A JOURNAL, &c.
CHAPTER Ist. Containing my departure from Newburyport, ar|rival at Baltimore, departure from thence, Capture by the Algerines, treatment received from them.—The common labour and usage of the Christian Cap|tives.
ON Saturday the 27th of July 1793, I sailed from Newburyport in the State of Massachusetts, in the capacity of a Mariner, on board the Brig Polly, belonging to the a|bove mentioned place, Samuel E. Bayley, Mas|ter, bound to Baltimore, in the State of Ma|ryland, expecting to take freight from thence for the Island of Tobago.
On Tuesday the 6th of August, we were brought too by a French privateer, and per|mitted immediately to proceed on our voyage. Being then in sight of the Capes of Virginia, we took on board a Pilot and stood in for the Chesapeak.
Wednesday the 7th of August, we entered the Capes and were 'till Saturday the 10th, before we arrived at Baltimore; and found, Page 8 on our arrival, that the freight, which Capt. Bayley expected, was embarked and sailed on board another vessel. Nothing particular hap|pened, until Monday the 19th when we were ordered by the Captain to discharge the ballast, and were informed by him that he had agreed to take a freight for Cadiz.
Thursday the 29th, Paul Noyes, one of our mariners, was attacked with a severe fever, and continued on board until Monday, the 9th of September, when he was carried on shore, and put under the care of a woman, well qual|ified for attending sick people. I understand he died in a few days after our departure.—Tuesday the 10th we sailed from Baltimore, bound to Cadiz; and on Friday the 13th we left sight of the Capes of Virginia. Nothing of any great moment occurred, until Thursday the 24th of October, when we fell in with and spoke two Brigs from Elsinore, bound to Barcelona. On Friday, the 25th, early in the morning we saw the same Brigs about two miles to windward, standing on their larboard tack, with the wind about E. N. E.
We got our breakfast, and ate it in the great|est jollity, not apprehending any danger nigh, expecting to reach the port of destination within 48 hours; As we judged ourselves to be about 35 leagues westward of Cape St. Vin|cent. But what a fatal day was this! How visionary our hopes! Our sprightly looks, and cheerful congratulations, and anticipations of reaching the port of our destination was soon Page 9 turned into the most gloomy despair. Little did we think in the morning when we arose with nothing before us but Liberty and con|tent, that before the Sun should reach his me|ridian altitude, we should be slaves to merci|less Barbarians. This however, was the case, For at 9 A. M. we saw a strange sail bearing a|bout E. N. E. and standing directly for the two Danish Brigs. We then discovered (with a prospect Glass) that she had boarded them; and that she had the English Flag displayed at her peak. We then supposed her to be an English Privateer. She soon dismissed them, and bore down upon us. By this time we could see that she was a Brig; and discerned by the cut of her sails, that she was not an English vessel, although she had still the English slag flying; we then supposed her to be a French Privateer, hoisting the English flag to deceive their enemy. We immediately clued down topgallant sails, and hove too in order to wait 'till she came along side. When she came near enough to make us hear, she hailed us in English, asked from whence we came, and where bound; which was immediately ans|wered by Capt. Bayley. The man who hailed us, was dressed in the Christian habit, and was the only person we could yet see on her deck; By this time, the Brig was under our stern; we then saw several men jump upon her poop, to hall aft the main sheet, and saw by their dress and long beards that they were Moors, or Al|gerines. Our feelings at this unwelcome Page 10 sight, are more easily imagined than described. What dreadful perturbations! to escape was impossible; weapons of defence, we had none, we must therefore resign ourselves to the mer|cy of piratical sea-rovers. She then hove too under our lee, when we heard a most terrible shouting, clapping of hands, huzzaing &c.—And saw a great number of men rise up with their heads above the gunnel, dressed in the Turkish habit like them we saw on the poop. They immediately hoisted out a large launch, and about one hundred of the pirates jumped on board, all armed; some with Scymitres and Pistols, others with pikes, spears, lances, knives, &c. They manned about 20 oars and rowed along side. As soon as they came on board our vessel, they made signs for us all to go forward, assuring us in several languages, that if we did not obey their commands, they would immediately massacre us all. They then went below into the cabin, steerage, and every place where they could get below deck, and broke open all the Trunks, and Chests, there were on board, and plundered all our bedding, cloathing, books, Charts, Quadrants, and every moveable article, that did not con|sist of the Cargo, or furniture. They then came on deck, like a parcel of ravenous wolves and stripped the cloaths off our backs, all ex|cept a shirt and pair of drawers, (myself being left with no shirt at all.) The next day an old Turk, with an air of kindness, gave me an old shirt without sleeves, blaming those who had Page 11 taken mine from me. It was soothing to find a spark of humanity in my barbarous masters, who had but the day before mancipated and stripped us. This was the only Mahometan I ever met with, in whom I had the least reason to suppose the smallest spark of humanity was kindled.
They having chosen a sufficient number of the Algerines to take command of the prize, they ordered us all into the launch; and when they were all embarked, they rowed along side their own vessel, and ordered us on board. We embarked accordingly, and were conduc|ted by some of the sea rovers to the door of the poop, at which place we were received by a negro man, who conducted us into the cabin: when we entered the cabin, we saw the com|mander of the pirates, sitting upon a matt on the cabin floor; who, with the help of an in|terpreter, asked us many questions concerning the vessel and cargo, the places of our nativity, and many others, as void of sense as he was of Philanthrophy who asked them. He then in|formed us that he was an Algerine, that his vessel belonged to Algiers, that her name was Babazera, and his name Rais Hudga Mahomet Salamia, and we were his prisoners; and must immediately experience the most abject slavery, on our arrival at Algiers, which we soon found to be true. Our embarrassments were still greater, when we found that they were Alge|rines, (for before we supposed them to be Moors) knowing that the Algerines used the Page 12 most severity towards christian captives, of any state in all Barbary. He then informed us that Charles Logie, Esq. British Consul at Al|giers, had negociated with the Dey for a truce with the Portuguese, for the term of twelve months, and before that time would expire, they would have a firm peace, and the Alge|rines could cruise in the Atlantic when they thought proper. He then told us we must do our duty as seamen on board his vessel; we told him we had no clothes, his people having taken every thing away from us except what he saw on our backs, which was not sufficient for us to stand the deck with. He answered in very abusive words, that we might think ourselves well used, that they did not take them. And he would teach us to work naked, adding "now you are slaves and must be treated as such, and do not think that you will be trea|ted worse than you really deserve, for your bigotry and superstition, in believing in a man who was crucified by the Jews, and disregar|ding the true doctrine of God's last and grea|test prophet, Mahomet." He then ordered us immediately to our duty. When we came out of the cabin, we saw the Polly just making sail, and standing after us, and that night we lost sight of her, and saw her no more until our arrival at Algiers.
About sunset they brought us a dish of oil, olives, vinegar and some bread, and told us to eat heartily while we were on board, for after our arrival at Algiers, we should not be allow|ed Page 13 such dainties. Although we were very hungry, we could eat but very little, consider|ing the situation we were in, and not being u|sed to such diet.
When we sat down to eat, we were accom|panied by three Dutchmen, whom we had not scen before. On asking them the particulars of their being on board, they informed us that they sailed from Amsterdam, bound to Mala|ga, three weeks before, on board the ship Hope belonging to New-York, commanded by John Burnham, and had been captured by an Alge|rine frigate, within ten leagues of Gibraltar. And the frigate having taken several vessels, and having a great number of Christian cap|tives on board, the Capt. of the frigate being fearful lest they should make an attempt to rise upon the vessel, had distributed them on board the other Corsairs, which had not taken any prizes. After we had finished our supper they divided us (12 in number) into two wat|ches and ordered us to stand the deck, in our respective watches. It fell to my lot to have the first watch below, and as we went down they ordered us into the sail-room to sleep, and shewed us the door. We were obliged to creep in, upon our hands and knees, and stow ourselves upon the sails, in the best manner we could. We endeavoured to get a little sleep, but could not, as our minds were filled with horror, and dreadful apprehensions of the fate we might experience, and expecting addition|al severity on our arrival at Algiers. We lay Page 14 in this unhappy condition, bemoaning our hapless fate, until we supposed it to be past mid|night, and could not conceive the reason that the watch was not relieved, as is customary a|mong Americans and English. And being strangers to their manner of relieving the watch, supposed we had (innocently) neglected our du|ty; this made us very uneasy, fearing the watch had been relieved, and we not knowing it, they would inflict some corporal punishment, I then proposed to my fellow sufferers, that I would go on deck, in order to know whether they had called the watch or not; but they ad|vised me not to go, adding, that if the watch was not called, they might treat me very ill for appearing on deck in the night, when my duty did not call me there, we then determi|ned to wait 'till we were called, and to bear patiently our punishment if they inflicted any. We waited in this suspence for near an hour longer, when I resolved to go on deck by my|self, and know the issue: With this resolution, I crept upon my hands and knees to the sail room door, and on my appearance at the door, a Turk came to me, armed with a Scymitar & a pair of Pistols, and made me to understand by signs, that he wanted to know where I was going, I answered him in the same manner, made him understand that necessity called me on deck. He then conducted me to the hatchway, and spoke to some person on the deck, in his own language, which I could not understand, and pointing with his singer, I found that I had Page 15 permission to go up. I accordingly went on deck, and was received by another Turk, ar|med in the same manner, he asked me, in the French language, if I wished to go in the head, which I answered in the affirmative: as I un|derstood some French, and could hold a tolera|ble discourse with him, I asked him if the watch was called, which he answered in the negative, and on asking him if it was not past twelve o'clock, he told me it was past two.
On enquiring the manner of their standing a watch, he informed me that they kept ten hours for one watch; and that it commenced at 8 o'clock in the evening and continued un|til 6 in the morning; then relieved and kept till 4 in the afternoon, and their dog-watch was from 4 in the afternoon till 8, having only three watches in 24 hours. I then went below and informed my fellow-sufferers of what had paned, which gave them great satisfaction to think we had not committed an innocent of|fence, as before we feared we had done. We were happy in being freed from the terrors of punishment. We then made ourselves as ea|sy and comfortable as we could, considering the deplorable situation we were in. But could not sleep any the remainder of the night, for by this time the vermin, such as lice, bugs and fleas, had found their way to our apartment, and in such quantities that it seemed as if we were entirely covered with those unwelcome guests. However, we passed the remainder of the night, in condoling our miserable condi|tion, Page 16 and rubbing those vermin from our bo|dies, in the best manner we could. At 6, A. M. we were surprised by three heavy knocks from the deck, and with such force, that it seemed as if they endeavoured to knock the deck to pieces, and not hearing any thing said, we could not imagine the meaning: We lay a few minutes, and were then called by a Turk, ordered on deck and informed, that that was their way of calling the watch. This office is generally performed by the boatswain, or one of his mates, in the following manner: A large block is laid on the deck near the hatchway, and struck upon with a very large beetle, which makes such a horrid noise, as nearly sufficient to stun the brain of a strong headed person, and this was the cause of our surprise before mentioned. This being Saturday the 26th of October. We passed the rock of Gibraltar on Monday the 28th and nothing of any conse|quence happened on our passage to Algiers; spoke several vessels, but none proved to be their enemies. We having a very fresh breeze from the westward, we arrived at Algiers on Friday the first of November.
After they had brought their vessel to an an|chor in the roads, they hoisted out their boats and ordered us to embark, and to lay ourselves down in the bottom of the boat: Having o|beyed their commands, we were rowed on shore, and landed, amidst the shouts and huz|zas of thousands of malicious barbarians. We were conducted to the Dey's palace by a guard, Page 17 and as we passed through the streets, our ears were stunned with shouts, clapping of hands and other acclamations of joy from the inhabi|tants; thanking God for their great success and victories over so many Christian dogs and unbelievers, the appellation they generally give to all Christians. On our arrival at the gates of the Palace, we were received by another Guard, & conducted before the Dey, who after taking a view of us, told us he had sent several to our government, entreating them to negociate with him for a peace, and had never received any satisfactory answer from them: That he was determined never to make a peace with the United States, in his reign, as they had so often neglected his requests, and treated him with disdain, adding "now I have got you, you christian dogs, you shall eat stones." He then picked out four boys to wait upon him|self in the palace, as follows, Benjamin Church, Benjamin Ober, Charles Smith and John Ram|sey, and then ordered the rest of us to be con|ducted to the prison Bili••. When we arrived there, we found several other Americans, who landed a little before us, and they informed us that the Corsairs had captured ten sail of Ame|rican vessels, and their captains and crews were chiefly in the same prison.
After condoling our hapless fate, for a con|fiderable time; a French priest came to us and enquired, if any among us understood the French language, and was answered in the af|firmative. After conversing sometime with the person who spoke French, he left us, and told us he should return in a few minutes.—About half an hour afterwards he returned, and two Moors with him, who brought two baskets full of white bread, and he gave each man a loaf, weighing nearly a pound, which was a very delicious meal for us, we having eaten nothing during the day, it now being about 4 o'clock in the afternoon. He likewise inform|ed us that it was a custom among those sons, of rapine and plunder, not to allow the slaves any kind of food on the first day of their land|ing, except one small loaf of bread at night—And what we then received, he gave us, out of his own pocket, and said if he was able, his charity would further extend. We thanked our kind benefactor, and he then took his leave of us. We then walked from one part of the Bagnio to another, not knowing in what part we might be allowed to remain. We wandered in this manner, bemoaning our de|plorable situation, 'till about 5 o'clock, when we saw (according to the best our judgment) about 600 men enter the Bagnio, all appearing to be in a more miserable condition than our|selves, Page 19 with wretched habits, dejected counte|nances, and chains on their legs, every part of them bespeaking unutterable distress. I enqui|red of the prison-keeper, who those people were, and of what crimes they had been guilty, that they were loaded with such heavy chains. I was answered, that they were christian slaves, had been captured in the same manner as my|self, seeking an honest livelihood: A few mi|nutes afterwards, we heard a man shouting out in a most terrible manner, and not understand|ing his language, made it sound more terrible. We were immediately informed by a man who understood the English Language, that all us (Americans) must appear in the third gallery. We made all haste up we possibly could, and as we entered the gallery we passed one at a time through a narrow door, on one side of which stood a task-master, and on the other side a Christian slave. The former had a large stick in his hand, and the latter a book, in which was written the names of all the christi|an captives in that prison. The christian ask|ed each man his name, and then wrote it in the book, and as we passed, the Turk gave each man a small bundle. On examining it, we found it contained a blanket, a capoot (which is a sort of jacket with a head) a waistcoat, made something like a frock, to draw over the head, it not being open at the belly, a shirt, with neither collar or wristbands, a pair of trowsers, made somewhat like a woman's pet|ticoat, (with this difference,) the bottom being Page 20 sewed up, and two holes to put the legs thro' and a pair of slippers. There was neither but|ton, or button-hole on the whole suit. Such a suit excepting the blanket, of which they never get but one, is given to each captive once a year. The day they receive this suit is on Friday ensuing Christmas. Soon after we received the above mentioned bundle, we were again called into the third gallery, and passed in the same manner as before, and hav|ing our names called separately by the clerk, we passed the task-master, and received each man a small loaf of very black, sour bread weighing about three ounces and a half, which we ate, although it was not so delicious as the bread we received from the French Priest.—Having finished our supper, we lay down up|on the stone floor, and went to sleep, and made ourselves as comfortable, as we could, having neither bed, nor bedding, except the blanket before mentioned; but being very much fa|tigued, we slept tolerably well until about 3 o'clock, when were alarmed with a terrible shouting, as before, and were all ordered to go down into the lower part of the prison.—When we arrived there, they put a chain on each mans leg, reaching up to the shoulder, and weighing about 25, or 30lb. this was our first nights lodging in this doleful mansion of horror and despair. This done, it now being day-break—Saturday the 2d of November, we were all driven out of the Bagnio, and from thence to the Marine, where I experienced the Page 21 hardest days work, I ever underwent before.—The dreadful clanking of the chains, was the most terrible noise I ever heard. And never during my whole captivity did I feel such hor|rors of mind, as on this dreadful morning.
Page 22 As it is not in my power to write the particu|lars of each day of my captivity, (which would be too tedious to my readers,) I only intend to give you a short narrative of some of the most particular occurrences, which happened while I was in this abject slavery, and the com|mon labor, and usage of the slaves, which is as follows.
At day break, in the morning, the prison-keeper calls all the slaves out to go to work; at the door of the Bagnio, they are met by the Guardians or task-masters (who have their or|ders from the Guardian Bachi; he is the mas|ter of all the slaves that belong to the regency) they are then conducted to whatever place he has directed. The greatest part of their work, is blowing rocks in the mountains. While some are drilling the holes, others are digging the earth from off those rocks, which are un|der it, and others carrying away the dirt in baskets. When the rocks are blown, they take such as will answer their purpose: (Rocks less than 20 Tons weight, will not serve.)—Many are hauled by the slaves, two miles dis|tance, which weigh 40 tons. They roll them to the bottom of the mountain, where is a con|venient place to put them on a sled. Here they are left until Friday, (which is the Mahome|tan Sabbath, on which day all the Christian slaves belonging to the Regency, are driven out to haul them to the Quay, which is about two miles from the place where they are loaded.—In order to haul these rocks, they place them Page 23 upon a sled made of large square timber, and after being sufficiently secured with ropes, they put about six or seven hundred men to each sled, who haul it with ropes about seven inches in circumference, and as the road is all paved with large flat stones, they make some progress in the business. When rising an ascent, should the number who are at one sled, not be able to haul it up, they are assisted by the rest. By this means, they are enabled to haul three, or four rocks in a day, upon each sled. From this Quay, they are taken on board a Puntoon (which is a large flat bottomed kind of vessel) and discharged at the back of the mole, with the help of wheels. These rocks are laid there in order to break off the sea, that the mole may not wash away; which must have a continual supply, for every gale of wind that comes washes them into deep water. After a gale they have as much need of them as they had the first hour after the mole was built. So we may conclude this is a work that will never be finished. On Friday when the slaves, are going to work in the mountains, they pass out thro' the gates of the city, about day break in the morning, and arrive at the bottom of the mountain, sometime before sunrise.—On their arrival there, they are divided by the task-mas|ters, into different gangs, each gang has one sled. They must haul as many in a day as the task-masters think proper, and are treated with additional rigor and severity on this day. For the drivers being anxious to have as many haul|ed Page 24 as possible, (because the number they haul must be reported to the Dey,)—they are con|tinully beating the slaves with their sticks, & goading them with its end, in which is a small spear, not unlike an ox-goad, among our farm|ers.
If any one chance to faint, and fall down with fatigue, they generally beat them until they are able to rise again.
At night when they are done hauling, all hands are called together, and have their names called by the clerk, and every one must pass the Guardian Bachi, as his name is called.—Af|ter they are done calling, and find that none are missing, they are driven by the task-masters into the city, then left to go to the Bagnio by themselves, and must appear there within half an hour after they enter the gates of the city.
The roll is called every night in the prison, a few minutes before the gates are locked.—If any one neglects his call, he is immediately put into irons, hands and feet, then chained to a pillar, where he must remain until the next morning. Then the irons are taken from his feet, and he is driven before a task-master, to the marine, and the Viguilhadge, (who is the minister of the marine) orders what punish|ment he thinksproper, which is immediately inflicted by the task-masters.
He commonly orders 150, or 200 Bastina|does.
The manner of inflicting this punishment is as follows: The person is laid upon his face, Page 25 with his hands in irons behind him, and his legs lashed together with a rope.—One task|master holds down his head and another his legs, while two others inflict the punishment upon his breech, with sticks some what larger than an ox-goad. After he has received one half his punishment in this manner, they lash his ancles to a pole, and two Turks lift the pole up, and hold it in such a manner, as brings the soles of his feet upward, and the re|mainder of his punishment, he receives upon the soles of his feet. Then he is released from his bands, and obliged to go directly to work a|mong the rest of his fellow-slaves. On other days of the week only a part of the slaves work in the mountains, & the others in the marine, those in the marine, are again divided into diffe|rent companies, each company have different kinds of employ. Some are employed in careen|ing the corsairs, and sitting them for sea. At other times they are stripping them and haul|ing them up. Others are discharging their prizes, cleaning the harbor, and bringing those large rocks, before mentioned to the mole and every article that is transported from one part of the marine to another, or from the marine to the city, or from the city to the marine, or elsewhere, must be carried by the slaves, with poles, upon their shoulders. For the streets are so narrow, that no kind of a carriage is used here, not even a wheelbarrow. In many streets it is difficult for one man to pass another.
Page 26 When their prizes are discharged, their car|go must be all carried into the city, and stow|ed in magazines, so that some part of the slaves are constantly carrying hogsheads of sugar, pipes of wine, casks of nails, cannon, &c.
They work from day break in the morning, until a certain hour in the afternoon, which they call Laza, which is just half an hour be|fore sunset, summer and winter. At which time they hoist a white flag upon the Mosques to denote that it is the hour of prayer, it being contrary to their religion to have a bell sound among them.
On Fridays they hoist a green flag, this be|ing a favorite color of Mahomet. All the slaves at this hour are ordered to leave work, except when they are fitting the corsairs for sea in a hurry. Oftentimes when this is the case they are obliged to work all night, and go up to the gate, called Babazia, which is the marine gate, and before they can pass, they are searched by the task-masters, to prevent their stealing any thing from the Regency; if they are found with any thing, except a few chips, they do not escape punishment.
I have known a slave receive an hundred bastinadoes for being found with three board nails.
Having related the daily labors of the slaves, I now proceed to give you an account of the provisions they are allowed to subsist on, to enable them to perform this laborious slavery, and the cloathing they have allowed to keep Page 27 them from the cold rains and the scorching rays of the sun.
