Some account of an insurrection tfi Morocco—the Bashaw of Sweai ah is seized and put in irons—change of Governors-—the Jews are forced to pay their tribute or turn Mohammedans—their treatment by the Moors—a Jew burial—a circumcision—a Jewish priest arrives from Jerusalem—the author obtains from him some account of the present Jerusalem and its inhabitants, and of the method pursued by the priests for getting money from the Jews in Europe and in Barbary—a Moorish execution and maiming—of the Jews in West Barbary.
There had been an insurrection in the province of Duquella the last year, (1815) which had spread itself into the province of Abdah and Siedmah, and was said to have originated from a false report of the emperor’s death. The governor or Bashaw of these provinces, whose name was Mohammed ben Absedik, resided in Swearah, and had been a Bashaw and a man of great power during nearly the whole reign of Muley Soliman,the present epiperor—he was the officer before whom I was carried on my arrival at Swearah, or Mogadore. I was inform'ed that he had used all the means in his power to quell this insurrection, but could not succeed until the emperor joined him with an army of thirty thousand men, when a most desperate battle was fought, which terminated in the destruction of more than fifteen thousand of the rebels, and the remainder were reduced to unconditional submission. The whole of their flocks, herds, and substance, fell into the hands of the Sultan, or rather his black troops, who showed them not the least mercy, but seized on the wretched fugitives wherever th5y could be found, massacred many thousands, and carried those that remained of the revolters, with their families, into the provinces that had not rebelled, where they were distributed as slaves.
This war being thus terminated, Mohammed ben Absedik had returned in triumph to Mogadore, or Swearah, a few days previous to my arrival there, when he caused presents to be. made to him, as if he had taken possession of a new government. In the mean time the death of the Sultan’s first minister, named Ben Slowy , was announced: he had been the firm friend of Mohammed ben Absedik, and with the aid of Muley a Tea, (the Sultan’s princely tea maker) who was always about his person, managed the whole affairs of the Moorish empire. Ben Slowy being dead, and Muley a Tea sent to Fez to transact the imperial business in that quarter, the enemies of Mohammed ben Absedik, (for he had been long in power, and had a host of them) found means to transmit heavy complaints to the Sultan against him (Ben Absedik) and his administration, who perceiving the cloud lowering upon him, set out for Morocco about the 20th of November, 1815, hoping, by an early interview with the emperor, to dispel the impending storm—he had only been gone from Mogadore or Swearah four days, when late in the evening a new governor arrived, accompanied by six hundred horsemen. The gates had been shut for the night; the brother of the Bashaw was civil governor of the city and port: the emperor's order was sent to him over the wall;—the gates wqre soon opened and the new governor, or Alcayd, entered amidst the general and joyful acclamations of the inhabitants, both Moors and Jews. These ignorant and discontented people (ever fond of change) flattered themselves that this arrangement would be for the better, and in the morning all were ready to prefer complaints against their former governor, when they waited on the new one, and made their customary presents. This governor took charge of the civil affairs of the city and the custom-house in the room of Ajjh Hamet, (or Hamet the pilgrim) the Bashaw’s brother, who was ordered to repair with his family to Morocco, and set out for that city the next day, accompanied by a strong guard of black troops.
In the evening of the same day a commander of the troops, or military governor, arrived: he was a blaclynan, and had three hundred horsemen for an escort, all of the same colour: he was received with considerable pomp, and took on himself the immediate command. We now learned that Mohammed ben Absedik had been put in irons on his arrival at Morocco, and sent off to Fez, and that all his property was seized by order of the Sultan as soon as it could be found: “new lords, new laws,” says the old adage. A small vessel had arrived from Gibraltar—no goods could be landed—new duties were announced, and new regulations, by which no vessel was allowed to be supplied with provisions except for daily consumption: the duties and impositions to be paid every day amounted to more than the first cost of the articles CQnsumed.
