Part 2 out of 3
the town by the sea-shore. A fine tomb was erected here to the memory of
Mrs. Willshire's father. The ignorant country people coming to Mogador
stopped to repeat prayers before it, believing it the tomb of some
favourite saint. The government, hearing of this idolatry to a
Christian, begged Mr. Willshire to have the tomb covered with cement.
When this was done, so perverse are these people, that they partially
divested it of covering, and chipped off pieces of marble for their
women, who ground them into powder, and dusted their faces with it to
make them fair. Every six months it is necessary to replaster the tomb.
This cemetery is the most desolate place the mind of man can conceive.
There is no green turf here to rest lightly on the bosom of the dead! No
tree, no cypress of mourning; no shade or shelter for those who seek to
indulge in grief. All is a sandy desolation, swept by the wild winds of
the solitary shore of the ocean.
Farther on, is the Moorish cemetery, which I passed through. What a
spectacle of human corruption! Here, indeed, we may learn to despise
this world's poor renown, and cease tormenting ourselves with vain and
godless pursuits. It was then sunset, the moon had risen far up on the
fading brow of the departing day, casting pale lights and fearful
shadows over this house of the dead. It was time to return, or the gates
of the city would shut me out amidst the wreck of poor human dust and
bones. I saw, moving in the doubtful shadows of approaching night, the
It is an ill wind that blows nobody good. The wreckers of this coast
boldly assert that a shipwreck is a blessing (_berkah_), sent to them by
Providence. The port authorities have even the impudence to declare,
that to erect lighthouses at the mouth of the ports would be thwarting
the decrees of Divine Providence! In spite of all this, however, at the
urgent request of Mr. Willshire, when, on one occasion, the weather was
very bad, the governor of Mogador stationed guards on various parts of
the coast to preserve the lives and property of shipwrecked vessels. But
I do not think I have heard worse cases of Moorish wreckers, than those
which have happened not very many years ago on the French and English
coasts. Some of my readers will recollect the case of an Indiaman
wrecked off the coast of France, when poor ladies in a state of
suspended animation, had their fingers cut off to get possession of
their diamond-rings. During my stay at Mogador, a courier arrived from
Sous, bringing the news of some Christians being wrecked off the coast,
A Jew had purchased one poor fellow from the Arabs for two camels. Two
others were dead, their bodies cast upon the inhospitable beach by the
Atlantic surge, where they lay unburied, to be mangled by the wild
tribes, or to feed the hungry hyaena.
Some of the merchants came hither from the capital; amongst the rest,
Mr. and Mrs. Elton, they, as well as others, brought a favourable
account of the Emperor and his ministers, and lauded very much the
commercial policy of the governor of Mogador. Moderation, it is said, is
the characteristic of the court's proceedings towards the merchants.
Trade was not very brisk, it being the rainy season, when the Arabs are
occupied with sowing the ground; the busy time is from September to
The produce sold at that time was simply that which is left of the past
season, having been kept back with the object of getting a better price
for it. Gum is brought in great quantities for exportation. An immense
quantity of sugar is imported, a third of which is loaf beet-root sugar
brought from Marseilles.
Mr. Phillips came to me, to beg ten thousand pardons for having only
fowls for dinner. One morning two bullocks were killed by the Jews, but
not "according to the Law," and the greater part of the Jews that day
would have to go without meat. On these occasions, the Jews sell their
meat to the Moors and Christians at a reduced price. Phillips observed,
"I am obliged to eat meat according to the Law, or I should have no
peace of my life."
A good many people were affected by colds, but the climate of Mogador is
reckoned very good. All the year round there is not much variation; N.W.
and N.E. winds bring cold in winter, and cool refreshing breezes in
summer. There was not a single medical man in Mogador, although there
were some fifty Europeans, including Jews. Some years ago a clever young
man was practising here. For one year, each European paid his share of
salary; but alas! those whom God blessed with good health, refused to
pay their quota to the support of a physician for their sickly
neighbours, consequently, every European's life was in the greatest
danger, should a serious accident occur to them. With regard to money,
they would prefer a broken leg all their life time to paying five pounds
to have it set. The consuls of Tangier subscribe for a resident
One afternoon, I went to see the Moorish cavalry "playing at powder,"
(Lab Elbaroud) being a stirring and novel scene. A troop of these
haughty cavaliers assembled with their chiefs almost daily on the playa,
or parade. Then they divided themselves into parties of twenty or
thirty; proceeding with their manoeuvres, the cavaliers at first advance
slowly in a single line, then canter, and then gallop, spurring on the
horse to its last gasp, meantime standing up erect on their
shovel-stirrups, and turning from one side to the other; looking round
with an air of defiance, they fire off their matchlocks, throw
themselves into various dexterous attitudes, sometimes letting fall the
bridle. The pieces being discharged, the horses instantaneously stop.
The most difficult lesson a barb learns, is to halt suddenly in mid
career of a full gallop. To discharge his matchlock, standing on the
stirrups while the horse is in full gallop, is the great lesson of
perfection of the Maroquine soldiery. The cavaliers now wheel out of the
way for the next file, returning reloading, and taking their places to
gallop off and fire again. Crowds of people attend these equestrian
exhibitions, of which they are passionately fond. They squat round the
parade in double or treble rows, muffled up within their bournouses, in
mute admiration. Occasionally women are present, but females here join
in very few out-door amusements. When a whole troop of cavaliers are
thus manoeuvering, galloping at the utmost stretch of the horses'
muscles, the men screaming and hallowing "hah! hah! hah!" the dust and
sand rising in clouds before the foaming fiery barb, with the deafening
noise and confusion of a simultaneous discharge of firelocks, the
picture represents in vivid colours what might be conceived of the wild
Nubian cavalry of ancient Africa.  Today there was a mishap; several
cavaliers did not keep up the line. The chief leading the troops, cried
out in a rage, and with the voice of a senator, "Fools! madmen! are you
children, or are ye men?" Christians or Jews standing too near, are
frequently pushed back with violence; and we were told "not to stand in
the way of Mussulmen."
These cavaliers are sometimes called _spahis_; they are composed of
Moors, Arabs, Berbers, and all the native races in Morocco. They are
usually plainly dressed, but, beneath the bournouse, many of them wear
the Moorish dress, embroidered in the richest style. Some of the horses
are magnificently caparisoned in superb harness, worked in silk and
gold. Fine harness is one of the luxuries of North Africa, and is still
much used, even in Tunis and Tripoli, where the new system of European
military dress and tactics has been introduced. The horse is the sacred
animal of Morocco, as well as the safeguard of the empire. The Sultan
has no other military defence, except the natural difficulties of the
country, or the hatred of his people to strangers. He does not permit
the exportation of horses, nor of barley, on which they are often fed.
But the defeat of the Emperor's eldest son, Sidi Mahomed, at the Battle
of Isly, who commanded upwards of forty thousand of these cavaliers, has
thrown a shade over the ancient celebrity of this Moorish corps, and
these proud horsemen have since become discouraged. On that fatal day,
however, none of the black bodyguard of the Emperor was brought into
action. These muster some thirty thousand strong. This corps, or the
Abeed-Sidi-Bokhari,  are soldiers who possess the most cool and
undaunted courage; retreat with them is never thought of. Unlike the
Janissaries of old, their sole ambition is to _obey_, and not to _rule_
their sovereign. This fidelity to the Shereefs remains unshaken through
all the shocks of the empire, and to the person of the Emperor they are
completely devoted. In a country like Morocco, of widely distinct races
and hostile tribes, all naturally detesting each other, the Emperor
finds in them his only safety. I cannot withhold the remark, that this
body-guard places before us the character of the negro in a very
favourable light. He is at once brave and faithful, the two essential
ingredients in the formation and development of heroic natures.
It will, I trust, not be deemed out of place to consider for a moment
the warlike propensities and qualities of the negro. Every European who
has penetrated Africa, confesses to the bellicose disposition of the
negro, having seen him engaged with others in perpetual conflict. The
choice and retention of a body-guard of Blacks by the Moorish Emperor,
also triumphantly prove the martial nature of the negro race. But the
negro has signally displayed the military qualities of coolness and
courage in many instances, two or three of which I shall here take the
liberty of mentioning, in connexion with the affairs of Algeria.
Mr. Lord relates, on the authority of the French, that, when the
invading army invested Fort de l'Empereur, and had silenced all its
guns, the Dey ordered the Turkish General to retreat to the Kasbah, and
leave three negroes to blow up the fort. It seemed, therefore,
abandoned, but two red flags floated still on its outward line of
defence, and a third on the angle towards the city. The French continued
all their efforts towards effecting a practicable breach. Three negroes
were now seen calmly walking on the ramparts, and from time to time
looking over as if examining the progress of the breach. One of them,
struck by a cannonball, fell; and the others, as if to avenge his death,
ran to a cannon, pointed it, and fired three shots. At the third, the
gun turned over, and they were unable to replace it. They tried another,
and as they were in the act of raising it, a shot swept the legs from
under one of them. The remaining negro gazed for a moment on his
comrade, drew him a little aside, left him, and once more examined the
breach. He then snatched one of the flags, and retired to the interior
of the tower. In a few minutes, he re-appeared, took a second flag and
descended. The French continued their cannonade, and the breach appeared
almost practicable, when suddenly they were astounded by a terrific
explosion, which shook the whole ground as with an earthquake. An
immense column of smoke, mixed with streaks of flames, burst from the
centre of the fortress; masses of solid masonry were hurled into the air
to an amazing height, while cannon, stones, timbers, projectiles, and
dead bodies were scattered in every direction. What was all this? The
negro had done his duty--the fort was blown up!
In a skirmish near Mascara, one of Abd-el-Kader's negro soldiers killed
two Frenchmen with his own hand. The Emir, who was an eye-witness of his
bravery, rewarded him on the field of battle by presenting him with his
own sword and the Cross of the Crescent, the only military order in the
service, and which is never awarded except fur a very distinguished
action. Colonel Scott says the black was presented to him, and seemed as
proud of the honour conferred on him as if he had been made a K.G.C.B.
In the strifes and disputes for succession that have characterized the
history of the Barbary princes, and reddened their annals with blood,
nothing has been more remarkable than the fidelity of the negroes to
their respective masters, and the bravery with which they have defended
them to the last hour of their reign or existence. When all his
partisans have deserted a pretender, when the soldiers of the successful
competitor to the throne have been in the act of pouncing upon the
fallen or falling prince, a handful of brave followers has rushed to the
rescue, and surrounded the person of their beloved leader, pouring out
their life-blood in his defence--and these men were negroes! To use a
vulgar metaphor, the negro will defend his master with the savage
courage and tenacity of a bull-dog. And this is the principal reason
which has induced the despotic princes of North Africa to cherish the
negroes, of whom they have encouraged a continual supply from the
The history of this Imperial Guard of Negroes is interesting, as showing
the inconveniences as well as the advantage of such a corps, for these
troops have not been always so well conducted as they are at present. At
one time, the Shereefs claimed a species of sovereignty over the city of
Timbuctbo and the adjacent countries. In the year 1727, Muley Ismail
determined to re-people his wasted districts by a colony of negroes. His
secret object was, however, to form a body guard to keep his own people
in check, a sort of black Swiss regiment, so alike is the policy of all
tyrants. In a few years, these troops exceeded 100,000 men. Finding
their numbers so great, and their services so much needed by the Sultan,
they became exigeant and rapacious, dictating to their royal master.
Muley Abdallah was deposed six times by them. Finding their yoke
intolerable, the Sultan decimated them by sending them to fight in the
mountains. Others were disbanded for the same reasons by Sidi Mohammed.
