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Voyages and commercial enterprises, of the sons of New England Cleveland, Richard J. (Richard Jeffry), 1773-1860 1855

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and R. L. Reid
Collection of Canadiana        Entered according to Act of Congress, by
Kichakd J   Cleveland,
in the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the District of Massachusetts. PREFACE
P?12 character of the citizens of New England
for enterprise and industry, is very generally
acknowledged.    Being for the^nost part obliged
to seek their own fortunes, *they are thus early
accustomed   to the   endurance   of  privations,
and   to* those industrious  and   frugal habits,
which lead   to  competence   and   wealth.    In  the
pursuit   of that   independence   of   which   all  are
more or less desirous, there have  been instances of
daring   enterprise,   of   persevering   determination, of
disregard of P ^igue   and   suffering,   which   are very
remar^ejypf^' but which   pass   unobserved   from their
frequency, no less than from the unobtrusive habits of
the actors.
A simple account of such enterprises, drawn from journals
and letters .written at the time the events therein * related
occurred, is here  given to the public.
More than forty-five years have elapsed since the first of
the voyages here narrated was undertaken; and more than
twenty since the completion of the last. It is apparent that
they possess but in a small degree, the power to interest, that 8
would have been excited, had they been published at the
period of their performance ; yet this delay in their publication may, on some considerations, enhance their value. It
mav be interesting to the young merchant to trace some of
the great revolutions in the commerce of the world, which
have occurred within the above-named periods; and those of
advanced age may be induced to recur to by-gone days,
with pleasing, even if accompanied with melancholy associations.
For several years preceding the date of the first of my
voyages, the merchants of the United States, and particularly those of Salem, carried on an active and lucrative
commerce with the Isles of France and Bourbon, which was
continued up to the period of the conquest of- those islands
by the British, since which it has nearly ceased. That important product of our country, cotton, which is now its
greatest and most valuable article of export, employing a
greater amount of tonnage than any other, was then unknown as an article of export from t-K^jJnited States; and
the little required for the consumption of wr^mestic fabrics was imported from Demerara, Surinam, and the West
India Islands. The trade to the Northwest Coast of America, which for about twenty-five years was actively and almost exclusively pursued from Boston, on an extensive scale,
and to great advantage, has for some years Jbeen abandoned,
from the scarcity and high prjce of furs, caused by the
competition of the Russians, who hajge gradually advanced
their posts far to the south of those places where my cargo
was collected; and where they were not then seen. The
sealing voyages,  which were   prosecuted most   actively from \
New Haven, Norwich, and Stonington, principally to the
Island of Masafuera, and by which sudden and large fortunes were made, have, for many years past, been productive of little comparative advantage to the few .yet engaged
in them; and this in consequence of the animal's being
almost annihilated.
Our cargoes from China, which were formerly paid for in
these furs, and in Spanish dollars, are now procured for
bills on England, for opium, and for European and American fabrics. The cotton and silk manufactures of Indostan
constituted formerly, almost exclusively, the cargoes of our
ships from Calcutta, which were paid for in Spanish dollars, and which generally yielded large profits. At this time
our cotton fabrics are so much better and3 cheaper, as entirely to have superseded the importation of those; and most
of the articles which now compose a cargo from Calcutta,
excepting saltpetre and bandanas, were then scarcely known
there, as articles of export to this country. Bills on England in payment for these cargoes, as well as for those
laden at other ports of India, have been substituted for
Spanish dollars, which formerly were indispensable to the
prosecution of this  trade.
When I first visited the ports of Brazil, of Chili,' of Peru,
of Mexico, and of California, they had* been for ages, and
were then, so exclusively used for their own respective flags,
that the admittance of one of a foreign nation was granted
only on the most palpable evidence of a necessity, which it
would be inhuman not to relieve. When admitted, no individual belonging to the vtael was permitted to land, or to
walk the streets of the  city,  without  the disagreeable incum- 10
brance^of a soldier Mowing him; hence the difficulty of
obtaining information, and consequently the meagre accounts
given  ofLthe  manners  and  customs of those nations.
The revolutions in those countries • which have been effected with so much individual distress, and so great loss of
life, though far from having produced the prosperity and happiness anticipated by their most enlightened patriots, have
nevertheless caused their ports to be thrcgni open for the
admission of the flags of all nations. This Ijas afforded opportunities to strangers for visiting them, which have been
abundantly improved; and the numerous and elaborate accounts of them which have been given to the world, within
a few years, by literary men, who possessed the requisite
leisure and opportunity for the purpose, seemed to obviate
the necessity of my attempting to enlarge on those subjects.
The same reason forbade the attempt at more than cursory
and passing descriptions of countries, cities, customs, and
manners in other parts of the globe, visited by me for objects exclusively of a commercial character.
Equally, if not even more remarkable than the changes
above mentioned, are those observable at the Sandwich
Islands, since my first visit there in the year 1799. Then
the inhabitants were but little elevated from the barbarous
state in which they were found by Captain Cook; now they
are comparatively a civilized people, sensible of the value of
instruction, and eager to obtain it; cultivating their fields,
and, by an extended and increasing foreign trade, affording a most remarkable instance of the ameliorating and humanizing effects  of commerce.
In these   days of philanthropy, when there  are so many PREFACE.
zealous advocates and active promoters of the great and
truly benevolent cause of temperance, it is proper and becoming in every well wisher to the advancement of this
cause, to aid it in every way in his power. With such
impressions, and with the favorable opportunity now present-
ed, I should consider it reprehensible to withhold from the
public a statement of facts relating to myself personally,
and which no other consideration than the hope of doing
good, would induce me to make, although they may be viewed
by many as not the least extraordinary of the facts which
have been narrated.
I am ""not, nor have I ever been a member of a temperance society; but I was a practical temperance man long
before such societies were dreamed of. At the period when
I began my nautical career, itr was a universally received
maxim, that drinking grog and chewing tobacco were two
essential and indispensable requisites for making a good seaman. So omnipotent is custom, and so powerful is satire,
that although the absurdity of such a maxim must be apparent to every one, I have, nevertheless, seen many young
men repeatedly made sick before overcoming the disgust,
and some of them afterwards became miserable drunkards.
As^lcohol and tobacco were in no degree less offensive to
me than I had evidence of their being to my associates, it
appeared to me that to submit to the ridicule rather than
to the sickness, was selecting the least of the evils, and I
acted accordingly.
Those who may honor me with a perusal of my narrative
will perceive, that I have navigated to all parts of the
world, from the  sixtieth degree  of south latitude, to  the six- 12
tieth degree north; and sometimes in vessels whose diminutive size and small number of men caused exposure to wet
and cold, greatly surpassing what is usually experienced in
ships of ordinary capacity; that I have been exposed to the
influence of the most unhealthy places; at Batavia, where I
have seen whole crews prostrate with the fever, and death
making havoc among them; at San Bias, where the natives can stay only a portion of the year; at the Havana,
within whose walls I have resided five years consecutively;
that I have suffered captivity, robbery, imprisonment, ruin,
and the racking anxiety consequent thereon. And yet, through
the whole, and to the present sixty-eighth year of my age,
I have never taken a drop of spirituous liquor of any kind;
never a glass of wine, of porter, ale, or beer, or any beverage stronger than tea and coffee; and, moreover, I have
never used ^tobacco in any way whatever ; and this, not
only without injury, but, on the contrary, to the preservar
tion of my health. Headache is known to me by name
only; and excepting those fevers which were produced by
great anxiety and excitement, my life has been free from
sickness. $■$
The following narrative will enable the reader to form a
comparison between a seaman's profession and his own; and,
possibly, after perusing it, he will be less disturbed by the
annoyances which peculiarly beset him. He will perceive that
the master of a merchant ship, in whom are united the
duties of navigator and factor, is subjected to great care
and responsibility, even on ordinary and well-defined voyages.
