James Richardson.

Travels in Morocco, Volume 2 online

. (page 12 of 13)
Online LibraryJames RichardsonTravels in Morocco, Volume 2 → online text (page 12 of 13)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

Levy, a large merchant at Tunis, thinks the amount might be from 150 to
200,000 piastres, or, taking the largest sum, £6,250 sterling:

Total amount of the tribute of the Jereed:
in goods £2,860
Ditto, in money: 6,250
- - -
Total £9,110

To this sum may be added the smaller presents of horses, camels, and
other beasts of burden.

* * * * *

Before leaving Mogador, in company with Mr. Willshire, I saw his
Excellency, the Governor again, when I took formal leave of him. He
accompanied me down to the port with several of the authorities, waiting
until I embarked for the Renshaw schooner. Several of the Consuls, and
nearly all the Europeans, were also present. On the whole, I was
satisfied with the civilities of the Moorish authorities, and offer my
cordial thanks to the Europeans of Mogador for their attentions during
my residence in that city.

A little circumstance shews the subjection of our merchants, the Consul
not excepted, to the Moorish Government. One of the merchants wished to
accompany me on board, but was not permitted, on account of his
engagements with the Sultan.

A merchant cannot even go off the harbour to superintend the stowing of
his goods. Never were prisoners of war, or political offenders, so
closely watched as the boasted imperial merchants of this city.

After setting sail, we were soon out of sight of Mogador; and, on the
following day, land disappeared altogether. During the next month, we
were at sea, and out of view of the shore. I find an entry in my
journal, when off the Isle of Wight. We had had most tremendous weather,
successive gales of foul wind, from north and north-east. Our schooner
was a beautiful vessel, a fine sailer with a flat bottom, drawing little
water, made purposely for Barbary ports. She had her bows completely
under water, and pitched her way for twenty-five succeeding days,
through huge rising waves of sea and foam. During the whole of this
time, I never got up, and lived on bread and water with a little
biscuit. Captain Taylor, who was a capital seaman, and took the most
accurate observations, lost all patience, and, though a good methodist,
would now and then rush on deck, and swear at the perverse gale and
wrathful sea. We took on board a fine barb for Mr. Elton, which died
after a few days at sea, in these tempests. I had a young vulture that
died a day before the horse, or we should have fed him on the carcase.


An aoudad which we conveyed on account of Mr. Willshire to London, for
the Zoological Society, outlived these violent gales, and was safely and
comfortably lodged in the Regent's Park. After my return from Africa, I
paid my brave and hardy fellow-passenger a visit, and find the air of
smoky London agrees with him as well as the cloudless region of the
Morocco Desert.


The following account of the bombardment of Mogador by the French,
written at the period by an English Resident may be of interest at the
present time.

Mogador was bombarded on the 13th of August, 1844. Hostilities began at
9 o'clock A.M., by the Moors firing twenty-one guns before the French
had taken up their position, but the fire was not returned until 2 P.M.
The 'Gemappes,' 100; 'Suffren,' 99; 'Triton,' 80; ships of the line.
'Belle Poule,' 60, frigate; 'Asmodée' and 'Pluton,' steamers, and some
brigs, constituted the bombarding squadron. The batteries were silenced,
and the Moorish authorities with many of the inhabitants fled, leaving
the city unprotected against the wild tribes, who this evening and the
next morning, sacked and fired the city. On the 16th, nine hundred
French were landed on the isle of Mogador. After a rude encounter with
the garrison, they took possession of it and its forts. Their loss was,
after twenty-eight hours' bombarding, trifling, some twenty killed and
as many more wounded; the Moors lost some five hundred on the isle
killed, besides the casualties in the city.

The British Consul and his wife, and Mr. and Mrs. Robertson, with
others, were obliged to remain in the town during the bombardment on
account of their liabilities to the Emperor. The escape of these people
from destruction was most miraculous.

The bombarding squadron reached on the 10th, the English frigate,
'Warspite,' on the 13th, and the wind blowing strong from N.E., and
preventing the commencement of hostilities, afforded opportunity to
save, if possible, the British Consul's family and other detained
Europeans; but, notwithstanding the strenuous remonstrances of the
captain of the 'Warspite', nothing whatever could prevail upon the
Moorish Deputy-Governor in command, Sidi Abdallah Deleero, to allow the
British and other Europeans to take their departure. The Governor even
peremptorily refused permission for the wife of the Consul to leave,
upon the cruel sophism that, "The Christian religion asserts the husband
and wife to be one, consequently," added the Governor, "as it is my
duty, which I owe to my Emperor, to prevent the Consul from leaving
Mogador, I must also keep his wife."

