Open Collections

BC Historical Books

BC Historical Books

BC Historical Books

Voyages of a merchant navigator of the days that are past. Compiled from the journals and letters of… Cleveland, H. W. S. (Horace William Shaler), 1814-1900 1886

Item Metadata


JSON: bcbooks-1.0222640.json
JSON-LD: bcbooks-1.0222640-ld.json
RDF/XML (Pretty): bcbooks-1.0222640-rdf.xml
RDF/JSON: bcbooks-1.0222640-rdf.json
Turtle: bcbooks-1.0222640-turtle.txt
N-Triples: bcbooks-1.0222640-rdf-ntriples.txt
Original Record: bcbooks-1.0222640-source.json
Full Text

Full Text



       NEW YORK
1886 Copyright, 1886, by Harper & Brothers.
All rights reserved.
Those who have got beyond the childish belief
that happiness is the end and aim of existence,
and is actually attainable in this stage of it—who
have learned by the discipline of adversity and
disappointment that the grand object of life is the
development of character, while happiness is only
the occasional, incidental attendant on its pursuit
I—will read the following story with an appreciative
interest which only such education can afford.
H.W. S. G.
m    •l---^»--   •      CHAPTER I.'    ..          ~Ji|v. 1   ,
Salem, the Part she Took in the Revolution.—Stephen Cleveland.—
Commercial Activity Succeeding the Revolution, and its Effect
on the Character of the Community . Page 1
Early Years.—Cultivation of Commercial Tastes.—First Voyage.—
Voyage with Captain Silsbee.—Letters to his Father.—Voyage
from Havre to Cape of Good Hope.—Interest Excited by his Arrival  ;.... 13
Voyage from China to the Northwest Coast of America.—Letters
from Canton.—Difficulties of the Undertaking.—Hardships of
the Voyage.—Mutiny of the Men.—Adventures on the Coast.—
Safe Return to Canton. 34
From Canton to Calcutta, and thence to the Isle of France.—First
Meeting with William Shaler.—From the Isle of France to Copenhagen.—Purchase of the Brig Leila Byrd, and Preparations
for a Voyage Round the World.—The Count de Rouissillon. 57
Voyage of the Lelia Byrd.—Adventures in Chili and on the Coast
of California.—Thence to the Sandwich Islands and China, and
thence in the Alert to Boston 76 Vlll
Marriage and Settlement at Lancaster, Massachusetts.—Forced to
Resume Navigation.—Voyage of the Aspasia, and its Ruinous
Termination Page 101
Tbe Embargo.—Voyage to Africa.—Goes to England in Search of
Business.—Thence, Secretly, to Holland, and Home as Bearer of
Despatches.—Voyage to Naples.—Vessel and Cargo Seized and
Confiscated.—Life at Naples and Rome 125
CHAPTER VIII.                    |
From Italy to Lisbon and thence to England  142
Transactions in England and on the Continent.—A Project Promising Great Results Defeated by the Failure of the Russian
Campaign  153
Sails in the Ship Beaver from New York for the West Coast of
South America. — Seized at Talcahuana. — Plots to Take the
Spanish Frigate Venganza. — Seized with Fever. — Is Sent to
Lima in the Brig Canton 167
Letters to the Viceroy and to Mr. Astor.—Arrival at Lima.—Reception by the Viceroy.—Goes to Valparaiso on a Secret Mission.
— The Beaver Restored. — Captain Biddle Supplies a First
Officer  184
Operations on the Coast of Peru.—Proclamation of Blockade, which
he Sets at Defiance with Entire Success.— Satisfaction of the
Viceroy.—Sails for Rio Janeiro j 199 CONTENTS.
Recapitulation of the Occurrences of Three Years.—Letter from the
Underwriters, and his Reply.—Home Again.—Disgraceful Conduct of the National Insurance Company Page 213
Failure to Secure the Proceeds of his Adventures. — Pursuit of
Arizmendi to Hamburg, and subsequently to Madrid. — Mr.
Shaler Appointed Consul at Havana.—My Father Goes with
him as Vice-Consul.—Death of Mr. Shaler.—Obtains an Office
in Boston Custom-House.—Takes up his Residence with me, and
Dies in my House at the Age of Eighty-seven  226
Salem, the Part she took in the Revolution.—Stephen Cleveland.—
Commercial Activity Succeeding the Revolution, and its Effect
on the Character of the Community.
The names of many of the cities and towns of the
old world are associated in the mind with conceptions
of character almost as vivid as those which attach to individual persons.
We think of some as centres of intellectual or artistic
culture. Others are invested with an odor of sanctity,
or call to mind visions of decayed grandeur, or an undefined sense of weird and ghostly superstitions. A
sort of moral atmosphere seems to hang over them,
which imparts its hue to every object or incident pertaining to them. Such associations are naturally less
frequent and less palpable with us, and yet we have
many towns which have attained such reputation for VOYAGES OF A MERCHANT NAVIGATOR.
peculiar qualities, resulting from circumstances of past
history, that we speak of events which transpire within
their borders as being characteristic of the place, just as
we should of any person whose idiosyncrasies were well
known, and we instantly recognize the effect of these
peculiar characteristics in the action of individual members of the community.
There is, perhaps, no town on this continent whose
name carries with it such distinctly marked associations
of this kind as Salem, Massachusetts. There is certainly
none which sustained a more important part in the early
history of the country, and none which has retained so
many outward evidences of its former character.
The stranger who wanders to-day through the quiet
streets of Salem, or lingers about her deserted wharves,
is impressed with the Sabbath-like stillness which pervades them, and the vague sense of departed vitality
with which they are invested. Old-fashioned homes
of spacious size, whose walls in long-past days have
echoed the greetings of old-fashioned hospitality, stand
apart in the shade of patriarchal elms or lindens, and
seem to plead with mute eloquence against the innovation of modern improvements. Great warehouses
stand, empty and silent, on the vacant wharves which
once resounded with the notes of busy commerce. In
my younger days a peculiar feature of the streets was
the frequent presence at the corners of an old cannon,
made to do duty as a corner-post. It had a picturesque
effect, and was so suggestive of past history that I cannot but regret the lack of taste which suffered them to
be removed.   They were most frequently to be seen in OLD SALEM. 3
the streets nearest the wharves, which were then lined
with ship-chandler's shops, sailors' boarding-houses, slopshops, etc., and were filled with the motley crowd of
sailors, longshoremen, and the various amphibious bipeds inherent to such places. All these have long since
disappeared, like frogs and tadpoles from a drained
marsh, and no sight, sound, or odor remains that is suggestive of marine or commercial life. || |jj|
There are, however, no signs of the poverty we are
accustomed to associate with decay. The evidences of
wealth and refined culture are obvious, and an aspect
of comfort and respectability is seen even in the plainest dwellings, while the tidy cleanliness which everywhere prevails affords no suggestion of squalor or want.
But the sources of prosperity are not perceptible. The
machinery of life is out of sight and hearing, and the
man whose interest in life is dependent on the ceaseless
activity which is the characteristic of our new and growing towns is apt to turn with a sneer of contempt from
a place which seems so dead to everything like active
enterprise. - M    ■■(■■■'"■ ^   H: -    -
Yet the present serene and quiet condition of Salem
is the final result—the § ripening off," after fermentation—of such elements of activity and enterprise as have
never been surpassed, and have exerted so important an
influence on the destinies of the country that they should
not be forgotten.  *§ . fl ■ :lllllf    §.*
The part which Salem played in the great drama of
the revolution was unique, and constituted a vitally
important factor in the sum of events which led to the
final consummation. 4 VOYAGES OF A MERCHANT NAVIGATOR.
It should be borne in mind that we entered upon that
contest with the first naval power in the world without
a single ship of war; with our commerce ruined, and
the ports of Boston and New York in the hands of the
enemy, a fate soon after shared by Newport, Philadelphia, Savannah, and Charleston. Salem saw her opportunity and proved herself equal to its demands. She
turned her vessels into men-of-war, armed and manned
them, and sent them out to prey on British commerce.
During the war upwards of one hundred and fifty vessels, carrying more than two thousand guns, were sent
out of her port, and more than four hundred and fifty
prizes were captured and sent in by them. They cruised
in the English and Irish channels and the Bay of Biscay ; they brought arms and munitions of war from
France and the French islands; they intercepted the
transport ships bringing reinforcements and supplies
from England to the troops in Boston and New York;
they raised the rate of insurance on British ships to
twenty-three per cent., and compelled England to employ her navy in convoying merchantmen, and in repeated instances achieved success by the most desperate
feats of valor. . fj.-     ■■[ - ■ :%
A very active part in the promotion of this service
was taken by my grandfather, Stephen Cleveland, a
sketch of whose career will serve as an appropriate introduction to the adventures of his eldest son, my father.
fSl-fii the year 1756, when he was but sixteen years old,
he was seized by a press-gang in the streets of Boston,
and served for several years on board an English frigate.
She was first under the command of a very gentlemanly STEPHEN CLEVELAND.
officer, who was beloved by his crew, and who afterwards became Sir William Trelawney, Governor of Jamaica.
He was succeeded by a contemptible dandy, who,
among other acts which excited the ire of his crew, used
to go at night in disguise between decks to overhear
their remarks upon himself. On one occasion he was
recognized by one of the men by the dim light of a
lantern, and, springing from his hammock and calling
him by the name of one of his shipmates with whom
he pretended to have had a difficulty, he gave him such
a thrashing that he kept his bed for a fortnight, and
was, of course, ashamed to make known the cause of his
7 *>
sudden illness. ~
My grandfather's service in the British navy was during the I old French war," and the ship to which he
was attached was for a time one of a squadron watching
a French fleet in one of the Channel ports. He was
promoted to be captain of the foretop, and afterwards
midshipman. After his discharge and return home he
entered the merchant service, and became not only an
accomplished seaman, but, as I have often heard my father say, he seemed to have an intuitive skill in naval
architecture, and a better knowledge of proportions in
the building, sparring, and rigging of ships than any
man he ever knew. *
This knowledge was turned to account in a most efficient manner in the service of his country in her most
trying days. His advice and assistance were in constant demand for the construction and fitting-out of the
privateers. 6
.The brig Pilgrim was built under his sole direction,
and proved one of the fastest as well as most successful
of the whole Salem fleet. She captured and sent in
more than fifty prizes, and was finally run ashore on
Cape Cod to escape capture by the Chatham, a frigate
of sixty guns.     ;1 :
He was finally commissioned by the Continental government, and sent to Bordeaux in command of the brig
Despatch, to procure arms and military stores. ||j
The date of his commission is August 8, 1776, only
thirty-five days after the Declaration of Independence,
so that it must have been one of the earliest naval commissions issued by the Continental government. It is
signed by John Hancock, and was accompanied by a
minute letter of instructions from a committee of Congress, of which Benjamin Franklin was chairman. He
was the first to display the American flag on a government vessel in a European port, and was much feted
and caressed during his stay in Bordeaux.       Jf
; A curious illustration of the necessities to which the
country was reduced is afforded by the fact that, as we
had then neither money nor credit, he carried out a cargo
of oil, fish, and potash, and made his purchases with the
proceeds. He accomplished his object successfully, after two narrow escapes from capture on his return.
The spirit of active enterprise engendered by the war
found vent, when peace returned, in the opening of new
channels of commerce. The merchants of Salem then
found themselves in possession of a fleet of vessels which
had been built expressly for privateers, and were much
too large for the short voyages to which they had hereto- COMMERCIAL ACTIVITY OF SALEM.    ; f
fore been restricted, and they entered at once upon the
commercial career of which, for a period of forty years,
they held the monopoly. The effect of this active rivalry upon the social character of the town was so marked,
and is so pertinent to my present subject, that I feel
warranted in quoting the following from a very interesting paper prepared by the Kev. George Bachelor:
"The foreign commerce which sprang up in the last century in
Salem was the cause of a wonderful intellectual and moral stimulus,
not yet spent. After a century of comparative quiet, the citizens of
this little town were suddenly dispersed to every part of the Oriental
world, and to every nook of barbarism which had a market and a
shore. The borders of the commercial world received sudden enlargement, and the boundaries of the intellectual world underwent
a similar expansion. This reward of enterprise might be the discovery of an island in which wild pepper enough to load a ship
might be had almost for the asking, or of forests where precious
gums had no commercial value, or spice islands, unvisited and un-
vexed by civilization. Every shipmaster and every mariner returning on a richly loaded ship was the owner of valuable knowledge. In
those days crews were made up of Salem boys, every one of whom
expected to become an East India merchant. When a captain was
asked at Manilla how he contrived to find his way in the teeth of a
northeast monsoon by mere dead-reckoning, he replied that he had
a crew of twelve men, any one of whom could take and work a
lunar observation as well, for all practical purposes, as Sir Isaac
Newton himself. iS:
"Thiscrew had in Nathaniel Bowditch an uncommon supercargo.
But it would be difficult now to find a crew of common sailors who,
even under such a teacher, would willingly master the mysteries of
tangents and secants, dip and refraction, sines and cosines.
"When, in 1S16, George Crowninshield coasted the Mediterranean
in the Cleopatra's Barge, a magnificent yacht of one hundred and
ninety-seven tons, which excited the wonder even of the Genoese,
the black cook, who had once sailed with Bowditch, was found to
be as competent to keep a ship's reckoning as any of the officers. :
" Rival merchants sometimes drove the work of preparation night
and dav, when virgin markets had favors to be won, and ships which
set out for unknown ports were watched when they slipped their
cables and sailed away by night, and dogged for months on the high
seas, in the hope of discovering the secret, well kept by owner and
crew. Every man on board was allowed a certain space for his own
little venture. People in other pursuits, not excepting the merchant's minister, intrusted their savings to the supercargo, and
watched eagerly the result of their adventure. This great mental
activity, the profuse stores of knowledge brought by every ship's
crew and distributed, together with India shawls, blue china, and
unheard-of curiosities from every savage shore, gave the community
a rare alertness of intellect. 1
Salem ships led the way round the Cape of Good
Hope to the Isle of France, India, and China. They
were the first to display the American flag and open
trade at Calcutta, Bombay, Sumatra, Zanzibar, Madagascar, Australia, Batavia, Mocha, and St. Petersburg.
The adventures of her brave mariners in unknown seas,
their encounters with pirates and savage tribes, their hairbreadth escapes, their tales of imprisonment and suffering in the prisons of France, Spain, and South America,
would make a story which could not be surpassed in romantic and pathetic interest. Tlie adventures described
in the following pages may serve as a sample in proof
of the above assertion. They afford an illustration of
the effect of such experiences in giving a marked character to a community of which the hero is a type.
His own 8 Narrative of Voyages and Commercial Enterprises" was published in Boston in 1842, and went
through three editions in this country, and was republished in England. It was reviewed in all the leading
periodicals of both countries in terms of the highest "CLEVELAND'S NARRATIVE."
commendation, not only of the intrinsic interest of the
adventures described, but of the beauty of the style,
which was compared with that of Defoe. It has long
been out of print, however; and, although it may be
found in many of the principal libraries of the country,
and no one can read it without acknowledging its absorbing interest, very few of the present generation of
readers are aware of its existence.
It is obvious, however, that a narrative partaking so
much of the nature of an autobiography must necessarily be devoid of the personal details which are often
essential features in such a story when told by another,
while the fact that, at the time of its publication, many
of those with whom the author had been associated
were still living, precluded many allusions to persons
and events which would greatly enhance the interest
of the story. These obstacles have been removed by
the lapse of time. None of his contemporaries are left,
and those who knew and loved him in his old age,
when they themselves were young, are now far advanced in life. No one is now living who will be affected by the mention of names which it would then
have been indelicate to make public, and no injury can
now accrue from laying bare the secret springs of actions which it was then inexpedient to expose. Above
all, the personal character of the chief actor may now,
with propriety, be made the object of central interest,
and the traits which win the affection may be shown to
have formed quite as important an element of its composition as those which excite only admiration.
The materials for such illustration are in my posses- 10
sion in the form of journals and letters, which often reveal such a personal connection with the incidents of the
narrative as adds very greatly to their interest.
^Abundant material for further elucidation of the subject might be drawn from the archives of the Essex
Institute, and the wonderful collection of interesting
objects in the museum of the Salem East India Marine
Society would furnish means of elaborate illustration
from every quarter, and especially from the least-known
regions, of the globe.   ' pjg| ■      ff
Having given this account of my father's father, it is
fitting that I should add that his wife—my grandmother
—was Margaret Jeffry, one of a highly respectable
family, of whom no representative is left in Salem,
though the name is preserved in connection with a
court running out of Washington Street, which was
part of the garden in the rear of the family residence,
on Essex Street, opposite the First Church. A quaint,
but beautiful, miniature in my possession justifies the
description given of her as a very charming and attractive woman ; and her death, in 1784, at the age of thirty-
seven, so preyed upon her husband that it seemed to incapacitate him from further exertion. My father alludes
xnost feelingly to this event in a letter written to me
late in life, soon after the publication of his narrative.
In reply to some remarks of mine on the trials and disappointments therein detailed,he says:r|-   §
"These were as dust in the balance compared to the affliction I
was early called upon to suffer. I allude to my dear mother's death
when I had only reached my tenth year, just the period when I had
sufficient reflection to be sensible of our loss; just the season when EARLY AFFLICTION.
the sensibility is most delicately acute. All the circumstances connected with this gloomy period are so profoundly engraven on my
memory as never to be obliterated. I suppose it was known to her
attendants that my mother could not recover, but I was unconscious
of it, when, on an evening, between daylight and dark, as my brother
William and I were playing at ball in the yard, my aunt Nancy came
to the door and said, ' Come in, boys, your mother is dying.' Words
are inadequate to convey an idea of the anguish I suffered on this
announcement. Scarcely had the excess of grief a little subsided,
when it was renewed by the dismal business of the funeral obsequies.
Dr. Prince, while praying, was so overcome by his emotions that it
was with difficulty he succeeded in finishing the prayer. It was
customary in those days for the body to be carried on the shoulders
of men, and six or eight pall-holders to walk on each side the coffin,
the mourners being arranged in the procession in accordance with
the degree of alliance to the deceased. Of course, my poor father,
who was almost distracted, walked first, and his two eldest sons
next. Arrived at the grave, as if these circumstances were not already sufficiently harrowing, it was necessary to wait near it till the
coffin was deposited and some gravel thrown upon it. At the moment this gravel rattled upon the coffin my father uttered a groan
which, it appears to me, I can hear even now. For many weeks after this sad scene I never slept till I had wet my pillow with my tears.
For many months after, a mark on my handkerchief, a patch on my
clothes, the frill of my shirt, anything of the handiwork of my dear
mother, would awaken the sense of my loss; and for years afterwards I never heard the bell of the First Church toll without its
bringing the sad scene before me. During many weeks after the
funeral my father shut himself up, and would see nobody except his
children; and this, as was natural, had a tendency to increase my
The despondency which resulted from the death of
his wife was so great that my grandfather never recovered from its effects. His property, as a consequence,
became so reduced that the necessity of providing for
him was a chief incentive to my father's early efforts to 12
secure an independence. The urgent tones in which—
as will be seen—he entreats his father, in his letters, to
make use of his means or credit without reserve or hesitation, afford sufficient evidence of his filial affection
and his generous nature.     J|
Note.—The preceding chapter was written some years since, and,
of course, before the name of Grover Cleveland had been suggested
for the high office to which he has since been elected. As the elements of sterling integrity and unflinching courage which have
marked his administration were no less conspicuous in the character of the hero of the following story, the fact will possess interest, especially to those who have faith in the law of heredity, that
the great-grandfather of the President, the Rev. Aaron Cleveland
of Norwich, Conn., was the brother of my grandfather, Stephen
Cleveland, of whom I have given the above account.
Chicago, Dec, 1885. CHAPTER II.
Early Years.—Cultivation of Commercial Tastes.—First Voyage.—
Voyage with Captain Silsbee.—Letters to his Father.—Voyage
from Havre to Cape of Good Hope.—Interest Excited by his Arrival.
§§jMy father, Richard Jeffry Cleveland, the eldest child
of Stephen and Margaret Jeffry Cleveland, was born in
Salem, Dec. 19, 1773. He had three brothers younger
than himself, two of whom—William and George-^
were for many years merchant navigators in the East
India trade from that port. They afterwards held, in
succession, the office of president of the Commercial
Insurance Company, and George was also president of
the East India Marine Society, a charitable association
composed of navigators engaged in that trade. It is
simply a just tribute to their memory to say that no
men ever stood higher in the estimation of their fellow-
citizens, or were regarded with warmer feelings of affection by those who knew them best, than these two
brothers. At the age of fourteen my father entered the
counting-house of Elias Hasket Derby, where he remained four years, and acquired not only the merely
technical elements of mercantile education, but an accurate knowledge and love of naval affairs, and a taste for
commercial adventure. This last was wisely fostered
by Mr. Derby, who allowed his employees to become in- 14
terested in the voyages of his ships by sending small
adventures on their own account. Even the seamen
were each allowed a privilege of eight hundred pounds
freight, and the officers a proportionally larger amount.
The building and despatching of ships to different quarters of the globe was so constantly in progress that it
afforded the best possible opportunity for studying and
comparing their relative qualities, while the interest in
their performance and in the results of their voyages
was sustained by daily conversation and discussion, in
which every participant had a personal stake. Indeed,
his love for the sea may be traced to a yet earlier stage,
as he has told me that his favorite sport when a boy was
sailing about Salem harbor in a leaky boat, which he
hired at sixpence a week. . ■ 'flti'--
When only eighteen he went on his first voyage, impelled thereto by the wish to provide for his father, and
the earliest of his letters in my possession, written to
his father from the Cape of Good Hope, April 20,
1792, contains these words, which every father will appreciate :   •    .' ■ j. Jill |f
"I long to hear how your lawsuit is settled, the event of which
causes me much anxiety; but, if you should lose it, it must be a consolation to you that your children are ambitious bpys, who, with
such an education as is to be had in the public schools of Salem, can
soon provide for themselves and their father also; and I am sure you
cannot doubt the pleasure it would give us; but God forbid you
should ever be in such circumstances as to want it."
-His earliest voyages wTere made in the capacity of
captain's clerk, under the command of Nathaniel Silsbee,
who had been his fellow-clerk in Mr. Derby's counting-
room, and was subsequently, for many years, senator FIRST VOYAGES.
from Massachusetts. He was but little older than my
father, and their friendship was of lifelong duration.
Of one of these voyages, of nineteen months' duration,
_l      O        ' *
to the Cape of Good Hope and the Isles of France and
Bourbon, at a time when the wars of the great powers
of Europe rendered navigation precarious, and often demanded the skill of the diplomatist as well as that of the
mariner, he says, at its conclusion, «ir; ||
" The voyage, thus happily accomplished, may be regarded, when
taken in all its bearings, as a very remarkable one; first, from the
extreme youth of all to whom its management had bee a intrusted—
Captain Silsbee was not twenty years old; the chief mate, Charles
Derby, was but nineteen; and the second mate, who was discharged
at the Isle of France, and whose place I subsequently filled, was but
twenty-four. Secondly, from the foresight, ingenuity, and adroitness manifested in averting and escaping dangers; in perceiving advantages, and turning them to the best account; and, thirdly, from
the great success attending this judicious management, as demonstrated by the fact of returning to the owner four or five times the
amount of the original capital. Mr. Derby used to call us his boys,
and boast of our achievements; and well might he do so, for it is not
probable that the annals of the world can furnish another example
of an enterprise of such magnitude, requiring the exercise of so
much judgment and skill, being conducted by so young a man, aided
only by still younger advisers, and accomplished with the most entire success."
His letters to his father, in all his early voyages, give
evidence of such self-confident ambition as is essential
to success, and show, at the same time, that he was actuated only by generous motives. The following passages,
taken from different letters, between the years 1795 and
1797, are of this character: j§    ife^-i/ r . >.", :   f|
" If I go only short voyages, you may depend upon as large a remittance as I can possibly make, at least once a year, and I hope I wffrrr'.
shall soon have it in my power to supply you bountifully, which is
my only ambition."
"I enclose bills of exchange for £180 sterling ($900), and I hope
you will not hesitate to take up money on my account, for be assured, while I possess one dollar, three fourths of it shall be at your
; In 1797, having made one previous voyage in command of the bark Enterprise, belonging to E. H.
Derby, Jr., he sailed again in the same vessel for Europe, whence, after disposing of his cargo, he was to
go to Mocha for a cargo of coffee; and wras anticipating, with satisfaction, the prospect of being the first to
display the American flag in that port. He was proportionately disappointed when, soon after his arrival
at Havre, he received notice that circumstances rendered it necessary to abandon the voyage, and return
the property to the owner, with as little delay as possible. Knowing that his return home would involve
the loss of a good deal of time before he could hope to
be again employed—owing to the general stagnation of
business—he sent the ship home under the charge of
the mate, and began, at Havre, the first of the daring
enterprises which he subsequently followed up with
such marked success. §
The danger they involved was not encountered as an
act of bravado. They had always an object which he
deemed worthy of the risk, and that object was successfully accomplished. %.
The following letter contains the first intimation of
his intention. At the time it was written he was three
months short of twenty-four years of age: LETTER TO HIS FATHER.
"Havre, September 19, 1797.
"When I was upon the point of embarking for home, and, in
imagination, was shaking hands with my friends, an unexpected
offer, upon advantageous terms, of such a vessel as I have been
looking out for, determined me to alter my course, and add a few
months to the many I have already been absent, concluding that if
I came home from hence I must unavoidably (in the present state
of affairs) remain at least six or eight months unemployed, which, in
addition to the time I have already lost, would be very unpleasant.
"I, therefore, determined to accept this offer, choosing to risk all
in endeavoring to do something rather than spending moderately
and living lazily at home. To explain myself then: I have purchased a cutter-sloop, of forty-three tons' burden, on a credit of two
years. This vessel was built at Dieppe, and fitted out for a privateer; was taken by the English, and has been plying between Dover
and Calais as a packet-boat. She has elegant accommodations, and
sails fast. I shall copper her, put her in ballast, trim with £1000
or £1500 sterling, in cargo, and proceed to the Isle of France and
Bourbon, where I expect to sell her, as well as the cargo, at a very
handsome profit, and have no doubt of being well paid for my
twelve months' work, calculating to be with you next August.
"I have written to Uncle James respecting my account with Mr.
Derby; have drawn bills in his favor for the balance, and advised
him how I wish it disposed of. Should you be in want of cash
before my return, do not hesitate to make use of my credit, so far
as it will go. I will pay principal and any (the most exorbitant)
interest on any money you find it necessary to take up ; and,
although I know there is no risk in the bills I forwarded you on
Mr. Haven of Portsmouth, N. H., for $900, except their having
miscarried, yet I should feel easier if I knew you had the money.
" Since I wrote you last I have spent a month in Paris, and am
very much pleased with that great capital. I prefer it to London,
notwithstanding I have some of Jhat foolish American partiality for
everythingjhalis English.
"I left it ten days before this last surprising revolution, or, rather,
tyrannical usurpation of the Jacobinical party.
"I fear it will be many years before this country will enjoy such
internal tranquillity as America is blessed with." 1
It will be seen that he designates his vessel in this
letter as a "cutter-sloop of forty-three tons." As the
English cutter of that date is a rig that is unknowm
with us, it is proper to state that its peculiarity consisted of a horizontal bowsprit, made to reef by sliding
in on the deck. It was in a similar vessel that he
subsequently made the voyage from Canton to the
northwest coast of America.
I continue the extracts from his letters, which give
the main incidents of his experiences, and serve also to
give a vivid conception of his personal character:
f "Havre, October25, 1797.
" To-morrow I shall leave this for the Isle of France in my cutter,
which, I assure you, is very handsome, and, I don't doubt, will sell
for a good price.
"Before I sell her I shall spend probably four or five months
freighting about the Isle of Bourbon, waiting a favorable opportunity to wind up the voyage.
"It would have given me pleasure to have returned home and
helped Bill or George to a berth on board a ship, but I must first
have charge of said ship, which, at the present moment, I suspect
is a charge difficult to obtain in America. It would certainly be
very imprudent in any merchant at this time to send a ship on a
long voyage, and I have no idea there will be any business of consequence done in America for ^.ve or six months to come; consequently I am induced to believe that you, as well as Mr. Derby,
will approve of this undertaking. I have certainly a prospect of
doing something handsome, and to have rejected such a liberal
credit as was offered me would have been madness.
* * * _. * #        ■ # #
"By the above opportunity I wrote to Uncle James, enclosing
bills on Mr. Derby for the balance of my account ... of which
I desired him to pay, you $200. This small supply, in addition to
the bill I sent you from London for $900, will doubtless keep you
in cash for some months; and when out, if my credit is good for t___
anything at home, I shall be mortified if you don't make use of it;
and, if necessary, this letter may be given as my promissory note to
pay any debts you may contract on my account. I can have no
greater pleasure than in discharging tbem.
"Of the insurance on this voyage, if £300 or £400 can be covered
at ten, or even twelve, per cent., I have no objection to having it
done, but have no idea of giving a higher premium, and choose
rather to take the risk myself. It should be made on the vessel—
the sloop Caroline of Salem—a French bottom, but with papers in
complete order, and manned with Americans. We are bound
direct for the Isles of France and Bourbon. Before you make
thi3 insurance Captain Rich wili inform you of many particulars
respecting the vessel wiiich may have a tendency to lessen the
premium, and which it is very necessary the underwriters should
"Since I have undertaken this business one of the first houses in
this place has offered to fit out a ship purposely for me, and put
in a rich cargo, but I had gone so far in the present speculation that
it was too late. This may perhaps convince you that my time here
has not been entirely misspent. On the contrary, I think I have
formed such acquaintances here as may be of great service to me
should I fail of finding employment in America, which, by-the-bye,
I only expect will be the case while the state of political affairs is
such as to make it dangerous to do anything on a large scale.
Such, I think, is the case at present, or I should have returned home
from hence in expectation of being again employed by E. H. Derby,
Jr., than which nothing could have been more gratifying to me;
and, positively, while he will give me two thirds as much as any
other merchant, I will sail for no other.
" When I shall meet my friends in Salem again is very uncertain.
The prospect at present is very distant; but I hope it will not be
more than twelve or fourteen months. 'Tis a long time to look
forward, and I know you wish it were passed as well as myself.
"I can't help loving home, though I think a young man ought to
be at home in any part of the globe; but few persons have so many
valuable friends to regret being absent from as I have."
"P. S.—By a letter from Paris, received this day by Mr. Prince,
it appears that the American Commissioners have delivered their 20
credentials twelve days ago, but have not yet received any answer
from the Directory, which is considered a bad omen.
' \ Should a war take place between France and America while I
am at the Mauritius, to secure my property I must become an
inhabitant, which I have no objection to for a little while, provided
I can improve my time advantageously. I shall have no other
anxiety than that of not knowing whether you have a necessary
supply of cash.
"October 28th.—A head wind has detained me till to-day. Wo
have official accounts of the definitive treaty with the emperor being
signed. The defeat of the Dutch fleet you will undoubtedly havo
heard of.before this reaches you."
The allusion in this letter to the | particulars respecting the vessel which may have a tendency to lessen tho
premium," and which were to be communicated by Captain Rich, demands explanation, ft
The fact was that he carried despatches from the Directory to the ruling powers at the Isle of France, and
was provided with a passport which secured him from
molestation by French ships of war or privateers,    ff-
He records the fact in his narrative that this passport
proved an efficient safeguard on one occasion when he
was brought to, after a long chase, by a French privateer, by which he was hailed in insulting terms; but a
sight of the documents he bore caused a very sudden
change of tone, and an immediate abandonment of any
attempt at detention. || Ji
The next letter gives an account of his first experience on the voyage:
"Havre, November 25, 1797.
"My last was by the Nymph of New Y^ork, whose sudden departure left me only time to tell you I had been shipwrecked, and
as I am confident you will wish to hear the particulars, I will now
relate them to you. SHIPWRECK.
"I left here on Tuesday at eleven o'clock, with a very strong
N.E. wind, so fresh that when abreast the lighthouse I was obliged
to balance-reef the mainsail and set the smallest jib, which, with the
foresail, was as much as she would bear. I found it necessary to
carry as much sail as possible, as otherwise we could not double
Cape Barfleur, as the wind had already come round as far as N.N.E.,
and, increasing, caused such a sea as (our little vessel being deep
loaded) kept her most of the time under water. At eight o'clock in
the evening, the wind and sea still increasing, the bowsprit went by
the board, and before we could clear the wrreck of that, the foresail
split half-way up and down the back rope.
"My object then was to regain Havre, but my sailors, not being
used to the motion of so small a vessel, were all (as well as myself)
sea-sick, which, together with the fatigue we had undergone, rendered us unable to use such exertions as we could have done if we
had been more used to the vessel. However, we made out to get her
head towards Havre, and, in the morning, I found we were much
to leeward of it.
"Without anything for a spare bowsprit, I knew from the leeway
we had already made that it would be impossible to keep off shore
another night. I had then no other alternative but to try to enter
the river Caen, but, when we reached the entrance, we found the
tide was so far out that there was not water enough, and the sea
broke at least a mile from shore. I then let go both anchors in
about ten fathoms of water, in the hope that they might hold her
till high water, but the cables soon parted, and, of course, we ran
ashore near the village of Oestrahan. The alarm-gun had been fired
at the fort, and the country people came quickly to our assistance.
We all left the vessel, in expectation that she would soon go to
pieces, and were conducted to the fort, where a large, comfortable
fire was made, by which to shift and dry ourselves. This was
Wednesday, at four o'clock in the afternoon, and was the first
time any of us had had a dry thread on since twelve o'clock of the
preceding day. I put up at an inn about a mile from where my
vessel lay; but my limbs were so swollen and painful, and my mind
so tormented with the thought of having lost so much more than
my all, that, as you may suppose, I did not pass a very comfortable
night.   In the morning I was agreeably surprised to find, not only 22
that my vessel had not gone to pieces, but that she was so little
injured that by unlading she might be got off, and put in proper
condition to go to Havre; which was soon accomplished, leaving
part of the cargo with my mate to be freighted over.
"We are now repaired and ready for sea, with a loss to me of
about $500. The principal loss on the cargo is occasioned by the
several transportations. My credit, however, has not suffered in
the least on this account, for I have not only found enough to repair the damages, but shall put in $1000 more, so that my cargo (although in a vessel of only forty tons) will amount to $7000. I now
only wait for a wind to put to sea again.
"You may judge from these particulars whether I am to blame
or not, and you will undoubtedly say I am, for not returning to
Havre the afternoon of the day I left there, but my foolish pride
would not suffer it.
"I must tell you that I never met such real friendship as I have
from your old friend James Prince, who not only took me to his
house, and begged me not to be discouraged, but immediately came
forward with the ready cash to any amount I asked for. I believe
him to be an exception to the general rule that we do good from
selfish motives.
"In my last I requested that £700 or £800 might be insured on
my vessel if it could be done at twelve per cent. I now repeat it,
but would not advise giving a higher premium. After my arrival
at the Isle of France or Bourbon it is very uncertain which way I
shall bend my course. If I meet with a ready sale for my sloop and
cargo, and can find a freight to Europe or America for a ship of
three or four hundred tons, and can readily purchase such a vessel,
I shall do it; but if this cannot be done, I shall either employ my
vessel in freighting, or make a trip to the Cape of Good Hope with
a load of coffee, sell for dollars, and go to Mocha for another load for
the Cape, and thence to the Mauritius, by which time I shall probably have collected such a property as will enable me to undertake
something on a large scale.
" The performance of these operations (if successful) will take up
so much time that, long before I can arrive in America, the supplies
of money I have sent you must be exhausted, and unless I meet with
a very favorable opportunity to make a remittance (which, if I go to RENEWAL OF THE VOYAGE.
Mocha, is not probable) you will not count upon it, nor do I think
it will be necessary, as you can easily get what funds you need with
such security as a policy of insurance of £700 or £800; and here let
me repeat what I have so often said, that I can receive no higher
gratification than in supplying you, nor, on the contrary, is there
anything that would mortify me more than that you should hesitate
at making such use of my credit.
"Of politics you know I never say much, but I cannot help observing that everything between France and America wears a very
serious aspect. Tbey treat the Americans with marked contempt,
and I much fear the issue."
The confident tone in which he speaks in this letter
of his future operations shows how little he had been
affected by the misfortune which befell him at the outset. But it will be seen by the next extract that the
people on whom he had to depend for making up his
crew, in Havre, entertained a very different opinion of
the probable result of the voyage.
11 His characteristic self-reliance is manifested by his
indifference to the fears expressed by those who were
less at home on the ocean, as well as by his putting to
sea with the incompetent crew of which he gives so ludicrous a description.
The London Literary Examiner of September 24r,
1842, in an extended review of his "Narrative,"-says,
of the description he there gives of this voyage:
"Few things in De Foe, Dana, or any other truthteller are more
characteristic than Mr. Cleveland's account of his voyage from Havre
to the Cape of Good Hope. Surely never before was there such an
Indiaman, with such a cargo and such a crew."
And the review concludes as follows : Jt
"We have dwelt on the circumstances of his first start because it
at once illustrates the courage and daring of the narrator. I
"His capital talent for description—quiet, forcible, and unexag-
gerated—would be more quickly recognized if our space admitted of
the quotations we would gladly have given from the detailed incidents of the voyage."
Reading between the lines of the following letter, we
may discover a further evidence of character, which w7as
not perceptible to the above writer, and was not revealed
in the published account of the voyage. ||
j| It will be seen that the letter is written as he was
nearing the Cape of Good Hope, yet he makes no allusion to the peril he incurred by stopping there, and the
wisdom of such caution was made manifest on his arrival, by the very strict search and examination of his
papers, to which he was immediately subjected.        |Li|?
His stopping there wras a matter of necessity, as the
rats had gnawed his water-casks and he wras forced to
lay in a new supply. Before his arrival he had carefully concealed the despatches he bore, and no evidence
was discovered that any cause existed for his detention.     ;j| .' ""-§'• ■   ' ■"' ft
Yet the authorities at the Cape were so well convinced
that such a voyage would not have been attempted except on some secret service of the French government,
that they deemed it necessary to prevent its consummation, and as no legitimate charge for condemnation could
be found, they bought his vessel of him at a liberal advance on her cost, and she was immediately put in service under command of a lieutenant of the royal navy.
He probably was unused to the management of so small
a craft, for he was never heard of after his departure
on his first voyage. |& DESCRIPTION OF CREW.
These facts wrill serve to throw much light on the following letter, begun at sea and finished after his arrival
at the Cape:
"On Board Cutter 'Caroline': At Sea, March 20,1798.
"As we are now within a few hundred miles of the Cape, where
we must touch for Water, I take time by the forelock to have a letter ready to send you on arrival, well knowing that I shall after that
have no time for writing.
I Should you happen to see any person from Havre, who was
candid enough to give you the general opinion entertained there of
the ability of my cutter to weather this passage, you will no doubt
be somewhat anxious till you hear from me. They concluded that
we should founder in the first gale, from my vessel's being overloaded, and as these apprehensions were communicated to my men
they would run away or feign sickness, and these aggravations, after
the disaster I had already met with, required every iota of my small
stock of philosophy to support, and it was not till the last hour that
I was in Havre (even while the visiting officers were on board) that
I finally shipped my crew.
"Fortunately, they were all so much in debt as not to wTant any
time to spend their advance, but wTere ready at the instant; and with
this motley crew (who, for aught I knew, were robbers or pirates) I
put to sea. That you may form some idea of the fatigue and trouble
I have had I will attempt to describe them to you.
"At the head of the list is my mate, a Nantucket lad, whom I persuaded the captain of a ship to discharge from before the mast, and
who knew little or nothing of navigation, but is now capable of conducting the vessel in case of accident to me. The first of my foremast hands is a great, surly, crabbed, raw-boned, ignorant Prussian,
who is so timid aloft that the mate has frequently been obliged to
do his duty there.
II believe him to be more of a soldier than a sailor, though he
has often assured me that he has been boatswain's mate of a Dutch
Indiaman, which I do not believe, as he hardly knows how to put
two ends of a rope together. He speaks enough English to be tolerably understood.
"The next in point of consequence is my cook, a good-natured
2 ' I 26
negro and a tolerable cook, so unused to a vessel that in the smoothest weather he cannot walk fore and aft without holding on to something with both hands. This fear proceeds from the fact that he is
so tall and slim that if he should get a cant it might be fatal to him.
I did not think America could furnish such a specimen of the negro
race (he is a native of Savannah), nor did I ever see such a perfect
simpleton. It is impossible to teach him anything, and notwithstanding the frequency with which we have been obliged to take in
and make sail on this long voyage, he can hardly tell the main-hal-
iards from the mainstay. He one day took it into his head to learn
the compass, and not being permitted to come on the quarter-deck
to learn by the one in the binnacle, he took off the cover of the till
of his chest, and with his knife cut out something that looked like a
cartwheel, and wanted me to let him nail it on the deck to steer by,
insisting that he could ' teer by him better 'n tudder one.'
"Next is an English boy of seventeen years old, who, from having
lately had the small-pox, is feeble and almost blind, a miserable object, but pity for his misfortunes induces me to make his duty as
easy as possible. Finally, I have a little ugly French boy, the very
image of a baboon, who, from having served for some time on different privateers, has all the tricks of a veteran man-of-war's man,
though only thirteen years old, and by having been in an English
prison has learned enough of the language to be a proficient in
swearing. To hear all these fellows quarrelling (which, from not
understanding each other, they are very apt to do) serves to give one
a realizing conception of the confusion of tongues at the Tower of
Babel. Nobody need envy me my four months' experience with
such a set, though they are now far better than when I first took
"Absence has not banished home from my thoughts; indeed, I
should be worse than a savage were I to forget such friends as I
have, yet such is now my roving disposition that were it not for
meeting them, I doubt if I should ever return. My last news of
you was by a scrap of paper tucked into one of Mr. Derby's letters
by Uncle James, bearing simply the words, ? Your friends are all well.
J. J.' Did he know but half the pleasure this scrap of paper gave
me while it conveyed such welcome news, he would omit no opportunity of sending a similar line.   I keep the letter folded as I re*. POLITICAL CONJECTURES.
ceived it, and never open it without a revival of the sensations I experienced on its receipt.
"It seems not improbable that we may become involved in war,
in which case, to secure my property, it may become necessary for
me to become a citoyen. The French seem determined that we shall
fight either them or the English, and although I am no advocate for
the treaty which gives them such offence, yet should it be broken to
please them, or should an apology be made (as they request) for any
part of the president's independent speech, I should be ashamed in
any foreign country to acknowledge myself an American. But
these are sacrifices America cannot make. In my opinion the horrors of the most bloody war should be preferred.
"You may perhaps laugh at me and call it quixotism, but I believe if we would keep our ships at home, and entirely withhold our
supplies, we could be more than a match for these two noisy powers
united. I see no reason why we* can't live for a time without foreign
commerce. v
'' France by her amazing conquests having risen so rapidly to the
height of strength and power, will, I expect, afford another example
of human instability in as rapid a decline, for, can her citizens, already worn out with the length of the war, see themselves plunged
so much deeper in it without uniting with some of those frequent
conspiracies to reform the government? I think not, and it appears
to me that nothing but such a reform can save us from war. If we
go to war with France, Spain, without doubt, must come in for a
share of it, and what a field would then be presented for conquest,
for (supplied in part with ships by the English) we should soon become masters of the West India Islands, Louisiana and Florida could
not resist us, and why might we not expect to establish the independence of South America, thereby opening a commerce which
would prove a very lucrative one to our merchants, while it secures
us an ally and weakens our enemy?
"Without doubt you will be surprised at my advancing an opinion on any political subject, but it is almost impossible to remain in
Europe so long as I have, at the French crisis, without catching a
little of the distemper; however, it has not taken such hold of me
but that I can attend to other business, as a proof of which, and a
fear that my letter is already too long, I will bring it to a close." 28
He arrived on the 21st of March, 1798, three months
from the time of leaving Havre, and although it wras
nearly 10 p.m. when he dropped anchor, he was immediately boarded by a man-of-war's boat, and he was
taken ashore for an interview with the admiral, Sir
Hugh Christian.
Of the popular interest excited by the appearance of
his vessel he says, in his "Narrative:"
" The arrival of such a vessel from Europe naturally excited the
curiosity of the inhabitants of the Cape; and, the next morning being
calm, we had numerous visitors on board, who could not disguise
their astonishment at the size of the vessel, the boyish appearance of
the master and mate, the queer and unique characters of the two
men and boy who composed the crew, and the length of the passage
we had accomplished. Various were the conjectures of the good
people of the Cape as to the real object of our enterprise. While
some viewed it in its true light as a commercial speculation, others
believed that, under this mask, we were employed by the French
government for the conveyance of their despatches, and some even
went so far as to declare their belief that we were French spies, and,
as such, deserving of immediate arrest and confinement. Indeed,
our enterprise formed the principal theme of conversation at the
Cape during the week subsequent to our arrival."
The following letter gives a brief account of his experiences :
" Cape of Good Hope, Marcli 22,1798.
"We arrived here at nine o'clock last evening, after the very long
passage of eighty-nine days. Since leaving the equator we have had
very unfavorable winds, or we should have made a good passage, as
my cutter sails exceedingly well, and is as good a sea-boat as I ever
was on board of.
"Our good friends, the English, concluded at once, on my arrival, that they had a prize. I was conducted on board a man-of-war,
and thence ashore to the admiral, at ten o'clock the same evening
I arrived.    The most particular inquiries were made, and the next ARRIVAL AT CAPE OF GOOD HOPE.
day a strict search was made on board for papers. My waste-book,
journal, private letters, and other papers were all taken ashore to the
admiral, and all the letters I had for French gentlemen in the Mauritius were broken open. Such a strict search I never underwent
before, though I believe I bore it with a tolerable grace.
"By Lord Macartney and the admiral (Sir Hugh Christian) I was
treated very politely, but the extreme importance of the blustering
lieutenants was in the highest degree disgusting. 'Tis a dangerous
moment to express myself fully. Prudence dictates a reserve, and
I shall obey her till I have the pleasure of meeting you.
11 have sold my cutter to the admiral for $5000, with permission
to carry aw7ay $10,000. If my cargo had sold for as handsome
advance on the cost as the vessel has I should have made a very
handsome voyage, but this is not the case. The cargo will net little, if any, more than the original cost, and, from intelligence direct
from the Mauritius, I am convinced that if I had gone there I should
have met with considerable loss.
1 j I am exceedingly anxious to hear from home : whether we are
now at peace or war, how the American navy goes on, from whence
the officers are to come, whether we have a military school, and (what
more nearly concerns me) whether Bill and George are in the navy
or army, for I cannot conceive of their remaining neuter. On the
contrary, I trust their ambition will lead them to be foremost in
danger, considering life as a secondary object when engaged in the
cause of justice and honor."
