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FRENCH AND ENGLISH ADMIRALS.

163

him that further resistance was impossible, and that the town must surrender. At the Dey's earnest solicitation he became the mediator; a carte blanche was forwarded through him to Bourmont, and signed by him next morning; and the French entered Algiers on the 5th of July, 1830, the Dey being allowed to remove all his personal property, amounting, it is said, to about £2,000,000 in jewels and specie. How far the property of more private individuals was respected, I shall not now say. On the Dey's departure, he presented his gold-sheathed yatagan to our consul, Mr. St. John, for his valuable services.

So far for the land attack. In the meantime the immense armament I have described was cruising in the bay, but never once ventured within range of the batteries; and although it kept up a fire, few shots ever reached the shore. “The whole French army," writes Mr. Lord, “who, from the heights they occupied, were spectators of the entire manœuvre, cried shame on their pusillanimity.” This so emboldened the Algerines, that they sent out a couple of brigs, and two or three rotten schooners and feluccas, to attack the whole French feet. Their going out was an instance of extraordinary daring-perhaps we might say of infatuation ; but what was still more wonderful, they came back safe and sound ; so that the whole damage done by the French fleet was, according to their own official documents, estimated at seven francs and a half! And for this the admiral Duperré was made a peer of France! As Ries Omar, who commanded in the Mohammadan fleet, said to me, “ An English frigate would have blown us out of the water.” The contrast is so forcible, and the result so different, that I could not help looking back on Lord Exmouth's gallant attack on this place—when the spanker-boom of the old Queen Charlotte actually knocked the pipe from the mouth of one of the Turkish artillerymen, who was sitting at a gun, fuse in hand, at the tremendous mole battery ;--and with the Dutch fleet, sustaining one of the hottest fires ever known for upwards of six hours ;--and when he had destroyed all the stores, ships, and batteries, and was knocking the town about the Dey's ears, and every thing was in his power, what was his answer to the terms of capitulation offered by the Dey: “England does not war for cities, and is unwilling to visit your personal cruelties upon the inoffensive inhabitants.”

Animosity against the French was long cherished here, and the 162

THE CAMPAIGN OF 1830.

schooners, 7 steamers, and 357 transports. This fleet entered the bay in June, 1830, and landed the troops, unopposed, at a place called Sidy-Ferruch, or Turretta-Chico, a small promontory some ten miles to the west of the town. The Algerines had a very inconsiderable force in the field, as the greater number of the Arabs and Bedawees, from want of pay and provisions, were totally disorganised, and returned to the mountains after a few days' service, while the Turkish army in the town and its vicinity did not at any time amount to 7,000 men. The Dey, an infatuated old man, offered comparatively little resistance, either relying upon the impregnability of his town, from the many assaults it had already successfully resisted—or worked on by his faith in predestination ; so that when asked by one of the consuls why he did not oppose the French landing, he returned for answer—"And if I did, how could I cut off all their heads ?”

The French advanced cautiously through the broken country to the town, through places where the Bedawee cavalry, the chief stay of an eastern army, could not be of any service. The works and redoubts thrown up over every inch of ground where they advanced, certainly speaks well for the caution of their leader. In about eighteen days after, they arrived near the city, and erected a battery opposite the Emperor's fort, one of the strongest works, and completely commanding the town, from which it is not half a mile distant. This was silenced after a few hours, and the thousand men it contained rushed tumultuously into the town, leaving it occupied by a couple of negroes, who gallantly sacrificed their own lives, and set fire to the magazine, which blew up with a tremendous explosion.

From that moment Algiers was in the power of the conquerors, as Fort L'Empereur and the neighbouring heights would have soon battered it to atoms. Indeed, one only wonders that the land-defences of this stronghold were so weak, as there is hardly a height in the neighbourhood by which it could not be commanded ; but a land attack was never expected, every such previous attempt having failed, principally owing to the obstacles presented by the coast itself, and the violence of the sea; of which the unfortunate attempt of the emperor Charles V. is a well-known instance.

The Dey being at last persuaded of his imminent danger, sent in great perturbation for the English consul, who honestly told

FRENCH AND ENGLISH ADMIRALS.

