The overlays that highlight 17th century London features are approximate and derived from Wenceslaus Hollar’s maps:

Open location in Google Maps: 35.782170, -5.800780

1893 text

This place so often mentioned, was first given up to the English fleet under Lord Sandwich, by the Portuguese, January 30th, 1662; and Lord Peterborough left governor, with a garrison. The greatest pains were afterwards taken to preserve the fortress, and a fine mole was constructed at a vast expense, to improve the harbour. At length, after immense sums of money had been wasted there, the House of Commons expressed a dislike to the management of the garrison, which they suspected to be a nursery for a popish army, and seemed disinclined to maintain it any longer. The king consequently, in 1683, sent Lord Dartmouth to bring home the troops, and destroy the works; which he performed so effectually, that it would puzzle all our engineers to restore the harbour. It were idle to speculate on the benefits which might have accrued to England, by its preservation and retention; Tangier fell into the hands of the Moors, its importance having ceased, with the demolition of the mole. Many curious views of Tangier were taken by Hollar, during its occupation by the English; and his drawings are preserved in the British Museum. Some have been engraved by himself; but the impressions are of considerable rarity.—B.

This text comes from a footnote on a diary entry in the 1893 edition edited by Henry B. Wheatley.

31 Annotations

First Reading

John Skinner  •  Link

For those whose geography is as weak as mine: Tangiers is a coastal city in Morocco, located across the straits of Gibraltar from Spain. Its value was that, together with the fortress city of Gibraltar, it allowed control of access into and out of the Mediterranean.

Pedro.  •  Link

More on Sandwich and Tangier.

The above site and content has changed, for the history of the regiment formed to go to Tangier see……
Sandwich’s involvement up to the current point in the Diary, and waiting for Lord Peterborough to arrive can be summed up by L&M in the Companion Volume…
“When Sandwich arrived he found the place besieged by Moorish troops under Gayland, who had rebelled against the Emperor of Morocco and was in the control of the region around Tangier. With commendable promptitude Sandwich landed seamen to man the derilict defences….
Ordinary seaman Edward Barlow wrote, “We kept guard and stood sentry about the town, and upon the walls night and day. And sometimes in the daytime, we all of us, being about 400 men, upon the walls which lay open to the country, gave small shot, when we saw any of the Moors, to put them in fear and let them know that the town was well manned.”

David Moray  •  Link

"Tangier: England's Lost Atlantic Outpost 1661-1684," Routh, E.M.G. London. John Murray. 1912 Huge amount of information about the whole period of the English occupation of Tanger. A lot from Peyps' journals and includes many plates of Hollar's engravings of the fortifications.

language hat  •  Link

The L&M Companion volume has a long essay on Tangier.
You can read some of it at Google Print:…
(keep hitting the forward arrows and skip over the unavailable pages). There's a nice description of Sam's 1683 voyage, for which he kept a journal ("a worthy appendage to the great diary though far less well known"):

"As Pepys soon found out, the place was a sink of iniquity and corruption

language hat  •  Link

Encountering the Infidels: Restoration Images of the Moors
is the title of an essay by Karim Bejjit that has a lot of material relating to the English occupation of Tangier:…

"During the Restoration period, following a long absence of the Moor from the English stage, popular notions about the Moors were more directly influenced by the numerous and regular reports published at home about the condition of the British garrison in Tangier and its encounters with the belligerent natives. The paradox that emerges, then, is that as official and public awareness of the Moors takes on a worldly and more concretised aspect than hitherto entertained, the dramatic treatment of the Moor in such renowned plays as Elkanah Settle

language hat  •  Link

By Dr John Wreglesworth

A long online essay:…

"For over 20 years from 1661 to 1684, the ancient city of Tangier was held as a colony by England. The story of the occupation now constitutes, at best, an obscure footnote in Britain’s imperial history. And yet, in its day, the English presence in Tangier represented the greatest overseas investment of royal manpower and resources..."

