Interview with the Governor of Mogador, on the Address of the Anti–Slavery Society. — Day and night side of the Mission Adventure. — Phillips’ application to be allowed to stand with his “shoes on” before the Shereefian presence. — Case of the French Israelite, Dannon, who was killed by the Government. — Order of the Government against Europeans smoking in the streets. — Character of Haj Mousa, Governor of Mazagran. — Talmudical of a Sousee Jew. — False weights amongst the Mogador Merchants. — Rumours of war from the North, and levy of troops. — Bragadocio of the Governor. — Mr. Authoris’s opinion on the state of the Country. — Moorish opinions on English Abolition. — European Slavery in Southern Morocco. — Spanish Captives and the London Ironmongers Company. — Sentiments of Barbary Jews on Slavery.
I had an interview by special appointment with His Excellency the Governor of Mogador regarding the address to be presented to the Shereefian population from the Anti–Slavery Society. I may at once premise that from what I heard of Mr. Hay’s diplomatic powers and influence with the Sultan, as well as the peculiar situation in which Mr. Willshire was placed, encumbered with great liabilities to his Highness’ custom-house, I already abandoned all hopes of success, and even thought myself fortunate in being able to obtain an interview with the Governor of this commercial city. To have expected anything more, would have been extremely unreasonable on my part, under such circumstances.
It will be as well if I give the address in this place. 24 Friday was appointed, being a quiet day, and the Mussulman Sabbath, when His Excellency had little business on hand. The Moors usually devote the morning of their sabbath to prayer, and afternoon to business and amusement. Our party consisted of myself, Mr. Willshire, the British Vice–Consul, and Mr. Cohen as interpreter.
About four o’clock P.M. we found the Governor quite alone, telling his rosary of jet beads, squatting on his hams upon the floor of a little dirty shop, not more than eight feet by six in dimensions, with a ceiling of deep hanging cobwebs which had not been brushed away for a century.
A piece of coarse matting was spread over the ground floor, and a sheepskin lay on it for his Excellency to repose upon, but no furniture was to be seen. There was indeed an affectation of nakedness and desolation. Pen and ink were placed by his side, and a number of official papers were strewn about, with some letters bearing the seal of the Emperor. This shop (or reception room) was situate in an immense gloomy square; it was the only one open, and here were the only signs of life.
The Governor had forbidden any of his subjects to be present at the audience, unwilling and afraid lest any should hear a whisper of the question of abolition in the orthodox States of his Imperial Master. Sidi Hay Elarby was an elderly man, with a placid and intelligent countenance. His manners throughout the interview were those of a perfect Moorish gentleman. The Governor could not be distinguished from the people by his dress. He wore a plain white turban, plain burnouse and a pair of common slippers. In such state, we found the the highest functionary of this important city.
His Excellency began by asking me how I was, and welcoming me to his country. I then handed a written speech to the interpreter, who, being a Jew, pulled off his shoes, and crouching down before the Governor, read to him paragraph by paragraph. Each passage was further discussed and replied to by the Governor with energy, nay with vehemence. The interview lasted till dark — nearly two hours.
The following is a copy of the written speech, which was read for the purpose of introducing the Address, and supplying topics of conversation.
“May it please Your Excellency, the mission with which I am charged to this country is to persuade his Imperial Majesty, the Emperor of Morocco, to co-operate in any way which his Imperial Majesty may deem proper, with the people of England for the abolition of slavery. I am sent to the Court of Morocco by a Society of English gentlemen, whose object is to persuade all men, in all parts of the world, to abolish the traffic in human beings, as a traffic contrary to the rights of men and the laws of God.
“In undertaking this mission, these gentlemen applied to the government of our Sovereign Queen to furnish me with letters of recommendation to the British Consuls of this country, the representatives of her Majesty the Queen of England. Copies of these letters are in the possession of Mr. Willshire. Those letters express strong sympathy for the objects of the mission, and require the Consuls to give me their fullest protection; and so far, our gracious Queen, the government, and the English people, are all agreed that it is a good thing to address his Imperial Majesty the Emperor of Morocco, to co-operate with and to assist them in putting down the traffic in slavery in every part of the world.
“If the government of the Queen had thought that they should recommend to your Excellency and your royal master anything contrary to your religion, they could not have given me letters of introduction to their consuls in this country. Rest assured that the English people believe it to be agreeable to the doctrines and precepts of all religions to abolish the traffic in human flesh and blood.
“I pray, therefore, your Excellency to receive the petition, of which I am the bearer, from the Society of English gentlemen. Our Government have already spent three hundred millions of dollars, the money of the people of England, to destroy the traffic in human beings; every day our government continues to spend vast sums, adding to this enormous amount for the same object of humanity. I am sure that, if your Imperial Master value the friendship of England and the British government, if it be a politic and good thing for Morocco to be allied with the most powerful Christian nation in the world, the most certain way to conciliate and found this alliance on a durable basis, is to cooperate with the people of England for the abolition of the traffic in slaves, and graciously to receive this address from the Society of Abolitionists in London.
“We come not to your Excellency with force of arms — this could not be just; we use only moral persuasion. Our religion disapproves of compulsion in all such affairs. But I can assure your Excellency that the English people will never cease, though all nations be against them, as long as God Almighty holds them up as a people, to endeavour in every possible way, to persuade and convince the world that the traffic in human beings is a great crime.”
The Governor replied in these terms: “Your mission is against our religion, I cannot entertain it or think of it, in any way whatever. If, in other countries, the traffic in slaves is contrary to the religion of those countries, in this it is not; here it is lawful for us to buy and sell slaves. Mahomet, our Prophet, has authorized us to do this; but, at the same time, our slaves must be fed and clothed like ourselves. If you wish a proof of this, you can go and look at my slaves,” (pointing to his house). “To be holders of slaves, is a merit with us.
“Your address ought to come directly from your Government, from your Queen to our Sultan. It is not enough that it is recommended by your Government. The European sovereigns are accustomed to act by the advice of their counsellors and ministers; but the Sultan of Morocco always acts without advice or councils. 25 If the address had come from the Queen, it would have been received, and an answer would have been returned accordingly. Then if your Government had been offended at the answer of my master not agreeing with their opinion, they could have taken their own satisfaction in any way they might have thought proper (or have made war on us).
“The money which you say the people of England have spent for the suppression of the Slave Trade, has been, according to our opinion and religion, misspent, and employed to destroy a system of which we approve, and consider lawful. Still, I hope God will give your country more money to spend, and in abundance.
“The English people and the people of Morocco have been, from time immemorial, great friends, proofs of which I can give you. The guns that we get from other Christian nations, are never so good as those we get from England. Besides, we always give the English whatever they ask for. When the French were at war with Spain and wished to take Ceutra from her, the English demanded from our Sultan, a small island near Ceutra, to prevent the French from landing and seizing Ceutra. To this request, my Sultan acceded; and to show you that the English are our particular friends, the English gave the island back to us when the war was at an end.”
Mr. Willshire now endeavoured to present the Address of the Anti–Slavery Society, praying his Excellency to accept it.
On which, the Governor continued with his usual vivacity, “No; I am sorry I cannot accept it; if I do, the Sultan must also, for now I act as the Sultan. Indeed, I dare not receive the address, nor write to our Lord 26 about it. Nor can I look at it, for in case the Sultan asks me about it, I must swear that I have not touched nor seen the Address. If I look at it, and then say I did not look at it, the Sultan will order my tongue to be cut off from the roof of my mouth.
“And further, O Consul! O Stranger! were our Lord to agree with your Society, and abolish the traffic in slaves throughout his dominions, all the people would rise up against him in revolt, and the Sultan would be the first to have his head cut off.
“Therefore, as a good and wise man, O Stranger — which you must be, or you would not be entrusted with this mission — comply with the orders of the Sultan’s message, given to you by me and your Consul.
“Any thing which you want for yourself or your private use, I will give it you, even to the whole of this city of Mogador. But for myself I cannot comply with the prayers of the address, or receive it from your own or the Consul’s hands.”
The message of the Sultan alluded to, was in substance to give up the attempt of abolishing slavery in Morocco, and not to think of going to the South, but to return at once to England.
The Governor was greatly pleased with the sound of his own voice, and the skill of his argumentations, and has the character of being a loquacious and reasoning diplomatist.
This was the public or day side of the mission; there was also the night side; for where the curiosity of the Moor is excited, it must be gratified, by fair or other means. It was not surprising, therefore, that the wily Shereef should wish to know what this Address of an English Society was, or could be; and if possible to obtain a copy, although for the sake of the people it was found necessary to repudiate altogether its acceptance. Accordingly, the next day, Cohen told me a friend of the Emperor’s was anxious to have some conversation with me, and he begged me to take with me the Address.
It was past ten at night, when alone, with my Moorish guide, I found myself treading the long narrow streets of Mogador.
The wind howled and the watch-dogs barked; it was so dark that we could scarcely grope our way, no human being was about; we went up one street and down another, stealing along our way; as if on some house-breaking expedition; and I began to feel suspicious, fearing a trap might be laid for me. Still, I had confidence in the honour of the Moors, I said to my guide.
“When shall we reach your master’s?”
Guide. — “God knows; be quiet!”
We continued going through street after street. It was now bitter cold, and a few drops of rain fell from the cutting wing of the north wind.
To my Guide again.
“Where is the house?”
Guide. — “Follow me, don’t talk!” After we had passed other streets, “Is this the street?”
Guide. — “Eskut! (hold your tongue).”
We now entered a low dilapidated gateway, with a broken panelled door, groaning on its hinges.
Again I questioned my guide. “Who lives here?”
Guide. — “Mahboul Ingleez (mad Englishman) hold your tongue! Do you think we Mussulmans will eat you?”