About eight o'clock in the morning they are called by one of the task-masters from their work to take breakfast. Which they receive in the following order. When they are called they all leave their work, and go near some sacks of bread. As they pass by, they are counted by one of the drivers, while another gives each man a loaf of bread: And to every eighth man he gives a wooden bowl with a|bout a pint of vinegar, in this manner they pass until all have received their allowance.—They then sit down upon the ground to eat, and are commonly called to work in about ten minutes, and are seldom allowed more than 12. The same ceremony is passed at 12 o'clock, when they receive the same allowance. At night when the roll is called they receive ano|ther loaf of bread, but no vinegar.
This is all the provision they have allowed them from the Regency. But oftentimes when they are at work on board the corsairs, the steward will give them a little sweet oil, and sometimes some olives, this they count a feast. These loaves of bread weigh about three ounces and an half. I have weighed several and never found one to exceed three ounces and eleven drachms. So what bread each man has allowed him for a day, will not exceed eleven ounces, and it is so sour, that a person must be almost starving before he can eat it.— Page 28 The reason of its being so sour is their mixing the dough three days before it is baked.
To make this bread they sift the bran of wheat, after the flour and middlings are taken out.
Perhaps you may think what I have already related could not be augmented, with additi|onal severity, but alas, this is not all. The Bagnio in which the slaves sleep, is built with several galleries, one above another; in each gallery are several small rooms, in them the slaves sleep. For the use of these rooms they must pay a certain sum of money every moon to the Guardian Bachi, or sleep in the open Bagnio, where they have nothing but the firmament to cover them. On the evening after the moon changes, the keeper of the Bagnio, calls out for all hands to pay for their rooms. If any one who has slept in a room during the moon, has not procured the money, and can|not pay it down, his hands are put into irons behind him, and his legs chained to a pillar e|very night, until the money is paid. They are released in the morning to go to their work and are chained again at night. Those misera|ble objects are commonly relieved by the rest of their fellow-sufferers.
Some of the slaves are allowed a small pit|tance from their country, which enables them to pay this demand. Others are mechanics and work at their trades in the night, to pro|cure this sum; others get it by theft, though they often hazard their lives by so doing; Page 29 and many are obliged to sleep every night up|on the cold stones, with nothing but the hea|vens to cover them, for want of money to pay this tribute.
In the Bagnio, where the slaves sleep, is a kind of museum, belonging to the Dey; which contains a great number of Animals of prey. They are confined with chains in differ|ent apartments from where the slaves sleep.—And are maintained by them; with Bullock's and Sheeps heads; this money must be paid every moon when they pay for the rooms they sleep in.
There is still another demand as unreasona|ble as any of the former. After their Rama|dan, which is a fast that continues a whole moon during which time they cannot eat, drink, smoak, or even wet their lips while the sun is above the horizon, (what they do eat, is in the night) they have a great feast, which continues two days, on the evening previous to the feast, each slave must carry 2 fowls to the task-master; as a present; and a certain number of sheep, is given them, for which each slave must pay his proportionable part. During those two days, the slaves are locked in the Bagnio, and are allowed no kind of subsistence from the Regency except one small loaf of bread which I mentioned before, and this they receive each night when the roll is called. The drivers, on the first morning of the feast, give each slave a loaf of good white bread, weighing about half Page 30 a pound, for which they had received two fowls from each slave the evening before.
In this deplorable situation, were upwards of 1,200 Christian captives, dragging out a mise|rable existence, with the woeful appellation of slave preying upon their mind when I left Al|giers.
The cloathing which is allowed them for a year, is such a suit as was contained in the bun|dle which I explained in a former part of this book, they receive it the first Friday after Christmas, as before observed. The first Friday in January, when it begins on Friday excepted, then the second, all the captives belonging to the Regency, are obliged to go about seven miles into the country, and gather reeds, and carry them to the Dey's garden, for Beans, Peas, &c. to run upon, and this is a very tedi|ous day's work.
At this season of the year the rains fall in a|bundance in that country, which renders the walking very disagreeable as we do not follow the road, but are obliged to cross fields, and meadows. The distance those reeds are car|ried is about eight miles.
We go out at the easternmost gate of the ci|ty called Babazoone, and it is near 7 miles from this gate to the place where they are gathered, and from thence they must be carried to the Dey's garden, which is near a mile westward of the gate called 〈◊〉, which is the west gate of the city. This day's work they tell us (by way 〈…〉) is to pay for our 〈◊〉Page 31 of cloathes which we received a week before, and which by this time is generally half worn out.
CHAPTER II. The punishments which are common for Christian Captives, for different offences: For Mahometans and Jews, having committed similar crimes, to|gether with some entertaining stories of the punish|ments inflicted on the Christian slaves, Mahome|tans, Jews and Renegadoes, which occurred (to my knowledge) during my Captivity, and some accidents which happened.
THE punishments most common for small offences, are bastinadoes, of which I shall say but very little, having already related the manner of inflicting them; I shall how|ever relate in the course of this chapter, a few instances of people being bastinadoed for very small offences or rather no offence at all.
In the month of October '93, which was be|fore I had the misfortune of being an eye wit|ness, but of which I had a verbal account, 14 slaves of different nations, made an attempt to run away with a boat, but were finally overta|ken after they were several leagues at sea, and brought 〈◊〉 to Algiers.
Page 32 When they were landed, and carried before the Dey, he ordered the steersman, and bowman to be beheaded, and the rest to receive five hundred bastinadoes each, to have a chain of 50 weight fastened to each man's leg for life, and a wooden block of about 70lb. to the end of that, which they were obliged to carry up|on their shoulder when they walked to do their work. When they are at work they lay the block down, and can only work within the length of their chain. When they have occa|sion to go further, they must carry the block, to the place where the work calls them.
Those of them who were living when I left Algiers, which was the 13th July, '96, were still in this miserable situation.
They have different punishments for capital offences, sometimes they are burned, or rather roasted alive. At other times they are impal|ed. This is done by placing the criminal upon a sharp iron stake, & thrusting it up the posteri|ors, by his back bone until it appears at the back of his neck.
For being found in company with a Maho|metan woman he is beheaded, and the woman is put into a sack and carried about a mile at sea, and thrown overboard, with a sufficient quantity of rocks, or a bomb, to sink her. For suspicion of being with one, the slave is castra|ted, and the woman bastinadoed.
A slave for murder of another slave is im|mediately beheaded. But for murder of a Mahometan he is cast off from the walls of the Page 33 city, upon iron hooks, which are fastened into the wall about half way down.—These catch by any part of the body that happens to strike them, and sometimes they hang in this man|ner in the most exquisite agonies for several days together before they expire. But should the part that catches, not be strong enough to hold them (for sometimes this is the case, and the flesh tears out) they fall to the bottom of the wall and are dashed to pieces upon sharp stones, placed there for this purpose.
If a slave endeavours to make his escape and is brought back, they are nailed to a gallows, by one hand and the opposite foot, and in this they expire in the most undescribable torture. But this method is not always practiced for de|sertion, for sometimes they are only bastina|doed, at other times they are beheaded. I never knew an instance of the former, during my captivity; though I have been an eye witness to the latter several times.
A slave for speaking disrespectfully of the Mahometan Religion, is imposed or burnt—For striking a Turk he is executed in the same manner.
On the 16th of April, 1794, as all hands were at work in the mountains, Joseph Keith, and Peter Barry, being very much fatigued, they went to a spring of water about fifty yards distant, from where the rest of the slaves were at work, and after having drank some water they felt faint, and sat down upon the grass. The Guardian Bachi, observing them, sent two Page 34 task-masters, and brought them to him, and ordered them one hundred bastinadoes each, which was inflicted without hesitation. This was for being about five minutes absent from their work, and this at a time when they ought to have been attended by a physician—Many instances of this kind I have witnessed. Particularly on the 14th of August, '94, when a slave received three hundred bastinadoes for no greater offence, than pulling six hairs cut of a horse's tail, which belonged to one of the great men of the Regency.
In the month of November, 1794, as the slaves, were returning from work, and passing through the gate Babazia, (where they are searched by the task-masters) one of them be|ing found with three board nails in his pocket, was carried before the Viguilhadge, who com|manded him to be punished with an hundred bastinadoes, his indictment run as follows:—"you unbelieving Christian dog, what occasion could you have for these nails, unless you in|tended to open some lock and steal."
In the month of Nov. 1795, one of the Oran slaves, * having grown desperate, was drinking wine one evening in the Bagnio, and making some noise: one of the Guards† beat him without mercy. The slave drew a knife and stabbed him to the heart, and he fell instantly Page 35 dead. The rest of the Guards commanded the slaves to endeavour to secure him, In at|tempting this, he killed one slave and wound|ed three more. He was then taken, secured while morning and then beheaded.
Another circumstance of this kind happened in March, 1796, one of these Oran slaves hav|ing been informed, that the money for the re|demption of the Spaniards, who deserted from that place, was lodged in the hands of a Spanish priest, resident at Algiers, and that he had neg|lected their liberation; the slave went to the priest, and asked if he had money for the re|demption of the Spaniards. Being answered in the negative, he drew a knife, and stabbed the priest in fourteen different places, and left him to all appearance dead. However, the priest recovered. The slave then went to the House of the Spanish consul, intending to kill him, and finding he was at his garden, he went to the Bagnio, where he killed a Christian slave, with whom he had had some dispute before.—He then threw down his knife and delivered himself up, and was beheaded the same even|ing.
In the month of July 1795, a Mahometan woman was found sitting among some bushes, at a small distance from where some slaves were at work, the person who found her, asked her several question concerning the business she had there, 〈…〉 satisfactory 〈…〉Cadi (who 〈…〉) and Page 36 this being deemed a breach of their religion, she being found sitting so near the christians, it was supposed she was waiting 'till some of them could find an opportunity of going to her.
As he was going with her he met a slave, who had been sent by one of the task-masters to bring a jug of water from an adjacent spring. The slave asked what crime the woman was guilty of, that he was dragging her along in such a manner, with her hands tied behind her. He was answered she had been sitting a|mong some bushes waiting for the embraces of some Christian. The slave having some hu|manity, knowing she would be punished for suspicion if she was carried before the Cadi, and being confident these wretches are in general easily bribed, he offered three sequins which was all the money he was master of, for her release. The villain not being as easily bribed as the slave supposed, answered, "you are the Christian dog whose embraces she has been seeking," and calling a Turk to his assistance, who was at a small distance from them, they dragged the two poor innocent victims before the Cadi, and they not being allowed to speak in their own defence, the cause was laid before the judge in words to this purpose, "we found these two persons out side the gate Babazoone, a|mong some bushes in actual embraces." The Cadi then ordered the man to be carried be|fore the Dey's palace, and there be beheaded, and the woman to be sewed up in a sack, with Page 37 a bomb shell at her feet, to be carried one mile at sea, and thrown overboard. A few minutes after this sentence was passed, and they were ordered to their respective places of execution, the Cadi was credibly informed that they had not been found together as it had been report|ed to him. He then ordered them both to be bastinadoed for suspicion. This message arriv|ed at the Dey's Palace just when the Novagi, (who is one of the Dey's corps of guard) was drawing his Scymitre to deprive an innocent Christian of life. The poor slave however, re|ceived five hundred bastinadoes, which disa|bled him in such a manner, that he was unable to speak for near forty eight hours, and was not capable of walking for upwards of two months afterwards.
While they were preparing to inflict his punishment, he was incessantly beseeching them, to execute the former sentence and ex|claiming, "Oh! that the Cadi had not been undeceived, that I might have died at one blow, and escaped these tortures." But alas, the messenger arrived too late for the poor woman, for she was cast into her watery grave a few minutes before the message arrived.
About four days afterwards, she was found upon the sea-shore, disengaged from the sack and bomb-shell, looking nearly as fresh as when she was alive.
She was then taken and interred, near the place where she washed on shore, and has a large marble monument built over her remains.
Page 38 They now pray at her monument as a saint; and say if she had not been innocent she could not have disengaged herself from the sack and bomb-shell. But the poor Christian, (though these bigoted superstitious beings were con|vinced of the innocence of both these unhappy sufferers) never received any redress. They would often deride him in this manner, "you was the occasion of an innocent woman's death."
I was an eye witness of these inhuman scenes of diabolical barbarity, which will never be ef|faced from my memory.
We meet with such events in the annals of Algiers, as almost makes us doubt the veracity of the most authentic history. Had I not been an eye witness, of these, and the like scenes of inhuman cruelty, I should scarcely have believ|ed that such tartareous barbarity, had ever been committed by the inhabitants of this globe, and by beings of the same species with our|selves.
While we are viewing the history of Barba|ry, and acquainting ourselves with the infernal tortures, these godless wretches inflict on their own species, whom chance has unluckily thrown into their power, "we are apt to think we are perusing the records of hell." *
A Turk for offences capital, is strangled in the following manner. The criminal is confi|ned, with his back against a wall, in which are two holes, directly opposite the back of his Page 39 neck, through these holes is reaved a rope, with the two ends on the opposite side, from where the criminal is, and the bite or double of the rope coming about the criminals neck. Then the two ends are knotted together, and the ex|ecutioner puts a stick in between the rope and wall. Then turning the stick round (as the sea phrase is) like a Spanish windlass, which twisting the two parts of the rope together brings it tight about the criminal's neck, and he is soon dispatched.
The executioner does not see the criminal while performing his office. This is accounted the most honorable death, for persons who are executed. And beheading the most ignomi|nious.
A Turk for offences not capital, is common|ly bastinadoed. A Moor or Arab, for enor|mous crimes, are sometimes cast upon the hooks; and at other times, hanged or behead|ed. For small crimes they are enslaved, (con|demned to share the fate of christian captives) for a certain term of time.
For theft, they sometimes have the right hand cut off, and hung about the neck—Then the criminal is set upon an ass, and led through the city; with his face toward the asses tail, and hath sometimes to wear his hand, hung by a string about his neck, as he passes through the city, for several years.
A Jew for different offences hath various punishments; similar to those of the Christi|an slaves, and with not less severity.
Page 40 Such is the gross indignation the Mahome|tans, bear toward the Jewish religion, that a Turk may with impunity, (if he flees to a Marabout Mosque, or pay a small penalty,) murder ten of them. If he kills the eleventh, he is then strangled, no Mosque or penalty will excuse him: Nothing will save his life, except he is pardoned by the Dey, whose word is ab|solute. A slave may with the same impunity, beat and abuse them, in the streets as he passes. While the poor Israelites are not allowed to lift their hand in their own defence, on penal|ty of having it cut off. All the consolation they will have, in such cases, from the Maho|metans, is encouragement for the slaves, to continue their abuse.
I have known fifty in one day, to receive five hundred bastinadoes each, for being found with a red sash about their waists. As they are not allowed to wear any colour except black.
A Renegado hath the same punishments as a Turk. If any Renegado, after embracing the Mahometan religion; deviates from its principles, the most ignominious death imme|diately follows.
I once knew an instance of this, during my captivity, which was in the month of February 1795, when a French merchant ship arrived at Algiers. One of the crew (through a mistaken zeal,) expressed an inclination of embracing the Mahometan religion. He was accordingly cir|cumcised, and made as they express it a true Page 41 believer. On his renouncing the Christian religion, for that of Mahomet, the principal men in the city, made him a present of 5,000 Algerine Sequins.* He had not continued a|bove 4 months, in this benighted superstition; before his conscience smote him, and he repent|ed of his folly, for having abandoned the true worship of Jesus Christ, and having embraced that of the imposter Mahomet.
Behold him now with a conscience stung with remorse; his sleepless nights are spent in meditating a possibility of his escape.
His livid countenance, haggard form, and gloomy aspect, denote some weighty remorse is preying upon his mind.
About the first of July 1795, two English frigates anchored in the bay. The same night he abandoned his riches, stripped himself na|ked and endeavored to swim to one of them, but was perceived by the centinals on board a guard boat, which was placed between the fri|gates, and the shore, to prevent any slave mak|ing his escape. They rowed after him and brought him back. They kept him confined on board the boat while morning, then carri|ed him before the Dey, who ordered him to be beheaded immediately.
Thus ended the existence of a wretch who was born a Christian, and had exchanged the true religion for Mahometanism.
Page 42 In the month of May '94, as all hands were at work, dragging those large rocks before re|lated to the quay, one of the slaves a Neapolitan happened to fall down, being near the sled, before it could be stopped, he was entirely crushed to pieces.
The task-masters apparently rejoiced at the accident, and with smiling countenances, or|dered two slaves to gather the remains of his body in a basket, and bury them at the Christ|ian burial ground, ordering the rest to go on with the rock, not giving them time to enquire what accident had happened. But telling them a christian dog was gone to his own country. And many of them did not know what had happened for sometime afterwards.
Another singular accident happened, about four months afterwards. As we were hauling rocks in the same manner, a Corsican slave ac|cidentally fell down, and the sled went over his legs and knees, taking them both off, just above the joint of the knees, his legs and feet being crushed in such a manner, that it was impossible to distinguish one part from anoth|er. His father and six brothers who were al|so slaves, were witnesses of this dreadful acci|dent. The father, his seven sons, and five grand sons, having been captured altogether on board one vessel, about fifteen days before this accident happened.
As the unfortunate Christian did not expire immediately, he was sent to the hospital, where he remained two days in the most exquisite Page 43 agony. The king of terrors then put a period to his existence.
When any such accident happens among the slaves, it is immediately reported to the Dey. On hearing this, his obdurate heart was a little softened, and he gave permission that the father might attend his son, in the hospi|tal, while he lived.
This melancholy event, deprived a father of his son, six unhappy men of a brother, three children of a father, and a woman of her hus|band. In addition to the horrors of slavery, these miserable relatives were left to bemoan the untimely death of the unfortunate suffe|rer.
On the 16th of November, '94, about forty slaves were employed in carrying some pieces of old timber from an ancient building (which had formerly been a shelter for their gun boats on shore, time had now reduced it to ruins) to where was building a powder magazine.—
Among these ruins were many venomous insects; and a slave having a piece of timber upon his moulder, was stung by a Tarantula, * on his left cheek: this being about three o'clock in the afternoon, he was obliged to work 'till night. His head having by this time swelled to a very large size. After work, he was sent to the hospital, where he expired the next day, in the greatest agony. When he died, his head measured four feet and one inch in circum|ference.
Page 44 Another Captive shared a similar fate, a few weeks afterwards.
Having recited in this Chapter, the punish|ments which are most commonly practiced on offenders of all denominations, and some acci|dents. I shall endeavour in the next to give a short description of the City and country of Algiers.
CHAPTER III. A short description of the Territory of Algiers—of the City—their manners, customs & Religion,—man|ners and customs of the country people—description of Oran—Commerce—Articles of Commerce—Mode of the Dey's Collecting his Tribute of the Country people—Dress of the Country People—Ceremony of Marriage—singular method of do. in keeping their clothes dry, &c, &c.
ALGIERS is a Country which derives its name from its Metropolis, and ex|tends four hundred and eighty miles in length from east to west, along the northern coast of Africa, (this part of Africa is called Barbary.) Its greatest breadth from North to South, is three hundred and twenty miles.
At the distance of about one hundred miles from the sea coast, it becomes a barren desert, Page 45 almost entirely uninhabited by either man or beast.
Algiers is situated between 32 and 37 degrees of north latitude, corresponding to that of the United States, from Virginia to Carolina, inclu|sive. It is bounded on the north, by the Me|diterranean sea; on the South, by Mount At|las; on the east, by the country of Tunis; and on the West, by Morocco: It is separated from that empire by the river Mulvia.
The principal rivers, which water the terri|tory of Algiers, rise in Mount-Atlas, running by a northerly direction into the Mediterranean sea; they are seven in number. None of them has a long course, or even is navigable; or at least none of them are made use of in naviga|tion. It is however supposed that some of them might be made use of, for this purpose, were the inhabitants of a more intelligent and industrious character: for some of them are of a tolerable depth, and would admit large flat-bottomed boats to pass with the greatest ease, for the purpose of conveying their produce to the sea shore.
Such is the gross ignorance of the natives of this country, in whatever concerns domestic improvements, that there is not a single bridge over any of their rivers. Although nature has formed them in such a commodious situa|tion, that bridges might easily be constructed in many different places. Ferry-boats are en|tirely unknown among them. When they Page 46 are to be crossed, the traveller hath oftentimes to wander several miles in search of a ford.
If a heavy rain happens to fall, he is some|times forced to wait several days, before the river has returned to its natural depth.
This country consists of eighteen provinces, which are commanded by Beys, who are subor|dinate to the Dey. The Beys of the provinces of Mascara, Titeli, and Constanina, are obliged to send and carry their tribute to Algiers once every six months: They are obliged to appear before the Dey with the tribute annually themselves. Six months after their departure from the Dey, they send the tribute by a Galief, he is a Secretary to the Bey or Governor.
The Bey's of other provinces bring their tribute once every two years. They being at such a distance from the city, is the occasion of its not being demanded oftener.
The climate in this country is remarkably delightful. The air is pure and serene. The soil is covered with almost a perpetual verdure. Extreme heat is not common. In winter it is seldom cold enough to freeze. I have been informed, that it has been known to freeze here, at the depth of two or three inches.
I once saw a little frost, during my residence there, but not any ice or snow.
This description applies to the lands on the sea-coast; for as you advance into the country the land becomes more barren. Indeed a con|siderable part of the back country is a savage desert, abounding with Lions, Tigers, Leo|pard's, Page 47 Jackall's, Buffaloe's wild Boar's Porcu|pine's, &c. And it must be acknowledged, that these animals are not the least amiable in|habitants of this country.
