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At a time when the means of effecting the abolition of the slave-trade on the western coast of Africa are under discussion when civilised Europe is straining every nerve to extend the benefits of commerce as well as those for the security of person and property in the interior of that vast continent, peopled by a race of men who are mild, industrious, and capable of enjoying the advantages of civilization in the highest degree, it is matter of astonishment that no attention is paid to the northern coast of the same quar. ter of the globe, inhabited by Turkish pirates, who not only oppress the natives in their vicinity, but trepan and buy them as slaves, to employ them in vessels fitted out as privateers, for the purpose of tearing honest cultivators from their fire-sides and peaceable inhabitants from the shore of Europe. This abominable system of robbery is not only revolting to humanity, but operates as a very formidable restraint upon commerce, as no mariner can na vigate at the present day the Meditere ranean, or even the Atlantic, in a merchant vessel, without the dread and
the liability of being taken by the pi rates and carried as a slave into Af.
The government of Algiers is composed of the officers of an orta, or regiment of Janizaries; a rebellious soldiery, who do not, even in appearance, acknowledge the authority of the Ottoman Porte, which however does not recognise their independence,
The Dey is always the officer most distinguished among them for cruelty. He holds his situation at the head of the divan or regency, by enriching his associates; that is to say, by permitting them to indulge in every sort of violence in Africa, and to carry on a piratical warfare on the seas against the weaker states of Europe, or those whose immediate vengeance is not dreaded.
The Ottoman flag even is not suff. cient to protect its Greek subjects, and to secure them from the attacks of the Algerine corsairs. The Dey of Algiers not long ago, either in a fit of cruelty or actuated by some barbarous scheme of policy, the object of which was to destroy the commerce of his rivals of Tunis and Tripoli, or dered the crews of several vessels from the Archipelago and Egypt, laden with grain, to be hanged. The Bashaw of Egypt, in revenge, caused all the Algerines in his states to be arrested, and in vain claims the restitution of the cargoes unjustly seized by the Dey of Algiers.
The Ottoman Porte beholds with jealousy and indignation a rebellious vassal daring to perpetrate the most outrageous and atrocious acts against her peaceable subjects, and to impose shackles on that trade of which this government stands in greater need than ever, for the purpose of paying the troops of the bashaws employed on the eastern frontier of the. Ottoman empire, to carry on the war against the Wechabites and the other nume
rous Arabian tribes, who, under the influence of these sectaries, are inces santly threatening, by aggressions, the very existence of that tottering government.
On the other hand, Europe has an interest in upholding the Ottoman government, both as a recognised auto cracy, and as a power that can restrain the revolted bashaws and beys, and prevent them from committing rob beries on the seas. This interest of Europe becomes still more obvious and important, from the necessity under which she frequently is of importing corn from the Black Sea or from the Nile, whence a surplus produce may always be derived, provided an unfavourable season in the northern parts of the Ottoman territory be regularly counterbalanced in the same year by a favourable season in the south, and vica versâ,
Now, if a barbarian, calling himself an independent prince, though not recognised as such by the sultan his legitimate sovereign, can at pleasure menace, terrify, and make prisoners of the Greeks and the vessels of small European states, who alone carry on a trade which the ships of the great powers do not find sufficiently advantageous to pursue, because they cannot do it at so low an expense; if that audacious chief of pirates may, when he shall think fit, intercept cargoes of grain destined for Europe, the civilized nations are by this capricious act under the control of a chief of robbers, who have it in their power to aggravate their sufferings, and eventually to starve them in a season of scarcity.
The barbarian likewise possesses formidable means of extorting money from Christian princes: he threatens them, as he recently did with respect to Sicily, to put to death such of their subjects as have fallen into his power;
his well-known cruelty rendering these menaces very formidable, becomes in his hand an engine for extorting money from one Christian prince to carry on the war which he declares against another. In this manner he can lay all Europe under contribution, and compel each in its turn to pay tribute to his ferocity, by purchasing from him peace, and the lives of the unfor tunate slaves.
It is superfluous to show that such a state of things is not only monstrous but absurd, and that it is not less outrageous to religion than it is to hu manity and honour.
The progress of knowledge and of civilization ought necessarily to effect the suppression of such abominable practices.
It is evident that the military means hitherto employed by the Christian princes to hold the Barbary states in check, have been not only inadequate to the purpose, but have generally had the effect of consolidating more and more the dangerous power of these barbarians.
