The People of Gibraltar
1720 - A Treaty of Peace - Never mind Utrecht

Moses Ben Hattar and John Russell - John Noble and Giovanni Battista Sturla
Lord Portmore and Roger Curtis - James Mario Matra - Henrietta Maxwell

When in 1704 the English found themselves more or less by chance as owners of a small new piece of real estate in southern Spain, they soon discovered that the logistics of keeping the place going as a Garrison would not be as easy as they might at first have thought. 

The Rock of Gibraltar ( 18th century print - Unknown )

For a start Gibraltar's traditional dependence on its hinterland for the supply of fresh supplies and other goods was now no longer possible. From 1704 and right through the century and beyond, it was towards Barbary that the authorities were forced to turn to whether they liked it or not - and generally they didn't. 

It was a time when the Moorish sultans and Pashas - always difficult to deal with - were generally as unreliable as ever, their merchants unpredictable and untrustworthy, and the western end of the Mediterranean and in particular the Straits, infested with unpleasantly irritating Corsairs not just from Sale, Algiers but also from as far away as Tunis and Tripoli.

Corsairs Making a Getaway near Gibraltar   ( 19th Century -  Otto Lusty )

At any rate that is how the British viewed them and continued to do so even as late as the 19th century. The following paragraph written in the 1850s by James Richardson is revealing;
Englishmen are surprised, that the frequent visits and uninterrupted communications between Morocco and Gibraltar, during so long a period, should have produced scarcely a perceptible change in the minds of the Moors, and that Western Barbary should be a century behind Tunis. This circumstance certainly does not arise from any inherent inaptitude in the Moorish character to entertain friendly relations with Europeans, and can only have resulted from that crouching and subservient policy which Gibraltar authorities have always judged it expedient to show towards the Maroquines.  ( see LINK
Richardson's reference to that 'crouching and subservient policy' probably referred to a preference for entering into Treaties with the various Barbary powers - none of which were even properly adhered to by either party - rather that any attempt to tackle the problem head on.  In 1820, Lewis Hertslset compiled a list of treaties still 'subsisting between Great Britain and Foreign powers which rather makes the point: all told there were no less than twenty two treaties still standing dating from 1682 right through to 1816. 

In 1720, for example, Britain entered into a Treaty of Peace with the King of Fez and Morocco. Whether this proved as useful in its day as its various article suggested is very doubtful. What is not, is the historical curiosity that Articles VII and XIII allowed for the settlement of Jews on the Rock contrary to the recently signed Treaty of Utrecht. ( see LINK

In a paper delivered in 1978 to the Jewish Historical Society of England local historian Mesod Benady argued that the establishment of the Jews as an important feature in the social history of the Rock, stems from this treaty. A tempting theory but probably incorrect.

Curiously the man who was the driving force behind the 1720  treaty was Moses Ben Hattar. He had important commercial interests in Gibraltar which appear to have allowed him to exercise considerable influence on the British authorities. Appropriately he was once described as;
A Jewish Merchant, who had been often employed in the former treaties, and was a person more artful and interested than any other in the country, and chiefly to be considered, in regard, he had it more in his power to make the negotiations successful, or defeat it as he had done that of others. 
The pertinent articles of the 1720 treaty are shown below.

Articles of peace and commerce
between the Most High and and Most Renown Prince George, by the Grace of God, King of Great Britain, France and Ireland, Defender of the Faith etc and the High and Glorious, Mighty and Right Noble Prince Albumazer Muley Ishmael, Ben Muley Xeriph, Ben Muley Ally, King and Emperor of the KIngdoms of Fez and Morocco, Taffilet, Suz, and all the Algarbe and its Territories in Africa etc., 
concluded, agreed and adjusted by the Honourable Charles Stewart Esquire, on the Behalf of His Britannic Majesty, and by His Excellency Basha Hamet Ben Ally Ben Abdallah, and His Imperial Majesty's Treasurer, Mr. Moses Ben Hattar, a Jew, on behalf of the said King of Fez and Morocco.

