Зображення сторінки

From Hogg's Weekly Instructor.


Every condition of society produces its rior is generally glorified and exalted, while remarkable men. The savage, who spends the savage orator is only esteemed so long his life in hunting wild beasts and in fighting as his tongue can be heard among his with his brother savage, whose knowledge of people. One other cause of the equal estithe arts scarcely extends beyond the manu mation in which a warrior is held both in facture of war-weapons, and whose civilization civilized and savage life is that, in these two has not even yet taught him what we esteem conditions of society, the warlike capacities to be the decencies of life, has his hero and are identical.

The most inhuman savage on beau ideal of manly virtue, just as the most the battle-field is morally on a par with the refined partisan has. In all the phases of most skilful and courageous general; so that social condition there have been men who Schamyl, who leads his dauntless Circassians may be termed the history-makers—men who against the Russians, or Tecumseh, who comhave stood out in bold relief from their fel- bined the Indian tribes against the United lows, and have rendered their nations famous States, or Abd-el-Kader, who led his Arab through their own individual activities. If hosts against the French, were and are all we look into humanity we will find that all equal in the high warlike attributes, and cernational fame has resulted from the acts of a tainly far more noble in purpose than the very small number of men in any nation, the so-called Christian generals with whom they spheres and degrees of fame increasing and have contended. extending, of course, as the sciences and arts Abd-el-Kader was the third son of an old multiply. In savage warlike nations, such | Arab merchant, whose tribe dwelt in the as the tribes of North America and those of plain of Ghris, to the south of Oran. The the Caucasus, oratory and physical daring ambition of the father, the genius of the son, are the two most famous attributes of a man; and the condition of the Arabs of the plain, indeed they are the only virtues of manhood combined to produce those circumstances that are regarded as worthy of cultivation which have rendered the young emir illustriand distinction by primitive nations. Oratory ous. The old marabout's ambition is said to and military skill also maintain a high state have been stimulated by prophetic assurances of distinction in the most civilized states; but that his would become a most exalted and they are not the only elements of distinction, famous family. The courage, firmness and for famous mechanicians and artists are es intellectual energy of Abd-el-Kader pointed teemed worthy of great honor amongst those him out as the object through which his who cultivate the arts of peace, and who have house was to become great among the tribes, risen from that abnormal condition called while the tyranny of the Turks, and the growsavage life, in which the animal nature re-ing discontent of the Arabs whom they ceives its fullest development, to that higher oppressed, pointed to the means by which state of intellectual existence called civiliza this greatness should come.

Abd-el-Kader tion.

was, from his infancy, carefully educated in Primitive nations can only produce two all the Mussulman superstitions, and he early sorts of great men, then—their orators and discovered that thoughtful and solitary auswarriors. The fame of the former is never terity so much esteemed as an evidence of likely to extend beyond his tribe ; that of the sanctity among the Orientals. In addition latter may extend over a wide circle, and to his religious fervor, he was early remarkcome down to a distant posterity. Oratory able for an enthusiastic patriotism ; and only operates upon the kindred council; war although small and apparently weakly in form, is a scourge that the stranger feels, and of was distinguished above all his compeers for course remembers ; so that the savage war- | physical strength and endurance, and the

