You are here

قراءة كتاب The Life and Adventures of Bruce, the African Traveller

تنويه: تعرض هنا نبذة من اول ١٠ صفحات فقط من الكتاب الالكتروني، لقراءة الكتاب كاملا اضغط على الزر “اشتر الآن"

‏اللغة: English
The Life and Adventures of Bruce, the African Traveller

The Life and Adventures of Bruce, the African Traveller

No votes yet
دار النشر: Project Gutenberg
الصفحة رقم: 9

and then sold them to Spaniards, Neapolitans, and other enemies of the Barbary regencies. As soon as this fraud was detected, the British governors of Gibraltar and Mahon furnished the ships of their nation with written certificates, which they imprudently termed Passavans: but these pirates not being able to read them, and observing that they differed in shape and form from the old printed passports, inveighed against the supposed duplicity of the English, and importuned their master the dey to order every ship to be seized which carried a passavant. Bruce opposed this counsel with steady resolution; but the old dey, holding several passavans in his hand, answered him, with great emotion, in these very memorable terms: "The British government knows that we can neither read nor write; no, not even our own language. We are ignorant soldiers and sailors—robbers, if you will—though we do not wish to rob you. War is our trade, and we live by that only. Tell me how my cruisers are to know all these different writings and seals?"

Bruce, neither intimidated nor convinced by the savage eloquence of the dey, again remonstrated; upon which he was disowned as consul, his dragoman was taken from him, and he was ordered to quit the country in three days. "In reply," says Bruce, "I begged the dey to excuse me if I considered myself still as British consul, and if I denied it to be in the power of any foreign prince to annul my commission." An English ship happening to arrive about this time with a passavant, was broken in pieces, and the crew hurried into slavery. Bruce now prepared to embark, but the storm suddenly subsided. The unruly passions of the dey, though deaf to reason, had listened to the subtle admonitions of his officers, who explained to him the ruinous consequences of a war with England. Regular printed passports arrived, and "thus ended," says Bruce, "an affair the least pleasing, the least profitable, and one of the most dangerous in which I was ever engaged."

In communicating intelligence of his own dismissal, and of the above proceedings of the dey to Lord Halifax, Bruce again recommended that the remedy of force, that actual cautery, should be applied; and always ready to share in every service of danger which he conceived it his duty to propose, he offered to return with any expedition against the place. "I shall always esteem it," he says, "an honour to venture my life in his majesty's service, without rank or reward, in the station he shall be pleased to employ me."

Considerable time elapsed before Bruce received from England any reply to his communications from Algiers; and but little notice was taken of the request which he had so repeatedly made for leave of absence to visit Tunis and the interior. In the months of November and December, 1764, he thus addressed Lord Halifax:

November 3.—"I take the liberty, my lord, to offer your lordship my most humble thanks for having laid my request of leave to resign this consulship before the king. Very disagreeable and dangerous as my situation is, if his majesty or your lordship think that it is more for the advantage of the service that I should remain till these disputes are settled, rather than that they should be taken up by my successor, I am entirely at his majesty's disposal, only I hope that some resolution may be speedily taken for the safety of commerce and of the king's servants. I beg leave to remind your lordship of my request, that before my resignation I might have permission to visit Tunis and some other places in the inland country. My absence will not exceed three months, and his majesty's affairs here will be perfectly safe, and well conducted during that time by Mr. Forbes, my vice-consul."

Again, on the 14th of December, he thus acknowledges the receipt of an order to await the arrival of a consul who had been at last appointed to succeed him. "I should have been much obliged to your lordship if it had been thought proper to have procured me permission to have made the proposed journey to Tunis, as I requested in several letters; but, as I have not had any return, and as it would be impossible, without the protection of the king's commission, to make it with any effect, I submit. My lord, in disputes with these regencies, it has almost uniformly been the practice to join his majesty's consul in the commission for adjusting these differences. Excuse me, my lord, if I, with all possible humility, observe, that the contrary now, and the immediate arrival of a successor, has in my case every appearance of disgrace, which I cannot but feel sensibly, after having in so disagreeable and dangerous a conjuncture done everything possible to protect his majesty's commerce, and maintain the character of my commission."

In justice to the memory of Lord Halifax, it is proper to give his sensible reply to the latter part of Bruce's letter. "With regard to the appearance of disgrace which you are apprehensive the arrival of a successor at such a juncture may carry, you have the satisfaction to know that your conduct has been honoured with his majesty's approbation, and that it was in consequence of your repeated desires to resign and return home that another consul has been appointed in your stead."

Previous to the arrival of Bruce's successor, the dey caused a letter to be written to his Britannic majesty, to complain that a party of Algerine soldiers had been captured off Gibraltar by the Spaniards, in consequence of secret intelligence of their approach having been given to the Spanish commander by the British garrison. The above statement is necessary in order to explain the following translation of this most curious letter.

"Mustapha Han.

ALLY, Son of Mohammed, God protect him

"The help of the helpers and guard of kings, mighty king, the most merciful, with the help of God at Mecca—commander of the whole Mohammedans under God! God preserve the king!

"King of land and sea—king, son of king, the king of mercy, Mustapha Han, may God maintain his glory and his kingdom for ever—Sovereign lord of my country, also of the west! Ally Bacha, God fulfil his desires, to his most sacred majesty King George the third—God grant him long life and our love.

"King, defender of Christian faith, king of England, France, and Ireland, our beloved, great, and noble friend whom God prosper, may God direct you to do good to me, and may you enjoy your crown for ever, and our friendship for ever, amen.

"The love and friendship, I continue: now what I beg from your majesty in the name of God the most mighty, always in mutual friendship, and pray God to continue our friendship till death, which that's certain.

"Now, I beg your majesty will listen to what I am going to say without fail. My great beloved friend, the foundation of this letter is Athebeck, from my dominions with a parcel of soldiers when they came below Gibraltar the people in the garrison gave notice to the Spaniards, and they took 'em, and this treachery cannot subsist between us. Now, I beg your majesty will do us justice, and pray God preserve your majesty, and may our friendship continue for ever. Amen.

Ally Basha,
the 22d of month
Ramazan, in the year
1178, Dettusura."

(Which corresponds with the
16th of March, 1765.)

As soon as it was known that a consul was coming from England to succeed Bruce, the effect was produced which he had apprehended; for every one pretended to consider that it was in consequence of the King of England's disapprobation of his conduct. Bruce was therefore treated with great