Slike strani

hand into the animal's side, from which he tore his bowes,' and began to devour them. Many ate dogs and other living creatures ; and on that day, a little Jew boy was killed in the street either by the marabouts or their followers.*

Captain Lyon adds, that, notwithstanding the prohibition of the prophet, drunkenness is more common in Tripoli than even in most towns of England. There are public winehouses, at the doors of which the Moors sit and drink without any scruple; and the saldanah, or place of the guard, has usually a few drunkards to disgrace its discipline. Among the better sort of people, too, there are a great many who drink hard; but their favourite beverage is an Italian cordial, called rosolia, and not unfrequently a little rum.

The intercourse with Europeans is commonly carried on in a corrupt dialect, composed of most of the tongues spoken along the northern shores of the Mediterranean. It has even been observed, that the language of Tripoli, as used by the natives, has admitted a great number of terms from the banks of the Tiber; and that all such ideas as are foreign to the habits of an Arab, or a corsair, are expressed in the idiom of the inodern Romans.

* Narrative of Travels in Northern Africa, p. 9.


Tunis and its Dependances. Lands included in the Pachalic of Tunis—History resumed

Abou Ferez-His Court, Bodyguard, and Council--Invasion of Tunis by Louis IX.-Carthage reduced-Sufferings of the French-Death of the King-Arrival of the Sicilian Crusaders-Failure of the Expedition-Rise of the two Barbarossas, Horuc and Hayradin-The former invited to assist the King of Algiers-He murders him and seizes the GovernmentThe Usurper defeated and slain-Algiers occupied by Hayradin, who courts the protection of the Grand Seignior-Plans an attack on Tunis–Succeeds in his Attempt-Excites the Resentment of the Emperor Charles V.-The rast Preparations in Italy and Spain-Barbarossa prepares for DefenceThe Goletta is taken--A general Engagement ensues—The Moors are defeated and Tunis falls- The Town is sacked and plundered-Muley Hassan restored-Conditions—Exploits of Barbarossa-Spaniards expelled by Selim II.-Tunisians elect a Dey-Government settled in a Bey-Rise of Hassan Ben Ali-Power absolute-Administration of Jus. tice-Description of Tunis-Soil and Climate-Army-Superstitions-Manners and Customs—Character of the Moors -Avarice of the late Bey-Population of the RegencyRevenue-Intemperance-Anecdote of Hamooda-Description of Carthage-Cisterns and Aqueduct-Remains of a Temple-Appearance during the Fourth and Fifth Centuries -Details by Edrisi-Remark by Chateaubriand--BizertaUtica-Hammam Leif-Sidi Doud--Kalibia-Ghurba-Nabal -Keff—Tubersoke-Herkla--Sahaleel-Monasteer-Lempta-Agar-Demass-Salecto-Woodlif-Gabes - Jemme = Sfaitla-Gilma-Casareene-Feriana.

Tunis, though the smallest of the Barbary States, is by no means the least important. Comprehending the territory which once belonged to Carthage, it affords to the reader many interesting recollections, and still presents the memorials of some of the most striking events that mark the history of those great nations which contended for universal etnpire on the shores of the Mediterranean.


The lands included in this pachalic consist chiefly of a peninsular projection on the African coast, stretching into the sea in a northeasterly direction so as to approach within less than 100 miles of the Island of Sicily. The river Zaine, or Tusca, forms the western boundary, separating it from the dominion of Algiers. From Cape Roux, in longitude 9° 30' E., and latitude 37° N., the coast extends eastward to Cape Bon, with a slight inclination to the north. After turning that point, it takes a southeastern direction, terminating at the populous island of Jerba, where it touches the border of Tripoli—the whole forming an irregular line nearly 500 miles in length. The breadth, reckoning from north to south, varies from 100 to 200 miles, according as the Atlas range, which divides it from the Blaid al Jerid, approaches or retires from the sea. The only rivers of importance are the Mejerdah—the Bagrada of Roman authors — which, after winding through a picturesque and fertile country, falls into the Mediterranean between Cape Carthage and Porto Farina ; and the Wad el Kebir—the ancient Ampsagawhich finds its outlet into the same great basin thirty miles east of Jigel. The Gulf of Tunis, one of the safest in this part of the world, runs up between Cape Bon and Cape Farina ; and, including the bay, its compass is about 120 miles, in every section of which there is excellent anchorage not far from the land.*

In our general history of the Northern Shores of African we brought down the annals of this petty monarchy until it was subdued by the Saracens. It was mentioned that the victorious Arabs placed the seat of their government at Kairwan, where a viceroy, with the title of Emir, or Prince of the Believers, was invested with supreme power. This species of delegated authority, amid various wars and partial revolutions, continued till the year 1206, when a combination of events elevated the Almahades, a new dynasty, to the throne of Morocco, with a jurisdiction which extended over all the provinces of Barbary. The governor, whom this family nominated to Tunis, soon aspired to inde. pendence, and left his son, Abou Ferez, in the possession of 80 much influence as enabled him to contend with his sov.

