Ned Myers
James Fenimore Cooper

Part 2 out of 5

thinks is a proof my mother was a French Canadian, though such is not the
fact, as it has been told to me.

Those riflemen were regular scamps. Just before we went down to the wharf,
we saw one walking sentinel before the door of a sort of barracks. On
drawing near and asking what was going on inside, we were told we had
nothing to do with their fun ashore, that we might look in at a window,
however, but should not go in. We took him at his word; a merry scene it
was inside. The English officers' dunnage had been broken into, and there
was a party of the corps strutting about in uniform coats and feathers. We
thought it best to give these dare-devils a berth, and so we left them.
One was never safe with them on the field of battle, friend or enemy.

We met a large party of marines on the wharf, marching up under Major
Smith. They were going to protect the people of the town from further
mischief. Mr. Osgood was glad enough to see us, and we got plenty of
praise for what we had done with the women. As for the canteens, we had to
empty them, after treating the crew of the boat that was sent to take us
off. I did not enter the town after that night.

We lay some time in the Niagara, the commodore going to the harbour to get
the Pike ready. Captain Crane took the rest of us off Kingston, where we
were joined by the commodore, and made sail again for the Niagara. Here
Colonel Scott embarked with a body of troops, and we went to Burlington
Bay to carry the heights. They were found to be too strong; and the men,
after landing, returned to the vessels. We then went to York, again, and
took possession of the place a second time. Here we destroyed several
boats, and stores, set fire to the barracks, and did the enemy a good deal
of damage otherwise; after which we left the place. Two or three days
later we crossed the lake and landed the soldiers, again, at Fort Niagara.

Early in August, while we were still in the river, Sir James Yeo hove in
sight with two ships, two brigs, and two schooners. We had thirteen sail
in all, such as they were, and immediately got under way, and manoeuvred
for the weather-gauge. All the enemy's vessels had regular quarters, and
the ships were stout craft. Our squadron sailed very unequally, some being
pretty fast, and others as dull as droggers. Nor were we more than half
fitted out. On board the Scourge the only square-sail we had, was made out
of an English marquée we had laid our hands on at York, the first time we
were there. I ought to say, too, that we got two small brass guns at York,
four-pounders, I believe, which Mr. Osgood clapped into our two spare
ports forward. This gave us ten guns in all, sixes and fours. I remember
that Jack Mallet laughed at us heartily for the fuss we made with our
pop-guns, as he called them, while we were working upon the English
batteries, saying we might just as well have spared our powder, as for any
good we did. He belonged to the Julia, which had a long thirty-two,
forward, which they called the "Old Sow," and one smart eighteen aft. She
had two sixes in her waist, also; but _they_ disdained to use _them_.

While we were up at the harbour, the last time, Mr. Mix who had married a
sister of Mr. Osgood, took a party of us in a boat, and we went up Black
River, shooting. The two gentlemen landed, and as we were coming down the
river, we saw something swimming, which proved to be a bear. We had no
arms, but we pulled over the beast, and had a regular squaw-fight with
him. We were an hour at work with this animal, the fellow coming very near
mastering us. I struck at his nose with an iron tiller fifty times, but he
warded the blow like a boxer. He broke our boat-hook, and once or twice,
he came near boarding us. At length a wood-boat gave us an axe, and with
this we killed him. Mr. Osgood had this bear skinned, and said he should
send the skin to his family, If he did, it must have been one of the last
memorials it ever got from him.

Chapter VI.

I left the two fleets manoeuvring for the wind, in the last chapter. About
nine o'clock, the Pike got abeam of the Wolfe, Sir James Yeo's own ship,
hoisted her ensign, and fired a few guns to try the range of her shot. The
distance was too great to engage. At this time our sternmost vessels were
two leagues off, and the commodore wore round, and hauled up on the other
tack. The enemy did the same but, perceiving that our leading ships were
likely to weather on him, he tacked, and hauled off to the northward. We
stood on in pursuit, tacking too; but the wind soon fell, and about sunset
it was quite calm.

Throughout the day, the Scourge had as much as she could do to keep
anywhere near her station. As for the old Oneida, she could not be kept
within a long distance of her proper berth. We were sweeping, at odd
times, for hours that day. Towards evening, all the light craft were doing
the same, to close with the commodore. Our object was to get together,
lest the enemy should cut off some of our small vessels during the night.

Before dark the whole line was formed again, with the exception of the
Oneida, which was still astern, towing. She ought to have been near the
commodore, but could not get there. A little before sunset, Mr. Osgood
ordered us to pull in our sweeps, and to take a spell. It was a lovely
evening, not a cloud visible, and the lake being as smooth as a
looking-glass. The English fleet was but a short distance to the northward
of us; so near, indeed, that we could almost count their ports. They were
becalmed, like ourselves, and a little scattered.

We took in our sweeps as ordered, laying them athwart the deck, in
readiness to be used when wanted. The vessels ahead and astern of us were,
generally, within speaking distance. Just as the sun went below the
horizon, George Turnblatt, a Swede, who was our gunner, came to me, and
said he thought we ought to secure our guns; for we had been cleared for
action all day, and the crew at quarters. We were still at quarters, in
name; but the petty officers were allowed to move about, and as much
license was given to the people as was wanted. I answered that I would
gladly secure mine if he would get an order for it; but as we were still
at quarters, and there lay John Bull, we might get a slap at him in the
night. On this the gunner said he would go aft, and speak to Mr. Osgood on
the subject. He did so, but met the captain (as we always called Mr.
Osgood) at the break of the quarter-deck. When George had told his errand,
the captain looked at the heavens, and remarked that the night was so
calm, there could be no great use in securing the guns, and the English
were so near we should certainly engage, if there came a breeze; that the
men would sleep at their quarters, of course, and would be ready to take
care of their guns; but that he might catch a turn with the
side-tackle-falls around the pommelions of the guns, which would be
sufficient. He then ordered the boatswain to call all hands aft, to the
break of the quarter-deck.

As soon as the people had collected, Mr. Osgood said--"You must be pretty
well fagged out, men; I think we may have a hard night's work, yet, and I
wish you to get your suppers, and then catch as much sleep as you can, at
your guns." He then ordered the purser's steward to splice the main-brace.
These were the last words I ever heard from Mr. Osgood. As soon as he
gave the order, he went below leaving the deck in charge of Mr. Bogardus.
All our old crew were on board but Mr. Livingston, who had left us, and
Simeon Grant, one of my companions in the cruise over the battle-ground at
Fort George. Grant had cut his hand off, in a saw-mill, while we were last
at the Harbour, and had been left behind in the hospital. There was a
pilot on board, who used to keep a look-out occasionally, and sometimes
the boatswain had the watch.

The schooner, at this time, was under her mainsail, jib, and
fore-top-sail. The foresail was brailed, and the foot stopped, and the
flying-jib was stowed. None of the halyards were racked, nor sheets
stoppered. This was a precaution we always took, on account of the craft's
being so tender.

We first spliced the main-brace and then got our suppers, eating between
the guns, where we generally messed, indeed. One of my messmates, Tom
Goldsmith, was captain of the gun next to me, and as we sat there
finishing our suppers, I says to him, "Tom, bring up that rug that you
pinned at Little York, and that will do for both of us to stow ourselves
away under." Tom went down and got the rug, which was an article for the
camp that he had laid hands on, and it made us a capital bed-quilt. As all
hands were pretty well tired, we lay down, with our heads on shot-boxes,
and soon went to sleep.

In speaking of the canvass that was set, I ought to have said something of
the state of our decks. The guns had the side-tackles fastened as I have
mentioned. There was a box of canister, and another of grape, at each gun,
besides extra stands of both, under the shot-racks. There was also one
grummet of round-shot at every gun, besides the racks being filled. Each
gun's crew slept at the gun and its opposite, thus dividing the people
pretty equally on both sides of the deck. Those who were stationed below,
slept below. I think it probable that, as the night grew cool, as it
always does on the fresh waters, some of the men stole below to get warmer
berths. This was easily done in that craft, as we had but two regular
officers on board, the acting boatswain and gunner being little more than
two of ourselves.

I was soon asleep, as sound as if lying in the bed of a king. How long my
nap lasted, or what took place in the interval, I cannot say. I awoke,
however, in consequence of large drops of rain falling on my face. Tom
Goldsmith awoke at the same moment. When I opened my eyes, it was so dark
I could not see the length of the deck. I arose and spoke to Tom, telling
him it was about to rain, and that I meant to go down and get a nip, out
of a little stuff we kept in our mess-chest, and that I would bring up the
bottle if he wanted a taste. Tom answered, "this is nothing; we're neither
pepper nor salt." One of the black men spoke, and asked me to bring up the
bottle, and give him a nip, too. All this took half a minute, perhaps. I
now remember to have heard a strange rushing noise to windward as I went
towards the forward hatch, though it made no impression on me at the time.
We had been lying between the starboard guns, which was the weather side
of the vessel, if there were any weather side to it, there not being a
breath of air, and no motion to the water, and I passed round to the
larboard side, in order to find the ladder, which led up in that
direction. The hatch was so small that two men could not pass at a time,
and I felt my way to it, in no haste. One hand was on the bitts, and a
foot was on the ladder, when a flash of lightning almost blinded me. The
thunder came at the next instant, and with it a rushing of winds that
fairly smothered the clap.

The instant I was aware there was a squall, I sprang for the jib-sheet.
Being captain of the forecastle, I knew where to find it, and throw it
loose at a jerk. In doing this, I jumped on a man named Leonard Lewis, and
called on him to lend me a hand. I next let fly the larboard, or lee
top-sail-sheet, got hold of the clew-line, and, assisted by Lewis, got the
clew half up. All this time I kept shouting to the man at the wheel to put
his helm "hard down." The water was now up to my breast, and I knew the
schooner must go over. Lewis had not said a word, but I called out to him
to shift for himself, and belaying the clew-line, in hauling myself
forward of the foremast, I received a blow from the jib-sheet that came
near breaking my left arm. I did not feel the effect of this blow at the
time, though the arm has since been operated on, to extract a tumour
produced by this very injury.

All this occupied less than a minute. The flashes of lightning were
incessant, and nearly blinded me. Our decks seemed on fire, and yet I
could see nothing. I heard no hail, no order, no call; but the schooner
was filled with the shrieks and cries of the men to leeward, who were
lying jammed under the guns, shot-boxes, shot, and other heavy things that
had gone down as the vessel fell over. The starboard second gun, from
forward, had capsized, and come down directly over the forward hatch, and
I caught a glimpse of a man struggling to get past it. Apprehension of
this gun had induced me to drag myself forward of the mast, where I
received the blow mentioned.

I succeeded in hauling myself up to windward, and in getting into the
schooner's fore-channels. Here I met William Deer, the boatswain, and a
black boy of the name of Philips, who was the powder-boy of our gun.
"Deer, she's gone!" I said. The boatswain made no answer, but walked out
on the fore-rigging, towards the mast-head. He probably had some vague
notion that the schooner's masts would be out of water if she went down,
and took this course as the safest. The boy was in the chains the last I
saw of him.

I now crawled aft, on the upper side of the bulwarks, amid a most awful
and infernal din of thunder, and shrieks, and dazzling flashes of
lightning; the wind blowing all the while like a tornado. When I reached
the port of my own gun, I put a foot in, thinking to step on the muzzle of
the piece; but it had gone to leeward with all the rest, and I fell
through the port, until I brought up with my arms. I struggled up again,
and continued working my way aft. As I got abreast of the main-mast, I saw
some one had let run the halyards. I soon reached the beckets of the
sweeps, and found four in them. I could not swim a stroke, and it crossed
my mind to get one of the sweeps to keep me afloat. In striving to jerk
the becket clear, it parted, and the forward ends of the four sweeps
rolled down the schooner's side into the water. This caused the other ends
to slide, and all the sweeps got away from me. I then crawled quite aft,
as far as the fashion-piece. The water was pouring down the cabin
companion-way like a sluice; and as I stood, for an instant, on the
fashion-piece, I saw Mr. Osgood, with his head and part of his shoulders
through one of the cabin windows, struggling to get out. He must have been
within six feet of me. I saw him but a moment, by means of a flash of
lightning, and I think he must have seen me. At the same time, there was a
man visible on the end of the main-boom, holding on by the clew of the
sail. I do not know who it was. This man probably saw me, and that I was
about to spring; for he called out, "Don't jump overboard!--don't jump
overboard! The schooner is righting."

I was not in a state of mind to reflect much on anything. I do not think
more than three or four minutes, if as many, had passed since the squall
struck us, and there I was standing on the vessel's quarter, led by
Providence more than by any discretion of my own. It now came across me
that if the schooner should right she was filled, and must go down, and
that she might carry me with her in the suction. I made a spring,
therefore, and fell into the water several feet from the place where I had
stood. It is my opinion the schooner sunk as I left her. I went down some
distance myself, and when I came up to the surface, I began to swim
vigorously for the first time in my life. I think I swam several yards,
but of course will not pretend to be certain of such a thing, at such a
moment, until I felt my hand hit something hard. I made another stroke,
and felt my hand pass down the side of an object that I knew at once was a
clincher-built boat. I belonged to this boat, and I now recollected that
she had been towing astern. Until that instant I had not thought of her,
but thus was I led in the dark to the best possible means of saving my
life. I made a grab at the gunwale, and caught it in the stern-sheets. Had
I swum another yard, I should have passed the boat, and missed her
altogether! I got in without any difficulty, being all alive and
much excited.

