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Title: Gibraltar
Author: Field, Henry M. (Henry Martyn)
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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  [Illustration: THE ALAMEDA PARADE.]


            Henry M. Field


        [_All rights reserved._]

               NEW YORK.

         To My Friend and Neighbor
             JOSEPH H. CHOATE,


The common tour in Spain does not include Gibraltar. Indeed it is not
a part of Spain, for, though connected with the Spanish Peninsula, it
belongs to England; and to one who likes to preserve a unity in his
memories of a country and people, this modern fortress, with its English
garrison, is not "in color" with the old picturesque kingdom of the
Goths and Moors. Nor is it on the great lines of travel. It is not
touched by any railroad, and by steamers only at intervals of days, so
that it has come to be known as a place which it is at once difficult
to get to and to get away from. Hence easy-going travellers, who are
content to take circular tickets and follow fixed routes, give Gibraltar
the go-by, though by so doing they miss a place that is unique in the
world--unique in position, in picturesqueness, and in history. That
mighty Rock, "standing out of the water and in the water," (as on the
day when the old world perished;) is one of the Pillars of Hercules,
that once marked the very end of the world; and around its base ancient
and modern history flow together, as the waters of the Atlantic mingle
with those of the Mediterranean. Like Constantinople, it is throned on
two seas and two continents. As Europe at its southeastern corner stands
face to face with Asia; at its southwestern it is face to face with
Africa: and these were the two points of the Moslem invasion. But here
the natural course of history was reversed, as that invasion began in
the West. Hundreds of years before the Turk crossed the Bosphorus, the
Moor crossed the Straits of Gibraltar. His coming was the signal of an
endless war of races and religions, whose lurid flames lighted up
the dark background of the stormy coast. The Rock, which was the
"storm-centre" of all those clouds of war, is surely worth the attention
of the passing traveller. That it has been so long neglected, is the
sufficient reason for an attempt to make it better known.


  I.    Entering the Straits,                               1

  II.   Climbing the Rock,                                 12

  III.  The Fortifications,                                18

  IV.   Round the Town,                                    29

  V.    Parade on the Alameda, and Presentation of Colors
          to the South Staffordshire Regiment,             35

  VI.   The Society of Gibraltar,                          48

  VII.  A Chapter of History--The Great Siege,             63

  VIII. Holding a Fortress in a Foreign Country,          110

  IX.   Farewell to Gibraltar--Leaving for Africa,        128


  The Alameda Parade,                         _Frontispiece_.

                                                  FACING PAGE
  The Lion Couchant,                                        4

  General View of the Rock,                                12

  The Signal Station,                                      14

  The New Mole and Rosia Bay,                              19

  The Saluting Battery,                                    27

  Walk in the Alameda Gardens,                             62

  Catalan Bay, on the East Side of Gibraltar,              65

  Plan of Gibraltar,                                       71

  "Old Eliott," the Defender of Gibraltar,                108

  Windmill Hill and O'Hara's Tower,                       132

  Europa Point,                                           143



I heard the last gun of the Old Year fired from the top of the Rock,
and the first gun of the New. It was the very last day of 1886 that we
entered the Straits of Gibraltar. The sea was smooth, the sky was clear,
and the atmosphere so warm and bright that it seemed as if winter had
changed places with summer, and that in December we were breathing the
air of June.

On a day like this, when the sea is calm and still, groups of travellers
sit about on the deck, watching the shores on either hand. How near they
come to each other, only nine miles dividing the most southern point of
Europe from the most northern point of Africa! Perhaps they once came
together, forming a mountain chain which separated the sea from the
ocean. But since the barrier was burst, the waters have rushed through
with resistless power. Looking over the side of the ship, we observe
that the current is setting eastward, which would not excite surprise
were it not that it never turns back. The Mediterranean is a tideless
sea: it does not ebb and flow, but pours its mighty volume ceaselessly
in the same direction. This, the geographers tell us, is a provision
of nature to supply the waste caused by the greater evaporation at the
eastern end of the Great Sea. But this satisfies us only in part,
since while this current flows on the surface, there is another, though
perhaps a feebler, current flowing in the opposite direction. Down
hundreds or fathoms deep, a hidden Gulf Stream is pouring back into
the bosom of the ocean. This system of the ocean currents is one of the
mysteries which we do not fully understand. It seems as if there were
a spirit moving not only upon the waters, but in the waters; as if the
great deep were a living organism, of which the ebb and flow were like
the circulation of the blood in the human frame. Or shall we say that
this upper current represents the Stream of Life, which might seem to be
over-full were it not that far down in the depths the excess of Life is
relieved by the black waters of Death that are flowing darkly beneath?

Turning from the sea to the shore, on our left is Tarifa, the most
southern point of Spain and of Europe--a point far more picturesque than
the low, wooded spit of land that forms the most southern point of
Asia, which the "globe-trotter" rounds as he comes into the harbor of
Singapore, for here the headland that juts into the sea is crowned by a
Moorish castle, on the ramparts of which, in the good old times of the
Barbary pirates, sentinels kept watch of ships that should attempt to
pass the Straits from either direction: for incomers and outgoers
alike had to lower their flags, and pay tribute to those who counted
themselves the rightful lords of this whole watery realm. I wonder that
the Free-Traders do not ring the changes on the fact that the very word
_tariff_ is derived from this ancient stronghold, at which the mariners
of the Middle Ages paid "duties" to the robbers of the sea. If both
sides of the Straits of Gibraltar were to-day, as they once were, under
the control of the same Moslem power, we might have two castles--one in
Europe and one in Africa--like the "Castles of Europe and Asia," that
still guard the Dardanelles, at which all ships of commerce are required
to stop and report before they can pass; while ships-of-war carrying
too many guns, cannot pass at all without special permission from

But the days of the sea-robbers are ended, and the Mediterranean is free
to all the commerce of the world. The Castle of Tarifa is still kept
up, and makes a picturesque object on the Spanish coast, but no corsair
watches the approach of the distant sail, and no gun checks her speed;
every ship--English, French, or Spanish--passes unmolested on her way
between these peaceful shores. Instead of the mutual hatred which once
existed between the two sides of the Straits, they are in friendly
intercourse, and to-day, under these smiling skies, Spain looks love to
Barbary, and Barbary to Spain.

While thus turning our eyes landward and seaward, we have been rounding
into a bay, and coming in sight of a mighty rock that looms up grandly
before us. Although it was but the middle of the afternoon, the winter
sun hung low, and striking across the bay outlined against the sky the
figure of a lion couchant--a true British lion, not unlike those in
Trafalgar Square in London, only that the bronze is changed to stone,
and the figure carved out of a mountain! But the lion is there, with his
kingly head turned toward Spain, as if in defiance of his former master,
every feature bearing the character of leonine majesty and power. That
is Gibraltar!

It is a common saying that "some men achieve greatness, and some have
greatness thrust upon them." The same may be said of places; but here
is one to which both descriptions may be applied--that has had greatness
thrust upon it by nature, and has achieved it in history. There is not
a more picturesque spot in Europe. The Rock is fourteen hundred feet
high--more than three times as high as Edinburgh Castle, and not, like
that, firm-set upon the solid ground, but rising out of the seas--and
girdled with the strongest fortifications in the world. Such greatness
has nature thrust upon Gibraltar. And few places have seen more history,
as few have been fought over more times than this in the long wars of
the Spaniard and the Moor; for here the Moor first set foot in Europe,
and gave name to the place (Gibraltar being merely Gebel-el-Tarik, the
mountain of Tarik, the Moorish invader), and here departed from it,
after a conflict of nearly eight hundred years.

  [Illustration: THE LION COUCHANT.]

The steamer anchors in the bay, half a mile from shore, and a boat takes
us off to the quay, where after being duly registered by the police, we
are permitted to pass under the massive arches, and through the heavy
gates of the double line of fortifications, and enter Waterport Street,
the one and almost only street of Gibraltar, where we find quarters in
that most comfortable refuge of the traveller, the Royal Hotel, which,
for the period of our stay, is to be our home.

When I stepped on shore I was among strangers: even the friend who had
been my companion through Spain had remained in Cadiz, since in coming
under the English flag I had no longer need of a Spanish interpreter,
and I felt a little lonely; for inside these walls there was not a human
being, man or woman, whom I had ever seen before. Yet one who has been
knocked about the world as I have been, soon makes himself at home,
and in an hour I had found, if not a familiar face, at least a familiar
name, which gave me a right to claim acquaintance. Readers whose
memories run back thirty years to the laying of the first Atlantic Cable
in 1858, may recall the fact that the messages from Newfoundland were
signed by an operator who bore the singular name of De Sauty, and when
the pulse of the old sea-cord grew faint and fluttering, as if it were
muttering incoherent phrases before it drew its last breath, we were
accustomed to receive daily messages signed "All right: De Sauty!" which
kept up our courage for a time, until we found that "All right" was "All
wrong." The circumstance afforded much amusement at the time, and Dr.
Holmes wrote one of his wittiest poems about it, in which the refrain
of every verse was "All right: De Sauty!" Well, the message was true,
at least in one sense, for De Sauty was all right, if the cable was not.
The cable died, but the stout-hearted operator lived, and is at this
moment the manager of the Eastern Telegraph Company in Gibraltar. This
is one of those great English companies, which have their centre in
London, and whose "lines have" literally "gone out through all the
earth." Its "home field" is the Mediterranean, from which it reaches out
long arms down the Red Sea to India and Australia, and indeed to all the
Eastern world. Its General Manager is Sir James Anderson, who commanded
the Great Eastern when she laid the cable successfully in 1866. I had
crossed the ocean with him in '67, and now, wishing to do me a good
turn, he had insisted on my taking a letter to all their offices on both
sides of the Mediterranean, to transmit my messages free! This was a
pretty big license; his letter was almost like one of Paul's epistles
"to the twelve tribes scattered abroad, greeting." It contained a sort
of general direction to make myself at home in all creation!

With such an introduction I felt at home in the telegraph office in
Gibraltar, and especially when I could take by the hand our old friend
De Sauty. He has a hearty grip, which speaks for the true Englishman
that he is. If any of my countrymen had supposed that he died with the
cable, I am happy to say that he not only "still lives," but is very
much alive. He at once sent off to London a message to my friends in
America--a good-bye for the old year, which brought me the next morning
a greeting for the new.

From the telegraph office I took my way to that of the American
Consul, who gave me a welcome such as I could find in no other house in
Gibraltar, since his is the only American family! When I asked after my
countrymen (who, as they are going up and down in the earth, and show
themselves everywhere, I took for granted must be here), he answered
that there was "not one!" He is not only the official representative of
our country, but he and his children the only Americans. This being
so, it is a happy circumstance that the Great Republic is so well
represented; for a better man than Horatio J. Sprague could not be found
in the two hemispheres. He is the oldest Consul in the service, having
been forty years at this post, where his father, who was appointed by
General Jackson, was Consul before him. He received _his_ appointment
from President Polk. Through all these years he has maintained the
honor of the American name, and to-day there is not within the walls of
Gibraltar a man--soldier or civilian--who is more respected than this
solitary representative of our country.

Some may think there is not much need of a Consul where there are no
Americans, and yet nearly five hundred ships sailed from this port last
year for America: pity that he should have to confess that very few
bore the American flag! Thus the post is a responsible one, and at times
involves duties the most delicate and difficult, as in the late war,
when the Sumter was lying here, with three or four American ships
off the harbor (for they were not permitted to remain in port but
twenty-four hours) to prevent her escape. At that time the Consul was
constantly on the watch, only to see the privateer get off at last by
the transparent device of taking out her guns, and being sold to an
English owner, who immediately hoisted the English flag, and put to
sea in broad daylight in the face of our ships, and made her way to
Liverpool, where she was fitted out as a blockade-runner!

Those were trying days for expatriated Americans. However, it was all
made up when Peace came, and Peace with Victory--with the Union restored
and the country saved. Since then it has been the privilege of the
Consul at Gibraltar to welcome many who took part in the great struggle,
among them Generals Grant and Sherman and Admiral Farragut. Of course a
soldier is always interested in a fortress, for it is in the line of
his profession; and the greatest fortification in the world could but be
regarded with a curious eye by old soldiers like those who had led our
armies for four years; who had conducted great campaigns, with long
marches and battles and sieges--battles among the bloodiest of modern
times, and one siege (that of Richmond) which lasted as long as the
famous siege of Gibraltar.

But perhaps no one felt a keener interest in what he saw here than the
old sea-dog, who had bombarded the forts at the mouth of the Mississippi
six days and nights; had broken the heavy iron boom stretched across the
river; and run his ships past the forts under a tremendous fire; only
to find still before him a fleet greater than his own, of twenty armed
steamers, four ironclad rams, and a multitude of fire-rafts, all
of which he attacked and destroyed, and captured New Orleans, an
achievement in naval warfare as great as any ever wrought by Nelson. To
Farragut Gibraltar was nothing more than a big ship, whose decks were
ramparts. Pretty long decks they were, to be sure, but only furnishing
so many more port-holes, and carrying so many more guns, and enabling
its commander to fire a more tremendous broadside.

Talking over these things fired my patriotic breast till I began to feel
as if I were in "mine ain countrie," and among my American kinsmen. And
as I walked from the Consul's back to the Royal Hotel, I did not feel
quite so lonely in Gibraltar as I felt an hour before.

As the afternoon wore away, the Spaniards who had come in from the
country to market, to buy or sell, began to disappear, and soon went
hurrying out, while the belated townsmen came hurrying in. At half-past
five the evening gun from the top of the Rock boomed over land and sea,
and with a few minutes' grace for the last straggler, the gates of the
double line of fortifications were closed for the night, and there
was no more going out or coming in till morning. It gave me a little
uncomfortable feeling to be thus imprisoned in a fortress, with
no possibility of escape. The bustling streets soon subsided into
quietness. At half-past nine another gun was the signal for the soldiers
to return to their barracks; and soon the town was as tranquil as a New
England village. As I stepped out upon the balcony, the stillness seemed
almost unnatural. I heard no cry of "All's well" from the sentinel
pacing the ramparts, as from sailors on the deck, nor the "Ave Maria
santissima" of the Spanish watchman. Not even the howling of a dog broke
the stillness of the night. The moon, but in her second quarter, did
not shut out the light of stars, which were shining brightly on Rock and
Bay. Even the heavy black guns looked peaceful in the soft and tender
light. It was the last night of the year--and therefore a holy night, as
it was to be marked by a Holy Nativity--the birth of a New Year, a
"holy child," as it would come from the hands of God unstained by sin.
A little before midnight I fell asleep, from which I started up at the
sound of the morning gun. The Old Year was dead! He had been a long time
dying, but there is always a shock when the end comes. And yet in that
same midnight a new star appeared in the East, bringing fresh hope to
the poor old world. Life and death are not divided. The very instant
that the old year died, the new year was born; and soon the dawn came
"blushing o'er the world," as if such a thing as death were unknown.
The bugles sounded the morning call, as they had sounded for the night's
repose. Scarcely had we caught the last echoes, that, growing fainter
and fainter, seemed to be wailing for the dying year, before a piercing
blast announced his successor. The King is dead! Long live the King!

  [Illustration: Moorish Castle.]



It was a bright New-Year's morning, that first day of 1887, and how
could we begin the year better than by climbing to the top of the Rock
to get the outlook over land and sea? The ascent is not difficult, for
though the Rock is steep as well as high, a zigzag path winds up its
side, which to a good pedestrian is only a bracing walk, while a lady
can mount a little donkey and be carried to the very top. If you have
to go slowly, so much the better, for you will be glad to linger by
the way. As you mount higher and higher, the view spreads out wider and
wider. Below, the bay is placid as an inland lake, on which ships of
war are riding at anchor, "resting on their shadows," while vessels that
have brought supplies for the garrison are unlading at the New Mole.
Nor is the side of the Rock itself wanting in beauty. Gibraltar is not
a barren cliff; its very crags are mantled with vegetation, and wild
flowers spring up almost as in Palestine. Those who have made a study
of its flora tell us that it has no less than five hundred species of
flowering plants and ferns, of which but one-tenth have been brought
from abroad; all the rest are native. The sunshine of Africa rests in
the clefts of the rocks; in every sheltered spot the vine and fig-tree
flourish, and the almond-tree and the myrtle; you inhale the fragrance
of the locust and the orange blossoms; while the clematis hangs out its
white tassels, and the red geranium lights up the cold gray stone with
rich masses of color.

  [Illustration: GENERAL VIEW OF THE ROCK.]

Thus loitering by the way, you come at last to the top of the Rock,
where a scene bursts upon you hardly to be found elsewhere in the world,
since you are literally pinnacled in air, with a horizon that takes in
two seas and two continents. You are standing on the very top of one
of the Pillars of Hercules, the ancient Calpe, and in full view of the
other, on the African coast, where, above the present town of Ceuta,
whose white walls glisten in the sun, rises the ancient Abyla, the Mount
of God. These are the two Pillars which to the ancient navigators set
bounds to the habitable world.

On this point is the Signal Station, from which a constant watch is kept
for ships entering the Straits. There was a tradition that it had been
an ancient watch-tower of the Carthaginians, from which (as from Monte
Pellegrino, that overlooks the harbor of Palermo) they had watched
the Roman ships. But later historians think it played no great part in
history or in war until the Rock served as a stepping-stone to the Moors
in their invasion and conquest of Spain. When the Spaniards retook it,
they gave this peak the name of "El Hacho," The Torch, because here
beacon-fires were lighted to give warning in time of danger. A little
house furnishes a shelter for the officer on duty, who from its flat
roof, with his field-glass, sweeps the whole horizon, north and
south, from the Sierra Nevada in Spain, to the long chain of the Atlas
Mountains in Africa. Looking down, the Mediterranean is at your feet.
There go the ships, with boats from either shore which dip their long
lateen-sails as sea-gulls dip their wings, and sometimes fly over the
waves as a bird flies through the air, even while large ships labor
against the wind. As the current from the Atlantic flows steadily into
the Mediterranean, if perchance the wind should blow from the same
quarter, it is not an easy matter to get out of the Straits. Ships that
have made the whole course of the Mediterranean are baffled here in the
throat of the sea. Before the days of steam, mariners were subject to
delays of weeks, an experience which was more picturesque than pleasant.
Thirty years ago a friend of mine made a voyage from Boston to Smyrna
in the Henry Hill, a ship which often took out missionaries to the East,
and now had on board a mixed cargo of missionaries and rum! Whether it
was a punishment for the latter, on her return she had head winds
all the way; but in spite of them was able to make a slow progress by
tacking from shore to shore, for which, however, she had less room as
she came into the Straits, through which, as through a funnel, both wind
and current set at times with such force as in this case detained the
Bostonian _five weeks_! "The captain," says my informant, "was a pretty
good-natured man, but as he was a joint-owner of the ship, this long
detention was very trying. But to me"--it is a lady who writes--"it was
quite the reverse. I found it delightful to tack over to the side of
Gibraltar every morning, and drift back every evening to the shores of
Africa, with the little excitement from the risk of being boarded
by pirates in the night! I never tired of the brilliant sunsets,
the gorgeous clouds, with the snow-capped mountains of Granada for a
background. But for the captain (even with missionaries on board, who
were returning to America) the head winds were too much for his temper,
and after vainly striving day after day to get through the Straits, he
would take off his cap, scratch his head, and shake his fists at the

  [Illustration: THE SIGNAL STATION.]

"After tacking for three weeks off Gibraltar, wearing out our cordage
and exhausting our larder, we put into the bay and anchored. Here we
were surrounded by vessels from all parts of the world, and were so near
the town that we could almost exchange greetings with those on shore.
One Sunday the Spaniards had a bull-fight just across the Neutral
Ground; but I preferred a quiet New England Sabbath on shipboard.

"After lying at anchor in the bay for two weeks I went on shore one day
to lunch with an American lady. Returning to the ship in the evening, I
betook myself to my berth. At midnight I heard unusual sounds, clanking
of chains, and sailors singing 'Heave ho!' From my port-hole I could
see an unusual stir, and dressing in haste went on deck. Sure enough
the wind had changed, and all the vessels in the bay were alive with
excitement. The captain was radiant. I could see his beaming face, for
it was clear and beautiful as moonlight could make it. He invited me to
stay on deck, sent for a cup of coffee, and made himself very agreeable.
We were soon under way. I was in a kind of ecstasy with the novelty and
the beauty of it all. The full moon, the grand scenery, the Pillars of
Hercules, solemn in the moonlight, and the added charm of six hundred
vessels, from large to small craft, all in full sail, made a rare
picture. I sat on deck till morning, and certainly never saw a more
beautiful sight than that fleet spreading its wings like a flock of
mighty sea-birds, and moving off together from the Mediterranean into
the Atlantic."

Such picturesque scenes are not so likely to be witnessed now; for since
the introduction of steam the plain and prosaic, but very useful, "tug"
tows off the wind-bound bark through the dreaded Straits into the open
sea, where she can spread her wings and fly across the wide expanse of
the ocean.

To-day, as we look down from the signal station, we see no gathered
ships below waiting for a favoring breeze; the wind scarcely ripples the
sea, and the boats glide gently whither they will, while here and there
a great steamer from England, bound for Naples, or Malta, or India,
appears on the horizon, marking its course by the long line of smoke
trailing behind it.

To this wonderful combination of land and sea nothing can be added
except by the changing light which falls upon it. For the fullest effect
you must wait till sunset, when the evening gun has been fired, to
signal the departing day, and its heavy boom is dying away in the

  "Swinging low with sullen roar."

