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So purely imaginary have been more than half the reports of what has been taking place during the last two or three months in Morocco, and in many cases so absolutely removed from the truth, that in justice to the Moorish Government and people, as well as from the fact that the subject is one that can scarcely fail to interest, an account of what actually has happened will not be out of place.

It will no doubt be remembered that last year Mulai el Hassen led his summer expedition from Fez to Tafilet, and thence returned to Morocco, crossing the Atlas Mountains in the middle of winter. The journey in every particular was a dangerous and trying one. Such wild tribes as the Beni Mgild and Aït Yussi had to be passed through, and when safely traversed the Sultan found himself in the desert surrounded by the most ferocious of the Berber tribes, who had to be appeased with presents of money and clothes. Although as a matter of fact no opposition was put to his progress, he must necessarily have been during the whole expedition in a state of great anxiety, for had the Berbers amalgamated to destroy him and his vast army, they could have done so with the greatest ease. Food was only procurable in small quantities; barley in the camp reached a price that rendered it unprocurable except by the richer classes; while added to this the summer heat in the Sahara caused havoc among the soldiers.

Tafilet was reached in October, and a halt of three weeks made there. The writer of these lines travelled to that spot from Morocco City in disguise, and was for

ten days in the Sultan's camp. It is needless here to enter into any details; suffice it to say that Mulai el Hassen's camp was pitched on the desert sand near a spot called Dar el baida, to the east of the oasis of Tafilet, and that he was surrounded by an army and camp - followers numbering probably forty thousand men. I saw the Sultan several times during his residence in the camp, and was struck with the remarkable change that had taken place in his appearance. His bearing was as dignified as ever, but his black beard was streaked with grey, his complexion was sallow, and the lines of age showed themselves under his eyes. For over two years previously I had not seen him, and when last I had watched him he was still a young-looking man: now old age had set its indelible mark upon his countenance. The fire of his eye was gone; his head drooped slightly upon his chest; he looked like a man tired and weary. No doubt he was. Anxiety was always present. News had reached him that fighting, and most serious fighting, was occurring between the Spaniards and the Riff tribes at Melilla; there was a constant fear of assassination, and a still more constant dread of his whole camp being eaten up by the Berbers. Added to this his health was ailing, and winter fast coming on. Affairs delayed him at Tafilet, and before he left that spot at the end of November, although during the day the sun still beat down with almost tropical heat, rendering life in a tent insufferable, by night the cold was extreme, and frosts of almost nightly occurrence. Before the army lay a three weeks'


march to Morocco City, over desert and mountain, through wild tribes where dangers were many and food What wonder that Mulai el Hassen suffered! Yet the worst trials were before him after he left Tafilet: as he approached the Glawi pass over the Atlas-the lowest there is, and that at an altitude of over 8000 feet above the sea-level-the cold increased, soldiers, mules, horses, and camels died of exposure. Snow fell and covered the camp, and only by forced marches were the remnants of the great horde dragged out from the deathly grip of the rocks and snows of the Atlas Mountains to the plains below.

I saw Mulai el Hassen and his army enter Morocco City-for I had returned thither a few days before them. What was noticeable at Tafilet was doubly apparent now. The Sultan had become an old man. Travel - stained and weary, he rode his great white horse with its mockery of greenand-gold trappings, while over a head that was the picture of suffering waved the imperial umbrella of crimson velvet. Following him straggled into the city a horde of half-starved men and animals, trying to be happy that at last their terrible journey was at an end, but too ill and too hungry to succeed.

Mulai el Hassen found no peace at Morocco City. Affairs at Melilla had become strained, and no sooner had his Majesty reached the capital than a Spanish Embassy under General Martinez Campos proceeded to Morocco. How it ended is well known. It added to the enormous expenses of the Sultan's summer expedition — which must have cost him nearly a million sterling-a debt to the Spanish Government of twenty million pesetas, at the same time necessitating the Sultan to aban

don his idea of remaining in his southern capital, and forcing upon him a long march to Rabat and Fez, and an intended expedition to the Riff to punish the tribes who had caused the disturbance there. Fez was never reached, the expedition never took place, and Mulai el Hassen's entry into Rabat was in a coffin at the dead of night.

Having briefly sketched the events preceding the Sultan's death, reference must now be made to those who played important parts, for better or for worse, in the days that followed.

