Ned Myers
James Fenimore Cooper

Part 1 out of 5


or, A Life Before the Mast

By James Fenimore Cooper.

Thou unrelenting Past!
Strong are the barriers round thy dark domain,
And fetters sure and fast
Hold all that enter thy unbreathing reign.

Entered, according to the Act of Congress, in the year 1843, by

J. Fenimore Cooper,

in the clerk's office of the District Court of the United States for the
Northern district of New York.


It is an old remark, that the life of any man, could the incidents be
faithfully told, would possess interest and instruction for the general
reader. The conviction of the perfect truth of this saying, has induced
the writer to commit to paper, the vicissitudes, escapes, and opinions of
one of his old shipmates, as a sure means of giving the public some just
notions of the career of a common sailor. In connection with the amusement
that many will find in following a foremast Jack in his perils and
voyages, however, it is hoped that the experience and moral change of
Myers may have a salutary influence on the minds of some of those whose
fortunes have been, or are likely to be, cast in a mould similar to that
of this old salt.

As the reader will feel a natural desire to understand how far the editor
can vouch for the truth of that which he has here written, and to be
informed on the subject of the circumstances that have brought him
acquainted with the individual whose adventures form the subject of this
little work, as much shall be told as may be necessary to a proper
understanding of these two points.

First, then, as to the writer's own knowledge of the career of the
subject of his present work. In the year 1806, the editor, then a lad,
fresh from Yale, and destined for the navy, made his first voyage in a
merchantman, with a view to get some practical knowledge of his
profession. This was the fashion of the day, though its utility, on the
whole, may very well be questioned. The voyage was a long one, including
some six or eight passages, and extending to near the close of the year
1807. On board the ship was Myers, an apprentice to the captain. Ned, as
Myers was uniformly called, was a lad, as well as the writer; and, as a
matter of course, the intimacy of a ship existed between them. Ned,
however, was the junior, and was not then compelled to face all the
hardships and servitude that fell to the lot of the writer.

Once, only, after the crew was broken up, did the writer and Ned actually
see each other, and that only for a short time. This was in 1809. In 1833,
they were, for half an hour, on board the same ship, without knowing the
fact at the time. A few months since, Ned, rightly imagining that the
author of the Pilot must be his old shipmate, wrote the former a letter to
ascertain the truth. The correspondence produced a meeting, and the
meeting a visit from Ned to the editor. It was in consequence of the
revelations made in this visit that the writer determined to produce the
following work.

The writer has the utmost confidence in all the statements of Ned, so far
as intention is concerned. Should he not be mistaken on some points, he is
an exception to the great rule which governs the opinions and
recollections of the rest of the human family. Still, nothing is related
that the writer has any reasons for distrusting. In a few instances he has
interposed his own greater knowledge of the world between Ned's more
limited experience and the narrative; but, this has been done cautiously,
and only in cases in which there can be little doubt that the narrator has
been deceived by appearances, or misled by ignorance. The reader, however,
is not to infer that Ned has no greater information than usually falls to
the share of a foremast hand. This is far from being the case. When first
known to the writer, his knowledge was materially above that of the
ordinary class of lads in his situation; giving ample proof that he had
held intercourse with persons of a condition in life, if not positively of
the rank of gentlemen, of one that was not much below it. In a word, his
intelligence on general subjects was such as might justly render him the
subject of remark on board a ship. Although much of his after-life was
thrown away, portions of it passed in improvement; leaving Ned, at this
moment, a man of quick apprehension, considerable knowledge, and of
singularly shrewd comments. If to this be added the sound and accurate
moral principles that now appear to govern both his acts and his opinions,
we find a man every way entitled to speak for himself; the want of the
habit of communicating his thoughts to the public, alone excepted.

In this book, the writer has endeavoured to adhere as closely to the very
language of his subject, as circumstances will at all allow; and in many
places he feels confident that no art of his own could, in any respect,
improve it.

It is probable that a good deal of distrust will exist on the subject of
the individual whom Ned supposes to have been one of his god-fathers. On
this head the writer can only say, that the account which Myers has given
in this work, is substantially the same as that which he gave the editor
nearly forty years ago, at an age and under circumstances that forbid the
idea of any intentional deception. The account is confirmed by his sister,
who is the oldest of the two children, and who retains a distinct
recollection of the prince, as indeed does Ned himself. The writer
supposes these deserted orphans to have been born out of wedlock--though
he has no direct proof to this effect--and there is nothing singular in
the circumstance of a man of the highest rank, that of a sovereign
excepted, appearing at the font in behalf of the child of a dependant. A
member of the royal family, indeed, might be expected to do this, to
favour one widely separated from him by birth and station, sooner than to
oblige a noble, who might possibly presume on the condescension.

It remains only to renew the declaration, that every part of this
narrative is supposed to be true. The memory of Ned may occasionally fail
him; and, as for his opinions, they doubtless are sometimes erroneous; but
the writer has the fullest conviction that it is the intention of the Old
Salt to relate nothing that he does hot believe to have occurred, or to
express an unjust sentiment. On the subject of his reformation, so far as
"the tree is to be known by its fruits" it is entirely sincere; the
language, deportment, habits, and consistency of this well-meaning tar,
being those of a cheerful and confiding Christian, without the smallest
disposition to cant or exaggeration. In this particular, he is a living
proof of the efficacy of faith, and of the power of the Holy Spirit to
enlighten the darkest understanding, and to quicken the most apathetic

Chapter I.

In consenting to lay before the world the experience of a common seaman,
and, I may add, of one who has been such a sinner as the calling is only
too apt to produce, I trust that no feeling of vanity has had an undue
influence. I love the seas; and it is a pleasure to me to converse about
them, and of the scenes I have witnessed, and of the hardships I have
undergone on their bosom, in various parts of the world. Meeting with an
old shipmate who is disposed to put into proper form the facts which I can
give him, and believing that my narrative may be useful to some of those
who follow the same pursuit as that in which I have been so long engaged,
I see no evil in the course I am now taking, while I humbly trust it may
be the means of effecting some little good. God grant that the pictures I
shall feel bound to draw of my own past degradation and failings,
contrasted as they must be with my present contentment and hopes, may
induce some one, at least, of my readers to abandon the excesses so common
among seamen, and to turn their eyes in the direction of those great
truths which are so powerful to reform, and so convincing when regarded
with humility, and with a just understanding of our own weaknesses.

I know nothing of my family, except through my own youthful recollections,
and the accounts I have received from my sister. My father I slightly
remember; but of my mother I retain no distinct impressions. The latter
must have died while I was very young. The former, I was in the habit of
often seeing, until I reached my fifth or sixth year. He was a soldier,
and belonged to the twenty-third regimen of foot, in the service of the
King of Great Britain.[1] The fourth son of this monarch, Prince Edward as
he was then called, or the Duke of Kent as he was afterwards styled,
commanded the corps, and accompanied it to the British American colonies,
where it was stationed for many years.

I was born in Quebec, between the years 1792 and 1794; probably in 1793.
Of the rank of my father in the regiment, I am unable to speak, though I
feel pretty confident he was a commissioned officer. He was much with the
prince; and I remember that, on parade, where I have often seen him, he
was in the habit of passing frequently from the prince to the ranks--a
circumstance that induces my old shipmate to think he may have been the
adjutant. My father, I have always understood, was a native of Hanover,
and the son of a clergyman in that country. My mother, also, was said to
be a German, though very little is now known of her by any of the family.
She is described to me as living much alone, as being occupied in pursuits
very different from those of my father, and as being greatly averse to the
life of a soldier.

I was baptized in the Church of England, and, from earliest boyhood, have
always been given to understand that His Royal Highness, Prince Edward,
the father of Queen Victoria, stood for me at the font; Major Walker, of
the same regiment, being the other god-father, and Mrs. Walker, his wife,
my god-mother. My real names are Edward Robert Meyers; those received in
baptism having been given me by my two sponsors, after themselves. This
christening, like my birth, occurred in Quebec. I have, however, called
myself Edward, or Ned, Myers, ever since I took to the sea.

Before I was old enough to receive impressions to be retained, the
regiment removed to Halifax. My father accompanied it; and, of course, his
two children, my sister Harriet and myself, were taken to Nova Scotia. Of
the period of my life that was passed in Halifax, I retain tolerably
distinct recollections; more especially of the later years. The prince and
my father both remained with the regiment for a considerable time; though
all quitted Halifax several years before I left it myself. I remember
Prince Edward perfectly well. He sometimes resided at a house called The
Lodge, a little out of town; and I was often taken out to see him. He
also had a residence in town. He took a good deal of notice of me;
raising me in his arms, and kissing me. When he passed our house, I would
run to him; and he would lead me through the streets himself. On more than
one occasion, he led me off, and sent for the regimental tailor; directing
suits of clothes to be made for me, after his own taste. He was a large
man; of commanding presence, and frequently wore a star on the breast of
his coat. He was not then called the Duke of Kent, but Prince Edward, or
_The_ Prince. A lady lived with him at the Lodge; but who she was, I
do not know.

At this time, my mother must have been dead; for of _her_ I retain no
recollection whatever. I think, my father left Halifax some time before
the prince. Major Walker, too, went to England; leaving Mrs. Walker in
Nova Scotia, for some time. Whether my father went away with a part of the
regiment to which he belonged, or not, I cannot say but I well remember a
conversation between the prince, the major and Mrs. Walker, in which they
spoke of the loss of a transport, and of Meyers's saving several men. This
must have been at the time when my father quitted Nova Scotia; to which
province, I think, he never could have returned. Neither my sister, nor
myself, ever saw him afterwards. We have understood that he was killed in
battle; though when, or where, we do not know. My old shipmate, the
editor, however, thinks it must have been in Canada; as letters were
received from a friend in Quebec, after I had quitted Nova Scotia,
inquiring after us children, and stating that the effects of my father
were in that town, and ought to belong to us. This letter gave my sister
the first account of his death; though it was not addressed to her, but to
those in whose care she had been left. This property was never recovered;
and my shipmate, who writes this account, thinks there may have been legal
difficulties in the way.

Previously to quitting the province of Nova Scotia, my father placed
Harriet and myself in the house of a Mr. Marchinton, to live. This
gentleman was a clergyman, who had no regular parish, but who preached in
a chapel of his own. He sent us both to school, and otherwise took charge
of us. I am not aware of the precise time when the prince left Halifax,
but it must have been when I was five or six years old--probably about the
year 1798 or 1799.[2]

From that time I continued at Mr. Marchinton's, attending school, and
busied, as is usual with boys of that age, until the year 1805. I fear I
was naturally disposed to idleness and self-indulgence, for I became
restive and impatient under the restraints of the schoolmaster, and of the
gentleman in whose family I had been left. I do not know that I had any
just grounds of complaint against Mr. Marchinton; but his rigorous
discipline disgusted me; principally, I am now inclined to believe,
because it was not agreeable to me to be kept under any rigid moral
restraint. I do not think I was very vicious; and, I know, I was far from
being of a captious temperament; but I loved to be my own master; and I
particularly disliked everything like religious government. Mr.
Marchinton, moreover, kept me out of the streets; and it was my
disposition to be an idler, and at play. It is possible he may have been a
little too severe for one of my temperament; though, I fear, nature gave
me a roving and changeful mind.

At that time the English cruisers sent in many American vessels as prizes.
Our house was near the water; and I was greatly in the habit of strolling
along the wharves, whenever an opportunity occurred; Mr. Marchinton owning
a good deal of property in that part of the town. The Cambrian frigate had
a midshipman, a little older than myself, who had been a schoolmate of
mine. This lad, whose name was Bowen, was sent in as the nominal
prize-master of a brig loaded with coffee; and I no sooner learned the
fact, than I began to pay him visits. Young Bowen encouraged me greatly,
in a wish that now arose within me, to become a sailor. I listened eagerly
to the history of his adventures, and felt the usual boyish emulation. Mr.
Marchinton seemed averse to my following the profession, and these visits
became frequent and stealthy; my wishes, most probably, increasing, in
proportion as they seemed difficult of accomplishment.

I soon began to climb the rigging of the brig, ascending to the
mast-heads. One day Mr. Marchinton saw me quite at the main-truck; and,
calling me down, I got a severe flogging for my dexterity and enterprise.
It sometimes happens that punishment produces a result exactly opposite to
that which was intended; and so it turned out in the present instance. My
desire to be a sailor increased in consequence of this very flogging; and
I now began seriously to think of running away, in order to get to sea, as
well as to escape a confinement on shore, that, to me, seemed
unreasonable. Another prize, called the Amsterdam Packet, a Philadelphia
ship, had been sent in by, I believe, the Cleopatra, Sir Robert Laurie. On
board this ship were two American lads, apprentices. With these boys I
soon formed an intimacy; and their stories of the sea, and their accounts
of the States, coupled with the restraints I fancied I endured, gave rise
to a strong desire to see their country, as well as to become a sailor.
They had little to do, and enjoyed great liberty, going and coming much as
they pleased. This idleness seemed, to me, to form the summit of human
happiness. I did not often dare to play truant; and the school became
odious to me. According to my recollections, this desire for a change must
have existed near, or quite a twelvemonth; being constantly fed by the
arrival and departure of vessels directly before my eyes, ere I set about
the concocting of a serious plan to escape.

