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Title: Torrey's Narrative
       or, The Life and Adventures of William Torrey

Author: William Torrey

Release Date: July 22, 2014 [EBook #46369]

Language: English

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[i]
[ii]


[iii]

TORREY'S NARRATIVE:

OR, THE

LIFE AND ADVENTURES

OF

WILLIAM TORREY.

Who for the space of 25 months, within the years 1835, '36 and '37, was
held a captive by the Cannibals of the Marquesas, (a group of Islands
in the South Sea,) among whom he was cast from the wreck of the
Brig Doll, Capt.——, of Otaheite, of which wreck himself,
and one shipmate, can alone tell the sad tale. Also, for
many years served in the several capacities requisite
for seamen, on both English and American
Merchants' ships.

WRITTEN BY HIMSELF.

Illustrated with Engravings of his own Sketching.

"'Tis mine to tell a tale of grief, Of constant peril, and of scant relief; Of days of danger, and of nights of pain."

BOSTON:

PRESS OF A. J. WRIGHT, 3 WATER STREET.

1848.

[iv]

Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1847, By A. L. STEARNS, in the Clerk's Office of the District Court of Massachusetts.

[v]

PREFACE.

The author, in offering his narrative to the public, is conscious of his almost utter inability to the task of giving it a strictly grammatical publication. We, whose march is upon the mountain wave, and whose home is upon the deep, have but little opportunity, however strong the desire, to become adepts in grammatical or orthographical science. We better know the intricacies of our calling than the intricacies of scientific lore.

One object in this publication, (apart from the pecuniary consideration,) is to give the civilized world an insight into the manners and customs of the children of the island of the sea with whom the author was so long associated, and whose manners and customs were so indelibly fixed upon his memory as well as upon his person.

Also to note the manners and customs of the other nations of the earth, into whose society he was often forced in his many wanderings to and fro. In pursuance of which he proposes giving a hasty geographical and historical sketch of each place of importance which he visited, and, to better accomplish this work, he has in many instances consulted the writings of others, as he, as well as all other mariners, was restricted to a certain extent by duties on ship board during the short time he might remain in port, and was therefore unable, through his own observation, to gather many important facts worthy the reader's notice.

There may be many startling incidents narrated in this work—incidents and circumstances which would jar, even upon the ear of credulity itself, to believe; but the author claims one merit, if nothing else, and that is truth.

[vi]

With these few remarks, he gives his work to the world in expectation of their patronage and sympathy for his sufferings when in bondage among those savages, and, also, in his intercourse with the many other nations of the earth, knowing the indulgent community will kindly overlook all errors which may arise through his inability.

WM. TORREY.

Springfield, Mass., January 1848.


[vii]

CONTENTS.



CHAPTER I.
  PAGE
The author's early life. Has a strong desire to remove. Leaves home. Falls in with a robber by the name of Harris. Goes to New London. Harris commits many thefts. Is taken, and both thrown into prison. Trial comes, and Harris is sentenced to State prison. The Judge takes the author to his own house. Gives him fatherly admonition, and money to go home. Remains sometime. Again leaves, and gladly returns. The third time leaves, and is retaken. Leaves home resolved never to return. Proceeds to New Bedford. 13
CHAPTER II.
Leaves New Bedford. Touch at the Azores. Description of them. Encounter a heavy squall. The author is struck by lightning. Goes on shore at Fernando Po for water. Trade with the natives. Treatment offered a thief. See a native suffering with the Chiger. Deceive a British Man-of-War. Have poor success and sail for the Brazil Banks. Providential escape at Barbadoes. Land at St. Vincent. Great frolic with the natives. Thrown in prison. Sail for New Bedford. Storm in the Gulf Stream. Arrive at New Bedford. 33
CHAPTER III.
Sail from New Bedford. The Crew are put upon allowance. Reach the Azores. Proceed to the Brazil Banks. Return to the African coast. Great fear arises from breakers. Prove to be an innumerable number of canoes filled with natives who come to the ship. Their awful appearance. Serious difficulty arises with one of the [viii]crew, who is put on shore. Cruise about for whale. Trade with the natives of St. Thomas. Procure two monkeys, who render much service in killing cockroaches. The treatment given the crew at Fernando Po. Kindly interference of British officers. The crew are obliged to catch their own provision. Sail for home. I take a few flying fish, which the captain claims as his. Threw them into the sea. Great rage of the Captain. Reach New Bedford. The sailors leave the Captain to secure the sails. 44
CHAPTER IV.
Sail on board the Huntress, bound for the Pacific, on a whaling Expedition. Encounter a heavy Storm. A Man lost. Reach the Falklands. Description of them. Storm at the Cape. Icebergs. Island of Juan Fernandez. Arrive at the Sandwich Islands. A Sketch of them. 54
CHAPTER V.
Description of the Volcano of Kilauea, at Hawaii. 63
CHAPTER VI.
Sail for the "Off shore ground." Cruise for Whale. Come to anchor at Payta. Desert the ship. Sufferings in the desert. Reach the human habitations. Are entertained by an old Spaniard, who takes us to St. Augustine, and delivers us up to the Governor. Thrown into a Calaboose. Released by the Captain. Sketch of Peru. Proceed to the Galapagos. Scenes at that group. Rock of Dundas. Sail to the Society Islands. Run upon the Coral Reef. Loose an anchor. Employ natives to dive for it. Proceed to the Coast of Japan. Description of the Dolphin and Flying Fish. A violent storm. Sail for the Sandwich Islands. Touch at Pitcairns. Desert the ship. Ship on board the brig Doll. Arrive at Magdalena. Proceed to Wytohoo. Phosphoretic scene. A heavy storm. Seven men lost. Flee to the boats. The ship runs upon the rocks. 83
CHAPTER VII.
[ix]Got on shore among the Cannibals. The reception. Description of the Tabu ground. Visit the scene of the wreck, after the storm subsides, accompanied by the king and chiefs. Manner of building. Manner of bathing. The bread fruit. Description of the Carver. The Captain proposes leaving for Otaheite. Are taken around to the other tribes. Death of one of our number from the sun's heat. Manner in which the dead are disposed of. 108
CHAPTER VIII.
A war breaks out. Its causes. Awful Massacre. The Author is tattooed. Manner of its accomplishment. An attack is made upon the Cohapha. Disposition of the prisoners. Continuance of the war. A ship comes to anchor. Our fond hopes blasted. Purchase a gun. Departure of the ship. The author builds a hut and takes a wife. Effect of the gun upon the Cohaphas. They attempt another night attack. Its results. The grand appearance of our army. Result of a single shot. The Author is wounded. Kill the native and take possession of the body and gun. The king rewards us. The body is roasted. Singular adventure with a wild hog. The Cohaphas wish for peace. The place of skulls. Peace is declared. 124
CHAPTER IX.
A visit from the Cohaphas. Our King wishes to learn the use of the gun. Abandons the idea. Arrival of Captain Fisher. His inhumanity. Is driven from the land. Manner of fishing. Attempt to cultivate tobacco. Efficacy of the tabu law. A missionary ship arrives. Meetings are held. Unbelief of the natives. Narrow escape of the author. Conduct of Mr. Daylia. He is driven from the island. Another sail approaches. Recognition of the Captain. His conduct. Plan of escape. The king is deceived. The author leaves the island. Secretes himself. Is missed. His unpleasant situation. Joy at seeing the natives leave the ship. Reflections. 145
CHAPTER X.
[x]Description of the Whale Fishery. Being again on board a whale ship, I propose giving my readers a brief description of the Whale, and of the manner of capturing them. 162
CHAPTER XI.
Speak several vessels. Massacre at Keppell's Island. Touch at the Duke of York's Island. Find a tomb. Electrical eel. Conduct of a negro, who makes much sport. Land Lobster. Land at Cohannah. Improper conduct of the captain. A storm off Hawaii. Anchor at Honolulu. Its description. Scenes on shore. Sports of the surf. Arrival at Sir Francis Drake's Bay. Scenes on shore. Cruise about the different islands. Proposed mutiny. The author leaves the ship. 169
CHAPTER XII.
Sail for the North West Coast. Am required to sign the ship's articles. Trouble with officers. Anchor at New Archangel. Dogs trained to the harness. Leave the ship. Fall in with an Indian hunting party. Their manners and customs. Humanity of an Indian. Return to St. Lucas. Goes over land to St. Josephs. Lives with a Catholic priest. Narrow escape. Arrive at San Blass. Ship for Buenos Ayres. Fearful passage of the straits of Magellan in a storm. Description of Buenos Ayres. 184
CHAPTER XIII.
Return to San Blass. Description of the Town. Strikes a Spaniard, and resists the Police. Is placed in the Stocks. Goes on board the Tammercee. The Captain is employed to take a quantity of Gold to England. Fight between the Officers. Anchor at Tehuantepec for Dye-Stuffs. Precaution used against Scorpions, Centipedes, &c. Arrival at Panama. Scenes on Shore. Arrive at Callao. Ride to Lima. Description of Lima. Arrival at Valparaiso. Again double the Cape on the wings of the wind. Arrival at Liverpool. Sketch of the City. 197
CHAPTER XIV.
[xi]Proceed to New Brunswick. Encounter a severe storm. Come near losing the ship. Arrived at Delhouse. Sickness of the author. Bleeds himself. His end apparently approaches. Timely assistance. Sails for Quebec. Description of the Citadel. A sketch of its history. 210
CHAPTER XV.
Sail in the Borneo for Limerick. A Man is found secreted on board. Conduct of the Captain. Sympathy of the Crew. Terrible Storm. Wretchedness of our Situation. Account of the loss of the Francis Spade. Singular occurrence. The Storm continues. Reach the Shannon. The rolling of the Killserphine. Its Tradition. Reach Limerick. Sail for London. Sail for Egypt. Description of Gibraltar. Arrive at the quarantine ground off Alexandria. Go to the Dead Sea. Its description. Return to Alexandria. Curiosities and History of Egypt. Manners and Customs of the People. 223
CHAPTER XVI.
Sail for London. Arrive at the Downs. Sail for St. Johns. A dense fog. Bay of Fundy. Come to anchor at St. Johns. Proceed to London. Sail for the East Indies. Study Navigation. Arrive at St. Helena. Tomb of Napoleon. Reach Cape Town. Description of the Country. Of the several Tribes. Arrive at Calcutta. Description of the Ganges, and its Religious Rites. Of Calcutta. Sail for Canton. Tiger Island. Straits of Malacca. Preparations for Pirates. Arrive at Canton. Its description. Chinese Floating Town. Manners and Customs. Fourth of July. Sail for England. Misconduct of the Mate. His discharge. Arrival at London. 243
CHAPTER XVII.
[xii]London. Thames tunnel. Bank of England. St. Paul's Church. Westminster Abbey. The tower. Sail for St. Johns. A storm. Proceed to Londonderry. Its description. Wolf Rock. Sail for Holland. Burial at sea. Arrive at Hamburg. Its description. Come near going upon the sands. Dover cliffs and castle. Pilots. Eddystone light. A ship in distress with a drunken captain. Return to my family. Go to New Orleans. Sail for Glasgow. Go to Edinburgh. Go to St. Johns resolved to quit the sea. Build a house. Go to Savannah. Meet an old school fellow. Appointed chief mate. Gulf stream. A storm. Go home. Sail to Cork. Belfast. Thence to London. Return home. Imminent danger and narrow escape. 261
CHAPTER XVIII.
Command a vessel. Sail for London. Come near going on the Goodwin Sands. Anchor at London. Sail for Mobile. Serious affair with the Seamen. Spirits discharged from the Ship. A fortune-Teller. Sail for Liverpool. Sail as mate of the Ashburton. A Storm. Run upon the Rocks. Perilous Situation. Proceed to St. Johns, and go smuggling. Are taken, and ship sold. News from home. Go thither, and unknown. Conclusion. 283

[13]

LIFE AND ADVENTURES

OF

WILLIAM TORREY.

CHAPTER I.

The author's early life. Has a strong desire to remove. Leaves home. Falls in with a robber by the name of Harris. Goes to New London. Harris commits many thefts. Is taken, and both thrown into prison. Trial comes, and Harris is sentenced to State prison. The Judge takes the author to his own house. Gives him fatherly admonition, and money to go home. Remains sometime. Again leaves, and gladly returns. The third time leaves, and is retaken. Leaves home resolved never to return. Proceeds to New Bedford.

As it will be of little or no interest to the reader, I shall speak but briefly of my early life, simply stating that I was born in the town of Wilbraham, State of Massachusetts, 4th of March, 1814, of poor yet respectable parents.

My father during the winter months, followed the occupation of school teaching. My time was passed between school and boyish sports, until I reached my tenth year; at this time my parents removed to the[14] manufacturing village of Chickopee Falls, (formerly, and perhaps more generally known by its Indian name, Skipmuck,) when I was, during the summer months, put in one of the cotton mills, that my labors might contribute something to the support of the family. This I found extremely tedious, as I was oftentimes much abused by those under whom I worked. Possessing naturally a restless disposition, I was induced to believe this treatment much worse than I could bear; and I resolved to cast myself upon the wave of life, and seek for myself a living, independent of parents or guardians. This resolution I cherished most tenderly; and, in the fall of 1826, packing what clothes I could easily carry, I set out, with a heart beating high with hope, little dreaming of the privations I was to suffer; and which I shall attempt to picture to the reader, from time to time, in the following pages.

I directed my steps towards Hartford, Connecticut. Passing through Longmeadow, I chanced to meet a cousin, much older than myself, who, having by sad experience known somewhat of the hardships of life, besought me, most imploringly, to return to my father's roof. His advice I was unwilling to heed, and passed on. Soon I was overtaken by a gentleman (by the name of Burbanks) who was riding alone, and kindly offered me a seat at his side. Being already quite fatigued, I most gladly accepted his offer. Soon as I was seated he began questioning me, whither I was going, and of my prospects. When informed of my plans, he kindly offered to give me lodging for the night, also to give me, the next morning, a passage to Hartford, on one of the river boats of which his father was pilot. As[15] was presumed, the next morning the boat came in sight, and landed at the wharf, where she stopped but a few moments. After rendering due acknowledgment to my friend and benefactor, I stepped on board, and was under way, (often has the cry of "God bless him!" arisen from the companion, as I have related to the hardy crew this, the first incident of my first adventure,) and had a fine passage down the river.

When safely over the falls at Enfield, the father of my friend left us, and I deeply felt his loss, being, as it were, alone again; my heart, which had before been big with hope, was now the scene of fear and anguish. I was near a strange city, yet unlearned in the world, without a penny in purse. I came near despondency, scarce knowing where I was, or whither going, till I aroused from my reverie by the boat striking against the wharf. I sprang to my feet, and momentarily resolved to forget the past, and to improve the present, that the future would with it bring no misgivings. I soon found myself seated at a public house, where I had engaged entertainment for the night.

After breakfast, the next morning, I acquainted the landlord with my destitute situation; he became enraged, and with loud words threatened to flog me; a gentleman being near, hearing his angry words, came up, and, on learning the cause, kindly offered to settle the bill for me—again the stranger had compassion on me. I left the house, and wandered up and down in quest of employment; finding my efforts unavailing, I directed my steps towards the wharves, where I spent much time watching the jolly tars in their labors and sports. I went from vessel to vessel, till I became perfectly[16] enamored with the sailor's life, and I resolved to be myself a sailor, and made application to one and another for a berth; but none seemed willing to take me, probably my age, which was not yet thirteen, proved disadvantageous. I next resolved to try a country life, till such time as I could get a berth at sea, for that was now my fixed purpose.

It being now near night, I concluded to seek out the residence of some distant relatives living in the city, acquaint them of my penniless situation, and of them solicit lodgings. After searching a long time I found them, and from them received money to defray my expenses at some hotel, as their situation was such at that time, that their house was crowded to its utmost capacity. With the early morn I started for the country, fell in with a foot pedler, with whom I traveled to Farmington. During the evening, I engaged to remain with the landlord, a few weeks, for small wages. The next morning the pedler left me. During my stay there I was ever dwelling upon my future life, as a sailor.

After the lapse of a few weeks the pedler came back, and stating his determination of going to sea, persuaded me to go with him. We directed our steps towards Hartford; resolved to spare no exertions in procuring a berth. At Hartford, we visited each and every vessel. Being unsuccessful, we had almost given up the idea, when strolling along the wharf, was met by a person of gentlemanly appearance, by the name of Harris, who asked "what we were driving at?" I answered, "we are out of employment, and had been searching in vain for a berth at sea." He offering us good wages to run with him one trip to New London, we accepted. The vessel[17] we engaged to go on was a one-masted sail boat, which he had hired for the trip. The owner not being altogether pleased with his appearance, insisted upon his taking with him one man whom he might select as boat keeper. All things being ready, we set sail, five of us in number. Had a fine passage down the river; were soon passed by the New York steamer, and while yet in sight, she run aground. When we passed her, she was exerting herself most violently to get clear. We were hailed by a gentleman from the shore, who was waiting to take passage in the steamboat. Seeing her position, he offered three dollars for a passage for himself, and the two ladies with him, to Middletown. Soon they were on board. Arrived at Middletown at 4 P. M. Having a fine breeze, we remained but a few moments; took in a boy bound to Saybrook. The gentleman concluded to go farther with us. Arrived at East Haddam about 9 P. M. Our boat possessing no convenience for lodging, we all repaired to the hotel at the expense of the master.

The next morning we started at an early hour for Saybrook, with the four passengers. The wind hauling around right ahead, obliged us to beat our way along, as best we could. We stood for Lyme, a little village opposite Saybrook, where we left our other passengers, while we took the boy over to Saybrook. After this was done, we attempted to recross the river; but, in consequence of the heavy wind from the sound, were unable; therefore we put up the river. Mr. Harris and myself amused ourselves by singing songs. A little after sunset we arrived at a little village called Petty Pog; remained during the night, by the order of Harris.

[18]

We were called at daylight; repaired to the boat, and made preparations to leave. The absence of Mr. Harris could not be accounted for until he returned, having as many lobsters as he could carry; being asked where he got them, he replied, out of a schooner which lay near; ordered all possible despatch to be made in clearing away; gathered together the stones used as ballast, and of them forming a hearth, we built a fire, and cooked our lobsters for breakfast. Arrived at East Haddam about noon; stopped at the public house; passed the afternoon very finely about the village. There were quite a number of people waiting at the hotel for the boat, to take passage for New York. The boat, in consequence of the before mentioned foundering on the bar, had put back to H—— for repairs. During the evening, conversation turned upon business topics; and each, in turn, made their respective vocations known. Harris represented himself as having drawn $20,000 in a lottery, and was then on his way to New London to receive it. He succeeded in taking a valuable gold watch from the pocket of the gentleman with whom he was mostly engaged. This accomplished, he came to me, (I was sitting on the wood box, and half asleep,) and said, are you asleep? arousing, I said, not exactly, sir, and soon sank back again. Soon the owner of the watch, wishing the time, felt for it, and, to his great astonishment, it was gone—the cry of "a thief, a thief," was raised; the whole company were struck with dismay; a search was proposed; and, as no one had left the room, it was most certain it would be found. All were obliged to undergo this searching process, save myself—my situation during the evening had been observed,[19] and it was deemed useless. Mr. H. called me his brother; and, during this search, he was the most active, expressing much sympathy with the gentleman. Great was the consternation when it was not to be found.

As the hours, one after another, passed away, the company gradually dispersed, and half past eleven found the bar-room deserted, save by Harris, myself, and the landlord. We at length retired. On entering our room, Harris tested the quality of the fastenings of the door thoroughly; then took, to my great astonishment, the stolen watch from my pocket. I asked how it came there; in reply, he said he put it there when I was on the box. Putting a pair of pistols under his pillow, after having examined them, he remarked he should be pleased to see the man that dared disturb his slumber, and getting in bed took me in his arms. Soon we were fast asleep. Arising at an early hour the next morning, we found none up save the landlord and our boat-keeper; passed the compliments of the morning; and, as usual at those times, took a morning glass by way of preparing for breakfast. The landlord expressed much sympathy for the looser of the watch, and deeply regretted that such an occurrence should take place in his house. At this moment the gentleman entered with sad and downcast expression of countenance. Harris immediately entered into conversation with him, assuring him that the robbery would most certainly disclose itself; then I panted to give the information I was in possession of. Harris fearing something of that kind probably, would not suffer me for an instant to be from his sight; while they were talking, the boat came to[20] the landing; the passengers left the house for the boat, Mr. H. and myself accompanying them.

During the walk to the boat, and the few moments occupied in preparing to start, Harris was talking with the looser of the watch, holding me by the hand; there seemed something pressing heavily upon his mind which gradually wore away, as the distance between him and the boat increased. Went next to our own boat; ordered the boat-keeper to have all things ready in two hours; then proceeded to the hotel; wished to see the bill, which was shown him. Harris then stated that he had a brother living about two miles distant whom he very much wished to see, and was going to his residence; said he would pay his bill when he returned, or then, if the landlord wished; the landlord assured him it would make no difference. Taking me by the hand, we left the house, and proceeded southerly; walked four miles; stopped at the farm house of one Warner. Before entering, he cautioned me against saying any thing different from what he might say; said he wanted two horses to go to New London; was in great haste, for "he had drawn $20,000 in a lottery some months previous; had not yet obtained it, as he had been long absent; had suffered shipwreck at or near the mouth of the river La Platte; himself and brother were alone saved from the wreck; our sufferings were great as imagination could picture them." Offered to pay $3 per day for two horses; and, if he could have a guide, or a person to take charge of the horses, would willingly pay for that also; he was asked many questions, which he answered very cunningly.

Soon the three horses were saddled for the journey; a[21] son of the landlord was to accompany us; we went along quite merrily. Stopping at a hotel, Harris and myself went in, leaving Warner with the horses. Harris represented himself as belonging to a Circus company; his brother that was with him was a most beautiful rider. He even went so far as to fill out and put up some handbills, which he had previously obtained somehow; and to make arrangements necessary for an exhibition of that kind, went on our way. Came to an acquaintance of Warner's who was a manufacturer of musical instruments. Harris selected one, a dulcimer, valued at twelve dollars, and would purchase it if the gentleman would wait upon him for the pay until he could go to New London and get the money he had drawn in the lottery; this he was perfectly willing to do, Warner assuring him of the unquestionable character of the man.

We arrived at New London about five in the afternoon. Stopped at one of the principal hotels. After supper we walked out, taking the dulcimer with us, which Mr. Harris ordered me to sell for any thing I could get. I walked boldly up to two gentlemen who were talking, and offered it; they did not seem inclined to purchase. I offered it for one dollar; this was so very cheap they purchased it; taking the money, I offered it to Harris; he refused it, having money enough already he said. We walked on until we came to a large field without the limits of the city. Seated ourselves behind the stone wall which enclosed the field. Harris then took out his purse, and began counting his money; took out a large quantity of bills which he said he stole from the lady who was his passenger on[22] the small boat. In giving a short history of his life, he said he had followed thieving for several years—two years of which time he had spent at Charlestown in the State's employment. Replacing his purse, he remarked he would have a "gold chain that night or a wooden leg!"

We started back; had gone within the limits of the city when we met Warner, who anxiously asked where we had been. "We have been looking for you this hour," says Harris. "Come, now let us go into this shop and get something to drink before going to bed." Returned to the hotel; and, as we were going in, met the gaze of the lady whom Mr. Harris had robbed on the boat; this did not in the least tend to buoy up his spirits, but rather to discomfort him. Warner left the room a moment to see to his horses, when Harris took me by the hand, and hurriedly left the house.

We proceeded up the street with a quick pace, he looking each way, as if fearful of being pursued. Again we were met by Warner, whom we supposed had, ere this, retired for the night. Without the least embarrassment, Harris says "come, go with us and get a dish of oysters," and turned into a shop, as if this course had been premeditated. While eating, Warner, by his looks, appeared as if conscious that Harris was playing a game with him. An acquaintance of his speaking to him for a moment, took his attention. Harris noticing it, immediately left the house. Went a short distance, when stopping at a jeweller's shop, said "here lies my fortune." He stationed me on the corner of the street, with strict orders to give a violent cough should any one approach. Taking a large bunch of keys from his pocket,[23] he tried to unlock the door, and had nearly succeeded, when seeing a person (one of the watch, I think,) coming, I walked towards the door, and gave Harris the signal; but not till I was sure he was near enough to detect some mischief; he dropped his keys, seized my hand, and ran fast as possible. The man being so near, noticed something out of order, and immediately raised the cry of "A thief! a thief!" The cry was echoed from street to street, and at each corner we found new hands to give chase; but we had no fresh hands to take the position we occupied. Harris finding the pursuit growing warmer each step, let go my hand. My motive-power being thus suddenly cut off, I fell to the ground. Before I could raise myself, I was jerked to my feet by the powerful arm of Warner, who said, "you young scoundrel, why did you not inform me of his rascality before? Where is Harris?" Giving me a shake, which took me from the ground, he said, "Well, you vagabond, I have you at any rate."

I was taken before a magistrate, who, after hearing their story, ordered me kept in close custody that night, and brought before him the next day at 9 o'clock. I was taken to the hotel. The lady, hearing of my situation, expressed a strong desire to see me. Warner, unwilling to loose sight of me, accompanied me to her rooms. She, recognizing me, welcomed me with a smile. Wished all the information respecting Harris I could give of his character. Farther than the few days I had been with him, I knew nothing, except from his own mouth. She expressed much regret that one so young should be found in such company, and besought me to refrain from the course of life he was evidently pursuing.[24] Spoke of the loss of the $750 she had sustained, supposed to have been stolen by him on the boat. I assured her of the certainty of that, as he had acknowledged it to me but a few hours before. It being now near eleven o'clock, we retired for the night. I slept but little, as might be supposed, situated as I was. Without influential friends, and in fact without friends at all to care for me—in a land of strangers—viewed as a criminal awaiting justice,—I had only one source of consolation,—conscience favored me with her smiles. I knew I was guilty of no misdemeanor, farther than having been drawn in unwittingly by one who

——"A chosen villain was at heart;
And capable of deeds that durst not seek
Repentance."

I pondered well upon my situation and destiny, and resolved strongly, (as I many times did in after years,) could I but be extricated from my present difficulty, I would return to the home of my youth to wander no more. With the earliest rays of dawn I awoke, when, in the act of arising, I woke Warner, who, half suspecting I was giving him the slip, sprang from the bed with the greatest eagerness, saying, "Well, you are now going to run away, are you, you young scamp?" I, without the least degree of excitement, calmly replied, "I am not, sir, but I think it time we were starting; for one, I wish to know my destiny." Soon the bell called to breakfast. Warner spoke to the landlord, saying, "Please keep your eye on that boy while I take breakfast," not even thinking, I suppose, I should wish any. Soon as he had gone, I asked if I could have breakfast.[25] "Certainly," says the landlord, with emphasis, who possessed soul enough not to give the pay the least thought. Showing me to the dining-room, he gave me a seat by Warner, saying, "Look after your boy, yourself, sir." Breakfast over, we went again to the bar-room. Warner called for his bill, saying, "I don't pay for his breakfast." "I don't wish you to, sir, I yet have money," was my ready reply; and the half suppressed laugh of the standers-by vexed and mortified him extremely. Nine o'clock came, and I was marched to the police office; and, after severe questioning, Warner was told I was not the man for him, as there was nothing appeared against me, except the fact of my being with him, (Harris.) I was ordered to be kept alone for a few days to see if Harris could not be taken, in which case I should be a valuable evidence. I was taken to the hotel, and confined on the second floor. About four in the afternoon, Warner came running in, half out of breath, saying, "Harris is taken, prepare immediately for the police office." I jumped for joy, went to the office; was asked if I could swear to the prisoner at the bar to be the one who hired the horses of Warner. I replied that I could. A bill being immediately found against him, we were ordered to prison, he as a criminal, and I as evidence against him, but to separate apartments. The next morning we were taken to the office again. I was ordered upon the stand, and made to tell what I knew of the late character of Harris. The statement of Warner and the lady confirmed the statements I had made. He was ordered back to jail to await his trial at a higher court which would sit in about three weeks; I to be kept as evidence against[26] him at said court. After a few days, I was allowed the privilege of walking about the yard; and was very kindly treated by the family of the jailer. The time passed so pleasantly that it soon was time for the sitting of the court. We were taken to the court-house, where we found the lady, her son, and daughter, the owner of the watch, and Mr. Warner. The watch, the money, and the dulcimer, were also there, and recognized by real owners. My statements, confirmed by the others, proved a verdict of guilty to him; and, at the expiration of three days, he entered upon his sentence, which was seventeen years hard labor at Wethersfield prison. I was taken by the honorable judge, whose head was frosted over by the winter of age, to his own house. Tears ran down those furrowed cheeks as he, with a father-like simplicity, pointed me to the paths of rectitude, urging me to pursue them to the end—holding up to my mind the recent case of Harris as the reward of the evil doer. Gave me my living while I remained with him, and two dollars from his own purse, and besought me to return directly to my father's roof.

I retraced my steps towards home. Stopped with Warner a short time. Was most joyously welcomed home.

I remained with my father nearly three years, having but little desire to roam; finding at length the life of a factory boy rather unpleasant, I thought again to try my luck. I was near three years older than before, besides having the experience of the former cruise. I was quite sure I was then able to take care of myself. I went to Springfield, took stage for Albany, intending to ride as far as my money would carry me. I rode about[27] forty miles and concluded to try it on foot; had proceeded but a little way when I fell in with a Caravan; I traveled with them for small wages; came to Albany, run one trip to Rochester on a line boat, took passage to New York on a sloop, arrived there with but twenty-five cents in my purse. I resolved to depend upon charity, as in fact I was obliged to do, for my small allowance would hardly be worth mentioning in the way of living. I met two frank looking young men in the garb of sailors, and knowing something of the true character of sailors, I made known to them my situation and solicited aid. They took me to a house kept by a widow lady and ordered for me all that my necessities required, and they would see the bills settled. I remained with this good lady a day or two, she doing all she could to make me comfortable and happy. Besides her naturally good heart, she had the remembrance of her only son being out upon the tempestuous sea of life to prompt her to deeds of love and charity, having, as she hoped, the assurance that all acts of kindness shown towards the unfortunate, would be repaid by similar deeds of love and care being shown to her son. Never can forgetfulness deprive me of the fond remembrance of this kind woman. The tears trickled down her cheeks as she bade me be a good boy and besought me as I loved the mother who gave me birth, to return to her and be a solace to her declining years.

I left her, resolved to go home, proceeded to the wharves, found a vessel going to Middletown, engaged a privilege of working my passage, went on board and shoved out from the dock, but soon found that instead of nearing home I was getting still farther from it, for instead of going to Middletown, Connecticut, we were bound to a[28] place of the same name in New Jersey. I performed the voyage with a sorrowing heart. On our arrival I went from one vessel to another, but found none bound to New York. I then concluded to go on foot, and went on my way to Brown's point, so called, with a heart near bursting with grief. I went into a house occupied by a middle aged lady, asked for lodging, it being near night and very rainy. She said, "By your looks young sir, I perceive you have been weeping; unburden your grief to me, and if in my power, I will assist you."

I told her of my situation, of the great mistake I had made, and the state of my funds, having to depend upon charity entirely, and how long I knew not, knowing of no other way of getting home, except by going on foot. She kindly offered me a share of her humble fare as long as I chose, or till some opportunity for continuing my journey offered itself. She learned that a schooner loaded with wood would sail in a few days for New York in charge of her son, on which she engaged me a passage. I bade adieu to the kind lady when ready, and sailed for New York; prosperous winds brought a speedy termination of the voyage; the Captain gave me a dollar for my services and a home on his boat as long as we might both remain in port.

Again I tried to get a berth on one of the many vessels lying at the docks, and at each of them received the same answer, "you are a runaway boy, we have no place for you." I now resolved that home was the best place for me, at least for the present, though I was altogether unwilling to abandon wholly the idea of becoming a sailor; found an opportunity of getting to East Haddam, where on my arrival, I found work for two or three[29] months, at the expiration of which time I again started for home; was received most joyously by my friends, who entreated me to return to my wanderings no more.

Again I went to work in the mill, with the same discontentedness as before, for the desire to roam was paramount to all others, and I resolved to try my fortune in another direction. I made known my determination to a co-laborer in the mill and solicited his company; he readily accepted my proposals.

Together we shaped our course towards Boston, thinking to get a berth at sea. The harbor being frozen rendered business very dull, and we gave up the idea through compulsion. Foiled in that attempt, we started for Charlestown, having our imaginations pointing high to our future greatness as soldiers; but a visit to the Navy Yard, which occupied some sixty acres, and the barracks, the soldiers' home, dispelled the charm entirely, and we hurried from the place and went to seek our fortunes elsewhere. We came to four corners, undecided which course to steer. Setting up a stick we agreed to follow in the direction which that should fall. True to this agreement we followed its dictation, and still continued on our course into the country, though upon a different tack. Our appetites were now considerably sharpened by the excessive cold, and we cast lots which should solicit food from the hand of charity. Chance threw the task upon me. This I was willing to bear, having been inured to such situations in my former wanderings. I would gladly avoided the necessity, but such was our need of food that I broke over all feelings of delicacy and entered a good looking farm house, where we found smoking hot one of those huge dishes[30] of baked beans so common in New England, to which we did ample justice. After dinner we went on to the small manufacturing village of Shirley. There I obtained employment. My friend finding none, was obliged to wander on towards home. I was employed three months, when a dullness of the times caused a suspension in part of the business, and I turned my face homeward again to see if the pent up village of Chicopee Falls would now hold out any inducement to my staying there. My stay in the mill was even more tedious than before, and I resolved to be there no longer. I encouraged several of my associates to go with me.

To get away with so many required some stratagem. I appointed Sunday, the first day of June, 1830, as the day for our starting. My repeated going and coming rendered the affair, as far as I was concerned, no uncommon thing, and but little was said to prevent me, supposing I was alone in it.

At the appointed time we came together and started for Hartford; arrived there the first night; put up at the hotel. In the morning while standing in front of the house, we were accosted by a person who asked, "if we wanted employment?" We assured him that we did; he said, "he had a quantity of flour which he wished removed to the store-house." That was not the business we wanted, but still we were willing to do it for the pay. We went to the store-house, and as soon as we were in he turned the key, saying he only wanted me, and that I should be soon called upon by Mr. Bird, who would be pleased to have me accompany him to Chicopee Falls. The affair was then plain to my mind; we were traced, and found, and this means had been[31] taken to get me back. I remarked that "I should esteem it a great pleasure to ride with him, though my business arrangements were such that it would be rather inconvenient for me to go at that time." Soon Mr. Bird arrived, saying he "was ordered to tie me behind his carriage and drive home." I asked by whom ordered; he made no reply. On condition of my keeping quiet I would be allowed to ride. All things ready, he ordered me into his carriage, also taking one other of my companions with him, and drove off.

I was rather puzzled to know why such means had been taken to get me, also what would be the consequence of my behavior. We put up that night at Enfield and were treated worse than prisoners, for we were not even allowed bread and water, being sent to bed hungry. We were put in a room on the second floor, and fastened in. When all was still, we took the bed clothes, tied them in a string and attached the end to the bed post, thinking to let ourselves down from the window. Having adjusted all things, we went to the window, found it secured, and we had no means of removing the fastenings, consequently we were obliged to abandon the enterprise and submit calmly to our fate.

At early light we were called and made to get ready for the remainder of the journey, not being allowed any breakfast. On our arrival at Chicopee Falls I was given up to the tender mercies of one—— the then reigning tyrant of Chicopee Falls, occupying the station highest in the gift of the Manufacturing Corporation, viz: that of Agent. His tyranny I felt to be far more oppressive than that of any other power I was ever doomed to submit to. The remembrance of that morning scene[32] will cling closely to my mind, when all others shall have been obliterated. Years have passed since its transaction, yet my blood almost ceases to flow when by memory I am carried back to those days. I went into the mill, but I went with a heart thirsting for revenge. My stay was short. By the first of July I had got a few dollars together, and I resolved that on the fourth I would declare myself free and independent, at least from the tyranny of——. On the morning of the fifth, at an early hour, I bade adieu to home and all I held dear, resolved that never again would I even visit the scene of my childhood. I went to Hartford, took passage to Boston, thence to New Bedford, shipped myself on board a brig bound to the coast of Africa, on a whaling expedition.


[33]

CHAPTER II.

Leaves New Bedford. Touch at the Azores. Description of them. Encounter a heavy squall. The author is struck by lightning. Goes on shore at Fernando Po for water. Trade with the natives. Treatment offered a thief. See a native suffering with the Chiger. Deceive a British Man-of-War. Have poor success and sail for the Brazil Banks. Providential escape at Barbadoes. Land at St. Vincent. Great frolic with the natives. Thrown in prison. Sail for N. Bedford. Storm in the Gulf Stream. Arrive at New Bedford.

On the 17th of July, 1830, the brig Partheon, Capt. Maxfield, weighed anchor, spread her sails to the breeze, and fast the land receded from view. I sat on deck and watched the last hill sink away in the dim distance, and the breach forever increasing between me and my native land. Then the joys of home, a mother's kind care, and a sister's fond love rushed upon my mind and I half regretted the step I had taken. For their sakes I did regret, but when the remembrance of that ill-fated morning came to my mind, I sprang to my feet determined to share my joys and sorrows with none known to me by kindred or other ties. Striving to forget the past, I went to my duty. We stood for the Azores, where we took in water and provision. Those Islands lie between Europe and America, between 36 and 39 N. Lat. and contain about 1200 square miles, and belong to the Portuguese; have a clear sky and a salubrious air, and are extremely fertile, producing wine and various fruits in great abundance;[34] are nearly free from venomous reptiles; are supposed to contain about 250,000 inhabitants. Our stay was short; stood for the Cape Verde Islands, about 15 N. Lat., off the African Coast 300 miles; are about twenty in number, though many of them are of small note, being only barren rocks uninhabitable; one of them is a mere volcano, called Fogo.

St. Jago is 150 miles in circumference, and the most fruitful, producing Indian Corn, Sugar, Cotton, Oranges, Limes, &c. A great trade is carried on in the article of Madder, which grows in great abundance among the rocks.

Praya, situated on the easterly side of the group, has a beautiful harbor, and is much visited by vessels for refreshments.

An immense business is done at the Island of Mayo, another of the same group, in making salt from the salt water, by the heat of the sun. At Spring tides it is received into a basin, or pan, formed by a sand bank, which runs for several miles along the coast.

The salt costs nothing, except the raking of it together, and taking it to the boats, which is on asses, and at a very cheap rate.

While off the Isle of St. Jago we encountered a tremendous squall, which came near throwing us upon the rocks, and would, had not we had a most skillful commander. After the wind abated we repaired the slight damage we received; cruised for whales, but with the poorest success; stood for the Brazil Banks, hoping to be more fortunate; touched at the Island of St. Thomas, which with Princes Island and Fernando Po, constitute what are termed the Guinea Group. The two first, St.[35] Thomas and Princes Island, belong to the Portuguese; Fernando Po is occupied by the British. At Princes Island we were allowed liberty on shore; that is a privilege of one day on shore granted to one half of the crew at a time, while the remaining ones attend to the ship's duties.

We remained about these islands a few days, taking three whales only. This was about the season of the year for violent tornadoes, which greatly impeded our operations, being constantly obliged to be on lookout, and in readiness for their approach. On whale ships sail is usually shortened at sundown and the vessel hove to under stern sails. One night while we were laying to, a violent squall suddenly arose, giving us hardly a moment's warning. The rain fell in torrents, the lightning played most vividly, which rendered the darkness still deeper. In executing the order, "haul down the fore-top-mast stay-sail," the halyards became entangled. I sprang upon the windlass to extricate them; at that moment the lightning struck, shivering the fore-top-gallant-mast and fore-top-mast into a thousand atoms. The shock was sensibly felt throughout the ship, and most severely so by myself, leaving me senseless for a number of hours.

Shaped our course for St. Thomas island, where we replaced our spars with such as the country afforded, being quite an inferior article, heavy and very brittle. Our vessel being repaired, we stood for the same ground again, where we cruised two months, entirely disheartened, by our bad luck, only taking two whales.

Our water getting quite low we stood for the British Settlement on Fernando Po. We deemed it unwise to[36] go on shore there on account of the dreadful sickness then prevailing among the inhabitants. We sailed around the island till we came to a little harbor, lowered sail, and searched for water. The boat was manned by five oars-men with the captain. As we came around a point of land, we came suddenly upon several negro families loitering upon the beach entirely naked. They did not perceive us until we were close in upon them, when they gave a loud whoop or yell which almost deafened us, and took to their heels. We ransacked their huts, found they possessed, and perhaps needed, but little, living by fishing principally.

We searched in vain for water, took to our boats again and pulled along till we came to a little bay known as North West Bay, where we saw a number of natives fishing. We kept close in shore for fear of frightening them. Before we could cut off their retreat, they saw us, gave one yell and most assiduously did they pull for the shore. We overtook one canoe; they seemed very much frightened, and made attempts to jump overboard, when we held up bits of iron and other things as presents. They suffered us to come near them; finding us friends instead of enemies, they offered us water and wine made from the Palm Tree, which possesses most an excellent flavor. Those who had considered themselves very fortunate in escaping, came back bringing fowls and palm wine which they readily exchanged for our bits of old iron. Those trifles were considered by them as possessing great value. They would hang them about their persons and dance and jump about with greatest delight. Soon as they could be made to understand the nature of our visit, they sent a man with[37] us, who took us a little way around to a most beautiful stream of pure cold water. Dismissing our pilot we stood for our vessel which was not then visible, thinking to get the water the next morning. We pulled out of the harbor and saw our vessel hull down as it is termed, that is, nothing to be seen but the topmasts. Scarce a ripple was to be felt upon the water, so perfectly glass-like did it appear. The sun was just setting in all its splendor, casting its long beautiful rays upon the still waters, rendering our situation certainly a most enviable one. Soon as the sun's last flickering ray died upon the water, the moon pale and beautiful gladdened our hearts with her gentle rays. Caring but little to leave this fascinating spot, we pulled leisurely for the ship, reaching her at half-past ten.

The next morning we stood into the harbor and came to anchor. The natives in great numbers came on board, wishing to exchange more of their fowls and wine for the poor, worthless bits of iron and other things, which we possessed. We noticed one with both hands cut off at his wrists; and were informed, if we rightly interpreted their signs, that he was a thief, and that was one of their modes of punishment. In wishing to come on board, he threw his arms around the hauling part of the fore sheet, (a rope hanging at the ship's side) which not being fast in-board gave way with his weight, and he fell into the sea. Not one of his fellows tendered him the helping hand. Some looked on without betraying the least emotion, while others with ribaldry and mirth saw the water close over him forever. He seemed to be an object of universal contempt. Whether his thieving[38] propensities were coupled with other misdeeds I know not.

Having obtained our supply of water and a goodly supply of provision and wine from the natives, we were allowed liberty on shore. Taking our guns with us we shot many birds. Soon as they fell the females would spring for them and pull out the largest feathers, with which to decorate their heads. In one excursion we found an old man lying on the sand suffering most intensely under the malady common to that and other African islands, also known in Brazil and other parts of South America, called the Chiger. It is supposed to be caused by an insect which deposits its eggs under the toes of the bare feet of the natives while walking in the sand, causing an inflammation, which if treated unskillfully produces an incurable sore. I have seen those with their legs swollen nearly as large as the body. The situation of the old man referred to was frightful beyond conception; his lips and cheeks were most entirely gone, leaving his jaw bone and teeth bare; his tongue and pallet, together with the roof of his mouth were also nearly consumed, rendering him speechless. With the greatest difficulty he could drag himself along; the most disagreeable odor filled the atmosphere around; no hand of sympathy was extended to him; alone and friendless he was left to die.

On our return we passed that way, and found his sorrows had an end. By the blood on the ground and marks of violence on the body, we were satisfied his miseries were brought to an end by human hands.

