Continuation of the journey—description of Asbedre—of a flight of locusts—of the destroying locust of Africa — Mazagan, Azamore, Darlbeda, Fidallah—arrival at Rabat. Of Rabat.
We left Safiy early on the morning of the 7th df January, and found the country, as we proceeded northward,more open,but not much cultivated: the ground was covered with flowers of different kinds, and every shrub was also in full blossom, and seemed to vie in beauty with its neighbour, while their blended fragrance rising, with the exhaling dews, and wafted along by a gentle land-breeze, conveyed to the soul sensations of the most exquisite delight. We travelled along during this whole day on uneven ground, frequently meeting large droves of loaded camels and mules, and passing many groups of tents, some formed of woollen cloth, and pitched in the same manner as the Arab tents on the desart, and others with reeds; regaling ourselves occasionally with milk, which we found to be excellent, and in great abundance, and at night pitched our tent near one of those flying camps, which are here called JDouhars.
On the morning of the 8th, we started very early, and after riding about three hours, came to the walls of an old Portuguese town and fortress, now called Asbedre , but in ruins and deserted. It is situated on the second bank from the sea, one hundred feet above a beautiful harbour or small port and sound, formed by an opening through the first bank, which resembles the entrance of a dock: it appeared shallow, and one VQSsel only can enter at a time. This port seems to be capable of containing a vast number of small vessels, where they might ride in perfect safety in all seasons of the year: here is also, near the walls of the ruin, a small Moorish' settlement of badly built houses fend tents. Passing this, we entered into one of the richest valleys ever formed by nature ; the face of the earth here was smiling with cultivation, and speckled over with flocks and herds: here thousands of oxen, sheep, goats, and camels, horses and asses, were peaceably feeding in concert, while hundreds of the inhabitants were busied in tilling the rich soil, in sowing wheat and barley, and cutting down, with a common sword, the weeds that grew where they had reaped their last crops, higher than their heads, and some of them more than an inch in thickness, in order to admit the plough. This valley is bounded on the south by a long sound or narrow arm of the sea, in which the tide ebbs and flows many feet: the sea-water enters it near Asbedre, and on its right: the- valley is bounded by a hill of easy ascent : its mean breadth is about four miles, and its length about twenty miles. The valley contains hundreds of wells of excellent water, fitted with solid stone basins around their mouths, which were covered with large stones; these serve to give drink to their flocks, and to quench the thirst of the weary labourer and traveller. Some of these wells were immensely deep, and a windlass was rigged to them to draw the water.
Near the middle of this valley we stopped to take our dinner—my mind was absorbed in contemplating the riches and beauties of bountiful nature, when I observed something that appeared like a cloud of thick smoke rising over the hill at the north-east, and with the wind, approaching us rapidly. I remarked to my Jew, that there must be a monstrous fire in that quarter; no, said he, they are only locusts. In the mean time the flight was fast approaching, and soon came within a short distance, and directly towards us. Every labourer’s.attention was instantly turned from his plough and other employment; the oxen were stopped and every one stood aghast with apprehension and dismay painted in strong colours on his anxious countenance, fearing his field was to become the prey of this devouring plague. The locusts began to descend and alighted to the northward of us; very few passing where we sat; we soon mounted and rode on, and as we proceeded we found the whole surface of the ground covered with them as thick as they could stand, and all busy in the work of destruction. As it was necessary for them to clear our road to avoid being crushed to death by the trampling of our mules, those in and near the path rose as we possed along, filling the air around us like one continued swarm of bees; whilst thousands came in contact with our faces and bodies. In this situation, fearing my eyes would be injured, I covered my face with a transparent silk handkerchief, and pushed on my mule as fast as I could; we were about two hours in passing this host of destroyers, which when on the|wing made a sound, as finely described in Holy W rit, “ like the rushing of horses into battle.” The space covered by this flight extended in length for about eight miles along the road and three miles in breadth. After they had fairly alighted, the Moors, each resuming his labour, left the locusts in the full enjoyment of their repast, assuring us, that when they had filled themselves, which would be in the course of that day and the night, they would move off in a body with the wind, probably one day’s march further, where they would again repeat their ravages, leaving the remainder for other successive flights ; but which they hoped, by the blessing of God, would not destroy the whole of their crops and all the herbage, as they had done some years within the last seven, during which space they had continued to lay waste the country. To see such fair prospects of crops thus blasted in a moment, would fill the inhabitants of more refined countries with feelings of despair, and their fields would be left unfilled ; while the Mohammedan considers it either as a just chastisement from heaven for his own or his nation’s sins, or as directed by that fatality in which they all believe;—thus when one crop is destroyed, if of wheat, they sow the same ground over again with barley, or plant it with Indian corn or peas, so as to have every possible chance for subsisting. These Arabs, while at their labour, are entirely naked, except a small piece of woollen cloth about their loins:—they make use of the same plough and harness as the people of Suse, already described, but in this part of the country they plough with a pair of oxen;—and here let me beg the reader’s indulgence for a few moments, while I undertake to give him a description of that wonderful insect, the destroying locust, that so often lays waste the fertile plains of Asia and the northern regions of Africa. I call him the destroying locust of Africa, because, as far as my memory serves me, he is first described in Holy Writ as a destroyer in the land of Egypt.
