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To the Gold Coast for Gold by Richard F. Burton

Part 3 out of 5

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half and leaving the northern in bright sunshine: the right limb was
better defined than the left.] and gradually contracting as the lamp of
day rises. Item, we saw nothing of the archipelago like a map in relief;
the latter, however, is rarely visible in its entirety. Disappointment!

During the descent we had a fair prospect of the Canarian
Triquetra. Somewhat like Madeira, it has a longitudinal spine of
mountains, generically called Las Canadas; but, whilst the volcanic
ridge of the Isle of Wood runs in a latitudinal line, the Junonian
Cordillera has a whorl, the ancient as well as the modern seat of
eruption. Around the island appeared to be a rim, as if the sea-horizon
formed a raised saucer--a common optical delusion at these altitudes.

As we advanced the Mal Pais became more broken: the 'bad step' was ugly
climbing, and we often envied our men, who wore heelless shoes of soft
untanned leather with soles almost as broad as they were long. The
roughness of the trachytic blocks, however, rendered a slip
impossible. At 6.45 we reached the second floor of this three-storied
volcano, here 11,721 feet high. The guides call it the _Pico del
Pilon_, because it is the ancient Peak-Crater, and strangers the
Rambleta (not Rembleta) Volcano, which strewed Las Canadas with fiery
pumice, and which shot up the terminal head 'conical as a cylinder.' It
has now become an irregular and slightly convex plain a mile in
diameter, whose centre is the terminal chimney. Its main peculiarity is
in the fumaroles, or escapes of steam, and _mofetti_, mephitic
emanations of limpid water and sulphur-vapour. Of these we counted five
narices within as many hundred yards. Their temperature greatly varies,
109 deg. and 158 deg. Fahr. being, perhaps, the extremes; my thermometer showed
130 deg.. These _soupiraux_ or _respiradouros_ are easily explained.
The percolations from above are heated to steam by stones
rich in 'grough brimstone.' Here it was that Humboldt saw apparent
lateral shiftings and perpendicular oscillations of fixed stars; and our
Admiralty, not wishing to be behind him, directed Professor P. Smyth's
attention to 'scintillations in general.' Only the youngest of
travellers would use such a place as an observatory; and only the
youngest of observers would have considered this _libration of the
stars_ an extraordinary phenomenon.

Directed by a regular line of steam-puffs, we attacked _El Pilon_,
the third story, the most modern cone of eruption, the dwarf chimney
which looks like a thimble from the sea. The lower third was of loose
crumbling pumice, more finely comminuted than we had yet seen; this is
what Humboldt calls 'ash-cones.' There was also a strew of porphyritic
lava-chips covered with a red (ochreous?) crust. Presently we reached a
radiating rib of lately ejected lava, possibly the ridge of a dyke,
brown below and gradually whitening with sulphuric acid as it rose
towards the crater-walls. The resting took longer than the walking up
the steep talus; and at 7.45: after a total of nine hours and a
morning's work of two hours and a half, which occupied two in
descending, we stood upon the corona or lip of 'Teyde.'

The height of the Tenerife Pike, once held the loftiest in the world, is
12,198 feet, in round numbers 12,200. Thus it stands nearly at the
altitude of Mont Blanc (15,784 feet) above the Chamounix valley, a
figure of 12,284 feet. The slope from the base is 1 in 4.6. The direct
distance from Orotava on the map measures 10.5 miles; along the road 18,
according to the guides. The terminal chimney and outlet for vapours
which would erupt elsewhere, rises 520 feet from its pedestal, the
central Rambleta, and its ascent generally occupies an hour. One visitor
has reduced this _montagne pelee_ to 60-70 feet, and compares it
with the dome of a glass-house. From below it resembles nothing so much
as a cone of dirty brown _cassonade_, and travellers are justified
in calling it a sugarloaf. I can hardly rest satisfied with Von Buch's
description. 'Teyde is a pointed tower surrounded by a ditch and a
circular chain of bastions.'

The word Teyde is supposed to be a corruption of Echeyde, meaning Hades:
hence the title Isla Infierno, found in a map of A.D. 1367. The Guanches
also called it Ayadyrma, and here placed their pandemonium, under
Guayota, the head-fiend. The country-folk still term the crater-ring 'la
caldera de los diablos en que se cuecen todas las provisiones del
Infierno' (the Devil's caldron, wherein are cooked all the rations of
the infernals). Seen by moonlight, or on a star-lit night, the scenery
would be weird and ghostly enough to suggest such fancies, which remind
us of Etna and Lipari.

I had been prepared by descriptions for a huge chasm-like crater or
craters like those on Theon Ochema, Camerones Peak. I found a
spoon-shaped hollow, with a gradual slope to the centre, 100 x 150 feet
deep, the greater length of the oval running north-east, where the side
is higher, to south-west, where there is also a tilt of the cup. The
floor was a surface of burning marl and whitish earthy dough-like paste,
the effect of sulphurous acid vapours upon the argile of the lava. This
stratum was in places more than 80 feet thick; and fumes rose fetid with
sulphuric acid, and sulphates of soda, alumina, and ammonia from the
dead white, purple red, vivid green, and brilliant yellow surface of the
solfatara. Hence the puffs of vapour seen from below against the
sparkling blue sky, and disappearing like huge birds upon the wings of
the wind: hence, too, the tradition of the mast and the lateen sail. A
dig with the Guanche _magada_ or _lanza_, the island alpen-stock,
either outside or inside the crater, will turn up, under the
moist white clay, lovely trimetric crystals of sulphur, with the
palest straw tint, deepening to orange, and beautifully disposed in
acicular shapes. The acid eats paper, and the colours fade before they
leave the cone.

[Footnote: Dr. Wilde (1837) analysed the sulphur as follows: Silica,
81.13; water, 8.87; and a trace of lime. Others have obtained from the
mineral, when condensed upon a cold surface, minute crystals of
alum. Mr. Addison found in the 'splendid crystals of octahedral sulphur'
a glistening white substance of crystalline structure, yet somewhat like
opal. When analysed it proved to contain 91 per cent. silex and the rest

When sitting down it is advisable to choose a block upon which dew-drops
pearl. A few minutes of rest upon a certain block of marl, whose genial
warmth is most grateful, squatting in the sharp cold air, neatly removes
all cloth in contact with the surface. More than one excursionist has
shown himself in that Humphrey Clinker condition which excited the wrath
of Count Tabitha. It is evident that Teyde is by no means exhausted, and
possibly it may return to the state of persistent eruption described by
the eye-witness Ca da Mosto, who landed on the Canaries in A.D. 1505.

Not at all impressed with the grandeur of the Inferno, we walked round
the narrow rim of the crater-cirque, and were shown a small breach in
the wall of porphyritic lava facing west. Mrs. Murray's authorities
describe the _Caldera_ as being 'without any opening:' if this be
the case the gap has lately formed. The cold had driven away the lively
little colony of bees, birds, and butterflies which have been seen
disporting themselves about the bright white cauldron. There was not a
breath of the threatened wind. Manoel pointed out Mount Bermeja as the
source of the lateral lava-stream whose 'infernal avalanche,' on May 5,
1706, [Footnote: Preceding Ca da Mosto's day another eruption (1492) was
noted by Columbus, shortly before his discovery of the Antilles.
Garachico was the only port in Tenerife, with a breakwater of
rocky isle and water so deep that the yardarms of men-of-war could
almost touch the vineyards. Its quays were bordered by large
provision-stores, it had five convents, and its slopes were dotted with
villas. After an earthquake during the night a lava-stream from several
cones destroyed the village Del Tanque at 3:30 A.M., and at 9
P.M. another flood entered Garachico at seven points, drove off the sea,
ruined the mole, and filled the port. It was followed by a cascade of
fire at 8 A.M. on the 13th of the same month, and the lava remained
incandescent for forty days.] overwhelmed 'Grarachico, pueblo rico,'

[Footnote: Alluding to the curse of the Franciscan Friar, who devoted
the town to destruction in these words:--

'Garachico, pueblo rico,
Gastadero de dinero,
Mal risco te caiga encima!']

and spared Guimar, which it enclosed between two fiery streams. Despite
the white and woolly mists, the panorama of elevations, craters and
castellated eminences, separated by deep gashes and by _currals_
like those of Madeira, but verdure-bare, was stupendous. I have
preserved, however, little beyond names and heights. We did not suffer
from _puna_, or mountain sickness, which Bishop Sprat, of
Rochester, mentions in 1650, and which Mr. Darwin--alas that we must
write the late!--cured by botanising. I believe that it mostly results
from disordered liver, and, not unfrequently, in young Alpinists, from

The descent of the Teyde _Piton_, in Vesuvian fashion, occupied ten
minutes. Our guides now whistled to their comrades below, who had
remained in charge of the animals. Old authors tell us that the Guanche
whistle could be heard for two leagues, and an English traveller
declares that after an experiment close to his ear he did not quite
recover its use for a fortnight. The return home was wholly without
interest, except the prospects of cloud-land, grander than those of
Folkestone, which seemed to open another world beneath our feet. Near
the Santa Clara village all turned out to prospect two faces which must
have suggested only raw beef-steaks. It was Sunday, and

(Garachico, wealthy town; wasteful of thy wealth, may an ill rock fall
upon thy head!)

both sexes were in their 'braws.' The men wore clean blanket-mantles,
the women coloured corsets laced in front, gowns of black serge or
cotton, dark blue shawls hardly reaching to their waist, and the usual
white kerchief, the Arab _kufiyah_, under the broad-brimmed straw
or felt hat, whose crown was decorated with the broadest and gayest
ribbons. But even this unpicturesque coiffure, almost worthy of Sierra
Leone, failed to conceal the nobility of face and figure, the
well-turned limbs, the fine hands and feet, and the _meneo_, or
swimming walk, of this Guanchinesque race, which everywhere forced
itself upon the sight. The proverb says--

De Tenerife los hombres;
Las mugeres de Canaria.

It is curious to compare the realistic accounts of the nineteenth
century with those of the _vulcanio_ two centuries ago. Ogilby
(1670) tells us that the Moors called it El-Bard (Cold), and we the
'Pike of Teneriff, thought not to have its equal in the world for
height, because it spires with its top so high into the clouds that in
clear weather it may be seen sixty _Dutch_ miles off at sea.' His
illustration of the 'Piek-Bergh op het Eilant Teneriffe' shows an almost
perpendicular tower of natural masonry rising from a low sow-back whose
end is the 'Punt Tenago' (Anaga Point). The 'considerable merchants and
persons of credit,' whose ascent furnished material for the Royal
Society, set out from Orotava. 'In the ascent of one mile some of our
Company grew very faint and sick, disorder'd by Fluxes, Vomitings, and
Aguish Distempers; our Horses' Hair standing upright like Bristles.'
Higher up 'their Strong waters had lost their Virtue, and were almost
insipid, while their Wine was more spirituous and brisk than before.' In
those days also iron and copper, silver and gold, were found in the
calcined rocks of the Katakaumenon. It is strange to note how much more
was seen by ancient travellers than by us moderns.



[Footnote: From the _Relacion circumstanciada de la Defensa que hizo
la Plaza de Santa Cruz_, by M. Monteverde. Published in Madrid, 1798.]

The following pages afford a circumstantial and, I believe, a fairly
true account of an incident much glossed over by our naval
historians. The subject is peculiarly interesting. At Santa Cruz, as at
Fontenoy, the Irish, whom harsh measures at home drove for protection to
more friendly lands, took ample share in the fighting which defeated
England's greatest sailor. Again, the short-sighted policy which sent to
the Crimea 20,000 British soldiers to play second instrument in concert
with 40,000 Frenchmen, thus lowering us in the eyes of Europe, made
Nelson oppose his 960 hands to more than eight times their number. The
day may come when the attack shall be repeated. Now that steam has
rendered fleets independent of south-west winds, it is to be hoped the
assailant will prefer day to night, so that his divisions can
communicate; that he will not land in the 'raging surf' of the ebb-tide,
and that he will attack the almost defenceless south instead of the
well-fortified north of the city.

Already the heroic Island had inflicted partial or total defeat upon
three English admirals. [Footnote: Grand Canary also did her duty by
beating off, in October 1795, Drake's strong squadron.] In April 1657
the Roundhead 'general at sea,' Admiral Sir Robert Blake, of
Bridgewater, attempted to cut out the Spanish galleons freighted with
Mexican gold and with the silver of Peru. Of these the principal were
the _Santo-Cristo_, the _Jesus-Maria_, the _Santo Sacramento_,
_La Concepcion_, the _San Juan_, the _Virgen de la Solitud_,
and the _Nuestra Senora del Buen Socorro_. This 'silver fleet'
was moored under the guns of the 'chief castle,' San Cristobal,
the mean work at the root of the mole. The English were
preparing to board, when the Captain-General, D. Diego de Egues, whom
our histories call 'Diagues,' ordered the fleet to be fired, after all
the treasure had been housed in the fort. A steady fight lasted three
hours, during which the wife of the brave Governor, D. Estevan de la
Guerra, distinguished herself. 'I shall not be useless here,' she
exclaimed when invited to leave the batteries; and this 'maid of
Tenerife' continued to animate the garrison till the end. As was the
case with his great successor, Roundhead Blake's failure proved to him
far better than a success. For his _francesada_, or _coup de
tete_, Nelson expected to lose his commission, instead of which some
popular freak flung to him honour and honours. So Protector Cromwell
sent a valuable diamond ring to his 'general at sea,' in token of esteem
on his part and that of his Parliament. Our histories, relying on the
fact that a few weak batteries were silenced, claim for the Admiral a
positive victory, despite his losses--fifty killed and 500 wounded.

