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College of Liberal Arts 










^ncttinteé of m late smar ; 









Obruat illud male partum, male retentnm, male gestum imperium. CICERO. 
The fact is, we ourselves with a little cover, others more directly, pay a tn'btde to the Republic of Algiers; 
and 1 for one do more than doubt the policy of this convention. BURKE, on a Regicide Peace. 




W.Shackell, Printer, 

linBon's-court, Fleet-stieet, 


i ^ r 



«fc. 4-c. (^C. 


Amongst that host of exiles who found an asylum 
against oppression, persecution, and tyranny in this country, during 
the late unprecedented revolution, few seem to have felt a deeper 
sense of gratitude for the protection afforded by Great Britain, and 
none appreciated the proud pre-eminence of our civil and political 
institutions over those of other nations, more highly, than the author 
of the following Narrative. 

Mr. Pananti is also the first emigrant, who has given unlimited 
scope to those feelings of admiration, which are generally inspired 
by an impartial view of our inestimable constitution. Unin- 
fluenced by the little mind or sordid jealousy of others, the mere pri- 
vilege of living in a free country, without sharing in the immediate 
bounty of the sovereign, was enough to excite sentiments of the 
warmest gratitude on the part of this liberal-minded Italian ; and I 
am satisfied, that next to the gratification of having endeavoured to 
sei-ve the paramount cause of himianity and justice, he will esteem the 



high honour conferred on his work, in having the name of your Royal 
Highness prefixed to it, as the greatest reward his literary labours 
could attain ; and participating in these sentiments, I feel equally 
flattered by so distinguished a privilege. 

Warmly attached to the kingly power from principle, and 
convinced by the experience of history, how much a constitutional 
monarch may perform for the interests of humanity, the object of this 
Dedication is that of soliciting the attention of your Royal Highness 
to a subject, in which the energies of a free people may be most 
usefully exerted in favour of the whole universe. While some 
princes have laboured to acquire the terrific immortality of an Alex- 
ander, a Caesar, and a Ghengis Khan ; others, animated by a more 
legitimate love of fame, derive their glory fiom imitating the virtues 
of an Aristides, a Trajan, and an Alfred. It is amidst the names 
of the latter, I am desirous of seeing that of a British sovereign 
inscribed ; and should the author's proposition to colonize Northern 
Africa, be fortunately honoured with the support of your Royal High- 
ness, none but those who are determined to oppose the progress of 
knowledge and civilization, can deny it this elevated distinction. 

Grateful for the condescension I experience in being permitted 
to lay this work before your Royal Highness, I have the honour 
to be, with sentiments of profound respect, and unfeigned loyalty. 
Your Royal Highness's most humble. 
And most devoted Servant, 

London, April \Oth, 1818. 


Of all those peculiarities which distinguish the present age, giving it 
a marked superiority over every preceding period of our history, none 
is so conspicuous, or more conducive to the interests of mankind, than 
the very general curiosity excited by works of this nature ; and 
although, like most others, they have a tendency to accumulate 
beyond all reasonable limits, that should not militate against the 
claims of any new candidate for public notice ; particularly if, 
as in this instance, the author has endeavoured to make his book 
the vehicle of important truths, while he offered a faithful picture 
of the manners and customs of the people whom he professed to 

In ushering, however, another quarto into the world, it would 
be improper were I to omit some account of the motives which have 
led to its publication. 


Having frequented the shores of Northern Africa during the late 
war, those intervals of relaxation afforded from professional duties, were 
devoted to the collection of all the useful information I could obtain 
relative to the places I happened to visit : this was, in the first instance. 
communicated to His Majesty's Government, and finally published, 
with considerable additions, in 1812. Since that period, Mr. Pananti 
is the only >vriter who has given a detailed account of a place to 
which I had not a sufficient degree of access to allow of my including 
it in the Letters from the Mediterranean. In regretting this 
circumstance, I was, however, fully aware of its importance, on several 
accounts, over the rest ; and therefore, determined to embrace the 
first opportunity that presented itself, of bringing the subject before 
the public. This was furnished by the industry and observation 
of the above-named personage, whose melancholy stars led to his 
being carried into Algiers as a slave ; and thus enabled him to give a 
much more minute description of that Regency than has ever yet 
appeared in Europe. 

After those interesting events connected with the recent history 
of Barbary, which rendered an account of Algiers a desideratum in 
literature and politics, it will, I dare say, be considered as rather 
fortunate, that such a writer should have had the means of eluci- 
dating the present state of that country ; hitherto only known by the 
lawless depredations of its unprincipled chiefs. Although this circum- 
stance is alone sufiicient to excite a considerable degree of interest in 
its favour, I should never have undertaken the humble ofiice of a 
translator, did I not believe the author's labours had much greater 
claims to the attention of the philosopher, politician, and man of 
letters, than books of travels usually possess. In saying thus much. 


I am only performing an act of justice to Mr. Pananti, whose inde- 
pendent spirit, and high sense of virtue, preclude the possibility of 
his compiling a book for the sake of bettering his fortune, without 
contributing to the improvement of his fellow creatures. Had the 
author devoted his talents to the composition of a novel oi- romance, 
there is little doubt, but that he would have stood a much better 
chance of being remunerated for the pecuniary losses occasioned 
by his captivity : having aspired to the high honour of dissemi- 
nating knowledge of a more important nature than can possibly 
result from works of fiction, he must be satisfied with that intellectual 
reward which never fails to arise from an honest endeavour to serve 

Though it is evident that the author's principal object in pub- 
lishing, was to call the serious attention of Europe to the necessity 
and importance of colonizing Northern Africa, and, at all events, 
to put an end to piracy, he was by no means indifferent to those 
details which are calculated to amuse the general reader. It is hoped 
these will be found to possess a sufficient degree of interest to render 
them worth perusal; even should the more abstract reasonings be 
regarded with indifference. 

As this is the first prose work of any consequence which the 
author has given to the public, its merits will not be particularly 
enhanced by any praises which I might be disposed to bestow on his 
poetical talents. However, these are such as to have placed Mr. 
Pananti's name very high amongst the living poets of Italy. While 
in England, where, rather than remain a passive spectator of his 
country's degradation, he took shelter during the revolutionary storm; 



ill addition to many smaller pieces, he published two volumes, in 
1809, entitled // Poeta di Teatro, descriptive of the state of our 
Italian opera. This, in addition to local interest, contains many 
digressions on the manners, customs, and events of the day, and is in 
other respects distinguished by all that epigrammatic humour which 
abounds in his earlier productions: many of these were published pre- 
vious to his quitting Tuscany, and are justly celebrated in Italy. 

Having experienced every difficulty which a total loss of his 
property, the hardships of captivity, and a broken spirit could 
produce, Mr. P. endeavoured to console himself on returning to 
Florence, by compiling the following narrative ; and as stated in a 
note prefixed to the second edition of the original, the transac- 
tions which took place previous and subsequent to the attack under 
Lord Exmouth, gave additional importance to his materials. How 
the author has availed himself of this circumstance, it is for the public 
to determine. 

As all that occurred to Mr. Pananti on the subject of Africa, 
together with the observations suggested by late events, are amply 
detailed throughout his work, I have only to express an ardent hope 
that they will produce some effect on the august personages who are 
about to meet in Germany during the ensuing summer : for next to 
the great question of South American independence, none demand 
more serious consideration than that of Italy and the coast of 

In paying a just tribute of applause to the author's political 
principles, and the unrestrained liberality with which he treats the 

editor's preface. ^i 

important questions he has discussed, no less admiration is due to the 
government of Tuscany and its mild censorship, which gave him so 
wide a latitude for the dissemination of his sentiments. In fact, the 
publication of such a work as the following, may be regarded as an 
epoch in the history of Italy, and excites the more surprize, from 
newspapers and other periodical works being generally under the 
most peremptory restrictions in nearly all the Italian states. 

With respect to the difference of arrangement, adopted in this 
edition of Mr. Pananti's narrative, the division into chapters has the 
advantage of being more familiar to us, while a degree of unity, 
which seems wanting in the original, is given to the whole work. 
Inimical to literal translation, from a conviction that no language on 
earth is susceptible of an exact transcript into another, my chief 
study in the following sheets, has been that of transfusing the author's 
ideas into the idiom of our own country. Although, owing to diffi- 
culties which must always arise on such occasions, I am not so vain 
as to flatter myself with having attained this object in its fullest 
extent ; it will be exceedingly gratifying to find, that some progress 
has been made towards a design, which might, I think, be more gene- 
rally adopted, without injuring the interests of literature, or diminish- 
ing the number of readers. 

To those who are not fond of quotations, I beg to observe, that 
many in the original which appeared least calculated to create an 
interest with the English reader have been suppressed; while a trans- 
lation is added to the most material, and care has been taken that 
none should interfere with the course of the narrative. 

b 2 


The same motives which guided me in the translation, have also 
dictated an occasional departure from the original, either by an 
omission of whatever appeared not exactly suited to the taste of an 
English reader, or had been already sufficiently illustrated by other 
writers. This is another privilege which few will be disposed to deny 
a translator, and if more freely exerci.sed, it could not fail to render an 
essential service to the community. 

If I am to believe those who have studied the public taste, in 
matters of literature, an author may get over any difficulty, except 
that of making people read his notes. A friend happening to suggest 
this discouraging circumstance in the course of the following trans- 
lation ; my reply was, that besides the text having in many places, 
.seemed to require either commentary or illustration, readers were 
jiot generally disposed to find fault with any remarks, which did not 
appear to be inserted merely for the purpose of swelling up a volume. 
I am not without a hope, that those who take the trouble of perusing 
the share I have had in this, will acquit me of a charge like the 
above ; while all are, of course, at liberty to pass it over, as not 
interfering with the narrative, which it is solely intended to diversify, 
by an occasional reference to a few subjects, that have hitherto 
created no inconsiderable degree of public interest in this country. 

Having, on my late return from the Continent, heard that tours 
innumerable were in preparation, I have been deterred from any 
attempt to make up one myself. But as it is scarcely possible for 
the most ordinary observer, to visit France or Italy, without noticing 
the singular spectacle exhibited by those two countries, after the 


extraordinary vicissitudes of their recent history. I thought the 
present a favourable opportunity to offer a few desultory remarks 
on the above nations. Visiting the former, with a .strong preposses- 
sion in favour of a people, whom I had principally known through 
the medium of books ; it is needless to say, that in common with 
many others, were calculated to convey but a very limited 
notion of the French character ; which requires to be closely 
examined before it is thoroughly understood. If, like most of 
our countrymen who have visited France, I have found less to 
admire, than I at first anticipated; the circumstance does not 
arise from prejudice on my part, or national hatred : some of the 
facts which have given rise to the opinions promulgated in the 
notes, are stated ; and if necessary, I am prepared to corroborate 
them by many others. A wann admirer of those intellectual qua- 
lities and that natural genius, which have placed France in the 
first rank of civilized nations, I am not, for these reasons, called 
upon to sacrifice the interests of truth, either for the sake of private 
friendship, or the fear of censure. The whole tenor of my obser- 
vations proves how highly 1 appreciate individual talent ; while it 
was impossible to stifle my feelings, on seeing a nation, so capable 
of all that is great and good, made the willing instrument of un- 
principled factions, or false doctrines in philosophy. Hence the 
little ceremony observed with regard to Buonaparte, whom I can 
never cease to consider as one of the greatest enemies public liberty 
has had in Europe ; and yet, unheard of anomaly, the revolutionary 
faction wish for his return ! I ! 

I have in vain endeavoured to account for this most inexplicable 


fatality ; which, Unnentable to reflect, has polluted some minds in 
our own country. As any attempt to trace the cause of this won- 
derful change in the opinion of some politicians, who thought so 
diametrically opposite, while the Ex-Emperor was in power, would 
lead me far beyond the limits of a preface, I will only add on this 
subject, that those who wish to excite the sympathy of Europe in 
his behalf, ought, at least, to inform the public in what way he has, 
during his long and sanguinary reign, contributed to the repose or 
happiness of mankind. Until this is done, I am fully justified in 
cherishing the opinions, founded on a perfect recollection of his- 
torical facts, which are given in the present publication. I am 
by no means insensible to those talents which have led to Buona- 
parte's being compared to the Alexanders and Caesars of former 
days ; talents, which he invariably applied to obtain the same ends. 
But these are the strongest reasons against suffering common sense to 
be violated, by looking to such people for the salvation of liberty. 
Without the smallest wish of impeding the progress of those exertions 
in favour of the St. Helena exile, which go to soften the rigours of 
his confinement, or even lead to his being transferred to a less solitary 
region ; I cannot help considering the manner in which his public 
character has been blazoned forth to the English people, as having 
done incalculable mischief to the cause it was intended to promote. 
Is it not the bounden duty of upright and unprejudiced political 
writers, to warn the multitude against the frightful consequences of 
elevating any more military leaders to rule over them Ì And yet, we 
have seen those, who make an open profession of patriotism, inscribe 
odes, and write panegyrics on Napoleon Buonaparte ! As this admi- 
ration is neither justified by wisdom nor prudence, it can only be 


regarded as one of those palpable absurdities, and fatal errors, which 
sometimes lead men astray against the evidence of their senses ; and 
on this account, I trust, we shall learn to look to a more legitimate 
source of bettering the condition of nations, than by the renewal of 
military despotism in Europe. And how justly might not the pro- 
phetic interrogatories of M. de Calonne be repeated to those, who 
are still labouring to bring back the evils of anarchy in France :— 
" Qu'il est funeste l'art de tromper le peuple! et quel execrable 
usage les perturbateurs de la France n'en ont ils pas fait? Nation 
spirituelle, aimable, généreuse, à qui il ne manque que de réfléchir 
davantage! Jusques à quand vous laisserez-vous aveugler? Jusquesà 
quand serez-vous le jouet d'un association d'intrigans, d'enthusiastes 
et de dupes I " 

While I was taught to attribute the moral and political evils of 
France to causes purely local; those of persecuted and ill-fated Italy, 
seemed to arise from the ceaseless avidity and rapacious ambition of 
foreign invaders. The abuses of religion have no doubt had consider- 
able share in adding to the misfortunes of that interesting country; 
but however inclined the Italians may be to encourage vicious habits, 
their capability of improvement, and disposition to adopt liberal insti- 
tutions, could never be fairly estimated while shackled by so many 
oppressions, which left no choice between slavery and subjection. 

Impressed with these important truths; grateful for the blessings 
conferred on the rest of Europe by that intellectual fire which has 
never ceased to burn in the climate of Italy ; penetrated with sorrow 
at the impoverished and degraded state of the people, which can 


only be meliorated by the adoption of a more liberal and enlightened 
policy than has been hitherto resorted to, I was unwilling to lose 
this opportunity of submitting a few thoughts on the subject to 
the public. Unaided either by the talents or influence which 
many English travellers who visited Italy last year possessed, my 
desultory and unconnected remarks have nothing to recommend them 
but truth. It is with this conviction, and my anxiety to avert 
those evils likely to arise from that political system so justly 
apostrophised — 

Monstrum horrendum, informe, ingens, cui lumen adeptum ! 

which Italy now presents, that I have ventured to subjoin the 
note at the end of the volume, in the hope of its attracting the 
attention of those who have more ample means of illustrating the 
important subjects to which it alludes. Should my feeble efforts 
happily awaken the literati of this country to a just sense of what they 
owe to that of Dante, Petrarch, and Galileo, I am thoroughly con- 
vinced the great powers of Europe will not be appealed to in vain, by 
an energetic and dignified expression of that opinion which has been 
so often and successfully exerted in the cause of truth and humanity. 

Although some years have elapsed since I have ventured to 
appear before the public in the character of a writer, I cannot 
forget the extreme liberality with which my first literary effort was 
received. In returning my best thanks to those gentlemen who were 
kind enough to notice a book, written with precisely the same object 
as the present, that of serving the European community, I cannot 
pay them a more flattering compliment, than by observing, that the 


matter it contained appeared sufficiently ijnportant to cause the defects 
of style and composition to be overlooked. Having said thus much, 
it is but fair to add, that these remarks are not made with any view 
to avert the salutary eye of criticism. 

However I may have failed in doing justice to the original, it is 
hoped the typographical and ornamental partof this volume will meet 
the reader's approbation. Both the View of Algiers, and Plan of the late 
Attack, are from the designs of a distinguished amateur artist, who has 
had every facility of doing justice to his subject: so that independent 
of their merits as specimens of art, their accuracy may be depended on. 
The Map has also many pretensions to correctness. It was originally 
drawnby a person long resident in Algiers, andhas received considerable 
additions from others of a more recent date in my own possession. 

Having thus endeavoured to give the reader an idea of what he 
is to expect from a perusal of the following pages, much more might 
be said in extenuation of the numerous sins of omission and commission, 
which will no doubt be laid to the author's charge, as well as to that 
of his very inadequate translator ; but it is high time to conclude : and 
as the ingenious and learned author of Vulgar Errors, says, " We are 
unwilling to spin out our waking thoughts into the Phantasms of 
Sleep, which often continueth Precogitations, making Cables of 
Cobwebs, and Wildernesses of handsome Groves. And lastly," 
by way of reply to criticism, " we are not Magisterial in opinions, 
nor have we Dictator-like obtruded our conceptions ; but in the 
humility of enquiries or disquisitions have only proposed them unto 
more ocidar discerners. And therefore, opinions are free, and open it is 
for any one to think or declare the contraiy I" 




1. A Picturesque View of Algiers to face the Title. 

2. Map of the Regency of Algiers, Page 101 

3. Plan of the City and Fortifications of Algiers, and of the Stations 

taken by the Combined Fleets, under the Command of Lord Exaiouth at the 
Attack, on the 27th August, 1816 393 


lilFE is a book, says Goldsmith, of which he, whose observations 
have been merely confined to his native country, has only read a 
single page ; and travellers are aptly compared to those streams, 
which become grand and more majestic, in proportion as they wander 
from their original sources, increasing their salutary and useful qua- 
lities as they proceed. Hence, enterprizing individuals, anxious to 
improve themselves, and add to the knowledge of others, have not 
been deterred in their favourite pursuit, either by the Polar ice, or the 
burning sun of the Equator, the lofty summits of the Andes, or 
unfrequented waters of the Southern Ocean. There is, however, one 
quarter of the globe, which has, hitherto, terrified many, and baflled 
the utmost efforts of the most resolute adventurers ; and that is Africa. 
Nearly all those who have ventured into this highly interesting con- 
tinent, have either found a melancholy grave, or encountered the 
greatest personal calamities ; and the public has had successively to 
deplore the premature fate of Houghton, Horneman, Park, Roent- 
gen, and several others. The access to this extraordinary region is 
impeded by a thousand obstacles and difficulties, almost unknown to 
other quarters. Without many deep rivers or inland seas, Africa 
seems, as it were, closed to the genius of commerce and navi- 
gation; the Senegal, Niger, and Gambia, its principal streams, 
instead of passing over regular and even countries, are frequently 



interrupted by rapid falls, ridges of rocks and shallows, v, liich render 
it nearly inij>ossible for vessels of tlie smallest size to ascend them : 
so that, whether we consider its variou-; inequalities of soil and climate, 
extensive deserts and vast solitudes, mostly infested by venomous 
reptiles, or more ferocious beasts of prey ; the infinite diversity of 
tribas which inhabit its surface, from the uncultivated savages of 
CafFraria and Angola, to the bigoted Mahometan or relentless Abys- 
sinian, all equally inimical to friendly intercourse with strangers ; 
innumerable perils are still opposed to the candidate for African 
discovery; which it is of the utmost importance to diminish, by pro- 
secuting those researches and enquiries, illustrative of the manners 
and customs of the more civilized parts, between which and the 
interior, a constant intercourse is known to be kept up ; possessing the 
additional advantage of being liable to iewer interruptions, than 
have been so lamentably experienced in attempting to penetrate from 
other quarters. 

By far the most beautiful j)art of Africa, that nearest to Europe ; 
a country which was once the abode of a polished and civilized 
people; that from whence, rather than Sierra Leone or Egypt, it 
would be least difficult to trace the source of the Niger, and follow its 
course, or pass into other parts of the interior, as proved by the progress 
of the Romans ; a country rich in classic recollections, and the choicest 
productions of nature ; which, in other days, contained the intellect 
tual spirit of Greece and Rome, filling the granaries of the latter; 
which, united by commercial and political ties, is still abundantly 
capable of ministering to the wants and luxuries of the European 
family : such is the immense and fertile coast of Barbary, which, by 
a singular fatality, is still in possession of a race, the most cruel and 
inhospitable. This extensive region, divided into nominal kiigdoms, is 


governed by a set of monsters, who vie with each other in tlie deepest 
hatred and bitterest hostility towards Christianity and civilization. 
Thus placing a ruinous barrier between two great divisions of the 
earth ; and, as many have truly said, been hitherto the principal, and 
perhaps only cause of Africa's being so inaccessible to Europeans. 

But now that the affairs of the world are re-established on their 
ancient basis ; when the great monarchs of Europe are united in 
holy alliance, doubtless with the paternal design of perpetuating the 
pure doctrines, and rational morality of the Evaugeli.sts ; now that 
the reign of peace, and dominion of justice has once more illumined 
the political horizon ; it is surely incompatible with such beneficent 
views, any longer to tolerate self-appointed chiefs of banditti, under 
the specious title of regular governments ; whose characteristic bru- 
tality, and lawless violence, is constantly occupied in disturbing the 
domestic happiness and moral order of society. Such a supposition 
is as repugnant to the interests of humanity, as it is to the progress 
of knowledge, and pre-eminently enlightened character of the pre- 
sent age. 

Reason and political wisdom cannot any longer permit such 
numerous hordes of plunderers to exercise their depredations with 
impunity, in the centre of the globe, bordering upon all that is 
refined and estimable in our nature ; and that benign philosophy 
which has abolished the iniquitous traffic of our black fellow creatures, 
is loudly called upon to banish a still greater evil, the slavery of the 
whites ! The voice of friendly admonition has been vainly reiterated 
to those governments, and a terrible example made of the most guilty. 
But can we place any permanent reliance on the oft plighted and 
more often broken faith of such monsters Ì Is peace the interest of 

xxii author's preface. 

governments, whose very establishment is founded upon the law of the 
strongest, plunder and proscription? It is indeed sincerely to be 
wished that a long and perpetual one may continue towards the debi- 
litated states of Italy, and unprotected Hanse Towns. But it is also 
of the first consecjuence to become thoroughly acquainted with the 
objects of our just apprehension : in order clearly to ascertain the 
best measures of precaution against their machinations, let us besides 
keep in mind the crying injuries we have for so long a period expe- 
rienced at the hands of these merciless people, as another means of 
guarding against future aggression. 

Under all these considerations, it will not perhaps be either 
useless or uninteresting to narrate the circumstances attending a late 
voyage to the inauspicious coast of Barbary, made by a person, who 
was transported thither by one of those dreadful calamities, which, to 
the shame of civilization, human nature has been for many centuries 
doomed ineffectually to deplore. In the following pages the author 
proposes to describe what he has witnessed, and draw as faithful a 
picture as he can of the melancholy scenes and dreadful atrocities 
which his evil genius destined him to see in one of the piratical states. 
Those parts of his work which relate to government, manners and 
customs, or the interior which he had no opportunity of visiting, are 
derived from the best and most intelligent authorities he could find 
during his residence in Algiers; and he is only induced to offer them 
from a conviction of their authenticity. The whole is submitted to the 
public with those imperfections which are, no doubt, profusely scat- 
tered through the work ; but however multiplied these may be, the 
author confidently relies on the impartiality of its decision in favour of 
a book written for the sole purpose of aiding the cause of religion, 
justice, and humanity. 



Memoirs. — Origin of the Voyage. — Fatal Delay. — Thames. — The Ocean. — Con- 
tinuance of the Voyage. — Rencontre. — Coast of Fez. — Straits and Bay of 
Gibraltar. — Passage up the Mediterranean. — Arrival at the Island of San 
Pietro I 


Imprudent Departure from San Pietro. — Presentiments. — Appearance of the 
Algerine Squadron. — Captured by the Pirates. — Captives taken before the Grand 
Rais or Admiral. — First Night on board the Corsair. — Second Day. — Storm. — 
Naval Engagement. — Union of the Captives. — Treatment on board the Corsairs of 
Barbary. — Situation improved. — Hope.— The Rais Hamida. — Coast of Italy. — 
Council of War. — Dispute between Tunis and Algiers. — Historical Notice of 
Tunis. — Revolution there. — The Squadron appears before Tunis, and retires. — 
Coasting, and Arrival at Bona 27 


Arrival in Algiers. — Landing. — Appearance before the Heads of the Government. 
— Prison of the Slaves. — First Day in Slavery. — The Employment. — Hours of 
Repose. — Public Works. — Liberation. — Arrival at the British Consulate.— Lost 
Riches. — Still greater Losses. — Consolations. — Unfortunate Companions. — Mode 
of living at Algiers 64 



Christian Slavery iu ALGIERS. — Its pliysical and moral Effects. — Observations on the 
Ransom and Liberation effected by the Expedition under Lord Exmouth. — 
Remarks on the various Accounts of Barbary hitherto published. — Object and 
Motives of the Author in laying his Account before the Public, &c 


Barbary. — Derivation of its Name. — Soil, and Climate. — Short View of its general 
History, and of Algiers in particular. — Geographical Description. — Monuments 
and Remains of Antiquity. — The Capital described 101 


Fossils, Minerals, and other natural Productions of Barbary. — Trees and Vege- 
tables. — The Lotus and Palm Tree.— Domestic Animals. — The Barb, Camel, and 
Dromedary. — Wild Animals. — Birds, Reptiles, Scorpions, and Locusts 116 


Desert of Angad. — Hardships in crossing the Sahara, or Great Desert. — Caravans. 

The Simoom. — Various Phenomena attending it. — Columns of Sand. — The 

Oasis. — Temple of Ammon. — Consolations in the Desert. — Mount Atlas. — 
Country South of it, &c 



Different People of Barbary.— Blacks.— Jews.— Christians.— Renegadoes.— Turks. 
—Chiloulis.— Berberi.— Bedouin Arabs.— Their Mode of Living.— Male and 
Female Costume.— Various Superstitions. — Occupations of the Arabs. — Riches. 
— Marriages among them. — Characteristic Anecdotes 1^3 



Account of the Kabiles and Arab Tribes.— The Hiraas.— Tents.— Dowers.— Encamp- 
ments.— Dascars, or Arab Villages.— The Sheiks. — The Plundering Arabs.— 
Anecdotes respecting them 1^1 


Description of the Moors.— Their Figure and Character.— Male and Female Costume. 
—Head Dress and Toilet.— Habitations.— Particular Manners and Customs.-r 
Marriages amongst the Moors, &c 196 


Funeral Ceremonies and Lamentations over the Dead in Barbary. — Mourning of 
Widows. — Vows of Friendship and Fidelity made on the Graves of departed Rela- 
tives. — Table of the Moors. — Cuscousu. — Pillaw and Basseen. — Use of Sugar and 
Spices. — Yemen Coffee. — Amusements of the Moors. — Method of enticing Birds. 
— Chess, and other Games of Chance. — Social Meetings. — The Kiosco. — Barber's 
Shops. — Moorish Baths. — Mode of Bathing.— Baths frequented once a Week by 
the Women. — Singers, and Dancing Girls. — Itinerant Story Tellers. — The Bastinado. 
—Life of the rich Moor 215 


Moorish Beauty. — Eyes and Features, Corpulency, and Mode of Fattenmg up before 
Marriage. — Criterion to judge of a fine Woman. — Complexion. — Embellishments 
extraordinary. — Comparison with European Ladies. — Vanity the ruling Principle. 
— Unhappy Condition of the Women in Barbary ; their State of Servitude and ill 
Treatment. — Ideas of the Moors with regard to their Creation. — Their premature 
old Age. — Their Jealousy. — Ridiculous Precautions to prevent Women from being 
seen or spoken to. — Inevitable Consequence of being discovered in an Intrigue. — 
Story of a Tunisian Lady.- -Susceptibility and Power of Love. — Moorish Houses 
favourable to Intrigue. — Argusses occasionally outwitted. — Affectionate Conduct 

of the Moorish Ladies towards their Husbands, &c 232 




state of Agriculture in Algiers.— Imperfect Mode of Ploughing.— Wiue.— Butter.— 
Oil.— Olive Trees.— Method of enriching the Land.— Different Trades and Manu- 
factures. Otto of Roses. — Commerce. — Exports and Imports. — Traffic with the 

Interior of Africa.— Method of Dealing.— Circulating Medium.— Clipping.— 
Letters and Sciences. — Arab Writers.— Hints on Civilization.— Anecdote. — The 
Pen.— The Alfagui.— Their Pedantry.— The Thibibs.— Medical Treatment in 
Barbary. — Anecdotes, &c 246 


State of the Arts in Barbary.— Curious Cement and Glue.— Languages of Northern 
Africa.— Anecdote.— Moorish Music— Different Instruments.— Singing.— Islam- 
ism.— Ridiculous Customs.— Strict Observance of Fasts.— Sanctuary afforded by 
Mosques, .&c.— Holy City.— Paradise of Musselmen.— Pilgrimage to Mecca.— 
Order of the March, and Allusion to the Ceremonies performed there.— Marabouts. 
—Anecdote.— Vaili, or Saints, their Hypocrisy illustrated.— Facility of being 
canonized in Barbary.— The Mufti.— Their Office and Powers.— Mode of deciding 
legal Questions and administering the Laws.— The Imans.— The Muezzins, and 
Hours of Prayer.— The Koran.— Short Analysis of its Contents.— Anecdote of 
Dorat, the French Poet.— Commentators on the Koran, &c ...263 


Nature of the Algerine Government.- -Its Character.— The Regency.— Divan.— 
Power of the Dey.— His Election, and Mode of conducting it.— Attributes and 
Prerogatives of the Dey.— Method of administering Justice.— Cause of his Popu- 
larity.— Dangers which environ a Dey's Person. — Anecdotes of some late Chiefs. 
—Fascinations of Power and Ambition.— Reply of a Polish Monarch.— Account 
of Ali Bassa, the reigning Dey.— His Death.— Anecdotes.— Notice of All's Suc- 
cessor, Mezouli.— Omar Aga.— The Council of State.— By whom it is generally 
composed.— Effects of a Dey's being dethroned.— Various Political Reflections.— 
Account of the different OflBcers composing the Dey's Administration.— Mode of 
the Consuls applying for Redress. — Description of inferior Officers.— General 
Character of the Dey's Ministers.— Remarks.— Anecdotes, &c 286 



The Divan. — Its Character as a representative Body. — By whom composed. — Mode 
of assembling. — Discussion, and Collection of the Votes. — Revenues. — The Beys. 
— Their Rapacity. — Dey's Policy with regard to them. — The Caids, and their 
numerous Oppressions. — Account of the Chiaux, or Dey's Messengers. — Their 
Influence on the Multitude. — Reflections on Laws and Government. — Algerine 
Code.— The Cadi.— Their Appointment and Functions. — Civil Process in Barbary. 
— Ignorance of the Judges, and novel Mode of deciding Causes. — Remarks and 
Anecdotes.— Criminal Process. — Punishments inflicted for various Crimes. — Con- 
sequences of Adultery and Infidelity in the Females. — Punishment of Treason. 
— Debtors. — How treated.— Anecdote of Ibrahim Dey.— Effect of the Dey's 
personal Administration of Justice. — Anecdote of Cheban Dey.— Defects of the 
Algerine Law. — Excessive Severity of some Punishments. — Police Regulations of 
Algiers. — Nightly Patroles. — Espionage and Informers. — Subterfuges of arbitrary 


Fmancial System of Algiers. — Various Modes of raising Money. — Hints to modern 
Financiers. — The Hasena, or public Treasury. — Reflections on the Advantages of 
hoarding. — Different Sources of the Dey's Revenue. — His praiseworthy For- 
bearance. — Anecdote of a Persian Prince. — Thoughts on the Use of Public Money. 
— Military Force of Algiers. — The Oldack, and Ortes. — Zouavi. — The Aga. 
— His Functions, and Mode of being replaced. — Account of the Aga del Campo, 
and Caia. — Mode of rewarding the Services of old Officers in Algiers. — Their 
Privileges. — Boulouc Bashas, and Vekilardi. — Method of obtaining Rank and Pro- 
motion under the Algerine Government.- -Cursory Ideas on the Subject of Military 
Regulations in all Countries. — Quarters and Allowance of the Soldiery.— Their 
Pay. — Punctuality with which the Arrears are paid. — Ceremony observed on 
these Occasions. — Gradual Increase of the Soldier's Remuneration. — Different 
Modes of adding to it, and his Prospect of future Repose. — Account of the Algerine 
Army. — By whom composed. — Bedouin Cavalry. — Annual Operations to collect 
the Tribute, plunder the Tribes, &c. — Punishments awarded by the Caia. — 
Order of the March. — General Treatment of the Soldiery. — Its Effects. — Qualities 
of the Dey's Army. — Its Operations left to the Direction of the General. — Councils 
of War. — Mode of Encamping, and Order of Battle. — Method of attacking, and 
d 2 


re-forming when put into Disorder. — General Character of the Algerine Soldiers. 
— Anecdote of an Italian Chief. — Character of the Turkish Militia. — Their Power 
over the Moorish Population. — Reflections. — Allusion to the Victories of Cheban 
Dey. — Characteristics of the Janizaries. — The various Advantages enjoyed by them 
over other Soldiers of Fortune 326 


Piracy. — The natural State of the Barbary Governments. — Their Political Maxims. 
— Their Interest in going to War. — Mode of declaring it, and making Reprisals. 
— Treatment of European Consuls and Subjects. — Method of justifying their 
Policy with respect to Foreign Powers. — Mode of carrying on Hostilities. — Argu- 
ment in favour of it. — Northern Africa always the Retreat and Abode of Pirates. 
— Cursory View of their Depredations. — Of Captures. — Their Sale, and Distribution 
of Prize Money. — Mode of disposing of Slaves. — The Basistan. — Tegorarini — 
Occupation of Christian Captives. — Of Ransoming. — The Fathers of Redemption, 
or Trinity.— Their mode of proceeding in Algiers. — Efforts of the Author and 
others to promote the Liberation of Sicilian Slaves. — Allusion to the Exertions 
of the British Government to emancipate them. — Remarks in praise of 
the Conduct of those Italian Sovereigns, who have made Peace with the Barbary 
Powers. — Various useful Hints to those who become Slaves. — Best Time of 
escaping. — Probable Result of a well organized Combination amongst the 
Christian Slaves at Algiers.— Observations, &c 343 


Military and Naval Power of the Barbary States. — Tripoly. — Morocco. — 
Thoughts on the Views of the latter State. — Relations of the above States with 
Algiers and each other. — Origin of their Independence. — Influence of the 
Ottoman Porte over the Barbarians. — Nature of its Relations with them. — 
Various Reflections on the Grand Seignor's Policy. — State of Political Relations 
between the Pirates and different European Governments 359 


Departure from Algiers. — Feelings on quitting Companions in Misfortunes. — 
Passage to Minorca.— Arrival at Port Mahon. — Entrance into the Lazzaretto. — 
-anecdote of a modern Traveller.— Theatrical Scenes. — Liberal Conduct of an 



Knglish Consul.— Some Account of Minorca, and those with whom the Author 
Ijecarae acquainted there.— Sir Sidney Smith.— Embarks on board an English Ship. 
—Passage to Sicily, and Arrival in Palermo.— Various Reflections on the 
Civil and Political State of the above Island.— Departure from Sicily.— Reflec- 
tions during the Voyage.— Arrival at Ponza, together with some Account of that 
Island.— Return to Tuscany and Reflections suggested by it 369 


Recent Conduct and new Insults of the Barbary Powers.— Negociations of Lord 
Exmouth, and General Sir Thomas Maitland.— Bombardment of Algiers.— Sub- 
mission of the Dey.— Observations on the Treaties lately made between the Euro- 
pean Powers and Barbary States.— Remarks on the Conduct of Great Britain, 
compared w^ith that of other Governments.— Singular Enigma.— Reflections sug- 
gested by it.— Necessity of taking greater Precautions than those already adopted. 
—How far we are justified in relying on the Faith of Treaties.— Morality of a 
Barbary Chief.— His Motto.— Actual Disposition of these Powers, manifested by 
their general Conduct 


Italy more exposed than ever to the Depredations of the Barbary Corsairs. — Conse- 
quences of no more Captives being made.— Prisoners of War.— Their probable 
Treatment by the Barbarians.— Illustrations.— Necessity, Justice, and Utility of 
more powerful Measures.— Various Reflections ; and Anecdote of an English Sea- 
man.— Importance to Europe of colonizing Northern Africa.— Its amazing Fecun- 
dity. Facility of penetrating into the Interior from that Direction.- Splendor of 

the Enterprize. — Its Advantages to Antiquarian Research, Science, and the useful 
Arts. — Observations, &c • ^^^ 


Difficulties likely to attend the Enterprize. — Remarks on the Moorish Character. 
— Ob.servations on the Result of those Expeditions hitherto sent against the Infidels. 
—Want of Union, and popular Nature of the Barbary Governments favourable 



to an invadiug Army.— Reasons why the Moors are not likely lo adhere to the 
Fortunes of their present Rulers.— As easy for the united Powers of Europe to 
colonize Northern Africa, as it was for single Nations of other Times to do so.— 
Hints to an invading Force.— Best Time to effect a Landing.— Kind of Warfare 
most adapted to Africa.— Necessity of Perseverance.— Importance of calling in the 
Aid of Political Intrigue.— Comparison between the Moors and savage Nations.— 
Probability of the former's adopting European Manners and another Religion.— 
Singular Tradition prevalent in Barbary.— Recollections by which an European 
Army would be animated on landing in Africa. — Why that part of the World is not 
as susceptibleof undergoing a great political Change as other Countries.— Necessity 
of employing a sufficient Force, and of the Powers of Europe being unanimous in 
the Cause.— Nations that ought to direct the League.— Reflections 41'; 


Author's Motives for proposing the Colonization of Northern Africa.— Most equi- 
table Line of Policy to be pursued, should a Descent ever be made in that Country. 
—Anecdote and Reflections.— Appeal to Princes, Ministers, People, Philosophers, 
Orators, Poets, and periodical Writers of every Country.— Eulogium on the Anti- 
Piratical Institution.— Conclusion ^^- 




Memoirs. — Origin of the Voyage. — Fatal Delay. — -Thames. — The Ocean. — 
Continuance of the Voyage. — Rencontre. —Coast of Fez. — Straits and Bay 
o/ Gibraltar. — Passage vp the Mediterranean. — Arrival at the Island of 
San Pietro. 

We are daily in the habit of hearing people exclaim : " What 
strange adventures mine have been ! Why, Sir, my life is a per- 
fect romance! I have really a great mind to write my history!" 
When those who have played an important part in the theatre of life, 
and made sublime experiments on fortune, fall from power and splen- 
dor, they naturally enough become a prey to ennui : in order, how- 
ever, to shed a little light on the obscurity of their retreat, to pre- 
serve some recollection of that name, glory, and even life ; which, 
to use the expression of Pope, seems to breathe from other lips ; they 
take to writing their warlike and political actions — and being no lon- 
ger able to wield the sword or staff of office, have recourse to the 
pen : removed from the worldly stage, by choice or necessity, they 
assume the more modest part of authors. Hence the numberless vo- 
lumes constantly appearing with the flattering titles of Memoirs, His- 
torical, PoUfical and Military ; including- the campaigns of (lene- 


2 MEM01R8. 

rat **-^J^*, written by himself. Mes rejìexions, mon portefeuille, 
mcs pcnsées, mes souvenirs ! &c. 

Far from being able to boast of public notoriety, I have found 
myself fallen to the lowest ebb of fortune, and shall accordingly de- 
tail my ill-fated adventures ; but the following narrative will only 
include a short period, which was, however, the most tempestuous of 
my whole life, if that which has been so fraught with struggles and 
calamity is worthy of the name ! A certain people of antiquity only 
counted their days of happiness; amongst whom, a wise man on 
the point of death, wrote this epitapli for himself: I have passed 
/ifttf-six years, and lived four ! All who contend in the stormy 
sea of human vicissitude, may be compared to those emblems of 
alternate happiness and miser\% who, after having tasted nectar, at 
the table of the gods, sorrowfully descended into the region of 
shadows ; joy and pleasure passes over the heart like the transient 
breath of zephyrs ; while it is furrowed by endless griefs and bitter 

Shakspear has somewhere obsei-ved, that felicity comes slowly, 
and in silence, advancing on tiptoe like a nocturnal visitant ; while 
misfortune attacks in close battalions, those, who are destined to be 
the victims of its inflexible decrees. 

Man is a cpierulous and dissatisfied animal ! The most common 
exclamations of the day are, " Oh, what times! What places! What 
people! What women! What devils!" We are always tired of the 
situation in which we are, and vainly wishing to be where we are 
not. By a strange fatality, connected with that love of change so 
peculiar to our nature, it occurred to myself, and a few others of my 
countrymen to abandon England; that envied nation, which has 
alone remained unshaken, amidst the political agitations of surround- 
ing states, and generously opened its bosom to the exiled wanderers 
of other countries, equally fostering the native plant, and foreign 
stem, blown upon its coast by the revolutionary tempest. Yes! anx- 
ious once more to behold my native land, and breathe the delightful 


air of an Italian sky, I no longer remembered the words of a 
celebrated poet that, 

Bramo di meglio star, rende infelice; 

or, that we can no where be so well situated as amongst our friends. 
It was reserved for me to learn, by bitter experience, that happiness 
has its source within ourselves, and does not proceed from without ; 
but we do not know how to collect the pure stream, or direct its natu- 
ral and easy course. It is said, that an eastern monarch once offered 
a large reward to any of his subjects, who would come before him 
and swear they had enjoyed constant happiness : two persons presented 
themselves, a husband and his wife ; these attested that, united by 
the tender ties of matrimony, their felicity had long equalled that of the 
golden age, and they were perfectly reconciled to their condition. " If 
so," replied the king, " and you are as happy as you pretend to be, 
you would not have come in search of my proffered riches ; no, 
you have wants, desires, and ambition ; go, therefore, you are not 
the fortunate beings I look for, and for whose appearance I shall 
most likely have yet to wait a long time." 

The project was at first a mere fugitive idea ; one of those fancies 
which often obtrude themselves to fill up a blank in the cold mono- 
tony of life. It would, like many others of a similar description, 
have fallen to the ground, if more maturely considered, had not 
two false and interested friends, of whom there are so many, ever 
ready to betray the incredulous, stimulated the execution, and 
finally succeeded, by pretexts the most specious and absurd, in per- 
suading me to sacrifice friends, fortune, and tranquillity, for the de- 
lusive hope of futui-e advantage, destined, alas ! to terminate in niin 
and disappointment. I have heard of a literary character, who kept 
a small book, which he called the " catalogue of his friends,'' on 
the first page was written Heart, with two or three names under it ; 
the second had Table on it ; and the third Purse. The fiiends of the 

B 2 


table and purse had been very numerous, but were at'terwards erased, 
on the fourth page was inscribed Masks, the names which followed 
filled the rest of the book ; those of our friends who are attracted by the 
table and purse, may, with propriety, be placed under the fourth 
article of the catalogue. The proverb says, where mi/ friends are, 
there is my treasure. It might be added, that sycophants only 
offer their friendship where something is to be gained. Such 
were the motives which actuated the persons to whom I am indebted 
for an opportunity of penning these memoirs. To a candid and 
honourable mind, in which suspicion has no place, nothing is so diffi- 
cult to <;onceive, as the ingratitude of one whom you have assisted. 
I will not, however, deny the extent and Aveakness of my own cre- 
dulity ; and having sutfered the fatal consequences of bad advice, 
merely wish to warn others by my example, qui ne suit se rtsoudre 
aux conseils, s'ahandonne ; and according to a Chinese proverb, the 
fool asks other people to explain the cause of his errors, while the 
wise man enquires within himself.* 

From the superior accommodations, and its various other advan- 
tages, I had of course determined to take my passage in a British vessel ; 
but this design was frustiated, by the officious zeal and baleful soli- 
citude of my imaginary friends, who, by many arguments, which it is 

* In this part of the original work, there is a very long note, in which the author 
minutely enters into a variety of little details, relative to the perfidious conduct of those 
people, who persuaded him to leave England ; at a time when his interests could not have 
been better consulted than by remaining there. And although written with all the humo- 
rous energy of Mr. Pananti's pen, I have not thought it sufficiently connected with the great 
object of his memoirs, to be introduced in the translation. From what has been said, he 
may safely calculate upon the warmest sympathy of a nation, whose virtues he has so 
generously appreciated; and the paramount force of self-approbation must ultimately ena- 
ble him to look down with a mixture of pity and contempt on his betrayers. Sincerely 
anxious to promote his happiness, I am sure the introduction of too much matter, purely 
of a personal nature, into a work of this description, could not in any way tend to that 
desirable object, while it mightf/es/roy, in some measure , the interest which its perusal will, 
I trust, be found calculated to excite in the English reader. — Ed. 


now unnecessary to relate, prevailed on me to embark on board a 
Sicilian brig bound to Palermo, which was to sail with the tirst 
Mediterranean convoy, and this had already began to collect at Spit- 
head. Having, therefore, made the usual preparations for a sea voy- 
age, I hastened to join the other passengers, who were embarked at 
Gravesend, and liad scarcely occupied my birth on board, when the 
master, without assigning any reason whatever, returned to London, 
and remained there three whole days, leaving us all in a state of the 
most ])ainful anxiety, as to the alarming consequences that might 
result from the convoy's quitting Portsmouth before our arrival there. 
At length, when patience was exhausted, and we began seriously to 
think some accident had befallen our hero, he condescended to make 
his appearance, and, with a superficial apology, in which patience 
and resignation were modestly inculcated, resumed his nautical avo- 
oations. Thus, it too frequently happens with those who, like us, have 
committed themselves to- the mercy of some ignorant merchant cap- 
tain, and, without a previous enquiry into his character, been even 
prevailed on to advance the passage-money before sailing ; to which 
circumstance we might with great justice attribute our ultimate hard- 
ships and disasters. Referring to the unblushing impudence of this 
man, in having thus attempted to excuse himself for keeping us wait- 
ing, while he ^>'as occupied in playing the fine gentleman on the 
pave of the metropolis, it is also a stiiking illusti-ation of the extreme 
facility with which most people become reconciled to themselves, 
without a very scrupulous regard to the feelings of others ; every 
thing is now accommodated by the laconic phrase of: " / beg your 
pardon .'" Does any one jostle up against you in the street, and en- 
danger a limb, he l>egs pardon and passes on, as if nothing had hap- 
pened. Another makes you wince again, by unmercifully treading on an 
ill-fated corn: this is coolly compromised by, "really. Sir, I humbly 
beg pardon, but I didn't mean it!" If in argument any one takes the 
words out of your mouth, and by a flat contradiction, plausibly gives 
you the lie, he merely begs pardon : so it is with the intruder on your 


stuflies, or more importunate creditor; all in this AvorUl is rendered 
palatable by asking pardon, and I am even obliged to solicit that of 
the reader, for this unseasonable digression. 

While thus impatiently looking forward to the moment of sailing, 
what was our mortification on seeing the departure of the convoy 
announced? The so much dreaded event, which at once exposed us 
to the danger of crossing the ocean w ithout protection, and liable to 
capture by numerous enemies, our only consolation in this dilemma, 
was a pompous oration from the skipper, who differed from us in toto 
as to the perils of our impending situation, and triumphantly con- 
cluded several impertinent remarks, by drawing his own pane- 
gyric, in which after deiiding our childish apprehensions, he repre- 
sented himself as a most experienced seaman, and so excellent a 
navigator, that in addition to his perfect knowledge of the winds, 
stars, latitudes, and longitudes, he recollected all the bays, headlands, 
rocks, and shoals in our course, as well as his avemaria ! He doubt- 
less, in tliis moment of exultation, fancied himself another Typhis; 
and like Ctesar seemed to imagine that his fortune would carry us 
through every difficulty. Without entering into the merits of this 
boaster, we soon after had many opportunities of witnessing the usual 
effect of pride and presumption ; for notwithstanding all his gascon- 
ading, he was guilty of innumerable Ijlunders during the whole course 
of the voyage. That which a Parisian wit said of an author, who had 
been much praised for a forthcoming production, which totally disap- 
pointed public expectation, might with equal propriety be applied to 
our Palinurus : — Nous ltd avons avance des grands fonds, il nous a 
fait hanqueroute. 

The vessel's name was the Hero, and by a singular coincidence 
of rhetorical contrivance, it was also that of the commander. We had, 
however, no cause to congratulate ourselves on his AO«-f/«W«/ attributes, 
and would have most willingly dispensed with such flattering epithets 
for a little more solidity. Without being the first who had been sacri- 
ficed to the folly or ambition of a hero ; this was not the only occa- 


sioii in which I was taught to consider that, as the most fatal present 
which Providence can bestow on mankind. 

Having, at length, got under weigh, we proceeded down the 
Thames. It is scarcely possible to conceive a more interesting spectacle 
than is presented by this niagniticent stream, with its prodigious num- 
ber of shipping, concentrating as it were the commercial spirit of 
the universe, and whose masts form a perfect forest from London 
bridge, till you descend several miles. There is even an indescribable 
iuajesty in the stately undulation of this beautiful river, which is not 
a little heightened l>y the romantic and picturesque objects that adorn 
its ))anks, often the theme of poetic admiration : it has no wlier^ been 
described with more force and dignity than in the celelirated Coo- 
per's Hill of Sir John Denham : 

Tho' deep yet clear, tho' gentle yet not dull, 
Strong without rage, without o'erflowing full. 

I have ever been a passionate admirer of running waters, so in- 
.strumental in keeping up the communication, and maintaining the 
prosperity of states. The philosopher gravely meditates on the suc- 
ceeding wave, and rapidity of the passing stream. Poets delight to 
wander under the melancholy shade of the drooping willow ; the ex- 
ile, the lover, and the wretched, sigh in unison with the murmuring 

Super fimnina Babilonis sedimus etjlevimus ! 

Rivers have a great analogy to the heart, and reflections of the 
earthly pilgrim. They seem to accompany our wandering thoughts; 
reminding us of the rapidity of life, and its more fleeting pleasures: 
they are, in fact, the image of human vicissitudes. Men, their con- 
cerns, events and interests, are precipitated, clash, and succeed each 
other like the ceaseless torrent ; even nations may be said to flow and 
pass on to the ocean of time, finally losing themselves in the vast sea 
of oblivion. 


Havina,- quitted the Thames, and sailed along the coast of Kent, 
we had a tine view of Dover cliff, immortalized in the sublime verses 
of Shakspeare, and in which some poets have recognized the genius 
of Albion, like a colossus, extending its hospitable arms to friendly 
nations. Adieu ! great and powerful sovereign of the ocean ; adieu, 
happy countiy, in which the law governs, and is tempered by mercy ; 
where a protecting genii still cherishes that divine spark of ' heavenly 
fJame,' which, according to Plato, is developed in those climates 
favourable to liberty and virtue ; where, in fine, as observed by the 
Prince de Ligne, prosperity, freedom, and abundance, appear to 
contend for pre-eminence ; and from which m ealth, l^eauty, and intel- 
lect ought long since to have banished that splenetic and morbid me- 
lancholy, which has sometimes been laid to the charge of its national 
character. Farewell, dear and respected friends, who by so many 
proofs of benevolent attention, will ever live in my warmest recollec- 
lections. That your evening of life may not be interrupted by any 
of those clouds which impede the progress of happiness : Yes ! my 
kind ti'iends, gratitude and affection bid me express an ardent hope 
that yours may be a tranquil day, so justly merited by hearts fraught 
with honour and generosity.* 

* Such are the very flattering sentiments of gratitude and applause, suggested by the 
liberal and discriminating mind of Mr. Pananti, forming a most striking contrast with tke 
conduct of many French emigrants, who had much more reason to sing the praises of 
Great Britain; and have, since the restoration of the Bourbons, either forgotten or despised 
that credulous benefactress, when no longer required to support their broken fortunes. 
Many of our countrymen, whom the travelling mania have induced to give up the une- 
qualled comforts of England, for the insult, robbery, and extortion of the continent, will 
bear me out in asserting that gratitude is not a prevailing characteristic of La grande Na- 
tion : a fact strongly exemplified in the conduct of great numbers of emigrants, amongst 
whom, however, 1 feel much pleasure in acknowledging there are many, possessing both 
talents and virtue. While at Paris, in the summer of 1816, a young medical student, who 
had formerly been attached to the military profession, and for six weeks gratuitously 

attended the Count M , after a severe fall from his horse, and whom the capricious 

wheel has placed in the household of Louis le desire, took occasion, in consequence of the 
previously extorted promise to that effect, to leave his card at the Count's, then basking in 


The ancients had two amiable divinities, sacred to absence and 
separation : one of these consoling deities, presided over those tender 
tViends, whose parting was blended with hopes of meeting again. 
The other supported those who were left behind, and destined to an- 
ticipate the beloved object's return. Let us indulge a hope, that such 
soothing genii have not ceased to sympathize in our feelings, and 
that their influence is still exerted over kindred minds, whose hearts, 

the rays of the Tuileries. Some days after M. le Compie returned the visit, and after 
expending a volume of unmeaning compliments, during which tout ce quHl avoit was libe- 
rally placed at the disposal of my friend Mr. B , he retired with a solemn request 

that whenever he was inclined to see the opera, he had only to .send for the Count's key I 
This, I venture to say, is a fair specimen of that kind of return which many others have 
experienced under similar circumstances ; and I defy the lying and ignorant scribbler of 
Quinze Jours, and Six Mois à Londres, to disprove it; who, by the way of at once makirtg 
himself popular in France, and displaying his exquisite knowledge in the fine arts, modestly 
as.serts that the sign-post decorations of Vauxhall, equalled any thing he saw at the Spring 
Garden exhibition!!! If the wretched followers of the contemptible Pillet, who in a 
note prefixed to the last edition of Six Mois à Loiidres, say with equal modesty and truth, 
that " tous les Anglais de bonne foi" agree to the principal points of his execrable trash, 
I would recommend the consideration of anecdotes like the above, which tend in some 
small degree to unmask a nation, that ha.s hitherto exclusively arrogated to itself the first 
rank in gallantry and politeness. 

Having alluded to travelling, I cannot close this note, without cordially joining in that 
strong feeling of regret, which the thoughtless spirit of emigration has so justly excited in 
every unbiassed friend of his country : a spirit which, I venture to prophecy, will in the 
end be more injurious to the happiness of its advocates, than to the nation : which, how- 
ever severely it may now feel tlieir absence, must, in the course of a little time, learn to 
despise those, who having fattened on its prosperity, leave it at a period of national 
distress, when their continuance at home could not fail to have been eminently beneficial 
to the community. The easy facility with which so many families of opulence and dis- 
tinction continue to squander the treasures of the mother country on the continent, is 
certainly not the most amiable feature of the times we live in. And upon what pretences 
do they justify such a line of conduct? Change of air, cheap living, and the education 
of their children ! The absurd futility of these reasons, will, I am sure, be acknowledged 
by two thirds of the English residents now in France : which number, if the mass of 
information I have received be correct, have abundant cause to regret their having ever 
left England. When the arrangements which oblige them to remain there for the present, 
are at an end, it is hoped that the salutary experience of emigration, aided by some small 
sense of patriotism, will lead to their return. To parents and guardians I would briefly 



no distance should separate. The last glance of England, was by 
myiseli" and companions, attended with a feeling of regret only to be 
cooceived by those in similar situations. If, says an ingenious living 
poet,* Adieu, dare not be pronounced; it ought to be at least indicated 
by a sigh; expressed, it should expire on the lips; and when written, 
be blotted out with a tear ! 

To those unpracticed in a sea life, the moment which detaches 

say, that a knowledge of French, dancing, and music, are but iii exchanged for the 
destruction of morals. And as to the uniform hatred to England, constantly manifested 
by extortion, abuse, and shameful partiality, it is too notorious to require illustration. 
The public has been made tolerably well acquainted with the demoralized state of our 
neighbours, their thorough contempt of religion, and all those minor virtues dependant on 
it, by which society can alone be held together. With all this before their eyes, from the 
most authentic sources, individuals can have no excuse for seeking that happiness abroad, 
which they have hitherto looked for in vain, except by moderating their views, and quietly 
sitting down in their own country. What would one of those scribbling calumniators, who 
have been enriched by abusing the British nation, have said, if after having paid for his 
dinner in a London coffee-house, and when about to retire, he, together with his friend, 
were called upon to pay a second time, their decorous remonstrance had induced the 
landlord to call in a file of grenadiers, who after an unmerciful beating, dragged them to 
a dungeon six feet by eight, and keeping them three days without any communication 
with their friends, then condescended to turn them into the street, without farther redress 
or explanation ? What, I will ask, would one of these barefaced liars say, if after having 
hired a boat to descend the Thames, embarked himself and property in it, paid the price 
of his agreement in advance, the boatman took an opportunity of landing him on the way, 
and then setting off without him, but taking off his effects ; and who on being afterwards disco- 
vered with the stolen goods upon his person, was regularly consigned to the hands of 
justice, but quietly liberated in three days without the smallest punishment ? What would 
any liberal Frenchman say, if either of the above circumstances had befallen him in Lon- 
don, as they have to others of my acquaintance in France? Which Mr. De C can 

attest, both instances having actually occurred during his own administration. Let us, 
therefore, hear no more of the Code Napoleon ; but 

rather bear those ills we have. 

Than fly to others that we know not of. Ed. 

* Mr. William Spencer, a friend of the author. Some days after this sheet was 

revised, a writer in the Morning Chronicle favoured the public with the following neat 


An adieu should in utterance die— 

If written, but faintly appear- 
Only heard in the burst of a sigh — 
Only seen in the drop of a tear. Ed. 


you from land, and all the busy scenes of social life, is particularly 
saddening ; the landsman, thus thrown upon the pathless waste of 
waters, buffetted by winds and waves, and beset with a thousanti 
perils, requires no small degree of fortitude successfully to bear up 
against his destiny. Sea-sickness too, that most intolerable of nautical 
evils, embittered by a monotonous recurrence of the same objects, all 
conspire to increase that horror which the inexperienced naturally 
feel towards the watery element; that voracious gulph which, indis- 
criminately swallows up the plundered wealth of nations, and the 
more honest fruits of toilful industry. 

We considered ourselves as peculiarly wretched in being alone 
at this inauspicious and warlike period. Most people, on such occa- 
sions, look forward with pleasurable anxiety to the meeting of sti'ange 
vessels, and prospects of again hearing the profound silence of the 
ocean broken by human voices. Not so with us : — lavniched forth in our 
crazy bark, on a track which swarmed av ith privateers, every sail that 
appeared, excited suspicion, and tended to keep us in a state of con- 
stant uneasiness. 

It is true that amidst all this tedium and suffering, we were occa- 
sionally enlivened with the recollections inspired by several memorable 
spots that lay in our course. La Hogue, Cape St. Vincent, and Tra- 
falgar, could not fail to revive the names of Rooke, Jei-vis and 
Nelson ; and an ardent mind in traversing scenes so often renowned 
by British valour, might still fancy himself on the territory of Albion. 
The most original and deservedly popular poet of the present day, 
Lord Byron,'^ has, perhaps unintentionally, though with his usual 

* It is no inconsiderable proof, if any were wanting, in favour of Lord Byron's 
extraordinary genius, that his poetry is sought after with avidity both in France, Germany, 
and Italy, while an unaccountable degree of ignorance seems to prevail in all these coun- 
tries, with regard to the exact state of that branch of literature in the united kingdom, or 
the galaxy of genius which has adorned our poetical hemisphere during the last twenty 
year.<!. Some months ago on the rqad between Florence and Rome, I accidentally 

passed an evening in the society of a celebrated literary character of Geneva, Mr. S , 

who has not only been in England, but understands the language very well, and was not 

C i 


elegance, pourtrayed the naval superiority of his country in the fol- 
lowing- beautifiil lines : 

O'er the glad waters of the dark bhie sea, 
Our thoughts as boundless, and our souls as free ; 
Far as the breeze can bear the billows' foam, 
Survey our empire, and behold our home ! 
These are our realms, no limits to their sway — 
Our flag the sceptre all who meet obey. 

It is really grand to reflect on the profound and unconfined limits 
of the deep : with immensity over our head and beneath our feet, the 
splendor and majesty of the divine Architect is nowhere more conspi- 
cuous or sublime than in the endless expansion of the heavens, and 
immeasurable depths of the ocean. 

Traversing the famous Bay of Biscay without encountering many 
of those inconveniences, of a high sea and tempestuous element, 
which voyagers generally complain of, we successively passed the 
Asturias, Galicia, and Estremadura, the sight of which gave rise to 
that sympathetic admiration, inspired by the glorious example ©f 
Spain, .struggling for her long lost rights and liberties, against the 
unprovoked tyrant of those days, perhaps the most important poli- 
tical lesson of modem times, in which it was amply proved how much 
a whole people can do, when once and unanimously determined to 
support their liberties and maintain their independence. By whatever 
.strange combinations of events and cruel fatality, Spain has since 
fallen from her proud station, and exhibited a melancholy proof of that 
degradation, which bad government can bring upon a nation ; it 
will be the future historian's gratifying task to pay his just tribute of 
applause to the tried fidelity and unshaken courage of this brave peo- 
ple, unequalled in the heroic annals of Pelagius and the Cid. Our 

a little surprized, on repeating the names of Moore, Rogers, Southey, Campbell, Crabbe, 
Montgomery, and a host of other popular poets, to find that he had never heard many of 
those names before, or read their compositions ! I confess I do not envy those, who living 
in an age when so many foolish books are read and written, are deprived of the exquisite 
pleasure, and intellectual improvement, which the English poets of the present day, are so 
pre-eminently capable of affording to the reader of every country. — Ed. 


vicinity to Corumia and Ferrol recalled to mind the names of many 
celebrated chiets who will long live in Spanish story, and were at this 
moment bravely contending for the restoration of their legitimate 
sovereign. Amongst others, Porlier, and Mina, the distinguished 
Guerilla leader; men, who were really entitled to the flattering 
epithet of liherales, and without whose patriotic efforts, Ferdinand 
the Vllth might have passed a few more years of his valuable life, 
in the dungeons of Napoleon Buonaparte.* 

* The very name of Spain, at the present crisis of its history, is sufficient, in the most 
ordinary mind, to awaken a thousand contending feelings of sorrow and indignation : of 
sorrow for the cruelly unmerited sufferings of a brave and generous people, doomed to 
see their late unexampled efforts in the great cause of European liberty and national inde- 
pendence, rewarded with political slavery on the one hand, and religious bigotry on the 
other : of indignation at the perfidious ingratitude manifested to ourselves in the total 
exclusion of our manufactures, and oppression of our merchants.t Yes! such has been 
the return to this country, whose best blood and treasure have been so profusely sacrificed 
to restore His Most Catholic Majesty Ferdinand the Seventh ! while, strange anomaly ! his 
government could not, even now, sustain itself without the continued support of England 
and her rich capitalists. The political history of the present time, involving, as it does, 
a heap of the most incongruous absurdities ever invented by the united follies of mankind, 
cannot be too faithfully handed down to posterity, as a salutary warning to all future 
generations. Another point, inseparably connected with the above, cannot be passed over 
in silence; I allude to the great cause of South American independence, that of the whole 
human race. By what blindness of heart and contempt of wisdom, have the European 
powers coldly witnessed the accumulated horrors of that bitter contest, which has for 

tit is notperhaps generally known to the British public, that amongst the legal means adopted by the 
Spanish government, to improve its exhausted treasury, it some time ago levied a tax of eight per cent. 
of the whole value, on English cotton goods, for the permission of selling them in Spain, after the pro- 
hibitory laws were promulgated ; while those very goods had paid the regular imposts on their original 
entry! It will also be gratifying to the admirers of Ferdinand, if any remain, to know, that in addition 
to the most rigorous measures now pursued against the introduction of British manufactures, a decree is 
in existence, by virtue of which, the farther privilege to sell those goods already prohibited, will finally 
cease in March. As a specimen of the dilapidated state of the Spanish treasury, and the utter impos- 
sibility in which its government finds itself of raising money, when the new Queen of Spain arrived at 
Cadiz from the Brazils, there were absolutely no means of paying the expcnces of her journey to Madrid ; 
and her majesty would have had quietly to sit down there, had it not been lor the well-timed generosity 
of the Roman consul, who advanced ten thousand dollars for this purpose. And yet such is the government 
that still indulges a hope of enslaving South America .' I ! 


By tlie way of lieigliteuiiig- the pleasures of our voyage, and adding 
to its already fatiguing sameness, we had several flays calm in this 
quarter; which, by giving more time for reflection, did not serve to 
diminish oiu' apprehension of being captured. The sage, says an 
eastern moralist, dreads a calm, while he travels with indifference 
and composure, in the tempest. 

The wisdom of this maxim was somewhat exemplified by a violent 
storm, which arose, on our arrival on the coast of Portugal, along 

nearly six years, desolated the new world, without one solitary e3brt of a decided nature, 
to arrest the progress of an annihilation ? Will all the hardened sophistry of idle declama- 
tion, attempt to assert, that a totally different line of conduct in the cabinets of Europe, 
was not prompted by the interests and duties of Christianity; or that the state of the world, 
and advancement of civilization, did not fully justify, and even render necessary, a mea- 
sure, which, emanating from the Congress of Vienna, would, in the mere shape of a decla- 
ration, have by a stroke of the pen, at once settled the simple question between Spain and 
her colonies? thus, saving to humanity the tears it has shed, during this monstrous and 
unnatural warfare ; that body might have washed away some parts of the stain, caused by 
the transfer of Genoa, and other continental arrangements. The shallow artifices employed 
by those lukewarm politicians, who advocate our fatal policy in this struggle, can only be 
exceeded by the extreme futility of their reasoning in its justification, arising from that 
inexhaustible source of errors and of crimes — state policy ! 

Among many of those reasons assigned for the strict neutrality of this country, we are 
gravely warned of the consequences accruing to France, from the part she took in the dis- 
pute with our own colonies. This is one of the most feasible pretexts I have seen ; and yet, 
after carefully examining its various bearings, will any man in his senses go so far as to say, 
that the French revolution, with all its massacres, would not have taken place, had the 
North Americans never revolted? Besides, are we to reap no benefit from experience like 
that of the last twenty-five years ; or does the actual state of Europe bear any reasonable 
comparison with that of 1789? Surely there are periods in the history of nations, when 
the antiquated maxims of other days should not be adhered to in a totally different state of 
society ? Every consideration of this momentous subject, undeniably shews, in my hum- 
ble opinion, the sound policy, and absolute moral necessity of England's taking a new and 
decided part in this question. She has liberated Europe from the iron yoke of Buonaparte ; 
let her now crown the work of immortality by standing up, and boldly proclaiming the 
independence of South America. 

With respect to the jealousy which so glorious a measure might excite in our neigh- 
bours; and upon which it has been in this case found convenient to lay a particular stress; 
let MS obey the dictates of honour and of justice ; and the Divinity, who cannot look 
down witli indifference upon such sacrifices, will be our best guarantee. 


which our vessel was liuvried witli the utmost, rapidity; not, however, 
without enabliiig- us to enjoy a uiagnificent view of the rock of Lis- 
bon, entrance of the Tagus, and beautiful coast adjoiniug: we even 
found ourselves in sight of the celebrated field of Viniiera, where 
the first flag of victory was unfmled, which has since immortalized the 
Hannibal and Fabius of the uuited kingdom. The charms of this 
scene were still farther embellished, by the appearance of two large 
convoys entering the Tagus. I regretted our not following their ex- 
ample, asl might then have had somethiug to say of the city of Ulysses, 
and countiy of Camoens. I do not, however, intend to imitate some 
modern travellers, and amongst others, oue upon whose diary the 
following remark was written : — On Tuesday, the loth, passed within 
ten miles of the Island of Borneo. N. B. The inhabitants appeared 
to be very handsome ! 

A violent north-east gale, having driven us beyond the strait of 
Gibraltar, we had already advanced very considerably in the Atlantic, 
and began to apprehend, that the terrific genius of the waters, who 
had once opposed the progress of Vasco de Gama, might also come 
in contact with us poor wanderers. Being on rather a frequented track, 
the scene was a little varied one morning, by our meeting two Eng- 
lish ships returning from India, one of whom sent their boat on 

Viewing this question, as it regards the general interests of the European family, there 
are many who assert, that our redundant population and exhausted commerce, have ren- 
dered that great continent indispensably necessary to our future support and commercial 
enterprize : so that, leaving out the innumerable other important points so closely connected 
with it, the most powerful motives of self-interest require our speedy interference, painfully 
anxious that our own beloved country should reap all the honor of so splendid an achieve- 
ment. I have, in these few remarks, principally directed my attention to his majesty's 
government. But, in conclusion, I will venture to add, that nothing would more forcibly 
tend to regain the lost confidence of nations, than a simultaneous expression of the respec- 
tive cabinets in favour of the persecuted Spanish colonies. If delayed but a very short time, 
it does not require much sagacity to foresee that the South Americans will inevitably obtain 
that for themselves, which the blind fatalism of European policy refused: then, indeed, we 
may have reason, ere long, to tremble for the consequences, to which a rallying point, so 
constituted, might give rise in the best regulated states of the Old World. — £d. 


hoard, and with that avidity, so natural to the nation, immediately 
enquired how they w ere goins: on in Europe, and whetlier we could 
by any possibility feast their eyes with the sight of a newspaper. As 
it happened, we were enabled to gratify them in both ways, as besides 
several papers, we had the pleasure of announcing the recent victo- 
ries of Lord Wellington; the result of the Russian campaign, and first 
efforts of the German league ; all apparently matters of the highest 
interest to our visitors, who confessed that a newspaper was then the 
most valuable present they could receive. It ^\as curious thus, to 
have established a species of scientific and literary cabinet on the wes- 
tern ocean, in which the great concerns of Europe were as freely dis- 
cussed and considered, as they could be in a British House of Commons. 
In return for om' little attentions, they kindly presented us with some 
excellent Madeira, which, in addition to its other exhilarating quali- 
ties, enabled us to drink to the success of the allied armies, the pro- 
gress of legitimate and moderate governments, to the health of our 
friends in London, Canton and Calcutta; that of the Brahmins of 
Benares, and the independent members of the English parliament! 
Having poured this grateful libation, we separated with all the regret 
of old acquaintances. 

While in this situation, we were during the day, exposed to a 
scorching sun, which, besides its inconvenience, formed a striking 
contrast with the delightful serenity of the nights, which are won- 
derfully fine in these latitudes. An author has somewhere observed, 
that day was made for the voluptuous followers of paganism ; while 
night, and the studded firmament, is calculated to inspire the pro- 
fessors of a purer doctrine. The immortality of the soul seems to be 
more clearly demonstrated in the starry heavens; the splendor of day 
dazzles the eyes of those who think they see into futurity. 

Pursuing the voyage, and while endeavouring to regain our lost 
ground, the first land we made, was in the neighbourhood of Salice, 
so famous for its rovers, the worst pirates of their time. Nor dared we 
diseml)ark, lest a modern Taums should have been found amongst 


tliose still uncivilized savages. The fine range ol' Atlas was seen 
in the distance, and along tlie coast several minarets and other build- 
ings of various shapes, together with many well cultivated vallies ; 
the whole forming an exceedingly picturesque scene.* 

Sailing round Cape Spartel, we at length entered the Straits of 
Gibraltar, and were much gratified by the grand scenery on each 
side, finely terminated by the rock towering in the distance. Owing 
to the fever which infected several parts of the Spanish coast at this 
period, we were prevented from landing; and had merely time to con- 
template the surrounding objects, all commemorated either in classic 
lore, or the historic page ; the inaccessible rock, its narrow and stu- 
pendous fortifications, camp of San Roca, bay of Algeziras, cele- 
brated by the victory of Rodney over the Spanish admiral Langara : 
the very spot on which we lay is that, where, through the gallantry of 
General Elliott, the floating batteries were destroyed. Ceuta, and the 
southern pillar of Hercules, on the opposite shore of Barbary, pre- 
sented a wide field for admiration and reflection. The commercial 
activity, and imniense diversity of ships bearing the flag of diflerent 
nations collected in the bay, also afforded a very interesting spectacle. 

A seaman is truly what the French style Vhomme par excellence. 
The world is his country, and human nature his family. Welcomed by 
all as the harbinger of abimdance, convenience, and luxury, he is des- 
tined to combat every element, and surmount all difiicidties. With a 
natural greatness of soul, and elevation of spirit, his views are gene- 
rally extensive, and character upright. Proud as the element he in- 

* For a curious and highly interesting account of Morocco, see Keatinge's Travels: 
where, amongst more important matter, a very good description of the part seen by the 
author is given. In speaking of the road between Sallee and Tangier, the Colonel observes : 
" For several miles this route continues along the river's side, (the Cebu,) which is deep, 
of slow descent, and meandering picturesquely in the boldest and most comprehensive 
sweeps that can be seen or imagined, through rich flats, and meadows of a depth of verdure 
in the tint, of which nothing to be seen elsewhere could give an idea, until its reaches ulti- 
mately flatten to the eye, to be lost in the indistinctness of the horizon."" — Vol. II. p. 40. 



liabits, and free as that breeze which wafts him along ; his principles 
of action are alike litted to every situation. Born to live with his 
felloAvs, the sea-faring man is the real friend of society, of humanit}, 
and civilization. The diffuser of knowledge, and common benefactor 
of mankind, he only is entitled to the epithet of cosmopolite. The 
most splendid ornament and steady support of a free people, he is the 
truest source of national prosperity : so that the solitary verse of a 
French poet should not be forgotten : 

Le trident de Neptune est le sceptre du monde ;* 

at a time too when its truth has been so fully exemplified by a nation 
of our own days. 

Situated as we were, common prudence would have dictated the 
necessity of remaining a few days at Gibraltar, and joining the first 
convoy that sailed up the 3Iediterranean, of which at this time there 
was one nearly every week . And by the way of adding to our comfort, it 
was strongly reported that the Algerine squadron was at sea, com- 
mitting its depredations in various quarters. The poor seamen, who 
either from personal experience, or public notoriety, knew the horrors 
which must inevitably attend falling into the hands of the barbarians, 
began to murmur, and at length broke out into open violence, posi- 
tively declaring they would no longer navigate the vessel, if the mas- 
ter refused to accede to their just demand of waiting for the protection 
of the first convoy. But oiu* ill-judged conductor would have proba- 
bly sufiered himself to be cut to pieces, rather than incur a farthing 
expence by any longer delay here. Assuming a high tone, therefore, 
he loudly accused liis men of a disposition to mutiny, and after volumes 
of abuse, roundly swore, that if they did not immediately return to a 
senseof duty and suboi-dhiation, they should, on their arrival at Sicily, 
be put into dungeons " where day-light never entered," and out of 

* The above is from the pen of Le Mierre, who was so vain of it, that he considered 
il superior to any single line of Racine or J. B. Rousseau. This presumption gave rise to 
tiie following opinion : — Oui, cesi un Lean vers, mais cc^t un vers solitaire ! 


which it was for them to escape as well as they could ! Continiung 
to dwell upon this strain with peculiar emphasis, he proceeded to read 
a lesson upon arbitrary power, stating, amongst other tine maxims, 
that a captain was king on board his own ship, and his will the law !-^ 
1 now thought it was high time to make some reply to this self-created 
and bombastic sovereign, particularly as I felt but too much interest 
in the reasoning of his men, and recollecting what Seneca had on u 
former occasion said to Nero, told him, in somewhat of a peremptory 
tone to remember, Mspoiver was at an end where justice terminated; 
that having violated his written agreement to sail with convoy, it 
would be seen, if ever we reached Sicily, who was most entitled to a 
place in the dungeons to which he so confidently alluded. Had this 
harangue been properly supported by my fellow passengers, the hero 
would most likely have lowered his pretensions ; but though very ami- 
able personages, they were unfortunately deficient on this occasion, and 
apprehensive lest the dispute should take a more serious turn, were, 
during its continuance, occupied in restraining me by repeating the 
old worn-out arguments of " where 's the necessity for entering into the 
crowd to be trampled upon?" " Command who can, obey who ought !" 
" The ass must follow his master;" " One fool is enough to command 
in the same house !" and similar consolatory phrases, all calculated to 
precipitate the fate which awaited us. Nor was it the first time I had 
reason to believe, that in all the great concerns of life, judgment and 
talent are less trequently wanted, than disposition and character. It is, 
peihaps, equally true, that more mischief arises from indecision and 
want of confidence, than the opposite extremes of temerity and pre- 
sumption. In the present instance, my incredulous companions seemed 
to lose their usual habits of reflection. Viewing the captain's proceedings 

-* This is by uo means a new doctriue, lor until very lately it was not only preached 
but practiced in the ships of another country : but it is only justice to add, that owing to a 
number of highly useful regulations and restrictions, adopted wUhiu the last few years, it is 
now pretty well exploded. As to the improvements alluded to, it is sincerely to be hoped, 
they are only preludes to others of still greater importance and utility. — Ed. 



as being founded on his boasted experience, they determined patiently 
to await the result of his arrangements ; and, as if destiny had interfered, 
appeared to feel as mutli indifference as if we were merely going to a 
bali or a wedding. Their fancied security, in so uncertain a j)osition, 
reminded me of a story which is told of a poor man who, during an 
inundation of the Arno at Pisa, was carried away by the torrent while 
attempting to lay hold of a large beam he saw floating down. In this 
extremity-, when there seemed to be no chance of his gaining land, 
and a large concourse of people had already collected on the banks, 
exclaiming, " poor man ! there is no chance of safety ; you will surely 
become food for the fishes." " Oh dear !" says another ; " what will be- 
come of his unfortunate wife and children V When the lamentations 
had subsided a little, the object of them, still clinging to the beam, 
looked up, and very deliberately said, " for my part, ladies and gen- 
tlemen, I hope for the best !" 

Madame du Deffand once observed that she only knew three sorts 
of people, des trompeurs, des trompés, et des trompettes. No soonei- 
had that of our redoubtable Astalfo been sounded by my friends, than 
his crest became immediately elevated, and without farther ceremony 
he weighed anchor and stood out of Gibraltar, with the illusory pro- 
mise, however, of touching at Minorca, for the purpose of accompany- 
ing the first English ship of war, that left that island for Sicily. In 
the course of our navigation along the Spanish coast, I frequently 
took occasion to remind him of his promise, and even strongly sug- 
gested the prudence of such a measure ; forgetting with Machiavel, 
that fools never take advice, or the still more apposite injunction of 
another writer, not to give your counsel to those who appear most in 
want of it.- So far, therefore, from his shewing any disposition to 
gratify us in this particular, he evidently adopted a course which 
mu^t inevitably take us many leagues nearer the coast of Barbary. 

One of the few pleasures attendant on a sea voyage, is that of 
f.ocasionally enjoying the comfort of a good dinner, and more enli- 
^ ening glass of wine ; but with our bounteojis caterer even that 


consolation was denied. A preacher, wlio had not received one invi- 
tation to dine out, during a Avhole Lent, declared, in his last seiinon, 
that he had preached against every sin except gluttony ; and that 
was a vice which he was glad to see did not seem to predominate in 
the neighbourhood ! 

For the information of those who may at any future period, 
undertake a voyage by water, it may not be altogether useless to give 
a short specimen of our fare on board the Hero. It consisted of a 
little musty rice plentifully mingled with stones, and evidently the 
sweepings of some store-room ; salt meat, not unlike half tanned lea- 
ther, and which, from the difficulty of extricating it out of the teeth, 
created a constant tooth-ache. As to wine, it was fairly out of the 
question ; nor did the provident steward even lay in a small stock of 
beer, so cheap an article in the country we had left. Our usual 
beverage, therefore, was made up of putrid water, which it was 
attempted to render palatable by a dash of vinegar. If the occasional 
intermission of sea-sickness created a little appetite, this chalice of 
bitterness soon destroyed it ; and by a refinement in his mode of tor- 
menting the poor passenger, whenever the hour of refreshment arrived, 
I perceived that the vessel was then placed in the most uneasy posi- 
tion the master could contrive ; for to him nothing was so mortitying 
as seeing any of his unfortunate victims enjoy their dinner. 

We had but too fiequently reason, in this hungry state, of calling 
to mind the ill-fated story of Ugolino ; nor was our ship inaptly com- 
pared to the tower in which he perished.^ Judging fiom the meagre 

* This allusion will doubtless remind the Italian reader of that wonderfully sublime 
passage of the Inferno, in which the famished Count relates the harrowing narrative of his 
confinement in the Torre della Fame. 

Quel dì, e l'altro stemmo tutti muti : 

Ahi dura terra, perchè non l'apristi ? 

Posciachè fummo al quarto dì venuti, 

Gaddo mi si gitto distesò a' piedi, 

Dicendo: Padre mio, che non m'ajuti! V. Cant, xxxiii. 

The following 


and wretched appearance of myself and compauions, it was, I think, 
well said by the Piince of Orange, " that in a three days regimen he 
wonld make a poltroon of the bravest man in his army." 

As to these little digressions, not immediately connected with 
the main object of publishing, it is hoped they will be excused, on 
the score of their melancholy importance to the writer. Enough 
will follow to excite feelings of a very different nature ; but as a 
French traveller says, dans un hatimeut quoi /aire « moins qu'on ne 
conte? and I am not the tirst scribbler, who, for the purpose of giv- 
ing more unity to his narrative, has led his reader gradually on to the 
catastrophe. When, at Scarron's petits soupers, the second course 
was not ready, the cook used to whisper in the ear of Madame S. 
afterwards the celebrated Maintenon, so famous for anecdotes and 
bons mots, " have the goodness to amuse the company with a story, 
as the roast meat is not quite done." 

For several days after leaving the coast of Catalonia, we had an 
ample opportunity of witnessing the sad etlects of war, and those 
anti-social decrees of the belligerents, which seemed to extinguish all 
the commercial intercourse of nations. In a run of four or five hun- 
dred miles, we only encountered two vessels. One having a suspicious 
appearance, our captain prudently kept aloof; for he too, was amongst 
the number of those, who thought with Falstaff, that prudence is the 
better part of valour ; with the other we came into more immediate 
contact : she proved to be an unarmed Neapolitan, and no sooner 
was this circumstance ascertained, than our bombastic skipper deter- 

following attempt at translation, will give some idea of its divine original: 

Unwilling thus to aggravate their woes. 

Gloomy and calm, attendant on the close 

Of all our pangs, I sate, revolving slow ; 

Two days succeed— the fourth pale morning hroke, 

'' O Father, help ! I feel the deadly stroke!" 

Mv Gaddo cry'd, and sunk beneath the blow! — Boyd. 



lained to assert his superiority by displaying the Sicilian flag, and 
firing a shot at the stranger, to bring her to. Although this effort of 
bravery had the desired eflect, the Neapolitan, m ho was no admirer of 
practical jokes, on coming within hail, remoiistiated in not very classical 
terms against the unprovoked aggression of our doughty chieftain. 
There being a strong natural jealousy existing between the people of 
Sicily and Naples, the present rencontre was followed by volumes of 
ribaldry and abuse on each side, which, when both parties were com- 
pletely exhausted, and not till then, terminated to the great joy of the 
lookers on. 

On making the island of Sardinia, a much more unpleasant spec- 
tacle presented itself: this was the appearance of several strange sails, 
close under the land, whose continued manoeuvring created an imme- 
diate suspicion on the part of the crew, that they were corsairs. This 
the captain pertinaciously denied, asserting them to be no other than 
an English convoy, and even proposed to bear up and join them, which 
gave rise to a suraultanous burst of disapprobation from all on board, 
followed by a long altercation; in which we resolutely declared, that 
having escaped thus far, we had no idea of voluntarily going into the 
lion's mouth, and therefore insisted on the vessel's being instantly 
steered towards the island of San Pietro, where there was an excellent 
harbour to receive us. To this universal cry of putting into port, the 
Hero reluctantly yielded. 

Ma cadendo quell' anima superba, 

Fé' una bocca di biascia sorba acerba; 

Ed era sconcertato a si gran segno 

Che pareva un Ebreo che ha perso il pegno. 

We soon after ìiad tìie pleasure of anchoring, and congratulated 
each other with the ardour of those, who feel they have just escaped 
an imminent danger. 

In consequence of the plague still raging at Malta, and the mea- 
sures of precaution it imposed on the neighlx>uring coasts, we were 


not permitted to land at the town ; but a space was allotted, where we 
had an opportunity of stretching our limbs : and this, to persons in 
our situation, worn out with a tedious voyage, sea-sickness, and bad 
living-, was no trifling luxury. It is for those whose destiny has for 
many years separated them from their native soil, to judge what my 
feelings were on touching the first shore of Italy ! Not with more 
anxious solicitude could the lover rush into the arms of his mistress, 
or diesar gain the opposite bank of the Rubicon, than myself and 
fellow suiierers sprang on the beach at our first landing. Tears of joy 
moistened the cheeks of several, at the rapturous thotight of once more 
inhaling the salubrious and vivifying air of our native climate. None 
but persons who had been placed in a similar situation, can possibly 
conceive the pleasurewe experienced, on pressing the earth, and bound- 
ing along the shore, after having so largely tasted all the bitter ingredients 
of a sea voyage, and its innumerable unpleasan tries to a landsman. 
Nor is the moment of landing, when sea-sickness seems banished as it 
u ere, by enchantment, the least agreeable of a traveller's emancipa- 
tion. The refreshments, consisting of poultry, vegetables, and exqui- 
site grapes, soon had the effect of restoring us to that love of life which 
the captain had well nigh succeeded in extinguistnng; and San Pietro 
was, to us, a real land of promise. 

During our promenade along a fine sandy beach, we were fre- 
quently visited by the natives of distinction, who paid us every 
attention in their power ; and even the fairer sex did not fail to come 
and sympathize with the weaiy travellers. There seems to be a natu- 
lal tendency in the human mind, to become acquainted with the man, 
qui mores hominum multorum videi et urbes ; and we find a secret 
pleasure in listening to the marvellous stories of the pilgrim. For our 
parts, we all blessed the haven of safety, comfort, and relaxation : 

E intanto oblia 

, noia e il mal della passata via. 


San Pietro, thougli small and not very productive, carries on a 
considerable trade with the Balearic islands, and Cag^liari. There is 
very little grain cultivated there : so that it consists principally of 
vineyaids, which produce tolerably good wine; and the higher 
groiuids are well stocked with game. Its tunny fishery is one of the 
most celebrated in all the Mediterranean. The inhabitants possess a 
high character, for honest simplicity, industry, and civility towards 
strangers. Being in great harmony with each other, they would 
enjoy all the blessings of such attributes, were it not for the continued 
incursions of the Barbary corsairs. The Tunisians landed here about 
forty years ago, and desolated the island fioni one end to the other, 
taking off nearly all the defenceless inhabitants. A similar visit was 
paid, not more than seven years ago, by the assassins of Algiers, who 
have alsovery lately committed another most daring outrage on the same 
unfortunate people. In a state of incessant alarm, with their past 
sufferings constantly before them, they were described to us in all the 
unadorned and simple colouring of nature : nor did this take away 
from the horrors which had befallen many of them. These stories 
generally ended by kindly warning us of the dangers which might 
attend leaving the port without convoy. 

We were farther informed that the squadrons of Algiers and Tripoli 
were cruizing in the vicinity ; the boats of the former had even landed 
.some evenings before, taking off a large quantity of cattle and a boy. 
They also related the melancholy story of the Chevalier Seratti,* who 
had lately fallen into the hands of the Tunisians, and since became a 
victim of their ferocity. 

Under such menacing appearances, we were entreated upon no 

* The Chevalier was formerly prime minister in Tuscany, and a .Sicilian counsellor oi' 
state, possessing a high character for intelligence, zeal and probity. One of his first mea- 
sures, when appointed some years ago governor of Leghorn, was to intercede with the 
Grand Duke, and obtaining the liberation of all the Tunisian slaves brought into that port. 
Who could have then foreseen, that in his latter years, he would himself be conducted a 
slave to Tunis, and finally perish there ! 



account to venture out till things looked better ; and did not fail to 
impress the necessity of following this friendly advice on the mind of 
our obstinate captain : who, without absolutely denying its justice, or 
communicating his real intentions, suffered us to retire to rest, in the 
flattering belief that we should not only have an opportunity of revi- 
siting our new friends next day, but of remaining in port till a better 
time of sailinii arrived. 



Imprudent Departure from Sax Pietro. — Presentiments. — Appearance of the 
Algerine Squadron. — Capture by the Pirates. — Captive taken before the 
Admiral.— First Night on board the Corsair. ^Second Day. — Storm. — 
Naval Engagement. — Union of the Captives, — Treatment on board the Cor- 
sairs of Barbary. — Situation improved. — Hope. — The Rais Hamida. — Coast 
o/ Italy. — Council of V\''^ar.— War between Tunis «/?// Algiers. — HiMo- 
rical Notice of Tunis.— The Revolution.— ^The Squadron appears before 
Tunis, and retires. — Coasting, and Arrival at Bona. 

Nature was stlll enveloped in her stany mantle ; and the goddess 
of night in her ebon car, silently wandered through the heavens, when 
confused noises, as if created by a general movement on board the 
vessel, suddenly awoke the sleeping passengers, who, upon ascending 
the deck, beheld, with a mingled feeling of sorrow and indignation, 
that the anchor was up, and sails spread for the purpose of once more 
incurring the many dangers, which had been so emphatically described 
by the faithful islanders, whose friendly admonitions were completely 
thrown away on our besotted and ignorant conductor. While steering 
out of the bay, the boat returned on board, when the person who had 
been despatched in her, to execute some little commission for the cap- 
ttiin, told us, with fear and trembling, notwithstanding his being 
cautioned to the contrary, that the report of cannon was heard; 
supposed to be signals of alarm, from San Pietro and the Peninsula 
of Antioch, a place to the northward. 

In this fearful extremity, we naturally supplicated the master to 
return into port, pointing out the imminent peril which attended 

E 3 


going to sea under such circumstances. But he was deaf to every 
enti'eaty, and even assumed a most insolent tone, when reminded of 
his solemn engagement to sail with convoy ; tinally observing, that 
he had originally sailed for Sicily, and to Sicily he would go ! 

Would to Heaven that our just indignation had prompted us to 
adopt a more determined course with regard to this wretch, on so 
emergent an occasion ; or that some resolute mind, like Rousseau's 
Emilius in a like dilemma, had avenged his companions in misfor- 
tune, by liberating the earth from such a traitor, and the sea of such 
a monster. 

After having nearly terminated the voyage, and arrived within a 
few days sail of the much desired port, to have thus been mercilessly 
exposed to so great a calamity was most distressing ; surely our past 
sufferings merited a better fate ! The poor seamen were fiill of anxious 
Inope, at the idea of revisiting their wives and families : nearly all of 
them had brought little ventures, the result of their hard-eanied wages, 
and chief source of consolation on returning homewards ; while the 
day of their arrival was fondly anticipated to be one of rejoicing and 
hilarity. It was impossible to have found better disposed characters 
than these unfortunate victims of rashness and imbecility. 

The passengers too, of whom I have hitherto been silent, were 
all persons of the highest merit. The Chevalier Rossi, possessing a 
most honourable mind, and liberal sentiments, was returning from 
England with all the information which that enlightened country 
aifords to foreign visitors, accompanied by his wife, an amiable and 
accomplished woman, together with two lovely children, the offspring 
of their union. An industrious and honest merchant, Mr. Terreni 
of Leghorn, was taking out merchandize of great value, the result of 
his judicious speculations in Great Britain ; Antonio Terreni, his bro- 
ther, an artist of great merit ; who was going to Sicily for the purpose 
of making a picturesque tour through the island, as he had already 
done, with so much eclat in Tuscany ; a Calabrese, who had served 
for many years in the British navy, and was returning home to enjoy 

l'avara per amore. "29 

the fruits of his exertions while absent; also, a beautiful woman going 
to join her husband, who was on his return from the East Indies. Alter 
a variety of strange vicissitudes, destiny was about to unite them, and 
realize the story of Ulysses and Penelope, who, sustained by the force 
of love, were, on their meeting, still more enchanted by a recapitu- 
lation of their mutual adventures. 

The last personage in this catalogue, though not the least inte- 
resting, was a charming girl, whose singular story requires particular 
attention. Enamoured with a young Sicilian, her affections were re- 
turned l)y a corresponding attachment on his part. As, however, fate 
will generally have it, her fortune was unequal to the extravagant 
pretensions of the young man's father. Her treasin'es were those of 
the mind and person ; and in both these she was by no means defi- 
cient. But it has often been proved, that nothing is more ditficult 
than severing the ties formed by real love. In the present case it 
had the effect of giving our heroine strength and resolution to visit 
England, in search of two old and rich relatives, from whom she 
hoped to obtain the object of her wishes. On presenting herself 
before them, her personal charms, aided by the irresistible eloquence 
of love, produced the desired effect ; and receiving a liberal dowry, 
she hastened back, with the delightful hope of throwing it together 
with her own fond heart at the feet of her lover. 

The dullness and monotony of our voyage was frequently enli- 
vened by the repetition of her stoiy, which she felt a virtuous pleasure 
in relating ; and by way of playful irony she obtained the name of 
L'avara per amore ; the miser for love. In our present advanced 
state, the poor girl anxiously counted every hour, and even minute, 
which separated her from the man of her choice ; and would often 
fancy she beheld him on the shore, with extendetl arms, to receive all 
that was dear to him in this world! He did so, no doubt, with the 
trembling anxiety of Paul, when awaiting the long expected return 
of his beloved Virginia ; but, alas ! he was never to behold her more : 
and, unlike her prototype, who perished in the waves, she was des- 

30 A STORM. 

tined to fall a sacrifice to barbarians ; and like the beantifnl Angelica 
of Ariosto, it might well be exclaimed : 

Oh troppo eccelsa preda 
Per si barbare genti e si villane ! 

We continued our course, thoughtful and pensive: with eveiy eye 
mournfully directed towards the ^\ ater, a dead silence pervatled the 
passengers and crew. It is the nature of deep sorrow to be mute ; 
and this was merely a sad presentiment of what was shortly after to 
follow. Had the tattered state of the vessel, and her heavy sailing- 
been considered, the imprudence of thus going into the very face of 
such enemies was self-evident. 

While in this state of painful suspense, a sudden scpiall from off 
the land, carried away our main-top-mast, which, in its fall, nearly 
overwhelmed the captain. Once, while M. de Calonne was reclining 
on his luxurious feathers, the top of his bed fell in, and would have, 
most probably, suffocated the ex-minister, had not prompt assistane*' 
been given. A gentleman who «iw him in this state, immediately ex- 
claimed, "just heaven !"* Without exactly wishing to see our comman- 
der expiate his obstinacy and folly, by falling under the mast, I could 
not, at the time, help considering its vicinity to his skull, as a spe- 
cies of providential warning for him to return into port, or make 
for Cagliari, which was not very distant. But it had no such effect : 
the atmosphere became every moment more obscure, a roaring noise 
of the waves was heard in the distance, and deep peals of thunder 
began to issue from the clouds which were collecting all round : these, 
together with a strong wind and high sea, ushered in the first night 
after our quitting San Pietro. 

O Navis ! referent in mare te novi 
Fluctus ? O : quid agis ? Fortiter occupa 
Portum. Nonne vides, ut 
Nudum remigio latus. 

* This anecdote loses all its point by translation, and requires to be explained. The 
tester of a bed is called del (heaven) in French, and tielo in Itahan : so that the pun 
alluded to, turned upon the minister's friend exclaiming /rfs^e del!— Ed. 


Et malus celeri saucius Africo 
Antenneeque gemunt ; ac sine funibus 

Vix durare carinte 

Possint imperiosius 

^quor ?* Car. xiv. 

It was in vain to expect any repose, in this state of fearful appre- 
hension; and no sooner had the weariness, occasioned by several 
liours rocking about in my wretched cell, produced a disposition to 
sleep, than the Chevalier Rossi came with a tremulous voice, to inform 
me, that the very same vessels, seen previous to our entering San 
Pietro, were just discovered! Hurrying out of bed, I sprang on deck 
where all was anguish and confusion. Having hastily interrogated the 
pilot and seamen, their answers consisted of broken sentences and 
significant inclinations of the head. The strange sails, six in number, 
were almost at this time imperceptible specks in the horizon; but 
from the ideas naturally associated with their sudden appearance, the 
panic was dreadful, what with reality, and the force of imagination. 
Stimulated by our fears, their size gradually increased, and from the 
disastrous result, might justly be compared to those phenomena of the 
ocean, so much dreaded by mariners, which, from the most inconsider- 
able spot in the atmosphere advance by slow degrees, until bursting 
on their heads, they are instantly buried in the waves. 

Scarcely had the first emotions of alarm been developed, when 
a particular manoeuvre of the strangers, clearly manifested their hos- 
tile intentions : this, on being perceived, was followed by a burst of 

* Unhappy vessel ! Shall the waves again 
Tumultuous bear thee to the faithless main ? 
What w^ould thy madness, thus with storms to sport? 
Cast from your anchor in the friendly port. 
Behold thy naked decks ; the wounded mast 
And sail-yards groan beneath the southern blast, 
Nor without ropes thy keel can longer brave, 
The rushing fury of th' imperious wave. Frantiti. 


liorroi-, fiom all on board ; and in the general alarm, the seaman's 
efforts to make sail, and conduct us into safety, seemed only to increase 
the confusion, being calculated rather to precipitate the fatal event 
than otherwise. Agitation is not activity, and naval or military opera- 
tions, without a design, are more likely to disconcert, than forward 
objects. By a dreadful fatality, the wind, which had until now blown 
w ith great violence, suddenly ceased ; so that we found ourselves, in 
a moment, totally incapable of changing the vessel's position. As to 
the captain, he was dumb with amazement; and, notwithstanding his 
former boasting, remained completely inactive, having lost all power 
of exertion : and in those situations to be idle, or uncollected, is to 
give up every hope of escape. A light breeze having sprung up, 
we suggested the idea of making sail towards the land, and after all, 
we had the alternative of taking to the long boat : the proposition was 
hardly made, when the master pointed towards one of the enemy's 
vessels to leeward, which cut off our retieat in that direction. Igno- 
rant of the degree of credit to which his reasoning Avas entitled, he 
made no efforts, either for defence or escape. 

The enemy, w hen first seen, were at least fifteen miles ofi"; while 
the coast of Sardinia was not more than a third of that distance. 
Even the barbarians after our capture, said that we had a bad Rais ; 
as, if we had made the slightest movement towards reaching the 
shore, they would not have attempted to follow us ; but seeing our 
total inactivity, and a seeming disposition to approach, rather than 
get away, they thought us enchanted, and according to their own 
emphatical expression, dragged along by the dark spirit of our ine- 
vitable ruin. 

All was terror and dismay on board the Sicilian. I know not 
what chilling hand oppresses the Christian heart, on the appearance 
of Barbary corsairs : like the head of Medusa, it seemed to petrify 
every person on board. It was now, that as in all great disasters, 
instead of mutual support and encouragement, a sentiment of hatred 
is instantly generated ; the fire of discord bursts forth amongst the 


companions of misfojtune, and intestine war is kindled on j)uidic 

One of our men, who liad been in slavery at Sallee, and who pre- 
.served the sad remembrance, inspired by a feeling of desperation, 
rushed up to the captain, and would have certainly plunged a stiletto 
in his heart, had not myself and the other passengers promptly 
interfered. Another, still more infuriated, seized a fire-brand, and 
was, by absolute force, prevented from applying it to the powder 
magazine ; some were for destroying themselves on board ; others 
proposed jumping into the sea, and thus defeating the triumph of their 
enemies. This state of sutfering and despair having subsided, it was 
.shortly succeeded by a deep and mournful silence ; after Avhich, the 
sailors were observed to descend, one by one, into the hold, there to 
await the event. As to us passengers, we remained on deck, deeply 
meditating on, and watching our approaching ruin. The master, 
who had never been in the habit of standing at the helm, now took 
possession of it ; and, profiting by the light air that blew, gradually 
turned the vessel's head towards the pirates, .so that we advanced to 
them, in.stead of waiting their arrival. 

Several hours passed in this cruel and trembling perplexity; it 
was like sipping the poisoned draught. On the barbarians getting 
near us, we could easily distinguish their horrid yells ; and innumera- 
ble turbans soon appeared along their decks. It was now that the last 
ray of hope abandoned the least terrified amongst us ; and, as if elec- 
trified by the .same shock, we fled from the horrid spectacle, each 
hiding himself in the best way he could below, there patiently to wait 
the grand catastrophe which threatened us. 

When every exertion, whether of the mind or body, becomes no 
longer availing, the human heart falls into a species of stupor and 
frigid tranquillity, which may truly be called the last stage of suffer- 
ing. It was thus, that a Canadian savage, while sitting in his canoe** 
above the great fall of Niagara, had the rope which fastened her to 
the shore, cut by one of his enemies, and was fast driving towards 



the tremendous cataract. In this extremity, he made every exertion, 
that force, courage, and resohition could suggest, to avoid the threat- 
ened danger; but, perceiving from the rapidity of tlie stream, that 
there was no chance of escape, he tranquilly laid his paddle aside, 
and, stretching himself along the bottom of the canoe, with his head 

covered — was dashed down the foaming abyss ! 

But now the terrible moment has at length arrived, and with it, 
the greatest misfortune which can possibly befall a human being. Tlte 
shout of the barbarians are heard close to us. They appear on deck in 
swarms, with haggard looks, and naked scimetars, prepared for boarding; 
this is preceded by a gun, the sound of which was like the harbinger of 
death to the trembling captives, all of whom expected tobe instantly sunk ; 
it was the signal for a good prize : a second gun announced the capture, 
and immediately after they sprang on board,in greatnumbers. Theirfirst 
movements were confined to a menacing display of their bright sabres 
and attaghans ; with an order for us, to make no resistance, and sur- 
render ; which it was hardly necessary to repeat, we had only to obey ; 
and this ceremony being ended, our new visitors assumed a less austere 
tone, crying ouiintheir Lingua Franca, Nopauro ! Nopauro ! "Don't 
be afraid." After this rum was ca lied for, then the keys of our trunks ; when , 
dividing our party into two divisions, one was ordered into the pirates' 
boat, and conveyed to the admiral's frigate, while the other remained 
behind under the care of several Moors, who had taken charge of the 
vessel. I was amongst the number of those transferred, and in putting 
off from the brig, joined my companions in a speechless adieu of those 
we left behind. 