The fact is the Moors, in their stupidity, and perhaps in their revenge,
thought the retaining of the British Consul and the Europeans might, in
some way or other, contribute to the defence of themselves, save the
city, or mitigate the havoc of the bombardment. At any rate, they would
say, "Let the Christians share the same fate and dangers as ourselves."
During the bombardment, the Moors for two hours fought well, but their
best gunner, a Spanish renegade, Omar Ei-Haj, being killed, they became
dispirited and abandoned the batteries. The Governor and his troops,
about sunset, disgracefully and precipitately fled, followed by nearly
all the Moorish population, thereby abandoning Mogador to pillage, and
the European Jews to the merciless wild tribes, who, though levied to
defend the town, had, for some hours past, hovered round it like droves
of famished wolves.

As the Governor fled out, terrified as much at the wild tribes as of the
French, in rushed these hordes, led on by their desperate chiefs. These
wretches undismayed, unmoved by the terrors of the bombarding ravages
around, strove and vied with each other in the committal of every act of
the most unlicensed ferocity and depredation, breaking open houses,
assaulting the inmates, murdering such as shewed resistance, denuding
the more submissive of their clothing, abusing women - particularly in
the Jewish quarter - to all which atrocities the Europeans were likewise

At the most imminent hazard of their lives, the British Consul and his
wife, with a few others, escaped from these ruffians. Truly providential
was their flight through streets, resounding with the most turbulent
confusion and sanguinary violence. It was late when the plunderers
appeared before the Consulates, where, without any ceremony, by
hundreds, they fell to work, breaking open bales of goods, ransacking
places for money and other treasures; and, thus unsatisfied in their
rapacity, they tore and burnt all the account-books and Consular

Other gangs fought over the spoil; some carrying off their booty, and
others setting it on fire. It was a real pandemonium of discord and
licentiousness. During the darkness, and in the midst of such scenes, it
was that the Consul and his wife threaded their precarious flight
through the streets, and in their way were intercepted by a marauding
band, who attacked them; tore off his coat; and, seizing his wife,
insisted upon denuding her, four or five daggers being raised to her
throat, expecting to find money concealed about their persons; nor would
the ruffians desist until they ascertained they had none, the Consul
having prudently resolved to take no money with them. Fortunately, at
this juncture, his wife was able to speak, and in Arabic (being born
here, and daughter of a former Consul), therefore she could give force
to her entreaties by appealing to them not to imbue their hands in the
blood of their countrywomen. This had the desired effect. The chief of
the party undertook to conduct them to the water-port, when, coming in
contact with another party, a conflict about booty ensued, during which
the Consul's family got out of the town to a place of comparative

Incidents of a similar alarming nature attended the escape of Mr.
Robertson, his wife, and four children; one, a baby in arms. In the
crowd, Mr. Robertson, with a child in each hand, lost sight of Mrs.
Robertson, with her infant and another child. Distracted by sad
forebodings, poor Mr. Robertson forced his way to the water-port, but
not before a savage mountainer - riding furiously by him - aimed a
sabre-blow at him to cut him down; but, as the murderous arm was poised
above, Mr. Robertson stooped, and, raising his arm at the time, warded
it off; the miscreant then rode off, being satisfied at this cut at the
detested Nazarene.

Another ruffian seized one of his little girls, a pretty child of nine
years old, and scratched her arm several times with his dagger, calling
out _flous_ (money) at each stroke. At the water-port, Mr. Robertson
joined his fainting wife, and the British Consul and his wife, with Mr.
Lucas and Mr. Allnut. An old Moor never deserted the Consul's family,
"faithful among the faithless;" and a Jewess, much attached to the
family, abandoned them only to return to those allied to her by the ties
of blood.

Their situation was now still perilous, for, should they be discovered
by the wild Berbers, they all might be murdered. This night, the 15th,
was a most anxious one, and their apprehensions were dreadful. Dawn of
day was fast approaching, and every hour's delay rendered their
condition more precarious. In this emergency, Mr. Lucas, who never once
failed or lost his accustomed suavity and presence of mind amidst these
imminent dangers, resolved upon communicating with the fleet by a most
hazardous experiment. On his way from the town-gate to the water-port,
he noticed some deal planks near the beach. The idea struck him of
turning these into a raft, which, supporting him, could enable their
party to communicate with the squadron. Mr. Lucas fetched the planks,
and resolutely set to work. Taking three of them, and luckily finding a
quantity of strong grass cordage, he arranged them in the water, and
with some cross-pieces, bound the whole together; and, besides, having
found two small pieces of board to serve him as paddles, he gallantly
launched forth alone, and, in about an hour, effected his object, for he
excited the attention of the French brig, 'Canard,' from which a boat
came and took him on board.