[Footnote: The late Mr. Hepworth Dixon (_Life of Blake_, p. 346)
describes the open roadstead of Santa Cruz as a 'harbour shaped like a
horse-shoe, and defended at the north side of the entrance by a regular
castle.' In p. 350 we also read of the bay and its entrance. Any
hydrographic chart would have set him right.]

In 1706, during the Spanish war of succession, Admiral Jennings sailed
into Santa Cruz bay--the old Bay of Anaga or Anago--and lay off San

[Footnote: This work still remains. It is a parallelogram with four
bastions in star-shape, fronting the sea, and an embrasured wall facing
the town. It began as a chapel, set up by De Lugo to N. S. de la
Consolacion, and a tower was added in 1493. It was destroyed by the
Guanches and rebuilt by Charles Quint: the present building assumed its
shape in 1579. The main square, inland of San Cristobal, shows by a
marble cross where the conqueror planted with one hand a large affair of
wood--hence Santa Cruz. The original is, or was till lately, in the
Civil Hospital.]

with twelve ships of the line. The Plaza was commanded, in the absence
of the Captain-General, by the Corregidor, D. Antonio de Ayala, who
assembled all the nobles in the castle's lower rooms and swore them to
loyalty. The English attempted to disembark, and were beaten back;
whereupon, as under Nelson, they sent a parliamentary and summoned the
island to surrender to the Archduke Charles of Austria. The envoy
informed the Governor, who is described by Dampier as sitting in a low,
dark, uncarpeted room, adorned only with muskets and pikes, that Philip
V. had lost Gibraltar, that Cadiz and Minorca had nearly fallen, and
that the American galleons in the port of Vigo had been burnt or
captured by the English, whose army, entering Castile, had overrun
Aragon, Catalonia, and Valencia. The braves reply was, 'If Philip, our
king, had lost his all in the Peninsula, these islands would still
remain faithful to him.' And the castle guns did such damage that the
Jennings squadron sailed away on the same evening.

The third expedition, detached by Admmiral Sir John Jervis, afterwards
Earl St. Vincent, to 'cut out a richly freighted Manilla ship,' also
resulted in a tremendous failure. Captain Brenton, to gratify national
complacency, grossly exaggerates in his 'Naval History' the difficulty
of the enterprise. 'Of all places which ever came under our inspection
none, we conceive, is more invulnerable to attack or more easily
defended than Teneriffe.' He forgets to mention its principal guard, the
valour of the inhabitants. And now to my translation.

'At dawn on July 2, [Footnote: James (_Naval History_,
vol. ii. p. 56) more correctly says July 20. So the _Despatches, &c.,
of Lord Nelson_, Sir H. Nicholas, vol. ii. p. 429. The thanksgiving
for the victory took place on July 27, the fete of SS. Iago and
Cristobal.] 1797, the squadron [Footnote: The squadron was composed as
follows:--1. _Theseus_ (74), Captain Ralph Willett Miller, carried
the Rear-Admiral's flag; 2. _Culloden_ (74), Commodore and Captain
Thos. Troubridge; 3. _Zealous_ (74), Captain Sam. Hood;
4. _Leander_ (50), Captain Thos. Boulden Thomson, which joined on
the day before the attack. There were three frigates:--1. _Seahorse_
(38), Captain Thos. Francis Fremantle; 2. _Emerald_ (36), Captain
John Waller; and 3. _Terpsichore_ (32), Captain Richard Bowen; also
the _Fox_ (cutter), Lieut. Commander John Gibson, and a mortar-boat
or a bomb-ketch, probably a ship's launch with a shell-gun.] of
Rear-Admiral Horatio Nelson, K.B., composed of nine ships, and
carrying a total of 393 guns, appeared off Santa Cruz, the port
of Tenerife, Canarian archipelago. The enemy at once manned and
put off his boats. One division of sixteen occupied our front; the
other twenty-three took the direction of the Bufadero valley, a wild
gap two or three miles to the north of the harbour.

'An alarm signal was immediately made in the town, when the enemy
returned to his ships, and made his troops prepare to disembark. At ten
A.M. the three frigates, towed by their boats, cast anchor out of
cannon-shot, near the Bufadero; whilst the other vessels plied to
windward, [Footnote: At the time the weather was calm in the town, but a
violent levante, or east wind, prevented vessels from approaching the
bay, where the lee shore is very dangerous.] and disembarked about 1,200
men on the beach of Valle Seco, between the town and the valley. This
party occupied the nearest hill before it could be attacked; its
movements showed an intention to seize the steep rocky scarp commanding
the Paso Alto--the furthest to the north of the town. [Footnote:
Nelson's rough sketch, vol. ii. p. 434, shows that it had 26 guns. San
Cristobal de Paso Alto commands the large ravine called by the Guanches
'Tahoide' or 'Tejode,' which is now defended by San Miguel. This is a
small rockwork carrying six guns in two tiers, the upper _en
barbette_ and the lower casemated.] Thus the enemy would have been
enabled to land fresh troops during the night; and, after gaining the
heights and roads leading to the town, to attack us in flank as well as
in front.

'Light troops were detached to annoy the invader, and they soon occupied
the passes with praiseworthy celerity and boldness. One party was led by
the Capitaine de Fregate Citizen Ponne [Footnote: James calls him Zavier
Pommier. He commanded the French brig _Mutine_ (14), of 349 tons,
with a crew of 135. As he landed at Santa Cruz with 22 of his men on May
28, 1797, the frigates _Lively_, Captain Benjamin Hallowell, and
the _Minerva_, Captain George Cockburn, descried the hostile
craft. Lieutenant Hardy, of the _Minerva_, supported by six
officers and their respective boats' crews, boarded her as she lay at
anchor. Despite the fire of the garrison and of a large ship in the
roads, he carried her, after an hour's work, safe out of gunshot. Only
15 men were wounded, including Lieutenant Hardy. This officer was at
once put in command of the _Mutine_, which he had so gallantly
won.] and by the Lieutenant de Vaisseau Citizen Faust. Both officers,
who had been exchanged and restored at the same port, showed much
presence of mind on this occasion, and on July 25 they applied to be
posted at a dangerous point of attack--the beach to the south of the
town, near Puerto Caballas, beyond where the Lazaretto now lies. When
the enemy purposed assaulting a more central post, they came up at the
moment of the affair, ending in our victory.

'A second party was composed of the Infantry Battalion of the Canaries,
[Footnote: This battalion afterwards distinguished itself highly in the
Peninsular war.] under Sub-Lieutenant Don Juan Sanchez. A third,
composed of 70 recruits from the Banderas [Footnote: _Bandera_ is a
flag, a depot, also a levy made by officers of Government.] of Havana
and Cuba, was led by Second Lieutenant Don Pedro Castillo; a fourth
numbered seventeen artillerymen and two officers, Lieutenant Don Josef
Feo and Sub-Lieutenant Don Francisco Dugi. A fifth, and the last, was of
twenty-five free chasseurs belonging to the town, and commanded by
Captains Don Felipe Vina and Don Luis Roman.

'Our Commandant-General, H. E. Senor Don Juan Antonio Gutierrez,
[Footnote: Not Gutteri, as James has it, nor 'Gutienez,' as Mrs. Murray
prefers.] was residing in the principal castle of San Cristobal. His
staff consisted of the commandants of the Royal Corps of Artillery and
Engineers, Don Marcelo Estranio and Don Luis Margueli; of the Auditor of
War (an old office, the legal military adviser and judge), Don Vicente
Patino; of Lieutenant-Colonel Don Juan Creagh (locally pronounced
Cre-ah); of the Secretary of Inspection Captain Don Juan Creagh; of the
Secretary to Government and Captain of Militia Don Guillermo de los
Reyes; of the Captain of Infantry Don Josef Victor Dominguez; of
Lieutenants Don Vicente Siera and Don Josef Calzadilla,
Town-Adjutant--the latter three acting as aides-de-camp to his
Excellency--and of the first officers of the Tobacco and Postal Bureaux,
Don Juan Fernandez Uriarte and Don Gaspar de Fuentes.

'The five parties before alluded to, numbering a total of 191, were, at
his own request, placed under Lieutenant-Colonel the Marquess de la
Fuente de las Palmas, commanding the division of chasseurs. The first to
mount the hill nearest the enemy, he saw the increased force of the
attacker, who had placed a 4-pounder in position; whereupon he sent for
reinforcements and some pieces of cannon. Our Commandant-General, on
receipt of the message, ordered up four guns (3- and 4-pounders) with
fifty men under a captain of the Infantry Battalion of the
Canaries. Universal admiration was excited by the agility and
intrepidity with which twenty militiamen of the Laguna Regiment, under
the chief of that corps, Florencio Gonsalez, scaled the cliffs, carrying
on their shoulders, besides their own arms and ammunition, the four guns
and their appurtenances.

'Meanwhile our troops replied bravely to the enemy's deliberate fire of
musketry and field-pieces. As he sallied out to a spring in the Valle
Seco, two of his men were killed by the French party and the levies of
Havana and Cuba, whilst a third died of suffocation whilst scaling the
heights. At the same time Lieutenant-Colonel Don Juan Creagh, commanding
the Infantry Battalion, accompanied by a volunteer, Don Vicente Siera,
Lieutenant of the local corps (_fixo_) of Cuba, led thirty of his
men and fifty Rozadores [Footnote: The insular name of an irregular
corps, now done away with. Literally taken, the word means sicklemen.]
belonging to the city of La Laguna. They proceeded across country in
order to reconnoitre the enemy's rear. Before nightfall they succeeded
in occupying high ground in the same valley opposite the heights held by
the English, and in manning the defiles through which the latter must
pass on their way to the town.

'As soon as the enemy saw these troops, he formed in five companies near
his field-gun. Lieutenant-Colonel Creagh was joined by some 500 men of
the Laguna militia, and their lieutenant, Don Nicholas Quintin Garcia,
followed by the peasantry of the adjoining districts, under the Alcalde
or Mayor of Taganana. These and all the other troops were liberally
supplied with provisions by the _Ayuntamiento_ (municipality) of
the Island.

'On the next morning (July 23) our scouts being sent down to the valley,
found that the enemy had disappeared during the night. Notwithstanding
which, the Marquess de las Palmas ordered a deliberate fire to be kept
up in case of surprise. Our General, when informed of the event,
recalled the troops. The Marquess, who unfortunately received a fall
which kept him _hors de combat_ for many days, [Footnote: I find
pencilled in the original volume, 'Que caida tam oportuna!' (What a
lucky fall!)] obeyed with his command at 5 P.M., leaving behind him
thirty men under Don Felix Uriundo, second lieutenant of the Battalion
of Canaries. Don Juan Creagh did the same with his men. But as the
French commandant reported that some of the enemy were still lurking
about the place, our General-in-Chief directed Captain Don Santiago
Madan, second adjutant of the same corps, to reconnoitre once more the
Valle Seco with 120 Rozadores. This duty was well performed, despite the
roughness of the paths and the excessive heat of the sun.

'The enemy's squadron now seemed inclined to desist from its attempt. At
6 A.M. of July 23 Rear-Admiral Nelson's flagship, which, with the other
ships of the line, had kept in the offing, drew near, and signalled the
frigates to sheer off from the point and to rejoin the rest of the
squadron. These, however, at 3 P.M., allowed themselves to drop down the
coast towards the dangerous southern reaches between Barranco Hondo,
beyond the Quarantine-house and the village of Candelaria, distant a
day's march from Santa Cruz. To prevent their landing men, Captain Don
Antonio Eduardo, and the special engineer, Don Manuel Madera,
reconnoitred the shore about Puerto Caballas, to see if artillery could
be brought there. Meanwhile Sub-Lieutenant Don Cristobal Trinidad, of
the Guimar Regiment, watched, with fifty of his men, the coast near San
Isidro, [Footnote: Here the landing is easiest.] which is not far from
Barranco Hondo. The squadron, however, retired to such a distance that
it could hardly be discerned from the town, as it bore S.E. 1/4 E.:
notwithstanding which, all preparations were made to give the enemy a
warm reception.

'At daylight on July 24 the squadron again appeared, crowding on all
sail to gain the weather-side. The look-out at Anaga Point, north of the
island, signalled three ships from that direction, and two to the south,
where we could distinguish only one of fifteen guns, which was presently
joined by the rest. At 6 P.M. the enemy anchored with his whole force on
the same ground which the frigates chose on the 22nd, and feinted to
attack Paso Alto Fort. Our General and chiefs were not deceived.
Foreseeing that we should be assaulted in front, and to the
right or south, [Footnote: The town of Santa Cruz runs due north and
south in a right line; the bay affords no shelter to shipping, and the
beach is rocky.] they made their dispositions accordingly, without,
however, neglecting to protect the left.

'At 6 P.M. a frigate and the bomb-ketch approached Paso Alto, and the
latter opened fire upon the fort and the heights behind it. These
positions were occupied by 56 men of the Battalion of the Canaries, 40
Rozadores, under Second Lieutenant Don Felix Uriundo, and 16
artillerymen, commanded by Sub-Lieutenant of Militia Artillery Don Josef
Cambreleng. [Footnote: A Flemish name, I believe: the family is still in
the island.] Of 43 shells, however, only one fell in the fort, bursting
in a place where straw for soldiers' beds had been stored, and this,
like the others, did no damage. [Footnote: A fragment of this shell is
preserved in the Fort Chapel for the edification of strangers.] Paso
Alto, commanded by the Captain of the Royal Corps of Artillery, Don
Vicente Rosique, replied firmly. At the same time Don Juan del Castillo,
sub-lieutenant of militia, with 16 men, reconnoitred, by H. E. the
Governor's orders, the Valle Seco. The operation was boldly performed,
despite the darkness of night and other dangers; and our soldiers
returned with a prisoner, an Irish sailor of the _Fox_ cutter, who
had swum off from his ship.

