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The Pirates Own Book by Charles Ellms

Part 7 out of 7

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to wait for morning.

When it was broad day, we once more applied to the sentinel, to point
out the way to the nearest house or town, which he did, directing us to
a house about two miles distant; but our feet were so raw and blistered
by the sun that it was long before we could get this short journey over;
and then, the owners of the house, concluding from our garb that we came
with a pilfering design, presented a fowling-piece, charging us to
stand. The first of our number, who could speak the language of the
country, mildly endeavored to undeceive him, saying, we were a company
of poor creatures, whom the wonderful providence of God had rescued from
the slavery of Algiers, and hoped that he would show mercy to our
afflictions. The honest farmer, moved with our relation, sent out
bread, water and olives. After refreshing ourselves with these, we lay
down and rested three or four hours in the field; and, having given him
thanks for his charity, prepared to crawl away. Pleased with our
gratitude, he called us into his house, and gave us good warm bean
pottage, which to me seemed the best food I had ever ate. Again taking
leave, we advanced towards Majorca, which was about ten miles distant.

Next morning we arrived in the suburbs, where the singularity of our
attire, being barefoot and bare legged, and having nothing on except
loose shirts, drawn over our coats, attracted a crowd of enquirers. We
gave a circumstantial account of our deliverance; and, as they were
willing to contribute to our relief, they supplied us with food, wine,
strong waters, and whatever else might renovate our exhausted spirits.
They said, however, that we must remain in the suburbs until the viceroy
had notice of our arrival. We were called before him, and when he had
heard the account of our escape and dangers, he ordered us to be
maintained at his expense until we should obtain a passage to our own
country; and, in the meantime, the people collected money to buy clothes
and shoes.

From Majorca they proceeded to Cadiz, and from thence to England, which
they reached in safety.

Several expeditions at different periods were fitted out by different
European nations to chastise the pirates. The Emperor, Charles V., in
the plenitude of his power, sailed with a formidable armament in the
year 1541, and affected a landing. Without doubt he would have taken the
city, if a terrible storm had not risen, which destroyed a great part of
his fleet and obliged him to re-embark with his shattered forces in the
greatest precipitation. The exultation of the Algerines was unbounded;
they now looked on themselves as the special favorites of heaven; the
most powerful army which had ever attempted their subjection had
returned with the loss of one third their number, and a great part of
its ships and transports. Prisoners had been taken in such abundance,
that to show their worthlessness, they were publicly sold in the
market-place at Algiers, at an onion a head.

For nearly a century after this, little occurs of note in Algerine
history except a constant system of piracy. In 1655 the British Admiral
Blake gave them a drubbing.

The French were the next to attack these common enemies of Europe.
Admiral Duguesne commanded the expedition, and after bombarding the
place a short time, the Dey himself soon began to be terrified at the
destruction these new engines of naval war made, when an unfavorable
wind arising, compelled the fleet to make all sail for Toulon.

Relieved from the terror of immediate destruction, the Algerines
returned to their old ways, making descents on the coast of Provence,
where they committed the most dreadful ravages, killing, burning and
destroying all that came in their way. The Dey also recovered, not only
his courage, but his humor; for learning what a large sum the late
expedition against his city had cost, he sent to say, "that if Louis
would give him half the money, he would undertake to burn the whole city
to please him." The French accordingly sent a new expedition under the
same officers the next year. Duguesne again sailed, and in front of the
city was joined by the Marquis D'Affranville, at the head of five other
stout ships. A council of war was held and an immediate attack resolved
upon, in consequence of which, the vessels having taken up their
stations, a hundred bombs were thrown into the town during that day, and
as many more on the following night, when the town was observed to be on
fire in several places; the Dey's palace, and other public buildings
were in ruins; some of the batteries were dismounted, and several
vessels sunk in the fort. This speedy destruction soon determined the
Dey and Janissaries to sue for peace; and a message to this effect was
sent to Duguesne, who consented to cease firing, but refused to
negociate regarding terms, until all the captives taken fighting under
the French flag were given up as a preliminary step. This was agreed to,
and one hundred and forty-two prisoners immediately sent off. In the
mean time the soldiery becoming furious, assassinated the Dey and
elected a new one, who ordered the flag to be hoisted on the city walls.
Hostilities were now renewed with greater fury than before, and the
French admiral threw such volleys of bombs into the city, that in less
than three days the greatest part of it was reduced to ashes; and the
fire burnt with such vehemence that the bay was illuminated to the
distance of two or three leagues. Rendered desperate by the carnage
around him, the new Dey ordered all the French captives who had been
collected into the city to be cruelly murdered, and binding Father
Vacher, the French Resident, hand and foot, had him tied to a mortar and
fired off like a bomb against the French fleet. This wanton piece of
atrocity so exasperated Duguesne, that, laying his fleet as near land as
possible, he continued his cannonade until he had destroyed all their
shipping, fortifications, buildings; in short, almost the whole of the
lower town, and about two-thirds of the upper; when finding nothing else
which a naval force could do, and being unprovided for a land
expedition, he stood out leisurely to sea, leaving the Algerines to
reflect over the sad consequences of their obstinacy. For several years
after this they kept in the old piratical track; and upon the British
consuls making a complaint to the Dey, on occasion of one of his
corsairs having captured a vessel, he openly replied, "It is all very
true, but what would you have? the Algerines are a company of rogues,
and I am their captain."