These two letters appear to me to possess such intrinsic interest, from the evidence of character they afford,
that I have thought it best to give them in full, though
they contain much that is irrelevant to the voyage. If
we take into consideration the fact that the writer was
then only twenty-four, that the only advantages of education he had enjoyed were those afforded by the common schools of Salem in the last century, and that he
had left school at fourteen to enter a counting-room,
from which, at eighteen, he had embarked on his first 30
vovage, it must be acknowledged that these letters are
remarkable, alike for the intelligent thought and decision they display, and for the simplicity and ease of
their style. And to this I may add that, like all his
journals and letters, they are written in a hand which
rivals copper-plate in the perfect symmetry of every
line and letter.
Taken in connection with the successful accomplishment of the voyage, which so many had declared to be
impossible, they furnish a very interesting illustration
of the intellectual development which had been stimulated by the commercial activity of Salem.
The history of the arrangements for the sale of vessel
and cargo, and tlieir final result, cannot be better told
than in the following extract from the published "Narrative:"
\■ The next day my papers and letters were returned to me by the
secretary of the admiral, and I was surprised by a proposition from
him for the purchase of the vessel. I delayed giving an immediate
answer, and in the meantime my inquiries led me to believe that my
cargo would sell advantageously; but there was nothing but specie
that would answer my purpose to take away, and that was prohibited. With a provision for the removal of this difficulty, and a good
price for my vessel, I was prepared to negotiate with the secretary.
Meeting him at the time appointed, and both being what in trade is
called off-hand men, we soon closed the bargain by his engaging to
pay me, on delivery of the Caroline and stores, five thousand Spanish
dollars, and to obtain for me permission to export ten thousand.
This so far exceeded the cost of the vessel, and was even so much
more than I had expected to receive at the Isle of France, that I considered myself well indemnified for all my trouble and anxiety.
u As the admiral was pressing to have the vessel discharged, it
was my intention to land the cargo next day on my own account;
but in the meantime I contracted with the merchant at whose house UNEXPECTED DIFFICULTIES.
I now resided, for the whole of it at a moderate advance on the invoice, it being agreed that he was to pay the duties, the expense of
landing, etc.   My spirits were now much elevated with my success,
the prospect of soon being rid of the Caroline, and of the care insep--
arable from having such a vessel, so circumstanced.
.   "But new and alarming difficulties awaited me, of which I had
no suspicion, and which were more harassing than the dangers of
winds and waves.   It appeared that the duties on entries at the custom-house were a percentage on the invoice, and that it was a very
common practice with the merchants to make short entries.    The
purchaser of my cargo was aware that, to stand on equal footing
with other merchants, he must do as they did; but he seems not to
have reflected that, being known to be more hostile to the English
government than any other individual at the Cape, he would be
rigidly watched, and, if detected, would have less indulgence than
any other.   The consequence was a detection of the short entry and
a seizure of vessel and cargo.
"The merchant went immediately/in a supplicating mood, to the
collector, in the hope of arranging the affair before it should become
generally known, but it was all in vain. |
"The only alternative that seemed now to be left me was to
appeal to the highest authority, and I determined to write to Lord
Macartney, and prove to him that, by my contract for the sale of the
ear^o, the duties were not to be paid by me, and that, consequently,
I should have derived no benefit had the attempt for evading them
succeeded; but that, on the other hand, if the vessel and cargo were
to be confiscated, I should be the sufferer, as it was doubtful if the
merchant could make good the loss.   I hoped he might thus be induced to advise a less severe course than the collector intended to
pursue.   But how to write a suitable letter embarrassed me.   I had
no friend with whom to advise.   I was entirely ignorant of the
proper manner of addressing a nobleman, and at the same time was
aware of the necessity of conforming to customary rules.   In this
dilemma I remembered to have seen, in an old magazine on board
my vessel, some letters addressed to noblemen.    These I sought as
models, and they were a useful guide to me.   After completing my
letter in my best hand, I enclosed it in a neat envelope and showed it
to the admiral's secretary, who appeared to be friendly to me.   He 82
approved of it, and advised my taking it myself to his lordship immediately,
"As the schoolboy approaches his master after having played
truant, so did I approach Lord Macartney on this occasion. I delivered my letter to him, and, after hastily reading it, he sternly said
that 'he could not interfere in the business; there were the laws,
and if they had been infringed the parties concerned must abide the
consequences;' but he added he 'would speak to the collector on
the subject.' This last addition, delivered in rather a milder tone,
led me to encourage the hope that the affair would not end so disastrously as if left entirely to the discretion of the collector. Nor
wTere my hopes unfounded, as the next day the vessel and that part
of the cargo yet remaining on board were restored to me; while the
portion in the possession of the collector was to be adjudged in the
fiscal court, where it was eventually condemned, to the amount of
about $2000, which, as a favor to the merchant, I agreed to share
with him. The success of my letter was the theme of public conversation in the town, and was the means of procuring me the acquaintance of several individuals of the first respectability.
"The delay caused by this controversy wTas unfavorable to the
views of the admiral, who began to evince symptoms of impatience,
and would probably have taken out the cargo with his own men if
we had not set about it with earnestness as soon as the vessel was
released from seizure. Having, the day following, completed the
unlading, I delivered the vessel to the officer who was authorized to
take possession. In two days after she was expedited, with a lieutenant of the navy in command and a competent number of men (I
believe for India), and in a subsequent voyage I learned that she
never had been heard of afterwards. It is probable that the officer
in charge, having been accustomed only to large and square-rigged
vessels, was not aware of the delicacy of management required by
one so small and differently rigged, and to this her loss may be attributed.
I \ The various drawbacks on my cargo, arising from seizure, some
damage, and some abatement, reduced the net proceeds to about the
original cost. This, with the amount of the vessel, I collected in
Spanish dollars, making altogether, after my various disbursements,
the sum of $11,000, which I kept in readiness to embark on the first AT THE CAPE.
vessel that should enter the bay on her way to India or China. I
was obliged, however, to wait several months before any such chance
offered. In the meantime my long residence and leisure at the Cape
afforded me the opportunity of becoming acquainted with many
families, and of visiting many places of interest in the vicinity of
Cape Town " WffrfMi
Voyage from China to the Northwest Coast of America.—Letters
from Canton.—Difficulties of the Undertaking.—Hardships of
the Voyage.—Mutiny of the Men.—Adventures on the Coast.—
Safe Return to Canton.
Although the authorities at the Cape could discover
no evidence that he was actually a bearer of despatches
from the Directory, the measures they adopted served
effectually to prevent their delivery.
It wyas more than four months before an opportunity
offered to leave the Cape, and so long a time elapsed
before he visited the Isle of France that the final delivery of the despatches to the authorities there served
only to prove that he had been faithful to his trust.
The following is his last letter before leaving the
" Cape of Good Hope, August 1, 1798.
"Were you to judge from the date of my letter, you would
undoubtedly conclude I was thus far on my return from India, and
with reason, for no one would suppose it possible to remain in this
place four months without meeting an opportunity for Bengal.
This, however, has really been my case, whether from a decline of
the American commerce, or a dislike of the masters of ships to
subject themselves to the scrutiny practised by the officers of the
navy, or both, I know not; but, in consequence of it, and a fear
that it may be yet a long time before I meet such an opportunity as
I wish, I have taken up with the only one that has offered, on board
the brig Betsey of Baltimore, and we sail to-morrow morning for
Batavia.   I could have wished we were bound to a more pleasant FROM CANTON TO THE NORTHWEST COAST.
climate; but my patience was quite exhausted, and I preferred
risking my health to waiting any longer here. I do not intend
coming home before the spring or summer of 1799. Please advise
my friend, Mr. James Prince, of my destination."
In his next letter from Batavia we have the first
intimation of his contemplation of a voyage to the
northwest coast of America, and in the succeeding one,
from Canton, the announcement of his decision to attempt it. As this was one of his most adventurous
voyages, involving certain exposure to very great hardship, with constant risk of destruction; and as the
danger was incalculably increased by the circumstances
attendant upon it, these letters possess especial interest,
showing as they do his recognition of the difficulties he
had to encounter, by the efforts he made to find other
means of profitable investment, and his wish to save his
friends from anxiety, by the pains he takes to assure
them of his excellent equipment for the voyage.   \
The appreciation of its boldness in the minds of competent judges is afforded by the incidental testimony of
an unprejudiced witness. II
It happened that, on his arrival at Canton, after the
successful accomplishment of the voyage, a Russian
exploring expedition, under the command of Admiral
Kruzenstern, was lying in port.
In his subsequently published history of the expedition the admiral mentions the fact of my father's
arrival at Canton while he wTas there, and speaks of the
voyage as a very extraordinary one. |j
He. makes the mistake, however, of ascribing its
achievement to an Englishman, which probably arose ft
from the fact that the vessel had previously been under
English colors, and again assumed them on my father's
return, when she was sold to an Englishman. The
history of the Russian expedition was reviewed in the
North American, of wdiich Jared Sparks was then
editor; and, in order to correct this mistake, he, being
a warm personal friend of my father, procured from
him a somewhat detailed account of the voyage, which
may be found in No. 57 of the North American Review
(October, 1827). . It is introduced with the prefatory
remark that— ||     ,   /jL --j .     "j|ll- ' '•
"As this voyage was one of an extraordinary character, and
evinced a degree of enterprise, perseverance, and decision rarely to
be met with, and worthy of imitation, we are happy to have an opportunity to lay a short sketch of it before our readers."
After giving my father's account of its leading incidents, the notice concludes with the following comment: f
"Thus was accomplished, in about eight months, one of the most
arduous, successful, and, all things considered, hazardous voyages
of which any account has been given."
At this date I trust that no apology is necessary for
giving the following letters in full:
.      "Batavia, September 11, 1798.
"Before my departure from the Cape I left a few lines with Mr.
Hubner, to inform you of my detention. It would give me great
pleasure if I could now inform you of my speedy return from hence.
"Had I been fortunate enough to meet with a vessel that could
take fifty or sixty tons freight to America or Europe, I should have
made a very handsome voyage. Coffee can be purchased here at
8f cents per lb., American weight, deliverable on board; sugar at FROM CANTON TO THE NORTHWEST COAST.
$6.50 per cwt.; either of which articles would probably yield a profit
of two hundred per cent, clear of all charges. But this prospect I
am obliged to leave, or wait in this unhealthy climate at a great
expense, without being certain of an opportunity. Of the two evils
I have made choice of the former as the smallest, and shall sail
to-morrow in the ship Swift, of New York, Captain White, for
China. From thence I shall endeavor to freight for the Mauritius,
if possible; if not, direct for America; and if neither of these can be
done, I shall then probably purchase a small vessel and go to the
northwest coast for furs; but this last I shall not do unless the
prospect is very great, and there is no possibility of getting to
America or Europe.
fl The remittance I made you from Europe will not be near adequate
to your wants, and were I not acquainted with the resources you
have, I should be very uneasy on your account. I can easily conceive of its being disagreeable to you to take up money on my
account, but, while you are doing it, you ought to recollect the
pleasure I derive from discharging those debts. Were it not for
this, money would hardly be worth taking care of. I hope to be
with you in May next."
"Canton, November 24, 1798.
' \ As there will be a direct opportunity to write you in about a
month by a Salem and a Boston vessel, I intended to let this vessel
go without writing, but recollecting, if I did, you would not expect
my being here next year, and would, in consequence, miss the
opportunity of sending me letters by the ships that will be leaving
America about the time you will receive this, I hastened to remind
you of it, and that I shall look out for letters by New York, Boston,
or Salem vessels. I am now about two years absent from my
friends, and have not received a line from any of them. Remind
them of this, and I know they won't fail to write me.
"I endeavored to freight my property home to America, more
with a desire of being again employed by Mr. E. H. Derby, Jr.,
than profit, or any other consideration; but my efforts were ineffectual without making too great sacrifices, and I had no other
alternative than doing as I have done, which is to fit out an expedition to the northwest coast of America for furs.
11 am two-thirds concerned in a fine cutter, and the same propor- t'/.'///_*
tion of cargo. We shall be well manned and armed, and, I doubt
not, meet with success. The prospect is considered greater at
present than it has been for several^jears pasj. If Bill or George
have become sailors, and are inclined to enter the fur trade, I
doubt not of being able to do something for one of them; though
it would not be prudent to come dependent on meeting me here,
because, if I fail of success the first season, I shall winter on the
coast. I shall write you very particularly by the Boston and Salem
"Canton, December 15, 1798.
"I have written you two letters from this place, both of which
will advise you that I am bound to the northwest coast of America.
"The only part I wish to repeat is concerning a provision for
yourself. Do anything with me or my property rather than want.
I know you have many warm friends in Salem, and I know how
unpleasant it is to ask assistance of them; but, as it is only for the
moment, and it is quite out of my power to make you a remittance,
I do not see that you can do otherwise.
"I want exceedingly to see you and my valued friends in Salem,
but my pride (for it is nothing else) will long, deny me that happiness. "
1 Canton, January 6, 1799.
" This is the last letter I shall write you this season, as I shall sail
to-morrow for the northwest coast of America. We are thirty days
earlier than I at first intended, in consequence of hearing of several
vessels from America on the same voyage; and have so enlarged our
stock as to make it amount to $18,600. Should we not be the first
vessel on the coast, I am persuaded we shall do as well as those that
" We have every possible advantage. A vessel well calculated for
inland navigation, the best articles of trade that can be carried, a
linguist who speaks the Indian language as well as his own, and
officers experienced in the business. Should we fail of success, with
all these advantages, it will be very extraordinary ill-fortune, and
such as I don't choose to expect.
"I wrote you a long letter by the Elizabeth, and desired you to
-use my credit for any money you may want; and even to sell out a
part or the whole of my present speculation rather than be distressed. DIFFICULTIES OF THE VOYAGE.
"Should your other sources fail, I insist that you do anything
with me or mine rather than want. Should Bill or George come to
China, and my first voyage prove successful, I could give one of
them a berth on board my cutter; and when I leave her, which I
expect to do after two seasons, will leave the consignments with the
one who chooses the business."
It will be seen in this last letter that he dwells upon
the encouraging features of the undertaking, but makes
no allusion to the circumstances which'would have deterred most men from attempting it, and of which he
must have been fully aware, even if he had not been
warned of them by veteran navigators, who regarded
the attempt as the wild scheme of an inexperienced
youth of twenty-five. J§ -      ,
It is proper that these circumstances should be fully
stated, in order that .they may be appreciated by those
who are ignorant of the technical obstacles he had to encounter. J. The first and most important of these was the
fact that, until he could wreather the northern end of
Formosa, his course was directly in the teeth of the
northeast monsoon, which at that season blew almost incessantly, and often with great violence, and would have
rendered the voyage, in a square-rigged vessel, an impossibility. This difficulty would have been removed
could he have waited a month later, as he first intended;
but the news that ships had sailed from Boston for the
same object rendered the necessity of being early upon the
coast an essential condition of success. His theory was
that, in his small fore-and-aft-rigged vessel—which will
run several points nearer the wind than a square rig—
he could beat up the coast of China, keeping so near the 40
shore that he could run in and come to anchor when
the weather was so tempestuous that he could make no
headway against it. But this, of course, exposed him
to such danger of shipwreck as he would have escaped
on the open ocean, with plenty of sea-room; and this
danger was greatly enhanced by the fact that no accurate chart of the coast could be procured, and the nearest approach to it he was able to get was a manuscript
map, drawn for him by a navigator who had some familiarity with its features. For the performance of such
duties as would be required, it was eminently desirable
that his crew should be composed of orderly, reliable,
and efficient seamen, and the risk of capture by the Indians, after arriving on the coast of America, made it
necessary to carry a much larger crew than the ordinary
complement of a vessel of that size. The only men that
could be had, however, were of the worst class—the deserters from other vessels, who wTere hanging about Canton, ready to take up with any means of egress that
offered. It is, perhaps, difficult, at this day, for a mariner whose experience of ocean life has been gained
under the light of modern science, and with the aid of
modern appliances and inventions, to appreciate the difficulty, danger, and hardship of such a voyage, or the
courage and determined will required for its successful
execution. He sailed from Canton on the 10th of January, 1799, passing Macao at four p.m. on the same day,
and keeping a long distance from the shipping, lest some
of his men might be reclaimed by the ships from which
they had deserted.   |! -Ill'- "t '        'M ' '
I do not propose to repeat the details of the voyage, c
3^-^ VtZ__   i~
J J o
V/.d V/j
which has been so wrell told in his " Narrative^ His journal of each day's experience is in my possession, and
also a manuscript of twenty-eight pages of letter-sheet,
written at sea, when on his return, for the entertainment of his father, giving a full account of all his experiences ; and the performance of the voyage itself is
scarcely less wonderful than the fact that, under all tho
difficulties of the situation, both journal and manuscript
are executed in a hand like copper-plate, such as not
one man in a thousand could equal with every appliance
for skilful penmanship. Yet this was long before the
invention of metallic pens, and, to his latest day, my
father disdained their use, and adhered to the goose-
quill.|| A few extracts from these manuscripts, written
at the time, and without a thought of their ever being
made public, will serve to show some of the characteristics which, in reality, formed the groundwork of his
success. Thus, in the account of the voyage w-ritten
for his father's amusement, the opening passage shows
clearly how fully he was aware of the difficulties he had
to encounter, and how carefully he had considered his
means of coping with them:
" I think you were informed, by one of my last letters from China, of my determination to sail from thence earlier than I at first
intended, in consequence of hearing of several vessels fitting out for
a similar voyage from America; and to this I am indebted for the
success of my voyage, as I shall show you in course. It was, however, contrary to the advice of my best friends, and the most experienced navigators in those seas, some of whom took considerable
pains to dissuade me from it by telling me that, as it was at the
height of the northeast monsoon, there would be a continual rapid
current against me, and frequent gales of wind; that I might beat a i
month without gaining any to windward, and should finally return
—if at all—with my sails and rigging torn to pieces, to refit. I was,
as you will imagine, not pleased with such gloomy prospects, but
concluded that, if I was to meet ruin, it might as well be by being
torn to pieces on the China coast as to arrive on the coast of America after the object of my voyage had been secured by other vessels.
.1 was the more encouraged to make the trial as I could not learn
that it had ever been attempted at the same season of the year by
any European; therefore my advisers could not be certain of its impracticability. I knew, also, that they supposed I should keep at—
what is generally.called—a prudent distance from the shore, and did
not conceive that any man would beat up, for the most part, within
hail of an extensive, dangerous coast, not only without having any
experience along it, but with no other guide than an imperfect manuscript chart.
"The handiness of my vessel and her easy draught of water led
me to do this, in the expectation that I should meet with regular
tides, and that, when they were against me, I should often be able
to anchor, and on this I principally depended for the accomplishment
of this arduous task. On the 10th January, 1799, having all hands
on board, in number twenty-one persons, consisting — except two
Americans—of English, Irish, Swedes, and French, but principally
the first, who were runaways from the men-of-war and Indiamen,
and two from a Botany Bay ship, who had made their escape—for
we were obliged to take such as we could get—served to complete a
list of as accomplished villains as ever disgraced any country. I
weighed anchor from Anson's Bay at eight a.m., with a fresh breeze
from the northeast, and cloudy, unpleasant weather, passing Macao
Roads at four p.m. at a considerable distance, fearing to go within
gunshot of the shipping, lest they should bring us to and take our
men out, many of whom belonged to these very ships."
Three weeks of incessant labor, hardship, and exposure proved that the terrors of the voyage had not been
exaggerated. Beating up against the wirid whenever a
favorable tide or a temporary diminution in its violence
enabled them to do so, yet often finding themselves, at VOYAGE TO THE NORTHWEST COAST.
night, abreast, and sometimes leagues to leeward of, the
point they had left in the morning; running in to anchor at night at any harbor they could make, and availing themselves, in doing so, of the information they
could get from the fishermen or proprietors of the
junks, of which they often found large fleets at anchor
in the harbors; several times having hair-breadth escapes
from sunken rocks, on which they touched or passed
close by in ignorance, and so continually wet through
that the labor of carrying clothes up into the rigging to
dry wTas unremitting, caused such suffering and depression in the crew as finally to break out in open mutiny. .     B •
* A single extract will serve as a sample of the experiences so often repeated that even the perusal of them
in the daily journal becomes depressing from its painful
" On the morning of the 21st we weighed anchor, and put out in
company with several junks, and till the 24th had no other than a
head wind, sometimes blowing very fresh, at others moderate. In
the former case, when we could gain nothing by beating, we generally found a smooth place in which to anchor, and in the latter were
always forced to anchor when the tide made against us. In the
morning of the 24th we had a light breeze from southwest, which,
soon after increasing, blew a good whole-sail breeze all day, and
I was flattering myself it would carry us round the north end of
Formosa, when the most difficult part of the passage would have
been completed ; but in this I was grievously disappointed, for, at
eight p.m., the wind shifted, in a squall, to its old quarter, the northeast, and blew very hard. Till the night of the 26th we continued
plying to windward near the shore, when, it being very dark, we
could not gain an anchorage, and therefore stood out to sea till seven
o'clock the next morning, and then tacked to stand in again.   At i
this time it blew a gale of wind; the sea had, consequently, risen
very high, and, in carrying our double-reefed sails, our little vessel
was mostly under water. At half-past nine, seeing the water break
considerably ahead, we supposed it to be caused by a strong current
setting to windward, and therefore did not alter our course to avoid
it, particular^ as we judged we must have passed over it while
standing out. However, in passing it this time the vessel struck once,
a severe shock, and the next wave carried us over, but filled the
deck with sand. We immediately tried the pumps, and had the
satisfaction to find the vessel yet tight, and apparently uninjured.
After escaping this danger, where, had we stopped, the vessel must
inevitably have perished, we ran in to find a harbor, and succeeded
by running four leagues to leeward, and at three p.m. anchored in a
smooth, sandy bay near a fleet of junks, which, like ourselves, had
put in to avoid the storm."
It had become obvious that a mutinous spirit was
working among the men, and on the morning of January 30, when the order was given to weigh anchor, the
boatswain came aft with the announcement that they
had come to a determination to do no more duty till
certain conditions were agreed to, among which were,
that they should do no unnecessary work, of which they
were to be the judges; all hands should never be kept
up, except when they saw proper, and the first officer's
conduct must be regulated by a line they would mark
out, etc.
No grosser miscalculation of character wras ever made
than by these men, in supposing they could accomplish
their object by threats or intimidation. ||j
Immediately on their refusing to do duty locks w?ere
put upon the harness-casks, and they were told that, if
they would not work, they should not eat. . A few of
the men remained faithful, and none more so than black MUTINY OF CREW.
George, the ungainly negro described in the account of
the voyage from Havre. Whatever might be his deficiencies, George had no lack of courage, and he knew
how to appreciate kind usage. He had once saved his
master's life, when a slave in Georgia, at the cost of a
severe gunshot wound from a treacherous Indian, and
his freedom was given him as the reward. But his subsequent employers had taken advantage of his simplicity, and cheated him out of his wages, till he had learned
to distrust every one. My father's treatment of him wras
so unlike his previous experiences that he would not
leave him, but remained with him as his servant for
several years, and finally died in Boston, and was buried
there, with a suitable headstone erected by my father
in memory of his services.
With the small force who refused to join the mutineers immediate preparations wrere made to resist the
expected attack from them, as they swore they would
have provisions.
Two 4-pound cannon were loaded with grape-shot,
and pointed forward from the quarter-deck, and every
one in the after part of the vessel was armed'with a
musket and a brace of pistols. It should be remembered
that this was in the day of flint-locks, and nearly fifty
years before revolvers came into use. The men were
then told that, if any one of them came abaft the hatchway, he would be instantly shot, and, if they attempted to
come in a body, or to take provisions from the harness-
casks, the decks wTould be swept by the cannon, at each
of which a man was stationed with a lighted match. As
the mutineers had no other arms than handspikes and i
hatchets, they did not venture an attack, but stood at
bay, hurling imprecations at their opponents; and thus
they watched each other for the whole day. 11
Towards night the proposition was made to set them
ashore, which they eagerly agreed to, on the supposition
that they could then make their own terms for returning, as they knew that the voyage could not be prosecuted with the small number that remained. My father,
on the other hand, was equally confident that their situ-
uation on shore would be so uncomfortable that they
would be glad to be allowed to return on board on condition of doing their duty. And such proved to be the
case, as will be seen from the following extract from his
own account:
"As our anchorage was not secure^ we, the next morning, weighed
and ran into a sandy bay, where the men had been landed.
"As soon as the sails were hoisted three of the men made their
appearance, and—supposing we were going off to leave them—kept
waving their jackets and hats for us to send for them. When we
had anchored I sent a boat ashore, but only one of them came off in
her, and he gave such a lamentable account of their treatment on
shore that I felt confident of bringing the others to terms. The
boatswain and one sailor, being the ringleaders of the mutiny, and
very dangerous men, I determined not to take on any account.
" They kept in sight of the vessel all day. In the afternoon, with
my glass, I saw the gunner come down to the shore and wave his
jacket. I immediately sent the boat for him, but the others, seeing
this, ran after him and forced him to go back with them. One of
the ringleaders sent off word that if I would send a written agreement to use them well they would all return to their duty. My only
reply was to hoist the boat on board again, seeing which they moved
off to find shelter for the night.
-'' It was late in the morning of February 3 before any of them
made their appearance.   At nine o'clock we hoisted the colors, fired MUTINY OF CREW.
a 4-pound cannon, and weighed anchor, when they all came out from
behind a rock, where they had doubtless been watching our motions,
I then ordered the boat out, and with my second officer and four
hands, well armed, went as near the beach as the surf would permit
I called them all down to the water's side and told them I was then
going away; that I knew there were several of them desirous of returning to their duty, but were deterred by the others; that if they
would come forward I would protect them, and would fire at any
one who tried to prevent them. They replied that they were all
ready and willing to return to their duty, but the two ringleaders
were more ready than the others, and when they were rejected they
swore none of the others should go, and presented their knives at
the breasts of two of them and threatened to stab thepa if they attempted to do so ; a third seemed indifferent, and a fourth was lying
drunk on the beach. Having secured three, and one yesterday,
which was four out of the ten, and which, with a little additional
precaution, was securing the success of the expedition, I did not
think proper to put my threat in execution of firing on them.
' * After dinner I sent the second officer with four hands, well
armed, to make a last effort, but by this time those whose fate was
decided had persuaded the others to share it with them, and had
carried the drunken man out of reach, declaring that they knew we
dare not go on the coast of America with so feeble a crew, and we
should take them all or nona
"Having now a light breeze from the westward and a favorable
current, I concluded to have no further altercation with them, and
immediately hoisted in the boat and made sail, leaving on the island
of Kemoy (which is -about three hundred and fifty miles northeast
of Canton) six of my most able men. This was such a reduction of
our number as would require unceasing vigilance and extraordinary
caution to counteract, as the risk of being attacked by the Indians
was, of course, increased in proportion to our diminished power of
To save the necessity of future recurrence to this apparently unfortunate experience, I may mention here
that the six men who were left on shore were subsequently sent by the Chinese authorities to Canton, I
where they told such stories of the dangers and hardships they had suffered on the voyage in the cutter that
my father's friends considered their predictions fulfilled,
and gave him up for lost. On the other hand, the loss
of so many hands, which seemed at the time a great
misfortune, proved eventually a most providential occurrence, for they found, on arriving on the coast, that
their provisions had been so damaged by the continual
storms that, even with their diminished numbers, they
were forced to be put on allowance, and if they had had
their full complement they would have been obliged to
leave the coast before half completing their cargo, in
order to escape starvation. The success of the voj7age
was therefore due to this event, which at the time
seemed a great misfortune.
One wreek more of the same experience of working
up, inch by inch, against continual head-winds, and on
February 10 they had the satisfaction of seeing the
north end of the island of Formosa, bearing south, and
distant ten leagues.
Thus, after thirty-one days of incessant toil and exposure, he had accomplished that portion of the voyage
which had been represented as impracticable, and which,
with a fair wind, could have been made in three or four
days. The passage across the North Pacific at that inclement season, however, was but a continued scene
of hardship and suffering. The wind was almost invariably so violent that they could carry but little sail,
and the sea so boisterous that the watch on deck never
escaped a complete drenching, and it was not unfre-
quently the case that the fire in the caboose was extin- ARRIVAL ON THE COAST.
guished. Before arriving on the coast the precaution
was taken of putting up a bulwark or screen made of
hides, which were fastened to stanchions, all round the
vessel, so that the Indians could not see on board and
discover the small number of the crew. Then, when
trading with them, only one canoe was allowed to come
to the vessel at a time, and that at the stern, over which
all communication was held. On the evening of March
30 they arrived on the coast, and anchored in a snug
harbor in Norfolk Sound, and for the next two months
were busily engaged in traffic with the natives, Only
one or two vessels had arrived before them, and of these
they had in one respect the advantage, as the small size
of the cutter enabled them to navigate the innumerable
inlets and bays writh which the coast is indented—often
in places where a large ship could not venture—and thus
secure a great number of skins, singly or in small lots,
which would not have reached them had they remained
outside. But, on the other hand, the risk of attack from
the Indians wras proportionally greater, as they more
than once met with canoes longer than their own vessel.
It was evident on various occasions that an attack
upon the vessel was contemplated, and all sorts of devices were resorted to by the savages to induce them to
relax their vigilance, or throw them off their guard, in
order to secure the coveted opportunity for boarding
the vessel. But, although the intercourse witli them
was always kind and conciliatory, no reliance was ever
placed upon their professions of friendship, and no opportunity for the display of their treacherous character
was ever afforded, although on one occasion they were
13 50
placed by accident in so perilous a position that nothing
but a concurrence of favorable circumstances prevented
their utter destruction. This was after having collected
a very valuable cargo of furs and nearly expended their
articles of barter, and when they were seeking a safe
place to replenish tlieir supplies of wood and water.
" While steering to the westward with this intention, and going at
the rate of about two knots, unsuspicious of danger, the vessel suddenly struck a sunken ledge and stopped. Perceiving that she hung
abaft the midships, and that there was three and a half fathoms under the bows, we immediately ran all the guns forward and carried
out an anchor ahead; but the tide ebbed so rapidly that all our efforts
to heave her off were ineffectual. We therefore heeled her on the
side, whence she would be less likely to roll over. At low water the
position of the vessel was such as to afford little room to hope that
she could escape bilging. She hung by about four feet amidships,
having slidden forward as the tide fell, and brought up with the end
of her bowsprit on the bottom, while her keel formed an angle of
forty-five degrees with the water-line, the sternpost being fourteen
or fifteen feet above the rock. This position, combined with a rank
heel to starboard, made it impossible to stand on deck. We therefore put a number of loaded muskets into the boat, and prepared to
make such resistance in case of attack as could be made by fifteen
men crowded into a sixteen-foot boat. Our situation was now one
of the most painful anxiety, no less from the prospect of losing our
vessel and the rich cargo we had collected with so much toil, than
from the apprehension of being discovered in this defenceless state
by any one of the hostile tribes by whom we were surrounded. . A
canoe of the largest class, with thirty warriors well armed, had left
us but half an hour before we struck, and were now prevented from
seeing us only by having passed round a small island.. Should the
vessel bilge, there existed scarcely any other chance for the preservation of our lives than the precarious one of falling in with some
ship before we were discovered by Indians. That she would bilge
if the weather varied in any degree from the perfect calm which then
prevailed was almost a certainty.   More than ten hours were passed A CRITICAL SITUATION.
in this agonizing state of suspense, watching the horizon to discover
if any savages were approaching; the heavens, if there were a cloud
that might chance to ruffle the surface of the water; the vessel,
whose occasional cracking seemed to warn us of destruction; and
when the tide began to flow, impatiently observing its apparently
sluggish advance, while I involuntarily consulted my watch, the
hands of which seemed to have forgotten to move.
*' At length the water, as the tide rose, having flowed over the
coamings of the hatches, which had been caulked down in anticipation of this event, without any indication of the vessel's lifting, I
was deliberating on the propriety of cutting away the mast, when we
perceived that she was beginning to rise. She soon after righted so
much that we were able to go on board, and at half-past twelve in
the night we had the indescribable pleasure of seeing her afloat
again without having received any other apparent injury than the
loss of a few sheets of copper.
"To the perfect calm, smooth water, and uncommon strength of
our vessel may be attributed our escape from this truly perilous situation.
"I will not attempt to describe the joy I experienced at this escape. You may conceive of it by being reminded that on one side
was presented death in its most horrid form, or a still more horrid
captivity among the rudest savages; in the other, life, liberty, competence, and a sight of my friends again.
" On the 23d we laid the vessel ashore and cut off the rough copper, perceived that the keel was considerably bruised and a piece of
the sheathing under the copper broken, but no material injury done.
We gave her what repair the time would permit, and hauled off
when the tide flowed so as to float her. We continued navigating
the Sound till the 29th, when, having collected nineteen hundred
skins, besides a good proportion of tails, which is considered a good
cargo, I concluded to go to Norfolk Sound again and pick up what
we could in the course of forty-eight hours, and thence to the Charlotte Islands, preparatory to taking our departure from the coast."
This plan was carried out, and some three hundred
skins added to their store, the supplies of wood and
water replenished, and on the 27th VOYAGES OF A MERCHANT NAVIGATOR.
" Wc put to sea, happy at having so fortunately completed our business, and doubly so at leaving this inhospitable coast. Indeed, the
criminal who receives a pardon under the gallows could hardly
feel a greater degree of exultation."
His return passage to China via the Sandwich Islands
was chiefly remarkable by the pleasant contrast it afforded to the hardships and dangers to which they had
so long been exposed. He arrived at Warapoa on the
15th of September, and thus describes his meeting with
his friends there:
"Several of the gentlemen who had predicted our destruction
from attempting the voyage at the season we did, presumed, when
they saw the cutter arrive, that we had failed, which indeed they had
anticipated, from the arrival in Canton several months before of the
mutineers whom we had left on the coast of China, and the sad
stories they had told of hardship, danger, and cruel usage.
" One of these gentlemen, on meeting me, was actually beginning
to express the commiseration he felt for my hard fortune, but perceiving nothing like dejection in my countenance he stopped to
make inquiries, and was astonished to learn that we had accomplished the voyage successfully and had a cargo on board that would
probably produce $60,000. A piece of information which I received on my arrival served to show me in glaring colors my own
short-sightedness, and almost to make me a convert to the belief
that \ whatever is, is right.'
"I allude to the loss of the ship Ontario. As I had known before
arriving at Canton from Batavia that Captain Wheaton was destitute of officers, I had hoped through this means to embark myself
and property for America free of expense; but only twenty-four
hours before my arrival he had engaged a chief mate, regretting exceedingly that he had not known that I was coming. My own disappointment was very great, as I knew not which way to turn till
the offer of the cutter was presented. Had I arrived a few hours
earlier in Canton I should have embarked in the Ontario, lost all my
property, probably without insurance, and been left destitute in a
foreign land.'
The sea-otter skins which he had bought of the Indians at the rate of eight prime skins in exchange for a
musket, were sold in Canton for $26 each, and thus the
voyage was completed to the satisfaction of all concerned. I cannot better conclude my account of it than
by the relation of a pleasant and unexpected recurrence
to it in subsequent years. / H
Not long after the publication of my father's voyages
in 1842, he was surprised at receiving by mail a copy
of the Peoria, Illinois, Register of July 22, 184-23 containing the following:
" Yankee Daring and Enterprise.
" Under this head we copied a month ago from the Boston Courier
a notice of a new volume of voyages, by Captain Cleveland of Boston.
| The article met the eye of an old friend of Captain Cleveland, who
in the fulness of his heart has sent us the following letter, with the
request that we should put it in editorial form. We prefer, however, to publish it just as he sent it. The writer is the respected
postmaster at Andover, in Henry County, and his own life has been
little less prolific of adventure than that of his salt-water friend.
We knew him twenty-five or thirty years ago as the proprietor of
the Tontine Coffee-house in New York, then one of the principal
hotels of that city. Like Captain Cleveland, he has counted his
dollars by the thousand, and is now, at the turn of Fortune's wheel,
content to keep a humble post-office in a town of twenty houses,
and to live upon the gains of the Andover grist-mill, which he has
recently purchased."
"Andover, July 7,1842.
"Mr. Davis;—In your paper of 24th June is a sketch from Cleveland's Voyages, taken from the Boston Courier. Having myself been
something of a traveller, it is pleasing to me to come across a faithful narrative, and such I know this to be from my intimate acquaintance with the writer. Not having heard before of the work, nor
of Captain Cleveland for many years, I was greatly interested in the 54
sketch, especially as I was a party to some of the transactions described.
"The sketch says: 'With the $11,000 in his pocket at the Cape
of Good Hope, as above stated, and $7000 more, added by some
associates, Captain Cleveland undertook a voyage from China to the
northwest coast.' Now, I was one of .the 'associates' who added
the $7000, having put in $3000 myself, another friend having advanced the same amount, and the remaining $1000 being furnished
by Youqua, a silk merchant of Canton. Captain Cleveland, on his
return to Canton, remitted to us, then in the United States, the
amount of our investment, which netted us over $12,000. Investing this in his hands, we next heard of him at Copenhagen, in Denmark, where he had left with a banker $20,000 subject to our order, with profits still in his hands. The latter remained with him
as a little capital for further adventure, and was subsequently lost.
"As to his losses of $200,000,1 believe they far exceeded that
sum, and I have good opportunity of judging. Particulars are unnecessary, but I am unwilling not to add that many years after our
concern was considered completely wound up, we met by accident,
without the least expectation on my part of receiving any more, at
which time, Fortune having jilted us, it was low water with both.
"He volunteered the remark that he had recently very unexpectedly received something from the wreck, and handed me the account minutely and proportionally stated, with his accustomed accuracy, with two hundred and odd dollars. It was at that time a
pleasant windfall to both, uncertain which needed it most.
" These things, with my personal acquaintance with the writer of
these ' Voyages,' who,through all the hardships of his life, never,I believe, drank any kind of drinkable but water—although that must
often at sea have been unpalatable—warrant me in assuring the public that there can be nothing but unvarnished facts in the narrative;
and not such stories as are often told by travellers exhibiting more
ruffle than shirt. Although he is now, as he says, in an offlce in the
Boston Custom-House—a position which in New York has proved
so great a trial of integrity—-he will be Bichard J. Cleveland, and, rich
or poor, will be the same man. I am too isolated to have my name
add anything to its authority. Yours truly,
"Eben. Townsend." MEETING AN OLD FRIEND.
My father, who had heard nothing of his old friend
for years, and had supposed him dead, was naturally
much gratified at having thus unearthed him. It led to
a pleasant correspondence and subsequently to a visit
from Mr. Townsend, when my father was living with
me in Burlington, New Jersey, when the two veterans
"fought their battles o'er again" with great gusto. 'i/fr/fr&
From Canton to Calcutta, and thence to the Isle of France.—First
Meeting with William Shaler.—From the Isle of France to Copenhagen.—Purchase of the Brig Lelia Byrd, ^and Preparations
for a Voyage Bound the World.—The Count de Kouissillon.
Having disposed of the cutter and arranged writh the
purchaser to go in her as passenger, with a cargo of teas,
etc., to Calcutta, he writes to his father from Canton,
October 19,1799, as follows :
"As I cannot freight for America from hence, I have let part of
the property, say $21,000, on respondentia for Bengal, whither I am
bound, and have left $26,000 to be received by a friend here, and
remitted to me in Bengal, if it can be done advantageously; if not,
to endeavor to freight it in fine goods from hence to America."
The voyage to Calcutta was marked by two escapes
from ruin, and in one of them from certain loss of life
as well as property, such as no human foresight can
guard against, and which are denominated as providential or accidental, according to the faith or the want of
it of the narrator.
On the 5th of November, wrhile at anchor close in
shore in the narrow strait before coming to Malacca—
"We saw a fleet of eleven Malay proas pass by to the eastward,
from whose view we supposed ourselves to have been screened by
the trees and bushes near which we were lying. On perceiving so
great a number of large proas sailing together, we felt convinced
they must be pirates, and immediately loaded our guns and pre- NARROW ESCAPES.
pared for defence; though conscious that the fearful odds between
our crew of ten men, and theirs, which probably exceeded a hundred
to each vessel, left us scarce a ray of hope of successful resistance.
" We watched their progress, therefore, with that intense interest
which men may naturally be supposed to feel, whose fortune, liberty, and life were dependent on the mere chance of their passing by
without seeing us. To our great joy they did so, and when the sails
of the last of the fleet were no longer visible from our deck, and we
realized the certainty of our escape, our feelings of relief were in
proportion to the danger that had threatened us.
" On arriving at Malacca, the curiosity of the people was greatly
excited to know how we had escaped the fleet of pirates which had
been seen from the town, and when informed they offered us their
hearty and reiterated congratulations."
Of tlieir second escape they learned when they took
the pilot on board off the mouth of the river, wTho told
them that a large Portuguese ship, then in sight, had
been attacked the day before by a French privateer,
which she had beaten off. Had they arrived a day
sooner, therefore, they would have fallen an easy prey,
and being under English colors the property would have
been a total loss.
At Calcutta he was again disappointed in his hope of
finding an opportunity to freight his property on advantageous terms to the United States, and after residence there of three months he writes the following letter to his father, in which he informs him of his intended departure; but from prudential motives avoids
giving him any intimation of the object he had in view:
/ 1 Calcutta, March, 1800.
" Your packet by my friend Mr. Gray came to hand, just as Captain Wheatland was leaving town to join his ship.  I think I acknowledged the receipt of it, but have no recollection what I wrote you.
3* 58
" I have written you from this place by the Criterion, Mermaid,
Samson, and Perseverance, and given you such an account of the
property left in China, as well as of the voyage in general, that if
I should take it into my head not to return, you will not be at a loss
to know how to settle it, and I hope will receive enough to enable you to live with ease for the remainder of your life.
"However, I am under no apprehensions on this head, and doubt
not I shaU be able to wind up the business to my satisfaction, and
return in the course of the year 1801.
" If I had not gone so far in my present undertaking that it would
be making too great a sacrifice to relinquish it, I certainly would do
so, and take passage with Mr. Gray in the Ulysses, as it is not likely
I shall again meet with so agreeable an opportunity. I have seen
none of my countrymen in my travels possessing a greater combination of good qualities, and I consider his friendship a valuable acquisition.
"I flatter myself I may fall in with Bill and George before I return to America. Accounts of the tremendous gale at the Cape of
Good Hope have reached us, and among the most fortunate of the
unfortunate vessels that were caught in it I find is the brig Hannah,
Captain Wyman.
"George has in this instance experienced a more disastrous gale,
and been witness to a more distressing scene, than perhaps was ever
known there; but he has yet more dangers to encounter on our boisterous winter coast. The reflecting on dangers, however, is generally as unpleasant as the experience of them.
" As I leave all my books arid papers here, I have thought proper,
lest any accident should happen to prevent my getting them again,
to enclose you copies of all my accounts of the voyage up to the
present time.
"I sent you from hence by the Perseverance, Captain Wheatland,
fifty pieces of bandannas in a box marked __l. C. This I did fearing
lest any accident should prevent your receiving the expected property left in China.
"I leave this to-morrow,and intend returning here again in four
qr five months, when I shall begin to think of turning my face towards home.
1! If I meet with success, and a good opportunity offers at that time FROM CALCUTTA TO THE ISLE OF FRANCE.
for freighting the property home as safely as if I accompanied it, don't
be surprised, or think your son crazy, should you hear he had gone
to Bombay, in order to go overland to the Mediterranean, and thence
through Italy and France to England. Such a thing may happen,
though appearances are not much in favor of it; yet I think quite
as much so as they were of my seeing China when I left Salem. 1
am exceedingly desirous of seeing my friends in Salem, but there
seems to be a strange fatality attending every motion made to this
effect. Pleasing myself with the idea that all will turn out for the
best, time passes as lightly with me as with most people; and I am
persuaded that few people enjoy a greater share of happiness than
myself, if you can conceive of there being any happiness in building
airy castles and pursuing them nearly round the globe till they
vanish, and then engaging in a fresh pursuit. But enough of airy
castles: should I meet with a solid one, I'll take care to have it well
fortified in the latest style of engineering science.
" I have become a burgher of the Danish settlement of Frederics-
nagore, so that I am now a Dane, and must do as the Danes do."
He had, in fact, determined upon another expedition
in a cockle-shell, the object of which it wras necessary to
conceal from the authorities of Bengal, who allowed no
direct intercourse with the Isle of France. jl    ,
He had received intelligence that the French privateers had captured and sent in to that island so many
prizes that the inference was obvious that a ship could
be bought there on very advantageous terms:
"I determined, therefore, to procure a boat of such diminutive size as to elude observation, and, at the same time, of so little
value that the loss upon a re-sale would not be serious. Such a
one I found at Calcutta, nearly finished, of about twenty-five tons,
which I made a bargain for, to be completed immediately; to be
rigged as a pilot-boat, with a mainsail, foresail, and jib; to be
coppered to the bends, and delivered at the Danish settlement of
The engagement was fulfilled, the vessel put under V//37//SS
the Danish flag, my father became a Danish citizen,
loaded the boat with only sufficient cargo to put her in
good trim, and, embarking himself and servant as passengers, dropped quietly down the river and made sail
for the Isle of France.
iff The discomfort of such a boat on a voyage of forty-
five days, under a tropical sun, was, of course, very
great, and he acknowledges himself that "the attempting such a passage in such a boat wras certainly imprudent. It was not so much owing to ignorance of the
risk as to that impatience which would not permit ordinary difficulties to interfere wTith the pursuit of a favorite object."     |v fi
I may here appropriately introduce an extract from
a letter of Commodore Biddle to my father, in acknowledgment of the receipt of a copy of his "Narrative:"
"Your voyages from Havre to the Cape of Good Hope, from
Canton to the northwest coast, and from Calcutta to the Isle of
France, could have been undertaken and performed by none other
than a New England man.
"They reflect credit upon the American name and character."
His arrival excited even more astonishment than had
been displayed at the Cape of Good Hope wdien he
landed there from a vessel nearly double the size of this
one. ■-" j|'
IA crowd followed him when he landed and proceeded
to report to the governor; and not suspecting that he understood French, expressed freely their surprise and their
conjectures as to his probable object. He now had the
opportunity to deliver the despatches with which he
had been intrusted by the Directory two years pre- WILLIAM SHALER.
vious, and to explain the cause of the long delay; and
although they were, of course, no longer of any value,
they served the purpose of a favorable introduction, and
secured for him the courtesies which are always so acceptable in a foreign land.
The letter wdiich follows, from Copenhagen, written
the year after, gives a better sketch than I could hope
to do of his experiences; and the only item on which I
wish to offer any remark is the incidental mention of
his having made the acquaintance, while at the Isle of
France, of William Shaler, which acquaintance was
destined to have so important an influence on his subsequent life that it merits more than a passing notice.
Mr. Shaler was a man of rare intellectual power, and
of such unflinching courage, determined will, and kingly
presence, as seemed to adapt him morally and physically
to a leading position among his fellow-men. Of the
qualities I have enumerated he gave evidence during
his residence in Algiers, where he held the position of
consul-general of the United States for many years, and
rendered very important services to his government
and countrymen while in that capacity.