163

him that further resistance was impossible, and that the town must surrender. At the Dey's earnest solicitation he became the mediator; a carte blanche was forwarded through him to Bourmont, and signed by him next morning; and the French entered Algiers on the 5th of July, 1830, the Dey being allowed to remove all his personal property, amounting, it is said, to about £2,000,000 in jewels and specie. How far the property of more private individuals was respected, I shall not now say. On the Dey's departure, he presented his gold-sheathed yatagan to our consul, Mr. St. John, for his valuable services.

So far for the land attack. In the meantime the immense armament I have described was cruising in the bay, but never once ventured within range of the batteries; and although it kept up a fire, few shots ever reached the shore. “ The whole French army," writes Mr. Lord, “who, from the heights they occupied, were spectators of the entire manæuvre, cried shame on their pusillanimity.” This so emboldened the Algerines, that they sent out a couple of brigs, and two or three rotten schooners and feluccas, to attack the whole French fleet. Their going out was an instance of extraordinary daring-perhaps we might say of infatuation ; but what was still more wonderful, they came back safe and sound ; so that the whole damage done by the French fleet was, according to their own official documents, estimated at seven francs and a half! And for this the admiral Duperré was made a peer of France! As Ries Omar, who commanded in the Mohammadan fleet, said to me, “An English frigate would have blown us out of the water.” The contrast is so forcible, and the result so different, that I could not help looking back on Lord Exmouth's gallant attack on this place—when the spanker-boom of the old Queen Charlotte actually knocked the pipe from the mouth of one of the Turkish artillerymen, who was sitting at a gun, fuse in hand, at the tremendous mole battery ;-and with the Dutch fleet, sustaining one of the hottest fires ever known for upwards of six hours ;—and when he had destroyed all the stores, ships, and batteries, and was knocking the town about the Dey's ears, and every thing was in his power, what was his answer to the terms of capitulation offered by the Dey: “England does not war for cities, and is unwilling to visit your personal cruelties upon the inoffensive inhabitants.”

Animosity against the French was long cherished here, and the

164

ADVANTAGES OF ALGIERS.

want of faith in that people was instanced so long back as 1720, in the answer of Mahomet Basha to the French consul, and which reply tells also the condition and education of an Algerine Dey“My mother sold sheep's feet, and my father sold neats' tongues, but they would be ashamed to expose for sale so worthless a tongue as thine.”

I think I have shown that the present condition of affairs here has injured English commerce. We are now at peace with France, and long may we continue to cherish the present feelings of amity towards so brave and enlightened a nation ; there is, however, a possibility of our being again at war, and then Algiers would be a very dangerous post in the Mediterranean; and if it be true that the French have long coveted Port Mahon, in the island of Minorca, standing midway between this place and Marseilles, their position would be doubly dangerous, as a line of communication would be then formed across this part of the Mediterranean, thus separating Gibraltar from Malta, our two most important stations, and materially interrupting our communication with India, whether by the Red Sea or the Euphrates.

With all this, Algiers has its use. The soirees at Paris sing the praises of Mareschal Bourmont; it forms a pabulum for public excitement, so necessary to the existence of a Frenchman; and may serve to keep down the fever of another revolution. It is the “refugium peccatorum” of all France ; its wonders swell the pages of the Revue Afrique, and it gives something more to think about than inventing infernal machines, or cutting the throat of the citizen-king, to say nothing of its influence on the all-important subject of dress, as appears from a late number of the Petit Courier des Dames, which observes, that “the taste of the Parisian dandies is more warlike than that of the ladies, the favourite colours being 'Abd-el Kader,' sand of the desert,' and 'gris d’Afrique.'”

This great conquest reminds me strongly of the story of the canny Scot, who, having sold a horse to his friend, and the money being paid, was requested to tell the purchaser if he had any faults, “Why, he has gotten but jist twa,” said he ; "the first is, that when turned out to graze, he's no very easily cacht." "Oh! as to that,” replied the friend, “I can easily manage itbut the other ?” “Why, the other is, that when he is catched, he's no worth a bawbee.”

CONCLUDING OBSERVATIONS.

165

In concluding the few observations I made during my short stay in this delightful country, I must say, that the foregoing remarks are not dictated in an unfriendly spirit; my only feeling is that of regret, that where so wide, so inviting a field for improvement was opened, so little has been effected; but the prospect, however imperfect, of civilizing this country, is cheering; science will, no doubt, be benefitted, the collections of the Jardin des Plants enriched, and means may be afforded to reach the interior, or penetrate beyond the Atlas, a region which, in a great measure, is still to us a terra incognita.

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