To such people force was the argument; and in 1700 Capt. Beach, falling
in with seven of their frigates, attacked them, drove them on shore, and
burnt them. Expeditions at various times were sent against them, but
without effecting much; and most of the maritime nations paid them
tribute. But a new power was destined to spring up, from which these
pirates were to receive their first check; that power was the United
States of America.

In 1792 his corsairs, in a single cruise, swept off ten American
vessels, and sent their crews to the Bagnio, so that there were one
hundred and fifteen in slavery.

Negociations were at once set on foot; the Dey's demands had of course
risen in proportion to the number of his prisoners, and the Americans
had not only to pay ransom at a high rate, with presents, marine stores,
and yearly tribute, but to build and present to the Dey, as a
propitiatory offering, a thirty-six gun frigate; so that the whole
expenses fell little short of a million of dollars, in return for which
they obtained liberty for their captives, protection for their merchant
vessels, and the right of free trade with Algiers. The treaty was signed
September 5th, 1795; and from that time, up to 1812, the Dey continued
on tolerable good terms with Congress; indeed, so highly was he pleased
with them, in 1800, that he signified to the consul his intention of
sending an ambassador to the Porte, with the customary presents, in the
Washington, a small American frigate, at that time lying in the harbor
of Algiers. In vain the consul and captain remonstrated, and represented
that they had no authority to send the vessel on such a mission; they
were silenced by the assurance that it was a particular honor conferred
on them, which the Dey had declined offering to any of the English
vessels then in harbor, as he was rather angry with that nation. The
Washington was obliged to be prepared for the service; the corsair flag,
bearing the turbaned head of Ali, was run up to her main top, under a
salute of seven guns; and in this respectable plight she sailed up the
Mediterranean, dropped anchor before the seven towers, where, having
landed her cargo, she was permitted to resume her own colors, and was
thus the first vessel to hoist the American Union in the Thracian

[Illustration: _Algerines in the act of firing off the French consul from
a mortar at the French fleet._]

In 1812, however, the Dey, finding his funds at a low ebb, and receiving
from all quarters reports that a wealthy American commerce was afloat,
determined on trying them with a new war. He was peculiarly unfortunate
in the time chosen, as the States, having about a month previously
declared war with Great Britain, had, in fact, withdrawn most of the
merchant ships from the sea, so that the only prize which fell into the
hands of the Dey's cruizers was a small brig, with a crew of eleven
persons. The time at length came for putting an end to these lawless
depredations, and peace having been concluded with England, President
Madison, in 1815, despatched an American squadron, under commodores
Bainbridge and Decatur, with Mr. Shaler, as envoy, on board, to demand
full satisfaction for all injuries done to American subjects, the
immediate release of such as were captives, the restitution of their
property, with an assurance that no future violence should be offered,
and also to negociate the preliminaries of a treaty on terms of perfect
equality, no proposal of tribute being at all admissible. The squadron
reached its destination early in June, and, having captured an Algerine
frigate and brig-of-war, suddenly appeared before Algiers, at a moment
when all the cruizers were at sea, and delivered, for the consideration
of the Divan, the terms on which they were commissioned to make peace,
together with a letter from the President to the Dey. Confounded by the
sudden and entirely unexpected appearance of this force, the Algerines
agreed, on the 30th of June, to the proposals of a treaty, almost
without discussion.

It had long been a reproach to Great Britain, the mistress of the sea,
that she had tamely suffered a barbarian power to commit such atrocious
ravages on the fleets and shores of the minor states along the
Mediterranean. At length a good cause was made for chastising them.

At Bona, a few miles to the east of Algiers, was an establishment for
carrying on a coral fishery, under the protection of the British flag,
which, at the season, was frequented by a great number of boats from the
Corsican, Neapolitan, and other Italian ports. On the 23d of May, the
feast of Ascension, as the crews of all the boats were preparing to hear
mass, a gun was fired from the castle, and at the same time appeared
about two thousand, other accounts say four thousand, infantry and
cavalry, consisting of Turks, Levanters, and Moors. A part of these
troops proceeded towards the country, whilst another band advanced
towards the river, where the fishing boats were lying at different
distances from the sea; and opening a fire upon the unfortunate
fishermen, who were partly on board and partly on land, massacred almost
the whole of them. They then seized the English flags, tore them in
pieces, and trampling them under foot, dragged them along the ground in
triumph. The men who happened to be in the country saved themselves by
flight, and declared that they saw the soldiers pillage the house of the
British vice-consul, the magazines containing the provisions, and the
coral that had been fished up. A few boats escaped, and brought the news
to Genoa, whence it was transmitted by the agent of Lloyd's in a
despatch, dated June 6th.