My project was put in execution in the summer of 1805, when I could not
have been more than eleven years old, if, indeed, quite as old. I was in
the market one day, and overheard some American seamen, who had been
brought in, conversing of a schooner that was on the point of leaving
Halifax, for New York. This vessel belonged to North Carolina, and had
been captured by the Driver, some time before, but had been liberated by a
decision of the Admiralty Court. The men I overheard talking about her,
intended taking their passages back to their own country in the craft.
This seemed to me a good opportunity to effect my purpose, and I went from
the market, itself, down to the schooner. The mate was on board alone, and
I took courage, and asked him if he did not want to ship a boy. My
dress and appearance were both against me, as I had never done any work,
and was in the ordinary attire of a better class lad on shore. The mate
began to laugh at me, and to joke me on my desire to go to sea,
questioning me about my knowledge. I was willing to do anything; but,
perceiving that I made little impression, I resorted to bribery. Prince
Edward had made me a present, before he left Halifax, of a beautiful
little fowling-piece, which was in my own possession; and I mentioned to
the mate that I was the owner of such an article, and would give it to him
if he would consent to secrete me in the schooner, and carry me to New
York. This bait took, and I was told to bring the fowling, piece on board,
and let the mate see it. That night I carried the bribe, as agreed on, to
this man, who was perfectly satisfied with its appearance, and we struck a
bargain on the spot. I then returned to the house, and collected a few of
my clothes. I knew that my sister, Harriet, was making some shirts for me,
and I stole into her room, and brought away two of them, which were all I
could find. My wardrobe was not large when I left the house, and I had
taken the precaution of carrying the articles out one at a time, and of
secreting them in an empty cask in the yard. When I thought I had got
clothes enough, I made them into a bundle, and carried them down to the
schooner. The mate then cleared out a locker in the cabin, in which there
were some potatoes, and told me I must make up my mind to pass a few hours
in that narrow berth. Too thoughtless to raise any objections, I
cheerfully consented, and took my leave of him with the understanding that
I was to be on board, again, early in the morning.

Before going to bed, I desired a black servant of Mr. Marchinton's to call
me about day-break, as I desired to go out and pick berries. This was
done, and I was up and dressed before any other member of the family was
stirring. I lost no time, but quitted the house, and walked deliberately
down to the schooner. No one was up on board of her, and I was obliged to
give the mate a call, myself. This man now seemed disposed to draw back
from his bargain, and I had to use a good deal of persuasion before I
could prevail on him to be as good as his word. He did not like to part
with the fowling-piece, but seemed to think it would be fairly purchased,
could he persuade me to run away. At length he yielded, and I got into the
locker, where I was covered with potatoes.

I was a good while in this uncomfortable situation, before there were any
signs of the vessel's quitting the wharf. I began to grow heartily tired
of the confinement, and the love of change revived within me in a new
form. The potatoes were heavy for me to bear, and the confined air
rendered my prison almost insupportable. I was on the point of coming out
of prison, when the noise on deck gave me the comfortable assurance that
the people had come on board, and that the schooner was about to sail. I
could hear men conversing, and, after a period of time that seemed an age,
I felt satisfied the schooner was fairly under way. I heard a hail from
one of the forts as we passed down the harbour, and, not long after, the
Driver, the very sloop of war that had sent the vessel in, met her, and
quite naturally hailed her old prize, also. All this I heard in my prison,
and it served to reconcile me to the confinement. As everything was right,
the ship did not detain us, and we were permitted to proceed.

It was noon before I was released. Going on deck, I found that the
schooner was at sea. Nothing of Halifax was visible but a tower or two,
that were very familiar objects to me. I confess I now began to regret the
step I had taken, and, could I have been landed, it is probable my roving
disposition would have received a salutary check. It was too late,
however, and I was compelled to continue in the thorny and difficult path
on which I had so thoughtlessly entered. I often look back to this moment,
and try to imagine what might have been my fortunes, had I never taken
this unlucky step. What the prince might have done for me, it is
impossible to say; though I think it probable that, after the death of my
father, I should have been forgotten, as seems to have been the case with
my sister, who gradually fell from being considered and treated as one of
the family in which she lived, into a sort of upper servant.

I have learned, latterly, that Mr. Marchinton had a great search made for
me. It was his impression I was drowned, and several places were dragged
for my body. This opinion lasted until news of my being in New York
reached the family.

My appearance on deck gave rise to a great many jokes between the captain
of the schooner, and his mate. I was a good deal laughed at, but not badly
treated, on the whole. My office was to be that of cook--by no means a
very difficult task in that craft, the camboose consisting of two pots set
in bricks, and the dishes being very simple. In the cabin, sassafras was
used for tea, and boiled pork and beef composed the dinner. The first day,
I was excused from entering on the duties of my office, on account of
sea-sickness; but, the next morning, I set about the work in good earnest.
We had a long passage, and my situation was not very pleasant. The
schooner was wet, and the seas she shipped would put out my fire. There
was a deck load of shingles, and I soon discovered that these made
excellent kindling wood; but it was against the rules of the craft to burn
cargo, and my friend the mate had bestowed a few kicks on me before I
learned to make the distinction. In other respects, I did tolerably well;
and, at the end of about ten days, we entered Sandy Hook.

Such was my first passage at sea, or, at least, the first I can remember,
though I understand we were taken from Quebec to Halifax by water. I was
not cured of the wish to roam by this experiment, though, at that age,
impressions are easily received, and as readily lost. Some idea may be
formed of my recklessness, and ignorance of such matters, at this time,
from the circumstance that I do not remember ever to have known the name
of the vessel in which I left Nova Scotia. Change and adventure were my
motives, and it never occurred to me to inquire into a fact that was so
immaterial to one of my temperament. To this hour, I am ignorant on
the subject.

The schooner came up, and hauled in abreast of Fly Market. She did not
come close to the wharf, but made fast, temporarily, at its end, outside
of two or three other vessels. This took place not long after breakfast. I
set about the preparations for dinner, which was ready, as usual, at
twelve o'clock. While the crew were eating this meal, I had nothing to do,
and, seeing a number of boys on the wharf, I went ashore, landing for the
first time in this, my adopted country. I was without hat, coat, or
shoes; my feet having become sore from marching about among the shingles.
The boys were licking molasses from some hogsheads, and I joined in the
occupation with great industry. I might have been occupied in this manner,
and in talking with the boys, an hour or more, when I bethought me of my
duty on board. On looking for the schooner, she was gone! Her people, no
doubt, thought I was below, and did not miss me, and she had been carried
to some other berth; where, I did not know. I could not find her, nor did
I ever see her again.

Such, then, was my entrance on a new scene. Had I known enough to follow
the wharves, doubtless I should have found the vessel; but, after a short
search, I returned to the boys and the molasses.

That I was concerned at finding myself in a strange place, without a
farthing in my pockets--without hat, shoes or coat, is certain--but it is
wonderful how little apprehension I felt. I knew nothing, and feared
nothing. While licking the molasses, I told the boys my situation; and I
met with a great deal of sympathy among them. The word passed from one to
the other, that a "poor English boy had lost his vessel, and did not know
where to go to pass the night." One promised me a supper; and, as for
lodgings, the general opinion seemed to be, that I might find a berth
under one of the butchers' stalls, in the adjacent market. I had different
projects for myself, however.

There was a family of the name of Clark, then residing in New York, that I
had known in Halifax. I remembered to have heard my sister, Harriet,
speaking of them, not long before I quitted home, and that she said they
lived in, or near, Fly Market. I knew we were at Fly Market; and the name
recalled these people. I inquired, accordingly, if any one knew such a
family; but met with no success in discovering them. They were strangers;
and no one knew them. It was now near sunset; and I determined to look for
these people myself. On this errand, then, I set off; walking up the
market until I reached Maiden Lane. While strolling along the street, I
heard a female voice suddenly exclaim: "Lord! here is Edward Myers,
without anything on him!" At the next instant, Susan Clark, one of the
daughters, came running into the street; and presently I was in the
house, surrounded by the whole family.

Of course, I was closely questioned; and I told the whole truth. The
Clarks were extremely kind to me, offering me clothes, and desiring to
keep me with them; but I did not like the family, owing to old quarrels
with the boys, and a certain sternness in the father, who had made
complaints of my stealing his fruit, while in Halifax. I was innocent; and
the whole proceeding had made me regard Mr. Clark as a sort of enemy. My
principal motive, in inquiring for the family, was to learn where a
certain Dr. Heizer[3] lived. This gentleman was a German, who had formerly
been in the army; and I knew he was then in New York. In him I had more
confidence; and I determined to throw myself on his kindness.

After declining a great many offers, I got the address of Dr. Heizer, and
proceeded in quest of his residence, just as I was. It was moonlight, and
I went through the streets with boyish confidence. My route lay up
Broadway, and my destination was one of its corners and Hester Street. In
1805, this was nearly out of town, being near Canal street. I had been
told to look for a bridge, which then stood in Broadway, and which
answered for a landmark, in my new navigation. The bridge I found easily;
and, making inquiries at a house, I was told the family I sought lived
next door.

The Heizers were greatly surprised at my appearance. I was questioned, of
course; and told them the naked truth. I knew concealment would be
useless; was naturally frank, notwithstanding what I had just done; and I
began to feel the want of friends. I was fed; and that same evening, Dr.
and Mrs. Heizer led me down Broadway, and equipped me in a neat suit of
clothes. Within a week, I was sent regularly to school.

I never knew what Dr. Heizer did, in relation to my arrival. I cannot but
think that he communicated the circumstances to Mr. Marchinton, who was
well known to him; though, Harriet tell me, the first intelligence they
got of me was of a much later date, and came from another source. Let this
be as it might, I was kindly treated; living, in all respects, as if I
were one of the family. There was no son; and they all seemed to consider
me as one.

I remained in this family the autumn of 1805, and the winter and spring of
1806. I soon tired of school, and began to play truant; generally
wandering along the wharves, gazing at the ships. Dr. Heizer soon learned
this; and, watching me, discovered the propensity I still retained for the
sea. He and Mrs. Heizer now took me aside, and endeavoured to persuade me
to return to Halifax; but I had become more and more averse to taking this
backward step. To own the truth, I had fearful misgivings on the subject
of floggings; and I dreaded a long course of severity and discipline. It
is certain, that, while rigid rules of conduct are very necessary to some
dispositions, there are others with which they do not succeed. Mine was of
the latter class; for, I think, I am more easily led, than driven. At all
events, I had a horror of going back; and refused to listen to the
proposal. After a good deal of conversation, and many efforts at
persuasion, Dr. Heizer consented to let me go to sea, from New York; or
affected to consent; I never knew which.

The Leander, Miranda's flag-ship, in his abortive attempt to create a
revolution in Spanish-America, was then lying in the Hudson; and Dr.
Heizer, who was acquainted with some one connected with her, placed me in
this ship, with the understanding I was to go in her to Holland. I passed
the day on board; going up to my new employer's house, for my meals, and
to sleep. This course of life may have lasted a fortnight; when I became
heartily tired of it. I found I had a mistress, now, as well as a master.
The former set me to cleaning knives, boots, candlesticks, and other
similar employments; converting me into a sort of scullion. My pride
revolted at this. I have since thought it possible, all this was done to
create disgust, and to induce me to return to Mr. Marchinton; but it had a
very contrary effect.

My desire was to be a sailor. One Sunday I had been on board the ship,
and, after assisting the mate to show the bunting fore and aft, I went
back to the house. Here my mistress met me with a double allowance of
knives to clean. We had a quarrel on the subject; I protesting against all
such work. But to clean the knives I was compelled. About half were thrown
over the fence, into the adjoining yard; and, cleaning what remained, I
took my hat, went to the doctor's, and saw no more of my mistress, or of
the Leander.

Chapter II.

An explanation took place. Dr. and Mrs. Heizer remonstrated about my
conduct, and endeavoured, once more, to persuade me to return to Mr.
Marchinton's. A great deal was told me of the kind intentions of that
gentleman, and concerning what I might expect from the protection and
patronage of my god-father, the Duke of Kent. I cannot help thinking, now,
that much of the favour which was extended towards me at that early period
of life, was owing to the circumstance that the prince had consented to
stand for me at my baptism. He was a great disciplinarian--so great,
indeed, I remember to have heard, as to cause more than one mutiny--and my
father being a German, and coming from a people that carried military
subordination to extremes, it is highly probable I was indebted, for this
compliment, to a similarity of tastes between the two. I cared little for
all this, however, in 1805, and thought far less of being protected by a
prince of the blood royal, than of going to sea, and especially of
escaping from the moral discipline of Mr. Marchinton. Finding his
arguments vain, Dr. Heizer sent me to school again, where I continued a
few months longer.

