The Siege of Gibraltar

From the Twelfth of APRIL to the Twenty-seventh of MAY, 1781.
Printed for the Authoress, and Sold by J. FIELDING, No. 23,
in Pater-noster Row;
And by the Authoress, No. 9, Holborn Bars.
[ Price Eighteen-pence. ]



A SITUATION, as exalted as your Majesty’s, requires a mind fraught with every virtue to preserve it from the poison of flattery, and from the insidious praises of a venal crowd.

Fate has placed me at an humble distance from the Throne ; yet I take a sincere pleasure in hearing your Majesty possesses those excellencies which are the true characteristics of Royalty.

The partner of my heart is now serving his King and Country at the Siege of Gibraltar; and though I

have gone through every scene of distress which the wife of an officer could be subject to in that place, yet I am returned to England with a firm resolution to education my son to arms.

Long, very long, may your Majesty be lent a blessing to our Gracious Sovereign, to your Royal Offspring, and to the admiring people of England!

Prays Your Majesty’s
Most devoted
Subject and Servant,



The following sheets were intended for the fraternal eye of an affectionate and sympathising brother. [2] —On my arrival in England, I was interrogated by almost every person who knew I came from Gibraltar, respecting the situation of that important fortress.

My health and spirits are so much impaired by my sufferings at that place, that I several times put the succeeding narrative into the hands of those, whose curiosity could not be satisfied with asking a few questions. They liked it;—they borrowed it for their friends, and desired me to publish it. I yielded to their persuasions, and, “with all its imperfections on its head,” I give it to the Public. [3]  If it is an error to publish it, it is an error of my friends.

It could not be discovered by my advertisements that it was the production of a female pen. I knew the ill-natured and ill-judging part of the world would freely condemn, though they had never seen it. The Siege of Gibraltar by a Woman?—Ridiculous!—“What can a Woman say on such a subject?” cries Dapperwit.——Indeed, Sir, to speak freely, it has nothing but Truth to recommend it!——“But it is no Journal, Madam.”——I do not give it to the World as such. I was not situated to know the exact number of men killed and wounded each day, but it is interspersed with such things as, I hope, will render it in some degree entertaining to my Readers.

I will candidly own too I am stimulated by another motive to present it to the Public; and as it is a truly maternal one, it cannot possibly affront the understanding, or reach the heart of Mr. Dapperwit. It is an anxious desire to benefit my little family.—The present high price of every article in life, at Gibraltar,

renders it impossible for my husband to appear as a gentleman there, and support his Offspring in England.

These reasons will satisfy every one, whose approbation is worth my notice.—Those who soar beyond the reach of human feelings, I need not attempt to please.

When I had been in London a few days, I solicited the Commander in Chief for a commission for my son. Some Noblemen in Lord Amherst’s elevated situation would scarcely have deigned to answer the wife of a Lieutenant;—but though his Lordship’s Answer contained a denial to my request, it was conceived in the most polite and respectful terms: assuring me, if my son was of a proper age, he would immediately recommend him to his Majesty for a commission.

I hope I may be permitted here to return Lord Amherst thanks for his candid treatment.—It was more

eligible for me to know at once what I had to trust to, than, from false hopes, to build castles, which could have nothing but air for their basis.

Gibraltar Bay, on board the Hope Ordnance Store-ship, May 27, 1781


I am now, thank God, embarked, and I hope, in less than twenty-four hours, to set sail for my dear native country, the land of liberty and plenty. Oh, Albion, what have I suffered since I left thy friendly shore! Heat and cold in extreme, hunger and thrift I bore with some degree of firmness; but since the haughty sons of Iberia have poured their shot and shells with unremitting fury into Gibraltar, I have been an unhappy object indeed: yet, I can

safely say, I felt little for myself. My husband’s dangerous duty, and my children clasping me in the hour of horror, when death, for aught I knew, might be in every passing ball! it was indeed too much for the feelings of a wife and a mother.