No sooner had the account of this atrocious slaughter reached England,
than all ranks seemed inflamed with a desire that a great and signal
punishment should be taken on this barbarian prince, who was neither
restrained by the feelings of humanity nor bound by treaties. An
expedition, therefore, was fitted out with all speed at Portsmouth, and
the command intrusted to Lord Exmouth, who, after some delays from
contrary winds, finally sailed, July 28th, with a fleet complete in all
points, consisting of his own ship, the Queen Charlotte, one hundred
and twenty guns; the Impregnable, rear admiral, Sir David Milne; ninety
guns; Minden, Superb, Albion, each seventy-four guns; the Leander fifty
guns, with four more frigates and brigs, bombs, fire-ships, and several
smaller vessels, well supplied, in addition to the ordinary means of
warfare, with Congreve rockets, and Shrapnell shells, the destructive
powers of which have lately been abundantly proved on the continent.
August 9, the fleet anchored at Gibraltar, and was there joined by the
Dutch admiral, Van Cappillen, commanding five frigates and a corvette,
who had been already at Algiers, endeavoring to deliver slaves: but
being refused, and finding his force insufficient, had determined on
joining himself with the English squadron, which it was understood was
under weigh. Meanwhile, the Prometheus, Captain Dashwood, had been sent
forward to Algiers to bring off the British consul and family; but could
only succeed in getting his wife and daughter, who were obliged to make
their escape, disguised in midshipmen's uniform; for the Dey, having
heard through some French papers of the British expedition, had seized
the consul, Mr. Macdonnell, and put him in chains; and, hearing of the
escape of his wife, immediately ordered the detention of two boats of
the Prometheus, which happened to be on shore, and made slaves of the
crews, amounting to eighteen men. This new outrage was reported to Lord
Exmouth soon after leaving Gibraltar, and of course added not a little
to his eagerness to reach Algiers. He arrived off Algiers on the morning
of the 27th of August, and sent in his interpreter, Mr. Salame, with
Lieutenant Burgess, under a flag of truce, bearing a letter for the Dey,
demanding reparation.

Meantime, a light breeze sprung up, and the fleet advanced into the bay,
and lay to, at about a mile off Algiers "It was now," says Mr. Salame,
in his entertaining narrative, "half-past two, and no answer coming out,
notwithstanding we had staid half an hour longer than our instructions,
and the fleet being almost opposite the town, with a fine breeze, we
thought proper, after having done our duty, to lose no more time, but to
go on board, and inform his lordship of what had happened.

"Mr. Burgess, the flag-lieutenant, having agreed with me, we hoisted the
signal, _that no answer had been given_, and began to row away towards
the Queen Charlotte. After I had given our report to the admiral, of our
meeting the captain of the port, and our waiting there, &c., I was quite
surprised to see how his lordship was altered from what I left him in
the morning; for I knew his manner was in general very mild, and now he
seemed to me _all-fightful,_ as a fierce lion, which had been chained in
its cage, and was set at liberty. With all that, his lordship's answer
to me was, '_Never mind, we shall see now_;' and at the same time he
turned towards the officers, saying, '_Be ready_,' whereupon I saw every
one with the match or the string of the lock in his hand, most anxiously
expecting the word '_Fire_'!

"No sooner had Salame returned, than his lordship made the signal to know
whether all the ships were ready, which being answered in the
affirmative, he directly turned the head of the Queen Charlotte towards
shore, and, to the utter amazement of the Algerines, ran across all the
batteries without firing or receiving a single shot, until he brought up
within eighty yards of the south end of the mole, where he lashed her to
the mainmast of an Algerine brig, which he had taken as his direction,
and had then the pleasure of seeing all the rest of the fleet, including
the Dutch frigates, taking up their assigned stations with the same
precision and regularity. The position in which the Queen Charlotte was
laid was so admirable that she was only exposed to the fire of three or
four flanking guns, while her broadside swept the whole batteries, and
completely commanded the mole and marine, every part of which could be
seen distinctly from her quarter-deck. Up to this moment not a shot had
been fired, and the batteries were all crowded with spectators, gazing
in astonishment at the quiet and regularity which prevailed through all
the British ships, and the dangerous vicinity in which they placed
themselves to such formidable means of defence. Lord Exmouth, therefore,
began to conceive hopes that his demands would still be granted; but the
delay, it appeared, was caused by the Algerines being completely
unprepared for so very sudden an approach, insomuch that their guns were
not shotted at the moment when the Queen Charlotte swept past them, and
they were distinctly seen loading them as the other ships were coming
into line. Anxious, if possible, to spare unnecessary effusion of blood,
his lordship, standing on the quarter-deck, repeatedly waved his hat as
a warning to the multitudes assembled on the mole to retire, but his
signal was unheeded, and at a quarter before three in the afternoon the
first gun was fired at the Queen Charlotte from the eastern battery, and
two more at the Albion and Superb, which were following. Then Lord
Exmouth, having seen only _the smoke of the gun,_ before the sound
reached him, said, with great alacrity, '_That will do; fire my fine
fellows!_' and I am sure that before his lordship had finished these
words, our broadside was given with great cheering, which was fired
three times within five or six minutes; and at the same time the other
ships did the same. This first fire was so terrible, that they say more
than five hundred persons were killed and wounded by it. And I believe
this, because there was a great crowd of people in every part, many of
whom, after the first discharge, I saw running away, under the walls,
like dogs, walking upon their feet and hands.

"After the attack took place on both sides in this horrible manner,
immediately the sky was darkened by the smoke, the sun completely
eclipsed, and the horizon became dreary. Being exhausted by the heat of
that powerful sun, to which I was exposed the whole day, and my ears
being deafened by the roar of the guns, and finding myself in the
dreadful danger of such a terrible engagement, in which I had never been
before, I was quite at a loss, and like an astonished or stupid man, and
did not know myself where I was. At last his lordship, having perceived
my situation, said, 'You have done your duty, now go below.' Upon which
I began to descend from the quarter-deck, quite confounded and
terrified, and not sure that I should reach the cock-pit alive; for it
was most tremendous to hear the crashing of the shot, to see the wounded
men brought from one part, and the killed from the other; and
especially, at such a time, to be found among the _English seamen_! and
to witness their manners, their activity, their courage, and their
cheerfulness during the battle!--it is really most overpowering and
beyond imagination."

