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TRAVELS IN MOROCCO,
BY THE LATE JAMES RICHARDSON,
AUTHOR OF "A MISSION TO CENTRAL AFRICA,"
"TRAVELS IN THE DESERT OF SAHARA," &C.
EDITED BY HIS WIDOW.
IN TWO VOLUMES.
Having made a limited tour in the Empire of Morocco a few years since, I
am enabled to appreciate the information imparted to us by the lamented
Richardson, and am desirous of adding a few observations of my own upon
the present state of affairs in that part of the African Continent.
The following work of the indefatigable traveller demands, at the
present moment, a more than ordinary share of public attention, in
consequence of the momentous events now passing in the Straits of
Gibraltar, where the presence of powerful armaments entails on the
Governor of our great rock-fortress, a duty of some delicacy, situated
as he now is in close proximity to three belligerent powers, all of whom
are at peace with Great Britain. But distinguished alike for common
sense and professional ability, Sir William Codrington, it is to be
hoped, will steer clear of the follies committed by Sir Robert Wilson in
1844, and will command respect for the British name, without provoking
bitter feelings between ourselves, and our French and Spanish
It is scarcely possible that either France or Spain can contemplate the
conquest of the entire Empire of Morocco, as the result of the present
impending crisis, the superficial extent of the territory being 219,420
square miles, and the population nearly 8,000,000,  of which a large
proportion live in a state of perpetual warfare, occupying inaccessible
mountain fastnesses, from whence they only descend to the plains for the
sake of plunder. The inhabitants may be classified as follows: 4,000,000
Moors and Arabs; 2,000,000 Berbers; 500,000 Jews, and the remainder are
of the Negro race. The regular Army consists of less than thirty
thousand men, but every Arab is an expert irregular horseman, and the
Berbers make good foot-soldiers.
These indeed are, in ordinary times, rarely to be depended on by the
Emperor, but so powerful an incentive is religious fanaticism that, were
he to raise the standard of the Holy War, a large Army would quickly
rally around him, deficient perhaps in discipline, yet living by
plunder, and marching without the encumbrance of baggage, it would prove
a formidable opponent.
Let us, however, suppose, that the present action of France and Spain
should result in the subversion of the atrocious system of Government
practised in Morocco: a guarantee from the conquerors that our existing
commercial privileges should be respected, would alone be required to
ensure the protection of our interests, and what an extended field would
the facilities for penetrating into the interior open to us! We must
also remember that Napoleon III. in heart, is a free-trader; and, should
Destiny ever appoint him the arbiter of Morocco, the protectionist
pressure of a certain deluded class in France would be impotent against
his policy in Western Barbary, a country perhaps more hostile to the
European than China. Sailors and others, who have had the misfortune to
be cast on the inhospitable shore of Northern Africa, have been sent far
inland into slavery to drag out a miserable existence; and, at this
moment, there are many white Christian slaves in the southern and
eastern provinces of the Empire.
Should the war not result in conquest, the least we have a right to
expect, is that toleration should be forced upon the Moors, and that
European capital and labour should be allowed a free development
throughout their Empire. A flourishing trade would soon spring up,
nature having blessed Barbary with an excellent soil and climate,
besides vast mineral wealth in its mountains; lead, copper, and antimony
are found in them. The plains produce corn, rice, and indigo; the
forests of cedar, ilex, cork, and olive-trees are scattered over a vast
extent, and contain antelopes, wild bears, and other species of game;
Barbary also possesses an excellent breed of horses. The principal
manufactures are leather, shawls and carpets.
England has, but a short time since, succeeded in emancipating her
Jewish brethren from their few remaining disabilities; an opportunity
may now be at hand, of ameliorating the condition of those in the Empire
of Morocco, who are forced to submit to a grinding persecution, and are
merely tolerated because they are useful. They supply many wants of the
Moorish population; are the best, and in many handicrafts, the only
artificers, and are much employed by the government in financial
occupations. They are compelled to occupy a distinct quarter of the town
they inhabit; are permitted only to wear black garments, are forbidden
to ride, the horse being considered too noble an animal to carry a Jew,
and are forced to take off their shoes on passing a mosque. Even the
little Moorish boys strike and ill-treat them in various ways, and the
slightest attempt at retaliation was formerly punished with death, and
would now be visited with the bastinado. They are more heavily taxed
than any other class, and special contributions are often levied on
Alas! why should we respect the national existence of any community of
Mahometans? Have we effaced from our memory their treachery and inhuman
cruelty in India; their utter worthlessness in Turkey; their neglect in
taking advantage of the richness with which nature has blest the
countries in their possession; and their conquest from Christendom of
one of the fairest portions of Europe.
Civilization cries aloud for retribution on a race whose religion
teaches them to regard us as "dogs." Surely, far from protecting and
cherishing, we should hunt them out of the fair lands they occupy, and
force them back on the deserts which vomited them forth on our ancestors
ten centuries ago. Brief periods of glory at Bagdad, Cairo, and Granada,
should not protect those who are now slaves to the lowest vices that
degrade human nature. No administrative reforms are at all practicable;
their moral maladies have attacked the vital element; the sole cure is
conquest, and the substitution of Christian Governments in Northern
Africa, and Turkey in Europe and Asia. Russia, France, Austria, Greece,
and Spain are weary of the excesses of their savage neighbours; none can
be honestly inclined to stay their avenging swords.
I have, in these prefatory remarks, extracted a few particulars from the
short chapter on Morocco, contained in my work on the "French in
Africa," and in advocating a crusade against the Mahometan races, I
believe I am recording the sentiments of millions of Europeans.
It now only remains for me to give expression to that universal feeling
of regret which prevails among my countrymen at the untimely fate of
poor Richardson, and to offer my congratulations that he has bequeathed
to us so pleasing an addition to his former works as the following
narrative of his "Travels in Morocco."
L. TRENT CAVE, F.R.G.S.
Author of "The French in Africa."
Army and Navy Club,
The present unsettled state of affairs in Morocco, in consequence of the
War in which she is now engaged with her more powerful and ancient
enemy--Spain, must, I conceive, render any information regarding a
region so little known peculiarly acceptable at the present moment.
In Morocco, my late husband laboured to advance the same objects which
had previously taken him to Central Africa, viz., the amelioration of
the condition of the strange and remarkable races of men who inhabit
that part of the world. He aimed at the introduction of a legitimate
commerce with a view, in the first instance, to destroy the horrible and
revolting trade in slaves, and thus pave the way for the diffusion of
Christianity among a benighted people. While travelling, with these high
purposes in contemplation, he neglected no opportunity of studying the
geography of the country, and of obtaining an insight into the manners,
customs, prejudices, and sentiments of its inhabitants, as well as any
other useful information in relation to it.
I accompanied him on his travels in Algiers, Tunis, and Tripoli, in
which last city he left me, it not being considered advisable that I
should proceed with him into the interior of the country. We were not
destined to meet again in this world. My beloved husband died at Bornou,
in Central Africa, whither he was sent by Her Majesty's Government to
enter into treaties with the chiefs of the surrounding districts.
Of the many difficulties and dangers which the traveller is likely to
encounter in penetrating into the interior of so inhospitable a region,
the reader may form some idea by a perusal of the the following extracts
from my husband's writings.
"I am very much of opinion that in African travel we should take
especial care not to attempt too much at once; that we should proceed
very slowly, feeling our way, securing ourselves against surprise, and
reducing and confining our explorations to the record of matters of fact
as far as possible, or consistently with a due illustration of the
narrative. But, whether we attempt great tours, or short journeyings, we
shall soon find, by our own sad experience, that African travel can only
be successfully prosecuted piecemeal, bit by bit, here a little and
there a little, now an island, now a line of coast, now an inland
province, now a patch of desert, and slow and painful in all their
results, whilst few explorers will ever be able to undertake more than
two, at most three, inland journeys.
"Failures, disasters, and misadventure may attend our efforts of
discovery; the intrepid explorers may perish, as they have so frequently
done, or be scalped by the Indian savage in the American wilderness, or
stabbed by the treacherous Bedouin of Asiatic deserts, or be stretched
stiff in the icy dreary Polar circles, or, succumbing to the burning
clime of Africa, leave their bones to bleach upon its arid sandy wastes;
yet these victims of enterprise will add more to a nation's glory than
its hoarded heaps of gold, or the great gains of its commerce, or even
the valour of its arms.
"Nevertheless, geographical discovery is not barren ardour, or wasted
enthusiasm; it produces substantial fruits. The fair port of London,
with its two parallel forests of masts, bears witness to the rich and
untold treasures which result from the traffic of our merchant-fleets
with the isles and continents discovered by the genius and enterprise of
the maritime or inland explorer. And, finally, we have always in view
the complete regeneration of the world, by our laws, our learning, and
our religion. If every valley is to be raised, and every mountain laid
low, by the spade and axe of industry, guided by science, the valley or
the mountain must first be discovered.
"If men are to be civilized, they must first be found; and if other, or
the remaining tribes of the inhabitable earth are to acknowledge the
true God, and accept His favour as known to us, they also, with
ourselves, must have an opportunity of hearing His name pronounced, and
His will declared."
My husband would, indeed, have rejoiced had he lived to witness the
active steps now taken by Oxford and Cambridge for sending out
Missionaries to Central Africa, to spread the light of the Gospel.
Among his unpublished letters, I find one addressed to the Christian
Churches, entitled "Project for the establishment of a Christian Mission
at Bornou," dated October, 1849. He writes: "The Christian Churches have
left Central Africa now these twelve centuries in the hands of the
Mohammedans, who, in different countries, have successfully propagated
the false doctrines of the impostor of Mecca. If the Christian Churches
wish to vindicate the honour of their religion--to diffuse its
beneficent and heavenly doctrines--and to remove from themselves the
severe censure of having abandoned Central Africa to the false prophet,
I believe there is now an opening, _via_ Bornou, to attempt the
establishment of their faith in the heart of Africa."
He ends his paper by quoting the words of Ignatius Pallme, a Bohemian,
the writer of travels in Kordofan, who says "It is high time for the
Missionary Societies in Europe to direct their attention to this part of
Africa (that is, Kordofan). If they delay much longer, it will be too
late; for, when the negroes have once adopted the Koran, no power on
earth can induce them to change their opinions. I have heard, through
several authentic sources, that there are few provinces in the interior
of Africa where Mohammedanism has not already begun to gain a footing."
It would be a great solace to me should this work be received
favourably, and be deemed to reflect honour on the memory of my lamented
husband; and, in the hope that such may be the case, I venture to commit
it into the hands of an indulgent public.
November 15, 1859.
CONTENTS OF THE FIRST VOLUME
Policy of the Court of Morocco.--Its strength.--Diploplomatic Intercourse
with England.--Distrust of Europeans.--Commercial Relations.
Arrival at Tangier.--Moorish Pilgrims in Cordova.--Address of the
Anti-Slavery Society.--Mr. D. Hay, British Consul.--Institut
d'Afrique.--Conveyance of Eunuchs in vessels under the French
Flag.--Franco-Moorish Politics.--Corn Monopolies in Morocco.--Love and
veneration for the English name--Celebration of the Ayd-Kebir, or great
festival.--Value of Money in Morocco.--Juvenile Strolling
Singer.--General account of the city of Tangier.--Intercourse between
the Moorish Emperor and the Foreign Consuls.--Cockney sportsmen.--The
degrading of high Moorish Functionaries.--How we smuggle Cattle from
Tangier to Gibraltar.--The Blood-letting of plethoric Placemen.