Cruel fatality ! The boat had scarcely put off, and began to row 
towards the Algerine, when the breeze, which we had for so many 
hours vainly prayed for, and even one hour before might have seen 
us in safety, suddenly sprang up, accompanied with dark clouds, 
which was soon followed by torrents of rain. The Moors, only intent 
on securing their victims, cheerfully howled to the blast, while we 
remained absorbed in gloomy silence. 


Oil gaining the iiigate we had no sooner got upon deck, than 
the barbarians uttered a general ciy of victory, usual when any cap- 
tures are made. A savage joy'seemed to play on their cadaverous 
aspects. A passage being opened for us between the armed Turks and 
Moorish sailors, we were conducted into the presence of the grand 
Rais, supreme commander of the Algerine squadron. He was 
seated between the captains of the five other frigates, Avho had assem- 
bled in close council to deliberate on the measures necessary to be 
taken with us, to combine future operations, and finally to exult in 
their horrible celebrity. We were interrogated in brief and haughty 
terms, but neither insult nor rudeness was offered to any of the party. 
The grand Rais very civilli/ asked vis for our money, watches, rings, 
and every other article of value we had about our persons ; in order, 
as he obligingly observed, to save them from the rapacity of the 
people of the Black Sea, who formed a considerable part of his crew ; 
and whom he candidly said were all ladri. He then deposited 
our respective property in a small box, faithfully assuring us that all 
should be returned on our leaving the vessel. During the distribu- 
tion in the box he repeated, alternately looking at the captives, 
" questo per ti," " this is for you ;" " questo altro per ti :" but per- 
haps in his heart, " and all this for me!" We were then ordered to 
retire ; and, placed upon a mat in the Rais's outer cabin, began to 
reflect on our new .situation. 

When supper was served, it consisted of a black looking paste in 
an immense pan, which being placed on the deck, was immediately 
surrounded by a host of hungry Moors and negroes, indiscriminately 
mixed together, and making common cause for the laudable purpose 
of emptying the platter: which if ever so well inclined to partake of, 
was a lorlorn hope to us afflicted and over ceremonious visitors; who 
at this patriarchal repast, might with propriety be compared to the 
timid spaniel, who vainly attempts to come in for a part of the bone, 
thrown to the famished mastiff. Soon after sun-set, we were ordered 
to descend by a species of trap leading into the hold, which had infi- 



lately more the appearance of a sepulchre than a place destined 
for living beings. There it was necessary to extend our wearied 
limbs over blocks, cables, and other ship's tackling, which made 
ours a bed of thorns indeed! In this suffocating state, the bitterest 
reflections presented themselves to our sleepless imaginations. 

After being, as it were, on the eve of touching the paternal shore, 
what was now to become of us'? Born and educated in a civilized 
country ; long accustomed to share the protection of British liberty 
and law, we were now captives of the vilest slaves, and perhaps 
doomed to drag out the remainder of our wretched days in dreary 
captivity amongst inexorable Moors! The poor sailors, too, all fathers 
of families, who looked to them alone for support and consolation, 
seemed totally incapable of bearing up against the misery of their 
situation. It is true, the passengers were enabled, in this trying 
dilemma, to rather more philosophy and strength of mind; 
but who could calmly reflect on a situation so new and afllicting i It 
was impossible to close an eye — 

Tir'd nature's sweet restorer, balmy sleep ! 
He, like the world, his ready visit pays 
Where fortune smiles ; the wretched he forsakes ; 
Swift on his downy pinion flies from woe. 
And lights on beds unsully'd with a tear. 

What dreadful phantoms hovered o'er our heads in this gloomy 
receptacle! What hours, good Heaven! are those which follow the 
tirst moments of slavery ! — 

Que la iiuit parait longue à la douleur qui velile ! — 

Scarcely had the day dawned, when, creeping out of our living- 
sepulchre, we stalked backwards and forwards on the Algerine's deck, 
ignorant of our future destiny, but endeavouring to form some con- 
jectures from the voice and manner of the barbarians. Nothing posi- 
tive could, however, be discovered in this »vay ; and we still remained 
in the worst of all situations, that of doubt and uncertainty. 

A STORM. 37 

It has been well observed, that the first shock of misfortune is 
not that which we feel the most severely; it is the one which follows: 
as wounds are less painful during the heat of battle, while the blood 
flows, and the mind is more intensely occupied by the surrounding 
scene. The immediate eflects of any great disaster, are those of 
creating stupor and insensibility ; and it is not until "reflection suc- 
ceeds, that its real magnitude is seen. We are ready, in the first 
onset of danger, to oppose our utmost strength and resolution to the 
storm ; but when there is no longer any hope of successful resistance, 
the best impulses of the soul seem to lose their influence. 

During our promenade on deck, the Moors gathered round us in 
great numbers, and with eager curiosity surveyed our appearance. 
As to ourselves, we had then only cause to be surprised at the un- 
looked-for situation in which destiny had placed us. A doge of Venice, 
who, together with four of his senators, was obliged to go to Ver- 
sailles, and beg pardon of Louis the Fourteenth, for some political 
offence, being asked what astonished him most at that splendid resi- 
dence, ingenuously answered, " that of finding myself here!" 

Towards noon of the second day, a storm arose, during which 
we experienced a dreadful succession of thunder and lightning, toge- 
ther with all the usual accompaniments of a tempest at sea : this, un- 
der other circumstances, would have had mucli greater terrors for us ; 
but as the poet of nature observes : 

Where the greater malady is fix"d, 
The lesser is scarce felt ; 

and we even derived a secret pleasure in witnessing the paralizing 
effects of the gale on our ignorant masters; who, totally unacquainted 
with tactics, or the science of navigation, were running wildly about 
the ship, imploring Alia for protection ; till at last, unable to manage 
her any longer, they not only solicited the advice of our seamen, but, 
finally, gave up the entire direction to them. On seeing this, I cannot 
describe an irresistible feeling ot joy, whicii seemed to take possession of 
my mind, arising from a sudden thought which occurred to me, that by 


a well combined, and spirited effort of our seamen and passengers, 
there was a possibility of conducting the ship sutiiciently near the 
Sardinian coast, to see one of its ports; and, in the event of the storm's 
continuing, carry her directly in, and thus be once more restored to 
our friends and libeiiy. 

Animated by this illusory prospect of emancipation, and prompted 
to undertake any thing, rather than patiently endure the apprehen- 
sions of future sufferings ; I went on deck several times, and endea- 
voured, by every argument in my power, to induce a compliance with 
the proposal : stating, in the liveliest colours I could, the advantages 
which must accrue from the success of such a scheme, and heartfelt 
gratification of turning our misfortunes into a source of gallantry and 
enterprize. To all these a variety of objections, suggested by fear or 
indecision, were made : amongst others, it was asked, how we were 
to find our way in so dark and tempestuous a night? I readily 
acknowledged the danger to be considerable, but, on the other hand, 
wished to know, what perils could be equal to those of passing 
the rest of our lives in the chains of slavery ? And this interroga- 
tory, if put to more resolute characters, might have produced a very 
different effect. As it was, I drew a melancholy consolation from the 
thought of having attempted, at least, to inspire my fellow captives 
with that courage, which could alone afford any chance of our libe- 
ration. There being no farther hopes of persuading the seamen, I 
returned sorrowfully to my cell; and, as it generally happens, the 
propitious moment once lost, seldom returns, I had not remained long 
below, when the weather began to moderate :* this was followed by a 

* This cheering moment of the seaman's life is finely illustrated by Mr. Moore, in 
that exquisite poem Lalla Rookh : — 

Hov7 calm, how beautiful comes on 

The stilly hour when storms are gone : 

When warring winds have died away, 

And clouds, beneath the glancing ray, 

Melt off, and leave the land and sea 

Sleeping in bright tranquillity. Ed. 


serene sky, which seemed to produce an electric effect on the barba- 
rians, who, from a state of the utmost i^ar and pusillanimity, soon 
changed their tone, and assumed their usual savage joy and native 
ferocity. With respect to my own feelings, although the sea was 
calm, the tempest of the mind still continued unabated. 

Another source of horrid pleasure was soon afforded to the crew, 
by a strange sail's being announced. While scarcely to be distinguished 
with the aid of a spy-glass, chace was immediately given, and prepa- 
rations made for battle. As if positive that an engagement would 
take place, the Mahometans were animated to the approaching 
combat, by a promise to those who might fall, of all the ineffable 
delights which the houris of Paradise could bestow. It afterwards 
turned out, that all this bombast was occasioned by a small Greek 
ship : reminding me of him who borrowed the club of Hercules to 
kill a frog ! Having soon reached the Greek, she was not found to be 
so easy a conquest as the Algerines expected ; and though with very 
few guns on board, she made a brave and determined resistance. 
Finding, however, that there were no means of escape, and in order to 
diminish their value as a prize, previous to striking her colours, they 
threw the most valuable part of their cargo overboard. So that when 
the pirates boarded, with all the avidity of robbers who anticipate a 
large treasure, they found themselves somewhat in the situation of 
Gil Bias, when, on emptying the contents of the friar's bag, per- 
ceived it contained only some old metals, and a few agnus Dei ! The 
poorGreeks, however, paid dearly for their bravery, and were both abused 
and bastinadoed directly they ascended the sides of the Algerine. 

While occupied in the reflections suggested by my new situation, 
and the ill-fortune which threw the Greeks into such barbarous 
hands, I could not help thinking, in opposition to some moralists 
who so warmly advocate the doctrine of a blind fatalism, that there 
is a particular providence displayed in the history of all men's lives. 
Be this as it may, we next encountered a Tunisian corvette ; and as 
a fierce war raged between the two states at this time, the meeting 

P 4 


was followed by an obstinate eut^agement. Being on deck in the 
early part of it, we recollected that bullets pay no respect to persons : 
as these soon came in somewhat too close contact with our ears, we 
were far from being « notreaise; and however gratifying- it may be to 
fight for one's religion, country, and king, we could see no pleasure 
in dying for the Turks. This gave rise to our taking an early oppor- 
tunity of quitting the tield ; and like what is related of a Genoese 
passenger, were satisfied with putting our heads above the hatches 
when the battle subsided, and asking whether Me had taken them, 
or they us J Several broadsides having been exchanged, the Tunisian 
was at length forced to surrender. It was then we had occasion to 
witness the barbarous vengeance of an ungenerous enemy, in the 
conduct of the Algerines towards their prisoners, who were all 
put into irons, while their brave commander's head, struck of}' and 
placed on a pike, was carried round the siiip in triumph ; it was 
afterwards put up in a conspicuous point to be looked at, forming 
a frightful spectacle to myself and companions. Nothing could 
exceed the ferocious and turbulent exultation created by this great 
victory. The Rais, big witli importance, fancied he had achieved 
wonders ; and a long time was taken up in receiving the felicita- 
tions of his officers and crew : we also thought it prudent to follow 
their example ; although, to say the truth, we felt a sentiment of 
pity for the Tunisians, seeing into what cruel hands they had 
fallen. Without forgetting the divine precept of rejoicing with the 
happy, and weeping with the unfortunate,* it was as well to secure a 
little mildness on the part of our oppressors, by assuming an air of 
satisfaction which it was impossible in reality to feel. The great have 
been compared to windmills, which require a breeze before they 
can be useful. 

* After the battle of St. Quentin between Charles the Fifth, and Francis the First, the 
Venetian senate sent its congratulations to the victors, and condolence to the defeated 
party. When the ambassadors of the latter power remonstrated on the impropriety of this 
conduct, the Doge replied, that he only acted in obedience to the sacred injunction. 
Gaudete cum gaudentibus, fletè cum flentibus ! 


Having, soon after the storm began, seen the brig containing the 
rest of our companions in misfortune, sadly tossed about by the mer- 
ciless waves, she was in a short time lost sight of; and it was now 
four days since we last saw her, when she fortunately hove in sight ; 
removing a state of the most painful anxiety for the safety of our 
friends. When sufficiently close to the frigate they were all transferred 
to her; so that we had the pleasure of being again united: a circum- 
stance which afforded the greatest satisfaction to all the party. There 
is a singular pleasure attached to association, whether amidst the ill- 
fated children of adversity, or in the noisy tumult of battle; for the human 
mind, when abandoned to itself and solitude, is generally desolate. 

Our captain too, against whom there were so many just causes 
of complaint, excited our commiseration, and all was forgotten. We 
no longer beheld in him the author, but companion of our misfor- 
tunes. Indeed the ci-devant king cut a wretched figure, thus fallen 
from his ' high estate ;' and appeared sincerely afflicted with what 
had happened to us. Perhaps he might have erred from imprudence 
and temerity, rather than any wish of wilfully exposing us to so 
great a risk. Be that as it may, the confession of our faults ought 
to go a great way in expiating them ; and no virtue is more accept- 
able to heaven than repentance. It is finely said in a book of 
Hindoo morality, that the good man should not only pardon, but 
even wish well to his enemy ; like the sandal tree, which, in its fall, 
covers the axe with perfume, by which it has been felled. Learn, 
says the poet Hafiz, from the shells of the sea, to fill the hand up- 
lifted against thee, with pearls. Do you see that tree assaulted by a 
cloud of stones ? What does it shower on those who throw them ? 
Delicious fruits and odoriferous flowers ! 

" Ah !" exclaimed the poor Boschi, Avhose life was written by 
the witty and satirical Landi;* "Ah! this ///è will surely be my 

* The Abate Landi, a native of Talla, and vicar of San Giovanni, near Arezzo, was 
a man of incomparable wit, possessing extraordinary talents in the more facetious walks 


death !" An expression which ficquently occurred to myself while pent 
up in the filthy Algerine ship, where every object combined to make 
us weary of life. In the first place, ovir crew Avere composed of almost 
every race sent forth by the Afi'ican continent, with the addition of 
several of the Levantine banditti, who are yearly imported from 
Smyrna, and otlier parts of Turkey, for the service of the regencies ; 
and there was as great a diversity of colour, as nations ; from the 
flat-nosed natives of Tornbuctoo, to the white and ferocious descend- 
ants of the Almohades. By way of rendering the scene still more 
obnoxious, this motley crew were all either affected with some corrod- 
ing humour, or swarming with vermin. Constantly expecting that 
a plague, the natural companion of so much filth, would break out, 
and doomed to see these stupid fatalists with lighted lamps, and pipes 
in every part of the vessel ; our anxiety between such a consoling choice 
of evils, is not to be easily described ; and made me often wish for 
the tub of Diogenes. As to the gloomy hole in which we went 
through the painful ceremony of attempting to sleep, it could only be 
described in the language, and compared to the Inferno of our im- 
mortal poet : 

of poetic composition. Towards the end of his days, however, owing perhaps to their 
satirical turn, he consigned several valuable productions to the flames ; but I believe there 
are still many remaining at Arezzo, and amongst others some cantos of the Boscheide, a 
strong satire, professing to give the life of Boschi, another ecclesiastic in the neighbourhood. 
The latter was so deeply affected by its severity, that he conjured the bishop of his diocese 
to prevail on Landi to withdraw the poem ; concluding his application by emphatically 
saying, that " Landi's life would be his death." On applying to the satirist for this pur- 
pose, his answer to the prelate was, Nolo mortem peccaioris ; convertaiur et vivat. A 
butcher of Arezzo, who had amassed a large fortune, having built a fine palace near the 
town, was desirous of an inscription from Landi for his new villa, and received the follow- 
ing, Ossibus et nervis compegisti me; and which, not happening to be very profoundly 
versed in the Latin, he caused to be duly engraved on a large slab of marble, and fixed 
over the hall door ! Upon another occasion, when a question arose as to the propriety of a 
small corporation continuing its annual offering of a pig to a grandee of the country, Landi, 
whose opinion was asked, coolly replied, " You may do whatever you please, gentlemen ; 
hut the hog will always Uloug lo him .'' 


Oscura, p rofond'era, e nebulosa 

Tanto, che per ficcar lo viso al fondo 

r non vi discernea veruna cosa. Inf. C. iv.* 

Packed together like herrings, ours was truly the bed of Pro- 
crustes. Stretched along the decks in the manner of the Turks, 
obliged to eat our wretched meal with the lowest part of the crew, 
and only supplied with wooden spoons, such as used by the Capu- 
chins of Italy, we were invariably under the necessity of waiting 
till the beautiful mouths of our black and tawny companions were 
filled. The beverage consisted of putrid water, which was handed 
round to the company in a large earthen pitcher. Cuscousou was the 
unvarying dish; and if we occasionally felt inclined to season it with 
any thing, it was necessary to have recourse to a miserable steward, 
named Solyman, who exacted an exorbitant price for the most trifling- 
indulgence ; and as the Rais had generously taken all our money 
into his deposit, something like confiding pork to the care of a cat ; 
it was vain to expect any supply from our obdurate keeper. A 
young ofiicer having applied to his prince for an increase of pay, 
representing his present means as altogether inadequate to his wants, 
the latter, attentively surveying his person, obsei-ved, tliat it was not 
usual for people to look so fat and healthy upon short allowance. 
" Please your highness," said the ofiicer, " this round face is not 
mine, but belongs to my hostess, a good soul, who has hitherto been 
kind enough to give me credit!" Far otherwise with the stingy 
Solyman, over whose door we might well have inscribed. Pay to-day, 
and trust to-morrow ! Our starving situation had some affinity to a 
poor and secluded sisterhood of Arezzo, to whom the vivacious Landi, 
already mentioned, presented a cage in which a beautiful canary bird 
was enclosed, together with a graceful copy of verses, in which the 

* Now thro' the void and viewless shadows drear, 
Short sighs, thick coming, led the lisfning ear. 
Trembling iu murmurs low along the gale. Boyd. 


poet makes the nuns address the bird on the striking analogy of their 
respective conditions. " Thou, sweet bird, art shut up in your cage; 
and so are we in our convent. You salute the morning with your 
mellifluous notes, and our song is heard at every dawn. You fre- 
quently chirp at the wires of your little cage, while we often buzz 
and hum at our grate. But more happy than us, you are always well 
supplied with a crust and millet ; whereas we are seldom at table, 
and rather live by our sighs." The address concludes thus: 

Quanto, o vago augelin, la nostra vita 
Delia tua si può dir puì sventurata ; 
A te non s'impedisce che 1' uscita, 
E noi Siam senza uscita e senza entrata ! 

The affairs of this world are infinitely varied, presenting an 
endless diversity in their appearance and character: and it is so ordered 
by a beneficent Providence, that there is scarcely any situation, how- 
ever unfortunate, which does not admit of some alleviation. This 
ordinance of the Divinity w as not thrown away upon us ; and in the 
midst of our troubles, we had sufficient strength of mind to reflect, 
that when inquietude and agitation are only calculated to render the 
intricate web of fate more difficult to be unravelled, prudence sug- 
gests the necessity of patiently yielding to its inscrutable decrees. If 
not happy or resigned, there is at least a possibility of being tranquil 
in the worst situations. The truth of this assertion has been proved 
in a variety of instances. A prisoner of distinction, who had been 
for some time shut up in the Bastille, confessed the days he p assed 
there, were far from being the most unhappy of his life. The great 
Menzicoff" knew how to find consolation, when exiled in the wilds 
of Siberia; and Cervantes began his inimitable romance in the 
prisons of Agamanzillas. 

Having regained a little of that dignity, of which the first shock 
of adversity deprived us, we began to feel that degree of pride, and 
even haughtiness, whicli self-love generally makes the offspring of 


misfortune in well regulated minds.* This sentiment led to a more 
dispassionate examination of our real condition, in which the good 
and evil parts of it were duly appreciated. It is true, our diet was 
not of the finest quality ; but hunger, the best of all sauces, made us 
eat ; and though our bed was not of down, yet habit enabled us to 
sleep. It must be confessed, that the never changing dish of Cuscou- 
sou was rather irksome. But though in the hands of pirates, we 
were out of irons; so that upon the whole, our case was not quite so 
hopeless as we at first imagined. The two lovely children of Madame 
Rossi, both emblems of innocence, were the natural care of Heaven, 
and its protection was bounteously extended to us on their account. 
It was only necessary to send Luigina round amongst the Turks, 
and she was sure to return with her little apron full of dried figs and 
other fruits. She was to us poor penitents, what the dove had been 
to the holy anchorites of Upper Egypt. Such is the effect of inno- 
cence, even upon barbarians ! f 

On a more intimate acquaintance, we discovered some very ho- 
nourable exceptions to the general character of the Algerines ; and 
amongst others, I shall always recollect with pleasure, Achmet the 
son of an Arab prince, who really possessed several very excellent 
qualities. This young man acted as secretary to the Rais, and having 
visited most of the European ports, spoke French and Italian fluently. 
It is also but just to mention, the aga of the Turkish militia; and it 
would be deviating from the strict impartiality of my views, were I 
not to declare that there was no personal insult offered to our party, 
while on board the frigate : and above all, it was most gratifying to 
observe, that the females were treated with the utmost deference. To 

* It was said of a lady that she had too much pride : she replied, " I am haughty, 
but not proud." " What difference do you make then, between haughtiness and pride?" 
" Why, that pride is offensive, and haughtiness merely defensive."' 

t Madame de Genlis observes, that if you ask the greatest criminals, whether they 
were ever fond of children, they will reply in the negative. 


be sure, tliey were sometimes obliged to reply to the flattering- com- 
pliments and gallant questions of the Turks. During their conversation 
the Muselmen often reminded me of Capuchin noviciates. The Rais 
too began to invite us occasionally into his cabin, where an Arab tale 
was recited, and what was still better, a cup of good Yemen coffee 
handed round, followed by a small glass of rum, that is to say, of our 
own, which had been taken out of the brig. Those are not the 
worst species of robbers, who take with one hand, and return a little 
of the stolen property with the other. 

But who could have supposed, that on board an Algerine corsair, 
amidst uncultivated Africans, we had our conversazioni, academies, 
and routs, and almost a musical opera Ì We regularly assembled to 
hear their harsh ditties, and witness the awkward dances of the Moors 
and negroes ; and when asked to sing in our turn, were determined 
not to be outdone in politeness. Cantabit vacuus coram latrane via- 
tor. We, in fact, thought ourselves so many Orpheus's on board the 
ships of the Argonauts ; while the black listeners appeared softened 
by the tender melody of our Italian music : like the assassin, by the 
dulcet sounds of Stradella ;* or Thalaba, at the aerial tones of Cara- 
doc's harp. AVe saw, that even amidst barbarians, the best way of 
gaining the affections and esteem of society, is to mingle in its rational 
amusements. Like the rest of the world, they estimated our merits in 
proportion as we could enjoy ourselves ; and, to be thought clever, it 
V was only necessary to be affable. 

It has been observed, that nature produces the blossom before she 

* The celebrated Stradella, one of the finest musicians of his day, having eloped with 
a beautiful woman whom he afterwards married, excited the resentment of her parents to 
such a degree, that they hired two assassins for the purpose of dispatching him : these, 
determined to execute their design, placed themselves at a church door in which the musi- 
cian was presiding at an oratorio, and were so affected by his exquisite strains, that when 
the moment of putting their murderous plan into effect arrived, they fell at his feet, and 
with tears confessed the horrible scheme in which his relations had engaged them. 


gives the fruit. A young man once presented a memorial to a minis- 
ter, soliciting a trifling situation in the customs ; the an.swer consisted 
of those common-place assurances of oflice which generally end in 
smoke : previous, however, to his going away, the supplicant took the 
liberty of telling the great man, that he had also rendered his petition 
into verse ; the minister, who had dined « la rose, and taken his wine, 
replied smilingly, that he was curious to see how a petition for a 
place in the custom-house could be expressed in poetry. The verses 
were then recited, upon which the minister, who was a connoisseur, 
and had liimself written a few sonnets to the eye-brows, could not. 
help acknowledging, that they possessed ease and facility. " Seeing 
that your excellency has so much condescension," rejoined the young 
aspirant, " permit me to infonn you, that I have also set the verses to 
music." " Indeed !" said the minister : " that must really be a new 
coinage." Having gratified his excellency in this particular, he next 
proceeded to inform him, that he had composed a htiUcl, which he 
followed up by a pas seni. This was the ne jilus ultra of perfec- 
tion, and led to the petitioner's immediate appointment, not to a 
place in tlie customs, but to be one of tlie minister's secretaries ; 
where he soon became a dog in oflice : proving, that talents of the 
heel are sometimes preferred to those of the head, in the choice of 
public characters.* 

Notwithstanding the consoling result of our more philosophical 
reflections, our uncertainty with regard to the future, could not fail 
to be an occasional source of uneasiness. Without putting us in irons, 
or making us work, we could not forget that they were in full pos- 

* I have never heard of any very particular instance of a talent for dancing having 
been instrumental in raising any one from obscurity into official importance. Not so with 
singing, which is said to have placed many a man in the sun-shine of court favor, some- 
times elevating them from the humble office of scribe to the dignity of a foreign embassy. 
I have also heard that the corps diplomatique in a certain court of Italy, I will not say of 
what country, is chiefly occupied in strumming on the guitar, taking lessons in singing, and 
learning to perform the dignified offices of cicisòeoism .'—Ed. 


session of our persons, unlimitedly exercising la loi da plus fort on 
all our effects. In this state of doubtful ambiguity, our situation 
was not unlike the countr^^nan of the fable, whose ass was magically 
taken away, leaving him on the saddle to reflect on his new posi- 
tion. In adversity, however, it is infinitely better to draw a favour- 
able inference from the future, than harass the mind with phantoms 
of imaginary evils. The art of ingeniously tormenting ourselves by 
the anticipation of ills which may never arrive, is not amongst the 
least of human weaknesses. Nothing can be more true than that the 
greatest sorrows lose much of tlieir intensity by contact ; and that while 
the mind is occupied in conjuring up ideal misery, it feels all the 
severity of real misfortune which may never occur. By a parity of 
reasoning, people with this melancholy turn, are at once guilty of 
ingratitude to heaven for its protecting vigilance, and of injustice 
towards themselves, in not drdy estimating their real share of hap- 

Upon the whole, after some days our prospects assumed rather a 
brighter aspect, and we began to consider our case as one of those 
episodes, to which, in some shape or another, most travellers are 
occasionally subject ; and that, however unpleasant for the time, the 
jecapitulation of our present adventures would be a source of amuse- 
ment in a future day. " Knight errants," says Sancha Panza, " are 
always prepared either to become emperors, or receive a good drub- 
bing !" We, too, began to imbibe a little of that stoical philoso- 
phy, which supported the knight of La Mancha ; fondly anticipat- 
ing that on our arrival at Algiers, we should quietly be suffered to 
range about in perfect libert\'. Even the novelty of seeing a country, 
so new and strange to us, was not unaccompanied with a feeling of 
pleasure. As but too generally happens, . when castle building com- 
mences, the airy architect seldom knows when to stop : so it was with 
lis. The merchant Terreni's imagination had already presented a hun- 
dred profitable speculations. He was determined to buy a large assort- 


ment of carpets, and other valuable commodities ; the painter pro- 
posed to delineate the interior of the Dey's palace ; while our ladies 
fancied themselves embellished with the finest shawls of Barbary, and 
perfumed by its otto of roses. How delightful this tendency in our 
nature to soften the rigours of adversity, by illusory dreams of future 
felicity! " To whom has it not occurred," says Madame de Stael, 
" that while oppressed with the deepest afflictions, a sweet impulse 
arises in the soul, whispering a speedy termination to its woes : like 
the celestial sounds which charmed the pious wanderers of the The- 
baid, announcing that the salutary stream was about to issue from the 
rock?" The eloquent Chateaubriand observes, that " hope banished 
from the habitations of the rich, has taken up its abode in the midst 
of the unhappy : watching over man, like a tender mother at the bed 
of her sickly offspring ; she rocks him in her arms, nourishing him 
with a balm for all his sorrows ; her vigils are kept over his solitary 
pillow, while her magic song lulls him to repose !" " You," said a 
lady to the friend of her early life, " were, in those fortunate days of joy 
and happiness, beautiful as hope !" It is hope that gives wings to 
love, and plucks the thorn from despair. It is, in fact, pleasure in 
flower and in leaf ! 

The Rais into whose hands we had the honour of falling, was 
named Hamida, and though possessing a swarthy complexion, and 
rather fierce physiognomy, his manners were by no means repulsive. 
Notwithstanding the almost invariable rule at Algiers, of conferring 
all important commands on the Janizaries, this man had advanced 
to the rank of grand admiral, although a Moor, and even one of 
the ignoble race of the Cubail. His chief claims to power, were de- 
rived from merit and reputation, titles which preserved him in office, 
in defiance of a large Turkish cabal, which tried every means to sup- 
plant him. Hamida was really endowed with talents and courage; 
he was above all, extremely fertile in expedients, being indebted to 
his most brilliant successes for his ability in this way. Having when 
young, served with the Portuguese, he was now considered as the 



best naval officer in the Regency. While only in the command of a 
small shabeque, he evinced many proofs of ability, and made several 
valuable prizes ; extending his cruizes as far as Madeira, and the 
banks of Newfoundland, where he was also very successful against 
the Americans. But the grand enterprize, which acquired him so 
much popularity, placing his name on a level with those of Sinan 
and Dragut, was his capture of a large Portuguese frigate, the very 
ship in which, as grand admiral, he was destined to make slaves of 
myself and companions. For this singular instance of good fortune, 
he was, however, indebted to a ruse de guerre, aided by the inadver- 
tency of the Portuguese captain, who having communicated with an 
English frigate, and lost sight of her, shortly after saw another, 
which from the weather's being rather foggy, he took to be the same 
ship, and consequently made no preparations for action. It happened, 
however, to be the corsair of Rais Hamida, who displaying an 
English ensign, approached the unsuspecting Portuguese ; and was 
not discovered until he came within hail, upon which he immediately 
laid the enemy on board, and by a coup de main took possession of 
his prize, before the officers and crew had time even to arm for their 

Once, while in the neighbourhood of Pantellaria, he made so 
many friendly signals, as to induce the commandant to believe, 
that his was a British ship of war. With this idea he went off to 
Hamida's ship, and was not only retained, but loaded with chains. 
The predominant defect of Hamida's character, like that of most other 
people, was his fancying himself a man of great virtue. Distin- 
guished merit becomes lessened by self-examination, while mediocrity 
is viewed by its possessor in an inverse ratio. Eyes were not given 
for the purpose of looking into ourselves. The Rais was also fond 
of depreciating the merits of others, by attributing every success to 
his own bravery and talents ; like his prototypes in the more civilized 
world. This arrogant feeling had the effect of making Hamida under- 
take more than he could, by his single exertions, ever hope to per- 


perform. He might indeed be with propriety compared to an officer, 
who boasted of being his own colonel, his own lieutenant, and liis 
own sergeant, " Yes," said another, " and your own trumpeter also!" 
Nor was Hamida by any means strict in repressing the excesses or 
love of plunder, so natural to his crew, upon both of which he fre- 
quently shut his eyes. This conduct he justified, by saying these were 
trifles below the attention of a good general. Besides, he was not am- 
bitious of sharing the fate of two of his predecessors, who from wish- 
ing to restrain the Janizaries on similar occasions, lost their lives. 
He scarcely ever walked about the ship, but seated cross-legged on 
a conspicuous part of the deck, he generally passed three or four 
hours of the day, occupying himself between the intervals of giving 
orders, in smoking, and smoothing down his mustachios. In action 
too, though he displayed both valour and intelligence, his violence 
and impatience was a source of constant annoyance to his inferiors. 
Cardinal Dubois, who was equally notorious for sudden bursts of pas- 
sion, generally vented on his poor secretaries; once in a great press 
of business, swore that he must add at least thirty more to conclude 
it " Take only one, to abuse us for you," tranquilly replied an em- 
ploye, " and all will go on with order and celerity !" 

Driven about by adverse winds, we at one time came in sight of 
the fatal spot in which, previous to taking shelter in San Pietro, we 
saw the squadron. The barbarians seemed, at this period, to be at once 
the rulers and terror of the ocean : not a vessel could leave tlieir 
port, and the smallest coasting boats, could alone avoid them ; by 
creeping along the shore during the night. The southerly winds con- 
tinuing, I at last beheld the Italian peninsula, and even Tuscanv, 
the place of my birth, but under what circumstances ! And in what 
a situation ! It was thought we had discovered an American, with 
which nation the Algerines were then at war, but proving to be French 
the chase was abandoned ; upon another occasion, we came in contact 
with a vessel having an English pass from the consul at Cagliari, but 

II 2 


whose crew was composed of Genoese and Tuscans. When sufficiently 
near, they were ordered to send tlieir boat and papers on board ; and 
on this occasion, I had the honor of being selected as the Rais's inter- 
preter. This aiforded me the gratifying opportunity of being service- 
able to my compatriots, who were made excessively ill at ease by the 
rencontre ; and in the midst of my own troubles, it was no trifling 
consolation to reflect, that by giving the most favourable explanation 
of their papers to the Rais, I might be instmmental in hastening 
their liberation. I was not deceived in this hope, and we had soon 
after the pleasure of seeing our trembling countrymen finally released. 
It was not, however, without some little uneasiness that I reflected 
on the impression which my temporary elevation, and apparent fami- 
liarity with the Algerine commander, might have made on the visitors; 
who, in the event of returning to Tuscany, would perhaps represent 
matters in a light not the most flattering to my feelings. It would have 
produced a fine effect amongst my Florentine acquaintance, some of 
whom are far from inimical to a little scandal, to hear that the hum- 
ble Fillipo Pananti was a great man in Algiers ; ofHciating as the 
fuc totum and jiroto-quamquam of the lord high admiral. Such a 
representation, the gobes tnoiiches of Florence might have readily 
magnified into a change of religion and a pilgrimage to Mecca, toge- 
ther with the various other blessings attendant on apostacy. 

E come dir di me questo si debbc, 
E creder ch'io sia Turco e che assassini, 
Io che faccio una vita che potrebbe 
Farla il padre guardian dei Cappuccini ? 

Those who were disposed to think of me in this way would have 
done me but little justice : in the hands of the Moors, as poor Gil Bias 
wasin those of Orlando and his companions, it was much more difficult 
to escape from the frigate than from the cavern. Instead of having only 
to elude the vigilance of Domingo, there were a hundred athletic Turks 
with bludgeons, which would at any time have beeu as unmercifully 


applied to my shoulders, as that of the old negro's was to those of Le 
Sage's hero on his first attempt to leave the sou f errai n.^^ 

Rais Hamida having began to indulge an idea, that a successful 
descent might be made on the coast of Naples, a council of war was 
forthwith assembled, in order to discuss this weighty matter. Councils 
of war are generally fatal to the execution of great enterprizes, as 
fear gladly shields itself under the mask of prudence. The accuracy 
of this remark was fully exemplified on the present occasion ; when, 
instead of landing on the coast of Naples, the junta prudently deter- 
mined to pass the approaching feast of Bayram in Algiers. Gratify- 
ing as it was, to see the piratical scourge removed from the coasts ot 
Italy, yet we left them with feelings of regret ; a sentiment easily 
conceived by those who consider the peculiarity of our situation. It 
is related of a Frenchman driven from Paris, in the heat of the revo- 
lution, that he was so attached to his native country, that, rather 
than lose sight of it altogether, he embarked his family on the Rhine, 
where he continued with his eyes constantly fixed on the frontiers, 
until better times enabled him to return. 

Previous to our sailing in the immediate direction of Algiers, we 
made a winding course towards Marseilles. And this was even fol- 
lowed by a determination to take a turn on the coast of Tunis. Thus, 
after having witnessed their efforts against Christianity, we were des- 
tined to see them repeated on their own fraternity. If any persons 
were ill-natured enough to insinuate, that we had, by thought or 
deed, participated in the triumph of the infidels, our co-operation in 
their attempts upon the Tunisian coast, would, no doubt, be regarded 
in a much more favourable point of view. As in the case of an igno- 
rant student of Italy, who was considered by his more learned judges, 

* I am inclined to believe, that these remarks of the author were excited by some 
others, which were made by certain chiaccheroni of Florence, that might have occasionally 
amused themselves at the expence of poor Pananti, who would most willingly joke upon 
any subject except that of his excursion to Algiers. — Ed. 


unworthy of a medical diploma, but obtained it nevertheless, in con- 
sequence of stating, that he was going- to practice in Turkey ! 

From the coast of France till we arrived on that of Sfax and Susa, 
we encountered no adventure worthy of notice ; and the sea was so 
destitute of ships, tliat Rais Hamida might exclaim with the Corsair 
of Lord Byron, that the solitude of waters was not enlivened, even 
by the sight of an enemy. 

It may be proper in this place to give some account of the war, 
which the Algerines and Tunisians waged against each other, at the 
above period, luiequalled in virulence as it was frivolous in its motives ; 
but however calculated to gratify party spirit, or vindictive zeal, the 
true followers of Ismalism well knew that 

Corsaires attaquant corsaires, 
Ne font point leurs affaires: 

SO that its chief popularity rested with the principal actors. Hostili- 
ties had frequently broken out during the last thirty years, between the 
two regencies, and most probably, resulted in reality from that jealousy 
so natural to neighbouring states of nearly equal power. Strengthened 
Jiy the claims for tribute money insisted on by the government of 
Algiers, for the very active part it had formerly taken in placing the 
family of Hamouda Basha in that of Tunis, a valuable annual pre- 
sent was made for many years after Hamouda's accession ; but as the 
power and solidity of his government increased, he began to relax in 
sending it with his former punctuality, at a time too, when custom 
had induced the Dey of Algiers to consider it as his due. The pride 
and anogance of those Algerines who frecpiented the Tunisian terri- 
tory, had also become very intolerable ; and the ukild, or ambassador 
of Algiers resident at Tunis, wished to exercise an authority equal 
to that of the Bey. Tired of such repeated indignities, the enraged 
Hamouda swore by his beard, and the koran, thathcAVOuld no longer 
bear such degradations : he therefore flatly refused to make any 
future present, and even went so far as formally to declare war against 


bis oppressors. This step did not altogether please the pusillanimous 
individuals of his divan, but was loudly applauded by the populace. 
Making at least a show of magnanimity, Hamouda asserted that the 
most disastrous war was preferable to a dishonourable state of peace; 
and for the successful termination of the present undertaking, he re- 
lied on the justice of his cause, and its well known popularity amongst 
the people.* 

The Algerine government had a decided superiority over its rival 
in numbers and treasure ; while that of Tunis had more stability. 
Though Algiers could send more men into the field, the Tunisian 
army possessed a greater moral force. The Algerine army was chiefly 
composed of irregular troops, without pay or proper subsistence. Com- 
pletely undisciplined, they separated and fled at the first disasters, 
frequently putting their generals to death. The Tunisians were, on 
the contrary, tolerably well paid, and consequently better affected 
towards the Bey ; they had also a more improved artillery, which 
was directed by several Christian slaves. Tunis derived another very 
material advantage over the enemy, in the popular form of its govern- 
ment, which, composed indiscriminately of Moors, Turks, and Arabs, 
is infinitely more national than that of Algiers, arising from Tripoly 
and Algiers being still exclusively in the hands of Turkish adventurers, 
while the Tunisian government has tranquilly passed into those of a 
Moorish family which has also become hereditary'. On the other hand, 
the Algerines had a manifest advantage in their secret intercourse 
and political influence with the Turkish soldiery of Tunis; who, 
knowing that it formerly belonged to themselves, were naturally 
anxious to regain their ascendancy, and thus be on an equality with 
their Algerine brethren.! 

The Tunisian forces consisted of four thousand Turkish soldiers, 

* Hamouda seems to have argued as if he knew .something of European politics. — Ed. 
t The subject is somewhat illustrated in the Letters from the Mediterranean, Vol. II. 
Chap. IV. and V .—Ed. 


each of whom received about two-pence per diem : all their sons by 
Moorish women, who amounted to several hundreds, and are obliged 
to serve, besides the whole of the native warriors called the Zouavi. 
Whenever war is declared, the Bey calls in all the youth ol' his king- 
dom capable of bearing aims, the Bedouin chiefs never fail to 
attend the summons, bringing with them a numerous cavalry, so 
that upon great occasions the army may amount to nearly one hundred 
thousand men. The naval force was composed of a forty gun frigate, 
bought at Malta from English merchants, but previously taken from 
the French ; and eight or nine smaller ships, mounting from thiiiy- 
six to twenty guns, together with about fifteen gun-boats. 

Although whenever the parties met, they fought desperately, yet 
the war was conducted in the most indolent way imaginable ; without 
any apparent object to be attained, or anxiety for its conclusion; 
while neither of the belligerents were sufficiently active, to produce a 
decisive result on its opponent. In the campaign which preceded our 
appearance off" the coast, the Tunisian army had gained some very 
considerable advantages, owing to the stratagems employed by a 
Christian slave who superintended its artillery ; and, by fonning a 
masked battery on a spot, near which the Algerine cavalry passed in 
pursuit of the Tunisians, which destroyed a large portion of it. Upon 
this occasion the whole army of Algiers was routed, and driven under 
the walls of Constantina. 

With respect to the government of Tunis, as already observed, 
it is monarchical and hereditary : though, like all the Turkish states, 
subject to incessant and violent revolutions. Previous to the accession 
of Hamouda Basha, the Janizaries governed with undivided sway, 
after the model of Algiers and Tripoly ; but they have, ever since, 
notwithstanding their desperate efforts to regain power, been consi- 
dered merely as auxiliaries. The brother and successor of Hamouda 
Basha, Sydi Ottoman, who came into power in 1813, on the former's 
death, had been chief aga of the Turkish soldiery, and still continued 
to shew them great favour : this gave rise to a strong feeling of dissa^ 


tisfartion and jealousy on the part of the Moors. IJn<^iateful for the 
benefits they were receiving, and even stimulated by their recent 
exaltation, the Turks attempted to change the form of government, 
or elect another bey tiom their own ranks, in the manner of their 
fraternity at Algiers. This project ended in the total destruction of 
the principal ringleaders, and degradation of the rest, to a level with 
the Jews and Christian slaves. But they are a race, in whose hearts 
the spirit of vengeance does not easily sleep ; as proved by various 
commotions which have agitated Tunis since the above period ; and, 
more particularly, upon a recent occasion, when, having determined 
to make another attempt at revolt, they offered the reins of govern- 
ment to a relatioii of Mahmoud Basha, the reigning Bey,* and on his 
refusal, the leading Turk proposed himself as their future chief He 
Avas violently opposed by the Zouavi, who finally succeeded in their 
resistance to the traitors ; decapitating their leader, together with most 
of his companions : a part of them, who had taken possession of the 
Goletta, on hearing the result of the attempt in Tunis, immediately 
seized four shabeques which lay in the road, and, proceeding up the 
Levant, were captured by the Captain Pacha, who beheaded several 
of them. Since that time, nothing very material has distinguished the 
Tunisian history ; the government is now, no doubt, as firmly esta- 
blished as violence and usurpation can make it. 

The revenues of this state are collected at two diflTerent periods 
of the year, when a large body of troops, of which one third is com- 
j)osed of Turks and the remainder of Moors, commanded by a Caia, 
with several agas under him, is employed to receive it, or enforce the 
payment of taxes, if necessary. The camp is generally followed by 
nine cooks or purveyors, who are much respected by the Moors, and 

* This man is third brother of the late Bey Haraouda Basha ; and in order to obtain 
power by the most popular means in Barbary, caused his brother who succeeded Hamouda 
to be strangled with all his adherents ; and amongst the rest, the Zapa Tappa, and Mariano 
Stinca,both particularly noticed in my account of Tunis. The latter I often warned of his 
impending danger, advising him to get away before it was too late.^Ed. 



fiequently rise to the post of Doletros, or chief justices. Barbary is 
not the only country in whicli a knowledge of the culinary art leads 
to emohinient and place. 

Rais Hamida having ineftectually prowled about the vicinity of 
.Suez for some days, at length determined to make his appearance before 
Tunis, in the hope either of enticing his enemies to come out, or pick 
up a few prizes. The ridiculous attempts of both parties to make a 
semblance of bravery, while in this neighbourhood, furnished a 
pretty strong specimen of that mixture of ferocity and bombast which 
has enabled these wretches so long to impose on the timid credulity 
of nations; giving them credit for talents and valour, which no peo- 
ple under the sanare farther from possessing. 

On getting tolerably near the Goletta, the Tunisian squadron, 
whether disinclined or unprepared for the combat, immediately hauled 
in under the guns of the fort. Upon this. Rais Hamida, placing his 
squadron within about four miles of them, began a most furious 
though useless cannonade, which continued at intervals, during the 
two days we remained otF the anchorage: not one shot having, in all 
that time, reached its intended destination ; so that if no glory was 
acquired, there was at least noise enough made. At length, after 
various bravadoes on both sides, in which mutual defiance was sub- 
stituted for action, our admiral seemed to say to his rival, " If you 
don't come out, I am off!" and accordingly we directed our course 
to the westward, along the Tunisian coast. Comment va le siege 
de Gibralterf was asked during the glorious defence of General 
Elliot. II va bien, il commence à se lever, was the answer. In com- 
pliance with long established custom, I dare say, that in the present 
in.stance, both sides claimed the victory; and, if following the example 
of other nations, there had been bulletins and gazettes extraordinary, 
we should, no doubt, have been favoured with a good stock of splen- 
did descriptions and magnificent lies. While one party boasted ot 
having obliged the enemy to retreat, the other might, with equal 
truth assert, that his opponent fled in disorder. However trifling and 


unimportant onr fiats before Tunis were, it was evident that each 
party claimed the victory ; and for this purpose, signals of exultation 
were mutually displayed. Without pretending to decide who had 
most reason to congratulate himself on the result of his labours, the 
many salutes which followed, strongly reminded me that there are 
feux d' artifice, as well as feux de joiel 

During the few days we continued to hover about this part of 
Africa, it recalled a thousand recollections, which seemed to interest 
and amuse the mind, at a time when it was glad to rely on any thing 
for consolation. 

In viewing the shores of Numidia and Mauritania, the names of 
Dido, Juba, Syphax, Jugurtha, and Massanissa, passed in rapid suc- 
cession over the imagination, as if only its own creation, and not the 
sovereigns of great countries ! Pursuing the eccentric evolutions of 
thought, and looking into the history of modern times, Sfax reminded 
us of its bombardment and destruction by the Chevalier Emo, the 
celebrated Venetian admiral. A sight of Tunis and the Goletta, was 
calculated to call forth mingled sentiments of pity and admiration : on 
the one hand, admiration for the heroic exertions of Charles the Fifth ; 
who, even in a comparatively barbarous age, saw the impolicy of sufler- 
ing lawlesshordes of pirates to plunder Europe, and arrest the progress 
of civilization ; of pity, for the melancholy and premature fate which 
attended Saint Louis, whose pious, though sometimes ill-directed exer- 
tions, were, notwithstanding, thought worthy of canonization. Byrsa 
too, once the illustrious Carthage, was before our eyes ! producing a 
melancholy reflection upon the fleeting instability of earthly gran- 
deur. Here was an end to all human distinctions and worldly priority. 
Forgetting the errors of antiquity, our admiration was equally divided 
between the virtuous inflexibility of Regulus in chains, and the stern 
genius of Hannibal, yielding to the superior destinies of Rome. 

In another quarter we pictured to ourselves the magnanimous 
Agathocles of Syracuse, who landing on the Carthaginian territory, 
burnt his fleet, so as to leave his troops no alternative between death 
and victory. Farther on we beheld his glorious successor, whose price 

I 2 


of victory was the abolition of human sacrifices : here was the ancient 
Ades, celebrated by the defeat of the Pnnic fleet ; there the Acque 
Calide, near which the ships of Octavius were wrecked. The bay of 
Adrametum, memorable for having afforded shelter to the conqueroi 
of Pharsalia ; and the impetuous stream in which the intrepid Mas- 
sanissa found a grave ! Nor was that inexorable scourge of Africa, 
the sanguinary Genserie, whose path was marked by blood and rapine, 
forgotten ; or the persecuted Belisarius, who, on the shore before us, 
shook the empire of Vandalism. Whether, in fact, we contemplated the 
dignified heroism of Asdrubal's wife, burying herself and children in 
the flames ; or the maternal piety and generous nature of the tender 
Sophonisba : all on this gloomy shore, once the region of incense and of 
myrrh, and which in its days of triumph, was justly considered the most 
prolific garden of the universe ; tended to excite reflection, and inspire 
melancholy. It is true, the purity of its sky, and fecundity of soil is the 
same : but, alas ! the iron hand of despotism has blasted all with steri- 
lity and death ! What, indeed, cannot a government eftect, either to 
create or destroy t Nearly the whole of our course along this part 
of Africa, presented one continued scene of ruin and devastation, a 
wide field of sorrowful remembrance. We love to dwell on the scat- 
tered vestiges of ancient monuments, upon which the hand of time 
is so deeply engraven ; and an immense space, is, as it were, united in 
one small point. Seated on the ruins of time, we interrogate past ages : 
and in contemplating, with a sublime hon-or, those spots, the solitary 
proofs of man's nothingness, we recognize, with fear and trembling, 
the sad instability of all human affairs. 

Giace l'alta Cartago ; appena i segni 

Dell' alte sue ruine il lido serba. 

Muoiono le città, muoiono i regni : 

Copre i fasti e le pompe arena ederba : 

E l'uom d'esser mortai par che si sdegni 

O nostra mente cupida e superba !* 

* V. Gerusalemme Liberata, Cant. xv. thus imitated by Mr. Hoole : 
Now to the knights the pilot damsel shew'd 
The spot where once imperial Carthage stood. 


But, as Chateaubriand very properly remarks, the ruins of Africa 
possess a character altogether peculiar to themselves, filling the mind 
with the most gloomy images, without one consolatory reflection ; the 
natural consequence of their being rather the result of barbarous vio- 
lence and brutal rage, than the more slow and solemn operation of 
time. The convulsions which have desolated this beautiful region, have 
been infinitely more terrible, than the effects produced in other coun- 
tries by the long course of ages : they present a dreary void, unaccom- 
panied by any regenerating power. Time, lending his scythe to death, 
saw him in an instant, destroy that, which might otherwise have 
been preserved for many centuries ; and which it required ages of 
human labour to create : all is ruin in this world, but the greatest 
destroyer is man ! 

The winds not being altogether favorable for our getting to 
Algiers, we put into Bona ; and the anchors were scarcely down, when 
the Turkish soldiers, armed from head to foot, rushed on shore like a 
torrent, and, as if in an enemy's country, began to plunder the inha- 
bitants without mercy ; imitating the well known troops of organized 
banditti, who ravaged Italy during the fifteenth century. Strange to 
reflect ! The same religion and government is, in this country, no pro- 
tection to the people, when it suits the convenience of the licentious 
soldiery to rob and pillage. We observed from on board, several of the 
natives seeking safety in flight, and carrying oft" as many valuables 
as they could from the apparently general plunders of the town. 

Bona is generally thought to be the Hippo Regius of antiquity, 
of which St. Augustine was the bishop ; it was a royal city of 
Numidia, which, in the manner of France, under Buonaparte, had 
also its cities of the first, second, and third order. Dr. Shaw is. 

Ill-fated Carthage I Scarce, amidst the plains, 

A trace of ail her ruin'd pomp remains ! 

Proud cities vanish, states and realms decay, 

The world's unstable glories fade away ! 

Yet mortals dare of certain fate complain ; 

O impious folly of presuming man ! Ed. 


however, of opinion, tliat Hippo was situated a mile to the south- 
ward of Bona. The inhabitants of this place, during the middle 
ages, carried on an extensive trade in figs, calling them after their 
favourite saint. Near the town, some ruins are shewn to this day, 
which are said to have formed a part of the convent in which he 
resided. The chief vestiges of Roman antiquity seen at this place, 
consist of some arcades, with double roofs, in which the bricks 
are of a very large size, most probably cisterns ; a mosaic pavement, 
and tracks of a road like the Appian way.* 

The river Seibouse, which joins the sea at Bona, is choked up 
at its entrance with sand, and consecjuently not capable of admitting 
large vessels ; the roadstead is rather open, and exposed to northerly 
winds. Its principal defence consists of a strong fort that commands 
the town, and the conquest of which, together with Bona itself, formed 
a memorable event in the more enterprizing days of the Florentine 
history, when the knights of San Stefano carried the terror of our 
arms all over the Mediten-anean, but more particularly into Africa. 
To what a source of bitter reflection did not this visit to Bona lead in 
our anxious thoughts ! Our brave ancestors had concjuered it, and 
we were brought there as slaves ! In these enlightened days, the 
insignificant states of Tripoly, Tunis, and Algiers, insulted, with 
impunity, every power in Europe ; capturing the ships of some, and 
condemning the crews to slavery. While, in former times, the galleys 
of Tuscany were more than a match for them, wresting the Balearic 

* On the subject of Bona Dr. Shaw observes, that besides the capacious road before 
it to the east, " it had formerly a convenient little port under its very walls to the south- 
ward ; but by the constant discharge of ballast into the one, and neglect of cleansing the 
other, both are daily rendered less safe and commodious." — A true picture of the preser- 
vative virtues of a Barbary government I In another place he adds, "Bona has the 
advantage of being finely situated both for commerce and hunting ; it enjoys an healthful 
air, and affords so fine a prospect, that the eye takes in at one view the sea, a spacious 
roadstead, several mountains covered with trees, and plains finely watered : so that by 
repairing the old ruins, and introducing fresh water into the town, it might be rendered 
one of the most delightful and flourishing places in Barbary.'' Vide Shaw's Travel!?. — £d. 


islands from their liauds, and vindicating- past injuries, by the most 
brilliant achievements gained over Musetto, king of the Saracens, 
whom they dispossessed of Sardinia. 

The situation of Bona, its spacious bay, and easy communication 
with the interior, would, under a different order of things, make it 
one of the tirst commercial eujporiums in Africa. Nor is it unimportant 
to observe, that, as an eligible place for disembarking troops and 
artillery, or, after they are on shore, enabling them to commence 
immediate operations, this point is hardly equalled by any other on 
the whole continent. The more ample consideration of this important 
question, will be discussed in another part of the work. 



Arrival in Algiers. — Landing. — Appearance before the Heads of the Govern- 
ment. — Prison of the Slaves, — First Day in Slavery. — The Employment. — 
Hours of Repose. — Public Works. — Liberation. —Arrival at the British Con- 
sulate's. — Lost Riches. — Still greater Losses. — Consolations. — Unfortunate 
Companions. — Mode of living at Algiers. 

Having closed the work of plunder, and procured some refresh- 
ments, not the least agreeable part of the visit, to us ; the squadron 
again set sail, and, steering along the coast of Mauritania, we had 
an opportunity^ of observing those objects, so happily described b\ 
Carlo and Ubaldo, when sent to draw Rinaldo from his inglorious 

At length several white specks began to rise in the western hori- 
zon, and a fine breeze soon brought us in sight of the great centre of 
piracy, so justly apostrophised by the poet, 

Nido Algeri di ladri infame ed empio.* 

Algiers forming an extensive semi-circle of hills rising in araphi- 
theatric beauty round the city, and many of them studded with 
country houses, is exceedingly interesting and picturesque as seen 
from the sea ; while the numerous vineyards, orange and olive 
groves which surround the town, shewing great marks of industry 
and cultivation, does not bear much analogy to the fierce character and 
vagrant life of these African tyrants. On approaching the anchorage, 
a shout of joy ran through the frigate, and marked the satisfaction of 

* Algiers ! abode of robbers, cruel and impious. Tasso. 


the barbarians, nor had we any reason to be otherwise than rejoiced 
at the idea of having terminated our tedious voyage, embittered as it 
was by such misfortunes. So perfectly comparative are our notions 
of happiness, that the prospect of landing at Algiers, which, under 
any other circumstances, would have created the utmost horror, was, 
in the present instance, hailed with a degree of joy little inferior to 
that experienced by the first Templers on seeing Jerusalem. Like 
the patient, who, rather than bear the agony arising from his 
wounds, submits to a painful operation, we flattered ourselves, 
that the end of the cruize would also be that of our sufferings. St. 
Pierre has ingeniously compared adversity to the black mountain 
Beruber, on the confines of the burning kingdom of Lahor ; the 
ascent to whicli is impeded by craggy rocks and frightful precipices, 
but having once reached the summit, the sky becomes serene, while 
the beautiful plains of Cashamere are seen spreading in the dis- 

No sooner had the ships anchored, than pieparations were made 
to land ; when Rais Hamida, with a stern voice, inspired no less by 
his natural ferocity, than a consciousness of having us now completely 
in his power, ordered the Sicilian seamen into the long-boat, 
under charge of the Aga ; while the passengers were destined to 
grace his own splendid triumph. In this crisis, at which another 
important change was about to be effected in our situation, I could not 
help recalling to mind, those terrible lines inscribed over the Inferno, 

Per me si va nella città dolente : 

Per me si va neil' eterno dolore : 

Per me si va fra la perduta gente ! * 

which Rais Hamida seemed to repeat on desiring us to follow him 

* Inferno, Canto III. thus most inadequately rendered into English: 
Thro' me the newly damn'd for ever fleet, 
in ceaseless shoals to Pain's eternal seat;' roe they march, and join the torturati crew. B-jyd. 


into the pinnace, appointed to convey us on shore; towards which we 
now directed our course, followed by our mournful companions in the 
Aga's charge. On the Rais's landing, he immediately ordered us to 
form a procession in his rear, and then moved on, with as much self- 
importance, as Sesostris with his four rebellious kings, or the ferocious 
Timur, conducting Bajazet in his iron cage. 

An immense concourse had collected on the beach, to welcome 
with acclamations the triumphant return of the pirates: but we were 
neither plundered nor insulted, a treatment which many Christian 
slaves are said to have met with, on disembarking at this inhospitable 

In the manner of the Roman ovation, we made a long circuit, to 
arrive at the palace destined for holding examinations of captives, and 
finally condemning their prizes. The Rais entered the building, while 
we remained outside of the door until called for. " What were you doing 
underthatlargeheapof ruins ''"was asked of the Duchessof Popoli, who 
remained three days alone under the arch of a palace destroyed in the 
great earthquake of Calabria. " I waited," replied her grace. 

A large awning being extended in front of the house, the scene 
shortly opened, exhibiting the members of the regency, in barbarous 
pomp and horrid majesty, seated before us ; accompanied by the 
ulemas, or expounders of the law and principal agas of the divan. 
We were then, without farther ceremony or preamble, asked for our 
papers, which were duly examined ; nor was that canting gravity 
wanting on this occasion, which is usually assumed to justify acts of 
rapine and plunder. They were then presented to the English consul, 
whose presence is always required on these examinations, to verify any 
claim he may have to make. This gentleman soon saw the insuffici- 
ency of our documents ; but, stimulated by the goodness of his heart, 
and sentiments of pity for persons in our unhappy condition, he made 
every possible exertion to extricate us from the appalling dilenima 
with which we were now threatened. The circumstance of some of 
the party being natives of a country united to the dominion of France, 


did not restrain the consul's generous efforts: we were unfortunate, 
and that was sufficient to ensure the protection of an Englishman. 
But Rais Hamida boldly sustained the remorseless laws of piracy : 
drawing the finest distinctions imaginable between domiciliation and 
nationality, he proved himself a most able jurisconsult, according, at 
least, to the African code of public laws. 

" A good prize ! Prisoners I Slaves !" was now murmured through 
the council, and soon communicated to the crowd assembled without; 
which, by its cries and vociferation, seemed to demand such a deci- 
sion. The British consul then formally demanded the English lady and 
her two children ; upon this being accorded, the Chevalier Rossi, her 
husband, advanced a few steps, and with dignified courage, supported 
his claim to liberation, on the principle of having married an English 
woman, and of also being the father of two British subjects, his chil- 
dren : this application being successful, he soon rejoined his anxious 
wife and children. Another attempt was now made in favor of usali 
by the consul, but without effect: this was followed by a cry in the 
hall of Schiavi! Schiavi! " slaves, slaves;" which horrible word was 
echoed by the multittide. The members of the council then rose, and, 
on the assembly's being dissolved, the consul and his attendants, 
together with the Chevalier Rossi and family departed ; leaving us the 
tlevoted victims of slavery, in a state of immoveable insensibility, as 
«ne who scarcely hears the thunder, when he is enveloped by the 
lurid glare of its lightning. 

Before we had recovered from our stupor, we were led off under 
Oie Grande Scrivano and Guardian JSasha, who conducted us 
over a considerable part of the city, accompanied by a great number 
4jf spectators. It being Friday, the Moorish sabbath, hundreds of 
the infidels, in coming from the mosques, were soon attracted in 
every direction, to enjoy this new spectacle of degraded Christi- 

Anived at Pascialick, or palace of the Pasha, inhabited at 
present by theDey; the first objects that struck our eyes were six 
K 2 


bleeding heads ranged along before the entrance ! I ! And as if this 
dreadful sight was not sufficient of itself, to harrow up the soul, it 
was still farther aggravated, by the necessity of our stepping 
over them, in order to pass into the court. They were the 
heads of some turbulent agas, who had dared to murmur against 
the Dey's authority. Our fears naturally represented them, as 
having been severed from the bodies of Christians, and purposely 
placed there, to terrify the new inmates of this fatal region. A 
dead silence reigned within the Avails of the building, in which 
suspicion seemed to have made her abode ; while fear was depicted 
in every face. Being ordered to range ourselves before the Dey's 
window, to feast the despot's eyes, he soon approached, looked 
at us with a mingled smile of exultation and contempt, then making 
a sign with his hand, we were ordered to depart; and after a third 
circuit of the town, arrived before a large dark looking building, on 
entering which, we stumbled, as if by an involuntary impulse. It 
was the great Bagno, or house of reception for Christian slaves. 
Hence one of its pompous titles Bajios os Esclavos, which, without 
gilding the pill quite so much, may be plainly rendered by the simple 
word prison. Every fibre trembled, and our limbs tottered under us, 
as we traversed the horrid receptacle. The first words which escaped 
the keeper after our entrance were, " whoever is brought into this 
house becomes a slave." He might well have added. 
Lasciate ogni speranza, voi, che 'ntrate !* 
In passing through the dark and filthy court yard, we were 
surrounded by a multitude of slaves, bearing about them all the 
signs of abandoned sufferers. They were ragged, lank, and haggard, 
with the head drooping, eyes sunk and distorted, cheeks imprinted 
by the furrows of protracted wretchedness, which seemed to have 
withered the soul, and by destroying the finer impulses of their 

* Ye heirs of hell, 

Here bid at once your litrg'ring hopes farewell. Boyd. 

FIRST day's treatment. ■69 

nature, left no trace of pity for the sufferings of othei-s : so that we 
passed without the slightest manifestation of that sympathy so natu- 
rally expected in such a situation. Exhausted by long confinement, 
and wrapt up in a sense of their own melancholy fate, our appearance 
was viewed with a stupid indifference unaccompanied by any fellow 
feeling. During the few intervals, unoccupied in the public works, 
they remained shut up, wandering about like pallid spectres in this 
house of darkness and of sorrow. 

Our ascent up the prison staircase, was not unlike that of u 
malefactor, when mounting the scaffold ; but, as some indulgence is 
generally granted to condemned criminals, the keeper treated us 
during the first day with particular attention and respect ; inviting 
us into bis own apartment, and insisting that we should partake of 
his dinner, thus making up for the anxiety and fasting of the preced- 
ing day. There were at the table, besides myself and fellow passen- 
gers, three slaves, who had been many years in captivity, and were 
persons of birth and education. Amongst the rest, was Signor Artemate 
of Trieste, who possessed a mind adorned by education, and a character 
formed by long reflection and adversity ; with the truest ingredients of 
friendship. In reciprocal misfortune, the consoling voice was 
not long silent. Like Attilius Regulus, we also were in servitude, on 
that very shore, which saw the Roman hero perish for his country ; 
happily, if like him, we could evince the same intrepidity of soul and 
firmness of character.* 

* Few captains of antiquity have excited greater admiration araocgst the moderns 
than Regulus, and none more deservedly. The concluding part of his address to the senate, 
is the best possible eulogium on the memory of this truly great man, while it conveys a 
grand lesson to the patriots of every age and country. I give it in the eloquent language 
of Chateaubriand. " Je n'ignore point le sort qui m'attend ; mais un crime flétriroit mon 
ame ; la douleur ne brisera que mon corps. D'ailleurs il n'est point de maux pour celui 
qui les salt soufFrir : s'ils passent les forces de la nature, la mort nous en délivre. Peres 
consents, cessez de me plaindre : j'ai dispose de moi, et rien ne me pourra faire changer 
de sentiment. Je retourne à Carthage ; je fais mon devoir et je laisse faire aux dieux." — 
Itinéraire de Paria à Jenasalem, Tome ii. p. 245. — Ed. 


The lollowing day was occupied in communicating with the 
English consul and other friends in the city, together with the prin- 
cipal Jews, who were likely to be most useful in forwarding the work 
of liberation. For my own part, I began to view things in a some- 
what more favourable light: my excellent friends, the Chevalier 
and Madame Rossi, warmly interested themselves with the consul in 
my behalf; while that worthy and philanthropic minister did every 
thing in his power to extricate me from the horrid situation in which 
I was placed. It was whispered at the Baglio, that I had been for- 
mally demanded from the ministers of his excellency the Dey ; but 
that they had refused, there being only one amongst the number, 
who would condescend to liberate me, and that at the moderate con- 
dition of my paying down three thousand sequins in gold ;A and this 
because the government knew I was a great ;7oe« wallowing in riches! 
Poetry and riches is indeed a strange association of ideas. Little did 
my new masters know the value of poets in Europe. It was further 
said, that they were not particularly anxious to release me upon any 
terms, it being his excellency's intention to avail himself of my won- 
deiful talents in affairs of great importance. What on earth could 
he have done with me % Poet laureat ; virtuoso of the bed-chamber, 
or musician extraordinary, to his highness the Pasha ! I doubt whether 
either of these brilliant appointments would have turned my brain ; 
for to me, chains are not the more acceptable for being made of gold. 

While busied in these various speculations, the Guardian Basha, 
or principal keeper, took me by the ann, ana commenced a grave 
sermon on the flattering prospects that seemed to await me. " Surely," 
said he, " your friends were bom before you, and fortune has now 
evidently taken you under her peculiar protection, arriving a slave in 
Algiers, and the next day running the risk of obtaining a post, to which 
others do not arrive in a hundred years." While on this favourite 
strain I every moment expected to be compared to the fortunate Jo- 

* About £1600. 


seph, whose advancement was also preceded by golden dreams. 
" But you," pursued the Basha, " should leap for joy." " And have 
I not," said I, " every reason to be afflicted I AVhat consolation can 
there be for him who is in chains!" " Weakness of human nature!" 
replied the Basha. "Slavery is the natural state of man. All," — 
these were exactly his words, — " all depends on the law of the strong- 
est ; on circumstances and necessity . We are all the slaves of cus- 
tom, of the passions, of disease, and of death. But those who rise 
to power are no longer slaves : and thus you may have slaves at 
your nod ; and by obeying one, command a thousand. You have a 
good head, can speak well, and are a great acquisition to us. When 
once interpreter and secretary to the Dey, you tvill swim in gold, 
become the lamp of knowledge, and possess gardens of voluptuous- 
ness : you ivill be a great personage, and all will bow before 
you."^ " Too much honor I too much honor !" I answered : " I do 
not merit it. But l)y what .accident has the Dey condescended to cast 
his eyes on meV " Why," said he, "it was always customary for 
the Pacha to have a slave for his secretary : one of these infidel dogs 
having betrayed his trust, the Dey had his head struck off. Another 
came, but this rogue used to carry news to the European consuls, and 
he was condemned to die under the bastinado. A Jew was next 
taken into the service of his highness, but as he only thought of mak- 
ing money, his treasures were seized and himself burnt. A Moor and 
Arab were successively tried without effect, and after being removed 
had their heads taken off, to avoid telling tales. The Dey having 
once more determined to try a Christian, you are the happy man upon 
whom he has fixed his choice." " But tell me, for curiosity's sake," 
said I, " how long did the two Christians, Jew, Moor, and Arab 
remain in office!" "Some continued three, six, and ten months; 
but none reached a year's servitude ; all had a short life and a merry 

* Would to Heaven that the sad reality of the Guardian Basha's dcetriae did tot 
extend beyond Algiers. — Ed. 


one/' was the answer. "The honors," said I then, " would be very 
acceptable, but involved, I apprehended, too much responsibility. 
A thousand thanks, therefore, for the interest you so kindly take in 
my advancement; but I fear pachas are too easily disgusted with 
their followers, and begin to play the tyrant rather early. Besides, I 
am not like the cardinal who exclaimed, 

Vorrei sentermi dire 
Segretario di stato, e poi morire." 

"Name me but a secretary of state, and then let me die!" " M. 
le Marquis^" said a young gentleman to the minister d'Argenson, 
who was appointed to a regiment in the field : " I wish for life rather 
than immortality !" 

After the above conversations, I naturally began to reflect on 
the good fortune which these folks were desirous of heaping on 
me ; and, if left to my own ideas in the choice of a place, I deter- 
mined it should be like that of the disappointed candidate for a 
public employment in London ; who, after many fruitless applica- 
tions, one day called on his expected patron, and told him he had at 
length procured one; when, being very civilly congratulated on his 
success, the patron ventured to ask what his new post might be. He 
satisfied the demand, by rejoining that it was a place in the Shrews- 
bury coach, which should, that very night, convey him from a town^ 
where he was heartily tired of listening to the flattering and unmean- 
ing promises of patrons.* 

* The Abbe Tanzini, a Florentine, and a man of considerable genius, but whose man- 
ners were rather uncouth, finding himself once in the anti-chamber of a prince, where two 
other persons magnificently dressed were also in waiting, by the way of amusing themselves 
at the Abbe's expence, and rather overstepping the mark by taking a man in his simple 
garb for a fool : one of the gentlemen asked with a simper who he was? " Tell me who 
you are first," said the priest. " Why," replied he, "I am a gentleman who has the 
honor of serving his excellency the prince as secretary." " And I," observed his compa- 
nion, " am the Signor N , who has also the honor of being the prince's agent gene- 
ral." " And I," said Tanzini, " am the Abate Tanzini, who has the honor of not serving 
under any one !" 


While thus occupied in conversing with tlie Guardian Basha, 
during M'hich, passing to and fro, amongst the dark corridors, where 
the victims of servitude lay huddled in groupes, stretched along the 
bare earth, with nothing but a little covering of straw, the hour of 
supper arrived preparatory to that of repose. A short time before the 
English vice-consul, who had kindly recommended us to the Grande 
Scrivano and Guardian Basha, came to inform me of the steps which 
had been taken by his generous principal in my favour, with the Dey ; 
and how, even at that late hour, he had taken the ti'ouble of ascend- 
ing the stairs of the Pascialick. On the other hand, my friend, the 
, Grande Scrivano, determined to destroy the slight rays of hope shed 
by the vice-consul's visits, informed me, that I might now consider my 
fate as finally decided ; for although there was, in the first instance, 
a possibility of the consul's eloquence and credit prevailing with his mas- 
ter, yet, the negative once given, my future doom became irrevocable ; 
and that, even the exertions made for my liberation, when inisuccess- 
ful, could not fail to render the case more hopeless. As may be easily 
conceived, I passed a sleepless night, embittered by the most painful 
apprehensions. Although the scrivano had given up his bed and room, 
it did not facilitate my disposition to repose. In this trying per- 
plexity, the maxims of the wise and good, did not altogether abandon 
me ; nor could I entirely forget their influence in making us indepen- 
dent of adversity. Dionysius the younger, being asked what philosophy 
had taught him, replied, " to meet without surprize the vicissitudes 
of fortune, and support myself under them without complaining!" 
*' When," said Calisthenes, " I find myself in a situation that requires 
courage and resolution, I feel that I am at my post. If the gods 
had only placed me on the earth, to lead a life of effeminacy and ease, I 
should have considered greatness of mind and immortality, an una- 
vailing present." It has been truly said by a poet, that though we 
cannot command success, we may do more, we may deserve it. 

Tyranny never sleeps, and even envies that of the wretched, 
whom it has bereft of every other blessing. The first rays of light 



bad not yet dawned, nor had either men or animals time to recover 
the preceding- day's labonr, when the turnkey, witli a hoarse 
and stentorian accent, exclaimed, " Vcimos a trabajo cornvtos !"^ 
" To work I" Such was the flattering expression used to call 
the slaves: and in which we too, had the unexpected honor of 
being included. I should also add, that it was followed by the 
application of a cudgel to the shoulders of those who mani- 
fested the smallest disinclination to obey the summons, in double- 
quick time. Previous to our quitting the prison, the black Aga made 
his appearance, bringing with him several iron rings, to be rivetted 
on our left ancles, tliere to remain in perpetuity, as a sign of bondage. 
These rings were slight, but they were those of slavery ; and their 
liorrible weight can only be known, to those who have worn them I 
Having successively applied them to the legs of my companions, the 
Aga put one into my hand, saying, that his excellency the Pacha, 
as a mark of particular favour, allowed me the distinguished honor of 
putting on my own ring ! This is not unlike the fatal privilege granted 
to the viziers of the Porte, of strangling themselves with the cord 
sent for that purpose by their master. With similar feelings did I put 
on the dreadful emblems of servitude ; which ignominious operation 
was follow ed by a cold sweat that covered my forehead : my heart 
panted with anguish, my eyes no longer saw the surrounding objects, 
I attempted to speak, but could not articulate; looking downwards, 
my eyes caught the degrading badge, and, witli a deathlike silence 
I yielded to my fate. 

The number of new victims of ditierent nations mustered on this 
occasion, and all captured during the last cruize of the barbarians, 
amounted to two hundred. Being ordeied to proceed to the scene of 
our labours, a mournfiil silence marked our progress, which was 
attended by guards both in front and rear, armed with whips, frequently 

* A translation of the last word in this sentence, would, no doubt, be deemed too 
delicate for English ears : the reader if, therefore, referred to his Kalian dictionary.— i'rf. 


repeating: A trahujo cormitos; can d' infidel a frabnjo ; "To 
work ! Dog' of a Christian, to work !" Thus escorted, we arrived at 
tlie public ovens, when two rusks of black bread were thrown to each 
of us, as if to mere dogs. I observed, that the old captives, who had 
arrived on the ground before our party, greedily snatched them up, 
and soon dispatched both with a frightful avidity. Arrived at the 
great hall of the marine, we found seated there, in all the pride of 
tyrannic power, the various members of the executive government, 
including the agas of militia, the grand a<lmiral, first raisof the squa- 
dron, the cadi, mufti, ulemas, and judges according to the Koran. We 
were then ranged along in regular succession, selected, numbered, and 
looked at with particular attention ; as practiced at the slave markets, 
formerly held in Jamaica.* With our eyes fixed on the assembly, and 
beating hearts, a profound silence reigned through the hall, when it 
was broken by the minister of marine, first secretary of state, calling 
out my name, I was then ordered to advance. On obeying, various 
interrogatories were put to me, relative to my occupations in England, 
and other relations with that country. Having answered them in the 
best way I could, the minister pronounced the talismanic words. Ti 
star franco! " You are free." We are told the most agreeable toners 
heard by human ears, are those of well earned praise; the mopt 
grateful sounds those expressed by a beloved object. No! The 
sweetest voice which can possibly vibrate through the heart of man, 
is that which restores him to liberty! To form an adequate idea of 
what I felt, on this unforeseen, and happy change of circumstances, it 
will be necessary for the reader to conceive a victim with the bandage 
on his eyes, and fatal axe uplifted, whose ears are suddenly astounded 
with accents of grace and mercy! 

A case like mine was absolutely unique in the annals of Algiers; 
there being no example of a slave's liberation so immediately after 
his captivity without ransom : the decrees of those barbarians being 

^''- Out, daraoed spot ! Out, I say! 
h 2 


those of inexorable fatality. A soldier was ordered to knock off lay 
irons: this done, he, in his turn, desired me to go and thank the 
minister ; who, on addressing him, shook me by the hand, adding 
many expressions of civility ; and finally, ordered the dragoman to 
conduct me to the house of his Britannic majesty's consul. The first 
impulse of joy had fairly inundated my heart. When once more at 
liberty, I could move my limbs with some facility. But the next 
thought was for my unhappy companions, who, on the strength of 
my liberation, were induced to flatter themselves with the fond hope 
of being treated in a like manner. Next to my own safety, nothing 
on earth could at that awful moment have afforded me such heartfelt 
satisfaction. Departing slowly with my new guide, I stopped 
repeatedly, and looking back with wistful eyes, vainly anticipated 
the pleasure of seeing them follow; but the order was already given 
to conduct them all to labour ; their respective occupations were even 
pointed out. I saw them hanging down their heads, with eyes 
suflused in tears ; they advanced a few steps towards me, pressed my 
hand, sobbed adieu, and disappeared! 

Arrived at the British consulate, the dragoman left me : soon 
after which, my generous friend, the Chevalier Rossi appeared; when, 
as it will be readily conceived, our meeting was a most agreeable 
surprize to both parties. The recent circumstances would not admit 
of comment ; but on such occasions, the language of the heart is more 
eloquent than that of the tongue. In a short time we were joined by 
the consul, whose countenance beamed all that serenity which arises 
from the performance of a good action; proving an old adage, 
that virtue is the best promoter of the circulating fluid, and con- 
sequent tranquillity of mind. The name of this worthy minister, 
and the highly important services which he rendered me, will be eter- 
nally cherished in my heart. To the recollection of this great act of 
beneficence, will be united those of benevolence and kindness, which 
form the characteristic of true gentility, considerably enhancing all 
its favors. It is impossible for me, sufliciently to applaud the eminent 


qualities of Mr. M*" Donnei. Courteous in his address and manners, 
with an elevated turn of thought and noble sentiments, uniting to the 
gentlest demeanour, the dignified pride and decision of character 
which belongs alone to merit; to exquisite sensibility^, a mind 
full of acumen to regulate its movements, and employ it for the 
most useful purposes ; to extensive knowledge, great application, 
without which, there is no possibility of attaining to perfection, or 
permanency : to generous inclinations, courage, and activity to vir- 
tue, without which, it may also be said, that the latter is of no use 
to its possessor ; Mr. M" Donnei is one of those men who do lionor to 
humanity. Pre-eminently calculated to represent the British govern- 
ment, and defend the rights of the greatest naval jiower of the uni- 
verse, few consuls have exercised a larger share of influence amongst 
these barbarians : so true it is, that power is not alone sufficient, if 
not seconded by talents and character.* 

Having refreshed myself at the consulate, it was next recom- 
mended that I should proceed to the great prize magazine, for the 
recovery of my effects ; which were ordered to be restored by the 
government. On arriving there, however, I found that all was in- 
vaded — money, books, merchandize and clothes ! Nothing escaped 
the rapacious hands of the Turks and Moors ; nor was there one 
single article forthcoming. This was indeed a severe loss : to have in 
a moment lost the fruits of so much labour, industry, and numerous 
privations. Thus, to have beheld the edifice, formed by years of 
personal exertion, crumbled into nothing; and that pardonable vanity, 
which every one has to revisit his native coimtry with independence, 

* Having devoted a considerable degree of attention to the study of those qualities 
which best become the representative of His Britannic Majesty in foreign countries, it has 
been highly gratifying to me to find them all united in the character of Mr. M« Donnei, who 
will have no reason to regret his benevolent attentions to the author: while it is most sin- 
cerely hoped that a panegyric like the above, will not fail to stimulate the conduct of all 
those who may be at this time, or any future period of our history, placed iu a situation 
calling forth the exertions of humanity and active benevolence. — Ed. 


and the means of future ease ; together with the additional pleasure 
of being able to contribute to the wants of his relatives and friends, 
iVustrated. Behold, in one fatal moment, all these gratifying illusions 
at an end, and the fond dream of happiness broken ! The effect of 
finding myself thus fallen from the little height of fortune, on which 
I stood before the day of captivity, was a source of heart-breaking 
affliction, which made me doubt, whether I was yet at liberty. Phi- 
losophers may preach up contempt of riches, and the virtues of 
moderation ; citing the maxims of Cicero and Seneca, the verses of 
Horace, and example of Aristides, of Curius and Cincinnatus ; all 
well intended, no doubt, but not at all satisfactory. Seneca and 
the orator of Aq)ino, who were so pre-eminent in eulogizing mode- 
ration and poverty, possessed splendid palaces, and delightful villas : 
and the poet of Venosa, who praised abstemiousness, did not 
disdain to drink Falernian wine, and court the favour of Mecaenas 
and Augustus. Some riches, and, as the French say, un peu 
de superjìu, chose très nécessaire, are required by the most rigid 
philosophy, not only to cheer the heart, but render it happy ; that is 
to say, by affording it an opportunity of conferring favors; and, like 
tlie Man of Ross, dispensing happiness around us.* 

Even talents themselves, shine more from being decorated Avith 
the splendor of gold ; the belles lettres cut a more distinguished 
figure, if accompanied by good letters of exchange. How is it pos- 
sible to develope the extent of talent, and force of genius, if both 
are oppressed with a constant recurrence to a man's humbled con- 
dition I To the necessity of providing for his daily subsistence ! 

Ah ! who can tell how hard it is to climb 

The steep where Fame's proud temple shines afar ; 

* Pope's inimitable pen was never better employed than in immortalizing the Man of 
Ross, and rendering his real virtues worthy of future imitation. Such are the men who 
ought to live in the recollection of posterity, and be eternally commemorated in poetic 
song, in opposition to heroes, and devastators, who, like the lightning fulminate mankind, 
and like that phenomenon, leave only traces of darkness behind them. 


A h 1 who can tell how many a soul sublime 

Has felt the influence of malignant star, 

And wag'd with Fortune an eternal war ? 

Check'd by the scoff of Pride, by Envy's frown, 

And Poverty's unconquerable bar. 

In life's low vale remote has pin'd alone. 

Then dropt into the grave, unpitied and unknown 1 

Some means of independence are in fact necessary, without 
which, neither the heart nor mind of man, can be expected to retain 
that force and energy, so necessary to the pursuit of literature, and 
the glory which it occasionally produces. Want, in a better state of 
society, should never stimulate a man to obtain the prize ol immor- 
tality by his pen. Letters and science are a divine art, and not a 
base calling : it is therefore a pity, that the man, who is so infinitely 
superior to his fellows in mental acquirement, should be obliged to 
descend to humiliations, and humble himself before those who live by 
his labours, and still make him feel his dependence. To enjoy that 
noble ardour, so necessary in the republic of letters, and the society 
of superior minds, which cannot be done withovit fortune, philoso- 
phers have justly exalted the advantages of mediocrity, which some 
have dignified with the title of golden mediocrity ; the age of peace 
and innocence has also been sung, but the present has, with a good 
deal of justice, been called the golden age ! 

In addition to the entire spoliation of my personal effects, the 
greatest loss of all, that of my manuscripts, remains to be noticed : 
these were the very last things on earth, which I thought would have 
excited the cupidity of the barbarians. Perhaps they reasoned like 
that ferocious Saracen Omar, who destroyed the Alexandrian library; 
saying, " conformable to the Koran, they are useless; if contrary, 
they ought to be destroyed." However this might be, I felt the loss 
most severely, and in it seemed as if detached from my dearest con- 

Books, says Petrarch, are our best friends; those, whom 


we have been most careful in selecting, and that most readily con- 
form to our characters and tastes: they accompany us in the study, 
and follow us to the country, eidivening its solitude, and tilling up 
the vacant hours of life ; they speak and interrogate us, but if we 
leave them, they do not complain of our absence. They amuse in the 
hours of calmness and serenitj . While they inspire us with hope and 
courage in adversity, they bring peace under the heaviest blows of 
fortune. Opening the page of history, they procure us the experience 
of ages, and extend, as it were, the existence; they enable us to 
converse with the absent, and live with the men of other days ; and, 
by their means, we are enabled to penetrate into futurity. 

Amongst the lost manuscripts, those which I regretted most, 
related to observations made in my various wanderings while 
absent from Tuscany: tlie fruits of long meditation, care, and 
industry ; conveying a tolerably accurate idea of many import- 
ant historical events, which passed under my own eye. By the 
loss of these, my fondest illusions seemed to vanish, and I thought 
myself thenceforward condemned to sloth, stupidity, and oblivion ; 
together with all the inutility of an obscure life, and vacant soul. I 
anxiously sighed for repose, but wished it to be accompanied with 
genial studies, sacred to the cultivation of those flowers which the 
garden of literature produces, and the ineffable pleasure of courting 
the Muses. Fiiends will tell me, the lieart and head remains; but 
the most laborious works, and best productions of the mind, are not 
the result of a moment : they require time and unabating perseve- 
rance. A fair and languid flower is soon produced ; but fruits that 
last, must be matured by time : that which grows may remain, but 
the tree once blasted, yields no more. These bewailings will no 
doubt be attributed to the force of self-love operating on a vain 
mind ; but those, who have experienced the pleasures communicated 
by a new idea, a bright thought, the offspring of a sudden impulse, 
who, in the moment of enthusiasm, and that tumult of imagination 
and sentiment, which is at once the emblem and source of creation ; 


when they feel a strength and vivacity, Avhieh raises them above their 
fellows, elevating them as it were to a heavenly nature. These gentle 
spirits, who in the tranquillity of their closets, in the secret confer- 
ences ^\ ith the nymphs of Helicon, or solitary abode of philosophy, 
find more heartfelt pleasures, than all the tumult of the world, and 
delights of frivolous society, can aflfbrd to vulgar souls : who, with a 
pen in their hand, have considered themselves beings of another 
sphere, peopled by the most delightful dreams of imagination, and 
thus ranged within the rays of their own eternal celebrity : those 
will conceive the extent of my sorrow, and know how to sympathize 
in my unavailing complaints. 

The anxious care with which an author endeavours to preserve 
the child of his fancy, or fruits of research, is not anew feeling in the 
literary world. A great writer of antiquity, being threatened with some 
eminent danger, placed his manuscripts between his teeth, determined 
either to save them, or perish in the attempt. Camoens too, when 
wrecked on the coast of India, held his immortal poem up in one 
hand, while he gained the shore by swimming with the other. It is well 
known how delighted Dante was, when by a most unexpected piece 
of good fortune his divine poems were saved from the destructive 
horrors of civil war, and the other disasters which attended his exile ; 
embracing the bearer of them, and fondly exclaiming that he had 
recovered immortality for him. It is also related of Lebrun, the 
lyric poet of France, that his female servant prevailed on liim to 
mairy her ; in consequence of threatening to consign his manuscripts 
to the flames, if he did not innnediately accede to her strange propo- 
sition. I would have willingly made any sacrifice for the recovery of 
my own loss ; but it was in vain that I searched every part : it was 
evident that all my papers had been thrown into the sea, and my 
name was thus lost in the oblivious wave. 

Since the above period, I have felt no pleasure in writing; I 
seem to be oppressed with the leaden weight, which our great poet 



has placed over the backs of hypocrites, and that also Aveighs on 
mediocrity. " I was," said Wieland, " in that happy situation, 
which gives to days the rapidity of moments, and to moments the 
impatience of centuries." I had cultivated a few flowers, and hoped 
to bring forth some fruit ; but the harvest is over : discouraged and 
unhappy, I cannot prevail on myself to return to the Muses. " To 
be joyful and contented," said Altieri; " it is necessary that the mind 
should be nourished by the fire of tender passion, or have some high 
and noble object in view." Or, as Lord Rochester observes : " Per- 
form something worthy of being written, or write something that may 
be worth reading." 

In the midst of all my losses, reflection did not altogether aban- 
don me ; and with that, I did not want for consolation. I recollected 
that there had been instances of people placing their chief merit in a 
just contempt for earthly riches ; and amongst the rest, a philosopher, 
who the more freely to indulge his ideas of independence, gave up 
all his substance, adopting for his motto : omnia bona meciim porto. 
The result of losing the fruits of so many years' observation and 
research, is naturally that of being no longer able to publish ; and in 
order to diminish the regret that might arise from this circumstance, I 
have the very great satisfaction of avoiding those innumerable evils and 
vexations to which the profession of an author almost invariably 
subjects him. And it is no inconsiderable blessing to escape these, 
from the verbal criticisms of the illiterate, to the still more unmer- 
ciful, and sometimes not very liberal castigation of reviewers, the 
caballing of pedants, and occasional injustice of the public ; to dancing 
attendance on the booksellers, and bearing up against the learning 
of printers. Calling upon a great man, three months after / di€l 
myself the honor of presenting him with a copy of my last pul>lica- 
tion, I shall not have the mortification of finding it exactly on the 
precise spot of his study table, whereon it was deposited when pre- 
sented, with the great additional comfort of there not being one single 

consolAtion?. 83 

ìeaf cut ! And the bookseller may also be saved the unpleasantness of 
having nine tenths of a splendid edition bequeathed to his shelves in 

Availing myself of the facilities afforded to the book collector in 
England, I had formed a very tolerable library, intended to be the 
great companion of my future life. On contemplating the loss of 
this treasure, I was obliged to imitate the philosophy of Fenelon, 
who, when informed of the total destruction of all his books by fire, 
tranquilly replied, " I should have derived no profit from them, 
if they had not taught me patiently to bear with their loss !" 

But all is lost in this world : friends, lovers, reputation, peace 
of mind, felicity, our patience, opportunities, fortune, and even our 
brains. To the ladies we lose our sighs and presents ; our efforts, 
hopes, and supplications in the anti-chambers of the great ; our money 
at rouge et noir, or five shilling loo ; we also lose our time in talk- 
ing to fools, and flattering coxcombs. The ambitious are berefit of 

* Of all those grievances " that make the very angels weep," those noticed by the 
author are unquestionably the most distressing. In that long catalogue of minor sufferings 
to which humanity is exposed, whether we consider the many hardships to which literary 
men are subject, or that superior degree of sensibility which renders these hardships infinitely 
more acute than they could possibly be on more ordinary minds ; there is no class of men 
entitled to a greater share of sympathy. Mr. Pananti's oL.-;ervations will, no doubt, come 
home to the feelings of thousands, amongst whom many, possessing the fire of genius 
accompanied with its latent virtues, have had more particularly to deplore that peculiar 
destiny, which has, in an enlightened age, condemned them either to struggle with adver- 
i-'ity, or pine in oblivion ; while their talents were of a nature to excite admiration, and if 
called forth by patronage, eminently calculated to improve the moral as well as intellectual 
condition of their fellow creatures. Completely dissatisfied with all the sophistry which 
has been put forth to account for the proverbial poverty and wretchedness of the lights 
and beacons of the world, I cannot divest myself of an idea, that after having imputed all 
the errors we can reasonably do, to their habitual indolence and unwise contempt of 
■worldly concerns, there is a manifest want of sympathy towards them ; and that, from 
branches of the community which could not study their own particular interest, or that of 
the multitude more advantageously, than in the occasional seeking out, and final protec- 
tion of men of letters. — £d. 

M i 


tranquillity, and the dissolute of health; heroes of life, and lawyers 
of causes ; piiiices lose provinces, and generals battles ; the rich 
lose their wealth, the poor their shoes, and preachers the thread of 
their discourse ! 

If I had cause to complain of having fallen into the hands of the 
pirates, by which I merely lost my little property, with how much 
more reason had my companions to repine ; who, in addition to that, 
were also condemned to slavery'? "I complained," observes Sadi, 
" of having no shoes to wear; but, in passing by the entrance of the 
great mosque at Damascus, I saw a man who had lost both his legs ; 
upon which I ceased to complain, and no longer murmured against 
Providence." " All is lost, save our honor;" said a great monarch on 
losing the battle of Pavia ; and with him I can repeat, that I lost 
all but my liberty.* 

* 111 a country like this, where there is not quite so amiable a disposition to enter into 
those little feelings of self-love which form a striking feature of the Italian character, some 
will perhaps be induced to consider theauthor as having dwelt rather too long on the lossof his 
manuscripts; while those to whom he more immediately addresses himself, kindred minds, 
will readily enter into his sentiments, and make every allowance for a weakness, if it be one, 
which under similar circumstances they would most probably yield to themselves. From the 
manner in which Mr. P. has treated the subject of these memoirs, the public will be ena- 
bled to form a faint idea of how far he may be justified in so deeply lamenting his losses. 
In addition to a number of poetic effusions lost on the above occasion, there were also 
several very valuable notes on some of the most important events in the revolution, of 
which the author was an eye-witness. Besides his observations on the miseries of authorship, 
the original memoirs contain a note on the ccmforts of publishing one's own book ! The 
agreeable ceremony of waiting on the gentlemen of the trade, to olier the manuscript : 
the whole appositely wound up by some remarks on the incorrigible errors of the press ; 
and a dissertation on printers' devils ; all which is so well understood in England, that it 
might well be considered as an insult to the good sense of the literati, were I to have 
suffered these remarks to appear in my translation. By the way of justifying- Mr. P.'s com- 
plaints, it is proper to inform the reader, that the whole of his first edition, consisting of a 
thousand copies of these Memoirs, were, in his estimation at least, rendered unfit to meet 
the public eye, owing to its almost innumerable inaccuracies, occasioned by mere errors of 
the press. No very flattering compliment, it must be confessed, to the state of printing iu 
Italy ; where an uathor's work is frequently suspended, until the paper is made I — Ed. 


It is now time to return to the fate of my unfortunate compa- 
nions, who remaiued in chains. With respect to the crew, I had fie- 
quently the mortification of meeting- tliem in the streets, loaded witli 
irons, and sinking under the weight of their forlorn and degraded 
condition. The females, who had not yet been sold to the Moors, 
were received into the house of the Danish consul's wife, who treated 
them with all the delicate attention and generous regard, which their 
beauty and misfortunes were so well calculated to inspire. The two 
brothers, Messrs. Terreni, were exempted from labour, but remained 
in slavery. They inhabited a miserably small room, which was washed 
by the sea, where, with their eyes directed along the receding beach, 
or stretched on the gloomy region of tempests, they had an ample 
opportunity of bewailing their melancholy fate. They took their 
meals with a Livornese slave named Brunet, who possessed conside- 
rable talents, by which he was enabled to make some money while 
at Algiers, and enjoyed many privileges. This aiForded him an 
opportiuiity of serving others ; and the way in which he adminis- 
tered to the comforts of my two friends, proved a heart full of kind- 
ness and generosity. Having suffered himself, he knew how to feel 
for the woes of others. Men may be compared to certain plants, 
which yield a balsam for the cure of diseases when they are them- 
selves woimded. 

The Terrenis deserved those attentions, as well on account of their 
afflictions as their personal merits. " There is something perfect and 
finished in your character," said Bossuet to the Prince of Conde : " it 
is the lustre which misfortime gives to virtue." The ancients too, had a 
species of religious veneration for those trees which had been struck 
with lightning. 

I often went to visit my friends, yet, what could I do but sym- 
pathize in their griefs i Or what ofierings make beyond a tear ? But 
even that was some consolation for them. 

I pianti pietosi 
Dei teneri amici 


Pei cuori infelici 
Che il duolo colpi. 
Son come del cielo 
Le molli rugiade 
Sul languido stelo 
Del fior cheappassi. 
" Tlì£ tears of pili/ and friendship, shed for those overtaken with 
grief, are like the dewy drops of heaven, falling on the stem whose 
flower is drooping." 

By degrees, however, I was happy to perceive the captives had 
regained a little more calmness and serenity. When the mind is lace- 
rated by sorrow, ^visdom comes smiling, to sow her seeds on the heart 
moistened with tears; as the plough more easily turns up the ground, 
softened by rain, or the dews of heaven, before the husbandman 
throws in the hopes of the ensuing harvest. Wisdom is a rose, that 
flourishes best amongst thorns, and merit appears more luminous, when 
surrounded by the gloom of adversity : as the lamp acquires addi- 
tional splendor from darkness. 

Algiers is not one of those cities oil Von pent se passer de 
bonhenr : on the contrary, there is nothing to render it agreeable to an 
European resident. The poet Regnard was once a slave here, but 
accompanied by his mistress Elvira : and what sorrows will not be 
forgotten when a beloved object divides them ; or what weight of 
chains do not became light, when mingled with the tender ties of 
love ì Regnard knew how to acquire the affection and esteem of 
his master Sydi Thaleb, by his vivacity and talents; not those of com- 
posing verses and comedies, but which are by many, even in Europe, 
still more valued, that of making pies and patties. 

The Chevalier Rossi's amiable family, and myself, lived near 
the English consul's country house, and were daily in the habit of 
receiving some new marks of his hospitable attentions. I frequently 
descended into the town, but never discerned any object to excite interest 
or curiosity. No library, not even a coffee-room with a news-paper, or 
thesociety of a single individual from whom a new idea could be gained. 


How indeed can it be possible for people, so full of barbarous preju- 
dices, to pursue any study, or encourage improvements, with their 
slavery and indolence I Letters expire when variety and activity does 
not give rise to an incessant renewal of ideas. It is true, I occa- 
sionally conversed with the secretary of state, Rais Hamida, and one 
of the Cadis ; with the latter of whom, I might be said to have 
contracted a kind of friendship. I was also introduced to the Dey ; but 
his gloomy aspect was both territying and repulsive. " Looks of affabi- 
lity should ornament the front of kings ;" but that of his highness, was 
never adorned with a sentiment ofjoy or pity. An Arabic poet compares 
the prince to a sea, "which should be avoided while ruffled by 
storms; but when tranquil, you may fish in it for pearls." 

I always felt a secret horror in walking through the narrow, 
dark, and filthy streets of this shocking city. The heart is oppressed, 
and the very soul shut up, as it were, in its tortuous windings : 
respiration itself was attended with difficulty and pain. When I 
reflected on the reign of barbarism and servitude which surrounded 
me; a contrast between meanness and servility; of trembling and 
degradation ; of haughty despotism and cruel bondage ; and consi- 
dered the circumstance of be ng encompassed on every side, with 
suspicion, jealousy, and hatred ; that I was every instant liable 
to insult, chains, and eveij' assassination : all contributed to oppress 
the mind, and embitter the feelings, absolutely destroying the power 
of thought. I knew that there was still a possibility of the tyrant's 
changing his mind with respect to my liberty, particularly as he 
expressed feelings of regret, at having given me up .so easily ; it 
was thus that Sylla repented having left Caesar alive, if great things 
may be compared to small. So I was neither .secure nor tranquil: 
like the philosopher, who, living under the reign of a certain tyrant, 
every morning, when he awoke, put his hand up to feel whether liis 
head was on his shoulders I 



Christian Slavery in Algiers. — Its physical and moral Effects. — Observations 
on the Ransom and Liberation effected by the Expedition under Lord Ex- 
mouth. — Rem,arks on the various Accounts of Barbaky that have been 
hitherto published, -Object and Motives of the Author in laying his Account 
before the Public, cf-c. 

Those who have ever been at Algiers, and witnessed the fate to 
which Chiistians, falhng into the hands of the iDarbarians, are 
condemned, cannot form any idea of tliat greatest calamity which 
fortune has in store for hnmanity ; or into what an abyss of sorrow and 
wretchedness, their fellow creatures, thus situated, have been plunged. 
Even myself, who saw and piovefl it to a certain degree, in my own 
person, am at a loss for language equal to a description of what 
Christians feel and suffer, when precipitated into this dreadful situation. 
jVo sooner is any one declared a slave, than he is instantly stripped 
of his clothes, and covered with a species of sack-cloth ; he is also 
generally left without shoes or stockings, and often obliged to work 
bare-headed, in the scorching rays of an African sun. Many suffer 
their beard to grow, as a sign of mourning and desolation ; while 
tlieir general state of filth is not to be conceived. Some of these 
wretched beings are destined to make ropes and sails for the squa- 
dron: these are constantly superintended by keepers, who, carry 
whips ; and frequently extort money from their victims, as the 
price of somewhat less rigour in the execution of their duty ; others 
belong to the Dey's household ; and many are employed by the rich 
Moors, who may have bought them at market, in the lowest drud- 
gery of domestic employment. Some, like the beasts of burthen, are 


employed in carrying stones and wood for any public buildings that 
may be going on : these are usually in chains, and justly considered 
as the worst among their oppressed brethren. What a perpetuity of 
terrors, series of anguish, and monotonous days, must not theirs be ! 
without a bed to lie on, raiment to cover them, or food to support 
nature! Two black cakes like those already alluded to, and 
thrown down, as if intended for dogs, is their principal daily susten- 
ance ; and, had it not been for the charity of a rich Moor, who left a 
legacy for that purpose, Friday, the only day they are exempted from 
work, would have seen them without any allowance whatever. Shut 
up at night in the prison, like so many malefactors, they are obliged 
to sleep in the open corridor, exposed to all the inclemency of the 
seasons. In the country they are frequently forced to lay in the open 
air ; or, like the Troglodite of old, shelter themselves in caverns. 
Awoke at day-light, they are sent to work with the most abusive 
threats, and thus employed, become shortly exhausted under the 
weight and severity of their keepers' whips. 

Those destined to sink wells and clear sewers, are for whole 
weeks obliged to be up to their middle in water, respiring a mephitic 
atmosphere : others employed in quarries are threatened with con- 
stant destruction, which often comes to their relief Some attached 
to the harness in which beasts of the field are also yoked, are obliged 
to draw nearly all the load, and never fail to receive more blows than 
their more favoured companion the ass or mule. Some are crushed under 
the falling of buildings, while others perish in the pits into which 
they are sent to be got rid of It is usual for one and two hundred 
slaves to drop off in the year, for want of food, medical attend- 
ance, and other necessaries; and woe to those who remain if they 
attempt to heave a sigh or complain in the hearing of their inex- 
orable master. The slightest offence or indiscretion, is punished 
with two hundred blows on the soles of the feet, or over the 
back; and resistance to this shocking treatment is often punished 
with death. 

When, in marching, a poor slave is exhausted by sickness or 



fatigue, and the cruelty of his usage, he is inhumanly aliandoned on 
the hio-h road, to be insulted by the natives, or trod under foot by 
the passen2,ers. They frequently return from the mountains with the 
blood trickling from their limbs, which are, together with their whole 
body, covered with scars and bruises. One evening towards dark, I 
was called to by a hoarse voice : on drawing nearer; I beheld an un- 
happy being stretched on the ground, foaming at the mouth, and 
with the blood bursting from his nose and eyes. I had scarcely stopt, 
struck with hoiTor and apprehension, when, in a faint voice, the word 
" Christian ! Christian !" was repeated. " For Heaven's sake have pity 
on my sufferings, and terminate an existence which I can no longer 
support!" " Who are you J" was my reply. " I am a slave," said 
the poor creature, " and we are all badly treated ! An oldak of the 
militia who was passing this way, and happening to be near me at 
the time, he exclaimed in an angry tone, ' dog of a Christian, how 
dare you stop the road when one of the faithful passes !' This was 
followed by a blow and a kick, which threw me down a height of 
several feet, and has left me in this condition." 

