent detection. 
Yet fearing disclosm-e and death, he left his Dido and the shores of Carthage by a vessel 
bound to Algiers, where he was received with open arms by the French ; and at the head 
of the spahis, after many dashing achievements, including the fabulous captiu'e of Bona 
in 1833 with the Baron d'Annandy, a most gallant French soldier of fortune, ho attained 
the rank of brigadier - general. Yousouf \-isited Paris some j-ears since, and again lately ; 
and his short but well-knit frame and liquid yet fiery black eyes are said to have done 
considerable execution among French hearts. In short, there was a Yousouf fever. — 
Spahi, I may add, is the name of the yeomanry or irregular cavalry throughotit the 
Turkish empire. An excellent account of this gallant body of men, who "200 years ago 
could have ridden over all the Russias in two months, occurs in Su- Paul Rycant's Present 
State of the Ottoman Empu-e, 1662, p. 347. 

* Berbrugger, ubi supra. 

f Eozet, Voyage dans la Fi,€gence d' Alger, 1833. 


tlie manufacture of carpets at Algiers, which are not so handsome, but 
softer and more comfortable than those of Turkey. Honesty was always 
the characteristic of the Turk. The hamal of Constantinople could be 
trusted any whei-e with your luggage; and the Algerian Turk never 
cheated in trade. Friction with Christendom has probably taught them 
by this time the arts of lying and cheating.* 

Most human characters and institutions have two phases, light and 
shade; nor are the Turks an exception to the rule; and we cannot bid 
adieu to them without regretting the extinction of their virtues together 
with their vices. Like the American Indians, it seems to be their fate to 
fall before the sickle of European civilisation, or barbarism; and it may not 
be unprofitable to dwell on their expiring agony, and reap some wisdom 
from their ashes. Limb after limb of the mighty Ottoman empire has 
been lopped off of late, and the axe now lies at the root of the tree. But 
though Western somnolence and jealousies may suffer the city and land 
of the Sultan to expire in the rude embrace of Russia, we will not suffer 
the majesty and energy of the children of Othman to go unchronicled in 
these pages. 

Though cruel and bigoted in the days of their i)ride, the Turks had a 
mighty glowing faith, the secret of their power; while its want is the key 
to our weakness. Deficient in science and its appliances, they were eman- 
cipated from our scribblomania, and lived in happy ignorance of literary 
indigestion and repletion. f Hence they had greater concentration and 
power of will, more freshness and originality of character. We have al- 
luded to their honesty ; and though piracy would seem little compatible 
with the love of truth, yet history has shown that the proud Osmanli 
rarely stooped to lies. We must not forget their tenderness for the brute 
creation; which, though apparently incompatible with their ferocity to 
Christians and foes, is another of the anomalies and twofold phases of 
national character. | 

Nor can we suffer these few lines on the departed lights of Turkish life 
to escape us, without expressing a regret that the friction with Indo-Ger- 
manic civilisation has not been more profitable to them, and honourable to 
us. It is unfortunate that Voltaire and Diderot should be our harbingers 
in the East, and oracles with the Turkish youth ;§ and it savours more of 
our barbarism than of our Christianity, that we cannot extend the march 
of mind without abetting the spread of moral and physical poisons; or 
inoculate the nations with our civilisation, without grasj)ing their terri- 

* For ample illustrations of the manlj' honesty and straightforwardness of the Turkish 
character, the reader is referred to the pages of Dr. Walsh's Residence in Constantinople, 
and to Miss Pardee's City of the Sultan, 1838. 

t Montaigne's Essays, 

+ Dr. Walsh's Residence in Constantinople, 2 vols. 

§ Macfarlane's Turkey. 


tory and enslaving their sons. But Christianity and politics are still wide 
as the poles; and whilst Birmah and Scinde fall into our toils in the East, 
we must not complain of the dungeons of Siberia, of the agony of Cir- 
cassia, or of the northern tempest hanging over Stamboul. 

We have observed that alliances frequently took place between tlie 
Turks and Moorish women, and ultimately some of the most important 
families of the regency became allied to them. From these relations 
sprang the Koulouglis, or sons of slaves, who received this name from 
their mothers. Filling a kind of transition position between the two 
races, they occasionally gave much uneasiness to the Turks, and sometimes 
did good service to both parties. They had enjoyed for GO years (to 1830) 
a considerable share in the government, and began to form an imposing 
military force ; and in the last Turkish census, a.d. 1 829, we find that the 
number of Koulouglis fit to bear arms amounted to 8688.* 

All the Koulouglis have shown themselves invariably well-disposed to 
the French from the first, and have accordingly met Avith much persecu- 
tion from Abd-el-Kader and the Arab race. 

This race possesses many of the qualities of the Janissaries, and is se- 
parated from the natives by manners, and by the use of the Turkish lan- 
guage, which they speak almost universally. They answer excellently well 
as mediators and channels of communication between the French and the 
Arabs and Kabyles.t 

They are generally very handsome men, having regular features, well- 
shaped eyes, a fair and smooth skin, strongly developed muscles, and a 
certain embonpoint, proceeding doubtless from their mothers. The mar- 
riage of European with African blood can be detected in their appearance ; 
for they have the nouchalence and haughtiness of the Turks, blended with 
the lymphatic temperament of the Moorish women, — especially the girls, 
who are also invariably brought up like their mothers. Their costume is 
the same as that of the Moors and Turks ; but they pride themselves on 

At Algfiers . 

Province of Constantina 

Ditto Oran . 

Ditto Tittery 

On the Oued-Zeitoun 




t Bai-on Baudc, vol. iii. p. 231. The history of the Koulouglis, though much less inte- 
resting than that of the Janissaries, has been intimately connected with the annals of the 
regency, almost always sharing the good or evil fortune of their sires the Tm-ks. Yet in 
1626, under the reign of Maharan, they revolted against the Janissary militia, and de- 
vised a conspiracy that almost overthrew the Tm-kish power at Algiers, and whose discovery 
led to a horrible massacre. Though far from enjoying any high consideration under the 
Dey, yet the corps of spahis (Turkish cavalry) was commonly recruited from amongst 

334 THE JEWS. 

extreme cleanliness, and even a kind of coquetry in their dress, which is 
not unbecoming their character, and recalls the Asiatic tchelebis* Almost 
all rich enough to do nothing, they follow no profession, scarcely taking 
the trouble to work, and remain for days plunged in apathy, whilst their 
slaves cultivate their gardens, and receive chastisement if they are not 
satisfied with their work. The young men study attitudes in walking, to 
display the beauty of their figure. 

The Koulouglis are distinguished above all the races in Algeria for 
excessive vanity and profound ignorance. In the social machinery, 
before 1830, they Avere confounded with the Moors, and had no right 
to the privileges of their sires ; yet they seldom had cause to fear any 
persecution from the Janissaries, because of the afiinity existing between 
them. They were only required to take up arms in time of war ; and 
their pacific character has impeded the just appreciation of their natural 

The Koulouglis profess the Mussulman religion, in which they are 
brought up ; but their faith is characterised by the same indifference that 
they display in all the acts of life. They are not superstitious, and 
only attend to the forms of religion to show they believe in God. Ex- 
ceeding the Turks in apathy, they do not make it a point of conscience 
to attend the mosques. Whilst on this subject, we must not forget to 
state that the Turks and Koulouglis, who are all Sunnites, or orthodox 
Mahometans, observe the rite of Hanefi ; whilst the Arabs and Ber- 
bers are Malekites. The Turkish tongue was only used in the odjak of 
the Janissaries and amongst the Koulouglis, and was employed for all 
official acts.f 

There is yet another tribe of the Semitic race diffused in Algeria, as 
throughout the world; a people of riveting interest, and yet generally 
deficient in the nobler and more gallant characteristics of human nature : 
I mean the Jews. 

The children of Israel are scattered throughout Barbary, and have 
managed, as usual, to thrive there, notwithstanding greater iusidts than 
the Disabilities Act, and harsher persecution than the Ghetto. Those Jews 
Avho live scattered among the Kabyle tribes differ from the other Israelites 

* A Pei'sian word for gentleman or dandy, used only in tbe East, and occurring in the 
following Arabic proverb : 

^\j^ 4rV-^* ^f^^ Li-*^^ l..^V Li^ 

Hhalahi, tchalabi, ch&nii, chmimi, macri, hharami: tho Aleppian is a fop, the Damascan 
cunning, the Egyptian a tliief. A. Bellemaro's Orammaire Arahe, p. 98. 

+ It is probaljlo that in a few years this hybrid race, which seemed bom for a gentle, 
lazy, and voluptuous life, will die out in Algeria, as the recruiting and immigration of 
Turks, who kept up the stock, has ceased since the conquest in 1830. Berbrugger's 
Algeria, iii. pp. 8-9. Sco also Captain llozot's Voyage, &c. 


of Algeria Ly the period of their establishment, by their manners and lan- 
guage ; and all that they have in common consists chiefly, if not exclu- 
sively, in the basis of their Hebrew faith.* 

Under the sky of Africa, as in Europe, this wondrous people have 
preserved their special type : an aquiline nose, a black beard, a magnifi- 
cent but decei)tive eye, a clear but colourless complexion. Their appear- 
ance is less scriptural and engaging than the interesting characteristics of 
the Lithuanian Jews, many of whom present a striking likeness to our 
ideal of Clu-ist-like and apostolic beauty.f 

In Algeria, as in most countries, they can be recognised by their com- 
bined look of cheating and humility, the result of the wrongs of ages ; p.nd 
by their stooping attitudes, their severe features, and the dark rings round 
their eyes. 

