« НазадПродовжити »
Art. I.-1. Voyage dans la Régence d'Alger, ou Description du
pays occupé par l'Armée Française en Afrique. Par M. Rozet, Capitaine au Corps Royal d'Etat-Major, &c. &c.
Paris, Arthus Bertrand, 3 vols. 8vo. with atlas in folio. 2. Semilasso in Afrika. Aus den Papieren des Verstorbenen.
(Semilasso in Africa. From the Papers of the Deceased.)
By Prince Pückler-Muskau. Stuttgart, 1836, 5 vols. 12no. It is a thing not a little remarkable, that countries separated from each other by so short a distance of sea as the two coasts of the western part of the Mediterranean, should present so striking a contrast in the character and condition of their populations. On the one side, Spain, France, and Italy have, during ages, been distinguished by their high degree of civilization, while the natives of the opposite shores are, even now, only to be compared with the savages of central Africa. The southern parts of Africa have in fact been hitherto better known to lis, and more accessible to civilization, than the interior of Algiers. We may, perhaps, consider this as one of the numerous proofs of the demoralizing influence of unbounded despotism on the one hand, and of the beneficial effects of free and liberal institutions on the other. The occupation of Algiers by the French since 1830 will, even if it should have no other important consequences, at least have added to our geographical knowledge, and will enable us to become better acquainted with the manners and condition of the original tribes of this part of Africa.
Among the best books upon the “ regency,” which have appeared since its conquest, we must certainly reckon the three volumes of Captain Rozet, with their beautiful atlas of plates,-indeed it deserves to hold a distinguished place among the many excellent works of a similar class that have lately issued, and are still issuing, from the Parisian press. He enjoyed the occasions of collecting information and making observations on the manners and condition of the original inhabitants, which
VOL. XIX. NO, XXXVII.
are always attendant on a sudden and successful invasion, like that of Algiers, and which can occur but once. Captain Rozet was attached to the staff of the invading army, as “ ingénieurgéographe," and remained with it in Africa sixteen months, during which period he accompanied nearly all the military expeditions into the interior of the country. In addition to his own observations, he obtained much information from the natives, and particularly from an Algerine Jew named Salomon, who often accompanied him in his excursions. Salomon had travelled much in Barbary, spoke French extremely well, and a rare quality among the Israelites of Algiers- his word might safely be depended upon.
The regency of Algiers is formed by a long and comparatively narrow slip of coast territory, without any known accurate boundaries towards the interior of the continent, but rather losing itself among the mountains and towards the great deserts. We cannot give our readers a better idea of the general aspect of the country included within this slip of land, than by supposing him placed with Captain Rozet on the most elevated works of the Castle of the Emperor, about a mile to the south-west of Algiers. If he looks toward the south he will see a groupe of hills extending, in an undulated line, from E. N. E. to W.S. W.; beyond them he will perceive the vast plain of the Métidja, extending far beyond the reach of his view towards the east and west, but terminated towards the south by a lofty chain of mountains, whose direction is nearly parallel to that of the hills. This chain is the Lesser Atlas. If he then crosses the plain of the Métidja towards the south, and climbs to the summit of the aforesaid chain of mountains, he will see that their southern side is much more precipitate than the northern, and that beyond them a mass of hills extends on every side to a great distance, the horizon towards the south being bounded by a very elevated chain, resembling in form and nearly parallel to that on which he is standing : this elevated chain is the Greater Atlas. Towards the east, at a distance of about twenty-five leagues, is seen Mount Jurjura, a great, lofty, naked mass, apparently destitute of vegetation. To the south-west appears a series of very elevated summits: the most distant of these, which must be on the borders of Morocco, has the form of a sugar-loaf. Towards this point the two chains of the Atlas mountains converge. At Algiers and at Oran the chain of the Atlas is nearly equally distant—that is, about eight leagues.
Of this territory a very small portion has hitherto been occupied permanently by the French. In 1835, Prince Pückler Muskau describes them as being in actual possession of ter