« ElőzőTovább »
Hadj Abdallah had left the Reef in consequence of a blood feud. He was the chief of the boar-hunters at Tangier, and was looked up to with respect, not only by the rural population in the neighborhood of that town, who are chiefly of Reef extraction, but also by the local authorities, who frequently employed him in the settlement of disputes with the refractory tribes in the mountainous districts of the Tangier province.
We steamed along the rocky coast of Reef and touched at the Spanish garrisons of Peñon and Alhucema. The former is a curious little rock, separated from the mainland by a very narrow channel. A colonel and a few soldiers garrisoned the fortress, which is apparently of no possible use, though the authorities at that time might have aided in checking piracy by stopping the passage of the Reef galleys. The rock is so small, that there was not a walk fifty yards long on any part of it.
On the island of Alhucema, so called from the wild lavender that grows there, we also landed. The Spanish authorities were civil, but held out no hopes of being able to take steps to put a stop to piracy. This island is also an insignificant possession, about half a mile distant from the mainland. The inhabitants had occasional communication with the Reefians, hoisting a flag of truce whenever a boat was despatched to the shore; but Spaniards were not at that time allowed to make excursions on the mainland, nor were they permitted to obtain provisions except a few fowls, eggs, and honey.
Colonel Buceta endeavored to dissuade me from this purpose, reminding me that Sir Charles Napier had failed in obtaining any beneficial result from his parley with the Reefians who had an interview with him in Melilla.
Perceiving from the governor's language that he entertained those feelings of jealousy which prevail with Spaniards regarding the intervention of any foreign government in the affairs of Morocco, I let him understand that, should no beneficial result be obtained by my visit in putting a stop to the outrages committed on merchant vessels approaching the Reef coast, it would become a serious matter for the consideration of our government whether steps should not be taken to inflict a chastisement on the Reefians, by landing a force, and in conjunction with the sultan's troops which might be despatched, at our instigation, for that purpose, by destroying the hamlets and boats on the coast. The question might also arise, perhaps, of erecting a fortress in some sheltered spot where a gunboat could be placed to guard the coast against pirates, which I observed the authorities at Spanish fortresses had hitherto been unable to effect.
This language sufficed to decide Colonel Buceta to accede to my wishes; but he informed me that, in consequence of late acts of aggression on the part of the natives, all communication with the garrison had been cut off, and that no Reefians were allowed to enter; it was therefore out of the question that he could admit any chieftains into Spanish territory. Neither did he think the latter would be disposed to venture into the gates of the fortress.
I then proposed to be allowed to despatch my Reefian friend Hadj Abdallah Lamarty with an invitation to some of the neighboring chiefs, both on the sea-board and inland, to meet me on the neutral ground.
On our arrival at Melilla, the governor, Colonel Buceta,* received us courteously. I made known to him that the British government had directed me to proceed to the coast of Reef, to endeavor to come to an understanding with the chiefs with the view of putting a stop to piracy on that coast, the sultan of Morocco having declared he had no power of control over his lawless subjects, who had shown an utter disregard of the peremptory orders which Colonel Buceta assented, but he rehad been issued to restore British prop-peated that he could not admit any Reeferty captured by their piratical galleys; ians into the garrison, nor send an escort that in order to carry out this object I was to accompany me, should I pass the gates, anxious to have an interview with some of the chiefs, not only of the villages on the coast where the owners of the piratical galleys dwelt, but more especially with the chiefs of the neighboring inland villages, as the latter derived no immediate benefit from the plunder of shipping.
to go into the Reef country, adding that he thought I should be incurring a serious risk of being carried off a prisoner by the Reefians, if in the parley I should happen to express myself in language such as I had used to him regarding the outrages committed by these lawless people.
His predecessor, he informed me, in Consequence of the frequent hostilities which had taken place between the natives
and the garrison, had proposed to have a meeting with some chieftains within the garrison. This they declined, fearing, as they alleged, some act of treachery; but it was finally agreed that they should meet the governor on the neutral ground; that he could bring an escort of twenty-five armed men, and that the chiefs would also be accompanied by an equal number of followers; that the governor and one chief, both unarmed, were to advance to a central spot that was selected about one hundred and fifty yards distant from where their followers assembled, and that the Spanish governor could also bring with him an interpreter.
This arrangement was carried out, and a Reefian chief, a man of gigantic stature and herculean frame, advanced to meet the Spanish governor.
The parley commenced in a friendly manner; propositions were made by each party regarding the conditions upon which peaceful relations were to be re-estab lished; but without bringing about any result.