These are greatly augmented when the enterprise is enveloped   in   darkness from   the unknown   political   state  of the I
countries whither he is destined; from the contingencies which
may be presented to him; and from the necessity of great
circumspection, decision, and promptitude, in the choice of
them.HIf he is timid and afraid to enter a port where
there is uncertainty of a friendly reception, it may cause
the ruin of his voyage. If, on the contrary, he is bold,
and enters such port, confiding in the protection of existing
treaties, and the laws of nations, he may also become the
victim of arbitrary power, confided to unworthy and ignorant individuals. If success attend his enterprise, when returning home with ample compensation for his labor, he runs
the risk of having it all snatched from him by some hungry satellite of that great high-sea robber, termed fj His," or
" Her Majesty." Thus, in addition to the ordinary perils
of hurricanes and storms, of rocks and shoals, he has to
incur the greater ones of the  cupidity and villany of man.
Of the ordinary labor and fatigue attendant on the profession, the same individual would form opposite conclusions
in different circumstances. The man who makes a winter's
passage from Europe to America, and encounters the usual
storms and severity of weather peculiar to that passage, will
probably pronounce the seaman's life to be the hardest, the
most dangerous, the most irksome, the most wearing to body
and mind, of any one of the pursuits of man. On the contrary, he who sails from the United States to Calcutta, to
China, or to South America, avoiding our winter's" coast,
may perform the voyage without experiencing a gale of
greater severity than would require the sails to be reefed,
a pleasing excitement when the necessity is of rare occurrence ; and   he would probably decide that no   profession is
2 m- 14
so easy, so   pleasant,   and   so   free   from care, as   the  seaman's.    These  are the two extremes, between which, as may
be supposed, there are gradations, which will tend to incline
the scale one way or the other,   according to circumstances.
The experience of more  than twenty years, passed in navigating to all parts of the world,   has -led   me to the conclusion, that though the hardships and. privations of  a  seaman's life be   greater than those  of   any other, there -is a
compensation in   the very  excitement of its  dangers,  in the
opportunity it affords of visiting different countries, and viewing mankind   in   the   various   gradations   between the   most
barbarous and  the   most refined;  and   in the ever-changing
scenes which this occupation presents.    And I can say, with
truth, that I not only feel no regret for having chosen this
profession rather than any  other,  but that if my life were
to be passed over again, I should pursue the  same course.
The Counting House. A Salem merchant. His ships and masters* Distant
voyages. Their excitement My first voyage. Disgust with it. Become
master of the Enterprise.    Voyage to Bourbon- 25
CHAPTER  H.    »
Voyage to Havre. Disappointment. Send home the Enterprise. Buy a cutter. Amount of vessel and cargo. Explanation of my plan. Apprehension
of my friends. Name of the vessel. Sail from Havre. Disaster. Attempt
to return. Fall to leeward. Come to anchor. Cables part. Run ashore. Humane conduct of the people. They unlade and get off the vessel. Enter
river Orme. Stop the leaks. Return to Havre. Repair the vessel. The crew
desert .:p 40
Difficulty in procuring men. Partially accomplished. -Sail from Havre. A British Frigate. Ushant. Sketch of the crew. Anecdotes of George. His
bravery and fidefi^v. Swimming aftjer the pig. British Frigate Stag. Danger
of contact. Chased off Cadiz. Boarded from a French privateer. Released
unharmed. Cape de Verde Islands. A gale. Lose a cask of water. Causes
a necessity of stopping at Cape of Good Hope. Arrival- Interview with the
Admiral. Many visitors. Suspicion of our object. Interview with Lord
Macartney. Searched for papers. Sell the vessel. Trouble with the Collector.   Appeal  to Lord Macartney. Adjusted.   The vessel despatched.   Never
heard of after .  . |§p ^ife. ?IS 49
M 15 16
Description of the Cape. Of the town. Effects of southeast wind. Devil's Table Cloth. Season of westerly gales. Dangerous to the shipping. Loss of the
Sceptre. Loss of ship Jefferson. Notice of the inhabitants. Their feelings
under the actual government. Simon's Bay. Constantia. Signal Hill. Residence and resource of the man stationed there. Table Mountain. The ascent
and view therefrom. Perilous situation. Mode of rescue. Descent and return
to town      . 62
Impatience to be off. Embark for Batavia- Chased by a Brig. Outsail her.
Arrival at Batavia. Governor's surprise at our quick passage. Hotel. American commerce. Effect of the climate on Europeans. Market. The Bay.
Sharks and aligators. No opportunity to freight to the United States. Embark
for China. Arrival at Macao. A typhoh. Lose an anchor. Arrive at Wham-
poa. At Canton. Embarrassment as to next destination. Arrival and purchase of an English cutter. Associates in the adventure. Factories. Recourse
of beggars to compel alms.   Enter the city.   Result 67
Information from Boston. Difficulty of obtaining men. Northeast Monsoon.
A choice of difficulties. Sail from Anson's Bay. Anchoring when the tides
were against us. Narrow escape. Rocks and shoals. Strike and stopped on a
sunken ledge. Come off as the tide rises. Anchor and procure water and
wood. Curiosity of the people. Stormy weather. Pass through a breaker
unhurt. Keep company with a Chinese fleet. They enter Amoy. Anchor
outside. Dangerous navigation. Island of Kemoy. Mutiny. Means of subduing it. Leave six men behind. Visit from a Chinese. Weather the north
end of Formosa.   Heavy gales across the Pacific.   Discontent of the crew. .  .
See the coast of America. Prepare bulwarks. . Anchor at Norfolk Sound. Discharge a cannon. Natives come to us. Caution to them. Their appearance.
Purchase skins. Tribe. An accident,, Result. Chatham Straits. Ship
Eliza. Suspicious conduct of the natives. An alarm. Steeken. War canoe.
A present. Request to stop the rain. A deserter. Recovered. Game. Anchor in a cove. Hostile attitude of the natives. Leave them. Ship Cheerful.
Dangerous position of the vessel. Eseape. Repair the damage. Ships Han
cock and Despatch, of Boston. , Skittigates. A stratagem. Howlings in
the night.   Sensibility of a native^Chiefs Kow, ConeySJw, and Eltargee. .  .  .
90 CONTENTS. ^ 17
Sail for Sandwich Islands. My satisfaction. Owhyhee. Provisions and Fruit.
Natives. Mowee. Proceed westward. Tinian. Anchor in the Typa. The
ship Ontario. Reflections caused by her loss. Proceed to Whampoa and Canton. Take a factory. Contract for the cargo. Causes operating to discourage
a return to the coast. Sell the cutter. Embark for Calcutta. Malacca. Pulo
Pinang.   Procure a Pilot.   Arrive at Calcutta    • . 109
Captain Lay. Take a house. Servants. George pressed. Application for his
release to the town Major and to the Chief of Police. Unsuccessful. To Lord
Mornington. George restored. His gratitude. American commerce. Buy a
boat. Danish Flag. Deer hunt by tigers. Observations on Calcutta. Isle of
France. Culpu. Danger in passing the Barabulla. Arrival at Me of
France 118
Good fortune. Visit the Governor. His civility. William Shaler. Dinner at the
Governor's. Sell the vessel and cargo. Isle of Bourbon. St. Dennis. St.
Paul's. Riviere d' Aborde. Mr. Nairac. Dinner Party. Pass near the volcano.
St. Benoit. Return to St. Dennis. Return to Isle of France. Death of the
Governor. Honors to his memory. Entry of a Hamburgh ship. Cut out by
English boats. Purchase coffee. Confiance and Kent. Mode of capture.
