Ill Usage of a Lieutenant of the Swiftsure - Disaffection of the Moorish Governor towards Great Britain.

Gibraltar, March 1806

His Majesty's ship the Swiftsure having arrived at Tetuan, to take in fresh water, I went on board. The watering-place is about eighteen miles from Tetuan, and six from the customhouse, at which last place is a tower, guarded by a strong detachment, and commanded by a Captain. When the ship had completed her water, signals were made to strike the tent, and every one to repair on board.

It has always been customary for English men of war going to water there, to make the commanding officer a present of a cartridge of powder, which compliment was duly paid by the second Lieutenant of the Swiftsure; but the Moorish Captain, not contented with one cartridge, insisted upon having two. The Lieutenant refused to comply with this new and extraordinary demand; upon which he was immediately seized by a party of soldiers, who, after knocking him down, pinioned him, and in this degrading manner marched him up to Tetuan, under a strong escort.

Captain Rutherford (who commands the Swiftsure), on hearing of this daring outrage, could with difficulty refrain from making instant reprisals: but unwilling to embroil the two nations, he sailed without delay, and arrived in the course of a few hours in this bay. Two days after Mr. Wickes, the Lieutenant, joined the Swiftsure. He reports, that, after a most painful march, he was taken before Governor Ash-Ash, who released him, immediately, and promised to punish the Captain of the fort for the insult; a promise which, I am pretty confident, he never performed.

Such an act will naturally inspire you with horror, and induce you to consider the Moors as a ferocious, barbarous set of people: but, believe me, it could only have been perpetrated under the government ofAsh-Ash. At any other port of Barbary, a British officer will meet with a most kind and hospitable reception, and every mark of respect due to him. The Emperor has given Ash-Ash positive orders to respect the English, and not to take the part of the French, directly or indirectly; but, as I observed in a former letter, I conceive this Moor to be completely under French influence.

I am extremely busy in making the necessary preparations for my next trip; and as you are kind enough to say you are gratified with the account I have already sent you of the empire of Morocco, and wish me to continue my remarks, I shall most probably trouble you with a letter, whenever I meet with any thing that may serve to interest or amuse you.