Pedro  •  Link

Tangier (May 3rd 1663)…

On May 3rd 1663 Lord Peterborough was enticed by Guyland to let the garrison outside the city walls. They ran out “in a confused manner”, without prior knowledge of the strength or position of the Moors. The result was disaster. The British pursued the retreating Moors who led them into a prepared trap. Surrounded on three sides the British were routed and only a third of force regained the safety of the town.

This serious setback sapped the confidence of Peterborough and his garrison. No parties were sent out of the town and the gates were permanently shut; the Moors were permitted to steal cattle from under the very noses of the sentries. A change of command was required.

(Childs…The Army of Charles II)

Pedro  •  Link

Sam 10th September 1663…” Mr. Moore who tells me of the good peace that is made at Tangier with the Moors, but to continue from 6 months to 6 months.”

Teviot arrived on the 11th May 1663 and realized that the key to a successful defence of Tangier lay in the construction of fortifications which would allow the Garrison and not the Moors to control the circle of hills surrounding the town.

On June 19th the Moors attacked Fort Catherine, 300 yards in advance of the main gate, but were beaten off. Six days later the Moors launched an offensive against the unfinished Pole Fort, and again the assault failed. After this defeat Guyland sued for 6 months peace, and Teviot accepted as it gave time to complete to fortifications.

The Moors paid scant regard to the truce and attacked the new redoubt, but were driven off. On 16th July came decisive action. Teviot employed a “Guard of Dogs” to discover Moors hiding within the British Lines, and a 2.00 pm they found enemy horsemen waiting in ambush. The Tangier Horse charged down on the Moors, but Teviot fell back as he spotted the approach of a large body of enemy infantry. The 5 new forts were ordered to be manned. A mist had blown in from the sea and the Moors set fire to the grass before Tangier, blinding the garrison artillery. Under cover of this smoke screen, the Moors advanced within a musket shot of the forts. Then, as if through divine intervention the winds changed direction blowing the smoke back over the Moors. This was too much for Guyland who he again asked for a truce.

(Teviot the took 6 months leave in Scotland)

( Summary from…The Army of Charles II by John Childs)

Pedro  •  Link

On the 4th of September Dirk shows that Fanshawe returns to England from his role in Portugal.

The Spanish still believe that Tangier is their property, being at war with Portugal and not recognising Portugal to be an independent State. The Spanish could only take Tangier with the help of Guyland attacking on land, while they mount a sea attack. Philip IV tries to negotiate with Guyland, and English intelligence gets wind of this.

Fanshawe is chosen to go Madrid as Ambassador with instructions to diplomatically warn Philip that we are aware of plans without flaunting all his knowledge. However Guyland had no intention of helping the Spanish and was only interested in taking the money and playing at diplomacy.

(Intelligence and Espionage in the Reign of Charles II by Alan Marshall.)

Pedro  •  Link

Diet of the Garrison.

Mr. Gauden, Victualler of the Navy, supplied the garrison in Tangier.

"Private men lived on a diet of ship's biscuit, salt beef or pork, dried peas, butter, cheese and oatmeal, with the occasional variety of fresh bread and dried fish. The provisions were sent to Tangier from England by contractors who purchased their rights from the Lord's Commissioners for Tangier, but even if the correct amount was shipped there was no guarantee that the stores would reach their destination. Victualling vessels could be shipwrecked during the three week r voyage through the stormy Bay of Biscay, or captured by Corsairs, as happened to the Phoenix in 1677."

The Army of Charles II by J.Childs

Pedro  •  Link

May 4th 1664

On May 4th a composite battalion of 500 men, commanded by the Governor (Teviot) marched towards Jews Hill, 2 or 3 miles out of Tangier. Once on Jews River, Teviot met a force of 3,000 Moors, and these he beat off. It seems the advance was a calculated risk...