Bravery aui||jgenerosity of Surcouffe. Brig Traveller. A duel. Kent sold.
Freight her.   Naturaliste and Geographe  127
Satisfaction at the prospect of departure. Observations on the Isle of France.
Influence of the Jacobins. A hurricane. Sail for Europe. Hail an American
schooner. Coast of Norway. War between the English and Danes. Arrive at
Christiansand. Leave the ship, and proceed to Copenhagen. Arrival there.
A profitable voyage. Sketch of Copenhagen. Obelisk. Fredericksburg palace.   Rosenberg Palace.   Arrival of the ship from Norway *^f. .140
Remarks.   Associated with Mr. Shaler.   Leave Copenhagen.   Arrive at Ham
burgh.   Purchase a vessel.   Decision as to the command..   Count de Rouissil-
lon.   Peace of Amiens.   Discouraging prospects.   Vessel near being lost in the
river.   Proceed to sea.   Arrive at Grand Canaria.   Appearance of th«town.
2* 18
Departure.    Arrival at Rio Janeiro.    An assassination.    Convent of Benedictine's.   Bay of Rio.   Departure.   Cape Horn.   Lose a man.   Arrive at Val
American vessels at Valparaiso. Permission to obtain supplies. Threat of the
Captain-GeneraL Controversy between the Governor and Captain Rowan-
Arrest and imprisonment of Americans. Preparation for hostilities. Anger of
the Governor. Determined on Vengeance. His treachery. Capture of the
ship Hazard. Imprisonment of Rowan. Correspondence with the Captaiar
General. Defer our departure. Seizure of our vessel. Interrogatories. Our
vessel restored to us. Order of the Captain-General to leave the port. Proposition from the Collector. Refused. Return of the actual Governor. Interview and civil reception.   Departure	
Arrive at the CaUipagos Islands. Transactions there. Departure. Singular
flaw of wind. Arrival at San Bias. Visited by the Commissary. Agreement
with him. Opposed by the Governor. Character of the Governor. Controversy between the Governor and Commissary. Order to leave San Bias. Arrangement with Rouissillon. He leaves us for Mexico. Go to the three Maria
Islands. Embarrassment. Letter from Rouissillon. Death of the Governor.
Catch a Sun Fish. Description of Three Marias. Return again to San Bias.
Proposal for the cargo. Return of Rouissillon. Sale of part of the cargo. Purchase sea-otter skins. Suspicion of treachery. Take final leave of Rouissillon.
His character. Death. Again anchor at the Three Marias. Discover a traitor*
in the mate.   Seize his papers.   Remarks thereon •  .-.**... 177
Notice of San Bias. Domestic Indians. Circulation ef revolutionary papers. S
Sail from the Three Maria Islands. St. Clement's. Indians. Arrive at San
Diego. Commandant Rodriguez visits the ship. Leaves a guard on board. A
visit to the fort. Ship Alexander. Fail in purchasing the skins. Detention of
our men. Rescue. Disarm the guard on board. Prepare for war. Get under
sail to go out. Fire of the fort. Returned. Pass by the fort. Put the guards
on shore. Arrive at St. Quihtin's. Visit of Missionaries. Corporal's letter.
Padre's opinion of Rodriguez. Leave St. Quintin^s. Notice of it. Guadaloupe."
&n Borja. Padre Mariano Apolonario. His character. Procure horses. Our
Farewell. Arrive at St. Joseph's. Obtain supplies. Sail for the Sandwich
Observations onleaving the coast. California. Sandwich Islands. Visit of the
king. Land the horses. Present them to the king. His estimation of them.
Visit Derby's grave. Leave the Islands. Sketch of Tamaahmaah. Attempt
at his conversion. A practice of the natives. Arr*evidence of their gallantry.
Instances of atrocious conduct of Americans. Island pf Guam. A visit from
the Governor's lady. Sketch of the Island. A storm. Arrival at Canton. Dis- |||
pose of one half the ship. Mr. Shaler returns to California, and I embark in
the Alert for Boston i 206
Parting with Mr. Shaler. Origin of our acquaintance. Observations. Embark
for Boston. Touch at North Island. Pass the Isle of Bourbon. Arrive at the
Cape of Good Hope. Reflections. Departure from the Cape of Good Hope. Arrival at Boston. Lelia Byrd sails for California. Disaster. Difficulty of making repairs. Arrive at the Sandwich Islands. Barter with the king. Place
the cargo in his power. His honorable conduct. Expedite the Tamana. Mr.
Hudson.'His voyage. Return and death. Lelia Byrd. Apology for the voyage.
Cause of again Voyaging. Destination. Suspicion of the Quakers. ^.Sail from
New York. A Gale. Dismasted. Arrive at Rio Janeiro. The Visit. Allowed Forty-five days to repair. Rig the vessel as a Brig. Obstacles to Changing
the voyage. Obviated. Dispose of the Cargo. Buy a Ship and Cargo of Beef.
Despatch the Aspasia by the Mate. Go to St. Catharine's in the Ship. Description. Sail for Havana. Boarded twice. Cochrane's Fleet. Boarding Officer. A contrast to his Commander. Ordered for Tortolal Taken Possession
of by the Cerberus Frigate . . 224
Admiral Cochrane. His Notariety. Officers of the Cerberus. Theme of Conversation. Arrival at Tortola. Dougan, the Prize agent. His Threat to the
Judge. Vice Admiralty Court. Condemnation. Cause therefor. Proposal
from the Agent. Proceed to St. Thomas. Wrecked. Arrive in the Boat. Effect on the Owners. Fail in my Object. Return. Embark again for St.
Thomas. Hence to New York. Arrival. Interview with a Friend. Extent of
my Misfortune. Arrive at Home     217 20
English Aggression. Embargo. Voyage to Africa. To Halifax and to Europe.
Arrive in the Clyde. Proceed to London. Project a Voyage to the Isle of
France. Defeated. Illness at Exeter. Recover. Go to Holland. Lade a Ship
for New York. Take Charge of Despatches for the United States. Arrival at
Baltimore 249
Ifeeessity for seeking a milder Climate. Sail for Naples. Arrival there. Confiscation. Rome visited. Ship Margaret. Refused a Passage in her. Disappointment. Her Loss. Buy the Nancy Ann. Sail with a License. Boarded
by an English Brig of War. Wrath of the Captain. Arrive at Lisbon. Sell
my Wine there. Embargo. Raised on the Retreat of Massena. Sail for England. Arrive at Plymouth. Narrow Escape from Shipwreck. Standgate
Creek.   Arrive at London.    Termination of my Charge 260
Buy a Vessel and Cargo. Sail for Copenhagen. Wrecked on Jutland. Save the
Cargo. Honest Character of the People. Arrive at Copenhagen. Sent an
Agent to take Charge of the Cargo. French Privateer at Elsineur. Go to Riga and back. Import a Cargo from London. Seized at Copenhagen. Released too late. Frozen up. Proceed to Hamburgh. Bombardment. Capitulation.
General Hogendorf. His Civility. Proceed to Paris. To Nantz. To Bordeaux.
Embark in a Clipper. Pass through an English Fleet of Merchantmen. Their
Dismay. Often chased, particularly on our own Coast. Great Superiority of
Sailing.   Arrive at New York . 267
Invited to take Charge of a Voyage to Teneriffe and Batavia. Sail from Salem
in Ship Exeter. Dismasted. Repair the Damages. Arrive at Teneriffe. Bad
Roadstead of Orotava. Quarantine. Mr. Little. His Hospitality and Benevo-
lence. SaEHrom Orotava. Cape Verde Islands. Land at Tristan d'Acunha.