The battle continued to rage furiously, and the havoc on both sides was
very great. There were some awful moments, particularly when Algerine
vessels so near our line were set on fire. The officers surrounding Lord
Exmouth had been anxious for permission to make an attempt upon the
outer frigate, distant about a hundred yards. He at length consented,
and Major Gossett, of the corps of marines, eagerly entreated and
obtained permission to accompany Lieutenant Richards in the ship's
barge. The frigate was instantly boarded, and, in ten minutes, in a
perfect blaze. A gallant young midshipman, although forbidden, was led
by his too ardent spirit to follow in support of the barge, in which
attempt he was desperately wounded, his brother officer killed, and nine
of the crew. The barge, by rowing more rapidly, escaped better, having
but one killed.

About sunset the admiral received a message from rear-admiral Milne,
stating his severe loss in killed and wounded, amounting to one hundred
and fifty, and requesting that, if possible, a frigate might be sent him
to take off some of the enemy's fire. The Glasgow accordingly was
ordered to get under weigh, but the wind having been laid by the
cannonade, she was obliged again to anchor, having obtained a rather
more favorable position. The flotilla of mortar, gun, and rocket boats,
under the direction of their respective artillery officers, shared to
the full extent of their powers the honors and toils of this glorious
day. It was by their fire that all the ships in the port (with the
exception of the outer frigate already mentioned) were in flames, which,
extending rapidly over the whole arsenal, gun-boats, and storehouses,
exhibited a spectacle of awful grandeur and interest which no pen can
describe. The sloops of war which had been appropriated to aid and
assist the ships of the line, and prepare for their retreat, performed
not only that duty well, but embraced every opportunity of firing
through the intervals, and were constantly in motion. The shells from
the bombs were admirably well thrown by the royal marine artillery, and,
though directed over and across our own men-of-war, did not produce a
single accident. To complete the confusion of the enemy, the admiral now
ordered the explosion ship, which had been charged for the occasion, to
be brought within the mole; but upon the representation of Sir David
Milne that it would do him essential service, if made to act on the
battery in his front, it was towed to that spot, and blown up with
tremendous effect.

This was almost the final blow;--the enemy's fire had for some time been
very slack, and now almost wholly ceased, except that occasionally a few
shots and shells were discharged from the higher citadel, upon which the
guns of the fleet could not be brought to bear. The admiral, who from
the commencement had been in the hottest of the engagement, and had
fired until his guns were so hot that they could, some of them, not be
used again; now seeing that he had executed the most important part of
his instructions, issued orders for drawing off the fleet. This was
commenced in excellent order about ten at night, and the usual breeze
having set off from shore favored their manoeuvre, so that, all hands
being employed in warping and towing, the vessels were got safely into
the bay, and anchored, beyond reach of shot, about two o'clock the next

So signal and well contested a victory could not have been gained
without a considerable loss and suffering. It amounted in the English
fleet, to one hundred and twenty-eight men killed, and six hundred and
ninety wounded; in the Dutch squadron, to thirteen killed, and fifty-two
wounded; grand total, eight hundred and eighty-three. But the enemy
suffered much more severly; they are computed to have lost, in killed
and wounded, not less than between six and seven thousand men. The loss
sustained by the Algerines by the destruction in the mole was four large
frigates, of forty-four guns. Five large corvettes, from twenty-four to
thirty guns. All the gun and mortar-boats, except seven; thirty
destroyed. Several merchant brigs and schooners. A great number of small
vessels of various descriptions. All the pontoons, lighters, &c.,
Store-houses and arsenal, with all the timber, and various marine
articles destroyed in part. A great many gun-carriages, mortar-beds,
casks, and ships' stores of all descriptions.

Negociations were immediately opened in form; and on the 30th August the
admiral published a notification to the fleet, that all demands had been
complied with, the British consul had been indemnified for his losses,
and the Dey, in presence of all his officers, had made him a public
apology for the insults offered him. On the 1st of September, Lord
Exmouth had the pleasure of informing the secretary of the Admiralty,
that all the slaves in the city of Algiers, and its immediate vicinity
were embarked; as also 357,000 dollars for Naples, and 25,000 dollars
for Sardinia.

The number of slaves thus released amounted to one thousand and
eighty-three, of whom four hundred and seventy-one were Neapolitans,
two hundred and thirty-six Sicilians, one hundred and seventy-three
Romans, six Tuscans, one hundred and sixty-one Spaniards, one
Portuguese, seven Greeks, twenty-eight Dutch, and not _one Englishman_.
Were there an action more than another on which an Englishman would
willingly risk the fame and honor of his nation, it would be this attack
on Algiers, which, undertaken solely at her own risk, and earned solely
by the expenditure of her own blood and her own resources, rescued not a
single subject of her own from the tyrant's grasp, while it freed more
than a thousand belonging to other European powers.

In August, 1816, the strength of Algiers seemed annihilated; her walls
were in ruins, her haughty flag was humbled to the dust; her gates lay
open to a hostile power, and terms were dictated in the palace of her
princes. A year passed, the hostile squadron had left her ports, the
clang of the workman's hammer, the hum of busy men resounded through her
streets, fresh walls had risen, new and more formidable batteries had
been added; again she resumed her attitude as of yore, bid defiance to
her foes, and declared war on civilization:--again her blood-stained
corsairs swept the seas, eager for plunder, ready for combat;--Christian
commerce once more became shackled by her enterprise, and Christian
captives once more sent up their cry for deliverance. In 1819, her
piracies had become so numerous that the Congress of Aix-la-Chapelle
caused it to be notified to the Dey, that their cessation was required,
and would be enforced, by a combined French and English squadron. His
reply was brief and arrogant, and the admirals were obliged to leave
without obtaining the least satisfaction. By menaces, however,
accompanied by the presence of some cruisers, England, France, and the
United States caused their flags to be respected.