The Spanish governor, finding the demands put forward by the chieftain to be of an unacceptable character, expressed himself strongly on the subject. A warm dispute ensued, and on the governor using some offensive expression, the Reefian seized in his brawny arms the governor, who was a little man, and chucking him over his shoulders like a sack of grain, called out to the Spanish detachment of soldiers to blaze away, and at the same time to his own men to fire if the Spanish soldiers fired or attempted to advance, whilst the chieftain ran off with the governor, who was like a shield on his back, to his followers.
The officer in command of the Spanish detachment, fearing that the governor might be killed, did not venture to let his men fire or advance, and the governor was carried off prisoner to a village about three miles off on the hills, and notice was then sent to the fortress that be would not be released until a ransom of three thousand dollars was sent.
The Reefians kept the governor prisoner until a reference was made to Madrid, and orders were sent for the ransom to be paid. "Now," said Colonel Buceta, "your fate if you trust yourself to these treacherous people will probably be the same, and I shall be quite unable to obtain your release."
I thanked the governor for the advice, but declared that I must fulfil my mission
and was prepared to run all risks, having been accustomed for many years to deal with Reefians at Tangier.
Buceta then consented that I should be allowed to pass the gates of the garrison, and invite the chiefs of the neighboring Reef villages to a parley on the neutral ground.
Colonel Buceta, a distinguished officer well known for his great courage and decision, was, I believe, on the whole pleased that I held to my purpose, though he warned me again and again that I was incurring a great risk, and that in no manner could he intervene if I and the English officer who might accompany me were taken prisoners.
My messenger returned and informed me that the neighboring chiefs, both of the inland and of the piratical villages of Beniboogaffer, would meet me on the neutral ground as had been proposed to them.
Accompanied by Captain Hall, who commanded H.M.'s frigate Miranda, my friend Hadj Abdallah, and a gavass of the Legation, we proceeded to the rendezvous.
Five or six chiefs awaited our advent, attended by some hundred followers, stalwart fellows, many of them more than six feet high.
The chiefs wore brown-hooded dresses, not unlike the costume of a Franciscan friar; but part of the shirt-sleeves and front were embroidered with colored silks. Handsome leather belts girded their loins. A few of the elders wore white woollen haiks, like unto the Roman toga or mantle without seam, such as our Saviour is said to have worn.
Some of the wild fellows had doffed their outer garments, carrying them on their shoulders as they are wont to do when going to battle. Their inner costume was a white cotton tunic, coming down to the knees, with long, wide sleeves, fastened behind the back by a cord. Around their loins they wore a leathern girdle embroidered in colored silk, from which hung a small pouch for bullets and a dagger; on the other side was suspended a larger leathern pouch or bag, prettily embroidered with a deep fringe of leather, in which powder is carried; containing also a pocket to carry the palmetto fibre, curiously enough called leaf, used instead of wads over powder and ball. Their heads were closely shaved, except that on the right side hung a long lock of braided hair, carefully combed and oiled. Several
not all, I
of them were fair men with brown or red | conduct of certain Reefians,
am happy to add, but those Reefians who
"O men! I come amongst you as a friend; an old friend of the Mussulmans. I have been warned that Reefians are not to be trusted, and that I and those who accompany me are in danger of treachery; but I take no heed of such warnings, for Reefians are renowned for bravery, and brave men never act in a dastardly manner. My best friends at Tangier are Reefians, or those whose sires came from the Reef, such as my friend here, Hadj Abdallah Lamarty.
"The inhabitants of these coast villages, especially of the neighboring village of Beniboogaffer, when they espy a peaceful merchant vessel becalmed off their coast, launch a kareb with forty or fifty armed men, and set out in pursuit.
"The crews of these merchant vessels are unarmed, and generally consist of not more than eight or nine men. When they observe a kareb approaching with a hostile appearance, they escape in their little boats to the open sea, trusting to Provi. dence to be picked up by some passing vessel before bad weather sets in, which might cause their small craft to founder. The merchant vessel is then towed to the beach, where she is stranded, pillaged of cargo and rigging, and burnt.
"I now appeal to all true Moslems whether such iniquitous acts are not against the laws of God and of the Prophet.
They are my hunters, and I pass days and nights with them out hunting, and am treated by them and look upon them as my "These pirates are not waging war brethren; so here I have come to meet against enemies or infidels, they are mere you, with the captain of the frigate, un-sea robbers, who set aside the law of the armed, as you see, and without even an escort of my countrymen from the shipof-war lying there, or from the Spanish garrison, for I felt sure I should never require protection in the Reef against any
"You are welcome," exclaimed the chiefs. "The English have always been our friends," and a murmur of approval ran through the groups of armed men seated on the bank.
