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THE invasion of the Algerine territory by the French, is one of the most remarkable evidences that nations are not to be taught either common justice or common sense by suffering. We there see France, after five-and-twenty years of national misery, taking the first opportunity to rob and shed the blood of her neighbours. She had no more cause of war against the Algerines than against the Antediluvians; but it occurred to her imbecile Government that she wanted "glory," and to her insane people that glory was to be found in cutting the throats of Turks and Moors, unfortunate enough to live in a territory where she expected to find land cheap, dollars at the sword's point, and triumph for nothing.
Providence, it is true, often lets fools and villains take their way; but perhaps there never was an instance, not excepting Napoleon's own, where the punishment of the original culprits followed, with such distinct, complete, and immediate vengeance on the crime.
Within a twelvemonth, the Government which had formed this atrocious project was utterly extinguished; Charles the Tenth and his dynasty driven from their throne, and exiled from the land for life;—his Ministry, the Polignacs and their associates, thrown into a long and severe imprisonment, a fate singular among all the changes of European cabinets, and after narrowly escaping the scaffold, also exiled for life; Marmont, the chief military councillor of the King, forced to fly from France, and never daring to return; Bourmont, the commander of the invasion, never venturing to set his foot on the French soil since, and still a fugitive through the world; the invading army, of 30,000 strong, some of the finest troops of France, long since destroyed in Africa by the climate and the warfare of the Arabs, scarcely a man of them having returned.—And after the sacrifice of probably twice the number of lives in a disputed possession of
ALGIERS! wild Algiers !
There are sounds of affright Coming thick on thy gales, Sounds of battle and flight ;The spurrings of horsemen, With tidings of woe;
nine years, they are now fighting within cannon-shot of Algiers!
The war has begun in earnest. While Abd-el-Kader lives, France will probably have to carry on a continued war, more or less open. If he shall fall, the spirit of other chieftains will be formed while the animosity survives ; and it will survive, grounded as it is in the nature of things, in the native repulsion between French and Mahometan manners, in the habitual hatred of the native for the invader, and in the strong religious antipathies which have already enabled the African leader to proclaim his assault on the French as the "Holy War."
Even the fullest possession of the Algerine territory could never be of real value to France: it has no harbours, and can therefore never be a station for any thing beyond a privateer or a pirate. In the event of an European war, it must be abandoned, or France must consent to lock up 50,000 troops there, with the certainty that famine, the Arabs, and perhaps an English expedition, will perform in Algiers the second part of the Egyptian campaign. But the great points of criminality subsist, even if the policy were however successful ; and those are, that the invasion was made absolutely without any cause but a determination to plunder, and that the conquest has been retained, in direct and unquestionable defiance of the most solemn, public, and repeated declarations, that no conquest whatever was intended, and that, as in the instance of Lord Exmouth's expedition, the moment that satisfaction was obtained, the whole armament was to be withdrawn.
It argues a deplorable state of moral feeling, to find that no man in France has the honesty of heart to protest against this iniquity; that the legislature can find no warning voice, that the journals are fierce in their wrath against any idea of abandoning Algiers, and that all France madly seems to regard the national crime as a national glory.
The signal-guns pealing
The march of the foe;
'Tis the blue depth of midnight;
The moon is above,
The Frenchmen are rushing
For the morning to shine.
On dash the dark riders,
The sons of the south,
And their bodies like fire,
On they burst like a flood,
Ay, follow the Arab
Through mountain and vale,
But the plague-spot has fallen
Where art thou, Old Bourbon?
Like thee, they are corpses-
Where the victor Bourmont?
Yet the plague shall not smite
The grave shall be fed.
Too weak to retain,
The legions of France
Still shall slay and be slain.
ABD-EL-KADER, the star
That shall blast them with war
Thou, the land of their biers,
Algiers! wild Algiers!
THE DREAM OF MOHAMMED THE SECOND.
THE empire of the Ottomans is the most extraordinary instance in history of an empire raised by the sword, governed by the perpetual effusion of blood, despising all civilisation, corrupted by the grossest excesses of private life, disordered in every function of government, constantly exposed to the greatest military powers of Europe, yet advancing from conquest to conquest for three centuries without a check, (from 1299 to 1566,) and retaining its vast possessions unimpaired for three centuries more.
The first approach of the Turks to Europe was at the close of the thirteenth century, when Othman, the son of a Turcoman chieftain in the service of Aladin, Sultan of Iconium, on the memorable 27th of July 1299, made a descent on the rich territory of Nicomedia. The Asiatic dominions of the Greek Emperors were lost in a struggle of two centuries, when Mohammed the Second assaulted Constantinople, on the 29th of May 1453. The body of the last emperor was found buried under a heap of slain, and Constantinople became the capital of a new faith, a new people, and a new sovereignty. His immediate successors wasted the blood, but exercised the valour of their troops, in expeditions to Armenia, the Caucasus, and Persia. But the nobler prize lay to the west. All solid sovereignty belongs to the hardy frames. and the regular opulence of Europe. Soliman the First, named the Magnificent, and if a conqueror can deserve the name, deserving it by the vastness of his designs and the splendour of his successes, threw himself upon Hungary. Combining the unusual tactique of an army and fleet, in itself an evidence of the superiority of his genius to that of his time, he at once overran the dominions of the Hunga. rian king, and assaulted Rhodes, held by the famous Knights of St John of Jerusalem, and regarded as the bulwark of Christendom. By the reluctant aid of the Venetians, Rhodes was stormed, after a desperate siege. Soliman marched to the conquest of Austria at the head of 200,000 menan army which no European potentate, in the rudeness and distractions of the
age, could hope to oppose. way, it trampled down the army of Hungary, which had the madness to meet it; and marching over the bodies of 20,000 men, with their monarch, on the field, converted the kingdom into a Turkish province, and invested Vienna. The strength of the ramparts and the approach of winter alone saved the Austrian capital from following the fate of the Hungarian. But while all Christendom trembled at the sight of the horse-tails, Soliman died-living and dying, the greatest conqueror since Charlemagne.
