Mr. Mathews to Mr. Fish.
Tangier, January 22, 1873. (Received March 24.)
Sir: I have the honor to inform you of an event unprecedented in Morocco, which took place at Tangier on Friday last—the marriage of a lineal descendant of Mohammed. His Highness Prince Abselam el Hazain, grand sheriff of Wazzan, with an English Christian lady, Miss Emily Keene. The bride rode to the British legation on an Arab horse covered with a scarlet saddle embroidered with gold, presented to her by the bridegroom. The marriage was merely a civil ceremony performed [Page 712] by the British minister, and after this was over, the bride and bridegroom rode back to the Royal Victoria Hotel, where a sumptuous wedding dinner had been prepared, and at which all the diplomatic and consular corps were present. The bridegroom, who appeared to very great advantage in his flowing eastern dress of dark blue, was escorted by a guard of Moorish soldiers to the hotel. At the conclusion of the dinner, the happy couple betook themselves to the country residence of the prince at Mount Washington, three miles distant from Tangier.
The bridegroom is a personage of the greatest importance in Morocco; he is the supreme and hereditary chief of the powerful society of the Mulay Taieb, the most important in the Mohammedan persuasion a society, the numerous members of which of both sexes are spread throughout all Mussulman countries, the greater number being found in the Barbary States and Algiers; and I may also mention that this society has ramifications in the East Indies.
The prince is a stout, robust man, of an olive complexion, thirty-nine years of age, who distinguished himself greatly during the war with Spain in 1859–’60. He is very fond of Christians, very charitable, and remarkably intelligent.
The Emperors of Morocco are, for political and private reasons, members by birth of the Mulay Taiefy whose supreme chief invests them with their imperial authority, consecrates them, and has also in certain instances deposed them.
I beg to acknowledge the receipt of your dispatch No. 48, dated the 9th of December last.
I have, &c.,