After repulsing the first attack, Teviot was sufficiently confident to advance further inland... but he was moving into a trap. The Moor's first attack had been a decoy luring the British into a heavy wooded upland where another 8000 lay hidden. Unable to assume their stylised order of battle, the British were defeated in clusters of hand to hand fighting where pikes and hangers were no match for scimitars. Teviot rallied his battalion at the summit of Jews Hill where they were cut down to a man. 30 out of the original 500 escaped to Tangier.

(Childs, The Army of Charles II)

Michael Robinson  •  Link

Hendrick Danckerts, A view of Tangier, 1669
Oil on canvas, 109.2 x 160 cm
Painted for Charles II
Signed and dated lower left: HDanckerts. / F.1669. (initials in monogram)
RCIN 402578…

Paul Chapin  •  Link

Michael, thanks for the picture. The Mole that we've read so much about is the long straight breakwater extending out into the sea just to the right of the towered building that is the most prominent feature in the garrison. If you zoom in on the picture you can see a line of ships heading for (or away from) it.

Pedro  •  Link

Thanks again to Michael for the picture link. Trying to add some interest from the plan drawn up in Child’s Army of Charles II…

Far left could be Peterborough Tower.

Far right as the walls fall down to Tangier Bay could be Irish Battery, near which, and inside, is situated The Market.

In the centre towards the sea and to the left could be the Governor’s House, and to the right York Castle which is near the Parade Ground.

The point jutting out opposite York Castle could be Catherina Point.

Landward side from Catherina Point there are three buildings that could be from left to right, Bridges Fort, Pole Fort (centre) and Bellaise Fort. The path down the left from the forts leads to Whitehall, and further on and just out of the picture above Peterborough Tower would be Whitby!

The Mole runs out to sea from below York Castle.

Pedro  •  Link

For the record, to give geography to some of the above annotations concerning Teviot…

Following the coast a short distance to the left and onward from Peterborough Tower would bring you to higher ground and a large fort called Whitby. The same distance further on is one called Devil’s Drop.

There is then the narrow Great Valley running perpendicular to the coast with higher ground on the other side and called Teviot (Jews) Hill. Along this valley runs Jew’s River.

On the Garrison side of the valley and opposite Jew’s Hill, moving inland from Devil’s Drop are Henrietta Fort and Charles Fort. Below Charles Fort in the valley is a bridge crossing the river. It was in this area that Teviot came to grief.

Michael Robinson  •  Link

Spoiler -- The Dankerts view is almost certainly the one SP saw at Whitehall on May 29th. 1669 " ... Here with Sir Charles Herbert and my Lord Hinchinbroke and Sidney, we looked upon the picture of Tangier designed by Charles Herberd and drawn by Dancre, which my lord Sandwich admires, as being the truest picture that he ever saw in his life - and it is endeed very pretty, and I will be at the cost of having one of them."

There was also a version (? copy) commissioned by Sandwich (with a companion landscape of Plymouth) formerly at Hinchinbroke, also signed and dated 1669.

See Oliver Millar 'Tudor, Stuart, and early Georgian Pictures in the collection of H. M. The Queen' 1963. no. 401; Margaret Whinney and Oliver Millar 'English Art 1625-1714, Oxford History of English Art VIII' 1957. pp. 263-4.


Contemporary views, or maps with panoramas, of Tangier appear to be of some rarity

For the 'Mapp of the City of Tangier; with the Straits of Gibralter, ...' 1664, engraved by Hollar after Moore:

"Dinner not being presently ready I spent some time myself and shewed them a map of Tangier left this morning at my house by Creed, cut by our order, the Commissioners, and drawn by Jonas Moore, which is very pleasant, and I purpose to have it finely set out and hung up."……

Can not find a reproduction on line, L&M record a copy in the BM [now BL] Topographical collection (K. Top. cxvii, III, TAB); the BM print department copy, BM Reg # Ee,2.130; location British XVIIc Unmounted Portfolio.
Pennington, Richard, 'A descriptive catalogue of the etched work of Wenceslaus Hollar,' 1982, #1202.


