The Passing of Morocco


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Pages: 121

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For several years I had been watching Morocco as a man who follows the profession of ‘Special Correspondent’ always watches a place that promises exciting ‘copy.’ For many years trouble had been brewing there. On the Algerian frontier tribes were almost constantly at odds with the French; in the towns the Moors would now and then assault and sometimes kill a European; round about Tangier a brigand named Raisuli repeatedly captured Englishmen and other foreigners for the sake of ransom; and among the Moors themselves hardly a tribe was not at war with some other tribe or with the Sultan. It was not, however, till July of last year that events assumed sufficient importance to make it worth the while of a correspondent to go to Morocco. Then, as fortune would have it, when the news came that several Frenchmen had been killed at Casablanca and a few days later that the town had been bombarded by French cruisers, I was far away in my own country. It was ill-luck not to be in London, five days nearer the trouble, for it was evident that this, at last, was the beginning of a long, tedious, sometimes unclean business, that would end eventually—if German interest could be worn out—in the French domination of all North Africa west of Tripoli. Sailing by the first fast steamer out of New York I came to London, and though late obtained a commission from the Westminster Gazette. From here I went first to Tangier, viâ Gibraltar; then on to Casablanca, where I saw the destruction of an Arab camp and also witnessed the shooting of a party of prisoners; I visited Laraiche against my will in a little ‘Scorpion’ steamer that put in there; and finally spent some weeks at Rabat, the war capital, after Abdul Aziz with his extraordinary following had come there from Fez.

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