Then the sky is aflame where the sun has gone down in the Atlantic; and
as the last light from the west streams through the Straits, they shine
as if they were the very gates of gold that open into a fairer world
than ours.



If Gibraltar were merely a rock in the ocean, like the Peak of
Teneriffe, its solitary grandeur would excite a feeling of awe, and
voyagers up and down the Mediterranean would turn to this Pillar of
Hercules as the great feature of the Spanish coast, a "Pillar" poised
between sea and sky, with its head in the clouds and its base deep
in the mighty waters. But Gibraltar is at the same time the strongest
fortress in the world, and the interest of every visitor is to see
its defences, in which the natural strength of the position has been
multiplied by all the resources of modern warfare.

A glance at the map will show what is to be defended. The Rock is nearly
three miles long, with a breadth of half to three quarters of a mile, so
that the whole circuit is about seven miles. But not all this requires
to be defended, for on the eastern side the cliff is so tremendous that
there is no possibility of scaling it. It is fearful to stand on the
brow and look down to where the waves are dashing more than a thousand
feet below. The only approach must be by land from the north, or from
the sea on the western side. As the latter lies along the bay, and is at
the lowest level, it is the most exposed to attack. Here lies the town,
which could easily be approached by an enemy if it were not for
its artificial defences. These consist mainly of what is called the
Line-Wall, a tremendous mass of masonry two miles long, relieved here
and there by projecting bastions, with guns turned right and left, so as
to sweep the face of the wall, if an enemy were to attempt to carry it
by storm. Indeed the line defended is more than two miles long, if we
follow it in its ins and outs; where the New Mole reaches out its long
arm into the bay, with a line of guns on either side; followed by a
re-entering curve round Rosia Bay, the little basin whose waters are so
deep and still, that it is a quiet haven for unlading ships, but where
an enemy would find himself in the centre of a circle of fire under
which nothing could live; and if we include the batteries still farther
southward, that are carried beyond Europa Point, until the last gun is
planted under the eastern cliff, which is itself a defence of nature
that needs no help from man.

  [Illustration: THE NEW MOLE AND ROSIA BAY.]

Within the Line-Wall, immediately fronting the bay, are the casemates
and barracks for the artillery regiments that are to serve the guns. The
casemates are designed to be absolutely bomb-proof, the walls being
of such thickness as to resist the impact of shot weighing hundreds of
pounds, while the enormous arches overhead are made to withstand the
weight and the explosion of the heaviest shells. Such at least was the
design of the military engineers who constructed them: though, with the
new inventions in war, the monster guns and the new explosives, it is
hard to put any limit to man's power of destruction. This Line-Wall is
armed with guns of the largest calibre, some of which are mounted on
the parapet above, but the greater part are in the casemates below, and
therefore nearer the level of the sea, so that they can be fired but a
few feet above the water, and thus strike ships in the most vital part.

The latest pets of Gibraltar are a pair of twins--two guns, each of
which weighs a hundred tons! These are guarded with great care from
the too close inspection of strangers. No description can give a clear
impression of their enormous size. In the early history of artillery,
the Turks cast some of the largest pieces in the world. Those who have
visited the East, may remember the huge cannon-balls of stone, that
may still be seen lying under the walls of the Round Towers on the
Bosphorus. But those were pebbles compared with shot that can only be
lifted to the mouth of the guns by machinery. The bore of these monsters
would delight the soul of the Grand Turk, for, (as a man could easily
crawl into one of them,) if the barbarous punishment of the old days
were still reserved for great offenders, a Pasha who had displeased the
Sultan might easily be put in along with the cartridge, and be rammed
down and fired off!

The guns had recently been tried, and found to be perfect, though the
explosion was not so terrible as had at first been feared. There had
been some apprehension that a weapon which was to be so destructive to
enemies, might not be an innocent toy to those who fired it; that it
might split the ear-drums of the gunners themselves. Some years ago
I was at Syra, in the Greek Archipelago, when the English ironclad
Devastation was lying in port, which had four thirty-five-ton guns, (the
monsters of that day,) and one of her officers said that they "never
fired them except at sea, for that the discharge in the harbor would
break every window in the town." But here the effect seems not to
have been so great. One who was present at the firing of one of the
hundred-ton guns, told me that all who stood round expected to be
deafened by the concussion. Yet when it came, they turned and looked at
each other with a mixture of surprise and disappointment. The sound was
not in proportion to the size. Indeed our Consul tells me that some of
the sixty-eight pounders are as ear-splitting as the hundred-ton guns.
But an English gentleman whom I met at Naples gave me a different
report of his experience. He had just come from Malta, where they have a
hundred-ton gun mounted on the ramparts. One day, while at dinner in the
hotel, they heard a crash, at which all started from their seats, and
rushed to the windows to throw them open, lest a second discharge should
leave not a pane of glass unbroken. But this came only as they left the
harbor. When about three miles at sea, they saw the flash, which was
followed by a boom such as they never heard before. It was the most
awful thunder rolling over the deep in billows, like waves of the sea,
filling the whole horizon with the vast, tremendous sound. It was as
"the voice of God upon the waters."

But, of course, with the hundred-ton guns, as with any other, the main
question is, not how much noise they make, but what is their power of
destruction. Here the experiment was entirely satisfactory. It proved
that a hundred-ton gun would throw a ball weighing 2,000 pounds over
eight miles![1] With such a range it would reach every part of the
bay, and a brace of them, with the hundreds of heavy guns along the
Line-Wall, might be relied upon to clear the bay of a hostile fleet, so
that Gibraltar could hardly be approached by sea.

But these are not the whole of its defences; they are only the
beginning. There are batteries in the rear of the town, as well as in
front, that can be fired over the tops of the houses, so that, if an
enemy were to effect a landing he would have to fight his way at every
step. As you climb the Rock, it fairly bristles with guns. You cannot
turn to the right or the left without seeing these open-mouthed
monsters, and looking into their murderous throats. Everywhere it is
nothing but guns, guns, guns! There are guns over your head and under
your feet--

  "Cannon to the right of you,
   Cannon to the left of you;"

and what is still more, cannon pointed directly at you, till you almost
feel as if they were aimed with a purpose, and as if they might suddenly
open their mouths, and belch you forth, as the whale did Jonah, though
not upon the land, but into the midst of the sea!

But my story is not ended. It is a good rule in description to keep
the best to the last. The unique feature of Gibraltar--that in which it
surpasses all the other fortresses of Europe, or of the world--is the
Rock Galleries, to which I will now lead the way. These were begun more
than a hundred years ago, during the Great Siege, which lasted nearly
four years, when the inhabitants had no rest day nor night. For, though
the French and Spanish besiegers had not rifled guns, nor any of the
improved artillery of modern times, yet even with their smooth-bore
cannon and mortars they managed to reach every part of the Rock. Bombs
and shells were always flying over the town, now bursting in the air,
and now falling with terrible destruction. So high did these missiles
reach, that even the Rock Gun, on the very pinnacle of Gibraltar,
was twice dismounted. Thus pursued to the very eagle's nest of their
citadel, and finding no rest above ground, the besieged felt that their
only shelter must be in the bowels of the earth, and gangs of convicts
were set to work to blast out these long galleries, which we are now to

As it is a two miles' walk through them, we may save our steps by riding
as far as the entrance. It is an easy drive up to the Moorish Castle,
built by the African invader who crossed the Straits in 711, and finding
the south of Spain an easy conquest, resolved to establish himself in
the country, and a few years later built this castle on a shoulder of
the hill, where it has stood, frowning over land and sea for nearly
twelve centuries.

Here we present an order from the Military Secretary, and the officer in
charge details a gunner to conduct us through the galleries. The gate
is opened, and we plunge in at once, beginning on the lower level. The
excavation is just like that of a railway tunnel, except that no arches
are required, as it is for the whole distance hewn through the solid
rock, which is self-supporting.

But it is not a gloomy cavern that we are to explore, through which we
can make our way only by the light of torches, for at every dozen yards
there is a large port-hole, by which light is admitted from without, at
all of which heavy guns are mounted on carriages, by which they can be
swung round to any quarter.

After we have passed through one tier, perhaps a mile in length, we
mount to a second, which rises above the other like the upper deck of
an enormous line-of-battle ship. Enormous indeed it must be, if we can
imagine a double-decker a mile long!

Following the galleries to the very end, we find them enlarged to an
open space, called the Hall of St. George, in which Nelson was once
fêted by the officers of the garrison. It must have been a proud moment
when the defenders of the Great Fortress paid homage to the Conqueror
of the sea. As they drank to the health of the hero of the Battle of the
Nile, they could hardly have dreamed that a greater victory was yet to
come; and still less, that it would be a victory followed by mourning,
when all the flags in Gibraltar would be hung at half-mast, as the
flagship of Nelson anchored in the bay, with only his body on board, one
week after the battle of Trafalgar.

As we tramped past these endless rows of cannon, it occurred to me that
their simultaneous discharge must be very trying to the nerves of the
artilleryman (if he has any nerves), as the concussion against the walls
of rock is much greater than if they were fired in the open air, and
I asked my guide if he did not dread it? He confessed that he did; but
added, like the plucky soldier that he was: "We've got to stand up to

These galleries are all on the northern side of the Rock, which, as it
is very precipitous, hardly needs such a defence. But it is the side
which looks toward Spain, and is intended to command any advance against
the fortress from the land. Keeping in mind the general shape of the
Rock as that of a lion, this is the Lion's head, and as I looked up at
it afterward from the Neutral Ground, I could but imagine these open
port-holes, with the savage-looking guns peering out of them, to be the
lion's teeth, and thought what terror would be thrown into a camp of
besiegers if the monster should once open those ponderous jaws and shake
the hills with his tremendous roar.

It is not often that this roar is heard; but there is one day in the
year when it culminates, when the British Lion roars the loudest. It is
the Queen's birthday, when the Rock Gun, mounted on the highest point
of the Rock, 1,400 feet in air, gives the signal; which is immediately
caught up by the galleries below, one after the other; and the batteries
along the sea answer to those from the mountain side, until the
mighty reverberations not only sweep round the bay, but across the
Mediterranean, and far along the African shores. Nothing like this is
seen or heard in any other part of the world. The only parallel to it is
in the magnificent phenomena of nature, as in a storm in the Alps, when

                "Not from one lone cloud,
  But every mountain now hath found a tongue,
  And Jura answers from her misty shroud
  Back to the joyous Alps that call to her aloud."

This is magnificent: and yet I trust my military friends will not
despise my sober tastes if I confess that this "roar," if kept up for
any length of time, would greatly disturb the meditations of a quiet
traveller like myself. Indeed it would be a serious objection to living
in Gibraltar that I should be compelled to endure the cannonading,
which, at certain times of the year, makes the rocks echo with a
deafening sound. I hate noise, and especially the noise of sharp
explosions. I have always been of Falstaff's opinion, that

  "But for those vile guns I would be a soldier."

But here the "vile guns" are everywhere, and though they may be quiet
for a time, it is only to break out afterward and make themselves heard
in a way that cannot but be understood.

  [Illustration: THE SALUTING BATTERY.]

As I have happened on an interval of rest, I have been surprised at the
quietness of Gibraltar. In all the time of my stay I have not heard a
single gun, except at sunrise and sunset, and at half-past nine o'clock
for the soldiers to return to their barracks. There has not been even
a salute, for, although there is on the Alameda a saluting battery,
composed of Russian guns taken in the Crimean War, yet it is less often
used than might be supposed, for the ships of war that come here are for
the most part English (the French and Spaniards would hardly find the
associations agreeable), and these are not saluted since they are _at
home_, as much as if they were entering Portsmouth.

For these reasons I have found Gibraltar so quiet that I was beginning
to think it a dull old Spanish town, fit for a retreat, if not for
monks, at least for travellers and scholars, when the Colonial Secretary
dispelled the illusion by saying, "Yes, it is very quiet just now; but
wait a few weeks and you will have enough of it." As the spring comes
on, the artillerymen begin their practice. The guns in the galleries are
not used, but all the batteries along the sea, and at different points
on the side of the Rock, some of which are mounted with the heaviest
modern artillery, are let loose upon the town.

But this is not done without due notice. The order is published in the
_Chronicle_, a little sheet which appears every morning, and lest it
might not reach the eyes of all, messengers are sent to every house to
give due warning, so that nervous people can get out of the way; but the
inhabitants generally, being used to it, take no other precaution than
to open their windows, which might otherwise be broken by the violence
of the concussion. Lord Gifford, soldier as he is, said, "It is awful,"
pointing to the ceiling over his head, which had been cracked in many
places so as to be in danger of falling, by the tremendous jar. He told
me how one house had been so knocked to pieces that a piece of timber
had fallen, nearly killing an officer. This is an enlivening experience,
of which I should be sorry to deprive those who like it. But as some of
us prefer to live in "the still air of delightful studies," I must say
that I enjoy these explosions best at a distance, as even in an Alpine
storm I would not have the lightning flashing in my very eyes, but
rather lighting up the whole blackened sky, and the mighty thunder
rolling afar off in the mountains.



Accustomed as we are to think of Gibraltar as a Fortress, we may forget
that it is anything else. But it is an old Spanish town, quaint and
picturesque as Spanish towns are apt to be, with twenty thousand
inhabitants, in which the Spanish element, though subject to another and
more powerful element, gives a distinct flavor to the place. Indeed, the
mingling of the Spanish with the English, or the appearance of the two
side by side, without mingling, furnishes a lively contrast, which
is one of the most piquant features of this very miscellaneous and
picturesque population.

Of course, in a garrison town the military element is first and
foremost. As there are always five or six thousand troops in Gibraltar,
it is perhaps the largest garrison in the British dominions, unless
the troops in and around London be reckoned as a garrison. But that is
rather an army, of which only a small part is in London itself, where
a few picked regiments are kept as Household Troops, not only to insure
the personal safety of the sovereign, but to keep up the state and
dignity of the court; while other regiments are distributed in barracks
within easy call in case of need, not for defence against foreign
enemies so much as to preserve internal order; to put down riot and
insurrection; and thus guard what is not only the capital of Great
Britain, but the commercial centre of the world.

Very different from this is a garrison town, where a large body of
troops is shut up within the walls of a fortress. Here the military
element is so absorbing and controlling, that it dominates the whole
life of the place. Everything goes by military rule; even the hours of
the day are announced by "gun-fire;" the morning gun gives the exact
minute at which the soldiers are to turn out of their beds, and the last
evening gun the minute at which they are to "turn in," signals which,
though for the soldiers only, the working population of the town find it
convenient to adopt; and which outsiders _must_ regard, since at
these hours the gates are opened and shut; so that a large part of the
non-military part of the population have to "keep step," almost as much
as if they were marching in the ranks, since their rising up and their
lying down, their goings out and their comings in, are all regulated by
the fire of the gun or the blast of the bugle.

The presence of so large a body of troops in Gibraltar gives a constant
animation to its streets, which are alive with red-coats and blue-coats,
the latter being the uniform of the artillery. This is a great
entertainment to an American, to whom such sights in his own country are
rare and strange. A few years ago we had enough of them when we had a
million of men in arms, and the land was filled with the sound of war.
But since the blessed days of peace have come we seldom see a soldier,
so that the parades in foreign capitals have all the charm of novelty.
In fondness for these I am as much "a boy" as the youngest of my
countrymen. Almost every hour a company passes up the street, and never
do I hear the "tramp, tramp," keeping time to the fife and drum, that I
do not rush to the balcony to see the sight, and hear the sounds which
stir even my peaceful breast.

There is nothing that stirs me quite so much as the bugle. Twice a day
it startles us with its piercing blast, as it follows instantly the
gun-fire at sunrise and sunset. But this does not thrill me as when I
hear it blown on some far-off height, and dying away in a valley below,
or answered back from a yet more distant point, like a mountain echo.
One morning I was taking a walk to Europa Point, and as the path leads
upward I came upon several squads of buglers (I counted a dozen men in
one of them) practising their "calls." They were stationed at different
points on the side of the Rock, so that when one company had given the
signal, it was repeated by another from a distance, bugle answering to
bugle, precisely like the echoes in the Alps, to which every traveller
stops to listen. So here I stopped to listen till the last note had died
away in the murmuring sea; and then, as I went on over the hill, kept
repeating, as if it were a spell to call them back again:

  "Blow, bugles, blow,
   Set the wild echoes flying!"

As the English are masters of Gibraltar, I am glad to see that they
bring their English ideas and English customs with them. Nothing shows
the thoroughly English character of the place more than the perfect
quiet of the day of rest. Religious worship seems to be a part of the
military discipline. On Sunday morning I heard the familiar sound of
music, followed by the soldiers' tramp, and stepping to the balcony
again, found a regiment on the march, not to parade but _to church_.
Gibraltar has the honor of being the seat of an English bishop, because
of which its modest church bears the stately name of a Cathedral; and
here may be seen on a Sunday morning nearly all the officials of the
place, from the Governor down; with the officers of the garrison: and
probably the soldiers generally follow the example of their officers
in attending the service of the Church of England. But they are not
compelled to this against their own preferences. The Irish can go to
mass, and the Scotch to their simpler worship. In all the churches there
is a large display of uniforms, nor could the preachers address more
orderly or more attentive listeners. The pastor of the Scotch church
tells me that he is made happy when a Scotch regiment is ordered to
Gibraltar, for then he is sure of a large array of stalwart Cameronians,
among whom are always some who have the "gift of prayer," and know how
to sing the "Psaumes of Dawvid." These brave Scots go through with their
religious exercises almost with the stride of grenadiers, for they are
in dead earnest in whatever they undertake, whether it be praying or
fighting; and these are the men on whom a great commander would rely to
lead a forlorn hope into the deadly breach; or, as an English writer has
said, "to march first and foremost if a city is to be taken by storm!"

Besides the garrison, and the English or Spanish residents of Gibraltar,
the town has a floating population as motley in race and color as can
be found in any city on the Mediterranean. Indeed it is one of the most
cosmopolitan places in the world. It is a great resort of political
refugees, who seek protection under the English flag. As it is so close
to Spain, it is the first refuge of Spanish conspirators, who, failing
in their attempts at revolution, flee across the lines. Misery makes
strange bedfellows. It must be strange indeed for those to meet here who
in their own land have conspired with, or it may be against, each other.

Apart from these, there is a singular mixture of characters and
countries, of races and religions. Here Spaniards and Moors, who fought
for Gibraltar a thousand years ago, are at peace and good friends, at
least so far as to be willing to cheat each other as readily as if
they were of the same religion. Here are long-bearded Jews in their
gabardines; and Turks with their baggy trousers, taking up more space
than is allowed to Christian legs; with a mongrel race from the Eastern
part of the Mediterranean, known as Levantines; and another like unto
them, the Maltese; and a choice variety of natives of Gibraltar, called
"Rock scorpions," with Africans blacker than Moors, who have perhaps
crossed the desert, and hail from Timbuctoo. All these make a Babel
of races and languages, as they jostle each other in these narrow
and crowded streets, and bargain with each other, and, I am afraid,
sometimes swear at each other, in all the languages of the East.

Here is a field for the young American artists, who after making their
sketches in Florence and Rome and Naples, sometimes come to Spain, but
seldom take the trouble to come as far as the Pillars of Hercules. As
an old traveller, let me assure them that an artist in search of the
picturesque, or of what is curious in the study of strange peoples, may
find in Gibraltar, with its neighbor Tangier, (but three hours' sail
across the Straits) subjects for his pencil as rich in feature, in
color, and in costume, as he can find in the bazaars of Cairo or



The garrison of Gibraltar, in time of peace, numbers five or six
thousand men, made up chiefly of regiments brought home from foreign
service, that are stationed here for a few months, or it may be a year
or two, not merely to perform garrison duty, but as a place of rest to
recover strength for fresh campaigns, from which they can be ordered
to any part of the Mediterranean or to India. While here they are kept
under constant drill, yet not in such bodies as to make a grand military
display, for there is no parade ground large enough for the purpose.
Gibraltar has no Champ de Mars on which all the regiments can be brought
into the field, and go through with the evolutions of an army. If the
whole garrison is to be put under arms, it must be marched out of the
gates to the North Front, adjoining the Neutral Ground, that it may have
room for its military manoeuvres. When our countryman General Crawford,
who commanded the Pennsylvania Reserves at the Battle of Gettysburg, was
here a few years since, the Governor, Sir Fenwick Williams, gave him
a review of four thousand men. But that was a mark of respect to a
distinguished military visitor, and presented a sight rarely witnessed
by the ordinary traveller. It was therefore a piece of good fortune
to have an opportunity to see, though on a smaller scale, the splendid
bearing of the trained soldiers of the British Army. One morning our
Consul (always thoughtful of what might contribute to my pleasure) sent
me word that there was to be a parade of one of the regiments of the
garrison for the purpose of receiving new colors from the hands of the
Governor. Hastening to the Alameda, (which is the only open space
within the walls at once large enough and level enough even for a
single regiment,) I found it already in position, the long scarlet lines
forming three sides of a hollow square. Joining a group of spectators
on the side that was open, we waited the arrival of the Governor, an
interval well employed in some inquiries as to the corps that was to
receive the honors of the day.