All this time, my taste for ships rather increased than diminished. At
every opportunity I was on the wharves, studying the different craft, and
endeavouring to understand their rig. One day I saw a British ensign, and,
while looking at it, with a feeling of strong disgust, I heard myself
called by name. A glance told me that I was seen by a Halifax man, and I
ran away, under the apprehension that he might, by some means, seize me
and carry me back. My feelings on this head were all alive, and that very
day one of the young ladies said, in a melancholy way, "_Edouard_,"
"Halifax." These girls spoke scarcely any English, having been born in
Martinique; and they talked much together in French, looking at me
occasionally, as if I were the subject of their discourse. It is probable
conscience was at the bottom of this conceit of mine; but the latter now
became so strong, as to induce me to determine to look out for a vessel
for myself, and be off again. With this view, I quitted a negro who had
been sent with me to market, under the pretence of going to school, but
went along the wharves until I found a ship that took my fancy. She was
called the Sterling, and there was a singularly good-looking mate on her
deck, of the name of Irish, who was a native of Nantucket. The ship was
commanded by Capt. John Johnston, of Wiscasset, in Maine, and belonged to
his father and himself.

I went on board the Sterling, and, after looking about for some time, I
ventured to offer myself to Mr. Irish, as a boy who wished to ship. I was
questioned, of course, but evaded any very close answers. After some
conversation, Capt. Johnston came on board, and Mr. Irish told him what I
wanted. My examination now became much closer, and I found myself driven
to sheer fabrication in order to effect my purposes. During my intercourse
with different sea-going lads of Halifax, I had learned the particulars of
the capture of the Cleopatra 32, by the French frigate Ville de Milan 38,
and her recapture by the Leander 50, which ship captured the Ville de
Milan at the same time. I said my father had been a serjeant of marines,
and was killed in the action--that I had run away when the ships got in,
and that I wished to be bound to some American ship-master, in order to
become a regularly-trained seaman. This story so far imposed on Capt.
Johnston as to induce him to listen to my proposals, and in part to accept
them. We parted with an understanding that I was to get my clothes, and
come on board the vessel.

It was twelve at noon when I got back to Dr. Heizer's. My first business
was to get my clothes into the yard, a few at a time; after which I ate my
dinner with the family. As soon as we rose from table, I stole away with
my bundle, leaving these kind people to believe I had returned to school.
I never saw one of them afterwards! On my return to New York, several
years later, I learned they had all gone to Martinique to live. I should
not have quitted this excellent family in so clandestine a manner, had I
not been haunted with the notion that I was about to be sent back to
Halifax, a place I now actually hated.

Capt. Johnston received me good-naturedly, and that night I slept and
supped at the Old Coffee House, Old Slip--his own lodgings. He seemed
pleased with me, and I was delighted with him. The next day he took me to
a slop-shop, and I was rigged like a sailor, and was put in the cabin,
where I was to begin my service in the regular way. A boy named Daniel
McCoy was in the ship, and had been out to Russia in her, as cabin-boy,
the last voyage. He was now to be sent into the forecastle, and was
ordered to instruct me in my duty.

I was now comparatively happy, though anxious to be bound to Capt.
Johnston, and still more so to be fairly at sea. The Sterling had a good,
old-fashioned cabin, as cabins went in 1806; and I ran about her
state-room, rummaged her lockers, and scampered up and down her
companion-way, with as much satisfaction as if they had all belonged to a
palace. Dan McCoy was every day on board, and we had the accommodations of
the ship very much to ourselves. Two or three days later, Capt. Johnston
took me to the proper place, and I was put under regular indentures, to
serve until I was twenty-one. I now felt more confidence in my situation,
knowing that Dr. Heizer had no legal authority over me. The work I did, in
no manner offended my dignity, for it was on ship-board, and belonged
properly to my duty as a cabin-boy.

The Sterling soon began to take in her cargo. She was to receive a freight
of flour, for Cowes and a market. Not only was the hold filled, but the
state-room and cabin, leaving barely room to climb over the barrels to
reach the berths. A place was left, just inside of the cabin door, for the
table. Passengers were not common in that day, while commerce was pushed
to the utmost. Our sails were bending when the consignee, followed by
another merchant, came down to the ship, accompanied by a youth, who, it
was understood, wished also to be received in the vessel. This youth was
named Cooper, and was never called by any other appellation in the ship.
He was accepted by Capt. Johnston, signed the articles, and the next day
he joined us, in sailor's rig. He never came to the cabin, but was
immediately employed forward, in such service as he was able to perform.
It was afterwards understood that he was destined for the navy.

The very day that Cooper joined us, was one of deep disgrace to me. The
small stores came on board for the cabin, and Dan McCoy persuaded me to
try the flavour of a bottle of cherry-bounce. I did not drink much, but
the little I swallowed made me completely drunk. This was the first time I
ever was in that miserable and disgraceful plight; would to God I could
also say it was the last! The last it was, however, for several years;
that is some comfort. I thank my Divine Master that I have lived to see
the hour when intoxicating liquors have ceased to have any command over
me, and when, indeed, they never pass my lips. Capt. Johnston did not flog
me for this act of folly, merely pulling my ears a little, and sharply
reprimanding me; both he and Mr. Irish seeming to understand that my
condition had proceeded from the weakness of my head. Dan was the
principal sufferer, as, to say the truth, he ought to have been. He was
rope's-ended for his pains.

Next day the stevedores took the ship in to the stream, and the crew came
on board. The assembling of the crew of a merchantman, in that day, was a
melancholy sight. The men came off, bearing about them the signs of the
excesses of which they had been guilty while on shore; some listless and
stupid, others still labouring under the effects of liquor, and some in
that fearful condition which seamen themselves term having the "horrors."
Our crew was neither better nor worse than that of other ships. It was
also a sample of the mixed character of the crews of American vessels
during the height of her neutral trade. The captain, chief-mate, cook, and
four of those forward, were American born; while the second-mate was a
Portuguese. The boys were, one Scotch, and one a Canadian; and there were
a Spaniard, a Prussian, a Dane, and an Englishman, in the forecastle.
There was also an Englishman who worked his passage, having been the
cooper of a whaler that was wrecked. As Dan McCoy was sent forward, too,
this put ten in the forecastle, besides the cook, and left five aft,
including the master of another wrecked English vessel, whom we took out
as a passenger.

That afternoon we lifted our anchor, and dropped down abreast of
Governor's Island, where we brought up. Next day all hands were called to
get under way, and, as soon as the anchor was short, the mate told Cooper
and myself to go up and loose the fore-top-sail. I went on one yard-arm and
Cooper went on the other. In a few minutes the second mate came up,
hallooing to us to "avast," and laughing. Cooper was hard at work at the
"robins," and would soon have had his half of the sail down in the top,
had he been let alone; while I was taking the gaskets from the yard, with
the intention of bringing them carefully down on deck, where it struck me
they would be quite safe. Luckily for us, the men were too busy heaving,
and too stupid, to be very critical, and we escaped much ridicule. In a
week we both knew better.

The ship only got to the quarantine ground that day, but in the morning we
went to sea. Our passage was long and stormy. The ship was on a bow-line
most of the time, and we were something like forty days from land to land.
Nothing extraordinary occurred, however, and we finally made the Bill of
Portland. The weather came on thick, but we found a pilot, and ran into
St. Helen's Roads and anchored. The captain got into his boat, and taking
four men pulled ashore, to look for his orders at Cowes.

That afternoon it cleared off, and we found a pilot lying a little outside
of us. About sunset a man-of-war's cutter came alongside, and Mr. Irish
was ordered to muster the crew. The English lieutenant, who was tolerably
bowsed up, took his seat behind the cabin table, while the men came down,
and stood in the companion-way passage, to be overhauled. Most of the
foreigners had gone in the boat, but two of the Americans that remained
were uncommonly fine-looking men, and were both prime seamen. One, whose
name was Thomas Cook, was a six-footer, and had the air of a thorough
sea-dog. He filled the lieutenant's eye mightily, and Cook was very coolly
told to gather his dunnage, as he was wanted. Cook pointed to his
protection, but the lieutenant answered--"Oh! these things are
nothing--anybody can have one for two dollars, in New York. You are an
Englishman, and the King has need of your services." Cook now took out of
his pocket a certificate, that was signed by Sir John Beresford, stating
that Thomas Cook had been discharged from His Maj. Ship Cambrian, after a
pretty long service in her, because he had satisfactorily proved that he
was a native-born American. The lieutenant could not very well dishonour
this document, and he reluctantly let Cook go, keeping his protection,
however. He next selected Isaac Gaines, a native New Yorker, a man whose
father and friends were known to the captain. But Gaines had no discharge
like that of Cook's, and the poor fellow was obliged to rowse up his chest
and get into the cutter. This he did with tears in his eyes, and to the
regret of all on board, he being one of the best men in the ship. We asked
the boat's crew to what vessel they belonged, and they gave us the name of
a sixty-four in the offing, but we observed, as they pulled away from us,
that they took the direction of another ship. This was the last I ever
saw, or heard, of Isaac Gaines. Cook went on with us, and one day, while
in London, he went with Cooper to Somerset House to get an order for some
prize-money, to which he was entitled for his service in the Cambrian, as
was shown by his discharge. The clerk asked him to leave the certificate,
and call a day or two later, when he would have searched out the amount.
This was done, and Cook, being now without certificate or protection, was
pressed on his way back to the ship. We never heard of him, either. Such
was often the fate of sailors, in that day, who were with you one day, and
lost for ever the next.

Captain Johnston did not get back to the ship for four-and-twenty hours.
He brought orders for us to go up to London; and, the wind being fair, and
almost a gale, we got under way, and were off as soon as possible. The
next morning we were in the straits of Dover; the wind light, but fair.
This was at a moment when all England was in arms, in anticipation of an
invasion from France. Forty odd sail of vessels of war were counted from
our ship, as the day dawned, that had been cruising in the narrow waters,
during the night, to prevent a surprise.

We worked our way up to London, with the tides, and were carried into
London dock; where we discharged. This was my first visit to the modern
Babylon, of course; but I had little opportunity of seeing much. I had one
or two cruises, of a Sunday, in tow of Cooper, who soon became a branch
pilot, in those waters, about the parks and west end but I was too young
to learn much, or to observe much. Most of us went to see the monument,
St. Paul's, and the lions; and Cooper put himself in charge of a
beef-eater, and took a look at the arsenals, jewels and armoury. He had a
rum time of it, in his sailor rig, but hoisted in a wonderful deal of
gibberish, according to his own account of his cruise.

Captain Johnston now got a freight for the ship, and we hauled into the
stream, abreast of the dock-gates, and took in shingle ballast. The
Prussian, Dane, second mate, and the English cooper, all left us, in
London. We got a Philadelphian, a chap from Maine, who had just been
discharged from an English man-of-war, and an Irish lad, in their places.
In January we sailed, making the best of our way for the straits of
Gibraltar. The passage was stormy--the Bay of Biscay, in particular,
giving us a touch of its qualities. It was marked by only two incidents,
however, out of the usual way. While running down the coast of Portugal,
with the land in sight, we made an armed felucca astern, and to windward.
This vessel gave chase; and, the captain disliking her appearance, we
carried hard, in order to avoid her. The weather was thick, and it blew
fresh, occasionally, in squalls. Whenever it lulled, the felucca gained on
us, we having, a very little, the advantage in the puffs. At length the
felucca began to fire; and, finding that his shot were coming pretty near,
Captain Johnston, knowing that he was in ballast, thought it wisest to
heave-to. Ten minutes after our main-top-sail was aback, the felucca ranged
up close under our lee; hailed, and ordered us to send a boat, with our
papers, on board her. A more rascally-looking craft never gave such an
order to an unarmed merchantman. As our ship rose on a sea, and he fell
into the trough, we could look directly down upon his decks, and thus form
some notion of what we were to expect, when he got possession of us. His
people were in red caps and shirts, and appeared to be composed of the
rakings of such places as Gibraltar, Cadiz and Lisbon. He had ten long
guns; and pikes, pistols and muskets, were plenty with him. On the end of
each latine-yard was a chap on the look-out, who occasionally turned his
eyes towards us, as if to anticipate the gleanings. That we should be
plundered, every one expected; and it was quite likely we might be
ill-treated. As soon as we hove-to, Captain Johnston gave me the best
spy-glass, with orders to hand it to Cooper, to hide. The latter buried it
in the shingle ballast. We, in the cabin, concealed a bag of guineas so
effectually, that, after all was over, we could not find it ourselves.