On another occasion the situation of a still more unfortunate 
slave, was equally calculated to excite my indignation and sympathy. 
He was sorrowfully seated under an old wall : at his feet there lay an 
immense load, under which he seemed to have simk; his visage was 
pallid and meagre ; with looks full of wildness, and eyes fixed on the 
ground, all expressing strong signs of premature age, brought on by 
grief and sufferings; raising his head, he seemed to become more 
agitated, and striking his breast and forehead several times, deep sigh.s 
seemed to relieve his mind from some internal paroxysm of despair. 
" What can be the matter, my friend ?" said I, addressing myself to 
this unfortunate wretch. " Why all these signs of misery and distress!" 
" Poor Christians," he replied; " there is no help for them in this 
world! and their groans are not heard in Heaven. I was born in 
Naples, but what country have I t Nobody assists me ; I am forgot- 
ten by all. I was noble, rich, and illustrious in the place of my 


birth ; see how wretchedness and slavery can change tiie iace of man. 
It is now eleven years since my sufferinij;s began ; during which time, 
I have in vain solicited the assistance of relatives and fellow crea- 
tures, but all to no purpose ; there being no longer any one on whom 
I can place hope or reliance. To whom therefore can I turn my eyes 
for support ^ V\^hat have I done to deserve so much oppression and 
suffering?" After he had given vent to his feelings, I did my best to 
recommend patience, resignation, and hope. I also touched on 
the promises of eternal reward to those who siitfer here below with 
becoming fortitude. All this was answered with a forced smile, 
accompanied by a look, which spoke volumes, and proved the little 
use of attempting to console or reconcile man to his ill-fated suf- 
ferings. While mournfully withdrawing myself tiom a scene which 
could only add to the poignancy of my own lacerated feelings, 
without mitigating those of a fellow creature, already oppressed with 
more than he could bear ; the last time of turning to the spot, saw 
him rolling on the ground, and with heavy sighs, lamenting his 
melancholy fate. 

Although a price is set on each captive, that the whole may 
encourage a hope of freedom ; yet, from the peculiar mode in which 
their liberation must be effected, this hope is almost unavailing. If 
after having obtained leave to exercise their trade, they acquire any 
property, they are not allowed to pay it for their ransom. Ofi'ers of 
this kind have always been rejected, on the ground of the Dey's l)eing 
legal heir to all the property of his slaves: and frequently, in order to 
get possession of it a little sooner, this honorable revenue is anticipated 
by the owner's being dispatched. 

Captivity is thus surrounded with aggravated cruelties, which 
seem to have no end. Their forlorn condition has been very properly 
compared to those spirits condemned to inhabit the house of dark- 
ness and despair : who, according to a popular writer, are con- 
stantly enquiring what hour of the day it is, and as often receive the 
terrific reply of eternity ! It is not enough that they should groan 



under excessive laìjoar and multiplied bloAVs ; but derision, abuse, 
and contempt must be added : and this species of suffering is, if pos- 
sible, moie acutely felt than the former. " Faithless Ciiristian dog," 
is the ordinary mode of addressing a slave ; and this degrading epi- 
thet is invariably accompanied with the most insulting gesture, occa- 
sionally by personal violence. Whenever a captive is taken ill in 
Algiers, motives of self-interest call upon the Moorish proprietor for 
a little indulgence ; but were it not for the benign charity of Spain, 
which has established a small finid to support an hospital for the 
reception of Christian slaves, the latter when overcome with disease, 
would be left to perish in the streets, and suffering humanity remain 
completely unassisted. By means of the above benevolent insti- 
tution, they may at least hope to die in peace ; and in the act of aban- 
doning this vale of tears, be sustained by the hopes of future bliss. 
But the ineffable consolations of religion cannot be very liberali}^ 
bestowed on these poor people, there being but one priest to soothe 
the bed of sickness, administer to the wishes of the dying man, and 
inspire the fugitive spirit with the bright hope of another and a better 
world ! 

The present clergyman, like another Vincenzio de Paoli, with 
a most philanthropic spirit and truly Christian zeal devotes all his 
time to the spiritual relief and comfort of the sick and infirm, to 
whom he is an angel of peace and consolation. But how can a single 
spiritual adviser, however great his exertions and well disposed, 
attend to three thousand Christians ; of whom hundreds are scattered 
about the country, and have been for years, without appearing at a 
place of public worship ? and in the absence of that necessary duty been 
doomed to hear curses and reprobation heaped on the great Prophet of 
Nazareth t It is only ten years ago, that even the tomb afforded no shelter 
to the remains of a Christian in this country : the rites of sepulture 
were for a long time absolutely refused to the bodies of Christian cap- 
tives ; and they were often left exposed in the open air to be devoured 
by reptiles and birds of prey. It was with considerable difficulty 


that Charles the Fourth of Spain, obtained at an enormous price, a 
small space near the sea, which has since been the Christian burying 
ground ; but it is not distinguished by any mark to denote the solemn 
purpose, nor a fence to defend the sacred precincts fiom barbarous 
intrusion. Thus do Christians live, and die in Algiers!!!* 

Having endeavoured to communicate a limited notion of its 
physical effects, I ought also to make a few remarks on the moral 
tendency of .slavery. All agree that loss of liberty is the greatest 
misfortune which can possibly befal a human being. Without any of 
those consolations which generally accompany other griefs, it does not 
give rise to any of those impulses which are calculated to support the 
mind in adversity. All our other sorrows awaken feelings of tenderness 
and sympathy in generous minds, and inspire respect, If not relieved, 
they are, at least, blest with commiseration. The prisoners who 
have been shut up in the Bastille, the fortresses of Spandau, Olmutz, 
Magdeburg, Stetin, and the Tower of Oblivion in Persia, displeased 
the great, and may perhaps have deserved incarceration ; but they were 
regarded with some degree of imjjortance, and as men of no conmion 
characters. When the exiles of Siberia passed, they were followed 
by a sympathetic look of pity not unmixed witii admiration ; people 
sighing, exclaimed: " There goes an exile!" As to slavery, you 

* Melancholy as the author has depicted slavery in Algiers, I can safely assure the 
reader, from ocular proofs, that the above is very far from being an exaggerated picture. 
On the contrary , it only represents a small part of those sufferings to which captivity is 
subjected in Barbary. This topic, so deeply interesting to humanity, may receive some 
farther illustration by a reference to my Letters from Tunis and Tripoly, at both of which 
places I had frequent and ample opportunities of witnessing scenes infinitely more heart- 
rending than any brought forward by Mr. Pananti. Thanks be to God! that in the desire 
of improvement so eminently conspicuous in the history of the present day, the important 
question as to the absolute necessity of annihilating the Barbary system, has been univer- 
sally canvassed, and as universally decided upon. Though tardy, there is now but one 
sentiment throughout Europe upon this point. And the irresistible voice of public opinion 
having once gone abroad, it only remains for the great powers to coalesce in the execution 
of a design which posterity will regard in a far different way to what it must the partition 
of Poland, and other similar political arrangements. — £d. 


cannot divest it of a certain opprobriimi, and servile baseness ; which 
freezes the heart, disgusts the sight, and repels sympathy. There is 
an unconscious horror created in the mind, towards tliis most unna- 
tural state of man; and we proscribe the slave, as the Hindoos do the 
member of a cast, who may have violated the precepts of his religion. 
Even the captive himself, when long accustomed to be thus regarded, 
begins seriously to think his nature has experienced a change ; 
and in that state of mind, considers himself as degraded as he is 
unhappy. Chains, while they are thought disgraceful by the free, 
depreciate the wearer in his own esteem, until his soul is deprived of 
all the salutary influence of liberty. It is thus, that the cultivated 
European, when left for any time a prey to his wretched fate, is at 
last persuaded to look upon himself as even inferior to the savages of 
Africa ; and the man who was born free, to direct his piercing eye and 
noble front towards Heaven, sinks to the degrading alternative of 
Ibrgetting the original intentions of nature. The soul has been often 
purified in the crucible of adversity ; but in a state of slavery, there 
is something so abject and forlorn, that it destroys the courage, and 
quenches all the fire of generous sentiments, depriving its victim at 
once of mind and dignity. Another of its evils, and by far the worst, 
virtue, which teaches us to vanquish every grief, or render them 
sources of utility, is generally weakened, and often altogether extin- 
guished in a mind habituated to slavery. Sorrow vitiates the heart 
where it breaks the spirit. The virtues spring from great and generous 
souls, while vice is the offspring of meanness. Religion too, that 
column of Heaven, to which we cling when all around us totters, 
ceases to afford consolation to the heart that is ulcerated : those who 
are taught to regard themselves as entirely abandoned on earth, no 
longer look to Heaven for support. It is true, while suftering toge- 
ther, they mingle their tears ; but friendship, that 

Mysterious cement of the soul ! 
Sweet' uer of life, and solace of society! 

is mute, and lost to those who find no pity out of their own immediate 
circle. Instead of uniting for mutual support, hatred and envy more 


frequently intervene to embitter tlieir distress. The fortunate man is 
gay and animated ; liis lieart smiles in unison with all around him ; 
his soul is serene as a cloudless day : but he who has suftered 
from ' man's inhumanity to man,' or an iron destiny, feels that the 
streams of pity are dried up within him ; while the flame which ani- 
mated his heart in better days, is extinguished Avitli his happiness. 

A Persian tiaveller, who m as sitting in the anti-chamber of an 
European sovereign, observed a person magnificently dressed ; but 
who, notwithstanding the splendor and gold which covered him, 
appeared immersed in gloomy and sorrowful thoughts : he walked iFp 
and down the room, without being noticed or spoken to by any one. 
Struck by his singular appearance, the oriental enquired, who that 
great, but unhappy personage might be? He to whom the question 
was put, said, that he was a great lord of the comt, and governor of 
a distant province, who had formerly enjoyed the first place in the 
monarch's favour, but that the prince had now withdrawn his protec- 
tion, so that he only experienced humiliation and disgusts in the palace. 
Upon this, the Persian arose and disdainfully cried : why do theif 
treat him thus? Winj is his life so embittered? If theij have no regard 
for him, let them at least have a little pity for those tvho are so un- 
fortunate as to be placed under his government ! 

To conclude this melancholy subject, of all human sufferers, I 
have been taught to believe, the Christian slaves of Barbary are the 
greatest : being in that dreadful state, when, according to the saga- 
cious author of Corinna, deep and long continued sorrow has 
absorbed every pleasurable emotion, leaving behind a sentiment of 
sadness and despair ; a situation in which life seems embittered by an 
envenomed dart. They fall oppressed aud cast down by the weight of 
their sufferings : under the rod which smites them, they cannot any 
longer raise their heads. The gods, says a fine verse of Homer, 
snatch away all the spirit of those whom they have destined to fall 
into the wretched condition of slavery. Servitude is indeed a cruel 
necessity, which breaks and destroys whatever it encompasses. 


From a subject like the foregoing, and that long train of melan- 
choly ideas which its consideration is so justly calculated to excite, 
how highly gratifying is it, to be enabled by a fortunate and happy 
combination of circumstances, to follow it up by congratulating 
humanity at large, on the recent liberation of so many unfortunate 
sufferers ; who had for many years been, as it were, forgotten by their 
European brethren.* Those warriors, who escaped the ravages of 
disease or the sword, during the long hostility which desolated the 
civilized world, found no difficulty in regaining their native homes, from 
the remotest corners of the earth to which their services may have led them ; 
but the miserable children of Europe, who had fallen into the hands 

*= To relieve any little curiosity which may have been excited by that part of the 
foregoing narrative which relates to my companions in misfortune, it is in this place proper 
to observe, that they were, after two long years of bondage, amongst the number of those 
liberated by the British arms. The Messieurs Terreni on leaving Algiers, proceeded to 
.Sicily for the arrangement of their mercantile concerns ; the ci-devant Hero, together with 
the poor sailors, his crew, were no doubt sent on to their native island. But how am I to 
relate the hapless story of that beautiful young female, whose constancy and virtue drew 
forth so much admiration during our passage ? Poor girl ! Scarcely had her emancipa- 
tion been effected, and she began fondly to imagine that happiness which awaited her 
return, than she was taken violently ill, and, melancholy to add, only survived a few days! 
Although consigned to an unknown grave in a barbarous land, her unhappy tale will live 
in the remembrance of all those who possess a tear for the sufferings of others : and the 
admirable lines of Pope may with such singular felicity be applied to the fate of this inte- 
resting female, that 1 trust no apology is necessary for their quotation. 

What can atone, O ever injured shade ! 

Thy fate unpitied, and thy rites unpaid ? 

No friend's complaint, no kind domestic tear, 

Pleas'd thy pale ghost, or grac"d thy mournful bier. 

By foreign hands thy dying eyes were clos'd. 

By foreign hands thy decent limbs composed. 

By foreign hands thy humble grave adorn'd, 

By strangers honor'd, and by strangers mourn'd! 

Yet shall thy grave with rising flow'rs be dress'd. 

And the green turf lie lightly on thy breast: 

There shall the morn her earliest tears bestow ; 

There the first roses of the year shall blow ; 

While angels with their silver wings o'ershade 

The ground now sacred by thy relics made I 


of the Barbaiy pirates, were detained in the cruellest bondage, were 
not destined to share that blessing-. 

At the grand period of political restoration, an important nego- 
tiation was set on foot, for the restitution of inanimate statues and 
pictures, which ended in the complete accomplishment of its object ; 
but not a word was said about restoring the white Christian slaves of 
Barbary ! It was thought to be important to the peace and interests 
of Europe, to fill up the vacant niches in the museums of Italy, and 
cover the bare walls in the gilded palaces of kings ; but it was not 
thought necessary to fill up the fire-side of those cottages, the inha- 
bitants of which were dragging on a deplorable existence on the 
inhospitable shores of Africa ! 

Previous to the successful attack of Lord Exmouth, several hun- 
dred slaves were redeemed by paying their ransom, and the honor of 
this negociation also belonged to the British admiral ; but can any 
thing be half so humiliating, as to have seen the great queen of the 
ocean, who had been so mainly instrumental in liberating Europe 
itself from bondage, entering into all the forms of solemn treaties 
with the impious regencies of Barbary, and thus acknowledging the 
previous right to make slaves of Christian subjects I Would it not 
have been more consonant to the high character and dignity of the 
British nation, had she peremptorily insisted on these marauders 
adhering more closely to the public law of Europe, after the peace of 
the continent had been obtained at so high a price, and by such unex- 
ampled sacrifices? — A peace which was violated by those unprincipled 
monsters, when the most powerful monarchs of Europe had entered 
into sacred alliances for its preservation ! 

Upon the important result of the British admiral's late expedition 
against the most guilty city, there can be but one sentiment of unde- 
cided applause throughout Europe ; in as much as, that a real tem- 
porary benefit accrues from it, in the liberation of so many unfortu- 
nate sufferers. There cannot be a shadow of doubt, but that offended 
humanity called for a much more exemplary chastisement ; but we 



are not to reject a part, because the whole has not been obtained : 
and, in addition to the real benefits derived from this spirited exer- 
tion of the British ministry, it proves the very important fact of the 
extreme facility with which a well combined naval and military opera- 
tion might be conducted on this interesting part of the African continent. 
But the more ample discussion of this momentous subject, is neces- 
sarily deferred, until I have endeavoured to make my readers more 
intimately acquainted with the history, government, manners, cus- 
toms, and character of a people, who are surely destined by Pro- 
vidence, in its all-wise scheme of human improvement, one day or 
other to be once more brought within the pale of civilization ! 

Although a great many works have been published, relative to 
the coast of Barbary, yet it is universally acknowledged that those 
who have written on the svxbject, left a variety of points intimately 
connected with its general attributes, towards which the curiosity of 
the public is still anxiously directed : particularly at a time when 
the conduct of its respective chiefs have scarcely left one dissenting 
voice throughout Europe; as to the moral and political necessity of 
effectually desti'oying their future means of plundering civilized 
nations, and condemning their subjects to slavery. In alluding, 
however, to our stock of information, with regard to these states 
generally, a ^ery important exception may be made, as far as relates 
more immediately to Algiers, upon which nothing either very elabo- 
rate or correct has appeared since the publication of Doctor Shaw's 
work, although nearly a century has elapsed. And however inter- 
esting on the score of Numidian antiquities it may be, it is by no 
means calculated to satisfy the more important and extended researches 
of the present day. To those, in fact, who have considered the sub- 
ject, nothing can be more singular than the almost total indiflerence 
which has until very lately prevailed, as to the internal situation 
of a country, that is, on a very great variety of accounts, much 
more important to the people of Europe, than nearly all the other 
unexplored regions of that vast continent. 


There is, it must be confessed, no difficulty in accounting for onr 
extreme want of information as to tlie interior of Tunis, Tripoly, and 
Algiers. For such lias been the jealous ferocity of their respective 
governments, ever since their first lawless establisliment, that the 
enterprizing European adventurers, who visited Africa, seemed to 
prefer throwing themselves on the mercy of the wild savages of 
Ethiopia, rather than venture amongst wretches who make a 
merit of plunder and assassination. Gratifying as a more minute 
description of the above named states than has hitherto appeared, 
must undoubtedly prove to the public at large, I fear there is not 
much probability of that desiralile object being accomplished, while 
the present order of things continue. In the mean time, there is no 
reason why we should not- avail ourselves of the materials already 
within onr reach, for the purpose of illustrating a subject, with which 
it is hoped the future destiny of Europe will be linked in a very dif- 
ferent way to what it has been during the last three hundred years.* 

Notwithstanding those difficulties which might have been sup- 
posed to impede the progress of my enquiries, yet the circumstance of 
knowing how little had been published on the subject of Algiers, 
determined me to collect all the information I possibly could while on 
the spot ; and a perusal of most of those works which have appeared 
on Barbary since my return to Ital^ , confirmed me in an opinion that 
the details thus collected, would not be altogether unacceptable to 
the public : particularly as I had recourse to all those individuals, 

* A young friend of mine, who is strongly imbued with the rage for exploring, and 
by a most unusual coincidence possesses an ample private fortime to promote his very 
praiseworthy views, left England for Tunis about eighteen months ago, with the full 
intention of going through all the interior of that regency if permitted. As he was 
extremely well supplied with books and instruments, I sincerely hope no trifling obstacle 
will induce him to relinquish so useful an undertaking ; and confess I look forward with 
considerable anxiety to the rpsult of his labours : knowing that from the little I have 
myself witnessed in that quarter, no part of the world contains a richer mine for the 
of an intelligent traveller. — Ed. 

o 2 


wliether oonimercial or otherwise, who were likely to afford the most 
authentic accounts of whatever I wished to be informed upon. 

In all attempts to describe the manners and customs of Maho- 
metans, it is of course totally impossible to avoid going over a great 
deal of ground already trodden by other travellers. Nor will it, I pre- 
sume, be expected : for although nil novi sub sole, may be justly 
applied to most subjects, I certainly claim some little exception in the 
present instance. Anxious that the following account of manners 
and customs in Algiers may contribute to the reader's amusement, my 
utmost ambition will be gratified if it should also be found to convey 
a little useful instruction. However defective my labours may have 
been, I shall not imitate the Abbé de Choisi, who, after having pub- 
lished a history of the church, was heard to declare : " Now that my 
work is printed, I shall begin to study the ecclesiastical history V 
" How did you acquire all your wisdom'^'' was asked of some of the 
ancient philosophers. " By interrogating those 1 met upon all that I 
was in-norant <>/"" was the sage's reply. 



Babbary. — Derivation of its Name. — Soil, and Climate. — Short View of its 
general History , and o/ Algiers in particular. — Geographical Description. 
—Monuments and Remains of Antiquity. — The Capital described. 

That pai-t of northern Africa called Barbary, has, like most other 
countries, furaished the learned with a controversy about the origin 
of its name : some deriving it from the Arabic word Ber, which sig- 
nifies a desert ; but this cannot surely apply to countries so rich and 
fertile. Others have fancied they could trace the appellation to a 
nearly similar sound with the above, meaning a man who speaks 
through his teeth. This is equally fallacious, not answering, in any 
way, to the present dialect of the Moors. In search of another deri- 
vative, the Romans are said to have styled it Barbary, from the 
ferocious character of its inhabitants ; but, in addition to there being 
no historical record of this kind, a little reflection will show the im- 
probability of such a significant epithet applying to a country which 
was civilized almost as early as their own ; and containing, in after 
times, by far the finest colonies they possessed. Its extreme afli- 
nity to the modern inhabitants of this extensive region, proves very 
strongly, that the word Barbary is of much more recent invention 
than the time of the Romans. The most generally received opinion 
of the present day, traces it to Bereber, the country of shepherds ; 
while some, however, deduce it from Berberi, people inhabiting near 
a strait. Be this as it may, no country on earth is more highly 
favoured by nature : and, next to Egypt, it was, while under the 
Roman yoke, justly regarded as the richest, and most productive of 


its provinces, and the granary of the state. Some writers honored this 
coast with the flattering title of soul of tlie republic, and jewel of 
the empire. It was also considered the very first refinement in the 
luxury of those days, to possess a villa or estate on this smiling 

The climate is soft and salubrious : and the seasons follow 
each other in the gentlest succession ; in autumn the heats are exces- 
sive, but generally tempered by northerly winds. There are very few 
diseases peculiar to Barbary ; it has not been visited by the plague 
for a period of twenty-five years, though raging with so much vio- 
lence in the neighbouring island of Malta, and farther on at Gibral- 
ter. It is far from being indigenous to this country, and no 
greater proof could be adduced of its extreme salu1)vity, than that 
of having escaped epidemic disorders for so long a time, without the 
many and often ineifectual precautions adopted for their prevention 
in more civilized countries. What, thereiore, might not be expected 
in Barbary, if only a little care was taken, to avoid the introduction 
of disease i 

This immense coast, extending from the Atlantic ocean to Alex- 
andria in Egypt, more than two thousand miles, and from north to south 
nearly five hundredin some parts, comprehends the ancient Mauritania, 
Numidia and Lybia ; the country of the Massili, Getuli, and Gara- 
mantes. All these states, which attained a flourishing condition under 
independent governments, w ere successively conquered by the Roman 
arms, and continued to share the various fortunes of the empire until the 
reign of Valentinian III. A. D. 428. when Count Boniface, disgustedby 

* What a striking and melancholy contrast to the above, is exhibited by the following 
extract, representing the state of Africa after the invasion of the Vandals : " Many of the 
most flourishing and populous cities with which it was filled, were so entirely ruined, that 
uo vestiges remained to point out where they were situated. That fertile territory which 
sustained the Roman empire, still lies in a great measure uncultivated ; and that province 
which Victor Vitensis in his barbarous Latin called speciosilas lotius terree Jlorenlls, is 
now the retreat of banditti."- — Robertson's Charles V. Vol. I. p. 240. — Ed. 


the intrigues of the court and ingratitude of his master, became a traitor; 
and calling in the aid of the Vandals, who had already desolated a 
great part of Europe, the arms of those cruel fanatics soon triumphed 
over the degenerate descendants of Rome. Contemporary authors 
have left us a detailed account of the disasters which marked the 
progress of this dreadful invasion. They found a country well cultivated, 
the ornament of earth and of nature. There was no part of this fine 
region that could escape the rage of its barbarous conquerors : the 
vines were pulled up by the roots, trees cut down, and houses destroyed. 
In order that the unfortunate inhabitants should have no means of 
existing in the country, they obliged the prisoners to declare where 
treasures were concealed, and the number of discoveries made in this 
way only seemed to increase their avidity for more. Not only were all 
the public edifices and temples razed, but whole cities left without a 
single inhabitant. It is related, that when any strong places refused 
to surrender, the invaders would collect an immense number of pri- 
soners under the walls, and having put them all to the sword, left 
the bodies above ground to infect the atmosphere, and thus gain, by 
this shocking stratagem, what their arms could not effect.* 

The Emperor Justinian having strengthened his own government 
by wise laws and liberal institutions, wishing to revive the splendor 
of the throne by reconquering the finest provinces of the empire, lost 
through the imbecility of his predecessors, selected the great Belisa- 
rius, who entered Africa at the head of a large army. Finding the 
Vandals weakened by internal divisions, and enervated by sloth, 
he experienced very little ditficulty in subduing their chief, Gelimer. 

Several victories were followed by the triumphant entiy of Beli- 
sarius into Carthage; and for a time, at least, this fine country was 

* 111 noticing the exterminating effects of the wars which desolated Africa, from the 
arrival of the Vandals until the expedition of Belisarius, Procopius, a contemporary histo- 
rian observes : " Africa was so entirely dispeopled, that you niight travel several days in 
it without meeting one man ; and it is no exaggeration to say, that in the course of the 
war which ensued on the arrival of Belisarius, five millions of human souls perished."— AV. 


destined to be governed by its old masters; bnt as Robertson justly 
observes, great men can form and matnre an infant people, bvit 
they cannot restore the vigour of youth to old and corrupted nations.* 
The empire, enfeebled by its prodigality, and torn with internal dis- 
cord, was fast hurrying towards its ruin, and being no longer able to 
make its authority respected, or prevent foreign encroachments, 
Africa, which had suffered a century from the extortions of Greek 
prefects, fell under the dominion of the caliphs, whose new religion 
enabled them with its usual auxiliary, the sword, to extend their 
empire from the banks of the Tigris to the western extremity of this 
great continent. An open country, without fortresses or tioops to 
defend it, was not likely to oppose any very formidable resistance to 
the victorious successors of Mahomet. In the course of time, the 
new conquerors who continued to possess Barbary, detached them- 

* This profound remark of the Scottish historian, has been enlarged upon by Chateau- 
briand, in a passage of his Itineraire. Its ingenious turn- of thought, and depth of reflection, 
have seldom been exceeded by this charming writer. As it includes a well merited tribute 
of applause to the persecuted Belisarius, whose singularly heroic character is greatly 
enhanced by the comparatively dark age in which he lived, and as the truly great cannot 
be too frequently held up for example, I hope to be excused for giving the original. 
" Bélisaire au reste étoit digne de ces succès. C'étoit un de ces hommesqui paroissent de 
loin à loin dans les jours du vice. Pour iuterrompre le droit de prescription contre la 
vertu. Malheureusement ces nobles ames qui brillant au milieu de la bassesse, ne produi- 
sent aucune revolution. Elles ne sont point liées aux affaires humaines de leur temps ; 
étrangères et isolées dans le present, elles ne peuvent avoir aucune influence sur l'avenir. 
Le monde roule sur elles, sans les entrainer; mais aussi elles ne peuvent arréter le monde. 
Pour qui les ames d'une haute nature soient utiles à la société, il faut qu'elles naissent chez 
un peuple qui conserve le gout de l'ordre, de la religion et des moeurs, et dont le genie et 
le caractére soient en rapport avec sa position morale et politique. Dans le siécle de Beli- 
saire, les èvénemens étoient grands et les hommes petits. C'est pourquoi les annales de ce 
siécle, bien que remplies de catastrophes tragiques, nous revoltent et nous fatiguent. Nous 
ne cherchons point, dans l'histoire, les revolutions qui maitrisent et écrasent les hommes, 
mais les hommes qui commandent aux revolutions, et qui soient plus puissans que la for- 
tune. L'universe bouleversé par les Barbares ne nous inspire que de l'horreur et du 
mépris ; nous sommes éternellement et justement occupés d'une petite querelle de Sparte 
et d'Athénes dans un petit coin de la Greece." — Itin. Voi. IL p. 272. — Ed. 


selves from the Saracens of the East, creating an emir, who was 
from that time considered as entirely independent of the caliphs, and 
other Mahometan rulers. 

The present territory of Algiers was the Mauritania, Tingitana, 
or C.^SARiENSisof the Romans. The names of Jugurtha, and Massa- 
nissa, are familiar to all the readers of Roman history; and Juba, its last 
king, bravely, according to the philosoi)hy of that day, put an end to 
his own existence on losing the battle of Thapsus, fought against 
Julius Csesar ; whose enemies he joined in the African war, which 
ended by the conqueror of Pharsalia declaring Mauritania a Roman 
colony. It was afterwards, during the reign of Claudius, divided 
into two provinces, the Tingitana, and Casariensis, from the cele- 
brated city of Julia Caesaria, noticed by Dr. Shaw, and other 

Referring to that part of its modern history, out of which the 
piratical system has sprung, it will be sufficient for our present 
purpose to state, that the Saracen chief Eutemi, who styled 
himself king of Algiers in the beginning of the sixteenth century, 
alarmed at the progress of the Spanish army, during the admi- 
nistration of the celebrated Cardinal Ximenes, which had already 
become masters of Oran, called in to his assistance two famous 
pirates. Home and Hayradin, the terror of whose names, at the above 
period, extended from the Dardanelles to the Straits of Gibralter. 
The infamy of their depredations, united with talents of no common 
cast, gave rise to a belief, that their views had a much greater scope 
than mere piracy : this was amply proved in the end. The ambitious 
Horuc came to Algiers with live thousand men, where he was received 
as a liberator ; but he soon after caused the credulous Eutemi to be 
secretly assassinated, and immediately after made himself master of the 
city. This was followed by driving the Spaniards out of Barbary, 
the conquest of Tremesan and several other states : nor did much time 
elapse, before his fleets, more like those of a great monarch than a 
petty chief, began to infest the coasts of Italy and Spain. Wearied 



Avith a reign which exciiided all repose, some oi' his subjects applied 
for succour to the king of Spain, who made a very spirited attempt 
to liberate them and European commerce from so great a tyrant ; but 
unfortunately, the elements favoured Horuc, and baffled the scheme 
for that time. 

The Spaniards were, however, more successful on a fatine occa- 
sion, when Comares, governor of Oran, having united his forces with 
those of the dethroned sherif of Tremesan, completely routed the 
army of Barbarossa; who, being overtaken in his flight, met the 
punishment due to his crimes. His brother Hayradin succeeded him 
with thesameshareof talentami ambition. Thefameof this man's actions 
made so great a noise, that Solyman, emperor of the Turks, offered 
him the command of his fleet, as the only person who was capable 
of opposing the celebrated Andrea Doria. Hayradin, also surnamed 
Barbarossa, soon after his accession to power, took possession of 
Tunis by stratagem. Driven thence by the victorious arms of Charles 
the Fifth,* he fled to Bona, and embarking there for Constantinople, 
terminated his piratical career some years after in the Turkish capital. 

In an age so favourable to the success of upstart adventurers, 
Barbary was not long without falling a prey to the rapacity of a new 
chief: this was found in the person of Dragut Rais, who had for 
.some time exercised the profitable pursuit of piracy all over the 
Mediterranean ; and though, at first, only secretly encouraged by the 
Porte, he was, in the end, openly assisted with the co-operation of 
Sinan Bashaw, in expelling the knights of Malta from Tripoli, in 
1551. The success of this enterprize was soon followed by the com- 
plete re-establishment of the Porte's influence as far as Morocco, which 
has never acknowledged its sovereignty. 

For many years after, the three regencies of Tripoli, Tunis, and 
Algiers, were supplied with governors, and a proportion of troops 
from Constantinople. In progress of time, however, several flagrant 

* For an account of that celebrated expedition, the reader is referred to Robertson's 
History of Charles N .—Ed. 


abuses were found to arise fiom this mode of sending chiefs ; and 
when, upon any occasion, they became too intolerable at Algiers, the 
janizaries sent deputations to Constantinople, for the double purpose 
of complaint, and solicitation to have another appointed in their 
place. When once the complaints of the soldiery were listened to, the 
future chiefs named by the Porte, were little more than ambassadors ; 
till, at length, in one of those commotions so frequent at Algiers, 
the Ottoman Pasha was quietly put on board a ship, the captain of 
which received directions for him to be landed at Constantinople. 
Since that time, all the power of election has remained in the hands 
of the Janizaries. 

The original stipulation with these chiefs, of acknowledging the 
Grand Seignor as their sovereign, and paying him a yearly tribute, 
it is hardly necessary to add, has long since become a dead letter, ex- 
cept when these marauders have found it convenient to obtain the 
countenance and support of their nominal master ; and then a well- 
timed present has seldom been thrown away upon the disinterested 
despot of Turkey. 

A late writer, after detailing the principal events which have 
led to the nefarious and unlawful establishments of these execrable 
governments, concludes by the following very just observation : " thus, 
Barbary, after experiencing the most extraordinary revolutions; and 
after holding, at different periods, a very conspicuous place in the poli- 
tical world, has degenerated into a permanent receptacle for licensed 
piracy; for though the Barbary powers have assumed to themselves, 
all the consequence of independent sovereignties, and are honored 
with the presence of accredited ministers from some of the most dis- 
tinguished states in Europe ; yet, from their total disregard of those 
laws which other nations have held sacred and inviolable, and from 
their unwarrantable system of exacting tribute as the terms of their 
forbearance ; collectively, they still are to be considered in no better 
light, than as a nation of free-booters, which the jealousy, or rais- 

p 2 


taken policy of more powerful states have hitherto prevented them 
from destroy in ij."'^* 

The history of the Barbary states, however varied by events, ex- 
hibiting an almost unexampled series of invasions, conquests, and 
atrocities, does not, as many have very properly observed, possess 
either the interest or importance excited by that of more civilized 
nations ; where noble sentiments are seen combined with feelings of 
honorable ambition. The history of this country furnishes instances 
of ardent passions, criminal designs, and dreadful crimes ; but we 
look in vain for those enlarged views, heroic actions, and glorious 
results, which can alone render the study of history either useful or 

The regency of Algiers includes above six hundred miles of sea 
coast, between the river Melooia, which sepaiates it from Morocco^ 
and the Zaine, its eastern boundary ; while its extreme breadth, from 
the capital to the country of Dates, does not exceed one hundred and 
eighty .t It is bounded on the west by the kingdom of Fez, the chain 
of the Atlas and Bikidelgerid on the south, Tunis on the east, and 
the Mediterranean sea on the north. 

The Dey's absolute domination extends four days journey from 
the capital. Beyond that, until you reach the Biludelgerid, is inhabited 
by wandering tribes, who merely pay tribute when the army takes 
its annual tour through the country. 

* Historical Memoirs of Barbary, 1816. 
t Dr. .Shaw, whose book derives a great portion of its value from the circum- 
stance of no other traveller's having ever minutely described the same ground, or per- 
haps gone over it, only allows four hundred and sixty miles length to the territory of 
Algiers; and in this he has been followed by several other writers. Yet by the reader's 
referring to the map, he will immediately perceive the extent of this error, there 
being between the jVIelooia and Zaine, no less than eleven degrees of longitude, making 
in all six hundred and forty-nine miles. I confess, it would be absurd for any person, 
in our present ignorance of this part of Africa, and total want of an accurate survey 
of the coast, to bring forward geographical descriptions, which there are no certain 
means of substantiating. — Ed. 


The regency is divided into four provinces, Mascara, Algiers, 
Titterie, and Constantina. Labez is a mountainous district which 
pays tribute ; and Biscara is another poor tributary country 
in tlie kingdom of Zeb. Between Algiers and Bugia to the south, 
are the mount tins of Couco, inhabited by the Azagui, a ferocious 
people whom the Deys have never reduced into complete subjection. 
Towai'ds Fez is tlie little desert of Angad, much frequented by beasts of 
prey and ostriches. Previous to reaching the lesser Atlas there is a large 
tractof country called Tell, from thence commences thecountry of Dates. 

The most considerable river in this part of Africa is the Melooia, 
the ancient Malva, a part of which is navigable for small ve.ssels. 
Besides this there are .several minor streams west of the capital, of 
which the Shellif and Hamiman are the most conspicuous ; while its 
eastern side is profusely watered by the Yisser, Boberack, Zowah, Sei- 
bouse, and Zaine. A place, called the Seventy Sources, rising in the 
Atlas towards the Desert of Angad, is spoken of as one of the greatest 
curiosities to be found on the whole territory of Algiers. The country 
abounds in springs, and besides the range of the great Atlas which 
runs through the Algerine states from east to west, there are several other 
mountaiiis, such as Gibbel Auress, Mons Aurasia of the ancients, the 
mountains of Trara, forming its western confines towards Tremecen, 
and Mas-Affran, the Jugura, Gibbel Deera, &c. 

The principal cities are Algiers, containing about one hundred 
and twenty thousand souls ; Constantina, with a population of one 
hundred thousand; Tremisan, once the capital of a great kingdom, 
but now reduced to iusigniticance ; Bona, which has an excellent 
bay and strong castle ; Oran, a large and populous town with a tole- 
rably good roadstead, and within a few miles east of which there is 
a fine bay capable of receiving the largest fleets. Tenez, at one 
time the capital of a rich and beautiful kingdom ; Boujeiah, 
which is very strong, and possesses a much larger port than Algiers, 
though not quite so secure; Mersalquivir, a place of some conse- 
quence; and Shersliell, where there is also good anchorage ; Arzew. 


celebrated for its extensive salt pits, the finest in the world ; El-cal- 
lah, renowned for its great market and manufactures of shawls and 
carpets ; Bleeda, a populous town in the interior ; and also Gigeri 
on the sea coast: the territory of which is extremely mountainous, and 
the inhabitants considered the most savage and ferocious race in Bar- 
bary. All those christians who happen to be wrecked on this coast, 
are invariably made slaves of. There are various other large towns 
and populous districts in this fine country, many of which have scarcely 
been visited by any European traveller. It is hoped, however, that the 
time is not far distant, when we shall have something more than gar- 
bled information and uncertain conjectures to gratify our curiosity about 
so interesting a quarter of the world. For the present, it is of more im- 
portance to enable the reader to form a tolerably correct idea of its 
manners and customs. 

Travelling in the interior is attended with many difficulties, 
owing to there being no bridges; and as to roads, they would clash 
with the policy of the government, by facilitating the progress of an 
enemy, and opening a trading intercourse between the people ; which, 
strange paradox ! it is the interest of the Dey to suppress. 

Notwithstanding the amazing number of fine cities containing 
all that was splendid or beautiful in Roman art, which each of the 
African colonies, and particularly Mauritania, possessed, the exter- 
minating fury of its various invaders have left comparatively a very 
small part of its monuments standing, to gratify the curiosity of the 
modems. The few, however, which remain, amply serve to confirm 
those ideas we are taught to entertain of their former magnificence, by 
contemporary historians. The total impossibility of exploring this 
country while in the hands of its present inhabitants, renders it probable 
thatweshallyetseemany years passaway, before any adequate notion can 
be formed of the extent of those treasures which it no doubt contains. 
Until the happy period of opening the mine arrives, it is the province 
of travellers to point out where the hidden treasures are concealed. 

Of medals an infinite variety are continually found in the 


Algerine provinces : those of Punic and Carthaginian origin, are 
distinguished by great beauty of design and uncommon spirit in the 
figures. Who has not admired the celebrated head of Ceres, vulgarly 
supposed to be that of Dido, also peculiar to the coins of Syracuse ? 
The horse on its reverse is in general equally spirited with the head. 
Those medals bearing a lion, with a Punic inscription underneath, 
which has hitherto baffled the most learned antiquaries, is with 
reason supposed to be anterior to the former, but in point of correct 
drawing and exact imitation of nature, nothing can exceed their 
execution. Great quantities of cameos, bronzes, and imperial coins are 
continually found, and if not destroyed by the superstitious zeal of 
the Arabs, are brought into Algiers, and sold to the different consuls. 
How truly gratifying it would be to the whole European public, were 
it in the power of any tourist to explore this part of Africa, and 
ascertain what there is remaining of Lambese,^ Thubann,Cartera, and 
Rusicadu, of which Pliny gives so high an idea, also of Sana-Muni- 
vipium, so celebrated in the age of Augvistus. The ancient Tusca is 
now called Zaine, after the river on whose banks it is built. Tipasu 
is at present known by the name of Tlassul, and both are mere 

* Ur. Shaw thinks he discovered the remains of this great city some leagues eastward 
of Constantina, in the Tezzoute or Erba of the Moors. Of this part of Algiers he gives 
the following interesting description : " The mountains of Auress, to the southward of 
Constantina, are a knot of eminences running into one another, with several little plains 
and vallies between them. Both the higher and the lower parts are generally extremely fer- 
tile, and are esteemed the garden of the kingdom : they are about a hundred and thirty 
miles in circuit, and all over them are spread a number of ruins ; the most remarkable of 
which are those of L'Erba, the Lambese of the ancients. These ruins are nearly three 
feag^z^e-s in circumference ; and amongst others, consist of magnificent remains of several 
of the city gates : these, according to a tradition of the Arabs, were four in number, and 
the city could send forty thousand armed men out of each. There are still also (o be seen 
the seats and upper part of an amphitheatre ; the frontispiece of a beautiful temple of the 
Ionic order dedicated to Esculapius ; a small but elegant mausoleum erected in the form 
of a dome, supported by Corinthian columns ; and a large oblong chamber, with a great 
gate on each side, intended, perhaps, for a triumphal arch. These, and several other edi- 
fices of the like nature, sufficiently shew the importance of this city in former times." — Ed. 


villages. There are some remains of Siga, and of Pontns Divini, 
mentioned by Strabo. At Dugga are seen vast ruins, amongst the 
rest a temple of marble, supposed to have been dedicated to the 
apotheosis of Trajan. The small city of Andalouse , founded by 
the Moors who were driven out of Spain, is still in existence; 
shewing the fondness which even these people had for keeping 
np the remembrance of their lost country. At Shershell is sup- 
posed to be seen the remains of Julia Cissaria, the ruins con- 
sist of large cisterns, mosaic pavements, columns, &c. Arzew is 
the Arsenaria of antiquity. But the most interesting spot in this 
country, is Cirta, now Constantina, and once the capital of Massa- 
nissa, one of the most beautiful situations in all Africa, and full of 
the finest remains.* At Medraschem is seen a stupendous fabric, sup- 
posed to be the tomb of Syphax and other Numidian kings. In this 
ruin the Arabs fancy that great treasures are buried ; but being guarded 
by the black spirits, they cannot get possession of them. There are 
also very extensive ruins on the mountains of Conco Lahez, but these 
are supposed to be of Arabic origin. The whole country, in fact, 
exhibits innumerable traces of what it was in better times ; and con- 
tiasted with its present degraded situation only serves to heighten our 
regret, at the lamentable change in its destiny. 

Algiers, which many liave confounded with Ctesaria, is now gene- 
rally supposed to be the Jomninm of antiquity, the former having had 
a fine port, which could not exist at Algiers in those days : as the 
most accurate observations prove it to have been an island called 
Al Guisars, which the Arabs joined to the main, giving it the addi- 

* Poiret, a French traveller, who visited the Algerine territory in 1789, has the fol- 
lowing remark on this city : " Nous entrames ensuite dans le province de Gigiri, qui n'offre 
rien de remarquable ; il n'en est pas de raeme de Constantina capitale de la province du 
meme nom. Cette ville offre partout aux curieux des precieux restes de son ancienne 
magnificence. On ne peut se prqmener au milieu de ses colonnes renversées, de ses tem- 
ples detruit sans éprouver un sentiment douloureux qui nous porte à pleurer sur le rivage 
de temps et les miseres humaines." — Ed. 


tional appellation of Gezlr bene Mozana, from the family who 
founded the city. By the Moors and Turks it is styled Aljelzir Algu- 
zie, Algiers, the warlike. 

The position of this place is remarkably strong, and it is defended 
by several very formidable batteries : that of the Round Castle is bomb 
proof; those of Rabat Baker, which defend the port, are built with 
great solidity, and even elegantly formed. The castle oiSit Alcolett has 
also great command over the water. The Star Battery, and that of 
the Emperor, are chiefly usefol against a besieging enemy by land. 
A deep ditch surrounds the city walls, the lower parts of which are in 
many places composed of marble. The Casserbach, and Castle of 
Alcasabar, in the city, are both very fine fortifications, and have 
generally large garrisons. There are usually four or five thousand 
men to work the guns in case of sudden assault ; but nothing can 
exceed their ignorance of artillery and bad management of cannon. 
It should be observed, that a land force would have many advantages 
over a maritime one in the attack of Algiers, owing to the positions 
afforded by the surrounding hills, many of which command the town 
and its works. 

This city, with its white-washed houses, rising in amphitheatric 
order one above another, affords the inhabitants a fine prospect of 
the sea, and, as already obsei-ved, is extremely beautiful as you approach 
it by water. Tlie charm dissolves, however, most effectually on enter- 
ing the town, where there is nothing to excite admiration. The streets 
are so excessively narrow, that in some, two persons can scarcely walk 
abreast each other. This strange style of building is thought to arise 
from its affording a better shade, and more protection in case of earth- 
quakes; by one of which Algiers suiFered considerably in 1717. From 
the streets being concave and rising on each side, the greatest inconve- 
nience arises to men and animals in passing through them ; for when a 
Moor passes on horseback, you are obliged to get close up by the 
houses to prevent being trampled under foot.* When M. de la Con- 

* Paris, ^' la plus belle ville du monde I" is in many places, as far as relates to foot 



damine first saw the fine pavement which ornaments the sides of every 
street in London, lie exclaimed, " O happy country I where even those 
who go on foot are thought of." There are no shops in Algiers worth 
looking at. The rain water is received into cisterns, and there is a large 
fountain or resen^oir, whose water is conveyed by an aqueduct, and 
thence profusely distributed all over the city in conduits made for the 

There are nine great mosques, and fifty smaller ones in Algiers; 
three public schools, with several bazars and market places. Its 
finest public buildings are those of the five Casserias, which serve 
as barracks for the soldiery ; there are also five lock up houses for 
the slaves, near which is a market for their sale ! 

The Pascialick, or Dey's palace, has two great courts, which are 
surrounded with spacious galleries, supported by two rows of marble 
columns : its interior ornaments chiefly consist of mirrors, clocks, and 
carpets. There are several taverns in the city kept by Christian 
slaves; and these are often frequented even by the Turks and Moors. 
There is, however, no convenience for sleeping; so that those who 
enter Algiers from the country, are obliged to lodge at the house of 
some friend. European merchants visiting this place, hire apart- 
ments in the houses of Jews. 

The level country round the town on its land side extends about 
four leagues, when it becomes mountainous. The immediate vicinity of 
Algiers is supposed to contain no less than twenty thousand vineyards 
and gardens; while the beauty of its environs is by no means inferior 
to thoseof Richmond, Chantilly, or Fiesole;* butitseflect is destroyed 

passengers, very little better than the African city. And notwithstanding the very liberal 
remarks and imaginary witticisms of its bombastic editors about the smoke of London, I 
doubt after all if it is not somewhat less intolerable than a Parisian pave. — Ed. 

* A lofty eminence within three miles of Florence, and which should be visited by 
all those who are desirous of enjoying one of the most enchanting prospects in Italy. The 
town, which does not at present contain much more than a thousand inhabitants, was for- 
merly a large capital ; but lost its importance on the foundation of Florence, to which its 
inhabitants were transferred. Its Etruscan wall and amphitheatre are still particularly well 
worthy of antiquarian research and observation. — Ed. 


when we reflect on the people into whose possession so fine a country 
has fallen. The landscape is truly delightful, if only seen in a passing 
and rapid glance : but when the eye rests on it, the barrenness and 
aridity of many spots are disclosed, shewing the contempt of its bar- 
barous inhabitants for agriculture and cultivation, the place of which 
they supply, by dedicating themselves to war and plunder. 

From the foregoing chapter, intended to give some idea of the 
history and geographical position of this countiy, the reader's curiosity 
is naturally led to a consideration of its various productions. 




Fossils, Minerals, and other natural Productions of Barbary.. — Trees and 
Vegetables.— The Lotus and Palm. Tree.—Domsetic Animals.— The Barb, 
Camel, and Dromedary. — Wild Animals.— Birds, Reptiles, Scorpions, and 

It is a singular fact, in the natural history of Barbary, that its sur- 
face exhibits less appearance of violent changes, than most other 
parts of the globe. Nor have the encroachments of the sea beea 
by any means so conspicuous on this continent, as that of Europe. 
The northern shore of Africa is generally about the same height 
from the level of the sea, as Spain and Italy. 

Hitherto iron and lead are the principal metals which have been 
discovered : the fonner, which is the most common, is strongly im- 
pregnated with clay, to which it gives a dark yellow tinge, the sandy 
particles turning black. Many have asserted, that the great Atlas 
abounds in gold ; but as yet, this is mere theory. It being once pro- 
posed to the Bey of Tunis, to open mines there, he very philosophi- 
cally replied, that gold and silver had caused the ruin of America ; 
that, having no use for those metals, where was the necessity of search- 
ing for them I Tliis moral lesson concluded, by his highness ob- 
serving, that it is much better to leave the precious metals in the 
bowels of the earth, where nature had intentionally concealed them I 
Thus, unexpectedly corroborating the opinion of Horace, 

Aurura irrepertum, et sic melius situm 
Cum terra cfelat, spernere fortior. 


Quàm cogere humanos in usus 
Omne sacrujn rapiente dextra.* 

Various marbles, jasper, and porphyry, are also found here, 
though not in great quantities ; vermilion is more abundant, being 
found at a place called Zekker.f There is also, in this neighbourhood, a 
small, but very transparent crystal called Salenites; and the surround- 
ing country abounds in a soapy earth, which is used in the baths to 
give whiteness to the skin. Towards the range of the Atlas, the 
mountain soil is calcareous ; on the southern side it partakes more of 
quartz ; the sand varies, from being white and fine, to dark and fer- 
ruginous. Minerals and hot springs are very numerous. Besides those 
of Haman near Bona, described by several travellers, the enchanted 
baths of wliich Shaw gives so interesting an account, are the greatest 
curiosities of the kind any where to be seen : these springs rise a few 
leagues eastward of Constantina, in a deep valley ; sending forth a 
dense vapour, almost insufferable to the smell. The chief ingredients in 
these singular waters, are sulphur and bitumen : they are in a constant 
state of ebullition, and rushing out of small circular apertures form a 
crater, curiously incrusted with various calcareous deposits, beautiful 
stalactites of sulphur, and native vitriol. The water boils so intensely 
here, as to raise the quicksilver to seventy-seven degrees of Reaumur. 
Not far from the hot springs there are others of an extremely cold 
temperature : the ground in their immediate vicinity, is so ardent, as to 
render it scarcely po.ssible to walk over it : and murmuring sounds are 

* Let her the golden mine despise ; 
For deep in earth it better lies. 
Than when by hands profane, from nature's store. 
To human use compell'd, flames forth the sacred ore. — Carmen III. 


t Mr. Murray has furnished a very valuable chapter on the natural history of this con- 
tinent, acknowledged to be from the pen of Mr. Jameson, the very enlightened and scien- 
tific professor of natural history at Edinburgh. See Chap. III. of Travels and Discoveries 
in Africa. — Ed. 

118 CORAL. 

constantly heard to issue from beneath, so as to give quite a super- 
natural effect to the scene. These sources are much frequented by the 
Moors, and are said to possess great virtues in all rheumatic aftec- 
tions. There are some Roman ruins close to them, supposed to have 
been built for the convenience of visitors in former days. 

The banks of several rivers are covered with particles of salt and 
nitre : the former substance predominates to such a degree in the 
Algerine territory, that, besides the various sources of salt water, 
and mountains composed of it, there are many shihhas, signifying 
fields covered with salt. These, in the winter, are full of water, 
and look like lakes, but when dry, they assume all the appearance of 
water-meadows, covered with the finest verdure : some have a hard 
thick bottom, without any mixture of earth or sand ; and this is formed 
by a stratum of crystallized gravel. The salt collected at Arzewis as 
clear as rock crj^-stal. 

One of the finest and most useful commercial productions of 
this coast, is coral ; of which immense cjuantities are procured between 
La Cala and Bona. This most singular production comes from its pro^ 
lific bed in three different forms: it is a group of living polypi when 
first drawn up; and is seen charged with clusters of little round ber- 
ries, and a viscous humour, which seems to issue from the top of the 
branches, where they form white drops, which some naturalists have 
thought to be the flower of coral : but they are, in reality, living ani- 
mals, who exist in the hollow cells situated along the internal part of 
the branches. The second form converts it into the superb tree, which 
soon becomes a hard mineral substance. The l)olypi die, but their 
death is not a petrifaction, it is a species of ossification. Coral is, pro- 
perly speaking, neither a stone, plant, nor mineral, but rather a 
metamorphosis of innumerable polypi : it is like an extensive genea- 
logical tree, where the great polypus is covered with its numerous 
posterity, the son becomes the tomb of the father; and the whole 
sharing one common fate, only change their existence, for a state of 
more pei manence and solidity : thus furnishing rather an apt emblem of 


those prudent sons of earth, who plod along the frigid career of life, 
only intent upon accumulating the means of future repose. 

A happy combination of warmth and humidity, gives a great 
degree both of vigour and magnificence, to the vegetable productions 
of Barbary. Although the lower class subsist principally on barley, 
yet wheat and Indian corn is extremely abundant. There is also a 
species of chick-peas, which is roasted in a pan, and thus forms an 
important article of consumption amongst the people. The prickly 
pear abounds all over this country, and what it wants in picturesque 
beauty, is made up by its utility; for while the tree forms an im- 
penetrable hedge, the fruit is excessively nutritive and wholesome. 
Vines grow to a prodigious height, and passing naturally fiom one 
tree to another, form beautiful arbours: their size is equally remark- 
able, being sometimes as large at the root, as a tolerably proportioned 
olive tree. The latter is also a very favourite production of northern 
Africa ; and besides the immense quantities of trees, wild and culti- 
vated, the Algerine territory produces a small thorny tree, which 
bears a fruit equal in size and flavour to the large olive of Spain. 
Their pomegranates are at least three times larger than those of Italy, 
and the pumpkins grow to an enormous magnitude. In addition to 
all those fruits common to Europe, the oranges and figs of this 
country are of the most exquisite flavour; the chesnut tree does not 
grow to a very large size in Barbary, but the nut though small is very 
sweet. The oaks are in some places, particularly on the sea coast, 
of an immense size, and extremely lofty : of these the quercus ballota 
of naturalists also abounds, its acorn being very nourishing to several 
animals, and not unlike the wild chesnut. This important tree, so well 
known in Spain, would also be a great acquisition to Italy, into which 
it has not hitherto been introduced. Amongst different species of the 
cypress, there is one seen in the vicinity of Algiers, remarkable for its 
unusual loftiness, and pyramidical form; the almond and mulberry tree 
are also found in great abundance. The indigo fera glauca, yields a 
valuable dye; and there is a highly esteemed medicinal plant found 


in this part of Africa, viili^^arly called cineraria, Aviiich is considered 
by the natives as a sovereign remedy in several diseases. Another 
herb, the xenna, furnishes the inhabitants with the celebrated juice 
with which their nails are tinged. Amongst botanical plants is the 
Scilla marittima, the bulbosa radicata, and dwarf palm, which 
yields an exceedingly small date ; also the sacchariim celindricum and 
agrostis pungens. In the more arid vallies are to be found the 
reseda odorata, erica arborea, and superb cactus ; all of which afford 
excellent pasture for lambs, while they perfume the air with grateful 
odours ; also the laurel rose, which cheers and vivifies the country, 
when all other flowers are dried up by autumnal heat. The hills are 
covered with thyme and rosemary, which at once purify the atmo- 
sphere, and supply in many places the deficiencies of fiiel ; the traveller's 
sight is also continually regaletl with extensive tracts thickly planted 
with roses of every hue, for the distillation of the famous essence or 
otto of roses so well known in Europe. This fine climate has at all 
times been highly favorable to the culture of sugar cane; that oi' Soli- 
man, being considered the largest and most prolific of any in the 
world. Indeed this plant is thought by many to be indigenous to Bar- 
bary, from whence, together with Sicily, it was originally supplied, 
to the We-st India islands. 

But the most celebrated tree in Africa is the lotus, equally 
renowned by poets and naturalists. Pliny called it the ornamental 
tree of Africa. Its Arabic denomination is Seedra. It is the grand 
symbol of eastern mythology, and tree of many virtues ! The Brah- 
mins of the Ganges relate that Brahma was born in the hallowed 
bosom of the lotus ; and Visnou, emblem of the conservative prin- 
ciple, is represented with a lotus branch of the aquatic species ; indi- 
cating that every thing has sprung from the ocean.* It has a consi- 
derable resemblance to the jujube, but its fruit is smaller, containing 
more substance, and of a round form : its colour is that of saffron 

* M. Pluche, the author of a most learned and entertaining book L' Histoire du del, 
published above seventy years ago at Amsterdam, but very little known in this country, 


growing and becoming ripe on the tree lilce myrtle berries. The negroes 
call it Tomberong, making a kind of bread out of the farinaceous part 
of the fruit, by exposing it in the air for .some days : and, when perfectly 
dry, pounding it in a mortar, the cruder particles are then separated 
from the meal, and these, when mixed with water, make a cooling and 
agreeable beverage. By adding a little flour, and boiling it, this draught 
may be converted into a very savoury and substantial hasty pudding. 
The lotus is also eaten in its natural state as we do plumbs; and it is 
not improbable, but that it used formerly to be distilled into spirit. 
Pliny says, that it gave a name to one of the provinces, the inhabi- 
tants of which, made the lotus their principal food : hence the famous 
Lotophagi, who inhabited the vicinity of the Syrtis Magna, now 
on the coast of Tripoly, between Ben gazi and Cape Mesurata. His- 
torians add, that strangers were so well received by these people, 
that, after having partaken for any time of the lotus, they forget 
their country, and were no longer willing to abandon this hospitable 
shore. The companions of Ulysses absolutely refused to follow their 
master, who conducted them amongst the Lotophagi, and persisted 
in remaining with their new friends. The case is, however, sadly 
altered in the present day : when, so far from feeling any inclination 
to remain in Africa, those who go there, particularly as I did, are 
glad enough to get away as soon as they can. 

The palm tree, another singular production of this continent, 
and frequently met with in Algiers, possesses a much greater share of 
bark than solid wood, yet it is extremely tough and difficult to break. 
It requires thirty years to bring this tree to maturity ; after which they 
continue to bear for sixty, annually yielding from fifteen to twenty 
bunches of dates, weighing as many pounds : these grow beneath the 

gives an interesting illustration of the uses to which the Lotus was applied by the early 
people of Egypt ; and in another part of his work observes : " Le Lotus est une espéce le 
nympheaqui vientabondammentau bord du Nil, et qui outre les secours que les Egyptiens 
tiroient de son fruit, dont ils faisoient du pain, donne aussi une belle fleur qui g'épanouit le 
matin, et se ferme le soir." — Ed. 



leaves, which areali attached to the tniuk, and ijrow directly out of it 
towards the top. When the fruit is taken down, it is enclosed in 
skins, by which its flavour is better preserved, and ripening- greatly 
facilitated. While on the tree, the dates have a yellow tint, which, 
when ripe, changes to a reddish hue : when gathered, tliey ore as sour 
as cyder apples, and it is some time before they acquire sweetness. 
The greatest number of palms in the Algerine territory, are found on 
a range of hills towards the Atlas, called Jibhel Karkaii ; hwt the 
finest dates, though not so large as the produce of this quarter, are 
those which grow in sandy soils, particularly tlie Biledidgerid. 

The various and important uses of this tree have already l>een described 
by travellers; and when we consider the quantity of fruit and lackby it 
yields, together with its ultimate application of being converted into 
rafters for houses, its general utility does not fall very short of the lotus. 
The date tree often grows to the height of eighty and ninety feet ; and 
nothing can be more curious, in the way of climbing, than to witne^^sthe 
facility with which the negroes ascend, without having any place what- 
ever on the branchless trunk to set their feet : the ascent is effected by 
means of a rope fastened to the body, and then passed round the tree. 
In this state the climber supports himself with the left arm, until the 
rope is slipped up by the right hand, when, by pulling it tight, he is 
enabled successively to change his position till the top is gained. I have 
omitted to observe, that the palm also yields a rich syrup like honey, 
which is generally served up as a great luxury, in all the Moorish 
feasts, given by the higher orders : this syrup, if kept many days, 
ferments, aud becomes very good lackby. In some places, the fibrous 
bark of the tree is spun into cord ibr rope, and thread to make sails : 
while the leaves are transformed into fans, parasols, work-baskets, and 
various other ornaments. 

In opposition to the general nature of plants, which do not pros- 
per in the spot on which similar ones have perished, the palm springs 
up with increased vigour on the ashes of its predecessor. This curious 
fact is by the Italian traveller Mariti, supposed to have furnished 


eastern mytliologists witli the marvellous regeneration of the phoenix ; 
that term meaninc,- palm tree, both in the Hebrew and Phoenician 

Next to the cocoa nut of India, and ))read fruit of the Friendly 
Islands, the palm tree is justly considered as that which renders most 
service to humanity : enlivening- the horrid surface of the desert, it 
shields the pilgrim from the scorching rays of a perpendicular sun : 
and feeds and refreshes the traveller who wanders through the dreary 
solitudes. Independently of the nutriiious liquid produced by this 
celebrated tree, which may be converted into wine, spirit, or a cool- 
ing beverage, its fruit has often sustained caravans, which, without 
its friendly aid, might have perished in the pathless waste. 

The palm is also the emblem of glory, triumph, and the heroic 
virtues. The eloquent author of the Harmonies of Nature, has also 
called it the tree of the sun, Varbre par excellence. Like the gnomen 
of that great luminary, its leaves mark the days; while years are repre- 
sented by the circles in its trunk. It is, of all other trees, the most 
graceful : like the Egyptian symbol of immortality tapering towards 
the top until its majestic front spreads before the face of Heaven. 
Ulysses, wishing to explain the secret charm which he felt on being 
near the beautiful queen of Ogygia, compared it to the lively 
transport he exjierienced at Delos, on seeing the wonderful palm 
suddenly spring u[> near the temple of the gods. 

This extraordinary tree also makes a conspicuous figure in the 
loves of the plants ; having afforded a fertile source of ingenious 
imagery and versification to Dr. Darwin. The sexes are clearly dis- 
tinct; the masculine transferring the fruit and its flavour to the 
female plant : when the husk containing the seeds and flowers of the 
fruit, begin to open, a bunch is taken from the masculine and 
scattered over it. The impetuous winds of the north unite the lofty 
cedars of Lebanon, and the trembling zephyrs of morn refresh the 
fragrant rose of Jerico. But the desolating blasts of Africa destroy all 
that comes within their noxious influence. It is therefore necessary, 

R 2 


that art and the fosterina^ care of man, should preside over the oliaste 
hitercourse of the prolific palm. 

Of domestic animals, there is no scarcity in Barbary : the cows 
are smaller than those of Europe, and owing to the want of pasture 
land, do not give much milk, which generally ceases with the loss 
of their calf. Of goats there is a great variety, and some of the 
breeds are unequalled by any others in the world ; their colour seldom 
varies from pure white, which accounts for the dress of the Bedouins ; 
while, from a contrary reason, that of the Spanish peasantry is com- 
posed of dark brown. One of these species is remarkable for a long 
tail : the fat is said to be excellent for frying or making pastry. 
There is another race, which are as high as a good sized deer, to 
which they bear some resemblance, except in the hair, which grows 
long like other goats. The tender mercies of the JMahometan 
religion, regards it as an impiety to mutilate these animals, while it 
is daily practised with perfect indifference on human beings ! The 
asses of Barbary are fully equal to those of Egypt, or the Marches of 
Ancona: these faithful and persecuted animals supply the place of 
landaus and Jiacres to the natives : their sonorous voices discover 
the vicinity of the Arabs at night. Their flesh is held in the highest 
estimation by the Moors, who are as fond of a young suckling as even 
Caius Alnius Mecaenas was in the days of Roman gastronomy. It is 
not to be wondered at, that with sucli horses and asses, the Barbary 
mule should be unequalled : they are more esteemed than the former, 
on account of their sure foot, and carrying a much heavier load. 
Their resistance to fatigue, and regular pace, also gives the mule great 
superiority in this country ; their long step is acquired by having their 
legs extended and kept tied up in that position for some minutes. 
Dogs are hated by the Moors : this accounts for the very flattering 
appellation bestowed so liberally on Christians. Cats, on the other 
hand, are great favourites, and as beautiful as those of Angola. 
United to their natural inclination for this animal, grave and drowsy 
like themselves, there is a certain religious veneration, created by the 


recollection of the prophet's tenderness for a cat, which he once found 
sleeping in the sleeve of his mantle ; which, rather than disturb her, 
he cut off with his sabre, and with the cloak thus mutilated, went to 
offer up his prayers at the sacred shrine. 

The horses of Barbary would be fully equal in beauty and sym- 
metry to those of Arabia, if attended to by the Moors with the same 
care, and like the Arab of the desert, they made a friend of this noble 
animal, and placed their chief pride in his superiority of condition; 
but it is impossible to become attached to, or sufficiently careful of 
them under a despotism like that of Algiers, where no man is sure 
of keeping what he possesses. The horses employed in the Pasha's 
service, are suffered to remain for whole days saddled, with their feet 
bound, exposed to the heat of the sun, and head hanging down, 
which is only raised to cast an ineffectual look on their indolent 
masters. They are also generally broke in too soon ; and this, in a 
mountainous country, has the effect of bringing them down long 
before the usual time : their constant exposure to thirst is another 
great cause of suftering to the Moorish horses. With all these incon- 
veniences, the Barbary horse is extremely active, laborious, and patient 
of fatigue : full of fire and vigour, he often retains his powers to the 
age of thirty ; — he is usually nimble, meagre, and long backed, with 
uncommonly slight limbs : he is not, however, by any means quick iu 
cavalry evolutions. Admirably well calculated by his natural impe- 
tuosity for the charge, he is stubborn when attempted to be trained 
in the various movements of European horsemen ; the barb's mouth 
is so hard, as to require a much stronger bit than that used in Europe; 
the bridle is long, having also a whip at the end of it. They are 
frequently exercised to gallop, with the reins thrown loosely over the 
neck ; and one of the greatest merits of the horseman is to stop them 
suddenly when at full speed. During these equestrian sports, it is 
common to see the Turkish horseman rush up towards a house, wall, 
or tree, and when close to it stop short: this is sometimes practised 
towards friendsby the way of a pleasant joke ; into the spirit of which, 


these gfallant g-entlemeii never could persuade nie to enter, though 
several attempts were made for that purpose. This practice is of course 
veryinjurioustothe horses,andI'have seen many of tlie cavaliers measure 
their length, and like the heroes of the Iliad, bite the dust, in these 
awkward attempts to display their agility. The African horse never 
walks or trots, his pace being a constant gallop while in motion : hence 
the name of Barb is given to race horses. Many celebrated English 
horses, than which there are no finer in the universe, except perhaps, of Nubia, have been bred from the barbs. The horses of 
Barbary are admirably calculated for perpetuating the breeds but are 
fitter to produce horses for the course than general work. The 
mares are generally preferred by the Moors. Besides their being 
lighter, their not neighing prevents the rider from being so easily 
discovered ; and, on this account, are more convenient for a sudden 
attack or nocturnal enterprize. 

The wild, or desert horse, is lean, ugly, and ill made; yet his 
velocity often equals that of a stag : he is taken with great diflSculty, 
and for this purpose a snare is generally used. Brought to Morocco 
or Algiers, he becomes fat, and of course looks better, but soon dies : 
his life is in the freedom of the desert. This is probably the mule of 
Tartary, of which some naturalists have given an account. There is 
very little water given to horses in the hot seasons ; camel's milk is 
frequently supplied, and of this they are remarkably fond, it agreeing 
with them extremely well. The nxutilation of this princely animal is 
unknown, and inadmissible amongst the Mahometans : they say it 
diminishes their strength and courage, and of this they seem quite sure; 
they are also of opinion that it makes them ungrateful and vicious: 
this may also be the case. A lady complaining of a singer, ex- 
claimed: " What an ungrateful man! it was my uncle who made a 
musician of him, and he has passed through the town, without ever 
calling to ask how he was I" 

But of all the animals peculiar to Africa, the camel, which they 
emphatically call the ship of the desert, is by far the greatest gift 


Providence has bestowed on its inhabitants, eitlier for the ordinary 
necessities of life, or enabling them to traverse their immense regions 
of sand. It is in the desert, that our respect for this animal is 
redoubled ; he is so highly venerated by the people, that they wash 
themselves with the foam which issues tiom his mouth, and with 
much more reason than the Gentoos, who are besmeared with cow- 
dung: they style him Hagi Bahn, Father of Pilgrims, referring to the 
honor he has of carrying the presents of the Grand Seignor to Mecca. 
Mahomet also permitted his entry into Paradise, as a reward for the 
services which his species had rendered the prophet. 

The camel carries an immense weight, and often receives a whole 
family on his back: it gives its milk, flesh, skin, and hair; to feed, 
clothe, and afJbrd a covering to the wandering tribes. At night, it 
shelters the weary traveller stretched along the sand, watches over 
his slumbers, and like the faithful dog, averts him of the enemy's 
approach. His instinct enables him to smell the distant water ; he 
recognises the spot with wonderful precision : he is the very type of 
patience, fortitude, and perseverance : charged with a heavy load, 
constantly trav- lling over the sand, exposed to hunger, thirst, and the 
hottest rays of the sun, he suffers the fatigue and pain with incom- 
parable meekness: he lies down on the burning sand, without betray- 
ing the least degree of impatience : while at all able to support his 
load, and continue the journey, he strains every nerve to proceed ; he 
neither flags nor relaxes, until absolutely worn out, when he falls, to 
rise no more: thus rendering his last breath, on the very spot he 
ceases to be useful ! 

The camel is occasionally employed in the plough and other 
agricultural pursuits, like oxen or horses in Europe ; but he is more 
generally occupied as a beast of burthen. He kneels while the load 
is placed on his back, and signifies that enough is put on, either by 
a hiss or shake of the head. He never stumbles or falls. There is 
no necessity either to beat or direct him : his pace is slow, but he makes 


long strides, and continues to march fifteen and sixteen hours follow- 
ing, going about two miles and a half an hour. He finds some 
difficulty in passing over muddy giound, on which, from the peculiar 
form of his feet, he is apt to slip. When there are many of these 
animals travelling together, the drivers beat drums, and attach small 
bells to the knees of the leading camel; and if it becomes necessary 
to quicken their pace, the Arabs form a kind of song, which has the 
immediate effect of cheering up the whole party, and making them 
redouble their pace. Their load generally extends from a thousand 
to fifteen hundred weight, but never even .a half pound beyond his 
exact burthen. He can abstain from water four or five days, without 
relaxing in his progress: satisfied if in that time he is allowed, en 
passant, to pluck up any roots or twigs that may lay in his way. He 
seems even to like nettles, wormwood, and the most insipid thistles : 
collecting in a species of sack, which he has under his neck, the 
barley and small loaves which are given to him on the day of depar- 
ture, he goes on eating or chewing the cud in his road. The very 
hump on his back serves for his nourishment, and often in the days of 
hunger and starvation disappears. Arriving at a well or fountain, 
nature has wisely provided him with vessels, in which he lays in a 
stock of water for several days, besides refreshing himself for the 
time being ; and the water thus imbibed has frequently, on the beast'.s 
dying, been the cause of preserving the lives of travellers. The natives 
of Africa esteem camels' flesh more than that of any other animal: to 
me it appeared tough, but the milk is excellent, and makes as good 
cheese, as that of Pratalino or Ronta.* 

Love alone gives to these animals, and particularly the female, 
a feeling of rage and violence : at this season they kick and bite, and 
it is necessary to muffle them; a species of bladder hangs from their 
mouth, out of which issues a quantity of foam. They often fight, 

* Two districts in the Florentine territory famous for cream cheese. — £d. 


and their hostility affords as great amusement to the Turks and 
Moors, as the English derive from cock-fighting.* It is curious to 
see how they jostle up against each other; and how the vanquislied 
party is followed by the hisses of the bye-standers, while applause 
crowns the victors, as if Grecian athletae or Roman gladiators had 
been exhibiting. 

The camel, peculiar to Barbary, and belonging to the species called 
demcl, is considered much superior to that of Asia. The dromedary, 
of which there are very ^ew kept in Algiers, though merely a variation 
of the same race, are much more elegantly formed than the camel, 

* Having in a former note taken occasion to express iny opinion of that unmanly 
illiberality and rooted antipathy constantly manifested towards England, by a large party 
in France ; but more particularly its impotent scribblers, newspaper editors, &c. I have 
too much patriotism, not to acquiesce in the justice of many errors and abuses, which are 
proper subjects of animadversion amongst our neighbours. And the national character 
could not appear more exalted, than in a dignified endeavour to profit by the wholesome 
advice of our adversaries. As, according to a celebrated maxim of a Latin poet, we are 
justified in deriving instruction, even from an enemy ; it is with a feeling of this kind, I 
shall anxiously look forward to the discontinuance of many barbarous customs, which 
only wait the fiat of legislative wisdom to be for ever banished from our shores, as they 
have already been from the mistaken admiration of a large majority of the people. Much 
too, as the sycophantic author of Six Alois à Londres, and that still more pitiful calumniator 
M. Pillet has taught me to despise him, I am nevertheless induced most seriously to recom- 
mend the former's sneering observations on the Gothic pastime alluded to by Mr. Pananti, 
bull-baiting, pugilism, the monopoly of brewers, mode of puifing, lotteries, and their gene- 
ral tendency to strike at the very root of public morals, &c. All of these subjecis are 
most intimately connected with our best interests, and particularly worthy the maturest 
■nonsideration of the legislature. Without denying the impossibility of removing evils that 
«re purely the offspring of circumstances, which all the wisdom of government could nei- 
ther foresee nor prevent, or indulging in visionary schemes of moral and political perfec- 
tion, I humbly presume that in the whole catalogue of human reasoning, there is not a 
more legitimate or fairer subject of discussion, than the removal of evils which would at 
once add amazingly to the popularity of men in power, and stability of the government, 
while its effects on human happiness must be absolutely incalculable. When, therefore, 
the principle of expediency loses somewhat of its present influence, let us hope that legis- 
lation will assume its proper place in society, and be rather in advance of, than behind, 
what the French so emphatically denominate ZVs/)riY du siede. — Ed. 


bearing about the same proportion to it, that a greyhound does to the 
house dog. They have a ring fixed to the upper lip, and a cord 
fastened to this, serves for guide and bridle. The velocity of this 
animal, even after every allowance is made for the marvellous stories 
of the Arabs, is almost incredible ; and their figurative mode of giving 
you an idea of its celerity in travelling over the desert, has often 
been noticed. They say, " when you meet a hierie, and say to the 
rider salem alik, before he can answer alik salum, he will be nearly 
out of sight." Mr. Jackson, an intelligent English traveller, ob- 
serves, in speaking of this wonderful animal, " a journey of thirty- 
five days caravan travelling will be performed by a Sebayee in five 
days : they go from Timbuctoo to Morocco in seven days. One of 
these animals once came from Fort St. Joseph, on the Senegal river, to 
the house of Messrs. Cabane and Depras, at Mogador, in seven days." 
The person employed to conduct the desert camel, as he is called by 
the natives, is obliged to be tightly bound up, to keep his head closely 
covered, and sit on the animal sideways, in order to prevent the effects 
of the atmosphere on his face; and in this posture he is enabled 
to traverse the solitary waste of sand, almost with the rapidity of an 

The manner in which the camel is formed, and which makes 
it capable of resisting the difficulties of travelling in Africa, is 
no less admirable than its various other qualities. The elevated 
position of his head prevents Ihe sutFocating effects of those volumes 
of sand, which, though generally in motion, passes along the desert 
under the camel's body; he also keeps his eyes half shut, and they are 
besides defended with thick eye-lids and long eye-lashes. The soles of 
his feet are remarkably broad, and made like little cushions, producing 
a very trifling impression on the vaccillating surface ; his fatigue is also 
considerably diminished by advancing two common paces of the horse 
at a time: so that while all other animals find the greatest difficulty in 
going over the sands of the desert, it seems the camel's native element. 

Amongst the wild beasts of Barbary, none is more common thaa 


the boar ; but this animal frequently falls a victim to the stronger beasts 
of prey, particularly the lion, whose mode of seizing it is blended 
with a wonderful degree of instinct : when discovered in its retreat, 
the lion immediately turns up a circular mound all round the spot, 
leaving a small aperture near which it crouches down in ambuscade. 
When the effluvia proceeding from the lion, becomes sufficiently strong 
to indicate its being close at hand, the boar crawls towards the opening, 
and suddenly rushes out ; when by a single bound, the ferocious enemy 
is on its back, and instant destruction follows. Thus it is with the 
beasts of the field : the strongest, not satisfied with its natural supe- 
riority, must have recourse to cunning, in order to destroy the weak 
and feeble ! The wild boar of this country differs from that of Italy, 
by having the head larger, and two long tusks inclining upwards 
from the jaw, which appear like additional ears. Porcupines are 
found in great numbers. Hares are few and of a diminutive size ; and 
scarcely any rabbits are to be seen. Game of almost every kind is 
abundant. The biikker el vash, whose horns are much shorter than 
those of the common ox, the body plump and head more elevated, 
is probably the buphalus of antiquity. There is also a goat called 
lerwe, of so timid a nature, that if pursued, it will dash itself down 
the nearest precipice : this is the fugephalm of the ancients. There 
are large flocks of the antelope running wild ; but they are easily 
domesticated, and are much liked by the Arabs for their gentleness 
and docility. These beautiful little animals generally inhabit the 
borders of the desert, where their facilities of escape are considerably 
increased ; but beasts of prey usually follow their footsteps : neither 
its innocence or speed is sufficient to secure the antelope's liberty ; and 
even the dreary desert cannot affi3rd an asylum against tyranny. 

Amongst the most curious quadrupeds of Barbary, is the 
gat el hallak, with the ears of a rat ; the lower part of the skin white, 
and all the upper part a bright yellow. They also mentioned another 
animal, which is said to have the head and horns of an ox on the 
body of an ass. I did not, however, see this non-descript; and those 

s 2 

132 THE hyj:\a. 

who said they had, were probably taken in by the knowing ones. In 
a certain country there was once exhibited a zebra, which in reality 
was only an ass, covered with a skin of the former animal : however, 
a professor of natural histoiy, who went to see it, stoutly maintained 
that it was neither more nor less than a real zebra. Upon this judi- 
cious opinion, an ingenious copy of verses were composed, each 
couplet terminating with the following burden : liC jirofcsseur a (lit 
que c'étoit une zebre, c'étoit une àne ! 

There are no tigers in Barbary : those which people take for that 
animal are panthers. Towards the Atlas are found ferocious brown 
bears. The lions chiefly frequent large woods and forests : the jackall, 
nearly as large as the wolf, an incessant prey to hunger, goes abovit 
the villages in flocks with terrific howling, frequently opening graves 
in search of carcases to devour ; the hyaena, on the contrary, is always 
alone, sallying forth in darkness and silence, to make war on the 
habitations of men, and on animals : following the caravans, or other 
parties of travellers, with eager eyes, he waits the moment of 
assault. These animals have also a peculiar instinct in smelling the 
newly buried at a great distance, which they take an early opportu- 
nity of tearing from their earthly mansion ; satiating themselves on the 
half putrified corpse. Strange! that there should be an animal which 
delights to feast on the infection of the tomb ! Hyenas are also 
endowed with the instinct of associating together in sufficient numbers, 
to kill the most formidable animal ; upon which they feed, and after- 
wards, drag it into the recesses of the woods and caves which thej- 

Both the caravans and wandering Arabs are obliged, while tra- 
velling, to be constantly on their guard against the various beasts of 
prey which follow their courses : particularly during their halts at 
night, when the encampment must not only be formed on the best 
principles of defence, but fires lighted all round : and even these 
precautions are sometimes found insufficient to deter the famished wolf, 
or greedy jackall. The lion is, however, by far the most terrific 


adversary met with by the caravans: liis approach is announced by a 
deep murmuring, which increases until it sounds like thunder ; thus 
petrifying the animals with fear : and while in this state, not unfre- 
quently does the sovereign of the forest rush upon his victim, and 
get clear off in the general confusion, before a single ball has reached 
him. There are regular lion hunters in several parts of Barbary, who, 
notwithstanding its otFensive smell and excessive hardness, live on the 
flesh, from whicii even dogs will turn with disgust. There are two 
modes of killing the lion : one is by tying a cow or other tame animal 
to a tree, and watching near it concealed till it attracts the lion, when 
several shots are fired, and he falls ; they do not, however, go up to the 
spot for some time after, lest the wound should not be mortal : they 
also form large fosses, which being covered with slight bushes and 
grass, lets the lion fall in directly he treads on them. Upon these occa- 
sions, his skin is either put on their horses, and carried along in 
triumph ; or, like another Alcides, one of the party throws it over his 

The ornithology of Barbar^-, like the other departments of itsnatu- 
ral history, is yet open for the illustration of the curious; and will, on 
some future day, furnish an ample field for the gratification of science 
and curiosity. The birds most commonly known at present, include 
all those peculiar to Italy and the rest of Europe, besides many 
other species, a few of which are about to be noticed. The quail and 
starling is found in prodigious numbers, particularly the former, which 
is sometimes seen to cover a large space in the atmosphere; and as a 
bird of passage, supplies the opposite shore of the Mediterranean 
with a great luxury towards the autumn. There are also in this 
country, at least twenty species of the pigeon : the stork is preserved 
with the same respect as in Holland. Fowls of the capon kind, are 
exceedingly abundant. I a4so observed, while at Algiers, larks of a 
reddish hue, which are not seen in Italy. The common duck of 
Barbary, has the head generally white, a red beak and dark body, 
except the wings, which are often variegated with light coloured spots. 


Amongst tlie rare birds, is the karahur, or ash coloured falcon, and 
crow of the desert, having the beak and legs red like the partridge : 
this bird is called graub, and is of a much larger size than the Euro- 
pean crow. The snharag, is like our magpie, but having a most repul- 
sive note. The houbarry, whose gall is considered as a sovereign 
remedy for diseases of the eye, is also remarkable for its cunning 
mode of evading the sparrow-hawk. The capsa, a sparrow larger 
than ours, with a shining breast, and ruddy coat like the lark. The 
melody of this bird's note far surpasses that of our nightingale or lin- 
net; but when placed in a cage it loses all its harmony. 

The Desert of Angad abounds with ostriches, which are seen in 
large flocks. At a distance they look like troops of Bedouins, often 
creating alarm in travellers. At the beginning of winter the large, or 
as it is called camel-ostrich, sheds its finest feathers, which are dili- 
gently collected by the Arabs. This is the only bird of the feathered 
tribe whose foot is composed of two claws, in which it also resembles 
the camel, as well as in the mode of carrying its head. The coat 
looks more like a skin than otherwise, while its wings seem given to 
support an equilibrium, which without them, must be, from his 
unwieldy size, constantly endangered. In fact, this extraordinary 
bird appears to have hitherto puzzled the acutest naturalists in their 
systematic divisions of the feathered race. One mode of hunting 
the ostrich, is by forcing M'hole flocks to run against the wind, until 
their strength fails, when in attempting to return they are shot by a 
party of thirty or forty hunters employed for that purpose. It is said 
to be very ludicrous and amusing.* 

* A traveller in speaking of this singular bird, observes, " When the ostrich runs, it 
has a proud and haughty look ; and even when in extreme distress, never appears in great 
haste, especially if the wind is with it. Its wings are frequently of material use in aiding 
its escape, for when the wind blows in the direction that it is pursuing, it always flaps them: 
in this case the swiftest horse cannot overtake it; but if the weather be hot, and there is no 
wind, or if it has by any accident lost a wing, the difficulty of outrunning it is not so 
great." — Ed. 


This country, owing to its uncultivated and thinly inhabited 
state, naturally abounds in reptiles of various kinds, many of which 
are venomous. It was probably a serpent of the boa species, which 
is said to have impeded the army of Regulus, and required its warlike 
machinery to destroy it. Amongst a great variety of insects, none is 
more annoying than the fly of Barbary: a swarm of them has been 
often known to sting a horse until it has fallen under the loss of blood 
occasioned by their repeated attacks. But the most dangerous rep- 
tile of this country is the scorpion, of which there are various kinds, 
diflering in colour, from black and brown, to yellow and white, like 
that of the Brazils. They are much larger than those seen in Italy ; 
and their poison is so powerful, that many persons die annually from 
its effects. Their sting, although excessively painful, is not, however, 
mortal in the months of July, August, or September. They are also 
more dangerous in towns than the country. From the facility with 
which this reptile introduces itself into houses, and even beds, the inha- 
bitants are obliged to be very cautious in detaching the latter together 
with their curtains from the walls. There are persons, who like the 
Psylli of old, have some method of charming the scorpion, by which 
it becomes perfectly harmless for the time. -- 

The natives frequently amuse themselves by a curious kind of war- 
fare, which is created by shutting up a scorpion and a rat together in a close 
cage, when a terrible contest ensues. I have seen this continue some- 
times for above an hour : it generally ends by the death of the scor- 
pion ; but in a little time after the rat begins to swell, and in violent 
convulsions, soon shares the fate of his vanquished enemy. It is 
also a favourite diversion with the Moors, to surround one of these 
reptiles with a circle of straw, to which fire is applied ; after making 
several attempts to pass the flames, it turns on itself, and thus becomes 
its own executioner.* 

The most destructive part of the insect tribe, and which is justly 

* This very singular fact is fineiy alluded to by Lord Byron, in his Giaour. — Ed. 


considered as the greatest scourge in Africa, remains to be noticed : 
this is the locust : it is much larger than the horse-fly of Italy; sbme 
have the wings marked with brown spots, while the body is of a 
bright yellow. They are dry and vigorous, like other insects inhabit- 
ing the desert. What is called the red skipper of this tribe, does by 
far the most injury to vegetation. They generally begin to appear 
early in May, spreading themselves over the plains and vallies to 
deposit their eggs : which, in another month, sends forth the young, 
when they immediately associate in prodigious numbers, often form- 
ing a compact phalanx, which covers several acres of ground. In this 
order they continue a direct course, and with amazing rapidity con- 
sume every particle of fruit, vegetables, and corn that may lie in their 
way : thus destroying all the hopes of the husbandman and farmer. 
On these occasions the whole population of the district through 
which the insect army passes, is occupied in devising the best means of 
getting rid of such unprofitable visitors: for this purpose, ditches are 
dug and filled with water ; at other times recourse is had to large bon- 
fires ; but all is to no purpose with these devastators, whose chiefs seem 
to direct them with the precision of regular troops, constantly stimu- 
lating them to the pas de charge, and from their unremitted progress, 
appear as if they were continually repeating en avant ! Without 
ever stopping or turning aside, they rush with impetuosity into the 
flames until they are fairly extinguished by their numbers. They also 
fill the ditches: and when these obstacles are removed, the rear 
advance over their bodies, rendering it impossible for any part of 
those before to retreat, if ever so well inclined : they are thus left 
no alternative between death and victory : the living passing with 
perfect indifference over the suffocated bodies of their companions, 
the journey is pursued without any intermission. Two or three days 
after the first passage, other bodies, equally large, and prompted by 
the same destructive intrepidity, follow in their steps : devouring the 
bark and branches of those very trees which their predecessors had 
already stript of leaves and fruit. " For they covered the face of the 


wliole earth, so that the land was darkened ; and they did eat every 
herb of the hind, and all the frnit of the trees which the hail had left ; 
and there remained not any green thing in the trees, or in the herbs 
of the field through all the land of Egypt." Exodus, ch. x. 15. 

Having continued this predatory warfare for nearly a month, 
and laid waste the whole country, they reach their natural growth : 
this is the signal for their undergoing a partial metamorphosis, by 
changing their coat ; an operation which is etfected by fixing them- 
selves on bushes or rocks, and it does not require more than ten 
minutes before they are enabled to appear in their new dress ; laying 
for a short interval after this, in a state of languor, the heat of the 
sun soon gives fresh vigour to their wings, by removing the humidity, 
and they are once more restored to their original activity. Taking 
a higher flight, their numbers darken the air, while the sound of 
their wings is heard for several miles. The unchangeable steadi- 
ness with which this singular tribe act in concert during their irrup- 
tion, seems to imply a regular direction, rather than its being the 
mere effect of instinct. 

AVhenever a country is condemned to the above terrible visita- 
tion, nothing can exceed the alarm created amongst the inhabi- 
tants; and with good reason, for woe to the district over which 
they pass ! All is destroyed in little more than the space of an 
hour : they do not suffer even a leaf or blade of grass to remain ; 
destroying every appearance of vegetation. Dviring their short stay, 
they have all the inquietude and instability of hunger: wild as 
the country they inhabit, it is impossible for any one to get near 
them. Often, while following their dilatory course, they push on too 
far, and are precipitated into the sea ; at other times, a sudden north 
wind destroys them by millions, when the country is immediately 
covered for many miles by their putrid bodies, which is frequently 
the source of pestilential diseases. They have also, upon more than 
one occasion, when highly favoured by the weather, found their 
way to the coasts of France, Spain, and Italy. 



If the Moors were less indolent, or less blinded by superstition, much 
might be done towards the total destruction of these voracious insects, 
when their eggs are tirst laid ; but, in addition to their favourite doc- 
trine of predestination, which accelerates many a serious calamity, 
the Arabs and negroes firmly believe in the existence of a bird called 
the samarmog; which destroys the locust, as storks do serpents and 
other reptiles : with this fabulous notion, the boys who happen to 
take up one in their hand, cry out samarmog ; and on its trembling, 
or making any effort to escape, they immediately fancy it must j)ro- 
ceed from hearing the name of their implacable enemy pronounced. 
It is also related, that the Arabs go to Korazan, the country of the 
samarmog, and ìjringing a pitcher of w ater back to their own dwellings 
it attracts the bird, who is thus induced to come and make war on the 

Whenever any district is attacked, as already observed, the whole 
population unites in every possible effort to dislodge the enemy; but 
seeing the inutility of these efforts, they not only cease any longer to 
torment themselves at the disappointment, but very wisely endeavour 
to turn their misfortune into a source of some advantage : this is 
effected by beating the bushes and trees on which the locusts settle, and 
on their falling off, putting them into sacks prepared for the purpose : 
they are then boiled, and after being dried on the terrace, are con- 
sidered as very good eating. I have tasted some that w ere fried in a 
pan, and broiled ; they are by no means unpalatable, and something 
like sprats, though not very wholesome : the natives seem to swallow 
them with a particular zest. This insect is, I believe, the acrides of 
the ancients; and, according to some historians, ministered to the 
wants of the anchorites in the Thebaid. 



Desert of Angad. — Hardships in crossing the Sahara or Great Desert. — 
Caravans. — The Simoom. — Various Phenomena attending it. — Columns of 
Sand. — The Oasis. — Temple of Ammon. — Consolations in the Desert.— 
Mount Atlas. — Country South of it, ófc. 

Although the Desert of Angad, which is principally situated on 
the Algerine territory, is not to be compared to that of Lybia or the 
Great Sahara ; yet, possessing the same character, though on so small 
a scale, it serves to give some idea of the large ones, which impress 
such peculiar features on the whole face of this interesting countr3^ 

These immense deserts, which are supposed to occupy nearly 
half the surface of this vast continent, have been justly called oceans 
of sand : they, too, have their gulphs, bays, and islands ; and are 
sometimes agitated by an undulating motion so as nearly to approach 
the same effect on water. Here also, as at sea, are encountered the 
tornado and tempest, while the first appearance of caravans are like 
ships seen on the horizon. Hordes of predatory Arabs scour the 
interminable space, as pirates do the ocean: weeks and months are 
passed on them, during which stars are the traveller's guide ; and, as 
on the still more unconfined element, the eyes are often anxiously 
directed towards the destined port, with longing expectation. The 
vehemence of a burning wind which prevails on these vast plains, 
raising volumes of sand, which leave frightful chasms and, vortexes 
below, has such a striking resemblance to the sea, that its common 
epithet among the Afiicans is. El bahar bilia maa, the sea without 

T 2 


On these dreary wastes, no trace of vegetation or culture is to be 
seen : here it is in vain for the traveller to expect shade from the 
vertical sun ; no bird is there to cheer by its note the solemn stillness 
of the desert. The light, as observed by the great Button, is here 
more gloomy than the darkness of night ; it only enables you to see 
the void that surrounds you, and immensity of space which separates 
you from a habitable country. If at night you wander from the 
caravan to breathe a little air, your own sighs are all that disturb the 
death-like silence of the desert : the traveller is obliged to lie down in 
the open air, and often without covering ; uncertain whether the follow- 
ing day is not ushered in with an illness which may lead to his being 
abandoned by his companions. Itis sometimes necessary to abstain from 
sleep for thirty hours together, to avoid the dangers which threaten 
you ; and during all that time, pursue the harassing march. It is a 
luxury, when crossing the desert, to imbibe the dews of night ; and 
when it rains, to spread your garments for the purpose of receiving 
the salutary drops. Arriving at a small reservoir, or a solitary well, 
the words " drink and depart!" salute the eye, as a warning that ban- 
ditti may be lying in wait near the spot. Hillocks of sand are thrown 
up on one day to answer as a direction for the following, but a 
whirlwind has dispersed them, and the caravan is thus frequently 
turned out of its course : the stars, too, are often so obscured by 
clouds, that there is no possibility of seeing them. 

Another source of painful anxiety : — the disconsolate traveller 
arrives at a well, nearly suffocated with sand and thirst, but he finds 
it dry I He hears the famished beasts of prey, interrupt the horrid 
silence, while meditating on the frightful length of his remaining 
jouniey, and difficulty of reaching the end of it. His mind is terrified 
with the apprehension of dying by heat, hunger, thirst, and debility; 
or of being devoured by the monsters who prowl about these dreadful 
solitudes. Man is, as it were, lost in this empty and unlimited waste, 
in which he only beholds one vast sepulchre. 

The most dreadful stories are related of the innumerable perils 


and disasters to which those who travel over the African deserts, are 
exposed. In the time of Leo Africanus, there was a public monu- 
ment which commemorated the deplorable end of two people : one a 
conductor of camels, and the other a merchant ; who paid the former 
ten thousand drachms of gold for his last cup of water, after which 
both perished ! 

Notwithstanding the facility of joining a caravan, that has also 
its inconveniences : unable to make any delay, the slow and enfee- 
bled are not considered : if taken ill, you are abandoned, and a strayed 
companion is never looked after. 

Let any one figure to himself, says M. Denon, in his Travels 
through Egypt, the fate of an unfortunate being, panting with fatigue 
and hunger, all his limbs swelled, the throat parched up, who respires 
with difliculty the burning atmosphere which consumes him ; he hopes 
that a tew moments of repose may revive his drooping frame ; he 
stops, and sees the companions of his journey pass on, after having 
solicited their assistance in vain. — Personal calamity has shut every 
heart : — without once turning back, and with eyes fixed on the ground, 
each follows in silence the footsteps of him who goes before ; all have 
passed, and are nearly out of sight ; the exhausted traveller attempts 
to follow, but his limbs fail him ; neither the perils nor terrors of his 
situation are sufficient to rouse him into activity. The caravan is 
gone : he now only sees it as a moving speck on the horizon ; at 
length it vanishes ! The unhappy man casts his eyes around ; what 
do they encounter? 

A wild expanse of lifeless sand and sky I 

They are then turned upon himself: he closes them to shut out the 
dreary void which surrounds him ; he only hears his own sighs ; all 
that he has of existence belongs to death. Alone, isolated in the 
world, he is about to yield his last breath, without a single ray of 
hope to cheer the dying hour ; and his corse, consumed by the ardent 
surface, will soon only leave the whitened bones to serve as a guide 


to the uncertain steps of future travellers, who tempt the melancholy 
way, and have dared to encounter the same perils! 

That which some people emphatically style the hoirible wind of 
the desert, is another of those phenomena, peculiar to tlie climate of 
Africa, which is justly calculated to annoy and alarm the most reso- 
lute traveller. This wind, which is known as the scirocco in the 
Mediterranean, is called samiel, by the inhabitants of Syria, kasmiii 
in Egypt, and simoom by the people of Africa. It generally continues 
three days; but has on some occasions been known to last from seven 
to twenty-one : commencing usually about one o'clock, it blows in 
sudden gusts, and moderates towards sun-set. 

The burning vapour is mostly preceded by a red meteor, which 
extends a considerable way over the horizon. The natives are pre- 
pared for its coming by a strong smell of bitumen, which proceeds 
from the red cloud : this increases gradually in magnitude, until it 
bursts on the atfrighted inhabitants, who on the tirst setting in of this 
dreadful wind, cry out, " Lay down close to the ground, behold the 
.simoom !" On those occasions it is necessary to keep the mouth closed 
for .some minutes, and if possible apply a handkerchief steeped in 
vinegar to the nose; to avoid imbibing the first effects of the pestife- 
rous blast, which often suffocates in the absence of those neces.sary 
precautions, or gives rise to a perpetual asthma, in those who indulge 
the fatal curiosity of contemplating that terrible phenomenon. Nature 
has taught animals to guard against it, by keeping their heads close to 
the ground, when it first comes on. Those who have suffered least 
from fatigue, are best able to meet the simoom : it frequently occurs 
that while this wind continues, several of a caravan lose all signs of 
animation, remaining in that state, until artificial means are employed 
for the purpose of bringing the sufferers back to life. When this wind 
begins, the upper part of the atmosphere assumes a bright yellow hue, 
while the lower is of a deep red. This effect is created by the rays 
of the sun penetrating an excessively fine sand, which soon insinuates 
itself into all the apertures of your clothes, finding its way into 


the eyes, mouth, and ears, in large quantities. The air also becomes 
so obscured by the sand, that it is impossible to see three yards before 
you ; while the dry heat of the simoom, inflames the blood, irritates 
the nerves, and oppresses the lungs, rendering respiration exceedingly 

The heat of those days during which the simoom continues, is 
beyond all expression or belief; it is like passing before a strongly 
heated oven. When the heart has burst, to use the expression of the 
Africans, the blood rapidly issues from the eyes, ears, and nostrils ; 
.some hours after the body turns black, and the limbs lose their 
elasticity. This is the wind called corruption in the sacred writings ; 
and poison l)y the Arabs. The orientals, in their emphatical and 
figurative mode of speaking, when desirous of painting a violent and 
rapid conqueror in his exterminating course, compares him to the 
burning wind of the desert ! 

Often while the simoom continues, immense colunms of sand are 
seen to elev.ite themselves at different distances in the desert. Some- 
times they ascend to such a height as to be lost in air ; at others, they 
separate and cover the atmosphere with their liery particles, or a dark 
mist; at times they assume the appearance of a thick wood, whose lofty 
branches are agitated to and fro by the winds ; and on other occa- 
sions look like globes of smoke. Among the other eccentric forms of 
this curious phenomenon, it has often been compared to the column of 
a great army scouring along the plain, sometimes hurrying on to the 
charge, and at others wheeling into line. Frequently after their first 
formation, they burst with an explosion like that of cannon, or the 
distant thunder. They are sometimes of a deep black, and at others 
assume the hues of the rainbow ; and when invested with the sun's 
rays, they appear studded with innumerable brilliant stars. 

It has repeatedly happened that whole tribes, and numerous 
caravans have been buried under the red and agitated sand, which pos- 
sesses all the undulating fury of the sea, when roused by the tempest. 
This was the case in 1805, when several thousand men and animals 


were totally destroyed between Fez and Mecca. It has repeatedly 
occurred, that out of several hundred tiavellers, who unite for mutual 
support to cross the desert, not one is able to escape ; and their whi- 
tened bones remain strewed about tlie sand, striking terror into those 
who come after, and are threatened with a similar fate. 

Immense solitudini d'arena, 
Le quai, come austro suol le onde marine. 
Mesce il turbo spirante, onde a gran pena 
Ritrova il pellegren riparo e scampo 
Nelle tempeste dell' instabil campo I 

The weary pilgrims who are destined to traverse these vast soli- 
tudes, are obliged to find a passage over sands that constantly yield 
under the feet; which, in addition to its other horrors, renders it 
infinitely more irksome than any other species of travelling. Where 
nothing is seen but one boundless field of sand, without a single tree, 
or the smallest appearance of verdure, not even a cave to shelter in 
from the burning luminary; the traveller, like those who under- 
take a voyage on the ocean, looks forward to the sight of land, with 
the same trembling anxiety : it is therefore to conceive with what 
joy and consolation, a place of comfort and repose is discovered in 
these dreary wastes. Fortunately, such places exist, and are found 
in the desert : to these the exhausted caravans have recourse, and put 
in for refreshment, as a navigator does when worn out Avith the hard- 
shipii of his voyage. The people of Africa call these spots " the 
islands of the sandy sea, or of verdure :" another appellation, that of 
Ouah, meaning a habitation in the desert, is given to them by the 
wandering Arabs ; while the European epithet Oasis, according to 
the learned M. Langlet, is derived from an Arabic woid, signifying 
repose and consolation. A favourite theme with the poets and his- 
torians of antiquity, they have also been frequently alluded to by the 
moderns, who have represented them in all the fascinations of enchant- 
ment, on which are found fairy palaces decorated with a thousand 
brilliant illusions and flowered grottos, whence, in the silence of night, 
are heard to proceed sounds of celestial harmony. 


It appears, that the ancients only knew two of these interesting 
spots, the Great and Little Oasis; theThebaid, which is still traversed 
by the Abyssinian merchants on their return from Cairo, and the 
smaller one of an oval form, the present kingdom of Fezzan and 
Darfiir. The first of these, which is said to be tvvo hundred miles in 
length, and whose capital is Murzouk, is probably the ancient Gara- 
mantes, which a passage of Virgil places at the extremity of the 
earth. There are many others besides the above scattered about in 
various parts of the great desert : and their number has led some 
authors to compare Afiica to a leopard's skin. In the Algerine terri- 
tory, and within its little Desert of Angad, there is a small one, so 
remarkable for the luxuriancy of its verdure, and richness of vegetation, 
that the Moors call it Quesiret el sug, or the flowery island ; and the 
poets of this country have often celebrated it under the name of the 
beautiful garden of roses. 

Upon one of the above spots, is supposed to have been discovered 
the ruins of the Temple of Ammon. The approach to this celebrated 
place, was in ancient times attended with innumerable perils, as proved 
by the failure of repeated attempts to penetrate as far as the temple ; 
particularly the case of Cambyses, whose anny was entirely destroyed 
in crossing the desert. Quintus Curtius relates all the horrors to 
which the Macedonian warrior and his army were exposed in their . 
visit to this wonderful spot. Entering the desert, they continued their 
march over that solitary waste for several days, oppressed with heat, 
thirst, and hunger ; when all of a sudden the renowned site of the 
temple burst upon their longing eyes. What surprize and consolation 
must not the Grecian soldiery have found in these naked solitudes ? 
Forests impenetrable to the rays of the sun, rivulets of the purest 
water, and a delightful temperature that enabled the fortunate inhabit- 
ants to gather, throughout the year, all the flowers of spring and fruits 
of autumn ! The people ofthis singular region were called Ammonians, 
and lived in cottages, which were scattered about in various parts of the 
Oasis, under the cooling shade of its orange and citron groves. 