The Posada.--Ingles and Benoliel.--Amulets for successful
parturition.--Visits of a Moorish Taleb and a Berber.--Three Sundays
during a week in Barbary.--M. Rey's account of the Empire of
Morocco.--The Government Auctioneer gives an account of Slavery and the
Slave Trade in Morocco.--Benoliel as English Cicerone.--Departure from
Tangier to Gibraltar.--How I lost my fine green broad-cloth.--Mr.
Frenerry's opinion of Maroquine Affairs.
Departure from Gibraltar to Mogador.--The Straits.--Genoese
Sailors.--Trade-wind Hurricanes on the Atlantic Coast of
Morocco.--Difficulties of entering the Port of Mogador.--Bad
provisioning of Foreign Merchantmen.--The present Representative of the
once far-famed and dreaded Rovers.--Disembarkation at Mogador.--Mr.
Phillips, Captain of the Port.--Rumours amongst the People about my
Mission.--Visit to the Cemeteries.--Maroquine Wreckers.--Health of the
inhabitants of Mogador.--Moorish Cavaliers "playing at powder" composed
of the ancient Numidians.--The Barb.--The Life Guards of the Moorish
Emperor.--Martial character of the Negro.--Some account of the Black
Corps of the Shereefs.--Orthodoxy of the Shereefs, and illustrative
anecdotes of the various Emperors.
Several visits from the Moors; their ideas on soldiers and payment of
public functionaries.--Mr. Cohen and his opinion on Maroquine affairs.--
Phlebotomising of Governors, and Ministerial responsibility.--Border
Travels of the Shedma and Hhaha tribes.--How the Emperor enriches
himself by the quarrels of his subjects.--Message from the Emperor
respecting the Anti-Slavery Address.--Difficulties of travelling through
or residing in the Interior.--Use of Knives, and Forks, and Chairs are
signs of Social Progress.--Account of the periodical visit of the
Mogador Merchants to the Emperor, in the Southern Capital.
Influence of French Consuls.--Arrival of the Governor of Mogador from
the Capital; he brings an order to imprison the late Governor; his
character, and mode of administering affairs.--Statue of a Negress at
the bottom of a well.--Spanish Renegades.--Various Wedding Festivals of
Jews.--Frequent Fetes and Feastings among the Jewish population of
Morocco.--Scripture Illustration, "Behold the Bridegroom
cometh!"--Jewish Renegades.--How far women have souls.--Infrequency of
Interview with the Governor of Mogador, on the Address of the Anti-Slavery
Society.--Day and night side of the Mission Adventure.--Phillips'
application to be allowed to stand with his "shoes on" before the
Shereefian presence.--Case of the French Israelite, Darmon, who was
killed by the Government.--Order of the Government against Europeans
smoking in the streets.--Character of Haj Mousa, Governor of
Mazagran.--Talmudical of a Sousee Jew.--False weights amongst the
Mogador Merchants.--Rumours of war from the North, and levy of
troops.--Bragadocio of the Governor.--Mr. Authoris's opinion on the
state of of the Country.--Moorish opinions on English Abolition.--
European Slavery in Southern Morocco.--Spanish Captives and the London
Ironmongers Company.--Sentiments of Barbary Jews on Slavery.
Interior of a Moorish House
City of Tangier
Port of Mogador
Christian Burial Place
Nubian Cavalry of Ancient Africa
City of Morocco
Fish found in Hot Springs
TRAVELS IN MOROCCO.
Policy of the Court of Morocco.--Its strength.--Diplomatic Intercourse
with England.--Distrust of Europeans.--Commercial Relations.
Morocco is the China of North Africa. The grand political maxim of the
Shereefian Court is, the exclusion of strangers; to look upon all
strangers with distrust and suspicion; and should they, at any time,
attempt to explore the interior of Morocco, or any of the adjacent
counties, to thwart and circumvent their enterprise, is a veritable feat
of statesmanship in the opinion of the Shereefian Court. The
assassination of Mr. Davidson, some years since, is an odious and
enduring stigma on the Moorish Court, notwithstanding the various
efforts which have been made to deny the personal responsibility of the
Emperor in that transaction.
The Prince de Joinville was once going to open Morocco, as we opened
China; but bullets and shot which his Royal Highness showered upon
Tangier and Mogador, only closed faster the approaches and routes of
this well-guarded empire--only more hermetically sealed the capitals of
Fez and Morocco against the prying or morbid curiosity of the tourist,
or the mappings and measurings of the political spy. The striking
anecdote, illustrating the exclusive policy of the Maroquine Court, is
familiar to all who have read the history of the Moorish Sultans of the
Mugreb. Years ago, a European squadron threatened to bombard Tangier,
unless their demands were instantly satisfied; and the then reigning
Sultan sent down from Fez this imperial message:
"How much will the enemy give me if I myself burn to ashes my
well-beloved city of Tangier? Tell the enemy, O governor of the mighty
city of Tangier, that I can reduce this self-same city to a heap of
smoking ruins, at a much cheaper rate than he can, with all his ships,
his warlike machines, and his fighting men."
The strength of Morocco lies in her internal cities, her inland
population, and the natural difficulties of her territory; about her
coast she cares little; but the French did not find this out till after
their bombardments. The unwonted discovery led them afterwards to boast
that they had at length opened Morocco by the other and opposite system
of a pacific mission. The parties forming the mission, pretended to have
obtained from the Emperor permission for Europeans "to travel in Morocco
without let or hindrance whithersoever they will." But the opposition
press justly ridiculed the pretensions of the alleged concession, as the
precarious and barren result of a mission costing several million of
francs. Even an Englishman, but much more a Frenchman--and the latter is
especially hated and dreaded in all the Maroquine provinces, would have
considerably hesitated in placing confidence in the safe conduct of this
The spirit of the Christian West, which has invaded the most secret
councils of the Eastern world, Persia, Turkey, and all the countries
subjected to Ottoman rule, is still excluded by the haughty Shereefs of
the Mahometan West. There is scarcely any communication between the port
and the court of the Shereefs, and the two grand masters of orthodox
Islamism, this of the West, and that of the East, are nearly strangers
to each other.
All that Muley Errahman has to do with the East, appears to be to
procure eunuchs and Abyssinian concubines for his harem from Egypt, and
send forward his most faithful, or most rebellious subjects  on their
pilgrimage to Mecca.
Englishmen are surprised, that the frequent visits and uninterrupted
communications between Morocco and Gibraltar, during so long a period,
should have produced scarcely a perceptible change in the minds of the
Moors, and that Western Barbary should be a century behind Tunis. This
circumstance certainly does not arise from any inherent inaptitude in
the Moorish character to entertain friendly relations with Europeans,
and can only have resulted from that crouching and subservient policy
which the Gibraltar authorities have always judged it expedient to show
towards the Maroquines.
Our diplomatic intercourse began with Morocco in the reign of Queen
Elizabeth; and though on friendly terms more or less ever since,
Englishmen have not yet obtained a recognised permission to travel in
the interior of the country, without first specially applying to its
Government. Our own countrymen know little of Morocco, or of its
inhabitants, customs, laws, and government; and, though only five or six
days sail from England, it must be regarded as an unknown and unexplored
region to the mass of the English nation.
Nevertheless, in spite of the Maroquine Empire being the most
conservative and unchangeable of all North African Mussulman states, and
whilst, happily for itself, it has been allowed to pursue its course
obscurely and noiselessly, without exciting particular attention in
Europe, or being involved in the wars and commotions of European
nations, Morocco is not, therefore, beyond the reach of changes and the
ravages of time, nor exempt from that mutability which is impressed upon
all sublunary states. The bombardments of Tangier and Mogador have left
behind them traces not easily to be effaced. It was no ordinary event
for Morocco to carry on hostilities with an European power.
The battle of Isly has deeply wounded the Shereefians, and incited the
Mussulman heart to sullen and unquenchable revenge. A change has come
over the Maroquine mind, which, as to its immediate effects, is
evidently for the worst towards us Christians. The distrust of all
Europeans, which existed before the French hostilities, is now enlarged
to hatred, a feeling from which even the English are hardly excepted. Up
to the last moment, the government and people of Morocco believed that
England would never abandon them to their unscrupulous and ambitious
The citizens and merchants of Mogador could not be brought to believe,
or even to entertain the idea that the British ships of war would
quietly look on, whilst the French--the great rivals and enemies of the
English--destroyed their towns and batteries. Most manifest facts and
stern realities dissipated, in an hour when they little thought of it,
such a fond delusion. From that moment, the moral influence of England,
once our boast, and not perhaps unreasonably so, was no longer felt in
Morocco; and now we have lost almost all hold on the good wishes and
faith of the Mussulman tribes of that immense country.
As to exploring the empire of Morocco, or making it the way of
communication with Soudan or Central Negroland, this is now altogether
impracticable. The difficulties of Europeans travelling the Maroquine
States, always great and perilous, are now become nearly insuperable.
This suspicious distrust, or ill-feeling has communicated itself
contagiously to the tribes of the South as far as the Desert, and has
infected other parts of Barbary. The Engleez, once the cherished friends
of the Moors, are looked upon more or less as the abettors of French
aggressions in North Africa, if not as the sharers with them of the
spoil. In the language of the more plain-spoken Moors, "We always
thought all Christians alike, though we often excepted the English from
the number of our enemies, now we are certain we were wrong; the English
are become as much our enemies as the French and the Spaniards." The
future alone can disclose what will be the particular result of this
unfavourable feeling; both with respect to France and England, and to
other European nations. However, we may look forward without misgiving.
Islamism will wear itself out--the Crescent must wane.
In these preliminary observations, the commercial system of the
Maroquine Court deserves especial mention. The great object of Muley Abd
Errahman  is--nay, the pursuit of his whole life has been--to get the
whole of the trade of the empire into his own hands. In fact, he has by
this time virtually succeeded, though the thing is less ostentatiously
done than by the Egyptian viceroy, that equally celebrated
prince-merchant. In order to effect this, his Shereefian Majesty seeks
to involve in debt all the merchants, natives, or foreigners, tempting
them by the offer of profuse credit. As many of them as are needy and
speculative, this imperial boon is without scruple greedily accepted.
The Emperor likewise provides them with commodious houses and stores;
gives them at once ten or twenty thousand dollars worth of credit, and
is content to receive in return monthly instalments. These instalments
never are, never can be regularly paid up. The debt progressively and
indefinitely increases; and whilst they live like so many
merchant-princes, carrying on an immense trade, they are in reality
beggars and slaves of the Emperor. They are, however, styled _imperial_
merchants, and wear their golden chains with ostentatious pride.
This credit costs his Shereetian Highness nothing; he gives no goods,
advances no moneys, whilst he most effectually impoverishes and reduces
to servitude the foreign merchant resident in his empire, never allowing
him to visit his native country without the guarantee of leaving his
wife and family behind as hostages for his return. The native merchant
is, in all cases, absolutely at the mercy of his imperial lord. On the
bombardment of Mogador, all the native and resident traders, not
excepting the English merchants, were found overwhelmed with debt, and,
therefore, were not allowed to leave the country; and they were only
saved from the pillage and massacre of the ferocious Berber tribes by a
miracle of good luck.
Since the bombardment of Mogador, the Emperor has more strongly than
ever set his face against the establishment of strangers in his
dominions. Now his Imperial Highness is anxious that all commerce should
be transacted by his own subjects. The Emperor's Jews are, in future, to
be the principal medium of commerce between Morocco and Europe, which,
indeed, is facilitated by many of the native Jews having direct
relations with European Jews, those of London and Marseilles. In this
way, the Maroquines will be relieved from the embarrassments occasioned
by the presence of Europeans, Jews, or Christians, under the protection
of foreign consuls. The Emperor, also, has a fair share of trade, and
gets a good return on what he exports; the balance of commercial
transactions is always in his favour.