The jolly-boat had been stowed in the launch, on account of the rough
weather we had expected to meet, and tackles had to be got aloft before we
could hoist it out. This consumed some time, during which there was a
lull. The felucca, seeing us busy at this work, waited patiently until we
had got the boat over the side, and into the water. Cooper, Dan McCoy, Big
Dan, and Spanish Joe, then got into her; and the captain had actually
passed his writing-desk into the boat, and had his leg on the rail, to go
over the side himself, when a squall struck the ship. The men were called
out of the boat to clew down the topsails, and a quarter of an hour passed
in taking care of the vessel. By this time the squall had passed, and it
lightened up a little. There lay the felucca, waiting for the boat; and
the men were reluctantly going into the latter again, when the commander
of the felucca waved his hand to us, his craft fell off and filled,
wing-and-wing, skimming away towards the coast, like a duck. We stood
gaping and staring at her, not knowing what to make of this manoeuvre,
when "bang!" went a heavy gun, a little on our weather quarter. The shot
passed our wake, for we had filled our topsail, and it went skipping from
sea to sea, after the felucca. Turning our eyes in the direction of the
report, we saw a frigate running down upon the felucca, carrying
studding-sails on both sides, with the water foaming up to her
hawse-holes. As she passed our stern, she showed an English ensign, but
took no other notice of us, continuing on after the felucca, and
occasionally measuring her distance with a shot. Both vessels soon
disappeared in the mist, though we heard guns for some time. As for
ourselves, we jogged along on our course, wishing good luck to the
Englishman. The felucca showed no ensign, the whole day. Our guineas were
found, some weeks later, in a bread-locker, after we had fairly eaten our
way down to them.

The other adventure occurred very soon after this escape; for, though the
felucca may have had a commission, she was a pirate in appearance, and
most probably in her practices. The thick westerly weather continued until
we had passed the Straits. The night we were abreast of Cape Trafalgar,
the captain came on deck in the middle watch, and, hailing the forecastle,
ordered a sharp look-out kept, as we must be running through Lord
Collingwood's fleet. The words were hardly out of his mouth, when Spanish
Joe sung out, "sail ho!" There she was, sure enough, travelling right down
upon us, in a line that threatened to take us between the fore and main
masts. The captain ordered our helm hard up, and yelled for Cooper to
bring up the cabin lantern. The youngster made one leap down the ladder,
just scraping the steps with his heels, and was in the mizzen rigging with
the light, in half a minute. That saved us. So near was the stranger, that
we plainly heard the officer of the deck call out to his own
quarter-master to "port, hard a-port--_hard_ a-port, and be d----d to
you!" Hard a-port it was, and a two-decker came brushing along on our
weather beam--so near, that, when she lifted on the seas, it seemed as if
the muzzles of her guns would smash our rails. The Sterling did not behave
well on this occasion, for, getting a yaw to windward, she seemed disposed
to go right into the Englishman, before she would mind her helm. After the
man-of-war hailed, and got our answer, her officer quaintly remarked that
we were "close on board him." It blew too fresh for boats, and we were
suffered to pass without being boarded.

The ship proceeded up to Carthagena, and went in. Here we were put in
quarantine for several days. The port was full of heavy ships of war,
several of which were three-deckers; and an arrival direct from London
made quite a sensation among them. We had divers visits from the officers,
though I do not know what it all amounted to. From Carthagena we were
sent down the coast to a little place called Aguilas, where we began to
take in a cargo of barilla. At night we would discharge our shingle
ballast into the water, contrary to law; and, in the day, we took in
cargo. So clear was the water, that our night's work might easily be seen
next morning, lying beneath the ship. As we lay in a roadstead, it
mattered little, few vessels touching at the port. While at this place,
there was an alarm of an attack from an English man-of-war that was seen
in the offing, and priests enough turned out to defend an ordinary town.

We got about half our freight at this little village, and then came down
as low as Almeria, an old Moorish town, just below Cape de Gatte, for the
remainder. Here we lay several weeks, finishing stowing our cargo. I went
ashore almost every day to market, and had an opportunity of seeing
something of the Spaniards. Our ship lay a good distance off, and we
landed at a quarantine station, half a mile, at least, from the
water-gate, to which we were compelled to walk along the beach.

One of my journeys to the town produced a little adventure. The captain
had ordered Cooper to boil some pitch at the galley. By some accident, the
pot was capsized, and the ship came near being burned. A fresh pot was now
provided, and Cooper and Dan McCoy were sent ashore, at the station, with
orders to boil down pitch on the land. There was no wharf, and it was
always necessary to get ashore through a surf. The bay is merely an elbow,
half the winds blowing in from the open sea. Sometimes, therefore, landing
is ticklish work and requires much skill. I went ashore with the pitch,
and proceeded into the town on my errands, whilst the two lads lighted
their fire and began to boil down. When all was ready, it was seen there
was a good deal of swell, and that the breakers looked squally. The
orders, however, were to go off, on such occasions, and not to wait, as
delay generally made matters worse. We got into the boat, accordingly, and
shoved off. For a minute, or more, things went well enough, when a breaker
took the bows of the jolly-boat, lifted her nearly on end, and turned her
keel uppermost. One scarcely knows how he gets out of such a scrape. We
all came ashore, however, heels over head, people, pot, boat, and oars.
The experiment was renewed, less the pitch and a pair of new shoes of
mine, and it met with exactly the same result. On a third effort, the boat
got through the surf and we succeeded in reaching the ship. These are the
sorts of scenes that harden lads, and make them fond of risks. I could not
swim a stroke, and certainly would have been drowned had not the
Mediterranean cast me ashore, as if disdaining to take a life of so little
value to anybody but myself.

After lying several weeks at Almeria, the ship got under way for England
again. We had fresh westerly gales, and beat to and fro, between Europe
and Africa, for some time, when we got a Levanter that shoved us out into
the Atlantic at a furious rate. In the Straits we passed a squadron of
Portuguese frigates, that was cruising against the Algerines. It was the
practice of these ships to lie at the Rock until it blew strong enough
from the eastward to carry vessels through the Gut, when they weighed and
kept in the offing until the wind shifted. This was blockading the
Atlantic against their enemies, and the Mediterranean against their
own ships.

We had a long passage and were short of salt provisions. Falling in with
an American in the Bay of Biscay, we got a barrel of beef which lasted us
in. When near the chops of the channel, with a light southerly wind, we
made a sail in our wake, that came up with us hand over hand. She went
nearly two feet to our one, the barilla pressing the Sterling down into
the water, and making her very dull, more especially in light airs. When
the stranger got near enough, we saw that he was pumping, the water
running out of his scuppers in a constant stream. He was several hours in
sight, the whole time pumping. This ship passed within a cable's-length of
us, without taking any more notice of us than if we had been a mile-stone.
She was an English two-decker, and we could distinguish the features of
her men, as they stood in the waist, apparently taking breath after their
trial at the pumps. She dropped a hawse-bucket, and we picked it up, when
she was about half a mile ahead of us. It had the broad-arrow on it, and a
custom-house officer seeing it, some time after, was disposed to seize it
as a prize.

We never knew the name of this ship, but there was something proud and
stately in her manner of passing us, in her distress, without so much as a
hail. It is true, we could have done her no good, and her object,
doubtless, was to get into dock as soon as possible. Some thought she had
been in action, and was going home to repair damages that could not be
remedied at sea.

Soon after this vessel was seen, we had proof how difficult it is to judge
of a ship's size at sea. A vessel was made ahead, standing directly for
us. Mr. Irish soon pronounced her a sloop of war. Half an hour later she
grew into a frigate, but when she came abeam she showed three tiers of
ports, being a ninety. This ship also passed without deigning to take any
notice of us.

Chapter III.

We made the Land's End in fine weather, and with a fair wind. Instead of
keeping up channel, however, our ship hauled in for the land. Cooper was
at the helm, and the captain asked him if he knew of any one on board who
had ever been into Falmouth. He was told that Philadelphia Bill had been
pointing out the different head-lands on the forecastle, and that, by his
own account, he had sailed a long time out of the port. This Bill was a
man of fifty, steady, trust-worthy, quiet, and respected by every man in
the ship. He had taken a great liking to Cooper, whom he used to teach how
to knot and splice, and other niceties of the calling, and Cooper often
took him ashore with him, and amused him with historical anecdotes of the
different places we visited. In short, the intimacy between them was as
great as well could be, seeing the difference in their educations and
ages. But, even to Cooper, Bill always called himself a Philadelphian. In
appearance, indeed, he resembled one of those whom we call Yankees, in
America, more than anything else.

Bill was now sent for and questioned. He seemed uneasy, but admitted he
could take the ship into Falmouth. There was nothing in the way, but a
rock abreast Pendennis Castle, but it was easy to give that a berth. We
now learned that the captain had made up his mind to go into this port and
ride out the quarantine to which all Mediterranean vessels were subject.
Bill took us in very quietly, and the ship was ordered up a few miles
above the town, to a bay where vessels rode out their quarantine. The next
day a doctor's boat came alongside, and we were ordered to show ourselves,
and flourish our limbs, in order to make it evident we were alive and
kicking. There were four men in the boat, and, as it turned out, every one
of them recognised Bill, who was born within a few miles of the very spot
where the ship lay, and had a wife then living a great deal nearer to him
than he desired. It was this wife--there happening to be too much of
her--that had driven the poor fellow to America, twenty years before, and
which rendered him unwilling to live in his native country. By private
means, Bill managed to have some communication with the men in the boat,
and got their promises not to betray him. This was done by signs
altogether, speaking being quite out of the question.

We were near, or quite, a fortnight in quarantine; after which the ship
dropped down abreast of the town. This was of a Saturday, and Sunday, a
portion of the crew were permitted to go ashore. Bill was of the number,
and when he returned he admitted that he had been so much excited at
finding himself in the place, that he had been a little indiscreet. That
night he was very uncomfortable, but nothing occurred to molest any of us.
The next morning all seemed right, and Bill began to be himself again;
often wishing, however, that the anchor was aweigh, and the ship turning
out of the harbour. We soon got at work, and began to work down to the
mouth of the haven, with a light breeze. The moment we were clear of the
points, or head-lands, we could make a fair wind of it up channel. The ship
was in stays, pretty well down, tinder Pendennis, and the order had been
given to swing the head yards. Bill and Cooper were pulling together at
the fore-top-sail brace, when the report of a musket was heard quite near
the ship. Bill let go the brace, turned as white as a sheet, and
exclaimed, "I'm gone!" At first, the men near him thought he was shot, but
a gesture towards the boat which had fired, explained his meaning. The
order was given to belay the head braces, and we waited the result
in silence.

The press-gang was soon on board us, and its officer asked to have the
crew mustered. This humiliating order was obeyed, and all hands of us were
called aft. The officer seemed easily satisfied, until he came to Bill.
"What countryman are _you_?" he asked. "An American--a Philadelphian,"
answered Bill. "You are an Englishman." "No, sir; I was born--" "Over
here, across the bay," interrupted the officer, with a cool smile, "where
your dear wife is at this moment. Your name is ______ ______, and you are
well known in Falmouth. Get your clothes, and be ready to go in the boat."

This settled the matter. Captain Johnston paid Bill his wages, his chest
was lowered into the boat, and the poor fellow took an affectionate leave
of his shipmates. He told those around him that his fate was sealed. He
was too old to outlive a war that appeared to have no end, and they would
never trust _him_ on shore. "My foot will never touch the land again," he
said to Cooper, as he squeezed his young friend's hand, "and I am to live
and die, with a ship for my prison."

The loss of poor Bill made us all sad; but there was no remedy. We got
into the offing, and squared away for the river again. When we reached
London, the ship discharged down at Limehouse, where she lay in a tier of
Americans for some time. We then took in a little ballast, and went up
opposite to the dock gates once more. We next docked and cleaned the ship,
on the Deptford side, and then hauled into the wet-dock in which we had
discharged our flour.

Here the ship lay part of May, all of June, and most of July, taking in
freight for Philadelphia, as it offered. This gave our people a good deal
of spare time, and we were allowed to go ashore whenever we were not
wanted. Cooper now took me in tow, and many a drift I had with him and Dan
McCoy up to St. Paul's, the parks, palaces, and the Abbey. A little
accident that happened about this time, attached me to Cooper more than
common, and made me more desirous than ever to cruise in his company.

I was alone, on deck, one Sunday, when I saw a little dog running about on
board a vessel that lay outside of us. Around the neck of this animal,
some one has fastened a sixpence, by a bit of riband rove through a hole.
I thought this sixpence might be made better use of, in purchasing some
cherries, for which I had a strong longing, and I gave chase. In
attempting to return to our own ship, with the dog, I fell into the water,
between the two vessels. I could not swim a stroke; and I sang out,
lustily, for help. As good luck would have it, Cooper came on board at
that precise instant; and, hearing my outcry, he sprang down between the
ships, and rescued me from drowning. I thought I was gone; and my
condition made an impression on me that never will be lost. Had not Cooper
accidentally appeared, just as he did, Ned Myers's yarn would have ended
with this paragraph. I ought to add, that the sixpence got clear, the dog
swimming away with it.