As always Avhere they muster strong, they engross almost all the 
commerce : bankers, bi'okers, and agents, they are the Eothschilds of Al- 
geria. Nothing can be done without them. They attend to all branches 
of industry, save agriculture. Active, intriguing, and versatile, they foi'm 
a great contrast to the apathy of the Moors. 

The Jews are forbidden in Barbary to wear gay clothing ; and they con- 
tinue their partiality for the sable, notwithstanding their emancipation 
through the French conquest. Their dress consists of several vests, or 
waistcoats, of grey cloth ; of wide trousers of the same colour, tied round 
the waist by a blue belt ; and the majority go bare-legged, though a few 
wear stockings. | 

The Jewish women at Algiers have generally a gi-eater freedom, and 
are more confidentially treated by their husbands, than the Moorish wo- 
men : they go out at option, and do their own commissions. They are 
commonly pi-etty. Matrons or maids, they go with uncovered faces ; and 
their coiffure consists of a sarinah, or conical head-dress resembling the 
ancient hennin, and the cap of the French cauchoues. The rest of their 

* Baron Baude, vol. iii. History has recorded the date and cause of the Israolitish 
immigi'ation into West Africa, after the destraction of Jemsalem ; but the immemo- 
rial establishment of the Scenite Jews, who in the whole extent of Barbary are mixed 
with the Berber population, would lead us to suppose that it forms the foundation of this 
immigration from the East and Syi-ia, which Sallust has related in these words : " After- 
wards the Phoenicians — some for the sake of lessening the pressm-e at home, others from 
motives of ambition and curiosity — built Adrumetum. Hipijo, Lei:)tis, and other cities on 
the sea-shore." (Sallust. Bell. Jugurth. p. 77.) Numerous Jewish migrations occurred 
d\u-ing the persecutions of Adrian ; and in the third century these emigrants formed in- 
dependent tribes in the Hedjaz near Medina, and near Mecca; and their religion spread 
in Yemen. If we may believe the Arab historians, most of the African Berbei-s and 
Arabs professed the Hebrew faith in the seventh and eighth centuries, and the preaching 
of Mahometanism made no way amongst them. This would appear to explain the phe- 
nomenon of the Jews forming till lately (1843) a fovu'th of the ijopidation of Algiers, and 
more than fom--fifths of that of Oran. 

•f- Marquis de Custine's Voyage en Bussie. 

J Borbruggor, part iii. 


costume consists, Avitli the common women, of a full blue cotton gown, 
without being confined at the waist, with very short sleeves, letting 
those of the chemise descend below them. The poorer sort put a kind 
of cap on their head instead of the sarmah, letting the point fall back on 
the neck. Like most of the men, they generally go bare-legged and bare- 

The young girls wear their hair long and plaited in a tail, to which 
they tie red and blue ribbons. As a coiflPure, they wear a small but very 
elegant cap of green velvet, adorned with a golden tassel, and with a bor- 
der also of gold, forming the sides of that kind of Greek cap which j^asses 
gracefully under their neck, where it is tied. Some sweet faces and regu- 
lar features are often seen amongst them. Nothing can be more graceful 
than a pretty Algerian Jewess going to the fountain, and carrying a pitcher 
on her head. It is not improbable that it was a vision of this nature that 
inspired the pencil of Horace Vernet, when he designed his admirable 
Rebecca; in the same way that you find the prototype of his Eliezer, 
with a parti-coloured white and grey burnouse, in many a Bedouin of the 

In the kingdom of Fez, the Jews inhabit chiefly the northern provinces, 
and are even now called Philistines.* Like the Kabyles among whom 
they live, they take part in war, and are not withered by slavery. t 

Under the Turks, the Jews formed a notable part of the population of 
Algeria; but they suffered grievous burdens and mortifying insults. Hence 
they gave the French a hearty welcome ; and their condition has been so 
much improved, that they have turned the tables on their former tyrants, 
whom they often treat with contumely and harshness. This circumstance, 
by increasing the hatred of the other native races to them, has Jed the 
Israelites to dread greatly the departure of the French, as the Ishmaelites 
would not fail to revenge themselves bitterly upon them again if they 
recovered the upper hand. In the present day they have a monopoly 
of the land-trade and brokerage. Their children frequent the French 
schools, speak the French tongue, and assume the Frank dress, Avithout 
losing the spirit of caste. They readily become lawyers' clerks and em- 
ployes of government ; they are already initiated into French legislation ; 
and the natives have no other consulting advocates. 

The populations of the East in general, and the Jews in particular, have 
always shown too great a tendency to fence themselves into separate 

* Berbnigger, part iii. p. 4. 

+ Kabylo Jews are also found in the rogcncj' of Algeria, especially in the Auress 
mountain, in the province of Constantina. It is probable that they shared the fate of the 
Libyan, Ga;tulian, and Nuraidian populations, when they were conquered and driven back 
into the mountains by the invasions of the Vandals and Arabs; and this particijjation in 
their fortunos gave them probably the right of naturalisation among the true aboriginal 
natives. See Griiberg d'Hemso, Specchio geografico-statistico deU' Imperio di Marocco, 

THE JEWS. 337 

races and castes, treating each other as enemies and strangers, though 
living under the same sceptre." 

Baron Baude found it difficult to obtain a good census of the Jews in 
1841 ; and he couki not jjrocure any of the Kabyle Jews.t 

The whole Jewish population of the regency amounted in December 
1849 to 19,028.+ 

We rejoice to think that the sorrows of this mystical race arc at an end 
in Algeria, and that under the enlightened religious code of France, — a 
model on this point to the nations, though a warning on so many others, 
— they can once more retrace while they outgrow the steps of their mighty 
ancestors, by securing that pedestal of all human greatness, self-respect. A 
fair field is open to them there, and opening elsewhere. It will take time 
for them to shake off the rust of ages ; but if they put their hands manfully 
to the plough, and drop the convict's dress and mind, they may yet stand 
forth once more as " a chosen generation and a peculiar people ;" and 
should they see the wisdom of disencumbering themselves of their naiTow 
pride and bigotry, a bright future may very probably await this singular 
l^eople. The luxuriance of their eastern fancy, and the shrewdness of their 
mother-wit, improved and chastened by an infusion of Germanic chivalry 
■and thought, might lead to massive and brilliant phases of humanity yet 
unborn. A cross between the seers of Jutlah and the vikings of Odin 
would beget a giant progeny. 

Other populations, few^ in number but rich in interest, occur on this 
soil of Algeria, which having been so long and so often the battle-field 
and the high-road of nations, must naturally present the relics of sundry 
Avarriors and wanderers in its sand-wastes and fastnesses. "We have visited 
the Kabvlcs ; let us enter the oases, and scale the Great Atlas ; and among 
the snows of Auress and the palms of Zaab we shall find pure and inde- 
pendent tvpes of historical and mythical races. Thus, true Germanic sons 
of the Vandal flood are still preserved in the far south as well as at Bugia. 

Most of the great tribes that are not Arabs have representatives at 
Algiers, where they are formed into corporations of workmen, subject to a 
rigorous organization and hierarchy analogous to that of our ancient 

* Baron Baude, vol. iii. Many of the Jews in Algeria have embraced useful trades ; 
those of tailoring:, gold-drawing, and jewellering have the preference, and some arc very 
good masons. The commerce of sujiphang the tissues of Europe to the tribes is almost 
entirely in their hands ; and those of Constantina carry on manufacturing industry on a 
large scale, especially in the preparation of looms. Most of the rich families have houses 
at Algiers. 

f The following were the French returns of Jewish population in 1S39 and 1S49 : (Ba- 
ron Baxidc, vol. iii.) 

1839. 1S49. 

Algiers .... 6065 7289 

Oran 3-364 7749 

Constantina . . . . 698 ' ^990 

t Tableau, ISJO, p. 113. 





















guilds. These corporations consisted of 5599 souls in 1849.* The three 
last corporations belong to the Zaab country, the others to the moun- 
tain districts of the regency. At all times a great number of Saharians 
have annually emigrated from the interior to the capital, — like the Auver- 
gnats and the Savoyards in France, and the Tyrolese in Germany, — 
in order to pocket a few earnings and better their condition at home. 
These emigrant corporations at Algiers were governed by a chief named 
Amin, who was charged with the police of the body. The amin was like 
the agent of a commercial company, the magistrate of a little society, 
and the father of a family. The three chief corporations are those of 
the Biskris, the Mozabites, and the Aghrouaths.-j- 

* Kabyles ..... 
Mzitas ..... 
Mozabites .... 

Biskris ..... 
El-Aghrouaths .... 