"What did you tell me was the name of this Regiment?" "The South
Staffordshire!" But that is merely the name of a county in England,
which conveys no meaning to an American. And yet the name caught my ear
as one that I had heard before. "Was not this one of the Regiments that
served lately in the Soudan?" It was indeed the same, and I at once
knew more of it than I had supposed. As I had been twice in Egypt, I
was greatly interested in the expedition up the Nile for the relief of
Khartoum and the rescue of General Gordon, and had followed its progress
in the English papers, where, along with the Black Watch and other
famous troops, I had seen frequent mention of the South Staffordshire
Regiment. As the expedition was for months the leading feature of the
London illustrated papers, they were filled with pictures of the troops,
engaged in every kind of service, sometimes looking more like sailors
than soldiers, from which, however, they were ready, at the first alarm,
to fall into ranks and march to battle. Many of the comrades who sailed
from England with them left their bones on the banks of the Nile.

With this recent history in mind, I could not look in the faces of the
brave men who had made all these marches, and endured these fatigues,
and fought these battles, without my heart beating fast. It beat faster
still when I learned that the campaign in Egypt was only the last of a
long series of campaigns, reaching over not only many years, but almost
two centuries! The history of this regiment is worth the telling, if it
were only to show of what stuff the British Army is made, and how the
traditions of a particular corps, passing down from sire to son, remain
its perpetual glory and inspiration.

The South Staffordshire Regiment is one of the oldest in the English
Army, having been organized in the reign of Queen Anne, when the great
Marlborough led her troops to foreign wars. But it does not appear to
have fought under Marlborough, having been early transferred to the
Western Hemisphere. After four years' service at home it was sent to the
West Indies, where it remained nearly _sixty years_, its losses by death
being made good by fresh recruits from England, so that its organization
was kept intact. Returning home in 1765, it was stationed in Ireland
till the cloud began to darken over the American Colonies, when it was
one of the first corps despatched across the Atlantic. As an American,
I could not but feel the respect due to a brave enemy on learning that
this very regiment that I saw before me _had fought at Bunker Hill_!
From Boston it was ordered to New York, where it remained till the
close of the war. No doubt it often paraded on the Battery, as to-day it
parades on the Alameda. After the war it was stationed several years in
Nova Scotia.

From that time it has had a full century of glory, serving now in the
West Indies, and now at the Cape of Good Hope, and then coming back
across the Atlantic to the River Plate in South America, where it
distinguished itself at the storming and capture of Monte Video, and
afterward fought at Buenos Ayres. But the "storm centre" in the opening
nineteenth century was to be, not in America, North or South, nor in
Africa, but in Europe, in the wars of Napoleon. This regiment was with
Sir John Moore when he fell at Corunna, and afterward followed the Iron
Duke through Spain, fighting in the great battle of Salamanca, and later
with Sir Thomas Graham at Vittoria, and in the siege and storming of San
Sebastian. It was part of the army that crossed the Bidassoa, and
made the campaign of 1813-14 in the South of France. After the fall of
Napoleon it returned home, but on his return from Elba was immediately
ordered back to the Continent, and arrived at Ostend, too late to take
part in the Battle of Waterloo, but joined the army and marched with it
to Paris.

When the great disturber of the peace of the Continent was sent to
St. Helena, Europe had a long rest from war; but there was trouble in
other parts of the world, and in 1819 the regiment was again at the Cape
of Good Hope, fighting the Kaffirs; from which it went to India, and
thence to Burmah, where it served in the war of 1824-26. This is the
war which has been made familiar to American readers in the Life of the
Missionary Judson, who was thrown into prison at Ava, (as the King made
no distinction between Englishmen and Americans), confined in a dungeon,
and chained to the vilest malefactors, in constant danger of death, till
the advance of the British army up the Irrawaddi threw the tyrant into a
panic of terror, when he sent for his prisoner to go to the British camp
and make terms with the conquerors. England made peace, but the regiment
was half destroyed, having lost in Burmah eleven officers and five
hundred men.

The ten years of peace that followed were spent in Bengal. When at last
the regiment was called home, it was stationed for a few years in the
Ionian Islands, in Jamaica, Honduras, and Nova Scotia. Then came the
Russian War, when it was sent to Turkey, and fought at the Alma and
Inkerman, and through the long siege of Sebastopol. Only a single year
of peace followed, and it was again ordered to India, where the outbreak
of the mutiny threatened the loss of the Indian Empire, and by forced
marches reached Cawnpore in time to defeat the Sepoy army; from which it
marched to Lucknow, where it was part of the fiery host that stormed the
Kaiser-Bagh, where it suffered fearful loss, but the siege was raised
and Lucknow delivered; after which, in a campaign in Oude, it helped to
stamp out the mutiny.

Its last campaign was in Egypt, where it went up the Nile as a part
of the River Column, hauling its boats over the cataracts, and was the
first regiment that reached Korti. From this point it kept along the
course of the river toward Berber (while another column, mounted on
camels, made the march across the desert), and with the Black Watch
bore the brunt of the fighting in the battle of Kirbekan, in which the
commander of the column and the colonel of the regiment both fell.[2]

Such is the story of a hundred and fifty years. Of the hundred and
eighty-four years that the Regiment has been in existence, it has spent
a hundred and thirty-four--all but fifty--in foreign service, in which
it has fought in thirty-eight battles, and has left the bones of its
dead in every quarter of the globe. Was there ever a Roman legion that
could show a longer record of war and of glory?

And now this British legion, with a history antedating the possession
of Gibraltar itself, (for it was organized in 1702, two years before the
Rock was captured from Spain,) had been brought back to this historic
ground, bringing with it its old battle-flags, that had floated on so
many fields, which, worn by time and torn by shot and shell, it was now
to surrender, to be taken back to England and hung in the oldest church
in Staffordshire as the proud memorials of its glory, while it was to
receive new colors, to be borne in future wars. The rents in its ranks
had been filled by new recruits, so that it stood full a thousand
strong, its burnished arms glistening as if those who bore them had
never been in the heat of battle. In the hollow square in which it was
drawn up were its mounted officers, waiting the arrival of the Governor,
who presently rode upon the ground, with Major-General Walker, the
Commander of the Infantry Brigade, at his side; followed by other
officers, who took position in the rear, according to their rank. The
band struck up "God save the Queen," and the troops, wheeling into
column, began the "march past," moving with such firm and even tread
that it seemed as if the regiment had but one body and one soul. After
a series of evolutions it was again formed in a square, for a ceremony
that was half military and half religious, for in such pageants the
Church of England always lends its presence to the scene. I had read of
military mass in the Russian army, when the troops drawn up in battle
array, fall upon their knees, while the Czar, prostrating himself, prays
apparently with the utmost devotion for the blessing of Almighty God
upon the Russian arms! Something of the same effect was produced
here, when the Bishop of Gibraltar in his robes came forward with his
assistant clergy. At once the band ceased; the troops stood silent and
reverent. The silence was first broken by the singing of a Hymn, whose
rugged verse had a strange effect, as given by the Regimental Choir. I
leave to my readers to imagine the power of these martial lines sung by
those stentorian voices:

  When Israel's Chief in days of yore,
    Thy banner, Lord, flung out,
  Old Kishon's tide ran red with gore,
    Dire was the Pagan rout.

  And later, when the Roman's eye
    Turned upward in despair,
  The Cross, that flickered in the sky,
    Made answer to his prayer.

  So, Lord, to us Thy suppliants now,
    Bend Thou a gracious ear,
  And mark, and register the vow
    We make before Thee here.

  Through fire and steel, 'mid weal or woe,
    Unwavering and in faith,
  Where'er these sacred banners go,
    We'll follow, to the death.

  We'll follow, strengthened by the might
    That comes of trust in Thee,
  And if we conquer in the fight,
    Thine shall the glory be:

  Or if Thy wisdom wing the ball,
    And life or limb be riven,
  The Cross we gaze on as we fall
    Shall point the way to Heaven.

When this song of battle died away, the voice of the Bishop was heard
in a prayer prepared for the occasion. Some may criticise it as implying
that the God of Battles must always be on the side of England. But such
is the character of all prayers offered in time of war. Making this
allowance, it seems as if the feeling of the hour could not be more
devoutly expressed than in the following:

  Almighty and most merciful Father, without whom nothing is strong,
  nothing is holy, we come before Thee with a deep sense of Thine
  exceeding Majesty and our own unworthiness, praying Thee to shed
  upon us the light of Thy countenance, and to hallow and sanctify the
  work in which we are this day engaged.

  We beseech Thee to forward with Thy blessing, the presentation to
  this Regiment of the Colors which are henceforth to be carried in
  its ranks; and with all lowliness and humility of spirit, we presume
  to consecrate the same in Thy great name, to the cause of peace and
  happiness, truth and justice, religion and piety. We humbly pray
  that the time may come when the sound of War shall cease to be heard
  in the world; but forasmuch as to our mortal vision that blessed
  consummation seems still far distant, we beseech Thee so to order
  the course of events that these colors shall be unfurled in the face
  of an enemy only for a righteous cause. And in that dark hour may
  stain and disgrace fall upon them never; but being borne aloft as
  emblems of loyalty and truth, may the brave who gather round them go
  forward conquering for the right, and maintaining, as becomes them,
  the honor of the British Crown, the purity of our most holy faith,
  the majesty of our laws, and the influence of our free and happy
  constitution. Finally, we pray that Thy servants here present, not
  forgetful of Thine exceeding mercies vouchsafed to their regiment
  in times gone by, and that all the forces of our Sovereign Lady the
  Queen, wherever stationed and however employed, may labor through
  Thy grace to maintain a conscience void of offence towards Thee and
  towards man, always remembering that of soldier and of civilian the
  same account shall be taken, and that he is best prepared to do his
  duty, and to meet death, let it come in what form it may, who in
  the integrity of a pure heart is able to look to Thee as a God
  reconciled to him through the blood of the Atonement. Grant this, O
  Lord, for Thine only Son Jesus Christ's sake! Amen.

Then followed the usual prayer for the Queen:

  O Lord, our Heavenly Father, high and mighty, King of kings, Lord
  of lords, the only Ruler of princes, who dost from Thy throne behold
  all the dwellers upon earth, most heartily we beseech Thee with Thy
  favor to behold our most gracious Sovereign Lady Queen Victoria,
  and so replenish her with the grace of Thy Holy Spirit that she
  may always incline to Thy will and walk in Thy way; endue her
  plenteously with heavenly gifts; grant her in health and wealth long
  to live; strengthen her that she may vanquish and overcome all her
  enemies; and finally, after this life, she may attain everlasting
  joy and felicity, through Jesus Christ our Lord! Amen.

         *       *       *       *       *

  The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the
  fellowship of the Holy Ghost, be with us all evermore! Amen.

The service ended, the Governor, dismounting from his horse, took the
place of the Bishop in a service which had a sacred as well as patriotic
character. Two officers, the youngest of the Regiment, advancing,
surrendered the old flags, which had been carried for so many years and
through so many wars, and then each bending on one knee, received from
his hands the new colors which were to have a like glorious history. As
they rose from their knees, the Governor remounted his horse, and from
the saddle delivered an address as full of patriotic sentiment, of
loyalty to the Queen and country, and as spirit-stirring to the brave
men before him, as if they were to be summoned to immediate battle. With
that he turned and galloped off the ground, while the Regiment unfurling
its new standards, with drums beating and band playing, marched proudly

As it wound up the height, the long scarlet line had a most picturesque
effect. It has been objected to these brilliant uniforms that they make
the soldiers too conspicuous a mark for the sharpshooters of the enemy.
But, however it may be in war, nothing can be finer on parade. Our
modern architects and decorators, who attach so much importance to
color, and insist that everything, from cottage to castle, should be
"picked out in red," would have been in ecstasies at the colors which
that day gleamed among the rocks and trees of Gibraltar.

Indeed, if you should happen to be sauntering on the Alameda just at
evening, as the sunset-gun is fired, and should look upward to see
the smoke curling away, you might see above it a gathering of black
clouds--the sure sign of the coming of the terrible East wind known as
the "Levanter"; and if at the same moment the afterglow of the dying day
should touch a group of soldiers standing on the mountain's crest (where
colors could be clearly distinguished even if figures were confused),
it might seem as if that last gleam under the shadow of the clouds were
itself the red cross of England soaring against a dark and stormy sky.

This was the brilliant side of war: pity that there should be another
side! But the next day, walking near the barracks, I met a company with
reversed arms bearing the body of a comrade to the grave. There was no
funeral pomp, no waving plumes nor roll of muffled drums: for it was
only a common soldier, who might have fallen on any field, and be buried
where he fell, with not a stone to mark his resting-place. But for all
that, he may have been a true hero; for it is such as he, the unknown
brave, who have fought all the battles and gained all the victories of
the world.

Turning from this scene, I thought how hard was the fate of the English
soldier: to be an exile from the land of his birth, "a man without a
country"; who may be ordered to any part of the world (for such is the
stern necessity, if men are to defend "an Empire on which the sun never
sets"); serving in many lands, yet with a home in none; to sleep at
last in a nameless grave! Such has been the fate of many of that gallant
regiment which I saw marching so proudly yesterday. Their next campaign
may be in Central Asia, fighting the Russians in Afghanistan, amid the
snows of the Himalayas. If so, I fear it may be said of them with sad,
prophetic truth, as they go into battle:

  "Ah! few shall part where many meet;
   The snow shall be their winding-sheet;
   And every turf beneath their feet
   Shall be a soldier's sepulchre."



The best thing that I find in any place is the men that are in it.
Strong walls and high towers are grand, but after a while they oppress
me by their very massiveness, unless animated by a living presence. Even
the great guns, those huge monsters that frown over the ramparts, would
lose their majesty and terror, if there were not brave men behind them.
And so, after I had surveyed Gibraltar from every point of land and
sea; after I had been round about it, and marked well its towers and its
bulwarks; to complete the enjoyment I had but one wish--to sit down in
some quiet nook and talk it all over.

There is no man in the world whom I respect more than an old soldier.
He is the embodiment of courage and of all manly qualities, and he has
given his life to his country. And if he bears in his person the scars
of honorable wounds, I look up to him with a feeling of veneration. Of
such characters no place has more than Gibraltar, which perhaps may
be considered the centre of the military life of England. True, the
movements of the Army are directed by orders from the Horse Guards in
London. But here the military feature is the predominant, if not the
exclusive, one; while in London a few thousand troops would be lost in a
city of five millions of inhabitants. Here the outward and visible sign
is ever before you: regiments whose names are historical, are always
coming and going; and if you are interested in the history of modern
wars, (as who can fail to be, since it is a part of the history of our
times?) you may not only read about them in the Garrison Library, but
see the very men that have fought in them. Here is a column coming
up the street! I look at its colors, and read the name of a regiment
already familiar through the English papers; that has shown the national
pluck and endurance in penetrating an African forest or an Indian
jungle, or in climbing the Khyber Pass in the Himalayas to settle
accounts with the Emir of Cabul. There must be strange meetings of old
comrades here, as well as new companionships formed between those who
have fought under the same royal standard, though in different parts of
the world. A regiment recalled from Halifax is quartered near another
just returned from Natal or the Cape of Good Hope; while troops from
Hong Kong, or that have been up the Irrawaddi to take part in the
late war in Upper Burmah, can exchange experiences with their brother
soldiers from the other side of the globe. Almost all the regiments
collected here have figured in distant campaigns, and the officers that
ride at their head are the very ones that led them to victory. To a
heart that is not so dead but that it can still be stirred by deeds of
daring, there is nothing more thrilling than to sit under the guns of
the greatest fortress in the world, and listen to the story as it comes
from the lips of those who were actors in the scenes.

But it would be a mistake to suppose that the society of Gibraltar is
confined to men. The home instincts are strong in English breasts;
and wherever they go they carry their household gods with them. In my
wanderings about the world, it has been my fortune to visit portions of
the British Empire ten thousand miles away from the mother country; yet
in every community there was an English stamp, a family likeness to the
old island home. Hence it is that in the most remote colony there are
the elements of a good society. Whatever country the English may enter,
even if it be in the Antipodes, as soon as they have taken root and
become established they send back to England for their wives and
daughters, that they may renew the happy life that they have lived
before, so that the traveller who penetrates the interior of Australia,
of New Zealand, or Van Dieman's Land, is surprised to find, even "in the
bush," the refinement of an English home.

This instinct is not lost, even when they are in camps or barracks. If
you visit a "cantonment" in Upper India, you will find the officers with
their families about them. The brave-hearted English women "follow the
drum" to the ends of the earth; and I have sometimes thought that their
husbands and brothers owed part of their indomitable resolution to the
inspiration of their wives and sisters.

It is this feature of garrison life, this union of "fair women and brave
men," which gives such a charm to the society of Gibraltar--a union
which is more complete here than in most garrison towns, because the
troops stay longer, and there is more opportunity for that home-life
which strangers would hardly believe to exist. Most travellers see
nothing of it. Indeed it is probable that they hardly think of Gibraltar
as having any home-life, since its population is always on the come and
go; living here only as in a camp, and to-morrow

  "Folding its tents like the Arabs,
   And silently stealing away."

This is partly true. Soldiers of course are subject to orders, and the
necessities of war may cause them to be embarked at an hour's notice.
But in time of peace they may remain longer undisturbed. Regiments which
have done hard service in India are sometimes left here to recruit
even for years, which gives their officers opportunity to bring their
families, whose presence makes Gibraltar seem like a part of England
itself, as if it were no farther away than the Isle of Wight. This it is
which makes life here quite other than being imprisoned in a fortress. I
may perhaps give some glimpses of these interiors (without publicity to
what is private and sacred), which I depict simply that I may do justice
to a place to which I came as a stranger, and from which I depart as a

Just before I left America, I was present at a breakfast given to M.
de Lesseps on his visit to America to attend the inauguration of
Bartholdi's Statue of Liberty. As I sat opposite the "grand Français," I
turned the conversation to Spain, to which I was going, and where I
knew that he had spent many years. He took up the subject with all his
natural fire, and spoke of the country and the people in a way to add
to my enthusiasm. Next to him sat Chief Justice Daly, who kindled at the
mention of Spain, and almost "raved" (if a learned Judge ever "raves")
about Spanish cathedrals. He had continued his journey to the Pillars of
Hercules, and said that "in all his travels he had never spent a month
with more pleasure than in Gibraltar." He had come with letters to the
Governor, Lord Napier of Magdala, which at once opened all doors to
him. Wishing to smooth my path in the same way, the English Minister at
Madrid, who had shown me so much courtesy there, gave me a letter to
the Colonial Secretary, Lord Gilford, who received me with the greatest
kindness, and took me in at once to the Governor, who was equally
cordial in his welcome.

The position of Governor of Gibraltar is one of such distinction as
to be greatly coveted by officers in the English army. It is always
bestowed on one of high rank, and generally on some old soldier who has
distinguished himself in the field. Among the late Governors was Sir
Fenwick Williams, who, with only a garrison of Turks, under the command
of four or five English officers, defended Kars, the capital of Armenia,
in 1855, repelling an assault by the Russians when they endeavored to
take it by storm, and yielding at last only to famine; and Lord Napier
of Magdala, who, born in Ceylon, spent the earlier part of his military
life in India, where he fought in the Great Mutiny, and distinguished
himself at Lucknow. Ten years later he led an English army (though
composed largely of Indian troops, with the Oriental accompaniment of
guns and baggage-trains carried on the backs of camels and elephants)
into Abyssinia, and took the capital in an assault in which King John
was slain, and the missionaries and others, whom he had long held
as prisoners and captives, were rescued. He was afterward
commander-in-chief of the forces in India, and, when he retired from
that, no position was thought more worthy of his rank and services than
that of Governor of Gibraltar, a fit termination to his long and honored

The present Governor is a worthy successor to this line of distinguished
men. Sir Arthur Hardinge is the son of Lord Hardinge, who commanded the
army in India a generation ago. Brought up as it were in a camp, he
was bred as a soldier, and when little more than a boy accompanied his
father to the wars, serving as aide-de-camp through the Sutlej campaign
in 1845-46, and was in the thick of the fight in some hard-fought
battles, in one of which, at Ferozeshah, he had a horse shot under him.
When the Crimean War broke out he was ordered to the field, and served
in the campaign of 1854-55, being at the Alma and at Inkerman, and
remaining to the close of the siege of Sebastopol. Here he had rapid
promotion, besides receiving numerous decorations from the Turkish
Government, and being made Knight of the Legion of Honor. Returning
to England, he seems to have been a favorite at court and at the Horse
Guards, being made Knight Commander of the Bath, honorary Colonel of
the King's Royal Rifle Corps, and Extra Equerry to the Queen, his
honors culminating in his present high position of Governor and
Commander-in-chief of Gibraltar.

The politeness of the Governor did not end with his first welcome: it
was followed by an invitation to his New Year's Reception. It was but
a few weeks since he had taken office; and, wishing to do a courtesy to
the citizens of Gibraltar as well as to the officers of the garrison,
both were included in the invitation. The Government House was the one
place where all--soldiers and civilians--could meet on common ground,
and form the acquaintance, and cultivate the friendly feeling, so
important to the happiness of a community shut up within the limits of a
fortress. Although I was a stranger, the Consul desired me to attend,
as it would give me the opportunity to see in a familiar way the leading
men of Gibraltar, civil and military, and further, as, owing to the
recent death of his son, he could not be present nor any of his family,
so that I should be the only representative of our country.