On one occasion, wdien a certain tribe of Arabs were
in rebellion, the Dey issued an order for the arrest and
imprisonment of every member of the tribe who happened to be in the city. The household servants of the
foreign consuls in Algiers were almost exclusively of
this tribe, and notice of the requisition for their surrender was at once sent to all the consulates.
Some of the consuls made no opposition to the decree;
others paid off and discharged their servants, leaving 62
them to their fate. The British consul endeavored to
protect his premises, but his doors were forced and his
servants dragged out and imprisoned.       m
Every possible effort wTas made to induce Mr. Shaler
to comply with the demand, but he insisted upon maintaining the dignity of his flag; and when the emissaries
of the dey made their appearance, coolly informed them
that they could only enter his premises over his body.
He carried his point, and not only saved his servants
from imprisonment and, possibly, death, but was ever
after treated with distinguished respect and consideration by the dey.     •, j| {§
During the subsequent attack on the city by the British fleet, under Lord Exmouth, the influence he had
acquired enabled him to render very valuable diplomatic
service in the protection of English and other Christian
His "Sketches of Algiers," published in Boston, in
1826, contains a very interesting account of the country
and its social condition under Moorish rule, and also a
graphic description of the capture of the city by Lord
Exmouth. . I
Of all men of distinguished personal appearance
whom I have had the good-fortune to meet—not even
excepting Daniel Webster—I have never seen one
whose aspect seemed to me so impressive, or so truly
one of majestic dignity, as Mr. Shaler's, and his stern
gray eye had an indescribable expression of firmness
and resolution which no man would care to encounter
in opposition. i
A gentleman who resided in a New England country- A LIFE-LONG FRIEND.
town, which for a time was Mr. Shaler's home, gave
me once a humorous account of the effect of his appearance upon the crowd assembled at the village post-office
to wait the assortment of the mail.
"They would fall back," said he, "and open to the
right and left, as if a lion had walked in at the door."
He was at heart a man of warm and generous nature,
fond of reading and hard study, affable and pleasant
with congenial spirits, but impatient with frivolous and
commonplace people. The acquaintance which began
at the Isle of France ripened into such a feeling of
warm attachment and implicit confidence in each other
as rarely exists even between those who are connected
by ties of blood, and this friendship continued through
The following, from my father's narrative, on the occasion of their separating after a long voyage together,
bears evidence to this fact:
j' The parting here from my long-tried, much-esteemed, and affectionate friend Shaler was not unattended with painful emotions.
We had shared abundantly in those dangers, toils, and anxieties no
less than in those pleasures and recreations which combine so
forcibly to cement the bonds of friendship.
* * # _* * * # &
"The many instances that had come within our observation of
intimate friends becoming alienated, from differing in opinion on
the merest trifles, had suggested to us the propriety of pondering
well on our ability to sustain harmoniously the alliance we contemplated in affairs of greater importance. Nothing short of our mutual experience of each other's temper and disposition could justify
the presumption implied of the power to maintain the harmony required in a voyage of ordinary character between two persons
equally interested in the property, equally competent to take charge ?'/.r/.f..
of the nautical and mercantile part of the business, and on a perfect
footing of equality in everything relating to the management of the
ship, as well as that of the cargo. But in an enterprise involving so
much difficulty and danger, so much to* perplex and irritate, with
so little success to cheer the spirits and promote equanimity of
temper, that we should be able to accomplish it without a rupture is
surprising; how much more so, then, that we never had an angry
dispute, and parted with feelings of affection increased by the very
difficulties and embarrassments we had encountered together."
This account of Mr. Shaler has filled a greater space
than I had anticipated.    The following is my father's
letter, in which, as I have said, he is first mentioned.
It will be seen  by the  explanation  given in it that
he had  previously been restrained  from wTriting  by
the  same prudential  motives which   affected him  at
1 Copenhagen, June 22,1801.
"I am now, as you will perceive, at the Danish capital, from
whence (in conformity with my usual custom) I propose to give jou
a sketch of my proceedings since I last wrote you from the capital
of the British empire in India.
11 think, on my leaving India, you had no positive information as to my destination by any of my letters from there; and I am
persuaded you will see the necessity which existed for the greatest circumspection in my operations, for had my letters been intercepted by a ship of either of the belligerent powers, and myself af-1
terwards fallen into their hands, the consequences would probably
have been an end of the voyage. That you might not, however,
remain entirely in the dark respecting them, I communicated my
plan to Mr.Winthrop Gray, who promised to disclose it to you ; but,
alas! he lived not to perform this promise. I was grieved on hearing of the sad accident that befell him, and though my acquaintance
with him was not of long standing, it was sufficiently so to give
birth to a real friendship for him. I sincerely wish that many who
make much more profession of rigid morals were as incapable as he
was of a mean or dishonest action. LETTER FROM COPENHAGEN.
"My object in going to the Isle of France was to purchase prize
goods or ships, with which to return to India. From a knowledge
of the great success of the privateers, and information (which I had
reason to suppose was correct) that no Danes, had gone from Tran-
quebar to make purchases, I had but little doubt that I should be
able to wind up my voyage at Calcutta in three or four months
from the time of my departure, and with a handsome profit; and.
should I possibly be disappointed in this, that the American trade
with France and her colonies would soon be open, and I should
readily find an opportunity of freighting my property to America.
In both these calculations I was mistaken, for, on my arrival, I
found that the sales were finished, and the privateers on the point
of sailing on another cruise, so that nothing could be expected from
them for several months. I therefore decided on the second plan,
in daily expectation of the arrival of Americans, for I was now assured by an arrival from France that all differences between the two
republics were amicably adjusted. I therefore went down to Bourbon in expectation of purchasing my coffee lower and more readily
than at Mauritius. But the inhabitants had heard of the arrival of
the American from France, which, in conjunction with my arrival
there, led them to suppose that their produce would soon rise in
value, and therefore (as in general they are not in want) they would
not sell at any price. After remaining a fortnight without doing
anything I returned to Mauritius, where, in longing expectation of
the arrival"of Americans, and at times doubting whether they would
come,finding it impossible to fit out a vessel for America before we
knew that the intercourse was open, and feeling extreme repugnance
at the thought of returning to India without doing anything, I waited day after day and month after month with as much impatience
as any prisoner ever experienced in the Bastile. To have remained
in such a state of inactivity in a more pleasant country wTould not
have been agreeable, but here everything concurred to cause the
time to wear so heavily away that the ten months I was detained
appear as long as all the rest of the time I have been from home.
You will naturally suppose that the annoyance some of their privateers have met with from our armed merchantmen has much irritated, and in many instances influenced, them in the condemning
of unarmed vessels which have been sent in. 66
"Americans are reproached with ingratitude towards France and
partiality for the English, and myself among the few who were
there; for, although I entered as a Dane, it was soon discovered that
I was an American. Nor did I try to conceal it, but, on the contrary, condemned the measures of the French government towards
America wherever I heard them discussed, and sometimes (though
rarely) found an honest Frenchman who was of my opinion, but he
was a planter, and the planters in general have not a much more
exalted opinion of the integrity of the merchants than I have. To
brand any set of men with the epithet of rogue is rather harsh, but,
upon my word, I do not think it can be more justly applied to the
inhabitants of Botany Bay than to the merchants of Mauritius; nor
was our countryman, Captain Ingraham (who published a list of
these gentry in a Boston paper), much out of the way as it respects
truth, but a good deal in point of prudence; for this paper, branding
a number of them with the epithet of rogue, villain, etc., had like to
have caused serious trouble to the few Americans who were there.
On the day this paper was produced on 'Change the only American
who happened to be present was S. Minot, and he was so grossly insulted by one of these censured citoyens (a Mr. Sevenne) that a duel
was the consequence; but, although they fought at only five paces,
no other mischief arose than the Frenchman's receiving a ball in the
arm, which laid him by for a few weeks. Whether he is more or
less a rogue since than before this affair I will not pretend to decide,
but leave it to those who may be so unfortunate as to have any transactions with him, and return to my own affairs.
"In December I purchased and expedited a ship for Calcutta for
account of Mr. White, of Boston, who was largely concerned in my
speculation, and was waiting my return there; and early in January
I contracted (in conjunction with a Mr, Shaler, of Connecticut) with
a Danish captain to freight on board his ship seven thousand bags
of coffee, on condition that he should deliver us six thousand bags
in Copenhagen. We were not to pay any primage or average, and
were to have passage for ourselves and servants gratis, except paying a proportion of cabin stores.
"These were certainly very advantageous terms, and such as only
his peculiar situation induced him to accept, as he had purchased a
large ship at a moderate price, had not half property enough to load LETTER FROM COPENHAGEN.
her, and could not procure freight from any other quarter. In addition to the freight being low, it was one of the finest ships that I
have ever sailed on—an East India Company's ship of nine hundred
tons' burden, on her first voyage, and although, when captured, she
carried between decks twenty 18-pounders, and six 9-pounders on
the quarter-deck, and had on board, in sailors and soldiers, three
hundred and fifty men, she was taken by boarding by the celebrated
Surcouffe in the Confiance privateer of twenty guns and one hundred and fifty men. Nor was she taken by surprise, but rather
from the Englishman's too great confidence in his own strength and
contempt for that of his enemy. Such a bold and successful attempt has not perhaps its equal in the pages of history. Surcouffe
relates with humor the story of an English major-general who wTas
a passenger on board, and who, after the ship had surrendered,
came up from below (where he had stowed himself with the lady
passengers during the action) and presented his sword to him; but
Surcouffe, instead of receiving it, told him he might keep it, as he
was sure it wras in harmless hands; nor did he think it worth while
to keep him a prisoner, but let him go with the other passengers.
" But what has this to do with my affairs, of which I sat down to
give you a detail, before which, however, I must observe that,
among many instances of the depravity, or, rather, weakness, of this
government, in suffering the privateers to send in, and their courts
to condemn, neutrals on the most frivolous pretences, they have in
no instance been guilty of a more glaring piece of villainy than in
the condemnation of the brig Traveller, of Boston, and her cargo of
$110,000 specie, belonging to Mr. Joseph Lee, Jr., and the Messrs.
Williams, of Boston.
"We left the Mauritius on the 21st of March, and, after one of
the pleasantest and quickest passages I ever experienced, arrived at
Christiansand, Norway, on the 11th instant—only eighty-two days.
We came along in the most perfect serenity, having heard nothing
of any disturbance between the English and Danes, and were pursuing our course for Copenhagen when we spoke a Danish coasting
vessel a few miles from the entrance to Christiansand, and were
surprised with the intelligence that war had been declared, and that
we could not proceed farther towards Elsinore without being intercepted by an English cruiser.   As we conceived that some time 68
must elapse before these differences could be adjusted, and, consequently, that the ship must necessarily remain where she was, Mr.
Shaler and I remained but two days and then took passage for Ny-
bourg, a pretty town on the island of Fyen, where we arrived the
third day after leaving Norway. From here we crossed to Corseur,
on the western part of Zealand, where we slept, and next morning
took post-horses for Copenhagen, where we arrived at night, having
travelled through a most delightful country, level, and everywhere
in the highest state of cultivation. You will easily conceive how
gratifying to the sight such a country must be to one who has been
for so long a time either in a. country of barbarians, where the ice
remains all the year round, or in the torrid zone, where vegetation
is almost entirely burned up, and where it is imprudent to go out of
the house at noonday.
"If I had understood the language I should almost have fancied
myself in my native country; but we met with but one person who
could speak French, and none that could speak English, on the
road, so that we were forced to talk by signs, except to the man w7ho
spoke French. He was.a well-dressed old gentleman of upward of
seventy, who made up for all deficiencies in chat. His curiosity was
as much excited by my honest negro servant as was that of any of
the peasants of the country, and he even asked how long he had
been caught and tamed, and was much surprised to learn that he
was a native of America and had never been wild. My first pursuit
on arriving here was to inquire for a Salem vessel, and I soon had
the pleasure of seeing William Orne, Jr., from whom I learned that
all my friends were alive and well but a few days ago,- and this, you
will conceive, was a great relief to me, for, though I sought for
news, I dreaded to hear what it might be.
"It may yet be fifteen or twenty days before the arrival of our
ship at this place, so that it is very uncertain when I shall be able
to close my business here; but, as I have for the concern property
worth here about $60,000 net, and am myself the largest proprietor,
and as this property is now safe, I think you cannot want for money
even if the China adventure did not yield so much as I calculated
on when I wrote you from Calcutta. I hope, however, it gave
you a supply, besides paying my debts; but, whether it did or
not, or whether it arrived safe or was lost, money you must have, AT COPENHAGEN.
and as soon as I can conveniently make you a remittance I shall
do so.
"I have given you a long, faithful, and perhaps tedious narrative
of my proceedings thus far. Of my next movements you will be
regularly advised, but do not impute it to any want of affection if
they should not be towards home."
The next letter from Copenhagen, a few days later,
gives no definite account of his plans, and thenceforward my record of his movements must be made up
from his " Journal," as no more letters have been preserved, and probably none were written, as the opportunities for transmission from the ports he next visited
must have been extremely rare.
I Copenhagen, July 5, 1801.
j' Since writing you of my arrival here, to wear off the time while
waiting for our ship, I have made a pleasant journey on this island,
in company with two American gentlemen. Our first visit was to
Roschild, about twenty English miles from hence. In the cathedral
of this place are buried all the deceased kings, queens, etc., of Denmark, as far back as seven hundred years.
"From thence we went to Fredericsburg, a very ancient and superb palace, where we saw many fine pieces of sculpture, paintings,
etc. Thence to the cannon-foundery at Fredericswork, belonging
to a prince of Hesse. After being shown every part of the foun-
dery and the powder-works, we proceeded to Fiedenvert, where there
is a beautiful palace, built by the late Juliana Maria, mother to the
present king, into every apartment of which we were shown, and,
consequently, saw all the fine furniture and paintings. From thence
we went to Elsinore, where one of our party left us, and crossed
over to Sweden, on his way to Russia, and the other returned with
me to Copenhagen, after an absence of four days, much improved,
as you will imagine. For my own part, I have become so great a
connoisseur in pictures that—as you will perceive—I have been able
to recollect the names of the towns and palaces in which they are to
be seen.   I often think, on my various excursions, of the booby mak- YO
ing the tour of Europe, as described in the Spectator. Pray don't
be disappointed if I should be able to give you no better account of
the manners, customs, government, laws, public edifices, and rare
curiosities which I have seen.
"The morning after my return from this excursion I was agreeably surprised at meeting my old friend, Captain Silsbee. The time
elapsed since I have seen him seems to have made very little alteration in his appearance, and he seems the same good fellow with
whom I made my first voyages. I do not think Fortune could have
bestowed her favors on a more deserving object. He urges me much
to return to America, and offers me a passage in his ship. This I
would gladly accept, but I have long had a plan in view, which I
am very anxious to carry into execution, and which will depend
entirely upon the arrival of our ship from Norway. If she should
not arrive within the present month, I shall return to America immediately on settling my affairs here. If she should arrive within
the month, it is probable I shall make another trip around the world,
of which you shall be advised.
"I regret, and am surprised, that you should have been uneasy at not hearing from me from the Mauritius. The difficulty, as
wTell as danger, of forwarding letters while on such a speculative
adventure, where the property was entirely masked, ought to have
occurred to you, and your knowledge of my extreme caution and
dislike of running into danger would, I thought, have authorized
me to have undertaken more hazardous expeditions without alarming you."
The plan to which he alludes was one which he and
Mr. Shaler had discussed together on tlieir passage from
the Isle of France, of a trading voyage to the west coast
of South America, and probably round the world, and
had so far agreed upon that its execution wras dependent
solely upon their meeting with a suitable vessel for their
purpose. t    '
|§ The cargo of coffee they had brought from the Isle of
France was sold at a handsome profit, and he received, PURCHASE  OF BRIG "LELIA BYRD.
also, very satisfactory accounts of the proceeds of that
portion of his property which had been shipped to America, so that he not only felt free from anxiety on his
own account, but had the satisfaction of knowing that
he had fully provided for his father's wants, and had
ministered bountifully to the comfort of other relatives
to whom he was bound by ties of gratitude and affection. . ' - , ;.        cf ;   •  \|p      H  < ;
Finding it impossible to procure a suitable vessel at
Copenhagen, they went to Hamburg, where they accomplished tlieir object by the purchase of the brig
Lelia Byrd, of Portsmouth, Va., a stanch, fast-sailing
vessel of one hundred and seventy-five tons, with good
capacity for carrying, and very comfortable accommodations.     '... .. . V •'§* . .-'jfv
While Mr. Shaler went to Bordeaux to attend to
some business of his own, my father remained in Hamburg to supervise the coppering and repairing of the
vessel, which was accomplished, and the cargo shipped,
by the time of his return, at the end of September. As
their partnership wras, in all respects, one of perfect
equality, the nominal position of captain—which it was
necessary, for form's sake, that one of them should assume—was decided in favor of Mr. Shaler by tossing a
copper, and my father, therefore, appeared on the ship's
papers as supercargo.
Before they were ready for sea, however, the objects
which had formed the chief incentive to the prosecution
of the voyage were defeated by the sudden and unexpected termination of the war between France and England by.the Treaty of Amiens.   The commerce of Spain 72
with her colonies would now be renewed, and, by the
regular introduction of the manufactures of Europe, the
hitherto exorbitant prices on which they had counted as
a compensation for their efforts would be at once reduced. It was obvious, therefore, that a voyage to Chili
and Peru could now be made only under the most discouraging auspices, as the same cause which operated
to enable the inhabitants to supply themselves with
manufactures would also greatly increase the difficulty
and danger which foreigners must encounter in endeavoring to eltide the proverbial jealousy of Spain of outside intrusion on her colonial commerce. The business,
however, had advanced so far that a resale of tlie vessel
and cargo could not be effected except at great loss, and
they could not reconcile themselves to the abandonment
of the voyage.
Meantime, during their residence in Hamburg, they
had become acquainted with the Count de Rouissillon,
a young Polish nobleman, who had fought for the liberty of his country as an aide-de-camp of Kosciusko, and,
being one of the proscribed, was living in Hamburg on
very slender means, and without occupation. He was
the descendant of an ancient noble family. He possessed a powerful intellect, and gave evidence that great
care had been exercised in its cultivation. His acquirements in mathematics, in astronomy, music, and drawing were very respectable, and there was scarcely a
European language with which he was not familiar.
For these attainments he was not less indebted to his
fine natural powers than to an untiring industry, which
was so habitual tliat he seemed to grudge a moment's THE COUNT DE ROUISSILLON.
time that wras passed without adding something to his
stock of knowledge.
Perceiving the very great addition to their own enjoyment which would be derived from the companionship of so agreeable a young man—for they were all
under thirty—they invited him to accompany them,
simply as a travelling companion. He had never been
at sea, and the prospect of a rambling voyage round the
world to a man like him, who had been reared in the
interior of a continent, offered such attractions that he
accepted the invitation without hesitation and with
warm expressions of gratification and delight. r|jt
Looking back over the lapse of eighty years, and recalling the circumstances of the period and the character
and position of the young men by whom this enterprise
was undertaken, the history of the voyage on which
they were now embarking seems more like the conception of a poet's imagination than the simple narrative
of a commercial enterprise.      ''$/ §   <W
It is difficult, at this day, when we not only have full
and minute descriptions of every port and country, but
can hold instant intercourse with the most remote regions of the globe, to realize the sense of mysterious
uncertainty with which those portions were then regarded which were out of the frequented channels of
commerce, and especially those that were guarded by
such jealous watchfulness of foreign flags as was then
considered an essential element of national polity. The
starting forth upon a trading voyage of such a character
as this had, therefore, all the charm of uncertainty which
comprises the chief attraction of a tale of adventure, and
4 74
the personal character of the chief actors was in keeping
with that of the enterprise, which would neither have
been conceived nor attempted by men of everyday mould.
My father's course, from the time of his starting out
from Havre, four years previous, had been marked by
such sagacity in the conception and such energy and
fearlessness in the execution of the enterprises he had
undertaken as indicate a rare combination of mental
and physical attainments. Their exercise had secured
the object at which they aimed, and had relieved him
from the painful anxiety he had felt, and which his letters so often expressed, lest his father should be in
want. |p
He had provided for him, and gained for himself a
fortune which would have been ample for the gratification of his simple tastes had he abandoned the further
prosecution of such exciting adventure as he had heretofore pursued. But a life of quiet ease and luxury
was inconsistent with the demands of such a spirit as
his, and the union of his own fortune with that of one
so fully in sympathy with him as his friend Shaler
served, doubtless, to stimulate both of them to the
achievement of enterprises of greater pith and moment
than either would have attempted alone.
The fact of their winning the friendship of so accomplished a man as the Count de Kouissillon, the mutual
appreciation of the value of the intellectual enjoyment
of each other's society which was manifested by the invitation and its acceptance, and the subsequent relations
of harmony and confidence which were maintained between the three throughout the extended period of try- CHARACTER OF VOYAGE.
ing experiences to which they were subjected, afford evidences of such characteristics in each as can but excite
surprise and admiration, and serve to lift the whole enterprise above the domain of a mere trading voyage,
and impart to it a halo of attractive interest which may
be justly termed poetic. _J
■^       $_-<
I b~i.
, .
Voyage of the Lelia Byrd.—Adventures in Chili and on the Coast
of California.—Thence to the Sandwich Islands and China, and
thence in the Alert to Boston.
This voyage of the Lelia Byrd occupied the ensuing
two and a half years. If any letters were received from
him during its prosecution they have not been preserved, and the probability is that no opportunity was
offered him for communicating with his friends. His
own account of it, as given in his narrative, is so complete, and comprises details of such interest, that if I
were to attempt its repetition I should transfer the whole
of it to these pages. But I prefer to touch only upon
the leading incidents as given in his daily journal, and
preserve the consecutive order of events in the history
of his life.
While }Tet in the river Elbe, and lying at anchor at
Gliickstadt, they had a very narrow escape from destruction by a storm which caused very great damage
to the shipping. One cable parted, and the pilot who
was on board was very urgent to cut away the masts
to prevent being driven on the pier heads; but to this
they would not consent, and were finally held by the
bower anchor's catching in the one they had lost, and escaped with the loss of the stern boat torn from the davits. FROM CUXHAVEN TO RIO JANEIRO,
They sailed from Cuxhaven on the 8th of November,
1801, in company with a dozen ships and brigs, and
soon had an opportunity of discovering the superiority
of their vessel, as at the end of four hours only two of
the fleet were visible astern from their decks.
Touching at the Canary Islands for fresh provisions,
they continued their course across the Atlantic, and arrived at Rio Janeiro, January 2,1802 :
"Next morning we were visited with much formality by the municipal authorities, accompanied by an interpreter, to ascertain the
condition of our vessel, and know our wants, in order that, from their
report to superior authority, it might be decided how long we should
be permitted to remain in port.
"Aware of the jealousy of the government towards all foreigners,
and their practice of rigidly enforcing the law for the exclusion of
any other flag than their own except in cases of emergency, we presumed the time granted us would be very limited, and were, therefore, very well satisfied on being informed that the viceroy permitted
us to remain eight days. This was ample time to fill our water-
casks, to procure a supply of stock, vegetables, and fruit, and to
ascertain if it were possible to dispose of our cargo to any of the
traders who were here from the river Platte."
They were allowed to go on shore only when accompanied by a soldier; but, as there wras no limit fixed to
their rambles, they visited all the most attractive points,
and spent one evening at the theatre, where the patience
of the audience was tried by the delay of the viceroy,
as the curtain could not rise till his arrival. When he
at length appeared the whole audience rose to greet
him, and performances began with a five-act comedy
and concluded with a ballet.
The most interesting incident which occurred during 78
their stay, however, was a visit paid by Mr. Rouissillon
and my father to the Convent of the Benedictines. See-
ing one of the monks, as they wrere looking at the outside of the building, Rouissillon addressed him in Italian,
and finding he could thus communicate wTith him asked
permission to examine the interior, which was courteously granted, and they were escorted to a gorgeously
furnished chapel, and thence to the dining-room and
other apartments. They at length asked to see the library, which .seemed to excite surprise as being an unusual request; but they were taken without hesitation
to a pleasant room, the windows of which overlooked
the bay, where they found a collection of ten or twelve
thousand volumes, mostly in French, Italian, and Latin,
which they examined with interest. The monk who accompanied them was much astonished with the eagerness of their examination, and.with Rouissillon's familiarity with many of the works, and remarked upon it to
one of the brethren as a mortifying contrast to the ignorance and indifference of their own countrymen.
Finding no opportunity to dispose of their cargo, they
took their departure on the 10th of January, came in
sight of Cape Horn on the 7th of February, and for a
week after were contending with the boisterous and
tempestuous weather usual in that region, and arrived
at Valparaiso on the 24th of February.
" On entering the Bay of Valparaiso we were boarded by a naval
officer from a guardacosta, who desired us not to cast anchor till the
captain had presented himself to the governor and obtained permission. Consequently, while Mr. Shaler accompanied this officer to
the governor, we lay off and on in the bay.   More than an hour AT VALPARAISO.
elapsed before his return with permission to anchor, and to remain
till a reply could be received from the captain-general at Santiago
to our request for leave to supply our wants, for which a despatch
was to be forwarded immediately.
"We were surprised to find no less than four American vessels
lying here, and no less mortified than surprised, and in some degree
alarmed for our own safety, to find them all under arrest on different pretexts.
"Yet while we violated no law and required no other than the
privileges secured to us by treaty we could not believe that we should
be molested.
"On the third day after the messenger had been despatched to
the captain-general a reply was received from him, the purport of
which was, that our passage had been so good that we could not be
in want of provisions, if we had laid in such a supply as we ought
to have done before leaving Europe.
"But if it were otherwise, and our wants were as urgent as we
represented, the mode by which we proposed paying for them, by a
bill on Paris, was inadmissible; and, therefore, that it was his excellency's order that we should leave the port at the expiration of
twenty-four hours after receiving this notice.
"On remonstrating with the governor and representing to him
the inhumanity of driving us to sea while in possession of so small
a supply of the necessaries of life, he very reluctantly consented to
our remaining over another post, and even promised to make a more
favorable report on the urgency of our necessities than he had done.
But as the order to leave was reiterated, we doubted his having performed his promise, and, therefore, determined to Write directly to
the captain-general.
"In conformity with this decision Mr. Shaler addressed a letter
in Spanish to the captain-general, expressing his surprise at the order for our departure without affording us the supplies which were
indispensable, and for which provision had been made by treaty,
and ' presuming that his excellency's intentions had been misconceived by the governor, he had ventured to disobey the order, and
remain in port till the reception of his excellency's reply.'
" A prompt and very polite answer was received, granting us permission to supply ourselves with everything wTe desired; and, what 80
was very extraordinary, giving us further permission, which had not
been asked, of selling so much of thp cargo as would be sufficient to
pay for the supplies. After whicfi he desired we w7ould leave.the
port immediately, and added that if we entered any other port we
should be treated as contrabandists."
The above is quoted from the published narrative.
I give the account of subsequent events as described
in his journal, written at the time : J7
"This indulgence on the part of his excellency relieved us from
our embarrassments; and on Saturday, 27th of March, having our
provisions all engaged and part on board, we sent ashore in the
morning twenty-eight pieces of platillas to pay for them, and they
were immediately sold by the governor at $18 apiece and the money
deposited with the commandant. Our intention was to take off the
rest of our provisions in the afternoon, settle our accounts the next
day, and then proceed to sea. But the same afternoon began the
affair of the ship Hazard of Providence, Captain Rowan, as follows:
"The governor had demanded that Captain Rowan should deliver
up -live hundred muskets, which it appeared were on board the ship,
and which, as they were laden in Holland and bound to the northwest coast of America, he supposed did not come under Art. 10 of
the treaty, and, therefore, determined not to comply with the demand. Of this determination the aide-de-camp of the governor was
informed several days before in my presence.
"It is evident that the governor expected opposition, as he approached the ship in a launch with about twenty soldiers, and seeing that Captain Rowan was prepared to make resistance he lay by
at a little distance, and hailed to know if he might come alongside
with safety; to which Captain Rowan replied that he should be happy to be honored with his company, but that he would not permit
the soldiers to come on board. The governor then went on board
and demanded the arms, which Captain Rowan refused, at the same
time hoisting his colors and observing that they were his protection
and were not to be insulted.
"This firmness no doubt astonished the governor, and he soon
went ashore, apparently much mortified, as he immediately ordered DIFFICULTY WITH THE GOVERNOR.
every American merchant then on shore to be shut up in the castle;
hoisted the colors at the fort, and ordered a large merchant ship then
in the road (which mounted eighteen heavy cannon between decks)
to hoist the pennant, bring her broadside to bear on the Hazard (by
getting a spring on his cable), and order him to surrender on pain
of being sunk. ?l To these threats Captain Rowan replied that they
might fire if they pleased, and nailed his colors to the mast, and, as
the governor did not choose to put his threats into execution, things
remained in statu quo.
I Shaler, Rouissillon, and myself being on shore, were arrested and
sent to the castle, and were thus prevented from putting to sea as
we had intended. In the evening we wrote to the governor requesting to be provided with something to eat and with beds. Our letter was returned unopened, and it was not till twelve o'clock the
next day, and after passing a most uncomfortable night, annoyed by
innumerable fleas, that any attention was paid to us. We were then
informed by a verbal message from his excellency that we were at
liberty to go on board our ship. We were unwilling to accept this
liberty until an apology should be made for the offence, and we
finally agreed that Shaler, being the master of the vessel, should remain in prison. We accordingly sent him a bed and provisions,
and then asked permission of the governor to send an express to the
captain-general, which he refused, asking at the same time why we
did not go to sea; to which we replied that wre wanted satisfaction
for being unjustly imprisoned and ill-treated, and that our captain
did not intend to leave the prison till he was informed why he was
put in. On Monday I was passing the government house, when the
governor called me and asked if I was not second in command, and
on my replying in the affirmative, he ordered me to go on board and
go to sea. I answered that I could not go without my captain. He
then told me he would seize the brig; to which I replied that we were
already prisoners, which he denied. I then again asked permission
to send a courier to the capital and was again refused. Although
the ostensible reason of our refusing to go to sea was to obtain satisfaction for the outrage to which we had been subjected, the real
cause of our delay was the hope that we might be of service to
"In the evening the governor's courier returned from the capital,
4i__. 82
bringing a letter from the captain-general to Captain Rowan, desiring him to deliver up the arms making part of his cargo, and make
a second declaration respecting their lading. This order, from the
commander-in-chief, was complied with without hesitation, first by
delivering the arms, and, second, by referring the governor to his
first declaration; at the same time sending (by the supercargo) the
certificate, signed by the controller of customs at Amsterdam, of
their being laden there. Captain Rowan had now no idea of making further resistance, but intended pursuing the business legally;
nor did he consider the governor's advice to him to come on shore
in the light of an order.
"Rouissillon was with the governor till past seven o'clock Wednesday evening, and was surprised to hear him say that if Captain
R. did not come on shore voluntarily he intended to use force to
compel him.
"Rouissillon replied that force would be unnecessary, as Captain
Rowan thought no longer of making any resistance; and when he
came off we went together on board the Hazard, and, on informing
Rowan of the governor's intention, he said at ohce he wTould go on
shore in the morning, as it was too late to go on shore that night.
But precisely at eight o'clock next morning (which was two hours
before Americans were permitted to go on shore) a band of upwards
of two hundred armed brigands, composed of the crews of Spanish
vessels, boarded the Hazard, and took her, from an unarmed crew
of twenty-three men, who supposed themselves in safety
"And this was done by order of the governor, who stood on
shore opposite the vessel, and was a witness to the horrid scene of
assassination and rapine that followed. Captain Rowan's life was
saved by the humanity of the captain of a Spanish brig, who got
into the cabin in advance of the rabble—as he had not time to save
himself, as the other officers had done, by retreating to the lazaretto.
The plunder which ensued for the remainder of the day, and the
following night, was such as to lighten the ship nearly a foot. Nor
were the officers of rank backward in taking part in the pillage; and
the custom-house guards, far from preventing, were as eager as the
rest in the work of robbery.
"With indignation I went immediately after to the governor, to
again demand permission to send an express to Santiago, wThen he ____
menacingly demanded if we wanted to be served in the same
manner; and, also, why we did not go to sea. To the first part
of his demand I replied that he might do as he pleased; and, to
the second, that we would not go before communicating with the
captain-general. Finding his threats of no avail, he at length reluctantly yielded to our request; and our letter demanding justice
from the captain-general was ready by two p. m., at which time
(having engaged a man to go, for the consideration of eleven dollars), we applied at the post-house for horses, and were informed
that the king did uot permit foreigners to send expresses. Enraged
at this refusal, I went again to the governor, who appeared surprised at it, and immediately gave the man orders to go; and I gave
him the letter in the governor's presence.
" This business being finished, the governor observed that he was
very sorry for what had happened, and would endeavor to purchase
the clothes belonging to the officers of the Hazard who had been
plundered. Before leaving him I requested, if he decided to seize
the brig, that he would send only an officer and two or three men,
as we should make no resistance, and there were many valuable
books and instruments on board which might possibly be useful to
"On Tuesday, April 6th, an answer was received from the captain-general, who (after making known his unjust suspicions relative
to the object of our voyage, and affirming that we had no right to
navigate in these seas), wound up by assuring us that, after hearing
the governor's report, we should have the most complete satisfaction.
In consequence of this assurance I went, the next morning, to the
governor to let him know that Mr. Shaler intended going, on board
his vessel, but to this he objected till he heard again from headquarters. An answer was sent to his excellency's letter on the
8th by regular post, refuting his various charges against us; and
on the 13th Captain Shaler left the castle, by request of the governor.
" The morning following, as soon as we landed,we were informed
by an officer that it was the governor's order that we should prepare
for sea as soon as possible. Our expenses having been considerably
increased by our unexpected detention, I applied to the governor
for leave to sell a few more pieces of linen to repay them; but this
he said he could not grant; and, at the same time, asked me why 84
the captain did not come to see him, observing that, after having
quarrelled, it was proper to be friends again; that he was sensible
that in taking the part of Rowan we had done no more than our
duty, and that he was desirous that a reconciliation should take
place. On being informed of this, Shaler and Rouissillon immediately went to call upon him, and it appeared as if he could not
sufficiently express his joy at being again friends. He gave us
permission to dispose of six more pieces of platillas to pay our
additional expenses j and, on Monday, 19th, being ready for sea, he
told us we were at liberty to go wrhen we pleased, but he should take
it as a particular favor if we would wait twenty-four hours after the
sailing of a large ship, then on the point of departure for Lima, and
which, it seems, some malicious person had suggested that it was
our intention to capture. To this we assented; but, before the
expiration of the time, a new cause of trouble had arisen.
: \ An Irish sailor, who had deserted from us, had declared that we
had seventeen barrels on board which were very heavy, and which
he supposed to be filled with dollars; and that we had made considerable sales at Rio Janeiro, and had received payment in gold,
which was then on board. On Thursday morning, 22d, the governor sent for Captain Shaler, requesting him to bring his papers;
and finding, on examination, that there was no Spanish passport,
asked the reason. Shaler replied that it was not requisite, and
requested him, if he had any intention of making further trouble,
to make known his complaints that w7e might take the necessary
steps to remove the cause. He assured Captain S. that he did not
intend troubling him any further, repeated the request that we
would wait till the ship had sailed for Lima, and wrote our clearance on the back of our sea-letter, which, with the other papers, he
returned to Captain Shaler. Friday morning Captain Parga, who
commanded two privateers then in port, made a signal, and, at the
same time, we observed them loading several cannon on the side
that bore upon us; and soon after, as we were sitting down to
breakfast, a lieutenant of the Britannia came on board, and desired
Captain Shaler and his supercargo to go on board that vessel with
their papers. A request of this singular nature from the captain of
a private armed ship, while we were within the jurisdiction of the
Governor of Valparaiso, and while two king's ships were lying FURTHER DIFFICULTIES,
there, was treated with the contempt it merited.   We returned for
answer that when we had breakfasted we would go ashore and see
the governor.   But, seeing them immediately manning and arming
their boats to board us, and being desirous of avoiding.such another
horrid scene as we had witnessed on board the Hazard, Captain
Shaler very prudently went on board in our boat, and, shortly after,
sent for me.   Captain Parga then went with Shaler on board the
brig; sent our sailors on board the privateer, where they were put in
irons, and immediately began the search for the kegs of specie,
which they found precisely in the place described by the deserter,
when they desisted from further search j and, on opening the kegs,
discovered that they contained quicksilver, which Captain Parga
acknowledged we had a perfect right to carry, and said he should
report to the governor (by whose orders he had acted), and had no
doubt our men would be at once restored, and permission given us
to sail.   In the evening Captain Shaler was sent for, and taken on
board the Britannia, where he was questioned by Captain Parga
(who showed him the order of the governor, by which he was acting) relative to the owners of the brig, the object of the voyage, etc.
He requested that part of the papers might be left with him, and
again observed that our men would be sent on board in the morning,
and we should have permission to sail.    Of this, however, we felt
so much doubt that Captain Shaler went next morning to demand
categorically whether they meant to stop us or not; and the answer
was not only positive that they did mean to detain us, but was given
with such vulgar and abusive language as might naturally be expected from the captain of a Spanish privateer.    Shortly after he
sent his men on board, and took up on deck ten kegs of the quicksilver, in doing which they burst two, on£ of which was wholly, and
the other partly, lost.
"We immediately despatched another courier to Santiago, complaining to the captain-general of this new act of injustice, and
asking permission to come to the capital to settle the business. A
reply was received on the 28th, wherein his excellency observed
that our business could be soon finished at Valparaiso by answering
satisfactorily the following questions, viz.:
"Why was the quicksilver hidden? To whom does it belong?
and, What port is it destined for? 86
"In reply to these questions Mr. Shaler deposed before the governor and a notary, first, that it was not hidden; second, that it
belonged to the owners of the cargo; and, third, that its destination
was—as the vessel's had been reported to be—round the world; and
to this deposition Shaler solemnly made oath on a volume of Shakespeare, presented for the purpose by the governor, a fitting climax to
this solemn farce.
"On Thursday, 29th, Captain Rowan was released from confinement, and requested by the governor to go on board and take charge
of his ship again; but this he refused to do till he was indemnified
for the losses he had sustained. He was, consequently, confined
again in the castle, but his officers and men, who had likewise refused, were forced to go by soldiers sent by the governor.
"On Saturday evening, May 1st, this illustrious representative of
the Spanish crown, whose name is Don Antonio Francisco Garcia
Carrasco, was relieved from further performance of duty by the
arrival, from Santiago, of the true proprietary of the government,
with his family, whose return had been hastened by the confusion
and mischief which had been wrought in Valparaiso by the ignorance and stupidity of the governor pro tern.
"On Monday we visited him, and were received with such distinguished marks of good-will as made us regret his previous absence, particularly as he assured us that had he been present we
should have found no difficulty in obtaining permission to go to the
"On Tuesday orders came from the captain-general for the quicksilver to be restored to us, and that we should proceed to sea without
delay; and, as we did not think it prudent to risk further loss by
entering into a process for damages, we wrote to his excellency that
we should apply to our own government for indemnification for the
detention and loss to which we had been subjected. The day following we received an application for the purchase of the quicksilver from the commandant of the custom-house guards, who
proposed to bring the money himself and take it away in a clandestine manner, but as we supposed that the whole scheme was a
snare laid to take us in, wTe would have nothing to do with it.
Thursday morning we unmoored and hauled outside the shipping,
and in the afternoon took on shore five pieces of linen, with the GALLIPAGOS ISLANDS AND SAN BLAS.
produce of which we paid our various additional expenses; and, at
four p.m., having taken leave of our acquaintances, came on board,
and immediately put to sea, happy in being at last clear of a port
where, for two and a half months, we had experienced nothing but
crosses and disappointments."
The notoriety they had attained by these protracted
quarrels with an ignorant, conceited, and pusillanimous
official, rendered it injudicious to attempt to enter any
other port of Chili or Peru, and they accordingly determined to steer for the coast of Mexico, stopping on the
way for recreation, rest, and refreshment at the Galli-
pagos Islands, where they arrived and anchored on the
30th of May, and spent a delightful week in the enjoyment of such freedom of action in the midst of the wild
scenes of natural beauty as they could the better appreciate from the contrast to tlieir recent experiences. Fish
and turtle were so abundant that they not only feasted
upon them during their stay, but laid up good store for
future use. They took long rambles on shore, and saw
immense numbers of guanos of various sizes and colors,
but were not tempted to try them as food, though they
are said to be very delicate. They traversed various
parts of Albemarle Island, and camped out one night
in search of water, but found none. \
On the 8th of June they sailed for San Bias, and in a
few days sighted the coast near Acapulco, and from that
time kept the land in sight every day till they arrived
at San Bias, on the 11th of July.
Here again they were destined to suffer from the
petty jealousy of Spanish officials, of which they had
quite as absurd an exhibition as at Valparaiso, though 88
very different in its character, f They found only two
or three subordinates at San Bias, as all the chief dignitaries were at Tipec, a town some twenty leagues in the
interior, to which thev were accustomed to retreat dur-
ing the summer from the proverbially unhealthy climate
of San Bias. They wrere met with every demonstration
of friendship, and a courier was at once despatched to
Tipec wTith notice of their arrival and a request for a
passport to Tipec for Rouissillon that he might explain
their objects and washes. Immediately on receipt of this
notice the commissary came down to San Bias and confirmed the cordial reception they had met from the subordinates by acceding at once to their requests. He
engaged to supply everything that was wanted; and
learning that they had on board some boxes of tin-plate,
which was very much wanted, agreed to take them at a
very great advance on the cost. W H
Rouissillon accompanied him on his return to Tipec,
and a few days after wrote them from there that the
governor, whom he represented as a vain, passionate
man, had taken offence at the commissary's having presumed to make any arrangement with them before consulting him; had refused to confirm the agreement, and
decided that whatever supplies they purchased must be
paid for by a draft on the American minister at Madrid.
Here, then, were these two great men by the ears at
once, and the community took part in the quarrel, the
native population adhering to the commissary, while the
old Spaniards upheld the governor. The former, whose
appointment emanated from the same source as that of
the latter, and whose line of duty was distinct and inde- SAIL FOR THE THREE MARIAS.
pendent, wTas exceedingly piqued and mortified at the
position in which he wTas placed, and was determined
not to submit to it. The governor, who could not brook
opposition to his will, was incapable of concealing his
wrath. The quarrel becama the absorbing topic of the
village of Tipec, and never before was there such a
tempest in a teapot.
A week passed, however, before the parties wTho had
been the innocent cause of all this disturbance were
subjected to any inconvenience in consequence of it,
and meantime they had profited by the favor with which
their application had first been received to secure such
supplies as they required, and also to procure a new
topmast to replace one they had lost in a squall. But
the governor's rancor was so excited that he sent a peremptory order, without even making any reference to
the manner of payment for the supplies, that they should
immediately leave the port, with a threat of being forced
to do so by the gunboats in case of disobedience.
Rouissillon meantime had been arranging for a jour-
ney to Mexico, which city he was very desirous of visiting, and where he was encouraged to believe he could
get permission from the viceroy to dispose of the whole
or part of the cargo. On receiving orders to depart,
therefore, they sent word to Rouissillon that they would
go to the Three Marias Islands, lying about sixty miles
west of San Bias, and there waitifill they got word from
him relative to the success of his mission, which he was
to send them by boat from San Bias.
They accordingly obeyed the governor's order without waiting for its enforcement, and next morning an- 00
chored in a beautiful sandy bay, where they were sheltered from the southeast winds, which prevail at this
season and are often violent. Here again they enjoyed
the pleasure of uncontrolled action, and improved the
opportunity for overhauling the rigging, repairing and
brushing up the vessel, and laying in good store of fuel.
They also indulged in making excursions on shore for
rest and recreation, and allowed the crew to do the
same, one half at a time. |1
But week after week rolled by till nearly three
months had elapsed without news of Rouissillon, and at
length they determined to take the risk of returning to
San Bias to learn, if possible, what had been his fate.
Approaching the port with caution, on the afternoon of
the 14th of October, they lay by all night in sight of the
town, and next morning saw a canoe approaching, paddled by Indians, who soon delivered to them the long-
expected letter from Rouissillon, the contents of which
were of a surprising and very encouraging nature. It
was dated at Guadalaxara, where he had been treated
with great kindness and hospitality by many of the
most respectable inhabitants, and had received a very
polite letter from the viceroy, with a passport for Mexico, and a permission to sell at San Bias a sufficient portion of the cargo to pay for the supplies they needed.
He also hoped to obtain permission to sell the whole
cargo, and to return t^San Bias in a week or two.
The viceroy, moreover, in consequence of the representations of Rouissillon and of many of the most re-
spectable inhabitants of Tipec, had reprimanded the
governor for his rude and uncivil treatment of them, ROUISSILLON DEPARTS FOR MEXICO.
and the mortification he experienced at being thus out-
generalled by the commissary, acting on a previously
debilitated constitution, had brought on a fever, of
which he died.
They immediately sent a reply to the letter, and although they could now enter the port of San Bias without apprehension, yet, as they would have had to submit
to the encumbrance of a guard stationed on board the
vessel, they preferred returning to the islands. After
passing another week there, they came again to San
Bias, and wrere received with such civility as plainly indicated the change which had taken place at headquarters.
The news from Rouissillon was not as encouraging as
his first letter had led them to expect. A second letter,
however, contained the gratifying intelligence that, by
a judicious application of a small douceur, he had obtained a permit to dispose of goods to the amount of
$10,000. He returned to San Bias on the 10th of December, having spent two weeks, on the way from Mexico, negotiating with purchasers.
The goods were landed and sales began at once, but
the demand was slow, and it was finally arranged that a
portion should be left with Rouissillon to be taken by
him to Mexico, from whence he would make his way to
the United States, and account to them the following
year on meeting them there.
Their departure from San Bias was delayed by the
arrival from California of a quantity of sea-otter skins,
which they succeeded in purchasing, and at length put
to sea, leaving Rouissillon with goods to the amount of 92
about $3000 prime cost, which it Avas supposed would
bring at least three times that amount in Mexico.
The mutual feelings of attachment which had grown
up between them in the course of their varied experiences made the parting a painful one on both sides, and
they looked forward with anticipations of pleasure to
the time of their meeting in the United States, of which
Rouissillon declared his intention of becoming a citizen.
But that anticipation was never realized. On their arrival in the United States the following year they heard
of his death in Mexico, not long after his arrival there,
and the means of communication with that country
were then so uncertain that they never wTere able to ascertain the particulars or to get any account of the property in his charge. ^i^
Having received information of a quantity of sea-
otter skins at San Diego, California, they next steered
for that port, being very desirous to secure an article of
merchandise which is always in demand in China. Their
previous experience of the characteristics of Spanish officials had prepared them to expect a display of fuss
and feathers, with a substratum of avaricious duplicity
and cowardice. But all previous exhibitions of these
traits were surpassed by that of Don Manuel Rodriguez,
the commandant of San Diego.