Still, the effect of this new colonization was beneficially experienced
throughout the country. The Moors taking the black women as concubines,
a mixed race of industrious people sprang up, and gave an impetus to the
empire. It is questionable, however, if North Africa could he colonized
by negroes. By mixing with the Caucasian race, this experiment partly
succeeded. But in general, North Africa is too bleak and uncongenial for
the negroes' nature during winter. The negro race does not increase of
itself on this coast. Their present number is kept up by a continual
supply of slaves. When this is stopped, coloured people will begin
gradually to disappear.
It is unnecessary to tell my readers that the Shereefs are very
sensitive on matters of religion; but an anecdote or two may amuse them.
A French writer expatiating in true Gallic style, calls Morocco the
"arriere-garde en Afrique of Islamism," and "une de ses armees de
reserve." Indeed, the coasts and cities of Morocco are inundated with
saints of every description and degree of sanctity. Morocco, in fact, is
not only the _classic_ land of Marabouts, but their home and haunt, and
sphere of agitation. There are ten thousand Abd-el-Kaders and Bou Mazas
all disputing authority with the High Priest, who sits on the green
throne of the Shereefs. Sometimes they assume the character of
demagogues, and inveigh against the rapacity and corruption of the court
and government. At others they appear as prophets, prophets of ill, by
preaching boldly the Holy war.
The French in Africa now furnish them with an everlasting theme of
denunciation. From Morocco they travel eastwards, filling the Sahara and
the Atlas with the odours of their holy reputation. So that religious
light, like that of civilization, is now moving from the
west--eastwards, instead of, as in times past, from the east--eastwards.
The Maroquine Mahometans may be cited as a case in point. They find too
frequently only the form of religion in the east, as we do in the
eastern churches. They are beginning to assault Mecca as we have
Now for an anecdote or two illustrative of the high state of orthodoxy
professed by the Shereefs. Some time ago, a number of handkerchiefs were
brought, or rather smuggled into Mogador, having printed upon them
passages from the Koran. One of them got into the hands of the Emperor,
who thinking the Christians were ridiculing the Sacred Book, ordered
instanter all the cities of the coast to be searched to discover the
offender who introduced them. Happily for the merchant he was not found
out. His Highness commanded that all the handkerchiefs which were
collected should be destroyed. When Mr. Davidson was at Morocco, he
prescribed some Seidlitz water for the use of the Sultan, and placed on
the sides of two bottles, containing the beverage, Arabic verses from
the Koran. The Sultan was exceedingly exasperated at this compliment to
his religion, and had it privately intimated to Mr. Davidson not to
desecrate the Holy Book in that abominable manner. The latter then very
prudently gave up to the minister all the printed verses he had brought
with him, which were concealed from public view. But if some of these
emperors are so rigid and scrupulous, there are others more liberal and
Muley Suleiman was a great admirer of the European character, and was
much attached to a Mr. Leyton, an English merchant. This merchant was
one day riding out of the city of Mogador, when an old woman rushed at
him, seized the bridle of his horse, and demanded alms. The merchant
pushed her away with his whip. The ancient dame seeing herself so rudely
nonsuited, went off screaming revenge; and although she had not had a
tooth in her head for twenty long years, she noised about town that Mr.
Leyton had knocked two of her teeth out, and importuned the Governor to
obtain her some pecuniary indemnification.
His Excellency advised Mr. Leyton to comply, and get rid of the
annoyance of the old woman. He resolutely refused, and the Governor was
obliged to report the case to the Emperor, as the old lady had made so
many partisans in Mogador as to threaten a disturbance. His Imperial
Highness wrote a letter to the merchant, condescendingly begging him to
supply the old woman with "two silver teeth," meaning thereby to give
her a trifling present in money. Mr. Leyton, being as obstinate as ever,
was ordered to appear before the Emperor at Morocco. Here the resolute
merchant declared that he had not knocked the teeth out of the old
woman's head, she had had none for years, and he would not be maligned
even in so small a matter.
The Emperor was at his wits' end, and endeavoured to smooth down the
contumacious Leyton, to save his capital from insurrection; imploring
him to comply with the Lex talionis,  and have two of his teeth
drawn if he was inflexibly determined not to pay. The poor Emperor was
in hourly dread of a revolution about this tooth business, and at the
same time he knew the merchant had spoken the truth. Strange to say, Mr.
Leyton at last consented to lose his teeth rather than his money.
However, on the merchant's return from the capital to Mogador, to his
surprise, and no doubt to his satisfaction, he found that two ship-loads
of grain had been ordered to be delivered to him by the Emperor, in
compensation for the two teeth which he had had punched out to satisfy
the exigencies of the Empire.
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 periodic visit of the Mogador
Merchants to the Emperor in the Southern Capital.
I received several visits from the Moors. As a class of men, they are
far superior in civility and kindness to the Moorish population of
Tangier. So much for the foolish and absurd stories about the place,
which tell us that it is the only city of the Empire in which Christians
can live with safety and comparative comfort. These tales must have been
invented to please the Tangier diplomatists. The contrary is the fact,
for, whilst the Moors of Tangier consist of camel drivers and soldiers,
there are a good number of very respectable native merchants in Mogador;
nevertheless, a large portion of the population is in the pay of
government as militia, to keep in check the tribes of the neighbouring
provinces; but their pay is very small, and most of them do a little
business; many are artizuns and common labourers. As a specimen of their
ordinary conversation, take the following.
_Moors_.--"All the people of Morocco are soldiers; what can the
foreigner do against them? Morocco is one camp, our Sultan is one, we
have one Prophet, and one God."
_Traveller_.--"In our country we do not care to have so many soldiers.
We have fewer than France, and many other countries; but our soldiers do
not work like yours; they are always soldiers, and fight bravely."
_Moors_.--"We don't understand; how wonderful! the French must conquer
you with more soldiers."
_Traveller_.--"We have more ships, and our principal country is an
island; the sea surrounds us, and defends us."
_Moors_.--"How much pay has the Governor of Gibraltar?"
_Traveller_.--"About 20,000 dollars per annum."
_Moors_.--"Too much; why, the Koed of Mogador is obliged, instead of
receiving money, to send the Emperor, at a day's notice, 20, or 30,000
dollars! or if he does not pay, he is sent to prison at once; his head
is not the value of a slave's."
It appears that the old governor (who is now in Morocco) positively
refuses any salary or presents; his Excellency is a man of some small
property, and finds this plan answers best. He will not be fattened and
bled as the Emperor treats other governors. He politely hinted this to
the Emperor when he accepted office; since then, he has resolutely
refused all presents from the merchants, so that the Emperor has no
excuse whatever for bleeding him under the pretext that he is afflicted
with a plethora, from his exactions on the people. The moneys referred
to by the Moors are the custom dues, which are collected by a separate
department, and transmitted direct, to the Emperor.
Whilst residing at Mogador, Mr. Cohen arrived from Morocco, where he had
been with the merchants. He is the English Jew who assisted Mr. Davidson
in his travels through Morocco. His experience in Maroquine affairs is
considerable, and I shall offer his conclusions concerning the present
state of the Empire. I prefer, indeed, giving the opinion of various
residents or natives of the country to our own. Mr. Cohen's ideas will
be found to differ exceedingly from that of the (Imperial) merchants,
who, in point of fact, are not free men, and cannot be trustworthy
witnesses. As Mr. Elton justly observed, the Europeans are so much
involved with the Emperor, that they are almost obliged to consent
publicly to the violent death of the unfortunate Jew, Dorman, although
he was under the French protection, and likewise a kind of vice-consul.
Mr. Cohen says--"the people of Morocco are tired of their government,
tired of being pillaged of their property, tired of the insecurity and
uncertainty of their possessions; that is to say, of the few things
which still remain in their hands." Mr. Cohen goes so far as to
say--that, were a strong European power to be established on the coast,
the entire population would flock to its support. He gives the following
instance of the style and manner in which the Emperor bleeds the
governors of provinces.
A few years ago, a governor of Mogador presented himself to the Sultan
of Fez. He was received with all due honours. The governor then begged
leave to return to Morocco. He was dismissed with great demonstrations
of friendship. He arrived at Morocco, and the governor of that city
immediately informed him that he was his prisoner, the Sultan having a
claim against him, of 40,000 dollars. At length, the poor dupe of royal
favour obtained permission to go back to Mogador and to sell all he had,
in order to make up the sum of 40,000 dollars.
This is the way in which things are managed there. Of Maroquine policy,
Mr. Cohen says, "That when the Sultan finds himself in a scrape, he
gives way, though slightly dilatory at first. So long as he sees that he
does not commit himself, or is not detected, he does what he likes with
his own and other people's likewise, to the fullest extent of his power.
But on any mishap befalling him, Muley Abd Errahman, whenever he can,
always shifts the responsibility upon his ministers, and if one of them
gives his advice, and the course taken therein does not succeed, woe be
to the unhappy functionary!"
Some years ago, a number of troops rebelled against the Emperor. At the
instance of the prime minister, Ben Dris, they were pardoned; but,
instead of receiving gratefully this imperial mercy, the troops broke
out afresh in rebellion, which, with great difficulty, was quelled by
the Sultan. This, however, being accomplished, he called the prime
minister before him, and thus addressed the amazed vizier.
"Now, Sir, receive four hundred bastinadoes for your pains, and pay me
30,000 ducats; you will then take care in future how you give me
advice." Nevertheless, Ben Dris still remained vizier, and continued so
till his death. Bastinadoing a minister in Morocco is, however, much the
same as a forced resignation, or the dismissal of a minister in Europe.
Doubtless Ben Dris thought himself surprisingly lucky that the Emperor
did not cut off his head.
It was the late Mr. Hay's opinion, that Muley Abd Errahman was a good
man, but surrounded with bad advisers. The probability seems rather,
that he took all the credit of the good acts of his advisers, and flung
on them the odium of all the bad acts committed by himself, as many
other despotic sovereigns have often done before him.
With regard to the disaffection of the people, as alleged by Mr. Cohen,
its verification is of great importance to us, and our appreciation of
it equally so.
We might be counting upon the resistance of the Maroquines against an
invasion of the French, and find, to our astonishment, the invaders
received as deliverers from the exactions and tyrannies of the
Shereefian oppressor. The fact is, Morocco will never be able to resist
the progress of nations any more than China, especially since she has
got the most restless people in the world for her neighbours. Besides,
during the last thirty years, many of the Maroquines have visited
Europe, and their eyes are becoming opened, the film of Moorish
fanaticism has fallen off; even on their aggressive neighbours, they see
the exercise of a government less rapacious than their own, and more
security of life and property. Still, the Emperor will use every means
to build up a barrier against innovation.
Just at this time, a _rekos_ (courier) arrived from Mr. Willshire (now
at Morocco), bringing letters in answer to those which I had addressed
to him, touching my visit to the Emperor. He writes that he had "already
received orders from His Imperial Majesty respecting the object of my
mission," which words give me uneasiness, as they are evidently
unfavourable to it, and consequently to my journey to Morocco.
There is a misunderstanding between the provinces of Shed ma and Hhaha.
These districts adjoin Mogador, the city belonging to Hhaha. Shedma is
mostly lowland and plains, and Hhaha highlands and mountains, which form
a portion of the south-western Atlas, and strike down into the sea at
Santa Cruz. There seems to be no other reason for those frequent
obstinate hostilities on both sides, except the nature of the country.