The officers, being assured there were no Moors on guard at the
batteries, and that the Berbers were wholly occupied in plundering the
city, promptly and generously sent off a boat with Mr. Lucas to the
rescue of the alarmed and trembling fugitives. The Prince de Joinville
afterwards ordered them to be conveyed on board the 'Warspite.' The
self-devotedness, sagacity, and indefatigable exertions of the excellent
young man, Mr. Lucas, were above all encomiums, and, at the hands of the
British Government, he deserved some especial mark of favour.

Poor Mrs. Levy (an English Jewess, married to a Maroquine Jew), and her
family were left behind, and accompanied the rest of the miserable Jews
and natives, to be maltreated, stripped naked, and, perhaps, murdered,
like many poor Jews. Mr. Amrem Elmelek, the greatest native merchant and
a Jew, died from fright. Carlos Bolelli, a Roman, perished during the
sack of the city.

Mogador was left a heap of ruins, scarcely one house standing entire,
and all tenantless. In the fine elegiac bulletin of the bombarding
Prince, "Alas! for thee, Mogador! thy walls are riddled with bullets,
and thy mosques of prayer blackened with fire!" (or something like
these words.)



Tangier trades almost exclusively with Gibraltar, between which place
and this, an active intercourse is constantly kept up.

The principal articles of importation into Tangier are, cotton goods of
all kinds, cloth, silk-stuffs, velvets, copper, iron, steel, and
hardware of every description; cochineal, indigo, and other dyes; tea,
coffee, sulphur, paper, planks, looking-glasses, tin, thread,
glass-beads, alum, playing-cards, incense, sarsaparilla, and rum.

The exports consist in hides, wax, wool, leeches, dates, almonds,
oranges, and other fruit, bark, flax, durra, chick-peas, bird-seed, oxen
and sheep, henna, and other dyes, woollen sashes, haicks, Moorish
slippers, poultry, eggs, flour, &c.

The value of British and foreign goods imported into Tangier in 1856
was: British goods, £101,773 6_s_., foreign goods, £33,793.

The goods exported from Tangier during the same year was: For British
ports, £63,580 10_s_., for foreign ports, £13,683.

The following is a statement of the number of British and foreign ships
that entered and cleared from this port during the same year. Entered:
British ships 203, the united tonnage of which was 10,883; foreign ships
110, the total tonnage of which was 4,780.

Cleared: British ships 207, the united tonnage of which was 10,934;
foreign ships 110, the total tonnage of which was 4,780.

Three thousand head of cattle are annually exported, at a fixed duty of
five dollars per head, to Gibraltar, for the use of that garrison, in
conformity with the terms of special grants that have, from time to
time, been made by the present Sultan and some of his predecessors. In
addition to the above, about 2,000 head are, likewise, exported
annually, for the same destination, at a higher rate of duty, varying
from eight dollars to ten dollars per head. Gibraltar, also, draws from
this place large supplies of poultry, eggs, flour, and other kinds of


From the port of Mogador are exported the richest articles the country
produces, viz., almonds, sweet and bitter gums, wool, olive-oil, seeds
of various kinds, as cummin, gingelen, aniseed; sheep-skins, calf, and
goat-skins, ostrich-feathers, and occasionally maize.

The amount of exports in 1855 was: For British ports, £228,112 3_s_.
2_d_., for foreign ports, £55,965 13_s_. 1_d_.

The imports are Manchester cotton goods, which have entirely superseded
the East India long cloths, formerly in universal use, blue salampores,
prints, sugar, tea, coffee, Buenos Ayres slides, iron, steel, spices,
drugs, nails, beads and deals, woollen cloth, cotton wool, and mirrors
of small value, partly for consumption in the town, but chiefly for that
of the interior, from Morocco and its environs, as far as Timbuctoo.

The amount of imports in 1855 was: British goods, £136,496 7_s_. 6_d_.,
foreign goods £31,222 11_s_. 5_d_.

