Page images
PDF
EPUB

triumph of imposture and idolatry, but also, crowds of umhappy wretches, most of them professedly fellow Christians, many of them our fellow countrymen, all of them our fellow creatures, loaded with chains, condemned to a toil severer than that of beasts of burden, and holding, merely at the will of ferocinus despots, the uncertain tenure of a life imbittered by every species of suffering, and too often deprived even of hope, that consolation which appears to be peculiarly consecrated to the unhappy.

That, in the present day, when so much philanthropy has been awakened throughqut Europe, and such unceasing exertions made in the cause of humanity, for the emancipation of slaves in different parts of the world, so little attention should have been shewn to those who would surely on a first view appear the most nearly connected with us, in the essential similarities of religion and manners, is a moral phenomenon which can be accounted for only by looking more deeply into political causes, than the simply benevolent would in sich a case imagine to be at all necessary. There can be but little doubt, that an unpardonable degree of toleration of the insolence of the Barbary States, if not an absolute condivance at them, has too long been shewn by some of the most powerful States in Europe. England has, however, struck one forceful blow towards their demolition, and it only remains for her to follow it up, and for others no less interested in the cause, (a common one for the interests both of commerce and humanity,) to act in concert with her, and to recollect, that in making treaties with people who pride themselves on their perfidy, all half-measures are worse than nothing ; tending not inerely to weaken their own bands, but to strengthen those of the enemy.

Signor Pananti, after some years passed in England, as a place of refuge from the misery of bis native land, torn by dissensions, and oppressed by a foreign yoke, began to feel that maludie du pays, to which men are subject exactly in proportion to the rest of their amiable qualities. He accordingly took his passage on board a Sicilian brig, bound for Palerino, which was to sail from Spithead with the Mediterranean convoy. This convoy, however, was unfortunately suffered to sail without it, through the carelessness and self-sufficiency of the Captain,

as well as that of his vessel, was Hero, a misnomer which gives our hero the opportunity of consoling himself for the disappointment, with the reflection, couched in the fascinating form of a pun, that he was not the first person who had been sacrificed to the folly or ambition of persons bearing that appellation.

This false step in the Captain, was, as is generally the case, followed by others of the same nature. He not only ventured, contrary to the wish of his passengers, and the advice of his crew,

[ocr errors]

whose name,

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

*03 Aarer tie tin izoi : 1. tigdaa!!

- sre
CVI Dag fizze weh?? .
Ds Dua 22:21 cry of

Å se u seenie i ins': 4 age for us, be:w SS18 FE tae cocducted irie, Sur me dorade of the digerite sa measures of the fire other ty ci acto debere on the reci FS S; :: ocide tare ope:ctions, 2.1 borbe cert. We were icierroget, her nede asisor rocas Fras citric lv grani Izi Tassed us for our mopez art oder arride of rage we had about oi be or coverted, to save thein fren of the Bass Sea, who formed a corsis. van be cont's suid were all :/ pertine papers in a small box, tu benessed on our leaving the ress bes, be repeate, alternately lov: ** this is for you ;" * quei, Deart" sod all this for me.' y placed upon a mat in the Rai'. nex stuation.' p. 35.

It is not, as on fortune, that is link cerupied with the povers, it; more intent on immediate : than on calculating its future it's

yes. Hence one of its pompous titles, Bafios os Esclavos, which rout gilding, the pill quite so much, may be plainly rendered by simple word prison. Every fibre trembled, and our limbs tottered

or us, as we traversed the horrid receptacle. The first words * h escaped the keeper after our entrance were, “ whoever is brought stre his house, becomes a slave.He might as well have added.

Lasciate ogni speranza, voi, che' utrate !* passing through the dark and filthy court yard, we were surcel by a multitude of slaves, bearing about them all the signs of

ned sufferers. They were ragged, lank, and haggard, with will drooping, eyes sunk and distorted, cheeks imprinted by the

of protracted wretchedness, which seem to have withered the by destroying the finer impulses of their nature, left no trace

the sufferings of others, so that we passed without the manifestation of that sympathy so naturally expected in such

Exhausted by long confinement, and wrapt up in a sense melancholy fate, our appearance was viewed with a stunce, unaccompanied by any fellow feeling. During the

unoccupied in the public works they remained shut up,

Sout, like pallid spectres, in this house of darkness, and besides

wat up the prison staircase, was not unlike that of a malecounting the scaffold; but as some indulgence is gene

condemned criminals, the keeper treated us during in particular attention and respect; inviting us into int, and insisting that we should partake of his dinner,

for the anxiety and fasting of the preceding day. e table, besides myself and fellow passengers, three wen many years in captivity, and were persons of -ion. Amongst the rest was Signor Artemate of Sed a mind adorned by education, and a character

uction, and adversity, with the truest ingredients. pur

ciprocal misfortune the consoling voice was not

ttilius Regulus, we also were in servitude, on been

I saw the Roman hero perish for his country ; we could evince the same intrepidity of soul, and on-p. 69.

to read such details as the preceding, and ediately follow it, without a feeling of the deepcon for the numbers of unfortunate beings who

away their existence under circumstances such describes, wherein personal sufferings have been

mental refinement, and resignation to the will of ered by reflections on the cruelty of countrymen and scould suffer them thus to pass their days in sla

[graphic]
[ocr errors]

Ye heirs of hell
re bid at once your ling'ring hopes farewell.