There are few towns at present in these states of any consequence, though when successively under the dominion of Carthage, and Rome, they abounded with many populous cities, and to have a residence here was considered as the highest state of luxury.
The produce of their soil formed the ma|gazines which formerly supplied all Italy and a great part of the Roman Empire, with corn, wine and oil. Though the lands are ill culti|vated through the oppression and barbarity of the government, yet they are still fertile: dates, figs, raisins, almonds, apples, pears, cherries, plumbs, citrons, lemons, oranges, pomegranets, with plenty of herbs and roots.
Excellent hemp and flax grow on the plains. In short, the country abounds with all that can add to the pleasure of life.
Algiers produces salt petre; lead and iron have been found here. Neither the Elephant nor Rhinoceros are found in Barbary—but their deserts abound with Lions, Tygers, Leo|pards, Hyaenas and monstrous serpents. Their horses were formerly very valuable, and tho't equal to the Arabian; but they are now de|cayed; yet some very fine 〈◊〉 are imported into England. Dromedaries, 〈◊〉, mules, and Rumrahs, a most serviceable creature, begot by an ass upon a cow, are their 〈◊〉 of burden; Page 48 but from the services of the Camel, they de|rive the greatest advantages. This useful quad|ruped enables the African to perform his long and toilsome journies across that continent.—The Camel is therefore, emphatically called, the Ship of the Desert. He seems to have been created for this very trade, endued with parts and qualities adapted to the office he is em|ployed to discharge.
The driest thistle, and the barest thorn, fur|nish food for this useful animal; and even these, to save time, he eats, while advancing on his journey, without stopping, or occasion|ing a moments delay. As he has to cross immense deserts, where no water is found, and countries not moistened by the dew of heav|en—he is endowed with the power at one watering place, to lay in a store with which he supplies himself for thirty days. To con|tain this enormous quantity of fluid, nature has formed large cisterns within him, from which once filled, he draws at pleasure, the quantity he wants, and pours into his stomach with the same effect as if he then drew from a spring; and with this he travels, patiently and vigorously, all day long, carrying a prodigious load, through countries infected with poison winds, and glowing with parching, and never cooling sands.
Their cows are but small, and barren of milk. Their sheep yield indifferent fleeces, but are very large, as are their goats.
Page 49 Bears, porcupines, foxes, apes, hares, rabbits, ferrits, weasels, moles, cameleons, and all kinds of reptiles are found here.
The Cameleon possesses the qualities of chang|ing its colour, and exists on air.
I have kept one in an earthen jug, six months. Their age seldom exceeds eighteen months.—Their form somewhat resembles a lizard.
Partridges and quails, eagles, hawks, and all kinds of wild fowl, are found on the coast, and the smaller birds, the Capsa Sparrow, is remarkable for its beauty, and the sweetness of its note, which is thought to exceed that of any other bird: but it cannot live out of its own climate. The seas abound with the most delicious fish of every kind.
The city of Algiers lies in lat, 36, 50, North and in long. 2 47, East, over against the Island of Minorca, three hundred and eighty miles westward of Tunis. It stands on a bay of the Mediterranean sea. It is built upon the side of a very high hill, with so great an ascent, that the houses rising gradually one above another from the sea shore, it forms an amphitheatre, The city appears beautiful at a distance when approaching from the sea. A person on first sight of it at a distance would suppose it to be a snow bank. This is occasioned by the hou|ses being white-washed on the out side. The city is of a quadrangular form, and is near three miles in circumference, encompassed with two walls about twenty five feet distant from each other, and in some places an hundred feet Page 50 in heighth. The outward wall is defended by upwards of three hundred brass cannon, and out side that is a deep entrenchment forty feet wide, over which are built bridges at the gates of the city. In the intermediate space between the walls, are magazines for public stores. The mole of the harbour is about five hundred paces in length, extending from the continent to a ledge of rocks, where there are three castles, with large batteries of brass guns. These castles are known by the names of Fen|ella, Cordalaras, and Sardenia. On the form|er is a very excellent light house, from which the castle derives its name Fenelle, signifying (in Arabec,) a light.
This mole was begun and finished in the reign of Hayradin. He commenced its foun|dation in the year 1536, at this time, it is re|ported, he had thirty thousand Christian slaves in his possession. These he obliged to work without intermission for three years, in which the work was finished; and he had now a con|venient harbour for the safety of his ships, ca|pable of containing between thirty and forty large vessels; he also built several strong forts, and erected a number of batteries, on many places that might favour the landing of an e|nemy. Several of the latter were destroyed in the expedition of Charles 5th in the year 1541. All the remaining ones have received great im|provements, since, and some new batteries e|rected as occasion required. He also built the castle 〈◊〉.
Page 51 The city is computed to contain one hun|dred and twenty thousand inhabitants. The fortifications are extensive and strong. There are said to be fifteen thousand houses, which are all built entirely with stone and lime, and are all flat roofed, they are commonly built round an oblong square, with a paved court in the centre. Around this court is a triple range of Galleries, one above another which are supported by pillars. The principal build|ings are the Dey's palace, a hospital for Chris|tian slaves, and several large mosques. The former stands near the centre of the city, is very large but not magnificent.
The hospital for Christian slaves, stands in the principal street of the town. Is somewhat commodious, and tolerably well attended.—This hospital was erected as a deed of charity by the king of Spain, for the benefit of Chris|tian slaves, in the year—, and is still main|tained by the Spanish government.
When a slave is found so sick that he is in|capable of doing any kind of work, they then permit him to go into this hospital, where he is suffered to remain until they suppose he is able to work again; while he remains here he is very well used by the Doctors and Priests.—They generally allow three or four of the for|mer, and eight or ten of the latter to attend it.
The Doctors prescribe the medicine, which is to be given to the patient, and the priest's prepare, and administers it.
Page 52 While a slave is sick in this place, he is no manner of expence to the Regency, he being maintained with victuals, drink, medicine, and attendance by the Spaniards. It is the duty of a particular taskmaster, to visit the hospital e|very morning, in order to take a view of the slaves, and to pass his opinion upon them, or any particular one of them, concerning their, or his, ableness to perform the duty assigned the slaves in general, and if he finds any one whom he thinks (by his countenance, or any other circumstance,) able to perform any kind of work, the forlorn son of wretchedness, is driven out from the hospital, to perform his task, among the rest of his fellow sufferers, and the Doctors are not even asked whether they think he is able or not. And often times they are driven out in this-manner, to work, and are obliged to return to the hospital again, within a short time after their departure and often expire in a few hours after their return. Cruelties of this nature are very common in this horrible place, and the untimely death of a Christian, is nothing more thought of, by the inhabitants, than the death of one of their do|mestic animals.
A particular instance of this nature happen|ed on the 30th January, 1796. The unhappy sufferer being an American, I have thought it worthy remark.
When Scipio Jackson, (a blackman belong|ing to New-York,) had been for some time ve|ry low with the cholic, so that his life had been Page 53 despaired of for several days by the Doctors; he was now recovering, to all appearance, ve|ry fast; and was so far recovered as to be able to walk the room but the day before his un|timely death. He had just risen from his bed, on the said morning, when the taskmaster, who was known by the name of Salamoone, en|tered the hospital, who on perceiving him walk, pronounced him able to work, and or|dered him to the marine, to perform his daily labour. He told the taskmaster, he was not a|ble to walk to the marine, and much less capa|ble of performing his destined labour if he was there; at which the merciless villain, gave him several severe strokes with his stick saying "if you are not able, I will make you able," and with that drove him to the marine. The Doctors used their utmost endeavours to dis|suade him from it; and begged that he might be allowed to remain a few days longer; all their persuasions, and reasoning were to no purpose, the wretch would not hearken to any thing they said, but drove the poor man before him, to work. He accordingly with great difficulty arrived at the marine, where he did his work in the best manner his feeble condi|tion would allow, for about half an hour, and being exhausted he fell down upon the ground insensible. Upon this he was again sent to the hospital, where he expired at two o'clock in the afternoon, and was in his grave before sun|set.
Page 54 This alone is sufficient to ascertain the depth of the wretchedness of Christians, whom fortune has unhappily thrown into the hands of those detestable piratical barbarians. In former days, the Christian captives when dead, were not allowed to be interred, but were car|ried out about half a Mile to the eastward of the city, and precipitated down the banks into the sea. This manner of disposing of the dead bodies of Christians, was practised by the Al|gerines untill about the beginning of the seven|teenth century. At this time, a Roman Ca|tholic priest, who was making a tour through Barbary, happened to be in Algiers, and the Plague raging very severe in the city, of course a great number of slaves died, and were cast into the sea, this dreadful spectacle, moved the heart of the humane Priest who possessing an independant fortune, purchased at an exorbi|tant price,* about one acre of land for a burial place for christians.
The day he paid the money for this piece of ground, the plague broke out in his groin, which put a period to his existence in seven|teen hours, consequently he was the first who was interred on this piece of land, and perhaps the first Christian that had been buried in the territory of Algiers since it was inhabited by Mahometans, as they formerly cast all of this denomination into the sea, who paid the last debt of nature near the sea-shore. Those who died in the country, were suffered to remain above ground.
Page 55 The author flatters himself that a description of this piece of land will not be unaccepta|ble to his readers, he therefore presents a short and authentic account of it to their perusal.—It lies about half a mile westward of the city, where is a piece of low land or meadow, this is dyked in with a mound to prevent the sea from washing in, and destroying the produce of the land. The burial ground is between this mound and the sea, consequently, in a hea|vy gale of wind, the violence of the waves washes the dead bodies out of their graves, in|to the ocean, as the place is nothing more than a sandy beach, and the corps are seldom buried more than one foot under the sand.
According to the records of the nation, up|wards of 98,000 Christians have already been buried here, and scarcely any marks of a burial ground is to be discovered, more than the great quantities of human bones which are to be seen laying upon the beach. They keep four slaves whom age has rendered incapable of any other employment, to bury their deceas|ed companions, as it is contrary to the religion of Mahomet, for one of that denomination, to touch the dead body of a christian.
With respect to the burial of their own dead, the Mahometans discover a degree of delicacy of which Christians have no conception. No|thing is more common, in our Church yards, and surely nothing is more completely shock|ing, than to see graves broken up, a second time before the person has returned to its original Page 56 dust; and the remains of the dead are tossed about with very little ceremony. This wretch|ed violation of decency arises from the orthor|dox desire of being buried in holy ground; a practice which has no doubt been encouraged by the parties concerned, for the purpose of ex|acting high prices for the land.
Nothing would appear more ridiculous, a|mong the professors of the Mahometan Religi|on, than to see their graves opened, at any dis|tance of time, or upon any pretence whatever. They would regard this as an act of the most barbarous sacrilege. Hence the burial ground of Algiers, or any large city of this profession, are very extensive, it is reported that some of the burial places, in the neighborhood of large cities, are nine, or ten miles in extent.
By this we may see that some useful lesson is to be learned, from almost every nation in the world.
The Mosques are fine buildings, tho' they make no great appearance at a distance. They are 65 in number, ten of which are very large, which are called, Marabout Masques, by reason of ha|ving a Marabout or hermit buried in them.—These they account holy places, and an asylum for all kinds of vices.
A Turk having committed any crime what|ever, is pardoned if he can get into one of them before he is taken into custody. Their religion teaches them to pardon a Mahometan, if he flees to those Marabout or Saints, who Page 57 are buried in those mosques, for protection, let his offence be ever so capital.
Christian slaves are also pardoned, having committed small offences, if they can get into one of them before he is taken, he will have an additional chain upon his leg and a block at its end.
A Jew having been apprehended inside the door of one of them, would be immediately burned or crucified. So the poor Israelites have no protection for their crimes, and must sub|mit to the absolute word of a despotic prince.
When a Mahometan, who has committed a crime, has taken the Marabout, it is imme|diately reported to the Muftie, and he reports it to the Dey, who sends a string of beads by the Muftie to the keeper of the Mosque, and the criminal then comes out. Though he might come out before if he pleases, but should he leave the Mosque, before the Muftie comes with the beads, he would be liable to the same punishment he was before he had taken the Marabout. The presence of the Muftie and the beads denote his pardon. The Muftie then returns with the beads, to the Dey, and they are laid up until some other similar occasion. At the gates of the Dey's palace, there is a chain which is fastened at the top of the gates and at night the lower end is fastened down with a pad lock. Any slave who has commit|ted an offence, and can get hold of this chain before he is taken, it serves the same purpose as the Marabout Mosque. If a slave has been Page 58 cheated by any Turk, Cologie, Moor, Arab, Renegado, or Jew, and he takes hold of this chain, and says he wants justice, one of the principal officers of the Dey's corps of guards goes to him and asks the particulars of his be|ing wronged, and who the person is that has wronged him, and justice is immediately done him. But should he give a wrong account, and it be proved that he has not told the truth, he is immediately bastinadoed. If it is a Jew who is complained of, and he is found guilty, he must make the slave reparation and is bas|tinadoed.
This city contains a great number of hot bathes, which are large, and handsomely paved with marble; people of every denomination whatever are allowed to go into them and bathe, on paying double the sum which is paid by a Turk. If a stranger happens to go in, they generally extort eight or ten fold.
The men spend a great part of their time in bathing, smoking, and drinking coffee.
Their religion obliges them to bathe four times a day, but many of them do it much of|tener, for their own pleasure. There are also several bathes for the use of women, who are not allowed to bathe only in the afternoon.—Those among them who are able have these conveniences in their own houses, that their women may not go out.
Few white women walk the streets, except prostitutes, and those far advanced in years, and when these do they are obliged to be veiled. Page 59 The principal street extends from the east gate of the city, to the west, is somewhat wide and magnificent. The rest are all very narrow in|commodious and dirty, which renders it very difficult for passengers.
There are several tolerable edifices without the walls of the city, which add to the beauty of the environs.
Among these are a variety of Turkish se|pulchres, and monuments. Six of these mon|uments stand in a circular figure; they were erected to the memory of six Deys, who were in the course of one day, successively elected and murdered.
Algiers had formerly no other water than rain. A Moor, who had been driven out of Spain, constructed two aqueducts; by which it was soon supplied with abundance of excel|lent water from the adjacent mountains. They have since constructed several others on the same plan as the two former. The country round this city is exceeding fertile; gardens, groves, and country seats are very numerous.
The Algerines are unacquainted with the art of pruning, and grafting trees..
At Meireija, which is about twelve miles from this city, are three hot bathes, which are natural curiosities. The principal one is 12 feet square and three feet eight inches deep. The water is quite hot, and when it has filled the largest bason, it runs through in|to a smaller one, where the sews bathe, as they are not permitted to use the same bath with Page 60 the Mahometans. These hot fountains are conjectured to proceed from the great quanti|ties of sulphre, nitre, and other inflamable substances in the bowels of the earth.
The people of the city of Algiers, in general speak a compound of Arabec, Moresco, and the remains of the ancient Phenecian langua|ges: but in the country they speak the proper Arabec tongue. The inhabitants of all denom|inations in the city for the most part, under|stand the Lingua Franca. This is a kind of a dialect, which without being the proper lan|guage of any country whatever, has a kind of universal currency all over the Mediterrane|an, as the channel of information for people who cannot understand each other through a|ny medium but this,
The public business of the nation, and the records are transacted in the Turkish tongue. The men by their laws and religion, are allow|ed to have four wives (if they are able to pur|chase them) but they generally content them|selves with two or three.
The husband never sees his wise before marriage, but accepts her upon the description of her father. If she has no father, the nearest male relative performs this office. By this we may suppose he has generally a very partial account.
When the match is agreed upon, and the man has paid the father for the daughter (for in this country every man is obliged to buy his wife from her parents,) the bridegroom Page 61 sends a present of fruit and sweet meats, and entertains her relations with a feast, and musi|cal entertainments.
Eight days previous to the marriage, the bride is dressed in her richest apparel, and at|tended by four women; no one being allowed to speak to her except her parents, and her four female attendants. At the expiration of which time, the bridegroom is (for the first time) conducted into the presence of his wife, by the four women above mentioned, who are all veiled.
These women after having seen a certificate from her parents, or nearest surviving relative, lead the man by his hands, to where the bride is sitting; when he is before her, she rises from her seat, and kisses his hands and feet.—This is a token of obedience & honor to her hus|band. He then retires to his own house; and the bride is set on horseback and led to his dwelling. They are then pronounced husband and wife, by the four women, of whom I have been speaking. After she is safe delivered to her husband, the females, who were invited to the nuptial feast, assemble themselves, and walk through the streets, & at the several cor|ners they pronounce the bands, to the public, by shouting out all together, as loud as they can, and with such strong shrill voices that they my be heard two miles.
In the city of Algiers, the men wear large turbans, having their heads closely shaved, and Page 62 for the most part wear their beard—some only wear their whiskers.
Their longest jackets, which have sleeves, they wear next their shirt, and then a vest o|ver that, always taking care to have the short|est garment outside. Their shirts are made with neither collar nor wristbands, their bree|ches something like a woman's petticoat reach|ing down to their knees. Stockings are en|tirely unknown among them; they always go with their legs bare. Their shoes have square toes with no heels.
People of any denomination whatever, (ex|cept the Jews) are allowed to dress in this ha|bit. No person is allowed to dress in green; this colour they hold sacred it being a favorite colour of Mahomet. A sherief, who they say is descended from Mahomet, is known by a green turban. The Jews are obliged to dress entirely in black, and wear shoes without any quarters.
People of condition, sometimes wear bus|kins. They never move their turban, but pull off their slippers, when they attend religious duties, or the person of their sovereign.
They are very fond of striped or fancied silk. The chief furniture of their houses consists of Carpets and matrasses, on which they sit and lie. They are prohibited Gold and Silver ves|sels. Several families generally live in one house; I have known thirty Jew families to live under one roof.
Page 63 The women dress, with a sort of cap upon their heads, of either Gold, Silver, Brass, Pew|ter, or Tin, according as their fortune will af|ford; and wear short jackets, and long trows|ers. After they are married, they are obliged to have white trowsers, but before they wear a sort of calico; they are obliged to wear a veil when they go out of their houses, though ve|ry few are allowed to go out at all.
They mark their forehead, chin, and nose, with india ink, and stripe the backs of their hands, and fingers with black, and colour their finger nails red.
The present inhabitants of the territory of Algiers are composed of many different nati|ons. The Turks, are the first people among them, and have all the government and pow|er in their own hands, and no man can hold a|ny post of great distinction among them ex|cept he is a real Turk.
The Cologlies, are next the Turks in power. These are persons born of a Moorish mother, the Father being a Turk. The Arabs, who trace their descent from the disciples of Ma|homet, who formerly subdued Algiers.—Moors or Morescoes, who were driven out of Spain about the end of the sixteenth century. Renegadoes, Levantines, Jews, and Christian slaves, with a crowd formed of the posterity of all these different people, make the rest of the population.
The Cologlies, Moors, and Arabs, are the most numerous inhabitants of the city and Page 64 towns. They compose the great body of the inhabitants. The latter of these are thieves & murderers by profession. Travellers who are led to their country, through motives of curi|osity or devotion, are struck with terror on approaching the Deserts.
These robbers traverse the country in consi|derable troops, on horse back: They assault & plunder the Caravans.
So late as the year 1750, a body of 50,000 Arabians attacked a caravan of Merchants, coming from Mecca, killed 60,000 persons, & plundered it of every thing valuable, tho' es|corted by a Turkish army.
But it may reasonably be supposed, that a|mid such a variety of different races, immense numbers cannot be said to belong to any parti|cular tribe or nation whatever.
As to the nature of the inhabitants, they are mostly of a lazy idle disposition, and cursed with all the vices of mankind; mistrustful to the last degree, false, jealous, and the very pic|ture of ignorance! They stile themselves, Musselmon, or true believers; yet there is no confidence to be put in their word, upon any occasion whatever, except when they promise to do you an injury, in which promise they seldom fail, and on which you may safely rely. They are often famed by Spanish historians for men of gallantry, but I could never think they are inclined that way, but believe them nearly to equal the Spaniards in cowardice. They are but indifferent soldiers, the greatest part of Page 65 their skill consists in the management of a horse, and it must be confessed, they manage these animals with a great deal of dexterity. They abominate the very name of and culti|vate the most inveterate hatred against Chris|tians, and are continually like ravenous wolves seeking means to destroy them.
Mahomet has taught them in his alcoran, (or koran, for the two names appear to be sy|nonymous) that all of his faith who are slain fighting against the Christians, immediately enter into Paradise in triumph: he even tells them their horses, if they die in battle, are translated into heaven; for they hope to have the pleasure of riding there as well as on earth.
They believe the women have no souls, and are only formed for propagation; they are therefore not allowed to enter their mosques, because they esteem them incapable of being received into heaven: Yet the women say their prayers secretly at home.
The men have usually a string of beads in their hands, like the Roman Catholics; and for every bead they have a short prayer, which, as they repeat, they let drop through their fin|gers. Their prayers consist only in the diffe|rent attributes of God, as, "God is good,—God is great—God is infinite—God is merci|ful, &c."—The commanders of those wretch|es only differ from their subjects, in a larger propensity of their ill qualities, with the addi|tion of a degree of cruelty and avarice.
Page 66 All foreigners are allowed the free use of their religion; but the established religion in Barbary is Mahometanism. Many of the sub|jects of Morocco follow the tenets of the Ha|med, a modern sectary, and an enemy to the ancient doctrines of the Califs. All of them have much respect for Idiots—whose protection in some cases, screens offenders from punish|ment, for notorious crimes.