My first look was for the schooner. She had disappeared, and I supposed
she was just settling under water. It rained as if the flood-gates of
heaven were opened, and it lightened awfully. It did not seem to me that
there was a breath of air, and the water was unruffled, the effects of the
rain excepted. All this I saw, as it might be, at a glance. But my chief
concern was to preserve my own life. I was cockswain of this very boat,
and had made it fast to this taffrail that same afternoon, with a round
turn and two half-hitches, by its best painter. Of course I expected the
vessel would drag the boat down with her, for I had no knife to cut the
painter. There was a gang-board in the boat, however, which lay fore and
aft, and I thought this might keep me afloat until some of the fleet
should pick me up. To clear this gang-board, then, and get it into the
water, was my first object. I ran forward to throw off the lazy-painter
that was coiled on its end, and in doing this I caught the boat's painter
in my hand, by accident. A pull satisfied me that it was all clear! Some
one on board must have cast off this painter, and then lost his chance of
getting into the boat by an accident. At all events, I was safe, and I now
dared to look about me.

My only chance of seeing, was during the flashes; and these left me almost
blind. I had thrown the gang-board into the water, and I now called out to
encourage the men, telling them I was in the boat. I could hear many
around me, and, occasionally, I saw the heads of men, struggling in the
lake. There being no proper place to scull in, I got an oar in the after
rullock, and made out to scull a little, in that fashion. I now saw a man
quite near the boat; and, hauling in the oar, made a spring amidships,
catching this poor fellow by the collar. He was very near gone; and I had
a great deal of difficulty in getting him in over the gunwale. Our joint
weight brought the boat down, so low, that she shipped a good deal of
water. This turned out to be Leonard Lewis, the young man who had helped
me to clew up the fore-topsail. He could not stand, and spoke with
difficulty. I asked him to crawl aft, out of the water; which he did,
lying down in the stern-sheets.

I now looked about me, and heard another; leaning over the gunwale, I got
a glimpse of a man, struggling, quite near the boat. I caught him by the
collar, too; and had to drag him in very much in the way I had done with
Lewis. This proved to be Lemuel Bryant, the man who had been wounded by a
hot shot, at York, as already mentioned while the commodore was on board
us. His wound had not yet healed, but he was less exhausted than Lewis. He
could not help me, however, lying down in the bottom of the boat, the
instant he was able.

For a few moments, I now heard no more in the water; and I began to scull
again. By my calculation, I moved a few yards, and must have got over the
spot where the schooner went down. Here, in the flashes, I saw many heads,
the men swimming in confusion, and at random. By this time, little was
said, the whole scene being one of fearful struggling and frightful
silence. It still rained; but the flashes were less frequent, and less
fierce. They told me, afterwards, in the squadron, that it thundered
awfully; but I cannot say I heard a clap, after I struck the water. The
next man caught the boat himself. It was a mulatto, from Martinique, who
was Mr. Osgood's steward; and I helped him in. He was much exhausted,
though an excellent swimmer; but alarm nearly deprived him of his
strength. He kept saying, "Oh! Masser Ned--Oh! Masser Ned!" and lay down
in the bottom of the boat, like the two others; I taking care to shove him
over to the larboard side, so as to trim our small craft.

I kept calling out, to encourage the swimmers, and presently I heard a
voice, saying, "Ned, I'm here, close by you." This was Tom Goldsmith, a
messmate, and the very man under whose rug I had been sleeping, at
quarters. He did not want much help, getting in, pretty much, by himself.
I asked him, if he were able to help me. "Yes, Ned," he answered, "I'll
stand by you to the last; what shall I do?" I told him to take his
tarpaulin, and to bail the boat, which, by this time, was a third full of
water. This he did, while I sculled a little ahead. "Ned," says Tom,
"she's gone down with her colours flying, for her pennant came near
getting a round turn about my body, and carrying me down with her. Davy
has made a good haul, and he gave us a close shave; but he didn't get you
and me." In this manner did this thoughtless sailor express himself, as
soon as rescued from the grasp of death! Seeing something on the water, I
asked Tom to take my oar, while I sprang to the gunwale, and caught Mr.
Bogardus, the master's mate, who was clinging to one of the sweeps. I
hauled him in, and he told me, he thought, some one had hold of the other
end of the sweep. It was so dark, however, we could not see even that
distance. I hauled the sweep along, until I found Ebenezer Duffy, a
mulatto, and the ship's cook. He could not swim a stroke; and was nearly
gone. I got him in, alone, Tom bailing, lest the boat, which was quite
small, should swamp with us.

As the boat drifted along, she reached another man, whom I caught also by
the collar. I was afraid to haul this person in amidships, the boat being
now so deep, and so small, and so I dragged him ahead, and hauled him in
over the bows. This was the pilot, whose name I never knew. He was a
lake-man, and had been aboard us the whole summer. The poor fellow was
almost gone, and like all the rest, with the exception of Tom, he lay down
and said not a word.

We had now as many in the boat as it would carry, and Tom and myself
thought it would not do to take in any more. It is true, we saw no more,
everything around us appearing still as death, the pattering of the rain
excepted. Tom began to bail again, and I commenced hallooing. I sculled
about several minutes, thinking of giving others a tow, or of even hauling
in one or two more, after we got the water out of the boat; but we found
no one else. I think it probable I sculled away from the spot, as there
was nothing to guide me. I suppose, however, that by this time, all the
Scourges had gone down, for no more were ever heard from.

Tom Goldsmith and myself now put our heads together as to what was best to
be done. We were both afraid of falling into the enemy's hands, for, they
might have bore up in the squall, and run down near us. On the whole,
however, we thought the distance between the two squadrons was too great
for this; at all events, something must be done at once. So we began to
row, in what direction even we did not know. It still rained as hard as it
could pour, though there was not a breath of wind. The lightning came now
at considerable intervals, and the gust was evidently passing away towards
the broader parts of the lake. While we were rowing and talking about our
chance of falling in with the enemy, Tom cried out to me to
"avast-pulling." He had seen a vessel, by a flash, and he thought she was
English, from her size. As he said she was a schooner, however, I thought
it must be one of our own craft, and got her direction from him. At the
next flash I saw her, and felt satisfied she belonged to us. Before we
began to pull, however, we were hailed "boat ahoy!" I answered. "If you
pull another stroke, I'll fire into you"--came back--"what boat's that?
Lay on your oars, or I'll fire into you." It was clear we were mistaken
ourselves for an enemy, and I called out to know what schooner it was. No
answer was given, though the threat to fire was repeated, if we pulled
another stroke. I now turned to Tom and said, "I know that voice--that is
old Trant." Tom thought "we were in the wrong shop." I now sung out, "This
is the Scourge's boat--our schooner has gone down, and we want to come
alongside." A voice next called from the schooner--"Is that you, Ned?"
This I knew was my old shipmate and school-fellow, Jack Mallet, who was
acting as boatswain of the Julia, the schooner commanded by sailing-master
James Trant, one of the oddities of the service, and a man with whom the
blow often came as soon as the word. I had known Mr. Trant's voice, and
felt more afraid he would fire into us, than I had done of anything which
had occurred that fearful night. Mr. Trant, himself now called
out--"Oh-ho; give way, boys, and come alongside." This we did, and a very
few strokes took us up to the Julia, where we were received with the
utmost kindness. The men were passed out of the boat, while I gave Mr.
Trant an account of all that had happened. This took but a minute or two.

Mr. Trant now inquired in what direction the Scourge had gone down, and,
as soon as I had told him, in the best manner I could, he called out to
Jack Mallet--"Oh-ho, Mallet--take four hands, and go in the boat and see
what you can do--take a lantern, and I will show a light on the water's
edge, so you may know me." Mallet did as ordered, and was off in less than
three minutes after we got alongside. Mr. Trant, who was much humoured,
had no officer in the Julia, unless Mallet could be called one. He was an
Irishman by birth, but had been in the American navy ever since the
revolution, dying a lieutenant, a few years after this war. Perhaps no man
in the navy was more generally known, or excited more amusement by his
oddities, or more respect for his courage. He had come on the lake with
the commodore, with whom he was a great pet, and had been active in all
the fights and affairs that had yet taken place. His religion was to hate
an Englishman.

Mr. Trant now called the Scourges aft, and asked more of the particulars.
He then gave us a glass of grog all round, and made his own crew splice
the main-brace. The Julias now offered us dry clothes. I got a change from
Jack Reilly, who had been an old messmate, and with whom I had always been
on good terms. It knocked off raining, but we shifted ourselves at the
galley fire below. I then went on deck, and presently we heard the boat
pulling back. It soon came alongside, bringing in it four more men that
had been found floating about on sweeps and gratings. On inquiry, it
turned out that these men belonged to the Hamilton, Lt. Winter--a schooner
that had gone down in the same squall that carried us over. These men were
very much exhausted, too, and we all went below, and were told to turn in.

I had been so much excited during the scenes through which I had just
passed, and had been so much stimulated by grog, that, as yet, I had not
felt much of the depression natural to such events. I even slept soundly
that night, nor did I turn out until six the next morning.

When I got on deck, there was a fine breeze; it was a lovely day, and the
lake was perfectly smooth. Our fleet was in a good line, in pretty close
order, with the exception of the Governor Tompkins, Lieutenant Tom Brown,
which was a little to leeward, but carrying a press of sail to close with
the commodore. Mr. Trant perceiving that the Tompkins wished to speak us
in passing, brailed his foresail and let her luff up close under our lee.
"Two of the schooners, the Hamilton and the Scourge, have gone down in the
night," called out Mr. Brown; "for I have picked up four of the
Hamilton's." "Oh-ho!"--answered Mr. Trant--"That's no news at all! for I
have picked up _twelve_; eight of the Scourge's, and four of the
Hamilton's--aft fore-sheet."

These were all that were ever saved from the two schooners, which must
have had near a hundred souls on board them. The two commanders,
Lieutenant Winter and Mr, Osgood were both lost, and with Mr. Winter went
down I believe, one or two young gentlemen. The squadron could not have
moved much between the time when the accidents happened and that when I
came on deck, or we must have come round and gone over the same ground
again, for we now passed many relics of the scene, floating about in the
water. I saw spunges, gratings, sweeps, hats, &c., scattered about, and in
passing ahead we saw one of the latter that we tried to catch; Mr. Trant
ordering it done, as he said it must have been Lieutenant Winter's. We did
not succeed, however; nor was any article taken on board. A good look-out
was kept for men, from aloft, but none were seen from any of the vessels.
The lake had swallowed up the rest of the two crews; and the Scourge, as
had been often predicted, had literally become a coffin to a large portion
of her people.

There was a good deal of manoeuvring between the two fleets this day, and
some efforts were made to engage; but, to own the truth, I felt so
melancholy about the loss of so many shipmates, that I did not take much
notice of what passed. All my Black Jokers were drowned, and nothing
remained of the craft and people with which and whom I had been associated
all summer. Bill Southard, too, was among the lost, as indeed were all my
messmates but Tom Goldsmith and Lemuel Bryant. I had very serious and
proper impressions for the moment; but my new shipmates, some of whom had
been old shipmates in other crafts, managed to cheer me up with grog. The
effect was not durable, and in a short time I ceased to think of what had
happened. I have probably reflected more on the merciful manner in which
my life was spared, amid a scene so terrific, within the last five years,
than I did in the twenty-five that immediately followed the accidents.

The fleet went in, off the Niagara, and anchored. Mr. Trant now mustered
the remaining Scourges, and told us he wanted just our number of hands,
and that he meant to get an order to keep us in the Julia. In the
meantime, he should station and quarter us. I was stationed at the braces,
and quartered at the long thirty-two as second loader. The Julia mounted a
long thirty-two, and an eighteen on pivots, besides two sixes in the
waist. The last were little used, as I have already mentioned. She was a
small, but a fast schooner, and had about forty souls on board. She was
altogether a better craft than the Scourge, though destitute of any
quarters, but a low rail with wash-boards, and carrying fewer guns.

Chapter VII.

I never knew what became of the four Hamiltons that were picked up by the
Julia's boat, though I suppose they were put in some other vessel along
with their shipmates; nor did I ever learn the particulars of the loss of
this schooner, beyond the fact that her topsail-sheets were stoppered, and
her halyards racked. This much I learned from the men who were brought on
board the Julia, who said that their craft was ready, in all respects, for
action. Some seamen have thought this wrong, and some right; but, in my
opinion, it made but little difference in such a gust as that which passed
over us. What was remarkable, the Julia, which could not have been far
from the Scourge when we went over, felt no great matter of wind, just
luffing up, and shaking her sails, to be rid of it!

