Page images
PDF
EPUB

were filled with this revival of the after the defeat of the Moors, joined military glories of Gaul. Newspapers Abd-el-Kader. The Emir and his and picture-shops, poets and painters, Arabs took no part in the affair. combined to celebrate the exploit and “I deserted, with several of my sound the victors' praise. One en- comrades, during the night-march graving de circonstance, we remember, stolen by the French upon the Moors. represented a sturdy French foot- We sought the emperor's son in his soldier, trampling, like Gulliver, a camp, and informed him of the movehost of Lilliputian Moors, and car- ment making by the French column. rying a score of them over his shoulder, The emperor's son had our horses spitted on his bayonet. “ Out of my taken away, and gave orders not to way!” was the inscription beneath lose sight of us. Then he said to us :the print—" Les Français seront tou- “Let them come, those dogs of jours les Français.” Horace Vernet, Christians; they are but thirteen colourist, by special appointment, tó thousand strong, and we a hundred the African campaign, pictorial chro- and sixty thousand : we will receive nicler of the heroic feats of the house them well.' militant of Orleans, prepared his best “The day was well advanced bebrushes, and stretched his broadest fore the Moors perceived the French. canvass, to immortalise the marshal Then the emperor's son ordered his and his men. After a few days, two horsemen to mount and advance. dingy tents and an enormous umbrella The French marched in a square. were exhibited in the gardens of the They unmasked their artillery, and Tuileries; these were trophies of the the guns sent their deadly charge of fight—the private property of Mo- grape into the ranks of the Moors, hammed - Abderrhaman, the van- who immediately took to flight, and quished prince of Morocco, the real the French had nothing to do but merit of whose conquerors was about to sabre them." as great as that of an active tiger “ The Moors," says M. Alby, "had who gloriously scatters a numerous fine horses and good sabres; but their flock of sheep. From one of several muskets were bad; and the men, books relating to Algeria, now upon softened by centuries of peace and our table, we will take a French prosperity, smoking keef* and eating officer's account of the affair of Isly. copiously, might be expected to run, The story of Escoffier, a trumpeter as they did, at the first cannonwho generously resigned his horse to shot." his dismounted captain, himself fall- It is hard to understand how the ing into the hands of the Arabs, whose loss of the French should have aprisoner he remained for about eigh- mounted to even the twenty-seven men teen months, is told by M. Alby, an at which it is stated in their general's officer of the African army. Although bulletin. Did M. Bugeaud, unwilling a little vivid in the colouring, and to admit the facility of his triumph, comprising two or three very tough slay the score and seven with his “yarns,”—due, we apprehend, to the goosequill?' But if the victory was imagination of trumpeter or author- easily won, on the other hand, it was its historical portion professes to be, largely rewarded. For having driven and probably is, correct; and, at any before him, by the very first volley rate, there can be no reason for sus- from his guns, a horde of overfed barpecting the writer of depreciating his barians, enervated by sloth and narcountrymen's achievements, and un- cotics, and total strangers to the derstating their merits. The account tactics of civilised warfare, the marof the battle, or rather of the chase, shal was created a duke! Shade of for fighting there was none, is given Napoleon ! whether proudly lingering by a deserter from the Spahis, who, within the trophy-clad walls of the

The Moors smoke the leaves of hemp instead of tobacco. This keef, as it is called, easily intoxicates, and renders the head giddy. Abd-el-Kader forbade the use of it, and if one of his soldiers was caught smoking keef, he received the bastinado. Captivité d'Escoffier, vol. i. p. 221.

Invalides, or passing in spectral re- give an unfavourable notion of his view the dead of Austerlitz and Boro- heart, to those who do not accept our dino, suspend your lonely walk, curb lenient interpretation of his coldyour shadowy charger, and contem- blooded style. The traits he sets down, plate this pitiable spectacle! You, and which are no more than will be too, gave dukedoms, and lavished found in many French narratives, even crowns, but you gave them for despatches, and bulletins, show how services worth the naming. Ney and well the Franco-African army carry the Moskwa, Massena and Essling, out the merciful maxims of Bugeaud. Lannes and Montebello, are words Mr Borrer, a geographer and antithat bear the coupling, and grace a quary, passed seventeen months in coronet. The names of the places, Algeria ; and during his residence although all three recall brilliant vic- there, in May 1846, a column of eight tories, are far less glorious in their thousand French troops, commanded associations than the names of the by the Duke of Isly in person, marched men. But Bugeaud and Isly! against the Kabyles, "that mysteri. What can we say of them ? Truly, ous, bare-headed, leathern - aproned thus much-they, too, are worthy of race, whose chief accomplishment was each other.