They arrived at that port and anchored about a mile
inside the battery which guarded the entrance on the
17th of March, 1803. The next morning the commandant made his appearance on the shore with an escort of
twelve dragoons, and, hailing the brig, requested that a
boat might be sent for him.    This being done he crowd- AT SAN DIEGO.
ed his whole retinue into the boat, and on reaching the
brig waited till they had climbed over the side and arranged themselves in two row7s, with swords drawn and
hats in hand, when he followed, and passed between
them to the cabin. After the usual inquiries he desired
the officer in command of the escort to make a memorandum of the articles they required; counted the men,
and, finding only fifteen, expressed astonishment at their
undertaking so long and dangerous a voyage with so
few hands, and gave them permission to go on shore
near where they lay, but forbade their visiting the town,
which was about three miles distant. He then took
leave, with the same ceremony as on arrival, but left
five of his escort on board to see, as he said, that no
contraband trade was carried on.
In the afternoon they made an excursion on shore,
and, having walked down to the battery without meeting any one to oppose their entrance, they availed themselves of the opportunity to make a cursory examination
of its strength, and found it to consist of eight brass
9-pound guns, well-mounted and in good order, with
a plentiful supply of ball.
Returning on board before sunset, they made acquaintance with the sergeant of the guard, who proved
to be an intelligent young fellow, who told them that,
only a few days previous, the ship Alexander, of Boston, had been there; that her captain (Brown) had succeeded in purchasing several hundred sea-otter skins
from different individuals; that the commandant, without making any previous demand for their delivery, had
then boarded the vessel with an armed force, and car- 'fffffffti
ried off all the skins they could find; and these skins
were still in the possession of the commandant. They
made an unsuccessful effort to purchase them, but were
offered quite a number of skins by other parties. %.
The subsequent proceedings are described at length
in the published "Narrative." The following account
of them is from the manuscript journal:
I On the 21st of March the commandant paid us another visit, and
we then paid him for our supplies, and, as we intended going to sea
in the morning, he, on parting, wished us a successful voyage. In
the evening we sent the small boat ashore and purchased twenty-
five skins of the soldiers, which we brought on board between eight
and nine p.m. Having agreed for another lot, which were to be
brought down to the shore abreast the vessel, we sent the long-boat
for them, with the first officer and two men. They did not return;
and next morning, seeing the boat hauled up and our men, apparently guarded by soldiers, I went ashore with four hands, armed
with pistols, and brought them off, together with the long-boat.
They told us they were taken by the commandant in person, who
had, no doubt, sent the man who offered us the skins, and then lay
in wTait to seize the men, who had been bound and lying on the
ground all night. Immediately on coming on board we disarmed
the guard—a sergeant and four men—hoisted in our boats, and got
under way, having a fair wind to go out, though light. Before we
got within gun-shot of the fort they fired a shot ahead of us. We
had previously loaded all our guns, and brought them all on the
starboard side. As the tide was running in strong, we were not
abreast the fort—which we passed within musket-shot—till half an
hour after receiving their first shot, all which time they were playing away upon us; but as soon as we were abreast the fort we
opened upon.them, and in ten minutes silenced their battery and
drove everybody out of it. They fired only two guns after we began, and only six of their shot counted, one of which went through
between wind and water; the others cut the rigging and sails. As
soon as we were clear we landed the guard, who had been in great
tribulation lest we should carry them off." ARRIVAL AT ST. QUINTINS.
I have previously mentioned" that they had inspected
the battery, and found it to contain eight 9-pound guns.
Their own armament was six 3-pounders, one of which
was unserviceable.
Mr. Richard H. Dana, in reviewing my father's book
in the North American, quotes at length his account of
this affair, and adds:
"We take this opportunity to assure the author that, after the
lapse of more than thirty years, the story was yet current in San
Diego and the neighboring ports and missions."
I remember, also, that, not long after the transfer of
California to the United States, my father received a letter from Commodore Biddle, in the course of which he
referred to the "Battle of San Diego" as giving him a
claim to the governorship of the newly acquired territory, since it was won many years in advance of the
achievements of Fremont and other heroes of the Mexican war.
Proceeding southward, they next anchored in the
Bay of St. Quintins, where they found Captain Brown,
of the ship Alexander, who gave them such an account
of the barbarous treatment he had met with at San Bias
as served to confirm their conviction of the wisdom of
their own policy.
A few days after their arrival, and after the departure of Captain Brown for the Northwest Coast, they received a visit from a jolly company of padres of different
missions, accompanied by the commandant of San Vin-
cente, a mission about sixty miles north of St. Quintins.
The news of the affair at San Diego had preceded their 96
arrival, but, far from exciting prejudice, it seemed only
to make them indignant with the commandant, and
their wish to make amends for his treacherous and cowardly behavior, and to express their grateful sense of
the magnanimity of the Americans in their treatment
of the guard was manifested not alone by words, but
by efforts, in which they seemed to vie with each other
in hospitable attentions and attempts to provide for every want.- They encamped upon the shore, and were so
urgent to prolong the enjoyment they seemed to derive
from the companionship of intelligent men that they
persuaded their visitors to remain another week after
they were fully ready for sea.
The next and last place they visited on the California
coast was San Borgia, where they met with Padre Mariano Apolonario, a man whose, purity, excellence, and
benevolence of character were such as to lift him above
all considerations of sect, and entitle him to rank with
such Christians as Fdndlon. My father's account of his
visit here, as given in his journal, is as follows:        ||
"Padre Mariano had been some days expecting us, and, as he
could not live on board ship on account of the motion, w7e pitched
a tent for him on shore opposite the vessel. We had intended remaining only two or three days, on account of being short of water,
but he removed the difficulty by having it brought on mules a distance of six or seven miles; and when, at the end of a week, we
were preparing to put to sea, the good man insisted upon our remaining another week, offering to furnish provisions, water, and
everything that the mission afforded; nor could we resist his solicitations, being convinced by the great pains he took to make our stay
agreeable that he was much pleased with our company. In addition to various little presents of wine, dried fruits, etc., he gave us
a stallion, and mare with foal, which we had previously tried in vain FIRST HORSES IN THE SANDWICH ISLANDS.
to purchase, to take to the Sandwich Islands. These were an acquisition we had almost despaired of obtaining. We took them on
board on the 20th, and, having presented him with various articles
of which he stood in need, we took leave of the good padre, who
promised to say a mass for our preservation and happiness ; and, if
any man's prayers reach Heaven, I doubt not his do, for he was as
devout as he was hospitable and liberal; and, indeed, such disinterested friendship as we experienced from him I have rarely, if ever,
met with."
Touching at Cape St. Lucas, where they purchased
"another pretty mare with foal"—for which they paid
in goods which cost in Europe one and a half dollars—
they took their departure on the 30th May, and arrived
at Karakaroa Bay, Sandwich Islands, on the 21st of June.
They found it was the season of a periodical taboo,
during which no canoes were allowred to stir; but the
next day John Young came on board, and told them
that the king was at Mowee. *
Young was very desirous of having one of the horses,
and, thinking that the probability of their increase would
be better secured by leaving them in different places,
they next day moved to Tooagah Bay, near Young's
residence, and landed the mare, of which he took charge.
This was the first horse ever seen in Owyhee, and naturally excited great astonishment among the natives.
From here they went to Mowee, and were first
boarded by Isaac Davis, who, with John Young, comprised, at that time, the European population of the islands.   .    "    ,   ■ *■ *^
Soon after a large double canoe came off, from which
a powerfully-built, athletic man, nearly naked, came on
board, and was introduced by Davis as Tamaahmaah,
5   . 1 98
the great king. His reception of them was not such as
they had anticipated, nor could they account for his apparent coolness and lack of interest, except on the supposition that it was mere affectation. He took only a
careless look at the horses, and returned to the shore
without expressing any curiosity about them. His subjects, however, were not restrained by any such desire
to appear unconcerned. The news of the arrival of the
wonderful animals spread rapidly, the decks were crowded with visitors, and next day, when they were landed,
a great multitude had assembled, evidently with no definite conception of any use that could be made of them.
As might be expected from people who had never seen
a larger animal than a pig, they wTere at first afraid to
approach them, and their amazement reached its climax
when ene of the sailors mounted the back of one of
them, and galloped up and down upon the beach. They
were greatly alarmed, at first, for the safety of the rider,
but when they saw how completely he controlled the
animal, and how submissively and quietly the latter exerted his powers in obedience to his will, they seemed
to have a dawning conception of the value of such a
possession, and rent the air with shouts of admiration.
The king, however, could not be betrayed into any
expression of wonder or surprise, and, although he expressed his thanks when told they were intended as a
present to himself, he only remarked that he could not
perceive that their ability to carry a man quickly from
one place to another would be a sufficient compensation
for the great amount of food they would necessarily require. RETURN TO BOSTON VIA CANTON.
This want of appreciation of the value of the present,
which they had taken so much pains to procure, was
naturally a disappointment to the donors, who could
only hope that time and experience would serve to convince the stolid chieftain that an important element in
the work of civilization was comprised in their possible
services. .'        <  •; - ■ •  ■.'•■■-
From the Sandwich Islands they took their course for
China, and arrived at Wampoa on the 29th of August,
1803, and on going up to Canton found letters from
home, by which my father received the first intelligence
that his father had died at Salem on the 8th October,
1801—nearly two years previous. %
At Canton, after disposing of the sea-otter skins at a
handsome profit, they decided to separate. Mr. Shaler
took charge of the Lelia Byrd, and returned to the
California coast with a cargo which they had had an opportunity to purchase on very favorable terms, and my
father took passage for Boston on the ship Alert, Captain Ebbets, with a valuable investment of silks as
freight. They left Canton on the 4th of January, 1804,
stopped a few days at the Cape of Good Hope, and on
the 13th of May arrived at Boston, where (in the concluding words of his journal)," for the first time in seven
and a half long years I meet with friends."
During this period he had twice circumnavigated the
globe; had performed three of the most daring and
venturesome voyages on record, and brought them to a
successful issue, not less by his skill and knowledge of
practical navigation than by the sagacity and judicious
management of the property of which he had charge, 100
belonging to himself and others. He had started out
for himself from Havre, at the age of twenty-three, with
a capital of $2000, and now at thirty returned from his
wanderings with a fortune of $70,000, thirty-five times
the original capital in seven years, and all wrought out
in legitimate lines of commercial enterprise by genuine
hard work of both head and hands. H
Let it not be forgotten that within the easy memory
of many yet living the number whose fortunes exceeded
$50,000 was sufficiently rare to entitle them to rank as
men of wealth, and the possessor of $100,000 was regarded as having attained a much higher position on
Fortune's wheel than that wre now give to the owner
of a million. CHAPTER VI.
• 1804--1807.
Marriage and Settlement at Lancaster, Massachusetts.—Forced to
Resume Navigation.—Voyage of the Aspasia, and its Ruinous
Believing himself to be now possessed of ample
means for the support of a family without further necessity of effort to increase his fortune, he was married, on the 12th of October, 1804, to his cousin, Dorcas
Cleveland Hiller, second child of Joseph and Margaret
(Cleveland) Hiller. Her father was a highly respected
citizen of Salem, and was the first collector of the ports
of Salem and Beverly, appointed by President Washington.    Her mother was the sister of my father's father.
In company with his brother William, he soon after
purchased a very pleasant estate in Lancaster, Massachusetts, and devoted himself to the rational enjoyment
of such tastes as he now felt himself at liberty to indulge. These wrere simple and unostentatious. He had
always a great love of reading, and he had, in the course
of his travels, secured such a collection of books as to
constitute a library which, for that day, was no less remarkable for the number of volumes it contained than
for the good taste indicated in their selection.
It would be natural to suppose that one who since
coming upon the stage of active life had been so con- 102
stantly engaged in such exciting scenes of adventure
would soon tire of the monotony and tameness of such
a life as that of a New England country-town at that
The history of his life at Lancaster, however, proved
that his enjoyment of life was in nowise dependent upon
such stimulants, and that the resources afforded by his
own tastes and acquirements, the interests of domestic
and social life, and the opportunities for usefulness in
the promotion of objects of benevolence and improvement which constantly presented themselves, and in
which he had the full syinpathy and aid of my mother,
were all-sufficient for his happiness, and he regarded it
as the greatest misfortune when he was compelled again
to go to sea.
Had Mr. Shaler been as fortunate in the management
of the joint property of which he had taken charge as
he and my father had been while acting together, the
necessity might not have arisen for attempting a restoration of their fortunes. But not only was his second
voyage in the Lelia Byrd a very unfortunate one in itself, but was almost entirely unsuccessful in one of its
important objects; the collection of debts due from various missions who had bought goods of them on credit.
Out of twenty priests who had been thus accommodated,
only four proved by their actions that honesty was any
part of their religion.
The death of Rouissillon, in Mexico, extinguished all
hope of returns from the property in his care, and these
combined with other losses so reduced the amount of
their possessions as to incite them to new efforts for
their retrieval. Fortunately there was no losis whatever
of the confidence they felt in each other, and no hesitation in again uniting in the accomplishment of new enterprises.
The war succeeding the short peace of Amiens had
again closed the ports of the Spanish colonies to their
own ships, and they could only receive their supplies of
European manufactures under cover of a foreign flag.
Another voyage to Chili and Peru, therefore, seemed
to offer a prospect of profit proportional to the risk, and
by combining their resources they fitted out an expedition for those countries, of which my father was to take
In June, 1806, they bought in New York a Baltimore
clipper schooner called the Aspasia, of one hundred and
seventy tons, and loaded her with such a cargo as experience had taught them was suited to the wrants of t^e
people to whom it was to be offered. Vessel and cargo
were owned equally by Mr. Shaler and my father, and
absorbed nearly the whole fortune of each, only a portion of which wras covered by insurance at a high premium.
I have no journal of this voyage, and rely for ray account of it on his published narrative, and still more on
his letters to my mother, from which I shall make liberal
The earliest allusion to the subject which I find under his own hand is in a letter to my mother at Lancaster, dated Boston, 17th of June, 1806, in which he says:
"I found letters here from Shaler announcing the purchase of a
vessel, and urging me to come on to New York as speedily as possi- 104
ble. I have, therefore, finished all my arrangements here, embarked
my baggage on a vessel for New York which sails to-day, and intend
setting off myself on Thursday morning."
The experiences of his journey to New York, as incidentally mentioned in one or two subsequent letters,
will serve to give to modern readers a realizing sense
of what they have gained (and, possibly, a conception of
some things they have lost) by the introduction of steamboats and railroads. He writes from Providence on the
20th of June:
"While waiting for the packet for New York I am tempted to
scribble a line to you. We shall leave here in about two hours, and
I hope to be in New York by Monday or Tuesday. I fell in here
with James and T. H. Perkins, the former of whom I had never met
before. He inquired particularly for you, expressed much regret
at not having seen you in Boston, and they both promised to visit
you at Lancaster."
Next day he writes from New Haven : w_
1 \ You will wonder how I came to be here, as I yesterday informed
you I was waiting for the packet in Providence. At that time my
passage was engaged in the packet; but while I was waiting for the
porter to take my trunk on board, ^the mail stage called to know if
there were any passengers, and I could not resist the impulse of taking the first opportunity that offered, so stepped in, and here I am.
This is fortunate, for the wind is blowing strong from the west, and
the packet, therefore, must remain at Newport till it shifts. By riding another night I could have reached New York to-morrow morning, but I was fatigued and preferred spending a day or two here.
On Monday I shall take the stage again, and be in New York the
next morning.
"... While writing I learn that the wind has changed, and that
an excellent packet sails this evening for New York, so farewell
stage.   I have little doubt of arriving there to-morrow.
" Would to Heaven that something might occur that should make PREPARATIONS FOR THE VOYAGE.
it proper and prudent to give up the voyage; but it would be as wise
to wish for fortune at once."
From New York he writes on the 25th of June:
"I found Mr. Shaler had purchased an excellent vessel for our
business, the schooner Aspasia, of one hundred and seventy tons'
burden. From her size and construction she will be a very uncomfortable and swift-sailing vessel; but, provided the voyage turns out
as well as we have reason to expect, and enables me thenceforth to
remain with you, no inconvenience or fatigue will be regarded. I
think I shall be ready for sea in about three weeks."
In a later letter, on the 8th of July, he says, in reply
to her expressed apprehensions that his vessel was an unsafe one: '4
"Though not comfortable, I consider her as safe a vessel as any
whatever. She has the reputation of being an excellent sea-boat,
and as we shall only be in ballast trim, she cannot be very uncomfortable.
"I am apprehensive of no rivals except from Boston; and if there
are none fitted out this autumn I feel confident of being able to
complete my voyage satisfactorily, so as to be with you again by
August or September, 1807; and I assure you that so far from
extending it, in order to make it better, I shall be ready to make
any reasonable sacrifice in order to return within that period. As,
however, it is a speculative kind of voyage, and one where you
cannot expect to hear from me, let me beg you to indulge no unnecessary anxiety, as a thousand unforeseen events may occur to
thwart my plans and keep me absent from all I hold most dear.
\' I intend writing to Prince to make insurance on the full amount
I shall have in this voyage, if it can be done at twenty-five per cent,
against all risks, as I feel that, in case of its failure, it wiU be difficult to bring my mind to undertake another; and am more convinced than ever that it is acting more the part of wisdom to retire
with means for a moderate and decent support with those without
whom life is not worth having, rather than be absent drudging after
affluence and luxury, even if that absence should secure it, of which
there are always doubts. 106
"With even a very limited share of fortune, therefore, you may
safely calculate on this being our last separation."
In a subsequent letter he gives her the following
sketch of his proposed voyage:     jL
"The Aspasia and cargo wili cost $40,000, of which I hold an
interest of $17,500, Mr. Shaler an equal amount, and a friend of
ours in Philadelphia the remaining $5000. My intention now is to
proceed directly to the Falkland Islands, unless I should find myself
short of fruit and vegetables, in which case I shall stop at the Cape
de Verde Islands.
"At the Falkland Islands we shall probably spend a week in
filling up our water, getting a supply of live-stock, and putting our
vessel in a fit state to encounter the rough weather that must always
be expected in doubling Cape Horn. The first place I shaU stop at
after doubling the cape will be the Island of Chiloe, where it is
probable I may dispose of part of my cargo; and from thence proceed northerly along the coast, touching at Aranco, Coquimbo,
Pisco, Payta, and a hundred other little ports, till I have completed
the sale of my cargo; and with only a tolerable share of success I
can hardly fail of doing it, and, consequently, of being with you
again in twelve months. Another object I have in view, which
may lengthen the voyage, is the purchase of copper.
" This article has been very abundant and cheap on the coast, and
if it continues to be so, I shall probably secure a large quantity of
it; and as my vessel will not carry above one hundred tons of such
an article, it is not unlikely I may take several loads and deposit
them on some desert island in the neighborhood, and then proceed to
China and charter a ship to send after it. This would lengthen the
voyage to eighteen months, but the advantage derived from it will
be such that I am sure you wiU approve of it. Such are the outlines of my plans, which must be varied according to circumstances
arid the information I receive. I trust I need not assure you that
my voyage will not be extended unless something so brilliant should
present itself that it would be weakness to let it pass. Mr. Prince
informs me that he can make insurance against all risks for twenty-
five per cent., and I have desired him to do it on my account for DISASTER AT SEA.
$15,000, provided it extends to every risk that can be thought of.
Shaler makes no insurance, as he thinks it worth as much to insure
getting it in case of loss as to make the first insurance; but I feel
that, on your account, it would be wrong in me to omit this precaution."
"Rio Janeiro, November 10, 1806.
"When I wrote you last, as the pilot was leaving me in New
York, I little expected my next would be from this place, and still
less that dire necessity would be the cause; but so it is. Be not
alarmed, however; our misfortunes are indeed trifling to what they
might have been, and I consider the greatest to be that it will add
to the contemplated time of our separation.
"Nothing of consequence occurred during the first month of our
voyage. We had an uncommonly calm time, and, therefore, made
but indifferent progress till the 10th September, when we took the
trade wTind, and from its violence next day almost wished for the
calms we had previously been lamenting as a calamity.
"We were at this time in latitude 20° north, longitude $7° west,
and wTere under double-reefed sails, with a considerable sea running,
when, at two a.m., I was roused by the dismal cry of 'All hands,
clear the wreck.' This was discordant music to me, who had all at
risk, and, in case of its loss, should be doomed to almost perpetual
banishment from those he holds most dear. On going on deck I
found the foremast gone by the board, and hanging by the stay,
which was fast at the mainmast head; the mainmast, tottering with
this additional weight, at each roll appeared as if it must go also.
But one sailor, more active than the others, went up, at the risk of
his life, and cut away this stay, when the mast immediately fell
alongside, taking with it the bowsprit, which broke just without the
stem. At this time the main boom got loose, and in the endeavor
to secure it one man was dangerously wounded.
"As it was dangerous having the spars alongside, the vessel while
we had so much sea, we got them to windward of her as soon as
possible, but kept fast to them, in order to get them on board the
following day. This we effected, notwithstanding a very high sea,
and the consequent laboring of the vessel, which was increased prodigiously from the weight being so much lessened above the centre
of gravity.   The rolling was such that for some time we were in 108
expectation of seeing our mainmast go also. In the frequent necessity this disaster made for sending men to the masthead, one of
them, when nearly up to the crosstrees, lost his hold and fell; but,
the mainsail being only partly hoisted, made a bag, and he fell directly into it, otherwise he would have been dashed to pieces.
"After clearing the wreck we rigged a jury-mast, and began to
make considerable way. Being again under sail, the next thing to
be considered was the best plan to pursue; and after weighing the
advantages and disadvantages, the prospects of success, and the
probable expense of repairing, of each one that presented itself to
my mind, I came to the determination to endeavor to get to Rio
Janeiro, where, if we were not permitted to sell our cargo, we could
easily repair our damages and proceed on the original plan. But it
was by no means a trifling undertaking to attempt to get here in our
crippled condition, and its success was very doubtful, since (presuming upon our good sailing) I had not gone nearly so far to the
eastward as vessels are accustomed to do that cross the equator, and
feared, therefore, that it would be impossible for us to double Cape
St. Roque. Failing in this, 1 intended to go to Para (a Portuguese
settlement nearly on the equator), and there endeavor to sell our
cargo; and, if not permitted, to proceed to Trinidad, and there get
information of the part of the Spanish coast where we should be
most likely to succeed in not making a losing voyage (for this is the
object we now had in view), and complete the unfortunate business
by returning to America as expeditiously as possible.
"My mind being made up on this business, and having given directions in accordance with my decision, I had now leisure to reflect
upon my situation, and, contrasting it with what it was but twenty-
four hours before, I was more forcibly impressed than I have ever
been with the uncertainty of everything connected with navigation.
"Could I now have transported myself to our home, even with
the humiliating condition of living on a miserable $500 a year, most
readily would I—   But, stop a little, Mr. C.
"To five on such an annuity is entirely out of the question, and I
still hold that it is better to perish in the honest endeavor to secure a
decent independence, and be enabled to help one's friends, than to vegetate on such a pittance, and wear away life in discontented idleness.
"Without meeting with any other serious calamity we crossed LETTERS FROM RIO JANEIRO.
the equator on the 6th of October, and arrived here on the 24th of
the same month. Here I found, as I expected, a very cordial welcome from all those who expected to be benefited by my misfortunes.
"This was evident, even on the part of the government linguist,
who tried to make me believe I could only employ such mechanics as
he named—with a view, no doubt, to charging double and dividing
the plunder—whereat, my wrath being kindled, I made application
to higher authority, and found I might employ whom I pleased.
' 11 then found I could have my work done for less than half what
I was first told it would cost, yet it will require nearly or quite $2000
to pay for repairs.
"Both necessity and choice compel me to rig the Aspasia as a brig,
as masts are not to be procured here for a schooner; and, if they
were, I would not take them, as nothing can be so unwieldy, unsafe,
and uncomfortable as so large a vessel rigged as a schooner.
" The officers who examined my vessel have allowed me forty-five
days for repairs, which will doubtless be more than is necessary.
"I wish my adventures had been of a more pleasing nature, but
they might have been much more serious ; and to have crossed such
an immense space of ocean in safety, in the wretched predicament
we were in, is sufficient cause for grateful emotion."
"Rio Janeiro, November 15, 1806.
"Do not be apprehensive that I allow the accident I have met
with to weigh upon my mind. It will probably lead to my making
an arrangement here which will prolong my absence, and this I consider the greatest misfortune, for I find more and more that this separation is a kind of suspension of existence, and, so far from acting
on my old principle of succeed or perish, I feel that to return to
you, even with a total loss of property, is very desirable, and will
afford great room for rejoicing; how much more, then, with sufficient to enable me to say 'We meet to part no more.' It is this
hope which gives me courage to prosecute my plans, and while enlivened by it and in possession of such health as I constantly enjoy,
I assure you I feel as much like subverting a government or throwing the Andes into the sea as ever I did in my life. I had been flattering myself on the passage here that I might possibly manage to
finish the voyage here, and return immediately to America; and this, 110
probably, I should have been able to do, were not ail commerce suspended between this and the River Plate in consequence of the English being there; and this has caused such a stagnation here as has
not been known during the war. The English took Buenos Ayres,
a city of twenty-five or thirty thousand inhabitants, with a force of
only fifteen hundred men. The English general (Beresford) suffered
himself to be lulled into the belief of security by the assurances of
the bishop that the Spaniards were friendly to them, while, with the
treachery of a Spaniard and the cunning of a priest, he w7as secretly
plotting their destruction. When all was ready the English were
suddenly attacked by an immense rabble, and were forced to capitulate. It is reported, however, that the Spaniards broke the capitulation, and were guilty of cruelties that would disgrace the savages
of North America.
"I expect to be ready to leave in about three weeks, but whether
in the Aspasia, on the original plan, is very doubtful, as I contemplate making an arrangement for a Portuguese ship, which has a
royal license for Lima. If I succeed I shall either dispose of the
Aspasia or send her to Havre with a load of jerked beef. Such a
plan must necessarily lengthen my absence, as to load a ship of
three hundred and sixty tons at Lima, and return here, will take till
next June or July, so that it will be late in the autumn before I shall
be in Lisbon. While affairs in Europe are so uncertain it wijl be
only consistent with common prudence to touch here on my way
back, otherwise I should proceed directly from Lima to Lisbon,
which would save much time and expense. Could I be certain of
adopting this plan, and as certain of arriving safely in Lisbon, I
should certainly propose your meeting me there, and spending the
following winter with me in Italy, but it is too uncertain for you to
run the risk and bear the fatigue of such a voyage with a possibility
of disappointment. If I conclude this arrangement I shall go much
more at my ease than in the Aspasia, besides running less risk of
seizure; but what most influences me is the greater chance of profit;
for, having a large ship, I expect to make more on the return than
on the outward cargo.
"22d.—Had the bearer of this sailed a week ago, as he expected,
you would doubtless, on reception of my letter, have made up your
mind to an additional year's separation, as I had then serious thoughts LETTERS FROM RIO JANEIRO.
of going to Lima and Lisbon; but I have now the pleasure of informing you that I yesterday made an arrangement which, barring accidents, will enable me to be with you in May or June next. I need
not assure you how extremely pleasing this is to me, especially as the
prospect is as good as anything I could calculate on in my original
I' I have sold the cargo of the Aspasia at its cost, and am to receive
the amount of it in jerked beef at about $3 per cwt., to be delivered
at the Island of St. Catherine's. It will amount to nine or ten thousand quintals; and, as the Aspasia will hardly carry two thousand,
I have contracted for the Portuguese ship before mentioned, and we
shall be ready to leave for St. Catherine's in fifteen or twenty days.
1 think we shall not be detained more than a month in loading, so
that we may expect to sail for Havana by the 20th of January, 1807.
*| My first mate, Mr. Rodgers, will take charge of the Aspasia, and
I will go in the ship, the captain and officers of which are to be under my orders.
"To proceed directly to Havana from a Spanish port would,
doubtless, be the height of imprudence, but from a port of a nation
at peace with Great Britain I conceive to be as safe as from the
United States, especially at this time, when there can be no suspicion of my being from the River Plate.
"If the suspension of all commerce with that river operates
against me in the sale of my outward cargo, it must act correspondingly in my favor in the sale of the beef at Havana, as the supply which they have been in the habit of receiving is now entirely
cut off.
"My fortune once hung entirely on coffee, and it turned out a
ragged one. It now hangs entirely on beef, and we shall soon know
its fate. In any event, I shall have the satisfaction of knowing that
each day brings me nearer to you, at the same time that I am pursuing a plan that promises more profit, with less risk, than cruising
on the coasts of Chili and Peru."
"Rio Janeiro, December 4, 1806.
"It is but few days since I sent you, by the Criterion, Captain
Chase, a long detail of our adventures, and of my future intentions.
I still consider my plan far more eligible than the original one.   I 112
have been enabled to despatch the Aspasia much sooner than I expected, by giving something more for the beef, which I considered
more advantageous than keeping her here two months. I wish it
were in my power to get away as soon, for I consider every day's absence from home as so much time completely lost; but two months
will soon be gone, and then each day I shall be making advances
towards that delightful retreat from whence nothing but cold poverty or the prospect of it shall again separate me. But who, alas!
has more reason to dread this? With what a series of misfortunes
have I not been assailed for the past three years, and with what confidence can I now expect to escape the pirates in the West Indies?
I expect to meet with British ships of war, but do not fear them,
as my business is regular, and such as will bear the nicest scrutiny
by those who act uprightly; but should I meet with any of those
privateers the consequences may be serious, as they respect the
property of no one. I will not, however, dwell on the dark side of
the picture, and the pleasing thought of meeting you in June will
enable me to bear even a greater misfortune, though this would be
complete ruin, and make it necessary for me to plough the ocean yet
for many years.
"I fear you may find the winter dull in the country, though the
resources you have in your piano, books, etc., are so much greater
than are usual, yet a little of the noise of the town at this dreary
season is by no means unpleasant."
A short letter from Rio Janeiro, written three weeks
later, contains the following:     f
"I shall leave here to-morrow for St. Catherine's, and with prospects extremely flattering, as we know that no beef has been shipped
from the River Plate these four months past, and, except what is
now laden on board American ships, there will probably be no more
at all, as the English are going with sufficient force to take it, and
it is not likely they will permit Americans to have any share in the
commerce. Notwithstanding everything concurs to lead me to suppose that I shall terminate my voyage advantageously, yet so perverse is my fortune of late that I count on nothing with confidence.
A few months, however, will determine whether I am to enjoy the
happiness of a home with you or continue to be an exile for
It may be mentioned here, for the benefit of those
readers who are not familiar with the Havana trade,
that jerked beef from South America constituted one
of the chief articles of import for the consumption,
mostly, of the slave population.
Owing to its perishable nature, it was never allowed
to be landed in bulk, but was sold by the quintal from
the ship in which it arrived. This method, of course,
involved I long detention of the vessel in Havana.
"St. Catherine's, February 6,1807.
"I expected before this to have been on my way to Havana, but
have been disappointed in the reception of our cargo. One half of
it, however, is now here, and the remainder will be very soon, so
that, making every allowance, I do not think we shall be detained
later than the 1st of March, and I may yet be with you before the
end of June.
"This town contains about four thousand inhabitants, mostly
Creoles, and there are about one thousand regular troops here. The
government is military and perfectly despotic but only think of
investing an illiterate man, who has risen from the ranks, with such
power! Such is the present governor. He, however, keeps most
excellent order. One of our sailors happened to meet him in the
street, and, not knowing him, neglected to take off his hat, for which
offence he was immediately arrested and put in the stocks for an
hour. . . .
"There are some beautiful walks in the environs of the town,
where I sometimes ramble alone for hours, thinking of home and of
those who are dear to me, till I become so impatient that I could almost sacrifice everything if I could be there by so doing. I often
wish you could partake of the fine melons, peaches, pineapples, etc.,
which we are daily consuming.
11 But four or five months will soon wear off, and then—I was going to say—I shall be at home; but I foresee difficulties and dangers 114
now to which I have hitherto been unaccustomed. A privateer may
take me, or I may be shipwrecked, and then ' farewell to all my
greatness.' Yet I cannot help thinking that all will turn out right,
especially when I reflect how often I have been conducted right
even in spite of myself. You know how, much my heart was set
upon a voyage to the River Plate with you for my companion, and
how reluctant I was to abandon it; yet, had I undertaken that voyage in the large ship, as I contemplated, ruin would have been the
inevitable consequence, as all the ships that sailed about that time
from America.have been so long embargoed by the English being
there that those which had received their cargoes of beef have had
it all spoiled; and those which had not sold their outward cargo
have been lying there at great expense, and will finally be obliged
to carry them away again."
Of his experiences subsequent to this letter I quote
the account from his published "Narrative," with the
addition of an occasional introduction of a letter written
at the time.
"Having decided on the plan I was now prosecuting, I had written by two opportunities from Rio Janeiro to my friends in Boston,
requesting to have insurance effected if possible. But these were
precarious times for neutrals, when the two great belligerents agreed
in nothing else than plundering them, and I was aware of the uncertainty whether insurance could be effected at any rate.
"On the presumption, however, that such neutral commerce as
did not, even in a remote degree, prejudice the interests of the belligerents would be unmolested, I felt that I had little else than the
sea-risk to guard against, and was therefore free from anxiety on the
subject of insurance. 8|
" Having accomplished our lading, after waiting for the last part
of our cargo till my patience was nearly exhausted, we finally
weighed anchor and sailed for Havana in the Telemaco on the 15th
of February, 1807. #    f
"A few degrees south of the equator we fell in with a British
frigate, by which we were subjected to a rigid scrutiny, the result of
which was a conviction of the neutrality of the property, the legal- MEETS WITH LORD COCHRANE'S FLEET.
ity of the voyage, and, consequently, that no motive existed for detention. By the captain and officers of this ship I was treated with
great civility, and on parting they wished me a pleasant voyage to
Havana. A similar investigation, with a like result, by a British
sloop-of-war, from which we were boarded a few days afterwards,
encouraged the belief that I had nothing to apprehend from British
vessels of war.
"With these impressions I perceived no other obstacle to my
reaching Havana than the sea-risk, and, with the certainty of reaping an immense profit on my adventure, my imagination often dwelt
on the joy of a happy return to my family with a fortune wThich
would supersede the necessity of leaving it again. But these pleasing anticipations were soon destined to pass int) the regions of airy
"Early on a fine morning, when about a hundred and fifty miles
to windward of the island of Martinique, we descried a number of
vessels to westward, which proved to be a fleet of English vessels of
war. Being nearest the Bamillies, of seventy-four guns, we were
boarded from that ship, and on learning that the fleet was commanded by Admiral Cochrane my heart sank within me.
"All my confidence resulting from the ordeal to which we had
recently been subjected, combined with my entire conviction of the
innocence and legality of the voyage, were insufficient to banish the
apprehension that we should be sent in for adjudication.
"The boarding-officer from the Bamillies was a young man of
good appearance, but totally deficient in every attribute of the gentleman except the garb. His behavior to the captain of the Telemaco
and to myself while on board our own ship was marked by all that
insolence, arrogance, and impudence which are the acknowledged
peculiarities of a coward when conscious of being free from danger. As the captain of the Telemaco did not speak English, I accompanied this brutal officer on board the Bamillies with the ship's
papers. My reception by the venerable and respectable commander
of the ship formed a perfect contrast with that of the boarding-officer. He was evidently one of the old school, urbane and gentlemanly, with manners and deportment as much at variance with those
of his subalterns as were the courtiers of the time of the Louis's
with the sans culottes of our day.   After a thorough examination 116
of our papers, in which he was assisted by two of his officers, no
cause was found for our detention, and the papers were consequently
returned to me by the commander, who wished me a good voyage
and sent me again on board my vessel. . . . We had scarcely filled
away our sails, however, when the admiral having approached us,
and the information having been conveyed to him by signal whence
we came and whither bound, without deigning to see us or our papers, he ordered our ship to be taken possession of and conducted to
Tortola. Accordingly a boat from the Cerberus brought the requisite number of men to take possession, and took our ship's company,
including myself, on board that frigate."
This information he conveys to my mother in the
following letter: 1
" Tortola, April 24,1807.
"It is with grief, my dear wife, that I am under the necessity of
informing you of my having been sent into this place for adjudication. I emphasize on \ this place' because I believe, of all the detestable nests of pirates that ever the world was cursed with, this is
the worst.
"We arrived yesterday, and I shall know in a day or two whether
we shall be dismissed, or whether the affair is to be decided by a
court of vice-admiralty. In the former case I shall be off immediately ; in the latter, 1 am told, it will take twenty or twenty - Hive
days to determine, at which period, from the perishable nature of
the cargo, I have my doubts whether, in case it is cleared, I had
better receive or abandon it. In case of condemnation I shall appeal, and have no doubt of the decree being reversed. I know not
whether any insurance has been effected for me; but, admitting it
has been, I know the difficulty of recovering from those gentlemen.
"At any rate, I foresee many years of toil and trouble, and, what
is infinitely worse, separation from you and all I hold dear in life,
compared with which any other misfortune is light.
125th.—I find the rascals intend to proceed against me. I shall endeavor to compromise if possible; if not, as my cargo is composed
of a perishable article, they will proceed to business immediately,
and the affair will soon be determined." LETTERS FROM TORTOLA.
I Tortola, May 1,1807.
"While waiting the motions of the indolent and unfeeling lawyers and agents, who, from being inured to scenes of distress, and
not unfrequently seeing our unfortunate countrymen dying in despair, are perfectly callous to every feeling of humanity, and consequently deaf to my entreaties for completing the business and shortening my period of torture as much as possible, I sit down to beguile
a moment and suspend unpleasant reflection by writing to you. . . .
Though I may be condemned in this detestable sink of iniquity, the
decree will certainly be reversed in England, where, for the honor
of the nation, they must discountenance such wicked and unparalleled decisions as are frequently made here. Indeed, Tortola is so
notorious that, although, in coming here after being taken, we passed
by Antigua, where there is a superior court and a judge of respectability, Admiral Cochrane chose to send us here, well knowing that
he could rely upon the decision being in his favor.
" But while I reflect upon all the suffering which may ensue from
this misfortune; that it must involve a protracted and uncertain separation from you; that, if no insurance has been effected, I am utterly ruined; that, having undertaken this part of the voyage without
the concurrence of Shaler he will be an innocent sufferer from my
misfortune, and that my drafts from Rio Janeiro will be falling due
in America just when the news of this seizure reaches there, my
sympathies for an unfortunate English captain who lately left here
exceed even the anguish caused by my own experience, and I am
tempted to tell you the story that you may see to what lengths Admiral Cochrane will go to acquire only a paltry sum, and may judge
by this what enormities such a monster wrould be guilty of were a
greater temptation offered.
"When Jerome Bonaparte made a sweep in the West Indies last
summer he took a ship at Montserrat which belonged to this captain, and which was his all. The ship was taken to St. Martin's,
where the captain, expecting to get her very cheap, went and bought
her, and, to raise funds for payment, drew bills on Tortola, where
he expected to have a freight for his ship to Europe and to pay his
drafts by his freight-money; but the poor fellow, on his way from
St. Martin's to Tortola, fell in with the brave Cochrane, who seized
his ship and sent her in here, where, to the astonishment even of the 118
rogues of this island, she was condemned. The poor, unfortunate
captain, who has a family in England, not being able to pay his
debts, was thrown into prison, where he lay for several months, and
the ship, with another owner, sailed a few days since for Europe.
Could any misfortune be more aggravating and distressing than this,
to be distressed and driven to despair by a servant of the government he contributed to support, and from whom he ought to have
had protection. I think I never heard of any injustice to be compared with it; but, indeed, the character of the British naval officer
is astonishingly degenerated. In any former war they would have
despised the system of plunder and piracy they are now pursuing.
For the several days I had the misfortune to be on board their ships
the conversation of the officers consisted entirely of what they hoped
to share from different prizes, so that I felt more as if I were with a
band of robbers than with the officers of a great government, bent
upon maintaining its dignity."
H "St. Thomas, May 3,1807.
\' It seems as if all of those with whom I am under the necessity
of having anything to do were doomed to partake of my misfortunes. In order to vary the scene, and hoping to gather some intelligence of the Aspasia, I left Tortola the day before yesterday for
this place. The distance is only about four hours' sail, but, as we
left Tortola late in the afternoon, and had only a light breeze, wc
were under the necessity of being out in the night. About one
o'clock I was awakened by a jar of the vessel, and at first presumed
we were alongside some vessel in port, but a second shock, attended
with a roar of the sea, undeceived me, and, on going on deck, I
found we were on a dangerous reef of rocks. The vessel immediately bilged, and the cabin filled with water. I had not time to get
my little trunk up before everything in it was completely wet; and,
while going ashore in the boat, we had a heavy rain, which wet me
through, and in this situation had to remain on the shore till daylight ; yet I thought not of my own situation. To see the distress of
the captain, who owned the vessel, which was the fruits of many
years' hard labor, and that of the owner of the cargo and his family,
who assembled shortly after our landing, and who had now lost
their little all, and were reduced to beggary, was distressing in the
extreme.   They groaned, wTrung their hands, tore their hair, stamped EFFORTS TO RECOVER HIS SHIP.
on the ground, and, indeed, seemed distracted. But, enough; shall
I never have anything but scenes of distress to relate to you? I fear
not, and wonder for what I am yet reserved.
" I can learn nothing of the Aspasia. If she has not arrived safe
it may be best that I do not know it, for I have enough to bear already."
" Tortola, May 22, 1807.
"I have not been disappointed in my expectations. My vessel
and cargo are condemned, and for reasons the most frivolous, which
I have not now time to give you, for, after having engaged my passage in a fast-sailing vessel for New York, and while comforting
myself with the prospect of being soon by your side, the agent of
the captors came forward, and offered me my ship and cargo for
less than a third the original cost, and, as an additional inducement,
was ready to engage that I should not again be molested by British
cruisers. Can you conceive of more barefaced villainy? Yet, in
order that I may leave nothing undone to save any portion of the
unfortunate concern, I am going again to St. Thomas, to endeavor
to raise the money by selling a part of the cargo, deliverable in Havana, or by other means, so that I can realize thirty-five or forty
thousand dollars, which will be better than having recourse to the
Lords of Appeal in London and waiting one or two years for their
"Nothingbut a sense of duty should add a single day to the absence which has already been so tedious."
1       "St. Thomas, May 24, 1809.
"The enlivening idea of shortly meeting you dissipates the gloom
that would otherwise take possession of me, and is a consolation in
my disappointment here in procuring funds for the ransom of my
ship and cargo. I cannot raise the sum on any terms that will answer, and think now only of settling my affairs and returning to you
as soon as possible.
"I do not know that it is not for the best that I cannot compass
my object; because, if I did, I must necessarily give up the appeal,
and lose the insurance, which, I think, must have been made; but
it was proper I should leave nothing undone that was in my power
to save the property.   To-morrow I shall go again to Tortola.   I 120
hope and trust for the last time, as every object that meets my view
there is disgusting in the extreme. If I had time I would give you
a sketch of it, but I must leave it till we meet. Would that I could
sleep or remain insensible till that time.
"June 6.—I am now on the point of embarking for home, after
being completely stripped of the fruits of many years' hard toil. I
say completely, though it may not be literally so, because there is
hardly a doubt but some insurance is made for me; and, if so, I do
not see any way the underwriters can escape paying, though I doubt
not they will try hard for it. But whatever subterfuges or cunning
they may make use of for this purpose will have no tendency to
lower my opinion of my fellow-mortals. After the villainy I have
seen practised at Tortola, by men whose power and riches not only
give them a currency among the most respectable, but make their
society even courted, I blush for the baseness of mankind, and almost lament that I am one of the same species.
11 see by the papers that William has returned, and, while I rejoice that he is safe and well, I cannot help fearing he has not succeeded according to his expectations, or he would not have returned
so soon, as his ship was well fitted for a much longer absence; but
it is, doubtless, all for the best. You will, perhaps, wonder at this
observation from me at the moment when I am suffering such accumulated misfortunes; but continued resources present themselves,
and, if I am not under the necessity of hanging on my friends, all
will soon be right again. If I have the delight of finding you and
the boy well I shall soon forget my sorrows, and two or three months
at home will repay an age of care."
|| His summing-up of the events of this outrage, as
given in his published "Narrative," is so graphic and
pathetic that I give it in full:
"Having settled my accounts and secured my appeal papers, I
left Tortola on the 25th of May, more than a month from the date
of my arrival. During that month scarce a day had passed in which
I was not subjected to some angry altercation, some unnecessary
provocation, some feverish excitement from my opponents, or some
trouble and anxiety from complaints and uneasiness of the officers A SUMMARY OF TRIALS.
and crew of our ship; and this under the scorching influence of a
vertical sun. But I had the happiness to escape the fever, which
this combination of causes was calculated to produce, and to retain
my health. As I left the harbor, on my way to St. Thomas, I passed
near the Telemaco, which lay there by virtue of the right of the strong
over the weak. The distinction between this act of piracy and those
of a like character by the ancient buccaneers must be perceived to
consist alone in the circumstance that the former is sanctioned by
kindred banditti, termed a vice - admiralty court, and the latter
were too magnanimous to practise such hypocrisy. The annals of
the times, however, were fertile in the details of such atrocious invasions of the rights of neutrals, the one party justifying its thefts by
those of the other.
"To have practised the self-denial incident to leaving my family
for so long a time; to have succeeded in reaching Rio Janeiro after
being dismasted and suffering all the toils and anxieties of a voyage
of forty-three days in that crippled condition; to have surmounted
the numerous obstacles and risks attendant on the peculiarity of the
transactions in port; to have accomplished the business of lading
and despatching the vessels, in defiance of great obstacles, and to
perceive the fortune almost within my grasp which would secure
me ease and independence for the remainder of my life—and then,
by the irresistible means of brute force, to see the whole swTept off,
and myself and family thereby reduced in a moment from affluence
to poverty, must be admitted to be a calamity of no ordinary magnitude. It required, indeed, the exercise of great fortitude and patience, and naturally led to the perception of the truth that we experience a greater amount of misery from the evil passions of our
fellow-men than from hurricanes, lightning, earthquakes, and the
warring elements combined. Fortunately I possessed an elasticity
of mind which adapted itself to circumstances. I was accustomed
to contend with difficulties, and disciplined by a long course of losses and disappointments, and, when suffering under them, I habitually looked round for the means to remedy them. I was soon enabled, therefore, to throw off much of the weight of this misfortune.
Some mitigation of its effect was produced by the hope that insurance on the property might have been effected, and that the Aspasia
might have accomplished her voyage successfully."
i- i 122
Just before arriving in New York he begins a letter,
on the 29th of June, 1807, in which occurs the following passage:
"Although my misfortunes are of a very serious nature, yet you
need not fear you will see me with a long face and a clouded brow;
for, whether ruined or not, the prospect of meeting you and the dear
boy is enough to dissipate every gloomy idea; and if I find you both
well, and can possibly stem the torrent without hanging on my
friends, I will bid defiance to adversity. Indeed, I am astonished
at the facility with which the mind can adapt itself to circumstances;
and although, before experiencing them, I was doubtful whether
such accumulated misfortune would not be sufficient to drive reason
from her throne, I now find that, so far from it, I eat as well, sleep
as well, feel as well, and can set about remedying the evil with as
much spirit as I ever could in my life. I am a little apprehensive,
however, that those who become acquainted with the extent of my
misfortunes will say—if not openly, at least secretly—* That man
must be guilty of murder or some dreadful crime to be so particularly marked for chastisement.' But these will be only the superstitious, and we will convince them that perseverance and enterprise
will overcome the greatest obstacles."