ease with which he could manage the most as they acted without concert and individual fiery steed. Although withheld by religious direction, they were repulsed with great loss. considerations from rebelling against the This repulse produced the necessity which Turkish oppressors of his country, he was was to constitute Abd-el-Kader sultan. soon brought into collision with them. No On the 27th of September, 1832, a great devout Mussulman who is able to make the council was held at Ersebia, in the plain of pilgrimage to Mecca neglects to do so once Ghris, the leading member of which was the in his life; so that the young chief and his old marabout. He presented gifts to all the father, when the former was not yet twenty chiefs, impressed them individually with the years of age, set out to visit the tomb of the necessity of choosing a sultan, and then, risProphet, intending to embark from Oran, and ing, he addressed the council upon the necesproceed by sea. They were seized and in-sity of the true believers combining to rescue sulted by the bey of Oran, and only escaped their brethren from the yoke of the Christians. from being sacrificed to his vengeful fears by He painted the future condition of the Arabs the coolness and courage of the young chief. of the plain in the most fearful colors, and so Mahhi Eldin, the father of Abd-el-Kader, and operated by his eloquence upon the leaders the young man, visited the east, and remain of the tribes that they unanimously named ed there two years, not only visiting mosques him sultan. The politic old marabout declinand tombs of saints, but studying poli- ed this position, however, pleading his age as tics. The character, designs, and political an excuse for his refusal, but he named his sagacity of Mehemet Ali are said to have third son, Abd-el-Kader, as worthy of the greatly influenced the young Arab; and his honor, saying, “ If I propose him in prefersuccess in rendering his pachalic so formidable ence to his brothers, it is because I know him as a warlike power, and at the same time so to be more capable ; he is their superior in consolidated as a nation, operated much to knowledge, education, skill in arms, and direct his ambition. With the experience vigor of mind; and although his body is deduced from travel and observation, the small and apparently weak, it contains a large aged marabout and his son returned home to soul and an iron will. He is active, cool, reflect upon the condition of their nation, and and indefatigable, full of ardent love for his to watch in their tents an opportunity of country, and of zeal for our religion.” The shaking off the intolerable tyranny of the chiefs hesitated to accept one so young,

howanarchical military power which sold the ever, even after this recommendation, but pachalics of Algiers, Oran, and the other superstition completed what policy had beprovinces, to the highest bidders, and, like gun. An aged chief suddenly declared that the Roman prætorian guard, deposed their it had been revealed in a vision to him that pachas at will

, while they ground and op- Abd-el-Kader should be sultan ; and, as the pressed the Arabs by a system of brigandage. old man was held in high esteem for courage

The conquest of Algiers by the French and probity, the nomination of the young chief considerably modified the designs of Abd-el- was accepted with loud acclamations. Mahhi Kader's father, but it hastened the event Eldin, laying hands upon Abd-el-Kader, which had been so long looked for. Mussul- cried aloud, “Behold your emir!” and the man might not with consistency raise the chiefs hastening towards him, threw themsword against Mussulman, and for this rea selves at his feet in token of submission. son had they borne so long; but now when From 1832 until 1847, Abd-el-Kader mainthe Frank had come to conquer their land tained one of the most unequal and remarkaand to triumph over their co-religionists, it ble strifes that are upon record. Sometimes, behoved all true Mahommedans to rally round at the head of hosts of well-appointed warthe crescent, and drive the French from riors, he met and routed the bravest and most Africa. The Turkish beys were no longer skilful soldiers of France; and at other times, able to oppress the Arabs, and these latter had with a broken and scanty following, he has refused submission to them; but at the same eluded the closest pursuit.

In all his daring time the father of Abd-el-Kader went about and dangerous enterprises, he was accompafrom tribe to tribe urging them to combine nied by his mother, wife, and children; and in one grand confederation, to choose a sultan although foiled by his European foeman, deor supreme chief, and to prepare for a holy serted by his army, and reduced to the lowwar in defence of their religion. The repre- est condition that a warrior chief could be sentations and appeals of the old chief were reduced, he always preserved those so dear successful, and an immense host of Arabs to him safely about his person. He has been met, and attacked the French at Oran, but, hunted like a wild beast for years past, and

his subjugation and death have been predicted | tribes, he hastened to summon them to his times without number, but he again and again standard, and in five days had twenty thoure-appeared upon the stage of action, visiting sand men at his back, mounted, equipped and with a terrible vengeance the armies that ready for the fray. The young emir did not have seized upon the country of his birth. allow time for their courage to cool, but im