said to be that of being crack-shots,' When reviewing, about two years their chief art that of neatly roasting ago, Captain Kennedy's narrative of their prisoners alive, and their chief travel and adventure in Algeria, virtue that of loving their homes." It we regretted he did not speak out may interest the reader to hear a raabout the mode of carrying on the ther more explicit account of this singuwar, and about the prospects of Alge- lar people, who dwell in the mountains rine colonisation ; and we hinted a that traverse Algeria from Tunis to suspicion that the amenities of French Morocco-an irregular domain, whose military hospitality, largely extended limits it is difficult exactly to define in to a British fellow-soldier, had in- words. The Kabyles are, in fact, the duced him, if not exactly to cloak, at highlanders of North Africa, and they least to shun laying bare, the errors hold themselves aloof from the Arabs and mishaps of his entertainers. We and Europeans that surround them. cannot make the same complaint of Concerning them, we find some diverthe very pretty book, rich in vig- sity in the statements of Mr Borrer, nettes and cream-colour, entitled, and of an anonymous Colonist, twelve A Campaign in the Kabylie. Mr years resident at Bougie, whose pamBorrer, whom the Cockneys, contemp- phlet is before us. Of the two, the tuous of terminations, will assuredly Frenchman gives them the best charconfound with his great gipsy cotem- acter, but both agree as to their porary, George Borrow of the Bible, industry and intelligence, their frubas, like Captain Kennedy, dipped gality and skill in agriculture. They his spoon in French messes. Не are not nomadic like the Arabs, but has ridden with their regiments, and live in villages, till the land, and tend sat at their board, and been quartered flocks. Dwelling in the mountains, with their officers, and received kind- they have few horses, and fight chiefly Dess and good treatment on all hands; on foot. Divided into many tribes, and therefore any thing that could they are constantly quarreling and be construed into malicious comment fighting amongst themselves, but they would come with an ill grace from his forget their feuds and quickly unite to pen. But it were exaggerated deli- repel a foreign foe. “ Predisposed by cacy to abstain from stating facts, his character," says the Colonist, “to and these he gives in all their naked- draw near to civilisation, the Kabyle ness; generally, however, allowing attaches himself sincerely to the civithem to speak for themselves, and lised man when circumstances estabadding little in the way of remark or lish a friendly connexion between them. opinion. In pursuance of this system, He is still inclined to certain vices he relates the most horrible instances inherent in the savage ; but of all the of outrage and cruelty with a matter- Africans, he is the best disposed to live of-faet coolness, and an absence alike in friendship and harmony with us, of blame and sympathy, that may which he will do when he shall find

himself in permanent contact with the Desjobert, and a variety of pamphletEuropean population.” This is not eers and newspaper writers, attacked, the general opinion, and it differs with argument, ridicule, and statistics, widely from that expressed by Mr the party known as the Algérophiles, Borrer. But the Colonist bad bis own who made light of difficulties, scoffed views, perhaps his own interests, to at expense, and predicted the prosfurther. He wrote some months pre- perity and splendour of French Africa. vious to the expedition which Mr Algeria, according to them, was to Borrer accompanied, and which was become the brightest gem in the citithen not likely to take place, and he zen-crown of France.

These sanstrongly advocated its propriety-ad- guine gentlemen were met with facts mitting, however, that public opinion and figures. During 1846, said the in France was greatly opposed to a anti-Algerines, your precious colony military incursion into Kabylia. Him- will have cost France 125,000,000 of self established at Bougie, of course francs. And they proved it in black in some description of commerce, the and wbite. There was little chance necessity of roads connecting the coast of the expense being less in following and the interior was to him quite years. Then came the loss of men. evident. A good many of his coun- In 1840, said M. Desjobert, giving trymen, whose personal benefit was chapter and verse for his statements, not so likely to be promoted by cause- 9567 men perished in the African way-cutting in Algeria, strongly de- hospitals, out of an effective army of precated any sort of road-making that 63,000. Add those invalids who died was likely to bring on war with the in French hospitals, or in their Kabyles. France began to think she homes, from the results of African was paying too dear for her whistle. campaigning, and the total loss is She looked back to the early days of moderately stated at 11,000 men, or the Orleans dynasty, when Marshal more than one-sixth of the whole Clausel promised to found a rich and force employed. Out of these, only powerful colony with only 10,000 227 died in action. The thing seemed