'The enemy now prepared his force for the attack. One thousand five
hundred men, [Footnote: James numbers 200 seamen and marines from each
of the three line-of-battle ships, and 100 from each of the three
frigates, besides officers, servants, and a small detachment of Royal
Artillery. This made a total of 1,000 to 1,060 men, commanded by
Captain, afterwards Admiral, Sir Thomas Troubridge, Bart. Nelson
(_Despatches_, vol. ii. p. 43) says 600 to 700 men in the squadron
boats, 180 on board the _Fox_, and about 70 or 80 in a captured
boat; total, at most, 960.] as we were afterwards informed, well armed
with guns, pistols, pikes, swords, saws, and hatchets, and led by their
best officers, among whom was the Rear-Admiral, embarked in their
boats. At 2.15 A.M. (July 25) they put off in the deepest silence. The
frigate of the Philippine Islands Company, anchored outside the shipping
in the bay, discovered them when close alongside. Almost at the same
moment the Paso Alto Fort, under Lieutenant-Colonel Don Pedro de
Higueras, and the Captain of Artillery Don Vicente Rosique, gave the
signal to the (saluting) battery of San Antonio [Footnote: This old
work, _a fleur d'eau_, still remains; and near it are the ruins of
the Bateria de los Melones, on land bought by the Davidson family.] in
the town, held by the Captain of Militia Artillery Don Patricio
Madan. They alarmed the citizens by their fire, and the enemy attacked
with rare intrepidity.

'The defence was gallantly kept up by the battery of San Miguel, under
Sub-Lieutenant of Artillery Don Josef Marrero; by the Castle of San
Pedro, [Footnote: The San Pedro battery dated from 1797. It defended the
southern town with six embrasures and three guns _en barbette_. For
many years huge mortars and old guns lay outside this work.] under the
Captain of Artillery Don Francisco Tolosa; by the Provisional Battery de
los Melones, [Footnote: Now destroyed. It was, I have said, near the new
casemates north of the town.] under the Sergeant of Militia Juan
Evangelista; by the Mole-battery, under Lieutenant of the Royal Corps of
Artillery Don Joaquim Ruiz and Sub-Lieutenant of Militia Don Francisco
Dugi; by the Castle of San Cristobal, under the Captain of the Royal
Regiment of Artillery and Brigade-Major Don Antonio Eduardo, who
commanded the central and right batteries, and Lieutenant of Militia
Artillery Don Francisco Grandi, to whom were entrusted the defences on
our left; by the battery of La Concepcion, [Footnote: Where the Custom
House now is, in the middle of the town.] under Captain of the Royal
Regiment of Artillery Don Clemente Falcon; and by that of San Telmo,
[Footnote: Near the dirty little square south of the Custom House. The
word is thus written throughout the Canary Islands; in Italy, Sant'
Elmo.] under the Captain of Militia Artillery Don Sebastian Yanez.

'The rest of our line did not fire, because the enemy's boats had not
passed the Barranco, or stony watercourse, which divides the southern
from the northern town. In the Castle of San Juan,

[Footnote: It is the southernmost work, afterwards used as a
powder-magazine. To the south of the town are also the Bateria de la
Rosa, near the coal-sheds, and the Santa Isabel work. The latter had 22
fine brass guns, each of 13 centimetres, made at Seville, once a famous

however, Captain Don Diego Fernandez Calderia trained four guns to bear
upon the beach, which was protected by the Laguna militia regiment,
under Lieutenant-Colonel Juan de Castro.

'So hot and well-directed was our fire, that almost all the boats were
driven back, and the _Fox_ cutter, with her commander and 382 of
the landing party--others said 450--also carrying a reserve store of
arms and ammunition, was sunk. [Footnote: Nelson, _loc. cit._, says
180 men were in the _Fox_, and of these 97 were lost. So Captain
Brenton, _Naval History_, says 97. In vol. ii. p. 84, speaking of
Trafalgar, he informs us that the French ship _Indomptable_ (84),
M. Hubart, was wrecked off Rota, where her crew, said to be 1,500 men,
_all perished_. Add, 'except M. Maffiote, of Tenerife, and about
143 others.'] Rear-Admiral Nelson lost his right arm before he could
touch ground, and was compelled to return to his flag-ship, with the
other officers of his boat all badly wounded. [Footnote: The grape-shot
was fired from the Castle of San Pedro; others opine from San Cristobal;
and the Canarese say that a splinter of stone did the work. According to
most authorities, Nelson was half-way up the mole. James declares that
Nelson's elbow was struck by a shot as he was drawing his sword and
stepping out of his boat. In Nelson's _Despatches, loc. cit._, we
read that the 'mole was instantly stormed and carried, although defended
by 400 or 500 men, and the guns--six 24-pounders--were spiked; but such
a heavy fire of musketry and grape-shot was kept up from the citadel and
houses at the head of the mole that we could not advance, and nearly all
were killed.'] The brave Captain Bowen was killed on the first step of
the Mole, a volley of grape tearing away his stomach. [Footnote: This
officer is said to have caused the expedition, by describing it to
Admiral Jervis and the British Government as an easy exploit. He had
previously cut out of this bay a Philippine Island frigate, _El
Principe Fernando_; and he had with him, as guide, a Chinese
prisoner, taken in that vessel. The guide was also killed. Captain
Bowen's family made some exertions to recover certain small articles
which he carried about him--watch, pistols, &c.--and failed. One pistol
was lost, and for the other its possessor modestly demanded 14_l_.]
Nineteen other Englishmen were struck down by a discharge of grape. The
gun which fired it had, on that same night, been placed by the governor
of the Castle of San Cristobal, Don Josef Monteverde, [Footnote: There
is a note in my volume, 'Father of the adopted son, Miguelito Morales.']
at a new embrasure which he caused to be opened in the flank of the
bastion. [Footnote: This part of the castle has now been altered, and
mounted with brass 80-pounders.] Thus it commanded the landing-place,
where before there was dead ground. The enemy afterwards confessed that
the injury thus done was the first cause of his misfortunes.

'Notwithstanding the Rear-Admiral's wound and the enemy's loss in men
and chief officers, a single boat, carrying Captain and Commodore
Troubridge, covered by the smoke and the darkness, landed at the Caleta
[Footnote: 'Caleta' means literally a _cul de sac_. At Santa Cruz
it is applied to a rocky tract near the Custom-house Battery: in those
days it was the place where goods were disembarked.] beach. At the same
time the main body of the English, who had escaped the grape of the
Castle of San Cristobal and the batteries La Concepcion and San Telmo,
disembarked a little further south, at the Barranquillo del Aceyte,
[Footnote: This ditch is now built over and converted into a drain. It
runs a little above the present omnibus stables.] at the Butcheries, and
at the Barranco Santo. [Footnote: Also called de la Cassona--'of the
Dog-fish'--that animal being often caught in a _charco_, or pool,
in the broad watercourse. So those baptised in the parish church are
popularly said to have been 'dipped in the waters of the Dog-fish
Pool.'] The levies of Havana and Cuba, posted in the Butcheries under
Second Lieutenant Don Pedro de Castilla, being unable to repulse the
enemy's superior force, retreated upon the Battalion of Infantry of the
Canaries, consisting of 260 men and officers, including the
militia. This corps, supported by two field-guns, [Footnote: In the
original 'canones violentos,' _i.e._ 4-pounders, 6-pounders, or
8-pounders.] ably and energetically worked by the pilots, Nicolas Franco
and Josef Garcia, did such damage that the English were in turn
compelled to fall back upon the beaches of the Barranco and the

'These were the only places where the enemy was able to gain a footing
in the town. He marched in two columns, one, with drums beating, by the
little square of the parish church (La Concepcion) to the convent of
Santo Domingo, [Footnote: Afterwards pulled down to make room for a
theatre and a market-place.] and the other to the Plaza [Footnote: Plaza
here means the square behind the castle. In other places it applies to
the fortified part of the town.] of the San Cristobal castle. His plan
of attack was to occupy the latter post, but he was driven back from the
portcullis after losing one officer by the hot fire of the
militia-Captain Don Esteban Benitez de Lugo. Thus driven back to the
Caleta, the invaders marched along the street called "de las Tiendas."
[Footnote: It is now the 'Cruz Verde.' In those days it was the
principal street; the Galle del Castello (holding at present that rank)
then showed only scattered houses.] They then drew up at the head of the
square, maintaining a silence which was not broken by nine guns
discharged at them by the Captain of Laguna Chasseurs Don Fernando del
Hoyo, nor by the aspect of the two field-pieces ranged in front of them
by the Mayor, who was present at all the most important points in the
centre of the line. The cause was discovered in an order afterwards
found in the pocket of Lieut. Robinson, R.M. It ran to this
effect:--[Footnote: This and other official documents are translated
into English from the Spanish. According to our naval despatches and
histories the senior marine officer who commanded the whole detachment
was Captain Thomas Oldfleld, R.M. The 'Relacion circumstanciada'
declares that the original is in the hands of Don Bernardo Cologan y
Fablon, another Irish-Spanish gentleman who united valour and
patriotism. He was seen traversing, sabre in hand, the most dangerous
places, encouraging the men and attending to the wounded so zealously
that he parted even with his shirt for bandaging their hurts.]

'July 24, night.

'SIR,--You will repair with the party under your command
to H.M.S. _Zealous_, where you will receive final
instructions. Care must be taken to keep silence in the
ranks, and the only countersign which you and your men
are to use is that of "The _Leander_."

'I am, Sir, &c. &c.,
'(Signed) T. THOMPSON.

'Lieutenant Robinson, R.M.

'Standing at the head of the square, the enemy could observe that not
far from them was a provision-store, guarded by Don Juan Casalon and Don
Antonio Power, [Footnote: The original has it 'Pouver,' a misprint. The
Irish-Spanish family of Power is well known in the Canaries.] the two
"deputies of Abastos." [Footnote: Now called _regidores_--officers
who are charged with distributing rations.] The English seized it,
wounding Dons Patricio Power and Casalon, who, after receiving two blows
with an axe, escaped. They then obliged, under parole, the deputy Power
and Don Luis Fonspertius to conduct into the Castle a sergeant sent to
parly. Our Commandant-General, when summoned to surrender the town
within two minutes, under pain of its being burned, returned an answer
worthy of his honour and gallantry. "Such a proposal," he remarked,
"requires no reply," and in proof thereof he ordered the party to be
detained. [Footnote: According to James, who follows Troubridge's
report, the sergeant was shot in the streets and no answer was

'Meanwhile our militiamen harassed the first column of the enemy,
compelling it, by street-fighting, to form up in the little squares of
Santo Domingo and of the parish church. Our Commandant-General was
startled when he found that this position cut off direct communication
between San Cristobal and the Battalion of the Canaries, whose fire,
like that of the militiamen on the right, suddenly ceased. But he was
assured that the battalion was unbroken, and all the central posts
except the Mole were supported, by the report of Lieutenant Don Vicente
Siera: this officer had just attacked with 30 men of that battalion the
enemy's boats as they lay grounded at the mouth of the Barranco Santo,
dislodging the defenders, who had taken shelter behind them, and making
five prisoners. The English were stopped at the narrow way near the base
of the pier by the hot fire of the troops under Captain and Adjutant of
Chasseurs Don Luis Roman, the nine militiamen under Don Francisco Jorva,
the sergeant of the guard Domingo Mendez, and a recruit of the Havana
levy; these made forty-four prisoners, including six officers, whilst
twelve were wounded. Our Commandant-General was presently put out of all
doubt by Don Josef Monteverde. This governor of San Cristobal, when
informed that 2,000 Englishmen had entered the town, intending probably
to attack the Castle with the scaling-ladders brought from their boats,
resolved himself to inspect the whole esplanade, and accordingly
reconnoitred the front and flank of the Citadel.

'All our advantages were well-nigh lost by a report which spread through
the garrison when our firing ceased. A cry arose that our chief was
killed, and that as the English who had taken the town were marching
upon La Laguna, they must be intercepted at the _cuesta_, or hill,
behind Santa Cruz. It is easy to conceive what a panic such rumours
would cause among badly armed and half-drilled militia. The report arose
thus:--Our Commandant-General seeing the defenders of the battery at the
foot of the Mole retreating, and hearing them cry, "Que nos cortan!" (We
are cut off!), sallied out with Don Juan Creagh and other officers, the
Port Captain, the Town Adjutant, and the chief collector of the
tobacco-tax. After ordering the corps of Chasseurs, 89 men and 9
officers, to fire, our chief returned, leaning upon the arm of Don Juan
Creagh, and some inconsiderate person thought that he was
wounded. Fortunately this indiscretion went no further than the Chasseur
Battalion of the Canaries and the militiamen on our right.