The Moors who had rejoiced at the fall of the old Baghaw and civj.l governor, or Alcayd, soon changed their tone, land began to wish them back- again—all the Moors in the town up to that time were considered as imperial soldiers or sailors, and accordingly received a monthly allowance out of the Beetle mell , or treasury: this was now ordered to be stopped from the white Moors, but that all the black Moors, or negro troops, should be paid double: new officers- were appointed, and many of the old ones confined and sent to Morocco, or despoiled of their property: The Christian merchants residing there, four in number, were obliged to make costly presents to the new governor. The Christians are, William Will- shire, Esq. my deliverer, of the house of Dupuy and Wiltshire, the most respectable there in point of property, as well as on every other account;—Don Estevan Leonardi, an old unfeeling man,_ and his nephew, Don Antonio, French, Portuguese, and Genoese consular agents;—Don Pablo Riva, a respectable Genoese, and Alexander W. Court, and Mr. John Foxcroft, formerly respectable. The Jews that were overjoyed at the recent change, soon turned their joy into mourning, when they received, a day or two after, an order to pay their Gazier , or yearly tribute, to the Sultan : the order was for about |hree thousand five hundrftd dollars, including expenses, (for the Moor who brought the order must be paid) in a gross sum to be raised directly: the gates of the Jews’ town, or millah, were immediately closed upon them, nor were any suffered to go out until the money was forth coming.
The whole number of Jews here does not probably exceed six thousand souls, and they are very poor: the priests soon convened them in their synagogues, and apportioned the tax according to their law—they were classed thus: the four Jew merchants, Ben Guidalla, Macnin, Abilbol, and Zagury, formed the first class, and I was told their share was two thousand dollars or more: the few petty traders the second, the mechanics the third, and the lowest order of miserable labourers the fourth class: the priests and Levites (who are a great proportion of their number) were of course exempted, as the other classes support them at all times: not a Jew, either map, woman, or child, was allowed to go out of their town for three days, except they were wanted by the Moors or Christians to work, and not then without an order from the Alcayd. .
During this period I visited the Jews’ towns several times, but never without seeing more or less of these miserable wretches knocked down like bullocks by the gate-keepers, with their large canes, as they attempted to rush past them, when,the gates were opened to procure a little water or food for their hungry and thirsty families. On thp fourth day, when the arrangements had been made by the priests and elders, they sent word to the governor, and the three first classdfe were ordered before him to pay their apportionment. I knew of it, because I was informed by Mr. Willsbire’s interpret 1 r and broker, who was a Jew of considerable understanding, named Ben Nahory —he was one of the committee of arrangement to wait on the governor. I wished to see the operation, and went to the house of the ' Alcayd for that purpose. The Jews soon appeared by classes—as they approached, they put off their slippers, took their money in both their hands, and holding them alongside each other, as high as the breast, came slowly forward to the talb, or Mohammedan priest, appointed tt> receive it; he took it from them, hitting each one a smart blow with his fist on his bare forehead, by way cff a receipt for his money, at which the Jews said, Nahtria Sidi, and retired to give placsfrto his companion.
Thus the)cproceeded through the three first classes without much difficulty, when the fourth class was forced up with big sticks 5 this class was very numerous, as well as miserable;) they approached very unwillingly, and were asked, one by one, if they were ready to pay thei % gazier ; when one said, yes, he approached as the others had done, paid his money, took a similar receipt, and then went about his business—he that said, no, he could not, or was not ready, was seized instantly by the Moors, who throwing him. flat on his face to the ground, gave him about fifty blows with a thick stick upon his back and posteriors, and conducted him away, I was told, into a dungeon, under a bomb proof, battery ,' next the western city wall, facing the oceaa^there were many served this wa/—the Jews’ town was all this time strongly guarded, and strictly watched. At the end of three days more, I was informed that those who were confined in the dungeon) were brought forth, but I did not see them: the friends of some of these poor creatures had made up the. money, and they were dismissed: whilst the others, after receiving more stripes, were remanded and put in irons. Before the next three days had expired, many of them changed their religion, were received by the Moors as brothers, and were taken to the mosque, and highly feasted, but were held responsible for the last tax notwithstanding. The four above-named Jew merchants, in Swearah or Moga- dore,live in high style; are absolute in the Jews’ town, and manage nearly all the English trade at Mogadore: at present, their stores are allowed to be kept in the fortress part of the town, or el Kscb- bah , where Guidallas and J\Iaenin are permitted to reside and stay at night, by paying a handsome sum to government.
