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NEW MONTHLY MAGAZINE.
WITHour going so far as M. Philarète Chasles, who asserts that the conquest of Muhammadan Algeria has crowned the ascendancy of European civilisation in the East, we are ready to admit that France has, by the introduction of civilisation and the extinction of slavery, piracy, and marauding in Northern Africa, conferred an enormous benefit on humanity. · France is not a successful colonising nation; the majority of its city and provincial populations are averse to emigration, and when the government has a territory open to colonisation, it encumbers the journey there, and the settling in the new country, with so many petty vexations, troublesome forms, and bureaucratic regulations and responsibilities, that the would-be emigrant is deterred, and the actual colonist disheartened. The most successful colonists under such untoward circumstances are the monks of La Trappe ; they went over in a body, under the cognisance and patronage of government; they settled on the “ Plain of the Tents” (Stawili), where Bourmont's invading army first defeated the Turco-Arab forces of the old Deys; they erected an abbeyfortress, apportioned out farms, worked four-mills by water-power, founded workshops for sawing, tailoring, weaving, shoemaking, and dyeing, and they have orchards, vineyards, and herds of cattle and sheep. The monks are hospitable to strangers, and Good Samaritans to the natives, whilst they themselves are self-denying and laborious. Such men would have succeeded alone ; working in a body, with distinct objects, all tending to one end, the success is still greater, and the fields once covered with cannon-balls, dinted sabres, and broken lances, are now smiling with luxurious crops, shaded with glorious orchards and vineyards, and dotted with clusters of palm-trees, industrious shops, and thriving farms.
Above all, amidst the grievous faults committed by the French in their colonial government-faults common to all governments who look upon the people as children in swaddling-clothes, whom it is always dangerous to allow to go alone-the great fact exists that security for life and property has been ensured throughout the length and breadth of the land, steamers, railroads, public libraries, model farms, hotels, and all the com
L’Algérie. Par A. Behagel. Alger: Tissier. Nouveau Guide Général du Voyageur en Algérie. Par Achille Fillias. Paris: Garnier Frères.
Souvenirs d'un Chef de Bureau Arabe. Par Ferdinand Hugonnet, Ancien Capitaine, Chef d'un Bureau Arabe. Paris: Michel Levy Frères. À l'Aventure en Algérie. Par Madame Louise Vallory. Paris : J. Hetzel. July-VOL. CXXXIV. NO. DXXXV.
forts of civilised life, have been introduced among one of the most restless and warlike peoples on the face of the earth. It were well if
, by some wise and peaceful arrangement, the same state of things could be introduced into those semi-savage provinces of Tunis and Tripoli, and that last stronghold of barbarism at the feet of Europe, Morocco, the immunity of which are maintained, like the vicious decrepitude of Turkey and Egypt, solely by the international jealousies of civilised powers.
These results have been attained, too, as we just observed, amidst the most restless and warlike populations- Arabs and Berbers, or Barbarsperhaps on the face of the earth. It seems to be a peculiarity of the fine, dry, hot climate of Northern Africa to engender ardent, enterprising, bellicose people. Had the Koran been as well adapted to progressive civilisation as the Bible, the Moors of Seville and Granada would not have degenerated into the unkempt warriors of Morocco, Algeria, and Kabylia, and the present Emperor of the French would not have been able to have quoted their own book against subjugated races of men, or they have been humbled to the noble retort, that every nation deemed its own way of thinking the right one, and that the Koran did respect “ sincere convictions." The aged sheriffs and sheikhs who ventured such a retort had possibly had under their eyes some cases of professed Christians acting with anything but the sincerity of pious men of any denomination. It is a more delicate operation to cast theological missiles than those invented by modern science in gunnery.