The news which met him on arrival was enough to
test severely his determination not to be cast down by
adversity, and his first letter after landing, on the 4th of
July, shows plainly how heavily it weighed upon his
spirits. The account he gives of it in his "Narrative,"
however, cannot be condensed or improved.
Learning that his cousin, Stephen Higginson, was in
town, he lost no time in seeking him.
"But it was hastening only to be the earlier acquainted with dis*-
asters even greater than I had imagined. On meeting him, I perceived a shadow cast over that benevolent countenance, which had
hitherto always beamed with smiles and joy when meeting me after
an absence, which argued hut too clearly that my worst anticipa- TOTAL LOSS OF ALL HIS PROPERTY.
tions were about being confirmed. He told me that, in consequence
of some new orders in council about the time my letters were received, desiring insurance to be made, the offices became so alarmed
that it could not be effected afea less premium than thirty-three and
a third per cent., which my friends would not consent to give; hence
no insurance had been made on the property, and the loss was for
account of Mr. Shaler and myself.
"Nor was this all; he was grieved to say that the Aspasia and
cargo were also a total loss. The melancholy detail was that she
had arrived safe at Havana and sold the cargo at $15 per quintal,
and writh the proceeds*—about $60,000—had laden with coffee and
sugar for New York; that when off Cape Hatteras a gale was encountered, in which she was thrown on her beam-ends and half filled
writh water, which ruined the cargo. The master, Rogers, was
swept away and lost, and she finally reached Norfolk in a most distressed state, where the amount of all that was saved was little more
than enough to pay the wages of the men. To crown the whole,
the agent in New York had not been informed of the shipment from
Havana, and consequently no insurance had been effected. I could
not imagine any addition to these misfortunes because I had nothing
more at risk, yet I perceived that there was something to be yet unfolded. To this overwhelming detail was yet to be added another
item, which would fill my cup to overflowing — the failure of a
friend and relation on whose paper I was an endorser, and had become responsible for $6000. The aggregate of these losses, estimating the value of the Telemaco'}s cargo at the rate at which the Aspasia's was sold, and the ship at what wTas paid for her, and independent
of all profit on an investment of the funds at Havana for New York,
would amount to $150,000. All doubts relative to the entire prostration of my fortune were now dissolved, all hope of there being
some remnant left was annihilated, and the world was to be begun
anew under the pressure of increased responsibilities. But the reflection that no part of the property was on credit, that I had not
involved others in my losses, was eminently consolatory. And the
pleasing contemplation of meeting my family again after this first
and long absence from them, and before having experienced anything of the inconvenience and embarrassment resultiug from such
misfortunes, combined to check their naturally depressing effect on
my spirits. 124
"Those who have found sufficient interest in the preceding pages
to be induced to follow me in my subsequent enterprises will find
abundant evidence that my forebodings were fully realized in the
repeated, long, and painful separations from those whom it was no
less my duty than it would have been my happiness to watch over
and protect. Compelled to navigate for the support of my family,
and deprived in consequence of superintending the education of my
children, worn with anxiety, and sick at heart with hope deferred,
it will be seen that I was for many years an exile from all that rendered life dear and desirable; and this as a consequence of the robbery of my hard-earned fortune by Admiral Cochrane. If his enjoyment of this property, so wickedly obtained, bears any proportion
to the years of suffering caused the proprietor by its loss, it affords
the strongest presumptive evidence of a perversion of mind which
must meet its correction hereafter." CHAPTER VII.
1808, 1809.
The Embargo.—Voyage to Africa.—Goes to England in Search of
Business.—Thence, Secretly, to Holland, and Home as Bearer of
Despatches.—Voyage to Naples.—Vessel and Cargo Seized and
Confiscated.—Life at Naples and Rome.
The year 1808 was marked in commercial annals by
the embargo, which was rendered necessary by the spoliations of the English, and which necessarily put a stop
to all nautical enterprises from this country. Merchants
who had ships abroad of course hastened to get them
home before the enforcement of the decree, and my father was employed by the owners of a Salem vessel to
go in search of her to the coast of Africa and bring her
home without delay. The latest accounts of the vessel
were that, after having collected a rich cargo, the captain had died, and the mate was finishing the work of
disposing of what remained of the outward cargo. The
errand was successfully accomplished, and after its completion he took passage, via Halifax, for England, in
order to place himself in the current of business and be
ready to avail himself of any opportunity that might
offer a prospect of lucrative returns.
Owing to adverse winds they arrived at Halifax too
late for the Falmouth packet, and waited a fortnight
for an opportunity to embark;  then sailed in a brig _*////*_,
.    .   -
bound for Lochraine, on the Clyde, where he arrived on
the 4th of October. j|
From thence he travelled to London by post, "making the journey in four days, with a degree of comfort,
ease, and celerity such as, probably, could not be experienced at the time in any other country in the world."
The number of French prizes which had been brought
into Plymouth, and the consequent abundance and
cheapness of French wines, suggested the advantage of
taking a cargo of them to the Isle of France; and, while
in doubt as to the means of accomplishing it, he met
accidentally with a friend just arrived in a fine ship for
which he had no fixed destination. Entering into arrangements with him, they purchased a quantity of
wine, and had nearly completed the preparations for
taking it on board when they were forced to abandon it
by the enactment of some new regulations which prevented their obtaining the requisite clearance, without
which insurance could not be effected. During this
period he writes as follows: .- ' ft
"London, December 13,1808.
"While waiting for the decision of the commissioners of excise
relative to our business,I have filled up the time as much as possible
in visiting the various objects most worthy the stranger's attention,
particularly those I did not see when I was formerly here, such as
the British Museum, several private exhibitions of wonderful mechanism; Greenwich, the Magdalen, and Foundling hospitals; and
Mr. West's collection of paintings. I was introduced to Mr. West,
a good-looking man between fifty and sixty, whose placid countenance indicates a mind that has not been agitated by the passions
with which mankind are generally afflicted from jarring interests
and the necessary intercourse with each other. I soon discovered
that he had a correct way of thinking on politics, and therefore LETTER FROM LONDON.
had a long conversation with him on the subject. As, from his profession and studies, he must be totally unprejudiced, and must necessarily view the subject on the grand scale, unbiassed by any of
those mean considerations which lead the generality of mankind to
subscribe to one opinion in preference to another, you will naturally
suppose I was delighted to perceive how we harmonized. Notwithstanding he admits the troubles of Europe to have been great for
these several years past, he thinks them as nothing compared to
what they will be, and he considers the embargo in America as the
wisest measure the government could have adopted, and the only
preventive to her participating in the calamities with which Europe is afflicted. Ruin to some and great inconvenience to all the
commercial interests must doubtless result from it, but he was clearly of opinion that it was the least of two evils, the only wise measure
that could have been adopted, and ought to be persisted in.
"Indeed, my dear, after the rejection by this government of the
proposals made by Mr. Pinckney, which you will learn by the Hope,
it is my opinion that those who are desirous of having the embargo
raised know not the interests of their country, or, knowing them
and continuing in the desire, are not worthy the name of Americans.
But those, I believe, will be few. After the election is decided, I
have no doubt the Federals will agree to the wisdom of the measures.
"But enough of politics. Shaler left here for Holland about a
month before my arrival. I regretted exceedingly not having fallen
in with him, because I wished him to have been interested in my
present expedition, though, if it should prove unsuccessful, I should
regret much that he was engaged in it, so that I have less anxiety.
I have not yet heard from him, although I have written him two or
three times. He thinks of returning to America in the spring, and
I hope he will make you a visit at Lancaster.
* \ I have given George sketches of several expeditions, with the
view that, if affairs continue as they are, he may take advantage of
them by coming to this country and placing himself in fortune's
way. William will doubtless remain at home, if not till my return,
at least till he knows the issue of my voyage; for, if we obtain the
clearance I expect to have, I flatter myself I shall make enough to
secure us both against the necessity of ever leaving our dear wives
.* 128
m The disappointment of being forced to abandon this
voyage was great, as he had formed sanguine hopes of
very lucrative results; but its force was in some degree
mitigated by an advance in the price of wines which
secured a very considerable profit on a resale of those
they had purchased.
While on his way to Plymouth to attend to this busi
ness he was attacked with pleurisy at Exeter, and had
a very narrow escape from death, which would probably have resulted, but for the attentions of his friends
in London, in sending an experienced nurse, to whose
care he always felt himself indebted for his life. The
effect of this was so serious that his recovery was de-
layed, and he was urged by his physician to seek a
milder climate till his health was fully restored.
From the window of his sick-room in Exeter, before
he was well enough to be removed to London, he saw
the remnant of the army just landed at Plymouth from
Corunna, after the memorable retreat under Sir John
Moore, who was killed on the eve of its embarkation,
and I have often heard him speak with much feeling
of the utterly wretched and woebegone appearance they
presented as they passed through the town.
His letters from London, during the whole period of
his prolonged detention, betray continually his affectionate nature and his longings for home, and at the
same time the activity of his mind in studying and devising means for retrieving his fortune, to the end that
he might secure the gratification he so coveted. The
following extract from a single letter may serve as a
sample of the tone which pervades them all:
H • « London, April 29,1809.
"Another opportunity for America enables me to assure you that
I am now quite strong, and even in better flesh than before my ill
| On the receipt of a letter of this late date, you will wonder if I
never intend leaving London, and what charms I find to keep mo
here. Indeed, my dear, if no other enjoyment was found.than I
have experienced here, few strangers wrould visit it to wear off their
ennui. It is to be presumed, however, that those who come here
for that purpose have minds more at ease than that of your husband.
" Neither would I be understood to imply that I have not partaken
of many of the recreations this great city affords; but while admiring the wonderful powers of a Siddons or a Kemble in tragedy, the
fine music and dancing at the opera, the perfect deception of some
of the panoramas, etc., the enjoyment has always been dampened
by the reflection on my pecuniary embarrassments, and the consequence which follows as its shadow—the necessity of absence from
home and the domestic enjoyments—compared with which everything this gay city can offer is as 'dust in the balance.* While
speaking of theatres, I believe I have not told you that the two
great ones of London, Covent Garden and Drury Lane, have been
destroyed by fire, the former about a month before my arrival, the
latter while I was at Exeter, and, as a consequence, a great many industrious people have been thrown out of employment, and a great
many idle ones disappointed of their accustomed amusement.
"I had flattered myself with the hope that by this opportunity I
should have been able to inform you what plan I intended pursuing,
but am sorry to say I am as yet unable to do so. I have several objects in view; but such are the changes in the disposition of the
governments of the two great belligerents towards America, such
orders and counter-orders, decrees and revocations, that the plan determined on to-day must be abandoned to-morrow. I am thinking
of chartering a vessel for the Baltic, there to lade with Russian manufactures for America. This speculation on a large capital would,
give a very handsome return, but on so small an amount as I can
control it would be but a bare living. A voyage to the Isle of
France is almost the only one not affected by the raising of the em-
6* rrw!
bargo, which can be prosecuted with much chance of success. This,
to be undertaken from hence in a swift sailing-vessel with such a
cargo as could be easily procured, would give an immense profit,
but as the island is declared in a state of blockade, it can only be
undertaken in a vessel that can be depended on for her superior
sailing, and such are not always to be met with. If I go to Russia
and meet with no accidents, I shall be wTith you in August or September. If I pursue the other plan, it will probably absorb another
year; but I need not assure you how earnestly I wish the time of
our separation passed; how much I long to see you and all the
cheerful circle at home. It is, indeed, cruel and mortifying to be
obliged to wander from such a home, after making such exertions
and sacrifices as I have made; yet, even among the small circle of
Americans now here, I can look round and see several (perhaps
more deserving than myself) who have greater cause to complain
of Fortune. It is doubtless best to endeavor to persuade ourselves
that it is all right; but it is no easy task."
Before he recovered his strength sufficiently to attempt the execution of any of these plans, a new one
presented itself which seemed sufficiently promising to
warrant the necessary risk attending it. This was the
taking of a cargo from Holland to the United States.
The difficulty was in getting from England to Holland
at the time when all the Continental powers had been
compelled by Napoleon to unite in cutting off all intercourse with Great Britain.
It was impossible openly to evade such restriction,
and the risk was, of course, very great in attempting it
secretly, but perhaps for that very reason all the more
tempting to one of such adventurous disposition.
With his usual caution he refrained from mentioning in his letters anything that could afford a clew to
his real design, but merely tells his wife that he was
CD       / v
about undertaking a journey for which he required only SECRET LANDING IN HOLLAND.
what baggage he could carry in his hand, and had therefore shipped his trunks on a vessel bound for Boston,
and hoped, ere long, to follow them in person. He then,
in company with a friend who had been associated with
him in the purchase and sale of the wine, embarked on
board a fishing-smack the master of which had agreed
to land them on the coast of Holland. Approaching
the shore on a still night, and after listening for a time
to make sure they were unobserved, they were landed
between eleven and twelve o'clock among the sand
dunes of the coast near The Brielle. The skipper had
given them careful instructions as to their course, and
they made tlieir way towards the town till they could
hear the clocks striking, and then waited for daylight in
a hollow of the hills of sand. *^r
. At dawn they were aroused by a trampling which
they were apprehensive might be the patrol, but which
proved to be only a herd of cows driven by a boy who
was greatly alarmed at seeing them, but was speedily
pacified, and directed them to an inn, where they were
cordially welcomed by the host and hostess, who had
no sympathy with the rigorous exclusion of strangers.
After a good breakfast and careful instructions from
the landlord, they went with a crowd of passengers on
board a canal-boat, and proceeded without molestation
to Amsterdam. I*
They found at once that their expectation of large
profits on the exports of Holland to the United States
would be realized if they could succeed in despatching
a cargo before the 1st of July, when the English government had given notice that a blockade would commence. 132
With the aid of an influential mercantile house this was
accomplished. A ship was chartered, loaded, and despatched to New York before the blockade began. She
arrived safely, and the results of the voyage were quite
equal to their anticipations. He had intended taking
passage for home in this ship, but meeting in Amsterdam with his old friend Shaler, he was induced to remain in order to unite with him in the execution of a
plan which promised an immense result, but which they
were forced to abandon in consequence of the combined
obstacles of the invasion of the Scheldt by a formidable
force under Lord Chatham, and a general embargo in
Holland. ■jf-   . •■•};...  ■.        •      .|| •
This seemed to cut off the possibility even of egress
from the country except by land; but fortunately the
American minister to France, General Armstrong, was
then on a visit to Holland, and being desirous of sending despatches to his government, obtained the release
of the ship Montezuma, of Baltimore, from the embargo,
and my father took passage in her for that port as
bearer of despatches. The ship being in ballast, no
cause existed for detention by British cruisers; but they
had proceeded but little way from port before they
were boarded from a frigate with the inquiry why they
were released from the embargo.
On being informed that it was by special permission,
at the request of the American minister, who wished
to send despatches to the United States of which my
father was the bearer, the officer desired him to accompany the captain of the Montezuma on board the
frigate, taking with him the despatches.    This was de- RETURNS TO THE UNITED STATES.
clined, as was also the request to send the despatches
on board by the captain. The boarding officer then
threatened to use compulsion. By this time the frigate
had drawn near and was hailed by the. boarding officer,
who informed his superior that there was a bearer of
despatches to the United States government on board
who refused to leave the ship or give up the despatches
except on compulsion.
" Then let him stay and be damned," was the reply,
and the ship's papers being found to be in order, they
were permitted to proceed on their course. .
* They arrived in Baltimore on the 3d of November,
after a long and stormy passage, and my father having
suffered greatly from a bilious fever, contracted by too
early an exposure to the damp atmosphere of Holland
after his severe illness at Exeter, was too feeble to go
to Washington, and accordingly delivered the despatches
to the collector of the port to be forwarded. p;
. After waiting a day or two in Baltimore to recruit,
he proceeded by easy stages to his home in Lancaster,
Massachusetts, where he arrived on the 12th of November in a weak and emaciated condition.  :       ||  M
One month later, on the 3d of December, 1809, he again
left his home on a new excursion to Europe, induced by
the first intelligence of a departure from the rigid exclusion of foreign commerce, which had so long been
maintained. The port of Naples was opened to neutral
commerce with such appearance of good faith that insurance on adventures there could be effected at reasonable rates.      • ]§.' |   :;
He immediately went to Boston and purchased the V////'V
schooner Maria, of one hundred and seventy tons, and
took on board a valuable cargo for account of tfier-
chants in Boston, on condition of receiving half profits
in lieu of freight.
He arrived safely at Naples, and was subjected to a
very long quarantine; the tedium of which was relieved
by the information that no article of his cargo would
produce less than one hundred per cent, profit, and this
notwithstanding the fact that before the term of quarantine had expired upward of thirty vessels arrived
from the United States, allured by the flattering prospect presented by the opening of a port which had so
long been closed.       % ;' '     - '■      t|
* But by a refinement of baseness and cruelty to which
it would be hard to find a parallel in the history of the
civilized world, the game being thus enticed within the
power of Napoleon, the net was sprung, and every vessel was seized and confiscated. Without even the formality of a trial the cargoes were taken out and sold,
together with the vessels, in the most hurried manner
and for prompt payment.
My father's reflections upon the moral aspect of this
robbery as compared with that he had previously suffered at the hands of Lord Cochrane are such as would
occur to any upright mind in comparing the act of the
highwayman who demands your money at the muzzle
of a pistol with that of the swindler who robs you under the form of law.
In the first case there is no prostitution of common-
sense and common honesty in seeking for a cause of
condemnation which is already determined on.   In the NAPLES AND ROME.
second there is a hypocritical pretence of seeking justice by the formality of a trial, where in reality the case
is prejudged. ■
Uf In this abominable transaction there is no doubt the
great mover was Napoleon, whose mandate Murat had
not the moral courage to disobey, preferring the dishonor and infamy of such treachery to the momentary
displeasure of the emperor. There-were a great number of people at Naples who were desirous of providing themselves with many articles of the various cargoes, but were deterred by conscientious scruples from
purchasing at the government sales, being convinced
that the "receiver is as bad as the thief." ■•■;■.'
'* Being thus involuntarily relieved of business, and
finding no immediate opportunity of returning to the
United States, he improved the opportunity for visiting
and inspecting the numerous interesting localities and
objects in the vicinity of Naples, and then went to
Rome, where he passed several weeks. All these scenes
are now so familiar to thousands of our country men
and women that it is difficult to realize the fact that,
even within the memory of many who are still living,
the man who had actually visited and examined them
was regarded with wonder and interest. In all my boyish days I remember that the portfolios of plates of
Naples,Vesuvius, Pompeii, and Home which he brought
home with him were a source of untiring interest to
visitors at our pleasant Lancaster home, and many pleasant associations of my early days were touched when
they finally perished in the great fire of Chicago. Of
his experiences while visiting these places he gives a 136
detailed description in a closely written manuscript of
more than fifty pages of letter-sheet, prepared for my
mother's gratification, in so pleasant and graphic a style
that it might well take its place among the best accounts that have been given of the now familiar scenes.
It is rare that even a single expression betrays the fact
that his mind was oppressed with the sense of his disappointment, while it evinces throughout a keen appreciation of the poetic associations which hallowed every
object.   ' ..-:}.' ;|> ■     '. •
It would be idle, however, at this day, to quote his
descriptions, and I shall give only an occasional extract
which may serve to illustrate his own character.
The following is from his earliest account of Naples:
| The shore from the foot of Vesuvius, where is situated the town
of Portici, quite to the city of Naples, presents a continued line of
villas, palaces, and houses, and Naples rising in amphitheatre, till in
one direction it terminates in the magnificent castle of St. Elmo, and
in another that of the palace of Cabo di Monti, is impressive of
riches, grandeur, and strength.
"A further acquaintance, however, with Naples will considerably
lessen such impressions; but such acquaintance cannot be made by
those who come by sea, till they have done penance in the performance of a tedious quarantine. Ours, in consequence of having cotton goods on board, exceeded forty days. After a passage across the
Atlantic and Mediterranean seas, to be confined so long on board
our vessel after arrival would be tedious even with bright prospects
in view, but when instead of these we had no other than total loss
of property, and possibly imprisonment, they were gloomy indeed.
Could I have foreseen the issue I should certainly have attempted
to make my escape, and have no doubt I could have effected it with
less risk than we ran in the Lelia Byrd in passing the fort at San
Diego; but while I had the opportunity (which was for ten days
after my arrival), our affairs had not assumed so decisive and seri- NAPLES.
ous an aspect, and I was afterwards deterred from making the attempt by the reflection that in case of failure (should American
property be restored), I should forfeit both property and insurance.
A few days after being released from quarantine I took rooms opposite the beautiful public walk called Villa Real. This walk is considerably longer and broader than the Mall in Boston. The trees
are yet small; but there are many flowering shrubs, and the whole
place is kept extremely clean and in good order.
"As you know I am no inconsiderable pedestrian, you will naturally suppose I have spent much time here; indeed, many is the
hour that I have traced and retraced my solitary steps on this walk,
and thought of home and its enjoyments, of my distance from it,
and the possibility that a war might lengthen the time of my separation from those nearest my heart for an indefinite period."
I give but a single extract from one of many descriptions of excursions in the neighborhood of Naples:
"We had a fatiguing march to gain the summit of the promontory (of Misenum), but were repaid by a most delightful view. The
day was pleasant (22d April), and the atmosphere very clear, so that
we could see the town of Gaeta and the little island of Ponza, the
Apennines covered with snow. These were the most distant objects.
Nearer, we had a view of Vesuvius, the Castle of St. Elmo, Pozzuoli,
Solfatara, Monte Nuovo, the Lake of Fusaro, the islands of Ischia,
Procida, and Capri, and the Bay of Naples. The prospect from this
hill has been spoken of in extravagant terms by all those travellers
who have taken the pains to ascend it. It is certainly beautiful; but
that from the dome of the State House in Boston in the month of
June, in my opinion, surpasses it.
" There is not so much of the grand and terrific to admire, it is
true; but instead of a country which has the appearance of a stormy
ocean, and where the valleys only are cultivated, ours, in every direction, presents a picture of the most luxuriant fertility; instead of
the silence and gloom which reigns in the bay and ports, ours is activity and cheerfulness; in fine, instead of old age and decrepitude,
ours is youth, vigor, and gayety. That such an opinion would be
considered that of a stupid and prejudiced blockhead by those whose
t_.44J_.St**?**} */////''•'■'
minds are impressed by the beauty of the Elysian Fields and its
neighborhood from the accounts given by Virgil in the iEneid I am
perfectly aware, but as they will probably remain uninformed of
my having held such heretical opinions I shall give myself no uneasiness about it. The cape and promontory of Misenum takes its
name from one Misenus, a companion of .-Eneas, who died and was
buried here, as the poet thus relates:
" * The good iEneas ordered on the shore
A stately tomb, whose top a trumpet bore,
A soldier's falchion, and a seaman's oar.
Thus was his friend interred, and doubtless fame
Still to the lofty cape consigns his name.'
"It was along this coast—Misenum, Baia, etc.—that the Roman
grandees had their villas. Here, from the salubrity of the climate,
the hot baths, and probably also from that attraction so conspicuous
at Ballstown, to see and be seen, crowds of strangers as well as the neighboring inhabitants used to resort. It is the residence which Clodius
reproached Cicero for occupying, as being little calculated for a
philosopher, and where Propertius forbid his daughter Cynthia's going, as being dangerous for the innocence of young persons. Ruins
and ashes are all that remain of former magnificence and splendor."
From Naples he went with two companions to Rome,
making the journey in a carriage drawn by mules, and
spending three days on the road.
His descriptions of the wonders of that city are
marked by the same graphic and simple character which
distinguish his writings.    He concludes as follows :
"Though a residence of a few weeks in such a city as Rome is
enough to give some travellers (even though unacquainted with the
language) a perfect knowledge of the character, disposition, manners, amusements, etc., of the inhabitants, I confess to you I am not
one of the number, for even if my penetration were as great, my
naturally reserved habits would be a preventive, and you will,
therefore, be satisfied with my mentioning a few peculiarities in
their customs which came immediately within my observation. ROME.
"We took no other introductory letter than one to a rich banker
(the Duke of Torlonia), at whose house we were, of course, invited
to dine. At table everything was conducted much as in other parts
of the civilized world; but judge of our surprise at the meanness of
the master who could suffer his servant to come to our lodgings a
few days after to inform us that he had the honor of waiting on us
at dinner the other day 1 in other words, that the master drew upon
a dinner he gave to strangers for the purpose of paying his servant's
wages. What a disgusting custom! But it is even practised at the
governor s, where we were invited to a ball, and a day or two after
the servants called for their fee!
"The beaux and belles of Rome have their Corso as well as those
of Naples, wThere they ride every evening, and, returning, stop for
half an hour at the Plaza del Popolo, to see and be seen. Such is
the all-commanding power of custom or fashion, here as elsewhere,
that, notwithstanding the numerous beautiful gardens in the vicinity
of Rome where they might either ride or walk free from annoyance,
they prefer driving to and fro on the crowded Corso, where they
sometimes risk suffocation from the clouds of dust. A peculiarity
in the funerals, both at Naples and Rome, I have observed in no
other part of the world; I mean that of dressing the corpse in the
best apparel and carrying it through the streets on a bier exposed to
the view of every one.   It is a disgusting custom.
[ ] Foreigners have always found the beggars of Italy very troublesome, though less so at Rome than at Naples. The late revolution
in the fortunes of the cardinals and higher orders of the clergy has
thrown upon the world a crowd of their domestics and dependants,
and we were frequently asked charity in the most pressing manner
by well-dressed people of both sexes, whose exterior and address
evinced that they had seen better days.
"No one acquainted with the history of Rome who sees it at
the present day can help reflecting on the vicissitude of all earthly
things. A city whose population was once counted by millions,
now possessing only about one hundred thousand and rapidly declining; whose former inhabitants, commanded by warlike emperors
and generals,were irresistible in the field, and gave laws to the world;
whose present, governed by a pope, priests, and monks, are finally
the slaves of one of their former provinces.    The present rulers, 140
however, are troubled by no such reflections as these. They appear
to act as we have reason to suppose that former conquerors have
done. They appropriate the spoils to their own use, and though
they do not sell the inhabitants of conquered countries, yet they aro
scarcely less slaves than if they did.
"Could a Curtius or a Horatius Codes be found among modern
Romans? Could that man be found among them who, like Marcus
Sesevola, when made prisoner would thrust his hand into the fire,
and burn it off in presence of the conqueror to convince him that a
Roman could not be frightened by threats? I think we may safely
say such characters no longer exist in Rome. A Ravaillac might
possibly be met with, but no Brutus. The stimulus which once excited to heroic deeds has long since given way to the effeminacy of
a monkish government, which has led to beggary and ruin."
On returning to Naples from Pome he found that
Captain Fairfield, of the ship Margaret, of Salem, had
succeeded in making an arrangement with the government by which he was permitted to return to the United States, carrying as passengers the crews of the vessels which had been seized, and he was congratulating
himself on the opportunity thus afforded him of returning home. His disappointment was correspondingly
great at being obliged to abandon the hope, as Captain
Fairfield declined to take as freight a valuable investment of Italian manufactures of which my father had
agreed to take charge. I In this, as in repeated other instances, the event proved that what he had bewailed as
a misfortune was in fact an escape from a fearful combination of horrors. The Margaret was upset at sea.
A part of those on board escaped in a boat and were
saved after great suffering; part perished miserably on
the wreck, and a few were rescued from it in a dying
In connection with this subject the following extract
from the last letter of ray father to my mother before
leaving Naples is interesting. He had been expressing
the disappointment he felt at not being able to take
passage in the Margaret, but finds consolation in the
fact that the effect of it had been less disastrous than
in a case which had just come to his knowledge:
" This is that of Dr. Can canning, who, appointed by the pope a
bishop of the Catholic Church in America, had been trying in vain
for a year to procure a passage, till the opportunity offered by the
Margaret. He had come from Rome with all his movables, engaged
his passage, and paid his portion of the expense of stores, when he
received a notification from the prefect of police that he would not
be permitted to depart in an American vessel. The disappointment
was so great and had such an effect upon him that he survived it
but three days. He was a healthy, good-looking man of about sixty,
of Irish descent. I became acquainted with him at Rome, where he
had long resided, and from whence the present condition of things
led him often to express his joy at the prospect of removal.
\ \ I suspect the calm, pacific, tranquil life of a priest, even with
all the help they may derive from Heaven, is not so well calculated
to train the mind to contend with disappointment and the vicissitudes of fortune as the rough and troubled life of the soldier or the
sailor, who is inured to them. Poor human nature! To be assailable by fortune at the age of sixty! To die from the very fear of
dying! How melancholy, how degrading the reflection! My dear
boys must early become accustomed to hardships. They have a
prospect of living in turbulent times, when the civil must be subservient to military authority, when the only right that is acknowledged wili be that of power, and consequently they must by the improvement of their talents and early acquaintance with danger become masters, or by the neglect of them and a retired life submit to
be slaves. I have ordered a copy of the j Travels of Count Beniow-
ski' and of Plutarch. These ought to be their study till they have
them by heart, and if afterwards they should die at sixty of disappointment I'll disown them." ••*$ CHAPTER VIIL
1810. ' V- '   ' '~\
From Italy to Lisbon and thence to England.
Having failed to get passage home in the Margaret,
he next wrote to London for a British license to lade a
vessel for England. This arrived in due season, and being provided with the credit to enable him to use it to
advantage, he purchased the brig Nancy Ann (one of
the condemned vessels), and loaded her with a cargo of
wine, raw silk, licorice, rags, etc., for London.
No objection was made to his departure, and the passage down the Mediterranean was a very pleasant one.
On approaching the Strait of Gibraltar he was chased
for more than half a day by an English brig-of-wTar, and
paid no attention to the occasional discharge of a gun
till she approached nearly within cannon-shot, when he
rounded to, and a boat was immediately sent to take
him and his papers on board for examination. On seeing the documents by which he was screened from English aggression, which emanated from the same authority as his own commission, the commander was furious
with rage at having been unnecessarily led so far out of
his way. But after expending a deal of profanity, and
threatening to send him in to Gibraltar, he finally calmed
down, and perceiving that he could inflict no punish- CONCEALED FREIGHT.
ment that wrould not be likely to recoil upon himself,
he reluctantly consented to suffer him to pursue his
course. . ..|j§
This was the only detention he met with, and his escape from search in this case enabled him to carry out
successfully a part of his plan which did not appear on
the manifest. ||;    : .;.        >: \ ,
I have mentioned that Captain Fairfield's reason for
refusing to take my father as passenger on the Margaret was, because he desired to take with him as freight
a quantity of Italian manufactures of which he had
charge, which would have affected the sale of those
which Captain Fairfield himself was carrying. . jj
m This was an invoice of sewing-silks which my father
had purchased for account of Messrs. John Tappan,
Stephen Higginson, and himself, and which he now had
on board his vessel concealed under the rags, licorice,
etc., which comprised his cargo for London. As his
English license allowed no manufactured goods, its discovery would have led to the seizure of the vessel, and
as the same result would have ensued had the goods
been taken to England, his intention was to put into
Lisbon and transship the silks from thence to the United States; and this he successfully accomplished. The
silk reached America in safety and sold for about $150,-
000, and my father made about $20,000 by the Operation.   •    ' ■ i   . '    ■ '  ■ ||y ■ ;
On entering the Tagus and coming to anchor near
the Belem Castle, he found he had arrived at a critical
moment.   The French army under Massena was advancing with a confidence inspired by the acknowledged ''ittfrr*."
talents and invariable success of that great soldier, and
the combined English and Portuguese forces awaited
the attack with no less trust in the skill and intrepidity
of Sir Arthur Wellesley, whose lines of defence at Torres
Vedras were deemed impregnable. The inhabitants of
Lisbon were, of course, in the painful condition of anxiety incident to the uncertain state of affairs, and were
preparing for the possible necessity of putting their
valuables on board the English ships of war, and, that
no means of escape might be lost, an embargo was laid
on all vessels in port. I| - ! •   .
Affairs remained in this critical state for about ten
days, which was also the period of quarantine to which
my father was subjected. : At the end of that time it
was announced that Massena had decided not to*risk an
attack and had begun his retreat. The embargo was
immediately raised, and the anxious inhabitants of Lis-
bon once more breathed freely. My father effected the
transshipment of the silk, and disposed of the wine
which had formed part of his cargo to the commissary
of the army, on very advantageous terms. The tone of
his letters at once reveals the relief he experienced at
the dawning of better prospects, and at the same time
the consciousness of the uncertainties of life as evinced
by the loss of the Margaret, the news of which reached
him here. His first letter to my mother begins as follows:
"Lisbon, September 9,1810.
"Having escaped the pirates of all nations (for government ships
of the present day deserve no better name), and arrived safely at
this point of my voyage, you will naturally conceive that my mind
is relieved from a great weight of anxiety, as the trifling premium LETTER FROM LISBON.
that will be paid on the property from hence to America, and the
great profit it will undoubtedly command, will justify insuring
roundly on the profits, so that beggary and starvation which have
so long been staring me in the face have, I think, made a retrograde
movement. But poor Fairfield, when on his way home with a good
cargo, doubtless considered his prospects equally flattering. What
a dreadful reverse! and with what circumstances of superlative
misery was not the loss of the Margaret attended. Of some of my
acquaintance who were on her I know nothing, of others dying on
the wreck, and others escaping with the bare remains of life, perhaps to linger a burden to themselves and all around them. The
melancholy recital is constantly haunting me, and not the less from
the reflection that the chance was equal that I had added to the
number of the miserable. As I considered the opportunity a very
excellent one, I had written you a very long letter, which, together
with those for Stephen Higginson, I confided to the care of Mr.
Louis Barney of Baltimore, an excellent young man, of whose fate I
have as yet seen no account.
" So much time will be absorbed by the necessary delays here and
after my arrival in England that it will be impossible for me to arrive in America till after winter sets in, and rather than contend
with the discomfort and danger of coming on the coast at that season, I have written to Stephen proposing to wear away the winter
by undertaking another expedition to Naples, and doubt not he will
readily agree to it, of which I shall be advised on arrival in London.
I need not say howr anxiously I shall expect letters also from you.
To know that you are well, to have your congratulations on my
success, to know all that concerns the health and happiness of my
dear boys, and all the dear circle at home, is more interesting than a
world of fortune.
"Before you receive this I suppose America will have an addition to the men of distinction who have sought her shores, unless
some greedy man-of-war should have detained him for purposes of
robbery. I mean Lucien Bonaparte, who was to have sailed from
Civita Vecchia a few days before I left Naples in the ship Hercules,
of Salem. His collection of statuary and paintings is doubtless superior to anything of the kind in America. I hope, therefore, he
may arrive in safety."
T 1 N
A few days later he writes again as follows:
"Lisbon, September 13,1810.
"I wrote you a few days since by the Albert, Captain Smith. . . .
"I have proposed to Stephen to make another voyage this winter
up the Mediterranean; but how far the new measures the emperor
is taking will affect the plan I cannot determine before arriving in
London. I learn that he has actually written a love-letter to our
minister at Paris, promising restitution for confiscated property, revoking his Berlin and Milan decrees, admitting a free commerce
even in colonial produce, and declaring that the prosperity and happiness of the United States is a,n object he has at heart, or words to
that effect. All this is no doubt as sincere as were his professions
of being a good Mussulman when in Egypt, and the motives no
doubt the same—to gull us; and, in my opinion, there is as little doubt
that we shall swallow the bait, and when the point is gained for
which he is so condescending, instead of paying for what he has
stolen, he will be much more likely to steal more. This effort of
his, however, is a fair confession that in his war of commerce he is
worsted, and he can no more do without the great source of revenue
it affords than other nations can. This may possibly clip off some
of the profits on the goods which I have with so much difficulty and
risk brought away from Naples; but in such precarious times nothing can be counted on with certainty, and we must take the world
as it goes.J
The following letter affords a good example of the
sagacious care and watchfulness with which he observed
the signs of the times, and based his enterprises on his
prognostications of their results.
The goods he alludes to are the silks he brought from
Naples and had just despatched for America. The
cartel Francis, of which he subsequently speaks, was
the vessel by which he had sent the extended manuscript description of the vicinities of Rome and Naples,
from which I have heretofore given extracts: LETTER FROM LISBON.
"Lisbon, October 5, 1810.
"The uncertainty of being able to procure another cargo from
Italy, the very small quantity of Italian manufactures that can possibly find their way to the United States in addition to those I have
sent, the little dependence that can be placed on the revocation of
Bonaparte's decrees, and the certainty that if they are repealed with
conditions inimical to the commerce of Great Britain that orders of
council will still remain in force, and consequently our commerce
with France will continue as limited as their ability to enforce those
orders can make it, are inducements sufficient to lead me to advise
William to purchase largely at the sale of the silks which I have sent
from here by the Belle Isle. I presume they will be sold at auction,
and if the sewing-silk should go at six to six and a half dollars per
pound, I would recommend his purchasing to the full amount of
what would be my proportion. By sending it to the Brazils, Spanish America, or even to Baltimore or Philadelphia, he could not fail
of doing well. None has gone or can go this winter to the southward, and I know the markets of Philadelphia and Baltimore have
been more bare of this article than that of Boston. At this place I
believe I could have procured seven dollars per pound for the whole
quantity together, which is a proof that it comes to them excessively
high from England.
' 11 learn by the papers that the cartel-ship Francis had arrived at
Salem. By her you will have received a line from me, from the
length of which you will conclude that I had abundance of leisure
while at Naples. I hope it will afford you some amusement, and I
know it will be gratifying to you to perceive that it served to beguile
many a dull hour with me.
"I hear from Henry Higginson in London that he has received
£4800 for our share of the Florenzo's cargo, and that she was expected there with a freight. I don't know whether this is doing well
or not, as I have no recollection of the cost of the cargo, but I am
satisfied it is better fortune than most of our countrymen met with
who sailed about the same time. To be concerned in two expeditions that succeed must certainly be construed into a change of
fortune, and almost leads me to flatter myself with seeing the time
when I shall be free from anxiety on account of pecuniary affairs,
and can join my dear boys in their play on the lawn, or, as evening •'//////*'/'
approaches, listen to the sweet strains of 'Henry's Cottage Maid,'
or 'Fair Fidelia,' as touched by the skilful hand of their dear
mother. Alas! WThen are these enjoyments to be realized? Certain-
ly not without the possession of competency.    As certainly with.
"When, therefore, the happiness of three is dependent on my
exertions, no privation, no fatigue, no watching, no rational risks
should deter me from pursuing that line which appears to lead most
directly to the desired object. But how often in our efforts to approach do we recede from it!"
On the 8th of November he writes:
"The embargo is partially raised, and I am one of several who
have had permission to depart, for some days, but I now wait for
convoy, which will be ready in a day or two. Henry Higginson particularly recommended my coming with a convoy, as the French
privateers are very numerous, and insurance can be effected three
per cent, less with convoy than without.
"The panic which was caused in Lisbon by the rapid retreat of
the British army has long since subsided. They made a stand at the
last lines, and the French have not dared to attack them. They
have continued looking at each other for three weeks past, with
scarcely any alteration in their relative positions. Scarce a day has
passed that some miserably maimed soldiers have not been brought
in from the army. Their appearance is indeed distressing, and
forms a painful contrast with the fresh troops who are daily sent
out. The order (perhaps necessary) of the British general for all the
farmers to destroy their houses, and all the produce which they were
unable to put out of the enemy's reach, has reduced vast numbers
to indigence who have been well off, and, arriving at Lisbon when
no provision had been made for them, their situation is most distressing."
His voyage to Plymouth, England, from Lisbon was
made in company with a dozen sail of vessels under
convoy of a frigate.
H In a long letter to my mother from that port, dated
December 25th, 1810, he indulges in a series of reflec- ANTIQUARIAN REFLECTIONS.
tions which, under the circumstances, are not only intrinsically interesting, but afford curious evidence of
his peculiar characteristics. He is replying to letters
received from here soon after his arrival:
" I am glad to learn you received and were so well pleased with
the long details of my rambles in Italy. . . .
" Of my former rambles you are in possession of no inconsiderable detail, but the extent of country over which my destiny has led
me since parting from you in January last has certainly been more
interesting than, perhaps, all the others combined. Previous to this
my mind seems hardly to have been able to grasp or realize the idea
of the prodigious number of years which have elapsed even since
the construction of some of those edifices which yet bear witness
to it, and still less to the more remote periods of history. But in
Italy you are as irresistibly led back seventeen hundred years to the
destruction of Pompeii, or two thousand years to the days when
Rome was in her glory, as you are in America to the voyage of Columbus or the landing of the Pilgrims at Plymouth.
"This familiarity, even with objects of no greater antiquity, appears to approximate so nearly to the Mosaic account of the time of
the creation that you find it difficult to believe that the world can
be so young; but when you are presented with specimens of art,
some of which can be traced upwards of three thousand years, and
others lost in remote antiquity, which are, nevertheless, the wonder
and admiration of the present age, such as the Egyptian obelisks
and pyramids, it requires a different education from mine, more implicit faith in the generally received authority, and perhaps you will
say a more correct way of thinking, to be perfectly satisfied with it.
■' Having observed mankind in their most abject state of barbarism does not afford (even to an experienced observer).sufficient data
to form an idea of the time necessary for them to be advanced to
that degree of civilization which is indicated by the production of
such labors; but setting aside the Egyptian account of the antiquity
of their origin (which they carry back twenty thousand years); the
period appears too limited between their being in a state of barbarism, even as immediately after the Mosaic account of the creation
as possible, and their producing, when they did, such gigantic works;
w_r-f_f_r_t_t_t_tS-t00S 150
"The difference between the Hebrew and the Greek texts of
1270 years in the period between the Creation and the birth of
Christ does not tend to enlighten the doubtful and inquiring mind,
and will satisfy only those who will not doubt. A singular circumstance mentioned in Recupera's history of Mount Etna has a particular relation to this subject. He says that in digging a pit of
great depth at Jaci (near Etna) seven distinct strata of lava were
pierced through, the surfaces of which were paraUel, and most of
them covered with a thick bed of earth. Now the eruption which
formed the lowest of these strata, if we may be allowed to reason
from analogy, must have flowed from the mountain at least fourteen thousand years ago, for it is said to require two thousand years
to form even a scanty soil on the surface of the lava.
"But of what consequence is it to us whether the world is six,
ten, or twenty thousand years old? We have only to act well our
parts in it, and, conscious of doing this with an easy and cheerful
mind, leave the event to that Almighty Power who
' ■ ' Though changed through all, is yet in all the same,
Great in the earth, as in the ethereal frame,
Warms in the sun, refreshes in the breeze,
Glows in the stars, and blossoms in the trees.
Lives through all life; extends through all extent;
Spreads undivided; operates unspent.
To him no high, no low, no great, no small,
He fills, he bounds, connects, and equals all.'
"There is, however, something in the appearance of the venerable relics of antiquity with which Italy abounds which not only
leads to a conviction of many historical facts, but must also necessarily compel the most volatile to reflect on the vicissitude of all
human affairs.
"Is it not amazing, then, that we find the present rulers of the
earth, men of liberal education, pursuing the same path as their
predecessors? As proud, arrogant, and unjust, on obtaining an advantage over their weaker neighbors as were tlieir predecessors, and
as ready to ascribe their success to their superior wisdom and talents. The miserable end of Pompey the Great, of Caesar, of Antony, and of nine tenths of the mighty heroes of Rome, in whose PHILOSOPHICAL REFLECTIONS.
exploits the world has been as much interested and absorbed as it
now is with those of Bonaparte, Massena, Nelson, Wellington, etc.,
must appear to the actors themselves as fabulous or distant as death
does to a thoughtless boy—at such a prodigious distance that nothing need be apprehended from it.
"That the Emperor of France should not be deterred from any
act of injustice by such reflections is not surprising. His profession
is that of a warrior. By war alone and the calamities it produces
could he ever have reached the summit at which he has arrived, nor
is it probable he could maintain his position but by pursuing the
same system. But that an old-established government like that of
Great Britain should follow such an example, a government that
is ever boasting of its justice, humanity, etc., is indeed wonderful.
When Themistocles declared to the assembly of Athens that he
knew a method of giving them the sovereignty of Greece, but that
it must be kept secret, he was desired to make it known to Aristides
only, and abide by his decision. He accordingly told him that his
project was to burn the whole fleet of the confederates. Aristides
then informed the assembly that nothing could be more advantageous than the proposal of Themistocles, nor could anything be
more unjust. Whereupon they at once abandoned the thought of
it. But we find, in this civilized age, the pretensions to justice and
honor of the enlightened government of England are not so well
founded as those of the ancients, nor better than those of the great
modern usurper, for besides the minor acts of injustice and villainy
to which their cupidity is daily inciting them, they have shown that
merely to obtain possession of a few old hulks of ships, and those
belonging to a people as much in friendship with them as were the
confederates with the people of Athens, the destruction of a flourishing city, the death of thousands, and all the long and dreadful
train of miseries resulting from the ravages of fire and sword when
used as the destroying engines of a merciless conqueror, have been
no impediment. On the whole, I am induced to believe that mankind are much the same at the present day that they were two thousand years ago, equally unjust, ambitious, and arrogant; perhaps
more humane, though, recurring to the Spanish in America, the English and Dutch in India, and the French during the revolution, even
this may be doubted."
'/ssss///s///#i 152
To many readers of the present day these will doubtless seem but commonplace reflections. Those who can
recall the state of public feeling and the tone of current
literature of fifty years ago—before the era of modern
scientific investigation, and before the study of history
had been rendered fascinating by such writers as Macau-
lay, Prescott, and Motley-—will recognize the fact that
even then these expressions would have been thought
bold and startling.
When we reflect that they were uttered twenty years
earlier than that, by a man whose only early education
had been that of the common schools of New England,
and are simply the outflow of his own thoughts in a familiar letter to his wife, written in the midst of the perplexing cares of business, they cannot be regarded as
other than remarkable. CHAPTER IX.
-    ■$; 1811-1816.
Transactions in England and on the Continent.—A Project Promising Great Results Defeated by the Failure of the Russian
The enormous difference in prices, even of articles of
ordinary necessity, between England and the Continent,
resulting from the forced and unnatural conditions which
had been imposed upon them, offered favorable opportunities to neutrals, which my father, in company with
many other Americans, made very active efforts to improve. • :£-
RThe proposed return to Naples was abandoned, and
for the next two years he was in London and the north
of Europe, engaged in commerce, the management of
which often required the exercise of great skill and
boldness, and of course involved corresponding risks.
His letters during this period are continued at frequent intervals, but from the great uncertainty which
attended their transmission, were always very guarded
in their expression relative to the operations in which
he was engaged.
