Page:Paine--Lost ships and lonely seas.djvu/186

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supposed to be an American consular agent in Mogador, but the incumbent just then was a Genoese who spoke no English, and had been bundled aboard an outward-bound ship by command of the Emperor of Morocco, who had conceived a dislike for him. Mr. Gwyn went on to break the news that he had no funds with which to ransom captive sailors and that the nearest official resource would be the American consul-general at Tangier.

At this Ahamed was for dragging his slaves back to the desert, but the kindly Mr. Gwyn had no intention of permitting it, and he introduced Captain Paddock to a firm of British merchants, the brothers William and Alexander Court, who promptly offered to pay the amounts stipulated and to trust to the American government for repayment.

It then transpired that even after paying the price to the Arab tribes for the recovery of such shipwrecked waifs as these, it depended upon the whim and the pleasure of the Emperor of Morocco whether they should be allowed to go home from Barbary. He had been known to hold Christian wanderers as prisoners until it suited him to issue a special edict or passport of departure.

While dining at the house of a British resident in Mogador, Captain Paddock met a Jewish merchant recently returned from the Sahara coast who told a