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and surrounded by hills of more or less is situated the great natural harbor of altitude; amid which wound wooded Bizerta, and the port of Goletta. Susa gorges, full of picturesque and strange and Sfax are of considerable mercantile rocks, formed by nature in her most fan importance. The export trade of the tastic mood, worn into hollows and country is for the most part confined to moulded into peaks and angles and oil, esparto grass, wool, and cereals, and ridges, eaten away here and rounded off its imports consist chiefly of colonial there by the action of prehistoric tides. produce and manufactured goods. There
are about thirty thousand European colonists in Tunis, of which sixteen thousand are Italians and ten thousand Maltese.
I refrain from alluding even in the briefFrom Blackwood's Magazine.
est manner to the annals of Tunis prior TUNIS.
to its conquest by the Arabs. The hisIf a straight line were to be drawn tory of Phænician, Roman, and Byzanfrom the frontiers of India on the east to tiné Tunis is the history of Carthage. In the coast of north Africa on the west, it the twenty-first year of the Hegira, Tunis would pass through an unbroken series was invaded by the Arabs under Okba, of Mohammedan countries, which have and before a quarter of a century had one and all of them at some time or elapsed it was completely occupied by its another played an important part in the conquerors. In 698 A.D. Hassan-ben-el history of the world. A very large pro- Noman destroyed the Byzantine Carthage portion of the states in question are de- which had sprung up on the ruins of the pendencies of the Ottoman Empire, which Phænician and Roman cities, and a vichas generally been understood up to the torious Moslem army reached the shores present time to comprise within its limits, of the Atlantic, founding the provinces of not only Arabia and Syria, but the paslia Algeria and Morocco. We hear of one lics or regencies of Egypt, Tripoli, and dynasty of rulers succeeding another Tunis. From the banks of the Tigris to down to the time when the great family the now famous Hamír Mountains on the of Beni Hafs obtained the supreme power frontiers of Algeria, numberless Moslem in Tunis, and held it for just three hun. tribes acknowledge the civil and religious dred years. One of the most celebrated supremacy of the caliphs at Stamboul, of this race, Mouley Muhamed, died in and consider their own immediate rulers, 1525, bequeathing his throne to his the khedives, beys, or pachas, as welis, youngest son, Mouley Hassan. In order viceroys, or governors. This fealty paid to render his own position unassailable,
the sultan of Turkey throughout Mouley Hassan planned the massacre of Egypt, Tripoli, and Tunis (to say nothing his brothers. Two of them were assassi: of Asia Minor and Arabia) is no doubtful nated, but the survivor, Reshid, contrived sentiment or political fiction; it is a liv: to escape. Taking refuge in the first ining, actual, and unmistakable reality, and stance with the celebrated Turkish corforms part of the common ideas as to sair Kheir-ed-Din, he afterwards accomcivil duty entertained by every good Mos- panied his protector to Constantinople. lem throughout these three provinces. The sultan, Soliman, readily agreed to
The regency of Tunis has, since 1830, espouse his cause, and undertake the conformed the extreme western boundary of quest of Tunis on his behalf; but before the Ottoman Empire, and recent events the Turkish armament set sail in 1534, which have occurred in connection with Reshid was thrown into a Turkish prison, it have in a very marked manner attracted from which he does not appear to have the attention of Europe to its history, its ever emerged. The plans of Kheir-ed. political status, and its ultimate fate. Din were attended with complete sucThe Tunisian beylic occupies nearly the cess; the gates of Tunis were thrown centre of the northern shores of Africa; open to him, the imperial banner of the and its seacoast, which extends first east. caliphs was unsurled on the citadel, and ward and then due south, forms an ir- the first act of the conquerors was to proregular line of nearly five hundred miles. claim the overthrow of the dynasty of the The country is inhabited from one hun. Beni Hafs, and that henceforth obedience dred to two hundred and fifty miles in- was to be paid exclusively to the veli or land, is watered by several large streams, deputy of the Porte. It was thus that the and possesses a fertile soil, large unex- caliphs obtained political as well as replored mineral wealth, and a peaceful ligious supremacy in Tunis.