The following extract, from his first long letter after
arriving in London, furnishes the keynote of the general
tone which pervades them—a tone of anxiety resulting
from the painful uncertainty attending the efforts he
was making to attain the means of returning to those in
1* 154
whose affection his hope of happiness was centred, yet
of determined resolution to accomplish the object, if
perseverance and energy could do it. j|;
"London, February 6,1811.
'' I wrote you a very hasty scrawl by an opportunity for Boston
on the day of my arrival here, lest a knowledge of our unprecedented delays should have caused you anxiety.
" It is hardly possible to conceive such a series of untoward circumstances as I have met with since leaving Lisbon ; nor hstve my physical sufferings been inconsiderable, as you will perceive when I tell
yqu that for six weeks of this uncommonly severe winter I have
been quarantined on board my vessel and not allowed to have a fire.
But that is past, and I will not trouble you with a recital of my discomfort, since I escaped being sick, which might have been expected
as a consequence of such privations, and is a convincing proof that
my constitution is restored to its pristine strength.
"During my confinement at Plymouth I wrote you several very
long letters, and we have just learned that one of the vessels (by which
I sent a large packet) has experienced a warm proof of the love Bony
bears to Americans, as, with her cargo, she was burned at sea by the
Invincible Napoleon, French privateer.
' I Among the many extraordinary things which we daily see taking place in these extraordinary times Mr. Madison's proclamation
of November 2 is certainly not the least singular.
" An English editor terms it *a pretty specimen of republican sagacity,' and indeed I think it is; for what proof has he of Bony's sincerity or good faith, that could justify such a measure? The event,
no doubt, will show an error that will involve many in ruin.
" As it regards myself, if the silks I sent from Italy have not been
sold, I have no doubt they will be more valuable than ever, as there
is no prospect of a commercial intercourse with France. The American property which arrived there after November 1 has all been sequestered, and is held up in terrorem with a view to bring them into
his measures. Of the property so villainously seized previous to
that time not a farthing will ever be restored.
"The prodigious loss on the exchange between Naples and this
place, the risks attending shipments from there, together with the un-
certainty of finding a vessel there, have induced me to give up the
plan of another voyage there, and I am now undetermined what
course to pursue. I would not lose a moment in returning to my
dear wife and boys didT not consider it a duty due them to leave no
enterprise untried that promises in any degree the accomplishment
of their and my wishes. I shall therefore wait a few weeks to see
what can be done, and if nothing offers shall embark for home, and
bless my stars that you decided not to attempt to meet me at Naples
as I proposed.
"Forbes* left here yesterday for France, but with no very brilliant prospects. Curson has met with great difficulties and interruptions, and the success of his voyage is doubtful.
"In times like these there is no readier road to ruin than being
concerned in shipping, and I am sorry that William is extending his
interests therein.
"You will perceive I am growing cautious, and I have no doubt
you will perceive why: because a contrary conduct has been in a
degree the cause of an absence from those most dear to me, for which
no fortune can compensate."
It is affecting to read the details he gives in the long
series of letters following the above of the different
plans and efforts at their execution which occupied him,
and through the whole of which his chief source of relief and comfort seems to have been in thus communing with the one on whose sympathy he relied.
An attempt to carry a cargo of wine to Copenhagen
was attended with circumstances curiously illustrative
of the lesson which had so often been repeated in his
experience, of a seeming misfortune proving to be a
providential preservation. The vessel containing it had
arrived in England from Naples, consigned to his cousin,
Henry Higginson, who was then established in London. 156
The plan had previously been arranged that my father
should immediately embark in her as passenger and take
the wine to Copenhagen, where a very large profit would
have been realized. The vessel was wrecked by going
ashore on Jutland in the night, but fortunately at high
tide, so that all the cargo was saved. This necessarily
consumed two thirds of the profits, but they nevertheless
realized about £1000 profit, whereas if he had kept on
his course he would have fallen directly into the hands
of a French privateer then lying off Elsinore.
||| This business being finished, he writes from Copenhagen, on the 18th of September, 1811, acknowledging letters from home containing news of losses which his brother
had met with, which he was apprehensive would involve
the necessity of parting with the beautiful home in Lancaster to which he was so fondly attached. This was
evidently a heavy addition to the weight of care with
which he was already burdened, and his expressions give
painful evidence of the suffering it caused him that my
mother should be thus oppressed.
Yet he rallies- his own spirits, and tries to encourage
her with hopes of a brighter future.
Li Do not indulge," he says, " in gloomy anticipations. All will yet
be well, and in the course of twelve or eighteen months I will astonish you with a fortune that shall suffice for the gratification of the
wishes of all who are dear to me. Late as it now is, I am now bound
to Russia, having chartered part of a ship, and engaged in a voyage
which is to terminate here. I have obtained a credit of £3000 sterling, and have a fair prospect of clearing from sixty to seventy-five
per cent. It is possible, of course, that I may be defeated by being
caught in the ice, by shipwreck, or by French privateers. Against
the Danes I am guarded by a license. If I succeed I hope to be
in London in November, from whence I contemplate a voyage to THE EDUCATION OF HIS CHILDREN.
Naples for wine, for Lisbon, New Orleans, or this country, and have
written to Paris for a license. Thus you perceive I am undertaking
new adventures and projecting others still more extensive, before
even this last miserable one is brought to a close. This perhaps will
allay your fears relative to my health, for if my constitution had not
regained its full vigor I could not have withstood the excessive fatigue and anxiety I have lately experienced, and while my health
continues firm rest assured my spirits will never be subdued. You
remind me of my promise that nothing within my power to control
should induce me to prolong my absence beyond the present autumn.
Harry will tell you that I wrote him from Plymouth that I would
undertake no voyage which would prevent my returning to my family by the month of August; but I presumed at that time that I possessed at least $10,000, and therefore that there was no necessity of
making a reserve for such a disappointment as I have since met
with. But I know that no apology is necessary, and that you no
more doubt my impatience to return than I do yours to have me.
Keep up your spirits and bear in mind that the greatest stimulant
I possess to enable me to bear up against such accumulated misfortune as has fallen to my share is the reflection that my efforts are
appreciated by so competent a judge as my beloved wife."
In one of his letters at this period he makes the first
allusion to a subject the importance of which, in his estimation, is sufficiently indicated by the fact of his urging it so strongly at a time of such doubt and anxiety
relative to his affairs. w  '
My mother, it seems, was considering the propriety of
disposing of the Lancaster estate and taking up her residence in more economical quarters, to which he assents
with the assurance of his entire confidence in her judgment ; but offering only the following suggestion :   k
"I will only observe that in the choice of your future residence
a good school for the boys is an object of primary importance^ and,
in my opinion, should influence your opinion even more than a good
physician.   The man who is capable and willing to perform the im- \vrttf/ttm~j/jlSf-'    '
B 5C3H MIKi-SS^6313   me-.
portant duties of a schoolmaster, can be expected to do it only with
the encouragement of a handsome salary, and with a limited number
of scholars, and if his associates were those of the first respectability
in the town where he resides it would not escape the notice of his
pupils, and would be properly appreciated by them. You can have
but one objection to such a school, that of the expense, which must
not influence you, as I had rather remain an exile forever than that
the boys should not only have a good, but a finished education. Impressed as I am with the great, the incalculable importance of a
good education, I beg of you, in making your selection, not to be influenced by the expense, for the man capable of taking the important trust of a teacher can only be expected to discharge his duty
properly if handsomely paid, and the number of scholars limited."
At the time the above was written his oldest son
was only in his seventh year, and, of course, had hardly
emerged from the nursery. The suggestion of the value
to the pupils of a good social position for the master is
full of meaning, and is eminently wTorthy of consideration at this day, when it is so frequently the case that
refined social habits are not taken into account in selecting a teacher, and parents feel under no obligation
even to make the acquaintance of those to whom they
intrust the education of their children.
The principal of a large public school once said to me,
with an evident feeling of bitterness, 1 If I had the
care of five hundred sheep or calves, the owners would
show more interest in my management of them than
the parents of these five hundred children."    fig      M
The departure for Russia was delayed for ten days by
an easterly storm, and subsequently by head winds, so
that he did not deem it prudent to go to St. Petersburg
as he first intended, but stopped at Riga, and returned
in one month to Copenhagen, having added something JOURNAL OF A DAY.
to his means, though not so largely as he would have
done, had he been able to carry out his original plan.
He remained in Copenhagen engaged in shipments of
wheat to England, from which, as he says in one of his
letters, he realized an amount of profit which would have
justified his returning to America, but meantime both
his brothers had met with serious losses, and as they always regarded their interests as mutual, he continued to
avail himself of the opportunities which offered for acquiring means to aid and relieve them.
As usual, besides sending a long letter by every opportunity, he writes a very long and detailed account of
his experiences with descriptions, discussions, and reflections, as if trying, in his absence from home, to supply
by such means the domestic pleasures he so coveted. A
"single extract will suffice to show how his time and
mind were occupied.
"My disrelish for the ordinary resources of most of my countrymen—drinking and cards—and the habit to which I have long adhered of acting with entire independence in the disposal of my time,
by not sacrificing it to others, has made it so exclusively my own
that a knowledge of the routine of one day will give you a general
idea of each. I rise at eight, breakfast immediately, and read or
write till one; then walk four or five miles till half-past two, when
I meet a party of four at the hotel to dine; after dinner, sit and chat
for an hour or two, take a short walk, return to my lodgings and
take tea at seven, read till eleven, and then go to bed. My only deviation from these regular habits-has been when I have occasionally
met a congenial soul who could overcome his natural indolence sufficiently to accompany me on one of my long rambles, or would
leave the gay circle to pass a social evening with me in my room.
And here, as elsewhere, I now and then attend the public places of
amusement, which are tolerably good, and far better than could b&
expected for the very moderate expense.   Indeed, I have visited no 160
country where the admission to places of public amusement was so
cheap. At an excellent weekly concert to which I am a subscriber,
I pay about three shillings sterling per month. In England, for a
concert no better, the admission for a single evening is half a guinea.
Admission to the theatre is proportionally moderate, but as I know
nothing of the. language, I visit it only w7hen there is a ballet, or an
opera with good music.
"I have also been to a masquerade and a public ball; but partly
owing to myself, and partly to the indifference of those with whom
I have commercial intercourse, I have made no acquaintance with
private society, and since my residence here have had no other dinner than such as I paid for. Shaler would scarcely be able to credit
that, in the four months I have resided here, I have not seen the inside of a gentleman's house. In the few months which he and I
spent here, in 1801, we experienced uncommon civility; in fact, we
had never met with such hospitality. The gentlemen with whom
we transacted our business frequently called on us, gave parties for
us, and took pains to introduce us to the most respectable clubs and
reading-rooms, but the times have dreadfully changed, and, alas!
my circumstances have dreadfully changed also. When I made my
first visit here in company with my friend Shaler, it was with no
inconsiderable eclat. ||g
" Two young men who were passengers and freighters of a noble
ship of one thousand tons from the East Indies, with a capital of
seven thousand bags of coffee, accompanied by three black servants,
and taking the best lodgings in the city, attracted the notice of the
natives, and led us foolishly to fancy that the attentions we received
were due to our personal merit, unmixed with considerations of the
property we represented. Knowing, as you do, the extent of my
misfortunes, you will not imagine that I have waited till this time
to be cured of such vanity, or that the difference of my reception
now and at that time has had the least effect upon my spirits. On
the contrary, having no disposition to mix much with the world, it
has afforded me matter of amusement and speculation. A commercial house may expect to derive advantage from the civilities and attention which they pay the rich man, and the latter will almost invariably attribute such attentions to his superior merit; but what
can induce the generality of mankind to bow so meanly at the shrine PHILOSOPHICAL REFLECTIONS.
of riches, even if the possessor is a villain or a fool, I cannot conceive; yet that it is so all the world over I am perfectly satisfied.
If the rich were usually generous in proportion to their riches it
would be accounted for, but the contrary is almost invariably the
case. Riches then must possess an inherent, inexpressible something which dazzles and attracts the mob without benefiting them,
and the poet says •
'I . Gold too oft, with magic art,
Subdues each nobler impulse of the heart.
This crowns the prosperous villain with applause
To whom in vain sad Merit pleads her cause.
This strews with roses life's perplexing road,
And leads the way to Pleasure's blest abode.
With slaughtered victims fills the weeping plain,
And smooths the furrows of the treacherous main.'
"With such sentiments—with a perfect conviction of the insufficiency of riches to procure happiness, and with wants far more
limited than those of the generality of mankind—the sacrifices I have
made may appear, to an indifferent observer, extraordinary and inconsistent, but those who know me will not attribute them to a
criminal thirst of gain, or a weak ambition to be considered rich.
" The greater sacrifices I am now making, in thus becoming a voluntary exile from aU that makes life desirable, being the effect of
dire necessity, needs nothing said in extenuation. Exile and want
of wealth are relative evils; thirst, hunger, and nakedness, positive;
and while we evince a proper resignation to the former, we will
bless our stars if in times so pregnant with calamities we are permitted to escape the latter."
Copenhagen continued to be his headquarters during
the succeeding year of 1812, and in the summer of that
year news was received of the declaration of war between the United States and Great Britain.	
A final effort to retrieve his fortunes was defeated
after all apparent obstacles had been overcome, by an
event which marked an era in tho history of Europe, in 162
which the ruin of individual fortunes was of as little
moment as the destruction of a straw in the vortex of
By the aid of influential men in office, and after great
difficulty and delay, he succeeded in obtaining from
Paris a license for the introduction of a cargo from
Copenhagen into Hamburg via Kiel. The next step
was comparatively easy — to obtain from the Danish
government a license to introduce a cargo from England into Copenhagen. Severe restrictions were in both
cases exacted as to the character of the articles composing the cargo, but these were complied with, the adventure arrived safely at Copenhagen in June, and could
have been sold at once for a very large profit, but the
prospect at Hamburgh was so much greater as to justify a disregard of the old maxim of § the bird in the
While engaged in the transshipment of the cargo into
Danish coasters, to be taken to Kiel, some malicious or
envious person made complaint to the government that
a gentleman who was associated with him in the business was an English subject, and that the property he
represented was English. This led to a seizure and a
legal investigation, the result of which was the restoration of the property, with acknowledgment that it had
been unjustifiably detained. The law's delay, however,
had protracted the detention to such a late date, and the
winter set in with such severity at a much earlier date
than usual, that before the coasters could be despatched
they were fast in the ice and so remained for the winter.
The being forced to wait in idleness till spring was, of
course, a disappointment, but there existed no cause to
apprehend any depreciation of the value of the property,
for up to that time the possibility of failure of any of
the great projects of Napoleon was not taken into account as a factor in a commercial enterprise. But even
his power was unavailing against the elements. The
destruction of his army in the Russian campaign of that
terrible winter was the death-blow of the Continental
system. The spring of 1813 opened with the emancipation of Europe from the tyranny which had so long
oppressed it; the ordinary channels of commerce were
opened ; the markets were flooded; prices became nominal, and it was only after long delay and at considerable
sacrifice that the business was closed, and my father prepared to return to the United States, as there no longer
existed nn object for remaining abroad.
Official announcement had been made that Americans
landing in England from the Continent would be de-
tained as prisoners of war. He therefore proceeded via
Brussels and Paris to Bordeaux, and embarked for New
York, where he landed on the 1st of January, 1814, and
as he says in his narrative—
" It will have been seen that in the four years which had elapsed
since my departure from Boston in the schooner Maria for Naples
no efforts had been spared, no deficiency of perseverance evinced,
and no opportunity allowed to pass unembraced which presented
the prospect of bettering my fortune.
11 Was once again landed on my native shore in good health and
with an empty purse, but buoyed above the immediate pressure of
disappointment by the pleasing anticipation of at least a short repose in the bosom of my family."
No opportunity wras offered for renewing his ocean 164
labor till after the treaty of Ghent and the declaration
of peace, except that of privateering, in which it is very
evident from his letters that he was desirous to engage,
and doubtless refrained in deference to my mother's
In July, 1815, he sailed from Salem in the employ of
some of his friends there in the ship Exeter, for Teneriffe
and Batavia. This voyage occupied nearly a year, and
was not devoid of interesting incident, of which he gives
an account in his narrative, but of which I shall here notice only certain references in his letters to matters having no connection with the direct object of the voyage.
Arriving at Teneriffe on the 26th of August, he was
subjected to a quarantine of eight days in an open roadstead, where he anchored in fifty-five fathoms, and the
rolling of the ship was worse than when at sea under
By the English papers sent off to him by his consignee
he here received the first intelligence of the battle of
Waterloo, of which he says, in a letter to my mother of
August 28th:       .'.,-;       /#..■.'   .    |^ \.:x
"TheEnglish papers sent me by Mr. Little afforded such an overwhelming flood of astonishing and extraordinary news as almost
bewildered me, and required the recalling to my mind the great
events that had astonished the world for two years past to persuade
myself that I was not dreaming. The great emperor and king—he
who has shaken Europe to its foundations, and made almost every
sovereign in it bend the knee to him, is reduced, in the short space
of three years, from this tremendous, and to short-sighted mortals
secure elevation, to the dreadfully humiliating degradation of flying
for life and surrendering himself to the captain of a British ship of
war ! What wonderful vicissitudes has not this man witnessed ! Is
it not astonishing that he should not have preferred death ? A CLASSICAL SCHOOL AT LANCASTER.
i*That mankind continue to sympathize in his fall is, I think,
evinced by the generosity which they display in making a proper
provision for him in so very salubrious a climate as that of St.
Helena. Here I should doubt if even with the assistance of his
friend, the D—1, he would ever have it in his power to disturb the
world again. It is not improbable that on my return I may call and
see him."
His next letter, written at sea, January 16,1816, contains the first allusion to a gentleman whose acquaintance he had made during the preceding year while at
home in Lancaster, and whose warm friendship he retained till the end of his life.
I have heretofore given an extract from one of his
letters expressing his wish that his sons should have the
best possible advantages of education. This had been a
prominent object in his mind during the time he was at
home, and in order to secure it he had proposed the establishment in Lancaster of a school of a superior order
to those which were then common in the country, and
offered to defray whatever additional expense might be
necessary to secure the services of a classical teacher.
Iu return for this the town authorized him to select the
teacher, and he at once applied to President Kirkland,
of Harvard College, who was his personal friend, and
through his aid secured the services of Jared Sparks,
then a young man just starting in a career which is now
recorded in the pages of literary history. I shall have
more to say on this subject when speaking of my father's life in Lancaster. I have mentioned it here only
in explanation of the following paragraph, which contains further evidence of the importance he attached to
the subject of education, and his determination that no 166
effort on his part should be wanting to provide for his
sons the best means that the country afforded:      || ■
"I am not without apprehension that Mr, Sparks may not be willing to remain longer than the first year, especially for a salary which
he seemed to feel some reluctance in accepting. Whatever part of
this salary I may have to pay (and this depends on the number of
scholars) I had much rather pay it, and even add a hundred dollars
to the annual amount of it, than that he should leave. The pernicious effects to the pupils of a frequent change of masters I am so
well aware of that I should be willing to make considerable sacrifices
to avoid it. The advantages to the boys of being educated at home,
compared with that of sending them away at so tender an age, is so
obvious and striking that I would make great efforts and sacrifices
of my own convenience to secure it. I hope, therefore, that means
will be found to induce Mr. Sparks to remain at least three years. I
feel so much the importance of laying a good foundation for education, and that the means of enabling my boys to do it is as dependent
on me as the superstructure will afterwards be on themselves, that I
am not less anxious to accomplish the one than to impress on their
minds a conviction of the truth of the other."
The voyage to Batavia and back was completed in
August, 1816, and he then remained at home for nearly
| year, at the end of which time, being then in his forty-
fourth year, he entered upon what may, in soma respects,
be considered as his most remarkable voyage; not indeed on account of the dangers of the seas, but of the
unjust and outrageous treatment to which he was subjected at the hands of his fellow-men, and the courage,
skill, and adroit management with which he finally extricated himself and achieved a triumphant success. CHAPTER X.
Sails in the Ship Beaver from New York for the West Coast of
South America.—Seized at Talcahuana.—Plots to Take the Spanish Frigate Venganza.—Seized with Fever.—Is Sent to Lima in
the Brig Canton.
No opportunity offered for the prosecution of any
such enterprising voyages as seemed especially attractive to my father till 1817, when the newrs was received
of a revolution in Chili and that the people had emancipated themselves from the government of Spain.
This event, by freeing the commerce of that country
from the paralyzing restrictions to which it had hitherto
been subjected, seemed to offer flattering prospects to
those merchants who should be first to avail themselves'
of the opportunity.
My father's knowledge of the wants and resources
of the country gave him advantages which few of his
countrymen then possessed for undertaking a voyage
thither. This knowledge he at once proceeded to turn
to account by submitting a plan of a voyage to John
Jacob Astor, whose sagacious mind was not slow to perceive the very great advantages it offered, though he
fully appreciated the attendant risks.
His favorite ship, the Beaver (the same mentioned in
Irving's "Astoria"), had just beeu repaired at an ex- 1G8
pense nearly equal to that of building her anew, and
was then in fine condition for such a voyage as was proposed. The cargo, consisting principally of European
manufactures to the amount of $140,000, and the ship
and stores, valued at $50,000 more, formed an aggregate
such as no other individual in the United States would
(or, perhaps, at that time could) have risked on such a
Mr. Aster's wisdom and liberality in leaving the whole
management to my father's discretion was the best evidence of the confidence reposed in him, and the only
exception in which my father's wishes were overruled
was a chief cause of the subsequent misfortunes which
befell them. This was the shipment of a large quantity
of arms and ammunition, which my father considered
would excite suspicion, and, perhaps, be made the pretext for confiscation.
A single paragraph of my father's narrative betrays,
in a few simple words, the depth of feeling he experienced and the crowd of reflections which pressed upon
him at starting upon this new adventure, so full of
causes, both of hope and apprehension, for the future;
calling up such reminiscences of the past, such tender
thought of all he was leaving, and such anxious fears of
the possibilities involved in the years of separation
which must necessarily ensue. My mother had accompanied him to New York and remained with him till
his departure, having me, then in my third year, in her
company. He took leave of her, and sailed on July 1,
1817, on a fine day, with a fresh westerly breeze.
" Before the day closed a trial with other vessels bound to the east- VOYAGE OF THE "BEAVER."
ward satisfied me that the ship sailed well and steered easily. The
watch being set, as usual, at eight o'clock, and the course given to be
steered during the night, I paced the deck till midnight, pleased with
the quiet which had so suddenly succeeded the bustle of getting
away, and gave to the mind ample scope to dwell on scenes past,
present, and to come.
"There are few who have not experienced the pain of bidding
farewell to beloved relatives, even though the time of separation is
limited to a few weeks, and thence may be able to form some idea
of their feeling of desolateness and homesickness whose destiny
compels them to part for years, perhaps forever. Nor could the
flattering confidence manifested by my employers—in the superb ship
under my command, the valuable cargo consigned to me, the entire
and unrestricted control of both, and the reasonable prospect of a
happy result—tend to diminish the sadness which a recurrence to home
always produced. Time, however, and the imperious duties of my
station, gradually lessened the poignancy of these feelings, and hope
—ever-buoyant hope—cheered the drooping spirits, by pointing to a
period, however distant, of a happy consummation of my wishes."
The voyage was unmarked by any event of special
interest. In the hope of getting some intelligence of
the state of affairs in Chili which might be of service to
him, he endeavored to touch on the coast of Brazil, and
arrived off Maldonado on the 8th of September; but the
weather was very thick and stormy, and seeing no prospect of clearing up, after laying to for several hours,
he abandoned the attempt and proceeded on his course.
He next attempted to reach the Falkland Islands, in
order to replenish his wood and water, so as to avoid the
actual necessity of putting into a Chilian port if he found
it advisable to avoid doing so. Before arriving in their
latitude, however, a succession of violent gales carried
them so far to the eastward that the time required to
reach them would have been unprofitably spent, and he
.**_ ***/*>/*-**/» 110
accordingly held his course for Cape Horn, which he
passed at 9 a.m. on the 27th of September, with a smooth
sea and a favorable breeze, to which all the light sails
were set.
On the 15th of October, 1817, he arrived at the Island
of Mocha, and, in the hope of getting information of
the political situation in Chili, lay off and on for several
hours and sent a boat ashore, which returned after having found no trace of inhabitants and no animals except
wild horses.      ' If
As a supply of wood and water was now a matter of
necessity, he determined to stop at Talcahuana, presuming that as the right to enter any port for such supplies
was guaranteed by treaty, he would have no cause to
apprehend ill-treatment, whichever party might be in
possession. Under these impressions he arrived next
morning off the port, and while laying becalmed was
boarded by an officer, who told him that the patriots
had possession of the place, that he was a patriot
officer, that the royal flag was kept flying on the two
ships of war as a decoy, that the American brig Canton was in port and was to sail for Salem in two or
three days, etc., all of which was false except that the
American brig was the Canton.
The calm continuing, he wfas forced to let go an anchor, and soon after his vessel was boarded by another and
apparently a superior officer, who wore the royal uniform,
and demanded the ship's papers. He confirmed the
statements of the previous visitor, but suspicion was
awakened as to their truth, and, if false, the motive must
forebode mischief.   It was necessary to decide at once ARRIVAL AT TALCAHUANA.
what course to adopt. The dead calm which prevailed
rendered flight impossible, and, if a breeze came, the attempt to escape would be a sufficient cause for pursuit
and capture by the frigate lying in plain sight, and which
might rationally be supposed to be the faster sailer.
While the calm continued, the only mode by which he
could be attacked would be by boats, which he might
beat off; but the attempt to do so, like the effort to
escape, would, in case of failure, serve as a justifiable plea
for confiscation. It was, moreover, obvious that if these
ships of war were part of the royal navy, the royalists
must still possess the ascendency at sea, and consequently that the port of Valparaiso would be blockaded, so that
the attempt to enter there after having forced his way
from here, with a royal officer on board to tell the story,
would result in certain disaster. On the other hand,
however vexatious and annoying the conduct of the
government might be, from the feeling of resentment
excited by the suspicion that he intended to traffic with
their enemies, it ought not to provoke him to acts which
would endanger the property, especially as there was the
most undeniable evidence of such necessity as had been
expressly provided for by treaty. The least of two evils,
therefore, seemed to be to place himself in their power
with the confidence of right inspired by honest intentions.
Accordingly, when a breeze came next morning, he
entered the port and came to anchor between the two
ships of war. A guard was immediately placed on board,
and no one was allowed to leave the ship.
The following letter gives an account of what followed :
W_tMljJ*400jtfjz9l 172
| On Board the * Beaver': Talcahtjana, November 22,1817.
"Adversity continues to assail me with the most unrelenting severity. You may remember the aversion I had that any part of my
cargo should be composed of arms and ammunition. YTou will not
doubt that, having them, I took all the precautions in my power that
the case required, but these were of no avail, and I have been led on
by my untoward destiny till I have fallen into the hands of a set
of unprincipled beings who, with some of the forms of law and a
mockery of justice, are proceeding to the condemnation of my valuable ship and cargo, and to the consequent consummation of my
ruin. . . .
" As our wood and water were completely exhausted, I determined
to enter the first port I could in Chili, presuming that, let it be in
possession of either party, they could not fail to allow us to supply
our wants and depart peaceably. But in these reasonable expectations I have been sadly disappointed. There wTas not a port on the
whole coast of Chili or Peru where my arrival would have excited
such suspicion as here, nor one where the temptation offered by so
rich a ship was so unlikely to be withstood. This port was on the eastern side, in possession of the republicans; on the western (which is
a peninsula), by the royalists, who, having a frigate and a sloop-of-war
here, possessed the uncontrolled dominion of the waters. The royalists, besieged or confined to a little point of land where they had
consumed all their provisions, were dependent on the precarious
supply which their command of the waters enabled them to procure clandestinely from the republican shore.
j i After being so long at sea to arrive at a port where no refreshments could be procured was of itself sufficiently unfortunate, but
this is one of the least of the evils I have suffered.
I The general-in-chief, believing that my design was to supply his
enemies, and particularly that my arms and ammunition were intended for this purpose, has treated me wTith a degree of rigor correspondent to this belief. Upon arrival in port my ship was immediately filled with an armed banditti, so ragged, so full of vermin, so
thievish and so uncontrollable that a residence in a den of abandoned
robbers could not have been more uncomfortable. These, after remaining forty-eight hours and stealing everything that came in their
way, were relieved by a captain and his company from the garrison, THE SHIP SEIZED.
who have behaved with more propriety, and who now continue on
duty on board.
"To add to the safety of these troops, not less than the security
of the ship, the sails were unbent and taken away, and twenty of my
men wTere distributed into other ships, myself and officers confined
to the ship, and not allowed to speak with any of our countrymen
belonging to the Canton. This vessel, belonging to Mr. Peabody,
of Salem, had been here two months, and but for the specie she
had on board the place would undoubtedly have been surrendered
to the republicans, as the troops were on the eve of revolt for their
pay, and the appropriation of this money was all that prevented it.
I will not attempt to describe to you the anguish of my mind for
the first few days after the discovery of the efforts that my captors
were making to form some plea to justify a robbery already decided
on. This was so evident that, combined with the privations and
multiplied aggravations to which I was compelled to submit, exist-
tence became so insupportable that I had determined to blow up the
ship, and waited only for an opportunity, when, like Sampson, my'
exit should be accompanied by that of my enemies.
"While waiting for this a ray of hope presented itself, which,
brightening by reflection, presented to my mind a plausible plan of
causing to recoil on my enemies that ruin which they were preparing for me; but to execute this with success a combination of favorable circumstances was required, for which I am now anxiously
waiting. Its failure is certain death; but as this is the only chance
of saving the property, I am determined on putting it in execution.
Having come to this decision I write this to leave with Mr. Coffin
for you, but from the very great uncertainty of its ever reaching you
it is unadvisable to say all I wish.
"If I fail in attaining my object, the world will pronounce the
attempt rash and foolhardy. If I succeed, my conduct will be as
decidedly condemned by one portion of my fellow-men as it will be
approved by the other; but the opinion of the world is to me a matter of indifference. You will find excuses for me—though you can
have no conception of the passion which stimulates me to deeds of
desperation—not less in the unbounded love I bear you and the dear
children (a protracted separation from whom I cannot reconcile to
my mind), than in the repeated and accumulated misfortunes by
which I have been assailed.
"If it is destined that I should never again have the delight of
meeting you, which God avert, my greatest solicitude is on account
of the want of means to give them such an education as I have
always designed."
He then calmly gives her a full statement of the resources which will be left to her, with advice as to the
best means of turning them to account, and concludes
as follows:
"My resolution is fixed, and my fate will be decided in a few
days. That the Great Omnipotent Ruler of the Universe may avert
the danger that hangs over me, and restore me once again to my
beloved wife, children, and friends, is the ardent prayer of your most
affectionate, devoted, and, perhaps from this act, undeserving husband."
In a letter to Mr. Astor, of the same date as the above
(of which I have a copy in his letter-book), he alludes
in a very guarded manner to the above project, and
gives directions in regard to provision for his family in
case of accident to himself. I quote from his published
narrative the account he gives of the project:
" The prospect of dragging on for an indefinite period the wretched existence I had endured since arriving at this port was insupportable. Mortified at the humiliating position in which I was placed;
goaded by the long train of evils which would inevitably result to
me from the loss of this property, and driven to desperation by my
inability to perceive any prospect of a termination to such misery, I
viewed destruction in an effort to free myself as an evil of less magnitude, and therefore determined, if I could induce my men to join
me, to put in execution a plan which I had long meditated, and
which, like aU revolutionary movements, would be deemed praiseworthy or lawless as the result should prove successful or otherwise.
While laying between the Spanish vessels of war, where our ship
was first anchored, I had a good opportunity of noticing the absence
of proper and ordinary discipline.   During more than a month I PLAN FOR RECOVERY OF THE SHIP.
paced the Beaver's deck every night—often till the middle watch
had nearly worn away—and observed that more than half the time
the sentries were so deficient in vigilance as to be hailed several
times before answering. Perceiving the advantage that might result
if I could substitute my answer for that of the sentry on board our
ship, I often took the trumpet and found my ' Alerto' to be as current as that of the Spanish sentry.
" I noticed also that a great number of men were sent away in the
launches every night to guard some weak points at the eastern extremity of the town. With a view of ascertaining the feasibility of
rendering nugatory our guard of twenty soldiers, I tried the experiment of giving them a can of grog mixed with a little laudanum,
which put them all into so profound a sleep for several hours as to
give us entire control of the ship—a circumstance which was concealed from their superiors by my ' Alerto' passing for that of the
proper sentry.
j' With these preliminary experiences and my general knowledge
of the slovenly manner in which the duties of officers and men were
performed on board Spanish ships of war, it appeared to me that if
a favorable opportunity presented, and my men were resolute, we
might take the commodore's ship by a coup-de-main.
"It must be obvious that the carrying-out successfully the plan I
had formed must depend upon obtaining possession of the fastest
sailing ship, which I had ascertained to be the Venganza. Once in
possession of this ship, it would not require more than two or three
hours before we should have brought her to anchor in the bay of St.
Vincent's, which is only about two miles to windward of Talca-
huana. About a mile east of this bay the patriot army was encamped, the commander of which could not fail to perceive the
advantage which fortune had thus thrown in his way, and would
lose no time in furnishing the number of men requisite for the performance of the various duties on board. These could be embarked,
and a return to Talcahuana effected in twelve hours from the time
of having left there, though it is probable a few additional hours
might be required to adjust the mode of proceeding.
"A vigorous and simultaneous attack by this frigate on one side
and by the patriot army on the other would cause the surrender of
the town and shipping in a very short time.   I should then have
. . -        ; < -      '-' ' ■*tf//rf.
gained possession of the Beaver with the principal part of her cargo
yet on board. But this constituted only a small part of my plan.
The main object, then, was to revolutionize the kingdom of Peru;
and to effect this purpose the way seemed to be clear, and not very
difficult if I could induce the Chilian general to furnish me with the
requisite number of men, which, as they were no longer wanted at
Talcahuana, it was presumable he would do.
" With the Venganza thus manned, and before the possibility of
any account of these transactions reaching the blockading squadron
off Valparaiso, I would proceed thither with Spanish colors flying,
sheer alongside the commodore's ship, the Esmeralda, before those
on board had any suspicion of danger, and take her, probably without losing a man. The smaller vessels composing the blockading
force would then surrender without resistance.
" When I had thus been the means of placing in the power of the
Chilian government the whole naval force of Peru, my personal services would be no longer necessary.
_Z _. 7F ♦ _* _$ _i
I Thus amid the pressure of misfortune were my spirits buoyed
up with the prospect of a change in my affairs, possibly a brilliant
one, conducting to fame, fortune, the chastisement of my persecutors, and, more gratifying than all, to the restoration to my employers of their property, with abundant advantage.
"The desperate measure, the execution of which now occupied
my sleeping as well as waking hours, in which the lives of myself
and associates, as well as those of innocent Spanish seamen, would
be jeopardized or sacrificed, I was aware would be viewed by some
as high-handed, lawiess, and piratical; by others as a just retaliation
for the injuries I had suffered; and by a greater number as favoring
the efforts of an oppressed people for the overthrow of a despotic
government, and the establishment of a liberal one in its stead, and,
therefore, highly commendable.
"But to perceive or feel the full force of the motives by which I
was actuated, it is proper to refer to some scenes in my narrative already detailed, such as the fruit of many years of my hard earnings
being swept off, and myself and family reduced to poverty, by the
robbery of Admiral Cochrane, sanctioned by a wicked judge of vice-
admiralty without a justifiable cause and in violation of the law of PREPARATIONS FOR ACTION.
nations; next, the treacherous, mean, and cowardly manner in which,
by order of Napoleon, my vessel and cargo were stolen from me by
Murat; and now without having violated any law, or deviated in
any degree from the tenor of the existing treaty, being again stripped
of my property, reduced to penury, and goaded with the prospect
of the long train of evils which were inevitable. Let such repeated
and deeply distressing wrongs be brought home to the breast of any
one., and if they be not considered sufficient to justify the measure
on which I had determined, they will do much towards extenuat
ing it.
Having very cautiously communicated the subject of
his thoughts to two of the most trustworthy of his men,
and encouraged them by citing instances in which a few
determined men had overcome a greatly superior number simply by taking them by surprise, he found them
ready and willing to sustain him if he would take the
lead. He then told them to sound their companions as
opportunity offered, impressing upon them the necessity
of great caution. The result was as he had anticipated.
The men were all greatly exasperated by the treatment
they had received, and the loss of their wages, and were
ready and earnest to engage in any scheme which offered a chance of emancipation. It only remained,
therefore, to make the proper arrangements and determine upon the time to strike the blow.
The mates of the brig Canton were both kept on
board the frigate, and it was, of course, a matter of importance that they should be enlisted in the enterprise.
For this purpose my father made a visit to the commodore, with whom he had become familiarly acquainted,
and, after conversing with him for some time, took his
leave, and then stopped to have a chat with his country-
8* 178
men on the deck. No one else was present but the two
sentries, neither of whom understood a word of English.
They had already heard from some of the men a rumor
of what was going on, and admitted the feasibility of
the scheme if the men could be depended on, and readily agreed to take part in it.
It had been observed that on Sundays, in addition to
the men sent off on duty, others were allowed to go
ashore for amusement, and on Sunday afternoon most
of the officers also were seeking recreation away from
the ship. It was agreed, therefore, that Sunday afternoon should be the time of attack. On Saturday afternoon they met by agreement in a secluded place and
found they numbered fifteen, besides the twro on board
the frigate. After designating the men to go in the
different boats, and giving directions as to the kind of
arms to be carried and how they could best be concealed,
my father gave them tlieir final directions as minutely
as possible. Those in the Canton's boat were ordered
to be sailing about near the frigate, and when they saw
the Beaver}s boat go to the starboard side of the ship,
they were to go alongside on the larboard. The boats'
crews, mounting simultaneously on opposite sides of the
ship, were instantly to clear the deck of the Spaniards;
and at the same time those who were designated for the
purpose were to cast loose the fore-topsail and cut the
cable. The wind at that season was so invariably from
the south, and blowing so fresh, that the possibility of
its failing them was not even thought of, though it was
obvious that it was absolutely essential to tlieir success. THE WIND FAILS TO COME.
- Before parting my father addressed them a few words
of encouragement, based upon a full knowledge which
he presumed they possessed of the hazardous nature of
the undertaking. He bade them remember that, once
embarked in it, there could be no retreat; that victory
or death was the only alternative; that although the
chances of a glorious result and escape from the misery
they were suffering were very favorable if they were
true to each other, and behaved with spirit and determination, yet the least flinching by any one at the critical
moment might be the ruin of all. If, therefore, any
one of them felt unequal to facing the danger, he wished
him to avow it and withdraw while there was yet time.
All being resolute, they dispersed and returned to the
ship in different -
Early Sunday forenoon my father made a call upon
the commodore, and, after spending half an hour with
him, and promising to return in the afternoon with a
book he wished to borrow, he spent some time on deck
with the two mates, and satisfied himself by the observations he made that if his men were true he need have
little anxiety for the result.
But when he left the frigate, after eleven o'clock, the
south wind had not yet begun to blow. A dead calm
prevailed. This was very unusual, and, of course, excited great anxiety. Hour after hour passed by but no
breeze came. But it might spring up suddenly before
dark, and in that hope the soothing draught was administered to the soldiers on board the Beaver, which soon
had its effect, and left the crew at liberty to arm themselves and make all tlieir preparations at leisure.   It was './Iff'"
in vain.    Day sank into night without a breath from the
south, and another week of suspense awaited them.
Moral as well as physical causes had doubtless been
operating to produce disease, which for some days had
been making its approach, f On the day after the intended attack upon the frigate my father was delirious
with fever, and on his recovery wrote to my mother as
follows: - \ ■■'■■■:, "■•    ■ ' -Jfe: v ... ;: ^Jtev.
"When on the point of putting my plan into execution I was
suddenly and severely seized with typhus fever, which came near
terminating my existence. For nearly a week I was unconscious
of all passing occurrences, and when I recovered the opportunity
was gone, and no alternative was left me but submission to my fate.
During my illness my ship and cargo were condemned, and I am
now waiting the establishment of the court of appeal at St. Jago.
But before this can take place they have got to perform the task of
conquering the country.
4j For this purpose about Hve thousand men marched from here a
fortnight since, with a confidence of success founded on their contempt for the enemy, and which may prove their ruin, as the patriots possess double their number, and are ready to meet them. If
the latter are successful they will soon be here again, when we shall,
in consequence, be sent to Lima, where the business will soon be
settled. Not less prompt will be its termination if the royalists are
decidedly successful, but what we have most to dread is a protracted
warfare, as in this case the only apparent limit to our detention is
the expenditure of the proceeds of the shin and cargo. They have
already issued a decree for taking out of the ship goods to the amount
of $100,000. Their necessities have compelled them to take this
property, and I am much more apprehensive that they will not possess the ability to return it, than of the decision of the court of appeal. As there is no legitimate cause for the condemnation of the
property, there is no doubt it must eventually be restored; but my
brilliant prospects are ruined, and instead of indulging the pleasing
idea of passing the evening of life in ease and quiet, I am trying to
reconcile myself to continued toil and privation, and to bless my DEFECT  OF THE  ROYAL ARMY.
stars if, by such exertions and sacrifices, I am able to defray the expense of educating my boys.
"March 30.—The army which marched from here two months
ago is said to have gained a brilliant victory over the patriot forces
of double their number, and the belief in the truth of this report is
so general that they are in daily expectation of hearing of the capture of the capital, St. Jago. There are so many letters to this effect
that I could not fail to give credit to them if experience had not
taught me their habitual disregard of truth. Hence I have doubts
and fears which time only can remove.
"May 6.—When I wrote you last the royal troops were said to
have gained a great and decisive victory, and it was supposed that
there would be no obstacle to their entering the capital.
"All the members of the civil department of the government were
preparing to set off for St. Jago, and I intended to accompany or
soon follow them for the purpose of prosecuting the appeal in the
tribunal that would be immediately established there, in which I had
the most flattering expectations of a restoration of the property.
* \ While all were on the tiptoe of expectation of hearing of the entry of the royal army into the capital and the consequent subjugation of the country, who should make his appearance but the commander-in-chief, General Ossorio, weighing at least one third less
than when he set out, worn down with fatigue and fear, and accompanied by half a dozen meagre soldiers—almost the only remnant of
the once formidable royal army. They were completely defeated
on the 5th ultimo near St. Jago, and the second in command, General Ordonez, the man who had been the cause of my ruin, was made
prisoner. The scene that immediately succeeded the arrival of the
general was one of dismay and confusion. Horses, mules, carts,
wagons, and everything of the kind were put in requisition to transport goods from Concepcion to this place. The road for two days
was crowded, and those wrho could not procure conveyances were
travelling on foot, some of the women carrying infants, others their
poultry, and driving the family hog; and such a universal panic
seized them that if only five hundred of the patriots had appeared
this place would have made no opposition. Talcahuana became immediately even more crowded than during the siege; every shed and
outhouse, however miserable, was filled.   The ships were prepared 182
for taking off the families and garrison, and everybody was occupied
in getting their effects on board. After a week had passed, and no
enemy appeared, they began to recover their senses, and even to
think they might defend the place.
' ? The prospect of a speedy termination of my business was annihilated by this defeat. It was asserted that the Americans were
friendly to the patriots, and that letters had been found from Captain Biddle, of the United States ship Ontario, to the patriot chief,
expressing sympathy with their cause, so that we were looked upon
as enemies. We are now, therefore, in a most irksome state of suspense.
"While one party is desirous of defending the place, in the belief that its possession is important to the reconquest of the country,
the other is desirous of losing no time in embarking themselves and
their effects for Lima, and this from the well-founded reason of the
total inability of the royal party to raise a force sufficient to offer
even a chance of subjugating thc country. If the first plan prevails, it is impossible to conjecture when I shall be able to leave
here. If the second, and we proceed to Lima, a decision will sooil
take place; and if my property is restored I shall probably proceed
to China, or perhaps direct to America. If not I shall take the
first ship that sails either for Spain or the United States. You
perceive, therefore, that I am entirely at a loss to know when or
where I am bound.
If The idea of being obliged to absent myself again and again from
my beloved family is productive of gloomy feelings in spite of every
effort to ward them off. It required the realization of all my hopes
in regard to this voyage to reconcile me to the absence from home
which it involved; and yet, O miserable man i you have a prospect
of reaping only disgrace and ruin.
"Affairs, however, may yet take a turn, and prospects may
brighten. The Beaver is not yet sold, and only about half the cargo. These may be restored to me by the tribunal of appeal, or one
of our frigates may arrive here and compel a restoration of the
whole with damages. The aggravation is so outrageous that I do
not see how our government can fail to take cognizance of it, and,
though it may be some time before the property is realized, yet I am
confident it will be eventually. THE  "CANTON" ORDERED TO LIMA.
"May 7.—This morning the general sent for Mr„ Coffin, of the
Canton, and myself, and told us he was desirous of doing justice
without further delay, and for this purpose had ordered the Canton
to be got ready to proceed to Lima, where all our papers would also
be sent, and wiiere the tribunal of appeals would decide on the legality of the proceedings towards us here. Here, then, is a ray of
hope for the restoration of the property, and, at any rate, a prospect
of relief from this distracting state of suspense. If the property is
restored, as one half the cargo is yet unsold, as the ship will remain
at Talcahuana till the decision, and as it may be difficult to get from
the government the amount already expended, it may yet be some
time before I can leave this part of the world; but if I succeed in
recovering the property all will end well."
The Canton was equipped for sea and departed for
Lima as rapidly as possible, and the relief even of a
change of scene, after seven months of continued privations, mortification, anxiety, and disgust was inexpressibly refreshing and encouraging, ft
v///// CHAPTER XI.
1818. ';:!.
Letters to the Viceroy and to Mr. Astor.—Arrival at Lima.—^Reception by the Viceroy.—Goes to Valparaiso on a Secret Mission.—
The Beaver Restored.—Captain Biddle Supplies a First Officer.
Although the authorities at Talcahuana pretended
that the order to go to Lima was a voluntary act on
their part, adopted as a measure of justice, it was in reality the result of an order from the Viceroy of Peru,
elicited in response to the following letter from my father, which he had sent by the commander of a ship of
war. This letter, and the one which follows it to Mr.
Astor, from Lima, I deem of such importance, from
their intrinsic interest, and as illustrations of character,
that I give them at length.
"To his Excellency Don Joaquin de la Pezuela, Cavalier of the
Grand Cross of the Royal Order of Isabella the Catholic, Lieutcn-
ant-General of the Armies, Viceroy, Governor, and Captain-General of Peru, etc.:
" Ship 'Beaver,' Talcahuana, January 28,1818.
