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life of the Mameluke sultans, when valour and vigour had not passed away—when decrepitude had not yet begun ; and the respect with which they were held by Europe maybe gathered from the somewhat exaggerated panegyric of Machiavelli, who, living at the end of the following century, says of Egypt:—" The influence of a land full of delights was so modified by the vigour of the institutions, that Egypt produced most eminent men of every kind; and if the long succession of ages had not extinguished the memory of their names, we should have seen how much more worthy they were of praise than Alexander the Great, and so many others whose renown still flourishes."
This family was by nation Turkish, and of the same blood that now rules at Constantinople, that held India under the name of Moguls, and of the same race as the shahs of Persia and the khans of Bokara. Strength of will and muscular vigour are the characteristics of a race whose conquests have been unquestionably wider than any known in the history of the world—wider than those of Rome, when the empire comprised the ruins of Thebes, and divided the forests of Caledonia. The calling of this race has clearly been to rule other and feebler races; not to impart refinement, civilization, and science to the ruled nations, but rather to imbibe them from below.
Accordingly we find that all the architects, painters, Mosaic workers, doctors of law, poets, and historians were Arabs, and sometimes Greeks. If Mohammed el Nasr and his son Hassan delighted in poetry, it was the exception and not the rule. In fact, in the third generation, we find, in the person of Sultan Hassan, the Turkish warrior almost entirely merged in the Arab artist and man of letters, and the constant tendency of the policy of the Sultan Hassan was to employ Arabs rather than Turks in the administration of government.
In fact, in most cases, so completely was the sultan, in a general way, supposed to be a stranger to letters, that Haiib Ebn Shahin el Zaher tells us, in enumerating the qualifications of a secretary, that he ought to have the confidence of the sultan, be able to quote the Koran, the anecdotes of the kings, the sentences of the wise men, and the happy verses of the poets, so as to enable the Sultan, in his writings, to give utterance with majesty and grace, according to the rank of the person addressed.
During all the reigns of these Mameluke sultans, from the fall of the Fatimite dynasty down to the conquest of Egypt in 1517, by Sultan Selim, there was also a steady undercurrent of literature, composed of the works of men who generally kept carefully aloof from the political storms that attended the frequent transfer of power from Mameluke to Mameluke. It was in Cairo that Kim Khulican produced that prodigious universal biography of the Arabs, which is as indispensable to the Orientalist as the "Biographie Universale" of modern date to the Europeans. It was in Cairo, where he practised as a lawyer, that Teky-Eddin Makrizy, a native of Baalbec, produced those voluminous and invaluable works from which the present chapter is principally compiled, and to whose industry and accuracy all students of Egypt invariably pay a sincere tribute of admiration and gratitude.
During all this period, the Ottoman Turks had been making rapid progress in their conquests to the westward. Konieh, Broussa, and Adrianople had successively become their capitals, and at length Constantinople, as well as all the countries between the Black Sea and the Adriatic, from the mouths of the Danube to within sight of the towers of Ragusa, fell into their hands ; and then, turning southwards, Sultan Selim, the heir of Amurath and Mohammed the Second, tried his force with the system created by Saladin. But the struggle was brief; the Ottoman legions, inured to war and to victory, had an easy conquest. The Mameluke sultans had vegetated two centuries in ease. The great military school of Saladin Bibars and Kalaon had fallen into decadence, and Toman Bey, the last of those monarch i, was hung by Selim on the bronze gratings of a mosque.
From this period Cairo ceased to be a seat of sovereignty; Egypt became a Fachalik of the Ottoman Empire, and all her external relations were merged in those of the Ottoman Porte, with other powers. Sultan Selim subdivided it into twenty-four districts, ruled by twenty-four Mameluke Beys, seven of whom formed the divan of Cairo, under the Pacha sent by the Ottoman Sultan. Gradually, however, as in the eighteenth century, Austria and Russia kept the Porte constantly in fear of her northern frontiers. The power of the court of Constantinople relaxed, and in our next paper we shall attempt a more minutely detailed account of the internal relations of Egypt at the period of the French capture of Cairo.
MOROCCO AND FEZ.