I had the pleasure to see two brigs arrive from England, and to receive a letter from Mr. Simpson at Tangier, and a kind letter from Mr. Sprague at Gibraltar, which are before-mentioned and inserted. Two days after the arrival of these vessels from London, the one commanded by captain Mackay, and the other by captain Henderson, I went down to the water port to see these gentlemen when they should land in the morning: on my arrival there, I saw a great concourse of soldiers, and on inquiring the cause, found that an execution was about to take place, and some malefactors were at the same time to be maimed. The governor arrived at this moment, and the prisoners were driven in with their hands tied: the order for punishment was read by the Cadi or Judge, and the culprits told to prepare themselves, which they did by saying, Hi el Allah Shed a Mohammed Rasool Allah , and worshipping. They were then made to.sit down in a line upon their legs on the ground: a butcher then came forward with a sharp knife in his hand; he seized the first in the line on the left, by the beard, with his left hand; two men were at the same time holding the prisoner’s hands: the butcher began cutting very leisurely with his knife round the neck, (which was a very thick one,) and kept cutting to the bones until the flesh was separated; he then shoved the head violently from side to side, cutting in with the point of the knife to divide the sinews, which he seemed to search out among the streams of blood, one by one : he finally got the head off, and threw it on a mat • that was spread to receive the mutilated limbs of the others. There were eight more who were sentenced to lose a leg and an arm each, and nine to lose only one arm. The butcher began to amputate the legs at the knee joint, by cutting the flesh and sinews round*with his knife, which he sharpened from time to time on a stone: he would then part the joint by breaking it short over his knee, as a butcher would part the joint in the leg of an ox. Having in this manner got off the leg, and thrown it on the mat, he proceeded to take off the arm at the elbow,.in the same leisurely and clumsy manner; he seemed, however, to improve by practice, so that he carved off the hands of the last eight at their wrists, in a very short time—this done, they next proceeded to take up the arteries, and apply a plaster, which was soon accomplished by dipping the stumps into a kettle of boiling pitch that stood near, or something that had the same -appearance and smell. Is. not this last circumstance an improvement in surgery ? They then carried the lifeless trunk and mutilated bodies, with the head and other limbs, to the market: the head and limbs were carried on a mat by six men, who were making as much sport as possible, for the spectators: the bodies were thrown across Jack ass’es, and they were exposed in the most public part of the market place, nearly the whole day. The two governors, and other officers who were present during the execution of the sentence, were sitting on the ground next to a wall, appearing quite unconcerned, and were conversing gaily on other subjects. The Moors, who came from mere curiosity, did not show the least mark of disapprobation, or any signs of horror: they jested with the butcher, who seemed highly gratified with the part he was acting.
I now asked Rais bel Cossim, who attended me, concerning the' mode of procuring an executioner, &c. &c. He told me, that when an order came to execute or maim any culprits, it generally embraced several at the same time, so as to make but one job of it: that the butchers were called on by the Alcayd or governor, and forced to find one out of their number to do this work: that they then made up a purse agreeably to a rule, made among themselves in such cases; that is, two and a half ducats per man for cutting off heads, and two ducats per man for maiming; (two and a half ducats make one dollar, or forty cents per ducat;) they then question each other to know who will accept of the money, and do the job: if no one appears willing, they cast lots, and the one on whom it falls, is obliged to undertake it: this man is protected by the governor for twenty-four hours after the execution, when he is left to take care of himself, brave the public odium, and the revenge of the friends of the sufferer; or else to fly: he generally goee off the first night afterwards to some other place, and never returns: his wife, if he has one, can b£ divorced from him by applying to the Cadi or Judge, and swearing; that as her husband has served as an executioner, she is afraid to live with him, lest he should be tempted to commit some violence on her, in a similar way.