The High and Glorious, Mighty and Right Noble Prince Albumazer Muley Ishmael, Ben Muley Xeriph, Ben Muley Ally, King and Emperor of the Kingdoms of Fez and Morocco, Taffilet, Suz, and all the Algarbe and its Territories in Africa etc.,
Article I
It is agreed and concluded, that from this day forward there shall be, between ‘His Majesty of Great Britain and the King of Fez and Morocco, their Heirs and Successors, a general, sincere and true peace which shall be observed inviolably, and endure for ever . . . . etc.
Article VII
It is agreed that in all whatsoever towns and places, maritime or others, belonging to the King of Fez and Morocco, wheresoever the said King of Great Britain shall think fit to appoint and establish a consul, that such consul or consuls shall be treated with the respect due to his or their characters; and he and all other His Majesty of Great Britain subjects respectively, shall. enjoy the free liberty of the exercise of their religion, without any molestation or reproach, in word or deed, and that they shall have a decent place appointed for the burial of their dead to which no violence shall be offered.
That the said consul and factors shall have the choice of their own truckman and broker, and liberty to go and travel from place to place by sea or land. They shall likewise have liberty to go on board and ship or vessel whatsoever to trade, or likewise in port or road, without any lett, confinement or limitation. Their effects and estates shall be secure to them without danger of confiscation or embargo on any pretence whatsoever; and said consul or consuls and all whatever subjects of His Majesty of Great Britain, trading in the territories of the King of Fez and Morocco, shall have free liberty to depart the country at all times, and as often as they shall see cause, without any impediment or detention to them, their persons or estates.
And it is further agrees, that if any of the King of Great Britain's subjects residing or trafficking in any part of the Dominions of the King of Fez and Morocco, shall happen to die, in such case the Governor of that place where such person shall decease, shall be obliged to see all his monies and effects forthwith delivered into the hands of Great-Britain's consul there, and in case there be no consul, then some English merchant, who is to secure them for the use of the heirs of the diseased . . . . . 
And that the subjects of the Emperor of Fez and Morocco, whether Moors or Jews residing in the dominions of the King of Great Britain, shall entirely enjoy the same privileges that are granted to the English residing on Barbary.
Article XIII
And it has pleased Almighty God, that by his Majesties arms the island of Minorca and the City of Gibraltar are now in his possession and are become part of his Britannic majesty's Dominions: it is therefore agreed that every person sailing in ships or vessels whether Spaniard, English, or otherwise, fishing in boats or vessels, living or residing there, shall be esteemed as natural-born subjects upon producing proper passes from the Governors or Commanders in Chief of those places
Article XIV
It is agreed that for the better preservation of this peace entirely, proclamation shall be made immediately thereof in all sea-ports, and towns of both their Majesties, and fixed upon gates of each of said towns . . . and that none should offend through ignorance. . .  etc.
It is agreed in case any ship or ships of war in enmity with the King of Great Britain, be in any of the ports of the King of Fez and Morocco at the same time that any of the ships belonging to the King of Great Britain's subjects are there, such Cruisers shall not be permitted to offer any violence to the English ships nor sail after them in forty hours. . . and be it further agreed that the Peace shall commence from the day of signing this treaty, after which none of the subjects of His Majesty of Great Britain shall be bought, sold or made slaves in any part of the Dominions of the King of Fez and Morocco . . . and . . .the peace shall be ratified in Spanish . .  as if it were the language of either nation.

A copy of the passes in English which the English Merchant ships carry, word for word.

By the Commissioner for executing the Office of Lord High Admisral of Great Britain and Ireland etc and all his Majesty's Plantations etc. Suffer the Ship ---------- of Master ---------- Burthen about ---------- Tons, mounted with ---------- Guns and navigated with ---------- Men, his majesty's subjects ---------- built, bound for ---------- to pass with her company, Passengers, Goods and Merchandizes, without Lett, Hindrance, Seizure or Molestation. The said ship appearing unto us, by food Testimony, to belong to the Subjects of His Majesty, and to no Foreigners.  Given under our Hands and Seal at the Office of Admiralty the -------- Day of -------- in the Year of our Lord ----

It would seem that the British Government were soon made aware that the clause that gave Jews the right to settle in Gibraltar was contrary to the terms of the Treaty of Utrecht and was soon modified in subsequent treaties. The fifteen articles of the new Treaty between Great Britain and Morocco signed in 1721 do not mention Gibraltar or the right of Jews to reside there. 

