Travels through the Empire of Morocco by John Buffa

MOROCCO*** Produced by Distributed Proofreaders Europe, Project by Carlo Traverso. This file was produced from images generously made available by the Bibliotheque nationale de France (BnF/Gallica) at TRAVELS THROUGH THE EMPIRE OF MOROCCO. BY JOHN BUFFA, M.D. PHYS
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Produced by Distributed Proofreaders Europe, Project by Carlo Traverso.
This file was produced from images generously made available by the Bibliotheque nationale de France (BnF/Gallica) at

[Illustration: Map of the Empire of MOROCCO for Dr. BUFFA’S TRAVELS]











My motives for publishing this volume of Travels, will be best explained by a detail of the circumstances which gave rise to my journey to Morocco. In 1805, I was serving in the capacity of Physician to His Majesty’s Forces, at the Depot Hospital in the Isle of Wight; whence, by dexterous management of the Army Medical Board[*], I was removed, and placed upon half-pay, in June of that year. At this period, it occurred to Mr. Turnbull, Chairman of the Committee of Merchants trading to the Levant, that it would be of advantage to the public, were the offices of Garrison Surgeon of Gibraltar, and Inspecting Medical Officer of the ships doing quarantine, which were then united in the person of Mr. Pym, separated and made distinct appointments; and he was pleased to think that, from my local knowledge, and other circumstances, I should be a proper person to fill the latter of these offices. This was also the opinion of His Royal Highness the Duke of Kent, Governor of the garrison. Representations were accordingly made on the subject, to the then Secretary of State for the War and Colonial Department, Lord Castlereagh; and it was so fully understood that the proposition had been assented to on his part, that an order was issued from the Transport Board, to provide a passage for myself and family to Gibraltar. There I waited some months, in the expectation that the commission would be sent after me, but in vain. In the mean time, I received a communication from Mr. Mattra, British Consul General at Tangiers, requesting that I would cross over to Barbary, and attend His Excellency the Governor of Larache, First Minister of the Emperor of Morocco, then labouring under a dangerous illness. It was on my return from this journey, that I found a letter from Mr. Turnbull (See Appendix, No. III. p. 227), stating that my old friends of the Medical Board had been at their usual work of persecution, and by their scandalous misrepresentations to the new Secretary of State for War and the Colonies, Mr. Windham, had succeeded in preventing the appointment which His Royal Highness the Governor of Gibraltar had been graciously pleased to design for me.

During my residence in Barbary it was my good fortune to gain the approbation and friendship of the Emperor of Morocco, and of the principal Officers of his Court, by which I was enabled to give facilities to the procuring of fresh provisions for our Navy, and render to my country other services, not strictly in the line of my profession. (See the various documents at the end of Appendix.) Having succeeded in restoring the Governor of Larache to health, and performed some other cures, acceptable to the Emperor of Morocco, I considered the objects for which I had crossed over to Barbary accomplished, and returned to Gibraltar, after having received the most flattering marks of distinction, both from the Imperial Court, and from Lord Collingwood, Commander of the British fleet in the Mediterranean. The letter of the Emperor of Morocco to His Majesty (Appendix, No. X. p. 239) is an ample proof of the disposition of that prince in my favour.

Finding the principal aim of my voyage to Gibraltar frustrated by the machinations of the Medical Junta, whom I have already stated as ever active in mischief, I determined to return to England. The letter of the Emperor of Morocco to His Majesty, and a general certificate, couched in the strongest terms of approbation, and signed by all the principal merchants of Gibraltar, I thought were documents, which, added to my correspondence with Lord Collingwood, and the officers of his fleet, would not fail to have procured me a favourable reception, and some attention to my claims.

But the letter of the Emperor of Morocco, as it still remains unanswered, I cannot but believe has never been presented to His Majesty. Nay, the pressing solicitations, with which I have since been honoured on the part of the Emperor of Morocco, through his principal Minister, to return to that country, I have hitherto been obliged to delay answering, that I might not, on the one hand, insult, by evasive or false replies, a government from which I had experienced such friendship and respect; or, on the other hand, be compelled, by a true statement, to compromise my own.

The principal design of publishing this account of my journey to the Barbary States, is to shew the good policy, on the part of this country, of keeping upon terms of strict amity with the government of Morocco. The neglect, which, on this occasion, has been evinced of the Emperor’s letter, I cannot but consider, in a public point of view, as extremely reprehensible, independently of the private injury it has occasioned to myself. Whether this neglect arose from the misrepresentations of the Army Medical Board, or from those of any other persons, I will not pretend to determine; but in any case, a most censurable disregard, even of the forms of civility, towards a Prince, who, however we may affect to despise his influence in the great political scale, has it always in his power materially to promote or to impede the interests of this country in the Levant, must attach to some quarter or other.

[*] As the members of that body are expected shortly to be dismissed from their situations, I think it right, lest at any future period injustice should be done to innocent individuals, by confounding them with the guilty, here to state that Sir Lucas Pepys, Bart. Mr. Thomas Keate, and Mr. Francis Knight, Apothecaries, at present compose the body illegally calling themselves the Army Medical Board, whose conduct for a great many years has brought disgrace and disaster on that important department. For a detail of their conduct, see “An Analytical View of the Medical Department of the British Army, by Charles Maclean, M.D.” 8vo. published by Stockdale, Pall Mall.



Inducement for the Journey–Arrive at Tangiers–Its History– Situation–Inhabitants–Military–Governor–Fortifications– Subterraneous Passage–Socco, or Market–Adjacent Villas–Invited to Larache.


Sketch of the History of Morocco–Road from Tangiers–Simplicity of the Peasants–Moors hospitable–Arrive at a Village–The ancient Zelis–Public Accommodations–Much infested with Vermin–Arzilla, a ruinous walled Town–Arrive at Larache.


Conducted to the Governor–Medical Hint from his Secretary–Governor recovers–Larache–Its Harbour, Shipping, and Inhabitants.


Excursion to Mamora, and thence lo Salee–Friendly Reception by the Governor of the latter–Rabat–Tower of Hassen–Shella–Mansooria– Alcasser–Quiber–Its Socco, or Market-place.


Leave Larache with an Escort–Curious Custom on returning from Mecca–Arrive at Tetuan.


Ill Usage of a Lieutenant of the Swiftsure–Disaffection of the Moorish Governor towards Great Britain.


Sail for Tetuan–Appearance of the Coast–Enter the Boosega River–Curious Towers of Defence–Custom-house–Female Dress–Enter Tetuan over a Road of unlevelled Rock–Disagreeable Streets–Well received by the Governor–Public Markets–Socco–An Auction Market.


Tetuan–The Jews much oppressed there–particularly the Females–Costume–Singularity of the Streets in the Jewish Town–Ceuta–Would be invaluable to England–Melilla–Summoned to visit the Emperor.


Journey to Larache–Annual Socco of St. Martin–No Christian permitted to witness it–Express Order for that Purpose in the Author’s Favour–Specimen of native medical Skill–Reception at Larache–Complain of the Impositions of Governor Ash-Ash–Comparative Tariff–Effect the Renewal of the old Tariff with increasing Advantages.


Depart from Larache with a little Army–Moorish military Salute–Numerous Villages–Customary Procession of the Inhabitants–Judicial Arrangements–River Beth resembles the Po–Herds of Camels–Arrive at Mequinez–French Falsehood again put down–Excellent Road from Mequinez–Fertility and Luxuriance of the adjacent Country–Procession to the Sanctuary of Sidy Edris–Multiplicity of Saints–Ceremony demonstrative of the Emperor’s Favour–Take possession of my new Residence.


Imperial Review of eighty thousand Cavalry–The Palace–Introduction to the Emperor–Visit the Seraglio–Beauty of the Sultana–Her Indisposition–Her Influence over the Emperor–His Person described.


Succession of the Sovereigns from their Founder to the present Emperor.


Responsibility of the Governors–Empire beautiful and productive–Humane Efforts of the Emperor–Blind Submission to his Will–Great Number of Negroes naturalized–The Moors might be truly formidable–Emperor’s Brother–Fez divided into two Parts–Magnificent Mosques–Commercial Privileges–Indignities which Christians undergo–Singular Supply of Water–The Imperial Gardens–Propensity to
defraud–Factories–Exports–Costume–Character—Manner of Living–Domestic Vermin.


Fez–Debility of the Moors–Mosques–Antiquities, Roman, Carthaginian, and Saracen–Storks held in great Veneration–Baths–Bazars– Inhabitants–Residence–Menagerie–Marvellous Preservation of a Jew–Lions– Tigers–Leopards–Hyenas.


Sudden Departure from Fez–Arrive at Mequinez–Attend the Emperor–Melancholy Catastrophe–Expedition against wild Beasts–Extensive Palaces–Seraglio–Visit a Haram–Founders of the City–A fortified Town–Inhabitants–Jewish Town–Rich Attire of the higher Orders–Numerous Market-places–Furniture–Saints Houses–Imperial Field Sports–Pack of Greyhounds–Abundance of Game.




Depart from Morocco–Roads dreadfully infested by Robbers–A Tribe of aboriginal Freebooters–Description of Morocco–Filth of the common People–Tobacco disallowed–Justice of the Emperor.


Moorish Character–Form of Devotion–Meals–Revenue–Poll-tax on the Jews–Royal Carriages–Ostrich-riding–Public Schools–Watch-dogs.


Face and Produce of the Empire, natural and artificial.


Practice of Physic–Astrology–Poetry–Entertainment given by the Author to the Moors–Their Astonishment at the Effects of Electricity.


Prevalent Diseases–Abuse of Stimulants–Medicinal Well–Sorcery–Hydrophobia.


Depart for Gibraltar–Oppressive Heat–Robbers–Arrive at Larache–Affray of some English Sailors–Letter from the Governor to Lord Collingwood.


Embark for Gibraltar–Precautionary Hints.


No. I.–Letter from J. Turnbull, Esq. General Chairman of the Merchants trading to the Mediterranean, recommending Dr. Buffa for a civil medical Appointment at Gibraltar.–Dated 5th August 1805.

No. II.–Letter from the Secretary of the Transport Board, informing Dr. Buffa that a Passage in one of His Majesty’s Transports to Gibraltar was ordered for him and his Family.

No. III.–Extract of a Letter from John Turnbull, Esq. Chairman of the Committee of Merchants trading to the Levant, &c. to Dr. Buffa.

No. IV.–Extract of a Letter from John Ross, Esq. Acting Consul General at Tangiers, to Dr. Buffa.

No V.–Letter sent by a Courier from the Court of Morocco to J. Ross, Esq. by Permission of His Imperial Majesty’s First Minister, after Dr. Buffa’s having finally settled the Difference excited at that Time by the French Party in Barbary, between that Country and Great Britain.

