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DESCRIPTION OF ALGIERS.
[See reference to the Engraving.) THERE perhaps is no problem in history so unaccountable as the decadence of the splendour, power, and glory of the states of Barbary, which, when Rome was mistress of the world, formed the fairest jewels in the imperial diadem. It was not till the seventh century that, after these estates had been by turns in possession of the Vandals and the Greek Emperors, the Califfs or Saracens of Bagdat conquered them, and from thence became masters of alınost all Spain, from whence their posterity was totally driven about the year 1492, when the exiles settled among their friends and countrymen on the Barbary coast. This naturally begot a perpetual war between them and the Spaniards, who pressed thein so hard, that they called to their assistance the two famous brothers Barbarossa, who were admirals of the Turkish fleet, and who after breaking the Spanish yoke, imposed upon the inhabitants of all those states (excepting Morocco)
Some attempts were made by the Emperor Charles V. to reduce Algiers and Tunis, but they were unsuccessful; and as is well known, the inhabitants have in fact shaken off the Turkish yoke likewise.
It is very remarkable, that though the Carthaginians, who inhabit this very country of Barbary, had greater fleets, and more extensive cominerce than any other nation, or than all the people upon the face of the earth, when that state flourished, the present inhabitants have scarce any merchant ships belonging to them, nor indeed any other than what Sallee, Algiers, Tunis, and Tripoli fit out for piracy ; which are but few and small, and some years ago did not exceed six ships from 36 to 50 guns. The Admiral's ship belonging to the government, the other Captains are appointed by private owners, but subject to military law.
With such a contemptible fleet, these infidels not only harrass the nations of Europe, but oblige them to pay a kind of tribute by way of presents.
Algiers, formerly a kingdom, is bounded on the North by the Mediteranean Sea; on the East, by Tunis ; on the West, by Morocco; and on the South, by Mount Atlas, and the Desart of Sahara. According to Dr. Shawe, who resided twelve years at Algiers, in quality of Chaplain to the British Factory, it extends about four hundred and eighty miles from East to West, and varies from forty to one hundred in breadth froin North to South. It is governed by an absolute monarch, called a Dey, who is always chosen from the Janizaries, or Turkish troops, and is nominally subject to the Porte, though he pays no other tribute than certain rich presents annually.- There is a Dowanne, or Council, composed of the principal officers, both civil and military'; but though still formally convened, they are so much under the influence of the Dey, that the whole power may be said to be lodged in him.-The lowest soldier, though taken but yesterday from the plough, having an equal right to the sovereignty with the highest, may be considered as Heir Apparent to the throne ; and with this further advantage, that he lies under no necessity to wait till sickness or old age have removed the present ruler. It is enough that he can protect himself with the same scymitar which he has had the hardiness to sheath in the breast of his predecessor. In consequence of this, scarce one in ten of the late Deys has had the good fortune to die in his bed. The predecessor of the present monarch was only chosen pro tempore, till a better man could be found ; but it being the cruel policy of that country that no one who has once sat on the throne, can afterwards descend into the ranks, no sooner was the election settled, than the unhappy proxy was strangled. The income of the Dey is about £.150,000 a year.
The City of Algiers, which the Turks dignify with the title of “The WARLIKE,” is built on the declivity of a steep bill by the sea-side, rising in the form of an amphitheatre, one street above another. The houses are white, and the roofs being all flat, have a singular appearance from the sea.--All the streets are narrow but one, which is the market for corn and other commodities, and contains the principal shops. It is surrounded by a wall thirty feet high, the southern side of which is adorned with men's heads, trophies of Algerine cruelty, flanked with towers, and defended by about one thousand pieces of ordnance of every calibre, three hundred of which are of brass.-The environs are eminently beautiful; the hills being ornamented with white country houses, which are sur. rounded by gardens, luxuriantly planted with fruit-trees and shrubs, watered by rivulets, and commanding fine prospects of the sea.-The city has five gates, which are shut at sun-set ;, and seven forts without the gates, well supplied with great guns.
The chief supply of water (an important article in this sultry climate) is from a spring, conveyed by pipes to a great number of fountains, to each of which a bowl is fixed for the use of passengers, between whom a distinction always observed is, that à Turk is served first, and a Jew last. The Mosques are numerous; and besides three principal colleges, there are many inferior schools.-The circumference of the city is not above a mile and a half, although it is computed to contain one hundred thousand Mahometans, fifteen thousand Jews, and about two
thousand Christian-slaves; but no estimate can be formed as to the populousness of its territory.-The cassaubah, or citadel, is built upon the highest part of the city towards the S. W., and is of a octagonal figure, each of the sides in view having portholes or embrasures, defended with cannon. A ditch formerly surrounded the whole city on the land side, which at present is almost filled up, except at the west and south gates, and there it is of litile defence; but toward the sea it is better fortified, the embrasures in this direction being all employed, and the guns of brass, with their carriages and utensils in good order. Half a furlong to the W. S. W. of the harbour is the battery of Fisher's gate, or the gate of the Sea, which, consisting of a double row of cannon, commands the entrance into the port, and the road before it.--The battery of the Mole Gate upon the east : angle of the city, is mounted with long pieces of ordnance, one of which has seven cylinders, each of them three inches in diameter. At the entrance of the port, towards the mouth of the Mole, is a little tower, wherein a guard is kept, and in which, for the use of navigators, a great lanthorn is occasionally lighted. Eight Moors stand centinel along the Mole, and a dozen more lie at the entrance of it in a boat. On this Mole are sixty-six pieces of cannon, kept there only to commemorate a victory which they obtained in the year 1627 over the Bey of Tunis, when they became masters of these guns. The port is of an oblong figure, one hundred and thirty fathoms long, and eighty broad. The eastern mound, which was formerly the island that gave name to the city (Al Jezeire, signifying “ The Island,”) is well secured by several fortificatious. The Round Castle, built by the Spaniards while they were masters of the island, and the two remote batteries, are said to be bomb proof, and have each of them their lower embrasures mounted with thirtysix pounders; but the middle battery, which appears to be the oldest, is of the least defence. None of these fortifications are assisted either with mines or advanced works; nor can the soldiers who guard them be kept up to any regular discipline.
1. Custle of the Mole.
2. Entrance to the Harbour, 4. The Graves. 6. The Citadel,
ALEXANDER THE GREAT,
The reign of Darab the First was distinguished by several wars ; particularly one against Philip of Macedon, whom Persian