The butcher who acted on the present occasion, was a voluntary executioner for forty-eight ducats, and he decamped the next night, leaving, as I was informed, a wife and seven children to shift for themselves : he was poor, and carried away his wages of death with him. Mr. Willshire and Don Pablo Riva confirmed this statement.
Taking a walk round the walls of the city one day, to make observations on it at low water, in company with Mr. Savage, and being escorted by a Moor, in order to protect us from insults, we came to the Jews’ burial place: it is situated a little without the walls, and on the north side of the city, near the ruins of a couple of wind-mills, which I was informed, used to do all the grinding for the city; but this work is now performed in the town by horsemills. On our approach, we observed a great concourse of Jew women, and heard a great outcry: curiosity led us to the spot where they were collected: here was a newly dug grave, and the dead body of a man lying on the ground near it, enveloped in a cotton wrapper, with his face partly covered: some taen were busied in clearing out and preparing the grave; others had brought and were bringing lime, mortar, and stones, to fill it up with; whilst upwards of one hundred women were standing in a circle eastward of the grave, howling in an extraordinary manner. On a nearer approach, I observed about a dozen women in tattered garments, who formed an inner circle. As I gazed with pity on this spectacle, these twelve women, who were before quiet, seemed to be seized with a sudden paroxysm of grief, and they began to approach each other with their hands uplifted above their heads; stretching the palms towards each other’s faces, and commenced howling, at first moderately, but which soon increased to wailings the most violent, and yellings that it is impossible to describe: they tore their faces with their long finger-nails, and made the most hideous contortions of their features: the mania was now communicated to all the women present, who joined in the lamentation, but the others did not tear their faces like the twelve, who kept it up, stamping with their feet, and going round in their circle; their blood and perspiration mixing together, and streaming from their faces, ran all over their filthy garments, and dyed them red in streaks from head to foot: this paroxysm lasted fifteen or twenty minutes, when they were so much exhausted as to be under the necessity of ceasing for a few moments, to take breath, when they commenced again, and went „over the same ceremony, seemingly with redoubled vigour. The grave being at last ready, the body Was put in by the men, who then' built up over it a wall of mason work, even with the surface of the ground. The grave was dug in a direction north and south; the head was placed towards the south, and space enough left on one side of the body to support the weight of the mason-work, without bearing upon the corpse : they next rolled a stone on it, formed of lime and small pebbles about two feet square, and'as long as the grave; this they placed level on a bed of lime mortar, and then retired without speaking, except as much as was necessary to prompt mutual assistance: the women all this time keeping up their howlings. After the men had retired, the women ceased their wailings, and seating themselves alongside the wind-mill, were refreshed by eating cakes, and drinking copious draughts of anniseed, Jew brandy, which had been previously prepared for the purpose, and they soon became as merry in reality, as they had before appeared to be sad. While these women were rega- li.jg themselves in this manner, I observed an old woman washing the corpse of a child of about two years old, in the surf: she then wrapped it up in a dirty piece of woollen cloth, and carried it to a man who had been digging a hole for it in the side of another grave, where he shoved it in; put a flat stone before it; filled up the hole with stone and lime, and went away: one woman only attended the burial of the child, besides her who wrapped it up'; and this must have been its mother, as I judged^rom her emotions: she sobbed aloud, while an abundance of tears trickled down her wo-worn cheeks. I concluded she Was poor and a widow: not a soul seemed to join her, or pay the least attention to her grief: after a short pause, she kissed the stone that covered, I presume, the remains of both her husband and child; wet it with her tears; wiped it with a clean white cloth she had in her hand, and returned weeping, amid the brutal scoffs of the Moorish boys; as she dragged herself along towards her cheerless abode. The women who had assisted at the other burial, had by this time ended their repast, and they Went round amongst the graves : many kissed their hands, and laid them on the grave-stones of their deceased relations, while others kissed the rude resemblance of a face carved on the stone: others plucked up the weeds and grass that encroached on the grave, or replaced the earth and small stones which had been dug out by the rats, or broken off by the corroding tooth of time.