In the main, however, the Moors of Barbary, as the inhabitants of these states are now pro|miscuously called, (because the Saracens first entered Europe from Mauritania, the country of the Moors) have adopted the very worst parts of the Mahometan Religion, and seem to have retained as much of it as countenances all their vices. The men commit the most unna|tural crimes with impunity.
Every one is amazed to find these people so submissive and patient under so excessive and cruel a tyranny: But they should understand, (bating their want of power) that they are taught to believe, if they fall by the hand of their king, whom they call Xerif, or Sherief, (which signifies Mahomet's successor) they im|mediately go up to heaven; and those who would not willingly be sent to Heaven before their time, must be very particular how they conduct themselves.
But still we may derive some useful lessons from these Barbarians. The Algerines and o|ther Mahometans would regard it as the vilest act of prodigality, to see the least morsel of Page 67 food wasted; they would expect to be visited with famine, should they suffer such wasteful|ness, as is practised in many families in this country. Soon after my arrival at Algiers, as I was returning from my labor at night, and passing by a shop, a Turk, who was sitting up|on the shop window ordered me to stop, and pointing to the ground, told me to take up a small crumb of bread, which lay upon the pavement, accordingly I took it up and ate it; which the Turk perceiving, he gave me a cake weighing nearly half a pound, and told me, if I had not ate the small crumb, he should not have given me the loaf. This was the greatest deed of charity, I ever knew from a Mahome|tan, during my residence in this wretched place.
Algiers retains the title of a kingdom; it is however a military republic, though it cer|tainly can reflect no lustre on that species of government, The national ordinances run in these words: "We, the great, and small members of the mighty and invincible militia of Algiers." The Dey is elected by the soldiery. He seldom se|cures his office without tumult & blood-shed; and he often falls by the dagger of an assassin. This sovereign, may, with peculiar propriety, adopt the expression of one of the heroes of Ossian:
Page 68 The manner in which his authority is ex|ercised, corresponds with that by which it was obtained. The Dey has a corps of guards; a very necessary, though perhaps a fruitless precaution; as any private soldier who has the courage to assassinate him, stands an equal chance of becoming his successor. An experi|ment of this description has been made, since the beginning of the present century, when six private soldiers entered into a conspiracy to murder the Dey of one of the Barbary states. They entered his palace, and gave him a mor|tal wound, by thrusting a scymetre into his side, in the midst of a croud of people. He fell down and expired, exclaiming; "Has no|body the courage to kill a villain?" One of the conspirators, instantly ascended the vacant throne, and brandishing his naked scymitre, declared that he would do justice to all! while his five associates, were endeavouring to en|force the title of their new sovereign, and none present seemed to give themselves any concern about what had happened. He had not remained above ten minutes in this situa|tion, when an old soldier unobserved took aim with a musket or blunderbuss, and shot him dead. Upon this, the five others were imme|diately dispatched by the people present. Such scenes as these do not unfrequently occur in tyrannic countries; and ought to teach both rulers and ruled in this happy country justly to appreciate the blessings of liberty and good government. The very spot now inhabited Page 69 by these merciless Barbarians, whose very breath seems to dry up every thing noble, great or good, was once the seat of Liberty and scientific improvements. But cities, towns, all, all are gone, & hardly left a wreck behind to point the traveller where they stood.
The Day is an absolute monarch: the next: man to him in dignity and power, is the Haz|nagi. The Aga is next to the Haznagi, and the Hodge de Cabellos, is next to him—The next is the Petti Mell—The Aga de Bastione, is the fifth man in office. This is the high Sheriff, he enjoys his post but two moons, and then retires with a pension. The other officers of importance are, a Secretary of State, twen|ty four Chiah Bassas, or Colonels subordinate to the Aga, about two hundred senior Raises, or Captains, and about four hundred Zuta Raises, or Lieutenants.
Page 70 The Muftie, the Cadi, and the grand Mara|bout, are known by the largeness of their tur|bans. The former is the high Priest. The second is the Supreme Judge in ecclesiastical causes. The latter is the chief of an order of Saints or Hermits. These hermits, are peo|ple, who wander from one part of the coun|try to another, and live upon alms, after the manner of the wandering Jews, (or shoe mak|er,) of Jerusalem. They were formerly looked upon with disdain and treated with derision. But since the prophesy of Yusef (who was one of these Hermits) concerning the destruction of the Spaniards (which was the expedition of Charles the 5th, in the year 1541,) they have been accounted Saints. Such is the gross ig|norance and superstition of these people, that when one of these Hermits happens to pass by any person who is halt, or blind, they will en|deavour to touch his garment with their fin|gers; then rub their fingers upon the part af|fected, thinking the Hermit has power to make them whole.
The inhabitants of Algiers live very meanly and abstemious, although their country plen|tifully produces the conveniences and luxuries of life, and all kinds of provisions are very cheap. I have purchased a quarter of Beef here weighing 70 lb. for three Arbia booche's; but the common price is about five. A do|zen of eggs are commonly sold for a mazoone & a half, and all other provisions are as cheap in proportion. But to give the reader a more Page 71 explicit idea of the value of these coins, I have presented them with the following table, of all the coins current in Algiers.
|A Sultani, or Sequin,||1||80|
They have but one copper coin, this they call drahame segaria, 1160 of which make a dol|lar.
The chief of their diet is bread, oil, olives, vinegar and Sallad. They very seldom eat a|ny meat. When they do, one pound is suffi|cient for six or eight people, and this they think extravagant. They profess not to drink any spirituous liquors, and if any one is seen intoxicated, he is no more accounted a true Ma|hometan. Many of them will however drink to excess, when they are out of sight of any others of their religion. Many instances of this kind I have seen; particularly one Mustafa, an Alge|rine, would often go into the Bagnio, and pur|chase wine from the slaves, at double price, Page 72 which they had bought for their own use, and sit down and drink among them. One even|ing as I went in after returning from my labor, I saw Mustafa drinking wine, and eating pork sausages. I asked him if he knew what he was eating, he answered in great rage, uz coot sanza|fida unta main schelim, una main arfshi, which in English is, "Hold your tongue you unbeliev|er, if you do not tell me, I shall not know."
They bury their dead in the following man|ner. The corps is washed in water, then sew|ed up in a winding sheet, put upon a bear, and carried to the grave, where they are buri|ed in a sitting posture. No females are allow|ed to follow any corps whatever. Any Maho|metan who dies with the plague, is carried to the grave as fast as the bearers can run. All the followers sing while they are going. They imagine all Mahometans who die with this disorder are called by the Supreme Being, and are happy to all eternity. But people of any other religion, who die with it, they suppose are damned. At each end of the grave they place a small earthen pot, containing about half a pint, which the keep filled with water, presuming that their friends, if not happy, will be relieved or comforted with their drink.—They also plant pease and beans on the graves of their friends, and lay fragrant bushes on them, for the comfort and support of their de|parted relatives. The old women also every friday morning repair to the mansions of the dead, to carry such provisions as bread, beans, Page 73 peas, and plumbs. These they expect their friends if unhappy, will receive; if they are happy, they are willing the cats should partake the repast. These animals croud the grave yards in hundreds.
The present Dey of Algiers, is between sixty and seventy years of age—is a thick well built man, with his white beard covering his breast. He is of a light complexion. Does not appear to be much decayed by the weight of years, which have rolled over his head. He is of a very malicious disposition; and, often (when he is in a rage) commands deeds of inhumani|ty to be committed, of which it is said he re|pents afterwards.
His family consists of himself, wife, and one daughter. His wife and daughter have a se|parate palace, at a little distance from that of the Deys; and have a great number of female Christian slaves to serve them. The Dey vi|sits them every Thursday evening, abides with his wife the night, and returns to his own pa|lace on Friday morning.
The Dey, has also a number of male Christi|an captives, to wait upon him. One cooks his victuals, another sets his table, waits upon him while eating—makes his bed—and sees that all things in his apartment are kept clean. The others do any kind of work that is neces|sary. He keeps no Seraglio, as is generally re|ported; he has but one wife, and sleeps with her, but once a week.
Page 74 When the Dey eats, he has a table about 4 inches high, on which is set several different dishes, with neither plates, knives or forks, they eat only with spoons, their victuals being cut small before it is set upon the table; and they can touch their victuals only with their right hand. They sit always on the floor, (which has a mat or carpet upon it) as chairs are entirely unknown among them. The common people only differ from the Dey, by having no table whatever; their dishes being set upon the floor.
The Turks are a well built robust people, their complexion not unlike Americans, tho' somewhat larger in statue, but their dress, and long beards, make them appear more like mon|sters than human beings. The Cologlies are somewhat less in stature than the Turks, and are of a more tawney complexion. The Moors or Morescoes, are generally a tall thin, spare set of people, not much inclining to fat, and of a very dark complexion, much like the Indians in north America. The Arabs, or Arabians, are of a much darker complexion than the Moors, being darker than the Mulat|toes. They are much less in stature than the Moors, being the smallest people I ever saw; very few arrive at the height of five feet, and are generally near of a size. These people com|pose the greater part of the Pisaras, or porters in the city. As they are not allowed to trade in any mercantile line, nor even to learn any mechanic art, they are obliged to be drudges Page 75 to their superiors, to gain the hard earned morsel on which they subsist.
The Algerines maintain about six thousand five hundred foot, consisting of Turks, Colo|glies, or the sons of Soldiers: About one thou|sand of them do garrison duty, and part of them are employed in fomenting differences a|mong the neighboring Arab princes. Besides these, the Dey can bring two thousand Moor|ish horse, into the field. Those troops are un|der excellent discipline.
Of their learning, or learned men, little can be said.
The Turks profess the greatest contempt for Learning. Greece which was the native coun|try of genius, arts and sciences, produces at present, beside Turks, numerous bands of Christian Bishops, priests and Monks, who, in general, are as ignorant as the Turks them|selves. The education of a Turk seldom ex|tends further than to the reading the Turkish language, and the Koran, and writing a com|mon letter. Some of them understand astro|nomy, so far as to calculate the time of an e|clipse; but these are comparatively few, and regarded as extraordinary persons. Of litera|ture in modern Turkey, a curious specimen was printed in the year 1769, at Vienna. The Book, which is a French translation, is enti|tled, "A treatise upon Tactics, or an artifici|al method for the discipline of troops; a work printed and published at Constantinople, by Ibrahim Effendi, officer Mutte ferrika of the Ot|toman Page 76 Porte. The original appeared in 1730, and was intended as an experiment for the es|tablishment of a Turkish press. The Turks are said, upon a superficial comparison, to have preferred the use of manuscripts, and the de|sign for want of encouragement was laid aside. The preface of Ibrahim begins thus: "In the name of the most Climent and merciful God, praises, thanks and benedictions be to the so|vereign master of the empires and kingdoms of the heavens and earth; to the master of Glory and omnipotance, God most high and most holy, who is the principal and the source of all order and symmetry in the universe, whose supreme will rules the affairs of the sons of Adam, and whose decrees, direct all the ac|tions of men." In this book the writer cen|sures his countrymen, for their negligence as to the acquisition of modern discipline. To the curious, an extract from this work may not be altogether unentertaining:—"In for|mer ages," says the writer, "when the Chris|tians made less use of cannon, muskets, and granadoes, and when the principal arms of war, were sabres, the Mussulmen, superior to all nations, in the management of these wea|pons, made a progress so rapid, that the chris|tians scattered upon the face of the earth, as|tonished at their victories and daring no more to oppose themselves to the irresistable force, remained during some time in the greatest consternation. In the end, invoking heaven and earth, to find some remedy to their dis|tresses Page 77 & exploring every resource without know|ing on what side to turn themselves, they made a last effort to invent an expedition pro|per to repair their losses. At first they were unanimously desirous to perfect the use of can|non, of muskets, and other arms. Afterwards, seeing, that the assistance of these was still too weak to support the impetuous attacks of the musselmen, and in particular those of the Ot|toman armies, they made new attempts, and laboured, all in concert, to oppose themselves to this fatal destiny, and to find some means of resistance. At last, after many consultati|ons and conferrences, the unanimous result of their deliberations was, that after having given a better form to their artillery, and their Ar|senals, it would be necessary to find some means of subjecting their unfortunate troops, by certain rules, to a constant and firm disci|pline, so that the soldiers restrained in a per|fect order, finding no opportunity of flying, and of deserting their ranks, nor time enough to think of danger and to terrify themselves with the thoughts of instant death, might per|sist, in spite of their inclination, in their ranks, seeing themselves indispensably forced to it.—Afterwards they thought that it was necessary to give more consistency to their lines, ranged in order of battle, and to invent new discipline, to render them more firm, immovable, and ca|pable of supporting the thundering shock 〈◊〉 the musselmen, and resisting their 〈…〉, which for some time, being 〈…〉Page 78 object of their attention, they have, at last, by their indefatigable application, arrived so far as to reduce the rules and principles of tactics to a particular art, and to treat them method|ically in books composed upon the military science."
The greatest part of their commerce, is with the Sweeds, Danes, Dutch, French, Spaniards, Raguseans and English. The commodities they trade in, are Wheat, Barley, Oil, Olives, Figs, Raisins, Wax, Honey, Silks, Almonds, Dates, Wool, Leather of different colors, which is commonly called, Morocco Leather, Horses, Mules, &c. Their Manufactures are chiefly Silks, and Woolen Carpets. In return, the Europeans furnish them with timber, artil|lery, gun-powder, and whatever they want ei|ther in their public or private capacity. No nations are fond of trading with these sons of plunder, owing to their capricious despotism, and the villainy of their Individuals.
Having given a short account of the man|ners and customs of the people in the city; I now proceed to give a short sketch, of those in the country.
The people in the country, have no houses, but live in tents, and remove from one place to another, as they want pasture for their herds and flocks, or as any other accidental circumstance may happen to make it necessary.
The excellence of the climate renders this simple way of living tolerable, though the tents of these people are mean, their utensils of Page 79 little value, and their lodging filthy. The fa|mily and their domestic animals lie promiscu|ously in the tents together, except the dogs, which are left on the out-side as guards. They raise considerable numbers of bees and silk|worms. They subsist chiefly on fruit, rice and bread. Wine and Sprituous liquors, are al|most entirely unknown among them. The Dey demands from them a tribute, which is procured by the Beys and carried to Algiers. The manner of gathering this tribute is as fol|lows: The Dey informs the Bey what sum must be paid, for the ensuing year, in the province which he commands or governs. The Bey then goes at the head of a large body of caval|ry to collect it. And many of them on hear|ing of his approach retire to inaccessible places in the mountains, until the troops are with|drawn, in order to evade the payment. If a|ny of those who do not abscond, should make the least equivocation he takes from them whatever he please. Should they make any re|sistance, or even intimate that they are dissa|tisfied with his proceedings, he cuts off their heads and sends them in triumph to the Dey. And after it has been carried twice from the Deys palace, to the gate Babazoone, and exposed to public view, they then bury it. Those Beys seldom are in office more than two or three years, for by this time they have enrich|ed themselves to such a degree (by plundering and robbing) that the Dey or Divan invents some crime against them, for which they are Page 80 soon executed, and all their property is brought to the city and deposited in the treasury.
Should any of those who retire to the mountains, to evade the payment of the tribute be apprehended, they are put to the most ig|nominious death, and all their property is ta|ken for the benefit of the public.
The dress of the men, is only a coarse wool|en cloth wrapped round the shoulders, which falls down as far as their ancles, with a cap of the same cloth, and a twisted woolled turban over that. The women pay some more atten|tion to ornament themselves with dress. They are dressed with a long woollen cloth, not un|like that of the men's, with a great number of pewter, and brass broaches fixed upon it, a|bout the shoulders, arms, and breast. They adorn their heads, with several of these broach|es fixed in their hair, and a braided woollen string passed several times round their heads, which is filled with several different kinds of flowers. The huram, or apartment of the Turkish women is not only impenetrable, but must not be regarded on the outside with any degree of attention. To approach them when abroad will give offence; and in the town, if they cannot be avoided, it is the custom to turn to the wall and stand still, without look|ing toward them while they pass. The Turk|ish women claim an exemption from their con|finement on one day only in the week, when they visit their relations, and are seen going in companies to the bathes, or setting in the bury|ing Page 81 grounds on the graves of their friends their children, husband, or parents. They are then enwrapped and beclothed in such a manner, that it is impossible to discern whe|ther they are young or old, handsome or ugly. Their heads, as low as the eye-brows are cov|ered with white linnen, and also their faces be|neath; the prominency of the nose and mouth giving them nearly the visage of mummies.—They draw a veil of black gauze over their eyes the moment a man or boy comes in view.—They wear short loose boots of leather, red or yellow, with a large sheet over their common garments, and appear very bulky. They use various arts to heighten their beauty—such as decorating their hair with small bits of silver gilded, resembling a violin in shape, and wo|ven in at regular distances. Their method of colouring the lashes of the eye is somewhat cu|rious. They throw incense of gum of Lauda|num on some coals of fire, intercept the smoak which ascends in a plate, and collect the soot. They close one of their eyes, take the two lash|es between the finger, and thumb of the left hand, pulling them forward, and then thrust|ing in at the external corner a bodkin, which has been immersed in the soot, and extracting it again, the particles before adhering to it re|main within, & is presently ranged round the organ, serving as a soil to its lustre, besides contributing, as they say to its health, and in|creasing its apparent magnitude.
Page 82 The children are suffered to go naked till 8 or 9 years of age. The Sheck, or chief of a tribe, is known by a linnen garment instead of a woollen, and a linnen turban, he also wears a pair of shoes, made of dressed leather.
The common sort of people seldom wear a|ny shoes at all, and when they do, they are made of undressed leather, with hair on the outside. These people are commonly called Arabs; their customs, language and religion bear a strict affinity with those of Arabia.—When a young man would marry, he drives a number of cattle to the tent where the parents of his mistress reside. The bride is then set on horse back, and led to the tent of her lover, a|midst the shouts and huzzas of a multitude of young people, who have been invited to the nuptial feast. When she arrives at the tent where the young man resides, a mixture of milk, and honey is given her to drink, and a song is sung suitable to the occasion. She then alights and receives a stick from her husband, which she thrusts into the ground, and hold|ing her right hand upon its end, she repeats some words to the following effect:
She then drives his flock to water, and back again, to shew her willingness to perform any Page 83 duty that he may assign her. These previous cere|monies being settled, all the company set down by the tent, and the evening concludes with the greatest jollity. They feast upon Dates, Almonds, Raisins, Olives, and Oil, and drink Sherbot, which is water, having run through Raisins, somewhat like making lye of ashes.—Subsequent to the marriage, the wife is veiled and never stirs from the tent of her parents, for the space of a whole moon, and no one can see her, except her parents, during this time. These are the ceremonies, which I have been informed by the Algerines are customary in celebrating a marriage, among those savage tribes of Barbary, but I never had an opportu|nity of viewing one of them.
The economy of these people, to keep their clothes dry in a storm, is worthy the attention of the reader, I have therefore presented the following anecdote to their perusal. One day as I was at work about two miles from the ci|ty, there arose a very heavy shower of rain, and for my part I would willingly have got under some tree, or something else, if I had been allowed so to do to shelter myself from the tempest. But just before the rain began, I observed five of the natives at a small distance driving some mules, loaded with coals, toward the city, who, on perceiving the rain was ap|proaching, very calmly stopped their beasts, and began to undress themselves. This excit|ed my curiosity to know what they were go|ing about. And as I was digging with a hoe, Page 84 having my back toward them, I immediately turned myself about and kept at my work with my face the other way, in order to observe their proceedings, without neglecting my la|bor, which if I did, I was sure would bring the bloody scourge of the unrelenting task-master upon my back. I therefore kept steady about my work, and looking at them as often as I dared, observed they stripped themselves with a great deal of precipitation; then making their cloathes up in a bundle they took each one a rock about the bigness of a water pail, and laying the bundle upon the rock, they covered▪ it with their bodies having their hands and feet upon the ground; all their care was to keep their cloathes secure from the wet, while their naked bodies were exposed to the fury of the weather. When it had done raining they took their cloathes in their hands, and drove on their mules a few steps, till they came to some bushes, then taking up some dry leaves that lay under them, and had been kept from the wet by the shelter which the bushes afforded, they wiped each other nearly dry, then dressed themselves and went on. If a person was seen to do so in this country, he would be counted a fool or a madman; however I must confess I thought them something in the right; for af|ter the storm is over, be it ever so violent, they have dry cloathes on their backs to pur|sue their journey with. This being the first time I ever saw this singular method used, if exci|ted some astonishment, but it being so often prac|ticed, Page 85 it soon became natural. The people in the city, will commonly pull off their shoes, when the streets are muddy and walk bare|footed, to preserve their shoes from being da|maged. I am informed that those who tra|vel on horse back or on other beasts, have a bag, covered with an oil-cloth, in which they thrust their cloathes in stormy weather, and ride stark naked. Allowing this to be custom|ary among the soldiers, as it probably is, I fancy, if an army of them should be met in a storm, in this country, it would create a ter|rible fright, and perhaps do as much executi|on to an ignorant body, as their offensive arms, and oblige them to seek for safety in their heels.
These wretches have their heads close shav|ed, all except one small lock on the top, which they never cut off; they being taught by the Alcoran, that Mahomet is to draw them up to their imaginary Paradise by that small look of hair. They never shave their faces at all, but suffer their beards and mustachoes to grow long, in the length and largeness of which, they take a particular pride; and he that has a very large beard, they allow to be a wise man. They are as strict, as to their religion, as the people are in the towns and cities, they rise carry and late to prayers; but only like children, do it because they are ordered so to do by the Mufti, who is the high priest of their religion: And to him in ecclesiastical matters Page 86 they pay the most implicit obedience and re|signation.