I must add a word on the way of treating politically with the Court of
Morocco. The modes and maxims of this Court, not unlike those of the
Chinese, are procrastination, plausible delays, and voluminous
despatches and communications, which are carried on through the hands of
intermediaries and subordinate agents of every rank and degree. You can
never communicate directly with the Emperor, as with other Barbary
princes and pashas. This system has admirably and invariably succeeded
for the last two or three centuries; that is to say, the empire of
Morocco has remained intact by foreign influences, while its system of
commerce has been an exclusive native monopoly. The Americans, however,
have endeavoured to adopt a more expeditious mode of treating with the
Maroquine Court. They have something, in the style and spirit of Lynch
law, usually made their own demands and their own terms, by threatening
the immediate withdrawal of their consul, or the bombardment of ports.
The Shereefs, thus intimidated, have yielded, though with a very bad
grace. Nevertheless, the Americans have received no favours, nor have
they obtained a nearer approach to the awful Shereefian presence than
other people; and it is not likely they ever will succeed beyond their
neighbours. The French and English have always negotiated and
corresponded, corresponded and negotiated, and been worsted once and
worsted again. Somehow or other, the Emperor has, in most cases, had his
own way. Neither the American nor our own European system is the right
or dignified course. And I am still of opinion, that the Maroquine Court
is so far enlightened respecting the actual state of the barbarians or
Christian infidels, out of its Shereefian land of Marabouts, out of its
central orthodox Mussulman land of the Mugreb, as to be accessible to
ordinary notions of things, and that it would always concede a just
demand if it were rightly and vigorously pressed, and if the religious
fanaticism of its people were not involved in the transaction. Thus far
we may do justice to the government of these Moorish princes.
This opinion, however, does not altogether coincide with that of the
late Mr. Hay. According to the report of Mr. Borrow, as found in his
work, "The Bible of Spain," the Moorish government, according to Mr.
Hay, was "one of the vilest description, with which it was next to
impossible to hold amicable relations, as it invariably acted with bad
faith, and set at nought the most solemn treaties." But, if the
Maroquine Court had acted in this most extraordinary manner, surely
there would now be no Moorish empire of Western Barbary.
Arrival at Tangier.--Moorish Pilgrims in Cordova.--Address of the
Anti-Slavery Society.--Mr. D. Hay, British Consul.--Institut
d'Afrique.--Conveyance of Eunuchs in vessels under the French
Flag.--Franco-Moorish Politics.--Corn Monopolies in Morocco.--Love and
veneration for the English name.--Celebration of the Ayd-Kebir, great
festival. Value of Money in Morocco.--Juvenile Strolling
Singer.--General account of the city of Tangier.--Intercourse between
the Moorish Emperor and the Foreign Consuls.--Cockney sportsmen,--The
degrading of high Moorish Functionaries.--How we smuggle Cattle from
Tangier to Gibraltar.--The Blood-letting of plethoric Placemen.
The communication between Gibraltar and Tangier is by no means easy and
regular, though the places are only a few hours' distance from the
other. I had waited many days at Gib. (as our captain called the former
place), before the wind enabled us to leave, and then, our boat being a
small transport for cattle, and the Government contractors wanting beef
for the garrison--for an Englishman or an English soldier cannot live in
any part of the world without beef--we were compelled to leave with the
wind in our teeth, and to make a night's voyage of this four or five
hours' traverse. It might be worth while, one would think, to try a
small steam-tug for the conveyance of cattle from Tangier to our
garrison, which, besides, would be a great convenience for passengers.
On coming on deck in the morning, Tangier, "the city protected of the
Lord," appeared in all its North African lineaments, white and bright,
shining, square masses of masonry, domes of fair and modest santos, and
the heaven-pointing minarets; here and there a graceful palm, a dark
olive, or the black bushy kharoub, and all denned sharply and clearly in
the goodly prospect. But these Barbary towns had lost much of their
freshness or novelty to me, and novelty is the greatest ingredient of
our pleasure in foreign travel. I had also just travelled through Spain,
and the south of this country is still, as to its aspect, part and
parcel of Morocco, though it is severed by the Straits. In the ancient
Moorish city of Cordova, I had even saluted the turban. I met two Moors
strolling along, with halting steps and triste mien, through the
streets, whom I instinctively addressed.
"_Wein mashe. Ash tomel_. Where are you going? What are you doing?"
The Moors (greatly pleased to hear the sound of their own mother-tongue
in the land of their pilgrimage).--"_Net jerrej_. We are enjoying
Traveller.--"What do you think of the country (Cordova)?"
The Moors.--"This is the land of our fathers."
Traveller.--"Well, what then? Are you going to possess it again?"
The Moors.--"Of what country are you?"
The Moors (brightening up).--"That is good. Yes, we are very glad. We
thought you might be a Spaniard, or a Frenchman. Now we'll tell you all;
we don't fear. God will give us this country again, when Seedna Aisa 
comes to deliver us from these curse-smitten dogs of Spaniards." 
Traveller.--"Well, never mind the Spaniards. Have you seen anything you
The Moors.--"Look at this knife; it is rusty; it should not be so."
The Moors.--"We read in our books and commentators that in Andalous
(Spain) there is no rust, and that nothing rusts here." 
Traveller.--"Nonsense; have you seen the hundred pillars of your
mosque?" (Now converted into a cathedral.)
The Moors.--"Ah, we have seen them," with a deep sigh; "and the pillars
will stand till to-morrow." (End of the world.)
I was obliged to say farewell to these poor pilgrims, wandering in the
land of their fathers, and worshipping at the threshold of the noble
remains of Moresco-Spanish antiquity, for the _diligencia_ was starting
off to Seville.
To return from my digression. I soon found myself at home in Tangier
amongst my old friends, the Moors, and coming from Spain, could easily
recognise many things connecting the one country with the other.
The success attending the various measures of the Bey of Tunis for the
abolition of slavery in North Africa, and the favourable manner in which
this prince had received me, when I had charge of a memorial from the
inhabitants of Malta, to congratulate his Highness on his great work on
philanthropy, induced the Committee of the Anti-Slavery Society to
confide to me an address to the Emperor of Morocco, praying him to
enfranchise the negro race of his imperial dominions.
We were fully prepared to encounter the strongest opposition from the
Shereefian Court; but, at the same time, we thought there could be no
insuperable obstacle in our way.
The Maroquines had the same religion and form of government as the
Tuniseens, and by perseverance in this, as well as any other enterprise,
something might at last be effected. Even the agitation of the question
in the empire of Morocco, amongst its various tribes, was a thing not to
be neglected; for the agitation of public opinion in a despotic country
like Morocco, as well as in a constitutional state like England,
admirably prepares the way for great measures of reform and
philanthropy; and, besides the business of an abolitionnist is
agitation; agitation unceasing; agitation in season and out of season.
On my arrival at Tangier, I called upon Mr. Drummond Hay, the British
Consul-General, stating to him my object, and asking his assistance. The
English Government had instructed the Consul to address the Emperor on
this interesting subject, not long before I arrived, but it was with the
greatest difficulty that any sort of answer could be obtained to the
Mr. Hay, therefore, gave me but small encouragement, and was not a
little surprised when I told him I expected a letter of introduction
from Her Majesty's Government. He could not understand this reiterated
assault on the Shereefs for the abolition of slavery, not comprehending
the absolute necessity of continued agitation on such a difficult
matter, as exciting from a despotic and semi-barbarous prince, fortified
by the prejudices of ages and generally sanctioned in his conduct by his
religion, the emancipation of a degraded and enslaved portion of the
human race.  However, Mr. Hay was polite, and set about arranging
matters for proceeding with a confessedly disagreeable subject for any
consul to handle under like circumstances. He made a copy of the address
of the Anti-Slavery Society, and sent it to the English Government,
requesting instructions. I expected an address from the Institut
d'Afrique of Paris; but, after waiting some time, the Secretary, Mr.
Hippolyte de St. Anthoine, wrote me a letter, in which he stated that,
on account of the ill-will manifested by the Emperor to the
establishment of the French in Algeria, the Institut had come to the
painful conclusion of not addressing him for the abolition of the
slave-trade in his imperial states.
Soon after my arrival at Tangier, the English letter-boat, Carreo
Ingles, master, Matteo Attalya, brought twelve eunuch slaves, African
youths, from Gibraltar. They are a present from the Viceroy of Egypt to
the Emperor of Morocco. The Correo is the weekly bearer of letters and
despatches to and from Morocco. The slaves were not entered upon the
bill of health, thus infringing upon the maritime laws of Gibraltar and
Tangier. The other captains of the little boats could not help
remarking, "You English make so much fuss about putting down the
slave-trade, and allow it to be carried on under your own flag." Even
the foreign consuls here reprobated the inconsistency of the British
Government, in aiding the slave-trade of the Mediterranean by their own
flag. However, Government ordered a strict inquiry into this case, and
took means for preventing the occurrence of a like abuse. Nevertheless,
since then the Emperor has actually applied to the British Consul to
allow eunuchs to be brought down the Mediterranean in English steamers,
in the same way as these were brought from Malta to Gibraltar in the
Prometheus--as, forsooth, servants and passengers. And on the refusal of
our consul to sanction this illicit conveyance of slaves by British
vessels, the Emperor applied to the French consul, who condescended to
hoist the tri-coloured flag for the transport of slave-eunuchs! This is
one way of mitigating the prejudices of the Shereefian Court against the
French occupation of Algeria. Many slaves are carried up and down the
Mediterranean in French vessels.
The keeper of an hotel related to me with great bitterness, that the
French officer who came with me from Gibraltar had left Tetuan for
Algeria. The officer had ordered a great many things of this man,
promising to pay on his return to Tangier. He deposited an old hatbox as
a security, which, on being opened by the hotel keeper, was found to be
full of greasy paper. At Tetuan, the officer gave himself out as a
special envoy of the Emperor of the French.
My good friends, the Moors, continue to speculate upon the progress of
the French army in Algeria. I asked a Moorish officer what he thought of
the rumoured French invasion of Morocco. He put the backs of his hands
together, and locking together his fingers to represent the back of a
hedgehog, he observed emphatically; "Impossible! No Christians can
invade us. Our country is like a hedgehog, no one can touch us." Tangier
Christians will never permit the French to invade Morocco, whatever may
be the pretext. This is even the opinion of the foreign consuls.
As a specimen of the commercial system of this country, I may mention
that the monopoly of exporting leeches was sold this week to a Jew, at
the rate of 25,000 dollars. Now the Jew refuses to buy leeches except at
his own price, whilst every unfortunate trader is obliged to sell to him
and to him only. In fact, the monopolist fixes the price, and everybody
who brings leeches to Tangier must accept it. This case of leeches may
be applied to nearly all the monopolies of the country. Can anything be
more ruinous to commerce?