The locust of Africa is a winged insect, which'resembles both in size and appearance at the first view, the largest sized grasshopper of America; but on a close inspection, differs from him very meterially: the shape of his head and face is similar to that of a common sheep, being crowned with two long and tapering protuberances, which turn backwards like the horns of a goat. He has, attached to his muzzle, a pair of smellers or feelers, by the help of which he feels and gathers up the herbage about him, which he nips off, making a champing noise like a sheep when eating,—he has four wings, and the hinder pair are quite transparent; he has.ri* legs with two claws to each foot, which are divided something like the hoof of a sheep, but are much larger and pointed: he is stout about the neck, breast, and body: the hinder part of which is forked, and armed with a hard bony substance, by the help of which he can make a hole in the ground.
The largest African locust is about four inches in length, and one inch in diameter: he has the most voracious appetite of any insect in the world, and devours grass, grain, the leaves of trees, and every green thing, with indiscriminate and merciless avidity. They go forth by bands or flights, and each flight is said to have a king, which directs its movements with great regularity. Locusts can fly only when their wings are perfectly dry ; and when they rise, they always fly off before the wind, and fill the air like an immense cloud of thick smoke:—when the leader alights upon the ground, all the flight follows his example as fast as possible. They are at times so numerous, that they may be said to cover the whole face of the country; then they devour every spear of grass and grain, even eating it into the ground, dislodging it root and branch, cutting off all the leaves from the shrubs and trees, and sometimes all the bark from tender trees in a whole province, and that too in a very short space of time.
The present African locusts are of the same race of insects that are mentioned in the Bible, as one of the plagues sent upon the land of Egypt, by the Almighty : they have always been considered in the countries where they usually commit ravages as a scourge from Heaven, and as a punishment for the sins of the people. The locust has been described as being produced by some unknown physical cause, different from the ordinary mode of animal production : this is a mistake : when I was in Mogadore, Mr. Willshire told me that the locusts were produced by a very well known and natural cause ; that the female, a little before the flights disappear for the season, thrusts her hinder parts into the surface^df the ground up to her wings, first having found a suitable spot of earth for that purpose : here she forms a cell in shape like that made by the bee, but from one to three inches in depth, and one to two inches in diameter. Having made the sides of the ''cell stroit'g'by means of a glutinous matter, which she has the .power of producing, she deposits her eggs, which are blackish, and so small, as scarcely to be distinguishable with the naked eye : each cell is filled full, and contains an immense number of eggs : she then seals it ovter carefully with the same kind of glutinous matter of which the inside of the cell is formed, and covering it over with earth, she leaves it to be hatched out by the heat of the sun in due time, which generally happens in the month of January: the eggs in one cell alone produce a host of locusts, amounting to near a million. I opened and examined several cells in and near a garden, two miles from Mogadore, and was much surprised to see the eggS lie thick together in one mass, like the spawn of fishes. I took up some of it on the tip of a sharp-pointed penknife, and separating and counting the eggs, by means of a microscope, as accurately as possible, I enumerated seven hundred and forty-one—admitting that every egg would produce a locust, and that the number contained in the small portion on the point of the penknife was the one thousandth part of the whole mass, (which is a low estimate,) it proves that a single locust could produce in one season, even if she fills but one cell, upwards of half a million of her species. When the locust is hatched, he crawls out of the earth a little worm, of a light brown colour, and the whole cell of them are said to hatch about the same time. This host of worms creep forth from the ground, and commence their march, all going one course, generally towards the north or west, devouring every thing green that comes in their way, and leaving behind them a dismal scene of desolation. These reptiles grow so rapidly, that within the space of one week they are prepared for their transformation, when they climb up a stout spear of grass or a twig, attach their skin fast to it, and by a sudden effort, burst the skin asunder at its head, and come forth a four-winged insect, with six legs: they remain a short time in the sun to dry themselves and their wings before they attempt flying, which they commence by trying separately to fly a short distance at a time, and continue fluttering and skipping like grasshoppers for two or three days; next they set off in a body on the- wing, and fly from five miles to one hundred, without stopping, just as the country seems to please their taste, and they then go on as I have before described.
