William Duguid and Sir George Don - Shallond, Mr Benoliel and Sir Emanuel Viale
Sir Arthur de Capell Brooke was a British baronet, a member of the Royal Society and an early 19th century travel writer. In 1831 he published his Sketches in Spain and Morocco in two volumes which included several sections on his two visits to Gibraltar.
Gibraltar ( 1830s - Davenport )
Despite the date of publication I have found it hard to decide when exactly these visits took place. Shortly before setting out to Gibraltar he was in Cadiz and his comments suggest that the Peninsula War had just ended - in other words around 1814. During his stay in Gibraltar he refers to General George Don (see LINK) who began his governorship in 1814. However, the Alameda Gardens which are also mentioned were inaugurated in 1816. A parting comment - and footnote - on a yellow fever epidemic (see LINK) must refer to a second major visitation of 1828 in which perhaps 2300 people died. My best bet is that his descriptions are those of the Rock as he found it anywhere between 1816 and the early 1820 - but I could be wrong.
Arrival - The next morning I took advantage of a large felucca bound for Gibraltar, and found myself, in the course of a couple of hours, to my inexpressible pleasure, within the gates of the finest and most extraordinary fortress in the world ; and, making my way through its crowded streets, soon established myself in most comfortable apartments at Reeve’s Hotel, opposite the Exchange. (See LINK)
The Exchange and Library in Commercial Square ( 1840s - J.M. Carter ) (See LINK)
The Town - Gibraltar is disposed in regular streets, running parallel with each other, up the sides of the rock, until it becomes too precipitous to admit of building. Even then so valuable is every yard of disposable ground, that in many parts the rock itself is scooped out, in order that a small level spot may be obtained, sufficient to erect a house upon. The main street, which is of considerable length, and wide and handsome in its dimensions towards the south, contains in it the Government House, the courts of law, the catholic church, and the Exchange.
The last is a handsome modern building, containing an excellent library and reading-rooms, to which strangers are liberally admitted. I ought not to omit mentioning here the garrison library, (see LINK) which is on a scale unusually extensive, and is altogether a most splendid establishment.
Inside the Garrison Library ( 1846 - J.M. Carter )
Trade - When the trade of Gibraltar is considered, and into how small a space the produce of all parts of the globe must necessarily be crammed, it is not surprising that there should be a correspondent degree of bustle and activity. In this respect, Gibraltar forms a curious and striking contrast to the Spanish towns and sea-ports, where silent apathy prevails, through idleness, poverty, and the tyranny of a bad government.
The People - How different is it at Gibraltar. From the early sound of the morning bugles to the deep reverberations of the evening gun, incessant noise and bustle prevail; and the main street is blocked up with innumerable carts and wagons, conveying goods and merchandize in different directions. The variety of figures with which the streets are crowded is very striking and amusing to the stranger.
Moors, Jews, English, Americans, Genoese, and people of other nations, are here seen assembled in their different costumes, and conversing in their respective tongues. The dress of the females of the lower classes is picturesque and uncommon consisting of a scarlet cloak with a hood to it, the whole edged with a deep border of black velvet.
( Mid 19th Century - M.C. Perry ) (See LINK)
The rock of Gibraltar, barren as it may appear, affords an ample field to the botanist. No fewer than 400 species of plants being found on this confined spot.Capell then continues to list some of the more interesting fauna - rather than flora - found on the Rock, of which, of course, the apes took pride of place.
The Apes - They are a species of ape, many of them as large as a good-sized dog, and not very shy. The whole of the animals on the rock enjoy a life of perfect freedom and security: no person is allowed to injure them, and it is forbidden to fire a gun on any part of it. The latter regulation is strictly enforced, not only with a view to the preservation of animals, but to prevent the loose masses of rock being shaken and detached. This is sometimes occasioned by the weather and other accidental causes, to the great danger of the town below, and on this account it is found necessary to support those masses which have become loose by strong clamps of iron.
Governor's Cottage and O'Hara's Tower - The roads about Gibraltar are excellent; and the ascent to the summit is so good, that it would not be a difficult matter to surmount it on horseback; The rides and drives towards the south are delightful, particularly to the governor’s cottage: this, which is about three miles from the garrison, is a most enchanting retreat during the intense heats of summer; it stands on the edge of the cliff, and commands a very striking view of the Mediterranean, the straits, and the African shores at the distance, apparently, of a very few miles while the lofty point of O’Hara’s tower (see LINK) shoots proudly into the air above it.