No. VI.–Letter from Captain Stewart, of His Majesty’s Ship Seahorse, to the Government of Morocco, for Supplies; which Dr. Buffa was directed to answer, after having procured the said Supplies without any Charge.

No. VII.–Letter from Admiral the Right Hon. Lord Collingwood, to the Government of Morocco, in answer to Dr. Buffa’s Official Letter to Captain Stewart, touching on various public Matters.

No. VIII.–An Official Letter written by Dr. Buffa, by particular Direction of the Emperor of Morocco, in answer to a Letter of Lord Collingwood of the 8th July 1806, giving his Lordship Information of the happy Termination of the Negotiations which Dr. Buffa carried on, and which all the Representations of Mr. Ross to that Court were unable to effect; which gave rise to a very long and expensive Correspondence between Mr. Ross and Dr. Buffa, Long carried on by constant Couriers.

No. IX.–Letter written by Command of the Emperor of Morocco, to Lord Collingwood, in favour of Dr. Buffa.

No. X.–Translation of a Letter from the Emperor of Morocco to the King. Referred to in the Petition.

Nos. XI. and XII.–Copies of two Letters received from the Government bf Morocco, to which Dr. Buffa has hitherto been unable to reply.




Inducement for the Journey–Arrive at Tangiers–Its History– Situation–Inhabitants–Military–Governor–Fortifications– Subterraneous Passage–Socco, or Market–Adjacent Villas–Invited to Larache.

Tangiers, January 12th, 1806.

I have long felt very desirous to visit a country, which, notwithstanding the many revolutions it has undergone, and the enlightened characters of its conquerors, is regarded as still immersed in a degree of barbarism almost unparalleled. It appeared to me next to impossible that a nation so contiguous to Europe, with which it has for centuries maintained a constant intercourse, could have remained in a state of such profound ignorance.

Impressed with these ideas, I readily embraced the offer of a friend to accompany him from Gibraltar to this place, intending to travel further up the country, should I meet with sufficient inducement from the result of my observations here. We landed on the first of this month, and the intermediate time I have employed in obtaining information relative to the town of Tangiers from the earliest tradition to the present time. As the particulars I have collected do not appear devoid of Interest, I flatter myself, you will be gratified that I should have made them the subject of a letter.

This town, which by the ancients was called _Tingis_, or Tingir, and appears to have been the metropolis of the _Western Mauritania_, or Tingitania, as it was named, to distinguish it from _Mauritania Caesariensis_; according to Pliny and others, was first founded ed fay _Antaeus_ (about a thousand years before Christ), the same who was afterwards conquered and slain by _Hercules_. The giant is supposed to have been buried here: and the report of Plutarch, that his tomb was opened by Sertorius, and a corpse sixty cubits or more in length, taken out of it, confirms the idea. But according to others, _Tingis_, or the present _Tangiers_, lays claim to a more ancient founder than _Antaeus_. Procopius mentions, that in his time were standing two pillars of white stone, upon which were inscribed in the Phoenician characters the following words: _”We are the Canaanites who fed from Joshua, the son of Nun.”_

A colony of Carthaginians settled here, and it is most probable that a flourishing trade was carried on by them, as the situation of Tangiers is extremely well adapted for that purpose. Indeed the name _Tingis_, in the language of the Phoenicians and Carthaginians, signifies an _emporium_. When the Mauritaniae became subject to the Romans, in the reign of Julius Caesar, Bocchus, the son-in-law of Jugurtha, having defeated Bogud, the king of _Mauritania Tingitania_, he became possessed of that country, and Augustus, or, as some say, Octavius, confirmed this acquisition to him; and the inhabitants of _Tingis_ were allowed the privileges of Roman citizens.

I cannot discover any thing further remarkable of Tangiers from the time it became a Roman colony, and during the period it was possessed by the Saracens, till the latter end of the fourteenth century, when it was taken by the Portuguese, who erected fortifications and other public works. It continued in their possession for nearly two centuries; and was at length given to our King, Charles the Second, as part of the dowry of his consort Catharine, We did not keep it long; for, owing to the little harmony that subsisted between that Monarch and his Parliament, it was ceded to the Moors in 1684, after we had blown up all the fortifications, and utterly destroyed the harbour. Since that event, it seems to have been gradually dwindling into its present insignificance.

I have before observed, that the situation of Tangiers is well adapted to the purposes of commerce, being about two miles within the Straits of Gibraltar (or Hercules); but the ruins of the fortifications and harbour have rendered the anchorage in the bay of Tangiers very unsafe. This is a great obstacle to trade; very little is carried on there at present, and that little is by a few Jews, and lately, by a Spanish merchant of the name of Don Pedro.

The town being built on the declivity of that high tract of land called Cape Spartel (the Cape _Cottes_ or _Ampelusian_ of the ancients), it is seen at a great distance; but on entering the bay, it appears to the best advantage. It is defended by two martello towers, a castle, and a large battery; but I am confident that it could not withstand the attack of a few English frigates, and that such a force from the bay might destroy the town in the space of a few hours. Notwithstanding the vicissitudes to which this place has been exposed, it still possesses a superiority over the other towns in the empire of Morocco; it is the capital of the kingdom, and the residence of the Consuls General of the powers in amity with his Imperial Majesty. The houses of these foreign residents are constructed with great taste in the European style; the habitations of the Moors are neat; the air is pure and salubrious; the supply of excellent water, abundant; and the market cheap and plentiful. This combination of advantages renders Tangiers, in many points of view, an eligible residence. The European society, which consists almost solely of the families of the foreign consuls, is pleasant and agreable, The adjacent country is beautifully romantic; and the opposite coast and bay present a most delightful prospect. The Moorish inhabitants are all soldiers, very poor, and entirely subject to the arbitrary will of the Emperor. It is capable of furnishing, at a moment’s warning, three thousand cavalry, and two thousand infantry and artillery-men; but these troops are badly trained, and without order or discipline: I attended their evening parade yesterday, and was truly diverted with the sorry appearance of their best militia-men, who were to mount guard for the night. These Moorish soldiers are remarkably addicted to cheating. It is probably owing to their excessive indolence, which prevents them from making the usual exertions for obtaining a livelihood, and induces them to adopt the more expeditious mode of extorting from strangers the means of subsistence; but as they are not often presented with an object of prey, they continually labour against the pressure of extreme poverty. Tangiers is under the government of Sidy Ash-Ash; who resides at Tetuan. He is by no means partial to the English, but devoted to France; influenced by French principles, and French interest. Excepting a few small armed vessels, fitted out for piracy, there is no shipping in the harbour. I have observed none for the purpose of commerce; all their goods are exported in foreign bottoms; and when they bring in a prize, the vessel remains unsold for a considerable length of time, and it is always disposed of to a foreign merchant.

Several remains of the European fortifications are yet visible; the Moors have repaired some, among which the western bastions still form a principal part of the strength of the place. The castle, which appears to have been built before the time of the Portuguese, stands in a commanding position upon one of the most prominent rocks of this coast. By an order of the Emperor, all the civil and military officers of this town are obliged to reside in it.

From this castle is a subterraneous passage containing many curious remnants of antiquity. On each side of the passage are ruinous apartments, which we may readily suppose to have been designed as places for the concealment of treasures, or receptacles for the dead. From the fragments of some urns I have collected, upon which are to be traced parts of inscriptions in the Punic character, I imagine this subterraneous place to have been built by the Carthaginians, for one or both of those purposes. It extends from the castle to several miles without the gates of the town; whence we may likewise infer, that it served as a means of escape in case of a sudden insurrection, or siege. Here are several superb mosques and commodious public baths.

The _Socco_, or market, is held twice a week (on Sunday and Wednesday), in a spacious sandy square, outside of the western gate, whereto the peasants bring all kinds of provisions, and other necessaries, which are sold at very low rates. Fish and every sort of wild fowl are brought in daily, and sold very cheap. Among the Consuls’ villas, some of which are built near the spot where the _Socco_ is held, that of the Swedish Consul is the most worthy of notice. The pleasure-ground is laid out with great taste in orange groves; the gardens abound in fruit-trees, and the Consul has made a curious botanical collection.

I have just been interrupted by Mr. Matra, our Consul. He called to request me to go up to Larache, to attend the Governor, who is dangerously ill, and has sent here for an English physician. I intended to have continued a brief account of this empire, from the time it became a Roman province to the introduction of Mahometanism; also by what means the Moors became mixed with Arabs: but I must reserve this for the next opportunity.


_Sketch of the History of Morocco–Road from Tangiers–Simplicity of the Peasants–Moors hospitable–Arrive at a Village–The ancient Zelis–Public Accommodations–Much infested with Vermin–Arzilla, a ruinous walled Town–Arrive at Larache_.

Larache, January 1806.

Before I proceed to give you the particulars of my journey to this place, I shall fulfil tho promise I made you in my last.

The present empire of Morocco is properly the _Mauritania Tingitania_ of the Romans, as the _Mauritania Caesariensis_ comprised Algiers, Tripoli, and Tunis; and was so called from the Emperor Claudius. _Tingitania_ was not decidedly reduced to a Roman province till after the death of _Bocchus_. Augustus afterwards gave the two Mauritanias, and a part of _Getulia_, to the younger _Juba_, as a remuneration for the loss of his father’s kingdom (_Numidia_). _Ptolemy_, his son, by _Cleopatra_ (daughter of _Antony_ and _Cleopatra_), succeeded him. In his reign, the Moors of this country were induced to revolt by a Numidian named _Tacfarinas_, who had served in the Roman army, and who, at the head of a set of barbarians accustomed to every species of robbery, assisted the revolt he had excited.

After a variety of successes and defeats, they were completely routed by _Dolabella_, the Roman General, and a body of Mauritanians sent to his assistance by _Ptolemy_, This conquest contributed to establish peace for a short time in these provinces; but at the death of _Ptolemy_ (who was treacherously cut off by _Caius_), they again revolted, when _Claudius_ first fixed a Roman army in _Mauritania_. His generals, though not without difficulty, succeeded in restoring tranquillity, which scarcely met with any interruption till the latter end of the fifth century, when the declining state of the Roman power favoured another revolt, in which the Moors entirely shook off the yoke of the Romans, assisted by the Vandals, under _Genseric_, who overran Africa, and obtained possession of most of the maritime towns. The Vandals were expelled in the seventh century by the Saracens, under the Caliphs of Bagdad, a ferocious and warlike race of Arabs, who, from conquest to conquest, had extended and removed their seat of government from Medina to the city of Damascus; thence to _Cufa_, and from the latter place to _Bagdad_; where they established their Caliphate authority.

Flushed with their success, and burning with the hopes of plunder, in the conquest of countries more fertile and richer, but less warlike than their own, they extended their arms as far as the western _Mauritania_. This country then remained for some time subject to the Caliphs of Bagdad, and was governed by their lieutenants, a set of cruel, arbitrary, and rapacious men.