I purpose to relate, during my voyage, what happened to us from the time the Spaniards began to fire upon us till this day, which is exactly six weeks and three days; but you by no means comprehend what I mean by suffering from cold, hunger and thirst, unless I give you some account of the Blockade also. How, in the name of truth and common sense, can Writers, Printers and Ministers, so impose on the Public, as to say, the garrison was well supplied with provisions? I have not patience to find the news-papers, which the fleet brought over, stuffed with such palpable falshoods! We have not had a vessel from Barbary these fourteen or fifteen months, nor from Algiers for a longer time. Four or five small brigs, at different times, got in from Minorca; but how inadequate were their small cargoes to supply so many thousands of people! Besides, what they brought, sold at such an enormous price, that few subaltern officers could become purchasers. What ensign or lieutenant could afford to give three pounds twelve shillings for a turkey, two guineas for a pig, half a guinea for a duck, and nine shillings for a very small hen? Eggs were sold for two years past at a real a-piece, which is almost sixpence English money; cabbages, eight pence a-piece, (the outside leaves of which the pigs in England would scarcely eat) were carefully tied up, and six of them sold for three-pence; old dried pease, one shilling and four-pence a pound; flour, a shilling a pound; Irish butter, half a crown a pound; very bad brown sugar, half a crown a pound; candles, that would not burn three quarters of an hour,

six-pence a piece; biscuits, full of maggots, a shilling a pound; the worst tea that ever was used, sixteen shillings a pound; soap, one shilling and two-pence a pound; salt, that was more than half dirt and rubbish, eight-pence a pound; goat’s milk, half of which was water, was eight-pence a pint. I have many times paid a shilling for a few herbs to put into my pease soup.

Though Gibraltar is surrounded by the sea, we were no better supplied with fish than with the other articles of life. The fishermen were Genoese, and they chose to catch very few, that they might have a pretence for enhancing the price:—a quantity that would dine but two persons, cost four shillings. Many people kept pigs in the garrison, but the pork, which was fed on all the filth the place produced, never sold under two shillings a pound. I have known a guinea refused for a calf’s pluck. An ox, which could work no longer, was killed, and twenty-seven shillings were asked for its head!

The garrison expected to find an agreeable alteration when Admiral Rodney’s fleet arrived in January, 1780, but it proved nothing more than a supply of salt provisions. [4]  Government could not spare any line of battle ships to be stationed at Gibraltar, and by that means the Spaniards remained masters of the bay. General Eliott, like a wise and prudent Governor, was extremely desirous to make the stock of provisions last as long as possible, not knowing what might befall a fleet of ships sent from England for our relief, or when such a fleet could be spared, being then engaged in a Dutch war. [5] 

You may form some judgment how scarce we began to be of the necessaries of life, by the General’s giving out an order that no officer

should mount guard with his hair powdered. He considered, I suppose, that the time perhaps was not far distant when they would be extremely glad of that for nourishment which they then used as an ornament.

Of all men living, General Eliott is the most likely to keep possession of Gibraltar. Though he is formed for great actions, he attends, with unwearied assiduity, to the minutiae of what relates to his important trust! He is, I think, take him all in al, a most excellent character. He would much sooner forgive rudeness than flattery, which is at once a proof of the goodness of his heart, and the solidity of his understanding. Was there any probability of my opinion of him falling into his hands, I would suppress it; for as he could not possibly discover the sincerity of my thoughts, he might mistake candor for panegyric.—He bought a large quantity of oil, raisins, rice, &c. and gave them to us instead of so much meat; but subalterns with their families, who depended solely on their pay, sensibly felt the difference: rice, without either milk, butter, sugar, or eggs (which were delicacies we could not afford to purchase) and boiled in aqua pura only, was, a tasteless viand. Oil indeed was very useful; it served us to burn instead of candles, and I was no longer obliged to go to bed by five o’clock for want of light. Raisins pleased and satisfied my children when I had no bread to give them. Now I must mention two important articles we began to be distressed for, namely, bread and fire. About October last, the Governor found it necessary to take a quarter of a pound a day of the former from each man; but the soldiers, to their immortal honour, murmured not! Each man’s allowance of meat was reduced to a pound

and a half a week, and such meat!—the dogs in England would have turned from it with disgust!—But it was not all in that putrid condition, for some of the pork was very good.