4097 4835 5599 

f The Biskris live to tlie south of the great salt lake of Chott. They have saUow com- 
plexions and sei-ious manners ; their customs, morals, and character differ essentially from 
those of the Arabs and of the other tribes. Yet, from their language, a corrupt dialect of 
the Arabic, it would seem that they are scattered relics of that celebrated jjeople, and that 
their customs have been affected by admixtiu'e with the aborigines. This hj'pothesis is 
strengthened when we reflect, that the territory which they inhabit must needs have been 
crossed by the tides of Arabs who conquered Africa in the seventh century. Their cha- 
racter is complaisant and faithful ; they were employed in most houses as confidential 
servants ; they monopolised the baking trade ; were the only commissaries at Algiers, and 
the only employes of the government on public works; and they were, moreover, the 
commercial agents between Algiers and Gadamez. At present they are 23orters, and 
even agricultural labourers, navvies, &c. Bhndness is a very common disease in this small 
nation, possibly proceeding from their propinquity to the glowing sands of the desert. 
Their religion is Mahometanism. The Mozabites, or the Beni-Mozab, inhabit an oasis in. 
the Sahara of the province of Algiers, at about twenty days' camel's march for a caravan, 
part of the road passing through the desert, and without any wells. The Mozabites are 
fair, but their featiu-es and type arc those of the Arabs. (This statement, which we have 
borrowed from Berbrugger, is slightly at variance with that of Castellane, who describes 
the Mozabites as a different people from the Arabs. See ji. 110 of the Souvenirs, and 
p. 31 of the present work.) Their character is gentle and active ; and their probity is 
almost proverVnal at Algiers, of whose government they were quite indei^endont. Their 
privileges and commerce were pi'otected by wi-ittcn covenants, with the sanction of the 
government ; and in civil affixirs they only recognised the jurisdiction of their Amin at 
Algiers. The benefits that they obtained from the Deys were considerable ; being privi- 
leged agents of the commerce of Algiers with the interior of Africa, and enjoying the 
monopoly of the baths, butcheries, and mills of the capital. They follow the law of Mo- 
hammed, though deviating from it in several particulars ; refusing to perform their cere- 
monies in the usual mosques, and having one of tlicir own o\itsido the town, appropriated 
to tlieir jiarticular creed. The Biskris are handsomely paid for the services that they 
perform for the French, and have gained as much as tlie Moors have lost by their con- 
nection with our ncighboiu-s. With regard to the native population, it is proper to add, 
that the Turks and Koulouglis have dwindled down to a handful of men, lost in the body 
of the Moorish population. For farther particulars consult the Tableau, p. 110. 






IT is with diffidence that we venture on the disputed question of slavery^ 
especially as we are led by our honest convictions to differ on certain 
points from many venerable names and authorities. 

Liberty is such a glorious thing, and the very term slavery is so 
odious, that it requires some courage and much solid argument to advance, 
and not a little patience to listen to, the advocacy of the comparative ad- 
vantages of some forms of mitigated slavery. Yet it is only the force of 
habit that blinds us to our own ; we are so inured to our chains that we 
do not feel them ; while it is certain that the four historical phases of 
humanity up to the present time — savage life, pastoral life, feudal life, and 
civilised life — are nothing but comparative modifications of slavery. A 
keener sense of justice, a higher relish for the ideal, a better ear for higher 
harmonies, would dash the cup of all our present enjoyments Avith poison, 
and banish content from every breast. Our perceptions of a possible 
future are blunted, though the chronic throws of revolution bespeak the 
occasional awakening of the giant to a sense of his oppression. Revo- 
lutions are the symbol and the offspring of the world's social slavery; and 
whilst legislation mistakes their cause, and tries to doctor them witli po- 
litical treatment, instead of enlarging the social freedom of the individual, 
the streets will grow barricades, and our cities crops of conspirators. 

The social movement, like all others, has its scale of degrees, and 
slavery admits a serial order. The negro in America is low in the scale 
of slavery; in Africa he is often lo.wer. We do not attempt here to sug- 
gest the cure for the monstrous evil in the United States. We grant it 
at once ; but St. Domingo and common sense prove that the evil existing 
will be magnified instead of lessened by immediate and entire emancipa- 


tion, — an injustice alike to the planter and the slave. Gradual transitions 
are the law of nature ; and the only safe emancipation is that by degrees. 

But slavery in America is not slavery every where ; and the system in 
Barbary, like that of Circassians and Georgians at Constantinople, works 
well.* It might seem unnatural for tlie Circassian parent to sell his lovely 
daughter to the Turkish mercliant; yet pride and ambition prompt him 
to the act, for she may be the mother of sultans. Nor are we wanting 
in examples of liigh-born parents in a place called Britain selling their 
daughters, that they may wear a coronet. 

Maliometanism has ever mitigated slavery ; and the Koran is a check 
to the master and a comfort to the slave. It recommends manumission as 
more efficacious for the salvation of souls than much fasting and many 
pilgrimages; and the marriage of masters and slaves is encouraged by 
custom, t In short, granting what circumstances have proved, that negro 
nature cannot bear an immediate transition from the night of the Niger 
to the compai-ative daylight of European civilisation, intermediate steps, 
probations, and preparations are necessary; and of such, Mahometan slavery 
offers a favourable example. 

But since facts are ever more weighty than arguments, "vve will here 
•produce some evidence, which, with the inductions that may be thence 
derived, appear to us conclusive. 

We are informed, that on the banks of the Niger the average price of 
-a negro is four camels' loads of dates; and it is no uncommon thing there 
for fifteen or twenty men to be given in exchange for a horse.:}: This is 
rather a promising beginning, as showing the estimation in which black 
souls are held at home. But to proceed; we learn from another authority, 
that the negroes in Algeria possess excellent qualities as slaves, whilst 
they are equally notorious for their defects when liberated. Immediately 
that they are emancipated from the yoke, they become tliiefs, traitors, liars, 
bloodthirsty, and subject to the most desperate passions on the slightest 
opposition. We can already perceive some obvious inductions, which we 
leave to the reader's skill for the present. Before entering into an ex- 
amination of the slave's position in Algeria, we will analyse the routes 
taken by the caravans from Soudan. After having crossed, on leaving 
Algiers, the Atlas chain and the territories of the nomadic tribes that live 
to the south of Mcdeah, you arrive among the Mezzabites, who extend into 
the .Sahara and belong to the Djcridi, or palmers ; and beyond them 
stretches away the vast tract of treeless country known as the Great De- 
sert, infested by the rovers of the sands, two tribes called Touaths and 
Tuaricks, the most southern of all the Berber racc.§ The latter carry on 

* See Miss Pardoc's City of the Sultan ; and Rovelaiions of Kussia, vol. ii. the chapters 
on Circassia and|,Gcorgia, 

t For the Mahometan code of slavery, sec Daumas' Grand Di'scrt, p. 419. 
i Baron Baudo, oh. xvii.; Bcrbrui^gor, part iii.; Lc Grand Dissert. 
§ Castollane, p. 280; Lo Grand Desert; Baron Baudo, ch. xvii. 


tlieir commerce and depi'edations as far as the Niger and into the vicinity 
of Timbuctoo ; and their daring industry in robbing caravans and man- 
catching constitutes all their riches. Some of them carry on the trade of 
bagging the negroes who go to seek salt in the salt-lakes of the desert : 
and niore commonly they treat for them by purchase from the i)etty 
princes of the basin of the Niger. But, however obtained, man-flesh is 
always the staple of the goods brought back from these enterprises. 
Thieving is not an easy trade on camel's backs ; hence the kidnappers 
and conveyers of stolen men are different tribes, and a division of labour 
is found in the heart of the desert. Those who carry off the slaves 
do not exjjort them ; they sell them to the Touaths, who carry on trade 
with the Djeridi and the Sahara. The ordinary wholesale price of the 
cajitives, at a rough estimate and without distinction of age or sex, is 
four camels' loads of dates, or its equivalent in merchandise. Now these 
sixteen (juintals of dates, which amount, they say, in the Sahara to a value 
of sixteen francs, may, at the moment of exchange, have reached a value 
of forty francs by the carriage. The caravan performs a journey of seven- 
teen days' march to reach the Mezzabites; and the nearer it comes to the 
coast, the greater is the danger of being pillaged. At last they arrive at 
Medeah, whence Algiers used to be supplied (before 1830); and the 
current prices, on which the merchants gained about 100 per cent, were 
200 boudjous for men and 120 for women (360 and 216 fr.).* 

Hence what the negro has lost by importation into the regency is a 
social state in which man is valued at much less than 40 fr. (U. 15s.) 
The treatment of the people by the chiefs of Central Africa shews a brutal 
stupidity. They give twenty men for a horse ; their superstitions require 
bloody sacrifices; the animadversion of a priest is a condemnation to death; 
and human sacrifices are thought to honour the funerals of their princes. 
The prisoner of war, and also the man who does not pay his taxes, be- 
come slaves ; it is not thought a crime to sell your relations in a family, 
because being sold is not thought to be a misfortune ; fathers, elder bro- 
thers, and even mothers do not scruple to sell their children, whose life is 
of so little value; and the latter do not think it a misfortune, to judge 
from their appearance in the bazaars. -j- 

Moreover, no idea of degradation accompanies slavery among the 'Mus- 

* The retm-ns of the bazaars of Egypt, Morocco, Tunis, and Tripoli confirm these data. 
The slaves brought to Gondar, in Abyssinia, most of them Gallas, arc sold to the caravans 
by the child-stealers for one or two talaris jjcr head (1 talari is worth 5 fr. 4 cent.). Cas- 
tellane, p. 268 et seqq. ; Le Grand D6sert ; Bai-on Bavide, ch. xvii. 