'When this battalion was not wanted in its former position it was
ordered to the square behind the Citadel. The movement was effected
about daybreak by Don Manuel Salcedo, Lieutenant of the King.
[Footnote: An old title (now changed) given to the military governor of
Santa Cruz and the second highest authority in the archipelago. Marshal
O'Donnell was Teniente del Rey at Tenerife, and he was born in a house
facing the cross in the main square of Santa Cruz.] That officer had
never left his corps, patrolling with it along the beaches where the
enemy disembarked, and he had sent to the barracks twenty-six prisoners,
besides three whom he captured at San Cristobal. When the battalion was
formed up and no enemy appeared, the Adjutant-Major enquired about them
in a loud voice. Meanwhile the Laguna militia, who in two divisions,
each of 120 men, under Lieut.-Col. Don Juan Baptista de Castro, had been
posted from San Telmo to the Grariton, [Footnote: Meaning a large
_garita_, or sentry-box. It is a place near the windmills to the
south of the town.] were also ordered to the main square. In two
separate parties they marched, one in direct line, the other by upper
streets, to cut off the enemy's retreat and place him between two
fires. As the latter, however, entered the little square of Santo
Domingo, their commander, Lieut.-Col. de Castro, hearing a confusion of
tongues, mistook for Spaniards and Frenchmen the English who were
holding it. Thereupon the enemy fired a volley, which killed him and a
militiaman and wounded many, whilst several were taken prisoners.

'The attackers presently manned the windows of Santo Domingo, and kept
up a hot fire against our militiamen. They then determined to send an
officer of marines to our Commandant-General, once more demanding the
surrender of the town under the threat of burning it. At the order of
Lieut.-Col. Don Juan Guinther the parliamentary was conducted to the
Citadel by Captain Don Santiago Madan. Our chief replied only that the
city had still powder, ball, and fighting men.

'Thereupon the affair recommenced. One battalion came up with two
field-guns to support its friends, and several militiamen died
honourably, exposing themselves to the fire of an entrenched enemy. Our
position was further reinforced by the militia-pickets that had been
skirmishing in the streets, and by the greater part of those who,
deceived by a false report, had retired to the slopes of La Laguna.

'Already it was morning, when a squadron of five armed boats was seen
making for our right. Our brave artillerymen had not the patience to let
them approach, but at once directed at them a hot fire, especially from
the Mole battery, under Don Francisco Grandi. That officer, accompanied
by the second constable, Manuel Troncos, had just passed from the
Citadel [Footnote: La Ciudadela, to the north of the mole, is not built,
as we read in Colburn (_U. S. Magazine_, January 1864), on an
artificial wall. It has a moat, casemates, loopholes, and twelve
_bouches a feu_ for plunging fire. The lines will connect with La
Laguna and complete the defences of the capital.] to the battery in
question, and had removed the spikes driven into the guns by Citoyen
Francois Martiney when he saw them abandoned. [Footnote: The English
diary shows that the Spaniards had spiked the guns.] The principal
Castle and the Mole batteries, supported by that of La Concepcion,
rained a shower of grape at a long range with such precision that three
boats were sunk and the two others fell back upon the squadron. At the
same time the Port Captain and Flag Officer of the frigate ordered his
men to knock out the bottoms of eighteen boats which the enemy after his
attack had left on the beach.

'The English posted in the convent, seeing the destruction of their
reinforcements, lost heart and persuaded the prior, Fray Carlos de Lugo,
and the master, Fray Juan de Iriarte, to bear another message to our
chief. The officer commanding the enemy's troops declared himself ready
to respect the lives and property of those about him provided that the
Royal Treasury and that of the Philippine Company were surrendered,
otherwise that he could not answer for the consequences.

'This deputation received the same laconic reply as those preceding
it. Seeing the firmness of our Commandant-General and the crowds of
peasantry gathering from all parts, the enemy's courage was damped, and
his second in command, Captain Samuel Hood, came out to parley. This
officer, perceiving that the Militiamen who had joined the Chasseurs
were preparing to attack, signalled with a white flag a cessation of
hostilities, and our men were restrained by the orders of Don Fernando
del Hoyo. Both parties advanced to the middle of the bridge, where they
were met by Lieutenant-Colonel Don Juan Guinther, commanding the
Battalion of the Canaries, who could speak many languages, and by the
Adjutant-Major, Don Juan Battaler. These officers also withheld their
men, who were opening fire as they turned the corner of the street in
which, a little before, Don Rafael Fernandez, a sub-lieutenant of the
same corps, had fallen, shot through the body, whilst heading an attack
upon the enemy.

'With a white flag and drums beating, the English officer, accompanied
by those who had already parleyed with our Commandant-General, marched
to the citadel. At the bridge of the street "de las Tiendas" he was met
by the Lieutenant of the King, by the Sergeant-Major of the town, by
Lieutenant-Colonel Creagh, by Captain Madan, carrying the flag of truce,
and by the Town Adjutant, who conducted him with eyes bandaged to the
presence of our chief. Captain Hood did not hesitate again to demand
surrender, which was curtly refused. This decision, and the chances of
destruction in case of hostilities continuing, made him alter his
tone. At length both chiefs came to terms. The instrument was written by
Captain Hood, and was at once ratified by Captain Thomas Troubridge,
commanding H.B.M.'s troops. The following is a copy of the _'Terms
agreed upon with the Governor of the Canary Islands._

[Footnote: The original is in the _Nelson Papers_. It is written by
Captain Hood, and signed by him, Captain Troubridge, and the Spanish

'Santa Cruz: July 25,1797.

'That the troops, &c., belonging to his Britannick
Majesty shall embark with their arms of every kind, and
take their boats off, if saved, and be provided with such
others as may be wanting; in consideration of which it is
engaged on their part that the ships of the British squadron,
now before it, shall in no way molest the town in any
manner, or any of the islands in the Canaries, and prisoners
shall be given up on both sides.

'Given under my hand and word of honour.


'_Ratified by_

'T. TROUBRIDGE, Commander of the British Troops;
'JN. ANTONIO GUTIERREZ, Com'te.-Gen. de las Islas de Canaria.

'This done, Captain Samuel Hood was escorted back to his men by those
who had conducted him to the Citadel.

'At this moment a new incident occurred at sea. The squadron, convinced
of the failure of its attempt, began to get under way: already H.B.M.'s
ship _Theseus_, carrying the Rear-Admiral's flag, and one of the
frigates had been swept by the current to opposite the valley of San
Andres. [Footnote: A gorge lying to the north of the town, like the
'Valle Seco' and the Bufadero.] From its martello-tower the Lieutenant
of Artillery Don Josef Feo fired upon them with such accuracy that
almost every shot told, the _Theseus_ losing a yardarm and a cable,
She replied with sundry broadsides, whilst the bomb-ketch, which had got
into position, discharged some ten shells, and yet was so maltreated,
one man being killed and another wounded, that she was either crippled
or hoisted on board by the enemy.

'When the terms of truce were settled, the English troops marched in
column out of the convent; and, reaching the bridge of the Barranquillo
del Aceyte, fired their pieces in the air. Then with shouldered arms and
drums beating they made for the Mole, passing in front of our troops and
of the French auxiliaries, who had formed an oblong square in the great
plaza behind the Citadel, from whose terrace our chief watched them.

'When Captain Hood suddenly sighted his implacable enemies the French,
he gave way to an outbreak of rage and violent exclamations, and he even
made a proposal which might have renewed hostilities had he failed to
give prompt satisfaction. He presently confessed to having gone too far
and renewed his protestations to keep the conditions of peace.

'Boats and two brigantines (island craft) were got ready to receive the
British troops at the Mole. Meanwhile our Commandant-General ordered all
of them to be supplied with copious refreshments of bread and wine, a
generous act which astonished them not less than the kindness shown to
their wounded by the officials of the hospital. They hardly knew how to
express their sense of a treatment so different from what they had
expected. During their cruise from Cadiz their officers, hoping to make
them fight the better, told them that the Canarians were a ferocious
race who never gave quarter to the conquered.

'Our chief invited the British officers to dine with him that day. They
excused themselves on the plea that they must look after their men, upon
whom the wine had taken a strong effect, and deferred it till the
morrow. They also offered to be the bearers of the tidings announcing
our success and to carry to Spain all letters entrusted to their
care. Our chief did not hesitate to commit to their charge, under
parole, his official despatches to the Crown; and all the correspondence
was couched in terms so ingenuous that even the enemy could not but
admire so much moderation.

'During the course of the day the English re-embarked, bearing with a
guard of honour the corpses of Captain Bowen and of another officer of
rank. [Footnote: This is fabulous. Captain Richard Bowen, 'than whom a
more enterprising, able, and gallant officer does not grace H.M.'s naval
service,' was the only loss of any consequence. All the rest were
lieutenants.] They (who?) had stripped off his laced coat when he
expired in a cell of the Santo Domingo convent, [Footnote: In Spanish
two saints claim the title 'Santo,' viz. Domingo and Thomas: all the
rest are 'San.'] disfigured his face, and dressed him as a sailor. The
wounded, twenty-two in number, did not leave the hospital till next day:
among them was Lieutenant Robinson in the agonies of death.

'Rear-Admiral Sir Horatio Nelson hearing the politeness, the generosity,
and the magnanimity with which our Commandant-General followed up his
success, and feeling his own noble heart warm with grateful sentiments,
dictated to him an official letter, which he signed for the first time
with his left hand. [Footnote: The original of this peculiarly
interesting document, written on official paper, was kept in a tin box
under lock at the Captain-General's office, Santa Cruz, and in 1864 it
was transferred to the archives of Madrid. The writing is that of a
secretary, who put by mistake 1796 for 1797. A copy of it, published in
Harrison's _Life of Nelson_ (vol. i. p. 215), was thence
transferred to Nicolas's _Despatches and Letters_. It is _bona
fide_ the first appearance of Nelson's signature with his left hand,
despite the number of 'first signatures' owned by the curious of

'_To His Excellency Don Antonio Gutierrez, Commandant-General
of the Canary Islands._

'His Majesty's ship _Theseus_, opposite Santa Cruz de Teneriffe:
July 26, 1796.

'Sir,--I cannot take my departure from this Island
without returning your Excellency my sincerest thanks for
your attention towards me, by your humanity in favour of
our wounded men in your power or under your care, and
for your generosity towards all our people who were
disembarked, which I shall not fail to represent to my
Sovereign; hoping also, at a proper time, to assure your
Excellency in person how truly I am, Sir, your most
obedient humble Servant,


'P.S. I trust your Excellency will do me the honour
to accept of a cask of English beer and a cheese.

'To Senor Don Antonio Gutierrez, Commandant-General,
Canary Islands.

'Having received with due appreciation this honourable letter, our
chief replied as follows:--

'Muy Senor mio de mi mayor attencion! [Footnote: This
courteous Castilian phrase would lose too much by
translation.]--I have received with the greatest pleasure
your estimable communication, the proof of your generosity
and kindly feeling. My belief is that the man who follows
only the dictates of humanity can claim no laurels, and to
this may be reduced all that has been done for the wounded
and for those who disembarked: I must consider them my
brethren the moment hostilities terminate.

'If, sir, in the state to which the ever uncertain fortunes
of war have reduced you, either I or anything which this
island produces could afford assistance or relief, it would
afford me a real pleasure. I hope that you will accept two
demijohns of wine which is, I believe, not the worst of our

'It would be most satisfactory to me if I could personally
discuss, when circumstances permit, a subject upon which
you, sir, display such high and worthy gifts. In the
meantime I pray that God may preserve your life for many and
happy years.

'I am, Sir,

'Your most obedient and attentive Servant,


'Santa Cruz de Tenerife: July 26, 1797.

'P.S. I have received and duly appreciated the beer and
the cheese with which you have been pleased to favour me.

'PP.S. I recommend to your care, sir, the petition
of the French, which Commodore Troubridge will have
reported to you in my name.

'To Admiral Don Horatio Nelson.

'Such was the end of an event which will ever be memorable in the annals
of the Canarian Islands. When we know that on our side hardly 500 men
armed with firelocks entered into action, and that the 97 cannon used on
this occasion, and requiring 532 artillery-men, were served by only 320
gunners, of whom but 43 were veterans and the rest militia; [Footnote:
According to James, who follows the report of Captain Troubridge
(vol. ii. p. 427), there were 8,000 Spaniards and 100 Frenchmen under
arms. Unfortunate Clio!] when we remember that we took from the enemy a
field-gun, a flag, [Footnote: This was the ensign of the _Fox_
cutter, sunk at the place where the African steamships now anchor.] two
drums, a number of guns, pikes, swords, pistols, hand-ladders,
ammunition, &c. &c., with a loss on our part of only 23 killed
[Footnote: Two officers--viz. Don Juan Bautista de Castro, before
alluded to; Don Rafael Fernandez, also mentioned--and 21 noncommissioned
officers, 5 soldiers of the Canarian battalion, 2 chasseurs, 4
militiamen, 1 militia artilleryman, 4 French auxiliaries, and 5
civilians.] and 28 wounded, [Footnote: Namely, 3 officers--Don Simon de
Lara, severely wounded at the narrow part of the Mole, Don Dionisio
Navarro, sub-lieutenant of the Provincial Regiment of La Laguna, and Don
Josef Dugi, cadet of the Canarian battalion--25 noncommissioned
officers, 5 men of the same battalion, 1 chasseur, 1 sergeant, 11
militiamen, 1 soldier of the Havana depot, 1 ditto of Cuban ditto, 1
militia artilleryman, and 5 French auxiliaries. This, however, does not
include those suffering from contusions, amongst whom was Don Juan
Rosel, sub-lieutenant of the Provincial Regiment of Orotava.] whereas
the enemy lost 22 officers and 576 men [Footnote: Nelson
(_Despatches_, vol. ii. p. 424) says 28 seamen, 16 marines killed
(total 44); 90 seamen, 15 marines wounded; 97 seamen and marines
drowned; 5 seamen and marines missing. Total killed, 141; wounded, 105;
and grand total, 246 _hors de combat_. The total of 251 casualties
nearly equals that of the great victory at Cape St. Vincent.]--when, I
say, we take into consideration all these circumstances, we cannot but
consider our defence wonderful and our triumph most glorious.

