Page:Journal of the Royal Geographical Society of London, Volume 1 (2nd edition).djvu/174

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144
Geographical Notice of the Empire of Morocco.
 

negresses, the late imperial concubines, the Jew must doff his slippers, and stand close to the wall till they pass; to such a state of degradation are the people chosen of God, the descendants of Abraham, brought in this country. Yet such persons are our official interpreters, nay more, our consular agents; as for repeating a message on terms of equality to an emperor. or a spirited remonstrance if necessary, they dare not for their lives. The

Negroes, who not very numerous, are slaves, and here, as in more civilized countries, are articles of traffic; yet they sometimes reach stations of great importance, and gain their freedom; and thus even in benighted, barbarian Africa, that foulest stain on a nation's fame—is not half so black as in enlightened, Christian Europe:—the negro's character stands high for fidelity, the sultan's body-guard, the only standing army, is chiefly composed of these: it is now not above five thousand strong; but under Muley Ishmael is said to have reached one hundred thousand. The

Government of this country is absolutely despotic; the sultan is the head of the church and state, which are inseparable; Mohammedanism is their

Religion, and some of its bigoted tenets are rigidly enforced by the present possessor of the throne; in their religious duties, such as prescribed prayers, ablutions, &c., the Moors are very strict, even on a journey; they look on Christians as of no religion, and not without reason, since at Tangier. the residence of the European and American corps diplomatique, comprising ten or twelve consuls, with their attachés and dependants, there is but one Roman Catholic priest (Spanish it is believed); the six Protestant representatives, and their families, have not even the shadow of a minister of religion. Their

Laws, the will of a despot, who in the capital administers justice in person; in the provinces the kalifa or bashaw faithfully copies the despotism of his imperial master; yet judgment is generally correct, and always prompt; the ruling principle appears to be—keep the people poor, and they will not rebel. The

Revenue is derived from taxes paid in kind, one-tenth of corn, and one-twentieth of cattle; a capitation tax on all Jews, and fines on districts where crimes have been committed; but the revenue is uncertain, nay, often must be levied by force from some of the Arab tribes; the whole may amount to a million sterling. The

Military are a sort of militia called out when required; they receive no pay, but are furnished with a horse, and, when those of the provinces visit the capital, with a trifling present. The only standing army is the sultan's body-guard, before-mentioned; all the soldiers carry long muskets, which they use with great dexterity, firing at full gallop; they are hardy, sleeping usually on the ground without any extra covering, even in cold wet nights; but they are