Amongst its other objects of admiration, two of the most dis- 
tinguished was the temple, and palace of the kings : there was also 
another sacred dwelling, appropriated for the virgins and children who 
officiated in the various ceremonies of the shrine. The Fountain of 
the Sun, whose water was tepid in the morning, cold at mid-day, hot 
towards the evening, and boiling at mid-night ; had its .source in a 
wood, which was also dedicated to the divinity. The statue before 
which adorations were perfonned, was comjiosed of emeralds and other 
precious stones, and had the fonn of a goat : whenever the oracle was 
consulted ; and in order to render the god more favourable, this sacred 
emblem, placed in a golden boat, was carried in procession, at which 
the matrons and virgins attended, chaunting a hymn of and 

Although the Temple of Ammon has ceased to be an oracle, there is 
little doubt of the spot on which it stood, containing the most precious 
remains of Egyptian antiquity in the world ; which, if any means 
existed of pursuing researches, would very probably throw consider- 
able light on the great question of decyphering the hieroglyphics, a.s 
well as the other branches of knowledge which distinguished that 
extraordinary people above the rest of the ancient world. It is known 
that they received preceptors from Ammon, who taught those mys- 
terious doctrines which contributed so much to the veneration and 
celebrity of the priests of Memphis in after times.* 

* Although Mr. Murray, the ingenious editor of Dr. Leyden's excelleot^compilation, 
seems satisfied that the ruins of this celebrated spot were discovered both by Horneman 
and Browne, it is extremely difficult to reconcile the slender vestiges seen by these tra- 
vellers, with the splendid descriptions handed down by ancient authors : the reader is, 
however, left to judge for himself on the passage relating to this subject, which is as 
follows : — " Siwah is particularly remarkable for a monument of antiquity, situated a few 
miles to the westward. This, which by the natives is called Umraebeda, consists of a 
large mass of ruins in such a state of dilapidation, as to make it difficult to discover the 
original purpose for which the structure was destined. There are evident remains of an 
exterior wall of great strength, and about three hundred yards in circumference. In the 
centre are found the ruins of what appears to have been the principal edifice. It is about 

MR. BROWNE. 147 

In an age so distinguished for enquiry and research as the 
present, it is to be hoped that no obstacles, however multiplied 
or formidable, will impede the laudable efforts already begun for the 
purpose of exploring unknown regions ; amongst which, Africa is 
certainly far from being the least interesting. It must be matter of 
deep regret to the community at large, that Mr. Browne, whose per- 
severance and contempt of danger, seem to have peculiarly fitted him 
for so arduous a pursuit, did not experience a better reception at 
Darfur. If properly supported by the sultan of that barbarous 
country, there is little doubt but that the great question would have 
been long since decided : as it is, this enterprizing traveller's exertions, 
while they prove the possibility of penetrating into Africa through 
Lybia, justly place him in the envied rank of Park, Horneman, 
Leydiard, and many others, who merit the applauses of posterity, for 
their highly meritorious labours to enlarge the sphere of human know- 
ledge, and make us acquainted with countries of which the public 

twenty-seven feet in height, twenty-four in width, and ten or twelve paces in length. 
The walls are six feet thick, and constructed, particularly in the roof, of very large blocks 
of stone, cemented with small stones and lime. The interior of the walls is decorated 
with hieroglyphics, and appear to have been partly painted. From the whole description, 
compared with that of Browne, and with the ancient writers, there seems very little doubt 
that this is the celebrated shrine of Jupiter Ammon, the object of unbounded veneration in 
the ancient world. The vicinity of the fertile Oasis of Siwah, and the catacombs found in 
the neighbouring mountains, strongly tend to support this opinion." — Discoveries and 
Travels in Africa, Vol. I. p. 422. 

That Mr. Browne, whose caution in not deciding too hastily on doubtful subjects, 
cannot be sufficiently admired, believed there is yet much to excite the curiosity of 
travellers in this part of Africa, is evident from the following passage extracted from the 
second chapter of his Travels. — " Since the above was written, it has been communicated 
to me, that Siwa is the Sirossum mentioned by Ptolemy ; and that the building described 
was probably coeval with the Temple of Jupiter Ammon, and a dependency thereon. 
The discovery of that celebrated fane, therefore, yet remains to reward the toil of the 
adventurous, or to baffle the research of the inquisitive. It may still survive the lapse of 
ages, yet remain unknown to the Arabs, who traverse the wide expanse of the desert ; but 
such a circumstance is scarcely probable: it may be completely overwhelmed in the sand, 
but this is hardly within the compass of belief."— ^rf. 

u 2 


must ever remain ignorant without such men ; who are unquestionably 
amongst the small number of persons entitled to be considered as the 
real benefactors of mankind. 

However terrific and repulsive crossing the sands of Africa may 
appear by the foregoing observations, the often repeated aphorism, 
that every situation, no matter how wretched, has its advantages, 
applies with equal propriety to those who accompany the caravans. 
" A flower is encountered on the desert, and water rushes from the 
rock." After the hours of a painful march, with what eyes a verdant 
pathway or majestic palm-tree, is regarded by the worn out pilgrim ! 
With what transport does he approach a fountain, or collect the 
wished for drops from Heaven ! How gratifying amidst the bare and 
sterile waste, to behold the camels loaded with refreshing fruits and 
salutary nutriment, coming to meet the famished wanderers ! At night, 
how delightful to hear the bleating of lambs, and barking of the 
shepherd's dog; to discover the perpendicular columns of smoke, 
indicating that an Arab camp, or tent of a hospitable Bedouin is near 
at hand ! How far beyond all other pleasures, is that of arriving at 
an oasis! The travellers united together inspire mutual courage, and 
regulating their pace with that of the camels, they animate each other 
with the hopes of a safe arrival and happy return. The Arab who 
guides, never fails at each halt, to call the faithful together, and divide 
the contents of his pannier. After several hours of weary marching, 
you arrive in the cooling airs of the evening, to enjoy the balmy 
freshness of a lucid firmament ; where the night is ushered in with 
innumerable stars, and the great Author of nature surprizes you with 
all the splendor of creation. Arriving at the Bedouin's tent, you 
are welcomed with the hospitality of the Patriarchs : consumed by heat 
and thirst, exhausted by weariness and fatigue; after traversing a 
sand, blown about and discomposed by the winds, without finding 
a place of refreshment or repose ; all of a sudden cultivated grounds 
are discovered, where the travellers are enabled to rest : it can only be 
compared to returning life. Milk, dates, and honey, are soon supplied 


in abundance; coffee is prepared. All this, amidst the privations and 
poverty of the desert, must be a wonderful scene of luxury and 

There are several mountainous tracts in Africa : the principal 
ones <;onsist of the Mountains of the Moon, and Lupato, south of 
Tombuctoo, the Troglodite, Greater and Lesser Atlas, &c. These are 
supposed by some naturalists to form almost a continued chain, 
corresponding in some degree with the back bone of the world, in 
the opposite continents of North and South America. 

As to the Greater Atlas, which belongs more immediately to my 
present subject, it is the natural boundary between Barbary and the 
Great Desert ; its highest points being situated in Morocco towards the 
Atlantic, and nearly in a line with the Peak of Teneriffe; while the 
lesser Atlas extends along the Mediterranean coasts, terminating in 
the vicinity of Tangiers. Between this proud chain, which rises in 
progressive majesty, there are numerous intermediate mountains, 
whose vallies are watered by innumerable streams, and like those of 
the Pyrenees, give a surprizing luxury of vegetation to this part of 
Africa; while the gradual melting of the snows, descending in a nor- 
thern direction, ensures the almost unequalled fertility of Tunis and 

The Atlas mountains do not appear so lofty to the eye as they 
really are, in consequence of not ascending into sharp points, but 
gradually rising one above another in gentle undulation. The natural 
quality of these mountains is calcareous, while the more dense material 
is formed of granite. The western flank rises abruptly, in arid and 
black masses, from an extensive plain of sand; but the northern decli- 
vity is not only gradual, but ornamented with forests and pasture. 

* The geological observations contained in Keatinge's Travels, add very much to the 
value of his work in other respects. Of the above celebrated range, he observes — " The 
country in the latitude of Fez, westward to the coast, judging by the meandering of the 
rivers, is nearly a water-level to the foot of Mount Atlas ; one of whose limbs is pro- 
truded to the Straits, while his main body follows nearly the outline of the Mediterranean 
coast, to his utmost termination at the falls of the Nile." Vol. II. p. 49.— Ed. 


Amongst various other trees produced on tlie summits of the 
Atlas, the oak grows to an amazing height ; while its shady branches 
are said to shelter a very rich species of sage, spikenard, and several 
other rare aromatic plants; the cliffs are embellished by the cactus, 
aloe, and Atlas pistacchio. The pyramidical cypress also abounds; 
together with a smaller bush producing a delicious berry not unlike 
the strawberry of Europe. 

In viewing this fine range of hills, it is gratifying to contem- 
plate an object of so much veneration with the ancients, and which 
has given its name to that boundless region covered by the great 
Atlantic. Ascending their summits, the traveller would call to mind 
the poetic illustration of these celebrated mountains, which represents 
the metamorphosis of Atlas into stone, his robust arms transformed 
into so many lofty pinnacles, while a forest of pine covered his fiont : 
constantly encircled with clouds, and beaten by tempests, his shoulders 
are clothed with a mantle of snow, and rapid torrents issue from his 
hoary beard, leaving on his back Olympus and the stars. It has 
been truly observed by Rousseau, that in proportion as we elevate 
ourselves above the habitations of men, so do the viler passions of 
our nature remain below ; approaching the ethereal regions we imper- 
ceptibly contract some portion of their unalterable purity. The voice 
of Nature is heard with most sublimity in the dashing roar of the cata- 
ract, and amidst the gloomy horrors of the precipice. 

Prtesentiorem et conspicimus Deum 
Per invias rupes, fera per juga, 
Clivosque praeruptos, Sonantes 
Inter aquas, nemorumque noctem.* 

Mountains have ever been the refuge of the patriotic and high- 
minded sons of liberty. While blind despotism extends his rod of iron 
on the plains of Asia, the pride of independence has enabled the 

* This quotation is from the pen of Mr. Gray: the ode from which the extract was 
made, will be found in Mason's edition of his friend's works. Vol. I. p. 275. It seems lo 
haye been written in the Album kept by the fathers at the celebrated Chartreuse between 
Turin and Milan. — Ed. 


simple and uneducated inhabitant of the neighbouring Alps, to pre- 
serve his liberty and virtue. The Mainotes of Epirus, and Montene- 
grins of Albania, were long enabled to resist the whole ])ower of Tur- 
key ; the generous Armenians waged the magnanimous war of liberty 
on the mountains of their native country ; and the rugged summits of 
Snowden and Pliulimmon have been immortalized by the unconquer- 
able spirit of Owen Glendower, and warlike melody of the bards. 

It is cheering to turn our regards from the miserable and degraded 
people of Barbary, and place them on tribes who inhabit the fast- 
nesses of the Atlas, who live in the midst of plenty, prosperity, and 
independence. The goddess they worship, gives more frankness to their 
manners, and expression to their physiognomy. This liberty is 
defended with the strength of their arm, and fire of patriotism. Retired 
on their inaccessible mountains, guards are placed and signals esta- 
blished, by which the enemy are discovered at a distance, and thereby 
time is given for the whole band to take arms and assume the defen- 
sive : these people entertain but one fear on earth, — that of serving ! 

When the armies of tyrants appear, and set fire to thevillage, they 
retreat to the high grounds, and then an early opportunity is taken 
of rushing down like a torrent on the enemy. Often reduced to the 
greatest extremities, they seem to repeat the words of an ancient 
Scythian nation to a ferocious conqueror: " if the earth fails to 
supply the means of existence, she will not refuse a sepulchre !" 

South of the Great Atlas commences the Biledulgerid, terminated 
by the Sahara, or Great Desert. Experience has amply proved this, as 
by far the most eligible direction of penetrating into Africa, and opening 
a communication with Tombuctoo, as well as the interior of Soudan. 
It was by this track that Suetonius Paulinus proceeded, during the 
domination of Rome ; and it is still constantly frequented by all the 
nations of Barbary : whereas innumerable difficulties have attended 
every effort to penetrate by the western coast, owing no less to the 
badness of the climate, arising from its uncultivated state, than the 
savage nature of the various nations through which a traveller has to 


pass ; and who are as yet unacciistomefl to the advantages of a regular 
commercial intercourse with Europeans. With respect to the supe- 
rior facilities aftbrded by advancing into Africa on the northern side, 
it should be considered that the adventurer not only commences his 
journey under the protection of governments which are connected 
with the nations of Europe by treaty, but can at all times accompany 
one of the numerous caravans which proceed annually from Morocco: 
these, although subject to accidents, generally calculate on arriving 
at the end of their voyage without any material difficulty. Roent- 
gen's melancholy fate, the only European who has attempted to 
penetrate from this quarter, is by no means a proof of its imprac- 
ticability.* He very imprudently gave himself up to the guidance 
of a Mahometan, who was a renegade ; and as a less credulous 
person might have suspected, fell a victim to his treachery. Let 
us hope, that the success of future attempts will be ensured by 
greater precautions. It is not too much to assert, that this large 
portion of the globe, containing at least one hundred and fifty mil- 
lions of human beings, is well worthy the attention of civilized 
society : irom the little we already know, it is scarcely necessary 
to say how much geography and natural history, of every kind, 
would be improved by the farther encouragement of African disco- 
veries ; not to mention its still more important results, as accelerat- 
ing the civilization and perfection of so large a portion of the 
human species. 

* For an interesting account of this promising young man's fate, see Keatinge's 
Embassy to Morocco. In speaking of African discovery, the Colonel very properly says, 
" policy and commerce cry aloud, and both nature and art should be moved, to accomplish 
the opening the inhospitable coast of this redundant country. But to none does the appeal 
so forcibly address itself, as to the nation which leads in commercial enterprize. Africa, 
indeed, seems now the only part of the globe perfectly free for the introduction of adven- 
ture and speculation ; and it is likely to continue so quite long enough to reward the 
trouble and risk. The attempts, however, if any take place in this direction, must be 
made upon a scale very different in every respect from all hitherto done in this way." — 
Vide Travels.— Ed. 



Different People of Barbary. — Blacks. — Jews. — Christians. — Renegadoes. — 
Turks. — Chiloulis. — Berberi. — Bedouin Arabs. — Their Mode of Living. — 
Male and Female Costume. — Various Superstitions. — Occupations of the 
Arabs. — Riches. — Marriages. — Characteristic Anecdotes. 

Having endeavoured to give some idea of the productions, soil, 
and climate of Barbary, it is now time to describe the diversity of 
people by which it is inhabited. These, widely differing in name, 
quality and figure, are principally composed of Negroes, Turks, 
Moors, Bedouin Arabs, Chiloulis, Jews, and Christians. Some are 
indigenous, while others are of foreign origin : of these, many inha- 
bit the towns and plains surrounding them, while others dwell on 
mountains, or wander irregularly about the desert. Towards the sea- 
coast the Moors are white, and of an olive tinge near Mount Atlas. 
In the cities, such as Algiers, Tunis, and Tripoly, they are born with 
an excessively fair complexion; this by constant exposure to an ardent 
sun, becomes naturally of a brownish cast. It is said that there 
exists in one of the remote vallies near the Atlas, a race of men 
lineally descended from the Vandals. They are represented as very 
fair, with the blue eyes and light hair, which distinguished their nor- 
thern ancestors. Bruce says he took the trouble of making a 
perilous excursion to the Mountains of Auress in search of these 
people, previously noticed by Dr. Shaw, and was even fortunate 
enough to discover them. Although I cannot corroborate the asser- 
tions on this subject, not having seen any of the tribe alluded to, I 



was seriously assured of their existence by several Moors during my 
stay at Algiers. Some pretend that the celebrated Abyssinian 
traveller has exaggerated his account of these people. But as a 
professor, who used to surprize his friends by the violence and obsti- 
nacy with which he endeavoured to support the most absurd hypo- 
thesis, once observed, " You cannot know the pleasure there is in 
making others believe, that, in which we have no faith ourselves!"* 

Nearlv all the blacks in this country are in a state of unequivocal 
slavery. The barbarians are not only pirates on the water, liut 
extend their system of robbing to the land also. While the corsairs 
scour the sea, parties of licenced banditti are dispatched towards the 
desert in pursuit of human beings: arriving undiscovered in the 
peaceful villages at night, they surprize and carry off the inoffensive 
inhabitants, who are quietly occupied in looking after their flocks and 
harvest. These depredators are seconded by the descendants of many 
Moorish families, who fled from Barbary during the reign of the 
caliphs, and afterwards established themselves in Soudan, and other 
countries of the interior. 

There is also a great number of slaves bought from the Shafrees, 
or Moorish dealers, and the Slatees, native merchants, who bring 
them in large droves to Vergela in the country of the Beni Mezzaab. 
Besides those v\ ho die on the road from fatigue and ill usage, it is 
supposed that there are, at least, twelve thousand annually sold in 
the different regencies. The march often exceeds a hundred days ; and 
those who survive, are exposed for sale in the bazaars. It really Alls 

* The following is Dr. Shaw's notice of the above race : " It is remarkable, that the 
inhabitants of the Mountains of Auress, have a quite different mien and complexion from 
their neighbours ; for they are so far from being swarthy, that they are fair and ruddy ; 
and their hair, which, among the other Kahyles, is of a dark colour, is with them of a deep 
yellow. These circumstances, notwithstanding their being IVlahometans, and their speaking 
only the common language of the Kabyles, render it probable that they may be a remnant 
of the Vandals." Vide Travels, Chap. III. Bruce's account is to be found in the first 
volume of his travels. — Er/. 

NEGROES. 1-55 

one with horror to see these wretched creatures perfectly naked, 
oppressed with all the bitterness of grief, thus reduced to the state of 
mere beasts of the field. Both men and women are minutely examined 
with no less indelicacy than atrocity, by their inhuman purchasers. 
Those who come the greatest distance, are most highly valued, as it 
diminishes the chance of escape, an important consideration to those 
who buy them : those destined to remain in Barbary, are employed in 
the houses of rich Moors, while the remainder are conducted to the 
markets of Cairo and Egypt. Several Spanish and Portuguese shijjs 
have been taken by the English, for persisting in this iniquitous 
traffic, contrary to the general voice of Europe, and all civilized 
nations. It has also been reported, that the transports employed to 
convey the troops under the ferocious Morillo, were afterwards des- 
tined to visit the coast of Guinea, for the execrable purpose of loading 
with slaves for the New World. Spain and Portugal is to the poor 
blacks, like the terrible land of Koom, south of Tombuctoo ; where, 
after being bought, the unhappy slaves are .slaughtered and eaten.* 

Those negroes whose natural mildness of disposition and good 
nature, led an English traveller to call them the Hindoos of 
Africa, merit a very different treatment from their fellow creatures. 
The travellers who have frequented the desolate banks of the Joliba, 
at a time when Cafirs and strangers experienced the worst reception 
where Moorish princes governed, were by the negroe tribes in the 

* Thanks be to God, the cause of religion and humanity has just experienced another 
signal triumph, in the abolition of this impious traffic by Spain, on consideration of 
receiving a large sum from England. Although there are people who may disapprove of 
our paying the deluded cabinet of Madrid, for yielding at last to remonstrances which 
it could no longer with decency resist; yet, if there ever was a principle upon which an 
overstrained application of public money could be justified, it is surely furnished on the 
present occasion : and I have no doubt that the majority of the nation will unite in giving 
full credit to His Majesty's ministers, for this beneficent act of magnanimity and expiation. 

Upon such sacrifices 

The gods themselves throw incense I 
And when the little interests which now agitate the minds of men so violently, have passed 

X 2 


vicinity of that river received as friends and brothers. Every one 
recollects the horrible picture drawn by Park, of what he suffered at 
Deena and in the Moorish camp of Benowm ; also the cruel manner in 
which he was retained in slavery by Ali, the sultan of Ludamar. 
The people of Nigratia refused him both food and lodging ; calling 
white men the s ns of the devil. The Mandengoes, Fuladoo, and 
other negroe nations, were, on the contrary, courteous and obliging. 
All must recollect the beautiful simplicity and pathetic tenderness of 
a song, which the poor woman of Bambara composed, to soothe the 
melancholy mind of this meritorious traveller, accompanying it with 
the most zealous offices of kindness. 

Judging of the negroes I saw in JJarbary, they appeared to pos- 
sess a natural gaiety and steadiness of character, which formed a 
striking contrast to the gloomy taciturnity of the Moors. When in 
their own countries, dancing and singing is said to form their chief 
delight and greatest source of amusement : they never salute a booti, 
or head of a tribe ; nor return thanks for any favours which may have 
been conferred on them, without adding a song in praise of their 
generous benefactor. All the African villages, undisturbed by war, 
resound with song ; and after sun-set, this great continent may be 
compared to one universal ball-room, without its superfluous ceremo- 
nies. As these demonstrations of happiness generally take place at 
the same hour, and the nights are beautifully serene, the neare«it 
villagers alternately reply to each other in the national song, while 

away, and in a few transitory years our animosities descend with us into the silent grave ; 
it is actions like the above that will more than redeem the errors of England, and make her 
an example fit to be held up at once to the applause and imitation of posterity. 

If, however, it should hereafter appear, that the four hundred thousand pounds given 
to Spain on this occasion, are appropriated to any other purpose than the one explicitly 
stipulated for in the treaty; viz. in compensating the loss sustained by His Catholic 
Majesty's subjects engaged in this nefarious traffic, while it was legally authorized, such 
a flagrant abuse of confidence will not escape the resentment of our government, while 
it cannot fail to afford the nation at large, another strong ground of complaint against the 
ministers and advisers of Ferdinand, the Vllth. — Ed. 

JEWS. 157 

the more susceptible listen with eager curiosity, to catch the voice of 
their ebon Dulcinea. The black slaves in Algiers also dance occa- 
sionally ; but it is the dance of slavery, in which chains echo a 
terrible response to the music. Theirs is no longer the song of ten- 
derness and peace : it is slow, monotonous, and sorrowful ; the 
expression of deep and settled melancholy. 

Of Jews, there is an immense number scattered all over the coast 
of Barbary. The city of Algiers contains about eight thousand, most 
of whom have swerved considerably from the belief of their ancestors, 
following the Talmud and Kabbala, with the exception of those 
called free, who generally come from Leghorn to this place, and are 
allowed entire liberty in their movements. The unhappy sons of 
Israel, so badly treated in other countries, can expect little indul- 
gence from the barbarians ; consequently there is no species of out- 
rage or vexation to which they are not exposed. They are prohibited 
from writing or speaking Arabic, to prevent their being able to read 
the dicine Koran. They cannot ride on horseback, but are obliged 
to go on mules and asses ; the first being too noble an animal for 
them. When passing a mosque, they are obliged to go bare-footed. 
They dare not approach a well or fountain, if there be a Moor 
driaking there ; or sit down opposite t<i a Mahometan. Their cloth- 
ing Is obliged to be black ; which colour is held in contempt by the 
Moors. The Je>vish women are only permitted to veil a part of their 
features. The indolent Moor, with a pipe in his mouth and his legs 
crossed, calls any Jew who is passing, and makes him perform the 
offices of a servant. Others amuse themselves by smearing the hands, 
visage, hair, and clothes of the Jewish boys, with paint or mud ; 
while the Turkish soldiers often enter their houses, insulting the 
females, without the heads of the family having the privilege of 
desiring them to retire. 

It is the business of Jews to execute all criminals, and after- 
wards bnry their bodies. They are also employed to carry the Moors 
on their shoulders, when disembarking in shoal water. They feed 


the animals of the seiaglio, and are incessantly exposed to the scoff- 
ings and de ision of the young Moors, without the possibility of 
resenting it. Frequently beaten by their persecutors, if they lift a 
hand in their own defence, agreeable to the lex talionis of the Moors, 
it is taken otf. But that which is still more irksome, is the never 
ending contributions levied on them : the weekly sum of two thou- 
sand dollars is exacted as a general tax upon the whole tribe, besides 
various other individual assessments, particularly whenever any 
Moorish festival takes place. The Turks insist on borrowing monev 
even by force ; and contrary to the European maxim, it is not he who 
forgets to pay, that is incarcerated, but the man who refuses to lend ! 
A Jew cannot leave the regency without giving security to a large 
amount for his return. If any of the sect become bankrupts, and 
there happens to be a Turkish creditor, he is almost invariably accused 
of fraudulency and hung. Woe to those, who attempt to complain 
on such occasions : which is no trifling aggravation of their sufferings. 
There was once an imposition laid on fountains; upon which a 
poet wrote the following address: " You are loaded with imposts 
like us; but more happy than we — you are at least allowed to 
murmur /" 

It is, however, astonishing with what stoical fortitude all this is 
borne by the followers of Abraham ; many of whom, underan appearance 
of the greatest poverty, accumulate large fortunes. " It is true," said 
a Jew, on my asking how he could remain in a country, where he 
.suffered so many vexations; " we suffer a great deal; but then what 
money we make ! !" 

On one side this extraordinary race suffer innumerable vexations 
and acts of injustice, together with the most cruel sei-vitude ; while on 
the other, their talents and industry, place them as the directors and 
proprietors of commerce, manufactures, and even the mint. The 
taxes immediately within the regency are all collected by Jews, and 
persons of this persuasion are the principal landholders. They serve 
as interpreters and secretaries, being frequently employed both as 


counsellors and agents, in affairs ol'tlie greatest delicacy. And either 
from the influence of their money, or persevering flexibility of their 
character, they often exercise an unlimited sway in the divan and 
palace of the Dey. The Turks look with hatred and contempt upon 
the Jewish financiers, while they secret y envy their riches. Such, 
however, is the fate of the tax-gatherer and monopolist in every 

The moral and political condition of this people, is a singular 
phenomenon in the history of human nature: they are a nation whose 
origin is traced to the first ages of the world, and who seem destined 
to continue till its close; a people whom God selected for his 
own, and led out of Egypt by his hand, filling with inspiration the 
writers of their history ; a nation which regarded the Divinity as its 
king, his laws as their rule, and themselves as his patrimony; that 
is scattered all over the globe without a country, and which, in the 
midst of persecution and exile, preserves its faith untainted; a people, 
in fine, whose singular customs, and unshaken national character 
merit no less the attention of the philosopher than the statesman. 
How curious to reflect on this strange destiny of the sons of Jacob ! 
Warriors and conquerors under the intrepid David, that man after 
God's own heart, full of power and of glory ; and governed by Solo- 
mon, filling the eastern world with lessons of wisdom, while Judea 
reposed in peace with all mankind. What diversity of suftering did 
they not subsequently experience until the destruction of the temple, 
whether they remained faithful to Darius, after the victory at Arbela, 
or sorrowfully wandered over the plains of Nineveh : chained behind the 
Roman chariot ornamenting the triumph of Nero and Vespasian, or 
when afterwards massacred for the rebellion of Barcochebas and of 
Zabafer Levi. Even in the utmost excesses of misfortune, they do 
not cease to be a nation, to sigh after the banks of Jordan, and the 
dulcet sounds of Solima's harp ! To them, an attachment to the dogma 
of their forefathers is the first of virtues. They were the architects 
of the colossal pyramids of Egypt, and of the Roman amphitheatres. 


And thus, while in the lap of misery, have they participated in the 
greatest designs. The race of Abraham has never despaired of the 
divine justice : inflexible in adversity, they steadily direct their eyes 
towards that Omnipotent God, who has performed so many prodigies 
for them, and foretold, — the time will come, the work shall be 
aecomplished ! 

There are, at present, three different sects among the Jews : the 
Karaiti, who only recognize the law of Moses in its literal sense ; 
the Samaritans, a kind of schismatics, who are confined to some parts 
of Palestine; and the Rabbinists, who unite the Mosaic law to the 
interpretations contained in the Talmud, and in the oral traditions. 
Various other branches of Jewish sectarians are no longer recognized 
amongst them ; such as the Saduceens, a species of materialists ; 
the Essenists, whose doctrines had some resemblance to those of the 
Stoics, while their manners were not unlike the Quakers, and Moravian 
brothers; the Therapeuti, who seemed to have been models to the 
Anchorites; and the Rhodians, which was rather a political tlian 
religious sect. 

The Talmud is a collection of maxims and precepts exclusively 
compiled for the edification of Jews, amongst whom its authority 
is very great ; it being in some degree their canonical and civil code. 
This book contains many traits of a pure and sublime morality, toge- 
ther with numerous absurdities. The following, for instance, is no less 
ridiculous than amusing: the Messiah, it says, is to give to his 
people assembled in the land of Canaan, a grand entertainment: at 
this will be served the precise wine used at the table of Adam ! and 
which had been presei-ved by the angels in vast cellars, situated in the 
centre of the earth. At this feast, is also to be served up a famous 
little fish, called the Leviathan, which is not less than two or three 
hundred leagues in length. In the beginning God created the 
masculine and feminine," of this singular fish ; but as their offspring 
might have given rise to some inconvenience on earth, God kdled 
the female, which he salted down for the feast of the Messiah. 


The great Benemoth is also to be slaughtered for the same occasion : 
this animal is of so monstrous a size, that he daily consumes the hay 
of a thousand mountains. The feminine was killed for the same 
reasons as that of the Leviathan, but not salted, because fish is pre- 

With the exception of slaves and a i'ftw other individuals, there 
are no Christians settled at Algiers. The Dey takes care to prevent 
their increase ; and those who go there for any commercial purpose, 
cannot remain longer than a stated period, or take a house, and are 
consequently obliged to lodge at the residence of some well-known 
Jew during their continuance in the city. It is said that this rigorous 

* There are two works which bear this name ; the Talmud of Jerusalem, and that of 
Babylon. Each of these is composed of two parts: the Mishna, which is the text, and 
is common to both ; and the Gemerà, or commentary. The Mishna, which comprehends 
all the laws, institutions, and rules of life, which, besides the ancient Hebrew scriptures, 
the Jews thought themselves bound to observe, was composed according to their 
unanimous testimony, about the close of the second century : it was the work of Rabbi 
Jehuda Hakkadosh, who was the ornament of the school at Tiberias, and is said to have 
occupied him forty years. The commentaries and additions made by succeeding Rabbis, 
were collected by Jochanan Ben Eliezar ; some say in the sixth, and others in the seventh 
century, under the name of Gemerà, that is, completion, because it completed the 

It cannot certainly be denied, that the history of this extraordinary people is calculated 
to excite our astonishment in no trifling degree ; yet, I candidly confess, no new discovery 
in their general character has induced me to change an opinion 1 ventured to give of them 
in another place : which opinion, founded as it was on the usurious principles and isolated 
selfishness of the whole tribe, corroborated by ages of experience, could not have been very 
favourable to the sons of Levi. If, however, any person, whether Jew, Christian, or 
Turk, has the goodness to inform me in what particular instances they have, as a nation, 
gone out of the beaten path of monopoly, and insatiable love of gain, for the general 
benefit of mankind, I shall then be most happy in adding my applause to that of others. 
No liberal mind can approve of the persecutions this sect has met with, in common with 
every other in the days of barbarism ; which have, I trust, gone by for ever. Without 
attempting to justify that which will not bear an excuse, it has frequently occurred to me, 
that while religious and political persecution was the order of the day in Europe, the Jews 
had infinitely less reason to complain than their Christian neighbours. — Ed^ 



system arises as much from the fanatical zeal of their chief, as from a 
strong feeling of jealousy on the part of the Moors, on seeing the pre- 
dilection of their women towards Christians in general. 

The life which a European leads in this place, is naturally of the 
most melancholy description. The continual sight of his brethren in 
chains, is a constant source of suffering, while he is personally exposed 
to a thousand dangers and unpleasantries, arising from the unsettled 
state of the government, and probable chance of offending one of the 
faithful ; which event generally ends in the Nazarene's receiving a 
good drubbing. It has also happened, that an enthusiastic Marabout, 
upon some trifling pretence, has peremptorily insisted on a Christian's 
being circumcised, and assuming the turban ; from which appeal it 
is extremely difficult to escape : and if they accidentally come in con- 
tact with any of their religious processions, there is a very fair chance 
of suffering the martyrdom of St. Stephen. If one happens to be near 
the door of a Moor, when leaving his house, jealousy is immediateh' 
awakened, and requires very little stimulus to be followed b}^ a coup 
de poignard. When found in the streets somewhat late at night, you 
are seized and carried before the Cadi ; met by any of the young Turks, 
in addition to the pleasing epithet of cornutos and can senza fede, 
your ears are saluted with a chorus to the following effect : — " The 
truebelievers with celestial houris lie on beds of roses; while Jews and 
Christians are extended on burning coals I" The ladies, too, by the 
way of not losing the opportunity of a good joke at our expence, on 
passing along, accompany a very significant look, by placing their 
fair hands against the forehead, in such a way as not to be mi.staken 
for a pair of horns ! If, on the contrary, any of them are induced to 
view us less unfavourably, and the intrigue be discovered, the fate of 
Leila awaits the female, while the Christian loses his head.* 

In alluding to the probability of such an event as the foregoing, 
i» may be proper to observe, that in addition to the perils of meeting 

* Vide Lord Byron's Giaour. 


a complaisant Moorish woman, there is also that of being entrapped 
for the purpose of extortion or assassination. 

A young Christian, observing a beautiful woman, attended by 
an old female slave, fancied that his regards were not disagreeable, 
and that he might consequently follow her with impunity. The old 
Argus coming up, told him to stop, but begged he would contrive to 
be near the mosque about the same hour next day. He did not fail 
to attend, and the lady also came; but instead of the same slave, 
another had taken her place, whose appearance seemed quite gigantic 
to the Christian. Soon after, both entered the shop of a Jew, making 
signs to the young man to follow; scarcely had he crossed the 
threshold, when the new attendant, raising the veil which had 
hitherto covered the head, disclosed a face not unlike that of Medusa ; 
and in a stern voice demanded of the petrified Christian, how he 
dared to follow the woman of a Mussulman Ì Upon this, the poor 
young man stammered out, by way of explanation, that he meant no 
harm, and only followed with the honest intention of offering his 
hand to the lady who had inspired him with the strongest passion. 
— That cannot be, replied the Moor, as she is my wife ; and I am 
not disposed to cede her to such a dog of a Christian as you are ; but 
I am determined to punish you, for having attempted to raise your 
thoughts to the wife of a Mahometan. Therefore, take the choice of 
either instantly becoming a Mussulman, or of being put to death ! 
On this proposition being made, the wretched Christian trembled like 
a leaf, ignorant how he should act ; when the proprietor of the shop 
whispered in his ear, that he might get out of the scrape, by giving 
the Moor all the money he had about him, and signing a paper for 
the payment of another large sum : to all which the European most 
joyfully consented, considering himself as extremely happy in having 
thus got clear at so cheap a rate. The female, Moor, and Jew, who 
had combined on this occasion to deceive the Christian, had a fine 
laugh at the result of their successful farce, which appeared likely to 
have so tragical an end for the disappointed suitor. 

1 2 


What kind of a life, therefore, must one lead in a place where 
there is no person witji whom you can change a word in safety ; where 
you are obliged to give the wall to beasts of burthen ; where women 
as they pass by, honor you with the sign of Capricorn , and Marabouts 
insist on your being circumcised! A person travelling through Ger- 
many, was once met by a large dog, who seemed to approach him 
with a ferocious howl, as if intending to bite; by the way of keeping 
the animal at bay, the traveller stooped down to pick up a stone, but 
to his great mortification, found them all fixed to the earth by a hard 
fi-ost, upon which he exclaimed: " Cursed country ! where they bind 
the stones, and unchain the dogs !" I shall say, evil befal the place 
where slaves are loaded with chains, and Marabouts are suffered to be 
at large ! 

The number of renegadoes at Algiers is by no means numerous : 
some Christians, forced to fly from Ceuta for their crimes, rendered 
desperate by long suffering, or blinded by a passion for some female, 
have abandoned the religion of Christ for that of Mahomet. Upon 
this they receive pay like the Turks, and can aspire to all the honors 
of the state, including that of Dey, as in the case of Mezzomorto. ^ It 
is not, however, customary for the Moors to encourage proselytism 
amongst the slaves, knowing what a loss they must sustain by the 
latter's freedom, and also from an opinion that an apostate, either in 
politics or religion, cannot be trusted. 

To prevent the advancement of a renegade to the higher offices, 
he is interdicted from marrying a Mahometan female: his mistakes or 
bad conduct, are also punished with the utmost severity, while he is 
always surrounded by a large cabal, and envious eyes are ever directed 
towards his ruin. It is related of a Grand Seignor of the Turks, that 

* So called from his being found half dead on the field of battle : having the com- 
mand of a shabeque, he ran before the ship of a Christian, upon which the Dey ordered 
him on pain of death to return to the ocean and re-establish the lost honor of Algiers : this 
Mezzomorto obeyed, evincing many proofs of intrepidity which advanced him to the chief 
naval command, and finally led to his becoming Dey. 


he wrote to the Pope, recommending a French bishop, for the next 
cardinal's hat that became vacant : and by the way of raising him in 
the holy father's estimation, mentioned that the said bishop had a 
great desire to turn Mahometan ! 

It is well known with how much avidity the famous Count Bon- 
neval was received at Constantinople; and the Emperor of Morocco 
gave the command of his army to the Duke de Ripperda. But 
things have undergone a wonderful change in this respect ; and we 
may safely assure ourselves, that neither a Christian nor renegade, can 
now attain to any post of eminence in the states of Barbary. 

All those who embrace the Moorish religion are not thereby ren- 
dered free: they have merely less fatigue, and enjoy rather more 
liberty, particularly that of giving themselves up to a greater course 
of infamy. If a Christian is heard to repeat, " God is merciful, and 
Mahomet is his prophet;" he is taken before the Cadi, and instantly 
obliged to embrace the faith of Islamism. The Jew who may be desi- 
rous of turning Mahometan, must tirst become a Christian, in order, 
as the Moors say, to follow the course of different religions, and 
finally pass through those gradations which lead to perfection. 

The Turks of Algiers, as observed in a former chapter, are all 
foreigners, originally sent from Constantinople for the purpose of 
defending and maintaining this government under the protection and 
influence of the Grand Seignor. Having, however, once obtained 
power, this refractory body not only refused to obey, but shortly after 
assumed a degree of supremacy which has for nearly two centuries 
been a source of the utmost terror and oppression, both to the 
natives, and those European powers whose maritime force may 
have been insufficient to cope with the corsairs. Exercising a much 
greater share of power than the Pretorian guards of Rome, Mama- 
lukes of Egypt, or the Tartars in China; they occupy all the offices 
of state, and keep the Moors in the cruellest bondage, while their 
violence has long made Algiers the theatre of revolution and bloodshed. 


This lawless force is kept up by sending ships and commissaries 
to the Levant annually, to procure new recruits, in order to fill up 
those vacancies occasioned by war, deaths, or punishments. These 
are collected from the very lowest dregs of the people in Smyrna and 
Constantinople, nor are the vilest malefactors rejected. The Barbai-y 
recruits are looked upon with so much contempt, that even the women 
refuse to accompany them in their new calling. No sooner, however, 
are they landed in Algiers, and formed into an insolent and domi- 
nating militia, than a high air of importance is put on; and 
giving themselves the title of Effendis, they possess all the arrogance 
and pride, which generally belong to the upstart favourites of 
fortune. Notwithstanding their vanity, they are by no means 
ashamed of their base origin : on the contrary, they seem to feel a 
peculiar pleasure in publishing from what low degrees they have 
been enabled to arrive at the highest offices. A Dey while disputing 
with one of the European consuls, once said: " my fatljer salted 
tongues at Pera, and my mother sold them in Constantinople; but I 
never knew a worse tongue than yours !" 

Although the militia seldom exceed ten or twelve thousand, they are 
enabled to keep five millions of people in fear and subjection, by all 
of whom they are naturally held in the greatest abhorrence, notwith- 
standing the hard necessity of obeying such monsters. It would 
appear, however, that they have to deal with a people so degraded by 
oppression, that they place their chief glory in humbling themselves, 
esteeming a man in proportion as his slavery is abject. The ass com- 
plained to Jupiter of being always condemned to labour and the 
lash. " My friend," replied the god, " how is it possible for me to 
persuade men that you are not a poltroon Ì Besides, you know they 
are naturally cruel : however, I'll do all I can to alleviate your con- 
dition : you shall be rendered insensible!" Tacitus with a profound 
knowledge of human nature, has observed, that the first person who 
dared to become a tyrant, found slavish hearts ready to obey him ; 


and that voluntary servitude makes more tyrants, than the latter do 

The distrustful policy of the Ala^erine a^overnment takes ali 
possible care to prevent too close a union between the Turkish sol- 
diery and Moorish population, so as to render them at once the 
instruments and accomplices of its tyranny ; consequently intermar- 
riage with the Moorish women is not encouraged. It was not long 
since that a rich Moor, Sydi Cador, lost his head, for having given his 
daughter in marriage to an aga. But the empire of love is the most 
powerful of all, so that many Turks influenced by the ardour of 
passion, unite themselves to natives, and they are generally prefen-ed 
by the parents, who are thus enabled to anticipate support in the 
hour of revolution. Weakness looks to power for protection, and 
beauty likes to become the reward of valour. The children who 
spring from these marriages may in some measure be compared to 
the Creoles of the AYest Indies ; and are called CInloulis. At Tunis 
they become soldiers, and receive pay almost as soon as th ey are able 
to walk ; but in Algiers they are not enrolled until a more advanced 
age. Viewed with great jealousy by the Turks, the Chiloulis seldom 
rise to situations of trust or dignity. Many are employed as accoun- 
tants and agents in mercantile houses, in which situation their intel- 
ligence and fidelity have become almost proverbial. Although par- 
taking of Turk and Moor, they are decidedly most attached to the 
latter. Numerous, strong, and united, many think that in the future 
revolutions of this place, a Chilouli will reign as Petion, or Chris- 
tophe, at St. Domingo. 

The Berberi, or Berrebres, are the indigenous people of Barbary. 
to which they have given this name. They are the descendants of 
the Carthaginians, Getuli, and Lybians; mixed with the Saracen 
invaders who entered Africa, under the inhuman Kaled el Valid, 
sumamed the Sword of God. They inhabit the whole chain of the 
Atlas, near the Isthmus of Suez, and are the same race as the Bere- 


bras, a people of Upper Esfypt, as also the Guanches of the Canaiy 
Islands, speaking nearly the same language. They are of a very 
athletic form : and extremely brave, and are also remarkable for fine 
teeth and eyes, the pupils of which are generally of a bright brown, 
not unlike the gloss of antique bronze. Neither fat, nor very fleshy, 
they are chiefly formed of nerve and muscle. Although wrinkled in 
early life, their vigorous and active habits keep off" the feeling of old 
age, which is only discovered by the whiteness of their beard and 
hair: they never speak of it, or seem to know of such an evil; and 
whenever at the age of seventy, it happens that they are unable scru- 
pulously to perform all the offices of the sabbath, as enjoined by the 
Koran, they do not accuse weight of years, but incantation and 
sorcery. Their dress is composed of a shirt without sleeves, and 
short pantaloons; the head is shaved in front, leaving the hair behind; 
they do not let their beard grow, having merely a little tuft on the 
chin and mustachios. They inhabit small cabins on the highest 
mountains, and some find .shelter in caves, like the ancient 
Troglodites. Their houses are built of stone, or wood, and sur- 
rounded by a wall, which is pierced with loop-holes, for defence all 
I'ound. Proud and audacious, they are implacable in their hatred.* 
They are excellent swimmers, and delight in the chace. Passionately 
fond of their musket, they frequently expend seventy or eighty 
dollars to ornament it with ivory and silver. They generally hang 
the paw of a lion, or other ferocious beast of prey round their 
children's necks to inspire force and courage, and the young brides 
present their husbands with simular amulets. Their fields are well 
cultivated. Warmly attached to their native mountains, they preferthe 
higher grounds, and very rarely change their place of abode. 

The most numerous tribe of the Berberi, known by the name of 

* This part of the Arab's character is fully illustrated in a curious anecdote, p. 77, of 
Tully's Residence in Tripoly, one of the most interesting and amusing works extant on 
Barbary. — Fyd. 


ScluiUa, are found in Morocco. In Algiers they are called Kabiles, 
or Cubuil ; those who inhabit the Sahara, are styled Towaricks. 
The Culmil are the poorest and most filthy. They regard foreigners 
and travellers of every kind, with great jealousy : it is on this account 
necessary to make them believe you are looking for medicinal herbs ; 
for, like all savage nations, they cannot conceive that any one travels 
for instruction or amusement. The Kabiles of Algiers, are by far the 
most discontented and rebellious of all Barbary. The Turks watch 
them with the utmost jealousy and suspicion, often retaining the sons 
of their chiefs, as hostages for the good conduct and fidelity of the 
parents. I saw two of these at Algiers in chains, and treated with 
as much severit}^ as the Christian slaves. The Berberi obey foreign 
domination with disdain, while their hatred foments with the ardent 
heat of a burning sun . 

It is scarcely necessary to inform the reader, that the Bedouin 
tribes form a very considerable portion of the whole population of 
Barbary. Their name is derived fi'om Beddui, an inhabitant of the 
desert, extending from the sandy plains of Persia to Morocco. 
These people have preserved their pristine simplicity of manners and 
customs, with singular constancy ; and still continue strongly attached 
to the pastoral life, so well adapted to their rich vallies, wanii sun, 
and serene climate. Their language is the Arabic; which thev 
pretend to speak in its greatest purity. Tliere is no nation on earth, 
that has adhered so closely to ancient manners, and their primitive 
mode of living, as the Arabs : religion excepted, they are precisely 
what they were in the days of Job. A traveller arriving amongst them, 
is no less surprised than delighted, to find their dress, manners, and 
usages, exactly as he had seen them described in history, and repre- 
sented on canvass : not to mention their perfect conformity to the 
accounts transmitted by Pliny, Strabo, Leo Africanus, and Pomponius 
Mela : so that amongst the Arabs, a modern traveller may fancy 
himself in the midst of the people of antiquity. 

Those tribes nearest Algiers, were soon brought into subjection, 


and its consequent corruption ; but the more remote ones still remain 
free, retaining- all the pride of liberty. vSome of these Bedouins are 
frequently seen at the capital, half naked, and armed with bows and 
arrows, mounted on fiery char/?ers. They are generally distinguished 
by a fine form and generous nature : they boast of having descended 
from the patriarchs, and are excessively vain of their freedom. Pas- 
sionately fond of the open country and free air of their native plains, 
they cannot conceive how others dwell in the mephitic atmosphere of 
cities. Although extremely well made, they are by no means hand- 
some in features. Like the Mulattoes, their complexion is olive 
coloured, but more inclined to brown. They are also meagre, and 
very much parched by the sun : their eyes and teeth are equally fine 
as those of the Berrebres ; while the exquisiteness of their senses is 
proverbial. By a simple inspection of the soil, a Bedouin will 
know the exact spot where water can be found, however deep in the 
surface; and he hears its murmuriugs at an amazing distance, 
while his sense of smelling enables him to trace the road his camel 
has recently passed over. In fact, there is, in the genera! character 
of this race, a mixture of strength and generosity which always 
attracts the attention of strangers. It is not a single feature that is to 
be considered : we should judge of the entire physiognomy. The 
Bedouin is also temperate, laborious, and tolerant ; being, in cases of 
emergency, capable of abstaining from any kind of food for two or 
three days :* all which most happily adapts him to the wandering 
life he leads in the desert. He is not choleric or litigious, like the 
Moor; and when engaged in any dispute, he is not only very 
noisy, but often draws his cangiar, or dagger ; but scarcely ever 

* A celebrated French traveller, in speaking of this singular race, observes, " It will 
appear almost incredible to us, but it is an undoubted fact, that the quantity of food 
usually consumed by the greatest part of them, does not exceed six ounces a day. Six or 
seven dates soaked in melted butter, a little sweet milk or curds, serves a man a whole 
day ; and he esteems himself happy when he can add a small quantity of coarse flour or a 
little ball of rice!"— iS^d. 


uses it; and if, during the most violent quarrel, his opponent repeats, 
" Think of God and the prophet," the weapon is instantly put up, 
and peace restored. Tlieir vengeance is terrible and long cherished: 
as in Corsica, if one of an Arab family is murdered, the most dis- 
tinguished member in that of the assassin's must perish, should the 
perpetrator remain undiscovered. But these resentments arise from a 
keen sense of honor, and as they believe, just retaliation. AVith an 
external appearance of severity and harshness, the Arab possesses a 
large share of urbanity, and goodness of heart. Trees should not be 
estimated by the ruggedness of their bark, but by the sweetness of 
the fruit and beauty of their flowers. 

The education given to their youth is aljove all others calculated 
to produce muscular strength, and an agility peculiarly requisite 
for the fatiguing kind of life to which they are destined. AYithout 
absolutely thwarting their natural inclinations, parents never 
submit to the caprices of their offspring. This has the effect of deve- 
loping the faculties at a very early age ; and as he is completely 
uninfluenced by the terrors of a parental brow, the Arab youth 
generally delivers his sentiments with firmness and courage. He 
must speak sensibly, if he wishes to ensure a reply. Treated, in fact, 
like a man, he acquires the ambition of deserving it. 

The costume of the Bedouins is extremely picturesque : their hair 
is very short, and the head sometimes enveloped with a linen band ; 
turbans are not worn, and but few make use of caps or sandals. The 
principal covering consists of a cloth five or six feet wide, and nine in 
length, called an elhaik: this is a species of white woollen cloth, 
bearing some resemblance to the Merino manufacture. Although the 
haik gives both grace and majesty to the wearer, it must from constant 
falling off* the shoulder and interruption in walking, be very inconve- 
nient, though custom most probably removes the difficulty with the 
Arabs. There is, however, a considerable degree of elegance in the 
mode of replacing the haik whenever it becomes deranged : the fre- 
quency of this circvimstance renders a band necessary : hence the 
scriptural phrase " to have the loins girt." The finer kind of haik 

z 2 


are those which the ancients called peplus, which Euripides styled 
vestures that trailed alone:, Jind Eschylus cloak descending down 
to the feet. It was also no doubt the toga of Rome, as it bears the 
strongest resemblance to many of the draperies seen on the statues of 
senators, and other citizens of the empire. The Bedouins have 
besides an outer mantle, called bernousse : this is composed of one 
entire piece, narrow at the neck, and liaving a hood to cover the 
head. This cloak is like the pallium of the Romans; and when the 
hood is over, may be compared to the cardocucullus of the Gaiils. 
Some wear a covering under the haik, not milike the Roman tunic. 
The men tie the haik with a cord, which is fastened in the form of a 
turban; while the women attach it together by a silver clasp. Nearly 
all the Bedouins go barefooted, except in riding, when large boots 
are worn. The lower classes generally go with their heads uncovered; 
but the rich wear a small scarlet cap, on which is a species of turban, 
the order and number of whose folds, as in China, denotes the rank 
of the wearer, and whether he is a military man or merchant. This 
cap seems to be the tiara of the ancients, and, in fact, many of 
their coins bear one exactly like it. 

The bands are of wool, and worked with a good deal of taste, 
representing various figures and emblems : they are sufficiently long 
to go round the waist several times, and answer to the zone of the 
Greeks. On going out, the bernousse is thrown carelessly over the 
shoulder : should it rain they take it off, and it is not put on again 
until the shower is over. The sheich is another cloak worn by the 
Bedouins, which reaches down below the knees, and has a much finer 
hood than the bernousse. The Arab always carries a cangiar, and 
when travelling is furnished with a sword, which is suspended from 
the left shoulder ; also a musket, with which he scarcely ever misses 
his mark. Notwithstanding the laws of Algiers prohibit any 
persons but the Turkish soldiery from bearing arms, the wandering 
Bedouin treats them with silent disdain ; and like his Saracen ances- 
tors never fails to carry the means of redress about him. 

The dress of the Arab females is also composed of a haik,. under 


which a chemise and pantaloons are worn : the upper part of the haik 
is converted into a species of sack, for the purpose of carryhig their 
youngest children, who always accompany the mother. The head is 
covered with a kind of handkerchief, called sarnah: this is very 
much interwoven with gold and silver threads. An additional orna- 
ment worn with it, consists of a triangular piece of linen, embroidered 
and coloured with considerable art, which hangs down the back, and 
terminating by the appearance of a lock of hair, has a particularly 
graceful effect. It is customary for the Arab women to wear their 
hair excessively long, sometimes reaching to the ground; and those, 
whom nature has not blest with this mark of beauty, obtain false locks, 
which being put into the finest kind of silk net, is agitated in playful 
undulation over the shoulders. They are extremely fond of coral and 
pearls : in the absence of these, various ornaments, composed of shells 
and teeth of fish, are substituted on the neck, ancles, and wrists, 
Tatooing is also practised, though not to a very great extent. One of 
the most highly esteemed graces of the Arab female, is that of ting- 
ing the eyebrows and lids with black lead pulverized : this is still 
farther enhanced by drawing several circles round the eye with the 
same material : a custom which is, I believe, peculiar to all the savage 
tribes of the East, who make use of the idimous sirmet . The circum- 
.stance of being on a journey, or occupied in the labours of the field, 
never prevents the women from wearing their richest ornaments; 
arising either from their not knowing the use of cabinets and cases, oi- 
perhaps from vanity ; which, even in their solitary mode of lii'e, seems 
to be a quality inherent in their nature. An Arab beauty is thus 
described by Hariri and Montannabi, two of their celebrated jioets : 
" Her person ought to be slender, like the bending rush, or long 
lance of Yemen ; with flanks of such magnitude that they can scarcely 
pass the entrance of the tent ; two pomegranates rising on a bosom of 
alabaster; eyes, piercing and languid like those of the gazelle; 
arched eyebrows, hair black and curling, waving over a neck, as 
long as the camel's !" Some of the Bedouin women are as expert in 
managing- the barb as the men ; and whenever they find it necessary 


to address the Dey, they display a degree of quickness, courage, and 
eloquence, which is really surprising. 

The Bedouins eat a great quantity of bread at their meals ; and 
would be in a sad plight were they set down at a table in London or 
Amsterdam, where one can hardly distinguish the morsel which is 
put near his plate. In the cities of Barbary, there are regular bakers 
who prepare the bread in ovens ; but amongst the Arabs, no leaven 
is used. " Ye shall eat nothing leavened ; in all your habitations 
shall ye eat unleavened bread."— Exod. c. xii. ; the flour being simply 
mi Ked with water, and when made into cakes, are either roasted on 
the fire or put into a pan, called tayen, which is exactly similar both 
as to use and fonn to the tagenon of the Greeks and Jews. And as 
in Leviticus, that which is baked in the tagenon, is called after it ; 
so, amongst the Arabs, the bread is called tayen, from the vessel in 
which it is prepared. The paste composed of ground wheat or rice, 
which they fry in the tayen, is what we call donzelle, in Tuscany.* 
But as we sometimes remain for ages, without arriving at a discovery 
which touches immediately on one already made, the Bedouins were, 
on my arrival at Algiers, ignorant of the mode in which we mix the 
flour and make it unite, so as to fiy it with oil. This in the Florentine 
territory is called migliacciuole. It was, therefore, reserved for me 
to cross the sea from a distant land, and disseminate a new discoveiy in 
Africa ! Its communication was received with the utmost gratitude ; 
so much so, that I almost expected to be waited on by a deputation 
of the tribes to return thanks, having heard that my name had been 
even inscribed as a general benefactor on several palm trees. From 
it, also, the savory dish was christened, punantelle ; for which I shall, 
no doubt, be rendered famous in Africa, for having given my name to 
a palatable cake. Mine will, perhaps, on some futme day, bear an 
humble comparison with that of my distinguished countryman, who 

* The Italian tourist will, no doubt, be reminded of the immense pan containing 
this favourite preparation, which is sold in all the towns of Italy; more particularly at 
Rome, Florence, and Genoa. — Ed. 


gave his to the American continent. The benefits we render our 
fellow creatures, are amply repaid by their gratitude. The incense 
nourishes the flame which difliises it around, while the latter serves 
to develope the odoriferous perfume. 

The custom of eating together, like the heroes of Homer, and 
people of Caledonia, in the days of Ossian and Fingal, is amongst 
the Arabs an inviolable guarantee of fidelity in keeping their word, 
and acting up to promised friendship. When tvvo chiefs meet, the 
bows are bent, and attaghans drawn : this is followed by one of each 
tribe stepping forward ; they seat themselves : a bowl is then filled 
with coffee or milk ; they drink together ; and this simple ceremony 
ended, the tribes are united in the closest bonds of friendship. If you sit 
down with an Arab, eat bread and salt with him, and receive a verbal 
pledge of security ; you may, without further apprehension, go through 
the whole country of his tribe.* 

The Bedouins are Mahometans, and like the whole of that terri- 
ble sect filled with innumerable superstitions of the most extravagant 
description : they are loaded with charms and amulets, to prevent the 
influence of magic and enchantment ; they have their climacteric num- 
ber, which is five, and considered as particularly ominous. " Five in 
your eyes," is one of the greatest imprecations : another, not less effi- 
cacious in their opinion, is performed by drawing the hand over the 
eyes, and pronouncing the word capsa. On sitting down to eat, however, 
or at the commencement of any undertaking, they repeat Bismillah, 
" in the name of God;" and when the meal is at an end, Allamandillah, 
"■ God be praised." On saluting each other, they raise their hand to the 
heart, saying, Salum aleikum, "peace be with thee:" this is answered 
by Allikum essutum, " peace be also with you." To those of another 
persuasion, they merely say, *SV6M/ec/<ai//iand^«Me6 salamet, "friend, 
how art thou i" The usual posture assiuned when saluting, is that of 

* A curious illustration of this fact will be found in TuUy's Tripoli, Pages 79, 
and 80.— AV. 


placing the right hand on the breast; and this is a gesture of uncommou 
dignity. Amongst very intimate friends and equals, they reciprocally 
kiss the forehead and shoulders. The lower classes of society salute 
the knees of their superiors as a mark of respect. Whenever they 
meet in the desert, they shake hands five or six times, each kissing 
his own as often as it has been presented to his fiiend ; who then 
attempts to repeat the same ceremony with the others ; but this sign of 
submission is rejected, until both parties begin to get tired of saluta- 
tion, which is annoying even in the desert : the oldest suffers the other 
to kiss his fingers. The better educated generally salute each other's 
cheek. During Bairam and other solemn feasts, wives, by the way 
of paying a high compliment to husbands, kiss their hands. 

The sole occupation of the Arabs is confined to the care of their 
flocks, horses, the chace, and war. When called to the field, the wives, 
children, and herds follow, in order that the sight of such endearing 
objects may excite them to acts of heroism and valour. If they 
betray any symptoms of fear, and are vanquished, they are reproved 
by their wives in the manner of the Spartan heroines. They have very 
few laws, and can do without them, while their wants continue so 
Ihnited : presei-ving the same simplicity of manners, they pursue the 
unifonn tenor of their past life. Like the Samoides, who when called 
upon by the Autocrat of all the Riissias, to assist in compiling an 
universal code for the empire, answered, that they did not seek for 
laws ; and prayed his imperial majesty to give them to some of their 
neighbours who might be more in want of legislative regulations. 
]3very one recollects the story of the navigator, who, thrown upon a 
desert shore, was alarmed lest he should be devoured by beasts of 
prey, but discovering a gibbet upon which a man had been recently 
suspended, joyfully exclaimed, " thank Heaven ! I am then amongst 
civilized people !" 

All the riches of these people consist in their flocks ; besides 
which, many of the chiefs keep droves of camels for the transport of 
merchandize. They slaughter very few cattle, being satisfied with 


the wool and milk. The women superintend the bee-hive, and attend 
to the 2:ro\vth of the silk-worm ; they also weave stuifs and linen, on 
looms arranged for that purpose in the tents: instead of a shuttle, 
their fingers are used to pass the thread : after the manner of Penelope, 
Andromache, and the matrons of Rome, their task is conducted with 
incredible assiduity. Like the daughters of Judea, they go to the 
distant wells every evening, to fetch water for the camels, and for 
domestic purposes. They are, however, somewhat less accommodating 
than Dinah ; for if a stranger addresses them, they instantly let their 
veil fall, and thus hide every feature, as Rebecca did on the first sight 
of Isaac* If a stranger happens to be passing on the same road, they 
sit down with their backs towards him until he is out of sight. They 
also grind the corn, having small hand grind-stones for that purpose ; 
precisely the machine alluded to by Moses and our Saviour. There is 
another mill, yet more portable, which is carried with those who take 
long journies. The women make a very good stuff out of camel and 
goat's hair : the preparation of morocco leather is also an object of 
female industry. The skins are worked down to the texture of paper, 
and tinged with various colours, serving a great variety of useful pur- 
poses. They make bridles out of one piece : and there are itinerant 
jewellers, who manufacture rings and other ornaments for both sexes. 
When a young man wishes to marry a Bedouin female, he 
declares his intention to her father ; and if approved, is received with 
civility : the parent then descants on the merits of his daughter, and 
fecundity of her mother, which promises the same inestimable quality 
in the child. When once the father's promise is given, he calls 
upon the suitor for a certain number of cows and oxen, as a sign of 
gratitude tor so meritorious a partner. The intended bridegroom soon 

* It is really wonderful to reflect on the undeviating constancy with which the patriar- 
chal manners and customs have been transmitted through so many centuries of darkness 
and revolution to the present times. So striking is the similitude between all the modes of 
living adopted by the Bedouins, that the best description we have of them is little more than 
a repetition of what all have read in the beautiful simplicity of the scriptures. — Ed. 

A A 


ai ter conducts the required offering with all due solemnity before the 
tent of his future tather-in-law ; who then communicates the proposal 
to his daughter, upon which she graciously prepares to receive her 
lover. The relatives and friends of the bride are then invitetl, and the 
young man being introduced, is asked how much he lias given for his 
wiie Ì He replies, that a wise and industrious m oman costs nothing. 
After this, all the young virgins of the neighbourhood place the bride 
on horseback, and conduct her to the tent of the bridegroom, where 
she is immediately presented by the husband's friends with a beverage 
composed of milk and honey, as a symbol of the future harmony and 
sweetness of their union ; while she drinks, the attendant maidens 
sing an epithalamium. The bride then alights, and taking a stake 
which is presented to her, she drives it into the earth as far as her 
strength will allow ; repeating, " like this stake, which will never 
change its position, without force is employed to draw it up, so will I 
never abandon my husband, unless it should please him to discard 

This ceremony concluded, she is next shewn the flocks which are 
destined to be under her future care : these she takes to the adjoining 
meadows for some time ; and on her return, another ìjowl of milk is 
presented, in Avhich is put a small bit of the husband's tent : while she 
drinks, the company sing verses in praise of the parties, and finish by 
imploring the blessing of Heaven on their heads, together with the 
possession of large flocks and many children. The day being past in 
festivity, the friends retire ; leaving the bride in the arms of her 

Contrary to the austere custom of the Moors, the Arab shepherd 
is allowed to see the object of his affections some time before marriage ; 
and this interval he frequently employs in proving, by various delicate 
attentions, the force of his passion. Besides his nightly visit to the 
vicinity of her tent, he occasionally salutes her ear with a serenade ; 
while in the day-time, the language of the eye only serves to fan the 
flame created by his nocturnal assiduities. It is thus that the young 


and ardent Bedouin is enableil to enjoy the first of human e^ratifica- 
tions, that of selecting a woman of his own choice. Inestimable 
blessing ! rarely met with in more civilized society. A female of 
great feeling and animation, used to say : "" my father wishes to 
marry me to a man of talent; my motlier, to one who cuts a great 
figure in the world ; and my uncle to one who is very rich ; but 
give me the man whom I can love !" 

With all this haj)py freedom of choosing a partner, the young 
Bedouins never marry without their parents' entire approbation: 
besides, they are more intent on seeking a wife, than on adding to the 
number of u.seless admirers. " Why," asks an English writer, " are so 
few girls married now-a-days J" Because there are more wlio think of 
making nets than cages ! 

The Arab is modest, serious, and scarcely ever laughs : he tells 
you that smiles are only intended by nature to ornament the counte- 
nance of women : he speaks with gravity, and not until some 
moments after the person he may be conversing with, has ceased. 
He is neither fond of jokes nor scandal: thinking the one proceeds 
from littleness of mind, and the other a wicked disposition. The joy 
of the sage is seen and not heard. AVith all the Arab is neitjier 
melancholy, silent, nor sedentary. He is fond of roving, seeing, and 
conversing. The crowds and activity observable amongst the tribes is 
almost incredible : you meet people constantly coming and going, where 
any tribe is established. There are fairs and markets held through- 
out the week except on Friday ; and numberless bands of dancers, 
conjurors, and mountebanks are always in attendance, servino either 
to amuse the people or impose their medicinal quackeries on the 
credulity of the multitude.* If an European visits them, it follows of 
course tliat he is a doctor, and possesses saphies for the cure of every 
disease: these he must immediately set about writing, and when dis- 

* As the more decorous mode of passing the Sabbath in this country has not produced 
any sensible eifect on our Gallic neighbours, perhaps they may be induced to take a leaf out 
of the Arab's book of morality? — Ed. 

A A 2 


tributed to the wondering Arabs, they are instantly suspended round 
the neck, and must shortly perform miracles on the credulous patient. 

In the gentle uniformity of the pastoral life, with their serene 
nights, and tranquil atmosphere, those of a more refined understand- 
ing amongst the Arabs, study the arts and sciences ; and poetry is not 
forgotten. A good poet is sure of obtaining every distinction : they sing 
the battles and tales of love, in heroic and tender strains. The sheiks 
and even piinces do not think themselves degraded by attending their 
flocks : and while the latter feed, they are employed in composing 
verses in praise of a country life ; the tranquillity of pastoral pursuits, 
and .serene days experienced by the patriarchs of old, who were 
blessed with the approbation and support of Heaven. I heard the 
lines of a young bard, which seemed to breathe a considerable degree 
of spirit and expression : they related the prowess of an Arab prince, 
who had destroyed a fierce giant that had been the terror of his 
tribe ; he then described the courage and valour of a Bedouin, who 
struck down a furious lion one night, while going to visit a young 
female, whose gait was majestic, and eyes more beautiful than those 
of the gazelle I 

A collection of the finest maxims, and choicest compositions, 
are generally learned by heart, and forms a material part in the educa- 
tion of an Arab : by which poetry is restored to its natural intention 
and original ; that of transmitting historical events, celebrat- 
ing the actions of the brave, instructing young societies, or those who 
have retained their primitive simplicity. 



Account of the Kabiles and Arab Tribes. — The Himas. — Tents. — Dowers. — 
Encampments. —Dascars, or Arab Villages. — The Sheiks. — The Plunder- 
ing Arabs. — Anecdotes respecting them. 

The Bedouins are divided into many scattered tribes, called 
Kabiles, and vulgarly Nege; but it is necessary to distinguish the 
wandering Arabs, from those who have a fixed residence. In the 
deserts of Persia and Syria, most of the land is susceptible of culti- 
vation, and is besides generally well watered ; but neither of these 
cases can apply to the arid sands of Africa, where verdure is so 
scarce, that their inhabitants are obliged to go in search of it, like 
the Calinucks and Tartars. Some tribes, however, remain stationary 
for several years : while others, frequently change their position, 
paying a small quit rent for the lands they cultivate, or upon which 
their flocks are permitted to range. When the families become too 
numerous, they separate : one party going to the right, and the other 
to the left, like the progeny of Abraham and Lot.* In journeying 
from one station to another, three women are carried by each camel, 
while the children and young lambs are containedin panniers suspended 
on each side, and the fowls roost on the neck and bunch. On these 
occasions the males go on foot, for the purpose of keeping together 
and directing the flocks, their muskets being hung up to the pummel 

* This is another very striking coincidence, between the customs of the Arabs, and 
their remote ancestors of the East. " Is not the whole land before thee? Separate thyself, 
I pray thee, from me : if thou wilt take the left hand, then I will go to the right ; or if 
thou depart to the right hand, then I will go to the left." Genesis, Chap. XIII. — Ed. 


of the camel's saddle. It is thus, that an Arab faiuily travels when 
in search of a new establishment. 

Some of the tribes are both numerous and powerful, such as the 
Beni Mezzaab, near the Desert of Angad ; the Psummata, a warlike 
tribe towards Mount Atlas; the Gamma, inhabiting the mountains 
of Couco ; Beni Abbas, on the great road to Constantina ; and the 
Bedouins of the Zaab, who are descended irom the ancient Melano- 
getuli. These tribes generally take the names of their original chiefs 
or founders, merely adding the word Beni. They frequently form 
dilterent camps, all of which place themselves under the direction of 
a single emir of their own election : this chief has sometimes as many 
as three hundred under his orders.* Such associations are rendered 
necessary to defend them from the oppression of the Turks : as, to 
avoid insult, they must possess force, which can alone ensure protec- 
tion : he who knoMS how to make himself feared, is generally 

Tliere was some years ago, an Arab named Abuferez, of great 
courage and intelligence, who attempted to unite all the Kabiles in 
the vicinity of Mount Atlas. But, instead of forming a powerful 
league, like the Iriquois of America, the Persian Afghans, or 
Rohillas of Hindostan, the African Arabs are only intent on making 
war upon each other; and the Turks, who are actively employed in 
fomenting their quarrels, do not fail to profit by them. When I 
asked why they did not form one general alliance under a single 
pow erful chief, they informed me, it arose from the apprehension of 
their making a tyrant for themselves ; and that it was infinitely better 
to suffer temporary vexations, than a state of constant oppression. I 
am, however, fully of opinion, that the Bedouins under an intrepid and 
fortunate chief, would become an independent, powerful, and happy 
people ; as the Drusi and Binnans of the East did, when led on by 

•* " Eacb camp has its respective sheik, but the\phi ef of the tribe is entitled El Kiber, 
the great sheik." Keatinge, Vol. I. p. 327, where the manners and customs of the Arab 
tribes are very ably illustrated. — Ed. 


Fac Jardin and Alompia : divided and discordant, their patrimony 
can only be weakness and slavery. " We should not," says an 
oriental proverb, " separate the sun which lightens and vivifies the 
universe into so many fixed stars, that only serve the more to attest 
the presence of darkness." 

The tents under which the wandering Arabs live, are called Himas, 
from the shade they afl^brd ; and Beef el Shaar, meaning houses of 
skins and hair. Tliese tents differ in size, and are supported by two 
or three poles from eight to ten feet high, and about four inches in 
diameter, upon which several hooks are fixed to hang their clothes 
and arms on. Thus we see in the story of Judith, that the scymetar 
of Holofernes was suspended on the props of his tent. The bed and 
entrance is folded, in the same manner we read of in the habitations 
of the ancient people of Mesopotamia. 

The tents liave a conic form, and seldom exceed ten feet in height : 
they are fastened together by thongs cut out of goat's skin, twisted 
camel's hair, or slips from the leaves of the palm tree ; and at a little 
distance have the appearance of boats reversed. They keep the water 
out very well, and are consequently a great refuge in the desert : 
though from their dark colour, they are I'ar from pleasing to the eye. 
The chief's tent is always placed in the centre of the camp, and has a 
greater elevation than the rest ; next to this is the one intended for the 
reception of all strangers who may come to demand hospitality or 
protection. The camps are generally formed in the shape of a circle or 
crescent, and the tents in parallel lines : round the whole, a thorny 
hedge-row is planted. Their flocks are, during the night, placed inside 
this, while the dogs keep watch outside. One of the tents is left empty to 
serve for a mosque: to this the children repair at sun-rise every morn- 
ing, in order to recite a prayer which is engraved on a board suspended 
from the centre, and aftei-wards they learn their lesson : which is done 
with much apparent satisfaction. They then run to embrace their mas- 
ter, who does not treat them like a bombastic pedagogue ; but rathey 
as his own children. When the Arabs begin to have a large family, 


tliey provide another tent; and if a son marries, the father is 
obliged to give him a certain quantity of cattle and grain, to establish 
himself in the neighbourhood : his furniture consists of a portable 
mill fomied out of two small pieces of granite, a large basket, and two 
or three pans to soak bread in milk, prepare rice, &c. 

A stranger is always well received at the tent of an Arab. When- 
ever a traveller loses his way in the desert, or is in want of shelter, and 
sees towards night, a column of smoke, hears the barking of dogs, or 
lambs bleating ; these are sure indications of his being near a Bedouin 
camp. Towards them he directs his steps : and on approaching the 
pastor's door, it is immediately opened ; and followed up by his receiv- 
ing the marabbas, or salutation of peace : he is then presented 
with a bowl of milk and basket of grapes, dried figs and dates : 
such is the prelude for that night's hospitality. The host soon after, 
takes a lamb or kid out of the field, slaughters it with his own hand ; 
and when skinned, presents it to his wife, who proceeds to dress 
a part, reserving some for the kab-ab, or broil of the next moiTiing : 
which is intended for the traveller's breakfast previous to his depar- 
ture ; or if he chooses, it is given to refresh him on his joxirney. It 
was thus that the three angels were treated who presented themselves 
at the Patriarch's tent. " And Abraham ran unto the herd, and fetcht 
a calf tender and good, and gave it unto a young man, and he has- 
tened to dress it." Gen. xviii. 

Upon these occasions, the head of tlie family is invariably the 
most officious in his attentions. As it is usually the custom in those 
regions for travellers to go bare-footed, or only with sandals, on arriv- 
ing at the hospitable Bedouins, their feet are instantly washed, and 
ointment presented for the hair ; nor does the host sit down to eat with 
his guest, but remains standing- and performing the office of an atten- 
dant while he is at table. 

It would indeed be extremely difficult to find any people on earth 
more truly hospitable than the Arab tribes ; or amongst whom that fine 
vÌT*tue, the unequivocal proof of liberal sentiments, is exercised with 


greater delicacy. An Arab, named Thaleb, had the misfortune of 
killing the father of the emir Alcasar in a quarrel : the latter, 
inspired by an implacable spirit of revenge, went out in daily search 
of the murderer. At length a stranger presented himself and demanded 
the rites of hospitality ; Alcasar treated him with the most assiduous 
and generous attentions. The following day he went out to pursue the 
usual search, and returned in the evening, filled with melancholy at 
the ill success of his endeavours. Shortly after, the visitor enquired 
the cause of his sadness : when Alcasar declared, that he was looking 
for a certain Thaleb, who slew his father. " No longer search for 
your enemy ;" replied the stranger, removing a false beard which he 
had assumed : " the unhappy Thaleb stands before you !" " Oh, 
Heavens I" exclaimed the astonished emir. "Can it be possible? 
But you are my guest ; take this purse, fly from my dwelling : and I 
will then determine on what ought to be done." Strangers are perfectly 
secure in a Bedouin camp ; and if, during the night, any insult is 
otfered, the whole tribe is made answerable ; and obliged to make full 
and entire reparation. A traveller, in fact, has less to fear in the 
midst of this rude people, than when sometimes traversing the most 
civilized countries of Europe. 

It is not the practice to continue more than one night under the 
tent of an Arab. A little discretion is required ; and one cannot well 
follow the example of the Abbé who wrote to Voltaire, saying, that 
he intended to pass a month at his chateau, without running the risk 
of a similar reproof: " you are very unlike Don Quixote : he took inns 
for castles; but you take castles for inns!" On parting, it is usual 
for the stranger to present his host with a little gun-powder ; which is 
highly prized by the Bedouins, for priming. A bit of antimony is 
also given to the young girls, to colour their eyebrows and eyelashes ; to 
the matron a pair of scissars ; or some pins and needles are equally 
acceptable ; being quite a treasure to these people, blest as they are 
with scarcely a single want ungratified ! It should, ho%vever, be 
obsei-ved, that no donation of any kind is looked for; they merely act 

B B 


from a. spontaneous generosity and religious feeling, strengthened by 
immemorial custom. From the family of an Arab, vieing with each 
other in attending to the stranger who takes shelter under their roof, 
it is not to be wondered at, if he, on leaving them, feels a sentiment of 
regret and affection. Received with the cordiality shewn by Jacob 
and Laban to their numerous guests, and reflecting on the extreme 
simplicity of an Arab entertainment, an European visitor is apt to 
fancy himself .seated in the tent of a patriarch. 

When the Arabs have found a spot sufficiently rich to feed their 
flocks, and ensure their personal security, the tents are pitched, and 
an encampment formed according to the number of families, from 
three, to as many hundred tents : these associations or flying camps, 
are called Dowars. 

It is generally the custom for each tribe to change its position 
once a year, in order to afford the ground time to recover from the 
preceding one's cultivation. If that has been productive, they return 
to it again ; but in every remove it is necessary to have permission from 
the Dey of Algiers, to whom all those bordering on, or residing in 
his territory, are obliged regularly to pay a yearly tribute, Mhich 
amounts to a tenth of all they possess : this requisition is known by 
the title of Garam. 

The police regulations are extremely judicious, and well adapted 
to the Arab's mode of life. Each Dowar is responsible for all the 
crimes and misdemeanors committed either in sight of the camp, or 
in its immediate vicinity, no matter who the aggressors may be. By 
way, however, of mitigating the rigour of this law, the tribe's respon- 
sibility ceases with day-light : the impossibility of seeing or preventing 
what happens during the night, being very properly considered as a 
just cause of exemption from any charge at that time. The night 
has BO eyes, according to their emphatic mode of expression : in con- 
sequence, therefore, of the difficulty which would naturally attend the 
discovery of any violence done in the dark, the Bedouin makes a 
point of never setting off on a journey before broad day; and also 


of stopping at sun-set. Occasionally, during- the hours of repose, the 
men collect at the sheik's tent, where they pass the time in talking 
of their horses, voyages, and various feats in arms. In these soirécSy 
the chief, seated on the same skin with the meanest of his tribe, enters 
into every subject of conversation with the utmost familiarity. Not- 
withstanding this occasional equality, it is to be observed, that the 
whole party treat him with a marked homage and respect. 

The heads of families mount their horses every evening, and 
proceed to an adjoining meadow, where, forming a circle round the 
chiefs, ^ grand council is held, at which all the affairs of the Dowar 
are freely discussed. The pastoral and warlike simplicity of this 
assemblage, with only the canopy of Heaven for a covering, and sur- 
rounded by the solitudes of the desert, is said to exhibit a spectacle 
full of grandeur and solemnity. 

Some of the tribes neither change their place of abode nor live 
under tents, but are stationary, inhabiting small villages called 
Dascars. These are composed of huts built of turf, or bricks taken 
from old ruins, the roofs being formed of straw with a layer of 
boughs. The same apartment generally serves for bed-room, stable, 
and hall of audience. There is, however, a corner reserved for the 
animals; but they often intrude themselves on the family; with whom 
they appear to live on terms of the greatest intimacy': so much so, 
indeed, that during the night the calves and goats frequently amuse 
themselves by walking over the bodies of the sleeping family, or 
occasional visitant. 

The Dascars are by no means so comfortable as the tents of the 
Dowars, nor do their inhabitants enjoy the same degree of abundance 
and prosperity. Heie all is filth and wretchedness : and in addition 
to the comfortable reflection of being exposed to the inclemency of 
the weather, and within the constant hearing of beasts of prey, one is 
almost devoured by every kind of vermin, which seem to be quite at 
home in these miserable habitations; where innumerable scorpions 
are also to be found. 

B B 2 


The villages of these people are extremely populous, and during 
the recent attack, myriads of them descended from the mountains 
south of Algiers, to witness the engagement. They are naturally 
much less humanized and generous than the wandering Bedouins: 
the latter are continually moving about in search of pasturage, and 
live under a serene sky ; while the former are obliged to cultivate the 
most arid mountains ; and often residing on their summits, inhabit 
the region of tempests. 

The African villages are still precisely the same, as they were 
described to be in the days of antiquity, when they Avere called Ma- 
palia from the Punic word Mapul, signilying fixed habitations : 

Miratur moles ^Eneas Mapalia quondam. 

And, as in the present day, the people of Numidia, who lived in 
tents, were considered as a distinct race from those who resided in 
huts or cabins ; in opposition to the latter, the wandering tribes were 
called Magalia ; thus according to Silius Italicus : 

Qualia Maurus amat dispersa Magalia pastor. 
And Lucan, 

Et solitus vacuis errare Magalibus afer. 

Each tribe maybe considered as a nation ; like those of the American 
-savages, and a species of principality having one chief: this officer is 
called a sheik ; meaning an elder : he is generally chosen from amongst 
the oldest of the tribe : and the most distinguished for maturity of judg- 
ment, and the practice of virtue, is he whom the Arabs of the desert 
think most worthy of commanding them. These princes, whose 
palaces are established wherever their tent is elevated, and carpet 
spread, administering justice at the foot of a tree, recall those agree- 
able feelings which are associated with a recollection of remote and 
happier days, 

When tyrant custom had not shackled man. 
But free to follow nature was the mode. 

Although the Bedouins, like the hordes of Tartary, pursue a 


wandering- life, and maintain an apparent state of liberty, the idea o>' 
establishing a republican form of government never enters their 
thoughts. Being composed of a horde or tribe, a species of army 
which requires one directing chief, possessing the supreme will of a 
monarch, his power has always been exerci.sed with the greatest 
moderation, while despotism was never admitted. The sheik, seeing 
his subjects armed, and possessing the power of election, feels the 
necessity of consulting their inclinations. One of these princes being 
asked if his people were free, answered, " why should they not, if I 
as their chief, am so !" 

This kind of government is neither elective nor hereditary. There 
are some families who have governed for centuries ; but this they owe 
to their paternal administration, and to the pleasure which we all feel 
in obeying those who endeavour to make us happy. Though the son 
generally succeeds his father, there is no specific right to guarantee 
such a mode of arriving at power, as both the election and approlja- 
tion of the people are necessary before the reins of government are 
assumed. Tliey find it an admirable maxim, to let the government 
descend in this way from father to son, on condition that the son takes 
care to merit the esteem of the people. In this case also, the most 
meritorious member of the family is sure to be preferred. 

It often happens, that the same tribe has several minor chiefs, 
who are under the protection of a more powerful one, called Sheik 
el Meiscach ; and it as frequently occurs, that many tribes elect a 
supreme head, who receives the title of Sheik el Keeber, or great 
master : that of emir, meaning prince, is also common. Leagues are 
sometimes formed between different emirs, to defend themselves against 
an ambitious prince or foreign oppression. 

If the sheik ill-treats his subjects, or is unfaithful to the princi- 
ples by which he was called to govern them, neither plots nor revolu- 
tions are formed against his person ; but he is quietly abandoned by 
the whole tribe; which proceeds to join another, whose chief receives 
the new acquisition with open arms, as a sure means of adding to his 


power and popularity. The lamentations of the o[)pressed are heard ; 
but the voice of sedition is silent : many unite and call for justice ; 
but they seldom, except in the last extremity, resort to conspiracy and 
tiimult. A Bedouin can never be persuaded to revolt against the 
prince, to whom he has sworn fealty and obedience. When the sheik 
degrades himself to the level of a tyrant, they merely take their leave 
and abandon him to his own reflections. Many have been thus seen, 
almost alone in their camp, having lost their whole tribe, in forfeit- 
ing those affections, which could have alone ensured their loyalty. I 
happened, during my rambles in the vicinity of Algiers, to meet one 
of these unfortunate princes : he was alone, and .sitting mournfully 
under a tree, with his eyes rivetted to the ground, and strong shame 
and dejection depicted in every feature. Not a single subject, or even 
friend, remained to sympathize with his forlorn condition. The tribe 
which had just withdrawn itself from him, were posted on an adjacent 
eminence ; and reminded me of the Roman people assembled on the 
sacred mount.* 

Whenever it becomes necessaiy to have recourse to arms, the 
chief of each tribe assembles all who are capable of taking the field, 
who, one after another, offers his best services to the community ; 
when the whole body join in one common war song, which is fol- 
lowed by immediate preparations for the proposed enterprize. The 
utmost similarity is said to exist between the wandering Arab sheiks, 
and many of the North American chiefs, bordering on the Lakes of 
Canada. Each warrior, besides furnishing two horses and the neces- 
sary arms, engages to provide for his own maintenance ; and when 
the Arabs of Barbary are called upon to serve, they instantly obey 

* Alluding to that curious and interesting event in the history of Rome, where the 
populace, seeing the impossibility of obtaining justice from their patrician rulers, deter- 
mined to abandon the city ; and for this purpose withdrew to a rising ground, shewn to 
this day about two miles outside of the Porto del Popolo. The same thing also hap- 
pened, after Virginia's violation by the Decemvir Appius. — Ed. 


the invitation. Without any pay whatever, they are contented to 
rely on their gallantry and exertions for future reward. All are 
mounted on unshod horses, which they manage with wonderful dex- 
terity. Their chief talents consist in a sudden irruption, or impe- 
tuous charge ; and in a warfare of ambush or surprize, they may be 
called the Tyrolese and Cossacks of Africa. 

In all affairs of importance, the sheik makes a point of con- 
voking the head of each tent and family, to whose opinions every 
possible deference is paid. When the interests of several tiibes are 
discussed, a species of congress is formed : not unlike the great Diet 
of the Tartars, each sheik representing his respective subjects, con- 
sidering himself rather as the ally than tributary of the Sheik el 
Keeber ; who, like the Khan of Tartary, may be regarded as the pre- 
sident of a great warlike assembly, being perfectly satisfied if he can 
acquire the confidence and esteem of his allies. His opinion, too, 
generally prevails ; as all are fully aware of the purity of his inten- 
tions. So true it is, that integrity and virtue are the best means of 
inspiring public confidence and applause. 

Some of the smaller tribes, without tents or cottages, and mounted 
on their fiery barbs or swift dromedaries, scour the desert in search of 
booty : these are called the plundering Arabs : — assaulting the 
caravans, they strip the traveller and immediately disappear. Like 
most of the descendants of Ishmael, they make robbery a profession. 
The most independent of mortals, their liberty* consists in making 
all mankind tributary to their wants and villanies : a maxim which 
has not been always confined to the plundering Arabs of the desert. 
It was pretty strongly exemplified in the uniform policy of a certain 

* Not many years ago, when the system of liberty and equality was first promulgated, 
a gentleman hearing some one knock at the door of his anti-chamber, came out before his 
toilette was completed, and on letting the stranger in, observed, " pray excuse me for 
receiving you with this liberty" i. e. in his chemise ! 


nation from 1794, unti! the public opinion of Europe expelled its 
leader in 1814.* 

Of the plundering tribes, the Sheikies and Ababdes, frequent, 
the track to Senaar ; while of Cubba Beschis and Bedeials, 
hover about that of Daufnr: others, near the mountains of Tell and 
Desert of Angad, are like the Kundi and Turcomans of Natòlia, and 
Lesguis of the Caucasus. The travellers and warriors of the Crusades, 
alluded to a nation of assassins, and the celebrated Old Man of the 
Mountains, towards the foot of Mount Lebanon. 

Barbaiy may also well be called the country of assassins ; but 
the Arabs of the desert are certainly not the worst part of its inhabit- 
ants : the truly perfidious, are those who live by piracy on the high 

* Mr. Pananti is not so lamentably blinded by party zeal, as to admire Buonaparte ; 
either because it was his fate to be put down by the allied powers whom he had harassed 
in every imaginable shape for above fifteen years, or in consequence of that confinement 
on a desolate island, which has been purely the result of his own senseless temerity and 
unexampled violence as a sovereign. — No ! divested of this ruinous bane to patriotism and 
public virtue, the author, in judging the ex-emperor by his actions alone, could not 
possibly reconcile one sentiment of praise with a life which seemed exclusively devoted 
to the gratification of vain glory and personal ambition. With all those philosophic 
heads, and philanthropic hearts, and they are not a few, with whose opinions I had 
an opportunity of becoming acquainted, during a late visit to the continent, Mr. P. 
could only regard Napoleon Buonaparte as one, who, possessing the most unlimited 
means of becoming truly great, deliberately suffered the golden opportunity to escape, 
in the little-minded and extravagant project of making Europe subservient to the insa- 
tiable rapacity of a military depotism, such as he fatally succeeded in establishing over 
the volatile and inconsiderate people of France. The reiterated plunders and massacres 
which marked the sanguinary progress of his armies in Holland, Germany, Russia, the 
Tyrol, Italy, and Spain, are not quite so easily forgotten on the continent, as they have 
unfortunately been by the mistaken opinion of some people in this country; while military 
roads, bridges, and public works, are there considered a very poor compensation for the 
annihilation of religion, morals, and civil liberty I — It is of the very first importance to 
the temperate and enlightened friends of order and good government, to know that the 
great mass of intellectual talent which now irradiates the continental nations, has arisen 
and been matured by the tremendous lessons furnished during the last twenty-five years. 
These have taught people the dreadful fallacy of indulging in Utopian schemes of humau 


seas, and along the coasts of Tripoli, Tunis, and Algiers ; with whom 
it is vain to expect either law or justice. On the contrary, those 
Arabs who make a trade of plundering, possess some qualities which 
tend very materially to soften the iniquity of their callings. Many of 
them, in assailing the peaceful traveller, will not acknowledge it as 
robbery : they believe themselves to be the natural proprietors of the 
desert ; and in taking away the property of others, consider it merely 
as a poll tax, such as ships are in the habit of paying in passing the 
Sound and Dardanelles. They also believe themselves lineal descend- 
ants of Ishmael, who, according to their account, was unjustly dis- 
inherited of his patrimony : so that in living upon the public, they 
are only occupied in revenging past injuries. Condemned to the 

happiness, unsuited to the spirit of the age and progress of civilization. At the same time, 
that the errors which lead to popular excesses and ultimate revolution, have been fully 
brought before their eyes. This has led to an universal expression of public sentiment in 
favour of the representative system, founded upon the long experience of its efficacy in 
this country, in reconciling the stability of government with the rational freedom of the 
people. The wisest and most intelligent men in Europe, are unequivocally agreed on this 
momentous subject ; and upon its adoption, they do not hesitate to say, must inevitably 
depend the future repose of the world. Fearfully alive to all those horrors which follow 
in the train of re-action and revolution, they look up to their respective sovereigns, 
and implore this boon with trembling anxiety, knowing it to be vitally identified with the 
security of the one and happiness of the other. And how flattering to the British nation, 
is this expression of public feeling on the continent? Witnessing the extraordinary 
manner in which we have met and finally overcome difficulties that involved the ruin of 
surrounding states, they merely wish for the adoption of that simple form of government 
which has enabled us to perform so many apparent miracles. A prey to the most horrible 
calamities which war and rapine could inflict for so many years, the people of Germany 
and Italy wish to establish a system of government, which shall for ever preclude the pos- 
sibility of their return ; and they are decidedly of opinion, that this most desirable end is 
only to be obtained by a free and impartial representation of the people, constituted so as 
to become the real organ of public opinion. In soliciting the above act of grace and libe- 
rality from their respective sovereigns, I am more than satisfied, the continental nations 
are actuated by no other desire, than that of promoting the only true basis upon which, in 
an enlightened age, legitimate governments can be securely and permanently established. 

C C 


dreary possession of the desert, the plundering tribe consider it as no 
more than a just retaliation to spoliate those who have usurped the 
cultivated lands. 

They, however, rob without murdering ; and if acts of violence 
take place, and lives are lost, it always arises from resistance on the 
part of the caravans, who refuse to pay the required tribute. Should 
they succeed in escaping its payment, the next that passes, if less 
powerful, is obliged to pay for them : it being a settled maxim with 
these free-booters, that no circumstances are to interfere with the total 
amount of their annual revenues. With all the marauding qualities 
of these people, they possess a species of moral principle, which 
renders them extremely tractable on some occasions : — although ever 
on the alert to plunder the rich merchant, they are equally ready to 
assist the distressed pilgrim.* 

When an Arab receives any one for the night, he is placed on 
the skin which serves the host as a bed : here the stranger is in per- 
fect security ; and as obsei-ved in another place, the simple ceremony 
of eating bread and salt with any of the tribes, guarantees you 
•against the whole. A traveller who receives a boy, or young virgin 
for his guide, may pass in the greatest safety, and has nothing to fear ; 

* There was once a famous chief of banditti in the Calabrias, called Augiolino del 
Duca, who combined his predatory system with numerous acts of charity. One day 
observing a poor countryman, who seemed to be in great tribulation, he enquired what 
was the cause of his uneasiness ; when the peasant informed him, that his landlord was 
coming the next day, with the officers of justice, to drive him from his farm, in conse- 
quence of being in arrears for rent. How much do you owe him? asked Angiolino ; 
six hundred ducats, was the reply. I will lend you that sura, rejoined the robber ; and 
immediately put it into his hands ; after which he departed. The inexorable baron soon 
arrived, and was about to put his threat into execution, when, to his no small surprize, 
the tenant produced his rent; upon which his landlord went off perfectly reconciled, and 
highly pleased with the result of his journey. Having approached near a wood that lay 
on the road, the wily chief rushed forth accompanied by his followers, and was not long 
recovering something more than his six hundred ducats : thus settling the accounts of all 
the parties! 


purity and innocence being held sacred even in these desolate regions. 
You may also enter the tents of those very men, by whom you have 
been recently robbed. They even affect to feel an interest blended 
with pity for your misfortunes, often in the course of your narrative, 
repeating-, God is merciful! Another dress is thrown over the unfor- 
tunate traveller, while his own is seen hanging up on the next hook ! 
and he takes his leave, covered with the benedictions of those very 
robbers who may be destined to plunder him the following day ! — Such 
is the systematic order of robbery in the desert. When a traveller is 
surprized, with treasures in his possession, the son of Agar's son 
must have his proportion ; — it not being consonant to justice, ac- 
cording to their ideas, that one man should be rich and another 

Thieves have, in every age, been distinguished for the utmost 
equity as far as words go. They do not tell you to proceed and rob, 
but to go and gain. Many who have for years successfully followed 
up the trade of picking pockets, are now-a-days suffered to be 
quietly at large, to glory in the plundered wealth of the community ; 
while a still greater number, who have been enriched by the rapacity 
of war, return with the blood of their slaughtered enemies, yet 
reeking, and proudly boast of having performed their duty ! By far the 
greatest robbers do not, in fact, say, let us go to invade and conquer, 
but for the laudable purpose of avenging our injured rights ! 

c c 2 



Description of the Moors. — Their Figure and Character. — Male and Female 
Costume. — Head Dress and Toilet. — Habitations. — Particular Manners 
and Customs. — Marriages amongst the Moors.— Funerals. — Condition of 
Widows, ófc. 

The Moors, who compose a very Jarge proportion of the population 
of Barbary, are far I'rom being the most amiable : there is something 
harsh and ominous in their physiognomy, extremely repulsive to an 

The excesses in which they are so apt to indulge, enervates 
their body, and destroys their courage. That blood which ' is 
impoverished by dissoluteness, seldom gives much animation to the 
possessor : their limbs are rather slender and well-shaped, but they 
have generally more agility than vigour ; and are better adapted for 
pedestrian exercise than the labours of agriculture. They have tine 
eyes, and good teeth; together with tolerably regular features; but 
their countenance is never enlivened by a noble thought, or generous 
sentiment : it rather expresses the tire of ardent and gloomy passion. 
In them the eye seldom beams forth that softness and placidity which 
distinguish a fine soul. A quivering lip, the emblem of disdain and 
falsehood, is more often seen. Theirs is the smile of death ; and it is 
perhaps the risible faculty, which is, above all others, most calculated 
to betray the internal operations of the human mind. 

They are amazingly patient under pain and suffering. The man- 
ner in which a Moor bears punishment, I will not compare to stoical 
firmness, but it is the cold ferocity of a savage. While nailed to a 


pillar by the ears and feet, one of these people has been known tran- 
quilly to call lor a pipe ! Another, whose hand is chopped off, will 
take it up and run away. They are endowed with excellent memories; 
but it only serves to make them remember old offences, and perpetuate 
animosities. Their spirit and penetration is also employed for the 
purposes of pertidy and treason. The Moor's predominant passion 
consists in the gratification of sensual appetite, avarice, and ambi- 
tion : witliout public spectacles, society, or a love of study, he 
furiously throws himself into a seaof voluptuousness and debauchery. 
His avarice too, is incredible : amongst a variety of proverbs, strongly 
characteristic of these people, there is one which says, " vinegar that 
is given, is preferable to honey which is bought;" and, " a Moor will 
allow an eye to be taken from him. to get at a crown piece !" The 
less, however, they can shew their riches, the less they enjoy them : 
so that they are mostly intent on accumulating. There is scarcely à 
single father of a family who dies without leaving a treasure to his son. 
This is certainly some little excuse in their favour. In the course of those 
continuetl acts of violence, to which they are subjected by the govern- 
ment, confiscation and death is ever present to their eyes : it is therefore 
always convenient to have wherewithal, not ordy to secure their per- 
sonal retreat, but to leave behind the means of supporting their family: 
this gives rise to the universal practice of burying large sums of specie 
under ground ; and is also a good reason why those who have most 
hard cash, are considered the richest. As might naturally be expected, 
this insatiable thirst of gold, renders the Moor cunning, hypocritical, 
and false to his promises. They abhor strangers, the descendants of 
those who were driven from Spain, they have retained the same fero- 
cious hatred towards other sects. They are also persecutors amongst 
themselves : families are divided and societies disturbed : mixing but 
little with each other, they are full of diffidence and egotism. Living 
under the worst of tyrannies, they are vile and trembling : nor do 
they hesitate descending to every species of humiliation, whenever 
any thing is to be got by it. With equals, they use a vulgar familia- 


rity, andare neither brave nor generous. The natural ferocity of their 
character is not tempered by any of that noble intrepidity which 
distinguishes some savage nations. The Moor acts from a sudden 
impulse or violent transport ; which they call fantasy ; in other words, 
caprice or phrenzy : during the operation of which, they are capable of 
the greatest excesses — revenge seeins to ferment in their hearts, while 
their natural element is hatred. 

From a state of high civilization, the 3Ioors have fallen into a 
barbarism, worse than they were proljably ever in before. They are 
like old wine, of which nothing is left but the dregs ; and have all 
the vices, without any of the Arab's virtues : in fact, their character 
combines the blind superstition of the blacks, with the impetuous 
passions of the Saracens. 

Nothing can be more singular than this baleful activity of the 
Moors, in the midst of their sedentary, etfeminate, and unoccupied 
life ; in which indolence and inditference appear, at first sight, to be 
the prevailing impetus: particularly, as it relates to the inju.stice 
and severity of their government ; but the former may be compared 
to a hidden volcano, which only requires the operation of nature 
to bring it into action. If the Moor can be said to possess one 
.solitary virtue, it will be found rather in the justice of his notions, 
than the rectitude of his heart. They are said to perfonn some good 
actions, such as giving much away in charity ; but to sensibility, 
they are total strangers : they will assist an idle mendicant, but they 
are incapable of soothing an oppressed spirit, or mingling their tears 
with those of an unfortunate fellow creature. Hardened by the dogma 
of fatalism, to be afflicted at the miseries of another, or shed a tear for 
his sorrows, is by the inexorable Moor, regarded as weak, and even 
criminal. While, however, they are so eminently false and deceitful, 
they contrive to assume an air of openness, always speaking with 
affected sincerity and candour. Whenever any argument arises, wherein 
their moral rectitude is called in question, they address the Christian 
in i\\e\r Lingua Franca, 3Ii andar dritto, ti andar torto ; mi nonpar- 


lare che quel che sentire ; mi avere in bocca quello che aver nello cuore ! 
Men are said to be sometimes known by trifles : there have been per- 
sons too, who fancied they could tell a man's character from the style 
of his hand-writing, the way in which he walked, or some particulai- 
gestures and movements : — others, carrying the refinement still farther, 
supposed that important inferences may be drawn from the letter of 
the alphabet a person pronounces in laughing. But the most inge- 
nious remark I have heard of in this way, was that of M. Neckar, on 
the phrases which he calls parasites, peculiar to most people ; and 
constantly repeated by them in conversation. He has very shrewdly 
observed, that the speaker has generally a totally different meaning 
in view, from that endeavoured to be communicated by his favourite 
expression ; because he who is aware of his defect or weak siae, makes 
use of it more frequently than any other ; not only for the purpose of 
deceiving others, but also himself — as people endeavour to conceal 
bodily deformity. 

The experience furnished by a knowledge of most men of 
depraved characters, proves the entire justice of this remark. — 
The I'alse and designing will always tell you, — " I speak with my 
usual candour on such occasions." — The eternal talker, continually 
repeats — " one nord more and I hare done!" The miser who would 
suffer himself to be skinned for a farthing, says, — " My dear friend, 
you know this is not my money !" The man who is made up of 
ceremony and etiquette, will say, — "Sans compUmens ; I hate cere- 
mony !" He who aimoys you with his ceaseless nonsense, says, — 
''lam sorry to be troublesome:' The croaker informs us, "that 
things cannot possibly be worse than they are !" He who sutFers the 
whole world to tiifle with and insult him, vociferates — " I am a man 
of character, and no one shall insult me with impunity " The cre- 
dulous dupe,—" No ! JVo ! I am not to be taken in quite so easily as 

you imagine!" A man whose heart is like ice, is sure to say, 

•' I know I have too much feeling ;" and the pander calls every one 
his " veì-ì/ dear friend!" While the Moors betray and deceive. 


they squeeze your hand ; wishing to appear all honey, and that their 
hearts are formed in the tenderest mould. But, beware of that mask 
which discloses too much of the visage ! 

Some have observed, that in proportion to the neatness and 
cleanly appearance of any nation, we may judge of the degree of 
civilization to which they have arrived. If the Moors conformed to 
the precepts of Mahomet, they would, as far as this criterion goes, 
be the most cultivated people on earth ; but they are very far from 
doing so, with regard to their personal cleanliness and general mode 
of dress. Although their heads are shaved, a high value is set on 
the beard, which they are always smoothing down and dividing with 
the greatest care and gravity. A small lock of hair is also left on the 
top of the head. The dress of the great consists in the caftan ; a 
long robe reaching down below the knee ; over this there is a jacket 
richly embroidered with gold and silver, long trowsers, and a black 
or white bernousse ; together with yellow and red boots or slippers. 
The band for their loins is generally very long, and they seldom 
wear stockings. The head is bound round with several fine veils. 
Those who are desirous of being thought very wise and dignified, 
take particular pains to exhibit a flaming head-dress ; for the higher 
a man's rank is, the more clothes he puts on. They are respected in 
proportion to the number of dresses they can conveniently carry; 
and these are sometimes so numerous, as to preclude the possibility 
of their having a free use of their limbs. This part of the 
Moorish manners has no small share in contributing to their apathy 
and indolence ; while the only advantage they derive from it, is an 
appearance of stupid gravity without effect or meaning : yet they are 
perfectly satisfied if it inspires a little more respect in the multitude. 
Those who have made the pilgrimage to Mecca, called El Hatech, 
are exclusively allowed to wear a turban ; the rest cover their heads 
with red caps and twisted veils, as above noticed. 