We lay only one night off the mouth of the Niagara. The next morning the
squadron weighed, and stood out in pursuit of the English. The weather was
very variable, and we could not get within reach of Sir James all that
day. This was the 9th of August. The Scourge had gone down on the night of
the 7th, or the morning of the 8th, I never knew which. On the morning of
the 10th, however, we were under the north shore, and to windward of John
Bull. The Commodore now took the Asp, and the Madison the Fair American,
in tow, and we all kept away, expecting certainly a general action. But
the wind shifted, bringing the English to windward. The afternoon was
calm; or had variable airs. Towards sunset, the enemy was becalmed under
the American shore, and we got a breeze from the southward. We now closed,
and at 6 formed our line for engaging. We continued to close until 7, when
the wind came out fresh at S.W., putting John again to windward.

I can hardly tell what followed, there was so much manoeuvring and
shifting of berths. Both squadrons were standing across the lake, the
enemy being to windward, and a little astern of us. We now passed within
hail of the commodore, who gave us orders to form a new line of battle,
which we did in the following manner. One line, composed of the smallest
schooners, was formed to windward, while the ships, brig, and two heaviest
schooners, formed another line to leeward. We had the weathermost line,
having the Growler, Lieutenant Deacon, for the vessel next astern of us.
This much I could see, though I did not understand the object. I now learn
the plan was for the weather line to engage the enemy, and then, by edging
away, draw them down upon the lee line, which line contained our principal
force. According to the orders, we ought to have rather edged off, as soon
as the English began to fire, in order to draw them down upon the
commodore; but it will be seen that our schooner pursued a very
different course.

It must have been near midnight, when the enemy began to fire at the Fair
American, the sternmost vessel of our weather line. We were a long bit
ahead of her, and did not engage for some time. The firing became pretty
smart astern, but we stood on, without engaging, the enemy not yet being
far enough ahead for us. After a while, the four sternmost schooners of
our line kept off, according to orders, but the Julia and Growler still
stood on. I suppose the English kept off, too, at the same time, as the
commodore had expected. At any rate, we found ourselves so well up with
the enemy, that, instead of bearing up, Mr. Trant tacked in the Julia, and
the Growler came round after us. We now began to fire on the headmost
ships of the enemy, which were coming on towards us. We were able to lay
past the enemy on this tack, and fairly got to windward of them. When we
were a little on John Bull's weather bow, we brailed the foresail, and
gave him several rounds, within a pretty fair distance. The enemy answered
us, and, from that moment, he seemed to give up all thoughts of the
vessels to leeward of him, turning his whole attention on the Julia
and Growler.

The English fleet stood on the same tack, until it had got between us and
our own line, when it went about in chase of us. We now began to make
short tacks to windward; the enemy separating so as to spread a wide clew,
in order that they might prevent our getting past, by turning their line
and running to leeward. As for keeping to windward, we had no
difficulty--occasionally brailing our foresail, and even edging off, now
and then, to be certain that our shot would tell. In moderate weather, the
Julia was the fastest vessel in the American squadron, the Lady of the
Lake excepted; and the Growler was far from being dull. Had there been
room, I make no doubt we might have kept clear of John Bull, with the
greatest ease; touching him up with our long, heavy guns, from time to
time, as it suited us. I have often thought that Mr. Trant forgot we were
between the enemy and the land, and that he fancied himself out at sea. It
was a hazy, moonlight morning, and we did not see anything of the main,
though it turned out to be nearer to us than we wished.

All hands were now turning to windward; the two schooners still edging
off, occasionally, and firing. The enemy's shot went far beyond us, and
did us some mischief, though nothing that was not immediately repaired.
The main throat-halyards, on board the Julia, were shot away, as was the
clew of the mainsail. It is probable the enemy did not keep his luff,
towards the last, on account of the land.

Our two schooners kept quite near each other, sometimes one being to
windward, sometimes the other. It happened that the Growler was a short
distance to windward of us, when we first became aware of the nature of
our critical situation. She up helm, and, running down within hail,
Lieutenant Deacon informed Mr. Trant he had just sounded in two fathoms,
and that he could see lights ashore. He thought there must be Indians, in
great numbers, in this vicinity, and that we must, at all events, avoid
the land. "What do you think we had best do?" asked Lieutenant Deacon.
"Run the gauntlet," called out Mr. Trant. "Very well, sir: which shall
lead?" "I'll lead the van," answered Mr. Trant, and then all was settled.

We now up helm, and steered for a vacancy among the British vessels. The
enemy seemed to expect us, for they formed in two lines, leaving us room
to enter between them. When we bore up, even in these critical
circumstances, it was under our mainsail, fore-top-sail, jib, flying-jib,
and foresail. So insufficient were the equipments of these small craft,
that we had neither square-sail nor studding-sails on board us. I never
saw a studding-sail in any of the schooners, the Scourge excepted.

The Julia and Growler now ran down, the former leading, half a
cable's-length apart. When we entered between the two lines of the enemy,
we were within short canister-range, and got it smartly on both tacks.
The two English ships were to leeward, each leading a line; and we had a
brig, and three large, regular man-of-war schooners, to get past, with the
certainty of meeting the Wolfe and Royal George, should we succeed in
clearing these four craft. Both of us kept up a heavy fire, swivelling our
guns round, so as not to neglect any one. As we drew near the ships,
however, we paid them the compliment of throwing all the heavy shot at
them, as was due to their rank and size.

For a few minutes we fared pretty well; but we were no sooner well entered
between the lines, than we got it, hot and hard. Our rigging began to come
down about our ears, and one shot passed a few feet above our heads,
cutting both topsail-sheets, and scooping a bit of wood as big as a
thirty-two pound shot, out of the foremast. I went up on one side, myself,
to knot one of these sheets, and, while aloft, discovered the injury that
had been done to the spar. Soon after, the tack of the mainsail caught
fire, from a wad of one of the Englishmen; for, by this time, we were
close at it. I think, indeed, that the nearness of the enemy alone
prevented our decks from being entirely swept. The grape and canister were
passing just above our heads like hail, and the foresail was literally in
ribands. The halyards being gone, the mainsail came down by the run, and
the jib settled as low as it could. The topsail-yard was on the cap, and
the schooner now came up into the wind.

All this time, we kept working the guns. The old man went from one gun to
the other, pointing each himself, as it was ready. He was at the eighteen
when things were getting near the worst, and, as he left her, he called
out to her crew to "fill her--fill her to the muzzle!" He then came to our
gun, which was already loaded with one round, a stand of grape, and a case
of canister shot. This I know, for I put them all in with my own hands. At
this time, the Melville, a brig of the enemy's, was close up with us,
firing upon our decks from her fore-top. She was coming up on our larboard
quarter, while a large schooner was nearing us fast on the starboard. Mr.
Trant directed our gun to be elevated so as to sweep the brig's
forecastle, and then he called out, "Now's the time, lads--fire at the
b----s! fire away at 'em!" But no match was to be found! Some one had
thrown both overboard. By this time the brig's jib-boom was over our
quarter, and the English were actually coming on board of us. The enemy
were now all round us. The Wolfe, herself, was within hail, and still
firing. The last I saw of any of our people, was Mallet passing forward,
and I sat down on the slide of the thirty-two, myself, sullen as a bear.
Two or three of the English passed me, without saying anything. Even at
this instant, a volley of bullets came out of the brig's fore-top, and
struck all around me; some hitting the deck, and others the gun itself.
Just then, an English officer came up, and said--"What are you doing here,
you Yankee?" I felt exceedingly savage, and answered, "Looking at your
fools firing upon their own men." "Take that for your sauce," he said,
giving me a thrust with his sword, as he spoke. The point of the cutlass
just passed my hip-bone, and gave me a smart flesh-wound. The hurt was not
dangerous, though it bled freely, and was some weeks in healing. I now
rose to go below, and heard a hail from one of the ships--the Wolfe, as I
took her to be. "Have you struck?" demanded some one. The officer who had
hurt me now called out, "Don't fire into us, sir, for I'm on board, and
have got possession." The officer from the ship next asked, "Is there
anybody alive on board her?" To which the prize-officer answered, "I don't
know, sir, I've seen but one man, as yet."

I now went down below. First, I got a bandage on my wound, to stop the
bleeding, and then I had an opportunity to look about me. A party of
English was below, and some of our men having joined them, the heads were
knocked out of two barrels of whiskey. The kids and bread-bags were
procured, and all hands, without distinction of country, sat down to enjoy
themselves. Some even began to sing, and, as for good-fellowship, it was
just as marked, as it would have been in a jollification ashore.

In a few minutes the officer who had hurt me jumped down among us. The
instant he saw what we were at, he sang out--"Halloo! here's high life
below stairs!" Then he called to another officer to bear a hand down and
see the fun. Some one sung out from among ourselves to "dowse the glim."
The lights were put out, and then the two officers capsized the whiskey.
While this was doing, most of the Englishmen ran up the forward hatch. We
Julias all remained below.

In less than an hour we were sent on board the enemy's vessels. I was
carried to the Royal George, but Mr. Trant was taken on board the Wolfe.
The Growler had lost her bowsprit, and was otherwise damaged, and had been
forced to strike also. She had a man killed, and I believe one or two
wounded.[8] On board of us, not a man, besides myself, had been touched!
We seemed to have been preserved by a miracle, for every one of the enemy
had a slap at us, and, for some time, we were within pistol-shot. Then we
had no quarters at all, being perfectly exposed to grape and canister. The
enemy must have fired too high, for nothing else could have saved us.

In July, while I still belonged to the Scourge, I had been sent with a
boat's crew, under Mr. Bogardus, on board an English flag of truce that
had come into the Harbour. While in this vessel, our boat's crew were
"hail-fellows-well-met" with the Englishmen, and we had agreed among us to
take care of each other, should either side happen to be taken. I had been
on board the Royal George but a short time, when two of these very men
came up to me with some grog and some grub; and next morning they brought
me my bitters. I saw no more of them, however, except when they came to
shake hands with us at the gang-way, as we were leaving the ship.

After breakfast, next morning, we were all called aft to the ward-room,
one at a time. I was pumped as to the force of the Americans, the names of
the vessels, the numbers of the crews, and the names of the commanders. I
answered a little saucily, and was ordered out of the ward-room. As I was
quitting the place, I was called back by one of the lieutenants, whose
appearance I did not like from the first. Although it was now eight years
since I left Halifax, and we had both so much altered, I took this
gentleman for Mr. Bowen, the very midshipman of the Cleopatra, who had
been my schoolmate, and whom I had known on board the prize-brig I have

This officer asked me where I was born. I told him New York. He said he
knew better, and asked my name. I told him it was what he found it on the
muster-roll, and that by which I had been called. He said I knew better,
and that I should hear more of this, hereafter. If this were my old
school-fellow, he knew that I was always called Edward Robert Meyers,
whereas I had dropped the middle name, and now called myself Myers. He may
not, however, have been the person I took him for, and might have mistaken
me for some one else; for I never had an opportunity of ascertaining any
more about him.

We got into Little York, and were sent ashore that evening. I can say
nothing of our squadron, having been kept below the whole time I was on
board the Royal George. I could not find out whether we did the enemy any
harm, or not, the night we were taken; though I remember that a
sixty-eight pound carronade, that stood near the gang-way of the Royal
George, was dismounted, the night I passed into her. It looked to me as if
the trucks were gone. This I know, that the ship was more than usually
screened off; though for what reason I will not pretend to say.

At York, we were put in the gaol, where we were kept three weeks. Our
treatment was every way bad, with the exception that we were not crowded.
As to food, we were kept "six upon four" the whole time I was prisoner.[9]
The bread was bad, and the pork little better. While in this gaol, a party
of drunken Indians gave us a volley, in passing; but luckily it did us
no harm.

At the end of three weeks, we received a haversack apiece, and two days'
allowance. Our clothes were taken from us, and the men were told they
would get them below; a thing that happened to very few of us, I believe.
As for myself, I was luckily without anything to lose; my effects having
gone down in the Scourge. All I had on earth was a shirt and two
handkerchiefs, and an old slouched hat, that I had got in exchange for a
Scotch cap that had been given to me in the Julia. I was without shoes,
and so continued until I reached Halifax. All this gave me little concern;
my spirits being elastic, and my disposition gay. My great trouble was the
apprehension of being known, through the recollections of the officer I
have mentioned.

We now commenced our march for Kingston, under the guard of a company of
the Glengarians and a party of Indians. The last kept on our flanks, and
it was understood they would shoot and scalp any man who left the ranks.
We marched two and two, being something like eighty prisoners. It was hard
work for the first day or two, the road being nothing but an Indian trail,
and our lodging-places the open air. My feet became very sore, and, as for
food, we had to eat our pork raw, there being nothing to cook in. The
soldiers fared no better than ourselves, however, with the exception of
being on full allowance. It seems that our provisions were sent by water,
and left for us at particular places; for every eight-and-forty hours we
touched the lake shore, and found them ready for us. They were left on the
beach without any guard, or any one near them. In this way we picked up
our supplies the whole distance.