It was indeed a notable occasion. The Government House is an old
Convent, which still retains its ancient and venerable look, though the
flag floating over it, and the sentry marching up and down before the
door, tell that it is now the seat of English power. To-night it took
on its most festive appearance, entrance and stairway being hung
with flags, embowered in palms, and wreathed with vines and ferns and
flowers; and when the officers appeared in their uniforms, and the
military band filled the place with stirring music, it was a brilliant

The gathering was in a large hall, part of which was turned to a purpose
which to some must have seemed strangely incongruous with the sacred
associations of the place: for in the old Spanish days this was a
Convent of the Franciscan Friars, who, if they ever revisit the place
of their former habitation, must have been shocked to find their chapel
turned into a place for music and dancing, and to hear the "sound of
revelry by night," where they were wont to say midnight mass, and to
offer prayers for the quick and dead!

While this was going on in one part of the hall, at the other end the
Governor sat on a dais, quietly enjoying the meeting of old friends and
the making of new ones. It was my good fortune to be one of the group,
which gave me the best possible opportunity to see the society of
Gibraltar: for here it was all gathered under one roof. Of course it
was chiefly military. There was a brilliant array of officers--generals,
colonels, and majors; while in still larger number were captains and
lieutenants, in their gay uniforms, who, if they did not exactly realize
my idea of

  "Whiskered Pandours and fierce Hussars,"

looked like the brave and gallant Englishmen they were. Nor were they
alone: for there were civilians also--magistrates and lawyers and
judges; and, better still, the lovely English women, who are the
ornament of every English colony. All received me with a manner so
cordial as assured me that I was not to be treated with cold formality
as a stranger. If I had come into a camp of American officers, I could
not have had a more hearty welcome.

At length the clock struck the hour of midnight, and I rose to take
leave of the Governor; but he answered, "No, that will never do; you
must take a lady out to supper." Being under military orders, I could
but obey, and, essaying for the first time the part of a Spanish
cavalier, conducted a Spanish lady into the dining-hall. This is a
historical apartment, in which have been fêted all the royalties that
have visited Gibraltar. On the walls are hung the portraits of the
Governors from the beginning of the English occupation in 1704, among
which every visitor looks for that of "Old Eliott," the defender of the
place in the great siege. He was followed by a long succession of brave
men, who, in keeping Gibraltar, felt they were guarding the honor of

After this pleasant duty had been performed, I returned to the Governor
to "report" that "I had obeyed his orders," and that "in taking leave,
I could only express the wish that Gibraltar might never be attacked in
any other way than it had been that evening," adding that "if he should
treat all my countrymen as he had treated me, I could promise him on
their part, as on mine, an unconditional surrender!"

Thus introduced, I found myself at home in a circle which included men
who had seen service in all parts of the world. Next to the Governor I
was attracted by a grand old officer whom I had observed on the parade,
his breast being covered with decorations won in many wars. This was
Major-General Walker, who has been in the army for a large part of the
reign of Queen Victoria. As long ago as the Anglo-Russian war, he was an
adjutant in one of the regiments sent to the Crimea, where he fought at
the Alma and at Inkerman, and took part in the long siege of Sebastopol.
Eager to be in the post of danger, he volunteered for a night attack, in
which he led a party that took and destroyed a Russian rifle-pit. Soon
after he was dangerously wounded in the trenches, and his right
arm amputated, for which he was promoted and received a number of
decorations. He afterward served throughout the campaign of 1860, in

Lord Gifford, though too young for service dating so far back, and of
such slender figure that he looks more like a university student than
like a soldier, was the hero of the Ashantee War, who led his men
through forest and jungle, in the face of the savage foe, to the capture
of Coomassie, for which he received the Victoria Cross, the proud
distinction of a British soldier.

A little volume published in England, entitled "The Victoria Cross
in the Colonies," by Lieutenant-Colonel Knollys, F.R.G.S., gives the
following sketch of this gallant officer.

  "The hero of the Ashantee War, 1873-74, was undoubtedly Ederic,
  third Baron Gifford. Born in 1849, he entered the Eighty-third
  Regiment as ensign in 1869, became lieutenant the following year,
  and in 1873 was transferred to the Twenty-fourth Regiment. He was
  one of the body of volunteers who accompanied Sir Garnet Wolseley to
  the Gold Coast. Appointed to train and command the Winnebeh company
  of Russell's native regiment, he took part in the defence of
  Absacampa and the defeat of the Ashantee army. He subsequently,
  for several weeks, performed the duties of adjutant to Russell's
  regiment. When the Ashantee territory was invaded, to Lord Gifford
  was assigned the command of a scouting party. This party was fifty
  strong, and composed of men from the West India Regiment of Houssas,
  Kossos, and Bonny natives.

  "Early on the morning of January 6th, 1874, Gifford, with his
  scouts, crossed the Prah in canoes, and explored the country on both
  sides of the road to Coomassie. The rest of the army crossed by the
  bridge the same day. Marching some five miles ahead of the advance
  guard, he reached a village called Essiaman, and found that it was
  occupied by an Ashantee detachment, which, on advancing, he at once
  attacked and put to flight, losing only one man severely wounded.
  Advancing to a village called Akrofumin, he discovered that it
  was held by the Ashantees; but not being able to ascertain their
  strength, which he believed to be superior to his own, he prudently
  contented himself with observing them.

  "After remaining in this critical position for several days, he
  had the satisfaction of seeing the enemy retire. He then pushed
  on--indeed never left off pushing on in the most daring yet skilful
  manner till Coomassie was reached--always keeping well ahead. His
  scouts were devoted to Lord Gifford, 'whose docile savages,' writes
  an historian of the campaign, 'worshipped the English gentleman for
  his superior skill and spirit in climbing that steep barrier range,
  the Adansi Hills, dividing the Assin from the Ashantee country. The
  night previous to the action at Amoaful, he carefully reconnoitred
  the enemy's position, and during the fight he was, with his gallant
  little band, as usual, well in advance.

  "The next day he was sent to reconnoitre the village of Becqua. He
  had got close up when some twenty Ashantees sprang up in the bush
  and fired, but providentially without effect. On receipt of his
  report Sir Garnet Wolseley despatched a strong force to capture
  the place. Gifford's scouts led, followed by a body of Houssas,
  Russell's Regiment, and the Naval Brigade, the Forty-second
  Highlanders, and a company of the Twenty-third Royal Welsh Fusileers
  acting as supports. As soon as the firing began, Gifford, followed
  by his handful of scouts, rushed on, and dashed into the town,
  though it was occupied by a thousand Ashantees. The Houssas, for
  once, could not be induced to charge; they persisted in lying down
  and firing unaimed shots into the bush.

  "In the meantime Lord Gifford and his party were exposed to the
  concentrated fire of the defenders. His best scout was killed,
  and he and all his men were wounded. In fact, he was in an almost
  desperate situation. On this he shouted to the Naval Brigade to come
  to his assistance. With a cheer the gallant fellows replied to the
  appeal, and at their charge the enemy fled.

  "Three days later the action of Ordahsu took place, Coomassie was
  entered, and the campaign was virtually at an end.

  "From that time Lord Gifford, there being no further need for his
  services as a scout, acted as aide-de-camp to Sir Garnet Wolseley.
  During the whole war this young, slight, modest-looking lad had
  displayed the greatest enterprise and intrepidity, and rendered the
  most valuable services. Fortune had in this case certainly favored
  the brave; for notwithstanding unremitting exertions and constant
  exposure both to climate and the bullets of the enemy, he escaped
  disease, and was only once wounded. Modest as he was brave, he never
  sought to make capital out of his exploits. They were, however, too
  conspicuous to escape notice, and he was repeatedly mentioned in

  "On his return to England, he paid a visit to his regiment, the
  Twenty-fourth, then stationed at Aldershot. He was received with the
  greatest enthusiasm by both men and officers. The former carried him
  shoulder-high into camp, and the latter entertained him at dinner;
  yet he was as unaffected and simple as if he had only returned from
  an ordinary duty. For his daring conduct on the Gold Coast he was
  granted the Victoria Cross."

It was a privilege to spend an hour with General Walker at his own
table, and to draw him into conversation on the wars in which he had
taken part, and the great soldiers who had been his companions in arms.
Of his own part in these events he spoke very modestly, like the true
soldier that he is; though no modesty could hide the story told by that
empty sleeve of the arm that he had left in the trenches at Sebastopol.
From the Southeastern corner of Europe to the eastern coast of Asia,
is a long stretch round the globe, but here, when the scene of war was
transferred from Russia to China, we find the same gallant officer among
the foremost in the storming of the Taku forts, and with the combined
French and English army that fought its way to Peking.

As the house of the Major General stands on the Line-Wall, it is close
to the enormous batteries in the casemates below, (while one of the
hundred-ton guns is mounted near the Alameda, quite "within speaking
distance,") and must be rudely rocked by the thunder which shakes even
the solid ground like an earthquake. "What do you do at such a time?" I
asked of the ladies of the family, to which they answered gayly, "Oh,
we don't mind it." They took good care, however, to take down their
mirrors, and to lay away their glass and china, lest they should be
shattered in pieces. Then they threw open their windows, and let the
explosion come. For me this would be a trifle too near, and with all my
love for Gibraltar, I do not think I should choose a hundred-ton gun as
a next-door neighbor.

As I rose to leave, I found horses saddled and bridled at the door, on
which the General and his niece were about to take their afternoon ride,
for the officers in Gibraltar are not so shut up within its walls, that
they cannot take their pleasure as if they were in the field. True,
the Rock does not offer a very wide space for excursions, but the gay
troopers of both sexes have but to ride out of the Northern gate, and
cross the Spanish lines, and the whole country is before them. One day I
met the Governor coming in at full speed, with his staff behind him; and
almost daily there are riding parties or hunting parties, which go off
for hours, and come back with the ruddy English glow of health upon
their faces.

Indeed if one had to go about on foot, he need not feel as if he were
shut up in a fortress-prison, for there are pleasant walks over the
Rock, leading to many a nook, from which one may look off upon the sea,
where, if he has an agreeable companion, the hours will not seem long.
If for a few months the climate has a little too much of the warmth of
Africa, there is a delightful promenade along the Alameda, where friends
may saunter on summer evenings, inhaling the fresh breezes; or sit under
the trees, and (as they listen to the bands playing the familiar airs of
England) talk of their dear native island.




Although Gibraltar is the greatest fortress in the world, if it were
only that, it would not have half the interest which it now has. The
supreme interest of the Rock is in the record of centuries that is
graven on its rugged front. For nearly eight hundred years it was the
prize of war between the Spaniard and the Moor, and its legends are all
of battle and of blood. Ten times it was besieged and passed back and
forth from conqueror to conqueror, the Cross replacing the Crescent, and
the Crescent the Cross. Ten times was the battle lost and won. When, at
last, in 1598 the Spaniards drove the Moors out of Spain, they remained
masters of Gibraltar, and held it with undisputed sway for a little more
than a hundred years. They might have held it still but for a surprise,
hardly worthy to be called a siege; for the place was taken by a _coup
de main_, that is one of the strangest incidents of history. It was the
War of the Spanish Succession, waged by half Europe to determine which
of two incompetents should occupy the throne of Spain. The English sent
a squadron into the Mediterranean, under Sir George Rooke, who, after
cruising about and accomplishing little, bethought himself, in order not
to return in complete failure, to try his hand on Gibraltar. The place
was well fortified, with a hundred guns, but inside the walls only a
hundred and fifty men (a man and a half to a gun!), so that it could
offer but a brief resistance to a bombardment, and thus the Spaniards
lost in three days what they spent more than three years to recover, and
spent in vain.

Though the place was taken by an English fleet, it was not taken
for England, but in the name of an Archduke of Austria, whom England
supported as a pretender to the Spanish throne; and had he succeeded in
gaining it the place would doubtless have been turned over to him (as on
a visit to Gibraltar he was received by the garrison as lawful sovereign
of Spain, and proclaimed King by the title of Charles III.), but as he
was finally defeated, England thought it not a bad thing to keep the
place for herself.

  Cliff Scaled by the Spaniards in an Attempt to Take the Rock by

Hardly had it slipped from their hands before the Spaniards realized the
tremendous blow which had been given to their power and their pride, and
made desperate endeavors to recover it. The very same year they attacked
it with a large army and fleet. At the beginning an attempt was made
which would seem to have been conceived in the heroism of despair.
The eastern side of Gibraltar terminates in a tremendous cliff, rising
fourteen hundred feet above the sea, which thunders against the rocks
below. This side has never been fortified, for the reason that it is
so defended by nature that it needs no other defence. One would as
soon think of storming El Capitan in the valley of the Yosemite as the
eastern side of the Rock of Gibraltar. Yet he who has followed a Swiss
guide in the Alps knows that with his cool head and agile step he will
climb heights which seemed inaccessible. And so a Spanish shepherd, or
goatherd, had found a path from Catalan Bay, up which he offered to lead
a party to the top, and five hundred men were daring enough to follow
him. They knew that the attempt was desperate, but braced up their
courage by religious enthusiasm, devoting themselves to the sacrifice
by taking the sacrament, and binding themselves to capture Gibraltar
or perish in the attempt. In the darkness and silence of the night
they crept slowly upward till a part had reached the top, and concealed
themselves in St. Michael's Cave until the break of day; when with the
earliest dawn they attacked the Signal Station, killing the guard, and
then by ropes and ladders brought up the rest of the party. Following
up the momentary success, they stormed the wall of Charles V., so called
because constructed by him. But by this time the garrison had been
awakened to the fact that there was an enemy within the walls. The roll
of drums from below summoned the troops to arms, and soon the grenadiers
came rushing up the hill. Exposed to the fire from above, many fell,
but nothing could check their advance, and reaching the top they charged
with such fury that half of the party that had scaled the heights soon
fell, some of whom were driven over the cliff into the sea. An officer
who was present during the whole of the siege tells how they made short
work of it. "Five hundred Spaniards attacked the Middle Hill but were
soon repulsed, and two hundred men with their commanding officer taken.
The rest were killed by our shot, or in making their escape broke their
necks over the rocks and precipices, which in that place are many and
prodigiously high."

So ended the first and last attempt to take Gibraltar in the rear. But
still the Spanish army lay encamped before the town, and the siege was
kept up for six months with a loss of ten thousand men. No other attack
was made during that war, though the war itself raged elsewhere for
seven years more, till it was closed by the treaty of Utrecht, in which
Gibraltar was finally ceded to Great Britain.

But the Spaniards did not give it up yet. In 1727 they renewed the
struggle, and besieged the place for five months with nearly twenty
thousand men, but with the same result as before, after which it had
rest and quiet for half a century, till the time of the Great Siege,
which I am now to describe.

It seems beginning a long way off to find any connection between the
siege of Gibraltar and the battle of Saratoga; but one followed from the
other. The surrender of General Burgoyne (who had marched from Canada
with a large army to crush the Rebellion in the Colonies) was the first
great event that gave hope, in the eyes of Europe, to the cause of
American independence, and led France to join it openly, as she had
before favored it secretly. Spain followed France, having a common
hatred of England, with the special grievance of the loss of Gibraltar,
which she hoped, with the help of her powerful ally, to recover.

In such a contest the chances were more evenly balanced than might be
at first supposed. True, England had the advantage of possession, and
if possession is nine points of the law, it is more than nine points
in war, especially when the possessor is intrenched in the strongest
fortress in the world. But as an offset to this, she had to hold it in
an enemy's country. Gibraltar was a part of the territory of Spain, in
which the English had not a foot of ground but the Rock on which they
stood; while it was much nearer to France than to England. Thus the
allied powers had facilities for attacking it both by land and sea, and
brought against it such tremendous forces that it could not have held
out for nearly four years, had it not been for the British power of
resistance, animated by one of the bravest of soldiers.

To begin with, England did not commit the folly by which Spain had lost
Gibraltar--in leaving it with an insufficient garrison. It had over
five thousand troops in the fortress--a force by which it was thoroughly

But its power for defence was doubled by having a commander, who was
fitted by nature and by training for the responsibilities that were
to be laid upon him. George Augustus Eliott was the son of Sir Gilbert
Eliott, of Roxburghshire, where he was born in 1718. Scotch families in
those days, like those of our New England fathers, were apt to be large,
and the future defender of Gibraltar was one of eleven children, of whom
but two were daughters, and of the nine sons George was the youngest.
After such education as he could receive at home, he was sent to the
continent, and entered the University of Leyden, where, with his other
studies, he acquired a knowledge of German, which was to be of practical
use to him afterward, as he was to serve for a year in a German army.
But France was the country that then took the lead in the art of war;
and from Holland he was sent to a famous military school in Picardy,
founded by Vauban, the constructor of the French fortresses, where he
learned the principles which he was to apply to the defence of a greater
fortress than any in France. He gave particular attention also to the
practice of gunnery. As Napoleon learned the art of war in the artillery
school of Brienne, so did Eliott in the school of La Fère. An incidental
advantage of this French education was that he acquired the language so
that he could speak it fluently, a knowledge which was of service to him
afterward when he had so much to do with the French, even though it were
as enemies.

From France Eliott travelled into other countries on a tour of military
observation, and then enlisted for a year in the Prussian army, which
was considered the model in the way of discipline. Thus equipped for the
life of a soldier, he returned to Scotland, where (as his father wished
that he should be further inured to the practice of arms), he entered a
Welsh regiment then in Edinburgh as a volunteer, and served with it for
a year, from which he went into the engineer corps at Woolwich, and then
into a troop of "horse grenadiers," that, under his vigorous training,
became famous as a corps of heavy cavalry. When it was ordered to the
Continent, he went with it, and served in Germany and the Netherlands,
where he took part in several engagements and was wounded at the battle
of Dettingen.

In this varied service Eliott had gained the reputation of being a
brave and capable officer, but had as yet no opportunity to show
the extraordinary ability which he was afterward to display. He had,
however, acquired such a mastery of the art of war, that he was fitted
for any position. In those days, however, promotion was slow, and he
had served in the army (which he entered at the age of seventeen,) forty
years, and was fifty-seven years old, and had yet reached only the grade
of a Lieutenant-General, when, in 1775, he was placed in command of the
fortress of Gibraltar. This was four years before the siege began, by
which time he was a little turned of sixty, so that he was familiarly
called "Old Eliott." But his good Scotch frame did him service now, for
he was hale and strong, with a heart of oak and a frame of iron; asking
no indulgence on account of his years, but ready to endure every fatigue
and share every danger. Such was the man who was to conduct the defence
of Gibraltar, and to be, from the beginning to the end, its very heart
and soul.[4]

  [Illustration: PLAN OF GIBRALTAR.]

It was in the year 1779, and on the very longest day of the year,
the 21st of June, that Spain, by order of the King, severed all
communication with Gibraltar. But this was not war; it was simply
non-intercourse, and not a hostile gun was fired for months. It is
an awkward thing to strike the first blow where relations have been
friendly. It had long been the custom of the Spaniards to keep a
regiment of cavalry at San Roque, and one of infantry at Algeciras,
across the bay, between which and the garrison there was a frequent
exchange of military courtesies. Two days before this abrupt termination
of intercourse, the Governor had been to pay his respects to General
Mendoza, and found him very much embarrassed by the visit, so that he
suspected something was wrong, and was not surprised when the order came
down from Madrid to cut off all friendly communication. The Spaniards
had resolved to make a fresh attempt to recapture Gibraltar, thinking at
first that it might be done by a blockade, without a bombardment. There
are two ways to take a fortress--by shot and shell, or _by starvation_.
The latter may be slower and not so striking to the imagination as
carrying a walled city by storm, but it is even more certain of success
if only the operation can be completely done. But to this end the place
must be sealed up so tightly that there shall be no going out nor coming
in. This seems a very simple process, but in execution is not so easy,
especially if the fortress be of large extent, and has approaches by
land and sea. The Spaniards began with a vigor that seemed to promise
success, by constructing a parallel across the isthmus which connects
the Rock with the mainland. This was itself a formidable undertaking,
but they seemed not to care for cost or labor. Putting ten thousand men
at work, they had in a few weeks drawn a line across the Neutral Ground,
which rendered access to the garrison impossible _by land_. Any supplies
must come _by sea_.

To prevent this, the Spaniards had a large fleet in the Bay and cruising
in the Straits. But with all their vigilance, they found it hard to keep
a blockade of a Rock, with a circuit of seven miles, when there were
hundreds of eyes looking out from the land, answered by hundreds of
watchers from the sea. In dark nights boats with muffled oars glided
between the blockading ships, and stole up to some sheltered nook,
bringing news from the outside world. And there were always daring
cruisers ready to attempt to run the blockade, taking any risk for the
sake of the large reward in case of success. Sometimes the weather would
favor them. A fierce "Levanter" blowing from the east, would drive off
the fleet, and fill the Straits with fog and mist, under cover of which
they could run in undiscovered. At another time a bold privateer would
come in, in face of the fleet, and if sighted and pursued, would set all
sail, and rush to destruction or to victory. Once under the guns of the
fortress she was safe. Thus for a time the garrison received irregular

But in spite of all it was often in sore and pressing need. The soldiers
required to be well fed to be fit for duty, and yet not infrequently
they were half starved. Six thousand capacious mouths made havoc of
provisions, and a brig-load was quickly consumed. As if this was not
enough, the hucksters of the town, who had got hold of the necessaries
of life, secreted them to create an appearance of greater scarcity,
that they might extort still larger prices from the famine-stricken
inhabitants. Drinkwater, in his "History of the Siege," gives a list of
prices actually paid.