I was in continual dread of the scurvy; and my beloved Charlotte, who I have suckled for fifteen months past, will, I am much afraid, feel the effects of my unwholsome diet as long as she lives. Yet, what could I do? My husband’s pay, though a lieutenant, would not purchase milk for my children! The “silken sons of ease” in England know not what the army have endured in Gibraltar! Yet, some will say, that till the Spaniards fired, their duty was not hazardous; to these I answer, Is not death from the mouth of a cannon more acceptable than in the shape of famine?

By this time the stock of flour the bakers had in hand was nearly consumed; a small quantity was baked, and sold at seven o’clock in a morning at one particular place; a guard was obliged to be kept at the door, to keep the people from teaching each other to pieces! A handkerchief was thrown in at the window with the money in it, and no person was suffered to purchase two loaves; these weighed about a pound, and cost five-pence. Happy were they who could get one, for the inhabitants who had no flour left, and officers who had children, were in a deplorable situation indeed! I cannot now recollect the distress of a poor woman, without feeling a pang at my heart which gives me a sensible uneasiness. She sat weeping at my door with two children, the one about seven years old, the other in an infant which she suckled:—after the former had repeatedly asked her for bread, she laid down her youngest child, and gave her breast to her other son, saying, Suck me to death at once!—Gracious God! how

much did I wish, either for the power to relieve her misery, or to be a stranger to the soft pleadings of humanity!——However, I desired her to come into my apartment, and gave her part of my own breakfast, though I knew not what to do for bread for the next meal!

Firing was now become a scarce and important article. The coals which government sent by the fleet in the winter of 1780 were nearly exhausted. General Eliott, ever watchful for the preservation of the garrison, secured the hulks of the Spanish fire-ships, which were driven almost under our batteries, and gave every office one hundred and a half of wood, which was to last each family a fortnight. The strictest care and economy could not make it even last for the dressing of our scanty meals. Our cloaths we washed in cold water, and put on without ironing; but when the rainy season came on, I suffered more from the cold than I ever did in the severest winter in England: for what is the inconvenience of a cold day by the chearing warmth of a good fire-side?——You can form no idea of the periodical rains in Gibraltar!

May 28. The Captain has just informed me the ship is under way, which I was partly apprized of by the sickness of my stomach. We have a strong Levant wind, as we call it in Gibraltar; and I hope the Dons will keep on their own side of the bay. I have just undergone the painful scene of parting with my husband.—What a dreadful alternative is mine! either to expose my life and my childrens’ to the well-directed fire of the Spaniards—or leave the partner of my heart behind!——yet I could neither assist nor save him, if I staid. My son Jack, observing me grieve, just now ran to me, and said, “Don’t cry, Mamma; the good roast beef we shall get in England

will soon make me a man, and then I will return to Gibraltar, sink the gun-boats, and kill all the Spaniards.” I embraced my little hero with a smile, and he is now exulting the thought of having dried his mother’s tears!

We are only eight sail of small ships, under convoy of the Enterprize frigate. If a strong easterly wind does not continue to blow for twelve hours at least, we shall inevitably fall into the hands of the Spaniards.

I find myself very sea-sick; when I am recovered, I will endeavour to give you some account of

I have business that will detain me some time in London; and as you will be impatient to know how we have fared since the communication with Spain was shut up, I will transmit you my little narrative from the first town I land at in England. The wind blows very fresh; I have just been upon deck, the sailor at the helm says we run seven knots an hour, and all on board are in hopes we shall get through the Gut before our enemies can make ready to follow us.