Europe seemed for a long time to place her dependence upon the gallantry of the Knights of St John of Jerusalem, and did not consider that this order of knights has not had in these later times either sufficient power, or perhaps sufficient energy, to counterbalance and repel the ever-increasing aggressions of these hordes of pirates. Besides, the order of Malta, being by its institution prohibited from entering into negociations with infidels, could not avail itself of all the resources of policy by entering into treaties of alliance with those around them, who are themselves rather the passive victims of the pirati cal system than active co-operators; as, for example, Tunis, and Morocco, both governed by princes born in these states, and who have shown themselves
to be well disposed and capable of maintaining with European powers the relations of commerce and friendship. It is therefore obvious, that the resurection of that order, after the political suicide of which it has been guilty, would not alone be sufficient to accomplish the object in view. This laudable object is to secure Europe for ever from the outrages of the African corsairs, and to cause governments favourable to commerce, and in peace and amity with all civilized nations, to succeed to states radically and necessarily piratical ever since the days of Barbarossa.
What are the means to be employed to accomplish this desirable object? The undersigned would wish that he could prevail upon all Europe to participate in his conviction, the result of thirty years close study and investigation. He did not cease, during his ministry at the Ottoman Porte, to employ himself upon the subject which he now treats; it engaged his attention in the camp and in the fleets of the same power, and during the whole course of his well-known intercourse with the nations and tribes of Africa and of Asia.
This firm conviction of the possibility of crushing the system of robbery and outrage acted upon by the Barbary States, cannot be better proved than by the offer which he makes of undertaking the direction of the expeditions, provided the necessary means be put at his disposal.
Animated by the recollection of his oaths of knighthood, and being anxious to excite the same ardour in other Christian knights, he proposes to the nations most interested in the success of this noble enterprize ta engage themselves, by a treaty, to furnish their respective contingents of a maritime, or, as it may be called, an amphibious force, which, without compromising any flag, and without being influenced
by wars, or any political crisis incident to nations, shall constantly guard the shores of the Mediterranean, and have the important duty of watching, stopping, and following all the pirates both on the seas and on land. This power, recognised and protected by all Europe, would not only render commerce perfectly secure, but would eventually civilise the coasts of Africa, by prohibiting the inhabitants from continuing their piratical depredations, to the prejudice of industry and lawful commerce.
This protecting and imposing force should begin by a rigorous blockade of the naval forces of the barbarians, wheresoever they can be found. the same time, the ambassadors of all the sovereigns and states of Christendom ought mutually to support each other in representing to the Ottoman court, that it must be held responsible for the hostile acts of its subjects, if it shall continue to permit recruiting in its states for the garrisons of Africa, (which garrisons will be of no use, as these forces would be better employed against its enemies than against European friendly powers,) and by exacting from the Porte a formal disavowal and an authentic interdiction of the wars which those rebel chiefs declare against Europe.
The Ottoman court might be engaged to give promotion and rewards to those among the Janizaries captains of frigates, and other Algerine sailors, who would obey the injunction of the Sultan; and thus the Dey would soon find himself abandoned, and without the means of annoyance or defence.
The same influence might be used more effectually at Tunis, as that country is at war with Algiers, from which it has really everything to fear. Besides, the head of the Tunisian government is of a quite opposite nature to that of Algiers. It would voluntarily co-operate in any measure tend.
The ulterior details will be easily developed, when the sovereigns shall have adopted the principle, and when they shall deign to grant to the undersigned their confidence and their au thority, which are requisite for the success of the enterprise.
(Signed) W. SIDNEY SMITH.
ing to civilise the state and promote the prosperity of the empire. The peace between Tunis and Sardinia, which has suffered so much from the trepanning of her subjects, ought to form the first link of the chain, and from this moment nothing ought to be neglected to complete it.
PUBLIC ACTS OF THE YEAR.
An act for the encouragement and reward of petty officers, seamen, and royal marines, for long and faithful service, and for the consolidation of the Chest at Greenwich with the Royal Hospital there.
An act for directing the application of the residuary personal estate of Anna Maria Reynolds, spinster, bequeathed by her to the use of the sink, ing Fund.
An act for continuing to his Majesty certain duties on malt, sugar, tobacco, and snuff, in Great Britain; and on pensions, offices, and personal estates in England; for the service of the year 1815.
An act for raising the sum of 12,500,000l. by Exchequer bills, for the service of Great Britain for the year 1815.
An act to enable the commissioners of his Majesty's treasury to issue Exchequer bills, on the credit of such aids or supplies as have been or shall be granted by Parliament for the service of Great Britain for the year 1815.
An act to continue, until the 25th day of March, 1816, an act for sus pending the operation of an act of the 17th year of his present Majesty, for restraining the negociation of promissory notes and bills of exchange under a limited sum in England.