+ Baron Baude, vol. iii. ch. xvii. on the Negroes. Gen. Daumas, at p. 8 of the preface 
to Le Grand Desert, inserts letters that reached France from Gorea, dated March 18-17, 
mentioning that a rigorous blockade of the coast had been adopted by the French and 
British cruisers to stop the slave-trade; the latter undertaking to blockade Gallinas, where 
a number of negroes were congregated, read}' to be shipped off. The proprietors of these 
slaves finding all means of evading the cruisers impossible, and being unable to feed them. 


sulmans. The slave is the companion of his master ; he may reach (in 
Morocco) the high dignities of the empire;* and if a woman, she enters 
the family by giving birth to a chief. The faithful Avho manumits his 
like, says the Koran, saves himself from the punishment of humanity and 
the torments of hell. Affranchisements by will, after a certain number of 
years, are very frequent ; marriages with slave-women are still more so; 
and children born of black concubines belong to the condition of the 
father. Compare this with Amei'ican prejudices, and infer, reader, where 
most Christianity is to be found. 

Scrupulous Mussulmans think themselves bound to offer liberty to 
their slaves after nine years' good service, because it is thought that after 
that time they have paid their value in labour. Hence the law of Mo- 
hammed has many ways by which the slave may attain to civil liberty ; 
and thus it seems to bring the slave by violence into the heart of the 
country, only to incorporate him in it at last by affranchisement. In this 
manner, slaves brought from the Niger to Barbary have not fallen into 
slavery, but have changed it. But between the slavery that they have 
left and that which they have entered is all the difierence from Fetichism 
to Mahometanism, from perpetuity to transition. Thus, to interdict sla- 
very in Barbary would be to throw back the negro into perpetual and 
hopeless barbarism. -j- 

The origin, history, and language, &c. of the slaves is still in a great 
measure a mystery ; even their country is unknown. In all other coun- 
tries tradition makes mention of a heavenly origin for man ; thus the 
Indians have their paradise of Brahma, the Jews Eden, the Pagans a 
golden age. But nothing like this occurs among the negroes. No divine 
institution has consecrated marriage amongst them ; they are just as the 
ancients left them, even in the shape of their brain. The difference be- 
tween the whites and blacks seems to be, that we have the principle of 
our perfectibility in us, whilst they only obey impressions from without. | 
Immersion into white society seems a necessary step to prepare the negro 
for liberty. But this must be done gradually, or it Avill lead to mischief; 
hence the sudden abolition of slavery in Africa would be to desert public 
duty. There exist plenty of facts to show that tlie abolition of slaveiy 
among the white slave-owners in North Africa would only be to per- 
petuate and consecrate it among the blacks. The regular army of Morocco 
consists of 20,000 blacks, regularly recruited by negroes brought by cara- 

deeapitated 2000 of them, fixing thoir heads on polos raised on the shore. Some French 
officers, who hajjponed to be on shore, having bitterly complained of this to the chiefs, the 
latter replied : " What you expect ? If you no longer allow us to make money by our 
prisoners of war, wc shall bo obliged to butcher them all." Comments on this fact are 

* Griiberg d'llcmso, Specchio goografico-statistico doll' Imperio di Marocco, 183G. 

i" Baron Baudo, chap. xvii. J Ibid. 


vans from Soudan and Timbuctoo. Though purchased as slaves, as soon 
as they enter the army they become free. 

At Algiers they form a corporation under a hait-laus-fan, or chief. On 
the 1st of January 1833 it reckoned 390 persons, and in 1840, 408; whilst 
the census of 1849 gave a return of 5G3."' Scarcely one-fourth of them 
are born in Barbary. In Algeria there were 4177 in 1849. 

They become porters, domestics, syndics, or an amin of their own cor- 
jjoration, who is answerable for their delinquencies. It Avould be impos- 
sible to keep ujj a supply of them without women, experience having shown 
the physical necessity of their society to prevent the ravages of nostalgia 
among the male negroes w^hen condemned to the most moderate con- 
tinence, owing to the amorous idiosyncrasy of their temperaments. Their 
numbers in Algeria amounted to 1800f in 1840, being principally females. 
The French guaranteed the observance of their laws and customs to the 
natives in Algeria at the time of the conquest ; yet, by French law, the 
slave on crossing a French threshold is free. If the slave-trade had not 
been interrupted, this distinction would have been illusory; many natives 
would have been under-traders in slaves, and, eluding the law, would have 
obtained employment for slave-labour from Europeans. 

On a broad survey of the case, it appears to us that religion sanctions, 
and prudence suggests, the adoption of a mild and oi-ganised system of 
negro slavery in North Africa; that it is the only efficient means of inocu- 
lating the negro race with a higher civilisation; that it increases the hap- 
piness of those exported, and diminishes the fearful slavery of Central 
African slaughter-houses ; and that, if mitigated and checked by the clauses 
of Christian laws, it could not fail, under God, to be a gi-eat instrument in 
reclaiming the blacks from their brutal degradation, and in preparing 
them for higher political and social phases. If such results have flowed 
from Mahometan slavery, what might not be anticipated from a judicious 
system tempered by a Christian spirit! A superfici;! survey exclaims 
against the whole thing as a base injustice ; but we are persuaded that a 
more scrutinising examination will verify our inductions ; and that it wiU 
be found that justice and expediency both advocate as well as tolerate 
the practice of a mild system of slavery, as the most charitable and rea- 
sonable transitive measure for the negro in his progression from a moral 
and intellectual death in the basin of the Niger to the intelligence and 
si^iritual life of the Caucasian variety. 

In 1845 the state of slavery in Algeria was as follows : The slaves of 
natives remained in slavery, and when purchased by Europeans enjoyed 
the full benefit of the French law of enfranchisement ;^: but the caravans 
to Medeah to supply Algiers had ceased, though the Arab tribes of the 

* Tableau, 1849. 

f Griiberg d'Hemso says that the negi-oes in the empire of Morocco amount to 120,000, 

X Count St. Marie, • 


Sahara bordering on the Great Desert still import kafilas of negroes from 
Kachna Haoussa.* The number annually imported into the regency 
before 1830 reached from 600 to 800. 

At present, owing to the check placed upon the importation of blacks 
into Algeria, there is much greater outlet for this traffic at Tunis, Tripoli, 
and in Morocco, into the latter of which countries 12,000 negroes are 
annually imported, t 

Lastly, we are assured by the latter authority, a man of liberal poli- 
tics and philanthroj:»ic heart, pei'sonally and experimentally acquainted 
with the subject, that the negroes are treated as members of the family 
in Morocco, and are much superior to and better off than the free blacks 
of Haiti ; and he adds, that the negroes regarded slavery among the Mus- 
sulmans as a happiness. | 

The negroes have many singular customs founded on the love of the 
marvellous and mysterious, universal in man, by which they Avork on the 
feelings and open the purses of the Arabs. Magic, witchcraft, mesmerism, 
and fortune-telling are phases of a general truth and reality, connected 
with the deepest mysteries of anthropology ; and the crawling negro him- 
self, though standing on the lowest platform of humanity, has been taught 
by instinct the profoundest truths of science and philosophy. Thus ex- 
tremes ever meet, and Quashy tramples on the stagnant prejudices of 
Royal Societies and Academies of Science. The most remarkable of their 
magical processes in Algeria is called djelej), whose object it is to make the 
devil enter the patient's belly, Avhereby he foresees futurity. Those who 
wish to obtain prevision consult the chief of the negroes {el Jiait-laus-fan), 
ask him wlien the cljdep will take place, and pay him a consideration to 
be present, — a favour never accorded to Jews or Christians. 

The process can only take place on forty days in the year, which arc 
fixed by the kait-laus-fan. The jicriod begins commonly at the llhamadan • 
and the night before, the intended patients, generally women, resort, ia 
company with an old man and woman, to a house set apart for negro 
superstitious practices. They are put into a room fm-nished with cushions 
and carpets, and concealed by a curtain. The old folks, with the help 
of some people, make a kind of hell-broth of gum arable, an essence 
called sambcl, and some pieces of wood called calcavi, having pre- 
viously killed four hens, with whose blood they anoint the joints of the 

* Enron Baudo says the importation of negroes has ceased, vol. iii. ch. xvii. Lcs N<5gres. 
his remark docs not extend to the Arabs of Chaniblct, &c. in the far south. See Lo 

nd Ddscrt, by General Daumas. 

"t The diversity in dialects is as great as that amongst the physiognomies of the ne- 
groes, some of whom, but especially of the ncgrcsscs, arc very handsome, particularly in 
figure. In the island of Cuba alone, we are informed I)}' Baron Baudo that the languages 
and types of the black slaves amount to 27. Baude, vol. iii. ch. xvii.; Lo Grand D(5sert^ 

% Baude, ubi supra. 


patients; they then perfume them with the hell-broth and dress them 
variously — long caftans to the heels, belts and caps with shells that rattle 
together on dancing. That night, or next morning, twenty or thirty musi- 
cians arrive with negro instruments, crouch down imder the gallery on the 
ground-floor, and in front of them is placed a carpet for money. The 
court is swept, but no mats are placed on it, and you must pass over it 
bare-foot. Those who have asked to be present are brought in one after 
the other; and one, or at most two of the possessed, accompanied ]>y 
several negresses dressed like them, are brought into the court where they 
are perfumed, and then abandoned to themselves. 

The musicians then strike up a terrilic din, and the possessed begins to 
dance, at first gently, keeping the measure, and imitated by the negresses. 
But the movements of the chief dancer soon become quicker, and soon 
furious ; he or she emits screams and displays contortions. This is the 
moment when the devil enters his body. Those present who wish to share 
the advantage then step forward, and throw down money, tapers, &c; 
The music becomes stunning, the dancer is more and more excited, till he 
falls down in a swoon. Then the old folks advance to perfume him, like 
the bottle-holders refreshing our prize-fighters, on their knees. The music 
ceases during this interlude; but presently recovering, the dancer launches 
forth again, the music recommences, and the same scene is repeated till our 
Taglioni is utterly worn out, when the devil is thought to have obtained 
an entrance. 

