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fleet anchored in the Sound between the Islands of Lorock and Kishm, on the 26th in Kishm Road, where they took in some fresh water, and reached Rasul Khymah on the 2d of December. Preparations were immediately made for landing, which was effected without opposition before day broke on the morning of the 3d; on the 4th, the enemy's piquets in advance of the fort were driven in, and the batteries commenced. On the 6th, the breaching batteries opened on the fort, and the ships of war on the town. On the 7th, the firing continued all day, and about 8 P.M. the enemy made a sortie, succeeded in taking the mortar battery, and carried a field howitzer to some distance towards the fort; but the battery was retaken, and the gun brought back in a few minutes. On the evening of the 8th, the breach was reported practicable, but at an hour too late to storm. On the morning of the 9th, the storming party advanced, and found the fort and town evacuated.
Being now in possession of the chief place of the pirates, it became necessary to adopt some political course.
The great body of the inhabitants had taken up their abode in a grove of date-trees, to which they might have been followed and attacked, and probably from 50 to 100 fighting men might have been killed and taken; but the women and children of the town were also there, and it was worthy of consideration, whether the advantage to us in weakening the enemy to the extent which was then in our power, would be an equivalent for the misery we should necessarily inflict on the defenceless and innocent, and the burden we should bring on ourselves by the care of the women and children who must fall into our hands.
In the course of the following day, before any decided measures had been adopted, the Arabs sent in their submission, with proposals for an amicable adjustment; and their chief agreed to come in on a promise of aman, (forgiveness or personal safety.)
Thus circumstances led to a more⚫ lenient course of policy than the government had contemplated, or the persons on the spot had made up their minds to adopt or recommend.
In the course of subsequent communications, the Arabs were found to be more intelligent and more tractable than they had been represented to be. VOL. X.
As they were in want of the dates and other provisions which we had taken in the town, they were readily induced to treat and deal for them—and finding themselves safe amongst us, they acquired confidence, and a friendly intercourse was established, which was the more likely to continue, as it promised advantages to both.
The Arabs were willing to enter into any engagements which the British authorities might deem necessary for the suppression of piracy-and as they were the more likely to abandon their predatory habits when relieved from every restriction on the more peaceable modes of obtaining a livelihood, it became our interest to encourage and assist such of them as were inclined to engage in any honest occupation, and to hold out every inducement to others to follow their example. A treaty was accordingly concluded upon these principles.
While these arrangements were in progress, some doubt arose as to the true import of the word aman, which became important, as on the decision of this point rested the terms on which Hassin bin Ally, chief of Rasul Khymah, had delivered himself up. He came to us on a promise of aman, which some translated forgiveness, and some personal safety. He was at this time a prisoner, and complained that his being kept in custody was a breach of the promise of aman. It appeared that this word admitted of considerable latitude in its use-and it was thought more advisable to liberate the Shaik than to give room for supposing that the British faith had been compromised.
Independent of this consideration, it seemed to be more politic to set him at large, as he was a man of influence in his tribe-and having more to lose, was more interested than any one else in bringing the arrangements to a conclusion. His tribe, too, during his confinement, manifested considerable suspicion of our intentions, which it was thought his liberation would re
cluded with the people of Rasul Khy mah.
Sultan Bin Suggur, the chief of Shorgah Kuzeeb of Jazereet ul Humruz, the chiefs of Dubaee, Bothobee, Imaun, and, in short, all except the chief of Zyah, were engaged in nego ciations with us, and were ready to accede to any terms we might think it necessary to impose.
But Hassin bin Ally, in his hill fort of Zyah, saw all the surrounding chiefs submit, without indicating the slightest desire to follow their example. He was a man advanced in years, and lame from a former wound; but his intellect was active and acute, his spirit was high, and he was an enthusiast in the cause of his religion.
He denied having been engaged in any depredations on the seas, and represented the impolicy and injustice of disturbing an old man of peaceful habits, devoted to religion and retirement, who was possessed of no treasures, and sought for no power or authority. He said that he had forti fied the hill of Zyah to defend himself and his people against the attacks of the Bedowins of the hills, who were his enemies, and expressed a belief that our hand was against him only on account of his religion.