The distance from the seat of government, and the oppressive manner in which the Caliphs ruled, excited universal commotion in this part, and considerably diminished their authority. Their generals, far from suppressing, openly encouraged these tumults, and severally aspired to the sovereignty. In the midst of these intestine broils, _Edris_, a descendant of Mahomet, fled into Mauritania, to avoid the persecutions of the Caliph _Abdallah_, who, to ensure the succession to his own family, had caused the kinsmen of _Edris_ to be put to death. _Edris_ first settled in a mountain, between Fez and Mequinez, called _Zaaron_, where he soon gained the confidence of the Moors. He preached the doctrine of Mahomet, and, by degrees, succeeded in establishing it throughout the country. These people, fond of novelty, and extremely susceptible of fanaticism, readily embraced a faith so well suited to their manners and inclinations. They elected him their chief, and invested him with supreme power; which he employed in reducing the Arab generals. From that time, the characters of the Moors and Arabs gradually blended, so that in after-ages, among the generality of them, scarcely any distinction can be traced.

As it is foreign to my present purpose to carry you farther into the ancient history of this country, I shall proceed to give you tho particulars of my journey to this town. I left Tangiers, escorted by a guard, consisting of a serjeant and six horsemen, accompanied by an interpreter, and my few servants. We rode for several hours, alternately through gardens and woods: the former full of fruit-trees; such as orange, lemon, fig, pomegranate, apple, pear, and cherry trees. The scene became every moment more interesting. As we advanced, the country assumed a variety almost indescribable. The contrast was every where infinitely striking. At one instant the eye was presented with fine corn-fields, meadows, and high hills; nay, mountains, cultivated to the very summits, are covered with immense flocks of sheep, and herds of cattle; while the vallies conveyed to the imagination an idea of the fertile plains of Arcadia; the simple manners of the Moors, who tend these flocks and herds, still further inducing one to believe them the happy, peaceful people, the poets feign the Arcadian swains to have been. On the other hand are huge mountains, bleak and barren, inaccessible to man, and scarcely affording food to the straggling wild goats that venture to browse on them.

There is a degree of simplicity in the behaviour of the peasants, so widely different from these who inhabit the towns, that it is impossible to suppose them the same race of men. From the great affinity between the manners and customs of these country Moors, and the _Scenite Arabs_, the inhabitants of _Arabia Deserta_, we may naturally infer that they must have derived those habits from the latter.

They reside in villages composed of tents to the number of forty or fifty, which they remove at pleasure; when the pasture fails in one valley, they strike their tents, and seek another, where they remain till the same necessity impels them to quit that in its turn. This was precisely the custom of the _Arabes Scenitae_. The vast plains of sand with which _Arabia Deserta_ abounds, were occasionally interspersed with fertile spots, which appeared like little islands. These we’re rendered extremely delightful by fountains, rivulets, palm-trees, and most excellent fruit. The Arabs, with their flocks, encamped on some of them, and when they had consumed every thing there, they retired to others. Their descendants, the present _Bedoweens_, continue the practice to this day. The name given to this kind of village is the same as that of the Arabs just mentioned, which is _Dow-war, or Hbyma_.

The families of the Moorish peasants appear to be very numerous, as I observed that each tent was quite full. They flocked out as I passed, to gratify their curiosity in seeing a _Massarane_ (for so they denominate a Christian). Yet, notwithstanding their antipathy to all Christians, I was received with the greatest hospitality by these followers of Mahomet. They seemed to vie with each other in presenting the bowl of butter-milk, which they consider as a great delicacy, and. indeed, an offering of peace.

In the centre of a plain, about eight hours journey from Tangiers, we halted, and refreshed ourselves. After allowing my serjeant and guard to perform their ablutions, and say their prayers, we proceeded on our journey, and arrived, very late in the evening, at a village on the banks of a large river, which, from its situation, I imagine to be the _Zelis_, or _Zelia_, of the ancients, and which, by its annual inundation, fertilizes and enriches the country to such a degree, that, with very little labour, it produces abundant crops of all kinds of grain, particularly of wheat and barley.

A number of rivulets have their source in those mountains, which, joining others in their course, at length form pretty considerable rivers; and these, meeting with obstacles from the projecting rocks over which they pass, produce most beautiful natural cascades, which, precipitating themselves into the plains, preserve so great a moisture in the soil, that it is covered with a continual verdure.

There are no public inns for the accommodation of travellers on the road; but the Emperor has caused stone buildings to be erected, at certain distances, as substitutes. These buildings are not so good as many of the stables in England; they resemble the sheds, made, by farmers, to-give shelter to their cattle in tempestuous weather: yet, miserable as they were, I was glad to accept the offer of a night’s lodging in one of them, not having provided myself with a tent.

The Cadi of the village conducted us to this delectable abode, which we found already occupied by six Moorish wanderers, who, in the Emperor’s name, were ordered to turn out, and make room for me and my suite. Supper was brought me by the Cadi; it consisted, of boiled rice and milk, and some fresh-water fish, tolerably well dressed. When I had partaken of this homely repast, I prepared myself for rest, of which I stood in great need from the fatigues of the day; but, alas! my evil genius had determined otherwise; it seemed as if all the fleas and bugs in His Imperial Majesty’s dominions had been collected, to prevent my closing my eyes; or it was, possibly, a legacy bequeathed, me by my predecessors. Be that as it may, I found them such very troublesome companions, that I preferred the night air to the prospect of being devoured before morning; I therefore wrapped myself up in a thick blanket, and slept, unmolested, in the open air, till after daybreak, when I found myself sufficiently refreshed to pursue my journey. Crossing the river, we passed through a ruinous walled town, called _Arzilla_, commanded by an Alcaid, under the Governor of Larache. This, which is a maritime town, lies at the mouth of the above river, and was, according to Strabo, Pliny, and others, a _Phoenician colony_; it was afterwards successively in the hands of the Romans, Vandals, Arabs, and occupied by _Aphonso_, King of Portugal, surnamed the _African_. It was abandoned by the Portuguese in 1471, when it fell under the power of the kings of Morocco.

I observed several ruins in this town and its vicinity, but could not stay to inspect them, It is inhabited by Moors and Jews, and is surrounded by gardens abounding with lemon, orange, and grape trees. On the evening of the same day we reached this place. I shall defer the account of my reception here, and the state in which I found the Governor, till my next.


Conducted to the Governor–Medical Hint from his Secretary–Governor recovers–Larache–Its Harbour, Shipping, and Inhabitants.

Larache, February 1806.

On our arrival at this place, we were met, at the gates of the garrison, by the Governor’s public Secretary, who conducted us to a house belonging to Mr. Matra, and afterwards accompanied me to the castle to visit my patient. On our way thither I requested the Secretary to give me his opinion concerning the present state of the Governor’s health; I also asked how he had been accustomed to live, and how long he had been confined to his bed. “What do you mean,” said he, “by asking such foolish questions? you are not a _tweeb_” (the name for a physician). I told him that I was. He continued: “That must be determined by your success or failure; if you succeed, you will for ever establish your fame in Barbary; you will be esteemed and respected by all the Moors; but, if you fail, and His Excellency should die under your hands, I would then advise you to make your escape as quickly and as privately as possible, and never to attempt to revisit this country.” I confessed the weight of the encouragement and threats which he held out; and inquiring whether he meant to insinuate, that if the Governor died I should suffer death? and whether they always punished their tweebs thus when they dispatched any of their patients to the other world? he rejoined, “Not exactly; but consider, you are a Massarene, which makes a great difference.” I then intimated that I would decline having any thing to do with his master, and would return to Gibraltar. “You do not think of such a thing!” he exclaimed; “it would be unworthy of your character and situation. But come; I will give you a few salutary hints, which may be of service to you; the rest you will discover at the bed-side, and on feeling the pulse of your patient, I wish you may succeed in recovering him; but I am afraid he is going, and that no tweeb on earth can save him.”

He then informed me that His Excellency had been attended, for some days past, by a celebrated tweeb, who stood high in the public estimation; that he had pronounced the Governor’s disease incurable, and he had, bled him so copiously, and so repeatedly, that “I verily believe,” added the Secretary, “he has not a single drop of blood left in his veins; I would therefore advise you to administer some good cordials, and also some nourishment, to restore his lost vigour.” By this time we had reached the castle. I found the Governor in a situation truly deplorable. He had been bled, as the Secretary described, _ad deliquium_, and reduced so low, that it was with great difficulty I could hear what he was desirous of explaining to me.

His body was covered all over with purple spots, and had every concomitant symptom of the blood approaching to a putrescent dissolution, I afforded him all the assistance in my power the same evening; and early the next morning, when I visited him, I found him somewhat easier; the next day better; and thus progressively mending; till yesterday he was sufficiently recovered to venture on horseback, and I trust he will, ultimately, be perfectly restored to health and spirits. He is about forty years of age, of a genteel appearance, exceedingly well informed, and reputed to be the most sensible officer in His Imperial Majesty’s service, perfectly, _au fait_ in the intrigues and politics of the Cabinet of St. Cloud, and other nations, He has always been, and is still, a very steady friend to the English,

During my stay here so many poor wretches applied for advice and medical assistance, that I have completely exhausted my stock of medicines, and I am, in consequence of this, obliged to decline the Emperor’s invitation to his court. I shall return to Gibraltar for a supply, and shall then pay him a visit at Fez.

Larache is supposed to be the famous _Lixus_, or _Lixos_, of the ancients, and, consequently, was in great reputation in the earliest ages, Pliny asserts, that the giant _Antaeus_ occasionally resided here; and further adds, that Hercules vanquished him in this neighbourhood, as he supposes the gardens of the Hesperides to have been not far off. This I think very probable, as the Arabic name of this town is _El Arais_, signifying a place abounding in gardens; which is still the case. The vicinity of it is, indeed, rendered extremely delightful by the number of gardens. Pliny also makes the river Lixos (upon the banks of which the town stood), by its winding course, to resemble a serpent, or dragon, from which he intimates that this river gave rise to the fable of the Dragon guarding the golden apples of the _Hesperides_. Be that as it may, the situation of the present Larache gives great probability to the supposition of its being the reputed _Lixus_ of the ancients. The learned Aldrete affirms the word _Lixos_ be derived from _Lachisu_, or _Nahara Lachisu_, signifying _enchantment_, or the _enchanted river_. He observes, that the town of Lixos was situated near the banks of a river of the same name; and that the inhabitants of this country were supposed to possess uncommon skill in sorcery and magic.