In the and industrious population. In the north I course of a few days the gates of the holy
city of Cairwán were opened to the Turk- of the results of his labors puts the ques. ish viceroy, and the deposed Mouley tion of the political status of Tunis durHassan fled to the court of Charles V. ing the period above referred to beyond The emperor promised to assist him, and the possibility of a doubt. Some such induring the summer of 1535 appeared off vestigation is rendered necessary by the Goletta — the Piræus of the Tunisian fact that M. Barthélemy Saint-Hilaire, in capital — with a fleet of four hundred sail a circular of the 9th May, 1881, (which and an army of about thirty thousand was issued simultaneously with a ligure.
The forces of Spain, Flanders, jaune on Tunisian affairs), declares that Portugal, Italy, and the Knights of St. “France has always regarded Tunis as John, took part in this famous expedition. an independent country;" whereas Earl Complete success attended the operations Granville, in his letter to Lord Lyons of of the invading army, Kheir-ed-Din was the 17th June, 1880, says that "in the defeated, and Mouley Hassan was once view of her Majesty's government, Tunis more placed upon the throne of his fa- was a portion of the Ottoman Empire.” thers. On the 6th August, 1535, he signed The history of Tunis as written by M. a treaty by which he acknowledged him- Rousseau, and a study of the various self to be a vassal of Spain, and bearing treaties entered into between that country in many of its details a remarkable resem. and France, leave no doubt whatever blance to the hardly less important con- either as to the legitimacy of the sultan's vention which, on the 12th May, 1881, ren- claims to suzerainty, or as to the correctdered the regency of Tunis a fief of the ness of the facts contained in his appeal French republic. The Turks, however, to the great powers. M. Rousseau tells continued to offer the most strenuous us of the constant arrival in Tunis of resistance to Mouley Hassan and his special envoys from the Porte; of the inSpanish allies. In 1573, Sinan Pasha, the vestiture of each succeeding bey with the Turkish general, regained possession of kaftan, or robe of honor sent from Stamthe regency, which was entirely evacu- boul; of frequent applications made to ated by the Spaniards, and proceeded to the Porte in matters concerning Tunis by reorganize the government of the country the French ambassador at Constantinoon behalf of the Sublime Porte. The ple; of decisions on several occasions supreme power was intrusted to a pasha pronounced by Turkish commissioners as named by the sultan, who was to be as- to disputes between Tunis and Algiers; sisted by a cadi (appointed in the same and of Austria, Venice, and Tuscany nemanner) and a divan or council. The gotiating conventions with Tunis through public prayer was to mention only the the good offices of the sultan. The testi
ruling sultan of the Osmanlis," and in mony afforded by the texts of the thirteen his name alone was all money current in Franco-Tunisian treaties entered into beTunis to be coined. Up to within six tween 1604 and 1830, is still more conweeks ago the doors of the hall of justice vincing. The bey of Tunis is uniforinly at the Bardo Palace were always thrown styled as the viceroy, dey, captain-genopen at four o'clock, and the public in- eral, or pacha of the Odjak of Tunis; the vited by proclamation to pay homage to treaties made by France with the Sublime their most puissant suzerain the emperor Porte from the year 1535 are ratified and of Turkey, whose virtues were loudly set confirmed, and in several of the convenforth by a functionary appointed for the tions it is stipulated that French vessels purpose. In 1705, one Hossein ben Ali coming to Tunis shall only pay "the became bey or pacha of Tunis, and his dues levied in other parts of the Ottoman descendants have remained in power ever Empire.” In 1830, a Tunisian force was since. The present bey, Muhamed-es- sent to the aid of the sultan; and even as Sadik, succeeded his brother in 1859. late as 1854, the bey of Tunis sent a con
These references to the past history of tingent of fifteen thousand to join the Tunis are necessary in order to estimate Turkish army in the Crimea. There can the gravity of the events which recently therefore be no doubt as to the untenabil. happened there. The author of “ Les ity of the position assumed by M. St. Annales Tunisiennes” has compiled an Hilaire, whose arguments involve a dielaborate record of the history of the lemma from which there is no escape. He regency between the years 1525 and says Tunis is, and always has been, inde1832. M. Rousseau was first interpreter pendent. Nobody disputes that she acof the French consulate-general at Tunis cepted the firman of 1871 ratifying her in 1860, and had access to the voluminous position as a dependency of the Sublime archives of that office. An examination Porte. If she accepted those conditions as an independent State, they are equally shown a disposition to favor in every way binding on her, and must of necessity im- the introduction of foreign capital into pugn the validity of any arrangement now his country; but he has always endeavmade in defiance of them. These consid-ored, in the concessions he has granted, erations are of little practical importance, to maintain his own independence. Ten as the dependency of Tunis on Turkey, years ago several English companies empolitically speaking, is substantiated be- barked in different enterprises in Tunis. yond the possibility of a doubt.