We passed through several court-yards, by the aid of a lantern, which the guide found in a corner, and then entered a corridor. Here he grasped me by the arm, in such wise as made me believe I was about to have my head thrust through a bowstring. I ejaculated; “Allah Akbar! Mercy upon us!” blending Arabic and English in my fright, and struggling, fell with the guide against the door at the end of the passage with a considerable crash. A voice was heard from within. “Ashbeek (what’s the matter?)” My guide returned, “Hale (open).”
A huge negro now laid hold of me, and pulled me up a pair of narrow stairs which led to a species of loft, in a detached portion of the house. The case containing the Address fell out of my hands, and was picked up by the guide. Another apartment within the loft was now opened, shewing, through a dim and indistinct light, a venerable old Moor, sitting in the midst of heaps of papers and books, like a midnight astrologer, or a secret magician. On our entrance, the solitary Moor raised his eyes, quietly, and said faintly, “Where is it?” My guide now rushed in, began talking volubly, and made this harangue, thinking, however, I could not understand him from the rapidity with which he declaimed.
“Sidi,” he said, “this Christian is a frightened fool — and a baheen (ass) — I had the greatest trouble to get him here — he was frightened out of himself — and now Allah! Allah! I have to take him back again.”
I received the compliment in silence, and endeavoured to recover my tranquillity. But I could not help remarking the contrast between my noisy and agitated guide, and the grave manner and immoveable quietness of the recluse. The guide then handed him “the Address,” and the Cid opened the box or case with extreme caution, as if it had contained some mysterious spell. The Cid now looked up for a moment at the big negro, who decamped instantly and returned with a teapot and two cups. The two cups were then filled with tea, one of which was presented to me, but I had some hesitation about drinking it. The Cid, looked up at me with a quiet smile, and gently muttered “Eshrub! (drink,”) I drank the tea and then waited anxiously to know what was coming next. The Cid continued to unroll the Address. When this was done, he rolled it up and again unrolled it, and stared at its Roman characters. He eyed the seal and ejaculated, “Haram!” to himself! alluding, I suppose, to the figure of the slave in chains, it being prohibited to make figures. The Cid now paused a moment, then looked at me again, and finally turning to the Guide said, “Imshee El–Ghudwah (go to-morrow, I’ll see.)”
The guide now grasped me again by the hand, scarcely allowing me to bow a good night to the Cid, and led me back to my lodgings, where I arrived at midnight. When I awoke in the morning, I really imagined I had been dreaming an ugly dream, until one of the English Jews called, and said he was making a translation of the Address to be dispatched to the Emperor at Morocco, and afterwards he would bring the Address back. The Address was returned to me about a week afterwards, but whether an Arabic translation was ever sent to the Sultan, I know no more than the reader.
Mr. Phillips has applied to the British Vice-consul to know whether, in case of his going up to Morocco to carry a present for the Belgium merchants, here, Phillips, being a Jew, will be obliged to pull off his shoes, which would be depriving him of the rights of British-born subjects, who stand with their shoes on in the Shereefian presence. The Consul says he cannot answer the question, and must send a dispatch to Mr. Hay. Mr. Willshire complimented Phillips: “Ah Phillips, you are always proposing to me some knotty question. You profoundly perplex the mind of Mr. Consul-general Hay.”
This leads me to notice the affecting case of the Israelite, Darmon, at one time the French Vice-consul at Mazagran. This young Darmon was fond of Moorish women, and always intriguing with them. Hay Mousa, Governor of Mazagran, reported him to the Emperor, and his Highness sent orders to have him decapitated. It was said afterwards by the Maroquine Government, that “The order was merely to bring him to Morocco, and that, when being conveyed as prisoner, and after attempting to run away, the soldiers of his escort shot him.” The Moorish Government also pretend that Darmon attempted first to shoot the guards who shot him, in self-defence.
With regard to his being a French Consul, it is said by the French Government, that he was not their consul at the time, having resigned. It appears besides that members of his family are French, and others Moorish subjects. Indeed, these Mauro–European Jews give great troubles to the consuls; the various persons of a single family being often under the protection of three or four consuls. It will thus be seen how full of difficulties was this Darmon affair, and what a door it opened to tedious Moorish diplomacy. The French Government arranged ultimately with the Sultan a compromise, a sum of money being paid to the murdered man’s family, and the Governor of Mazagran was dismissed.
When young Darmon fell into disgrace, his father, one of the Imperial merchants, was at Morocco. The father inquired of the Minister whether the Sultan would receive his present now his son had fallen into disgrace. The cruelly avaricious tyrant deigned to accept it of the father it is said, at the very moment when the order to decapitate his son had been sent to Mazagran. No doubt it was a barbarous action, but the extreme imprudence of the young man provoked the government to extremities. The court was so irritated at the time, that it even issued an order to place all Jews, natives, foreigners, or Europeans upon the same level of exposure to Moorish insult and oppression. Speaking to Mr. Willshire about this order, he smilingly observed: “Say nothing, it will soon be forgotten.” The government never intended to carry it out. Years ago, the Emperor gave orders that Jews coming from European countries should be placed on the same footing as native Jews, but the Imperial edicts were unnoticed.
A curious order was given about smoking some time ago in this city. It was represented to the Governor that during Ramadan, Kafer–Nazarenes went about smoking, occasioning the Faithful to sniff up the smoke, and so break the Holy Fast. The Christians were likewise accused of going near the mosques to fill them with filthy smoke.
The Governor, in a circular, begged of the Consuls to prohibit their countrymen, or “subjects,” from smoking in the streets. The French Consul considering this a police regulation, summoned together the French subjects, and begged of them to comply with the non-smoking order. Mr. Willshire took no notice of the affair, knowing it would soon pass over.
Mr, Willshire is a veteran in Morocco, and understands the genius of its government. He considers the laissez faire system the very best, and this is all very well, provided the Sultan respects the heads of Her Majesty’s subjects.
Haj Mousa, Governor of Mazagran, who was mixed up with the Darmon affair, deserves notice from his brutal ferocity towards Europeans. With great difficulty and damage to their lives, Europeans reside in Mazagran, and it is not therefore surprising that the imprudent Darmon fell into the clutches of this provincial tyrant, who probably ensnared him as a prey. Up to the time of this affair, Haj Mousa had been an irremoveable governor. The Sultan himself never attempted to displace him, although he had committed, from time to time, the greatest enormities. Other governors had been bled, fleeced, and impaled over and over again; but the caitiff, Haj, always remained in possession of the fruits of his tyranny.
The reason for this tolerant conduct of the Emperor towards him is, that when Muley Abd Errahman was in difficulties and obliged to fly for his life, in the convulsions previous to his reign, Haj Mousa sent the young prince a mule and thirty ducats; with this, the prince was enabled to escape, and he saved his life to be afterwards proclaimed Meer-el-Moumeneen. On receiving the mule and money, he exclaimed in a transport of gratitude to the Governor of Mazagran, “I will never forget you!” It is unfortunate the good faith of the Emperor’s word has been so deplorably abused by this tyrant, for it is considered certain, that though temporarily removed from Mazagran, he will return, or be made governor of another city.
A Sous Jew called upon me one day, who is well acquainted with the Shelouh or, Berber of the South. On asking if he would make a translation of the book of Genesis from Hebrew into Shelouh, he replied:
“No, I cannot. In the first place, the Emperor would cut off my head for doing such a thing; and, again, it would be a sin to convert the Holy Hebrew character into such a language of Infidels.”
We continued our discussion on a more practical subject.
Traveller (to the Jew) — “I am told that among you, Jews of Morocco, it is a merit to rob us Christians and the Moors. Your young children are even praised by their mothers if they commit a theft without being found out: 27 is this right?”
The Jew. — “You are all Goyeem 28 (Gentiles), but it is not true that we rob you, Christians. If we rob Mussulmen, it’s because they rob us first.”
The case really is, the Jews are literally being robbed every day by the Moors one way or the other, and, if the people do not rob them, the constituted authorities continue to make exactions under every pretence. I am inclined, nevertheless, to think, without prejudice, that it is a received maxim with all native Barbary Jews, “to rob unbelievers, Moors and Christians, when you can do so safely.” This was the opinion which a very respectable European Jew, resident in Tunis, entertained of his brethren. At the same time, Ihere are numerous exceptions.
Many of the lower classes of Moors likewise, think there is little or no harm in robbing Jews and Blacks, that is, all who are Infidels and Christians.
I may mention, in connection with the above, the system of False–Weights, which is an enormous scandal to this great commercial city. It appears that almost every tradesman, and every imperial merchant have two sets of weights, one to buy and another to sell with. A merchant once had the impudence to cry out to his clerk when weighing, “Oh, you are wrong, these are my selling weights; bring me my buying weights. Am I not buying?”
A Jew, once purchasing oil from a poor Arab, carried his villainy so far as actually to make his tare and tret weigh more than the skin-bag when full of oil, and coolly told the amazed Arab he had no money to give him for the value received. “Give me back my oil!” cried the Arab. At this the audacious Jew retorted, “There is none!” A European merchant interfered, and saved the Jew from the bastinado he so richly deserved. A Kady hearing of these abominations, took upon himself to begin a reform, and went about examining weights. For his honest pains, and, in the midst of his work of reform, the officious functionary received an order from the Sultan, enjoining him to cease his interference, and condemning him, as a punishment for his over-righteousness, “to teach twelve little boys to read every day, and not to sit at his own door for the space of one year.” So unthankful, so odious is the task of reforming in Morocco and many other countries.
This account of the abominable system of two kinds of weights, I derived from most unquestionable authority, otherwise I could not have given credit to the statement.