"Most excellent Sie,—While the kingdom of Chili remains in
so unsettled a state as to possess no other than a military government; while, by drawing its resources from that of Peru, the evidence of its dependence on and subjection to that government is apparent, and, moreover, while the Viceroy of Peru is commander of the
royal navy in these seas, by a part of which my ship was first taken
possession of, I cannot suppose that your excellency, on being made
acquainted with the conduct of the men in power here towards us, LETTER TO THE VICEROY.
will fail to take cognizance of it, or will view with indifference the
citizens of a power in amity with Spain, not only denied the common rights of hospitality, but treated—through the machinations of
two or three malicious, interested, and ignorant men in office—with
a degree of rigor which would hardly be justifiable if our respective
nations were actually at war with each other.
"A consciousness of the integrity and legitimacy of my views, of
the distress by which I was compelled to enter the port, of my right
to do so, secured to me by treaty, and of my having violated no law
of this country are causes which relieve me from any feeling of apprehension of the event of the most rigid scrutiny in a tribunal
composed of honest, intelligent, and honorable men, and I have
therefore repeatedly urged the propriety of being sent to Lima, and
have appealed to the decision of the tribunal there. But the men
who have been so ready to condemn my valuable ship and cargo
have other views, widely different from the dispensation of justice or
the benefiting of the state ; and consequently have not only refused
this, but, as if fearful that an order for this purpose might come
from Lima, or by some other means the property escape their
grasp, have issued a decree for taking out of the ship the amount of
$100,000, and acted upon it with a degree of precipitancy which
gives additional evidence of such apprehension.
"With a view apparently to save appearances, and as an apology
for a trial, some formalities have been observed, but such only as, in
any country where honesty is esteemed a virtue, would stamp its
conductors with merited infamy.
"The answers to the interrogatories were attempted to be interpreted, and the ship's papers translated, by two common sailors,
men without education, and who know not any one rule of grammar
even in their native language.
" At a period when my life was despaired of from a severe attack
of fever, as if to add insult and cruelty to violence and injustice, an
officer was sent to me with the papers relating to the proofs, in order that I might make my defence. My total incapacity to give the
least attention to this was not less evident than I believe it to have
been gratifying to my persecutors, who, without hesitancy, named a
Mr. Antigas to defend my cause—a man whom I had then never
even seen, and the little acquaintance I have had with him since has 186
not inspired me with much respect for his talents or energy; but i
doubt not he is such a person as suited the views of the prosecuting
party. His acquaintance with the law I understand to be very superficial, and, moreover, that, not having a diploma, whatever efforts
he might make in our behalf would have had no validity. Under
such circumstances the issue of the trial (if such proceedings can
merit the name) has been such as did not require a gift of prophecy
to foretell.   My ship and cargo have been declared a prize.
" Contrary to the accustomed usages of all nations, and as if conscious of the unfairness of the proceedings, I have been denied the
perusal of any papers relating to the process, and am yet ignorant
of the reasons (if they have found any) for the condemnation. If,
however, they are not more legitimate and well-grounded than those
exhibited in the decree for taking out a part of the cargo, if there
is equal evidence of such glaring injustice and prostitution of forms
in'the former as in the latter, the most depraved tribunal would be
ashamed not to reverse the decree of condemnation. Of the decree
to which I allude I enclose your excellency a copy, not only as a
curiosity, but as a specimen of the manner in which important concerns are conducted here, and will waive any comments other than
such as are excited byjthe inconsistency and contemptible hypocrisy
of exhibiting a show of fairness in naming the commissioners to appraise the goods, and at the same time warning them against appraising them too high. The consequence has been such as was naturally
to be expected and was intended. The commissioners, held in awe by
the tenor of the decree (if not influenced by interested motives) have
selected the best and most valuable part of my cargo, and in many
instances have appraised goods at less than their first cost, and in all
were insensible of their enhanced value by the expense of insurance
and freight.
"The prospects of my voyage, even in the event of a speedy reversal of the decree, are utterly ruined, and the amount of injury I
have suffered will probably remain to be discussed and settled by the
governments of Spain and the United States.
"Nearly four months have already elapsed since my arrival in
this port, and it is said to be the intention of the prosecutors that
my detention shall be continued till the re-establishment of the royal
government in St. Jago.   But I cannot help flattering myself that LETTER TO MR. ASTOR.
your excellency, reflecting on the precariousness of the event of
war, will determine to despatch a conditional order for our proceeding to Lima, in the event of the reconquest of this kingdom not being accomplished within a limited time.
" In this rational hope, which seems to afford the only prospect of
terminating the wretched state of suspense and persecution, I subscribe myself, with the most profound respect, etc., etc.
"R. J. Cleveland."
" Lima, July 25,1818.
"John Jacob Astor, Esq.,—At a period when it is obvious that
the most important consequences may result from a speedy communication between this government and Talcahuana, they are seldom able to accomplish it in a more limited time than three months.
The order for my proceeding to Lima was communicated to me
on the 7th of May, immediately after its arrival, and, I have since
learned, was the effect produced by my letter to the viceroy of the
28th of January. He ordered the Beaver to be sent here at the same
time, but General Ossorio, being apprehensive that he might be
obliged to evacuate the place, detained her for the purpose of assisting in bringing away the garrison and inhabitants. This order has
been reiterated by a ship which was despatched by this government
and sailed on the 23d of June, and which ship is destined to supply
the place of the Beaver.
" I arrived here on the 28th of May with the ship's papers and all
the documents relative to the process, and lost no time in waiting
upon the viceroy in company with Mr. Coffin, the supercargo of the
" Our interview was short. The viceroy accused the Americans
and English of promoting and encouraging the rebellion by furnishing arms and ammunition, of contravening the laws by introducing
merchandise into the country, and carrying away the specie, without
paying a duty on the export or import, and generally of seriously
injuring the commerce and prosperity of the country. But, nevertheless (he added), we might rely on his protection while here, and
that justice should be administered to us. Without waiting for a
reply he abruptly left us.
4' Some weeks elapsed before it could be decided whether the cause 188
should be tried by the royal hacienda, or by the marine, but was
finally determined for the latter. In the meantime the papers had
undergone a scrutiny by the general as well as the assessor (or attorney) of the marine. The former assured us, as his private opinion, that there was no cause for condemnation, and that the vessels
and property must be restored to their original owners. The latter
has expressed the same opinion to an acquaintance of mine, who
communicated it to me. On the 28th ult. the Ontario returned from
Valparaiso, and brought as passenger a Mr, Robinson, vested with
powers from Mr. Provost to prosecute the suit of the Beaver and
Canton, and provided with some collateral evidence in favor of the
former. On his being presented and making known the object of
his visit, the viceroy assured him that the business was in proper
train and should be accomplished as soon as possible, that the conduct of the government of Talcahuana with regard to those vessels
was very reprehensible, and that he had annulled all their proceedings. I am induced to believe, therefore, that there is little doubt of
a favorable result here, and an immediate restoration of the vessels.
But as it respects the property already expended, the poverty of this
government is such that its immediate restoration is out of the question. Indeed, Mr. Provost was so satisfied of this that in his instructions to Mr. Robinson he recommended him (on reversal of the sentence) to get an acknowledgment of the debt, but not to urge its
payment. However politic this advice may be, I shall not be governed by it, but, on the contrary, will leave no means unattempted
which offer the least prospect of attaining this desirable end. The
mission of Messrs. Provost and Robinson may have had a beneficial
influence on our affairs, inasmuch as it evinces a watchfulness and determination on the part of our government to protect the commerce
of its citizens; but I am fully convinced that, with this government,
one such vessel as the Ontario is of more utility than a host of negotiators, nor do I believe that the united powers of a Demosthenes
and a Cicero, with truth and justice on their side, would be in any
degree so efficacious as the silent eloquence of one of our formidable
"I had scarcely accomplished delivering the cargo of the Beaver
at Talcahuana, when the news of the destruction of the royal army
threw everything into confusion and suspended the settlement of the LETTER TO MR. ASTOR.
business with the commissioners. They had at this time appraised
to the amount of about $188,000, and the goods remaining unapprised I suppose to be worth $30,000 more.
1 \ When General Ossorio ordered them to pay into the treasury the
amount of sales they had made, and to have the goods which remained on hand transported from Concepcion to Talcahuana, it was
discovered that nearly one half of the cargo was yet unsold. It is
not improbable that the general will appropriate as much of this as
he can convert into cash, and the remainder will come here in the
Beaver. If he should not have been able to effect a sale of these
goods, and they are sent here, I hope to recover and realize an amount
from them which will enable me to employ the ship advantageously. My views now are on reversal of the sentence of Talcahuana,
to get possession of the ship and as much of the property as I can
without delay. The aggregate amount of principal and damages
wTill be about $300,000, of which I may get from the cargo remaining on hand $100,000, leaving $200,000 due from the government.
"As there is no probability of their possessing the means of paying this directly, I shall propose to them to grant me some privileges
for the introduction of cargoes, the duties on which to go towards
cancelling the debt. At the present time a handsome voyage might
be made to Valparaiso and back, but it is probable that before I am
put in possession of my ship advantage will be taken of it by others
and the business rendered not wrorth pursuing. In this case I shall
try to get a license for the introduction of a cargo from China, on the
presumption that here and at Canton I may be able to get from five
to seven hundred and fifty thousand dollars shipped on a proportion of the profits, which profits, combined with the duties on so
large an amount, would furnish a capital to invest in China for the
United States equal to the original exportations; but as this voyage
would meet with powerful opposition from the Philippine Co., its
being granted is very problematical. In the event of failure in this,
there can be no opposition to a cargo from the United States, and as
there exists no prospect of recovering the debt except by an operation of this kind, not a moment should be lost in putting it in execution. I should, therefore, proceed immediately to Guayaquil,
load my ship with cocoa, and sail direct for New York.
"Yxou will perceive, sir, that I am anxious to adopt that plan 190
which presents a prospect of the most speedy accomplishment, not
alone from a conviction that despatch is the life of business, but having in view that a political change here may annihilate the advantage of our exclusive privilege; for notwithstanding I perceive no
immediate prospect of such change, yet there is no misfortune which
may occur which I ought not to take into consideration.
"After all the flattering inferences I have drawn from the conduct
and observation of the ruling men of this country (I mean Lima) relating to us, it must not be forgotten that dissimulation, deceit, lying, and theft, with the combination of vices incident to excessive
ignorance, bigotry, and superstition, are, with few exceptions, not
less the characteristics of the higher than of the lower classes of
society, and that if any evidence of the observance of the rule of
justice is shown us, it will proceed alone from the apprehension of
the mischief that may result from a contrary course.
"I have now, sir, given you a general idea of the state of your
affairs under my charge, and have been willing to incur the risk of
being considered tedious, rather than that of being deficient in conveying to }7ou all the information of which I am desirous you should
be possessed, and while I acknowledge that my mind continues to
be unceasingly agitated with alternate hope and fear, I nevertheless
flatter myself that my next will be more decisive and satisfactory.
"August 1.—Since writing the preceding Mr. Provost has
touched here (in the Blossom, English sloop-of-war) on his way to
Columbia River for a purpose which you arc doubtless better acquainted with than I am. Previous to his arrival I had determined
to go to Valparaiso with the view of making arrangements with the
government there for those advantages which the peculiar situation of my ship leads me to believe will be exclusively mine. His
opinion coincided with mine in the propriety of this step, particularly as my presence here would not accelerate the decision of our
process, and also as, in case of any accident to myself, Mr. Robinson
was here to attend to the business and fill my place. I shall sail tomorrow in the Englisfe frigate Andromaclie, Captain Sheriffe, who
has politely offered me a passage.
"The public exigencies are such here that, for several days past,
the question of opening the port to foreigners has been agitated with
a degree of warmth corresponding to its importance, and the jarring A SECRET MISSION.
interests such a measure must necessarily create. It has been averted
for the moment by the holders of goods contracting to loan the government the amount of which they are in immediate want, but, as
this mode of supply will doubtless be discovered to be precarious, it
is highly probable that before the expiration of six months they
will be compelled to admit foreign ships. In this event it is probable that a competition, similar to that which has been exhibited in
Chili, will take place here, and with similar effect. One or two
good voyages may be made and many bad ones; indeed, the supply of
manufactures which will be immediately thrown in here from Chili
will be such as to make a speculation from thc United States extremely hazardous.
" It is possible that before the order for the Beaver's coming here
can be executed at Talcahuana, that place may have surrendered to
the republicans, in which case I may find the ship at Valparaiso,
ready to be delivered to me in conformity with the promise made by
that government to Mr. Provost. If the place should not have fallen
the ship will soon be here, and there is every reason to believe she
will be restored to me, together with as much of the cargo as shall
then remain unsold.
"The bearer of this (Mr. Reynard) is as well informed of the
probable result of my affairs here as I am myself, and I, therefore,
refer you to him for such information as may have escaped me on
this subject, and likewise for such on another subject as prudence
forbids my descanting upon at the present juncture."
The allusion at the conclusion of this letter has reference to a delicate errand involving no inconsiderable
personal risk. His ostensible object in going to Valparaiso was to make a shipment of wheat to Lima, on which
he perceived an opportunity for large profits, the necessary capital for which was furnished by a rich mercantile honse in Lima. But in addition to this he had an
ulterior object which afforded the best possible evidence
of the confidence reposed in him by the viceroy. He
was, in fact, sent by him on a secret mission, and tho 192
license to ship wheat to Lima was given him, not only
as a compensation, but as a blind to cover the real object
of his visit to Valparaiso. The patriot government of
Chili was negotiating for the purchase of a sixty-four-
gun ship belonging to the East India Company, and then
lying in that port; but at the last accounts they had
been unable to comply with the terms demanded. In
order, if possible, to prevent the consummation of the
bargain, my father was authorized by the viceroy to
endeavor to make a secret purchase of her for account
of the Spanish government. He took passage in the
British frigate Andromache, provided with the necessary
authority for making the negotiation, but found on arriving at Valparaiso that the Chilians had already consummated the purchase and were in possession of the
Some considerable time elapsed before he could secure a vessel to take a return cargo to Lima, and various
causes delayed her departure, so that it was late in October before he arrived there.
The following letter to Mr. Astor, from Valparaiso,
shows how fully his mind was occupied with devising
means to retrieve the misfortunes he had encountered.
It will be seen by the explanation given in this letter
that he had been restrained from writing by the same
prudential reasons which affected him at Calcutta.
" Valparaiso, September 1, 1818.
"John Jacob Astoii, Esq.,—At the date of my last I was on the
point of leaving Lima for this place on a mission which had for its
object the restoration of your ship and cargo.    Whether a partial
accomplishment of it will tend to this effect time only can deter- CAPTAIN BIDDLE AT CALLAO.
mine. I had, however, such assurances of her restoration that I
shall feel justified in being at the expense of taking with me to Lima
two mates, if I can engage here such as will suit me. . . .
" I shall leave this in about three weeks for Lima, where I hope
to find the cause decided favorably and the Beaver arrived and at
my disposal. In this case, if the government do not pay me, I shall
endeavor to get permission for the introduction of a large cargo from
China, the duties on which to be appropriated to this purpose; or,
failing in this, I may possibly obtain sufficient to lade the ship with
cocoa for your account for Europe or the United States; or I may be
able to employ her advantageously for a few months between Lima
and this port. In the adoption of either of these or any other plan
I shall be influenced only by the desire of doing that which shall
afford the fairest prospect of promoting your interest. Amid the
perplexities and misfortunes which attend me I derive consolation
from the reflection that I have afforded the royal government not
even the shadow of c-ause for condemning the property; that it
must therefore be restored; and that if the period of its recovery
should yet be distant, it will, nevertheless, turn out more advantageously to you than to have arrived sjafe at this port.
\' The Packet, of Boston, is now here, having disposed of only about
half her cargo, and at little or no advance on its cost, and generally
the speculations here will eventuate unprofitably."
On arriving at Callao he found that Captain Biddle,
of the United States ship Ontario, had been earnestly
urging the release of the Beaver, by representing to
the viceroy that her seizure was regarded by the
United States government as a very serious cause of
complaint. Of these efforts on the part of Captain
Biddle my father says, in his narrative:
"These representations doubtless had an effect in hastening the
business, but the restoration of the ship and what remained of her
cargo were acts entirely independent of these efforts, and are of a
description which prudential reasons prevent being made public."
o 194
This has reference to the secret mission on which he
had been employed, and which it would have been discourteous to have published while the viceroy, Don
Joaquin de la Pezuela, was still living.
The character of the viceroy seemed indeed to form
a striking contrast with that of most of the Spanish
officials whom he had encountered. He appreciated the
frankness and honesty as well as the energy and business capacity of my father's character, and not only gave
him marked proofs of his confidence at that time, but,
years afterwards, when he accidentally met him at Madrid, he manifested his friendly remembrance by the
kindest acts of hospitality.
His first letter from Lima after his return, dated
November 30, 1818, announces the reversal of the decree of Talcahuana and the restoration of the ship.
"Thus, my dear wife, after having been deprived of my command of the Beaver for thirteen months, I am again reinstated.
But what a contrast between the ship I left and the one restored
to me! It will require an outlay of at least five thousand dollars to put the ship in as good a state as when I left her, and if
the labor were to be performed by the common seamen picked up
here it would be an excessively tedious job; but fortunately Captain Sheriffe, of the English frigate Andromache, is equally disposed
with Captain Biddle to render me every assistance, and as * many
hands make light work,' I shall soon have my ship put in good order
again by men from these vessels of war. Although this government is not able to return me the amount of the cargo, the decision
is highly important to all concerned, inasmuch as it must exonerate
me from censure, and will afford us a just claim for the most ample
'' The satisfaction naturally arising from this event is nearly counterbalanced by the reflection that it must retard rather than accelerate my return.   The government has no means of canceUing their DAWNING HOPE.
debt to me except that of a privilege for the introduction of a cargo
here, the duties on which to be appropriated to this purpose. Hence
the necessit}' of an operation which must add another year to my
already long absence; but imperious duty demands this sacrifice,
and in making it I become reconciled, from the prospect it affords of
doing away with the necessity for any future separation. God grant
that no untoward event may occur to blast this prospect, to annihilate this cheering hope, which has tended to buoy me up amidst
the multiplicity of ills by which I have been threatened to be engulfed. ...
" I meet with general congratulations on the restoration of my
ship by those who suppose it to be a great piece of good fortune;
but unless some privilege is granted us it is directly the reverse, inasmuch as my emolument was to be derived from the cargo, without
which the ship is only an embarrassment, unless accompanied by
some special license.
" A petition for a voyage to China and back here, with a proposal
that the duties thereon shall be appropriated to the payment of our
claims, is now before the government; but as the viceroy is timid,
and we have the whole weight of the Philippine Company against
us, I do not flatter myself with success. Failing in this, there seems
to be no other alternative than applying to the court of Spain—the
fountain-head of prevarication, evasion, and dissimulation — and
where the chance of success is in an exact ratio with their apprehension of consequences. In this event I shall endeavor to lade my
ship with cocoa and proceed to Gibraltar, where I may probably
arrive in June, and be with you in the autumn of 1819.
" How does my heart leap with joy at the idea of being again at
home! How does my imagination trace the expressive countenance
of each individual of the dear circle! How naturally and reciprocally will the observations of the ravages of time and care be
called forth! And how earnestly will my dear boys desire a relation
of the adventures of their poor, old, careworn father."
I cannot repeat the many interesting details which
my father gives in his narrative of his experiences after
the restoration of the ship in endeavoring to retrieve his
own fortunes, and also to make good the losses which
lJJjj£j£//j£_tJjA 196
had fallen upon the underwriters, to whom the ship had
been long since abandoned. But in order that their
action on his return should appear in its true light it
is proper to give a general outline of what he accomplished. - ■*:_. ■■:.■■ ■.■.■■■;,/--.^^"---- llpliltf   ■ .      -0-   '
S A leading merchant of Lima, presuming that he would
adopt the usual shorthand course of selling the ship at
auction for the benefit of the underwriters, proposed to
him to buy her in for joint account, and employ her in
freighting on the coast—his furnishing the capital being
considered an equivalent to my father's services in commanding the ship, and the profits to be shared equally.
This course would have been legally justifiable, and in
accordance with common custom, and there was no
doubt wrould lead directly to fortune. But the proposal
was at once declined, and solely from the sense of moral
obligation to those who had suffered loss of property
which was under his care, and the feeling that if the
ship could be advantageously employed it should be for
their account. £,U||£. -.^ -l^&' Jf-- *■■-'-•■-■ - -Jfe- -islli
-Jj The first great difficulty was to find seamen. The
original crew of the Beaver was long since dispersed,
and many of them had entered the Chilian service.
Captain Biddle, who had exhibited a very warm and
friendly interest throughout his connection with the affair, rendered finally a most important service by granting permission to one of his midshipmen to take the position of first mate. § This was Mr. Alexander B. Pink-
ham, a most active, efficient, and intelligent officer. His
services proved of very great value on more than one
trying occasion, and he remained to the day of his death LETTER FROM LIEUT. PINKHAM.
so warm and true a friend of my father's that I am
tempted to pay a tribute to his memory by quoting a
portion of a letter which my father received from him,
in acknowledgment of a copy of his published narrative, more than twenty years after these occurrences.
The tone in which he alludes to them is no less honorable to himself, in the evidence of character it affords,
than complimentary to the one he addresses:
Portsmouth,Va., May 29,1842.
" R. J. Cleveland, Esq.:
"My Dear Sir,—The author of "Gil Bias" shrewdly reflected
that his book would be read by two classes of persons, whom he ingeniously described in the prefatory tale of the two students.
" I think I may make three classes of your readers. The young
commercial adventurer will find it a useful monitor from which he
will learn how much may be done by pursuing an honorable course
with industry and perseverance. To those whom age or infirmity
have compelled to retire from the more stirring scenes of life it will
be highly entertaining, while the fireside traveller will envy you the
happiness of having visited so many different countries, and will
judge from the easy and smooth manner in which you have detailed
your adventures that their achievement must have been less difficult
than you pretend, like the reverend doctors who thought it strange
that the achievement of Columbus should be thought so great a
"It is amusing to me to revert to what my impressions were of
you the first time I saw you. To have supposed you had ever met
with any adventures, either by sea or land, would have been farthest
from my thoughts. That you might have led a life of industry and
application to business was probable enough, and that you were
familiar with accounts and business forms. I was not undeceived
for several months, but when the time came for active exertions, our
first movement (upon the attack of the Chilian fleet), and subsequently on our voyage to Pisco, and during our short stay there, showed
me that I had mistaken my man.
1 The year that I served in the Beaver was full of the most pleas- 198
ing excitement. The pecuniary prospects of the voyages, the gentlemanly treatment I received from you, the elegant and comfortable ship, the handsome style in which we lived, the liberal provision
you made for everything as far as elegancies, comforts, and conveniences were procurable; your excellent discipline with regard to officers and men, accompanied with the most magnanimous generosity
to all, your resolution and firmness under danger, whether from without or from internal commotion, inspired such an attachment for
you as I have never felt for any other commander."
1819, 1820.
Operations on the Coast of Peru.—Proclamation of Blockade,which
he Sets at Defiance with Entire Success.—Satisfaction of the
Viceroy.—Sails for Rio Janeiro.
At length, by permission of the viceroy, a crew was
made up of captives who had been taken from Chilian
ships and imprisoned at Callao. These prisoners were
of all nations, but principally English and Americans.
No sooner did they learn that my father had an order
for the release of fifteen of their number than the anxiety of every one to be included among the fortunate
ones was so great as to make the task of selection very
painful, and, at the risk of not getting the best men,
he finally deputed the duty to the jailor. On the 28th of
February an exciting occurrence took place in the harbor, which afforded evidence of the danger he incurred
from the shipment of such a crew. •§■'
The viceroy had selected this day for his annual visit
to the fleet and line of defence. As is often the case at
that season, a dense fog prevailed, and while the viceroy
was making the circuit of the bay on board the brig
Maipo, the mist lifted for a few moments and revealed
the presence of two Chilian ships of war, which had
quietly made their way in, and were within half cannon-
shot of the castle, and in close proximity to the Maipo,
• •**£*££Ut i ./I, 200
whose retreat was near being cut off. A lively cannon-
ade was at once opened by both parties, and a few minutes later, when the fog again closed down, it became
evident that they were firing at random, as several shot
passed between the masts of the Beaver, and were striking the water both inside and out of where she lay.
Fearing that the ship might sustain injury, the cables
were slipped and all sail made to get out of the way.
A few minutes later they found themselves close alongside another Chilian ship of sixty-four guns, and as
friend could not be distinguished from foe in the dense
fog, they came near having a whole broadside poured
into them. Every man was at his station with lighted
matches, and only waiting the order to fire, when the
mistake was discovered. While speaking her, five of
his men jumped overboard and were picked up by a
boat from the ship of war.   |-  .   ■. J:     :     ||t       WJri
_No result of any importance was achieved by this attack. After exchanging shots for half an hour, the
Chilian ships withdrew without capturing a single Spanish vessel, and came to anchor near the island of San
Lorenzo. The Beaver returned to her anchorage, but
the men manifested a mutinous spirit and showed so
plainly their wish to desert to their countrymen that it
became evident that vigorous measures of prevention
must be adopted. The boats were, therefore, securely
fastened, the officers armed themselves, and the men
were told that instant death would be the portion of
any one who attempted to desert.    ^        |
Meantime the commander of the Chilian navy, Lord
Cochrane (a nephew of Sir Hugh Cochrane, who sent DEFIES THE BLOCKADE.
my father into Tortola) had issued a proclamation of
blockade of the whole coast of Peru from its southern
extremity to Guayaquil. The utter incompetency of
the Chilian navy to enforce a legal blockade of even an
eighth part of this great extent of coast rendered it obvious that the proclamation was only intended as an
apology for the robbery of neutrals. As the government of the United States had declared and maintained
its disregard of the paper blockades of England and
France, there was no reason to doubt that the same
principle would apply to this case, and my father determined to set it. at defiance, trusting to being sustained
by his government, and feeling confident also that Chili
would be very cautious of committing any outrage at
the risk of offending her best friend. This decision was
in opposition to that of all the other neutral agents, and
the Beaver was the only one of the twelve neutral vessels then lying in the port of Callao whose destination
was not defeated and prospects ruined by this proclamation. ' "If"' "' " ..':km: , , ' :"1|/ . ...
I quote the following from my father's published account :
"Being all prepared to sail on the 8th of March, I went on board
the O'Higgins frigate to demand my men who had deserted, but
with no expectation that they would be restored.
"When I made known the object of my visit to the captain, an
Englishman named Foster, he not only peremptorily refused to give
them up, but insolently expressed his regret that more of them had
not deserted.
"As I was leaving his ship he tauntingly held up the proclamation of blockade, and bid me beware of the consequences. I replied that I was as well acquainted with my business as he was with
# 202
his, and, therefore, the caution, or threat, was unnecessary and misplaced.
"I next went on board the Lautaro to see Captain Guise, with
whom I became acquainted at Valparaiso. The friendly and polite
reception I met with from this gentleman formed a striking contrast to that of Captain Foster, and presented a remarkable instance
of the different conduct under the same circumstances of officers
of the same grade, one of whom had been reared and educated in
polished society, and the other among the low and vulgar.
I Captain Guise expressed regret that their present want of men
was such that no influence he could use with Lord Cochrane would
be of any avail.
"In speaking of the proclamation of blockade, I did not fail to
express my opinion that the United States would support me in hot
considering those ports blockaded before which there was no naval
force, and that I had determined to act in conformity with that
opinion, which he seemed to consider a correct one.
" On returning to the Beaver without the men, I perceived a general manifestation of dislike among the crew to go to sea with so
many short of our complement; but there was no possibility of procuring others, and delay would be more likely to change the aspect
of affairs for the worse than the better. I therefore called all hands
aft; represented to them the easy and short voyage we had to perform; that the numbers now on board were an ample complement
for any voyage on this coast; that I had engaged an extra number
originally in order to make the greater despatch in lading the ship,
but that, nevertheless, if they would go to work cheerfully, I would
engage to divide among them the wages of the five men who had
deserted, until I could ship others in their stead. This had the desired effect. They went with alacrity to the windlass, hove up the
anchor, made sail, and at 4 p.m. I was once again on the broad ocean
in uncontrolled command of the Beaver.
"More than two years had elapsed since the seizure of the ship
at Talcahuana, and during that time I had experienced nothing but
a continued series of vexations, altercations, and the most prolonged
and aggravating state of suspense. The freedom from thraldom,
therefore, which I now experienced, was at first difficult to believe,
and many days passed before I possessed an entire consciousness of
having regained the power of independent action." MUTINY.
On the fourth day they arrived at Pisco, where the
governor, after examining the viceroy's license, gave
him an hospitable reception. Here they were to take on
board a quantity of brandy, which was a slow and difficult undertaking, as it was contained in jars of twenty
gallons and was sent off in launches and had to be hoisted over the ship's sides in an open roadstead at the imminent risk of breaking, from the rolling of the ship.
The knowledge possessed by the crew of the unusual
value of every man, owing to their feeble number, and
the impossibility of supplying the loss should any one
desert, led them to presume upon attempting a measure
which would have subverted all discipline and endangered the safety of ship and cargo. This was the
bringing on board a jar of brandy to be held in their
own possession. My father was on shore at the time,
but Mr. Pinkham, seeing the man with it, very judiciously tried to persuade him to give it up, promising it
should be dealt out to them in proper rations. This
they would not submit to, and swore they would do as
they pleased with their own liquor. Perceiving remonstrance to be in vain, Mr. Pinkham very properly
knocked the jar out of the fellow's hands, which broke
it and spilled all the brandy.
"The most abusive language then followed and the mutiny became general. In the evening I received a note by one of the shore
boats, detailing these transactions and the continued insubordination
of the crew. It was too late to go on board that evening, and I had
consequently time to resolve in my mind the most prudent and
judicious mode of proceeding. I was offered a file of soldiers, to
take as many of the men on shore as I chose and have them whipped;
but though this could easily be done, it would only tend to increase 204
the difficulty when we should be beyond the reach of such aid. It
was obvious that, to secure any further services from these men, they
must be subdued by the efforts of myself and officers alone, and cost
what it might, I determined to try the issue, and convince them that
there could be but one master to the Beaver. Accordingly, on going
on board and finding my officers ready to second me (all work on
board continuing to be suspended), we determined that seizing up
the ringleader to the shrouds and giving him a good whipping before the whole crew would be the readiest and best way of settling
the difficulty. But if the men made the resistance that was apprehended, the attempt might be attended with serious consequences.
"Having loaded our pistols and prepared the requisite seizings, I
called the ringleader, by name, to come aft, which he readily obeyed,
no doubt with the expectation of being supported by his comrades. I
asked him how he had dared to speak to the officer of the ship in the
insolent manner he had done ? He replied that the officer had broken
his jar of brandy, and he'd be damned if he or any one else should
do any more work until it was made up to him. I then turned to
the mates and told them to seize him up to the rigging, whereupon
the crew, who had been watching us from the forecastle, began moving aft in a body. I, therefore, immediately took a pistol in each
hand, and meeting them half-way, leisurely laid a rope across the
deck, and threatened with instant death any man who should dare
to cross it. This had the desired effect. No one had the temerity
to try me. The fellow was whipped till he begged for mercy and
promised never to behave amiss again j and, indeed, he was ever after an orderly, good man. With my pistols still in hand, I then
went forward and peremptorily ordered the men to their duty on
pain of like punishment to any one who refused. I allowed them
no time for consultation, but calling them by name, ordered them
immediately on various parts of ship's duty. Not one of them
saw fit even to hesitate, and they were ever after as orderly a crew
as I could desire.
"Having now passed a week at Pisco, and taken on board six hundred jars of brandy and wine, we sailed for Guanchaca, and thus
demonstrated that this part of the coast was not in a state of blockade in the true and legitimate acceptance of that term." RETURN TO CALLAO.
At Guanchaca the question was put at final rest by
an actual meeting with a Chilian brig of war, which sent
a boat on board with a request that the captain of the
Beaver would come on board with his papers.  :||;
After half an hour's conversation with Captain Spry
(with whom he had become acquainted at Valparaiso),
my father convinced him that it would be very unwise
to molest him. % He, therefore, endorsed his register,
and sent him back to his ship with friendly wishes.
From Guanchaca he proceeded to Malabrigo and thence
to Paeasmayo, finding the merchants at every port anxious to avail themselves of the opportunity to freight
goods to Callao. On the 19th of May, having taken on
board a cargo exceeding thirteen thousand quintals,
which brought the ship's chainwales almost even with
the water, he sailed for Callao. Being anxious to learn
the state of affairs before venturing too near, he looked
in at Guacho, and, seeing an English brig lying there,
sent a boat to obtain information, which returned with
intelligence that the Chilian squadron had left the bay
nearly a month previous, and there was no impediment
to entering.
The arrival at Callao of so large a cargo of wheat and
rice was an auspicious event for the people of Lima.
Precisely three months had elapsed since his departure,
and, by the successful accomplishment of the voyage, the
fact was demonstrated that there was no cause to apprehend that the supply of breadstuffs would be cut off by
a Chilian blockade. The earnings of the ship during
this period exceeded $20,000, payable immediately on
landing the cargo.    The viceroy appeared now, for the
% 206
first time, to appreciate the great advantage derivable
from neutral commerce. He gave my father a most
cordial and flattering reception, complimented him upon
the boldness manifested in disregarding Lord Cochrane's
proclamation of blockade, and declared his readiness to
give him a license to go to any part of the coast he
After so many years of adversity the turning-point
seemed at last to have been reached, and surely if ever
success was won by bull-dog tenacity of purpose and unflinching courage, both moral and physical, it was so in
his case.
It is deliciously refreshing to read a letter from him
which forms such a contrast to the gloomy tone which
had so long pervaded his correspondence as the following:
° " Lima, June 22,1819.
"At length, my dear wife, I have the delight of conveying to you
the cheering intelligence that my affairs are prospering even beyond
my expectations. The ebb, which has been setting so many years
and so strong against me, seemed to have descended to its lowest
point about this time last year, since which there has been a gradual
flood, till my arrival from my voyage coastwise, when the number
of favorable events which have been crowded into a small space
leads me to be apprehensive that fortune really intends to yield to
him who has courted her so long.
"Of the number of neutral vessels lying here at the time Lord
Cochrane's proclamation was issued, mine is the only one which has
dared bid defiance to it in pursuing the plan I had marked out before it was issued. I have accomplished it successfully, and by the
great rise in the price of wheat shall realize an advantage for myself
of about $10,000. % f |
"I had no expectation that my adventure to Valparaiso would
yield more than sufficient to pay my debts there; but, by very direct information, I have scarce a doubt it has yielded a profit of AT LENGTH FORTUNE SMILES.
$8000 or $10,000. I had $5000 specie on board the Macedonian,
bound for China, at the time that all the money destined for that
vessel was seized by Lord Cochrane. I expected mine had gone in
the general sweep, but find that the evidence given of it being mine
was so satisfactory that they declined taking it.
" These items, added to other operations of minor magnitude, give
me a property of about $40,000, acquired since my first arrival in
Lima. Add to this the most flattering reception from the viceroy,
and assurance that he would grant me permission to go to any part
of the coast I pleased—a permission which, from the little competition, must soon enable me to lade the ship with the produce of the
country, and which, taken to Europe or the United States, will be
equal to replacing the original capital, with the addition of premium
and interest. I know not with whom I shall have to account for
the voyage on my arrival, as Mr. Astor has abandoned to the underwriters ; but, even if. I should again be unfortunate, if they possess
any generous feelings they cannot fail to acknowledge that there
has been no want of perseverance and industry on my part. While
I was on my passage from Pacasmayo to this port the frigate Macedonian had been here, and proceeded down the coast in search of
me. We missed each other, and this I regret exceedingly, not so
much from the expectation of any advantage her presence here
would have produced, as from having failed in receiving those letters from home which the notoriety of her destination, not less than
the port from whence she sailed, induces the belief were on board.
| During my various peregrinations I have never at any time
been so long without hearing from you. I am glad this is not thc
case with you, as the frequent opportunities by which I have written must present you a letter every two or three months.
"With a view of realizing some property without delay, not less
than the hope of affording you the means of gratifying every wish
to be compassed by money, I have made arrangements for a large
sum at Valparaiso, in addition to the profits on my adventure there,
amounting together to between $30,000 and $40,000. This property
I have ordered remitted either to Stephen Williams, of London, or
to Samuel G. Perkins & Co., of Boston, whichever can be done
most advantageously, to be held subject to the control of William
or George Cleveland.   I now write George on the subject; and, af- 208
ter he has paid sums to the amount of about $13,000,1 desired him
to place the remainder at your disposal. You will therefore, my
dear wife, probably have the control of about $25,000. With the
whole of this money, believe me, you can do nothing that can displease me. If W., or G., or M., or H, or S. want it, give it, or any
portion of it, to them if you think proper. If you choose to spend
it in the embellishment of the estate, do so. Indeed, my dear, if you
should throw it away, only let me know the doing so has afforded
you pleasure, and I will approve of the act. I have no other wish
than to express to you in intelligible terms that property is only valuable to me in proportion as it contributes to your happiness.
"I shall sail again to-morrow for Pisco, there to lade with brandy
for the port I was at last, and touching here on my way down, then
to return with a cargo of wheat and rice. I hope to perform this
voyage in less than three months, and with a profit of $40,000 for
the ship and $10,000 for myself.
" I hope to meet you before the expiration of the year 1820, but
whether I shall return by way of China or from hence to Europe
and the United States, is a matter of great uncertainty.
"I could almost immediately return with a decent competency,
and with a prospect of giving satisfaction to the owners of the ship;
but at the present moment everything concurs to give me almost the
monopoly of the trade of this coast—to present so brilliant a prospect that not to take advantage of it, to give over the chase when
fortune is so near within my grasp, would be an evidence of imbecility so glaring, a want of enterprise so inconsistent with my character, that I am confident, although the object should be alone that
of meeting you, you could not fail to experience mortification
from it.
"I am now on the point of sailing, and, from the careless manner
in which this letter is written, you will perceive I am hurried. Indeed, to perform the duties of master and supercargo of such a ship
as the Beaver, without even a clerk, requires great industry on a
common voyage, but much more when the property is turned so
often. My various speculations on my private account have given
me so much more property than I can employ in my privilege in
the ship that for some time I have had a considerable sum lying by.
If I had had any intelligent, trusty young man with me I could have A COASTING VOYAGE.
put him in the way of making his fortune and adding greatly to
"I fully intended to have written to the dear boys, but, having
neglected to do it till there is no longer time, I will prepare a letter
for them, and likewise complete for you the narrative of the marvellous adventures of R. J. C, already begun, and send them both
by the first good opportunity.
"Of the political state of this country, it differs very little from
what it was at this time last year. The republicans have the ascendency at sea, but, as their opponents have laid by all their shipping, there is no chance of making prizes; consequently the maintenance of their ships must come from themselves, and their resources
are not competent to it for any length of time. How the business
will end time only can determine, but the method taken by the English commanders of the Chilian ships to make converts to republicanism, that of first stripping them of their property, seems to have
produced a contrary effect. A want of activity, a want of enterprise, a sluggishness in forming plans and an eternity in executing
them, prove that these people are the legitimate descendants of those
of whom, more than two centuries past, the other Europeans used
to say, \ Let death come from Spain,' implying thereby that it would
be so long in coming that nothing need be apprehended from it.
"Adieu, my dear wife. May death neither come from Spain nor
any other quarter till we have had one more embrace. My love to
the boys and all the family.
"Yours, as ever, most affectionately, Richabd."
■His next operation was to charter the ship for a
four-months' voyage on the coast, at $10,000 per month.
This voyage—to Huasco and Pacasmayo, and thence to
Valparaiso and back to Callao—w/as successfully performed, although he was brought to on the way to Valparaiso by a Chilian 64-gun ship, bearing the flag of
Admiral Blanco, who, on being satisfied that the ship
had been chartered and laden on English account, allowed him to go on without molestation. 210
The following letter from Valparaiso evinces that he
appreciated the importance of taking the tide in his affairs at the flood, and was making the most of his opportunities:
"Valparaiso, January 19,1820.
"I shall sail from here to-morrow for Callao with a full cargo of
wheat for account of the charterer of the ship. After unlading my
ship and settling my affairs it is most probable I shall proceed to
Guayaquil, and lade the ship with cocoa for Europe or the United
States, and determine which at Rio Janeiro, where I shall stop on
my way. While fortune seems propitious I am giving her such an
opportunity of evincing her favors as appears to astonish the natives. In addition fo attending to the duties of my own ship I have
purchased the ship Ocean, of three hundred and sixty-five tons, and
despatched her with a cargo of wheat for Callao; one half of the
fine ship Zephyr, of three hundred and sixty tons, and have chartered the Swedish ship Drottingen, of five hundred tons, all loaded
with wheat for my private account. My expectation of emolument
is not so much from profit on the wheat as from the advantageous
employment of the ships; and should the demand for them at Lima
be equal to what it was when I left there, I shall realize a handsome
fortune. Indeed, if I were as sanguine as I was in my younger days,
I should say it was certain; but, alas! I have been too severely
taught the uncertainty of everything mundane not to be prepared
for disappointment. . . .
"The Chilian navy is now entirely commanded and officered by
English adventurers, men of desperate fortunes, who, under the
mask of giving freedom to this country, are in pursuit of their own
fortunes, and regardless of means of their attainment. If it were
not that we have a frigate in this neighborhood, no American vessel
could navigate here with safety."
On his return to Callao, having successfully accomplished the object for which the ship was chartered, he
found he had the control of so large an amount of
property for account of the owners of the Beaver, besides the handsome fortune he had accumulated for PREPARATIONS FOR RETURNING HOME.
himself, that he felt justified in making immediate preparations for returning home. Indeed, the condition of
the ship indicated but too clearly that she would, ere
long, be incapable of making the passage. He therefore
contracted for a cargo of cocoa, to be taken on board at
Guayaquil, and busied himself with settling his affairs
and making arrangements for the employment of the
other ships in his service. ||
On the 12th of Marcli he sailed for Guayaquil, and
on the 10th of April writes to his wife from that place
as follows : ;JP: .     ... jj... M,
"Guayaquil, April 10, 1820.
11 came to this place with the expectation of lading with cocoa
for the United States, for which purpose I had contracted with a
merchant of Lima, to be delivered to me here, but am disappointed.
A sudden and unexpected demand has put it out of the power of
the agent here to fulfil the contract, and with about two thirds of
a cargo I am on the point of returning to Callao, in hopes of making
up the remainder there. If I succeed I may be wTith you as soon as
you receive this; but whether I am or not, I ought to make you acquainted with the state of my affairs.
" The ship Drottingen, by which I send this via Europe, is loaded
with cocoa, entirely on my account—a cargo which cost upwards of
$80,000—of which I risk only one half, the other half being on respondentia. Her supercargo, Mr. Coit, will forward this to you from
"I am proprietor of one half the fine ship Zephyr, of Providence,
for which I gave $15,000. This ship is now engaged in a profitable
freighting business on the coast of Peru. The proceeds of these
freights will be deposited in safe hands in Lima, so that there will
be nothing but the ship at risk till the closing of the voyage via
China, Europe, or the United States.
"I am likewise owner of one half the ship Ocean, of three hundred and sixty-five tons, which cost me $7500. This ship had a
freight of $16,000, engaged from hence to Callao, but the governor
0! 212
here has thought proper to throw obstacles in the way of her proceeding, and she must therefore remain here till I can get an order
from the viceroy for her release. She will be advantageously employed in freighting on this coast, and is commanded by my former
mate, Mr. Pinkham.
"I have likewise an interest of $15,000 in the voyage of the brig
Macedonian, Captain E. Smith, to China and back to Callao. As
this cargo will be introduced into Lima on very favorable terms, the
prospect is very flattering. She is expected back in three or four
months. In the Beaver I shall have on board for my own account
about eight tons of cocoa and eight or ten thousand dollars in specie.
" Thus, my dear wife, you will perceive that if I have done well
for my owners I have not done less for myself, and if I arrive safe
it may fairly be presumed there will be no necessity for navigating
more. May the joyful day of our meeting soon arrive, when there
will be no alloy of anticipated separation."
Returning to Callao, it was found necessary to discharge part of the cargo, in order to recalk the ship
before proceeding to sea. This being accomplished,
and the ship ready for sea, he sailed for Rio Janeiro
on the evening of March 11,1820. CHAPTER XIII. j|
Recapitulation of the Occurrences of Three Years.—Letter from the
Underwriters, and His Reply.—Home Again.—Disgraceful Conduct of the National Insurance Company.
Three years had now elapsed since his departure from
New York, and in all that time he had received no tidings from his family. A packet of letters had been sent
to him by the frigate Macedonian, but the chaplain who
had it in charge had died on the passage, the package
was not left at any port where he might have found it,
and as the frigate failed to fall in with him the letters
only reached him several months after his return home.
A recapitulation of the leading events in his experience since the seizure of his ship may here be appropriately introduced.    : 1        ff
After all the property intrusted to his charge had
been taken from him and he had suffered all the anguish incident to such a situation, aggravated by tlie
efforts of his captors to make his situation so uncomfortable as to force him to abandon the attempt to recover it, he had finally succeeded by persistent effort in
recovering the ship and a remnant of the cargo. "Within
a twelvemonth of the time of her restoration he had
employed her so advantageously as to have paid all the
expenses of repairing, revictualling, and remanning her,
'._■_'_-_?_    _ J 4 t >'   ,v 214
and had shipped on board of her a cargo of cocoa for
New York, nearly or quite equal in value to the original
capital, besides specie more than enough to defray all the
expenses of the ship up to the time of her arrival in
New York; and, in addition, a clear and legitimate claim
on the Spanish government for the original amount of
cargo and damages. All thfe for the sole account of the
cwners of the Beaver.
For himself — having before the restoration of the
ship begun a speculation at Valparaiso which laid the
foundation of further operations—he had succeeded in
acquiring such a property as the most successful accomplishment of his original plans would not have produced.
To have thus turned defeat and disaster into victory,
and the achievement of a greater success than was originally anticipated for the voyage, was surely a sufficient
cause for self-gratulation and the anticipation of a most
gratifying reception from the owners, whose interests
he had thus carefully guarded.     %
It was, therefore, with no small degree of surprise
when, on the point of sailing, that he received from
the underwriters a peremptory order to return immediately home with the ship. They acknowledged at the
same time the receipt of his letter of August previous,
informing them that the ship was earning $10,000 per
month, and as she would hardly be worth that sum herself in New York, the inference was unavoidable that
they felt doubtful of his honesty. The revulsion of
feeling excited by this implication is manifested in the
following letter, which he wrote in reply, and sent up
by the pilot-boat on arriving in New York, before going
"Lima, June 8,1820.
"To the Owners of the Ship 'Beaver':
I Gentlemen,—When on the point of leaving this for New York 1
received (via Panama) your letter of January 20, ultimo, in which
is implied apprehensions relative to your property under my charge
which surprise and mortify me. Your anxiety to bring this f long-
pending concern to a close, * however great, cannot surpass mine.
Indeed, gentlemen, if the whole amount of property I have acquired
for you was to be the recompense of an additional month's absence
from my family, to that which I have considered limited by duty, I
should hold such fortune too dearly purchased by such sacrifice.