Ali, the successor of Amar, had died in 1818, and was succeeded by
Hassein Pasha, who, from the commencement of his reign, evinced the
strongest antipathy to the French power. In 1824, he imposed an
arbitrary tax through all his provinces on French goods and
manufactures; the consul's house was frequently entered and searched in
a vexatious manner, contrary to the express stipulations of treaties;
and, finally, April, 1827, the consul himself, having gone at the feast
of Bayram to pay his respects, was, upon a slight difference of opinion
arising during their conversation, struck across the mouth with a
fly-flap which the Dey held in his hand, and in consequence soon after
left Algiers, while the Dey ordered the destruction of all the French
establishments along the coast towards Bona, and oppressed in every
manner the French residents within his dominions. A blockade was
instantly commenced by the French, and maintained for nearly three
years, until it was found that they suffered much more by it than the
Dey, the expense having reached nearly 800,000_l_ sterling, while he
appeared no way inconvenienced by their efforts, and even treated them
with such contempt as to order his forts to fire on the vessel of
Admiral Le da Bretonniere, who, in 1829, had gone there under a flag of
truce to make a final proposal of terms of accommodation. So signal a
violation of the laws of nations could not be overlooked, even by the
imbecile administrations of Charles X. All France was in an uproar; the
national flag had been dishonored, and her ambassador insulted; the cry
for war became loud and universal; conferences on the subject were held;
the oldest and most experienced mariners were invited by the minister at
war to assist in his deliberations; and an expedition was finally
determined on in the month of February, 1830, to consist of about
thirty-seven thousand men, a number which it was calculated would not
only be sufficient to overcome all opposition which might be
encountered, but to enable the French to reduce the kingdom to a
province, and retain it in subjection for any length of time that might
be considered advisable. No sooner was this decision promulgated, than
all the necessary preparations were commenced with the utmost diligence.
It was now February, and the expedition was to embark by the end of
April, so that no time could be lost. The arsenals, the naval and
military workships, were all in full employment. Field and breaching
batteries were mounted on a new principle lately adopted; gabions,
earth-bags, _chevaux-de-frise,_ and projectiles were made in the
greatest abundance maps, notes, and all the information that could be
procured respecting Barbary were transmitted to the war office, where
their contents were compared and digested, and a plan of operations was
drawn out. The commissariat were busied in collecting provisions,
waggons, and fitting out an efficient hospital train; a
deputy-commissary was despatched to reconnoitre the coasts of Spain and
the Balearic Islands, to ascertain what resources could be drawn from
them, and negociate with the king for leave to establish military
hospitals at Port Mahon. Eighteen regiments of the line, three squadrons
of cavalry, and different corps of artillery and engineers were ordered
to hold themselves in readiness; four hundred transports were assembled,
and chartered by government in the port of Marseilles, while the vessels
of war, which were to form the convoy, were appointed their rendezvous
in the neighborhood of Toulon. After some hesitation as to who should
command this important expedition, the Count de Bourmont, then minister
at war, thought fit to appoint himself; and his etat-major was soon
complete, Desprez acting as chief, and Tholoze as second in command.
Maubert de Neuilly was chosen provost-marshal, De Bartillat (who
afterwards wrote an entertaining account of the expedition)
quarter-master general, and De Carne commissary-general to the forces.
In addition to these, there were about twenty aid-de-camps, orderlies,
and young men of rank attached to the staff, together with a Spanish
general, an English colonel, a Russian colonel and lieutenant, and two
Saxon officers, deputed by their respective governments. There were also
a section of engineer-geographers, whose business was to survey and map
the country as it was conquered, "and," says M. Roget, who was himself
employed in the service we have just mentioned, and to whose excellent
work, written in that capacity, we are so much indebted, "twenty-four
interpreters, the half of whom knew neither French nor Arabic, were
attached-to the different corps of the army, in order to facilitate
their intercourse with the inhabitants." As the minister had determined
on risking his own reputation on the expedition, the supplies were all,
of course, of the completest kind, and in the greatest abundance.
Provisions for three months were ordered; an equal quantity was to be
forwarded as soon as the army had landed in Africa; and, amongst the
other materials furnished we observe, in looking over the returns,
thirty wooden legs, and two hundred crutches, for the relief of the
unfortunate heroes, a boring apparatus to sink pumps, if water should
run short, and a balloon, with two aeronauts, to reconnoitre the enemy's
position, in case, as was represented to be their wont, they should
entrench themselves under the shelter of hedges and brushwood.

The French effected a landing at Sidy-el-Ferruch, a small promontory,
about five leagues to the west of Algiers, and half a league to the east
of the river Massaflran, where it discharges itself into the bay. On the
14th of June they all landed without opposition.