Procure Fish and Potatoes. Jonathan Lambert. Arrive at, and sail from, the
Cape of Good Hope. Island of Amsterdam. Arrive at Batavia. Governors.
Mr. Watt. Lade the Ship and put to Sea. Lose two Men. Arrive at the Isle
of France^ Exchange Produce. Sail for Home. St. Helena. Warned off.
Finish the Voyage by arriving at Boston M  277
Preliminary Remarks. Departure from New Jeork. Passing Reflections. Passage to Cape de Verde Islands. Tornado, j St. Paul's on the Equator. Per-
nambuco.   Rio de la Plata.    Cape Horn.    Embayed.   Passage of the Cape. COlfTENTS.
Land on the Island of Mocha. Arrival at Talcahuana. Visit of the Authorities. Sketch of them. A Guard sent on Board. Our Men taken away. Prohibition of Communication with our Countrymen of the Canton	
Sails unbent.   Interchange of Letters with the Governor.   Unfortunate Selection"
of a Port.   Situation of the Royal and Patriot Forces.   Visit from the Authori-
- ties.    Sketch of them.     Their Object and Determination.    Hopeless Case.
Some Resources 291
Examination by the Assessor.    Liberty to go on Shore.    Escape to the Enemy
of the Beaver's Men.    Indignation of the Populace.    Annoyance of Sentries.
^Arrival of the Venganza. Put the Guard to Sleep. Answer the Watchword.
Plan of taking the Frigate. Consequences. Sounding the Men. Day appoint
ed.    Disappointed -.||7>  g 296
Attack of Fever. Assault on the Town. Repulse. Condemnation of the Ship
and Cargo. Appeal. Patriots set Fire to and abandon Conception. Arrival
of Osorio, with Four Thousand Men. Pursue the Patriots. Battle of Talca.
Desperate State of the Patriot Cause. Battle of Maipo. Ruin of the Royal
Army. Return to Osorio. Distress of the People. Ships ordered to be ready.
Removed from the Beaver ;  .  . W^m- •  •  • 308
Arrival of the-Esmeralda. Her Escape from capture. A Ship from Lima. An
Order from the Viceroy for us to be sent there. Brig Canton prepared. Sailed
on the J2th of May. Arrival at Callao. Interview with the Viceroy of Peru.
Result. Take a House at Lima. Visit the Officers of Government. Encouragement of Eventual Success  . .316
Arrival of the Ontario. Threat of the Viceroy to send me away. His Change of
Opinion. Promise of Protection. Plan a Voyage to Valparaiso. Engage a
Ship. Engagement broken. Disappointment. Embark for Valparaiso in the
Andromache. Captain Sheriffe, OffieVs, and Crew. Observance of the Sabbath.   Recreation.   Masafuera.    Juan Fernandez.    Arrival 321 1
2J3 conteVts.
Visit to the Governor.   Difference in effect of old and new Government.   Tariff.
" Mistaken policy.   Meet some of the Beaver's men.    Expeatation of arrival of
Supreme Director.   Rejoicing on his arrival.   Meet with Ribas.   Introduced to
the Supreme Director.   Proposal to enter the service.    Charter a Brig.    Embargo.   Journey to Santiago.   Cuesta de Prado.   Maipo. " Sketch of the City.
Return to Valparaiso
Sail for Callao. Arrival. Revocation of the Decree of Condemnation. Over
tures to buy the Ship. Take possession of the Beaver. Obligation to Captain
Biddle. Livonia. Obligation to Captain Sheriffe. Embargo. Blossom, English vessel of War. Judge Provost. His bad odor with the Viceroy. Difficulty of procuring men. Obviated by prisoners. Capture of Isabella. Expectation of the Chilian Fleet. Remove the Beaver below the Fleet. Ready
for sea W£ •  •  •  • 336
Embargo raised. Arrival of the Chilian Fleet. Cannonading with the Batteries.
Useless result. Removal of the Beaver. Disposition of the crew to desert.
Visit trie Viceroy. Obtain a Licensed Chilian proclamation of Blockade. Visit
Lord Cochrane's Ship. Insolence of her Captain. Sail for Pisco. Arrival
there.   Mutiny of the Crew.   Suppressed.    Sail for Guanchaca 343
Pisco. Arrival at Guanchaca. Alarm at Truxillo. Unlading and relading. Gal-
varino. Men detained on shore. Suspicion of our good faith. Proceed to Mal-
abrigo. Lose two anchors. Proceed to Pacasmayo. Finish loading. Sail for
Callao. Touch at Guacho. Hear of the Blockade being raised. Arrival at
Callao. Sketches of Truxillo, Guanchaca., Malabrigo, Pacasmayo. Satisfaction given the Viceroy. Discharge the Cargo. Proceed to Pisco. Lade with
Brandy.   Return to Callao.    Disappearance of the Volador . jjk 353
Suspected of sinking the Volador. Crew of the Beaver examined. Sell the
Cargo.     Charter the Ship.     Sail for Guacho.     Arrival of the Chilian Fleet.
- Guacho and its manufactures. Sail for La Barranca. Stupid Pilot. Return
to Guacha. Sail for Samanco Bay. Observations thereon. Bad calculation
of the Charterer. Commandanfeand his' daughters.^* Arrival at Pacasmayo.
Sail for Chili.   Boarded by the San Ma&in.   Arrival at Valparaiso 36? CONTENTS.
Competition at Valparaiso. Purchase the Ship Ocean. Sail for Lima. Arrival.
Completion of the Charter. Drottiager and Ocean sail for Guayaquil. Zephyr
for Pacasmayo. Beaver for Guayaquil. Sketch of Lima. Arrival at Payta.
Observations. Arrival at Guayaquil. Controversy with the Governor. Lade
the Ships. Sail for Callao. Arrival there. Governor of Guayaquil superseded.    Sketch of Guayaquil	
Arrive at Callao. Repair the Ship. Sail for Rio Janeiro. Retrospective Reflections. Receive a letter from .the Owners. Remarks thereon. Reply. Arrival
at Rio Janeiro. Customhouse Officer. Sail from Rio Janeiro. Happy Ship's
Company. Arrive at New York. Letter to the President of the National Insurance Company. Reception by that Officer. Remark of a Merchant on the
Voyage 380
Visit my family in Massachusetts, Return to New York. Owners object to my
Commission. Left to Arbitrators. Deduct therefrom two and a half per cent.
Disappointed in promised remuneration. Letter to the President. No reply.
Comparison of this Company with others. Not attributable to the President.
Observations on Corporations. Close of my Voyaging. Remarkable, fact as
respects loss of men and Sickness. Loss of Property. Don Pedro Abadia.
Don Jose Arismendi. Proceed to Hamburgh. Return. Letter to Abadia.
Proceed to Bordeaux and Madrid. Interview with Arismendi. Viceroy. Return via Paris and Havre. Arismendi in Boston. Imprisoned. Escape by the
aid of a Merchant. "His cunning. Proceed to Havana. Death of Mr. Shaler.
Effort to obtain the Consulate. < Disappointed.   Return to Boston 388
CONCLUSION \ . . . | . I 401
The Counting-House—A Salem Merchant—His Ships and Masters—Distant Voy
ages — Their Excitement—My First Voyage—Disgust with it—Become Master
of the Enterprise—Voyage to Bourbon.
tlST the ordinary course.of a commercial education,
in New England, boys are transferred from school
to the merchant's desk at the age of fourteen or
fifteen. When I had reached my fourteenth year,
it was my good fortune to be received into the
counting-house of Elias Hasket Derby, Esq. of
Salem ; a merchant, who may justly be termed the
father of the American commerce to India ; one
whose enterprise and commercial sagacity were unequalled in his day, and, perhaps,have not been surpassed
by any of his successors. To him our country is
indebted for opening the valuable trade to Calcutta;
before whose fortress his was the first vessel to display the
American flag; and, following up the business, he had reaped
golden harvests before other merchants came in for a share.