I had another escape from drowning, while we lay in the docks, having
fallen overboard from the jolly-boat, while making an attempt at sculling.
I forget, now, how I was saved; but then I had the boat and the oar to
hold on to. In the end, it will be seen by what a terrific lesson I
finally learned to swim.

One Sunday we were drifting up around the palace; and then it was that I
told Cooper that the Duke of Kent was my god-father. He tried to persuade
me to make a call; saying I could do no less than pay this respect to the
prince. I had half a mind to try my hand at a visit; but felt too shy, and
too much afraid. Had I done as Cooper so strongly urged me to do, one
cannot say what might have been the consequences, or what change might
have been brought about in my fortunes.[4]

One day Mr. Irish was in high glee, having received a message from Captain
Johnston, to inform him that the latter was pressed! The captain used to
dress in a blue long-tog, drab-breeches and top-boots, when he went
ashore. "He thought he could pass for a gentleman from the country," said
Mr. Irish, laughing, "but them press-gang chaps smelt the tar in his very
boots!" Cooper was sent to the rendezvous, with the captain's desk and
papers, and the latter was liberated. We all liked the captain, who was
kind and considerate in his treatment of all hands; but it was fine fun
for us to have "the old fellow" pressed--"_old fellow_" of six or
eight-and-twenty, as he was then.

About the last of July, we left London, bound home. Our crew had again
undergone some changes. We shipped a second mate, a New-England man. Jim
Russel left us. We had lost Bill; and, another Bill, a dull Irish lad, who
had gone to Spain, quitted us also. Our crew consisted of only Spanish
Joe; Big Dan; Little Dan; Stephen, the Kennebunk man; Cooper; a Swede,
shipped in London; a man whose name I have forgotten; and a young man who
passed by the name of Davis, but who was, in truth,--------, a son of the
pilot who had brought us in, and taken us out, each time we passed up or
down the river. This Davis had sailed in a coaster belonging to his
father, and had got pressed in Sir Home Popham's South-American squadron.
They made him a midshipman; but, disliking the sea, he was determined to
go to America. We had to smuggle him out of the country, on account of the
press-gang; he making his appearance on board us, suddenly, one night, in
the river.

The Sterling was short-handed this passage, mustering but four hands in a
watch. Notwithstanding, we often reefed in the watch, though Cooper and
Little Dan were both scarcely more than boys. Our mates used to go aloft,
and both were active, powerful men. The cook, too, was a famous fellow at
a drag. In these delicate times, when two or three days of watch and watch
knock up a set of young men, one looks back with pride to a passage like
this, when fourteen men and boys--four of the latter--brought a good sized
ship across the ocean, reefing in the watch, weathering many a gale, and
thinking nothing of it. I presume half our people, on a pinch, could have
brought the Sterling in. One of the boys I have mentioned was named John
Pugh, a little fellow the captain had taken as an apprentice in London,
and who was now at sea for the first time in his life.

We had a long passage. Every inch of the way to the Downs was tide-work.
Here we lay several days, waiting far a wind. It blew fresh from the
southwest-half of that summer, and the captain was not willing to go out
with a foul wind. We were surrounded with vessels of war, most of the
Channel Fleet being at anchor around us. This made a gay scene, and we had
plenty of music, and plenty of saluting. One day all hands turned-to
together, and fired starboard and larboard, until we could see nothing but
a few mast-heads. What it all meant I never heard, but it made a famous
smoke, and a tremendous noise.

A frigate came in, and anchored just ahead of us. She lowered a boat, and
sent a reefer alongside to inform us that she was His Majesty's ship----;
that she had lost all her anchors but the stream, and she might strike
adrift, and he advised us to get out of her way. The captain held on that
day, however, but next morning she came into us, sure enough. The ships
did not get clear without some trouble, and we thought it wisest to shift
our berth. Once aweigh, the captain thought it best to turn out of the
Downs, which we did, working through the Straits, and anchoring under
Dungeness, as soon as the flood made. Here we lay until near sunset, when
we got under way to try our hand upon the ebb. I believe the skipper had
made up his mind to tide it down to the Land's End, rather than remain
idle any longer. There was a sloop of war lying in-shore of us, a mile or
so, and just as we stretched out from under the land, she began to
telegraph with a signal station ashore. Soon after, she weighed, and came
out, also. In the middle watch we passed this ship, on opposite tacks, and
learned that an embargo had been laid, and that we had only saved our
distance by some ten or fifteen minutes! This embargo was to prevent the
intelligence of the Copenhagen expedition from reaching the Danes. That
very day, we passed a convoy of transports, carrying a brigade from
Pendennis Castle to Yarmouth, in order to join the main fleet. A gun-brig
brought us to, and came near pressing the Swede, under the pretence that
being allies of his king, England had a right to his services. Had not the
man been as obstinate as a bull, and positively refused to go, I do
believe we should have lost him. He was ordered into the boat at least
half-a-dozen times, but swore he would not budge. Cooper had a little row
with this boarding officer, but was silenced by the captain.

After the news received from the sloop of war, it may be supposed we did
not venture to anchor anywhere on English ground. Keeping the channel, we
passed the Isle of Wight several times, losing on the flood, the distance
made on the ebb. At length we got a slant and fetched out into the
Atlantic, heading well to the southward, however. Our passage was long,
even after we got clear, the winds carrying us down as low as Corvo, which
island we made, and then taking us well north again. We had one very heavy
blow that forced us to scud, the Sterling being one of the wettest ships
that ever floated, when heading up to the sea.

When near the American coast, we spoke an English brig that gave us an
account of the affair between the Leopard and the Chesapeake, though he
made his own countrymen come out second-best. Bitter were the revilings of
Mr. Irish when the pilot told us the real state of the case. As was usual
with this ship's luck, we tided it up the bay and river, and got safe
alongside of the wharf at Philadelphia, at last. Here our crew was broken
up, of course, and, with the exception of Jack Pugh, my brother
apprentice, and Cooper, I never saw a single soul of them afterwards. Most
of them went on to New York, and were swallowed up in the great vortex of
seamen. Mr. Irish, I heard, died the next voyage he made, chief mate of an
Indiaman. He was a prime fellow, and fit to command a ship.

Such was my first voyage at sea, for I count the passage round from
Halifax as nothing. I had been kept in the cabin, it is true, but our work
had been of the most active kind. The Sterling must have brought up, and
been got under way, between fifty and a hundred times; and as for tacking,
waring, chappelling round, and box-hauling, we had so much of it by the
channel pilots, that the old barky scarce knew which end was going
foremost. In that day, a ship did not get from the Forelands up to London
without some trouble, and great was our envy of the large blocks and light
cordage of the colliers, which made such easy work for their men. We
singled much of our rigging, the second voyage up the river, ourselves,
and it was a great relief to the people. A set of grass foresheets, too,
that we bought in Spain, got to be great favourites, though, in the end,
they cost the ship the life of a very valuable man.

Captain Johnston now determined to send me to Wiscasset, that I might go
to school. A Wiscasset schooner, called the Clarissa, had come into
Philadelphia, with freight from the West Indies, and she was about to sail
for home in ballast. I was put on board as a passenger, and we sailed
about a week after the ship got in from London. Jack Pugh staid behind,
the Sterling being about to load for Ireland. On board the Clarissa I made
the acquaintance of a Philadelphian born, who was an apprentice to the
master of the schooner, of the name of Jack Mallet. He was a little older
than myself, and we soon became intimate, and, in time, were fated to see
many strange things in company.

The Clarissa went, by the Vineyard Sound and the Shoals, into Boston. Here
she landed a few crates, and then sailed for Wiscasset, where we arrived
after a pretty long passage. I was kindly received by the mother and
family of Captain Johnston, and immediately sent to school. Shortly after,
we heard of the embargo, and, the Clarissa being laid up, Jack Mallet
became one of my school-mates. We soon learned that the Sterling had not
been able to get out, and, ere long, Jack Pugh joined our party. A little
later, Captain Johnston arrived, to go into the commercial quarantine with
the rest of us.

This was the long embargo, as sailors called it, and it did not terminate
until Erskine's arrangement was made, in 1809. All this time I remained in
Wiscasset, at school, well treated, and, if anything, too much indulged.
Captain Johnston remained at home all this time, also, and, having nothing
else to do, he set about looking out for a wife. We had, at school, Jack
Pugh, Jack Mallet, and Bill Swett, the latter being a lad a little older
than myself, and a nephew of the captain's. I was now sixteen, and had
nearly gotten my growth.

As soon as the embargo was removed, Captain Johnston, accompanied by
Swett, started for Philadelphia, to bring the ship round to New York. From
that place he intended to sail for Liverpool, where Jack Pugh and myself
were to join him, sailing in a ship called the Columbia. This plan was
changed, however, and we were sent round by sea to join the Sterling
again, in the port where I had first found her.

As this was near three years after I had quitted the Hel zer's so
unceremoniously, I went to look for them. Their old neighbours told me
they had been gone to Martinique, about a twelvemonth. This was the last
intelligence I ever heard of them. Bill Swett was now put into the cabin,
and Jack Pugh and myself were sent regularly to duty before the mast. We
lived in the steerage, and had cabin fare; but, otherwise, had the
fortunes of foremast Jacks. Our freight was wheat in the lower hold, flour
betwixt decks, and cotton on deck. The ship was very deep. Our crew was
good, but both our mates were foreigners.

Nothing occurred until we got near soundings, when it came on to blow very
heavy from the southward and westward. The ship was running under a
close-reefed main-topsail and foresail, with a tremendous sea on. Just as
night set in, one Harry, a Prussian, came on deck from his supper to
relieve the wheel, and, fetching a lurch as he went aft, he brought up
against the launch, and thence down against our grass fore-sheet, which
had been so great a favourite in the London passages. This rope had been
stretched above the deck load for a ridge rope, but, being rotten, it gave
way when the poor Prussian struck it, and he went into the sea. We could
do no more than throw him the sky-light, which was large; but the ship
went foaming ahead, leaving the poor fellow to his fate, in the midst of
the hissing waters. Some of our people thought they saw poor Harry on the
sky-light, but this could not have made much difference in such a raging
sea. It was impossible to round-to, and as for a boat's living, it was out
of the question. This was the first man I saw lost at sea, and,
notwithstanding the severity of the gale, and the danger of the ship
herself, the fate of this excellent man made us all melancholy. The
captain felt it bitterly, as was evident from his manner. Still, the thing
was unavoidable.

We had begun to shorten sail early in the afternoon, and Harry was lost in
the first dog-watch. A little later the larboard fore-sheet went, and the
sail was split. All hands were called, and the rags were rolled up, and
the gaskets passed. The ship now laboured so awfully that she began to
leak. The swell was so high that we did not dare to come by the wind, and
the seas would come in, just about the main chains, meet in board and
travel out over her bows in a way to threaten everything that could be
moved. We lads were lashed at the pumps, and ordered to keep at work; and
to make matters worse, the wheat began to work its way into the pump-well.
While things were in this state, the main-top-sail split, leaving the ship
without a rag of sail on her.

The Sterling loved to be under water, even in moderate weather. Many a
time have I seen her send the water aft, into the quarter-deck scuppers,
and, as for diving, no loon was quicker than she. Now, that she was deep
and was rolling her deck-load to the water, it was time to think of
lightening her. The cotton was thrown overboard as fast as we could, and
what the men could not start the seas did. After a while we eased the ship
sensibly, and it was well we did; the wheat choking the pumps so often,
that we had little opportunity for getting out the water.

I do not now recollect at what hour of this fearful night, Captain
Johnston shouted out to us all to "look out"--and "hold on." The ship was
broaching-to. Fortunately she did this at a lucky moment, and, always
lying-to well, though wet, we made much better weather on deck. The
mizzen-staysail was now set to keep her from falling off into the troughs
of the sea. Still the wind blew as hard as ever. First one sail, then
another, got loose, and a hard time we had to keep the canvass to the
yards. Then the fore-top-mast went, with a heavy lurch, and soon after the
main, carrying with it the mizzen-top-gallant-mast. We owed this to the
embargo, in my judgment, the ship's rigging having got damaged lying dry
so long. We were all night clearing the wreck, and the men who used the
hatchets, told us that the wind would cant their tools so violently that
they sometimes struck on the eyes, instead of the edge. The gale fairly
seemed like a hard substance.