There were incessant rumours of war from the North. The Emperor had got himself into difficulties with Spain and France. Orders had been sent down to reinforce this garrison and that of Aghadir. The day before, the Governor, calling his troops before him, did not shew his usual good sense and prudence. He thus harangued them:— “Now, let those who want new arms come and take them, and bring back the old ones. Let all have courage, and fear not the Christians; fear not, women and children!” The movement of troops was part of a general measure, extending to all the coasts, and was, in fact, a review en masse of the disposable forces throughout the empire. Eighty thousand men were expected in this city or the suburbs. The Sultan was reported to be on the march towards the North with an army of 200,000 men.
The Sultan did not expect to make use of his new levies, but the policy of the thing was good. His Highness is evidently a pacific ruler, he has but few regular troops, and he pays them badly. His predecessor had a large army and paid them well.
Great discontent prevailed among the soldiers, and the Emperor never feels himself secure on his throne.
This apparent crusade against the Infidels has no doubt tended to make him popular, and to consolidate his power. True, it excited the tribes of the interior against the Christians, but it was better to inflame them against the Christians than to lose his own throne.
The French Consul waited upon the Governor for explanations about the movements of the troops. His Excellency observed, “I am ordered by my Sultan to defend this city against all assailants, and I shall do so till I am buried beneath its ruins. Though all the coast-cities were captured, Mogador should never be surrendered.”
Some of the credulous Moors said, “The Shereefs will come from Tafilet, led on by our Lord Mahomet, and destroy all the cursed Nazarenes. The Sheerefs will fire against the French leaden balls, and silver balls.” Another observed to me, “If a fleet should come here, it will be immediately sunk, because our Sultan has ordered every ball to hit, and none to miss.”
This is not unlike what a Turk of Tripoli once said to me about the Grand Signor and his late reforms. “The Turks will soon be civilized, because the Sultan has given an order for all the Turks to be civilized.” The large guns of the forts were practised, and the guns of the grand battery loaded. The infantry continued to practise on the beach of the port: their manoeuvres were very uncouth and disorderly, they merely moved backwards and forwards in lines of two deep. The French Consul, Monsieur Jorelle, discontinued his usual promenade, to prevent his being insulted, and so to avoid the the painful necessity of demanding satisfaction.
Mr. Willshire, being well known to the Mogador population, had not so much to fear. Here is the advantage of a long residence in a country. The French Government lose by the frequent changing of their consuls. Still, M. Jorelle was right in not exposing himself to the mob, or the wild levies who had come from their mountains. The fault of the Governor was, in exciting the warlike fanaticism of the tribes of the interior against the Christians, which he ought to have known the city authorities might have extreme difficulty in keeping within bounds. No European could pass the gates of the city without being spat upon, and cursed by the barbarous Berbers.
I paid a visit to M. Authoris, the Belgium merchant, and the only European trader carrying on business independently of the Emperor. He represented the commerce of the country to be in a most deplorable condition. “There is now nothing to buy or sell on which there is a gain of one per cent. The improvidence of the people is so great that, should one harvest fail, inevitable famine would be the result, there not being a single bushel of grain more in the country than is required for daily consumption. Nor will the people avail themselves of any opportunity of purchasing a thing cheap when it is cheap; they simply provide for their hourly wants. They act in the literal sense of ‘Take no thought for the morrow, but let the morrow take care of itself.’ As to the Jews, they feast one day and fast the next.” With regard to the excitement then existing, M. Authoris observed. “This Government, on hearing rumours of Spanish and French expeditions against the country, must naturally make use of what power it has, the Holy War power, to excite the people in their own defence. The Moors cannot discriminate Gazette intelligence. When a worthless newspaper mentions an expedition being fitted out against Morocco, the Emperor immediately sees a fleet of ships within sight of his ports, and hears the reports of bombarding cannon.” The raw levies of Shedmah and Hhaha continued to enter the town, but only a small number at a time, lest they should alarm the inhabitants. They went about, peeping into houses, and wherever a door was open they would walk in, staring with a wild curiosity.
I had some conversation with my Moorish friends respecting the abolition of slavery. An old doctor observed, “The English are not more humane than other nations, but God has decreed that they should destroy the slave-trade among the Christians. This, however, is no praise to them, for they could not resist acting according to the will and mind of God. As for the Mussulmen, what they do is for the benefit of slaves, especially females, who, one and all, are doomed to death; 29 but, when purchased by the slave-dealers, their lives are spared, and they are made True Believers. Still, the Mussulmen would assist the English in destroying the ships which carry slaves;” (as if the Moors had any fleet).
The number of slaves in this city is from eight hundred to one thousand. It is difficult to ascertain any thing like the exact number, the opulent Moors having many negress slaves, with whom they live in a state of concubinage. Young, rich, and fashionable Moors, I was told for the first time in a Mahommedan country, have become disgusted with the old habit of managing and taking a wife early, and adopt the immoral practice of buying female slaves, by which they avoid, as they say, the trouble and expense of marrying females of their own rank in Moorish society. A good Mussulman must however, marry once in his life. Slaves are imported viâ Wadnoun from Timbuctoo and Soudan, and even from the western coast. Negroes of the Timbuctoo market are more esteemed than those of Guinea, being a stronger and more laborious race. The common price of a slave in Mogador is from 60 to 90 ducats; one day a beautiful African girl, freshly exported from the interior, was sold for 160 ducats, or about £20 sterling. This is considered an extraordinary high price.
Slaves are sold by criers about the streets in Morocco, and most towns, and not in bazaars, as in the East. But the most remarkable feature of slavery in this part of the world, is the Christian or European slavery carried further south, in the regions extending on the line of coast below Wadnoun, and the adjacent Sahara. Something like a regular system of Christian slavery is there going on, whilst its head-quarters are not more than five or six days’ journey from this residence of the European Consuls. This white slavery consists in seizing shipwrecked sailors, numbers being fishermen from the Canary Islands. We know little about these poor captives, although we are so near Wadnoun, and are continually trading with Sous and this country. Mr. Davidson casually mentions them in his journal.
It is a settled and religious practice of merchants to keep Europeans ignorant of the south and the Desert; we only hear of these captives now and then, when one escapes, and after being bought and sold by a hundred different masters, is fortunate enough to be redeemed; of his companions in shipwreck, the escaped captive rarely knows anything. They are gone: they are either drowned near the coast, plundered and massacred, or carried far away into the Desert, and perhaps for ever. Formerly vessels navigated through the channel (if it may be so called) of the Canary Islands and the Wadnoun coast, by which they often got on shoal water, and were cast away; in this manner, whites were enslaved. Happily now, masters of vessels have become acquainted with this dangerous coast. They pass to the east of the Canaries, and fewer vessels are shipwrecked hereabouts.
The Spanish fishermen of the Canaries are chiefly now made captives. These poor people are either seized when becalmed near the coast, or captured on being cast on shore by the furious trade-winds, which sweep these desolate shores (often nine months out of twelve) and carry utter destruction with them. The wild and wandering Bedouins in bad weather, with the true storm scent of the wrecker, patiently watch the coasts, pouncing on their prey, with the voracity of the vulture, as it is thrown up from the deep, along the inhospitable shore. Having got the shipwrecked men in their possession, they act with the cunning and avarice of slave-dealers, and are aided by the still craftier Jews, who always render it very difficult for the consular agents to redeem these unhappy captives. For although a Jew, by the Mahometan law, cannot purchase slaves, yet by buying them-through Mussulmen, who share in the profits, from the Arabs who first seized the captives, the slaves are frequently kept back months in the Desert, being parted from one another before they can be ransomed.
Sometimes the Arabs alluringly question their captives to see if they understand any mechanical arts, which are greatly esteemed, being very useful in these almost tenantless regions; and should they discover that they do, they carry them away into hopeless captivity, through the wilds of the Desert, refusing to sell them at any price or offer of ransom. But those who cannot, or will not make themselves useful, are generally redeemed by the Mogador Consuls, should they escape being massacred in the quarrels of the Arabs for the booty when they are first captured.
There is, at the present time, a Spanish fisherman near Wadnoun, waiting to be redeemed. The Arab Sheikh who holds him, demands two hundred dollars for his redemption. Mr. Wiltshire objects to the price, as being too much. Besides this, he is afraid to advance any money for a Spanish captive’s release, lest it should never be refunded. The Spanish Government, representing a people so chivalrous in bygone times, and so proud of their ancient exploits over the Moors of this very country, are not now-a-days over zealous in redeeming their countrymen held in bondage by these people. Mr. Willshire ransomed a Spanish boy, and waited several years before he could get this imbecile Government to refund the money. Espartero at last, however, interfered authoritatively for the repayment to our generous consul.
In the present case of the poor fisherman, the captive Spaniard lingers between hope and fear, his only protection being the avarice of his master, who, like all slave-dealers, is willing to take care of him as he takes care of his horse. He is one out of four, the other three having been massacred by the Arabs, or perished on the coast. But, at present, we know nothing certain of this, although but a few days’ journey from the scene where the disaster took place — so miserable are our means of information for enabling us to put an end to this system of Christian slavery. Certainly some representations should be made to the Emperor, who pretends to have jurisdiction over Wadnoun, and the adjacent countries, that these captives may be delivered up to the Consuls of Mogador. A fair remuneration might be given to the persons bringing them safely to this town.
I am told, the Ironmongers’ Company of London have at their disposal funds for the liberation of such British captives as are enslaved in Southern Morocco. This money was left by a merchant who himself was made a slave there; and since that time, owing to the few British captives redeemed, it has increased to an enormous amount. Not knowing what to do with the money, the Company, it is said, are about to petition Parliament to build a school with a portion; but I should suggest that it would be more in accordance with the original object, and declared intention of the benevolent, donor, were this large surplus fund devoted to the redemption of all other Christian captives, of whatever nation or country. Because two hundred dollars are not forthcoming which could easily be supplied from the Ironmongers’ Company’s funds, a poor Spaniard is condemned to a cruel and hopeless slavery, wandering in the wilds of the great African wilderness. It is impossible to tell the number of Christian slaves who perish in the South of Morocco. Many of the Consular agents of this city are as ignorant of the country as persons residing in London. This subject absolutely demands the attention of the governments of Europe. Our humanity and civilization are in question.