There is great simplicity of dress observed at Fez and Morocco, 
while the utmost luxury prevails amongst the Algerines and 


Tunisians, whose women are covered with ja^old and jewels. In 
despotic countries like these, where revolutions and the consequent fall 
of great men are so frequent, and where the tyrant can at any moment 
possess himself of every thing-, it is a favourite policy to enrich the 
women, because their property by the Mahometan laws cannot be touched. 

The Moorish females in this country wear cloth in winter, and 
silk in summer: their robes, caWedjubas, are made like tunics, being 
entirely covered with the richest embroidery, and thickly garnished 
with precious stones. Various colours are selected for the j ubas, so 
that one side is sometimes yellow, and the other blue : a fashion which 
pleases the Barbary belles exceedingly. They also wear beautifully 
worked slippers; and on the head, a cap called coìi/ìl, which is 
fancifully tied on with a handkerchief Rich bracelets are worn on 
the wrists, and large gold rings ornament the ancles : — the ear-rings 
are also of the most splendid description. These being in the form of 
a crescent, are often five inches at least in circumference, and nearly 
as large as the little finger. 

In order to accustom the ladies to such lieavy ear-rings, after the 
ear has been perforated, a small roll of paper is introduced every day 
until a date stone can pass ; it is then large enough to receive the 
ring. Over the caftan, a crimson velvet band, having a gold or silver 
border, is worn ; and when travelling, they are shaded from the sun 
by large straw hats. One day in each week, the women visit the 
public bath, when it is customary to dress themselves out in the 
greatest splendor. — On these occasions they put on a large vest, 
richly embroidered with gold ; and over the breast, a caftan of fine 
cloth or velvet, which is tied behind ; and the ends of it hanging 
down to the middle, with a profusion of curling tresses, presents a verv 
fine eiFect. Some wear a ribbon embroidered with gold, and studded 
with pearls: — this goes round the forehead, like a diadem. The 
Moors feel flattered in displaying to their neighbouring friends, the 
opulence and luxury manifested in the magnificent costume of their 
wives and concubines, while taking the air on the terraces. 

D D 


The ceremony of dressing, occupies a Moorish lady nearly all 
day. When one of rank goes to the toilet, she is attended by several 
female slaves, all of whom are occupied in their respective depart- 
ments : one tinges the eye-brows, another combs the hair ; while a 
third prepares the veils, a fourth scatters otto of roses over her clothes 
and person. Above all, the arrangement of the hair is the principal 
concern : it is divided into two separate tresses, these are protuseiy 
scented and then powdered with ground cloves. The hair of a Moorish 
Venus, together with its gold chains and other ornaments, sometimes 
give such a size to the whole coiffure, that it is with extreme difficulty 
.she is able to move. 

When the females pay visits, they are wrapped up in a haik, 
which covers the whole body, and is so arranged about the head, as to 
be removeable at pleasure ; and enable them to see without being 
seen. While on the terrace, the Christian is enabled occasionally to 
see the forbidden fruit : but in the streets, the Moorish woman is 
merely a moving mass, without either .shape or feature. 

What a striking contrast is here exhibited to European modes, 
which almost approach to a state of nudity, and invite colds 
and consumptions, which often lead the credulous votaries of 
fashion to an untimely grave. The first care of a provincial 
lady who arrives in London, is to call in a dashing dress-maker : 
the latter's appearance is sure to bring forth an appropriate disser- 
tation on the awkward costume of the country. Address- 
ing herself more immediately to the new customer, she exclaims: 
" For Heaven's sake, ma'am, take off those sprawling long gloves : 
nature intended these soft and delicate arms of yours to be seen, and 
not concealed in this clumsy manner. Away with that veil, which 
besides hiding a beautiful pair of black eyes, will make people think 
you are ashamed of your rosy cheeks. Laud, what a number of 
petticoats! Why you look more like a woolpack, than one of our 
light and frisky town lasses. Fashions like those were never known 
since the days of Queen Bess : one garment, and that of the slightest 


gauze reaching- a little below the knees, is quite enough now-a-days!" 
Having brought the novice into her liberal ideas on the subject of 
dress, and reduced her superfluous drapery to the prevailing standard, 
the interview closes with a flattering panegyric on the graceful figure, 
and fascinating air of her new pupil. " Now, indeed, you are some- 
thing like the mark! Now one can see a little of your shape; and 
take my word for it, you are not five minutes on the Mall, before a 
host of admirers will follow with eagerness to watch your majestic 
gait, and revel in the piercing glances of your eye." 

The Moorish habitations, though generally neat, and sometimes 
even magnificent in their interior arrangement, have externally a 
very forbidding aspect; owing no less to their total want of ornament, 
than to the circumstance of there being no windows towards the street. 
All have a square court in the centre, surrounded by columns, and a 
door on each side leads to four spacious apartments. The roofs are 
flat, serving the useful purposes of receiving the rain water, which 
descends from thence into cisterns, drying linen, and taking the air. 
The harem is always in the rearof the building, and instead of windows 
in fVont, there is merely a grated balcony, to which the family can 
only have access during a zeenak or solemn festival. The houses are 
rather low, never exceeding two stories. There is usually a fountain 
playing in the court-yard; and the floors are mostly composed of 
marble slabs, imported for that puqiose fiom Italy. Both these addi- 
tions to the houses in Barbary, are great sources of convenience, in 
so warm a climate. Near the females' apartments, sacred to all but 
the husband, are the snlemok, or rooms appropriated to the males; 
the master, his sons, and domestics, having all separate chambers. 
The victuals are prepared in small earthen stoves, which are placed 
in the court: these, neatly whitewashed, and terminating in little 
cupolas, give a very graceful efl'ect to each angle of the dwelling. 
The extreme similarity between the houses of Barbary, and those of 
Herculaneum and Pompeii, has often excited the astonishment of 

Independent of the cooling promenade aflx)rded by the terrace, it 
D d2 


frequently becomes the scene of mirth and festivity ; ladders are also 
kept, by means of which, neighbours are enabled to visit each other 
without the necessity of descending into the street. The law of 
Algiers obliges each housekeeper to white-wash his dwelling once a 
year : as this regulation extends to the interior as well as the outside 
walls, it not only contributes ver}^ materially to general health, but 
gives a constant appearance of cleanliness to the buildings. It 
is truly singular, that with such indifterence to personal comfort, 
the Moors should be so very scrupulous about that of their houses, 
into the apartments of which they do not even enter without taking 
off their slippers! 

With all their attention to internal convenience, there is never 
an unnecessary display of luxury in the furniture of a Moorish 
habitation : a French clock, two or three looking-glasses, a few 
rich carpets, some beds or sofas in each comer of the room, cushions 
along the sides, and light curtains to the windows, which look into 
the court-yard; are all that is required to furnish a house in Al- 
giers. The walls have neat cornices, upon which various Arabic 
characters are sculptured; they have also a method of varnishing 
the tiles as in Holland; which I am inclined to believe is origi- 
nally of Arabic invention. The beds consist of hard mattrasses, and 
feather pillows : these are merely laid on a mat, and rolled up every 
morning. Some, however, make a practice of using their bed as a 
sofa during the day : as in the Arab's tents, the Moor's wardrobe is 
hung up on hooks round the apartment in which he sleeps. Stran- 
gers are received in a small closet at the entrance of the house, where 
the master usually transacts all his business. In very hot weather, 
he is seated outside the door on a mat, where who come to 
see him, either for ceremony or otherwise, are also invited to sit 
down. But the natural jealousy of a Moor will scarcely ever 
induce him to admit any one, except the members of his own 
family to enter those apartments which are nearest the harem.* 

* During my visits to Tunis I was more fortunate, and had the distinguished honor 
«f being very frequently invited to Moorish houses, particularly that of Mahomed Coggia, 


In the cultivation of their land, the Moors have a plough like that 
used in the .south ofSpain, in which there is no iron; they have also the 
same kind of cars with wheels cut outof one solid block of wood. The 
country people bring fruit, vegetables, straw, and other materials to 
market in a kind of net, which is thrown over their camel or horse's 
back. It is remarkable how much Spanish customs resemble those of 
Barbary, while the latter are in numerous instances very similar to 
others in Spain.* 

where I have often dined téie à téle with his excellency. On occasions he sat on the 
floor, while I was indulged with a velvet cushion. The table, which was only large 
enough to contain one dish at a time, was elevated about eighteen inches from the ground. 
After the ceremony of washing the hands, cuscousu was brought in, and on being 
removed, was followed in rapid succession by seven or eight more very savoury dishes. 
Although a knife and fork were usually laid for me, I determined not to forget the old 
maxim, and invariably substituted my fingers! By the way of recompensing this proof of 
condescension, a bottle of excellent claret was regularly placed at my side. When asked 
to visit his country house, 1 generally met three or four of his friends; where the repast, 
with the exception of fried mullet just taken at the Goletta, did not differ much from the 
above; and wine was equally abundant. In the town house, I recollect we had to pass by 
the door of the harem, in which there was a small grated aperture; but a loud warning 
on entering the house gave the ladies time to retire. Had I not been so impressed and 
absorbed by the political importance of what was passing in Barbary, when stationed at 
Tripoly and Tunis ; and even seriously thought of publishing an account of those regen- 
-cies, it was difficult for any one to have had a better opportunity of detailing their 
manners and customs than myself: and I have since regretted not entering more minutely 
into the subject. My opinion of Mahomed Coggia will be found in the second volume 
of my Letters from the Mediterranean, p. 220. It has heen since gratifying to find, that I 
did not over-rate his talents and virtues, which are certainly great for a Mahometan: having 
continued to enjoy the highest dignities in Tunis, ever since I left it in 1811: not by those 
fawning and versatile qualities which sometimes lead to power, but a steady and consis- 
tent discharge of public duty. — Ed. 

* For some very ingenious remarks on the national character of Spain, and those 
peculiarities which make it so totally diiferent from the rest of Europe, the reader is 
referred to the Abbé de Pradt's interesting M&moires on the late contest of Buonaparte, 
to subjugate the people of that country. In p. 168, of the Abbe's book, he shrewdly 
observes: " C'est une erreur de la geographic que d' avoir attribué I'Espagne à l'Europe ; 
elle appartient à 1' Afrique: Sang, moeurs, langage, manière de.vivre et de combattre, en 
Espagne tout est Africain." — Ed. 


Allien a Moorisli lady goes into the country, slie is enclosed in a 
species of cage or pavilion made of osier twigs, and surrounded with 
an extremely fine gauze, through which the air freely circulates, and 
she can see those who are outside, without the latter's being allowed 
the same privilege with regard to her. This curious vehicle, gene- 
rally large enough to carry two females, is seemed on a horse or camel, 
and a slave usually employed as conductor. 

There are veiy few mendicants to be seen in Barbary : the reli- 
gious obligations on Mussulmen to be charitable, no less than their 
apparent inclination to give alms, together with the natural abun- 
dance of the soil, all unite to preclude the possibility of much indi- 
vidual misery. In bestowing charity on a Moor, one should, however, 
be carefiil like themselves, to make no promises of future relief; other- 
wise, nothing less than all you possess will satisfy the avidity of an 
African beggar, as past favours are, with him, only a prelude to his 
soliciting others. Every time a poor man dines at your table, he 
thinks his company necessary on the following day; and if you make 
a present, its frequent repetition is considered as a right, which the 
importunate mendicant will expect to receive from your heirs and 
successors : if once charitable, you must be always so. 

A Greek merchant having given a handsome donation to a 
cripple, whom he observed lying in the street; the latter followed on 
his crutches to heap blessings on his benefactor : placing himself on 
the spot near which the merchant used to pass, he received something 
for several succeeding days. No sooner had these reiterated proofs 
of generosity gone abroad, than all united in applauding the Greek's 
munificence, and prayers were offered up for the success of his under- 
takings. He was soon after obliged to make a journey into Egypt, 
the mendicant continued regularly to appear at his post, and when- 
ever the merchant's domestic passed, he was sure to enquire after his 
master, and with uplifted hands, repeated a prayer for his safe 
return. After a few months this wished for event took place, to the 
no small joy of the beggar; and on seeing him, the merchant, anxious 


to reward his apparent satisfaction, and many felicitations, was 
preparing to give him another proof of benevolence; upon this, 
the mendicant looked at him, but refused his proffered gift, at 
the same time observing, that it would be much better to pay 
up all the arrears at once. To tliis unlocked for appeal, the 
Greek naturally replied, that he did not understand him. The 
beggar then informed him, that having been absent six months, his 
former allowance of a real per day, now amounted to one hundred 
and eighty, which sum he claimed as a lawful debt ! The astonished 
Greek was at a loss, whether he ought to laugh at, or chastise this 
matchless piece of impudence, and departed; but the beggar lost no 
time in having recourse to the Dey, to whom he stated, that for a 
whole month previous to the Greek's quitting Algiers for Egypt, he 
received a real every day from him in charity ; and had, ever since, 
prayed for his health and prosperity: the consequence of which was, 
that the merchant's speculations had all been crowned with complete 
success ; that having been accustomed to receive his real every morn- 
ing, he left off work : and on the Greek's quitting Algiers, without 
any intimation of discontinuing the allowance, he had ever since 
attended in the same place, to enquire after his health, and implore 
Heaven for his happy return ; and, relying on the liberality he had 
already experienced at the merchant's hands, he had even contracted 
debts for his maintenance. The Greek did not deny the fact of his 
giving the alms before he left the city, but contended for its having 
been merely an act of discretionary charity. The affair was, however, 
seriously examined and discussed i)y his highness: it concluded, 
by the merchant's being not only obliged to pay the hundred 
and eighty reals, but an additional piastre, for reproaching the beggar 
with the unreasonableness of his demand : he was then permitted to 
declare his determination not to continue this kind of pension any 
longer ! 

Inferiors, on approaching the great, kiss their hand, while equals 
embrace : the Moor generally swears by the laws, — mosque, his 


beard, and the prophet 'shead. Rank derived from birth is never much con- 
sidered under despotic governments, like tliose of Barbary. AVhere all 
personal dignity and splendor arises from the post a man occupies, the 
sole distinction is that of being in place ; and this is so identified \/ith 
the nature of the office, that it very seldom extends to the individual : 
so that the highest situations do not add to the rank or pre-eminence 
of the person's family, who may happen to occupy them for the time 
being. Under absolute and capricious rulers, there can only be 
imperceptible gradations of rank between the governed, as its imme- 
diate creation and fall entirely depends on the prejudice and caprice 
of a single person. This is one of the reasons why genealogy is con- 
sidered as a matter of perfect indifference in this countr3^ 

Without the father's name, which they are in the habit of adding 
to their own, it is probable, many would not know by what epithet 
he ought to be distinguished in the world : in match-making, and the 
formation of all family connection, the extent of fortune and degree of 
favour enjoyed at the Dey's palace, is all that people consider. A 
Cadi does not hesitate to give his daughter in marriage to an artizan, 
provided it appears to suit his worldly interests. The 3Ioors fre- 
quently add the name of the town or place they were born in to their 
own, as : Abu, Salech, Aly, Mahomed, El Basri, ^-c. If to these- 
be added their titles and dignities, together with the many virtues 
which adorn them in their own opinion, not forgetting sanctity of 
manners, to which a Mahometan of the Moorish tribe seldom forgets 
to lay in his claim, they would be little inferior to those of the Spanish 
nobles, to whom the people of northern Africa are justly compared 
in various other particulars. 

The manners and customs of Barbary do not, upon the v hole, 
present a very wide field to excite the curiosity or enquiry of tra- 
vellers ; and besides the great difficulty of becoming intime tely 
acquainted with them through the accidental opportunities v liich 
occasionally present themselves, in all that relates to social life, 


the Koran has given a character of the ntinost uniformity to the cus- 
toms and modes of living in Mahometan countries. 

Altliough often betrothed in their earliest infancy', the marriages 
in Barbary are not celebrated until the age of twelve or thirteen ; at 
which period, according to one of their poets, — " The rose-bud 
expands, to imbibe the vivitying rays of love." 

When the fathers of the intended couple agree on a match, a 
meeting takes place between the families of both, when the conditions 
of the marriage are mutually settled. The Moors of the mountainous 
districts in Algiers, follow the practice of the Nasamones on those 
occasions, that of the bridegroom's holding the cup to the lips of his 
intended, while she performs the same office to him.* To this is 
added a promise of reciprocal fidelity : little more than the above is 
necessary to tie the matrimonial knot in Barbary. The parent cedes 
his child to the absolute controlli and possession of her husband : 
and as to the dowry, which fonns so important a concern in our choice 
of a partner, it is scarcely spoken of amongst the Moors. The brides 
of this country have rarely any thing more than their wardrobes, a 
few diamonds, and some mattrasses ; all of which being packed on a 
camel, is paraded alx>ut the city in great pomp, previous to their 
entering the dwelling of their future master. 

It very seldom happens that two young people are consulted as 
to their mutual inclinations before a marriage is decided on by the 
parents ; and there have been frequent instances in which they never 
saw each other until the wedding-day. The bridegroom has no 
other means of a.scertaining the beauty or attractions of his intended 
wife, than by enlisting some cunning old female in his cause : she is 
enabled to visit the bride at home, and also to meet her at the bath. 
Upon these occasions, the emissary is generally charged with a tender 
message, and rich bouquet of roses. The lover is besides very atten- 

* I have frequently seen this curious species of endearment practised amongst the 
Spanish peasantry : nor is it altogether unknown in the higher walks of life. — £d. 

E E 


tive in observing his fair one, as she goes to the mosque ; drawing the 
most important inferences of manners and character from her mode of 
walking, and various other gestures while abroad. This method of 
studying the human mind, is carried very far in Barbary, and gene- 
rally leads to some very accurate conclusions. 

A great female sovereign of the north, wishing to marry her son 
to one of three daughters, the ollspring of a German princess, invited 
all of them to her court for the purpose of making the choice herself. 
Happening to be at the window of her palace when the visitors 
arrived, she had an opportunity of seeing the three sisters alight 
from their carnage, the eldest, by a false step, got her clothes 
entangled, and fell ; the second descended with an air of un- 
affected ease and dignity ; while the third sprang to the ground 
without touching the vehicle, and seemed to fly up the stairs which 
led to the vestibule. The first who attempted to alight, was con- 
sidered by her majesty, as uniting very little activity, with great 
aAvkwardness of manner; the youngest she thought too lively and 
volatile : she therefore selected the second, from whose method of 
leaving the carriage, grace appeared to be combined with gentleness 
and decorum : nor had she afterwards any cause to regret her choice. 

The passions inspired by this fugitive mode of merely seeing each 
other for a moment, and then disappearing, often become extremely 
violent. "Love," says an African poet, "which increases by slow 
degrees, passes from the eyes to the heart, as the water of fountains 
descends into rivers; while that passion which is awakened by the first 
sight of a beautiful object, may be compared to those torrents which 
are precipitated from the mountains where no rain has fallen." 

A few days before the marriage is celebrated, the bridegroom 
rides about the town to the sound of drums and fifes, and a number 
of friends accompany him ; some carrying banners, and others occa- 
sionally discharging their muskets into the air. On tlic wedding-day 
he takes another round, at which still greater ceremony is observed. 
On this occasion he is better attended, and covered by a red cloak. 


with a fine sabre hung- at his side. There is also a veil thrown 
over his face to prevent the operation of the evil eye. Three days 
previous to the celebration, the bride is conducted to the bath, which 
is repeated every succeeding one, until the marriage takes place : on 
that occasion, all the relatives and friends being assembled, the hus- 
band repeats a prayer before them, and then proceeds to join the bride, 
who is in her apartment : they are now declared man and wife by 
means of certain forms of prayer which are recited by the husband, 
and Imans, who are in attendance. After this all the company, 
except the bride's mother or next relatives, retire ; upon which the 
lady appears, with her face uncovered to her husband, for the first 
time, in the presence of those persons who remain behind to witness 
the last ceremony of their union. Having feasted his eyes for a 
little time, the bridegroom withdraws to his own house ; and about 
nine in the evening, the whole of those who were present at the 
marriage, accompany the bride to her husband's dwelling. The 
lady's father is alone absent on this occasion ; it being thought inde- 
corous for him to appear at this last assemblage of the happy couple's 
friends. However short the distance to the bridegroom's house, the 
bride is conducted there on horseback, but enclosed in a pavilion, 
such as that already described. Several lig^hted torches precede and 
follow the cavalcade ; and on being introduced by her relatives, great 
care is taken that she does not touch the threshold of her husband's 
door, — that being considered as a bad omen. On the bridegroom 
coming down to receive her at the door, the whole party take their 
leave, with the exception of a few females, who remain to officiate 
as bridal nymphs. These contrive to amuse the bride with various, 
love tales, while un<lressing her; and that done, conclude by an 
amorous ditty in praise of matrimony, &c. 

As amongst the ruder nations of southern Africa, the proofs of 
virginity are also carried about the city in triumph. This is so 
essential in Barbary, that when not clearly ascertained, the bride- 
groom is not only at liberty to send the lady back to her father, but 
E E 2 


the latter is covered with shame. Tor having so badly superintended 
the honor of his daughter. 

When a Moor dies, his favourite wife inherits a third of his pro- 
perty: if she dies tirsi, a similar privilege is enjoyed by the husband : 
but during their lives, the property of each is not common to both. 
On the death of a father, the legitimate offspring receive an equal 
proportion, while the children of concubines only come in for a fourth. 
Males are supported at the father's expence until the age of seven : 
during which time, they are nevertheless, under the mother's charge, 
when they are transferred to the father, if she does not like to retain 
them any longer : in this case, she undertakes to provide for their 
fixture support. The females remain with the mother until they are 
married. In Barbary a man can take a new wife to himself, three 
days after having repudiated the last ; while the female must remain 
single three months. The husband can at all times discard his wife, 
but he is required to return what is called her saddok, or dowry and 
wardrobe. In the event of changing his mind, he cannot take her 
back, until she has married another ; who, having enjoyed all the 
rights of a husband, goes through the ceremony of repudiating her 
in his turn : she is then allowed to rejoin her former spouse. The 
extreme facility with which the Mahometans are allowed to dissolve 
marriages, has, amongst its various other evils, introduced the practice 
of people's marrying without any previous knowledge of each other's 
disposition or character : thus making that sacred obligation a 
matter of convenience, to gratify momentary feelings of libertinism. 
Sympathy, esteem, or conformity of sentiments, are out of the ques- 
tion in these connections. Matrimony has been compared to a chain : 
if not made a tender tie by mutual concord, to the women of Barbary 
it is a wretched fetter; while the men regard it as imposing no obli- 
gation whatever. The contempt in which women are held, added to 
the facility of procuring fresh objects of gratification whenever they 
please, has led to an habitual indulgence of the most abominable 
excesses amongst this infamous race ; and such is the danger of mak-^ 


ing vice familiar, that their depravity is publicly acknowledged with 
no less boldness than effrontery. 

Experience has long proved, that polygamy, which Mahomet 
has recommended to his followers, as the greatest perfection of a 
Mus.selman's life, is not only inimical to the increase of population, 
but ruinous to domestic happiness of every kind, and that unanimity 
which can alone secure the tranquillity of parents and children. The 
prophet has proved himself a bad reasoner, in saying, that " the 
more you draw out of the well, the more water it yields :" women, on 
the contrary, soon find it dried up. 

Some have maintained, that it is not contrary to the law of 
nature to possess four wives ; because in the population of Asia and 
Africa, there are, upon an average, four women to each man. It is 
added, that the females are marriageable at twelve years of age, though 
still retaining all the manners of children: thus they are only capable 
of gratifying the passions, without contributing to the society of a 
husband ; and when at twenty-five, they should become agreeable 
companions, their fecundity and personal charms disappear. In 
Europe, where a female at the age of thirty or forty, frequently retains 
the graces of person, improved by those of the mind, .she is often more 
acceptable than an inexperienced girl, to a man of sentiment : while 
in Africa and the East, men are content to pass the most valuable 
years of their lives, with women whom they cannot love, for the mere 
pleasure of sensual gratification. Hence the necessity of taking a 
second wife, while the first superintends the domestic concerns, and 
education of her children. But de.spoti,sm has had recourse to other 
reasonings in support of this unnatural system : amongst the rest, it 
arrogates a degree of savage glory, from lowering and despising the 
weaker sex. 

It is true, that taking the whole mass of the Moorish population, 
there are not many who avail themselves of the dangerous privilege 
of taking a second wife ; for the conditions annexed to it, are so 
numerous, as to prevent most people from fulfilling them. A man is 


oblig^ed first to prove before the Cadi, that he can support an addi- 
tional female according to her rank in life, and to which she has been 
accustomed. Some, possessing ample means, avoid having recourse 
to polygamy from motives of economy, and to prevent the discordance 
which is sure to arise from a plurality of wives. Although allowed 
to take as many concubines as they please, it is in the legitimate 
wife's power to dismiss them whenever she thinks proper : if she does 
not take advantage of this liberty, care is taken to be constantly on the 
alert, so that the new favourite shall not gain too great an ascendancy 
over the mind of her husband. If any favour is accorded to him by 
the concubine, his wife takes care to keep the merit of such conde- 
scension to herself. 

As might be expected, it is scarcely possible to describe with 
what warm interest a Moorish woman listens to an account of our 
customs with regard to her own sex ; and how she envies that tender 
consideration in which the females of Europe are held; also the 
feeling manner in which they lament their melancholy fate whenever 
they visit the consuls' wives, or those of other Christian residents. 
These visits are generally devoted to a recapitulation of all their 
unmerited sufferings, the coldness of their husbands, and innumerable 
hardships to which they are exposed in the harem. But of all our 
institutions, none is more applauded by these unhappy victims, than 
that of our only being able to marry and blend our destiny with one 
wife. They believe the women of Europe to be on this account 
infinitely more happy; and very properly, that the men are still more 
so. According to a German poet, he that possesses four wives is 
fortunate; but the man who has only one, is a demi-god! 



Funeral Ceremouies and Lamentations over the Dead in Barbar y. — Mourning 
of Widows. — Vows of Friendship and Fidelity made on the Graves of 
departed Relatives. —Table of the Moors. — Cuscousu. — Pillaw and Basseen. 
— Use of Sugar and Spices. — Yemen Coffee. — Amusements of the Moors. — 
Method of enticing Birds. — Chess, and other Games of Chance. — Social Meet- 
ings.^The Kiosco. — Barbers'" Shops.— Moorish Baths. — Mode of Bathing. 
— Baths frequented once a Week by the Women.—Singers, and Dancing 
Girls.— Itinerant Story Tellers.— The Bastinado.— Life of the rich Moor. 

As in most other countries, there is also great apparent sorrow 
evinced in Barbary when any one dies. No sooner is an event of 
this nature announced, than several women with dishevelled hair 
and every symptom of grief, rush into the house of the deceased, 
clasping their hands and uttering loud cries of despair. When these 
have subsided a little, one of the party, generally an old female 
acquaintance, pronounces a laboured eulogy on the merits of her 
departed friend : this is immediately followed by a renewal of the 
previous sobbings and lamentations. On the coffin, which is formed 
in the shape of an oblong square, being brought in, all the women 
put their heads into it. This ceremony is accompanied by increased 
mourning, and soon after two females come in with lighted tapers 
and bunches of flowers, which are strewed over the coffin. The body 
being wrapped up in a winding sheet, is placed in it ; and followed 
to the grave by the whole assembly, is consigned to its final home 
in the midst of their wailings.* If a widow is left to deplore 

* The subject of Moorish funeral rites is very minutely detailed in TuUy's Narrative, 
vide p. 90 ; where the reader will find some extremely curious facts related. ^d. 


the loss of her husband, she is instantly surrounded by a large circle 
of sympathizing friends, who absolutely overwhelm her with con- 
solation, imtil she is frequently obliged to withdraw from their further 
assiduities. Numberless lives have been sacrificed in Mahometan 
countiies, from the extraordinary practice of hastening to inter bodies 
almost immediately after animation appears to be suspended. 

This barbarous custom arises from an idea, that the felicity of 
the next world, does not commence till the corpse is under ground : 
so that no sooner has it been washed, and a composition of various 
essences or camphor put into the ears and nostrils, but the coffin is 
btought, and the funeral takes place. And in proceeding to the 
grave, the Moors get there as fast as they possibly can, assigning as a 
reason, that the angel of justice is waiting to receive the soul of the 
deceased. The graves of men are distinguished by a turban, while 
that of a female is ornamented with a large nosegay of the finest 
flowers. After the burial a profusion of meat and other refreshments 
are distributed to the friends who have attended: this is called the 
repast of the sepulchre. 

The more any one is afllicted at the death of a relation or friend, 
the greater is his neglect and indifference to dress and person . While 
the mourning lasts, every kind of superfluous indulgence and orna- 
ment is suppressed : looking-glasses, jewels, and perfumes are alike 
neglected. A widow of rank changes her band richly set with 
precious stones, for a simple piece of white ribbon, while the clothes 
she wears are purposely soiled to give her a greater appearance of 
mourning. She also goes down to the beach, if living near the sea: 
and seated on a rock, arranges her hair, discomposed by the recent 
loss, with a golden comb, procured for the occasion. At the end of 
four months and ten days, she returns to the spot with the identical 
comb, and four fresh eggs ; the latter of which, is given to the first 
person she meets, who cannot refuse them, although they are sup- 
posed to carry away all the afflictions of the donor : and the comb 
is thrown into the sea. She is then, and not before, at liberty to 
marry again. 


Every Friday the parents and relatives of a person recently 
deceased, visit his tomb, in the belief that on the above day, the 
spirits of the dead hover about it, to converse with each other con- 
cerning the objects of their affections left behind on earth. It is 
sometimes customary with the Moors to dress and adorn the dead body, 
so that it shall not make a contemptible figure on being introduced to 
the great assembly of spirits. The graves are covered with smooth 
mortar, and frequently whitewashed ; flowers are also cultivated 
round them, while care is taken to root up all the noxious herbs or 
plants found in their vicinity. The oath of friendship and fidelity is 
often taken over the grave of a newly buried friend. This ceremony 
consists of swearing by the altar of the prophet, and sepulchres of 
their lost friends, and then making a wound in each other's arms ; 
whence the blood flows into a bowl, and mixes in sign of amity and 
reconciliation. Thus in the wilds, and impenetrable woods of North 
America, the savages select a tempestuous day, and hanging up the 
bones of their departed friends to the highest branches, the most 
sacred treaties and alliances are made : while the whitened remains 
are agitated to and fro by the storm, the venerated shades of their 
former possessors are invoked, and no doubt is entertained of the 
Great Spirit's being present at this solemn feast of souls, as it is called. 
It is also common in the islands of the South Sea, for the natives to 
assemble at their solitary morai, for the purpose of exchanging vows 
of reciprocal afl'ection over the scattered tumuli of former friends. 

The 3Ioorish tombs, surrounded by cooling shades, and thickly 
planted with flowers, call to mind the romantic cemeteries of France 
and Switzerland. There is scarcely any country in which a great 
portion of the inhabitants do not derive a secret and delightful 
source of consolation from the idea of departed friends being present 
at the scenes of life, and keeping up a mysterious intercourse with 
those who fiequent their graves to pay the sacred tribute of sympathy 
and tears. 

In their diet the Moors generally vary between the extremes of 

F F 

218 DIET. 

frugality and gluttony. Supporting hunger and thirst with amazing 
patience, when tlie occasion presents itself, they devour with the 
voracity of a Lombard. The celebrated cuscousu is prepared by 
putting a quantity of rice, and another grain peculiar to Barbary, in 
a perforated vase, which, being laid over a boiler well filled with 
fowls, mutton, &c. the steam of the latter cooks the cuscousu, when 
some butter, and the more solid contents of the boiler, are mixed up 
with it, making, upon the whole, one of the finest dishes imaginable : 
no wonder, therefore, that this should be the national, and I may 
add universal food in Barbary. The pillaw and basseen is a species of 
pudding, to which salt beef or mutton is sometimes added. They also 
indulge in hashes, which together with their roast meat are extremely 
well prepared. Great quantities of sugar, spices, and otto of roses, are 
used in all their culinary preparations. 

Before eating, the Moors invariably wash their hands, they then 
sit down cross-legged round the table, which nearly touches the floor : 
neither cloth or napkins are used, one towel serving in common for 
the whole party. ITie spoons are generally of wood ; he who makes 
use of an ivoiy one, being considered a great man. As to knives and 
forks they are never employed, nor are they much wanted, owing to 
the meats being always in small pieces, and so much boiled, as to 
separate with the greatest facility. There are no glasses either ; all, 
more pccudum, drink water or lemonade out of a large pitcher : wine 
is of course prohibited, and with it all mirth and gaiety. Notwith- 
standing the prophet's injunctions, many of the faithful, particularly 
the Turks and Moors, frequent the taverns in Algiers ; and on these 
occasions, forgetting the precepts of religion, they do not disdain 
to take very large draughts of the potent juice! The Musselraen 
find little difficulty in giving themselves absolution for this kind of 
excess ; and many are no doubt liberal enough to believe, they are 
even acting conscientiously, in thus adding to the generosity of their 
morose nature. They are, however, obliged to dispatch the bottle 
with some celerity, as otherwise detection might ensue: like M. La 


Mothe, the spri,t;htly Bishop of Orleans, who in a large party, hear- 
ing that there was a liqueur called the milk of Venus, handing round, 
which could not well be pronounced in the presence of his grace, 
successively swallowed three or four glasses, observing that no time 
was to be lost in destroying so dangerous an enemy ! 

Whenever an Arab or Moor is crossing the desert he has usually 
something in his mouth to chew : this sometimes consists of tobacco- 
leaf, and is said to give considerable nutriment, operating like the 
flour made out of oyster-shells, used by the inhabitants of South Ame- 
rica ; which, as well as their famous coca, enables them to pass whole 
days without any other sustenance. But that which affords most 
pleasure and relief to a Moor, after a fatiguing day's journey, is a 
cup of coff'ee : of which there is an immense consumption all over 
Barbary, as in other Mahometan countries. They prefer that of 
Yemen, and do not grind it as in Europe : after being burned,* it is 
merely pounded in a mortar ; instead of boiling it by infusion, the 
water is poured on it, as we prepare our tea. The coffee I saw made 
in this way, had all the appearance of rosolio : but I did not much 
approve of their drinking it without sugar ; while they thought me 
absolutely mad, for using so much. On this subject I could have 
repeated with our celebrated poet Redi : 

Beverei prima il veleno 

Che un bicchier che fosse pieno 

Dell' amaro e reo cafFé. 

Ali that is dear and amiable in this world bears the title and 
character of beauty : sweetness is also tiequently applied to objects of 
approbation : music is siveet, so is a fine climate or impressive sermon. 
Is any one disposed to eulogize a friend, he is a siveet fellow, and his 

* Every one recollects Buonaparte's decrees against the colonial produce of England : 
in which it was ordered, that all such articles should be burnt. One day, on entering the 
apartment of his first minister, he surprised him in drinking coffee ; and in an angry tone, 
asked «don't you know my orders?" Upon which the minister replied, "it has been' 
burnt, sire !" — Ed. 

F F 2 


words are like honey ! Advice ought to be sweet, and sweetness should 
temper mercy. The severity of the fair sex should partake of the 
same quality : so ought power in the hands of kings. How beautitiil 
is woman when she favours her admirers with les i/eu,v doux ! And 
what greater treasure can we possess than a billet doux ? 

No sooner have the Moors finished their repast, than they again 
wash their hands, and rising, without any other ceremony, proceed 
to smoke their pipes. They can neither approve or comprehend the 
European custom of sitting at table for hours after dinner, merely to 
falk scandal, and discuss political subjects. To them, it is far more 
agreeable and salutary to retire and take a siesta, in the manner of 
the Spaniards. Mahomet himself has promised, that God will allow 
the just, in Paradise, a small room where they can retire after meals 
to enjoy a grateful and luxurious nap. 

The indolent and monotonous life of a Moor, admits of but very 
little amusement : if occasionally disposed to shake otf their habitual 
laziness, they mount their barb, and absent themselves for a few days 
in the country. Of late years they also seem to have taken much 
greater delight in fowling : in the pursuit of this amusement, they 
have one very singular practice, that of placing themselves under a 
small tent, painted with various colours, round which quails and 
other birds flock with eagerness, and are thus shot in great 

Draughts and chess, are the })rincipal games played in Barbary ; 
and I observed another of this species at Algiers, which appeared to 
be full of combination and ingenuity. Their religion prohibits card- 
playing ; and the more rigid amongst them are quite astonished by 
what fatality Europeans can occupy themselves so incessantly in 
moving about little scraps of paper, in Avhich they cannot possibly 
discover any meaning. The Mahometans would agree perfectly with 
the native of Siam, who, during a visit to a great nation, tlms wrote 
to his friend at home : " The French say they only adore one God; 
but I cannot believe it, as besides living divinities, to whom they appear 


to offer up so many vows, there are several inanimate ones, whom 
they sacrifice to, in private companies ; where a large round altar, 
covered with a green cloth, and illuminated in the centre, is seen, 
surrounded by several people, who are seated as we are in our domestic 
sacrifices : one of them, who appears to be the high priest, spreads a 
number of these leaves on the table, which are taken out of a small 
book held in one hand. On these are represented a variety of the 
most deformed figures, which must of course represent the divinities ; 
as, no sooner are they distributed, than each of the worshi[)pers lays 
down as large an ofi^ering as he can afford on one or other of them. 
I observed too, that these were much larger than they were usually in 
the habit of making in the ordinary places of worship. After the 
ceremony of spreading the leaves, and making the offerings is over, 
the high priest places his trembling hand on the remainder of the 
terrible book, continuing some moments with his eyes rivetted to the 
table, and apparently immoveable. All the company, as if imploring 
some signal blessing, look with fearful anxiety towards the petrified 
chief: soon after, as he proceeds to turn over the leaves in his hands, 
each individual seems to be agitated by a different impulse : some 
clasping their hands, look up to Heaven with eyes full of anxiety ; 
while others bite their lips, grind their teeth, and mutter imprecations; 
a third party begin to bite their fingers and stamp upon the ground : 
but scarcely has the high priest turned over a few leaves, than he also 
becomes furious : tearing the book he overturns the altar, and heaps 
maledictions on the sacrifice; upon this, the whole is a scene of riot 
and confusion. I have been led to think that theirs is a jealous god, 
who in order to punish them for the sacrifices they offer to so many 
earthly deities, sends a demon to torment each of them." 

With regard to social intercourse as practised in Europe, it is 
scarcely known inBarbary ; where people seldom meetexcept on matters 
of business. An hour after sun-set, every one retires to his own house ; 
and if there be an occasional meeting, it is passed very differently 
to those of more civilized, and less depraved countries. Some hours of 

•i22 barbers' SHOiPS. 

the day are, in warm weather, generally spent in a kind of little 
portico, called kioscos : these are covered at the top, and being open on 
each side, usually command an extensive horizon. Here they remain 
smoking tobacco and rose leaves, the former of which is by some 
conuiiunicated through rose-water, as by the Indian hooker. A . 
cup of strong Yemen coffee is frequently taken during this favourite 
lounge : it is still further enlivened by the appearance of public singers 
and dancers ; each of whom endeavour to amuse the company by a 
combination of obscenity and voluptuousness, only to be equalled 
by the baladieres of the East. It is strange to observe with what a 
degree of profound silence and gravity, the Moors witness these 
scenes, being the whole time as serious as if attending to a religious 
ceremony. This taciturn disposition extends to all their associations : 
and I have seen a party sit together for nearly two hours, without 
exchanging a dozen words; and afterwards depart, without the least 
apparent desire of seeing each other again. 

In addition to the kiosco, the Moors have another grand rendez- 
vous in the barbers' shops; which are, in all countries, endow ed with 
the privilege of disseminating the news of the day. These receptacles 
are the more esteemed and frequented in Barbary, from tlie circum- 
.stance of their not having to share the glory of directing public 
opinion with those of apothecaries ; who are in Europe, the great 
sources of anecdote and political intelligence.* The barber's shop in 
Algiers, is from morning to night filled with a number of idle Moors, 
some reclined along benches, and others seated cross-legged on the 
floor counting their beads, and listening with open mouths to the 
marvellous stories of their unerring oracle. Little, in fact, can be 
said in praise of social meetings in Barbary ; where people unite 
together more by accident than design, and, instead of pursuing a 
regular conversation, substitute either a dead silence, or idle strain 
of unmeaning remarks. It is hardly necessary to add, that the 

* This observation is more directly applicable to Italy. — Ed. 

BATHS. 223 

women are entirely excluded from these occasional parties ; and 
this is no trifling reason for the dullness and stupidity which presides 
at them. 

As in all Mahometan countries, baths are great objects of luxu- 
rious utility at Algiers ; where the excessive heats of summer, no less 
than religious obligation render frequent ablutions necessary : nor 
has the prophet left a more useful injunction on his followers, than 
that of having recourse to their baths, as the best mode of preserving 
health, and keeping oft" disease. 

The baths of Algiers, called hamam in the Arabic, are not inferior 
to those of Constantinople, so well described by Lady Montague. 
The hall on entering, consists of a large rotunda ; in which there 
is a bank to lay the clothes on : when shipped, a large napkin is 
thrown over the bather, and he is then introduced into a corridor, 
where the heat becomes merely perceptible, thence, advancing by 
slow degrees, he successively passes through the frigidarium, and 
tepidarium, until he reaches the caUdarium of the Romans ; here he 
is laid down on soft cushions, while the continually ascending vapour 
combining with rich odours, soon form a cloud of incense round his 
body. After a few moments repose, and when the limbs become 
sufficiently flexible, two attendants take hold of him, and no sooner 
have all the joints been made to crack, than he is rolled about like 
kneaded bread. The evaporation on these occasions, is much more 
considerable than one would imagine ; and although a little temporary 
inconvenience arises fiom the heat and friction, it is shortly succeeded 
by sensations of the most agreeable nature. The breathing becomes 
more free than before ; while the blood circulates with unusual celerity, 
and a general feeling of animation spreads through thewhol* system, 
which seems to give it new life and activity. 

The women of this country, are passionately fond of visiting the 
baths, where they can alone be said to enjoy any degree of personal 
liberty : here they meet their female friends, and pass the day in 
occupations, which is, to them, the greatest pleasure of life. Decked 


in the most splendid apparel and richest ornaments, all the minutiae 
of the toilet is repeated after having taken the bath. This ceremony 
concluded, she is washed from head to foot in rose water, and various 
perfumes are sprinkled over the hair : the eyebrows are next tinged, 
after which her garments are put on, having previously passed through 
the smoke of aloe wood : the toilet completed, she then proceeds to 
the exterior apartment, where candied fruits, sweetmeats, and other 
refreshments are presented; the alme and dancing girls now make their 
appearance, and while displaying all the voluptuous fascinations of their 
art, the former sing choruses, \Uiich do not serve to diminish the etlect 
produced on the fair spectators by the dancers. One day in each 
week is thus passed by the Moorish ladies: bathing, chatting, dress- 
ing and undressing, occupy the whole of it ; and is to them, the 
great business of life. With its apparent sameness, I am, however, 
inclined to think, there are some European ladies, who would not 
altogether dislike the above mode of passing a day. A poet, wishing, 
perhaps, to convey an idea of one part of the sex, thus described his 
better half : 

Ma femme est un animal 


Qui bien ou mal 


Se deshabille, 

Babille ! 

These various little occupations, and modes of killing time, are 
probably necessaiy to the happiness of many ladies ; lest, as some 
have wittily observed, time should kill them ! A lady of high fashion 
having once given out, that she wanted a female attendant, one of a 
very promising appearance presented herself: being asked whether 
she understood combing the hair, and arranging the head-dress, the 
new candidate replied, " that was precisely what she principally 
excelled in, as she only required five minutes to comb and arrange 
the largest head of hair." " You may go," said the lady, heaving a 


deep sigh; " what! comb a lady's hair in tìve minutes? And pray, 
how am I to pass the rest of my morning V 

In Europe, dancing is w'ith every one the symbol of joy and 
indication of felicity. This art, as observed by a character in the 
Bourgeois Gentilhomme, ought to be deeply interesting to the policy 
of all governments ; as it teaches how to maintain the equilibrium. 
The celebrated Marcello, while giving lessons in London, was once 
observed to fix his eyes on a pupil, and after considering for some 
moments, as if absorbed in a profound reverie, suddenly exclaimed, que 
de chases dans un minuet ! Old Vestris, too, on first introducing his son 
to public notice, appeared dressed in deep black, with a large perriwig 
and small sword by his side ; turning to the young candidate, just as 
they both entered, he addressed him as follows : mon Jils, vous allez 
danser. Souvenez vous que vous paraissez sur le premier theatre de 
Vunivers, et que votrepère vous regarde ! Dancing is not, however, 
considered by any means as a dignified accomplishment in Barbary ; 
where it is exclusively confined to prostitutes and slaves, women of 
character being never allowed to dance. When a party of those 
females, who live by showing their dexterity in this way, are sent for 
to exhibit before the rich Moors in the kioscos, they are very liberally 
paid ; and it is usual for the master of the feast to perform a favourite 
act of gallantry, which is done by throwing a few sequins or doub- 
loons into the bosom of her, who has been most distinguished for 
agility during the entertainment. The above is by far the most 
agreeable spectacle enjoyed in Algiers. 

The Jiguranfes of Afi-ica never dance in company with men ; and 
although two sometimes stand up, it very seldom happens that more 
than one dances at a time : very little space is required for these 
exhibitions, the whole art consisting in throwing about the arras, 
various contortions of the body, and gracefully agitating a shawl or 
long veil, generally kept for such occasions. While the dance conti- 
nues, it is accompanied by the most significant smiles and ogles ; 

6 G 


which are sure to correspond very exactly with the amorous gestures 
and movements of the body. However, the acme of this talent seems 
to consist in moving the lower limbs with incredible celerity, while 
the upper remain perfectly still. This is certainly effected in a very 
masterly manner ; but is done at the expence of decency. For my 
part, I cannot persuade myself to admire any kind of dancing, in 
which the legs and feet are not kept moving : — to me, pantomimica! 
gestures and unmeaning grimaces, are a very insufficient substitute for 
a fine spring or active quiver. A Parisian figure dancer, having 
broken a leg, the celebrated Madame Arnaud very sensibly said, — 
" How fortunate that it's only a leg : had it been an arm, she would 
no longer have been enabled to dance !" 

Amongst the means resorted to for amusing the populace in 
Barbary, there are a set of itinerant story-tellers, like the Mullas of 
India, and rhapsodists of Greece, who frequent the kioscosand public 
places ; where, mounted on a table, they recount various histories 
and tales, filled with the most extravagant improbabilities: when 
ended, a cap is handed round to collect their reward, as our Italian 
improvisatori of the third class who sing in the streets, are in the habit 
of doing. As these ambulatory historians, in occasionally recurring 
back to days of former glory, sometimes obtain the dangerous repu- 
tation of being rather wise, the less indulgent beys of the interior, 
have a prompt method of signifying their total disapprobation of so 
much wisdom. This notice is generally followed by a broad hint, to 
lose no time in quitting their happy states, if they wish to keep their 
heads on their shoulders. 

From the specimens I heard, it is extremely difficult to conceive 
how such quacks could possibly succeed in awakening sentiments of 
patriotism or a love of liberty : they seemed more calculated to pro- 
duce a disposition to sleep than otherwise; and when sometimes 
invited by the Turkish officers to a kiosco, where stories were 
to be recited, there was no chance of getting away for several hours. 


Even many of the Moors, I was induced to think, from their yawning, 
found such endless narratives, 

Tedious as a twice-told tale, 

Vexing the dull ear of a drowsy man ! 

Prolixity has been justly compared to long trains, which retard one's 
progress while they impede the free use of the limbs. There are 
many story-tellers who recollect every thing, except that of having 
favoured their friends with the same anecdote, at least six times before 
the last. A person being once reproved for this little failing, replied 
by way of consolation ; " why. Sir, if I don't repeat my stories, I shall 
forget them !" 

The reader will, no doubt, be surprised to hear of another curious 
amusement peculiar to this country, which is neither more nor less 
than the bastinado! — Such, however, is the case; and although 
confined to those who preside at any public feast or large entertain- 
ment, it is certain that none are ever held upon an extensive scale in 
Barbary, without a liberal application of the bastinado : — said to be 
for the laudable purpose of maintaining order and tranquillity. 
x4.mongst slaves, that joy and liberty which marks the assemblage of 
freemen, is entirely banished; and it is an established maxim with 
despotic governments, to display the rod in keeping off the multitude, 
which is supposed to give more dignity to a feast, while it affords a 
favourable opportunity of reminding the weak, that the powerful are 
present, to prevent the trembling populace from approaching too 
near them. 

A great man does not arrive in a village of Barbary, without the 
governor doing him the honour of ordering a distribution of bastina- 
does. — There are regularly appointed officers to execute tliis very 
honourable office ; some being mounted, while others are on foot. 
The Aga Baston, is also an officer of the highest dignity in Algiers, 
his province being that of superintending all punishments : he is con- 
sidered as one of the greatest props of the government. " Strike and 

G G 2 


listen," said Themistocles to Euribiades; but at the piratical city, 
they strike without listening ; and if anyone attempts to justify him- 
self, the dose is generally repeated. This is to carry the staff of 
office with a vengeance ! 

Considered individually, the Moor is neither fond of company 
or large public meetings. He thinks that to mix in crowds is not 
the best way of enjoying life ; and in this there may be some truth, 
particularly when we reflect on his various other sedentary occupa- 
tions. In fact, all the happiness of these people consists in sitting 
down, surrounded with their solitary pleasures. 

A Moor cannot conceive how we derive any satisfaction fi-om 
walking backwards and forwards, without any apparent object in 
view. When he meets a person with whom he is desirous of having 
any serious conversation, a retired spot is directly found ; where both 
seat themselves. When at home, his chief delight is to lay stretched 
along the softest cushions, inhaling the fumes of Syrian tobacco, and 
sipping the best Yemen or Mokka coffee. The pleasures of the kiosco 
have been already described. To these may be added, the rare cere- 
mony of visiting an acquaintance : whenever this happens, the visitor 
no sooner arrives, than rose water is brought in and sprinkled all 
over his face and person; a censer is then produced, which the 
bearer, generally a slave, holds up close to the stranger's head, until 
enough of the incense has been imbibed. After all, coffee, sherbet, 
and pipes, are successively presented : besides their favourite Levant 
tobacco, which is extremely mild, the aloe leaf is frequently used in 
the same way. Thus indulging their only social gratifications, 
politics and religion are never introduced ; and very few words are 
exchanged : these are usually confined to — " How do you do?" " God 
is good ;" " Algiers is a strong city ; ' — and similar phrases, which 
neither fatigue nor compromise the speaker. He who happens to 
receive visitants at his house, never rises when they enter, but remains 
seated until they come up and salute him: on retiring, the same 


indifference is manifested on bis part ; it being merely customary to 
offer refreshment. 

During warm weather, the rich Moor will often rise two hours 
before day-light ; not for the purpose of saluting the God of day, but 
to enjoy the cooling zephyrs of night. On these occasions, he visits 
his children's apartment, gives orders, takes his coffee, and after 
smoking a pipe, lays down to sleep again. When seated in his room, 
four slaves attend with folded arms, and eyes steadily directed towards 
their master ; anticipating all his wishes, and promptly obeying the 
slightest movement of his hand, or inclination of his head. On getting 
up a second time, about eight o'clock, he makes a short visit to the 

harem, dines at ten, takes coffee, sleeps again, and then bathes. 

The whole of the morning occupation concludes by a turn on the 
terrace. At sun-set, supper is prepared : in less than two hours after, 
he is in bed ; and the next day re-commences with a similar round of 

From the foregoing short specimen of Moorish habits, it will be 
perceived, that their chief pleasure consists in little more than that of 
ministering to the most selfish and enervating gratifications. Not 
satisfied, however, with those I have noticed, many have recourse to 
large quantities of opium, as another means of procuring temporary 
happiness. In order to enjoy fancied bliss, some begin by burying 
the past in oblivion ; and if we may believe their own accounts, 
nothing can be more exquisite than the dreams of joy, created by 
this deleterious drug. It is, by many, taken in great quantities, 
together with an herb, called khaf; and either, is said to produce an 
extraordinary effect on the imagination of those who make use of it. 
The Moors tell you, that by means of a few grains, they are trans- 
ported to the third heaven, surrounded by immortal beauties, and 
inebriated with the most enchanting pleasures. When speaking of a 
man who is loaded with the favours of fortune, he is said to— ^" live 
upon opium I" 


An ambassador of Tippo Saib's, when giving an account of his 
splendid reception at Versailles, and the wonders he saw there, termi- 
nated his narrative, by observing, that " To see any thing like it in 
other countries, one must have recourse to large doses of opium !" 

Some have contended, that the above mode of life is, in many 
respects, preferable to the agitation and bustle of European manners ; 
asserting, that although activity and exercise is necessary in colder 
climates, idleness and repose are inexpressible sources of delight in 
warmer ones. The inhabitants of more temperate regions are, it is 
true, continually adding to their stock of ideas; but the Afi-ican, 
enjoying the unutterable pleasure of indolent calmness and easy 
meditation, is not under the necessity of going out in search of 
amusement : disliking conversation, he patiently awaits the pleasure- 
able sensations as they arise in his own mind ; and without the smallest 
personal exertion, slaves are always in attendance to anticipate his 
wants, and execute his orders. 

Better judges of hvmian nature, and amongst the rest, a distin- 
guished modem traveller, are, however, of opinion, thattothis indolence, 
so peculiar to the Moorish character, may be attributed many of their 
greatest vices. To obtain his object, that of being perfectly idle, the 
Mahometan of every country becomes selfish, cruel, avaricious, and 
tyrannical. Pyrrhus meditated interminable wars, in the vain hope 
of enjoying future repose. In fact, I very much doubt, notwithstand- 
ing appearances, whether this cold monotony of life yields quite so 
much happiness, as some of its advocates would persuade us. Lassi- 
tude must frequently await them ; and that is by tar the greatest 
enemy of human pleasures. We know also, that the operation of 
rust is sometimes more injurious than even the file itself 

Total strangers to all those finer feelings of the heart, and 
generous sympathies which produce so many acts of virtue in more 
civilized countries, I could never discover any thing to excite praise 
or esteem in their mode of life. Without the wann affections and 


tender sentiment of an European, the Moor may indeed be said to 
vegetate and even enjoy sensual pleasures; but he is lost to the 
exercise of benevolence and humanity, not to mention the still more 
exalted privilege of extending intellectual faculties. A person once 
speaking of an epicure, who took great care of his person, observed, 
that he would no doubt live a long time : rather say, " he will last 
long," rejoined a by-stander. The same observation may be with 
great truth applied to all the followers of Mahomet, who vegetate, 
but cannot be said to live. 



Moorish Beauty. — Eyes and Features, Corpulency, and Mode of fattening 
up before Marriage. — Criterion to judge of a fine Woman. — Complexion. 
Embellishments extraordinary. — Comparison with European Ladies. — Vanity 
the ruling Principle. — Unhappy Condition of the Women in Barbary ; 
their State of Servitude and ill Treatment. — Ideas of the Moors with regard 
to their Creation. — Their prerrmture old Age. — Jealousy. — Ridiculous 
Precautions to prevent Women from being seen or .spoken to. — Inevitable 
Consequence of being discovered in an Intrigue.— Story of a Tunisian 
Lady.— Susceptibility and Power of Love. — Moorish Houses favourable 
to Intrigue. — Argusses occasionally outwitted. — Affectionate Conduct of the 
Moorish Ladies towards their Husbands, àfc. 

JS she handsome ? is always the first question we ask of those who 
mention a lady in our hearing :— and the weaker is very justly denomi- 
nated the /air sex. Lovers and poets, with equal propriety, call those 
who may have inflamed their hearts or inspired their heads, beautifiil; 
and although not very abundantly supplied with materials, my duty 
and admiration would remain very incomplete, were I to omit giving 
some little account of African beauty. Those of my European ac- 
quaintances in Algiers, who, " more bless'd than I," had the pleasure 
of making greater discoveries on the subject, describe them as pos- 
sessing the utmost regularity of features and finest complexions. The 
celebrated Rivarol being asked what he thought of the ladies of 
Paris and Berlin, answered, " that the veins of the Parisian fair ones 
were filled with milk ; while pure blood seemed to flow in those of the 
Berlin ladies. Of the Moorish women, it may be said that fire is the 


circulating fluid. It is particularly active in their eyes, which nature 
seems to have formed between a material and spiritual substance, the 
light in which the soul is seen to shine. The African belles move 
those sensitive orbs with inimitable art ; and, as seen through the 
envious veil which covers them, they have been compared to the sun's 
rays, obscured by a passing cloud. 

As to figure and person, the Moors do not regard it so much as 
we do, or more properly speaking, their ideas of beauty and ours are 
materially difl^erent. So far from bracing up with stays and lacings to 
produce slenderiiess and grace, they are anxious to give full develope- 
ment both to the limbs and person : to be fat and corpulent, is the 
readiest way an African fair can take to obtain conquests. So that 
amongst the Moors, immensity of size and beauty are synonymous. 
Mind and sentiment are not amongst the ingredients of love in Bar- 
bary ; nor do they add in any degree to the value of a wife with a Moor. 
The more fatness, the greater wealth as a partner. Women are, 
in fact, esteemed by their weight. It is on this account that infinite 
pains are taken to fatten up Moorish ladies: enclosed in a small 
room they are fed like the pigeons and doves in Italy ; one part of 
their diet consists of little paste balls, which are dipped in oil : great 
quantities of these are swallowed, and washed down with water, 
while the mother is constantly in attendance, to enforce their being- 
devoured bon gre malgré : nor is the bastinado spared, if they refuse 
the nauseating portion. Thus, a young woman who requires a camel 
to carry her, is considered as a superior beauty; while one who cannot 
walk without the assistance of a slave on each side, is considered to 
have only moderate pretensions to that title! It is needless to add, 
that some of our Italian ladies, who are principally composed of 
skin and bone, would stand a poor chance in Barbary ; while to the 
more favoured in flesh and blood, the sturdy Moors would smack their 
lips, and repeat malechi esseri, " this is rich !" 

A fair and smooth skin is also considered as a great improve- 
ment to an African beauty. These are admirable qualities in the eyes 

H H 


of most people ; but more particularly so, amongst a race, whose 
love is purely material. Where intellectual attractions are disregarded, 
those of a physical nature more than satisfy their absence. 

The ladies of Barbary, like those of all other countries, also call 
in the aid of art, to embellish their natuml beauty : it is true, they 
have no rouge ; but its place is supplied by tattooing various figures, 
and graceful emblems, on the neck, bosom, and other parts of the 
body : tlie hair and nails are also coloured with the juice of an herb 
called zenna, which gives a saffron hue to them : the eyes too, are 
encircled with several lines ; which, though it gives somewhat of a 
harsher cast to the countenance, adds wonderfully to the piercing 
expression of the eye. If the painful operation of tattooing occasions 
temporary inconvenience and pain, the ornainental part remains : and 
it has the additional advantage of saving the ladies a great deal of 
trouble, experienced by the European belles ; particularly that of 
being obliged to deposit their " borrowed graces" every night, before 
retiring to bed : and one cannot address them, as a gentleman once 
did a lady, who used frequently to appear with a different cosmetic : 
•'• I am always discovering some new beauty in you, madam !" 

Unfortunately, all those painful precautions are not destined to 
be compensated by public applause ; but are exclusively confined to 
the melancholy precincts of the harem. When a female walks out, 
she is so oppressed and covered with drapery, that it is quite impos- 
sible to distinguish any part of her face or figure : it is only when 
she goes to the bath, or takes the air on her terrace, that the Alrican 
fair is decked out in all the splendor of beauty, and pomp of dress. 
The latter amusement is, however, extremely solitary, as they are 
rarely seen, except by some female neighbour whom they happen 
to visit, or that calls on them to pass an occasional hour. Moving in 
a very limited circle, with pleasures, which are merely of a sensual 
nature, vanity could alone induce a Moorish lady to be assiduous 
in decorating her person : and the rarity of what she possesses in 
the way of ornament, is her only recompense for the miserable 


uniformity of her days. To the foregoing causes, may be added, 
that of the pleasure which most women derive from eclipsing a 
successful rival, whether in dress or gallantry. A lady, who seemed 
to bestow particular attention to the embellishment of her person, and 
splendor of her equipage, being asked if she meditated a new con- 
quest, or wished to fascinate some happy mortal ; replied, " these 
decorations of my person, and studied elegance of living, are not 
intended to please the men, but to mortity the women !" 

Of all human beings, none are more entitled to commiseration 
than the ill-fated women of Barbary. Shut up, confined in all their 
movements, and strictly observed, they have the additional mortifica- 
tion of being regarded with contempt by their inexorable masters. A 
constant prey to jealousy, envy, and all the bitter pangs of humiliated 
self-love and despised lieauty, they are generally obliged to divide the 
atFections of their husbands with more successful rivals. To these 
evils may he added, that of being dependent for happiness on the 
caprice, morose temper, and untractable disposition of men ; who, 
according to their idiom, do not like ladies possessed of the right 
hand, meaning prudent wives and agreeable companions ; but would 
infinitely rather find them trembling slaves. Extremely inimical to 
an increase of family, the Moorish husband acts like a real pirate in 
the conjugal bed, deva.stating the field of pleasure, instead of enrich- 
ing it by a smiling offspring. 

Becoming wives, the females of Barbary are at once excluded 
from all the rights and privileges of the opposite sex, and pleasures 
of society. None are allowed to eat at the same table with their hus- 
bands; while those of the lower classes, attend as servants at their 
meals, }>resent them Avith water to wash, and kiss their feet with as 
much respect as we do the hand. There is not, in fact, a single 
law, or accommodating usage, established in this country for the 
female's happiness or protection. When obliged to sue for redress 
before the Cadi, a wife can very seldom obtain the smallest .satisfac- 
tion, no matter how great her wrongs. If permitted to separate from 

H H 2 


her persecutor, she loses her dowry : recurring to her parents for 
assistance and support, these have either no power to act, or decline 
entering into the dispute, frequently sending the poor complainant 
back with disdain. A woman thus situated, once went to hei father's 
to complain that she had received a blow on the cheek from her hus- 
band ; the latter no sooner heard the story, than he gave her one on 
the other side, saying, — " You will inform your husband, that having 
struck my daughter, I have struck his wife ; and so now we are quits." 

The Musselmen credibly believe, that God has only created 
women for the mere purposes of sensual enjoyment, to contribute to 
the pleasures of the stronger sex, and perpetuate the liuman race. 
This idea, extravagant as it is, they have also contrived to make the 
females believe. By this barbarous doctrine, which only tends to give a 
little importance to women, while they can minister to the gratification 
of their lords and masters, when personal charms cease, they are con- 
signed to unutterable contempt. Amongst the other fatiguing occupa- 
tions reserved for females in this deplorable state, they are employed 
to fetch water troni distant wells, strike and pitch the tents. They 
also load the camels, while their husbands form a circle on the sand, 
and remain conversing upon indifferent subjects, or smoking their 
pipes. Often when on a journey, the women are obliged to walk ; 
while the men quietly retain their seat on the camel, frequently 
flogging them if they do not keep up with the animal. Nature, too, 
seems to unite with the harsh customs and atrocious legislation of 
Barbary, in rendering the women still more unhappy. In these 
warm climates, beauty may be compared to early flowers, which soon 
blow and as quickly fade. 

The circumstance of marrying, and bearing children at so tender 
an age, the coldness and neglect o? their husbands, the little care 
taken by themselves to preserve their grace and beauty, immoderate 
use of hot baths ; and, above all, the monotonous and sedentary life 
of the harem, with the ennui consequent on so much solitude, 
bring on premature old age so very soon, that at twenty-five,, they 


generally look to be forty. Nothing but ruin is shewn in their coun- 
tenances ; and one cannot say, on voit que l'amour a passe par Id t 
It is not enough for the Moorish women to be thus wretched and 
persecuted, but it must be continued after death ; when the joys of 
Paradise are even denied them ; it being settled that they areto remain 
at the door : it is also very much doubted, whether they even have a 
soul. It is true, that in some parts of Europe, the men are alone 
counted as possessing this attribute ; and an author of Ibe middle 
ages has stated, that in women God made the eyes, cheeks, lips, 
et alia quce sunt dulcia et amicabilia; sed de capite noluit se immis- 
ceri ; sed permisset illudfacere diabulo ! But these are the silly rea- 
sonings of distempered imaginations: if any one were seriously 
disposed to argue the point, it would perhaps be in his power, to 
prove women infinitely superior to men in a variety of respects, wherein 
intellectual talent is more immediately concerned. An unbiassed phi- 
losopher, in tracing the wonderful progress of created being, from the 
minutest insect, to the " paragon of animals," might prove from analooy 
and fact, that lovely woman was created last, at once to govern man, 
and become the great prototype of beauty. Woman is, in effect, the 
smile of nature : supporting the two extremes of life, she forms the 
joy and haj^piness of its intermediate space. An eastern poet thus 
addressed the daughters of men : " ye are the graces of day, and the 
night loves ye like the dew which it sheds on flowers. The infant 
issues from your side, to fix on your lips and bosom. Made for love, 
you have words of magic, to soothe eveiy sorrow !" 

Although love has no share in forming the connubial state, or 
strengthening the more tender ties of matrimony in this country, yet 
strange as it may appear to an European, the Moors are full of the 
most cruel jealousy ; which is, however, perfectly consonant to the 
rest of their character. It sometimes even happens, amongst ourselves, 
that there is a possibility of being jealous, without having a particle 
of real attachment for the object of our suspicion : this h far from 
being an unusual exertion of self-love. Another species of that vile 


passion, arises from want of confidence in the beloved object : when 
more rationally exerted, it extends to the diffidence which real merit 
is apt to feel, in its own powers of pleasing. But that of Barbary, 
originates in characteristic suspicion, a tyrannical disposition, an 
exclusive desire of possessing absolute power in everything, even to a 
blind dependence on their will and caprice ; all of which, acting simul- 
taneously on the Moorish husband, hurries him on to extravagance and 
crimes, in gratifying this horrible feeling. It is related, that the 
governor of a province, being obliged to march against a neighbouring 
prince, who had sworn to etfect his destruction, retired for seven days 
to the country, remaining all that time with the women of his harem, 
enjoying all the pleasures of a Musselman's life. Being afterwards 
unable to sustain the dreadful thought of leaving them behind, 
perhaps to fall into the hands, and grace the triumph of his ferocious 
rival, he caused them all to be dispatched, and then set oifto assume 
the command of his army.* 

Upon another occasion, a Bey who had a beautiful woman in his 
harem, of whom he was passionately fond ; on hearing that a painter 
had just arrived, wished to have her portrait taken : for this purpose, 
he ordered the artist into his presence ; and notifying his pleasure, 
promised a liberal recompense for his ti'onble. The painter replied, 
that he felt himself highly honoured by so flattering a commission, 
and would do every thing in his power to satisfy his excellency. " You 
may go to work then with all possible dispatch," said the Bey ; " and 
when the picture is finished, bring it to me without loss of time." 
" Your highness has only to let me see the lady whose portrait I am 
to have the honour of painting." " What!" interrupted the enraged 
Mahometan, " do you suppose I will let you see my wifel" " How 

* It is related of a jealous husband, that once finding himself alone with his wife, 
in a room where there was a large looking-glass, he broke it to pieces with the cane which 
he held in his hand ; alledging, that he could not bear the thought of his wife's seeing 
herself there in one man's company. Another addle-headed dolt, would not allow hi:' 
wife to pronounce the name of any animal of the masculine gender! 


then," rejoined the painter, " am I to represent a person whom I 
have never seen V " Retire," exclaimed the iiey, with trembling lips, 
and eyes flashing fury. " If I cannot have her portrait, without 
exposing her to your eyes, I would rather, a thousand times, forego 
the pleasure I had figured to myself from having her picture drawn." 
It was in vain that the astonished painter endeavoured to reason with 
his highness on the unreasonableness of his proposition ; and soon 
after made good his retreat from the irritated presence, congratulat- 
ing himself on having escaped being thrown out of the window. 

Innumerable are the precautions which a Moor takes, tolsecludehis 
women from the sightof other people. AVhenever a Christian enters one 
of their houses, he should be careful not to proceed too far, before the 
master calls out Tarik ! meaning to give place ; so that the women 
may have time to get out of tlie way. No stranger, and it is very 
rare, that even a brother-in-law is permitted to see a manied lady 
without her veil. In the harem, the women are under the care of an 
old female superintendant, styled cadenhahiu, or some of that unfor- 
tunate race called eunuchs; who in addition to their other harmless 
qualities, are purposely disfigured in their features to prevent the 
possibility of being seen, without a feeling of horror by tiie ladies. 
When visited by a medical man, they are so placed, as to prevent him 
from seeing their figure : and, previous to the pulse being felt, care is 
taken to cover the hand and arm with a thick veil, so that even a man's 
finger shall not touch the delicate skin of a Moorish female. While 
walking on the terraces, all the males are warned not to extend their 
profane regards over the forbidden fair. It is also, on this account, 
that the Moors are said to employ blind men on the minarets, to call 
the faithful, when the hour of prayer at the mosques is announced. 

The Moor's vengeance arising from jealousy, is generally of the 
most terrible description. If any intrigue or correspondence is dis- 
covered between a 3Iahonietan female and a Christian, he is inevitably 
condemned to lose his head; and the woman, after receiving a hun- 
dred blows of the bastinado on her stomach, is enclosed in a sack and 


thrown into the sea : should the gallant be a Moor, the offended hus- 
band has the privilege of killing him, and then his wife. It is not 
long since a case of the greatest horror and atrocity in this way, 
occurred at Tunis. The daughter of a Doletro, having conceived the 
strongest attachment for a young Moor, was prevented from marrying 
him, on account of her father's preferring one of the Bey's secretaries : the 
young lady, who was one of the most beautiful women in the regency, 
continued, notwithstanding, to keep up rather too free an intercourse 
with her lover, who, by means of a cord let down into the street, was 
occasionally enabled to introduce himself into her apartment : unfor- 
tunately, one night when he had nearly readied the window, the line 
broke; and he received such a contusion from the fall, as rendered it im- 
possible for him to move from the spot. The secretary, who happened 
to be returning rather later than usual from El Bardo that night, dis- 
covered the ill-fated lover, who was even weak enough to confess his 
crime. The former having communicated the whole circumstance 
to his master, asked M'hat revenge he f^^hould take to appease his 
wounded honour. The Bey replied, that he conceived the gallant 
had already suffered enough from his fall, which would most probably 
end in death ; but as to the lady, the injured husband was at liberty 
to dis]>ose of her as he thought proper. The secretary then proceeded 
to the house of his father-in-law, and related the whole story of his 
wife's intidelity. On this, both parties returned to his own house, 
and calling the distracted female into her dressing-room, they in- 
stantly applied a cord to her neck, by which she was in a few 
moments strangled. 

To so great a length is the feeling of jealousy carried amongst 
these people, that you cannot, with propriety, ask a Moor after his 
wife's health. It is easy to conceive that such men are not likely to 
contribute much to the happiness of their companions in wedlock ; 
nor can it be wondered at, if the husband's cruel treatment and total 
want of confidence, often gives rise to a spirit of hatred and desire of 
revenge on the part of his wife. 


The wretched life led by the females in Barbary, creates a feeling 
of melancholy, which is said to make them very accessible, and even 
prone to the tender passion. The great master of the art of love, 
advises us to beware of mentioning this subject to a woman while she 
is viewing, with anxious eyes, a horse or chariot race ; — but love as 
frequently springs from pity. It need not therefore be wondered at, 
if the 3Ioorish ladies are occasionally relieved by the officious zeal of 
some kind matron of Ephesus. It is in vain, that the husband 
endeavours to amuse his dejected slaves by taking them into the 
country, calling in the aid of music, and other recreations : these pro- 
duce a very trifling effect in cheering up the otherwise cold uniformity 
of their unhappy days. An European lady, whose partner kept her 
continually in the country, was incessantly recurring to the pleasures 
of the city and all its fascinating varieties. " How can you possibly be 
dull V asked the rural philosophers of her neighbourhood : " here 
you breathe the purest air, and can at any moment cull flowers of 
every hue, or walk on the gentle rising grounds, surrounded by num- 
berless innocent pleasures." To all this the lady replied, in a dissa- 
tisfied tone, " but I don't like innocent pleasures !" 

Notwithstanding so many precautions, the winged cherub fre- 
quently contrives to scale the triple walls of the harem, where 
selfishness, pride, and jealousy, have confined the empire of beauty ; 
and in Barbary, an intrigue commences where those of Europe gene- 
rally end. The Christian slaves are looked upon with so much con- 
tempt, that they are considered rather as domestic animals than 
otherwise, and on this account never want for opportunities of seeing 
their masters' wives,— so that almost every slave has his Moorish 
there amie, as each soldier of Italy his servant.* As there is usually 
one in particular whom the master honours with his confidence and 
esteem above the rest, the ladies of the harem consider themselves 

* The Kalian soldier's wife or ammunition partner, is generally styled la sua serva. 


bound and authorised to treat him with a much greater degree of 
attention and indulgence. 

This mode of justifying their preference, reminds me of the 
specious and whimsical reasons once given to a monarch by one of 
his favourites, who was desirous of excusing her various gallantries 
in the eyes of his majesty. — "You." said he, " loved the Marechal 
de * * *." — " Ah, Sire," she answered, "he had acquired such 
glory !" " You were in love with my prime minister," continued the 
king; — " He had so much power, Sire !" " That, was also a tine in- 
trigue between you and the young officer." — " Yes, Sire ; but then 
what a charming figure, and how well lie danced !" " And the 
secretary of the academy !" — "He had so much wit, Sire; and said 
such good things!" " But what in the name of wonder could you 
see in the chancellor, with his awkward figure and taciturn cha- 
racter."—" Ah, Sire, he was so warmly attached to your majesty!" 

It sliould also be observed, that the construction of the Moorish 
houses, is favourable to enterprizes of gallantry and love : what with 
their fiat terraces and ladders of communication, a person may easily 
go all over a district without once descending into the street ; while 
he who enters at the door can always, in the event of being sur- 
prised, escape by the terrace. 

Night has ever been favourable to thieves and lovers. In Barbary 
the latter avail themselves of that propitious season, and like the cats, 
are scattered about the roofs for the purpose of gratifying their illicit 
amours. It often occurs, that a lady is permitted to go and visit some 
female friend for a few days : these are said to be sometimes very pro- 
fitably employed ; and if the husband derives additional pleasure 
from their occasional absence, they also know how to make it delight- 
ful to themselves. Besides, if a woman declares herself pregnant, and 
expresses a desire to go any where, she is never prevented, there being 
the most scrupulous attention paid to all the wants and wishes of 
Mahometan women in this delicate state. It was said of a lady, some 
years separated from her husband, and who seemed desirous of 


rejoining him, that her's was tlie wish of a pregnant woman. Ill- 
nature might insinuate, that the little excursions made by the Moorish 
ladies on such occasions, would bear an inverse construction to the 
above. But I do not pretend to go so deeply into the scandalous 
chronicle of Barbary. It was asked of Mademoiselle Lanoi, while 
employed in writing lier Memoirs, how she would represent herself, 
when arrived at tliat part which related to certain little adventures of 
gallantry; she answered, " in a bust:'' — so it ought to be with a 
correct and cautious painter of manners. AVhen we speak of women, 
says Diderot, our pen should be dipped in the colours of the rainbow, 
and the lines sprinkled with golden powder taken from the wings of 
the gentle butterfly ! 

Truth and justice, therefore, require me to express my firm 
belief, that the ladies of Algiers seldom take advantage of the few 
solitary privileges accorded to them by long established custom, 
rather than the generosity of their husbands. Most of those who go 
out for a short time, have no other object in view, than that of 
passing a few days with friends or relatives. It would tend to dimi- 
nish that sympathy which I am so desirous of awakening towards 
the persecuted fair of Africa, were I to omit bearing ample testimony 
to the astonishing patience and resignation evinced by them, in sup- 
porting all their accumulated wrongs. Perfectly reconciled to their 
solitude, they would be offended if a husband exposed them to the 
regards of a stranger, and even doubt whether they had not ceased to 
be estimable in his eyes, when not enclosed within the walls of 
his harem. Those who have had greater facilities of observation, say, 
that nothing can exceed the amiable tenderness and heartfelt gratitude 
shewn by the Moorish women, towards the only object of their sight 
and affections ; the smallest act of kindness being enough to fill 
them with happiness. If the husband sends to say he wishes to dine 
with or visit his wife, she immediately puts on her richest dress and 
most costly ornaments, — causes the apartment to be perfumed, — pre- 
pares the choicest viands, and receives her lord with a degree of 

II 2 


dignified respect and affectionate gallantry, which would not disgrace 
the matrons of Europe. Strangers to the idle frivolities of the world, 
all their tenderness is concentrated in their children. Nothing is 
more pleasing than a mother's fondness, or so calculated to inspire 
veneration and respect, as the lisping emblem of innocence which 
hangs upon her bosom! Such a gratifying sight repels the greatest 
libertine, and the most abandoned will not attempt to corrode its 
happiness. The women of Barbary, strangers to the gaze of vulgar 
eyes, reserve all their secret charms for the happy being who is des- 
tined to possess the unpolluted treasure. Concealed by a thorny 
hedge-row, the violet is unseen ; but the fragrant odour discovers its 
modest beauty. 



State of Agriculture in Algiers. — Imperfect Mode of Ploughing. — Wine. — 
Butter. — Oil. — Olive Trees. — Method of enriching the Land. — Different^ 
Trades and Manufactures. — Otto of Roses. — Commerce. — Exports and 
Imports. — Traffic with the Interior of Africa. — Method of Dealing. — 
Circulating Medium. — Clipping. — Letters and Sciences. — Arab Writers. 
— Hints on Civilization. — Anecdote — The Pen.— The Alfagui. — Their 
Pedantry. — The Thibibs. —Medical Treatment in Barbary. — Anecdotes, ófc. 

The statistics of Barbary furnish very little matter to excite the 
enquiry, or gratify the curiosity of European travellers : with the finest 
soil on earth, it is impossible for any country to be more neglected. 
Where three-fourths of the ground is uncultivated, it is scarcely neces- 
sary to add, that agriculture is at the very lowest state of rudeness and 
degradation. In ploughing, the share is hardly perceived to leave 
any trace behind : meadow and pasture land is, however, tolerably well 
watered ; but the people of this country are by no means well versed 
in the breeding and taking care of their flocks or horned cattle. The 
gardens are well stocked with fruit trees, though neither taste nor sym- 
metry is observed in the planting.* Notwithstanding the great 
quantity of olive oil made in the Algerine territory, it is generally of 
a bad quality, entirely owing to their total ignorance of preparing it 
in a better manner: the tree too, is suiFered to grow without being regu- 

* Although there is infinite room for improvement in the gardens of Barbary, I trust 
that should it ever be colonized from Europe, the false taste which still continues to per- 
vade those of France and Italy will not be introduced: and in this hope I have every 
reason to believe, the author will most heartily join his wishes to mine. — Ed. 


laily pruned, which is another great source of injury to the olive.* 
The wine, which is made by Christian slaves, is quite as good as that 
of Roses in Spain : but it loses a great deal of its flavour, after a visit 
from the locusts. Butter is made by putting the milk into a goat's 
skin, which being hung up, is beaten with sticks on each side, until 
fit to be worked by the hand : it is by this filthy process not only 
badly tasted, but always full of hairs. Corn is ground in mills, which 
are turned by three camels. Unacquainted with the art of enrich- 
ing land, they merely set fire to the stubble or other weeds : on these 
occasions, great mischief arises from the flames often extending far 
beyond what is required : it also creates a dreadful heat in the atmo- 
sphere, and frequently runs along with such rapidity, that men and 
animals have scarcely time to evade the fiery torrent : these fires some- 
times last for nearly two months, during which, they give an appear- 
ance of awful suljlimity to the heavens. 

The trades most esteemed in Algiers, are those of the shoemaker, 
drue:e:ist, jeweller, and, above all, the cnp manufacturer : of the latter 
article, prodigious quantities are made and exported to all tlie ports 
of the Levant. Each craft has its chief or head, called Aiiiin; who 
decides all the little disputes which may arise within his particular 
department : this mode of dividing the trades is very similar to that 
formerly adopted in Florence. Metals are often worked without the 
aid of fire, which gives great solidity to many of their utensils. There 
are also, in the interior, several potteries and manufactures of hard- 
ware. The wool of Barbary, and more particularly that of Algiers, 
is admirably calculated for receiving dyes of every hue : the bright 
silks of this regency are also highly esteemed all over Barbary, for 
making the scarfs usually worn by females. The tanning, and prepa- 
ration of hides and other skins, is very well understood by the Moors; 
and the Morocco leather, by which all coloured skins are called in 
Barbary, is made to great perfection in Algiers : they also make very 

«= For ail account of the curious process of making olive oil, see's Morocco, 
partii, p. 22I.-AV/. 

TRADE. 247 

fine carpets, called hiram ; but they mostly pride themselves in the 
manafactory of Scialli shawls ; which, considering their quality, are 
sold at a much cheaper rate than those of the Levant. Baskets, and 
various other convenient ornaments, are formed out of the palm tree 
leaf, many of which look as fine as silk, and nothing' can exceed the 
beauty of their mats made of the fine rushes of Labez. 

But of all African manufactures, that of its otto of roses, is by 
far the most celebrated : this exquisite flower yields double the quan- 
tity of essence in Barbary, to what it does in Europe ; the finest 
and most precious, called nessari, is distilled from the white rose. It 
is strange, that with their present inqjerfect knowledge of chemistry, 
the Moors sliouhl be so mu<'h better versed in the distillation of 
this flower than Europeans : to their remarkable talent in this way, 
may be added, uncommon patience and attention towards bringing 
the essence to perfection. Seeing- the old Moors, with their venerable 
beards and flowing mantles, silting in solemn silence, and gravely 
holding the balance, into which they pour the otto with infallible 
exactness; I often figured to myself, Time dispensing pleasure in 
drops, and scrupulously weighing all the enjoyments of life. 

The present limited trade of Algiers is chiefly conducted by Jews. 
Grain is generally sold at very low prices, though none can be 
exported without a tischera, or written permit, bearing the Dey'sseal. 
A similar licence is necessary before any oil, of which such large 
quantities are made, can be shipped : this article is principally sent 
to Ottoman ports ; more especially Bosetta and Damietta in Egypt. 
It is also necessary to obtain a permit before cattle, sheep, and goats 
can be embarked ; and fowls must be killed previous to leaving the shore. 

The chief articles supplied by Algiers to foreign countries, con- 
sist of coarse linens, cotton, raisins, dried figs, honey, wax, dates, 
biocades, taflety, muslin, tobacco, sugar and coflTee : the two latter, 
are the fruits of piracy ; ostrich feathers, otto of roses, gold dust, 
brought by the caravans ; grain and cattle. It is also an excellent 
place to make purchases in shawls, whether of home or foreign 

248 riiADK. 

There is a consideiable demand in tins place for various comuio- 
dities; but owing to the many duties, uncertainty of payment, diffi- 
culties thrown in the way of exportation, and frequent exactions of the 
Deyand his officers, fewspeculators are encouraged to visit the Regency. 
Foreign wines pay an excessive impost : fine gunpowder and flints 
sell remarkably well, the latter being generally very scarce; and 
the powder made in the country is found much too weak for small 
anns. Deals, prepared ship timber, wrought iron, cannon, fire-arms, 
and naval stores of every kind, find a ready sale in Algiers. The 
coral fishery, which is chiefly conducted by Sardinians and Corsicans, 
is exchanged in large quantities for gold dust ; which the Algerine 
merchants receive from Sansandang, and other interior kingdoms. 
One of the most lucrative sources of traffic, though so highly di'^graceful 
to European merchants, is derived from the sale of property plundered 
by the corsairs: many of these, follow in the pirates' train, as the jackall 
does in that of the lion. 

South of the Algerine territory, and towards the Tunisian fron- 
tier, there is a particular race, called the Cadensi or Gademis, who 
carry on a constant trade with the interior regions of Africa, whence 
they bring gold dust, ostrich feathers, dates, &c. Their returns from 
Algiers consist of Turkish daggers, small looking-glasses, beads, 
knives, scissars, tobacco, and great quantities of salt, which is 
hiuhly prized in most parts of this vast continent. The extreme 
probity observed in all dealings between the Gademis and African 
nations, has often excited the admiration of travellers : the Moorish 
merchant, having placed what he has for sale in a particular spot, 
retires : the negroe dealer then advances, and if disposed to purchase, 
lays down the quantity of gold dust, or other material he is inclined 
to give in exchange close to it : on withdrawing in his turn, the Moor 
goes back, and if he finds the deposited articles equivalent to his own, 
he takes them away, leaving the latter : on the other hand, should the 
articles left be unequal to his wishes, he removes the goods ; when, if 
after a little time, the negroe's offering is not increased, their negocia- 
tion terminates, and they all depart. Whenever their contracts are 

MONEY. 240 

mutually satisfactory, and this is generally the case, reciprocal 
demonstrations of friendship take place, and they often travel in com- 
pany with each other for several days. 

There is not much money to be seen in Algiers, at least, the 
quantity seldom increases from credit or circulation : it is more 
frequently diminished by hoarding and concealment under ground ; 
the result of that uncertainty and violence, peculiar to the mandates 
of an arbitrary government. Naturally economical, the 3Ioors are 
always intent on accumulating ; they know also, that money is like 
time : they who do not squander it away, are seldom without a 
sufficient supply. 

The doubloon and dollar of Spain are the first in circulation 
and credit at Algiers ; guineas lose by going there : the sultanas of 
gold, somewhat smaller than a sequin, pass for two dollars : the other 
coins, are the pataca gorda, or current dollar; which is equal to 
three of ours in Italy : the pataca cJdca, an ideal money, equivalent 
to two hundred aspri. The smaller coins circulated in the regency, 
are called mussona, equal to about four soldi of Italy : marahuto, of 
.still less value ; the tornino, which fonns an eighth part of the 
pataca chica ; and saime, another imaginary standard, equal to fifty 
aspri: the latter is of silver, but so exceedingly diminutive, that it 
slips from the hand in counting : two or three hundred being necessary 
for the most trifling payment. The shop-keepers have plates of copper 
upon which they spread tlie aspri, to render the counting more easy ; 
but this is, at best, a most annoying and tedious operation, which 
nothing less than the perseverance of a Moor could get over. They 
are, for hours together, employed in counting and recounting a 
sum that would not exceed ten pence of our money ; but what could 
they do, if deprived of this interesting occupation, their pipe, and 
the glorious privilege of sitting cross-legged for at least ten hours 
during the day l 

Money changers are to be found in every corner of the city : they 
change dollars without any other profit than that of occasionally 
throwing in a few spurious aspri ; which, fi-om the trouble it gives to 

K K 


examine them, generally escapes detection. Some of the Moors also 
contrive to amuse themselves in clipping- the circulating medium, for 
which they are very rarely punished : it does not happen to them, as 
to the culprit, who was condemned to the gallies for encroaching rather 
too closely on the inscriptions which surrounded his sovereign's 
coinage ; and being interrogated as to his motives, replied, that they 
originated in his foiulness for the belles lettres ! 

A mere handful of Turkish adventurers having triumphed over 
peaceful nations, and violently succeeded in establishing the atrocious 
governments of Algiers, Tunis, and Tripoly, the clouds of ignorance 
and barbarism soon involved the whole extent of country between 
Cape Spartel and Alexandria; obliterating, as it were, the recollection 
of its civilization under the kings of Numidia and 3Iauritania. Not to 
mention the succeeding lights of Arabic learning, which illumined this 
part of Africa in after times; at present, it would be ditiicult to conceive, 
that this was the country, in which the celebrated astronomer Abu- 
viaser tlonrished ; or Giber, one of the fathers of alchymy and che- 
mical science ; Alf'arabe al Ascari, who first applied the peripatetic 
philosophy to Islamism, and gave rise to a famous school, called the 
Assareti, so famous in Spain ; or the equally celebrated orthodox 
<loctor, Eseferez Esachelli, author of the gi"eat work on cosmography, 
entitled Spatiatorum Locum, who, in order the better to pursue his 
studies, did not put liis eyes out, but saw that there was no chance of 
philosophizing in a court, and therefore abandoned that of Ruggiero, 
king of Sicily, for a tranquil retirement on the coast of Africa ; Ibni 
al Chat il Raisi, the most eloquent speaker, and best poet of his day; 
who, while at Fez, recited a poem, containing such a pathetic detail 
of the sufferings of Abu Habdilla, king of Granada, that it induced 
the government and populace to espouse his cause, and restore him to 
his throne ;* and Isaac ben Erram, that told his master, who had 

* The iniquitous and ungrateful Habdilla, afterwards became the enemy of 
his benefactor ; and having persuaded the king of Fez to give him up, he caused the 
unhappy man to be cruelly murdered. 


associated him to another medical man, with whom he could not 
agree in opinion, that the diifering of two doctors Mas worse than a 
qnartan atfue! We no longer recognize in the degenerate Moor, 
those gallant chiefs who ornamented the splendid courts of Granada 
and Cordova, and enjoyed the luxuries of GeueruUf, or founded the 
Alhambra and Zehra. 

Printing, that great source of European improvement, has not as 
yet been introduced into Barbary ; arising as much from the opposition 
of the respective governments to a farther diffusion of knowledge, as 
the fear of depriving numberless copyists of occupation and bread. 
Thus there is neither a free communication of ideas, or the smallest 
advance towards perfection. The men of letters, who are called 
Alfugui and Talhi, principally consist of impostors who make use of 
the few talents they possess, for no other purpose than that of keeping 
the populace in a state of the utmost ignorance. The Imans and 
Musselmen, exclusively devoted to the study of the Koran, (a book 
fxiU of absurdities, mixed with a few poetic flights, and overcharged 
by its inflexible doctrine of fatalism,) form an apparently insurmount- 
able barrier to the dissemination of knowledge or science : with them 
it is even a crime to learn the Arabic, or receive the smallest instruc- 
tion from a stranger. Mahomet has been, in fact, the greatest enemy 
human reason ever encountered. Men who were full of his ferocious 
spirit, exclaimed, that God would punish the Caliph Al Mamon, for 
having introduced the sciences into his states, to the detriment of that 
holy ignorance recommended by the prophet to all true believers; — 
and that if any person dared to imitate him, he ought to be impaled, 
and then carrietl through the tribes, preceded by a herald who was to 
cry with a loud voice, " Behold, the recompense of that impious wretch 
who shall prefer philosophy to tradition, and his proud reason to the 
precepts of the divine Koran !" 

All the instruction given to children, consists in sending the boys 
to school, where they are merely taught to read and rejjeat fifty or 
sixty aphorisms from the Koran. When capable of this gigantic 

KK 2 


effort of learning and science, the pupil's education is complete ; and 
as a reward for his diligence, as well as to excite emulation in others, 
he is paraded round the city on horseback ; — feasts are given by his 
parents ; — he becomes the envy of his play fellows ; — and the peda- 
gogue retires covered with glory ! 

All the wit of these people, when occupied in literary subjects, 
consists of making enigmas and charades in verse, which others are 
obliged to solve in rhyme : some of these occasionally possess a little 
point and ingenuity, but neither powerful thought or noble sentiment 
is manifested. The exclusion of women from their society has been 
justly adduced as one great cause of that total absence of taste 
and feeling evinced in the selfish meetings of Musselmen : they 
abandon themselves to the impetuous fire of imagination, which is 
always irregular, if not, like the electric spark, guided by its con- 
ductor. The language of slavery is generally made up of bombast; 
while that of liberty is simple and energetic. Although not entirely 
devoid of fancy, there is at present no very distinguished poet in 
Barbary. They can sing of ordinary and passing events ; but no bril- 
liant thovights proceed from the heart. The Muses are not fond of 
chains ; nor do I know of any fine poetic composition w Inch has 
sprung from the degraded leisure of servitude. 

It cannot, however, be doubted, that by a rational mode of public 
instruction, the inhabitants of northern Africa might shortly become 
an enlightened and illusti-ious people, as their ancestors were in 
better days. Alkindi, a philosopher, who lived during the Caliph 
Almosatem's reign, once showed to an interpreter of the laws 
that stigmatised his fame, the difference which exists between 
ignorant superstition and illuminated philosophy. Though he 
might, from his influence and favour at the court of Bagdad, have 
easily ruined his enemy, he preferred the more generous mode of 
converting the asperser into a friend ; for this purpose he observed, 
" Your religion commands you to calumniate me, while mine incul- 
cates the necessity of endeavouring to make you a better man and 


more valuable member of society: come, therefore, that I may instruct 
you ; after whicli, if in the same temper of mind, you are at liljerty 
to destroy me." What does the reader imagine the sage of Basra 
taught his new disciple ? Geometry : that alone was sufficient totally 
to change his barbarous sentiments, into others of gratitude and 
friendship. Such, too, as observed by a great writer, is the manner 
in which all superstitious and uncivilized nations should be converted. 
By causing mathematicians and men of science to precede the missionary, 
a rude peojile are taught to combine simple and natural ideas, before 
they are called upon to comprehend the most abstruse of all subjects, 
the attributes and power of the Divinity. Reflecting on the present 
mode of conversion, which is, no doubt, encouraged from the purest 
motives of philanthrojjy, it is as if we could expeci children to read, 
without first teaching them the alphabet. It cannot be expected, that 
modes of improvement, which are rejected by more enlightened nations, 
should enter into the contemplation of the most terrible of all other 
sectaries, the followers of Mahomet : they find it more consonant to 
their barbarous policy to cover the horse's eyes, who is condemned to 
grind the corn; and, strange to reflect, the people thus led, are 
apparently contented and slavishly sui)missive. This indifference to be 
instructed, is, however, a singular paradox : where all those who happen 
to acquire a greater degree of wisdom than their more illiterate neigh- 
bours, arrive at the highest dignities ; and the really learned, almost 
pass for saints: an honour which is very far from being accorded to the 
European philosopher, or man of letters.* 

* It is, indeed, " a consummation most devoutly to be wished," that the momentous 
subject thus slightly alluded to, may continue to occupy the attention of all civilized 
nations, until the grand desideratum of finding out a less erroneous and more effectual 
mode of bringing man back to the dignity of his nature, is discovered. Having for many 
years deeply reflected on ihe paramount importance of this object, and felt the full force 
of that obligation imposed on us all by religion, reason, and humanity, to rescue the whole 
of God's creation from barbarism, I cannot be persuaded to believe, that we are not still 
in our infancy, as far as relates to the great work of civilizing unknown regions. Much 

254 THE PEN. 

All those who have conceived an adequate idea of the power of 
a pen, when properly managed, need not be surprised at its eftects 
being so dreaded by the despots of Barbary. Strong as the club of 
Hercules, and sharp as the scimitar of Scanderbeg, a man of 
genius, with a pen in his hand, moves in a sphere of his own crea- 
tion : shut np in his study, he menaces, fulminates, thunders, and 
comman<ls destiny itself: it is he who immortalizes the actions of 
heroes, and unveils the most important truths. The j>en is also 
employed to defend injured innocence, and oppressed virtue : it inspires 

as England may take credit to herself for having during the last fifty years led the way in 
promoting discovery, few who consider the magnitude of the object to be accomplished, 
can deny, that, independent of those incessant political struggles which have withdrawn 
the attention of government from such pursuits; nearly all our expeditions have been con- 
ducted on a scale, which, though liberal in itself, was very far from being adequate to all 
the objects in view. I am, indeed, fully aware of the innumerable difiBculties which 
oppose the progress of new discoveries, and of the still more disheartening task of reducing 
savage nations to a state of civilization. But will any one contend that the efforts hitherto 
employed by the European powers have increased, as they most unqueslionably should, in 
proportion to these obstacles? Since the voyages of Captain Cook, the last of which 
terminated in 1780, a period of thirty-eight years has been suffered to elapse without our 
undertaking any thing in the way of exploring, worthy of so great a nation. Yet a much 
smaller sum of money, and an infinitely less number of human lives, than foreign wars 
have cost us, would probably have enabled Great Britain alone, to have sown the seeds of 
civilization and Christianity all over the habitable globe! ! ! Into what a labyrinth of thought 
is not this reflection calculated to plunge the most frigid reasoner ? When the tremendous 
magnitude of this object is considered, with what extreme pity must not a philosophic 
mind regard the occasional puny efforts of different governments, in sending off one or two 
vessels, intended to communicate knowledge and happiness to tens of millions, while a 
military adventurer, like Buonaparte, could by a senatus consultum, call out six hundred 
thousand human beings, and arm them for the purpose of destroying and plundering the 
species! Heaven knows, the spirit of discord and malevolence has been long enough suf- 
fered to devastate Europe and America. When banished from the last named country, it is 
sincerely to be hoped, that we shall no longer slumber over the great duties which it is so 
completely in our power to perform, with respect to the uncivilized part of the universe. 
It only requires a simultaneous movement of all the European sovereigns, in favour of one 
grand and combined system of exploration ; and the oldest amongst us may yet live to see 
that day, when all the crimes and follies of Europe, would be more than expiated by a 
certain prospect of the whole human race being emancipated from the fetters of barbarism. 

THE PEi\. 255 

magnanimity of sentiment, and niarks the guilty lor punishment. Tlie 
pen preserves our fngitive ideas, gives an impulse to thought, approxi- 
mates tl»e sighing lover to the object of his affections, and enables us 
to converse with the absent. More powerful than the voice, which is 
only a transitory sound, the pen can never be enchained : that which 
it writes, is spread abroad, penetrates to the interior of palaces, and 
eternally remains. To this we are indebted for the greatest wonders : 
M'hen the poet takes the pen, the most harmonious numbers flow from 
it ; and in proportion to their merit, it is either a pen of gold or of 

Then, as one great family, they might look up to their Creator, animated by a common 
faith, founded on tlie .sublimest of all dogmas, that of " Doing to others, as tee would 
they should do unto us .'" 

Warmed by the contemplation of ray subject, the possibility of a scheme like the 
above, has led to a feeling of exultation in what might be effected; which, alas ! the recol- 
lection of those minor interests that agitate the world, is but too soon calculated to destroy. 
Enthusiasm is sometimes useful, and often necessary : I will not therefore relinquish mine, 
until every hope of seeing my favourite system put into effect, has entirely vanished. At 
present, I confess myself to be extremely sanguine; and draw the most flattering inferences, 
not only from the general state of the civilized world, but from that disposition, which some 
sovereigns evince to comply with the rational desires of their people, expressed from the 
awful tribunal of public opinion ; and that opinion is decidedly philanthropic. I forbear 
entering into needless details, as no individual plan, however perfect, could possibly 
embrace so complicated a design. It may, however, be proper to inform the reader, that 
I am not one of the champions of perfectibility : if I were, the sad reality of the times would 
soon bring me back to reason; but I will say with a great living character, that, if the 
golden age is not the lot of the present generation, yet, should it have been marked out 
for any part of human existence, I trust it will be found, not in that which is past, but 
in some part still to come ; and then ask every unbiassed friend of truth, whether it is not 
as easy to enter into an alliance for the dissemination of knowledge, as the preservation 
of political power ? Also, if he can, by his utmost stretch of thought, conceive a more 
glorious spectacle for the Divinity, than that of looking down upon the creatures of his 
hand, availing themselves of the wisdom he has afforded them, for the benign purpose of 
communicating it to the rest of his creation ; instead of living m a state of interminable 
warfare, and bitter hatred of each other, influenced by passions which constantly degrade 
them below the level of brutes? Until these simple interrogatories are answered, so as to 
destroy my hopes, the most uncharitable will not blame me for cherishing the delightful 
dream of human happiness I hare figured to myself, in the ardent wish, that a future 
generation may witness its entire accomplishment. — Ed. 


fire ! In the hands of a vhtuous prince, the pen signs a deed of 
mercy, concedes an act of grace, and renders happiness to a fellow 
creature. A beautiful woman takes the pen, it traces her inmost 
desires : does the man of honour receive an insult, his pen writes, and 
the offender trembles. There is no possibility of approaching a great 
man ; our pen supersedes the necessity of a personal interview : ashamed 
to make a tender confession, the pen confides it to a .sheet of paper: 
are we desirous of praising a fine composition ; it is said to be written 
with a flowing pen: a sublime author is extolled; his pen is beautiful, 
grand and spirited : is a corrupt judge, or perfidious lawyer to be 
punished, the pen is taken from him. 

Mahomet has entitled one of his most important chapters. The 
Pen ; commencing thus, " I swear by the Divine Pen !" — It goes on 
to say, " It is an article of faith, to believe that this Pen was created 
by the finger of God. Made of pearls, a rider who should go at full 
speed for a hundred years, would with great difficulty reach the end 
of it ; the ink at its point is composeil of a subtle light, extracted from 
the sun and stars. The archangel Raphael, is the only being who 
can decypher the characters written by this brilliant and sparkling 
tint. This pen has a hundred minor ones subservient to it, which 
will not cease to write night and day, until the end of time : that 
which has happened, happens ; and will happen !" 

The erudite and wise men of Barbary, are pompously called, 
" Men of the Pen." This epithet is also applied to an inventory, 
their album, or memorandum books : wherein the Musselmen are in 
the habit of writing extracts, and depositing their grave thoughts or 
conversations with men of learning. I could not, however, find out the 
happy flights or other good things contained in the Moorish memo- 
randa. It has been said of those blank books, or albums, so common 
in London and Paris, and in which all the ladies are obliged to write 
something, whether in verse or in prose, that they are like certain 
individuals who lose in candour what they gain in wit. But with the 
album of Barbary, the case is somewhat reversed : these lose in can- 

THE PEN. 257 

dour without gaining- in wit : as from all I could collect on the sub- 
ject, their utmost merit consists in a iew worn-out citations from the 
Alcoran, and occasionally one or two trivial sentences, often repeated 
as important truths. 

\yhile at Algiers, I w as once induced to ask an Ulema, if his book, 
called the Pen, contained any of his public speeches, a copy of his verses, 
or even some of his enigmas. He answered, that so much had been already 
written, that people should rather destroy than create ; true study 
consisted in separating the good from the bad, and tinallyselectingthat 
which was really worth reading. These observations surprised me a 
good deal, in coming from a Mahometan ; and I could not help be- 
coming a convert to his opinions ; but I thought him insufferably 
presumptuous when he afterwards asserted, that he could not only 
select himself, but teach others to do so ; and concluded by informing 
me, that his principal occupation consisted in approving of what was 
worthy of being read or studied, which he did both in ancient and 
modern works, by placing his seal and signature on the title page of 
each work. In one sense, indeed, this literary colossus might well 
be called a good pen and great writer ! 