Of these one still exists, while a second We now come to the consideration of has ceded its rights to the Italian Rubatthe relations of Great Britain with Tunis. tino Company. Between 1662 and 1826, fifteen conven- One of the most important events of tions were entered into by the two coun the reign of Muhamed-es-Sadik Bey was tries. The conditions obtained were the reception of a firman from the sultan singularly favorable to English com- in 1871. Although the bey had been merce; and we always appear to have formally invested on his accession to the been considered in the light of the most throne twelve years before, he felt that favored nation. Article 24 of the Treaty time had somewhat weakened the tie of 1751 ran thus : “Que les sujets de Sa which bound bim as a vassal to the caMajesté Britannique seront toujours liph, and was anxious to place the positraité par l'Etat de Tunis avec le plus tion of Tunis towards the Ottoman Empire haut degré d'égard, d'amitié, et d'honneur, beyond the possibility of dispute or cavil
. parceque les Anglais, de toutes les autres In 1863 M. Drouyn de Lhuys had innations sont les premiers et les meilleurs formed a French banker who was about amis.” During upwards of two centuries to contract for a Tunisian loan, that the our forefathers jealously watched our consent of the Porte was necessary to position in Tunis as “the most favored "legitimize” the transaction; but subsenation ;” and M. Rousseau clearly points quent events had induced France to call in out that whenever France managed to question the rights of the sultan as suobtain some exceptional privileges, En-zerain of Tunis. So strongly did France gland immediately demanded similar con- oppose the reception of the confirmatory cessions for herself. Besides the treaties firman, that she threatened to prevent above alluded to, two other important the landing of the Turkish commissioner. conventions exist between Great Britain The firman, however, was brought in and Tunis. By that of 1863, English state to Tunis, and proclaimed with pubsubjects acquired the right of holding real lic festivities and rejoicings. It declared property in Tunis in Their own name; that the regency of Tunis should form, as while that of 1875 relates almost exclu- heretofore, an integral part of the Ottosively to commerce. In virtue of the man Empire ; that although the bey might one, British subjects have acquired much make commercial treaties with foreign land in the regency; while the other has powers, he was entirely debarred from not a little contributed to the develop- entering into political conventions with ment of international trade.
them, or ceding to them any part of TuDuring a reign of twenty-two years, nisian territory; and that the forfeiture of Muhamed-es-Sadik has honestly tried to the right of hereditary succession should insure to each European nation a just follow any violation of the essential conrespect for rights acquired by treaty, and ditions of the imperial khat. On the 8th has always refused to allow one of his November, 1871, the Times commences allies to profit by the loss of another. In an article on the subject of Tunis with 1869 the finances of the country were, these words: “The Tunisian regency is with the consent and approval of En- now de jure and de facto an integral part gland, France, and Italy, placed in the of the Ottoman Empire ; ” and nearly all hands of an International Financial Com- the powers of Europe appear to have mission, in which all three powers were entertained the same opinion. England, equally represented. A large portion of Austria, and Russia officially congratuthe revenues of the country have been lated the bey on the reception of the fir. conceded to the Commission in order to man, and have, as well as other powers, secure the punctual payment of the inter- acted upon it ever since. The Liberal est on the funded debt; but they are Cabinet of England took a prominent collected and administered in strict con- part in the negotiations which led to the formity with the treaty engagements ex- action of the Porte in 1871; and the isting between the regency of Tunis and activity of Mr. Gladstone and Lord Granthe powers.