Tangere, after Jan Peters, Antwerp, 1664
[published with a set of Mediterranean views]
Hollstein, Dutch, XLII, pp. 123 - 36, 73.

Can find no reproduction 'on line'


For the Hollar Tangier printed views, from his time on the expedition with Lord Henry Howard, 1668-9, published London 1673:

At the British Museum, includes the original drawings:…
At the National Maritime museum, prints only:…


The following map / panorama was advertised in the London Gazettte for June 1681:

A NEW Map of Tangier, six Foot long and four Foot deep; a fit size for Chimney pieces, Galleries, or Staircases. It contains twenty-two several Draughts, with the Mold, Forts, and Lines, taken on the place by Robert Thacker, Designer to the King, for His Majesties particular Use; and now published for the Satisfaction of such Nobility and Gentry as are curious to know the present State and Condition of the place to this year 1681: together with printed Explanations, and a History of things remarkable from its Original to this time. Price, with Ledges and Roller, 20s. Sold by R.Clavell at the Peacock in St.Paul’s Churchyard.


However I can find no record of any such a surviving publication in the ESTC database, nor a record of any claim for its copyright or publication in the 'Term Catalogues'


The only other contemporary view of Tangier, 'Four views ...' (A Prospect of Tangier and the Mole before it was Demolished..., ... Tangier; A Prospect of Tangier coming firm the Westward before it was demolished, ... after it was demolished), engraved by Nicholas Yeates and John Collins after Ensign Thomas Phillips who traveled with SP in 1683-4 expedition and performed the demolition. There appear to be a unique set of survivals, Knighton describes them as printed on double sheets and hand colored (examining the published plates only and not the originals, to me these appear to be the original set of pen and watercolor drawings), in the Pepys Library, PL2895, pt. ii., 294 -307, reproduced in C. S. Knighton ed. 'Pepys Later Diaries,' 2004 (paper 2006) (unnumbered, but color plate II-V in my copy).

Knighton notes the set as unique. They were advertised at the time as 'for sale,' London Gazette 5-8 Jan 1685, #1997, if actually published and copies survive I can not find impressions in the British Museum Collection or elsewhere.

There are some of Phillips unpublished papers, and drawings, relating to Tangier at Worcester College, Oxford.…

Second Reading

Bill  •  Link

This place, so often mentioned, was first given up to the English fleet under Lord Sandwich, by the Portuguese, January 30th, 1662; and Lord Peterborough left governor, with a garrison. The greatest pains were afterwards taken to preserve the fortress, and a fine mole was constructed at a vast expense, to improve the harbour. At length, after immense sums of money had been wasted there, the House of Commons expressed a dislike to the management of the garrison, which they suspected to be a nursery for a popish army, and seemed disinclined to maintain it any longer. The king consequently, in 1683, sent Lord Dartmouth to bring home the troops, and destroy the works; which he performed so effectually, that it would puzzle all our engineers to restore the harbour. It were idle to speculate on the benefits which might have accrued to England, by its preservation and retention; Tangier fell into the hands of the Moors, its importance having ceased with the demolition of the mole. Many curious views of Tangier were taken by Hollar, during its occupation by the English; and his drawings are preserved in the British Museum. Some have been engraved by himself; but the impressions are of considerable rarity. — B.
---Wheatley, 1899.

Views of Tanger by Wenzel Hollar:…

Third Reading

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

"Samuel Pepys and the World He Lived In' by Henry Wheatley…

“And with asphaltick slime broad as the gate
Deep to the roots of hell the gather’d beach
They fasten’d: and the mole immense wrought on
Over the foaming deep high-arch’d: a bridge
Of length prodigious.” -- "Paradise Lost", x. 298–302.