Governor's Cottage and O'Hara's Tower on top of the Sugar Loaf ( 1834 - H.A. Turner ) (See LINK)
The prospect from the latter place, as also from the top of the North Rock, is magnificent in the extreme . . . In the extraordinary excavations on the north front; the stranger will find a source of interest of a different nature. Here the perpendicular face of the rock has been bored and under-mined, so as to form lofty subterranean galleries (see LINK). . . .
The Great Siege - The marks of this celebrated event, (see LINK) which engaged the attention of all Europe, and which has given a fame to Gibraltar that will last until the rock itself crumbles away, are still to be seen on the walls of the ancient Moorish castle (see LINK) which overlooks the Spanish lines, and bolts and splinters of shells are still frequently found scattered on different parts of the rock.
North Front - The gigantic mass of the north front, and the whole of the galleries along its surface, are seen to the best advantage from the neutral ground, where the eye follows the line of embouchures, through which the guns peep forth; and which, from their great height, appear like mere rows of dots rising above each other. When a grand salute is fired from the north front of the rock, the effect is indescribably fine from the neutral ground below it. . . .
North Front showing the gun embrasures of the Galleries ( 1830 - Vilhelm Melbye - detail ) (See LINK)
Mr Benoliel - As it was necessary to apprize the Bashaw of Tangier of my plans, a letter was despatched to that town from the Moorish consul resident at Gibraltar, Mr. Benoliel, (see LINK) one of the most considerable and wealthy merchants in the place, to whom I had been introduced by Sir George Don, who had kindly interested himself in my proposed tour.
The author seems to have enjoyed spicing up his descriptive travelogue with relatively inconsequential anecdotes which he fits whenever fancy takes him. Here is one with a tenuous connection with Gibraltar.
A Moor sent for from Gibraltar, and punished - Not long since a Moor, whose name was Shallond, belonging to Tetuan, but who had resided at Gibraltar as a merchant some years, was sent for by the sultan through the Moorish consul. The man, although he knew well what awaited him, did not hesitate to comply with the orders, on account of his family resident in this town, who would have suffered severely if he had refused.
The merchant on his arrival here was put into jail, and received at the same time so severe a beating with the bastinado that it very nearly killed him. He was afterwards kept in confinement fourteen months, and only got his release by the payment of a fine of ten thousand ducats, levied by the sale of some houses.
On his getting out from jail he repaired to Fez to supplicate the sultan‘s compassion, and succeeded so far that fifteen hundred dollars of the sum which had been taken from him were returned, in order that he might have something left to trade with. In all probability, however, according to a common custom in Morocco, when he again gets rich, he will be served the same trick. This severe punishment was inflicted because some enemy of his had told the sultan that he had spoken too freely of him at Gibraltar.
Smuggling - During the (Peninsula) war, when the Spanish ports were shut, a considerable contraband trade (see LINK) was carried on between Gibraltar and the coast of Erefe, to that extent that the sultan of Morocco had cruisers stationed to prevent it, but without much effect.
The Genoese were principally engaged in this traffic, and employed good vessels, well armed and manned. On arriving at the particular part of the coast they might be destined for, an Ereﬁan boat would instantly come off and leave, for instance, eight of their people on board as hostages; after which half that number of Christians would go ashore to bargain for such things as they might be in want of, as wheat, barley, beans, oil, raisins, figs, wax, cattle, and even horses, mules, and asses: when the bargain was effected, these commodities were brought on board and duly paid for.
A Spanish felucca in the Straits of Gibraltar (1882 - Laurits Bernhard Holst )
This kind of illegal commerce was carried on for some time under a perfect good understanding on both sides, until the Gibraltar smugglers seeing, at length, how easy a thing it was to impose upon these wild customers, who now began to place implicit confidence in them, commenced a system of fraud, not only by means of bad money and false measurements, but, in many instances, by making off with the cargo without paying for it, the natives who might happen to be on board being either thrown overboard or turned adrift to find their way ashore as well as they could. This conduct naturally put a stop to the trade, and has been the cause of a deadly hatred towards the Christians.