Such is a ballet-dance and a seaoice magnetique among the negroes, 
which would slightly astonish the coulisse of the Opera or the lecture-room 
of a philosophical institution. 

Learning has for many ages been in a great measure neglected by the 
natives of Algeria, and hardly any education is found among the Bedouins. 
Most human blessings have hitherto been curses, and most curses blessings, 
owing to the duality of all human concerns. The Arab has saved his faith 
at the expense of science, the European has lost it. 

The Mooi'ish and Turkish boys, as we have seen, are sent to school, 
where they learn to know, like Socrates, that they know nothing; but this 
knowledge, instead of making them Solomons, makes them like our philo- 
sophers, big with self-importance ; and amidst the miracles and mysteries 
of creation, conceive themselves giants of learning. After some progress 
in the Koran, they are initiated with the same care into the ceremonies of 
their religion ; and here at least they are commonly sincere, except aftei- 
much friction with Europeans. 

Their medical skill is small, like that of all allopathists ; but they have 
the modesty not to lay claim to much. Few severe diseases are cured, 
predestination interfering with precautions, but helping to heal the sores 
of the soul better than our infidelity. Many trust in magareah, or charms ; 
the natural instincts of man impelling them, though blindly, to some great 


truths, such as the great power of metals over the animal economy. Public 
baths are used in all diseases by these barbarians, who have condescended 
to take hints from the Romans in hygiene, and who have invented the 
water-cure long before Preissnitz. Like our hydropaths, the women are 
rather too fond of dabbling in water ; but as they use it Avarm, it boils them 
and soddens them into premature age, instead of turning them into icicles 
and washing out their vitals. 

In rheumatic and pleuritic cases they puncture the parts with red-hot 
iron, and the operation is repeated if necessary. Decoctions of sandegourah 
(ground-pine) or globularia fruticosa are administered for fevers ; and the 
common scabious of Algeria, as a salad, frequently removes the ague. A 
drachm or two of the root of round birthwort or borietum is always 
given for colic and flatulency, and might be useful to certain gentlemen 
in Exeter Hall ; the root of bookoke or arisarium, dried and powdered, is 
used for stone and gravel. One drachm of a dark-coloured drop stone, or 
the same quantity of the powder of the orobanche mauritanica, is reckoned 
good in diarrhoea. Six or eight grains of alkermes in honey are used in 
small-pox, and fresh butter is applied to prevent pitting. Inoculation and 
vaccination are in small repute ; the Arabs not having more wit than our- 
selves in welcoming new blessings, if they upset cherished prejudices and 
canonical follies. They try to heal all simple and gun-shot wounds by 
pouring fresh butter almost boiling hot into the jiart affected ; a treatment 
almost as absurd as the manly system of bleeding and purging employed 
in England till lately with hysterical females and gentlemen of delicate 

For cases of swelling, bruises, inflammation, &c., the leaves of the 
prickly pear are roasted a quarter of an hour in the ashes, and applied as 
hot as possible to the part afi"ected. This application is said to be use- 
ful in the Algerian climate ; it brings the plague and other tumours to 
maturity, and it is known to cure gout without any repelling quality. 
Here is a windfall for the plethoric millionaires and used-up legislatoi-s and 
senators of Christendom. We may shortly anticipate a tour to Algeria as 
a substitute for the moors, after a gay session or season, for sporting mem- 
bers who live too fast. In bruises, inflammations, &c., some take powder 
of alhenna, and make it up in warm water into a cataplasm ; this tinges 
the skin, and passes into the blood like iodine, mercury, and other bless- 
ings of our phai-macopeia. In fresh wounds the leaves of the virga aurea 
minor foliis glutinosis, called by them madramam, is found to have a good 
effect ; and the root of toufailet or thapsia, roasted and applied hot to the 
hips, is of use in sciatica. A few chief medicines or douwas are made use 
of, in taking which no uniform practice is observed ; a counterpart to our 
allopaths and allopathic treatment, the blind leading the blind, with blue-pill 
and black-draught as nostrums. Not much more caution is used in their 
administration than in ours, save that the preparations and infusions are 


seldom certain death. A handful of dry or green herbs is the usual dose. 
If taken in a decoction, they pound it in a mortar, and then pour, at a 
venture, half a pint or a whole, or more, of boiling water upon it. The 
Moors call these medicines traditional ; but the few ingredients in the shops 
of their tibeels give reason to think that their doctors, like ours, are about 
as ignorant as their victims.* 

There is very little knowledge of mathematics among these sons 
of algebra; astrolabes and other monuments of their sires' genius not 
being understood or nsed by the present race. The calendars they pos- 
sess are the work of former ages ; but they are not much used, the hours 
of prayer being commonly left to the will and option of the muezzin, or 
crier. The thalebs, or savants, pretend to a great insight into the value 
of numbers; nor are they singular in this respect, as Neo-Platonists and 
orthodox prelates have united in attaching special virtues to a trinity. 

They have a high opinion of the knowledge of Europeans, asking any 
thing you like to write as charms.-f- Nor are they so idle in this supersti- 
tion; for what wonders can exceed the every- day familiar doings by our 
fireside ? The word was made flesh ; and language written or oral is a 
heavenly telegraph and a standing miracle. 

They have several musical instruments, but do not write down their 
compositions. The music of the Bedouin is rarely more than one strain. 
Social and domestic harmony is not unknown to the Arabs, though they 
are innocent and ignorant of imperial spies and republican order ; but 
it must be admitted that their musical harmony is a serious violation of 
the organic laws of acoustics. J: 

* Elephantiasis and blindness are common afflictions in Algeria, as in Palestine. For 
the native surgerj^, pathology, and pharmacoi^eia, see Blofeld; and the Vocabulairc 
d'Histoiro Naturelle, by Dr. Lagger, at the end of Le Grand Desert of Gen. Daumas. 

t Blofeld, p. 230. 

]; The araheblmh is composed of a bladder and string, and is the commonest instru- 
ment; it is very ancient, as well as the fjaspah, or common reed, open at each end like 
the German flute, with three or more holes on one side, according to the ability of the 
person. Its compass does not extend beyond one octave. Sti-olling der\dshes and Be- 
douins are chiefly conversant with this sort of music. After collecting a crowd of people, 
they chant over the memorable actions of the Prophet and other worthies. The taar is 
made like a sieve, consisting of a thin rim or hoop of wood, with a skin of pai-chmont 
stretched over the top of it. This is their double-bass ; they touch it skUfully with the 
fingers or knuckles \mder the palms. It is the tympanima of the ancients; is used all over 
the Levant and Barbary ; and the shape is the same as that in the hands of the statues 
representing priests of Cybele and Bacchanals. Blofeld, p. 2-jO ; Berbrugger, part iii. 

(European ^Population anU General s?tatf^tifS. 




WE now pass from the Semitic, Mogul, and Ethiopic races ol Algeria, 
i. e. from the natives, to the Indo-Germanic inhabitants, viz. the 
emigrants. The French army requires a special chapter. 

From the days of Rome and Carthage to this hour, the Semitic and 
Indo-Germanic races have been antipathic, and their agreement on the 
soil of Algeria is yet a problem. The various European races living 
together under French sway appear to harmonise very well, presenting 
specimens of most Christian populations. England is represented by the 
half-Arabic Maltese, who are equally industrious by night as by day, 
picking pockets at all seasons, but cutting throats after sun-down. The 
former propensity and talent they share with the true Briton, the latter 
only with the people of Ireland. Of Spaniards there is, and has long 
been, a goodly crop in the coast towns ; and the Mahonnese make very good 
settlers. The vagabond Swiss are casting slieeps' eyes at the highlands 
about Setif ; and la belle France has made a present of her scum or her 
jewels to the marshes of Bona and the thistles of the Mitidja. Let us 
examine this motley group, statistical minutia3 being referred to another 

The European pojjulation in Algeria amounted on December 31, 1800, 
to 125,903 persons, thus analysed: — Province of Algiers, 56,784; pro- 
vince of Oran, 44,507; province of Constantina, 24,072. 

In December 1849 the total population was 112,007: — Province of 
Algiers, 57,810; province of Oran, 35,246; province of Constantina, 
19,551. The 57,810 of Algiers ai-c nationally analysed as follows: — 
30,897 French, 26,913 others. Oran, 35,240=15,959 French, and 19,287 
others. Constantina, 19,551 =11,149 French, 8402 others.* 

* Tableau, 1850, pp. 88-109- 

fuench settlers. 049 

With regard to the French i)opiihition in Algeria, that country has 
been a great issue to reheve the plethoric symptoms and bad humours of 
the motlier-country, by draining it of its onauvais sujets* 

The French do not constitute more than three-fifths of the European 
population, and are considered to be bad settlers, the only good agri- 
culturists in the colony being foreigners. But, for a considerable period 
after the conquest (1830), tlie only French civilians attracted to Algeria 
were dealers in spirituous liquors, and men of bad lives, — in short, the 
usual tail of an army, f 

According to estimates drawn up in 1842, 1843, and 1845, out of 1000 
Europeans thei-e were on the average 415 Frenchmen, 320 )Spaniards, 116 
Maltese, 103 Italians, and 46 Germans. 'j; 

We shall present the reader with a hopeful description of the European 
population of Algiers in 1843 in a note below.§ 

We propose now to lay before our readers a concise tabular view of 
the development and most recent state of the population throughout 
Algeria; after which, we shall attend to the French army in Africa. 
The European civil population of Algeria amounted only to 45,000 per- 
sons in 1840, and on the 1st January, 1845, it had increased to 75,867 ; 

* Baron Baude, to whom was confided the superintendence of the Paris police, soon 
after 1830, found that the distm-bances {emeides) wero occasioned in general by a floating; 
population of from 15 to 20,000 indi\'iduals, consisting partly of men out of work, partly 
of idle vagabonds. The prefecture of police organised a mode of enrolment for Algeria, 
and thus attracted 4500 of the most energetic of these rascals, who served v\-ith gixat dis- 
tinction, and did good service to France against the Arabs. Of this more anon. At pre- 
sent we are concerned with the civil pojjulation. 