All the Moors of Tangier, immediately on entering into conversation with
me, inquire if I am Engleez? Even Moorish children ask this question: it
appears to be a charm to them. The Ayd Kebir (great feast) was
celebrated to-day, being the first of the new year. It was ushered in
yesterday by prayer in the mosques. About 9 A.M. the governor, the
commandant of the troops, and other Tangier authorities, proceeded to
the open space of the market, attended with flags and music, and some
hundred individuals all dressed in their holiday clothes. The white
flag, typical of the sanctity of religion, floated over others of
scarlet and green; the music was of squeaking bagpipes, and rude
tumtums, struck like minute drums. The greater part were on horseback,
the governor being most conspicuous. This troop of individuals ascended
a small hill of the market-place, where they remained half an hour in
No Jew or Christian was allowed to approach the magic or sacred circle
which enclosed them. This being concluded, down ran a butcher with a
sheep on his back; just slaughtered, and bleeding profusely. A troop of
boys followed quickly at his heels pelting him with stones. The butcher
ran through the town to the seashore, and thence to the house of the
Kady--the boys still in hot and breathless pursuit, hard after him,
pelting him and the bleeding sheep. The Moors believe, if the man can
arrive at the house of the judge before the sheep dies, that the people
of Tangier will have good luck; but, if the sheep should be quite dead,
and not moving a muscle, then it will bring them bad luck, and the
Christians are likely to come and take away their country from them. The
drollest part of the ceremony is, that the boys should scamper after the
butcher, pelting the sheep, and trying to kill it outright, thus
endeavouring to bring ill-luck upon their city and themselves. But how
many of us really and knowingly seek our misfortunes? On the occasion of
this annual feast, every Moor, or head of a family, kills a sheep. The
rich give to the poor, but the poor usually save up their earnings to be
able to purchase a sheep to kill on this day. The streets are in
different parts covered with blood, making them look like so many
slaughter grounds. When the bashaw of the province is in Tangier,
thousands of the neighbouring Arabs come to pay him their respects. With
the Moors, the festivals of religion are bona fide festivals. It may
also be added, as characteristic of these North African barbarians,
that, whilst many a poor person in our merry Christian England does not,
and cannot, get his plum-pudding and roast-beef at Christmas, there is
not a poor man or even a slave, in Morocco who does not eat his lamb on
this great feast of the Mussulmans. It would be a mortal sin for a rich
man to refuse a poor man a mouthful of his lamb.
Of course there was a sensation among the native population, and even
among the consular corps, about my mission; but I have nothing very
particular to record. I had many Moorish visitors, some of whom were
officers of the imperial troops. I made the acquaintance of one, Sidi
Ali, with whom I had the following dialogue:--
Traveller.--"Sidi Ali, what can I do to impress Muley Abd Errahman in my
Traveller.--"But will the Emir of the Shereefs accept of money from us
Traveller.--"What am I to give the minister Ben Dris, to get his
Traveller.--"Can I travel in safety in Morocco?"
Indeed "money" seems to be the all and everything in Morocco, as among
us, "the nation of shopkeepers." The Emperor himself sets the example,
for he is wholly occupied in amassing treasures in Mequiney. Another
acquaintance of mine was a little more communicative.
Aged Moor.--"What can I do for you, stranger? You are good to me, every
time I call here you give me tea with plenty of sugar in it. What can I
do for you in my country?"
Traveller.--"Tell me how to get on in my mission? How can I see Muley
Aged Moor.--"Now I am bound to give you my best advice. First then, take
plenty of money with you. All love money; therefore without money you
can do nothing. Muley Abd Errahman loves money, and money he must have.
And the minister loves money, and the minister must not be forgotten.
The minister is the door to the Emperor. You cannot get into the house
but through the door. Out of the towns and cities, the Emperor has no
power; so that whenever you travel out of these places, remember to give
the people money."
I had numberless volunteers to conduct me to Fez. All came begging for
this honour and lucrative employment. Whatever may be said of the
virtues of hospitality, I found all the world alike in its determination
to make the most of strangers, if not to devour them. But the Emperor
was not at Fez; he was in the southern capital, and it was necessary for
me to go via Mogador, to endeavour to obtain an interview with him at
The dreary monotony of Moorish life was one day broken in upon by a
juvenile strolling singer, who attracted a crowd of silent and attentive
listeners. It was a grateful sight to see old men, with long and silvery
beards, reclining in mute and serious attention; young men lounging in
the pride and consciousness of animal strength; little children
intermixed, but without prattle or merriment--all fixed and fascinated
with the charm of vocal song. The vocalist himself was a picturesque
object; his face was burnt black with Afric's sun, his bare head was
wildly covered with long, black matted, and curly hair, but his eye was
soft and serene; and, as he stretched his throat upwards to give compass
to his voice, he seemed as if he would catch inspiration from the
Prophet in heaven. A coarse brown blanket enveloped his spare and
way-worn body, his only clothing and shelter from the heat by day and
the cold by night, a fold of which fell upon his naked feet.
The voice of the Arab vocalist was extremely plaintive, even to the
tones and inflections of distress, and the burden of his song was of
religion and of love--two sentiments which all pure minds delight to
combine. When he stopped a moment to take breath, a murmur of applause
vibrated through the still air of the evening, not indeed for the youth,
but for God!  for it was a prayer of the artless and enraptured
bystanders, invoking Allah to bless the singing lad, and also to bless
them, while ascribing all praise to the Deity.
This devout scene raised the Moors greatly in my estimation. I thought
men could not be barbarians, or even a jealous or vindictive race, who
were charmed with such simple melody of sounds, and with sentiments so
pure and true to nature.
The Arab youth sang:--
Oh, there's none but the One God!
I'll journey over the Desert far
To seek my love the fairest of maidens;
The camels moan loudly to carry me thither,
Gainly are they, and fleeter than the swift-legged ostrich.
Oh, there's none but the One God!
What though the Desert wind slay me;
What of it? death is from God.
And woe to me! I cannot repine.
But I'll away to the abode of my love,
I'll embrace her with all my strength,
I'll bear her back thence, and rest her on my couch.
Oh, there's none but the One God!
So sang in plaintive accents the youth, until the last ray of the sun
lingered on the minarets' tops, when, by the louder and authoritative
voice of the Muezin calling the Faithful to prayers, this crowd of the
worshippers of song and vocal harmony was dispersed to meet again, and
forthwith chant a more solemn strain. The poor lad of the streets and
highways went into the mosque along with his motley group of admirers;
and all blended their voices and devotion together in prayer and
adoration, lowly and in profound prostration, before the Great Allah!
It is my intention, in the course of the present narrative, to give a
brief account of the principal towns and cities of North Africa; and I
cannot do better than begin with Tangier. This city is very ancient,
having probably been built by the aboriginals, Berbers, and was usually
called by the Romans, Taigo on Tingis. The Emperor Claudius re-peopled
it, and called it Julia Traducta. The Moors call it Sanjah, and relate
that Benhad Sahab El-Alem built it, also surrounded it with walls of
metal, and constructed its houses of gold and silver. In this condition,
it remained until destroyed by some Berber kings, who carried away all
its treasures. The modern Tangier is a small city of the province of
Hasbat, picturesquely placed on the eastern slope of a hill, which
terminates in the west with its port and bay, having some analogy to the
site of Algiers. It has almost a square form, and its ramparts are a
wall, flanked here and there with towers. This place, likewise, is most
advantageously situate in the narrowest part of the Straits of
Gibraltar, at a few miles east of Cape Spartel, and thirty miles W.S.W.
of Gibraltar, and has, therefore, been coveted by all the conquerors of
North Africa. The Phoenicians, Romans, Goths, and Arabs successively
effected its conquest; and it was long a bone of eager contention
between the Moors and Portuguese. In 1471, Alonzo, King of Portugal,
took it from the Moors; and in 1662 it came into the hands of the
English, as a part of the dowry of Catherine, queen of Charles II.; so,
whilst in our possession it was a place of considerable strength; but on
its evacuation in 1684 by order of the English government, who were
disgusted by the expense of its occupation, and the bootless collisions
with the natives, the fortifications were demolished, and only the
vestiges of them now are visible. Had the British Government continued
its occupation for half a century, and kept in check the Maroquine
tribes, it is probable that by this time the greater part of Morocco
would have been under British rule, when we might have founded a
flourishing colony, from which all North Africa might have received the
elements of Christian civilization.
Old Tangier (Tangier belia) is situate about four miles east from the
present, being now a heap of ruins, near a little river called Khalk or
Tingia, spanned over by the remains of a once finely-built Roman bridge.
Here was likewise an artificial port, where the Roman galleys retired.
The whole of this part of Africa was denominated by the Romans,
Mauritania, from the name of this city; and during their administration
was united to the government of Spain. Tangier had a population of from
four to six thousand. Grabert estimates the population at 10,000,
including 2,500 Jews, who live intermixed with the Moors; 1,400 negroes,
300 Berbers of Rif, and about 100 Christians. The Consuls-General of the
European Powers reside here; and most of them have commodious houses.
The Swedish Consul has a splendid garden, which is thrown open to the
European residents. There is but one good street in the town; and the
transition from Europe to Barbary, at so short a distance, is striking
to the stranger. Tarifa, on the opposite side, along the coast of Spain,
has, however, a Moorish affinity to this place; and the dress of the
women is not very dissimilar in the two towns, once inhabited by the
people of the same religion, and now, perhaps, many of them descendants
of the same families.
Tangier, though a miserable place compared to most of the cities in
Europe, is something considerable in Morocco, and the great mosque is
rather splendid. Mr. Borrow justly remarks that its minarets look like
the offspring of the celebrated Giralda of Seville. The Christians have
here a convent, and a church within it, to which are attached
half-a-dozen monks. There is no Protestant church; Mr. Hay reads service
in the British Consulate, and invites the Protestant residents. Tangier
is the only place in the empire where the Christian religion is publicly
professed. The Jews have three or four small synagogues. Usually, the
synagogues in Barbary are nothing more than private houses.
Before the bombardment of the French, the fortifications mounted forty
pieces or so of cannon, but of no strength; on the contrary, going
completely to ruin and decay, being scarcely strong enough to fire a
salute from. The Bay of Tangier is good and spacious; but, in the course
of time, will be filled up with sand. The shipping is exposed to strong
westerly winds. The safest anchorage, however, is on the the eastern
part, about half a mile off the shore, in a line with the round tower.
With a few thousand pounds, one of the finest--at least, one of the most
convenient--ports of the Mediterranean could be constructed here. There
is a bashaw of this province, who resides at El-Araish, and a
lieutenant-governor, who lives at Tangier. With these functionaries, the
representatives of European Powers have principally to transact affairs.
On the north is the castle, the residence of the governor.
Eleven consuls take up their abode in Tangier; the British, French,
Spanish, Portuguese, American, Danish, Swedish, Sardinian, Neapolitan,
Austrian, and Dutch. Each consular house generally belongs to its
particular nation, the ground to the Sultan.