An obscure and unknown individual, being once elevated to a 
professorship in a celebrated university, had no sooner arrived at the 
seat of learning, than he proceeded to leave his card at the different 
houses of the fraternity : the latter, on observing Professor * * * 
written on them, lost in conjecture as to the history of their 
new coadjutor, began to ask each other, " Who knows him?" 
"Who is this man?" "What has he written?" a person present, 
answered, " He has written his name!" ^ 

* Anarlicle, entitled " La Penna," and notdiffering very materially fromsomepartsof 
theabove,has already appeared iu the Giornale Italico, a periodical work, for some years pub- 
lished in London, but now discontinued. Soon after Mr. Pananti's leaving England, one of 
those persons to whom he was indebted for his subsequent misfortunes, having retained a 
copy, sent it into the world under his own name ; first making a few alterations, in the 
hope of imposing it ou the public as an original. This new instance of perfidy was 

L L 


While at Algiers, I one day entered tlie school of an alfagui, 
or learned man ; he was surrounded by a great number of disciples, 
and looked as grave as Dionysius at Corinth. This pedant was so 
vain and self-sufficient, that when mentioning his own name, he 
accompanied it by a profound inclination of the head, invariably 
making two syllables of the word I. Nor did he leave me any reason 
to doubt, that he thought himself fully equal to the legislative warrior; 
for in pronouncing his name, he was satisfied with merely repeating 
Mahomed, or the son oi Abdullah ; while in more instances than one, 
I was informed that his own was, Abn Ebner Ibn Bakari Ben Cocubi! 
Notwithstanding all this superficial bombast, he had the talent of 
persuading his scholars, that there was not such another sage in the 
kiniydom, or a more important personage ; and had thus been enabled 
to establish a degree of subordination and discipline amongst them 
which I never saw equalled in any part of Europe. It is told of an 
English monarch, that having once paid a visit to Eton College, in 
going round with the head master, his majesty ke})t off his hat while 
the former remained covered: on shewing the king to his carriage, 
the master then took his own off, and making a low bow, apologized 
for his apparent want of respect; and still afFecting an air of supe- 
riority, added, " Sire, if I had not acted in this way, and the scholars 
did not think me the first man in your dominions, they would no 
longer obey me !" 

amongst the number of many other not very agreeable discoveries, made by the author on 
his return from Algiers. In thus reclaiming his stolen property, Mr. P. very properly 
observes, " finding the rook ornamented with my feathers, I shall take them back ; but 
do not, in thus asserting my right, plunder any one : 

Sebben né furto è il mio, né ladro io sono. 

Giusto è ritor quel che a gran torto è tolto. 
Would that I could as easily recover all that the Algerines, and those whoare equallyas bad, 
bereft me of, since I left England!" This is followed by a cutting casfigalion of the 
literary pirate ; the translation of which is omitted, from motives similar to those stated in 
the early part of the volume. — Ed. 


I became acquainted with anotlier alfagui, in one of the principal 
kioscos of the city. Speak, that I may know you, is an old proverb ; 
but all my efforts to draw this sapient character into conversation 
were completely inetfectual. He was like Apollo, whose oracles were 
delivered i'rom a cave, into which the sun's rays never entered : he 
might, perhaps, have possessed talents, but they were deeply hidden 
within ; and an occasional monosyllable was all I could ever extract 
from him. I was sometimes led to imagine, that he might have been a 
shrewd politician, who was not over anxious for any body to take the 
length of his foot. Silence is frequently a great art. On the other hand, 
this learned gentleman was extremely careful never to commit him- 
self, by saying, " I don't know :" he seemed more anxious that his 
silence should pass for wisdom. This is also an important qualifica- 
tion, which has often been taught, and is by no means difficult to 
be learnt. A person having once confided to a friend, the frequent 
mortification he experienced on being generally obliged to remain 
silent, for want of more extensive information in a society where 
various interesting questions were propounded, concluded his com- 
plaints, by requesting to be informed whether there was not a method 
of cutting a better figure in conversation, without compromising one's 
judgment by making blunders. " Nothing can be easier," replied 
his friend : " I'll soon put you in the way of becoming a perfect oracle 
in all companies. In the first place, whenever you hear any persons 
disputing on subjects of importance, be careful to preserve a respect- 
ful silence; but watching the speaker with a significant look, indicate 
your disapprobation by a slight shake of the head ; and when dis- 
posed to applaud, let a gentle smile play on your countenance : an 
occasional hum will also be of great use. The chami>ions being worn 
out with arguing, and no longer able to continue in the field, it is 
your time to enter the lists : assuming a grave aspect, therefore, you 
are in a dignified tone thus to express yourself, — " a great deal more 
may certainly be said on this subject ;" — and then resume your usual 
taciturnity. The company will judge from this specimen of eloquence, 
L L 2 


that yoii can see much farther into the point in dispute, than many of 
those who have wasted hours in idle talking ; but that you are deterred 
from giving- your opinion, lest their patience might be already 
exhausted. Thus flattered, they will even be grateful for your 
considerate forliearance in not making them swallow another disser- 

It will be easily conceived, that medical science is not in a 
very flourishing state in this part of the world. The Moorish doctors 
are called Tliibib, whose only theoretical knowledge is derived from a 
Spanish translation of Dioscorides : — alchymy is also a favourite study 
with them. Their mode of treatment would appear .somewhat original 
to an European practitioner ; particularly that of pouring melted butter 
over recent wounds. For the rheumatism, they make punctures with 
a lancet on the joints which are most affected. To an obstinate sore, 
fire is applied; and in cases of inflammation, the part is covered with 
the leaves of certain medicinal plants. To the bites of scorpions or 
.serpents, they apply masticated garlick and onions. External remedies 
are the only ones in which a medical professor of Barbary has any 
faith ; nor can he be persuaded how a draught or pill conveyed to the 
stomach, can cure a head-ache : so that, if a patient complain of the 
latter, a blister is immediately put on, as near the seat of pain a.s 
possible. In some other disorders, the Algerine doctor has been known 
to fill a sick man's mouth with honey, until suftbcation ensued. They 
are also complete followers of Sangrado's .system ; and, like him, 
would sacrifice every thing in support of their opinions. According 
to them, bleeding is an infallible cure for all disorders; as these 
are said invariably to arise from fullness and inflammation in the 
circulating fluid. With the most simple method, and concise nomen- 
clature, they cannot be compared to those disciples of Galen and 
Hippocrates, who were so great in their profession, as to have even 
invented new maladies. 

When a sick man is disposed of in Barbary, he is turned with his 
face tov^ards Mecca : his death is, however, generally accelerated by the 


noisy lamentations of friends, who assemble in the room for some 
hours before the breath is yielded. The Moors think every European 
a doctor ; as those who live on the other side of the Alps, believe all 
the Italians are singers. Many give themselves up to empirics, who, 
amongst other modes of cure, have recourse to charms and incanta- 
tions: while submitting to the prescription of doctors, their firm belief 
in predestination and fatalism, destroys all faith in the certaintj^ of 
his remedies ; so that few precautions are ever taken beforeliand, every 
thing being lefttodestiny. There are some, who will perhaps be inclined 
to esteem the Mahometans for not being overburthened with confidence 
in their doctors, whose sins are generally of the mortal kind : nor is 
there, I dare say, much doubt of their giving many a man his pass- 
port to the other world. 

A commissary, being once charged to deliver certain papers to 
the captains of some ships, that were on the point of .sailing, amongst 
the rest, was called upon by a medical man on different business ; 
but from the latter's having the appearance of a .seafaring person, the 
captain's tirst question was, "Pray which vessel do you command t" 
To which the son of Esculajjius replied, " Why, I command the boat 
of Chaion." A doctor, who got up from table in great haste, said to 
his friends, " Pray excuse me, gentlemen, as I have three or four 
patients to dispatch."* But to speak more seriously, is it not as bad 
as killing one's self, to reject medical advice, from mere popular pre- 
judice! The doctor tries his skill, and if not the enlightened 
practitioner, he will at least be more likely to do good than harm, in 
the long trodden path of his profession. A blind man is often enabled 
to move about in his native place, with as much facility as many 
strangers who are blessed with sight. Charles Fox used to say, — 
" I always do what the doctors desire me ; and if I die, it will not 
then be my fault !" 

^'■- The comedy of the ".Sick Lover" contains a facetious dialogue between the phy- 
sician of an hospital and a surgeon, who calls on the former to request he would supply 
him with a subject, upon whom he is desirous of making some important anatomical 


demonstrations and experiments. The sick lover lays stretched in an adjoining bed, aud 
would just answer his purpose. " I have there," says the doctor, " a poor devil, who 
cannot hold out much longer, and seems to have beeu born for you. — He has a cough, 
which almost takes away his breath, aud his stomach is like a cauldron : take my word for 
it he'll not tell many more tales ; but approach and judge for yourself." The surgeon then 
advances, and on seeing the sick man, exclaims, " Aye, he'll make a beautiful corpse, 
indeed ! 1 should give him the preference over a hundred ;" and turning to the physician, 
says, " But, tell me, brother, how soon can you deliver him up to me ?" " Why," answered 
the doctor, " I imagine he won't last longer than till about two o'clock."- — " Yes, but I 
can't return till five," rejoined the surgeon ; " won't you be able to spin him out for me till 
that hour?" — "l'Udo what I can," replied the doctor, "and hope, with the aid of sopo- 
rifics and stimulants, to keep him alive till the hour you mention." The convention 
agreed on, no time was lost by the physician in fulfilling his promise. He first administered 
a slight stimulating draught, which soon produced such miraculous effects on the devoted 
lover that in less than half an hour, he opens his eyes, raises his head, and puts his feet 
out of the bed: these preliminary symptoms are soon followed by his descending into the 
court amongst the convalescents, without being observed by the doctor, who had left him 
on giving the medicine : returning in a little time, he goes to the lover's bed, confident 
that it is all over with him, and to his great astonishment, finds it empty. This is still 
farther increased, when on going to the window, he sees the sick man walking backwards 
and forwards, perfectly upright with the other patients. How is the disappointed doctor 
to excuse himself to the surgeon ? By the way of completing his embarrassment, the 
latter comes in before his (ime, saying, " Well ! here I am ; all ready to take away what 
you promised : is the subject ready ? I suppose it's a little wawm yet ?" The doctor, with 

a troubled air, " My dear Sir " " What's the matter?"—" I am really very sorry, 

but " "Oh ! I understand, he was already promised." — " Far from it," replied the 

doctor ; and then proceeds to relate the melancholy adventure, which ended in the sick 
man's unexpected resurrection. He adds, that wishing to spin him out, he had com- 
pletely overdone the business, as the first dose made him jump out of bed, as if nothing 
had been the matter with him. The surgeon, with whom it was no Joke, gave him a most 
serious look ; and said, he thought he had to deal with a man of honour ; instead of which, 
the doctor had only trifled with his feelings ; and concluded by observing, that when a 
mau pledged his word, it should be religiously kept. 



i^hde of the Arts in Barbary. — Curious Cement and Glue. — Lctnguages of 
Northern Africa. — Anecdote.— Moorish Music. — Different Instruments. — 
Singing. — Islamism. — Ridiculous Customs. — Strict Observance of Fasts.— 
Sanctuary afforded by Mosques, ^c. — Holy City. — Paradise of Musselmen. 
— Pilgrimage to Mecca. — Order of the March, and Allusion to the Ceremo- 
nies performed thei-e. — Marabouts. — Anecdote. — Vaili, or Saints, their Hypo- 
crisy illustrated. — Facility of being canonized in Barbary. — The Mufti. — 
Tiieir Office and Potcers. — Mode of deciding legal Questions and administering 
the Laws. — Thehnans. — The Muezzins, and Hours of Prayer. — The Koran. — 
Short Analysis of its Contents.— Anecdote of Dorat, the French Poet. — Comr- 
mentators on the Koran, éfc. 

The Moors have no idea of sculpture or design, both being prohi- 
bited by their rebgious precepts, which entirely exclude the use of 
images, or other representations of living objects. If a picture is 
shewn to them, its excellence is no recommendation : they are dazzled 
by the variety of tint in a painting, but have no conception of it as 
an imitative art. In arcliitecture, they are more deeply versed, and 
build with considerable solidity, while the ornamental part is scarcely 
considered. The princi[)al cement used at Algiers is called tabby ; 
and consists of two portions of wood ashes, three of lime, and one of 
sand : while mixing up, there is a quantity of oil added, and the 
whole is beaten with shovels for three successive days, until it has 
acquired the necessary consistence : exposed to the air, it becomes as 
hard as marble, antl equally impenetrable to all the effects of the 
atmosphere. Who knows, but this curious mortar may have been 
originally brought into Mauritania by the Romans, and that the 


people of Barbaiy have thus preserved the important secret ; which 
has given such amazing stabilit}^ to all the ancient remains of this 
country and Italy Ì The question is by no means uninteresting, and 
will probably occupy the attention of future travellers. The 
Moorish artisans also prepare a species of glue, from new cheese, 
out of uhich care is taken to extract all the milk : to this is added, 
some of the finest quick lime, which renders it perfectly inaccessible 
to the eftects of humidity. It is strange, that possessing such large 
quantities of excellent saltpetre, they should be so very backward in 
the manufacture of gunpowder, particularly the finer sort. 

If we except the mere mechanical arts, there is nothing to excite 
much praise in Moorish industry ; all their ingenuity being applied to 
those trades, most useful in supplying the connnon necessaries of life. 
Speaking of my unfortunate companion, Terreni, the minister of 
the marine once observed to Mr. M" Donnei and myself: "he is a 
great acquisition to us : we know him to be a famous artist, and 
shall lose no time in setting hini about painting our ships I" 

Alluding to the language of Barbary, it is truly singular, that the 
Punic should be so totally lost, as to have left no trace behind, except 
what we occasionally see on theNumidian coins. As to the Berbera, 
it has no connection whatever with the Arabic ; which may be called 
the mother tongue of all the guttural languages of the East. That 
which is called shavia or shillah, by the Kabiles, possesses a charac- 
ter of originality, which has often been compared to that of the 
Hebrew. There is also said to be a most striking similarity between 
the Berbera and Chinese. 

The language used by the indigenous inhabitants of northern 
Africa, is extremely barren, and little more than the jargon of half 
civilized people : being very deficient in abstract terminations, con- 
junctive particles, and various terms of the substantive kind ; all of 
which tliey are obliged to take from the Arabic. Languages are like 
articles of commerce : to enrich those who deal in them, they must be 
reciprocally exchanged. Towards Mount Atlas, there is another 


tongue spoken, which is said to have considerable affinity to that of 
Nigratia : and many of the Moors told me, it was both expressive and 
sont>rous. The Be^louins pretend to an exclusively elegant mode of 
speaking- and pronouncing the Arabic; but that has also experienced 
a good deal of corruption, which generally increases, in proportion to 
the distance an Arab is removed from the seat of its original promul- 
gation. Some have, however, asserted, that it is much better spoken 
in Barbary than Egypt. In speaking Arabic amongst the Moors, 
the higher orders with difficulty understand each other ; while Turkish 
is adopted in the divan and council of state. The public functiona- 
ries, mercliauts, and Jews on the coast, communicate in a Lingua 
Franca, indiscriminately composed of Spanish, Italian, and corrupt 
Arabic. Although all the verbs of this gibberish are used in the 
infinitive, and it has no prepositions, both strangers and natives are 
very well able to make it intelligible to each other. 

Many of the African terminations are not altogether devoid of 
force and harmony ; as, fv»r example : aksion, meat ; sham, wheat ; 
chamu, wine; Jiuff, a fowl; jubiutl, a little girl; kalm, coffee; 
karamoe, honour ; mora, a woman ; valeal, a young boy ; arghez, 
a man ; thamurt, land ; and nsarum, bread. I could have easily 
recollected a mucli greater number of words, but doubted whether it 
was likely to be of any use. The Guardian Basha, and Rais Hamida, 
frequently told me, I ought to make a point of learning the Arabic ; 
but if I had, to what purpose could it lead ? The celebrated English 
statesman, Lord Godolphin, one day asked Mr. Rowe, if he knew 
the Spanish : the poet replied, " that he understood it tolerably 
well ; but that he could, in two or three months, become perfect 
master of it." " You should do so," said the minister. On this, 
Rowe, thinking that he was intended for some important post or 
mission, in which a knowledge of the above language was necessary, 
immediately retired into the country ; and, returning to London after 
three months of the closest application, waited on his expected patron 
to inform him, that, according to the latter's recommendation, he had 

M M 

200 MUSIC. 

studied Spanish, until it had become as familiar to him as his mother- 
tongue. " How I envy your happiness!" said the statesman : "■ it is 
now in your power to read Don Quixote in the original!" I wonder 
what comfort I could have derived from a knowledge of the Arabic, 
except that of reading the Alcoran, and its three thousand, three 
hundred and eighty connnentators.* 

The Arab legislator has, together with all games of chance, 
and dancing, also proscribed music and singing : the imaum, or com- 
mentators, have launched forth the most fulminating threats against 
all those who listen with pleasure to the " harmony of sweet sounds." 
But these barbarous injunctions have not succeeded in preventing 
most of the faithful trom being extremely fond of music; particularly 
the instiumental kind. The rich and great generally keep instru- 
ments ; and many of them, in travelling through the country, are 
accompanied hy musicians, who play a variety of airs at ditì'erent 
intervals, while the Moors, seated on some verdant rising ground, 
seem absorbed in voluptuous ecstacy. 

Music is, however, absolutely prohibited in the mosques : regarded 
as a profanation by the imans, it is only tolerated by the force of 
custom, and impossibility of even the most savage nations being- 
deprived of its consoling and electrifying effect. A celebrated popular 
preacher, having once introduced a i'ew airs, selected from the most 
esteemed operas, into his church service, being reproved by his 
friends, for thus adapting profane sounds to so holy a purpose, 
answered, " surely you do not wish the devil to monopolize all the 
fine tunes'?" 

While indifferent to vocal music, the Moor, who plays tolerably 
well on any instrument, will gain more money, than ten of their 
literati. There are, also, many amateur perfonners, but these always 
practice at home ; thinking it a degradation to appear in public as 

* Pope used to say, that if he had any daughters, they should never b;^ taught a 
foreigu language ; one being enough for, and even rather too much for a woman ! — Ed. 

MUSIC. 267 

musicians ; which, as they say, should be confined to those who get 
their livelihood by it. 

Their [)rincipal instruments are, the urabehbak, of the violin- 
cello species, with one string ; the vebeb, or Moorisli violin, having 
two strings ; and which is played on with a bow, like the violin- 
cello ; the gasuph, a species of octave flute ; and the taun, which 
is the tlmpanum of the ancients. I also saw a few badly strung vio- 
lins, like those of Europe, on which the Moors played, in the manner 
of our double bass, or violincello. They always play from memory, 
having no idea of notes ; yet they are not without some method, and 
beat time extremely well with their hands. 

Nearly all their songs are of the heroic kind : their historical 
ones have a sort of preamble ; each stanza commencing with a little 
air on the arabebbah ; after which, the recitative goes on, accompanied 
by the gasaph ; and, although this description of music is very mo- 
notonous, I did not, on the whole, find it disagreeable. It often 
reminded me of the national airs of the Welch, and rude highlanders 
of Scotland. They prefer simple, easy, and tender strains, to the 
fantastical, roundabout, wandering, and hieroglyphical style of the 
modem bravura : even the Moors well know that such complicated 
rhapsodies are not those best calculated to 

-Soothe the savage breast. 

Soften rocks, or bend the knotted oak ! 

A famous violin player having executed a concerto, during which, 
he produced some appoggiaturi and shakes, that astonished many 
of his hearers, Dr. Johnson, who was present, remained with the 
utmost tranquillity and apparent attention till it was over; and not 
joining in the general plaudits, the professor tapped him on the 
shoulder, saying, " I assure you, doctor, I have executed some very 
difficult things in this concerto." " Would, that they had been 
impossible !" replied the sage. 

The religion of Barbary is Mahometanisra, blended with various 

M M 2 


superstitious practices, which are not only rejected, but couteniiied 
by the Koran. The people of this country profess to belong to the sect 
of Melechie, one of the four great divisions into which Islaniism has 
separated. To me, the Turks appeared much more scrupulous in 
their devotions than the Moors ; and, Avhile on board the Algerine 
frigate, they, alone, regularly performed the usual genuflexions, and 
dividing into parties of four, never omitted the Messa, or grand 
orison of mid-day. All Musselmen are enjoined by the prophet to 
offer up prayers five times a day. No person of a different persuasion 
can enter the mosques : a Christian who violates tliis law, has only to 
choose between death and circmncision. On passing the Mahometan 
temples at Algiers, I always observed at least a hundred lighted lamps 
suspended in them : when the hour of devotional exercise airives, 
there are people expressly appointed to call the faithful together. 
Ascending the minarets, or tower of the mosque, they cry out with a 
loud voice, Lailla Allah, Allah Mahommed restii Allah ; that is to say, 
there is but one God, and Mahomet was sent by him. On entering the 
mosque, the believers leave their slippers at the door ; and the first 
movement is that of kneeling towards the kibah, or side facing 

The faithful always carry a rosary in their hand, not for the pur- 
pose of saying a pater noster like us, but to repeat the attributes of 
the Divinity : such as, God is great ; God is good, wise, long, round, 
&c. I have frequently seen them sitting for hours together, with their 
hands behind, and the rosary suspended from them, muttering the 
above short, but significant phrases. In fact, the bead is to them, 
what a fan is to a modern belle, or the supple cane carried by our Italian 

They have a hundred puerile customs, which must be observed 
with scrupulous exactness : for example, the obligation of turnhig 
their back to the sun, whenever they stop in the street ; that of wash- 
ing the right side first, and wetting the left, before the other is dry. 
During the ablutions, they cannot throw water with the lett hand ; 


nor either laugh or blow their nose in the mosque : when praying, 
tliey must raise their hands to the cartilage of the ears, and 
then rub the stomach with one hand : in clasping their hands, the 
right must be uppermost; and in this state, prayers are to be repeated, 
while their eyes are steadily directed towards the fingers ; on bowing, 
the hands are placed on the knees : a Mahometan is also to sit down 
with the left foot under the right, and toes to the east ; not to yawn 
while at prayers, lest the devil should get down his throat. Scrupulously 
to fulfil these injunctions, is the criterion by which we are to judge of 
Islamism being adhered to in all its purity. 

Fasts are, in most cases, very strictly observed ; and some are so 
exceedingly scrupulous, that they cover their faces to prevent the effluvia 
of meat from approaching too near. During the short bayram, they are 
enjoined to give largely in charity ; and there is, on these occasions, no 
scarcity of candidates to receive their alms : but the more rich gene- 
rally get out of the way and hide themselves, when these appeals are 
about to be made to their pockets. Owing to his firm belief in predes- 
tination, the Mahometan seldom thinks of taking any precautions for 
the future, particularly where life is merely the object: he is, how- 
ever, often calm and intrepid in misfortune ; bowing the head and 
repeating, " It was to be." 

The mosques afford sanctuary to guilty persons, and so do the 
chapels and cells of the Marabouts : should the crime be even that of 
treason, theDey cannot forcibly possess himself of the delinquent: a 
wall is built round the spot; and, unable to take him by assault, the 
culprit is starved into submission. 

In the kingdom of Tunis, there are several holy cities ; one of 
which, near the capital, is called Sidif Bussad. Tlie Moors have an 
idea, that in the event of Mecca's being destroyed, the ashes of their 
prophet will be conveyed to this sacred place. Neither Jews nor 
Christians can enter it; but if pursued by justice, they may go under 
the walls, when a tent being given to tliem, the Moors consider it as an 
inviolable asylum. 


The paradise of Mussehnen, is called corckam. Amongst other 
pleasures to be enjoyed there, is that of possessing innumerable houris, 
whose virginity is renewed every day, who batlie in honey and water 
of roses, and live in palaces composed of diamonds and j>earls. 
The damned are said to be re-born, and die every twenty-four hours. 
It is believed, that when a corpse is laid in the grave, two black 
angels attend, Gnanequir and Mongir ; one of whom has a hammer, 
and the other iron hooks to replace the departed soul in the body. — 
These angels ask tlie dead man, if he was a good Musselman while 
on earth ; and if he does not give a satisfactory account of himself, 
the angel who carries the hammer, gives him a blow, which drives the 
body six perches deeper in the earth. If, on the other hand, he can 
make it appear that he has walked in the way of righteousness while 
living, the black angels disappear, and two beautiful white ones take 
their places near the body, where they remain till the day of judgment. 

All things, according to these people, are submitted to an 
inevitable destiny, which they call Narsip or Facter ; but they fully 
confide in the Char-allha, or justice of God. This cabalistic word is 
held in the highest veneration ; and no one can refuse appearing 
before the tribunal, if he who cites him pronounces Char-allha. 

But of all the duties and ceremtmies connected with Islamism, 
the pilgrimage to Mecca is by far the most important : from the very 
earliest infancy, the advantages and glory of this holy journey, is 
constantly impressed on the mind of every Mahometan ; and should 
he die in the undertaking, so much the more happiness is reserved 
for him in paradise. Returning in safety, he is honoured with the 
title of H aggi, and looked up to as one who has performed wonders. 
This voyage is, in fact, the great object of a believer's life, and to 
the hope of accomplishing it, there is no sacrifice which he is not 
prepared to make : working for years to procure the means of visiting 
the sacred shrine, the greater the difficulties to be surmounted, 
the more merit acquired by him who succeeds in the enterprize. 
Interest, too, which scarcely ever ceases to operate on the mind of 


mail, is not tbrgotten by the pious Musselman in his trip to Mecca; 
which he generally makes subservient to an earthly as well as 
heavenly reward, by combining mercantile speculation with the 
sanctified offices of religion. 

A motive of common safety and mutual defence leads to those 
associations of pilgrims, called Caravans, from Caroun, a passage 
from one place to another : that of Barbary, known by the title ol" 
the Mogreheni, is formed at Morocco ; {>eing joined on its route by 
all the pilgrims of the three regencies. It traverses the parched and 
dreary deserts of Lybia ; and on getting to Cairo, meets the grand 
re-union of those who frequent the holy city from Egypt and Con- 

On leaving his house, the pilgrim recites the Fathea, meaning 
commencement; and when the general prayer is offered up in the 
leader's tent, all the faithful begin the journey by the sound of music, 
in the following order : — The camels and mules in front ; then come 
the pedestrians : while those mounted on horseback form the rear 
guard. A Chri,stian may accompany the caravan, if he has a pass- 
port fioni some Arab prince, or governor of a city. He may also 
place himself under the protection of its chief: they generally start 
before sun-rise, dine at noon, and rest for the night at four. The 
annvial pilgrims of Barbary, usually amount to three thousand; most 
of whom are well armed : their camp has all the appearance of being 
a militaiy one, so that the predatory Arabs scarcely ever attempt to 
molest them. These caravans take a hundred days to reach Mecca : 
the places of encampment are settled before hand. During the seven 
hours of travelling in each day, the march seldom exceeds twenty 
miles. From Cairo, the Grand Seignor allows an escort, while the 
united pilgrims travel under the command of a Bey, called Em ir 
Hagge, or the Prince of Pilgrims. Before this officer is borne tlie 
Feneich Chcrsi, or standard of the prophet. The caravan is gene- 
rally follo\\ed by a number of cooks and other purveyors, who 
expose their diffisrent articles for .sale every evening when the halt takes 
place. The more wealthy pilgrims often take their wives with them : 


tliese are carried in litters, or seats suspended on each .side o{" the 
camel, which are covered with veils, to keep off the sun's rays or 
vulgar gaze. The rich also provide themselves with litters, in case 
ol' sickness or over fatigue, while a hundred are supplied by the libe- 
rality^ of the .sultan. 

The number of pilgrims who meet at Cairo, usually exceed forty 
thousand. The last night previous to moving, is passed in great 
festivity : and as the Musselmen are, on these occasions, accompanied 
by their wives and relatives, it is said to be rather favourable to 
Mahometan intrigue ; as the ladies have entire liberty while the feast 
continues. To behold, on those vast plains, a thousand tents of 
diflerent hues in day-light, and illuminated by innumerable brilliant 
lamps at night ; a world of people moving about the spacious pro- 
menades formed between their portable habitations ; the capital of 
Egypt in the distance, and the waters of the Nile ilowing majesti- 
cally along ; and to hear the shouts of joy which rend the air on 
every side, is a sight hardly to be equalled by any other in the 

Many eastern travellers have spoken of the pilgrimage to Mecca, 
of the great sacrifice of three days on the mountain of Arefat, where 
it is thought Abraham was on the point of immolating his son Isaac; 
of the adoration in Abraham's house, which some call the house of 
God, and where the Divinity is supposed to be always present ; of the 
famous well of Zezem ; the presentation of the carpet sent annually 
by the Grand Seignor to cover the Caaba, or holy sepulchre ; of 
the celebrated Aswad, or black stone, brought from Heaven by the 
angel Gabriel ;* the rites practised in putting on the Ihram, of the 
great ablution under the Golden Sewer ; of the Sais, or seven turns 

* I defy the most highly favoured courtezan of Europe to boast of so many kisses 
and embraces as this sacred relic ; it being customary for each pilgrim to apply his lips io 
it every time he goes round the temple. The frequency of this ceremony has given rise to 
a favourite proverb amongst the eastern poets, which might be adopted in more northern 
climes, without doing much violence to veracity. In addressing certain indulgent 
dulcineas, they say, " You have received more caresses than the black stone of Mecca !" 


round the pillar, and finally, of the return by Medina and 'Jerusalem. 
The caravans are not allowed to put up in the city, but are encamped 
in the vicinity, maintaining a degree of tranquillity and order, which 
is truly surprising, considering tlie immense concourse of people who 
frequent Mecca at that time. 

According to the order of the voyage, the Mogrebini should 
arrive at Mecca a little after the other pilgrims from Turkey, and 
leave it rather before ; lest, as the believers apprehend, the holy city 
should be seized by them. No sooner has the caravan set out on its 
return to Cairo, than provision convoys are sent to meet it : one on 
the same day ; another in tifteen ; and a third, twenty-two days after 
its departure. This precaution consoles the weary pilgrim on his 
tedious journey ; but of all his .sources of consolation, nothing equals 
that of discovering the pure waters of the Nile : it is then that friends 
and relatives go out and welcome the Haggi. With 
demonstrations of joy, preceded by drums and music, the time is 
passed in continued embraces ; and although ever so limited in their 
means, the day of return is sure to be one of liberal festivity, in 
which the Haggi treats all his friends, and relates the wonders he 
has seen. It is .said, that some have been known to put their eyes 
out on returning from Mecca ; saying, that there was nothing on earth 
worth seeing after making the pilgrimage. 

The saints, or holy men of Barbary, are called Vaili, but their 
more common appellation is Marabout, meaning a man tied round 
the middle with a cord. These are a species of monks who inhabit 
small cells or temples, which are styled Marabouts after themselves. 

Many of this .secluded class are possessed of great virtue, exclu- 
sively devoting their time to works of charity and benevolence : 
succouring the indigent, curing the sick, and consoling the afflicted, 
they exalt the dignity of our perishable nature ; m hile others, and not 
a few, can only be compared to the '' wolves in sheeps' clothing" so 
emphatically described by ihe apostle ; and, like the false prophets of 
old, chiefly delight in works of iniquity and darkness. 

274 marabouts: 

Although capable of pursuing- tlie most austere life, and suiiering 
the greatest privations without murmuring, the Marabouts have never 
made a specific vovi' of continency, thinking its fultilment an abso- 
lute impossibility. Often held in contempt by the great, they are 
frequently beaten by the Turkish soldiery : but whenever one of them 
dies, he is buried with great ceremony ; a mausoleum is erected over 
his grave, and a lamp is kept constantly burning in it. The Moorish 
ladies are wonderfully attached to these sanctuaries, to which numbers 
go daily for the purpose of otlering up their devotions : they are, on 
these occasions, generally followed by a slave ; and some have been 
ill-natured enough to say, that many of these visits are blended with 
sentiments of a more tender and worldly nature than those of mere 
devotional exercises. The Marabouts, like more civilized divines, are 
particularly fond of contending for precedence ; and during religious 
processions, warmly dispute their respective places, attaching infinite 
importance to the most insignificant trifles. But irom w hat sphere of 
human life is pride and vanity excluded t 

Two men with pallid countenances, trembling limbs, and 
apparently unable to articulate from the effects of strong passion, 
once presented themselves before the manager of a theatre, to com- 
plain of the gross insult and injustice which had been done them. 
" But what's the matter?" asked the astonished manager; upon 
which one of the party, in a stammering voice, said, — " As you well 
know we are the principal grotesque dancers of your theatre, and have 
hitherto, ^vith the greatest alacrity, personified either a lion, elephant, 
or bear, as the occasion required ; but always on condition that we 
should move forwards in such characters. However, in the rehearsal 
of this morning, they wanted us to walk backwards! ^^'e therefore come 
to say, that you may kick, or use any other indignity you like towards 
us, in our capacity of elephant or bear ; but rather discharge us alto- 
gether than allow us to be exposed to the above humiliating degra- 
dation and insupportable di.sgrace !" 

The inviolable sanctuary afibrded by the Marabouts to crimi- 


iials of every kind, is commended by a modern traveller, as one 
of the very few institutions worthy of praise in those despotic regions, 
where the inhabitants, deprived of all civil guarantees, frequently find 
these asylums a resource for persecuted innocence. Many of the 
saints have been often known to obtain such popularity, as to govern 
a number of the tribes in their neighbourhood, which they have even 
found the means of exempting from tribute. When travelling, they 
are followed by an immense concourse of people ; some of whom are 
armed for their prote<'tion. On these occasions, governors of pro- 
vinces and other dignitaries go out to meet them, and join the multi- 
tude in singing the praises of the Vaili. 

If any proof were required of the degraded condition of human 
nature in this country, it would be found in the extraordinary and 
almost unaccountable veneration shewn towards fools and ideots. 
This is said to arise from a belief of the latter's being considered as 
absorbed in celestial contemplation, which prevents their descending 
to earthly concerns. 

Some of these fanatical maniacs are endowed with much more 
extensive privileges, and looked up to with greater esteem than others. 
Persons about to take a long journey, or who meditate any important 
project, go and consult them as the Greeks did their oracles. 
Battle is never given by the general of an army without pre- 
viously consulting the Vaili, who hold the place of the augurs and 
sacred pullets of the Romans. The caravans too, are always accom- 
panied by some of this holy race ; and thus protected, freely pass the 
most savage tribes, like the Troubadours and bards of the Gaids and 
ancient Britons. After the harvest is got in, the Moors present them 
with tlie tirst-fruits : they are also I'reely permitted to enter any shop 
or garden, and take away whatever is most agreeable to them. 

It will not, after the above short description of the Atrican saints, 
excite much siirprise, when I add, that there are a number of im- 
postors amongst them, who tind it extremely convenient to assumr- 
the appearance of ideots, in order the more easily to impo,se on the 

\ N 2 


credulity of the public ; while the self-created ejift of prophecy is fre- 
quently made an engine of sedition and revolt, and in this state of 
heavenly inspiration, almost every violence is tolerated. This dan- 
gerous privilege is grossly abused by some of these soi-disant saints, 
who will often, in a moment of atrocious phrenzy, and while foaming 
at the mouth, attack the inoffensive passengers, biting and tearing 
their clothes, while the latter are earnestly occupied in prostrating 
themselves before the consecrated madman or impostor, and with 
caresses endeavour to calm his brutal fury. I heard of one, who for 
a long time, used to stand at the door of the great mosque at Algiers, 
provided with a cord, which he continued to apply to the neck of 
some devoted wretch for several successive Fridays, without any etibrt 
being made to prevent this assas.sinating mania, until a number of in- 
oflensive people had been .strangled by the wretch. 

On another occasion, a lady returning from the bath was seized 
by a Vaili, and publicly exposed to the greatest indignity ; fortu- 
nately, however, she thought herself more than blessed by this act of 
sacred condescension, as the women of India, who are favoured by 
the attention of their idols and Brachmins. Upon this occasion, the 
Moorish lady was surrounded by a multitude of the faithful, who rent 
the air with shouts of joy, and warmly felicitated her on the distin- 
guished honour she had experienced : borne in triumph to her hus- 
band, he was also destined to receive universal congratulation ; and 
what is still more, join in the exultation of his friends ! 

A third instance of this savage violence, will not be quite so 
palatable to the European reader.— The daughter of a Christian 
resident at Algiers, being once met in the street by an impostor of 
the above tribe, he intimidated her companions to such a degree, that 
they were glad to make their escape ; after which, delicacy forbids me 
to repeat the dreadful manner in which the monster treated the 
unhappy object of his rage. Her father, who was a merchant of 
epu enee and respectability, had immediate recourse to the Dey, who, 
by the way of redress, told him he ought to consider himself fortunate 


that his daughter was likely to become the mother of a saint, ami 
thus ended the whole affair. 

Some find it answer their purposes of delusion, to assume the 
title of prophets, in addition to saintship : in this case, they make a 
solemn entry into the city on horseback, and being met outside the 
walls by an immense concourse of people, are preceded by streamers: 
these assemblages are generally attended by numbers of women, who 
exert themselves in common with the men, to touch the saint, or kiss 
the hem of his garment : and it is even incredible to think of what inde- 
licacies they are guilty of, to attract his notice : looking upon every 
sacrifice of modesty, as justified by the sanctified occasion which calls 
it forth : even the Dey and his ministers, as well as the besotted popu- 
lace, are frequently made subservient to the views of these prophesying 

It is in this country, as common for a man to call himself a saint, 
as for people amongst us to say, " I am a smith, carpenter, lawyer, 
philosopher, poet, or great man I" And, like nobility in Europe, 
the holiness of Mahometans passes from father to son ; where the 
latter is respected equally with his father, because he possessed the 
same privileges, dignity and titles. 

Those of the saintly brothers who follow the armies, are less 
tainted with fanaticism than timidity ; which generally forms so great 
a share in their character, that they seldom give their advice in favour 
of attacking the enemy. Owing to this disposition, the hostile armies 
remained two whole months in sight of each other, during the late 
war between Tunis and Algiers, without a droji of blood being shed. 
It would be very desirable were a few of these pacific saints to accom- 
pany European armies, and remain in the cabinets of those sovereigns 
who have rather too great a predilection in favour of war. 

Those sanctified barbarians, who are so generally looked up to, do 
not all possess an equal degree of power ; nor are they invoked for the 
same object : many supplicate them for a good harvest; while others 
apply for a successful termination of their military enterprizes. Theif 


are some also, amongst the " holy men," to whom the prayers of the 
ladies are tendered, for the laudable purpose of increasing their 
families : these invocations are conducted with great vehemence and 
secresy ; and, as may be easily conceived, are seldom made in vain, 
being found, generally, to produce the desired effect. It is by this 
benign interference of the Barbary saints, that many despairing 
wives unexpectedly find themselves in that situation, which all ladies 
wish to be, who love their lords ! 

The ìMoorish doctors, or literati, called tdemas, form a respect- 
able body in tliose countries, where there is no other study, except 
that of interpreting the Koran, and the numerous commentators by 
whom it has been either obscured or illustrated. This body is divided 
into three distinct classes : the minister of religious woiship, called 
imcuis; doctors of the law, styled the mtrfli ; and those of justice, 
called cadi. Each city, or considerable town, has its mufti ; whose 
office consists, not in turning the precepts and decrees of the Koran to 
his own construction of law ; but merely announcing what they are, in 
a clear and specitic manner, to any aggrieved person, w ho may tind it 
necessary to apply for justice. The decision arising out of this appeal to 
the experience and wisdom of the mufti, is cdWe&fethwa : each citizen 
or sulrject, has a right to call upon the above officer, and obtain his 
opinion upon all matters of religion, law, or morals, in which his 
interests or happiness may be involved, without incurring one farthing's 
expence ; and the judges even invite suitors of every kind to procure 
a fethwa, previous to their appearing in a court of justice. This has 
frequently the effect of putting a stop to unnecessary litigation, while 
it serves more than a thousand professions, to convince the people of 
the upright integrity of the magistrates ; and, in case of proceeding 
to trial, encourages the judge to give his sentence in perfect conformity 
to the mufti's opinion.* These means, however equitable in appear- 

* This short account of the law officers in Barbary might be very profitably studied by 
some Italian judges and legislators of the present day, particularly thereof a certain capital, 
not two hundred miles from Pisa; where a culprit who had broken into the lodgings of a 


ance, are said to be only efficacious with the lower classes of society : 
because, as observed by an intelligent traveller, the occasional injustice 
of the tribunals, does not consist in the application of the law, but 
the mode of proving and ascertaining facts. The party, who is desirous 
of prosecuting, makes out a written and anonymous application to the 
mufti, stating his case, to which the latter generally gives a laconic 
answer; as, " it can, or cannot be :" " it is lawful, or unlawful. '^ If 
the question should be altogether new, and neither the Koran 
fethwas or precedents, contained in the books of former iraans, furnish 
a I'ule for the mui'ti, he dare not give a decided opinion; but contents 
himself by declaring, that the article in question is not to be found 
in any of the canonical books, or kufub menterebc. If the matter 
relates to an affair of public right, the mufti calls in the aid of the 
principal ulemas ; all of whom are influenced in their decision by 
the fethwa, or precedents dictated by the Koran, and other legal 

The mufti always dress in white : they are nominated by the 
Dey ; who in his choice, generally selects men of the greatest probity 
and reputation : they are consulted in all great state affairs, nor is 
any thing of consequence undertaken without their approbation. 

The imans, or priests, are charged with the custody and direction 
of the mosques : they must not only be well versed in the Koran, but 
enjoy an untainted reputation before they are admitted to the sacred 
oflice ; and are generally selected from those who are employed to call 
the people together from the towers and minarets, at the different 
hours of prayer. ^Vhenever an iman dies, the populace present some 
one to the Dey's consideration, who, they assin-e his highness, is every 

French traveller last year, and robbed him of money and clothes to a large amount ; 
being seized with some of the stolen property concealed on his person, was not oalj libe- 
rated without prosecution, but suffered to retain ray friend M. De V.'s money and effects! 
One of the reasons assigned by 1/ Signor Presidente de la Gran Corte Criminale, for 
his conduct on the above extraordinary occasion was, that of there not being witnesses 
to prove they saw the thief break into the room, and take the property in question. So 
much for the administration of justice in Italy ! — Ed. 


way qualified to succeed the deceased. A loud and sonorous voice is 
the first recommendation a candidate for this station can possess : the 
Moors are, in this respect like our peasantry, who, when inclined to 
praise their curate, say "-he has a fine voice." The mufti have no 
jurisdiction over the imans, nor is there either superiority or hierarchy 
amongst the Mahometan priesthood. The Moors do not imagine 
that any particular distinction can attach to an iman, from his office ; 
and when no longer invested with his charge, he returns to an indis- 
criminate mixture with the community. In Ba.rhia.ry semel abbas is not 
always abbas ; but while in office, and di.scharging its duties with 
fidelity, they enjoy a wonderful degree of popularity and favour, 
both with the people and government. In writing to the imans, the 
Dey always begins by the following expressions : " Thou, who art 
the glory of judges and wise men ; who art the treasure of knowledge, 
sanctity, and excellence, &c." 

The muezzin, charged with the office of calling the faithful to 
pi-ayer, and nuezam, or public exhortations, also form another vene- 
rable body in Algiers. 

The prophet calls prayers the columns of religion and keys of 
Paradise : these must be repeated five times during the twenty-four 
hours ; first at day-light, the second at noon, and so on, at equal 
intervals, till an hour and a half after dark. The Turks are of 
opinion, that no consideration on earth should deter or prevent them 
from this sacred duty : neither the orders of the sultan, to extinguish 
a fire that may have broke out in their own dwelling, or repel the 
assault of an enemy ; being, in their opinion, sufficient to justify their 

No sooner is the warning from the minarets heard, than all the 
Mussnimen instantly quit whatever they are about, and falling on 
their knees, seem absorbed in the most profound meditation. The 
ezzun, or cry of the Muezzins, supply the place of bells, which are 
unknown amongst the Mahometans. The sacred heralds thus 
appointed to summon the faithful to prayer, are usually distinguished 


for melodious and loud voices : this has a mvich more impressive effect 
than the European mode of announcing similar ceremonies. Reach- 
ing the highest part of the tower, which generally dominates the 
mosques, the mviezzin shuts his eyes, and putting his hands up to the 
ears, turns towards the east, preparatory to the ezzun's being vocife- 
rated. The tranquillity and silence which prevail where carriages 
are not used, render it easy for these aerial announcements to be 
heard at a very considerable distance, more particularly at day-break. 
These periodical appeals to the Mahometans, struck me as possessing 
a considerable share of grandeur and majesty. A pleasing agitation 
is created in the mind, when at early dawn, a soft and impressive 
voice repeats these sublime but simple words: " Come to prayers; 
hasten to the temple of health ; adoration is preferable to .sleep !" 

After each prayer, the Musselman has recourse to his rosarv, 
saying at the first bead, " O, holy God !" passing to the second, he 
repeats, " Praise be to God !" at the third, " Great God 1" and so on 
till the ninety-nine of which it is composed, are successively counted. 
As the canonical prayers never solicit any particular favour from the 
Divinity, when over, the Mahometan holds his hands up like one 
who is in the act of receiving something from above : after this, the 
right is applied to his beard, and the words, God be praised! repeated 
as if some favour had been actually received : and with this formula 
the devotion terminates. When circumstances permit of it, and no 
mosque is near, the open air is preferred from its purity, as the most 
proper place to offer up prayers ; and if unprovided with the mat, 
usually carried for this purpose, the haik or bernousse is spread over 
the .spot. In the midst of those numerous puerilities that disgrace 
their worship, some of which have been already noticed, there are 
some very rational and praiseworthy maxims inculcated by the Maho- 
metan faith : every housekeeper is, for example, obliged to supply a 
poor man with a measure of corn or flour on a certain day of the month, 
while it is also customary on the first day of Bayram, for the head of 
each family to kill a calf or goat with his ow n hand, and having pre- 
pared a small part of it for his own use, the rest goes to the neigh- 


bouring poor who present themselves. Besides the above, there is a 
still more important obligation imposed on all true believers, that of 
giving up to the poor a specific proportion of their whole annual 
income: this is called the tenth alms-giving. The extraordinary stress 
which Mahomet laid on this benign and transcendent virtue, seems to 
have been the only redeeming quality in his otherwise sanguinary cha- 
racter; and while all must deplore the fatal influence he contrived to 
obtain over so large a portion of mankind, none can deny that his 
charitable institutions were worthy of a much better cause. 

The Koran, commonly styled Alcoran in Europe, is the sacred book 
of Musselmen, which inckides all the precepts of their imaginary pro- 
phet. The word koran signifies reading, or that which ought to 
be read ; nor is there I believe any other in the world more generally 
studied : the followers of Islam always carry it about their persons : 
thousands are constantly employed in transcribing it; while nothing 
else is meditated on, or tliought of by the true believers, of whom 
it may be said : Timeo lectorem unius libri. Yet, strange to leflect, 
this book, so venerated and read by the followers of Omar and Aly, as 
well as all the other sects of Mahometanism, is a compilation without 
order, taste or dignity : the very title placed at the head of each chapter, 
as, The Cow, Ant, and Frog, being a sufficient indication of its general 
absurdity. It gravely inculcates the pursuit of trifles, and practice of 
imbecility : full of fabulous and mimeaning phraseology, marked by 
pompous diction, bombastic metaphor, and inflated style, it certainly 
boasts a few good moral truths, which all religious legislators have 
been obliged to adopt, to ensure the approbation of their followers, as 
well as encourage proselytism. But the Alcoran, without being sus- 
ceptible of the most remote comparison with the sacred books of 
Christianity, even in purity of doctrine or sublimity of morals, is 
confessedly far inferior to the Vedam and Ezourvedam of the Hindoos, 
or the Zendevasta of Zoroaster ; and above all, the sublime dogmas 
of Confucius, the philosophic legislator of the Chinese. 

The Koran, similar to various modern productions of Europe, is 
really worthy of admiration ; not within, but on the outside. It may 


be compared to a middling picture, ornamented with a splendid frame : 
nothing-, indeed, can exceed the richness of decoration with which the 
book of Mahomet is every where covered : the bindings of some 
copies being studded with diamonds and pearls ; while the very bag- 
in which they are carried, is embroidered with the greatest care : the 
margins too, are beautifully illuminated, and covered with a profusion 
of gold ; like many of the ancient codes and manuscripts to be seen in 
some of the great libraries of Europe. I saw several of the above 
description while at Algiers, and should have most willingly made the 
acquisition of one or two ; not to convert their contents into prayer, 
or admire the son of Abdallah's poetry, but for the sake of admiring 
these charming gilt edges, and beautiful hieroglyphics ! Mahomet, 
both as a prophet and poet, would, no doubt, disdain to have his books 
only kept for purposes so unworthy of them : he would not, how- 
ever, be the only author, and more especially poet, whose books were 
bought for no other end. Dorat, an elegant and sprightly French poet, 
but who was not remarkable for much solidity in his compositions, 
which were, besides, often disfigured by aifectation and egotism, caused 
a splendid edition of his works in four volumes, with engravings by the 
first artists, to be published at Paris. Being one morning in his book- 
seller's shop, an English gentleman came in, and, in a loud tone, asked 
for the famous edition of M. Dorat's works. Upon this, the poet felt a 
flush of joy overspread his countenance, and growing a head taller at 
least, already contemplated anode in praise of that illustrious people, 
who alone know what true liberty is; and amongst whom the value 
of talents and virtue are sure to be appreciated. 3Iilord Anglais 
having enquired the price, was informed it was four louis ; upon 
which the money was instantly put down : and when the bookseller 
begged to know whether he could send them to the purchaser's hotel ; 
the latter said, it was quite unnecessary, as he could take them home 
himself, the weight being a mere trifle : on saying this, he took a pair 
of scissars, and, having carefully cut out all the plates and vignettes, 
put them into his pocket, and departed, leaving the books on the 
counter. It is needless to add, that Dorat changed his tone, and, 
CO 2 


thenceforth, breathed nothing but curses on the proud nation, which 
was ever envious of French talent, and, above all, incapable of 
appreciating the merit of his poetry ! 

According to Musselmen, the Koran contains all the light of 
knowledge and depth of wisdom ; while those who deny its infalli- 
bility in these points, are inevitably condemned to remain buried in 
everlasting darkness and error. The importance thus attached to 
their great rule of faith, will account for there being scarcely any 
other books read by Mahometans, than the interpretations and com- 
mentaries which have appeared in immense numbers on the sacred 
volume. So incredible was the accumulation of commentaries, even 
in the days of the first caliphs, that one of the greatest of the pro- 
phet's descendants, impressed with a due sense of the scandalous 
obscurity into which so many enthusiastic commentators had thrown 
the whole contents of the Koran, caused more than two hundred 
camels, laden with the impure trash, to be conveyed to the banks of 
the Euphrates, and there precipitated their precious burthens into 
the stream. Notwithstanding the above very wise arrangement, 
innumerable comments are still in existence, and are continually 
increasing. Why, said I, one day to a ulema, should there be so 
many comments and explanations on the Koran? Surely they nmst 
give rise to great confusion, and very frequent repetitions of the same 
subject. The following was his reply : " there is no other method of 
proceeding in the arduous path of knowledge : wisdom is only com- 
municated to the mind by gradual and slow degrees. Every sublime 
book should be involved in mystery and darkness, until a learned, 
and well-intentioned man interprets it; a second wise man will improve 
on the first ; and a third upon the second ; and thus the very summit 
of truth is finally attained: after a hundred, two hundred, and if neces- 
sary a thousand commentators, we shall arrive at a perfect elucidation 
of the Koran in all its splendor." I was not a little gratified at this 
luminous display of eloquence, and did not fail to congratulate the 
doctor on the probable result of going on with commentaries ; which, 
though somewhat late, it must be confessed, bid fair in the long 


course of centuries, to make that clear, wliicli is still completely 
unintelligible to the profoundest capacity . Amongst us, it is to be 
feared that there has been no small degree of sympathy operating 
with those who have laboured to explain the Koran : for whether we 
call to mind the various attempts made to elucidate our old poets, dra- 
matic works, legal writers, or derivation of languages; many have only 
rentlered darkness more visible, by their pious efforts to inform the 
public. I doubt, however, if the glorious uncertainty into which 
these gentlemen have thrown subjects, extremely simple in themselves, 
has had any effect in diminishing the emolument derived from their 
labours. A poet having once produced a tragedy, to which there 
seemed to be neither head nor tail, or any clue by which the public 
could divine his object, was reproved for having expressed him- 
self in so confused a style, and told he might as well have written in 
Arabic, as far as the audience were concerned; answered, " so much 
the better, people will come the second night, to ascertain the mean- 
ing of what they could not understand during the previous represen- 

* This reply might be made with singular propriety by some modern poets. And 
those who have arrogated to themselves the exclusive privilege of directing the popular 
feeling in matters of theatrical taste, might, with equal justice, inscribe it over the 
proscenium of more theatres than one, instead of Veluti in Speculum. No wonder that 
people should call those degenerate times, in which Shakspeare, Otway, and Dryden, 
Congreve, Farquhar, and Sheridan are laid on the shelf, for the ignoble purpose of 
gaining a few additional pounds, at the expeuce of that patriotism and public virtue 
which it should ever be the paramount object of scenic representation to inculcate. 
Impartial men generally agree, that nothing can be more lamentable than the melo- 
dramatic rage which has, of late years, taken almost undivided possession of the British 
stage, so rich in all that constitutes moral and poetic excellence. This is certainly not 
amongst the most useful continental importations ; and I trust the period is not very 
remote, when animated by a more liberal and disinterested spirit, patrons and managers 
will not only unite, to restore the manly and pure taste of their predecessors, but establish 
theatres in which it will not be necessary to sacrifice the purity of national feelings for the 
base lucre of private emolument. — Ed. 



Nature of the Algerine Government. — Its Character. — The Regency. — Divan. 
—Power of the Dey. — His Election, and Mode of conducting it. — Attributes 
and Prerogatives of the Dey. — Method of administering Justice. — Cause of 
his Popidarity. — Dangers tvhich environ a Dey''s Person. — Anecdotes of some 
late Chiefs. — Fascinations of Power and Ambition. — Reply of a Polish 
Monarch. — Account of AH Bassa, the reigning Dey. — His Death. — Anec- 
dotes. — Notice of AW s Successor, Mezouli. — Omar Aga. — The Council of 
State. — By whom it is generally composed. — Effects of a Deyh being 
dethroned. — Various Political Reflections. — Account of the different Officers 
composing the Dey's Administration. — Mode of the Consuls applying for 
Redress. — Description of inferior Officers. — General Character of the Dey's 
Ministers. —Remarks. — Anecdotes, 6fc. 

If whatever I may have hitherto said, relative to the government 
established in Algiers, is not likely to have created a very favourable 
prepossession in its favour on the reader's part, the following hints 
are still less calculated to induce any change in his opinions. A 
foreign militia, kidnapped in the Turkish states, have long been 
suffered to usurp all the political power of the regency ; and, as the 
melancholy experience of past times has amply proved, that govern- 
ment which is formed of adventurers and soldiers of fortune, is very 
rarely, if ever, conducted on any other principles than those of rapine 
and violence. In such a state of things, there is no check to the 
inordinate ambition of the military leader, except in the fear of 
dethronement or assassination ; while the insidious partizans of fac- 
tion easily divide the turbulent, who are destined by turns, to elect 


and overturn the temporary ruler : thus rendering the very ministers 
of oppression, victims to their own dangerous principles of liberty. 
Despotism has ever had a natural tendency to unite the evils of 
anarchy, with those of tyranny ; and, as may be readily imagined, 
the ferocious soldiery of Algiers, like those of other countries, can 
only delight in that state wherein their lawless power, and sanguinary 
importance has once been exerted : deluded by a criminal love of 
glory, they boast of that freedom, which is derived from the fatal 
privilege of oppressing the multitude, and spreading desolation 
around. If informed that they would be more happy under equitable 
laws and a wise government ; obeying a sovereign whose legitimacy 
was derived from a virtuous determination to employ his sacred autho- 
rity, for the maintenance of public liberty and peace, in opposition 
to violence and disorder ; they would answer in the language of an old 
Afghan chief, quoted by an English traveller : " we glory in discord, 
agitation, and blood; nor can we ever love a master !" Under the iron 
hand of military power, and foreign oppression, where the character 
of the government includes a mixture of low cunning, hypocrisy, 
suspicion and cruelty, the enslaved people must lose every sentiment 
of honour and of dignity. It has been well and truly said, that a 
nation of savages, who may be led into the commission of some 
crimes, are infinitely better than a civilized people incapable of 

It is scarcely necessary to add, that the Algerine government is a 
species of military republic ; whose head exercises despotism in its 
most undisguised form. What we call the regency, is composed of a 
prince, styled Dey; the Turkish Janizaries; and coimcil of state formed 
by the principal ministers, called Dowane, known by the title of 
divan in Europe. As to the regency, it is merely an empty name ; 
for all the power is unequivocally vested in the supreme chief A 
driver who conducted a coach, drawn by four horses, in lashing the 
leaders, cried, " run, go on, don't be overtaken ;" and to the others, 
" exert yourselves, or you'll be left behind ;" was asked by a person 


who heard him, " why do you deceive the poor animals with such tine 
talking? Don't you see they are in harness, and cannot go from each 
other ?" " I know it," replied the coachman; " but in the meantime, 
I carry the whip, the vehicle advances, and finally arrives." 

The government of Algiers cannot be called a mixed one, although 
it is certainly composed of all the worst qualities which can appertain 
to the most vitiated forms. The chief is almost invariably elected 
amidst assassination and crime : stimulated by democratic violence in 
its most hideous shape, the prince is invested with unlimited power ; 
while an insolent aristocracy is ever ready to support his iniquitous 
proceedings; the whole forming a military domination, with its 
inseparable abuses, accumulated violence, and brutal ferocity. 

The Dey originally springs from the Turkish soldiery, always 
obtaining his rank by election, and not hereditary succession, which 
is unknown in this regency. 

On the demise of his chief, each soldier proceeds to the palace, 
and oiFers his vote in favour of the new candidate whom he wishes to 
elevate to the vacant dignity ; and if the latter is not approved by 
all, he is excluded : the ballot continuing until one alone obtains the 
undivided suffi-ages. According to Falstaff', " some are born great, 
while others have greatness thrust upon them." Tlie elected, whether 
he wishes it or not, must become dey ; because all that happens on 
earth, was pre-ordained above, and mortals are not permitted to resist 
the decrees of Heaven. By the same rule, any one who thinks his 
party sufficiently powerful, may depose the newly elected chief; and 
after assassinating him, occupy his place with impunity : as this was 
also predestinated, and must have taken place on earth. 

It can be easily conceived, that these elections, where the entire 
unanimity of a licentious soldiery is required, must be conducted with 
the fury of the most violent factions : when, therefore, a considerable 
majority has invested one of their own members with the new office, 
the malcontents generally collect in another quarter of the palace; 
and, having become sufficiently numerous, conspire against the recently 


appointed chief; rushing' into the hall of audience, he is instantly 
dispatched, and the leader of the plot, whose hands are stained by 
his blood, assumes the royal mantle ; leaving the terrified spectators 
no alternative between silent submission and a similar fate. At 
another time, the Janizaries, who remain tumultuously assembled in 
the Cassarias, send a herald to the Dey, with orders to quit the palace ; 
and planting themselves in the avenues leading to it, he no sooner 
obeys the summons, than his head is struck ofi". Upon some occasions, 
recourse is had to poison, or he is assassinated in going to the mosque. 
It frequently happens, that a bold and sanguinary member of the 
divan, will strike him down in the midst of his officers; and even 
contrive to maintain his usurped authority, with the very scimitar 
which has severed the head of his predecessor : thus establishing a 
series of crimes on the successful perpetration of the first. These 
ferocious rivals in violence and rapacity, whose election takes place 
in the midst of tumult and blood, seldom fail to adopt the well-known 
maxim of a Tartary chief: " If you wish to keep the state in repose, 
let the sword of vengeance be constantly braudishing !" 

The ceremonies which follow a new election do not occupy much 
more time than the event itself. These merely consist of the fortunate 
candidate's being covered with the caftan, which is the ermined robe 
of Algiers ; and when seated on the cushion of state, he is saluted by 
the .soldiers crying, — " We consent: be it so : God send him pros- 
perity !" He is then proclaimed by the chief mufti, who reads aloud 
the obligation imposed by his office, reminding him that God having 
called him to the government of the republic, his authority should be 
employed to punish the guilty, and execute justice with impartiality; 
to benefit the state, provide for its internal security, and cause the 
soldiery to be regularly paid. This done, the principals kiss hands ; 
the attendant Janizaries .salute their new master, whose elevation is 
announced to the people by frequent discharges of cannon ; and thus 
ends the ceremony. 

p p 


The first step generally taken by an Algerine chief after his 
election, is that of immediately changing all the officers of govern- 
ment, by putting in creatures of his own, and others who may have 
been most active in contributing to his elevation. Not contented with 
displacing his enemies or rivals, the new Dey frequently causes all 
the ministers of his predecessor to be strangled ; takes possession of 
their treasures ; receives large presents from those who are nominated 
to succeed them ; and by thus enriching himself, he is enabled, by 
a well-timed show of munificence amongst the soldiery, at once to 
increase his party and consolidate his power. Ali Dey, who was 
elected after the tragical death of Ibrahim, surnamed the Madman, 
caused no less than seventeen hundred individuals to be massacred on 
his accession to power. The universal murmuring of the people had 
no efi'ect on this monster ; who, being determined to satiate his 
sanguinary disposition, invented the story of a conspiracy against his 
person, which was merely a pretext for deluging the streets of 
Algiers with blood. 

The head of a government like the above, never looks upon him- 
self as being raised to power by the esteem or alFections of the people. 
With him, the sovereignty is considered as the result of his own per- 
sonal exertions, and previous destiny : no wonder, therefore, that his 
administration should be little more than a counterpart of what we 
have witnessed in all those countries, where the triumphant chief of 
a faction has been invested with temporary power. 

It was originally intended, that the Deys should only retain their 
office for six months at a time ; but those who get wealth or power 
once into possession, are seldom disposed to surrender it : at first, this 
officer was only the Grand Seignor's viceroy, commanding a species of 
military aristocracy ; but gradual encroachments, at length, enabled 
him to establish an independent domination. Although his election 
is, both in spirit and form, modelled on that of the most democratic 
republic, nothing can exceed the despotic manner in which his reign 


is conducted. The title assumed in all public acts, is that of Excel- 
lency : this is also given by his former companions in arms ; while 
he is styled, Sultan of the Moors, and Majesty, by strangers. 

The Dey's expressed prerogative extends to the right of declaring 
war and making peace ; assembling the divan whenever he thinks 
proper ; imposing taxes and tribute ; regulating all public affairs, 
except those of religion, and appointing his own officers: he is also 
the supreme judge in all causes, whether civil or criminal, without 
being obliged to give an account to any one of his decrees. To resist 
which, is like that of opposing fate itself. Believing his power to be 
derived from Heaven, it follows that such a favour must have been 
accompanied with a large stock of wisdom ; and this is frequently 
employed to crush those who were not long before his dearest friends 
or most intimate companions.* 

The principal occupation of a Dey consists in his being seated 
at the extremity of a large hall for several hours daily, for the pur- 
pose of administering justice to the multitude. His throne, or chair 
of state, is composed of bricks and marble, first covered with carpets, 
and then a lion's skin over all. To this place the chief magistrate 
repairs, immediately after the chabd, or first morning prayer, and 
remains there till the dinner hour at eleven o'clock ; and returning 
about noon, continues at his post till sun-set. Audience is given 
every day in the week, except Tliursday, which is devoted to his 
domestic concerns ; and Friday, the Sabbath, is chiefly passed in devo- 
tional exercises at the great mosque. While in the judgment seat, 
the meanest individual has free access to his highness : in deciding 

* A man of rank being elevated to the chief magistracy, one of his old friends, who 
came to offer his congratulations, thus addressed him ; " You were once my equal and 
even inferior : at present all praise you, and henceforth none will dare to tell you the truth ; 
I shall, therefore, do so for the last time : you are ambitious, vain, obstinate, full of grovel- 
ling passions, and only fond of being surrounded by buffoons and flatterers. But you have 
become a great personage ; I shall never have another opportunity of telling you this truth, 
and now throw myself at your feet." 

p p 2 


causes, the Hogas, or secretaries, attend on each side to note the pro- 
ceedings, and write down his decrees ; while officers, called Bachiaux, 
are close to his elbow to receive orders, and see the sentences promptly 
put into execution : all the members of administration are constantly 
on the spot, and near each other, so as to ensure an easy and quick 
communication for the dispatch of business. ^Vliile issuing his 
decrees in the hall of justice, the Dey's principal ministers are assem- 
bled in an opposite room ; the inferior officers are ranged along, on 
banks at the door of the palace, so that an applicant who arrives, has 
no difficulty whatever in immediately finding the person he wants. 
And iipon the whole, I was particularly struck with the method, 
celerity, and I will add, extreme zeal with which the most trifling 
concerns of the regency were conducted at the Pascialick. 

The office of Dey is far from being a bed of roses. A private 
individual having been elevated to the first dignity in the state, was 
congratulated by a friend on his recent exaltation : " Rather pity me," 
said he : "I only felt my own wants before ; but I now feel tliose of 
all my subjects !" 

Nor has a Barbary chief much time to languish in idleness or 
inactivity. Amongst the singular customs of Abyssinia, it is related 
that the doors and windows of the king's palace are always crowded 
by people who keep up a continued howling and lamentation ; crying 
out at intervals, for pemiission to be admitted to the presence of the 
Ras or prince, to obtain justice for the injuries they have received. 
If there happens not to be a sufficient number of real suflerers, 
fictiti«ius ones are hired to cry and lament in their stead. All tliis is 
for the honour of his majesty, and to prevent the possibility of his 
being abandoned to indolence or devoured by lassitude. Bruce 
relates, that often, while shut up in his dwelling during the rainy 
season, several poor wretches were in the habit of regularly coming 
to groan and supplicate at his door ; and on enqiuring the cause, he 
was informed, they merely came to pay him a compliment, and pre- 
vent his falling into idleness or melancholy ; and lioped he would let 


them have something to drink that they might renew their lamentation 
with redonbled vigour ! It is much the same at the Dey of Algiers' 
palace, where a continued round ot" applications for redress, give 
rise to a degree of vigilance and activity, which is, above all other 
considerations, calculated to increase the popularity of government, 
rendering the chief, as it were, necessary to his subjects ; who, seeing 
themselves and their concerns, objects of incessant employnient to the 
prince, feel perfectly convinced that he must be governing with 
justice. On his part, the Dey is fully aware that he is conducting 
the vessel of state in the midst of rocks and tempests ; the perils of 
which can only be avoided, by holding the helm with a tirm and 
steady hand. This is one of the great causes of public tranquillity, 
as well as that apparent security in which an Algerine despot con- 
tinues to administer public affairs, while a volcano is ever ready to 
burst forth at his feet. 

A sovereign, having once complained to an oriental sage of the 
weary vigils with which his nights were lengthened, leceived the 
following advice : — " If you slumber less on your throne, Oking! 
you will sleep better in your bed." 

Notwithstanding the Dey's unlimited authority and excessive 
power, he is surrounded with innumerable dangers: the failure of an 
expedition, a long peace, which is sure to annoy liis rapacious fol- 
lowers ; a doubt, on their part, that the most scrupulous impartiality 
has not been observed in the distribution of plunder ; the smallest 
delay in paying the troops, is quite sufficient to inflame the turbulent 
Janizaries, and create a tumidt which has often been known to termi- 
nate the life and power of a Barbary chief, in the course of a few 
hours. On these occasions, it is in vain to supplicate a moment's 
grace, or attempt to soften the callous hearts of his executioners with 
promises of future moderation : his fate being once decided on, there 
is no appeal. " He was the Dey : he has reigned ; but he can reign 
no longer, and must die." The throne in this country is truly 
Ulte belle place mais qui n'a pas de sortie. It is much more easy to 


ascend dangerous heights, than come down again when once arrived 
at their summit. 

It is not many years since the caprice of fortune caused the eleva- 
tion of a schoohnaster to the office of Dey : more happy in swaying 
the rod than the sceptre, he had no ambition beyond the precincts 
of his school, nor ever dreamed of ascending the throne of majesty. 
But being elected, there was no alternative ; and having had the mis- 
fortune to displease the soldiery by his mildness and love of peace, he 
received the fatal message to quit the palace, and instantly obeying 
with a pallid and trembling look, .solicited leave to return to his 
pupils, and pass the rest of his days in trancpiil retirement. " That 
cannot be : it is not the custom," replied one of the conspirators : 
" you were the Dey ; have been deposed ; and cannot be sutfered to 

One of the late chiets, who was summoned to leave the palace, 
attempted to save himself by escaping over the terraces ; but a Jani- 
zary picked him off with his carbine, and he fell dead into the street. 
It often happens, that an entire reign does not exceed a few hours. 
On the high road, outside one of the city gates, there are seven stones 
to be seen ranged along. These are the ignoble graves of as many 
chiefs, elected and assassinated on the same day.« 

It is so extremely rare for a Dey to die in his bed, that whenever 
such a phenomenon occurs, as in the case of Hassan Ba.ssa, he is 
venerated and numbered amongst the saints. Referring to the prin- 
ciples of action which influence these chiefs, it is almost superfluous 

* The Caliph Abdalmelick, who conquered Abdallah, Lord of Mecca, and dethroned 
Masaab, his brother, being in the castle of Confa, when the latter's head was brought in ; 
an Arab, near his person, smiled in such a significant manner, as to make it appear there 
was a profound thought connected with it. The Caliph asked, what he was thinking 
about; to this the Arab replied, that he was reflecting on this being the fourth head he had 
•seen brought into the castle : having recapitulated the names of those who had lost them, 
without any farther comment, the lesson was not lost on the Caliph, who, in order to 
prevent the melancholy presentiments to w hich it gave rise, immediately quitted the castle, 
and even caused it to be demolished. 


to add, that neither the interests or will of the people is ever considered 
by them for a moment. Men, in the Barbary states, can only be 
compared to beasts of burthen, who are attached to the despot's car. 
Hence we may easily trace the cause of that indifference, which any 
one feels towards the fate of a sovereij^n, who commands from motives 
of selfishness and personal aggrandizement. In all those convulsions, 
which agitate the government of Barbary, the Moors look on as 
passive spectators ; while it would be ridiculous for a Dey, whose life 
is menaced by the faction of the hour, to recur to the affections, or 
call for the assistance of his subjects. 

II popol dunque a mio favor ? Che speri 
Che in cuor di serva plebe odio ed amore 
Possa eternarsi mai ? Dai lunghi ceppi 
Guasta, avvilita, or l'un tiranno vede 
Cadere, or sorger l'altro ; e nullo l'ama, 
E a tutti serve ; ed un Atride oblia, 
E d'un Egisto trema .* 

A Dey's life would be comparatively secure, if he had only to 
apprehend the discontent or revolt of the people : the swords mostly 
to be feared, are those which immediately surround the thrones of 
despotism : yet such is the irresistible influence of ambition in the 
human heart; there is so much gratification in the idea of superiority, 
that it would seem, people breathe a purer air in these higher regions 
of worldly dignity, where man so frequently thinks the lightning 
and tempest cannot overtake him. Power is even said, to enable its 

■ Dost hope that in the heart 
Of the base people, hatred or regard 
Can ever be perpetuated ? Spoil'd, 
Degraded ; now it sees one tyrant fall 
And now another rise : not one it loves, 
And yields to all ; forgets an Agamemnon, 
At an .(Egisthus trembles. 

Lloyd's Alfieri, Orestes, Act II. Scene: 


possessor to appreciate those objects it looks down upon, more justly 
than other people ; while every word and action accpiires weight and 
importance, in proportion as the author is elevated above his fellow 
men. Such, in fact, is the effect of power, that the being whom 
fortune raises to grandeur and dignities, is no longer able to see the 
dangers by which he is environed. If you asked a Turkish soldier, 
whether he would consent to be elected for three days, though sure of 
decapitation the fourth; your offer would be gladly accepted: besides, 
they encourage an idea, that all the deys become saints after death. 

Philosophers, who are simple, and of little experience in such 
matters, entertain very different notions of power and ambition ; but 
he whose lip has touched the enchanted cup, who has been inebriated 
by the fumes of that fascinating incense, can never afterwards taste 
another joy. A Polish chief once recommended his sovereign to shew 
a generous example of magnanimity, by descending from his throne, 
and becoming a citizen. " Such is your idea," replied his master; 
" because you are a private individual. But I, who am a king, ought 
to think very differently : the throne is not the <^nme kind of thing, 
when viewed from below, as it is seen by those who have it in pos- 

The Dey who reigned when I went to Algiers, or move properly 
speaking, was carried there, called himself Ali Bassa ; to which 
was added the title of Haggi, assumed by all those who have visited 
the holy city of Arabia. Ali had made the pilgrimage no less than 
three times ; and was consequently regarded as a saint : he was, never- 
theless, a most fanatical Musselman ; the bitterest enemy of Chris- 
tians : he never omitted the most trifling, or superstitious practices of 
his own sect, nor lost any opportunity of gratifying an act of ven- 
«i^eance, in which he always seemed to take particular delight. In 
addition to the most scrupulous attentions to his daily ablutions and 
prayers, it appeared to be an article of faith with Ali, to bathe him- 
self occasionally in human blood : hence, the frequent assassinations 


tliat marked his reign, and gave rise to an opinion, amongst his 
devoted snbjects, that he was by far the most sanguinary tyrant who 
had ever governed in Algiers. 

Haggi Ali Bassa was about fifty-five years of age, with stout 
limbs, and tolerably well shaped; but his physiognomy plainly indicated 
a mind corroded by the worst jiassions : in him, you beheld a man 
wrapped up in his own black and gloomy thoughts ; and as 
Tacitus observed of a Roman emperor, " vi dominationis convulsns et 
commutatus.'' The most terrific stories were related of this man's 
cruelties : he once condemned a lad of fourteen years old to death, 
for having merely left a small stone in some rice intended for soup. 
One day, while seated in the hall of justice, a chiaux or messenger 
came up, and whispered something in his ear : the Dey made a sign 
with his hand, and in a few minutes, five bleeding heads were brought 
in by as many executioners ! They belonged to some rich Moors, 
who were snspected of holding seditious conversation in a neighbour- 
ing coffee-house. 

In 1814, he had ruled seven years ; an exceedingly long reign for 
an Algerine dey; and which he entirely owed to his unceasing vigi- 
lance, and prompt execution of that vindictive spirit, which left no 
respite to his enemies when once discovered, or even suspected. Seve- 
ral conspiracies had only the efl^ect of consolidating his power; but 
a long peace with Spain and Portugal, having displeased the unquiet 
spirits of tlie divan, they succeeded in exciting a general feeling of dis- 
content amongst the soldiery ; and this was soon followed by a powerful 
faction, which openly expressed its dis.satisfaction and hostility to the 
tyrant. The capture of our vessel, afforded Haggi Bassa an oppov.- 
tunity of dispensing some valuable donations amongst the soldiers aixl 
members of the divan; which may have given temporary support to 
his throne of blood. But the already vacillating .state of Ali's health, 
was rendered still more dangerous, by the internal workings of his own 
distempered mind ; which seemed to threaten a speedy dissolution. 

Q Q 


M. de Laiigle, who published an account of his travels through 
Spain, observes in noticing his Catholic Majesty, the excellent 
Charles III. " The king is adored, and it must be on this account, 
that he enjoys such good health : nothing is so salutary to a sovereign 
as that of being popular amongst his subjects." 

Although menaced with approaching death, by the state of his 
health, Providence seems to have decided that Ali should not perish 
in the ordinary course of nature : he was poisoned by his black cook, 
who having probably remembered the boy's fate, gave his highness 
a pill that was not quite so easy of digestion as the pebble which gave 
rise to the former's cruel condemnation. A young page having once 
had the misfortune to spill a little water on the roljes of a caliph of 
Bagdad, so enraged his master, that he was instantly condemned to lose 
his head ; upon which, he took up a dish full of gravy, and emptied its 
contents all over the tyrant. " Wretch! how dare you offer such an 
indignity, and thus insult my august person V exclaimed the furious 
caliph. "Great commander of the believers," replied the page; 
" what would posterity say, when informed that you had condemned 
me to an ignominious death, for having unfortunately suffered a drop 
of water to fall on your garment I At present, that I am guilty of a 
great crime, in pouring the contents of a dish over the sacred head of 
your excellency, it will be said, that so great a prince did not abandon 
himself to the last extremity of violence, for a trilling cause; and if 
rigour was used, it was justified by the occasion." Ali's cook seeiiied 
to be actuated by a similar motive ; and determined, that if his master 
had time to revenge the attempt, it should not be for a trifle. But, 
af it happened, that was not the case ; and on the joyful event's being 
a?,nounced, an old officer of the Janizaries was elected for the time 
being ; and though he succeeded Ali, he did not replace him ; being 
merely set up until a candidate more worthy of the throne could be 
found. This was soon furnished in the person of Omar Aga ; whose 
transient predecessor had his head taken off, according to custom. 


As to Haggi Ali Bassa, as may be supposed, his death was not 
very deeply lamented : conformably to an old proverb, he that would 
reap tears, must sow love. 

The chief cause of Omar Aga's elevation, arose from his late 
brilliant success in an expedition to the mountains of Couco, directed 
against the inhabitants of that warlike dislrict. Omar was then about 
forty-five, and one of the handsomest men in the regency ; possessing 
extraordinary talents, intrepidity and resolution. While in command 
of the troops, and employed on service, he was foremost in every 
enterprize : his pleasing manners, constant presence, and easy 
vivacity, had made him the idol of his inferiors, and soul of the divan : 
all which seemed to point him out as Ali's successor. It is not, there- 
fore, surprising, that the latter should have long regarded Omar Aga 
with an eye of jealousy ; and he was once even induced to send the 
bachiaux, or principal executioner to destroy him ; but the resolute 
chief was not disposed to jield ; and retiring into one of the cassa- 
rias, dared his adversary to advance. Upon this, the minister of ven- 
geance desisted ; and, like the Cimbrian soldier, who was terrified by 
the petrifying aspect of Marius, felt himself incapable of following 
up the orders of his master. Having surmounted this difficulty, 
Omar proved that he was equal to the most trying emergencies ; while 
reverses and misfortunes only seemed to increase the fiery ardour of 
his character. He reigns, and the firmness with which he does so, 
would justify his answering in the language of a sovereign, who being 
interrogated, how he could possibly remain on his throne, while 
governing a ferocious and inconstant multitude i replied, " because 
the crown is more closely attached to my head, than the latter is to my 

The council of state is composed of all the ministers ; and these 
are nominated by the Dey, not as the organs of the people, but the 
obsequious slaves of his highness. Caprice, accident, favouritism, or 

* An account of Omar's fate will be given in another part of this volume. — AV. 
QQ 2 


the spirit of party, alone has any share in determining their selection ; 
so that in Barbary, a man is frequently raised from the lowest con- 
dition to the highest pinnacle of fortune, while another falls into an 
abyss of misery from dignity and titles. It has sometimes happened, 
that the Dey's principal secretary was formerly his groom ; and that 
he who sweeps the streets once governed the city ! These sports of 
fortune are generally found to be as mean and servile in adversity, as 
they were proud and insolent in prosperity : the degraded multitude, 
not less influenced by equally dishonourable motives, are also ever 
ready to trample on the humbled superior, who was formerly 
oppressed with their fawning adulation. 

When precipitated from power, a Dey is sure to drag all liis 
officers after him ; and while reigning, his avarice frequently leads to 
the spo^iitation of those whom his own patronage and protection may 
have previously enriched : thus, by a natural inconstancy, destroying 
his own work. At another time, he will sacrifice his chief favourite 
to the fury of the soldiers, as we throw pieces of meat to satisfy the 
roaring lion, or famished jackall. Perhaps it belongs to the policy 
of Algiers, to make an occasional vacancy in some public office, if 
only to excite the hopes and ardour of unemployed candidates ; 
such artifices not being disdained even in more polished countries. 

Sir Robert Walpole, being anxious to pass a bill in the upper 
house, on which it was particularly necessary to obtain the appro- 
bation of the spiritual peers, requested his friend, the Archbishop of 
Canterl)ury, to remain shut up at home for a few days ; and imme- 
diately after, caused it to be reported, that his grace was suddenly 
attacked by a complaint which baffled the skill of his medical 
advisers, and left no chance of his recovery. No sooner had the news 
gone abroad, than all the other right reverend lords immediately 
paid their court to the minister, by which means he found no difficulty 
in passing his bill ; which event was speedily followed by the arch- 
bishop's re-appearance in rude health ! 

There are people who will, perhaps, say, that there is no harm 


in a ministry feelings some little degree of uneasiness on their seats ; 
and that it would rather do good, were those of Algiers occasionally 
placed on such a chair, as Cambyses put the son of a magistrate who 
had been convicted of injustice and venality : others may also assert, 
that being watched with vigilance, and surrounded by precipices, the 
members of an administration neither relax in zeal, nor sleep upon 
their posts, regarding the state as their patrimony, and their places 
not as a public charge, but a situation of enjoyment and repose. But 
it is not for neglect of pul>lic duty, or oppressing the people that 
ministers are punished in Algiers : when they suffer, it arises more 
frequently from the disinclination or impossibility of their satistying 
their master's avidity for gold, or falling the victims of a treacherous 
intrigue. It is not the sword of justice that is raised against them on 
such occasions, but the dagger of revenge. Thus the ministers of 
Barbary, always uncertain of their fate, are tilled with trendiling 
and suspicion : never obtaining recorapence or praise for their good 
conduct, they are isolated, as it were, and cannot feel attached to a 
government made up of ingratitude and caprice. It is, therefore, 
very natural for them to be chiefly intent on enriching themselves for 
the purpose of fllying on the first favourable occasion, as the only 
resource against the inconstancy of fortune. 

It appears a singular phenomenon in political science, when 
we reflect on the kind of people who are called to administer the 
affairs of government in Barbary ; where mere chance, and that alone, 
without the smallest regard to talents, is generally the origin of a 
minister's elevation to power and place. What would be the conse- 
quence in Europe, says a traveller, if all offices of importance and 
trust, were exclusively bestowed on the most uneducated and obscure 
part of the community ? — In Africa, where such is the case, and all 
are ignorant alike, the result is not productive of quite so much incon- 

In this country, the acme of ministerial talent consists of the 
lowest cunning and artifice; which valuable qualities are usually 


employed in penetrating the designs and intentions of other people : 
and in this the Turks and Moors are said to possess a profound al>ility. 
But who knows, after all, whether this grand art of government, about 
which so much has been said and written, is so difficult as many 
vAould make us believe t And whether things would not go on toler- 
ably well without quite so many cooks ? It may be the driver, who 
impels the horses, that carry him along i I have, however, seen some 
coachmen drunk, and sleeping on their boxes ; yet the horses seemed 
to proceed, « merveille, never missing their road. I have witnessed 
others, impatient and irritated, often whipping the poor animals 
confided to their charge, to death ; and on enquiry into the cause of 
the dispute, frequently found the horses were in the right. 

The Chancellor Oxenstiern's son, being appointed ambassador to 
the Swedish Congress, waited in constant expectation that his father 
Avould give him ample instructions how to act at that solemn assem- 
bly, where the destinies of Gennany were about to be decided. But 
his father was perfectly silent on the subject : at length the day of 
de]>arture having arrived, the ambassador waited on the chancellor, 
to request he would give him some clue by which he couhl be guided 
in the difficult mission he was about to undertake. " Go," said his 
Ikther, " and don't give yourself any farther uneasiness." — Videbis 
quam parva enm sapieiitia regatur mundu.s. Oxenstiern possessed 
too much talents himself, not to know their influence on people and 
governments; and no doubt took great care, that in this instance, his 
selection fell upon a person so fully equal to the object in view, that 
no instructions were necessary ; for, when on the spot, the acute 
statesman acts according to circumstances as they arise. — Mitte 
sapientem, et nihil dicas. 

The executive members of the Algerine government are composed 
of the Casnedar or Cadenaggi, grand treasurer, and keeper of the 
hasena, an apartment close to the divan, in which all the Dey's .specie 
is deposited; the Michelacci, minister of foreign affairs and the 
marine, who, from the importance of his functions may be considered 


as premier; the Grand Rais, or admiral, who commands all llie 
naval forces ; the Caia of the Dey's palace, whose place he irequentiy 
supplies; the Aga of the camp ; Commander in Chief of the army ; 
the Coiigia of horse, head general of cavalry; and Aga Baston, 
whose office is far from being the least consequential, as already men- 
tioned. There are also four hojas, or secretaries of state; the oldest 
of whom superintends all the public accounts and expenditure, paying 
the military, &c. The second keeps a registry of imposts ; tiie third 
notes all receipts into the treasury, and sums paid out of it; while 
the fourth is required to register the decrees, and public acts of 
his master with foreign powers. The last named officers are generally 
seated on the Dey's right hand, when in the hall of justice; and are 
thus in readiness to note the orders and decrees which may be given. 
The hojas seldom speak in the divan, but their advice is given very 
freely in private, and generally has great influence with his highness. 
Whenever a European consul goes to complain or enforce any claims 
at the Pascialick, the fourth hojas reads the article in question, 
which must be literally followed. If the claim is properly invalidated 
satisfaction is given : on the contrary, should the affair rest on doubt- 
ful conjecture, or insufficient proof, it is rejected, and the subject is 
not renewed any more. In addition to the foregoing, there are eighty 
inferior hojas, each of whom has a particular charge. Some collect 
the tax on houses, others serve out the soldiers' bread, preside at the 
custom-house to receive duties, superintend military depots ; t^vo are 
stationed at the marine gate of the city, some are always near the 
Dey's person, while others constantly attend the ministers, and 
accompany the naval and military expeditions. 

Beside the above, there are also some other important officers of 
state, such as the Grand Doletro, or lord chief justice, whose seal 
is affixed to all treaties. The Mezovard, a species of lord mayor, 
who looks after the internal peace of the capital, going round the 
city every night: his report is regularly made to the Dey. He is 
chief inspector of prostitutes, from each of whom he exacts a tax: 


and also superintends the butchers, who must all be Moors. The 
Checkebeld is charged with the repairs of the city and public works : 
it is also at this officer's house that the Moorish women are punished ; 
and he is responsible for the care and custody of those captives whose 
rank or rather fortune may be sufficient to exempt them from working. 
Another officer, called the Pilremelgi, claims and takes possession of 
whatever belongs to the public or Dey, either by death or other cause: 
he must on this account be informed of all deaths; and in order that 
they cannot be concealed from his knowledge, his permit is necessary, 
before any corpse can be taken to the burying ground, there being a 
subaltern stationed at each gate to receive these written permissions. 
The Dragoman, or interpreter of the palace, is generally a Turk, 
and obliged to be well versed in the Arabic; after explaining the 
contents of all letters to the Dey, he is to deliver his highness a 
Turkish translation of them. He also seals all dispatches, and other 
documents before his master, who never signs any papers himself, but 
has a seal with his name engraven on it, applied by the Dragoman. 

The Rais, or captain of the port, is obliged to visit all vessels 
previous to their sailing, to see that no slave is concealed on board : 
he decides any disputes that may arise amongst the ships in the 
mole, and reconnoitres along the coast every evening before sun-set. 
These ministers are not regularly paid ; but as they do not serve 
for honour, it is natural enough for them to adopt other modes of 
levying contributions on the public: it is this which makes all the 
Dey's officers the very emblems of venality and extortion. Indepen- 
dent of gratuitous presents, and these are never refused, there are 
regular charges made in all transactions with public offices, called 
Usanza, equivalent to old established custom; and, as amongst the 
beggars, a douceur once given by any stranger, is sure to be levied 
on all those who come after him. Unlike the more conscientious 
ministers of other conntries, there is not the least fear of prosecution 
against those who present a statesman of Barbary with a compliment 
either in money or jewels. He neither hesitates to receive the prof- 


fered favour, or is appreliensive of being thought indiscreet for his 
condescension. Like a hidy who once praised a ring- which she saw 
on a gentleman's finger. " It is at your service," said he. " I accej)t 
it," was her reply ; upon which lie rejoined, " Ah, madam! you are 
going to banish gallantry from the world !" 

I knew many of these official gentlemen : some were thrust into 
power by conspiracy and cabal, others had crept into place by 
grovelling and servility. The door which leads to fortune is small, 
and cannot be entered without stooping; while posts of eminence 
may be compared to certain trees, the tops of which none can reach 
except eagles or reptiles. 

I was frequently in the habit of meeting the Michelacci, who 
certainly possessed some talent ; but to a violent disposition, he added 
the most repulsive manners, and unconquerable obstinacy. The Cade- 
naggi did not enjoy either much favour or authority at court; this 
preying on a proud spirit, rendered him morose and melancholy : he con- 
stantly complained of illness, but did not know his disorder, it was that 
of suppressed ambition. The Grand Doletro had been formerly chief 
purveyor to the army, and from this, some idea may be formed of his 
legal knowledge ; nor would an epigram which was applied to the 
counsellor of a prefect, during the domination of the French in Italy, 
be altogether inapplicable to this luminary of the law. 

Consigliere è fatto Tizio : 
Deve dare il suo guidizio ; 
Nessun dà quel che non ha.* 

The person appointed to be military governor of the city during 
ray stay there, had never served a single campaign, or even joined 
the armies on active service. The Piince de Ligne having heard that 
such a one had been made a general, observed, " Rather say he was 
nominated !" Omar, who afterwards became Dey, was, in point of 

* This is from the author's collection, whic> is very extensive, and justly celebrated 
ail over Italy, for brilliancy of wit, and acuteness of judgment. — Ed. 

R R 


judgment and penetration, an exception to them all, if I except an 
old liojas, who had for some time officiated as first secretary to Ali 
Bassa. It often occurred to me, that this man was a renegado, but 
he would never confess it. 

During the seven years Ali reigned, the ministers were changed 
three or four times. The Pascialick in those days, resembled an 
European court, in which the intrigues of courtiers and favourites 
gave rise to so many changes of ministry, that an old, who 
frequently paid her devoirs, used to stop the carriage at some distance 
from the door, and send her laquais forwards to enquire, if Mr. * * * 
' was still in office % The old admiral had survived two Deys, and 
floated over no less than four revolutions. This success in the art of 
keeping his place, was derived from the profound cunning and inex- 
haustible flexibility of his character. A slave to circumstances, the 
pliant tool of each ruler, and weather-cock of every blast, the winds 
seemed to be his only guide. But some will ask, was it his fault if 
they were variable Ì 

The celebrated Vicar of Bray, to whom so many modern politi- 
cians bear a very exact resemblance, when upbraided for the versatility 
of his genius in accepting curacies from parties of the most opposite 
sentiments, replied in a tone of the utmost exultation, — " So far 
from deserving these reproaches, I am ever equal to myself; nor is it 
possible for any one to have displayed such unshaken consistency. — 
I was Vicar of Bray at first, am so still, and will die Vicar of 
Bray !" 

THE DIVAN. ;^0: 


The Divan. — Us Character as a representative Body. — By whom composed. 

Mode of assembling.— -Discussion, and Collection of the Votes.— Revenues. 
— The Beys. — Their Rapacity. — Dey's Policy with regard to them. — The 
Caids, and their numerous Oppressions.— Account of the Chiaux, or Dey's 
Messengers.— Their Influence on the Multitude.— Reflections on Laws and 
Government.-Algerine Code.- The Cadi. - Their Appointment and Functions. 
Civil Process in Barbary. —Ignorance of the Judges, and novel Mode of 
deciding Causes. — Remarks and Anecdotes. — Criminal Process. — Punish- 
ment inflicted for various Crimes. — Consequences of Adultery and Infidelity 
in the Females. — Punishment of Treason. — Debtors. — How treated. Anec- 
dote of Ibrahim Dey.— Effect of the Dey's Personal Administration of 
Justice. — Anecdote of Cheban Dey. — Defects of the Algerine Law. Exces- 
sive Severity of some Punishments.— Police Regulations o/ A lg i e r a.— Nightly 
Patroles. — Espionage and Informers. — Subterfuges of arbitrary Power. 

When I name the Divan of Algiers, let not the reader imagine 
any thing like the Chamber of Deputies in France, and still less a 
British Parliament. The people of Barbary have no idea whatever 
of national representation, or that balance of political power, and 
mixed government, so tempered, that it is capable of uniting liberty 
with order ; and in which the best guarantee of popular rights is found 
in the royal prerogative ; where, by a rational respect for the power 
and dignity of the crown, the surest barriers are opposed to tyranny 
and oppression ; where the people are associated with the govern- 
ment, to watch over their own immediate interests, and promote the 
common safety; where, in fine, the tempestuous passions being 

R R 2 


repressed, a wide field is open to genius, love of country, the desire 
of useful activity, fervid movements of the heart, and generous 
impulses of glory. 

The dowane, or as we say, divan, is composed of the principal 
ministers and officers of the Janizaries, and Moorish niilitia ; who are 
not elected, but belong naturally to this assembly, as the warlike 
supporters of the Dey's power. So tar, therefore, from representing 
the people, they can only be viewed in the light of an insolent and 
overbearing aristocracy. Notwithstanding its entire subserviency to 
the ruling power, the divan possesses some lands and revenues ; but 
it does not, as formerly ,*^inherit the property of those who die intestate 
or without issue. The comparatively few siims paid into its treasury, 
at present, are devoted to repairing the walls of the city, and in 
occasionally paying for public dinners ; which, as in some countries 
of Europe, is frequently the sole cause of bringing the divan together. 
Each member of this body is distinguished by having a slip of gold- 
lace in front of his turban. 

The most numerous part of the above assembly, consists of the 
old agas, yiack bash as, three hundred boulouchis, two hundred 
oldaks; the whole generally amounting to seven hundred persons. 
In affairs of great importance, the mezoul agas, or retired officers, 
and sometimes even the whole of the Turkish soldiery are included. 
The oldest aga acts as president, taking the first seat ; close to him 
is the secretary, who notes down the resolutions ; the third range is 
composed of twenty-four aga bashas, or principal officers of the 
militia ; who seat themselves according to rank and length of service ; 
then come the boulouc bashas and oldaks. A meeting is held at the 
Alcasar every Saturday, besides any other time required by the Dey : 
when the attendance of the soldiers is called for, they nmst go unarmed, 
and while in the hall, remain with their arms folded. All questions are 
discussed in the Turkish language; andwhenputto the vote, the prin- 
cipal aga gives his opinion first, or makes his proposition, which is 
communicated to the aga bashas ; four officers, called bashoul dala. 

THE BEYS. :i09 

repeat it one after another in a lond tone, which usually creates great 
confusion for the time ; but here it is only vox, vox, jirceteraque 
nihil! because it very seldom happens, that anything is decided on, 
during these tumultuous meetings. And it may be said of the divan, 
as of the council of an old sovereign, when a person having asked, 
" what has passed at the grand council this morning'?" Another 
answered, " what has passed ? Why, three hours !" In former times, 
all affairs of consequence were argued and examined in this assembly, 
and not only the laws, but every decree of the Dey was to have its 
approval, previous to being put into force. But now, the Dey assem- 
bles and dissolves it according to his good pleasure and convenience ; 
entering the hall as Buonaparte used to go in amongst the pliant 
legislators of St. Cloud, or as Oliver Cromwell dissolved the long 
parliament. The Grand Caia, who usually represents the Dey, opens 
the debate, by shortly stating the object of the meeting, and then 
concludes, by making his proposal, that is to say, what must be 
acceded to : his silence is followed by casting a ferocious look round 
the assembly, which plainly indicates the result of nonconformity to 
his wishes. This is one way of collecting the free and unbiassed votes 
of an independent assembly ; and reminds me of the amateur of 
paintings ; who, after having told one of the cognoscenti, that he 
woukl throw any one out of the window that said such a picture was 
not an original, finished by observing, " now, my friend, I request that 
you, who are so good a judge, and sincere in giving your opinion, 
will come, and tell me candidly, what you think of it V 

The governor of each province is entitled Bey, and is also sometimes 
entrusted with the command of the army, if hostilities are going on 
within his own territory, or on its frontiers towards the enemy. These 
officers are almost invested with sovereignauthority: in nominating them, 
their commission merely consists in the Dey's telling them before his 
ministers, " go, and govern such a country, and be my general." 

There are three Beys appointed by the Dey of Algiers : one resides 
at Oran, in the western province ; another lives in the eastern, of 

310 THE BEYS. 

which Constantina is the capital; while the third is generally encamped 
with a large military force, which is almost continually emjjloyed in 
keeping down those tribes who may be anxious to throw off the 
despotic yoke under which they groan. All the Beys ai-e more or less 
occupied in making irruptions amongst unhappy and persecuted 
people : after having exercised the greatest rapacity, and obtained an 
increase of territory, the tribes are for a time very well treated, 
and even caressed, by their inexorable oppres.sors. The Beys are 
recalled to the seat of government every two or three years to give an 
account of their proceedings to the Dey. They of course do not omit 
coming into the capital, well loaded with booty, the produce of their 
previous exactions and plunder. Although on arriving at Algiers, 
they are no more than private individuals, yet, from the splendor and 
extent of their retinue, they are always honoured with the acclama- 
tions of the populace, in proportion to the greatness of their train 
and quantity- of treasure brought in. 

In these extensive governments, the chiefs take good care to 
provide for themselves: hence the immense riches which they are said 
to possess ; and while at their posts there is no device of cruelty or 
art to which they will not have recourse to obtain money from the 
peaceful inhabitants. A newly appointed Bey having asked his pre- 
decessor what his government yielded, the latter rej)lied, " It has 
usually brought ten thousand piasti'es : when not afraid of trifles, you 
might make twenty thousand of it, and I have got as many as thirty 
thousand !" 

The Dey suffers them to do as they like with the most perfect 
indifference : he even appears to be gratified at their wading through 
the blood of his people, that he may afterwards have the pleasure of 
squeezing the spunge, as it is called. When once ascertained that the 
Beys are sufficiently rich, their avaricious master soon contrives to 
induce their return to Algiers; where if not very liberal in ministering 
to his thirst for gold, there is no difficulty in making a pretext to arrest 
them, which event is usually followed by strangling. It is true, that 

THE BEYS. 31 f 

many of the Beys who may be apprehensive of the consequences, 
often contrive to keep away from the capital, for a long time after 
being recalled. The Caifte, or next in command, is frequently sent 
on with the tribute, and large presents, while in some cases recourse 
has been had to flight: on these occasions the Mountains of Couco 
aiford a safe and luxurious retreat to the voluntary exile. If there 
are a few solitary instances on record, of punishment having been 
inflicted on a plundering governor or venal minister of Barbary, the 
public good was not so much consulted, as the advantage his high- 
ness's revenue might derive from it. Should an officer be complained 
of, he is displaced, and his fortune is immediately seized by the 
Dey. If the next who succeeds him be also denounced, and the 
populace are once more gratified by the fall of an oppressive 
governor, the chances are greatly in favour of a still more corrupt 
character filling his place ; and while the latter is busily employed in 
fattening on the spoils of the abused multitude, the Beys are equally 
active on their side, Avhile his highness is only intent on finding a 
pretext, no matter how trifling, to spoliate both parties: thus furnish- 
ing rather a striking illustration of a well known fable. 

The Caids, or governors of cities, generally buy their places, with 
the laudable design of ultimately getting the purchase money and 
something more, back from the pockets of the devoted inhabitants; 
who have justly been compared to those travellers that in crossing the 
desert, are either devoured by beasts of prey, or have their blood 
extracted by innumerable insects. 

Whatever oppression may have been omitted by the Beys, is 
most amply inflicted by the Caids; but the worst effects connected 
with society in Barbary, are those which arise from its total want of 
individual attachment or general unanimity, the usual result of des- 
potism in all countries. Here each member of the community, who 
may possess either wealth or power, lords it over his inferior ; and if 
g-uilty of the greatest acts of violence, he easily finds protection and 
indemnity from a higher authority. Such a crying system of injus- 


tice, could only exist under the most perverse despotism ; for although 
the prince's attention may be chiefly directed against the great and 
powerful, his tyranny is regularly propagated through every depart- 
ment of the state, untirit reaches the common executioner. Every 
one makes a rule of revenging the injuries he has received from his 
supeiiors on those below him ; and the more he is necessitated to stoop 
before the former, the greater his punctilio with the latter, exerting a 
degree of severity exactly proportioned to his own standard of servi- 
lity and meanness towards those above him. It is not the uncon- 
trouled despot of absolute power, that is most oppressive to his 
people : those who chiefly torment and agitate them, are the inferior 
tyrants, who, vain of that authority, which they aie in constant fear 
of losing, ought to be considered as the real scourges of civil society. 
It is almost needless to add, that wherever such a system of govern- 
ment is tolerated, the eflect of petty tyrants is quite as injurious to 
the monarch, as his people. Proceeding from its pure source, through 
a hvindred obscure channels, and thence descending into various 
ignoble hands, authority is ever sure to lose in force and dignity- : the 
sun's rays are of gold ; reflected by the moon they become silver. 

Amongst the oflicers immediately about the Dey's person, are 
twelve messengers of state, called Chiaux : these are the infallible 
executioners of his will and pleasure, being always in attendance, 
either to convey a dispatch, or chop oft' a head. These satellites are 
under the direction of two others, styled Bachiaux ; who constantly 
wait on each side his highness while administering justice ; some are 
Turks, and others natives : the former being employed in arresting or 
punishing their own countrymen ; while the latter executes all orders 
and decrees in which Moors are concerned. The Turkish Chiaux 
would, in fact, consider it as a degradation, were he sent to arrest a 
Moor ora Jew. They always receive the Dey's orders verbally, and 
never in writing. Their dress is green, with a crimson band round the 
middle, and pointed turban. The strongest and best looking men are 
generally selected for this oflice ; and they are prohibited from 


carrying anus of any descrijition, not even a knife : so that when 
abroad, the Chiaux is not distinguished by the smallest military 
attribute, and looks more like a peaceful citizen than the minister of 

Notwithstanding all this, nothing can exceed the dread and 
horror in which tliey are held by the multitude : this arises from the 
inflexible resolution displayed by them in executing the orders of the 
Dey : this is, of itself, enough to make a host of Moors instantly obey 
the most terrible command they can give. At the very tirst intimation 
of a Chiaux, the most resolute Moor will surrender, or lay his head 
down to be taken off, whether innocent or not, though surrounded by 
numerous friends. When the tyrant orders the arrest, or death of any 
one who may have excited his anger, or violated the laws, the execu- 
tioner departs, searches in every direction for the proscribed individual, 
and does not return without either the body in chains, or the bleeding 
head. Should an unforeseen event have passed between the messen- 
ger and his victim, notice is given, that every subject of his highness 
is to assist in his discovery, or to reveal the place of his retreat: the 
person aiding or assisting in his evasion, makes himself liable to 
the punishment of instant death if found out. The myrmidons who 
attended the three famous inquisitors of Venice, will serve to give 
some idea of the terrible executioners employed to put the inevitable 
decrees of the Algerine despot into effect. 