Another Mohammedan power is reckoned amongst our allies. A treaty has been concluded between Queen Victoria and the Emperor of Morocco. Two years' negociations have effected this. The consideration of the advantages obtained by Turkey, from the English alliance, must have opened the eyes of the Moorish Emperor to the benefits attainable from the friendship of the British nation. The treaty, which was signed in the December of last year, secures to Englishmen residing within the Emperor's dominions certain rights and privileges. English residents may, in future, hire houses and demand aid of the Moorish authorities (if necessary) for the purpose. Free passage through the empire is also granted to Englishmen, subject only to the restrictions imposed on " the most favoured nations." Moreover, the dwellings of English residents shall be respected, nor can they be entered, for the purpose of search or examining books or papers, without the consent of the consul-general or consul. In short, the subjects of Queen Victoria are entitled to enjoy in Morocco the same rights and privileges accorded to the subjects of the Emperor in her Majesty's dominions. No Englishman abiding within the Sultan's dominions shall be called on to do military service, either by sea or land; neither shall English residents be called on for forced loans, or the payment of any extraordinary imposts. Consuls and charges d'affaires are to be appointed according to the Queen's pleasure in different parts of the kingdom of Morocco. The persons and residences of these officials are to be held inviolable, and each shall have the privilege of establishing a place of worship in his neighbourhood; and, above all, the British flag is to float, an emblem of protection to British subjects and defiance to British foes. Talking of the British flag reminds us of the spirited conduct of one of our countrymen who filled the post of consul-general and agent in a kingdom neighbouring Morocco. It was in Tripoli that the incident we are about to relate occurred. Lieutenant-Colonel Warrington is the hero of the tale. It so happened that an unfortunate Jew, whose wealth had excited the cupidity of some of his neighbours, was brought before the Mohammedan magistrate, charged with some feigned crime. The wicked cadi, who understood the motives of the accusers, and intended to participate in the plunder, condemned the wretched Israelite to pay a large fine. The love of wealth contended in the bosom of the prisoner with the love of freedom, and, after a little reflection, he refused to pay the fine. His exasperated accusers seized him, and immediately commenced to torture the wretched creature. Maddened alike by pain and rage the unhappy Jew, momentarily endowed with almost superhuman strength, burst from the hands of his torturers, rushed through the crowd, and suddenly found himself in the street. He fled precipitately forward, his enemies, like merciless hounds, close upon his heels. Fortunately he had taken the direction of the British embassy, and now, his strength nearly exhausted, and his pursuers close upon him, a sudden ray of hope gleamed upon his mind. He was near the British embassy. A few steps more and he was safe. By a sudden effort, he sprang forward, was within the precincts of the sanctuary, and fell exhausted on the ground; his arms wound round the flag-staff at the very instant that his enemies had crossed the threshold. Colonel Warrington, disturbed by the outcry, appeared at this moment, and comprehending at a glance the position of affairs, advanced and stood beside the prostrate Jew. He drew forth a loaded pistol, and declared that the first man who advanced a step to invade the sanctuary afforded by the British flag should forfeit his life. The pursuing crowd paused—all glared u[)on the hoped-for victim; but no one moved to molest him. It was a striking picture. On one side the savage multitude, whose wild yells had now subsided into hoarse murmurs, and on the other one brave man ready to peril his own life to save that of a poor fellow-creature, and assert that of the national standard. After a pause of some minutes, that wild crew retired, overcome by the moral force of one man's determiued will, and the poor Jew was able to return to his home in safety.
It is always pleasant to have to record such conduct in our officials. That chivalrous devotion to the cause of national honour must tend to raise the character of our people in the eyes of foreigners, and that feeling of respect and admiration must be increased when they perceive the Government at home ready, at any cost, to defend the individual who courageously fulfils his duty. As we believe that an account of such cases will not be unacceptable to our readers, we will briefly narrate another circumstance that occurred in Tripoli:—
The gentleman, whose name we have already mentioned, was still consul-general, 'when one day a native corsair returned to port, having captured an unexpected prize. He had fallen in with an English vessel much smaller than his, and, in the contest that ensued, the English master and crew were obliged to yield. The corsair exhibited the Tripolian flag, flying above the British, as he entered the port. Colonel Warrington, upon learning these outrages, immediately sought an interview with the Bey. He was accompanied by the vice-consul, Mr. Wood, at present consul at Patras. Mr. Wood, who is well acquainted with the language and customs of the natives of these regions, was to act as interpreter. Colonel Warrington, upon arriving at the palace of the Bey, sent to demand an audience. He was told that the Bey was particularly engaged, and could not see them. The consul expressed his determination to wait, whatever may be the length of time that should elapse before the Bey may think fit to see him. Hours passed. The Bey was not yet visible; but the Englishman was determined to carry his point. His importunity prevailed; and the Bey, though reluctantly, was obliged to admit the consul. Angry at the force which was put upon him, his Highness demanded what was the object of the visit. Colonel Warrington complained of the insult offered to the British flag, and demanded compensation for the wrongs done to the captured vessel and crew. The Bey, not being accustomed to make compensation for injuries inflicted, was much surprised at the demand. The discussion assumed a threatening aspect; angry words were exchanged, and the Bey demanded of the consul: "Do you not know that, at a nod of my head, yours would roll in the dust?"
