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retain Gibraltar, and having secured the Rock as one of the accidents of war, England decided to keep it.

In 1775, when Great Britain was having some slight, controversy with her colonies across the Atlantic, she placed George A. Elliott in command of the fortress of Gibraltar. At that time Lieutenant-General, he was entrusted with a charge which stirred his Scotch nature to its foundations; with his “heart of oak and frame of iron” he faced the combined enemy from Spain and France, endured sieges, repulsed invaders and became Lord Heathfield, Baron Gibraltar. The Great Siege began on June 21, 1779, when Spain severed all communication with Gibraltar.

The plan of Spain in her latest and last attempt to recapture Gibraltar was to cut off all the supplies from the garrison both by land and sea; a blockade sounds less barbarous than starvation, and then the latter is not necessary, for surrender is always possible. With a force of ten thousand men in a few weeks Spain had drawn a line across the Neutral Ground which separates the Rock from the mainland.

Access to the garrison from the land was now impossible; only the sea needed guarding. A large Spanish fleet in the bay undertook that task, but it was unable to make the blockade absolute. Meat became so scarce that the hind quarter of an Algerian sheep, with the head and tail, was sold for seven pounds and ten shillings, and an English milch cow for fifty guineas. Bread was needed as well as meat, and biscuit crumbs

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sold for a shilling a pound. Flour formerly used to powder the hair of soldiers when mounting guard was now turned into food.

The rations of the soldiers were reduced, the Governor sharing in the privations and returning a present of fruit, vegetables and game sent by the commander of the besieging forces. His letter reveals the stuff of which he was made. While acknowledging politely the courtesy, “Old Elliott," as he was familiarly called, begged the commander not to repeat it, as he had a fixed resolution “never to receive or procure by any means whatever any provisions or other commodity for his own private use.

He added a sentence which doubtless led the Spanish officer to realize that he had as the leader of the English forces a foeman worthy of his steel. “I make it a point of honor,” he said, “to partake both of plenty and scarcity in common with the lowest of my brave fellow-soldiers. For eight days at one time he lived on four ounces of rice a day. His food was mainly vegetables and his drink water. He neither ate animal food nor drank wine. He never slept more than four hours at a time, so that he was up earlier and later than other men. Severe exercise with short diet became habitual to the brave men who followed the example of the Governor.

On September 12, 1782, there sailed into the Bay of Gibraltar thirty-nine ships from Spain and France, raising the number in service to fifty-nine battleships and many smaller vessels; a land force of forty thou



-sand men supported the fleet. What a combination to attack ninety-six pieces of artillery and seven thousand soldiers and sailors! Believing that his ships were shot-proof and shell-proof the Spanish Admiral was not careful about keeping at long range, but advanced near shore ready to land his men as soon as the fortress guns had been silenced. .

Soon four hundred guns were firing upon the town. The English replied, but without much effect. One resource remained, and this Elliott tried—the use of hot shot. Upward of one hundred balls were heated in an hour and a quarter and rolled into the cannon's mouth and almost instantly hurled at the ships of the fleet; and this was kept up during the day. The French engineer had foreseen this emergency, and kept the pumps pouring water into the layers of sand where the balls lay harmless. Late in the afternoon the Admiral's ship was seen to be on fire. This was the beginning of the end. As night drew on the fires began to spread, and powder magazines were flooded to prevent explosions. By midnight nine of the ten battleships were in flames. When it was found that the ships could not be saved, consternation seized the crews and disorder prevailed as sailors and gunners threw themselves into the sea, preferring death by drowning to being burned alive.

While the day was won by the English, the battle was not ended yet. The men who had caused the defeat of the enemy were men as well as soldiers, and


at imminent peril they clambered aboard the burning ships and rescued officers and men alike and drew hundreds of Spaniards into their boats from the sea. The victory was won, but peace was not assured until months afterward, when

British frigate sailed through the Straits of Gibraltar bearing the word that America had won her independence, and that England, France and Spain had signed a treaty of peacebut England kept the Rock!

To-day as one walks through the streets of Gibraltar, or rides over the waters of the bay, he wonders whether the Great Siege could really have taken place there. He wonders also whether with the new methods of warfare even the hundred-ton guns on the summit and concealed by shrubbery could protect the garrison if another great military Power or a union of Powers should really decide to try to take it from Great Britain. Whether or not the Rock should be maintained as a British fortress


be an academic question, but woe to that nation which attempts to rob England of this fortress and the splendid harbor which is said to have cost twenty million dollars !

When Gibraltar is reached by travelers, bargainhunting begins in earnest. All the ladies, and some gentlemen, know what ought to be secured, and apparently the shopkeepers also know what the visitors want, and still more to the point, the guides and the cab-drivers surmise their need and where they can best be satisfied. Why one lace or shawl or brass shop




and, in the case of men, tobacco or wine shop-should be preferred to a score of others is best known to the thoughtful and confiding guide on foot or on the cabbox. In every case the choice is said to be in the interest of the customer, with such explanations as these :

“These goods are better than any others in town." “You get the best value for your money at this shop.” “This man pays lower rent than his rivals, therefore he is able to take a smaller profit than they.” “This man is master and servant, and he is personally interested in being advertised by his wellpleased customers, who will recommend him to their friends who will come here next year.

The closing of the gates of the city at sundown is a formidable affair. An officer and two red-coats, the former bearing the keys to the gates and the latter guarding them, perform this mission. Spanish cabs are not allowed to enter the main part of the city; they are all of one pattern both in style and color, so as to be easily recognized should their owners dare to break the rules, and they are obliged to be outside the gates before half-past six under penalty of a heavy fine. A stream of people, suggesting a street leading to a subway station in New York or Boston after the shops are closed, is passed as one drives out across the Neutral Ground to the Spanish territory from which he gets the eastern view of the Rock which Spanish soldiers once scaled in their endeavor to dislodge the English garrison.

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