•j- Baron Baude, vol. iii. p. 123. 

J Dawson Borrer's Campaign in the Kabylie ; Baron Baude ; St. llarie. 

§ French, German, and Swiss agriculturists and artisans have gone to the promised 
land of Algeria for profitable employment, but have found nothing but beggaiy, with the 
immorality that attends it ; and depending upon public support, they have become in- 
capable of honest labom-. A body of wretched lazzaroni threatens to sprmg from the 
families of hardy peasants, who constituted the first emigrants. But the new system has 
invited a far worse class of colonists than those to Algiers. They are the scmn of the sea- 
ports of France, Spain, Italy, and Greece : men who have forgotten home, and who speak 
a jargon of all the languages in Europe ; men who have tried all professions, with equal 
want of reputation and success. Every where and in every thing they have been unfor- 
tunate. Each of them has a story to tell of his grievances, and the wrongs he has suf- 
fered from his government ; and they are all martyrs to liberty. But the fraud is so gross, 
that when these men meet, they fairiy laugh in each other's faces. Such is the higher 
class of society brought to Algiers. These are the men whom Em-ope sends to enlighten 
the poorer colonists, and to be an example to Africa. A third class follows, who will ruin 
the place, because conduct is as indispensable to success as capital. They are men who 
have been ruined over and over, by their folly, in all parts of the worid. Speculators from 
England, from the United States, and from France, have flocked to Algiers, contributing 
nothing to its progress but their eril destiny ; and they are most assuredly fated to repeat 
the failures which were the sole causes of their going there. Their wretched activity is 
never satisfied, unless when adding to the sum of losses which has always distinguished 
their career. These are the sorts of inhabitants which France has given to Algiers ; and 
the result is only what might be expected from the acts of such agents. (Blofeld ) 


thus doubling itself in less than six years. Of the latter number, 38,64G 
were Frenchmen, and 37,221 foreigners.* 

AVe have now brought down the development of European population 
till 1840, after which it began to make rapid strides. Thus, on December 
31, 1846, the total general amounted to 107,168 in the towns, and 2232 
scattered over the interior. 

The increase of the European population during the last three months 
of 1846 was 3858; but the general increase was in 1845, 20,699 in- 
dividuals, whereas in 1846 it was only 14,079.-]- 

Baron Baude informs us that the European population of Algiers in 
1840 differed from all others. It is chiefly parasitical, few families stay- 
ing there from choice. | 

Having brought down the movement of Algerian population to 1846,§ 
we shall proceed to lay before the reader the most recent official tables 
of the French government, bringing the development down to the year 
1850; which will close this branch of our subject. 

General European population of Algeria : 
Dec. 31, 1846 109,400 

1847 103,893 decrease . . . 5,507 

1848 115,101 increase on 1847 10,844 

1849 112,607 decrease . . . 2,494 

1850 125,963 increase . . . 13,356 [] 

* St. Marie ; Dawson Borrer. f Bon-er, p. 226. 

J Baron Baude, vol. iii. chap. siv. on European population, observes that most of the 
Germans in Algeria belong to the class of migrating joiuTieymen, who pass into France, 
Italy, &c. imder the name oi wandcrnde Bursckenscliaft. You have all temperatures in 
Algeria. The Vandal race has continued thriving near Bugia ; and though the cactus 
and the palm thrive near Algiers, the Ali^ine pine would grow on the edge of the snow at 
the top of Mount Atlas. The climate at this elevation is like that of the south of Ger- 
many, and it is there that the Vandal tribes have continued. We are glad to find that 
the common sense of Baron Baude has told on foreign governments and speculators, and 
that they are endeavouring to adapt the selection of the emigrants to the localities. 
People from the Vosges are to be located in hUly districts ; and a Swiss company at 
Geneva is agitating a grand system of emigration to the high cool table-lands round Setif, 
the healthiest part of the colony. 

§ M. Jucheran de St. Denis supposed that the regency at the beginning of the 18th 
century did not contain more than 2,000,000 of inhabitants, the population of most of the 
towns having decreased considerably up to 1830. The writer believes that, in stating the 
number at 800,000, wc are very near the mark ; but he docs not include in this calculation 
those who dwelt between the Little Atlas and the Sahara, who were never entirely subject 
to the dey of Alsriers, and estimated at 230,000 souls, making a total of 1,030,000, or 
scarcely 47 inhabitants to every square league, or 5760 acres. 

The following comparative tables of European population in Algeria were published by 
the French government in 1843 : January 31st, 47,150 ; March 31st, 47,038 ; May 1st, 
47,544 ; June 31st, 55,122 ; October 1st, 57,642. 

At the latter date the European population was thus composed : French, 24,274 ; 
Spaniards, 18,548 ; Maltese, 6402 ; Italians, 6332 ; Germans, 2086 : total, 57,642. At the 
end of June 1842, there were only 40,000 Eiu'opean civilians in Algeria, the mihtary amount- 
ing to about 80,000, shortly to bo increased to 94,000 or 95,000. Emigration, then 
greatly on the increase, had more than doubled in the space of three year.s, as at the end 
of 1840 there were only 28,736 civilians in the colony. (Blofcld.) 

II Tableau de la Situation, &c. 1849-50, pp. 88 to 109. 

MOIlTALITy. 351 

The births in the three years from 1847 to 1849 were as follows : 


















Al<^ei-s . . . 
Oran .... 

Constantina . . 

Total .... 


















This gives in 1847, 4-12 per cent; in 1848, 3-77 per cent; and in 1849, 
4-G2 per cent of the total births; and in 1847, 4-50 French, and 3-71 
foreign per cent; in 1848, 3-77 French, and 4-83 foreign; in 1849, 5-15 
French, and 4-05 foreign births per cent; the mean being 4-47 French, 
and 3' 93 foreign per cent. 

Passing to marriages, we find 1029 in 1847; 1052 in 1848; and 1097 in 
1849; giving, in 1847, 0-99 per cent; in 1848, 0-91 per cent; and in 1849, 
0"9G per cent. Of these marriages, in 1847, 553 were French, 175 mixed, 
and 301 between people of other nations. In 1848, 553 French, 171 mixed, 
and 328 foreign. In 1849, G19 French, 153 mixed, and 325 foreign. 

The deaths fi'om 1847 to 1849 were as follows : 




















Algiers . . . 
Oran .... 

Constantina , . 

Total .... 




1219 ■ 














Hence the mean mortality was, in 1847, 5 per cent; in 1848, 4-25 per 
cent; in 1849, 1059 per cent. The increase in 1849 was caused by the 
cholera and the disti-ess of the colonies agricoles.* 

■* TLe mortality in some of the chief towns presents the following results : 

1 Towns. 




Per cent. 

Per cent. 

Per cent. 













Tlenisen , 








Bona .... 









3.52 SrANIARDS. 

Baron Baude states that the greatest vitality among the Europeans is 
seen in the Spaniards, and the least in the Germans. The Spaniards have 
also a greater proportion of women than any other European race in Al- 
geria. They long occupied Oran, and have always had a more intimate 
connection with the coast of Barbary than any other European people. 

Algiers alone possessed more Spaniards in 1841 than all the Spanish 
possessions founded by Cardinal Ximenes in Africa, after an occupation 
of 150 years. Though few in number at Bona, they form one-third of the 
population of Algiers and Bugia, two-fifths of that of Mostaganem, and 
one-half of the European population of Oran.* Most of the fiacre-drivers 
in Algiers are Spaniards ; and several flourishing villages, peopled entirely 
by industrious Mahonnese, have been established near the capital. 

Turning to the Maltese, the next element of European population, we 
find that this energetic little island alone has supplied more people to 
Algeria than all Italy. Great numbers live at Bona, where they act as 
porters, &c., and drive a thriving trade. t 

As there is a surfeit on the island, which shows strong apoplectic 
symptoms, many Maltese emigrate exoterlcally; and being Africans by 
origin and language, they find themselves at home in Algeria. There are 
4000 at Tunis, and their relative numbers diminish in proportion as you 
advance to a distance from their Island; they form more than two-fifths 
of the European population at Bona, at Bugia one-sixth, at Algiers one- 
twelfth, at Oran one-twenty-fourth. 

As regards the Italians In Algiers, they appear formerly to have had 
important relations with the regency during the bloom of Italian na- 
tionality and commerce, fostered by the liberal and republican spirit of 

The letter of the Times Paris Correspondent of Jan. 7, 1853, states, that the deaths among 
•civilians at Bona, from the 1st of July 1852 to the 21st of December, was 683 persons, 
■of whom 544 were Europeans. The mortality from the 1st of January to the 30th of Jime 
1852 is stated to have only been 183 persons. 

