Succession of the Sovereigns from their Founder to the present Emperor.

Fez, - - 1806.

Edris; the founder of Mahometanism in Barbary, was succeeded by his posthumous son, Edris the Second, who founded the first monarchy, after that of Mahomet, in these regions; and it was called the Kingdom of the West. The family of Edris continued to reign for about a hundred and fifty years; but was disturbed, during the tenth century, by several intestine divisions, excited by a crowd of usurpers, which terminated in the total extinction of the Edrissites.

The tribe of Mequinici seized on several provinces, and founded, on the ruins of the ancient, the present city of Mequinez.

Abu-Tessifin, a Maraboot, or Monk, taking advantage of the divisions which convulsed these countries, and above all of the credulity of this fickle people, sent several of his disciples to preach and excite the multitude to revolt, under the pretext of recovering their liberties. This great impostor was the chief of the tribe of Lamthunes, surnamed Morabethoon, on account of the extreme rigour with which they observed the forms of the new religion.

This tribe resided between Mount Atlas and the Desert. The Moors being weary of their Arabian rulers, flocked in crowds to the standard of Tessefin, who soon found himself at the head of a large army, by means of which he conquered, many provinces, and established himself Sovereign of Mauritania.

He was succeeded by his son Joseph-Ben-Tessefin, who in 1086 finished the city of Morakesh, or Morocco, which his father had begun, and there fixed his seat of government. In 1097 he seized on the kingdom of Fez, and united it to that of Morocco: he also joined his forces to those of the Mahometans in Spain, and conquered the city of Seville, subdued all Andalusia, Grenada, and Murcia, penetrated as far as Cordova, and defeated the army of Alphonso VI. of Spain. After which he returned, loaded with spoils, to Morocco, where he died. He was succeeded by his son Aly, who likewise passed over into Spain, but was defeated and slain by Alphonso at the battle of Moriella.

His son Brahem, an indolent prince, and much addicted to pleasure, was proclaimed King of Morocco. His profligacy favoured the ambitious projects of a Mahometan preacher, named Mahomet Abdallah. This impostor assumed the name of Mahedi, Commander of the Faithful, and drew a host of people to his standard. In the course of his mission, he met another preacher, at the head of a multitude of followers, who also styled himself Mahedi, or the Prophet expected at the end of ages.

These two adventurers, consulting their mutual interest, coalesced, and having completely succeeded in seducing the people, by projects of reformation, Abdallah was proclaimed King of Morocco, andAbdul-Momen, the other imposter, General of the Faithful. This haying effected the destruction of Brahem, he contrived to dispatch his colleague so privately as to avoid the imputation of being accessary to his death, and succeeded him in the sovereignty. He demolished all the palaces and mosques of the Kings in Morocco, and laid the greater part of that city in ruins, it having shut its gates against him when, he presented himself before it; and he destroyed the young son of Brahem with his own hands. He afterwards, however, rebuilt Morocco, and died in 1155, in possession of the sovereign power.

He was succeeded by his son Joseph, who passed over into Spain, and engaging with the armies of the Kings of Portugal and Leon, he was killed by a fall from his horse. His son Abu-Jacob, surnamedAlmonsor the Invincible, assumed the government, suppressed the divisions that distracted the country, and, rendered himself so powerful and formidable, that the Mahometan Kings in Spain elected him as their supreme ruler. After performing numberless gallant exploits, he disappeared on a sudden, as some assert, to perform the pilgrimage to Mecca; but it is most probable, he was secretly murdered and buried by the descendants of Abdallah. His son ascended the throne, but died in a very short time of grief, in consequence of his losses in Spain. He was the last King of this family.

Abdallah, the Governor of Fez, of the tribe of Benimecius, usurped the crown of his master. Of his successors, the only prince who took part in the Mahometan wars in Spain was Abul Hassen, who conquered Gibraltar, and built the fort which still retains the name of the Moorish Castle. He was dethroned and assassinated by his son, Abul Hassen, a ferocious and ambitious tyrant, who left a son, namedAbu-Said, of a very depraved character, in whose reign Ceuta, after a long siege, was taken by Don John, King of Portugal.

These usurpers were completely extirpated by the house of Merini, which family in its turn was overcome by Muley Mahomet, a Xeriffe of the same tribe, who seized the reins of government. His successors did not long enjoy the fruit of their usurpation, but were most dreadfully disturbed by a series of revolutions and murders, fomented and perpetrated by the mountaineers, a resolute, ferocious, and restless people, who, after raising the various parts of the country in arms one against the other, and subjecting them to all the calamities of civil war, cruelly butchered Muley Achmet, the last of the sons of Muley Sidan and proclaimed their chief, Crom-el-Hadgy, a bloodthirsty ruffian, of low birth, and eminent in cruelties, in his stead. This tyrant, to secure his new acquisition, inhumanly massacred all the male descendants of the Xeriffes. He soon became the object of universal detestation, and was poignarded by his Sultana on the day of marriage. She was of the family of the Xeriffes, and consented to marry him, only that she might have a better opportunity of sacrificing him to her revenge, for the murder of her family.