The trade last year was greatly increased by the unusually large demand
for olive-oil from all parts, and there is no doubt that, under a more
liberal Government, the commerce might be developed to a vast extent.


The principal goods imported at Rabat are, alum, calico of different
qualities, cinnamon, fine cloth, army cloth, cloves, copperas, cotton
prints, raw cotton, sewing cotton, cutlery, dimity, domestics,
earthenware, ginger, glass, handkerchiefs (silk and cotton), hardware,
indigo, iron, linen, madder root, muslin, sugar (refined and raw), tea,
and tin plate.

The before-mentioned articles are imported partly for consumption in
Rabat and Sallee, and partly for transmission into the interior.

The value of different articles of produce exported at Rabat during the
last five years amounts to £34,860 1_s_.

There can be no doubt that the imports and exports at Rabat would
greatly increase, if the present high duties were reduced, and
Government monopolies abolished. Large quantities of hides were exported
before they were a Government monopoly: now the quantity exported is
very inconsiderable.


_Goods Imported_. - Brown Domestics, called American White, muslins, raw
cotton, cotton-bales, silk and cotton pocket-handkerchiefs; tea, coffee,
sugars, iron, copperas, alum; many other articles imported, but in very
small quantities.

A small portion of the importations is consumed at Mazagan and Azimore,
but the major portions in the interior.

The amount of the leading goods exported in 1855 was: - Bales of wool,
6,410; almonds, 200 serons; grain, 642,930 fanegas.

No doubt the commerce of this port would be increased under better
fiscal laws than those now established.

But the primary and immediate thing to be looked after is the wilful
casting into the anchorage-ground of stone-ballast by foreigners.
British masters are under control, but foreigners will persist, chiefly
Sardinian masters.


[1] The predecessor of Muley Abd Errahman.

[2] On account, of their once possessing the throne, the Shereefs have a
peculiar jealousy of Marabouts, and which latter have not forgotten
their once being sovereigns of Morocco. The _Moravedi_ were "really a
dynasty of priests," as the celebrated Magi, who usurped the throne of
Cyrus. The Shereefs, though descended from the Prophet, are not strictly
priests, or, to make the distinction perfectly clear the Shereefs are to
be considered a dynasty corresponding to the type of Melchizdek, uniting
in themselves the regal and sacerdotal authority, whilst the
_Marabouteen_ were a family of priests like the sons of Aaron.
Abd-el-Kader unites in himself the princely and sacerdotal authority
like the Shereefs, though not of the family of the Prophet. Mankind have
always been jealous of mere theocratic government, and dynasties of
priests have always been failures in the arts of governing, and the
Egyptian priests, though they struggled hard, and were the most
accomplished of this class of men, could not make themselves the
sovereigns of Egypt.

[3] According to others the Sâdia reigned before the Shereefs.

[4] I was greatly astonished to read in Mr. Hay's "Western Barbary," (p.
123), these words - "During one of the late rebellions, a beautiful young
girl was offered up as a propitiatory sacrifice, her throat being cut
before the tent of the Sultan, and in his presence!" This is an
unmitigated libel on the Shereefian prince ruling Morocco. First of all,
the sacrifice of human beings is repudiated by every class of
inhabitants in Barbary. Such rites, indeed, are unheard of, nay,
unthought of. If the Mahometan religion has been powerful in any one
thing, it is in that of rooting out from the mind of man every notion of
human sacrifice. It is this which makes the sacrifice of the Saviour
such an obnoxious doctrine to Mussulmen. It is true enough, at times,
oxen are immolated to God, but not to Moorish princes, "to appease an
offended potentate." One spring, when there was a great drought, the
people led up to the hill of Ghamart, near Carthage, a red heifer to be
slaughtered, in order to appease the displeasure of Deity; and when the
Bey's frigate, which, a short time ago, carried a present to her
Britannic Majesty, from Tunis to Malta, put back by stress of weather,
two sheep were sacrificed to some tutelar saints, and two guns were
fired in their honour. The companions of Abd-el-Kader in a storm, during
his passage from Oran to Toulon, threw handsful of salt to the raging
deep to appease its wild fury. But as to sacrificing human victims,
either to an incensed Deity, or to man, impiously putting himself in the
place of God, the Moors of Barbary have not the least conception of such
an enormity.