Went on board and stood for Princes Island, which lies about 150 miles to the southward. Saw a large[39] sail to the windward; at once supposed her to be a British man-of-war, whose duty it is to guard against any depredations being committed by slavers or others on any foreign coast. Our captain knowing his vessel presented rather a suspicious appearance, being rigged and painted in a rakish manner, and wishing to have a little sport, made sail, as if fearing such company. This had the desired effect. They immediately set her studding sails and gave chase. The captain, to continue the joke, crowded all sail, which came near proving a joke of a serious nature to him, for the Englishman perceiving this, bellowed out in tones there was no mistaking, as a signal for us to heave to. This being unheeded, was quickly succeeded by one that told us full well of the fatal consequences of longer sporting with them. We hove to and suffered her to come up with us, and when within hail, she asked the usual questions, Who are you? Where bound? &c., &c., lowered her boat, came on board, demanded the ship's papers, also the reason why we did not heave to at the first gun; was told that at that moment a spout was seen from aloft, and it was determined to find out what kind of whale it was, found it to be a hump-back, and there she blows again. Fortunately for him a whale of that kind happened to come in sight and aided much in carrying out the joke. Finding our situation different from what he feared, he made himself very agreeable, and spent some time with us; after exchanging Oil for Rum we soon parted. In a few days squared away for Princes Island, whither we were bound; entering the harbor, found the Man-of-war lying there; had liberty on shore; spent a few days very pleasantly indeed. Got under weigh again, bound[40] for the West Indies, with the heaviest press of sail we were able to carry. It was our intention to sight Barbadoes and run down to St. Vincent for our ship's supplies. The wind being very fair we overrun our reckoning. The night also setting very dark and foggy, we were not aware of our proximity to Barbadoes until we found our vessel going at the rate of ten knots in the midst of shipping. With greatest despatch the helm was put "hard-a-port," the studding-sail tacks and braces let go, and the vessel brought to the wind without the least harm, though great was the danger. Stood out of the harbor and made St. Vincent. After a voyage of forty days came to anchor at a small harbor commonly called the Bottle and Glass, so called from a large round rock at its mouth, which in the sun's reflection very much resembles in its general appearance a huge blue glass bottle.

It was exceedingly pleasant after a long voyage to again get liberty on shore. The captain advanced us money which we spent among the natives, giving but little restraint to our passions. We were left on shore one night for some reason with no means of getting on board, also without money and without shelter, for soon as our money was gone, it was no object for the people to shelter us. Some of the company proposed swimming, and suiting the action to the words, stripped their clothes, lashed them to their backs and started, but soon returned, sick of the undertaking. There being a house (if the huts of the natives can be called houses) near where we had spent some of our money, we concluded to try their generosity. We knocked, but received no answer. It was then proposed to wait upon ourselves[41] in. I was chosen leader; laid hold of the boards on the side of the house, sung a song, and with the chorus giving a "long pull, a strong pull and a pull altogether," away she came, and we walked in. (It will be borne in mind the houses are built slightly indeed, consequently our task was not very heavy.) On our entrance, the old lady yelled out "My God, ye Buckra (white) man no stop come in do (door) pull'e side house down."

As I had been chosen leader, or captain, I found the liquor, which was in a huge jug, and took possession of that, set myself on the floor by the jug and dealt out as their several cases demanded. There we spent the night, singing, dancing, and as a common accompaniment, drinking.

With the morning came the constable, who took us off to jail with as little ceremony as we walked into the hut. The captain hearing of our confinement came and paid five dollars each, as a fine, and took us back, we thinking that we had one of the finest times imaginable.

Got ready for sea the next day, called all hands, found one man missing. What became of him we never knew. We cruised about the islands two or three weeks for whales; the same poor success which we experienced on other grounds attended us here, and sick at heart we turned our course towards New Bedford, with only 250 barrels Oil, when we should have had full ship. Our ship was capable of holding 750 barrels.

In the gulf stream we encountered a tremendous gale from the north east, which contending with the strong current which ran in a contrary direction, (from the south west,) caused a very high and irregular sea. We[42] shortened sail and ran the vessel as long as possible. The night set in so extremely dark that we were unable to distinguish one object from another, only by the lightning's flash. I remained at the wheel from eight to twelve, P. M. At one time a heavy sea suddenly struck us upon our quarter, breaking the davits, (by which the boats are hoisted) sweeping the boat across the deck, bursting the bulwarks off and buried me up to the middle in water. I felt as if I was alone upon deck, for surely no one could possibly be there who was not previously lashed. The wretchedness of the situation the pen cannot picture. At length I felt a hand laid heavily upon me, at the same time the well known voice of the captain cries, "who has the helm?" "Bill, sir," says I. An extra man was offered me at the helm if I wished. This I declined, feeling desirous of preserving the strength of the crew, if possible, for greater emergencies. I left the helm at twelve o'clock and went below. At four all hands were called to make sail, the wind having abated, though the sea rolled so very heavily, that the vessel was in great danger of being dismasted. At noon all possible sail was made. During the night we saw Cape Hatteras light, found ourselves rather nearer than prudence would permit, as it is one of the most dangerous places in the known world, hauled our wind and stood off from the shore. We crowded all sail possible, and reached New Bedford about the first of April, having been absent nine months.

No sooner had I stepped on my own native soil, than home with all its allurements presented itself to my mind. I well knew the joy my return would bring to those patents from whose roof I had thus long absented[43] myself, and I was almost persuaded to forsake the sailor's hard and bitter lot and turn again to the home of my youth, and wander no more. But then my mind would revert to the reception I met with on my last return, and I resolved to redeem the pledge made when I last left home.

Not having cleared my expenses I was left with no alternative save going to sea again, and I engaged to go on board the same vessel again, under the command of Charles Hammen who was mate of her the previous voyage. While the ship was fitting for the voyage I run one trip to Baltimore, on board the brig Henry, Captain Taber, mate, Coleman, with oil. Returned laden with flour. This incident in itself considered is of little note; but the circumstance of my becoming acquainted with those men, particularly the mate, afterwards, as will be seen, proved of the greatest importance to me.


[44]

CHAPTER III.

Sail from New Bedford. The Crew are put upon allowance. Reach the Azores. Proceed to the Brazil Banks. Return to the African coast. Great fear arises from breakers. Prove to be an innumerable number of canoes filled with natives who come to the ship. Their awful appearance. Serious difficulty arises with one of the crew, who is put on shore. Cruise about for whale. Trade with the natives of St. Thomas. Procure two monkeys, who render much service in killing cockroaches. The treatment given the crew at Fernando Po. Kindly interference of British officers. The crew are obliged to catch their own provision. Sail for home. I take a few flying fish, which the captain claims as his. Threw them into the sea. Great rage of the Captain. Reach New Bedford. The sailors leave the Captain to secure the sails.

With prosperous winds we cleared the harbor. Spread all canvass to the breeze, and soon our native land was seen only in the distance. For a length of time, every thing passed finely and promised a happy voyage; but we were doomed to disappointment and sorrow. Our commander, conscious of the authority vested in him, put it in force. We were first put upon allowance of only one pound of bread, and one half pound of meat. This caused but little murmuring; each confined his sorrows to his own bosom, and did his master's bidding with the strictest care; and would have remained so had our sorrows ended there. The master was often heard to say it would not do to give us even as great an allowance[45] as he then did, for we were, like highly fed horses, quite unmanageable.

We touched at the Azores, or western islands, and took on a fresh supply of provisions—such as potatoes, onions, &c. Thence to the isle of Saul, of the Cape Verdes group, where we spent a day and night; got a quantity of fish and sea-fowl eggs. At St. Mary's, of the same group, we proposed leaving one of the crew who was sick on board; but the consul would not receive him, consequently, we were obliged to keep him, and do the best we could. Here we were attended with the same poor success that had characterized this and the former voyage.

Sick at heart at our poor luck, we steered for the coast of Brazil. We made the coast about the first of January, where we cruised until the last of the month, without any profit at all; and again squared away for the African coast. Made the island of Anoben, which lies to the southwest of St. Thomas, and also belongs to Portugal. At this place we learned, by an American trader which we spoke, of a large company of pirates who had been driven ashore a few months previous. They had a large boat, and lay secreted in some of the rivers or creeks until the near approach of some ship, when they would rush out from their hiding place, and seize upon the ship before the crew were fully aware of their danger. They had already secured to themselves many valuable cargoes. As might be expected from receiving such information, we gave the island a "wide berth;" cruised away to the northward, and touched at Princes island. We cruised among the group for a length of time.

[46]

One night, in the gulf of Biafra, between Fernando Po and the main land, we as usual had shortened sail. The current drifted us nearer shore than we were aware. The man aloft cried, "Breakers off the lee beam." The lead was cast, and no bottom found. The man aloft again cried, "Breakers off the lee beam." Again the lead was cast 100 fathoms; yet it found no resting place. "Breakers off the lee beam" was the continued cry. On a still nearer approach, we found the reported breakers to be an innumerable number of canoes filled with natives, singing and shouting loudly, coming with great speed towards our vessel. Considering them enemies, we set about making our defence as strong as possible with the poor supply of arms usually carried on whale ships. When within about 300 yards they stopped, seemingly in consultation. Soon, one of their number set off for the vessel. When he came alongside, we showed him our arms. He held up elephant teeth; signifying that he came as a trader, and not an enemy. We suffered him to come on board. He was a very large man, seeming to possess great muscular strength, and nearly naked. In his ears, nose, around his neck, wrists, and ankles, were gold and ivory rings. Going on the quarter deck, he gave a sharp, shrill whistle as a signal to his comrades; in an instant every paddle was in motion, beating time to their wild songs. Soon they were at our ship's sides. We would allow only a few on board at a time. Never, in the whole course of my wanderings, have I seen man presenting so terrific an appearance,—they were scarred from head to foot in a most brutal manner. Whether this was done in actual wars or not I am unable to determine;[47] but, as they were nearly all so, I thought it must have been done among themselves, that they might appear thus frightful. Their teeth, which were of the purest white, were filed sharp, resembling the teeth of a saw. We traded with them, taking a few teeth, and a small quantity of gold dust. The breeze freshened a little, and they left us. The first one that came was the last to leave. After the others were a little way from the ship he threw his canoe (which he brought on board when he came) over, then jumped after it, and pulled for the shore.

We lay five days becalmed within a few miles of the shore. Sometimes towing our vessel with boats, at other times, getting a little breeze, we would take all possible advantage of it. Still we gained but little. At last the wind favoring us, we conquered the current, and stood away for St. Thomas, where we went on shore. An Irishman, one of the number, who was naturally a very bad man, procured some spirits with a shirt which he took with him, which rendered him a perfect demon. According to his own statement, he had been a term of years on board of pirate vessels. At any rate he had had many a skirmish, for he was literally scarred from head to foot. When the boat came along side, he called the Captain many hard names of which he took but little notice, knowing his situation, and went below to be clear of him. Jack took a pike, (an instrument of pointed iron, used to handle blubber with,) and threw it with great force at a pig. Missing his aim, it lodged in the bulwarks. The Captain heard the noise, and came immediately upon deck to learn the cause. On inquiring who threw it, Jack stepped up,[48] and promptly said, "I, sir, and what are you a going to do about it." The Captain ordered him put in irons; but the officers found it no small undertaking, for he was quite at home in such skirmishes. He went below, and endeavored to influence the crew to join him in seizing the officers, and taking command of the vessel; but in this he was unsuccessful. The cook informed the officers of his proceedings, and they seized upon all of the arms, spades, boarding knives, &c., belonging to the vessel, and remained under arms during the night. Then most vividly must the treatment the Captain had given his crew come before his mind. He had done nothing to gain their confidence and respect, but rather to the contrary, much to excite their hatred towards him. At the moment when he most needed their sympathy and aid, he had nothing to expect, or even hope at their hands, but stern retaliation. Pent up, as he was, within the narrow confines of a whale ship, where the spirit of mutiny was breathed forth, knowing of no one among his crew whom he could call his friend, must have rendered his situation one not in the least degree enviable. But hardened and reckless as all sailors are usually called, his crew were actuated by higher and better motives. The presumptuous insinuations of Jack were instantly repelled. No one for a single moment entertaining the idea. Rather than raise a hand against him, to whom they had pledged their fidelity, although he had been guilty of a nonconformance on his part, they, one and all, would even suffer the horrors of starvation, which, by his decree, were then seemingly before them. It was hoped and expected that this moment of trial being over, he would[49] do something to ameliorate our condition, and secure to himself that confidence so highly necessary to every commander.

The next morning Jack was called upon quarter deck. The Captain asked him what he meant by such abuse as he had given the previous evening. He, in reply, shaking his clenched fist in his face, said he had made food for sharks of many a better man than him, and such would be his fate should he remain long on board. His choice was given him between public flogging and leaving the ship. He chose to be set on shore, saying he was not born to be flogged on board a whale ship, threatening to kill the Captain before he left.

A boat was lowered away under charge of the second mate, into which he was ordered with his effects, the Captain and other officers standing by under arms. When we reached the shore he bade each an adieu in turn; shouldered his bundle, and started for the woods; and we knew no more of him.

We remained at the island several days. Bought several monkeys of the small kind, which, beside the amusement they afforded, rendered themselves of much service in ridding the ship of cockroaches with which it was swarmed. The service thus rendered the sailor proves to them their own destruction, for they cannot live many weeks after eating them. The cockroach is a very troublesome insect which gets into vessels, and oftentimes attacks the sleeping sailor, eating the dead skin from the feet and hands. The bite is attended with much pain, leaving the flesh tender for a long time.

Some difficulty arose between the officers and crew[50] which terminated in hard words. The Captain swearing that, as our leader was gone, we should feel his power. Our already small allowance was lessened one half. This our natures could not submit to. When we were wanted to go in the boats we were scarce able to work the oars. This called out the worst abuse the Captain could invent. We made Fernando Po, an English island, and took on wood, which we did by carrying it on our shoulders, and wading in water to our middle, a man being placed over us, who exercised his authority with scarce less severity than a Brazilian slave driver. An English man-of-war being at anchor there, and seeing us thus driven, sent her boats along side, and ordered us all to our ship. The mate, who had us in charge, feeling affronted that his orders should be put at nought, hesitated about complying with the order; but, seeing their determination to be obeyed, ordered us to the ship. A lieutenant accompanied us; and, when on board, sent other hands to discharge the boats, and ordered our clothes changed soon as possible. After severely reproving the Captain for thus exposing our lives in that climate, and in the sickly season, too, he left the ship.

The next day we were allowed liberty on shore; passed a burial ground, and saw eight or ten open graves, fitted receptacles for the victims of yellow fever, who were falling almost momentarily. Four months previous to this time, a regiment of 850 soldiers were sent from England, of which only fifteen then remained; and of the thirty females who accompanied them, none were left to tell their sad fate. Some of the scenes to which I was witness, were horrid beyond degree. It[51] seemed to attack more generally, and with greater virulence, those of intemperate habits; and amid such scenes men would go to the intoxicating bowl, lay down to move no more, and, in a few hours, be in a state of putrefaction. I saw on one occasion a funeral procession (of a boatswain who had died intoxicated) which consisted of only six men, and all of them drunk, staggering their way along to the grave-yard. In ascending a small hill the coffin fell from their shoulders; the corpse broke its rude boards, and rolled part way down the hill. They carried the coffin to the top, then placed the body in, and with oaths and imprecations went on their way.

Gladly we left this place so wretched, and proceeded to St. Thomas. Took on a few yams, hogs, &c. Spoke a trader, of whom we procured a quantity of dried turtle; but little of it fell to the poor seamen. We still remained upon allowance. The fear which the officers were under in the affair of Jack had entirely subsided, leaving our situation no better than before.

A new barrel of beef was opened one day for the officers which was much hurt. It was thought to be good enough for the seamen, and another opened for the officers. The meat when cooked was worse than before, and we presumed to show it to the Captain, who flew into a rage, and said if he could get any that was worse we should eat it. We got some lines and caught a few fish. The Captain finding we were like to live well that way, took our allowance of pork from us, which obliged us to eat our fish boiled, and without salt. Thus we spent seven months, most anxiously wishing for a termination of the voyage.

[52]

We stood away for the Azores. The Captain wishing to get a man to fill the place of the one left, tried to steal a Portuguese soldier; had him secreted on board; but was found out, and fined $200. This enraged him, and severity was our lot in consequence. His haste in leaving that place was great. We had been out only about twelve hours, when heavy squalls from the northeast struck us. The wind increased. We lay to, under a storm try-sail, fourteen days. During this time we were kept picking oakum, having but six hours rest. The Captain endeavored the while to teach us the value of true, heart-felt thankfulness. As the wind abated, we spread sail for New Bedford. Happy, indeed, were we to learn that home was our next point to be reached. We were kept on allowance during the passage which occupied 60 days. We caught and eat porpoises to satisfy the demands of hunger. Those acquainted with the article can form some idea of our misery.

One night, in the gulf stream, a number of flying fish came on board, which I took, and was preparing for my breakfast, when the Captain came along, saying "you have had fine luck. Think you have got enough for my breakfast?" and at the same time called the cook to take them. I seized the pail and threw them overboard, "saying you shall not have them any how." His rage knew no bounds; he called me every thing which he could find words to utter. I reminded him of the speedy termination of the voyage. He could find no way to punish this insolence as he called it. Finally, he set us all scrubbing the deck with sand, although it rained so hard that it kept one man constantly putting it on.[53] Stopping the scupper, the rolling of the vessel would wash the water and sand from one side to the other. We were obliged to rub from 7 to 12 o'clock; then to dinner, (if boiled porpoise and bread can be called dinner,) back again to scrubbing, and thus we finished the day.

The next day we spoke the ship Boston, Capt. Reed, of Fair Haven, bound to Brazil, whaling; they offered us provisions, which our Captain refused, probably thinking it economy for his men to catch their own. In a few days we saw land, took on a pilot; soon came to anchor. As is always the case, seamen's duty is done the moment the anchor is let go, though they usually stow the sails; but the moment the anchor was cast we took our things, put them in a boat to go ashore, leaving the sails hanging to the yards. The Captain begged of us to stow them. We told him we had been with him long enough, and were now happily free from his authority; and that it would give us much pleasure to see him stow them himself. He was soon leaving the ship himself; for the owners came on board, and ordered him, and all that he had, out of the ship immediately, or it would go overboard. Thus terminated my second voyage with still poorer success than my former one, having taken only 150 barrels sperm, and 10 black fish oil, after a voyage of nearly 13 months. This voyage, like the first, left me in debt, and with no other way, seemingly, than to again try and see what another voyage would do. I went to the boarding house without a cent in my pocket.


[54]

CHAPTER IV.

Sail on board the Huntress, bound for the Pacific, on a whaling Expedition. Encounter a heavy Storm. A Man lost. Reach the Falklands. Description of them. Storm at the Cape. Icebergs. Island of Juan Fernandez. Arrive at the Sandwich Islands. A Sketch of them.

I shipped myself on board the Huntress, Capt. Post, then fitting for a cruise to the Pacific. We set sail from New Bedford, 1832, August 3d. About the middle of the month a violent gale arose from the southeast. We stowed our top-gallant-sails; reefed our top-sails; furled our main course, and stood to the eastward. The gale increasing, we were obliged to furl our fore and mizen top-sails, jib and spankers, and heave our ship to under close reefed main-top-sail, fore-sail, and fore-top-mast, main and mizen stay-sail. Thus we ran many hours. The wind subsiding in a degree, enabled us to run quarterly with the wind, with fore-top-mast studding-sail set. Most of the hands were below when the ship fetched a lurch and roll at the same time, with a head sea, carrying the fore-top-mast in three pieces, and the top-gallant-mast; springing the main and mizen top-mast; throwing one man who was aloft into the water. A boat was lowered, but no trace of him found save his hat. By the blood on the rigging, it was thought he received serious injury before he reached the water. All hands were called, and the wreck cleared fast as possible.

[55]

Most of our crew were new hands; and out of 30 men only six were found who could go aloft with any degree of usefulness in rough weather. Having spare spars, we were soon rigged again. Made the Azores. Took one whale from which we got 60 barrels of oil. We also replaced our spars; got potatoes, onions, oranges, &c., from them. We touched at Cape Verdes; got hogs, goats, &c.; then shaped our course for the Falkland islands, "so denominated by the English, in 1639, in honor, it is supposed of Lord Viscount Falkland. The soil is bad, and the climate is disagreeable, and the shores are beaten with perpetual storms. Nothing but reeds and moss cover the ground. The sky is perpetually concealed from view by thick fogs. The extreme cold cannot be alleviated by fire, as there is neither wood or coal; and even a ship in port is covered with constant snow. The shores are frequented, however, by considerable quantities of sea-fowl and fish. The penguins, called swans by the Spaniards, supply a scanty and miserable food. Walruses, and others of the seal kind, abound.

"The history of the disputes between Great Britain and Spain, concerning these miserable islands, furnishes another of the evidences of the necessity of the study of geography among statesmen, as nothing but a complete geographical ignorance concerning them, could have raised such an unnecessary alarm on both sides."

We left the Falklands to double the cape. A few days after, a heavy wind arose from the north. We shortened sail as the gale increased, until we come down to close reefed main-top-sail, scudding the ship for four[56] days. The sea ran most fearfully high, throwing the water in at one side, and putting it out at the other. While the ship was thus laboring, we were ordered to lighten her top hamper, by sending down the fore and mizen top-gallant and main royal yards. While another and myself were in the act of lowering the main royal yard the ship rolled very quick and heavy. I missed my hold and falling, struck on the main-top-sail reef tackle, which was very tight and fast. I struck on my side, turned a complete somerset, fell again, and thrust my legs between the shrouds and ratline, and there hung. The mate hearing the rigging shake, cried out, "who is there?" I answered some way, scarce knowing how. He, knowing my voice, came running to help me to the deck, when I fainted and fell. He picked me up, and placed me on the after hatchway. At that moment a tremendous sea struck the vessel, carrying the mate and myself into the lee scupper. Assistance being at hand, we were taken out, and I carried to the cabin. It was sometime before I came to my senses. Found three of my ribs broken, and bruised much elsewhere. I was carried into the forecastle, where I remained suffering most extremely for a long time; and have hardly, I may say, recovered from the effects to the present day. The gale continued with unabated fury. The latitude being nearly run out, the ship was hove to with her head to the west. There we lay drifting four weeks. Fell in with mountains of ice, commonly known as icebergs, of vast dimensions, and of almost every form. An estimate was made of the size of one supposed to be the largest seen. It seemingly was an hundred and fifty or two hundred feet high; and, as is a fact,[57] the volume of ice is to that of sea water as 10 to 9, consequently the ice, which rises above the water, is to that which sinks below as 1 to 9. Then allowing this mass to have been 150 feet above the water, and of regular shape, it would sink below the surface about 1350 feet, making a huge mass of some 1500 feet high. Capt. Cook, in his voyage in 1773, describes one as being 600 feet high above the water, making, as he estimated, 5,400 feet to be its entire height. "And yet," says Cook, "the sea broke over them." They exhibited for a few moments a view very pleasing to the eye; but a sense of danger soon filled the mind with horror; for had the ship struck against the weather side of one of those islands, when the sea ran high, she would instantly have been dashed in pieces.

At length these islands became as familiar to those on board as the clouds and the sea. Whenever a strong reflection of white was seen on the skirts of the sky, near the horizon, then ice was sure to be encountered. Notwithstanding which, the substance was not entirely white, but often tinged, especially near the surface of the sea, with a most beautiful sapphirine, or rather beryline blue, evidently reflected from the water. This blue color sometimes appeared twenty or thirty feet above the surface, and was probably produced by particles of sea water, which had been dashed against the mass in tempestuous weather, and had penetrated into its interstices. In the evening, the sun setting just behind one of these masses, tinged its edges with gold, and reflected on the entire mass a beautiful suffusion of purple. In the larger masses were frequently observed shades or casts of white, lying above each other in strata, sometimes[58] of six inches, and at other times of a foot in height.

This appearance seemed to confirm the opinion entertained relative to the increase and accumulation of such huge masses of ice, by heavy falls of snow at different intervals; for snow being of various kinds, small grained, and large grained, in light feathery locks, &c., the various degrees of compactness may account for the various colors of strata. The approximation of several fields of ice, of different magnitudes produces a very singular phenomenon.

The smaller of these masses are forced out of the water, and thrown on the larger ones, until at length an aggregate is formed of a tremendous height. These accumulated bodies of ice float in the sea like so many rugged mountains, and are continually increased in height by the freezing of the spray of the sea, and the melting of the snow which falls on them.

The collision of great fields of ice, in high latitudes is attended by a noise, which for a time, takes away the sense of hearing any thing beside; and that of the smaller fields, with a grinding of unspeakable horror.

The water which dashes against the mountainous ice, freezes into an infinite variety of forms, and presents to the admiring view of the voyager, ideal towns, streets, churches, steeples, and almost every form which imagination can picture to itself.

Our course was very much impeded by immense fields of low ice, the extent of which could scarcely be seen; these low fields, called the meadows, are the sporting grounds of seals, and often hundreds are seen at a time frolicking on them. After passing six weeks[59] in dodging the ice, the wind favored us, and we shaped our course for the island of Juan Fernandez, which lies off the coast of Chili, about 350 miles, is inhabited by a few Spaniards, and is famous as having been the solitary residence of Alexander Selkirk, a Scotchman, whose singular adventure gave rise to a novel known as the adventures of Robinson Crusoe. We spent a few days on shore getting goats, potatoes, fruit, &c., for the ship; from thence we stood for the Sandwich Islands, and came to anchor at Hawaii about the first of April.

Stewart in his Geographical sketch of them, says:—"The Sandwich Islands are situated in the Pacific ocean, between 18 50' and 22 20' north latitude, and between 154 53' and 160 15', west longitude from Greenwich. They are about 2800 miles distant from the coast of Mexico, on the east; about 5000 from the shores of China, on the west; and 2700 from the Society Islands on the south.

"The Islands are ten in number, stretching, as may be seen from a chart, in a flattened curve, E. S. E., and W. N. W. in the following order: Hawaii, Maui, Molokini, Kahulawe, Lanai, Molokai, Oahu, Kauai, Nihan, and Kaula.

"Hawaii, the most southern and eastern island, is the largest of the group. It is about ninety-seven miles long, and seventy-eight broad, covering a surface of 4000 square miles, and containing 85,000 inhabitants.

"Maui lies northwest from Hawaii, and is separated from it by a channel twenty-four miles wide. This island formed by two mountainous peninsulas, connected by a narrow neck of low land, is forty-eight miles long, and at its greatest width twenty-nine miles[60] wide. It covers about 600 square miles, and is supposed to have a population of 20,000 people.

"Molokini is a barren rock, rising only fifteen or twenty feet above the level of the ocean, at a distance of four or five miles from the western shore of the southern peninsular of Maui. Kahulawe lies in the same direction from Maui, six or eight miles beyond Molokini. It is only eleven miles long, and eight broad, and has but few inhabitants.

"Lanai is situated twenty miles northwest from Kahulawe, and ten or twelve miles directly west from the northern peninsula of Maui. It is seventeen miles long and nine broad, covering about 110 square miles, with a population of 2000 or 3000.

"Molokai lies west-north-west from Maui, and is separated from it by a channel ten miles wide. A passage of about the same width divides it on the south from Lanai. Molokai is forty miles long and seven broad, covering 170 square miles, and containing three or four thousand inhabitants.

"Oahu lies twenty-seven miles northwest from Molokai; is forty-six miles in length, and twenty-three in breadth, with a surface of 520 square miles, and a population of 20,000. It affords the best harbor in the group, and is the most fertile and beautiful of the islands.

"Kauai is seventy-five miles northwest from Oahu. It is thirty-three miles long, and twenty-eight broad, covering 520 square miles, and has about 10,000 inhabitants.

"Nihan lies southwest from Kauai fifteen miles, and is twenty miles long and seven broad. The number of its[61] inhabitants is small. Kaula, situated seventeen miles southwest of Nihan, like Molokini, is an uninhabited rock, visited only for the eggs of sea fowl which frequent it in great numbers, and there hatch their young.

"These islands were discovered in the year 1778, by Captain James Cook, of the British Navy, and from him in honor of Earl Sandwich, the first lord of the admiralty, received the name by which they are at present designated. The tragical and lamented death of this celebrated navigator at Hawaii, in the succeeding year, caused their existence to be made known to the civilized world, with an excitement of feeling that deeply stamped the event on the public mind. No foreign ship visited the group again until the year 1786, when the ill-fated La Perouse touched at Maui; and about the same time two vessels, engaged in the trade of the North-west Coast, procured refreshments at the island of Oahu. These were early succeeded by several others; and in 1792 and 1794, by the expedition under the command of Vancouver."

After having secured a sufficient quantity of provision, we were allowed liberty on shore; this liberty to one who had been shut up within the confines of a ship, was indeed exhilarating.

In one of our rambles we fell in with a native, with whom we bargained for a dinner. He immediately sat himself about it. When cooked, it was served up in a calabash, or gourd; we seated ourselves upon the ground, around the dishes, and commenced operation; all were particularly fond of the meat which he had furnished, yet knew not what it was; on inquiry, we were told in broken English, "poy-poy," at the same[62] time he gave a most knowing kind of a laugh. We then half suspected foul play, and again sternly interrogating him as to the kind of meat, received in reply, "cow, cow," which signified dog. Each looked at the other, scarce knowing what to do. Some began vomiting; as for myself, I relished it, while supposing it something else; and at that late hour thought it folly to make much ado about it. The joke was often referred to quite to the discomfiture of those upon whom it was forced.

We were next allowed liberty of forty-eight hours on shore, which we improved by visiting the volcano of Kilauea.

As this volcano was visited in the year 1825, by Lord Byron, S. C. Stewart, and other distinguished and scientific gentlemen, accompanied by the officers and crew of his majesty's ship Blonde, with an escort of one hundred natives, I would refer my readers to a description given by Stewart, believing it to be the most graphic ever given, which will be found in the following chapter.


[63]

CHAPTER V.

Description of the Volcano of Kilauea, at Hawaii.

Every preparation having been previously made, we left the harbor shortly after sunrise. The uncommon beauty of the morning proved a true omen of the delightful weather with which we were favored during the whole of our absence. The rich coloring of Mounakea in the early sun, never called forth higher or more general admiration. The brightness of the sky, the purity of the air, the freshness, sweetness, and cheerfulness of all nature, excited a buoyancy of spirit favorable to the accomplishment of the walk of forty miles, which lay between us and the object of our journey.

* * * * * *

For the first four miles the country was open and uneven, and beautifully sprinkled with clumps, groves, and single trees of the bread fruit, pandanus, and candle tree. We then came to a wood, four miles in width, the outskirts of which exhibited a rich and delightful foliage. It was composed principally of the candle tree, whose whitish leaves and blossoms afforded a fine contrast to the dark green of the various parasitical plants which hung in luxuriant festoons and pendants from their very tops to the ground, forming thick and deeply shaded bowers round their trunks. The interior was far less interesting, presenting nothing but an impenetrable thicket, on both sides of the path. This was[64] excessively rough and fatiguing, consisting entirely of loose and pointed pieces of lava, which from their irregularity and sharpness, not only cut and tore our shoes, but constantly endangered our feet and ankles. The high brake, ginger, &c., which border and overhung the path, were filled with the rain of the night, and added greatly, from their wetness, to the unpleasantness of the walk. An hour and a half, however, saw us safely through, and refreshing ourselves in the charming groves with which the wood was here again bordered. The whole of the way from this place to within a short distance of the volcano, is very much of one character. The path, formed of black lava, so smooth in some places as to endanger falling, and still showing the configuration of the molten stream as it had rolled down the gradual descent of the mountain, leads midway through a strip of open uncultivated country, from three to five miles wide, skirted on both sides by a ragged and stinted wood, and covered with fern, grass, and low shrubs, principally a species of the whortleberry. The fruit of this, of the size of a small gooseberry, and of a bright yellow color, tinged on one side with red, was very abundant, and though of insipid taste, refreshing from its juice. There are no houses near the path, but the thatch of a cottage was occasionally observed peeping from the edge of the wood; and here and there the white smoke of a kindling fire curled above the thick foliage of the trees. Far on the right and west, Mounaloa and Mounakea were distinctly visible; and at an equal distance, on the left, and east, the ocean, with its horizon—from the height at which we viewed it, mingling with the sky.

[65]

We dined thirteen miles from the bay, under a large candle tree, on a bed of brake, collected and spread by a party of people who had been waiting by the wayside to see the "alii nui mai Perekania mai," the great chief from Britain. About two miles farther we came to the houses erected for our lodgings the first night. Thinking it, however, too early to lie for the day, after witnessing a dance performed by a company from the neighboring settlements, we hastened on, intending to sleep at the next houses, ten miles distant; but night overtaking us before we reached them, just as darkness set in we turned aside a few rods to the ruins of two huts, the sticks only of which remaining. The natives, however, soon covered them with fern, the leaves of the Kukui, &c., a quantity of which they also spread upon the ground, before spreading the mats which were to be our beds.

Our arrival and encampment produced quite a picturesque and lively scene; for the islanders, who are not fond of such forced marches as we had made during the day, were more anxious for repose than ourselves, and proceeded with great alacrity to make preparations for the night.

The darkness, as it gathered round us, rendered more gloomy by a heavily clouded sky, made the novelty of our situation still more striking.

Behind the huts, in the distance, an uplifted torch of the blazing kukuinut here and there indistinctly revealed the figures and costume of many, spreading their couches under the bushes in the open air; the more curious of our dusky companions, both male and female, meanwhile[66] pressing in numbers round our circle, as if anxious to "catch the manners living as they rose."

A large fire of brush wood, at some distance in front, exhibited the objects of the foreground in still stronger lights and shadows. Groups of both sexes, and all ages, were seated or standing round the fire, wrapped up from the chillness of the evening air, in their large kiheis or mantles, of white, black, green, yellow, and red.

Some smoking, some throwing in, and others snatching from the embers, a fish or potato, or other article of food; some giving a loud halloo, in answer to the call of a straggler just arriving; others wholly taken up with the proceedings of the sailors cooking our suppers, and all chattering with the volubility of so many magpies.

By daylight the next morning we were on the road again.

At nine o'clock we passed the last houses put up for our accommodation on the way; and at eleven o'clock had arrived within three miles of the object of our curiosity.

For the last hour the scenery had become more interesting; our path was skirted, occasionally, with groves and clusters of trees, and fringed with a greater variety of vegetation. Here also the smoke from the volcano was first discovered, settling in light fleecy clouds to the southwest.

Our resting place at this time was a delightful spot, commanding a full view of the wide extent of country over which we had traveled, and beyond and around it, the ocean, which, from the vast and almost undistinguished[67] extent of its horizon, seemed literally an "illimitable sea."

The smooth greensward, under the shade of a majestic acacia, almost encircled by thickets of a younger growth, afforded a refreshing couch on which to take our luncheon. Here we saw the first bed of strawberry vines, but without finding any fruit. We tarried but a few moments, and then hurried on to the grand object before us.

The nearer we approached, the more heavy the columns of smoke appeared, and roused to intenseness our curiosity to behold their origin. Under the influence of this excitement, we hastened forward with rapid steps, regardless of the heat of a noonday sun, and the fatigue of a walk of thirty-six miles, already accomplished.

A few minutes before twelve o'clock, we came suddenly on the brink of a precipice, one hundred and fifty or two hundred feet high, covered with shrubbery and trees. Descending this by a path almost perpendicular, we crossed a plain half a mile in width, enclosed, except in the direction we were going, by the cliff behind us, and found ourselves a second time on the top of a precipice four hundred feet high, also covered with bushes and trees. This, like the former, swept off to the right and left, enclosing in a semi-circular form, a level space about a quarter of a mile broad; immediately beyond which lay the tremendous abyss of our search, emitting volumes of vapor and smoke; and laboring and groaning as if in inexpressible agony from the raging of the conflicting elements within its bosom. We stood but a moment to take this first distant glance.[68] Then hastily descended the almost perpendicular height, and crossed the plain to the very brink of the crater.

There are scenes, to which description, and even painting can do no justice, and in conveying any adequate impression of which they must ever fail. Of such, an elegant traveler rightly says, "the height, the depth, the length, the breadth, the combined aspect, may all be correctly given, but the mind of the reader will remain untouched by the emotions of admiration and sublimity which the eye-witness experiences." That which here burst on our sight was emphatically of this kind, and to behold it without singular and deep emotion, would demand a familiarity with the more terrible phenomena of nature which few have the opportunity of acquiring. Standing at an elevation of one thousand five hundred feet, we looked into a black and horrid gulf, not less than eight miles in circumference, so directly beneath us that, in appearance, we might by a single leap have plunged into its lowest depth. The hideous immensity itself, independent of the many frightful images which it embraced, almost caused an involuntary closing of the eyes against it. But when to the sight is added the appalling effect of the various unnatural and fearful noises, the muttering and sighing, the groaning and blowing, the every agonized struggling of the mighty action within—as a whole it is too horrible! And for the first moment I felt like one of my friends, who on reaching the brink, recoiled and covered his face, exclaiming, "call it weakness, or what you please, but I cannot look again."

It was sufficient employment for the afternoon simply to sit and gaze on the scene, and though some of[69] our party strolled about, and one or two descended a short distance into the crater, the most of our number deferred all investigation until the next morning.

From what I have already said, you will perceive that this volcano differs in one respect from most others of which we have accounts. The crater instead of being the truncated top of a mountain, distinguishable in every direction at a distance, is an immense chasm in an upland country, near the base of the mountain Monnaloa—approached not by ascending a cone, but by descending two vast terraces; and not visible from any point at a greater distance than half a mile, a circumstance, which, no doubt, from the suddenness of the arrival, adds much to the effect of a first look from the brink. It is probable that it was originally a cone, but assumed its present aspect, it may be centuries ago, from the falling in of the whole summit. Of this, the precipices we descended, which entirely encircle the crater in circumferences, of fifteen and twenty miles, give strong evidence. They have unquestionably been formed by the sinking of the mountain, whose foundations had been undermined by the devouring flames beneath. In the same manner one half of the present depth of the crater has at no very remote period been formed. About midway from the top a ledge of lava, in some places only a few feet, but in others many rods wide, extends entirely round, at least as far as an examination has been made; forming a kind of gallery—to which you can descend, in two or three places, and walk, as far as the smoke, settling at the south end, will permit. This offset bears incontestible marks of having once been the level of the fiery flood, now boiling[70] in the bottom of the crater. A subduction of lava, by some subterraneous channel, has since taken place, and sunk the abyss many hundred feet to its present depth. The gulf below contains probably not less than sixty—fifty-six have been counted—smaller conical craters, many of which are in constant action. The tops and sides of two or three of these are covered with sulphur, of mingled shades of yellow and green, with this exception, the ledge and every thing below it are of a dismal black. The upper cliffs, on the northern and western sides, are perfectly perpendicular, and of a red color, everywhere exhibiting the scarred marks of former powerful ignition. Those on the eastern side are less precipitous, and consist of entire banks of sulphur, of a delicate and beautiful yellow. The south end is wholly obscured by smoke, which fills that part of the crater, and spreads widely over the surrounding horizon. As the darkness of night gathered round us, new and powerful effect was given to the scene. Fire after fire, which the glare of mid-day had entirely concealed, began to glimmer on the eye with the first shades of evening, and as the darkness increased, appeared in such rapid succession, as forcibly to remind me of the hasty lighting of the lamps of a city on the sudden approach of a gloomy night. Two or three of the small craters nearest to us were in full action, every moment casting out stones and ashes, and lava, with heavy detonations, while the irritated flames accompanying them, glared widely over the surrounding obscurity, against the sides of the ledge and upper cliffs, richly illuminating the volumes of smoke at the south end, and occasionally casting a bright reflection on the bosom of a passing[71] cloud. The great seat of action, however, seemed to be at the southern and western end, where an exhibition of ever-varying fire-works was presented, surpassing in beauty and sublimity all that the ingenuity of art ever devised. Rivers of fire were seen rolling in splendid corruscation among the laboring craters, and on one side a whole lake, whose surface constantly flashed and sparkled with the agitation of contending currents.

Expressions of admiration and astonishment burst momentarily from our lips, and though greatly fatigued it was near midnight before we gave ourselves rest, often interrupted during the night, to gaze on the sight with renewed wonder and surprise.

As I laid myself down on my mat—fancying that the very ground which was my pillow shook beneath my head—the silent musings of my mind were:—"Great and marvelous are thy works, Lord, God Almighty! greatly art thou to be feared, thou King of saints!"

The next morning we prepared for a descent into the crater.

One of the few places where this is practicable was within a rod of the hut where we lodged. For the first four hundred feet the path was steep, and from the looseness of the stones and rocks on both sides, required caution in every movement. A slight touch was sufficient to detach these and send them bounding downwards hundreds of feet to the imminent danger of any one near them. The remaining distance of about the same number of feet, was gradual and safe, the path having turned into the bed of an old channel of lava, which ran off in an inclined plain, until it met the ledge[72] before described more than a quarter of a mile west of the place where we began the descent. Previous to our descent we had provided ourselves with long canes and poles, by which we might test the soundness of any spot before stepping on it, and immediately on reaching the ledge, we found the wisdom of the precaution. This offset is formed wholly of scoria and lava, mostly burned to a cinder and everywhere intersected by deep crevices and chasms, from many of which light smoke and vapor were emitted, and from others a scalding steam.

The general surface is a black, glossy incrustation, retaining perfectly the innumerably diversified tortuous configurations of the lava, as it originally cooled, and so brittle as to crack and break under us like ice, while the hollow reverberations of our footsteps beneath, sufficiently assured us of the unsubstantial character of the whole mass.

In some places by thrusting our stick down with force, large pieces would break through, disclosing deep fissures, and holes apparently without bottom. These, however, were generally too small to appear dangerous. The width of this ledge is constantly diminishing in a greater or less degree, by the falling of large masses from its edges into the crater; and it is not improbable that in some future convulsion, the whole structure may yet be plunged into the abyss below.

Leaving the sulphur banks on the western side behind us, we directed our course along the northern part to the western cliff. As we advanced these became more and more perpendicular, until they presented nothing but the bare and upright face of an immense wall,[73] from eight to ten hundred feet high, on whose surface huge stones and rocks hung apparently so loosely as to threaten falling at the agitation of a breath. In many places a white curling vapor issued from the sides and summit of the precipice, and in two or three streams of clay-colored lava, like some waterfall extending almost from the top to the bottom, had cooled evidently at a very recent period. At almost every step, something new attracted our attention, and by stopping sometimes to look up, not without a feeling of apprehension, at the enormous masses above our heads, at others to gain by a cautious approach to the brink of the gulf, a nearer glance at the equally frightful depth below; at one time turning aside to ascertain the heat of a column of steam and at another to secure some unique or beautiful specimen, we occupied more than two hours in proceeding the same number of miles.

At that distance from our entrance on the ledge we came to a spot on the western side, where it widened many hundred feet and terminated next the crater, not as in most other places, perpendicularly, but in an immense heap of broken slabs and blocks of lava, loosely piled together, as they had fallen in some convulsion of the mountain, and jutting off to the bottom in a frightful mass of ruin. Here we had been informed the descent into the depths of the crater could be most easily made, but being without a guide we were entirely at a loss what course to take, until we unexpectedly descried the gentlemen who had preceded us re-ascending. They dissuaded us most strenuously from proceeding further, but their lively representations of the difficulty and dangers of the way only strengthened our resolution to[74] go down, and knowing that the crater had been crossed at this end, we hastened on, notwithstanding the refusal of the guide to return with us.

The descent was as perilous as it had been represented, but by proceeding with great caution, testing well the safety of every step before committing our weight to it, and often stopping to select the course which seemed least hazardous, in the space of about twenty minutes, by a zigzag way, we reached the bottom without any accident of greater amount than a few scratches on the hands from the sharpness and roughness of the lava, by which we had occasionally been obliged to support ourselves. When we were about half way down we were encouraged to persevere in our undertaking, by meeting a native who had descended on the opposite side and passed over. It was only however from the renewed assurance it gave of the practicability of the attempt, for besides being greatly fatigued, he was much cut and bruised from a fall; said the bottom was "ino-ino loaka wahi O debelo!"—"excessively bad the place of the devil!"—and could be prevailed on to return with us only by the promise of a large reward.

It is difficult to say whether sensations of admiration or of terror predominated, on reaching the bottom of this tremendous spot. As I looked up at the gigantic wall, which on every side rose to the very clouds, I felt oppressed to a most unpleasant degree, by a sense of confinement.