The first American ships, seen at the Cape of Good Hope
and at the Isle of France, belonged to him. His were the first
American ships which carried cargoes of cotton from Bombay to
China; and among the first ships which made a direct voyage to
China and back, was one owned by him. He continued to prosecute
a successful business, on an extensive scale, in those countries,
until the day of his death. In the transaction of his affairs abroad,
he was liberal, greatly beyond the practice in modern times, always
desirous that every one, even the foremost hand, should share the 26
good fortune to which he pointed the way; and the long list of masters
of ships, who have acquired ample fortunes in his employment, is a
proof both of his discernment in selecting and of his generosity in
paying them.
Without possessing a scientific knowledge of the construction and
the sparring of ships, Mr. Derby seemed to have an intuitive faculty
in judging of models and proportions; and his experiments, in
several instances, for the attainment of swiftness of sailing, were
crowned with a success unsurpassed in ourx>wn or any other country.
He built several ships for the India trade, immediately in the vicinity
of the counting-house ; which afforded me an opportunity of becoming acquainted with the building, sparring, and rigging of ships.
The conversations, to which I listened, relating to the countries then
newly visited by Americans, the excitement on the return of an
adventure from them, and the great profits which were made, always
manifest from the result of my own little adventures, tended to stimulate the desire in me of visiting those countries, and of sharing more
largely in the advantages they presented. Consequently, after having
passed four years in this course of instruction, I became impatient
to begin that nautical career on which I had determined, as presenting
the most sure and direct means of arriving at independence.
The force of prejudice, in defiance of common sense and the plainest dictates of reason, is perhaps in no case more frequently exhibited-
than in the pertinacity with which old seamen, whose nautical course
began in the forecastle, adhere to the maxim, that, to make* a good
seaman, " it is requisite one should enter on board by the hawse-holes
(or forecastle), and not by the cabin windows." When 1 began, I
was aware of the existence of this maxim, but doubted its truth ; as
I could not comprehend how the qualifications for command were to
be acquired by living, in the forecastle ; or how nautical skill was to
be advanced by practising the duties of tarring down the rigging, and
slushing the masts. I therefore had no ambition of attaining to a
practical knowledge of these accomplishments. I came in at the
cabin windows; but with an understanding that I was to stand watch
regularly, to take my regular turn at the helm, to reef and hand the
sails, &c.; and I am sure it will be admitted that there was no time
when I flinched from the performance of those duties. CAPE  HAYTIEN.
Having, early in life, imbibed a predilection for nautical affairs, I
had ample opportunity of indulging it, while in the counting-house
of a merchant who had several ships built and equipped in the  immediate vicinity of my place of employment.    I had watched the
progress and manner of fitting the rigging of many  vessels, and
thereby obtained a better knowledge of it than is often gained by many
j years' service in the forecastle.    On the sailing or the arrival of our
vessels, I was almost always on board, and thence acquired a knowl-
j edge of the art of manoeuvring a ship, such as is not always attained
I by long practice at sea.   With such practical experience, I embarked"
at Salem, on my first voyage, in June, 1792, on board of the brig
I Rose, owned by Mr. Derby, and commanded by my early friend and
school-mate, Nathaniel Silsbee,* on a voyage to Cape Frangois, now
Cape Haytien.    I entered in the capacity of captain's clerk ; to live
i with him in the cabin; to assist him in his business in port; and to do
I duty as a foremast hand at sea.    Nor have I, after my long course
of experience, been able to discover any way so desirable, so eligible
I as this, for giving a young man a practical knowledge of seamanship,
free from the vulgarity of the forecastle; and of so familiarizing
him with the manner of doing business in various countries, as to
i make him an accomplished super-cargo.
Our passage being made in the height of summer, — we experienced a long course of southerly winds, which so retarded our progress,
that nearly forty days were consumed before reaching our destingd
port; and there was scarcely a day of this long passage that I was
not more or less sea-sick. . I remember only one incident to vary the
monotonous scene on this tedious passage ; and this was of a description that will never be obliterated from my memory,  i We were one
day   lying- perfectly-becalmed near the tropic, — the water so smooth
las to reflect every object, like a mirror, — the heat intense ; the vessel
! lying like a log, with scarcely any perceptible motion.    At this time,
though not unconscious of danger, I could not resist the inclination
| of taking a plunge into the ocean.    I had not, however, been swim-
jming more than five minutes, before the men on board perceived a
shark coming quickly towards the vessel.    The necessity for caution,
* Since President of the Senate of Massachusetts, and for several years a Senator
of the United States. 28
so as not to alarm me, was obvious ; and Captain Silsbee, being fortunately on deck, with great presence of mind dropped his hat overboard, and called to me to come quickly and pick it up before it filled
with water. I did so, and had scarcely got out of the water with the
hat in my hand, when I saw, within a few feet of me, a shark of
enormous size; indeed in all my extensive navigation since, I have
seen none that would bear any comparison with it. As he came
fearlessly close alongside the vessel, one of the seamen got ready a
harpoon to throw into him, but was forbidden so to do, from the certainty of losing it.
Arriving safely at Cape Francois, the bay presented a scene of
commercial activity, such as I had never seen equalled. The throng
of boats by which we were instantly surrounded, to sell us the variety'
of strange fruits with which they were laden; — the number of large
ships in port, some loading, others unloading; — the daily arrival and
departure of vessels of all nations; — the French slavers continually
coming in from Africa, with a crowd of blacks on their decks; — the
fine ships of war in beautiful order; and the multitude of boats
passing to and fro, across the bay;—formed, altogether, a scene
surpassingly animated and brilliant, to one whose eye had never before
met any thing of the kind, exceeding the orainary exhibition of vessels in Salem harbor. The activity and bustle of business on shore
seemed to be even greater than that in the bay; and the magnificent
scores, filled with every description of merchandise, gave indications
of the riches and business of the place ; while the long range of stalls
on the border of the bay, for the retail of all kinds of French knick-
knacks, gave employment and a living to a great number of the colored population. The insurrection of the negroes, however, had, at
this time, made some progress; and only a short period elapsed
before these riches " took to themselves wings," and the whole white
population of the colony was involved in one promiscuous state of
Having disposed of our outward cargo, and reladen with another,
the produce of the island, we were wafted to sea by the land breeze,
very early on a morning in the latter »part of August, and, after a
fair passage, arrived in safety at Salem, in September, 1792; — thus^
to my great joy, accomplishing my first voyage; and experiencing a PORT  PRAYA.
i relief from the nausea, occasioned by the wearisome rolling and bad
odor of the vessel, which is probably not unusual, and will be duly
appreciated by those who make their first passages at sea.
The distress from sea-sickness, and its consequent prostration of
spirits, were such as to make it desirable to seek some other road t<?
fortune. But I possessed no capital with which to bring my commercial acquirements into action ; and a merchant without capital
was as incapable of making head-way, as a mechanic without tools.
There remained to me, therefore, only the choice of persevering in
the profession I had chosen, with a prospect of independence ; or ©f
earning a maintenance as a clerk or book-keeper, with no chance of
ever being any thing else. Had the disagreeable circumstances
attending a sea-life been even greater than they were, I should have
had no hesitancy in the choice, and I therefore engaged to go out
again with Captain Silsbee, in the same capacity as before, in a new
ship of Mr. Derby's, then ready to be launched. This ship, of about
one hundred and ninety tons' burden, was called the Benjamin, and
was destined for the Isle of France and the East Indies.
