Page:Journal of the Royal Geographical Society of London, Volume 1 (2nd edition).djvu/183

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153
Geographical Notice of the Empire of Marocco.
 

January 30.

Twelve miles in a north direction, over rather a sandy soil, little cultivated, and skirting the cork forest of E! Araish, about two leagues in extent, brings us to the town of

El Arāïsh, situated on an abrupt declivity of sand-stone, on the southern bank of the river E! Kōs, at its outlet into the Atlantic; the town walled; a ditch on the land side, and crowned by a citadel; its sea-defences also are strong; a battery of thirteen guns half a mile west of the town, and a venerable castle, with concave flanks and orillons, at the entrance of the river. This town is a picturesque ruin; Christian foundations, desecrated by Moslem superstructures; the principal mosque was a Roman Catholic Church. Here was formerly the residence of the European consuls, and their deserted hours still line the Marina, commanding a fine view of the port and of the Atlantic; the town is fast falling to decay; population may be four thousand, including Jews; some little commerce in charcoal, &c.; supplies abundant; a fine spring of water on the northern shore, very convenient for watering shipping. The river

El Kōs, signifying a bow, and so named from its winding, may be traced through a beautiful valley far away to the eastward; its banks fertile, with many gardens, which fully justify the name of the town, 'El Arāïs,' signifying 'the Flower Garden;' an inscription over the walls, on the sea-gate, which we decyphered with some trouble, testifies that this place was taken from the Moors, and fortified by the Spaniards in 1610. A bar of sand lies in a N. by E., S. by W. direction, about two cables length from the point of the river, and on which are sixteen feet water, on spring tides, but within is a fair port for frigates, about three-quarters of a mile long, by a quarter broad, formed by the last winding or sea-reach of the river. Here were lying the two Moorish eighteen-gun brigs of war, the sultan's navy, which the Austrians attempted to burn in June, 1829, and, as is well known, failed, from gross ignorance of seamanship and gunnery;—they suffered severely:—we walked over the field of battle—a sandy point, under which twenty-six of their bodies lie buried; their heads were paraded for a short time on the line wall, then pickled and sent to the sultan; many of their bodies were impaled, and the Moors amused theme!yes by practicing ball-firing at them as targets!

February 1.

Laving El Arāïsh, road continues for ten miles along the beach; crossing ten streams running into the sea; hills at a quarter of a mile distant, varying from three to four hundred feet high, covered with herbage;—little wood. At six miles reach a bluff projecting cliff, named