'We must not forget the gallant part taken in this affair by the two
divisions of the Rozadores irregulars, who were provided with sickles,
knives, and other weapons by the armoury of La Laguna. One division of
forty peasants was placed under the Marquess del Prado and the Viscount
de Buenpaso, who both, though not military men, hastened to the town
when the attack was no longer doubtful. The other body of thirty-five
men was committed to Don Simon de Lara, already mentioned amongst the
wounded. In the heat of the affair and the darkness of night the first
division was somewhat scattered as it entered the streets leading to the
Barranco Santo (watercourse), where the Canarian battalion was attacking
the English as they landed. The Marquess, after escaping the enemy, who
for half an hour surrounded without recognising him, and expecting
instant death, attempted to cross the small square of Santo Domingo to
the Plaza of the Citadel. He was prevented from so doing by the voices
of the attacking party posted in the little place. He therefore retired
to the upper part of the town, and took post on the Convent-flank. The
Viscount marched his men to the square of the Citadel, where they were
detained by Lieutenant Jorva to reinforce the post and to withdraw a
field-gun that had been dangerously placed in the street of San Josef.

'Equally well deserving of their country's gratitude were sundry others,
especially Diego Correa, first chief of the Provincial Regiment of
Guimar, who, forgetting his illness, sprang from his bed at the
trumpet's sound, boldly met the foe with sword and pistol, and took
eleven prisoners to the Citadel. Don Josef de Guesala, not satisfied
with doing the mounted duties required of him, followed the enemy with
not less courage than Diego Correa, at the head of certain militiamen
who had lost their way in the streets.

'Good service was also done by the Alcalde and the deputies [Footnote:
The local aldermen.] of the district. In charge of the four parties,
composed of tradesmen and burghers, they patrolled the streets and
guarded against danger from fire. They also issued to all those on duty
rations of bread and wine punctually and abundantly from the night of
the 22nd till that of the 25th of July.

'No circumstantial account of our remarkable success would be complete
without recording, in the highest and the most grateful terms, the zeal
with which the very noble the Municipality (_ayuntamiento_) of
Tenerife took part in winning our laurels. Since July 22, when the first
alarm-signal was made at Santa Cruz, Don Josef de Castilla, the Chief
Magistrate (_Corregidor_), with the nobility and men at arms
(_armas-tomar_) assembled in force on the main square of La Laguna
(_Plaza del Adelantado_). The Mayor (_Alcalde Mayor_), Don
Vicente Ortiz de Rivera, presided over the court (_cabildo_), at
which were present all those members (_ regidores _) who were not
personally serving against the enemy. These were the town deputies, Don
Lopo de la Guerra, Don Josef Savinon, Don Antonio Riquel, Don Cayetano
Pereza, Don Francisco Fernandez Bello, Don Miguel de Laisequilla, and
Don Juan Fernandez Calderin, with the Deputy Syndic-General, Don Filipe
Carillo. Their meetings were also attended by other gentlemen and
under-officers (_ curiales _), who were told off to their
respective duties according to the order laid down for defending the
Island. After making a careful survey of the bread and provisions in the
market, also of the wheat and flour in the bakeries and of the reserve
stores, they promptly supplied the country-people who crowded into the
city. Wind being at this season wanting for the mills, we were greatly
assisted by a cargo of 3,000 barrels of flour taken before Madeira from
an Anglo-American prize by the Buonaparte, a French privateer, who
brought her to our port. This supply sufficed for the militia stationed
on the heights of Taganana, in the Valle Seco, near the streams of the
Punta del Hidalgo, Texina, Baxamar, the Valley of San Andres, and lastly
the line of Santa Cruz, Guadamogete, and Candelaria, whose posts cover
more than twenty-four miles of coast between the north-west and the
south of the island.

'Equally well rationed were the peasants who passed by La Laguna _en
route_ to Santa Cruz and other parts; they consumed about 16,000
lbs. of bread, 300 lbs. of biscuit, seven and a half pipes of wine;
rice, meat, cheese, and other comestibles. Meanwhile, at the application
of the Municipality to the venerable Vicar Ecclesiastic, and to the
parish priests and superiors of the community (_prelados_), prayers
were offered up in the churches, and certain of the clergy collected
from the neighbouring houses lint and bandages for the wounded. The
soldiers in the Paso Alto and Valle Seco received 100 pairs of slippers,
for which our Commandant-General had indented. Many peasants who had
applied for and obtained guns, knives, and other weapons from the Laguna
armoury were sent off to defend the northern part of the island. On the
main road descending to Santa Cruz the Chief Magistrate planted a
provisional battery with two field-pieces belonging to the Court of
Aldermen. When thus engaged an unfortunate fall from his horse compelled
him to retire.

'That patriotic body the Municipality of Santa Cruz sat permanently in
the Mansion House, engaged in the most important matters from the dawn
of July 22 to noon on the 25th; nor was its firmness shaken even by the
sinister reports to which others lent ear. When on the morning of the
latter day our chief communicated to them the glowing success of our
arms and the disastrous repulse of the enemy, they hastened to appoint
July 27 for a solemn Te Deum. It is the day on which the island of
Tenerife was conquered exactly three centuries before, and thus it
became the annual festival of San Cristobal, its patron.

'The secular religious and the regular monastic communities performed
this function with pomp and singular apparatus in the parish church of
Our Lady of the Conception. The Town-court carried the banner which had
waved in the days of the Conquest, escorted by a company of the Canarian
battalion and its band. These stood during the office at the church
door, and saluted with three volleys the elevation of the host. Master
Fray Antonio Raymond, of the Order of St. Augustine, preached upon the
grateful theme to a sympathising congregation. The court, retiring with
equal ceremony, gave a brilliant banquet to the officers of the
battalion, to the chiefs of the provincial regiments of La Laguna and
Guimar, and to all their illustrious compatriots who had taken part in
the contest. Volleys and band performances saluted the three loyal and
patriotic toasts--"the King," "the Commandant-General," and "the
Defenders of the Country." The town, in sign of jubilee, was illuminated
for several successive nights.

'A Te Deum was also sung in the parish church of Los Remedios at La
Laguna, with sermon and high mass performed at the expense of Don Josef
Bartolome de Mesa, Treasurer-General of the Royal Exchequer. Our
harbour settlement obtained from the King the title of "very noble,
loyal, and invict town, [Footnote: _Villa_, town, not city.] port
and fort of Santa Cruz de Santiago." [Footnote: Holy Cross of
St. James.] Recognising the evident protection of St. James, patron
saint of Spain, on whose festival the enemy had been defeated, a
magnificent procession was consecrated to him on July 30. His image was
borne through the streets by the four captains of the several corps,
whilst six other officers, followed by a picket of garrison troops and a
crowd of townspeople, carried the colours taken from the English.

'On the next day were celebrated the obsequies of those who had fallen
honourably in defence of their beloved country. The ceremony took place
in the parish church of Santa Cruz, and was repeated in the cathedral of
Grand Canary and in the churches and convents of the other islands. The
Ecclesiastical Court of Tenerife ordered the Chapter of Music to sing a
solemn Te Deum, at which the municipal body attended. On the next day a
mass of thanksgiving was said, with exposition of the Holy Sacrament
throughout the day, and a sermon was preached by the canon superior, Don
Josef Icaza Cabrexas. Lastly, a very solemn funeral function, with
magnificent display, did due honour to their memory who for their
country's good had laid down their lives.' Mrs. Elizabeth Murray, wife
of H.B.M.'s Consul for Tenerife and author of an amusing book,
[Footnote: _Sixteen Years of an Artist's Life in Morocco_,
&c. Hurst and Blackett, 1859. I quote from vol. i. chap. iv.] adds
certain local details concerning Nelson's ill-fated attack. It is boldly
stated that during the rash affair the Commandant-General and his staff
remained safely inside the Castle of San Cristobal, and that when the
English forces captured the monastery the Spanish authorities resolved
to surrender. This step was opposed by a sergeant, Manoel Cuera, who,
'with more familiarity than is usual when soldiers are separated so far
by their respective ranks, placed his hand upon the shoulder of his
commanding officer and said, "No, your Excellency, you shall not give up
the Plaza; we are not yet reduced to such a strait as that."' Whereupon
the General, 'assuming his usual courage, followed his sergeant's
advice, and continued the engagement till it was brought to a
termination equally honourable to Englishmen and Spaniards.'

Mrs. Murray also declares that Captain Troubridge, when invested in the
monastery by superior numbers, placed before his men a line of
prisoners, and that these being persons of influence, the assailants
fired high; moreover that Colonel M(onteverde?), the commander of the
island troops, was an Italian who spoke bad Spanish, and kept shouting
to his men, 'Condanate vois a matar a la Santisima Trinitate!' The
officer sent to parley (Captain Hood) was, we are told, accompanied to
the citadel by a gentleman named Murphy, whom the English had taken
prisoner. A panic (before mentioned) came from three militia officers,
who, mounting a single animal, rode off to La Laguna, assuring the
_cabildo_ and the townspeople that Santa Cruz had fallen. One of
this 'valiant triumvirate' had succeeded to a large property on
condition of never disgracing his name, and after the flight he had the
grace to offer it to a younger brother who had distinguished himself in
South America. The junior told him not to be a fool, and the property
was left to the proprietor's children, 'his grandson being in possession
of it at the present day.'

The chapter ends with the fate of one O'Rooney, a merchant's clerk who
cast his lot with the Spaniards, and whom General Gutierrez sent with an
order to the commandant of Paso Alto Fort. Being in liquor, he took the
Marina, or shortest road; and, when questioned by the enemy, at once
told his errand. 'In those days and in such circumstances,' writes the
lively lady, 'soldiers were very speedy in their decisions, and the
marine who had challenged O'Rooney at once bayonetted him, while his
comrade rifled his pockets and appropriated his clothes.'

Remains only to state that the colours of the unfortunate cutter
_Fox_ and her boats are still in the chapel of Sant' Iago, on the
left side of the Santa Cruz parish church, La Concepcion. Planted
against the wall flanking the cross, in long coffin-like cases with
glass fronts, they have been the object of marked attention on the part
of sundry British middies. And the baser sort of town-folk never fail to
show by their freedom, or rather impudence of face and deportment, that
they have not forgotten the old story, and that they still glory in
having repulsed the best sailor in Europe.



At noon (January 10) the British and African s.s. _Senegal_ weighed
for Grand Canary, which stood in unusually distinct relief to the east,
and which, this time, was not moated by a tumbling sea. Usually it is;
moreover, it lies hidden by a bank of French-grey clouds, here and there
sun-gilt and wind-bleached. We saw the 'Pike' bury itself under the blue
horizon, at first cloaked in its wintry ermines and then capped with
fleecy white nimbus, which confused itself with the snows.

I had now a good opportunity of observing my fellow-passengers bound
down south. They consisted of the usual four classes--naval, military,
colonial officials, and commercials. The latter I noted narrowly as the
quondam good Shepherd of the so-called 'Palm-oil Lambs.' All were young
fellows without a sign of the old trader, and well-mannered enough. When
returning homewards, however, their society was by no means so pleasant;
it was noisy, and 'larky,' besides being addicted to the dullest
practical jokes, such as peppering beds. On board _Senegal_ each
sat at meat with his glass of Adam's ale by his plate-side, looking
prim, and grave, and precise as persons at a christening who are not in
the habit of frequenting christenings. Captain Keene took the earliest
opportunity of assuring me that since my time--indeed, since the last
ten years--the Bights and the Bightsmen had greatly changed; that
spirit-drinking was utterly unknown, and that ten-o'clock-go-to-bed life
was the general rule. But this unnatural state of things did not last
long. Wine, beer, and even Martell (three stars) presently reappeared;
and I noted that the evening-chorus had preserved all its peculiar
_verve_. The fact is that West Africa has been subjected to the
hateful espionage, that prying into private affairs, which dates in
Western India from the days of a certain nameless governor. Every
attempt at jollification was reported to the houses at home, and often
an evil rumour against a man went to Liverpool and returned to 'the
Coast' before it was known to himself and his friends in the same
river. May all such dismal attempts to make Jack and Jill dull boys and
girls fail as utterly!

Early in the afternoon we steamed past Galdar and La Guia, rival
villages famed for cheeses on the north-western coast of lumpy Grand
Canary, sheets of habitation gleaming white at the feet of their
respective brown _montanetas_. The former was celebrated in local
story; its Guanche _guanarteme_, or great chief, as opposed to the
subordinate _mencey_, being one of the two potentates in 'Tameran,'
the self-styled 'Island of Braves.' This, too, was the site of the
Tahoro, or Tagoror, temple and senate-house of the ancients. The
principal interest of these wild people is the mysterious foreknowledge
of their fate that seems to have come to them by a manner of intuition,
of uninspired prophecy. [Footnote: So in Candelaria of Tenerife the
Virgin appeared in effigy to the shepherds of Chimisay in 1392, a
century before the Norman Conquest, and dwelt fifty-four years amongst
the Gentiles of Chinguaro. At least so say DD. Juan Nunez de la Pena
(_Conquista i Antiguidades de la Gran Canaria_, &c., Madrid, 1676);
Antonio Viana (_Antiguidades de las Islas Afortunadas_, &c.,
Seville, 1604) in his heroic poem, and Fray Alonzo de Espinosa
(_Historia de la Aparicion y Milagres de la Imagem de N.S. de
Candelaria_). The learned and unprejudiced Canon Viera y Clavijo
(_Noticias de la Historia geral de las Islas de Canaria_, 3 vols.)
bravely doubts whether reason and sane criticism had flourished together
in those times.]