The opinions of the Jews here, are the same as those of American slave-holders, with this slight difference, that they consider it right to make slaves of white men and Europeans, as well as of black men, negroes, and Africans, in which idea they are more consistent than their Yankee men-selling brethren.
As there are many Barbary Jews at Mogador, more or less under British protection, I took the liberty of reminding them of their liabilities as British subjects, by circulating among them copies of Lord Brougham’s Act.
I had some conversation with Rabbi–El Melek and other Jews about the question of abolition,
Traveller. — “What is the opinion of the Jews of this country on the matter of slavery?”
Rabbi–El-Melek. — “I will show you,” (taking the Hebrew Bible he read) “‘Cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants shall he be unto his brethren.’”
Traveller. — “Admitting the curse pronounced here was right, that Ham and Canaan were the progenitors of the African negroes, and that the curse was to be extended to all generations of Africa — are these reasons why the all-Merciful Deity will hold man guiltless who enslaves and maltreats poor Africans? Now, the Jews have been dispersed all over the world, and maltreated, if not enslaved, by both Christians and Mahometans (as now) according to prophecy, but will God hold us guiltless for persecuting or maltreating you, Jews?”
The Rabbi. — “But we are the slaves of God, not of you Christians, and besides, we are commanded to treat well our slaves in the Scriptures.” Here he quoted many passages from the Pentateuch.
Then followed a desultory conversation, some asserting “that inasmuch as the slavery of the whites was permitted by God, how much more right had they to enslave blacks who were the servants of servants!” Others even added, “If we were Sovereigns of Morocco, we should make slaves of both Mahometans and Christians.” This indeed is the genuine feeling of Barbary Jews; oppression begets oppression, and wrong begets revenge. Another observed, “If you ask me what I think as a British subject, and not as a Jew, I will give you my opinion against slavery.”
Such distinctions in morals are not easily admissable, but the Jews there are acute enough to make them, and are as good Jesuits as those of Rome. Some cited the cavtivity of Joseph us, as a reason for carrying on the slave-trade.
On another occasion, I had a conversation with Hassan Yousef, the High Priest, or Archbishop, as Captain Phillips calls him. The Chief Priest acknowledged that he who stole a man, whether white or black, was condemned to death, according to the fair interpretation of the Mosaic law. He and all Jews were much astonished at the tenor of Lord Brougham’s Act, and got not a little frightened; for all the merchants of Mogador, Christians and Jews, more or less aid and abet the slave-trade, all having connections with slave-dealers. At length, our Jewish Archbishop opined. “Well, well, it is better now, since the Christians have put down slavery in most of their countries, that we Jews should follow their example.”
It would be useful, and might subserve the cause of civilization, were the Jews of Europe to take some means of enlightening their brethren of North Africa on the question of slavery. The Israelites, who have suffered so much from slavery and oppression, after becoming free themselves, should endeavour to emancipate those who are still in the chains of bondage.
The Hhaha levies were about to return to their country; the disposable force of this province is about 70,000. The troops from Shedma were to come in after the departure of those of Hhaha. Government were afraid to bring both together, lest they should fight among themselves. Alluding to the quarrel of their Sultan with the French, these hostile tribes mutter to each other, “We must kill our own French first;” that is to say their own “hereditary enemies.”
I went out to see the two levies. These tribes had a singularly wild and savage aspect, with only a blanket to cover them, which they wrap round and round their bodies, having neither caps on their heads, nor shoes on their feet. They were greatly excited against the Christians, owing to the foolish conduct of the Moorish authorities. The lawless bands spat at me, and every European passing by them, screaming with threatening gestures, “God curse you! Infidels.” These semi-savages, called out for the defence of the Empire, were merely armed with a bad gun or matchlock; some had only knives and clubs. Such levies are certainly more fit to pillage the Emperor’s coast-towns than to defend his territory against the foreign enemy.
These poor tribes bring their own provisions, a little barley meal, and olive or argan-oil, or liquid butter; on this being exhausted, they could stay no longer, for Government supplies them with nothing but bad matchlocks.
They were loud in their complaint on not receiving any nations, and threatened to join the French Nazarenes when they arrived. His Excellency the Governor was very anxious to get rid of them, which was not at all surprising. So avaricious is the Emperor, that when he can, he makes the rich Moors supply arms for their poorer brethren, instead of furnishing them from government depôts. And this he insists upon as a point of religion. The Governor called upon rich Moors to supply the poor with arms.
A friend of mine who understands Shelouh as well as Arabic, overheard a characteristic quarrel between a Shedma man and a Hhaha man. The Shedma people, or inhabitants of the plains, mostly speak Arabic, those of the mountains, Shelouh, which difference of language embitters their quarrels, and alienates them from one another.
Shedma man. — “Dog! you have put your hands of the devil into my bag of barley.”
Hhaha man. — “Dog and Jew, you lie!”
Shedma man. — “Jew and Frenchman! there’s some one now in your wife’s tent.”
Hhaha man. — “Religion of the Frenchman! your mother has been dishonoured a thousand times.”
The maternal honour is the dearest of things amongst these semi-barbarians. At the mention of this libel on his mother, the Shedma fellow rushed at the Hhaha man, seizing him by the throat, and unsheathed a dirk to plunge into his bowels. The scuffle fortunately excited the instant attention of a group of Arabs close by, who, securing both, carried them before the Shiekh; who, without hearing the subject of the quarrel, bastinadoed them both with his own hand. But he was the Hhaha Sheikh, and the Shedma Sheikh complained to the Governor of his man having been bastinadoed by the other Sheikh. The Governor dismissed them, each threatening the other with due vengeance.
It is time to give some account of Mogador. We sometimes spell the name with an e, Mogadore, the inhabitants call their town Shweerah. Square,30 in allusion to its beauty, for it is the only town constructed altogether on geometrical principles throughout Morocco. Its form, however, is really a triangle. Mogador is a modern city, having been built in the year 1760 of our era, by the Sultan Sidi Mohammed, under the direction of a French engineer of the name of Cornut, who was assisted by Spanish renegades.
The object of Sidi Mahommed was to found a central emporium of the commerce of the Empire, and a port for the southern capital (Morocco). This town belongs to the province of Hhaha, whose Berber tribes are its natural defenders.
The site is a sandy beach with a rocky foundation or a base on the sea, forming a peninsula, and is supposed to be the ancient Erythraea. The houses are regularly built, with streets in direct lines, extremely convenient though somewhat narrow. The residences of the consuls and European merchants are elegant and spacious. There is a large market-place, which, on days when the market is not held, furnishes a splendid parade, or “corso” for exercising cavalry.
The city is divided into two parts; one division contains the citadel, the public offices, the residence of the governor, and several houses occupied by European consuls and merchants, which are all the property of the Sultan; and the other is the space occupied by the houses of the Moors and Jews.
The Jews have a quarter or willah to themselves, which is locked up during the night, the key being kept by the police. Nevertheless, several Jews, especially Imperial traders, are allowed to occupy houses in the Moorish quarter or citadel portion of Mogador, with the Christian merchants.
Both quarters are surrounded by walls, not very thick or high, but which are a sufficient protection, against the depredations of the mountaineers, or Arabs of the plain. The port is formed by a curve in the land and the isle of Mogador, which is about two miles from the mainland.
This isle, on the verge of the ocean, contains some little forts and a mosque, and its marabout shrines sparkle in the sun. It is a place of exile for political offenders. When the French landed, at the bombardment of Mogador, they released fifty or sixty state prisoners, some of whom had been Bashaws, or ministers of this and former reigns. The isle, however, is finely situate off the Atlantic, fanned and swept by healthy gales, and the prisoners suffer only seclusion from the Continent. The exiles never attempt to escape, but quietly submit to their destiny.
In the port, there are only ten or twelve feet of water at ebb tide, so that large vessels cannot enter, but must lie at anchor a mile and a half off the Western battery, which extends along the north-western side of the port. Such vessels do not lie there except in the summer months, and then with extreme caution, being, as they are, right off in the Atlantic, on one of its most dangerous coasts. There are some tolerable batteries, but they cannot long resist a European bombardment, which was demonstrated by the French.
Colonel Keating says, “As far as parapets, ramparts, embrasures, cavaliers, batteries, and casemates constitute a fortress, this town is one; but the walls are flimsy, the cavaliers do not command, the batteries do not flash, and the casemates are not bomb-proof. The embrasures are so close that not one in three upon the ramparts could be worked, if they were mounted, which they are not. All their guns, which have been only twelve months here, are already in very bad order, from exposure to the climate and surf. The casemates are so damp, that their interior is covered constantly with a thick nitrous incrustation.” Nevertheless, the Moors have such a superstitious veneration for fortifications built by a parcel of renegades, that they will not permit Christians to walk on these ramparts. But what is most unfortunate for the defence of Mogador, the water could be instantly cut off by destroying its aqueduct.
The population is between thirteen and fifteen thousand souls, including four thousand Jews, and fifty Christians, who carry on an important commerce, principally with London and Marseilles. Excepting Tangier, it is now the only port which carries on uninterrupted commercial relations with Europe.
Mogador is situate in the midst of shifting sand-hills, that separate it from the cultivated parts of the country, which are distant from four to tweleve miles. These sands have an extraordinary appearance on returning from the interior; they look like huge pyramidal batteries raised round the suburbs of the city for its defence. The inhabitants are supplied with water by means of an aqueduct, fed by the little river, or rill of Wai Elghored, two miles distant south. The climate hereabouts is extremely salubrious, the rocky sandy site of the city being removed from all marshes or low lands, which produce pestiferous miasma or fever-exhaling vegetation. Rarely does it rain, but the whole tract of the adjoining country, between the Atlas and the sea, is tempered on the one side by the loftiest ranges of that mountain, and on the other, by the north-east trade winds, blowing continually. Mogador is in Lat. 31° 32’ 40” N., and Long. 9° 35’ 30” W.