On my way home to Mr. Willshire’s house, I learned that the corps of the man that was buried, was that of a Levite, who was poor, and had not been able for a long time to perform the duties of his office, and Was buried by charity; I also learned from Ben Nahory, Mr. Willshire’s interpreter, that a priest had arrived from Jerusalem to gather the tribute paid yearly by all the Jews in Barbary towards the support of the few Jewish priests who are permitted to reside in Jerusalem, by paying a tribute to the Grand Seignior, or Sultan of the Turkish empire, and for purposes of traffic : this is called a voluntary contribution for the support of Jerusalem. Ail the Jews in these countries believe that their nation is one day to sway the sceptre of universal dominion, and that Jerusalem must be kept as a kind of possession until the time arrives predicted by their prophets, ■when the little stone is to be cut out without hands from the mountain of Jerusalem, and is to fill the whole earth. This and other predictions, constantly and adroitly handled by the crafty priests, together with the miseries inflicted on the Jews in Barbary by the merciless Moors, tend to nurse their natural superstitions, and render them completely subservient to the will of those who are considered their spiritual guides, and who rob them without mercy, under the pretext of applying the money to good purposes.
A schooner arrived from Gibraltar under the English flag, though a Genoese vessel, as the Barbary powers were at war with Genoa—she brought a cargo of dry goods, iron, steel, cotton, &c. to Ben Zagury, a Jew; one of his sons came passenger in the vessel: his name was Elio Zagury ; he was a young Jew, was dressed in the European fashion, had been educated in England, and spoke the English language fluently. As soon as he had seen his father, he called on Mr. Wiltshire, and to see me; expressed great joy at my deliverance, and invited Mr. Willshire, myself, and Mr. Savage,to dine with him at his father’s the next Saturday: the invitation was accepted, because I wanted to learn some of the Jewish customs, and get acquainted with the priest from Jerusalem, who was a guest in his father’s house. On our arrival there, I was presented to the priest—he was a man of middling stature, dark complexion, short hair, and a most venerable, manly beard, that reached down nearly to his ceinture, or girdle: his dress was a brown striped mantle, that buttoned close round the neck, and fell loosely to his feet, on which he had a pair of black slippers, down at the heel, as is the custom of Moorish Jews: his head was covered with a camblet coloured turban, very high: in his hand he held a string of very large beads, which he was continually counting or telling over; his mantle was girt above his hips with a brown silk girdle that took several turns round him; and was about six inches wide. I accosted him in Spanish, which he spoke very fluently—and made inquiries of him respecting the present city of Jerusalem and its inhabitants. From his answers (as he was very intelligent) I learned that Jerusalem now contains thirty thousand Turks, and twenty thousand Jews, Armenians, and Greeks: that a very brisk trade is carried on there, principally by Jews, between it, Persia, Constantinople, and Jaffa, which Jews are permitted to reside there and trade, on paying a tribute to the Grand Seignior: that the language mostly spoken by the Jews at Jerusalem is the Spanish: that there is a convent of Christian monks near it, containing a number of St. Francisco’s order.
The walls of Jerusalem are strong and well built: all religious denominations are there tolerated By- paying contributions, and protected by order of the Grand Seignior, provided they pay the soldiers well for their trouble. The name of this priest was Abraham ben A"assar: he said he should get about twenty thousand dollars from the Jews in the Moorish dominions, and carry the amount of contributions in gold, embarking again at Tangier foi Gibraltar, where he should deposit the money while he went to England, France, Holland, and Germany, for the same purpose: that there were six more associated with him on the collecting expeditions: one of them had gone to Alexandria and other parts of Egypt, to collect from the Jews there, from whence he would return fij way of the different islands in the Archipelago: one had sailed for Tripoli, who would take money from the Jews there and at Malta; thence to Italy and back: one had gone to Tunis and its various towns, and would go from thence to Sicily and Sardinia, and back: one had gone to Algiers and the towns in that regency, and would go from thence to ancient Greece, including Venice and that part of Germany bordering on the Venetian gulf: one had gone over land to Russia, and would meet him in Germany, after passing through Poland, Sweden, Denmark, Prussia, &c. I wished to have an estimate of the sums likely to be collected in all those places, and then he began to l^e a little reserved. However, after considerable conversation and solicitation, he one day gave me * whf-t he stated to be the amount of collections as per the last returns of 1813, which he had with him in Hebrp^v, find I set it down as he interpreted, after he had first brought the several sums into Spanish dollars: it made qp in the countries already mentioned, five hundred and eighty thousand dollars: this was exclusive of the expenses of collecting and travelling out, and returning again to Jerusalem. Many individuals of the priests also came from Jerusalem to Barbary, begging on their own account. Out of this fund a yearly tribute is paid to the Grand Seignior, besides impositions in the form of presents to the Turkish officers; and the remainder serves to support the priests, who are very numerous in Jerusalem, and for commercial purposes: thus the superstition and credulity of the ignorant Jews in all Europe and Africa, as well as in Asia, are made subservient to the purposes of the priests and elders of that singular people, who still reside, by permission, at Jerusalem.
