Sufferings In Africa

by James Riley

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Chapter XXII

Rais bel Cossim gains the friendship of the prince — good provisions are procured—Sheick Mi's plans miscarry—they set off for, and arrive at Santa Cruz, in the empite of Morocco.

Being now left alone with Rais bel Cossim I questioned him concerning our detention: he said it would be but for a few days, and that we needed a little time to refresh ourselves, in order to enable us to bear the fatigues of the remainder of our journey : that he trusted he should make a friend of the prince, in whose power we all now were, and that he hoped to be able to effect this by making him a small present. I told him I almost despaired of living to regain my liberty, as I was extremely feeble, and must soon perish. “What! (said he) dare you distrust the power of that God who has preserved you so long by miracles? No, my friend, (added he) the God of heaven and of earth is your friend, and will not forsake you; but in his own good time restore you to your liberty and to the embraces of your family; we must say, ‘ his will be done,’ and be contented with our lot, for God knows best what is for our good.”

To hear such sentiments from the mouth of a Moor, whose nation I had been taught to consider the worst of barbarians, I confess, filled my mind with awe and reverence, and I looked up to him as a kind of superior being, when he added, "We are all children of the same heavenly Father, who watches over all our actions, whether we be Moor, or Christian, or Pagan, or of any other religion; we must perform his will." Rais then called Muley Ibrahim, and had a long conference with him. This prince Ibrahim was a man of a very mild aspect, of a light complexion, about five feet ten inches in height, and rather thin—his countenance was intelligent, and he was very active, though apparently sixty or severity years of age. By the tenor of the conversation I could understand that Rais was flattering him highly, but in a delicate way: he asked very affectionately about the prince’s wives, and understanding he had but one, he inquired if she had any children; and was answered, she had none: he next wished to know if she had any tea or sugar, and was answered in the negative.

We had not seen the faces of any of the women since we arrived at the town where Sidi Mohammed dwelt. Rais now managed to get a little wood and some water, and we made a fire and boiled some coffee; this was done by the help of a small negro girl who was a slave to Muley Ibrahim; and during the absence of the prince. Rais, by giving the girl a small lump of loaf sugar, persuaded her to carry a large lump to her mistress, and also a cup of coffee thick with sugar. The prince had gone out before Rais attempted to bribe the girl. After carrying in the coffee and the sugar, the girl returned and told Rais that her mistress was much obliged to him, and would keep the cup and saucer, for she had never seen one before, and thought them very pretty, and begged to know how she might serve him in return. Rais sent back word that she could serve him most essentially by striving to make the prince his friend. About one hour after this, Muley Ibrahim entered our apartment, and asked Rais what he had been doing with his wife ? saying, at the same time, “You had no need of gaining my friendship through her influence, for you had it alreadybut I could perceive a very great difference in his manner. He wished to know if Rais did not want to go to the mosque, which he said was not far distant. Rais accompanied him thither, and I discovered at his return, about two hours after, that all was right between him and the prince, and that he had all the liberty he required. I had, in the meantime, made some coffee, of which my companions and myself drank as much as we wanted, and nibbled our biscuits, for our Arab friends had before taken care to eat up all our boiled tongue. We were, all of us, so excessively weak, that we were not able to fetch water for ourselves, and our diarrhoea also continued with the most distressing hermorrhoides: this day, however, had passed away more smoothly than I had expected. In the evening, the prince came, and prayed, in company with Rais, and appeared very friendly. After the prince retired, Rais informed me that he (Rais)*had sent off to a rich man, an old acquaintance of his, who lived about one day’s journey south of us, for money to pay Sheick Ali’s demand, and that he expected his friend would come to him the next day—“but (said Rais) God has made Muley Ibrahim my firm friend; and he has given his princely word that he will protect both me and my slaves, and in case force is necessary, he will provide a sufficiency to escort us into the emperor’s dominions—he will also provide some fowls and eggs for you in the morning, and you may tell your shipmates they have nothing to fear, for to-morrow M. Shallah, (i. e. if it is God’s will) they shall have plenty of good food.” This news cheered their spirits, and as our apprehensions had in some measure subsided, we rested comfortably.