"Yes; "I continued, "the English have always been the friends of the sultan, the Kaliph Allah, and of his people.
"You are all Moslems, and as followers of the Prophet every year a number of your brethren who have the means, go to the shrine of the Prophet at Mecca, as required by your religion. How do they go? In English vessels from Tangier, as you know, and they are therefore, when on board, under the English flag and protection. They are well treated and their lives and property are safe. They return to Tangier in the same manner, and many of them have come to me to express their gratitude for the recommendations I have given them to English officers in the East, and the kindness they have received at their hands.
"These facts, I think, are known to you; but let us now consider what is the
Prophet to pillage the peaceful ships of their friends the English, to whom they are indebted for conveying their brethren in safety to worship at the Holy Kooba of their Prophet.
"To these English whom they rob, and also murder if they attempt to resist, they are indebted for much of the clothing they wear, for the iron and steel of which their arms are made, and for other commodities. I now appeal to those Reefians who dwell in inland villages, and who take no part and have no profit from these lawless acts, and I ask whether they will continue to tolerate such infractions of Allah's laws. Can these men of Beniboogaffer who have been guilty of frequent acts of piracy, can they be Moslems? No, they must be Caffers (rebels against God)." As I said this, I heard from the mound behind me, where the Beniboogaffer people were seated, the sound of the cocking of guns, and a murmur, "He calls us Caffers." Looking round I perceived guns levelled at my back.
One of the elder chiefs rose and cried out, "Let the English chief speak! What he says is true! Those who rob and murder on the seas innocent people are not Moslems, for they do not obey the law of God."
I continued: "Hear what your wise
"I now ask, Will you inland inhabitants tolerate the continuance of piracy on the part of your brethren on the coast? Will you brave inhabitants of the coast continue to set Allah's laws at defiance, and thus expose your lives and property, and those of your inland brethren, to destruction?"
chief says. I fancied I heard a sound to possess a single boat for trade, or even like the click of a gun being cocked. for fishing. Some foolish boys must be sitting amongst the assembly, for no brave Reefians, and Beniboogaffers included, would ever commit a cowardly murder on an unarmed man who has come amongst you trusting to the honor and friendship between the Reefians and English from ancient times. "You have, I think, heard that the English government has frequently com- The old chief again spoke, and others plained to the sultan Mulai Abderahman, stood up and joined him, saying: "He is the Kaliph Allah and Emir El Moome- right. We shall not allow these robberies neen (Prince of Believers), of the commis- to be committed on our friends the Ension of these outrages, and has put for-glish; such outrages must cease, and if ward a demand for reparation and com- continued, we shall be prepared to chaspensation for damages. tise the guilty."
"The sultan, who is the friend of the The Beniboogaffer chiefs said, "We powerful queen of England, my sover-approve." eign, under whose sway there are fifty "I know," I continued, "you Reefians millions of Moslems whom she governs do not sign treaties or like documents; with justice and kindness, had issued his but the words of brave men are more Sheriffian commands to you Reefians to worthy of trust than treaties, which are cease from these outrages; but you paid too often broken. Give me your hands." no attention to the orders of the kaliph of I held out mine. As the pledge of good the Prophet. faith I shook the hand of the chiefs, including the Beniboogaffer.
"The queen then sent a squadron to chastise the pirates and obtain redress; but the admiral took pity on the villages, where innocent women and children dwelt, and did not fire a gun or burn a kareb, as he might have done. He had a parley with the Beniboogaffer people and other inhabitants of villages where boats are kept.
"Remember," I said, "it is not English vessels, but all vessels without exception must be respected on approaching your shores."
"We agree," they cried.
Upon which I exclaimed, "I have faith in your words. May God's mercy and blessing be on you all and grant you pros
They made false promises, and pre-perity and happiness! The Reefians and tended they would cease to commit out- English shall remain true friends forever. rages, but, as was to be expected, they I bid you farewell." have broken faith, and since that parley have been guilty of further acts of piracy. So now I have come to see you and hear whether the Reefians in the inland villages will continue to suffer these outrages to be committed by those who dwell on the coast, which may expose all the honest and innocent inhabitants of the Reef to the horrors of war.
