Slike strani
PDF
ePub

quière supplies a few notices worthy of being inserted. He tells us, for example, that the population of Susa amounts to 8,000 or 10,000; that the country around is extremely beautiful and well cultivated ; and that thirty miles in the interior there is a colossal amphitheatre in a high state of preservation. Gabes, or, as he writes it, Cabes, contains at least 30,000 souls, and the mountains in its vicinity are famous for the warlike disposition of the inhabitants. It is said that the sheik of this province can bring into the field 20,000 cavalry; horses being very numerous and of a superior quality. Of the Island of Jerba, the Meninx of Pliny, he remarks, that it is only separated from the continent by a narrow channel, not navigable. The natives, exceeding 30,000 in number, are considered by far the most industrious and welldisposed under his highness' government. Their manufactures of shawls, linen, and woollen cloths, have prospered uncommonly, and are generally esteemed the best in all Barbary.*

In the inland parts of Byzacium, too, are some important places, of which we shall shortly mention the 'principal. At Kairwan, the ancient Cairoan, are several fragments of architecture; and the mosque, which is accounted the most magnificent in Northern Africa, is said to be supported by an almost incredible number of granite pillars--not fewer than 500. But no inscriptions of any value were discovered; and, considering the comparatively modern origin of the place, in connexion with the character of its founders, such literary indications were not to be expected. Jemme, called Tisdra in the time of Julius Cæsar, is distinguished by the beautiful remains of a spacious amphitheatre, to which allusion has been already made, consisting originally of sixty-four rows of arches, and four rows of columns placed one above another.

The highest series, which was probably an attic structure, is much dilapidated ; and Mohammed Bey, who, during the civil dissensions, used it as a fortress, blew up four of its arches from top to bottom. Viewed from the outside, nothing could appear more entire or magnificent. As the elder Gordian was proclaimed emperor in this city, it is not improbable, that in gratitude to the place where he received the purple, he laid the foundation and defrayed the expense of the uilding

* Letters from the Mediterranean, vol. ä., p. 182

But Sfaitla, formerly Sufetula, is the most remarkable town in Barbary for the extent and magnificence of its ruins. First, there is a splendid triumphal gateway of the Corinthian order, consisting of one large arch, with a smaller one on each side of it, having these few words of dedication remairr ing on the architrave :

IMP. CÆSAR AUG.

ONIN.

SUFFETULENTIUM
HANC EDIFICAVERUNT

ET DD. P. P.

At the end of a regular pavement, the visiter passes through a beautiful portico, built in the same style and manner as the triumphal arch, which conducts into a spacious court. Here are the ruins of three contiguous temples, of which the several roofs, porticoes, and façades, are indeed broken down; but the rest of the fabric, with its respective columns, pediments, and entablatures, remains perfectly entire.

Gilma, which has the area of a temple still remaining, is supposed to have been a great city. It stood six leagues to the eastward of Sufetula, and was known among Roman authors by the name of Oppidum Chilmanense. The town of Casareene, the Colonia Scillitana of former days, claims some attention for a triumphal arch, though it be more remarkable for the quantity and value of the materials than for the beauty or elegance of the design. On the top there is an attic structure, having certain Corinthian-like ornaments bestowed upon the entablature, while the pilasters themselves are entirely Gothic.

At the interval of seven leagues, the traveller, proceeding towards the south and west, discovers the vestiges of Feriana, which is conjectured to be the Thala repeatedly mentioned by Sallust. Its boasted grandeur is now reduced to a few granite pillars, which, by some extraordinary chance, or unwonted forbearance of the Arabs, have been allowed to stand on their pedestals. Advancing in the same direction, the eye will detect in succession Gaffsa, another of the strong cities of Jugurtha, and Gorbata, which marks the edge of the Jerid, or dry country, belonging to the domains of the ancient Getulia.

ants.

In this neighbourhood there is a salt-water marsh, sixty miles long ard about eighteen broad, usually denominated the “Lake of Marks,” or Lowdeah, owing to a number of stakes placed at proper distances, to direct the caravans in their march over it. Without such assistance, says Dr. Shaw, travelling here would be both dangerous and difficult, as well from the variety of pits and quicksands that could not otherwise be avoided, as because the opposite shore has

other tokens to be known by, except some date-trees, which are not seen above sixteen miles at the most. Scattered over this desolate tract are numerous villages, the names of which have scarcely ever reached a European ear, and which are occupied by a class of Bedouins who divide their cares between their scanty flocks and the avocations of plunder, mutual hostility, and assassination. We travel, to use the words of the amusing author just quoted, “ nearly thirty miles through a lonesome uncomfortable desert, the resort of cut-throats and robbers, where we saw the recent blood of a Turkish gentleman, who, with three of his servants, had been murdered two days before by these miscre

