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them had claims on the English protection. The Infidels would not permit him to enter either place. All I have told you, and ten times more, will be confirmed by your taking the trouble to inquire into it; and there are two gentlemen, who will attend in person, if it be necessary.' p. 8, 9.
Our own Consul, it seems, used all his influence to procure their release, but without effect; and Mr Croker tells us that his influence is greater than that of any other Consul, for it extends to being able to avoid insult to his person and house, and barely that. 'The Danish Consul was taken to the Bani, or Slave prison, and kept in irons until his government paid some tributary debt. The Swedes are compelled to furnish artists for their gunpowder works; and the Spanish Vice-Consul at Oran, our author himself saw working in heavy irons, with the other slaves. He adds, that he was told by a French shipbuilder, that he had been sent by his government to assist in building their navy; a charge against Buonaparte which, if true, throws many of his other enormities into the shade, and must for ever stop the mouths of his adherents in their invectives against England, for employing Blood-hounds in Jamaica, and Indians in North America. The last fact of this kind which we shall cite from Mr Croker is, that the captain and crew of a Gibraltar trader, English subjects, were in irons and slavery, while he was at Algiers, although our Consul had repeatedly offered the proofs of their belonging to his nation.
The following description of the treatment of the miserable slaves, is a more eloquent exhortation to adopt at length the policy which honour, as well as prudence dictates, than the most elaborate argument we could frame.
The bani, or bagnio, is in one of the narrow streets of Algiers, has nothing remarkable in its outside appearance; but, inside, it is the most remarkable house of misery imagination can conceive. On entering the gate, there is a small square yard for the slaves to walk about in; there they are, on every Friday, locked up, and, as they do not work on that day, they are allowed nothing but water from the Algerine government. We then ascended a stone stair-case, and, round the galleries, were rooms with naked earthen floors and damp stone walls. They have an iron grated window and a strong door; two of these rooms have, in each of them, twenty-four things, like cot frames, with twigs interwoven in the middle.These are hung up, one above another, round the room, and those slaves, who are able to pay for the luxury of such a bed, are alone admitted.
I am happy in wanting a comparison, in any part of the world where I have been, for this abominable prison, and those deadly cells; but, if they had a little more light, I think they would most
resemble a house where the negroes of the West India Islands keep their pigs. I must add, that the pestilential smell made Mr Stanburg so ill that he nearly fainted; and Doctor M'Connell and myself were not much less affected.
The food of the slaves consists of two black loaves of half a pound each, which are their daily bread; neither meat nor vegetables do they ever taste, those excepted who work at the Marino, who get ten olives per day with their bread, and others in the Spanish hospital, which the Spanish government to this day supports, as well perhaps as it is able. In visiting this hospital, the floors of which were covered with unhappy beings of every age and either sex, I saw some men who looked almost sixty, and some children who could not be more than eight years old; the whole of them had their legs swelled and cut in such a horrid manner, that we all thought they could not recover. There also we saw some young Sicilian girls, and some women. One poor woman burst into tears; told us that she was the mother of eight children, and desired us to look at six of them, who had been slaves with her for thirteen years. We left these scenes of horror, and, in going into the country, I met the slaves returning from their labour. The clang of the chains of those who were heavily ironed, called my attention to their extreme fatigue and dejection: they were attended by Infidels with large whips. p. 11-13.
The ravages of these detestable pirates are chiefly committed upon the vessels of the weaker powers, and upon the defenceless coasts of Sicily, Sardinia, Calabria, and the eastern side of Italy: but no ports of the Mediterranean shores, except France, are free from their incursions. When they venture to seize an English or French ship, they butcher the whole crew, to avoid the detection which must ensue from their prisoners being examined by the Consuls. But when they capture the vessels of weaker states, they lead the crews into the hopeless bondage which we have been contemplating, unless indeed that the late treaty with Naples and Sardinia, concluded under our sanction, must expose the crews of their ships to the same fate with those of England and France. But the worst vengeance of those Barbarians is reserved for the coasts. They land on any exposed point, and fall upon the defenceless houses and villages, burning and destroying every thing they cannot take away, and carrying off the whole inhabitants, even children at the breast. The terror in which those people live who are thus exposed, can hardly be imagined. There are whole ranges of coast where no house is to be seen from the sea; and, in many places, a Martello tower and ditch are regular parts of a nobleman's vilJa. The promise to clear the sea of the pirates, used to be one of the great engines of English influence in the Italian courts.
Our long forbearance has of laté mightily injured our character in those countries; and the treaty just now alluded to, and which formed the subject of Mr Brougham's motion, has still further contributed to place our conduct in a light disadvantageous to our reputation.