At the dépôt, Mr. Bogardus and the pilot found a boat, and managed to get
into her, and put out into the lake. After being absent a day and night,
they were driven in by rough weather, and fell into the hands of a party
of dragoons who were escorting Sir George Prevost along the lake shore.
We found them at a sort of tavern, where were the English Governor and his
escort at the time. They were sent back among us, with two American army
officers, who had fallen into the hands of the Indians, and had been most
foully treated. One of these officers was wounded in the arm.

The night of the day we fell in with Sir George Prevost, we passed through
a hamlet, and slept just without it. As we entered the village the guard
played Yankee Doodle, winding up with the Rogue's March. As we went
through the place, I got leave to go to a house and ask for a drink of
milk. The woman of this house said they had been expecting us for two
days, and that they had been saving their milk expressly to give us. I got
as much as I wanted, and a small loaf of bread in the bargain, as did
several others with me. These people seemed to me to be all well affected
to the Americans, and much disposed to treat us kindly. We slept on a barn
floor that night.

We were much provoked at the insult of playing the Rogue's March. Jack
Reilly and I laid a plan to have our revenge, should it be repeated. Two
or three days later we had the same tune, at another village, and I caught
up a couple of large stones, ran ahead, and dashed them through both ends
of the drum, before the boy, who was beating it, knew what I was about.
Jack snatched the fife out of the other boy's hand, and it was passed from
one to another among us, until it reached one who threw it over the
railing of a bridge. After this, we had no more music, good or bad. Not a
word was said to any of us about this affair, and I really think the
officers were ashamed of themselves.

After a march of several days we came to a hamlet, not a great distance
from Kingston. I saw a good many geese about, and took a fancy to have one
for supper. I told Mallet if he would cook a goose, I would tip one over.
The matter was arranged between us, and picking up a club I made a dash at
a flock, and knocked a bird over. I caught up the goose and ran, when my
fellow-prisoners called out to me to dodge, which I did, behind a stump,
not knowing from what quarter the danger might come. It was well I did,
for two Indians fired at me, one hitting the stump, and the other ball
passing just over my head. A militia officer now galloped up, and drove
back the Indians who were running up to me, to look after the scalp, I
suppose. This officer remonstrated with me, but spoke mildly and even
kindly. I told him I was hungry, and that I wanted a warm mess. "But you
are committing a robbery," he said. "If I am, I'm robbing an enemy." "You
do not know but it may be a friend," was his significant answer. "Well, if
I am, _he_'ll not grudge me the goose," says I. On hearing this, the
officer laughed, and asked me how I meant to cook the goose. I told him
that one of my messmates had promised to do this for me. He then bade me
carry the goose into the ranks, and to come to him when we halted at
night. I did this, and he gave us a pan, some potatoes, onions, &c., out
of which we made the only good mess we got on our march. I may say this
was the last hearty and really palatable meal I made until I reached
Halifax, a period of several weeks.

While Jack Mallet was cooking the goose, I went in behind a pile of
boards, attended by a soldier to watch me, and, while there, I saw an
ivory rule lying on the boards, with fifteen pence alongside of it. These
I pinned, as a lawful prize, being in an enemy's country. The money served
to buy us some bread. The rule was bartered for half a gallon of rum. This
made us a merry night, taking all things together.

We made no halt at Kingston, though the Indians left us. We now marched
through a settled country, with some militia for our guards. Our treatment
was much better than it had been, the people of the country treating us
kindly. When we were abreast of the Thousand Islands, Mr. Bogardus and the
pilot made another attempt to escape, and got fairly off. These were the
only two who did succeed. How they effected it I cannot say, but I know
they escaped. I never saw either afterwards.

At the Long Sault, we were all put in boats, with a Canadian pilot in each
end. The militia staid behind, and down we went; they say at the rate of
nine miles in fifteen minutes. We found a new guard at the foot of the
rapids. This was done, beyond a doubt, to save us and themselves, though
we thought hard of it at the time, for it appeared to us, as if they
thrust us into a danger they did not like to run themselves. I have since
heard that even ladies travelling, used to go down these formidable rapids
in the same way; and that, with skilful pilots, there is little or
no danger.

When we reached Montreal we were confined in a gaol where we remained
three weeks. There was an American lady confined in this building, though
she had more liberty than we, and from her we received much aid. She sent
us soap, and she gave me bandages &c., for my hurt. Occasionally she gave
us little things to eat. I never knew her name, but heard she had two sons
in the American army, and that she had been detected in corresponding
with them.

We remained at Montreal two or three weeks, and then were sent down to
Quebec, where we were put on board of prison-ships. I was sent to the Lord
Cathcart, and most of the Julia's men with me. Our provisions were very
bad, and the mortality among us was great. The bread was intolerably bad.
Mr. Trant came to see us, privately, and he brought some salt with him,
which was a great relief to us. Jack Mallet asked him whether some of us
might not go to work on board a transport, that lay just astern of us, in
order to get something; better to eat. Mr. Trant said yes, and eight of us
went on board this craft, every day, getting provisions and grog for our
pay. At sunset, we returned regularly to the Cathcart. I got a second
shirt and a pair of trowsers in this way.

About a fortnight after this arrangement, the Surprise, 32, and a
sloop-of-war, came in, anchoring some distance below the town. These ships
sent their boats up to the prison-ships to examine them for men. After
going through those vessels, they came on board the transport, and finding
us fresh, clean, fed and tolerably clad, they pronounced us all
Englishmen, and carried us on board the frigate. We were not permitted
even to go and take leave of our shipmates. Of the eight men thus taken,
five were native Americans, one was from Mozambique, one I suppose to have
been an English subject born, but long settled in America; and, as for me,
the reader knows as much of my origin as I know myself.

We were asked if we would go to duty on board the Surprise, and we all
refused. We were then put in close con finement, on the berth-deck, under
the charge of a sentry. In a day or two, the ship sailed; and off Cape
Breton we met with a heavy gale, in which the people suffered severely
with snow and cold. The ship was kept off the land, with great difficulty.
After all, we prisoners saved the ship, though I think it likely the
injury originally came from some of us. The breechings of two of the guns
had been cut, and the guns broke adrift in the height of the gale. All the
crew were on deck, and the sentinel permitting it, we went up and
smothered the guns with hammocks. We were now allowed to go about deck,
but this lasted a short time, the whole of us being sent below, again, as
soon as the gale abated.

On reaching Halifax, we were all put on board of the Regulus transport,
bound to Bermuda. Here we eight were thrown into irons, under the
accusation of being British subjects. At the end of twenty-four hours,
however, the captain came to us, and offered to let us out of irons, and
to give us ship's treatment, if we would help in working the vessel to
Bermuda. I have since thought we were ironed merely to extort this
arrangement from us. We consulted together; and, thinking a chance might
offer to get possession of the Regulus, which had only a few Canadians in
her, and was to be convoyed by the Pictou schooner, we consented. We were
now turned up to duty, and I got the first pair of shoes that had been on
my feet since the Scourge sunk from under me.

The reader will imagine I had not been in the harbour of Halifax, without
a strong desire to ascertain something about those I had left behind me,
in that town. I was nervously afraid of being discovered, and yet had a
feverish wish to go ashore. The manner in which I gratified this wish, and
the consequences to which it led, will be seen in the sequel.

Chapter VIII.

Jack Mallet had long known my history. He was my confidant, and entered
into all my feelings. The night we went to duty on board the transport, a
boat was lying alongside of the ship, and the weather being thick, it
afforded a good opportunity for gratifying my longing. Jack and myself got
in, after putting our heads together, and stole off undetected. I pulled
directly up to the wharf of Mr. Marchinton, and at once found myself at
home. I will not pretend to describe my sensations, but they were a
strange mixture of apprehension, disquiet, hope, and natural attachment. I
wished much to see my sister, but was afraid to venture on that.

There was a family, however, of the name of Fraser, that lived near the
shore, with which I had been well acquainted, and in whose members I had
great confidence. They were respectable in position, its head being called
a judge, and they were all intimate with the Marchintons. To the Frasers,
then, I went; Jack keeping me company. I was afraid, if I knocked, the
servant would not let me in, appearing, as I did, in the dress of a common
sailor; so I opened the street-door without any ceremony, and went
directly to that of the parlour, which I entered before there was time to
stop me. Jack brought up in the entry.

Mrs. Fraser and her daughter were seated together, on a settee, and the
judge was reading at a table. My sudden apparition astonished them, and
all three gazed at me in silence. Mr. Fraser then said, "In the name of
heaven, where did you come from, Edward!" I told him I had been in the
American service, but that I now belonged to an English transport that was
to sail in the morning, and that I had just come ashore to inquire how all
hands did; particularly my sister. He told me that my sister was living, a
married woman, in Halifax; that Mr. Marchinton was dead, and had grieved
very much at my disappearance; that I was supposed to be dead. He then
gave me much advice as to my future course, and reminded me how much I had
lost by my early mistakes. He was particularly anxious I should quit my
adopted country, and wished me to remain in Halifax. He offered to send a
servant with me to find my sister, but I was afraid to let my presence be
known to so many. I begged my visit might be kept a secret, as I felt
ashamed of being seen in so humble circumstances. I was well treated, as
was Jack Mallet, both of us receiving wine and cake, &c. Mr. Fraser also
gave me a guinea, and as I went away, Mrs. Fraser slipped a pound note
into my hand. The latter said to me, in a whisper--"I know what you are
afraid of, but I shall tell Harriet of your visit; she will be secret."

I staid about an hour, receiving every mark of kindness from these
excellent and respectable people, leaving them to believe we were to sail
in the morning. When we got back to the transport no one knew of our
absence, and nothing was ever said of our taking the boat. The Regulus did
not sail for twenty hours after this, but I had no more communication with
the shore. We got to sea, at last, two transports, under the convoy of
the Pictou.

During the whole passage, we eight prisoners kept a sharp look-out for a
chance to get possession of the ship. We were closely watched, there being
a lieutenant and his boat's crew on board, besides the Canadians, the
master, mate, &c. All the arms were secreted, and nothing was left at
hand, that we could use in a rising.

About mid passage, it blowing fresh, with the ship under double-reefed
topsails, I was at the weather, with one of the Canadians at the lee,
wheel. Mallet was at work in the larboard, or weather, mizen chains, ready
to lend me a hand. At this moment the Pictou came up under our lee, to
speak us in relation to carrying a light during the night. Her masts swung
so she could not carry one herself, and her commander wished us to carry
our top-light, he keeping near it, instead of our keeping near him. The
schooner came very close to us, it blowing heavily, and Mallet called out,
"Ned, now is your time. Up helm and into him. A couple of seas will send
him down." This was said loud enough to be heard, though all on deck were
attending to the schooner; and, as for the Canadian, he did not understand
English. I managed to get the helm hard up, and Mallet jumped inboard. The
ship fell off fast; but the lieutenant, who was on board as an agent, was
standing in the companion-way with his wife, and, the instant he saw what
I had done, he ran aft, struck me a sharp blow, and put the helm hard down
with his own hands. This saved the Pictou, though there was a great outcry
on board her. The lieutenant's wife screamed, and there was a pretty
uproar for a minute, in every direction. As the Regulus luffed-to, her
jib-boom-end just cleared the Pictou's forward rigging, and a man might
almost have jumped from the ship to the schooner, as we got alongside of
each other. Another minute, and we should have travelled over His
Majesty's schooner, like a rail-road car going over a squash.

The lieutenant now denounced us, and we prisoners were all put in irons. I
am merely relating facts. How far we were right, I leave others to decide;
but it must be remembered that Jack had, in that day, a mortal enmity to a
British man-of-war, which was a little too apt to lay hands on all that
she fell in with, on the high seas. Perhaps severe moralists might say
that we had entered into a bargain with the captain of the Regulus, not to
make war on him during the passage; in answer to which, we can reply that
we were not attacking _him_, but the Pictou. Our intention, it must be
confessed, however, was to seize the Regulus in the confusion. Had we been
better treated as prisoners, our tempers might not have been so savage.
But we got no good treatment, except for our own work; and, being hedged
in in this manner, common sailors reason very much as they feel. We were
not permitted to go at large again, in the Regulus, in which the English
were very right, as Jack Mallet, in particular, was a man to put his
shipmates up to almost any enterprise.

The anchor was hardly down, at Bermuda, before a signal was made to the
Goliah, razée, for a boat, and we were sent on board that ship. This was a
cruising vessel, and she went to sea next morning. We were distributed
about the ship, and ordered to go to work. The intention, evidently, was
to swallow us all in the enormous maw of the British navy. We refused to
do duty, however, to a man; most of our fellows being pretty bold, as
native Americans. We were a fortnight in this situation, the greater part
of the time playing green, with our tin pots slung round our necks. We
did so much of this, that the people began to laugh at us, as real Johnny
Raws, though the old salts knew better. The last even helped us along,
some giving us clothes, extra grog, and otherwise being very kind to us.
The officers treated us pretty well, too, all things considered. None of
us got flogged, nor were we even threatened with the gang-way. At length
the plan was changed. The boatswain was asked if he got anything out of
us, and, making a bad report, we were sent down to the lower gun-deck,
under a sentry's charge, and put at "six upon four," again. Here we
remained until the ship went into Bermuda, after a six weeks' cruise. This
vessel, an old seventy-four cut down, did not answer, for she was soon
after sent to England. I overheard her officers, from our berth near the
bulkhead, wishing to fall in with the President, Commodore Rodgers--a
vessel they fancied they could easily handle. I cannot say they could not,
but one day an elderly man among them spoke very rationally on the
subject, saying, they _might_, or they might _not_ get the best of it in
such a fight. For his part, he did not wish to see any such craft, with
the miserable crew they had in the Goliah.