To rule with a strong hand, without the outward shew of military 
force, or legal power, is no trifling acquirement in the art of govern- 
ing. The sagacity of a legislator chiefly consists in a happy distri- 
bution of his means, and the simple facility of putting them into prompt 
execution. But this singular power of the piratical government, 
without any appearance of an armed force ; and the extreme rapidity 
with which sentences are executed without opposition ; is far from 
being the result of a well regulated republic, equitable laws, or 
acknowledged justice of the prince ; as proved in England, by the 


respect winch is shewn to the mere intimation of a constable. In 
Barbary, it is rather the effect of a cruel tyranny, and that amazing 
terror with which a government, made up of artifice and revenge, inspires 
a degraded people. Although deserving our pity, when the causes 
whence it springs are considered, the Moors are dissimulating as they 
are servile; and while under the tyrant's lash, will smile and thank 
his excellency, for having deigned to think of them ! "I," said a 
rich Moor, " cannot reflect without an internal sentiment of glory and 
satisfaction, that my head is suflered to remain on my shoulders, 
through the bounteous clemency of my invincible sultan !" However, 
the more acute observer does not think the people of Afi'ica contented 
or happy, because neither opposition or revolt is manifested : they do 
not even murmur or complain. But how are they to move, while 
loaded with fetters, or speak with their mouths closed 1 

That people who are allowed to complain, are not always the 
most imhappy. It is much worse to be obliged to remain silent in 
suffering, or as occasionally happens, be forced to praise the authors 
of our oppression. Pliny observes, subjects never complain so little of 
any sovereign, as of him, with whom they have most reason to be 
dissatisfied. And Carnot, with equal justice, that in despotic coun- 
tries, people suffer most and complain the least ; whereas, in free 
states, the maxim is directly reversed. By a strange fatality in 
our nature, those who have the greatest reason to be satisfied with 
fortune, are the first to murmur against the most trifling disaster: — 
as a rose-leaf, not gracefully unfolded, was sufficient to disturb the 
effeminate Sybarite's repose. When a nation murmurs, and freely 
declares its sentiments, it proves that neither misfortunes nor tyranny 
have exhausted its courage or destroyed its virtue ; and that the soil 
and constitution are still woithy of its best aflections. 

This boldness and liberty of speech, whether employed to express 
approbation or disgust of public measures, is not only a great 
source of consolation but of happiness. A feudal lord, being told 


that his excessive moderatioa rendered his vassals turbulent and 
imj>etuous, answered : — " I know that the voice of poverty and 
wretchedness is humble and timorous ; but, thank Heaven ! the free- 
dom with which my people speak, proves them to be rich and 
happy." Let not the Dey of Algiers, therefore, fancy himself either 
a good shepherd or beloved prince, merely because the Moors appear 
calm and tranquil : he would, on the other hand, do well to reflect 
with a poet of celebrity, that 

II silenzio dei popoli è la lezione dei re 1 . . 

There is no civil code in existence amongst the people of Barbary, 
its place being supplied by that of the Koran : so that all the doctrine 
of Algerine jurisprudence, is confined to the interpretation of that 
divine book and its sanctified commentatoi's. 

It is, no doubt, a great blessing for a people to derive their laws 
from a sacied source ; but the mischief in Algiers and other African 
governments is, that the chiefs and doctors frequently interpret them 
in a very different sense to their original intention ; and from the 
princes being above the law, every facility for the most arbitrary 
innovation is thereby created : besides, we all know, that justice in a 
goverument purely military, is generally to be found at the point of 
a bayonet, while the laws are written in blood. Nor would arms or 
soldiers be required, if their often boasted laws were so venerated and 
obeyed as they would make people believe. 

Before a decree can pass into a law, the teftd, or signature of the 
principal mulii, must be affixed ; and when a casna or new ordonnance 
comes out, the pant, or public cryer, proclaims it with a large speak- 
ing trumpet. This noisy method of making known the will of 
government, without explaining to the people, as we do in Europe, 
the meaning of any new edict, carries a degree of pride and despotism 
with it, which enforces obedience without producing conviction. 

In Barbary, custom is law ; and as no changes ever take place, 
ss 2 

316 I'HE CADI. 

abuses of every kind continue to accumulate, without the smallest 
advance towards improvement. This consoling state of degradation, 
does not, however, seem to displease an indolent people ; who, ab- 
sorbed in stupidity and slavery, are incapable of being roused from 
their lethargic dream : like the companion of Ulysses, who, trans- 
formed into a frog, was contented to remain croaking in the marshes. 
But perhaps it would be of little use, and regarded by some as an 
error, were any attempts made to awaken a nation so corrupt and 
deo-enerate. Stagnant waters must not be agitated, lest their exha- 
lations should spread pestilence and desolation around. 

The Cadi is a species of lord chancellor, who has studied at the 
seminaries of Cairo and Constantinople ; where, as in our universities, 
the pandects of Justinian, which have been translated in Arabic, are 
read. This dignitary is sent to the regencies by the Grand Seignor, 
with the approbation of the Mufti. His power only extends to civil 
causes ; he cannot leave the city without permission from the Dey ; 
he is obliged to attend in court twice a day to take cognizance of 
all disputes; and in case of difficulties, recurs to the Dey or Casnedar : 
whenever his highness is disposed to decide a case without the inter- 
vention of the Cadi, the Ulemas are first consulted. 

There is one Cadi for the Turks, and another to decide between 
the Moors : both have a number of inferior agents under them, called 
Paips, who go on circuit in the country villages. 

The Cadi is referred to in all cases concerning property. But 
the only means of placing the latter out of the reach of the various 
fiscal impositions to which it is constantly exposed, is to make a 
waks of it, that is, bequeath it to a mosque, which only requires 
a small annual tribute. Those, however, who act as guardians to 
this kind of legacy, are the only persons who profit by so singular a 

As the Cadi's post is generally bought, it is not very strange that 
he should sell justice, which from its great value, ought not to be 


jriveu away for nothing. His decisions are alike, without pity or 
appeal ; and he is utterly insensible to the tears of the orphan or 
widow. An English gentleman having complained of a dreadful 
pain in the stomach, for which every remedy seemed inefiectual, the 
celebrated Lord Erskine told him, that he ought to be made attorney- 
general, as he would then have no bowels at all ! — I wonder of what 
kind should those of an Algerine attorney-general be « 

As the judges of Barbary are, without any exceptions, men of 
the grossest ignorance, justice in this country ought to be lepresented, 
as it was in Egypt, without a liead. Amongst a venal people, de- 
prived of public opinion or moral sentiment, where there is, in fact, 
no appeal, cliance must decide numberless cases ; while all are liable 
to be indiieuced by a bribe. That which is still more annoying, arises 
from the judges pronouncing sentence, jier fast et nefas, without the 
smallest regard to the interests of either party ; while, by the way of 
adding to the comfort of a litigant, he who cannot give clear and 
satisfactory reasons for appealing to the judgment seat, receives a 
good bastinadoing : nor is the successful opponent always spared, 
particularly if he has given much trouble to the wigs. Upon some 
occasions, when unable to get out of the labyrinth, created by 
numerous and contradictory witnesses, the cause is abruptly terminated 
by a liberal distribution of the bastinado to plaintiff and defendant, 
council and witnesses. It is indeed no less extraordinary than vexatious, 
that illiterate wretches should attempt to judge of the most important 
questions, on the slightest examinations. It is not in Barbary, as at 
the poet of Vaucluse's tribunal — 

Piacemi aver vostre questioui udite ; 
Ma pui tempo bisogna a tanta lite. 

The great Chancellor D'Aguesseau's son, used to tell his father, 
" I observe that although you know every thing, you decide on 
nothing !" " Yes," said the minister ; " and I perceive that it is quite 
the reverse with you." However, there are two sides to every question; 


and according to an old proverb, the devil is never so black as he is 
painted : so it is with the civil procedure of Alii;iers, in which there 
are some things even worthy of admiration. The head of the govern- 
ment is indefatigaljly devoted to the personal administration of the 
laws ; and seated in his hall of audience the greatest part of each day, 
hears every applicant, and if possible decides immediately. Howsoever 
this mode x)f the supreme chief's presiding might be inapplicable to 
European forms, it has most certainly the efiect of preventing those 
consequences of intrigue and partiality, which would otherwise render 
the situation of these people absolutely intolerable: at all events, they 
are satisfied in appearance ; and seeing the Dey officiate, is to them a 
suflicient proof of his protecting disposition. There is, besides, a much 
greater air of grandeur and ingenuousness in }>ublic decisions, while 
thev can alone give a character of perfect impartiality to justice. Thesole 
guide of law and interpretation being the Alcortm, this single volume, 
together with the necessary witnesses, saves the labour and frequent 
inutility of innumerable citations from obsolete books of jurisprudence; 
while common sense is not sacrificed in the worse than useless parade 
of antiquated form; and a cause cannot be obscured by a mass of 
unmeaning authorities. Every one is also called upon to defend him- 
self: and all things considered, if the party is endowed with a mode- 
rate share of penetration, it is extremely difficult to find a more able 
advocate, where the judges are not much better informed than the 
generality of the people. It is also worthy of remark, that the legal 
processes of Barbary occasion neither delay nor expences : by which, 
as in some countries, the litigants merely ol)tain the shells, while a 
third party comes in for the oyster. There is a curious story told of a 
porter stationed at the door of the lower regions, who, on hearing a 
loud knock, asked who it was ; and finding that the visitor happened 
to be a lawyer, replied in an angry tone, " it is impossible to be con- 
stantly opening the door for people of your calling, from whom we 
never have a moment's repose; can't you wait until there are three or 
four hundred, and then you can all come in together?" Dean Swift 


being asked, what side would be most likely to gain a cause if there 
was a trial between a priest and the devil : answered, " the latter 
most assuredly, as he would be sure to have all the gentlemen of the 
gown on his side !" These are, however, mere jests; which none but 
the very lowest dregs of the most dignified profession would take to 
themselves. They are far from being directed at individuals of any 
coinitry, much less those ornaments of human nahire and of the bar, 
who devote their honest and disinterested labours to the defence of the 
orphan and widow, the elucitlation of facts, anil discovery of truth. 
At the same time, iew will deny, that where the number of advocates 
is limited, and there is not a multiplicity of judges, such as of first 
and second instance courts of ajipeal and cassation,* together with the 

* It is scarcely possible to read these observations of Mr. Pananti, without calling to 
mind the boasted excellence of the Code Napoleon ; which, like every thing else that came 
from the "child and champion" of jacobinism, as he is very aptly called, has been 
panegyrised to satiety by its fulsome admirers, or rather servile flatterers. To save the 
trouble of quoting innumerable instances, wherein this famous code has struck at the very 
root of retributive justice, I need only instance the delay which has taken place in the extra- 
ordinary prosecution of Mr. Fualdes' murderers, than which a more crying instance of 
unnecessary protraction has probably never disgraced the legal annals of any country in 
the world ; nor can all the sophistry and chicane of the French bar, change public opinion 
on the subject. The unfortunate Fualdes was most inhumanly butchered on the I9th of 
March, 1817 : the assassins were taken into custody in April, and not brought to trial till 
August. When, however, the most irrefragable proofs of guilt were brought home to the 
accused, they were consequently condemned to suffer according to the enormity of their 
crime. But lo, and behold ! the Court of Cassation at Paris, is appealed to.^What does 
this most honourable junta do, but cancel the whole trial, merely for the sake of a few 
puerile and technical formalities omitted in the prosecution ; which, let it be well recol- 
lected, did not invalidate one particle of the main facts and allegations ! ! ! — Yet, singular 
to relate, a new trial, in toto, is about to take place at Albi, a departmental town, about 
eighty miles from where this assassination, exceeding in atrocity all that ever has hitherto 
come under public examination, was perpetrated ! I will do the French people the justice 
to add, that in this case, as in many others, they are certainly more sinned against than 
sinning. — For except with those who must have felt a personal interest in lengthening out 
the process, there has, from the onset, been but one sentiment entertained on the subject 


almost innumerable dependants and followers of legal establishments 
in Europe : there is not only much less inducement for going to law, 
but infinitely fewer people precipitated into ruin by protracted litiga- 
tion. To those who have, in more civilized coinitries, sutFered the 
" law's delay" to its full extent, I doubt whether the Algerine system 
would not be almost preferable : it certainly has the merit of amazing 
celerity, which cannot fail to be attended with proportionate satisfac- 
tion in nine cases out of ten. Justice has sometimes been represented 
with heels of lead, but it should not crawl like a snail. What a 
dreadful source of vexation is not that of waiting the decision of some 
courts i How much more conducive to the interest of society, were 
it possible to fix a more speedy and determinate period for the termi- 
nation of legal questions I Surely any arrangement on this important 
subject, would be far better than those delays and appeals, which 
have so frequently ended in redvicing families to beggary I 

In a Barbary suit, there is really no time given for the operation 
of intrigue or corruption ; as the longest trial seldom exceeds above a 
few hours, and even this extent is rarely allowed. There is also 
another great source of dangerous influence banished from their juris- 
prudence ; that of scarcely ever suffering women to appear in courts 
of justice : so tliat, like the courtezan of old, who artfully allowed 
her veil to fall before the Areopagus, the Moorish ladies cannot very 
easih' bring iheir charms into the tìeld of justice in Barbary. My 
friend, the Cadi Moctaleb Salame, used to say, that to ensure perfect 

throughout France. Indeed the sensation it created, and continues to create, is highly 
honourable to the national character. How inexpressibly dreadful it must be to the family 
of poor Fualdes, but more particularly his son, whose eloquent appeal to the court at 
Rhodez, drew tears from every one present, — to be thus exposed to the danger of his 
father's murderers being once more enabled to contaminate society ! The trial is full of dra- 
matic horror and fearful interest. It is well worthy the attention of those who feel anxious to 
simplify modern jurisprudence, and will be a lasting monument of how much the revolu- 
tionary code-makers have left to be achieved by their more constitutional successors. — Ed. 


impartiality, all judges should be eunuchs. Although I feel, that it 
would be rather unpopular to propose such a measure in Europe, yet 
the project certainly merits some consideration : nor shall I attempt to 
panegyrize the African mode of belabouring the defendant, plaintiff", 
and council with the bastinado ; but the Cadi Moctaleb Salame told 
me, we should obviate a thousand disputes, which are daily arising 
from the cavilling spirit of litigation so prevalent amongst us, if we 
could, by any means, impress the parties concerned, that a sound 
drubbing was to precede the moment of trial : he added, that there 
would be a most sensible diminution of briefs, were it once settled, 
that when a frivolous, or unnecessary cause was attempted to be brought 
into court, four or five dozen bastinadoes were laid on the whole party ; 
not forgetting clerks, constables, warders, &c. — Such, at least, was the 
opinion of Moctaleb Salame. 

Public justice in Barbary is endowed with two very essential 
qualities : it is prompt and inevitable. The guilty very rarely escapes 
punishment ; and all are obliged to assist in the execution of the 
laws. Homicide is invariably punished with death. Thieves, imme- 
diately after conviction, lose the right hand, which is slung over the 
shoulder ; they are then placed on an ass, and carried round the city, 
preceded by a herald, who cries, " thus are thieves punished.'' It 
frequently happens, that the culprit himself is obliged to explain the 
cause of his chastisement. If a Christian or Jew is discovered to be 
rather too intimate with a 3Iahometan woman, he is invariably con- 
demned to die ; but previous to conviction, it is absolutely necessary 
thathebetakeninj^rt(Or«rt/i delicto ; otherwise, if there is no commotion 
amongst the people, the otficers of justice are satisfied with inflicting 
a good bastinadoing. The lady is paraded round the country on an 
ass, with her face uncovered, and turned towards the tail. This 
ceremony over, she is put into a sack and thrown into the sea ; the 
agents and abettors, if there be any, undergo a punishment exactly 
similar to that of the real delinquents. For making false keys, or 
forging the hand-writing of another. 


hand, whicli is sometimes, by way of favour, commuted for tl»e left 
The seditious, and those detected in a conspiracy, are strangled. 
Fraudulent bankrupts, if Europeans, suffer strani^ling- by the hand: 
if Moors, they are hung ; while Jews are burnt. Any person refusing 
to settle with a creditor, is obliged to pay double the amount of his 
debt : if, however, the claim is not properly invalidated, the aggrieved 
party is entitled to the sum he would have paid, in the event of con- 
viction. Debtors are imprisoned, and their goods sold ; the residue 
of what they yield, after settling all demands, being scrupulously 
restored to the owner ; but he is not liberated till a hundred and one 
days after his arrest; nor does he get out of the hands of justice 
without a smart specimen of the bastinado. When a creditor is dis- 
posed to persecute any one who owes him money, he may prolong the 
imprisonment by only demanding a part of his debt at a time, and suing 
for another at the expiration of the hundred and one days. 

Each district is made responsible for any robbery committed within 
its limits : this accounts for the very few thefts known in Barbary, as 
every one is continually on the alert to prevent them, it also renders 
travelling extremely safe. In the markets and shops, the prices of bread 
and vegetables are regularly fixed ; the execution of this law forms a 
part of the Dey's oath when invested with the caftan. Ibrahim Dey, 
having once dressed himself in the attire of a servant, took a slave, 
and went to a shop, of which the proprietor had the credit of not 
being over and above conscientious in selling his goods. On asking 
to buy some bread and rice, Ibrahim told the shopkeeper, that they 
were the slaves of a rich Moor whom he named, and had just come 
from the country to pass a few hours at a neighbouring tavern ; 
requesting him, at the same time, not to divulge the circumstance to 
their master. The trader, knowing how much it was their interest to 
conceal it, felt himself justified in charging double price for what 
they bought. From thence, the Dey returned to the palace, and 
having mounted his throne, the slave appeared before him as the 
shopkeeper's accuser ; there was not much difficulty in convicting the 


latter of extortion and usury ; which was instantly followed by his 
being sent to the gallows. 

If a Christian is convicted of the foregoing crime, his head 
is cut off by a Turk : the latter, when guilty of it, is served in 
a similar way by one of the Christian slaves : a Jew, as in other 
capital convictions, is given up to the populace, to form a species of 
auto da fe ; while the Moors are suspended from the battlements of 
the city. 

The Dey's personal attendance, and constant practice of pro- 
nouncing sentence himself, has a wonderful effect on repressing crimes, 
while it tends most materially to satisfy the people, and maintain public 
ranquillity. It is indeed an important truth, that the people are 
contented in all countries, if you can but succeed in convincing them, 
that the higher authorities are sincerely interested in their happiness. 
Cheban ]Jey, observing a seaman eating something, which he kept 
concealed under his bernousse, asked what it was i The man told his 
highness, they were plumbs, which he had purchased from a native of 
Marseilles : on this the Dey rejoined, " how could you buy such fine 
iTuitI If you can afford to get plumbs, you would surely procure 
bread in preference, therefore you must have stolen them : if they 
were bought, you deserve a hundred blows of the bastinado, for having 
gone beyond your means, and made your family suffer, merely for 
the sake of gratifying your own gluttony." Soon after the merchant 
was sent for, and on coming before Cheban, the latter asked him, 
" what he had gained by his plumbs V the Marseillois replied, " that 
he got very little, and had besides one of the finest baskets of them 
stolen." " Would you know the basket again?" said the Dev. " I 
should, please your highness," was the answer, and on producing 
that found on the sailor, he recognized it as his own. The culprit 
was then ordered to receive five hundred bastinadoes for the theft ; 
and afterwards condemned to be hung, for having dared to tell a lie 
to his master. 

But if African justice be vigilant, prompt and infallible, it is 

T T 2 

324 POLICE. 

miaccompanied by those admirable and necessaiy companions, mercy 
and compassion : neither of these divine virtues belong to the 
Mahometan character; and the Mufti as well as Cadi, place their 
chief glory in the most rigorous interpretation of the laws, upon 
which they are called to decide. The punishments of Barbary 
have often been compared to those of China, which they fully ecjual 
in severity : the bastinado is incessantly resorted to, and on the most 
trifling occasion ; while some malefactors are thrown from the walls 
on sharp iron spikes, where they are suffered to remain for whole days, 
exhibiting a frightful and calamitous spectacle of human misery. 
Whoever is detected in concealing an accused person, no matter 
whether he is a relative or friend, the offender shares the same fate 
as the guilty person. The voice of pity must, in fact, be totally 
extinguished in this country, and every tender tie broken asunder. 
The Dey has only to make a sign with his hand, and heads are severed 
by the hundred. The prompt mode of execution has almost the instan- 
taneous celerity of lightning. What \ country must that be, wherein 
violence and despotism reign without control ; where, amidst universal 
degradation, nothing is heard but the voice of despair, and clanking 
of chains? The great Chatham once observed, " that a government 
stripped of liberal institutions, and composed of uneducated men, 
without honour, integrity, or virtue, is one of the most horrid and 
disgusting spectacles which can present itself to the contemplation of 
a civilized being." 

Great care is taken to preserve order and tranc^uillity in the 
Algerine capital, of which the police is at least fully equal to the object 
in view. Besides a patrole, that goes round the city at stated 
intervals, there are persons to watch over the shops and store- 
houses : these are responsible for whatever may occur, and receive 
a trifling compensation from the house-keepers for their trouble. 
During market days, bands of soldiers visit the different quarters 
of llie city ; and the Mezovard is constantly on the qui vive at 
night, going wherever there is any tumult, and superintending the 

POLICE. 325 

conduct of prostitutes, who are the cliief sources of nightly irregu- 
larities in Algiers, as well as some other capitals. The Dey, who 
must be minutely informed of all that occurs, receives this officer's 
report every morning. A police so extremely inquisitive as the 
above, is, no doubt, troublesome to the people in many respects : 
while it displays a degree of curiosity unworthy a more enlightened 
government. The eagle will recommend its young to fix their regards 
on the sun, and not deign to notice the insects who crawl along 
in the dust: there are, however, many of the latter, but few of the 

As connected with the police department, there is perhaps 
nothing so repulsive, in a government which professes to execute 
justice without the outward shew of military force, as the necessity 
it seems to be under, of recmring to the services of that degraded 
race; who, not sufficiently courageous to assassinate, are glad to enlist 
under the protital>le banners of espionage ; where they are enabled 
to " smile and betray with impunity." Of this ver^-^ honourable class, 
there is a prodigious number in Algiers; where even the very 
walls have ears, and the most innocent expressions are construed 
into " treasons, stratagems, and broils." I do not know, whether 
it was not in this city, that a man being asked what o'clock 
it was; turned ronnd, with looks full of fear and apprehension, 
and then whisi>ered in a low tone, " it is half past ten, but don't 
say I told you so !" 

The Dey cannot bear to be ignorant of what is going on ; 
and would even like to read the inmost thoughts of his subjects; 
because he well knows, that the people hold him in detestation; 
while his person is surrounded by plots and machinations. On 
this account, there is no precaution omitted, or artifice spared to 
save his person, and preserve his slippery power. " I am hated, 
because they fear me," says the tyrant : the virtuous and good prince 
replies, " they love me : what have I to fearl" 



Financial éiystem of Algiers. — Various Modes of raising Money. — Hints to 
Modern Financiers. — 77^6 Hasena, or public Treasury. — Bejlections on the 
Advantages of hoarding. — Different Sources of the Dey's Revenue. — His 
praiseworthy Forbearance. —Anecdote of a Persian Prince. — Thoughts on 
the Use of Public Money. — Military Force of Algiers. — Tlie Olduck, and 
Ortes. — Zouavi. — The Aga. — His Functions, and Mode of being replaced. — 
Account of the Aga del Campo, and Caia. — Mode of rewarding the Ser- 
vices of old Officers in Algiers. — Their Privileges. — Boulouc Baahas, and 
Vekilardi. — -Method of obtaining Rank and Promotion under the Algerine 
Government. — Cursory Ideas on the Subject of Military Regulations in all 
Countries. — Quarters and Allowance of the Soldiery. — Their Pay. — Punc- 
tuality with which the Arrears are paid. — Ceremony observed on these 
Occasions. — Gradual Increase of the Soldier's Remuneration. — Different 
Modes of adding to it, and his Prospect of future Repose. — Account of the 
Algerine Army. — By whom composed. — Bedouin Cavalry. — Annual Operations 
to collect the Tribute, plunder the Tribes, ó(c. — Punishments awarded by 
the Caia. — Order of the March. — General Treatment of the Soldiery. — Its 
Effects. — Qualities of the Dey^s Army. — Its Operations left to the Direction 
of the General. — Councils of War. — Mode of Encamping, and Order of 
Battle. — Method of attacking, and re-forming when put into disorder. — 
General Character of the Algerine Soldiers. — Anecdote of an Italian Chief. 
— Character of the Turkish Militia. — Their Power over the Moorish Popu- 
lation. — Reflections. — Allusion to the Victories of Cheban Dey. — Charac- 
teristics of the Janizaries. — The various Advantages enjoyed by them over 
other Soldiers of Fortune. 

" I SHOULD like," said Mr. Rigby to Charles Fox, " in order 
that we might be able the more easily to read men's minds, if every 
one's heart had a window." " Aye, and to lay a tax on it, perhaps," 


said the statesman. Although the linancial system of Barbary 
cannot be enriched by an imposition of the above nature, the political 
economists of Algiers would most willingly avail themselves of an 
equally improbable source of taxation, \\as any person to take the 
trouble of persuading them of its efficacy. Ever ready to obtain 
money by violence and extortion, the African financier is frequently 
prevented from levying direct and regular imposts, owing to his 
ignorance of those refined calculations and innumerable subdivisions, 
which a European chancellor of the exchecpier finds so very convenient. 
What some people call the art of raising, is, however, much better 
managed in Algiers than in many other places : if, for instance, the 
Dey is rather hard pushed, he has merely to give directions for the 
strangling of two or three governors, and then seize their treasures ; 
decapitating a few rich Moors, whose property may be also confiscated ; 
he can next order an irruption of the Turks amongst the Bedouins 
and independent Kaids ; or declare war against some of the weaker 
European states ; and if not pacified by a well-timed tribute and 
present, his cruisers will not be long in replenishing^ the treasury. 
The last resource of his highness is generally found in one of those 
intolerable oppressions called the Avarcas. 

The Moors, whose predominant passion is an inordinate love of 
money, would resist the most trifling addition to those imposts 
already established on merchandize, or the necessaries of life ; while 
they look with apparent indifference on the numerous oppressions and 
confiscations, practised towards individuals : the first being considered 
as the greatest vexations, while the second are regarded as no more 
than acts of temporary rigour, and proofs of legitimate authority. 
Amongst the more humane and civilized governments of Europe, it 
is but fair to draw a few drops of blood from each member of the 
community ; but no one likes to be skinned alive, by tax-gatherers, 
as in Africa; where any person' who attracts the rapacious chief's 
attention, is not only deprived of all his property, but generally 


thrown into a dungeon and loaded with chains into the bargain. It 
is strange, however, that with so much less reason, the people of 
Barbary should bear their weight of taxation, without half the 
complaints we are daily in the habit of hearing in Christian countries, 
where it is the constant source of weeping and gnashing of teeth. 
Sir Robert Walpole having once received a proposal to lay a tax on 
dogs : " No, no!" said the minister: " if I did that, I should have 
every dog in the kingdom barking at me as I went along !" But what 
is a financier to do, when every source of legitimate taxation is 
exhausted i He may certainly have recourse to the proposition which 
was once made, to levy a general tax upon rogues : which accord- 
ing to the projector's opinion, would not only be the most productive 
hitherto adopted ; but have the double advantage of very few people 
being able to evade it : while such an equitable impost must, of 
all others, be least calculated to excite public dissatisfaction. 

The despots of Barbary are sole proprietors of that, which is 
in other countries, the property of the state. In Europe, the old 
maxim of " get money, honestly if you can ; but at all events, get 
money !" is a little qualified ; and from long habit, has passed into a 
standard rule of life : whereas the Dey of Algiers would most 
assuredly reject all but the two first words of it; his policy being to 
collect the needful, and take good care of it when once in his posses- 
sion. This accounts for the amazing extent of the treasures he is 
said to have amassed. It has long been a question with writers on 
political economy, Mhether the precious metals are more advan- 
tageously employed, when in constant circulation, than that a govern- 
ment should keep funds, that would enable it to meet any emergency 
that arose, without having recourse to borrowing at a heavy interest ; 
which always leads to increased taxation I Many great men, and 
amongst the rest, Sixtus V. Henry IV. of France, and Frederick of 
Prussia, were of the latter opinion ; while another class of politicians 
thought otherwise on the subject. No one can doubt, but that a well 


stored coffer must be highly beneficial, and always convenient : it 
must, however, belong to the nation ; and not be left to the capricious 
wants of the prince, or voluptuous luxuries of a court ; if it is 
appropriated to the necessities of the state, and not to calm the 
apprehensions of a man who governs; if proportioned to the 
revenues and general means of the country, and accumulated by 
wise measures of economy, proceeding from those imposts, which 
are placed on abundance and luxury, and liot the result of rapacious 
avarice and insatiable avidity. 

When an extraordinary or unlocked for emergency occurs at 
Algiers, the Dey, instead of applying to his own coffers, has immediate 
recourse to a new and oppressive contribution. His highness never 
dreams of building a ship, or constructing any works of public utility, 
with the money he has thus wrung from the vitals of his people. The 
only object a Dey of Algiers has, in collecting a treasure, arises from 
the hope of being enabled to retire with it, in the event of a sudden 
tempest, which might endanger his power or life. Were these chiefs 
more just and beneficent, they would neither have occasion to hoard 
or conceal their treasures. A prince who is beloved by his subjects, 
is always rich, and can never want money. It being asked of the 
good Henry IV. how much France yielded him ? " Whatever I 
like," answered his majesty. " How can that be, Sirel" was rejoined: 
" because in possessing the hearts of my people, I can at any time 
connnand their money :" was the patriot monarch's reply. 

The ordinary imposts of Algiers consist of a tenth in kind on 
all the natural productions of the soil : this is levied under the inspec- 
tion of experienced persons, who are regularly sent round the country 
at harvest time. Tribute paid by the Berberi, and Bedouin tribes ; 
projierty left by those who die without inheritors; duty of twelve and 
a half per cent, paid on all imports, and two and a half on exports ; 
the port charge of twenty dollars on each ves.sel that anchors in the 
bays or moles of the regency ; price of the licences, called Teschera, 
accorded for permission to export com, oil, or live stock ; the sale of 

V V 


salt ; profits accruing from piracy ; presents, and tributes paid by 
European powers ; and the usanza, or gratuitous bribes, in the first 
instance, but so extremely palatable to the conscientious ministers of 
Barbary, that once received, they are never relinquished afterwards. 
There is, however, much to admire in the frugal habits of an 
Algerine chief, and his extraordinary forbearance from dipping into 
the treasures of the state. The economy of princes, is the greatest 
favour they can bestow on their people. If courtiers enjoy the 
sovereign's liberality, the people profit by his refusals. A prince of 
Korazan, remarkable for the most unbounded generosity, having 
become king of Persia, immediately changed his previously extrava- 
gant mode of living ; and besides various economical reforms in bis 
household, not only ceased to keep so splendid a court, but consi- 
derably diminished the number of his donations to poets, painters, 
and musicians: the auditors, treasurers, and chamberlains who fattened 
on the former credulity of iheir master, having thrown out some hints 
of dissatisfaction at the new arrangements, received the following 
memorable reply from his majesty : " It was my own property, of 
which I lately disposed so freely ; but I am now dispensing that of 
my subjects !" The treasure of the state, says La Beaumelle, was at 
one time called répargne, to lay up or save ; but since it has been 
so profusely expended, we have become ashamed of that homely 
title: hence its present one, of tresor royal ! Economy is praise- 
worthy, if for no other reason, than its adoption afixuding us the best 
means of being liberal to those who may want our assistance ; but as 
a fine writer has observed, in speaking of the application of public 
money, the taxes that princes take from their jjeople, ought to 
resemble the vapours which are attracted from our soil by the god 
of day, for the purpose of being again distributed in refreshing 

The Algerine militia, which has so much influence on its political 
destinies, is divided into regiments, or rather bands, called Oldacks, 
and Ortes, into which none but Turks are admitted. The Moorish 


armed force is styled Zowak, or Zouavi, and commanded by Turkislj 
officers ; an organization not unlike that of the Bengal Sepoys. 

The Aga is commander in chief of the troops stationed at the 
capital, the keys of which are brought to him every night; while 
it is also his province to issue all orders, relative to military discipline, 
the security of fortresses, &c. His continuance in office does not 
exceed two moons; for which he receives two thousand patacha chicha, 
and has a good table kept for himself, as well as those friends he may- 
choose to invite, during his administration. The Aga is not permitted 
to keep either wives or children where he resides : he is always on 
horsel)ack when abroad, and preceded by two Chiaux, who cry out, 
" make way : behold the Aga !" This office is considered as one of 
repose, and is consequently, in most cases, given to old servants who 
have deserved well of the state. By the very judicious method 
obsei-ved in replacing the Aga every two months, either by a lias 
Bacha, or one of the senior officers of the Oldacks, a spirit of emula- 
tion and hope of advancement is excited amongst the soldiery, while 
it creates a great increase of zeal, without giving rise to that extreme 
discontent which is generated in more civilized countries by abuse 
of patronage, and the too frequent preference given to hereditary 
claims, or private favour, over merit and length of service. When 
an officer is superseded in Barbary, he does not thereby forfeit either 
his hopes or claims to another appointment : it is, on the contrary, an 
additional inducement for the superior to profit, whenever a favour- 
able opportunity presents itself, by those services which have already 
proved useful to the community. 

The Aga del Campo, of the field, commands the army when 
employed in active service : his en second, is called Boulouc Basha, 
or Caia. The Aga, or as he is sometimes styled, Caia del Campo, 
presides at the general meetings of militaiy men, held opposite the 
Dey's palace. Those who have retired from this distinguished office, 
owing either to old age or ill health, are honoured with the title of 
Aga Mezouli : they generally enjoy a large share of popular esteem, 

u u 2 


and can appear in the divan, although unqualified to vote. In all 
affairs of importance, the Dey also avails himself of their wisdom 
and experience. Nothing is more satisfactory to the youthful candi- 
date for military glory, than the flattering prospect of independent 
and reverenced old age ; when the gratitude of his country is more 
than a reward for all his toils and sufferings. 

The inferior Boulouc Bashas, are employed as commanders of 
regiments, and governors of fortresses ; they also administer justice 
in the corps which may be under their command: they are principally 
distinguished by a high cap, which is marked with a red cipher. 
The Oldack Bashas, are those who command the Zouavi : these 
officers are known by a leather belt worn across the shoulder : the 
purveyors are called Vekilardi ; and, as may be readily conceived, are 
not the richest part of an Algerine army. 

People do not arrive at the highest posts in the militia, either by 
sudden preferment, money, or protection ; but by age and service. 
Whenever a vacancy occurs, the oldest officer is invariably appointed 
to occupy it ; while the next in seiiiority takes his place. Thus, by 
a common act of justice, and equity of arrangement, which could 
hardly be expected in the military regulations of a barbarous govern- 
ment, the promotion or removal of a single person, enables it to 
move every officer of a corps up one step, at the same time ; without 
that confusion, clashing of interests, and discontent, which aditferent 
system must inevitably produce; not to mention its influence on the 
physical efficacy of military bodies. 

It cannot certainly be denied, that the above mode of advance- 
ment may have the effect of impeding the career of those individuals, 
whose characters are marked by a greater share of ambition, and 
more enterprising talents than their less ardent companions ; but 
then, it is the surest bar to that spirit of party, and disposition to 
cabal, which so frequently destroys the harmony of European corps ; 
often rendering them, the very focus of insubordination and tumult. 
Those who advocate the paramount importance of advancing younger 


men to military rank, have, while acknowledging the superior claims 
of more experienced public servants, contended, that however important 
a strict observance of gradual promotion might be in a period of 
peace, it would be far from calculated to promote the national interests 
in time of war ; when the necessary degree of courage, resolution and 
enterprize, is most likely to be found in the young soldier. They 
allow, that an old general may have more knowledge and experience; 
but maintain the necessity of bringing forward that fearless courage, 
blended with presence of mind, and contempt of danger, which more 
generally distinguish the youthful candidate, and are frequently the 
forerunners of important results and brilliant successes; which the 
slow and calculating maxims of old age, jealous of risking its repu- 
tation, is seldom found to achieve. A young officer of grenadiers, 
who had distinguished himself, being once sent to announce a great 
victory to his sovereign, solicited the cross of St. Louis, as a reward 
for his services and mission : to this the king observed, that he was too 
young ; upon which, the youthful hero replied, " but. Sire, I request 
your majesty to recollect, that not one of our corps has yet arrived 
at the age of forty." Thus it is, that arguments are always found for 
and against those subjects, which at first may appear extremely simple 
and incapable of controversy : for my own part, I am led to imagine, 
that where strict justice and impartiality, is the undeviating rule of 
action with governments, as it inevitably should be, the interests of 
old and experienced officers, may be very easily consulted, without 
damping the ardour, or preventing the advancement of those, whose 
extraordinary merit may require immediate honours and rewards. If, 
however, this enquiry has extended to a more minute examination of 
facts, it would, I have no doubt, be found, that the number of persons 
who are induced to complain of the too speedy advancement of young 
officers, bears a very insignificant proportion to those who lament that 
preference which they derive, not from personal merit or length of 
service, but the very inadequate qualifications of interest and fortune. 
Those soldiers who are not married, live together in a large and 


commodious banack : they are well fed by the government, and have 
Christian slaves to attend them : each man is allowed four small loaves, 
which is more than he can consume, together with the privilege 
of purchasing meat at a third lower than the market price : if he 
marries, he not only loses the benefit of the quarters, but also that of 
buying his meat at a cheaper rate, besides other advantages. These 
regulations are imposed by the government, with a view of preventing 
too close an union between the foreign soldiers and natives, whom it 
is at present necessary to keep in the lowest state of subjection. 

The pay of the Algerine soldiery is one of the principal objects 
in the administration of government, being solemnly guaranteed by 
the Dey, on ascending the throne. The time of settling takes place 
every two months, when the arrears are paid up with the most scru- 
pulous exactness : this ceremony is attended to by his highness, and the 
principal officers of the divan. Everyman receives his pay in person: 
this is either of gold or silver : each individual being called by name, 
if any person be absent, he may get it the next time ; but is repri- 
manded for not being present on the former day. No officer in the 
state, from the Dey downwards, has any other fixed salary, than that 
of the common soldier at its highest maximum, except the Aga of 
the militia, and this only continues during the two mouths he is in 
office. The soldier's pay is exceedingly small at first, but increases 
fifty aspri every year, at the election of a new chief, or announce- 
ment of a great victory : by this means, the degree of remuneration 
goes on progressively for twelve or thirteen years, when there is no 
farther advance : arriving at this period of service, it is called paga 
chiusa, closed pay ; because it does not admit of any greater increase. 
Having obtained the rank of Mezoul Agà, the Turkish Janizaries 
enjoy this to the end of their days ; but he who abandons the service 
without sufficient reason, not only loses his pay, but the esteem of 
his companions. 

When pay-day arrives, all the officers assemble in the hall of the 
divan, the soldiers remaining in the court : the principal Aga having 


taken his seat to preside, the Dey, as first soklier of the republic, 
stands up on one side, and receives his pay like another : his only 
privilege being that of having a double proportion, and being paid 
first : after paying his highness, the Aga calls all the rest, who 
are paid in regular rotation, according to their age and length 
of service; the Caiti, or youngest soldier's pay, amounts to no 
more than four saimi, or four hundred and six aspri, every two 
months; while the oldest in service receive a number of aspri, which 
are equivalent to about four sequins of our money .« It is by such 
a mode of payment, that an Algerine chief is enabled to keep up a 
large military force, with little more than two hundred thousand 
piastres a year :t so tliat in a country whose government could not 
exist one hour without an armed force, its regular payment has neither 
the effect of absorbing the revenues of the state, nor endangering the 
body politic. 

The soldiery, particularly those who fill the higher offices, enjoy 
a variety of pecuniary advantages Ijesides their pay : all participate 
in the distribution of prize-money ; they also gain by plunder during 
their predatory incursions to the interior : in addition to these, they 
are at libeity to follow any trade, embark on board corsairs, or 
devote themselves to commercial pursuits ; it being merely required 
that they shall be ready to serve when called upon. Allien exhausted 
by old age or ill health, the Algerine soldier retains his pay, and is 
suffered quietly to pass the remainder of his days in tranquil retire- 
ment. The bustle and fatigue of early life, sit comparatively light 
on the mind, when thus assured of future repose and provision. 

The Turks, who form the great sinew of the Algerine army, 
seldom exceed fifteen thousand ; the corps of Chiloulis and Zouavi, 
increase it many more ; while the Dey's call to the Bedouins, brings 
in all those of the latter, whose sheiks happen to be well affected 

* About two pounds. 
1" Forty thousand pounds. 


towards his highness : tliese are always mounted, carrying a long 
lance, which, together with their horse, is managed as dexterously 
as those of the Scythians and Parthians of old. On occasions of 
great emergency, it is supposed that a popular chief could bring an 
army of one hundred and twenty tliousand men into the field. 
During the late expedition against Tunis, the Algerine army amounted 
to nearly half that number. 

In the spring of each year, three separate corps leave the capital, 
for the purpose of collecting the tribute, plundering the tribes, and 
increasing the territory of the Dey. In passing through the difterent 
provinces they are joined l^y a body of volunteers from each. On 
quitting Algiers, his highness appoints an Aga to command each 
corps, which is also accompanied by a Caia to administer justice: as 
no officer can chastise a soldier, before sentence is pronounced by him, 
he is attended by two of the Chiaux, who execute all punishments. 

The Algerine soldiery march on foot, as also their officers, with 
the exception of the Aga and Caia. In marching, the army is not 
divided into battalions or squadrons, but tents ; each large one con- 
taining twenty men. The mules and horses remain tied outside, while 
the baggage and provisions are deposited within. There are Moorish 
guides for the horses, of which a certain number is allowed to each 
tent, to carry the baggage and other necessaries. Every man carries 
a day's provision about his person. The sick and wounded are 
placed on mules ; and fresh relays of horses always follow, to replace 
those which fall from over fatigue or other causes. The cavalry is 
distributed in like order, and attended by a proportionate increase 
of attendants. 

The soldiers are treated with a considerable degree of mildness, 
beingnever struckbyany of the inferior officers, which practice is known 
to have the effect of not only impairing a man's physical powers, but 
destroying his spirit. By this mode, even the soldiers of a despotism like 
that of Algiers, are something more than the "machine with a musket 
in his hand :" in which light the philosophic Frederick of Prussia 


was pleased to consider one of his soldiers ! Notwithstanding the 
above, a very rigorous discipline is maintained : if any one gives 
himself up to pillage, before the action is over, he is punished with 
the utmost severity : the Algerine soldiery are also very obedient, 
not so much through fear of chastisement, as a fondness for their 
calling ; they also possess an esprit de corps, which in them is equi- 
valent to patriotism. Independent of being excellent marksmen, 
they are brave and resolute in battle ; nor has their cavalry lost any 
thing of its ancient spirit, so warmly panegjTized by the Roman 
historians. It is, however, to be observed, that if the enemy resist their 
first charge, or surround them by an unexpected and rapid move- 
ment, they are soon thrown into confusion, AAithout the power of 
rallying. The armies of Barbary are also extremely ill provided with, 
and still worse served in their artillery; and owing to the quantity of 
baggage, women and children, cattle, &c. which follow in their 
train, the march is constantly retarded. Totally ignorant of jjroviding 
for winter quarters, the season no sooner changes, than all are anxious 
to return home: this inclination gives rise to mutiny and tumult; 
which fiequently ends in the decapitation of their unfortunate chiefs, 
as practised by the Punic legions of former days. 

Whenever an Algerine force is in the field, its operations are not 
influencetl or cramped by councils of war, and previous arrangements ; 
all being left to the general's discrimination and judgment, to act 
according to the circumstances which may arise, in the course of the 
campaign. The best laid plans which are formed to regulate the 
conduct of an army, can never be equal to meet all the exigencies 
which occur on service ; when success must eventually depend on 
the advantages an able general may take of local circumstances. 
The celebrated La Bourdonnaye, being asked how he managed his 
private concerns so Avell, while his Indian campaigns turned out so 
disastrously ; answered, " because I was guided by my own judgment 
in the fonner; while it was necessary to follow the instructions 
received from the directors, in managing the latter." 

X X 


In marching-, an Algerine army observes the following order: 
the van-guard is composed of a large portion of the infantry, with a 
squadron of cavalry on each flank, but ratlier behind : the remainder 
forms two files, one of which marches on each side of the baggage : 
two other bodies of horse, attend the flanks of this division : the 
rear-guard seldom consists of more than a few hundred men : in forming 
an encampment the tents are pitched in a line ; when desirous of 
preparing for battle, the baggage and superfluous followers are 
detached to a convenient spot, and protected by a suitable guard : a 
corps of infantiy forms the front line ; while the flanks are composed 
of cavalry, and the reserve is ready to act whenever occasion requires. 
If the van-guard is routed, or put into disorder, the cavalry and 
rear-guard form a compact body towards the centre; by which means, 
it is obliged to re-form, and the vacancies are filled up. Their mode 
of attack is principally distinguished by impetuosity and violence ; 
they are, at the same time, extremely well calculated for taking an 
enemy by surprize; and, if successiul in a first attack, become truly 
formidable ; but once repulsed, it is very difficult to bring them back 
to another charge. Soldiers, who have an implicit faith in predesti- 
nation, are easily discouraged ; and bravery is of little use, where this 
feeling takes possession of the mind. With all these disadvantages, 
the Algerine soldiery are strongly imbued with a military spirit; war 
is their ruling passion ; and they have not hitherto, found much diffi- 
culty in gratifying their predominant wishes : without war, they must 
cease to exist; like the organized banditti, who devastated Italy 
during the early periods of Italian history. A mendicant friar meeting 
one of their celebrated chiefs, Giovanni Aguto, repeated the usual 
salutation of " God give you peace!" " And may he take away 
your alms," replied the captain. " Why do you wish me so much ill- 
luck I" rejoined the priest. "And why," answered Giovanni, "do 
you call upon Heaven to send me peace ; when you know, that I 
have quite as much need of war, as you have of charity 1" 

Having, in a former chapter, taken occasion to notice the extraor- 


dinary state of subjection and servitude, in which twelve or fourteen 
thousand Turkish adventurers are enabled to keep a population of 
several millions, it now remains to offer a few remarks on some of 
the causes which contribute to this singular fact. The ground-work 
of the Janizary's influence is laid in his vigilance and activity ; which 
are greatly aided by a constant recollection of the terrible examples 
already made of those Moors, who may have dared to raise a hand, 
or express dissatisfaction against the iron sway of their oppressors. 
Knowing that the slightest efforts at resistance, or most trifling 
murmur of disapprobation, is suflicient to involve the lives and fortunes 
of a whole family, the Moorish father never fails to inculcate the 
necessity of the most passive silence and implicit obedience into the 
minds of all his children, even from their earliest infancy. The 
wonderful power which a comparatively small military force, fre- 
quently obtains over a disunited, vitiated, and indolent people, is by 
no means a new phenomenon in the history of nations. A Roman 
legion was suflicient to retain the whole Cyrenaica, from Berenice to 
the De>erts of the Thebaid. A handful of soldiers, under the enter- 
prizing Cortez, and sanguinary Pizarro, destroyed the throne of the 
Incas, and succeeded in conquering the vast empire of Athaliba and 
Montezuma. A few Norman knights effected the conquest of Sicily. 
Brandenburgh and Prussia suffered themselves to be governed by 
some hundred half civilized knights of the Teutonic order. Eight 
thousand Mamalukes dominate over the fertile plains of Egypt. 
Even the great dynasty of Fohi was overturned by an inconsiderable 
banditti ; which in placing another family on its throne, gave rise to 
the longest royal succession ever known in Asia. It would appear, 
that the Janizaries of Barbary have imbibed a large share of that 
self-impo; tance and arrogant spirit, which has enabled their prede- 
cessors in the art of pillage and oppression, to impose on the fatal 
ignorance, and baleful credulity of other nations. Full of anima- 
tion and vigour, the Turkish soldier seems born to command. At the 
earliest periods of this regency's history, a few thousand well 

X X 2 


directed Janizaries were enabled to make the most terrible incursions 
into the territories of Tunis and Morocco. More recently, and during 
the war carried on by the ferocious Muley Ishmael against Cheban 
Dey, the latter went forth to meet him, with only six thousand Turks, 
and four thousand Moors ; and gained a tremendous victory over the 
enemy, whose army amounted to seventy thousand men. The Mo- 
rocco chief was on this occasion not only obliged to sue for peace, 
but to send his own son to Algiers with rich presents, as one of the 
conditions by which it was granted. At another time, when Cheban 
suspected that there was a secret understanding between the Bey of 
Tunis and Muley Ishmael, he marched against Mehemed Bey with 
three thousand Turks, and fifteen hundred Moors ; and although his 
opponent was strongly encamped with a force of twenty thousand 
horse and foot, it was carried by assault, Tunis taken, and Bencho- 
quer, a rival chief, placed on Mehemed's throne, the former becoming 
a tributary of Algiers. After this brilliant expedition, Cheban returned 
to his capital, followed by two thousand camels laden with the richest 
booty. The various memorable attacks made on Oran, while in pos- 
session of the Spaniards, furnish another proof of what the Janizaries 
were capable in former days. 

It must be confessed, that if on the one hand these soldiers of 
fortune are neither improved by study or education, when elevated to 
power or command, they contrive to assume an air of grandeur 
and dianity, which is particularly calculated to impose on ordinary 
minds : these apparent qualities are considerably embellished by their 
fine and majestic forms, venerable beards, large turbans, and flowing 
costumes. All, attributes which serve to prove, that posts of eminence 
are not in every case made for the man, but that the possessor may 
sometimes confer importance on the office he fills : besides, most 
people gain on being viewed from below. Without the advantages of 
reading, treatises or physiognomy, or the yet more inexplicable science 
of craniology, the Turks possess a wonderful facility in discovering 
the thoughts and characters of others, while their own are concealed 


in impenetrable mystery. These are no tritiing qualifications in the 
formation of public men, and none are endowed with them in greater 
perfection, than the Ortes of Barbary. 

Animated by the greatest unanimity amongst themselves, and 
forming an integral part of the government, the Turkish soldier has 
every inducement to defend his property with zeal, and his power with 
unshaken resolution. Besides, those who compose the bands called 
Oldacks, have in Algiers, a decided advantage over all other Turkish 
subjects, or indeed any of the Mahometan persuasion. Throughout 
the Eastern governments every individual is obliged to serve for many 
years as an Icolano, or private soldier, in which he passes through a 
noviciate of the utmost humiliation and servility. In Syria, Egypt, 
and Constantinople, it is thought a mark of great distinction in 
society, if a man can boast of having been first sold as a slave; 
whereas, those who are enlisted for the service of Algiers, are thence- 
fonvard perfectly independent, and enjoy the privilege of at once 
throwing themselves into the field of fortune and emulation, where 
their natural love of power and command, is fostered into profitable 

It may, in fact, be very safely admitted that the Turkish sol- 
diery of Algiers have a manifest advantage over, and are infinitely 
happier than those who follow a similar trade in every other part of 
the world : without being exposed to excessive fatigue, they have 
merely enough occupation to promote health and the animal spirits ; 
their labours only tend to sweeten repose, and render pleasure more 
fascinating. They always obtain what their services require, and 
justice demands, without being exposed to the mortifying degradation 
of witnessing the elevation of persons, without merit or length of 
service over their heads : respected, feared, and looked up to as 
masters, the very Dey himself may be considered as their creature, 
for he is raised to power by their election, and must treat them with 
a corresponding attention and deference. They are regularly paid, 
and certain of a provision for old age or infirmity. If they are 


punished, the chastisement is not such as to degrade them, for it is 
never inflicted in public, but in an apartment of the Aga's house. 
A Turkish soldier may also aspire to all the offices of the state : as 
the Dey is usually chosen from amongst the Oldacks, each warrior 
may reach that sublime post, and is thus a species of presumptive 
heir to the throne : even their crimes and vices, carry an air of splendor 
along with them. It is true, they plunge into the stream of ambition, 
with violence and impetuosity : advancing boldly in a direct course, 
they do not approach it by obscure and tortuous windings ; and if 
soiled with some grains of sand from the vortex, they are not 
covered bv mire. 



Piracy.— The natural State of the Barbari/ Governments.— Their Political 
Maxims. — Their Interest in going to War. — Mode of declaring it, and 
making Reprisals. — Treatment of European Consuls and Subjects.— Method 
of Justifying their Policy with respect to Foreign Powers. — Mode of carry- 
ing on Hostilities. — Argument in favour of it. — Northern Africa always the 
Retreat and Abode of Pirates. — Cursory View of their Depredations. — Of 
Captures. — Their Sale, and Distribution of Prize Money.— Mode of dis- 
posing of Slaves. — The Basistan.— Tegorarini.— Occupation of Christian 
Captives. — Of Ransoming.— Tlie Fathers of Redemption, or Trinity.— Their 
Mode of proceeding in At.gìkrsì. Efforts of the Author and others to 
promote the Liberation of Sicilian Slaves. —Allusion to the Exertions of the 
British Government to emancipate them. —Remarks in praise of the Con- 
duct of those Italian Sovereigns, who have made Peace with the Barhary 
Powers.— Various useful Hints to those who become Slaves.— Best Time of 
escaping.— Probable Result of a well organized Combination amongst the 
Christian Slaves at Algiers. — Observations, ^c. 

It was long since observefl, that to be engaged in war and depre- 
dation is the natural state of the Barbary powers. Their hatred of 
honest industry, by which they might so easily rival the commercial 
spirit of other nations, no less than their native avidity, impels them 
on to the trade of piracy, by which they have been hitherto enabled 
to procure that, whicli they are unwilling to earn by cultivating the 
arts of peace, or promoting the ends of good government. Their 
innate love of plunder and spoliation is encouraged by a barbarous 
faith, rooted hatred of Christians, the recollection of what the Moors 
effected in other days, together with the infamous policy of their 

;j44 IMRACY. 

chiefs, whose great object is to provide occupation for the turbulent, 
and an easy prey to avarice. To such a length, indeed, has this system 
become necessary in Algiers, that a Dey has been frequently obliged 
to declare war, to avoid being deposed and strangled. It has even 
passed into a proverb, that, " If Algiers was at peace with all the 
world, the inhabitants would «lie of hunger !" 

It is piracy, in fact, which forms the basis of the Barbary govern- 
ments. This accounts for their bitter complaints against the king of 
England, for having obliged them to make peace with so many of 
their enemies. They were equally dissatisfied with those political 
changes which united Italy to the overgrown French empire ; and, 
for the time being at least, seemed to snatch the former out of their 
rapacious fangs. " You will," said they, in a memorial lately addressed 
to the British government, " reduce us to such a state, that we shall 
not have a single enemy left." I also heard the Grand Rais exclaim, 
with a deep sigh : "Ah ! how things have changed ! At first, when 
there were so many enemy's vessels about, and captures to be made, 
the sea was a perfect jewel to us ; but it is now a desert, and no 
longer of any value !" Like their ancient founders, Home and 
Haraydan, the people of Barbary still wished to be considered 
friends of the sea, but enemies to all those who are found on it. 

Such doctrines, and a similar line of conduct to that in which 
they have persisted for three hundred years, is well suited to their 
character and circumstances. All the advantages of war have from 
a variety of causes been hitherto on their side ; an immense extent 
of comparatively unprotected coast, invites, as it were, the piratical 
adventurers of Barbary : fraught with wickedness and bad faith, trea- 
ties are broken by them when nolonger convenient; and an unexpected 
attack is sure to be made on those, who have not the means, or may 
be unwilling to gratify their insatiable covetousness. Without making 
the smallest scruple of betraying a friendly power, it is frequently 
defended on the ground of their predecessors having acted in the 
same way ! If induced to yield to menaces, or humbled by force. 


they speedily assume a bolder attitude than ever. Well kiiowins? 
that a fleet cannot be always in readiness to punish their aggressions, 
or remain to watch their movements ; impunity has taught them, 
that the most violent insults are only resented by vain diplomatic 
representations, or at best compromised for a nominal satisfaction: 
making a settled rule of violating the most solemn treaties, they may 
well pity our weakness, and smile with contempt on that sottish 
credulity with which we confide in their promises. A truce is often 
made with some Christian power, merely for the puqiose of lulling 
commercial men into a fatal security : these, willing to take advantage 
of the apparently favourable moment, send their vessels out. The 
barbarians, ever on the watch, take care to ascertain the period of 
their return with rich cargoes, and pouncing on the nnsusj>ecting 
prey, conduct it into port ; after which, war is formally declared ! 

The most trifling circumstance is sufficient to induce the com- 
mencement of hostilities on the part of a Barbary chief. The Dey of 
Algiers once declared war against the Americans, because a secre- 
tary had been forgotten in the distribution of presents. An Algerine 
boat being once taken in the vicinity of Bona, a Spanish ship 
happened to anchor at Algiers the next day, it was found conve- 
nient to suspect her of being the aggressor : nothing more was 
necessary, to cause her sequestration, until his highness examined 
the question. Although the Spanish captain felt satisfied of his 
innocence, he could not forget the kind of judges who were about 
to sit on his fate, and having no ambition to wear the chains of 
slavery, he contrived to weigh anchor in the night, and thus escaped 
the lion's mouth. This was neither a very blameable or impru- 
dent proceeding. Beaumarchais said, that if accused of carrying 
off the steeple from a cathedral, he would begin by escaping, and 
make his defence afterwards. On hearing of the Spaniard's iliglit, 
the Dey became perfectly furious : stamping and swearing like a Turk, 
nothing less than curses and death breathed from his highness. The 
vice-consul at Bona, together with all his countrymen there, was 

Y Y 


immediately arrested and loaded with chains ; after which not a 
moment was lost in declaring war against his most Catholic Majesty. 
The cabinet of Madrid being anxious to make matters up, the medi- 
ation of England was solicited : this led to the vice-consul's liber- 
ation, together with that of his companions, and peace was granted 
to Spain on condition of its paying forty thousand dollars to the Dey, 
and as many more in presents to those ministers, who had .succeeded 
in calming the anger of his highness against Spain!!! It is thus, 
that while the pirates having really nothing to lose, they are the 
very first to appeal to robbery and the knife : their persons and pro- 
perty must be sacred, while all the rest of the world remain tributary. 
In remonstrating to the English consul against the capture of an 
Algerine ship, that was taken off Toulon, while attempting to carry 
naval stores into the harbour, though in a state of blockade, they 
observed, " you have done an act of injustice : these things are allowed 
to us, because we are thieves, and pass for such ; but not to you, who 
are always preaching up equity and justice." From the above it will 
be seen that with the Algerines, piracy is a most honourable calling, 
and the surest way to acquire glory. Soliman Dey used to exclaim, 
" The people of Algiers are robbers, and I am their chief!" 

The cruel manner in which these powers commence hostilities, is 
no less worthy of remark than their mode of continuing them. When 
war is declared against any power, the first measure by which it is 
marked, is that of arresting the consul, merchants, and all other 
individuals of the nation which may be selected as the objects of 
plunder- In a late war with Holland, the venerable consul, 
M. Fraissinet, who had resided for twenty years in that capacity, 
and bore the most irreproachable character, was loaded with irons, 
and thrown into a dungeon, where he soon fell a victim to their bar- 
baritv. Not only is the whole progress of a corsair's cruize marked 
by violence, but every successful attack made the forerunner of some 
particular acts of cruelty, which are not even practised by the most 
savage Indians. Ships of every nation are taken by surprize, and 


plundered : landing on the peaceful and defenceless coasts of Italy, 
the old and young-, men, women, and children, are dragged from 
their homes to be sold in the slave-market of Algiers ! If a prize 
has been unjustly captured, and restitution is awarded, care is taken 
that none of the valuable property is restored, and all farther appeal 
or effort to obtain redress, is completely fiuitless. When I com- 
plained of the effects which were taken from me, the Dey replied, in 
a tone of impatience, that what was taken, was taken ; and could no 
longer be found. His highness added, " When you have picked a 
fowl and dispersed the feathers into the air, how are they to be col- 
lected again J" This was a species of logic which, however conclu- 
sive, did not bring me much comfort. 

With these freebooters, nothing is either grand or useful that is 
not attained by plunder and war. The only question in Barbary is, 
where can riches be obtained with the greatest facility : like the evil 
genius of Milton, who being placed in a splendid palace, ornamented 
with the finest works of art and industry, kept his eyes steadily fixed 
on the golden pavement. 

By a strange fatality, the northern coast of Africa has ever been 
the abode of a plundering race, and afforded shelter to guilt. How 
often have the Roman poets alluded to those who inhabited the 
vicinity of the Syrtis Minor and Major, as being the scourge and 
hoiTor of the peaceful navigators of the Mediterranean. Even the 
Carthaginians, of whom history has said so much, were, I should 
imagine, little more than pirates of a higher order, Avhen so very suc- 
cessful against the Balearic and other islands, near the African or 
Italian coast. The depredations of those lawless spirits who infested 
the coast of Africa, and destroyed all the trading communication of 
countries within the Straits, were not finally put an end to until 
about a hundred and twenty years before the Christian era; when 
the Roman senate dispatched the consul, C. Metellus, whose brilliant 
success over the pirates, was honoured by the addition of Balearicus to 
his name. Afterwards, in the reign of Tiberius, nothing could exceed 

Y V 2 


the terror wliicli was spread by the ravages of several other daring 
chiefs. Modern history has not failed to record the sanguinary deed.-^ 
of Dragut Rais, and Chainadin ; the descent of Mamuco at Messina, 
where he sacked the celebrated Benedictine convent, putting all the 
fathers to death ; the disembarkation at Sorrento, from whence ten 
thousand slaves were led into captivity ; the terrible visit of Bar- 
barossa to Elba and Caprea; and the depredations of these pirates who 
landed in Ireland,' during the government of the unfortunate W'ent- 
worth. The people of Barbary are, indeed, what they ever were, and 
must continue so, till the arm of conquest introduces a total change of 
manners and greater degree of civilization. 

It is a melancholy truth, which applies to people of other 
countries as well as Africa, that a nation often preserves the vices 
while it loses the virtues of its ancestors. 

To the foregoing cursory remarks on the general character of the 
piratical states, it may be as well to add a tew more relative to the 
circumstances which usually follow that of being captured by a 
Barbary corsair. When the squadron makes a prize, a crew, com- 
posed of Turks and Moors, immediately replace that of the captured 
vessel, which is received on board the ship of the Grand Rais ; she is 
then ordered to proceed to Algiers, or the nearest port on the coast. 
If taken ! y a private corsair, the prize is towed within sight of tlie 
capital ; Avhen the flag of the vanquished enemy is displayed under 
that of the corsair, and several guns announce the capture. Con- 
signed to the captain of the port, the cruizer returns to sea in search 
of more booty. An inventory of the prize's cargo being taken, it is 
presented to his highness, who is the legal pro[>rietor of ail captures, 
but is satisfied with uierely taking an eighth. If the cargo is com- 
posed of such articles as can be conveniently divided amongst the 
captors, a division of the spoils is made according to their respective 
rank ; otherwise the whole is sold, and a distribution of prize-money 
follows. Should there be none of the ]\loorlsh merchants disposed to 
purchase the cargo, the Jews are forced to buy it. 


It is remarkable, that all Christian slaves, who may have been 
on boartl an Algerine when any capture is made, are entitled to their 
share of the prize ; it being presumed their good fortune contributed 
to the event ! On the squadron or corsair's return to port, the crews 
are landed; and having remained a few days with their families, 
present themselves before the Rais to receive their quota of prize- 
money. The Dey, notwithstanding his power, cannot, on these 
occasions, imitate the lion in the fable : if disposed to make too large 
a claim, some audacious Jasiizary would soon protest against it. As 
when, during the division of spoils at Soissons, Clovis, having 
demanded a rich vase, one of his ferocious soldiers stepped forward, 
and striking it with his sabre, exclaimed, " here, you shall only 
receive what cliance may a« ard !" 

In disposing of the captives, some are given to the Dey, while 
the rest fall into the hands of those who purchase them : the most 
comely, have the honour of being selected to attend his highness 
in the capacity of pages, and are soon decked out in the richest habili- 
ments : those who have any trade, are let out to hire amongst the 
Moors, a third of their earnings being left to themselves : those who 
become the property of individuals, are of course treated better or 
worse, according to the character and disposition of their masters. 
However, by far the greater part, are wretchedly off, and soon show 
evident signs of what they suffer, by the meagre and squalid 
appearance, which soon follows in the train of captivity. Those 
destined to attend the troops in the Cassarias, are treated with great 

Slaves intended for sale, are marched to the Basistan, or auction 
mart, and made to walk backwards and forwards, as we show the paces 
of a horse in Europe : a crier being in attendance to announce their 
numljer, tiades, and respective qualities. Every one present is at 
liberty to bid, and each offer is registered by a clerk, before the 
slaves are delivered up. Another sale takes place at the Dey's palace, 
when his highness very conscientiously retains for himself whatever 


may be oii'ered over and above that of the first clay's sale. No sooner 
is a slave knocked do un, to use the technical phrase, than his pur- 
chaser must pay the purchase money; without which, unlike the 
auctions in some countries, it is mere lost time, for any body to attend 
the sale of Christians in Algiers. Women who have any prospect of 
being able to pay their ransom, are consigned to the Checkebelds 
care, and remain in his house, till the arrangements for their emanci- 
pation are completed ; while the poorer female captives are sold at the 
Basistan, and thenceforward abandoned to the brutal ferocity of the 
Moors and Turks. Amongst the various brokers who parade the 
streets of Algiers, the reader will not expect to hear, that some get 
their bread by dealing in human beings; yet such is undoubtedly the 
fact : these tender-hearted gentlemen are called Tegorarini, and attend 
all sales with the praiseworthy view of buying those slaves, whom 
they believe likely to bring a higher price when fattened up, or as in 
many cases, in the hope of their getting friends to come forward with 
a ransom. It is needless to add, that a slave who falls into the hands 
of such monsters is not to be envied ; particularly when I add, that if 
they entertain an idea of his having any relative, who may be suffi- 
ciently rich to buy him off, the cruellest treatment is inflicted on the 
victim in order to stimulate his exertions to become free. Some of 
the Tegorarini let their slaves out to the consuls and other inhabitants 
at the rate of a piastre per month. With respect to the slaves, not- 
withstanding the cruelties they endure, it must be confessed may 
individuals amongst them, frequently call for punishment, on account 
of their bad conduct and insubordination : the proprietor is also often 
deterred from over working them, lest sickness or disease should 
deprive him of their services : their crimes too are overlooked in nume- 
rous instances, to prevent the consequences if brought before the Dey, 
who makes very little scruple of condemning a slave to death. It should, 
however, be recollected that all this arises from pure self-interest, with- 
out one particle of pity or benevolence being connected with it : some 
slaves, more fortunate than the rest, obtain leave to open taverns. It is 


matter of regret, that the vices to which these have hitherto abandoned 
themselves, have prevented their accumulating money enough to pay 
their ransom. Some of those who understand a useful trade, get per- 
mission to work at it, by merely paying a monthly stipend to the 
Guardian Basha. It is, however, those who, as the Algerines say, "are 
good for nothing," that suffer most in the piratical city : this class is 
composed of gentlemen who have received classical educations ; 
scientific professors, poets, literati, and philosophers. 

The ransom of slaves, is effected either by the consuls who may 
be charged with this duty by their governments, through private mer- 
chants, or by the fathers of the Trinity :* these beneficent ministers 

* A religious order founded in most Catholic countries, soon after the crusades, for 
the purpose of exhorting the charitable to contribute whatever they could aflford to the 
relief and liberation of Christian captives. Members from the benign association were 
constantly employed in promoting the object of their benevolent calling, by preaching 
and other means; and the money collected was placed in a fund, to be afterwards devoted 
to the ransom of those who had been longest in captivity. Few ransoms had, however, 
been effected after the French revolution, which if it had the merit of removing some 
unnecessary institutions, certainly caused the destruction of many useful ones. It is , 
natural to conclude, that previous to the reformation which separated this country from 
the Papal dominions, very large funds were collected in England for the above humane 
purpose ; but having shared the fate of all other church property, it was afterwards left to 
the gratuitous charity of pious individuals to provide for the liberation of those captives, 
not redeemed by the government. As an appeal to the British public is seldom made in vain, 
we need not wonder at the large sums which were subsequently collected at different periods, 
for the relief of our captive countrymen. But amongst the rest, two philanthropists. Earl 
Craven, and Sir Thomas Betsom, a citizen of London ; that body, which has ever been foremost 
in acts of beneficence and Christian charity, bequeathed legacies to a considerable amount, 
for the express purpose of liberating English slaves. These funds must have been produc- 
tive of immense benefit, for a long time after their establishment, but are of course only 
occasionally called into action at present. It would, however, be a great pity to withdraw 
them altogether from the original purpose ; as Mr. Jackson, in his Account of Morocco, 
has very plainly demonstrated the way in which the worthy trustees may still render them 
subservient to acts of the most beneficent and charitable description ; particularly in the 
above country, where individuals who may have been wrecked on the western coast of 
Africa, are generally brought, if fortunate enough to escape the dangers of shipwreck, 


of peace and consolation, arriving at Algiers, notify their pious mission, 
state the sum of money they have brought, and on this three and a 
half per cent, is paid when landed, besides a usanza to the Dey 
and his ministers : without the scrupulous performance of this last 
ceremony, it is no use to visit the coast of Barbary. When over, the 
fathers are provided with a convenient habitation and good interpreter. 
Their first object, is that of liberating women and children, as those 
who are least able to bear the sufferings of captivity ; the slaves 
longest in Algiers, and whose characters are most irreproachable, 
become the second care of the fathers, each bringing forward his 
little savings to complete the sum required for his ransom; this is 
fixed by the Dey, while each proprietor presses the commissioners to 
release his slaves in preference to the rest ; money being generally 
more acceptable than proijerty, which may be lost in such a variety of 
other ways. When the ransom is paid, the slaves are given up to 
their deliverers ; upon which a white cloak is presented to each : this is 
followed l)y the celebration of a solemn mass in the Spanish hospital : 
a procession is then formed to the Pascialick, where the Iskerit, or 
attestation of freedom, is delivered to the fathers, who take their 
formal leave of his highness ; and shortly after, continue the proces- 
sion to the place of embarkation ; closely watched, however, by the 
Turks, to prevent any slave, who may not have paid their ransom, 
gliding into it. Besides the imposts paid on landing, ten per cent, is 
exacted on the total amount of the money laid out for redeeming the 

and still more formidable horrors of the desert. Having had occasion to mention these 
funds, in the Second Volume, p. 207, of my Letters from the Mediterranean, I was led into 
an erroneous statement relative to an application made by the late consul at Algiers, Mr. 
Blankley, to the Recorder of London; which, I feel great pleasure in thus having an 
opportunity of retracting as publicly as it was made. I am not the first person, whose 
zeal for the cause of humanity has led to misapprehension ; and judging of what I have 
since heard, from those who have the pleasure of moving in the above gentleman's circle, 
no man is likely to look on such errors with a more indulgent eye, than Sir John 
Silvester.— £</. 

author's efforts. 35Ji 

slaves; there are other charges called Porte, paid to the Dey and his 

These kind of liberations had become very rare at iVlgiers before 
my visit, oM'ing to the enormous demands of the pirates, which during 
late years, amounted to no less a sum than fifteen hundred dollars 
for each seaman. If they suspected a slave of being rich, they 
required a most exorbitant sum for his release ; as in the Sicilian Prince 
Patemo's case, for whose ransom five hundred thousand dollars were 
demanded. So languid had Christian charity become in Europe, 
towards the slaves of Barbary at least, that several years had been 
suffered to elapse without Algiers being visited by any of these pious 
missionaries. While in Sicily, the humane and enlightened minister 
of foreign affairs, Prince Villafranca, animated by the sublime zeal of 
benevolence, interested himself in the release of four hundred of his 
unfortunate countrymen, who had long suffered all the horrors of 
African slavery. His excellency did me the honour of allowing me 
to attempt a picture of their situation for the Sicilian public ; wherein 
I drew but a faint sketch of the innumeiable sorrows to which Chris- 
tians are exposed on that desolate and inhospitable shore. The 
learned and eloquent preacher, Buon Giovanni, delivered a number of 
pathetic discourses on the same subject: but all our efforts did not 
succeed in realizing a larger sum than was merely sufficient to redeem 
a few sufferers. Those who languished in chains at Tunis, were more 
fortunate ; the British government dispatched Admiral Sir Thomas 
Freemantle to that regency, for the express purpose of liberating all 
the Sicilian slaves there ; the illustrious and compassionate Lady Ben- 
tinck, wife to the celebrated general of that name, and minister at 
the court of Sicily, with the intrepidity of a Christian heroine, accom- 
panied the mission to aid the pious cause, and add her solicitations to 
those of the admiral : returning to Palermo with a hundred liberated 
slaves ; how unlike the barbarous triumph of a Roman general ! 
This benevolent lady must, on that occasion, have enjoyed the greatest 
delight, which it is reserved for generous minds to know. The benefits 

z z 


we confer on tlie wretched, are so many trophies hung up in grateful 
hearts ; and these are the only ones worth possessing ; deserving 
more than empty praise, they are entitled to our blessings ! 

What does he know, who has not sutFered J asks the proverb. I 
have suffered, and presume the nature of my observations and experi- 
ence has enabled me to offer a few useful hints to those, who may at 
any future period, fall into the hands of the guilty robbers of Africa. 
Having borne the scourge, I may well repeat 

Miseris siiccurrere disco ! 

The very lirst precaution to be observed by any person who is 
about to make a voyage in the Mediterranean, is that of embarking 
on board an English vessel : the captains of that nation are not only 
abler navigators, but of all others, least likely to deceive, and betray 
an unsuspecting passenger into the power of an enemy. The ship 
should be well armed, and capable of making a stout resist- 
ance; otherwise a small vessel is preferable, as she can the more 
readily escape, particularly during those light winds, which fie- 
quently prevail in this country. The most strict and scrupulous 
enquiries should be made as to the moral character, and professional 
iaients of the captain with whom any one embarks ; as loss and 
capture very generally arise from too great confidence in his talents, 
or total want of nautical ability. If discovered by the barbarians, 
neither fear nor trepidation must be shewn : even these wretches 
esteem courage, and not only despise poltroons, but make a point of 
ill-treating them when once in their power. It is equally inadvisable 
to betray any symptoms of despondency from the enemy's number 
that may heave in sight : a bold and well-timed evolution, being 
almost sure of carrying a moderately fast sailing vessel riglit through 
a whole squadron. 

If near the shore, and tliere is no chance of the ship's escaping, 
the passengers should take to the long-ljoat, before the enemy gets 
too near, as in our own inifortunate case. In going from Gibralter, 
up towards Sicily or Sardinia, it is best not to follow the common 


track, as tlie corsairs are always lyiiitr \u wait off Cape de Gatt, 
Maritimo, and San Pietro. Along the coast of Africa, is supposed to 
be a much safer course than any other. 

When capture becomes inevitable, I would recommend every 
one to conceal all the money or valuables they can about their persons ; 
as the pirates always examine the trunks first, and seldom or ever 
.search under the clotJies : if there be any women amongst the pas- 
sengers, they should take charge of the gold, as the Turks hold their 
persons sacred. 

When made a slave, every one should endeavour to ingratiate 
himself with the Grande Scrivano and Guardian Bacha : a douceur 
is usefully disposed of to these gentlemen, and there is no fear of its 
being refused. Besi<les, gold is the only key which no locks, not even 
those of the lieart, can ever resist. Msop and Epictetus were slaves, 
and knew how to gain the esteem of their masters : virtue exacts 
respect from the most uncivilized. Care should be taken not to boast 
of one's family or fortune ; as it might lead to a greater degree of 
hard usage, if only with a view of stimulating the slave to urge his 
friends for the ransom money. 

Knowledge of any kind, that can be practically applied, should 
be shewn by the possessor, as it gains an additional share of respect, 
and may lead to profit : no one .should ever reveal his circumstances 
to any of his companions, many of them being employed as spies, 
and too great slaves to keep a secret. 

Fallen into the hands of a Turk or Moor, a slave's conduct 
should be well regulated and correct : propriety of demeanour, is 
always sure to gain friends : a strict observance of religious duties, is 
also a great recommendation with Musselmen. 

Above all things, no one who has the misfortune to fall into the 
hands of the barbarians, should give him.self up to despondency. 
There are sources of consolation, and reason to hope in the most 
desperate situations of lile : as repeated experience has proved, there 

z z 2 


is no knowing- when a salutary spring may arise, to irrigate the 
sterile waste of life. The psalmist has said, " I have been young, 
and now am old. And yet saw I never the righteous forsaken, nor 
his seed begging their bread." 

It will perhaps be asked, what facilities of escape a slave has in 
Algiers. It occasionally happens, that a captive saves himself by 
swimming on board some ship in the bay or mole ; but nearly all the 
powers of Europe are obliged to give up any slaves that may be 
found on board their vessels : in this way, if the event be discovered, 
English and French ships of war are exempted by treaty from the 
humiliating degradation of returning a slave who succeeds in getting 
off to them : but, whenever any armed vessels of these two nations 
anchor near the capital, care is taken to keep a very strict look out 
on the captives, lest they should be induced to take advantage of the 
circumstance ; when brought back, after having attempted to escape, 
a slave is well bastinadoed, and loaded with a double quantity of 
irons. Others, driven to desperation by ill usage, have attempted to 
escape in small fishing boats ; but this is a most perilous experiment, 
being attended with an exposure to storms, hunger, and various other 
dangers, little inferior to death itself To think of flying towards the 
interior, is certain destruction. 

Something more effectual than the foregoing might, perhaps, be 
devised for the emancipation of Christian captives. And I was often 
inclined to think, that if the slaves were united by a common feeling 
of interest, and stimulated by that fervid glow which enthusiasm 
inspires, their liberation might be effected ; particularly if there was 
a friendly squadron at hand, or even a tumult amongst the Turks. 
The period at which the three predatoiy corps are absent in spring, 
would also be highly favourable to the success of such an enterprize. 
The same thing, though under somewhat diflerent auspices, having 
been achieved at Tunis, when the expedition of Charles V. appeared 
before the Goletta, is a proof that such a scheme is not impracticable. 

author's scheme. 357 

The Janizaries are comparatively few in number at tiie above time ; 
and not only less vigilant, but scattered about in the different quarters; 
while it may be very reasonably presumed, that any revolution which 
would tend to destroy their influence, must be hailed with infinite 
delight by the Moors. During the wretched night I passed in the 
bagnio, or Bajios os Esclavos, as they chuse to term it, the accomplish- 
ment of this arduous project, inflamed my mind to such a degree, 
that I almost forgot the chains which bound my limbs, in contem- 
plating the certainty of becoming free, by its means. At a less sanguine 
moment, I felt the impossibility of yielding to slavery, and that 
death was a thousand times preferable : he who did not fear that, being 
capable of any enterprize, however daring or unlikely to succeed. 
Wovdd it not be possible, I asked, for five or six hundred desperadoes 
to rush out, during a dark night, and having dispatched the guards, 
proceed to the other prisons ; thence forming a compact body, dash 
on to the depot of arms; and having surprized the sleeping soldiery, 
fire the city in diflerent quarters, attack the Pascialick, seize the 
treasures of his highness, fly to the ships in the Mole, and during the 
general panic, set sail for Europe wifh recovered liberty, well-earned 
riches, and the glory of having performed a memorable action t On 
the second day, when conducted before the members of the government, 
assembled to decide the fate of myself and companions, its feasibility 
filled my thoughts with increased ardour; and while the tyrants were 
occupied in rivetting our chains, I was deeply immersed in devising 
the best means of breaking them for ever : nor was the pleasing 
reverie interrupted, until I heard my name repeated by the minister of 
marine ; when, so strange did the illusion appear, that I felt as if 
detected in the grand crisis of a conspiracy. 

Amongst other lessons received at Algiers, I was taught the 
extreme inutility of expecting much union amidst individuals of dif- 
ferent nations; and still less that personal attachment which is 
necessary for ensuring the success of a desperate enterprize. There 
is, indeed, very little to be hoped from the exertions of people, who, 


like the slaves in Algiers, are, with a few solitary exceptions, totally 
deprived of spirit or resolution, antl bowed down by the weight of 
long suffering. Those who have been accustomed to adversity, are but 
too apt to relinquish hope, and feel incapaljle of ardent enterprize : 
yet I would have dared; and who knows the result ? — Without the 
genius of Cervantes, my scheme was not a Quixotism ; and, if unsuc- 
cessful, I might, at least, have repeated with him who attempted to 
conduct the chariot of the sun, quem si non tenuit, magnis tamen 
excidit ausis. On the other hand, a few hundred men, animated by 
the recollection of past wrongs, and inflamed with a desire of ven- 
geance, might strike a great blow. Mahomet himself has said, — 
" Where a thousand men are resolutely united, they can always 
vanquish double the number." The slaves are numerous, and could 
do wonders, if more unanimous and properly directed. As observed 
hy Altìeri, 

Manca all' ardir Dei Più chi ardisca il primo !* 

'Vf It is almost needless to remind the reader, that these remarks were made previous 
fo the liberation effected by Lord Exmouth, after the late attack on Algiers. And when the 
number of slaves there exceeded two thousand, those who have marked the subsequent pro- 
ceedings of the barbarians, and know how little faith there is to be placed in the stability 
of our present relations with them, will not be displeased to see the insertion of any obser- 
vations which may, on some future day, be applicable fo a similar state of things, if more 
effectual measures are not speedily adopted to prevent it. — Ed. 



Military and Naval Power of the Barbari) States. — Tripoly. — Morocco. — 
Thoughts on the Views of the latter State. —Relations of the above States 
with Algiers and each other. — Origin of their Independence. — Influence of 
the Ottoman Portk over the Barbarians. — Nature of its Relations with 
them. — Various Reflections on the Grand Seignor's Policy. — State of Poli- 
tical Relations between the Pirates and different European Governments. 

Tripoly, thougli so advantageously situated for carrying on an 
extensive trade with tlie interior of Africa, is governed by principles 
exactly similar to those which guide the Dey of Algiers; and if not 
equally powerful, is quite as liearty in the cause of pillage and 
depredation. The greatest number of troops which the Tripoline 
chief could bring into the field, cannot, I was credibly informed, 
exceed forty thousand men: his naval force consists of six or seven 
small ships and shabeques. These are said to be generally well 
manned, and commanded by very daring characters. The treatment 
experienced by Christian slaves at Tripoly, is in no respect less rigorous 
than that met with in Algiers.* 

* The extreme dependence of Tripoly on Malta, with which it keeps up a constant 
communication, no less than the Bey's impotence as a sovereign, has of late rendered him 
unusually tractable ; so that our relations with this regency are supposed to be of the most 
friendly description: and I have just heard, that His Majesty's ministers, animated by a 
very laudable zeal in the grand pursuit of African discovery, have sent out an enterprizing 
traveller, with the appointment of consul at Fezan, whose king has expressed a strong 
desire of receiving an English resident at his court. If true, this is a most important 
event, as connected with the progress of civilization; and when coupled with some very 
interesting communications, lately published in the Literary Gazette, relativetothe Ashautee 


The empire of Morocco is, however, by far the most formidable 
military power of Barbary, being capable of sending two hundred 
thousand men into the field, on any great emergency. These, if 
commanded by a different set of generals, would, no doubt, perform 
great things: as in the reign of Abdallah, who accepted the Spanish 
Duke de Ripperda's services, and by his means, organized a powerful 
force, on the European principle. Were it possible to unite the 
African governments in a defensive league, the Emperor of Morocco 
would no doubt take the lead; the circumstance of his being the 
lineal descendant of the Scerits, giving him considerable influence all 
over the interior regions of Africa, with which the trade of Morocco 
has never been interrupted for many years. It is even supposed that 
some of the emperors have indulged the idea of re-establishing the 
western empire of Africa, such as it was under the Mogrebin race ; 
but the project is infinitely more easy to conceive than execute ; and a 
Moorish invading force, would take a greater number of days than is 
generally supposed by the politicians of Barbary, before it reached the 
walls of Algiers. A king of Spain, having asked the French ambas- 
sador how many days it required to go from the Pyrenees to Paris, 
was answered, that if the mere inarching an army w as only considered, 

country, near Sierra Leone, must prove a source of the highest gratification to the humane 
and philanthropic part of the community. 

As connected with the great object of civilizing Africa, I am glad to have an oppor- 
tunity of bearing my humble testimony of applause to the very meritorious efforts making 
by Dr. Thorpe, late chief justice at the above colony, whose publications teem with highly 
important information on the subject. This disinterested tribute of admiration, has no 
reference whatever to the differences which unhappily exist between the doctor and his 
political adversaries : these cannot be too deeply lamented, as doing incalculable injury to 
the paramount cause of humanity. If it be any consolation to Dr. T. I think I may safely 
assure him, that his very judicious proposals for the more effectual emancipation of our 
black fellow-creatures, will be remembered with gratitude, when the little disputes 
which obscure the lustre of his benevolent labours are totally forgotten. For my own 
part, I shall never cease to regret, that so holy a cause as that professed by the doctor and 
his opponents, should ever be sullied by the slightest tincture of party zeal or personal 
animosity. ^ — Ed. 


twenty-four would be enough, Init if his majesty meant fighting, no 
less than forty would be necessary. 

The relations of the Barbary powers with each other, have 
hitherto been regulated by the purest motives of self-interest; and 
there is no doubt, but that if there was not so great a disparity 
between most of them, incessant war must be the consequence of 
such discordant beings, inhabiting the same continent; although 
their factitious harmony is of no advantage to Europe, whose com- 
merce has, on the contrar}', suffered more from the leisure of these 
marauders. Tunis and Algiers seem, however, to consider each other 
as natural enemies ; for besides the causes of hostility already- 
enumerated, they make a point of going to war, when nothing 
important occupies their attention on the high seas. 

Recollecting the old proverb, and wishing to assume the saint, 
when the hoar of danger lately arrived, his highness of Algiers sent 
ambassadors to Tunis, with a view of making peace, and soliciting 
the Bey's assistance to make common cause against the infidels. The 
latter was not, however, quite so zealous for the honour of the pro- 
phet, as his enemy anticipated; and having artfully eluded the question, 
hostilities have continued, though in so languid a manner, as to be 
hardly worthy the name of war. For, notwithstanding Tunis being- 
declared in a state of blockade by the Algerine squadron, its ships are 
freely allowed to go in and out, as it may suit their convenience, without 
the least molestation. The war, which during Hamouda Basha's life, 
partook more of a personal quarrel between him and Ali Bey, than a 
national dispute, at present can only be considered as the means of 
giving employment to the turbulent, and keeping up long established 
custom. * 

* It is now very generally believed, that all the Barbary states have come to an 
understanding, as to the best means of perpetuating the system of piracy, and affording 
mutual assistance in case of future attack. This is extremely desirable, as it will excite a 
corresponding degree of unanimity amongst those European sovereigns, for whom the 
honour of putting down the above system is reserved. — Ed. 

3 A 


Before the attack, propositions of an equally pressing nature, 
having been made to the court of Fez, the only satisfaction obtained 
from his imperial majesty of Morocco, was that of offering to 
receive and take care of the Dey's treasures at Mequinez ; but 
declined every intention of marching to the relief of the Mahometan 
city. It is supposed, that these two powers are more closely united at 

When the three regencies are at peace, we may salely conclude, 
that any power which is at war with one, suffers from the whole ; as 
it is a favourite policy with the barbarians, to play into each other's 
hands, if I maybe allowed the expression. If, for example, Tripoly 
should ])e at war with any European nation, numerous corsairs from 
Tunis and Algiers, assume the flag of that regency, and make 
reprisals under it : the government of Morocco has also lent itself to 
this nefarious fraud. 

With regard to their relative nominal rank, the Bashaw of 
Tripoly is considered first in dignity ; the Bey of Tunis comes next ; 
and then follows the Dey of Algiers ; who, though last in rank, is 
by far the richest and most powerful in a military point of view. 

The titles of Dey, Pasha, and Bey, are frequently confounded ; 
although all three really convey the same meaning, but have been 
adopted from caprice, or some particular circumstance, arising from 
those revolutions which have led to their independence. Being 
originally dependent on the Ottoman Porte, the receiver-general of 
revenues having usurped the chief power in Algiers, was the first to 
declare himself free of foreign yoke, and then took the title of Dey. 
At Tunis, the military commander, who was originally styled Bey, 
assumed the reins of government, continuing his former title; while 
the Porte's governor and Pacha at Tripoly, soon follov/ed the example 
of his neighbours, and pretends to be still more independent of 
foreign influence. Hence the origin of those titles which at present 
distinguish the respective chiefs of the regencies. 

Nothing can jiresent a greater anomaly in politics, than the 


nominal power and influence of the Ottoman Porte over these self- 
created governments. Notwithstanding the indiflerenee with which 
every order of the Sultan is received, and the little respect paid to 
Greek vessels belonging to his own dominions, each of the chiefs 
receive a species of investiture from him. On the Bey of Tunis 
ascending the throne, a superb caftan is sent by the Grand Seignor, 
who adds the title of Bashaw : this is proclaimed when the caftan is 
thrown over his shoulders, on the day of inauguration. On their 
parts, the Barbary chiefs find it convenient to manifest some outward 
signs of obsequiousness and submission to the Grand Padichaw of 
Estamboul. One of the motives of their apparent respect, arises from 
feeling tlie im})ortance of being regarded as the viceroys and delegated 
representatives of the great sovereign of believers, and followers of 
Islam, the keeper and defender of the Caaba. At Algiers, they 
continue to call the Dey's palace Pascialick, where the council of 
state assembles, and the Janizaries are paid. The respective chiefs 
also preserve the title of Bassa in all their public acts : the reigning 
Sultan's name is struck on the coins ; while public prayers are offered 
up in the mosques for his health and prosperity. Presents are often 
sent to Constantinople, particularly when they are in fear or danger. 
The Firmans, or instructions of the Sultan, are also received with the 
greatest seeming reverence and solemnity ; applying it to the head 
and eyes, which is amongst them, a species of religious rite and homage 
paid to their imaginary master. It has sometimes happened, that 
the regencies have even assisted the Porte, when vmusually pressed 
by foreign war, or internal division ; and they have, on one or two 
occasions, rendered important services to it; as in the war which 
Hassan Bassa waged against the Mamelukes of Egypt, who had 
revolted against the Grand Seignor's authority ; also at the siege of 
Acre and Ptolemais, where the Algerine squadron took a very active 
part. It was an Algerine soldier who killed Dacher, predecessor of 
the famous Djezzar Pacha, who governed Acre during Sir Sidney 
.3 A 2 


Smith's gallant and memorable defeiire. All tliese demonstrations 
are, however, completely voluntary ; conceded iVom a feeling of self- 
interest, to the reigning cliief of Islamism ; and can, therefore, only 
be regarded as mere matters of form. Whenever there was no imme- 
diate necessity for keeping up appearances with the Porte, the heads 
of the regencies have not found any difficulty in proving their per- 
fect independence. This has been evinced by iVequently turning 
away the Chiaux sent by the Sultan, without giving the smal- 
lest satisfaction to the representations which the latter may have 
been sent to make. Years have been sufl^ered to elapse, without 
restoring cargoes taken from Turkish subjects ; while many are con- 
demned without the least ceremony on their anival in Algiers. 
Preparations have often been made at Constantinople, to send the 
Captain Pacha with a fleet, for the j>urpose of chastising a refractory 
chief; but owing to the influence of bribes, or some intrigues of private 
agents, they have never yet been able to reach any of the Barbary 
ports : these delays, occasioned by previous temporizing, afford time 
to send a iew presents, and some trifling excuses to the Sultan, who 
is of course obliged to be satisfied with those, whom he has not the 
power of punishing. 

It should be observed, that the gradually decreasing power of 
the Ottoman Porte, and its apparent indifference to the political con- 
duct of the Barbary states, seem to indicate a tacit acquiescence in 
their independence. This circumstance has not, however, tended to 
increase their power; nor can they now send out such numerous 
scjuadrons, as when the chiefs were also invested with commands in 
the sultan's navy. 

If evtT so well inclined, I doubt very much, whether it would 
now be in the Grand Seignor's power to bring the regencies back to 
submission. Unable to march an army over the Deserts of Barca, 
the Turkish fleet would hardly be equal to a bombardment in which 
an English one had some difficulty. In this case, a more powerful 


engine than the sword, still remains to the Porte ; that of appealing 
to the faithful, as the prophet's representative, and displaying the great 
standard amongst them. Thus, if the European powers are induced 
to look as passive spectators on the proceedings in northern Africa, 
negociations may be opened for the purpose of stimulating, or rather 
requiring, the Sultan to impose such restrictions on the Barbary chiefs, 
by diminishing the number of Janizaries, preventing the detention of 
Christians, and prohibiting any farther recruits from being enlisted in 
the Turkish states, with no other view than that of becoming legiti- 
mate robbers and assassins, wliose only pursuit is rapine and violence. 
So far from having betrayed the smallest disposition to enforce such 
stipulations as these, which could alone afford a rational hope of 
amendment amongst the African marauders, the Porte appears to 
shew a degree of indifference with regard to their proceedings, upon 
which many might be induced to put a construction highly unfavour- 
able to the policy of the Divan. During the late important events at 
Algiers, a perfect neutrality has been obsei-ved by the Porte; without, 
however, there being any possibility of discovering the Sultan's real 
thoughts on the subject of Great Britain's attack. It was not so with 
the Muzzelin, or Governor of Smyrna, who openly espoused the cause 
of the piratical city. Whatever authority he might have had for this 
conduct, it cost him his life, having been shortly after strangled by 
order of the Captain Pasha. 

So ambiguous is the Sultan's policy, with respect to these powers, 
that during the recent nomination of governors, and other public 
officers usual at the feast of Bayram, the Barbary chiefs were, con- 
trary to custom, not mentioned. Instead of the Sultan's reducing the 
number of independent chiefs, another very formidable one is soon 
likely to be found in Mehemet Pasha of Egypt ; whose victories over 
the Wahabites, has given him unlimited influence all over that country. 
This prince seems, however, to be actuated by a much more enlight- 
ened policy than many of his competitors. 


It is exceedingly difficult to convey any fixed notions of the 
political relations which exist between the Barbary states and Chris- 
tian powers ; as they are constantly changing according to the interest 
or caprice of the pirates. The recent shock experienced at Algiers, 
has struck a momentary panic into all the African chiefs ; but it is 
evident, from a variety of circumstances, that the Dey is merely 
stifling his hatred until a force is re-organized, and the propitious 
moment of commencing fresh hostilities arrives. The conduct of the 
Bey of Tiniis, is extremely suspicions, aud his cruizers are even at 
sea. While the Emperor of Morocco has prohibited the Algerines 
and Tunisians from carrying their prizes into his ports, some of his 
own corsairs have scoured the seas in search of Russian and Danish 
ships ! 

The greatest part of the European governments keep con- 
suls at Morocco and the different regencies, Russia and Austria 
excepted: these have none, because the Grand Seignor has been 
hitherto responsible for all aggressions committed against their flags. 
This is, however, a most ineffectual guarantee, and fraught with the 
greatest abuses; as I have seen natives of Triest, the emporium of 
Austrian commerce in the Adriatic, and others of Odessa in the Black 
Sea, who were continued in slavery, without being able to procure 
any reply whatever to their numerous memorials. 

The situation of the consuls amongst these barbarous people is 
full of perils and anxiety. When war is declared against any power, 
the consul is thrown into chains: if they are too energetic and spirited, 
an application is made for their recall, or they are embarked on board 
a vessel and sent off. Sometimes, when there has been no other 
means of compromising a consul's character, they have caused a 
Mahometan female to be concealed in his garden ; and thus succeeded 
in exciting a tumult against him by the people, when he is generally 
glad to save himself by flight. 

A Barbary consul is respected in proportion to the naval power 

dey's contempt op weaker powers. 367 

of his country : during my stay, that of England was of course first 
on the list. Since the reduction of the French marine, the consul has 
enjoyed very little consideration compared to former times ; although 
M. Dubois Thinville, the present representative of France in Algiers, 
possesses a very resolute mind, and great firmness of character. 

It occurred to myself, that a most determined line of conduct, 
and haughty tone of expression, is by far more likely to impose on 
the governments of Barbary, and excite a degree of respect, than 
mildness and submission. The Dey having once told Mr. M'^Donnel, 
he would send him off in one of his frigates, the latter replied: " If 
I go with a frigate, you shall see me return with two line of battle 
ships:" to this his highness rejoined, " remain: we are friends." On 
another occasion there was an English captain, named Smith, who 
had a dispute with the Grand Rais, and offered to go out, and wait 
with his single frigate, for the whole squadron : this led to an amende 
honorable, on the part of the Algerine. When, however, you prevail 
on any of these people to give in, they cannot bear to be suspected of 
having ceded out of fear, or from being in the wrong. Prudence and 
magnanimity are invariably the source of action with them ! When a 
consul fumes and storms a little too much, they exclaim, " Poor man, 
he's mad !" 

As every rule has its occasional exception, it does not always 
answer to be too high with the barbarians. They are generally 
proud, passionate, and haughty. Some, during these excesses 
called fantasias, or paroxysms of passion, are capable of the most 
desperate acts of violence. In treating with the government, it should 
also be recollected, that its members are ever happy to have an 
excuse for declaring war, as continued friendship never enters into 
their politica! creed. On the contrary, they always affect to despise 
the amicable relations of a Christian power. One day, his highness 
having had a violent dispute with the Spanish consul, relative to a 
large sum, which the latter's government did not seem disposed to pay, 


suddenly dismissed him, saying, " If your king does not wish for 
peace, let him have war: it will give me pleasure." To the consul of 
a northern sovereign he was more explicit, observing, " What do I 
want of your king t He sends me presents, and I send him nothing : 
he buys my friendship, and I don't care a straw for his !"* 

* The events of the last two years, during which scarcely a week has passed without 
the public papers having to announce some new aggression on the part of the Barbary 
corsairs, will not teud to diminish the reader's faith in the accuracy of the ar.thor'* 
remarks.— i^r/. 

author's departure. :ì69 


Departure from Algiers. — Feelings on quitting Companions in Misfortunes, — 
Passage to Minorca. — Arrival at Port Mahon. — Entrance into the Lazza- 
retto. — Anecdote of a modern Traveller. — Theatrical Scenes. — Liberal Con- 
duct of an English Consul. — Some Account of Minorca, and those with 
whom the Author became acquainted there. — Sir Sidney Smith. — Embarks on 
board an English Ship. — Passage to Sicily, and Arrival in Palermo. — 
Various Reflections on the Civil and Political State of the above Island. — 
Notice of its TROst distinguished Noblesse, and Literary Characters. — 
Departure from Sicily. — Reflections during the Voyage. — The Arrival at 
Ponza, together with some Account of that Island. — Return to Tuscany, 
and Reflections suggested by it. 

Having arrived at the joyful term of my ill-fated visit to the 
piratical city, I took my leave of the generous British consul, to 
whom we had been indebted for so many kindnesses, and together with 
the Chevalier Rossi and family, embarked on board a small vessel 
belonging to the Spanish consul, but bearing the Algerine flag, with 
which we were enabled to pass free of every insult, and respected 
by all the world ; Algiers being at this time the great naval power of 
the Mediterranean ! 

But with what feelings of regret did not the companions of our 
capture hear of the event which was about to separate us, and how - 
painful for ourselves thus to leave them! We had scarcely arrived 
on board the vessel, when a picquet of Turkish soldiers came to 
see if some slave had not concealed himself, and to prevent the 

3 B 

370 DKPARTlIRi;. 

possibility of such a circumstance. At this moment one of the Sici- 
lian's crew, who contrived to steal a few minutes from his daily labour, 
had p,ot up on an adjoining wall to charge us with a message to his 
family, when a voice of thunder ordered him to descend ; this was 
followed by the arrival of a keeper, who striking him violently on 
the head, he instantly fell oif the wall, and we saw no more of him. 
Such was the last scene which struck my sight, and made my heart 
bleed in the abode of pirates ! 

The anchor was weighed, and though wind and sea were com- 
pletely against us, it became absolutely necessary to sail, such was 
the inexorable will of his highness. After an inefiectual struggle of 
several hours against the elements, we Avere obliged to bear up again 
towards the shore; the sea was agitated, but not more than our own 
minds, for some persons on board thought the Dey would order the 
guns from one of the forts to play on us for attempting to return, or 
send the captain of the port off to force immediate compliance with 
his wishes. After passing a most wretched and weary night, the sun 
rose with very little alteration in the weather : we had, however, 
dropped anchor near the city, and as daylight increased, we heard 
the confused noise of the inhabitants as they began to move about the 
town, and were destined once more to see the slaves descend to 
resume their task at the Mole : it was reserved ior us to take leave a 
second time of the melancholy sight of Christians di-agging their 
chains along, realizing to our perturbed imaginations, that which the 
poet said of Tartarns : 

Hinc exaudiri gemitus, et sseva sonare 
Verbera: turn stridor ferri, tractseque catenae !* 

One of the Dey's corsairs having got under weigh, seemed to be 
steering towards us, when the wind suddenly changing, we hove 
up our anchor, and made sail towards the north, and were soon 

* From hence are heard the groans of men, the pains 
Of sounding lashes, and of dragging chains. 