Either from the influence of imagination, or from the actual effect of the immense power of a noonday sun beating directly on us, in addition to the heated and[75] sulphureous atmosphere of the volcano itself, I for some moments experienced an agitation of spirits, and difficulty of respiration, that made me cast a look of wishful anxiety towards our little hut, which, at an elevation of near fifteen hundred feet seemed only like a bird's nest on the opposite cliff. These emotions, however, soon passed off, and we began with great spirit and activity, the enterprise before us. I can compare the general aspect of the bottom of the crater, to nothing that will give a livelier image of it to the mind than the appearance of a lake would present, if the ice with which it was covered in the winter was suddenly broken up by a heavy storm, and as suddenly frozen again, while large slabs and blocks were still toppling and dashing and heaping against each other with the motion of the waves. Just so rough and distorted was the black mass under our feet, only a hundred fold more terrific, independently of the innumerable cracks, fissures, deep chasms and holes, from which sulphureous vapor, steam and smoke were exhaled, with a degree of heat that testified to the near vicinity of fire.

We had not proceeded far, before our path was intersected by a chasm at least thirty feet wide, and of greater depth than we could ascertain, at the nearest distance we dare approach. The only alternative was to return or follow its course until it terminated or became narrow enough to be crossed. We chose the latter, but soon met an equally formidable obstacle, in a current of smoke, so highly impregnated with a suffocating gas as not to allow of respiration. What a situation for a group of half a dozen men, totally unaware of the extent of peril to which they might be[76] exposed! The lava on which we stood was in many places so hot, that we could not hold for a moment in our hands the pieces which we knocked off for specimens.

On one side lay a gulf of unfathomable depth, on the other an inaccessible pile of ruins, and immediately in front an oppressive and deadly vapor. While hesitating what to do, we perceived the smoke to be swept occasionally, by an eddy of the air, in a direction opposite to that in which it most of the time settled. And watching an opportunity, when our way was thus made clear, we held our breath and ran as rapidly as the dangerous character of the path would permit, until we had gained a place beyond its ordinary course. We here unexpectedly found ourselves also delivered from the other impediment to our progress; for the chasm abruptly ran off in a direction far from that we wished to pursue. Our escape from the vapor however was that which we considered the most important: and so great was our impression of the danger to which we had been exposed from it, that when we saw our way to the opposite side open, without any special obstacle before us, we felt disposed formally to return thanks to Almighty God for our deliverance. But before this was proposed most of our number had gone forward so far as to be out of call; and for the time the external adoration of the Creator, from the midst of one of the most horrible of his works, was reluctantly waived.

At an inconsiderable distance from us was one of the largest of the conical craters, whose laborious action had so greatly impressed our minds during the night; and we hastened to a nearer examination of it; so prodigious[77] an engine I never expect again to behold. On reaching its base, we judged it to be one hundred and fifty feet high, a huge irregularly shapen, inverted funnel of lava covered with clefts, orifices, and tunnels, from which bodies of steam escaped with deafening explosion, while pale flames, ashes, stones, and lava, were propelled with equal force and noise from its ragged and yawning mouth. The whole formed so singularly terrific an object, that in order to secure a hasty sketch of it, I permitted the other gentlemen to go a few yards nearer than I did, while I occupied myself with my pencil. One of the company with his servant ascended the cone several feet, but found the heat too great to remain longer than to detach with their sticks, a piece or two of recent lava, burning hot. So highly was our admiration excited by the scene, that we forgot the danger to which we might be exposed should any change take place in the currents of destructive gas—which exists to a greater or less degree in every part of the crater—until one of the gentlemen, after two or three intimations of the propriety of an immediate departure, warned us in a most decided tone, not only as a friend, but as a professional gentleman, of the peril of our situation, assuring us, that three inspirations of the air by which we might be surrounded, would prove fatal to every one of us. We felt the truth of the assertion, and notwithstanding the desire we had of visiting a similar cone covered with a beautiful incrustation of sulphur, at the distance from us, of a few hundred yards only, we hastily took the speediest course from so dangerous a spot. The ascent to the ledge was not less difficult and frightful than the descent had been, and for the last[78] few yards was almost perpendicular. But we all succeeded in safely gaining its top, not far from the path by which we had in the morning descended the upper cliff.

We reached the hut about two o'clock, nearly exhausted from fatigue, thirst and hunger, and had immediate reason to congratulate ourselves, on a most narrow escape from suffering and extreme danger, if not from death. For, on turning round, we perceived the whole chasm to be filling with thick sulphureous smoke; and within half an hour, it was so completely choked with it, that not an object below us was visible. Even where we were, in the unconfined region above, the air became so oppressive as to make us think seriously of a precipitate retreat. This continued to be the case for the greater part of the afternoon. A dead calm took place, both within and without the crater, and from the diminution of noise, and the various signs of action, the volcano itself seemed to be resting from its labors.

One of the company, during a morning ramble, had gathered two large buckets of fine strawberries, which made a delightful dessert at our dinner. The mountains of Hawaii are the only parts of the island on which this delicious fruit is found. A large red raspberry is also abundant on them; but even when fully ripe, it has a rough acid taste similar to that of an unripe blackberry. The flavor of the strawberry, however, is as fine as that of the same fruit in America.

Towards evening the smoke again rolled off to the south, before a fresh breeze, and every thing assumed its ordinary aspect. At this time we succeeded in getting sufficient data to calculate the height of the upper cliff;[79] and made it nine hundred feet. If this be correct, it is judged that the height of the ledge cannot be less than six hundred feet; making the whole depth of the crater that which I have stated in the preceding pages, fifteen hundred feet. On similar grounds, the circumference of the crater at its bottom has been estimated at a distance of from five to seven miles; and at its top from eight to ten miles.

Greatly to our regret we found it would be necessary to set off on our return early the next morning; all the provisions of the natives being entirely expended. We could have passed a week here with undiminished interest, and wished to remain at least one day longer to visit the sulphur banks, which abound with beautiful chrystalizations, and to make some researches on the summit. We would have been glad also to have added to the variety of specimens already collected, especially of the volcanic sponge, and capillary volcanic glass, not found on the side of the crater where we encamped; but it was impossible; and we made preparations for an early departure. Just as these were completed, in the edge of the evening, another party from the same ship, consisting of about a dozen midshipmen arrived, with whom we shared our lodgings for the night.

The splendid illuminations of the preceding evening were again lighted up with the closing of the day; and after enjoying their beauty for two or three hours with renewed delight, we early sought a repose which the fatigue of the morning had rendered most desirable. The chattering of the islanders around our cabins, and the occasional sound of voices in protracted conversation among our own number, had however, scarcely[80] ceased long enough to admit of sound sleep, when the volcano again began roaring, and laboring with redoubled activity. The confusion of noises was prodigiously great. In addition to all we had before heard, there was an angry muttering from the very bowels of the abyss, accompanied at intervals by what appeared the desperate effort of some gigantic power struggling for deliverance. These sounds were not fixed or confined to one place, but rolled from one end of the crater to the other; sometimes seeming to be immediately under us—when a terrible tremor of the ground on which we lay, took place—and then again rushing to the farthest end with incalculable velocity. The whole air was filled with tumult; and those most soundly asleep were quickly roused by it to thorough wakefulness. Lord Byron springing up in his cot exclaiming, "We shall certainly have an eruption; such power must burst through every thing!" He had barely ceased speaking, when a dense column of heavy black smoke was seen rising from the crater, directly in front of us, the subterranean struggle ceased, and immediately after flames burst from a large cone, near which we had been in the morning, and which then appeared to have been long inactive. Red hot stones, cinders, and ashes, were also propelled to a great height with immense violence; and shortly after the molten lava came boiling up, and flowed down the sides of the cone, and over the surrounding scoria, in two beautiful curved streams, glittering with indescribable brilliance.

At the same time a whole lake of fire opened in a more distant part. This could not have been less than two miles in circumference, and its action was more[81] horribly sublime than any thing I ever imagined to exist, even in the ideal visions of unearthly things. Its surface had all the agitation of an ocean; billow after billow tossed its monstrous bosom in the air, and occasionally those from different directions burst with such violence, as in the concussion to dash the fiery spray, seemingly, forty and fifty feet high. It was at once the most splendidly beautiful, and dreadfully fearful of spectacles, and irresistibly turned the thoughts to that lake of fire, from whence we are told, the smoke of torment shall ascend for ever and ever.

No work of Him who laid the foundations of the earth, and who by his almighty power still supports them, ever brought to my mind the more awful revelations of his Word with such overwhelming impression. Truly, "With God is terrible Majesty!" Let all the nations say unto God, "How terrible art thou in thy works."

Under the name of Pele, this volcano was one of the most distinguished, and most feared of the former gods of Hawaii. Its terrific features, are well suited to the character and abode of an unpropitious demon; and few works in nature, would be more likely to impose thoughts of terror on the ignorant and superstitious, and from their destructive ravages lead to sacrifices of propitiation and peace. It is now rapidly losing its power over the minds of the people. Not one of the large number of our company, seemed to be at all apprehensive of it as a supernatural being.

After an almost sleepless night, we early turned our faces homeward, not without many a "lingering look behind," even at the very entrance of our path. It was[82] precisely six o'clock when the last of our party left the brink.

Never was there a more delightful morning. The atmosphere was perfectly clear, and the air, with the thermometer at 56 degrees Fahrenheit, fine and bracing. A splendid assemblage of strong and beautifully contrasted colors glowed around us. The bed of the crater still covered with the broad shadow of the eastern banks was of jetty blackness. The reflection of the early sun, added a deeper redness to the western cliffs; those opposite were of a bright yellow, while the body of smoke rising between them, hung in a white drapery of pearly whiteness, against the deep azure of the southern sky. Mounaloa and Mounakea, in full view in the west, were richly clothed in purple; and the long line of intervening forest, the level over which we were passing, and the precipice by which it is encircled, thickly covered with trees and shrubbery, exhibited an equally bright and lively green.


[83]

CHAPTER VI.

Sail for the "Off shore ground." Cruise for Whale. Come to anchor at Payta. Desert the ship. Sufferings in the desert. Reach the human habitations. Are entertained by an old Spaniard, who takes us to St. Augustine, and delivers us up to the Governor. Thrown into a Calaboose. Released by the Captain. Sketch of Peru. Proceed to the Galapagos. Scenes at that group. Rock of Dundas. Sail to the Society Islands. Run upon the Coral Reef. Loose an anchor. Employ natives to dive for it. Proceed to the Coast of Japan. Description of the Dolphin and Flying Fish. A violent storm. Sail for the Sandwich Islands. Touch at Pitcairns. Desert the ship. Ship on board the brig Doll. Arrive at Magdalena. Proceed to Wytohoo. Phosphoretic scene. A heavy storm. Seven men lost. Flee to the boats. The ship runs upon the rocks.

On our return from the volcano, we took on wood, water, and other necessaries for the voyage, and stood for the "Off shore ground," or the Coast of Peru, where we cruised two months with the poorest luck. Sick at heart, we put into Payta, one of the ports of Peru.

The poor success which had attended us, caused the greatest dissatisfaction among the crew, yet none attributed it to the officers of the ship. Myself and two others concluded to try our luck in another way; together we formed a plan to leave the ship, secrete ourselves in the woods until her departure, we would then return to the shore, and see what chance would favor us with.

[84]

When we were allowed liberty on shore again, we took as much salt beef, bread, and water, as we could carry without detection, and started for the woods, which lay but a short distance from the shore; they were about two miles wide; beyond them lay an immense sand plain or desert, without bush or shrub of any kind. The light drifting sand soon obliterated all traces of life. On we wandered, hoping soon to reach the opposite side, but hope soon failed; we had lost sight of the woods: to retrace our steps was now utterly impossible—our footprints were no longer visible—we now realized the true character of our situation—parched with thirst—worn with fatigue—amidst an ocean of sand, where neither shrub, or cooling stream appeared to cheer the lonely wanderer. We sat ourselves sat down upon the burning sand, beneath a torrid sun, and partook of such as we had. The quantity of water being small, we were obliged to use it sparingly. The saltness of the meat greatly increased our thirst; we at length fell in with our own footprints, nearly filled with sand. We sat down in despair; the sun having now passed the meridian, served as a compass, which we followed, until it sank beneath the horizon; night came, and found us still hungry and shelterless. Having eaten our last morsel, and drank our last drop of water, we lay down upon the sand, fatigued almost beyond endurance; so excessive was our thirst, that we slept but very little. We spread our flannel shirts upon the sand, and when they were saturated with dew, (the dews of the country are very heavy, and supply the deficiency of rains, which seldom appear) we would wring them, and suck the moisture; this being often[85] repeated, alleviated our thirst somewhat. No mind can form any description, or form to itself any definite idea of our situation. Most sincerely we repented the course we had taken, and anxiously sought to retrace our steps. With joy we welcomed the approach of morning, hoping that ere another day should pass, we should be able to find some means of rescue from our horrible situation. We traveled until mid-day, almost crazed with the heat of the sun upon the head; and our tongues were so swollen as to render our mouths hardly able to contain them. We sat down half inclined to give up, and leave our bones to whiten the sands. Driven to the last extremity, we resorted to the use of our own urine, for the alleviation of our thirst; this was repeated frequently. Summoning new courage, we started again: after wandering a long time, we fell in with the tracks of a horse or mule. So excessive was our joy at this discovery, that we almost forgot our fatigue, and bounded forward with delight. Our joy however, was soon at an end. for the tracks were obliterated, and we were as bad off as before, and worse even; for having seen the light, the darkness was still deeper. We found, and lost it alternately for some time. Night again spread her sable mantle around our wretchedness. With the closest scrutiny we followed the tracks; about midnight, (as near as we could judge), one of my companions, lustily as his swollen tongue and debilitated condition would allow, cried "land ahead," much to our joy. On we passed, and found it to be low shrubbery, about three feet high. Again we lost the tracks, but this we did not mind, so rejoiced were we to find any living thing.

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Falling in with a small path, we followed it with the greatest avidity. As we went on, the path increased in size. Soon we heard the loud barking of a dog; never before was such a welcome so well received.

This induced us to quicken our pace, believing we were near habitations of some kind, little caring what. But a short time elapsed before we came upon a house, evidently the residence of a Spaniard. A few loud knocks at the door sufficed to arouse the inmates, who cried lustily in Spanish, "Who is there? what do you want?" Fortunately for us, one of our number understood the language sufficiently well to make our wants known. With the true generosity of the Spaniard his house was immediately opened, and we were welcome to such as he had, viz: dried beef and milk: this, to the half famished wanderer, was a repast of the choicest kind. Fatigued and enfeebled as we were, great was the danger of our eating too much: this, reason strongly pointed out to us, but appetite got the ascendency, and before we were aware of it we were in as great danger from excess as before from deprivation and fatigue. Again our host befriended us, rendering us all needed assistance. His repeated kindnesses induced us to place unlimited confidence in him; we told him of our deserting the ship, and of our future plans. He cunningly proposed, when we were sufficiently recovered, to take a ride to St. Augustine, which lay seventeen miles from Payta. We mounted the asses and proceeded on the way. When we arrived there we were given up to the governor as deserters, and confined. The Spaniard received a reward for delivering us up to the proper authorities. This we could not approve,[87] though it was acting in conformity with the laws of his country. The next morning we were fitted out for Payta, guarded by six Spanish soldiers, all on asses. Our route lay along the coast, and was indeed very pleasant. Forgetting almost entirely our extreme suffering on the plain, we hardly realized that we were prisoners strongly guarded, so merrily we passed along. The soldiers were themselves very joyful.

On our arrival at Payta, we were thrown into prison for safe keeping. Our captain was then notified of our apprehension, and came to see us, and asked us if we were willing to go to our duty like faithful men. That we assured him we would most certainly do. Manifesting much indifference he turned away, saying he would see what the charges were, and think about releasing us. The prison into which we were thrown was of the most filthy kind; my mind recoils with horror at the thought of it. We passed the night without closing our eyes to sleep. Rats of enormous size were jumping around us all night, and anxiously we waited for morning. The next morning breakfast was served, consisting of jerk beef, brown bread, and cold water. So loathsome was the place that we would almost have rather starved than eaten there. Giving our allowance to our fellow-prisoners, we waited in anxious expectation for the re-appearance of the captain, expecting, or at least hoping he would bring a release. At length he came, having paid twenty-five dollars for us. We went on board again perfectly contented, having paid, as we thought, dearly as deserters.

I propose here giving a hasty geographical and historical sketch of Peru, but owing to the insufficient time[88] allotted common sailors for getting any definite idea of the countries which they may visit, I shall be obliged to couple the statements of others with my own observation. The territory comprising it is 230,000 square miles in area. The Andes range of mountains extend through this country, the highest point of which is 22,000 feet above the valley of Chuquibamba. The celebrated volcano known as Omati has an elevation exceeding 18,000 feet. In the eastern Andes remains of mining excavations are found at an elevation of 16,600 ft. They were wrought by the Peruvians under the Incas, long before the arrival of the Spaniards. The entry to the gallery of San Miguel and of Pomare, is close to the region of eternal snow. Intersecting the country in different directions are other ranges of mountains, which do not properly belong to the Andes; these are of various extent and height. Exclusive of Peru proper, which is merely a narrow strip, and also of the various chains of mountains which contain between them broad and extensive valleys, watered by gigantic streams, this country contains immense plains, or pampas, as they are called by the Spanish, extending from Montana Real as far east as the Portuguese frontier 600 miles, in direct distance, and in some places in equal breadth. The Maranon rolls its mighty waters through the centre of this continental steppe; and these plains are so abundantly watered, that they are everywhere fertile, and clothed with impenetrable forests. The most noted of these plains contains more than 60,000 square miles; and is capable of supporting 5,000,000 inhabitants. It is called the "Steppe of the Holy Sacrament."

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The mighty river Amazon, or Maranon, rises in this country, among the Andes, in a number of head streams. Those streams which empty into the Pacific, flowing from the western side of the Andes, are of but little importance, being quite small in size. The climate of the country is variable; that of the Coast or Low Peru, is dry and temperate; that of the Sierras mild, that of the Andes piercingly cold; and that of the Pampas warm, and exceedingly humid. The climate of the Sierras is perhaps the most healthy in the world, if we can judge from the long life of its inhabitants. Persons are often found living at the age of 120, and sometimes reach the extreme age of 150 years. A Spaniard died in the year 1765, in the province of Caxamarea, aged 144 years, 7 months, and 5 days, leaving 800 lineal descendants. But such extreme age is by no means common to the whole country. The climate of the Pampas is far from being healthy. The warmth and extreme humidity render them almost uninhabitable, and the few Indian tribes on the rivers rarely see a man of the age of fifty. In the uplands of this country, the soil is somewhat fertile, but owing to the almost insuperable barriers to communication with the coast, agriculture is generally speaking in a wretched state.

Abundance of cotton in a wild state is found in the Montana Real, and on the banks of the Maranon. Flax is common, but the Indians leave the stems to perish, and make a kind of beer of the seeds. In some districts a species of coffee, and cochineal abound, but the quality is not the best. The pimento of Peru is excessively strong, and there is cinnamon stronger than that of[90] Ceylon, though not so valuable for use. A great variety of aromatic balsams, oils, and gums, distilled from the trees are produced here. In the description of Peru, Estalla enumerates the cedar, the olive, the wild orange, the incorruptible algorob, the palm, the willow, and many other trees. On the coast, and western slopes of the Andes, are produced the cabbage-palm, the cocoa-nut, the chocolate-nut, the cotton-shrub, the pineapple, tumeric, plantain, and sugar-cane. No less than twenty-four species of pepper are raised in Peru. Tobacco and jalap grow in abundance at the foot of the Andes. The chief shrubs on the uplands of the Andes are the different species of cinchonas, or the salutary Peruvian bark. The mountains abound in metalic wealth. They are interspersed with veins of gold and of silver ore, in which pieces of pure silver, solid copper, and lead ore occur, frequently intermixed with white silver ore, and virgin silver, in threads. In many parts are rich veins of gold ore in quartz, and gold is also obtained by washing the mud found in the beds of the rivers. Many of the silver mines are neglected, owing to their being inundated by water, which has continued to gain on them so as to completely choke them.

The principal silver mines were discovered in 1630, by an Indian shepherd, and though very badly wrought, they annually furnish near $2,500,000. These mines are usually called Pareo, and Cerro de Bombon. Humbolt calculates the produce of gold and silver at $6,000,000 annually. To this sum must be added the fraudulent exportation of silver, or what is denominated unregistered produce, on which no duty has been paid—this is estimated at $940,000.

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Mercury is found is abundance in Peru, which is not the case in any other part of Spanish America. The other minerals are numerous. There are many obstacles, however, to successful mining in Peru. One great difficulty is the ignorance of the miners in the science of amalgamation. Another is the want of capital; the operator being in most cases, in necessitous circumstances, is obliged to borrow money on very exorbitant interest to enable him to commence his works, and to sell the produce of his mines at a great sacrifice, in order to carry them on. The labor of the mines is principally performed by the Indians, as they only are able to endure the fatigue and unwholesomeness of the employment.

The commerce of Peru consists for the most part in the interchange of the precious metals for foreign products, and manufactures; of which considerable quantities are imported. There is a great want of good roads and bridges in Peru; and in the little intercourse between the seaports and the interior of the country, almost every article of trade is carried on the backs of mules and lamas. The ancient Peruvians were partially civilized; they constructed numerous and excellent roads, and also built stone palaces of enormous size; were skilled in making vessels of gold and silver, and cultivated the land with much care.

At the time of the Spanish conquest, Peru comprised a territory of much greater dimensions, than the modern state of the same name. Its kings were a dynasty of princes, called Incas; they were supposed to be descended from the sun, and were held sacred and adored by the people. At the time Pizarro took possession of[92] this country, the reigning Incas were put to death, and the dominion of the Spanish sovereign established. This occurred forty years after the discovery of America.

Peru with the other American provinces of Spain was long governed by Viceroys, appointed by the kings of that country; but in the year 1821, the people established a government of their own, and with the assistance of the Colombians achieved their independence in 1824, by the defeat of the last Spanish army at Ayachuco.

In the year 1836, Peru was divided into the states of North Peru, and South Peru, which with Bolivia, were formed in the Peru-Bolivian confederation, under a chief magistrate styled the Supreme Protector. Three years afterwards, the army of the confederation was defeated by the Chilians, at Uraguay, and the Republic was dissolved.

The Peruvians like the other people of South America, are composed of various races; the most numerous being the Creoles of European descent, and the Indians. There are many tribes of the Indians; they are much debased, and seldom cheerful. The Carapachas are exceedingly beautiful, and are said even to rival the Circassians; but their speech is very offensive, resembling the barking of dogs, owing to the guttural sounds. The women of some tribes are warlike. The Omagna tribe flatten the head, like some of the North American Indians. The Indians occupy the same place in society as in Mexico. They are idle, filthy, superstitious, and suspicious. Their dress and habitations are mean and poor; their capacities are very limited, and they have[93] little variety of character. They are governed by native chiefs or caciques.

The gentlemen of Peru imitate the English fashion of dress, and the ladies also, except in a peculiar walking dress, composed of a close petticoat of satin, &c., with a short cloak of silk drawn around the waist, and over the breast and head, half concealing the face. This dress is peculiar to Lima; the petticoat is elastic, and sets close enough to reveal the form. The hood, or manto, is probably a Moorish remnant. The dwellings of the Indians are mere huts, and generally architecture is in a much lower state than in Mexico. The roofs are flat, and the walls are often of wattled cane, plastered. The languages are the Spanish, and those of the Indians. The food does not essentially differ from that in the other South American States; and tobacco is very extensively used. There is little veal or lamb, and many sweetmeats are consumed. A fermented liquor, called chicha is made of maize, and used to considerable extent. The diseases are not peculiar. To travel in Peru, is a severe hardship and privation; the mule is much used. This animal is invaluable from its cautious instinct in passing the defiles or sides of the mountains, where a misstep would cast them to a measureless distance below. In many places where they cannot step, they protrude their feet, and slide downwards, directing their course with the utmost sagacity. It is not safe for the rider to assume any guidance over them, when he is riding with one leg over a precipice, while the other rubs against the side of the mountain.

The hospitality of the Peruvians has no limits, and like the others of European descent in South America,[94] they are distinguished for their paternal and filial virtues. The Creole ladies are good mothers, and wives, and almost every family is a happy circle. Dancing, music, tertulias, bull-fights, and cock-fighting are the common amusements. The negro slaves receive kind treatment, and are instructed in the christian religion. It is common to see the white children thus instructing those of a household. Education is little attended to, but more than under the old government. The ruling religion is the Roman Catholic.

There is no country whose history is more interesting than Peru. Leaving Peru we stood for the Gallapagos, which lie off the coast about 200 miles, and form a considerable group intersected by the equator; though many of them are small, and covered with forests. Turtle are found here in great abundance, and of enormous size. Dodging about for a few days, we took three small whale; this place is famous as the resort of the sperm whale in the time of its having its young, being perfectly adapted to it. Soon as the young is born, it mounts the fin of its mother, and rides safely away. After the oil was tried, and stowed, the ship cleaned, &c., we put two boats in readiness, and rowed away for the shore in quest of turtle, or turpin, (a species of turtle;) we landed on a beautiful, low, sandy beach, a short distance from the shore; high craggy cliffs arose destitute of almost all verdure save the prickly pear bush, which grows to about the size of the American quince bush; the fruit is of a bright red, is covered with sharp, piercing prickles like the gooseberry: much difficulty arises in removing them; the fruit is most delicious; the trees and leaves are also covered[95] with the same sharp hard prickles. We ascended the cliff, and wandered around an hour or two, and found nothing, save a few guana, an animal of the lizard appearance, though much larger. Many times they are found four or five feet long. The flesh is very tender, sweet and delicate, and is of great note among the inhabitants of Peru and Chili, as a fancy dish. Fell in with a large turpin, the first one any of us ever saw; when we came up with him, he retreated within his shell; we turned him over upon his back, to see his agility in turning himself back; he ran out his long neck, which was not less than two feet and a half long, and with his short legs labored most assiduously; he at length accomplished his object; this done, we laid hold of his legs, which were not more than six inches long, and started for the boat; when we came to a steep point in the path, we would place him upon the edge of his shell, and set him rolling,—many times a long way. After toiling a long time, we reached the boat. Soon others, who had gone in a different way, returned richly laden; they found one so very large, they were unable to bring it until divested of its shell. About thirty were taken during the few days we remained at this island. Getting ready we proceeded to sea, ran close to the rock of Dundas. This is a monumental rock of black granite, rearing its head eighty or an hundred feet above the water. The water around it is about sixty fathoms deep; the currents are such, that it is utterly impossible for ships to float or be driven against it; the sides are so bold that it cannot be ascended; boobys and other birds are always perched upon the top. The wind being light, we lowered our[96] boat and set lines for fishing; divided the seven lines between two boats, and in a couple of hours took about 400 large red fish, called by the seamen snappers; as fast as the lines could be set the fish were caught. We salted the principal part of them; we left the place and proceeded on our way, the wind and weather was most beautiful. Smoothly we glided along at the rate of four or five knots an hour, bound for the Society Islands. Fell in with a large number of whale going north; lowered away the boats; took seven, and had them alongside at dark: the ship was hove too, and the next morning the oil was tried; had 105 barrels.

Passing Otaheite, we came abreast of the harbor of Emer; the high points of land on both sides becalmed us so we were obliged to lower our boats and take the ship in tow; we brought her into the harbor, and hove her anchor to keep her off the coral reef, which lay close under our lee. Before the sails could be furled, the ship was covered with females who had swam to her. Whether the use of the boats is forbidden them I know not, yet I presume such is the fact, with regard to this as well as to other islands; at any rate, during our stay I did not see any of them in a boat. Here we procured wood and water, and had liberty on shore; during our stay two men left the ship. Having once myself suffered much as a deserter, I chose to stay. When ready to leave, we hove up the anchor, and not having room enough for our vessel to cast, or turn, she ran directly upon the coral reef; we let go an anchor, but not in time to have it avail us any thing; then unshackling the chain, we lowered the kedge into a boat, carried it out astern the length of the line, and let her go; hauling[97] away upon the line, hove the ship off to a proper distance, and let go another anchor. We next went on shore to get divers to go for the anchor we first let go; the one first obtained was a young man altogether unexperienced in the art; his first dive proved ineffectual; when he came to the surface, the blood gushed from his nostrils in streams, and was with much difficulty stopped. The second one took his small line and succeeded in attaching it to the ring of the anchor; again diving, taking a large hawser with him, he fastened the small line to it, and again came to the surface; then with the small one, drew the hawser through the ring, and brought it to the ship's side. Veering away upon the hawser, we brought the ship directly over the anchor; manning the windlass, we hove the ship to her berth again; loosing down upon the anchor again, with the hawser veered away, and again brought the ship's bow directly over it, and hauled it to the water's edge, then hooking the cat-block secured it to the ship. Putting all things in readiness, we set sail; several days elapsed before we knew whither we were bound; at length the captain informed us that we were going to the Coast of Japan. A long time elapsed before we even saw the spout of a whales. Passing the meridian we fell in with a school of whale; took about 100 barrels of oil. Saw no more until off the coast of Japan.

While on our way we took fish of many kinds, caught many dolphins, one of the beautiful inhabitants of the sea. "The general length of this fish appears to be about two feet. In its shape it bears little resemblance to the representation of it seen on vases and in marine emblems and armorial bearings, but is very similar to[98] the white salmon-trout of the Otsego. When swimming in the water its colors appears exceedingly delicate and beautiful. The head, back, and upper part of the sides, vary from the hues of burnished steel to that of deep azure and mazarine blue, shading off in the under parts in pea-green and light yellow. One was struck with a harpoon and brought on deck, and we all hastened to witness the reported splendor of its colors when dying. We found them to be as truly beautiful as they have been described; consisting of rapid transitions from the deepest purple approaching to black, through blue, green, gold of different hues, and several shades of silver, to an almost snow white, and then to purple again. The sight however was painful, from a kind of sympathy with the beautiful sufferer, we could but feel that the gratification of our curiosity was at the expense of its life. The colors soon became less and less brilliant, and in five minutes entirely disappeared."

The flying fish also attracted much attention. Many of them were taken as they flew on deck. They are of a slender proportion, about six inches long; they sometimes spring into the air even to the height of sixteen or eighteen feet, and swim horizontally through the air twenty or twenty-five feet, when they again fall into their native element. When under the surface they are incessantly pursued by dolphins, and while in the air they become the prey of sea gulls and other sea fowls, which are hovering over the sea in quest of food.

A person ignorant of their nature would suppose them birds of small size, for like swallows they move by thousands in a right line, and always in a direction opposite that of the waves.

[99]

At the island of Niphon we took several whale and blackfish; we also spoke several whale ships while cruising there.

One day while in company with the ships, we saw a large school of whales at a distance. The boats were immediately lowered and all gave chase. We only took one, while some took two or three. One was taken along side and preparation made for boiling the oil. While in the midst of it a heavy squall arose from the northeast blowing like a perfect hurricane, threw our ship upon her beam ends, and sent the oil out of the pots, which were full, on to the men, severely scalding them.

Every thing movable was capsized. Those below, thinking the vessel was going down, came hurriedly upon deck with horror most visibly depicted on their countenance. For some time all stood still, momentarily expecting the next moment would see us engulphed beneath the billows.

Fortunately for us our sails were all stowed, as is customary in the time of boiling the oil, except a close reefed main-top-sail and fore-sail. The fore-sail was hauled up soon as possible, and the helm seized by one of the officers.

The violence of the wind abated somewhat, when the rain came down in torrents, accompanied by lightning and thunder.

The gale continued from the N. E. about six hours, when it suddenly shifted to the opposite point of the compass and blew, if possible, with redoubled energy, another six hours. The vessel creaked most terribly in[100] her struggles, her lee gunwales in the water, and the sea breaking yard arm high.

The captain thought proper at this time to lighten her of her top hamper. We were obliged to mount the masts to a distance of seventy or eighty feet, and when there, with every swell of the sea we would be carried with great velocity through a space of eighty or a hundred feet.

The screams of those below, as they tried to make themselves heard, came to our ears, borne upon the tempest, like the shrieks of the dying. The mast and yards being let go eased her considerably, though the storm raged with unabated fury.

Never before had I seen the sea presenting such an awful spectacle. "The fearful commotion which it was under was indeed indescribably sublime, yet was too dreadfully terrific, when at its height, to allow of much enjoyment. When it evidently begins to abate, and hope tells you the worst is passed, you are left to the indulgence of unmingled and enthusiastic admiration, and may gaze with delight at the ever varying scene, as wave after wave rears its monstrous head 'and casts its foaming horrors to the clouds.'

"But, till this change does take place—while every successive blast blows harder and harder, and each billow threatens more surely than its precursor, to bury you under its weight,—it is impossible. Thoughts of fear must check, if they do not take entire place of the higher feelings of admiration."

At length the fury of the tempest abated; we finished trying the oil, made sail and stood for the Sandwich[101] Islands. Nothing of note occurred while on the passage.

Reached Maui the first of October, 1834. Having cut my foot on the passage, I was put under the charge of a resident physician, where I remained fourteen days. At the expiration of that time we took our departure from the island and stood away for the Navigators' Islands, cruising for whales, though taking only a few, and those very small.

Cruising among the different groups, we reached Pitcairn's Island in the month of December.

This island is noted as being the residence of Alexander Smith, alias, John Adams, one of the Mutineers of the ship Bounty, which was fitted out and sailed from England in 1787, for Otaheite, to procure the bread fruit tree and other trees and plants, which were to be introduced into the West Indies as articles of food.

Having procured a supply, they sailed for their destined port, and while off the Friendly isles the spirit of mutiny was breathed forth, the vessel seized, and the officers bound. One of the ship's boats was then lowered away, the officers and eighteen such as were not wanted put in, also a quantity of provisions and rum, a compass, and articles of clothing, blankets, &c., were allowed them, and the boat sent adrift.

The mutineers, twenty-five in number, then proceeded to Otaheite, where a dissension took place and sixteen left the ship. The remaining nine, with six Otahitean men and twelve women, proceeded to Pitcairn's Island, where again domestic broils and assassinations ensued, and all of the Otaheitean men, and all the Englishmen, except two, fell. They established a code of laws by[102] which they were governed. Smith, who changed his name to Adams, procured from the ship a bible and prayer-book, served as teacher or guide, enforcing the most strict discipline. His word was law. This teacher died in 1829, being the last male that landed there, the other who survived the broils and desertions, having died some time previous.

The number on the island at the death of the patriarch Adams was about eighty.

At the island of Rohanah, of the Friendly Islands, myself and one other were prompted by the poor success we had had to again leave the ship. This was put in force the day previous to the departure of the ship. When we went on shore with the boat's crew, we fled to the mountains.

Having collected a few boughs together and built a hut, we went in quest of food, being very careful about breaking down the grass so as to form a path, lest the natives would find us. Obtained a quantity of bananas, plantains, and oranges, also a calabash of water. The next morning, quite to our delight, we saw from our mountain retreat the ship, with all canvass to the breeze, gliding swiftly from the harbor.

We came down upon the beach among the natives, who treated us kindly, urging us to partake of their simple fare.

There were two Europeans, one from Ireland, the other from England, who had long been residents there.

We remained there seventeen days, when the brig Doll arrived there from Otaheite. She was cruising among the different groups for seals. They being in want of hands, I shipped myself as seaman. I informed[103] my companion of my engagement, also of their want of more, when he deridingly said, "when he went to sea he should go in a ship."

The vessel was indeed one not at all prepossessing in its appearance, being old and poorly rigged, still I was willing to try my chance in her.

Necessary preparations being made we set sail. Our crew was composed of ten Europeans, and six natives of the Society Islands. All things passed along very finely indeed, and in a few days we made the island of Magdalena, one of the Marquesas group. We knew the murderous cruelty of the inhabitants, still we proposed landing; and put the boats in readiness. When we came near the shore, the natives rushed in numbers to the bank, yelling and screaming most horridly, holding a human skull and other bones in their hands, which they brandished about, defying our attempts to land.

Finding it useless to parley with them, we put back to the ship, and squaring our yards, stood around to the north end of Wytohoo and entered the straits that separate Wytohoo from Dominica, at a distance of from seven to twelve miles. Running through the straits we came abreast of the harbor long known as Resolution Bay. It being now near night, the captain thought proper to lay off and on during the night, and go on shore in the morning.

That night we witnessed one of the most sublime spectacles I ever witnessed—what is termed a phosphorific illumination.

"The horizon in every direction presented a line of uninterrupted light, while the wide space intervening was one extent of apparent fire. The sides of our[104] vessel appeared kindling to a blaze, and as our bows occasionally dashed against a wave, the flash of the concussion gleamed half way up the rigging, and illuminated every object along the whole length of the ship. By throwing any article overboard a display of light and colors took place surpassing in brilliancy and beauty the finest exhibition of fire-works.

"A charming effect was produced by a line coiled to some length, and then cast into the water at a distance, and also by a bucket of water dashed from the side of a vessel. The rudder, too, by its motions created splendid corruscations at the stern, and a flood of light, by which our track was marked far behind us. The smaller fish were distinctly traceable by running lines showing their rapid course, while now and then broad glimmerings, extending many yards in every direction, made known the movements of some monster of the deep.

"But minuteness will only weary without conveying any adequate impression of the scene. It would have been wise perhaps only to have said that it was among the most sublime nature herself ever presents."

At eleven that evening a strong breeze arose from the west-southwest, which strengthened with each succeeding moment, until it ripened into a perfect gale.

We made sail to get clear of the land. They were no sooner spread, than torn from the yards by the wind with a noise like thunder. Many a pale face and trembling lip were there. Before us, and under our lee were nothing but high and craggy rocks, to which we were rapidly hastening, with seemingly no chance of escape.

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[106]

THE SHIP RUSHED UPON THE ROCKS WITH A MIGHTY CRASH.

[107]

The wind rushing through the rigging so furiously, rendered all attempts to be heard fruitless.

The lightning's incessant flashing, accompanied by loud thunder, rendered our situation the most appalling. Each moment brought us nearer the rocks.

Our second mate, Mr. Anderson of England, lowered the larboard boat, with six men, (they were the Otahiteans, who eagerly rushed into the boat,) beside himself, which no sooner touched the water than they found a watery grave. Their shrieks were heard and moved our hearts to pity, but the hands that gladly would have rendered them assistance, were palsied. They were beyond our reach. We saw the waves sweep over them, as the wind moaned their requiem.

The anchor being let go served to swing the vessel around, head to the wind, and in some degree to check her progress.

This being considered a favorable moment, the captain instantly lowered away his boat with the remaining eight, (one having been lost overboard in the early part of the gale,) in safety. But we were only just in season, for a moment after the ship parted from her anchor, and rushed upon the rocks with a mighty crash.

So complete was the wreck that scarce one plank was left upon another.

We lay in the harbor from two o'clock, A. M. until day, keeping under the point for shelter from the blast, about a mile from where the vessel struck.


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CHAPTER VII.

Got on shore among the Cannibals. The reception. Description of the Tabu ground. Visit the scene of the wreck, after the storm subsides, accompanied by the king and chiefs. Manner of building. Manner of bathing. The bread fruit. Description of the Carver. The Captain proposes leaving for Otaheite. Are taken around to the other tribes. Death of one of our number from the sun's heat. Manner in which the dead are disposed of.

The next morning, Feb. 3d, 1835, we went on shore. As we reached the beach, found it lined with natives. Seeing no weapons, we asked by signs for permission to land. This was readily obtained.

The moment the boat struck the sand, a line of natives was formed on each side, who laid hold of the gunwales and carried boat and crew up about twice the length of her, out the way of the waves, and sat it down. The treatment that was in store for us was quite a query.

Getting out of the boat we were examined from head to foot, being turned around and around, they during the survey chattering among themselves with great volubility.

They soon withdrew a short distance, into the tabu ground, and were a long time in consultation, leaving us standing by ourselves on the beach. The tabu ground is an enclosure of about an acre, set about with posts which are wound around with the inner or fine bark of a tree called Tappa, which is thin and white.

It is dug down about a foot lower than the ground around. Against this bark flat stones about two feet long are set on the end, nearly as thick as they can stand. Against these they recline, sitting cross legged on the ground. In the immediate center is a table made of flat stones, on which the food at the time of the grand feast is placed. All public business is transacted here.

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RECEPTION BY THE NATIVES.

[110]
[111]
[112]

THE TABU GROUND.

[113]

After a while they came running very fast towards us. By this we were fearful they intended us no good, but we were happily disappointed. They seemed fully to realize the nature of our situation, and immediately set themselves about ameliorating our condition and rendering us comfortable as possible, giving us to eat of such as they had—bread fruit—banannas—raw fish, &c. Of the vegetables we ate plentifully; the raw fish being an entirely new dish, we passed it lightly by.

Finishing our repast, we were taken two by two and put at different families, where all seemed touched by the spirit of sympathy for our sufferings.

The wind subsiding into almost a calm, we with the Prua (or king) and chiefs repaired to the boats, and rowed around the point, about three miles, to where the vessel lay, or rather went on to the rocks, for so complete was the wreck that there was not enough left of her to leave even the least trace of a ship discernible.

The rocks against which she struck were not low and shelving, as is many times the case, but high and bold, rising about fifty feet perpendicularly, and ranging a mile or two along the coast. The water at the very base is from fifty to seventy feet deep, thus leaving no place whatever for any thing to remain on them.

[114]

Returning, our boat was taken as before, and landed above the washing of the sea, and when we got out, was turned over and the oars laid by for safety.

Night coming on, we were again distributed around among the different families, where we were made welcome to all they had. Much time was spent in trying to make us understand them. This we could not do, except they could convey their ideas to our minds by signs.

It may be well at this period of the adventure to give a description of the huts or houses, in order to get a more definite idea of the passing events.

The front side and ends are made by driving posts or sticks of bamboo into the ground and secured by fastening a strong one across the top. The roof is made also of sticks of bamboo, serving as rafters, across which others are fastened, making it very strong indeed. The whole is then covered with several thicknesses of the largest outspread plantain leaves. These are also fastened by lashing bamboo across them, being entirely impervious to the rain. The roof on the front side extends to within about four feet of the ground, while on the back side it extends entirely to it.

The door is merely an opening left between the bamboos, when in the progress of building.

A wall made of flat stones about fifteen inches high, extending along the front side, occupies about two-thirds of the whole interior of the dwelling. On this wall, or floor, they perform all the labor of the family, such as preparing and eating their food. Their provision is served up in one common dish and placed on the floor,[115] when all gather around, sitting cross legged, and each with his fingers helping himself.

The remaining one-third is occupied as a bed. This is made of leaves and dried grass. The head, or that next the roof, is made about ten inches high, sloping gently down against the wall. Sometimes the whole is covered with coarse mats made of grass. The sleeper is obliged to lie on his back, placing his legs, from below the bend of the knee, on this wall. A severe penalty is attached to the act of placing a foot on, or throwing any thing on or across the bed. I have no recollection of the law's ever being enforced, and in fact I cannot say as I ever knew of its being broken, voluntarily, or otherwise than by accident, which, except by severely reprimanding the offender, was overlooked. Great precaution, however, is observed respecting it.

At an early hour we were shown to our beds. The manner of lying was so unnatural that we could rest but little, longing continually for the approach of morning. Beside the awkward position in which we lay, we were continually annoyed by bugs and insects, with which the bed was literally filled.

In the morning with the first ray of light we were out and upon the beach. Soon others of our ill-fated companions joined us, who, like ourselves, found much fault with their lodgings. Ere long the king and other natives came also upon the beach. While we were talking of our situation and prospects they would stand by with staring eyes and open mouths, seeming exceedingly anxious to understand our conversation.

Their morning repast being ready we again returned to our respective homes.

[116]

Our breakfast was composed of bread fruit, raw fish, &c., of which we partook with appetites sharpened by deprivation and fatigue.

The natives usually bathe each morning, and often many times during the day near their huts, in a place most beautifully adapted to it.

Out of the rock there pours a stream of clear, cold water, about six inches in diameter, and twenty-five or thirty feet from the ground, which falls into a kind of basin from whence it runs into the sea.