In the prosecution of this voyage, we left Salem harbor on the 11th
of December, 1792. ^ flgl
During the first week after our departure, we had a gale of wind
from north-northwest, and northwest, which compelled us to take in
the topsails, and to keep the ship scudding before the wind and sea,
under the foresail. As we passed over George's Bank the sea was
tremendous; sweeping from our decks several hogsheads of water
and two casks of merchandise, and threatening us with the loss of
boats and caboose. The men suffered exceedingly, during the first
three days, from incessant exposure to cold and wet. Such entire
absence, for the time, of any approximation to comfort, I have neyer
witnessed since. The cook, a black man, either from heedlessness,
or from ignorance how to take care of himself, had his feet so badly
frozen that it was found necessary to amputate his toes, — which
was done with a penknife by the second mate ; who then dressed the
wounds to the best of his ability.
About six weeks after this occurrence (26th January) we arrived
at Port Praya, St. Jago, to which place we had proceeded for the purpose either of leaving the cook there, or of procuring such surgical
3* 30
and medical aid as was needed for his recovery. Fortunately, we
found lying there H. B. Majesty's ship Scorpion. The surgeon of
this ship, being immediately sent for, came with alacrity, and examined find dressed the poor fellow's feet. He left salves and medicines,
with directions how to use them ; and, with characteristic generosity,
refused any compensation. To the fortunate circumstance of receiving this very opportune aid, the poor cook was indebted for a
speedy cure, if not for his life. Having filled our water-casks, and
procured the requisite supply of vegetables, we sailed the next day
for the Cape of Good Hope. The long calms we experienced on the
equator, and the foulness incident to a wooden-bottomed ship, retarded
our progress, so that we did not arrive at Table Bay till the 10th of
The exhaustion of our stores, consequent on a four months' passage, would have rendered an arrival at any civilized place a pleasing
event. But, at the Cape of Good Hope, where fresh provisions and
vegetables of good quality, and delicious grapes, and other fruits,
were to be obtained in abundance, the pleasure of our arrival was
increased to a degree to leave a lasting impression on my mind.
A part of our cargo was disposed of at the Cape; and its place
filled up with such produce of the country as it was supposed would
yield the most profit at the Isle of France. Our business being accomplished, we sailed from the Cape on the 23d of April. On the succeeding night we experienced a gale, which obliged us to heave to,
under foresail and mizzen staysail. At this time the ship was laboring and straining so much, that it was deemed expedient to throw
over the deck load, which afforded perceptible relief. Proceeding
on our course, no event worthy of notice occurred till the 26th of
May,_when we felLin with the French frigate, La Prudente, bound to
the Isle of France, and conveying the news of a declaration of war
by England against France. On the 6th of June we arrived, and
came to anchor at Port Louis, Isle of France.
The news of the war with England greatly enhanced the value of
our cargo; and the prospect was flattering for making a great voyage, if left unmolested to pursue our business. But the disorders
incident to the Revolution had reached this island; and the discord
existing between the admiral in command of the naval force, and the ISLE  OF  BOURBON.
government on shore, was an epitome of that then existing in France,
between the parties who were struggling for the ascendency. Vice-
admiral St. Felix refused obedience to the dictation of the Jacobin
government; and for such refusal, — like the unfortunate Macnamara,
— he would have been cut to pieces, had he ventured to come on
shore. Aware of this, he took care never to put himself into their
power; but his long residence on ship-board, and consequent deprivation^ of the salutary effects of occasionally visiting the shore, had
the usual result in such cases, producing scurvy. But however much
the authorities were at variance with each other,*they agreed in one
thing, the detention of all the American vessels in port, tUl the arrival of news from France, such as should dispel the existing doubt, then
very prevalent, of America's taking sides with England against France.
In the mean time, all the ships being sheathed with wood, the worms
were making such havoc, that a long detention would be scarcely^ less
disastrous than confiscation. There is probably no place in the world
surpassing Port North-West, now so called, for the destructive power
of the worm. On going into the hold of the ship, when empty, I
was astonished at the noise they made; not unlike a multitude of
borers with augers ; but fortunately, when they have pierced the
sheathing, their further progress is arrested by the hair which is placed between the sheathing and the bottom of the ship.
On the 6th of July, several American ships being ready for sea,
their masters went together on board of the Admiral's ship, and had
an interview with him on the subject of obtaining leave to sail; but
this he refused them, on the plea of its endangering the safety of
some merchant ships then on the point of sailing for France. A
second application was made on the 31st of July, with a like result;
nor was it till the arrival of the American ship Pigou, with French
passengers, direct from. Bordeaux, on the 20th of November, that the
authorities were satisfied that America would maintain a neutral position, and, as a consequence, were willing to raise the embargo.
Being thus relieved from a painful state of anxiety, and from an
embargo of nearly six months' duration, we sailed from the Isle of
France on the 25th of November, being only partly laden ; and proceeded to the Isle of Bourbon to take on board a quantity of coffee
already prepared for  us.     Having anchored at St. Dennis, and if
taken on board a part, we proceeded to St. Benoit, and took
in the remainder. The anchorage at this latter place is so bad that
it is- rare that any other than small coasting vessels attempt to load
there. We came to in fifty fathoms, the cable being nearly up and
down. The Benjamin was the first foreign vessel that had ever anchored in that port; and having fine weather and a very smooth sea,
and receiving every facility from the agent on shore, we succeeded
in the accomplishment of our object, after remaining four days at this
dangerous anchorage. We then sailed, on the 7th-of December, for
the Cape of Good Hope, touching again at St. Dennis for the settlement of accounts, which caused a detention of a few hours only.
Our passage from St. Dennis to the Cape of Good Hope was attended With no circumstance worthy of note. It was performed in
about thirty days, and we arrived there on the 4th of January, 1794.
A few days afterwards, the ship Henry arrived from the Isle of
Bourbon, only partially laden; and on the same day the brig Hope
arrived from Salem. Such a coincidence was not lost on the enterprising mind of Captain Silsbee, who, seizing the advantage presented by it, determined on returning to the Isle of France with a cargo
of Cape produce, which was greatly wanted there ; and on freighting
home, in the above vessels, the cargo then on board. Having made
arrangements for carrying this plan into execution, he caused to be
slapped in these vessels, to the owner in Salem, such portion of the
cargo from the Isle of France as would considerably more than pay
for the cost of our ship and of her whole outward freight; and the'
proceeds of the remainder, beyond what was put on board the HeYiry
and the Hope, were invested in wines and other articles suited to the
market of the Isle of France,
A few days before the completion of our business at the Cape, the
British frigate Diomede anchored in the bay ; which was rather an
alarming incident, as at that period the thirst for plunder among the
officers of the British navy, and their consequent annoyance of neutrals, were very great. It was soon afterwards rumored that they
had information of our intention of going to the Isle of France, and
meant to prevent it; although we had not violated any known law or
regulation of the place, or compromised any of the rights of neutrals, nor was the island blockaded.    Our exertions, therefore, were fi
unremitting to be off with the least possible delay. Accordingly, being ready for sea, we went on board in the afternoon of the 4th of
February, in a strong southeaster, and with a prospect of its increase.
We had been on board but a short time before we saw a boat put off
from the Diomede, and row towards us. If it had been their intention to board us, as we supposed to be the case, they were unable to
do so, from the violence of the wind, and they landed about a mile to
leeward. As, in going out of the bay, we should be obliged to pass
by the Diomede, we waited till after dark for this purpose. In the
mean time the gale had increased to such a degree, that, when we
attempted to heave ahead, we found it to be entirely impossible, and,
as the only alternative, we slipped our cables, hoisted the fore-topmast
staysail, and were soon at sea, out of the reach of molestation.