June 3. I am not so good a sailor as I expected to be, considering this is my second voyage. I have been very sea-sick several days, our convoy too has left us. The wind is contrary; and we are going (the Captain informs me) toward Madeira:—by steering this course, we shall, perhaps, be out of the track of our enemies.

Twelve o’clock at night. I am sick when up, and when I lie down, sorrow keeps me awake.———
“Tir’d nature’s sweet restorer, balmy sleep!
He, like the world, his ready visit pays,
Where fortune smiles; the wretched he forsakes:
Swift on his downy pinion flies from woe,
And lights on lids unsully’d with a tear.” [6] 

My children, the tender objects of my care, are in a sound repose; but how fares it with my husband?——Oh, my brother,—“there’s the rub!”—Perhaps he is wounded, and wants the soothing offices of an affectionate wife; perhaps he is—-no more!——This is too much; ‘tis wrong to anticipate misfortune; hope shall chear me: the horrors and ravages of war will have an end, and peace shall send the father and the husband home. But I promised you

On the twelfth of April last, at one o’clock in the morning, an English cutter came in with news of the fleet being within a few leagues of us. Extravagant was our joy, you may be sure; and while friends and neighbours were congratulating each other on the prospect of eating beef and mutton once more, the Spaniards, about eleven o’clock, began the most furious bombardment ever heard of.—Terror and consternation deprived me for a minute of sense and motion. Our house was one of the nearest to the Spanish lines. I seized my children, and ran with them towards Montague’s bastion, which I knew was bomb proof. An officer of the fifty-eighth regiment met

me, saying, “For God’s sake, Madam, where are you going? Do not you know that you are going nearer to the enemy’s fire? Stoop with your children under this covered way.” Six and twenty-pounders without number went over my head. I presented my little ones towards heaven, and in an agony of prayer, beseeched the Almighty to preserve us. I then had the courage to advance towards Montague’s bastion, and having walked down a few steps, my strength failed me, and I fell down the rest. Fortunately I received no hurt, and ran or rather flew into the soldiers barracks. This was no time for the indulgence of pride, distinction, or even delicacy. The soldiers who were off duty, in their blunt, honest way, endeavoured to chear my spirits, saying, “Never fear, Madam; if the d——d Dons fire to eternity, they will never take the old rock, nor the good souls that are upon it; and if General Eliott would let us sally out at Landport Gate, my life to a farthing we would lay the Spanish camp in ashes.” I admired their courage, but could not eat any dinner with them agreeable to their invitation.

We were then firing upon the enemy from almost every battery that bore upon them. My head was almost distracted with the noise of so many cannon being fired from the top of the building where I had taken shelter. I had the happiness, however, of feeling my husband enter the place; luckily for me, he was not on duty that or the day following: he procured a curtain, and hung it round one of the soldiers beds for me. I laid down in my cloaths, but sleep was out of the question; the bursting of shells, and the terrifying sound of cannon balls, were sufficient to keep me awake; add to this, the disagreeableness of lying amongst near an hundred private soldiers:

yet I was thankful to find admittance even here, for none know what they will submit to in order to save their lives, till they are tried with the near prospect of approaching death.

The next day our servant said, he would venture into our house, and endeavour to bring me a few cloaths: he did so, but found it almost in ruins: a shell burst in the kitchen, and a ball entered the roof and passed through my bed into the parlour, while he was there.

On the third day, Mr. ******* was Lieutenant of the picquet—many buildings were set on fire by the enemy’s shells; and it was his duty to see the fires put out, and to protect some of the better sort of the inhabitants who were endeavouring to remove their effects to the south, and who had applied to the Governor for a guard for that purpose. I could not recollect the dangers he was exposed to, without being almost certain I should never see him again.