We found the Ramilies, Sir Thomas Hardy, lying in Bermuda roads. This ship
sent a boat, which took us on board the Ardent, 64, which was then used as
a prison-ship. About a week before we reached this vessel an American
midshipman got hold of a boat, and effected his escape, actually making
the passage between Bermuda and Cape Henry all alone, by himself.[10] In
consequence of this unusual occurrence, a bright look out was kept on all
the boats, thus defeating one of our plans, which was to get off in the
same way. When we reached the Ardent, we found but four Americans in her.
After we had been on board her about a week, three men joined us, who had
given themselves up on board English men-of-war, as native Americans. One
of these men, whose name was Baily, had been fourteen years in the English
service, into which he had been pressed, his protection having been torn
up before his face. He was a Connecticut man, and had given himself up at
the commencement of the war, getting three dozen for his pains. He was
then sent on the Halifax station, where he gave himself up again. He
received three dozen more, then had his shirt thrown over his back and was
sent to us. I saw the back and the shirt, myself, and Baily said he would
keep the last to be buried with him. Bradbury and Patrick were served very
much in the same manner. I saw all their backs, and give the remainder of
the story, as they gave it to me. Baily and Bradbury got off in season to
join the Constitution, and to make the last cruise in her during this war.
I afterwards fell in with Bradbury, who mentioned this circumstance to me.

It is good to have these things known, for I do believe the English nation
would be averse to men's receiving such treatment, could they fairly be
made to understand it. It surely is bad enough to be compelled to fight
the battles of a foreign country, without being flogged for not fighting
them when they happen to be against one's own people. For myself, I was
born, of German parents, in the English territory, it is true; but America
was, and ever has been, the country of my choice, and, while yet a child,
I may say, I decided for myself to sail under the American flag; and, if
my father had a right to make an Englishman of me, by taking service under
the English crown, I think I had a right to make myself what I pleased,
when he had left me to get on as I could, without his counsel and advice.

After being about three weeks in the Ardent, we eight prisoners were sent
on board the Ramilies, to be tried as Englishmen who had been fighting
against their king. The trial took place on board the Asia, 74, a
flag-ship; but we lived in the Ramilies, during the time the investigation
was going on. Sir Thomas Hardy held several conversations with me, on the
quarter-deck, in which he manifested great kindness of feeling. He
inquired whether I was really an American; but I evaded any direct answer.
I told him, however, that I had been an apprentice, in New York, in the
employment of Jacob Barker; which was true, in one sense, as Mr. Barker
was the consignee of the Sterling, and knew of my indentures. I mentioned
him, as a person more likely to be known than Captain Johnston. Sir Thomas
said he had some knowledge of Mr. Barker; and, I think, I have heard that
they were, in some way, connected. This was laying an anchor to-windward,
as it turned out, in the end.

We were all on board the Asia, for trial, or investigation, two days,
before I was sent for into the cabin. I was very much frightened; and
scarce knew what I said, or did. It is a cruel thing to leave sailors
without counsel, on such occasions; though the officers behaved very
kindly and considerately to me; and, I believe, to all of us. There were
several officers seated round a table; and all were in swabs. They said,
the gentleman who presided, was a Sir Borlase Warren, the admiral on the
station.[11] This gentleman, whoever he was, probably saw that I was
frightened. He slewed himself round, in his chair, and said to me; "My
man, you need not be alarmed; we know _who_ you are, and _what_ you are;
but your apprenticeship will be of great service to you." This was not
said, however, until Sir Thomas Hardy had got out the story of my being an
apprentice in Jacob Barker's employ, again, before them all, in the cabin.
I was told to send for a copy of my indentures, by one of the white-washed
Swedes, that sailed between Bermuda and New York. This I did, that very
day. I was in the cabin of the Asia, half an hour, perhaps; and I felt
greatly relieved, when I got out of it. It was decided, in my presence, to
send me back among the prisoners, on board the Ardent. The same decision
was made, as to the whole eight of us, that had come on in the Regulus.

When we got back to the Ramilies, Sir Thomas Hardy had some more
conversation with me. I have thought, ever since, that he knew something
about my birth, and of my being the prince's godson. He wished me to join
the British service, seemingly, very much, and encouraged me with the hope
of being promoted. But, it is due to myself, to say, I held out against it
all. I do not believe America had a truer heart, in her service, than
mine; and I do not think an English commission would have bought me. I
have nothing to hope, from saying this, for I am now old, and a cripple
but, as I have sat down to relate the truth, let the truth be told,
whether it tell for, or against me.

We were now sent back to the Ardent; where we remained three weeks, or a
month, longer. During this time we got our papers from New York; I
receiving a copy of my indentures, together with the sum of ten dollars;
which reached me through Sir Thomas Hardy, as I understood. Nothing more
was ever said, to any of the eight, about their being Englishmen; the
whole of us being treated as prisoners of war. Prisoners arrived fast,
until we had four hundred in the Ardent. The old Ruby, a forty-four, on
two decks, was obliged to receive some of them. Most of these prisoners
were privateersmen; though there were a few soldiers, and some citizens
that had been picked up in Chesapeake Bay. Before we left Bermuda, the
crew of a French frigate was put into the Ardent, to the number of near
four hundred men. In the whole, we must have had eight hundred souls, and
all on one deck. This was close stowage, and I was heartily glad when I
quitted the ship.

Soon after the French arrived, four hundred of us Americans were put on
board transports, and we sailed for Halifax, under the convoy of the
Ramilies. A day or two after we got out, we fell in with an American
privateer, which continued hovering around us for several days. As this
was a bold fellow, frequently coming within gun-shot, and sporting his
sticks and canvass in all sorts of ways, Sir Thomas Hardy felt afraid he
would get one of the four transports, and he took all us prisoners into
the Ramilies. We staid in the ship the rest of the passage, and when we
went into Halifax it was all alone, the four transports having
disappeared. Two of them subsequently got in; but I think the other two
were actually taken by that saucy fellow.

The prisoners, at first, had great liberty allowed them, on board the
Ramilies. On all occasions, Sir Thomas Hardy treated the Americans well. A
party of marines was stationed on the poop, and another on the forecastle,
and the ship's people had arms; but this was all the precaution that was
used. The opportunity tempted some of our men to plan a rising, with a
view to seize the ship. Privateer officers were at the head of this
scheme, which was communicated to me, among others, soon after the plot
was laid. Most of the prisoners knew of the intention, and everybody
seemed to enter into the affair with hearty good-will. Our design was to
rise at the end of the second dog-watch, overcome the crew, and carry the
ship upon our own coast. If unable to pass the blockading squadrons, we
intended to run her ashore. The people of the Ramilies outnumbered us by
near one-half, and they had arms, it is true; but we trusted to the effect
of a surprise, and something to the disposition of most English sailors to
get quit of their own service. Had the attempt been made, from what I saw
of the crew, I think our main trouble would have been with the officers
and the marines. We were prevented from trying the experiment, however, in
consequence of having been betrayed by some one who was in the secret, the
whole of us being suddenly sent into the cable tiers and amongst the water
casks, under the vigilant care of sentinels posted in the wings. After
that, we were allowed to come on deck singly, only, and then under a
sentinel's charge. When Sir Thomas spoke to us concerning this change of
treatment, he did not abuse us for our plan, but was mild and reasonable,
while he reminded us of the necessity of what he was doing. I have no idea
he would have been in the least injured, had we got possession of the
ship; for, to the last, our people praised him, and the treatment they
received, while under his orders.

Before we were sent below, Sir Thomas spoke to me again, on the subject of
my joining the English service. He was quite earnest about it, and
reasoned with me like a father; but I was determined not to yield. I did
not like England, and I did like America. My birth in Quebec was a thing I
could not help; but having chosen to serve under the American flag, and
having done so now for years, I did not choose to go over to the enemy.

At Halifax, fifteen or twenty of us were sent on board the old Centurion,
44, Lord Anson's ship, as retaliation-men. We eight were of the number. We
found something like thirty more in the ship, all retaliation-men, like
ourselves. Those we found in the Centurion did not appear to me to be
foremast Jacks, but struck me as being citizens from ashore. We were well
treated, however, suffering no other confinement than that of the ship. We
were on "six upon four," it is true, like other prisoners, but our own
country gave us small stores, and extra bread and beef. In the way of
grub, we fared like sailor kings. At the end of three weeks, we eight
lakesmen were sent to Melville Island, among the great herd of prisoners.
I cannot explain the reason of all these changes; but I know that when the
gate was shut on us, the turnkey said we had gone into a home that would
last as long as the war lasted.

Melville is an island of more than a mile in circumference, with low,
rocky shores. It lies about three miles from the town of Halifax, but not
in sight. It is connected with the main by a bridge that is thrown across
a narrow passage of something like a quarter of a mile in width. In the
centre of the island is an eminence, which was occupied by the garrison,
and had some artillery. This eminence commanded the whole island. Another
post on the main, also, commanded the prisoners' barracks. These barracks
were ordinary wooden buildings, enclosed on the side of the island with a
strong stone wall, and on the side of the post on the main, by high, open
palisades. Of course, a sufficient guard was maintained.

It was said there were about twelve hundred Americans on the island, when
I passed the gate. Among them were a few French, some of whom were a part
of the crew of the Ville de Milan, the ship that had been taken before I
first left Halifax; or more than eight years previously to this time. This
did, indeed, look like the place's being a home to a poor fellow, and I
did not relish the circumstance at all. Among our people were soldiers,
sailors, and 'long-shore-men'. There was no difference in the treatment,
which, for a prison, was good. We got only "six upon four" from the
English, of course; but our own country made up the difference here, as on
board the Centurion. They had a prison dress, with one leg of the trowsers
yellow and the other blue, &c.; but we would not stand that. Our agent
managed the matter so that we got regular jackets and trowsers of the true
old colour. The poor Frenchmen looked like peacocks in their dress, but we
did not envy them their finery.

I had been on the island about a fortnight, when I was told by Jack
Mallet that a woman, whom he thought to be my sister, was at the gate.
Jack knew my whole history, and came to his opinion from a resemblance
that he saw between me and the person who had inquired for me. I refused
to go to the gate, however, to see who it was, and Jack was sent back to
tell the woman that I had been left behind at Bermuda. He was directed to
throw in a few hints about the expediency of her not coming back to look
for me, and that it would be better if she never named me. All this was
done, I getting a berth from which I could see the female. I knew her in a
moment, although she was married, and had a son with her, and my heart was
very near giving way, especially when I saw her shedding tears. She went
away from the gate, however, going up on the ramparts, from which she
could look down into the prison-yard. There she remained an hour, as if
she wished to satisfy her own eyes as to the truth of Jack's story; but I
took good care to keep out of her sight.

As I knew there was little hope of an exchange of prisoners, I now began
to think of the means of making my escape. Jack Mallet dared not attempt
to swim, on account of the rheumatism and cramps, having narrowly escaped
drowning at Bermuda, and he could not join in our schemes. As for myself,
I have been able to swim ever since danger taught me the important lesson,
the night the Scourge went down. Money would be necessary to aid me in
escaping, and Jack and I put our heads together, in order to raise some. I
had still the ten dollars given me by Sir Thomas Hardy, and I commenced
operations by purchasing shares in a dice-board, a _vingt et un_ table,
and a quino table.[12] Jack Mallet and I, also, set up a shop, on a
capital of three dollars. We sold smoked herring, pipes, tobacco, segars,
spruce beer, and, as chances of smuggling it in offered, now and then a
little Jamaica. All this time, the number of the prisoners increased,
until, in the end, we got to have a full prison, when they began to send
them to England. Only one of the Julias was sent away, however, all the
rest remaining at Melville Island, from some cause I cannot explain.

I cannot say we made money very fast. On every shilling won at dice, we
received a penny; at _vingt et un_, the commission was the same; as it was
also at the other games. New cards, however, brought a little higher rate.
All this was wrong I _now_ know, but _then_ it gave me very little
trouble. I hope I would not do the same thing over again, even to make my
escape from Melville Island, but one never knows to what distress may
drive him.

Some person among the American prisoners--a soldier it was said--commenced
counterfeiting Spanish dollars. I am afraid most of us helped to circulate
them. We thought it no harm to cheat the people of the canteens, for we
knew they were doing all they could to cheat us. This was prison morality,
in war-time, and I say nothing in its favour; though, for myself, I will
own I felt more of the consciousness of wrong-doing in holding the shares
in the gambling establishments, than in giving bad dollars for poor rum.
The counterfeiting business was destroyed by one of the dollars happening
to break, as some of the officers were pitching them; when, on
examination, it turned out that most of the money in the prison was bad.
It was said the people of the canteens had about four hundred of the
dollars, when they came to overhaul their lockers. A good many found their
way into Halifax.