The city of Jerusalem lies from forty miles east of Jaffy, a small port on the Mediterraneah sea: from thence to Jerusalem the road is good, and the priest told me he had walked the distance in two days. Jaffy is the port anciently called Joppa: it has a small town and fortress, and considerable trade with Jerusalem, the islands in the Archipelago, and with Egypt, and some with Malta and Italy: here the Jewish priests who are sent out on begging expeditions, embark, and return by way of the same place, generally in Greek vessels of small burden, but very well built and manned.
The priest asked me many questions respecting America, of which he knew but very little, and thought it was a wilderness or a desart. After I had put him right in regard to those points, and informed him we had many Jews in America, where they enjoyed every kind of privilege in common with people of other religions; that they could hold landed estates, &c. and that many of them were Very rich, he declared that as soon as he should have finished his present tour, which would still detain him more than a year, he would try to obtain leave to visit America, and collect the dues there. I informed him that our Jews were not so superstitious, rior in such bad repute, as those in Africa or Europe, where they were looked upon as a set of sharpers and villains: “ that may be, (said he,) but if they are Jews, they must conform to the laws of Moses, and must contribute towards the support of those of their nation who reside in the Holy Land, in order to be ready for the future conquest of Jerusalem, which would be the fulfilment of God’s promises to’his people.” I asked him in what manner they collected this contribution ? and he told me, that “ having letters from the chief priest and elders at Jerusalem, the collectors (who were always priests) were kindly received and well treated by all Jews wherever they came—that soon after their arrival in any plaee where synagogues are established, they convene all the Jews together, and having fend before them the authority by which they make the demand, they then proceed, with the assistance of the priests and chief Jews of the place, to class them, and apportion the sum to be raised amongst them according to their ability : when that is done, the tax must be paid without delay: it takes up six or eight months time to make up the sums and finish the collections in the empire of Morocco.”
The Jews in West Barbary, are as completely under the control of the Moors, as if they were slaves, though they fancy themselves, in some measure, free: even their dress is regulated by a Moorish law: that of the men consists of a shirt, without a collar, and wide petticoat drawers that come tight below the knees—the sleeves of the shirt, which are of the full breadth, of coarse muslin cloth, fall a little below their elbows, and are not plaited in any way, but hang flowing: they wear above the shirt, a jacket with short sleeves to their elbows—the jacket is generally made of green woollen cloth, with a small collar, buttoned tight round the lower part of the neck; it is sometimes wrought with needlework from the collar to the waist in front, with Which, and small round buttons, made from the same materials, it is almost covered : they hook this together with wire hooks, and again over this, (those who can afford it) have a black cotton mantle, which comes over their shoulders, and falls down to the calves of their legs—this is so contrived, that one end can be thrown over the left shoulder in such a manner as to discover the drawers: they are girded with sashes of various colours over the mantle round about their loins: they wear long beards, and black woollen caps on the back part of their heads, leaving the forehead uncovered, which is shaved often, and kept smooth. The four merchants that lived in Mogadore, wore coloured-silk^riandkerchiefs on their heads, covering their caps, and tied loosely under their chins: they all go bare-legged, and wear black slippers on their feet, (as the luxury of coloured slippers is forbidden them.) In riding, they were formerly restricted to the ass alone, but now they use mules, which they are not, however, allowed to Blount or ride within the gates of the city. When Jews or Jewesses are about to pass a mosque or place of worship, they must take off their slippers, and carry them in their hands, going barefoot past it, and that too, until they enter another street.
