Page:Journal of the Royal Geographical Society of London, Volume 1 (2nd edition).djvu/184

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154
Geographical Notice of the Empire of Morocco.
 

Haffa el beïda (or White Cliff), from four to five hundred feet high, of a fine white claystone, its fissures or strata north and south, dip 70° to the east. Four miles further quit the beach, and ascend the hills, covered with droo, palmetto, &c.; from summit, an extensive view of the line of coast towards Cape Spartel, and across the straits to the ever-memorable Cape of Trafalgar; descend to the shore, and reach the small town of

Arzilla, a walled square of a quarter of a mile, situated on the open beach; facing the sea are planted a few guns; the wall built by the Portuguese; many of the houses still preserve the pointed roof; population may be one thousand; country around varied and pretty.

February 2.

At three mi!es along the beach, ford the fiver Ayasha, and the ascend the elevated plain, and reach our former camp at Sanya d'Ulad Sbaida, where, after a delay of three days, waiting for the river

Meshra al Shef to become fordable, resumed our old road; and on the 6th of February, after a three months' absence, were again warmly welcomed to the British consulate at Tangier.

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On reviewing the tract of country we had passed over, notice must be taken of the tendency to table-land observable throughout. Generally speaking, all the elevations present one level; the plains rise by three great steps to the mountains; and the two great rivers, the Seboo and the Oom-erbegh, appear to divide the country into three partitions: of these the norther, or that from the Straits of Gibraltar to the latitude of Fez, (excepting the northern spur of the mountains,) to judge from the bold swaps of the rivers and the lakes, is nearly a level to the foot of Atlas. From the Seboo to the river Oom-erbegh, the country dips considerably towards the west, and still more so from this latter fiver to the plain of Marocco; throughout these plains there is great want of wood; even on the skirts of the Atlas the timber does not reach any great size, nothing that we saw to justify Pliny's account of timer speaking of Mauritania, lib. v.

But we cannot fail to be struck by the extraordinary capabilities of the soil; from the foot of Atlas to the shores of the Atlantic, one vast corn plain. Give but direction to the waters, which are not wanting, and abundance would speedily follow. It is mortifying see such blessings spurned by a bigoted and fanatic government—land covered with weeds that might give food to millions.

Surely some effort should be made to open a trade with this country; the consumption of a population of five or six millions, even though they be Moors and Arabs, must be of importance to