My trade lasted all winter--(that of 1813--14,) and by March I had gained
the sum of eighty French crowns. Dollars I was afraid to hold on account
of the base money. The ice now began to give way, and a few of us, who had
been discussing the matter all winter, set about forming serious plans to
escape. My confederates were a man of the name of Johnson, who had been
taken in the Snapdragon privateer, and an Irishman of the name of
Littlefield. Barnet, the Mozambique man, joined us also, making four in
all. It was quite early in the month, when we made the attempt. Our
windows were long, and had perpendicular bars of wrought iron to secure
them, but no cross-bars. There was no glass; but outside shutters, that we
could open at our pleasure. Outside of the windows were sentinels, and
there were two rows of pickets between us and the shore.

I put my crowns in a belt around my waist. Another belt, or skin, was
filled with rum, for the double purpose of buoying me in the water, and
of comforting me when ashore. At that day, I found rum one of the great
blessings of life; now I look upon it as one of the greatest evils. My
companions made similar provisions of money and rum, though neither was as
rich as myself. I left Mallet and Leonard Lewis my heirs at law if I
escaped, and my trustees should I be caught. Lewis was a young man of
better origin than most in the prison, and I have always thought some
calamity drove him to the seas. He was in ill health, and did not appear
to be destined to a long life. He would have joined us, heart and hand,
but was not strong enough to endure the fatigue which we well knew we must
undergo, before we could get clear.

The night selected for the attempt was so cold, dark, and dismal, as to
drive all the sentinels into their boxes. It rained hard, in the bargain.
About eight, or as soon as the lights were out, we got the lanyards of our
hammocks around two of the window bars, and using a bit of fire-wood for a
heaver, we easily brought them together. This left room for our bodies to
pass out, without any difficulty. Jack Mallet, and those we left behind,
hove the bars straight again, so that the keepers were at a loss to know
how we had got off. We met with no obstacle between the prison and the
water. The pickets we removed, having cut them in the day-time. In a word,
all four of us reached the shore of the Island in two or three minutes
after we had taken leave of our messmates. The difficulty lay before us.
We entered into the water, at once, and began to swim. When I was a few
rods from the place of landing, which was quite near the guard-house, on
the main, Johnson began to sing out that he was drowning. I told him to be
quiet, but it was of no use. The guard on the main heard him, and
commenced firing, and of course we swam all the harder. Three of us were
soon ashore, and, knowing the roads well, I led them in a direction to
avoid the soldiers. By running into the woods, we got clear, though poor
Johnson fell again into the hands of the enemy. He deserved it for bawling
as he did; it being the duty of a man in such circumstances to lie with a
shut mouth.

Chapter IX.

The three who had escaped ran, for a quarter of a mile, in the woods, when
we brought up, and took a drink. Hearing no more firing, or any further
alarm, we now consulted as to our future course. There were some mills at
the head of the bay, about four miles from the guard-house, and I led the
party thither. We reached the place towards morning, and found a berth in
them before any one was stirring. We hid ourselves in an old granary; but
no person appeared near the place throughout the next day. We had put a
little bread and a few herrings in our hats, and on these we subsisted.
The rum cheered us up, and, if rum ever did good, I think it was to us on
that occasion. We slept soundly, with one man on the look-out; a rule we
observed the whole time we were out. It stopped raining in the course of
the day, though the weather was bitter cold.

Next night we got under way, and walked in a direction which led us within
three miles of the town. In doing this, we passed the Prince's Lodge, a
place where I had often been, and the sight of which reminded me of home,
and of my childish days. There was no use in regrets, however, and we
pushed ahead. The men saw my melancholy, and they questioned me; but I
evaded the answer, pretending that nothing ailed me. There was a tavern
about a league from the town, kept by a man of the name of Grant, and
Littlefield ventured into it. He bought a small cheese and a loaf of
bread; getting off clear, though not unsuspected. This helped us along
famously, and we pushed on as fast as we could. Before morning we came
near a bridge, on which there was a sentinel posted, with a guard-house
near its end. To avoid this danger, we turned the guard-house, striking
the river above the bridge. Here we met two Indians, and fell into
discourse with them. Our rum now served us a better turn than ever, buying
the Indians in a minute. We told these chaps we were deserters from the
Bulwark, 74, and begged them to help us along. At first, they thought we
were Yankees, whom they evidently disliked, and that right heartily; but
the story of the desertion took, and made them disposed to serve us.

These two Indians led us down to the bed of the river, and actually
carried us beneath the bridge, on the side of the river next the guard,
where we found a party of about thirty of these red-skins, men, women and
children. Here we stayed no less than three days; faring extremely well,
having fish, bread, butter, and other common food. The weather was very
bad, and we did not like to turn out in it, besides, thinking the search
for us might be less keen after a short delay. All this time, we were
within a few rods of the guard, hearing the sentinels cry "all's well,"
from half-hour to half-hour. We were free with our rum, and, as much as we
dared to be, with our money. These people never betrayed us.

The third night we left the bridge, guided by a young Indian. He led us
about two miles up the river, passing through the Maroon town in the
night, after which he left us. We wished him to keep on with us for some
distance further, but he refused. He quitted us near morning, and we
turned into a deserted log-house, on the banks of the river, where we
passed the day. The country was thinly populated, and the houses we saw
were poor and mean. We must now have been about five-and-twenty miles
from Halifax.

Our object was to cross the neck of land between the Atlantic and the Bay
of Fundy, and to get to Annapolis Royal, where we expected to be able to
procure a boat, by fair means if we could, by stealth if necessary, and
cross over to the American shore. We had still a long road before us, and
had some little difficulty to find the way. The Indians, however, gave us
directions that greatly assisted us; and we travelled a long bit, and
pretty fast all that night. In the morning, the country had more the
appearance of being peopled and cultivated, and I suspected we were
getting into the vicinity of Horton, a place through which it would be
indispensable to pass. The weather became bad again, and it was necessary
to make a halt. Coming near a log-house, we sent Littlefield ahead to make
some inquiries of a woman who appeared to be in it alone. On his return,
he reported well of the woman. He had told her we were deserters from the
Bulwark, and had promised to pay her if she would let us stay about her
premises that day, and get us something to eat. The woman had consented to
our occupying an out-house, and had agreed to buy the provisions. We now
took possession of the out-house, where the woman visited us, and getting
some money, she left us in quest of food. We were uneasy during her
absence, but she came back with some meat, eggs, bread, and butter, at the
end of an hour, and all seemed right. We made two comfortable meals in
this out-house, where we remained until near evening. I had the look-out
about noon, and I saw a man hanging about the house, and took the alarm.
The man did not stay long, however, and I got a nap as soon as he
disappeared. About four we were all up, and one of us taking a look, saw
this same man, and two others, go into the house. The woman had already
told us that a party of soldiers had gone ahead, in pursuit of three
Yankee runaways; that four had broken prison, but one had been retaken,
and the rest were still out. This left little doubt that she knew who we
were; and we thought it best to steal away, at once, lest the men in the
house should be consulting with her, at that very moment, about selling us
for the reward, which we know was always four pounds ahead. The out-house
was near the river, and there was a good deal of brush growing along the
banks, and we succeeded in getting away unseen.

We went down to the margin, under the bank, and pursued our way along the
stream. Before it was dark we came in sight of the bridge, for which we
had been travelling ever since we left the other bridge, and were sorry to
see a sentry-box on it. We now halted for a council, and came to a
determination to wait until dark, and then advance. This we did, getting
under this bridge, as we had done with the other. We had no Indians,
however, to comfort and feed us.

I had known a good deal of this part of the country when a boy, from the
circumstance that Mr. Marchinton had a large farm, near a place called
Cornwallis, on the Bay, where I had even spent whole summers with the
family. This bridge I recollected well; and I remembered there was a ford
a little on one side of it, when the tide was out. The tides are
tremendous in this part of the world, and we did not dare to steal a boat
here, lest we should be caught in one of the bores, as they are called,
when the tide came in. It was now half ebb, and we resolved to wait, and
try the? ford.

It was quite dark when we left the bridge, and we had a delicate bit of
work before us. The naked flats were very wide, and we sallied out, with
the bridge as our guide. I was up to my middle in mud, at times, but the
water was not very deep. We must have been near an hour in the mud, for we
were not exactly on the proper ford, of course, and made bad navigation of
it in the dark. But we were afraid to lose sight of the bridge, lest we
should get all adrift.

At length we reached the firm ground, covered with mud and chilled with
cold. We found the road, and the village of Horton, and skirted the last,
until all was clear. Then we took to the road, and carried sail hard all
night. Whenever we saw any one, we hid ourselves, but we met few while
travelling. Next morning we walked until we came to a deserted saw-mill,
which I also remembered, and here we halted for the day. No one troubled
us, nor did I see any one; but Littlefield said that a man drove a herd of
cattle past, during his watch on deck.

I told my companions that night, if they would be busy, we might reach
Cornwallis, where I should be at home. We were pretty well fagged, and
wanted rest, for Jack is no great traveller ashore; and I promised the
lads a good snug berth at Mr. Marchinton's farm. We pushed ahead briskly,
in consequence, and I led the party up to the farm, just as day was
dawning. A Newfoundland dog, named Hunter, met us with some ferocity;
but, on my calling him by name, he was pacified, and began to leap on me,
and to caress me. I have always thought that dog knew me, after an absence
of so many years. There was no time to waste with dogs, however, and we
took the way to the barn. We had wit enough not to get on the hay, but to
throw ourselves on a mow filled with straw, as the first was probably in
use. Here we went to sleep, with one man on the look-out. This was the
warmest and most comfortable rest we had got since quitting the island,
from which we had now been absent or nine days.

We remained one night and two days in the barn. The workmen entered it
often, and even stayed some time on the barn-floor; but no one seemed to
think of ascending our mow. The dog kept much about the place, and I was
greatly afraid he would be the means of betraying us. Our provisions were
getting low, and, the night we were at the farm I sallied out, accompanied
by Barnet, and we made our way into the dairy. Here we found a pan of
bread, milk, cheese, butter, eggs, and codfish. Of course, we took our
fill of milk; but Barnet got hold of a vessel of sour cream, and came near
hallooing out, when he had taken a good pull at it. As we returned to the
barn, the geese set up an outcry, and glad enough was I to find myself
safe on the mow again, without being discovered. Next day, however, we
overheard the men in the barn speaking of the robbery, and complaining, in
particular, of the uselessness of the dog. I did not know any of these
persons, although a young man appeared among them, this day, who I fancied
had been a playfellow of mine, when a boy. I could not trust him, or any
one else there; and all the advantage we got from the farm, was through my
knowledge of the localities, and of the habits of the place.

I had never been further on the road between Halifax and Annapolis, than
to Cornwallis. The rest of the distance was unknown to me, though I was
familiar with the route which went out of Cornwallis, and which was called
the Annapolis road. It was a fine star-light evening, and we made good
headway. We all felt refreshed, and journeyed on full stomachs. We did not
meet a soul, though we travelled through a well-settled country. The next
morning we halted in a wood, the weather being warm and pleasant. Here we
slept and rested as usual, and were off again at night. Littlefield
pinned three fowls as we went along, declaring that he intended to have a
warm mess next day, and he got off without discoverv. About four o'clock
in the morning, we fell in with a river, and left the high-way, following
the banks of the stream for a short distance. It now came on to blow and
rain, with the wind on shore, and we saw it would not do to get a boat and
go out in such a time. There was a rising ground, in a thick wood, near
us, and we went up the hill to pass the day. We had seen two men pulling
ashore in a good-looking boat, and it was our determination to get this
boat, and shape our course down stream to the Bay, as soon as it
moderated. From the hill, we could overlook the river, and the adjacent
country. We saw the fishermen land, take their sail and oars out of the
boat, haul the latter up, turn her over, and stow their sails and oars
beneath her. They had a breaker of fresh water, too, and everything seemed
fitted for our purposes. We liked the craft, and, what is more, we liked
the cruise.

We could not see the town of Annapolis, which turned out to be up-stream
from us, though we afterwards ascertained that we were within a mile or
two of it. The fishermen walked in the direction of the town, and
disappeared. All we wanted now was tolerably good weather, with a fair
wind, or, at least, with less wind. The blow had driven in the fishermen,
and we thought it wise to be governed by their experience. Nothing
occurred in the course of the day, the weather remaining the same, and we
being exposed to the rain, with no other cover than trees without leaves.
There were many pines, however, and they gave us a little shelter.

At dusk, Littlefield lighted a fire, and began to cook his fowls. The
supper was soon ready, and we eat it with a good relish. We then went to
sleep, leaving Barnet on the look-out. I had just got into a good sleep,
when I was awoke by the tramp of horses, and the shouting of men. On
springing up, I found that a party of five horsemen were upon us. One
called out--"Here they are--we've found them at last." This left no doubt
of their errand, and we were all retaken. Our arms were tied, and we were
made to mount behind the horsemen, when they rode off with us, taking the
road by which we had come. We went but a few miles that night, when
we halted.