The environs offer nothing but desolate sands, except some gardens for growing a few vegetables, and a sprinkling of flowers, which, by dint of perseverance, have been planted in the sand of the sea-shore. This is a remarkable instance of human culture turning the most hopelessly sterile portions of the world to account. These sands of Mogador are only a portion of a vast and almost interminable link, which girdles the north-western coast of the African continent, and is only broken in upon at short intervals, from Morocco to Senegal, like a shifting, heaving, and ever-varying rampart against the aggressions of the ocean. Both wind and sea have probably equally contributed to the formation of this vast belt of shifting sands.
The distance from Tangier to Mogador, by ordinary courier, is twelve days, but no traveller could be expected to perform the journey in less than twenty days.
Other courier distances are as follows:
Tangier to Rabat 4 days
Rabat to Fez 2 days
Fez to Mickas 12 hours
Rabat to Morocco 8 days
Mogador to Morocco 2½ days
Mogador to Santa Cruz 3 days
Mogador to Wadnoun 8 days
Santa Cruz to Teradant 1½ days
A notice of the interesting, though now abandoned part of Aghadir, may not be out place here. Aghadir, (called also Agheer and by the Portuguese, Santa Cruz) means in Berber “walls.” It is the Gurt Luessem of Leo Africanus. The town is small, but strong, and well fortified, and is situate upon the top of a high and abrupt rock, not far from the promontory of Gheer, which is the western termination of the Atlas, and where it dips into or strikes the ocean.
On the south, close by, is the river Sous, and formerly Aghadir was the capital of this province.
Aghadir has a spacious and most secure port, which is the last port southwards on the Atlantic. Indeed, this bay is the finest roadstead in the whole empire. Mr. Jackson says, that during his residence at Aghadir of three years, not a single ship was lost or injured. The principal battery of Aghadir, a place equally strong by nature and art, is half way down the western declivity of the mountain, and was originally intended to protect a fine spring of water close to the sea. This fort also commands the approaches to the town, both from the north and the south, and the shipping in the bay.
Santa Cruz was converted from a fisherman’s settlement into a city, and was fortified by the Portuguese in 1503. Muley Hamed el-Hassan besieged it in 1536 with an army of fifty thousand men, and owing to the accident of a powder-magazine blowing up and making a breach, the Sultan forced an entrance, to the astonishment of the Portuguese, who were all slaughtered.
In the reign of Muley Ismail, Santa Cruz was the centre of an extensive commerce carried on between Europe and the remotest regions of Africa, which obtained for it the name of Bab-el-Soudan, (Gate of Soudan.) The inhabitants became rich and powerful, and, as a consequence which so frequently happens to both the civilized and the barbarian, insolent and rebellious. In 1773, Sidi Mohammed was obliged to march out against the town to crush a rebellion; and this done with great slaughter, he ordered all the European merchants to quit the place and establish themselves at Mogador. The father of this prince had sworn vengeance against the haughty city, but died without accomplishing his sanguinary threats. The son, however, did the work of blood, so faithful to vows of evil and violence is man. Since that period, Aghadir has dwindled down to nothing, six hundred inhabitants, and others say only one hundred and fifty. The greater part of these are Jews, who have the finest women in all the country. Mr. Davidson says the population of Aghadir is forty-seven Mohammedans, and sixty-two Jews. At Fonte, the port, are about two hundred Moors. Were any European power to conquer Morocco, Aghadir would certainy be re-established as the centre of the commerce in the south. To a maritime nation like England, the repair and re-opening of its fine port would be the 6rst consideration, and doubtless a lucrative and extensive commerce could be established between Aghadir and Timbuctoo. The city is seven leagues south of Cape Gheer, in latitude 30° 35’.
I shall now give some further details illustrative of the state of negro slavery. The Fniperor has an entire quarter of the city of Morocco appropriated for his own slaves, the number of whom, in different parts of the empire, amounts to upwards of sixty thousand. This is his, the lion’s share. His Imperial Highness, who was accepting presents from various governors, lately received five hundred slaves from the Sheikh of Taradant. The trading Moors, believing me to be sent by the British Government to purchase and liberate all their slaves, have calculated the whole of the slaves in Morocco to be worth twenty-seven millions of dollars.
A Moor observed, “I hope to see any calamity befall the country rather than that of the slaves being liberated,” He observed: “God shews his approbation of slavery by not permitting slaves to rise against their masters, or the free negroes to invade Morocco, who are infinitely more numerous. The reason why the English abolished slavery is because the Queen of England has a good heart, but Mussulmen treat their slaves well, and do not fear the anger of God.” When I mentioned that the Bey of Tunis and the Imaum of Muscat had entered into treaties for the suppression of Slavery, the traders observed, “Amongst the Mohammetans are four sects, but the only orthodox sect is that of Morocco.”
There is, however, one class of abolitionists in this country — the women, or Mooresses. The rumour that a Christian had come to purchase all the slaves of Mogador soon penetrated the harems. The wife of one of the most distinguished Moors of Mogador informed a Jewess of her acquaintance, that she was very happy to hear a Christian was come to purchase all her husband’s slaves, for she was tired of her life with them. The truth is, respectable Moorish females detest this system of domestic slavery, and wish to see it abolished, notwithstanding that they are bred in it, and are themselves little better than slaves. They see themselves gradually abandoned by the husbands of their youth for the most ignorant and degraded negress slaves, whom their husbands purchase one after another as their caprice or passion excites them, until their houses are filled with these slaves.
The artful negress absorbs all the affection of her master, whilst the legitimate wife is left as a widow, and is obliged to wait upon these pampered slaves, whose insolence knows no bounds. The negress slaves besides, when they bear sons, are treated with great respect; their children are free by the law, and cannot be disposed of, although the Moors do sell them when hard pressed for money. Yet even these negresses are beginning to chatter and clatter about the Anti–Slavery mission, expressing their satisfaction to our Jewish neighbours. A negress slave on hearing that a person had come from England to liberate all the slaves, jumped up and called on God to bless the English nation.
This excitement in the domestic circles of Mogador raises the bile of the slave-dealers. A fellow of this sort beckoned me to come to him as I was passing in the street, and thus began: “Christian, if you dare attempt to go to the south, we shall cut you up into ten thousand little pieces.”
Traveller. — “You will not lay a finger upon me, nor throw a handful of sand in my face unless it please God.”
Slave-dealer. — (Taken aback at this reply, he drew in his horns), “Well, how much will you give us apiece for our slaves.”
Traveller. — “I shall give you nothing; you have no right to sell a man, a brother, like yourself.”
Slave-dealer. — “It’s our religion.”
Traveller. — “It’s not your religion to sell Mussulman; you sell the children of your own slaves, born in your houses, and who are Mussulmen?” The slave-dealer, puzzled and angry, was silent a few minutes, and then said, “Ah, well, all’s right, all’s from God.”
I received a visit from a Hajee under peculiar circumstances. Passing through Tunis on his return from Mecca last year, his slave, hearing that all the slaves were liberated in the country, ran away. In vain his master attempted to catch him. There were no Christians in the country of the Mecca impostor, who kept manhunting hounds. This is the peculiar glory of Christian lands. Tunis is not so “go a-head” as Yankee freedom-land. The consequence was the pilgrim left without his slave. He then, strange to say, applied to me to procure him back his slave. Thinking this a good opportunity to agitate the authorities here OR the question, I recommended him to apply to the Governor, who should write to the Emperor, and also to the Bey of Tunis, and so forth. I had visitors daily who asked me when I should be ready to purchase the slaves and liberate them. Arabs from the remotest districts came to me; and I was told that there is not a town or district of the empire, but has heard of the English going to liberate all the slaves of Morocco.
I have studiously avoided giving details of the cruelties and hard bondage of slavery in and around Morocco. On the contrary, I have stated it to be the opinion of the Europeans and Consuls in Tangier, that slaves are well treated in this country. Such an opinion ought to weigh with all. 31 At the same time, in self-defence, as an abolitionist, and occupied with a mission for the extinction of slavery in this country, I must partly uplift the veil, however disgusting it may be to my readers. A portion of the dark side of the picture must be exhibited. Of the march of slave-caravans over the Sahara, I shall say nothing — that is fully reported in my previous publication. When the slaves arrive in Morocco, they are inarched about in different directions of the country for sale. During their passage through a populous district like this, where the females are exposed to the brutal violence of ten thousand casual visitors, or agents of police and government, it is the ordinary and revolting practice to adopt means one cannot describe for the purpose of preserving their honour. Private punishments are frequent; to my certain knowledge, a female slave was tied up by the heela, head downwards, and, after being cruelly flagellated, was left for dead by her, pitiless master. She was at last cut down at the intercession of her mistress whose humanity got the better of her hatred and jealousy. While I was at Mogador, a negress had two of her children torn away from her to be sold at Morocco, to pay the debts of her master, who was a Moor. The children were sons of the man who sold them into bondage! The mother was inconsolable, ran about distracted, and probably will never recover from the blow. These facts are enough, and with any human man they will out-weigh all other instances, however numerous, of alleged good treatment on the part of Moorish slave masters. 32
I took a ride with Mr. Elton on the sandy beach. There is a fort in ruins, at about half an hour’s distance, illustrating most emphatically the parable of the man who built his house upon the sands.
This fort, which was to command the southern entrance of the harbour, is supposed to be of Spanish construction, and built about the same time as the city.