  "The hind-quarter of an Algerian sheep, with the head and tail, was
  sold for seven pounds and ten shillings; a large sow for upwards
  of twenty-nine pounds; a goat, with a young kid, the latter about
  twelve months old, for near twelve pounds. An English milch cow was
  sold for fifty guineas, reserving to the seller a pint of milk each
  day whilst she gave milk; and another cow was purchased by a Jew for
  sixty guineas, but the beast was in such a feeble condition that she
  dropped down dead before she had been removed many hundred yards."

But it was not only meat that was wanted: bread was so scarce that even
biscuit-crumbs sold for a shilling a pound! The economy of flour was
carried to the most minute details. It was an old custom that the
soldiers who were to mount guard should powder their hair, like the
servants in the royal household; but even this had to be denied them.
The Governor would not waste a thimbleful of the precious article, which
he had rather see going into the stomachs of his brave soldiers than
plastered on their hair.

A brief entry in a soldier's diary, tells how the pinch came closer and
closer: "Another bakery shut up to-day. No more flour. Even salt meat
scarce, and no vegetables."

Shortly after this an examination of supplies revealed the fact that
no fresh meat remained, with the exception of an old cow, which was
reserved for the sick. A goose was sold for two pounds, and a turkey for

In such a condition--so near to the starvation point--there was but one
thing to do. It was a hard necessity, but there was no help for it,
and an order was issued for the immediate reduction of the soldiers'
rations, already barely sufficient to sustain life.

The effect of this continued privation upon the _morale_ of the garrison
was very depressing. Hunger, like disease, weakens the vital forces, and
when both come together they weigh upon the spirit until the manliest
give way to discouragement. That this feeling did not become general was
owing chiefly to the personal influence of the Governor, whose presence
was medicine to the sick, and a new force to the well, making the brave
braver and the strong stronger. When famine stared them in the face he
made light of it, and taught others to make light of it by sharing their
privations. At the beginning of the siege he had formed a resolution to
share all the hardships of his men, even to limiting himself to the fare
of a common soldier. His food was of the plainest and coarsest. As a
Scotch boy he had perhaps been brought up on oatmeal porridge, and it
was good enough for him still. If a blockade-runner came in with a cargo
of fresh provisions, he did not reserve the best for himself, but all
was sold in the open market. If it be said that he had the means to buy
which others had not, yet his tastes were so simple that he preferred
to share the soldier's mess rather than to partake of the richest food.
Besides, he had a principle about it. To such extent did he carry this,
that, on one occasion, when the enemy's commander, as a courtesy not
unusual in war, sent him a present of fruit, vegetables, and game, the
Governor, while returning a polite acknowledgment, begged that the act
might not be repeated, for that he had a fixed resolution "never to
receive or procure, by any means whatever, any provisions or other
commodity for his own private use;" adding, "I make it a point of honor
to partake both of plenty and scarcity in common with the lowest of my
brave fellow-soldiers." Once indeed when the stress was the sharpest, he
showed his men how close they could come to starvation and not die, by
living eight days on four ounces of rice a day! The old hero had been
preparing for just such a crisis as this by his previous life, for he
had trained himself from boyhood to bear every sort of hardship and
privation. The argument for total abstinence needs no stronger fact to
support it than that the defence of Gibraltar was conducted by a man who
needed no artificial stimulus to keep up his courage or brace his nerves
against the shock of battle. "Old Eliott," the brave Scotchman and
magnificent soldier, was able to stand to his guns with nothing stronger
to fire his blood than cold water. Chalmers' Biographical Dictionary

  "He was perhaps the most abstemious man of the age. His food was
  vegetables, and his drink water. He neither indulged himself in
  animal food nor wine. He never slept more than four hours at a time,
  so that he was up later and earlier than most other men. He had
  so inured himself to habits of hardness, that the things which are
  difficult and painful to other men were to him his daily practice,
  and rendered pleasant by use. It could not be easy to starve such
  a man into a surrender, nor to surprise him. His wants were easily
  supplied, and his watchfulness was beyond precedent. The example of
  the commander-in-chief in a besieged garrison, has a most persuasive
  efficacy in forming the manners of the soldiery. Like him, his brave
  followers came to regulate their lives by the most strict rules of
  discipline before there arose a necessity for so doing; and severe
  exercise, with short diet, became habitual to them by their own

Thus the old Governor, by starving himself, taught his men how to bear
starvation. After that a soldier, however pinched, would hardly dare to

He might not indeed care for himself, but he could not help caring for
those dependent on him. The cruel hardship of it was that the suffering
fell not on the soldiers alone, but on women and children. The Governor
had tried, as far as possible, to send away all non-combatants. But it
was not always easy to separate families. There were soldiers' wives,
who clung to their husbands all the more because of their danger. If a
Scotch grenadier were to have his legs carried off by a cannon-ball, or
frightfully torn by a shell, who could nurse him so well as his faithful
wife, who had followed him in the camp and in the field? And so,
for better, for worse, many a wife, with the courage of womanhood,
determined to share her husband's fate. It was a brave resolution, but
it only involved them in the common distress. There were so many more
mouths to feed, when the supply even for the soldiers was all too
little. The captain who has recorded so faithfully the heroisms and the
privations of the siege, says:

  "Many officers and soldiers had families to support out of the
  pittance received from the victualling office. A soldier and his
  wife and three children would inevitably have been starved to death
  had not the generous contribution of his corps relieved his family.
  One woman actually died through want, and many were so enfeebled
  that it was not without great attention they recovered. Thistles,
  dandelions, and wild leeks were for some time the daily nourishment
  of numbers."

Another account tells the same pitiful tale, with additional horrors:

  "The ordinary means of sustenance were now almost exhausted, and
  _roots and weeds_, with thistles and wild onions, were greedily
  sought after and devoured by the famished inhabitants.

  "Bread was becoming so scarce that the daily rations were served out
  under protection of a guard, and the weak, the aged, and the infirm,
  who could not struggle against the hungry, impetuous crowd that
  thronged the doors of the bakeries, often returned to their homes
  robbed of their share."[6]

"Ancell's Journal," kept during the siege, thus records the impressions
of the day:

  "It is a terribly painful sight to see the fighting among the people
  for a morsel of bread at an exorbitant price; men wrestling,
  women entreating, and children crying, a jargon of all languages,
  piteously pouring forth their complaints. You would think
  sensibility would shed a tear, and yet when we are in equal distress
  ourselves our feelings for others rather subside."

While this slow and wasting process of starvation was going on, the
garrison were in a fearful state of suspense. Sometimes it seemed as if
England had forgotten them, but again came tidings that the nation was
watching their defence with the utmost anxiety, and would speedily send
relief. The time of waiting seemed long as the months passed--summer and
autumn and part of winter, and no help appeared. The blockade began
in June, 1779, and it was January, 1780, before the fleet of Admiral
Rodney, after gaining a battle over the Spanish fleet off the coast of
Portugal, bore away to the south. To those who were watching from the
top of the Rock, probably no event of their lives ever moved them so
much as when they first caught sight of the English ships entering the
Straits of Gibraltar. Men, women, and children, wept aloud for joy, for
the coming fleet brought them life from the dead. And when it anchored
in the bay, and the ships began to unload, they brought forth not only
guns and ammunition, but more priceless treasures--beef, pork, butter,
flour, peas, oatmeal, raisins, and biscuits, as well as coals, iron
hoops, and candles! Revelling in such abundance, could they ever want
again? It was indeed a timely relief, and if the fleet could have
remained, it might have put an end to the siege. But England was then
carrying on wars in two hemispheres; and while the French fleet was
crossing the Atlantic to aid the American colonies in gaining their
independence, she could not afford that her largest fleet should lie
idle in the Bay of Gibraltar. As soon, therefore, as the stores could
be landed, Admiral Rodney returned to England. The Governor seized the
opportunity to send home great numbers of invalids and women. It was
necessary that the garrison should "strip for the fight," as there were
darker days to come.

Gibraltar had been saved from the jaws of famine by the arrival of
the English fleet. But as soon as it left, the Spanish ships remained
masters of the bay, and the blockade was closer than ever. The garrison
had had a narrow escape. That it might not be caught so again, the
Governor, with his Scotch thrift, put his men upon a new kind of
service, quite apart from military duty. The Rock is not wholly barren.
There are many nooks and corners that are bright with flowers, and
anything that the earth can yield will ripen under that warm southern
sky. Accordingly the soldiers, in the intervals of firing the big guns,
were put to do a little gardening; and turned patches of ground here and
there to cultivation; and where the hillside was too steep, the earth
was raised into terraces and banked up with walls, on which they raised
small quantities of lettuce or cabbages; so that afterward, although
they still suffered for many of the comforts, if not the necessaries, of
life, they never came quite so near absolute starvation.

This "home produce" was the more important as the garrison was now to be
cut off from its principal resource outside. For a time it had been able
to obtain supplies from the Barbary Coast. At first the Moors were all
on the side of England, for the Spaniards were their hereditary enemies,
who had fought them for hundreds of years, and finally driven them out
of Spain, for which the Moors took a pious revenge by thronging the
mosques of Tangier to pray that Allah would give the victory to the arms
of England! But after a time they saw things in a new light. It could
not be Christian charity that softened their hearts toward their old
enemies, for they hated the very name of Christian, but some secret
influence (was it Spanish gold?) so worked on the mind of the Sultan
of Morocco that he became convinced that Allah was on the side of the
besiegers--a discovery which he announced in a manner that was not quite
in the usual style of diplomatic intercourse. Thus, without any warning,

  "A party of black troops that were quartered in the vicinity
  of Tangier, came to the house of the British Consul, and being
  introduced, informed him that they had orders from their master to
  abuse and insult him in the grossest manner, which they immediately
  put in execution by spitting in his face, seizing him by the collar,
  and threatening to stab him with their daggers!"

Fortunately he escaped with nothing worse than this gross outrage; but
the serious part of the business was that it cut off all communication
of Gibraltar with the Barbary Coast; for the Sultan prohibited the
export of provisions, and as the supplies brought by the convoy were
exhausted in a few months, the garrison was again, not indeed at the
starvation point, but in sore need of what was for its health and vigor.
The meagre diet threatened to produce a pestilence. At one time there
were seven hundred men in the hospitals; at another the small-pox broke
out; and at another the garrison was so reduced by the scurvy, caused
by the use of salt meats, that strong men became weak as children, and
hobbled about on crutches. This threatened a great disaster, which was
averted only by lemons! In the moment of extremity a Dutch "dogger"
coming from Malaga was captured, and found to be laden with oranges and
lemons, "a freight which, at such a crisis, was of more value to the
garrison than tons of powder or magazines of ammunition." The lemons
were instantly distributed in the hospitals. The men seized them and
devoured them ravenously, and the restoration was so speedy as to seem
almost miraculous.

And yet this relief was only temporary. Soon we have this picture of the
condition of the garrison:

  "As the spring of 1781 advanced, the situation assumed the most
  distressing aspect. The few provisions which remained were bad
  in quality, and having been kept too long were decomposed and
  uneatable. The most common necessaries of life were exorbitantly
  dear; bad ship biscuit, full of worms, was sold at a shilling a
  pound; flour, in not much better condition, at the same price; old
  dried peas, a shilling and fourpence; salt, half dirt, the sweepings
  of ships' bottoms and storehouses, at eight pence; old salt butter,
  at two shillings and sixpence; and English farthing candles cost
  sixpence apiece. Fresh provisions commanded a still higher price:
  turkeys sold at three pounds twelve shillings, sucking pigs at two
  guineas, and a guinea was refused for a calf's pluck.

  "The English government, aware of this condition of things, had for
  months turned their attention to the relief of the fortress; but the
  many exigencies of the war, and the extensive arena over which
  it was spread, caused so many demands upon the navy that it had
  hitherto been impossible to provide a fleet for the succor of
  Gibraltar. But the relief of the garrison was indispensable, and the
  honor of England required that it should be executed. Accordingly
  the government made extraordinary efforts to equip a squadron to
  convoy a flotilla of merchantmen to the Rock."[7]

But with all their efforts, it was more than a year before the second
fleet arrived. When it came, it was loaded with all conceivable
supplies, which took ten days to unload. The joy of the beleaguered
garrison knew no bounds. And yet this new relief only precipitated a
calamity which had been long impending. The scene of the arrival is thus
described by an eye-witness:

  "At daybreak, April 12th, the much-expected fleet, under the command
  of Admiral Darby, was in sight from our Signal-house, but was not
  discernible from below, being obscured by a thick mist. As the sun,
  however, became more powerful, the fog gradually rose, like the
  curtain of a vast theatre, discovering to the anxious garrison
  one of the most beautiful and pleasing scenes it is possible to
  conceive. The convoy, consisting of near a hundred vessels, led by
  several men-of-war, their sails just enough filled for steerage;
  whilst the majority of the line-of-battle ships lay-to under the
  Barbary shore, having orders not to enter the bay lest the enemy
  should molest them with their fire-ships. The ecstasies of the
  inhabitants at this grand and exhilarating sight are not to be
  described. Their expressions of joy far exceeded their former
  exultations [at the arrival of the fleet under Admiral Rodney].
  Alas! they little dreamed of the tremendous blow that impended,
  which was to annihilate their property, and reduce many of them to
  indigence and beggary."[8]

What this blow was, at once appeared. The arrival of the second fleet
from England convinced the Spaniards that it would be impossible to
reduce Gibraltar by blockade, and determined them to try the other
alternative of bombardment. Enormous batteries, mounting 170 guns and
80 mortars, had been planted along the shore; and now (before even the
English ships could be unladen of their stores) was opened all round the
bay a _feu d'enfer_, which was kept up for six weeks! Only two hours
out of the twenty-four was there any cessation, and that for a singular
reason. National customs must rule in war as in peace. The Spaniards
began their fire at daybreak, and continued it without intermission till
noon. Then suddenly it ceased, and the camp of the besiegers relapsed
into silence: for that the officers, if not the men, _were asleep_!
What Spanish gentleman could be deprived of his _siesta_? At two o'clock
precisely they woke up and went to fighting again. At nightfall the
cannon ceased, but only that the mortars (which did not need to be aimed
with precision, and therefore could be fired in darkness as well as
in daylight) opened their larger throats, and kept up the roar till
daybreak. Thus, with only the time of the _siesta_, there was not
an hour of day or night that the Rock did not echo with tremendous
reverberations. The town was soon set on fire, and completely destroyed.
There was no safety anywhere, not even in the casemates. If a bomb-proof
withstood a falling shell, it would sometimes explode at the open door,
wounding those within. Men were killed sleeping in their beds. The scene
at night was more terrible than by day, as the shells were more clearly
seen in their deadly track. Sometimes a dozen would be wheeling in the
air at the same moment, keeping every eye strained to see where the
bolts would fall, and the bravest held their breath when (as was several
times the case) they fell near the powder magazines!

Again, the soldiers were not the only ones to suffer: their wives and
children were their partners in misery. When the town was on fire, the
people fled from it, and at a distance watched the flames that rose
from their burning dwellings, in which all their little property was
consumed--the roofs that sheltered them, and even the food that fed
them. For six weeks they had not a moment's rest, day nor night.
Although they had fled to the southern end of the Rock, destruction
pursued them there. The Spanish ships had a custom of sailing round
Europa Point, and firing indiscriminately on shore. This was generally
at night, so that the poor creatures who had lain down to snatch a
moment of forgetfulness, were roused at midnight and fled almost naked
to seek for shelter behind rocks and in holes in the ground, in which
they cowered like hunted beasts, till the storm of fire had passed over

The troops were not quite so badly off, for though they were shelled
out of their old quarters, and had not a roof to cover them, yet English
soldiers and sailors are ingenious, and getting hold of some old ship
canvas they rigged up a few forlorn tents, which they pitched on the
hillside. But again they were discomfited. Gibraltar is subject at
certain seasons to terrific storms of thunder and lightning, and now the
rains poured down the side of the Rock in such floods as to sweep away
the tents, and leave the men exposed to the fury of the elements. It
seemed as if the stars in their courses fought against them. But they
were to find that the stars in their courses fight for those who fight
for themselves.

Sometimes the storms, so terrible in one way, brought relief in another.
There had been a scarcity of fuel as well as of food. A soldier could
hardly pick up sticks to make his pot boil, and cook his scanty meal;
so that when a furious gale wrecked a ship in the bay, and cast its
fragments on the shore, which furnished fuel for their camp-fires for
some weeks, they counted it a providential interposition for their
deliverance; and as the firelight cast its ruddy glow in their faces,
they thanked God and took courage.

But with all their courage, kept up by such occasional good fortune, it
was a life-and-death struggle, as they fought not only with the enemy,
but with hunger and cold, and every form of privation.

During all this dreadful time the old Governor was magnificent. Going
among the families that were houseless and homeless, for whom he felt
the utmost sympathy (for with all his rugged strength he had a very
tender heart), he allayed their fears; terrified and miserable as they
were, it was impossible to resist the sunshine of that kindly Scotch

Then he turned to his soldiers, who may well have been appalled by
the tremendous fire, which wrought such wreck and ruin. If they were
troubled and anxious, he was calm. He shunned no danger, as he had
shunned no privation. Indeed danger did not affect him as it did other
men, but only roused the lion in his breast. The more the danger grew,
the higher rose his unconquerable spirit. He was constantly under fire,
and his perfect coolness tended to produce the same composure in others
equally exposed. Terrible as the bombardment was, not for one moment did
he admit the possibility of surrender.

But now came a new danger, not from without, but from within. The fire
which swept the town uncovered cellars and other hiding-places in which
the hucksters had concealed provisions and other stores to double their
price, and extort the last penny from the half-fed population. When
their storehouses were destroyed little sympathy was felt for them.
Indeed, there was a general feeling of savage exultation; and as here
and there supplies of food were found, they were seized without scruple
and appropriated to the common use. Men who have been living on short
allowance are apt to be led into excesses by sudden plenty, and the
soldiers could hardly be blamed if for once they gave themselves a
generous supply. From the extreme of want they went to the extreme of
waste. In some cases incredible profusion prevailed. Drinkwater says:
"Among other instances of caprice and extravagance, I recollect seeing a
party of soldiers roast a pig by a fire made of cinnamon!"

If this had been all, there would not have been so much to regret. But
in the stores were casks of wine and barrels of spirits, which were now
knocked on the head, and the contents distributed with no restraint,
till soon a large part of the garrison was in such a state of
intoxication as to be utterly unfit for duty. "As the enemy's shells
forced open the secret recesses of the merchants, the soldiers instantly
availed themselves of the opportunity to seize upon the liquors, which
they conveyed to haunts of their own. Here in parties they barricaded
their quarters against all opposers, and insensible of their danger,
regaled themselves with the spoils." For a time this sudden madness
ran riot in the streets, threatening the overthrow of all order and

It can hardly be matter of surprise that the reaction from this long
tension of feeling, with the sudden temptation to drunkenness, should
show itself in wild extravagances. An incident related in "Ancell's
Journal," shows the soldier in the mood of making sport of his dangers:

  "April 15, 1781.--Yesterday I met a soldier singing in the street
  with uncommon glee, notwithstanding the enemy were firing with
  prodigious warmth,

    'A soldier's life is a merry life,
     From care and trouble free.'

  He ran to me with eagerness, and presenting his bottle, cried:
  'D----n me if I don't like fighting, with plenty of good liquor
  for carrying away. 'Why, Jack,' says I, 'what have you been about?'
  'Faith,' says he, 'I scarce know myself. I have been constantly, on
  foot and watch, half-starved and without money, facing a parcel
  of pitiful Spaniards. I have been fighting, wheeling, marching,
  counter-marching, sometimes with a firelock, sometimes with a
  handspike, and now with my bottle.'

  "A shell that instant burst, a piece of which knocked the bottle out
  of his hand. 'Jack,' says I, 'are you not thankful to God for your
  preservation?' 'How do you mean?' says he; 'fine talking of God with
  a soldier whose trade and occupation is cutting throats. Divinity
  and slaughter sound very well together; they jingle like a cracked
  bell in the hands of a noisy crier. My religion is a firelock, open
  touch-hole, good flint, well-rammed charge, and seventy rounds: this
  is military creed. Come, comrade, drink!'"

Such license as this would soon demoralize the best troops in the world.
Had the Spaniards known the degree to which it existed at that moment,
and been able to effect an entrance into the fortress, Gibraltar might
have been lost.

The insubordination was suppressed only by the most strenuous efforts
of the Governor and the vigorous enforcement of discipline. An order
was issued that any soldier caught marauding should be "executed
_immediately_," and this summary judgment was put in force in several
cases, where men were not only executed without a moment's delay, but on
the very spot where the crime was committed. This timely severity, with
the personal influence of the Governor, at length brought the soldiers
to their senses, and order was restored. Perhaps they were brought back
to duty in part by the continued roar of that terrific bombardment, for
in a true soldier nothing rouses the martial spirit like the sound of
the enemy's guns. Danger and duty go together: and many of those who
had been carried away by this temporary frenzy, when they "came to
themselves," were among the bravest who fought in the conflicts that
were yet to come.

It was now a struggle of endurance--firing and counter-firing month
after month, with exciting incidents now and then to relieve the
monotony of the siege. Of these episodes the most notable was the sortie
executed on the night of November 26, 1781. The siege had lasted more
than two years, and the Spaniards, boastful and confident as they are
apt to be, by this time appreciated the enormous difficulty of attacking
the Rock of Gibraltar. To do them justice, instead of being daunted by
the greatness of the task, their military ardor rose with the vastness
of the undertaking, and they had been engaged for months in rearing a
stupendous parallel across the Neutral Ground, to be mounted with the
heaviest battering artillery. The Governor had kept his eye upon the
progress of the work, and as he saw its lines spreading out wider and
wider, and rising higher and higher, he could not but feel anxiety for
the moment when these batteries should open, and rain shot and shell
upon the devoted garrison. The way in which he met the new danger showed
that he had the promptness in action of a great commander.