Early in the morning of November the 3d, Muley Ibrahim brought in some eggs, which we boiled for our breakfast: he gave us salt to season them with, and soon after brought half a dozen fowls, and Rais taking the fowls’ wings in his left hand, and turning his face towards the east, after saying aloud, Bes- millah, (in the name of the most holy God) he cut their throats, and we soon dressed them after our fashion, and put them into an earthen pot with water, and set it a boiling. The prince had furnished us with wood, and brought us water with his own hands; he next went into his garden, and pulled some onions, turnips, and small squashes, with which we enriched our soup; and he also gave us salt and green peppers to season it with. We put in four fowls, and this soqp would have been thought good in any country. A more grateful and wholesome dish could not possibly have been prepared for our poor disordered stomachs, that had been so long harassed with the most cruel griping pains, rnd felt as if they had lost all power of digestion. The prince and Rais had a bowl of the soup, with a pari of the fowls, and seemed to relish it exceedingly. The prince insisted on my eating from the same dish with them: inquires concerning my wife and children, wished to know their sex: and continued from that time during ourstay in hiscity to administer all the relief and comfort in his power, both to me and my desponding and wretched companions, whose last ray of hope had faded away on our being stopped here; although in fact they were not in a condition to continue their journey, particularly Burns and Clark, for they had sunken into a lethargic state, bordering on dissolution. Yet, when I was enabled to explain the causes of our detention, and to inform them that the prince was our friend, and gave them nourishing soups, their spirits came again, and hope raised them from the ground.—To the circumstance of this stoppage alone, and the friendship and protection of this good chief, I attribute, under Providence, the salvation of our lives. On the second day of our detention, in the afternoon, the old man, Rais bel Cossim’s friend, to whom he had written for assistance, came to see him: he had been riding all night to be with Rais in time. Their meeting was a friendly one: the old man had two mules, on one of which were two baskets, containing a dozen of fowls, and some dry coos-coo-soo these he presented to Rais, and said he had brought five hundred, dollars for his use, as he requested, and that he would bring it in: but Rais had now become the friend of Muley Ibrahim, and therefore did not need the money; yet this old friend insisted on his taking the fowls as a present, with some eggs he had also brought with him; these Rais accepted, for he said they were meant as a present to me. I had some fowls cooked already, and the old man sat down and ate with Rais, and would have me to be one of the company: he told Rais that if he would but say the word, he would go and collect his friends and take the slaves by force of arms, and in spite of Sheick Ali’s opposition would carry us safe to Santa Cruz, and beyond his power: but as Muley Ibrahim had given his word, on which Rais said he could depend, to see us all safe to Santa Cruz, and to use alt his force and influence, if that should be necessary, the . old man, whose name I am sorry to say l have forgotten, left us and returned to his home. We now lived for three days as well as we could wish.

On the fourth day after Seid’s departure, akindof fair was held at a short distance from our city, and Rais told me he was going to it, and would try by some manoeuvre to liberate us, and to get us on towards the sultan’s dominions.—A man of great influence lived about five leagues distance from that city He was called a son of the holy prophet, or Shariff; had been to Morocco, and was also called elajjh: (the pilgrim;) he was looked upon by all far and near as possessing supernatural powers, and was obeyed and almost worshipped as a superior being; and his word or dictate was equivalent to a law. Rais went to the fair and from thence to the place of worship, and did not return until the afternoon, when he informed me he had bought a bullock at the fair, the best and fattest he could find, though it was but a small •ne. He had sent one half of it to the son of the prophet (or Shariff) by the hand of a messenger, on a mule, saying, when you deliver the flesh to the el ajjh, and he asks you who sent it to him, tell him a pious man, who has lately come from Swearah, and is now a guest with Muley Ibrahim, and wishes to be remembered in your prayers.” This, Rais said, was all the message he sent, but he was sure, that if the Shariff accepted the present, he should see him before the sun went down. Rais had given the other half to Muley Ibrahim,and remarked, that it was not so much the real value of a present that was taken into consideration by the Moors, but the manner of giving it, which laid the receiver under such an obligation, as to make him your friend forever.—This notion I was at a loss to understand, and therefore supposed it to be some peculiarity in the customs of these singular people. Rais went out to prayers about sunset, and returned in a short time; when he mentioned that he had been waited upon by the Shariff, who had- asked him what favour he wanted, that made him send such a present to a stranger.—Rais told him our story, and that he had paid his money for myself and my companions, and begged his assistance to force Sheick Ali (whose power all dreaded) to consent to have us removed quietly to Santa Cruz; where Rais thought his property would be safe: this the Shariff promised to do, and even to exert all his influence if necessary, to remove and protect Rais and his pro- perty by force of arms, and requested to be informed without delay when Sheick Ali returned.