But with him the empire had reach- . ed its fated height. Thenceforth it was to descend. The seraglio has been the ruin of Turkey. cresy of its bloody transactions—its habitual separation of the sovereign from the people-its desperate dissoluteness-and the sullen ignorance, brute vengeance, and helpless effeminacy, which must be nurtured within such walls, extinguished all the rude virtues of the barbarian. Soliman, a hero and à legislator, always exposing his life in the field, or holding in his own hand the helm of his vast empire, reigned almost half a century. The reigns of his successors have been proverbial for their brevity. The janizaries became the true disposers of the throne. From the time of Mustapha the First-whom they strangled for his effeminacy, and Achmet, whom they placed on the throne and then strangled for his usurpation-the janizaries were the recognised makers and executioners of the sultans.
The first decisive recoil of the Ottoman power was in 1683, when Sobieski, at the head of the Polish army, forced the Vizier Kara Mustafa to raise the siege of Vienna, on the 12th of September. But a power more formidable than even Austria now began to threaten the Porte on the feeblest part of its frontier. Peter the Great, breaking the treaty of Carlowitz, invaded Moldavia in 1711. But, though forced to make an ignominious convention for his escape, the Russian never forgot the hope of conquest, and has since never abandoned the opportunity.
The nineteenth century commenced
in in aggravation of those horrors which had become characteristic of the Turkish throne. Selim the Sultan dethroned and strangled; Mustapha the Usurper dethroned and strangled; Bairactar,the famous Vizier, in the attempt to avenge the death of Selim, blown up by his own hand, and thousands of his adherents slaughtered by the janizaries; the accession of Mahmoud, the late Sultan, signalized by the total massacre of the janizaries in Constantinople, and the extinction of their order through. out the empire;-all less resembling the transactions of an established government, than the last desperate convulsions of a suicidal empire. Yet some extraordinary influence seems, for the last century, to have saved her from hourly ruin. Her time has clearly not come yet; and political prophecy has been once more put to shame. Turkey, mutilated of the two horns of her crescent, Greece and Egypt, still retains the solid centre of her possessions;
and when all human probability looked for her immediate dissolution, by the advance of Russia on one side and Egypt on the other, she has found a sudden protection in the tardily awakened vigilance of England, Austria, and France.
But the day of Turkish independence is at an end. She may live by the protection of the great states, but without it she cannot live. She is now a throne under tutelage; and remarkable as have been the instances of European recovery from national misfortune, there is nothing in the doctrines of Islamism, or the habits of the Asiatic, to administer that energy by which alone nations can stand on their feet again, after having been once flung on the ground. The grave of her despotism has been dug, but neither Russian nor Egyptian must be suffered to lay the body of the last of the Sultans there.
There is a tradition, that on the night of the capture of Constantinople, the conqueror saw in his sleep, like the Babylonish king, a vision, unfolding the fates of his dynasty.
SULTAUN, Sultaun! *
Thou art lord of the world! The last Constantine
At thy footstool is hurl'd. Now trembles the West,
The East kneels before theeJoy, joy to the breast
Of the mother that bore thee!
Hark, hark to the shouts
Of the hordes as they lie
Round the feast, on the ramparts
High hour in the palace!
Now the banquet is ended;
On the Bosphorus' shore.
And, like gems without number, The stars fill the sky;
And no echo is heard
Save the night chanting bird;
*The Turkish pronunciation of the word.
There is pomp in that chamber
That dazzles the eye;
Yet the pale watching slave,
Sultaun, Sultaun !
Why thus writhe in thy sleep?
From the heart and the brain.
Art thou corpse, art thou man,
There are visions unsleeping
There are thousand shapes sweeping
Sons of guilt unforgiven,
Whom chains cannot tame!
Till the sounds of earth die;
Wrecks of time-moulder'd bones
Then, deep as the thunder-peal,
"Wilt thou see what shall come?
Man of fate, take thy choice. Who the future will know,
Shall see clouds on his dawn." "Come weal, or come woe," High spoke the Sultaun.
Then the plain seem'd to reel
"Is this the roused desert
Before the simoom?
The armies of doom."
"Ho, princes of Christendom,
Old King, triple crown'd!
Thy Saints have forgot thee;
Then the plain was a sea
Of magnificent blue;
Where thy warriors, St John,
Fleet and rampart were gone;
Fell the rich eastern night,
Now look on thy shame!" In a silken Kiosk
Lay a vice-decay'd frame; And before his faint gaze,
To voice and to string, Danced his soft Odalisques, Like birds on the wing.
There was mirth mix'd with madness, Strange revel, strange sadness : The bowstring and bowl,
The sense and the soul.