THE CAPTIVES OF THE CORSAIRS—II
 THE treatment of slaves in private houses varied in accordance with the nature of their masters. Some had the luck
to be purchased by patrons, as the owners were often called, who were of a mild and gentle disposition, and
these, save for the bitterness of losing their liberty, had little to complain of so long as they were
obedient and industrious. But many of the stricter sort of Moslems took a great pleasure in ill-treating
Christian slaves; first because they were Christians, and second in the hopes of forcing them to renounce the
hated faith. Such owners as these drove their slaves to severe toil in the fields and gardens under the
blazing sun of Africa. Those who were too old or feeble for this work were sent out with an ass laden with
water-skins to sell water along the streets. Others gathered fruit and carried it to market. Women were set to
work to clean houses, wash clothes, mind children, and perform the most menial tasks of the household. And
these people, be it remembered, had often been persons of rank and authority in their own country.
As one writer remarks: "Everything connected with the subject of Christian slavery in the Barbary States is of
the deepest interest. When that institution was at its height there were from 20,000 to 30,000 captives at a
time in Algiers alone, representing every nation in Europe and every rank in society, from the viceroy to the
 sailor, men of the highest eminence in the Church, literature, science, and arms, delicately nurtured ladies
and little children, doomed to spend their lives in infamy. The majority never returned to their native land,
and few have left us a detailed account of their sufferings, or a record of the dramatic events passing every
day around them."
GUARDING THE CAPTIVES.
The miseries of the shore-slaves were great: those of the galley-slaves were far, far greater. When a galley
left the port the Christian slaves who pulled her oars were all chained to the rowing benches. This was done
lest in the hour of battle against a Christian vessel the slaves should rise upon their masters, to aid their
friends in the other vessel and win their freedom. And chained to those benches the poor creatures remained
until the cruise was over, even if it should last for months. Upon these narrow seats they were packed so
closely, sometimes five, six, or seven men to an oar, that it was not possible for them to sleep at full
length, and they crouched together in hopeless misery. Their food was ships' biscuit and water, with an
occasional spoonful of rice or gruel. Nor did they get too much of that, for great quantities of food were
difficult to carry, and when hard rowing was needed, the whip took the place of provender.
We must not forget that things were just the same in the navies of Christendom. Both sides, Corsair and
Christian alike, used slaves, or men in the position of slaves, for this terrible labour of the oar. The
Corsairs used Christian captives, the Christians used Moslem captives or convicts, men who were sent to the
galleys for their crimes. It was not possible to obtain freemen for such cruel toil under such wretched
conditions: none would
 undertake it save by force. "The Corsairs of Algiers only served their enemies as they served them: their
galley-slaves were no worse treated, to say the least, than were Doria's or the King of France's own. Rank and
delicate nurture were respected on neither side: a gallant Corsair like Dragut had to drag his chain and pull
his oar like any convict at the treadmill, and a future Grand Master of Malta might chance to take his seat on
the rowing bench beside the commonest scoundrel of Naples. No one seemed to observe the horrible brutality of
the service, where each man, let him be never so refined, was compelled to endure the filth and vermin of his
neighbour, who might be half a savage and was bound to become wholly one."
Now and again a galley-slave has written an account of his unhappy days on the oar-bench. Listen to what one
of them says: "Think of six men chained to a bench, one foot on the stretcher, the other on the bench in
front, holding an immensely heavy oar, bending forward to the stern with arms at full reach to clear the backs
of the rowers in front, who bend likewise; and then having got forward, shoving up the oar's end to let the
blade catch the water, then throwing their bodies back on the groaning bench. A galley oar sometimes pulls
thus for ten, twelve, or even twenty hours without a moment's rest. The boatswain, or other sailor, in such a
stress, puts a piece of bread steeped in wine in the wretched rower's mouth to stop fainting, and then the
captain shouts the order to redouble the lash. If a slave falls exhausted upon his oar (which often chances)
he is flogged till he is taken for dead, and then pitched unceremoniously into the sea."
 "Those who have not seen a galley at sea, especially in chasing or being chased, cannot well conceive the
shock such a spectacle must give to a heart capable of the least touch of feeling. To behold ranks and files
of half-naked, half-starved, meagre wretches, chained to a plank from whence they remove not for months
together (commonly half a year), urged on, even beyond human strength, with cruel and repeated blows on their
bare flesh; and thus for whole days and nights successively, which often happens in a furious chase, where one
party, like vultures, is hurried on almost as eagerly after their prey, as is the weaker party hurried away in
hopes of preserving life and liberty."
In such a pursuit as this there is one very striking point to be observed: if it is a Christian galley which
is in flight, then Christians are pursuing Christians, Moslems are flying from Moslems. In the Christian
galley perhaps two hundred chained Turks and Moors are hoping eagerly that their friends will come up and free
them from irons and the lash. But the lash is there at that moment, and it will be used without stint or
mercy, and the boatswains dart to and fro, eager to mark an unwilling worker. So they pull and pull lest they
be flogged to death. So in the Moslem galley. There the Christians hope to see their friends escape, but they,
too, must put their backs into their work, or those same backs will be scored to the bone.
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