On the following day (November 4th) the Sheick did return; and relying on the friendship of Muley Ibrahim, had only one attendant: the Shariff was immediately informed of his arrival, by express, an ! came to see him as an old friend; then taking him aside, he advised the Sheiqk to remove his slaves to Santa Cruz as soon as possible, asserting at the same time that he was certain that Stdilskem , whom the Sheick well knew and dreaded, would set out from his city on the morrow with a force, in order to seize upon the slaves, whom he had before strove hard to purchase for money without success, and if they were not in the dominions of the emperor before he came, another day would place them in his hands, when the Sheick would not only lose them, but it must also kindle a war between him and that powerful chief; which would set the whole country in a blaze, and after all it would be impossible to deliver them from his grasp by force of arms. When the Sheick heard the advice of the Shariff, he returned to our prison, and Rais contrived to find out what had passed between them, by again meeting the Shariff at the city gate alone, as had been before agreed upon. Rais being thus fully informed and let into the secret, came into the apartment and informed me how matters stood. Sheick Ali, in the mean time, was unfolding his plan to Muly Ibrahim, and trying to gain his consent to let the slaves be carried off in the night by surprise, but the prince would not consent; they were now within his walls, and he had given his word they should not be removed until the disputed right of property was settled by all parties face to face :— this he should insist on. Finding that plan would not answer any good purpose, and fearing Sidilshem’s expected arrival, and wishing to make a merit of necessity, this crafty chief addressing Rais bel Cossim, told him, in a flattering way, that he had found him to be a good and an honourable man, and wished to be called his friend ; that he did not doubt Rais’s word, since he knew his character, and would therefore consent to go on with the slaves on the morrow morning* as far as Santa Cruz, where they would wait for the arrival of Sidi Hamet, and settle the right of property amicably. Rais, on the other hand, as crafty as the Sheick, took care not to evince any desire of going, and being in the whole secret, now told Sheick Ali, that he had stopped him and his Christian slaves at first contrary to the laws of justice and hospitality, and that as he had kept them so long a time, he had no wish to remove them at present, but would wait with patience until Sidi Hamet should come down, and convince the Sheick that he had done wrong in detaining him.

At last, however, he suffered himself to be persuaded by the united voices of Sheick Ali and Muley Ibrahim, but on the express condition of being escorted to Santa Cruz by the prince, who was a party in the whole secret. He was also to procure camels for us to ride on, and went forth to engage and have them, ready for a start at daylight the next morning. Rai* bel Cossim now informed me that Muley Ibrahim had previously agreed to accompany us; that we were to ride on camels, and that two hundred horsemen were to guard us on the road, in order to prevent any treachery on the part of Sheick Ali, who might already have troops stationed on the way to seize and carry us off to the mountains: he had also given private orders to his friends and his vassals, to hold themselves in readiness in case of an alarm. The two hundred horsemen were to take stations, so as to keep us in continual view without exciting suspicion, and to be ready to carry intelligence. Rais then bade me kill and boil what fowls and eggs remained, which I did, with the assistance of my men , who had very much recovered.

Character of Sidi Ishem.