We were taken the whole distance to Halifax, in this manner, riding on
great-coats, without stirrups, the horses on a smart walk. We did not go
by Cornwallis, which, it seems, was not the nearest road; but we passed
through Horton, and crossed the bridge, beneath which we had Waded through
the mud. At Horton we passed a night. We were confined in a sort of a
prison, that was covered with mud. We did not like our berths; and,
finding that the logs, of which the building was made, were rotten, we
actually worked our way through them, and got fairly out. Littlefield, who
was as reckless an Irishman as ever lived, swore he would set fire to the
place; which he did, by returning through the hole we had made, and
getting up into a loft, that was dry and combustible. But for this silly
act, we might have escaped; and, as it was, we did get off for the rest of
the night, being caught, next morning, nearly down, again, by the bridge
at Windsor.

This time, our treatment was a good deal worse, than at first. A sharp
look-out was kept, and they got us back to Halifax, without any more
adventures. We were pretty well fagged; though we had to taper off with
the black hole, and bread and water, for the next ten days; the regular
punishment for such misdemeanors as ours. At the end of the ten days, we
were let out, and came together again. Our return brought about a great
deal of discussion; and, not a little criticism, as to the prudence of our
course. To hear the chaps talk, one would think every man among them could
have got off, had he been in our situation; though none of them did any
better; several having got off the island, in our absence, and been
retaken, within the first day or two. While I was in prison, however, I
remember but one man who got entirely clear. This was a privateers-man,
from Marblehead; who did get fairly off; though he was back again, in six
weeks, having been taken once more, a few days out.

We adventurers were pretty savage, about our failure; and, the moment we
were out of the black hole, we began to lay our heads together for a new
trial. My idea was, to steer a different course, in the new attempt;
making the best of our way towards Liverpool, which lay to the southward,
coastwise. This would leave us on the Atlantic, it was true; but our
notion was, to ship in a small privateer, called the Liverpool, and then
run our chance of getting off from her; as she was constantly crossing
over to the American coast. As this craft was quite small, and often had
but few hands in her, we did not know but we might get hold of the
schooner itself. Then there was some probability of being put in a
coaster; which we might run away with. At all events, any chance seemed
better to us, than that of remaining in prison, until the end of war that
might last years, or until we got to be grey-headed. I remembered, when
the Ville de Milan was brought into Halifax; this was a year, or two,
before I went to sea; and yet here were some of her people still, on
Melville Island!

I renewed my trade as soon as out of the Black Hole, but did not give up
the idea of escaping. Leonard Lewis and Jack Mallet were the only men we
let into the secret. They both declined joining us; Mallet on account of
his dread of the water, and Lewis, because certain he could not outlive
the fatigue; but they wished us good luck, and aided us all they could.
With Johnson we would have no further concern.

The keepers did not ascertain the means by which we had left the barracks,
though they had seen the cut pickets of course. We did not attempt,
therefore, to cut through again, but resolved to climb. The English had
strengthened the pickets with cross-pieces, which were a great assistance
to _us_, and I now desire to express my thanks for the same. We waited for
a warm, but dark and rainy night in May, before we commenced our new
movement. We had still plenty of money, I having brought back with me to
prison forty crowns, and having driven a thriving trade in the interval.
We got out through the bars, precisely as we had done before, and at the
very same window. This was a small job. After climbing the pickets, either
Littlefield or Barnet dropped on the outside, a little too carelessly, and
was overheard. The sentinel immediately called for the corporal of the
guard, but we were in the water, swimming quite near the bridge, and some
little distance from the guard-house on the main. There was a stir on the
island, while we were in the water, but we all got ashore, safe
and unseen.

We took to the same woods as before, but turned south instead of west. Our
route brought us along by the waterside, and we travelled hard all that
night. Littlefield pretended to be our guide, but we got lost, and
remained two days and nights in the woods, without food, and completely at
fault as to which way to steer. At length we ventured out into a high-way,
by open day-light, and good luck threw an old Irish seaman, who then lived
by fishing in [missing]. After a little conversation, we told this old
man we were deserters from a vessel of war, and he seemed to like us all
the better for it. He had served himself, and had a son impressed, and
seemed to like the English navy little better than we did ourselves. He
took us to a hut on the beach, and fed us with fish, potatoes, and bread,
giving us a very comfortable and hearty meal. We remained in this hut
until sunset, receiving a great deal of useful advice from the old man,
and then we left him. We used some precaution in travelling, sleeping in
the woods; but we kept moving by day as well as by night, and halting only
when tired, and a good place offered. We were not very well off for food,
though we brought a little from the fisherman's hut, and found quantities
of winter-berries by the way-side.

We entered Liverpool about eight at night, and went immediately to the
rendezvous of the privateer, giving a little girl a shilling to be our
guide. The keeper of the rendezvous received us gladly, and we shipped
immediately. Of course we were lodged and fed, in waiting for the schooner
to come in. Each of us got four pounds bounty, and both parties seemed
delighted with the bargain. To own the truth, we now began to drink, and
the next day was pretty much a blank with us all. The second day, after
breakfast, the landlord rushed into our room with a newspaper in his hand,
and broke out upon us, with a pretty string of names, denouncing us for
having told him we were deserters, when we were only runaway Yankees! The
twelve pounds troubled him, and he demanded it back. We laughed at him,
and advised him to be quiet and put us aboard the privateer. He then told
us the guard was after us, hot-foot, and that it was too late. This proved
to be true enough, for, in less than an hour an officer and a platoon of
men had us in custody. We had some fun in hearing the officer give it to
the landlord, who still kept talking about his twelve pounds. The officer
told him plainly that he was rightly served, for attempting to smuggle off
deserters, and I suppose this was the reason no one endeavoured to get the
money away from us, except by words. We kept the twelve pounds, right
or wrong.

We were now put in a coaster, and sent to Halifax by water. We were in
irons, but otherwise were well enough treated. We were kept in the
Navy-yard guard-house, at Halifax, several hours, and were visited by a
great many officers. These gentlemen were curious to hear our story, and
we let them have it, very frankly. They laughed, and said, generally, we
were not to be blamed for trying to get off, if their own look-outs were
so bad as to let us. We did not tell them, however, by what means we
passed out of the prison-barracks. Among the officers who came and spoke
to us, was an admiral, Sir Isaac Coffin. This gentleman was a native
American, and was then in Halifax to assist the Nantucket men, whom he
managed to get exchanged. His own nephew was said to be among them; but
him he would not serve, as he had been captured in a privateer. Had he
been captured in a man-of-war, or a merchantman, he would have done all
he could for him; but, as it was, he let him go to Dartmoor--at least,
this was the story in the prison. The old gentleman spoke very mildly to
us, and said he could not blame us for attempting to escape. I do not
think he had ever heard of the twelve pounds; though none of the navy
officers were sorry that the privateer's-men should be punished. As for
us, we considered them all enemies alike, on whom it was fair enough to
live in a time of war.

We were sent back to the island, and were quarantined again; though it was
for twenty days, this time. When we got pratique, we learned that some one
had told of the manner in which we got out of prison, and cross-bars had
been placed in all the windows, making them so many "nine of diamonds."
This was blocking the channel, and there was no more chance for getting
off in that way.

A grand conspiracy was now formed, which was worthy of the men in prison.
The plan was to get possession of Halifax itself, and go off in triumph.
We were eighteen hundred prisoners in all; though not very well off for
officers. About fifty of us entered into the plan, at first; nor did we
let in any recruits for something like six weeks. A Mr. Crowninshield, of
Salem, was the head man among as, he having been an officer in a
privateer. There were a good many privateer officers in the prison, but
they were berthed over-head, and were intended to be separated from us at
night. The floor was lifted between us, however, and we held our
communications by these means. The officers came down at night, and lent
us a hand with the work.

The scheme was very simple, though I do not think it was at all difficult
of execution. The black-hole cells were beneath the prison, and we broke
through the floor, into one of them, from our bay. A large mess-chest
concealed the process, in the day-time. We worked in gangs of six, digging
and passing up the dirt into the night-tubs. These tubs we were
permitted to empty, every morning, in a tide's way, and thus we got rid of
the dirt. At the end of two months we had dug a passage, wide enough for
two abreast, some twenty or thirty yards, and were nearly ready to come up
to the surface. We now began to recruit, swearing in each man. On the
whole, we had got about four hundred names, when the project was defeated,
by that great enemy which destroys so many similar schemes, treachery. We
were betrayed, as was supposed by one of our own number.

Had we got out, the plan was to seize the heights of the island, and get
possession of the guns. This effected, it would have been easy to subdue
the guard. We then would have pushed for Citadel Hill, which commanded
Halifax. Had we succeeded there, we should have given John Bull a great
deal of trouble, though no one could say what would have been the result.
Hundreds would probably have got off, in different craft, even had the
great plan failed. We were not permitted to try the experiment, however,
for one day we were all turned out, and a party of English officers, army
and navy, entered the barracks, removed the mess-chest, and surveyed our
mine at their leisure. A draft of six hundred was sent from the prison
that day, and was shipped for Dartmoor; and, by the end of the week, our
whole number was reduced to some three or four hundred souls. One of the
Julias went in this draft, but all the rest of us were kept at Halifax.
For some reason or other, the English seemed to keep their eyes on us.

I never gave up the hope of escaping, and the excitement of the hope was
beneficial to both body and mind. We were too well watched, however, and
conversation at night was even forbidden. Most of the officers were gone
and this threw me pretty much on my own resources. I have forgotten to say
that Lemuel Bryant, the man who fell at the breech of my gun, at Little
York, and whom I afterwards hauled into the Scourge's boat, got off, very
early after our arrival at Halifax. He made two that got quite clear,
instead of the one I have already mentioned. Bryant's escape was so
clever, as to deserve notice.

One day a party of some thirty soldiers was called out for exchange, under
a capitulation. Among the names was that of Lemuel Bryant, but the man
happened to be dead. Our Bryant had found this out, beforehand, and he
rigged himself soldier-fashion, and answered to the name. It is probable
he ascertained the fact, by means of some relationship, which brought him
in contact with the soldier previously to his death. He met with no
difficulty, and I have never seen him since. I have heard he is still
living, and that he receives a pension for the hurt he received at York.
Well does he deserve it, for no man ever had a narrower chance for
his life.

Nothing new, worthy of notice, occurred for several months, until one
evening in March, 1815, we heard a great rejoicing in Halifax; and,
presently, a turnkey appeared on the walls, and called out that England
and America had made peace! We gave three cheers, and passed the night
happy enough. We had a bit of a row with the turnkeys about locking us in
again, for we were fierce for liberty; but we were forced to submit for
another night.

Chapter X.

The following morning, eight of the names that stood first on the
prison-roll were called off, to know if the men would consent to work a
liberated Swedish brig to New York. I was one of the eight, as was Jack
Mallet and Barnet. Wilcox, one of those who had gone with us to Bermuda,
had died, and the rest were left on the island. I never fell in with
Leonard Lewis, Littlefield, or any of the rest of those chaps, after I
quitted the prison. Lewis, I think, could not have lived long; and as for
Littlefield, I heard of him, afterwards, as belonging to the
Washington 74.

The Swede, whose name was the Venus, was lying at the end of Marchinton's
wharf, a place that had been so familiar to me in boyhood. We all went on
board, and I was not sorry to find that we were to haul into the stream
immediately. I had an extraordinary aversion to Halifax, which my late
confinement had not diminished, and had no wish to see a living soul in
it. Jack Mallet, however, took on himself the office of paying my sister a
visit, and of telling her where I was to be found. This he did contrary to
my wishes, and without my knowledge; though I think he meant to do me a
favour. The very day we hauled into the stream, a boat came alongside us,
and I saw, at a glance, that Harriet was in it. I said a few words to her,
requesting her not to come on board, but promising to visit her that
evening, which I did.

I stayed several hours with my sister, whom I found living with her
husband. She did not mention my father's name to me, at all; and I learned
nothing of my other friends, if I ever had any, or of my family. Her
husband was a tailor, and they gave me a good outfit of clothes, and
treated me with great kindness. It struck me that the unaccountable
silence of my father about us children, had brought my sister down in the
world a little, but it was no affair of mine; and, as for myself, I cared
for no one. After passing the evening with the family, I went on board
again, without turning to the right or left to see a single soul more.
Even the Frasers were not visited, so strong was my dislike to have
anything to do with Halifax.

The Venus took on board several passengers, among whom were three or four
officers of the navy. Lieutenant Rapp, and a midshipman Randolph were
among them, and there were also several merchant-masters of the party. We
sailed two days after I joined the brig, and had a ten or twelve days'
passage. The moment the Venus was alongside the wharf, at New York, we all
left, and found ourselves free men once more. I had been a prisoner
nineteen months, and that was quite enough for me for the remainder of
my life.