In the clear winter-air we could distinctly trace the bold contour of
the upper heights tipped by the central haystack, El Nublo, a giant
trachytic monolith. We passed Confital Bay, whose 'comfits' are galettes
of stone, and gave a wide berth to the Isleta and its Sphinx's
head. This rocky peninsula, projecting sharply from the north-eastern
chord of the circle, is outlined by a dangerous reef, and drops suddenly
into 130 fathoms. Supported on the north by great columns of basalt, it
is the terminus of a secondary chain, trending north-east--south-west,
and meeting the _Cumbre_, or highest ground, whose strike is
north-west--south-east. Like the knuckle-bone of the Tenerife ham it is
a contorted mass of red and black lavas and scoriae, with sharp slides
and stone-floods still distinctly traceable. Of its five eruptive cones
the highest, which supports the Atalaya Vieja, or old look-out, now the
signal-station, rises to 1,200 feet. A fine lighthouse, with detached
quarters for the men, crowns another crater-top to the north. The grim
block wants water at this season, when the thinnest coat of green
clothes its black-red forms. La Isleta appears to have been a
burial-ground of the indigenes, who, instead of stowing away their
mummies in caves, built detached sepulchres and raised tumuli of scoriae
over their embalmed dead. As at Peruvian Arica, many remains have been
exposed by modern earthquakes and landslips.

Rounding the Islet, and accompanied by curious canoes like paper-boats,
and by fishing-craft which bounded over the waves like dolphins, we spun
by the Puerto de la Luz, a line of flat-topped whitewashed houses, the
only remarkable feature being the large and unused Lazaretto. A few
barques still lie off the landing-place, where I have been compelled
more than once to take refuge. In my day it was proposed to cut a
ship-canal through the low neck of barren sand, which bears nothing but
a 'chapparal' of tamarisk. During the last twenty years, however, the
isthmus has been connected with the mainland by a fine causeway, paved
with concrete, and by an excellent highroad. The sand of the neck,
thrown by the winds high up the cliffs which back the city, evidently
dates from the days when La Isleta was an island. It contrasts sharply
with the grey basaltic shingle that faces the capital and forms the
ship-building yard.

We coasted along the yellow lowland, with its tormented background of
tall cones, bluffs, and _falaises_; and we anchored, at 4 P.M., in
the roadstead of Las Palmas, north of the spot where our
s.s. _Senegal_ whilom broke her back. The capital, fronting east,
like Santa Cruz, lies at the foot of a high sea-wall, whose straight and
sloping lines betray their submarine origin: in places it is caverned
for quarries and for the homes of the troglodyte artisans; and up its
flanks straggle whitewashed boxes towards the local necropolis. The
dryness of the atmosphere destroys aerial perspective; and the view
looks flat as a scene-painting. The terraced roofs suggest to Britishers
that the top-floor has been blown off. Las Palmas is divided into two
halves, northern and southern, by a grim black wady, like the Madeiran
_ribeiras_, [Footnote: According to the usual law of the neo-Latin
languages, 'ribeiro' (masc.) is a small cleft, 'ribeira' (fem.) is a
large ravine.] the 'Giniguada,' or Barranco de la Ciudad, the normal
grisly gashes in the background curtain. The eye-striking buildings are
the whitewashed Castillo del Rey, a flat fort of antique structure
crowning the western heights and connected by a broken wall with the
Casa Mata, or platform half-way down: it is backed by a larger and
stronger work, the Castillo de Sant' Ana. The next notability is the new
theatre, large enough for any European capital. Lastly, an immense and
gloomy pile, the Cathedral rises conspicuously from the white sheet of
city, all cubes and windows. Clad in a suit of sombrest brown patched
with plaster, with its domelet and its two towers of basalt very far
apart. This fane is unhappily fronted westward, the high altar facing
Jerusalem. And thus it turns its back upon the world of voyagers.

In former days, when winds and waves were high, we landed on the sands
near the dark grey Castillo de la Luz, in the Port of Light. Thence we
had to walk, ride, or drive--when a carriage was to be hired--over the
four kilometres which separated us from the city. We passed the Castles
of San Fernando and La Catalina to the villas and the gardens planted
with thin trees that outlie the north; and we entered the capital by a
neat bridge thrown over the Barranco de la Mata, where a wall from the
upper castle once kept out the doughty aborigines. Thence we fell into
the northern quarter, La Triana, and found shabby rooms and shocking
fare either at the British Hotel (Mrs. Bishop) or the Hotel Monson--both
no more. Now we land conveniently, thanks to Dons Santiago Verdugo and
Juan Leon y Castilhos, at a spur of the new pier with the red light, to
the north of the city, and find ourselves at once in the streets. For
many years this comfortable mole excited the strongest opposition: it
was wasting money, and the stones, carelessly thrown in, would at once
be carried off by the sea and increase the drenching breakers which
outlie the beach. Time has, as usual, settled the dispute. It is now
being prolonged eastwards; but again they say that the work is swept
away as soon as done; that the water is too deep, and even that sinking
a ship loaded with stones would not resist the strong arm of Eurus, who
buries everything in surf. The mole is provided with the normal
_Sanidad_, or health office, with solid magazines, and with a
civilised tramway used to transport the huge cubes of concrete. At the
tongue-root is a neat little garden, wanting only shade: two
dragon-trees here attract the eye. Thence we pass at once into the main
line, La Triana, which bisects the commercial town. This reminiscence of
the Seville suburb begins rather like a road than a street, but it ends
with the inevitable cobble-stones. The _trottoirs_, we remark, are
of flags disposed lengthways; in the rival Island they lie
crosswise. The thoroughfares are scrupulously named, after Spanish
fashion; in Fernando Po they labelled even the bush-roads. The
substantial houses with green balconies are white, bound in brown
edgings of trachyte, basalt, and lava: here and there a single story of
rude construction stands like a dwarf by the side of its giant

The huge and still unfinished cathedral is well worth a visit. It is
called after Santa Ana, a personage in this island. When Grand Canary
had been attacked successively and to scant purpose by De Bethencourt
(1402), by Diego de Herrera (1464), and by Diego de Silva, the Catholic
Queen and King sent, on January 24, 1474, Don Juan Rejon to finish the
work. This _Conquistador_, a morose and violent man, was marching
upon the west of the island, where his reception would have been of the
warmest, when he was met at the site of the present Ermita de San
Antonio by an old fisherman, who advised him of his danger. He took
warning, fortified his camp, which occupied the site of the present
city, beat off the enemy, and defeated, at the battle of Giniguada, a
league of chiefs headed by the valiant and obstinate Doramas. The
fisherman having suddenly disappeared, incontinently became a miraculous
apparition of the Virgin's mother. Rejon founded the cathedral in her
honour; but he was not destined to rest in it. He was recalled to
Spain. He attacked Grand Canary three times, and as often failed; at
last he left it, and after all his campaigns he was killed and buried at
Gomera. Nor, despite Saint Anne, did the stout islanders yield to Pedro
de Vera (1480-83) till they had fought an eighty years' fight for

The cathedral, which Mr. P. Barker Webb compares with the Church of
St. Sulpice, is built of poor schiste and bad sandstone-rubble, revetted
with good lava and basalt. The latter material here takes in age a fine
mellow creamy coat, as in the 'giant cities' of the Hauran, the absurd
title of Mr. Porter. The order is Ionic below, Corinthian above, and the
pile sadly wants a dome instead of a pepper-caster domelet. One of the
towers was finished only forty-five years ago, and a Scotch merchant
added, much to his disgust, a weather-cock. In the interior green, blue,
and yellow glass tempers the austerity of the whitewashed walls and the
gloom of the grey basaltic columns, bindings, and ceiling-ribbings.
Concerning the ceiling, which prettily imitates an archwork
of trees, they tell the following tale. The Bishop and Chapter,
having resolved in 1500 to repair the work of Don Diego Montaude,
entrusted the work to Don Diego Nicholas Eduardo, of Laguna, an
Hispano-Hibernian--according to the English. This young architect built
with so light a hand that the masons struck work till he encouraged them
by sitting beneath his own creation. The same, they say, was done at
Belem, Lisbon. The interior is Gothic, unlike all others in the islands;
and the piers, lofty and elegant, imitate palm-fronds, a delicate
flattery to 'Las Palmas' and a good specimen of local invention. There
are a nave and two aisles: four noble transversal columns sustaining the
choir-vault adorn the walls. The pulpit and high altar are admirable as
the choir; the only eyesores are the diminutive organ and the eleven
side-chapels with their caricatures of high art. The large and
heavily-railed choir in mid-nave, so common in the mother country,
breaks the unity of the place and dwarfs its grand proportions. After
the manner of Spanish churches, which love to concentrate dazzling
colour at the upper end, the high altar is hung with crimson velvet
curtains; and its massive silver lamps (one Italian, presented by
Cardinal Ximenes), salvers, altar-facings, and other fixings are said to
have cost over 24,000 francs. The lectern is supposed to have been
preserved from the older cathedral.

There are other curiosities in this building. The sacristy, supported by
side-walls on the arch principle, and ceilinged with stone instead of
wood, is shown as a minor miracle. The vestry contains gigantic
wardrobes, full of ladies' delights--marvellous vestments, weighted with
massive braidings of gold and silver, most delicate handwork in every
imaginable colour and form. There are magnificent donations of
crucifixes and candlesticks, cups, goblets, and other vessels required
by the church services--all the result of private piety. In the Chapel
of St. Catherine, built at his own expense, lies buried Cairasco, the
bard whom Cervantes recognised as his master in style. His epitaph,
dating A.D. 1610, reads--

Lyricen et vates, toto celebratus in orbe,
Hic jacet inclusus, nomine ad astra volans.

A statue to him was erected opposite the old 'Cairasco Theatre' in
1876. Under the grand altar, with other dignitaries of the cathedral,
are the remains of the learned and amiable historian of the isles, Canon
Jose de Viera y Clavigo, born at Lanzarote, poet, 'elegant translator'
of Buffon, lexicographer, and honest man.

Directly facing the cathedral-facade is the square, headed by the
_Ayuntamiento_, an Ionic building which would make a first-rate
hotel. Satirical Britishers declare that it was copied from one of Day
and Martin's labels. The old townhall was burnt in 1842, and of its
valuable documents nothing was saved. On the right of the plaza is an
humble building, the episcopal palace, founded in 1578 by Bishop
Cristobal de la Vega. It was rebuilt by his successor, Cristobal de la
Camara, who forbade the pretty housekeeper, prohibited his priests from
entering nunneries, and prescribed public confessionals--a measure still
much to be desired. But he must have been a man of extreme views, for he
actually proscribed gossip. This was some thirty years after Admiral van
der Does and his Dutchmen fired upon the city and were beaten off with a
loss of 2,000 men.

South of the cathedral, and in Colegio Street (so called from the
Augustine college, [Footnote: There is still a college of that name
where meteorological observations are regularly made.] now converted
into a tribunal), we find a small old house with heavily barred
windows--the ex-Inquisition. This also has been desecrated into
utility. The Holy Office began in 1504, and became a free tribunal in
1567. Its palace was here founded in 1659 by Don Jose Balderan, and
restored in 1787 by Don Diego Nicholas Eduardo, whose fine fronting
staircase has been much admired. The Holy Tribunal broke up in 1820,
when, the Constitution proving too strong for St. Dominic, the
college-students mounted the belfry; and, amid the stupefaction of the
shuddering multitude, joyously tolled its death-knell. All the material
was sold, even the large leather chairs with gilt nails used for
ecclesiastical sitting. 'God defend us from its resurrection,' mutters
the civil old huissier, as he leads us to the dungeons below through the
mean court with its poor verandah propped on wooden posts. Part of it
facing the magistrates' chapel was turned into a prison for petty
malefactors; and the two upper _salas_ were converted into a
provisional _Audiencia_, or supreme court, large halls hung with
the portraits of the old governors. The new _Audiencia_ at the
bottom of Colegio Street, built by M. Botta at an expense of 20,000
dollars, has a fine court with covered cloisters above and an open
gallery below, supported by thin pillars of basalt.

Resuming our walk down La Triana southwards, we note the grand new
theatre, not unlike that of Dresden: it wants only opening and a
company. Then we cross the Giniguada wady by a bridge with a wooden
floor, iron railings, and stone piers, and enter the _Vineta_, or
official, as opposed to the commercial, town. On the south side is the
fish-market, new, pretty, and gingerbread. It adjoins the general
market, a fine, solid old building like that of Santa Cruz, containing
bakers' and butchers' stalls, and all things wanted by the
housekeeper. A little beyond it the Triana ends in an archway leading to
a square court, under whose shaded sides mules and asses are
tethered. We turn to the right and gain Balcones Street, where stands
the comfortable hotel of Don Ramon Lopez. Most soothing to the eye is
the cool green-grown _patio_ after the prospect of the hot and
barren highlands which back the Palm-City.