After the tragical end of the descendants of the Xeriffes, these countries, but more especially the province of Tafilet, experienced all the horrors of famine and pestilence, for several years. The people of Tafilet considered it as a judgment from their Prophet for their injustice; and, to appease him, they made a pilgrimage to Mecca, and easily prevailed on a Xeriffe, a descendant of Mahomet, named Muley Aly, who resided in a town near Medina, to accompany them back to this country. In the mean time, the seasons having become more genial, the harvests were so abundant, that this credulous and superstitious people attributed the change entirely to the arrival of the pious Xeriffe. He was unanimously proclaimed King of Tafilet, by the name of Muley Xeriffe; and as such acknowledged by the other provinces, with the exception of Morocco and its environs, which were then in the possession of Crom-el-Hadgy, who having ended his career in the manner described, was soon followed by his son; and the ancient families who had ruled the empire being completely extinct, the new King of Tafilet, from his birth, religion, and the public election, was confirmed the legitimate Sovereign of the whole county.

Muley Xeriffe was the founder of the dynasty of Fileli, from which the present reigning family is descended. This country, totally exhausted by divisions and civil wars, acquired the enjoyments of peace and plenty, during the reign of this prince, who resided at Tafilet, and caused the Governors, who were entrusted with provinces, to rule with equity. He made it his whole study to render this fickle and turbulent people happy; the latter part of his reign was perfectly undisturbed, and his death was universally and justly lamented. He was succeeded by his eldest son, who was proclaimed, without the disturbances usual on those occasions, by the name of Muley Mahomet.

This prince, equally just and pious with his father, reigned for some time very peaceably; and from his exemplary conduct would have continued to do so to his death, to the increasing prosperity of his subjects, but for his brother, Muley Arshid, an ambitious prince, who, endowed with an intelligent mind, equal to the vast project he had in contemplation, raised a rebellion, with a view to seize on the sovereign power. At the head of a numerous party, in a pitched battle, he was however defeated, and taken prisoner, by his brother Muley Mahomet. But he recovered his liberty, by the aid of a negro slave, whom he rewarded by striking off his head at the very instant he had enabled the monster to recover his liberty.

After wandering about for some time, stirring up the minds of the people to revolt, Muley Arshid fled to the mountains of Rif, where he offered his services to the Sovereign of those districts, who, unfortunately discovering the abilities of the stranger, confided to him the administration of his territories, when, after having by stratagem and prodigality gained the troops and the people to his interests, he dethroned and inhumanly butchered his royal benefactor. He then defeated his brother Mahomet, and closely besieged him in Tafilet, whence that good prince died of grief. To enumerate the bloody exploits of this prince would extend my letter to a volume; suffice it therefore to say, that his reign was short, and the remembrance of it never to be effaced. He died in 1672 of a fractured skull, in consequence of a fall from his horse.

He was succeeded by his brother Muley Ishmael, who distinguished himself by some brave actions; and his reign would have formed a grand epoch in the history of this country, had he not stained it by a succession of tyranny and cruelties, too shocking to dwell upon. He died in 1727 at the advanced age of eighty-one, leaving behind him a numerous offspring. This prince, in order to ensure his despotic and arbitrary power, contrived to form a regular army of foreign soldiers, which he effected, partly from the negro families, then settled in Barbary, but principally from a vast number of blacks which he obtained from the coast of Guinea.

Muley-Achmet-Daiby, one of the numerous sons of Ishmael, ascended the throne of Morocco, and, after reigning two years, died of a dropsy. His successor, Muley Abdallah, by far surpassed all his predecessors in point of vices and cruelty. His conduct was so flagrant, that he was deposed no less than six times, but as often re-elected. Amidst civil wars, divisions, and devastations, the plague again made its appearance, and committed the same dreadful ravages as in the reign of Ishmael. Being reinstated for the sixth time, Abdallah took advantage of the troubles occasioned by this terrible disease, to excite divisions among his negro soldiers, by whose power alone he had suffered all his humiliations. Vast numbers of this warlike race fell the victims of his treachery, and he succeeded in reducing them so low, that they were no longer a subject of dread to him. Having thus freed himself of all cause of restraint, he recovered his power, and, if possible, plunged deeper than ever into the gulf of iniquity; and each succeeding day was stained with crimes of the blackest hue. The only sentiments with which he inspired his unhappy people were those of terror and disgust. At length, worn out with age, he died at Fez in 1757; and was succeeded by his son Sidi Mahomet, who had begun to reform several abuses, during the latter part of his father's reign, when he had been entrusted with the government of Morocco.

