The Algerine captive; or, The life and adventures of Doctor Updike Underhill: six years a prisoner among the Algerines. [Three lines from Shakespeare] : Vol. I[-II]. : Published according to act of Congress.
Tyler, Royall, 1757-1826., Humphreys, David, 1752-1818, dedicatee.

CHAP. I.

There dwell the most forlorn of human kind
Immured, though unaccused, condemned, untried,
Cruelly spared, and hopeless of escape.

COWPER.
ARGUMENT.

The Author is carried into Algiers: Is brought before the Dey: Description of his Person, Court and Guards: Man|ner of selecting the Tenth Prisoner.

WE saluted the castle with seven guns, which was returned with three, and then entered within the im|mense Page  14 pier, which forms the port. The prisoners, thirty in number, were con|veyed to the castle, where we were re|ceived with great parade by the Dey's troops or cologlies, and guarded to a heavy strong tower of the castle. The Portuguese prisoners, to which nation the Algerines have the most violent an|tipathy, were immediately, with every mark of contempt, spurned into a dark dungeon beneath the foundations of the tower, though there were several mer|chants of eminence, and one young no|bleman, in the number. The Spaniards, whom the Dey's subjects equally detest, and fear more, were confined with me in a grated room, on the second story. We received, the same evening, rations sim|ilar to what, we understood, were issued to the garrison. The next day, we were all led to a cleansing house, where we were cleared from vermin, our hair cut short, and our beards close shaved; thence Page  15 taken to a bath, and, after being well bathed, we were clothed in coarse linen drawers, a strait waistcoat of the same without sleeves, and a kind of tunic or loose coat over the whole, which, with a pair of leather slippers, and a blue cotton cap, equipped us, as we were informed, to appear in the presence of the Dey, who was to select the tenth prisoner from us in person. The next morning, the dragomen or interpreters, were very bu|sy in impressing upon us the most pro|found respect for the Dey's person and power, and teaching us the obeisance nec|essary to be made in our approaches to this august potentate. Soon after, we were paraded; and Captain Hamed presented each of us with a paper, written in a base kind of Arabic, describing, as I was in|formed, our persons, names, country, and conditions in life; so far as our captors could collect from our several examina|tions. Upon the back of each paper was Page  16 a mark or number. The same mark was painted upon a flat oval piece of wood, somewhat like a painter's palette, and sus|pended by a small brass chain to our necks, hanging upon our breasts. The guards then formed a hollow square. We were blind folded until we passed the fortifications, and then suffered to view the city, and the immense rabble, which surrounded us, until we came to the palace of the Dey. Here, after much military parade, the gates were thrown open, and we entered a spacious court yard, at the upper end of which the Dey was seated, upon a eminence, covered with the richest carpeting fringed with gold. A circular canopy of Persian silk was raised over his head, from which were suspended curtains of the richest embroidery, drawn into festoons by silk cords and tassels, enriched with pearls. Over the eminence, upon the right and left, were canopies, which almost vied in Page  17 riches with the former, under which stood the Mufti, his numerous Hadgi's, and his principal officers, civil and military; and on each side about seven hundred foot guards were drawn up in the form of a half moon.

The present Dey, Vizier Hassen Ba|shaw, is about forty years of age, five feet ten inches in height, inclining to corpulen|cy, with a countenance rather comely than commanding; an eye which betrays sagacity, rather than inspires awe: the latter is sufficiently inspired by the fierce appearance of his guards, the splen|dour of his attendants, the grandeur of his court, and the magnificence of his at|tire. He was arrayed in a sumptuous Turkish habit. His feet were shod with buskins, bound upon his legs with dia|mond buttons in loops of pearl; round his waist was a broad sash, glittering with jew|els, to which was suspened a broad scim|itar, the hilt of which dazzled the eye Page  18 with brilliants of the first water, and the sheath of which was of the finest velvet, studded with gems and the purest gold. In his scarf was stuck a poignard and pair of pistols of exquisite workmanship. These pistols and poignard were said to have been a present from the late unfortu|nate Louis the sixteenth. The former was of pure gold, and the value of the work was said to exceed that of the pre|cious mettle two hundred times. Upon the Dey's head was a turban with the point erect, which is peculiar to the roy|al family. A large diamond crescent shone conspicuous in the front, on the back of which a socket received the quills of two large ostrich feathers, which wav|ed in graceful majesty over his head. The prisoners were directed by turns to approach the foot of the eminence. When within thirty paces, we were made to throw ourselves upon the earth and creep towards the Dey, licking the dust as Page  19 a token of reverence and submission. As each captive approached, he was com|manded to rise, pull of his slippers, and stand with his face bowed to the ground, and his arms crossed over his breast. The chieux or secretary then took the paper he carried and read the same. To some the Dey put questions by his drog|oman, others were dismissed by a slight nod of his head. After some consulta|tion among the chief men, an officer came to where the prisoners were pa|raded, and called for three by the num|ber, which was marked on their breasts. The Dey's prerogative gives him the right to select the tenth of all prisoners; and, as the service or ransom of them constitutes one part of his revenue, his policy is to choose those, whose friends or wealth would be most likely to en|rich his coffers. At this time, he select|ed two wealthy Portuguese merchants, and a young nobleman of the same na|tion, Page  20 called Don Juan Combri. Im|mediately after this selection, we were car|ried to a strong house, or rather prison, in the city, and there guarded by an of|ficer and some of the crew of the Rover, that had taken us. The remainder of us being considered as private prop|erty, another selection was made by the captain and owners of the Rover; and all such, as could probably pay their ransom in a short time, were removed into a place of safety and suffered only a close confinement. The remnant of my companions being only eleven, consisted of the Negro slave, five Portuguese, two Spanish sailors, an Italian fiddler, a Dutch|man from the Cape of Good Hope, and his Hottentot servant. As we could prof|fer no probability of ransom we were re|served for another fate.