This is an interesting and almost unique reference to smuggling presumably out of Morocco and into Gibraltar. I am not sure I understand where the 'smuggling' comes into it. The goods mentioned are not normal contraband merchandise and would in any case have entered Gibraltar duty free. Nor would much duty have been paid for in Spain for these goods. Perhaps what was being referred to was an avoidance of an export tax by the Moroccans with the connivance of the Gibraltar smugglers.
Elsewhere in his book Chapell gives very specific details of imports into Tetuan from Gibraltar which included:
348 cwt of raw cotton
388 cwt of loaf sugar
282 cwt of brown sugar
8420 pieces of English and Indian long cloths
4150 pieces of Manchester printed cotton goods
1630 pieces of British muslins
528 pieces of Fine and course broad cloths
Return to Gibraltar - Some very handsome American merchant vessels were also lying here; and, making our way through a forest of masts, we anchored in the quarantine ground, and having despatched a boat to the vessel stationed there with our bill of health, we got permission to land. All this was done with as much quickness as possible, to prevent being obliged to remain on board for the night, as the sun was now in the horizon, and the gates of the fortress were on the point of closing for the night.
We had, indeed, but little time to spare, for we had hardly got in when it was gun-fire, and. slowly making my way through the crowds of joyous and careless spirits of all nations assembled to usher in the new year, I once more found myself, after an absence of three months, in my old quarters opposite the Exchange. . .
It was a delightful morning in January, and about an hour after sunrise, when I mounted my horse, and, accompanied by my guide, proceeded slowly through the streets of Gibraltar, which already began to exhibit some signs of the approaching bustle of the day. . . .The neutral ground which we traversed on passing the walls of the garrison is a narrow neck of land between the Spanish lines and the fortress of Gibraltar.
The Commercial Wharf with the Spanish Lines in the distance ( 1844 - George Lothian Hall ) See LINK)
Having proceeded a short distance, we passed two round towers; at the last of which was a military post, where I was obliged to produce my passport. These towers, which are met with at intervals along the Spanish coast, are used for the prevention of smuggling, and are similar in appearance to those seen along the shores of Barbary.
During the periods when the country was at war with the piratical states of Barbary these towers, which have existed from the time of the Moors, were of great service in enabling the Spaniards to descry the approach of the barbarians, and in particular of the Algerine cruisers, whose bold and daring attacks kept the inhabitants of the coast of the Mediterranean in constant dread and apprehension.
The Devil's Tower - similar to the ones mentioned by Capell but this one very close to the North face of the Rock
Leaving the Rock - I had intended not to have remained more than a very few days at Gibraltar: at the end of three weeks, I still found myself on the Rock. An English traveller, indeed, when once within the walls of the garrison, does not find it so easy a thing to make his escape from the kindness of the civilians, as well as of the military, who vie with each other in acts of friendship and hospitality towards him. . . .
From the merchants of Gibraltar, and in particular from my good friend, Mr. Duguid, at whose table I was almost a daily guest, I experienced nothing but uniform kindness and liberality; while the attention and assistance I received from Sir George Don not only rendered the stay I made within the fortress most agreeable, but greatly facilitated my journey both in Barbary, and subsequently through Spain.
The British merchant William Duguid was the owner of the local firm of Ward and Thompson and was also the chairman of the Exchange and Commercial Library. He seems to have been the kind of man who made his money by insisting in being paid on time - regardless of who the debtor might be. Not long before his soirees with Capell he had Sir Emanuel Viale - a local with considerable political clout in Gibraltar and a fellow member of the Exchange - arrested and jailed for non-payment of a debt. (See LINK)
After leaving Gaucin . . . on reaching the extreme elevation of the road, I once more looked back, and saw, for the last time, the lofty fortress of Gibraltar.
Vista del Castillo de Gaucin ( 1849 - Genaro Villaamil Duguet Perez - detail )
How little did I think that from this distance I was gazing upon a spot about to become the scene of pestilence and horror! and that instead of its streets being crowded, as I had so lately beheld them, with a busy and industrious population, they would, ere long, be encumbered only with the dead-cart carrying to their last abode those whom I had left in the enjoyment of health and existence.
As Capell himself explains the above refers to the ravages of yellow fever which took place in 1828.