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Departure from England-Arrival at Gibraltar-Brief Description of this extraordinary Rock, and its Inhabitants-Storm.
WITH a favourable wind, ship well manned and stored, and an agreeable commander, we set sail from Plymouth in the latter end of November, 1796. The expectation of exploring distant lands alleviated that sympathetic regret, ever attendant on a separation from near and dear connections, and one's native country. While imagination was busy in picturing to itself those interesting and delightful scenes we were expecting to realize, Divine Providence, in the course of a few days, wafted us safely across the Bay of Biscay, and, at
the end of a fortnight, to our first destination, Gibraltar.
The morning of our discovery of the Streights, which takes its name from this stupendous rock, was as serene and delightful, and ushered in as fine a day as smiles on the thick ears of corn in our beloved country at midsummer. The noble bay of Cadiz, the African shore, the double and triple ridges of mountains on one side, the more level and cultivated shores of Spain on the other, of this wonderful inlet from the ocean, and, towering above all the other mountains, or perfectly distinct from them, the Abyla, and others, present their huge summits, and stand durable monuments of nature's grandeur. With such magnificent and interesting views before and around us, did we pass from the Atlantic ocean, through this funnel, or streights, to Gibraltar.
This wonderful rock is situated about the lat. of 36 deg. in the South part of Spain and of Europe, on a remarkable peninsula,
and when considered, both as to its external and internal appearance, is one of the most extraordinary in Europe. But as this place has been well described by other and more able pens, and as this is but the beginning of various eventful voyages, several of which will require much elucidation, I would be cautious of intruding on the time. and patience of the candid reader, by repetitions which are uninteresting, and would here premise, once for all, that my aim is rather to give a brief sketch of the countries. and places I have occasion to treat of, than an elaborate disquisition.
The town of Gibraltar is situate at the north part of the rock: it consists principally of one street, about half a mile in length. The Governor's house and chapel are the most conspicuous buildings, together with a Roman Catholic church. The inhabitants are numerous, consisting of a greater variety of nations, perhaps, than is to be found in any other town of the same population-here dwell together English, Spaniards, Portuguese, Jews, Italians, Moors,
Genoese, &c. &c. and in one respect, at least, that of amassing wealth, they generally appear in concert.
The air is friendly to the constitution, and the soil, where there is any depth, very fertile, producing, with little cultivation, excellent fruits, vegetables, and herbage. The inhabitants are in general well suppliedwith live cattle, poultry, and fruit, from the opposite coast of Barbary, and from the Spaniards; but in time of war these sup plies are much contracted, and sometimes stopped. At those seasons Gibraltar represents a ship on a long voyage, whose crew are obliged to live on salt provisions, though with respect to vegetables, the stationary company have a decided superiority over their brethren on the ocean.
Having a few days to remain in the bay, I availed myself of it to view the structure and position of this rock, and its interior construction. The east part, facing the Mediterranean sea, is almost perpendicular, appearing as a mountain divided by some