It is lamentable to think, because "a narrow frith" divides two people,
or because one lives in the mountains and the other in the plains, that
therefore they should be enemies for ever! Strange infatuation of poor
Here the feud legend babbles of revenge, and says that, in the time of
Muley Suleiman, one day when the Hhaha people were at prayers at
Mogador, during broad day light, the Shedma people came down upon them
and slaughtered them, and, whilst in the sacred and inviolable act of
devotion, entered the mosques and pillaged their houses. This produced
implacable hatred between them, which is likely to survive many
generations; but the story was told me by a Hhaha man, and not
improbably the people of Shedma had some plausible reason for making
this barbarous attack.
Even before this piece of treachery of one Mussulman towards another at
the hour of prayer, the feuds seemed to have existed. It is a remarkable
circumstance in the history of Islamism, that many of the most
treacherous and sanguinary actions of Mahometans have been committed
within the sacred enclosures of the mosques, and at the hour of prayer.
One of the caliphs having been assassinated in a mosque, seems to have
been the precedent for all the murders of the kind which have followed,
and indelibly disgrace the Mussulman annals.
These Hhaha and Shedma people are also borderers, and fight with the
accustomed ferocity of border tribes.
Their conflicts are very desultory, being carried on by twos and threes,
or sixes and sevens, and with sticks, and stones, and other weapons, if
they cannot get knives, or matchlocks. Meanwhile, the Emperor folds his
arms, and looks on superbly and serenely. When the two parties are
exhausted, or have had enough of it for the present; his Imperial
Highness then interferes, and punishes both by fine. Indeed, it pays him
better to pursue this course; for, instead of spending money in the
suppression of factious insurrections, he gains by mulcting both
parties. The Sultan, in fact, not only aggrandizes himself by the
quarrels of his own subjects, but he profits by the disputes between the
foreign consuls and his governors.
The imbroglio which took place some years since, between the Governor of
Mogador and the French Consul, M. Delaporte, is sufficiently
characteristic. An Algerine Mussulman, who was of course a French
subject, behaved himself very indecent, by setting all the usual rules
of Mahometan worship at defiance. This was a great scandal to the
Faithful. The Governor of Mogador, in defiance of religion, took upon
himself to punish a French Mussulman. The French Consul remonstrated
strongly in presence of the Governor, almost insulting him before his
people. The Sultan approved the conduct of his governor. The Consul
General decided that both parties ought to be removed, and the French
Government recalled their vice-consul. The Sultan, promised, but did not
dismiss his Governor, or rather the Governor himself would not be
dismissed. The French reiterated their complaints, which were supported
by a small squadron sent down to Mogador. The Governor was now
cashiered, and was besides obliged to pay the Emperor a fine of thirteen
thousand dollars, upon the pretext of appeasing the offended Majesty of
his royal master. So the Sultan always makes money by the misadventures
of his subjects. To indemnify the poor Governor for his fine, he
received soon after another appointment. On his return from Morocco,
having waited upon Mr Wiltshire regarding the presentation of the
Petition of the Anti-Slavery Society, the Vice-Consul explained the
great difficulty the Emperor had in receiving a petition which called
for an organic change in the social condition of the country, and that,
indeed, the abolition of slavery was "contrary to his religion." I then
represented to Mr. Willshire the propriety at least of waiting for the
arrival of the Governor of Mogador from Morocco, in order to have a
personal interview with him, to which the Vice-Consul acceded.
The difficulties of travelling through Morocco; and of residing in the
inland towns have been already mentioned.
In further proof, Mr. Elton related that, whilst the merchants visited
the Emperor in the, southern capital, a watch-maker, a European and a
Christian, asked permission of the Minister to dwell in the quarter of
the Moors, instead of that of the Jews, in which latter the Europeans
The Minister replied, "you may live there if you like, but you must have
ten soldiers to guard you." Such a reply from the Minister, and whilst
the merchants were protected by the presence of the Emperor himself, is
all conclusive as to the insecurity attached to Europeans in the
Morocco itself is a city of profound gloom, where the Moor indulges to
the utmost his taciturn disposition, and melancholy fatalism. It is,
therefore, not an enchanting abode for Europeans, who, whilst there
waiting on the Emperor, are obliged constantly to ride about to preserve
their health, or they would die of the suffocating stench in the Jew's
millah, or quarter. But, in taking this equestrian exercise, they are
not unfrequently insulted. An ungallant cavalier deliberately stopped
Mrs. Elton by riding up against her.
The lady spurred her horse and caught with her feet a portion of his
light burnouse, dragging it away. He was only prevented riding after and
cutting her down, by one of the Emperor's secretaries, who was passing
by at the time.
Mr. Elton had a fine black horse to ride upon. The populace were so
savage at seeing an infidel mounted upon so splendid an animal, that
they hooted: "Curse you, Infidel! dismount you dog!"
These instances shew the sauciness of the vulgar, and are a fair example
of the conduct of the Moors. I am told by Barbary Jews, it would be next
to impossible for a Christian to walk without disguise in broad daylight
at Fez. Not so much from the hostility of the populace, as from their
indecent and vehement curiosity. However, in these cases, I am obliged
to give the testimony of others. Mr. Cohen, when travelling through the
interior, assumes the character of a quack doctor, the best passport in
all these countries. Practising as he goes, he manages to get enough to
bear his charges on the way.
Oliver Goldsmith piped, but in Morocco the traveller and stranger
physics his way. To Europeans, Mr. Cohen gives this advice--"Never to
stay more than one night at any place." "Mr. Davidson," he says,
"stopped so long at Wadnoun, that all the Desert, as far as Timbuctoo,
heard of his projects and travels, and were determined to waylay and
But, on the contrary, with respect to my own experience in the Desert,
the people appeared equally hostile or offended at my taking them by
surprise. Desert travelling after all is mostly an affair of luck. Six
travellers might be sent to Timbuctoo and three return, and three be
murdered, and yet the three who were murdered might have been as prudent
and as skilful as the three who were successful. The Maroquine
Government often shew a perfect Chinese jealousy of Europeans travelling
in the interior. When Doctor Willshire, brother of the Consul, returned
from Morocco, the Government gave orders that "he should be taken
directly to Mogador, and not be allowed to turn to the right hand or to
the left, to collect old stones or herbs." This lynx-eyed government
imagined they saw in Doctor Willshire's botanical and mineralogical
rambles, a design of spying out the powers and resources of the country.
The consentaneous progress of Morocco in the universal movement of the
age, is argued by the merchants from an increased use of chairs, and
knives and forks. Some years ago, scarcely a knife and fork, or a chair
was to be found in this part of Morocco. Now, almost every house in the
Jewish quarter has them. The Jew of Barbary can use them with less
scruple than the orthodox Tory Moor, who sets his face like flint
against all changes, because his European brethren adopt them. Many
innovations of this domestic sort are introduced from Europe into North
Africa through the instrumentality of native Jews. Tea has become an
article Of universal consumption. It is, indeed, the wine of the
Maroquine Mussulmen.  Even in remote provinces, amongst Bebers and
Bedouins, the most miserable looking and living of people the finest
green tea is to be found.
You enter a miserable looking hut, when you are amazed by the hostess
unlocking an old box, and taking out a choice tea service, cups,
saucers, tea-pot, and tea-tray, often of white china with gilt edges.
These, after use, are always kept locked up, as objects of most precious
value. The sugar is put in the tea-pot, and the Moors and Jews usually
drink their tea so sweet that it may be called syrup. But if any lady
tries the plan of melting the sugar while the tea is brewing in the
tea-pot, she will find the tea so prepared has acquired a different, and
not disagreeable flavour.
Morocco has its fashions and manias as well as Europe. House building is
now the rage. They say it is not so easy for the Sultan to fleece the
people of their property when it consists of houses. Almost every
distinguished Moor in the interior has built, or is building himself a
spacious house. This mania is happily a useful one, and must advance the
comfort and sanitary improvement of the people. It is as good as a
Health of Towns Bill for them.
The merchants having all returned from Morocco, I shall give some
account of their visit to the Emperor. The ancient rule of imperial
residence was, that the Sultan should sojourn six months in Fez, and six
months in Morocco, the former the northern, and the latter the southern
capital. This is not adhered to strictly, the Emperor taking up his
abode at one capital or the other, and sometimes at Micknos, according
to his caprice. He never fails, however, to visit Morocco once a year,
on account of its neighbourhood to Mogador, his much loved, and
beautiful commercial city. The Emperor himself, before his accession to
the throne, was the administrator of the customhouse of this city, where
he has acquired his commercial tastes and habits of business, which he
has cultivated from the very commencement of his reign. When the Emperor
resides in the South, he receives visits from the merchants of Mogador.
These visits are imperative on the merchants, if they are his imperial
debtors, or even if they wish to maintain a friendly feeling with his
government. Upon an average, the visits or deputations of merchants,
take place every three or four years; more frequently they cannot well
be, because they cost the merchants immense sums in presents, each often
giving to the value of three or four thousand dollars. In return, they
receive additional and prolonged credits.
The number of Imperial merchants is about twenty, three of whom are
Englishmen, Messrs. Willshire, Elton, and Robertson. Most of the rest
are Barbary Jews. 
There is a Belgian merchant who did not go with these. This gentleman,
owing nothing to the Emperor, preferred to pay duty on shipping his
merchandize, on which by payment of ready money, he gets 25 per cent
discount. This plan, however, does not enable him to compete with the
Imperial merchants, whose duties accumulate till they are years and
years in arrear. And when these arrears have gone on increasing till
there is no chance of payment, the Emperor, in order to keep up his
firms of enslaved merchants, will rather remit half or more of the debt,
in consideration of a handsome present, than encourage merchants to make
ready money payments. The largest debt owing by a single firm, is that
of a native Jew, viz., 250,000 dollars. The amount of the debt of the
united Mogador merchants is more than one million and a half of dollars.
The usual course of the merchants is to pay the debt off by monthly
As an instance of the Emperor's straining a point to keep solvent one of
his mercantile firms, on the occasion of the visit of the merchants to
Morocco, his Imperial Highness lent the house of Hasan Joseph (Jews)
10,000 dollars in hard cash, which, to my knowledge, were paid to them
out of the coffers of the Mogador custom-house. This was certainly an
instance of magnanimous generosity on the part of Muley Abd Errahman.
But the Emperor's genius is mercantile, and he is determined to support
his Imperial traders; and his conduct, after all, is only the
calculation of a raiser.
It must be mentioned, however, to the honour of Mr. Elton, that on the
bombardment of Mogador, he and his lady were allowed to leave at once,
having paid up all their government debt. Indeed, the governor of that
place, was always accustomed to say to the collector of the returns of
the monthly payment of instalments: "Now, go first to Mrs. Elton; she
will be sure to have the money ready for you. And we must have money
to-day from some of the merchants." On another occasion, his Excellency
called the lady of Mr. Elton, "the best man amongst the merchants." Mrs.
Elton, being a vivacious, energetic lady, was often called "the woman of
The following are the stations at which the merchants stop from Mogador
to Morocco, to visit the Emperor.
1st. Emperor's Gardens; five hours from Mcgador, where are some fine fig
trees, and a spring.
2nd. Ain Omas.
4th. Wad Enfes.
The country, for the first two days, is beautifully rural, scattered
over with noble Argan forests, on the third and fourth days, the journey
is through plains and an open country. On the second day, after leaving
Mogador, you obtain a distinct view of the great Atlas range at the back
of Morocco; on the fifth, as you approach the capital, the country is
overspread with wild date-palms, palmettos, or dwarf palms. The view of
"Towering Atlas that supports the sky,"
now stands forth, vaster and more magnificent as you approach the
capital, and is the only feature of surpassing interest on the journey;
but it suffices to absorb all the attention of the traveller. As he
gazes on the giant mountain, which seems to support with its huge rocky
arms the frame-work of the skies, its head covered with everlasting
snow, he forgets the fatigue of his painful route under an African sun;
and, lost in pious musings, adores the Omnipotent being who laid the
foundation of this solid buttress.