Walking up the right flank of the Giniguada Ribeira, we cross the old
stone bridge with three arches and marble statues of the four
seasons. It places us in the Plazuela, the irregular space which leads
to the Mayor de Triana, the square of the old theatre. The western side
is occupied by a huge yellow building, the old Church and Convent of San
Francisco, now turned into barracks. In parts it is battlemented; and
its belfry, a wall of basalt pierced with a lancet-arch to hang bells,
hints at earthquakes. An inscription upon the old theatre, the usual
neat building of white and grey-brown basalt, informs us that it was
built in 1852, _ad honorem_ of two deputies. But Santa Cruz, the
modern capital, has provided herself with a larger and a better house;
_ergo_ Las Palmas, the old capital, must fain do the same. The
metropolis of Grand Canary, moreover, claims to count more noses than
that of Tenerife. To the west of the older theatre, in the same block,
is the casino, club, and ball-room, with two French billiard-tables and
smoking-rooms. The old hotel attached to the theatre has now ceased to

On the opposite side of the square lies the little Alameda promenade,
the grounds once belonging to St. Francis. The raised walk, shaded by a
pretty arch-way of palm-trees, is planted with myrtles, dahlias, and
bignonias. It has all the requisites of its kind--band-stand,
green-posted oil-lamps, and scrolled seats of brown basalt. Round this
square rise the best houses, mostly new; as in the Peninsula, however,
as well as in both archipelagos, all have shops below. We are beginning
to imitate this excellent practice of utilising the unwholesome
ground-floor in the big new hotels of London. Two large houses are, or
were, painted to mimic brick, things as hideous as anything further

In this part of the Triana lived the colony of English merchants, once
so numerous that they had their own club and gymnasium. All had taken
the local colouring, and were more Spanish than the Spaniards. A
celebrated case of barratry was going on in 1863, the date of my first
visit, when Lloyds sent out a detective and my friend Capt. Heathcote,
I.N., to conduct the legal proceedings. I innocently asked why the
British vice-consul was not sufficient, and was assured that no resident
could interfere, _alias_ dared do his duty, under pain of social
ostracism and a host of enmities. In those days a man who gained his
lawsuit went about weaponed and escorted, as in modern Ireland, by a
troop of armed servants. Landlord-potting also was by no means unknown;
and the murder of the Marquess de las Palmas caused memorable sensation.

Indescribable was the want of hospitality which characterised the
Hispano-Englishmen of Las Palmas. I have called twice upon a
fellow-countryman without his dreaming of asking me upstairs. Such
shyness may be understood in foreigners, who often entertain wild ideas
concerning what an Englishman expects. But these people were wealthy;
nor were they wholly expatriated. Finally, it was with the utmost
difficulty that I obtained from one of them a pound of home-grown
arrowroot for the sick child of a friend.

On the other hand, I have ever met with the greatest civility from the
Spanish Canarians. I am especially indebted to Don J. B. Carlo, the
packet-agent, who gave me copies of 'El Museo Canario, Revista de la
Sociedad del mismo nombre' (Las Palmas)--the transactions published by
the Museum of Las Palmas. Two mummies of Canarian origin have lately
been added to the collection, and the library has become
respectable. The steamers are now so hurried that I had no time to
inspect it, nor to call upon Don Gregorio Chil y Naranjo, President of
the Anthropological Society. This savant, whose name has become well
known in Paris, is printing at Las Palmas his 'Estudios Historicos,'
&c., the outcome of a life's labour. Don Agustin Millares is also
publishing 'La Historia de las Islas Canarias,' in three volumes, each
of 400 to 450 pages.

I made three short excursions in Grand Canary to Telde, to the Caldera,
and to Doramas, which showed me the formation of the island. My notes
taken at the time must now be quoted. _En route_ for the former, we
drove past the large city-hospital: here in old times was another strong
wall, defending the southern part, and corresponding with the northern
or Barranco line. The road running to the south-south-west was
peculiarly good; the tunnel through the hill-spur suggested classical
and romantic Posilippo. It was well parapeted near the sea, and it had
heavy cuttings in the white _tosca_, a rock somewhat resembling the
_calcaire grossier_ of the Paris basin. This light pumice-like
stone, occasionally forming a conglomerate or pudding, and slightly
effervescing with acids, is fertile where soft, and where hard quite
sterile. Hereabouts lay Gando, one of the earliest forts built by the
_Conquistadores_. We then bent inland, or westward, crossed barren
stony ground, red and black, and entered the pretty and fertile valley
with its scatter of houses known as La Vega de Ginamar.

I obtained a guide, and struck up the proper right of a modern lava-bed
which does not reach the sea. The path wound around rough hills, here
and there scattered with fig-trees and vines, with lupines, euphorbias,
and other wild growths. From the summit of the southern front we sighted
the Cima de Ginamar, popularly called El Pozo (the Well). It is a
volcanic blowing-hole of oval shape, about fifty feet in long diameter,
and the elliptical mouth discharged to the north the lava-bed before
seen. Apparently it is connected with the Bandana Peak, further
west. Here the aborigines martyred sundry friars before the
_Conquistadores_ 'divided land and water' amongst them. The guide
declared that the hole must reach the sea, which lies at least 1,200
feet below; that the sound of water is often to be heard in it, and that
men, let down to recover the corpses of cattle, had been frightened away
by strange sights and sounds. He threw in stones, explaining that they
must be large, otherwise they lodge upon the ledges. I heard them dash,
dash, dash from side to side, at various intervals of different depths,
till the pom-om-m subsided into silence. The crevasses showed no sign of
the rock-pigeon (_Columba livia_), a bird once abounding. Nothing
could be weirder than the effect of the scene in clear moonlight: the
contrast of snowy beams and sable ground perfectly suited the uncanny
look and the weird legends of the site.

Beyond the Cima we made the gay little town of Telde, which lodges some
4,000 souls, entering it by a wide _fiumara_, over which a bridge
was then building. The streets were mere lines of scattered houses, and
the prominent buildings were the white dome of San Pedro and San Juan
with its two steeples of the normal grey basalt. Near the latter lay the
little Alameda, beggar-haunted as usual. On the north side of the
Barranco rose a caverned rock inhabited by the poor. We shall see this
troglodytic feature better developed elsewhere.

To visit the Caldera de Bandana, three miles from the city, we hired a
carriage with the normal row of three lean rats, which managed, however,
to canter or gallop the greater part of the way. The boy-driver,
Agustin, was a fair specimen of his race, obstinate as a Berber or a
mule. As it was Sunday he wanted to halt at every _venta_ (pub),
_curioseando_--that is, admiring the opposite sex. Some of the
younger girls are undoubtedly pretty, yet they show unmistakable signs
of Guanche blood. The toilette is not becoming: here the shawl takes the
place of the mantilla, and the head-covering, as in Tenerife, is capped
by the hideous billycock. To all my remonstrances Don Agustin curtly
replied with the usual island formula, 'Am I a slave?' This class has a
surly, grumbling way, utterly wanting the dignity of the lower-order
Spaniard and the Moor; and it is to be managed only by threatening to
withhold the _propinas_ (tip). But the jarvey, like the bath-man,
the barber, and generally the body-servant and the menial classes which
wait upon man's person, are not always models of civility.

We again passed the hospital and ascended the new zigzag to the right of
the Giniguada. The torrent-bed, now bright green with arum and pepper,
grows vegetables, maize, and cactus. Its banks bear large plantations of
the dates from which Las Palmas borrows her pretty Eastern names. In
most places they are mere brabs, and, like the olive, they fail to
fruit. The larger growths are barbarously docked, as in Catholic
countries generally; and the fronds are reduced to mere brooms and
rats'-tails. The people are not fond of palms; the shade and the roots,
they say, injure their crops, and the tree is barely worth one dollar
per annum.

At the top of the Cuesta de San Roque, which reminded me of its namesake
near Gibraltar, I found a barren ridge growing only euphorbia. The
Barranco Seco, on the top, showed in the sole a conspicuously big house
which has no other view but the sides of a barren trough. This was the
'folly' of an eccentric nobleman, who preferred the absence to the
company of his friends.

Half an hour's cold, bleak drive placed us at the Tafira village. Here
the land yields four crops a year, two of maize and two of
potatoes. Formerly worth $100 per acre, the annual value had been raised
by cochineal to $500. All, however, depends upon water, which is
enormously dear. The yelping curs have mostly bushy tails, like those
which support the arms of the Canary Islands. The grey and green finches
represent our 'domestic warbler' (_Fringilla canaria_), which
reached England about 1500, when a ship with a few birds on board had
been wrecked off Elba.

[Footnote: The canary bird builds, on tall bushes rather than trees, a
nest of moss, roots, feathers and rubbish, where it lays from four to
six pale-blue eggs. It moults in August and September; pairs in
February, and sometimes hatches six times in a season. The natives
declare that the wild birds rarely survive the second year of captivity;
yet they do not seem to suffer from it, as they begin to sing at once
when caged. Mr. Addison describes the note as 'between that of the
skylark and the nightingale,' and was surprised to find that each flock
has a different song--an observation confirmed by the people and noted
by Humboldt (p. 87).]

The country folk were habited in shirts, drawers derived from the Moors,
and tasseled caps of blue stuff, big enough for carpet-bags. The vine
still covered every possible slope of black soil, and the aloes, crowned
with flowers, seemed to lord it over the tamarisks, the hemlocks, and
the nightshades.

Upon this _monte_, or wooded height, most of the gentry have
country-houses, the climate being 12 degrees (Fahr.) cooler than by the
sea. La Brigida commands a fine view of the Isleta, with its black sand
and white foam, leek-green waters upon the reefs, and deep offing of
steely blue.

Leaving the carriage at the forking road, I mounted, after a bad
descent, a rough hill, and saw to the left the Pico de Bandana, a fine
regular cone 1,850 feet high. A group of a few houses, El Pueblo de la
Caldera, leads to the famous Cauldron, which Sir Charles Lyell visited
by mistake for that of Palma. Travellers compare it with the lakes of
Nemi and Albano: I found it tame after the cup of Fernando Po with its
beautiful lining of hanging woods. It has only the merit of
regularity. The unbroken upper rim measures about half a mile in
diameter, and the lower funnel 3,000 feet in circumference. The sides of
_piedra pomez_ (pumice) are lined and ribbed with rows of
scoriaceous rock as regular as amphitheatre-seats, full 1,000 feet deep,
and slope easily into a flat sole, which some are said to have reached
on horseback. A copious fountain, springing from the once fiery inside,
is collected below for the use of the farm-house, El Fondo de la
Caldera. The fields have the effect of a little Alpine tarn of bright
green. Here wild pigeons are sometimes caught at night, and rabbits and
partridges are or were not extinct. I ascended Bandana Peak to the
north-north-east, the _piton_ of this long extinct volcano, and
enjoyed the prospect of the luxuriant vegetation, the turquoise sea, and
the golden sands about Maspalomas, the southernmost extremity of Grand

Returning to the road-fork, I mounted a hill on the right hand and
sighted the Atalaya, another local lion. Here a perpendicular face of
calcareous rock fronts a deep valley, backed by a rounded hill, with the
blue chine of El Cumbre in the distance: this is the highest of the
ridge, measuring 8,500 feet. The wall is pierced, like the torrent-side
of Mar Saba (Jerusalem), with caves that shelter a troglodyte population
numbering some 2,000 souls. True to their Berber origin, they seek
refuge in the best of savage lodgings from heat, cold, and wind. The
site rises some 2,000 feet above sea-level, and the strong wester twists
the trees. Grand Canary preserves more of these settlements than
Tenerife; they are found in many parts of the island, and even close to
the capital. Madeira, on the other hand, affects them but little. We
must not forget that they still exist at St. Come, within two hours'
rail of Paris, where my learned and lamented friend Dr. Broca had a

Descending a rough, steep slope, I entered the upper tier of the
settlement, where the boxes were built up with whitewashed fronts. The
caves are mostly divided by matting into 'buts' and 'bens.' Heaps of
pots, antiquated in shape and somewhat like the Etruscan, showed the
trade of the place, and hillocks of potatoes the staff of life. The
side-walls were hollowed for shelves, and a few prints of the Virgin and
other sacred subjects formed the decoration. Settles and rude tables
completed the list of movables; and many had the huge bed affected by
the Canarian cottager, which must be ascended with a run and a jump. The
predatory birds, gypsies and others, flocked down from their nests,
clamouring for _cuartitos_ and taking no refusal.

It occupies a week to ride round the island, whose circumference
measures about 120 miles. I contented myself with a last excursion to
Doramas, which then supplied meat, cheese, and grain to Tenerife. My
guide was old Antonio Martinez, who assured me that he was the 'most
classical man' in the island; and with two decent hill-ponies we struck
to the north-west. There is little to describe in the tour. The Cuesta
Blanca showed us the regular cones of Arucas. Beyond Tenoya town I
inspected a crateriform ravine, and Monte Cardones boasted a honeycomb
of caves like the Atalaya. The fine rich _vega_ of Arucas, a long
white settlement before whose doors rose drying heaps of maize and black
cochineal, was a pleasant, smiling scene. All the country settlements
are built pretty much upon the same plan: each has its Campo Santo with
white walls and high grey gate, through which the coffin is escorted by
Gaucho-like riders, who dismount to enter. Doramas proved to be a fine
_monte_, with tree-stumps, especially chestnuts, somewhat
surprising in a region of ferns and furze. Near the little village of
Friga I tasted an _agua agria_, a natural sodawater, which the
people hold to be of sovereign value for beast as well as man. It
increases digestion and makes happy mothers, like the fountain of
Villaflor on the Tenerifan 'Pike '-slope. I found it resembling an
_eau gazeuse_ left in the open all night. We then pushed on to
Teror, famous for turkeys, traversed the high and forested northern
plateau, visited Galdar and Guia of the cheeses, and rode back by
Banaderos Bay and the Cuesta da Silva, renowned in olden island story.