/Eneis, B. VI. 


wafted to a considerable distance from the coast ; nor was it without 
sentiments of inward horror, that we took a last adieu of the forts of 
the Marina, minarets of the mosques, and lofty towers of the 
Pascialick: we regarded the inhospitable region like the seaman, who, 
after having escaped from shipwreck, looks with fear and trembling 
on the treacherous element — 

E come quei, che con lena affannata, 

Uscendo fuor del pelago alla riva, 

Si volge all' acqua perigliosa, e guata.* 

Having gained a respectable distance from the Algerine shore, we 
occasionally took an opportunity, when the Moorish sailors were not 
within hearing, of relieving our minds by muttering many hearty 
philippics and imprecations against the Dey, and some of his 
ministers. I doubt whether the orator of Tusculum was ever half so 
eloquent, as we became in these moments of hateful inspiration. A 
person who had paid a visit to one with whom he was not on the 
most harmonious terms in the world, exclaimed: " He certainly gave 
it to me pretty well; but I paid liim back in his own coin !" One of 
my countrymen, who was obliged to leave London on account of the 
alien regulations, turning towards the coast when on his passage to 
France, cried : " I am going; but when I get to Italy, I'll compose 
such a sonnet against this said England, as shall make it sink into 
the very ocean !" We also determined to whet out tongues, when 
once on shore, and often said, Woe to his highness, the Rais, and 
Aga Baston, they shall soon hide their diminished lieads! In reta- 
liating on the barbarians, I was obliged to follow the example of a 
quaker, who, when bit by a dog, did not resent it, but was satisfied 
with crying out, " a mad dog! a mad dog !" by which the unfortu- 
nate animal was soon stoned to death. What else is to be done with 

* Then, like a toil-worn mariner I stood, 
Who newly scap'd the perils of the flood, 
Turns him again the danger to behold. 

Boyd's Dante. 
P, B 2 


the pirates of Africa, who did not even leave myself or companions 
a single comfort, but indiscriminately plundered us of all we pos- 
sessed? Great animals crush atitl devour, while insects can only 

After four days of a tolerably tranquil navigation, we arrived in 
sight of Minorca. Although it is sometimes difficult to enter Port 
Mahon, yet when once inside, there is not a more secure or beautiful 
harbour in Europe : it is like being in a narrow lake, sheltered on 
each side by a range of hills ; and in which ships of a hundred and 
twenty guns can lay moored, almost touching the shore: the highest 
winds seem to exercise no influence in this fine port ; for soon after our 
anchoring, a most violent storm arose ; and though we plainly heard 
the waves dashing over the ramparts which defend the entrance, there 
was scarcely an undulation seen in the harbour. 

Pursuant to the quarantine laws, we were condemned to enter the 
Lazzaretto, and remain there for twenty-two days : this was, I con- 
fess, a great trial of patience, and no trifling source of ennni; but 
reading and writing enabled me to obviate many inconveniences, 
which must have otherwise arisen from this tiresome ceremony. It 
was here, that after several months of painful anxiety, I was first 
enabled to collect my scattered thoughts, occupying most of the time 
in arranging the materials of this very imperfect narration of my 
forced visit to the grand focus of piracy. It was, on the one hand, 
fortunate that I remained so short a time; but reflecting on the nature 
of this undertaking, I ought certainly to regret not having had more 
leisure, and greater facility of research. Notwithstanding all these 
considerations, I will not become either my own critic or accuser ; 
for every one knows, that a person may be long resident in a strange 
country, without moving beyond the immediate precincts of his 
house : other travellers have the merit of seeing much, but observing 
little ; while a third class of tourists stare at every object, for the mere 
sake of exercising a large pair of blearing eyes, insensible alike to 
instruction and amusement. A prating traveller, whose incessant 


repetition and prolixity, were rendered still more insupportable by a 
French pronunciation, which very much resembled the notes of a 
capon ; engrossing all the conversation of a large company, with 
the recapitulation of his adventures, the dinners he had eaten, and 
his flattering reception at the diflerent courts of Europe, concluded 
by saying, in his barbarous idiom, J'aiété undne ilLondres, un dne 
« Paris, un dne d Vienne, un dne d Berlin. A lady who was 
present, and perfectly worn out by his pedantry and bombast, inter- 
rupted the remainder of his interesting story, by observing, On voit 
bien. Monsieur, que vous avezété un dne partout. 

Without the obtrusive ambition of this modern Anacharsis, I 
shall be most happy, should the present memoirs, deprived as they 
are of those fascinations which distinguish more popular productions, 
be of some trifling pidilic utility; and it does not happen to me, as to 
a tourist, who was so much pleased with repeating the history of his 
erratic adventures, that he no sooner opened his mouth, than the 
auditors contended with each other who should gain the door first : 
this gave rise to a person's observing, " that his descriptions were so 
animating, as to inspire every one who heard them with an inclination 
to travel V 

With all its tedium, the Lazzaretto was not entirely destitute of 
recreation and amusement. The British Mediterranean fleet, under 
Sir Edward Pellew, now Lord Exmouth, was anchored not far from 
us ; and it was impossible to witness a more splendid naval armament. 
Together with several seventy-fours and frigates, there were five 
immense three-deckers ; the port was constanti v covered with small 
vessels and boats, exhibiting a scene of the utmost animation ; music 
seemed to be the principal source of amusement on board the English 
fleet. The morning and evening gun, accompanied by a volley of 
musketry from each ship, produced a grand effect, when echoed 
through the surroimding heights, though it might not have been quite 
so agreeable to some drowsy listeners: bufasi happened to have formerly 
lived for twelve long months next door to a convent of Capuchin friars. 

374 A CONSUL. 

my rest was not so very easily disturbed. Besides the reveille played by 
drums and fifes, at day-light, there was a military symphony every 
evening after sun-set : this, performed in reciprocal responses by the 
different ships, and associated with a serene sky, and the stillness of 
the sea, really seemed to partake of magical illusion. 

If the above could be called an orchestra, its counterpart might 
be found in another grand spectacle, which was of a much more 
theatrical nature. For this unexpected treat, we were indebted to a 
troop of Italian players and dancers, who daily favoured the surrounding 
crews with exhibitions of the most noisy magnificence ; and with the 
assistance of tinsel, rosin, and a iew sheets of tin, were enabled to 
produce the sublimest phenomena of nature. 

To the amusing exertions of the strolling players, was added 
another curious scene of the tragi-comic cast, in which the only per- 
former was an English ofticial gentleman ; unlike all his countrymen, 
who vied with each other in friendly attentions to myself and com- 
panions ever since our capture. This dignitary treated us with the 
riaour of a Boulouc Basha, or Aga of Gigeri. We merely solicited 
airitling accommodation, calculated to facilitate our landing in .Sicily. 
This furnished the above philanthropist with an opportunity which 
he was unwilling to lose, that of talking big, skipping about like a 
he-goat, and absolutely disclaiming every idea of serving us poor 
devds, on the very probable plea of our being subjects of Buonaparte, 
perhaps spies sent to lietray the island into the enemy's hantls, or the 
still more important purpo.^e of burning the fleet ! During a dis- 
course, in which verbs, articles, and prepositions were sadly jumbled 
together, I could only distinguish "Tuscany! French! Buonaparte! 
Alaiers! Fire! Treason! No Friends ! War! War! War!" Such 
were the flattering sentiments thundered forth by this worthy repre- 
sentative of a great nation, who seemed ready to eat us all with a 
grain of salt. Having suffered the whirlwind of his passion to pass 
by, I took the liberty of suggesting to his excellency, that whatever 
our nation might be, or the political vicissitudes it had experienced, it 


was necessary to enquire into our principles and conduct ; nor were 
the misfortunes we had lately experienced, altogether unworthy of 
compassion. Res sacra miser! Such was the sentiment which had, 
until now, been manifested towards us by all those consuls and 
other Europeans, who interested themselves for us in Algiers. He 
answered, that pity might be a very useful thing in Africa, but 
was of no value whatever- in Europe, where hearts of brass were 
much more necessary. "Justice, and not pity!" exclaimed the 
magnanimous diplomatist, turning round and placing himself in 
the attitude of an opera chief This was followed by several other 
fine tirades about sympathy, until all those who were present began 
to think himself a very fit object of commiseration. I vainly 
endeavoured to impress on his mind, that having left England with 
regidar passports, and received all the requisite papers at Algiers, 
nothing more was necessary than for him to certify that we were 
detained in the Lazzaretto of Minorca, which might have prevented 
another quarantine in Sicily. These and various other efforts to per- 
suade the gentleman, were completely thrown away ; and after the 
proper number of oflicial bows were exchanged, he took his leave, 
without being regretted by any of the party.* 

The town of Port Mahon is extremely well built, and much 
more like an Italian than a Spanish city : even our language is spoken 
by many of the inhabitants in preference to tliat of Spain. The for- 

* This is not the first time, that the object of these remarks has been pointed out as 
a beacon for others to avoid. Having taken the liberty of suggesting the impolicy of 
extending patronage to such people, in p. 221, Vol. II. of my Letters on Tunis, it is not a 
little singular, that the same person should have thus committed the national character 
with a few unfortunate foreigners, several years after I had pointed persons of his 
description out, as calculated to render the greatest injury to that high character, which it 
is our interest to maintain with other nations. Although many subsequent events, and 
more particularly what came under my own observation while in Italy, proves that our con- 
sular system has experienced no very material improvement, I venture once more to assert, 
that the subject is well worthy a patriotic minister's consideration, both as it regards politics 
and commerce. — Ed. 


lificalions are hy no means so strong, as when attacked by tlie Duke 
de Ridielien in 17Ó6 ; after wliicli, the principal iorts were demo- 
lished previous to the island's subsequent evacuation by the French 
forces. Port Mahon had, since the Spanish revolution in 1808, 
become the great rendezvous of the British fleet employed at the 
blockade of Toulon.* Minorca, and the other Balearic island.s, were 
the only parts of the Spanish monarchy which the devastating 
torrent of war did not overtake during the late struggle. Although 
deprived of trees, and possessing a rocky soil, this island yiekls 
large quantities of good wine ; and its surrounding coast abounds in 
excellent tish. Little, however, can be said in praise of the amuse- 
ments of Port Mahon, and not much for its society. But we had no 
occasion to complain of this, as during our confinement in the Laz- 
zaretto, several highly respectable individuals paid us every atten- 
tion in their power. When relieved from quarantine, I had the 
honour of paying my respects to the Duchess Dowager of Orleans, 
who had selected a retreat in Minorca, during the days of exile and 
adversity. Suppoiting both with the most heroic fortitude, lier 
grace was attended by the Chevalier Defermont, formerly a distin- 
guished member of the constituent assembly; and who might justly 
be cited as a model of loyalty and honour. 

But the most important introduction, during my short stay at 
this place, was to the celebrated Sir Sidney Smith, second in com- 
mand of the English blockading fleet. The muse of history has already 
recorded this ofiicer's brilliant exploits in various parts of the world; 
but more particularly his memorable defence of St. Jean d'Acre, and 

* Should the approaching congress at Frankfort decide on a combined plan for sub- 
duing and eventually colonizing northern Africa, this island will of course be one of the 
grand points of concentration, for which it is admirably calculated : in that case, Minorca 
might, with great propriety, be ceded to the power who shall undertake the subjugalion of 
Algiers: its value is completely thrown away on Spain; whereas the island's absolute pos- 
session, would be necessary to any European sovereign who had garrisons on the opposite 
coast of Africa. — £d. 


other enterprizes on the coast of Syria. The genius of humanity 
will consecrate his name amongst the heroic benefactors of mankind, 
for he possesses that glory, which can alone shed a real lustre on great 
actions, and more than compensates the little-minded jealousy of his 
less gifted contemporaries. To a dignified figure, and commanding 
physiognomy, polite manners, and fascinating address, this gallant 
officer united an air of romantic chivalry, which impressed me with 
an idea, that I was addressing one of those valiant knights of former 
days, in whom the ardent spirit of dauntless enterprize and amiable 
gallantry, was heightened by the exercise of humanity and virtue. 
Sir Sidney heard the recital of our sufferings with a deep and lively 
interest. Judging from its animating effect on his countenance, and 
the generous solicitude with which he sympathized in our late misfor- 
tunes, I feel an inward pride in flattering myself, that we contributed 
in some small degree to inflame that ardour, which he has since so 
generously exerted in stimulating the powers of Europe to redress the 
wrongs it has sustained, by punishing the guilty hordes of Barbary, 
and terminating the slavery of Christians. 

Madame du Barry, mistress to Louis XV. having requested a 
guard of honour for her palace, which the Duke de Choiseul refused, 
she contrived to procure it from a higher quarter; and being one night 
engaged in a whist party with the above minister, they had gained 
eight points, and were consequently allowed to call the honours, three 
of which iiell to Madame du B. in the following deal : throwing them 
down, she turned to her partner, and archly said; " My lord duke, 
I have got the honours without you." So it was with ourselves, who, 
notwithstanding the diplomatist's want of charity, were, through the 
kindness of Lord Exmouth and Sir Sidney Smith, not only provided 
with all the papers necessary for our landing in Sicily, but even 
ordered a passage free of all expence, on board a transport, and one of 
the convoy about to sail for that island. Amongst the passengers, we 
had the satisfaction of meeting Mr. Oglander, the very intelligent 

3 c 


British consul at Tunis; who, together with his amiable lady, were 
on their way to the African city. 

It is extremely consoling for a landsman to sail in compan} 
with large convoys; which being in sight of each other, and steering 
the same course, give great animation to the watery element, while 
thev seem to insure mutual assistance in the hour of danger. Fre- 
quently occupied in surveying the various movements of the shipping, 
and admiring the order presei-ved by the naval commander appointed 
to conduct the convoy, we could not help calling to mind the fatal 
obstinacy of the Sicilian captain, who, in rejecting the often repeated 
advice of every one on board, led to a disaster which cost us all so 
very dearly. 

After four days of fair wind, and most propitious navigation, we 
arrived at Palermo, the port of our first destination ; and to gain 
which so many perils and disasters had been encountered : — 

Per varies casus, per tot discrimina rerum ! 

Landing in the beautiful capital of Sicily, nothing could exceed 
the joy we experienced, on contrasting our present situation with past 
sufferings, and reflecting on the difference of living amongst the 
ferocious savages of Africa, and being received with the hospitality 
which the companions of J^neas met with in the kingdom of Acestes, 
by the fervid and animated inhabitants of Palermo. 

Sicily is both rich and fertile, though by no means so highly 
favoured as it might be, if better governed, more populous, and com- 
merce was facilitated by roads and canals, of which the i.sland is totally 
destitute. So various have been the vicissitudes of this fine country, 
that a Roman traveller once exclaimed : In uberrima SiciUcc parte 
Siciliani qucerebam ! It is equally «lifficult to trace its ancient grandeur 
or fertility in the island's present degraded condition; in wandering 
over the once celebrated Trinacria, the poet's theme, and historian's 
praise. It is with difiiculty a traveller can trace the position of many 


renowned cities, or find any remains of such flourishing places as 
Syracuse, Agrigentum, Selinuut®, Gela, or Heraclea. 

During my residence in Sicily, almost three years ago, there 
seemed to be a serious intention of ameliorating the island's situation, 
or more properly speaking, of developing its natural means of pros- 
perity. It was proposed to open roads of communication between 
the different provinces ; they talked of establishing barriers for the 
collection of a toll to keep the roads in repair: several important and 
salutary legislative and financial reforms were projecteil ; many 
abuses, such as suppressing torture, and the damusa, rights of angaria 
or feudal tyrannies, were to be abolished, together with innumerable 
other barbarous customs handed down by their gothic ancestors of 
former days. The entire execution of these noble designs appeared 
to interest the whole population, and was stimulated by the eloqnence 
of several patriotic and enlightened individuals. Sicily, at the above 
period, presented a new and highly interesting spectacle: it might be 
said to be the only country of Europe, which had not experienced the 
horrors of war, and foreign invasion. In that sea of troubles and of 
sorrow which had inundated the finest part of the globe, the Sicilian 
vessel of state seemed to have exclusively weathered the storm. 
Sicily was, in fact, when compared to other continental conntries, a 
brilliant star shining forth amidst surrounding darkness. This fine 
island, owing to the privileges and immunities obtained under Rug- 
giero, Frederic the Second, and Charles the Third, might be said vir- 
tually to possess a constitution, parliament, and national representation. 
Recurring to the existence of tVeedom, of which the long continued 
exertion of arbitrary power had bereft them, a patriotic ministry were 
anxious to restore the people's lost rights, stamping them with the 
seal of the British constitution, the most perfect model of legisla- 
tive wisdom in the universe, which, ponderibus librata suis, legalizes, 
consecrates, and establishes the rational liberty of the subject, and 
supreme authority of the monarch. 

In having already commenced this grand design, Sicily 
:3 c 2 


exhibited to Europe the rare example of a legitimate a,overn- 
ment, listeninc: to the voice of complaint, and carrying reform 
into effect, without destroying or subverting: animated by philan- 
thropic zeal, and genuine patriotism, they sought for liberty, and not 
licentiousness. The Sicilian representatives, while permitted to 
assemble, knew how to claim the birth-right of their constituents, 
without having recourse to war, discord, or revolution. The enlight- 
ened partizans of monarchical forms, of which the parliament of 
Sicily was composed, were alive to the duties of their charge, and felt 
all the importance of their public character: and what can be a more 
dignified office than that of watching over the rights of a whole 
people ? " Do you know," said the French ambassador to a deputy 
of the little republic of Geneva, " that I have the honoui* of repre- 
senting the king my master J" " Yes; and do you know that I have 
the honour of representing my equals," replied the deputy. " There 
is," said the immortal Lord Chatham, " one glory far above all others, 
and which I will only resign with my life, — that of transmitting to 
posterity, the sacred rights of liberty which I have received from 
Heaven, and the defence of which is commanded by the people who 
honour me with their confidence." 

Such was the state of Sicily when I was there : those changes, 
retractions, modifications, and alterations, which the new circumstances 
(if Europe, increased wisdom of the government, desires, wants, and 
wishes of the people may have suggested, do not enter into the 
object of my narrative, which refers to a fixed epocha. I neither 
know what has been done, nor the precise intentions of his Neapolitan 
majesty, with respect to the island's future fate. These are no concerns 
of mine, who am simply bent on relating the particulars of my voyage. 
I hope, however, that all will be done with a spirit of order, wisdom 
and benevolence, suited to the fearful exigencies of the times, and 
character of a liberal government. I trust that where so many faci- 
lities present themselves to the ministers of Ferdinand the Fourth, the 
country of Empedocles, of Theocritus, and Archimedes, is yet destined 


to see a little of its former splendor revived, together with that 
felicity enjoyed under the beloved Hiero. I am also firmly of opinion 
that these desirable ends will be most easily attained, by adhering 
as closely as possible to that envied constitution, which forms the 
pride and prosperity of the British empire, of the French, Swedes, 
Belgians, and Batavians. A great man has prophetically observed, 
" weak princes wait till their people give liberty to themselves; while 
good and magnanimous ones, anticipate their wishes !"* 

After a residence of some months in Palermo, during which I 
was honoured by the acquaintance of many noble families, and 
distinguished literary characters, whose united attentions and 
numerous acts of kindness, I shall ever recollect with the warmest 
gratitude, the extraordinary changes which had recently occurred in 
Europe, enabled me to think of returning homewards; and I accord- 
ingly eml)arked on board a Sicilian vessel bound to Leghorn ; and 
in which I had the good fortune of meeting two Sicilian noblemen. 
Prince Vii lafranca, and Valguarnera, who were proceeding to make 
a tour on the continent. It was soon easy to discover, that I could not 
have met with more agreeable society ; and notwithstanding the 
disparity of rank which placed me so far below these distinguished 
characters, their ingenuous affability, and gentlemanly politeness, 
soon proved them to belong to that class, of which Catullus has 
said, " those who know them to-day, will love them ; and those who 
love them once will always do so !" 

* The author's hopes have in common with, those of many others, been woefully 
disappointed ; and if the accounts received during my visit to Rome last year are to be 
credited, the general state of Sicily is altered rather for the worse than otherwise. It is, 
however, but justice to add, that Prince D'Aci, of whose public character I gave my 
opinion, when in deep disgrace with the Sicilian government, has sine*» his administration 
of the Pretorship at Palermo, more than justified my idea of his talei cs, and far exceeded 
the anticipations of his greatest admirers. I have collected some valuable materials rela- 
tive to the political transactions of the island, since the publication of my Letters, and 
shall take another opportunity of laying them before the public— AV/. 


This voyage had also an additional charm: it promised to be the 
last of an eventful course of wandering, and after many years of agita- 
tion, conduct me to repose. My former way of living and going 
about, seemed to realize the old adage, that life itself is only a 
voyage. But it is still a very doubtfid question, whether we enjoy, 
or sutler more. In wandering through this vale of tears, the traveller 
visits unknown shores and inhospitable regions ; he hears a foreign 
language of which he is ignorant, and cannot embrace his friends. If 
he begins to leel attached to any particular spot, something occurs 
which obliges him to change his position. On quitte un pays sans qu'on 
vous regrette, on va duns un autre, sans qu'on vous attend; we change 
the country, but lassitude follows, and keeps pace with oar progress. 
One is always exposed to meeting greedy impostors, robbers in the 
woods, or pirates on the seas ; we fall a prey to disease, without 
having a friend to lend a helping hand, and not k tear is shed over 
our solitary grave ! 

Prince Potemkin had a courier under his immediate orders, 
named Baver; who was con.stantly employed travelling post, to 
execute the commissions of his master : he was at one time sent into 
Germany, to search for new colonies to people the Crimea; at another, 
he went to Paris for an opera-dancer ; he was next started off to 
Poland, with letters to the partizans of Russia ; then to Astracan, 
to get grapes for the empress's table. Baver, foreseeing that in the 
course of his journies, he wonld sooner or later break his neck, was 
determined to be remembered after death ; and for this purpose, 
requested a French poet at the court of St. Petersburgh to compose an 
epitaph for him : to this the latter acceded, and shortly presented 
him with tlie following: 

Ci git Baver sous ce rocher ; 
Fouet, Cocher ! 

If the wanderer succeeds in escaping the perils which environ 
him while travelling, and, after many years, returns to his country; not 


a single acquaintance is left to welcome his return. He asks for the 
friends of his youth : they are no more ! And the calamities of many 
years are communicated in a single day. The returned exile no 
longer sees the mirthful gaiety of early life : every thing seems to 
have undergone a melancholy alteration. It is himself who has changed : 
the animated glow of boyhood has ceased ; and he may be compared 
to an old man, who very ingeniously asked, whether people still 
continued to love in the world? Those, who do not quit their 
household gods, observe, without surprize, the slow operations of 
time, which imperceptibly changes every thing around them. He is 
by far the happiest, who, a stranger to ennui, and that inquietude of 
soul, which proves the mind ill at ease with itself, does not suffer his 
desires or curiosity, to wander beyond the horizon which surrounds 
him; and observes life, like a tranquil stream, passing between the 
banks which saw it rise. " Happy !" says Atala, the daughter of an 
exile; "happy are those who have not seen the smoke of the stranger's 
banquet, and who have only sat at the feasts of their fathers!" 

On the day after our leaving Palermo, we saw one of those sin- 
gular phenomena, called water-spouts; which are very frequent in the 
Mediterranean. This gave a dreadfully gloomy aspect to the heavens, 
and there being every appearance of an approaching storm, the 
master of the vessel was, in consequence of the amiable Princess 
Villa Franca's peculiar situation, induced to bear up for the Island of 

This spot had been, for some time, occupied by a small British 
military force, and served as an important point to facilitate commu- 
nications with the continent, as well as to disseminate manufactures and 
colonial produce, in spite of the tyrannical decrees of Milan and 
Berlin. The English had even built a handsome church, added to 
the suburbs, and began to enrich the island, which is naturally 
barren and unproductive. Some of the natives conducted us to see an 
old Roman way, cut through the solid rock ; also an immense reser- 
voir, now full of salt water, but which is called the liath of Pontius 


Pilate ; who was born at Ponza, and died there in prison, after liis 
removal from the government of Jerusalem. This was, probablv, a 
Saracenic work, and executed during the period at which these early 
conquerors had possessed themselves of nearly all the Mediterranean 

Ponza was the Roman colony, to which Tiberius sent Nero for 
the purpose of starving him to death ; it also furnished Caligula with 
a place of exile for his two sisters. 

Close to the above island, there is a smaller one, called Vento- 
niana ; said to have been originally thrown up by a volcano, like 
Santorini in the Archipelago. TJiis was the ancient Pandataria, and 
reserved by the emperors as a place of exile for persons of the highest 
distinction. Julia, the beautiful daughter of Augustus, was con- 
fined there, accompanied by her mother Scribonia, whose maternal 
tenderness would not admit of separation from the ill-fated object of 
her husband's persecution. After ten years of a miserable existence 
on this desolate rock, the unhappy Julia was conducted to the coast 
of Reggio, where she terminated a life of suffering and grief. Having 
served as the ignominious retreat of Julia, it became the abode of her 
more chaste and virtuous daughter Agrippina. The untainted reputation 
of this excellent woman, united to the memory of Germanicus, 
rendered herself and sons the great objects of veneration and hope to 
the Roman people, and consequently of hatred to the guilty Tibe- 
rius. The tyrant caused the two young j)rinces to be assassinated, 
and sent their mother to perish in Pandataria. Nero, led on by the 
sanguinary Poppeia, banished his wife Octavia to the same place ; 
where she, in a short time, shared the fate of her predecessors. 

What condition indeed can be so melancholy as that of a human 
being banished from his country, and obliged to wander amongst 

Diversa exilia et desertas quareerere terras?* 
* To seek in foreign lands, a happier home. 

DANTE. 385 

The wretched daughters of Judea, driven from the fertile banks 
and smiling vallies of Jordan, suspended their silent harps on the 
drooping willows of Babylon, and with reason exclaimed — 

But we must wander witheringly 

In other lands to die; 
And where our fathers' ashes be, 

Our own may never lie: 
Our temple hath not left a stone, 

And mockery sits on Salem's throne !* 

One would imagine, says the eloquent author of Corinna, 
that Dante, so long banished from his country, had carried all the 
horrors of exile into the regions of darkness. His airy shadows are 
making constant enquiries after those whom they left in more sub- 
stantial existence ; and regarding the Inferno as another banishment, 
one of the poet's first cares is to ask after the state of his beloved, 
though ungrateful country. 

Sailing from Ponza, when the weather became more settled, a 
fine easterly wind soon wafted us along the coast of Rome ; and 
passing through the strait which separates Elba from Piombino, the 
lofty heights of Montereno appeared, and a few hours more saw me 
landed in Tuscany! 

Oh come lunghi e gravi 
Son due lustri vissuti in strania terra, 
Lungi da quanto si ama! Oh, quanto è dolce 
Ripafriar dopo gli affanni tanti 
Di sanguinosa guerra! Oh, vero porto 
Di tutta pace, esser tra' suoi !t 

* What a pity that Lord Byron should have consigned such exquisite poetry as 
his Hebrew Melodies, to the bungling and heartless compositions of Messrs. Braham and 
Nathan. — Ed. 

t How long and tedious do those years appear, 
Spent in a foreign country, far from all 
The heart holds dear! With what profound delight, 
After the labours of a bloody war shall I repose ? 
Oh home, beloved asylum, 
Where peace alone awaits us, with what joy, 
Do I revisit thee! Lloyd's Alfieri. 

3 D 


On the banks of the Rhine, Thames, and Ebro ; amongst the 
romantic solitudes of Wales, and towering heights which resounded 
to the notes of Ossian's harp ; under the cloudy skies of the Orcades, 
or in the hospitable tent of the Bedouin, the traveller's country is 
ever present to his thoughts, and excites the tenderest emotions of his 
heart. The wandering Swiss is cheered by chaunting his ramies 
V ashes ; while the Scottish mountaineer sighs for his heath-grown 
hills and wintry torrents. The sooty inhabitant of Congo boasts his 
golden sands and palm-wine. The squalid native of Labrador praises 
liis smoky hovel, .and the Patagonian savage delights to dwell in his 
native wilds — 

Such is the patriot's boast, where'er we roam, 
Our first, best couutry, ever is at home! 

The gods have an Olympus, and man his country ; but w here 
could I have found one so worthy of being recollected or esteemed, 
as my own? 

The present generation liad waded through all the sad gradations 
of tumult and revolution ; but it was a high source of gratification to 
find that my countrymen had not lost those amiable manners, urbanity 
of character, and warm enthusiasm for letters, and the fine arts, which 
have so long distinguished them from many other nations of the world. 
Above all, I was pleased to see the gratitude evinced towards that 
prince of the house of Austria, who had wisely governed them ; and 
during the most tempestuous changes, while oppressed by foreign 
force, never ceased to wish for his return. Tlie Grand Duke Ferdi- 
nand answered all the anticipations of his affectionate subjects. It 
was left for the people to chuse their own code of laws, while the 
throne was surrounded with men of talents and virtue : these, only 
intent on promoting the public good, were consequently honoured 
with the entire approbation and unlimited confidence of the people. 
A prince who knows how to govern, and possesses the talent of wisely 
selecting his ministers, will ever be obeyed, and called back with 
transport, if driven from his throne. The virtuous President Nicolai 


used to say, " I thank Heaven for giving me birth in Tuscany, under 
such a government; and for having imposed the obligation of obeying 
those whom it is impossible not to love !" 

After many years of agitation and tempests, the rainbow of 
peace had at length shed its resplendence over the earth, and nations 
were destined to be re-established on their ancient bases. As observed 
by an eastern poet, having exhausted all their fury, the waters of the 
great sea became smooth : such are the agitations of this world and 
their tranquil oblivion !* 

* These allusions to the well merited popularity of the reigning Grand Duke of 
Tuscany, have suggested a few cursory thoughts on that highly favoured country, as well 
as the general state of Italy, which form a note at the end of this volume. — Ed. 

3 D 2 



Recent Conduct and new Insults of the Barbary Powers.— Negociations of 
Lord Exmouth^ and General Sir Thomas Maitland. ^Bombar dment of 
Algiers. — Submission of the Dey. — Observations on the Treaties lately made 
between the European Powers and Barbary States. — Remarks on the Conduct 
of Great Britain, compared with that of other Governments. — Singular 
Enigma. — Reflections suggested by it. — Necessity of taking greater Precau- 
tions than those already adopted. — How far we are justified in relying on the 
Faith of Treaties.— Morality of a Barbary Chief.— His Motto.— Actual 
Disposition of these Powers, manifested by their general Conduct. 

Scarcely had Europe began to breathe from the toils of a 
destructive war, and nations indulged in the pleasing- anticipation of 
a solid and lasting peace, when the freedom of the seas and com- 
merce were assailed in every direction by the corsairs of Barbary, 
whose chiets considered this, as above all others, the most favourable 
epoch for a general attack on all those states who did not possess 
a navy to keep them in check, or were so remote as to encourage a 
hope that their depredations might be tolerated with impunity. Soon 
after the peace of 1814, the cruizers of Morocco and Tunis, which had 
been for some time much less active than their neighbours, went to 
sea in search of plunder ; while the Algerine squadron increased to 
a larger number of ships than it had for a century before: these 
marauders, assisted by the co-operation of Tri poly, made several 
descents on various parts of the Italian coast, Spain, Sicily, Sardinia, 
and all the other islands of the Mediterranean, carrying off or destroy- 
ing whatever came within tlieir reach, and conducting the unfortunate 


inhabitants, witliout regard to age or sex, into slavery. Tlie pirates 
liad even audacity enough to insult the British flag, which gave rise 
to Sir Thomas Maitland, the governor of Malta, proceeding to obtain 
redress at Tunis ; while Lord Exniouth went to Algiers for a similar 
purpose. These officers were enabled to procure temporary satisfac- 
tion ; and several slaves were ransomed through their interference, at 
a lower rate than had been hitherto demanded. 

Notwithstanding the apparent moderation observed by the bar- 
barians, while the negociations were going on, there was not much 
difiiculty in perceiving that all was the result of their characteristic 
deceit, the better to cover designs of future aggression. Algiers took 
the lead ; and shortly after the treaty, manifested evident intentions to 
renew her depredations whenever a favourable opportunity occurred. 
Besides various efforts to recruit his army, and add to the naval forces 
of the regency, the Dey began to correspond with the Porte, the Emperor 
of Morocco, and Pacha of Egypt. While the English negociator was 
still at Algiers, the Janizaries are even said to have deliberated on 
the propriety of cutting him to pieces, when passing from the 
Pascialick to his boat ; and Lord Exmouth had not arrived in England 
on his return from the piratical city, when a swarm of corsairs once 
more infested the seas. The British consul was seized, and thrown 
into prison at Algiers ; and Captain Dashwood, who commanded a 
ship of war in the bay, was treated in the most violent manner by the 
Turks : his surgeon, who attempted to embark Mr. M'= Donnel's wife 
and daughter, experienced a still harsher treatment. 

Several atrocities were committed at Oran ; and as if something 
was wanting to complete the work of iniquity, above two hundred 
coral fishermen, natives of Corsica, Sicily, and Sardinia, were inhu- 
manly butchered in cold blood, at Bona.* 

* This dreadful massacre took place on Maythe 3Ist, 1816,abouttwelve o'clock iu the 
day, when the poor coral fishers were at prayers. The slaughter was regularly planned at 
Algiers, and commenced by a signal from the principal fort at Bona. Indeed there is scarcely 


Awakened by such reiterated acts of violence, the British lion 
at length began to shake the dew-drops from its inane, and the minis- 
ters of England determined to avenge the honour of its flag, violated 
by repeatedly broken promises, and above all, the shocking affair at 
Bona. A formidable armament was therefore immediately titted out, 
and Lord Exmouth being ap})ointed to the chief command, was des- 
tined to prove, that impunity was not always to be the result of 
violence. In addition to the ships of war, the expedition was pro- 
vided with a large quantity of those destructive engines, called 
Shrapnel shells and Congreve rockets. Omar Basha, the reigning 
Dey, seemed, on his side, to meet the coming storm with correspond- 
ing energy ; and judging from his preparations to resist the attack, he 
evidently calculated on a desperate struggle. The fortitications had 
undergone considerable repairs ; several new batteries were mounted ; 
and thirty thousand Moors and Arabs were joined to the Turkish 
soldiery. Previous to the appearance of the English scpiadron, Omar 

a more atrocious or sanguinary outrage on record ; and I very much doubt whether the cele- 
brated Crusades, in the course of which so many hundred thousand human lives were sacrificed, 
had so legitimate a cause as this furnished to Europe for subjugating the piratical states. 
With respect to the coral fishery, the subject has occupied my attention for several years ; 
and I have made every possible exertion to shew that it might have been rendered a source 
of some profit to this country. The massacre at Bona proves the necessity of some 
European power having a place near the banks, at which the fishermen may take shelter, 
and not be exposed either to stress of weather or the ill-treatment of the barbarians, who 
never omit any opportunity, even at present, of annoying them. While at Leghorn and 
Genoa in the course of last summer, I ascertained that the French government was making 
very strenuous efforts to regain its former influence in this lucrative fishery ; and an official 
notice had appeared in the Italian journals, signed by the French consul at Leghorn, 
inviting the coral fishermen of all countries to resume their labours under the protecting 
auspices of France, which had, according to this document, obtained some extraordinary 
privileges from the Dey of Algiers. The result of my information on the general state of 
commerce in the Mediterranean, was transmitted to a gentleman who had more facility 
than myself, of communicating with men in office. Although gratuitous information is not 
always the most acceptable, or likely to receive attention, neither of these circumstances 
should prevent us from persevering in an honest endeavour to serve our country, without 
the smallest regard to the prejudices of party .^ — Ed. 


had sufficient address to inspire the believers with a large share of 
enthusiasm ; the populace flocked round his person, happy if they 
could touch the hem of his caftan ; and he was carried in ferocious 
triumph through the warlike city. There have been few more daring 
enterprizes, or well contested battles, than thebombardment of Algiers: 
many of the ships approached within pistol-shot of the city, particu- 
larly that of Lord Exmouth, which is said to have nearly grounded 
on the Mole-head. 

The Algerines exhibited all the furious valour of Musselmen on 
this memorable occasion : their principal batteries, which by the noble 
admiral's judicious plan of attack, were taken in flank, suffered dread- 
fully ; but no sooner was one set of cannoniers swept away, than 
another was in readiness to occupy their place ; till these fell in their 
turn to rise no more. The intrepidity and sang- froid displayed by 
the devoted 31ahometans, might well surprize the British. The battle 
raged for several hours, with unabated fury ; innumerable cannon on 
the shore, a fire from the assailants, wliich those who witnessed com- 
pared to a volcanic eruption ; shells bursting in the air, added to the 
terrific hissing of Congreve's rockets ; are said to have rendered the 
attack on Algiers, one of the most sublime hoiTors ever beheld. Victory 
continued to hover over the hostile parties for a considerable time, till 
by a new effort of the British forces, the thunder of Mars had reached 
the piratical ships ; whose flames, together with those of the guilty 
city, seemed to ascend to Heaven as an atonement to the Divinity for 
past aggressions, and threatened speedy destruction, if not terminated 
by a timely submission to the victors. At this period of the action, 
nothing could exceed the panic into which the followers of Islam 
were thrown; deprived as it were by magic, of all exertion, they stood 
motionless, and as if petrified by the hand of destiny, surveyed the 
surrounding ruin with stupid indifference. Another hour, and to 
speak in the language of the gallant admiral, the national vengeance 
would have written, Algiers that was ! 

It was in this perilous crisis of his affairs, that the haughty 

III' ^% ^ liti L ^ I. ^ i^in%-. 

i*^».<: - -^-i-j S 





The foregoing event, together with many subsequent ones, 
having suggested a variety of considerations, no less interesting to 
Europe, tlian civilization in general, will, it is presumed, very properly 
tenninate an undertaking of this nature. 

The first arrangement entered into with the Barbary powers, was 
1 think made with too much confidence and facility. In paying 
money for the redemption of Christians, it seemed to imply a tacit 
acknowledgment of their right to commit depredations and* conduct 
Europeans into slavery. The very sight of that gold which was 
received under the auspices of Great Britain, must have inflamed 
their avidity for more; and this could not be had, without a return to 
new acts of plunder and rapine. The revenge which was afterwards 
taken, andtreatymade at thepoint of the sword, produced a more impres- 
si ve efl^ect, and inspired greater terror than mere threats could have done. 
But are we not justified in asking whether all has been done which it 
was in our power to perform, or the interests of Europe and humanity 
required ì Some people have thought, the enterprize rather prema- 
ture, alledging that the previous conduct of the barbarians had occa- 

and begged pardon of the consul, in terras dictated by the captain of the Queen 

The Commander in Chief takes this opportunity of again returning his public thanks 
to the admirals, captains, officers, seamen, marines, royal marine artillery, royal sappers 
and miners, and the royal rocket corps, for the noble support he has received from them 
throughout the whole of this arduous service; and he is pleased to direct, that on Sunday 
next a public thanksgiving be offered up to Almighty God for the signal interposition of 
his Divine Providence, during the conflict which took place on the 27th between His 
Majesty's fleet and the ferocious enemies of mankind. 

It is requested, that this memorandum may be read to the ships' companies. 

To the Admirals, Captains, Officer», Seamen, Marines, Royal 
Sappers and Miners, Royal Marine Artillery, and the 
Royal Rocket Corps. 

Since the famous expedition of Charles the Fifth, which took place in 1641, ten more 
attacks including that of Lord Kxmouth, have been made on Algiers, with various degrees 
of success; but none have produced results so important as the last, although there wa.s 
scarcely ever a smaller force employed. — Ed. 

'.i E 


sioned such a general feeling of horror, and desire of vengeance 
throughout Europe, as to justify a behef that serious intentions were 
entertained of forming a combined league against the piratical states, 
when the British ministry assumed the initiative to themselves, and by 
a species of political coup de main, struck a splendid blow, but dis- 
turbed the execution of a more vast and efficacious plan for the final 
destruction of piracy. It was as if the column of a great army 
had quitted the line, attacked and repulsed the enemy, but prevented 
its being surrounded by the main body; that this affair between the 
English and Algerines w as rather a duel than a battle ; a spirited dis- 
cussion between two parties, but not a grand question, which was to 
decide the fate of a large portion of the habitable globe ; that the 
British nation has vindicated its own wrongs, but not those done to 
all humanity. Resting their grounds of suspicion on some recent 
political transactions, and tiie treaties made, there are persons who 
would fain make us believe, that actuated by a narrow and tortuous 
policy, the British ministry is not really inimical to the existence of 
the Barbary powers, or particularly desirous of putting an end to 
their depredations. To all this my answer is, that it is extremely 
hard to say, whether the proposed league was likely to have occupied 
the attention of the other European cabinets; whether that which 
had been neglected for centuries, was to be the result of recent 
aggressions ; or that the nations of Europe would have co-operated 
with a degree of sincerity in a plan for the suppression of the African 
pirates, which they never evinced, either for the preservation of their 
own liberties, or pi-rsonal safety. 

But of one important fact the whole world can judge, that after 
the English armament's being prepared at a heavy expence, it 
struck a decisive blow, punished one of the guilty states, and humi- 
liated all the rest. Besides almost destroying the capital of Algiers, 
and burning its ships, the British admiral not only liberated all the 
Christian slaves, but forced the pirates to refund a large sum of 
money. That Great Britain can wish for the existence of these 


powers, or their iniquitous system, is grossly absurd, and contradicted 
by the evidence of facts: a similar policy would be as unworthy of 
this great people, as it is inconsistent with their high and generous 
character. The nation whose ships cover the ocean from Cape Horn 
to Kamtschatka, and Nootka Sound to Macoa, caimot possibly regard 
a few contemptible coasting vessels in the Mediterranean, with an 
eye of jealousy. Besides, did not the English government accord pro- 
tection and support to all the subjects of friendly powers, during 
the late war; and even permit their ships to navigate under the imme- 
diate protection of British men of war t So far from betraying any 
disposition to encourage hostilities against the smaller powers of 
Europe, did not the mediation of England bring about a peace 
between the barbarians and Spain, Portugal, Sardinia, Naples, Sicily, 
and the Pope I On the other hand, all these complaints against Great 
Britain, are at the bottom, no more than a species of homage paid to 
a great people. Nations are generally served like individuals : when 
long accustomed to receive proofs of kindness, and witness acts of 
generosity, we think ourselves entitled to a continuance of them, and 
with many they even become a duty. But after all, the English are 
not surely the knight errants and champions of all Europe : why 
therefore should they be obliged to be always brandishing the sword 
of vengeance, without ever sheathing it, merely for the purpose of 
vindicating the wrongs and insults, committed against those govern- 
ments, who have had the baseness to tolerate them 1 Have not these 
governments and nations, I would ask, men, arms, and principles of 
honour to defend, as well as England ?* 

Is it not a strange paradox, that the princes of Christianity, 

* Leaving the talent with which Mr. Pananti has replied to the illiberal insinuations 
of those who have been so busily employed in vilifying our policy towards the piratical 
states, but more particularly depreciating the importance of our attack on Algiers, to the 
reader's judgment, I cannot help observing, that its weight is not diminished by coming from 
the pen of a disinterested foreigner. — Ed. 

:3 E 2 


should be so frequently led into a declaration of" war, for the sake of 
some useless pretension, or idle etiquette; and yet quietly suffer those 
incessant attacks on the laws, liberties, and commerce of their subjects, 
made by an unprincipled rabble Ì That the followers of a religion 
of peace and concord, of which the first benefits were those of esta- 
blishing brotherhood amongst the children of men, and the abolition 
of servitude, should permit the people of civilized Europe, to be 
thrown into chains ; and that the real believers of an enlightened 
faith, should stoop to the yoke of a ferocious sect, and lying prophet, 
is indeed a strange enigma ! Care was taken to abolish the traffic in 
blacks ; who, while that was tolerated, became the slaves of civilized 
men. But no efforts were made to terminate the slavery of the whites, 
who fell into the hands of savages ! 

Three-fourths of each century were passed in sanguinary warfare 
between the cultivated nations of Christianity. They never dreamt 
of uniting to chastise these African chiefs, whose barbarous method 
of carrying on war possesses a character of cruelty and perverseness ; 
which neither the irresistible law of the strongest, or most overstrained 
rights of victory, do not even concede ; who are, in fact, not at war 
with any single nation, but in a state of hostility against virtue and 
humanity ! 

Contemplando ne andar per tutti i tempi, 
Ch'or con eterno obbrobrio a disonore 
Alti Cristiani usurpano i mori empi ; 
L'Europa è in armi, e di far guerra agogna 
In ogni parte, fuorché ove bisogna .' 

It was thus, that Ariosto sung above two hundred years ago ; 
and his sentiments apply with so much justice to what has been going 
on since that period, as to make one believe, the affairs of men are 
impelled onwards, by a blind and heedless fatality, rather than the 
suggestions of reason and common interest. 

An impartial observer, in forming his opinion of things, would 
be inclined to say, that a cold self-love, exclusively occupied in its 


own aggrandizement, little jealousies, miserable prejudices, and pitiful 
passions, which look for advantages in the misfortunes of other 
people, sordid motives of individual interest, which turn aside our 
attention from the grand road that leads to conferring happiness on 
all, have alone prevented a permanent and solid union, a sincere 
concurrence of will and power, to emancij>ate humanity from the 
bitter thraldom of persecution and servitude under wliich it has 
groaned for centuries. Reflecting on what has happened, a person 
would be almost justified in asserting that the property and personal 
liberty of the wretched inhabitants of Europe, attracted so little 
attention, or excited so small a share of sympathy amongst the great 
and powerfvd, that they did not consider it either as a religious or 
political duty to listen to the cries, or redress the grievances of tiiose 
innumerable victims, who, bereft of all, have been suffered to perish 
miserably on the shores of Africa ! Who can applaud such frigid 
apathy, or unravel the motives of so barbarous a policy'? Political 
science resemljles the sphinx of the fable: it devours all those who 
cannot resolve its enigmas. 

To a rational observer nothing could have been more imprudent 
and deplorable than the foregoing line of conduct : the European 
povvers, in regulating their policy with the Barbary chiefs, have been 
contented to buy an uncertain peace, and short intervals of tranquillity; 
when a moderate share of reflection must have suggested the necessity 
of punishing the arrogant chiefs of Africa, without sending rich 
presents, and paying large sums ; which, applied in a different way, 
would have been more than suflicient to secure the whole country's 
submission, and destroy the piratical cities. Far from adopting such 
a line of policy, it has been thought necessary, in the midst of lamen- 
tation and complaint, to lose time in protracted negociations, and 
ineffectual attacks ; when a combined movement, in which anyone 
of the great powers, coalesced witli the most offended states, might 
have struck a blow, which would have severed the infected tree at 
the very root, and in one day effected that, which has given cen- 


turies of inquietude to Europe. We have, I trust, at length disco- 
vered, that neither caresses, presents, nor submission, are the best 
mode of bringing these powers to a sense of propriety. It would be 
equally ruinous and impolitic to believe in their farther promises ; or 
so easily pardon, and then make peace with a people, who continue 
to observe it, merely as long as it suits their convenience. Force, 
inflexibility of character, and unshaken firmness, .should alone be 
used to reduce governments, which, like those of northern Africa, are 
totally destitute of all justice and virtue. 

The methods pursued with respect to them, have hitherto po.s- 
sessed neither dignity or wisdom : they have given peace without 
stability, and repose without security; a truce, far more injurious than 
the most destructive war. In common life, nothing is half so degrading 
as to receive an insult with impunity. It is equally humiliating to 
see pride and iniquity triumphing over weakness and indecision. 

Although the vengeance of a great people has fallen en the 
ceaseless violators of good faith, yet circumstances of a most con- 
clusive nature would seem to indicate, that all has not been done, 
which might be effected ; and, according to the well-known maxim 
of a great man, nothing is done, while any thing remains to be 

Nil actum reputans, si quid superesset agendum. 

I also am for peace, and far from wishing to preach up the doc- 
trine of eternal war, or having any desire to see the crimes of a nation 
expiated by its blood ; yet surely, some strong measures of precaution 
are rendered necessary against those, from whose long and systematic 
violence, Europe has already suffered so much ; whose disregard to 
all moral obligation, avarice, and hatred to Christians, stimulated by 
resentment, must, sooner or later, call their bad passions into more 
baneful action than ever. AVithout commerce, manufactures, or the 
smallest turn for industrious habits, where will people find 
resources, if not in a return to former pursuits? The preparations 


inaking' iii all the ports of Barbary, are convincing proofs, if any 
were wanting, to shew that the respective chiefs do not calculate on 
remaining at peace : that it is entirely contrary to their interests, we 
do not want to be informed. 

By another extraordinary fatality in politics, the Barbary states 
have been treated with as independent governments ; whereas, their 
chiefs are considered as little more than reljels by tlie Grand Seignor. 
Nothing like a decisive measure has been adopted in the late negocia- 
tions, to prevent them from returning to the trade of piracy and 
plunder. Would it not have been easy, not only for England, but 
the whole of Europe, to declare, in a solemn and specific manner, 
that they were desirous of continuing at peace ; but that, on the tirst 
insult ottered to a Christian vessel, of any European nation, or the 
smallest violation of treaties, which they had sworn to observe, the 
united armies of Europe should that moment appeal to the sword ; 
and landing on the shores of Africa, make a last eiFort to avenge the 
wrongs of many centuries i Might not those statesmen who examined 
the subject, have suggested the propriety of insisting, that the armed 
ships of the regencies should be either given up or dismantled ; and 
only suffered to leave their ports, for the purposes of legitimate 
trade I I am aware, that conditions like these, could not be imposed 
on more civilized or independent states; but they are fully justified, 
when put into force against anti-social governments, which are in a 
state of natural hostility with civilized nations. There is little doubt 
but such would have been the policy of ancient Rome, and that 
senate which Pyrrhus emphatically called the assembly of kings. 
If, as a wise man of Greece said, we should treat a friend, as if he 
was one day to become our enemy ; with how much greater reason are 
we called upon to be not only very diffident with a newly reconciled 
enemy, l)ut take measures of precaution against his future machi- 
nations, when we are assured, that he is hatching revenge, and 
meditating new treasons'? 

In conformity to the above principle, it does not seem that many 
of the European sovereigns place any very great reliance on the good 


faith of the Barbarians; for although all have entered into treaties 
with them, both the Spaniards and Dutch have determined to keep a 
squadron constantly cruizing- within the Straits of Gibralter. Sir 
Sidney Smith has also proposed, that armed ships of different nations 
shouhl unite to keep the pirates in check, until more effectual measures 
should be adopteil ; and it would be highly desirable, from a similar 
motive, that the knights of Malta should be established in some 
island near the coast of Barbary, whence that meritorious order might 
renew its former efforts against the intidels. There are, perhaps, 
many who would like to see the American republic acquire a port in 
the Mediterranean ; that being the first nation of the present day, 
which sent a naval force to chastise the pirates : shewing an im- 
portant example to the nations of Europe, and how subjects should 
be defended ; and this, from a nation entering into commercial 
rivalry with Great Britain, could not fail to be highly benehcial to 
the shores of the Mediterranean ; a nation which is daily rising in 
splendor, glory, and prosperity ; and may, in fact, be called the 
land of promise, as Italy is of reminiscence.* 

* Such is the opinion which the Americans have contrived to create for themselves 
on the continent; for I really believe, that in this instance, the author is recording that of 
the Italian public, rather than his own ; although I confess, the conduct of the United States 
Government has a sufficient degree of Punic cunning and trading chicanery about its bom- 
bastic and inflated policy, to impose even on such minds as that of Mr. Pananti ; and I am 
ready to confess, that the exertions of its navy in punishing the Algerines, is entitled 
to the very highest praise which we can bestow on people who are determined to defend 
their own property : I am equally ready to allow, that they displayed the utmost gallantry 
during the late contest with England ; that they are to be admired for the rapid strides 
they are making towards the formation of a navy, which will, no doubt, call that of 
another power into action, at no very distant date ; — an event to which I do not look 
either with fear or trembling. But I am not, on that account, to hold up America 
as a model, either of legislative or political excellence ; for this very unanswerable 
reason, that I view its government acting on principles quite as selfish and illiberal 
as that of any other country. As a proof of this fact, we have only to witness its 
narrow-minded and unjust conduct towards the South American patriots, which has 
been very ably illustrated by a political writer of the day, who is most intimately 
acquainted with the motives which actuate the whole tribe of trans-atlantic orators and 


1 really cannot see the possibility of confiding in tlie promises of 
those rapacious soldiers of fortune, who have gone on for so long a 
period in betraying Europe ; despots, wlio consider the esteem of 
the multitude, as setting bounds to their will and power. " What I'' 
said an Emperor of Morocco to a European merchant, who reminded 
him of his word, " do you take me for an infidel, who must be a 
slave to his promises Ì Am not I master of my own actions to change 
when I like f Regarding this matter in another light, will it be 
always in the jiower of these chiefs to repress the licentious rage and 
thirst for plunder which is constantly manifested by the soldiery ; and 
scarcely ever appeased, except by having recourse to war, or taking 
the Dey's head off'i — Can the successor of a military chief be per- 
suaded to adhere to the stipulations entered into by his predecessors Ì 
Is it possible to establish permanent conventions with countries that are 
always in tumult and revolution ? Who profess that war and plunder 
are necessary for their existence? Who, amongst those excuses which 
are annually sent to the Grand Seignor for not paying their tribute. 

The hints thrown out by Mr. P. have, I dare say, been long since given to his 
majesty's ministers, with various others which might be added, and which are quite 
enough to excite their utmost vigilance and most serious consideration. 

Without yielding to. any American in a sincere and ardent love of rational liberty, I 
think it may still be found without crossing the Atlantic, where too many deluded indi- 
viduals have found a melancholy grave in the pursuit of that prosperity which had been 
vainly promised, as the price of abandoning their native country and all the connections 
of early life. 

In closing these few remarks, I cannot help calling public attention to the whole 
policy of the United States towards their unfortunate countrymen who are struggling for 
that liberty in the southern hemisphere, of which these of the north pretend to be the sole 
and only possessors ; but more particularly to the recent arrest and incarceration of eleven 
British subjects, who had engaged in the patriot cause. It is extremely difficult to believe 
thatthismalevolentactdidnotoriginatein their irasciblehatred to England, in shewing which 
110 opportunity is lost : if not intended to mortify and insult us, it was following up theirscheme 
of impeding the progress of independence ; and either, is highly disgraceful to a nation, whose 
government has long preached up moderation and the rights of man, even to satiety. — ;?(/. 



principally bring forward the necessity they are under of keeping 
expensive squadrons to cruize against the Christians ! 

Frequently as the piratical cities have been bombarded, often as 
the tyrants have felt the consequences of their rapacity, and been 
obliged to sue for mercy, have they not, when it was granted, 
shortly returned to their old system I The Algerine squadrons were, 
in the course of the last century, destroyed no less than three times 
by the English : that regency had also a terrible lesson from Duquesne, 
admiral to Louis the Fourteenth. Notwithstanding all these formid- 
able attacks, Algiers has soon risen from its ashes more powerful than 
before : besides, the African chiefs are perfectly indifferent to the 
destruction of their towns. This fact is illustrated by the well-known 
reply of a Barbary sovereign, who offered to destroy his capital for 
half the money which it would cost to equip a force capable of 
attacking it ! 

Neither restrained by respect, gratitude, or fear, the Barbarians 
were, still continue, and ever will be, the scourges of commerce, and 
robbers of the ocean. Under such a .system of unchecked violence 
and successful depredation, well may the chiefs of Barbary adopt the 
motto of Milton's hero, and exclaim. 

Farewell, remorse ! all good to me is lost ; 
Evil be thou my good ! 

Were any thing wanting to prove the little reliance which can 
be placed on these people, it would surely be found in the necessity 
under which various powers have been, of sending their admirals to 
remonstrate against some new aggression since the attack on Algiers. 
It is but very lately that the appearance of an American commodore 
before Algiers was announced ; the Dutch admiral, Von Capellan, 
was, about the same time, occupied in requiring the Emperor of 
Morocco to restore the captured vessels of Jiis sovereign. Scarcely 
had these facts met the public eye, when the English consul at 
Tripoly was obliged to strike the flag of his nation until satis- 


faction should be given for the capture of a Hanoverian vessel, carried 
into that port by one of the Bey's cruizers. 

It is also reported, that several Algerine corsairs which happened 
to be out of the way on tlie day of retribution, are at this moment 
prowling about in search of victims. The Tunisian squadron, whether 
from a fear of the Britisli Admiral Penrose's ships, or a sudden fit of 
decorum, confines its depredations to the Adriatic. Many people 
have alluded to vessels which have been seen in some parts of the 
Mediterranean with black flags displayed, and who plunder or destroy 
all they meet : who knows, too, if some of these audacious cruizers, 
which commit so many excesses in the Bay of Cadiz, and ofl^ Cape 
8t. Vincent, may not be the corsairs of Tripoly,* Algiers or Salice, 
who cover themselves under the flags of Buenos AyresI The Dey of 
Algiers has been humbled ; but has the naval force of Morocco. 
Tunis, or Tripoly been reduced ? — If asked, whether the Algerine 
despot was altogether subdued, events would, I think, fully justify 
my answering in the negative. He may, indeed, have lost his physi- 
cal force; but augmented hatred and vindictive hope remain. — He is 
now incessantly occupied in rebuilding the city walls, repairing the 
forts, and equipping a new squadron. The ties of friendship are daily 
drawn closer between him and the Morocco chief, while those satellites 
of his will, who did not give entire satisfaction during the bombard- 
ment, have been accused of treason, and strangled. At the same time, 
nothing can exceed the Dey's resentment to Christians. This is, of 
course, chiefly directed against the English. 

A ship of that nation having recently anchored in the Bay of 
Algiers, all communication with her was interdicted ; nor was she 
allowed to receive any supplies whatever. The further supplies of 
grain have been also prohiljited to the British Mediterranean posses- 
sions ; nor can an English trader attempt to negociate any of his 
concerns in the piratical state. Besides those vessels already armed, 

* In this part of the original work, there is a long extract from Tuliy's Residence in 
Tripoly ; a work already noticed in the preceding pages. — Ed. 



the Dey expects three frigates as a present from the Grand Seignor ; 
this is an important fact, and merits great attention. Formerly the 
Porte was only intent on the best means of bringiiig the Barbary 
chiefs back to subjugation. It now furnishes them with the means of 
renewing their predatory warfare ! 

After the late attack, and while the squadron of Lord Exmouth 
was still in sight, the ferocious Omar harangued the populace from 
his palace walls, exclaiming in a half suffocating tone : "No ! we 
are not vanquished ! or if we are, it is by arms, which are unknown 
to us, those of corruption and treason. We fought like true Mussel- 
men, and our fame will be echoed on other shores. When the base 
perish, they are no longer spoken of: the brave fall, their names are 
remembered, and the glory of their country revives !"* 

* Algiers has seldom been governed by a more fierce or resolute character than Omar 
Basha, who possessed talents which would have given considerable eclat to the military 
leader of a more civilized country. Ever since the attack by Lord Exmouth's squadron, 
he was incessantly occupied in repairing the losses sustained on that memorable occasion, 
until the arrival of that period which never fails to overtake the Algerine despots. This 
occurred early in January last ; soon after which, the following account of Omar's death 
appeared in the public papers. 

When the Janizaries surrounded the palace of the Dey, he called the officers of the 
artillery and navy to his assistance, but they declined interfering. The Dey then demanded 
cf the Janizaries what they wanted? They replied, — "An individual from within." 
Anxious to preserve his life by any sacrifice, he offered to double the pay of the whole 
corps ; but this was rejected, and his person loudly called for. His firmness now forsook 
him, and he had recourse to poison : its operation, however, was not .sufficiently quick ; 
and the Janizaries entered, seized, and bound him. His highness was then conducted to 
the place of public executions and strangled. — The soldiers then quietly returned to their 
tomes. All this happened in the course of an hour after their first assembling. Such is 
the summary mode o<" proceeding in Algiers ! 

The following account of Omar's successor has just appeared in a morning 
journal : — " French papers to the 20th instant (March) have been received, by which 
we are informed that the wretch who usurped the sovereignty at Algiers only to 
commit the most atrocious acts, has received the chastisement due to his 
crimes. Heaven interfered for the protection of man ; and in twenty-four hours, the 
plague swept the despot to his grave, amidst the rejoicings of the people whom 
he had so grievously oppressed." Thus it appears, that plagues are not such bad things 


It will be in vain that the cabinets of Europe, and illustrious 
association of knights liberators, attempt to convince the barbarians 
it is their interest to remain at peace, or carry on a friendly commer- 
cial intercourse with civilized states; that their happiness can alone 
be obtained, by entering into the great family of European civilization. 
Reason never speaks till the passions have subsided ; and long prac- 
tised iniquity has made vice so natural to the people of nortliern 
Africa, that one almost despairs of inspiring them with the force or 
efficacy of moral sentiment. Truth in vitiated minds, is like thunder, 
which may penetrate the grave, but cannot awaken the dead. 

as some people imagine. With respect to the new ruler of Algiers, he is said to be a Moor, 
and has already succeeded iu forming a strong party against the Turkish soldiery, many of 
whom have fallen a sacrifice to the just resentment of their Moorish rivals in power. — Ed. 




Italy more exposed than ever to the Depredations oj the Barbary Corsairs.— 
Consequences of no more Captives being made. — Prisoners of War.— 
Their probable Treatment by the Barbarians. — Illustrations. — Necessity, 
Justice, and Utility of more powerful Measures.— Various Reflections^ and 
Anecdote of an English Seaman. — Importance to Europe of colonizing Nor- 
thern Africa. — Its amazing Fecundity. — Facility of penetrating into the 
Interior from that Direction. — Splendor of the Enterprize. — Its Advantage 
to Antiquarian Research, Science, and the useful Arts. — Observations, «^c. 

From the peculiar situation of Italy, and our vicinity to the 
opposite shores of Barbary, many think there is more cause than ever 
to apprehend the effects of piracy. The chiefs beini;- no longer able 
to send out regular squadrons, will give all possible encouragement 
to predatory individuals, who, by means of small vessels, can steal 
about the Mediterranean unobserved; when there will be scarcely a 
rock on our defenceless coast, that does not conceal a pirate. Many 
people have asserted, that this mode of warfare will be more injurious 
than the most open hostility. 

It should also be recollected, that although tribute is no longer 
to be paid, presents are received : the former had its limits ; but who 
can suppose that people, whose avidity for gold knows no bounds, 
will ever be satisfied with what is voluntarily presented? 

On the other hand, if captives are taken, how is Europe to be 
acquainted with the circumstance I 

It is said, that these powers will make no more slaves ; but they 


can take prisoners from those nations with whom they may be at 
war : we have, therefore, only to reflect on the probable fate of any 
person who becomes a prisoner of war in Africa ! Surely, it does 
not require any argument to prove, that death would be infinitely 
preferable to such a misfortune. The barbarians had, formerly, a 
particular interest in preserving the life of a slave ; but is it likely 
that the same feeling can extend towards prisoners, whom they will 
not only be obliged to support without working, but give up at the 
conclusion of hostilities I This highly important consideration will 
be more clearly illustrated by referring to the unhappy condition of 
the poor Greek sailors, who were considered as prisoners of war : 
during my residence in Algiers, these were loaded with double irons ; 
and, although repeatedly demanded by the divan of Constantinople, 
no attention whatever was paid to the claim ; and when applied to by 
the Grand Seignor, the Dey used to evade compliance, b}^ saying 
they were dead. Upon the whole, were it left me to chuse between 
the alternative, of being a prisoner, or slave in Barbary, I should 
have no hesitation whatever in adopting the latter. 

I am willing to admit, that these powers are not so likely to 
commit acts of violence as formerly ; but I can never be persuaded, 
from the experience I have had of their general character, but that 
every device which wickedness can invent will be resorted to, for 
the purpose of following up their old profession. Pursuant to this 
principle, which is to them irresistible, how very easy will it not be 
for a corsair, on making a capture, to take the most valuable part of 
the cargo out, burn the ship, and throw her crew into the sea : this 
has been frequently done by Christian pirates ; will those of Barbary 
be refrained from a similar proceeding ?* 

* The extreme probability of this being resorted to, is very considerably strengthened 
by the following authentic anecdote extracted from a work lately published in France, 
relative to the Barbary states. 

Ragep Rais, one of the most notorious pirates of Algiers, having aimed a corsair, 
sailed for the purpose of scouring the Mediterranean. He had been out only a short time, 


Even while that wicked system was legally tolerated by the 
Christian powers, slaves were to be found in every part of the interior: 
removed from the sea-coast, good care will be taken to sell future 
victims to masters, who, living in the mountainous districts, can- 
not hope to escape. Others, transferred to the Desert, must perish 
miserably, under the brutal treatment of their oppressors. As a 
proof that the above is not an idle conjecture, I need only men- 
tion the very recent instance of a Frenchman, who returned to his 
native place, Dijon, after an absence of thirty jears ; during the 
whole of which period he was totally ignorant of the events that 
took place in Europe : secluded in a remote part of the Algerine 
territory, his daily occupation was generally that of being yoked to 
tlie plough, and at night exposed to all the inclemencies of the season, 
with several other slaves in a ragged tent. We have also heard of 
another ill-fated being, who, from a similar cause, had no means of 
communicating with his family ; and on coming to Europe, after an 
absence of many years, found that his little patrimony was sold, and 
himself given up as dead. The recent narrative of John Adams, an 
American seaman, who had been wrecked on the western coast of 
Africa, aifords a good specimen of the dangers which await naviga- 
tors who are thrown on that dreadful shore, and their shocking treat- 
ment amongst the natives.* In the actual state of things, many 
industrious mariners will leave our ports, but we shall never hear of 

wheu, notwithstanding the most positive orders received from his master, not to molest 
French ships, he met one which was coming from the Levant, and bound to Marseilles, 
richly laden with silks and other merchandize. Unable to resist this temptation, Ragep 
took possession of the vessel, and steered towards Algiers with his prize. However, on 
getting near the coast, the orders of the Divan occurred to him with redoubled force, and 
having hesitated for some time as to the best plan to be pursued, he at length determined 
to take out the best part of the cargo : this was immediately effected, upon which the 
vessel was sunk, and every soul of the crew, amounting to thirty-six Frenchmen, had their 
heads struck off and were thrown into the sea! — Ed. 

* Since Adams's narrative, another has appeared from the pen of a Mr. Riley, the 
master of an American ship wrecked on the same coast: together with a great deal of 
useful information, Mr. R. has embellished his story with a few miracles. — Ed. 


their return. Enquiring for departed friends, there will be no one to 
give us a clue to their discovery : the perils from which we have escaped, 
were, in fact, trifling when compared to those arising from anxiety 
and suspense like the foregoing. 

But in admitting that no more slaves are made by the Barbary 
states, are we sure that piracy will decrease ì I think not ; and after 
death or slavery, what can be worse than losing a man's property and 
substance, the fruits of many years labour, anxiety and speculation. 
Relieved from the sordid responsibility of preserving their captives, 
the barbarians will be more at liberty to pursue the system of plunder, 
taking good care that the victims shall have no opportunity of returning 
to tell their story. 

Should it be found, that after having first continued to soften 
the enmity of the barbarians by tributes, presents, and other measures 
of conciliation, and then granted them the privilege of remaining at 
peace with the Christian powers, they betray their natural dispo- 
sition, and return to the commission of former crimes ; there is, I 
trust, no individual in Italy, who will not contribute, either personally, 
or by voluntary contribution, to those measures of retaliation which 
the greater powers of Europe may in their wisdom determine on, for the 
total destruction of the common enemy. 

It is no doubt very proper and even dignified to begin by mode- 
ration and forbearance; also to avoid extremes, until all the means of 
remonstrance and conciliation have been exhausted. But when there 
is no longer any hope of bringing states like those of Barbary into 
a sense of propriety, the last resource of kings must be found in the 
well known Roman maxim, Bellum justum quibus est necessarium, 
et quibus nulla, nisi in armis, relinquitur spes. It becomes the legi- 
timate right of sovereigns to revenge the injuries sustained by their 
subjects, or the weak and unprotected who solicit their support. It 
was by similar exertions, that the heroes of antiquity obtained the 
glory which has immortalized them ; and in this respect modern rulers 
would do well to imitate their actions. The power of Buonaparte 



has been justly destroyed, because be trifled with public liberty, and 
wished to ruin commerce; while the natural and inveterate foes of 
industry and trade are tolerated, in the lawless governments of 
Barbary. During the ex-emperor's reign, several countries united to 
the colossal empire, continued at peace with the barbarians. Being 
now detached from it, will any known law of nations justify their 
being thus left exposed to piratical depredation ; particularly as the 
African chiefs are said to have looked forward to the .separation of those 
powers from France, in the hope of its affording them an opportunity 
of giving full scope to their hatred and love of plunder. Buonaparte, 
who was fond of indulging in vast enterprizes and great designs, 
seemed to dwell with peculiar delight on the facility which must 
attend the conquest of northern Africa ; and I have often seen the 
Moors tremble at the very thought of an invading French army. 
Those who have destroyed the gigantic power of France, are under 
a species of tacit obligation to perform all the good, intended to be 
done by the former head of that government. 

To what possible purpose are such large armies kept up in 
time of profound peace ; the maintenance of which must be so very 
expensive, while they prevent nations from enjoying the anticipated 
benefits of a cessation from long protracted hostility Ì Are they for 
the purpose of affording the richly embroidered generals, an opportu- 
nity of performing magnificent evolutions, governing large provinces, 
or passing in review under the balconies of prnices i Are these 
troops intended to become what the Pretorian Guards were at Rome, 
Janizaries at Constantinople, Mamelukes of Egypt, Napoleon's 
Imi)erial Guard, the Tartars in China, or Strelitz of the Czars ; to 
convert Europe into a great barracks, or establish military and despotic 
power in the civilized world, like that of the Beys and Emperors of 
Africa Ì No ! These armies are wisely intended to restore the days 
of .social order and domestic tranquillity; to repress the unquiet 
spirit of a turbulent and rapacious soldiery, who had long been 
taught to consider Europe as their patrimony, and war as their pro- 


fession ; to convince an ambitious and restless faction, that it can no 
longer acqiiii-e glory, by converting the rest of the world into a scene 
of blood and desolation ! The presence of the allied army was ren- 
dered necessary, not only to prevent the possibility of re-action, but 
for the purpose of giving that weight to pending negociations, which 
could not be fulfilled, without the appearance of a great moral and 
physical force : these are the only objects, for which the kings of our 
time, or revered and legitimate governments, can require armies. But 
could not a .small portion of these three millions of armed men, 
who are said to produce all the evils of war, without any of its 
benefits, be embarked on board a few ships, to seize Bona and 
Oran, as guarantees of more moderation in the Dey of Algiers I Of 
what consequence is it, that Genoa .should be given to Savoy ; or a 
territory containing so many hundred thousand souls allotted to 
Prussia on the Rhine and Meuse. That cabinets should extend their 
frontier lines, and add to the population, is very natural ; but it i.s, 
surely, of equal consequence to secure the freedom of the seas, and 
security of commerce ; to prevent our being for ever exposed to the 
robbery of Moorish pirates ; that trade should be protected, and the 
unrestrained comnnmication of nations ensured ? We ought not, 
surely, to l^e deprived of the very first fruits of peace and good order Ì 
In former days, kings and their people, warmed by the feelings of 
humanity, and a noble revenge, were capable of resenting the inju- 
ries, not only of a whole nation, but of single individuals: a .sight 
of the violated Levite woman's garment, was sufticient to excite the 
whole of the chosen jieople to war and vengeance, which ended in 
the total destruction of Benjamin's race. An offence done to a few 
females at the feasts of Lemnia, led to the Spartans laying waste the 
plains of Messenia. In more modern times, an old man, who had 
been dreadfully mutilated in his features and person, presenting him- 
self before the British parliament, thus addressed that august assem- 
bly : " I am a native of England, and a seaman by profes.sion : while 
trading between Jamaica and the Caraccas, I was seized by the 

3 G 2 


Spaniards, who, after having- loaded me with abuse and indignities of 
every kind, reduced me to this degraded condition; and then dismissed 
me with all the marks of opprobrium and ignominy." Being asked by 
a member, what he thought, on finding himself in the hands of such 
barbarians ? The poor man replied, " I recommended my soul to God, 
and my cause to the just vengeance of my country !" This report of 
the cruelty of the Spaniards, was followed by a universal burst of 
indignation from all present ; and soon communicating to an immense 
concourse of the people without, the air resounded with shouts of 
revenge, and nothing but war ! war ! was heard from the multitude ; 
nor were the ministers of his Britannic majesty slow in meeting the 
wishes of the people, for hostilities immediately followed, and the 
national resentment was soon expiated. 

Hundreds of those unhappy beings, recently liberated from slavery 
in Africa, might also come forward, and shew the dreadful marks of 
their past sufferings ; the laceration oc<;asioned by chains or the 
whip ; all crying aloud for redress, and proving a necessity of pre- 
venting the recurrence of such inhuman treatment. After all tliat 
has happened, who can deny, that offended humanity does not call 
aloud for justice? or that the cold indifference manifested on this 
important subject, is not calculated to excite the regret and execra- 
tion of posterity; while history will record it, as a lasting monument 
of weakness to those, in whose power it has been to remedy the 
evil Ì 

If unmoved by the call of honour and of justice, to undertake a 
war of retaliation against the Barbary chiefs, motives of self-interest, 
added to its certain utility, ought to have their proper degree of in- 
fluence in this question, as in most others, which are agitated in the 
civilized world. Where, I should like to be informed, is it possible 
to point out a more important acquisition to Europe than the northern 
shores of Africa? which, independently of its natural fertility, would 
at once throw open the whole of that vast continent, and lead to its 
speedy civilization. I am certainly justified in saying, that no island 


colonies hitherto established in any part of the universe, can be put in 
competition with this coast, either in climate or natural productions. 
Where could the people of Europe find the inexhaustible resources 
furnished by this fine country, which almost spontaneously yields the 
products of every other ? Justly called the garden of nature by the 
ancients, no wonder that the people of Rome placed their chief glory 
in colonizing Africa ; which not only furnished them with a never- 
failing supply of corn, wine, and oil, but could always provide for 
their redundant population. 

Africa has always been represented as a beautiful female, whose 
head is crowned with ears of wheat : this is a just symbol of the 
country's wonderful exuberance in that important necessary of life. 
And it is a curious fact, that during those years most unfavourable 
to European crops, they are sure to be remarkably abundant in Bar- 
bary. Should this fine region ever become the patrimony, either by 
conquest or colonization, of emigrants from Europe, is it not very 
natural to believe, that the consequent improvement in civilization 
and attention to agriculture, will render it still more productive? 
I might, indeed, enlarge almost to infinity on the innumerable 
advantages which Europe must derive fiom establishing a reciprocity 
of interests between itself and Africa. With respect to those supplies 
in the mere way of commerce, which we should receive from northern 
Africa, they would consist in nearly all those articles, whether of 
necessity or luxury, which we now derive from every part of the 
habitable globe. If the proposed colonization of Africa is gratifying 
to the philosopher, man of science, and merchant, it is no less attrac- 
tive to the enterprizing soldier ; who, in contributing to the grand 
work of bringing this boundless region into the European family, 
would have the consolation to reflect, that no country in the world is 
more likely to reward his labours with future wealth and indepen- 
dence. Not to mention the amazing quantity of the precious metals 
collected yearly in Africa, the cities on the sea-coast are all extremely 
rich ; and when I add, that two-thirds of the whole have been plun- 


dered from inofleiisive Cliristians, will any one deem me unprin- 
cipled for sincerely wishing to see the plundered property restored 
to the rightful owners I — Yes, it is no trifling source of satisfaction to 
reflect, that unlike most modern expeditions which have, from the 
enormous expence attending them, almost ruined some countries, 
those sent to the coast of northern Africa, will not only be paid for 
by the treasures which abound there ; but every individual concerned 
may safely calculate on being enriched for the remainder of his life. 
Tripoly, Tunis, Algiers, Fez, and Morocco, together with several 
hundred minor cities, would, by a comparatively moderate contribu- 
tion, more than re[)ay any expedition w hicli may be sent to colonize 
the country ; and I repeat, that on the simple principle of retaliation 
for past injuries, a general would be fully justified in reimbursing 
the European powers, for those sacrifices which had been rendered 
absolutely necessary, by tlie long continued aggressions of the 
Barbary chiefs. He who led an army into northern Africa, might, 
in fact, address his soldiers in the language of the great Ferdinand Cor- 
tez, when entering Mexico : " Come, my friends ! Follow me. Glory, 
danger, and riches, are what we seek, and which we are sure to find!" 

A league, which was destined to suppress piracy, avenge the 
wrongs of mankind, and civilize Africa, would not be unworthy of 
those sovereigns, who have united to restore the lost rights of Europe, 
and its ancient balance of power ; much less the personal exertions 
of those heroes, who so magnanimously seconded the public 
opinion at Salamanca, Leipzic, and Waterloo. Rome did not 
disdain to accord the highest honours to C. Metellus, after his sub- 
jugation of the Balearic pirates. The senate also thought it neces- 
sary to send a formidable expedition against the marauders who 
infested the Adriatic, and the barbarous Queen of Lissa : the w ar so 
happily concluded against the pirates of the Mediterranean, led to 
Pompey's obtaining a triumph, and was the precursor of his future 

A war of the above nature, would be the more entitled to popu- 


larity, from the rare circumstance, of its uniting humanity to sound 
policy : thus going a great way towards expiating the many ruinous 
wars which have so often desolated Europe, without any legitimate 
motive; from caprice, vain-glory, or merely a desire to reign. It 
must add greatly to the merit of such an enterprize, when it is con- 
sidered that by far the most important advantages would be on the side 
of the vanquished : these would receive laws, sciences, arts, and com- 
merce from the victors; civilized manners and customs would soon 
occupy the place of barbarism, the lands would no longer remain 
waste and uncultivated; nor the productions of the soil a useless bur- 
then to the projirietor. Neither would the finest country on earth 
continue under the iron sway of a ferocious and foreign militia. 
Masters of northern Africa, the harem walls must fall, and sutfer the 
miserable inmates to regain their natural rights in society, rendering 
the most beautiful part of creation what it should ever be, the happi- 
ness and consolation of mankind ! 

How gratifying to reflect on the new and improved picture of 
human affairs, which the occupation of this too long neglected 
country must present ! What could be a more consoling spectacle then 
to witness new cities rising on the ruins of past ages ; and thus com- 
pensating for the war of destruction, which has so lately desolated the 
civilized world? Considered in its various minor bearings, what a 
wide field of profitable research does the proposed colonization of 
Africa afford to the naturalist, antiquary, and man of letters Ì Totally 
ignorant of Carthaginian antiquities, its language and manners, as 
we are, much yet remains unexplored of the literature, science and 
knowledge of the useful arts, which distinguished the Arabs. Should 
the libraiies of Africa be thrown open to the European literati, who 
knows but that some clue may be found by which the mysterious 
written characters of the Egyptians will no longer bafHe the most 
acute investigation ? 

The comparatively extreme facility of penetrating Africa from its 
northern side, has been already alluded to ; and if any conviction of 


that most important fact was required, we might surely find it in the 
melancholy failure of all the recent attempts from the western side, 
while we know that the communication with Tripoly and 3Iorocco 
has not experienced the smallest interruption. 

Should the ancient prosperity of Africa ever be restored, with what 
ineffable joy would not the shades of Juba, Syphax and Massanissa, 
hover round the scenes of former glory and triumph ; while those of 
Hannibal and Amilcar watched the returning wealth and splendor of 
their favourite city ! To those, who feel interested for the dissemina- 
tion of Christianity, what could delight them more, than to see that 
country, which in former day.s contained no less than six hundred 
bishops, return to the mild faith of the Redeemer, and see his cross 
.substituted for the crescent ! Such a glorious enterprize fills the mind 
with thoughts, to which language cannot give utterance : forming 
heroes of those concerned in carrying it into effect, it would shed light 
and happiness on the degraded people of Africa ; converting those 
who are now scarcely superior to the brute creation into good men 
and industrious citizens I 



Difficulties likely to attend the Enterprize. — Remarks on the Moorish Character. 
— Observations on the Result of those Expeditions hitherto sent against the 
Infidels. — Want of Union, and unpopular Nature of the Barbary Governments, 
favourable to an invading Army. — Reasons why the Moors are not likely to 
adhere to the Fortunes of their j^resent Rulers. — As easy for the united Powers 
of Europe to colonize Northern Africa, as it was for single Nations of other 
Times to do so. — Hints to an invading Force. — Best Time to effect a Landing. 
— Kind of Warfare most adapted to Africa. — Necessity of Perseverance. — 
Importance of calling in the Aid of Political Intrigue. — Comparison between 
theMoors and savage Nations. — Probability of the former'' s adoptingEuropean 
Manners and another Religion.— Singular Tradition prevalent in Barbary. 
— Recollections by which an European Army woiddbe animated on landing 
in Africa. — Why that part of the World is not as susceptible of undergoing 
a great political Change as other Countries. — Necessity of employing a suf- 
ficient force, and of the Powers of Europe being unanimous in the Cause. 
— Nations thai ought to direct the League. — Reflections. 

Having suggested a few of the advantages to which the coloniza- 
tion of Africa would inevitably lead, it is but fair to take a different 
view of the subject, and consider the difficulties likely to attend the 
accomplishment of this grand enterprize. After long meditation on 
every thing connected with it, I am by no means inclined to assert, that 
such an undertaking would not involve a great sacrifice of personal 
exertion, blood, and treasure : but many a single battle in Europe has 
caused the death of fifty thousand human beings ! Besides, the people 
of Barbary are haughty and fanatical in the extreme, possessing a 

3 H 


religion, manners, and customs, wliidi have neither contact nor sym- 
pathy with those of Europe. All these causes would, no doubt, in- 
crease the difficulty of reconciling the Moors to a new order of things, 
when a more effeminate population, who were vitiated by indolence 
and luxurj-, would shortly embrace the law of their conquerors. 

The Moor, naturally frigid, idle, and voluptuous, if roused into 
action, is capable of instantly abandoning himself to the opposite 
extreme of the most furious activity ; and, by a singvdar coincidence, to 
a life of effeminacy unites the gi'eatest contempt of death. Descended 
from the Moors who were driven out of Spain, those of Barbaiy bear a 
wonderful affinity to the present inhabitants of that country; and in 
the event of invasion, might display a great deal of the same inflexibility 
and perseverance. Their total ignorance of military science, Mould 
be replaced by a rooted hatred towards Christians, and the hopes of 
paradise which attended those who fell. Fanaticism, aided by their 
belief in predestination, inspires the followers of Mahomet with an 
uncommon share of resolution. In contemplating the perils of an 
African invasion, we should not forget what the Moors were, under 
the race of Abderam, the Almohades, and Fatemirs. We cannot 
have forgotten the fate of Sebastian,* the tierce intrepidity of Bar- 
barossa, Sinan Basha, and Ulukiali ; — the recapture of Oran and 
Gigeri, the power of the Moors in Spain, or their great victory of 

* This enterpriziug young monarch, influenced more by generosity of sentiment than 
sound policy, undertook the invasion of Africa for the purpose of replacing a Moorish 
prince, whose throne had been usurped by his uncle; the expedition was opposed by 
Sebastian's ministers, and terminated in his death, which took place at Alcazar, near 
Tangiers, in 1578, where the Portuguese army was entirely cut to pieces by that of Hasem, 
the usurper, a man of extraordinary talents ; who, notwithstanding his being in the most 
debilitated state of health, was carried about the field in a litter, and perceiving the hour 
of dissolution at hand, ordered those who were about him to conceal his death till the 
battle was at an end, lest the circumstance should have changed the tide of fortune against 
his own troops. 


It is not attempted to be denied, that our })lan of operations 
might be disconcerted by unforeseen events or local difficulties. The 
natives, better acquainted with the ground, would, doubtless, possess 
extensive means of annoying- an invading army : the possibility of 
disease finding its way into the European camps, is also presented 
to our minds ; but long experience in large foreign expeditions, per- 
fect knowledge of chusing the best season, and various salutary pre- 
cautions suggested by past sufferings, are calculated either to dissipate 
our fears altogether on these points, or at the worst, to render them 
of trifling importance. If I have not entirely mistaken those qualities 
which compose an European army of modern times, the difficulties 
opposed to a descent on Africa, would only tend to increase the artlour 
of the invaders ; wliile they must greatly increase the glory of the 
enterprize. The late war has besides furnished innumerable proofs, 
that notwithsianding the fanatical fury of Mahometan soldiers, thej 
cannot successfully oppose the sang froid and superior military tactics 
of European troops. The failure of Charles the Fifth's expedition 
should have no effect in deterring a similar undertaking in our days. 
— In addition to its being set on foot, at a very improper period of 
the year, and the time of sailing entirely disapproved of by Andrea 
Doria, destiny and the elements seemed to have ranged themselves on 
the side of the infidels, to baffle the Emperor's well-meant efforts.* 
With respect to the unfortunate, but the brave King of Portugal, he 
acted with more ardour than prudence ; and the camp of St. Louis was 
infected by a contagious disorder, which invading armies could seldom 
avoid in those days. To the foregoing considerations, it may safely 
be added, that no expedition hitherto sent into northern Africa, has 

* When this celebrated commander remonstrated with his master on the danger and 
imprudence of sailing for Africa at that tempestuous season of the year, the Emperor 
replied, "Seventy years glory to you, and twenty of reigning to me, is surely enough to 
prevent our being so warmly attached to life." After which, he gave the admiral orders 
to prepare for sea. 

3 H 2 


been planned on a scale which was by any means equal to accomplish 
the object in view. 

The example of the crusades is scarcely worth citing, as afford- 
ing any support to those who might be inclined to treat the sub- 
ject of an African invasion as chimerical. The disorderly manner 
in which these disastrous expeditions were conducted, without dis- 
cipline, unanimity, or the means of existence, renders it matter of 
surprize how such immense numbers could even arrive at the scene of 
action, from the remotest parts of Europe ; opposed as they were, by 
the difficulty of transport, and perfidy of the Greek emperors. It 
should also be kept in mind, that the Saracens fought under chiefs, 
who were generally much superior to any of the Cliristian generals; 
and that at a time when the military art was perfectly well under- 
stood amongst their enemies. 

The coasts of Afi'ica are, on the contrary, directly opposite to 
those of Europe, by no means very distant, and perfectly accessible 
throughout the year. Independently of the facility with which sup- 
plies of men, arms, and ammunition may be at all times conveyed to 
any part of the coast, it is of importance to recollect that they will not 
be opposed by such chiefs as Nouraddin, Malek-Adhel, and Saladin; 
while those generals who have immortalized their names on the Ebro, 
Beresina, Danube, and Rhine, would doubtless engage most heartily 
in a cause which promised results so glorious to humanity and civili- 
zation. The noble ardour and holy zeal inspired by an enterprize of 
this nature, unshackled by the little jealousies which have so often 
proved fatal to their undertakings, would give rise to a degree of una- 
nimity, of which the African chiefs are totally incapable, as proved 
by their late conduct during the attack on Algiers. If they could see 
that which was directed against a whole regency with perfect indif- 
ference, is it likely that any cordial efibrts would be made to assist 
the Turkish militia, whose power, in the event of their repulsing a 
Christian army, must be established more firmly than ever f Do not 
these observations apply with equal force to the persecuted tribes, and 


Berebers of the mountains ; all of whom are the indiscriminate objects 
of plunder! Even the Moors cannot be depended upon by their 
oppressors, doomed to witness incessant changes and revolutions, all of 
which end, in rivettino- their chains more closely. Who can pretend 
to foretel the etlect of another great alteration by Europeans on the 
minds of those people J Besides, the Turkish soldiery have never been 
allowed to form any ties of consanguinity with the Moorish inha- 
bitants; as the Roman senate usetl wisely to arrange during the 
conquests of the republic, or the Tartars of China in more modern 
times : so that judging of the little inducement a Moor has to 
follow the fortunes of his tyrannical master, we are fully justified 
in supposing, that on the arrival of any great disaster to the armies 
of either, chiefs like those of Tripoly, Tunis, or Algiers, would soon 
be abandoned to their fate, as many others have been on similar 

It might here be asked, if the Moors have a country worth 
loving, or princes for whom they would be likely to brave danger 
and death t Have the African governments ruled in such a way as 
to merit the sacrifice of all personal safety in their cause Ì For myself, 
I have not a doubt, that very little difficulty would be met with in 
convincing the diiFerent inhabitants of Barbary, that their interests 
and happiness can never be secured under a system like the present. 
With respect to the Arab tribes, I am satisfied their submission 
might be safely calculated on, by merely guaranteeing the inde- 
pendence of the different chiefs, and promising their protection, on 
the example of so many other nations of ancient and modern times, 
particularly the numerous Mahometan chiefs dependent on the vast 
Indian empire of Great Britain. 

It would not surely be more difficult to establish Christian govern- 
ments in Barbary, than it was amidst an infinitely more formidable 
opposition ; as in the case of the crusaders at Jerusalem, Antioch and 
Ptolemais ? Or to have its princes tributary, as those of Tunis and 
Tripoly have already been to the Emperor Charles V. and Norman 


kings of Sicily ? Should tlie proposed conquest be ever effected, I 
should imagine there would be no more trouble attending an equal 
division of the country, than usually attends such arrangements in 
Europe, and as we have seen on the coast of Malabar, Guinea, and 
America. The great object in such an undertaking, should be that 
of a sincere union, and a sufficient military and naval force. 

All who have considered the best mode of proceeding in Algiers, and 
with manyof whom I canvassed the matter whilethere, were of opinion, 
that several points should be attempted at the same moment ; by which 
the barbarians could have no chance of co-operating with each other, 
andtheallied powers might assume their respective shares in the enter- 
prize, without the possibility of national jealousies injuring tlie com- 
mon cause. The descent should be made in the beginning of winter, 
during the whole of which, an European army can act in Barbary, 
without any fear of sickness ; and it is at this season, the Moors are 
least capable of active exertion. If possible, an invading force 
should push on towards the interior, before the chiefs had time to 
concentrate their forces on the range of Mount Atlas: the nearer these 
are kept to the coast, the more easily would their reduction be 
completed. It would also be imjiolitic to lose time in partial war- 
fare or trifling skirmishes, in which the enemy's light cavalry would 
have many advantages over that of Europe. The great object of an 
invading army in Africa, would be, to keep possession of the plains ; 
where European artillery, and the various evolutions of infantry, must 
give a decided superiority over the jMoors ; also to prolong the >>'ar 
with persevering resolution : for although the Musselmen might be 
capable of some desperate efforts in the onset, they would be sure to 
yield in a protracted struggle. The military operations in Africa 
might be very materially seconded by a well-timed application of 
political intrigue ; as it has frequently happened, that the greatest 
successes have arisen from what has been previously arranged in the 
closet. It might not be altogether impossible, to induce a large por- 
tion of the inhabitants to adopt our maimers and customs, and even 


religion. Tliere is an important distinction to be made between the 
people of Barbary and mere savages : the latter are ferocious and 
inhuman ; while the former, though uncultivated, retain some degree 
of mildness. Savage nations are incapable of a sudden change to 
civilization, being obstinately attached to their uncouth habits : 
whereas, it has been observed, that half civilized people, who have 
been accustomed to European intercourse, pass much more easily into 
a different way of living. Notwithstanding the inhabitants of Numidia 
and Mauritania have sunk into their present state of degradation, 
they were once a civilized people, and still retain strong marks of a 
more reiined nature : endowed with great versatility of character and 
sentiment, fond of variety, they are by no means inimical to change, 
and might easily be persuaded to adopt other laws, customs, and 
principles of faith ; as they did when 3Iahometanism was first preached. 
Judging from former experience, the Moors of the present day would 
embrace any dogmas or customs, which happened to please their fervid 
imaginations. Commencing as zealous Christians, they have ended, by 
adopting the blind faitli of Islamism ; learning the love of letters at 
Fez, they acquired gallantry, heroism, and a fondness for romantic 
exploits in the vallies of Andalusia, and in the mountains of Gre- 
nada. To the foregoing observations on those parts of the Moorish 
character, which render their conversion to the pristine faith 
more easy than many are inclined to suppose, I will add another, 
which is of no trifling importance, when applied to a people who are 
firmly attached to the doctrine of predestination. All who have 
written any account of Barbary, notice a terrible tradition, univer- 
sally prevalent amongst the people; and not unlike that which is 
said to have greatly contributed to the subjugation of Peru, and 
dethronement of the Incas. The Moors, without one single exception, 
are taught to believe, that Heaven has inevitably decreed their 
whole country is to be reconciuered by Christian soldiers dressed in 
red! This singular tradition has been handed down with the most 
scrupulous exactness for many centuries; and is probably coeval vtith 


the crusades. It acquires additional force from being religiousl} 
believed by the Imans, who think the dreadful catastrophe will hap- 
pen on a Friday : this accounts for the precaution observed all along 
the coast of Barbar}^ to shut the gates of every town for a certain 
portion of that day ; during which the most resolute and least super- 
stitious amongst them, frequently turn their eyes towards the .sea, 
and ejaculate a prayer to avert the threatened danger. It is needless 
to point out of what incalculable importance an artful general might 
turn a circumstance, which to us may be fraught with absurdity. If 
properly revived in a moment of sudden invasion, there is little doubt 
but that it w ould produce an extraordinary sensation with the whole 
population of Barbary. 

Whatever might be the result of a simultaneous and well orga- 
nized plan for the colonization of northern Africa, whenever the 
event takes place, those who are engaged in the enterprize will not 
be so dispirited, as if they were the first persons who carried terror and 
conquest into those fertile regions. While bravely attempting to 
re-establish the lost rights of Europe on that vast hemisphere, they 
will proudly call to mind the conquest of Tunis, Tripoly, Bona, Oran, 
Tangiers, and Ceuta. The victories gained during the adminis- 
tration of Cardinal Ximenes, and Count de Montemar; of the King 
of Tremesen's being restored to his throne by a Christian army, and 
ignominious discomfiture and death of Barbarossa ; the extennina- 
tion of the Moors on the mountains of Alpugarra, and renowned battle 
of Tolosa. And what, I would ask, is to prevent Barbary from sharing 
the fate of other countries I We have already seen it change masters with 
incredible facility from the Caliphs, Emirs, Fatemirs, Abacidi, and 
Almohades, to the iron sway of the piratical chiefs ; from the govern- 
ment of a conqueror, to the lawless pursuits of robbery and plunder. 
Why, I should like to be informed, cannot Europe, united, do that 
which the nations of ancient and modern times effected single-handed? 
Surely the allied sovereigns can perform that which the Romans, 
Vandals, Saracens, and Turks, were enabled to do w ith a hundredtli 


part of their power ? Who will attempt to say that the emperors 
and kings of Europe cannot subjugate a handful of adventurers, 
whose crimes and broken fortunes have driven them to the shore of 
Africa Ì 

Nearly all the expeditions sent to the coast of Barbary of late 
years, have had little more in view, than the capture of an insignificant 
town, or destruction of a few corsairs, the former of which could never 
be retained with any advantage to the possessor, as in the case of 
Oran and Tangier. As to Ceuta and Melilla, the only places 
which are in the hands of Europeans, they have never been of the 
smallest use to Spain, except to confine prisoners of state and male- 
factors. Shut up within the walls, the garrisons of His Catholic 
Majesty are not allowed to receive even a little fresh water from their 
Moorish allies, or go beyond the lines, while the corsairs often approach 
within gun-shot of the batteries, and make captures close under the 
walls ! If, on the other hand, a piratical squadron is taken or 
destroyed, it requires only a few months to replace the loss, and a 
bombardment has scarcely ever been found to produce any permanent 
effect on chiefs, who took good care to remove their treasures into a 
place of safety before the attack had commenced. Although one of 
the regencies has been humbled, others remain; and as I have stated 
in a former chapter, it is enough for one to declare war against a 
Christian power, to induce all the rest to assume the belligerent flag, 
and make reprisals just as freely as in a war of their own. 

Should any thing of a serious nature be decided on with respect 
to these .states, the plan should be commensurate to the great object 
in view. Although it is, I am sure, perfectly unnecessary to point 
out this matter, where men of the first talent will doubtless be con- 
sulted, it may not be irrelevant to state, that the persons with whose 
opinions I had an opportunity of becoming acquainted in Algiers, 
thought it would require at least one hundred thousand men to com- 
plete the colonization of Barbary from the Straits of Gibralter to 
Tri poly. 

What I have hinted as to the necessity of an increased physical 
3 I 


force, may be applied with equal justice to the moral organization of 
the proposed design ; that is to say, so far as regards the sincere 
unanimity of the European powers, all of whom, without any excep- 
tion, must derive great benefit from its success. Who indeed amongst 
them can be indifferent to such an enterprize, or has not had reason to 
complain of the barbarians at some period or another of their 

La Turca fede a chi non è palese? 
Tu da un solo delitto ogni altro impara, 
Anzi da mille, perchè milla ha tese 
Insidie a voi la gente iniqua avara ! 

England should most unquestionably be at the head of any 
league intended to suppress the piratical system, and be thus placed 
in a situation which would enable her to complete the great work she 
has already begun. In addition to the British nation's being more 
capable of respecting the principles of public liberty, and sacred 
rights of mankind, it was the first to abolish the traffic in negroes, as 
well as causing it to be relinquished by several other powers: having 
rendered this service to one part of the human species, what people 
could with more reason prevent the possibility of the whites being 
again exposed to the .same dreadful visitation! 

The greatest maritime and commercial nation of the world, ought 
not surely any longer tolerate a vile banditti, or permit them to scour 
and devastate the field of their glory and power. Great Britain has 
destroyed the pirates of, and those of Macassar, who infested 
the coasts of India, together with many other lawless bands who 
lived by plunder in the Red Sea and Persian Gulph. It has by these 
important events, extended its protection to all the trading nations of 
the east; the friendly powers of Europe have an equal claim on the 
generosity of England. She also possesses Malta, which, during the 
Order's existence, was a source of constant terror to the infidels, and 
jastly called the advanced guard of Christianity : retaining that strong 
position, the possessors have certainly a right to perform the duties 
iinposed on the Knights of Jerusalem. 


If not the first. Fiance should undoubtedly occupy the second 
place amongst those powers who co-operate in the foregoing plan. 
Enthusiastic, animated, fond of ardent enterprize, possessing genius 
to invent, and courage to execute, and which has always been fore- 
most in great and heroic undertakings, it was the people of France 
who saved Europe from being over-run by the Saracens of Africa. 
During the reign of Charles Martel, the orators and warriors of 
this great country were the first to promote the crusades, and had 
afterwards the chief direction of them. A king of France had the 
honour of causing mortars to be first used against the capital of 
Algiers. In the French Chamber of Peers, the author of the Beauties 
of Christianity, made a most eloquent appeal to that dignified body, in 
favour of those white slaves who were recently liberated from chains. 
It is in Paris, that the beneficent society of Knights Liberators has 
been established, and from whence the most convincing representations 
are still making to illustrate the necessity of adopting stronger measures, 
and where assistance is given to all who suffer by the piratical states. 
One of the first who subscribed to this philanthropic association, was 
Louis the Eighteenth, a prince, who justly merits the title of a con- 
stitutional monarch. The generals and soldiers of France would no 
doubt feel a secret pleasure in marching under the lily to avenge the 
death of the good St. Louis, and his brave followers, who fell a sacri- 
fice to their zeal in the cause of Christianity at Tunis, or to pacify 
the manes of their countrymen, who were inhumanly slaughtered on 
the ensanguined walls of Gigeri. 

Nor should the people of Italy be strangers to this great move- 
ment of the Christian princes. Besides our vicinity to the African 
coast, the first successful attempts to carry war into the heart of 
Barbary proceeded from the .shores of Italy ; Tripoly and Bona 
were both concpiered by Italian armies ; aiid the inhabitants of Sfax 
and Susa will long remember the Venetian fleet, under its famous 
Admiral Emo; and Algiers, the name of General Acton. The Italian 
language is understood throughout the whole coast of Bàrbary, and 

3 I 2 


its Lingua Franca principally composed of terminations from that 
language. As the people of Italy are, in fact, those who have 
suffered most by the barbarians, they would be evidently more deeply 
interested in their reduction than any other; and ought, perhaps, 
to enjoy as many benefits from it as their more powerful neighbours. 
The melancholy picture of what the Christians in Palestine 
were doomed to suffer from the oppression of the Saracens, being 
drawn by Peter the Hermit, and the Archbishop of Ravenna, all 
Europe was roused into action by the recital ; and a universal feeling 
of revenge spread over every country after the Abbè Chiaravelle's 
eloquent exposition. When Pope Urban II. had finished an oration 
on the subject, in the great council of Clermont, the whole assembly 
rose, and exclaimed : " God ordains it! It is the will of Heaven !" 
Let the moderns also call to mind what they have suffered during a 
period of more than two hundred years, from the vilest of human 
kind, the incorrigible and predatory hordes of Barbary. Having 
reflected on the past, the enlightened governments of Europe would 
consult the interests of humanity, were they, in the event of future 
aggressions, never to treat with the violaters of public law, and plun- 
derers of the ocean, except at the point of the bayonet, or cannon's 
mouth. It might then be said of the modem league, as of the 
ancient ones, which had by no means so legitimate a cause, " Europe 
seemed plucked from the very foundation, and ready to fall with all 
its weight on Asia I" 

vithor's motives. 429 


Author's Motives for proposing the Colonization o/ Northern Africa. — Most 
equitable Line of Policy to be pursued, should a Descent ever be made in that 
Country. — Anecdote and Reflections. — Appeal to Princes, Ministers, People, 
Philosophers, Orators, Poets, and periodical Writers of ^very Country. — 
Eulogium on the Anti-Piratical Institution. — Conclusion. 

After all that has been advanced in the preceding chapters, I have 
no doubt that some people, particularly those who are in the habit of 
taking a confined view of human affairs, or influenced by the pre- 
judices of party, will set me down as being desirous of precipitating 
Europe into another sanguinary war, while all the melancholy con- 
sequences of the last are still so fresh in our recollection. I can with 
great truth assert, that those who judge of me in this way, will have 
totally mistaken the motives by which I have been actuated through- 
out the foregoing observations : — these have been called forth by a 
sincere wish of benefiting the whole human race, and for ever putting 
an end to evils, which it is scarcely necessary to add, have long been 
in direct opposition to every received principle of natural law, and 
the general interests of nations. If I have insisted on the necessity 
of retributive justice being exercised over the offending states, the 
reader may be assured, it has arisen more from a conviction, that 
neither half measures or protracted negociation can ever bring the 
powers of northern Africa into a sense of moderation or forbearance. 
In suppressing individual delinquency, legislative wisdom begins by 

430 author's motives. 

pointing out the obligations we owe to society ; penalties are then 
imposed on those Avho violate them ; and if admonition is not found 
to bring the culprit back to virtue, he forfeits the esteem of his fellow 
citizens, and is punished for his crimes : thus satisfying the offended 
laws of his country, and affording a salutary example to others. It 
will require very little exertion to apply this illustration in the pre- 
sent in.stance, by calling to mind the very memorable way in which 
it continues to be exercised on a nation of our own times : admitting 
the analogy, they will, I should imagine, have no difficulty in allow- 
ing, that what has been almost universally thought just and neces