While the fowls and eggs were cooking, I asked Rais who this Sidi Ishem was ? as his name alone had seemed capable of inspiring sueh dread. “ This Sidi Ishem,” said Rais, “ is a descendant of the former kings of Suse, before it was conquered by the Moors;—he is a man of between fifty and sixty years of age, possessed of great wealth and power; is very crafty, and very brave, but rapacious and cruel; he has under his command fifteen thousand horsemen, well armed:—they are of the race of the ancient inhabitants of the country, from whom the whole country derives the name of Berberia , corrupted by the Europeans into Barbary ;—these Berberians are extremely fierce and warlike, and are joined by all the renegado Moors, who escape from the Emperor’s dominion, to evade punishment for crimes they have committed. These men are always ready to join him in any of his enterprises, for they always get a share of the spoil. He lives in the gorge of a mountain, near the town of Widnoon, on the great route from Morocco across the great desart, to Soudain, the country beyond the desart, and the city of Tombuc- too. All the caravans that go either to or from the desart are obliged to go close to Widnoon, and as the Atlas mountains are on the one side, and th^ ridge next the sea on the other, they find it highly neces* sary to secure his friendship and protection by presents.—Between this chief and the Emperor of Morocco there exists the most implacable hatred, and;a continual jealousy, which a few years ago broke out into an open war. The emperor sent a powerful army against him, (said to be 30,000 strong) but Sidi Ishem was apprized of its approach in time, and sent off all the women, children, and old men, with all their substance, to the south foot of the Atlas mountains, and on the great desart. The emperor’s army entered his territory, where they found nothing to subsist upon; yet as they met with no resistance, they carried on their work of destruction, by burning all the towns and every thing that was combustible, tearing down the houses and walls of their cities, so that nothing escaped their violence and rapacity. They continued pursuing Sidi Ishem (who hovered about them with most of his men) until they were exhausted by fatigue and hunger; when this chief fell upon them by surprise with his infuriated followers, who had been rendered doubly desperate by the sight of their ruined cities. They slew more than ten thousand on the spot; those who escaped this dreadful carnage, and fled, were hunted down and nearly all destroyed, before they could reach the city of Taru- dctnt, (the southern and westernmost town in the emperor of Morocco’s dominions) where the few that were left found shelter, and spread such terror and dismay throughout that part of the empire, by the horrid accounts they gave of their disasters, as to render it impracticable to raise another army for the purpose of reducing Sidi Ishem and his men to submission. All the inhabitants were soon recalled by their chief from the mountains and desarts; took possession of their country anew, rebuilt their cities and dwellings, and are at this' time more powerful, more feared and respected, than they were previous to that event.” This is the account Rais bel Cossim gave me in Spanish, as nearly as my memory served me, when I took it down at Moga- dore :—he also said that we had escaped falling into his hands only by groping our way along a private path on the sea shore. The substance of this account of Sidi Ishem was confirmed, after my arrival at Mo- gadore, by Mr. Willshire and others.

Our food being prepared, and every thing packed up tight for a start, we got a short nap, and at daylight on the morning of the 4th of November, we wjere placed on five camels, which were saddled much better than any we had hitherto rode : they had on them also bags of barley, and empty sacks, made of tent cloth, that would hold, I should suppose, ten or twelve bushels ; these altogether made quite a comfortable seat, though rather a wide one, and we could hold ourselves on by the ropes that secured the lading: they placed me on the largest camel I had yet seen, which was nine or ten feet in height. The camels were now all kneeling or lying down :—and mine among the rest. I thought I had taken a good hold to steady myself while he was rising—yet, his motion was so heavy, and my strength so far exhausted, that I could not possibly hold on, and tumbled off over his tail, turning entir«dy over. I came down upon my feet, which prevented my receiving any material injury, though the shock to my frame was very severe.—The owner of the camel helped me up, and asked me if I was injured?—I told him no—“God be praised,” said he, “ for turning you over; had you fallen upon your head, these stones must have dashed out your brains; but the camel,” added he, “ is a sacred animal, and heaven protects those who ride on him! had you fallen from aq ass, though he is only two cubits and a half high, it would have killed you; for the ass is not so noble a creature as tta camel and the horse.”—1 afterwards found this to be the prevailing opinion among all classes of the Moors and the Arabs.—When they put me on again, two of the men steadied me by the legs until the camel was fairly up, and then told me to be careful, and to hold on fast: they also took great care to assist my companions in the same way.