"The beaten path of ignorance they tread."
In a former page I promised my readers, a further description of Oran, which I shall now endeavour to perform.
Oran is situated about eighty leagues west of Algiers; is a mile and an half in circum|ference. It lies partly on a plain and partly on the ascent of a hill, and is well fortified. As the Spanish coasts and Merchant ships, had suffered much from the corsairs of this port, Ferdinand, King of Spain, determined to at|tempt its reduction. Accordingly he trans|ported into Africa, an army under the com|mand of his prime minister, Cardinal Ximense.—The wonted good fortune of this officer did not, at this juncture desert him. He had maintained a correspondence with some of the people of Oran; & when the Moors sallied out to attack the Spaniards, their perfidious coun|trymen shut the gates against them. Ximense killed four thousand of the barbarians, and set at liberty sixteen thousand Christian slaves.—The Algerines, during near two hundred years made frequent but unsuccessful attempts to re|cover it. In 1708, they retook it. In June, 1732, a Spanish army was landed not far from Oran. The Turkish troops and the inhabi|tants were seized with a panic, and abandoned their fortifications without any resistance. The Moors not long after attacked it with great fu|ry, but were finally repulsed, with much Page 87 slaughter. The Spaniards continued in quiet possession of it until the year 1791, when the Algerines went with a strong force against it, under the command of Alli Bey of Mascara. After a siege of several days, they withdrew their troops, having received much damage.—In 1792, the Dey of Algiers, and the King of Spain having agreed upon terms, very ad|ventageous to the former, Oran was given up to the Algerines, and is still in their possession. During the sixty years, the Spaniards had this place in their possession; their soldiers kept continually deserting. The Algerines used the greatest economy to prevent those at Oran, from knowing how the deserters fared. By this means they were daily adding to their number of slaves, as the soldiers supposed they would be at liberty, if they deserted to their e|nemy. But contrary to every law of humani|ty, assoon as they were in the hands of the Al|gerines, they were made slaves, and deprived of the little liberty they enjoyed while under the Banner, of his Catholic Majesty.
In this situation, were about five hundred of them, when I left Algiers. The King of Spain it cannot be reasonably expected, will pay a sum of money to ransom people who deserted from his service, and by that means involved themselves in this predicament, therefore they have no hopes of relief till death. There is a story that the Dey, in one of his letters to the King of Spain, desired to know if he intended to redeem those slaves from Oran. To which Page 88 the King replied, that, if the Dey would salt them in barrels, he would purchase them at the price of salted beef.
CHAPTER IV. Origin of the present government of Algiers—Hoyradin and Horuc commence pirates—increase their strength—their names become dreadful—The older brother (called Barbarassa) invited by the King of Algiers to assist him against the Spaniards—〈◊〉 marches to Algiers with 5,000 men—murders the King, and assumes the power—Expedition of Charles 5th against him—Barbarossa, vanquished and slain—His brother likewise called Barbarossa assumes the Sceptre—puts his dominions under the grand seignior—who assists him—appointed Admi|ral of the Turkish Fleet—appointed Vice Roy of Algiers—lays the foundation of the Mole—appoint|ed Bashaw of the Empire—Hasson Aga appointed Bashaw of Algiers—who ravages Spain, Italy, and the ecclesiastical States—Charles 5th attempts the destruction of Algiers with a powerful sleet and ar|my—is defeated with great loss, and returns to Car|thagena—Saleb Raise, successor to Hassan, attacks 〈◊〉—dies of the plague—Hassan Corso elected in his stead—is displaced by the Porte, and a new Bash|aw from Constantinople arrives—he is refused ad|mittance—enters by treachery: and Corso, by his or|ders, Page 89 is thrown from the walls—Tekelli murdered by Yusef, who is chosen in his stead—dies of the plague—Hassan, (son of Hayradin Barbarosse) cho|sen in his stead—Spaniards attack Mortosan, and are defeated—Hassan sent prisoners to Constantenople is cleared-Achmet appointed a new Bashaw he dies—Hassan sent a third time Bashaw of Algiers—attacks Marsalquivir—raises the siege, and again recalled to Constantinople—Mahomet, his successor, incorporates the Janissaries and Levantine Turks—Juan Gas|con, a Spaniard forms a design of destroying the Algerine navy—is unsuccessful, taken and executed—Ochali, succeeds Mahomet—and subdues 〈◊〉—Algerines send a deputation to the Porte, complain of the rapacity of the Bashaws, and request liberty to choose their own Dey—The Porte agrees—and the Divan elects a Dey, &c.—Spaniards make an at|tempt upon Algiers, but fail—The Moors expelled from Spain—French attack Algiers with 52 sail; defeat their fleet and take two of their Corsairs—English send a fleet against them, but do nothing—Cologlies seize on the Citadel, but are overcome by the Turks and Renegadoes—Algerines throw off their dependence on the Porte—Louis 13th builds a fort on their coast—French fleet arrive at Algiers, demand the French Captives; the Dey refuses, and the French Admiral carries off the Turkish Vice Roy, and his Cadi—Algerines retaliate on Puglia, ravage the neighboring coasts, and scour the Adriatic—Ve|netians alarmed and send Admiral Capello against them—attacks and defeats the Algerine squadron, under Pinchinin—Venetians pay the Porte 50,000 dollars by way of attonement—Louis 14th sends a Page 90 fleet under Du Quense, against Algiers—bombards the City and returns to Toulon—Algerines retaliate on Provence—ravage and bring off a great number of Captives—Louis sends another armament under Du Quense—arrives bombards the town, demolish|ish the Dey's Palace, and several other public edi|fices—demands the French captives, and receives 142 with a promise of the rest—Du Quense, demands 〈◊〉 the French Captives with the effects they had 〈◊〉 taken—also their Admiral Mezamorto, and 〈…〉, as hostages—The Dey embarrassed, and Mezamorto charges him with cowardice—raises an insurrection among the Soldiers—the Dey massacred—Mezamorto succeeds him, breaks the truce with the French, and recommences hostilities—causes all the French in the city to be massacred—Du Quense reduces Algiers to a heap of ruins and retires—Alge|rines sue for peace of France, and obtain it—enter into a peace with England—Spaniards, under O'Reilley attack Algiers, are unsuccessful, and retire with great loss.
HAVING mentioned the expedi|tion of Charles the V. in some of the former pages, I presume a brief account of the destruc|tion of that armament, would not be disap|proved of by the readers of this small volume. Previous to the beginning of the sixteenth century, Algiers had experienced a variety of revolutions, in the form of its government, which does not come within the line of this short sketch to discribe. But there happened, Page 91 a very sudden revolution about that time, which hath made their history worthy of more attention, as it was the means of rendering the States of Barbary very formidable to the Eu|ropeans. Two sons of a potter in the Isle of Lesbos, * who were known by the names of Hayradin, and Horuc, being prompted by a restless and enterprising spirit, forsook the pro|fession of their father, went immediately to sea, & joined a gang of pirates, who made some of the ports of Barbary, the places of their rendezvous. They soon distinguished them|selves by the activity of their unparrelleled villianies, and in a short time they became mas|ters of a small brigantine, mounting 14 six pounders by means of which, they supported their infamous and cruel piracies, with such great success, that in a few years they had un|der their command a fleet of twelve gallies, and many other vessels of less force. Horuc, (the elder brother, who was afterwards called Barbarossa, by reason of the red color of his beard,) was Admiral of this fleet, and Hayra|din the younger brother, was second in com|mand. By their predatory conduct, their names soon became dreadful, and infamous Page 92 from the Straits of Gibraltar to those of the Dardanelles.
Two famous castles defending the gulf of Lapanto, and the narrow streight called the Hellespont, which is here two miles over, and the key as it were to Constantinople; the one on the side of Europe, and the other on that of Asia. The former was anciently called Ses|tos, and the latter Abidos. In 1656, the Ve|netians passed through with their fleets between these forts, and drove that of the Turks on shore. Here all vessels coming from the Ar|chipelago are examined. Not far from hence namely off Lapanto, the Venetians gained a considerable victory over the Turkish fleet.
As their power encreased, their ambitious views extended with a still greater rapidity; for while they were acting as pirates, and rob|bers, they arrogated the ideas, and acquired the talents of, Conquerers. The prizes which they took on the coasts of Spain, France, and Italy, they often carried into the ports of Bar|bary. The situation of these harbors being so very commodious for the security of their Cor|sairs; and to add to this convenience, their vicinity to the greatest commercial ports at that time in Christendom, raised an ambitious desire in the breast of those infamous pirates, for an establishment in that country. For ac|complishing this project, an opportunity soon presented itself, which the brothers, did not suffer to pass unimproved. The King of Al|giers, at this time, who was called Eutemi, Page 93 having made several unsuccessful attempts to gain possession of a fort. which was built not far from his capital, by the Spanish Governors of Oran, applied to Barbarossa for assistance. The villain as may be supposed gladly accepted the proposal, and left the fleet under the com|mand of his brother Hayradin. He then marched with five thousand men to Algiers, and was received with all the honors due to the commander in chief of such an army, by the Algerines, who supposed him come to their assistance, not having the least suspicion of his base designs. His ambitious desires of becoming great among the inhabitants of that part of the globe, had now an opportunity of being put in execution, and every thing seem|ed to promise him success. This great force had given him the command of the City, and indeed every thing seemed to favour the per|petration of his diabolical plot. He therefore murdered secretly the monarch, who had soli|cited his assistance. and whom he had come to assist, and proclaimed himself king in his stead. He established the authority which he had usur|ped, by arts suited to the genius of the people whom he had to govern; for his liberality to those who favored his promotion, was without bounds, and to those whom he had any reason to mistrust, that wished to oppose his authority his cruelties were no less unbounded. With his fleets, which resembled the armaments of a great monarch, rather than the squadrons of a pirate, he continued to infest the coasts of Page 94 Spain and Italy, for by this time he had increas|ed the number of his corsairs to upwards of 50 armed vessels. The repeated and cruel devas|tations of his corsairs upon those coasts, obliged Charles the Vth, about the begining of his reign, to furnish the Marquis de Comares, who was then Governor of Oran, with a sufficient number of troops to attack him. That officer executed his commission with such spirit and resolution, that the forces of Babarossa were vanquished in several encounters, and he him|self was shut up in Tremesen, where he re|mained blockaded for several months, and was at last fortunately slain, as he was attempting to make his escape. His brother Hayradin, who was likewise known by the name of Barbaros|sa, assumed the Algerine sceptre. For some time he carried on his naval robberies with the utmost vigour, and on the continent of Africa, he even extended his conquests. But perceiv|ing at length that the Moors and Arabs never submitted to his despotic mandates, but with the utmost reluctance, and being apprehensive least his continual depredations would one day draw upon him the arms of the Christians, he put his dominions under the protection of the grand Seignior, from whom he received a suffi|cient body of Turkish soldiers, for his security against his foreign as well as domestic enemies.
The infamy, (or, as Doctor Robertson see proper to call it, the same) of his exploits daily increased, till at length Solyman, approving of Page 95 his conduct offered him the command of the Turkish fleet; and on the other hand, Hayra|din, justly dreading the fatal consequences, which might arise from the tyranny of his of|ficers over the Algerines, solicited the protec|tion of the grand seignior. This was immedi|ately granted, and Hayradin himself appoint|ed Bashaw, or vice roy of Algiers; by the means of which he received such numerous reinforcements from Turkey, that the unhap|py Algerines durst not make the least com|plaint, and were now under the woeful necessi|ty of resigning their persons, and property to the will of this despotic prince. Exclusive of those Turks who were sent him by the grand seignior as soldiers, such numbers flocked to him, voluntarily, that he was not only capable in a considerable degree of annoying the Chris|tians with his corsairs at sea, but also of keep|ing the Moors, and Arabs in subjection at home. About this time he began the foundation of the mole, which I have before described. Hay|radin had by this time rendered himself dread|ed not only by the Arabs, and Moors, but also by the maritime christian powers, especially by the Spaniards. The vice roy sailed not to ac|quaint the Grand Seignior with his success, who being much pleased with his proceedings, furnished him with a fresh suppy of money, by means of which he was enabled to build those sorts and batteries before mentioned. The Sultan, in the mean time, either out of a sense of the services of Hayradin, or perhaps being Page 96 jealous least he should make himself indepen|dant, or more probably, both, to prevent the one, and reward the other, raised him to the important dignity of Bashaw of the empire, and to succeed him as Bashaw of Algiers, he ap|pointed, a Sardinian renegado, who was known by the name of Hassan Aga, or General Hassan the word Aga in Arabec signifying a general.
This new Bashaw immediately on taking possession of his new government, began to pursue his ravages, on the coasts of Spain, and Italy with greater fury than 〈◊〉 any of his predecessors had done, he even extended them to the ecclesiastical state, and other parts of Ita|ly did not escape his rapine. These proceed|ings greatly alarmed, Pope Paul 3d who exhor|ted the emperor Charles 5th to send a power|ful fleet to suppress those diabolical repeated piracies: and least something might be wanting to render this daring enterprize successful, his holiness published a bull, wherein a plenary ab|solution of sins, and the crown of martyrdom, were promised to all those who fell in battle or were made slaves. The emperor, needed no incitement on his part▪ he therefore set sail at the head of a powerful fleet, which consisted of one hundred and twenty three large ships, and twenty gallies of different sizes, having on board thirty thousand well diciplined troops, with an immense quantity of arms and ammu|nition. The reduction of Algiers was so ap|parently inevitable at this time, that many of the young nobility, and gentlemen attended Page 97 this expedition as volunteers, and among these were many knights of Malta, remarkable for their valour against the enemies of Christiani|ty. Many ladies of birth and character attend|ed Charles; A vast number of the officers and soldiers, took their wives and children with them, intending to settle in Barbary, after the conquest was finished.
About the beginning of October, A. D. 1541, they arrived off the harbor. The sight of such a prodigious armament threw the Algerines into the utmost consternation as their city was surrounded only by a wall, with scarce any out works, and their whole garrison consisted of only eight hundred Turks, and six thousand Moors, who were chiefly without fire arms, and poorly disciplined and accoutred; the rest of their forces being dispersed in different pro|vinces of the kingdom, to levy the usual tri|bute on the Arabs and Moors. The Spaniards landed their forces without any opposition whatever, and immediately built a large fort on a hill about a mile to the eastward of the ci|ty, under the cannon of which they encamp|ed. The city at this time being dependant on one spring for its water, which was one mile from the walls and the Spaniards, having di|verted its course, they were now reduced to the utmost distress. Hassan received a sum|mons from Charles, to surrender at discretion, on pain of being put to the sword with all his garrison if he refused. The herald was order|ed to extol the vast power of the emperor, both Page 98 by sea & land, and to exhort him to return to the Christian religion. To this Hassan replied, that he must be a madman, who would pretend to advise an enemy, and that the person advised, would act still more madly should he take counsel of such an ad|viser. He was, however upon the point of sur|rendering the city, when he received intelli|gence, that the forces belonging to the western government were in full march towards the place; upon which it was determined to de|fend it, to the utmost. In the mean time, Charles being resolved upon a general assault, kept up a cannonade without intermission, upon the town, which from the weak defence made by the garrison, he looked upon as already in his possession. But while the Divan were delibe|rating on the most proper means of obtaining an honourable capitulation, a mad prophet, at|tended by a multitude of people, entered the assembly, and foretold the destruction of the Spaniards before the end of the moon, exhort|ing the inhabitants to hold out till that time. This prediction was soon accomplished in a very surprising and unexpected manner; for on the 28th of October 1541, a dreadful storm of rain, hail and wind, arose from the north|ward, attended with violent shocks of earth|quakes, and a dismal and universal darkness both by sea and land; so that the sun, moon, and elements, seemed to combine together for the destruction of the Spaniards. Eighty six ships, and fifteen gallies, were destroyed in that one night, with all their crews, and mili|tary Page 99 stores, and the Algerines say in less than half an hour, by which the army on shore was deprived of all means of subsistance. Their camp also, which spread itself along the plain, under cover of the cannon of their fort, was laid quite under water by the dreadful tor|rents which descended from the neighboring hills. Many of the troops were cut to pieces by the Moors, and Arabs by trying to remove into some better situation; while several gal|lies, and other vessels, endeavouring to gain some neighboring creeks along the coast, were immediately plundered, and their crews massa|cred by the inhabitants. Next morning; Charles, to his utmost astonishment, beheld the sea covered with the fragments of his ships, and the bodies of men, horses, and other crea|tures swimming upon the waves, the sight of which so disheartened him, that abandoning his tents, artillery, and all his heavy baggage, to the enemy, he marched at the head of his army in the greatest precipitation and disorder towards Cape Mallabux, in order to re-embark, on board those vessels, which had out-weather|ed the storm. But Hassan, was not an idle spec|tator all this while, for he had so narrowly watch|ed the motion of the Spaniards, that he allowed them just time enough to get to the shore, when he sallied out & attacked them with the greatest fury, in the midst of their hurry to get into the ships. The Spaniards, however made an obstinate resistance, and a very bloody carnage continued for about two hours, when they Page 100 were over-powered, and obliged to retreat to their boats, the whole number of which was not capable of carrying one quarter of them. Hassan pursued them to their boats, and killed a vast number, and brought away a still greater number of captives; after which he returned in triumph to Algiers. The prophet Yusef, who had foretold the destruction of the Spani|ards, was soon after this declared the deliverer of his country, and had a considerable gratuity decreed him, with the liberty of exercising his prophetic functions unmolested. It was not long however, before a strong opposition was made against him, by some of the interpreters of the law, by remonstrating to the Dey, how ridiculous and scandalous, it was to their nati|on, to ascribe its deliverance to a poor fortune|teller, which had been obtained by the fervent prayers of an eminent saint of their own pro|fession. The Bashaw, and his Divan, seemed, out of policy, to give way to this last notion; yet the impression which the prediction of Yu|sef, and its accomplishments had made upon the minds of the common people, proved too strong to eradicated; since which the spirit of divination and conjuring, has got into such credit among them, that not only their great statesmen, but their priests, and santoons, have applied themselves to that study, and dignified it with the name of the Revelations of Maho|met.
The Spaniards had scarcely reached their ships, when a second storm attacked them, in Page 101 which a vast vast number more of them perish|ed. One vessel in particular, with seven hun|dred soldiers, and three hundred seamen on board, sunk, in the presence of Charles, with|out a possibility of saving one man. At length with great difficulty the survivors reached the port of Bujeyah, a small port on the coast of Barbary, which lies about thirty five leagues to the eastward of Algiers, and was at this time possessed by Spain. They remained here only till the sixteenth of November, and then set sail for Carthagena, (in Spain,) at which place they arrived on the 25th of the same Month. Upwards of one hundred and twenty ships and gallies, were lost, in this unfortunate expediti|on, with above three hundred officers, and eight thousand soldiers, besides mariners, ex|clusive of those destroyed by the enemy on their re-embarkation, or perished in the last storm, and those who were made slaves. The number of prisoners was now so great, that some of them were sold, by the Algerines, by way of contempt, for an Onion per head!
The Spaniards were never able to annoy the Algerines, in any considerable degree, after this time. In the year 1555, Salab Baise, successor to Hassan, attacked the city of Bujeyah, and soon made himself master of it, though not without an obstinate resistance from the Span|iards, and great slaughter on both sides. Salab Baise now augmented the number of Christian slaves, to thirty one thousand. The next year, this commander's ambition being raised Page 102 with the success he met at Bujeyah, he set out upon a new expedition, supposed to be against Oran, but was scarce got out of the city, when he was attacked with the plague which made its appearance in his groin, and fortunately carried him off, in twenty four hours. The plague at this time raging very violently in the city, and among the troops, the soldiery im|mediately elected a Corsican renegado, Hassan|Corso, in his stead, in order to execute the in|tended expedition against Oran. He accepted the Bashawship with much difficulty, dispatch|ing a messenger at the same time to acquaint the porte, with what had happened, and marched his army against Oran, they had scarcely commenced their hostilities against that place, when orders were received from the porte, expressly forbiding Hassan-Corso to be|gin the siege; or, if it was begun enjoining him immediately to raise it, which he did ac|cordingly. This officer had enjoyed his digni|ty but four months, when a new Bashaw, Te|kelli, arrived from Constantinople, as his suc|cessor. The Algerines resolved not to admit him; but by the treachery of the Levantine soldiers, he at last entered. He immediately ordered Corso, to be thrown upon the hooks which are fastened in the walls of city, one of which catching him by the ribs of his side, he hung in this horrid agony, three days before he expired. Tekelli, was inhumanly murder|ed shortly after, under the cupola of a saint, by Yusef Calabres, a favourite renegade, of Page 103 Hassan-Corso. The murderer was immediate|ly chosen in his stead, but died of the plague, six days after his election. Yusef's successor, was Hassan, the son of Hayradin, Barbarossa. Not long after, the Spaniards undertook an expedition against Mostagan under the com|mand of the court D'Alcandela, but were ut|terly defeated, the commander slain, and twelve thousand men taken prisoners. Hassan having disobliged his subjects, they sent him in irons to Constantinople, and two Turkish of|ficers supplied his place. Hassan was cleared, but Achmet was appointed a new Bashaw.—Immediately upon his arrival at Algiers, he sent the two deputy-Bashaws to Constantinople. where they were beheaded. Achmet died in four months after; and Hassan was sent a third time Vice-Roy to Algiers, Soon after his arrival he engaged in the seige of Marsalqui|ver, (a town of Algiers, situate on the Barbary coast of Africa, lying opposite to Oran,) which at this time, was possessed by the Spaniards; and situated at a small distance from Oran. He planted the Ottoman standard several times upon the walls, which the Spaniards as often dislodged; and Hassan was finally obliged to raise the seige, after great slaughter on both sides.