Many wonderful things have been related of _Antaeus_, by various authors, in his two residences of _Tingis_ and _Lixos_. Pliny mentions a Roman colony having been settled here by _Claudius_; and I should judge this statement to be perfectly correct, from the number of Roman ruins observable in and near the town. It was in the possession of the Spaniards in 1610, but was retaken by the Moors before the commencement of the eighteenth century.

It is surrounded by good bastions and other works; some of which were constructed by the Spaniards, and the rest by the Moors. It is encompassed by deep trenches, with sluices to fill them with water from the river, The streets of this town are narrow and dirty, paved with large irregular stones, and consisting of abrupt ascents and descents, which render them unsafe to pass through on horseback.

Near the castle, at the extremity of the cape, facing the Atlantic, is an oblong square, surrounded by a piazza, supported by colonnades, where the shops of the merchants are situated, and where the market also is held. The cattle-market is kept in an extensive plain, to which you pass through a crooked way, out of the western gate. Thursday is the market-day.

Fresh water is extremely scarce, and the inhabitants are sometimes greatly distressed for want of it. Larache is a seat of government, and contains a spacious inland harbour; but the entrance is dangerous from the badness of its bar, which might, however, be removed with little trouble and expense, so as to render the harbour very commodious for shipping,

The harbour contains a portion of the Emperor’s maritime force, which consists of four frigates, a brig, and a sloop of war, in very tolerable condition. This little fleet is commanded by an admiral, and sails every year in the month of May; when it cruizes about during the summer, picking up a few straggling vessels, and returns here to winter; in which time the sailors are twice a week exercised at the great guns. This town is now entirely occupied by soldiers and sailors, and their respective families. It did contain about two thousand Jews, whose business it was to purchase hides, wool, and wax, for several commercial houses established at Tetuan; but these poor people were obliged to leave this garrison, and take refuge in the neighbouring mountains, from a sudden and irrevocable decree of the Emperor, on account of their having sold some _aguardiente_ to the sailors, which occasioned a great fight, that was attended with the loss of three Moors.

I have just received intelligence of the death of Mr. Matra; I am extremely sorry for this event, as, in him, we have lost a very powerful advocate at the court of Morocco: but it is no more than I expected, from the state in which I left him at Tangiers.


Excursion to Mamora, and thence to Salee–Friendly Reception by the Governor of the latter–Rabat–Tower of Hassen–Shella– Mansooria–Alcasser– Quiber–Its Socco, or Marketplace.

Larache, 1805.

To escape from the importunities of those poor creatures who continued to pester me for medicines with which I could not supply them, I availed myself of the convalescent state of the Governor, and obtained his permission to make a short excursion to the nearest seaport towns on the western coast. Escorted as before, I directed my way towards Mamora, a fortress about sixty miles off.

I halted frequently to observe the face of, the country, and could not forbear lamenting the little knowledge I possess in the art of drawing; indeed, I never had more reason to regret having neglected it than now, as it would have enabled me to present you with some very interesting views, to which my pen cannot do justice.

The beautiful intermixture of lakes, forests, and green vallies, forming most delightful landscapes, brought to my recollection those scenes I have so often contemplated, in my youthful days, on the borders of Switzerland. The lakes abound with all kinds of water-fowls, and fine eels; and are surrounded by villages, sanctuaries, and holy houses; the latter occupied by the descendants of the ancient _Maraboots_, who are held in the highest veneration by the Moors, and whose habitations are considered as sacred asylums, which are never violated, either by the civil or military power.

We ascended an eminence, upon which stands one of their most celebrated sanctuaries, built in the form of a pavilion, with four arched folding-doors, in the Gothic style, covered with varnished tiles of various colours, and embellished with curious Arabic characters. I was eagerly approaching, at the head of my little party, to gratify my curiosity, when a shower of stones, from the holy inhabitants of the neighbouring huts and tents, compelled me to desist; and after a retreat of one hundred yards, I sat down to refresh myself undisturbed.

From this hill, however, I had a better opportunity of surveying the beauties of the adjacent lands, which are very productive; and also to observe the windings of the river _Seboo_, which, taking its source in the neighbourhood of Fez, forms a junction with the river _Beth_, and falls into the Atlantic Ocean.

After journeying about a league, we crossed this river in a ferry-boat, and in a short time reached the fort of _Mamora_, which lies about two miles to the south of the river. This fort, after having been demolished by the Moors, was rebuilt by the Spaniards in 1604, and taken by Muley Ishmael in 1681. It is commanded by an Alcaid, and inhabited by about forty or fifty families, who gain a livelihood by fishing for shads and eels; with which they supply the adjoining country during the winter season.

We rested at this place, and feasted upon fried eels, which I found equal to those caught in the Thames. From _Mamora_ we proceeded to _Salee_ another maritime town, situated in the province of _Ben-hassen_, and at the mouth of the river _Salee_, which is formed by the junction of two small rivers. The Governor of that place being an intimate friend of my patient, I was most kindly and hospitably received by him; and elegantly entertained in one of his gardens, which are well laid out, and ornamented with several fountains playing into marble basins, as well as by several delightful streams of water.

Salee is a walled town, strongly defended by a large battery, mounting twenty-four pieces of heavy ordnance, and a redoubt which protects the mouth of the river. It contains about five hundred regular troops, three thousand militia-men, five hundred sailors, and a number of Moorish merchants and Jews. To the north of this garrison is a small town, in a ruinous state, inhabited by a few negro families. I was told it was built by Muley Ishmael for the accommodation of his favourite black troops. To the south, and on the opposite side of the river _Salee_, is the maritime city of _Rabat_, commanded by a black chief, and garrisoned with black soldiers.

It is defended by a fort and strong batteries, adequate to prevent a hostile landing. It contains several ruins of importance; among the most conspicuous of which are those of a large mosque, and the famous castle built by _Almansor_ the _Invincible_, together with a superb square tower; which latter is still in a tolerable state of preservation, and is called the tower of _Hassen_. This tower is about two hundred feet in height, strongly built with cut stone, and most curiously decorated with Arabic characters. It contains a staircase of easy ascent to the top, whence I had a most extensive prospect of the Atlantic Ocean, where vessels are descried sailing at an immense distance.

The walls of Rabat are nearly two miles in circumference, and fortified by several square towers. Exclusive of its regular garrison, it contains four thousand militia-men, and about fifteen hundred sailors, besides several Moorish merchants and Jews; which latter live in a separate quarter.

This town, as well as Salee, is admirably calculated for trade, capable of furnishing foreign markets with large quantities of wool, leather, wax, and other important commodities. These contiguous cities are surrounded by gardens, watered by plentiful streams, which are artificially conveyed from a neighbouring spring, that takes its rise in a valley called _Tamura_, to the south of Rabat, and which also supplies all the houses of the two towns with fresh water.

Both places contain docks for building vessels, and several small corvettes in the Emperor’s service winter in these harbours: but the roads, like those of Larache, are only to be frequented from the beginning of April to the end of September, on account of the shifting of the sand, which accumulates on the wind blowing from the south-west, when the bar is rendered unsafe for vessels to pass. Too great attention cannot be paid by commanders or masters of ships, on anchoring there, as a great number of anchors have been lately lost, and many vessels stranded.

Curiosity prompted me to inspect a small ruinous town to the east of _Rabat_, named _Shella_, supposed to have been built by the _Carthaginians_: but my approach was rudely prevented by the inhabitants; no Christian, nor even Jew, being suffered to enter, on account of its containing several tombs of their most celebrated saints, while in fact it is only a sacred asylum for malefactors, and all the rogues of the country.

To the south, and about eight leagues from _Rabat_, in a sandy and almost desert place, is a castle, in a most dilapidated state, called _Mensooria_, which was erected by _Jacob Al__mansor_, for the accommodation of travellers, and is still resorted to by the trading Moors and Jews, as a refuge at night from the attacks of robbers.

Conceiving it rather hazardous to penetrate further in useless researches, I returned to this place, greatly chagrined at having been foiled in my attempts to explore the remains of antiquities in _Shella_, and other places. I assure you, my disappointment was not owing to the want either of perseverance or resolution, but the serjeant of my guard was an ignorant bigot, and a great coward, therefore unwilling and unable to protect, or share any danger with me. On my return here, I dismissed him, and obtained another serjeant, and a new guard, from the Governor, who caused my dismissed serjeant to be seized; and ordered him the _pallo_; but, at my intercession, he was pardoned, upon his promising for the future to evince a more soldierlike conduct, when summoned on duty.

The town of _Alcasser-Quiber_ being only three leagues from this place, I also went thither, to see the _Socco_, which is held once a week, and is frequented by a vast number of the inhabitants of the neighbouring mountains, who carry their produce, consisting of cattle, fowls, eggs, butter, soft cheese, and large quantities of wool, hides, and wax.

This city lies to the eastward of Larache, on the banks of the river _Luxos_, and is separated from the town of _Arzilla_ by alternate vallies and plains, amongst which some remains of redoubts, apparently, for the protection and defence of camps, are to be seen, and near which that unfortunate battle was fought in 1578, wherein _Don Sebastian_, King of Portugal, lost both his army and his life.

_Alcasser-Quiber_ is a place of some note, carrying on an extensive and profitable commerce with Tetuan and other places. The town and its environs suffer greatly by the occasional overflowing of the river Luxos, which might however easily be remedied; but the Moors have no notion of altering things; therefore, without endeavouring to secure themselves from a recurrence of such disasters, they allow their houses to be filled with water, and themselves to be, not unfrequently, washed out of them.

This town contains upwards of fifteen hundred families, exclusive of six hundred Jews, whose quarter is distinct from the Moors. It is commanded by an Alcaid, subject to the authority of the Governor of Larache, and ranks among the principal cities of the empire of Morocco.


_Leave Larache with an Escort–Curious Custom on returning from Mecca–Arrive at Tetuan_.


His Excellency the Governor of Larache being perfectly recovered, I took my departure from that city. For the sake of novelty, I proposed returning to Gibraltar, by this route, rather than by Tangiers. I obtained a letter of recommendation to _Sidy Ash-Ash_, and was accompanied by a strong guard, provided with a tent, and all other necessaries for the journey.