Halfway is called "the Neck of the Camel," where there is a well in the
midst of a scene extremely desert and dreary. Here all the donkeys of
the party of merchants died from want of water. The water of this well
is not permitted to be drunk by animals, in obedience to the solemn
Testament of the Saint who dug it. The poor horses and mules were tied
close up to the well, looking wistfully at the water when drawn for the
biped animals, and snuffing the scent; but they were not allowed to
taste a drop. Two horses broke loose and fought, their combat being
aggravated by thirst, "See!" cried the Moors to the merchants, "the
Saint is angry with you for having wished to give his water to horses."
Our merchants, however, in defiance of the Saint (this invisible enemy
of the lower creation) and of his supporters, got a supply of water,
which during the night, and en marche the next day, they distributed to
their steeds. The accommodation on the way, and at the capital is very
bad, even the waiting-room near the palace, appropriated to the
Christians, is but an old dilapidated shed, with one of its sides
knocked out, or never filled in. "Everything," say our merchants, "is
going to rack and ruin in the capital. The Emperor will not even repair
his palaces, or the jealousies in which he keeps his women; money is his
only pursuit and his God."
Their residence in the capital was very disagreeable, all being cooped
up in the Jews' quarter, and obliged to subsist on victuals cooked by
these people, which made certain of them unwell, for some of the Barbary
Jew's food is very indigestible.
The presentation of the merchants to the Emperor was conducted as
follows: At nine in the morning, they were admitted into a garden in
presence of about two thousand imperial guards, all drawn up in file,
looking extremely fierce. Passing these bearded warriors, they were
conducted into a large square lined with buildings, where, after waiting
about five minutes, the gate of the palace was suddenly thrown open, and
the Emperor rode out superbly mounted on a white horse, followed on foot
by a group of courtiers. His Imperial Highness was attended by the
Governor of Mogador, who walked by his side.
The first persons presented to the Shereefian lord were the officials of
Mogador, who were introduced by the Governor of that city; afterwards
came some Moorish grandees; then the Christians were presented, and
finally the Jewish merchants. The latter were introduced by the Governor
of Mogador, the Jews taking off their shoes as they passed before the
Emperor. One passed at a time, with his cadeau behind him, carried by an
attendant Jew. As the merchants moved on, his Imperial Highness asked
their names, and condescended to thank each of them separately for his
The merchants carried in their hand, an invoice of their respective
presents, and gave it to the Governor, for the articles on their
delivery are not exposed before the eyes of the Sultan. To open the
budget would be a breach of good breeding, and would shock the Imperial
Fifteen merchants were introduced, and the ceremony of presentation
lasted about twenty minutes; this being concluded, the merchants were
permitted to perambulate the gardens of the Emperor, and to pluck a
little fruit. They were afterwards delayed a fortnight, waiting to
present a _cadeau_ to the Emperor's eldest son. Such are the details of
this journey, which I got from the merchants themselves. Mr. Willshire,
being a consul and great customer of his Imperial Highness, also
received a gift of a horse in exchange. The united value of the presents
to the Emperor, on this occasion, was fifty thousand dollars, which
amply indemnifies him for his money-lending, and the credit that he
gives. They consisted principally of articles of European manufactures.
His Imperial Highness afterwards sells them to his subjects on his own
account. Of course, amongst this mass of presents, there are many nice
things such as tea, sugar, spices, essences &c., for his personal
comfort and luxury, as well as for his harem, besides articles of dress
It will not be out of place here, to give a brief account of the
commerce of Morocco. In doing so, we must take into consideration the
prodigious quantity of imports and exports, of which there are no
statistics in the Imperial custom-houses, and no consular returns. Let
us estimate the population of Morocco at its general compensation of
eight millions, and suppose that each spends a dollar per annum in the
purchase of European manufactures. This will raise the value of imports
at once to eight millions of dollars per annum. It is notorious that the
contraband trade of Tangier, and Tetuan, and the northern coast
generally doubles or trebles the commerce that passes through the
customhouse; but the legal trade is not well ascertained.
Mr. Hay once sent, I believe, to the Agent of Mogador, a list of
questions to be answered by the consular department. The gentleman, who
was an unsalaried vice-consul, appalled at the number of
interrogatories, immediately replied, "That he had his own business to
attend to; he could not sit down to compose consular returns, which
would require weeks of labour; and if it were considered part of his
duties to answer such questions, he begged to resign at once his
As to the Barbary Jews, who have charge of some of the vice-consulates,
they are necessarily incapacitated, by reason of their want of
education, for such an employment. It is, therefore, hopeless to attempt
to give any accurate account of the commerce of Morocco, I can only
annex a few details of those things of which we are actually cognizant.
Whatever may be said of the indolent habits of the Moors, they were
once, and still are, a commercial people. Spain, the neighbour of
Morocco, still feels the loss of the Moors. They were the really
industrious classes settled in Spain. The merchants, the artists, the
operatives, and agriculturists unfortunately have left behind them few
inheriting their habits of perseverance. Little, indeed, can be expected
in Spain, where the maxim is adopted, that "nobility may lie dormant in
a servant, but becomes extinct in a merchant." Spain lost upwards of
three millions of intelligent and industrious Moors, a shock she will
The bombardment of a commercial city of this country would not do the
injury which is commonly imagined. The ports are numerous though not
very good. A single house or shed on the beach of Mogador, or Tangier,
is a sufficient custom-house for the Moors. There are no great deposits
of goods on the coast, for as soon as the camels bring their loads of
exports, these are shipped, and the camels immediately return to the
interior, laden with imported goods or manufactures.
Mogador is the great commercial depot of the Atlantic coast, and
therefore "the beautiful Ishweira, the beloved town," of Muley Abd
Errahman. Its trade is principally, however, with the south, the
provinces of Sous and Wadnoun, and the Western Sahara. Mogador is also
the bona-fide port of the southern capital of Morocco. Two-thirds of the
commerce of Mogador is carried on with England, the rest is divided
among the other nations of Europe; but of this third, I should think
France has one half. The port of Mogador has usually some half-a-dozen
vessels lying in it, but from twenty to thirty have been seen there.
They are usually sixty days discharging and taking in cargo. Each vessel
pays forty dollars port-dues, which must press very heavily upon small
vessels, but it is seldom that a vessel of less than one hundred tons is
seen at Mogador. The grand staple exports are only two, gum and almonds;
upon the sale of these, the commercial activity of this city entirely
depends. English vessels come directly from London, the French from
Marseilles; but so badly is this commerce managed that, at the present
time, Morocco produce is higher in Mogador than it is in London or
Marseilles; for instance, Morocco almonds are cheaper in London than
Mazagan, and some few other ports, export produce direct to Europe, but
Tangier is the next commercial port of the empire. There is an important
trade in manufactures and provisions carried on between Tangier and
Gibraltar. The Fez merchants have resident agents in Gibraltar. Curious
stories are told of Maroquine adventurers leaving Tangier and Fez as
camel-drivers and town-porters, and then assuming the character and
style of merchants in Gibraltar, throwing over their shoulders a
splendid woollen burnouse, and folding round their heads a thoroughly
orthodox turban in large swelling folds of milk-white purity.
In this way, they will walk through the stores of Gibraltar, and obtain
thousands of dollars' worth of credit. The merchant-emperor found it
necessary to put a stop to this, and promulgated a decree to the effect,
that "he would not, for the future, be responsible for the debts of any
of his subjects contracted out of his dominions."
This was aimed at these trading adventurers, and the decree was
transmitted to the British Consul, who had it published in the Gibraltar
Gazette while I was staying in that city. Up to this time, the Emperor,
singularly enough, had made himself responsible for all the debts of his
subjects trading with Gibraltar.
The trade in provisions at Tangier is most active, bullocks, sheep,
butcher's meat, fowls, eggs, game and pigeons, grain and flour, &c., are
daily shipped from Tangier to Gibraltar. The garrison and population of
Gibraltar draw more than two-thirds of their provisions from this and
other northern parts of Morocco.
This government speculates in and carries on commerce; and, like most
African and Asiatic governments, has had its established monopolies from
time immemorial, of some of which it disposes, whilst it reserves others
for itself, as those of tobacco, sulphur, and cochineal. All the high
functionaries engage in commerce, and this occupation of trade and
barter is considered the most honourable in the empire, sanctioned as it
is by the Emperor himself, who may be considered as the chief of
merchants. The monopolies are sold by public auction at so much per
annum. On its own monopolies, government, as a rule, exacts a profit of
cent per cent.
The following is a list of the monopolies which the Emperor sells,
either to his own employers or to native and foreign merchants.
1. Leeches.--This is one of the most recently established monopolies,
dating only about twenty years back. The trade in leeches was set on
foot by Mr. Frenerry; it brought, at first, but a few dollars per annum,
and now the monopoly is sold for 50,000. Leeches are principally found
in the lakes of the north-west districts, called the Gharb.
2. Wax.--This monopoly is confined almost exclusively to the markets of
Tangier and El-Araish. It sold, while I was in the country, for three
3. Bark.--This is a monopoly of the north, principally of the
mountainous region of Rif. It is farmed for about sixteen thousand
4. The coining of copper money.--The right of coining money in the name
of the Emperor, is sold for ten thousand dollars to each principal city.
It is a dangerous privilege to be exercised; for, should the alloy be
not of a quality which pleases the Emperor, or the particular governor
of the city, the unfortunate coiner is forthwith degraded, and his
property confiscated. Indeed, the coiner sometimes pays for his
negligence, or dishonesty, with his head.
5. Millet, and other small seeds.--This monopoly at Tangier is sold for
five hundred dollars. The price varies in other places according to
6. Cattle.--The cattle exported from Tetuan, Tangier, and El-Araish, for
the victualling of Gibraltar, is likewise a monopoly; it amounted during
my stay to 7,500 dollars. In consequence of an alleged treaty, but which
does not exist on paper, the Emperor of Morocco has bound himself to
supply our garrison of Gibraltar with 2,000 head of cattle per annum,
1,500 of which must be shipped from Tangier, the rest from other parts
of the Gharb, or north-west. British contractors pay five dollars per
head export duty, the ordinary tax is ten. It is estimated, however,
that some three or four thousand head of cattle are annually exported
from Morocco for our garrison. The Gibraltar Commissariat contractors
complain, and with reason, that the Maroquine monopolist supplies the
British Government with "the very worst cattle of all Western Barbary."
These monopolies do not interfere with the custom-house, which levies
its duties irrespectively of them. Leeches pay an export duty of 2s. 9d.
the thousand; wax pays an _ad valorem_ duty of fifty per cent; bark pays
a very small duty, and millet scarcely a penny per quintal.
Independently of these monopolies, there are exports of merchandise of a
special character, and requiring a special permission from the Sultan,
such as grains and beasts of burden; and, if we may be permitted,
bipeds, or Jews and Jewesses.
His Imperial Highness has absolute need of Jews to carry on the commerce
of the country. No male adult Jew, or child, can leave the ports of
Morocco, without paying four dollars customs duty. A Jewess must pay a
hundred dollars. The reason of there being such an excessive export-duty
on women is to keep them in the country, as a sort of pledge for the
return of their husbands, brothers or fathers, in the event of their
leaving for commercial or other purposes. Slaves are not exported from
Morocco. Besides the payment of special impost on exportation, wool pays
a duty of three dollars per quintal, and two pounds of powder when
dirty, and double when washed. A bullock pays export duty ten dollars,
and a sheep one. Sheepskins eight dollars the hundred, bullock-skins
three dollars per quintal, and goat-skins the same. Of grain, wheat pays
an export duty of three-fourths of a dollar per fanega, or about a
quintal. Barley is not exported, there being scarcely enough for home
Horses are exported in small numbers, by special permission from the
Emperor, A few years since when Spain threatened the frontier of
Portugal, the English Government found it necessary to come to the aid of
the latter country, and Mr. Frenerry was commissioned by our Government
to purchase of the Emperor five hundred horses for Portugal.