The dress here described, is that of the wealthy who can afford it, but the greater part of the Jews in West Barbary are poor, miserable, and covered with rags. A Jewess of the first class, is clad with a shirt made of muslin, that is very wide; the sleeves, not less than a yard, hang loosely down to the elbow, when the two hinder parts are doubled and fastened together behind their backs; the bosom of this shirt is wrought with*fine needle-work on both sides; it laps over before, and covers part of the breasts: a white waistcoat, wrought in like manner, is super- added : the lower extremity of this is covered by a wrapper, in form of short petticoats, wrapped round above the hips, and just laps over in front; this is commonly made of green broad cloth, and falls down below the knees: the two lower corners in front, are covered with a fancifully cut piece of red broad cloth—the whole is fastened together by a girdle round the hips, to which are suspended behind a number of red ^pollen cords of different lengths, hanging down with a piece of plated silver, or other metal, bent round each at its lowest end; these make a kind of tinkling when they walk by, striking against each other. Their hair is long, coarse, and black, and the principal part turned up, and fasten- - ed on the top of the head, while two small braids from behind each ear, are attached together at their extremities, and fall down to their girdles.
Married women of the first class, cover their heads with a flowing silk handkerchief. Both married and single women, are extremely fond of ornaments, and are generally corpulent: they wear amber and pearl necklaces, with golden hearts, set about with fine diamonds and other precious stones: many other ornaments are also hung to their necklaces, which are frequently connected by golden chains: they wear silver or gold bracelets around their wrists and ankles, from one to two inches wide, enriched with enamel and precious stones. I examined several of these ornaments: they are made of the finest gold, silver, and stones, and the best amber: the weight of the four bracelets on the wrists and ankles of a young girl, (a broker’s daughter,) was fourteen ounces, and they cost, together with her necklaces, ear and finger-rings, and other ornaments, about two thousand dollars. Those of the Jews who can get money, are excessively fond of ornamenting their wives and daughters, and setting off their charms to the very best advantage; for it is their interest to do so ; but there are very few of them that have the ability to do it; not more than twenty Jews in Mogadore can afford this expense ; and but few of the rest can furnish their wives and daughters with bracelets of even base metal, washed over with silver or gold; yet every woman feels as if she were naked, without some ornaments of this description.
The Jews are forced to live in a town by themselves, called el Millah , but the Moors enter it whenever they choose, without the smallest restraint, and go into their houses without any ceremony, where they take whatever liberties they please with their wives and daughters. If a Jew happens to be in the house, the Moor either drives him out, or hire* him to absent himself, or keep the door, which latter is commonly the case. The Moor compliment’s the woman, and no Barbary Jew thinks it a disgrace to wear antlers, provided they are gilded, for if he should set about seeking redress, he could never obtain it. Should a Jew attempt to resist a Moor on any occasion, he is sure of getting a sound drubbing, and* as his testimony cannot be taken against a JMoor, any more than that of a negro slave in the West Indies and the Southern States of America, can be given against a white man; he is forced to pocket every affront, andqcontent himself with getting all the money he can from the paramour; so that to a Jew, a handsome wife or daughter in Barbary, while young, ensures to her husband or father a^ompetence, and of course, a consequence among his brethren.- ».