Being now all mounted, we^et off to the N. E. leaving Stuka , (for that was the name of the place' where we had been confined) accompanied by Rais bel Cossim, Muley Ibrahim, and his two servants, and Sheick Ali, with his attendant, all riding on mules and asses : the five owners of the camels went on foot, each driving his own camel, and taking care of its rider .—Stuka was built in a quadrangular form; its walls would measure about three hundred yards on each angle;‘they were built of rough stone, laid in clay, and appeared to be four or five feet thick at their base, and twenty feet in height, tapering off to two feet thick at the top, and were crowned with turrets all around. It had but one gate, which was at its north angle, very strongly made, and swinging on the ends of its back posts, which were let into large stone sockets at the bottom and at the top : the gate consisted of two folding leaves, and at night was secured by four heavy wooden bars. The town was divided within, into as many compartments as there were families in it, which I should think might amount to three hundred, probably containing in all five thousand souls. The houses were built of the same materials as the walls; only one story high, and flat roofed: except the door, they looked like heaps of mud and stone: even that of the prince bore the same appearance, without any other distinction or ornament than being closer jointed and more bedaubed with mud.—All the flocks and herds were driven within the walls every night, and each owner makes those that belong to him lie down in his own yard or enclosure.

As we travelled on, we passed between a great number of cities or towns, similar in appearance to Stu/ca, with which this truly vast plain is chequered. The whole plain seemed very fertile, was planted with numerous groves and orchards of fig and other fruit trees, with here and there a clump of the arga tree, yellow with fruit. The inhabitants were busied in ploughing up the soil, with a kind of plough which I shall hereafter describe.—We proceeded on very rapidly, keeping those on foot running constantly, and had been travelling about six hours, when we came to the ruins of many towns on our left, similar in appearance to Stuka; near the shattered walls of some of which stood several battering machines, but they were at the distance of a mile or more from us. These places appeared to have been recently inhabited; for the gardens near the walls were still green with vegetation. Wishing to know what had been the cause of such desolation, I was informed by Muley Ibrahim and Sheick Ali, through Rais bel Cossim, that a family quarrel happened about one year ago between the chiefs of two of these towns, which soon broke out into the most dreadful kind of warfare— each party engaged their friends to assist them in fighting what each termed their righteous battles: the neighbouring towns joined, some on one side, and some on the other, and the plain was deluged with blood. This quarrel being only of a family nature, Sidi Ishem did not interfere, and it was finally settled by the destruction of seven of those small cities, and most of their inhabitants. These ruins were now entirely abandoned, and their environs laid desolate, though the war continued only one month. I could scarcely believe it possible for such devastation to have been committed in so short a time or on such trivial grounds; but Rais bel Cossim (who was born near Santa Cruz) assured me that nothing was more common than such feuds between families in those parts: that he had known many himself, with every circumstance attending them, and that they were ve-y seldom finished until one family or the other was exterminated, and their names blotted out from the face of the earth.

We continued our journey until about mid-day still on the plain, when Santa Cruz or Agader was distinctly seen and pointed out to me. It is situated on the summit of a high mountain; its walls are white, and can be descried at a great distance. The plain on which we travelled was nearly level; not a brook or stream of water had we passed since leaving the last mentioned river, but the towns and villages had many deep wells near their walls, from which the inhabitants drew water for themselves and their numerous cattle.—Innumerable clumps of the evergreen arga tree, loaded with the rich oil nut, were scattered over the plain in every direction. Vast numbers of leafless fig trees, and enclosures of grape vines with date, pomegranate, almond, orange, and other fruit trees, promised abundance in their seasons; and delightfully variegated the scene.—Hundreds of the inhabitants were busied in ploughing the soil, which appeared rich, though dry; and sowing their barley; while their herds were browsing on the shrubs round about for the want of grass.—Many unarmed men, with droves of camels and asses loaded with salt and other merchandise, were meeting and passing us almost continually. We saw also, from time to time, bands of armed men on horseback, of about fifty in each band, most of whom I learned from Rais were the friends of Muley Ibrahim, whom he had requested to ride guard, as I before mentioned, and to be ready to act in our behalf in case of treachery, or of any emergency whatever. Our path led us in a N. E. direction, and the camels were kept most of the time on a great trot, while their drivers were running on foot, and kept up with us, seemingly, with great ease; though I compute we rode at the rate of seven or eight miles an hour.

