Mustapha Ben Ismail was born around 1850 in Bizerte, Tunisia. Very little is known of his birth and childhood. Some sources say he is the son of a Jewish convert and an unknown Tunisian man.

Mustapha Ben Ismail 1 408

It is said that Mustapha would be found begging in the streets of the capital, worked in a barbers and in a Maltese Tavern before being hired as an offer of the Guard of the Bey of Tunis, they then brought him into the Palace where he was noticed by Muhammad III as Sadiq at the beginning of his reign. He then became the minister of the Navy in October 1873.
Pictured below Muhammad III as Sadiq.

Mustapha Ben Ismail Muhammad III as Sadiq

Became Grand Vizier or Prime Minister of Tunisia on 24th August 1878. During his leadership he stirred up the anger of the Bey and not soon after he gained most of Hayreddin’s property as it was confiscated by the Bey.

Ben Ismail began to support the development of the French enterprise in Tunisia, he then became more favourable towards the Italians who were France’s competitors from 1880.

It was announced on the 12th September 1881 that Ismail had tendered his resignation as Grand Vizier or Prime Minister due to ill health. It is said that he then travelled to France for the benefit of his health. It was also stated that his resignation was due to the influence of the French Government.

Mustapha Ben Ismail portrait 408

With the death of Sadok Bey in 1882 Ismail’s career was in ruins, but he managed to retain a small part of his fortune and he fled to Istanbul where he became obscure. According to French historian Jean Ganiage he died completely destitute. However he appears to have supported the first Tunisian nationalist exiles after the establishment of the protectorate, which argues against the idea of financial difficulty.

Mustapha Ben Ismail Passed away in Istanbul in 1887 aged 37.

Mustapha Ben Ismail 408

Mustapha Ben Ismail was an Affiliate Member of Lodge Clyde No.408 if you look closely to the roll book he has it down as a Prince and Minister.

April 18th 1884

Mustapha Ben Ismail 4082 1884