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Charles Waterton's Life and Family
Charles Waterton in Andalucia, Spain. Page 1 - A Brief Account
Spain Pages
• 1  Introduction • 2 The Black Vomit • 3 My Honest Tar

Andalucia The Waterton family was dispersed around the world - some had decided that being an exile was a price well worth paying to keep their Roman Catholic faith. Two of Charles' uncles on his mother's side (Bedingfield family) had settled in Malaga in Andalucia (in English: Andalusia), Spain. They had a house in the town itself and another in the nearby countryside at Montes de Malaga. (There is now a national park here, find out more).

In November 1802, Charles went to Spain to stay with his maternal uncles who were businessmen - although in what line of business is not made clear. He was 20 years of age and spent much of the time enjoying himself without a care in the world. After staying in Cadiz for a fortnight, he sailed through the Straits of Gibraltar to Malaga in Andalusia and on to his uncles' house. Later, he visited Cadiz and Gibraltar, travelling overland with an English businessman who had been staying with his uncles. He also visted Algeciras. It was in Spain that he read the adventures of Don Quixote (Don Quijote).

On board the Industry
"I sailed from Hull in the month of November, with my younger brother (poor fellow! he died afterwards in Paumaron[#] of the yellow fever), in the brig Industry, bound for Cadiz. The wind becoming adverse, we put into Margate Roads, and lay there for nine days". For a while they were in company with a Scottish brig bound for Vigo. Whilst they were laid up at Margate Roads, Waterton heard one of the tars on board the Industry tell one of his comrades that, whilst ashore at Margate, one of the sailors on board the other brigantine, had told him that their mate was in a conspiracy to murder the captain and run off with the ship. The following day, Waterton's brig ran alongside of the Scottish brig and hailed the captain. Waterton tossed a warning message in a bottle to the brig's captain, who was on the quarter-deck. The captain took the bottle below and shortly reappeared to acknowledge the warning by giving a low, slow bow to Waterton.

"We parted company in a gale of wind at night-fall, and I could never learn any thing afterwards of the brig, or of the fate of her commander".(1)

Years later, Waterton was to meet again the captain of the brig "Industry".

[# Christopher is the brother who died in Paumaron - Pomeroon in Guyana]

At Stonyhurst his sense of adventure often led him to break the rules. Once whilst eluding a pursuing prefect he hid in a pig sty. The sty was tended by an old friend from Tudhoe days, Joe Bowren - Waterton had given him a "very fine terrier" as a gift. Meanwhile, back in the pig sty, Jim Bowren had hidden Waterton under some litter, without saying a word. When the prefect arrived on the scene he gasped out to Bowren: "Have you seen Charles Waterton?" To which Joe replied, "Sir, I have not spoken a word to Charles Waterton these three days, to the best of my knowledge." The prefect, no longer hot on the trail, went on his way. Charles emerged from beneath the pile of pig's litter "strongly perfumed".

In Spain, Waterton noted many different type of birds - goldfinches, quails, bee-eaters, flamingoes, vultures and partidges.

English Goldfinch"My uncles had a pleasant country-house at the foot of the adjacent mountains, and many were the days of rural amusement which I passed at it. the red-legged partridges abounded in the environs, and the vultures were remarkably large; whilst goldfinches appeared to be much more common than sparrows in this country. During the spring, the quails and bee-eaters arrived in vast numbers, from the opposite coast of Africa. Once when I was rambling on the sea shore, a flock of a dozen red flamingoes passed nearly within gun-shot of me". (1)

After a year of pleasant pursuits, everything changed when yellow fever broke out in Malaga. Yellow fever has many names - to seafarers it is Yellow Jack; the Spaniards called it il vomito negro - the Black Vomit.

El hombre pone, y Dios dispone. Man proposes, and God disposes.

Many a bright and glorious morning ends in a gloomy setting sun.(2)

1."Some Account of the Writer of the Following Essays", by himself. Charles Waterton writing in the First Series of his Essays on Natural History, Chiefly Ornithology, 1857.
2. "Essays on Natural History", Charles Waterton, Life of the Author p. 25, ed. Norman Moore, Frederick Warne & Co., Covent Garden, London, 1871.

Views of Málaga, the Alcazaba and cathedral were there in Waterton's day.

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La Alcazaba, Málaga. Built between 1057 and 1063 during the Hispanic-Arabic period.

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La Alcazaba, Málaga.

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La Alcazaba, Málaga.

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Inside Alcazaba, Málaga.

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Inside Alcazaba, Málaga.

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Málaga street scene.

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Málaga, view towards the harbour.

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Málaga in the 18th century.

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Catedral Nuestra Señora de la Encarnación (Our Lady of Incarnation).
It was constructed between 1528 and 1782.

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Street scene in Málaga towards the cathedral.
Visit the cathedral's web site:
Málaga Catedral.

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The Flag of Spain

Cervantes - click here for more

The Ingenious Nobleman Sir Quixote of La Mancha (Spanish: El Ingenioso Hidalgo Don Quijote de la Mancha)
Don Quixote was written in two parts (1605 & 1615) by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra. It was a revolutionary picaresque* novel in its day, and told the story of a self-deluding knight errant and his simple, but nevertheless, cunning, squire, Sancho Panza.

Cervantes achieved fame but little fortune from his work.

* Picaresque novel - a story about a single protagonist in a loose episodic form. The term derives from the Spanish picaro, a rogue.
Henry Fielding's Jonathan Wild and Daniel Defoe's Moll Flanders are other examples of this type of narrative.

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