With regard to the succession to the throne of Morocco, no regular custom or law exists. While the new Sultan must be a relation of the late one, he need not necessarily be a son, but is appointed by his predecessor, and if approved of, acknowledged by those in whose power the making of Sultans lies,

that is to say, by the viziers and powerful Shereefs. Should the Sultan name no successor, it is these who choose the man they may think suitable to fill the post.

Of the great Shereefian families of Morocco that of Mulai el Hassen is not the most important, for the founder of his dynasty, rising in Tafilet, seized the power from the more holy and reverend family of the direct descendants of Mulai Idris, the founder of the Moorish empire, who was the son of Abdullah el Kamil, himself a grandson of Hassan, who with Huseyn was the son of Fatima, Mohammed's daughter. While the Fileli dynasty to-day holds the throne, the reverence paid to the Fileli Shereefs is not to be compared with that bestowed upon Mulai Idris I. and II., one of whom lies buried in the town bearing his name in Zarahoun near Fez, while the second is patron saint of the northern capital itself,

where he lies interred in a gorgeous tomb.

Again, the family of the Shereefs of Wazan obtains far greater respect than that of the Sultan, and the tombs of Mulai Abdullah Shereef and Sid el Haj el Arbi are places of daily pilgrimages. In order, therefore, to obtain the succession to the throne of a new Sultan, the aid and influence of both the Shereefs of Mulai Idris and Wazan have to be brought to bear upon the question, as should either party refuse to acknowledge the candidate, so powerful are their followings that it is quite possible, more than probable, that a civil war would be the result. That a Shereef of Wazan could come to the throne is practically impossible. The two heads of the family, sons of the late Grand Shereef, are French protected subjects; while what affects still more the native population is the existence of an ancient proverb which states that no Wazan Shereef can rule as Sultan, but that no Sultan can rule without the support of the Wazan Shereef. It is, in fact, a defensive alliance between the two great families.

Not so, however, with the Shereefs of Mulai Idris, who reside almost entirely in Fez, and whose influence there is very great. That a Drisite Shereef would have been ready to ascend the throne were it offered to him is only too probable, but fortunately it was not offered. In spite of their immense sanctity, the old adage that a prophet hath no honour in his own country holds good in Fez, where amongst the city people they are considered as little above ordinary mortals. All their influence, and it is very extensive, lies amongst strangers and in the country districts, where being seldom seen or heard, all kinds of


romance as to their marvellous powers are rife.

Therefore it will be seen that, powerful as are the families of Wazan and Mulai Idris, it was practically out of the question, unless civil war broke out, that a member of either should be put up as candidate for the throne. And had such an event happened, want of funds would have no doubt crushed the rebellion before any very serious results would have occurred. There remained, then, only the members of the late Sultan's family who could succeed. Of these, four had always been considered as likely candidates. First, Mulai Ismain, a brother of Mulai el Hassen, who for a long time was viceroy in Fez. He is a man past middle age, of a quiet gentle manner, fanatical, and given to literary pursuits, and while possessing very considerable influence, and still more popularity, by no means a man to push himself forward-in fact, it was always said, on the best authority, that he had no desire whatever of succeeding to the throne. Certainly Mulai Ismain seemed the most probable successor to his brother, though every year lessened the likelihood of this by adding years to the age of the Sultan's favourite son, Mulai Abdul Aziz, the present Sultan. Although it was known that this boy was being trained by Mulai el Hassen, so that in the event of his own death he might come to the throne, his extreme youth for a time rendered it exceedingly improbable that he could succeed; and had Mulai el Hassen's death taken place only a year or two ago, Mulai Abdul Aziz, instead of becoming Sultan, would have been merely an obstacle to whoever had succeeded-an obstacle that most likely would have been removed by assassination or secret

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murder. Fortunately, Mulai el Hassen lived sufficiently long to see his favourite son reach the age of sixteen-for all reports as to his being only twelve are false. So great was his father's desire that he should succeed, that during his lifetime he endowed his son with very considerable wealth and property, and towards the end of his life, since his return from Tafilet, made it clearly apparent what was his desire in the event of his death, by bestowing on him nearly all the prerogatives of the Sultanate.

Mulai Abdul Aziz is the son of a Circassian wife of Mulai el Hassen, a lady of great intelligence and remarkable ability, who, though no longer in her first youth, was able to maintain to the day of his death a most singular and no doubt beneficial influence over Mulai el Hassen. Her European extraction and her education abroad, her general knowledge of the world, and her opportunities for watching the Court intrigues, rendered her of more service to the late Sultan than any of his viziers. She accompanied him always upon his long and tedious marches, and there can be no doubt that even in his dealings with the European Powers her advice was always asked and generally taken by the Sultan. The affection Mulai el Hassen bestowed upon her was also shared by her son, Mulai Abdul Aziz, who, with the tender anxiety of both an affectionate father and mother, was brought up in a far more satisfactory manner than is general with the sons of Moorish potentates. While his elder brothers, of whom more anon, were left to run wild and to lead lives of cruelty and vice, Abdul Aziz was the constant companion of his parents, who, both intent that he should one day be Sultan of Morocco, lost no opportunity of educating him,

to the best of their abilities, to fill the post.