From the beginning of the siege he had observed the utmost economy
in the use of his resources. He was sparing of his ammunition, and
sometimes reproached his officers with great severity for wasting it in
unimportant attacks. He saved his powder as he saved his men. Indeed he
was sparing of everything except himself. Yet "he never relaxed from his
discipline by the appearance of security, nor hazarded the lives of
his garrison by wild experiments. Collected within himself, he in no
instance destroyed, by premature attacks, the labors which would cost
the enemy time, patience, and expense to complete; he deliberately
observed their approaches, and seized on the proper moment in which
to make his attack with success." For months he had been waiting and
watching: the time for action had now come.

During the siege there had been frequent desertions on both sides. Now
and then soldiers of the garrison, wearied with the interminable siege
(and thinking it better to take the chances of instant death than to be
shut up in a fortress-prison and perish by inches), let themselves down
by ropes over the face of the Rock. Some escaped to the enemy, and some
were dashed on the rocks below. On the other side there were among the
Spanish soldiers a good many Walloons from Belgium, who had no interest
in the contest, and were as ready to fight on one side as the other.
Occasionally one of these would stray out of the camp, as if without
intention, and when he had got at a distance which he thought gave him
a chance of escape, would take to his heels and run for the gates of
the fortress. If discovered, he was immediately fired at, and a mounted
guard started in pursuit, and if overtaken, he was brought back, and the
next day his body, hanging from the scaffold, in full sight of the Rock,
served as a ghastly warning alike to the besiegers and the besieged.

But, in spite of all, desertions went on. One day a couple of deserters
were brought to the Governor, one of whom proved to be uncommonly
intelligent, and gave important information. "Old Eliott" took him up to
a point of the Rock from which they could look down into the camp of
the besiegers, and questioned him minutely as to its condition and the
intentions of the enemy. He said that the parallel was nearly completed;
and that as soon as all was ready the Spaniards would make a grand
assault; but that meanwhile the works, enormous as they were, were not
guarded by a large force, the besiegers not dreaming that the batteries
prepared for attack could be themselves attacked! The Governor instantly
perceived the value of this information, but kept it to himself, and
had the deserter closely confined lest he should incautiously reveal
to others what he had told to him. Keeping his own counsel, he made his
preparations, which he did not disclose even to his lieutenants until
the moment for action. It was in the evening when he called them
together, and announced his intention to make an attack on the works of
the besiegers _that very night_, and at midnight about two thousand men
were in arms on the "Red Sands," now the Alameda, to carry the daring
purpose into execution. Their orders were of the strictest kind: "Each
man to have thirty-six rounds of ammunition, with a good flint in his
piece and another in his pocket. No drums to go out, excepting two with
each of the regiments. _No volunteers will be allowed._" The brave old
commander wanted no amateurs on such an occasion. "No person to advance
before the front, unless ordered by the officer commanding the column:
and _the most profound silence to be observed_." As it took two or three
hours to form the columns, and acquaint all with the special duty to be
undertaken, and the necessity for the strictest obedience, it was nearly
three o'clock when they began to move. The moon was just setting across
the bay, and soon all was dark and still, as the men advanced with quick
but cautious steps through the silent streets. The commander had picked
his men for the daring attempt. Knowing how powerful are the traditions
of bravery, he had chosen two regiments that had fought side by side at
the battle of Minden, twenty-two years before. The officers to lead them
he had chosen with equal care, and yet, when it came to the moment of
action, the old soldier felt such a fire in his bones that he could not
resist the impulse to keep them company. As they emerged from the gates
they had still three-quarters of a mile across the plain to reach the
enemy's works. With all the precautions to secure silence, the tramp of
two thousand men, however muffled, could not but reach the ears of the
Spanish sentinels, and a few rapid shots told that they were discovered.
But the alarm was given too late. It only quickened the advance of
the column, which, as it reached the works, rushed over the parapet,
bayoneting the men, such as did not flee, panic-stricken by the sudden
attack, and spiking the guns. As the soldiers had come prepared with
faggots for the purpose, they immediately set the works on fire. But
even at this moment of terror there was one who thought of mercy as well
as of victory. Before the flames had spread the Governor, "anxious
that none of the wounded should by any accident perish in the burning
batteries, went into the trench himself and found among the bodies of
the slain a wounded officer, whom by his uniform he knew to be a captain
of the Spanish artillery, to whom he spoke with all kindness, and
promising him every assistance, ordered him to be removed, as the fire
was now rapidly spreading to the spot where he lay. But the Spaniard,
raising himself with difficulty, feebly exclaimed, "No, sir, no, leave
me and let me perish amid the ruins of my post." In a few minutes he
expired. It was afterward found that he had commanded the guard of the
San Carlos battery, and that when his men threw down their arms and
fled, he rushed forward into the attacking column, exclaiming, "At least
one Spaniard shall die honorably," and fell where he was found, at the
foot of his post."[10]

It was now too late to talk of mercy. In an hour the flames had spread
into a conflagration that could not be subdued. As it rose into the air,
it lighted up the Rock above and the plain below. Leaving the elements
to complete the work of destruction, the assailants made their retreat,
only to hear, as they re-entered the gates, the explosion of the
magazines. So vast was the ruin wrought that the camp was like a city on
fire, and continued to burn for four days, without an effort on the part
of the Spaniards (who seemed to be stunned and bewildered by the sudden
attack) to subdue the flames. Thus was destroyed at a single stroke what
it had cost months of labor and millions of money to construct.

And so the game of war went on for three long years, until it had
fixed the gaze of the whole civilized world. The last act was to be
inaugurated by a change in the military command, and in the method of
attack. Hitherto the siege had been conducted chiefly by the Spaniards,
as was fitting, since, if the fortress were taken, to Spain would fall
the splendid prize. They had fought bravely, maintaining the reputation
which had never been shaken from the days of Alva, when the Spanish
infantry was more dreaded than any other on the battle-fields of Europe.
During the siege the officers of the garrison, as they looked down from
their heights into the hostile camp, could not but admire the way in
which both officers and men exposed themselves. It was not to their
dishonor if they had failed in attempting the impossible. But having to
confess defeat, it was but military prudence to see if another mode of
operation might not be more successful. Accordingly, French skill in the
art of war was now called in to take part in the tremendous conflict.
The Duc de Crillon, who had recently distinguished himself by the
capture of Minorca, was put in command of the combined land forces;
while a French engineer, the Chevalier d'Arçon, was to prepare an
armament more formidable than had ever been known in naval warfare.

The plan had certainly the merit of boldness. There was to be no more
long blockade, and no more attempt to take the place by stratagem.
Gibraltar was to be taken, if at all, by hard fighting. But the
conditions of battle were unequal: for how could wooden ships be matched
against stone walls? No ships of the day could stand an hour against
guns fired from behind those ramparts. But this engineer was bold
enough to believe that vessels could be made so strong that they would
withstand even that tremendous fire. He proposed to construct "battering
ships" of such enormous strength that they could be moored within short
range, when he in turn would open a fire equally tremendous, that should
blow Gibraltar into the air! All he asked was that his flotilla might
be laid close alongside the enemy, when, gun to gun and man to man, the
contest should be decided. Once let him get near enough to make a breach
for a storming party to mount the walls, and his French grenadiers
would do the rest. It was bravely conceived, and to the day of battle it
seemed as if it might be bravely done.

To begin with, ten of the largest ships in the Spanish navy were to be
sacrificed: for it seemed like a sacrifice to cut down the huge bulwarks
of their towering sides. But show was to be sacrificed to strength. The
new constructor would have no more three-deckers, nor two-deckers. All
he wanted was one broad deck, reaching the whole length of the ship,
from stem to stern, which should be as solid as if it were a part of the
mainland, or a floating island, on which he could plant his guns as on
the ramparts of a fortress. Having thus dismantled and razeed the great
ships, he proceeded to reconstruct them without and within. His method
is of interest, as showing how a hundred years ago a naval engineer
anticipated the modern construction of ironclads. His battering ships
were in outward shape almost exactly what the Merrimac was in our civil
war. He did everything except case them with iron, the art of rolling
plates of wrought iron, such as are now used in the construction of
ships, not being then known. But if they could not be "plated" with iron
on the outside, they were "backed" by ribs of oak within. Inside their
enormous hulls was a triple thickness of beams, braced against the
sides. Next to this was a layer of _sand_, in which it was supposed
a cannon-ball would bury itself as in the earth. To this sand-bank,
resting against its oaken backing, there was still an inner lining in a
thick wall of _cork_, which, yielding like india-rubber, would offer the
best resistance to the penetration of shot.

Having thus protected the hulls, it was only necessary to protect the
crews. For this the decks were roofed with heavy timbers, which were
covered with _ropes_, and next with _hides_, after the manner of the
ancient Romans; so that the men working at the guns were almost as
secure from the enemy's fire as if they were inside of the strongest
casemates that the art of fortification could construct. Thus shielded
above and below--from the deck to the keel--these novel ships-of-war
were in truth floating fortresses, and it was hardly presumptuous in
their constructor to say that they "could not be burnt, nor sunk, nor

These preparations for attack could not be made without the knowledge
of the garrison. From the top of the Rock they had but to turn their
glasses across the bay, and they could see distinctly hundreds of
workmen swarming over the great hulks, and could almost hear the sound
of the hammers that ceased not day nor night. Turning to the camp of the
besiegers, they could see "long strings of mules streaming hourly into
the trenches laden with shot, shell, and ammunition." Deserters brought
in reports of the vast preparations, and the confidence they inspired.
The fever of expectation had spread to the capitals of Spain and
France. The King of Spain was almost beside himself with eagerness and
impatience. Every morning his first question was "Is it taken?" and when
answered in the negative he always kept up his courage by saying, "It
will soon be ours." His expectations seemed now likely to be realized.
All felt that at last the end was nigh, and the Comte d'Artois, the
brother of Louis XVI., the King of France, had made the journey all the
way from Paris to be present at the grand culmination of the surrender
of Gibraltar!

So sure were the allies of victory that they debated among themselves as
to "how many hours" the garrison could keep up a resistance. Twenty-four
hours was the limit, and when the French commander, less sanguine than
the naval constructors and engineers, thought it might be even _two
weeks_ before the place fell, he was the subject of general ridicule.

Taking for granted that the fire of the garrison would soon be silenced,
precise directions were given about the landing of the storming party.
As soon as a break was made, the grenadiers were to mount the walls.
It was especially ordered that strong bodies of troops should _advance
rapidly and cut off the retreat_ of the garrison, which might otherwise
flee to the heights of the Rock, and keep up for a while longer the
hopeless resistance. The victory must be complete.

On the other hand, the garrison was roused to greater exertion by the
greater danger. Its ardor was excited also by what was passing in other
parts of the world. War was still raging in both hemispheres, with the
usual vicissitudes of victory and defeat. England had lost America, but
her wounded pride was soon relieved, if not entirely removed, by a great
victory at sea. Cornwallis surrendered at Yorktown, in October, 1781,
and only six months after, in April, 1782, Admiral Rodney (the same who
had relieved Gibraltar only two years before) gained a victory in the
West Indies over Count de Grasse, which almost annihilated the French
fleet, and assured to England, whatever her losses upon land, the
mastery of the seas. The tidings of this great victory reached
Gibraltar, and fired the spirit of every Briton. The Governor was now
sixty-four years old, and the events of the last three years might well
make him feel that he was a hundred. But his youth returned in the
great crisis that was upon him. Both Governor and garrison burned to do
something worthy the name and fame of Old England. The opportunity soon

Though the battering ships were regarded as invincible, yet to make
assurance doubly sure the French and Spanish fleets had been quadrupled
in force. If any man's heart had been trembling before, it must have
failed him on September 12, 1782, when there sailed into the bay
thirty-nine ships of the line, raising the naval armament to fifty
line-of-battle ships, with innumerable smaller vessels--the largest
naval armament since the Spanish Armada--supported on land by an army of
forty thousand men, whose batteries, mounted with the heaviest ordnance,
stretched along the shore.

Against this mighty array of force by land and sea the English
commander, mustering every gun and every man, could oppose only
ninety-six pieces of artillery, manned by seven thousand soldiers and

As the allied forces had been waiting only for the fleet, the attack was
announced for the following day, and accordingly soon after the sun rose
the next morning the battering-ships were seen to be getting under way.
It was a grand sight, at which the spirits of the besiegers rose to
the highest pitch. So confident were they of victory that thousands of
spectators, among whom were many of the Spanish nobility, had gathered
near the "Queen's Seat," in the Spanish lines, to witness the final
capture of Gibraltar, for which they had been waiting three long years.

Even the Englishmen who lined the ramparts could not but admire the
order in which the ships took up their positions. So confident was the
Spanish Admiral that they were shot-proof and bomb-proof, that he took
no pains to keep at long range, but advanced boldly and moored within
half gunshot, with large boats full of men ready to land as soon as the
guns of the fortress were silenced. To both sides it was evident that
the decisive day had come.

While the ships were being ranged in line of battle, the English stood
at their guns in silence till "Old Eliott" took his stand on the King's
Bastion, and gave the signal for the roar of earth and hell to begin.
Instantly the floating batteries answered from the whole line, and their
fire was taken up along the shores of the bay, till there were four
hundred guns playing on the devoted town. No thunderstorm in the tropics
ever shot out such lightnings and thunderings. As the hills echoed the
tremendous reverberations, it seemed as if the solid globe was reeling
under the shock of an earthquake.

The ships at first aimed their guns a little too high, so that balls and
shells flew over the line-wall and fell in the rear; but they soon
got the range, and lowering their guns to almost a dead-level, fired
point-blank. "About noon their firing was powerful and well-directed."
Guns were dismounted, and the wounded began to fall and to be carried
to the rear. But others took their place at the guns, and kept up
the steady fire, never turning from the one object directly in front.
Although the batteries on the land tried to divert their fire, the
Governor disdained to answer them with a single gun. "Not there! not
there!" was the danger. His keen eye saw that the fate of Gibraltar was
to be decided that day by the answer given to those battering ships that
were pouring such a terrific fire into his lines. In the midst of it
all he was as cool as if on parade. A large part of the day he kept his
place on the King's Bastion, the centre at which the enemy's fire was
directed, and his presence had an inspiring effect upon his men. To do
them justice, the soldiers, who had served under such a commander for
three years, were worthy of their leader. As he looked along the lines
they were wrapped in a cloud of smoke, and yet now and then, by the
flashing of the guns, he could see their heroic features glowing
"with the light of battle in their faces." On that day, as with Nelson
twenty-three years later, "England expected every man to do his duty,"
and did not expect in vain.

But for a time all their courage and skill seemed to be without result.
For hours the battle raged with doubtful issue. Though the English
fired at such short range, they did not produce much effect. Their
thirty-two-pound shot could not pierce the thick-ribbed sides of the
battering-ships, while their heaviest shells were seen to rebound from
the roofs, as the shots of the Congress and the Cumberland rebounded
from the roof of the Merrimac. Apparently the fire of the garrison
produced as little impression on the ships as the fire of the ships
produced on the rocks of Gibraltar.

The disparity of forces was so great that the allies might have carried
the day if that inequality had not been balanced by one advantage of the
besieged. They had one means of destruction which could not be so easily
turned against land defences--in the use of hot shot. The experiment had
been tried on the works of the besiegers, and they now hoped it would
have still greater effect upon the ships. But their enemies were neither
surprised nor daunted by this new mode of attack. They were fully aware
of what the English had done, and what they proposed to do, and with
true Castilian pride laughed at this new method of destruction. So much
did they despise it, that one of the Spanish commanders said "he would
engage to receive in his breast all the hot shot of the enemy."

Meanwhile "Old Eliott" had gone on with his preparations. A few days
before, coal had been served out to the furnaces, which had been placed
beside the batteries. These were now kept at white heat, and the heavy
balls dropped into them till they glowed like molten iron, and then were
carefully lifted to the guns.[11]

As the artillerymen sighted their guns they observed with grim
satisfaction that the ships had anchored at the right distance, so that
they had but to elevate their guns _very slightly_, just enough to save
the necessity of ramming the ball with a second wadding to hold it in
place; and thus not a moment was lost when moments were very precious,
but the ball was simply rolled into the cannon's mouth, from which it
was instantly hurled at the foe.

Yet even the hot shot did not at first make much impression. The French
engineer had guarded against them by having pumps constantly pouring
water into the layer of sand below, where a red-hot cannon-ball would
soon be rendered harmless. In fact, a number of times during the day
smoke was seen to issue from the floating batteries, showing that the
hot shot had taken effect, but the flames were promptly extinguished. It
was not till late in the afternoon that they began to burst out, and it
was seen that the Admiral's ship was on fire. As the night drew on the
flames became more visible, showing the exact position of the Spanish
line, and furnishing a mark for the English guns. On another ship the
fires advanced so rapidly that they had to flood the magazine for
fear of an explosion. Others threw up rockets, and hoisted signals of
distress to their consorts, and boats were seen rowing toward them. At
midnight nine out of the ten battering-ships were on fire. The scene at
this moment was awful beyond description, as the flames mounted higher
and higher till they lighted up the whole bay and the surrounding
shores. When it became evident that the ships could not be saved, there
was a panic on board; all discipline was lost in the eagerness to escape
from the burning decks; sailors and gunners threw themselves into the
sea. French and Spanish boats picked up hundreds, and still there were
hundreds more who were perishing, whose agonized shrieks rose upon the
midnight air. The English heard it, and stout hearts that quailed not at
the roar of guns, quivered

                        "At the cry
  Of some strong swimmer in his agony."

Then it was that the English showed that their courage was equalled
by their humanity, as the very men who had fought all day at the guns
pushed off in boats to save their foes from drowning. This was an
attempt which involved the utmost danger, for the ships were on fire,
and might blow up at any moment. But Brigadier Curtis, learning from
the prisoners that hundreds of officers and men, some wounded, still
remained on board, forgot everything in his eagerness to save them.
Careless of danger from the explosions which every instant scattered
fragments of wreck around him, he passed from ship to ship, and
literally dragged from the burning decks the miserable Spaniards whom
their own countrymen had left to perish. The Governor watched the
movement with the utmost anxiety, which rose to "anguish," to use his
own word, as he saw the gallant officer push his boat alongside one of
the largest ships, that was a mass of flames. As he stood transfixed
with horror at the sight, there came a tremendous explosion, and the
ship was blown into the air, its fragments falling far and wide over the
sea. That was a moment of agony, for he could not doubt that friend
and foe had perished together. But as the wreck cleared away the little
pinnace was seen, by the light of the other burning ships, to be still
afloat, though shattered. A huge beam of timber had fallen through
her flooring, killing the coxswain, wounding others of her crew, and
starting a large hole in her bottom, through which the water rushed so
rapidly that it seemed as if she must sink in a few minutes. But English
sailors are equal to anything, and stripping off their jackets they
stuffed them into the hole, and thus kept the boat above water till they
reached the shore, bringing with them 357 of their late enemies, whom
they had saved from a horrible death. The wounded were sent to the
hospitals and treated with the greatest care; and an officer who died
four days after, received the honors that would have been paid to one of
their own countrymen, the grenadiers following his bier and firing their
farewell shot

  "O'er the grave where the hero was buried."

This last act was all that was wanting to complete the glory of England
on that immortal day. History records the heroic conduct of British
seamen at the Battle of the Nile, when the French Admiral's ship, the
Orient, took fire, and Nelson sent his boats to pick up the drowning
crew. While this should be remembered, let it not be forgotten that
sixteen years before the Battle of the Nile, the garrison of Gibraltar
had set the splendid example.

The next morning saw the bay covered with wrecks. The victory was
complete. The siege was still kept up in form, and the besiegers
continued firing, and for some days threw into the town four, five,
and six hundred shells, and from six hundred to a thousand shot, every
twenty-four hours! But this was only the muttering thunder after the
storm. The battle was over, and from that day to this--more than a
hundred years--the Red Cross of England has floated from the Rock of

The close of this long and terrible conflict was like the ending of a
play, when the curtain falls at last upon a scene of happy reunion.
Even during the years of fiercest strife the courtesies of war had been
strictly observed. Flags of truce passed between the garrison and the
camp of the besiegers; prisoners were exchanged, and now and then one or
the other of the commanders paid a compliment that was well deserved,
to the courage and skill of his antagonist. Especially did the Duc de
Crillon, true Frenchman as he was, indulge in these flattering phrases.
In a letter written just before the attack of the battering-ships, he
assures General Eliott of his "highest esteem," and of "the pleasure to
which I look forward of becoming your friend, after I shall have proved
myself worthy of the honor, by facing you as an enemy!" That pleasure
he was now to have. He had faced the General as an enemy; he was now to
know him as a friend.

  Painted by Sir Joshua Reynolds P.R.A.         Engraved by J. Cochran.

  [The above portrait of "Old Eliott" was taken on his return from
  Gibraltar, in 1787, when he was the hero of England. The figure is
  drawn against a background of the clouds of war, with the cannon
  pointing downward, as when fired from the top of the Rock; while he
  holds firmly in his hand the key of the fortress he has won. The face
  is open, frank, and bold, with eyes looking straight before him, as
  if he did not fear any enemy. Many have remarked a likeness to
  Wellington, with a more prominent nose, a feature which Napoleon
  always looked for in one whom he chose for a post of peculiar
  difficulty and danger.]]

