James Hogg was born near Edinburgh, and made a name for himself as a printer and publisher. In 1845 he brought out his Hogg's Weekly Instructor. An article on Gibraltar by an anonymous author appears in the August 1847 edition.
Although not mentioned in the article, Gibraltar may just possibly have been in the news in Britain at the time. A Gibraltar born Jew by the name of Don Pacifico had his house burnt down by rioters while he was living in Athens. For rather obscure reasons the Foreign Secretary of the day Lord Palmerston decided to intervene. (see Link )
The following are several selected quotes from the article.
Climate - The climate of Gibraltar appears to be less agreeable than has been generally represented. The peculiar conformation of the rock assists in rendering the heat of summer distressingly oppressive; an exhilarating breeze will be be blowing on the eastern side, while in the town the air is perfectly stagnant, and darkened by a heavy fog . . .
Not everybody was of the same opinion. The statistician Robert Montgomery Martin writing in the 1830s, for example, thought it was a 'decidedly' healthy place - except for hard drinkers and phlegmatic constitutions . . . .
Gibraltar ( 1847 - Delamotte )
Sanitation - The dirty condition of the town has served to aggravate the fearful epidemics with which Gibraltar has at times tan visited; the filthy state of the dwellings of the Jews and poorer classes generally is proverbial. From some cause or other, the sewers emit, in the summer months, a most foetid smell.
In the summer of 1844, the stench along the line wall was intolerable, and silver articles belonging to persons living in houses in this locality were almost entirely blackened, evidently from the quantity of sulphuretted hydrogen gas composing the effluvia from the sewers which open into the sea near the locality . . . There can be no doubt that the crowded state of the population, as well as the noxious influences above adverted to, contribute to the increase of mortality.
Gibraltar's appallingly poor sanitation system is constantly mentioned by many of its visitors throughout the middle of the 19th century. The article's comments are a further indictment of the much praised yet less than adequate improvements brought about by General Don at the start of the century.
The Town - Most of the streets are very irregularly laid out. Many of the houses are built in the Spanish, or rather Moorish style, with open courts, or patios, in the centre. Several families re side in different small apartments in one house; often may be seen houses with fifteen or twenty families occupying a space which, in most places, would be devoted to only half that number of inmates. Among the principal buildings are the cathedral, exchange, court-house, convent, naval hospital, garrison-library, and civil hospital.
The 'Exchange' ( 1846 - J.M. Carter )
Convict Labour - The convict establishment is a new feature in the modern history of Gibraltar. Between six and seven hundred convicts from England are located in well-built quarters in the neighbourhood of the dock-yard. They are a very useful body of men on the rock, and have plenty of work to perform.
Solitary confinement in Gibraltar ( Unknown )
The presence of convicts working all over the place in Gibraltar was a relatively new phenomenon on the Rock - the first lot having only arrived in 1842. The convicts certainly had plenty of work to perform - especially on improvements to the Dockyard and in the lengthening of the New Mole - but their usefulness was soon overshadowed by costs. The establishment eventually turned out to be an expensive white elephant. (see LINK )
Smuggling - and the Locals - Gibraltar being a free port, and affording so many facilities for smuggling into Spain, attracts within its walls men of nearly all nations, so that a stranger on arrival meets in the principal street people of various colours and tongues.
The most attractive of these are the stately Moors from Barbary, with flowing drapery around their manly forms. Some of this fine race of people are nearly as fair as Europeans, with light grey eyes. Most of the Jews retain their ancient costume, but the wealthier, or rather the better educated classes, wear the European dress.
The whole number of inhabitants is 15,554 ; among them are 1607 Jews, 65 French, 963 Genoese, 108 Italians, 591 Portuguese, 2160 Spaniards, 11 Turks, and 26 Germans.
Gibraltar from the Straits ( 1847 Delamotte )
The difference between the 'inhabitants' and their Genoese, Italian, Spanish and other foreign neighbours is moot. The vast majority of the locals were all descendent from precisely these nationalities.
In trades and professions there are 160 merchants, 226 shopkeepers, 4 lawyers, 1042 tradesmen and mechanics, 43 wine and spirit dealers, 880 tobacconists and cigar-makers, 2473 servants, with various others.
The civil population is considered particularly orderly and well- behaved; crimes are not frequent or numerous; seldom are there more than five or six cases in the quarterly criminal calendar. The civil suits rarely possess any public interest. Drunkenness is not common among the poorer classes; however, the wine-houses are usually full. This is perhaps owing to the idle propensities of the people, and their penchant for loitering habits . . . .
The presence of 880 tobacconists is revealing - an astonishingly large number for such a small population. By the mid 19th century Gibraltar had earned itself a rightful reputation as the world's premier smuggling depot in which the contraband of tobacco took pride of place. That the anonymous author chose not to mention this is surprising - everybody else did. The large number of servants was also a reflection of the relationship between the Garrison elite and the rest of the town.
The Market - The poorer classes of the civil population subsist chiefly upon fish and vegetables, which are to be had in great abundance, both cheap and good. To visit the market early in the morning is indeed a treat, especially during the fruit season : the quantities of oranges, grapes, melons, figs, etc. piled up in every stall is a remarkably pleasing sight; before evening comes the size of these heaps of luscious fruit is greatly diminished: the quantity sold is almost incredible.
The shipping in the bay, which often amounts to between two and three hundred sail, helps to consume the vast quantities of fruits and vegetables seen in the Gibraltar market.
Society - The society of Gibraltar resembles the society of most garrison towns, the nature of which can be best understood by those who have at any time resided in one. There are but few sources of amusement. In vain will the lover of the fine arts seek to gratify his tastes. Opera and theatrical companies have very little support, and consequently their visits to the rock are few and far between.
As always in the contemporary literature, 'society' referred to the activities and entertainments of Garrison officers and British born civilian administrators and merchants.
The Calpe Hunt - The officers of the Garrison keep a tolerably good pack of hounds, which is to them a great source of healthful enjoyment, and to the Spaniards one of astonishment. (see LINK ) The races, too, come off with great éclat. ( see LINK ) Public balls are held in the winter, which serve to amuse the young people.
With the possible exception of the Garrison Library, the Royal Calpe Hunt was indeed one of the best known of Gibraltar's institutions.
The Apes . . . are never likely to be exterminated from the rock, no person being allowed to shoot or in any wise hurt them, unless they venture near the town, which they seldom do. Some years ago one used to come down on the declivities above the Alameda pretty regularly during the time the guards trooped, and it consequently went by the name of the 'town-major.'
The story of the 'town-major' seems to have survived into the 20th century ( 1907 )