On my way hither, I was highly entertained by the Serjeant of the guard. This man had not long returned from Mecca and Upper Egypt. He spoke Italian tolerably well, was full of strange notions, and considered himself quite a superior genius. He told me, that he expected to be promoted in a very short time, and asked me, whether I were present at his public entry into the garrison of Larache, on his return from the sanctuary of Mecca. I smiled, and answered him in the affirmative. He asked me, why I smiled? “At the novelty of the exhibition,” I replied, “in carrying you to all the mosques, and afterwards in escorting you in state to your humble habitation.”–“It is but too often the practice,” rejoined he, “of petulant infidels to ridicule us, in the exercise of pious customs and religious duties.” Then spurring his horse, he muttered something abusive, which I pretended not to hear. However, I found no great difficulty in appeasing the pious and sanctified serjeant. In short, I dispelled all his glooms and ill humours, and drowned his scruples, in a cup of port wine. It is customary among the Moors, when any of them return from the pilgrimage of Mecca, to go out in great procession to meet the devout pilgrim, whom some of them carry on their shoulders with great solemnity through the town and to his own house, where he sits in state for three days, receiving visits and donations from all classes of people, who flock with the greatest eagerness to obtain a sight of him. The conversation was insensibly renewed, and he told me, that of a company of fifteen pilgrims, who set out for the holy city of Mecca, he was the sole survivor, the others having all perished in the deserts. He was the only favoured and true believer that was permitted to visit the holy sepulchre. He added: “As the dangers attending the pilgrimage are great and various, does not the happy being, who returns safe to his native place, deserve the honours and compliments paid him, for his great perseverance and patience in such a dangerous undertaking, the success of which is the result of his innate rectitude?” I gave him to understand that he had made the case clear. “The French,” he continued, “had a design upon the treasures of Mecca.” I agreed that they certainly had; and asked him, by what power he thought the French army was prevented from possessing itself of Mecca. “Unquestionably,” rejoined he, “by the invincible and invisible power of our Prophet.” In reply to my intimation that it was the British arms which defeated the French before Acre and Alexandria, and compelled them to give up the conquest they had made in Egypt, he went on to say, that “all the great acts of mankind are guided and governed by a supernatural power. The French were defeated by the English, because the latter fought under the invincible standard of _Mahomet_; and so fully convinced are the true believers of this, that we now consider the English as brethren. I hate the French mortally; they are a set of bloody impious infidels, and treacherous to a degree; I would not escort a dog of a Frenchman for all the treasures of the Emperor; I would rather lose my head than protect one. I fought the dogs in Egypt; but I took care not to spare one; I laid many of them in the dust. It behoves every honest Moor to be on his guard against the intrigues and duplicity of the French. A Moor can certainly face six of them. The Emperor’s troops have more bodily strength than theirs. By the by, it is whispered about, that they intend paying us a visit to plunder us, and ravish our fine women. Let them come, we will meet them, I warrant you, and give them their due. Not one will return to France to tell his story.” I then filled him another cup of port, to drink destruction to the French, whenever they should attempt either his shores or ours–and here ended our dialogue. I found him a _bon-vivant_, willing to overlook certain restrictions of his Prophet, and to drink his wine like an honest Englishman.

The second day of our journey I had raised his spirits to such a height, that he wantonly picked a quarrel with the muleteer, and gave him two or three slight cuts with his sabre, which so much provoked the honest driver, that, being a stout robust man, he soon dismounted my hero, and would actually have sent him to the shades below, but for my interference. When the Serjeant recovered his senses, he was very much alarmed lest his conduct should be exposed, or reach the ears of the Governor of Larache. In order therefore to dissipate the fears of this gallant soldier, I made the muleteer and the other swear, by their Prophet, to keep the transaction a secret. After this we travelled on merrily, without further disputes, and arrived here on the third day. I waited immediately upon, and delivered my letter to the Governor, who commanded one of his officers to conduct me to the house of the Vice-consul, where I now remain, in expectation of some vessel to convey me to Gibraltar.


_Ill Usage of a Lieutenant of the Swiftsure–Disaffection of the Moorish Governor towards Great Britain_.

Gibraltar, March 1806

His Majesty’s ship the Swiftsure having arrived at Tetuan, to take in fresh water, I went on board. The watering-place is about eighteen miles from Tetuan, and six from the customhouse, at which last place is a tower, guarded by a strong detachment, and commanded by a Captain. When the ship had completed her water, signals were made to strike the tent, and every one to repair on board.

It has always been customary for English men of war going to water there, to make the commanding officer a present of a cartridge of powder, which compliment was duly paid by the second Lieutenant of the Swiftsure; but the Moorish Captain, not contented with one cartridge, insisted upon having two. The Lieutenant refused to comply with this new and extraordinary demand; upon which he was immediately seized by a party of soldiers, who, after knocking him down, pinioned him, and in this degrading manner marched him up to Tetuan, under a strong escort.

Captain Rutherford (who commands the Swiftsure), on hearing of this daring outrage, could with difficulty refrain from making instant reprisals: but unwilling to embroil the two nations, he sailed without delay, and arrived in the course of a few hours in this bay. Two days after Mr. Wickes, the Lieutenant, joined the Swiftsure. He reports, that, after a most painful march, he was taken before Governor Ash-Ash, who released him, immediately, and promised to punish the Captain of the fort for the insult; a promise which, I am pretty confident, he never performed.

Such an act will naturally inspire you with horror, and induce you to consider the Moors as a ferocious, barbarous set of people: but, believe me, it could only have been perpetrated under the government of _Ash-Ash_. At any other port of Barbary, a British officer will meet with a most kind and hospitable reception, and every mark of respect due to him. The Emperor has given Ash-Ash positive orders to respect the English, and not to take the part of the French, directly or indirectly; but, as I observed in a former letter, I conceive this Moor to be completely under French influence.

I am extremely busy in making the necessary preparations for my next trip; and as you are kind enough to say you are gratified with the account I have already sent you of the empire of Morocco, and wish me to continue my remarks, I shall most probably trouble you with a letter, whenever I meet with any thing that may serve to interest or amuse you.


_Sail for Tetuan–Appearance of the Coast–Enter the Boosega River–Curious Towers of Defence–Custom-house-Female Dress–Enter Tetuan over a Road of unlevelled Rock–Disagreeable Streets–Well received by the Governor–Public Markets–Socco–An Auction Market._

Tetuan; March 14th, 1806

One of His Majesty’s brigs having been appointed to convey me either to Tangiers or Tetuan, the wind blowing due west, we sailed for this port. As the ship drew near the shore, I had a full view of this wild coast. The tops of the lofty mountains are prodigious barren rocks, while their base is interspersed with broom and box. The hills and dales are covered with myrtles of various kinds, assuming different shades of lovely green. The towers and castles, which are of a delicate whiteness, rising in the midst of these groves of myrtles, render the scene interesting. The plaster made use of in the erection of these towers is, of itself, extremely white; but the Moors are not satisfied with this, and they add a whitewash of lime.

The towers are harmless as fortifications, since, for want of skill in the manufacture of gunpowder, the Moors are very deficient in that necessary article. No present therefore is more acceptable to them than a few cartridges of it.

After firing two or three guns by way of signal to the Vice-consul, announcing my arrival, as the Captain had directions only to put me on shore, and to proceed to sea immediately to join Lord Collingwood’s fleet, my baggage was put into a large Moorish boat, and I entered the river _Boosega_ (commonly called St. Martin) in the Captain’s barge. This river is defended by a castle of singular construction, the entrance to which is by means of a ladder to a door in the upper story, and which ladder is occasionally drawn up. The four angles of the building are finished with small turrets, capped with clumsy domes, and having several ports for cannon. Near this place many of the Emperor’s gallies anchor, and winter.

Having proceeded a considerable way up the river, we landed at another castle, called the Custom-house. On my landing, I was received by the Vice-consul (an opulent Jew, and a native of Barbary), accompanied by the commanding officer and his troop. They conducted me to the Custom-house, which is built of stone, and whitewashed, arid, at a distance, appears to very great advantage. We entered this public building by an arched gateway, and proceeded through a winding passage into a quadrangle, in the centre of which is a well of excellent water. Near the well was an arcade, shaded by a grape-vine, to which I was conducted, and there placed in an old arm-chair. The Vice-consul and the Moorish commandant seated themselves cross-legged, upon mats spread upon the floor, and dinner, consisting of roasted fowls and fried sardinias, was immediately served.

After dinner my baggage was put upon mules, and a saddle-horse was brought for me. This animal was perfectly white, and loaded with an enormous saddle, which had a large peak before and behind, covered with a scarlet cloth, and furnished with a pair of stirrups of a curious form, much resembling a coal-scuttle; but, _outre_ as this appeared, I assure you, I found myself very comfortably seated, and perfectly secure from falling. Thus equipped, we set forward for Tetuan, accompanied by a Moorish officer and twelve horsemen.

Whips are not in fashion in this country, and their place is supplied by two long ends of the bridle, cut to a point; but the horses, though very spirited, are perfectly under command, and need neither whip nor spur.

The town of Tetuan is seen at a great distance, from being built, like Tangiers, on the declivity of a high hill, and the houses being whitewashed. The road from the Custom-house is abominably bad; it lies across a wearisome, barren plain, surrounded by craggy mountains. Here and there, indeed, may be seen a small fertile spot, covered with cattle, sheep, and goats, and occasionally a well, encompassed by a wall of broad flat stones, capable of affording a seat to a dozen people. On approaching the city, however, the country appears more cultivated, luxuriant, and rich.

The figures of some common women, apparently employed in agricultural occupations, struck me with surprise, as their dress was quite different from any I had seen when in this country before. On their head they wore a straw hat, of an enormous circumference; under this was a piece of white cloth extending over the forehead to the eyes; and immediately below this another, which reached as far down as the chin; their eyes peeping through the intermediate space. Their bodies were enveloped in a coarse haik, a species of serge of their own manufacture.

Upon entering the city gate, one of my guards took hold of my bridle, and conducted me over innumerable rocks, to the Jewish town. The surface of the ground being an uneven rock, which every where remains unlevelled, the streets consist of abrupt ascents and descents, even worse than those of Larache; they are also extremely narrow and dirty; and as the houses have no windows towards the streets, you in fact pass along between two dead walls, almost suffocated by a hot and fetid atmosphere.

When we reached the house of the Vice-consul, I was presented with a glass of _aguardiente_, for refreshment. After having passed the evening in the company of a numerous party of Barbary Jews, I retired to bed; and in the morning I waited on the Governor, to pay my respects to him. On our way thither, I was not a little surprised to see our Vice-consul pull off his slippers as we passed the mosques, and walk bare-footed. I soon learned, that the Jews are compelled to pay this tribute of respect, from which Christians are exempt, although they do not escape very frequent insults when walking through the city.

We found His Excellency sitting cross-legged on a tiger-skin, smoking his pipe, under a niche in one of the courts of his mansion. He received me with great politeness, and assured me that every thing should be arranged to render my journey to Larache safe and agreeable. Both, the Governor and his secretary asked me numberless questions respecting the laws and manners of the English; to all of which I gave short and general answers.