For months, there had been whispers in the air of a coming peace, and
the attitude of the contending parties was more that of armed neutrality
than of active war.

At last the announcement came. The besiegers were the first to receive
it, and sent the news to the garrison; but "Old Eliott," true soldier as
he was, waited for orders from home. At length a British frigate
sailed into the harbor with the blessed tidings that Great Britain
had acknowledged the independence of America, and that the three
powers--England, France, and Spain--had solemnly agreed to be at peace.
Now all barriers to intercourse were removed, and the Governor rode
out to meet his late enemy at a point midway between the lines. Both
Generals instantly dismounted and embraced, thus answering a blow, or
the many blows given and received, with a kiss. The Duke soon after
returned the visit, and found the gates of Gibraltar, which had not been
forced in three and a half years of war, now thrown wide open to his
coming in the attitude of peace. He was received with all the honors of
war. As he rode through the gates his appearance was greeted with
loud huzzas, which ran along the lines, and echoed among the hills, a
salutation which at first he did not understand, and was confused by it,
as it might be interpreted as a cheer of triumph over a fallen enemy;
but when it was explained to him that it was the way in which English
soldiers greeted one whom they recognized as a hero, he was very much
flattered by the demonstration. As the artillery officers were presented
to him he complimented them highly on their courage and skill, saying
pleasantly (no one could doubt his sincerity in this) that he "would
rather see them here as friends than on their batteries as enemies!" And
so at last, after these long and terrible years, the curtain fell on a
scene as peaceful as ever ended a tragedy on the stage.

Such are the heroic memories which gather round Gibraltar, and
overshadow it as its mighty crags cast their shadows on the sea. Let us
not say, "All this is nothing to us, because we are neither Englishmen,
nor Frenchmen, nor Spaniards." "We are men, and whatever concerns man
concerns us." If it be indeed "beautiful to die for one's country," the
spot is holy ground where, for the dear sake of "country," brave men
have fought and died.



There is one thing in Gibraltar which strikes me unpleasantly, and yet
(such are the contradictions in our likes and dislikes) it is the very
thing which has made it so attractive, viz., the English occupation. For
picturesqueness of situation, the mighty Rock, standing at the entering
in of the seas, is unique in the world, and the outlook along the
shores of Africa and Europe is enough to captivate the eye of the most
sight-worn traveller. And the people who hold this rock-fortress are
worthy to be its masters, for they are not only brave, as soldiers are
by profession, but they have all the manly qualities of the English
race; they are chivalrous and generous. Nowhere does English hospitality
appear more charming. If ever a man had occasion to like Gibraltar
and the English _in_ Gibraltar, I have; and I shall keep them both in
grateful memory.

And yet--and yet--in this general accord of pleased reflection, which
comes to me in the midst of these happy days, there is one thing which
strikes a discordant note. The English are here, not by right of birth,
but of conquest. Gibraltar is not a part of England: it is a part of
Spain, to which it belongs by nature, if nature has anything to do with
the boundaries of States. True, the English have taken it and hold it,
and by the right of war it belongs to them, as a fortress belongs to
the power that is strongest. Yet that does not change the relation
of things, any more than it changes the geographical position of the
captured fortress. And so it remains that England holds Gibraltar,
I will not say in an enemy's country, but certainly in a foreign
country--a fact which, however it be disguised, it is not pleasant to

The stranger does not feel this so much while he is inside the gates
as when he leaves the town and goes out into the country. Perhaps the
reader will share my feeling if he will give me the pleasure of his
company. It was a bright, crisp winter afternoon that a friend from
Boston and I planned an excursion on foot. But stop a moment! When I
travelled in the East I learned the wisdom of the old Oriental custom
of "girding up the loins"; and so, stepping into a shop in Waterport
Street, I bought something like a soldier's belt, my only military
trapping, with which I braced myself so firmly together that I felt "in
prime marching order," and away we went at a swinging gait, as merry as
two New England boys out of school and off for a holiday. It is not a
long walk to the gates, and once through them and outside the walls we
took a long breath as we once more inhaled the free air of the country.

At a little distance we came to a row of sentries--a line of red-coats
that kept guard over the majesty of England. Then a half-mile walk
across a low, sandy plain--the Neutral Ground--and we came to another
line of sentinels in different uniforms and speaking a different tongue,
a little beyond which is Linea (so named from its being just beyond
the lines), a place of twelve thousand inhabitants, which has the three
requisites of a Spanish town--a church, a market, and a bull-ring!

Here was the situation: a double line of soldiers facing each other,
not in a hostile attitude, not training their guns on each other, but
certainly not in a position which was calculated to promote friendly

Strolling through the town it seemed to us (perhaps it was only
imagination) that there was a sullen look in the faces of the people;
that they did not regard Englishmen, or those speaking the English
tongue, with special affection. Linea has a bad name for being a nest
of smugglers; but whether it is worse than other frontier towns, which
afford special facilities for smuggling, and therefore offer great
temptations, I cannot say. It was not an attractive place, and after an
hour's walk we retraced our steps back to our fortress home.

As we turned toward the Rock we were facing the British Lion just as
the descending sun was putting a crown upon his royal head. Never did he
wear a more kingly look than in that evening sky. If the God of War has
a throne on earth, it must be on that height, more than a thousand feet
in air, looking down on the petty human creatures below, all of whom he
could destroy with one breath of his nostrils.

It was indeed a glorious sight. But how do the Spaniards like it?
How should _we_ like it if we were in their place? This was a very
inconvenient question to be asked just at that moment, as we were
crossing the Neutral Ground. But if I _must_ answer, I cannot but say
that, if I were a Spanish sentinel, pacing back and forth in such a
presence and compelled at every turn to look up at that Lion frowning
over me, it would be with a very bitter feeling. I might even ask my
English friends who are masters of Gibraltar, how they would like to see
the flag of another country floating over a part of _their_ country?

Of course, the retention of Gibraltar is to England a matter of pride.
It is a great thing to see the red cross flying on the top of the Rock
in the sight of two continents, and of all who go sailing up and down
in these waters. But this pride has to be paid for by a good many
entanglements of one kind and another.

For example: It is a constant source of complaint on the part of Spain
that Gibraltar is the headquarters for smuggling across the frontier.
This is not at all surprising, since (like Singapore and perhaps
other distant places in the British Empire) it is a "free port." Its
deliverance from commercial restrictions dates back to the reign of
Queen Anne, in the beginning of the last century--an immunity which
it has enjoyed for nearly two hundred years. A few years since a light
restriction was placed upon wines and spirits, probably for a moral
rather than a commercial purpose, lest their too great abundance might
lead to drunkenness among the soldiers. But with respect to everything
else used by man, trade is absolutely free; whatever is brought here
for sale is not burdened with the added tax of an import duty. Though
Gibraltar is so near Tarifa, there is no _tariff_ levied on merchandise
any more than on voyagers that go up and down the seas. Not only English
goods, but French and Italian goods, all are free; even those which, if
imported into England, would pay duty, here pay none, so that they
are cheaper than in England itself. Thus Gibraltar is the paradise
of free-traders, since in it there is no such "accursed thing" as a
custom-house, and no such hated official as a custom-house officer! This
puts it at an advantage as compared with any port or city or country
which is not free, and they have to suffer from the difference.
Especially does Spain, which is not yet converted to free trade, suffer
from its close contact with its more liberal neighbor. The extraordinary
cheapness on one side of the Neutral Ground, as compared with the
dearness on the other, is a temptation to smuggling which it requires
more virtue than the Spaniards possess to resist.

The temptation takes them on their weakest side when it presents itself
in the form of tobacco, for the Spaniards are a nation of smokers. The
manufacture and sale of tobacco is a monopoly of the Government, and
yields a large revenue, amounting, I believe, to fifteen millions of
dollars. It might amount to twice as much if every smoker in Spain
bought only Spanish tobacco. But who will pay the price for the
Government cigars and cigarettes when they can be obtained without
paying duty? Smuggling is going on every day, and every hour of the day;
and the Spaniards say that it is winked at and encouraged by the English
in Gibraltar; to which the latter reply that whatever smuggling is done,
is done by the Spaniards themselves, for which they are not responsible.
A shopkeeper in Gibraltar has as good a right to sell a pound of tobacco
to a Spanish peasant as to an English sailor. What becomes of it after
it leaves his shop is no concern of his. Of course the Spanish police
are numerous, and are, or are supposed to be, vigilant. The Carabineros
are stationed at the lines, whose duty it is to keep a sharp look-out on
every passing vehicle; whether it be a lordly carriage rolling swiftly
by, or a market wagon; to poke their noses into every little cart; to
lift up the panniers of every donkey; and even to thrust their hands
into every basket, and to give a pinch to every suspicious-looking
parcel. And yet, with this great display of watchfulness, which indeed
is a little overdone, somehow an immense quantity slips through their
fingers. Many amusing stories are told of contrabandists. One
honest Spaniard had a wonderful dog that went through miraculous
transformations: he was sometimes fat and sometimes lean, nature (or
man) having provided him with a double skin, between which was packed
a handsome allowance of tobacco. This dog was a model of docility, and
would play with other dogs, like the poor innocent that he was, and then
dart off to his master to "unload" and be sent back again! It was said
that he would make several trips a day. In another case a poor man tried
to make an honest living by raising turkeys for market; but even then
fate had a spite against him, for after he had brought them into town,
he had no luck in selling them! The same ill-fortune attended him
every day. But one evening, as he came out of the gates looking sad and
sorrowful, the Carabineros took a closer inspection of his cart, and
found that every turkey had been prepared for another market than that
of Gibraltar, by a well-spiced "stuffing" under her motherly wings!

Of course the Spanish officers are indignant at the duplicity which
permits this smuggling to take place, and utter great oaths in sonorous
Castilian against their treacherous neighbors. But even the guardians of
the law may fall from virtue. The Governor, who took office here but
a few weeks since, tells me that when the Governor of Algeciras, the
Spanish town across the bay, came to pay his respects to him, the
officers of his suite, while their horses were standing in the court of
the Convent [the Government House], filled their pockets with tobacco!
Fit agents indeed to collect the revenue of Spain!

But smuggling is not the worst of the complications that arise out
of having a fortress in a foreign country. Another is that Gibraltar
becomes the resort of all the characters that find Spain too hot to hold
them. Men who have committed offences against Spanish law, flee across
the lines and claim protection. Some of them are political refugees, who
have escaped from a Government that would persecute and perhaps imprison
them for their opinions, and find safety under the English flag. The
necessity for this protection is not so great now as in former years,
when the Government of Spain was a despotism as absolute and intolerant
as any in Europe. Even so late as thirty years ago, Castelar would have
been shot if he had not escaped across the frontier into Switzerland; as
his father, twenty years before, had been sentenced to death, and would
have been executed if he had not made haste to get inside of Gibraltar,
and remained here seven years. In his case, as in many others, the old
fortress was a bulwark against tyranny. Within these walls the laws of
national hospitality were sacred. No Spanish patriot could be taken from
under this flag, to be sent to the dungeon or the scaffold. All honor to
England, that she has a City of Refuge for the free and the brave of all
lands, and that she has so often sheltered and saved those who were the
champions, and but for her would have been the martyrs, of liberty!

But the greater number of those who seek a refuge here have no claim
to protection, since they are not political refugees, but ordinary
criminals--thieves, and sometimes murderers--who have fled here to
escape the punishment of their crimes. In such cases it is easy to say
what should be done with them: they should be given up at once to the
Spanish authorities, to be tried by Spanish law and receive the just
reward of their deeds.

If all cases were like these, the disposition of them would be a very
simple matter. But they are not all so clear; some of them, indeed, are
very complex, involving questions of international law, which an army
officer, or even a civil officer, might not understand. A man may be
accused of crime by the Spanish authorities, and yet, in the eye of
impartial judges of another country, be guilty of no greater crime than
loving his country too well. But the Spanish Government demands his
surrender. The case is referred to the Colonial Secretary, as the
highest authority in Gibraltar next to the Governor. It is a grave
responsibility, which requires not only a disposition to do what is
right and just, but a knowledge of law which a military or a civil
officer may not possess. The present Secretary is Lord Gifford, and a
more honorable English gentleman it would be impossible to find. But
though a gallant soldier, brave and accomplished as he is, he may not
be familiar with all the points which he may have to decide. He tells me
that this matter of extradition is the most difficult duty that is laid
upon him. He said, "I have two cases before me to-day," in the decision
of which he seemed a good deal perplexed. With the most earnest desire
to decide right, he might decide wrong. His predecessor had been removed
for extraditing a man without proper authority. He told me the incident
to illustrate the responsibility of his position, and the extreme
difficulty of adjudicating cases which are of a doubtful character.
It was this: The island of Cuba, as Americans know too well, is in a
chronic state of insurrection. In one of the numerous outbreaks, a man
who was implicated made his escape, and took refuge in Tangier, and
while there asked of some visitors from Gibraltar if he would be safe
here, to which they promptly replied, "Certainly; that he could not
be given up," and on the strength of that assurance he came; but the
Spanish agents were watching, and somehow managed to influence the
officers here to surrender him. The English Government promptly
disavowed the act, and claimed that the man was still under their
protection, and should be brought back. This Spanish pride did not
permit them to do. However, he was sent to Port Mahon, in the Balearic
Islands, and there (perhaps by the connivance of the authorities,
who may have thought it the easiest way to get rid of a troublesome
question) he was not so closely guarded but that he was able to make
his escape, and so the matter ended. But the Colonial Secretary who had
permitted his extradition was promptly recalled, in disapprobation of
his conduct. With such a warning before him, as well as from his own
desire to do justice, the present Secretary wished to act with
due prudence and caution, that he might not share the fate of his
predecessor. I could but admire his patience and care, and yet a
stranger can but reflect that all this complication and embarrassment
comes from holding a fortress in a foreign country!

But while this is true, yet what are such petty vexations as smuggling
and extradition; what is the million of dollars a year which it costs to
keep Gibraltar; in a matter which concerns the majesty and the colossal
pride of England--the sense of power to hold her own against the world?
A hundred years ago Burke spoke of Gibraltar with exultation as "a post
of power, a post of superiority, of connection, of commerce--one which
makes us invaluable to our friends and dreadful to our enemies;" and the
feeling has survived to this day. Not an Englishman passes through the
Straits whose heart does not swell within him to see the flag of his
country floating from the top of the Rock, from which, as he believes,
the whole world cannot tear it down. Every true Briton would look upon
the lowering of that flag as the abdication of Imperial power.

But is not this an over-estimate of the value of Gibraltar to England?
Is it worth all it costs? Would it weigh much in the balance in a great
contest of nations for the mastery of the world? The object of this
Rock-fortress is to command the passage into the Mediterranean. The arms
of Gibraltar are a Castle and a Key, to signify that it holds the key of
the Straits, and that no ship flying any other flag than that of England
can enter or depart except by her permission. But that power is already
gone. England may hold the key of the Straits, but the door is too wide
to be bolted. The hundred-ton guns of Gibraltar, even if aimed directly
seaward, could not destroy or stop a passing fleet. I know this is not
the limit of construction in modern ordnance. Guns have been wrought
weighing a hundred and twenty tons, which throw a ball weighing a ton
over ten miles! Such a gun mounted at Tarifa might indeed hurl its
tremendous bolt across the Mediterranean into Africa. But Tarifa is in
Spain, while opposite Gibraltar it is fourteen miles to Ceuta, a point
not to be reached by any ordnance in existence, even if the last product
of modern warfare were mounted on the height of O'Hara's Tower; so that
a fleet of ironclads, hugging the African coast, would be quite safe
from the English fire, which could not prevent the entrance of a French
or German or Russian fleet into the Mediterranean, if it were strong
enough to encounter the English fleet.

The reliance must be therefore on the fleet, not on the fortress. Of
course the latter would be a refuge in case of disaster, where the
English ships could find protection under the guns of the fort. But the
fortress _alone_ could not bar the passage into the Mediterranean.

As to the fleet, England has been mistress of the seas for more than
a century; and yet it does not follow that she will always retain this
supremacy. Her fleet is still the largest and most powerful in the
world, and her seamen as skilful and as brave as in the days of Nelson;
but the conditions of naval warfare are greatly changed. The use of
steam for ships of war as well as for commerce, and the building of
ironclads mounted with enormous guns, tend to equalize the conditions
of war. Battles may be decided by the weight of guns or the thickness of
defensive armor, and in these particulars other nations have advanced as
well as England. France, Germany, and Russia have vied with each other
as to which should build the most tremendous ships of war. Even Italy
has within a few years risen to the rank of a first-class naval power,
as she has some of the largest ships in the world. The Italia, which
I saw lying in the harbor of Naples, could probably have destroyed the
whole fleet with which Nelson won the battle of Trafalgar; and hence the
Italian fleet must be counted as a factor of no second importance in any
future struggle for the control of the Mediterranean.

And yet some military authorities think too much importance is attached
to these modern inventions. Farragut did not believe in iron ships.
He judged from his own experience in naval warfare, and no man had
had greater. He had found wooden ships good enough to win his splendid
victories. In his famous attack upon Mobile he ran his fleet close under
the guns of the fort, himself standing in the round-top of his flag-ship
to overlook the whole scene of battle, and then boldly attacked
ironclads, and sunk them in the open bay. His motto was: "Wooden ships
and iron hearts!" Ships and guns are good, but men are better. And so
I do not give up my faith in English prowess and skill, but hold that,
whatever the improvements in ships or guns, to the last hour that men
meet each other face to face in battle, the issue will depend largely
on a genius in war; on the daring to seize unexpected opportunities; to
take advantage of sudden changes; and thus by some master-stroke to turn
what seemed inevitable defeat into victory.

In the year 1867 I crossed the Atlantic in the Great Eastern, then in
command of Sir James Anderson. Among the passengers was the Austrian
Admiral Tegetthoff, who had the year before gained the battle of Lissa,
with whom I formed a pleasant acquaintance; and as we walked the deck
together, drew from him some particulars of that great victory. He was
as modest as he was brave, and did not like to talk of himself; but in
answer to my inquiries, said that before the battle he knew the immense
superiority of the Italian fleet; and that his only hope of victory was
in disregarding all the ordinary rules of naval warfare: that, instead
of drawing up his ships in the usual line of battle, he must rush into
the centre of the enemy, and confuse them by the suddenness of his
attack where they did not expect him. The manoeuvre was successful
even beyond his own expectation. The _Rè d'Italia_, the flagship of the
Italian Admiral, which had been built in New York as the masterpiece
of naval architecture, was sunk, and the fleet utterly defeated! What
Tegetthoff did at Lissa, the English may do in future battles. Of this
I am sure, that whatever _can_ be done by courage and skill will be done
by the sons of the Vikings to retain their mastery of the sea. But it
would be too much to expect of any power that it could stand against the
combined navies of the world.

If Gibraltar be thus powerless for offence, is it altogether secure for
defence? Is it really impregnable? That is a question often asked, and
on which only military men are competent to give an opinion, and even
they are divided. Englishmen, who are most familiar with its defences,
say, Yes! Those defences have been enormously increased even in our day.
In the Great Siege we saw its powers of resistance a hundred years ago.
Yet Eliott defeated the French and Spanish fleets and armies with less
than a hundred guns. Ninety years later--in 1870--there were _seven
hundred_ guns in position on the Rock, the smallest of which were larger
than the heaviest used in the siege. And yet since 1870 the increase
in the size of guns and their weight of metal, is greater than in the
hundred years before. In the siege it was counted a wonderful shot that
carried a ball two miles and a half. Now the hundred-ton guns carry over
eight miles. Putting these things together, English officers maintain
that Gibraltar cannot be taken by all the powers of Europe combined.

On the other hand, French and German engineers--familiar with the
new inventions in war, and knowing that they can use dynamite and
nitro-glycerine, instead of gunpowder, to give tremendous force to the
new projectiles--would probably say that there is no fortress which
cannot be battered down. To me, who am but a layman in such matters,
as I walk about Gibraltar, it seems that, if all the armies of Europe
should come up against it, they could make no impression on its
rock-ribbed sides; that only some convulsion of nature could shake
its "everlasting foundations." And yet such is the power of modern
explosives to rend the rocks and hills, with a new invention every year
of something still more terrible, that we know not but they may at last
almost tear the solid globe asunder. What wreck and ruin of the works of
man may be wrought by such engines of destruction, it is not given us to

Meanwhile to the Spaniards the English possession of Gibraltar is a
constant irritation. It is of no use to remind them that they had it
once, and might have kept it; that is no comfort; it only makes the
matter worse; for they are like spoiled children, who grieve the most
for that which they have thrown away. Again it was offered to them by
England, with only the condition that they should not sell Florida to
Napoleon; but as he was then in the height of his career, they thought
it safer to trust to his protection; albeit a few years later they
found out his treachery, and had to depend on an English army, led by
Wellington, to drive the French out of Spain. And still these spoiled
children of the South will not recognize the English sovereignty. To
this day the King of Spain claims Gibraltar as a part of his dominions,
though he recognizes it as "temporarily in the possession of the
English," and all who are born on the Rock are entitled to the rights of
Spanish subjects!

But whether Gibraltar can be "taken" or not by siege or storm, in the
course of human events there may be a turn of fortune which shall compel
England to surrender it. If there should come a general European war, in
which there should be (what the first Napoleon endeavored to effect) a
combination of all the Continental powers against England, she might,
standing alone, be reduced to such extremity as to be obliged to sue
for peace, and one of the hard conditions forced upon her might be the
surrender of Gibraltar!