The consuls who have the most interest to guard in Morocco, are the
British, French, Spanish, and Portuguese. Up to the bombardment of
Tangier, the Danish and Swedish Governments paid to the Maroquine Court,
the former 25,000 and the latter 20,000 dollars per annum, to have the
privilege of hoisting their flag at this port. The French hostilities
against Morocco furnished a convenient opportunity for getting this
odious tribute abolished. The Americans led the way in getting rid of
this subservience to the Shereefian Court, and refused from the first
all presents and annual donations. Generally, however, when new consuls
are appointed, they bring with them presents, and visit the Emperor in
person. On the occasion of _fetes_, they sometimes make presents to the
governors of districts. Whenever the Emperor condescends to come down to
Tangier, three days after his arrival, it is the required etiquette for
the consuls to seek his presence, and to make their obeisance to the
Shereefian Lord. The consuls are accustomed to decide upon and control
the affairs of their own countrymen, and those placed under their
protection; but when a Moor and an European are concerned in a
transaction, it is usually a mixed commission of the consulate and the
Many curious anecdotes are current respecting the consuls and the
Moorish government. A Spanish consul once took it into his head to
strike his flag and leave Tangier. Whilst he was gone, the Emperor
ordered all the Jews to go and take possession of his house and live in
it, as a degradation. The consular house was soon crammed with dirty
Jews, whose vermin and filth rendered the house untenantable, until it
had undergone a thorough repair and cleansing. Sometimes the Emperor
shows a great affection for a particular consular family. The family of
the Portuguese Consul were great favorites. During the war of succession
in Portugal, the Portuguese Consul contracted debts in Tangier, not
being able to get his salary amidst the strife of parties. The Moors
complained to the Emperor of the consul's debts. Muley Abd Errahman,
though a thorough miser himself, paid the consul's debts, alleging as a
reason, "the consul was a friend of my ancestors, and he shall be my
friend." The Portuguese government wished to remove this consul on
account of his alleged Miguelite propensities, but the Emperor
threatened, if they did, that he would not receive another. Our
government compelled the Portuguese to gratify the personal feeling of
the Emperor. Senhor Colaso is a native of Morocco, as his father was
before him, and the Emperor calls them his own children. The Jewish
servants of the consulates are free from the poll-tax and other
obnoxious contributions, and their Moorish servants are also exempt from
At times, very serious misunderstandings and disputes occur between the
consuls and the Emperor on the subject of his Imperial Highness. Our
consul, Mr. Hay, was shot at by a fanatic marabout, the ball missing
him, but killing a horse of one of the party. This affair was passed
over, the consul very properly taking no notice of a mad saint. But I
will cite another instance, as showing the intimate perception which the
Moors have of the peculiar precepts of our religion, as well as
exhibiting their own moral ideas, in each case representing them to us
in a favourable light. One of the Emperor's subjects had insulted the
French consul, M. Sourdeau, and Muley Suleiman addressed to him the
following singular epistle.
"In the name of God, the most merciful. There is no power or force
except with the Most High and Great God!
"Consul of the French nation, Sourdeau, and salutation to him who is in
the right way. Inasmuch as you are our guest, under our protection, and
consul in our country of a great nation, so we cannot but wish you the
greatest consideration and the honours. On which account, you will
perceive that that which has happened to you is to us intolerable, and
would still be so had it been done by one of our own children or most
intimate friends. And although we cannot put any obstacle to the decrees
of God, yet such an act is not grateful to us, even if it is done to the
vilest of men, or even cattle, and certainly we will not fail to show an
example of severe justice, God willing. If you were not Christians,
having a feeling heart, and bearing patiently injuries, after the
example of your prophet, whom God has in glory, Jesus the son of Mary,
who, in the Book which he brought you in the name of God, commands you,
that if any person strike you on one cheek turn to him the other also;
and who (always blessed of God!) also did not defend himself when the
Jews sought to kill him, from whom God took him. And, in our Book, it is
said, by the mouth of our Prophet, there is no people among whom there
are so many disposed to good works as those who call themselves
Christians; and certainly among you there are many priests and holy men
who are not proud; nevertheless, our Prophet also says, that we cannot
impute a crime to persons of three sorts, that is to say, madmen (until
they return to sound sense), children, and persons who sleep. Now this
man who has offended you is mad, and has no knowledge; but we have
decreed to give you full satisfaction. If, however, you should be
pleased to pardon him, you will perform a magnanimous work, and the Most
Merciful will abundantly recompense you. On the other hand, if you
absolutely wish him to be punished, he is in your hands, for in my
empire no one shall fear injustice or violence, with the assistance of
A whimsical story is current in Tangier respecting the dealings of the
Shereefian Court with the Neapolitan government, which characteristically
sets forth Moorish diplomacy or manoeuvring. A ship load of sulphur was
sent to the Emperor. The Moorish authorities declared it was very coarse
and mixed with dirt. With great alacrity, the Neapolitan government sent
another load of finer and better quality. This was delivered; and the
Consul asked the Moorish functionaries to allow the coarse sulphur to be
conveyed back. These worthies replied, "Oh dear, no! it is of no
consequence, the Emperor says, he will keep the bad, and not offend his
royal cousin, the King of Naples, by sending it back." The Neapolitan
government had no alternative but to submit, and thank the chief of the
Shereefs for his extreme condescension in accepting two ship-loads of
sulphur instead of one.
There are occasional communications between Tangier and Tarifa, in
Spain, but they are very frequent with Gibraltar. A vast quantity of
European merchandize is imported here from Gibraltar for Fez and the
north of Morocco. All the postal and despatch business also comes
through Tangier, which has privileges that few or no other Maroquine
cities possess. The emperors, indeed, have been wont to call it "the
City of Christians." In the environs, there is at times a good deal of
game, and the European residents go out to shoot, as one is wont in
other countries to talk a walk. The principal game is the partridge and
hare, and the grand sport, the wild boar. Our officers of the Gibraltar
garrison come over for shooting. But quackery and humbug exist in
everything. A young gentleman has just arrived from Gibraltar, who had
been previously six weeks on his passage from Holland to that place,
with his legs infixed in a pair of three-league boots. He says he has
come from Holland on purpose to sport and hunt in Morocco. Several of
the consuls, when they go out sporting, metamorphose themselves into
veteran Numidian sportsmen. You would imagine they were going to hunt
lions for months in the ravines of the Atlas, whereas it is only to
shoot a stray partridge or a limping hare, or perchance they may meet
with a boar. And this they do for a couple of days, or twenty-four
hours, sleeping during the night very snugly under tents, and fed and
feasted with milk, fowls, and sheep by the Arabs.
Morocco, like all despotic countries, furnishes some severe examples of
the degrading of high functionaries. There is an old man,
Sidi-El-Arby-Es-Said, living there, who is a marked victim of imperial
tyranny. Some years ago, the conqueror despoiled him of all his wealth,
and threw him into prison, after he had been twenty years bashaw of this
district. He was in prison one year with his two sons. The object of the
Emperor was to extort the last filse of his money; and he entirely
succeeded. The oppressor, however, relented a little on the death of one
of his victim's sons; released him from confinement, and gave the
ex-bashaw two houses, one for himself and the other for his surviving
son. The old captain of the port has been no less than a dozen times in
prison, under the exhausting pressure of the Emperor. After the imperial
miser has copiously bled his captain, he lets him out to fill his skin
again. The old gentleman is always merry and loyal, in spite of the
treatment from his imperial taskmaster.
Very funny stories are told by the masters of the small craft, who
transport the bullocks from hence to Gibraltar. The government of that
place are only allowed to export, at a low duty per annum, a certain
number of bullocks. The contractor's agents come over; and at the moment
of embarking the cattle, something like the following dialogue
_Agent of Contractor_.--"Count away!"
_Captain of the Port_.--"One, two, three, &c. Thirty, forty. Ah! stop!
stop! too many."
_Agent of Contractor_.--"No, you fool, there are only thirty."
_Captain of the Port_.--"You lie! there are forty."
_Agent of Contractor_.--"Only thirty, I tell you," (putting three or
four dollars into his hand).
_Captain of the Port_.--"Well, well, there are only thirty."
And, in this way, the garrison of Gibraltar often gets 500 or 1,000 head
of cattle more than the stipulated number, at five dollars per head duty
instead of ten. Who derives the benefit of peculation I am unable to
state. An anecdote recurs to me of old Youssef, Bashaw of Tripoli,
illustrative of the phlebotomizing system now under consideration.
Colonel Warrington one day seriously represented to the bashaw how his
functionaries robbed him, and took the liberty of mentioning the name of
one person. "Yes, yes," observed the bashaw, "I know all about him; I
don't want to catch him yet; he's not fat enough. When he has gorged a
little more, I'll have his head off."
The Emperor of Morocco, however, usually treats his bashaws of the coast
with greater consideration than those of the interior cities, the former
being more in contact with Europeans, his Highness not wishing his
reputation to suffer in the eyes of Christians.
The Posada.--Ingles and Benoliel.--Amulets for successful
parturition.--Visits of a Moorish Taleb and a Berber.--Three Sundays
during a week in Barbary.--M. Rey's account of the Empire of
Morocco.--The Government Auctioneer gives an account of Slavery and the
Slave Trade in Morocco.--Benoliel as English Cicerone.--Departure from
Tangier to Gibraltar.--How I lost my fine green broadcloth.--Mr.
Frenerry's opinion of Maroquine Affairs.
I took up my stay at the "English Hotel" (posada Ingles), kept by
Benoliel, a Morocco Jew, who spoke tolerable English. A Jerusalemitish
rabbi came in one day to write charms for his wife, she being near her
confinement. The superstition of charms and other cognate matters, are
shared alike by all the native inhabitants of Barbary. It often happens
that a Marabout shrine will be visited by Moor and Jew, each investing
the departed saint with his own peculiar sanctity. So contagious is this
species of superstition, that Romish Christians, long resident in
Barbary, assisted by the inventive monks, at last discover the Moorish
or Jewish to be a Christian saint. The Jewesses brought our Oriental
rabbi, declaring him to know everything, and that his garments smelt of
the Holy City. Benoliel, or Ben, as the English called him, protested to
me that he did not believe in charms; he only allowed the rabbi to write
them to please the women. But I have found, during my travels in the
Mediterranean, many persons of education, who pretended they did not
believe this or that superstition of their church, whilst they were at
heart great cowards, having no courage to reject a popular falsehood,
and quite as superstitious as those who never doubt the excrescent
dogmas or traditionary fables of their religion. The paper amulets,
however, operated favourably on Mrs. Benoliel. She was delivered of a
fine child; and received the congratulations of her neighbours. The
child was named Sultana;  and the people were all as merry as if a
princess had been born in Israel.
I received a visit from a Moorish taleb, to whom I read some portions of
my journal, as also the Arabic Testament:
_Taleb_.--"The English read Arabic because they are the friends of
Mussulmans. For this reason, God gives them wit to understand the
language of the Koran."
_Traveller_.--"We wish to study all languages, and to know all people."
_Taleb_.--"Now, as you have become so wise in our country, and read
Arabic, where next are you going? Why not be quiet and return home, and
live a marabout? Where next are you going?"
In this strain the Taleb continued lecturing me, until he was
interrupted by a Berber of Rif.
The Rifian.--"Christian, Engleez, come to our mountains. I will conduct
you to the Emir, on whom is the blessing of God. Come to the Emir,
Traveller.--"No, I've nothing to do with war."
The Rifian.--"Ah! ah! ah! I know you are a necromancer. Cannot you tell
me where money is buried? I want money very bad. Give me a peseta."
Traveller.--"Not I. I am going to see your Emperor."
The Rifian.--"Ah! ah! ah! that is right; give him plenty of money. Muley
Abd Errahman hoards up money always. If you give him plenty of money,
you will be placed on a horse and ride by his side."
The inhabitants of Barbary all bury their money. The secret is confided
to a single person, who often is taken ill, and dies before he can
discover the hiding place to his surviving relatives. Millions of
dollars are lost in this way. The people, conscious of their secret
practice, are always on the scent for concealed treasures.
One Friday, some Jews asked the governor of the custom-house to grant
them their clearance-papers, because they were, early on the Sunday
following, to depart for Gibraltar. The governor said, "Come to-morrow."
"No," replied the Jews, "we cannot, it's our feast." "Well," returned
the governor, "you Jews have your feasts, the Christians have theirs,
and we Mussulmen will have ours. I'll not go down to the custom-house to
day, for it is my feast." These three Sundays or feasts, prevalent
through North Africa, are very inconvenient for business, and often make
men rebels to their religious persuasions.