"I have begged that no steps should be taken by my countrymen, lest the innocent should suffer, until I make this final attempt to come to an understanding with you; but I have to warn you, as a true friend, if another outrage is committed, my great and powerful sovereign, in conjunction with the sultan, will send large forces by sea and by land to carry fire and sword into your villages, and bring the whole population under subjection. H.S.M. may then think fit to compel the Reef tribes dwelling on the coast to migrate to the interior of his realms, or, at any rate, they will no longer be allowed
'Stop," said the chief of a neighboring village, "come with us and be our guest. We shall kill an ox to feast you and our brethren here, and bid you welcome. You are a hunter; we shall show you sport, and become better acquainted with each other. Upon our heads shall be your life and those of your friends."
I pointed to the frigate, and said: "That vessel has to return immediately, and I have to report what has been done to stop all preparations for seeking through other means to obtain the satisfaction you have so readily offered. I should have been delighted to have gone with you, and I should have felt as safe as if I was amongst my own countrymen. You are a brave race, incapable of doing a wrong to a true friend. I shall never forget the manner in which you have received me.
"I bid you all farewell. I believe in your promises, even those made by the Beniboogaffer. Send messengers at once to the villages on the coast and let them
know the promises you have made, which | and yet real enough. The reviews made they also must be required to carry out strictly."
The chiefs and their followers tried all they could to persuade me to accompany them, but finally consented that I should depart on promising that I would some day revisit them.
General Buceta was surprised to learn the result of my visit, but said the Reefians would never keep faith, and that we should soon hear of fresh acts of piracy. "In such case," I replied, "we shall have to land a force and burn every hamlet and boat on the coast; but I have every hope the Reefians will keep faith."
They have kept faith, and since that parley near Melilla no vessels, either British or of other nationality, have been captured or molested by the Reefians.
From Macmillan's Magazine.
A DISCOURSE UPON SERMONS.
MUCH has been written about sermons, but the subject can never grow stale. However else sermons may be regarded, they at least loom large as a fact in our social economy. So long as two millions, more or less, continue to be preached every year, they will assert their claim to attention. It may be that the supply is just a little in excess of the demand; that here, as in so many other quarters, we are suffering slightly from over-production. Still, on the whole, sermons are firm (to borrow a phrase from the City), and, if moderately taxed, would yield a pretty steady revenue. As it is, the tax is now too often levied on the patience of the bearer as a kind of ecclesiastical excise on articles which, as delivered, are certainly sometimes "above proof."
It is the fashion to lament what is assumed to be the slight effect produced by the annual discharge of these two millions of sermons. The popular imagination seems disposed to regard them as a kind of artillery which should at once strew society with the wrecks and ruins of ancient errors. And even the philosophers, with that fondness for quantitative analysis which has distinguished them ever since the chemical balance was perfected, are always on the lookout for what may be termed ponderable results. Both classes of critics are equally at fault. It is a fallacy to assume that a result cannot be great unless it be conspicuous. It may be negative as well as positive; invisible,
merry some years ago over a man who published a didactic poem and described himself as waiting for "some result in people's altered manners." It is presumed that he is still waiting. Similarly, the critics are on the lookout for a result equally visible from the two millions of sermons. They forget that, if these sermons do nothing else, they may at least serve as ballast. The irreverent might say that they are exactly fitted to discharge a function for which heaviness is the first requisite. But they would be equally well-fitted if described as weighty, and the word is not obnoxious. picture to ourselves for a moment society without its sermons; the ship without its ballast, heeling over to every dangerous blast, letting in the water of an acrid immorality and scepticism on all sides. Surely, that we are even as good as we are may, after all, be largely due to the unfailing supply of weighty pulpit ballast every week.
So, again, to use another illustration, do we ever feel the weight of the atmosphere? And yet how happily and healthily it restrains our movements; fifteen pounds weight on every square inch of bodily surface. What light, flighty beings we should necessarily become were this restraint removed even for an instant! And so we cannot be too thankful that there is no break in the long succession of discourses from the pulpit. Where should we be if this wholesome influence were removed for a single week-this steady pneumatic pressure in the region of morals and theology? England can never surely become incurably light-headed so long as there is this salutary burden of two millions of sermons pretty evenly distributed over the surface of society.
One is reminded in this connection of a schoolmaster of the olden type, well known years ago in a western county, who used to maintain that you could never be doing wrong in flogging a boy. Either the boy had already done something to deserve it, or he would very speedily do something. It was not less fair for justice to be anticipatory than for it to be retrospective. So of sermons they may be regarded as an anticipatory means of discipline. Who knows how much oftener we should all go wrong without them? Let us then accept them gratefully, whilst we maintain unimpaired our traditional right to criticise them-the true Magna Charta of the English Churchman.
But even the keenest critics must allow