His Imperial Highness called together his governors of cities, and
shieks of provinces, and after a long debate, it was unanimously decided
that so large a number of horses could not be sold to the Christians
without danger to the empire, whilst also, the transaction would be
contrary to the principles of Islamism.
Should an individual wish to export a single horse, he would have to pay
sixty dollars, a duty which entirely amounts to a prohibition, many of
the boasted beasts not being worth twenty dollars. A mule pays forty,
and an ass five dollars. Mules are much dearer in Morocco and in other
parts of Barbary than horses. Camels are rarely exported, and have no
The Queen of Spain, some time ago, solicited the Sultan for four camels,
and his Imperial Highness had the gallantry to grant the export free of
There are several exports which are not monopolies. These are
principally from the south. The following are some of them.
Ostrich feathers.--These are of three qualities; the first of which pays
three dollars per pound, the second quality one and a half dollars, and
the third, three-quarters of a dollar. Many feather merchants are now in
Mogador visiting at the feasts of the Jews, who reside in Sous and
Wadnoun, and have communications with all the districts of the Sahara.
Elephants' teeth.--Ivory pays an export duty of ten per cent. During
late years, both ivory and ostrich feathers have lost much of their
value as articles of commerce.
Gums.--Gum-arabic pays two dollars per quintal export duty, and gum
sudanic an ad valorem duty of ten per cent. But now-a-days only the very
best gum will sell in English markets; the inferior qualities, as of all
other Barbary produce, are shipped to Marseilles. One looks with extreme
interest at the beautiful pellucid drops of Sudanic gum, knowing that
the Arabs bring some of it from the neighbourhood of Timbuctoo.
Almonds.--Both the sweet and the bitter, in the shell, or the oil of
almonds, pay three dollars per quintal. Ship-loads at once are exported
from Mogador direct for Soudan.
Red woollen sashes are exported at five dollars per dozen. The Spaniards
take a great quantity. Tanned skins, especially the red, or Morocco, are
exported at ten per cent, _ad valorem_. Slippers pay a dollar the
hundred. The haik or barracan is exported in great numbers to the Levant
by the pilgrims. The vessels, also, that carry pilgrims from Morocco,
return laden with these and other native manufactures. Barbary dried
peas are exported principally to Spain, paying a dollar the quintal. Fez
flour pays one dollar and a half per fanega; dates pay five dollars the
quintal; fowls and eggs, the former two dollars per dozen, the latter
two dollars per thousand; oranges and lemons pay a dollar the thousand.
Gold is brought from Soudan over the Desert, and is sometimes exported.
I have no account of it, and never heard it mentioned in Morocco as an
article of any importance.
Olive-oil is exported from the north, but not in great quantities. The
amount exported in a recent year was about the value of L6,000 sterling.
The olive is not so much cultivated in Morocco as in Tunis and Tripoli.
Besides the articles above mentioned, antimony, euphorbium, horns, hemp,
linseed, rice, maize, and dra, orchella weed, orris-root, pomegranate
peel, sarsaparilla, snuff, sponges, walnuts, garbanyos, gasoul, and
mineral soap, gingelane, and commin seeds, &c., are exported in various
It was reported in the mercantile circles, that representations would be
made to the Emperor to place the trade of the country upon a regular,
and more stable footing. All nations, indeed, would benefit by a change
which could not but be for the better. But I question whether his
Imperial Highness will give up his old and darling system of being the
sovereign-merchant of the Empire. It is not the interest of Great
Britain to annoy him, for we have always to look at Gibraltar. But it
would be desirable if Christian merchants could be found to undertake
the duty, to have all the vice-consuls of the coast Christians, in
preference to Jews. By having Jewish consuls, we place ourselves in a
false position with the Emperor, who is obliged to submit to the
prejudices of his people against Hebrews. British merchants ought to be
allowed to visit their own vessels whilst in port, to superintend, or
what not, the stowing or landing of their goods, as they are entitled to
do by treaty. Spanish dollars are the chief currency in Morocco; but
there are also doubloons and smaller gold coins. This currency, the
merchants manage very badly. A doubloon loses sixteen pence, or four
Maroquine ounces in exchange at Mogador, whilst at the capital of
Morocco, three days' journey from this, it passes for the same value it
bears in Spain and Gibraltar.
As to the revenues of the Government of Morocco, our means of
information are still more uncertain and conjectural, than those we
possess regarding commerce. A French writer asserts, that the tithes
upon land assigned by the Koran and the capitation tax on the Jews,
produce from twenty to thirty million francs (or say about one million
pounds sterling) per annum. This, perhaps, is too large a sum.
About a century ago, the revenues of Moocco were estimated at only
L200,000 sterling per annum. But if Muley Abd Errahman has fifty
millions of dollars, or ten millions sterling in the vaults of Mequinez,
he may be considered as the richest monarch in Africa, nay in all
Europe. It is positively stated that Muley Ismail left this amount, or
one hundred millions of ducats in the imperial treasury, which Sidi
Mahommed reduced to two millions. It may have been the great object of
the life of the present Sultan to restore this enormous hoard. No
country is rich or safe without a vast capital in hand as a reserve for
times of trouble, war, or famine. But it is not necessary that such
reserve should be in the hands of a government.
This, a Maroquine prince cannot comprehend, and he decides as to the
riches and poverty of his country by the amount he possesses in his
In treating of trade, and comparing its exports with the peculiar
products and manufactures of the cities and towns, hereafter to be
enumerated, we may approximate to an idea of the resources of the
Maroquine Empire, but everything is more or less deteriorated in this
naturally rich country.
Cattle and sheep, grain and fruits, are of inferior quality, owing to
the want of proper culture. No spontaneous growth is equal to culture,
for such is the ordinance of Divine Providence. Half of this country is
desert. The iron hand of despotic government presses heavily upon all
industry. If we add to this defective state of culture, the miserably
moral condition of the people, we have the unpleasant picture of an
inferiority civilized race of mankind scattered over a badly cultivated
region. Not all the magnificence of the glorious Atlas can reconcile
such a prospect to the imagination. But, unhappily, Morocco does not
constitute a very striking exception to the progress of civilization
along the shores and in the isles of the Mediterranean. Many countries
in Southern Europe are in a state little superior, and the Moorish
civilization is almost on a par with that of the Grecian, Sicilian, or
Maltese, and quite equal to Turkish advancement in the arts and sciences
of the nineteenth century. The only real advantage of the Turks over the
Moors consists in the improvements the former have made in the
organization of the army. Whoever travels through Morocco, and will but
open his eyes to survey its rich valleys and fertile plains, will be
impressed with the conviction that this country, cultivated by an
industrious population, and fostered by a paternal government, is
capable of producing all the agricultural wealth of the north and the
south of Europe, as well as the Tropics, and of maintaining its
inhabitants in happiness and plenty.
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 amongst the Jewish population of
Morocco.--Scripture Illustration, "Behold the Bridegroom
cometh!"--Jewish Renegades.--How far women have souls.--Infrequency of
Notwithstanding the sarcasm of a French journalist that the French and
other Europeans consuls are "consuls des jusifs, et pour la protection
des jusifs," the French consuls both here and at Tangier, have real
power and influence with the Government.
The Governor of Mogador, Sidi Haj El-Arby, arrived from Morocco. His
Excellency feared an attack from the Shedma and the Hhaha people, and
was obliged to have a strong escort. Not long ago, the Sultan himself
had a narrow escape from falling into the hands of a band of insurgents;
their object was to make their lord-paramount a prisoner, and extort
concessions as the price of his liberty. This will help us to form an
opinion of the want of sympathy between potentate and subjects in
His Excellency brought an order from the Imperial despot to imprison the
late governor, if the balance of 6,000 dollars was not instantly
forthcoming, he having only paid nine out of the 15,000 demanded. The
late governor was confined in his house, instead of in the common
prison. It was said he was worth 30,000 dollars, but that he was afraid
to make too prompt a payment of the demand of the Emperor, lest he
should be called upon for more. However, his furniture, horses, and
mules were sold in the public streets; a melancholy spectacle was the
degradation of a former governor of this city. 
The Moors look upon these things as matters of course, or with
indifference, quietly ejaculating, "It is destiny! who can resist?" but
the Moor, nevertheless, can clearly discern that wealth is a crime in
the eyes of their sovereign. I am not surprised at the present governor
absolutely rejecting all presents, and making the people call him by the
_soubriquet_ of "the Governor of _no_ presents,"
A short time after his appointment, a merchant having left his
Excellency a present during his absence from home, was immediately
summoned before him, when the following dialogue ensued:--
_His Excellency._--"Sir, how dare you leave a present at my house?"
_The Merchant._--"Other governors before your Excellency have received
_His Excellency._--"I am a governor of no presents! How much do you owe
the Sultan, my master?"
_The Merchant._--"I--I--I--don't know," (hesitating and trembling)
_His Excellency._--"Very well, when you owe the Sultan nothing, bring me
a present, and take this away, and make known to everybody, that Haj
El-Arby receives _no_ presents."
The fact is, the Governor knows what he is about. Were his Excellency to
receive 16,000 dollars per annum as presents from the merchants of
Mogador, the Sultan would demand of him 15,999; besides, there is not a
merchant who makes a present that does not demand its value, a _quid pro
quo_ in the remission of custom-duties. Sidi-El-Arby is also a thorough
diplomatist, so far as report goes; he promises anybody anything; he
keeps all on the tiptoe of most blessed expectation, and so makes
friends of everybody. "To his friend, Cohen," he says, "I'll take you
back to my country with me, and make you rich; we are of the same
country." To Phillips, "You shall have a ship of your own soon." To the
merchants, "The Sultan shall lend you money whenever you want it." To
the Moors in general, "You shall have your taxes reduced." In this way,
his Excellency promises and flatters all, but takes very good care to
compromise himself with none.
The frequented as well as the unfrequented spots are centres of
superstition. In the Sahara, by a lonely well, in the midst of boundless
sterility, where the curse on earth seems to have burnt blackest, a
camel passes every night groaning piteously, and wandering about in
search of its murdered master, so the tale was told me. Now, about two
day's journey from Mogador, there is also a well, containing within its
dank and dark hollow a perpetual apparition. At its bottom is seen the
motionless statue of a negress, with a variety of wearing materials
placed beside her, all made of fine burnished gold, and so bright, that
the dreary cavern of the deep well is illuminated. Whoever presumes to
look down the well at her, and covets her shining property, is
instantaneously seized with thirst and fever; and, if he does not expire
at once, he never recovers from the fatal effects of his combined
curiosity and avarice. People draw water daily from this well, but no
one dare look down it.
Truth may be in this well! since there is a sad want of it on this, as
on other parts of the world.
I was introduced to a Spanish renegade, a great many make their escape
from the presidios of the North. On getting away from these convict
establishments, they adopt the Mahometan religion, are pretty well
received by the Maroquines, and generally pass the rest of their days
tranquilly among the Moors. I imagine the better sort of them remain
Christians at heart, notwithstanding their public assumption of
Islamism. This renegade was a stonemason, whom I found at work, and he
was not at all distinguishable by strangers from the Moors, being
dressed precisely in the same fashion. I had some conversation with him,
which was characteristic of conceit, feeling and honour.
_Traveller_--"How long have you escaped?"
_Renegade._--"More than twenty years."
