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ENTERING the Mediterranean sea through the straits of Gibraltar, the first land on the right is the empire of Moroc60, the most powerful and populous of those states which have generally been denominated the Barbary powers. This empire extends, on the Atlantic ocean, from Cape Noon to Cape Spartel, and thence up the Mediterranean until it touches the territory of Algiers. Morocco is governed by an emperor, who reigns in all the severity of eastern despotism, that is to say, with a complete disposal of the lives and properties of his subjects. As the representative of the frophet, or head of the Mahometan faith in his empire, his will is supposed to be that of the prophet whom he represents; as sole interpreter of the Koran, wbich is not only the religious but the political guide of the Musselman, in all his civil relations, he governs without control. The effects of this per
VOL. VII. No. 38.
fect union of church and state were never more completely exemplified than in the empire of Morocco, where a late learned and casuistical einperor, by an ingenious interpretation of a passage of the Koran, assumed the privilege of becoming the sole and universal legatee of all his subjects. This privilege is still exercised at the will of the reigning monarch, who can at pleasure take possession of the proper. ty of every deceased person, in despite of the will of the dead, or the rights of the living. To this present time it not unfrequently happens, that estates are thus sequestrated by the emperor, who either allows the heirs a stipend out of what belongs to them, or, more frequently dispossesses then entirely.
The climate, the soil, and productions of Morocco are among the finest and richest in the world, and from its extent, its fertility, the number of its inhabitants, which is nearly fifteen millions, and its advantageous situation, bounding on two oceans, Morocco would claim the distinction of a first rate power, were it not oppressed by a system of government calculated to depress the hụman mind, and destroy the activity of the body, by rendering the acquisition of knowledge, as well as of riches, dangerous to the possessor.
At the northernmost extremity of this empire, is mount Atlas, which, it is said, gave name to the Atlantic ocean, but which is called by the Moors, who are best entitled to give it a name, Jibbel d' Zatute, or Apes Hill, It is nearly opposite to Gibraltar rock, and these two constituted the famous pil. lars of Hercules, celebrated as the boundaries of his labours. It was here that, after severing these two mountains with his single arm, and thus forcing a communication between the Atlantic and the Mediterranean seas, that Hercules ended his labours, as well he might, for it would seem that the force of fiction could carry him no farther.
The present empire of Morocco, it is supposed, formed a part of the Roman province of Mauritania, celebrated by the Roman geographers, historians, and poets, as a country where every production of nature was more excellent, and in greater abundance, than in any other portion of the earth. It afterwards, on the destruction of the eastern empire, was overrun by the khalifs, successors of Mahomet, under whom the Moors, the name given to the descendants of the Arabs and Negroes, forming the mass of the population of the Barbary states, achieved the conquest of Spain. From Spain they were expelled, with circumstances of barbarity which, co-operating with the difference in religion, a fruitful source of human antipathies, probably caused that rooted hatred and contempt with which tbey have ever since been animated towards the Christians.
Soon after the establishment of the independence of the United States of America, the government turned its attention to the security of commerce in the Mediterranean, and a treaty was concluded on the 28th of June 1786, which established the most amicable relations between the two nations. This treaty was limited in its duration to fifty years, and a mutual good understanding has subsisted ever since, (with the exception of one trifling interruption,) although it contained no stipulation for the payment of tribute on the part of the United States.
Continuing up the Mediterranean, the next in order of the Barbary states is Algiers, which is four hundred and sixty miles in length, and from forty to one hundred in breadth. Algiers formed, like Morocco, a part of ancient Mauritania; and, on the decline of the Roman empire, fell into the hands of the Greeks, who, in the beginning of the seventh century, were expelled by the Saracens. After various revolutions, in which, though the tyrant was changed, the people ever remained slaves, Algiers became tributary to Spain, from whose domination it was freed by the renowned Aruch Barbarossa, who, being invited to the assistance of the Algerines, drove out the Spaniards, and, according to the custom on such occasions, occupied the government himself. 'Barbarossa, in order to sustain his usurpation, acknowledged allegiance to the grand signior, and this was continued by his successors, who were generally sent from Constantinople, until the beginning of the seventeenth century, when, on the representation of the people of Algiers, permission was given by the Porte 'to elect a bey, who was to pay a tribute, acknowledge the customary allegiance, and govern with the consent of his divan, or council of military officers.
Algiers has become, in effect, a military government, the bey being deposed and elected by the officers of the janizaries, without even the formality of applying to the grand signior, and the only trace of dependance is exhibited in an annual present of a few fine boys to the successor of Mahomet. The consequence of this system of military election is, that the oppression of the people, who have no voice in the state, remains the same under every change, and that the violence of the soldiery, and the tyranny of their creature, has no restraint whatever, except the boundaries of their vices and their wants. One tyrant may be brought to the bowstring, another raised to the throne, without the people either know, ing or caring about the matter.
The city of Algiers derives its name from the Arabic word Algesair, or the island, there having been once an island fronting the city, which is now joined to the main land. It is built on the side of a hill, and is said to appear to navigators in the form of a ship's topsail, the tops of the houses being all flat and white. Algiers is supposed to contain one hundred thousand inhabitants, principally Mahometans.
Tunis is divided from the territory of Algiers by the river Zaine, and is about three hundred miles in length. It followcd the fortunes of its neighbours, having successively formed a part of the empire of Rome, of the Saracens, and of the Turks. Its government is now, in almost all respects, similar to that of Algiers, and the same consequences result from it.' The city of Tunis is built on the north point of the gulf of Goletta, about eight miles from the site of ancient Carthage, of which nothing now remains but a few vestiges that indicate nothing of its former grandeur. Its rival, Rome, still exists; but in its present state almost creates a doubt in the mind, which of the two offers to its contemplation the most affecting reverses. Of Carthage nothing remains but the place she occupies in history-of Rome nothing but what. presents an affecting contrast to her ancient glory. Carthage is destroyed, and her race is no more; or, if they exist, exist under another name, and there is nothing of her now but what is great—the memory and the record of her former power. Rome still remains, and thousands of curious travellers, who have read of her universal empire, her mighty senate, her uncircumscribed emperors, and her invincible people, resort thither to see a city so famous for arts, arms, and literature. They behold St. Peter's exhibiting, indeed, a splendid contrast to the massy and noble remains of Roman grandeur, yet not so great a contrast as is presented by the present race of Romans to the sturdy, inflexible, unconquerable plebeian of the days of Coriolanus, who must be asked for his suffrage before he would give it, even to the saviour of Rome. They see a wretched pageant arrogating to himself little less than omnipotence, yet the mere puppet of those very princes whose predecessors formerly held his stirrups; a government of monks, an aristocracy of princes, living in splendid marble palaces, claiming a descent from the Cæsarstyrants of the people, and slaves to the priesthood, and a miserable populace, surrounding the traveller in multitudes, and quarrelling, like curs, for the very bones that are thrown into the streets. Surely Carthage was more fortunate than her rival; for it is better to perish with the regrets of mankind than to survive as objects of their derision and contempt.