As we returned from the castle we passed through a street of unusual breadth, on each side of which were the shops of the merchants. I thence proceeded to take a general survey of the city; examining the different places allotted to people engaged in various branches of trade, and the manufactories of silk, carpets, and mats; and afterwards went to the public markets for meat, poultry, vegetables, cattle, sheep, horses, and mules. They are in spacious squares, and are exceedingly well stocked. I next went to see the _Socco_, which is a place appointed for the sale of several articles of wearing apparel as well as all sorts of goods, by public auction. The auctioneer walks backwards and forwards, exhibiting the commodities for sale, and bawling out the different prices offered. We returned, through several intricate streets, to the Jews’ quarters, much fatigued, and worried with the impertinence and curiosity of the inhabitants.


_Tetuan–The Jews much oppressed there–particularly the Females–Costume–Singularity of the Streets in the Jewish Town–Ceuta–Would be invaluable to England–Melilla–Summoned to visit the Emperor._

Tetuan, —- 1806.

There is little that is remarkable in this town, beside what I mentioned in my last. It is distant twenty miles from _Ceuta_, a Spanish fortress, and twelve from the Mediterranean, and is nearly opposite to the rock of Gibraltar. It has a good trade, and contains about eighty thousand inhabitants, twenty thousand of which are Jews, said to be very rich. The Jews are tolerably civilized in their manners, but are dreadfully oppressed by the Moors. Seldom a day passes but some gross outrage or violence is offered to the Jewish women, the generality of whom are very handsome, though their dress is by no means calculated to set off, but rather to detract from, their beauty.

Men, women, and children, still preserve the same costume as in the time of Moses. You cannot conceive any thing more ridiculous than the _tout ensemble_ of a Barbary Jewess in full dress. Every part of her apparel is rich, but is so heavy, that, to an European, nothing can appear more awkward and unbecoming. The Jewish ladies wear immense ear-rings. I have observed several full twelve inches in circumference, and of a proportionate thickness; and a few ornaments being affixed to the ear-ring, I leave you to judge what materials their ears must be made of, to bear such a weighty appendage.

The Jewish town is quite distinct from that of the Moors; but the difference between them is very little: the streets are equally narrow and dirty, and the houses have no windows on the outside; the roofs are also quite flat; the only variation is, that the streets are covered with a roof extending from the houses on each side, and have the appearance of subterraneous passages. There is a regular communication between the houses at the top, which is the favourite scene of recreation. Some of the women scarcely ever take the air, excepting on these flat roofs: in short, the inhabitants, both Jews and Moors, dance, sing, and take all their amusements on them. The rooms of the Jewish houses (as well as of the Moors) are long, narrow, and lofty, resembling galleries. Most of the houses are occupied by several families, which are generally large. Those inhabited by the more opulent are kept tolerably neat, and are adorned with rich and curious furniture; but they are, for the most part, exceedingly dirty; and the exhalations from the garlic and oil, which they use in great quantities in frying their fish, are enough to suffocate a person not entirely divested of the sense of smelling. Their taste is so exquisitely refined, in regard to the oil they use, that they prefer our lamp-oil to any other, on account of its high flavour.

Notwithstanding all these apparent obstacles to health, they contrive to preserve it admirably well. To an Englishman, their mode of life would scarcely appear worthy to be called living, but merely vegetating. Since the last plague, however, in Barbary, which destroyed a vast number of the Jews, they have not suffered from any infectious or contagious disorder, and their population has augmented so prodigiously, that the Emperor must, however reluctantly, extend the limits of their town. The Jews marry extremely young. It is not at all unusual to see a married couple, whose united ages do not exceed twenty-two or twenty-three years.

I cannot quit Tetuan, without giving you some account of _Ceuta_, which is at so small a distance from it. From its situation, it perfectly corresponds with the _Exillissa_ of _Ptolemy_, being the first maritime town to the eastward of the ancient _Tingis_, or modern Tangiers. It also clearly appears to have been the _Septa_ described by _Procopius_, who, with many others, derives this name from the adjacent seven hills. It was a place of great note in the time of the Vandals. It is now a strong regular fortified town. Ceuta is thirty miles from Tangiers, and nearly opposite to the entrance of the bay of Gibraltar. It is nominally still in the hands of the Spaniards; but it is confidently rumoured, and believed, to have been ceded by treaty to the French. This important fortress has been, and is still, occasionally most awfully distressed for want of provisions; insomuch, that if closely besieged by land, by the Moors, and blocked up by the English by sea, it could not hold out any considerable time in possession of the French. The advantages resulting to Great Britain from such a valuable acquisition are incalculable.

Every person who is acquainted with the situation of Ceuta, the rival of Gibraltar, must be very much astonished, that it should still be permitted to remain in the possession of the Spaniards, since a squadron of men of war, and a flotilla of gun and bomb vessels, might reduce it, even without the assistance, of the Moors; and thereby England would be sole mistress of the entrance to the Mediterranean. Convoys could collect in safety at Ceuta, and our trade in this sea be comparatively secure from annoyance. I understand this place was closely invested by Muley Yezid (the late Emperor of Morocco, and brother to the present Emperor), but for want of proper co-operation by sea, where it is most vulnerable, he was necessitated to raise the siege, and withdraw his troops.

This garrison is supplied with provisions from Spain, the Moors being prohibited, on pain of death, from sending their commodities thither; and in order that this interdiction may be strictly observed, picquets and posts of Moorish cavalry and infantry are so judiciously stationed, that it is impossible for the mountaineers to smuggle in the smallest article. The supplies from Spain are extremely precarious, from the necessity of conveying them in small fishing craft, to prevent their falling into the hands of the English.

_Melilla_ also is in the possession of the Spaniards: this maritime town lies to the eastward of Tetuan. Many authors assert it to have been founded by the _Carthaginians_. It is likewise called _Melela_, from the great quantity of honey annually obtained in its neighbourhood. It was taken by the Spaniards about the beginning of the fifteenth century, and has remained under their dominion ever since. It has a strong castle, built on a rock, named _Gomera_. Along this coast, particularly from Tetuan to Melilla, there are several coves, in which the Spanish gunboats, and other small armed vessels, find shelter in cases of necessity. Indeed _Melilla_ is itself a place of refuge for those vessels of the enemy fitted out for the annoyance of our Mediterranean trade.

I shall conclude this with a copy of a letter, which I have just received from Mr. Ross, the acting Consul-general in the room of the late Mr. Matra:

“DEAR SIR, _Tangiers_,

“I heard only to-day of your arrival at Tetuan, on your way to Larache; and this evening I received a letter from Sidy Mahommed Eslawee, Governor of that place, to request, that, if I knew you were in this country, I would beg you to use, every possible endeavour to come to him at Larache, and to accompany him to the Emperor, who wishes very much to see you. Let me therefore request your repairing as quickly as possible to Larache, and joining him before he departs; but should you miss him, he has left orders with his Lieutenant-governor there, to forward you on immediately. I should hope this jaunt will prove highly beneficial to you. Nothing on my part shall be wanting, either in advice, or information, by which you may think I can be of service. If you should see Governor Eslawee before my letter reaches him, give him my kindest and best wishes; and say that I hope, as he has been for a great many years past a sincere friend to the British nation, his friendship will continue true and steadfast.

“I remain, dear Sir,

“Your most obedient humble servant,

(Signed) “JOHN ROSS,

“To Dr. Buffa,
&c. &c. &c.

In consequence of this request, I am making preparations for my departure by to-morrow morning. I shall write to you again from Larache. Though I have described every thing worthy of notice in that town in a former letter, yet I know you will wish to learn how I am received by the Governor on this my second trip.


_Journey to Larache–Annual Socco of St. Martin–No Christian permitted to witness it–Express Order for that Purpose in the Author’s Favour–Specimen of native medical Skill–Reception at Larache–Complain of the Impositions of Governor Ash-Ash–Comparative Tariff–Effect the Renewal of the old Tariff with increasing Advantages._


Before I introduce you a second time to the Governor, or relate my reception from him, I must beg leave to give you a description of my journey hither. Methinks I hear you say, “That is unnecessary, as, no doubt, it was much the same as before.” No such thing, I assure you; for, in the first place, my style of travelling was infinitely superior, being provided, by the Moorish Governor, with a double guard, and having also eleven mules allowed me to carry my baggage, which, with two muleteers, my interpreter, and servant, made no despicable appearance. I had, besides, to contend with very stormy weather, which gave the country quite a different aspect. From incessant rains, the rivers had overflowed, and nearly the whole of the country was under water, which rendered our journey not only difficult but dangerous. We were obliged to halt for two days, near a village, till the waters subsided; and during this time we feasted on fine fresh-water fish, and wild fowl. On the third day we proceeded; and here I must not omit an occurrence which served still further to give me an insight into the general character of this once powerful people.

Fortunately (or unfortunately, some would say, who weighed the perils I had to encounter in the accomplishment of my wishes) I passed, on the day the inhabitants were meeting, the annual Socco of St. Martin, so called from its being held at the place whence the river of that name takes its source. I did not pass immediately over the spot, but so near, that I could perceive a multitude of people assembled together. To obtain a better view of what they were about, notwithstanding the representations of my conductors, that no Christian was suffered to be present at this fair, I proceeded towards the crowd; but before I could reach the place, I was assailed by hundreds of people, who saluted me with such a discharge of stones, and even some fire-arms, that I was extremely glad to make good my retreat, which, with the aid of my guard, I effected, without sustaining any injury.

Enraged at being thus foiled in my attempt, I hit upon a plan the most likely to succeed in gratifying my curiosity; which was, to send the Serjeant to the Cadi, to insist upon going up to the fair, and threatening to complain to the Emperor if he refused me. This had the desired effect. A deputation was ordered by the Cadi, with assurances that I was welcome among them. Accordingly, I repaired once more, to the scene of action.

The great show of cattle, sheep, &c. exposed for public sale, by men and women half naked, first attracted my attention; which was however soon diverted from them to a Moorish juggler, and a rope-dancer, the latter performing several feats of great muscular strength. The people had formed a complete circle, sitting cross-legged round the rope-dancer. He was making a good collection, when the arrival of a celebrated _tweeb_ (the native term for a physician) spoiled his sport. At the sound of an instrument somewhat resembling a horn, they all started up, and flocked to the standard of this professor of the healing art, leaving the poor rope-dancer to finish his performance, or not, as he pleased. I found this new constellation to be a doctor of high renown, and a reputed saint, who lived in a neighbouring village, and who, as was his custom, had condescended to honour this annual meeting with his presence; selling and dispensing his medicines, arid at the same time performing surgical and dental operations.