In the year 1567, Hassan was again recalled to Constantinople. His successor, Mahomet, incorporated the Janisaries and Levantine Turks together. Thus he put an end to their dissentions, and the foundation of the Algerine Page 104 independency on the porte, was now laid. He erected several fortifications which he intended to render impregnable.
About this time, one Juan Gascon, an intre|pid Spaniard, formed a design of destroying the whole piratic navy, as they lay in the bay, by setting them on fire in the night. He was furnished by Philip the 2d, with vessels, fire|works, and mariners, for the execntion of his plan. He failed for Algiers in the begining of October, when the greatest part of the Corsairs lay at anchor in the bay; and advanced near enough to view them, undiscovered. He ac|cordingly, unperceived by any, came to the mole, and dispatched his men, with their fire|works but these being so badly mixed, that they could not be kindled. Gascon now find|ing himself discovered, and in the utmost danger got his ships under way with all possible haste, and stood to sea; but was pursued, over|taken, and brought back a prisoner. Maho|met immediately caused a gibbet to be erected on the spot where Gascon landed, and hung him by the feet upon a hook, with his com|mission tied to his toes. He had been suspend|ed in this situation, but a short time, when the captain who made him prisoner, and several other officers, interceeded so strongly in his be|half, that he was taken down, and put under the care of a christian surgeon. A few days after, it being reported that it was the com|mon talk and belief in Spain, that the Alge|rines durst not hurt a hair of Guscon's head, Page 105 he was carried to the top of the execution wall, and thrown down. In his fall a hook catched him by the belly, which tore out, so he fell to the bottom and was dashed to pieces.
Mahomet was succeeded by Ochali, a rene|gado, who subdued the kingdom of Tunis. It remained subject to the bashaw of Algiers un|til the year 1586, a Bashaw of Tunis, was then appointed by the grand Seignior.
Algiers continued to be governed by the Turkish Vice Roys or Bashaws, till the begin|ning of the seventeenth century. The Turk|ish Janisaries, and Militia becoming powerful enough at last, to suppress the tyrannic sway of these Bashaws a deputation of some of their chief members was sent to Constantinople to complain of their rapacity. They represented to the ministry, how much more honorable it would be for the grand Seignior to permit them to chuse their own Dey, or Governor, from among themselves, whose interest it would be to see that the revenue of the coun|try was rightly applied in keeping up its forces complete, and in supplying all other exigencies of the state, without any further trouble or expence to the porte, than that of allowing them his protection. The Divan elected a Dey from among themselves. A new set of laws was com|piled, and they made several regulations, for the better support of this new government. The subsequent altercations that frequently hap|pened between the Bashaws & Deys, the one for Page 106 endeavouring to recover their former power, and the other to curtail it, caused such frequent complaints and discontents at the Ottoman court, as made them sometimes repent of their compliance.
The Spaniards made another attempt upon Algiers, in the year 1601, but by contrary winds their fleet was driven back, so that this time they came off without loss. Such num|bers of Moors, being expelled from Spain in the year 1609, that they flocked to Algiers in abundance; and many of them being able sail|ors, they undoubtedly contributed to make the Algerine fleet so formidable as it soon became. * In 1616, their naval force consisted of forty large ships, beside Xebecs, row-galley's &c. their Admiral ship at this time was upwards of five hundred tons burthen. Their fleet was divided into two squadrons, one of eighteen sail, was stationed off the port of Malaga; and the other Page 107 off the Cape Santa Maria, between Lisbon and Seville; both of which annoyed Christian ships & plundered both English & French, with whom they pretended to be in friendship, as well as Spaniards and Portuguese with whom they were at war.
The Algerines were now become formidable to the European powers. The Spaniards who were most exposed to danger, solicited the as|sistance of England, the Pope and other states. The French however were the first who dared to shew their resentment at the perfidious be|havior of these miscreants; and in the year 1617, M. Beauleau was sent against them with a fleet of fifty men of war. He defeated their fleet, and took two of their vessels. Their Ad|miral sunk his own ship rather than fall into the hands of the enemy. The English sent a squadron of men of war against Algiers in the year 1620, but they returned without do|ing or sustaining any material damage. The Algerines daily becoming more insolent and daring, openly defied all the European powers, the Dutch only excepted, to whom, in 1625 they sent a proposal, that if they would sit out twenty sail of ships in the following year, upon any service against the Spaniards, the corsairs would join them with sixty sail. In 1626, the Cologlies seized on the Citadel, and nearly ac|complished their design, of making themselves masters of the city. The Turks and Renega|does, attacked them with great fury, and de|feated them with terrible slaughter. Vast Page 108 numbers were beheaded, and their heads thrown in heaps upon the walls of the city.—The Algerines, and other state of Barbary, threw off their dependence on the porte, in the year 1623. Sultan Amurath 4th, had been o|bliged to make a truce with the Emperor Fer|dinand 2d; for the term of twenty five years, and as this put a stop to the piratical trade of the Algerines, they resolved, that whoever de|sired to be at peace with them, must, separately apply to their own government. They made prizes of several merchant ships, belonging to the powers at peace with the porte. At Scan|deroon * they seized a Dutch ship, and polacre; in this port they even ventured on shore, the Turkish aga and inhabitants had abandoned the town on their approach, they therefore plun|dered all the magazines and ware houses, and set them on fire. About this time Louis 13th, undertook to built a fort on their coast, instead of one formerly built at the Marsilians, and which had been demolished. This, after much difficulty, he accomplished; and it was called the Bastion of France; but the situation being found inconvenient, the French purchased the port of La Calle, and obtained liberty to trade with the Arabs and Moors. In the mean time, the Ottoman court, was so much embar|rassed with a Persian war, that they had no lei|sure Page 109 to check the Algerine piracies. The Vi|zier, and other courtiers, took this opportuni|ty to compound matters with the Algerines, and to get a share of the prizes, which were very considerable. A severe reprimand ac|compined with threats, was sent them, merely for sake of form. They replied, that "they deserved to be indulged in these depredations, as they were the only bulwark against the Christian powers, and in particular, against the Spaniards, the sworn enemies to the Mos|lem name" they added, that "if they should pay a punctilious regard to all who could pur|chase liberty to trade with the Ottoman em|pire, they "would have nothing to do but set sire to their shipping, and turn camel-drivers."
The Algerines prosecuted their piracies with impunity, to the terror and disgrace of Christendom, till the year 1652; when a French fleet being driven to Algiers accidentally, the admiral thought proper to demand a re|lease of all the Captives belonging to his nation indiscriminately, which the Dey refusing to comply with the Frenchman without any fur|ther ceremony carried off the Turkish viceroy, and his Cadi or Judge, who were just arrived from the porte, with all their equipage and retinue. By way of reprisal the Algerines surprised the Bastion of France, already men|tioned, and carried off six hundred inhabitants, with all their effects. Sixteen galleys and galliots were sitted out soon after by the Alge|rines, under the command of Alli Penchinin. Page 110 The chief design of this armament was against the treasure of Loretto in Italy; but being pre|vented by contrary winds from obtaining their desire, they made a descent on Puglia in the king|dom of Naples; where the whole territory of Necotra, suffered by their ravages, and a vast number of captives were carried to Algiers. They then steered towards Dalmatia, & scour|ed the Adriatic, loading themselves with immense treasure. Such ravages greatly alarm|ed the Venetians, who immediately sent admiral Capello, with twenty eight sail of ships against them, with express orders to burn, sink or take, every Barbary corsair he might meet with, either at sea, or in the Ottoman harbours, agreeable to their late treaty with the Porte. The Rais Bashaw being at sea at this time with a Turkish fleet, in order to drive the Maltese and Florentine cruisers from the Archipelago, and being informed that the Algerine squadron was very near, sent express orders to the Alge|rine admiral to come to his assistance. Pinchi|nin readily complied and set sail; but on his way, he fell in with Capello, who chased him to Valona, a sea port belonging to the Turkish empire; but the Turkish governor refusing to turn out the pirates, according to the articles of peace between the Ottoman court & Venice, Capello, was obliged to content himself with watching their motion, for a considerable time. At length Pinchinin ventured out, and a des|perate engagement ensued, which continued for about four hours, with the most determi|ned Page 111 obstinacy on both sides, at last Pinchinin fled, and was pursued by Capello; but the pirates ships sailing faster than their enemy, they made their escape. Five of the Algerine ships being disabled they fell into the hands of the Venetians. In this action the pirates lost, in killed, one thousand five hundred men, Turks, and Christian slaves, and one thousand six hundred galley slaves set at liberty by Capel|lo. The pirates, after this defeat, returned to Valona, where they were again watched by the Venetians, but the latter had not been long at his old station, before a letter was sent him from his court, desiring him not to make any farther attempts at that time, lest it might be the occasion of a rupture with the Porte. Ca|pello being forced to submit; he resolved to take his leave of them in such a manner, as he tho't they deserved; observing how their tents & equipage were drawn along the shore, he kept firing among them, while some ships were dis|patched to attack their squadron. They towed out sixteen of the pirates gallies, with all their cannon and stores. A ball from one of the Venetian gallies having struck a Turkish mosque, the whole action was considered as an insult upon the grand Seignior. To conceal this orders were given to Capello to sink all the ships he had taken from the Algerines, except the Admiral; which was to be laid up at Ve|nice as a trophy. Capello received a severe re|primand from his court, and the Venetians were obliged to pay to the porte, five hun|dred Page 112 thousand ducats, by way of attonement. The news of this defeat, filled Algiers, with rage and confusion. They immediately ap|plied to the porte, for an order, that the Ve|netians who were settled in the Levant, (the east part of the Mediterranean sea,) should make their loss good. But the grand seignior refused to comply with this, and left them to repair their losses in the best manner they could. The pirates however soon recovered their for|mer strength, being able at the end of two years to send a fleet of sixty five sail to sea.
The Algerines having committed such grie|vous outrages on the coasts of Provence and Languedoc, that Louis the 14th, was provoked in the year 1682, to send a very, large sleet a|gainst them, under the command of the Man|quis du Quesne, vice Admiral of Prance. He arrived off Algiers in August, and gave the Ci|ty such a furious bombarding and cannonading, that in a short time, it was greatly damaged, and the great Mosque battered down. The wind shifting on a sudden obliged du Quesne to return to Toulon. The Algerines by way of reprisal, sent a number of Corsairs to Pro|vence where they committed the most dread|ful outrages, bringing away a vast number of captives; upon which Louis ordered another armament, against them the next year. Du Quesne anchored before Algiers in May 1683, where he was joined by the Marquis d'Affran|ville with five more ships, it being resolved to bombard the town next morning, they accord|ingly Page 113 commenced the action in the morning, and threw one hundred bombs into it, which did terrible execution, while the Algerines dis|charged several hundreds of cannon against the assailants without doing any material damage. On the following night great numbers of bombs were again thrown into the city, which nearly demolished the Dey's palace, and seve|ral great edifices; some vessels were sunk in the harbor and several batteries dismounted.
The Dey and soldiery being greatly alarm|ed at the terrible havock, sued for peace.—As a preliminary, the French demanded all christian captives who had been taken un|der the French flag, which was immedi|ately granted, and one hundred and forty two persons were directly given up, with a promise of sending on board the rest as soon as they could be brought from the different parts of the country. Du Quesne sent his commissary general and one of his engineers in|to the town; with express orders to insist up|on the surrender of all French captives without exception, together with all the effects which they had taken from the French; and that their Admiral Mezomorto, and Rais Alli, one of their captains, should be given as hostages. The Dey being embarrassed with this last de|mand, he assembled the Divan, and acquainted them with it. This threw Mezomorto into a violent passion; he told the assembly, that the ruin of Algiers, was occasioned by the coward|ice of those who had the helm; that for his Page 114 part, he would never consent to deliver up any thing which they had taken from the French. He immediately acquainted the soldiery with those new demands, and of what had passed in the assembly; which so exasperated them, that they massacred the Dey that very night, and the next day chose Mezomorto in his stead. This being done, all the articles of peace which had been made were destroyed, and hostilities re|newed with greater fury than ever. Du Ques|ne now kept pouring in such volleys of bombs, that the greatest part of the city was almost re|duced to ruins, in less than three days; the numbers of slain were so great that their blood run in rivulets along the streets. Mezomorto was unmoved by all these disasters, but had ra|ther grown desperate and furious, he sought only how to wreak his revenge on the enemy. He caused all the French in the city to be in|humanely massacred, and not contented with this, he ordered their Consul to be fastened a|live to the mouth of a mortar, from which he was shot away against their navy. Du Quesne was so exasperated, with this piece of barbarity that he did not leave Algiers till he had utterly destroyed all their fortifications, and shipping; and had reduced the city to a heap of ruins.—The Algerines soon after this, sent an embassy into France, begging in the most abject terms for peace; which Louis readily granted. This bombardment so far humbled the Algerines, that they condescended to enter into a treaty with England which took place in the year 1686. Page 115 With a concise account of the expedition of the Spaniards in 1775, I shall close this chapter.
On the 23d or June, 1775, a sleet consisting of six ships of the line, twelve frigates, and thirty three other armed vessels set sail from Carthagena, in Spain, to attack Algiers. The troops which were on board amounted to twenty four thousand four hundred and forty seven men, including calvalry, infantry, ma|rines, and six hundred deserters destined to serve as workmen. They were commanded by the count O'Reilly, a personal favourite of the late king of Spain. For the land service they had an hundred and seventy six pieces of artil|lery, mortars, and howitzers, with a sufficient quantity of military stores. They anchored in the bay of Algiers, on the 30th of June, and 1st of July. Next day a council was held, and the troops were ordered to hold themselves in readiness to disembark on the ensuing morn|ing by day break. But as the succeeding night was windy, and a swell had set in from the North, their orders were countermanded.—From this day, to the sixth, there were fre|quent councils, violent debates and nothing done. A quarrel broke out between O'Reilly and the Marquis de Romane, a Spanish major|general, who was killed in the subsequent ac|tion. On the sixth, the principal officers were again assembled, to receive their ultimate in|structions. O'Reilly warned the army, that the custom of the Algerines, was, to pretend a most violent attack, and to fly with precipita|tion, Page 116 on the smallest resistance, that they might draw the enemy into an ambuscade. He cau|tioned the troops not to break their ranks, as nothing but the force of discipline could secure them against so active an enemy. The very error which they committed, and the snare into which they were betrayed, was pointed out of them, by O'Reilly. The army was di|rected (on their landing) to gain some heights, which were supposed requisite to ensure suc|cess against Algiers. In the afternoon of the same day some ships of war were ordered to fire against three batteries a little to the east|ward of the city. This commission was execu|ted with so much laudable attention to the personal safety of the assailants, that their shot did not reach the shore, those of one seventy four gun ship excepted, and not one of those struck either of the batteries. This dreadful Spanish attack ceased about sunset. Between eight & nine thousand men were put on board the boats the next morning at day break in order for landing. They advanced under the pro|tection of their ships very near the coast. Not a person appeared to oppose them; but lest they might be attacked, and for their own safety they returned on board the transports at seven o'clock in the morning. Not a single shot was fired on either side during this whole day. On the 8th at day break, the ships were stationed to batter the different forts to the right and lest of the place of disembarkation, eight thousand troops were put on board the boats; which Page 117 formed in six colums. The place of landing was about a league to the eastward of the city. Sixty or seventy thousand Barbarians, of whom the greatest part were cavalry, came in sight, but did not attempt to oppose the landing of the Spaniards. The troops advanced into a close country, which the Algerines had occupi|ed in small parties. The light infantry and grenadiers of the Spaniards were soon repulsed, and the whole body fell into confusion. In a very short time they fled, leaving behind them a great number of killed and wounded. Part of a second body of troops, who were just land|ed, added to the general confusion. A third body had cast up an entrenchment on shore, for the protection of the army. The Africans attacked it, but were driven back, with great laughter on both sides. The Algemines attack|ed them a second time, driving before them vast numbers of camels which served to shield them in some measure from the balls of the Spaniards. They advanced in this manner within a short distance of the Spanish forces, when a sharp engagement took place which con|tinued about half an hour, the Spaniards were then put to flight, leaving behind them fifteen pieces of cannon, three howitzers, and all their dead and wounded, the latter were all put to the sword, and the head of every Spaniard, whether dead or alive,) was struck off—The Dey having offered a reward of ten Sequins for each head that should be brought him. The Spanish accounts allow their loss to be no Page 118 more than five hundred and seventy one men killed. The Algerines state the loss of the Spa|niards, to be nine thousand five hundred and seven, and their own at about one thousand two hundred. This latter statement is per|haps nigher the truth than the former, by rea|son of the Algerines being screened in a consi|erable degree from the fire of their enemy, by the camels, whom they drove in front. The real amount of the loss on either side is very diffi|cult to determine, but one circumstance is ev|ident, that the bones of several thousand Spa|niards are laying above ground to this day, in the valley where they were slain, they not being allowed a burial by the Algerines.
CHAPTER VI. Occurrences during my captivity—A Courier ar|rives from Alicant, sent by Col. Humphreys—The Dey refuses to treat with him, or to release the American slaves—A prize arrives, and proves to be the brig Minerva, of New-York, Joseph, In|graham, master—Receive a valuable allowance from the United States, by way of the Sweedish Consul—Several Americans attacked with the small pox—City alarmed with the plague—car|ries off several Americans—A Dutch admiral ar|rives, effects a peace with the Regency, and ran|soms Page 119 all the Dutch captives, in their possession—Al|gerines capture 200 Corsicans, they are redeemed—letter from American Captives to Col. Hum|phreys—his answer—Reports favourable to peace—Messrs. Humphreys and Donaldson arrive at Gibralter—The latter arrives at Alicant—sends a courier for, and obtains permission to come to Al|giers to conclude a peace with the Dey.—Mr. Donaldson arrives at Algiers, concludes a peace—Release of the captives not to take place until the ransom money is paid—prisoners minds agitated with hope, fear and suspence—Joel Barlow ar|rives as Consul General of the United States, for the city and kingdom of Algiers—The Ransom money procured and paid—The captives leave Al|giers.
NOTHING of any great mo|ment happened after the second of November 1793, (to which date I have already given an account) until the eleventh, when a courier ar|rived from Alicant, in Spain, sent by Col. Hum|phreys, the Ambassador from the United States for Algiers, to obtain the Deys permission for him to come to Algiers, and make a peace with the regency. The Dey answered, that "he would not receive him, either to make peace nor to redeem the American Slaves, that he had been soliciting the American government, to send an ambassador to make a peace with the Regency for three years before successively, that they had treated his propositions with Page 120 neglect and indifference; that as he had a truce with the Dutch and Portuguese; and had cap|tured ten sail of American vessels, and had a fair prospect of capturing many more, he would not make a peace with them—that he made the truce with Portugal, for the purpose of having the straits open for his vessels to cruize in the Atlantic, for capturing American vessels—that he could not be at peace with all nations at once."
At this dreadful news, we despaired of ever tasting the sweets of liberty again. Here we expected to end our days in the most laborious slavery, pregnant with unutterable distress, in whose presence reigns eternal horrors, and meagre famine leads its doleful train; where subjection adds to the weight of each curst load, and the pain of the vassal is doubled, it spreads a gloom over the sprightly face of nature, and dooms every pleasure to the grave. Behold here the humane benevolent man; the respect|able citizen, and affectionate parent—he who vindicated the sacred cause of liberty, and ador|ned society by inflexible honor. Behold him cruelly rent from the embraces of a beloved wife—from the arms of his infants—from eve|ry object beneath the circling rays of the sun, that could afford a gleam of momentary joy, and consigned to chains and misery! See him groaning under the burden imposed on him; and still bearing a heavier weight within. He silently wipes away the involuntary tear which rolls down his emaciated cheek, and struggles Page 121 to suppress the rising sigh. Follow him when evening approaches, into his destined dungeon. Observe the settled melancholy which preys upon his haggared countenance—Restless and forlorn, when he lays himself down to sleep, thought presents to his tortured imagination the happy moments of love and liberty! He now gives free scope to his grief, and bewails his cruel destiny, the briny torrent gushes un|restrained from his eyes, and moistens the stones on which his emacitated body is stretch|ed.—He exclaims, "O! happy, thrice happy days of former prosperity—my eyes behold no more the ineffable smiles of friendship or the en|dearing face of love! All nature is a vale of horror—a howling waste, and life has become a burden. Oh! my dear children—my dear wife, those former happy days are gone forev|er." Overwhelmed with heart rending an|guish, the stupor of insensibility affords him a momentary alleviation.
On the 29th, a prize arrived, and she prov|ed to be the brig Minerva of New York, load|ed with wine, oil, fruit and marble, command|ed by Joseph Ingraham, from Leghorn, bound to America. She was captured by the Alge|rines, on the 25th, within seven or eight miles of Cape St. Sebastian. When the captors ar|rived they brought the crew of the said brig. Seven more were now added to our number to participate in our distress, and partake with us the horrors of unspeakable slavery, and be|moan the loss of the blessing of liberty, drag|ing Page 122 out an unwelcome existence of a slave, on Barbary's hostile coast, and to be persecuted by the hands of merciless Mahometans, confined in dark and unwholesome dungeons, and loa|ded with galling irons, whose unrelenting task|master raises the bloody scourge, and exalts the engine of inhuman barbarity. Vain and fruit|less are our incessant supplications, our cries are lost in air, and resignation is our only an|tidote. Our accumulated wretchedness far surpasses the power of description, bereft of every dawn of consolation, filled with excruci|ating woe, we tremble, faint, and sink under the pressure of affliction. The most striking portrait, though exhibited by the pencil of a Hogarth, however affecting to the imagination, fal's infinitely short of the reality.