After a continued series of engagements and skirmishes the army got
within cannon shot of Algiers, where they broke ground and began
entrenching, and the French works being completed, the heavy breaching
cannon were all mounted; and at day-break on the 4th of July, General
Lahitte, having assured himself by personal inspection that all was
ready, ordered the signal rocket to be thrown, and at the same moment
the whole French batteries opened their fire within point blank
distance, and with a report which shook the whole of Algiers, and
brought the garrison, who were little expecting so speedy an attack,
running to their posts. The artillery was admirably served, and from one
battery which enfiladed the fort, the balls were seen to sweep away at
once an entire row of Algerine cannoneers from their guns. The Turks
displayed the most undaunted courage; they answered shot for shot,
supplied with fresh men the places of such as were slain, stopped up
with woolsacks the breaches made by the balls, replaced the cannon which
the French fire had dismounted, and never relaxed their exertions for a
moment. But the nature of their works was ill-calculated to withstand
the scientific accuracy with which the besiegers made their attack.
Every ball now told--the tower in the centre was completely riddled by
shots and shells; the bursting of these latter had disabled great
numbers of the garrison. By seven o'clock the besieged had begun to
retire from the most damaged part of their works; by half-past eight the
whole outer line of defence was abandoned, and by nine the fire of the
fort was extinct. The Turkish general, finding opposition hopeless, had
sent to the Dey for commands; and in reply was ordered to retreat with
his whole remaining force to the Cassaubah, and leave three negroes to
blow up the fort. The tranquillity with which they performed this fatal
task deserves record. The French, finding the enemy's fire to fail,
directed all theirs towards effecting a practicable breach. The fort
seemed to be abandoned;--two red flags floated still on its outside line
of defence, and a third on the angle towards the city. Three negroes
were seen calmly walking on the ramparts, and from time to time looking
over, as if to examine what progress the breach was making. One of them,
struck by a cannon-ball, fell, and the others, as if to revenge his
death, ran to a cannon, pointed it, and fired three shots. At the third,
the gun turned over, and they were unable to replace it. They tried
another, and as they were in the act of raising it, a shot swept the
legs from under one of them. The remaining negro gazed for a moment on
his comrade, drew him a little back, left him, and once more examined
the breach. He then snatched one of the flags, and retired to the
interior of the tower; in a few minutes he re-appeared, took a second
and descended. The French continued to cannonade, and the breach
appeared almost practicable, when suddenly they were astounded by a
terrific explosion, which shook the whole ground as with an earthquake;
an immense column of smoke, mixed with streaks of flame, burst from the
centre of the fortress, masses of solid masonry were hurled into the air
to an amazing height, while cannon, stones, timbers, projectiles, and
dead bodies, were scattered in every direction--the negro had done his
duty--the fort was blown up.

In half an hour the French sappers and miners were at work repairing the
smoking ruins, their advanced guards had effected a reconnoissance along
the side of the hill towards the fort Bab-azoona, and their engineers
had broken ground for new works within seven hundred yards of the
Cassaubah. But these preparations were unnecessary; the Dey had resigned
all further intention of resistance, and at two o'clock a flag of truce
was announced, which proved to be Sidy Mustapha, the Dey's private
secretary, charged with offers of paying the whole expense of the
campaign, relinquishing all his demands on France, and making any
further reparation that the French general might require, on condition
that the troops should not enter Algiers. These proposals met with an
instant negative:--Bourmont felt that Algiers was in his power, and
declared that he would grant no other terms than an assurance of life to
the Dey and inhabitants, adding that if the gates were not opened he
should recommence his fire. Scarcely had Mustapha gone, than two other
deputies appeared, sent by the townsmen to plead in their behalf. They
were a Turk called Omar, and a Moor named Bouderba, who having lived for
some time at Marseilles, spoke French perfectly. They received nearly
the same answer as Mustapha; but they proved themselves better
diplomatists, for they spoke so much to the general of the danger, there
would be in refusing the Janissaries all terms, and the probability that
if thus driven to despair they might make a murderous resistance, and
afterwards destroy all the wealth and blow up all the forts before
surrendering, that Bourmont, yielding to their representations, became
less stern in his demands; and Mustapha having returned about the same
time with the English vice-consul, as a mediator, the following terms
were finally committed to paper, and sent to the Dey by an interpreter.

"1. The fort of the Cassaubah, with all the other forts dependent on
Algiers, and the harbor, shall be placed in the hands of the French
troops the 5th of July, at 10 o'clock, A.M.

"2. The general-in-chief of the French army ensures the Dey of Algiers
personal liberty, and all his private property.

"3. The Dey shall be free to retire with his family and wealth wherever
he pleases. While he remains at Algiers he and his family shall be under
the protection of the commander-in-chief. A guard shall insure his
safety, and that of his family.

"4. The same advantages, and same protection are assured to all the
soldiers of the militia.

"5. The exercise of the Mohammedan religion shall remain free; the
liberty of the inhabitants of all classes, their religion, property,
commerce, and industry shall receive no injury; their women shall be
respected: the general takes this on his own responsibility.

"6. The ratification of this convention to be made before 10 A.M., on the
5th of July, and the French troops immediately after to take possession
of the Cassaubah, and other forts."

These terms were so much more favorable than the Dey could have
expected, that, of course, not a moment was lost in signifying his
acceptance: he only begged to be allowed two hours more to get himself
and his goods out of the Cassaubah, and these were readily granted. It
may, indeed, be wondered at that he and his Janissaries should be
allowed to retain all their ill-gotten booty, under the name of private
property; but Count de Bourmont, though not without talent, was
essentially a weak man, and was in this instance overreached by the wily
Moor. The whole of next morning an immense number of persons were seen
flying from Algiers, previous to the entry of the French army, and
carrying with them all their goods, valuables, and money. They fled by
the fort Bab-azoona, on the roads towards Constantina and Bleeda; and
about a hundred mounted Arabs were seen caracolling on the beach, as if
to cover their retreat. No opposition to it, however, was made by the
French troops, or by their navy, which had now again come in sight.