" From the information I possessed of the little value of ships in
New York I did not suppose the Beaver would sell for more than
enough to defray the expense of delivering her there, and concluded
that if I would consent to risk the loss of my time in the business of
freighting, the owners of the Beaver could not fail to consent to risk
a ship which circumstances rendered of so little value.
"The peremptory order conveyed in your letter above-named is
not less evidence of erroneous judgment on my part than of excessive alarm for the safety of the property on yours. My various letters by the China and Drottingen, from Guayaquil, and by the Tyne,
from this place, each enclosing a bill of lading of the cargo shipped
on board the Beaver for your account, and bound for New York,
will afford you convincing evidence of my having anticipated your
wishes, or rather orders, for closing this long-pending concern.
They will likewise show you that, in the space of twelve months
from my first sailing from Callao, I had created a capital sufficient
to lade the Beaver with a cargo whose value in Europe will exceed
$100,0.00, besides defraying all the expenses of the ship for the time.
In not having accomplished this before your patience was exhausted
I hope forgiveness, and expect it not less from the consciousness of
having acted with a view to your approbation than of my belief of
your acceding to the axiom that ' to err, is human; to forgive, divine.'
II have on board for your account 840,456 pounds of cocoa, besides which there will be a balance in your favor of Hve or six thousand dollars, which I shall bring in specie.
" I have the honor to be, gentlemen, with all the respect due from
fjff* Itf/wSfftifddfJJA 216
one who is subject to orders to those from whom such orders emanate, Your most obedient," etc.
To appreciate fully the force of the sting which had
elicited such a response as the above it is necessary to
bear in mind the fact that the voyage from the outset
was of his own planning, and its management had been
of necessity left to his own discretion. After the complete destruction of all the hopes, anticipations, and intentions which had originally been formed or indulged
in regard to its results by the seizure of the ship
at Talcahuana, it was still less than before in the
power of the owners to give him any directions or even
His subsequent management could not have been conducted with greater zeal, pertinacity, or courage, had he
been the only one interested in the retrieval of the prop-
perty, and to the persistent urging of his demand upon
the authorities at Talcahuana and Lima the final reversal of the decree and restoration of the property was
due. The ability and independence he had exhibited
throughout the whole course of the affair afforded the
best possible evidence of the wisdom originally exhibited
in intrusting it to him, and were such as could not have
been reasonably expected, and certainly would rarely
have been found, in one who was merely acting under orders. It is difficult, therefore, to conceive a more painful position, to a sensitive man, than that in which he
was placed by receipt of such an order at the moment
when his heart was glowing with the anticipation of
the well-earned approbation of those for whose interests
he had labored so hard and suffered so much.    It must LETTER TO MR. ASTOR.
be borne in mind that the officers of the National Insurance Company, to whom the ship had been
abandoned, were strangers to my father, haying no
other than a pecuniary interest in the result of the
enterprise. ||* ■ % .'_¥■'■ ^" '#■<*§$-? ■    *l
To Mr. Astor he wrote a very long letter, accent
panied with a clear and exact account of all his transactions, in which he says: || ||.
"I cannot believe that you have at any time entertained a doubt
of my ever being actuated in this business by other than the most
honorable motives*, but I am aware that in a voyage involved in so
much intricacy as this, so much at variance with the original instructions, and so peculiarly marked by vicissitude of bad and good
fortune some elucidation would necessarily be required and, therefore, lest accident should prevent a verbal explanation, I have
thought proper (not less for my own satisfaction than for yours) to
make the following statement "
This statement is a summary of all that he had accomplished and a rendition of the award of the tribunal of
appeal establishing the claim on the government of
Spain for the "full amount of damage arising from loss
of property, loss of time, and loss arising from the destruction of one of the most flattering enterprises ever
undertaken from the United States,    §-   ||      ft.      -||
"As our claim for these losses amounts to $408,766, as its correctness is indisputable, and, therefore, must be paid; as I shall'be
not less instrumental in the recovery of the property by the circumstance of placing my opponents in the wrong, than in its augumenta-
tion by placing it where its value was so much enhanced, there can
exist no doubt of my being entitled to the same commission on the
amount recovered that I should have received if I had prosecuted
the voyage without interruption."
16    -   I   I
f-f_t_T/_t*f£J_f_t_f*fi* 218
The following letter to my mother requires no explanation:      '■"-■-    ■%   -   ■ ■ ; ;M > '.
"Ship 'Beaver' (The Highlands of Neversink in sight),
'-" ¥& * ■ .   if;       "Octobers, 1820.    _        :::.:'%
"My Dear Wife,—To-morrow I shall probably be in New York,
once more in the land of freedom, and I hope to bid farewell—a
long farewell—to the toils of the ocean. In conformity with my
custom and with that method and consistency of which I know you
to be an advocate, I prepare a letter to go to the post-office with the
ship's letters, that not a moment may be lost in advising you of my
arrival. |jfc
•55- * * * % * *
"Our passage round Cape Horn was attended with nothing extraordinary or terrific. The absence of the sun rendered it extremely gloomy, and as we happened to be there just at the change of the
moon the nights were very dark and tedious. We used to breakfast
by candle-light at half-past eight, and to see the sun set at half-past
"We, however, made a very tolerable passage for a loaded ship,
arriving at the beautiful port of Rio Janeiro on the 14th of August.
More than three years had now elapsed since leaving home, and during that extended period I had not received a line from my family
or from any one who could give me any account of them. My first
step, therefore, was to call on the American houses to see if they had
not letters for me, but, alas! I found none from my family, nor wras
there one among the masters or consignees who could give me any
account of them. You will, therefore, naturally imagine, my dear,
that my mind was filled with the most gloomy forebodings, and that
I accounted for not receiving letters by the repugnance arising from
conveying disastrous intelligence.
"With such discouraging impressions, I was busily engaged in
preparing to bend my course to that country where I once had a
home—the existence of which now seemed extremely doubtful—
when, two days before my departure, the Fanny arrived from New
York and brought me a letter from my dear wife, one from Lucy,
and one from George, all dated so recently as June—only about
seventy clays before.    As the fond mother with distracted anxiety LETTER TO HIS WIFE.
watches for the restoration of suspended animation in a beloved child,
and is incapable of expressing her joy on the appearance of returning life, so was the transition in the mind of your husband, from the
most deep-toned anxiety to ease, joy, and tranquillity of mind, not
less intense or less capable of being expressed.
* # * * * # *
"I shall meet you more satisfied with myself than I have ever been
before. I doubt whether my voyage has any parallel in the annals
of navigation. It presents not the brilliancy of victory, but it is a retreat which ought to be equally creditable to the ability of the commander. Yet I am not without apprehensions that the owners will consider my charges indicative of my setting too high a value upon my
services, and may see fit to dispute them. It is likewise doubtful if they
are not jealous of what I have done for myself and may wish to share
in it, fn which case they will discover that the man who has so per-
severingly and successfully defended their property, will not allow
any infringement on his own. I must necessarily be detained two or
three days in New York before I can set out for home, and it is very
doubtful whether the owners will be disposed to grant me any indulgence, but may insist on my remaining until the ship is unloaded.
In this case I shall not shrink from the dictates of imperious duty.
The fact is, I have written them two very sharp letters on the subject of the terms in which they conveyed to me the orders for my
return, and it is uncertain how they will receive them.
"I intend to despatch immediately one or two ships for Lima,
either from New York, Providence, or Boston. Perhaps William
would like to take charge of an expedition to that quarter of the
world. I suggest it, that he may have time to think of it. If there
was a certainty that all the property I have afloat would be returned
in safety there would be enough for both of us, but the embarrassments we have witnessed should teach us that we ought not to allow a favorable opportunity to pass till we possess something more
stable and permanent.
f! I am now in imagination at Lancaster with my wife, my children, brothers, sisters, and friends, and, while seated at the parlor
window, alternately glancing at the group within and the beautiful
autumnal scenery without, what associations, what recollections will
not be roused by hearing from your piano the notes of ' Ella Rosen-
/y////////i 220
berg,' 'Henry's Cottage Maid,' 'The Flowers of the Forest,'etc.?
Alas! my dear wife, can those who know care, danger, and toil only
by name, and whom fortune has always nursed in the lap of ease,
form any idea of the luxurious enjoyments which are crowded into
short spaces on such occasions?
"But enough of paper conversations. This, I hope, closes our
epistolary correspondence, inasmuch as I flatter myself with not being again separated from you."
The feelings of doubt and anxiety with regard to the
reception he would meet, in making his first call upon
the gentlemen at the insurance office, were speedily dispelled and in the most agreeable manner. On being introduced to the president, Fred. De Peyster, Esq., he rose
to meet him with both hands extended, and his countenance beaming with the kindest expressions, as if anxious
only to do away with all apprehension of want of sympathy or failure to recognize the value of his services.
- With a voice full of emotion he acknowledged the
receipt of his letter, and expressed his full appreciation
and respect for the feelings it betrayed. He thanked
him for what he had done for the company, and, although not authorized to speak definitely of pecuniary
remuneration, assured him it would be awrarded to him.
The sincerity with which my father assured him, in reply, of the gratification afforded him by this friendly reception will not be doubted, and the sense of relief he
experienced was soon greatly.enhanced by the congratulations he received from leading members of the mercantile community—strangers as well as friends—who
complimented him upon the success he had achieved.
Several of the stockholders of the insurance company expressed their sense of the obligation they were under to OBJECTIONS TO HIS CHARGES.
him, and an old'and highly respected merchant,* who
had retired from business with an ample fortune, said
to him, after the exchange of customary salutations,
I You have done well for the office. You have raised
the value of its stock ten per cent. They cannot give
you less than $10,000." ' I
His mind being relieved by such abundant evidence
of appreciation of his services, he took advantage of the
time while the ship was unloading to spend a week with
his family in Lancaster, Mass. < Jf
ROn his return he learned that objection was made to
his charge of ten per cent, on the net proceeds of
freights, which he considered to be no more than a just
proportion for the extra services rendered; since, independently of obtaining the restoration of the ship in the
manner related, he had procured the freights and .negotiated all the business without the aid of a broker.
And when sometimes compelled to employ an agent to
collect the amount rather than detain the ship, the
commission paid for such services was not charged to
account, of the owners. Besides, had the graduation of
his emoluments been made with any reference to what
they would have been but for the seizure, they would
have much exceeded the ten per cent, charge.
m These points were urged upon the gentlemen interested, but were of no avail. Mr. Astor being in Europe, his agent, had he been disposed to act liberally,
would hardly have dared to be less exacting than the
underwriters, and hence recourse was had to arbitration,
the result of which was a deduction of two and a half
per cent, on his charge. ;    '      .   :'.■>$-  rIlfejJ:; ".:% .    fj||
* Benjamin Bailey, Esq.
-« //»/ .***■ /> *
it/_,//i_f_f_f_t_f__r4 VOYAGES OF A MERCHANT NAVIGATOR.
With this decision he felt that he had abundant cause
for dissatisfaction. But trusting to the repeate'd (though
unofficial) assurances of President De Peyster, of pecuniary remuneration, he refrained from manifesting it, and,
having submitted to the decision of the arbitrators, he
left the city for his home, not doubting that the promised remuneration would be awarded him.
A month passed, however, without a line from the
office of the National Insurance Company, and so a second month, when he could no longer doubt that no further action on their part was intended. Indignant at
such treatment, and mortified at being thus duped, he
determined, at least, to give expression to the feelings
excited by their conduct.
Accordingly, under date of Lancaster, December 22,
1820, he addressed a letter to the president of the National Insurance Company, in which he referred to his
communication of the 5th of October previous, enumerating the unusual services he had rendered the company, in
the recovery and successful employment of the Beaver,
and further remarked that, if he had condescended to
make invidious comparisons, he could have proved that
what they considered to be an extra commission bore
no proportion to the extra earnings of the Beaver over
every other vessel then on the Peruvian coast, and this
less from a concurrence of favorable circumstances than
from his superior management.
He reminded him of his promise of remuneration, and
of its being repeated at a subsequent interview; which
promise he was now forced to believe was made with
the express design of throwing him off his guard, in or- MEANNESS OF THE UNDERWRITERS.
der the better to deceive him; and that the success attending it had been doubtless gratifying to all. who
shared the two and a half per cent, thus saved to the
company.    The letter closed with the remark that,
"Had I conducted your business with as little regard to the observance of the rule of ' doing unto others as we would that they
should do unto us' as has been observed in this instance towards
me, the result of the Beaver's voyage would have been very different from what it is."
To this letter he never received a reply.   .§p   f|>
.It is only proper to add the following extract from
my father's narrative:
"It would be doing injustice to the venerable and respectable
president of the company not to acknowledge that, although of necessity he was the person to be officially addressed, I believe him to
have been incapable of a mean or dishonorable act, and that when
he made the promise alluded to he sincerely believed the directors
wTould confirm it, as he knew they ought. Two of the directors expressed to me their disapproval of the curtailment of my commission, and a third said to me that he felt shame at being one of an
association capable of such dishonorable conduct. But there was
one individual among the directors whose great wealth gave him a
preponderating influence in the affairs of the office. The greater
deference paid to his opinions was very perceptible, and it is probable that the president, taking it for granted that a handsome compensation could not honorably be withheld, had the temerity to assure me of it before consulting with him, and thus caused the defeat of his intention."
More than sixty years have passed since the occurrence of the above transactions, and all the parties to it
have long since departed from their earthly labors.
At this distance of time there can be no impropriety
in giving the names of the individuals referred to. 224
m The influential director by whom the president was
overruled was the Honorable Philip Hone, and the one
who expressed his sense of shame at the action of the
company was Gardner Howland, Esq. §     |    .; ■
M As an interesting episode, and as exhibiting a phase
of my father's character of which there is no hint in his
narrative, I may here appropriately introduce an extract
from one of his letters to my mother, written from New
York under date of December 21, 1821, just one year
after the time of the occurrences just narrated. ||
|§ Mr. Astor had then returned from Europe, and my
father's business was with him, but, as will be seen, he
postponed the interview in order to attend the ordination of the first Unitarian minister in New York, an
event the importance of which (whether for good or
evil) in the minds of the religious world at that day
few now living can recall, and no one can estimate by
any criterion now in existence. -||." '       ,'-\    |l
"New York, December 21,1821.
" I wrote you a hasty line on the morning of my arrival here, and
then mentioned to you that it was the day on which Mr. Ware was
to be ordained, but doubted whether I should attend. As the day
was rainy, howTever, I concluded the house would not be crowded;
there was no immediate necessity of seeing Mr. Astor, and the ordination of the first Unitarian minister in New York might prove
an epoch in the history of the Church, the retrospect of which (when
error and bigotry shall be abolished by the light of reason and truth,
of which this may be considered the dawn) will be viewed with great
satisfaction and complacency, particularly by those who have maintained it in spite of popular clamor. These considerations determined me to attend the ordination, where I was exceedingly gratified in witnessing the most solemn, sublime, and affecting services,
such as were strikingly calculated to contrast the nothingness and ORDINATION OF MR. WARE.
imbecility of earthly pursuits with those profoundly grand and sublime ones which have God and Eternity for their object. The house,
though small, was not more than two thirds filled. This was partly
owing to the weather, but probably more to the apprehension of being contaminated. Alas! they are ignorant of what they have lost.
The services were opened by an anthem on a well-toned organ, accompanied by a select choir, which was very good. The introductory prayer by Mr. Taylor was succeeded by a hymn from the society's collection. The sermon by Dr.Ware, from Acts xxviii. 22,
was everything that would be expected from that distinguished
scholar, evincing a depth of erudition, a profundity of thought, an
independence of mind, and a consciousness of being guided alone by
truth and reason, that carried persuasion and conviction along with
it. Having progressed nearly through his sermon, he then addressed
his son (the candidate) in a style so solemn and pathetic as exceedingly to affect the audience, and closed with recommending him to his
people. The ordaining prayer by Dr. Harris was very well, followed
by a hymn said to have been composed by Mr. Pierpoint. The charge
by Dr. Bancroft was very good, but its excellence was diminished by
bad delivery. The right hand of fellowship by the brother of the
candidate was excellent, and not less affecting than the address from
the father; indeed, the speaker himself was so far overcome that he
proceeded with difficulty, and the audience sympathized with him.
A concluding prayer by Mr. Pierpoint, and a hymn to the tune of
' Old Hundred' (in which I heartily joined) closed the interesting
services. This event has, as yet, been noticed by no other paper in
the city than the Evening Post."
" -    10* .    m ■    '#'. '-    •- :   I -   ■
tiJJl_tijdist*ii/J//-'J. CHAPTER XIV.
Failure to Secure the Proceeds of his Adventures.—Pursuit of
Arizmendi to Hamburg and subsequently to Madrid. — Mr.
Shaler Appointed Consul at Havana.— My Father Goes with
him as Vice-Consul.—Death of Mr. Shaler.—Obtains an Office
in Boston Custom-House. — Takes up his Residence with me,
and Dies in my House at the Age of Eighty-seven.
The voyage just narrated, in the Beaver, was the last
of a series of voyages to most parts of the habitable
globe, during a period of twenty-four years, in various
kinds of craft, from the boat of twenty-five tons to the
Indiaman of a thousand tons, and, as will have been
seen, on the most laborious and hazardous* enterprises.
A remarkable fact, which is wTell worthy of notice, is
that during that long period, some portion of which
was passed in the most sickly climates of the globe, my
father never lost but three men of his crew—two by
fever, after leaving Batavia, and one by a fall from the
masthead. Although he was repeatedly at sea for five
months on a single passage, he was never under the necessity of putting his men on allowance of provisions or
water; and to this circumstance, combined with guarding them from unnecessary fatigue and exposure, he
was probably indebted for the happiness of escaping,
not only that terrible scourge to seamen on long voyages, the scurvy, but almost all other kinds of sickness. ABADIA & ARIZMENDI.
Some of his experiences subsequent to the voyage in
the Beaver are so connected with it that the story would
be incomplete if they were omitted, and I therefore give
his own account of them in the following extract from
his published narrative: J|,
"In less than a year after my return to New York in the Beaver
I was destined again to see swept off the greater part of my hard
earnings. A most unfortunate enterprise to Gibraltar;* incompetent, selfish, and careless agents; and, more than either, a most
shameful abuse of the confidence I had placed in the commercial
house at Lima, with which I had been so long doing business
(Abadia & Arizmendi), were the causes of these misfortunes.
1 Soon after these reverses became known to my friends in Boston
I met my highly esteemed friend, George Cabot, who, in his happy
manner, remarked to me : 'You have cut a great deal of hay, but
you have got it in very badly.'
"Alas ! I felt most sensibly that it was too true.
"The information of the revolution in Peru, of the consequent
confusion in the commerce of Lima, of the breaking-up of the house
of Abadia & Arizmendi, and of the escape of the latter with a large
amount in silver in an American brig for Manilla, was received here
not many months after my arrival.
"During the vice-regal government no stranger of respectability
ever visited Lima without enjoying the hospitality of Don Pedro
Abadia. He was eminently hospitable, urbane, and friendly; but
although of superior education and extensive intercourse with mankind, he was bigoted and priest-ridden. His talents and education
and the extraneous circumstances of his being agent at Lima of the
Philippine Company, and of his brother's being one,of the cabinet
of King Ferdinand, all combined to give him an influence with the
viceroy and cabildo unsurpassed by any other individual in the
kingdom. This influence was often exerted for my advantage, or
rather for that of the owners of the Beaver, which advantage wras
recinrocal, as it enabled me to throw into the hands of his house
* This refers to the voyage of the ship Drottingen, which he had
despatched for Gibraltar from Guayaquil. VOYAGES OF A MERCHANT NAVIGATOR.
many valuable consignments. It was Abadia who gave to the house
the character of respectability it possessed, and this was such as to
inspire a degree of confidence which secured to it almost exclusively
the foreign business of the place.
Don Jose de Arizmendi was the active man of the house—a man
who possessed the capacity of accomplishing much and varied business writh,a degree of despatch and skill very rarely seen among his
countrymen. While present with him he would conduct the business with which he was charged on fair, honorable, and liberal
principles. By this semblance of honesty I was deceived, and was
induced to confide in the house to an extent which I discovered,
when too late, was entirely unmerited, and which was attended with
ruinous consequences.
" It was late in my transactions with the house before I learned
the peculiarity of the connection of the partners. Abadia's relation
to the Philippine Company did not admit of his engaging in a private mercantile house; hence, while a sharer in its advantages, he
was exempt from its responsibilities; and hence all the accounts
and business documents were signed exclusively by Arizmendi. Had
these facts been known, as they should have been, it would have
tended greatly to diminish the general confidence in the house.
"Late in the summer of 1823 mention was made in one of the Boston papers of the arrival of Senor Arizmendi at Hamburg, in the
Boscoe, of Salem, freighted with a rich cargo for his account from
Manilla. As I had no doubt that this was my quondam friend, I
flattered myself that by starting immediately I might reach Hamburg before he left. Accordingly, in forty-eight hours aft#r receiving the information I was on my way to New York; and in thirty
days moie I arrived at Hamburg via Liverpool, London, Harwich,
and Cuxhaven. But I had the mortification to find that my labor
was in vain.
" Arizmendi had landed at Teneriffe, and the cargo of the Boscoe,
yet unsold, was so well covered in the name of a Senor Zavaleta, a
former clerk of Arizmendi, who swore the property belonged exclusively to himself, that it could not be touched.
"After passing four days at Hamburg, and, with the aid of one of
fixe most intelligent merchants of that city, being unable to effect
anything, I set out on my return by the same route I had come. LETTER TO ABADIA.
Fortunately I arrived at Liverpool just as the packet I came in was
hauling out of dock on her return, and, embarking, I arrived at New
York on the seventy-third day after leaving there.
" The following year (1824) I learned that Senor Abadia had arrived at St. Thomas, and immediately wrote him on the subject of
my claim upon his house. The following copy of my letter will best
explain the whole matter:
"Lancaster, Mass., September 21,1824.
"Don Pedro Abadia:
"Dear Sir,—By a letter from our mutual friend, Mr. C , I learn
that after many perils and some pecuniary embarrassment you have
arrived safe at St. Thomas. On this event permit me to offer you
my most hearty congratulations. It was reported last year that you
had arrived at Porto Rico, and knowing that you possessed a coffee
plantation there I thought this very probable, and directed several
letters to you there, some one of which you may have received.
These letters were written with the hope of inducing you to use
some effort or point out some means by which the confidence I
placed in the honor and integrity of your house should not be productive of my ruin. Among various other items, you must be aware
that a sum of $15,000, charged me in account, as shipped for me on
board the Macedonian, and for which I hold duplicate acknowledgments of Arizmendi, was never shipped. I will not attempt to describe my astonishment, when, after a great lapse of time, I received
letters from,Captain Smith informing me that I had been deceived,
and that no property had been shipped with him, either for my account or that of your house. Independent of other sums, this
amount, with Hve years' interest, will make an aggregate of upwards
of $20,000, as one item now due me from your house. Consider,
my dear sir, that this is the fruit of very hard labor in the most toilsome profession, and that on the possession or loss of it is dependent
a life of ease and comfort with my family, or protracted absence,
care, and toil for the rest of my life.
" You informed Mr. C that Arizmendi saved about $300,000.
I heard two years since of his arrival at Manilla with a large property; that last year he had there chartered the brig Boscoe, and with
this property had arrived at Hamburg. In forty-eight hours after
receiving this information I was on my way to Liverpool, where I 230
arrived early in October, and proceeded immediately to London,
and caused inquiries to be made of the Spanish houses there if they
knew anything of Arizmendi. They referred me to the London
Times, of October 7 (only two days before my arrival), in which
appeared the advertisement which I send to Mr. C , to be forwarded to you. This advertisement was sufilcient to account for
Arizmendi's not venturing up channel to accompany his property to
Hamburg. I therefore proceeded to Hamburg, where I found an
amount of sixty or seventy thousand dollars of the cargo of the
Boscoe in possession of a Mr. Zavaleta, in whose name it had been
shipped at Manilla, who had accompanied it, and who solemnly
swore it belonged to him. Arizmendi had been landed at Teneriffe.
I had then, and have now, no doubt that this property belonged to
Arizmendi; but, unfortunately, I could produce no proof of it, and
therefore my efforts were of no avail. I wrote to a house at Teneriffe, and received for answer that Arizmendi remained there only
two or three days, and then embarked for the Continent. This is the
last I have heard of his movements. He told Zavaleta he should
assume some other name. In this case I do not see how you can discover where he is or how he can learn that you are at St. Thomas.
"I presume from the tenor of your letter to Mr. C that you
have no amount of property wTith you, and that not less on your
own account than from a desire which I believe you to possess to
do justice to your creditors, you will leave no effort untried to discover the retreat of Arizmendi, and to get that property from him,
which, while withheld from the creditors of the house, will, however undeserved, be considered not less dishonorable to the name
and character of Abadia than to that of Arizmendi. If there should
be any such chance for the recovery of the property as would justify the expense of my meeting you at St. Thomas and there taking
your directions and power to settle with Arizmendi in Europe, I
would not hesitate to embark on such an expedition; indeed, I
would even proceed to Lima, if you had any property remaining
there which there was a fair chance of recovering."
v " Whether this letter was ever received by Abadia I have not been
informed. Scarcely two months after writing it I received information which could be depended on that Arizmendi was at his pater-
nal residence at Zarauz, in Guipuscoa. I had no hesitation, therefore, in embarking in December, at New York, in a brig bound for
Bordeaux. Arriving there in January, 1825, I proceeded via Bayonne Passage and Yrun to St. Sebastian. From thence a messenger
was sent to Zarauz, who soon returned with information that Arizmendi was at Madrid, and with the name of the street where he
resided. Taking the diligence, I had the good-fortune to reach Madrid without being robbed. H|
"The next day I succeeded, not without much difficulty, in finding the person of whom I had so long been in pursuit, and was
actually once more in his presence. Had an apparition appeared to
him he could not have exhibited greater evidence of astonishment
and dismay; nor was it until the expiration of some minutes that he
was able to converse rationally. Unfortunately it required but little
conversation to ascertain that my efforts would prove to be unavailing and that I could recover nothing. He had succeeded in obtaining what in Spanish law is termed a I morotoria,' which is a security
against molestation of person or property by creditors for a certain
period. His was for four years. He begged me not to press my
demand, declared that he had the control of no property, and the
wretchedly mean, dirty, and obscure lodgings he occupied would
have sufficed to confirm the truth of such assertion if made by any
but a very cunning man. But I had no faith in it, and therefore did
not desist from the pursuit until satisfied by repeated conversations
with him, and the best advice I could procure during a residence of
a fortnight in Madrid, that there existed not a hope of obtaining
anything. As some alleviation to my disappointment, so far as it
tended to keep up hope, Arizmendi gave me a power of attorney for
the recovery of a large amount of property alleged to be due him
from sundry merchants in the United States. From a cursory examination of these claims I was led to believe that a considerable sum
might be recovered, and I therefore flattered myself that there existed
some chance of indemnification for my trouble and perseverance.
"Burying my disappointment in the oblivion which screened such
a multitude of its predecessors, I passed the time very agreeably in
Madrid in visiting the numerous objects of interest with which that
city abounds.
" The ci-devant Viceroy of Peru, Don Joaquin de la Pezuela, hear-
1                                       ■//// 232
ing of my being in the city, sent a messenger to me with an invitation to his house, where he received me with the cordiality of an old
friend.. He inquired how my various mercantile operations had resulted, and evinced an interest in my affairs which was as pleasing
as it was unexpected. His inquiries for Captain Biddle and his expressions of friendship for him were made with an earnestness of
manner which left no doubt of the esteem and regard he cherished
for that distinguished officer. To the hospitality of our worthy
minister, Mr. Nelson, and to that of the family of Mr. Rich, I was indebted for some of the most agreeable social hours I passed at Madrid.
" Taking leave of my kind friends in Madrid, I returned to Bordeaux, and learning, on arriving there, that no opportunity for the
United States would offer for some weeks, I took the diligence for
Paris, where, after passing a week, I proceeded to Havre, and took
passage in the Edward Quesnel for New York, and arrived there in
April, 1825.     1 §|   . |||p- |      > i-^jiafc"   '
\ I The agency for the collection of another's debts is an unacceptable service, and especially so when they are of a description susceptible of controversy; but in this instance there existed more than the
usual inducement, for I hoped thus to cancel the debt due me. Upwards of $100,000 were claimed of a Boston merchant,* the justice
of which he denied, and refused to pay any part of it. A demand
on a merchant of Baltimore for a much less amount was equally
unsuccessful. The only debt acknowledged by the signature of the
debtor was that of an old and intimate friend, | who could ill spare
the money, and from whom it was very painful to me to exact it;
but forbearance would have been a dereliction of duty, and would
have been no otherwise serviceable to him than to defer tbe time of
payment. Accordingly I recovered from him an amount about
equal to one fourth of that due me from Arizmendi.
I. When convinced that nothing more could be recovered under
the power of attorney, I wrote to Arizmendi under his assumed name
of Don Fausto Corral, as agreed on, to this effect, assuring him of
my conviction that he would never obtain anything through the intermediation of an agent, and that the only course which presented
any prospect of success was to come to this country and prosecute
John Ellery.
the business in person. This, however, I did not believe he would
do on account of the large demands against his house wThich wrere
held here.
"Nearly two years elapsed after writing this letter, during which
I heard nothing from or of him, when, suddenly and without any previous intimation to any one, he made his appearance in Boston, accompanied by a nephew,who, like himself, spoke no other than the Spanish language. They were in very obscure and ordinary lodgings,
kept by a foreigner, which circumstance, combined with the fact that
they brought no letters, was evidence of their wish for concealment.
"I now felt a security and consequent exultation in the recovery
of my property which I had not before experienced; indeed, I perceived no way in which it could be eluded. But man's shortsightedness is proverbial, and scarce a day passes that it is not made self-
evident. As Arizmendi was indebted $10,000 to myself and Mr.
Carrington, of Providence, jointly, for short freight on a ship belonging to us equally, I did not imagine that any mischief could
arise from my notifying him of Arizmendi's arrival, though the result clearly proved that the information had better been delayed.
With ill-judged impetuosity he sent the papers proving the debt to
a lawyer in Boston, with directions to institute a suit, notifying me
at the same time of his having done so. Perceiving at once the mischief that would result from precipitate action, I went to the lawyer
and persuaded him to wTait a week, with the view of giving Arizmendi time to ascertain the prospect of his recovering the property
of which he was in pursuit. This engagement was not adhered to;
the writ was issued, and, for want of bail, he was imprisoned, thus
depriving him of the power of making the collections on which
mainly depended the chance of our obtaining our payment. It was
literally destroying the bird that was destined to lay the golden egg.
"This error being manifest, one ofthe partners of the Providence
house came on, and, in the hope of retrieving it, we united in an act
which only made matters worse, that of releasing him on his promise of making a settlement, for it soon became evident that his only
object was to secure his liberty, and that he had no intention of fulfilling his engagement. On being satisfied of this a new suit wras
instituted; but before the writ could be served on him he managed
to escape, by the aid of a Boston merchant, who enabled him to
u/_..»'"'■ 234
elude the vigilance of the officer charged with his arrest, concealed
him until a vessel for St. Thomas was ready to sail, and then caused
him to be conveyed on board.
" In judging of actions we often err, and are guilty of injustice to
the individual whose motives we undertake to scan, but in this case
there can be no mistake. As there existed no personal animosity
towards me on the part of this merchant, he could only have been
actuated by motives of sordid interest. Arizmendi's principal object in coming to Boston was to collect a debt of upwards of $100,000,
alleged to be due him from this man.
" On the presumption that it was desirable for him to escape the
payment of this debt, or even to avert a troublesome course of litigation, nothing could possibly have been more opportune than the
coincidence of circumstances which enabled him to become the confidant, adviser, and benefactor of Arizmendi; ostensibly to screen
him from the rigors of a prison, but really to rid himself of the necessity of paying his debt; for, once away, he knew there was a
moral certainty he would not return to prosecute the claim in person, and it was evident it could not be done by an agent except at
the risk of the property's being trusteed. But every single act of a
man's life, when seen from the right point of view, is found to be in
harmony with his whole character.
"It was now evident that I must relinquish all hope of ever recovering any portion of this debt, a debt so considerable that its loss
was productive of lifelong inconvenience; a debt for the recovery of
which I had made two voyages to Europe, had induced my debtor
to come to this country, and, when apparently on the point of securing payment, been compelled, by the blundering mismanagement of
one man and rascality of another, to see the opportunity defeated."
It seemed, indeed, a cruel and inglorious termination
of the series of enterprises so ably planned and energetically prosecuted to be thus deprived of their legitimate
results, and the burden was the more grievous as he no
longer possessed the youthful vigor and elasticity which
looks only to the future, forgetful of past disappointments. VICE-CONSUL AT HAVANA.
His habits had always been simple, and no man could
be more averse to any ostentatious display of wealth
than he. But he wras generous by nature, and could
not restrict himself in any expenditure demanded for
the comfort of his family, the education of his children,
the claims of friendship, or the exercise of a generous
hospitality. He had sought money as a means to these
ends, and their indulgence had become too strongly
confirmed by habit to be abandoned at the age of fifty.
But he felt the imprudence, at that age, of exposing himself and the remnants of fortune he had secured to further risks of such nature as might be justifiable with a
younger man. *_$/
He had kept up an uninterrupted correspondence
with his old friend Shaler during his long residence at
Algiers as consul-general of the United States, and kept
alive the warm friendship begun in their early manhood. In 1S28 Mr. Shaler received the appointment of
consul at Havana, and immediately invited my father to
accompany him as vice-consul, sharing equally the emoluments of the office. These were at that time dependent on fees from American shipping, and although our
commerce with that port was then so large that the office was worth from $7000 to $10,000 a year, and, next
to Liverpool, the most valuable ih the gift of the president, yet, until Mr. Shaler's appointment, the United
States had only been represented by a commercial agent.
At this time, also, Mr. Shaler purchased of my father
the estate at Lancaster which had been his home ever
since his marriage in 1804, and placed his widowed sister, Mrs. Stilwell, with her family, in charge of it, while 236
he went with my father and mother to Havana and (being a bachelor) resided with them there until the melancholy occurrence of his death from cholera in 1833.
The disease raged fearfully there at the time, and upwards of eight hundred deaths occurred on the day that
Mr. Shaler died. He was first attacked at five p.m., and
died next day at seven a.m. The dead were carried off
in carts and no funeral rites allowed, and it was only by
an energetic appeal to the captain-general that my father got a permit to enclose the remains of his old friend
in a coffin and accompany it as a solitary mourner to the
foreigners' burying-ground at Chorero, five miles west
of the city, on the sea-shore, where he saw it interred,
and subsequently placed over the spot a massive stone
monument bearing a suitable inscription. ■•-,.■
The American merchants in Havana immediately
united in a unanimous petition that my father should be
appointed to the consulate, the essential duties of which
he had performed for five years in so satisfactory a manner as to elicit a voluntary and highly complimentary expression of satisfaction from the Treasury Department at
Washington. Memorials of similar purport were also
sent to Washington by the merchants of New York,
Boston, Salem, and Portland who were engaged in the
Havana trade. Daniel Webster and his fellow-senator,
Nathaniel Silsbee (my father's old friend), exerted themselves activelv in his behalf. But the doctrine that
"to the victors belong the spoils" had then just been,
for the first time, promulgated by Secretary Marcy,
and my father was one of the earliest to suffer by its
execution.   The memory of his vigorous denunciation PROFITS AND LOSSES.
of the principle, as subversive of all honest administration, gives me a lively sense of the satisfaction he would
have felt could he have foreseen that it would receive
its death-blow, at the hands of his kinsman, the present
President of the United States.
, Though my father was never an active politician, he
was always a stanch whig, and that fact was sufficient
cause for removal. The place was given to Mr. Nicholas P. Trist, a young Virginia lawyer who had been the
private secretary of President Jackson, j He was a gentlemanly and very intelligent man, but entirely inexperienced in commercial and maritime affairs, and had accepted the office in the full expectation that my father
would be glad to remain»and wield the laboring oar.
This, however, he positively declined, though offered the
same terms on which he had been associated with Mr.
Shaler, and he returned to the United States as soon as
Mr. Trist had assumed the duties of the office.
In the final chapter of his published narrative my
father gives a resume of the profits and losses of his
various adventures, and concludes as follows: *
"On making an estimate of my losses for the twenty years between 1805 and 1825,1 find their aggregate amount to exceed $200,000,
although I never possessed at any one time a sum exceeding $80,000.
Under such losses I have been supported by the consoling reflection
that they have been exclusively my own, and that it is not in the
power of any individual to say, with truth, that I have ever injured
him to the amount of a dollar. With a small annual sum from the
Neapolitan indemnity I have been able to support myself till this
was on the point of ceasing, by the cancelling of that debt, when I
was so fortunate as to obtain an office in the Boston Custom-House,
the duties of which I hope to perform faithfully and in peace during
___f_iMj_t tt * 4 * * I 238
the few remaining years, or months, or days which may be allotted
me on earth."
He continued to hold this office for some years, but
was deposed by a new administration, and, in 1845,
removed with my mother to my home in Burlington,
N. J., and continued to reside with me till the end of his
life. My mother died in Burlington in 1850. In 1854,
rny father removed with me to Massachusetts, and died
in my house in Danvers, November 23,1860, at the age
of eighty-seven.
From the many obituary notices of my father which
appeared in Boston, Salem, New York, and elsewhere,
I select the following, from the pen of Hon. George S.
Hillard, as comprising the fullest and most discriminating statement of the peculiar combination of elements
which formed his character. It appeared in the Boston
Courier of December 8,1860:
" In announcing, a few days since, the death of this venerable and
excellent man, we promised to pay some more extended tribute to
his worth than we then did, and this promise we now propose to
"He was born in Salem, December 19,1773, and had thus nearly
reached the great age of eighty-seven years when he died, having
long survived most of his contemporaries, and moving among their
children and grandchildren as one of the few survivors of a former
"He was trained in the counting-house of tbe late E. H. Derby,
Esq., and, as was the case with so many energetic spirits at that time,
he combined the duties and the knowledge of the merchant and tho
"His first voyage was in 1792, in company with the late Nathaniel
Silsbee, who commanded the brig.   Mr. Silsbee was not twenty years OBITUARY NOTICE.
of age; his chief mate was about as old, and Mr. Cleveland, who was
captain's clerk, was only nineteen.
"The beginning, however, of that series of enterprises which
formed the main wTork of his life, and in which he showed such remarkable qualities of mind and character, was in 1797, when, finding
himself at Havre, and left at liberty by the unexpected abandonment
of a voyage by the owner of a ship he had the charge of, he bought
a little cutter of only thirty-eight tons, and sailed for the Isle of
France with a crew of two men and a boy. From that time till
1804 he was navigating, at first alone, and afterwards in company
with the late William Shaler, in all parts of the world, and achieving triumphantly feats which experienced navigators regarded as
"From 1804 to 1820 he was more or less engaged in enterprises
which were marked with the characteristics of almost unequalled
boldness, combined with a power of execution which enabled him
to carry them to a successful issue. The incidents of these eventful years were detailed by him in a work, published in 1842, entitled
'A Narrative of Voyages and Commercial Enterprises,' which
passed through two editions in America and was republished in
England. This work is written in a style of attractive simplicity,
and no one can read it without admiration of the noble and generous qualities which the unpretending narrative unconsciously reveals.
" He was a man of traits of character not often found in combination. He had great boldness, resolution, and energy; inflexible
courage and indomitable perseverance, but he was no less remarkable for refinement of feeling, purity of soul, and delicacy of perception. A more perfect gentleman, alike in essence and manner, was
never seen. His domestic affections were very strong; he had a
genuine enjoyment of nature, and a love of reading which was a
constant pleasure and resource alike inthe busy and the unemployed
moments of his life.
"During his crowded years of activity and enterprise he made
and lost much property, and more than once deemed himself, and
had a right to deem himself, a rich man; but the end of it was that
he found himself in his old age a poor man. This was not owing, as
might be surmised, to any reckless and extravagant habits induced
JJ_i_fjJj[_i____i£j<_____\ 240.
by the ease with which independence had been won, for he was a man
of very simple tastes and with no expensive wants. But he was extremely generous, and this trait led him to aid, with profuse liberality, all who had any claims upon his affection. And while in the
planning ol commercial enterprises he showed rare inventive qualities, and in the execution of them wonderful energy and perseverance, he was somewhat deficient in those humbler qualities which
enable men to keep and manage what they have earned; and no one
need be told that the accumulation of wealth depends quite as much
upon the latter class of gifts as the former. But this reverse of
fortune served to bring out more and more the beauty of Captain
Cleveland's character and give him new claims to the affection and
esteem of his friends. It was gently, patiently, and heroically borne;
never a word of complaint was heard from his lips, never a bitter
arraignment of the ways of Providence, never an envious fling at
the prosperity of others. And the wise, kind, cheerful old man was
happy to the end. His last years were passed in the family of his
youngest son, soothed and gladdened by the most affectionate care.
His decay was gradual, and he was released at last without suffering.
" Captain Cleveland, among other traits, was remarkable for his
strict temperance, although he grew up at a time when the usages of
society made abstinence from intoxicating drinks a harder duty than
now. During his whole life he never drank a glass of wine, or of
any alcoholic liquor, or of porter, ale, or beer, and never used tobacco
in any form. He ascribed his uniform good health to these temperate habits; but, with his usual simplicity of manner, he never took
any moral airs upon himself on this account, but was accustomed to
say, when he alluded to the subject at all, which was rarely, that
the reason he did not drink wine was because he did not like the
taste of it."
As I was but a little child at the time my father had
concluded the last of his voyages, my early recollections
of him have no connection with such characteristics as
are naturally associated with the conception of a daring
adventurer.    He never encouraged in his children the HIS DOMESTIC LIFE.
ambition to emulate his own achievements, and, indeed,
they were so rarely alluded to by him in conversation
that the details given in his narrative were for the most
part as new to me, at the time of its publication, as to
the world at large. I remember him only as the country gentleman, living at ease in the beautiful home at
Lancaster which was my birthplace, and so absorbed in
the duties and interests of the daily life around him
that no stranger would have suspected that the most
active portion of his life had been spent in navigating
the ocean. He had an ardent love of nature, and a
keen perception of her attractive features, whether in
their grandest or their most simple forms. He was such
a lover of flowers that it was his constant custom, during their season, to carry a pink or some other fragrant
blossom in his mouth, and he would preserve a single
one for a whole day, laying it beside his plate at meals
and resuming it afterwards. He was an appreciative
reader of the best literature of the day, and was in the
constant habit of reading aloud to my mother, and discussing with her the subjects which excited his interest.
He exercised a generous hospitality, not in the form
of ostentatious banquets or large assemblies, but by making his home attractive to his wide circle of friends, so that
it was rare that some one or more of them was not his
guest, and always unceremoniously, as one of the family.
His neighbors and fellow-townsmen were on terms of
friendly social intercourse with him, and he was always
active in promoting the best interests of the town,
where his memory is still held in respect.
The natural beauty of that lovely valley is still un-
tJJJ£4JJj££i£iU_____\ 242
changed. The Nashua winds its course through the
rich meadows as of old; the grand old elms, for which
its valley is famous, still wave their gracefully drooping arms; the rounded forms of Wachuset and Wata-
toc, and the more distant and picturesque outline of the
Grand Monadnoc are still pencilled against the evening
sky; the seasons come and go in all their changing
beauty as of yore,6 but no one remains upon the stage
who retains even a recollection of the actors whose
presence gave life to the scene in the days of which I
speak.     ,^:f    • .
I have elsewhere mentioned that my father's anxiety
to secure for his children better advantages of education than were afforded by the country schools of the
day led to the establishment at Lancaster of a classical
school, the selection of the teachers of which wras intrusted to him, and the first of whom was Jared Sparks,
the subsequent historian and President of Harvard College. The second was George B. Emerson, whose subsequent record as a teacher and as President of the Massachusetts Board of Education has secured for him a position of the highest order in the annals of education,
and the third was the late Solomon P. Miles, afterwards
principal of the English High School in Boston, who
but for his premature death would doubtless have attained corresponding honors. Each of these eminent
men began his career on leaving college by taking charge
of the school established at Lancaster, and each of them
has repeatedly and enthusiastically expressed to me his
sense of the value to him, at that critical period of his
life, of the homelike influence, the warm personal friend- REMINISCENCES OF LANCASTER.
ship, the genial social atmosphere, and the ready sympathy and counsel, with which his memory of my father
and mother was associated.   *
The existence of a school of such high character attracted to the town a number of families desirous of
availing themselves of its advantages, and resulted in
the attainment of such a standard of social and intellectual culture as few country towns at that day could
boast.   '.  ;J;
* In Marvin's History of Lancaster, published in 1879,
Miss Elizabeth Peabody communicates some very interesting reminiscences of those days. She was then a
young lady, warmly interested in the cause of education,
to which her life has since been devoted, and was living
in Lancaster, where her father was, for a time, settled as
a physician.
She alludes as follows to my father and mother:
"Captain Cleveland had retired on his fortune, gained in a successful mercantile career begun at Salem. He was a noble, original,
heroic character, who, inspired by a love that was eventually crowned
by a most happy marriage, worked with the enthusiasm and self-
devotion of a knight of the days of chivalry to win a fortune for
his bride elect, and with a kindred high sense of honor. In the
course of his career he met and united in a bond of friendship, as
exceptional as his love, with Mr. Shaler, who subsequently bought
his residence. At his house there was every evening an assemblage
of those who were interested in education, a subject in which Mrs.
Cleveland was deeply absorbed, having herself educated her three
boys, with the help in the last years of Messrs. Sparks, Emerson, and
Miles, to all of whom her hospitable mansion was a home, and she
their most respected and beloved counsellor. She had studied Rousseau and Pestalozzi without losing her own originality. The evenings at her house were the greatest inspiration to all these educators.
.*«**... *_~/ijtji 244
There I met Colburn, and learned from his own lips his idea of making children discover and make for themselves the rules of arithmetic. . . .
"But it was not merely new methods of intellectual education
that were discussed at these symposia at Mrs. Cleveland's, but the
necessity and method of building up character on the Christian and
heroic ideal of inspiring children with the power to educate themselves.
"When I think of those years of my life at Lancaster, it seems arrayed in all the glory of the ideal. The enthusiasm for study among
the young people; the enthusiasm of educating in the teachers; the
extraordinary beauty of nature; the classic music which Mrs. Cleveland always played to her husband, who enjoyed it so much that
she never allowed a visitor to interrupt it; Mr Cleveland's unworldly nobility of character—all blend to make it an oasis in the desert
of this * work-day world.' Life has never seemed to me tame or
uninteresting; but this period is glorified in my memory, not merely by the subjective enthusiasm of my own youthful reason, but by
the objective reality of so many rare individualities congregated together."
My own recollections of those golden days of my
childhood and of the happy home in which they were
passed is so vivid, and the contrast is so great between
the pure and wholesome social atmosphere which then
surrounded me, and the heated and tainted air which
is so widely prevalent to-day, that I find it hard