Alexis de Tocqueville
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Algerian Journeys

General view of Algiers, drawing by Chandelier and lithograph by Walter; view from the Bettinger Album

View of Algiers
"On rounding Cape Caxine, Algiers appeared: a vast quarry of white rock glistening in the sun." (Travel notes from Algeria, 1841)
General view of Algiers, drawing by Chandelier and lithograph by Walter; view from the Bettinger Album © CAOM

: The La Santé port at Algiers, from a daguerreotype taken by Bettinger, lithograph by Champin; view from the Bettinger Album

A "colorful multitude"
"This is a place so bizarre, so different from anything else I've seen, so tumultuous and full of contrasts, that my imagination is still in turmoil and I am not sure what to think or say about it. . Imagine this colorful multitude as a swarm and you will still have only an incomplete idea of my first impression of this singular city, which seems, despite the disorder that reigns everywhere, remarkably vital, a picture of chaos from which a world is about to emerge."
(Letter to his wife, May 9, 1841)
The La Santé port at Algiers, from a daguerreotype taken by Bettinger, lithograph by Champin; view from the Bettinger Album © CAOM

Algiers, Ab der Rhaman Mosque, view from the Bab-el-Oued Gate, taken from a daguerreotype, lithograph by Walter; view from the Bettinger Album

Algiers
"Algiers, however, looks like a very prosperous big city. The energy its residents display amid so much peril and misery is astonishing. Clearly, souls here have struck a higher, steadier tone than in France."
(Letter to Louis de Kergorlay, May 23, 1841)
Algiers, Ab der Rhaman Mosque, view from the Bab-el-Oued Gate, taken from a daguerreotype, lithograph by Walter; view from the Bettinger Album © CAOM

Jewish women on a Balcony, Théodore Chassériau

Jewish women on a Balcony
"A prodigious mix of races and customs, Arabs, Berbers, Moors, Negroes, Minorcans, French. Each of these races scurries about a place too small to hold them all, speaking a different language, wearing distinct clothing, exhibiting different customs. All seem to be engaged in feverish activity."
(Algerian Travel Notes, 1841)
Jewish Women on a Balcony, Algiers, Théodore Chassériau, 1849 ; Paris, musée du Louvre
© Photo RMN/Daniel Arnaudet

The Great Mosque of Algiers, taken from a daguerreotype, lithograph by Lerebours Callow; view from the Bettinger Album

The Great Mosque of Algiers
"And then, what a climate! What a pure sky, what bright, invigorating light! When it comes time to leave Algiers, I will truly regret going back to the cold and fog of Paris."
(Letter from Mary Mottley to her brother-in-law Edouard, November 26, 1846)
The Great Mosque of Algiers, taken from a daguerreotype, lithograph by Lerebours Callow; view from the Bettinger Album © CAOM

Algiers, view from the Casbah, taken from a daguerreotype, lithograph by Walter; view from the Bettinger Album

The kasba of Algiers
"At night, an errand to the Casbah. Old Algiers strikes us as a vast fox's lair: cramped, dark, smoky. At this hour the people seem idle and dissolute. A native tavern features Moorish prostitutes, and the customers are drinking wine. A mixture of the vices of two civilizations. Such is its outward appearance."
(Algerian Travel Notes, 1841)
Algiers, view from the Casbah, taken from a daguerreotype, lithograph by Walter; view from the Bettinger Album © CAOM

Portrait of Lamoricière

Lamoricière
"I saw Lamoricière for two days at Mostaganem just before he left for Tagdempf with the army. He is the only man from this country. He is performing admirably and has the knack of arousing the soldier's utmost confidence and affection while also satisfying the civilian population. His system of raids is excellent. . But as you noted, his ability to comprehend the larger picture has not improved. . It's obvious to me that all that remains upright in his soul is overweening personal ambition."
(Letter to Louis de Kergorlay, May 23, 1841)
Portrait of Lamoricière © CAOM

Victory at Isly by Marshal Bugeaud over the Moroccan troops of Sidi Mohamed abd-el-Rhaman, eldest son of the Sultan, August 14, 1844; Horace Vernet

Marshal Bugeaud
"I have encountered everywhere, without exception, the idea that the marshal is hostile to all developments in civil society, which he does not understand and does not want, and that the best one can expect from him would be for him to leave it alone, to leave entirely to others this immense part of his task. . On the other hand, there can be no doubt that his important military skills and even his defects have given him irresistible power over the army. . As for the civilian administration, the general opinion seems to be . that it works very badly or, rather, that it doesn't work at all."
(Letter to Jule Dufaure, November 6, 1846)
Victory at Isly by Marshal Bugeaud over the Moroccan troops of Sidi Mohamed abd-el-Rhaman, eldest son of the Sultan, August 14, 1844; Horace Vernet ; châteaux de Versailles et de Trianon © RMN - Hervé Lewandowski

Constantine, el Kantara (view taken from Mansourah), from a daguerreotype, lithograph Walter; view from the Bettinger Album

Constantine
"In this season, this country is one of the most beautiful and healthy that anyone can live in. But we are held prisoner between two hills. Beyond that, we own only the ground our camps stand on, except for the province of Constantine, where things could not be calmer and the security is excellent."
(Letter to his father, May 12, 1841)
Constantine, el Kantara (view taken from Mansourah), from a daguerreotype, lithograph Walter; view from the Bettinger Album © CAOM

A street in El Aghouat, Eugène Fromentin

Famine
"The native population is for now completely subdued and totally abject. What makes the Arabs even more docile is their extreme poverty. People from all over come in search of grain. There is widespread famine in Algiers province, and the toll is particularly horrible in Oran province. Survival is for the moment the only concern of all these impoverished people."
(Letter to Francisque de Corcelle, December 1, 1846)
A street in El Aghouat, Eugène Fromentin ; Douai, musée de la Chartreuse © Photo RMN/ Droits réservés

Distribution, alignment and surveying map of the village of Joinville

The Village of Joinville
Created in 1843. 480 hectares. 50 families. Composed of French from many different places, most with resources. . Many who were not farmers soon departed. . Nevertheless, certain families are making progress. . Population 386 two years ago, now (he thinks) 300. Fairly healthy village. But people go to work in the plain, and that makes them sick. Bad water, brackish water. Need an open viaduct. No school. More than 30 children born in the village; 3 are alive."
(Algerian Travels, 1846)
Distribution, alignment and surveying map of the village of Joinville, department of Algiers, commune of Blidah © CAOM