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ment. The Casauba, a strong citadel, commands the town and the batteries.
The population of the city was estimated at one hundred thousand by Dr Shaw, and some other writers have placed it one third higher, but our author thinks it does not exceed fifty thousand. The public buildings consist of nine mosques,
three colleges, five bagnios, barracks for the Turkish soldiers, bazars, or market places, and the palace formerly occupied by the Deys. The city is governed by officers distinct from those, who administer the government of the kingdom, and these officers are commonly natives. This local city government is highly commended by the author, who observes, that there is probably no city in the world, where there is a more vigilant police, where fewer cognizable crimes are committed, or where there is better security for person and property. This statement exhibits a singular contrast with the barbarous tyranny of the Turkish rulers, but Mr Shaler is particular in discriminating between the character of the native Algerines, and their Turkish masters. He thinks wrong impressions have gone abroad, respecting the natives. They are,' says he, “a people of very insinuating address, and in the common relations of life, I have found them civil, courteous, and humane.' He speaks, moreover, of their toleration. Although superstitious, and rigidly attached to the Mohammedan faith and ceremonies, yet they manifest no special hostility to those, who adopt different modes of faith and worship.
The train of circumstances, connected with the mode of government in this country, has produced a peculiar effect on the state of property.
• A consequence of the uninterrupted prosperity of Algiers, for so long a course of years, has been the accumulation of great wealth in private families, through their alliances by marriage with the Turks. Thus, though all the power is exclusively in the hands of the latter, the fortunes which they acquire are gradually absorbed into the native families, where they generally remain unmolested._Nothing can be more insecure than the fortune of a living Turk; but that of a native, who is ineligible to any important public employment, and consequently passive in all political revolutions, is as well protected here as in any other country. From the operation of these causes, Algiers may be regarded as one of the richest cities in metallic wealth in the world. The aged widow of Achmet Pashaw, with whom the United States concluded their first peace with the Regency, lately died here, and is reputed to have left a fortune of several millions of dollars. The heirs of Mustapha Pacha, his successor, from whom the Consular dwelling of the United States is rented, possess real estate in the city and immediate neighbourhood, worth half a million of dollars. Both of these chiefs were publicly executed.' p. 53.
As all the great officers of the government have for centuries exercised their power to grasp and hoard, and as the families of these persons have rarely left the country, it is easy to see that large fortunes must have been accumulated in the hands of individuals. It was only necessary that laws, suitable for protecting property thus acquired, should exist and be respected, which it seems has been the case. The hoarded treasures of the Dey are estimated at fifty millions of dollars.
Various customs, prevailing among the people, are described by the author. We select his account of that relating to marriage.
• Ladies of condition seldom or never walk abroad. Though these secluded dames bloom as it were in the desert, from the complaints of their husbands respecting their extravagance in dress, it may be inferred, that they exercise no inconsiderable portion of influence in society, and are perhaps silently preparing the public mind for a restoration of the rights, of which barbarism and ignorance have defrauded them.
• There are few Algerines who avail themselves of the Mohammedan law which allows a plurality of wives ; they are generally contented with one, to whom however is attached a number of black female slaves, according to the wealth and dignity of the parties. Marriages in general in Algiers are contracted much as elsewhere in Mohammedan countries; but the nature of their government, and the consequent condition of the superior classes, have had a silent and sure effect in favour of the sex. It is unreasonable to suppose that a rich heiress, and there are always many in Algiers, would be delivered up as a slave to the caprice of the barbarian who espo es her ; conditions are therefore made in the marriage contract, which place her on a certain equality with her husband, or at least protect her from arbitrary ill treatment. It would be injurious to the understandings of the ladies to supsuppose, that they have not improved these advantages; their effects have been gradually extended, and the consequence has been, that the Moorish women are less slaves to their husbands, than to custom and long received notions of decorum and propriety.
Marriages are planned and contracted through the agency of the mothers and female relations of the parties, the women of Algiers having a free intercourse with each other, either at their own houses or at the public baths, which are much frequented by them, and in the afternoon they are sacred to their use. Marriages amongst the superior classes are frequently celebrated by the women with much eclat. On these occasions, the female relations and friends of the parties assemble together and enjoy themselves during several days, to the utter discomfiture of the men, who are then either driven out of the house, or to hide themselves in some corner, where they can neither see nor be seen by the joyous band.' pp. 62, 63.
We have before observed, that there are colleges in Algiers. These, as far as we can learn, are a sort of Mohammedan theological seminaries, designed for instructing persons in the doctrines of that faith, and qualifying them to be priests in the mosques, and religious teachers of the people. It is creditable to the citizens of Algiers, that one of these colleges is exclusively set apart for the instruction of the Kabyles, who are natives of the interior, and reside in the city as servants and laborers. But as the whole extent of Algerine literature is confined to the Koran, and such a thing as a printing press is rarely found in all the regions, where the creed of the Prophet predominates, it is not to be supposed, that the business of education has been carried to a very high degree of perfection.