Under this the natives jump and most effectually shower themselves. Should the water coming that distance strike them before it was broken or separated, they could not stand its force; but such is not the case, as it breaks soon after leaving the rock, and falls upon a large surface with but little force.

To this spring ships often come for supplies of water, as there can be none better found, besides, the quantity wanted is easily obtained.

The bread fruit in its various forms constitutes the principal article of food among them, and is found in great abundance. There are two crops in a year; one in May, the other in November. The greater reliance, however, is placed upon the May crop, which ripens much the best. The November crop, or what can be spared of it, is collected and baked in an Euma or oven, which is a large hole dug in the earth about two feet deep, and from two to five feet across, according to the quantity to be baked. Large flat stones are placed on the bottom, on which a fire is kindled; smaller stones are placed in the fire, which, becoming heated, are removed, the embers nicely cleared out, the stones are[117] then covered with large green plantain leaves, the fruit also wrapped in leaves, put in, and the small heated stones put over. Water is thrown on to create a steam and the whole hastily covered with earth. After being baked, the covering of earth and stones is removed, the rind or shell scraped off, and the meat wrapped closely in leaves is placed in a large hole in the ground dug for the purpose, being placed so they will not touch each other. After the first layer is placed, a quantity of leaves are strewn over and another layer put on. Thus they proceed until the hole is full, when it is covered with earth and kept in case of a failure of the next or any other crop. It will keep so for a great length of time. One hole, while I was there, was found accidentally which was not filled within the recollection of any then living, and yet the fruit was in a perfect state and as sweet as when put there. Fruit thus prepared is called May. But if intended for the family's immediate use, the rind is also scraped off, when it is pounded to a jelly and mixed with water. This is called Poe, and is taken from the dish by the two first fingers, called "poe-fingers," which are thrust into it and twirled swiftly around the poe. Being of the consistency of paste it adheres to the finger and is thrown into the mouth. The hands are always washed, both before and after eating. Any person not doing this is driven from the dish to eat alone, as being unfit to eat there; though that seldom happens, such laws, or customs being most strictly adhered to.

As a drink, they use very freely an article called Carver, which is made from a root found in the uplands. After being dug or pulled it is chewed by the[118] females and put in a calabash of water, when it ferments, then it is strained through long grass and is fit for use. This, if drank in copious draughts, causes a dizziness and a horribly distorted countenance. They lose the use of their limbs, and fall and roll about on the ground, until the stupefaction wears away.

The Carver is much used for medical purposes, being very efficacious in its results. If it is taken in great quantities, the skin becomes dry and parched, and peals off, like the effects of the sun's heat upon the hand or neck, leaving an entirely new and smooth surface—completely renovating the entire system.

During my stay there I was bitten by a Centipede on the ball of my thumb. The Serrever or doctor put me to bed, upon my back, as was always the position for lying, fastened my hand up to the roof of the hut, and secured a bark, in a dish-like form, around the wrist, into which he poured carver. In the morning the pain was entirely removed, and I suffered no farther inconvenience from it. The bite from them often results in death.

One curious fact respecting it is, that when chewed by the natives, it comes from the mouth dry like meal from the mill. This I often attempted to perform, but was not able to do it.

The females usually prepare it, though they are prohibited its use. During my stay I knew of but one or two instances of a violation of that law.

We loitered around the island altogether discontented. I think, however, we might have lived a few days among them tolerably well, had not the idea of our being[119] obliged to do so, with no means of getting away, been so terribly impressed upon the mind.

We visited most of the families in the valley, and at each saw new scenes. Some were making poe, others braiding mats, while some were making tappa, oars, spears, &c.

In our rambles we were always accompanied by a score of natives, who followed us at a little distance, watching our every movement. In one instance we came to an orange grove, where we stopped to pick some of the fruit. They came running furiously to us, crying "tabu! tabu!!" at the top of their voices, and taking the fruit from us, drew us from the spot. This puzzled us not a little. We soon learned, however, that they had been reserved by the king for some special purpose, who had tabued them, or placed such restrictions upon them, that no one of the tribe dare touch them, it being considered a great offence.

The Captain being altogether sick of such a life, proposed going to Otaheite in the open boat. He urged no one to go with him, but simply proposed the thing, kindly offering to share his last morsel with those who should be disposed to undertake it with him. One after another acceded to his proposition, until all, save myself and two others, Dawson, a native of Liverpool, England, and Noyce, of Albany, New York,—had pledged themselves to go. We knowing the utter impracticability of such an undertaking at that season of the year, especially, when violent tornadoes swept over that portion of the seas, accompanied with heavy rains, would not consent to go, choosing rather to remain with the natives and run the risk of our ever getting away.

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The natives were apprised of their wish to go, when they immediately repaired to the mountains, got them small pigs, a quantity of bread fruit, cocoa-nuts, bananas, &c., also a few calabashes of water.

With the most sanguine expectations they started, having nothing to guide them but a small boat compass, and promising to return and take us away. Of this we had no hopes, believing it would be an adventure of constant and unmitigated suffering, terminating in death.

We watched them as long as discernible from the beach, when, unwilling to lose sight of them, we ascended a high bluff, where with straining eyes we anxiously followed them, till by night and distance, they were entirely excluded.

With heavy hearts we returned to the valley, determined to conform, in every instance, to their whims and notions, however humiliating, hoping by so doing to obtain their confidence, which would be of vast importance to us.

After a few days spent among them, in which we most scrutinizingly watched their every movement, we were taken around to the other valleys or tribes.

The island is composed of high bluffs, running from the water inland. Between each mountain or bluff is a low fertile valley through which a small rivulet courses itself. The banks are lined with orange groves, bread fruit trees and plantains, &c., which grow in the greatest luxuriance. These valleys are occupied by different tribes, each bearing a mark peculiar to themselves. Some bear it upon the hands, others upon the face, breast, &c. The tribe with which I was connected[121] bore it upon the hands, wrists and ancles. This was the largest tribe on the island, called the Teheda.

Each tribe which we visited were exceedingly joyous at our approach, gathering around and examining us minutely, and almost deafening us with their confounded gibbering.

At night the huts in which we stayed were filled to overflowing, so eager were they to see the "Tehoary" or white man, as they called us.

We went on day after day. On the seventh day Dawson was taken sick through the influence of the sun upon his head, or correctly speaking, was sun struck. At mid-day he would be raving, so much so, as to render it extremely difficult to take care of him. Destitute as we were of medicine and medical skill, we could do but little for him. As the day advanced and the sun declined, he would be more quiet, and remain so until its approach the next day, when he was again delirious. On the fourth day he expired in the most excruciating agony.

We had seen death seize upon his victims in almost every form, but never before had he approached seemingly so near.

As a last sad office to be performed to our departed friend, we set about digging a grave, as best we could with our rude implements of digging.

This was not allowed by the natives, who wished to take charge of it according to their own notions, which was to wind the body closely with the fine or inner bark of the Tappa, a tree much resembling the paper mulberry, this to be wound ten or fifteen times around.

The body was then taken to a small uninhabited hut[122] and placed upon a bench, or table, made by driving sticks of bamboo into the ground, across the top of which others are fastened, and interlaid, thus forming a table about two feet high. On this the body was placed, where it was to remain until it should moulder and crumble away.

The bodies of friends are many times thus wound, and hung by a loop worked ingeniously in the covering on the top of the head, to the ridge of the house in which they live, where it remains a considerable time, when it is taken down, divested of its covering, and placed in the sun, when the outer surface, or skin, parches, and is easily rubbed off, which is done with the hand. The entrails are then removed, the body cleanly washed out, and again wound as before, and hung in its former place, where it remains until it literally falls in pieces. I have in one or two instances seen several hanging in one house, completely filling the house in and around, with the most offensive odor, yet they live unmindful of it.

The bodies of kings and those of the royal family are placed, after being wound as before described, in a hut erected on purpose, on or near the tabu ground, in a sitting posture, with the arms raised, the elbow bent to an angle, and supported by sticks of bamboo, driven in the earth. On either side is a man placed, who are taken in war, or stolen from some neighboring tribe, and sacrificed for the purpose, also wound in bark. These are supposed to accompany them in the capacity of servants.

At the expiration of three weeks we returned to our own tribe where we were most cordially received.

[123]

On our arrival we were separated from each other, and not allowed to meet but very seldom. If by chance however we stole together, we were instantly torn apart.

Being thus obliged to converse in their language, if at all, enabled us, at the expiration of some three or four months, to speak it tolerably well.

This deprivation, change of diet, and the probability of our being forever doomed to dwell among them, tended much to impair our health.

Our principal occupation was to gather the bread fruit, prepare and roast it.


[124]

CHAPTER VIII.

A war breaks out. Its causes. Awful Massacre. The Author is tattooed. Manner of its accomplishment. An attack is made upon the Cohapha. Disposition of the prisoners. Continuance of the war. A ship comes to anchor. Our fond hopes blasted. Purchase a gun. Departure of the ship. The author builds a hut and takes a wife. Effect of the gun upon the Cohaphas. They attempt another night attack. Its results. The grand appearance of our army. Result of a single shot. The Author is wounded. Kill the native and take possession of the body and gun. The king rewards us. The body is roasted. Singular adventure with a wild hog. The Cohaphas wish for peace. The place of skulls. Peace is declared.

We lived as happily as might be expected until the first of May, when a war broke out between our tribe and the Cohapha. These broils and dissensions existing between the different tribes, are often caused by some trivial affair, perhaps a trifling theft, an injury or insult offered an individual, the resentment of which calls the power of the whole tribe into action.

Oftentimes the friendly visit of one party to another results in a fierce contest through some trifling circumstance by which they become embroiled, although the person injured or killed may have been greatly the aggressor.

A king at death becomes a god, and is supposed to watch over the destiny of the tribe, and if there should any trouble exist, or a scarcity of bread fruit, or of other[125] crops occur, he is supposed to be angry, and, to appease his anger, a sacrifice is made of one or more human beings, who, if they are at peace with the neighboring tribes, so as to render the capture of them in battle uncertain, are stolen. This last was the cause of the war in which our tribe at this time was engaged.

A king dying in the Cohapha, rendered the seizure of victims from some other tribe necessary.

Stealing into our bay at the dead of night, while all were fast in sleep, they cautiously entered the first huts they came to, and before the alarm could be given had killed and were carrying away twelve men, three women and two children.

So expert were they that even their bodies could not be recovered.

We being then at peace with all other tribes and fearing nothing, were consequently off our guard.

This was within a very few feet of the hut in which I was sleeping, and when I reflect upon my own narrow escape, my blood almost chills in its current of life.

A council of war was next morning called, when it was determined to put to death all not belonging to the tribe.

Every thing now presented an aspect differing entirely from other days.

Our great valley was now the scene of confusion. On every side were blood-thirsty warriors impatient for the contest to begin. War canoes were lashed together, clubs and spears put in order, and every man under arms.

Such was now the issue, that Noyce and myself were called upon to decide whether we would bear the king's[126] mark and join the tribe and assist in protecting the bay. This we would gladly have passed by, but there was no alternative, save in death and leaving the island. The latter would have been preferred had an opportunity presented itself.

Consequently we were brought forward to be tattooed, which was done on the back of the hand, as seen in the Frontispiece.

First an ink is made from the smoke of the Amer nut, which when ripe is about the size of the common filbert. These are strung on the stem of the cocoa-nut leaf, which when dry is hard and stiff. The larger end of this stem is placed in the ground, or in some manner so that it will stand erect, when the top end is lighted and burns freely. The stem of the leaf serves as wick. Over the blaze a piece of bark is held to collect the smoke. When a sufficient quantity is collected, it is put in water, thus forming an ink.

The figure to be made is then traced on the desired spot, with a stick dipped in the ink. An instrument made by fastening six or eight small sharp fish bones to a stick, which in shape much resembles the gauge used in splitting straw, is dipped in the solution and driven into the flesh by means of a blow given with a short stick, thus forming a mark which cannot be obliterated.

This was an operation indeed painful, especially so on the more sinewy parts of the hand. A long time elapsed before I could use my hands very much.

A person thus marked is considered as the king's own private property, subject entirely to his control and disposition, and when bearing this mark can never desert[127] the tribe, for he would be as cruelly treated by the tribe he wishes to join, as by the deserted one, should he be taken, the penalty for which is death.

All things being in readiness for the attack upon the Cohapha, for the purpose of recovering the loss of our men, we started. There were three parties of us. Noyce was with the king, I with the first chief, after whom we were respectively named, Capayoho, a warrior, Whooro, a good man.

It was late in the evening when we started. The sky was clear, the stars shone unusually bright, as if approving our mission. So stilly they rowed, that not a noise was heard, save the surf dashing against the iron bound shore from the long and heavy regular swell of the sea. Not a word was heard, for every man knew his duty without an order.

Thus we continued on in silence until we reached the bay. We neared the shore and landed about thirty men, a sufficient number being left with the boats.

They had scarce left us when the whole welkin rang with loud shrieks; the war-whoop was sounded.

Our men returned bringing with them ten men, four women and two children. Some were borne upon the backs of the captors, others were drawn upon the ground by the feet. They were brought alive, though their limbs were broken and their skulls badly fractured.

Our canoes shoved off amid the groans of the dying and the shouts and songs of triumph of the captors. The next morning those that were brought alive, having in one or two instances returned to consciousness, were brought forward to the tabu ground, and fastened[128] with the face towards a stake, driven in the ground for the purpose.

The king then with a long pole, on the end of which is a wad, or tuft of hair, white as snow, which is the beard of some man, generally of their own tribe, who had lived to a great age, walks slowly around the stake followed by the chief, who carries a heavy war club, which he brandishes furiously about, at the same time chanting a kind of tune, in which he is joined by many of the tribe, who are all gathered around.

After walking a few times around, the chief, quick as thought, gives the prisoner a blow upon the head, which at once puts an end to his existence; he was then unloosed from the stake, and prepared for the oven.

A war dance was then performed around the body, accompanied with loud shouting, singing, and clapping of hands.

The preparations were then made for roasting the bodies; the ovens were heated, bread fruit, and other things collected in great abundance; the bodies were brought forward, having the entrails removed, the legs bent upon the back, and fastened to the neck. Small hot stones were placed in the body, and the whole then placed in the ovens, as described. The time required for baking a body in that manner, does not exceed forty minutes.

When the bodies are baked, they are removed from the oven to a table, where they are disjointed. A procession is then formed, headed by the king and chiefs, followed by the members of the royal family. A person selected for the purpose then follows with a calabash,[129] filled with a portion of the body, also of the other articles prepared for the occasion.

The procession is made up of all belonging to the tribe, and are marched amid loud shouting and singing to the place where the remains of the former kings lie, where the contents of the calabash is cast, saying, "there is some for you;" this is repeated at every feast, and often times at every meal, a bit is thrown into a calabash, (set on purpose), with the same feeling of dependence.

In and around the houses of the gods, are bones of all shapes and kinds, of men, beasts, fowls, and fishes, beside great quantities of fruits of all kinds, which are carried there from time to time, and deposited with incantations.

After the ceremony is over they are marched back and dispersed about the ground, each helping themselves as they wish. The grand feast is carried on with great glee, amid shouting, clapping of hands, blowing of shells, and a spirit of rivalry seemingly prevails among them in making the greatest noise, and in rejoicing the most over a fallen enemy. They eat as long as they can, when they join in the dance, or sink away into a senseless stupor, the cause of which, is, that on such occasions, they drink very freely indeed. This lasts from one half to an hour, when they again eat and drink, until the second and third stupor seizes upon them, which continues until the last morsel is eaten.

In those feasts we were compelled to partake, which was greatly against our wishes; yet had we been unconscious of what the feast consisted, I think we would[130] have called it a most delicious morsel; and should any of my readers sit down to a dish nicely prepared, without knowing what it was, or supposing it something different, I think they would join with me in declaring it of the richest flavor.

The war by land now commenced, and was carried forward with vigor, each day visiting the battle field, and trying in every way to entrap their enemies. Sometimes a week would pass, and they not get sight of them. As they fought with clubs principally, they could do nothing except in close combat; this the enemy avoided; if by chance one of them wandered off alone, he was almost sure to be taken, so much were our men on the alert.

Noyce and myself, unaccustomed to the use of the spear or club, were allowed to stand neutral, this we continued to do for the space of five months.

The ship Royal Sovereign, of London, came to anchor in our harbor for the purpose of getting provisions, water, &c. Soon as the ship was seen entering the harbor, we received strict orders not to step on board; also in our presence, the people were told to keep the strictest watch of us, lest we should escape. This suddenly put a damper on our hopes, for we had strongly hoped at its approach to find it a means of deliverance for us; foiled in this, we concluded to take no notice of it, but rather appear as if perfectly willing it should be so, and watch an opportunity when we could without suspicion on their part, secrete ourselves on board some other ship.

Our apparently caring but little about the restrictions, tended much to enliven them; of this we made good[131] use. Soon as the anchor was let go, the females plunged as usual into the water, and swam for the ship; that is their usual way, as the use of the boats are prohibited them. The captain lowered away his boat, and came for the shore; on his near approach he hailed for liberty to land. I stepped forward and gave him the desired permission; he seemed greatly surprised at hearing his own language spoken here, while there were no ships lying in the bay.

At his calling loudly, on his landing, for the Englishman, who spoke to him, I came forward to them; he could hardly believe me to be one, for the scanty allowance of clothes with which I left the wreck, had long before fallen off, leaving me entirely naked, and exposed to the sun's scorching rays; besides, my long beard, and uncombed hair, rendered me in appearance scarce less than a savage.

At the many inquiries he made respecting our situation, the natives standing by would say, yahah, or, what does he say? As this was done at every inquiry, I had to use much deception, telling them he wanted hogs, fruit, and water, and for him to solicit the natives to assist in procuring them.

Having acquainted him respecting the war, I proposed to buy a gun and ammunition, if he had one to spare; he brought forward one, and I think the only one he had on board, and very poor at that, which he offered to sell me for hogs. I left him to consult the king, who stoutly refused to buy it; I labored much with him, telling him how many of the Cohaphas I could kill, and at a great distance too, which I measured off to him; at this he was greatly astonished, and immediately[132] consented to have me purchase it. He sent men off to procure the hogs and fruit, which were taken to the beach the next morning; the captain was again brought on shore; I offered him three hogs for the gun itself, and four for a quantity of ammunition. This he readily accepted. Taking the gun we thought ourselves well equipped for action.

During the time the ship remained in the harbor, we were catching hogs, and gathering fruit which we bartered away with the ship's company for such articles as we might desire.

At the expiration of ten days, the captain signified to me his intention to leave the harbor, expressing a strong desire to assist us in getting away; this was altogether impossible, for we were most strictly watched. When the hour of their departure came, we with heart ready for bursting, bade them a cheerful farewell; apparently well pleased with the idea of remaining behind; this tended much towards insuring the confidence of the natives, which was now our principal object, so that at the arrival of the next ship, less vigilance would be observed, and we at length would be enabled to effect our escape. To this end we now used our whole endeavors, and strove as far as possible, to adopt their customs and notions as our own, and set about building huts for ourselves; in this we were assisted very much by the natives, who joyously received the idea of our building them, considering the act an indication of contentedness.

The hut being finished, I went out in search of a wife, knowing thereby that we would also enjoy greater security as well as gain their confidence. Finding a[133] group of six or eight chewing carver I chatted with them awhile; when taking one of them, a girl of about sixteen, by the ear slightly, I signified to her my wish of her becoming my wife. She instantly left her business, and accompanied me to my hut. That was all the required ceremony.

A man at any time getting dissatisfied with his wife, has only to lead her from the house, bid her go elsewhere, and take to himself another more suited to his fancy. Finding the one I had first chosen differing entirely from what I supposed, I made use of this prerogative, drove her from the house, and chose for myself a daughter of one of the chiefs, a girl of only thirteen years of age, with whom I lived during my residence on the island.

Great was the astonishment of the natives when they saw us kill a hog, or any other animal at a distance, with our gun; and such was their fear of the pobohe, as they termed it, that they would scarcely come near it, much less touch it; this was a very happy circumstance for us, and we indulged them in their fear, hoping that by so doing, to retain the exclusive control of it ourselves, and thereby gain notoriety among them as warriors.

Each day we went to the battle field, but seldom would the enemy meet us there. One morning taking a quantity of junk lead, which we brought instead of balls, we cut it into small pieces, or slugs, intending to use two or three at a time; we proceeded to the battle field with only a few of the warriors. On our arrival we gave one yell or whoop, to apprise the enemy of our presence in the field. From the eminence we occupied,[134] we could overlook the valley of the Cohaphas. They wishing to appear as not at all fearful of us, commenced dancing, and singing loudly, still they dare not meet us in the field.

Noyce being the best marksman, took charge of the gun, while I carried the ammunition; as before remarked, the gun was a very poor one, and would have been under other circumstances condemned as unfit for use. Oftentimes it could not be made to go off except I applied a torch to it while Noyce took aim. I usually carried fire with me in the husks of the cocoa-nut. We stole cautiously down the hill, until we were within reach of them. Secreting ourselves behind a bunch of reeds, we opened our fire upon them, gave them two or three charges, which made them dance still more lively. On the first discharge we wounded one man in the leg, who fell upon the ground, rolling and kicking around most violently, at the same time yelling loud enough to be heard half a mile; the others, altogether ignorant of the cause, gathered around to learn it if possible; this we demonstrated to them by the two succeeding shots, in a most lively manner, which caused them to yell still louder than before. Throwing the wounded upon their shoulders they fled with the greatest precipitancy; we followed closely with a few of our slugs, but were unable to reach them.

On gaining the eminence occupied by our warriors, they were overjoyed at our success, falling at our feet in token of reverence, and on our return to the bay, most loudly were our efforts extolled by them.

Many days now passed without our seeing an enemy, though we visited the field nearly every day. At length[135] they ventured to make another attack upon our bay on a bright moonlight night, at a late hour, probably supposing us all asleep, but Noyce being on watch, saw them cautiously approaching our shores, gave the alarm, and the whole tribe secreted themselves in the groves, and waited their approach; when near enough, and in the right position, we gave them what is termed a raking shot; finding themselves foiled in their attempt, they instantly turned and fled the harbor. So near were they, we could plainly see the destruction we had made; three were wounded, one of them desperately. So heavily was the gun loaded, that it came near killing Noyce, who was thrown with a great force upon the ground, by its violent kicking. This attempt though unsuccessful, altogether called out the power of the tribe, and they immediately set about preparing for a grand attack upon the Cohaphas. The preparation for the attack occupied several days; spears and clubs were brought forward, and examined; those unfit for use were broken and thrown aside, and others made to supply their place. The warriors decorated themselves with feathers, and other things in a most gaudy manner. All who were able to bear arms were called to prepare for the attack. When collected, they presented a sight truly imposing. "Their lofty head-dresses made of feathers, gleaming like helmets in the brightness of the sun, and tossing proudly in the wind, with the motion of their bold gait,—their naked and brawny limbs,—their savage trappings, converted them for the moment into seeming giants."

The most hideously painted, and powerfully equipped North American Indian, would fail in a comparison[136] with one of these, as a fearful and majestic warrior. They rushed forward with shouts of exultation and joy, exclaiming, in tones of heart-felt triumph, as they went rapidly through the action of an onset,—throwing themselves in every wild and threatening attitude,—scowling with looks of deathly fierceness and revenge,—brandishing their spears and clubs in the air. "Cohapha, Cohapha, te hannah Muckey, Cohapha," or Death to the Cohaphas.

We proceeded on the valley through which a small rivulet courses itself, which is thickly clustered "with trees, whose lofty tops so thickly interlace each other, as to completely embower the whole glen; and the rays of the torrid sun beneath which we had been marching, instead of striking us with a scorching glare, fell in such rich and grateful mellowness on the group below, as to seem but the moonlight of a fairy land; the illusion of which, the sound of water had but little tendency to break."

Our army consisted of about three hundred able warriors, armed with clubs and spears, all with eager strides rushing on to meet the enemy. We at length reached the top of the mountain which separates the two tribes, and which also constituted the battle ground. Until we arrived there, no regular order was observed. The warriors were then divided into three companies, or divisions, leaving Noyce and myself to act for ourselves. Again we crawled unobserved down the hill, till we came within a few rods of the enemy. We loaded our gun as heavily as we dared do, putting seven slugs in it, meaning to do the principal work with the first shot, as they would probably retreat immediately, and not[137] give us an opportunity of firing again. All things in readiness, we softly crept a few rods nearer, and, as they were standing close together, (in consultation no doubt respecting an engagement, as our men were seen upon the field,) we discharged our battery upon them. Great was the havoc we made with a single shot, killing two and wounding three more. Among the wounded was the celebrated chief, Cappayoho, noted among all tribes for his great daring and cunningness in battle.

We returned to the point occupied by our men, who had watched our movements and saw the execution of our only shot. Meanwhile our warriors had succeeded in taking the persons of three of the enemy. This to them was true revenge: to simply kill was no revenge at all; that alone consisted in disjointing the enemy, and tearing the flesh from his bones by the morsel.

We were held in great estimation among them as warriors. We returned to the valley with shouts and songs of triumph; those who were infirm, and unable to join in the battle, with the women and children, met us as we came near home, and joined in the exclamation of joy.

As was often the case, Noyce and myself one day strolled far away from home into the mountain, taking our gun with us as a constant companion, when, wearied with walking in the noonday sun, we had retired beneath the shade of a large tree. I had seated myself upon a little rise of ground, while Noyce was standing by me in the attitude so common to huntsmen, viz., that of standing with his hands upon the gun, and resting his chin upon his hands, musing upon our situation and probable destiny, when our reverie was broken by the[138] sharp report of a gun near by. I sprang to my feet with my legs completely covered with blood. Noyce brought the gun into requisition for defence. Soon we saw the head of a native within a very few feet, peering up above the grass, in which he had secreted himself to catch a glimpse of us. Noyce discharged his gun immediately, and two slugs entered his head above the right eye, and came out at the back of the left ear; he died without a gasp. On arriving at him, we found he had a beautiful gun of French manufacture, of which I took possession. This occasioned great surprise with us, as we supposed we were in possession of the only gun on the island. We afterwards ascertained, however, that a French ship visiting the island, coming in upon the other side, for sandal wood, had sold ten or twelve to the different tribes; only one, however, had been sold to the Cohaphas, and that to rather an obscure individual who lived by himself in the mountain principally, yet considered himself as belonging to the Cohaphas. We made a knife of bamboo, with which we extracted the shot from my legs, or a portion of it; some, however, remains to the present time, and can still be felt.

Raising the body upon our shoulders, we hastened to our tribe. When we made known our adventure, throwing down the body as proof before them, their joy knew no bounds. As a reward, the king gave us twenty-five trees each, banana and bread-fruit, which were by them considered quite a wealth.

The body, taken as it was, was considered worthy special manifestations of joy and triumph. Accordingly it was prepared for the feast; other necessaries were[139] also furnished, consisting of fruits and carver in great abundance.

The stillness of the night was broken by the loud shouting, singing, &c. The body was taken from the oven and placed upon the table. The whole tribe set up a whoro whoro, or loud singing, which was echoed back from the hills like a thousand thunders. The war dance was performed, I think, with greater eagerness than ever before. Torches, made by stringing the amer nut on the stem of the cocoa-nut leaf, were placed around on all sides, rendering the whole scene as lightsome as noonday. This continued till morning, when they dispersed. Of the grandeur of such a scene the reader can form no definite idea at all, however much the pen may labor in its description.

About twelve months after our landing on the island, the ship Pacific, of Nantucket, came to anchor in our bay. Of those on board we obtained a supply of ammunition, giving in exchange our usual barter—hogs and fruit. At the expiration of thirteen days, the ship left the harbor, and we were again doomed to see our friends depart, leaving us behind on those desolate shores.

When we first saw her sails before the breeze nearing our shore, Hope pointed us to it as a means of escape; but in that we were doomed to disappointment, being most strictly watched by the natives. No pen can describe with any degree of accuracy our feelings at that time, deserted as it were by our fellowmen, and shut out from the world, perhaps forever! With a determination to acquit ourselves as became our situation, we[140] assumed an air of cheerfulness, and went about our business.

The battle field was still visited; but none had been taken or killed since the time of my being shot. One day a company of us were out getting carver; we had secured a quantity, which we had fastened to our backs, and were returning, when, my load getting misplaced, I stopped to fix it; the others meanwhile continued slowly on. When I had adjusted my load and was starting, a huge hog, with open mouth, stood in my path. He gave one spring, or bound, and made for me. Throwing off my carver, I ran a few rods, turned my eye back, found the hog following closely, and was evidently gaining upon me. I gave a loud whoop, which was answered by my companions. I could see no chance of escape from him except by jumping a precipice of about ninety feet, to which I found myself hastening. This I looked upon as almost certain destruction; but to be overtaken by the hog was sure death: thus having no alternative, I taxed my every nerve and rushed forward, gave a spring to carry me beyond the trees and points of rock which might be in the way. I landed in a cluster of tall reeds and grass which bent with my weight and eased me down without injury, save a few slight scratches. My first thought on landing was of the hog, whether he had also jumped; but he wisely searched for other prey.

To find my way back, over rocks, through briars and obstacles of all kinds, was no easy task, besides I was in much danger of being captured by some prowling Cohaphas.

[141]

ESCAPE FROM A HOG.

[142]
[143]

After much difficulty I succeeded in reaching the Bay of Ooro, a small bay belonging to the Teheda, where I related my adventure with the hog, which caused a hearty laugh. Getting some refreshments, I started for home by a path which led over the bluff. As I entered the village, I was met by Noyce and the natives who had accompanied me in the morning. Great was their astonishment when they saw me, for they supposed by the whoop I gave that I had fallen into the hands of the Cohaphas, and had on that account given them an opportunity of manifesting their cannibal joy over a fallen enemy.

Great joy was manifested by other members of the tribe for my return. The sorcerer, or doctor, applied carver to my wounds, saying I should not be killed by a hog or a Cohapha, but should live to a good old age among the Teheda. If I had been killed by jumping the precipice, or had been devoured by the hog, they would have cared but little, in comparison with the idea of my falling a victim to the blood-thirsty Cohaphas.

The war with the Cohaphas lasted nearly a year, when, one morning at a very early hour, a message came from them, saying the "King of the Cohaphas wished for peace, for those veneies, or devils, (as they called us,) were killing all the Cohaphas with their Pobohe." Our king drew himself up at full length, and with a significant expression of countenance said: "The King of the Cohaphas commenced; the King of the Teheda will end. If he has done enough we will give him peace; but if not—if he still thirsts for blood, we will kill all of them, as we did the Whi's;" a tribe of that name who lived about two miles from us, who committed some misdemeanor upon our tribe, at which the[144] king became enraged, and in a single night killed them all, amounting to about 500. Their bodies were thrown in a pile, where their bones still whiten the sand. I have often visited the spot, which can truly be called "the place of skulls." Bones of all sizes, from the tender infant who nestled in its mother's arms, to the stout, athletic warrior, are strewn upon the ground. The messenger returned to his king, and peace was established.


[145]

CHAPTER IX.

A visit from the Cohaphas. Our King wishes to learn the use of the gun. Abandons the idea. Arrival of Captain Fisher. His inhumanity. Is driven from the land. Manner of fishing. Attempt to cultivate tobacco. Efficacy of the tabu law. A missionary ship arrives. Meetings are held. Unbelief of the natives. Narrow escape of the author. Conduct of Mr. Daylia. He is driven from the island. Another sail approaches. Recognition of the Captain. His conduct. Plan of escape. The king is deceived. The author leaves the island. Secretes himself. Is missed. His unpleasant situation. Joy at seeing the natives leave the ship. Reflections.

A few days after, a number of the Cohaphas visited our valley, expressing a strong desire to see the Tehoury and their Pobohe. Among them was the celebrated chief Cappayoho, who was still lame from the wound he had received from our slugs. When we came before him, he looked upon us with perfect astonishment, turned us around again and again, asking many questions respecting ourselves, our country, and the use of our pobohe. A large hog was brought in and roasted, and a sumptuous feast given, of which all partook, forgetting all feelings of enmity.

One day our king expressed a strong desire to learn the use of the gun, and asked me to show him. Not liking the idea of it, being fearful we should not only lose the gun, but the reputation we then sustained from our success with it, I resolved to fix him so that he[146] would abandon the thought of it. I accordingly put in a powerful charge, and gave him the gun. He with great confidence brought it to his shoulder, and discharged it. So powerful was it that it threw him upon the ground with great force. He sprang to his feet, exclaiming in great rage—"Kekeno tehoury!" I assured him he did not hold it right, and then loaded it for myself and discharged it without harm. That served to convince him. He declared he would never touch the thing again, and did not during my stay there.

The war having closed, left us without any particular way of spending our time, except getting our supply of fruits for living; this done, time passed heavily. Often we would retire to the groves or some secluded spot, where, shut out from the world as it were, we would sing some lively song, which would call to our minds most vividly the scenes of other days. Home, with all its allurements, would rush before us, and our untold grief could scarcely be borne. Suddenly some native would come upon us, perhaps when we were weeping, when we would feign that degree of contentedness which made them believe we were truly so.

At length the cry of moco nui, a large ship, resounded through the valley. This we fancied was the time for our deliverance from this place. She stood abreast the harbor, taking in her light sails; the boats were lowered and came towards the shore; when within hailing distance they asked for permission to land. This the king, through me, granted. Returning to the ship, they stood into the harbor and came to anchor. The females swam to the ship, and, before the sails could be furled, the decks were literally full of them.

[147]

She proved to be the ship Pocahontas, Capt. Fisher, of Sag Harbor. The captain coming on shore, I acquainted him with our situation, and requested his interference in our behalf. He, with a great degree of indifference, offered to take us away if we would get the king's full consent; this he knew we could not do. I then asked him for clothing? His reply was:

"I do not carry clothes around for such miserable fellows as you are;" and furthermore, he had none except those needed for the use of the ship's crew; yet he offered to sell me some, provided I would pay him in American currency. I could only offer him the usual commodity of the island—hogs, &c. These, he said, he could buy of the natives with a few scraps of old iron.

His casks were already on shore for water, and he was trying to get the natives to fill them. I went to the king and told him he was a kekeno tehoury, (bad white man,) and that he was going to get water and hogs without pay, and advised him to drive them from the harbor. The king at this became greatly enraged, and called together the tribe, or many of them, ordered Capt. Fisher to leave the island immediately, and not to land their boats again.

The casks were rolled into the water, the natives followed up closely with clubs and spears, ready to force them away, should they offer resistance or in any way retard their operations. The next morning they weighed anchor and left our harbor, without being able to get either water or provisions.

As fishing was one of the ways in which we spent[148] our time, I purpose here giving an account of the manner in which fish are caught:

When a school of porpoises enter the harbor, notice is given to the tribe, who, armed with stones, immediately resort to the water; some on each side rush into the water, beating the stones together beneath the surface. The porpoises becoming frightened, flee before their pursuers and are driven upon the beach, where they are killed by the old men and boys with clubs.—They are then taken to their huts, and hung up by a cord of bark run through the tail. From these they daily feast, until they rot and fall from their hanging place.

Smaller fish are taken by nets, made of the cords of bark. These nets are about twenty feet across the top or mouth; they are sunk below the water's surface by stones placed in the bottom and attached to several boats, stationed at regular points about, by cords. The natives then swim around on all sides, and at a given signal swim towards the boats, beating stones together. The fish frightened on all sides, flee to the least dangerous point, which is in the vicinity of the net; the net is then raised to the surface, oftentimes catching a barrel or two at a time. The females seldom join in catching fish, and never unless by special permission.

Finding a plant much resembling tobacco, I thought I would try to cultivate it, hoping to improve it, and accordingly set out a number of plants. These the hogs destroyed. When I supplied their place, I bargained with a native to build a stone wall around the patch, which was about fifteen feet square, for a half head of tobacco. When the wall was done I paid him. He[149] seemed not altogether satisfied with the bargain; he left the hut and went directly to the spot and tore the wall down. I informed the king, hoping he would make him rebuild it. The king seized his club and ran every foot to the house in which he lived. As he with the other members of the family were seated at their evening repast, he rushed in and gave him a heavy blow with the club, completely severing the head in twain, and the brains and blood flew around upon those who sat with him. The king then ordered his brother to take the body and put it in a certain hole in the rocks, where the tide as it ebbed and flows would wash it. Had I supposed such would have been the case, I should not have informed the king of him.

My wife knowing the treachery of the tribe, also hearing their threats, put me on my guard.

Several times they attempted me harm, but I evaded them.

One night while we were quietly reposing on our beds of leaves, with the amer nut light burning by my side, a spear was forced through the side of the hut and lodged within a few inches of my body. I sprang to my feet, put out my light, and remained on the watch the remainder of the night.

The next morning I carried the spear to the king, who called the tribe together, and holding up the spear, called upon the owner to come for it; but no one appeared. Then in the presence of the whole tribe he put me and my household under the tabu law, which effectually shielded me from all harm. However great their anger or the desire to kill me might have been, none dare lay the finger of harm upon me. Thus to their[150] heathenish superstition I owed my life, for such was their anger that no law save that would have deterred them from reeking their vengeance upon me.

This however did not heal the wound, or cause the wave of forgetfulness to sweep over the affair, as there was always, during my stay on the island, a sort of hatred existing with the members of that family toward me, though they dare not manifest it.

Again a heavy sail was seen approaching our shores. We dare not look forward to an opportunity of escape, so often had we been doomed to disappointment.

As she came into the harbor and dropped her anchor, we thought we could notice less confusion than usually attended ships on coming to anchor.

The king requested Noyce and myself to go with him to the ship. He had never before allowed us to do that.

On reaching the ship we crawled up her sides, and jumped over the bulwark, when we found ourselves, naked as when born, before two or three English ladies. We instantly jumped overboard, seized a canoe and pulled for the shore, when, Adam-like, we procured leaves and made aprons for ourselves. This proved a Missionary ship, sent from Otaheite, under the direction of an English missionary, named Daylia, who had long resided there, to establish a station, which he intended leaving in charge of two gentlemen, Messrs. Bingham and Morris, who with their wives had come thither for that purpose.

Soon Mr. Daylia, Mr. Bingham and the captain came upon the shore, and after learning the reason of our being there, &c., inquired of the general character of the[151] natives, and of our views of the proposed idea of establishing a station there. Knowing as we did of the hatred with which they were accustomed to look upon all not belonging to their own tribe, especially should they differ from them, we said much to dissuade them from the attempt. Perhaps however we were influenced more by feelings of selfishness, which might arise from the nature of our situation among them, than otherwise. And in such a light it was viewed by Mr. Daylia, who reprimanded me in a manner not at all becoming the dignity of his station. From that moment Mr. Daylia looked upon me as upon a person bearing his dislike, not to say hatred.

Notwithstanding our efforts to have them relinquish the idea of remaining, they moved some of their effects on shore, among them were a bull and cow, without permission, and took possession of an uninhabited hut near the tabu ground.

This greatly incensed the king against them, and had I not interfered, he would have driven, not only the animals, but the people from his shores entirely. At any rate he would not have the animals there, and ordered them removed immediately, or he would kill them. They were accordingly taken to the ships again.

They brought the females on shore and commenced building a house on the tabu ground; the king watching every movement, forbid their proceeding, and asked them by what authority they entered upon his consecrated grounds. Mr. Daylia replied, "By the Lord's authority." The king significantly said the Lord had nothing to do with the tabu ground, and again forbid their building there.

[152]

They persisting in staying, the king told them they might do so while they remained at peace with the other tribes, but should a war break out, they would be tattooed, or driven from the land.

Meetings were held each day, which Noyce and myself generally attended, at the request of the missionaries, as an example to the natives.

The Otaheitean and Marquisian languages are so nearly alike they could converse without an interpreter.

Daylia, in one of his meetings, said much about the good land and a bad land, telling them if they would be good and pray they would go to the good land, when they died. This he explained in a manner suited to their understanding. One of the chiefs jumped up and asked if the missionary who died at Nukuhivah (an English missionary who died about two years before) had gone to that good land. Mr. Daylia assured them he had, when, unwilling to believe it, they sent four men to that island, (about fifty miles) to get some of the bones. At the expiration of five or six days they returned, bringing bones with them; and at the next meeting, when Daylia was again telling of the good land, they set up a shouting, calling him a liar and showed him the bones. They told him he had been driven from his own land and had come to live with them, and he might stop preaching about his good land and his bad land, for they would not believe him. In vain were his remonstrances with them. They told him if he would climb a lofty cocoa-nut tree, which stood near, and jump among the rocks unhurt, they would believe him.

Still he held his meetings, but not with any degree of[153] pleasantness, for the natives were as likely to set up a war dance as any thing else.

This was imputed to me by Mr. Daylia, who threatened to send me to England and have me severely punished. His threats I did not heed very much, though I should have been extremely glad to have been sent there.

One morning, at an early hour, going as usual to bathe, I met a servant of Mr. Daylia, who was a native of Otaheite, with an axe upon his shoulder. Having before been on good terms with him, I smilingly passed the compliment of the morning, (Kaoha, good morning) and was passing on. Accidentally turning my eye, I saw the axe uplifted, and aimed at my head. I fell upon my knees and evaded the blow. With earnestness I sprang and caught it, having one hand at the head and the other at the end of the helve, before he could again raise it.

Pulling hard as if to get possession of it, at the same time wrestling about, I brought the edge towards him, he also pulling with his might in endeavoring to hold it, when I suddenly relaxed my hold, still holding on the handle, drove the edge into his face, running obliquely across the nose. This was repeated twice, when he fell yelling most lustily.

His cries brought the missionary and many of the natives, with the king and second chief, to the spot.

I told Daylia if that, with the treatment he had given me, was an illustration of his preaching, he had better stay at home than go to the heathen, professedly to preach peace and salvation, while he practiced such horrid digressions.

[154]

The servant declared he was doing his master's bidding. This was stoutly contradicted by Daylia. Still I was led by the former friendship which had existed between us, and the previous conduct of Daylia, to believe the statement of the servant in preference to that of his.

The king then ordered them to leave the island that day or he would kill them all. Daylia taking up a little child of one of the missionaries, said in a half sneering manner, "Would you kill this innocent one?" "Yes," says the king, "a nit will be a louse."

Their goods were taken to the ship, and every preparation made to leave the island; Daylia, however, taking the opportunity to say to me that I might expect to be sent for from England to answer for my conduct, accusing me of influencing the king against them.

This was not the fact; and, to the contrary, had I not interfered in their behalf, they would have been killed in the early part of their adventure.

Still I did not favor the idea of their remaining very much, knowing the utter impracticability of such an undertaking with the then existing state of the inhabitants. Had such an enterprise been in the least degree practicable, we should have been foolish indeed not to have welcomed them with joy, as our situation would thereby have been greatly improved, if our escape had not been effected by it.

It was painful, indeed, to see them depart, especially so, as far as Messrs. Bingham and Morris were concerned, for, towards them we had formed the strongest attachment.

[155]

On the morning of the next day they weighed anchor and left the harbor.

Twice since this time have the missionaries attempted to form a station there, and as many times been defeated. Once the French Catholics, with an armed force, attempted to drive them to repentance and religion at the point of the bayonet, but the missionaries and soldiers were massacred, and the sailors driven from the harbor.

After the missionaries left the harbor, time passed still more heavily than before. A month or two elapsed without our having much to do.

One day while seated on a high bluff overlooking the sea, watching for some distant sail, there I sat with anxious, straining eyes till near nightfall, when I discerned a speck in the distance, dancing upon the wave. I watched its course until it ripened into perfect form, giving the beautiful proportion of a large ship. With great eagerness I watched it until night closed it from my sight. Wondering whether she was destined to land at our shores, I returned to the valley and gave notice to the king of its approach.

The next morning I, with my wife, at a very early hour, went to bathe, and saw the ship heading towards the harbor. The king and other natives soon joined us, all with straining eyes watching the ship.

On its nearer approach the king asked me if I would take charge of the ship if he would kill all the crew and take possession of her. This I refused to do, saying our countrymen would come there in great numbers and kill us. He, shaking his head, said, "if they will kill you, what would they do to us? we will not touch[156] them." They suppose all ships and crews, like themselves, belong to some great king; and if any crew commits any wrong upon them, and they cannot be revenged upon the aggressors themselves, they will upon the next ship that comes there, believing one common head suffers or bears the loss. This is the reason, generally, that innocent crews have been murdered so cruelly by them, without any seeming provocation.