Here we were likewise ready to be attacked by five of the Harammees, who were mounted upon black horses, and clothed, to be the less discerned, with cloaks of the same colour. But, finding us prepared to receive them, they came up peaceably to us and gave us the salam. Through all this dreary space, we meet with neither herbage nor water till we arrive within a few miles of Elhamma."*

We shall not attempt to delineate the various gradations of barbarism which distinguish these sons of the Desert, nor to define the limits of name and territory whereby the several tribes identify their members as descendants of the same patriarch. The Welled Seide and the Welled Mathie are in our eyes neither more nor less noble than the Beni Yagoube, who enjoy the fertile lands of Keff, or than the sons of Sidi Boogannin, who pitch their tents near the mountains of Hydrah and Ellonleijah. These nomades may acknowledge the sovereignty of Tunis, and allow themselves to be included in the winter-circuit; but it seems not probable that the bey, even with his flying camp, will deem it prudent to exact the yearly tribute, or to make an annual muster of the * Travels in Barbary, vol. i., p. 238.

U

savage horsemen. Such neighbours, however remote, will for a long time prove the greatest bar to the introduction of European colonies, arts, and manners.

CHAPTER VIII.

The Regency of Algiers. Origin of the term Algiers-Importance attached to its History

-Boundaries of the State- Appearance of the Town-Its Interior—Population-Fortifications-Narrow Streets-History resumed-Charles V, resolves to attack Algiers-His Force--Preparations of Hassan Aga-Storm disables the Spaniards-Loss of Ships and Men-Sufferings of the Army

Scattered at Sea-Fortitude of the Emperor-These Hostilities had an earlier origin-Policy of Cardinal XimenesSuccess of his Measures-Moors revolt, and invite Barbarossa-Spaniards deprived of Oran-Expedition of Philip V.Oran destroyed by an Earthquake-French attack Algiers under Beaulieu-And under Duquesne–The City and Batteries destroyed— The Dutch, Danes, Swedes, Austrians, and Russians, adopt different Measures-English make several efforts to reduce the Corsairs-Insults during the reign of George II.-Resolutions by Congress of Vienna, Expedition of Lord Exmouth-Attack on Algiers-Terms acceded toCaptives released—French Government offended-Expedie tion under Bourmont-Account by Rozet-Present state of Algiers-Revenue-War between Algiers and Tunis-Bona

- Tabarca-La Cala — Constantina— Antiquities -- MileuRemains-Bujeya-Province of Titteri-Bleeda and Medea -Burgh Hamza-Auzea-Beni Mezzab—Province of Tlemsan-Capital-Arbaal-EI Herba-Maliana-Aquæ Calidæ Colonia--Oran-Recent History-Inhabitants-Geeza-Carastel-Mostagan-Jol, or Julia Cæsarea—Tefessad-Shershell-Vicinity of Algiers-French Government-Attempt at Colonization-Difficulties-Favourable Climate and SoilEuropean Powers invited to co-operate-Late Publications on the Subject.

The term Algiers literally signifies " the island," and was derived from the original construction of its harbour, one side of which was separated from the land. A variety of circumstances have contributed to bestow great celebrity on this

apital, some of which reflect as little honour on the policy of European states as on the character of its own rulers and the pursuits of its inhabitants. The extent of territory attached to its government, or claimed by its chiefs, possessos very small importance in the estimation of our politicians, who for centuries have been wont to confine their attention to the harbours only of that barbarian power, whose cruisers inflicted upon the trade of Christendom more damage than could have arisen from a protracted war between the greatest of her maritime nations. Late events, and more especially the recent conquest achieved by the arms of France, have added immensely to the interest with which the history of this most warlike of the Barbary States has ever been regarded on the northern shores of the Mediterranean ; marking, it is to be hoped, a new era in the affairs of those Moorish oligarchies by whom the miserable natives have been long oppressed, and the civilization of the most refined portion of the world put to the blush.

Following the best authorities, we may observe, that the kingdom of Algiers is bounded on the east by the river Zaine, which divides it from Tunis; on the west by the Mountains of Trara ; on the south by the Sahara, or Great Desert; and on the north by the Mediterranean. The length is computed at 480 miles, though Sanson, who probably followed the line of the coast, makes it not less than 900-an estimate which exceeds the truth more than 100 leagues. The breadth varies considerably at different places, the narrowest section, from the sea to the Atlas range, being about forty, while the broadest amounts to 150 miles. Pananti, one of the latest writers on the subject, assigns to it above 600 miles from west to east, and 180 from the northern shore to the Country of Dates, or Blaid el Jerid. The regency is divided into four provinces—Algiers, Constantina, Titteri, and Mascara, or Tlemsan; the first being governed by the dey in person, while the others are committed to the administration of certain beys, his lieutenants.

The territory of Algiers, with the exception of the parts bordering on the Desert, is less sandy and more fertile than that of Tunis. Desfontaines remarks, in his Flora Atlantica, that he found the climate more temperate, the mountains higher and more numerous, the rains more abundant, the springs and streams more frequent, the vegetation more

« PrejšnjaNaprej »