_Traveller._--"Do you like this country and the Moors?"
_Renegade._--"Better is Marruecos than Spain."
_Traveller._--"Shall you ever attempt to return to Spain?"
_Renegade._--"Why? here I have all I want. Besides, they would stretch
my neck for sending a fellow out of the world without his previously
having had an interview with his confessor."
_Traveller._--"Are you not conscience-stricken? having committed such a
crime, how can you mention it?"
_Renegade._--"Pooh, conscience! pooh, corazor!"
Many of those wretched men have indeed lost their corazor, or it is
seared with a red-hot iron.
Some hundreds of these Spanish convicts are scattered over the country,
but they soon lose their nationality. It is probable that, from some
knowledge of them, the Emperor presumed lately to call the Spaniards
"the vilest of nations," and yet at various times, the Maroquines have
shown great sympathy for the Spaniards. Some of these renegades were
found at the Battle of Isly in charge of field-pieces, where, according
to the French reports, they displayed great devotion to the cause of the
When the governors of the convict settlements find too many on his
hands, or the prisons too full, they let a number of their best
conducted escape to the interior. The presence of those cut-throats in
Morocco may have something to do with such broils as the following, of
which I was a witness. Two fellows quarrelled violently, and were on the
point of sticking one another with their knives, when up stepped a third
party and cried out, "What! do you intend to act like Christians and
kill one another?" At the talismanic word of Eusara ("Christians, or
Nazareens,") they instantly desisted and became friends. The term
"Christian or Nazareen," is one of the most oppobrious names with which
the people of Mogador can abuse one another.
The weddings and attendant feasts of the Jews are the more remarkable,
when we consider the circumstance of the social state of this oppressed
race in Morocco, their precarious condition, and the numberless insults
and oppressions inflicted on them by both the government and the people;
I was present at several of these weddings, and shall give the readers a
glimpse of them. I had read and heard a great deal about the persecution
of the Jews in Morocco, and was, therefore, not a little surprised to
meet with these continual feasts and festivals among a people so much
talked about as victims of Mussulman oppression.
I find two sentences in my notes containing the pith of the whole. "The
Jews continued their feasts; about a third of their time is spent in
feasting." Again--"Amidst all their degradation, the Jew we saw to-day
recreating themselves to the utmost extent of their capacities of
enjoyment." It appears that during the time I was at Mogador there was
an unusual number of weddings, and then followed the feast of the
Passover. I think, whilst I was at Tangier, weddings or celebration of
weddings were going on every night. It may be safely asserted, that no
people in Barbary enjoy themselves more than the Jews, or more pamper
and gratify their appetites. What with weddings, feasts, and obligatory
festivals, their existence is one round of eating and drinking. These
feasts, besides, do not take place in a corner, nor are they barricaded
from public, or envious, or inquisitorial view, but are open to all,
being attended by Christians, Moors and Arabs.
These wedding-feasts are substantial things. Here is the entry in my
journal of an account of them: "A bullock was killed at the house of the
bridegroom, tea and cakes and spirits were freely, nay universally
distributed there. The company afterwards went off with the bridegroom
to the house of the bride, where another distribution of the same kind
took place, whilst half of the bullock was brought for the bride's
friends. Here the bridegroom, in true oriental style, mounted upon a
couch of damask and gold. The bride, laden with bridal ornaments of gold
and jewels, and covered with a gauze veil, was led out by the women and
placed by his side. She was then left alone to sit in state as queen of
the feast, whilst the company regaled themselves with every imaginable
luxury of eating and drinking. Her future husband now produced, as a
present for his bride, a splendid pair of jewelled ear-rings, which were
held up amidst the screaming approbation of the guests. The Jewesses
present, were weighed down under the dead weight of a profusion of
jewels and gold, tiaras of pearls, necklaces of coral and gems, armlets,
wristlets and legets of silver gold and jet, with gold and silver
braided gowns, skirts and petticoats.
This fiesta was kept up for seven days. Astonished at the profusion of
jewels worn by the various guests, I received a solution by a question I
asked, touching this mavellous circumstance. The greater part of the
jewels, worn on these occasions, are borrowed from friends and
neighbours; they must belong to some of the Jewish families, and their
quantity shews the great wealth possessed by the Jews living under this
I assisted at the celebration of the nuptials of a portion of the family
of the feather merchants, a rich and powerful firm established in the
south for the purchase of ostrich-feathers.
This was a wedding of great _eclat_; all the native Jewish aristocracy
of Mogador being invited to it. The festivities, beginning at noon, I
first entered the apartment where the bride was sitting in state. She
was elevated on a radiant throne of gold and crimson cushions amidst a
group of women, her hired flatterers, who kept singing and bawling out
her praises. "As beautiful as the moon is Rachel!" said one. "Fairer
than the jessamine!" exclaimed another. "Sweeter than honey in the
honey-comb!" ejaculated a third. Her eyes were shut, it being deemed
immodest to look on the company, and the features of her face motionless
as death, which made her look like a painted corpse.
To describe the dresses of the bride would be tedious, as she was
carried away every hour and redressed, going through and exhibiting to
public view, with the greatest patience, the whole of her bridal
wardrobe. Her face was artistically painted; cheeks vermillion; lips
browned, with an odoriferous composition; eye-lashes blackened with
antimony; and on the forehead and tips of the chin little blue stars.
The palms of the hands and nails were stained with henna, or brown-red,
and her feet were naked, with the toe-nails and soles henna-stained. She
was very young, perhaps not more than thirteen, and hugely corpulent,
having been fed on paste and oil these last six months for the occasion.
The bridegroom, on the contrary, was a man of three times her age, tall,
lank and bony, very thin, and of sinister aspect. The woman was a little
lump of fat and flesh, apparently without intelligence, whilst the man
was a Barbary type of Dickens' Fagan.
The ladies had now arranged themselves in tiers, one above the other,
and most gorgeous was the sight. Most of them wore tiaras, all flaming
with gems and jewels. They were literally covered from head to foot with
gold and precious stones. As each lady has but ten fingers, it was
necessary to tie some scores of rings on their hair. The beauty of the
female form, in these women, was quite destroyed by this excessive
quantity of jewellery. These jewels were chiefly pearls, brilliants,
rubies and emeralds.
They are amassed and descend as heir-looms in families, from mother to
daughter. Some of the jewels being very ancient, they constitute the
riches of many families. In reverses of fortune, they are pledged, or
turned into money to relieve immediate necessity. The upper tiers of
ladies were the youngest, and least adorned, and consequently the
prettiest. The ancient dowagers sat below as so many queens enthroned,
challenging scrutiny and admiration. They were mostly of enormous
corpulency, spreading out their naked feet and trousered legs of an
Several dowagers seemed scarcely to be able to breathe from heat, and
the plethora of their own well-fed and pampered flesh. We had now music,
and several attempts were made to get up the indecent Moorish dance,
which, however, was forbidden as too vulgar for such fashionable Jews,
and honoured by the presence of Europeans. Not much pleased with this
spectacle, I looked out of the window into the patio, or court-yard,
where I saw a couple of butchers' boys slaughtering a bullock for the
evening carousal. A number of boys were dipping their hands in the
blood, and making with it the representation of an outspread hand on the
doors, posts and walls, for the purpose of keeping off "the evil eye,"
(_el ojo maligno,_) and so ensuring good luck to the new married couple.
I then mounted the house-top to see a game played by the young men.
Here, on the flat roof, was assembled a court, with a sultan sitting in
the midst. Various prisoners were tried and condemned. Two or three of
the greatest culprits were then secured and dragged down to the ladies,
the officers of justice informing them that, if no one stepped forward
to rescue them, it was the sultan's orders that they should be
imprisoned. Several young Jewesses now clamourously demanded their
release. It is understood that these compassionate maidens who, on such
occasions, step forward to the rescue, and take one of the young men by
the hand, are willing to accept of the same when it may hereafter be
offered to them in marriage, so the contagion of wedding-feasts spreads,
and one marriage makes many.
I now proceed to the supper-table of the men, where the party ate and
drank to gluttonous satiety. Several rabbis were hired to chant, over
the supper-table, prayers composed of portions of Scripture, and legends
of the Talmud.
The dinning noise of bad music, and horrible screaming, called singing,
with the surfeit of the feast, laid me up for two days afterwards. The
men supped by themselves, and the women of course were also apart.
My host, anxious that I should see all, insisted upon my going to have a
peep at the ladies whilst they were supping. Unlike us men, who sat up
round a table, because there were several Europeans among us, the women
lay sprawling and rolling on carpets and couches.
In their own allotted apartments, these gorgeous daughters of Israel
looked still more huge and enormous, feasting almost to repletion, like
so many princesses of the royal orgies of Belshazzar. But this was a
native wedding, and, of course, when we consider the education of these
Barbary women, we must expect, when they have drink like the men, white
spirits for protracted hours until midnight, the proprieties of society
are easily dispensed with. Happily the class of women, who so kept up
the feast, were all said to be married, the maidens having gone home
with the bride.
Very different, indeed, was another distinguished wedding at which I had
the honour of assisting, and which all the European consuls and their
families attended, with the _elite_ of the society of Mogador; this was
the marriage of M. Bittern, of Gibraltar, with Miss Amram Melek. The
bridegroom was the Portuguese Consul, the bride, the daughter of the
greatest Jewish merchant of the south, and consequently the Emperor's
greatest and most honoured debtor. The celebration of this wedding
lasted fourteen days.
On the grand day, a ball and supper were given. All the Moors of the
town came to see the Christians and their ladies dance. Our musician, or
fiddler, kept away from some petty pique, and we were accordingly
reduced to the hard necessity of making use of a drum and whistling,
both to keep up our spirits and serve up the quadrilles. We had,
however, some good singing to make up for the disappointment. His
Excellency the Governor intended to have honoured us with his presence,
but he gave way to the remonstrance of an inflexible marabout, who
declared it a deadly sin to attend the marriages of Jews and Christians.
The marriage guests were of three or four several sets and sorts. There
was the European coterie, the choicest and most select, graced by the
presence of the bride; then the native aristocrats, and here were the
gorgeous sultanas and Fezan spouses; then the lesser stars, and the
still more diminished.
Finally, the "blind, the lame, and the halt," surrounded the doors of
the house in which the marriage-feast was held, receiving a portion of
the good things of this life. The whole number of guests was not more
than two hundred. Plenty of European Jewesses shone as bewitching stars
at this wedding; but all _param_ to us poor Christians. Indeed, there is
as little as no lovemaking, and match-making amongst the isolated
Nazarenes; for, out of a population of some fifty European families,
there are only two marriageable Christian ladies.
The bride is frequently fetched by the bridegroom at midnight, when
there is a cry made, "behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye forth to meet
him!" (Matt xxv--6). This ancient custom prevails most among the Moors.
Once, whilst at Nabal, in Tunis, I was roused from my sleep at the dead
of the night by wild cries, and the discharging of fire-arms, attended
with a blaze of torches. The bridegroom was conveying his bride to his
home. A crowd of the friends of the newly-married couple, followed the
camel which carried the precious burden; all were admitted to the feast
in the court-yard, and the doors were shut for the night.
At the wedding of the lower classes of the Jews, after dancing and
music, there is always a collection made for the bride, or the
musicians. On these occasions, the master of the ceremonies calls out
the names of the donors as they contribute to the support of the
festivities. I was somewhat taken by surprise to hear my name called
out, Bashador Inglez (English ambassador) when I attended one of the
weddings. But the fellow, making the announcement, attracted my
attention more than his flattering compliment. He was dressed in Moorish
costume with an immense white turban folded round his head. I could not
conceive the reason of a Moor taking such interest in feasts of the
The secret soon transpired. He was a renegade, who had apostatized for
the sake of marrying a pretty girl. His heart is always with his
brethren, and the authorities good-naturedly allow him to be master of
the ceremonies at these and other feasts, to preserve order, or rather
to prevent the Jews from being insulted by the Mahometans.