The other candidates who may be said to have had a chance of succeeding to the throne were Mulai Mohammed, the late Sultan's eldest son, by a slave wife, who has held the post of viceroy in Morocco City for a considerable time, and whose vicious life has estranged him from the affections of the people. This is the " oneeyed decapitator" of whom the papers were so fond of speaking during the recent crisis. Really the Englishman who invented the name deserves popularity to the same extent as he gave publicity to his brilliant imagination, for the complimentary title is of purely English invention. Unfortunately Mulai Mohammed never possessed the power of decapitating any one, and had he ventured to have done so, would have long ago been securely confined in prison. Vicious and immoral he was to an extent that surpasses description, but beyond this his sins were no greater than those of the ordinary Moorish official. At times he was most lavish and

generous - often with other people's money; and although his open immorality estranged him from any affection on the part of the people, he still possessed a certain amount of popularity from his exceedingly unprincely condescension. On the whole, Mulai Mohammed is a very undesirable young man; but even his lax morality scarcely merits the outpourings of hatred and contempt that have been heaped upon him by the English press.

The remaining possible candidate to the throne was Mulai el Amin, another brother of the late Sultan, a pleasant, middle-aged man, who would scarcely have been capable of the amount of dignity necessi

tated by the position, as he possessed a temperament too affable and condescending.

It will be seen, therefore, that not only was Mulai Abdul Aziz his father's candidate, but that by his training and bringing up, in spite of his youth, he was by far the most likely to perform with any degree of success the arduous duties of the position. Again, his father and mother's care had kept him free from the immoral life usually led by boys of his age, and he came to the throne untainted by the vices of the country.

But one point more remains to be touched upon before referring to the events that have absolutely been taking place since the late Sultan's death early in June namely, a few words as to the viziers and officials by which his Shereefian Majesty was surrounded.

The only members of the Moorish Government who enjoyed access to the person of their Sultan were some half-a-dozen viziers, through whom the entire business of the country was carried on. These were respectively the Grand Vizier, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Lord Chamberlain, another vizier answering to our Home Secretary, the Master of the Ceremonies, and the Minister of War. With these exceptions, no one was able to gain the confidential ear of the Sultan; and should by any chance his Majesty listen others, woe betide them, whoever they might be, did they attempt in any way to injure the position of these courtiers, who would be able, without the information ever reaching the Sultan, to revenge themselves as they might desire upon the man who informed his Majesty of their evil doings. Mention need be made only of those who have played important parts in the history of the last two


months. These are respectively Sid el Haj Amaati, the Grand Vizier, Sid Mohammed Soreir, the Minister of War, and Sid Ahmed ben Moussa, the Hajib or Chamberlain. Between the two former who who are brothers, and members of the powerful Jamai family, which had already given another Grand Vizier before Haj Amaati was appointed, namely, Sid Mukhtar Jamai― and Sid Ahmed ben Moussa, the Hajib, there had always existed a rivalry and hatred only to be found amongst oriental peoples. Sid Ahmed himself is the son of a Grand Vizier, the late Sid Moussa, who for many years was the able and trusted adviser of the Sultans Sidi Mohammed and Mulai el Hassen.

While the Jamai brothers prided themselves on their great and powerful family, they scoffed at Sid Moussa and his family as upstarts, for his father was a slave. But to such an extent did Mulai el Hassen bestow his confidence on both the Grand Vizier and the Hajib, that they were scarcely able to do one another harm in his Majesty's eyes. Haj Amaati had risen suddenly to his post, and his success with the Sultan no doubt caused much envy and hatred in the heart of Sid Ahmed. Two years ago Haj Amaati, on the resignation of the F'ki Sinhaji, became Grand Vizier, though at that time probably not more than thirty years of age. His elder brother had for a long time held the powerful and lucrative post of Minister of War, and with his support to back him, Haj Amaati commenced a career of amassing wealth by every possible means. The power and influence possessed by a Grand Vizier in Morocco is almost incredible. Every official in the whole country is

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