Saturday 16th Jan.ry – no favourable change in the wind has taken place since yesterday and although we were within a few hours sail of Cadiz with a fair wind, it was not till 5 oClock in the afternoon, and after many fatiguing tacks, that we cast anchor in the Bay of Cadiz. We wished (yet were doubtful) that the Quarantine boat would come alongside of us and give us pratique, so as to proceed on our voyage the same night. Our fears were fully realised as no boat came off – the officers being either too lazy or too careless to give themselves the trouble of 20 minutes rowing for any ship in his Majesty’s service. Nothing therefore was left for us to do but to remain at our anchor all night and await the post-breakfast visit of the Spanish Dons on the morrow. The weather throughout the day has been very fine – but rather cold.
Dilatory conduct of the Quarantine officers at Cadiz
Sunday 17th – about 8 oClock this morning, there being no appearance of the Quarantine boat, the Captain gave orders for a gun to be fired. After waiting a reasonable time in vain, a second gun sent its loud report to the shore and expressed the angry impatience of our Commander. Still no signs were apparent of our being released from durance vile, and a third gun was ordered in order to quicken the motions of the lazy Spaniards – and it was determined to continue discharge after discharge until our object was gained. Shortly after this a boat came off, with an intimation from the consul M.r Brakenbury, that Captain Snell should bring the Mail on shore and obtain practique there. To this arrangement our Captain would by no means consent, and he sent back word to the Consul to that affect, intimating as an excuse for his conduct, that his written orders were imperative upon him not to land the mail until the proper officers had been alongside and given him practique.
With this decided intention not to depart one iota from the letter of his instructions, Capt.n Snell awaited the result, which fully answered his expectations. After a most unconscionable time, a large lubberly vessel was perceived advancing at a snails speed by the assistance of eight rowers, who by their slow and insolent movements seemed as if they had been newly roused out of bed, and were still half asleep. When they had reached the side of our ship, they turned out to be, what indeed we had guessed them to be, the Quarantine Officials. Altho’ it was Sunday, on which day in Catholic countries as well as in those of Protestants, people are accustomed to wash, shave and dress themselves well, the dress of our welcome visitants shewed the unusual hour at which they had been roused, and the little time that had been allowed them to put themselves in holiday trim. With unwashed faces, unshaven beards – and their every-day clothes (and bad enough they were) they appeared before us – and with a countenance and a tone of voice, which evidently betokened they vexation and chagrin, they put the necessary questions, received the necessary answers – and at last bundled themselves off, after having had the impudence to ask two bottles of porter for [their] trouble. We were all glad or their arrival and departure – particularly as we were doubtful whether they would have been pleased to have come at all. Had we been a mere merchant vessel, or even had the Captain acted with less decision in regard to firing gun after gun, we must certainly have been unvisited till to-morrow. For in Catholic countries, however lax they may be in strictly observing the Sabbath, in so far as respects their amusements, they are most pharasaically tenacious of not violating that sacred day by working, even when the necessity of the case would fully absolve them from all sin. The same remark is true with regard to saints days festivals also – and nothing short of very cogent reasons will force the to swerve from this line of conduct.
Sen.r Capdeviello our passenger
In a very short time, the Captain went on shore with the mail and all our passengers took the opportunity of seeing Cadiz. Of the latter one left us altogether, and of him I shall say a few words, before proceeding further. His name was Senor Capdeviello – and a comical old senor was he. When he first came on board I mistook him for a School-master from his carrying a well used ruler and a large writing desk – and altogether his appearance favoured this opinion. I soon however found from his conversation that he was engaged in Merchandize, and was just returning from a professional tour thro’ England and Scotland whither he had been dispatched as best fitted from his knowledge of our language to transact business. I have said he was a comical genius and so he was both in person, manners and style of speech. Represent to yourself a little stout made man with face deeply furrowed by the ravages of the small pox – gait shuffling – manner quick and fidgety – a face in which the habitual caution and reserve concomitant upon habits of trade struggled strangely with a natural simplicity and good humour – and dressed in a brown great coat, with a hairy-leather cap such as you see boy[s] wear and which by the bye he constantly wore with the two lapels or wings projecting from his head like asses ears. Such was Senor Cape Devil as we pronounced his outlandish name. He was the butt of all then other passengers and it must be confessed to his credit that he took all the jokes levelled against him in good part. From his cast of countenance, as well as from his very liberal sentiments (sentiments by far too liberal and satirical for a “genuine Spaniard”) respecting the Christian religion, I am pretty sure, notwithstanding his vehement protestations, that he was a Jew, particularly as we learned that he belonged to a house in Gibraltar. His talk proved a strange medley of English French and Spanish – and a laughable confusion was often produced, in his head, when engaged in speaking to different persons in these different languages. If I am not mistaken he was very sharp sighted in regard to his own interest – and submitted to many coarse jokes which any real Spaniard & no Jew might easily have construed into open insults, that he might not lose his proposed object. And he had his reward of his forbearance – and in this way. When we were about 90 miles from Cadiz, the Earl of Rothes our passenger made a bett on his part of ten dozen of Champaign, with our captain and Captain Ferguson, who wagered each 5 dozen, that we would arrive at Cadiz next day by 12 oClock P.M. – the wind being at that time foul – but if it had changed Lord Rothes would have gained his bett with ease However the wind continued foul and we did not reach our port, till late in the afternoon on the day after the bett was decided. Now as Senor Capdeviallo had a branch of his house at Cadiz, and had conformed himself so well to the rather frolicsome humour of our military passengers Lord Rothes agreed to purchase the Champaign from him – and some of the other gentlemen bought some thousand Cegars – and in this substantial way M.r Jew Peter obtained the rewards of his patience.
He professed to be an ardent admirer of England, its political constitution, because there, said he, a man can travel from Dan to Beersheba, in any way he chooses, and no one will ask impertinent questions respecting, object or occupation – whereas in Spain you can not journey a few miles without being called upon to produce your passport, the loss of which thro’ accident or carelessness would be instantly followed by fine and imprisonment to the great hindrance of your Journey and detriment of your affairs.
I wonder the Don ever trusted himself to the treacherous sea at all, since to him every change of weather proved a subject of alarm. One night in particular, when a very fresh breeze sprung up, and occasioned the vessel to complain a good deal, he came up from his cabin in his shirt and in a voice of extreme anxiety & terror asked the Master what was the matter? Was there any danger ? and when M.r Geach to tease him a little said that there was great danger, and requested him to go below as he was in the way, he was quite in despair and I am persuaded did not sleep a wink all that night. Next morning the sea had gone down, the wind was moderate, and the sun shone out gloriously from the heavens, so that no idea of positive danger could be entertained. How extatic then were his feelings – he absolutely danced, capered – sung, whistled and made so many antic movements, that it was impossible to refrain from laughter, in which he also frankly joined.