« ZurückWeiter »
the tribes--such was the system of operations by which he was convinced the influence of the Emir could be alone demolished. Words of assurance and promises from the Metropolitan Government were not sufficient for him. "He who would achieve a purpose must have the means" was his reiterated dictum, and he persisted in his demands for reinforcements. Eighty thousand men were placed at his disposition, and the deputies voted the credits demanded for Algeria. The General took the field anew, and followed out to the letter the plan he had laid down to pursue. Flying columns swept ceaselessly over the country in all directions, rigorously smiting the unsubjected tribes, or punishing those who had revolted. The Emir was pursued from bivouac to bivouac, without truce and without repose. His Smala* was captured; Kabylia assailed in a first expedition; the battle and victory of Isly fought and won on the territory of Morocco; Bou-Maza defeated and driven from the Agailick of the Ouarenseris; and, finally, in 1848 Abd-el-Kader reduced to surrender himself a prisoner of war.
During this eventful period the European horse had wholly disappeared in the French-African cavalry regiments, and indeed almost from the army there, except for draught service. Incapable of supporting the incessant forced marches in the exhaustive summer heats, dearth of food and water, and of seconding efficiently the impetuous charges required to fall upon the fleet Arab cavalry, he had to be replaced by the indigenous horse captured from the enemy; bought wherever he could be had in the three provinces, or brought from Tunis, whence up to this time considerably more than one thousand had been imported for the supply of remounts to the cavalry, and that of the government breeding stud, and dépôts d'étalons.
Some notion may be formed of the consumption, and of the deterioration of the race in a war so protracted and arduous, wherein the friendly and subjected tribes could not give their wonted attention to breeding, and in whose markets, when visited for purchases, though
*The Smala was a kind of movable capital, organized by the Emir to meet the necessities of his situation, and to bring around him those chiefs of tribes who were resolved to follow his fortunes with all they possessed. An agglomeration of tribes and fractions of tribes, or households (déiras), the Smala became in this manner a moving refuge, to which the Arab tribes, in the hope of the greater security it would proffer, brought their treasures, their herds, their women, their children, their aged, infirm, and sick. Thereby no less the Emir thought to oppose a counter allurement to the proclamations of the French, offering protection to all the tribes who would come over to them. This immense moving capital, as it were, with a population of upwards of 20,000, would, had definitive emigration been the Emir's intention, have been the most appropriate form of effecting it; but it exhibited little military judgment on his part to have all his own movements clogged, as it were, by the impedimenta of such an assemblage of non-combatants, with an enemy so indefatigably enterprising and war-skilled hovering ever around; for it followed the Emir's movements--now advancing into the more cultivated territory, or retreating to the Sahara as his fortunes fluctuated. Its political value as an establishment was vastly diminished therefore by the necessity of the watch and ward, day and night, of four tribes of warriors set apart for the protection and guidance of the Smala in its wanderings-a force which in his razzias upon the enemy would have frequently given him a most valuable numerical superiority. Some notion may be formed of the extent of ground covered by the tents of the Smala from the fact that when in the Sahara the encampment was lost in the far distant horizon of the desert, and when in the Tell the tents filled the vast valley and covered the slopes of the mountains.
presenting sometimes from 200 to 500 horses, scarcely 10 or 12 could be bought for the use of the cavalry. Yet the degree of blood in their conformation was always a noticeable feature; the ancient barb race transmitted in spite of all to its progeny the distinct seal of its nobility, for the race had never yet been sullied by intermixture with stranger types. But the ills and sufferings of war, the life of the bivouac, severe work before the complete development of the organs much less of the growth, paucity and poverty of food, with all that affects the equine health, and renders the rearing and training of their horses difficult to the Arab during political commotions, had brought the barb of Algeria to the condition of a rich family reduced by misfortune to a state of poverty.
As we write these lines, which but imperfectly condense the light thrown upon the condition to which in many parts of Algeria the barb race had been reduced at that period of the struggle, as witnessed by a French officer of the writer's personal acquaintance, who had served some years in Africa, and traversed the Regency in every direction, corroborated as it was by the testimony of a skilled hippiast and military veterinary of the army of Africa, our thoughts revert to those descendants of the barb and Arabian here in our own home of England. Here, where by causes happily not compulsory, but far less creditable to our honour as a nation in the present day, blink it or deny it as we may, those descendants have been deteriorated in a much greater degree from what they were in the transmitted qualities of their ancestry, by the selfish misuses to which they have been subjected from mer cenary motives such as the uncultured Arabs of the Algerian Tell, and Sahara would scorn.
ENGRAVED BY J. SCOTT, FROM A PAINTING BY THE LATE R. B. DAVIS.
The gloomy woods
Start at the flash, and from their deep recess,
BY LORD WILLIAM LENNOX.
There is a charm in country life that none but those who have experienced it can understand. Prose writers and poets have dwelt upon it; and no one has done more justice to the subject than the author of the following lines:
"Free from proud porches or their solid roofs,
To some cool, courteous shade, which he calls his,
And makes sleep softer than it is.
Or if you, the night in watch to break,
A-bed can hear the loud stag speak,
In spring oft roused, for their master's sport,
Or with your friends the heart of all the year
In autumn at the partridge make a flight,
And give the gladder guests the sight.
And in the winter hunt the flying hare,
More for the exercise than fare,
While all that follow their glad ears apply
Among the many advantages resulting from field-sports, the following are obvious: They tend to induce noblemen and gentlemen to live upon their estates and to expend large sums in their neighbourhood. They are the means of bringing together the proprietors of the land and the tiller of the soil; and by the cover-side the wealthy owner holds friendly communion with the yeomen and farmers upon the estate. They are eminently promotive of health; and, while they exhilarate the spirits, they impart a manly healthy tone to the mind. "Comparisons are odoriferous," as Mrs. Malaprop says, so we will not compare the country gentleman to the London one, or "man about town," as he is called, further than to say that there is a masculine vigour, a cheerful vitality, about the former, that cannot be exceeded. Ruddy health glows in his clear complexion, and sparkles in his bright eye. How cheerful, how frank, how open-hearted he is! and in these days (unlike those in which Fielding lived, when drunken, coarse, illiterate Squire Beagle's flourished) a modern sportsman, even if he shoots twice a week and hunts thrice, can find time for reading, social intercourse, and the duties attached to his station in life. Whether the Londoner, who neither rides, walks, nor shoots, nor hunts, enjoys equally the "mens sana in corpore sano," must be left to those whose happiness consists in metropolitan club-life, strolling in the park, or walking on the "shady side of Pall Mall."