[ocr errors]

to run the most dangerous parts of his voyage, without convoy, but, even when he had, by dint of mere kindness on the part of the elements, rather than good management on his own, arrived in safety at the island of San Pietro, persisted in leaving it again, regardless of the persuasions of the inhabitants, and fearless of the Algerine squadron which appeared in sight, almost immediately after his leaving the port. It bas been justly remarked, that fool-hardiness is not courage: so far indeed do they diiler, that they are qualities which are scarcely ever united. In this redoubtable naval Hero, they were decidedly distinct; for no sooner had the natural consequence of his rashness and obstinacy ensued, in bis falling into the power of the Algerines, than be became stupified with fear, and incapable of making the slightest effort for the preservation of his vessel or crew. After some hours of agonizing suspense to the passengers, most of whom were within a few days' sail of their homes, the decisive blow was struck; and they were called upon to give themselves up as prisoners, to a power the disgrace of modern times, and more ferocious and unpitying than any whose records stain the historic page of former ages.

On gaining the frigate we had no sooner got upon deck than the barbarians uttered a general cry of victory, usual when any captures are made. A savage joy seemed to play on their cadaverous aspects. A passage being opened for us, between the armed Turks and Moorish sailors, we were conducted into the presence of the grand Rais, supreme commander of the Algerine squadron. He was seated between the captains of the five other frigates, who had assembled in close council to deliberate on the measures necessary to be taken with us; to combine future operations, and finally to exult in their horrible celebrity. We were interrogated in brief and haughty terms, hut neither insult nor rudeness was offered to any of the party. The grand Rais very civilly asked us for our money, watches, rings, aud every other article of value we had about our persons; in order, as he obligingly observed, to save them from the rapacity of the people of the Black Sea, who formed a considerable part of the crew, and whom he cordially said were all ladri. He then deposited our respective property in a small box, faithfully assuring us, that all should be returned on our leaving the vessel. During the distribution in the box, he repeated, alternately looking at the captives, “ questo per ti," “ this is for you;" “ questo altro per ti ;” but perhaps in his heart, “ and all this for me." We were then ordered to retire ; and, placed upon a mat in the Rais's outer cabin, began to reflect on our new situation.' p. 35.

It is not, as our Author justly remarks, the first shock of misfortune, that is most severely felt ; the mind is in fact then more occupied with the novelty of the situation, than with the evils of it; more intent on immediate contemplation of its peculiarities, than on calculating its future results. The first few days of

1

their captivity, the Author and his companions were diverted in some measure from dwelling on their own misfortunes, by sym

pathy in the fate of others who were attacked and captured by ; the ferocious Algerines, who shewed their merciless nature, in

striking off the head of the commander of a Tunisian Corvette, who had made a gallant resistance. The Author's reflections in this part of his narrative, are in the true spirit of philosophy; a cheerful determination to make the best of every thing, appears to have actuated him; and under this enviable frame of mind, which is in itself a shield against calamity, he is enabled to see things in so impartial a light, as to acknowledge, that even among the Algerines, there are to be found some honourable exceptions to their general character, and that the treatment of the prisoners on board the vessel, was not only free from insult or inhumanity, but that the females in particular were treated with the utmost deference. On landing at Algiers, the prisoners were brought, in long and pompous procession, with the Rais at their head, to the palace, where the captives are examined, and prizes condemned. The party consisted, besides the captain and his crew, of our Author, the Chevalier Rossi, his wife, and children, who were returning to their native country, after a long residence in England, a Mr. Terreni, of Leghorn, who was taking out merchandize from this country, bis. brother Antonio, an artist of distinguished merit, who was going to make a picturesque tour in Sicily, a Calabrese, who had served many years in our navy, a lady, who was going to join her husband on his return from the East Indies, and a young female, whose romantic history inspires a sentiment of deep regret at its melancholy termination. After achieving the laudable purpose for which she came to England, and hastening back to her lover, in Sicily, with the competence the want of which had been the only bar to their union, having cheerfully endured every hardship of the voyage, she fell a victim to her grief, during her detention in Algiers from the object of her choice. Our readers may now have some idea of the following scene.

• A large awning being extended in front of the house, the scene: shortly opened, exhibiting the members of the Regency in barbarous pomp, and horrid majesty, seated before us, accompanied by the Ulemas, or expounders of the law, and principal agas of the divan. We were then, without further ceremony or preamble, asked for our papers, which were duly examined ; nor was that canting gravity wanting on this occasion, which is usually assumed to justify acts of rapine and plunder. They were then presented to the English Consul, whose presence is always required on these examinations to verify any claims he may have to make. This gentleman soon saw the insufficiency of our documents; but stimulated by the goodness of his heart, and sentiments of pity for persons in our uphappy condition, he made

« PreviousContinue »