Abd-el-Kader is now about forty years of mediately led them before Oran. Mahhi age. His countenance is characterized by a Eldin, with Ben Thami, his son-in-law, and gentle, half-sorrowful expression, which im- Sidi Haly, the brother of Abd-el-Kader, acpresses one with the idea that his predomi- companied him on this expedition, Sidi Haly nant sentiment is a religious one. His person acting as his lieutenant. Abd-el-Kader's nahas something of the ascetic about it, and re tive power was fortified by that of the Emcalls the appearance of those monks of old peror of Morocco, whom he had the policy who ever preferred the tumult of the camp to to acknowledge as his sovereign, and who the tranquillity of the cloister. His Arab encouraged him in his expeditions against the costume, too, which is longish in form, con

French. luces to render his resemblance to the monks The cities of Madeah and Miliana, in the altogether very striking. Abd-el-Kader's Barbary States, were held in the name of the brow is large ; his face is oval in form, little, Emperor of Morocco at the French invasion, and very pale. His eyes are black, soft

, and and several places were still in the hands of extremely beautiful ; they are deep sunk, and the Turks, while the Moors and Koulouglis (or generally cast down, but their quick and in- Turkish militia) held some provinces in concessant motion offers a striking contrast to junction; among others Kemeen, Mostaganene, the habitual immobility of his other features. and Coleah, the three principal divisions His beard is black, thick, and short. He has of the province of Constantine. Oran alone upon his forehead, between his eyes, a little was in the hands of the French, and against blue tattooed mark peculiar to his tribe. It this city Abd-el Kader led bis forces. He atis in the form of a lozenge, and is perfectly tacked it with the greatest impetuosity. His visible. Abd-el-Kader is very small in stat own horse was slain under him, but his negro ure, but he is well proportioned. His shoul- slave, Ben Abon, immediately remounted ders are a little bent, however, but this is a him, and he dashed headlong once more to defect common to Arabs of low stature, in the attack. Driven back repeatedly by the consequence of their carrying their heads discharges of the French musketry, Abd-elmuch forward on horseback, and bearing Kader again and again rallied his men, and led heavy garments and shields on their backs them to the walls amidst showers of bullets. capable of resisting sabre strokes. His cloak, He manifested the coolest intrepidity and the according to the fashion of his country, is fast- most daring hardihood. His clothes were ened to the top of his head by a cord of riddled with balls, one of which slightly camel's hair. In his hands, which are finely wounded his right foot, but this he took care formed and very white, he always carries a to conceal, so that the belief of his invulnerachaplet, which he counts, as all Mussulmans bility was augmented, and his fame, instead do, when he repeats his prayers. In conver- of being compromised, was strengthened by sation he is very lively and easy ; his voice is his two successive defeats. In this affair at deep and monotonous, but his delivery is ex- Oran many Arabs and French were killed tremely rapid. He frequently repeats a and wounded,' and Abd-el-Kader had the phrase which is very common amongst the misfortune to see fall at his side his courageArabs, " In cha Allah,” which he contracts ous and gallant brother Haly, to whom his to “In ch' Alla (If it please God).” He is brother-in-law Ben Thami succeeded as lieusincerely and ardently pious; he is sober in tenant. his tastes, austere in his manners, simple in After the death of his son Haly, Mahhi his dress, and devotedly respected and be- Eldin, who was at the siege of Oran, did not loved by his soldiers, whose every fatigue he go forth any more to battle. After having shared, and to whom he gave an example of seen his son Abd-el-Kader proclaimed sulall the warlike virtues; and so fortunate has tan, he was satisfied, and remained at home he been in entirely escaping even from the in his tent for the remainder of his life. He most imminent of dangers, that the most su had accompanied the young emir at first, to perstitious of the Arabs believe him to be insure to him by his presence the submission invulnerable. Anxiously desirous to justify of his new subjects; his mission being acthe promises which his father had made of complished, he retired to his guatna, which him when he assumed the command of the was the centre of Abd-el-Kader's hereditary

kingdom, and dwelt thenceforth in the heart had proved false, and the whisper of treason of the tribe of Hachan, stimulating their had just begun to circulate through the ranks, devotion to their young chief. As the power when suddenly the advance-guard was atof the emir rapidly increased through the tacked by the cavalry of Abd-el-Kader