Pepys was so intimately connected with the government of Tangier during
the 22 years it remained in the possession of the English, that it seems necessary, in a memoir of him, to give some account of the history of the place during that period.

Tangier is a seaport, on a small bay or inlet of the Straits of Gibraltar, which affords the only good harbour for shipping on the sea-board of Morocco, an extent of coast of about 900 miles.
The town was early coveted by the Portuguese, and in 1437 their army attacked it, but were defeated beneath the walls. On this occasion Dom Fernando, the King’s brother, was left behind as a hostage. A treaty of peace was concluded, but the stipulations not being executed, the Moors threw Dom Fernando into prison, where he died.
The prince’s body was treated with insult, and hung up by the heels over the city walls.
A few years later this unworthy conduct was revenged, for in 1463, the Portuguese being successful in battle, Alonzo V. took the town from the Moors.

For 2 centuries the Portuguese kept possession, but about the period of our Restoration they found the place somewhat of an encumbrance, and were anxious to obtain a desirable alliance against their enemies the Spaniards, by transferring it to another power.
In Nov. 1660, Thomas Maynard, British Consul at Lisbon, writing to Sir Edward Nicholas, says, that the King of Portugal would part with Tangier to England on reasonable terms.

Shortly afterwards the Portuguese ambassador in London proposed the Infanta Katharine, daughter of that Duke of Braganza who became King of Portugal as Joam IV, as a wife for Charles II, offering at the same time a portion of 500,000/s. sterling (“almost double what any King [of England] had ever received in money by any arriage”), and in addition a grant of a free trade in Brazil and the East Indies, and the possession of Tangier and the Island of Bombay.
The ambassador observed that these 2 places “might reasonably be valued above the portion in money.”
It was supposed that the possession of Tangier would be of infinite benefit to England and a security to her trade, and the Earl of Sandwich and Sir John Lawson were consulted respecting the proposed acquisition.
Lord Sandwich said that if the town were walled and fortified with brass, it would yet repay the cost, but he only knew it from the sea.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link


Lawson had been in it, and said that it was a place of that importance, that if it were in the hands of Hollanders they would quickly make a mole, which could easily be done. Then ships would ride securely in all weathers, and
we could keep the place against the world, and give the law to the
trade of the Mediterranean.

The Portuguese were delighted at the prospect of a marriage between the Infanta and Charles, and after a few hitches the treaty was concluded, but some murmurs were heard against the delivery of Tangier into the hands of heretics.
Dom Fernando de Menezes, the Governor, entreated the Queen Regent to spare him the grief of handing over the city to the enemies of the Catholic faith. He was given to understand that, if he obeyed instructions, a marquisate would be conferred upon him, but if he continued to resist he would be dismissed.
Upon this, Dom Fernando threw up his command.

Lord Sandwich was instructed to take possession of Tangier, and then convey the Infanta and her portion to England.
Although the Queen Regent sent a governor whom she had chosen as one devoted to her interest, and sure to obey her commands, yet Clarendon affirms that he went to his government with a contrary resolution.
This resolution was frustrated by the action of the Moors.
A few days before Lord Sandwich arrived, the Governor marched out of the town with all the horse and half the foot of the garrison, and fell into an ambush. The whole party were cut off, and the Governor and many of his chief men were killed.
The town was so weak that, when Lord Sandwich arrived at this conjuncture, he was hailed as a deliverer from the Moors. He conveyed the remainder of the garrison into Portugal, and Henry, 2nd Earl of Peterborough, with the English garrison, entered the town on 30 Jan. 1662, as the first Governor from England.