We passed a fearful night, working at the pumps, and endeavouring to take
care of the ship. Next morning it moderated a little, and the vessel was
got before the wind, which was perfectly fair. She could carry but little
sail; though we got up top-gallant-masts for top-masts, as soon as the sea
would permit. About four, I saw the land myself and pointed it out to the
mate. It was Cape Clear, and we were heading for it as straight as we
could go. We hauled up to clear it, and ran into the Irish channel. A
large fleet of vessels had gathered in and near the chops of the channel,
in readiness to run into Liverpool by a particular day that had been named
in the law opening the trade, and great had been the destruction among
them. I do not remember the number of the ships we saw, but there must
have been more than a hundred. It was afterwards reported, that near fifty
vessels were wrecked on the Irish coast. Almost every craft we fell in
with was more or less dismasted, and one vessel, a ship called the
Liberty, was reported to have gone down, with every soul on board her.

The weather becoming moderate, all hands of us went into Liverpool, the
best way we could. The Sterling had good luck in getting up, though we lay
some time in the river before we were able to get into dock. When we got
out the cargo, we found it much damaged, particularly the wheat. The last
was so hot that we could not bear our feet among it. We got it all out in
a few days, when we went into a dry dock, and repaired.

This visit to Liverpool scattered our crew as if it had been so much dust
in a squall. Most of our men were pressed, and those that were not, ran.
But one man, us boys excepted, stuck by the ship. The chief mate--a
foreigner, though of what country I never could discover--lived at a house
kept by a handsome landlady. To oblige this lady, he ordered William Swett
and myself to carry a bucket-full of salt, each, up to her house. The salt
came out of the harness-cask, and we took it ashore openly, but we were
stopped on the quay by a custom-house officer, who threatened to seize the
ship. Such was the penalty for landing two buckets of Liverpool salt at

Captain Johnston had the matter explained, and he discharged the mate.
Next day, the discharged man and the second mate were pressed. We got the
last, who was a Swede, clear; and the chief mate, in the end, made his
escape, and found his way back to New York. Among those impressed, was
Jack Pugh, who having been bound in London, we did not dare show his
papers. The captain tried hard to get the boy clear, but without success.
I never saw poor Jack after this; though I learn he ran from the
market-boat of the guard-ship, made his way back to Wiscasset, where he
stayed some time, then shipped, and was lost at sea.

Chapter IV.

At length we got a new crew, and sailed for home. We had several
passengers on board, masters of American ships who could go back
themselves, but not carry their vessels with them, on account of certain
liberties the last had taken with the laws. These persons were called
"embargo captains." One of them, a Captain B----, kept Captain Johnston's
watch, and got so much into his confidence and favour, that he gave him
the vessel in the end. The passage home was stormy and long, but offered
nothing remarkable. A non-importation law had been passed during our
absence, and our ship was seized in New York in consequence of having a
cargo of English salt. We had taken the precaution, however, to have the
salt cleared in Liverpool, and put afloat before the day named in the law,
and got clear after a detention of two months. Salt rose so much in the
interval, that the seizure turned out to be a good thing for the owners.

While the ship was lying off the Battery, on her return from this voyage,
and before she had hauled in, a boat came alongside with a young man in
her in naval uniform. This was Cooper, who, in pulling across to go aboard
his own vessel, had recognised our mast-heads, and now came to look at us.
This was the last time I met him, until the year 1843; or, for
thirty-four years.

We now loaded with naval stores, and cleared again for Liverpool. Bill
Swett did not make this voyage with us, the cook acting as steward. We had
good passages out and home, experiencing no detention or accidents. In the
spring of 1810, Captain Johnston gave the ship to Captain B----, who
carried us to Liverpool for the third time. Nothing took place this
voyage either, worthy of being mentioned, the ship getting back in good
season. We now took in a cargo of staves for Limerick. Off the Hook we
were brought-to by the Indian sloop-of-war, one of the Halifax cruisers, a
squadron in company. Several vessels were coming out at the same time, and
among them were several of the clippers in the French trade. The Amiable
Matilda and the Colt went to windward of the Englishmen as if the last had
been at anchor; but the Tameahmeah, when nearest to the English, got her
yards locked in stays, and was captured. We saw all this, and felt, as was
natural to men who beheld such things enacted at the mouth of their own
port. Our passages both ways were pleasant, and nothing occurred out of
the usual course. I fell in with a press-gang, however, in Limerick, which
would have nabbed me, but for a party of Irishmen, who showed fight and
frightened the fellows so much that I got clear. Once before, I had been
in the hands of these vermin in Liverpool, but Captain Johnston had got me
clear by means of my indentures. I was acting as second-mate this voyage.

On our return home, the ship was ordered to Charleston to get a cargo of
yellow pine, under a contract. Captain B---- was still in command, my old
master, Captain Johnston, being then at home, occupied in building a new
ship. I never saw this kind-hearted and indulgent seaman until the year
1842, when I made a journey to Wiscasset expressly to see him. Captain
B---- and myself were never very good friends, and I was getting to be
impatient of his authority; but I still stuck by the ship.

We had an ordinary run to Charleston, and began to prepare for the
reception of our cargo. At this time, there were two French privateers on
the southern coast, that did a great deal of damage to our trade. One went
into Savannah, and got burned, for her pains; and the other came into
Charleston, and narrowly escaped the same fate. A mob collected--made a
fire-raft, and came alongside of our ship, demanding some tar. To own the
truth, though then clothed with all the dignity of a "Dicky," [5] I liked
the fun, and offered no resistance. Bill Swett had come in, in a ship
called the United States; and he was on board the Sterling, at the time,
on a visit to me. We two, off hatches, and whipped a barrel of tar on
deck; which we turned over to the raftsmen, with our hearty good wishes
for their success. All this was, legally, very wrong; but, I still think,
it was not so very far from being morally just; at least, as regards the
privateersmen. The attempt failed, however, and those implicated were
blamed a great deal more than they would have been, had they burned up the
Frenchmen's eye-bolts. It is bad to fail, in a legal undertaking; but
success is indispensable for forgiveness, to one that is illegal.

That night, Captain B---- and the chief mate, came down upon me, like a
gust, for having parted with the tar. They concluded their lecture, by
threatening to work me up. Bill Swett was by, and he got his share of the
dose. When we were left to ourselves, we held a council of war, about
future proceedings. Our crew had run, to a man, the cook excepted, as
usually happens, in Charleston; and we brought in the cook, as a
counsellor. This man told me, that he had overheard the captain and mate
laying a plan to give me a threshing, as soon as I had turned in. Bill,
now, frankly proposed that I should run, as well as himself; for he had
already left his ship; and our plan was soon laid. Bill went ashore, and
brought a boat down under the bows of the ship, and I passed my dunnage
into her, by going through the forecastle; I then left the Sterling, for
ever, never putting my foot on board of her again. I saw her, once or
twice, afterwards, at a distance, and she always looked like a sort of
home to me. She was subsequently lost, on the eastern coast, Captain
Johnston still owning her, and being actually on board her, though only as
a passenger. I had been out in her twelve times, from country to country,
besides several short runs, from port to port. She always seemed natural
to me; and I had got to know every timber and stick about her. I felt
more, in quitting this ship, than I did in quitting Halifax. This
desertion was the third great error of my life. The first was, quitting
those with whom I had been left by my father; the second, abandoning my
good friends, the Heizers; and the third, leaving the Sterling. Had
Captain Johnston been in the ship, I never should have dreamed of running.
He was always kind to me, and if he failed in justice, it was on the side
of indulgence. Had I continued with him, I make no doubt, my career would
have been very different from what it has since turned out to be; and, I
fear, I must refer one of the very bad habits, that afterwards marred my
fortunes, that of drinking too much, to this act. Still, it will be
remembered, I was only nineteen, loved adventure, and detested
Captain B----.

After this exploit, Swett and I kept housed for a week. He then got into a
ship called the President, and I into another called the Tontine, and both
sailed for New York, where we arrived within a few days of each other. We
now shipped together in a vessel called the Jane, bound to Limerick. This
was near the close of the year 1811. Our passage out was tremendously bad,
and we met with some serious accidents to our people. We were not far from
the mouth of the Irish channel when the ship broached-to, in scudding
under the foresail and main-top-sail, Bill Swett being at the helm. The
watch below ran on deck and hauled up the foresail, without orders, to
prevent the ship from going down stern foremost, the yards being square.
As the ship came-to, she took a sea in on her starboard side, which drove
poor Bill to leeward, under some water-casks and boards, beating in two of
his ribs. Both mates were injured also, and were off duty in consequence
for several weeks. The plank sheer was ripped off the vessel from aft to
amidships, as neatly as if it had been done by the carpenters. We could
look down among the timbers the same as if the vessel were on the stocks.

The men braced up the after-yards, and then the ship was lying-to under a
close-reefed main-top-sail. After this, she did well enough. We now passed
the hurt below, and got tarred canvass over the timber-heads, and managed
to keep out the water. Next day we made sail for our port. It blowing too
fresh to get a pilot, we ran into a roadstead at the mouth of the Shannon,
and anchored with both bowers. We rode out the gale, and then went up to
Limerick. Here all hands got well, and returned to duty. In due time, we
sailed for home in ballast. As we came into the Hook, we were hailed by a
gun-boat, and heard of the "Little Embargo."

The question now came up seriously between Bill and myself, what was best
to be done. I was for going to Wiscasset, like two prodigals, own our
fault, and endeavour to amend. Bill thought otherwise. Now we were cast
ashore, without employment, he thought it more manly to try and shift for
ourselves. He had an uncle who was a captain of artillery, and who was
then stationed on Governor's Island, and we took him into our councils.
This gentleman treated us kindly, and kept us with him on the island for
two days. Finding his nephew bent on doing something for himself, he gave
us a letter to Lt. Trenchard, of the navy, by whom we were both shipped
for the service. Swett got a master's-mate's berth, and I was offered the
same, but felt too much afraid of myself to accept it. I entered the navy,
then, for the first time, as a common Jack.

This was a very short time before war was declared, and a large flotilla
of gun-boats was getting ready for the New York station. Bill was put on
board of No. 112, and I was ordered to No. 107, Sailing-Master Costigan.
Soon after, we were all employed in fitting the Essex for sea; and while
thus occupied the Declaration of War actually arrived. On this occasion I
got drunk, for the second time in my life. A quantity of whiskey was
started into a tub, and all hands drank to the success of the conflict. A
little upset me, then, nor would I have drunk anything, but for the
persuasions of some of my Wiscasset acquaintances, of whom there were
several in the ship. I advise all young men, who feel no desire to drink,
to follow their own propensities, and not to yield themselves up, body and
soul, to the thoughtless persuasions of others. There is no real
good-fellowship in swilling rum and whiskey; but the taste, once acquired,
is hard to cure. I never drank much, as to quantity, but a little filled
me with the love of mischief, and that little served to press me down for
all the more valuable years of my life; valuable, as to the advancement of
my worldly interests, though I can scarcely say I began really to live, as
a creature of God's should live, to honour his name and serve his ends,
until the year 1839.

After the Essex was fitted out, the flotilla cruised in the Sound, and was
kept generally on the look-out, about the waters of New York. Towards the
end of the season, our boat, with several others, was lying abreast of
the Yard, when orders came off to meet the Yard Commander, Captain
Chauncey, on the wharf. Here, this officer addressed us, and said he was
about to proceed to Lake Ontario, to take command, and asking who would
volunteer to go with him. This was agreeable news to us, for we hated the
gun-boats, and would go anywhere to be quit of them. Every man and boy
volunteered. We got twenty-four hours' liberty, with a few dollars in
money, and when this scrape was over every man returned, and we embarked
in a sloop for Albany. Our draft contained near 140 men, and was commanded
by Mr. Mix, then a sailing-master, but who died a commander a few years
since. Messrs. Osgood and Mallaby were also with us, and two midshipmen,
viz: Messrs. Sands and Livingston. The former of these young gentlemen is
now a commander, but I do not know what became of Mr. Livingston. We had
also two master's-mates, Messrs. Bogardus and Emory.

On reaching Albany, we paid a visit to the Governor, gave him three
cheers, got some good cheer in return, and were all stowed in wagons, a
mess in each, before his door. We now took to our land tacks, and a merry
time we had of it. Our first day's run was to a place called Schenectady,
and here the officers found an empty house, and berthed us all together,
fastening the doors. This did not suit our notions of a land cruise, and
we began to grumble. There was a regular hard horse of a boatswain's-mate
with us, of the name of McNally. This man had been in the service a long
time, and was a thorough man-of-war's man. Fie had collected twenty-four
of us, whom he called his 'disciples,' and shamed am I to say, I was one.
McNally called all hands on the upper deck, as he called it, that is to
say, in the garret, and made us a speech. He said this was no way to treat
volunteers, and proposed that we should "unship the awning." We rigged
pries, and, first singing out, "stand from under," hove one half of the
roof into the street, and the other into the garden. We then gave three
cheers at our success. The officers now came down, and gave us a lecture.
But we made out so good a case, that they let us run till morning, when
every soul was back and mustered in the wagons. In this way we went
through the country, cracking our jokes, laughing, and noting all
oddities that crossed our course. I believe we were ten or twelve days
working our way through the state, to Oswego. At Onondago Lake we got into
boats, and did better than in the wagons. At a village on the lake shore,
the people were very bitter against us, and we had some difficulty. The
word went among us they were Scotch, from the Canadas, but of this I know
nothing. We heard in the morning, however, that most of our officers were
in limbo, and we crossed and marched up a hill, intending to burn, sink,
and destroy, if they were not liberated. Mischief was prevented by the
appearance of Mr. Mix, with the other gentlemen, and we pushed off without
coming to blows.