"I know it perfectly well," was the reply; "but I also know that, in a short time after, your palace would be battered about your ears by English cannon, and your city laid in ruins."
The argument was conclusive, the Bey took wit in his anger, and asked in a softened tone, "What would be considered compensation?" The terms appeared exorbitant: the consul required that the corsair should be hanged at the yardarm of his own ship, and a full indemnification made to the crew for the losses sustained. After a long parley, the Bey finding that no compromise could be effected, was obliged to yield. Colonel Warrington's courageous discharge of duty was rewarded with deserved success.
The treaty just concluded with Morocco brought these incidents to our memory. The very name of Morocco is calculated to bring up a strange medley of images before the mind. At one moment we think of those poor African barbarians who opposed the settlement of the Saracens in these regions; at another, the fancy furnishes the most charming pictures of those chivalrous Moors, whose abode in Spain impressed a character upon the people whose traces are not yet obliterated, and whose glory is still perpetuated in the works of their architects, poets, and historians. The reverse of the medal conjures up before our eyes dark deeds of pirates lying in wait for Christian ships, murdering the crews, and seizing the freight And, worst of all, we think of wicked corsairs visiting the opposite shores of Italy and Spain, and carrying off noble youths and beautiful virgins to become slaves in Moorish harems. These latter incidents are, however, softened by the tale told in many a ballad, of how many a Christian youth has become the object of some Moorish lady's love, and so obtained his liberty, effecting at the same time the escape and conversion of his fair friend. Of the better ascertained facts relating to this country we shall say a few words.
The early history of Morocco, like that of most other countries, is either obscured by fable or lost in the dark chasm of barbari-m. The first inhabitants of these regions are said by some to be a company of Philistines led thither by Goliah after his overthrow by David. Whether the defeated adversary of the poet-monarch was really amongst the aborigines of these parts or not, it would be now difficult to determine, but the assertion seems to connect their history in some sort with that of the Jewish people. To pass to a more authentic historical period, we know that Mauritania, of which the modern Morocco formed a part, was conquered by Julius Cresar, and, during a period of four hundred years, remained subject to the Roman rule. But then the power of Rome began to fail; a disintegrating principle was at work. Opulence had begotten corruption, and the glare of magnificence exhibited under the first emperors was only the hectic fever that announces an incurable canker at the core. The out-lying provinces of the empire gradually fell under the power of the "barbarians." The Goths having made themselves masters of Spain, crossed the straits and seized upon Mauritania. Here they reigned during six hundred years, when their empire was overthrown by the sons of the desert, the Saracens. It was about the middle of the seventh century that the Mohammedan caliph Othman sent forth an army for the conquest of the north of Africa. Egypt already acknowledged the sway of the caliph, and it was Abdallah, the lieutenant of this province, who advanced with an immense force towards Tripoli. The city was so well fortified that the efforts of the besiegers were vain. The Roman prefect advanced with a large army to the relief of Tripoli, and the Saracen chief preferred encountering his enemy in the field to waiting the tedium of a siege. But he first offered the prefect his choice of becoming a Mohammedan, or paying tribute to the caliph. The proposition was indignantly refused, and during several days the two armies measured their strength in many sharp encounters. A circumstance mentioned by historians gives a romantic colouring to the account of these conflicts. The prefect had a daughter of extraordinary beauty, who from her childhood had been trained to the use of the bow and scimitar. Expert in these warlike exercises, she exhibited a corresponding martial spirit. She accompanied her father to battle, and rode fearlessly by his side, where her beauty and the splendour of her equipment made her conspicuous to every eye. The hand of this noble lady was promised in marriage, together with a thousand pieces of gold, to the victorious youth, who, having conquered the Saracen chief, should lay his head before the young heroine. Stimulated by the hope of such a prize, prodigies of valour were performed, but still no decisive advantage was gained by either. Abdallah, the Saracen leader, being so advised by his chief officers, retired to his tent, lest his safety should be imperilled. This circumstance discouraged the army, and the soldiers became every day more weary of battles in which they never gained a decided victory, and were often defeated. At this juncture the celebrated Zobeir joined