But while we may speculate on such a possibility of the future, it is
not a change which I desire to see in my day. The transfer of Gibraltar
to Spain might satisfy Spanish pride, but I fear that it would be no
longer what it is if it had not the treasury of England to supply its
numerous wants. The Spaniards are not good managers, and Gibraltar
would ere long sink into the condition of an old, decayed Spanish town.
Further than this, I confess that, as a matter of sentiment, it would be
no pleasure to me to visit it if the charm of its present society were
gone. I should miss greatly the English faces, so manly and yet so
kindly, and the dear old mother tongue. So while I live I hope Gibraltar
will be held by English soldiers. "After me the deluge!"

No: not the deluge, but universal peace! Let the old Rock remain as it
is. Lover of peace as I am, I should be sorry to see it dismantled. It
would not be the same thing if it were to become another Capri--a mere
resort for artists, who should sit upon Europa Point, and make their
sketches; or if lovers only should saunter in the Alameda gardens,
whispering softly as they look out upon the moonlit sea. The mighty crag
that bears the name of Hercules should bear on its front something which
speaks of power. Let the Great Fortress remain as the grim monument of
War, even when men learn war no more; as the castles on the Rhine are
kept as the monuments of mediæval barbarism. If its guns are all silent,
or unshotted, it will stand for something more than a symbol of brute
force: it will be a monumental proof that the blessed age of peace has
come. Then, if there be any change in the flag that waves over it; if
the Red Cross of England, which has never been lowered in war, should
give place to an emblem of universal peace; it may be a Red Cross
still--red in sign of blood, but only of that blood which was shed alike
for all nations, and which is yet to unite in One Brotherhood the whole
Family of Mankind.



All too swiftly the days flew by, and the time of my visit to Gibraltar
was coming to an end. But in travel I have often found that the last
taste was the sweetest. It is only when you have come to know a place
well that you can fully enjoy it; when emancipated from guides, with
no self-appointed cicerone to dog your footsteps and intrude his
stereotyped observations; when, in short, you have obtained "the freedom
of the place" by right of familiar acquaintance, and can wander about
alone, sauntering slowly in favorite walks, or sitting under the shade
of the trees, and looking off upon the purple mountains or the rippling
sea, that you are fully master of the situation. "Days of idleness," as
they are called, are sometimes, of all days, at once the busiest and
the happiest, when, having finished up all regular and routine work,
and thus done his duty as a traveller, one devotes himself to "odds and
ends," and gathers up his varied impressions into one delightful whole.
These are delicious moments, when the pleasure of a foreign clime--

  "Blest be the time, the clime, the spot!"--

becomes so intense that we are reluctant to let it go, and linger still,
clinging to that which is nearly exhausted, as if we would drain the cup
to the very last drop.

Such is the feeling that comes in these last days, as I go wandering
about, full of moods and fancies born of the place and the hour. There
is a strange spell and fascination in the Rock itself. If it be proper
ever to speak of respect for inanimate things, next to a great mountain,
I have a profound respect for a great rock. It is the emblem of strength
and power, which by its very height shelters and protects the feebleness
of man. How often on the desert, under the burning sun, have I espied
afar off a huge cliff rising above the plain, and urging on my wearied
camel, thrown myself from it, and found the inexpressible relief of "the
shadow of a great rock in a weary land!" So here this mountain wall that
rises above me, does not awe and overwhelm so much as it shelters and
protects; the higher it lifts its head, the more it carries me upward,
and gives me an outlook over a wider horizon. If I were a dweller in
Gibraltar, I would seek out every sequestered nook upon its side, where
I could be away from the haunts of men, and could "dream dreams and see
visions." Often would I climb to the Signal Station, or O'Hara's Tower,
to see the glory of the sunrisings and sunsettings; and, as the evening
comes on, to see the African mountains casting their shadows over the
broad line of coast and the broader sea.

Next to the Rock itself, the oldest thing in Gibraltar--the very oldest
that man has made--is the Moorish Castle, on which the Moslem invader
planted the standard of the Crescent near twelve centuries ago, making
this his first stronghold in the land which he was to conquer. And now
I must look upon its face again, because of its very age. American as
I am, coming from a country where everything is supposed to be "brand
new," I feel a strange delight in these old castles and towers, and even
in ruins, gray with the moss of centuries. I know it is a "far cry"
to the time of the Moors, but we must not think of it as a time of
barbarism. The period in which the Moors held Gibraltar was that of the
Moorish rule in Spain, when they were the most highly civilized people
in Europe, and the Goths were the barbarians. In that day the old
Moorish town must have been a very picturesque place, with the domes of
its mosques, and the slender minarets rising above them, from which
at the sunset hour voices called the faithful to prayer; and very
picturesque figures were those of the turbaned Moors, as they reverently
turned toward Mecca, and bowed themselves and worshipped.

Nor did the romance die when the Spaniards followed in the procession of
races, for they were only less picturesque than the Moors. They too had
their good times. A life which would seem tame and dull to the modern
Englishman had its charms for the children of the sun, whether they were
children of Europe or of Africa. When the church took the place of the
mosque, mollahs and ulemas were replaced by priests and monks; and
the old Franciscan friars, whose Convent is now the residence of the
Governor, marched in sombre procession through the streets, and instead
of the call from the minaret, the evening was made holy by the sound
of the Ave Maria or the Angelus bell. And these Spaniards had their
gayeties as well as their solemnities. They danced as well as prayed.
When their prayers were ended, the same dark-eyed senoritas who had
knelt in the churches sat on balconies in the moonlight, while gallant
cavaliers sang their songs and tinkled their guitars--diversions which
filled the intervals of stern and savage war. Out of all this strange
old history, with many a heroic episode that still lives in Spanish song
and story, might be wrought, if there were another Irving to tell the
tale, an historical romance as fascinating as that of the Conquest of
Granada. The materials are abundant; all that is wanting is that they be
touched by the wand of the enchanter.

But as I have just now more freshly in mind the English history of
Gibraltar, I leave the Spaniards and the Moors, and betake me to the
King's Bastion, on which "Old Eliott" stood on the greatest day that
Gibraltar ever saw. And here we must not forget the second in command,
his brave companion-in-arms, General Boyd, who built the Bastion in
1773, and who, on laying the first stone, prayed "that he might live to
see it resist the united fleets of France and Spain"--a wish that was
gloriously fulfilled nine years later, when he took part in the immortal
defence; and it is fitting that his body should sleep under his own
work, at once the instrument and the monument of that great victory.
Even the trees have a historic air, as they are old--at least many of
them have a look of age. One would think that the constant firing of
guns, the shock and "sulphurous canopy," would kill vegetation or stunt
it in its growth. But there are many fine old trees in Gibraltar. Near
the Alameda stands a magnificent _bella sombra_ (so named because
its wide-spreading branches are dark and sombre, and yet strangely
beautiful), which must be very old. Perhaps it was standing a century
ago, and heard all the guns fired in the Great Siege, as possibly a few
years later it may have heard, across the bay and away over the Spanish
hills, even the thunder of Nelson at Trafalgar.


On one of the last days I had engaged to take a midday dinner with the
pastor of the Scotch Church, who lives in the southern part of the town.
It is a pleasant walk beyond the Alameda over the hill, where you can
but stop now and then to look down on the long breakwater of the New
Mole, or into the quiet dock of Rosia Bay; or to hear the bugles waken
the echoes of the hills. After dinner my friend proposed a stroll, in
which I was glad to join him, especially as it took me to new points of
view, from which I could look up at the Rock on its southern side, as
I had already seen it on the north. Taking our way across the level
plateau of Windmill Hill, past barracks and hospitals that are here
somewhat retired from the shore, we descended toward the sea.

This end of Gibraltar is a great resort of the people in the summer
time, and furnishes the only drive, unless they go out of the gates
and crossing the Neutral Ground enter the Spanish lines. Here they are
wholly within the Peninsula, and yet in a space so limited is a drive
such as one might find along the Riviera. The road is beautifully kept,
and winds in and out among the rocks, in one place crossing a deep
gorge, which makes you almost dizzy as you look over the parapet of the
little bridge which spans it. At each turn you get some new glimpse of
the sea, and whenever you raise your eyes to look across the Strait,
there is the long line of the African Coast. This is the favorite drive
of officers and ladies on summer afternoons, since here they can escape
the blistering sun, and get into the cool shadows.

As we come to Europa Point we are at the very foot of the Rock, and must
stop to look upward; for above us rises the highest point of Gibraltar,
O'Hara's Tower, which, as it is also nearest to the sea, is the one
that first catches the eye of the mariner sailing up or down the
Mediterranean. Here the old Phoenicians sacrificed to Hercules, as they
were approaching what was to them the end of the habitable globe; and
here, in later ages, a lamp was always hung before the shrine of the
Virgin, and the devout sailor crossed himself and repeated his Ave Maria
as he floated by.

Winding round Europa Point, we found our progress barred by an iron
gateway; but rattling at the gate brought a sentinel, who, seeing
nothing suspicious in our appearance, allowed us to enter the guarded
enclosure. Here in this quiet spot, on a shelf of rock which hangs above
the road, and is itself overhung by the mighty cliff which rises behind
it and above it, is the cottage which is the Governor's summer retreat.
The Convent answers very well for a winter residence; but in summer
Gibraltar is a very hot place, as it has the reflection of the sun both
from the sea in front and the Rock behind; and the Convent, standing on
the shore of the bay, gets the full force of both. But there are cool
retreats both north and south. On the north the townsfolk pour out of
the gates to get under the giant cliff which casts its mighty shadow
across the Neutral Ground. A little farther to the east, they come to
the sands of a beach, which seems so like a watering-place in dear
Old England that they have christened it Margate. So also, turning the
corner at the south end of the Rock, one is sheltered from the heat
in the long summer afternoon. The cottage is without any pretension to
ornament; but as it has a somewhat elevated perch, like a Swiss chalet,
it is a sort of eyrie, in which one can look down upon the sea and catch
every wind that comes from the Mediterranean.

Just now this little eyrie was turned to another purpose--a place of
confinement for Zebehr Pasha, a name that brings back memories of Egypt.
An Arab sheikh, at the head of one of the most powerful tribes on the
Upper Nile, he was at the same time one of the most famous slave-hunters
of Africa. And yet such was his influence in the Soudan, that he was the
one man to whom Gordon turned in his isolation at Khartoum, when
neither England nor Egypt came to the rescue; and his one message to
the authorities at Cairo was: "Send me Zebehr Pasha!" The request was
refused, and we know the rest. Had it been granted, the result might
have been different. But the British Government seemed to have a great
fear of letting him return to the scene of his old exploits lest he
should turn against them, and after the English occupation of Egypt,
had him remanded for safe-keeping to Gibraltar. His detention is made as
little irksome as possible. He is not confined in a prison. He is even
the occupant of the Governor's cottage, and has his family with him.
Looking up at the windows, I saw dark faces (perhaps those of his
wives), that moved away as soon as they were observed. But to be
comfortably housed is nothing without liberty. To the lion in captivity
it matters little whether he is in a barred cage, or has the most
luxurious quarters in a Royal Zoölogical Garden. Zebehr Pasha is a lion
of the desert that has never been tamed. How he must chafe at the gilded
bars of his prison, and look out wistfully upon the blue waves that
separate him from his beloved Africa! He envies the eagles that he sees
soaring and screaming over the sea. If they would but lend him their
wings, he would "homeward fly," and mounting the swiftest dromedary,
taste once more the wild freedom of the desert.[12]

But all things must have an end, and my stay in Gibraltar, delightful
as it was, must be brought to a close. I was not eager to depart. So
quickly does one become at home in new surroundings, that a place which
I never saw till a few days before, now seemed like an old friend. My
new acquaintances said I "ought to stay a month at least," and I was
sure that it would pass quickly and delightfully. But travellers, like
city tramps, must "move on," and it is certainly better to go regretting
and regretted, than to carry away only disagreeable memories. I
had taken passage for Oran on the Barbary Coast, when the Colonial
Secretary, kind to the last, proposed to send me off to the ship in a
government launch, an offer which my modesty compelled me to decline.
But he insisted (for these Englishmen, when they do a thing, must do
it handsomely) till I had to submit. That evening, while dining at the
Hotel, a servant brought me word that a messenger had a special message
for me, and when I presented myself, he put into my hands the following:

  "_Memorandum from the Colonial Secretary
                                   to the Captain of the Port._

  "Dr. Field, an American gentleman, introduced here by Sir Clare
  Ford, is now staying at the Royal Hotel, and leaving Friday evening
  by the steamer for Algiers.

  "His Excellency wishes every attention to be shown him: so you will
  send a Boarding Officer to-morrow at 6 P.M., and ask him at what
  hour he desires to leave from Waterport, and have a launch ready for
  him: the Boarding Officer making all arrangements for Dr. Field and
  his friends passing through the gates.


On the back of the above order was written in red ink, in very large

  "Boarding Officer: _Comply with His Excellency's wishes_.

  "G. B. Bassadone,
  "For the Captain of the Port."

This was the first time in my life that I had been waited upon for
orders! Having this greatness thrust upon me, I did not betray my
unfamiliarity with such things by any light and trivial conduct, but
kept my dignity with a sober face, and graciously announced my sovereign
pleasure to depart the following evening at eight o'clock. This was
really a great convenience, as it gave me a few hours more on shore,
whereas otherwise I must leave before sunset, when the gates are shut,
not to be opened till morning. Appreciating not only the courtesy, but
the distinction, I invited an American party at the Hotel to keep me
company. But they had already made their arrangements, and went off
ingloriously before "gun-fire"; while His Republican Highness took his
dinner quietly, and awaited the coming of his escort. One young lady,
however, (a cousin of Mr. Joseph H. Choate, of New York, my friend and
neighbor at our summer homes in the Berkshire Hills,) stood by me,
and at eight o'clock in the evening we walked down Waterport Street,
attended by two stalwart defenders. The street was strangely silent, for
as the outsiders leave at sunset when the gates are closed, the town is
very quiet. It was dark as we approached the first gate, which had been
shut hours before; but the guard, having "received orders," instantly
appeared to unlock it, a form which was repeated at the second line of
fortifications. At the quay we found the launch ready, with steam up,
and as we took our places in the stern of the boat, on the cushioned
seat provided for distinguished guests, I felt as if I were a Lord High
Admiral. It was a beautiful night. The moon was up, though half hidden
by clouds, from which now and then she burst forth, covering the bay
with a flood of light. At that moment--stern Puritan as I am, and
impassible as my friends know me to be--if I had been put upon my
oath, or my honor, I should have been compelled to confess, that to be
floating over a moonlit sea, with a fair countrywoman at my side, was
not altogether the most miserable position in which I have ever been
placed in my wanderings up and down in this world.

Once on the deck, the whole broadside of the Rock was before us, with
the lights glimmering far up and down the heights. At half-past nine the
last gun was fired, and in another half hour the lights in the barracks
were put out, and all was dark and still.

It was midnight when the steamer began to move. The moon had now flung
off her misty veil, and risen to the zenith, where she hung over the
very crest of the Rock, her soft light falling on every projecting crag.
The ship itself seemed to feel the holy stillness of the night, and
glided like a phantom-ship, almost without a sound, over the unruffled
sea. As we crept past the long line of batteries, the great Fortress,
with its hundreds of guns, was silent; the Lion was sleeping, with
all his thunders muffled in his rocky breast. Thus our last glimpse of
Gibraltar was a vision not of War, but of Peace, as we rounded Europa
Point and set our faces toward Africa.

  [Illustration: EUROPA POINT.]


[1] The exact figures of this Armstrong Gun are: Weight, 101.2 tons.
Length, 32.65 feet. Length of bore, 30.25 feet. Diameter of bore,
17.72 inches. Length of charge of powder, 5 feet. Weight of charge, 450
pounds. Weight of shot, 2,000 pounds. Velocity at the muzzle, 1,548
feet per second. At such velocity, a ball of such weight would have a
"smashing effect" of 33.230 "foot-tons," and would penetrate 24.9 inches
of wrought iron. Range, when fired at the highest elevation, over 8

[2] A letter received from Sir Charles Wilson, who was in the column
that crossed the desert, and who went up the Nile and arrived in sight
of Khartoum only to learn that the city had fallen and Gordon been
killed, speaks warmly of both these officers, his old companions
in arms. He says: "General Earle, who was killed at Kirbekan, was a
regimental officer in the Guards, and had been on the staff in Canada
and India--in both cases, I think, as military secretary to the Viceroy.
He was much beloved by every one. Colonel Earle, who commanded the South
Staffordshire Regiment, was also killed at Kirbekan. He originally
rose from the ranks, and was looked upon as one of the best regimental
officers up the Nile.

[3] War Services of General Officers, in Hart's Annual Army List for

[4] The above outline is derived chiefly from Chalmers' Biographical
Dictionary, a work in thirty-two octavo volumes, published in London
more than seventy years ago (in 1814). I have sought for fuller
information from other sources, but without result. The "Encyclopædia
Britannica," in its article on Gibraltar refers to a "Life of Eliott,"
but I have not been able to find it either in the United States or in
England. After a fruitless search in the Astor Library, with the aid of
the Librarian, I cabled twice to London, the second time directing that
search be made in the British Museum, but received reply that the book
could not be found. The American Consul at Gibraltar writes me that he
cannot find it there. Can it be possible that there is not in existence
any full and authentic record of one of the greatest heroes that England
has produced? Has such a man no place in English history except to
furnish the subject of an article in a Biographical Dictionary?

[5] The incidents so briefly told in the following sketch are derived
chiefly from "A History of the Siege of Gibraltar," by John Drinkwater,
a Captain in the 72d Regiment, which formed part of the garrison, and
who was therefore a witness and an actor in the scenes he describes.
His narrative, though written in the plain style of a soldier, yet
being "compiled from observations daily noted down upon the spot," is
invaluable as a minute and faithful record of one of the greatest events
in modern war.

[6] Sayer's History of Gibraltar, pp. 297, 298.

[7] Sayer's History of Gibraltar, pp. 346, 347.

[8] Drinkwater, p. 68.

[9] It is a common saying that the brave are generous, but this is
not always so. Some of the bravest men that ever lived have been
cold-hearted and cruel. But Eliott, though he had an iron frame and iron
will, was as soft-hearted as a woman. Nothing roused his indignation
more than an act of inhumanity on the part of a superior toward an
inferior. Hence he was the protector not only of women and children, but
of prisoners who fell into his hands, and who might otherwise be exposed
to the license of soldiers demoralized by victory. He repressed all
pillage and stood between the victors and the vanquished, as the
defender of the defenceless. So noted was he for his humanity that those
who were in trouble sought his protection, and his response to their
appeals sometimes took them by surprise. An amusing illustration of this
occurred some years before at the capture of Havana: A Frenchman who had
suffered greatly by the depredations of the soldiery, came to him,
and begged in bad English that he would interfere to have his property
restored. But his wife, who was a woman of high spirit, was angry at
her husband that he should ask any favor of an enemy, and turned to him
sharply, saying, "Comment pouvez vous demander de grace à un homme qui
vient vous dépouiller? N'en esperez pas." The husband persisting in his
application, the wife grew more loud in her censure, and said, "Vous
n'étes pas Français!" The General, who was busy writing at the time,
overheard the conversation, and as he spoke French perfectly, turned
to the woman, and said smiling, "Madame, ne vous échauffez pas; ce que
votre mari demande lui sera accordé." At this she broke out again, as if
it were the last degree of indignity, that the Englishman should speak
French: "Oh, faut-il pour surcroit de malheur, que le barbare parle
Français!" The General was so much pleased with the woman's spirit that
he not only procured them their property again, but also took pains to
accommodate them in every respect.--_Chalmers' Biographical Dictionary._

[10] Sayer's History, p. 365.

[11] "The shot were heated either in the grates and furnaces made for
that purpose, or by piling them in a corner of some old house adjoining
the batteries, and surrounding them with faggots, pieces of timber, and
small coal." Afterwards "the engineers erected kilns (similar to those
used in burning lime, but smaller) in various parts of the garrison.
They were large enough to heat upwards of one hundred balls in an hour
and a quarter."--_Drinkwater._

[12] A few months after I left Gibraltar, the old Arab was set at
liberty by the British Government, but on very strict conditions. A
letter from the American Consul, in reply to my questions, says:

"Zebehr Pasha was released August 3, 1887, on signing a certain document
sent from the Home Government relative to his future conduct. This was
an engagement 'to remain in the place which should be chosen by the
Egyptian Government; to place himself under its surveillance; and to
abstain from interference in political or military questions relating to
the Soudan or otherwise.' This he signed in the presence of two British
staff officers. He had arrived in Gibraltar in March, 1885, and from
that time had been a prisoner in the Governor's cottage for about two
years and a half, under charge at different times of several officers of
the garrison. He left Gibraltar August 16th, for Port Said, accompanied
by his household, which included two women and three men, and was
attended by three male and two female servants. He also took back to his
African home an infant born in the Governor's cottage at Europa."

[Transcriber's Notes

The following modifications have been made,

  Page vii:
  ».« changed to »,«
  (memories of a country and people, this modern fortress)

  Page 3:
  ».« added
  (is free to all the commerce of the world.)

  Page 32:
  »'« changed to »"«
  (Set the wild echoes flying!")]

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