While I was torturing myself with these reflections, an order came for all the soldiers in Montague’s bastion to remove to the King’s. I and my little ones were to march likewise. I was, if possible, more terrified than before, for I had a much longer way to go, and the Spaniards were firing from all their batteries. To the latest period of my life shall I remember with anguish that dreadful walk! Sometimes I stopt, and thought I might as well resign myself to die, and with my quivering lips begged of heaven to admit me into its divine abode!— But when I looked on my children, I started up and dragged them forwards, not knowing what I did. Our servant, and

two soldiers who were with me, said all they could to comfort and encourage me.

At length we arrived safe at the King’s bastion. Mr. ****** was marching the picquet from thence: he waved his hand, but being on duty, could not stop to speak to me. The room I was put into smelt very disagreeably; I enquired the cause, and was told, a man was killed in it, not an hour before, by a ball which entered in at a hole over the door.

Notwithstanding the vigilance of the officers and non-commissioned officers, many of the men were shamefully intoxicated. The town-major, and a party of soldiers were busily employed in staving all the casks of liquor they could find in the town. And here I cannot help reflecting on many of the wine and liquor merchants, who hoarded up their stocks to enhance their value, till at last they were drank by any person, or staved by order of the Governor, and suffered to run into the sea! But cunning often over-reaches itself.

This place was so crouded with soldiers, it was impossible to procure either a bed or platform: my servant put me a matrass into a kind of arch or hole by the door, and in here I and my children crept. I was ill for want of sleep, yet could not compose myself to rest. Though either shot nor shell could pierce the roof, yet the enemy kept on so furious a cannonading, that I thought we must lose numbers of our men. It was computed that the Spaniards fired, upon an average, at the rate of two hundred shot and shells an hour.

The Spanish church, and many other buildings, were at this time in flames. The first object I beheld in the morning was, a man lying dead by the door. He died, I was told, from intoxication.

Some hours after this, I saw Dr. C——m and Lieutenant B——h fall; they were wounded by the splinters of a shell: the former had his foot shot off, the latter had a dangerous contusion on his head. He was the son of my old friend: a better heart never inhabited a human breast. They brought his sword to me, and as he was carrying to the hospital, our servant, with his usual bluntness, came and told me I might take a last view of him, for it was supposed he could not survive the dressing of his wound. In this, however, he was happily mistaken.

Mr. ******* was on guard the next day, and as soon as he came off, he informed me an order was given out for all ranks of women to remove to the south. I was again in terrors, but was obliged to obey. My husband carried my little Charlotte, while my son Jack ran by my side. We got safe to the navy hospital, but when there, found it so crouded with wounded soldiers, we could not procure a place to lie down in, except an open gallery. I wept in silence!—Mr. ******* at last recollected a lady of our regiment, who had been here some time before the siege on account of her health. She readily admitted me, and gave me a dish of tea, which was a great refreshment. I laid a mat on the floor, and that night slept three hours, which seemed to put new life into me.

My situation here was painful beyond comparison, from hearing the groans of the wounded, and from the shrieks of others, whose limbs

were undergoing the excruciating torture of amputation! If I indulged myself with a little fresh air in the gallery, I was often shocked with seeing the mangled bodies of my slaughtered countrymen brought into the hospital! I intreated my husband to convey me from this scene of woe! but this request I found was needless, for the hospital was so crouded, I could not have obtained leave to stay, had I been ever so desirous.

June 22, Twelve o’clock. I must here leave off; the Captain informs me two large French ships are in sight: and now, perhaps, to crown my sufferings, I shall be taken prisoner. Well; I must bear what I cannot shun. [7] 

Two o’clock. The ship is cleared for action. Captain Walker has desired me to take my children down into the hold. I have been there, but above twenty Jews and Jewesses, with their children, have lived in that part of the ship during the voyage, and the place smells so disagreeable and unwholesome, I could not stay.