It came on to rain very hard, and we fetched up at a solitary house in the
woods, and tried to get quarters. These were denied us, and we were told
to shift for ourselves. This we did in a large barn, where we made good
stowage until morning. In the night, we caught the owner coming about with
a lantern to set fire to the barn, and we carried him down to a boat, and
lashed him there until morning, letting the rain wash all the combustible
matter out of him. That day we reached Oswego Falls, where a party of us
were stationed some time, running boats over, and carrying stores across
the portage.

When everything reached Oswego, all hands turned to, to equip some lake
craft that had been bought for the service. These were schooners, salt
droggers, of about sixty or eighty tons. All we did at Oswego, however,
was to load these vessels, some six or eight in all, and put to sea. I
went off in one of the first, a vessel called the Fair American. Having no
armaments, we sailed in the night, to avoid John Bull's cruisers, of which
there were several out at the time. As we got in with some islands, at no
great distance from Sackett's Harbour, we fell in with the Oneida's
launch, which was always kept in the offing at night, rowing, or sailing,
guard. Bill Swett was in her, and we then met for the first time on fresh
water. I now learned that Jack Mallet was on the station, too, whom I had
not fallen in with since we parted at Wiscasset, more than three years
before. A fortnight later I found him, acting as boatswain of the Julia,
Sailing-Master Trant, a craft I have every reason to remember as long as I
shall live.

The day after I reached the harbour, I was ordered on board the Scourge.
This vessel was English-built, and had been captured before the war, and
condemned, for violating the revenue laws, under the name of the Lord
Nelson, by the Oneida 16, Lt. Com. Woolsey--the only cruiser we then had
on the lake. This craft was unfit for her duty, but time pressed, and no
better offered. Bulwarks had been raised on her, and she mounted eight
sixes, in regular broadside. Her accommodations were bad enough, and she
was so tender, that we could do little or nothing with her in a blow. It
was often prognosticated that she would prove our coffin. Besides Mr.
Osgood, who was put in command of this vessel, we had Mr. Bogardus, and
Mr. Livingston, as officers. We must have had about forty-five souls on
board, all told. We did not get this schooner out that season, however.

The commodore arriving, and an expedition against Kingston being in the
wind, a party of us volunteered from the Scourge, to go on board the
Oneida. This was in November, rather a latish month for active service on
those waters. The brig went out in company with the Conquest, Hamilton,
Governor Tompkins, Port, Julia, and Growler, schooners. These last craft
were all merchantmen, mostly without quarters, and scarcely fit for the
duty on which they were employed. The Oneida was a warm little brig, of
sixteen 24 lb. carronades, but as dull as a transport. She had been built
to cross the bars of the American harbours, and would not travel
to windward.

We went off the False Ducks, where we made the Royal George, a ship the
English had built expressly to overlay the Oneida, two or three years
before, and which was big enough to eat us. Her officers, however, did not
belong to the Royal Navy; and we made such a show of schooners, that,
though she had herself a vessel or two in company, she did not choose to
wait for us. We chased her into the Bay of Quinté, and there we lost her
in the darkness. Next morning, however, we saw her at anchor in the
channel that leads to Kingston. A general chase now commenced, and we ran
down into the bay, and engaged the ship and batteries, as close as we
could well get. The firing was sharp on both sides, and it lasted a great
while. I was stationed at a gun, as her second captain, and was too busy
to see much; but I know we kept our piece speaking as fast as we could,
for a good bit. We drove the Royal George from a second anchorage, quite
up to a berth abreast of the town; and it was said that her people
actually deserted her, at one time. We gave her nothing but round-shot
from our gun, and these we gave her with all our hearts. Whenever we
noticed the shore, a stand of grape was added.

I know nothing of the damage done the enemy. We had the best of it, so far
as I could see; and I think, if the weather had not compelled us to haul
off, something serious might have been done. As it was, we beat out with
flying colours, and anchored a few miles from the light.

These were the first shot I ever saw fired in anger. Our brig had one man
killed and three wounded, and she was somewhat injured aloft. One shot
came in not far from my gun, and scattered lots of cat-tails, breaking in
the hammock-cloths. This was the nearest chance I ran, that day; and, on
the whole, I think we escaped pretty well. On our return to the harbour,
the ten Scourges who had volunteered for the cruise, returned to their own
schooner. None of us were hurt, though all of us were half frozen, the
water freezing as fast as it fell.

Shortly after both sides went into winter quarters, and both sides
commenced building. We launched a ship called the Madison, about this
time, and we laid the keel of another, that was named the Pike. What John
Bull was about is more than I can say, though the next season showed he
had not been idle. The navigation did not absolutely close,
notwithstanding, until December.

Our vessels were moored about the harbour, and we were all frozen in, as a
matter of course. Around each craft, however, a space was kept cut, to
form a sort of ditch, in order to prevent being boarded. Parties were
regularly stationed to defend the Madison, and, in the days, we worked at
her rigging, and at that of the Pike, in gangs. Our larboard guns were
landed, and placed in a block-house, while the starboard were kept
mounted. My station was that of captain of one of the guns that remained.

The winter lasted more than four months, and we made good times of it. We
often went after wood, and occasionally we knocked over a deer. We had a
target out on the lake, and this we practised on, making ourselves rather
expert cannoneers. Now and then they rowsed us out on a false alarm, but I
know of no serious attempt's being made by the enemy, to molest us.

The lake was fit to navigate about the middle of April. Somewhere about
the 20th[6] the soldiers began to embark, to the number of 1700 men. A
company came on board the Scourge, and they filled us chock-a-block. It
came on to blow, and we were obliged to keep these poor fellows, cramped
as we were, most of the time on deck, exposed to rain and storm. On the
25th we got out, rather a showy force altogether, though there was not
much service in our small craft. We had a ship, a brig, and twelve
schooners, fourteen sail in all. The next morning we were off Little York,
having sailed with a fair wind. All hands anchored about a mile from the
beach. I volunteered to go in a boat, to carry soldiers ashore. Each of us
brought across the lake two of these boats in tow, but we had lost one of
ours, dragging her after us in a staggering breeze. I got into the one
that was left, and we put half our soldiers in her, and shoved off. We had
little or no order in landing, each boat pulling as hard as she could. The
English blazed away at us, concealed in a wood, and our men fired back
again from the boat. I never was more disappointed in men, than I was in
the soldiers. They were mostly tall, pale-looking Yankees, half dead with
sickness and the bad weather--so mealy, indeed, that half of them could
not take their grog, which, by this time, I had got to think a bad sign.
As soon as they got near the enemy, however, they became wide awake,
pointed out to each other where to aim, and many of them actually jumped
into the water, in order to get the sooner ashore. No men could have
behaved better, for I confess frankly I did not like the work at all. It
is no fun to pull in under a sharp fire, with one's back to his enemy, and
nothing but an oar to amuse himself with. The shot flew pretty thick, and
two of our oars were split. This was all done with musketry, no heavy guns
being used at this place. I landed twice in this way, but the danger was
principally in the first affair. There was fighting up on the bank, but it
gave us no trouble. Mr. Livingston commanded the boat.

When we got back to the schooner, we found her lifting her anchors.
Several of the smaller craft were now ordered up the bay, to open on the
batteries nearer to the town. We were the third from the van, and we all
anchored within canister range. We heard a magazine blow up, as we stood
in, and this brought three cheers from us. We now had some sharp work with
the batteries, keeping up a steady fire. The schooner ahead of us had to
cut, and she shifted her berth outside of us. The leading schooner,
however, held on. In the midst of it all, we heard cheers down the line,
and presently we saw the commodore pulling in among us, in his gig. He
came on board us, and we greeted him with three cheers. While he was on
the quarter-deck, a hot shot struck the upper part of the after-port, cut
all the boarding-pikes adrift from the main-boom, and wounded a man named
Lemuel Bryant, who leaped from his quarters and fell at my feet. His
clothes were all on fire when he fell, and, after putting them out, the
commodore himself ordered me to pass him below. The old man spoke
encouragingly to us, and a little thing took place that drew his attention
to my crew. Two of the trucks of the gun we were fighting had been carried
away, and I determined to shift over its opposite. My crew were five
negroes, strapping fellows, and as strong as jackasses. The gun was called
the Black Joke. Shoving the disabled gun out of the way, these chaps
crossed the deck, unhooked the breechings and gun-tackles, raised the
piece from the deck, and placed it in the vacant port. The commodore
commended us, and called out, "that is quick work, my lads!" In less than
three minutes, I am certain, we were playing on the enemy with the
fresh gun.

As for the old man, he pulled through the fire as coolly as if it were
only a snow-balling scrape, though many a poor fellow lost the number of
his mess in the boats that day. When he left us, we cheered him again. He
had not left us long, before we heard an awful explosion on shore. Stones
as big as my two fists fell on board of us, though nobody was hurt by
them. We cheered, thinking some dire calamity had befallen the enemy. The
firing ceased soon after this explosion, though one English gun held on,
under the bank, for some little time.

Chapter V.

We did not know the cause of the last explosion, until after the firing
ceased. I had seen an awful black cloud, and objects in the air that I
took for men; but little did we imagine the explosion had cost us so dear.
Our schooner lay at no great distance from the common landing, and no
sooner were we certain of the success of the day, than Mr. Osgood ordered
his boat's crew called away, and he landed. As I belonged to the boat, I
had an early opportunity of entering the town.

We found the place deserted. With the exception of our own men, I found
but one living being in it. This was an old woman whom I discovered stowed
away in a potatoe locker, in the government house. I saw tables set, and
eggs in the cups, but no inhabitant. Our orders were of the most severe
kind, not to plunder, and we did not touch a morsel of food even. The
liquor, however, was too much for our poor natures, and a parcel of us had
broke bulk in a better sort of grocery, when some officers came in and
stove the casks. I made sail, and got out of the company. The army had
gone in pursuit of the enemy, with the exception of a few riflemen, who,
being now at liberty, found their way into the place.

I ought to feel ashamed, and do feel ashamed of what occurred that night;
but I must relate it, lest I feel more ashamed for concealing the truth.
We had spliced the main-brace pretty freely throughout the day, and the
pull I got in the grocery just made me ripe for mischief. When we got
aboard the schooner again, we found a canoe that had drifted athwart-hawse
and had been secured. My gun's crew, the Black Jokers, wished to have some
fun in the town, and they proposed to me to take a cruise ashore. We had
few officers on board, and the boatswain, a boat swain's mate in fact,
consented to let us leave. We all went ashore in this canoe, then, and
were soon alongside of a wharf. On landing, we were near a large store,
and looking in at a window, we saw a man sitting asleep, with a gun in the
hollow of his arm. His head was on the counter, and there was a lamp
burning. One of the blacks pitched through the window, and was on him in a
moment. The rest followed, and we made him a prisoner. The poor fellow
said he had come to look after his property, and he was told no one would
hurt him. My blacks now began to look about them, and to help themselves
to such articles as they thought they wanted. I confess I helped myself to
some tea and sugar, nor will I deny that I was in such a state as to think
the whole good fun. We carried off one canoe load, and even returned for a
second. Of course such an exploit could not have been effected without
letting all in the secret share; and one boat-load of plunder was not
enough. The negroes began to drink, however, and I was sober enough to see
the consequences, if they were left ashore any longer. Some riflemen came
in, too, and I succeeded in getting my jokers away.

The recklessness of sailors may be seen in our conduct. All we received
for our plunder was some eight or ten gallons of whiskey, when we got back
to the harbour, and this at the risk of being flogged through the fleet!
It seemed to us to be a scrape, and that was a sufficient excuse for
disobeying orders, and for committing a crime. For myself, I was
influenced more by the love of mischief, and a weak desire to have it said
I was foremost in such an exploit, than from any mercenary motive.
Notwithstanding the severity of the orders, and one or two pretty sharp
examples of punishment inflicted by the commodore, the Black Jokers were
not the only plunderers ashore that night. One master's-mate had the
buttons taken off his coat, for stealing a feather bed, besides being
obliged to carry it back again. Of course he was a shipped master's-mate.

I was ashore every day while the squadron remained in the port. Our
schooner never shifted her berth from the last one she occupied in the
battle, and that was pretty well up the bay. I paid a visit to the gun
that had troubled us all so much, and which we could not silence, for it
was under a bank, near the landing-place. It was a long French eighteen,
and did better service, that day, than any other piece of John Bull's. I
think it hulled us several times.