These three days gave me a fair general view of Grand Canary. The
Cumbre, or central plateau, whose apex is Los Pexos (6,400 feet), well
wooded with pines and Alpines, collects moisture in abundance. From this
plateau _barrancos_, or ravine-valleys, said to number 103, radiate
quaquaversally. Their bottoms, becoming more and more level as they near
the sea, are enriched by gushing founts, and are unrivalled for
fertility, while the high and stony intervening ridges are barren as
Arabia Deserta. Even sun and rain cannot fertilise the dividing walls of
the rich and riant _vegas_. Here, as at Madeira, and showing even a
better likeness, the _tierra caliente_ is Egypt, the _mediania_
(middle-heights) are Italy, and the upper _mesetas_, the cloud-compelling
table-lands, are the bleak north of Europe plus a quasi-tropical sun.



I must not leave the Jezirat el-Bard (of Gold), or Jezirat el-Khalidat
(Happy Islands), without some notice of their peculiar institutions, the
cochineal, the _gallo_, and Canary 'sack.'

The nopal or tunal plant (_Opuntia Tuna_ or _Cactus
cochinellifera_) is indigenous on these islands as well as on the
mainland of Africa. But the native growth is woody and lean-leaved; and
its cooling fruit, which we clumsily term a 'prickly pear' or 'fig,' is
everywhere a favourite in hot climates. There are now sundry claimants
to the honour of having here fathered the modern industry. Some say that
in 1823 a retired intendant introduced from Mexico the true
_terciopelo_, or velvet-leaf, together with the Mexican cochineal,
the _coccus cacti_ hemipter, [Footnote: The male insect is winged
for flight. The female never stirs from the spot where she begins to
feed: she lays her eggs, which are innumerable and microscopic, and she
leaves them in the membrane or hardened envelope which she has
secreted.] so called from the old Greek _KOKKOS_, a berry, or the
neo-Greek _KOKKIVOS_, red, scarlet. It is certain that Don Santiago
de la Cruz brought both plant and 'bug' from Guatemala or Honduras in
1835; and that an Englishman, who has advanced a right even in writing,
labours under a not uncommon hallucination.

But the early half of the present century was the palmy day of the
vine. The people resisted the cactus-innovation as the English labourer
did the introduction of machinery, and tore up the plants. Enough,
however, remained in the south of Tenerife for the hour of
need. Travellers in search of the picturesque still lament that the ugly
stranger has ousted the trellised vine and the wild, free myrtles. But
public opinion changed when fortunes were made by selling the
insect. Greedy as the agriculturist in general, the people would refuse
the value of a full crop of potatoes or maize if they suspected that the
offerer intended to grow cochineal. No dye was prepared on the islands,
and the peasants looked upon it as a manner of mystery.

The best _tuneras_ (cochineal-plantations) lay in Grand Canary,
where they could be most watered. Wherever maize thrives, producing a
good dark leaf and grain in plenty, there cochineal also succeeds. The
soil is technically called _mina de tosca_, a whitish, pumice-like
stone, often forming a gravel conglomerate under a rocky stratum:
hardening by exposure, it is good for building. Immense labour is
required to prepare such ground for the cactus. The earth must be taken
from below the surface-rock, as at Malta; spread in terraced beds, and
cleared of loose stones, which are built up in walls or in
_molleras_, cubes or pyramids. Such ground sold for $150 per acre;
$600 were paid for metre-deep soil unencumbered by stone. Where the
chalk predominates, it must be mixed with the volcanic sand locally
called _zahorra_. In all cases the nopals are set at distances of
half a yard, in trenches at least three feet deep. The 'streets,' or
intervals, must measure nearly two yards, so that water may flow freely
and sunshine may not be arrested. Good ground, if irrigated in winter
and kept clear of weeds by the _hacada_ (hoe), produces a cactus
capable of being 'seeded' after the second year; if poor, a third is
required. The plant lasts, with manure to defend it from exhaustion, a
full decade. [Footnote: The compost was formerly natural, dry or liquid
as in Switzerland; but for some years the costly guano and chemicals
have been introduced. Formerly also potatoes were set between the stems;
and well-watered lands gave an annual grain-crop as well as a green

I now translate the memoir sent in MS. to me by my kind friend
Dundas. It is the work of Don Abel de Aguilar, Consul Imperial de
Russie, a considerable producer of the 'bug.'

The _semillado_, or cochineal-sowing, is divided into three
_cosechas_ (crops), according to the several localities in the

The _abuelas_ (grandmothers) are those planted in
October-November. Their seed gives a new growth set in February-March,
and called _madres_ (mothers). Thirdly, those planted in June-July,
gathered in September-October, and serving to begin with the
_abuelas_, are called _la cosecha_ (the crop). The first and
second may be planted on the seaboard; the last is confined to the
midlands and uplands, on account of the heat and the hot winds,
especially the souther and the south-south-easter, which asphyxiate the

And now of the _abuelas_, as cultivated in the maritime regions
of Santa Cruz, Tenerife.

Every cochineal-plantation must have a house with windows facing the
south, and freely admitting the light--an indispensable condition. The
_cuarto del semillado_ (breeding-room) should be heated by stoves
to a regular temperature of 30 deg.-32 deg. (R.). At this season the proportion
of seed is calculated at 30 boxes of 40 lbs. each, or a total of 1,200
lbs. per _fanega_, the latter being equivalent to a half-hectare.
The cochineal is placed in large wooden trays lined with
cloth, and containing about 15 lbs. of the recently gathered seed. When
filled without crowding, the trays are covered with squares of
cotton-cloth (raw muslin), measuring 12-16 inches. Usually the
_fanega_ requires 20-30 quintals (128 lbs., or a cwt.), each
costing $15 to $17. The newly born insects (_hijuelos_) adhere to
the cochineal-rags, and these are carried to the _tunera_, in
covered baskets.

The operation is repeated with fresh rags till the parturition is
completed. The last born, after 12-15 days, are the weakest. They are
known by their dark colour, the earlier seed being grey-white, like
cigar-ashes. The cochineal which has produced all its insects is known
in the markets as 'zacatillas.' It commanded higher prices, because the
watery parts had disappeared and only the colouring matter remained. Now
its value is that of the white or _cosecha_.

The cochineal-rags are then carried by women and girls to the
_tunera_, and are attached to the cactus-leaves by passing the
cloths round them and by pinning them on with the thorns. This
operation, requires great care, judgment, and experience. The good
results of the crop depend upon the judicious distribution of the
'bugs;' and error is easy when making allowance for their loss by wind,
rain, or change of temperature. The insects walk over the whole leaf,
and choose their places sheltered as much as possible, although still
covered by the rags. After 8-10 days they insert the proboscis into the
cactus, and never stir till gathered. At the end of three and a half to
four months they become 'grains of cochineal,' not unlike wheat, but
smaller, rounder, and thicker. The sign of maturity is the appearance of
new insects upon the leaf. The rags are taken off, as they were put on,
by women and girls, and the cochineal is swept into baskets with brushes
of palm-frond. As the _abuelas_ grow in winter there is great loss
of life. For each pound sown the cultivator gets only two to two and a
half, innumerable insects being lost either in the house or out of

The crop thus gathered produces the _madres_ (mothers): the latter
are sown in February-March, and are gathered in May-June. The only
difference of treatment is that the rags are removed when the weather is
safe and the free draught benefits the insects. The produce is
greater--three and a half to four pounds for one.

The _cosecha_ of the _madres_ produces most abundantly, on
account of the settled weather. The cochineal breeds better in the
house, where there is more light and a higher temperature. The result is
that 8 to 10 lbs. become 100. It is cheaper too: as a lesser proportion
of rag is wanted for the field, and it is kept on only till the insect
adheres. Thus a small quantity goes a long way. At this season there is
no need of the _cuarto_, and bags of pierced paper or of
_rengue_ (loose gauze), measuring 10 inches long by 2 broad, are
preferred. A spoonful of grain, about 4 ounces, is put into each bag and
is hung to the leaves: the young ones crawl through the holes or meshes
till the plant is sufficiently populated. In hot weather they may be
changed eight times a day with great economy of labour. This is the most
favourable form; the insects go straight to the leaves, and it is easy
to estimate the proportions.

So far Don Abel. He concludes with saying that cochineal, which in other
days made the fortune of his native islands, will soon be completely
abandoned. Let us hope not.

The _cosecha_-insects, shell-like in form, grey-coloured, of light
weight, but all colouring matter, are either sold for breeding
_abuelas_ or are placed upon trays and killed in stoves by a heat
of 150 deg.-160 deg. (Fahr.). The drying process is managed by reducing the
temperature to 140 deg.. The time varies from twenty-four to forty-eight
hours: when hurried it injures the crop. Ninety full-grown insects weigh
some forty-eight grains, and there is a great reduction by drying; some
27,000 yield one pound of the prepared cochineal. The shiny black
cochineal, which looks like small beetles, is produced by sun-drying,
and by shaking the insect in a linen bag or in a small 'merry-go-round,'
so as to remove the white powder. [Footnote: Mr. H. Vizetelly (p. 210)
says that black metallic sand is used to give it brilliancy.] The form,
however, must be preserved. It sells 6_d_. per lb. higher than the
_cochinilla de plata_, or silver cochineal. Lastly, the dried crop
is packed in bags, covered with mats, and is then ready for exportation.

The traffic began about 1835 with an export of only 1,275 lbs.; and
between 1850 and 1860 the lb. was worth at least ten francs. Admiral
Robinson [Footnote: _Sea-drift_, a volume published by subscription.
Pitman, London, 1852.] in 1852 makes the export one million of
lbs. at one dollar each, or a total of 250,000_l_. During the
rage of the oidium the cultivation was profitable and raised
the Canaries high in the scale of material prosperity. In 1862
the islands exported 10,000 quintals, or hundred-weights, the
total value being still one million of dollars. In 1877-78
the produce was contained in 20,000 to 25,000 bags, each
averaging 175 lbs., at a value of half a crown per lb.: it was then
stated that, owing to the increased expense of irrigation and of guano
or chemical manures, nothing under two shillings would repay the
cultivator. In 1878-79 the total export amounted to 5,045,007 lbs. In
1879-80 this figure had fallen off to 4,036,871 lbs., a decrease of
5,482 bags, or 1,008,136 lbs.; moreover the prices, which had been
forced up by speculation, declined from 2_s_. 6_d_.-3_s_. 4_d_.
to 1_s_. 8_d_. and 1_s_. 10_d_. [Footnote: These figures are taken
from the able Consular Report of Mr. Consul Dundas, printed in Part
viii., 1881.] When I last visited Las Palmas (April 1880), cochineal,
under the influence of _magenta_ and _mineral_ dyes, was selling at
1_s_. 4_d_. instead of one to two dollars.

It is to be feared that the palmy days of cochineal are over, and that
its chief office, besides staining liqueurs and tooth-powders, will be
to keep down the price of the chemicals. With regret I see this handsome
and harmless colour being gradually superseded by the economical
anilines, whose poisonous properties have not yet been fully recognised
by the public. The change is a pregnant commentary upon the good and
homely old English saying, 'Cheap and nasty.'

The fall of cochineal throughout the Canaries brought many successors
into the field, but none can boast of great success. Silk, woven and
spun, was tried; unfortunately, the worms were fed on _tartago_ (a
_ricinus_), instead of the plentiful red and white mulberries. The
harvest was abundant, but not admired by manufacturers. In fact, the
moderns have failed where their predecessors treated the stuff so well
that Levantines imported silks to resell them in Italy. Formerly
Tenerife contained a manufactory whose lasting and brilliant produce was
highly appreciated in Spain as in Havana. At Palma crimson waist-sashes
used to sell for an ounce of gold.

Tobacco-growing was patronised by Government in 1878, probably with the
view of mixing it in their monopoly-manufactories with the growths of
Cuba and Manilla. But on this favour being withdrawn the next year's
harvest fell to one-fourth (354,640 lbs. to 36,978). The best sites were
in Hierro (Ferro) and Adejo, in the south of Tenerife. The chief
obstacles to success are imperfect cultivation, the expense of skilled
labour, and deficiency of water to irrigate the deep black soil. Both
Virginia and Havana leaves were grown, and good brands sold from eight
to sixteen dollars per 100 lbs. The customers in order of quantity are
Germany, England, France, South America, and the West Coast of Africa,
where the cigars are now common. One brand (Republicanos) is so good
that I should not wish to smoke better. At home they sell for twelve
dollars per 1,000; a price which rises, I am told, in England to one
shilling each. They are to be procured through Messieurs Davidson, of
Santa Cruz.

The Canarians now talk of sugar-growing; but the cane will inevitably
fare worse for want of water than either silk or tobacco.

Next to cochineal in the Canary Islands, especially in Tenerife, ranks
the _gallo_, or fighting-cock. Cockfighting' amongst ourselves is
redolent of foul tobacco, bad beer, and ruffianism in low places. This
is not the case in Spain and her colonies, where the classical sport of
Greece and Rome still holds its ground. I have pleasant reminiscences of
the good _Padre_ in the Argentine Republic who after mass repaired
regularly to the pit, wearing his huge canoe-like hat and carrying under
his arm a well-bred bird instead of a breviary. Here too I was told that
the famous Derby breed of the twelfth Earl had extended in past times
throughout the length and breadth of the land; and the next visit to
Knowsley convinced me that the legend was based on fact. As regards
cruelty, all popular sports, fox-hunting and pigeon-shooting, are
cruel. Grallus, however, has gained since the days of Cock-Mondays and

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