It would seem, unfortunately, that the practice of the gentleman, who
travelled a few miles into the interior of Morocco on a horse-mission,
had been to exaggerate everything, and, where effect was wanting, not to
have scrupled to have recourse to unadulterated invention. But this
style of writing cannot be defended on any principle, when so serious a
case is brought forward as that of sacrificing a human victim to appease
the wrath of an incensed sovereign, and that prince now living in
amicable relations with ourselves.

[5] Gräberg de Hemso, whilst consul-general for Sweden and Sardinia (at
Morocco!) concludes the genealogy of these Mussulman sovereigns with
this strange, but Catholic-spirited rhapsody: -

"Muley Abd-ur-Bakliman, who is now gloriously and happily reigning, whom
we pray Almighty God, all Goodness and Power, to protect and exalt by
prolonging his life, glory, and reign in this world and in the next; and
giving him, during eternity, the heavenly beatitude, in order that his
soul, in the same manner as flame to flame, river to sea, may be united
with his sweetest, most perfect and ineffable Creator. Amen."

[6] Yezeed was half-Irish, born of the renegade widow of an Irish
sergeant of the corps of Sappers and Miners, who was placed at the
disposition of this government by England, and who died in Morocco. On
his death, the facile, buxom widow was admitted, "nothing loath," into
the harem of Sidi-Mohammed, who boasted of having within its sacred
enclosure of love and bliss, a woman from every clime.

Here the daughter of Erin brought forth this ferocious tyrant, whose
maxim of carnage, and of inflicting suffering on humanity was, "My
empire can never be well governed, unless a stream of blood flows from
the gate of the palace to the gate of the city." To do Yezeed justice,
he followed out the instincts of his birth, and made war on all the
world except the English (or Irish). Tully's Letters on Tripoli give a
graphic account of the exploits of Yezeed, who, to his inherent cruelty,
added a fondness for practical (Hibernian) jokes.

His father sent him several times on a pilgrimage to Mecca to expiate
his crimes, when he amused, or alarmed, all the people whose countries
he passed through, by his terrific vagaries. One day he would cut off
the heads of a couple of his domestics, and play at bowls with them;
another day, he would ride across the path of an European, or a consul,
and singe his whiskers with the discharge of a pistol-shot; another day,
he would collect all the poor of a district, and gorge them with a
razzia he had made on the effects of some rich over-fed Bashaw. The
multitude sometimes implored heaven's blessing on the head of Yezeed. at
other times trembled for their own heads. Meanwhile, our European
consuls made profound obeisance to this son of the Shereef, enthroned in
the West. So the tyrant passed the innocent days of his pilgrimage. So
the godless herd of mankind acquiesced in the divine rights of royalty.

[7] See Appendix at the end of this volume.

[8] The middle Western Region consists of Algiers and part of Tunis.

[9] Pliny, the Elder, confirms this tradition mentioned by Pliny. Marcus
Yarron reports, "that in all Spain there are spread Iberians, Persians,
Phoenicians, Celts, and Carthaginians." (Lib. iii. chap. 2).

[10] In Latin, Mauri, Maurice, Maurici, Maurusci, and it is supposed, so
called by the Greeks from their dark complexions.

[11] The more probable derivation of this word is from _bar_, signifying
land, or earth, in contradistinction from the sea, or desert, beyond the
cultivable lands to the South. To give the term more force it is
doubled, after the style of the Semitic reduplication. De Haedo de la
Captividad gives a characteristic derivation, like a genuine hidalgo,
who proclaimed eternal war against Los Moros. He says - "Moors, Alartes,
Cabayles, and some Turks, form all of them a dirty, lazy, inhuman,
indomitable nation of beasts, and it is for this reason that, for the
last few years, I have accustomed myself to call that land the land of

[12] Procopius, de Bello Vandilico, lib. ii. cap. 10.

[13] Some derive it from _Sarak_, an Arabic word which signifies to
steal, and hence, call the conquerors thieves. Others, and with more
probability, derive it from _Sharak_, the east, and make them Orientals,
and others say there is an Arabic word _Saracini_, which means a
pastoral people, and assert that Saracine is a corruption from it, the
new Arabian immigrants being supposed to have been pastoral tribes.

[14] Some suppose that _Amayeegh_ means "great," and the tribes thus
distinguished themselves, as our neighbours are wont to do by the phrase
"la grande nation." The Shoulah are vulgarly considered to be descended
from the Philistines, and to have fled before Joshua on the conquest of

In his translation of the Description of Spain, by the Shereef El-Edris

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 12

Online LibraryJames RichardsonTravels in Morocco, Volume 2 → online text (page 12 of 13)