The bey has invariably I ville in assisting the bey to obtain the
firman when France was weak in 1871, interests.” Seven years before, the bey forms a striking contrast to the apathy of Tunis had granted to M. de Sancy a viith which they have witnessed its de- vast domain, to be held under certain struction in 1881 when France is strong, specific conditions, called Sidi Tabet. powerful, and therefore to be dreaded. The grant was purely personal, and, In 1878 the bey sent both money and amongst other things, M. de Sancy ensupplies to Constantinople, and Russia gaged to maintain on the estate such an withdrew her consul from Tunis on the establishment as would conduce to the outbreak of hostilities. The German improvement of the native breed of emperor in 1872 refused to receive a horses. According to the terms of his Tunisian envoy unless presented by the agreement with the Tunisian govern. Turkish ambassador, and England has ment, M. de Sancy's rights were forfeited, invariably assumed a similar position. and an attempt was made by the bey
With these unavoidable references to (who even then appears to have become the history of Tunis in the past, I now alarmed at M. Roustan's progress) to repropose to sketch the events which led to cover possession of the property in the and attended the recent French invasion manner prescribed by the original deed of the country, and culminated in the sign- of gift. M. Roustan, however, promptly ing of the Treaty of Kasr-Essaid on the intervened; the Tunisian minister was 12th May, 1881. In 1876 Monsieur Theo- obliged to publicly demand pardon for dore Roustan arrived at Tunis as French invading a French 'possession, and M. de chargé d'affaires. Restless, ambitious, Sancy's grant was renewed, but with powand energetic, he soon evinced a disposi- ers of cession. The domain of Sidi Tation to advance French interests in the bet has now passed into the hands of the country with a high hand. Two years Société Marseillaise. Shortly afterwards later Signor Licurgo Maccid, an old rival a M. Oscar Gay arrived at Tunis. He of M. Roustan's in Egypt, succeeded to brought with him a project, which appears the post of Italian consul-general in to have been of too advanced a nature Tunis, and seemed determined to contest even for M. Roustan, although he very his French colleague's endeavors to assert strongly supported it. M. Gay desired for France an exclusive prépondérance at to rebuild the city, and reconstruct the the Tunisian court. About this time the ports, of Carthage. The bey refused to capabilities of Tunis as a field for enter-accept his proposals, and he was obliged prise and speculation attracted the atten. to rest contented with a considerable intion of the capitalists of Paris and demnity for lost time, and the grand corMarseilles, and the Société des Comptoirs don of the Tunisian Order. During 1880 Maritimes, the Société Marseillaise, and M. Roustan pressed the granting of sevthe Société des Batignolles, hastened to eral other concessions on the bey, but in establish branches in the regency: In the summer of that year he received a M. Roustan they found an able and de temporary check which has never been voted ally. The bey was induced to forgotten or forgiven. The English railgrant to the last-named company a con- way between Tunis and the Goletta came cession to construct a railway across his into the market, and after a spirited comterritory towards the Tunisian frontier, petition it was purchased by the Italian and a year later he unwillingly permitted Rubattino Company; M. Roustan at once the constructors to effect a junction with obtained grants for lines to the coast and the Algerian lines. Five years ago a to Bizerta, and a general undertaking, very similar grant was made to an En- from the Tunisian governinents to refrain glishman; but as the pecuniary success from allowing the construction of any of the undertaking was more than prob- other railways in the country without first lematical, the project wholly failed to find offering them to French capitalists. M. favor in the English market. M. Roustan, Macciò now endeavored to obtain permishowever, induced the government of the sion to connect the regency with the telerepublic to guarantee a satisfactory inter graphic lines of Italy bý a submarine est on the necessary capital; and it was cable; but M. Roustan induced the bey then he inust have unfolded his plans, to refuse his consent, although the French which, three years later, resulted in the pretensions to monopolize telegraphic events which 'Europe has witnessed dur-communication could on no ground be ing the past three months. Not content defended. Shortly afterwards a conces. with the success achieved by the Société sion was granted for the construction of des Batignolles, M. Roustan embarked on a port at Tunis, which would render the other similar adventures in aid of “French | Rubattino line practically useless. Dur.
