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Cadiz (2)

Leave Gibraltar – Arrive at Cadiz

Sunday 14th March – while preparing for sea this morning, our attention was partly attracted by a Steamer entering the Bay. In order that you may understand why we were curious about a steam vessel, you musty know, that she was an experimental dispatched by Government with the Mail, instead of one of the regular Packets – and had left Falmouth four weeks after us. We saw her on her voyage up the Mediterranean, off Algiers, on the 23rd February – and while we were bothered about the Cape de Gata, she was able to proceed with her Steam & has as I have just mentioned, arrived here this morning. We learned that she has been 12 days on her passage to Gibraltar, from England; and out of that had lain to for two days in consequence of a gale. I expect that the Mediterranean Mail will now be wholly conveyed by Steamers – which certainly in the Summer season, when so much calm weather prevails, are best, but it is to be tried whether they will answer equally well in the middle of winter. [6] 

At 1 oClock P.M. our Mail and passengers having come on board we start for Cadiz with a favourable breeze. We kept close to the Spanish side of the Straits – and the African was hardly visible from a thick haze. As far as the Town and light of Tarifa, the country gently sloping, well cultivated & interspersed with white washed cottages is beautiful – but beyond Tarifa – the reverse till you reach the entrance to the Gut. Fine weather.

Monday 15th – at 8 P.M. anchored in the Rag of Cadiz – fine weather & smooth water. The Captain feeling unwell, sent M.r Geach with the Mail to the Consuls & I went along with him. We` spent nearly the whole day in seeing different parts of the Town and from the whole, I am of opinion that Cadiz well deserves the title of the “Superb,” which is sometimes given to it. Amidst the diversity of objects which attracted our attention to would be impossible to give anything like a methodical account – and I must therefore set down what first occurs to me.

On our way to the Consul’s, instead of traversing the Streets, we ascended to the ramparts and enjoyed a most delightful walk and prospect. These ramparts are very broad and level - running round the City the[y] afford an admirable promenade to the inhabitants, of which they do not fail to avail themselves of on Sundays.

Church of San Antonio

After delivering our Mail we strolled about here and there, visiting several squares, churches &.c Among the latter we entered into one dedicated to San Antonio, which we found to be full of paintings, some of which possessed considerable merit – particularly a face of the virgin under our Saviour, To my eyes the countenance expressed in the greatest degree heavenly feelings – so calm – so holy – so devout – not a feature out of harmony with the objects of the painter – but all when examined blending admirably together. We we[re] less pleased with several tawdry dressed and ill made figures of saints both male and female, most of whom were deserted and left to neglect. The church of San Antonio, tho’ far superior in splendour to some others has yet a privilege, which fortunately is not granted to all. If a man ass[ass]inate another from motives of hatred or plunder, and succeeded in touching even the threshold of this sacred edifice, he will escape the just penalty of death, and can only be punished by imprisonment or transportation for life.

Cathedral at Cadiz

We were very nearly missing a sight of the Cathedral – and it was only by chance we did see it. It is a building of vast extent – but from the close approximation of the houses, this is not perceived & hence its external effect is destroyed. It is surmounted by two towers and a handsome but unfinished steeple. The exterior aspect is not at all elegant – a – if you judge of the rest from it, you will be struck with wonder when you enter. In the centre is an immense area from which if you look up, you will observe the very lofty roof, beautifully ornamented with elegant tracery of stone or marble work. The centre area is surrounded with many buttresses at different intervals, around which again numerous paired pillars are raised of great circumference & height, totally concealing the heavy work beneath then. Between these & the walls is a considerable space sufficient for smaller churches or shrines. The Coup d’oeiul was magnificent – and a feeling of regret naturally arose in the mind that so noble a structure should never have been completely finished according to the architects designs. Many, many years have elapsed since the operation of building was discontinued, nor is there any present likelihood of funds being raised, ample enough to finish what remains. How very odd it appeared to behold this glorious pile occupied by base mechanics as carpenters – rope makers &.cc each of whom pursued his own vocation with total unconcern and indifference as to this misappropriation of this sanctified place.

Passengers to Cadiz

Having satisfied our curiosity we returned on board as 2 P.M. I shall now mention what passengers we brought from Gibraltar to Cadiz. First of all we had our old friend Senor Domingo Capdeviella, whom you will remember – he was still the [same] old fellow & I was very sorry that he could not go to England with us.

There was also a M.r Henry, the American Consul at Gibraltar, a gentleman of very pleasant manners – but not so much of the American as I had expected to find him. A Captain Brown likewise very agreeable completes our list to Cadiz. On so short an acquaintance it is impossible to say any thing of individual characteristics - & therefore it is better to say nothing than upon conjecture.