It was once of considerable size and height, but is now a fallen and ruined mass, its foundations “upon the sands” having given way. Storms along this shore are often terribly destructive, we passed a portion of the hulk of a vessel completely buried in the sand. 33
Notwithstanding the sober and taciturn character of the Moor, he can sometimes indulge himself in pleasantry and caricature. The Moors have made caricatures of the three last emperors, assisted by some Spanish renegade artist: these Princes are Yezid, Suleiman, and Abd Errahman. Yezid is represented as throwing away money with one hand, and cutting off heads with the other, depicting his ferocity in destroying his enemies, and his generosity in heaping favours on his friends. Suleiman is represented as reading the Koran, in the character of a devout and good man. The present Sultan is hit off capitally, with one hand holding a bag of money behind him, and with the other stretched out before him, begging for more.
H B could not have better caricatured the three Shereefian Sultans. The Moors affirmed that Muley Abd Errahman will keep faith with no one where his avarice is concerned, and, when he can, he will sell a monopoly twice or thrice, receiving money from each party. Of his meanness and avarice, I adduce two anecdotes. Four years ago, Muley–Abd Errahman ordered some blond for his Harem from Mr. Willshire. Just when I was leaving Mogador, his Imperial Highness graciously returned it to our merchant with the message — “It’s too dear.” Not long before, a man was murdered upon the neutral land of two adjacent provinces, and a thousand dollars were taken from his baggage. In such cases, the Governor of the district is mulcted both for the murder and robbery. The Emperor claimed two thousand dollars from one of the provinces, for the father of the murdered man. This province escaped upon the plea that the murder had not been committed within its territory. The other province refused to satisfy the demand for the same reason. His Imperial Highness then made both provinces pay 2,000 dollars each, keeping one two thousand for himself, for the trouble he had of enforcing payment.
The people of Sous not long ago had a quarrel, which the Emperor fomented. Its Sheikhs fought; his Imperial Highness sent troops to turn the balance of the fray, and to pacify the country. Then, he made the belligerents pay each 40,000 dollars, as pacification-money, the value of which he levied on slaves. In this politic way, the Imperial miser replenishes his coffers, and “eats up” his loving subjects.
I made the acquaintance of Mr. Treppass, the Austrian consul, and Chancellor of the French consulate. Mr. Treppass has been upwards of twenty years in this country, and was himself once an Imperial merchant, but sold his business, preferring a small stipend and his liberty, to being a vassal of the Emperor, fed in luxury and lodged in a fine house. We had a long conversation upon the various topics connected with this country.
Mr. Treppass says, the present system of the court is resistance to all innovation, to all strangers. But the pressure of the French on the Algerine frontier is agitating the internal state of this country. Money, which in other countries goes a long way, will almost do every thing with the Government of Morocco. It will also effect much with the people. Some fifty years ago, a Geneose merchant, resident in Mogador, had the two provinces of Hhaha and Shedma under his control, and could have made himself Sultan over them; this he effected solely by the distribution of money. The Sultan of the time was in open war with a pretender; his Imperial Highness begged for the assistance of the all-powerful merchant. The merchant bought the affections and allegiance of the people, and firmly established the Sultan on his throne.
The influence of the merchant was now prodigious, and the Sultan himself became alarmed. Not being able to rest, and being in hourly dread of the Genoese, the Sultan ordered his officers to seize the merchant secretly, and put him on board a vessel then weighing anchor for Europe. When the merchant was placed on board, this message was delivered to him — “Our Sultan is extremely obliged to you, sir, for the great services you rendered him, by establishing him on his throne! but our Sultan says, ‘If you could place him on the throne, you could also pull him off again.’ Therefore you must leave our country. Our Sultan graciously gives you a portion of your wealth to carry away with you!” The officers then shipped several chests of money, jewels, and other valuables to be placed to the account of the merchant, and the Sultan-making Genoese quitted Morocco for ever.
The Moors reported to me that the French were building some factories, with a fort, upon some unclaimed land along the coast, equidistant between Aghadir and Wadnoun. It is probably near Fort Hillsboro of the maps, and which Mr. Davidson calls Isgueder. A Moor was accused by the authorities of Mogador of being mixed up with the transaction, and immediately sent to the south, where he has not been heard of since. Another report is that the French are only building a factory. The spot of land has near it a small port and a good spring of water; quantities of bricks and lime have been deposited there; French vessels of war from the Senegal have been coasting and surveying up and down, touching at the place.
The new port is called Yedoueesai. I inquired particularly respecting this project; but Mr. Treppass stated positively, that the French had wholly abandoned the idea of establishing commercial relations with the Sheikh of Wadnoun, or any tribes thereabouts, whatever might have been their original intentions. Vessels of war have frequently visited the coast of Wadnoun, finding it the worst in all Africa. They, however, now maintain friendly relations with the Sheikh, in the event of shipwrecks or other disasters, happening to French vessels.
Nevertheless, it was at the particular request of the French Consul of Mogador, that his Government broke off all communications with the Sheikh, the Emperor having repeatedly complained to the Consul against this intercourse assuming a commercial or diplomatic character. 34 The whole coast, from the port of Mogador to the river Senegal, has been, within the last few years, surveyed by the French vessels of war, particularly by Captain E. Bouet; and there is sufficient evidence in the reports of the people, and the remonstrances of the Maroquine Government, to prove that the French did attempt a settlement on the part of the coast above stated, but that it failed.
The French took the idea of the undertaking from Davidson, who proposed to Lord Palmerston to enter into communication with the Sheikh of Wadnoun, and establish a factory on the coast, somewhere about the river Noun, just below Cape Noun. A British vessel of war was sent down with presents for the Sheikh, and to ascertain the whereabout of the fine harbour reported to exist there by the Sheikh and his people. This attempt of our government was as fruitless as that of the French afterwards. Indeed, at the very time an English brig of war was searching about for this port, and seeking an interview with the Sheikh of Wadnoun on the coast, Davidson was murdered on the southern frontier just as he was penetrating the Sahara.
It is not improbable, however, that the knowledge of this recommendation of Davidson, which, from the Sheikh’s people themselves, would naturally reach the court of Morocco, might have excited that jealous court to compass in some way his death, or at any rate thwart his expedition to Timbuctoo, for the Emperor is exceedingly jealous of any European holding communication with the south. The Sheikh Barook is, in spite of all this, very anxious to begin an intercourse with Europeans; and not long ago, a messenger arrived with a bag of money for the Jew, Cohen, telling him to take some out of it, and to go to the Sheikh who wished to see him. But Cohen would not expose himself to the displeasure of the Emperor, although he has English protection.
Wadnoun is a quasi-independent Sheikhdom of the empire. The Sheikh of Wadnoun pays no tithes nor other imposts, and only sends an annual present as a mark of vassal-homage to the Emperor. Sous, which adjoins this province, is more immediately under the power of the Sultan of the Shereefs, but the tithes are not so easily collected in the south as in the north. Much depends on the ability of the governor, who rules the whole of the district in the name of the Emperor. The imperial authority is maintained principally by prompting disunion amongst the Sheikhs; Sous being divided into numerous districts, each district having an independent Sheikh.
By confusion and divisions among themselves, the Emperor rules all as paramount-lord. When will people learn to be united, so that by union they may win their freedom and independence? Alas! never. Wadnoun is treated, however, very tenderly; for if the Emperor were to attempt the subjugation of this country, the malcontents of Sous would join the Sheikh, and his authority would probably be overthrown in all the south.
Sous is the richest of these provinces, and equal to any other of the northern districts. Its trade in dates, ostrich feathers, wax, wool, and hides, particularly in gums, almonds, and slaves, is very great. All the Saharan caravans must pass through this country, except those proceeding viâ Tafilett to Fez. Teroudant, its capital, is a very ancient city, and was built by the ancient Berbers. It has a circumference of walls capable of containing eighty thousand people, but the actual population does not exceed twenty thousand. Its inhabitants are very industrious, and the Moors excel in the art of dyeing.
Noun, or Wadnoun, as this country and its capital are sometimes called, Mr, Davidson briefly describes as a large district, having many clusters of inhabitants. The town where the Sheikh resides, is of good size, and has a millah, or Jew’s quarter, besides a good market. It stands on the river (such as it is) distant twenty two miles from the sea.
The river Noun rises in the mountains above Souk Aisa or Assa, and is there called Wad-el-Aisa; and, passing through the district of Wadnoun, it takes the name of Assaka. The ancient name of this river was Daradus. The territory around is not very fertile on account of the neighbourhood of the Desert, but produces gum, wax, and ostrich feathers in abundance. The inhabitants are mostly Arabs with a sprinkling of Shelouh, estimated by Gräberg 35 at 2,000. The population is somewhat thickly scattered; there are at least twenty villages between the district of Stuka and Wadnoun.
The annexed is a sketch of Wadnoun after the design left by Mr. Davidson.
Wadnoun is an important rendezvous of caravans. Many Timbuctoo caravans break up here, and some Saharan. Several Saharan merchants come no further north, disposing of their slaves and goods to Maroquine merchants, who meet them in this place.
It is safe travelling through these countries, provided no extraordinary plot be laid for taking away a traveller’s life, as in the case of European explorers attempting to penetrate the interior. Mr. Treppass thinks that, notwithstanding the ill-will of the Moorish Government, Davidson could have succeeded in his attempted journey to Timbuctoo had he been more circumspect. He gave out to all persons whom he met that he was going to Timbuctoo. This insured his being stopped and murdered en route by some party or other, more especially as he at last abandonod the idea of protecting himself by a caravan-party, and started alone. But I am not altogether of this opinion. Too much publicity is certainly injurious to a journey of discovery, and far and near awakens attention and suspicion; but a too sudden and unexpected appearance in the towns of the Desert, equally excites distrust and suspicion, if not hostile feelings.