, and talents and influence of the old marabout the whole army was surrounded. The Arabs and his own transcendent genius, formidable rushed upon the French with great impeturivals presented themselves to dispute bis osity. The carriages, half-buried amongst authority. The beys of Constantine and of the mud, could not be removed, and the Titery had all along protested against the horses sank under their riders to the stirrups. pretensions of the young sultan, as well as Confined to a narrow space, and treading the invasion of the French. These powerful upon a loose bottom, the army seemed to be chiefs, divided amongst themselves from a confused mass of men and horses, which motives of personal ambition, now united, in the bullets of the Arabs incessantly mowed the hope of subduing Abd-el-Kader with down. The battle was fierce and bloody, the help of the French. But he had antici- and the French were at last broken, routed, pated them, by entering into a treaty of and obliged to retreat with great slaughter. peace with General Desmichels, who re- The Arabs, always ready to give up the chase jected the propositions of the bey's, and, in to pillage, ceased the pursuit, and the broken order to protect his new ally from their elements of the French army were collected treachery, advanced against them with his and re-formed, and began to retreat in order. army. During the continuance of this treaty, The flying host was still harassed by the Abd-el-Kader returned to the guatna, to horsemen of the desert, however, until it render the last tribute of filial affection to his took up a strong position for the night; but now aged and dying father, who, shortly when it began to move upon the morrow it after his return, expired.

was again furiously attacked. Twelve hunThe great influence and accumulating dred Frenchmen fell in that expedition, nearly power of Abd-el-Kader with his people be- the half of the whole army, and almost all gan to receive the attention of the French, their baggage fell into Abd-el-Kader's hands. until at last, in order to consummate a design This battle and defeat at Figuier decided of permanently occupying Algiers, it was the French government to send to Africa a determined to suppress the young emir, and large army and an energetic leader, in order disorganize his power. General Desmichels to contend with and crush the bold and able had entered into a treaty with the sultan, and emir. Marshal Clausel was intrusted with had recognized his sovereignty, as well as a the expedition upon account of his courage, definite territory, but the French soon found | firmness, and long acquaintance with the Afa pretext for breaking this treaty. Abd-el- rican mode of warfare ; and now it was that Kader had crossed the Cheliff, the boundary France began to develop her vast project of fixed in the treaty, and General Trezil, glad African dominion and colonization, by subof the pretext, collected his forces and led duing a country whose government she affectthem against the Arabs. With an army of ed to have merely gone to temporarily chastwo thousand five hundred men, Trezil march-tise. This old and experienced French soldier ed to the plain of Figuier, where Abd-el- found, however, that he had no ordinary foeKader had twice before fixed his camp. man to contend with in the

young emir. The Finding no Arabs here, he employed a de war which the French had begun with the serter from the emir's forces to lead him upon Dey of Algiers, ostensibly as a war of defence the enemy. The French set out at four against the piratical practices of that poteno'clock in the morning, with the hope of tate, was now by degrees extended and maintaking the emir by surprise and cutting his tained as a war of territorial acquisition, and army in pieces. They found themselves sud- treaties were made and broken with the young denly involved, however, in a swamp, where emir upon the merest pretences, if such suited their horses and baggage sunk so deep as to the purposes of the agents of French aggranthrow them into confusion, and where the dizement. The courage, the skill, the rapidfeet of the men and the wheels of the car-ity of his motions, and the suddenness and riages were obstructed by masses of rank constancy of his attacks, have conduced to herbage. After enduring much fatigue, the render the Algerine war to France one of the army at last passed through this swamp, and most expensive, deadly, and harassing in began to deploy leisurely upon a plain beyond which she ever engaged, and has exhibited it; and here it began to be supposed that her in the most heartless, cruel, and savage the guide, to whose fidelity they had trusted, aspect that ever civilized nation assumed.