At twelve o'clock the general, with his staff, artillery, and a strong
guard, entered the Cassaubah, and at the same moment all the other forts
were taken possession of by French troops. No one appeared to make a
formal surrender, nor did any one present himself on the part of the
inhabitants, to inquire as to what protection they were to receive, yet,
on the whole, we believe the troops conducted themselves, at least on
this occasion, with signal forbearance; and that of the robberies which
took place, the greater number were perpetrated by Moors and Jews. One
was rather ingenious. The minister of finance had given up the public
treasures to commissioners regularly appointed for the purpose. Amongst
others, the mint was visited, a receipt given of its containing bullion
to the amount of 25,000 or 30,000 francs, the door sealed, and a sentry
placed. Next morning the seal was perfect, the sentry at his post, but
the bullion was gone through a small hole made in the back wall.

The amount of public property found in Algiers, and appropriated by the
French, was very considerable, and much more than repaid the expenses of
the expedition. The blockade of the last three years had, by
interrupting their commerce, caused an accumulation of the commodities
in which the Algerines generally paid their tribute, so that the
storehouses at the Cassaubah were abundantly filled with wool, hides,
leather, wax, lead and copper. Quantities of grain, silks, muslins, and
gold and silver tissues were also found, as well as salt, of which the
Dey had reserved to himself a monopoly, and, by buying it very cheap at
the Balearic Isles, used to sell it at an extravagant rate to his
subjects. The treasure alone amounted to nearly fifty million of francs,
and the cannon, projectiles, powder magazines, and military stores,
together with the public buildings, foundries, dock-yards, and vessels
in the harbor, were estimated at a still larger amount; while the entire
expense of the expedition, including land and sea service, together with
the maintenance of an army of occupation up to January, 1831, was
computed not to exceed 48,500,000 francs; so that France must have
realized, by her first connection with Algiers, a sum not far short of
L3,000,000 sterling--a larger amount, we will venture to say, than is
likely to accrue to her again, even after many years of colonization.

In a few days the Dey had embarked for Naples, which he chose as his
future place of residence; the Janissaries were sent in French vessels
to Constantinople; the Bey of Tippery made his submissions, and swore
allegiance to the French King; orders were issued, and laws enacted in
his name; the Arabs and Kalyles came into market as usual with their
fowl and game; a French soldier was tolerably safe, as long as he
avoided going to any distance beyond the outposts; and, on the whole,
Algiers the warlike, had assumed all the appearance of a French colony.


Captain Gow sailed from Amsterdam, in July, 1724, on board the George,
galley, for Santa Cruz, where they took in bees'-wax. Scarcely had they
sailed from that place, when Gow and several others, who had formed a
conspiracy, seized the vessel. One of the conspirators cried, "There is
a man overboard." The captain instantly ran to the side of the vessel,
when he was seized by two men, who attempted to throw him over; he
however so struggled, that he escaped from their hands. One Winter, with
a knife, attempted to cut him in the throat, but missing his aim, the
captain was yet saved. But Gow coming aft shot him through the body and
throwing him over the rail he caught hold of the main sheet; but Gow
taking up an axe, with two blows so disabled him that he fell into the
sea and was drowned. The conspirators proceeded to murder all who were
not in their horrid plot, which being done, James Williams came upon
deck, and striking one of the guns with his cutlass, saluted Gow in the
following words: "Captain Gow, you are welcome, welcome to your
command." Williams was declared lieutenant, and the other officers being
appointed, the captain addressed them, saying: "If, hereafter, I see any
of you whispering together, or if any of you refuse to obey my orders,
let every such man depend upon it, that he shall certainly go the same
way as those that are just gone before."

Their first prize was the Sarah Snow, of Bristol. After they had rifled
the vessel and received one man from it, they allowed her to prosecute
her voyage. The Delight, of Poole, was the next vessel that fell into
their hands; but they not long after captured two others, from one of
which they received a quantity of fish, and from the other bread, beef,
and pork. They also forced two men from the latter ship. A French ship,
not long after, furnished them with wine, oil, figs, oranges, and
lemons, to the value of 500_l_. In a short time after, they captured
their last prize, and, as she made no resistance, they plundered and
dismissed her.

They next sailed for the Orkney Isles to clean, but were apprehended by
a gentleman of that country, brought up to London, and tried before a
Court of Admiralty, in May, 1725. When the first indictment was read,
Gow obstinately refused to plead, for which the Court ordered his thumbs
to be tied together with whipcord. The punishment was several times
repeated by the executioner and another officer, they drawing the cord
every time till it broke. But he still being stubborn, refusing to
submit to the court, the sentence was pronounced against him, which the
law appoints in such cases; that is, "That he should be taken back to
prison, and there pressed to death." The gaoler was then ordered to
conduct him back, and see that the sentence was executed the next
morning; meanwhile the trials of the prisoners, his companions, went

But the next morning, when the press was prepared, pursuant to the order
of the Court the day before, he was so terrified with the apprehension
of dying in that manner, that he sent his humble petition to the Court,
praying that he might be admitted to plead. This request being granted,
he was brought again to the bar, and arraigned upon the first
indictment, to which he pleaded Not guilty. Then the depositions that
had been given against the other prisoners were repeated, upon which he
was convicted, and received the sentence of death accordingly, which he
suffered in company with Captain Weaver and William Ingham.

