Page:Journal of the Royal Geographical Society of London, Volume 1 (2nd edition).djvu/159

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129
Geographical Notice of the Empire of Marocco.
 

half from sea; soil light; sandstone basis; to the east the extensive forest of

Mamōra, said to cover eighty miles of country; on what authority is doubtful; the only traveller who appears to have passed through this forest describes it 'as a wood of holm oak, almonds, lentiscs, and large willows, through which he journeyed in-a few hours[1].' Lions and wild boars, of which we saw traces, are its inhabitants. Passing under an aqueduct extending one mile south-east, its arches thirty feet high, eight wide, four thick—of masonry, and of antiquity, though it is difficult to say of what construction—but in good repair; enter the town of

Slā, or Sallée, once the terror of the seas, so renowned for its rovers, whose daring exploits reached even to our own coasts of Christendom; whose city and port were a constant scene of riot, and bustle, and activity—now, ruined, still, and lifeless: such are the fruits of ignorance, despotism, and Mohammedanism. The present town, built on a sandy point, extending to the sea, forming the north-eastern bank of the river, is about half a mile in length by a quarter in breadth, surrounded by walls thirty feet high, and square towers every fifty paces. Its defences, a long battery of twenty guns, facing the sea, a round fort at entrance of the river, and a gun or two on the gates. The mosques, arches, and fountains in the city, as we rode through it, showed traces of beautiful sculpture, and of great antiquity; streets narrow, and houses sombre, like all Moorish towns. Population about ten thousand, of which five hundred may be Jews; with apparently little or no occupation. The river

Bu Regreb, formed by the junction of the Weroo and Bu Regreb, is here about five hundred yards broad, when full. The bar, about one-eighth of a mile from entrance, runs almost across in a west-south-west direction, with three or four feet on it at low water, leaving a channel at each end; the Moors use the eastern; rise of tide nine or ten feet; inside, the harbour is quite sheltered, with water for a frigate. The imperial dockyard is here; a corvette on the stocks, destined to be launched when the freshes from the mountains, in the spring, force a passage over the bar. Several ferry-boats, three or four small traders, an Austrian prize, and few fishing-boats, give an animation to this river quite uncommon to the Moors. The town of

Rabātt, standing on the south-western side of the river, fifty or sixty feet above its level, on banks of crumbling sand-stone. As seen from the opposite shore, the grouping of minarets, palm-trees, ruined walls, and old mosques, crowned by its venerable and battlemented kassbah, across a broad full river, is very picturesque. A curtain of five hundred yards, facing the sea, flanked by two cir-

 

  1. Ali Bey.