We United States' men reported ourselves, the next day to Captain Evans,
the commandment of the Brooklyn Yard, and, after giving in our names, we
were advised to go on board the Epervier, which was then fitting out for
the Mediterranean, under the command of Captain Downes. To this we
objected, however, as we wanted a cruise ashore, before we took to the
water again. This was a lucky decision of ours, though scarcely to be
defended as to our views: the Epervier being lost, and all hands
perishing, a few months later, on her return passage from the Straits.

Captain Evans then directed us to report ourselves daily, which we did.
But the press of business at Washington prevented our cases from being
attended to; and being destitute of money, while wages were high, we
determined, with Captain Evans' approbation, to make a voyage, each, in
the merchant service, and to get our accounts settled on our return. Jack
Mallet, Barnet and I, shipped, therefore, in another brig called the
Venus, that was bound on a sealing voyage, as was thought, in some part of
the world where seals were said to be plenty. We were ignorant of the
work, or we might have discovered there was a deception intended, from the
outfit of the vessel. She had no salt even, while she had plenty of
cross-cut saws, iron dogs, chains, &c. The brig sailed, however, and stood
across the Atlantic, as if in good earnest. When near the Cape de Verds,
the captain called us aft, and told us he thought the season too far
advanced for sealing, and that, if we would consent, he would run down to
St. Domingo, and make an arrangement with some one there to cut mahogany
on shares, with fustick and lignum-vitæ. The secret was now out; but what
could we poor salts do? The work we were asked to do turned out to be
extremely laborious; and I suppose we had been deceived on account of the
difficulty of getting men, just at that time, for such a voyage. There we
were, in the midst of the ocean, and we agreed to the proposal, pretty
much as a matter of course.

The brig now bore up, and stood for St. Domingo. She first went in to the
city of St. Domingo, where the arrangements were made, and Spaniards were
got to help to cut the wood, when we sailed for a bay, of which I have
forgotten the name, and anchored near the shore. The trees were sawed
down, about ten miles up a river, and floated to its bar, across which
they had to be hauled by studding-sail halyards, through the surf; one man
hauling two logs at a time, made into a sort of raft. Sharks abounded, and
we had to keep a bright look-out, lest they got a leg while we were busy
with the logs. I had a narrow escape from two while we lay at St. Domingo.
A man fell overboard, and I went after him, succeeding in catching the
poor fellow. A boat was dropped astern to pick us up, and, as we hauled
the man in, two large sharks came up close alongside. This affair had set
us drinking, and I got a good deal of punch aboard. The idea of remaining
in the brig was unpleasant to me, and I had thought of quitting her for
some days. A small schooner bound to America, and short of hands, lay near
us; and I had told the captain I would come and join him that night. Jack
Mallet and the rest tried to persuade me not to go, but I had too much
punch and grog in me to listen to reason. When all hands aft were asleep,
therefore, I let myself down into the water, and swam quite a
cable's-length to the schooner. One of the men was looking out for me. He
heard me in the water, and stood ready to receive me. As I drew near the
schooner, this man threw me a rope, and helped me up the side, but, as
soon as I was on the deck, he told me to look behind me. I did so, and
there I saw an enormous shark swimming about, a fellow that was sixteen or
eighteen feet long. This shark, I was told, had kept company with me as
long as I had been in sight from the schooner. I cannot well describe the
effect that was produced on me by this discovery. When I entered the
water, I was under the influence of liquor, but this escape sobered me in
a minute; so much so, indeed, that I insisted on being put in a boat, and
sent back to the brig, which was done. I was a little influenced in this,
however, by some reluctance that was manifested to keep me on board the
schooner. I got on board the Venus without being discovered, and came to a
resolution to stick by the craft until the voyage was up.

We filled up with mahogany, and took in a heavy deck-load, in the course
of four months, which was a most laborious process. When ready, the brig
sailed for New York, We encountered a heavy gale, about a week out, which
swept away our deck-load, bulwarks, &c. At this time, the master,
supercargo, mate, cook, and three of the crew, were down with the fever;
leaving Mallet, Barnet and myself, to take care of the brig. We three
brought the vessel up as far as Barnegat, where we procured assistance,
and she arrived safe at the quarantine ground.

As soon as we got pratique, Mallet, Barnet and myself, went up to town to
look after our affairs, leaving the brig below. The owners gave us thirty
dollars each, to begin upon. We ascertained that our landlord had received
our wages from government, and held it ready for us, sailor fashion. I
also sold my share in the Venus' voyage for one hundred and twenty
dollars. This gave me, in all, about five hundred dollars, which money
lasted me between five and six weeks! How true is it, that "sailors make
their money like horses, and spend it like asses!" I cannot say this
prodigal waste of my means afforded me any substantial gratification. I
have experienced more real pleasure from one day passed in a way of which
my conscience could approve, than from all the loose and thoughtless
follies, in which I was then in the habit of indulging when ashore, of a
whole life. The manner in which this hard-earned gold was thrown away, may
serve to warn some brother tar of the dangers that beset me; and let the
reader understand the real wants of so large a body of his

On turning out in the morning, I felt an approach to that which seamen
call the "horrors," and continued in this state, until I had swallowed
several glasses of rum. I had no appetite for breakfast, and life was
sustained principally by drink. Half of the time I ate no dinner, and when
I did, it was almost drowned in grog. Occasionally I drove out in a coach,
or a gig, and generally had something extra to pay for damages. One of
these cruises cost me forty dollars, and I shall always think I was given
a horse that sailed crab-fashion, on purpose to do me out of the money. At
night, I generally went to the play, and felt bound to treat the landlord
and his family to tickets and refreshments. We always had a coach to go
in, and it was a reasonable night that cost me only ten dollars. At first
I was a sort of "king among beggars;" but as the money went, Ned's
importance went with it, until, one day, the virtuous landlord intimated
to me that it would be well, as I happened to be sober, to overhaul our
accounts. He then began to read from his books, ten dollars for this,
twenty dollars for that, and thirty for the other, until I was soon tired,
and wanted to know how much was left. I had still fifty dollars, even
according to his account of the matter; and as that might last a week,
with good management, I wanted to hear no more about the items.

All this time, I was separated from my old shipmates, being left
comparatively among strangers. Jack Mallet had gone to join his friends in
Philadelphia, and Barnet went south, whither I cannot say. I never fell in
with either of them again, it being the fate of seamen to encounter the
greatest risks and hardships in company, and then to cut adrift from each
other, with little ceremony, never to meet again. I was still young, being
scarcely two-and-twenty, and might, even then, have hauled in my oars, and
come to be an officer and a man.

As I knew I must go to sea, as soon as the accounts were balanced, I began
to think a little seriously of my prospects. Dissipation had wearied me,
and I wanted to go a voyage of a length that would prevent my falling soon
into the same course of folly and vice. I had often bitter thoughts as to
my conduct, nor was I entirely free from reflection on the subject of my
peculiar situation. I might be said to be without a friend, or relative,
in the world. "When my hat was on, my house was thatched." Of my father, I
knew nothing; I have since ascertained he must then have been dead. My
sister was little to me, and I never expected to see her again. The
separation from all my old lakers, too, gave me some trouble, for I never
met with one of them after parting from Barnet and Mallet, with the
exception of Tom Goldsmith and Jack Reilly. Tom and I fell in with each
other, on my return from St. Domingo, in the streets of New York, and had
a yarn of two hours, about old times. This was all I ever saw of Tom. He
had suffered a good deal with the English, who kept him in Kingston, Upper
Canada, until the peace, when they let him go with the rest. As for
Reilly, we have been in harbour together, in our old age, and I may speak
of him again.

Under the feelings I have mentioned, as soon as the looks of my landlord
let me know that there were no more shot in the locker, I shipped in a
South Sea whaler, named the Edward, that was expected to be absent
between two and three years. She was a small vessel, and carried only
three boats. I got a pretty good outfit from my landlord, though most of
the articles were second-hand. We parted good friends, however, and I came
back to him, and played the same silly game more than once. He was not a
bad _landlord_, as landlords then went, and I make no doubt he took better
care of my money than I should have done myself. On the whole, this class
of men are not as bad as they seem, though there are precious rascals
among them. The respectable sailor landlord is quite as good, in his way,
as one could expect, all things considered.

The voyage I made in the Edward was one of very little interest, the ship
being exceedingly successful. The usage and living were good, and the
whaling must have been good too, or we never should have been back again,
as soon as we were. We went round the Horn, and took our first whale
between the coast of South America and that of New Holland. I must have
been present at the striking of thirty fish, but never met with any
accident. I pulled a mid-ship oar, being a new hand at the business, and
had little else to do, but keep clear of the line, and look out for my
paddle. The voyage is now so common, and the mode of taking whales is so
well known, that I shall say little about either. We went off the coast of
Japan, as it is called, though a long bit from the land, and we made New
Holland, though without touching. The return passage was by the Cape of
Good Hope and St. Helena. We let go our anchor but once the whole voyage,
and that was at Puna, at the mouth of the Guayaquil river, on the coast of
Chili. We lay there a week, but, with this exception, the Edward was
actually under her canvass the whole voyage, or eighteen months. We did
intend to anchor at St. Helena, but were forbidden on account of
Bonaparte, who was then a prisoner on the Island. As we stood in, we were
met by a man-of-war brig, that kept close to us until we had sunk the
heights, on our passage off again. We were not permitted even to send a
boat in, for fresh grub.

I sold my voyage in the Edward for two hundred and fifty dollars, and went
back to my landlord, in Water street. Of course, everybody was glad to see
me, a sailor's importance in such places being estimated by the length of
his voyage. In Wall street they used to call a man "a hundred thousand
dollar man," and in Water, "an eighteen months, or a two years' voyage
man." As none but whalers, Indiamen, and Statesmen could hold out so long,
we were all A. No. 1, for a fortnight or three weeks. The man-of-war's-man
is generally most esteemed, his cruise lasting three years; the _lucky_
whaler comes next, and the Canton-man third. The Edward had been a lucky
ship, and, insomuch, I had been a lucky fellow. I behaved far better this
time, however, than I had done on my return from St. Domingo. I kept sober
more, did not spend my money as foolishly or as fast, and did not wait to
be kicked out of doors, before I thought of getting some more. When I
shipped anew, I actually left a hundred dollars behind me in my landlord's
hands; a very extraordinary thing for Jack, and what is equally worthy of
notice, I got it all again, on my next return from sea.

My steadiness was owing, in a great measure, to the following
circumstances. I fell in with two old acquaintances, who had been in
prison with me, of the names of Tibbets and Wilson. This Tibbets was not
the man who had been sent to Bermuda with me, but another of the same
name. These men had belonged to the Gov. Tompkins privateer, and had
received a considerable sum in prize-money, on returning home. They had
used their money discreetly, having purchased an English prize-brig, at a
low price, and fitted her out. On board the Tompkins, both had been
foremost hands, and in prison they had messed in our bay, so that we had
been hail-fellows-well-met; on Melville Island. After getting this brig
ready, they had been to the West Indies in her, and were now about to sail
for Ireland. They wished me to go with them, and gave me so much good
advice, on the subject of taking care of my money, that it produced the
effect I have just mentioned.

The name of the prize-brig was the Susan, though I forget from what small
eastern port she hailed. She was of about two hundred tons burthen, but
must have-been old and rotten. Tibbets was master, and Wilson was
chief-mate. I shipped as a sort of second-mate, keeping a watch, though I
lived forward at my own request. We must have sailed about January, 1818,
bound to Belfast. There were fourteen of us, altogether, on board, most of
us down-easters. Our run off the coast was with a strong north-west gale,
which compelled us to heave-to, the sea being too high for scudding.
Finding that the vessel laboured very much, however, and leaked badly, we
kept off again, and scudded for the rest of the blow. On the whole, we got
out of this difficulty pretty well. We got but two observations the whole
passage, but in the afternoon of the twenty-third day out, we made the
coast of Ireland, close aboard, in thick weather; the wind directly on
shore, blowing a gale. The brig was under close-reefed topsails, running
free, at the time, and we found it necessary to haul up. We now discovered
the defects of old canvass and old rigging, splitting the fore-topsail,
foresail, and fore-topmast-staysail, besides carrying away sheets, &c. We
succeeded in hauling up the foresail, however, and I went upon the yard
and mended it, after a fashion. It was now nearly night, and it blew in a
way "to need two men to hold one man's hair on his head." I cannot say I
thought much of our situation, my principal concern being to get below,
with some warm, dry clothes on. We saw nothing of the land after the first
half-hour, but at midnight we wore ship, and came up on the larboard tack.
The brig had hardly got round before the fore-tack went, and the foresail
split into ribands. We let the sail blow from the yard. By this time,
things began to look very serious, though, for some reason, I felt no
great alarm. The case was different with Tibbets and Wilson, who were
uneasy about Cape Clear. I had had a bit of a spat with them about waring,
believing, myself, that we should have gone clear of the Cape, on the
starboard tack. This prevented them saying much to me, and we had little
communication with each other that night. To own the truth, I was sorry I
had shipped in such a craft. Her owners were too poor to give a sea-going
vessel a proper outfit, and they were too near my own level to
create respect.

The fore-topsail had been mended as well as the foresail, and was set
anew. The sheets went, however, about two in the morning, and the sail


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