Dry warm seasons are favourable to the breeding of locusts, and a very wet cold one is sure to destroy them in the empire of Morocco until the flights come again from other parts. I do not know precisely the months in which the female locust makes her deposit of eggs, only that it is in the latter part of the summer, or first of the fall months. The old locusts having done their share of mischief, are either driven off by the winds into the sea, or die a natural death; thus making room for a new and more hungry swarm. When all have disappeared in the Moorish empire, a few flights are seen to come from the borders of the desart, or from the coasts of Egypt, which again lay waste the whole country, until they are in their turn destroyed by frequent rains and cold damps, or strong gales from the land, which sweep them into the ocean. It is said at Mogadore, and believed by the Moors, Christians, and Jews, that the Bereberies inhabiting the Atlas mountains, have the power to destroy every flight of locusts that comes from the south and from the east, and thus ward off this dreadful scourge from all the countries north and west of this stupendous ridge, merely by building large fires on those parts of the ridge over which the locusts are known always to pass, and in the season when they are likely to appear, which is at a definite period within a certain number of days, in almost every year. The Atlas being high, and the peaks covered with snow, these insects become chilled in passing over them, when seeing the fires, they are attracted by the glare, and plunge into the flames. I do not know what degree of credit ought to be attached to this opinion, but it is certain that the Moorish Sultan used to pay a considerable sum of money yearly to certain inhabitants of the side's of the Atlas in order to keep the locusts out of his dominions. The Moors and Jews further affirm, that during the time in which the Sultan paid the aforesaid yearly stipend punctually, not a locust was to be seen in his dominions north and west of the Atlas, but that about six years ago the emperor refused to pay the stipulated sum, because no locusts troubled his country, and he thought he had been imposed upon; and it so happened that the very same year the locusts again made their appearance, and have continued to lay waste the country ever since.
Locusts are esteemed very good food by the Moors, Arabs, and Jews, in Barbary, who catch large numbers of them in their season, and throw them, while jumping alive, into a pan of boiling Argon oil:—here they hiss and fry until their wings are burned off, and their bodies are sufficiently cooked, when they are poured out and eaten. I have seen many thousands cooked in this manner, and have had the curiosity to taste them: they resemble in consistence and flavour, the yolks of hard boiled hens’ eggs. After my arrival at Tangier, on conversing with our Consul General, Mr. Simpson, respecting the locusts, he confirmed the substance of what I had before heard and observed myself in Barbary concerning them. This ravenous insect had actually caused a famine in that part of the country, so that Mr. Simpson and the other Christian Consuls at Tangier were obliged to send to Gibraltar, and buy American flour for the ordinary consumption of their families; inferior American flour was then selling at Tangier for fifteen dollars per barrel, although before the scarcity occasioned by the locusts, the finest Barbary wheat used to be sold for one dollar and a half per barrel.