The ship entered the harbor and dropped her anchor. The boats came to land with the captain and others. At first sight I thought I recognized in the person of the captain, a friend of other days. This idea was strengthened much by hearing the crew address him as "Capt. Coleman."

I immediately stepped up and asked him if he ever sailed in the brig Henry. He assured me he had. I then, looking him steadily in the eye, asked, "do you know me, sir?" Looking at me a moment steadily, he said, "yes, Bill! though your sunburnt countenance and savage connections almost bid defiance to the recognition." How I came there in that horrible place, with that outlandish crew, and what I could be doing, exceedingly puzzled him.

I chatted with him some time. The king noticing a spirit of familiarity existing with us, stood by with more than common watchfulness, and at every few words, would say, yahah? (what says he?) I told him at each inquiry that he wanted hogs and water, or in some other way quieted him.

Finding it useless to attempt a conversation at that time, he went back to the ship and sent two rafts of casks to the shore for water. These I bargained with[157] the natives to fill for him, paying them in whales' teeth, tobacco, &c. He also purchased a quantity of hogs, fruit, &c., of the natives, always paying them as much certainly, as he promised to do. Besides, he made them many presents of small, and to him, valueless articles, though they esteemed them very highly. This won their affections completely, and he was allowed to go where and when he pleased. By this means we were enabled to get together often and form a plan by which he could assist me in getting away, which was to go on board as the land breeze sprang up. I told him repeatedly of the sad consequences that would most assuredly follow to himself and crew, as well as to me, should we be detected in the act. But that did not in the least degree deter him from making the attempt. What a noble contrast between this captain, who was willing to run the risk of his life, and the lives of his noble crew, to assist me to escape, and the heartless wretch of the Pocahontas, who refused to let me have any thing unless I would pay him in American currency, which he well knew I had not; at the same time he was in want of hogs, &c., which I could furnish him with, and which he chose rather to obtain from the simple natives with a piece of old valueless hoop iron; thus depriving me of useful articles which my necessities required.

The afternoon previous to the departure of the ship, the captain spent on shore with us, and when he left to go on board I shook hands with him, as if never to see him again, telling him to cause a statement of our situation to be made to our friends, which he promised to do.

He went to his ship—manned the windlass—hove[158] short the cable and mast-headed the top-sail yard. The natives seeing it, asked yahah hannah hannah moro, (or, what are they doing there?) I told them they were heaving short and getting ready to leave the harbor. The king asked me then if I wished to leave the island and go with them. I with an outburst of laughter, as if perfectly astonished at the question, said loudly, I did not. I was then asked why. I referred him to my wife and the happy manner in which I lived. At this he seemed greatly delighted.

Often have I heard it asserted that falsehoods were never justifiable, and that the truth is best in all cases. Should those who most loudly proclaim such views, be thus situated, I fear their theory and practice would differ very much. Never have I met a man, I think, who would under those circumstances adhere strictly to the truth, and thereby lose his opportunity of getting away.

We walked away to my hut where the king and second chief sat and chatted with me till the evening was far advanced. They went to their homes perfectly satisfied that I did not wish to go, at least, I thought so, and I was certain I weighed each word and look well. I went to bed and had a lengthy talk with my wife about the ship's leaving the shore and of my unwillingness to go. I remained talking till near midnight, when feigning sickness I got up and walked out.

On the beach I found an old native, who seemed somewhat surprised at my presence, as well as I at his, for I feared a watch was kept. Chatting with him awhile, I was satisfied all things were right. Together we went back to the huts. His being first, I saw him go in,[159] when I went home, and as the land breeze had not yet sprung up, went to bed. I lay a short time in the highest state of excitement, when I heard a rustling in the trees, which I knew was a signal for me to start.

I lay some moments scarce able to raise myself, for fear had taken fast hold of me,—I knew not but some wiley native had discovered something in me which excited them and a watch was kept. If such were really the case, most horrible would be its results.

I was half inclined to abandon the project. Knowing that if this most favorable opportunity passed I might not see another, hope bade me make the trial.

I was soon upon the beach, shoved off a canoe, and was getting in when I found there were no paddles. For a moment I gave up the idea, when recollecting that I had seen some broken ones a few days previous, lying behind an uninhabited hut, thither I repaired, greatly fearing the dogs would give the alarm; I obtained the paddles and was again at the boat.

No person can form any idea of the wretchedness of my situation, as I looked around to see if danger was near.

The moon which had before shone brightly, had retired behind the bluff as if unwilling to bear witness to the affair. I soon reached the ship, seized hold of the ropes, which hang over the ship's side for the purpose, and putting my shoulders under the main chains, sank my canoe, and jumped on board, not daring to look behind lest I should find myself pursued.

As was previously arranged, there was but one man on board who saw me, who was Mr. Bliffin, the mate, the others being below, knowing nothing of my being[160] there, so that should the natives miss me and come on board, they could not betray me by any emotions of fear.

Without speaking to Mr. Bliffin I went immediately to the captain's room, from thence I secreted myself in the run or after part of the vessel, under a pile of rubbish.

The sailors were called and every effort made to quit the harbor immediately. We had scarcely moved from her berth, when by the noise and bustle about the ship, I was satisfied the natives were aboard. Soon I heard them nearing me, and could distinctly distinguish their voices. Among them was the first chief who said, "let us be off, for he is not here; if he had been they would not have let us looked."

The captain pretended not to understand them when they came to the ship, and it was a long time before he could, at the same time he was crowding all sail and getting as far out as possible. Believing I was not there, they left the ship and paddled for the shore. Soon as they had gone the captain called me from my hiding place and took me on deck, to the great astonishment of the crew.

There were about forty came on board. Great was the delight with which I looked on them as they were gaining the shore; and while I was overjoyed at my own escape, I could not but look back upon the wretchedness and misery of Noyce, who was left behind entirely ignorant of what had become of me.

Whether I was captured and killed by some one who might have an ill will towards me, or had escaped on board the ship, were alike matters of consideration with[161] him, for I had left him entirely ignorant of my plans, as I knew I must in order to effect my own escape.

Many who may favor me with reading my simple narrative will no doubt censure me for so doing, but should they be situated as I was, knowing the utter impossibility for both to escape, they would, I think, find the love of self, naturally strong as it is in man, pointing them to the same course I pursued. To go and leave him was indeed painful in the extreme, but had he been thus favored by the visit of a friend who was willing to run the risk of his life in taking him away, and he had thus effected his escape, I think I could only have thought him acting right, however much I might deplore my loss.

The first kind offer of the captain as I came on board was to give me clothes to cover my nakedness. Awkward, indeed, I felt as well as acted, when clothed again, having been naked eighteen months. And as I tasted of the salt meats and other articles found on ship board, cooked so different from what I had been accustomed to so long, I could scarcely eat them.


[162]

CHAPTER X.

Description of the Whale Fishery. Being again on board a whale ship, I propose giving my readers a brief description of the Whale, and of the manner of capturing them.

There are a number of varieties of whales; the three principal of which are the common Greenland, or what sailors call the right whale, the "razorback" or "finner;" and, thirdly, the cachelot or sperm whale. These three varieties do not differ very essentially in their general structure, though each has its peculiarities. The common full grown right whale varies in length from fifty to seventy feet. Many exaggerated notions are held respecting the size of the whale. Writers of standard works of history have stated that they were frequently found an hundred and fifty or sixty feet in length; and that they had been found even of the extreme length of two hundred and fifty feet. But such is not the fact; they seldom will exceed the length above stated, and measure round the body, directly behind the head, from thirty to forty feet. The head is of great size, and occupies one third of the whole extent from snout to tail. The greatest circumference of the body is just back of the head, whence it tapers sharply away towards the tail. The mouth of the whale is extremely large and long, and will admit, when opened wide, a whaleboat with its crew, if placed crosswise of the jaw,—cases[163] have been known where the whole length of a boat has thus been taken in. The animal has no fin upon the back, and the two side fins are five or six feet broad, and nine or ten feet in length. The tail or "flukes," as the seamen term it, is some twenty-five feet broad, in the shape of a crescent, and is appended horizontally. This is a dangerous and powerful instrument with which the whale often deals destruction to men and boats, or whatever chances to be in the way during what the sailors term her "flurry," or when she is in the agonies of death. Boats are frequently thrown high into the air, and broken into ten thousand pieces by a stroke from the whale's "flukes." The eyes of the whale are not larger than those of an ox,—the color of the body is mainly black; the under part of the head and abdomen partly white, and partly of a speckled gray. The two spout-holes of the "right" whale are on the top of the head, and descend perpendicular into it for the length of twelve inches or so to the windpipe. The throat is quite small; an inch and a half is the extreme diameter of the gullet in the largest right whales. The food of these whales is, of course, of a very minute nature; they feed upon a multitude of smaller inhabitants of the ocean; and the mouth is provided with a remarkable apparatus, composed of numerous whale-bones extending from the centre of the arch to the lips, tapering away into mere bristles, and forming a kind of fringe, by which means the small particles of food are retained; not so with the sperm whale; they are distinguished by having teeth in the lower jaw, and but one spout-hole on the upper part of the snout. The sperm whale attains to a great size; sometimes reaching[164] the length of eighty feet; the head is of enormous bulk, and ends abruptly in front. It has a small hump like a camel on the back; and the side fins are also of small size; they generally have from forty to fifty teeth which fit into cavities in the upper jaw.

In this whale the gullet is large enough to admit a man; and the food is large fish, principally "squid." A fine oil is obtained from the head of the sperm whale called spermaceti, and from its intestines ambergris. The sperm whale's spout can be seen at the distance of three miles, and is easily distinguished. This whale does not produce as much oil as the other variety, but it is much more valuable; they fight fiercely among themselves, locking jaws with one another, and exerting themselves in the most powerful manner; but they do not attack a boat or man, and are easily frightened away. They are fond of their young, and of one another, and will commonly remain near to a wounded companion. They have the ability, on noticing any object, to communicate intelligence to their companions four or five miles—though the manner in which this is done remains a secret. It is often seen to leap entirely out of water for the purpose, as is supposed, to rid themselves of crabs and sucking-fish which are fond of fastening upon their bodies. This act is termed by the sailors "breaching." The swordfish and others frequently attack the whale with the utmost audacity.

I have given my readers a brief account of some of the general features and peculiarities of the whale; and I shall now proceed to describe briefly the manner of catching them. No species of fishing can compare in interest with the whale-fishery. The magnitude of the[165] object of the chase, and the perilous character of the seas which it peculiarly frequents, are features which prominently distinguish the profession of the whale-fisher from all similar pursuits. Before proceeding to the account of capturing one of these monsters, I will speak of the whaleboat and its appurtenances used for the purpose.

The whaleboat is from twenty-two to thirty feet in length, and is provided with five or six oars. It is so formed as to float lightly on the water, move with speed, and turn easily round. The best are composed of straight, one-half inch cedar boards, ruppled and bent to the required shape, by which means their elasticity is greatly increased—the rapid and dangerous movements of the whale render these various qualities indispensable. The principal weapons with which the whale-fishery are supplied are the harpoon and lance. The harpoon is an instrument about three feet long, composed of iron, and consists of three conjoined parts—the socket, shank, and withers or barbs. Much attention is paid to the manufacture of the shank of the harpoon because on its flexibility the retention of a harpooned whale depends. If the shank should break during the plunges of the whale, the animal is lost. The lance is a more simple instrument; it is about ten feet long, and has a sharp flat point or tongue of steel seven inches long. This instrument and the harpoon, together with lines and boat, are all the apparatus actually necessary for capturing a whale.

On the ship reaching the fishing ground, preparations are immediately made for commencing the business of capture. Three or four boats are always kept suspended[166] from the cranes, by the side of the ship, in such a position that they can be lowered into the water with their complement of men and the whole necessary apparatus, in the space of one minute.

Previously to this time the harpoons and line have been got in order. The socket of the harpoon is furnished with a stock or handle, six or eight feet long, and fastened in its place by means of a splice of strong rope called a foreganger. To this is attached five or six fathoms of line, called the stray line; and this is connected with the other lines of the boat, neatly coiled up in each boat, and about 4300 feet of rope, made of the best hemp, and about two and a half inches in circumference. A hatchet, bucket, and a few other articles, are put into the boat.

When on the fishing ground, a man is kept constantly at the mast-head on the look out for whales, and to give the notice to the men on deck of the appearance of one upon the surface—which he does by crying out "there she blows," or "there she spouts," which is responded to by the captain on deck, who inquires "where away." The direction being ascertained, one or more of the boats are lowered, manned by the respective crews of each to row out, and if necessary give chase to the whale—every boat eager to reach him first. There is much competition between the different boats to see which shall first "fasten," or get a harpoon into the whale; and this is sometimes carried to such extreme length, that the unfortunate rear boat, seeing no chance of success themselves, will throw every obstacle in the way of the other to prevent their securing the whale; and sometimes go so far even as to purposely[167] frighten the whale away—thus seriously injuring the interest of the owners as well as the whole crew. But this is not allowed in well disciplined ships; for there the officer who goes in each boat is required to guard against it.

The boats pull on, and as they approach the whale they see him spouting more slowly. This is a signal that he is soon going down, and for them to hasten if they would secure him. The successful boat shoots alongside. "Peak your oar!" exclaims the officer to the harpooner—the order is obeyed. "Stand up," continues the officer; and the glistening harpoon is seen above the head of the harpooner, who instantly darts it with unerring force and aim, and it is buried deeply in the side of the gigantic creature. "Stern all," cries the master, and every man bends his whole strength to the oar, and the boat is rapidly backed from the whale's side. Now the pained whale plunges, and lashes the sea in a most terrific manner—the noise of which may be heard for miles. Suddenly he disappears, drawing the line out rapidly after him; many hundred fathoms are run out before the whale again makes his appearance on the surface, which he generally does somewhere in the vicinity, in a very much exhausted state, owing to the loss of blood, and his violent exertions to escape the harpoon by plunging furiously to the depths of the sea. He is usually absent about the space of thirty minutes before he rises again to the surface, and then the boat is run rapidly up to him, and the headsman buries his lance in the vitals of the trembling monster. He is now made desperately furious,—the lance is again driven into his side; his motions become[168] wild and irregular; and, after what is called the mortal flurry, he turns over on his side, and dies. The Leviathan of the deep is conquered! He is now towed to the ship, and there firmly secured by ropes. Then comes the process of what whalemen call "Cutting in," which is the separating and securing the fat or blubber of the whale. It is effected in the following manner:

The man appointed for the purpose, with stockings on his feet to prevent from slipping, leaps upon the body, and, secures a piece of about a foot and a half wide, which has been flayed up near the head, to a heavy purchase which is worked in board, men standing on deck with blubber knives, cut it while others work away at the purchase which rolls the body over as the blubber is removed. It is taken on deck, and cut in pieces fit for the pots, when it is tried out, and put in casks. After the bone has been secured, the carcase is allowed to sink.


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CHAPTER XI.

Speak several vessels. Massacre at Keppell's Island. Touch at the Duke of York's Island. Find a tomb. Electrical eel. Conduct of a negro, who makes much sport. Land Lobster. Land at Cohannah. Improper conduct of the captain. A storm off Hawaii. Anchor at Honolulu. Its description. Scenes on shore. Sports of the surf. Arrival at Sir Francis Drake's Bay. Scenes on shore. Cruise about the different islands. Proposed mutiny. The author leaves the ship.

We spoke the Aramata, of New London, which was then steering for the Marquesas, where she was intending to get water and provisions. They informed us of the recent massacre of the whole crew except a boy, of an English ship at Keppell's Island. The Aramata touched there for wood and water, and after dropping the anchor lowered away and pulled for the shore; when they came near the beach their landing was prohibited. The beach was filled with natives, who were armed with spears and clubs which they brandished about, going through with every warlike gesture. They signified to them their reception would be far from a pleasant one.

They put back to the ship, but still remained in the harbor, it being so near night. Soon the boy who was saved from the massacre came upon the beach and cautioned them about the natives, for they were determined to kill every person who should land there.

He was then suddenly snatched away by the natives.[170] From what they could learn from the boy, they were induced to be on their guard. About midnight a number of canoes were seen to pull towards them. All hands were called, and arms put in readiness. As they came stealthily along and had almost reached the vessel, they gave them the contents of their six guns and two pistols, which sent them yelling towards the shore. This single shot served their entire defeat.

We parted with the Aramata, being unwilling to return to the Marquesas with them.

About a week after, we spoke the bark James Calvin, of London, returning from Keppell's Island, with the boy. Capt. Coleman lowered away his boat with its full complement of men, harpoons, lines and lances, and went on board of her, while the mate of the James Calvin, with his boat, crew, and apparatus, came on board our ship. This is the way ships usually meet at sea. From them we learned the full particulars of the massacre.

Soon as she heard of it she resolved to go to the island, and at all hazards take the boy away. As they entered the harbor several of the natives came to the ship; they suffered them to go aboard, treated them well, gave them many presents, which won their good feelings. As they were about leaving, the captain told them, (through a native of the Sandwich Islands who could talk with them,) that the king of the Sandwich Islands had sent many presents to their king, which he could get by coming on board the next day. The next morning the king came on board, and, as was desired, the boy was brought with him, who was among the first who came. Soon as the boy was fairly on board, the[171] crew rushed upon the unsuspecting natives, and drove what few had come on board over into the sea. Bearing full, they left the harbor.

The boy's story was simply as follows:

The ship came into the harbor, where she lay, the captain thinking to go on shore the next morning.—About midnight the natives came upon it in so still a manner, that the watch upon deck did not hear them. Those they killed, and as the others attempted to come above they were killed also. The whole crew except six men and the boy were killed on board; these were taken on shore, and the men killed.

The boy was saved by an old woman who took a great liking to him. The bodies of those killed on board were brought on shore, and eaten with the others. All articles of value were taken off, and the ship burned.

Parting with the James Calvin, we stood for the Duke of York's Island, taking on our way one small whale and three black fish.

Arriving at the island, we lowered away and went on shore, taking our guns with us. We shot many birds of different kinds, among them was one called a Mingo, a large and beautiful bird; the back and top of his wings were a dark gray, the under part of the body and wings were a bright red. While sailing over our heads he presented a most beautiful appearance.

We saw no marks of cultivation whatever upon the island, there being nothing but a long, low, sandy beach, with here and there a grove of cocoa-nuts and palm trees. We rowed around two or three miles, and found a little harbor with a beautiful white coral beach. A short distance from the shore we found a mound, which[172] was evidently the resting-place of some person whom Fate appointed to die at that desolate place.

This was made by laying a wall of stone about seven feet long and two wide, being about fifteen inches high. The stones were laid very closely together, so as to keep out the land lobsters and crabs that swarmed the island.

On the wall the coffin, or box, was placed and arched over with stone and wood with a kind of cement. The whole was nearly overgrown with moss.

A negro belonging to the ship on coming to it, said he had dreamed three successive nights of finding a vast amount of money, and believed this to be the spot. He set about beating it down, but was driven from it.

Our attention was aroused by the loud cries of one of the crew. When we arrived at the spot, we found him with an enormous land lobster, which he had attempted to catch, linked to his thumb so firmly as only to be removed by breaking the claw. These in shape resemble the water lobster, though much larger. Our friend did not attempt to "catch the Tartar" again. We took the lobster to the boat and tied him up, so that he would not run away. They run very fast, drawing their huge claws on the ground after them.

Again we went a cruising, and came to a little cove about half a mile in length and about half a mile also in width, being nearly dry at low tide. One of the crew saw a large eel of a greenish color lying quietly in the mud. Thinking to have a little sport, he took a stick and gave him a blow, which was paid back with interest. The stick flew from his hands, and he yelled loud enough to be heard half a mile. He found this to be a large electrical eel, who was not to be trifled with.

[173]

Other fish are seldom found within their haunts. They live imbedded in the mud until driven therefrom, when with all their venom they dart at the offender, or the first object that comes in their reach. The first blow of a large one would kill any of the human species. When in a state of weakness or nearly exhausted, the sensation produced is quite like that given by a galvanic battery or an electrical machine. They are often found to be from four to six feet long, and weigh from fourteen to twenty pounds. In some parts of South America, fording places are abandoned entirely in consequence of them, it being unsafe to ride through.

When the horse or mule steps on them as they lie in the mud, they coil around the legs and against the body, and, with a succession of shocks, bring the poor animal down, and before he can recover from the shocks he is drowned. The rider being dismounted, quite likely falls a prey to some other one, who being fully charged soon puts an end to him.

Finding the nature of the fish, some of the crew being bent upon having a little sport, went in the boat, got lances, spears, &c., and commenced an attack upon them. In this I did not join, finding more sport in watching them, than in contributing as dearly as some of them did for the amusement of the others.

The negro could not forget his dreamy visions, and was most sanguine in his belief that the before-mentioned mound contained the object of his fancy.

Thither he repaired with two or three of his shipmates, myself among the number, determined to be satisfied respecting it. He took a large stone and began pounding away at the cement, which was nearly as[174] hard as the stone itself. Beating a hole through, he assiduously plied himself to pulling out the stones one after another, until he made a hole through to the rude box, whence escaped an odor quite unlike that emanating from a miser's chest. He being so intent upon his errand, would not now believe but it contained treasure for him, and again went to work; running his hand through the hole he had made, he pulled out a piece of a board which Decay had marked as her own, which now fully convinced him of the certainty of the contents.

Exasperated at this he flew to the tomb, and would not have left one stone upon another had not we interfered and drove him away, when we replaced the stones as well as we could.

We next went about securing a quantity of lobsters to take to sea with us. The negro seeing one run into a hole under the roots of a cocoa-nut tree, ran his hand in after him, but soon found he had also "caught a Tartar." He relinquished his hold, but not so with the lobster: he adhered closely after he was drawn from the hole. The negro jumped about, making wry faces and yelling loud enough to be heard half a mile. The bystanders were so much affected at his grimaces, that they indulged in a hearty laugh, and could not for a moment or two assist him in the least.

To laugh at any being's calamity is by no means justifiable; but I think had the most sedate person witnessed the affair, his risibilities would have been affected to a considerable degree.

We caught about forty and took them to the ship. The next morning none of them could be found; after[175] much searching we found them dispersed about the rigging, and for several days we found them in different parts of the vessel.

I have often heard those better acquainted with their nature than I am, say, they climb the lofty cocoa-nut tree, pick the fruit, carry it out upon the ends of the limb over some rock, and drop it, thus getting at the meat. This I cannot assert as fact, for I never saw it; yet I have seen hundreds of them on trees; I have seen them take the nut in their claws and beat it on the stone, and crack the shell.

Leaving the Duke of York's Island, we stood for Fanning's Island, which is of about the same description as the last-mentioned one.

Here we cruised about a few days, went on shore, and found two huts that had the appearance of being recently occupied.

From thence we stood for the Mulgrave's group, where we took three whales. After trying the oil, we went on shore on Cohannah Island, where there was but little indication of life. On going up a little creek we saw a smoke in the distance; seeing this I told the captain it was best to put back to the ship, for should they see the harpoons and lances in the boats, they would at once consider us as enemies, and would most likely attempt to murder us.

He would not be persuaded to return, declaring he would land at all hazards, which was effected with great difficulty, on account of the surf which ran very high.

The captain took his gun with him, saying he would shoot the first native he saw. We found several canoes[176] hung up in the bushes. Again I begged of the captain to return. He turned upon me, calling me a coward. This epithet I was willing to bear, telling him if he knew as much of them as I did, he would rather be called a coward than be caught by them.

Soon the loud war whoop rang in our ears. I told the captain he could then do as he pleased, but I was going to the boat, and started. I jumped into the boat and shoved off. The natives were rushing down to the beach, armed with clubs and spears. The captain was still quite reluctant about getting in. He drew up his gun ready for firing. This I remonstrated loudly against, but it did no good. He fired, wounding one of them in the legs, who fell upon the ground, yelling loudly, and taking up sand rubbed it on the wound. This to the Captain was much sport, but it would not be sport to the next unsuspecting crew that might touch there, who would without a doubt atone for his folly, for they would most assuredly be revenged.

We spoke the bark Harriet, of London, on our way to the Barbadoes, which lie in about 8 30m' north latitude, and about 175 west longitude. From them we procured a quantity of Plantain, bananas, and a few hogs.

From thence we made the Sandwich islands, when to the windward of Hawaii, about 60 miles, we encountered one of the heaviest gales I was ever called upon to witness,—carrying our fore-top-mast away by the cap—main-top-gallant mast and yard, and springing our mizen mast-head. We put up the helm; squared away our main-yard; loosed, and set the fore-sail, to run to the leeward to get more sea room. Under this sail we ran very well, whilst running through the narrows[177] that separate Hawaii from Mauli, at the distance of thirty miles.

There was a heavy and irregular sea which pooped the ship, and nearly proved her entire ruin. Clearing the deck of water-casks; sweeping the binnacle, which contained the compass, from the deck; tearing the bulwarks from their stations; breaking the rudder at the water's edge, and nearly killing the man at the helm. Those on deck, seeing the wave as it arose and was sweeping towards them, caught hold of the rigging, and thereby saved themselves probably from a watery grave.

In this condition we lay, or rather drifted, at the mercy of the waves, three days. When the gale abated, we were about a hundred miles to the southward of the group. We then rigged a jury, or temporary rudder, made from an old spar, which answered our purpose.

The wind shifting to the southward, we stood nearly before it, running under reefed main-top-sail and fore-sail; with the greatest care, we were enabled to make Honolulu, and came to anchor about three miles from the town. When all was snug, the boat was manned for shore, where were several whale vessels lying, from which twenty boats were manned to assist us in towing the ship into the harbor where she was repaired.

There is a coral reef which extends along the harbor about a mile, leaving only a narrow passage of about one hundred feet for ships to pass. Ships are generally obliged to be towed into the harbor, in consequence of the high points which tower high, and becalm them.

At the head of the channel is Diamond head or hill, which is the principle point on the south side of the[178] island. "This is the crater of an extinguished volcano—a bare shell of a mountain whose bowels have been exhausted by fire. It is of circular form, many miles in circumference, and rises almost perpendicular several hundred feet. Its sides every where look like seared walls; and are fluted and furrowed from top to bottom by the washings of water-courses, as if by artificial workmanship. They are also surmounted in many places by a kind of moulding, of equally singular formation; and again by blocks and piles of jagged lava, having in their elevation the appearance of the parapets and battlements of a dilapidated castle." Between this crater, and the town of Honolulu, which is about three miles distant, lies the neat little valley or plain of Waikiki. The road leading to Honolulu is on both sides lined with cocoa-nut trees, under which, at intervals of only a few rods, are refreshment stations, which are well supplied with billiard and card tables, and every means of dissipation. Dram houses are also very frequent. A more beautiful spot could not be selected than that leading to Honolulu. Beyond Honolulu, to the west, lies a wide extent of open country under a fine state of cultivation.

While at Honolulu, I witnessed the execution of twelve natives for mutiny on board a pearl trader, when off Fanning's island, whither they resorted after the affair, and erected two huts which I have spoken of as having seen at that place.

One day, on shore, we saw four men drawing sand in hand-carts—each man having a native to guard or drive him. Upon inquiry, we were told they belonged to the ship Kingston of Nantucket; and, for some slight[179] difficulty with the master, (Capt. Coffin,) they were complained of to Jones, the consul, who threw them into irons, and subject to six lashes each morning, and to draw sand during the day. This treatment was to continue during the stay of the ship; and did until the arrival of the Potomac, Commodore Downs, who instantly released them, most severely reprimanding both the Captain and Mr. Jones.

The men being released went on board the Potomac, and some of her men went with Capt. Coffin. As they went on board, they told the Captain it was their intention to throw him and his officers overboard, if they did not use them well. A few days after, the Commodore went on board the Kingston to see how Coffin liked his new men. He told him he would most assuredly have trouble unless he treated them well. He also said he expected to hear from that ship before long, meaning there would, in his opinion, be trouble. Coffin was considered a bad man, being overbearing and very irritable with his crew. Once he confined a man below, and gave him nothing to eat for several days but saw-dust and molasses.

When the Potomac left the harbor, she was towed by a number of boats within the influence of the sea breeze, when, giving three cheers which were answered, she made sail, and was soon out of sight. On our return to the harbor, some thought to try the surf, which is sometimes performed in canoes, but usually on what is termed a surf-board, which is an article of private property among the higher classes, both male and female, and to some extent among the common people. This is a board of six or eight feet in length, and from fifteen[180] to twenty inches wide, rounded down to an edge; the whole surface being made very smooth.

With this under the arm, they repair to the water, and swim into the surf. As they meet a roller, as it is called, or wave, they plunge beneath, and let it pass over. Thus they proceed to any desired distance; sometimes to half a mile out into the open sea, and wait the approach of a heavy swell, when they throw themselves upon the board with the face downwards, having the head and body elevated above the board, and headed for the shore. They skillfully keep themselves upon the swell with their feet and arms, and are borne with the greatest velocity upon its foaming crest, with their heads alone visible above the foam. As they near the shore, they usually slip from the board, to prevent being thrown upon the sand by the surf. This is repeated for hours in succession, and hundreds may many times be seen together riding upon the waves, when they break high above the coral reefs. Four or five of the boats in trying it upset, and the men were thrown upon the reef, and much bruised.

We left the harbor of Honolulu about the first of August, 1837, bound for the coast of California.

Arriving at Point Conception, we lowered away for the shore, taking three guns with us, where we had much sport shooting deer, rabbits, and squirrels; also some ducks. Getting a supply of provisions we squared our yards, and stood down the coast; touched at Gaudaloupe, an uninhabited island, where we took three seal. This island is much visited by sealers, in the sealing season, where they are taken in great quantities.

[181]

On our passage from thence found our oil leaking very badly indeed.

Shaped our course for Sir Francis Drake's bay for cooperage. On arriving at the supposed place, found nothing but a high iron bound coast, with no possible opening or harbor. The entire crew were strangers on those shores, and knew not the exact position of the harbor. Seeing a small narrow opening in the rocks, we fancied it might lead to the harbor; but it being so near night did not think it prudent to attempt a passage that night. Lay off and on that night, and in the morning felt our way into the harbor, which we found to be a very fine one indeed, being completely land-locked, and large enough for one hundred sail of ships to lie at a time in perfect safety.

All fell to securing the oil, which occupied the best part of two days. After the oil was again stowed, and the ship cleaned up, we were allowed liberty on shore, two at a time, furnished with guns and ammunition; shot a great number of penguins and pelicans, which were very tame, allowing us to get quite near them. At one time, we saw four animals of the wolf species, though much smaller than those of the more northern regions. They were standing at our usual place of landing, picking the meat from the shells with which the rocks abound, and known as the California shell.

Not liking to land among them, we lay at our oars, making a great noise; this did not intimidate them in the least. Firing at them we next thought we would try; wounded one of them, at whom the others flew, and despatched him in a few moments. The other gun was soon in readiness. We fired and killed two; the[182] fourth thinking then it was high time to be off, ran for the mountains with great speed. Landing, we took the bodies of the wolves, and laid them by for safety until we should return to the ship. We went into the mountains, shot at and wounded several more, but could not get the bodies. Saw an enormous black bird perched upon a high cliff. We crawled around about to where he sat when we first saw him; when we got there he had anticipated our movements, and removed to a point still higher. Saw several smaller ones, but were not near enough to fire.

It being now near night, we thought we would take a nearer cut to get to the ship, and accordingly started down the cliff. Coming to an almost perpendicular place, of some ten or fifteen feet, we questioned some time whether it was best to jump or go around by another path. Concluding to jump, we fired our guns to prevent any accident therefrom. The other threw down his gun, and slid after it in safety. I followed, but was not so fortunate; falling heels over head, I landed in a bunch of prickly pears. Having on nothing but thin clothes, which were no safeguard at all, I was filled, from head to foot, with those sharp and piercing thorns. From them I suffered very much for a great length of time. Many of the prickles the sailors picked out of me, the others remained until they caused a sore, and with the matter passed off. On a small island, at the entrance of the harbor which we went into, was the grave of an English Captain, who was murdered by one of his crew, a Portuguese, in 1830. The officers of the ship threw a lance at him, and killed him; he was buried at low water mark without coffin or shroud.[183] On the opposite side of the island we saw a number of sea-elephants, which are taken for their oil, sometimes.

Spending three weeks at Sir F. Drake's bay, we hoisted anchor and sailed down the coast, shortening sail and heaving the ship to nights, so as not to pass over the ground uselessly. Some difficulty arose between the officers and crew, which occasioned many hard words. A plot was laid with the crew to murder the officers, run the vessel into some island and abandon her. I was counted as of them, but under no circumstances could I have been induced to join them in placing the finger of harm upon Capt. Coleman. Too nobly had he acquitted himself in my favor, when upon the island a captive among the cannibals.

They were extremely impatient for the signal for action to be given, but I kept them in check, promising them a more favorable moment. Thus I held them till their anger had somewhat died away, and we were at Cape St. Lucas. Soon as the anchor was let go and the sails furled, I went to the captain and demanded my pay, also to be put on shore. This astonished him greatly, as all things had passed pleasantly.

As an explanation of the affair, I simply told him there was a plot laid, which put in force, would not result in his favor, and advised him to be on his guard, lest in a single moment all would be lost. For a moment he hesitated about giving me my discharge, meaning to retain me, but that he could not do, for I had not signed the ship's papers. He offered me twenty dollars if I would tell him of the plot and those concerned, which I would not do, knowing I had already disclosed enough for him to save himself from all harm with proper care.


[184]

CHAPTER XII.

Sail for the North West Coast. Am required to sign the ship's articles. Trouble with officers. Anchor at New Archangel. Dogs trained to the harness. Leave the ship. Fall in with an Indian hunting party. Their manners and customs. Humanity of an Indian. Return to St. Lucas. Goes over land to St. Josephs. Lives with a Catholic priest. Narrow escape. Arrive at San Blass. Ship for Buenos Ayres. Fearful passage of the straits of Magellan in a storm. Description of Buenos Ayres.

I was left upon a miserable shore among the Spaniards with whom I could hold no conversation whatever. Their proverbial hospitality was extended to me during the few days I was to remain there.

The brig Congress, Capt. Strong, of Valparaiso, bound for the N. W. Coast, coming to anchor there, I shipped myself on board, for eighteen dollars per month.

Watering the ship we proceeded to Sir F. Drake's bay, where we attempted to take some Sea Elephants, but did not succeed. Here we remained only a few days.

Again we weighed anchor and stood to sea before a fine breeze. Spreading our studding-sails to a strong south wind we glided swiftly on.

When out to sea all hands were called and the ship's articles read, and those who had not signed them, were requested to do so at that time.

The articles forbid our trading with any person on[185] shore, under the penalty of forfeiting our wages. Turning around, I said "Well, boys! here we are, under martial laws, but I don't see the pendant flying."

The captain flew into a perfect rage, and came up to me asking, "What did you say, sir?" I laughingly said, "I have no handle to my name yet." At this he was still more enraged than before, and told me to stop my sauce, at the same time called upon Mr. Williams, the mate, to put me in irons.

I told them they had better be passed by, for there would most certainly difficulty attend it, for I knew the crew would not suffer it to be done.

At this instant the steward appeared with a pair of pistols, which he laid on the companion.

Old Jack, as he was called, a rough old fellow, being then at the wheel, seeing them, came forward and threw them overboard, saying he should like to be a participator in the affair, and bid the master be quiet for he was there himself.

Strong seeing there was no alternative, let the matter drop, and all things went on harmoniously till we arrived at Nootka Sound.

One morning, being released from the wheel which I had held for six hours, I was told there was no breakfast for me. Taking the kid (a small wooden dish which our meat, potatoes, &c., are put in) under my arm, I walked up to the captain, and said, "I would thank him for some meat for breakfast." He replied, "You have had meat enough, if not, eat the kid."

"Well, sir," said I, "you shall have the first taste and see how you like it," at the same time giving him a hearty slap in the face with it, knocking him over,[186] when I asked him if it was seasoned too high or not. The mate caught me by the neck, saying, "you mutinous rascal, do you mean to take the ship?" and dealt me a blow. The kid, still with me, was submitted to his decision. I then ordered them to put me on shore, which, as they could not mould me into any shape they wished, they concluded to do at Nootka.

When we came to anchor, I packed my clothes and prepared to start. When all was ready, I bid an adieu to captain, crew, and ship, and stepped into the boat, when most of the crew came forward with their things also packed, declaring their intention of leaving if I did. The captain seeing the dilemma he would be in should such be the case, recalled me, offering me kind treatment and every privilege I could in reason expect.

I again went upon duty. Still I could see the captain and mate had not entirely lost the taste of the kid. We went on shore. It being the last of October, the weather was cold indeed. Snow was six or eight inches deep. Bought furs, hides, tallow, &c. Here we remained five days.

Weighing anchor again, we stood for New Archangel, a Russian settlement, where we came to anchor. A Russian man-of-war with two or three other vessels was lying there.

The houses of the people are built of logs and made very warm and tight. The soldiers were busy drawing wood to the barracks on sledges with dogs. Ten or fifteen are harnessed to a sledge as the occasion may require, having a collar and a single trace running over the back. They are not tied together, but draw independent of each other, each having a trace by himself,[187] the most docile one having the longest trace, and is the leader.

The dog that is struck, generally the hind one, draws back and springs upon the next one, and he upon the next, and so a blow given to one, seldom fails to produce a general snarling among them.

Ten dogs thus harnessed will draw half a cord of wood at a time, at the rate of six miles per hour.

Knowing the treatment I should receive when I arrived at Valparaiso for striking the captain and mate with the kid, I was induced to leave the ship and try a life with the natives, and persuaded one shipmate to join me. Accordingly, before the ship was to depart, we went ashore with the captain, taking what clothes we could possibly wear without detection. As we made the shore, the captain stepped out, saying he should be back in a few moments, and bid us not leave the boat at all. Soon as he was out of sight we took to our heels, and made for the woods, leaving him to officiate in the several capacities of captain, oarsman, and boat-keeper.

On we traveled until near night, when we heard the sound of some one chopping wood. Guided by the sound, we followed on, hoping to find some human habitation. The sound dying away, we heard a low humming or singing, and on coming upon a little hill, we saw a large fire, which we at once recognized as the camp ground of an Indian hunting party, and we resolved to go to them, being almost frozen.

As we came near them the dogs with loud barking aroused the Indians, who came out with their guns. We hurried on, fearing they might fire upon us. The[188] dogs gave way and the Indians came forward to meet us a few rods from the camp.

We shook hands with one and all as a token of friendship. Soon as they understood our cold and hungry situation, with the spirit of benevolence which is so justly applied to them, they set about rendering us as comfortable as possible, giving us to eat of their humble fare, after which we were nicely wrapped in skins for the night, when we slept very finely indeed.

Soon as daylight appeared a party was despatched for game for breakfast. Returning they were richly loaded with one deer, squirrels, rabbits, and other small game, in great abundance, which was given to the females, whose duty it is to prepare and cook it. We made a fine breakfast, after which they made preparations to proceed on their journey, which lay to the northward. As we wished to go to the southward we were obliged to part. Again we took one and all by the hand in token of gratitude for kindnesses shown us.

The clothing of the males consists of a coat of fur which extends below the knees. Below this they wear a leggin of fine fur neatly wrought with shells of various kinds and colors. Over the shoulders is thrown loosely a blanket or cloak, also made of fur. The head is covered with feathers wrought into a cap-like form. Their arms are a hatchet, knife and gun. Their habitation, the wide world, having no place whatever they call home, pitching their tents of skins where night overtakes them.

The dress of the females differs from that of the males somewhat. The cloak or mantle is made to cover the whole body, and large enough to allow the mother to[189] carry the child upon her back, its legs resting across its mother's hips and its head above the mantle. The mother carries her child upon her back until it is three or four years old, when, if a boy, the father trains him to hunt; if a girl, she is taught to dress the food and cure the skins.

Near the close of day we fell in with another Indian who was hunting alone, with two dogs. Soon as we came in sight the dogs started to come for us, and had not the hunter held them till we came up, would have done so. The moment he shook hands with us they seemed to understand we were friends, and would play around us like kittens. He asked in broken English, "where go?" We told him to New Archangel. Placing his hand upon his breast said, "me go," meaning he would accompany us.

The dogs coming upon track of some animal, sprang off and were soon lost from sight. The hunter hearing their bark, bent his ear to the ground to catch the sound and determine the distance, and sprang away. Soon we heard the sharp report of his rifle, at the same time he gave a loud whoop as a signal to us. We followed on and found him with a deer nearly dressed, the dogs lying by his side, waiting their portion. Folding up the skin, he quartered him and cut a portion up for the dogs. Going to the side of a high ledge, he built a fire and roasted one quarter, which we nearly devoured. Taking the remainder on our shoulders we followed the Indian. The moon shining very brightly added much to the pleasantness of the scene. Gaining an eminence our friend gave a loud whoop which was answered by some one in the distance. Smilingly he said, "man—man,"[190] and renewed his pace. Soon we came to a large fire, around which were seated a number of Indians, who arose as we came up and extended the hand, welcoming us to their camp.

After again partaking of roasted venison we were shown to our bed, which was simply a skin warm from the back of a deer, spread upon the snow, having another thrown over us. The fire is kept burning during the night. With the first light of morning we were called to breakfast, which was ready, the person who watched the fire having cooked it, which consisted again of roasted venison.

This being over we bade adieu to all except the one with whom we went to the camp, and started for New Archangel, at which place we arrived before night; found the vessel gone. We then shook hands with the Indian in token of gratitude for the assistance he had afforded us, when with tears in his eyes he said, "me love do good."

Often have I read, when a boy, of the kindness of the North American Indian to the weary, wandering white man, even while hostilities were raging between them; and at the very time we were shown to the paths of civilization, our American Congress were legislating on the best means for their utter annihilation, calling to their aid the Cubian bloodhounds.

Here we found a man, formerly of New York, who had been in the Russian service twenty years, and was at that time purser or clerk of the ship, and was then bound to Mazatlan, in Mexico. Through him we obtained an opportunity of working our passage to that place.

[191]

With light hearts we left the N. W. Coast for a more genial clime. On arriving at St. Lucas I thought I would leave the ship, as I had been previously somewhat acquainted there, while my shipmate went on to Mazatlan.

As was my happy lot I fell in with the same persons I met with in my other visit, who seemed delighted at my return. I remained with them a few days, when it was proposed that I should accompany them to St. Josephs, about seventy miles, to attend Christmas, to which I readily assented, caring not whither I went. At about three o'clock in the afternoon we started, seven of us, all mounted on asses, following one after the other. Coming to a large field, we turned our asses loose that they might refresh themselves, while we cooked a hasty supper. Again we mounted and were under way, having then about fifty miles to go. They being anxious to reach St. Josephs that night rode very fast. About twelve they suddenly stopped, dismounted and ordered me to do the same. Standing a few moments, the asses knelt and commenced a tremendous braying. The Spaniards kneeling by their sides, went through a sort of prayer. This I suppose was in commemoration of the day. Why the asses should thus kneel was a great mystery to me. I could not believe it to be intuitive, yet I did not see any sign by which the wish of the Spaniard was made known, and to this day my mind is not satisfied about the matter.

We reached St. Josephs about sunrise, rode up to the Chapel, before which the Spaniards crossed themselves many times, then to the dwelling of the Padre or Priest, where the like crossing was performed. The asses were[192] then put out in a large field, where were nearly three hundred. All persons coming thither for the observance of Christmas were allowed to place them there.

About noon an interpreter came with one of the Spaniards, and asked me if I would take charge of the priest's horses and do his out-of-door work. This I was willing to do, and immediately went upon the duties. Things passed along finely for a few weeks, when I became acquainted with an American pedler, through whom I ignorantly became embroiled with the priest and came near losing my head in consequence. I knew nothing of the affair until the officers were actually on the track for me, when I fled with my best abilities for the harbor, which was eight miles from St. Josephs, over hills and through swamps, swimming one or two little streams.