In order to have a full view of this Moorish Esculapius, I approached as closely as the multitude collected round him would allow. He was attended by a negro slave, and two disciples. Ere long, four Moors brought a poor emaciated wretch, to obtain advice and relief from this redoubtable doctor. The unfortunate man was unable, from his reduced state, to stand. Having examined the eyes, tongue, and face of his patient, he made a solemn pause, and appeared to deliberate very profoundly, at length, he decided upon blood-letting _ad deliquium_, and immediately took from his patient eighteen ounces of blood; nor would he, in all probability, have stopped there, had the strength of the poor man allowed him to continue; but having brought on a _syncope_, he was obliged to desist. The arm was tied up with a handkerchief; the doctor received his fee from one of his patient’s relatives; and the patient was left entirely to the efforts of nature in his favour. For humanity’s sake, I afforded him every assistance in my power, and, after much difficulty, succeeded in restoring him to his senses; but he was so weakened by the absurd treatment he had experienced, as to have no chance of surviving the day. As the multitude firmly believed him to be quite dead, this apparent resuscitation astonished the people beyond measure; and from this circumstance supplies of every kind of provision were poured in on me, from all quarters.

Soon after the above scene, a young woman presented herself, afflicted with a violent tooth-ache. The doctor, after his usual deliberation, resolved to extract the dolent tooth; and taking a string from his box, he fastened it round the tooth, and by a sudden jerk (which, from its force, I expected would have brought away jaw and all), he drew it out. The poor girl bore the operation with exemplary patience and fortitude; and having satisfied the sapient doctor, she retired.

Whilst I was thus occupied in observing the wonderful proceedings of this singular practitioner, an uproar in another part of the fair attracted my notice. Curiosity prompted me to inquire into its cause, and I found it was occasioned by a wild mountaineer, who had been detected in the act of stealing a Moorish garment. He was seized, and taken before the Cadi, who ordered him the bastinado immediately; which was inflicted with such severity, that I could not forbear interceding for the fellow. The Cadi kindly remitted part of the punishment, and the culprit was set at liberty.

Finding nothing else likely to compensate my longer stay, I summoned my suite, and proceeded on my journey, reflecting on the mutability of all earthly prosperity, which was so strongly exemplified in the history of the Moorish nation. The scene I had just left, argued such a small remove from absolute barbarism, that, more than once, I could not avoid exclaiming: “Are these the descendants of those people, who, for so many centuries, gave laws to the greater part of Spain, and subjected whole provinces to their dominion? But those times are past, and, ‘like the baseless fabric of a vision,’ left ‘not a wreck behind’.”

After a journey of six days (which might have been performed in three, but for the delays I have spoken of), we arrived here. His Excellency the Governor, and his suite, came out to meet me. He embraced me very cordially, and conducted me to the castle, where I was served with a sumptuous collation. The Governor being in hourly expectation of the orders of his Sovereign to repair to court, has his route made out, and has requested me to keep myself in readiness to depart at an hour’s notice.

I have received several letters by express, from, our Consul-general, complaining of Governor _Ash-Ash_, who has refused granting the regular supplies to our fleet, and the garrison of Gibraltar. From the character I have given you of this man, in a former letter, you will feel less astonished, when I inform you of his shameful conduct. His rapacity and avarice are unbounded. He refuses the regular supplies, insisting upon an additional duty being paid, besides the enormous one already imposed, on articles furnished to the English, contrary to the tariff established by treaty. Accordingly, I laid the following copy of the original tariff before His Excellency, and subjoined the imposition of Ash-Ash. _Order to be observed by the British Vice-consuls, at Tetuan and Tangiers, respecting the English._

Spanish Dollars Cows, calves, and oxen, whether
stall-fed or not, per head 5 now 25

Cobs. Cobs. Sheep and goats, per ditto 2 — 7 Fowls, per dozen 1 — 6 Lemons and oranges, per thousand 1 — 5 Eggs, Per ditto 1 — 5
Dates, per quintal 4 — 8 Orange-trees, each 1 — 2 Figs, raisins, almonds, nuts, rhubarb, oil, honey, soap, olives,
and red pepper, per quintal 2 — 12 Wheat, barley, oats, rice, and bean,
per measure 1 — 6 Straw, by the nett 1/4 — 1 Pomegranates, amber-wood, %c., per quintal 1 — 4 Bees-wax and candles, per ditto 14 — 26 Ostrich feathers, per lb. 2 — 16 Ivory, copper, sandrach, chohob,
and gum arabic, per quintal 5 — 15 Indigo, per ditto 1 — 10 Goat skins, per quintal 4 — 8 Beef ditto, per ditto 3 — 6 Lion and tiger ditto, each 4 — 12 Common tanned leather,per quintal 1 — 5 Morocco ditto free — 5 Wool and hemp, per quintal 3 — 6 All shoes and slippers,per hundred pair 4 — 10 Moorish caps, per ditto 4 — 10 Mats, each 1 — 5
Mules, ditto 10 — 50 Asses, ditto 5 — 10
Silk alhaiks, ditto 2 — 5 Haiks of other kinds, ditto 1 — 3

This is a correct translation of the agreement, and tariff, settled eleven years ago, between the present Emperor Muley Solyman, and the late Consul-general Mr. Matra. Having laid this before His Excellency, I was so fortunate as to prevail on him to request the Emperor to renew it, and to grant an increase of fresh provisions, during the war, to the fleet off Cadiz, and to the garrison of Gibraltar.

It is impossible to doubt for a moment, at at whose instigation it was that Ash-Ash behaved in this infamous manner. It is certainly the interest of the French nation to prevent, if possible, our receiving supplies from Barbary; consequently we cannot wonder that every means should be employed to accomplish this end, and Ash-Ash is certainly the fittest instrument, from his hatred to the English: fortunately, however, he is not a free agent. My friend, and the friend of the English, the good Governor of this place, referred the whole to the Emperor, who has very satisfactorily adjusted every thing to our advantage, and the mortification of the French Consul, and his tool.

At the same time that His Excellency received the answer from the Emperor to the above-mentioned application, a letter arrived, requiring his immediate attendance at Fez; from which place you shall again hear from me.


_Depart from Larache with a little Army–Moorish military Salute–Numerous Villages–Customary Procession of the Inhabitants–Judicial Arrangements–River Beth resembles the Po–Herds of Camels–Arrive at Mequinez–French Falsehood again put down–Excellent Road from Mequinez–Fertility and Luxuriance of the adjacent Country–Procession to the Sanctuary of Sidy Edris–Multiplicity of Saints–Ceremony demonstrative of the Emperor’s Favour–Take possession of my new Residence._

Fez, —- 1806.

In consequence of the dispatches received from the Emperor, we left Larache the same day. The Governor commands a territory of two hundred English miles. He put himself at the head of his troops, which amounted to six thousand cavalry, divided into squadrons, distinguished by their respective standards. There were in his train, besides, a prodigious number of mules, some carrying field equipage and provisions, others the treasures, consisting of the collected taxes, and presents for the Emperor.

This little army moved on in tolerably good order and discipline. It was preceded by an officer at the head of a small corps, doing the duty of a Quarter-master-general. We were met on our way by several officers, with small detachments of soldiers, under the government of His Excellency. The Moorish mode of saluting attracted my attention; when on a level in point of rank, the officers embrace each other, and then kiss the back of their own hand; but in saluting a superior, they kiss the hem of his garment; upon which he presents his hand, and they salute it. I assure you, they do all this with considerable grace.

In passing through villages (which in this part are very numerous, and formed of a much greater collection of tents than those described in a former letter), we were received by a great concourse of men, women, and children, shouting, and making a noise exactly resembling the whoop of the North American savages. I was informed, that this was their usual mode of expressing their joy and mirth, on all great and solemn occasions. A venerable Moor, the chief of the surrounding villages, accompanied by the military and civil officers, and by the principal inhabitants, advanced to kiss the garment of His Excellency: this ceremony was closed by a train of women, preceded by an elderly matron, carrying a standard of colours, made of various fillets of silk; and by a young one of great beauty, supporting on her head a bowl of fresh milk, which she presented, first to the Governor (or, as he is otherwise called, the Sheik), then to me, and afterwards to all the officers. This ceremony is always performed by the prettiest young woman of the village; and it not unfrequently happens, that her beauty captivates the affections of the great men (sometimes even the Emperor), and she becomes the legitimate and favourite wife.

When we arrived at any village, His Excellency halted to receive the report of the commanding officer; and to inquire if any murder, robbery, or other crimes, militating against the laws and constitution of the empire, had been perpetrated. This excellent man patiently listened to all the complaints made to him; and after hearing both parties with the greatest impartiality, he ordered such delinquents as stood fairly convicted to be punished by imprisonment, or fine, according to the nature of their offences. At one place where he held a court of justice, he received information of a band of assassins who had lately committed several murders and highway robberies, and had violated many young women, whom they afterwards destroyed. By this prompt and judicious arrangement, they were all secured, and brought before him. He ordered them to be dragged in the rear of his troops to Fez; there to receive whatever punishment the Emperor might think fit to award them.

We performed our route by short and easy stages, on a road which is perfectly level, and very different from those between Tetuan or Tangiers and Larache. We generally halted about two o’clock in the afternoon, and encamped; struck tents again at four in the morning, and then moved on regularly without noise or confusion.

On approaching the river _Beth_, we halted, to allow the baggage to cross, which was expeditiously conveyed in a large ferry-boat; the horses and mules were obliged to swim over, a spectacle curious and diverting enough. I passed over with the Governor; after which the boat went backwards and forwards till the whole of the troops were transported across the river, when we encamped, the side which we had quitted being occupied by another little army, headed by the Governor of another district. The two opposite camps had much the appearance of two hostile armies previous to a battle.

This river very much resembles the _Po_ in Italy, and is perfectly navigable. On each side are immense fields of corn and rice, intersected by tracts of waste land covered with broom and heath, and spots of pasture-land on which large droves of camels graze. To prevent the camels from straying, they have one of their fore legs bent at the first joint, and tied up: they are attended by boys, who take them out early in the morning, and at night bring them back to the tents, before which each camel takes his place as regularly as our cows do in their stalls.

The next morning we reached a castle, and a ruinous walled town, occupied by soldiers, and slaves, who look after the herds of mules belonging to the Emperor. It is situated on a hill, whence I had a prospect of the immense plain we had first traversed, upon which not a single tree is to be seen.

About noon, on the sixth day, we approached a lofty mountain, which terminated this extensive plain, and formed the commencement of a chain of high hills, which we ascended and descended successively, and at length descried the large and populous city of Mequinez: we passed by a long aqueduct, a remnant of ancient architecture, and several Roman ruins, and reached one of the great gates of the town, where we were met by a strong detachment of soldiers commanded by the Governor, who, after the salutations and ceremonies usual on such occasions, escorted us to the palace of Eslawee, the Governor of Larache, where I was kindly received and most hospitably entertained by all his relations and friends.