Mr. Simpson further stated, that in the year 1814, (to the best of my recollection as to the time) being with his family at his house on MoUnt Washington, near Cape Spartel, and where the locusts covered the whole face of the ground at night, when he arose the' next morning, he could not perceive a single one, and observed to his lady, that all the locusts which had remained with them for a long time, and destroyed most of the herbage about the country, had disappeared; he wondered at first what had become of them; but after the fog in the strait was dissipated, looking at a vessel through his glass, that was passing out, he observed that the whole surface of the water was covered with something that appeared like a reddish scum, and on reflection, it struck him, that the locusts had attempted at night to migrate across the straits into Spain, flying before the wind, which was fair, and blowing from the southward; but that they were either lost in the fog, or checked on their passage by contrary winds, (which generally prevail in the straits at night, particularly in the summer time,) in the middle of the strait; and were thus forced by fatigue and the humidity of the atmosphere, to settle upon the surface of the water, from whence they could not rise, and were, consequently, all drowned. That two days afterwards, a vessel arrived at Tangier from Gibraltar, the captain of which confirmed his conjecture, by assuring him that vast numbers of dead locusts had been driven ashore on the rock of Gibraltar, and along the coast of Spain, from Algeciras to Tariffa, a distance of nearly twenty miles, and that there were still great numbers of their carcasses floating in the straits, near the Spanish shore. I was also informed, that several years ago, nearly all the locusts in the empire, which were at that time very numerous, and had laid waste the country, were carried off in one night, and drowned in the Atlantic ocean; that their dead carcasses a few days afterwards were driven by winds and currents on shore, all along the western coast, extending from near Cape Spartel to beyond Mogadore, forming, in many places, immense piles on the sand beach: that the stench arising from their remains was intolerable, and was supposed to have produced the plague which broke out about that time in various parts of the Moorish dominions.
I have thus faithfully embodied what information I could obtain regarding the locust, from living authority, which I deem indubitable, and to which I have added such facts and circumstances as fell under my own observation, unassisted by books ; and I trust the whole will be found essentially correct. As I do not profess to be a naturalist, it cannot be expected that I should undertake to give a description of his interior formation, &e.—but for a side view of this famous and formidable animal, see plate No. 9. To return to my Journal:
Leaving this beautiful valley, embellished and enriched by many thousands of fig and other fruit trees, as well as many clumps of grape vines that seem to thrive exceedingly well, we ascended the hill on our right, and about dark approached a douhar or encampment that was surrounded by a stone wall: the chief of the douhar was not willing to let us enter within the walls, but our soldier telling him that I was the Sultan’s doctor, and must go in, he reluctantly consented, telling my guard, however, we must take care of our baggage ourselves, as the whole of the people in the douhar, both men and women, were ill of the venereal disease.’ They offered us milk and eggs, and asked my advice in regard to their disorder; I told them, I had no medicine with me—I, however, recommended a milk or light diet, and a drink to be made by steeping a certain root, having an affinity, in appearance, to sarsaparilla, that is common in this part of the country; and to let all drink plentifully of this decoction, for ten weeks, not doubting but it would prove beneficial. We slept here without molestation, started early on the morning of the 9th, and passed, in the course of the day, many douhars of tents in the open fields; many orchards regularly planted, consisting of several hundred fig-trees, fenced in with stone walls very thick, and from five to six feet in height: the land on both sides of the path was principally cultivated. Zagury had despatched our guide on to Azamore before us, to a Jew in that town, in order to engage him to prepare some provisions against our arrival; for they are so superstitious, that they would not even eat bread that had been baked in any other but a Jew’s oven and received the priest’s blessing, for which, of course, he has his tithe. Proceeding forward at about ten A. M. we saw at some distance on our left, what David and EJiq told me was the famous old town of Mazagan: stopping here to take refreshment, a large number of Arab women came from some neighbouring douhars, to stare at me and my dress: some of them were quite young, and Zagury began to rally tkem in a very coarse and rude manner,, asking them if they loved Christians, &c. upon which one very old woman said to him, “there is Mazagan; (pointing towards the distant town;) when that place was taken from the Christians, I helped to cut otF one of their heads, and yet I love Christians better than the mean, cheating, infidel Jews.” Zagury, not relishing this retort, dropped the conversation.