By 1729 Moses Ben Hattar was either no longer around or apparently no longer needed either as interpreter or as advisor to the Moroccan King. The British signatory of 'Additional Articles' signed at Fez, was John Russell. ( see LINK ) The reference to the Jews and Gibraltar has now been altered to something slightly more in keeping with the Treaty of Utrecht:
Article I
That all Moors or Jews, subject to the Emperor of Morocco, shall he allowed a free traffic, to buy or sell for thirty days in the City of Gibraltar, or Island of Minorca, but not to reside in either place, but to depart with their effects, without let or molestation, to any part of the said Emperor of Morocco’s Dominions.
Reading between the lines it would seem that this treaty was used as an excuse to redeem a number of British subjects held in captivity in Mequniez. The treasury records in London show that he didn't go empty handed - he left Gibraltar with bills worth £200 payable to John Noble.

Noble had once been secretary to Giovanni Battista Sturla ( see LINK ) a Gibraltar based property owner of Genoese origins. Sturla was eventually thrown out of Gibraltar by the then Governor Lord Portmore, but Noble stayed put on the Rock.  Given his role as payer of Treasury bills he must have been doing quite well for himself. As regards the treaty itself, the pertinent article remained the same as that for 1729.

The 1750 and 1751 treaties were obtained by the British Consul at the time, William Pettigrew using Gibraltar based gun-boat diplomacy and are hardly worth mentioning in this context. ( see LINK )  

By 1760 the wording was again altered slightly'
Article XIV. 
 It is also agreed, that all the subjects of the Emperor of Fez and Morocco, Moors, or Jews, shall be permitted to traffic, buy, or sell, in the City of Gibraltar, (or in the Island of Minorca, when it shall again be in possession of the English) for the pace of thirty days only, and, at the end of that time, to take and carry away, without molestation, all their effects to any part of the Dominions of the Emperor of Fez and Morocco.

In 1783 Additional articles were agreed upon which mainly dealt with either commerce or houses in Tangier that the King agreed would either be built or given to whoever was the British Consul in Tangier at the time. There is no mention of Jews or their status in Gibraltar but interestingly the British representative was no other than Sir Roger Curtis, one of the many heroes of the Great Siege of Gibraltar. ( see LINK )  

Sir Roger Curtis 

The 1791 treaty no longer makes any specific mention of the Jews or of Gibraltar but includes the following rather ambiguous statement.
Article XL
All the Treaties made with Muley Ishmael, Muley Abdellah Ben Ishmael, and Sidi Mahomet Ben Abdellah, shall continue in force and be faithfully observed, except the Articles that shall be found contrary to what is this day concluded and signed.
This particular treaty was signed by James Mario Matra, an American born author, adventurer and diplomat - and a losing loyalist during the American War of Independence. He was also ironically well known as the anonymous author of A New Journal of a Voyage Round the World which was probably the first account ever to be published of James Cook's little trip around the world. He also ended up with the dubious honour of being the first to propose establishing a penal colony at Botany Bay in New South Wales.

In 1786 he was appointed British consul in Tangier but he must have been a regular visitor to the Rock as he eventually married Henrietta Maxwell, daughter of the army victualling agent in Gibraltar. 

As regards the number of Jews living in Gibraltar, the reality was that by 1777 it had risen to 863, of which  at least 600 of them had been born there and were now both technically - and in fact - British subjects by birth.  They now formed a quarter of the entire civilian population and owned a quarter of all the registered properties. The horse had indeed bolted - but the fact is that the stable doors had never actually been closed. Regardless of the Treaty of Utrecht and the obtuse wording and omissions of all subsequent treaties with Morocco and elsewhere the settlement of Jewish families in Gibraltar was now a fact.