But though he held this language, it was well known that he was one of the most active depredators, and the most wealthy and ambitious of all the chiefs of the coast.
It was in vain that we represented our desire to avoid interfering with his religion, and our readiness to secure him in the possession of all his property, if he quietly permitted us to destroy the fortifications of Zyah, and delivered up such of his boats and vessels as we might think it necessary to demand. He only answered that he and his people would die for their religion -that he knew well our superiority in men and in means, but that the result of battles was in the hand of God, who was stronger and mightier than
As all attempts to induce Hassin bin Ally to treat as the other Shaiks had done, were found unavailing, it was determined to march à detachment against him.
After a creditable resistance of three days, a flag of truce was sent from the fort at the moment the troops had been drawn out for the storm; and it
was agreed that Hassin bin Ally and his followers should march out unarmed, and deliver themselves up without any other stipulation than that their lives should be spared.
They were received by a body of troops, which accompanied them to the creek, whence they were embarked on board the transports as prisoners of war, leaving all their property, women, and children, in Zyah.
It would be difficult to convey any accurate idea of the distressing scene which presented itself on entering the place. Above three hundred women, with a great number of children, found themselves in the possession of an enemy they had been taught to dread and to abhor, without the presence of even one man to afford them the semblance of protection.
As the Arabs themselves make no prisoners, but put to death all who oppose them-no persuasions could induce these unfortunate creatures to believe that their husbands and fathers were yet alive. It was thought advisable to collect them in one great court, to secure them from the insults of the soldiers; but when it was proposed to them, they all screamed out that we were driving them to slaugh
In the crowd and confusion, the members of families were separated, and each seemed to think that all the others had perished; children lost their mothers, and were unable to recover them. Even babes were lying here and there, with no one near who owned them.
Night fell on this scene of confusion and distress, and kept them in doubt as to the fate of others, and dreadful suspense as to their own. Fatigue and darkness, disappointment and despair, by degrees brought silence, broken at times by a scream of terror, raised on the slightest commotion or alarm.
In the morning they were somewhat more calm; the children had lost the feeling of immediate danger, and were even cheerful; provisions were distributed amongst them, and every one strove to contribute to their confidence and comfort. It was found necessary, however, to destroy the place in which they were collected as it was a part of the defences of the town; it therefore became necessary to remove them to some distance.
It was no sooner intimated that they
must move from the town than the consternation became as great as ever. They believed that we were about to put them to death, and it was in vain that we endeavoured to persuade them of the contrary. No entreaty could induce them to move. The confusion became as great as at first. The rain fell in torrents, and added to the misery of their situation. Though the distance to which they were to be taken was only a few hundred yards, all our efforts were unsuccessful.
It was found that of the prisoners sent on board the transports, a considerable number were cultivators, who had taken up arms on the occasion, and who had not been personally engaged in any predatory excursions; it was therefore humanely determined to send them on shore for the protection of the females. These liberated prisoners arrived at the time when the greatest confusion prevailed among the women and children. With their assistance, however, confidence and order were restored; and if any thing could compensate for the misery of such a night as the preceding, the meeting that day might be considered a compensation. Even those whose husbands did not return, were consoled by assurances of their safety, and the hope of meeting them again.
In the course of the afternoon, the whole moved in a body on the road to Rasul Khymah, to distribute themselves amongst the villages dependant on that place, and on Zyah, where they all found shelter. One child only remained on the ground, which had been abandoned by its parents, or had perhaps lost them in the siege; he was picked up by one of the soldiers, and given to an officer, who has taken him under his protection.
It was gratifying to observe the humanity and kindness of the soldiers to these unfortunate creatures. Many of them amused themselves by distributing provisions among the women, and feeding and assisting the children. There was no disposition to take advantage of their defenceless situation; and it did not appear that any woman had been injured or insulted.
After the fall of Zyah, nothing remained to be done on the coast of Arabia except to embody, in the form of a general treaty, what applied to all the chiefs in common, and to make, at the same time, specific treaties with each
individual Shaik, or chief, including such articles as could not be inserted in the general treaty.
