AUTHOR OF "A MISSION TO CENTRAL AFRICA,"
"TRAVELS IN THE DESERT OF SAHARA," &C.
EDITED BY HIS WIDOW.
IN TWO VOLUMES.
Having made a limited tour in the Empire of Morocco a few years since, I
am enabled to appreciate the information imparted to us by the lamented
Richardson, and am desirous of adding a few observations of my own upon
the present state of affairs in that part of the African Continent.
The following work of the indefatigable traveller demands, at the
present moment, a more than ordinary share of public attention, in
consequence of the momentous events now passing in the Straits of
Gibraltar, where the presence of powerful armaments entails on the
Governor of our great rock-fortress, a duty of some delicacy, situated
as he now is in close proximity to three belligerent powers, all of whom
are at peace with Great Britain. But distinguished alike for common
sense and professional ability, Sir William Codrington, it is to be
hoped, will steer clear of the follies committed by Sir Robert Wilson in
1844, and will command respect for the British name, without provoking
bitter feelings between ourselves, and our French and Spanish
It is scarcely possible that either France or Spain can contemplate the
conquest of the entire Empire of Morocco, as the result of the present
impending crisis, the superficial extent of the territory being 219,420
square miles, and the population nearly 8,000,000,  of which a large
proportion live in a state of perpetual warfare, occupying inaccessible
mountain fastnesses, from whence they only descend to the plains for the
sake of plunder. The inhabitants may be classified as follows: 4,000,000
Moors and Arabs; 2,000,000 Berbers; 500,000 Jews, and the remainder are
of the Negro race. The regular Army consists of less than thirty
thousand men, but every Arab is an expert irregular horseman, and the
Berbers make good foot-soldiers.
These indeed are, in ordinary times, rarely to be depended on by the
Emperor, but so powerful an incentive is religious fanaticism that, were
he to raise the standard of the Holy War, a large Army would quickly
rally around him, deficient perhaps in discipline, yet living by
plunder, and marching without the encumbrance of baggage, it would prove
a formidable opponent.
Let us, however, suppose, that the present action of France and Spain
should result in the subversion of the atrocious system of Government
practised in Morocco: a guarantee from the conquerors that our existing
commercial privileges should be respected, would alone be required to
ensure the protection of our interests, and what an extended field would
the facilities for penetrating into the interior open to us! We must
also remember that Napoleon III. in heart, is a free-trader; and, should
Destiny ever appoint him the arbiter of Morocco, the protectionist
pressure of a certain deluded class in France would be impotent against
his policy in Western Barbary, a country perhaps more hostile to the
European than China.
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