* Blaquière, vol. ii., p. 135. Conder's Dictionary of Geogra phy, p. 673. Balbi, Abrégé de Géographie, p. 879.

ereign for the command of the whole country, and, finally, to acquire the local honours of sultan. His court is said to have been regulated in the most splendid manner, and his system of administering public affairs is extolled as at once moderate and successful." His bodyguard consisted of 1,500 Christians, besides which he had always on foot an immense arıny to repel invasion. There was also a national council, composed of 300 persons, distinguished for their probity and experience, without whose advice he undertook nothing of importance. This comparatively happy condition was a long time enjoyed by the Tunisians, though they suffered an occasional annoyance from the kings of Fezzan, who had assumed a warlike attitude, and even advanced at the head of their tumultuary followers to the margin of the great sea. It may therefore be asserted, that the government of Tunis was not exposed to any serious interruption till the beginning of the sixteenth century, when Muley Hassan was deposed by Hayradin Barbarossa-an occurrence which we shall immediately explain with some degree of minuteness.*

In the year 1270, when this regency was under the dominion of prince whom the French historians call Omar El Muley Moztanca, Louis IX. was induced to invade its shores. To religious motives, which at that time were professed by all the sovereigns of Europe, there was added in this case a strong political consideration. The pirates of Tunis infested the Mediterranean ; they intercepted the succours sent to the Christian armies in Palestine ; and they furnished the Sultan of Egypt with horses, arms, and troops. The destruction of this haunt of banditti was therefore a point of some consequence, as it would facilitate future expeditions to the Holy Land. The crusaders accordingly entered the bay in the month of July, and took possession of the native land of Hannibal in these words :-"We put you : to the ban of our Lord Jesus Christ, and of Louis, king of France, his lieutenant."

This monarch resolved to reduce Carthage, on the ruins of which several new edifices had been recently built, before he laid siege to Tunis, then an opulent, commercial, and fortified city. He dislodged the Saracens from the tower which defended the cisterns ; the castle was carried by as.

* Letters from the Mediterranean, vol. ii., p. 229.

sault, and the new city followed the fate of the fortress ; but, says Chateaubriand, no sooner had Louis crossed the seas than prosperity seemed to forsake him ; as if he had been always destined to exhibit to the infidels a pattern of heroism in adversity He could not attack Tunis till he had received the re-enforcements with which his brother, the King of Sicily, had promised to join him. Being obliged to intrench himself on the isthmus, the army was attacked by a contagious disease, which in a few days swept away half of his troops. The African sun consumed men accustomed to live beneath a milder sky. To increase the sufferings of the French, the Moors raised the burning sand by means of machines, and, scattering it before the southern breeze, exposed the Christians, by this fiery shower, to the effects of the kamsin, or terrible wind of the desert. Incessant engagements exhausted the remains of their strength : the living were not sufficient to bury the dead, whose bodies were thrown into the ditches of the camp, which were soon completely filled with them.

The principal nobility and the king's favourite son, the Count of Nevers, had already expired, when Louis found himself attacked by the disease. He was sensible from the first moment that it would terminate fatally, and that this shock could not fail to overpower a body worn out with the fatigues of war, the cares of a throne, and those painful vigils which he devoted to religion and to his people. Feeling his end approaching, he desired to be placed upon a bed of ashes, where he lay with his hands folded


his bosom, and his eyes raised towards heaven. Meantime the fleet of the Sicilian monarch appeared on the horizon, while the plain and hills were covered with the army of the Moors. Amid the wrecks of Carthage, the Christian army presented an image of the profoundest grief; a deathlike silence pervaded it, and the expiring soldiers, leaving the hospitals, crawled over the ruins to approach their dying monarch.

At this crisis the trumpets of the Sicilian crusaders sounded, and their ships touched the shore, bringing succours which were no longer available. This signal not being answered, their royal commander was astonished, and began to apprehend some disaster. He landed; he beheld the sentinels with their pikes reversed, while the dejection visible in their faces expressed their grief much more strongly than

« PrejšnjaNaprej »