At the conclusion of these arrange ments, all the chiefs remained in possession of their towns and villages, except the chiefs of Rasul Khymah, and Zyah. The former place was directed, by the instructions of government, to be tendered to the Imaum of Muscat, and in the event of his declining to garrison it, it was to be offered to the Pacha of Egypt. It was necessary also to leave a force in the Gulf, and as Rasul Khymah had long been considered the head-quarters of piracy, it was thought that more confidence would be given to traders by our continuing to occupy a place of so great note. It was therefore determined to leave a force, for the present at least, in that place.
Hassin bin Ramah, however, retained every thing he had formerly held, excepting the town of Rasul Khymah, and a few detached towns situated amongst the date groves formerly mentioned, which it was necessary to retain from their commanding the best water.
The chief of Zyah, on the other hand, was still a prisoner with his followers, and a question arose regarding the propriety of setting him at liberty.
The instructions of government had provided for the disposal of prisoners, and had not left any distinct discretionary power to set them at liberty. It appeared, however, that much might be gained by doing so.
We had already given the most decided proofs of our power in the reduction of Rasul Khymah and Zyah, and had had the most ample acknowledgment of our superiority in the submission of all the chiefs. Every day brought additional arguments in favour of the system of conciliation; and the more that was seen of the nature of the country and the habits of the people, the more evident did it become that nothing could have been accomplished by attempting to follow them into the interior. It was found that little could be done with the people except through the medium of the chiefs, and that any attempt to set up rulers of our own making, must certainly fail, from the patriarchal feeling of the tribes.
The followers of Hassin bin Ally were only about 200 in number, and
were not therefore to be dreaded for their power. Though the Shaik was a man of influence, he had no power in his hands, and his residence was in the vicinity of Rasul Khymah, and could be taken at any time. He had no power to do harm, and might be made the instrument of doing much which we wanted to effect.
It appeared, too, that the liberation of the prisoners would demonstrate the lenity of our intentions, and confirm the confidence of the Arabs. If it was determined to endeavour to engage them in peaceful occupations, it was
obviously desirable to gain their confidence as much as was in our power.
In consideration of these arguments, it was at last decided that the prisoners should be set at liberty, and Hassin bin Ally returned once more to rule in Zyah.
Having garrisoned Rasul Khymah with 1200 men, the expedition proceeded to the other ports, and having destroyed the boats and fortifications, as stipulated in the treaty, took its leave of the coast of Arabia, and crossed the Gulf to the Persian side.
TIMBUCTOO AND MUNGO PARK.
[WE have received the following interesting communication from Glasgow. Our correspondent describes the author as deserving of the fullest confidence, mentioning the names of several gentlemen on whose affairs he was engaged in the Mediterranean; and, from our own knowledge of their characters, we are perfectly convinced they would never countenance any person capable of attempting to impose on the public. The little narrative itself has an air of simplicity and truth, very unlike a fictitious story, and it was not drawn up, as we are informed, with a view to publication; indeed, the incidents which it describes are not important, except with reference to the bold, but unfortunate traveller on whose fate they seem to throw a little light. C. N.J
On the 1st June, 1820, I sailed from Tangiers to Genoa, accompanied by Hagi Mahomet Alibabi, a Timbucton merchant, who had along with him eight Moors, two as companions, and six as attendants. This merchant was one of twenty-five adventurers, who, according to a practice prevalent in Morocco, left Fez for Timbuctoo, with the view of entering into speculations with the natives, and of collecting gold and silver, with which the sands of that place are said to abound. He resided there for twenty-five years, and so detrimental did the climate prove, that in that time he buried twentythree out of the twenty-four companions who had accompanied him. At the end of this period he returned to Fez, and was now proceeding thence to Mecca on a pilgrimage to the Prophet's tomb. Along with him he had in gold, silver, elephants' teeth, gems, and the like merchandise, what I valued at about 80001. sterling, and which I understood to be the product of his industry at Timbuctoo.