Riding on briskly, we arrived at Azamore about 3 o’clock, P. M. On our approach, our Jews were obliged to dismount, and walk for about two miles to pass a saint house, which the Moors hold in high veneration: this was the fiftieth saint-house I had seen since I left Swearah. Azamore is a town strongly walled in; it lies on the left bank of the river Ormorbear, one league from its mouth; it is built in the form of an irregular quadrangle, and is about one mile in circumference: the river washes its eastern wall, while the other sides are defended by a deep ditch. We did not enter it, but from its appearance, it is an old-fashioned Portuguese town, badly b.uilt, and within and about the walls, very dirty. This stream was the only one I had yet passed on this continent, that deserved the name of river: it has a dangerous bar at its mouth, which is said to be navigable only for vessels drawing six feet water at high tides and in smooth weather_these may come alongside the walls of Azamore, where there is a very neat water-port for the reception of their cargoes, but it has now no external commerce whatever: there are, however, some large manufactories of Morocco leather and coarse earthenware in the suburbs outside the walls. We passed this river, which is here about two hundred yards wide, in a good boat, built after the Spanish, manner, large and well-managed by expert hands. We found here a good shad-fishery: there were ten large nets, and about one hundred and fifty stout Moors employed in this business at that time, and in the proper season, which is from the first of January to April; they catch large quantities of shad, which are much esteemed in this country, and are sold at the landing for about six cents a piece: they are carried from hence to Fez, Mequinez, Morocco, Mogadore, and all the adjoining country. We remained on the bank of this river until dark, waiting for our provisions, which came at last, and we pitched our tent under three date trees, about one mile from the bank. We had bought some shad, which, when roasted, afforded us an excellent supper, as they were very fat and delicious.
On the 10th, at two o’clock in the morning, we started from this place, and owing to the darkness, lost our path, and wandered about for two hours before it was found ; we rode all the day through a fine even country, passing many douhars, and travelling as usual; and at night pitched our tent in the midst of one of the douhars, which I shall here describe, (having made mention of them frequently before,) and this description will answer for the whole of them, with little variation. On our approach to within fifty yards, we halted, and were soon met by the chief, for they all have one head man, whom they honour by the title of Sheick: he welcomed us in very handsome terms; invited us to advance; pointed out a place which was the safest within the douhar for our tent; and furnished us with milk and eggs gratis, while the Moors that accompanied us were plentifully regaled with bread, water, and coos-coo-soo. This douhar was composed of one hundred and fifty-four tents, pitched in the form of a hollow square; the tents being placed about fifty yards apart; an equal number occupying each side, and at equal distances, all made of very coarse strong woollen cloth, of the same colour, and set up in the same manner as those on the desart, and all facing inward.
Before each tent, and at a very short distance from it, all the camels, cattle, goats, and asses, are made to lie down, where they are taught to remain until they are roused up to be milked in the morning, when the shepherds or herdsmen drive them out into the open country to feed, and return with them again at night-fall. They milk the mares, camels, cows, asses, goats, and sheep; and in order to effect this with the two last mentioned animals, which are very tame, they divide the sheep and goats into two rows, facing each other: as soon as they approach so as to interlock their necks, they are caught by two ropes which are ready strung for the purpose, and by this means they are kept close together, while the women and girls go behind and milk them between their hind legs; the lambs having been previously tied or secured in a similar way. A good ewe will yield a pint of milk in a morning, and a goat more: sheep’s milk is reckoned the richest by the natives, but I preferred that of the goat or camel to either of the others, though asses’ and mare’s milk is very rich and good. They make butter by putting the new milk into a geat skin, the hair on the inside; the butter is of course a little hairy, but they can pick it clean with their fingers, and they generally have white haired goat skins for churns. The Arabs who inhabit exclusively these douhars are extremely hospitable, and not only furnish the traveller with the best they have to eat and drink, but also set a watch over his tent and baggage, which they strictly . take care of: the Sheicks themselves are responsible for every article that may be missing in the morning, and which if not immediately found, they pay the stranger his own price for it in money without hesitation. Thus the Moorish and Arab travellers can pass from one end of the empire to the other without expense, and at their leisure, and transact their commercial business in a cheap way, only buying the barley for their beasts which carry their burdens when they travel on mules or horses, being obliged to feed them on barley and straw; but when they use camels, which is by far the most common method, these hardy beasts live on the herbage and shrubbery which they nip passing along the road, taking a bite now and then as they continue walking, and as soon as they stop, their two fore legs are tied within a foot of each other, and they are turned out to feed. Without this precaution, the camel is -such a wandering creature, not unlike his Arab master in that respect, that be the herbage ever so good and pientiful where he is turned out, he is continually restless, and keeps moving on, so that in the course of an hour or two he will stray many miles from the place where he was first turned loose,