There are always a few Jewish renegades in large Moorish towns, just
enough, I imagine, to convince the Mahometans of the superiority of
their religion to that of other nations; for whilst they obtain converts
from both Jews and Christians, and make proselytes of scores of Blacks,
they never hear of apostates from Islamism. The manner, however, in
which these renegades abandon their religion, is no very evident proof
of the divine authority of the Prophet of Mecca. Here is an instance.
A boy of this town ran away from his father, and prostrated himself
before the Governor, imploring him to make him a Mussulman. The
Governor, actuated by the most rational and proper feeling, remarked to
the boy, "You are a child, you have not arrived at years of discretion,
you have not intellect enough to make a choice between two religions."
The boy was kept confined one night, then beaten, and sent home in the
Another case happened like this when the boy was admitted within the
pale of Islamism. Jewish boys will often cry out when their fathers are
correcting them, "I will turn Mussulman!" A respectable Jew, who
related this to me, observed, "were I to hear any of my sons cry out in
this manner, I would immediately give them a dose of poison, and finish
them; I could not bear to see my children formed into Mussulman devils."
It really seems the vulgar opinion among the Jews and Moors of this
place, that females have no souls. I asked many women themselves about
the matter; they replied, "We don't care, if we have no souls." A Rabbi
observed, "If women bear children, make good wives, and live virtuously
and chastely, they will go to heaven and enjoy an immortal existence; if
not, after death, they will suffer annihilation."
This appears to be the opinion of all the well-educated. But a Jewish
lady who heard my conversation with the Rabbi, retorted with spirit:
"Whether I bear children or not, if my husband, or any man has a soul, I
have one likewise, for are not all men born of us women?"
All, however, are well satisfied with this life, whatever may happen in
the next; male and female Jews and Mussulmen hold on their mutual career
with the greatest tenacity. I made inquiries about suicides, and was
told there were never any persons so foolish as to kill themselves.
"We leave it to the Emperor to take away a man's life, if such be the
will of God!" and yet the Moors are habitually a grave, dreamy and
melancholy people. No doubt the light, buoyant atmosphere keeps them
from falling into such a state of mental prostration as to induce
I now found that many people looked upon me, in the language of the
Jewish renegade, as an ambassador, and some went so far as to say, "I
can make war with the Emperor if I like;" others persisted in saying "I
am going in search of the murdered Davidson." A man took the liberty of
telling Mr. Elton. "A very mysterious Christian has arrived from the
Sultan of the English. The Governor hearing that he had ordered a pair
of Moorish shoes, sent word to the shoemaker to be as long about them as
possible. This Nazarene is going to disguise himself as one of us, in
order to spy out our country."
The Moors are certainly a timid and suspicious race. They feel their
weakness, and they are frightened of any Christian who does not come to
their country on commercial pursuits, as a sportsman, or in some
directly intelligible character.
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,
Dannon, 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 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.
I had an interview by special appointment with His Excellency the
Governor of Mogador regarding the address to be presented to the
Shereefian population from the Anti-Slavery Society. I may at once
premise that from what I heard of Mr. Hay's diplomatic powers and
influence with the Sultan, as well as the peculiar situation in which
Mr. Willshire was placed, encumbered with great liabilities to his
Highness' custom-house, I already abandoned all hopes of success, and
even thought myself fortunate in being able to obtain an interview with
the Governor of this commercial city. To have expected anything more,
would have been extremely unreasonable on my part, under such
It will be as well if I give the address in this place.  Friday was
appointed, being a quiet day, and the Mussulman Sabbath, when His
Excellency had little business on hand. The Moors usually devote the
morning of their sabbath to prayer, and afternoon to business and
amusement. Our party consisted of myself, Mr. Willshire, the British
Vice-Consul, and Mr. Cohen as interpreter.
About four o'clock P.M. we found the Governor quite alone, telling his
rosary of jet beads, squatting on his hams upon the floor of a little
dirty shop, not more than eight feet by six in dimensions, with a
ceiling of deep hanging cobwebs which had not been brushed away for a
A piece of coarse matting was spread over the ground floor, and a
sheepskin lay on it for his Excellency to repose upon, but no furniture
was to be seen. There was indeed an affectation of nakedness and
desolation. Pen and ink were placed by his side, and a number of
official papers were strewn about, with some letters bearing the seal of
the Emperor. This shop (or reception room) was situate in an immense
gloomy square; it was the only one open, and here were the only signs of
The Governor had forbidden any of his subjects to be present at the
audience, unwilling and afraid lest any should hear a whisper of the
question of abolition in the orthodox States of his Imperial Master.
Sidi Hay Elarby was an elderly man, with a placid and intelligent
countenance. His manners throughout the interview were those of a
perfect Moorish gentleman. The Governor could not be distinguished from
the people by his dress. He wore a plain white turban, plain burnouse
and a pair of common slippers. In such state, we found the the highest
functionary of this important city.
His Excellency began by asking me how I was, and welcoming me to his
country. I then handed a written speech to the interpreter, who, being a
Jew, pulled off his shoes, and crouching down before the Governor, read
to him paragraph by paragraph. Each passage was further discussed and
replied to by the Governor with energy, nay with vehemence. The
interview lasted till dark--nearly two hours.
The following is a copy of the written speech, which was read for the
purpose of introducing the Address, and supplying topics of
"May it please Your Excellency, the mission with which I am charged to
this country is to persuade his Imperial Majesty, the Emperor of
Morocco, to co-operate in any way which his Imperial Majesty may deem
proper, with the people of England for the abolition of slavery. I am
sent to the Court of Morocco by a Society of English gentlemen, whose
object is to persuade all men, in all parts of the world, to abolish the
traffic in human beings, as a traffic contrary to the rights of men and
the laws of God.
"In undertaking this mission, these gentlemen applied to the government
of our Sovereign Queen to furnish me with letters of recommendation to
the British Consuls of this country, the representatives of her Majesty
the Queen of England. Copies of these letters are in the possession of
Mr. Willshire. Those letters express strong sympathy for the objects of
the mission, and require the Consuls to give me their fullest
protection; and so far, our gracious Queen, the government, and the
English people, are all agreed that it is a good thing to address his
Imperial Majesty the Emperor of Morocco, to co-operate with and to
assist them in putting down the traffic in slavery in every part of the
"If the government of the Queen had thought that they should recommend
to your Excellency and your royal master anything contrary to your
religion, they could not have given me letters of introduction to their
consuls in this country. Rest assured that the English people believe it
to be agreeable to the doctrines and precepts of all religions to
abolish the traffic in human flesh and blood.
"I pray, therefore, your Excellency to receive the petition, of which I
am the bearer, from the Society of English gentlemen. Our Government
have already spent three hundred millions of dollars, the money of the
people of England, to destroy the traffic in human beings; every day our
government continues to spend vast sums, adding to this enormous amount
for the same object of humanity. I am sure that, if your Imperial Master
value the friendship of England and the British government, if it be a
politic and good thing for Morocco to be allied with the most powerful
Christian nation in the world, the most certain way to conciliate and
found this alliance on a durable basis, is to cooperate with the people
of England for the abolition of the traffic in slaves, and graciously to
receive this address from the Society of Abolitionists in London.
"We come not to your Excellency with force of arms--this could not be
just; we use only moral persuasion. Our religion disapproves of
compulsion in all such affairs. But I can assure your Excellency that
the English people will never cease, though all nations be against them,
as long as God Almighty holds them up as a people, to endeavour in every
possible way, to persuade and convince the world that the traffic in
human beings is a great crime."
The Governor replied in these terms: "Your mission is against our
religion, I cannot entertain it or think of it, in any way whatever. If,
in other countries, the traffic in slaves is contrary to the religion of
those countries, in this it is not; here it is lawful for us to buy and
sell slaves. Mahomet, our Prophet, has authorized us to do this; but, at
the same time, our slaves must be fed and clothed like ourselves. If you
wish a proof of this, you can go and look at my slaves," (pointing to
his house). "To be holders of slaves, is a merit with us.
"Your address ought to come directly from your Government, from your
Queen to our Sultan. It is not enough that it is recommended by your
Government. The European sovereigns are accustomed to act by the advice
of their counsellors and ministers; but the Sultan of Morocco always
acts without advice or councils.  If the address had come from the
Queen, it would have been received, and an answer would have been
returned accordingly. Then if your Government had been offended at the
answer of my master not agreeing with their opinion, they could have
taken their own satisfaction in any way they might have thought proper
(or have made war on us).
"The money which you say the people of England have spent for the
suppression of the Slave Trade, has been, according to our opinion and
religion, misspent, and employed to destroy a system of which we
approve, and consider lawful. Still, I hope God will give your country
more money to spend, and in abundance.
"The English people and the people of Morocco have been, from time
immemorial, great friends, proofs of which I can give you. The guns that
we get from other Christian nations, are never so good as those we get
from England. Besides, we always give the English whatever they ask for.
When the French were at war with Spain and wished to take Ceutra from
her, the English demanded from our Sultan, a small island near Ceutra,
to prevent the French from landing and seizing Ceutra. To this request,
my Sultan acceded; and to show you that the English are our particular
friends, the English gave the island back to us when the war was at an
Mr. Willshire now endeavoured to present the Address of the Anti-Slavery
Society, praying his Excellency to accept it.
On which, the Governor continued with his usual vivacity, "No; I am
sorry I cannot accept it; if I do, the Sultan must also, for now I act
as the Sultan. Indeed, I dare not receive the address, nor write to our
Lord  about it. Nor can I look at it, for in case the Sultan asks me
about it, I must swear that I have not touched nor seen the Address. If
I look at it, and then say I did not look at it, the Sultan will order
my tongue to be cut off from the roof of my mouth.
"And further, O Consul! O Stranger! were our Lord to agree with your
Society, and abolish the traffic in slaves throughout his dominions, all
the people would rise up against him in revolt, and the Sultan would be
the first to have his head cut off.
"Therefore, as a good and wise man, O Stranger--which you must be, or
you would not be entrusted with this mission--comply with the orders of
the Sultan's message, given to you by me and your Consul.
"Any thing which you want for yourself or your private use, I will give
it you, even to the whole of this city of Mogador. But for myself I
cannot comply with the prayers of the address, or receive it from your
own or the Consul's hands."
The message of the Sultan alluded to, was in substance to give up the
attempt of abolishing slavery in Morocco, and not to think of going to
the South, but to return at once to England.
The Governor was greatly pleased with the sound of his own voice, and
the skill of his argumentations, and has the character of being a
loquacious and reasoning diplomatist.
This was the public or day side of the mission; there was also the night
side; for where the curiosity of the Moor is excited, it must be
gratified, by fair or other means. It was not surprising, therefore,
that the wily Shereef should wish to know what this Address of an
English Society was, or could be; and if possible to obtain a copy,
although for the sake of the people it was found necessary to repudiate
altogether its acceptance. Accordingly, the next day, Cohen told me a
friend of the Emperor's was anxious to have some conversation with me,
and he begged me to take with me the Address.
It was past ten at night, when alone, with my Moorish guide, I found
myself treading the long narrow streets of Mogador.
The wind howled and the watch-dogs barked; it was so dark that we could
scarcely grope our way, no human being was about; we went up one street
and down another, stealing along our way; as if on some house-breaking
expedition; and I began to feel suspicious, fearing a trap might be laid
for me. Still, I had confidence in the honour of the Moors, I said to my
"When shall we reach your master's?"