Arriving safely at the Isle of France on the 13th of March, our
cargo was disposed of immediately, to great advantage. The ship
was again loaded with a cargo of the produce of the island, and we
sailed for home on the 8th of April; having been only twenty-six
days in selling and delivering one cargo, purchasing and lading
another, and getting off. Here, again, we had to leave rather abruptly, and a day or two sooner than had been contemplated, in consequence of information, which was received on a Sunday morning,
that at a meeting, the preceding evening, of the Jacobin club (which
then governed the place), it had been decreed that an embargo
should be laid, on Monday morning, on all the foreign vessels then in
port. Having previously, as has been seen, suffered here from a six
months' embargo, it was determined, if possible, ta escape another
such detention, even at some hazard.
In pursuance of this determination, a number of sailors were hired,
and brought on board; one of the pilots of the port, who was an influential member of the Jacobin club, was, byjneans of an exorbitant price for his services, and by a lktle stratagem which was acquiesced in by him, prevailed upon to be on board the ship, and to
conduct her out of port; the ship's papers were procured from the
Bureau of the government by an officer of the port, for which he
was rewarded by a free passage to Salem ; and all other preparations
being made, — as soon as the port-bells rang to call the populace to
dinner, the three topsails, with the jib and spanker, were hastily bent, 34
the cables slipped, and the ship put to sea before their return, — the
long boat being given to the hired sailors, to convey themselves and
the pilot on shore. Not having a sufficiency of provisions on board
for a passage to America, no other alternative was left us but to stop
at the Isle of Bourbon ; accordingly, with only one anchor and one
cable left, we anchored the next day in the roads of St. Dennis.
The account of the transactions here I copy from Captain Silsbee's
" On landing at St. Dennis, I called on the Governor of the island
(whose residence was immediately contiguous to the wharf, and who
was one of the old Royalists), as was usual, though not obligatory;
and, immediately after leaving him, devoted myself exclusively to
the procurement of such provisions as I could find, and' the addition
of a few bags of coffee to the cargo; which business was not accomplished until towards night, — when, just as I was stepping from
the wharf into my boat, with a determination to be at sea before
morning, the Governor ordered me to his presence; which order I
obeyed from necessity, and with strong apprehension that some restraint was to be imposed on me. On meeting the Governor, he asked, — * How long do you contemplate staying at Bourbon ? ] My answer was,' No longer than is necessary to complete my business.'
He added,—' Can't you leave here to-night ? ' I replied, SI can do
so, if you wish if.' He then said to me,' As you had the politeness
to call on me this morning, and as 1 should be sorry to see you injured, hearken to my advice, and leave here to-night, if practicable.' I
thanked the Governor for his advice, and was on my way towards my
boat, when he called me back and said, * Let no one know what I
have said to you.' I was in my boat and on board the ship as soon
as possible after leaving the Governor. There was a brig of war at
anchor in the roads, a little to windward of our ship. Towards midnight I caused the anchor to be hove up without noise, and let the ship
drift to leeward (the wind and current being favorable), without making sail, until from the darkness of the night we had lost sight of
the brig; when we made all sail directly from the land. At daylight
in the morning, the brig was out, and in pursuit of us ; but, in the
course of the day, gave up the chase.
" I never knew the cause of the Governor's advice, but attributed RETURN  HOME.
it to an apprehension, on his part, that my stopping at Bourbon might
be supposed by the populace to be for the purpose of taking off the
French admiral St. Felix (another of the old Royalists), who had
rendered himself obnoxious to them, and who was known to be then
secreted somewhere on the island; and that this suspicion might
compel him (the Governor) to cause the detention and perhaps the
seizure of my ship, if I remained^there until the next day."
Whatever might have been the Governor's motive, we could perceive in his advice only a disinterested and friendly act towards us ;
by means of which mischief was probably averted. Pursuing our
course to the westward, we struck soundings in sixty-five fathoms on
L'Agulhas Bank, the 4th of May ; passed the Cape of Good Hope
the next day, and on the 30th came to anchor at the Island of Ascension. The time we passed here in fishing, catching turtle, shooting wild goats, and rambling about the island, formed a pleasing and
healthy interlude to the monotony of our voyage. Having obtained
a good supply of all such refreshments as the island afforded, we left
it on the'first of June, and, after a very pleasant passage, anchored
in Salem harbor on the tenth of July ; having been absent nineteen
months; and having the satisfaction of returning all our men, in
health, to their families and friends. (||
This voyage, thus happily accomplished, will be viewed, when
taken in all its bearings, as a very remarkable one ; — first, from the
extreme youth of him on whom the whole duty and responsibility of
conducting the enterprise rested; aided by a chief mate younger
than himself, and by a second mate but a few years older. Captain
Silsbee was not twenty years old when entrusted with this enterprise;
the chief mate, Charles Derby, had not entered on his twentieth year;
and the second mate, who was discharged at the Isle of France, and
whose place I. filled afterward, was about twenty-four years old*
» Secondly, — from the foresight, ingenuity, and adroitness manifest*
ed in averting dangers; in perceiving advantages, and in seizing
them opportunely, and turning them to the best account; — and thirdly, from the great success attending this judicious management, as
demonstrated by the fact of his 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;
SK 36
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 those who were yet younger, and accomplished with
the most entire success.
It was a gratifying evidence of confidence and approbation, that,
after such extended observations of my capacity and character, Captain Silsbee should invite me to accompany him again to India in the
Benjamin, as chief mate; which I was preparing to do, when, unexpectedly, Mr. Derby made known his intention of giving that office
to his nephew, and proposed my going as second mate. This I de-.
clined to do; and thus raised a barrier to any advancement where I
had most reason to hope for it.
I remained without employment till the autumn, not without experiencing much anxiety and impatience, — when I was invited by
Captain Chipman to go with him, as chief mate, in the bark Enterprise, belonging to the son of my former employer, and bound to
Bordeaux. Captain Chipman, a native of Salem, was an experienced navigator; one who had seen severe and even cruel service at
sea; having, during our revolutionary war, been pressed on board a
British frigate, and taken to the East Indies, where, in some engagement, he received a wound, the effect of which remained to the end
of his days, and probably lessened their number. He was a rigid
disciplinarian; a good-hearted man ; but often irritable, from the
effect of indisposition caused by his wound. Our bark was so deeply laden that there were but few days of the passage when the sea
was not rolling from side to side over our deck, and twenty-five days
were consumed before reaching our destination.
Arriving safely at Bordeaux, late in November, we there passed
the winter of 1794-95, a winter of remarkable severity, and such
as is rarely experienced in that part of France. The running ice
made sad havoc with all those ships which were not seasonably removed from the effect of its greatest force. The cables of some
were cut off, and they drifted on shore ; the bottoms of others were
cut through, and they sunk at their anchors. The cold, being proportionally severe at the North, greatly facilitated the operations of
Pichegru in the conquest of Holland. FRENCH   REVOLUTION.