About two P. M. approaching the coast, we fell in with huge drifts of loose sand on our left, which extended to the sea shore. This sand had been driven from the sea beach by the constant trade winds, and as the sea had retired, (for it was clean coarse beach sand) it had undoubtedly for ages been making its way gradually from the coast, (which was now about twenty miles distant) and had buried, as I was informed, several flourishing villages, towns, and cities, the tops of whose walls were still visible y the circular domes of a considerable number of saint-hpuses, or sanctuaries, whose bodies were entirely enveloped, were yet to be seen among' these barren heaps of overwhelming sands; for the inhabitants take great care to clear away around them, and to give them a whitewashing every year. Mu- ley Ibrahim informed me that a large town called Rabeah, whose ruins we had passed in mounting over the sand hills, was a flourishing place within his remembrance; (probably fifty years ago;) that he himself was born in it—but that large bodies of sand had already encroached upon its northern wall: that as soon as it was overtopped, it fell in, and the whole city was filled with sand in the course of one year after, and its inhabitants forced to seek a new shelter. These drifts extended, as far as we could distinguish sand, on our right.

Having got past the high heaps, which filled a space of eight or ten miles in width, we came to the high banks of an apparently once large river, now called by the natives el Wod Sta. This river’s ancient bed, and the high banks, which are still perfectly distinct, bear the strongest marks of having been once laved by a stream of four or five miles in breadth, and nearly one hundred feet in depth, or by a part of the ocean. The steep, barren, and craggy mountains, rising before us to the eastward and southward, though very high, appeared to serve only as a base to the mighty range of Atlas, whose towering height and grandeur filled my mind with awe and astonishment. Notwithstanding my frame was literally exhausted, yet my imagination transported me back to a time when this region might have been inhabited by men in a higher state of .civilization, and when it was probably one of the fairest portions of the African continent. My reasons for imagining this are, first, that it is well known by historians, that the Romans had settlements along this coast as far south as Salee at least, and no doubt much further. Second, that the Portuguese and Spaniards had possessed the settlements of Mamora , JWazagcm, Asbedre , Santa Cruz , &c. Third, by the traditional information obtained from Rais belCossim and Sidi Mohammed, I have no doubt that a large city and settlement of civilized men existed at a former period near the mouth of the river Schelem. from sixty to one hundred miles west of Santa Cruz, and I am firmly of opinion that the convenience of these harbours, the luxuriancy of the surrounding soil, and the commercial advantages this part of the country offers, were a sufficient inducement for colonization.

We had now approached to within two miles of Santa Cruz or Agader, (the lower town or port) when rising an eminence, the ocean opened to our view at a distance, and near-by appeared Santa Cruz bay, which was then quite smooth. Nearly one hundred good looking fishing boats were hauled up on the beach out of the reach of the surf, and numbers of long fishing nets were spread out to dry on the sand and over the boats. This view gave a most favourable idea of the importance of this bay as a fishery.

The sun had not yet set, and Rais informed me he did not wish to enter the lower town till dark, and did not go nearer the fortress than he could help, for fear of insult and detention; so we stopped about a mile short of it, to the southward, where I had an opportunity of examining this bay with a seaman’s eye.—It is spacious and perfectly well defended from the common trade winds, say from N. N. W. all round the compass ; by the East, and as far as S. W. thence to N. N. W. it is entirely open, and of course is a very dangerous anchorage in the winter months, when westerly winds prevail on these coasts, at which times, as there is no possibility of getting to sea, vessels at anchor in this bay must remain w'here they are; not however without the greatest risk of being driven on shore in spite of the best of anchors and cables, and large vessels must ride too far out to make it a good harbour for them at any season of the year.—The port of Santa Cruz, or, as it is called by the natives, Jigadcr, has been shut by order of the Sultan for many years; yet there are parts of the wrecks of vessels still visible, sticking up through the sand on the beach.