On the 23d of December, we were inform|ed by Mr. Skjolderbrand, the Sweedish Consul, that we were allowed a valuable supply from the United States; and that he had that day re|ceived orders and money, to pay each captain, belonging to the United States of America, eight Spanish dollars per month; each mate, six, and all the rest three dollars each. Our country also furnished us with a sufficient quantity of cloathing, decent and comforta|ble. This was happy news for us; for from the time of our being captured, to this day, we had been dragging out a miserable existence, scarce worth possessing, with no kind of sub|sistance except bread and vinegar, and water to drink. This generosity of the United S. Page 123 to us their enslaved countrymen was of inesti|mable value. It was more precious for being unexpected. No nation of Christendom had ever done the like for their subjects in our sit|uation.
The Republican government of the United States have set an example of humanity to all the governments of the world. Our relief was matter of admiration to merciless Barbarians. They viewed the American character from this time in the most exalted light. They ex|claimed, that, "Though we were slaves we were gentlemen," that "the American people must be the best in the world to be so humane and generous to their countrymen in slavery." The goodness of my country I shall never forget. Our money would now enable us to purchase some kind of provision, that we might have something to eat at night, when we went to the Bagnio, that gloomy mansion of horror and despair. But these avaricious sons of rapine and plunder, would endeavor to extort this little relief out of our hands; and as they were not allowed to take it by force, they would endeavour to get it by fraud. For when we were in the Bagnio, and wished to buy any kind of provi|sion, (as we were not allowed to go out after we had entered) these fraudulent wretches, would gladly go and purchase them for us (on condition of being well paid for their trouble) and they would tell us they gave double what they really did give. In this manner they cheated us out of one half our money. This Page 124 supply was allowed us until the day of our li|beration, with the addition of three quarters of a dollar per Month, for the seamen, the officers being allowed the same they were at first, with no addition.
Soon after receiving the above mentioned sup|ply, and a letter from Col. David Humphreys, informing the American Captains of his arrang|ments, they wrote him the following letter..
Algiers,29th December, 1793.
WE the subscribers, in behalf of ourselves, and brother-sufferers, at present cap|tives, in this city of human misery, return you our sincere thanks, for your communications of the 29th ult. and for the provision you have been pleased to allow us, in order to alleviate somewhat our sufferings in our present situation.
We have drawn up and signed two petitions one to the Senate, and the other to the House of Representatives, and we shall esteem it, a|mong the many favors you have rendered us, that you will please to forward these petitions to their respective address, so that no time may be lost, but that they may be laid before the Representatives of our country, hoping that the United States, will fully provide funds for extricating us from captivity, and restore us to our Country, families, friends, & connections.
We have perused with sentiments of satis|faction and approbation, your memorial to the Regency of Algiers, and have to observe, that Page 125 its contents fully coincide with our sentiments on this business, which we trust, in the Al|mighty God, will terminate to the honor and interest of our common country, notwith|standing the insinuations, of those in this quar|ter to the prejudice of the United States.
We trust, and hope, that the United States will adopt such effectual plans, in order to pre|vent any more of our brethren, sharing our unhappy fate, which unavoidably must happen if some speedy and decisive means are not im|mediately put in execution; as we understand the Portuguese truce, with this regency was a|greed on for one year.
What damps our spirits in some degree, is, that we are informed, that the plague, that fatal and tremendous disorder, has given its awful alarm in the country adjacent. And as your unfortunate countrymen are confined during the night time, in the slave prisons, with six hundred captives of other nations, in each prison, from our crowded situation, we must be exposed to this contagious disorder; which necessitates the subscribers, to intreat you, sir, that in this case, those our friends, and of influence in this Regency, will be authorized by you, and our honoured country|men, Mr. Carmichael, and Mr. Short, to have a house taken for the residence of the Ameri|can masters and mates, and, if possible, the mariners, to shield them from the threatening storm of mortality and danger.
Page 126 We make no doubt, but in case of the Al|mighty's wrath, visiting this city of iniquity, but the Dey and Regency, would acquiese to the proposed plan of humanity, which would be establishing an example for the general well|fare of mankind—and would to posterity be recorded to the immortal honor of the United States.
At the same time, honored sir, and friend, be you assured, for your consolation, that we the American captives, in this city of bondage, will bear our sufferings with fortitude and re|signation, as becoming a race of men endowed with superior souls in adversity.
We are much indebted to Mr. Skjoldebrand and brother, his Swedish Majesty's agents, in this city, for their humanity, and attention to the American captives; and feel ourselves par|ticularly obliged to you for recommending us to the good offices of Consuls, Skjoldebrand, and Mace, whom you mention to us as friends.
With sentiments of gratitude and the most profound respect, we remain,
your most obedient most humble servants. Signed by the Captains, in behalf of ourselves, and brother-sufferers.
To DAVID HUMPHREYS, ESQ.
Page 127 About the first of February 1794, a courier arrived from Alicant and brought the follow|ing answer.
Madrid,January 12 th 1794.
I HAVE been favored by the re|ceipt of your joint letter, dated the 29th of December, and, as I am about to set out im|mediately for Lisbon, I shall be able to do little more than assure you that your memorials to Senate and House of Representatives of the United States shall be forwarded to them in the earliest and safest manner, possible. Having communicated to Messrs. Carmichael, and Short, your apprehension that the plague may again be introduced to Algiers, from the adja|cent countries, where it is already said to pre|vail; we have not hesitated to concur with you in sentiment, that in case of that dreadful event, it might be useful for you to have a house hired in the country; in order to en|deavour, by all human precautions, to prevent your falling victims to that terrible disorder. Where upon Mr. Robert Montgomery, Consul of the United States, at Alicant, has been em|powered, in case that dreadful event should should happen, to furnish sufficient money to pay for the hire of a house, in the manner and for the purpose you propose. This provision|al arrangement to continue in force, until Mr. Montgomery shall receive ulterior instructions from the Government of the United States, for continuing or suspending the same.
Page 128 I entreat you will be persuaded, my dear and unfortunate countrymen, that I receive with great satisfaction the marks of your approba|tion, of the honest, but ineffectual efforts I have made in your favour. Would to heaven, they had been as successful, as they were disinterest|ed and sincere.
I have only to repeat, that you may at all times, and on all occasions, count upon the sympathetic regard,
your real friend, and affectionate fellow citizen. D. HUMPHREYS.
P. S. Though I have repeatedly remarked, that it may perhaps, (for particular reasons) be inexpedient for me to keep up a regular cor|respondence with you: yet it is proper I should add, that I shall always be glad to hear from you; and that it may be particularly interest|ing to the government of our country, to re|ceive at the earliest possible period, all intelli|gence of importance. I shall therefore always be ready to communicate such intelligence, un|til some nearer, and better channel of commu|nication can be established.
This letter was accompanied by another from Mr. Montgomery, authorising the Swedish Con|sul, to make the before-mentioned proposal to the Dey, and to offer payment to the Regency, for the time of all Americans, that the Dey Page 129 would be pleased to let go, to any garden, or house, to reside until this dreadful storm of mortality should be over.
Accordingly when the plague spread its a|larm in the city, Mr. Skjoldebrand went to the Dey with this proposal, to which the execra|ble son of Ishmael replied in words to this purpose, "Does the American Government suppose, I am going to do my work myself, when I have so many slaves; or do they think to make an Ass of me, by hiring my slaves, to live in idleness. No while they have life, they shall work, and if they die with the plague, it will be my loss, not theirs!"
About the first of February, 1794, several Americans were attacked with the small pox. Of this epidemical disease, four of my country|men died in the course of the month, as fol|lows, Samuel Milborne, chief mate of the ship Minerva, belonging to Philadelphia, Richard Wood, mate of the brig Olive Branch of Ports|mouth (N. H.) John Mott, mariner, of the for|mer vessel, and Thomas Furnace, Cabin boy, of the latter. A short time after, the city was alarmed with the plague. This fatal and con|tagious, disorder, carried off many Americans, whom I shall name, in the list of Americans, (captured by the Algerines) in the latter part of this book. About the last of april, a Dutch Ad|miral arrived in the bay, with four sail of the line, and two frigates, and in a few days effect|ed a peace with the Regency. He ransomed all the Dutch captives, which the Algerines, had in their possession. It being an old custom a|mong Page 130 the Algerines, when they make a peace with any Christian nation, to oblige that nation to ransom the Dey's chief servant, and the sweeper of his palace, should they be of a dif|ferent nation, from the captives liberated.—Accordingly, when the Dutch ransomed their captives, they also ransomed one Philip Sloan, an American, who was captured in the year '75 on board the Ship Dolphin of Philadelphia; commanded by Richard O'Brien, he being at this time the sweeper of the palace.
In the month of September, '94, the Alge|rines captured two hundred and one Corsicans. The manner of capturing them was somewhat singular. The Corsicans, while they were un|der the government of France, had licence from the Dey of Algiers, to fish for Coral on the coast of Africa, from the bay of Bona, to the I|sland Gallette. They having now surrendered the Island of Corsica * to the English, they sup|posed they still enjoyed the same privelege.—Accordingly they equipped about 30 boats for this purpose. They sailed under the convoy of an armed brig. Having been a few days upon the coast, a French cruising frigate cap|tured their convoy, and several, of their boats. The rest sought refuge in the harbor of Bona. The Alcaid, (or Mayor of the town) not know|ing Page 131 their flag, (which is a white field with a Moors head in the centre,) and thinking this too delicious a morsel to pass unnoticed, consi|ned them all in the Mortimore or dungeon, and secured their boats. He then sent and in|formed the Dey of Algiers, what he had done, asking his orders concerning them. The Dey being always willing to catch at every opportu|nity of plundering, and thinking this too valu|able a gem to escape his predatory rapine, he commanded them all to be brought to Algiers, and made slaves, which was accordingly done. They remained in captivity until the month of March '96. And were then ransomed by the English, at the rate of 1,200, dollars each: And the English made the following addition to their former Treaty. The Algerines may carry their prizes into Corsica, and sell them publicly. Every month a packet shall carry letters from and to Corsica, to and from Al|giers. The English shall take nothing which they find on board the Algerine vessels, and if any difficulties, shall arise, the Dey shall decide upon it. The Dey (for the stipulated sum of 1,200 dollars each) grants liberty to all slaves now in his possession who were born in the I|sland of Corsica, and permits the Corsicans to fish for Coral upon the coasts of Barbary.
On the 24th of April '95, we had the satis|faction of being deprived of the most Tyrannic guardian, or task-master, we ever had during my captivity. He was know by the name of Sherief. This cruel villain never appeared to be Page 132 be in his element, except when he was cruelly punishing some Christian captives. On the day before mentioned; he with another task|master being sent with twenty slaves, to re|move a pile of boards, which was in a maga|zine, upon the walls of the city, and he having beat several slaves, unmercifully without any provocation; an American exclaimed (in the English language, which the Turk did not un|derstand,) "God grant you may die, the first time you offer to abuse another man." A few minutes afterwards, as a slave was going upon some plank, which was laid from the first wall to the second, having his load upon his back. Sherief thinking he did not proceed as fast as he might, ran and endeavoring to strike him, missed his stroke; his stick gave him such a sudden jirk, that he fell from the planks, be|tween the walls, and was dashed to pieces.—Thus ended the days of a godless wretch, ap|parently in a moment, swept away by the de|vout breath of a suffering Christian; to the great joy and satisfaction of all the slaves be|longing to the regency.
On the 28th of August, an English privateer Xebec, belonging to Gibralter was cruising on the coast, off Oran, and being in want of pro|visions sent her boat on shore, to purchase some; As soon as the boat landed, the barba|rians demanded of the officer, his passport for the vessel, and being told it was on board, they sent off a boat, and very politely invited the Captain, to enter the port, with his vessel, and Page 133 purchase, what he stood in need of. He ac|cordingly went in and brought his vessel to an anchor. No sooner was this done than they demanded of him, his passport, which was im|mediately produced. On examining it, they found it was for a square rigged vessel, and his privateer being a Xebec, it excited suspicion. They therefore, confined the captain and crew, and sent them in irons to Algiers. The Dey on seeing the passport, declared the vessel and crew to be Genoese, with false papers, he ac|cordingly condemned them as such. They re|mained eight months, in captivity, and were then liberated by the British government.
We heard many encouraging reports, dur|ing our captivity, but none proved to be fact, until the month of July 1795, when a vessel arrived from Gibralter, and brought us the joyful news, that David Humphreys, Esq. and Joseph Donaldson, Jun. Esq. had arrived at that place, from America, a few days previous to her sailing, and that Mr. Donaldson was desti|ned for Algiers, to effect a peace between the Regency, and the United States of America.—This news was confirmed about the tenth of August, when a Spanish courier arrived from Alicant, with a letter from Mr. Donaldson, (who was then at that place) directed to the Dey of Algiers, the contents of which was to obtain the Dey's permission for him to come and conclude a peace between the two nations. The Dey at this time being very anxious, to have an American Ambassador come, and ne|gociate Page 134 with him for a peace, and the redemp|tion of the captives, and wishing to have af|fairs amicably settled between him and the U|nited States, he chartered a Ragusean polacre, and sent her to Alicant, to bring Mr. Donald|son to Algiers. She sailed on the eleventh of August, and when she had been fourteen or sixteen days absent, and not hearing any thing from her, our spirits were very much damped, fearing some mishap had befallen her; as eight or ten days is sufficient to perform this voyage with a common chance of winds. We how|ever, feared the worst and hoped for the best, until the joyful day at last arrived. Thursday, the 3d of September, 1795, the wind being a|bout W. b. S. at nine A. M. saw a sail from the marine bearing N. b. W. standing directly for the harbour. At eleven, A. M. we could discern that she had a white flag at her fore|top-gallant-mast head, the American flag at the main, and the Ragusean flag over her stern.—This being a flag of truce, and denoting the American ambassador was on board. Such transports is were raised in our hearts at this moment (with the anticipation of approaching Liberty) are conceivable, but far transcends the power of description. At 3 P. M. she be|ing within one mile of the mole, the harbour|master went on board with permission from the Dey, for Mr. Donaldson to land when he tho't proper. At 4 he landed, and was conducted by some of the chief men of the place, to a ve|ry Page 135 elegant house, which the Dey had provided for him, previous to his arrival.
It now being too late for him to see the Dey that night, he was obliged to refer the negociation till Saturday. Friday the 4th be|ing the Mahometan Sabbath, he could not do any kind of business with the Dey. The sus|pence, the hope, fear, and agitation we suffer|ed this day, may be conceived, but not descri|bed. An ambassador to redeem us had arrived. What would be his success we knew not—a whole day was passing away and nothing done. Never was there a longer, more tedious day in the annals of slavery—Again we must repair to our mansion of misery, and in suspence wear out a night of sleepless anxiety.
Saturday, the 5th about 11 A. M. Mr. Do|naldson was invited into the Dey's presence.—Accordingly he went and about twelve o'clock a peace was concluded. The American flag was then hoisted on board the Ragusean pola|cre, and the banner of the United States was saluted from the castles of Fenelle and Corda|lares, with the thunders of twenty one can|non. Sounds more ravishing never vibrated in the air; our hearts hearts were joy. We imagined ourselves already free men. In idea, our chains were falling off, & our task-masters no longer at liberty to torture us. In imagi|nation we were already traversing the ocean; hailing our native shore; embracing our pa|rents, our children and our wives. This de|lirium of joy was of short duration; like a Page 136 dazzling meteor in a dark night, which blazes for a moment, making succeeding darkness more dreadful; our enchanting hopes left us to despondency, horrible beyond description. In about five hours we were informed that the cup of our sufferings was not yet drained;—that we could not be released till our ransom was paid! Never was there a more sudden or affecting change in the countenances and con|versations of men. Instead of sprightly looks, cheerful congratulations and sanguine anticipa|tions of finished bliss; there was nothing but faces of sadness and the most gloomy silence, interrupted only with sounds of complaint, or sighs of dispair. "Not released till our ran|som is paid!" How long, said we, may our country neglect us? How many fatalities be|fall our redemption on its passage! How many disappointments may yet occur! How long may our chains and torments be continued!
After we had done work that evening and retired to our gloomy Bagnio; I was infor|med, by the Dey's Christian Clerk, that my|self, Abiel Willis, and Thomas Billings, must immediately repair to the ambassador's house! he accordingly procured permission from the keeper of the prison, to let us pass out. On our arrival at Mr. Donaldson's house, he in|formed us that the Dey had granted him three captives, as servants to him, and that he was under an obligation to pay a certain sum to the Regency for our labour, that he was likewise responsible for our good behaviour, and hoped Page 137 we should behave ourselves accordingly. We remained with him and Mr. Barlow, in the ca|pacity of servants., from this day, until the day of our liberation. This was a great favour, conferred on us, for now we were exempted from the labour and torture of these execrable task masters, but still we were slaves. Disguise thyself as thou wilt, still, slavery, thou art a bitter draught.
On Friday the 11th, Captain O'Brien, was liberated by Mr. Donaldson, and dispatched by him from Algiers, on board a Spanish vessel, with dispatches for Mr. Humphreys, who was at this time in Lisbon. We had information, about five weeks afterwards, that Capt O'Bri|en arrived at Malaga, after a passage of seven days, and that he took passage from thence for Lisbon, by land. This again revived our hopes, and every vessel that appeared in sight, we con|jectured, was bringing the money for our re|demption. But what perturbations we suffer|ed, during this period, is far beyond my pow|ers of description. Month after month, was passing away, and vessel after vessel arriving, but no tidings of our manumission. In this most gloomy situation we worried out four long months, an had almost despaired of ev|er being released, and were beginning to be|lieve that all we had heard or seen, was a phan|tom, intended only to illure our hopes, and then leave us in immense embarrassments, as an Ignis satuus doth the heedless traveller. About Page 138 the middle of January 1796, Mr. Donaldson informed us, that he had received letters from Mr. Humphreys, and expected the money for our redemption would be in Algiers, within ten or twelve days. This in some measure al|leviated our drooping spirits; however, we were still fearful, least the Dey should take um|brage at such long delays, and order Mr. Do|naldson away, break the truce, & recommence hostilities. Should this happen we knew our awful destiny, which would be to spend our days in slavery.
In this suspence we continued until the mid|dle of March, and no money arrived, when (O! horrible tidings) we understood that the Dey had got impatient with the delay of the money, and had ordered Mr. Donaldson to leave the place, and declared he would send out his corsairs and bring in every American vessel they met with, and that he would never make a peace with the United States, during his reign. Now again we were despondent, and not without a reason. Consider reader, what must have been our feelings at this time. For me to attempt, to describe them, would be endeavouring to effect an impossibility. I therefore leave the reader to judge from his own breast, what terrible convulsions must have been raised in ours, at this dilemma; after so many enchanting hopes, had appeared, that we should be left to this despondency.
On the 21st of March, a brig arrived in the bay, with the American colours over her stern, Page 139 and she proved to be the Sally of Philadelphia, commanded by—March, from Marseilles. She brought as a passenger Joel Barlow, Esq. Consul General of the United States of Ame|rica, for the city and kingdom of Algiers. The Dey gave him liberty to land, as a private gen|tlemen, but not to perform the functions of his office. This worthy gentleman, whose com|passionate services for his distressed country|men, can never be estimated too highly, nor praised too much, gave us all the encourage|ment he could; assuring us, he would never quit Algiers, and leave us in slavery. While we were in this suspence, we received the fol|lowing letter from Col. David Humphreys, Esq. who likewise faithfully did for us all that could be done.
Copy, Lisbon,Feb. 16, 1796.
My dear Fellow-Citizens,
THE object of this letter is to as|sure you, that you are neither forgotten or neglected by your country. I have written to his Excellency the Dey, by this conveyance, stating truly the inevitable obstacles which have retarded the completion of our arrange|ments with the Regency until this period; and which may, perhaps, still protract the de|lay for a considerable time to come. I have also written explanatory letters, in a copious manner, on the subject, to Messrs. Barlow Page 140 (who I hope will soon be in Algiers) Donald|son, Cathcart, &c.
Impossibilities cannot be effected; But what|ever is in its nature practicable, will be done in your behalf.
Let me therefore, my dear Countrymen, once more (and God grant it may be the last time, I may have occasion to do it;) exhort you to be of good courage, to exert all your fortitude, to have a little more patience, to hope always for the best, and to be persuaded that every thing is doing and shall be done, which the nature of the circumstances will ad|mit, for your relief.
In all events, be assured of my persevering efforts in your favour, and of the sincere at|tachments and regard, with which I shall ever remain,
My Dear Countrymen,
Your obedient humble servant D. Humphreys.
A few days afterwards, Mr. Barlow, (thro' the intercession of the Sweedish Consul, and some of the principal officers of the Regency, who had great influence with the Dey.) ob|tained permission to see this despotic Algerine prince; with whom he made new arrange|ments, and obtained a further indulgence of three months to procure the money in. Our hopes were again revived with these new ne|gociations, and we meditated a possibility of Page 141 his obtaining it, before the time specified should expire.
About the first of April, Mr. Donaldson sailed from Algiers destined for Leghorn, on board a Venetian ship, and we were informed that his mission, was to procure the money for our redemption. At the time of his depar|ture, the Plague that fatal epidemical disorder, had spread its alarm in the country adjacent. And which soon made its appearance (for the second time, during my captivity) in the city, and which put a period to the existence of ma|ny of my fellow-countrymen, * when they were expecting every day to be called free men.