Mr. Robertson, whilst at Morocco, heard one of the numerous versions of the death of Mr. Davidson. He is said to have been killed by the mere freak of a young Arab, who wished to have the pleasure of killing a Christian, and who called out to his companions, “Come, let us go and have a shot at the Christian.” The party of Arabs to whom this mischievous young man belonged, was afterwards extremely grieved at what had been done. One of the Arabs, in plundering the baggage, lost his hand by breaking a bottle containing aqua fortis. The glass cut a large gash, and the aqua fortis entering immediately, consumed the hand. The people cried out, “The devils of the Christian are in the water!” From all I have heard, the great fault of Davidson appears to have been his wishing to travel as like “a fine gentleman.” This prejudiced all his travelling-companions against him, and could not fail to render him unpopular wherever he went.
It is of no use for a man to cry out in the Desert, “I am an Englishman!” he must exclaim, “I am an Arab, and will do and suffer like an Arab.” If any one were to ask me, “What would carry a roan to Timbuctoo through the Desert? is it courage, or money, or prudence?” I would reply, “The first thing is suffering, the second is suffering, and the last is suffering.” 36 I consulted an old man on this journey to Timbuctoo. He could not undertake a voyage being too old. He mentioned names of places en route, and said they travelled by the stars, which star-travelling is all stuff. He recommended going by sea as much nearer. Very little satisfactory information can be obtained from Maroquine Moors, who would rather mislead than direct you.
I endeavoured to open a correspondence with the South on the Anti–Slavery question. At first, I thought of going to Wadnoun on receiving an invitation from the Sheikh, but when I proposed this to Mr. Wiltshire, he insisted on my relinquishing such a project, inasmuch as having placed myself at the direction of the Consul–General, as recommended by the Earl of Aberdeen, I was not at liberty to differ from the advice, which Mr. Hay and himself might tender me. I saw there was some reason in this, and submitted though with great reluctance. However, I wrote two letters to Sheikh Barook of Wadnoun, stating the views and objects of the Anti–Slavery Society.
I had some difficulty in finding a courier, who would undertake the delicate mission of conveying the letters. But Mr. Treppass and the French Consul, M. Jorelle, felt themselves more at liberty in the matter than our Consul, and determined to assist me, M. Jorelle very justly observing, “We will sow the seeds of liberty, if we can do nothing more.” Indeed, I am greatly obliged to that gentleman for the interest he took in my mission, and the assistance he rendered me on this and other occasions. After my return to England, I received two letters from the Sheikh in answer to those I had written to him. The Sheikh, afraid lest his letter might fall into the hands of Government, after many compliments, begs me to get the Emperor first to move in the question, adding, “what he makes free, we will make free;” for he says in another place, “We act as he acts, according to the treek (ordinance) of God and his Prophet.”
Sheikh Barook also protests that he has but little power in these matters, living as he does in the Desert. As I did not seek for any thing beyond an answer to my letters, and was only anxious that he should know the sentiments of the Anti–Slavery Society, I was not all disappointed. I knew too much of the pro-slavery feeling once existing in a strong party in England, and the mighty struggles which we had passed through to obtain British Abolition, to expect anything more than a respectful answer to antislavery letters from a Prince of the Desert, whose revenues were raised chiefly from the duties levied upon slave-caravans passing through his territory. I only attempted to scatter the seeds of liberty over the slave-tracks of the Desert, leaving the budding forth and the growth to the irrigating influences of that merciful and wise God, who has made all men of one flesh and blood.
I visited the families of Jewish merchants during the Passover, in company with Mr. and Mrs. Elton. Christians here visit the Jews twice a year, at the feast of the Passover and Tabernacles. In return, Jews visit Christians on New Year’s day. This laudable practice promotes social harmony between the Jews and Christians.
In the house of one of our Jewish friends (Mr. Levi’s) I assisted at the celebration of the evening of the Passover. There is nothing very particular in this ceremony, except a great deal of reading. The drinking of the four cups 37 of wine, and the eating of the bitter herbs, emblems of the joys and the sorrows attending the deliverance from Egyptian bondage, are the more difficult parts of the ceremony. The children naturally feel most the disagreeableness of eating the bitter herbs, and several times, as soon as they put them into their mouths, they spat them out again under the table. The drinking of an excessive quantity of wine, is also attended with not a little inconvenience, and one would think Bacchus was the deity worshipped, and not the God of the Jews and Christians. When will mankind learn that violation of the physical economy of their nature can never be acceptable to the Great Creator?
I do not say that European Israelites indulge so much in these excesses as Barbary Jews, but I imagine that the germ of the debauch is found in the Talmudical religion of both classes. But, since I should be very sorry were a Jew to hold up to me the mummeries of Popery or of the Greek Church, as the mirror of my own religion, I am not disposed to animadvert upon the generally decorous worship of European Israelites.
It requires three full days to get through this business of visiting. In truth, it is a very serious affair, for we were obliged to eat cake, and sip sherbet, or white brandy, at every house we went to, otherwise we should confer an affront upon our friends. At all times, a great quantity of white brandy, which the Jews distil themselves, is drunk, but especially on these occasions.
The Governor of Mogador gave orders, not long ago, that no Mussulman should enter the Jewish quarter, to prevent the faithful from being seduced into drinking this insidious spirit. I shall just mention what a Christian is obliged to conform to, whilst visiting the Barbary Jews on these high days and holidays.
1st. You must eat a piece of cake, at least of one sort, if not of several kinds, and drink a little brandy, wine somets, or boiled juice of the grape, or sherbet. In many of the houses, they give nothing but brandy, which is tastefully placed out on small round tables, as at a pastrycook’s shop.
2nd. You must admire the new dresses of the ladies, who are radiantly and sumptuously attired “in flaming purple and refulgent gold,” their ornaments likewise of gold, silver, and all manner of precious stones; for the daughters of Israel are, as on bridal days, all begemmed, bejewelled, and diamonded, stuck over with gems as thick as stars “seen in the galaxy or milky-way.” On these festivals, it is absolutely a matter of orthodox observance that the Jews and Jewesses should wear something new. Some have entirely new dresses.
3rd. Any thing new or remarkable in the house, or household furniture, must be noticed or admired.
4th. You must carry with you in your memorandum-book, or at the tip of your tongue, a good assortment of first-rate compliments of the season.
If these are spiced with a little scandal of your neighbours, or the party you have just left, so much the better; they are more relished.
Now you are obliged to visit twenty or thirty families per diem; and you are literally passing through doors, square-courts, and corridors, crossing patios and quadrangles, walking up and down stairs, getting up and sitting down from morning to night, during these three mortal days. It will be seen then, that these Passover and Tabernacle visits are tremendous affairs, and require Herculean strength to get through their polite duties. They may be days of jovial festivity to Jews, but certainly they are days of labour and annoyance to Gentiles.
But I must now give an account of one or two remarkable personages whom we visited. The first was Madame Bousac, a Jewess of this country. Her father was a grandee at Court in the days of former emperors, and the greatest merchant of his time, and she represented as an aristocrat among her people, a modern Esther, standing and pleading between the Sultan and her nation. This lady is the only native woman in the country, Mooress or Jewess, who has tact or courage enough to go and speak to the Emperor, and state her request with an unfaltering voice beneath the awful shadow of the Shereefian presence! Madame Bousac accompanied the merchants to Morocco, to pay her respects to the Emperor. Among other modest or confidential demands which the lady made on the Imperial benevolence, was that of an advance to her husband of ten thousand dollars. His Imperial Highness was immediately obliged to give a formal assent before his court.
She then visited the Harem, and felt herself quite at home. All the ladies, wives or concubines of the Emperor, waited upon her; and served her with tea and bread, and butter.
The presentation of bread and butter and cups of tea, is said to be the highest honour conferred on visitors, but why or wherefore I have not heard.
Madame Bousac gave us some account of the Morocco harem, which we may suppose is like that of Fez and Miknas. The number of these ladies was some two hundred. They are all attired alike, except the four wives, who dress a little more in the style of Sultanas. I am sorry to be obliged to disabuse the reader of the romance and oriental colouring attached to our ideas of the harem, by giving Madame Bousac’s simile of those angelic houries. This lady said, “they are like a string of charity-school girls going to church on a Sunday morning.”
Their penurious lord keeps down their pin-money to the lowest point, and is not more liberal to his ladies than to his other subjects. Former sultans were accustomed to allow their ladies half a dollar a day, but these have but twopence, or at least fourpence. Muley Abd Errahman even traffics in his beauties, and will now and then make a present of one to a governor, in consideration of receiving an adequate return of money, or presents. Sometimes, the Moors pay their Shereefian Sultan a similar compliment, by presenting him with slaves from their harem. 38
Madame Bousac is, of course, a perfect lady according to Moorish ideas, but her fascinations on the mind of the Emperor, arise more from her wit and ability than her feminine grace and delicacy. She is anything but a beauty, according to our ideas, being of a dark complexion, of middle height, of large and powerful muscular proportions, very upright, as if bending backwards, and with a hoarse and masculine voice. Like most women in this part of the world, she is married to a man old enough to be her father, or even grandfather, being even more than double her age.
She herself may be about thirty, at which age the beauty of Barbary women is gone for ever. Such is the court-dame who has courage enough to speak to the Emperor of Morocco in public. She conversed with us about her affairs, telling us the Emperor had not yet advanced to her husband the loan of 10,000 dollars as promised, nor did she expect it, for she knew his avarice. “Rather would he sell one of his Sultanas.” But he had sent her a present of four haiks, which she shewed us; they were extremely fine and white. “These,” she observed, “are the ten thousand dollars paid in private, but which the Sultan could not refuse me in public.”