The following is a Frenchman's account of Morocco  up to the time of
"The question of Algeria cannot be confined within the limits of the
French possessions. It embraces Morocco, a country possessing a vast and
varied population. Leo gave a marvellous description of Fez, as the
second city of Islamism in his time. Travellers who have sought to
explore Africa, rarely or never took the route via Morocco. Formerly,
monks were stationed in the interior to purchase captives; but, since
piracy has ceased, these have left the country. Very few persons go into
the interior, for Maroquine merchants come out of their country to
trade. Tangier and Tetuan are not fair specimens of Morocco; they form a
transition from Europe to Africa, being neither Spain nor Morocco. The
ambassador, or merchant, who now-a-days gets an audience with the
Sultan, is allowed to see little of the country, arising from the
jealousy of the government or native merchants. Davidson was probably
murdered by the jealousy of the Fez merchants.
"All the larger cities of Morocco are situate upon the coast, excepting
three capitals of the interior--Fez, Miknas, and Morocco, to which
El-Kesar-Kebir may be added. The other interior places are mostly large
villages, where the tribes of the country collect together. The
inhabitants of the cities make gain their only business, and debauchery
their only pleasure. As to their learning, there is an immense
difference between a Turkish ulema and a Moorish doctor.
"From the fall of Carthage and Rome, until the fourteenth century, the
people of North Africa have had relations with Europe. The independence
of the kingdoms of Fez and Morocco fell by internal dissensions like the
Mussulman power in Spain. After expelling the Mahometans from Spain, the
Christians (Spaniards and Portuguese) pursued them to Morocco, and built
a line of forts on its coasts. Those have all now been abandoned except
four, held by Spain. England destroyed the fortifications and abandoned
Tangier, which she had obtained through Portugal. To blockade Tangier at
the present time, would do more harm to England than Morocco, by cutting
off the supply of provisions for Gibraltar.
"The navy of Morocco was never very great. It was the audacity and
cruelty of its pirates which frightened Christendom. During the maritime
wars of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, the Emperor of Morocco
remained neutral, which was a great benefit to the Christian belligerent
powers. Spain must be at peace with Morocco; she must either be an
active friend, or an enemy. The policy of Morocco, in former times, was
so well managed, that it made all the Christian powers pay a certain
tribute to that country, to insure themselves against the piracy of its
"The history of the diplomatic relations of Europe with Morocco,
presents only a chronicle of shameful concessions made by the European
powers to the Moorish princes. At the end of the eighteenth century, the
Sultan of Morocco declared that, 'Whoever was not his friend was his
enemy,' or, in other words, that 'he would arm his cruisers against
every flag which did not float upon a consular house at Tangier.'
"Muley Abd Errahman sent his corsairs to sea in 1828 to frighten the
European powers into treaties. The plan succeeded, the first squabble
being with Austria. From 1830, or, better to mark the period, since the
capture of Algiers, the corsairs and their depredations have ceased. The
progress of France in Africa has produced a profound impression in
Morocco, but European powers have not taken their due advantage of this.
Many humiliating acts have been performed by different governments.
England possessed herself of all the commerce of importance since she
has been established at Gibraltar. On the whole coast of Morocco, there
are only two mercantile establishments under the French flag. French
consular agents have no influence with the Moorish government. Morocco
and Spain have shewn themselves neighbours. Mutual assistance has often
been given by Morocco and Spain, in cases of national distress,
particularly in seasons of famine.
"The Sultan of Morocco surveys from a distance the events of Europe, and
endeavours to arrest their effect on his frontier. The residence of the
foreign consuls was first at Rabat, then at Tangier. The object has
constantly been to keep the consuls, as far as possible, from his
capital and the transactions of his interior, in order that they may not
see the continual revolts of his tribes, and so discover the weakness
and disunion of the empire. Communications between Tangier and Morocco
require at least forty days, a system shrewdly laid down by the Sultan,
who is anxious to be as remote as possible from the consuls and their
"The state of the army and navy, and particularly of the munitions of
war, is very bad. All the coast of Morocco is difficult of access, and
the only two ports which would have served for a naval station, are
those which have been abandoned, viz., the Bay of Santa Cruz and the
ancient Mamora, between El-Araish and Rabat; the rest are only
M. Rey thus sums up his observations upon European diplomacy directed
towards Morocco. "Voluntary humbling of European nations, always ready
to pander to Moorish rapacity, even without reaping any advantage for
it; and who submit themselves to be uselessly ransomed. As to the
English, they show suppleness and prudence, and sacrificing national
dignity to the prosperity of commerce; the Sultans are not backward in
taking advantage adroitly of a situation so favourable and almost
unique; such is the picture of the diplomatic relations we have
He describes the personal character and habits of the Sultan, Muley Abd
Errahman, and gives details of the court.
"A Jew is the master-cook of the Emperor, his Imperial Highness always
eats alone. The Sultan receives European merchants in a very friendly
manner, whilst he keeps ambassadors at a respectful distance. An
interview with an ambassador does not last more than ten minutes. The
Sultan replies in a phraseology which has not been varied for three
centuries. The title of the present vizier is not minister, but sahab,
"friend" or "companion." The Sultan has the soundest judgment of any man
in his empire, and great tact in the administration of affairs. He
instructs himself by continual questions.
"His passion is avarice, and he has converted the whole empire into a
commercial firm for the accumulation of his gains. Muley Tsmael left a
treasury of 100 millions of ducats,  and at the death of Sidi
Mohammed, this treasury was reduced to two millions. The constant
occupation of Muley Abd Errahmnan is to replenish the imperial treasury.
Commerce, which was neglected by his predecessors, has all his
attention. The cruelty of the former sultans is exchanged for the
avarice of the present. The history of these Shereefian princes is a
chain of unheard-of atrocities. The present sultan keeps not a single
promise when his interests interfere."
M. Rey gives us this flattering tableau as a social picture of Morocco.
Covetous governors are continually succeeding one another, they are ever
eager of enjoying the advantages of their position; their thirst for
plunder is so much the more intense, as they are not allowed time to
satisfy it, so they prey on the people. The inhabitants of towns and of
the country live in rags in miserable hovels. What raiment! what food!
mortality is dreadful, the children are invalids, and the women,
especially in the country, are condemned to do the work of beasts of
burden; such is the picture of society.
I have quoted these few passages from the "Memoire" of M. Rey, because
he was resident many years in Tangier, and his account of the country
discovers talent and intelligence, but is, of course, coloured with a
strong anti-English feeling. Mr. Hay wrote on the back of his
Memoire,--"All that is said in reference to Great Britain is false and
malicious." M. Rey's opinions of the Moors and the present governors are
still more bitter and unjust.
I had an interview with El-Martel-Warabah, government auctioneer of
slaves, from whom I obtained details respecting the slave-trade in
Tangier and Morocco generally. There is no market for slaves in Tangier.
The poor creatures are led about the town as cattle, particularly in the
main street, before the doors of the principal merchants, where they are
usually disposed of. No Jew or Christian is permitted to buy or hold a
slave in this country. Government possess many slaves, and people hire
them out by the day from the authorities. The ordinary price of a good
slave is eighty dollars. Boys, at the age of nine or ten years, sell the
best; female slaves do hot fetch so much as male slaves, unless of
extraordinary beauty. Slaves are imported from all the south.
The Sultan levies no duty on the sale or import of slaves. When one runs
away from his master, and takes refuge with another, the new master
usually writes to the former, offering to buy him; thus slaves are often
enticed away. They are sometimes allowed to abscond without their owners
troubling themselves about them, their master's being unable either to
feed or sell them.
In cases of punishment for all serious offences, slaves are brought
before the judicial authorities, and suffer the same punishment as free
men. In cases not deemed grave, they are flogged, or otherwise privately
punished by their masters. Slaves went to war with Abd-el-Kader, against
the French. The Arabs of Algeria had formerly many slaves. The chief
depot of slaves is Morocco, the southern capital. Ten thousand have been
imported during one year; but the average number brought into Morocco
is, perhaps, not more than half that amount. The Maroquine Moors, before
departing for any country under the British flag, usually give liberty
to their slaves. On their return, however, they sell them again as
slaves, or get rid of them some way or other. A slave once having tasted
of liberty, can never again be fully reconciled to thraldom. Moors
resident in Gibraltar, have frequently slaves with them. A few days ago,
a slave-boy, resident in Gibraltar, wished to turn Christian, and was
immediately sent back to Tangier, and sold to another master.
Europeans, with whom I have conversed in Tangier, assure me that slaves
are generally well treated, and that cases of cruelty are rare.
Nevertheless, they eagerly seek their freedom when an opportunity
offers. In 1833, a man of great power and influence in the Gharb
(province of Morocco), named El-Haj Mohammed Ben El-Arab, on a
remonstrance of his slaves, who stated that the English had abolished
slavery, and that they ought to have their liberty, called all his
slaves together, to the number of seventy-two, and actually took the
bold and generous resolution of liberating them. But, before releasing
them from bondage, he lectured them upon the difficulty of finding
subsistence in their new state of freedom, and then wrote out their
_Atkas_ of liberty. As might have been expected, some returned
voluntarily to servitude, not being able to get a living, whilst the
greater part obtained an honourable livelihood, enjoying the fruits of
independent freedom. It is mentioned, as an instance of fidelity, that a
negress is the gaoler of the women in Tangier. 
At every Moorish feast of consequence (four of which are celebrated here
in a year), the slaves of Tangier perambulate the streets with music and
dancing, dressed in their holiday clothes, to beg alms from all classes
of the population, particularly Europeans. The money collected is
deposited in the hands of their chief; to this is added the savings of
the whole year. In the spring, all is spent in a feast, which lasts
seven days. The slaves carry green ears of wheat, barley, and fresh
dates about the town. The Moorish women kiss the new corn or fruit, and
give the slaves a trifle of money. A slave, when he is dissatisfied with
his master, sometimes will ask him to be allowed to go about begging
until he gets money enough to buy his freedom. The slave puts the atka
in his mouth (which piece of written paper when signed, assures his
freedom), and goes about the town, crying, "Fedeeak Allah, (Ransom of
God!)" All depends on his luck. He may be months, or even years, before
he accumulates enough to purchase his ransom.
Tangier Moors pretend that the negroes of Timbuctoo sacrifice annually a
white man, the victim being preserved and fed for the occasion. When the
time of immolation arrives, the white man is adorned with fair flowers,
and clothes of silk and many colours, and led out and sacrificed at a
grand "fiesta." Slaves and blacks in Morocco keep the same feast, with
the difference, that not being able to get a man to sacrifice, they kill
a bullock. Such a barbarous rite may possibly be practised in some part
of Negroland, but certainly not at Timbuctoo. All these tales about
Negro cannibals I am inclined to believe inventions. There never yet has
been published a well authenticated case of negro cannibalism.