Our vessel is farthest from the enemy, and as she carries only 6 six pounders, and is a fast sailing ship, I hope the Captain will endeavour to escape. I have sewed a few guineas into the plaits of my petticoat, for if they are privateers, they will take every thing from me. Such is the chance of war, and such are the vicissitudes my life has of late been chequered with!

Four o’clock. The enemy has just boarded one of our ships. The Lady Amherst and the Hannah brig seem likely to escape.

June 2. We soon got clear off; and now, my good ship, carry me safe to old England, and I will write a poem in thy praise!

I will endeavour to finish my account of Gibraltar.

April 19. The commanding officer of our regiment was so kind as to send a markee for us. Captain D———t, who was always a generous friend to my little family, desired me to have it fixed in his garden.

My husband was that night on the guard, and I had no company but my children. Never shall I forget the shocking scene day-light presented to me. The Spanish gun-boats were firing upon us with all the rage of well-directed artillery.— Gun-boats, methinks you say! What are those?—I will tell you. They are boats constructed on purpose for carrying mortars and cannon, from which they throw thirteen-inch shells, and twenty six pounders! From these dreadful visitors no human foresight can find a shelter. ‘Tis all chance, and they are such small objects, and so uncertain to hit, that it is only a waste of ammunition in our batteries to attempt to bear upon them.

A woman, whose tent was a little below mine, was cut in two as she was drawing on her stockings! Our servant ran in, and endeavoured to encourage me. He made me a kind of breast-work of beds, trunks, mattrasses, bolsters, and whatever else he could find, and sat me behind them. I clasped my darlings, and prayed most fervently, that the ball that should pierce their tender bosoms might transfix my own too! But how needless was this prayer—I circled

them in my arms, and must have perished with them, had chance or fate (call it which you will) directed a shot or shell to the place where I sat. The balls fell round Me on every side!

When these formidable visitants had expended their ammunition, they retired. I resolved to sleep no more in that place; yet, where to find one that was safer, I knew not: for these internal spit-fires can attack any quarter of the garrison they please.

The town was now become little more than a heap of ruins. The provisions which we had in the garrison before the arrival of the fleet were burned, but the army did not esteem this a misfortune; we rather rejoiced at it, for some of them were so bad, there was no bearing to be within the smell of them.

April 23. I begged Mr. ****** to let me take the servant’s tent towards Europa; I fancied I could lean against the rocks there, and find shelter from the shot of the enemy. He said, there might be a chance of securing myself against a ball; but assured me one place was no more secure than another against their shells.

I was prevailed on to stay a few nights more in this place, as I had here the pleasure of Mrs. D———t’s company, who was at all times a kind neighbor and sympathizing friend. We were, in some respects, in similar circumstances; she suckled a darling child as well as myself.

April 30. I had enough of sleeping, or rather endeavouring to sleep in this spot. The gun-boats paid us another visit, and killed several people. I suffered greatly last night from another cause. About eleven o’clock it began to thunder and lighten exceedingly; the flashes seemed to last several minutes, and the thunder was so uncommonly loud, that the like had never been heard since the great storm which happened thirty years ago. The rain deluged through our tent, but I did not mind being wet. The glare of the lightening was so great, that my eyes were sensibly affected; and though accustomed to the thunder rattling amongst the rocks at Gibraltar, yet this by far exceeded all I ever heard. Mr. U**** asked me if I should think myself safer in Captain D———t’s summer-house? He went first to see if it was open, but between the flashes it was so dark, he could not keep the road; at last he got there, and found our servant, who he sent to carry the children. I went to the door of the tent, but the whole hemisphere seemed on fire; and, as if we did not suffer enough from the Spaniards, Heaven’s artillery seemed in array against us! They were firing all the time, but we could scarcely hear their cannon, the thunder was so loud!—Towards morning the storm abated.