[Illustration: _Gow killing the Captain._]

The stories of these two men are so interwoven with others, that it
will be impossible to distinguish many of their particular actions. They
were, however, proved to have been concerned, if not the principal
actors, in the following piracies: first, the seizing a Dutch ship in
August, 1722, and taking from thence a hundred pieces of Holland, value
800_l_.; a thousand pieces of eight, value 250_l_. Secondly, the
entering and pillaging the Dolphin of London, William Haddock, out of
which they got three hundred pieces of eight, value 75_l_.; forty
gallons of rum, and other things, on the twentieth of November in the
same year. Thirdly, the stealing out of a ship called the Don Carlos,
Lot Neekins, master, four hundred ounces of silver, value 100_l_. fifty
gallons of rum, value 30_s_. a thousand pieces of eight, a hundred
pistoles, and other valuable goods. And fourthly, the taking from a ship
called the England, ten pipes of wine, value 250_l_. The two last
charges both in the year 1721. Weaver returned home, and came to Mr.
Thomas Smith, at Bristol, in a very ragged condition; and pretending
that he had been robbed by pirates, Smith, who had been acquainted with
him eight or nine years before, provided him with necessaries, and he
walked about unmolested for some time. But Captain Joseph Smith, who
knew him when a pirate, one day met him, and asked him to go and take a
bottle with him; when they were in the tavern he told him that he had
been a considerable sufferer by his boarding his vessel "therefore,"
said he, "as I understand that you are in good circumstances, I expect
that you will make me some restitution; which if you do, I will never
hurt a hair of your head, because you were very civil to me when I was
in your hands." But as this recompense was never given. Weaver was
apprehended and executed.


To the mast nail our flag it is dark as the grave,
Or the death which it bears while it sweeps o'er the wave;
Let our deck clear for action, our guns be prepared;
Be the boarding-axe sharpened, the scimetar bared:
Set the canisters ready, and then bring to me,
For the last of my duties, the powder-room key.
It shall never be lowered, the black flag we bear;
If the sea be denied us, we sweep through the air.
Unshared have we left our last victory's prey;
It is mine to divide it, and yours to obey:
There are shawls that might suit a sultana's white neck,
And pearls that are fair as the arms they will deck;
There are flasks which, unseal them, the air will disclose
Diametta's fair summers, the home of the rose.
I claim not a portion: I ask but as mine--
'Tis to drink to our victory--one cup of red wine.
Some fight, 'tis for riches--some fight, 'tis for fame:
The first I despise, and the last is a name.
I fight, 'tis for vengeance! I love to see flow,
At the stroke of my sabre, the life of my foe.
I strike for the memory of long-vanished years;
I only shed blood where another shed tears,
I come, as the lightning comes red from above,
O'er the race that I loathe, to the battle I love.



Algerine pirates

Allen, Lieutenant

Arabian coast

Arabian pirates

Avery, Capt. Henry


Bainbridge, Commodore

Baltic Sea pirates

Banister, Captain

Barbary corsairs

Barrataria, La., pirates

Benavides, Vincent

Black Beard

Bonnet, Major

Bonney, Anne, female pirate

Boston, Mass

Booth, Capt. George

Bowen, Captain

Bracket, Joshua

Charleston, S. C

Chesapeake, frigate

Chilian pirates

Chinese pirates

Ching, Mistress, female pirate

Condent, Captain

Corsairs of the African coast


Danish and Norman pirates

Davis, Capt Howel

Decatur, Commodore

De Soto, Bernardo

Dew, Capt. George

Dungeon Rock, Lynn, Mass

Dutch girl kept by pirates

East India Company

East India piracies

England, Capt. Edward

England attacks the Algerines

England overrun by pirates

Female pirates

France ravaged by pirates

French attack Algiers

"Friendship" (ship), piracy of

Germany ravaged by pirates

Gibbs, Capt. Charles

Gibraltar, pirates at

Gibson, Captain

Gilbert, Pedro

Glasspoole, Richard, captured by pirates

Gow, Captain

Guinea coast, pirates on

Halsey, Capt John

Havana, resort for pirates

"Herculia" (brig), piracy of

Hornigold, Capt. Benjamin

Jackson, Captain

Jackson, General

Joassamee pirates

Jonnia, Captain

Kearney, Lieutenant

Kidd, Capt. Robert

Ladrone pirates

Lafitte, Jean

Lewis, Captain

Lincoln, Captain

Low, Capt. Edward

Lynn, Mass., pirates

Mackra, Captain, captured

Madagascar pirates

Malay pirates

Maynard, Lieutenant

Mediterranean, a resort for pirates

"Mexican" (brig), piracy of

Mogul's ships

"Morning Star" (ship), piracy of

Newfoundland, piracy at

New Orleans, battle of

New York, pirates at

Norman pirates

North Carolina coast

Oakley, William

"Panda" (schooner)

Patterson, Commodore, expedition under

Pirate vessel, description of

Pirates, cruelty of

Dress of

Executions of

Song of

Trials of

Pirate's Glen, Saugus

Privateering on English coast

Porter, Commodore

"Potomac" (frigate), attacks Malay pirates

Quallah Battoo, Sumatra, pirates of

Rackam, Capt. John



Read, Mary, female pirate

Read, Capt. William

Ricker, Captain

Roberts, Capt. Bartholomew

Rogers, Capt. Woods

Ruiz, Francisco

Rumps, Arabia

Salem, pirates in

Skinner, Captain, murdered

Soto, Benito de

Spanish pirates

Sumatra pirates

"Swallow" (man-of-war), captures pirates

Swedish pirates

Teach, Edward

Texan privateers

Tew, Capt. Thomas

United States attacks Algiers

Vane, Capt. Charles

Veal, Thomas

"Vineyard" (brig), captured

Warren, David

West Indies, piracy in

White, Capt. Thomas

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