On reaching the water I plunged in and swam for a sloop which was laying out a little. The mate threw me a rope by which I crawled up the ship's side. I told him my story, at which he seemed much pleased. He said if the captain was aboard, I should be sent on shore, but as it was he would try to save me. He took me below and secreted me, where the captain would know nothing of it, leaving me provision to last till they would be out to sea, which would probably be on the return of the captain.

The sloop was owned by the captain, who was an Irishman, and all of the crew were either French or Spanish, except the mate, who was an Englishman.

The captain came, hoisted anchor, and stood out to sea. When the bustle attendant upon leaving the harbor was over, the captain related the story as he heard[193] it at St. Josephs, which at that time had gained great publicity there. It was his opinion I should lose my head, for he was sure I should be taken. The mate hearing what the captain had to say respecting it, called me from my hiding place, to tell my own story. The captain was greatly astonished, and for a moment hesitated whether he should not put back with me; and I think perhaps he might have done so, had not the mate strongly remonstrated with him.

It was long a question with them how they should work the affair with the Alcalda (or governor) of San Blass, who would most certainly come aboard, either in person or by his vigilant officers, for the ship's papers, &c. Upon my repeatedly promising to keep my own counsel he agreed to write me a passport and forge the Alcalda's name of St. Josephs.

The passport was written and signed, and on handing it to me, he said, "Jack, you no lie." Again I told him I would not expose him, even on the pain of death. The third day we reached San Blass. We were no sooner in the harbor than the officer was aboard for the papers. Seeing me, he asked in Spanish who I was, and was informed I was from St. Josephs. He asked for my passport, which after examining, he returned to me. Leaving the sloop I went on shore and joined a Mexican man-of-war-brig, which was laying there protecting the harbor. Mexico and Columbia were then in a state of hostility towards each other.

We cruised around the gulf a few days, and again stood for San Blass; running upon a reef we bilged our vessel. Thinking I had served long enough in the[194] Mexican service, I took my clothes, without saying a word to the officers, and went on shore.

Finding the brig Romance, Capt. Johnson, lying there, bound for Buenos Ayres, laden with Indigo and cocoa, I shipped myself on board. The cocoa, with which we were laden, is a small nut, of the size of a large chestnut, from which chocolate is made; it grows in pods like peas, and is cultivated like corn yearly.

We spread our sails to a steady, strong north wind, as much as we could possibly stagger under. Stowed anchors, and made all things snug about deck. Sailed under Peruvian colors to avoid detection. As we came abreast Panama, the wind died away, and left us almost becalmed for a few hours, when it veered around to the northwest, suddenly, and freshened into a stiff breeze, which wafted us nearly to the Straits of Magellan, as quick, I think, as ever vessel sped before the wind. Here the wind, without seeming to cease for a moment, turned into the south and blew a perfect gale. We hove her to under close reefed main-top-sail, for five days, when we wore ship, and stood in shore, the wind still continuing in the south. The Captain concluded to try the Straits the next day, rather than risk doubling the Cape with such a wind.

The Straits of Magellan lie in about 53 south latitude, and were discovered by Fernando Magellan, whose name they bear; they are about 350 miles long, and are at the Pacific entrance, 25 miles wide, and the eastern side about 20. In some parts they are not more than a league broad. The general form is that of a crescent, while the whole course is zigzag. The Pacific side is several feet the highest, causing a current so[195] strong as to bid defiance to its passage from the eastern side. The sides are lined with high and craggy rocks, rising almost perpendicularly. Over them the Magellan clouds, so called from their position, always are seen, and to a great distance, apprising the mariner of his proximity to the almost only place which he allows himself to fear,—Cape Horn.

The next morning came with the wind still blowing from the south; we made preparations for entering the Straits as was proposed. The flaws of wind which struck the vessel with the strong current, hurried us on with the rapidity of lightning. We were obliged to stand by the halyards and braces constantly, night and day, so often were we called upon to tack ship, in consequence of the many crooked turnings in our course, and flaws of wind which struck us from all quarters, breaking over the high rocks, which lined the straits.

The rocks which lined the shore were capped with snow and ice, which seemed ready to fall and crush us. Innumerable quantities of seals were seen lying along the shore. Shrimp and penguins also were seen in great numbers.

As we neared the Atlantic side, the wind and the force of the current became less. This distance was performed in forty-five hours from the time we entered the western side; and during the time not a man of us left the deck, except in pursuance of some order.

Getting a good offing, we shaped our course for Buenos Ayres, where we landed, six weeks after leaving San Blass. Discharging our cargo, we were allowed a little time on shore, which I readily improved in wandering about the city. The La Plata, on which Buenos[196] Ayres stands at a distance of 200 miles, is about 170 miles wide at its mouth, and can be navigated by large ships to a distance of 800 miles.

The situation of the city is delightful. The houses are built of brick, with flat roofs, and of one story usually, though some are seen two stories high; a garden is usually attached.

The public buildings are a Palace, Royal Chapel, a most magnificent Cathedral, and many Churches. The principal square faces the La Plata, and is indeed very spacious.

There is no harbor at Buenos Ayres; and ships can only come within seven or eight miles of the town, where they discharge their cargoes into lighters, which take them ashore.

The population is about 70,000, consisting of whites, Indians, and negroes. Slaves are quite numerous, and are treated much better than in any other place I ever visited. The old are particularly well attended to. The climate is indeed favorable to health. Violent winds are often-experienced, which raise clouds of dust, filling their houses completely, and almost entirely obscuring the sun.


[197]

CHAPTER XIII.

Return to San Blass. Description of the Town. Strikes a Spaniard, and resists the Police. Is placed in the Stocks. Goes on board the Tammercee. The Captain is employed to take a quantity of Gold to England. Fight between the Officers. Anchor at Tehuantepec for Dye-Stuffs. Precaution used against Scorpions, Centipedes, &c. Arrival at Panama. Scenes on Shore. Arrive at Callao. Ride to Lima. Description of Lima. Arrival at Valparaiso. Again double the Cape on the wings of the wind. Arrival at Liverpool. Sketch of the City.

Getting in a cargo of dry goods, we set sail for San Blass. Smoothly we glided down the La Plata, having a gentle west wind which lasted till we made the Falklands.

Seemingly unwilling we should double the Cape with any degree of pleasantness, it veered round to the south, and freshening each moment, soon blew a hurricane which lasted thirty-six hours. When moderating, and at the same time shifting into the east, we braced full, and stood for the Cape; for eleven days the wind continued in the east, and gave us a fine passage around the Cape. We were accompanied on our way by a large Iceberg of the largest dimensions, which kept within half a mile of us for twenty-four hours.

The wind again, in a very accommodating manner, turned in our favor, driving us before it with great velocity under close reefed main-top-sail and fore-sail, for fourteen days, at which time we reached Valparaiso.[198] Still favoring, though more lightly, we were enabled to reach San Blass in about the same time required for the outward bound voyage. Discharging our cargo we were paid off. I then went to the city of San Blass, which is five or six miles from the beach. As I remained there but a short time, I cannot be expected to give a full account of the city, which is situated on an eminence which rises an hundred or two feet gradually from the sea; and is enclosed by a huge wall, having only two gates or entrances into it. One of these is on the north side; the other, on the west side. A part of the wall which faces the sea, is built upon a ledge of rocks which rise almost perpendicular, and forms an impregnable barrier. The walls are heavily mounted with guns on the side towards the sea, and manned continually. The dwellings are mostly built of stone of ancient architecture; low and covered with tiles. The streets are narrow and dirty, though mostly paved with stone. Dissipation is carried in every thing to a great length. The inhabitants are, in a great degree, low and sensual. One day, while on shore, I traded with a Spaniard, with whom I had a few hasty words; his insolence I could not bear, and gave him a severe blow which felled him to the ground. Seeing the police on the alert I ran for the sea. Soon they overtook me. I gave the first one a blow, and threw him over a wall down a bank of a few feet. Finding more than I could easily handle, I surrendered. I was taken before the governor, who caused me to be placed in the stocks for twenty-four hours.

I had my hands, feet, and neck, placed in the stocks, which was in the hot sun, upon the burning sand, during[199] the day; I had to look continually up to the sun, and ere night was almost blind; my face badly swollen, and almost blistered. Swarms of mosquitoes and fleas visited me at night, each paying their respects, leaving an impression upon my feelings. Crowds of natives gathered around, offering me every insult they were capable of doing. When I was taken from the stocks I could hardly walk or stand, and it required several days for me to regain the use of my limbs to any comfortable degree.

Soon as I was able I crawled down to the shore, and fell in with Captain Masters, of the ship Tammercee of Liverpool, whither he would sail in a few days. Knowing he was in want of hands, I offered myself for thirty-seven dollars per month: this he was unwilling to give. Meeting him again in a few days, he said he had seen my former captain, who gave me a good character, and a reputation as a seaman, therefore he would give me the desired wages.

I went on board and was given the second mate's duty, which the ship carpenter had performed.

At evening the captain selected six of us to follow him on shore. We went to a house where there was a quantity of gold coins, mostly doubloons. He ordered us to take as many as we could carry, and go for the ship. This was done twice, and daylight coming on, we were deterred from going again. This was the property of resident merchants, who wished to make a deposit in the Bank of England, and were obliged to resort to this expedient on account of the laws, which prohibited their removal. We received a present from[200] the merchants of a doubloon each for our services, and as a sort of bribe to keep silence.

The third day after I shipped on board we set sail. This was quite the latter part of May, 1838. Mr. Evans (mate) came on board in a state of intoxication, which was the cause of hard words between him and the captain, who was a person capable of the highest degree of excitement. The captain becoming enraged, seized a spyglass and hurled it at the mate, striking him on the head and brought him to the deck; collecting himself, he passed it back in the same way, but missed his aim. Exasperated to a still greater degree, the captain rushed to the cabin and brought forward a pair of pistols, intending to shoot the mate down. His wife being aboard, and seeing by his manner there was likely to be trouble, rushed up first and placed herself between him and the mate, bidding him fire if he chose. A moment sufficed to cool him down in a measure, and the matter was dropped by putting the mate off duty for ten days.

We came to anchor at the Gulf of Tehuantepec, or the roadstead of Rosario, and moored with a swivel.—We sent down the top-gallant masts and yards, and got ready to take on a cargo at Nicaragua.

The shore at this place as well as most others on the Mexican coast is almost inaccessible, from the high rolling surf, which at this time was altogether so for the boats. There are but few harbors in Mexico; consequently we anchored the long boat out about sixty fathoms from the beach, and erected a capstan on the shore; a block was fastened to the bow of the boat, through which a hawser was passed, which also went around the capstan on shore, thus forming a continuous[201] line from the boat to the shore. Natives were employed to lash the wood, which is cut in sticks about four feet long, to one side of the hawser and pull upon the other, and thus convey it to the boat, where men were stationed to untie and load it into other boats, and then to the ship. This wood is very rough, and full of holes and crevices, into which scorpions, centipedes, and a small blue snake, of five or six inches in length, crawl. On removing or handling it, they run out and bite the first object that comes in their way or happens to touch them.

The bite or sting of the scorpion is said to prove fatal many times in two hours; their bite in the spring and summer months are said, by Pike, to be much more suddenly fatal. He also says, in speaking of them as found in other portions of Mexico: "remove them three leagues and they become perfectly harmless and lose all their venomous qualities." As a preventive we took three bottles of spirits, (old rum) and put a scorpion in one, a centipede in another, reserving the third for the snake; they were put in alive and allowed to die in the spirits. These to be used by applying the spirits of the respective bottles to the wounds of the different species. Fortunately for us but one was bitten, which was cured by immediate application of the spirits.

A disturbance arose to our quiet one day between the captain and one of the crew, which resulted in throwing the sailor on shore, one hundred miles nearly from a habitation of any kind, except temporary ones erected by the natives who came from Acapulco, 100 miles distant, to cut and deliver the wood to ships. Seeing a shipmate thus turned off, without clothes except those[202] worn off, with no particular means of subsistence, was more than I could endure, and I resolved to assist him. The next morning I went to the long boat as usual, taking with me two shirts and a pound of tobacco rolled up as compactly as possible. Getting to the boat I jumped over and swam as far as I could, then caught hold of the hawser for the surf or swells to pass me; dropping into the smooth sea I exerted every nerve to reach the shore before the next sea; this I was unable to do. Soon the next swell was upon me, and by its impetus I was thrown high upon the sand insensible. The natives took me up and rubbed me for a long time before I could be brought to a state of consciousness, when they gave me some spirits to drink, and in a few hours I was enabled to walk out.

At night the ship's boat was sent to take me off; the surf running so high rendered it impossible to do so, only by rowing above about five miles to a small cove. Going on board I met the captain at the gangway, who said:

"Well, boy, how is that old pelt of yours? have you got it scorched any?"

"No, sir" said I; "I have had too much experience in that business, to have the sun effect me any more than it does an alligator!"

Having finished our cargo we weighed anchor, double reefed our top-sails, set our course and stood off. Our vessel being a fast sailer, and the wind blowing a half gale from the west, soon brought us abreast of Panama. Being in want of ship stores, we put into the bay of the same name, and came to anchor. Sent a boat on shore and procured a supply of water, which was of the finest[203] quality, and necessary stores, and were again ready for sea.

The afternoon previous to sailing we were allowed on shore, when we fell in with a company of soldiers belonging to the fort. With them we drank several times. Finding at length I was growing quite stupid—an effect altogether different from what liquor usually produces on me, I was confident it had been drugged for some purpose. Seeing the sad dilemma into which we were hastening, I proposed to walk out and work it off if possible. But we were already within their clutches. They followed and easily prevailed upon us to visit the fort to "enjoy a view of it by lamplight." I was conscious they were imposing upon us, still I could not stop; their serpent-like charms were successfully thrown around me; to resist I could not. They led us in and about the fort, pointing out its particular points of combined beauty and strength. We thought no more of duties on ship-board, or of our situation, till a late hour at night, when the effects of the drugs were leaving us.

In the morning the true nature of our situation found itself upon us. With apparent satisfaction we sent out for a bottle of spirits, which was soon brought to us. On looking around a little we found others decoyed and confined in a like manner; among them was a stout, seven-foot Irishman. We gave him a good supply of spirits, and then held up to his view the great wrong we as well as himself had sustained. Gradually the true Irish blood was seen to work in his bosom, as he reflected upon his situation and wrongs, until he became perfectly exasperated. Clenching his fists, he said:

[204]

"An' sure we'll be after leaving this place, we will."

He became violent in threatenings. The guard hearing a noise, came to learn the cause. Soon as the door was opened, the guard was seized and hurled by his arm, (now rendered doubly powerful by alcohol and anger,) half way across the yard. Others following closely up, were passed along also, till half a dozen were thus promiscuously piled up, scarce knowing how to find themselves. With a mighty effort we then rushed over those that stood outside the door, who in their dismay knew not what to do till so late that action would have been fruitless.

We ran as fast as possible to the beach and seized a boat, and went to the ship. Telling the mate of the adventure, he immediately lowered a boat and sent for the captain, who was on shore; meanwhile he got the anchor up and was ready for sea.

The captain coming aboard, we bid farewell to Panama, leaving our harbor fees unpaid.

What became of the Irishman I never knew, as he took a different course from the rest of us after leaving the fort.

Nothing of note occurred until we were off the coast of Peru and dropped our anchor at Callao, the seaport of Lima, the capital of Peru, which is situated seven miles from the shore. After the ship was well secured, a ride was proposed to Lima, in which several of us joined. We proceeded to a stable in which were a great number of horses, trained to the saddle alone. Each procured one by paying a dollar in advance, with which a ticket also was obtained for entrance into the city. Those horses were so well trained that they required[205] no guidance whatever; by simply throwing the line upon the neck loosely, they set off into a fine gallop, which they held till they reached the city.

On starting we received an urgent injunction to "look well to the saddle," they care but little about the horse. Arriving at the gates of the city, a sentry appeared who demanded our tickets, which, after examining, he handed back and allowed us to pass on. The horses setting off at full gallop soon brought us to another stable, which is connected with the one at which we obtained our horses. Here we dismounted, giving ourselves no farther trouble about them. We wandered around the city as long as we chose. When returning to the stable we found our horses refreshed, with no additional expense, and ready to take us back to Callao.

The waters of the Rimac, on which Lima is situated, are clear and transparent. The city is four miles long, by two broad, and is surrounded by brick walls, which are heavily mounted with cannon.

This city, next to Mexico, is the finest built by the Spaniards in the New World; its streets are straight and handsome; the houses are built only of one story, on account of earthquakes by which they are frequented. Lima was founded by Pizarro in 1534, and by him called Los Reges, or the "City of the Kings." Like all other Spanish cities, Lima has a great square in the centre, where all the principal streets terminate. On this square the principal public buildings stand; such as the cathedral, the university, the treasury, the arsenal, and the town hall.

The churches and convents are still beautiful, though robbed of vast wealth during the last revolution. It[206] is estimated that about one-fourth of the population are whites.

Leaving Callao we had a fine breeze, set studding-sails alow and aloft. When abreast Valparaiso, the wind veered around into the south and blew a stiff breeze, which obliged us to lay off and on for a few days. The wind dying away, we put into the harbor of Valparaiso, which is the most singular one I ever entered. The water is of vast depth, being upwards of fifty fathoms within a short distance of the town. We spent some little time on shore, which we enjoyed very finely indeed; found the natives kind and hospitable. The men follow the European fashion of dress, while the females adhere strictly to that of Peru. Many of the common and lower classes wear the ponsha, which is simply a large cloth with a hole in it for the neck. In the use of the lasso they equal if not excel any other people, throwing it with the greatest precision. Children at an early age practice the lasso upon poultry and cats, which they throw with unerring aim.

By the gradual change in the temperature of the atmosphere we were forcibly reminded of nearness to the Cape, which we were again to double. Finding the quantity of spirits on hand insufficient as we then thought for the occasion, we told the captain we would not double the Cape with so small a supply. Against this he remonstrated. We urged him to compliance.

After spending a week at Valparaiso, we left the harbor and stood at sea with a fair wind from the west; thus we ran about thirty-six hours, when the wind hauled into the north.

[207]

"Dreary and hollow moans foretold a gale;
Nor long the issue tarried; then the wind,
Unprisoned, blew its trumpet loud and shrill;
*    *    *    *    the rain
Came down like music."

The fore and main royals were clewed up; the breeze still freshening, we clewed up and stowed the fore and main-top-gallant sails, running thus until near daylight, when we single reefed the top-sails. At twelve that day, were under close reefed main-top-sail and reefed fore-sail, bounding along at the rate of twelve knots per hour. Thus we ran until we sighted Terra del Fuego. As we hauled around the Cape the wind seemed to follow us; the sea ran quarterly on the vessel and very high.

A heavy sea struck us on our quarter, and hove her on her beam ends; immediately letting go the fore sheet relieved her, and again she righted, broaching to as she done so. Hauling up and stowing her fore-sail, we hove her to, headed towards the Atlantic. The wind again shifted into the southwest, and abated somewhat, still the sea ran high indeed. We made all sail possible and drove her through the swells; sometimes she would scoop up water with her bows and throw it off astern, washing the men about deck in spite of all efforts to the contrary.

The weather was intensely cold, and, had we been compelled to have staid there much longer, I fear we should have frozen to death, for our clothes were already stiff with ice.

The wind continued in the southward till we reached the entrance of St. George's Channel; cast lead and found sixty fathoms of water; then bearing full, we saw[208] Cape Clear in a few hours. The wind heading us blew down the channel for three days, during which we could make no progress at all. This seemed indeed tedious, being so near our port of destination. The wind springing up, and all sail set, we ran up the channel for Liverpool; took in a pilot at Holy Head, who hove us to at the Old Alms Head that night, and took us in the next morning.

As we came along the pier head we hired men to secure the sails, such was our anxiety to be on shore. The next day we were paid off, and took our chests to the boarding-house.

Liverpool, at the mouth of the Mersey, on the Irish Sea, is an important commercial city, being next to London, the greatest port in the British empire.

It is situated from Manchester thirty-six miles, and two hundred and four from London. The city is irregularly built, but the public buildings are elegant.

The Exchange is double the size of the Royal Exchange of London, and cost the immense sum of 100,000.

The Town Hall is another noble edifice.

Liverpool is the grand medium through which the trade of England with Ireland and with this country is carried on; and a vast quantity of business is transacted by its merchants with the ports of the Mediterranean, East Indies, and other parts of the world. Cotton is the leading article of import, and is extensively used in the manufactures of Lancashire, of which, in 1830, out of 793,695 bales imported into England, 703,200 were brought into Liverpool.

The duties paid at the custom-house of Liverpool in[209] 1837, were four millions, three hundred and fifty-one thousand, four hundred and ninety-six pounds, being about a fifth of those paid throughout the whole kingdom.

Liverpool is the greatest outlet for the goods manufactured in Lancashire and Yorkshire, for sale in America. The town, thus so extensively concerned in that commerce from which England derives its chief glory, presents many external features not unworthy of its mercantile character. Of these the chief are the docks, the sight of which, bristling with numberless masts, and a scene of constant bustle from loading and unloading, fills a stranger with amazement. The town contains several handsome streets, the chief being Castle street and Dale street. There are many well conducted charitable institutions. About fifteen hundred patients are admitted annually in the infirmary.

The Blue-Coat hospital maintains and educates about two hundred boys and girls.

The school for the blind is on a most extensive scale.

A handsome and spacious theatre, and a circus, are open during a great part of the year.

At the Royal Liverpool Institution, public lectures are given; and attached to it is a philosophical apparatus and a museum of natural curiosities.

A Botanic Garden was established in 1801, at the expense of about ten thousand pounds.

Among the remarkable objects connected with the town, the ornamental cemetery of St. James, formed out of an old stone quarry, is worthy of particular notice.


[210]

CHAPTER XIV.

Proceed to New Brunswick. Encounter a severe storm. Come near losing the ship. Arrived at Delhouse. Sickness of the author. Bleeds himself. His end apparently approaches. Timely assistance. Sails for Quebec. Description of the Citadel. A sketch of its history.

I remained at Liverpool only a few days, when I shipped on board the barque Asia, Capt. Hannah, (a Scotchman) as second mate. Ten days from the time of my arrival on the Tammercee we weighed anchor and put to sea, bound for Delhouse, N. B.

We proceeded down the channel with a head wind until abreast the Tuscan light, when the wind favoring us, we soon lost sight of the land.

We had a good passage until we reached the New Foundland banks. These are immense sand banks or shoals which greatly endanger the safety of vessels bound thither. In the spring of the year they are covered with ice which washes down the Davis straits from the more frozen regions. Then it is, that ships are obliged to lay to, during the night.

The wind now hauled round from the northwest and blew a complete hurricane for about six hours, when it abated and fell into a calm. During the calm, we caught several codfish and halibut.

The dense fog which arose was a sure omen of a southerly wind. For this we made ready. The wind[211] came at length like a "cat's paw" upon the water. Sails were trimmed, studding-sails set, &c. The wind increased every moment, and in the course of two hours we were obliged to take in the studding-sails, and top-gallant-sails, and in the course of three hours were under close reefed main-top-sail and fore-sail. Thus we run until the captain thought us to be in the Gulf of St. Lawrence; and about 12 o'clock at night altered our course one point. At 4 the next morning I called the mate. I had scarcely laid my head on the pillow, when I heard the order, "port your helm, put hard to port," and at the same time, "haul in the larboard braces, quick; bear a hand my good fellows or we are all on the beach." At this I sprung upon deck, with nothing on, save a shirt and a pair of drawers, and met the captain in the same dress as myself. After the helm had been hard put to port, she came around on her keel, a thing which I never saw her do before. Had she not done so, we should have run on the beach at Cape Breton. This is a large island, separated from Nova Scotia by the straits of Canseau. It is about 100 miles in length, and from 30 to 80 in breadth, and is divided into two nearly equal portions by an arm of the sea, called Bras. de. or. The fog was so dense that it was impossible to see more than one-fourth of a mile. Had not the high cliffs towered above the fog, which enabled those on the lookout to see them, we should inevitably have been wrecked in this awful place. After the ship was headed off shore, the line was cast and we found only four fathoms water. Our ship was drawing 18 feet, so that the heaving of the sea caused her to come within a few inches of the bottom.

[212]

For a few moments the greatest fear was depicted on every countenance, but so accustomed are the mariners to danger, that perils past cause no forebodings. They being soon forgotten, they rush on to new dangers.

Considerable difficulty arose about the regular allowance of spirits, which was three glasses per day. But the sailors now swore they would not work, unless they might be allowed to have four. So desperate were they grown that one of them struck the mate. I was standing near, and sprang and dealt the fellow a blow under the ear, which sent him headlong upon the deck, where he lay several minutes. On getting up, he asked me why I struck him. I told him, that blow was the promptings of pure love; to which he replied, "if that is the way you love, I want no more of it." He then went forward about his business, with his jaw so bruised that it was several days before he could eat his regular allowance.

After we came to anchor at the ballast ground, off Delhouse, after a passage of thirty days, and were discharging our cargo, consisting of oakum, wheat, rum, tobacco, bale goods, iron and nails, which was carried on shore on lighters, all of the seamen became intoxicated to such a degree as to be utterly unable to perform duty. When it was ascertained that they stole the liquor from the ship and took it on shore, they all went below and refused to do duty unless the captain would sign a paper freeing them from embezzlement, and continuing their wages to them. This they knew he would readily do, as the cold weather was coming on, which made him extremely anxious to get away, lest he should be caught in the ice, and be under the necessity[213] of remaining during the winter, which he would have been obliged to do, had they left, for hands could not be procured to do the work. After the paper was signed they went to their duty.

When the ballast was discharged, we hauled the ship to her berth and commenced taking in lumber. One night the raft of timber, (composed of logs about 75 in number) broke loose from the chain to which it was fastened. The mate, hearing the noise, called to me, as I had charge of it, saying, "the raft has broken adrift." I sprang from my berth and called the men to assist me, but called in vain. No one, save an old Frenchman, would venture upon the raft to assist me. I had nothing on but the clothes I slept in, (I usually slept in cold weather with my drawers and stockings on,) save my cap. We found the logs getting loose from each other, as well as from the ship. The wind blew from the northwest very hard, blowing the water all over us.

Thus we worked with our clothes stiff with ice for nearly three hours. After we had secured the timbers, we went on deck. I took a stick and beat the ice from my drawers, shifted myself throughout, drank nearly a half pint of hot sling, and went to my berth.

The next day I was very sore and stiff; the night following I experienced some pain in my side, got up, and walked the deck; vomited several times. I grew gradually worse until I could not breathe without a sort of catch or twitching, which was extremely painful. When I lay down, I could not rise again without assistance.

When morning came a physician came on board and[214] bled me, which afforded great relief. He came again in the afternoon of the same day, and learning that the captain was going to sail soon, he told him if he carried me to sea, it would be the death of me, as I was most severely attacked with pleurisy, and must have medical aid immediately.

I was taken on shore to a house, where I remained seven days, seeing my sick nurse only four times, he leaving me some soup.

The vessel left the harbor the next day after I went on shore, being driven out by the ice, with the loss of an anchor and part of the cable.

One day the old Frenchman who assisted me on the raft, came to see me. I told him how I had been neglected, and shaking his head, he said it was too bad, and that I should not stay there, and then left the room. After an hour or two he returned with a horse and sleigh, assisted me into it and drove a distance of five miles, to the house of a French lady, where I remained six weeks.

This kind lady, although an entire stranger, took a mother's care of me, at the same time knowing not that she should ever be compensated for it. Her many kindnesses I can never forget.

I inquired of the doctor if there was any money in the treasury at Delhouse. He said there was, and seemed astonished that I had not made application for it. He then wrote a certificate, stating that I had been left, at the advice of a physician, by the barque Asia, of Liverpool, and was still under his care. This being presented to the treasury brought me a guinea per week[215] during the time I should remain under the care of a physician.

This fund is raised by reserving one shilling per month from the wages of all seamen that sail in British vessels. In every port of any considerable note a hospital is erected, in others a fund is deposited, to be expended in case of sickness of any of her majesty's subjects.

At the expiration of six weeks, I had so far recovered as to be able to walk a short distance to the neighbors in pleasant weather. My appetite was getting to be very good, and in fact, I considered myself almost well.

One day Mrs. Prosper, (my kind nurse's name) wishing to go to Delhouse, asked me to go with her. Wrapping myself up warmly, we started. On arriving at Delhouse, I went to the public house and remained while she was doing her business. On our return I got a little chilly. This with the fatigue of the ride (which proved too much for me) quite overcame me, and obliged me to take to bed again. I called for the doctor. A boy was sent for him, but returned, saying, that the doctor was also confined to his bed. I almost gave up in despair. There I was with a second and more severe attack of pleurisy, without medical aid. Mrs. Prosper aided by her sister (who with me were the only members of the family) did all in their power to assist me. The pain I experienced was almost beyond endurance. I found the roots of my finger nails were purple, the blood having settled there. The veins on my arms and hands were full almost to bursting. I called Mrs. Prosper, who, when she saw me, said to her sister, "he will[216] not live long." This I understood, although spoken in French, and it came to my ears like thunder. Thus to die, away from my childhood's home, with none save the friends of an hour to soothe me, in my last moments.

Then, as in every other time of danger, did I regret the step I had taken in leaving home, and resolved, that should my life be again spared, I would hasten to the home from which I had been absent nearly nine years, (to which I had pledged myself I would never return) and forget the petty occurrence that forced me from those to whom I was bound by the nearest and dearest ties. I called for a small knife which was in my vest pocket, resolved to make a desperate effort to save myself from the death which seemed so near. After being raised up in bed, I bled myself in the left arm, and then taking the knife in my left hand opened a vein in my right arm. Such was the pressure of blood that it flew all over the room. The women seeing what I had done, left the house screeching at the top of their voices. I lay literally weltering in my own blood. The blood left my finger nails, the pains ceased, and I was perfectly easy, still conscious that my end was near.

To fully describe my situation, my pen is inadequate, and I must leave the reader to imagine for himself my situation, forsaken as I was by every person from whom assistance could be had, and bleeding profusely, with no means to check it.

So much was I reduced, that I was about falling into a sleep from which I never should have awoke. At this moment an old Scotchman (a quaker) who had occasionally visited me, aroused by the cries of the women,[217] came into the room and asked what was the matter. I was too feeble to answer, but cast my eyes about the room, signifying look for yourself. He left the room, but soon returned with some pebbles which he took from a spring near the house, and bound them on my arms, thus checking the blood. He then went in search of Mrs. Prosper, whom he reprimanded for leaving me. (By the way she supposed me attempting suicide.)

I was removed on a sheet, and the bed which was wet through with blood was changed, and I was laid again upon it. There I remained nine days motionless and speechless and almost senseless and lifeless. The third day the doctor had so far recovered as to visit me. On hearing the situation I was in, he said the bleeding was the only thing that would have saved me. He told Mrs. Prosper that it was very doubtful about my getting up again.

Leaving some medicine, he left the house. Instead of giving me the medicine he left, Mrs. Prosper procured a dozen bottles of the best Port wine, to which she added one pound of Peruvian bark. I drank a wine-glass full night and morning. Several times during the day my mouth was washed or moistened with a sponge saturated with the wine.

One morning the sister of Mrs. Prosper came into the room, and with tears in her eyes, bade me an affectionate farewell, saying she was going away and should not see me again. Seeing her so affected at my situation, I could not refrain from shedding tears also. Seeing me shed tears, she considered it ominous of my recovery.

Each day I found I had additional strength, and with[218] the best care was, at the expiration of three weeks, enabled to sit up a few moments at a time.

I was obliged to keep the doctor along, for the moment he left me my pay from government was stopped.

Now for the first time since my sickness did I attempt to acquaint my friends with my situation. (I had written several times from Liverpool and other places, but received no answer.) To this I received no reply, and at the expiration of four weeks, wrote again. This also was unnoticed.

I then made up my mind that the circle which once welcomed me as the only son and brother, had resolved to disown me. This, to a repentant wanderer, occasioned many an hour of sadness.

I resolved that should I ever so far recover as to be able to find them, to cast myself upon them, begging them to receive back their son and brother, who had almost cursed the hour that separated him from them.

The doctor visited me every day, and at each visit left an additional supply of medicine. This he continued till about the first of March; at the expiration of which time I found myself in possession of drugs enough for a wholesale Apothecary establishment, the doctor, meanwhile, supposing I had pursued his directions.

I was at length left upon my own resources, for the doctor, pronouncing me free from his care, stopped my funds.

One neighbor, building a schooner offered me the job of making the sails, which busied me until the 1st of April, when I went on board a schooner bound to Quebec.

[219]

The capital of Canada and of British America, is situated on a bold promontory, at the confluence of the St. Lawrence and St. Charles, (or Little River,) about 350 miles from the sea. The basin or harbor of Quebec is sufficiently large to contain 75 or 100 sail of the line.

Accidentally becoming acquainted with an officer of the 15th Reg. of H. M. troops, then stationed there, I was enabled to visit parts, which to most visitors would be inaccessible. Quebec, the strongest town in America, and the strongest in the world, except Gibraltar, is built on a rock, which is partly of marble, and partly of slate, and is divided into Upper and Lower Towns.

At the time it was founded, 1608, it is said the tide washed the rock; since that time the river has sunk away so far as to leave a large spot of dry ground on which stands the Lower Town. The houses of both towns are of stone, and well built. The fortifications are extensive but irregular. The natural situation of the town renders its defence easy; the lofty, perpendicular rocks, on the southeast, constitute in themselves an insurmountable barrier. The river St. Charles, with its shallow water, and low flats of sand, and mud drained almost dry, by the ebbing of the tide, forms an obstacle difficult to be encountered in the erection of commanding works, or to the location of ships on the east and north; and even, should the water allow ships to come up, their guns could not injure in the least the works of the Upper Town, while they would subject themselves to great danger from the cannons and bombs of those elevated ramparts. The only accessible point is on the southwest from the plains of Abraham, where there is no barrier of rocks, no river, ravine, or marsh,[220] or other natural impediments to an enemy's approach, which deficiency is supplied by walls and towers. The distance across from one river to the other is nearly a mile; the average diameter is three-fourths of a mile. A complete wall of hewn stone encircles the town, and is furnished with strong massy arches and gates, and with deep ditches. The walls vary much in height as well as in thickness; everywhere however, they are high enough to render escalade very difficult, and a breach almost hopeless. In the strongest part, next the plains, they are about fifty feet high, and about an equal thickness; even the lofty precipice of naked rock is surmounted with stone walls and cannon, and the highest points are covered with towers and distinct batteries; and generally the curtains of the walls are looped for musketry; and projecting bastions present their artillery to the assailants, raking the ditches immediately adjacent to the inner walls. This inner wall, as I have already remarked, is about fifty feet thick. Besides this, there is another wall and ditch, which both must be scaled before the inner or main wall can be approached. A party would be most dreadfully exposed while mounting this exterior wall. The avenue to the gate St. Louis, which opens to the plains, is bounded on both sides by high walls, which make several turns in zigzag, and at every turn cannon point directly to the approacher. In every possible direction, where the walls can be approached, large guns are ready to meet the assailants. The highest point of the rock is called Cape Diamond, and upon it is erected the famous citadel of Quebec. This is not, as one might suppose, a building or castle covered with a roof. It is[221] open, and differs only from the rest of the works by being more elevated, and therefore more commanding.

The highest part of the citadel is Brock's Battery, which is mounted with cannon pointed towards the plains. Within the walls are numerous magazines and stores of provisions of sufficient quantity to supply the town for a term of years. Piles of cannon balls every where meet the eye. Beyond the walls, on the plains, are the four martello Towers. They are solidly constructed of stone, about forty feet high, and about the same diameter at the base. These are mounted with guns pointing towards the plains, and effectually commanding it. The principal object of these is to prevent the enemy from obtaining possession of the high ground of the plains. The guns on these towers can only be made to bear one way towards the plains, so as to prevent, as in all other parts, the enemy, should they obtain possession of them, or any one part, from using their own arms against them. The side of the towers, towards the town, can be easily battered by the guns upon the walls. So, should an enemy get possession of the towers, they could be easily thrown from them.

The city was founded by the French in 1608. In 1629, the English reduced it with all Canada; but it was restored to the French in 1632. In 1711 it was again besieged by the English, but without success. It was again, in 1759, attacked and conquered, after a battle memorable for the death of Gen. Wolfe, who fell in the moment of victory. As he was expiring in the arms of his soldiers he heard the cry of "they fly." He raised his drooping head, and inquired "Who fly?" being answered "the French," he resigned himself[222] back into the arms of a lieutenant, exclaiming, with his last breath, "then I die in peace." By the peace of 1763 this was confirmed to the English. In 1775, the Americans attacked it under Gen. Montgomery, who was slain, and his army repulsed with great loss. Great improvements have been made within a few years, and are still making, which render it so strong in its defences, that any attempt with any force whatever to take it, would prove a fruitless undertaking.

The time allotted me (eight days) for staying at this place, was soon passed, giving me but little opportunity to examine minutely the many objects of wonder and curiosity.


[223]

CHAPTER XV.

Sail in the Borneo for Limerick. A Man is found secreted on board. Conduct of the Captain. Sympathy of the Crew. Terrible Storm. Wretchedness of our Situation. Account of the loss of the Francis Spade. Singular occurrence. The Storm continues. Reach the Shannon. The rolling of the Killserphine. Its Tradition. Reach Limerick. Sail for London. Sail for Egypt. Description of Gibraltar. Arrive at the quarantine ground off Alexandria. Go to the Dead Sea. Its description. Return to Alexandria. Curiosities and History of Egypt. Manners and Customs of the People.

I shipped on board the ship Borneo, Captain Gorman of and for Limerick. We weighed our anchor about the first of April, 1839, with a crew of twenty-four men, including officers. We had a very pleasant sail down the river. The third day after we stood out of Quebec, a man made his appearance on board, who was a stranger to all excepting the captain and mate. The captain inquired how he came there; he replied that he belonged to Killruch, and had offered him (the captain) all the money he had, which was less than the passage money, and being very anxious to go home, was determined the ship should not leave without him; consequently he watched an opportunity to secrete himself on board; and when the watch was on deck, or when the watch was below asleep, he would crawl from his hiding place to the store-room, where he would get enough to supply him[224] until another opportunity offered for him to get another supply. This he continued until the third day as mentioned. The captain, after hearing his story, ordered the mate, who was an old schoolmate, and fellow associate of his, to tie him to the capstan, and pour cold water over him every half hour. This the mate refused to do to one to whom he was so strongly attached. The man as well as the captain insisted upon it; still he refused. The crew then proposed to pay his passage, which the captain accepted, and the man was released.

The wind blowing a fresh breeze soon brought us in sight of Newfoundland. The breeze freshening each moment, soon became a perfect gale. The captain thought best to run through the straits of Bellisle—the channel that separates New Foundland from Labrador—passing through in the night during the first watch. We stowed the main sky-sail, and fore, main and mizzen royals, also tried the pumps. About midnight, the cry of "all hands ahoy." "Bear a hand up, and reef top-sails." The three top-sails were reefed, and the top-gallant sails set over them, and the main-sail furled. When this was done, the whiskey, as was usual in those days in such times, was passed around. This occupied two or three hours, when we went below again. At four we were called again, this being a new or second watch. The order, "clew up the top-gallant sails and stow them," was quickly obeyed, when another, "lay aft my lads, splice the main brace," (meaning, take another round of whiskey,) "man your top-sails, reef tackles and clew lines, lower away your halyards roundly. When all is done, lay aloft and reef[225] your sails." Soon the seven bells called the watch to breakfast. The ship at this time was laboring very heavy under the press of canvass. The wheel got the advantage of the helmsman, and in an instant broached to; at the same time a heavy sea boarding her, swept the caboose clear from the deck, leaving the cooking apparatus, it being strongly secured by large bolts to the deck, or we should have lost our whole breakfast; as it was it was hardly worth eating, being wet with salt water.

The ship was soon got before the wind again; the pumps were examined, and seven feet of water found in the hold. The pumps were rigged, and all hands were obliged to take their turn at them. The ship was heavily deck loaded, which rendered it very crank, or, in other words, easily to be upset; as well as made it extremely difficult to go about on deck to work the ship, and making it altogether unsafe, as there was nothing to prevent our being washed overboard. We lashed ourselves to the railing around the mainmast, and thus we stood for twenty-four hours, having nothing to eat but a few hard biscuit, taking a glass of whiskey as often as every half or three-fourths of an hour. The gale still increased,—the sea under our stern would raise the ship to such a height, that for a moment it appeared as if she would go over in end; then she would fall again, and for a moment be engulphed between two high seas apparently fifty or sixty feet high, when they would come again with seemingly greater fury. When rising this wave, it appeared as if the ship went at the rate of 14 or 16 knots an hour. Keeping the pumps at work constantly, we were enabled to check the increase[226] of the water; but still so great was the leakage, that we could not decrease the quantity already in the hold. This was truly discouraging. Whiskey was dealt out freely, which served in some degree to drive away the fear of the moment.

One night, when under close reefed main-top-sail and fore-sail, with two men at the wheel, our ship broached to, or suddenly turned to the windward of her course, which presented her side to the wind, and greatly endangered her upsetting. At this time all hands were aloft, reefing and securing the sails that had blown adrift from the yards. Those that were at that time from the mast, upon the yards, sought safety by clinging to the yard, which brought them erect upon the same. Others, that were near the masts, lay at, or were in a horizontal position. While she lay upon her beam ends, a heavy sea boarded her, sweeping the hurricane house, bed, and bedding of the second mate, spare sails, ropes, and six casks of meat, clear from the deck, and disabling one of the men at the wheel. At length she righted, quite to the disappointment of all on board; for we all expected she was lost. In this condition we lay, drifting at the mercy of the wind and waves twelve hours, when we loosed the fore-sail and fore top-mast-stay-sail after goose winging (or fastening the clew or lower corner of the sail, while the middle is secured or fastened to the yard) the fore-sail and boarding the fore-tacks, set the stay-sails, and put the helm hard up. She payed off a little, and shivering the main-top-sail, we were soon before the wind again, running at the rate of 12 or 15 knots per hour. The wind abating somewhat, allowed us to make a little sail. Our top-sails[227] and fore-top-mast-studding-sails were set on both sides. A squall suddenly arose, blowing our fore-top-mast studding sails from the yards and braces, the fore-top-sail was in an instant torn from the bolt rope, leaving only a few fragments hanging to it.

At the time the squall arose all hands were at the pumps, and six only could possibly be spared to secure the sails that the wind had left hanging to the yards, or to cut the fragments of those torn from the ropes, clear. Being one of this number, I hastened to perform the order. As I came up over the run, I saw a Russian in the attitude of prayer. I stopped a moment, not wishing to interfere with his devotion. Another of the crew soon came up, and going up to the Russian while yet upon his knees, gave him a hearty kick in the ribs! at the same time advising him with oaths and imprecations, to put off his praying until better weather, and attend to the safety of the ship. We succeeded, though at the peril of our lives, in securing the sails. Our condition was now indeed wretched, seemingly the worst that could be pictured.

The crew upon whom the management of our now half water-logged ship devolved, were much worn with fatigue and hunger, having nothing to eat save what we took raw and wet, there being no place to cook anything, as the water which constantly swept over the deck, rendered our attempts to build and support a fire fruitless. Consequently we ate raw pork and beef, with bread which had been completely wet through with salt water.

To add to our almost insupportable suffering, the deck, by the constant straining and tossing of the ship,[228] leaked so badly that every article of clothing, bed and bedding, were completely drenched, so that we were not only destitute of an occasional dry suit, but were deprived of a dry and comfortable place in which to rest ourselves, when for a moment we could in turns be spared from the arduous duties of our situation.

In giving a just and accurate description of this, as well as every other storm at sea, the pen entirely fails. There can be no just conception of it, but by having it vividly impressed upon the mind, by keen, sensitive reality.

The same Capt. Gorman, who had the command of our ship had a few years before, commanded one called the Francis Spade, and by his mismanagement, she water-logged, was dismasted, and lost. The crew of that ill-fated vessel remained upon the wreck seven days in a state of starvation, their ship stores having been swept away. They at last resorted to the horrible extreme of casting lots, to see which should fall a victim to satisfy the hunger of the rest. The first lot fell upon a boy 12 or 15 years of age. Knowing his fate, with that degree of fortitude that characterized the martyrs of other days, he set about putting an end to his own life by bleeding. After trying in vain to open a vein in his arm, he called for a blanket, which he wrapped around his form; then cutting a deep gash in the bottom of both feet, calmly laid himself down to meet the death which it was his lot to suffer. No sooner had the pulse ceased to beat, than the body was divided among the half famished crew, who with the rapacity of tigers fell to devouring it. Two other boys afterwards fell victims to the same fate.