In the course of much conversation which I had with him, I asked whether he thought it practicable to penetrate
into the interior of Africa? He answered, the only obstacle he knew was the unhealthiness of the climate. I then asked what course he would recommend to a European who wished to penetrate into Africa? He said, that he considered the best way for a person with such a wish would be, to join a company of travelling Moors at Morocco, conforming to their habits and forms of devotion. He added, that if a European adopted this course, under the Emperor's protection, which could be easily procured by a recommendation from our government, he would be subject to no danger save such as arose from the climate. He stated, that the journey from Fez to Timbuctoo occupies two months. Continuing this conversation, I asked him whether he had ever heard of any Christians visiting Timbuctoo? He said that he did recollect of a boat, (una barca) manned by Christians, advancing towards Timbuctoo by the river. The king, hearing of its approach, sent a canoe to inquire regarding their object, and to demand duties. A dispute ensued, in which the Christians fired on the Timbuctons, killing one and obliging the others to retire, who
however did so only to await an opportunity of revenge. The Christians then rowed to the shore, at the foot of a high mountain, and disembarked there, leaving the boat unguarded. The tide falling soon after, the boat was left ashore.
The Timbuctons thought this a good opportunity for revenge, and climbing up the mountain, they rolled large stones upon the boat, leaving it totally useless.
In this helpless predicament, the Christians wandered for some time among the mountains in the greatest distress. Unfortunately, however, their visit, the catastrophe, and their presence, united in exciting the imaginary fears of the Timbuctons. The king found it necessary to call a council, in order to consider the most effectual means of preventing those consequences which these fears had for their object. The general opinion there was, that they were spies, and that, if allowed to escape, they would, in all probability, return with an army to take possession of the country, and inflict some dreadful calamity upon the inhabitants. Under this impression, it was resolved, that they should be immediately taken and put to death; a resolution which was carried into effect. The merchant drawing the side of his hand across his throat, signified what had been the end of these unfortunate adventurers. When I questioned him as to the date of this transaction, he seemed to recollect by stringing together, with apparent difficulty, a number of events. On two occasions, however, when I questioned him on this head, he said, he thought that what he related had taken place eleven years ago; that is, in the year 1809. This date will probably be considered by some, as too late to identify the transaction with the fate of Mr Park and of his companions. It would surely, however, be too much to object to the story on this account alone. The merchant was to be considered as a foreigner, he had no personal interest in the transaction, no family occurrence with which, as we see mothers do, he might connect it in his recol
lection; he had, doubtless, long ceased to employ it as a topic of conversation, and, at most, he had probably only employed it transiently as such. In these circumstances, strict accuracy was not to be expected. And if it be supposed necessary to place the transaction two or three years farther back, I apprehend that no candid person, who recollects the distance in time since it took place, and the circumstances of the narrator, will consider that too great a latitude has been given. In justice to the merchant, I should allude to the language in which we communicated. This was the Spanish, a language foreign to us both, and though known to us sufficiently for general purposes, yet not completely, as in those particulars which give so different a colouring to a narration. Partly to this circumstance, and partly to the ignorance which prevails among the inhabitants of the Mediterranean, of the rising and falling of the tide, I attribute the mention that is made of the falling of tide on the river. The expression struck me at the time, and I then, and afterwards, questioned him on it closely and keenly, till unfortunately he lost temper on the subject, and I was obliged to desist. As, however, I find that travellers state, that great swellings, occasioning sometimes inundations, take place on the river at Timbuctoo,* I think it not improbable that the merchant alluded to a subsiding from one of those swellings.
The character of the merchant, it is incumbent on me to state, was held in the highest respect among the Moors. A Sherrif accompanied him, and I could perceive, that even on him, the austerity of the merchant impressed awe. At sea, and in quarantine, I was confined for two months to the company of the merchant and his companions; and though they proved disagreeable to me on account of their habits, yet I did not take leave of them without some of those sentiments of respect for the character of the merchant which his countrymen entertained.
W. S. C.
P. S.-I subjoin a short Vocabulary of the Timbucton language.
* MACQUEEN'S Africa, p. 73; LYON's Narrative, p. 145.