The history of Carthage proves what the populations of North Africa of old
Autololes, Numidæque vagi, semperque paratus
Pharsal, lib. iv. v. 677. -were ever equal to. The conquest of Spain, although brought about in part by the energy of a new race—the Arab-must still have been in great part consolidated by North African combatants. So in previous times the native barbarians were civilised by the iutermixture of Phænician, Lybian, and even Medean and Persian blood. Out of these ad mixtures sprang the Carthaginians—a wealthy commercial people and the more nomadic Numidians and Mauretanians; the followers of the Prophet upholding the latter name amid European nations. Carthage, with it far-famed industrial wealth, was essentially a foreign creation-a thing of Tyre--and the Carthaginians had as much to do to civilise North Africa, after the fashion of the day, as the actual possessors of Al Jezirah—the city on the peninsula--have in the present day. The wars between Rome and Carthage were wars of civilised powers for the commerce of the world, as it then existed. But the wars of the Romans against the Numidians and other numerous native tribes were the counterpart of the wars of the French against the Arabs and the Kabyles, and after five centuries of combats, the cohorts had not accomplished more than France has done-a military occupation-only that they extended their forts all over the coast and far away into the interior, where their ruinous strongholds still startle the occasional wayfarer with surprise at the enterprise and endurance which could have carried them so far, and enabled them to maintain themselves in such positions. The Romans had this difference, however, from the French-fewer in
numbers, they had to stand by the cities and fortresses, and the country was always left to the native races. What little attempts at cultivation were made had to be effected by slavery. If a native became a Roman, he adopted a Roman name, and hence, as the French archæologists have remarked, the information given by sepulchral monuments is not always of a satisfactory character, but still
, certain it is that the Romans never got further in colonising North Africa than the English have—thanks to a mistaken policy-got in colonising India.
The Vandals from the Iberian peninsula, led by Genseric, afterwards occupied the country for a time, and the blood of Spain must have mingled with that of Moors and Numidians ; they are, in fact, supposed to have become fused, after the conquests of the Byzantines under Belisarius, with the Berbers of Jurjura, or as the French, who in all cases express the Hebrew, Syriac, and Arabic letter Jim by Dj, call it, Djurjura."
The Arab hordes, masses of impetuous cavalry led on by religious enthusiasts, made short work of the corrupt Greco-Roman populations, troops, and leaders. Their invasions were directed at first simply to acquiring booty, and putting all who were opposed to them to the sword, or converting them to Islamism. But, finding how slight was the resistance made to their sanguinary incursions, they soon began to occupy the Byzantine cities. They found, in fact, a more effective hostility in the natives than in their conquerors, but as these natives were more hostile to the successive Roman, Vandal, and Byzantine occupations than to that of people allied to them in manners and habits, they ultimately adopted the new propagandism, and united themselves to the Arabs in their invasions of Europe. But even this remarkable epoch in the history of North Africa was not without those characteristics, which have never become extinct, the native tribes were as often, and as rudely, opposed to Saracenic domination as they continue to be against that of the Franks.
The expulsion of the Saracens from Sicily and Italy by the Normans led to a long series of retaliatory expeditions on the part of the Christians. The Pisans, the Sicilians, the Genoese, French, Spaniards, and Portuguese, all distinguished themselves in crusades, but the Spaniards alone retained permanent settlements on the coast. Baba Aruj (whom the Christians called Barberousse) and Khair-ed-Din (Chereddin) first won over the tribes to the rising power of the Osmanlis, and they even became the allies of France-an alliance which enabled them to fill their seraglios with Christian slaves, thus inaugurating an epoch of humiliations which lasted for three centuries. The Osmanlis never succeeded, no more than other conquerors of Northern Africa, in subjecting the mountain tribes. Quarrels arose also between the Pashas, the Arabs, and the Turkish soldiery, and a delegate was sent by the Porte, under the name of Dey (uncle or patron), to represent the interests of the prætorians. The Dey, as the head of the army, soon usurped the power, and Algiers, Tunis, and Tripoli established their independence, in as far as regarded their relations with foreign powers, of the Porte. In Algiers the Dey became, indeed, the sole power, and his election by the military was effected with or without the sanction of the Porte. From the year 1'600 to 1830, the history of Algiers presents one con
tinuous series of predatory and piratical expeditions, which have rendered the name of the place for ever infamous. Scarcely a people of Europe some of whose children were not held captive in that stronghold of bar. barism. Ever and anon the felon city was bombarded by way of reprisals, but with little permanent effect. On the occasion of the attack by Duquesne, the French consul was fired at the fleet out of a piece of ordnance now preserved in the arsenal of Brest. The pride of the Algerian corsairs was, however, effectively humbled for the time being by Lord Exmouth in 1816, and the French took advantage of the circumstance to re-obtain the concession of certain points on the coast where they had settlements previous to the invasion of Egypt in 1798, but they had to pay a subsidy of sixty thousand francs, which was afterwards raised to two hundred thousand. The Deys did not disguise their hostility to these Christian establishments, nor did they cease to exercise their old piratical practices whenever the occasion presented itself of doing so with impunity. At length, in 1827, Hussein, the last of the Deys, struck the French consul, and ordered the French establishments to be destroyed. A blockade was instituted for three long years, which cost no end of lives, ships, and money, and at length the subjugation of this nest of crime was decided upon under the Polignac ministry in 1829, and carried out in 1830.