* Several interesting episodes occur in the Spanish occupation of Oran, disjilaying the 
energy, valour, and discipline of the Sjianiards in their better days. In April 1622, the 
Arabs of the Habra assassinated three Spaniards ; and Don Juan dc Manrique thereupon 
■starts in the evening with 700 foot and 200 horse, falls on the Arabs at daybreak, and 
brings back the following night to Oran 319 prisoners and 1200 head of oxen. The distance 
of Oran ft-om the plain of the Ilabra is sixty kilometres ; and Don Juan had traversed it 
twice in the space of thirty hours. The following July the same spirited commander beat 
in detail a body of 2700 Janissaries, 1400 horses, and a numerous Arab infantry. (Baude.) 

t The Maltese jjopulation is one of the most fruitful in the world. In 1530, when Malta 
■was given over to the Knights of St. John by Charles V., it contained only 15,000 inha- 
bitants ; and after the desperate siege of 1565 by the Turks, it had only 10,000. In 1590 
it contained 27,000 ; in 1625, 40,000 ; the census of 16:^2 gave 51,750 ; in 1798 it had 90,000, 
and Gozo 24,000 ; and now it reckons 120,000 Maltese alone ; whilst it contains only 30,000 
hectares, i. e. about the same surface as the ridge of hills behind Algiers (French massif 
d' Alger ; Ai'ab sahe.l). The specific population of all Franco, by kilometres, is 60; for the 
Dcpartcment du Nord, 171; for the arrondisscments of Sceaux and St. Denis, 357; at 
Malta it is 400. For these facts see Chevalier dc Boisgelin's Malto ancienne et modernc, 
3 vols. 8vo, Paris, 1809 ; Dapper, Description de I'Afrique, Amstm. 1626; Voyage du Due 
dc, 4 vols. 8vo, Paris, 1838. 


Pisa, Genoa, ikc. Xotliing can be more interesting than to trace the 
spirit, intelligence, and industry of Italians under a national and liberal 
flag, at a time when the rest of Europe, which owes to them its light, was 
plunged in darkness. It is cheering to be able to produce facts to estab- 
lish that a manly and industrious spirit is developed in Italy as else- 
where, when its growth is not stunted or blighted by the poison of a 
hypocritical hierarchy, or tramjiled on by the foot of the stranger. Dear 
to us are all such memories of the fine qualities of this historical people, as 
auguries of a better future yet in store for her. 

As regards the present position of the Italian population in Algeria, 
there is not quite one Italian to three Spaniai'ds in the colony. The Ita- 
lians form one-fourth of the European population of Mostaganem-, one- 
sixth of that of Bona and Oran, one-fifteenth of that of Algiers ; and they 
are hardly seen at Bugia^ whose commerce was in their hands in the middle 

* Xatice Population, 

The sum of the mdigenous population in 1845 was 1,983,918; thus anah'sed : — Algiers^ 
490,168; Oran, 477,034 ; Constantina, 1,016,716. It was supposed that the whole native 
population of Algeria amoimted, at a rough estimate, to 3,000,000. See Tableau, &c. for 
1846, and Borrei-, chap. xv. 

luhahitants of the Three Provinces. 

The Xegro slaves throughout the Regency were supposed to amount to 10,000 ; and 
the number of free blacks was estimated to exceed that amoimt. 

Coming down to tho three years ending 1849, we find that, on the 31st Dec. 1847, the 
native population in the towns amounted to 87,505 ; and in Dec. 1849, to 84,133. The 
floors have decreased, and tho Jews have remained stationary. The Negroes have in- 
creased from 3348 to 4177 individuals. The Kabyles, Mozabites, Biski-is, and other cor- 
porations in the towns of the civil territories, amount to 10,742; a diminution from 1846. 

Xative Population, of Towns, 7iationalli/ and sexuall//. 

Total of Mussulmans in the province of Algiers, 27,773 ; in the province of Oran, 
12,350; and in the pro\ince of Constantina, 20,805. Total of Negroes in the province of 
Algiers, 1714 ; in that of Oran, 1531 ; in that of Constantina, 932. Total of Jews in the 
province of Algiers, 7289 ; in that of Oran, 7749 ; in that of Constantina, 3990. Hence 
the Mussulman population of the towns of Algeria amounted, in Dec. 1849, to 60,928 ; the 
Negi'o population to 4177; and the Jewish population to 19,028 : general total of Algeria, 

With regard to the tribes, the reader has already been presented with the statement 
of their general numbers in Algeria, and their particular nmubers in the provinces. 

According to the last census, the population of Algeria, on the 31st December 1852, 
amoimted to 246,431 individuals (this must mean without the tribes) : namcl)-, 124,401 
Europeans ; and 122,030 natives, inhabiting the territory occupied by the Europeans. 
The former consisted of 69,980 French; 35,129 Spaniards; 7408 ItaUans ; 5609 Maltese ; 
S025 Germans ; 1323 Swiss ; 526 Belgians and Dutch ; 483 Irish ; 258 Poles ; 145 Portu- 
gtiese ; and 515 others : and was composed of 29,451 men, 28,232 women, 40,073 boys, and 
26,645 girls. There were 121,226 Cathohcs, 2561 Protestants, and 614 Israelites : 80,143 
resided in towns, and 44,258 in the coimtry. They were dimled into 32,826 families, and 
occiipied 16,215 houses. 







^XTE shall now proceed to examine tlie important subject of concessions 
V V of land, and of agricultural and other colonies established by the 
French government or by private sjjeculation in Algeria. 

Tliough there was a sprinkling of emigrants every year after the con- 
quest, offering a crop of ears and heads to the Hadjutes and other tribes 
near Algiers, it was not till 1843, after the humiliation of Abd-el-Kader, 
that the era of serious colonisation began. Before that time there were 
only one or two villages, with large barracks and hospitals. In 1842 vil- 
lages sprang up like mushrooms near Algiers, and the high land or massif 
at the back of the city, forming a barrier between the Mediterranean and 
Mitidja, was brought into a state of cultivation ; whilst other emigrants 
went to Boufarik and Beni-Mered, stations on the road to Blidah, five or 
six hours south of Algiers, at the foot of the Little Atlas, across the Mitidja 

Several causes may be perceived for the slowness and dulness of the 
cuiTent of colonisation in Algeria. The port of Algiers is not fi-ee,-f and 
much of its trade has been driven to Tunis, Tripoli, Tangiers, &c. through 
the short-sighted policy of the French government. Another drawback 

■*■ This plain contains 1,500,000 acres of arable and pasture land, but only a small por- 
tion of it is now under cultivation. Vast tracts arc still l\^n,^; waste, sacrificed to the 
palmetta and squills ; whereas, before the French came in 1830, it was cultivated by the 
Arabs, who gi-ew more com in it than thoy wanted. Now there is not siifficient for home 
consumption, and the price of com was enormous at Algiers in 1846. Dawson Borrer's 
Campaign, &c. chap. xiv. j). 222. 

+ Eccent enactments have removed almost all duties on imports. See Appendix. 


to colonisation has been the great tardiness of administrative forms neces- 
sary for the establishment of emigrants. Though assignments of laud 
(concessio7is) are promised to the colonists, eighteen mouths will perhaps 
elapse before you are put in possession of your property.* The calls of the 
French army on the budget may account for the beggarly sums given to 
colonisation, just as the heavy items of our sinecures may explain our 
magnificent tribute to national education. The annual expenses of the 
colony amount to 100,000,000 fr. ; and in 1847 the budget for Algeria 
placed under the head of colonisation 1,734,000 fr. ; but more was doubt- 
less extracted by special j!>ro/efe de loi.-\' 

Let us now devote a few words to the machinery of colonisation in 
Algeria, and then analyse the state of the colonies ; and we shall proceed 
to consider first the decrees of the French government on rural property 
in Algeria; secondly, the concessions or assignments of land; and thirdly, 
the government or individual colonies. 

The decree of July 21st, 1846, on rural property in Algeria had for its 
aim the securing of the peopling of Algeria and the fertilising of its land, 
by placing rural property, which had hitherto been in a vague and disputed 
state, on a firm and sure foundation. To this end, it ordained the ascer- 
taining, by enactments of the minister-of-war, of the extent of the territories 
within Avhicli the title-deeds of property should be valid ; the returns to 
the government of the names of the Europeans or natives who assei'ted 
their claims to properties within those territories ; and the verifying of the 
titles produced, by council of the disputant (at a later date by the councils 
of prefecture in each province). The decree carefully defined the requisite 
conditions for the titles to be held valid; and it ordained their applica- 
tion on the spot through a councillor, and their sanction, if necessary, 
through the council of prefecture. In cases where the property marked 
out was claimed by many disputants, the council was enjoined to suspend 
judgment till the civil tribunals could pronounce on the question of right. 
Lastly, when the title produced did not fulfil the necessary conditions 
of the decree, the council pronounced it null and void. Yet in this case 
the government was bound to hand over to the evicted occupant, on his 
request, a hectare (2-47 acres) of land for every 3 fr. of rent stipulated in 
the last act of possession, if a certain period had elapsed previously to the 

* It is a well-known fact, that men of capital coming to Algeria, under the auspices of 
the minister-of-war, have stayed six j-ears before obtaining the original concession. Others 
l^rovisionall}^ cstabhshed on a tract of land have built upon it ; and when at last a definite 
answer came, the title-deed to it has been refused ; and not being able either to aUcnate 
or mortgage it, they have been iiiined. Hence many of the poor emigrants have been re- 
duced to a very desolate state ; and the vUlages on the Sahel and Massif were in 18i6, with 
one or two exceptions, the types of desolation. Perched upon most arid spots, distant 
from water, victims of the sun and su-occo, they rose among endless tracts of palmetta and 
prickly bushes. Visions of Utopia terminate in dwarf-palms and disease. Dawson Borrer, 
chap. xiv. f Borrer, chap. siv. p. 222. 


promulgation of the decree of July 21st, 184G, relative to concessions in 
land. These measures of the government were much complained of at 
first in Algeria ; but being shortly better understood by the colonists, they 
ended by submitting, without making any serious difficulties, which have 
only originated in the ignorance of native proprietors, and the difficulty 
experienced by the government in discovering the real state of their 

We shall submit to the reader the following brief outline of the state 
of European and native properties in the three provinces. 