• Common schools are, however, numerous in Algiers, where boys of the age of five or six years and upwards, are taught to read and write. From the invariable character of the customs of these countries, I am induced to believe, that their practice is the probable origin of the Lancasterian system of tuition. Each scholar is provided with a board, upon which anything may be fairly written with chalk, and easily effaced ; a lesson from the Korán is transcribed in fair and legible characters upon one of these boards, which is then copied upon all the others, the scholars mutually teaching each other, both in the meaning and in the formation of the letters of the text. These lessons are loudly rehearsed to the pedagogue, who sits upon his heels in a corner with a long rod, through the terror of which he maintains order and due attention among his scholars. Thus reading and writing are taught simultaneously, and the beautiful uniformity that characterizes the Arabic handwriting, is probably owing to this method of tuition. The education of the Algerine youth is completed when, having learnt to read and write the Koran, he is duly instructed by the same preceptor in the forms and modes of prayer. The expenses of this course of education are very
trifling, and I am informed that similar schools are kept by women for the instruction of young girls.' pp. 57, 58.
In the city of Algiers are about five thousand Jews, whose condition is far from being enviable.
They are governed by their own laws in civil cases, administered by a chief of their own nation, who is appointed by the Bashaw ; as Algerine subjects they may circulate freely, establish themselves where they please, and exercise any lawful calling throughout the kingdom ; and they cannot be reduced to slavery. They pay a capitation tax, and double duties on every species of merchandise imported from abroad ; as elsewhere, they practise trade in all its branches, and are here the only brokers and dealers in money and exchanges; there are many gold and silver smiths amongst them, and they are the only artificers employed in the mint.
• Independent of the legal disabilities of the Jews, they are in Algiers a most oppressed people; they are not permitted to resist any personal violence of whatever nature, from a Mussulman; they are compelled to wear clothing of a black or dark colour; they cannot ride on horseback, or wear arms of any sort, not even a cane; they are permitted only on Saturdays and Wednesdays to pass out of the gates of the city without permission; and on any unexpected call for hard labour, the Jews are turned out to execute it. In the summer of 1815, this country was visited by incredible swarms of locusts, which destroyed every green thing before them; when several hundred Jews were ordered out to protect the Bashaw's gardens, where they were obliged to watch and toil day and night, as long as these insects continued to infest the country.
• On several occasions of sedition amongst the Janissaries, the Jews have been indiscriminately plundered, and they live in the perpetual fear of a renewal of such scenes ; they are pelted in the streets even by children, and in short, the whole course of their existence here is a state of the most abject oppression and contumely. The children of Jacob bear these indignities with wonderful patience; they learn submission from intancy, and practise it throughout their lives, without ever daring to murmur at their hard lot. Notwithstanding these discouraging circumstances in their condition, the Jews, who through their correspondence with foreign countries are the only class of Algerine society possessing any accurate knowledge of external affairs, meddle with all sorts of intrigue, even at the risk of their lives, which are not unfrequently forfeited in consequence. The post of chief of the Jews is procured and held through bribery and intrigue, and is exercised with a tyranny and oppression corresponding to the tenure by which it is retained. During the times of prosperity of the Regency, several Jewish houses of trade rose here to great opulence, but of late years, through the intolerable oppression under which they live, many wealthy individuals have been ruined, others have found means to emigrate, and the Moors, who have a singular aptness for trade, are daily supplanting them in the different branches of commerce practicable in this country ; so that they appear now to be on a rapid decline even as to their numbers. It appears to me that the Jews at this day in Algiers, constitute one of the least fortunate remnants of Israel existing.' pp. 65—67.
The kingdom of Algiers is inhabited by tribes of men, differing in some essential respects from each other. A large part of the population consists of Moors, a mixed race, descended from the ancient Numidians, or Mauritanians, the Arabs, Spaniards, and Turks, who have from time to time found their way into the country. It is obvious, therefore, that the Moors, as a class, exhibit a great variety of moral and physical traits, according as they are more or less nearly allied to any one of the original stocks, from which they are derived. Besides this compound race, there are other tribes inbabiting the interior of the country, who maintain their distinctive characteristics, such as the Arabs, Biscaries, Mozabis, and Kabyles.
The Arabs are wanderers, as in other regions where they are found, both in Africa and Asia. They live in tents, rear flocks, are governed by their own chiess, or sheichs, and when they are weary of the oppression of the Beys, or governors of the provinces, they remove farther from their reach, and perhaps go off into the Sahara,* and enjoy an entire independence. The Biscaries are a more quiet people, inhabiting the borders of the desert, yielding submission to the Regency of Algiers, and speaking a broken dialect of the Arabic. The author thinks they were orignally of Arabian descent, but have become mingled with the Africans, and assumed their habits. The Mozabis dwell in a distant region at the south, quite beyond the limits of the dominions of the Algerines, and are independent of their government. They have mercantile relations with Algiers ; many of them reside there, with specific privileges of trade, and with an Amin, or public officer, who is recognised as consul
* This word, so common in all accounts of Africa, is pronounced with a strongly aspirated accent on the first syllable, Sah'ara.