The grand cicerone for the English at Tangier, is Benoliel. He is a man
of about sixty years of age, and initiated into the sublimest mysteries
of the consular politics of the Shereefs. Ben is full of anecdotes of
everybody and everything from the emperor on the Shreefian throne, down
to the mad and ragged dervish in the streets. Our cicerone keeps a book,
in which the names of all his English guests have been from time to time
inscribed. His visitors have been principally officers from Gibraltar,
who come here for a few days sporting. On the bombardment of Tangier,
Ben left the country with other fugitives. The Moorish rabble plundered
his house; and many valuables which were there concealed, pledged by
persons belonging to Tangier, were carried away; Ben was therefore
ruined. Some foolish people at Gibraltar told Ben, that the streets of
London were paved with gold, or, at any rate, that, inasmuch as he (Ben)
had in his time entertained so many Englishmen at his hospitable
establishment at Tangier (for which, however, he was well paid), he
would be sure to make his fortune by a visit to England. I afterwards
met Ben accidentally in the streets of London, in great distress. Some
friends of the Anti-Slavery Society subscribed a small sum for him, and
sent him back to his family in Gibraltar. Poor Ben was astonished to
find as much misery in the streets of our own metropolis, as in any town
of Morocco. Regarding his co-religionists in England, Ben observed with
bitterness, "The Jews there are no good; they are very blackguards." He
was disappointed at their want of liberality, as well as their want of
sympathy for Morocco Jews. Ben thought he knew everything, and the ways
of this wicked world, but this visit to England convinced him he must
begin the world over again. Our cicerone is very shrewd; withal is
blessed with a good share of common sense; is by no means bigoted
against Mahometans or Christians, and is one of the more respectable of
the Barbary Jews. His information on Morocco, is, however, so mixed up
with the marvellous, that only a person well acquainted with North
Africa can distinguish the probable from the improbable, or separate the
wheat from the chaff. Ben has a large family, like most of the Maroquine
Jews; but the great attraction of his family is a most beautiful
daughter, with a complexion of jasmine, and locks of the raven; a
perfect Rachel in loveliness, proving fully the assertion of Ali Bey,
and all other travellers in Morocco, that the fairest women in this
country are the Jewesses. Ben is the type of many a Barbary Jew, who, to
considerable intelligence, and a few grains of what may be called fair
English honesty, unites the ordinarily deteriorated character of men,
and especially Jews, bora and brought up under oppressive governments.
Ben would sell you to the Emperor for a moderate price; and so would the
Jewish consular agents of Morocco. A traveller in this country must,
therefore, never trust a Maroquine Jew in a matter of vital importance.
Mr. Drummond Hay, our Consul at Tangier, advised me to return to
Gibraltar, and to go by sea to Mogador, and thence to Morocco, where the
Emperor was then residing. Adopting his advice, I left the same evening
for Gibraltar. I took my passage in a very fine cutter, which had
formerly been a yacht, and had since been engaged as a smuggler of
Spanish goods. I confess, I was not sorry to hear that the Spanish
custom-house was often duped. The cutter had been purchased for the
Gibraltar secret service.
The Anti-Slavery Society had placed at my disposal a few yards of green
cloth, for a present to the minister of the Emperor. At the custom-house
of Havre-de-Grace, I paid a heavy duty on it. But, when I got to Irun,
on the Spanish frontier, (having determined to come through Spain in
order to see the country), the custom-house officers demanded a duty
nearly double the cost of the cloth in London, so that there was no
alternative but to leave it in their possession. The only satisfaction,
or revenge which I had, was that of calling them _ladrones_ in the
presence of a mob of people, who, to do justice to the Spanish populace,
all took my part.
When I complained of this conduct at Madrid, my friends laughed at my
simplicity, and told me I was "green" in Spanish; and in travelling
through "the land of chivalry," and of "ingeniosos hildagos," ought, on
the contrary, to thank God that I had arrived safe at Madrid with a
dollar in my pocket; whilst they kindly hinted, if I should really get
through the province of Andalusia safe to Cadiz, without being stripped
of everything, I must record it in my journal as a miracle of good luck.
This was, however, exaggeration. I had no reason to complain of anything
else during the time I was in Spain. My fellow travellers (all
Spaniards), nevertheless, rebuked me for want of tact. "You ought," they
said, "to have given a few pesetas to the guard of the diligencia, who
would have taken charge of your cloth, and kept it from going through
On reaching Gibraltar, I made the acquaintance of Frenerry, who for
thirty years has been a merchant in Morocco. Mr. Frenerry had frequent
opportunities of personal intercourse with Muley Abd Errahman, and had
more influence with him than the British Consul. Indeed, at all times, a
merchant is always more welcome to his Imperial Highness than a
diplomatic agent, who usually is charged with some disagreeable mission.
Mr. Frenerry was called, par excellence, "the merchant of the West." Of
course, Mr. Frenerry's opinions must be valuable on Maroquine affairs.
He says:--"The Morocco Moors like the English very much, and better than
any other Europeans, for they know the English to be their best friends.
At the same time, the Moors feel their weakness. They know also, that a
day might come when the English would be against them, or have disputes
with them, as in days past. The Moors are, therefore, jealous of the
English, though they consider them their friends; and do not like
Englishmen more than any other Christians to travel in their country. In
other respects, if well managed and occasionally coaxed or bribed with a
present, the Moors are very good natured, and as tractable as children."
However, I find since the murder of Mr. Davidson, both the people and
government of Morocco have got a bad name in Gibraltar; and opinion
begins to prevail that it is almost impossible for an Englishman to
travel in the country. Mr. Frenerry recommends that a Moor should be
treated not proudly, but with a certain degree of firmness, to shew him
you will not be trifled with. In this way, he says, you will always
With regard to the present Emperor, Mr. Frenerry is a great apologist of
"The Emperor is obliged to exclude foreigners as much as possible from
his country. He does not want to tempt the cupidity of Europeans, by
showing them the resources of the empire. They are prying about for
mines of iron and silver. He is obliged to forbid these geological
wanderings. The subjects of his empire are divided in their feelings and
interests, and have been driven there by every wave of human
revolutions. The Emperor does not wish to discover his weakness abroad,
by letting Europeans witness the bad faith and disloyalty of his
heterogeneous tribes. The European consuls are much to blame; they
always carry their heads too high, if not insolently. They then appoint
Jewish consuls along the coast, a class of men whom the hereditary
prejudices of his Mussulman subjects will not respect."
There is certainly something, if not a good deal, to be said _for_ the
emperor as well as _against_ him. I was obliged to wait some time at
Gibraltar before I could get a vessel for Mogador. I missed one
excellent opportunity from the want of a note from the Gibraltar
government. A Moor offered to allow me to take a passage without any
expense in his vessel, provided I could obtain a note from our
government; but the Governor of Gibraltar required an introduction in
form, and, before I could receive a letter from Mr. Hay to present to
him, the vessel left for Mogador. I therefore lost money and time
without any necessity.
Departure from Gibraltar to Mogador.--The Straits.--Genoese Sailors.--
Trade-wind Hurricanes en the Atlantic Coast of Morocco.--Difficulties of
entering the Port of Mogador.--Bad provisioning of Foreign
Merchantmen.--The present Representative of the once far-famed and
dreaded Rovers.--Disembarkation at Mogador.--Mr. Phillips, Captain of
the Port--Rumours amongst the People about my Mission.--Visit to the
Cemeteries.--Maroquine Wreckers.--Health of the inhabitants of
Mogador.--Moorish Cavaliers "playing at powder" composed of the ancient
Nuraidians.--The Barb.--The Life Guards of the Moorish Emperor.--Martial
character of the Negro.--Some account of the Black Corps of the
Shereefs.--Orthodoxy of the Shereefs, and illustrative anecdotes of the
On leaving the Straits (commonly called "The Gut,") a noble sight
presented itself--a fleet of some hundred merchantmen, all smacking
about before the rising wind, crowding every sail, lest it should change
ere they got clear of the obstructive straits. Many weeks had they been
detained by the westerly gales, and our vessel amongst the rest. I felt
the poignant misery of "waiting for the wind." I know nothing so
wearisome when all things are made ready. It is worse than hope
deferred, which sickens and saddens the heart.
I have lately seen some newspaper reports, that government is preparing
a couple of steam-tugs, to be placed at the mouth of the straits, to tow
ships in and out. We may trust it will be done. But if government do it
not, I am sure it would answer the purpose of a private company, and I
have no doubt such speculation will soon be taken up. Vessels freighted
with perishable cargoes are often obliged to wait weeks, nay months, at
the mouth of the Straits, to the great injury of commerce. In our days
of steam and rapid communication, this cannot be tolerated. 
After a voyage of four days, we found ourselves off the coast of
Mogador. The wind had been pretty good, but we had suffered some delay
from a south wind, which headed us for a short time. We prayed for a
westerly breeze, of which we soon got enough from west and north-west.
The first twelve hours it came gently on, but gradually increased till
it blew a gale. The captain was suddenly called up in the night, as
though the ship was going to sink, or could sink, whilst she was running
as fast as we would let her before the wind. But the real danger lay in
missing the coast of Mogador, or not being able to get within its port
from the violence of the breakers near the shore. Our vessel was a small
Genoese brig; and, though the Genoese are the best sailors in the
Mediterranean--even superior to the Greeks, who rank next--our captain
and his crew began to quake. At daylight, the coast-line loomed before
us, immersed in fog, and two hours after, the tall minaret of the great
mosque of Mogador, shooting erect, a dull lofty pyramid, stood over the
thick haze lying on the lower part of the coast.
This phenomenon of the higher objects and mountains being visible over a
dense fog on the shore, is frequent on this side of the Atlantic. Wind
also prevails here. It scarcely ever rains, but wind the people have
nine months out of the twelve. It is a species of trade-wind, which
commences at the Straits, or the coasts of Spain and Portugal, and
sweeps down north-west with fury, making the entire coast of Morocco a
mountain-barrier of breakers, increasing in its course, and extending as
far as Wadnoun, Cape Bajdor, Cape Blanco, even to the Senegal. It does
not, however, extend far out at sea, being chiefly confined to the coast
range. Our alarm now was lest we should get within the clutches of this
fell swoop, for the port once past, it would have required us weeks to
bear up again, whilst this wind lasted.
The Atlantic coast of Morocco is an indented or waving line, and there
are only two or three ports deserving the name of harbours--harbours of
refuge from these storms. Unlike the western coast of Ireland, so finely
indented by the Atlantic wave, this portion of the Morocco coast is
rounded off by the ocean.
Our excitement was great. The capitano began yelping like a cowardly
school-boy, who has been well punched by a lesser and more courageous
antagonist. Immediately I got on deck, I produced an English book, which
mentioned the port of Mogador as a "good" port.
"Per Dio Santo!" exclaimed our capitano; "yes, for the English it _is_ a
good port--you dare devils at sea--for them it _is_ a good port. The
open sea, with a gale of wind, is a good port for the _maladetti_
Irritated at this extreme politeness to our gallant tars, who have so
long "braved the battle and the breeze," I did not trouble farther the
dauntless Genoese, who certainly was not destined to become a Columbus.
Now the men began to snivel and yelp, following the example of their
commander. "We won't go into the port, Santa Virgine! We won't go in to
be shivered to pieces on the rocks." At this moment our experienced
capitano fancied we had got into shoal-water; the surf was seen running
in foaming circles, as if in a whirlpool. Now, indeed, our capitano did
yelp; now did the crew yelp, invoking all the saints of the Roman
calendar, instead of attending to the ship.  Here was a scene of
indescribable confusion. Our ship was suddenly put round and back.
My fellow passengers, a couple of Jews from Gibraltar, began swearing at
the capitano and his brave men. One of them, whilst cursing, thought it
just as well, at the same time, to call upon Father Abraham. Our little
brig pitched her bows two or three times under water like a storm-bird,
and did _not_ ground. It was seen to be a false alarm. The capitano now
took courage on seeing all the flags flying over the fortifications, it
being Friday, the Mahometan Sabbath. The silly fellow had heard, that
the port authorities always hauled down their colours, when the entrance
to the harbour was unsafe by reason of bad weather. Seeing the colours,
he imagined all was right.