Now began a system of mismanagement worthy of the disorganized condition of public affairs. A commission was appointed for the purpose of carrying on the government of Tangier in London, and constant meetings were held.
None of the commissioners knew anything of the place, and they were quite at the mercy of the governors and deputy-governors who were sent out.
Pepys was placed upon the commission by the influence of Lord Sandwich, and John Creed was appointed secretary.
Thomas Povy, the treasurer, got his accounts into so great a muddle, that he thought it wise to surrender his office to Pepys, on condition of receiving half the profits, which he did on Mar. 20, 1664–65.
This treasurership and the contract for victualling the garrison of Tangier were sources of considerable profit to the Diarist.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link


At one of the earliest meetings of the committee, the project of forming a mole or breakwater was entertained.
A contract for the work to be done at 13s. the cubical yard was accepted, although none of the committee knew whether they gave too much or too little (Feb. 16, 1662–63); and he signed the contract with very ill will on that score (Mar. 30, 1663).
When the accounts were looked into on Apr. 3, 1663, it was found that the charge for one year’s work would be as much as £13,000.
In 1665, the committee agreed to pay 4s. a yard more, and the whole amount spent upon the mole was found to be £36,000 (Mar. 30, 1665).
The wind and sea exerted a destructive influence over this structure, although it was strongly built, and Col. Norwood reported in 1668 that a breach had been made in the mole which would cost a considerable sum to repair.
As Norwood was an enemy of a friend of his, Pepys at once jumps to the conclusion that he must be a bad man (Feb. 22, 1668–69).
The 2nd Earl of Carnarvon said that wood was an excrescence of the earth, provided by God for the payment of debts, and Sir W. Coventry, in a conversation with Pepys, applied this saying to Tangier and its governors.

It is not always safe to take for granted all that Pepys says against the persons he writes about, but there must have been some truth in the indictment he drew up against all those who undertook the government of Tangier.
When Lord Peterborough received the place from the Portuguese, a book was given to him which contained a secret account of all the conduit-heads and heads of watercourses in and about the town. This book was always given from one governor to another, but was not to be looked at by anyone else.
When Lord Peterborough left, he took the book away with him, and on being asked for it always answered that he had mislaid it and could not recover it.
Col. Kirke told Pepys in 1683 that the supply of water was greatly reduced by the want of this information.

In 1666 Pepys had applied the adjective “ignoble” to Lord Peterborough’s name, on account of his lordship’s conduct in regard to money matters.

On Dec. 15, 1662, Andrew Lord Rutherford and Earl of Teviot, Governor of Dunkirk until its surrender to the French, was appointed Governor of Tangier in succession to Lord Peterborough, who was recalled.

Rutherford was a brave but rash man, and made a practice of going out of the town into the country without taking proper precautions.
In May, 1664, he was surveying his lines after an attack by the Moors, when he and 19 officers were killed by a party of the enemy in ambush.
Pepys called him a cunning man, and said that had he lived he would have undone the place; but in 1683, Dr. Lawrence told Pepys that his death was a great misfortune, for he took every opportunity of making the place great, but without neglecting himself.

John Lord Bellassis was the next governor, and he was said to be corrupt in his command.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link


The deputy-governors were no better than their superiors.
Of Col. Fitzgerald, Pepys writes, on Oct. 20, 1664, he is “a man of no honour nor presence, nor little honesty, and endeavours to raise the Irish and suppress the English interest there, and offend every body.”

Certainly, when he sees him on Aug. 7, 1668, he is pleased with him and his discourse.
Pepys’ opinion of Col. Norwood we have already seen; but none of the governors rose to the height of villany exhibited by Col. Kirke, whose name is condemned to everlasting infamy in the pages of Macaulay.

The further history of Tangier, previous to its final destruction, can be put into a few words.
In Jan. 1668–69, Lord Sandwich proposed that a paymaster should be appointed at Tangier, and suggested Sir Charles Harbord for the post; but the Duke of York said that nothing could be done without Pepys’ consent, in case the arrangement should injure him in his office of treasurer.
Pepys was much pleased at this instance of the kindness of the Duke, and of the whole committee towards him.

