Conducted to the Governor - Medical Hint from his Secretary - Governor recovers - Larache - Its Harbour, Shipping, and Inhabitants.

Larache, February 1806.

On our arrival at this place, we were met, at the gates of the garrison, by the Governor's public Secretary, who conducted us to a house belonging to Mr. Matra, and afterwards accompanied me to the castle to visit my patient. On our way thither I requested the Secretary to give me his opinion concerning the present state of the Governor's health; I also asked how he had been accustomed to live, and how long he had been confined to his bed. "What do you mean," said he, "by asking such foolish questions? you are not a tweeb" (the name for a physician). I told him that I was. He continued: "That must be determined by your success or failure; if you succeed, you will for ever establish your fame in Barbary; you will be esteemed and respected by all the Moors; but, if you fail, and His Excellency should die under your hands, I would then advise you to make your escape as quickly and as privately as possible, and never to attempt to revisit this country." I confessed the weight of the encouragement and threats which he held out; and inquiring whether he meant to insinuate, that if the Governor died I should suffer death? and whether they always punished their tweebs thus when they dispatched any of their patients to the other world? he rejoined, "Not exactly; but consider, you are a Massarene, which makes a great difference." I then intimated that I would decline having any thing to do with his master, and would return to Gibraltar. "You do not think of such a thing!" he exclaimed; "it would be unworthy of your character and situation. But come; I will give you a few salutary hints, which may be of service to you; the rest you will discover at the bed-side, and on feeling the pulse of your patient, I wish you may succeed in recovering him; but I am afraid he is going, and that no tweeb on earth can save him."

He then informed me that His Excellency had been attended, for some days past, by a celebrated tweeb, who stood high in the public estimation; that he had pronounced the Governor's disease incurable, and he had, bled him so copiously, and so repeatedly, that "I verily believe," added the Secretary, "he has not a single drop of blood left in his veins; I would therefore advise you to administer some good cordials, and also some nourishment, to restore his lost vigour." By this time we had reached the castle. I found the Governor in a situation truly deplorable. He had been bled, as the Secretary described, ad deliquium, and reduced so low, that it was with great difficulty I could hear what he was desirous of explaining to me.

His body was covered all over with purple spots, and had every concomitant symptom of the blood approaching to a putrescent dissolution, I afforded him all the assistance in my power the same evening; and early the next morning, when I visited him, I found him somewhat easier; the next day better; and thus progressively mending; till yesterday he was sufficiently recovered to venture on horseback, and I trust he will, ultimately, be perfectly restored to health and spirits. He is about forty years of age, of a genteel appearance, exceedingly well informed, and reputed to be the most sensible officer in His Imperial Majesty's service, perfectly, au fait in the intrigues and politics of the Cabinet of St. Cloud, and other nations, He has always been, and is still, a very steady friend to the English,

During my stay here so many poor wretches applied for advice and medical assistance, that I have completely exhausted my stock of medicines, and I am, in consequence of this, obliged to decline the Emperor's invitation to his court. I shall return to Gibraltar for a supply, and shall then pay him a visit at Fez.

Larache is supposed to be the famous Lixus, or Lixos, of the ancients, and, consequently, was in great reputation in the earliest ages, Pliny asserts, that the giant Antaeus occasionally resided here; and further adds, that Hercules vanquished him in this neighbourhood, as he supposes the gardens of the Hesperides to have been not far off. This I think very probable, as the Arabic name of this town is El Arais, signifying a place abounding in gardens; which is still the case. The vicinity of it is, indeed, rendered extremely delightful by the number of gardens. Pliny also makes the river Lixos (upon the banks of which the town stood), by its winding course, to resemble a serpent, or dragon, from which he intimates that this river gave rise to the fable of the Dragon guarding the golden apples of the Hesperides. Be that as it may, the situation of the present Larache gives great probability to the supposition of its being the reputed Lixus of the ancients. The learned Aldrete affirms the word Lixos be derived from Lachisu, or Nahara Lachisu, signifying enchantment, or the enchanted river. He observes, that the town of Lixos was situated near the banks of a river of the same name; and that the inhabitants of this country were supposed to possess uncommon skill in sorcery and magic.

Many wonderful things have been related of Antaeus, by various authors, in his two residences of Tingis and Lixos. Pliny mentions a Roman colony having been settled here by Claudius ; and I should judge this statement to be perfectly correct, from the number of Roman ruins observable in and near the town. It was in the possession of the Spaniards in 1610, but was retaken by the Moors before the commencement of the eighteenth century.

It is surrounded by good bastions and other works; some of which were constructed by the Spaniards, and the rest by the Moors. It is encompassed by deep trenches, with sluices to fill them with water from the river, The streets of this town are narrow and dirty, paved with large irregular stones, and consisting of abrupt ascents and descents, which render them unsafe to pass through on horseback.

Near the castle, at the extremity of the cape, facing the Atlantic, is an oblong square, surrounded by a piazza, supported by colonnades, where the shops of the merchants are situated, and where the market also is held. The cattle-market is kept in an extensive plain, to which you pass through a crooked way, out of the western gate. Thursday is the market-day.

Fresh water is extremely scarce, and the inhabitants are sometimes greatly distressed for want of it. Larache is a seat of government, and contains a spacious inland harbour; but the entrance is dangerous from the badness of its bar, which might, however, be removed with little trouble and expense, so as to render the harbour very commodious for shipping,

The harbour contains a portion of the Emperor's maritime force, which consists of four frigates, a brig, and a sloop of war, in very tolerable condition. This little fleet is commanded by an admiral, and sails every year in the month of May; when it cruizes about during the summer, picking up a few straggling vessels, and returns here to winter; in which time the sailors are twice a week exercised at the great guns. This town is now entirely occupied by soldiers and sailors, and their respective families. It did contain about two thousand Jews, whose business it was to purchase hides, wool, and wax, for several commercial houses established at Tetuan; but these poor people were obliged to leave this garrison, and take refuge in the neighbouring mountains, from a sudden and irrevocable decree of the Emperor, on account of their having sold some aguardiente to the sailors, which occasioned a great fight, that was attended with the loss of three Moors.

I have just received intelligence of the death of Mr. Matra; I am extremely sorry for this event, as, in him, we have lost a very powerful advocate at the court of Morocco: but it is no more than I expected, from the state in which I left him at Tangiers.