It was necessary to premise these few details in order to comprehend the difficulties which the French have had to encounter, when, extending their conquests beyond the primary and praiseworthy annihilation of a den of thieves, they laboured to subjugate the entire regency, constituting out of it the French province of Algeria, and in so doing having to carry on constant war with the Arabs and Kabyles, who had little, if anything, to do with the crimes committed by the Turkish and renegade corsairs of Algiers.
The conquest of Algiers furnished, however, a striking example of human vicissitudes. Three months after Marshal Bourmont had captured the pirate city, he was himself a fugitive, and the very day that the Dey arrived at Naples to place himself under the protection of Charles X., the king sailed from Cherbourg for England. The government of July hesitated for a moment whether to proceed with the conquests in Northern Africa, or to content themselves with the subjugation and occupation of Algiers. Public opinion declared itself, however, in favour of progress, and, in 1841, Marshal Bugeaud was sent to war against the Arabs under Abd-el-Kader. Here, again, another strange coincidence. The exile of Louis Philippe was preceded by only a few days by the submission of Abd-el-Kader and the fall of Arab power. The next expeditions against Kabylia and the Algerian Sahara were carried out to the shouts of “ Vive l'Empereur !" and Fort Napoleon was constructed in the centre of the region comprised between the sea and the summits of the Jurjura, to overawe the populations of the mountains. The Tell, the country of cultivation and of watercourses, the Algerian Sahara, a region of upland pastures and the district of oases, which constitutes a transition between the Tell and the Desert, were also brought at the same epoch under subjection.
The ideas entertained by the present Emperor of the French with regard to this new acquisition, are of the utmost importance to its future.
In 1860, in a speech made at Algiers, he announced that the conquest no longer signified the punishment of the people conquered, but their redemption by civilisation. The difficulties to fight with were to establish the rights of property; the old idea of “ le cantonnement des Arabes,” or of settling semi-nomadic populations within circumscribed limits, and seizing the remaining lands as beyliks, or government property, confiscated by the Deys, was abandoned, and the emperor upheld the rights of property and of labour ; the natives were left in the enjoyment of all lands upon which they lived a sedentary life, or of which they held a traditional tenure at the time of the Senatus Consultus, April 13, 1863. There is scarcely a region in the East in which such an arrangement would not leave the larger portion of the territory in the hands of those who
promulgated such an edict, the remainder recurring to them. The political, economical, and moral benefits that were anticipated from these judicious measures had, however, to depend, unfortunately, a great deal upon the discrimination of the administrators and the temper of the natives. Errors on both sides have led to incessant troubles and insurrections, and it has been undoubtedly with the view to ameliorate this condition of things that Algeria has been indebted for a second and all-important visit of the emperor.
It is time, then, to take a glance at the nature and character of å region which it has cost so much bloodshed to subdue, and which requires the utmost vigilance to keep in control. The extent to which hostilities are perpetuated in this warlike country may be judged of by the fact that, looking over M. Behagel's history of the French occupation, we find at the very least two hundred and twenty-four expeditions, combats, and reductions of cities, tribes, and strongholds enumerated between the years 1830 and 1863. Algeria presents, then, a peculiar aspect, inasmuch as the coast is elevated and rocky, presenting few harbours. After crossing this hilly and stony maritime fringe (Little Atlas), cut by ravines, with watercourses in places, and with a few productive valleys, vast arid plains are reached, in which water is only obtained by means of wells, and the wooded portions of which are often replaced by saline marshes. These plains are succeeded by the hilly country, which outlies the Atlas Proper, and the approaches to which often lie through narrow precipitous passes, designated as “gates,” or bab by the Arabs. The Tell
, or hilly district, is the most fertile of all, and constituted one of the granaries of the Roman Empire. The soil of the plains is light and sandy, that of the valleys fat and moist; the sides of the mountains are for the most part clad with olives or shrub-wood. The so-called Algerian Sahara is a country of landes, of pasture lands, of oases, ravines and bills, tenanted alike by nomades and by sedentary populations. It is divided into two parts by the Atlas, the northern being the least fertile, having but few rivulets, which lose themselves in salt marshes. The southern portion is more fertile, but here likewise the extensive hollows are occupied by saline lakes or marshes. It comprises the country of the Ksur and the Zibans, and is succeeded by that vast region of rocks and sands which is inhabited by the veiled Tawarek, as Barth calls them, or as the French have it, Touraegg or Touareugg-tribes of Berber origin, who occupy the greater portion of the Sahara, properly speaking. The tribes inhabiting the Algerian Sahara, having no cereals, are obliged to come every year