ing the summer of 1880 M. Roustan first | French writer in a very remarkable pamintimated to the bey his plans for the phlet, “ Les Français en Tunisie,” alludes establishment over the regency of a in the following terms to the means used French protectorate; and as time went to justify the approaching campaign in on, he pressed the matter with increasing the eyes of France : energy on Muhamed-es-Sadik, but with
C'est en cela [writes Videns) consiste l'art out any favorable result. The bey in
moderne des gouvernants. Ils ont pour informed the sultan of these proposals, and struments choisis, dans l'exercise de cet art, seemed inclined to court the aid of Italy. les Agences télégraphiques, qui sont à leurs Matters were in this position at the be- ordres : pour instruments volontaires les jourginning of the present year, when the naux juifs, ou financiers, c'est la même chose, dispute commonly known as the “ En- et il y en a beaucoup: pour instruments aveufida” case attracted public attention in gles on inconscients, les malheureux journaux, England to Tunis, and more particularly même honnêtes, contraints par la nécessité de to M. Roustan's proceedings. The ex
fournir des nouvelles à leurs abonnés, de reprime minister of Tunis, Kheir-ed-Din produire les dépêches et les correspondences
toutes faites des Agences, dont il leur est maté. Pacha, possessed an enormous domain
riellement impossible de se passer. in the neighborhood of the city of Cairwán called the Enfida. An English sub- The Italian and English press, however, ject, Mr. Levy, was the proprietor of a strongly advocated the maintenance of neighboring estate, known as the Suy- the status quo in Tunis; and it soon be. ah. Mr. Levy was in treaty for the pur came evident that some better excuse for chase of the Enfida, when the Société proceeding to extremities than the Enfida Marseillaise intervened and induced the case must be put forward. The action of pacha to sell it to them. According to M. Roustan in that matter bad well nigh the local law of Tunis, adjoining proprie. involved France in a very disagreeable tors have the right of exercising pre-emp- complication. During the early days of tion, and obtaining possession of the March, M. St. Hilaire thought it prudent property sold, on repaying the purchase. to distinctly deny any desire on the part money, with certain formalities, to the of France to obtain a protectorate over original vendee. This right was exer. Tunis. cised by Mr. Levy, and the local courts The activity of M. Roustan enabled put him in possession of the Enfida. M. him in a short time to furnish his governRoustan forcibly ejected Mr. Levy's ment with a fresh pretext for hostile acagents from a house on the estate, but tion towards the Tunisian government, failed to deprive him of the bulk of the and with one which entailed no undesiraproperty. The matter was referred to ble entanglement with a European power. England : two ships of war were sent to He fell back on the time-honored casus counteract M. Roustan's attempt to over- belli of a frontier raid. Between Tunis awe the Tunisian authorities, and to this and Algeria is a spur of the Atlas range, day Mr. Levy remains the occupant of stretching from a point some sixty miles the Enfida. The action of the govern- inland to the shores of the Mediterrament in this matter, rightly or wrongly, nean near Tabarca. One slope is inhab. impressed the bey with a conviction that ited by the Tunisian tribe of Hamírs (any England was not prepared to surrender other rendering of the name is absolutely her interests in Tunis, and that Mr. Glad incorrect), while the other is peopled by stone would adopt a policy in conformity the Algerian tribe of Nehed. The Hawith his views of 1871. M. Roustan mírs are sturdy, warlike, and quarrelsome next demanded, on behalf of a M. Re- agriculturists, never too loyal subjects of nault, the authorization of the bey for the the bey, but by no means the brigands formation of an agricultural bank, with they have been described to be. In the peculiar and exclusive privileges; and his last days of March a dispute arose berequest was refused. During the months tween some of the Hamírs and their of January and February in the present neighbors the Neheds, and in an affray a year, the Havas Telegraphic Agency and Hamir was killed and some Nehed tents the French press entered on an active burned. A company of French soldiers campaign against Tunis, taking the Enfi- interfered; the Hamírs were attacked on da case and the Agricultural Bank as their Tunisian territory, and five French soltext; and the assertion of French pré- diers and several Hamírs lost their lives pondérance, the establishment of the pro- in the mêlée. This occurred on the 31st tectorate, or even the total annexation of March; and within six weeks from that the regency, were openly discussed. Altime, Tunis, as an independent country,