The long and tedious days passed, as they had done before, with the expectation of Li|berty, in every coming sail. But (O! hor|rible to relate) at length the time specified was expired and no money had arrived, and we ex|pected every moment to hear the awful sen|tence, of Slavery for life, passed upon us.—What else could we expect or even hope from a ferocious absolute Monarch, like Hassan Ba|shaw, ‡ one of the genuine children of Ishmael, whose "hands was against every man, and e|very man's hand against him." But instead of the terrible sentence of continued slavery, the next sound which echoed in our ears, was the joyful news, of approaching Liberty. For Page 142(the ever be praised) Mr. Barlow, on seeing the time, wherein the money was to be produced, was already passed, and neither tidings, nor money appeared, and being fearful least the Dey, should be again exasperated with its de|lay, he used his utmost efforts to procure it in Algiers. He accordingly abtained a promise from Mr. Machio Baccri, (who was a Jew be|longing to the Regency) that he would ad|vance him, one hundred and eighty thousand dollars, in the course of three of four days, which was just the sum required for the Re|demption of the American captives. The Dey (on being informed of this by Mr. Bar|low) at first refused to let us go, because the money to pay for the peace had not arrived, however he at last consented to take it, and set us at liberty. On the 5th of July, we were informed by a letter from Mr. Barlow that we might expect to be at liberty within three or four days. But advised us not to put too much dependence, for says he, "the heart of your Pharoah may be again hardened." He however assured us that he had no doubt but we should be free men within three days: for as the Dey had agreed to accept the money, it should be paid as soon as it could be counted. This filled our hearts with joy, and we imagin|ed ourselves the happiest people in the world. For a long period we had been suffering the most inhuman slavery; loaded with almost an insupportable weight of chains, and were now expecting to enjoy Liberty; the greatest bless|ing Page 143 human beings ever possessed. And our ex|pectations at this time were not visionary nor unfounded, as had so often been the case with us before, for it proved to be a happy reality. What a joyful night was this. We passed it with praises to our kind deliverer. And san|guine anticipations of ensuing freedom. Our stoney floors on which we laid, were apparent|ly softer than beds of down. The chains on our legs were seemingly of on weight. Our cruel task-masters now looked on us, with smiling countenances, and congratulated us, on our good fortune, in the following singular manner: "Sanzafidas droak imche il blaedic, ila kelp ou Romi." Which in English is thus, "you unbelievers, now your are going to the country of Christian dogs."
On the 10th at day break in the morning, all hands were called as usual. And a few minutes before the time, that the doors are o|pened for the slaves to go out to work; we were notified by the Bagnio-keeper, that all the people taken under the American flag must stay in the Bagnio, and hold themselves in rea|diness to go to the Dey's palace, and receive our tiscaras, or pass-ports from the Dey; and that we should be embarked the next morning. However it so happened, that the Dey could not attend, to give us our tiscaras that night, though he received the money. This long and tedious night was spent, in anxious expec|tation of hearing the sweet sound of Liberty echo in our ears, on the approaching morning. Page 144 And O! glorious event, this was the ultimate night we ever spent, in that gloomy dungeon, that horrible mansion of wretchedness and misery.
On the 11th we were again notified by the Bagnio Keeper, that we must be ready to go to the Dey's palace, for our pass-port. A short time after the slaves of other nations had gone out to work we were all called out of the Bag|nio, into the street, where we were received by the Dey's chief clerk, who conducted us to the palace, and there each man received his tis|cara from the Dey. The sweeper of the palace at this time, being a Venetian, he was liberated according to custom. At 9 o'clock, A. M. we all embarked on board a ship, belonging to Mr. Machio Baccri. This vessel had formerly been an English transport (the Bridget of London) had been captured by the French Republicans, and brought into Algiers, and there condemned. On board of this ship were also forty eight Neapolitans, who had been ransomed a few days before us. Oh! what a glorious sight, now could we behold the stripes and stars fly|ing with honor, where they had so often been hoisted with contempt. Every tongue was ut|tering, long live the humane benevolent Barlow.—O! Happy day, O! Happy day.
While we (Americans) were enjoying the fruits of this happy event, there was nothing to be heard, from the slaves of other nations, but the most bitter curses heaped upon their governments, and Sovereigns. They being Page 145 chiefly of the Roman Catholic Religion, are taught, that they are the only true Christians, and having now seen the Dutch, and Ameri|cans liberated, and they neglected, it exaspera|ted them to such a degree, that they would ex|claim in the most violent language against their Priests, Sovereigns, and religion. "Why," said they, "are we, who are true Christians, un|noticed, by our country and suffered to remain here in slavery, while the Protestants, (who are no more than degenerated christians) are daily emancipated, and are not suffered to wear the yoke of slavery." They would say to each other, "Behold what examples of hu|manity, are now set by the Protestants, and how little they are noticed by the Roman Ca|tholic governments." These and similar ex|pressions, were in the mouths of every slave, whom we left behind.
On the 12th we received the provision on board, and got the ship ready for sea. On this day Joseph Rogers, belonging to Salisbu|ry, on Merimack river, paid the great debt of Page 146 nature. He was attacked with the plague on the 10th and remained in the hospital on shore.
On the 13th at 5 A. M. we got under way and stood to sea, at 7 A. M. we found a Neo|politan below sick with the plague, we then tacked and stood into the bay again, and made signals for the harbour master to come on board. He boarded us at nine and took the sick man on shore; we then tack'd and stood to sea again with a fresh breeze from the east|ward, destined for Leghorn. At 4 P. M. to our great joy and satisfaction, we lost sight of the Barbary shore.
On the 14th, another Neapolitan was at|tacked with the plague, and died on the 16th. On the 15th, Captain Samuel E. Baily, was attacked with the plague. Finding the plague beginning to rage on board the ship, we direc|ted our course for Marseilles, * this being the nearest port in the Mediterranean, wherein we should be permitted to perform quarantine, with this contagious disorder on board. On the 17th Capt. Bailey died, whom we committed to his watery grave in as decent a manner as our pre|sent situation would admit. On the 20th, we ar|rived Page 147 at Marseilles. On the 22d, all hands, except twelve, who remained on board to take care of the ship, went on shore to the Lazaretto, where we performed a quarantime of eighty Days, and nothing particular happened during our residence here. We were supplied with provisions by the American Consul.
On the 7th of October, we were visited ear|ly in the morning, by several Doctors, who finding us all in good health, ordered us to be smoaked at the smoke house, and then gave us Praddick. At 9, A. M. we were conducted by a company of the city guards to the house of Stephen Catherlan, Jun. Esq. Vice Consul of the United States of America for the city of Marseilles; he provided lodging and provisions for us all.
On the 8th, I shipped myself in the capacity of first mate on board the ship Fortune of Phi|ladelphia, commanded by Michael Smith. This is the ship which brought us from Algiers, and during our quarantine, she was purchased by Mr. Donaldson, who gave her the name of For|tune, he being at this time in Leghorn. On the 13th of November, a Sweedish ship sailed from Marscilles, bound to Philadelphia, and carried as passengers all the Americans, (late prisoners in Algiers) except those who tarried on board the Fortune.
On the 17th November we sailed from Mar|seilles, bound to Bona, (in the state of Algiers) where we arrived after a passage of twenty days, which brought it to the 7th of December.— Page 148 Bona is supposed to be the same place with the ancient Hippo, a sea port, built by the ancients. It was formerly the metropolis of the province of Bona. It lies on a bay of the Mediterrane|an sea, in lat. 36, 45 N. and 7, 53 east long. a|bout two hundred and eighty miles to the eastward of the city of Algiers, and about fifty seven miles S. W. from the Island Gallette.—Near Bona, is La Callee, which is at present oc|cuped by the French, who pay an annual tri|bute to the Dey of Algiers for the privilege of the coral fishery. In this place is a French factory, where the Moors and Arabs dispose of their produce. Bona is about two miles in circumference; it was formerly a magnificent city, but at present is a town of very little im|portance, and of slender population. It is de|pended by a fortress, and a garrison of Turks, and what is sufficient to ascertain the depth of its wretchedness, (as well as in all other parts of the territory) is, that a Turk is the most respectable character among them. In this part of the world, elegant architecture, has for many years, been utterly forgotten or despised. The buildings are therefore very mean, and are exposed to the incursions of the Arabs—The name of these people is used in a very in|determinate manner. Although Algiers is at a very long distance from Arabia, yet as this part of Africa was formerly subdued by the Arabians, under the banner of Mahomet, the name is still applied to a race of dark complec|tioned, independent Barbarians, who spread Page 149 about the country in devious routs, unite the double profession of a shepherd and a robber. Bona is computed to contain about nine thou|sand inhabitants, who are composed of the pos|terity of many different nations. It has their mosques, which are somewhat larger than the other buildings, though these are by no means magnificent. It is commanded by an Alcaid who pays an annual tribute to the Dey of Al|giers, in wheat, butter, honey, and oil. The former grandeur of this city, is now only to be traced in the remains, and ruins of an an|cient monastery. Near the river Sef Gomar, & not far from Constantina * is an ancient and noble bridge; which is built across a valley. This bridge has five arches, and extends from one mountain to another. There is not the least appearance of any river ever having been under it, and it is supposed it was built mere|to gratify the curiosity of some ancient prince, or king who commanded in those parts in for|mer days, but no history gives any account of its founder. Near this is a very large subter|raneous aqueduct, which terminates in a cas|cade. It is reported that state criminals are sometimes precipitated down this place, and are dashed to pieces upon the rocks at the bottom.
On the 21st of December we began to take on board our cargo, and finished loading on the 15th of January '97, and sailed for Mar|seiles on the 17th.
Page 150 On the 24th, being in lat. 37, 26, N. & long 6, 56, E. was boarded by his Britannic Majes|ty's ship Pallas, treated politely and permitted to proceed on our voyage.
February 5th, at 6, A. M. Marseilles light house bore N. N. E. about nine leagues dist|ant, wind N. N. W. we were standing in for the land, on our larboard tack, and soon dis|covered two ships between us and the land stand|ing directly for us, we continued on our course till we came within hail of them, who ordered us to heave too, which being done, they board|ed us, and enquired from whence we came, and where bound, and informed us, that, they were his Britannic Majesty's ships, Inconstant and Blanche. Captain Smith, was then ordered to go on board the Inconstant, with his papers, which he accordingly did, & after a strict exa|mination they manned our ship, from the In|constant, and took Captain Smith, the second mate, and all our seamen, on board the frigate, and kept them upon prisoners allowance. Being left on board the Fortune, I did not want for provisions, and was treated very politely by the prize-master and crew. We were then order|ed for adjudication, to Porto Ferrajo, in the tin the Island of Elba. On the 15th in the morning we saw the Islands of Corsica, Gor|gona and Elba and having a fresh breeze from the westward, we anchored in Porto Ferrajo, at 5, P. M.
On the 16th we were all sent on shore, not even being allowed to remain on board the Page 151 or frigate, except we would enter into his Bri|tannic Majesty's service. This was done by the British commander, in order to reduce us to necessity, as all 〈◊〉 of provisions were ve|ry high here and knowing we could not sub|sist long without money, he expected we should be glad to accept his proposals, but finding none of us would enter, he impressed George Tilley on board the Inconstant, under pretence of his being an Englishman;—on the 19th Richard Hales, Matthew Johnson, and William Lackey entered on board the Union, a British transport. The rest of us being determined not to enter in the British service, we procur|ed a passage for Leghorn. Having been rob|bed of the greatest part of our cloaths and all our money by the captors, we found it very difficult to subsist untill the vessel was ready to sail, as one meal of victuals could not be pur|chased here for less than eighty cents.
The Island of Elba lies in the Mediterrane|an sea, about twelve leagues, W. S. W. from Piombino a small port in the kingdom of Na|ples, it lies in forty two degrees & forty eight minutes, north latitude, and nine degrees, & fifty minutes east longitude. The western part of it is governed by the Grand Duke of Tus|cany, and the eastern part by the king of Na|ples. It has several small ports, but its capital is Porto Ferrajo. This place is very strongly fortified, and a large garrison of soldiers are continually kept here by the Grand Duke.—To this place he sends the chief of the malefac|tors, Page 152 who are condemned to slavery, and keeps them constantly employed in fortifying the place, and cleaning the harbour. Those who are condemned for life, are dressed entirely in yellow, and those for a certain specified time, are obliged to wear all red. This is the mark by which they may be distinguished. They are kept constantly chained, and draw the same allowance of provisions as the Tuscan soldiers. The fight of such a number of mis|erable wretches, doomed to perpetual slavery, was really affecting.
When the French took possession of Leghorn, which is the capital sea-port of Tuscany, and obliged the English to flee, the latter by way of retaliation, took possession of Porto Ferrajo, into which place they carried, and condemned their prizes at this time, but returned it to the Grand Duke about the beginning of May, '97. Page 153 We sailed for Leghorn on the 23d, and arrived on the 24th, and were kept in quarantine un|til the 5th of March, on which day Captain Smith arrived from Porto Ferrajo. The reason of our being put into quarantine at this time was on account of our having come from Barbary, as there is a law among all Christian nations, who border on the Mediterranean;—that when any vessel arrives in their ports, the commander of such vessel must shew his bill of health, and affirm that his vessel has not been boarded by any vessel of war or any vessel whatever, having come from Barbary, before he can get permission to go on shore. If his vessel has been boarded by any of the above mentioned vessels, or his last port was one of those of Barbary, he and his vessel are obliged to ride a quarantine. And as the last port we sailed from, in the Fortune, was Bona, before we were taken by the English, we were liable to this quarantine, but the English command|er, on his arrival at Porto Ferrajo, went im|mediately on shore without having obtained permission, in consequence of which the whole Island was put into quarantine, and any boat, vessel, or person, going from this Island while it was under this restriction, were obliged to perform their quarantine in the port where they arrived.
On the 10th, Captain Smith sailed from Marseilles, on board a polacre belonging to Genoa, taking with him all the remainder of the Fortune's crew, except myself and Moses Page 154 Brown: Brown, at this time being sick in the hospital, was not able to proceed; but soon af|ter recovered his health and went to Marseilles by land; from whence he took passage for Philadelphia, on board a brig belonging to that place. On the 15th Mr. Donaldson, (who was the American Ambassador at this time in the Mediterranean) informed me that he was going to Porto Ferrajo, and wished to have me accompany him, as his chief business was, to endeavour to recover the ship Fortune. I ac|cordingly waited till he was ready to go. On the 19th Mr. Donaldson told me he should be ready to go the next morning, and desired that I would take a boat, and five men, (which he had procured) and proceed to Piombino a small port in the dominions of the King of Na|ples, and there wait his arrival, as he intended to go to that place by land, in order to settle some business, at Pisa, * and Lucea, both of which lay in his way to Piombino. Accor|dingly the next morning, which was the 20th I sailed, and having a fresh breeze from the N. W. I arrived at Barato, the same evening. On the 21st I sailed from Barato, and arrived at Page 155 Piombino the same afternoon. Mr. Donald|son arrived on the 22d, and we sailed for Porto Ferrajo, early the next morning, where we arrived the same evening, the distance being but twelve leagues. On the 24th, we sailed again for Leghorn; the next day, the wind being contrary, and blowing a very fresh breeze we deemed it not safe to continue at sea in an open boat, and therefore run into St. Vincen|chi, a small town in Tuscany. On the 26th, the wind being in our favour, we sailed at 4 A. M. and arrived at Leghorn at 6 o'clock, in the afternoon. My whole time was now em|ployed, in seeking for a passage to my native country, and having nothing to depend on for my subsistence, but the few cloaths, which the English had been pleased to let me keep, as they did not think them worth taking from me; the greatest part of which I was obliged to sell to purchase me something to eat. My case was now become truly distressing, and how long it would remain so, I knew not, for as the French had possession of the place, all bu|siness was entirely stagnated, except privateer|ing, and where to go, to better myself I was at a loss, as I was informed every day by the pack|ets which arrived, that no American vessels, were in any of the ports of Italy.
While waiting for a passage I will endeavor to give the Reader a short description of Leg|horn. This city is the ancient Portus Libur|nus, belonging to the Grand Duke of Tuscany is not remarkably large, but is regularly built, Page 156 and is in the modern taste. It is well fortified. It contains about 40,000 inhabitants 20,000 of whom are Jews. The most of the trade passes through their hands. It is a free port, which makes the trade here very considerable, con|sequently a great resort for Merchants of all nations. It has a secure harbor but is apt to be choaked up, so that the Grand Duke's slaves are employed in clearing it. The Marshes about the place are filled with the sand which they take out of the harbor, by which means the city is render|ed more healthful than usual. Foreigners pay only a piastres, or scuds, for a bale of goods of what bulk or quality soever it be, yet the quantity of Merchandize imported is so large, that this small duty is no small revenue to the Duke. But the inland duties are very high, nothing passing in or out of Leghorn by land, but the inhabitants pay large taxes. For the convenience of navigation, there is a light|house lanthorn, with 30 lamps, erected on a rock without the harbor. And on the shore a lazaretto, where suspected persons, or goods, must perform quarantine. Here all nations, and even the Mahometans, have free access, and may settle. The Jews live in a particular part of the city, have a handsome synagogue, and though subject to very heavy imposts, are in a thriving condition.
I remained in this situation until the 1st of April, when I had information of a Danish brig, (then laying in the harbour) being bound to America, I immediately went on board, and Page 157 asked the Captain where he was bound, he told me to Boston, I asked him if he would give me a passage for my work, he said he had men enough, and could not give any one a passage; but if I would pay him an hundred dollars he would carry me, to this proposal I readily ob|jected, as I was not the owner of that number of pence; at last he told me if I would do a sea|man's duty, on the passage, and give him an obligation to pay him forty dollars on our ar|rival, he would take me on board. I told him I would give him an answer at twelve o'clock. I then went on shore, and as I was walking up the mole, I met a gentleman who asked me what countryman I was? I told him I was an American. He then asked me several ques|tions, and enquired if I belonged to any vessel in the harbour, and after having received my answers, he told me he had chartered a Ra|gusean polacre, and intended to send her to Philadelphia, and that if I would go in her, I should have a passage, which I readily accep|ted, and returned him my sincere thanks;—he then told me I might embark the next day, which I accordingly did.
At twelve o'clock, I went according to my promise, on board the Dane, and informed him that I had got a passage to America on board the polacre, at which he appeared to be much dissatisfied, and offered me a passage for my work, but I told him I had engaged to go in the other vessel, and intended to fulfill my Page 158 promise, we then parted, and I left him much displeased, at my not accepting his last offer. At the same time that he told me he had men enough, he wanted one man to make up his ship's company, and was obliged to hire one next day; but knowing my situation, and thinking I should be glad to work and pay both, for my passage, he endeavoured to take this advantage.
On the 2d of April I embarked in the quality of a passenger, on board the Madona del rosario esan vineenzo feraro of Ragusa, which was the polacre before mentioned, bound to Phila|delphia. We sailed on the 4th, and on the 11th, was taken by a Spanish privateer and carried into Barcelona, was cleared on the 12th and sailed again, and on the 20th was captured by a French privateer, and carried in|to Almeria, treated politely and cleared on the 22d, and sailed. On the 29th, the wind hav|ing been contrary for several days, we run in|to Malaga, where we waited for a fair wind until the 21st of May. We then sailed, and on the 22d was boarded by his Britannic Ma|jesty's ship Petterel, treated very well and per|mitted to proceed on our voyage.
On the 23d, at 6, A. M. was boarded by two Spanish privateers, (Gibraltar then bearing W. N. W. about three leagues distant) and carri|ed into Ceuta, a small port on the coast of Bar|bary, at present occupied by the Spaniards, and having struck one of the privateersmen with a sword, and wounded him on the arm, was Page 159 put into a dungeon, ironed hands and feet, where I was kept about an hour and an half, and then let out. The vessel was cleared the same evening, and we sailed for Philadelphia.
On the 28th, being in lat. 31. 54. N. and long. 17. 25. W. was boarded by a Spanish privateer, of 14 guns, and robbed of a quanti|ty of provisions, and the greatest part of our cloathes, and then permitted to proceed. On the 1st of July was boarded by his Britanic Majesty's ship Woolwich, mounting fifty guns. This ship had taken twenty five sail of Ameri|can vessels under her convoy, from the Islands of Grenada, and Antigua, and had left them the day before she fell in with us. After hav|ing examined our papers, they permitted us to proceed on our voyage. Being very short of provisions, we endeavoured to get some from on board the Woolwich, but could not be supplied, she being as short as ourselves.—On the 24th, latt. 38. 20. N. and long. 74. 10. W. spoke the brig Jefferson, from St. Croix bound to Philadelphia, from whom we got a supply of provisions, having been about forty days upon less than one biscuit per day, with nothing else except oil, and wine.
On the 25th, at 4 A. M. saw Cape May bear|ing W. b. N. about 6 leagues distant. At 11 took on board a pilot, and stood in for the land, wind N. W. on the 28th arrived at Phi|ladelphia, where I had the happiness of meet|ing several persons, who had been companions in my misery at Algiers, I also met with Moses Page 160 Brown, whom I left at Leghorn. I remained here (being indisposed) until the 11th of Au|gust. I then sailed in the quality of a passen|ger on board the schooner Jay, belonging to Edgartown (on the Island of Martha's Vine|yard) commanded by David Smith, bound to Boston, where we arrived on the 17th. On the 23d I took passage for Newburyport, and arrived the same evening, where I had the inexpressible happiness of being restored to my friends, and native place, after an absence of four years and one month, and after having endured the severest of hardships. Thus out of nine persons who left Baltimore on board the Brig Polly, sour only returned, as follows: Michael Smith, Benjamin Edwards, Moses Brown, and myself, the rest all died with the plague.