May 8. Affairs remained much in the same situation. Our enemies must have expended an immense sum in ammunition; for I am told by persons of veracity and experience, that every shell they throw costs them three guineas; yet they continued to annoy us as much as ever. I cannot ascertain the exact number of men we have lost, perhaps none know for a truth but the Governor.

May 13. A small tent, that would just hold a bed, was carried towards Europa for me; yet I cannot ay I found myself safer here. Every time the gun-boats came, I dragged my poor children out of bed, and stood leaning with them against a rock. The third night I was here, a ball struck the rock against which I leaned, and covered us with dirt and stones! In a few minutes after, a shell burst so near us, I had scarcely time to run out of the way.

It would have melted the hardest heart to see the women and children run from the camp, without a rag to cover them, whenever the gun-boats approached. I was so harassed for want of rest, that I thought fatigue would kill me, if the Spaniards did not.

May 20. I will now endeavour to describe that dreadful night, which made me determine to leave Gibraltar; but language will convey but a faint idea of the horrid scene!

About one o’clock in the morning, our old disturbers the gun-boats began to fire upon us. I wrapped a blanket about myself and children, and ran to the side of a rock; but they directed their fire in a different manner from what they had ever done before. They had the temerity to advance so near, that the people in our ships could hear them say, Guarda, Angloise! which is, Take care, English!

Mrs. Tourale, a handsome and agreeable lady, was blown almost to atoms! Nothing was found of her but one arm. Her brother, who sat by her, and his clerk, both shared the same fate. The daughter of that unfortunate woman I mentioned a few pages ago,

was killed that night; a shell crushed the house, and buried the unfortunate girl in the ruins.

Many other people were sent to their eternal homes, but I do not know their names.

After what I had seen and suffered, I was of opinion it was not courage, but madness to stay. As a parent, I considered I had no right to expose the lives of my children; and conjugal affection gave place to maternal tenderness: accordingly, I applied for and obtained leave to embark in one of the first ships bound for England.

Affairs remained in the same situation to the hour of my embarkation, which was the 27th of May last. I cannot close this account, without informing you my husband presented a plan of operations to General Eliott for the destruction of the enemy’s gun-boats, which was approved of, and is, I suppose, before this time, put in execution.

The ship is now at anchor. We are performing quarantine, and as I have swelled my account of the siege beyond the compass of a letter, I shall send it as a parcel as soon as I get on shore.

I here subjoin you a poem I made, on Col. Ross [8]  being appointed to command the Seventy-second Regiment, or Royal Manchester Volunteers. A London Gazette from Minorca brought the account of his promotion, but his commission was expected by the fleet. The Colonel is a plain worthy character.

I am, here and every where,

Your affection Sister.


On hearing that Col. Ross was appointed to command the Seventy-second Regiment, or Royal Manchester Volunteers.

For once, Æolus, hear a female Muse,
And be propitious—when a Woman sues!
O speed the Fleet from Britain to this Port,
Fill all their Sails, and waft them to this Fort;
They bring for Ross, whose Merits well demand
His Sov’reign’s Mandate for a new Command.
Each Volunteer will glory to obey,
And dare the Foe, when Ross shall lead the Way.
Dispatch the Fleet; for ah! the battle roars,
Already wag’d on proud Iberia’s Shores!
Her crafty Sons strain every Nerve to gain
Their antient Rock, but all their Works are vain.
Firm as this Rock is Eliott’s steady Soul,
Watchful he guards, and wisely guides the whole.
Alike he hates the Sycophant and Slave,
And gives his Favours only to the Brave.
May Ross’s Regiment, and every Corps
Deserve their Praise, should reach from Shore to Shore!
Vet’rans, proceed; ensure a martial Name,
And gather Laurels in the Fields of Fame!
Despising Death, and firm in Albion’s Cause,
Make haughty Spain submit to British Laws.
Applauding Senates shall reward your Toil,
And Honours wait you in your native Soil.