I walked over the ground where the explosion took place. It was a dreadful
sight; the dead being so mutilated that it was scarcely possible to tell
their colour. I saw gun-barrels bent nearly double. I think we saw Sir
Roger Sheafe, the British General, galloping across the field, by himself,
a few minutes before the explosion. At all events, we saw a mounted
officer, and fired at him. He galloped up to the government-house,
dismounted, went in, remained a short time, and then galloped out of town.
All this I saw; and the old woman in the potato-locker told me the general
had been in the house a short time before we landed. Her account agreed
with the appearance of the officer I saw; though I will not pretend to be
certain it was General Sheafe.

I ought to mention the kindness of the commodore to the poor of York. As
most of the inhabitants came back to their habitations the next day, the
poor were suffering for food. Our men were ordered to roll barrels of salt
meat and barrels of bread to their doors, from the government stores that
fell into our hands. We captured an immense amount of these stores, a
portion of which we carried away. We sunk many guns in the lake; and as
for the powder, _that_ had taken care of itself. Among other things we
took, was the body of an English officer, preserved in rum, which, they
said, was General Brock's. I saw it hoisted out of the Duke of Gloucester,
the man-of-war brig we captured, at Sackett's Harbour, and saw the body
put in a fresh cask. I am ashamed to say, that some of our men were
inclined to drink the old rum.

We burned a large corvette, that was nearly ready for launching, and
otherwise did the enemy a good deal of harm. The inhabitants that returned
were very submissive, and thankful for what they received. As for the man
of the red store, I never saw him after the night he was plundered, nor
was anything ever said of the scrape.

Our troops had lost near three hundred men in the attack, the wounded
included; and as a great many of these green soldiers were now sick from
exposure, the army was much reduced in force. We took the troops on board
on the 1st of May, but could not sail, on account of a gale, until the
8th, which made the matter worse. Then we got under way, and crossed the
lake, landing the soldiers a few miles to the eastward of Fort Niagara.
Our schooner now went to the Harbour, along with the commodore, though
some of the craft remained near the head of the lake. Here we took in
another lot of soldiers, placed two more large batteaux in tow, and sailed
for the army again. We had good passages both ways, and this duty was done
within a few days. While at the Harbour, I got a message to go and visit
Bill Swett, but the poor fellow died without my being able to see him. I
heard he was hurt at York, but never could come at the truth.

On the 27th May, the army got into the batteaux, formed in two divisions,
and commenced pulling towards the mouth of the Niagara. The morning was
foggy, with a light wind, and the vessels getting under way, kept company
with the boats, a little outside of them. The schooners were closest in,
and some of them opened on Fort George, while others kept along the coast,
scouring the shore with grape and canister as they moved ahead. The
Scourge came to an anchor a short distance above the place selected for
the landing, and sprung her broadside to the shore. We now kept up a
steady fire with grape and canister, until the boats had got in-shore and
were engaged with the enemy, when we threw round-shot, over the heads of
our own men, upon the English. As soon as Colonel Scott was ashore, we
sprung our broadside upon a two-gun battery that had been pretty busy, and
we silenced that among us. This affair, for our craft, was nothing like
that of York, though I was told the vessels nearer the river had warmer
berths of it. We had no one hurt, though we were hulled once or twice. A
little rigging was cut; but we set this down as light work compared to
what the old Black Joke had seen that day month. There was a little sharp
fighting ashore, but our men were too strong for the enemy, when they
could fairly get their feet on solid ground.

Just after we had anchored, Mr. Bogardus was sent aloft to ascertain if
any enemy were to be seen. At first he found nobody; but, after a little
while, he called out to have my gun fired at a little thicket of
brushwood that lay on an inclined plain, near the water. Mr. Osgood came
and elevated the gun, and I touched it off. We had been looking out for
the blink of muskets, which was one certain guide to find a soldier; and
the moment we sent this grist of grape and canister into those bushes, the
place lighted up as if a thousand muskets were there. We then gave the
chaps the remainder of our broadside. We peppered that wood well, and did
a good deal of harm to the troops stationed at the place.

The wind blew on shore, and began to increase; and the commodore now threw
out a signal for the boats to land, to take care of the batteaux that were
thumping on the beach, and then for their crews to assist in taking care
of the wounded. Of course I went in my own boat, Mr. Bogardus having
charge of her. We left the schooner, just as we quitted our guns, black
with powder, in our shirts and trowsers, though we took the precaution to
carry our boarding-belts, with a brace of pistols each, and a cutlass. On
landing, we first hauled up the boats, taking some dead and wounded men
out of them, and laying them on the beach.

We were now ordered to divide ourselves into groups of three, and go over
the ground, pick up the wounded, and carry them to a large house that had
been selected as a hospital. My party consisted of Bill Southard, Simeon
Grant, and myself, we being messmates. The first man we fell in with, was
a young English soldier, who was seated on the bank, quite near the lake.
He was badly hurt, and sat leaning his head on his hands. He begged for
water, and I took his cap down to the lake and filled it, giving him a
drink; then washing his face. This revived him, and he offered us his
canteen, in which was some excellent Jamaica. To us chaps, who got nothing
better than whiskey, this was a rare treat, and we emptied the remainder
of his half pint, at a pull apiece. After tapping this rum, we carried
the poor lad up to the house, and turned him over to the doctors. We found
the rooms filled with wounded already, and the American and English
doctors hard at work on them.

As we left the hospital, we agreed to get a canteen apiece, and go round
among the dead, and fill them with Jamaica. When our canteens were about a
third full, we came upon a young American rifleman, who was lying under
an appletree. He was hit in the head, and was in a very bad way. We were
all three much struck with the appearance of this young man, and I now
remember him as one of the handsomest youths I had ever seen. His wound
did not bleed, though I thought the brains were oozing out, and I felt so
much sympathy for him, that I washed his hurt with the rum. I fear I did
him harm, but my motive was good. Bill Southard ran to find a surgeon, of
whom several were operating out on the field. The young man kept saying
"no use," and he mentioned "father and mother," "Vermont." He even gave me
the names of his parents, but I was too much in the wind, from the use of
rum, to remember them. We might have been half an hour with this young
rifleman, busy on him most of the time, when he murmured a few words, gave
me one of the sweetest smiles I ever saw on a man's face, and made no more
signs of life. I kept at work, notwithstanding, until Bill got back with
the doctor. The latter cast an eye on the rifleman, pronounced him dead,
and coolly walked away.

There was a bridge, in a sort of a swamp, that we had fired on for some
time, and we now moved down to it, just to see what we had done. We found
a good many dead, and several horses in the mire, but no wounded. We kept
emptying canteens, as we went along, until our own would hold no more. On
our return from the bridge, we went to a brook in order to mix some grog,
and then we got a full view of the offing. Not a craft was to be seen!
Everything had weighed and disappeared. This discovery knocked us all
aback, and we were quite at a loss how to proceed. We agreed, however, to
pass through a bit of woods, and get into the town, it being now quite
late in the day. There we knew we should find the army, and might get
tidings of the fleet. The battle-ground was now nearly deserted, and to
own the truth we were, all three, at least two sheets in the wind. Still I
remember everything, for my stomach would never allow me to get beastly
drunk; it rejecting any very great quantity of liquor. As we went through
the wood, open pine trees, we came across an officer lying dead, with one
leg over his horse, which was dead also. I went up to the body, turned it
over, and examined it for a canteen, but found none. We made a few idle
remarks, and proceeded.

In quitting the place, I led the party; and, as we went through a little
thicket, I heard female voices. This startled me a little; and, on looking
round, I saw a white female dress, belonging to a person who was evidently
endeavouring to conceal herself from us. I was now alone, and walked up to
the women, when I found two; one, a lady, in dress and manner, and the
other a person that I have always supposed was her servant. The first was
in white; the last in a dark calico. They were both under thirty, judging
from their looks; and the lady was exceedingly well-looking They were much
alarmed; and, as I came up, the lady asked me if I would hurt her. I told
her no; and that no person should harm her, while she remained with us.
This relieved her, and she was able to give an account of her errand on
the field of battle. Our looks, half intoxicated, and begrimed with the
smoke of a battle, as we were, certainly were enough to alarm her; but I
do not think one of the three would have hesitated about fighting for a
female, that they thus found weeping, in this manner, in the open field.
The maid was crying also. Simeon Grant, and Southard, did make use of some
improper language, at first; but I brought them up, and they said they
were sorry, and would go all lengths, with me, to protect the women. The
fact was, these men supposed we had fallen in with common camp followers;
but I had seen too much of officers' wives, in my boyhood, not to know
that this was one.

The lady then told her story. She had just come from Kingston, to join her
husband; having arrived but a few hours before. She did not see her
husband, but she had heard he was left wounded on the field; and she had
come out in the hope of finding him. She then described him, as an officer
mounted, with a particular dress, and inquired if we had met with any such
person, on the field. We told her of the horseman we had just left; and
led her back to the spot. The moment the lady saw the body, she threw
herself on it, and began to weep and mourn over it, in a very touching
manner. The maid, too, was almost as bad as the mistress. We were all so
much affected, in spite of the rum, that, I believe, all three of us shed
tears. We said all we could, to console her, and swore we would stand by
her until she was safe back among her friends.

It was a good bit before we could persuade the lady to quit her husband's
body. She took a miniature from his neck, and I drew his purse and watch
from him and handed them to her. She wanted me to keep the purse, but this
we all three refused, up and down. We had hauled our manly tacks aboard,
and had no thoughts of plunder. Even the maid urged us to keep the money,
but we would have nothing to do with it. I shall freely own my faults; I
hope I shall be believed when I relate facts that show I am not altogether
without proper feelings.

The officer had been hit somewhere about the hip, and the horse must have
been killed by another grape-shot, fired from the same gun. We laid the
body of the first over in such a manner as to get a good look at him, but
we did not draw the leg from under the horse.[7]

When we succeeded in persuading the lady to quit her husband's body, we
shaped our course for the light-house. Glad were we three tars to see the
mast-heads of the shipping in the river, as we came near the banks of the
Niagara. The house at the light was empty; but, on my hailing, a woman's
voice answered from the cellar. It was an old woman who had taken shelter
from shot down in the hold, the rest of the family having slipped and run.
We now got some milk for the lady, who continued in tears most of the
time. Sometimes she would knock off crying for a bit, when she seemed to
have some distrust of us; but, on the whole, we made very good weather in
company. After staying about half an hour at the light-house, we left it
for the town, my advice to the lady being to put herself under the
protection of some of our officers. I told her if the news of what had
happened reached the commodore, she might depend on her husband's being
buried with the honours of war, and said such other things to comfort her
as came to the mind of a man who had been sailing so near the wind.

I forgot to relate one part of the adventure. Before we had got fairly
clear of the woods, we fell in with four of Forsyth's men, notoriously the
wickedest corps in the army. These fellows began to crack their jokes at
the expense of the two females, and we came near having a brush with them.
When we spoke of our pistols, and of our determination to use them, before
we would let our convoy come to harm, these chaps laughed at our pop-guns,
and told us they had such things as 'rifles.' This was true enough, and
had we come to broadsides, I make no doubt they would have knocked us over
like so many snipes. I began to reason with them, on the impropriety of
offending respectable females; and one of the fellows, who was a kind of
corporal, or something of that sort, shook my hand, said I was right, and
offered to be friends. So we spliced the main-brace, and parted. Glad
enough was the lady to be rid of them so easily. In these squalls she
would bring up in her tears, and then when all went smooth again, she
would break out afresh.

After quitting the light, we made the best of our way for the town. Just
as we reached it, we fell in with a party of soldier-officers, and we
turned the lady and her woman over to their care. These gentlemen said a
good word in our favour, and here we parted company with our convoy, never
hearing, or seeing, anything of either afterwards.

By this time it was near dark, and Bill Southard and I began to look out
for the Scourge. She was anchored in the river, with the rest of the
fleet, and we went down upon a wharf to make a signal for a boat. On the
way we saw a woman crying before a watch-maker's shop, and a party of
Forsyth's close by. On enquiry, we learned these fellows had threatened to
rob her shop. We had been such defenders of the sex, that we could not
think of deserting this woman, and we swore we would stand by her, too. We
should have had a skirmish here, I do believe, had not one or two rifle
officers hove in sight, when the whole party made sail from us. We turned
the woman over to these gentlemen, who said, "ay, there are some of our
vagabonds, again." One of them said it would be better to call in their
parties, and before we reached the water we heard the bugle sounding
the recall.

They had given us up on board the schooner. A report of some Indians being
out had reached her, and we three were set down as scalped. Thank God,
I've got all the hair on my head yet, and battered as my old hulk has got
to be, and shattered as are my timbers, it is as black as a raven's wing
at this moment. This, my old shipmate, who is logging this yarn, says he


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