She threw all the recognized chivalry of war wonderful illustration of the effects of an fare aside, and, trampling under foot all the idea, even upon the most darkened and creduse and wont of national contention, began to ulous of minds. Impressed with a belief of commit those awful wholesale massacres and his invulnerability and semi-divinity, hosts of burnings called razzias, the memory of which armed men flocked around the standard of will disgrace the name of Louis Philippe the young sultan, shaking their bright scimiamong civilized nations as long as the history tars on high and shouting their war-cries. of his reign remains. Men, women, and Living on parched barley and water, sleeping children were consigned to suffocation, and on rush mats, and sweltering in the rays of a flames, and the murderous steel, not because burning sun, they came to do the will of a they were active enemies of France, but supposed prophet, and they gave themselves because the armies of Abd-el-Kader were re- courageously and devotedly to the work. cruited from the dohairs in which they dwelt. Might not Christian men take from these darkA cruel, brutal war of extermination was be- ened savages an example of courage and gun, and those who could not conquer the earnestness, in exemplifying the faith of peace young emir of the Arabs by the sword, and love? The fakirs, or professors of divisought to destroy all his hopes and his power nation, in Ghris, still represent Abd-el-Kader by annihilating his people. If the object of as a second messenger of Allah, and his these razzias was the subjugation of Abd-el- mother Lella Zahara is held in great esteem Kader, they were successful. He who had as the woman announced in the Scriptures as refused to succumb to the French power suc- the mother of him who is to deliver the true cumbed to the tears and groans of his coun- believers from the power of the infidels. trymen. To save his people, Abd-el-Kader That Abd-el-Kader's mission is divine is a yielded, in 1847, to General Lamoriciere, general belief amongst the Arabs. They are under a solemn promise that he should be convinced that he exercises an authority imallowed to retire to Alexandria. That prom-mediately derived from God, and that no ise was broken in the most flagrant manner ; human power can subdue him. His mishaps the confiding chief was kept, in spite of his are viewed with a perfect indifference as petitions and entreaties, in a climate which regards his ultimate success. The loss of a affected his health; and he still remains a battle and the abandonment of his standard prisoner in the Castle of Paris. The Repub- by his friends are viewed as accidents from lic has granted some relaxation to the severity which he will rise more terrible than ever to of his confinement, but still it remains for crush his enemies. If Abd-el-Kader does them to deal justly with Abd-el-Kader. In not partake deeply of the general superstition, his captivity the Arab chief preserves all the he is perfectly subject to the fatalist belief, dignity that had characterized his freedom. and the desertion of his soldiers caused him The same patient submission to the will of no uneasiness. He speaks of his misfortunes Allah, and the same calm and heroic firm as inevitable. Treachery and defeat are unaness, sustains him in a French prison that had ble to shake his confidence. He yields to his raised him above personal submission, when fate without a murmur, assured that his day he was mounted on his Arab steed, on his of success will soon return. It seems now, native plain of Ghris. One noble attribute of however, as if the hopes of the emir were Abd-el-Kader's character is his humanity. completely extinguished, and that he has no He was never known voluntarily to consent other exercise for his faith save resignation. to the execution of a prisoner. He would op- Yet he supports bis misfortunes with a digpose the whole of his chiefs in divan when nity which preserves the consistency of his such a measure was proposed, and even sub- character and puts to shame the policy which mit to play upon their superstitious credulity would impose restrictions upon that liberty rather than allow the death of a man in cold which he voluntarily yielded upon a pledge blood. He has often saved the lives of those that it should to a certain extent be secured. who were in great jeopardy, from declaring Lella Kheira, the wife of Abd-el-Kader, that Muley (saint) Abd-el-Kader had, in a unlike her husband, is tall, and possessed of vision, denounced heavy misfortunes upon a noble carriage, while her features are rethe tribes if they slew the prisoners under markably beautiful, and her voice soft and trial ; and as Muley Abd-el-Kader's benevo- musical. Her costume is that of all Arab lent protection is supposed to be extended women ; but she generally wears a peculiar over Jew, Mussulman, and Christian, without cloak, made of red or blue cloth. In 1845 exception, the plea has often prevailed. she had had four children, two sons and two

The life of such a man as the emir is a daughters.

« НазадПродовжити »