Henry Sheres, who accompanied Lord Sandwich to Spain, and afterwards
became a great friend of Pepys, was paid £100, on Jan. 18, 1668–69, for drawing a plate of the Tangier fortifications.
In the same year (1669), the great engraver, Hollar, was sent to Tangier by
Charles II to take views of the town and fortifications. Some of these he afterwards engraved, and the original drawings are in the British Museum.

In 1673 a new commission was appointed, and Pepys and Povy were among the commissioners.
Two years afterwards the vessel in which Henry Teonge was chaplain anchored in Tangier Bay; and in the “Diary” which he left behind him he gives a description of the town as it appeared to him. The mole was not then finished, and he found the old high walls much decayed in places. He mentions “a pitiful palizado, not so good as an old park pale (for you may anywhere almost thrust it down with your foot);” but in this palisade were 12 forts, well supplied with good guns.

In 1680, Tangier was besieged by the Emperor of Morocco, and Charles II applied to Parliament for money, so that the place might be properly defended.
The House of Commons expressed their dislike of the management of the garrison, which they suspected to be a nursery for a Popish army.
Sir William Jones said: “Tangier may be of great importance to trade, but I am afraid hath not been so managed as to be any security to the Protestant religion;” and William Harbord, M.P. for Thetford, added: “When we are assured we shall have a good Protestant governor and garrison in Tangier, I shall heartily give my vote for money for it.”

San Diego Sarah  •  Link


A most unworthy action was at this time perpetrated by the Government.
Not having the support of Parliament, they were unable to defend the place with an adequate force; and they chose the one man in England whose brilliant career rivals those of the grand worthies of Queen Elizabeth’s reign to fight a losing game.

The Earl of Ossory, son of the Duke of Ormonde, was appointed Governor and General of the Forces; but, before he could embark, he fell ill from brooding over the treatment he had received, and soon after died.
Lord Sunderland said in council that “Tangier must necessarily be lost; but that it was fit Lord Ossory should be sent, that they might give some account of it to the world.”

The Earl left his wife at their daughter’s house, and came up to London. Here he made a confidant of John Evelyn, who records in his Diary his opinion of the transaction. It was not only “an hazardous adventure, but, in most men’s opinion, an impossibility, seeing there was not to be above 300 or 400 horse, and 4,000 foot for the garrison and all, both to defend the town, form a camp, repulse the enemy, and fortify what ground they should get in. This touch’d my Lord deeply that he should be so little consider’d as to put him on a business in which he should probably not only lose his reputation, but be charged with all the miscarriages and ill success.”
It was on this man that Ormonde pronounced the beautiful eulogy, “I would not exchange my dead son for any living son in Christendom!”

In Aug. 1683, Lord Dartmouth was constituted Captain-General of his Majesty’s Forces in Africa, and Governor of Tangier, being sent with a fleet of about 20 sail to demolish and blow up the works, destroy the harbour, and bring home the garrison; but his instructions were secret.
Pepys received Charles II’s command to accompany Lord Dartmouth, but without being informed of the object of the expedition.
In a letter to Evelyn, Pepys tells him, “What our work is I am not solicitous to learn nor forward to make griefs at, it being handled by our masters as a secret.”
When they get to sea, Lord Dartmouth tells Pepys the object of the voyage, which the latter says he never suspected, having written the contrary to Mr. Houblon.
On Sept. 17, 1683 they landed at Tangier, having been about a month on their voyage. All the doings on board ship, and the business transacted on shore, are related with all Pepys’ vivid power of description in his “Tangier Journal.” The writer has become more sedate, and only once “the old man” appears, when he remarks on the pleasure he had in “again seeing fine
Mrs. Kirke,” the wife of the Governor.
We are told that “the tyranny and vice of Kirke is stupendous,” and the “Journal” is full of the various instances of his enormities.
Macaulay, with that power of characterization which he so eminently possessed, has compressed them all into his picture of the leader of Kirke’s lambs.”