A little while after sunset we entered the lower town, or port, as it is called: this village is situated on the steep declivity of the mountain’s base, on which the upper town is built, and near the sea, which washes the south end of the principal street. The steep side of the mountain on w'hich this village is erected has been apparently sloped down by art, so as to make it practicable to build on it; has one principal street and several small alleys: the houses are built of rough stone laid in lime mortar, and are but one story in height, with flat roofs tenaced with lime and pebbles. We could see the tops of many houses below us, and the whole made but a miserable appearance. It was not quite dark when we entered the village. The street was soon quite filled with Moors, (men and boys,) and they saluted us by spitting on us, and pelting us with stones and sticks, accompanied with the Spanish words, “ Carajo a la Mierda le Sara, perro y, bestias, and many other chosen phrases equally delicate and polite; but some of the old men now and then uttered a “ how de do, Christianos!” in broken English and Spanish. We were conducted through the street to its further extremity towards the north, where we took up our quarters for the night in the open air alongside a smith’s shop; our camels and asses were then fed with barley. Some of the inhabitants kindled a fire for our company, whilst others were preparing a rich repast for them of boiled and baked ish, and cous-coo-soo , of which, after they had eaten, they gave us the remains, and we found it excellent food. Numbers of men, driving asses before them, loaded with fish, had passed us going into the country the day before, and they were of the same kind as those we had tasted soon after our entrance into Suse, and we had also seen the same kind of fish at Stuka: they carry them from Santa Cruz, or Agader, about the country in every direction, where they sell them for a good price, being much in request. This fish very much resembles the salmon both in size, shape, and flavour; weighing (from appearance) from eight to sixteen or twenty pounds; and is extremely fat and delicate. I then recollected to have seen in my several voyages to the Canary Islands, numbers of small vessels arrive from the coast of Africa laden with this species of fish, and to have been told they were caught near that coast: they are highly esteemed in the Canaries, where they call them Baca- lao Africano, or the African cod-fish, and are sold at from five to ten dollars per quintal, or at least one- third higher than the best of American cod*fish: they are dried, without salting, on the vessels’ decks, and their scent is so strong as to nearly suffocate the crews of merchant vessels that lie near them while discharging. .1 have been told that no less than one hundred barks, of from fifteen to fifty tons burden, are continually employed in this fishery, near the African coast from the Canary Islands, and that scarcely a year passes without more or less of them being driven on shore by tempests or other accidents, when the crews either perish with the vessel, or upon their reaching the shore, are massacred by the natives, or else carried off into the interior as slaves, where they are never after heard from. After my arrival in Mogadore, or Swearah, I was informed that the crew of a bark of this description landed imprudently on the beach not far from Santa Cruz, about two years since, where they were surprised by a sudden attack, but all escaped into the boat except one man, who was seized and carried off. On the return of the bark to Teneriffe, the wife of the man who had been left, upon inquiring for her husband, was informed that he was made a slave: distracted by this shocking event, she ran, raving as she was, to the archbishop, and begged of him either to take her life, or restore to her arms her lost husband, the father of five helpless children: she was poor, but her case excited general pity—a subscription was opened, and the sum of about five hundred dollars soon raised. The archbishop in the meantime wrote to Alexander W. Court, then Spanish agent at Mogado^, # to ransom this unfortunate man, which he effected with much difficulty; but as the money did not come on in time, or from some other cause, this poor Spaniard, whose name was Fermin, remained in Mogadore for nearly a year without being permitted to go home, when Mr. William Willshire and Don Plabo Riva, of Mogadore, and Mr. John O’Sullivan, of New- York, interfered in his favour; furnished him with clothing; procured for him a passage, and sent him to his disconsolate family. This is said to be the only Spaniard who has been redeemed in that part ef Barbary, for many years past.


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