She glanced at the pages of hopeless and endless. What do we the Moniteur of 1837, and there she get' for our money ? was the cry. found words uttered by the great What is our compensation for the Bugeaud in the Chamber of Deputies. decimation of our young men ? “ Forty-five thousand men and one France can better employ her sons, good campaign,” said the white-headed than in sending them to perish by warrior, as the Arabs call him, " and African fevers. What do we gain by in six months the country is pacified, all this expenditure of gold and and you may reduce the army to blood ?-The unreasonable mortals ! twenty thousand men, to be paid by Had they not gained a Duke of Isly imposts levied on the colony, con- and a Moorish pavilion ? M. Dessequently costing France nothing." jobert surely forgets these inestimable Words, and nothing more—mere wind; acquisitions when he asks and anthe greatest bosh that ever was uttered, swers the question—“What remains even by Bugeaud, who is proverbial of all our victories ? A thousand bulfor dealing largely in that flatulent letins, and Horace Vernet's big piccommodity. Nine years passed away, tures." and the Commission of the Budget " How many times," says the same “ deplored a situation which com- writer, “has not the subjection of the pelled France to maintain an army of Arabs been proclaimed! In 1844, more than 100,000 men upon ihat General Bugeaud gains the battle of African territory." (Report of M. Isly. Are the Arabs subdued ? Bignon of the 15th April 1816, p.

When the Arabs appear before 237.) Bugeaud himself had mightily the judges who dispose of life and changed his tone, and declared that, to death, they confess their faith, and keep Algiers, as large an army would proclaim their hatred of us; and be essential as had been required to when we are simple enough to tell conquerit. Lamoricière, a great them that some of their race are deauthority in such matters, confirmed voted to us, they reply, Those lie the opinion of his senior. Monsieur to you, through fear, or for their own

men.

interest; and as often as a scheriff hands, must render the hearts of those sball come whom they believe able to acquainted with this people perfectly conquer you, they will follow him, callous as to what misfortunes may even into the streets of Algiers.' befall them or their country; and (Examination of Bou Maza's brother, many may think that, as far as the 12th November 1845.) Thus spoke advancement of civilisation is conthe chief. The common Arab had cerned, the wiping off of the Kabyle already said to the Christian, “If and Arab races of Northern Africa my head and thine were boiled in the from the face of the earth, would be the same vessel, my broth would separate greatest boon to humanity. Though, itself from thy broth.”

however, they may be fraught with This was discouraging to those all the vices of the Canaanitish tribes who had dreamed of the taining of the of old, yet the command, 'Go ye after Arab; and the more sanguinary him through the city and smite; let mooted ideas of extermination. Such not your eye spare, neither have ye a project, clearly written down, and pity; slay utterly old and young, both printed, and placed on Parisian maids, and little children, and women,' breakfast tables, might be startling; in is not justifiably issued at the pleaAlgeria it had long been put in prac- sure of man; and we can but lament tice. What said General Duvivier in to see a great and gallant nation enhis Solution de la Question d’Algérie, gaged in a warfare exasperating both p. 285 ? “ For eleven years they parties to indulge in sanguinary atrohave razed buildings, burned crops, cities, — atrocities to be attributed on destroyed trees, massacred men, one side to the barbarous and savage women, and children, with a still-in- state of those having recourse to them; creasing fury." We have already but on the other, proceeding only from shown that this work of extermina- a thirst for retaliation and bloody retion was not carried on with perfect venge, unworthy of those enjoying a impunity. Here is further contirma- high position as a civilised people. tion of the fact. “Every Arab killed," War is, as we all know, ever producsays M. Leblanc de Prébois, another tive of horrors : but such horrors may officer, who wrote on the Algerian be greatly restrained and diminished war, and wrote from personal expe- by the exertions and example of those rience, “costs us the death of thirty- in command." three men, and 150,000 francs.” Sup- The hoary-headed hero of Isly is posing a vast deal of exaggeration in not the man to make the exertion, or this statement, the balance still re- set the example. At the beginning mains ugly against the French, for of 1847, rumours of a projected inroad whom there is evidently very little amongst the Kabyles caused uneasidifference between catching an Arab ness and dissatisfaction in Algeria, and catching a Tartar. Whilst upon when such a movement was highly the subject of extermination, Mr unpopular, as likely to lead to a long Borrer gives an opinion more decidedly and expensive war. The “Commisunfavourable to bis French friends sion of Credits," a board appointed by than is expressed in any other part the French Chamber for the particular of bis book. His estimate of Kabyle investigation and regulation of Algevirtues differs considerably, it will be rine affairs, applied to the minister of observed, from that of the Colonist, war to know if the rumours were well and of the two is much nearest the founded. The minister confessed they truth.