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Some of our crew being rather superstitious, fancied they heard groans and deep sighs, when we were in the vicinity of the scene of the above related horrible transaction. So firmly was the belief established in their minds, that nothing could dissuade them from it, and often would they mention it as an actual occurrence.

In this situation we passed another night, hoping that the morning would bring relief. Our hopes were not realized, but quite to the contrary, for the gale increased instead of abating. All hands were called to close-reef the main-top-sail, the pumps were obliged to be kept in constant operation, there having been seven feet of water in the hold since the first commencement of the gale.

A heavy sea struck the ship and spun the wheel at which I was stationed, rapidly around, the spokes of it caught me under the jacket, throwing me heels over head and thrusting me head foremost through a partition of stout panel-work, which left me senseless for a moment. The captain being near caught the wheel and prevented the ship from broaching to, which it must have done and perhaps to our entire loss, had not timely assistance been offered.

I was carried below, my shoulder bathed and placed in a sling—after the pain had subsided somewhat, I went to the pumps, working with one hand, thus relieving one man who could render assistance elsewhere. There I remained three days and two nights with but little cessation, when at the expiration of this time the gale abated. We saw the Skelligo light on the coast of Ireland and in a few hours we were[230] safely in the mouth of the river Shannon, which is navigated by large ships 200 miles.

Here we took pilot and made sail up the river. Soon we were land-locked and could make no progress. All hands were called to bend a fore-top-sail, and while bending it, the pilot spoke, saying, "we are in the Killserphine!" the captain replied that "it was not the season for it to break." This was no sooner said, than a noise was heard like distant thunder, which caused all hands to look for its cause, when to our surprise we saw a heavy sea rolling half mast high, and coming directly towards us.

The captain in agony of mind exclaimed, "My God! we are all lost!"

The sea struck us, washing one of the men from the wheel, and filling the decks with water, but doing no damage save carrying away the carved work on the stern and the starboard quarter boat. This was followed by one of less magnitude scarcely washing the deck. The third one beat lightly against the stern.

This occasioned much surprise among the crew, for many of them knew not what it meant, having never before heard of such a place.

Upon inquiry respecting it, I was informed by an Irishman, over whose head 90 winters, which he recollects, have passed, that once there was an island in the Shannon on which was a castle and other buildings, and that by the workings of nature that island gradually sunk away, until it disappeared entirely, and now each year the soundings are found to vary, there yet being a gradual sinking of the river's bottom. The water is now 11 or 12 fathoms deep.

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During each year, (it is said by those upon whom reliance can be placed) there are three swells or rollings of the sea, the same as those above described, and at no stated or regular times, often taking the mariner by surprise. This to the incredulous may seem to be unworthy of credit; but I have the testimony of hundreds to the truth of the same. The cause of this phenomenon I shall not attempt to state.

We came to anchor about the middle of April, 1839. Seven of us were sent to the hospital, where I remained fourteen days, when getting my discharge, I went to a boarding-house where I remained only a few days, and then shipped on board the brig Bryanabbs of Limerick, Capt. Gorman, (a brother of the captain of the Borneo) bound for London, with wheat in bulk for cargo. We reached London the middle of May.

There I remained but a short time, having a berth offered me on board the Bengal, Capt. Wright, bound for Alexandria.

Getting before a fair wind we were soon in the Bay of Biscay, where we encountered a short though very severe gale of wind. Nothing occurred more than is usual in all gales.

After the wind abated we again made sail and stood for Gibralter, where we touched for the purpose of getting some recruits, such as hogs, fowls, &c.

Gibralter is situated upon a point of land at the south of Europe, on the north side of the Straits of Gibralter, which forms a communication between the Atlantic and Mediterranean sea. It belongs to Great Britain, and is undoubtedly the strongest fortress in the world, and is supposed to be impregnable. The length, from[232] the Spanish line to the most southern point is three miles, and the circumference seven. No communication can be held between the garrison of this fortress, and the rest of Spain, owing to a strongly fortified line drawn for the purpose by the Spaniards.

The town is defended on the water side by a line of ramparts forming a continued fortification from the north and perpendicular side of the rock, to the extremity of the Moors' wall, which was built about the year one thousand. This wall divides the rock into two equal parts, running from the water's side up a very steep ascent.

Since the time this wall was built, fortifications have been carried entirely round the rock, and works cut into the interior on the perpendicular side, which renders them impregnable.

Since this place was captured by the English they have excavated the rock, forming galleries and caverns of several thousand feet in length, and in case an enemy should carry the outer works, the besieged can retire to these subterraneous passages, and there hold out against an immensely superior force.

These galleries are at an elevation of from 300 to 1300 feet above the surface of the plain below. They are arranged in tiers, each forming a battery, of which there are 23 in number. Were a general battery of all the embrazures to take place at the same time, it would afford one of the grandest spectacles in the world.

In every place where it is possible to make an attack even with a small number of men, cannon are planted upon the surface of the rock, and these are at such an elevation, and the use of them so well understood, that[233] the object aimed at is hit with as much certainty as with a fusee.

Should the lines near the water be carried by an enemy, they would have to dispute the ascent to the top of the mountain inch by inch, and should they even succeed in obtaining possession of the whole surface of the mountain, they would have to combat an army in the bowels of the rock against a thousand mines and other artifices, which would render the situation of the assailants very unsafe and dangerous. There are close quarters in the rocks for 1200 men, and provisions for three years, with a sufficient quantity of ammunition always stored there.

Since the English took Gibralter in 1704, it has been repeatedly besieged but always without success. The combined forces of Spain and France laid siege to it in 1779, and after four years of the most strenuous and powerful efforts to reduce it, were obliged to abandon the project, and withdraw.

Thus much for a description of Gibralter, which I should not give at such length were it not a place of peculiar interest.

We weighed our anchor once more for Alexandria. Nothing worthy of notice occurred on our passage. We came to anchor four or five miles from the town and were immediately boarded by an officer of customs and put under quarantine, although the captain was allowed on shore to attend to his business. At the expiration of the quarantine (ten days) we weighed anchor and stood further in shore. Capt. Wright seeing the impossibility of procuring a cargo of cotton and rice, proposed visiting the Dead Sea.

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The Consul, falling in with the idea, and wishing to go himself, procured for the journey horses and asses, the former for the use of the captain and officers, and the latter for the sailors and servants.

We started, our company numbering about 30, with our provisions and baggage lashed upon the asses. Soon after crossing the Nile we came into a large prairie of tall grass through which was a straight and narrow path, only wide enough for one to ride at a time. After riding about 15 miles, we came to a little village, chiefly the residence of Copts, (a race of people generally considered as the descendants of the ancient Egyptians, being of a light mulatto color, black eyes, high cheek bones, short nose, large mouth, thick lips and half wooly hair. Some of the females are exceedingly handsome and of graceful and easy carriage.) Here we refreshed ourselves and horses, and amused ourselves by shooting birds of different kinds.

After our horses were rested, we proceeded on our way, passing through a piece of woods heavily timbered about a mile in width. This wood was literally filled with birds of every description, some of them possessing musical powers far superior to many of the human family. Beyond this wood in the open field we found a large spring of most delightful clear cold water, with which we filled our skins. The day being nearly spent, we rode as fast as we could urge the animals along. The horses being more fleet than the asses, soon left them behind. It was impossible to increase their speed or even make them retain the old pace except by the most severe beatings. We rode until 11 o'clock before we could overtake those with the horses, when we found[235] them quietly reposing under a thatched roof which had been built by some travelers, or some other persons and deserted.

Here we all turned in together, if it could be called "turning in" to camp down on the bare ground without blankets or other bed clothing to protect us from the night air, and musquitoes who were swarming around by thousands. We got but little rest.

As soon as the light appeared in the east, we mounted and were on our journey again. About 9 o'clock we made a halt in a grove and took our morning repast. We soon crossed the great road which leads from Suez to Jerusalem. Here we made a stop and shot a few birds. While tarrying here a caravan of 40 camels came along from Suez bound to Joppa, laden with goods of all kinds.

The traveling is usually done in caravans or armed bodies, as a safeguard against the many robbers (who are usually wandering Arabs) who infest the country, capturing and sacking everything which comes in their way.

We soon crossed a small river or creek, about two feet in depth, which the natives called the outlet of the Dead Sea, which led us into a large open country, with here and there a grove or cluster of trees. By the continual application of the clubs over the heads of our asses, we were enabled to keep a moderate pace, though not equal to that of the horses.

The second night was passed similar to the first. On the morning of the third day we reached the point of our destination.

The Dead Sea, or Lake Asphaltites as it is sometimes[236] called, (from the great quantities of bituminous and inflammable substance which are found floating on its surface) lies in Palestine and is about 60 miles long and 15 wide. It covers the ground on which stood the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, buried according to history, by an earthquake, with frequent eruptions of fire, or according to Scriptural expression, by a "rain of sulphur."

Many superstitious prejudices have been entertained relative to the Dead Sea, which are entirely unfounded in truth. It has been said, that "beautiful fruit grows upon its shores, which is no sooner touched, than it becomes dust and bitter ashes," that its waters prove destructive to animal life, and that numerous are the victims to the exhalation of the atmosphere in the vicinity.

But on the contrary, I can assure my readers that this pretended "fruit of ashes" is a natural and admirable production, that its waters swarm with myriads of fishes, and that certain birds make this lake their peculiar resort, and do not become "victims to its exhalations." Bodies sink or float in it according to the proportion of their gravity to the gravity of the water. The bituminous substance, called Asphaltas, which is found upon its surface, is thrown up from the bottom in a melted state by the agency of subterranean heat, and having become solid by the coldness of the water, is collected on the margin of the lake. This is a valuable article, and is much used for various purposes, in the United States.

At the time of our visit, the surface of the sea was unruffled by a breeze, and as smooth as a mirror. We[237] saw none of those clouds of vapor or smoke which are said to rise from the surface of the lake and from the neighboring mountain. Every thing about it was, in the highest degree, grand and awful. We approached the shore, and here we found that the stones were of a combustible nature and would ignite by the application of a match, owing we supposed to their being covered with the bituminous substance.

Among the various kinds of birds we found, there was one worthy of our particular attention. This is called the Sounding bird, and is of a dark gray color, and the size of the body will well compare with that of the New England pigeon. The head was as large as that of a common goose, and on the top of it is a semi-circular shell of about six inches in length and two in breadth, (at the top) and covered with a thin skin. This shell is hollow. These birds were such a curiosity that we carried several of them back with us to the ship.

After remaining at the sea thirty-six hours, we set out on our return. During the first day of our journey back, the officers kept us company; but on the morning of the second day they put spurs to their horses, and left us far behind. We rode all night, and arrived at Alexandria about five o'clock in the morning of the third day. Greatly fatigued with the journey, I went into a barn, or shed, and fell asleep on a pile of straw, where I remained until near sunset. As soon as I emerged from the shed, I was accosted by one of my shipmates with "Halloo! where have you been this long time?"

"Under the lee of a bundle of straw," I replied.

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"Well, all the Copts of Egypt have been searching for you," said he, "until at last we concluded that you had fallen a victim to the poisonous atmosphere of the Dead Sea, and gone off yourself in evaporation. We therefore have got the cargo ready without your assistance; but if you are still in a mortal state, and capable of hauling a rope, (as your refreshed appearance would indicate,) then bear a hand, for every thing is ready." We then went on board, where I found the cargo stowed; consisting of cotton, ivory, gums, &c., and all things in preparation to weigh the anchor.

I will in this place give my readers a brief description of some of the curiosities of Egypt; and some general characteristics of the inhabitants, which come under my observation, during my stay in that country. Of all the wonders of this truly wonderful country, the ruins and antiquities which it contains, are perhaps the greatest. The mechanical labors and monuments of the ancient Egyptians are beyond the imitation of modern times.

Among the many ruins of Alexandria, the most prominent are Pompey's Pillar, and Cleopatra's Needle. There are other magnificent remains, such as prostrate rows of marble columns, and mutilated capitals. Pompey's Pillar stands upon a pedestal twelve feet high. The shaft is round, and one hundred feet in height. The diameter is about nine feet. Cleopatra's Needle is sixty-four feet high, and eight feet square at the base. The shaft is granite, covered with hieroglyphics.

There are a great number of Pyramids scattered over the country, but the most remarkable are those of Djizeh, Sakhara, and Darhour. The size of these is so great, that they appear to the spectator to be near at[239] hand, when he is many leagues distant from them. The account of Herodotus is, that ten years were consumed in preparing a road whereon to draw the immense blocks of stone; and the labors of 100,000 men employed, who were relieved once in three months.

The largest is ascribed to Cheops. It covers an area of eleven acres, and is four hundred and eighty feet high, one hundred and twenty-seven feet higher than the cross of St. Paul's, in London. The entrances to those pyramids which have been explored, descend at exactly the same angle, and at the same part of the fabric. Various passages and chambers have been discovered by great labor, and wells or shafts conducting from above to the lower apartments. The entrances are artfully concealed in the wall, thirty feet or less above the base. The passages were sometimes stopped with a solid block of granite, made, however, to slide upwards by the force of a lever.

Immense chambers have been found in them, hewn from the solid rock. Belzoni found one forty-eight feet in length, sixteen wide, and twenty-four high. The pyramids are composed of immense blocks of stone, laid upon each other in the receding manner of steps. The celebrated Sphynx, of which so much has been written, is now almost buried in sand. The head and neck only remain uncovered. The form is that of a woman's head and breast on the body of a lion. Since buried in the sand, it has once been excavated and measured. The length was found to be one hundred and thirty feet, the breast was thirty-three feet wide, and the head and neck twenty-seven feet high,—the whole, except[240] the paws, which are of masonry, was cut from the solid rock.

Alexandria, the scene of many of these ruins, is situated upon the Mediterranean Sea, and has communication with the river Nile by means of a canal. This city was founded by Alexander the Great, and rose immediately to wealth and greatness; and for science and literature was second only to Rome. It once contained 600,000 inhabitants. After its capture by the Saracens, it began to decline, and the discovery of the passage to India destroyed its commercial importance. At present it consists of narrow, crooked, and dirty streets, and lofty buildings, and is surrounded by a high stone wall. The population at the present time cannot exceed 15,000. Egypt is inhabited by a number of distinct tribes, or classes. The most numerous are the Fellahs, or Arab cultivators; the descendants of the ancient conquerors; these are well formed, and active, though lean. They have fine teeth, and sunken, sparkling eyes. Upper Egypt is settled principally by the Copts, of whom I have before spoken. Besides these are Greeks, Jews, Syrians, Turks, &c., scattered over the country.

The people are so various, that the customs are therefore different in the different classes. The Arabs are cheerful, quiet, and have many good qualities. The Jews are filthy, and avaricious; they are generally merchants, and officers of the customs. The inhabitants of the cities are indolent and sensual; have but little employment, and their amusements are of a depraving kind. The women are vailed, and secluded, as in all oriental countries, but they have still much freedom.[241] Beauty is esteemed by weight, as in many Mohammedan countries, and the Christian observes various trifling practices, totally at variance with those to which he has been accustomed. The beard is worn and the hair shaven. The men wear petticoats, and the women trowsers. Fingers supply the place of forks; a cushion is used instead of a chair, and a tray instead of a table is set upon the floor. Females hide their faces and display their bosoms. Many things seem to be adhered to because they are at variance with European usage. The inhabitants delight in exhibitions of wrestlers, rope dancers, &c. The exhibitions of the serpent charmers, are terrific—they handle the serpent with perfect familiarity, and are seldom bitten. There are numerous dancing women who perform in public, but their exhibitions conform to the state of moral sentiment, and are such as would not be tolerated in America. Marriages in Egypt are generally contracted by the intervention of friends, and frequently the parties do not see each other till the ceremony. The females are often married at fifteen, and sometimes at an earlier age. The climate is peculiar, during eight months in the year, from March to November; the heat is almost insupportable to a European, or American. During the whole of this season the air is inflamed, the sky sparkling, and the heat oppressive to all unaccustomed to it. The southerly winds which sometimes blow there are called by the natives poisonous winds, or the hot winds of the desert. They are of such extreme heat that no animated body exposed to them can withstand their pernicious influence. During the three days of the southern blast, the streets are deserted; and woe to the[242] traveler whom this wind surprises remote from shelter; when it exceeds three days it is insupportable. Very frequently the inhabitants are almost blinded with drifts of sand, but these evils are in a great measure remedied by the rising and overflowing of the Nile. This occurs annually, and supplies the deficiency of rain, (very little falling in that country,) in producing the vast fertility for which Egypt is so famed.

The river begins to rise the last of May, and continues till September. At the height of its flood in Lower Egypt, nothing is to be seen in the plains but the tops of forest and fruit trees; the towns and villages being for that reason built upon eminences, either natural or artificial. When the river is at its proper height, the inhabitants celebrate a kind of jubilee with great festivity. The banks or mounds which confine it, are cut by the Turkish Pasha, attended by his grandees; and after this ceremony, the water is led into what they call the khalix, or grand canal, which runs through Cairo, whence it is distributed into cuts for supplying the fields and gardens. The irrigation is effected by machinery. This being done, and the waters beginning to retire, such is the fertility of the soil that the labor of the husbandman is next to nothing. Nothing can be more charming than the prospect which the face of the country presents in rising corn, vegetables and verdure of every sort. Oranges and lemons perfume the air; dates, grapes, and figs cheer the eye; and palm trees which afford the means of making wine, are blooming and abundant. March and April are the harvest months, and they produce three crops, one of lettuces and cucumbers, (the latter being the ordinary food of the inhabitants,) one of corn, and one of melons.


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CHAPTER XVI.

Sail for London. Arrive at the Downs. Sail for St. Johns. A dense fog. Bay of Fundy. Come to anchor at St. Johns. Proceed to London. Sail for the East Indies. Study Navigation. Arrive at St. Helena. Tomb of Napoleon. Reach Cape Town. Description of the Country. Of the several Tribes. Arrive at Calcutta. Description of the Ganges, and its Religious Rites. Of Calcutta. Sail for Canton. Tiger Island. Straits of Malacca. Preparations for Pirates. Arrive at Canton. Its description. Chinese Floating Town. Manners and Customs. Fourth of July. Sail for England. Misconduct of the Mate. His discharge. Arrival at London.

The last of July we weighed anchor, and spread our sails bound for London. Nothing worthy of note occurred on the passage to Gibralter, at which place we stopped. Sent a boat ashore for fresh provisions, and soon it came back richly laden with fruits, and a quantity of wine for the use of the seamen. We were allowed three glasses of wine per day, and on Saturday night one bottle was allowed each four men. Bracing full, we were soon through the gut of Gibralter, homeward bound; and in a few days were in the chops of the channel of Old England. Had fine weather, though a head wind to contend with. While we were thus detained by adverse winds, we were employed in cleaning the ship. We lay thus several days when the wind veered around in our favor. Our sky-sails, and studding-sails were set alow and[244] aloft; and in forty-eight hours we came to anchor at the Downs. This is the sea between the shore and the Goodwin Sands, which furnishes a large and usually safe anchorage for vessels, where they ride at their leaving or entering the Thames. Here were seventy or eighty ships laying at anchor, all flying the British colors. We lay here three days, when we were taken in tow to Graves End, and the next tide took us up abreast the London docks, where we anchored and awaited the next tide, when we docked the ship. This was near the last of September, 1839. We spent a few days visiting various places of interest, (which I shall notice when I speak of London.) At the expiration of which time I shipped on board the Cornet, Captain Tabor, bound to St. Johns, which is the principal town in New Brunswick; and is situated at the mouth of the St. Johns river, which is navigable for vessels of fifty tons, for nearly fifty miles, and is a place of extensive trade.

As they were nearly in readiness, we soon left and proceeded down the channel. Nothing worthy of particular notice occurred until we reached the Newfoundland Banks, which place is almost constantly thronged with vast numbers of fishing smacks. Here we encountered a fog so dense, that scarcely could we see from one side of the ship to the other. We shortened sail, keeping the bell almost constantly ringing. We lay in this position several days, when an east wind broke the fog, so that we were enabled to get into fair sailing. It is not unfrequently that vessels with a press of sail run down some small fisherman, and nothing more is heard of them. After a few days of fair sailing[245] we made Cape Sable, off our starboard bow. This was a sight long wished for, as is always the case with seamen when bound to any particular port. We hauled our wind and stood up the bay, making the land a few miles below Eastport. Ran up the Bay of Fundy with a delightful wind.

The Bay of Fundy is a considerable arm of the sea, extending into the British Provinces, about two hundred miles. At its entrance from the sea, it is about twelve degrees wide, gradually decreasing as it proceeds inland. It is remarkable for its tides, which in consequence of the abundance of its water between the shores is swelled from the height of from forty to sixty feet. So rapid are its flood tides, that small vessels are overturned, and small animals overtaken and devoured. At the ebb, small coasting vessels are often left upon the flats; care being taken so that the heavy swell, called the bore, as it strikes them, will beat against them at either the head or stern. We took on board a pilot, who in a few hours brought us to anchor safely at St. Johns. Our vessel was pulled up for repairs, and all hands paid off except myself.

During my stay I became acquainted with a girl of Irish descent, whom I married; I procured me a house and necessary stores, and was in a way to live.

The first of December I shipped on board the Coronation, bound for London, with a cargo of timber. On our arrival orders were given to fit ship and proceed to the East Indies. Accordingly the ship was put in readiness, and about the last of January, 1840, we left London, bound for Calcutta, and this I think about the finest voyage that I ever made. We had been out but[246] a few days when we took the trade winds, and ran forty days without scarcely touching brace or halyards. Having watch and watch, the captain told those who had a mind to spend their watch below and study navigation, he would with the greatest pleasure assist. Five of us gladly availed ourselves of this opportunity, and daily we spent our allotted time in study. At the expiration of a few weeks we had made such progress under our accomplished teacher, that each of us could work a day's work tolerable well. We ran down close to St. Helena, and anchored for the purpose of making a short visit to this memorable place, a brief description of which may interest my readers. This celebrated island is in the Atlantic ocean, 1,200 miles distant from any land; the nearest being the coast of South Africa. It is about ten miles long, and six broad, and is as a general thing, a barren waste. It presents the appearance to the approacher, of nothing but an immense wall of perpendicular rock, extremely abrupt at its northern extremity, but more shelving towards the south; varying in height from 600 to 1,200 feet. There are only four openings in the great wall of rock, which surrounds St. Helena, by which it can be approached with any facility, and these are all strongly fortified. This island has become celebrated by being the place to which the allied sovereigns of Europe banished Napoleon, in 1815, where he remained till his death, in 1821. His tomb is in a secluded recess, and is surrounded by a fence, enclosing a piece of ground containing weeping willows. The island is owned by the English East India Company.

Nothing worthy of notice occurred after leaving St.[247] Helena, until we reached the Cape of Good Hope. We stopped at Cape Town, the capital of Cape Colony, and it may not be out of place here to give a brief description of the country and its inhabitants, or so much as came under my observation.

The district called Cape Colony, occupies the southern extremity of Africa. The leading feature in the aspect of the territory, consists in three successive ranges of mountains, running parallel east and west; and forming as it were a succession of terraces, rising above each other; the range farthest from the coast called the Snowy Mountains being the highest, and the first range, or that nearest the coast called the Lange Kloof, or Long Pass, the lowest. The Snowy Mountains are the highest in southern Africa, and the summits are generally covered with snow. Their greatest height will not fall short of 10,000 feet. The plain next the sea is covered with a deep and fertile soil, watered by numerous streams, and clothed with a beautiful variety of trees and shrubs. There are frequent rains, and from its nearness to the sea, enjoys a mild and equable temperature. The Karroos, a name given to the plains between the second and third mountain ranges, presents a dreary uniformity of level surface 300 miles in length, and 100 in breadth; the soil of which is hard and impenetrable, and destitute of all kind of vegetation. Table Mountain overlooks Cape Town, and rises abruptly like the ruins of a gigantic fortress. The highest point is about 3,588 feet above Table Bay.

The west side of this stupendous mass of rock is rent into hollows and worn away into pyramidal masses.[248] The mountain is very difficult of ascent on account of numerous loose stones which make an unsafe foothold for the traveler. The summit is level, and very barren and bare of soil. Baboons, antelopes, vultures, and toads are sometimes to be met with on the mountain. The view from the summit is very extensive and picturesque. The bay seems a small pond or basin, and the ships in it are dwindled to little boats; the town, and the regular compartments of its gardens, look like the work of children, all is so dwindled into mere specks or lines.

The air on the summit in winter and in the shade, is generally about 15 lower than that of the town; but in summer a fleecy cloud called the "Table-cloth" appears on the mountain and gives indication of an approaching storm. This cloud is composed of immense masses of fleecy whiteness. It does not appear to be at rest on the hill, but to be constantly rolling onward from the southeast; yet, to the surprise of the beholder, it never descends, because the snowy wreaths seen falling over the precipice towards the town below, vanish completely before they reach it, while others are formed to replace them on the other side. The two principal rivers on the western coast are the Berg or Mountain river, and the "Elephants' river," and these are only navigable by small crafts to the distance of about 20 miles up the country.

On the south coast is Broad river. Its mouth, now called Port Beaufort, allows vessels of 200 tons to enter, and discharge or load in safety.

The river Gamity, the next in size on the coast, is a collection of waters from the Great Karroo and Black[249] Mountains. In the rainy season it is a rapid and dangerous stream. Most of these rivers swelled by periodical rains, deposit much mud and sand at their mouths. Some of them during the dry season are lost amid the sand and rocks.

In this colony the seasons are divided into Monsoons, of which there are two, annually; the one wet, and the other dry. The wet monsoon is called winter, and the dry, summer. The weather during the wet monsoon is disagreeable and moist, but the cold is not severe. Ice is never more than an eighth of an inch thick. Thunder and lightning are very rare and seldom violent. The atmosphere is healthy and agrees well with European constitutions.

The cape has long been celebrated among naturalists as a fertile field for their labors. Almost every animal found on the African continent may be found in the neighborhood of this colony. Two varieties of lions, the yellow and the brown, zebras, elephants, rhinoceros, the giraffe and buffalo, are all found there.

Wine is manufactured at the Cape and exported in considerable quantities. Many kinds of wine are extremely cheap, and a large quantity is consumed in the colony.

Cape Town, the capital, was founded in 1652, and is built with great regularity. The streets are wide, intersecting each other at right angles. There are some 1500 houses which are for the most part constructed of stone, cemented with a glutinous kind of earth, and are generally white-washed on the outside. Their height is seldom more than two floors, frequent storms rendering a greater elevation dangerous. Many of the houses[250] have trees planted before them, which gives a rural appearance to the town.

To the southward of the town, a great number of elegant villas are scattered about, and the scenery resembles that of the rich and cultivated districts of England. Labor, house-rent and firewood constitute a large proportion of the expenses of living at Cape Town. Fruits, vegetables and sea fish are abundant and cheap. For amusements they have horse-races, balls, masquerades, and Sunday promenades in the government gardens. The population, by the census of 1827, was 120,036, of whom 35,509 were slaves. The country was first settled by the Dutch, but has since fallen into the hands of the English.

The state of society at Cape Town is not deserving of much praise; but the ladies are distinguished for sweetness and affability. A considerable portion of the inhabitants are Hottentots. There are also Dutch, German, English and a few French. The color of the Hottentots is a yellow brown, and their formation is peculiar. They have very small hands and feet; their faces are broad above and narrow to a point; cheek bones prominent and their lips thick. In some tribes the wool grows in little tufts, and when suffered to grow hangs in fringes. They have been called a stupid race, but seem to be so only from their oppressed condition; they are gentle and faithful when trusted. They are filthy in their persons and indolent in their habits.

The Bushmen are a tribe of Hottentots anciently separated from the rest. They have been described as the lowest grade of human nature. A traveler in that country mentions having met a horde of them, only one[251] of whom had a name, and he was called the "Old Boy."

Their women are, to European eyes, very repulsive objects—lean and gaunt, except over the hips where all the flesh seems to be piled. The Hottentots smear themselves with fat and soot, and are so used to it that when washed one seems to be without clothes. The dress consists chiefly of the skins of sheep which they wear with the wool, generally in the form of a cloak, open before. This is called a carosse. The females have a petticoat of skins or leather. They wear many ornaments of beads, rings, carved bones, &c. The handkerchiefs of the Hottentots are jackals' tails tied to a handle; and with these they wipe the perspiration from their faces. Their language is harsh and shrill. For dwellings a few poles are bent over and skins or mats thrown over them. The entrance is low, and serves for door, window and chimney. The tribes which have cattle, pen them at night in the circle inclosed by the huts.

Almost any kind of food is acceptable to Hottentots; they eat roots, ants, grass, mice, toads, &c. They can long abstain from food, and can eat an enormous quantity without injury. All the tribes are fond of tobacco, which for the want of a better pipe, they smoke through the shank bone of a sheep. They smoke also the leaves of a kind of hemp called dacha, which stupefies and intoxicates. Much brandy is drank which is spread over the colony by means of traveling pedlars.

Some of the wines of the Cape are excellent. There are one hundred and fifty varieties, some of which have a deleterious mixture of brandy.

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The manner of traveling among the Colonists is in wagons drawn by six or seven yoke of oxen.

As there are no taverns or places for refreshments, they carry sheep and other provisions with them.

The Caffres are a plundering people, robbing each other at every possible opportunity. They are excellent herdsmen and have their herds so well trained that they are guided altogether by a shrill whistle. The punishments for offence are whipping with rods—exposure to a cluster of black ants—burning with hot stones—and death inflicted by clubs, or drowning.

In their huts they sit on the skulls of cattle, with the horns attached, serving as arm pieces.

We weighed anchor and proceeded on our voyage, passing through the Mozambique Channel. This channel separates the island of Madagascar from the main land, and is of about one thousand miles in length. Its waters are very swift and extremely rough, and are infested with hordes of pirates, who adhere to the island of Madagascar principally.

Here we spoke several vessels, the Clinton of New York, and the Brazen Head of Liverpool.

Nothing of interest occurred till we reached the soundings off the river Hoogly, or Little Ganges. These soundings or banks extend from the mouth of the river out to the distance of from sixty to a hundred miles. Innumerable numbers of pilots are stationed on them at all seasons and all hours.

The Ganges, one of the noblest streams in the world, rises in the vast mountains of Thibet and is supposed by the natives to possess virtues capable of purifying them from every sin and transgression. At sunset they[253] light tapers and throw into the river, which are so constructed as to stand erect as they float on with the current.

Thousands of them are thrown in at a time, affording a scene which is without a parallel in interest and singularity.

Crowds of Hindoos are seen at all times washing in its water and saying their prayers in a kneeling posture on its banks.

The waters of the Ganges are carried in great quantities to all parts of India, and are sworn by in courts of justice.

Statham, in his "Indian Recollections," says, "At Allahabad where the streams of the Ganges and the Jumna unite, the country for miles around is considered sacred ground; and so great is the number of pilgrims, who resort thither for bathing, that the vizier has received in one year, half a lac of rupees for permission to enjoy the benefit of immersion in its sacred flood. Many lives are there sacrificed annually. The persons who usually fall victims to their superstitions are females, who come from all parts of the country to perform the tragic deed, and who show a firmness of purpose worthy a better cause.

"Several of them, accompanied by the priests, embark in a boat, and proceed to the spot where the streams unite, when each of the victims in succession descends from the boat into the water, with a large earthen pan fastened to her body, and is supported by a priest till she has filled the pan with water, when the priest lets go his hold and she sinks to rise no more, amidst the applause of the spectators, while the Brahmins enjoy the[254] scene, and extol the fortitude of the last victim to her who is about to follow."

The cow is an animal held sacred among the Hindoos, and the dung is used in the temples and other places as a species of holy ointment.

The Ganges empties itself into the bay of Bengal by two large channels, and by a number of smaller size.

On the river Hoogly or western channel stands Calcutta, the capital of British India, 100 miles from the sea. The length of the town is about six miles, extending along the banks of the river. As you approach Calcutta from the sea, it has the appearance of a vast and beautifully arranged city. Tall and elegant houses ornamented with spacious pillars and verandas meet the eye along the whole length of the town, and completely shutting out from view the "Black Town," or the native town of Calcutta, which is composed of low dirty huts, made of earth baked in the sun, placed along the narrow and crooked streets. Occasionally, however, a larger one is seen which denotes the residence of some wealthy native, yet this like all others is entirely devoid of neatness.

We employed natives to discharge our cargo as they could better endure the sun's heat.

Taking on a cargo of rice, we received orders to sail for Canton, and proceeded down the river, and passed Tiger island, so called, from the great abundance of tigers which are found there.

They occasionally swim from the island to the main land, which is about two miles distant.

A few years since a fire swept over the island and almost entirely drove them from it. Many were killed[255] by the flames, and in the general confusion many were drowned, while vast numbers were killed by the ships' crews, that were stationed around.

The ninth day after our departure the pilot left us and resumed his station on the shoals to await the next ship that might require his services.

The weather proved unfavorable indeed, and obliged us to beat about, making but little progress.

Taking a fine breeze and a leading wind, we were soon in the straits of Malacca, which separate the peninsular of Malacca from the island of Sumatra. Those straits are infested with pirates of a most desperate character, seizing upon every opportunity for plundering vessels, and oftentimes are not satiated until all of the crew have fallen victims to their murderous cruelty.

Most of the vessels that pass these straits are traders, and therefore but poorly prepared for defence.

We prepared ourselves in the best manner possible for an attack, collecting all the small arms, knives, &c., and loaded the two twelve pounders which were on the quarter deck.

We ran through the straits without any molestation whatever; headed our wind and ran across the gulf of Siam; spoke the ship Rothchilds, 14 days from Canton, bound for London; and after the usual salutation, and request to be reported at home as well, we passed on, and in ten days we were at the mouth of the river Canton.

Here we lay at anchor 14 days in consequence of head winds, which at length favoring us, we proceeded up the river till we came to the island of Lintin situated about fifty miles from Canton, where we came to anchor,[256] and entered our cargo, paying the duty. The duty consists of a tax upon the tonnage of the vessel, and upon the different kinds of goods with which she may be laden.

Besides this tax there is a kumshaw or a present to government required, which is demanded alike of vessels of all sizes. Our whole tax amounted to about five hundred dollars. At Lintin we discharged a part of our cargo, and from thence proceeded up the river to Canton and came to anchor, and discharged the remainder of our cargo.

Canton is situated on the eastern bank of the river Pekiang, which is a beautiful stream about one-third of a mile wide. This is the only port of trade of any importance in China. The city with its ponds and pleasure grounds covers an area of about seven miles in circumference, and is enclosed with a wall, which is at short intervals mounted with cannon.

There are several entrances which are, beside the strong iron gates, guarded with one or more soldiers. At night these gates are closed, and at each street bars are thrown across the entrance. All foreigners are almost entirely excluded, being only allowed within the populous portions with permission.

Their only land locations are at the hongs which are built on the bank of the river near to the water's edge, and devoted almost entirely to them.

One of the most pleasing sights is the Chinese floating town, which is composed of fifty or sixty thousand vessels of different kinds which are placed in rows tightly together. Here families are born, live and die, without ever stepping on shore. This town extends several miles down the river from Canton.

[257]

China street is almost wholly occupied by the Chinese merchants, where they practice all kinds of fraud upon foreigners, considering themselves entitled to honor for the art which they proclaim most loudly.

Occasionally, however, the biter has been most horridly bitten, by some honest son from yankeedom.

The Chinese, though of Tartar origin, have through the influence of the climate degenerated sadly, possessing but little of the courage and strength so justly ascribed to the Tartar.

Their dress is a long robe hanging below the knee. Over this is worn a girdle of silk, usually, in which they carry a sheathed knife and two sticks, used as forks, called chop sticks. They are extremely slovenly in their dress and person, seldom, if ever, washing a garment. The hair, except a small tuft on the top of the head, is shaven off. This tuft is suffered to grow, and when of sufficient length is plaited or braided, and hangs down upon the back. The hat or head covering is of woven cane.

The females are treated as slaves and are made oftentimes to draw the plough, while the husband goads her on with the whip.

Pressing the feet of infants, which is carried to such extremes among the Chinese, is a most barbarous practice. They are so closely bound that they cease to grow, and it is with the greatest difficulty that they walk. This is usually done at the age of five years. The foot is a mere lump of lifeless flesh and bears a strong resemblance to the hand of a wash-woman which has been long in strong suds.

Such is the immense population of China, that nothing[258] that can be eaten is thrown away. Puppies and rats are carried about the streets for sale. A favorite dish is made of birds' nests which are composed of glutinous substances.

We lay at Canton the fourth of July. At an early hour, as is usual for all American vessels, wherever they may be, we hoisted the national flag and fired a grand salute. The day was spent in fine style with the other American vessels which also lay at anchor at Canton, by visiting each other, singing national airs, and firing salutes.

Never did an anchor come to a ship's side or was a sail made quicker, or in finer style, than that on board of the Coronation, as we left the port on the 7th of July. We proceeded down the river and stood out into the China sea, where we were delayed several days by strong head winds, which came around into our favor.

Again we made preparations to meet those unwelcome visitors of the straits. We however had but little use for our guns, for we were carried through the straits with a fine breeze, without even seeing one of their murderous craft, which are large open boats propelled by 100 or 150 oars.

We now shaped our course for Good Hope, where we arrived in due season, without any unusual occurrence, and came to anchor at Cape Town. Procuring a supply of water and provision, we again set sail for Old England with as fine a breeze as ever wafted a mariner on his way. One fine evening a number of us were sitting on, or standing around the windlass, each telling some adventure of his own, when one of the number observed a dark and angry cloud arising in the northeast, which as he thought betokened a squall. This he[259] made known to the mate, who was walking, and received in reply a bitter curse, and a request to mind his own business. Our fore, main and mizzen-royal and main-sky-sail were set, and all were waiting in breathless silence for its approach. At last one proposed to call the captain or advised him to do so, when he flew into a perfect rage, and said he would have them know that he was master of the deck and was not going to receive orders or advices from any fore-mast Jack.

Soon the fury of the storm burst upon us, and when the masts, yards, and sails were already starting from their places, the order, "Let go the halyards fore and aft," came, but it came too late, for ere the sound died upon the breeze they were dangling at the ship's sides, the noise of which soon brought the master upon deck, who asked why he was not called on the approach of the squall. The mate replied that he was unconscious of the extent of it. All hands were called to clear the wreck, and found the fore and main-top-gallant-masts and yards were carried away, and mizzen-top and fore-top-mast badly sprung. Some words passed between the captain and mate, which ended in the mate's discharge, or rather he was thrown off duty.

After the damage was repaired I was called upon to fill the vacancy made by his discharge, which position I kept until the voyage was made. Every thing passed well and we arrived in London about the last of December, 1840, being absent about 11 months.

All hands were paid off; the ship was to run to St. Johns, N. B., and all who wished could go in her. She remained in London four or five weeks, which time I improved by visiting places of amusement in and around London.


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CHAPTER XVII.

London. Thames tunnel. Bank of England. St. Paul's Church. Westminster Abbey. The tower. Sail for St. Johns. A storm. Proceed to Londonderry. Its description. Wolf Rock. Sail for Holland. Burial at sea. Arrive at Hamburg. Its description. Come near going upon the sands. Dover cliffs and castle. Pilots. Eddystone light. A ship in distress with a drunken captain. Return to my family. Go to New Orleans. Sail for Glasgow. Go to Edinburgh. Go to St. Johns resolved to quit the sea. Build a house. Go to Savannah. Meet an old school fellow. Appointed chief mate. Gulf stream. A storm. Go home. Sail to Cork. Belfast. Thence to London. Return home. Imminent danger and narrow escape.

London, the capital of England and metropolis of the British empire, is situated on the banks of the Thames, in the counties of Middlesex and Surrey, and within a day's journey of the southern shore of Britain.

On the spot now occupied by the city, or more ancient part of the metropolis, which is on the left or northern bank of the Thames, a town had been built and possessed by the Romans eighteen centuries ago, and from that period it has constantly been the seat of the increasing and busy population. Its chief increase and improvement, however, have been since the great fire in 1666, which destroyed a large number of the old streets and public edifices.

It is impossible by any written description to convey adequate ideas of the real magnitude of London. Indeed,[261] it is not until after a person has been in the city for some months, that he begins to comprehend it. Every new walk opens to him streets, squares and divisions which he has never seen before. And even those places where he is most familiar, are discovered day by day to possess archways and thoroughfares within and around them, which had never been noticed before. Even people who have spent their whole lives in the city, often find streets and buildings, of which they had never before heard, and which they had never before seen.

The Thames Tunnel which is the medium for communication between the Surrey and Middlesex sides of the river, was designed and carried into execution by a joint stock company, which, however, has been largely assisted by government. The tunnel consists of two avenues or arched vaults, beneath the river. Each avenue is of such height and breadth as to afford a beautiful walk, and is lighted with gas. It is about two miles below London bridge, and was begun in 1822.

Standing in some measure behind the site of the Royal Exchange, facing Threadneedle street, are seen the extensive series of stone buildings containing the Bank of England. The whole buildings and courts include an area of about eight acres, and were completed in 1778. In 1832, there were employed in the bank 820 clerks and porters, and 38 printers and engravers. There were besides, 193 pensioners. The salaries and pensions amounted to 218,003; the house expenses, 39,187, and the allowance to directors, 8,000.

These statistics will give the reader a better opportunity[262] to judge of the enormous amount of business that this bank transacts annually.

The hours at which the bank is open are from nine in the morning till five in the afternoon, holidays excepted.

St. Paul's Church, which is built in the form of a Greek cross, is the most prominent object in London. It measures 514 feet in length, 286 in breadth, and 370 in height, to the topmost pinnacle. There are three porticoes at as many entrances, on the north, west, and south. That on the west is the principal, with twelve lofty Corinthian pillars below, and the angles above crowned with handsome bell towers, the size of ordinary church towers or steeples.

The great bell of St. Paul's is only rung when a member of the royal family dies, and its fine deep tones can be distinctly heard at a distance of several miles. The great bell weighs four and a half tons, and is ten feet in diameter.

Westminster Abbey is situated nearly opposite the houses of Parliament, and is open to inspection on the north and east, but on the west it is much crowded upon by dwelling-houses.

In very early times this spot of ground was a small insular tract, surrounded by the waters of the Thames, and called Thorny Island. A monastic institution was founded here on the introduction of Christianity into Britain. An Abbey was raised upon the site of the ruined monastic building, under Edward the Confessor.

The ground plan, as usual, bore the form of the cross. Rights and endowments were granted, and the edifice assumed a great degree of architectural grandeur. It[263] had become the place for the inauguration of the English monarchs, and William the Conqueror was crowned here with great pomp and solemnity, in 1066.

Henry III. enlarged the abbey, and the building continued in the state in which he left it until Henry VII. added a chapel, built in the florid Gothic style, on which the greatest skill of the architect and the sculptor was displayed; exhibiting the most splendid structure of the age, and so highly esteemed, that it was enjoined that the remains of royalty alone should be interred within its walls.

During the reign of Henry VIII., of its revenues, Henry raised Westminster to the dignity of a city, and its abbey was constituted a cathedral. It was, however, afterwards re-united to London in 1550.

Westminster Abbey, during the reign of William and Mary, was thoroughly repaired, and the towers added at the western entrance, under the direction of the celebrated Sir Christopher Wren, to whom London owes so much of its architectural grandeur.

The length of the abbey is 416 feet; breadth, at the transept, 203 feet; nave 102 feet; height of the west tower 225 feet. The exterior measurement, including Henry VII.'s Chapel, is 530 feet.

On entering the great western door between the towers, the magnificence of the abbey at once strikes the beholder with reverential awe. Nearly the whole of the interior appears in grand masses of towering Gothic columns of gray marble, connecting the pavement with the roof, and separating the nave from the side aisles. A screen divides the nave from the choir, which is surmounted by a noble organ, while beyond, the eye soars[264] amid graceful columns, tracery, and decorated windows, to the summit of the eastern arch that overlooks the adjacent chapels.