Province of Algiers. — In I80O, the number of properties declared were 
592, and marked out 492 ; but as most of the native properties were 
claimed by a whole djemaa or assembly, and subdivided into small par- 
cels, the real number of properties amounted nearly to 800 in all. Of 
these, 359 had been finally decided, including 109 connected with na- 
tives; 1G2* Avere in suspense; 17G annulled: total number of decisions 
by the councils of prefecture, 697. Only five properties had to be sur- 
veyed and ascertained in Dec. 1 85 l.t 

Province ofOran. — In this province, the civil territory only has been 
subjected to the decree of 184G. The number of properties declared 
amounted to 113; 54 belonging to Europeans, and 59 to natives. By 
the rejection of the titles of some proprietors, the number of properties 
whose limits are ascertained has been reduced to 87, 45 of which belong 
to Europeans. 

The properties whose titles have been verified and confirmed amount 
to 73 ; whereof 40 are European, and 33 native. There are five in sus- 

Province of Constantina. — The arrondissement (hundred) of Bona, and 
the banlieues (precincts) of Constantina and La Calle, had been brought 
under the decree of 184G in 1849. In December 1850, 425 properties 
were ascertained in the arrondissement of Bona, — 53 European and 372 
native, — covering 29,427 hectares (72,G83-22 acres) of land. There re- 
mained 131 — 11 European and 120 native — to ascertain. 48 titles had 
been legally confirmed, 11 European and 37 native; and 277 j)rotocols, 

* Of these 162, 65 are native, the greater number of whom are competitors [coprelendanU) 
■with the state. A si^ecial commission is engaged in trying to settle the disputes, and 
make pari'twns d I'aimahle. 

•\- The following table gives at a glance the state of property and of territory subject to 
the decree in the province of Algiers :— 

Plain of the Mitidja, 107,466 hoot. 63 a. 40 c. ; Sahcl, 29,716 .hect. 81 a. 27 c. ; right 
bank of the Boudaou to the Isser, 31,020 hect. 15 a. ; total, 168,203 hect. 59 a. 67 c. 
(41i5,lSl-41 acres). Property accruing to Europeans, 36,875 hect. 46 a. 86 c. (91,081-25 
acres) ; natives, 11,511 hect. 74 a. 57 c. (28,500 acres) ; the State, 94,796 hect. 99 a. 1 c. 
(234,146-12 acres) : total, 143,184 hect. 20 a. 44 c. (343,664*48 acres). Disputed property 
between individuals, 7,066 hect. 86 a. 43 c. (17,45302 acres) ; the state and individuals, 
17,952 hect. 52 a. 80 c. (44,341-44 acres) ; total, 25,019 hect. 39 a. 23 c. (61,796-93 acras). 


or registers, about delimitations, rcmnincd to be settled, 42 European 
and 235 native : 5 were in suspense, referred to higher tribunals. 

14,000 licctai-cs (35,000 acres) of land were voted to the banlieue of 
Constantina by a decree of the President of the Republic, March 1849. 
The state of in-opcrties had not been finally determined, arranged, or as- 
certained round La Calle, in November 1S49. 

The next point we shall analyse is the nature and state of concessions 
in Algeria. 

There are three distinct modes employed there for the alienation of 
the government property of the colony : 1. Sale by public auction ; 2. tSale 
by instalments ; 3. Concession. 

All town property, cultivated land, or land built upon, is disposed of 
by the first two methods ; the third only applying to new plots of ground 
to be built upon in new villages, to uncultivated land, &c. 

A decree of 1851 modifies the regulations of 1845 and 1847, accord- 
ing to which, concessions of and under 24 hectares (60 acres) are autho- 
rised in civil territories by the prefect, with the advice of the council 
of prefecture ; and in military territories by the general of division, with 
the advice of the consulting commission. The concessions of 100 hectares 
(250 acres) were given by decree of the President of the Republic, with 
the recommendation of the minister of war and the consultative com- 
mittee of Algeria. Every concessionary, after a reasonable time, was 
bound to pay a fluctuating but perpetual rent to the state. These con- 
cessions were only given on condition of the grantee being able to fulfil 
his engagements ; and before his entrance into possession, he had to give 
10 fr. i)er hectare (8s. id. per 2-47 acres) caution-money."' Many evils 
resulted from these regulations in practice, by multiplying formalities, 
creating delays, &c., esj^ecially in the cases of small concessions. To re- 
medy these evils, a })roject was submitted by the minister to the Council 
of State in July 1850, intended as a substitute for the old arrangements 
about concessions. But as it would take time to get this voted by the 
Assembly, and a reform in the system of concessions was imperative, the 
government determined to propose to the President a transitory modifica- 
tion of the worst regulations. Hence originated the decree of the Presi- 

* Evciy concessionary received, at the moment of being put in possession, a provisional 
title indicating tlie conditions imposed, and the delay granted for then- accomplishment. 
Dm-ing the whole period of this delay the concessionaiy was not able to consent to any 
substitution, alienation, or mortgage, without the especial leave of the administration, 
under penalty of forfeiture. At the expiration of the delay fixed by the provisional title, 
or before if the concessionary demanded it, a valuation of the labours effected was 
made. If all the conditions were fulfilled, the provision was converted into a final con- 
cession. If the conditions wore not, or were only partially fulfilled, the concessionary for- 
feited, totally or partiallj', his land ; or, according to cii'cumstances, he coidd obtain a 
prolongation of the delay. In the latter case, a new valuation took place, as the prolon- 
gation of the delay expired when the concessionary obtained a final title, or was ejected. 


dent of the 2Gth April, 1851, of which tlie principal articles are inserted 

During the four years from 1846 to 1850, we are informed that the 
colonisation of Algeria by Europeans has slowly but surely progressed ; 
though accidental circumstances, such as the Eevolution of 1848 and the 
cholera, have retarded and disturbed its advance. The peopling of the old 
centres of colonisation has continued ; the territory of some of them has 
been increased, and new creations have taken place ; finally, the concessions 
that have been made outside the villages, and their occupation, have 
stamped a new character on the colonisation of Algeria. One circum- 
stance has especially affected it, i. e. the creation of agricultural colonies, 
which took place in 1848. in consequence of a decree of the National As- 
sembly of September 19th, and to which a credit of fifty millions of francs 
(2,000,000^.) had been voted.t 

A full description of the state of European colonisation in Algeria 
from 1847 to 1850 falls under two distinct heads. The first relates to 
the centres of population and agricultural explorations established since 
1847, down to the .31st December, 1850, excepting the agricultural co- 
lonies. The second gives a statement of the situation of the agricultural 
colonies in 1848 and 1849. 

* By article 2, all concessions imder 50 hectares (125 acres) could be authorised by 
the prefect. By article 3, all futm-e acts of concession in Algeria confer the immediate 
possession, on condition of accomplishing the required steps. Article 5. If the conces- 
sionary does not lay claim to immediate j^ossession after the expiration of three months, 
at the hands of the local authorities, his title is forfeited. By article 7, the concessionary 
can mortgage or transmit all or part of his land. By article 8, in the month following the 
expiration of the terai granted for the fulfilment of the conditions, or sooner if wished, the 
valuation is made by a commission of three members. By article 9, if all the conditions 
ai-e fomid fulfilled, the prefect declares the property freed from the contlitions exposing 
the title-deed to be cancelled. If differences arise between the diredeur des donuvines and 
the prefect, the matter is set at rest by the minister-of-war. If ejected, the property re- 
verts to the state ; but if it has been improved, it will be put tip to auction. The prices of 
the auction, deducting the charges, revert to the concessionary. 

If no one bids, the property reverts to the state. Provisional concessions made before 
1847 can be exchanged for another title-deed, confoi-mable to the clauses of the decree of 
1851, in which the delay for the accomplishment of the conditions imj)osed will be deter- 
mined by the original decree. The same regulations are apjjlied to the miUtary territo- 
ries, the general commanding the division taking the place of the prefect. 

+ A report of these establishments was laid before the Assembly, at the end of 1849, 
by a special commission sent to the spot to examine into them. From this report it ap- 
pears that these estabUshments have had as results : 1 st. to rcsti-ict, on economical grounds, 
the new creation of centres, which would otherwise liave been undertaken in greater num- 
oer on the ordinary credits of colonisation ; 2d. to bring in a check to the demands for 
concessions of small extent, because the claimants who seek to obtain them are bound to 
support, their claim by pecuniary resom-ccs, which has caused many to seek in preference 
an entrance into the above-mentioned agricultural colonics. 

rriOviNCE OF Algiers. 359