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MILITARY TENURE OF LAND.
The intense heat had produced the appearance of a gathering storm towards the middle of the day, and as it grew later, low thunder began to growl among the mountains, and clouds to collect about their tops. It was plain I must resign the project of going on either to Dellys or Fort Napoleon; which otherwise the kindness of Colonel Lallemont would have enabled me to achieve, as he at once placed horses and a spahi at my disposal. The spahis of Tizi-Ouzou are a body which existed in the Turkish times. They hold the plain by military service, and were originally composed of adventurers from all countries. The French give them a red bournous, and when they are actively employed a small daily pay; and their allotments of land enable them to maintain themselves in comfort and respectability. Here one has an excellent illustration of the feudal tenures of medieval Europe. The spahi is in every respect the miles of the Norman conquerors of England; and if the French possession of Algeria should be consolidated, the descent of the land which is held on this tenure may in time give rise to some of the peculiarities which existed in the English common law.
Before leaving Tizi-Ouzou I walked up to the fort to take leave of the commandant, and there found my German and Russian travelling companions whom I had left at the Isser. The former had taken his double-barrelled gun out of its case, having arrived in
QUARRELS OF THE KABYLES.
the country where he expected it might be useful; and, although I have no doubt the vigorous government of the French enabled him to travel as safely as I did myself, the weapon must have proved a terrible temptation to the Kabyles, who would perfectly appreciate its beautiful finish, which was striking even to an European. Unfortunately for the comfort of its owner, news had just been brought of a disturbance in the mountains between two tribes, which necessitated the interference of the troops, and cost a few lives. These, however, were sacrificed (as I heard) in the quarrel, not in the means adopted for putting it down. The fact is, that the internal government of Kabyle tribes is a pure democracy; and "difficulties" which arise in the markets or elsewhere, are settled very much in the way they are in the more remote parts of the United States.
The Kabyles are at the present time an altogether mixed race; but beyond all doubt the nucleus of this is the aboriginal population which the Greeks found in Africa nearly three thousand years ago, and which were described, as some parts of them are at this day, by a name that in a Greek mouth became the word "barbarous." In their purest state they exist in the Aurès mountains near Batna, in the hills above Bona, in the mountain region south of Boujie, and in the rugged cliffs of the Djerjera; in fact, in exactly those parts of the country which are most inaccessible, and
THEIR ORIGINAL STOCK.
would afford the best refuge from the conquering races which one after another have overspread the north of Africa. They are also found in some parts of the empire of Morocco, and about eight or ten days' journey to the south of Maskara, in the western province of Algeria. In these localities the sands of the desert would supply the same shelter which was furnished by the steep mountains of the north. The nomads in the plains of Morocco are said to call themselves Berbers, and to give the name of Chulups to the stationary inhabitants of the hills belonging to the same race; but in the mountains of Algiers and Tunis the name by which they go generically is that of Kabyles. They, however, only designate themselves by the name of the special tribe to which they belong, as the Beni-Raten, the Flissa, the Beni-Abbès; just as the Scotch highlanders called themselves Campbells or Gordons.* * Their languages differ to a considerable extent, as the dialects of Lancashire and Sussex may do, but they all are able to understand one another. In those parts of the country where they have been brought into a closer contact with other races, both the language and the blood is more mixed, the one by the adoption of foreign words,† and the other by their numbers having been recruited, for a series of generations, by refugee slaves from their more powerful
* The hill-tribes, however, speak of themselves and one another as "Temazirght," i. e. "freemen."
See the note at the end of this chapter.
neighbours. In proportion as the power of these waned, the Kabyles extended their settlements, and moved down into the plains about their mountain fortresses, or up into the hill country surrounding the desert. Seven or eight centuries ago, a powerful confederation of the Kabyle tribes existed, extending from Boujie to Algiers, and covering a considerable portion of the Metidja. The Hadjoutes, which the French on their arrival found to the west of the Mazafran, are also a Kabyle tribe. The characteristics of the race very much resemble those of the Swiss. They are brave, hardy, vindictive, utterly fearless of death, and above all things jealous of their independence. When they go to war, every man capable of bearing arms appears in the field. On any special emergency each village assembles and elects a representative, and the aggregate of these select a chief for the command of the whole tribe; but the authority of this functionary ceases as soon as the occasion for his services is past; and even before that time arrives, if his conduct should not give satisfaction, his constituents meet together and at once depose him. For ordinary purposes they submit implicitly to the authority of their marabouts, for whom their respect is unbounded. They are Mahometans, but it is only the marabouts who can read Arabic, and their instruction is derived from the oral teaching of these. All the words in their language which relate to religion, and
THEIR PERSONAL CHARACTER.
almost all to the arts of life, are of Arabic origin. The women generally go unveiled, and the men bareheaded; but neither of these customs is universal. They are extremely frugal and industrious. It is a common thing for a Kabyle to hire himself out as a labourer in the towns, and after several years to return to his native mountains with the produce of his earnings. If he can get sufficient to procure a wife, a hut, a gun, a yataghan, a spade, an iron pot, a hand-mill, and a dog, he is quite content. If in addition he acquires a plough with draught oxen, and if his house is built of stone, he is regarded as a man of fortune. Many of the Kabyles, like the Swiss, adopt the profession of mercenary soldiers. A great number of them were in the service of the Emperor of Morocco, and at the time of the French invasion many were perfectly ready to take service under them against the Arabs, for whom they entertain great contempt. The Zouaves a name familiar in English mouthsalthough now without exception Europeans, were in their origin a force raised from one of these tribes, the Zouaoua,* which had never submitted to the
The Zouaoua, who lie between the Flissa and the Beni-Abbès, were at one time the centre of a kingdom (Koukou). In the time of Herodotus they must have given their name to a large district, for it is doubtless these whom he means by the Zauekes (iv. 193). The last part of this word is a Kabyle root meaning "territory," so that Zauekes means "the inhabitants of the Zouagha, or Zoua's land," and is formed by the same sort of false analogy that produced the name "Penshurst Wood." The Buzantes (as it should be written : see Stephanus Byzantinus, sub voce), whom he joins with them,