There are two entrances to the port of Mogador; one from the south,
which is quite open; the other from the north-west, which is only a
narrow passage, with scarcely room to admit a ship-of-the-line. The
'Suffren,' in which the Prince de Joinville commanded the bombardment of
the town, stood right over this entrance, on the northern channel,
having south-east the Isle of Mogador, and north-west the coast of the
Continent. The Prince took up a bold and critical position, exposed to
violent currents, to grounding on a rocky bottom, and to many other
serious accidents. 
As we neared this difficult entrance, we were all in a state of the most
feverish excitement, expecting, such was the fury of the breakers, to be
thrown on the rock on either side. Thus, it was a veritable Scylla and
Charybdis. A man from the rigging descried several small vessels moored
snugly behind the isle. We ventured in with breathless agitation. A man
from one of the fortifications, guessing or seeing, I suppose, our
timidity and bad seamenship, cried out at the top of his lungs, "Salvo!"
which being interpreted, meant, "The entrance is safe."
But this was not enough; we were to have another trial of patience. The
foolish captain--to terrify us to the last--had to cast his anchor, as a
matter of course; and imagine, dear reader, our alarm, our terror, when
we heard him scream out, "The chain is snapped!" We were now to be
driven out southwards by the fury of the wind, which had become a
hurricane, no very agreeable prospect! Happily, also this was a false
alarm. The capitano then came up to me, to shake hands, apologize, and
present congratulations on our safe harbouring. The perspiration of
fever and a heated brain was coursing down his cheeks. The capitano lit
an extra candle before the picture of the Virgin below, and observed to
me, whilst the men were saying their prayers of gratitude for
deliverance, "Per un miraculo della santissima Vergina; noi sciamo
salvati!"--(we are saved by a miracle of the Most Holy Virgin!) which,
of course, I did not or could not dispute, allowing, as I do, all men in
such circumstances, to indulge freely in their peculiar faith, so long
as it does not interfere with me or mine.
It is well that our merchant-vessels have never been reduced to the
condition of Genoese craft, or been manned by such chicken-hearted
crews. I believe the pusillanimity of the latter is traceable, in a
great measure, to the miserable way in which the poor fellows are fed.
These Genoese had no meat whilst I was with them. I sailed once in a
Neapolitan vessel, a whole month, during which time the crew lived on
horse-beans, coarse maccaroni, Sardinian fish, mouldy biscuit, and
griping black wine. Meat they had none. How is it possible for men thus
fed, to fight and wrestle with the billows and terrors of the deep?
We had no ordinary task to get on shore; the ocean was without, but a
sea was within port. The wind increased with such fury, that we
abandoned for the day the idea of landing. We had, however, specie on
board, which it was necessary forthwith to land. Mr. Philips, captain of
the port, and a merchant's clerk, therefore, came alongside with great
difficulty in a Moorish boat, to take on shore the specie; and in it I
embarked. This said barque was the miserable but apt representation of
the by-gone formidable Maroquine navy, which, not many centuries ago,
pushed its audacity to such lengths, that the "rovers of Salee" cruised
off the English coast, and defied the British fleets. Now the whole
naval force of the once-dreaded piratic states of Barbary can hardly
boast of two or three badly-manned brigs or frigates. As to Morocco, the
Emperor has not a single captain who can conduct a vessel from Mogador
The most skilful _rais_ his ports can furnish made an attempt lately,
and was blown up and down for months on the coasts of Spain and
Portugal, being at last driven into the Straits by almost miraculous
What was this Moorish boat in which I went on shore? A mere long shell
of bad planks, and scarcely more ship-shape than the trunk of a tree
hollowed into a canoe, leakily put together. It was filled with dirty,
ragged, half-naked sailors, whose seamanship did not extend beyond
coming and going from vessels lying in this little port. Each of these
Mogadorian port sailors had a bit of straight pole for an oar; the way
in which they rowed was equally characteristic. Struggling against wind
and current with their Moorish rais at the helm, encouraging their
labours by crying out first one thing, then another, as his fancy
dictated, the crew repeated in chorus all he said:--"Khobsah!" (a loaf)
cried the rais.
All the men echoed "Khobsah."
"A loaf you shall have when you return!" cried the rais.
"A loaf we shall have when we return!" cried the men.
"Pull, pull; God hears and sees you!" cried the rais.
"We pull, we pull; God hears and sees us!" cried the men.
"Sweetmeats, sweetmeats, by G--; sweetmeats by G--you shall have, only
pull away!" swore the rais.
"Sweetmeats we shall have, thank God! sweetmeats we shall have, thank
God!" roared the men, all screaming and bawling. In this unique style,
after struggling three hours to get three miles over the port, we
landed, all of us completely exhausted and drowned in spray.
It is usual for Moors, particularly negroes, to sing certain choruses,
and thus encourage one another in their work. What, however, is
remarkable, these choruses are mostly on sacred subjects, being
frequently the formula of their confession, "There is no God, but one
God, and Mahomet is his Prophet," &c. These clownish tars were deeply
coloured, and some quite black. I found, in fact, the greatest part of
the Moorish population of Mogador coloured persons. We may here easily
trace the origin of the epithet "Black-a-Moor," and we are not so
surprised that Shakspeare made his Moor black; indeed, the present
Emperor, Muley Abd Errahman, is of very dark complexion, though his
features are not at all of the negro cast. But he has sons quite black,
and with negro features, who, of course, are the children of negresses.
One of these, is Governor of Rabat. In no country is the colour of the
human skin so little thought of. This is a very important matter in the
question of abolition. There is no objection to the skin and features of
the negro; it is only the luxury of having slaves, or their usefulness
for heavy work, which weighs in the scale against abolition.
As soon as we landed, we visited the lieutenant-governor, who
congratulated us on not being carried down to the Canary Islands. Then
his Excellency asked, in due studied form:
"Where do you come from?"
_His Excellency_.--"Where are you going?"
_Traveller_.--"To see the Sultan, Muley Abd Errahman."
_His Excellency_.--"What's your business?"
_Traveller_.--"I will let your Excellency know to-morrow."
I then proceeded to the house of Mr. Phillips, where I took up my
quarters. Mr. Willshire, our vice-consul, was absent, having gone up to
Morocco with all the principal merchants of Mogador, to pay a visit to
The port of Mogador had to-day a most wild and desolate appearance,
which was rendered still more dreary and hideous by a dark tempest
sweeping over it. On the shore, there was no appearance of life, much
less of trade and shipping. All had abandoned it, save a guard, who lay
stretched at the gate of the waterport, like a grim watch-dog. From this
place, we proceeded to the merchants' quarter of the town, which was
solitary and immersed in profound gloom. Altogether, my first
impressions of Mogador were most unfavourable, I went to bed and dreamt
of winds and seas, and struggled with tempests the greater part of the
night. Then I was shipwrecked off the Canaries; thrown on the coast of
Wadnoun, and made a slave by the wild Arabs wandering in the Desert--I
Mr. Phillips, mine host, soon became my right-hand man. His
extraordinary character, and the adventures of his life are worth a
brief notice. Phillips said he was descended from those York Jews, who,
on refusing to pay a contribution levied on them by one of our most
Christian kings, had a tooth drawn out every morning (without the aid of
chloroform), until they satisfied the cruel avarice of the tyrant. In
person, Phillips was a smart old gentleman, with the ordinary lineaments
of his race stamped on his countenance. The greater part of his life has
been spent in South America, where he attained the honours of
aide-de-camp to Bolivar. In those sanguinary revolutions, heaving with
the birth of the young republic, he had often been shut up in the
capilla to be shot, and was rescued always by the Jesuit fathers, who
pitied and saved the poor Jew, on his expressing himself favourable to
Christianity. Returning to England, after twenty years' absence, his
mother did not fully recognize him, until he one day got up and admired,
with youthful ardour, a china figure on the chimney-piece, which had
been his toy in his boyhood. On the occurrence of this little domestic
incident, the mother passionately embraced her lost prodigal, once dead,
but now "alive again." Phillips came to Mogador on a military
speculation, and offered to take the command of the Emperor's cavalry
against all his enemies.
This audacity of a Jew filled the Moor with alarm. "How could a Jew, who
was not a devil, propose such an insult to the Commander of the
Faithful, as to presume to take the charge of his invincible warriors!"
Nevertheless, the little fellow weathered the storm, and got appointed
"captain of the port of Mogador," with the liberal salary of about
thirty shillings per month; but this did not prevent our aide-de-camp,
now metamorphosed into a sea captain, from wearing _an admiral's_
uniform, which he obtained in a curious way on a visit to England. He
met in the streets of London with an acquaintance, who pretended to
patronize him. The gentleman jokingly said, "Well, Phillips, I must give
you an uniform, since you are appointed captain of the port of Mogador."
The said gentleman received, a few months afterwards, when his quondam
protege was safe with his uniform strutting about Mogador, to the
amazement of the Moors, and the delight of his co-religionists, a bill
of thirty pounds or so, charged for "a suit of admiral's uniform for Mr.
Phillips, captain of the port of Mogador;" and found that a joke
sometimes has a serious termination.
Phillips, on his first arrival in this country, entered into a
diplomatic contest with the Moorish authorities, demanding the
privileges of a native British-born Jew, and he determined to ride a
horse, in order to vindicate the rights of British Jews, before the
awful presence of the Shereefian Court! About this business, the
Consul-general Hay is said to have written eleven long, and Mr.
Willshire about twenty-one short and pithy despatches, but the affair
ended in smoke. Phillips, with great magnanimity and self-denial,
consented to relinquish the privilege, on the prayer of his brethren,
natives of Mogador, who were very naturally afraid, lest the incensed
Emperor might visit on them what he durst not inflict on the
Of the achievements of Phillips in the way of science (for he assures he
is born to the high destiny of enlightening both barbarians and
civilized nations) I take the liberty, with his permission, of
mentioning one. Phillips brought here a pair of horse-shoes belonging to
a drayhorse of the firm of Truman, Hanbury, Buxton, and Co., to astonish
the Moors by their size, who are great connoisseurs of horse-flesh. The
Moors protested their unbelief, and swore it was a lie,--"such shoes
never shod a horse." Phillips then got a skeleton of a head from
England. This they also scouted as an imposition, alleging that Phillips
had got it purposely made to deceive them. "Although they believed in
the Prophet, whom they never saw, they were still not such fools as to
believe in everything which an Infidel might bring to their country."
Phillips now gave up, in despair, the attempt to propagate science among
Our ancient aide-de-camp of Bolivar is a liberal English Jew, and boasts
that, on Christmas-day, he always has his roast-beef and plum-pudding. I
supped with him often on a sucking-pig, for the Christians breed pigs in
this place, to the horror of pious Mussulmen. This amusing adventurer
subsequently left Mogador and went to Lisbon, where he purposed writing
a memorial to the Archbishop of Canterbury, containing the plan, of a
New Unitarian system of religion, by which the Jews might be brought
within the pale of the Christian Church!
For some time I felt the effects of my sea voyage; my apartment rocked
in my brain. People speculated about the objects of my mission; the most
absurd rumours were afloat. "The Christian has come to settle the
affairs of Mr. Darman, whom the Emperor killed," some said. Others
remarked, "The Christian has come to buy all the slaves of the country,
in order to liberate them." The lieutenant-governor sent for Phillips,
to know what I came for, who I was, and how I passed my time? Phillips
told him all about my mission, and that I was a great taleb. When
Phillips mentioned to the governor, that Great Britain had paid a
hundred millions of dollars for the liberation of slaves belonging to
Englishmen, his Excellency, struck with astonishment, exclaimed, "The
English Sultan is inspired by God!"
I visited the burying-place of Christians, situate on the north-side of