The treaties not having been laid before the public, it is impossible to state in detail what have been the proceedings of Government; but it was admitted in the late discussion, that our Admiral had assisted in concluding a bargain with the pirates, by which the Neapolitan slaves were ransomed at about fifty pounds a head, and the Sardinians at something less; and the piratical court stipulated, for a further yearly sum, to capture no vessels belonging to either of those two powers, without a regular declaration of war. Now, to what does the sanction, if not the actual negociation, of such treaties by England, amount? Most certainly to an indirect sanction of the outrages by which the wretched captives were taken; but if we admit that there was some inducement rather to negotiate than to compel their liberation, in order to avoid the risk they might have run of being massacred during our military operations against the Dey in their behalf, still the worst part of the arrangement remains undefended; it is a tacit permission given by England to whatever depredations the Barbarians may commit upon all the vessels and coasts not protected by the treaties; that is, upon every country which has not paid tribute for an exemption from lawless violence. In what other light can the affair be viewed by the rest of Europe? Is it not evident that every nation which continues subject to the piracies of the Corsairs, will charge us both with having left it unprotected, and with having authorized the claim of the robbers to obtain a price for their forbearance? But the robbers themselves will doubtless view it in the same light; they will act as if they had the countenance of the English government in their outrages, and will, at the very least, consider themselves as permitted by us to plunder every one who cannot or will not pay for their indemnity. We say, at the very least; for there is no reason to expect that these savage marauders will be satisfied with extending the arrangement recently made to all other nations. It is far more likely that they begrudge the loss of a part of their field of plunder, and will not consent to restrict it further. In all probability they have been induced to allow the limitation now imposed, as much for the sake of the authority which our interposition gives to their remaining depredations, as for the gain immediately derived from the bargain. At all events, there can be no doubt that, excluded from one part of the Mediter
ranean shores, they will concentrate their forces, and pour them upon the coasts which remain unprotected by any stipulation; so that the fair fields of Tuscany and the Roman territory will pay for the exemption purchased by Sardinia and Naples. This, at least, is the universal expectation in those countries; and the character of the English nation is lowered in their estimation accordingly. In the late discussion, a fact transpired which must excite the most bitter sentiments of shame in every lover of his country. Lord Cochrane stated, that he had himself, three or four years ago, the humiliating duty assigned to him, of carrying to the Dey of Algiers rich presents from our Government; and a rumour was mentioned as prevailing in the Mediterranean, that a letter had been written to that Chief pirate, by the highest authority in the country; nor was any contradiction whatever given by the ministers to this assertion. Transactions so degrading, we verily believe, will never again tarnish the high fame of England in the eyes of mankind, now that the effectual remedy has been applied, by making the whole subject a matter of Parliamentary inquiry and public discussion.
It may be demanded then, towards what line of conduct our inferences point? We think clearly to this; that no treaty ought ever again to be made, involving a payment of tribute, although a ransom of slaves already captured may, perhaps, through tenderness towards their sufferings, be allowed. But that future outrages should plainly be prevented, not by armed force, not by negociation; and that the severest vengeance should be inflicted on the robbers the very first time they attack a vessel or a village belonging to any power not formally at war with them. This is the least which the law of nations allows us to do. But an immediate attack upon the nest of the pirates, upon Algiers itself, seems the most fit step to be taken; and will be justified by the very first act of violence which they shall commit. One of the evil effects of these inauspicious conventions is, that they prevent us from proceeding against the place until some such act of violence is perpetrated with the connivance of the Dey's government.
The safety and facility of an enterprize against the pirates, can admit of no doubt. Mr Croker explicitly states the works of Algiers to be a mere bugbear; and the force of the whole state to be trifling in the extreme. They are now at war with the Tunisians, who set them at defiance; and the tribes of Arabs in the immediate vicinity of the city, hold the power of the Dey in equal contempt, levying contributions on his subjects within sight of his walls. The officer alluded to above, asserted distinctly in the House of Commons, that two sail of the line would
at once put an end to the intolerable nuisance which we call the Algerine Government, and that without any risk whatever of failure. It is further to be remembered, that this government means only a band of three or four thousand Turkish Janisaries, who tyrannize over the native Algerines as much as over the the Christians who fall into their hands; who chuse the Dey out of their own body; and are so far from submitting to any regular or hereditary authority, that the present Chief's sons serve as common soldiers in the corps from which he himself was taken. To put down this execrable dynasty, would be fully as great a blessing to its own subjects, as to those of the neighbouring States.
In justification of such a measure, we trust that enough has already been urged. A few words only are required to show, that, without gross inconsistency, we cannot neglect this duty. We stood foremost among the champions of Africa, and opposers of the slave trade. But the miseries endured by the unhappy negroes are not greater than those of the Italians, Greeks and Spaniards, whose lot has been depicted in the course of these pages. Indeed, the slave trade of the Africans in the Mediterranean is considerably worse than that of the Europeans in the Atlantic; worse at least in its kind, though much less extensive. A moment's reflection may convince any one of this; for in the former case, the oppressor is the barbarian, and a barbarian.of the most savage and unprincipled caste; whereas, in the latter, with all its horrors, we must at least admit, that the sufferings of the slave are lighter, both because his master is more civilized, and because subjection is less severe to those who are less enlightened. While we are not even satisfied with doing all we can to prevent our own people from trading in African slaves, but are most righteously sounding the cry against this accursed traffic, in every tongue and in every clime, it is a prodigious inconsistency to permit the Africans to carry on a worse commerce in the blood of Europeans, and of those who have never bought or sold a single negro from the beginning of time. Against this abomination, our whole force should be bent, if necessary; but when a single blow could annihilate it, and we have only to obtain the consent of other nations whom we do not require to cooperate with us, what excuse can be imagined for our neither stirring ourselves, nor moving them in the cause? There is something monstrous in this departure from our own principles, and from the example set by us elsewhere, not only in the West, but in the recent deposition of the Kandian Ty