were; adding, however, that the expe“The abominable vices and debauch- dition would be quite peaceable; but eries of the Kabyle race, the inhuman at the same time laying before the barbarities they are continually guilty commission letters from Bugeaud, of towards such as may be cast by "expressing regret that force of arms tempest, or other misfortune, upon their was not to be resorted to more than rugged shores; the atrocious cruelties was absolutely necessary, the submisand refined tortures they, in common sion of the aborigines being never cerwith the Arab, delight in exercising tain until powder had spoken." The upon any such enemies as may be so marshal evidently" felt like fighting.” unbappy as to fall alive into their The Commission protested; the minister rebuked them, bidding them upon, but they do not attack.” The mind their credits, and not meddle with marshal, whose whole public life has the royal prerogative. Thus unjustly been full of contradictions, was the snubbed—for they certainly were mind- first to intrude upon them, although ing their credits, by opposing increase but a very few years had elapsed since of expenditure--the Commission were he said in a pamphlet, “ The Kabyles mute, one of the members merely ob- are numerous and very warlike; they serving, by way of a last shot, that it have villages, and their agriculture is was easier to refuse to listen than to sedentary; already there is too little reply satisfactorily. In France, public land to supply their wants; there is opinion, the Chamber of Deputies, and no room, therefore, for Europeans in Marshal Soult, had, on various occa- the mountains of Kabylia, and they sions, declared against attacking the would cut a very poor figure there." Kabyles. “Nevertheless, a proclama- This last prophetic sentence was reation was issued by Marshal Bugeaud lised by M. Bugeaud himself, who to the inhabitants of the Kabylie, to certainly made no very brilliant apwarn them that the French army was pearance when, forgetting his former upon the point of entering their terri- theory, he hazarded himself in May tory, to cleanse it of those adventu- 1847, at the head of eight thousand rers who there preached the war men, and with Mr Borrer in his train, against France.' The proclamation amongst the hardy mountaineers of then went on to state, that the marshal Kabylia. had no desire to fight with them, or to Hereabouts Mr Borrer quotes, in devastate their property; but tbat, if French, the statement of a member there were amongst them any who of the Commission already referred wished for war, they would find him to. It is worth extracting, as fully ready to accept it." If a hard- confirming our conviction that the favoured stranger, armed with a horse- conduct of France in Algeria has been whip, walked uninvited into M. throughout characterised by an utter Bugeaud's private residence, loudly want of judgment and justice. “The proclaiming he would thrash nobody native towns have been invaded, mless provoked, the marshal would ruined, sacked, by our administration, be likely to resist the intrusion. The more even than by our arms. In Kabyles, doubtless, thought his ad- time of peace, a great number of privance into their territory an equally vate estates have been ravaged and unjustifiable proceeding. As to the destroyed. A multitude of title-deeds pretext of " the adventurers who delivered to us for verification have preached war," it was unfounded and never been restored. Even in the ridiculous. Such propagandists have environs of Algiers, fertile lands have never been listened to in Kabylia. been taken from the Arabs and given "The voice of the Emir Abd-el-Kader to Europeans, who, unable or unhimself," says the Colonist, “would willing to cultivate their new posses not obtain a hearing. Did he not go sions, have farmed them out to their in person, in 1839, when preparing to former owners, who have thus bebreak bis treaty of peace with us, and come the mere stewards of the inheripreach the holy war? Did he not tance of their fathers. Elsewhere, traverse the valley of the Souman, from tribes, or fractions of tribes, not one end to the other, to recruit com- hostile to us, but who, on the conbatants? And what did he obtain trary, had fought for us, have been from the Kabyles ? Hospitality for a driven from their territory. Condifew days, coupled with the formal in- tions have been accepted from them, vitation to evacuate the country as and not kept-indemnities promised, soon as possible. Did he succeed and never paid-until we have combetter when he lately again tried to promised our honour even more than raise Kabylia against us ?” Mr Borrer their interests.” Such a statement, confirms this. Marshal Bugeaud bim- proceeding from a Frenchman—from self bad said in the Chamber of one, too, delegated by his government Deputies, “ The Kabyles are neither to examine the state of the colonyaggressive nor hostile; they defend is quite conclusive as to administrathemselves vigorously when intruded tive proceedings in Algeria. It would

« PreviousContinue »