_Guide_.--"God knows; be quiet!"
We continued going through street after street. It was now bitter cold,
and a few drops of rain fell from the cutting wing of the north wind.
To my Guide again.
"Where is the house?"
_Guide_.--"Follow me, don't talk!" After we had passed other streets,
"Is this the street?"
_Guide_.--"Eskut! (hold your tongue)."
We now entered a low dilapidated gateway, with a broken panelled door,
groaning on its hinges.
Again I questioned my guide. "Who lives here?"
_Guide_.--"Mahboul Ingleez (mad Englishman) hold your tongue! Do you
think we Mussulmans will eat you?"
We passed through several court-yards, by the aid of a lantern, which
the guide found in a corner, and then entered a corridor. Here he
grasped me by the arm, in such wise as made me believe I was about to
have my head thrust through a bowstring. I ejaculated; "Allah Akbar!
Mercy upon us!" blending Arabic and English in my fright, and
struggling, fell with the guide against the door at the end of the
passage with a considerable crash. A voice was heard from within.
"_Ashbeek_ (what's the matter?)" My guide returned, "_Hale_ (open)."
A huge negro now laid hold of me, and pulled me up a pair of narrow
stairs which led to a species of loft, in a detached portion of the
house. The case containing the Address fell out of my hands, and was
picked up by the guide. Another apartment within the loft was now
opened, shewing, through a dim and indistinct light, a venerable old
Moor, sitting in the midst of heaps of papers and books, like a midnight
astrologer, or a secret magician. On our entrance, the solitary Moor
raised his eyes, quietly, and said faintly, "Where is it?" My guide now
rushed in, began talking volubly, and made this harangue, thinking,
however, I could not understand him from the rapidity with which he
"Sidi," he said, "this Christian is a frightened fool--and a _baheen_
(ass)--I had the greatest trouble to get him here--he was frightened out
of himself--and now Allah! Allah! I have to take him back again."
I received the compliment in silence, and endeavoured to recover my
tranquillity. But I could not help remarking the contrast between my
noisy and agitated guide, and the grave manner and immoveable quietness
of the recluse. The guide then handed him "the Address," and the Cid
opened the box or case with extreme caution, as if it had contained some
mysterious spell. The Cid now looked up for a moment at the big negro,
who decamped instantly and returned with a teapot and two cups. The two
cups were then filled with tea, one of which was presented to me, but I
had some hesitation about drinking it. The Cid, looked up at me with a
quiet smile, and gently muttered "_Eshrub_! (drink,") I drank the tea
and then waited anxiously to know what was coming next. The Cid
continued to unroll the Address. When this was done, he rolled it up and
again unrolled it, and stared at its Roman characters. He eyed the seal
and ejaculated, "_Haram_!" to himself! alluding, I suppose, to the
figure of the slave in chains, it being prohibited to make figures. The
Cid now paused a moment, then looked at me again, and finally turning to
the Guide said, "_Imshee El-Ghudwah_ (go to-morrow, I'll see.)"
The guide now grasped me again by the hand, scarcely allowing me to bow
a good night to the Cid, and led me back to my lodgings, where I arrived
at midnight. When I awoke in the morning, I really imagined I had been
dreaming an ugly dream, until one of the English Jews called, and said
he was making a translation of the Address to be dispatched to the
Emperor at Morocco, and afterwards he would bring the Address back. The
Address was returned to me about a week afterwards, but whether an
Arabic translation was ever sent to the Sultan, I know no more than the
Mr. Phillips has applied to the British Vice-consul to know whether, in
case of his going up to Morocco to carry a present for the Belgium
merchants, here, Phillips, being a Jew, will be obliged to pull off his
shoes, which would be depriving him of the rights of British-born
subjects, who stand with their shoes on in the Shereefian presence. The
Consul says he cannot answer the question, and must send a dispatch to
Mr. Hay. Mr. Willshire complimented Phillips: "Ah Phillips, you are
always proposing to me some knotty question. You profoundly perplex the
mind of Mr. Consul-general Hay."
This leads me to notice the affecting case of the Israelite, Darmon, at
one time the French Vice-consul at Mazagran. This young Darmon was fond
of Moorish women, and always intriguing with them. Hay Mousa, Governor
of Mazagran, reported him to the Emperor, and his Highness sent orders
to have him decapitated. It was said afterwards by the Maroquine
Government, that "The order was merely to bring him to Morocco, and
that, when being conveyed as prisoner, and after attempting to run away,
the soldiers of his escort shot him." The Moorish Government also
pretend that Darmon attempted first to shoot the guards who shot him, in
With regard to his being a French Consul, it is said by the French
Government, that he was not their consul at the time, having resigned.
It appears besides that members of his family are French, and others
Moorish subjects. Indeed, these Mauro-European Jews give great troubles
to the consuls; the various persons of a single family being often under
the protection of three or four consuls. It will thus be seen how full
of difficulties was this Darmon affair, and what a door it opened to
tedious Moorish diplomacy. The French Government arranged ultimately
with the Sultan a compromise, a sum of money being paid to the murdered
man's family, and the Governor of Mazagran was dismissed.
When young Darmon fell into disgrace, his father, one of the Imperial
merchants, was at Morocco. The father inquired of the Minister whether
the Sultan would receive his present now his son had fallen into
disgrace. The cruelly avaricious tyrant deigned to accept it of the
father it is said, at the very moment when the order to decapitate his
son had been sent to Mazagran. No doubt it was a barbarous action, but
the extreme imprudence of the young man provoked the government to
extremities. The court was so irritated at the time, that it even issued
an order to place all Jews, natives, foreigners, or Europeans upon the
same level of exposure to Moorish insult and oppression. Speaking to Mr.
Willshire about this order, he smilingly observed: "Say nothing, it will
soon be forgotten." The government never intended to carry it out. Years
ago, the Emperor gave orders that Jews coming from European countries
should be placed on the same footing as native Jews, but the Imperial
edicts were unnoticed.
A curious order was given about smoking some time ago in this city. It
was represented to the Governor that during Ramadan, Kafer-Nazarenes
went about smoking, occasioning the Faithful to sniff up the smoke, and
so break the Holy Fast. The Christians were likewise accused of going
near the mosques to fill them with filthy smoke.
The Governor, in a circular, begged of the Consuls to prohibit their
countrymen, or "subjects," from smoking in the streets. The French
Consul considering this a police regulation, summoned together the
French subjects, and begged of them to comply with the non-smoking
order. Mr. Willshire took no notice of the affair, knowing it would soon
Mr, Willshire is a veteran in Morocco, and understands the genius of its
government. He considers the _laissez faire_ system the very best, and
this is all very well, provided the Sultan respects the heads of Her
Haj Mousa, Governor of Mazagran, who was mixed up with the Darmon
affair, deserves notice from his brutal ferocity towards Europeans. With
great difficulty and damage to their lives, Europeans reside in
Mazagran, and it is not therefore surprising that the imprudent Darmon
fell into the clutches of this provincial tyrant, who probably ensnared
him as a prey. Up to the time of this affair, Haj Mousa had been an
irremoveable governor. The Sultan himself never attempted to displace
him, although he had committed, from time to time, the greatest
enormities. Other governors had been bled, fleeced, and impaled over and
over again; but the caitiff, Haj, always remained in possession of the
fruits of his tyranny.
The reason for this tolerant conduct of the Emperor towards him is, that
when Muley Abd Errahman was in difficulties and obliged to fly for his
life, in the convulsions previous to his reign, Haj Mousa sent the young
prince a mule and thirty ducats; with this, the prince was enabled to
escape, and he saved his life to be afterwards proclaimed
Meer-el-Moumeneen. On receiving the mule and money, he exclaimed in a
transport of gratitude to the Governor of Mazagran, "I will never forget
you!" It is unfortunate the good faith of the Emperor's word has been so
deplorably abused by this tyrant, for it is considered certain, that
though temporarily removed from Mazagran, he will return, or be made
governor of another city.
A Sous Jew called upon me one day, who is well acquainted with the
Shelouh or, Berber of the South. On asking if he would make a
translation of the book of Genesis from Hebrew into Shelouh, he replied:
"No, I cannot. In the first place, the Emperor would cut off my head for
doing such a thing; and, again, it would be a sin to convert the Holy
Hebrew character into such a language of Infidels."
We continued our discussion on a more practical subject.
_Traveller_ (to the Jew)--"I am told that among you, Jews of Morocco, it
is a merit to rob us Christians and the Moors. Your young children are
even praised by their mothers if they commit a theft without being found
out:  is this right?"
_The Jew_.--"You are all _Goyeem_  (Gentiles), but it is not true
that we rob you, Christians. If we rob Mussulmen, it's because they rob
The case really is, the Jews are literally being robbed every day by the
Moors one way or the other, and, if the people do not rob them, the
constituted authorities continue to make exactions under every pretence.
I am inclined, nevertheless, to think, without prejudice, that it is a
received maxim with _all native_ Barbary Jews, "to rob unbelievers,
Moors and Christians, when you can do so _safely_." This was the opinion
which a very respectable European Jew, resident in Tunis, entertained of
his brethren. At the same time, Ihere are numerous exceptions.
Many of the lower classes of Moors likewise, think there is little or no
harm in robbing Jews and Blacks, that is, all who are Infidels and
I may mention, in connection with the above, the system of
False-Weights, which is an enormous scandal to this great commercial
city. It appears that almost every tradesman, and every imperial
merchant have two sets of weights, one to buy and another to sell with.
A merchant once had the impudence to cry out to his clerk when weighing,
"Oh, you are wrong, these are my _selling_ weights; bring me my _buying_
weights. Am I not buying?"
A Jew, once purchasing oil from a poor Arab, carried his villainy so far
as actually to make his tare and tret weigh more than the skin-bag when
full of oil, and coolly told the amazed Arab he had no money to give him
for the value received. "Give me back my oil!" cried the Arab. At this
the audacious Jew retorted, "There is none!" A European merchant
interfered, and saved the Jew from the bastinado he so richly deserved.
A Kady hearing of these abominations, took upon himself to begin a
reform, and went about examining weights. For his honest pains, and, in
the midst of his work of reform, the officious functionary received an
order from the Sultan, enjoining him to cease his interference, and
condemning him, as a punishment for his over-righteousness, "_to teach
twelve little boys to read every day, and not to sit at his own door for
the space of one year_." So unthankful, so odious is the task of
reforming in Morocco and many other countries.
This account of the abominable system of two kinds of weights, I derived
from most unquestionable authority, otherwise I could not have given
credit to the statement.
There were incessant rumours of war from the North. The Emperor had got
himself into difficulties with Spain and France. Orders had been sent
down to reinforce this garrison and that of Aghadir. The day before, the
Governor, calling his troops before him, did not shew his usual good
sense and prudence. He thus harangued them:--"Now, let those who want
new arms come and take them, and bring back the old ones. Let all have
courage, and fear not the Christians; fear not, women and children!"
The movement of troops was part of a general measure, extending to all
the coasts, and was, in fact, a review _en masse_ of the disposable
forces throughout the empire. Eighty thousand men were expected in this
city or the suburbs. The Sultan was reported to be on the march towards
the North with an army of 200,000 men.
The Sultan did not expect to make use of his new levies, but the policy
of the thing was good. His Highness is evidently a pacific ruler, he has
but few regular troops, and he pays them badly. His predecessor had a
large army and paid them well.
Great discontent prevailed among the soldiers, and the Emperor never
feels himself secure on his throne.
This apparent crusade against the Infidels has no doubt tended to make
him popular, and to consolidate his power. True, it excited the tribes