This prince, the father of the present Emperor, was endowed with an intelligent mind, and possessed nothing of the barbarian. His political views, and excellent regulations, soon restored the order of things. He directed all his care to the welfare of his people, both at home and abroad; he concluded, and renewed, several advantageous commercial treaties, with England, France, Spain, Portugal, Sweden, Denmark, and Holland, with all of whom he maintained a good understanding till 1777; when, gained over by the courts of France and Spain, he broke the treaty with England, and refused to supply Gibraltar with fresh provisions. He appointed officers of the strictest integrity, and of moderate and resolute characters, to the government of his provinces; and the whole period of his reign was exempt from those horrible cruelties which had almost invariably disgraced the sceptres of his predecessors. He died at an advanced age, at Rabat, on the 11th of April 1790.

After the old Emperor's death, the states of Barbary became convulsed by the civil discords, attended with great effusion of bloody occasioned by Sidi Mahomet's numerous sons, who severally aspired to the crown. The contest was for a long time doubtful and bloody; but at length, Muley Yezid was proclaimed Emperor, by a powerful party. As the whole country was up in arms, he had to combat with many difficulties in establishing himself on the throne. He was no sooner confirmed in his power, than he exercised it with uncommon cruelty towards his captives. Under the idea of striking terror into the minds of his subjects, by the force of example, and deterring them from revolting again, he inflicted the most dreadful punishment on those who had opposed his authority; some he caused to be hung up by the feet, and suffered to perish for want of sustenance; others, to be crucified at the gates of the city; and several high priests, and officers of state, he deprived of the blessing of sight.

But his cruelty and inhumanity did not rest here. In the above proceedings he might possibly urge in palliation a regard to his personal safety, and the possession of a crown which he held by so precarious a tenure as the caprice of a multitude, who might wrest it from him with as little scruple as they had bestowed it, if not awed by some terrible example; but where shall we seek an excuse for his execrable barbarity to the poor Jews in his dominions, whom he ordered to be massacred, without distinction? The carnage was most horrible; and the property of this persecuted people was indiscriminately plundered by their rapacious murderers. Six young Jewesses, who ventured to intercede for their unhappy fathers and relations, were burned alive. My blood runs cold at the idea of such depravity; and I shrink, from the reflection that our own history will furnish us with annals, almost or fully as replete with horror as the one I am now relating.

It is not all surprising that such unjustifiable cruelty should kindle disgust in the minds of those who were not totally divested of the feelings of humanity. Several of his provinces rebelled, but he successively reduced them to obedience; and in the last battle which he fought, before the city of Morocco, and gained, he was severely wounded. The rebel army was surrounded, and defeated with great slaughter. Muley Yezid was carried to the castle, and his wound dressed; but his treatment was so improper, that, after lingering a few days in the most excruciating torture, he died in 1794.

The present Emperor, Muley Solyman, was the youngest prince, and lived retired in the city of Fez, assiduously occupied in studying the Alcoran and the laws of the empire, in order to qualify himself for the office of high-priest, which he was intended to fill. From this retreat he was called by the priests, the highest in repute as saints, in the neighbourhood of Fez, and a small party of the Moorish militia, and by them prevailed upon to come forward as a candidate for the crown, in opposition to his three brothers, who were waging war with each other, at the head of numerous forces. In the midst of this anarchy and confusion, the young prince was proclaimed Emperor at Fez, by the name of Muley Solyman; and having collected a strong force, aided by the counsels of a number of brave and experienced officers, he advanced to Mequinez, which he reduced, after two successive pitched battles. This place was defended by one of his brothers, who shortly after acknowledged him as Emperor, joined him, and brought over to his interests a great number of friends and partisans. He served Solyman faithfully ever after, which enabled him to withstand the united forces of his two other brothers. At length, owing to the little harmony that prevailed in the armies of his competitors, he effected his purpose. Taking advantage of their increasing animosity, he advanced towards Morocco, fighting and conquering the whole way. He entered the capital in triumph, after a general and decisive battle; and he was again proclaimed Emperor.

This brave young prince had now reduced Barbary entirely under his sway, with the exception of the kingdom of Tangiers. Thither the two unfortunate princes retired, in order to make a last and desperate stand; but after a variety of struggles, to regain some degree of ascendancy, one was compelled to solicit the protection of the Dey of Algiers, and the other was taken prisoner, and banished to a remote province.

From that period, the Emperor has dedicated the whole of his time and pursuits to the amelioration of his people's condition, by improving his financial resources, and appointing over his provinces, mild and humane Governors, whom he strictly superintends, occasionally deposing such as have deviated from his orders, and often inflicting upon these his representatives the most severe corporal punishments, previous to their imprisonment for life.