Another character whom we visited, was the distinguished Rabbi, Coriante. The priest entertained us with dissertations upon various subjects. First of slavery. “It is unlawful to steal blacks, the Mosaic law denouncing such theft with the punishment of death. Nevertheless, if the Jews of this country had the power, they would enslave the Mussulman, and well castigate them.”
This latter remark, Coriante uttered with an emphasis, denoting the revenge which his countrymen would inflict upon their Mahometan oppressors, who had kept them in chains for a series of ages. He remarked, however, that the Sultan might give way on the question of negro slavery, after the first shock to his prejudices.
The Rabbi treated us with wine, but one of us, moved by curiosity, having touched the bottle, he remarked to his daughter in an under-tone; “It’s all gone,” (the rest of the wine is spoiled). Among these extremely superstitious Barbary rabbies, it is a pollution to their wine if a Christian touch even the bottle containing the juice of the grape, and they will not drink it afterwards.
We asked the reason of his not being able to drink, and found it was, first, because women work in the vineyards, and the second, because the Pope pronounces his blessing upon the vintage. After these Jews have eaten meat, they are obliged to wait some time before they can eat butter, or drink milk; in fact, their superstitions are numberless. The Rabbi read to us portions of the proverbs of Solomon, and told us Solomon was well acquainted with steam engines and railways, “Only they were of no use in the Holy Land when God was always with his people.” He then gave us his blessing, and me this solemn warning. “Take care the Emperor does not cut off your head, as he has cut off the head of our young Darmon.” 39
24 “To his Imperial Majesty the Emperor of Morocco, Sidi Muley Abd Errahman.
“May it please your Majesty,
“A Society in England, having for its object the Abolition of Slavery and the Slave Trade throughout the world, and denominated the British and Foreign Anti–Slavery Society, being informed of the pacific intentions and friendly disposition of your Majesty towards our Sovereign Queen and Government, and being informed likewise, that your Majesty, in diplomatic relations with other Foreign Princes and States, has universally manifested the greatest desire to preserve peace amongst nations, and, of necessary consequence, the happiness of the human race, are encouraged to approach your Majesty, and to plead on behalf of a numerous and important class of your subjects, the negro and other black slaves.
“These are a people always faithful to their friends and protectors (a most conspicuous and immediate proof of which is seen in your Majesty’s Imperial Guard, formed principally of this class of your faithful subjects,) and exhibiting under suffering and oppression the greatest patience and fortitude, yet, during the long course of bygone centuries, they have been subjected to horrid cruelties and barbarities, in order to pander to the vices and to satiate the avarice of their oppressors.
“Now we, the Society in England aforesaid, address your Majesty for the succour and protection of this cruelly oppressed portion of the human race, and in order that you may be graciously pleased to remove the chain of bondage from off these unfortunate victims of the violence and cupidity of wicked men, who, in defiance of all justice and mercy, claim them as their property, and buy and sell them as cattle.
“We further entreat that your Majesty would be graciously pleased to place the slaves in your Imperial dominions upon a footing of equality with the rest of your faithful subjects, and to make them free men, having the rightful possession of their own persons, and being at liberty to travel whithersoever they will.
“For your Majesty rightly understands and knows as well as we do, that God the Almighty Maker of us and you, has made all men equal, and has not permitted man to have property in his fellow man, which reduces them to the level of brutes; therefore, to make slaves of our fellows, our brothers and sisters, is to sin against the will and mind of God, and to provoke his wrath and indignation against us, and against our children after us.
“Consequently, we, the Society in England, aforesaid, in common with some of your own Mussulman sovereigns and people, hold Slavery, and the Slave Trade in extreme abhorrence, because it kills and destroys our brothers whom we ought to love and cherish, because it makes them like brutes, whom we ought to esteem as reasonable beings, because it hardens our own hearts and makes us cruel towards our fellows, whom we ought to treat with kindness and compassion, and because it deforms God’s creatures, in whom we ought to revere his spiritual likeness, man being made after the likeness of God, in possessing a spiritual reasoning soul; these evils, however, are the direct and inevitable consequences of the accursed Slave Trade, and for such reasons we, the people of England in general, abhor it, and seek, in every legitimate and righteous way, to persuade men of every nation in the world to abandon this inhuman and wicked traffic.
“Finally, we implore your Majesty to be pleased to follow out that great act of confidence which you have exercised towards the negro race, in appointing them the life-guards of your Imperial person, by graciously liberating them from the cruel yoke of slavery. From our hearts we believe that your Majesty will find such a spontaneous act of compassion towards the desolate African Slaves to be the wisest worldly policy, and most agreeable to the will of the Eternal Creator of us all. Your loyal subjects will love the goodness of your heart the more, and serve you the better, while all Africa, of which the immense dominions of your Majesty form so large a part, will catch new life and vigour, under the blessing of the Almighty, and grow happy and prosperous in the ages to come.
“Signed and sealed on behalf of the Society in England for abolishing Slavery and the Slave Trade throughout the world.
“(Signed) THOMAS CLARKSON. (L.S.)”
25 This is not exact. The vizier is often the author of certain lines of policy.
26 All the Moorish Sultans are spoken of by the people as Seedna, “Our Lord,” and departed Saints are addressed by the same title.
27 It is curious to see the Spartan principle of theft developing itself under such different circumstances.
28 [Transcriber’s Note: the text of this footnote was missing in the original print edition.]
29 This is the old story of the abettors of the slave-trade in all parts of the world; I very much doubt if there be any truth in it. None of the slave-dealers of the Desert whom I conversed with, had ever seen or heard of prisoners of war being put to death.
30 The European name of Mogador, is supposed to be derived from Mugdul, or Modogul, a Moorish Saiut.
31 The Governor of Mogador told me to go to look at his slaves, and see that they were well fed and well clothed. But every rich man’s horses and dogs are well-fed and well-housed.
32 Mr. Davidson did not visit Morocco as an abolitionist. Head what impression this Maroquine slavery made upon his mind. “My heart sickens at the sight of this horrid picture. In another lot of these unfortunate beings were six women, one of whom had given birth to a child on the road, which was thrown into the bargain. There was an old wretch who had come from Saweirah to purchase female slaves; his examination was carried on in the most disgusting manner, I could not refrain from calling down the curse of Heaven on these inhuman wretches. In many, but little feeling is shewn for the poor blacks; and they seemed to think less of their own fate than I did, who was merely a looker-on. One poor creature, however, who was a finer woman, and less black than the rest, shed tears. I could have given her my dagger to have plunged it in the breast of the villain who was examining her. And yet these people pray four times a day, and think themselves superior to all God’s creatures! More than ever do I wish to get away from, this den of hell-hounds. Each of the grown persons was in the prime of life, and had once a home, and was more to be pitied than the children, who had never known the liberty of thought and act. To each of the ten slaves was given a lunch of bread; while both the inhuman buyers and sellers, after chuckling over their bargains, went to offer up their prayers to Heaven, before they took their daily meal. Can such unhallowed doings be permitted to endure longer! Oh, Spirit of Civilization, hither turn your eyes, and punish the purchasers who ought to know better, for thus only will the sale be stopped.”
33 I asked a Moor, “Who built this castle on the sands?” He replied pertly, “Iskander!” Whenever the Moors see anything marvellous or ancient, they ascribe it to Alexander the Great, to Pharaoh, to Solomon, or even to Nimrod, as caprice leads them, believing that these three or four personages created all the wondrous and monstrous things in the world. But we have an instance here, how soon through ignorance, or the want of records, a modern thing may become ancient in the minds of the vulgar. This fort was built after Mogador, which town is not yet a century old.
34 Certainly, to establish relations with the Southern provinces of Morocco, that is, Sous and Wadnoun, would greatly injure the trade of Mogador, and, therefore, the Consuls, as well as the Moorish Authorities, set their faces against any direct intercourse being opened with the South.
35 Gräberg says Noun means the “river of eels,” Davidson derives the name from a Portuguese queen called Nounah; but his editor says the name is properly Nul, was so written when the Arabs possessed Portugal, and that Queen Nunah is a modern invention.
36 Whatever may have been Mr. Davidson’s faults, I scarcely doubt that the first impressions of Mr. Consul–General Hay were correct. He says, “I fear, however, that I am not to expect much assistance from him,” (Mr. Hay); and hints, in other parts of his Journal, that Mr. Hay was rather disposed to throw difficulties in his way, than to render him efficient aid. Mr. Hay’s son (which is very natural) attempts to exculpate his father in an appendix to his “Western Barbary,” and some will, perhaps, think he has done so successfully. My experience of the diplomatic skill of the late Consul, does not permit me to coincide with this favourable opinion. The greater probability is, that if Mr. Davidson had been left to his own “inspirations,” and allowed complete liberty of action, he would have succeeded in reaching Timbuctoo; but his health doss not appear to have been sufficiently robust, or himself acclimated, to have brought him back from his perilous adventure.
37 These cups hold at least a pint each, and every adult male is expected to empty four, if not six. Of course, they get beastly intoxicated, and suffer a day or two of illness afterwards, a very just punishment.
38 But I do not think it reaches the point of complaisance, noticed by Monsieur Chenier, when he was French Consul in 1767. He says, “The veneration of the Moors is so great for this Prince, that they deem themselves happy whenever one; of their daughters is admitted to share his couch.” On the other hand, many of the beauties presented by the Sultan to his ministers, although brought out of his harems, are virgins. The poor ladies in the royal harems are only so much stock, from which their Lord and tyrant picks and chooses.
39 Friend Phillips is always wrestling with these prejudices of Barbary Jews. When his wife was delivered of a daughter, he was determined to have as much “fuss” made of the child as if it had been a son, to spite the prejudices of his brethren. So, when he went out for a walk with his wife, he would walk always arm-in-arm with her, although she was a Jewess of this country, which caused great annoyance to his woman-oppressing brethren.
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