On the 11th, at daybreak, we left this douhar, and proceeded over a smooth beautiful plain every where covered with fields of grain or grass and flowering shrubs, with numerous herds of cattle, eamels, asses, and flocks of sheep and goats; while the road or rather foot-path (for such they all are in this country) was covered with loaded camels travelling each way to and from Darlbeda, and at about 8 o’clock A: M. we reached that city. Darlbeda is a walled town of about two miles in circumference, situated at the bottom of a broad bay; its port is tolerably good for landing cargoes, although the bay where vessels lie is very rocky, and can only be approached with safety in the summer months and in mild weather. Large quantities of wheat were formerly shipped at this port for Spain and Portugal. I peeped into it for a few minutes; it is much on the decay : the houses, which are built chiefly of stone and clay, as well as the walls, are falling down in every direction, and even the gateway is in a tottering condition: it is a very dirty place; the houses are from one to three stories high, and the streets very- narrow: there still remains an open aqueduct, that used to convey water for several miles into this town; it is in good repair, being built of stone and lime; the water runs in it to within two hundred yards of the walls, where it has been out off for the convenience of roads : thus the destructive hands of the Moors are employed in marring and spoiling even their own town, which must soon begome no better than a heap of ruins.
We passed Darlbeda, and came to Afidallah, a town built by Sidi Mohammed : this town is enclosed by a tolerable mud and stone wall, and is situated about one mile from the sea. The whole coast from Darlbeda, to far beyond Afidallah, is lined with huge heaps of beach sand, hove up by the almost constant trade winds, blowing direct on shore.
Afidallah stands on a beautiful plain : it was built for the purpose of receiving and storing the large quantities of wheat and barley that usually grew near its site; and its harbour, only one mile distant from it, is.sheltered by a long and narrow island, within which vessels of a small size can anchor, and be tolerably safe. This is said, by Mohammed, one of our muleteers, and an old sailor, to be by far the safest open harbour in the empire during the winter months; but the landing is bad, and can only be effected in light winds and good weather. Large quantities of wheat, barley, big acorns, fruit, &c. were shipped from Afidallah during the reign of Sidi Mohammed, and a part of the present reign, but Mu- ley Soliman, the present Sultan, has of late become so bigoted, that he thinks, or pretends it is a sin for his subjects to trade with the Christians ; he has, therefore, forbid the exportation of almost all the articles of commerce, and rendered, by this means, his people poor; ruined most of his towns, and involved himself in many broils with his subjects, while he is straining every nerve to take away the little remains of their property, in contributions and presents extorted from them by rapacious officers appointed for the purpose. The goods for shipping were carried from Afidallah on camels, across the sand-hills that shelter the town from the violent sea-gales. This place is about six hundred yards square, flanked by four square forts joined to each corner, and so constructed, as to be able to rake the whole length of the wall on the outside, with cannon and musketry.
We passed on, and pitched our tent at night within the walls of an old town called Sebilah; there is no house standing in it, except a part of a large mosque, and a tall well-built tower, though it was once a considerable place. Within these walls, in one corner, was a large garden, well stocked with vegetables, and about a hundred tents were pitched, as if in the open field; so we pitched our tent near the walls of the mosque. There were several women here that wanted medicines, and though I had none to give them, yet my mere advice, which was thought important, procured milk and eggs sufficient for our suppers. Soon after sunset, all the flocks and cattle belonging to the inhabitants were driven within the walls, and disposed of as in the common douhars, when the stout gate was shut and strongly barred. Many travellers arrived in the evening, and wished to enter, but found no admittance, and they took up their lodgings outside of the walls.
January the 12th, at daylight, our soldier had the gate opened, and we went forward : there were outside of the gate several large droves of camels with their owners, which had put up there in the night— they were principally loaded with sacks of salt or barley, and going towards Rabat. We rode on fast, and passed three considerable streams, which the Moors call rivers, and say they are not fordable in the rainy season ; but we got over without difficulty, being then only brooks: the country was level and well cultivated, and we passed innumerable droves of light and loaded camels, mules, and asses.