The Jews’ Sunday begins on Friday evening at sunset, after which time no Jew can even light a candle or lamp, or kindle a fire, or cook any thing ant’d Saturday night, at the same hour, so that they heat their ovens on Friday; put in their provisions before night, for their next day’s meals, and Jet it stand in the ovens until Saturday noon, when it is taken out, .and set on the table, or on the floor, by
Moors, whom they contrive to hire *for that purpose. Every Jew who can afford it, has brass or silver lamps hanging up in his house, which are lighted on Friday, and not extinguished until Sunday morning: they burn either olive or argan oil. Their principal and standing Sunday dinner, is called skanah ; it is made of peas baked in an oven for nearly twenty- four hours, with a quantity of Beeves’ marrow-bones, (having very little meat on them,) broken to pieces over them: it is a very luscious and fattening dish, and by no means a bad one : this, with a few vegetables, and sometimes a plum-pudding, good bread, and Jews’ brandy, distilled from figs and anniseed, and bittered with wormwood, makes up the repast of the Jews who call themselves rich. The poor can only afford skanah and barley-bread on their Sunday, and live the rest of the week as they can. They make no scruple of offering for money their wives and daughters, who are voluptuous in the extreme; they will furnish their customers with every facility required, and often even boast of the quality and merits of their wives’ paramours. The men and boys attend their synagogues, (on their Sundays) of which there are twelve in Mogadore; but these are no more than small rooms, where all join in jabbering over prayers in Hebrew, as fast as they can speak, every one in his own natural tone of voice, making, altogether, a most barbarous kind of jargon.
The Jewish women are considered by the men as having no souls, nor are they allowed to enter the synagogues but once a year, nor do the women partake of their sacraments. The sacraments consist of bread and wine, and of circumcision. While in Mogadore, I attended' a Jewish circumcision. The child being ready, and the friends present, the priest took him on his left arm, having a pair of silver tongs in his left hand, with which he guaged and prepared the parts, and performed the operation with a sharp knife he had in his right hand, cutting off a piece of the flesh, as well as all the foreskin: this appeared to me to be a painful and cruel operation, and it made the infant scream out most piteously. The Jews circumcise at the age of eight days, and the Moors and Arabs at the age of eight years : the Arabs cut the foreskin and flesh off square, as well as the Jews : but with the Arabs, as I have before observed, it is a preventive of disease, and not a religious rite. For a view of the Jewish costume and manner of performing this ceremony in West Barbary, see plate No. 8.
During my journey towards Tangier, when we put up at Saffy, during the Jews’ Sabbath, having two Jews in company, who had friends or relations in that place that entertained them, and furnished a supper; before eating, they brought forward a cup in the form of a tankard, and some white bread, in which some green herbs had been chopped up, and mixed with it before baking: they all arose at once, formed a circle round the supper dish, consisting of boiled fowls, which was set on the floor, and when standing, all began to chant over their prayers in Hebrew, as fast as they could speak: there were abouttwenty in all, relations and visitors. As I was ignorant of the Hebrew language, which they spoke. and which I am told, differs materially from that taught in the schools and colleges of our country, I could not join with them. This chant, discordant enough to be sure, took up at least a quarter of an hour. When they were about to finish, they passed round the bread, of which each one took a piece, and not to be singular, I took one also, and ate it. After saying over a few more words, they handed round the cup to all, and each took a drink, keeping up their chant all the time—when it came round to me, I took it and drank a little: it was wine, made by steeping dry raisins in water, and to me not very palatable, being somewhat sour and bitter. After the cup had gone round, all turned their faces to the east, bowed thrice, bending their bodies more than half way to the ground, still going on with their chant. As soon as they Ibad^done worshipping, they resumed their places round the dish, seized each other by the hand, giving it a convulsive grasp, and stamping at the same time with their feet; this terminated the ceremony. The chant being finished, all took their seats around the dish as near as they could get, on their legs and on the floor, having first washed their hands: some vigorously seized the boiled fowls, which they soon carved, by pulling them to pieces, and then passed those pieces round to the company. Their bread was made of barley- meal ; this they dipped in the dish, after each bite, and called it a sop: the gravy in which they dipped their bread, was the liquor iq which the fowls had been boiled, mixed with vinegar. This was on Fri- day evening, January the 6th, 1816 , about 9 o’clock P. M. On the next evening, they repeated the same ceremonies. After supper, they amused themselves by singing songs in Arabic, and telling stories, which they kept up with great glee until near midnight, when, at my entreaty, they retired for the night, as I wished to get some rest.
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