San Diego Sarah  •  Link


Pepys was now for the first time in the town with the government of which he had been so long connected, and he was astonished at its uselessness.
Day by day he finds out new disadvantages; and he says that the King was kept in ignorance of them, in order that successive governors might reap the benefits of their position. He complains that even Mr. Sheres was silent for his own profit, as he might have made known the evils of the place 10 years before.

In a letter to Mr. Houblon, he gives his opinion that “at no time there needed any more than the walking once round it by daylight to convince any man (no better-sighted than I) of the impossibility of our ever making it, under our circumstances of government, either tenable by, or useful to, the crown of England.” He adds: “Therefore it seems to me a matter much more unaccountable how the King was led to the reception, and, afterwards, to so long and chargeable a maintaining, than, at this day, to the deserting and extinguishing it.”

On the other side Mr. Charles Russell wrote to Pepys from Cadiz, deprecating the destruction of Tangier, and pointing out the advantages of possessing it.
Sheres also showed Pepys a paper containing the ordinary objections made against the mole, “improved the most he could, to justify the King’s destroying it,” and added that he could answer them all.

When the work of destruction was begun, it was found that the masonry had been so well constructed that it formed a protection as strong as solid rock. The mining was undertaken piecemeal, and it took 6 months to blow up the whole structure.
The rubbish of the mole and the walls was thrown into the harbour, so as to choke it up completely. Still the ruined mole stands, and on one side the accumulated sand has formed a dangerous reef.

On 5 March, 1683–84, Lord Dartmouth and Pepys sailed out of Tangier Bay, and abandoned the place to the Moors.
Shortly afterwards the Emperor of Morocco (Muly Ismael) wrote to Capt. Cloudesley Shovel: “God be praised! you have quitted Tangier, and left it to us to whom it did belong. From henceforward we shall manure it, for it is the best part of our dominions. As for the captives, you may do with them as you please, heaving them into the sea, or destroying them otherways.”
To which Shovel replied: “If they are to be disowned because they are poor, the Lord help them! Your Majesty tells us we may throw them overboard if we please. All this we very well know; but we are Christians, and they bear the form of men, which is reason enough for us not to do it. As to Tangier, our master kept it 21 years, and in spite of all your forces, he could, if he had pleased, have continued it to the world’s end; for he levelled your walls, filled up your harbour, and demolished your houses, in the face of your Alcade and his army; and when he had done, he left your barren country without the loss of a man, for your own people to starve in.”

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According to Pepys’ account Tangier was a sink of corruption, and England was well rid of the encumbrance.
He describes the inhabitants as given up to all kinds of vice, “swearing, cursing and drinking,” the women being as bad as the men; and he says that a certain captain belonging to the Ordnance told him that “he was quite ashamed of what he had heard in their houses; worse a thousand times than in the worst place in London he was ever in.”
Dr. Balaam, a former Recorder, had so poor an opinion of the people of the place, that he left his estate to a servant, with the caution that if he married a woman of Tangier, or one that ever had been there, he should lose it all.

Yet Tangier was positively outdone in iniquity by Bombay, which Sir John Wyborne calls “a cursed place.”
These were the 2 acquisitions so highly rated when Charles II married the Infanta of Portugal.

Despite all disadvantages, one of the greatest being that ships of any size are forced to lie out far from shore, Tangier is still a place of some importance as the port of North Morocco.
The description of the town given by Sir Joseph Hooker answers in most particulars to that written by Teonge 200 years before. It stands on the western side of a shallow bay, on rocky ground that rises steeply from the shore, and the cubical blocks of whitewashed masonry, with scarcely an opening to represent a window, which rise one above the other on the steep slope of a recess in the hills, give the place a singular appearance from the sea.
On the summit of the hill is a massive gaunt castle of forbidding aspect, and the zigzag walls which encompass the city on all sides are pierced by 3 gates which are closed at nightfall.

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Chart showing the number of references in each month of the diary’s entries.