The walls on either side display a great profusion of sepulchral monuments, among which are many finely executed pieces of sculpture, and touching memorials of those whose exploits or exertions deserve the notice of posterity.

There is probably no building in the world around which cluster so many varied and thrilling associations as the Tower in London. For centuries it had been the theatre of England's bloodiest deeds, and its gray old walls stand as the lasting monument of tyranny, despotism, and death. Every stone in that structure has a history to tell. Centuries have come and gone, whole dynasties disappeared, and yet that old Tower still rises in its strength. It is situated in the east part of the metropolis, and on the north side of the river Thames. Its area measures twelve acres. Its origin has been imputed by some to Julius Csar. Still, the generally received opinion is, that the White Tower which is the oldest and principal edifice, owes its beginning to William the Conqueror, about 1076. This noted tower is 96 feet in breadth, 116 in length, and 92 in height. Its walls are 14 feet thick. The mint and menagerie which formerly gave notoriety to the tower, have been removed. The common entrance of the tower is on the west side through four gates, which are daily opened with much form and ceremony. I saw nothing so interesting to me in the tower as the Horse Armory, which is a hundred and fifty feet long, and thirty-three wide, containing a line of equestrian[265] figures, as if in battle array, stretching through the centre. A banner is over the head of each—the ceiling is covered with arms and accoutrements—the walls with armor and figures of ancient warriors. That row of twenty-two horsemen, large as life, armed to the teeth, with helmet and cuirass, and breastplate, and coats of mail, and lances, and swords, and battle-axes, and shields, sitting grim and silent there, is a sight one will not easily forget. They seem ready to charge on the foe, and their attitude and aspect are so fierce, that one almost trembles to walk in front of the steeds. Another object of curiosity is the immense store of fire arms, sufficient to equip one hundred and fifty thousand men, and beautifully arranged for show. Fee for seeing the Armory, sixpence; the Regalia, two shillings and sixpence.

The ship being ready, about the first of February, 1841, we set sail for St. Johns. After a good passage of seventeen days, we saw Mount Desert, on the coast of the United States. At night there were many indications of bad weather; the ship rolled carelessly over the long heavy swell—the light breeze whistled mournfully through the rigging; all at once the main-top-gallant sheet (being chained) parted. Men were sent to bind or fasten it again—while in the act of obeying that order, the main-topsail sheet, (being chained also,) parted. This was considered by the crew as ominous; some prophesied that the ship would be lost, others, that there was some one on board who had committed some awful crime on shore—all were in a state of consternation. At length the Captain went below, and in a moment came running back, saying, "Shorten the sails[266] as fast as possible, for the barometer has fallen 4-10 in five minutes; bare a hand my good fellows, there is not a moment to lose." Every sail was soon clewed up to the yards, and lowered—there was no wind though it was cloudy, and all thought the barometer had deceived us, but we soon enough found that the truth was told; for while we were yet on the yards it came butt-end foremost, (as it is termed,) and blew with utmost fury. We were unable to get down, consequently were obliged to make the best of it by clinging fast to the rigging, and it was with difficulty that we did so. The water rushed over the deck, the scuppers would not allow it to run off. During this time the Captain was calling aloud with the trumpet, but its sounds did not reach our ears. The breeze lulled a little, and those in the rigging were enabled to get down, when it came with redoubled fury; our main-top-sail was carried away; then we lay twelve hours beating about by wind and waves, amid torrents of rain. At length the wind died away into a start calm; the sea at the same time running very irregular, the waves mounting to the height of twenty or thirty feet. Sail was made as quick as possible, which relieved the laboring of the ship; the fore and main top-sails which had been cleared away were repaired. The wind wore away into the South West. We shaped our course so as to shun the St. George's shoals which we were very near, and stood for St. Johns. The breeze freshened every moment until we found ourselves going at the rate of ten knots per hour. This was indeed cheering after the fearful situation we had but just escaped. But this was not always to last, for we were soon enveloped in a fog so dense,[267] that it was with the greatest difficulty we could manage the ship. We shortened sail, hauled our wind, and according to our own reckoning stood across the bay to the rock known as the Old Proprietor, feeling our way along, we were nearing the Nova Scotia shore. Falling in with a fisherman, we found we were five miles below the grand passage; shaped our course up the bay. Having a fair tide we were soon above Grand Menan, and past most of our danger; firing a gun once in two or three minutes as a signal for a pilot. The fog cleared away a little so as to enable us to press more sail. Soon we saw Split Rock, and finding that we had not proceeded as far as we had supposed, we pressed more sail, setting studding sails on the starboard side, still keeping up the firing which soon brought a pilot, who speedily brought us to safe anchorage in the harbor of St. Johns.

When the ship was safely moored, all hands were discharged. Feeling something of a desire to quit the seas, I resolved to remain on shore a while at least, and in pursuance of that resolution, obtained employment at rigging vessels, which business I followed nearly four months; when getting tired and uneasy of the monotony of such a life, I shipped as mate of the brig Comet, the last of July, bound, for Londonderry, (Ireland,) with plank for cargo. Nothing unusual occurred on our passage, and in due time arrived at Londonderry and discharged our cargo.

The little leisure time allotted us was spent in rambling around the city. Londonderry is situated on the west bank of the Foyle. The original town was built in 1603, but was burned in 1608. The wall of the[268] city was about twenty feet high, and about eight thick, of splendid architecture, though somewhat ancient. The walls are mounted with towers at interval of two hundred and fifty or three hundred feet; these towers, and also the walls between them are mounted with cannon. The city is entered by four gates which are of iron, of the same height of the walls.

Among the objects of curiosity which we visited was Walker's monument, erected to the memory of Governor Walker.

In the Court House yard stands a cannon which is four feet and six inches round, and eleven feet long; it is called Roaring Meg, from the loudness of its report during the siege; it bears the following inscription:—"Fishmongers, Londond, 1642."

We also visited the Gothic Cathedral, which was erected in 1633, and is a most splendid edifice. There are also many other public buildings of which I cannot speak, as I had not time to examine them minutely.

With a fair wind we proceeded down Lough Foyle, and as we rounded Molin Head, set studding sails, and steered down the north channel through the Irish Sea, running near to the Irish coast. I have never before had so beautiful a view of the Irish scenery; though situated as I was I could get but a faint idea of it. In a few days we hauled around between Land's End and the Isle of Scilly. Here is situated the well known rock called Wolf's Rock, situated but a little distance from Land's End. Its name is derived from the Wolf-like roaring which is heard in calm weather to the distance of several miles. The rock is a wash, or half tide rock, and is hollow; the water of the swell with which it fills, soon disappears, which gives rise to the supposition[269] that there is a passage through it; but whither this passage leads, conjecture does not tell.

We entered the English Channel and stood towards the Downs, where we came to anchor, and remained several days, in consequence of head winds.

The wind favoring us we stood into the North Sea. One of our men fell from the main-royal-yard, which killed him instantly. We kept the body a day or two hoping to be able to bury it on the island of Heligoland at the mouth of the Elbe. But that could not be done on account of the warm weather, and we were obliged to bury him at sea. We sewed him in his hammock, fastening weights at his feet sufficient to sink the body. The body was then placed upon a plank which rested on the rail of the vessel. The vessel was then hove to and her progress considerably checked. The burial service was then read, and as the reader came to—"We commit the body to the deep"—the plank was raised, and the body slipped from it. The water parted to receive it, and closed over him forever.

We braced full and stood for the mouth of the Elbe, where we remained at anchor during the night in consequence of the darkness.

In the morning a pilot came aboard and attempted to run us up to Cuxhaven, but on account of the strong tide he could make but little progress. We waited for a steamer to take us in tow, which soon had us at anchor at Cuxhaven, twenty miles from the mouth of the river. Here we were also detained two days, waiting for a steamboat to tow us to Hamburg, where were vessels of all nations at anchor.

Hamburg is seventy-five miles from the sea on the[270] northern side of the Elbe. Its location is partly upon a great number of small islands formed by the Elbe and the Alster. It is divided into old and new town, and is surrounded by lofty ramparts and a broad ditch. The streets are very narrow generally, and the houses, being six and seven stories high, render them dark and dreary. The churches are mostly of Gothic architecture, having lofty spires, which are covered with copper.

Perhaps there is no country in the world where the means of education can equal those of the North of Germany. At Hamburg there are over an hundred thousand volumes of books, in only two libraries. The universities of Germany are attended by students from all parts of Europe and oftentimes from America.

Our cargo consisted of wheat, flour, Gin, &c. We hoisted sail and proceeded down the river. When abreast Cuxhaven we clewed up and let go the second bower. The current was so strong that this was no sooner fast than the cable parted and we ran near to the quicksands, that lay under our stern at the distance of half a mile. We immediately let go another and veered away until she was checked of her progress. By this time we had out about 90 fathoms of cable, and were within a stone's throw of the sands. Here we lay four hours momentarily fearing this cable would also part, and our destruction be sure. The tide beginning to turn, we manned the windlass and hove the ship to her anchor, which was soon lifted, and we dropped away to the eddy of Cuxhaven.

The next morning another anchor was sent from the shore. We then weighed anchor and stood out to sea, passed Heligoland, where we left our pilot.

[271]

With a fair wind we ran along the coast of Holland, and spoke several English, French and Dutch fishermen. Setting studding-sails alow and aloft we ran through the fleet, which is always at anchor at the Downs; had a delightful view of the coast along from Margate to Beachy Head; and passed the high Chalk Cliffs of Dover, which rise almost perpendicularly to the height of two or three hundred feet.

Here is situated the famous castle of Dover. There are many tiers of windows or loop-holes for musketry worked in the cliff, and the subterranean barracks and passages are extensive. The besieged can retreat through these passages at pleasure. The barracks are sufficient for the accommodation of three or four thousand men.

This was formerly the place of confinement of criminals, and is now so used for debtors.

The town of Dover is situated on a low marshy soil, scarcely visible from the sea, and is principally inhabited by pilots for London and the north sea.

Life-boats are stationed there at the expense of the government, to render assistance to those to whom accident may befall. One third of the money obtained from ships' crews goes to government, while the remaining two-thirds is retained by the crew of the life-boat. Each pilot is obliged to serve seven years before he can take a boat, and only a few can obtain an appointment at that time.

The appointments are made by the Admiralty of England, which is composed of old men who have spent long lives at sea, and are supposed to thoroughly understand navigation, and extricating ships from all possible difficulties.

[272]

When a person has completed his term of apprenticeship, he goes before the admiralty, who suppose a ship to be placed in the worst possible dilemma, and then ask him his plan of extricating her, or the course he would pursue, were he master of it.

If he fails to agree with them, he is sent back to complete his apprenticeship, though they seldom appear the second time, usually hiring out to some other person who may get an appointment.

The pilot-boats are nicely constructed and dance and bound over the wave as fearlessly as the fish of the sea.

We passed the Eddystone lighthouse, which is situated about fourteen miles from the English coast and in one of the most tempestuous places in the known world. Several houses have been built on the same spot and could not withstand the heavy sea. One builder said, on the completion of his work, that the winds might blow and the waves might beat against it, but he should be as safe there as upon the highlands of Scotland. But in a night, he and his works were lost. The present one is built upon the very neck of the rock, and dove-tailed to the rock, and each piece to the other. The lantern is about 90 feet high, and yet the water at times beats over it. Three men are stationed there at a time to avoid all suspicions of ill in the case of a death or any accident which may befall any one of them. At a time when there were only two, one died from some sudden cause, and the other fearful that suspicion would rest upon him, should he throw the body into the sea, kept it many days hoping for an opportunity to have the body examined, and thus remove all grounds of suspicion. The weather was such that no boat could reach him to whom he could communicate[273] his situation, and there he remained "alone with the dead," amid the roaring of the elements, till the stench that arose from the body filled the whole house.

In a short time, before a fine breeze, we were out of sight of land, when we saw a barque standing to the westward apparently in distress, with her masts and bowsprit gone. We ran close to her and hailed them, asking them if in want of any thing. One of the fore-mast hands answered, and said they were in want of bread and water. We offered them bread and told them to come for it. He said all of their boats were gone to Davy Jones' locker, and they could not.

Our boats were lowered away and I went in charge to the ship with a quantity of bread.

Never before had I seen a ship in so bad a condition. The fore-mast was gone by the board, which in its fall killed the mate; the bowsprit by the night-heads; on the larboard side the forecastle was stove in, near the water's edge, and almost every swell would wash overboard. The pumps were kept in constant action. To add wretchedness to the scene, the captain was so drunk that he was obliged to hang on the companion to keep himself from falling. Soon as we were aboard, the captain, intent upon his liquor, asked if we would have some brandy. Some of the crew went with him.

As he came up, I asked him if he did not consider it altogether unsafe to be in such a miserable craft. He replied in an inarticulate manner, "Miserable craft; she's better than all your white pine ships, now," and reeling, fell back on the companion.

We returned to our ship and left him to enjoy his peaceful security, and with a favorable breeze we lost sight of him.

[274]

What his fate was I know not, but I fear he speedily went to his rest, where he will remain "till the sea shall give up her dead."

We had a fine voyage, with no unusual occurrence. We reached Partridge island where we took on a pilot, who soon landed us safely at St. Johns about the last of March, 1841. Here I remained several months, determined to abandon the seas. At length getting again discontented, I left my family and went to Boston to get a situation. From thence I went to New Orleans, where I remained some weeks, and shipped myself on board the Clyde, Capt. Reed, bound for Glasgow, Scotland.

Nothing save the usual occurrences of sailing attended the voyage, which was speedily terminated. Arriving at Glasgow we were paid off.

Glasgow, situated upon the Clyde, is the largest city in Scotland and owes its rapid and still prosperous increase to its manufacturing interest, principally, which is vast indeed. The streets are wide and generally well paved.

The Cathedral is a massive building of gothic architecture, and stands upon a hill in the center of the city. The buildings are blackened by the coal smoke which hangs over the city in clouds and renders the general aspect indeed gloomy.

Having nothing to do and tired of wandering around Glasgow, several of us proposed going to Edinburgh, a distance of forty miles, which was performed by stagecoach, over a hilly, though an excellently well worked road.

Edinburgh is situated upon the southern shore of the Frith of Forth, two miles from the sea. Its situation[275] is indeed fine, occupying high ridges of land, and is surrounded, except on the north side, by high, craggy rocks.

The streets of the old town, which is built on the two southern ridges, are narrow and dirty. The houses are often ten and eleven stories high.

Those of the new town, built upon the northern ridge, are different, being unsurpassed by any in the world in regularity and elegance. A high bridge over the ravine connects the two towns.

Edinburgh is chiefly the residence of lawyers and men of literature. It has the most flourishing University in all Europe, having about forty professors connected with it, and has at times two thousand students. There are a great number of libraries, and in one connected with the University are 100,000 volumes.

In the neighborhood of Edinburgh is a huge rock, which attracts the attention of visitors, called Sampson's ribs.

Returning to Glasgow, I shipped as mate of the Windsor Castle, bound for St. Johns, N. B. We proceeded down the Clyde and ran out the North Channel into the Atlantic, having fifty passengers. The time passed very finely indeed, until we made the Newfoundland banks, when we were met by a stormy head wind, which delayed us very much.

Our stores got short, the passengers got discouraged, the crew became dissatisfied, attributing the scarcity to the bad calculation of the captain. Their dissatisfaction was of short duration, as the wind shifted, and soon we were safely anchored at St. Johns.

Again I resolved to leave the sea altogether and live with my family which were now growing up around[276] me, and needed me very much at home. I hired or leased a piece of land, and built a small cottage. This occupied six or eight months.

Again time passed tediously, probably more so from the fact that all of the men belonging to the middle and lower classes are mariners and generally gone from home, so that a person of those classes finds but few associates. I remained on shore but a short time after the completion of the house.

Shipped on board the barque Duncan, bound for Savannah, Geo., for lumber, cotton, &c. I had as shipmates the only two brothers of my wife. On our arrival at Savannah, one was taken sick and carried to the hospital, where after ten days' sickness he died and was buried in the ground belonging to the hospital. A few days after the other was drowned and also buried there.

We lay at Savannah about two months waiting a cargo, which was at last procured, of timber. Difficulties arose between the captain and second mate, which resulted in the discharge of the latter. I was appointed to fill his place. A few days after the chief mate applied for a discharge as he could get better wages on some other voyage, which was granted him, and I was still promoted.

Getting ready for sea, a pilot came aboard. Weighed anchor and stood out to sea.

Hearing the captain accost the pilot by a name familiar to me, I was induced to believe him an early acquaintance, though I could not recognize in him the least familiar feature. So fully was I impressed with the idea of finding an acquaintance of earlier days that[277] I was induced to speak to him, and a happy recognition of old school and play-fellows ensued.

The captain by this means found me to be a yankee, having till that moment supposed me to be an Englishman.

The scenes of other days were rapidly recalled. Having heard nothing from home since I left in 1830, I most anxiously questioned him, but could learn nothing.

At the time I left home I resolved that the sea of forgetfulness should wash over me and them, and for a long time I kept my parents in ignorance of my whereabouts.

This feeling at last wore away and I addressed my mother, but no welcome messenger returned to me—again and again I wrote, still they remained silent.

At last feeling myself an outcast and entirely forgotten by them, I resolved to write no more, and gave up all idea of ever again seeing them, meaning to spend my days, and lay my bones, on foreign soil.

But the accidental meeting of this friend of my youth dispelled the idea and I requested him to notify them of my situation.

Soon we were abreast Tyber's island, and the pilot left us and pulled for the shore.

Standing north with a fair wind, we soon reached the Gulf Stream. Having often spoken of this stream without giving the reader an account of it, I propose doing it here.

The Gulf Stream derives its name from a remarkable current in the Atlantic, running from southwest to northeast along the coast of America, from Florida to Newfoundland, supposed by many to be caused by the[278] trade winds which blow the waters of the Atlantic into the Gulf of Mexico, and they seeking their level rush out, finding a passage between the Bahama isles and the American coast, thus continuing around to the coast of England, decreasing in velocity with the extension of its surface and distance from the gulf. Others suppose it is caused by the current of the Atlantic, which is to the southwest, meeting the continent by which a part of its waters are repelled and forced into a counter current along the shore through the gulf.

Some very few suppose that the waters of the Pacific rushing through under the continent and coming up in the Gulf of Mexico, and thus on in course, are the cause of it. Were this the case there would be a vortex or whirlpool in the Pacific and a monstrous boiling in the gulf which would have long ago have been discovered. The first reason or cause given is the generally accepted one.

In continuing, with the reader, on with the voyage, I would say we encountered a most violent gale, attended with violent rain accompanied to an alarming degree with lightning and thunder.

We ran eight days before the wind under close-reefed top-sail and fore-sail. The wind blowing from the south, which with the current kept a long and heavy swell. With two men at the helm we were scarcely able to keep her before the wind. She being heavily loaded with lumber labored tremendously.

About twelve o'clock one night a big sea pooped us, (a heavy sea striking against the stern or quarter of the vessel when she is scudding before the wind) bursting the bulwarks from their stanchions, carrying away most of our provisions that were lashed to the deck. The[279] water-casks that were lashed each side of the long boat had their heads knocked in, leaving the sides standing unhurt.

Most of the crew seeing the swell sprang into the rigging and thus saved themselves from harm. The captain being at the helm, assisting in controlling the vessel, was struck and carried forward with great force, as must be supposed from the effect upon the water-casks.

The second mate and myself both seeing the situation of the vessel sprang from the mizzen-rigging and seized the helm before she had time to broach to, which had she done, all would have been lost. The water when we left the rigging was up to our arms upon deck, and running over the rail of the vessel. Our vessel was apparently sinking, but was relieved by the bulwarks giving way, clearing the decks. The captain coming aft with bruised head avowed his determination of never scudding a vessel again.

The second mate and myself kept the wheel three days and two nights, for the captain thought no others competent. As the wind abated sail was made, and an observation taken, which was the first taken since leaving Savannah, and we found ourselves on the northern side of St. George's Banks at the mouth of the Bay of Fundy.

The wind, blowing fresh from the northeast, was in our teeth (as it is termed) obliging us to beat about for several days, when it shifted into the northwest enabling us to run up the American coast. We sighted Grand Menan, when the wind dying away to a start calm, we were carried back by the tide about forty miles, when a favoring breeze springing up, we squared[280] our yards and set studding-sails and soon had a pilot on board and were at St. Johns.

I remained with my family but a few days when I left St. Johns, and entered upon the duties of commander of the Warrior, a vessel of 120 tons burden, laden with plank, lath, &c., bound for Cork. We sailed from St. Johns the first of September, 1842, had a very fine passage, and at the expiration of thirty-four days we were safely at Cork, when leaving the vessel in charge of the mate I went on shore for orders respecting my cargo.

Cork is situated at the southeast side of the island on the river Lee, fourteen miles from the sea. Its harbor called the cove is elegant, and strongly fortified. The city presents something of a Venitian appearance, the several channels through which the river empties itself into the harbor being quayed.

There are a great number of elegant buildings, public and private, situated on the hill which overlooks the town. Those more worthy of note are the bishop's palace, the custom-house, and court-house which has in front a pediment supported on six Corinthian columns surrounded by a group of colossial figures.

I was ordered to proceed to Belfast with my cargo. Stood up the channel on a bowline. After rounding the Tuskar light we had a fine wind, till abreast the Isle of Man, when in consequence of a head wind we were put back. For three days I never left the deck except to my regular meals. The wind veering around we again stood up the channel and weathered the South Rock light fifteen miles before Belfast. Tacked and stood over to the Scotch side, dodging about during the night. Daylight found us abreast the Copeland light. Seeing[281] a pilot boat I hoisted the Union Jack as a signal, which soon brought him on board, and we found a safe anchorage at Belfast. Procured a berth and hove her to it. Discharged my men, most of them having been paid at St. Johns, to run thither.

I remained on board four days and sold the ship for 700 sterling, received a check on the bank of London for the amount. Proceeded to Liverpool by steamer, from thence to London by railroad. Obtained the money and returned to Liverpool. Shipped on board of the Duncan and sailed for St. Johns with the money, early in November, 1842. The wind blowing fresh up channel, the captain concluded to run out of the north channel. Had a fine passage until we were abreast Tory island, on the northwest coast of Ireland, when the wind shifted into the northeast, and blew a fresh breeze. Running down the coast at night we were all greatly alarmed at the cry from the lookout, "Breakers ahead." The helm was instantly put hard up, which the ship immediately answered and came around upon her keel. Although under double-reefed-top-sails, they were trimmed in a few moments, and the ship began to gather headway, and stood offshore till daylight, when we made sail and stood to the westward. Without any thing of particular note we reached the Newfoundland banks, and saw and spoke the ship Thetis of St. Johns. She had the night previous run down a fishing schooner, seeing nothing of her until she struck her midships. Soon as possible the ship was brought to and boats lowered, but not a vestige was seen. Their loud shrieks were heard as they sank to rise no more. Anxious friends have no doubt long awaited their return and are[282] still ignorant of their doom. Thus many a ship's crew have been swallowed up in a moment, with the waves their winding sheet, the howling winds their requiem.

One day we fell in with a large iceberg whose spiral top towered far above our mast head. With this we sailed some time. About 9 P. M. it shut in with a heavy fog from the southeast so dense that we could not discern objects the length of the ship ahead of us. This rendered our situation the most unpleasant, floating as we were with so formidable a companion among such a host of fishermen as ever throng that place, with no means of testing our proximity to them.

At length the sharp cry of the looker-out, "Hard port the helm," aroused all hands. The order was quickly obeyed, but not quick enough to avoid a severe blow from the ice. The shock aroused the captain, who came quickly upon deck. The pumps were rigged and every thing clewed up except the fore and main-top-sails, the yard lowered down and the reef-tackles rolled out; and thus we ran the remainder of the night. Heard the report of a gun mingled with the surf dashing, as we supposed, against the iron bound coast or against the ice. From the situation we were in we had much to fear, and in fact our terror could not be told, expecting each successive moment would bring us on to the rocks, or ice which would be even more certain destruction.

Another gun was discharged, and the dashing grew still louder. Whither to steer we knew not. Every ear and eye was called into requisition. Hope could hardly point us to a safe deliverance. All were certain that a most dreadful crisis was rapidly approaching. Another gun was fired which sounded but a half stone's throw[283] from us, and the flash gleamed through the fog, and all was dark as before. Attentively listening I thought I could distinguish the strokes from the large paddle wheels of some Steamer, and a moment after our fears were greatly relieved by the rapid passing of one of the Liverpool line of steamers.

Daylight appeared and we made all possible sail, notwithstanding the fog had cleared away but very little.

Wind and weather favoring, we were soon safely anchored at the docks of St. Johns, and I was again in the bosom of my little family, where I remained working at rigging until the summer of 1843.


CHAPTER XVIII.

Command a Vessel. Sail for London. Come near going on the Goodwin Sands. Anchor at London. Sail for Mobile. Serious affair with the Seamen. Spirits discharged from the Ship. A Fortune-Teller. Sail for Liverpool. Sail as mate of the Ashburton. A Storm. Run upon the Rocks. Perilous Situation. Proceed to St. Johns, and go smuggling. Are taken, and ship sold. News from home. Go thither, and unknown. Conclusion.

Again on the first of August, 1843, I left St. Johns as commander of the Solway Frith, bound for London, with a crew of twenty-one all told. The owner, (Mr. W—— and wife,) were aboard. Proceeded down the bay of Fundy, very finely indeed; had nothing to mar our happiness, until we were in the chops of the channel. A fine breeze wafted us in the space of forty-eight hours into the Downs, where we came to anchor among three[284] hundred sail from all quarters of the globe. About sunset, one night, the wind freshened a little, and hauled around into the westward, increasing each moment in fury. Some of the ships parted from their anchors, others cut away their masts, and rigging, to prevent if possible their severing the cable, and falling back upon the sands; while some would slip their cable, and run for the north sea. At ten o'clock the gale had attained that height, I thought it best to lower the top-gallant yards and masts; and while in the act, the anchor started, and we ran stern-foremost towards the sands with the greatest rapidity. All were filled with the greatest terror. Knowing there was no time to be lost, I threw out the best bower, and payed out ninety fathom of cable, then the small bower with seventy fathoms. The desired effect was produced; the ship was stopped in her course. Our windlass was nearly cut off by the wearing of the chains. Life-boats were every where bounding upon the wave like feathers, while the ships were plunging and tossing madly about. By four, the next morning, all of our top-gallant masts and yards were upon deck; thus we lay until the day following, when Mr. W—— and lady took the life-boat, and went on shore, and thence to London by land.

By the recommendation of the pilot, I chartered the steamer Lion to tow us to London. She towed us as far as the—— light on the roadstead of Sheerness, where we lay in wait for a tide, when she again towed us to the——, where we lightened her of her deck load, and of part of that in the hold, and moored to the East County dock, where the remainder of our cargo was discharged.

We then hauled into a dry dock, in order to find our[285] leakage if possible. It was supposed, as this was the first voyage of the Solway Frith, some bolt-hole was left unstopped through mistake, which had also escaped the caulker's notice, which was, on examination, found to be the case.

The ship being caulked, we hauled to the Timass Buoys to await orders. Here we remained but a few days, when Mr. W—— came on board, and ordered me to get ready for Mobile, Alabama, U. S. A.

I immediately got my stores and ballast ready. Took on a pilot, and sailed for Mobile, Oct. 7th, 1843. Ran down the shore, and arrived at the Downs with a double-reefed top-sail breeze. Discharged our pilot at Deal, and stood down the channel.

On the third day took our departure from the Lizard light bearing North.

The day following, unbent cables, stowed anchor, and shaped our course for Mana Isle; had a stiff breeze till we struck the trade winds, when we found it light. Setting studding-sails alow and aloft, made all possible sail, and were enabled, after eighteen days' sail, to reach Mana; found a mistake of twenty miles in my reckoning; as it happened, however, all was well.

Ran through the Mana passage, and made the Island of Hayti or St. Domingo.

At about dark, sighted the north end of Jamaica, and endeavored to run between that and St. Domingo. The breeze being so very light, I failed in the attempt, and ran to the leeward of Jamaica, and passed the great Command, a very difficult pass, without harm. The breeze began to freshen a little; we rounded the Cape Antonio, the southern point of Cuba, and hauled our[286] wind for Mobile, on a bowline, and made Massacre Island. A pilot seeing us; came for the ship, before I hoisted a signal; thinking to have a little sport on knowing our vessel to be a fast sailer, crowded all sail, and gained very much of him, he meanwhile urged his little boat along as fast as possible. Heaving to took him aboard, and bracing full, soon were at the entrance of the bay; had much difficulty in getting over the bar, which we struck three times without much damage.

Getting over the bar, we proceeded up Dog river, and came to in four fathoms of water. Mr. W—— went to town to attend to his business. I had the sails unbent, and stored in the sail-room.

The lighters came along side for the ballast. Finding stone for ballast very scarce indeed, I concluded to screen the stone from the sand, and reserve them for use while I discharged the sand. This being done, all hands under the charge of the mate went about fitting the ship sails, setting the rigging, &c. While this was going on, I was gunning, fishing, or any thing I chose to do. I procured game sufficient, or nearly so, for the ship's use. Much time I spent about the town.

Mobile is situated on the west side of the Mobile bay, in a position elevated above the overflow of the river. In 1700 it was founded by the Spanish, and came into the possession of the Americans in 1813, being at that time of but little note, since which time it has increased very much; yet diseases have hindered its rapid growth. It is now one of the greatest markets for cotton in the country.

Ships lying at Mobile are obliged to sight their anchors every few days, on account of the nature of the bottom, which is very soft indeed, otherwise they[287] would become so firmly imbedded in the mud, as to render all attempts to raise them fruitless. Many times the ship is hove directly over the anchor, the windlass manned, and the ship careened over very much, which is continually drawing upon the anchor; and, as she rights herself, is again drawn over; this continues till they are able to heave it to the cat-head by the windlass.

One day, while we lay at anchor, I went on shore, and, as usual, left the mate in charge; on my return, found the mate holding to different articles to keep himself from falling as he went across the deck. As I stood talking with him, one of the crew came reeling up, and dared him to fight, at the same time using the most abusive language. I remained silent a few moments, when I ordered him to his duty, and to be quiet. He flew at me in a perfect rage, offering me many insults, and attempted to strike me. Seeing four more of his drunken fellows coming towards me, I thought it about time to be doing something; dealt the first one a blow above his eyes, which threw him with force across a beef barrel, screaming loudly. This blow was so violent that my thumb was dislocated. The second received a blow which put him with his fellow. This also disabled my left hand.

The first one now came to the second attack; I met him with the toe of my boot under his chin, which laid him upon the deck where he was willing to remain. The other three soon came hurriedly forward to assist their comrades. Seizing an iron bolt, about two feet long, which was very fortunately near me, I laid them all upon the deck together. The steward took them to their berths, and dressed their wounds. One of them had his jaw broken, another his head badly hurt, and[288] one of his ribs broken. The next morning Mr. W—— came on board, and learned the whole matter. I then discharged all the liquor from the ship, and suffered not a single drop on board after. In a few days three of the men went to their duty; the other two never did, being disabled for a long time. The cargo was sent on board, packed and stowed. We remained at Mobile four or five months before we could get a cargo.

It had been nearly a year since my friends had heard any intelligence of me whatever, and that only indirectly. They being extremely solicitous respecting me, laid their case before a traveling fortune-teller, who told them of my exact situation, and of the time I should return to them. This they had little faith in; for so long had I been gone, I was thought to be almost wholly estranged. The capability of those fortune-tellers, I have always and do still doubt; yet I solemnly assert that in this case it was told rightly.

We sailed from Mobile in March, bound for Liverpool. When abreast the Bermudas, we were met with a very heavy squall; for this we were tolerably well prepared, though very heavily laden.

The sea was very irregular and high; the ship labored very heavily indeed; besides this, our situation was rendered doubly fearful by the extreme darkness. Seldom, if ever, did I pass a worse night than this. There was one remarkable feature attending it: it was unaccompanied with lightning or thunder, which are so frequent in that season and climate. The magnificence of the phospheretic scenery was such that the most timid mariner would pause in his duty amid the warring of the elements, where danger beset him on every hand, to admire its sublimity.

[289]

The long wished for day at length arrived; and through the dense fog we could occasionally see traces of light, that, with rising of the barometer, were sure indications that the worst was over. Had the storm continued longer, or had the ship been more heavily laden with timber, or with any compact loading, causing a greater dead weight in her bottom, in consequence of which she would have rolled much quicker, and labored much more heavily, I fear all would have been lost.

About ten that day, we made sail to steady the ship, the sea being still very heavy.

At about two in the afternoon, we had a view of, I think, the largest water, or by some termed, air-spout, I ever saw. Nothing occurred until we reached soundings at the St. George's channel. Here Mrs. W—— presented her husband with a fine boy; when the fact was communicated to the crew, they hoisted the colors and fired a salute.

A stormy wind headed us several days; the channel was full of vessels of all nations waiting a passage up. A light breeze springing up, we set studding-sails, and soon made the Tuskar light. Rounding the rock, we shaped our course to Holyhead. A thick fog again setting in, and shutting out the land from sight, we were obliged to run the ship by reckoning. When abreast of Bardsey island, spoke a coaster, and found our reckoning right.

At night the fog cleared away. Made sail. Sighted Holyhead light on the coast of Wales; rounded the head at daylight; took on a pilot who soon ran us into Liverpool. When we docked ship, and discharged all[290] hands. A few days after, the ship and cargo was sold upon the water. I was offered the command of her by the new owners, to make a voyage to Quebec; this I declined, not liking the voyage, though I regretted leaving the ship, for she was a beautiful sailor.

Wishing to go to St. Johns, I watched every opportunity to work my passage. This I could find no means of doing until some time in July, when I was offered the berth of chief mate on board the Ashburton, Capt. Poole, bound thither. The Ashburton was a splendid ship of 1009 tons register, built for either passengers or freight. All things ready, we left our moorings the 18th of July, with sixteen passengers, and cargo of dry goods, iron, &c. Proceeded down the Mersey, and stood across to the Irish shore, made the hill of Howth. The wind blowing a double reefed top-sail breeze from the southwest, and every moment freshening, we hauled up and stowed our main-sail; tacked and stood back to the English coast. Sighted the Calf-of-man at midnight. Finding we made no progress, and the wind still increasing, we close reefed the fore and mizzen top-sails, and double reefed the main top-sails. At three, the next day, the Captain thought best to square away, and stand northwest towards the North Channel; which course we ran about six hours, then hauled our wind N. N. E. till midnight, and stood N. N. W.

During this time I was below: coming on deck at half past twelve, found the Captain had been on deck all night.

On learning that, at nine o'clock, the Calf-of-man bore E. S. E. four leagues distant, and since that time we had been bearing northwest, I was fully persuaded all was not right, and went aft into the poop, where the Captain was walking with a thoughtful expression of countenance. The rain was at this time falling in torrents.

[291]
[292]

WRECK OF THE ASHBURTON ON THE COAST OF IRELAND.

[293]

I told the Captain we were close in upon the Irish shore. With a sneering laugh he replied, "We are far enough from Ireland, and we must still haul our course a little to the westward."

I turned away and went forward, biting my lips through indignation at his proceedings. Knowing him to be a skillful navigator, I immediately made up my mind that it was his intention to run the ship upon the rocks, regardless of his own life and also the lives of his crew and passengers, in order to get the insurance, as she was insured for double her real value. Putting a man on the lookout, I went aft again and told the captain we should be on the rocks in a few moments, if the ship was not hauled to the eastward. He forced a smile, and attempted to laugh me out of the idea I held with respect to our situation. I told him it was his privilege to laugh if he chose, but it would be no laughing affair for the crew and passengers to go on the rocks, as we certainly should, unless we stood to the eastward.

At that moment, he seeing a little light on our starboard bow, exclaimed:

"All right! Port Patrick light; we must haul to the westward!"

Seeing it was a revolving one, I knew it to be the South Rock light, and told him she would strike in fifteen minutes. In a moment I saw the little harbor lights called St. Johns light, on our larboard bow, situated at the entrance of Port-au-Ferry Lough. I ran[294] forward, and could see through the fog, which was breaking up a little, land and breakers right ahead.—Upon my own responsibility I immediately ordered the yards to be braced up and the helm put hard to port.

The ship came to and ranging ahead, in a moment would have cleared the point, had not a heavy sea struck her starboard bow and deadened her headway; her keel struck upon the rock, the sails caught aback, and swung her bows around upon her keel with great force.

She rested with each end on a reef, and as the tide left her, she careened and twirled over, thus giving the surf still greater effect upon her. At this unfavorable moment the captain ordered the sails to be clewed up. I knowing the great danger that would arise from it, told the men to look out for themselves first. I had hardly ceased speaking when a sea washed over her decks, sweeping upwards of twenty of the crew into the sea!

Those that were aft—seven of us—were saved. The screams of the passengers, who were all fast below, were beyond conception. They were set on deck to act for themselves.

Daylight came, and we were seen from the shore, (we went upon the rock about two o'clock, having been there a little over two hours,) but they dare not attempt our rescue, as the sea ran very high. Twenty-three of the bodies of those lost were seen washing about, and beating against the ship's side.

Again a heavy sea struck her, and carried away the boats from the fore part of the poop, with all my articles of value, except a few instruments of navigation; and I almost cursed the day I went aboard the Ashburton.[295] But when I saw the mangled, headless bodies of the sailors beating about against the rocks, my loss sank into insignificance.

We had stowed in the half deck some salt hams, which had not been disturbed: our bread had been saturated with salt water, yet we devoured it like half-famished wolves.

Thus we lay for seven days, almost momentarily expecting death, and yet within half a mile of the shore. On the eighth day a boat came from the shore, and when within hail was capsized, and one of the noble crew found a watery grave.

The ninth day a boat succeeded in getting to us, and took away the passengers, captain, boatswain, and steward, leaving the rest of us to spend yet another dreary night upon the rocks.

The next day the insurance agents, one from Belfast and the other from Port-au-Ferry, came out to us, with the captain. They wished us to stay and take charge of the wreck until further orders. offering us good wages, but this was far from being a pleasant berth. We however concluded to stay, and busied ourselves collecting the goods that might remain on the wreck, also all the bolts and other articles from the ship worth saving. A boat was sent off from shore to collect the bodies of those that were drowned, who still lay beating about the rocks and in holes on the reef, where they had been deposited by the water.

At the expiration of seventeen days, I received a letter from the captain, ordering us all to proceed to Port-au-Ferry immediately. On our arrival, we found the captain with the insurance agents, who wished to know my charges for the services rendered. I told them two[296] dollars per day from the time of our sailing from Liverpool. To this they objected, and offered me one dollar and fifty cents per day. I told them I should have two dollars or nothing, and if I was not paid in six hours, I would place a seizure upon the wreck. The captain offered to pay me when I arrived at Belfast, and thither he proceeded with me. On going to the office, I was asked to sign the protest; to this I objected, saying I wished to get my money first. The captain then tried to intimidate me, by saying it was a mate's duty to do it.

I then offered him his choice between paying me and an exposure of the facts respecting the wreck. Immediately he chose to pay me the two dollars I asked, rather than suffer me to make public the circumstances connected with that which he well knew would throw him out of the insurance. That I ought to have done, for he fully deserved it, by suffering the ship to go on the rocks, at the sacrifice of so many lives, in order that he might sell his vessel at an exorbitantly large price; thereby adding to the crime of murder that of robbery!

I received my pay, signed the protest, and left the office, to search for an opportunity to work my passage to St. Johns.

Falling in with the captain of the Sir Henry Pottinger, with whom I was previously acquainted, I obtained the berth of chief mate.

We sailed from Belfast on the 13th of August, 1844; rounded the Copeland light, and, the wind being northerly, stood down the channel; we passed the South Rock light, and came to the reef on which the Ashburton struck; and as I passed the place, I almost fancied I could hear those screeches still ringing in my ears, as[297] they rang that night loud above the angry roarings of the surf.

With my glass I looked upon the sad scene till we rounded the St. Johns point, which shut it out from our sight.

Two men more than the complement were found, when the hands were called to set the watch. They, on being questioned, said they were deserters from the army, and wished to go to America; therefore they had adopted this way for accomplishing their purpose. The captain long questioned in his mind whether to proceed with them or leave them on shore, and asked my advice. Supposing myself in their situation for one moment, I decided in their favor. But this did not save them, for the captain could not think himself doing right in taking them away, notwithstanding his strong desire to assist them, and he resolved to put them on shore.

When abreast Dublin Bay, we hauled our wind and stood in shore, and when within three or four miles of the shore, the boats were cleared away, and the captain ordered me to put them ashore. To this they stoutly objected, declaring they would not go alive. One of them was put into the boat by force; the other finding resistance useless, went quietly into the boat, and both were put on shore.

Their entreaties to be taken again to the ship and suffered to go to America, brought tears to the eyes of the hardy sailors, and for a moment they paused almost persuaded to take them back again. Hurriedly we took our departure, leaving them standing on the point of rock on which they were first landed, where they remained as long as we were in sight.

Arriving at the ship, we braced full and stood down[298] the channel. Nothing unusual occurred on the passage, which was completed by the middle of September.

I had now been gone about thirteen months, and was no better off than when I left home, having lost my year's hard-earned money through the miserable conduct of Captain Poole of the Ashburton.

The urgent necessities which were placed upon me, required my utmost exertions. In company with another person, I bought a small vessel of fifteen tons, and sailed for Eastport. Here we purchased a quantity of tobacco, cigars, gin, and tea, to the amount of $250, intending to smuggle it into St. Johns. This proved a successful enterprise, and we cleared fifty per cent.—Stimulated by this happy result, we again proceeded to Eastport, and purchased a still larger quantity than before, with which we succeeded finely until we reached Partridge Island, where we were becalmed; the fog came up from the southeast so heavy, that we could see only a little distance; night also setting in, rendered our situation drear indeed.

About midnight, we heard oars pulling towards us very easy. Fearing they were custom-house officers, we lowered our sails, to avoid detection if possible.—They hailed us and inquired our business? We told them we were fishermen. Choosing to be more certain, they examined our cargo, and then took us in tow to St. Johns.

The next day our boat and goods were sold. We attended the auction, and bid the boat back again. We then rigged her entirely new, resolving to try our luck again.

We purchased our cargo, and started for St. Johns about 10 o'clock in the morning, in order to reach home[299] about midnight; we landed our goods in a large hole in the rocks in an unfrequented place, and stood off with the boat. We went on shore in order to get a team. On our return, we found three custom-house officers guarding our goods! This proved an entire overthrow to our hopes and prospects. Stripped of all our little property, we were left with no alternative but to try the sea again.

I accordingly looked about for an opportunity. Soon I was offered the command of a new bark, then in the stocks, which would soon be ready for sea. The vessel lay one hundred miles up the coast. I was also to take charge of her outfits.

The day previous to my departure, I received a letter (through the owner of the ship Duncan, in which I had previously sailed,) from my brother-in-law, giving me an account of the situation of the family. This was the first line I had received from home since I left. He was extremely anxious that I should return. I went to the ship and commenced my labors, which I continued only three weeks.

I returned to St. Johns and fitted out for home, where I arrived about the last of November, 1844, having been absent fourteen years and a few months. Those long years of hardship had so altered the boy of sixteen summers, (as I was when they last saw me,) that none scarcely knew me.

In a few days it was my privilege to fill that place at the Thanksgiving dinner-table which had so long been vacated by me. In a few days my family followed me. For a length of time I was in the employ of the Dwight Manufacturing Company at Cabotville: at the[300] present time I am employed by the Western Railroad Company, and stationed at Springfield.

Thus I draw my simple narrative to a close. It is the author's desire that, while his simply-told tale serves to pass away an hour, it will contribute something to the interest as well as to the amusement of the reader.

THE END.

TRANSCRIBER'S NOTES

—Obvious print and punctuation errors fixed.

—There are many dialectal and seamen's words reported here; as far as possible they have been left as in the original work

—The transcriber of this project created the book cover image using the title page of the original book. The image is placed in the public domain.






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