At about eight o’clock A. M. we saw a high tower east of us, which stands at the head of the aqueduct that conveys water to Rabat; and at about three P. M. we came to the outer vrall of that city, which stands half a mile from the main wail, and encloses a great number of fine gardens of fruit and vegetables, besides some wheat fields: it extends from .the palace (which is spacious, and situated on the left upon the bank of the sea between the outer and main walls) round to the river eastward of the city: here the Jews were obliged to dismount before they could enter the town, and there I left them, and proceeded with my guard, followed by my muleteer into the city. My friend, Mr. Willshire, had given me an introductory letter to Mr. Abouderham, the English Vice, Consul at Rabat, and we proceeded directly to liis house, which is situated in the principal town. On my arrival, I was received by that gentleman with every mark of politeness and respect I could wish: he furnished me with a room and every thing l needed for my comfort: The next day being the Jews’ Sabbath, I had time to visit different parts of the city, and the Jews’ town or Millah.
Rabat is situated at the mouth of the river Bcre- tarei—on its left bank, within a mile of the sea, it » defended on the south by a double wall and some Mtteries of cannon; on the west, facing the sea, by a very strong fortress, and along the river on the north, by very high and steep cliffs, a wall, and a number of strong batteries. I should compute the circumference of the outer walls at six miles, but the inner one not more than three.
The city is situated on uneven ground; is very well built for a Moorish town, though the streets are narrow, crooked and dirty; yet the houses in general are in good repair, and two stories high, built of stone and linie mortar, arid flat roofed, with an inner court; a few windows next the streets, which are orily air holes, and secured with wooden shutters and grates? without glass. There are in this city ten mosques of different heights and shapes: it is the largest sea-port town in the Moorish dominions, though at present the bar at the river’s mouths is so heaped, up with sand, as only to admit of vessyels drawing six feet water, and yet the tide rises within it about ten feet, and runs very rapidly. The Mil- lah or Jew’s town is walled in separately, to prevent the Jews from mixing with and defiling- the Moors, and that they may more easily be kept in subjection with the aid of the bastinado. This Millah ha* been built only about six years; has but one gate, which is guarded and kept by Moors; and there are some very good houses in it. It is said to contain eight thousand Jews, who are (for the most part) very poor, miserable, and depraved, and live in the most degraded condition : they worship in twelve rooms called synagogues, and I was told that nearly one half of the male inhabitants were priests.
Rabat is very well peopled : the whole numbqr of its inhabitants is computed by Mr. Abouderham to exceed sixty thousand. Many of the Moors here are rich, and live in great luxury, keeping large seraglios of women, and having beautiful gardens. Vast quantities of haicks, and other woollen and cotton cloths, are here fabricated, and great quantities of sole and Morocco leather, and coarse earthenware, such as pots, bowls, jars, &e. are also manufactured in this city. It carries on a brisk inland trade, and the Moorish inhabitants seem to be more civilized than in any other town I passed through. Here is the principal navy-yard of the Emperor, where hi* ships are built; for the Moors have none for commerce. Here was one new frigate lying by the walls, partly fitted; she appeared to be about five hundred tons burden; was pierced for 32 guns, and the Moors said she would be ready to go round to La Resch, where their ships of war are fitted out, in two or three months: to get them over the bar at the mouth of the river, they are obliged to go out perfectly light ; to bucfy them up as much as possible, and lay them sideways on the bar, at high tide, and in mild weather, where they are steadied by means of cables and anchors, until the yielding sand is washed away, and they are forced over by the power of the ebb tide, which runs like a mill-race.
Rabat is supplied with water by a considerable stream led into the city by means of an old fashioned aqueduct from the south, that is four or five leagues in length : the aqueduct was either built or thoroughly repaired by the old and liberal Emperor, Sidi Mohammed. I wished to visit the town of Sallee, so famous in history for its piracies on the ocean, situated on the other side of the river, and directly opposite Rabat, but I was dissuaded from making the attempt, by Mr. Abouderham and my guide, who said that the whole people ©f Sallee still retained their ancient pride, prejudices, and natural ferocity : that no Christian, or even a Barbary Jew in a Christian dress, could enter, their walls if he was ever so well guarded by imperial soldiers, without being in imminent danger of losing his life. Mr. Abouderham said he had visited it twice; that it contained about forty thousand fierce and haughty Moors, and four thousand miserable Jews.
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