Gibraltar is in length near a league from north to south, and in breadth irregular, from half to three quarters of a mile. The summit of the rock is one thousand four hundred feet perpendicular above the sea.

In the year 1704 this important fortress was torn, most probably for ever, from the Spanish domain by the English forces commanded by Sir George Rooke.

In a council of war, held July 17, on board the English fleet, about seven leagues east of Tetuan, the attack was resolved upon. Four days after, the fleet got into the bay of Gibraltar, and one thousand eight hundred English and Dutch marines, under the Prince of Hesse Darmstadt, were landed.

On the 23d, soon after day-break, the ships being placed, the Admiral threw out the signal for cannonading, which was continued with great fury for five or six hours, fifteen thousand shot being fired in that time against the town, so that the besieged were soon driven from their guns, especially at the South Mole Head. As the gaining that fortification would ensure the reduction of the town, the Admiral sent Capt. Whitaker with all the boats immediately to endeavour to possess it; but whilst he was pushing for it with great alacrity, the Captains Hicks and Jumper, who lay next the Mole, landed some men from their pinnaces and boats before he came up. On this, the Spaniards blew up the fortifications about the Mole, and killed two Lieutenants and about forty men, and wounded sixty more. Yet our men kept possession of the great platform, and Whitaker landing with the seamen who had been ordered on this service, they advanced and took a redoubt or small bastion, half way between the Mole and the Town, and many of the enemy’s cannon; upon which, the Spanish Governor desired to capitulate, and surrender on honourable terms, which they did on the 24th of July, 1704.

The Prince of Hesse, with the marines belonging to the fleet, were left in garrison, and furnished from the fleet with every necessary for subsistence and defence, and a regular plan laid down for supplying them in future from Lisbon.

Under the dominion of Great Britain, the fortifications have been so improved and perfected, that, joined to the natural strength of the place, they render it impregnable.—To the Moors, Gibraltar was the key of Spain; and the English deservedly reckon it the key of the Mediterranean.



[1] EDITOR'S NOTE: Upton addresses Queen Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz (1744-1818), wife of King George III (r. 1760-1820). BACK

[2] EDITOR'S NOTE: This may be Samuel Creswell. See introduction. BACK

[3] EDITOR'S NOTE: Upton paraphrases Hamlet, I.v.85-6: Hamlet’s father’s ghost explains that Claudius murdered him before he could be absolved of sin: “No reck’ning made, but sent to my account / With all my imperfections on my head.” BACK

[4] EDITOR'S NOTE: George Bridges Rodney, 1st Baron Rodney (1718-1792) was a notable British naval officer and politician who participated in many significant military encounters throughout the eighteenth century, including the Seven Years’ War and the Great Siege of Gibraltar, among other conflicts during the American War of Independence. See Breen. ODNB entry for Rodney BACK

[5] EDITOR'S NOTE: George Augustus Eliott was Governor of Gibraltar throughout the siege. He also served in the Seven Years’ War. See Falkner. ODNB entry for Falkner BACK

[6] EDITOR'S NOTE: This is a quotation from Edward Young’s Night Thoughts (1742). BACK

[7] EDITOR'S NOTE: This seems to be a paraphrase of some lines in “On Bearing the Cross: A Dialogue,” a poem by John Byrom (1692-1763): “I cannot shun it, and of Course / Must bear this heavy Cross by Force” (ll. 7-8). BACK

[8] EDITOR'S NOTE: Andrew Ross (1773-1812) was instrumental in suppressing British soldiers’ mutiny at Gibraltar in December 1802. See Soulsby. ODNB entry for Ross BACK

[9] EDITOR'S NOTE: In Greek mythology, Aeolus or Æolus is the ruler of the winds. He appears in Book 10 of the Odyssey, in which he gives to Odysseus a bag containing the winds, for the purpose of propelling their ships home to Ithaca more quickly. His sailors open it and unleash a windstorm that pushes them off-course. See Homer, trans. Pope, 137. BACK