On the morning after our arrival at Mequinez, an express arrived from the Emperor with an answer to a representation which I had made concerning the loss of a French privateer on the coast of Barbary; I had sent it at the same time with that respecting the tariff, and expected the answers together. The affair was this: a French privateer attempted to board several of our transports, laden with bullocks, from Tangiers for Gibraltar; but had scarcely succeeded with one, when the Confounder gun-brig, which was appointed to convoy them, came unobserved, within pistol-shot, and after an obstinate engagement of two hours the Frenchman ran on shore, and went to pieces immediately under the Moorish battery. This was considered, by the French Consul and his party, as an open violation of neutrality, and also a gross insult to His Imperial Majesty; and as such it was represented to him by Governor _Ash-Ash_, seconded by a letter from the French Consul, and supported by all his partisans. On our part, the statement was founded on simple facts, which perfectly satisfied the Emperor, and Governor _Ash-Ash_ received a severe reprimand, accompanied by the remark, that His Imperial Majesty regretted the English had been so passive on this occasion, and that his subjects did not exterminate every Frenchman that presumed to land on his shores without his permission. You will feel assured that this additional triumph on our part gave me no small satisfaction.

My good friend Eslawee obtained leave likewise, to repose himself and his army for three days in his native place. This condescension was esteemed as an excellent omen. At the conclusion of the appointed time, we set off for this our ultimate destination. The road from Mequinez to Fez is excellent, extending along a pleasant and spacious plain, encompassed by high mountains, and intersected by small rivers, over which are stone bridges. These rivers are divided into several branches, which are again subdivided by the inhabitants, and carried in canals to water their lands. The prospect of the country is every where luxuriant in the extreme, and continually presents the most interesting objects. A scattered ruin, a large village, a meandering river, or a fine natural cascade, vineyards, woods, corn-fields, meadows, and saints’ houses, surrounded by beautiful gardens and shrubberies, all lying in endless variety, formed the most picturesque landscapes.

As we left our quarters at Mequinez rather late, we encamped at eight o’clock in the evening at the opening of the plain I have just described. The next morning we set off much earlier than usual, but had not proceeded far when our progress was interrupted by a prodigious multitude of people, who pressed forward with such eagerness, that we were obliged to stand aside, and allow them to pass. Men, on horseback and on foot, women, and children, formed a procession which extended as far as the eye could reach. They were advancing in several divisions, each division preceded by a man bearing a standard, and by a band of music (if the horrible discord produced by their instruments could be dignified with the name of music), the people accompanying the band with their voices, shouting, bawling, and bellowing their national songs with the greatest vehemence.

These people were on their way to visit the sanctuary of _Sidy Edris_, the founder of Mahometanism in this country: it stands on the mountain _Zaaron_, at the western side of the plain of Fez, and near the city of Mequinez. Close to the sanctuary is a village, the inhabitants of which are held in the highest veneration, their huts and tents being consecrated to the Mahometan devotion, and, as well as the sanctuary, forming asylums for malefactors, which are never violated even by the Emperor. After this visit to the sanctuary, they attend an annual meeting, where they feast for three days, amusing themselves with dancing, fighting with wild beasts, and committing all kinds of excess in the ancient Bacchanalian style.

Formerly saints sprang up in Barbary like mushrooms. A Moor, seized in the night with a slight fit of insanity, was considered in the morning as a new saint, and as such he was revered, and his name added to their list of saints. In consequence of this, he was permitted to do whatever his fancy directed, without suffering the smallest molestation. Hence many worthless wretches feigned madness, in order that they might, with impunity, gratify their avaricious and revengeful passions, or their violent and ungovernable lust. The number of these impostors a few years back was incredible, and they literally held sovereign rule, from their numbers and great influence over this superstitious and fanatic people; but since the accession of Muley Solyman to the throne of Morocco, their influence and their numbers have considerably decreased. The country has been in a great measure swept and cleansed of imposters and other profligate persons, and the rest approach more and more towards a tolerable degree of civilization, under his paternal care and example. His chief study and attention appear to be directed to the welfare and happiness of his people.

We received no further interruptions; but reached this place on the 26th of April. On approaching the walls of the imperial palace, His Excellency formed his little army into a line of two deep. They fired a _feu de joie_ with great precision and correctness. This done, they filed off to the place allotted for our encampment. Shortly after, two black slaves arrived from the palace, with a large bowl of fresh milk, and several cakes of bread, which were presented with much ceremony to His Excellency the Sheik, and received by him with marks of the most profound respect. This compliment was also paid to me, and to all his officers. This ceremony in Barbary, indicates that the person so honoured is a friend and favourite at the court of Morocco. The other Governors, with the exception of three, received the same honour, successively as they assembled on the plains of Fez, to be afterwards reviewed by the Emperor at the anniversary celebration of the birth of Mahomet. The three disgraced Governors were arrested the next day, thrown into prison, and condemned to remain there at the pleasure of the Emperor. Their whole property, amounting, as I am told, to several hundred thousand dollars, was confiscated.

My friend finding himself thus perfectly secure, appeared in high spirits, and proceeded to the palace to prostrate himself before his sovereign. He was received with every mark of the highest approbation and favour. At his return to the camp, he came to me with a smiling countenance, and related the flattering reception he had met with. He then informed me, that the Emperor had given orders, that a convenient house should be immediately provided for me, and that an officer of the household was coming to conduct me to my new habitation. This officer arrived while we were talking, and I followed him to my place of residence, which I found exceedingly neat and commodious. This I continue to occupy, and am furnished abundantly with all the delicacies which the city of Fez affords.

I have exceeded the bounds of moderation in this letter already, and must therefore postpone my introduction till my next.


_Imperial Review of eighty thousand Cavalry–The Palace–Introduction to the Emperor–Visit the Seraglio–Beauty of the Sultana–Her Indisposition–Her Influence over the Emperor–His Person described._

Fez, —- 1806.

Late in the evening of the day of my arrival, I was visited at my house by an officer, who informed me that his royal master would review his troops the following morning, and that, if I chose to be present, I must repair to the palace precisely at four o’clock.

I was there exactly at the time, and in a few minutes the Emperor appeared, mounted on a beautiful white horse, attended by an officer of state, holding over him a large damask umbrella, most elegantly embroidered, and followed by all his great officers, body-guards, and a numerous band of music. He was greeted with huzzas in the Moorish style by the populace, and received at all the gates and avenues of the town with a general discharge of artillery and small arms, the people falling upon their knees in the dust as he passed. The streets were covered with mats, and the road, as far as the plain where the troops were drawn out, was strewed with all kinds of flowers.

The army was formed into a regular street of three deep on each side, each corps distinguished by a standard; it extended to a great length, through the immense plain of Fez, and presented a grand military spectacle. There were not less than eighty thousand cavalry. This review was finished in six hours, and His Imperial Majesty was so much pleased with the steady, orderly, and soldierlike appearance of his troops, that he commanded a horse to be given to each of the officers, and an additional suit of clothes and six ducats more than is customary to the men. No other exercise was performed on this occasion, than charging, firing off their pieces, and priming and loading at full gallop, by alternate divisions. Thus an incessant fire was kept up during the day.

The ground being perfectly level and good, no accident occurred. The dress of the Moorish army differs very little from that of the people. The officers are distinguished by their turbans, from the privates, who wear red caps. They are considered most excellent horsemen, and appeared to be supplied with very fine young horses, and well appointed. I can say but little of the infantry and artillery of His Imperial Majesty, not having had an opportunity of seeing them assemble in any sort of exercise. The cavalry are unquestionably most capital marksmen, and very capable of annoying and harassing and checking the progress of an invading army. The men are stout, strong, and robust, accustomed to a continual state of warfare, and, from their simple and moderate manner of living, fully adequate to sustain the fatigues and privations of the most arduous campaign.

In the Moorish army there is a prodigious number of blacks, who are reckoned very loyal, and perfectly devoted to the Emperor. This accounts for so many black governors being at the head of the most important districts and provinces of Barbary,

I returned very late from the review, and had scarcely dined when a messenger came to request my early attendance the following morning, to be presented to His Imperial Majesty. I repaired betimes to the palace, which is an immense pile of buildings, enclosed by a strong wall and a large deep ditch. It has four great gates, plated, both on the outside and in, with sheets of iron. I entered the front gate, and by a covered way reached a spacious court, surrounded by a piazza, under which several field-pieces and small mortars were placed. Here I was met by Sidy Ameth, a black officer, who acts as master of the ceremonies, and lord in waiting. He received me with great politeness, and conducted me, through another gate and covered way, to a second square more spacious than the first. In the centre was a most beautiful white marble basin, into which played a fountain of water clear as crystal. Over it was a kind of rotunda, supported by columns of elegant black marble. This superb square is paved with small pieces of marble, intermixed with pebbles of various colours, in the mosaic style. It is formed by four wings of the building. The front wing, exclusive of its magnificent entrance, contains several apartments and waiting-rooms, occupied by the great officers of state; the right, the library, and the treasury of the Emperor; the left, a superb mosque, and a school-room for the use of the Emperor’s children, where they are taught to read and write, and study the Alcoran; and finally, the back, the great hall of audience, in which His Imperial Majesty was seated cross-legged upon a kind of couch, under a crimson velvet canopy, most beautifully decorated with figured work in gold.

I was introduced by Sidy Ameth; and after making my obsequious reverence, I stood at a great distance, waiting the Imperial commands, when His Majesty was graciously pleased to order me, by signs, to draw near, and then, by means of an interpreter, he informed me, that, in consequence of the good I had done his subjects during my residence at Larache, he had long been anxious to see and consult me. He desired me to ask any favours I chose, either for myself or my country, and they should be granted immediately. I thanked His Majesty for his condescension, and then presented him with a patent pistol, with seven barrels, which he examined very attentively in every part, and appeared highly pleased with its construction.

He commanded the hall to be cleared, and in a very friendly and familiar way told me the nature of his complaint; after which he summoned the chief eunuch, and desired me to follow him to the seraglio, to prescribe for his favourite Sultana, who was seriously indisposed. On leaving the hall of audience, we turned to the left, and arrived at a gate, which terminated the piazza on the right side of the square. Through this gate we entered a large passage, paved with marble; on each side were marble benches, upon which the eunuch informed me, the inferior eunuchs and the female attendants of the seraglio slept. This passage conducted us to another square, on the right of which is the Imperial bath. It is almost impossible to form an idea of the elegance and convenience of this structure, which is used only by the Emperor.

Adjoining the bath is a refectory, which is constantly supplied with every kind of refreshment. The other sides of this square contained the apartments of two or more ladies of His Imperial Majesty. It would be tedious to enumerate the several squares through which I passed; they differ only in splendour and magnificence, according to the rank and taste of those ladies to whom they belong: they all communicate from one piazza to another, by means of passages, such as I have described. I was extremely indebted to my black conductor for giving me an opportunity of seeing the whole of the seraglio; for I returned by a much less circuitous route than that by which I went, the apartments of the Sultana being just behind the Imperial bath. But