This was a period of unusual effervescence in the minds of the
French people; when, professing to worship Reason, they seemed to
have abandoned any they might ever have had. On one of the Decades, I went, amongst those going to worship, info what they termed the Temple of Reason. It was one of the old Catholic churches,
fitted up in accordance with the new order of things. At one end of
the interior was painted, in imitation of wild natural scenery, trees
and shrubs, rocks and precipices, on a screen which concealed seats
at various elevations, and flights of steps leading to them, and extending nearly up to the ceiling. Here, and on the floor of the Temple,
were assembled, probably, one hundred and fifty persons; who were
addressed by a citizen, from the pulpit, on the subject of the advantages resulting, and to result, to France and to the world, from the
Revolution; — a Revolution which was. the pride and glory of the
patriots, and tbe dread and horror of the aristocrats ; — a Revolution
which would place France at the head of the civilized world, and
immortalize all those who were most instrumental in producing it,
&c. &c. It was, in those days, hazardous even for a foreigner to be
seen in the streets, without the tricolored cockade ; equally so was it
to use the words Monsieur and Madame, instead of citoyen and cito-
yenne. Even the slightest reference to the old regime was inadmissible ; and such was the tumult, one evening when I was present at the
Great Theatre, because an actress appeared with a white feather in
her head-dress, that it was suppressed with much difficulty, and only
by calling in the aid of the military. At every corner and public
place in the city, was to be seen a tablet inscribed with large letters
as follows, — "Liberte, Egalite, Fraternite, ou la mort." Such
were some of the freaks incident to the early part of the French
Revolution ; and such was the infatuation of the sovereign people, as
to render Jhem blind to the fact of their having substituted a hundred
tyrants for the one they had .destroyed.
There was, at this time, a great scarcity of provisions in France,
and the'poor experienced unusual suffering from that cause. Flour
produced thirty dollars a barrel, and other provisions in proportion;
so that our cargo of fish sold for a great profit. Having invested the
proceeds of it in a cargo of wine and brandy, we sailed for home in
March, and arrived there in safety after a fair passage.    Remaining 38
but a few days at home, I sailed again with Captain Chipman, in the
same capacity and in the same vessel, to New York, — there to lade
a cargo for France. After being partially loaded, accounts were received from thence which discouraged the prosecution of the plan.
The cargo was relanded, the crew discharged, the vessel laid by, and
myself alone left to take care of her.
In the autumn of 1795, a voyage was determined on for the bark,
to the Isle of Bourbon ; to lade a part of the cargo at New York,
and to proceed to Boston for the remainder. The charge of this enterprise was confided to me, and, as will readily be supposed, was
very gratifying to me. But, in carrying into execution the first part
of this plan, that of conducting the vessel to Boston, I came near
terminating my nautical and earthly course, from a cause beyond the
reach of human control. When we came«in sight of Cape Cod, the
weather was clear and pleasant with a light breeze from the eastward, before which we spread all sail for Boston light; but very suddenly the wind increased, accompanied with thick weather, and
every appearance of a storm. It was no less extraordinary than
unfortunate, that neither myself, nor any one on board, had entered
Boston harbor from sea, consequently no one was acquainted with
the localities of the light-house. Under such circumstances, in
thick weather, a gale of wind blowing on shore, and night approaching, — to have run for the light, in the hope of obtaining a pilot,
would have been the height of imprudence. The only alternative,
then, which presented for the salvation of the ship and our lives, was'
that of hauling on a wind, and endeavoring to" keep off shore ; but
this was a forlorn hope, for we had advanced far into the bay, and
could make only short boards each Way. As every man was sensible of the impending danger, they worked with unusual alacrity in
close-reefing the topsails, which, with the courses, when hauled on a
wind, brought the lee gunwale under water. It was about. four
o'clock, P. M., and the sea had increased so much4hat the ship, being a dull sailer, made nearly as much lee way as head way. The
night was long, dark, terrific, and it was doubtful if any one of us
would see the light of another day ; yet all were alert, at their posts,
in wearing ship, though thoroughly drenched with the spray which
constantly broke over us.    The only glimmering hope that remained NARROW ESCAPE.
to us was, that the gale might not be of the ordinary duration ; and
this was realized, as, at dawn, the gale abated as suddenly as it had
risen, leaving us nearly becalmed. This in no degree* lessened the
danger of our situation. By the soundings, we knew that we were
but little distant from Cohasset rocks, on which the sea was breaking
with great fury, and constantly heaving the ship toward them. We
had got ready our anchors; aware, however, that if they brought the
ship up, which was doubtful, the cables would soon be cut off by the
rocks, for a chain cable was not then known. In this dilemma, with
a dense fog and a light easterly breeze, a tittle fishing vessel appeared close alongside of us, bound in. The skipper knew his position
exactly, and said if we would follow him, we should be inside the
light in two hours.
We did follow him, and, in less than two hours, were boarded by a
pilot when inside the light. This sudden transition from the most
imminent danger to the most perfect safety; from the most boisterous, sleepless, and terrific night, to the smooth water, quiet, and safety
of a secure haven, was productive of emotions more easily imagined
than described ; nor could I fail to contrast the bearing which a different result (supposing I had survived it) would have had on my
future destiny. CHAPTER  II.
Voyage to Havre de Grace—Disappointment—Send home the Enterprise—Buy a
Cutter—Amount of Vessel and Cargo—Explanation of my Plan—Apprehension
of my Friends—Name of the Vessel—Sail from Havre — Disaster—Attempt to
return—Fall to Leeward— Come to Anchor— Cables part—Run ashore—Humane
Conduct of title People—They unlade and get off the Vessel—Enter River Orme
— Stop the Leaks — Return to Havre — Repair the Vessel—The Crew desert.
flTUKNTGr completed the lading of the ship, I
sailed from Boston in October, 1795, bound to
the Isle of Bourbon.
The confidence, thus evinced, in entrusting the
management of a valuable vessel and cargo to so
young and inexperienced a man, for I had then
only attained my majority, was very gratifying to
my ambition, and was duly appreciated.
In those almost primitive days of our commerce, a
coppered vessel was scarcely known in the United
States ; and on the long East India voyages, the barna-
^T cles and grass, which accumulated on the wooden,
sheathing, retarded the ship's sailing so much, that a third
(more time, at least, was required for the passages, than is
needed since the practice of sheathing with copper has been
adopted. The success attending this voyage was very satisfactory to
my employer, of which he gave evidence in despatching me again,
in the same vessel, on a voyage to Europe, and thence to Mocha, for
a cargo of "coffee.
While at Havre de Grace, in the summer of 1797, engaged in
making preparations for pursuing the voyage, I had the mortification^
to learn, by letters from my employer, that some derangement had
occurred in his affairs, which made it necessary to abandon the Mocha
enterprise, and to place in his hands, with the least possible delay,
the funds destined for that object   Among the numerous commercial PURCHASE  A  VESSEL.
adventures, in which our merchants at that time had been engaged
to the eastward of the Cape of Good Hope, no voyage had been
undertaken to Mocha. To be the first, therefore, in an untried adventure, was highly gratifying to my ambition ; and my disappointment
^was proportionally great when compelled to relinquish it. To iiave
detained the vessel in France, while waiting the slow progress of the
sale of the cargo, would have been injudicious; and she was therefore despatched for home under charge of the mate, William Webb,
of Salem.
Being thus relieved from the necessity of an immediate return to
the United States, I flattered myself that, even with the very contracted means which I possessed, I might still engage, with a little
assistance, and on a very humble scale, in some enterprise to the Isle
of France and India. When, therefore, I had accomplished the
business with which I had been charged, by remitting to the owner in
Salem his property with me, 1 began earnestly to put to the test the
practicability of the object of which I was so desirous. A coincidence
of favorable and very encouraging circumstances aided my views.
A friend of mine had become proprietor of a little cutter of thirty-\
eight tons burden,, which had been a packet between Dover and
Calais. This vessel had been taken for a debt; and the owner, not
knowing what to do with her, offered her to me for a reasonable
price, and to pay when I had the ability. This credit would enable
me to put all my capital in the cargo, excepting what was required
for coppering and fitting the cutter for the contemplated voyage, about
five hundred dollars ; leaving me fifteen hundred to be invested in
the cargo. On making known to others of my friends the plan of
my voyage, two of them engaged to embark to the amount of a
thousand dollars each, on condition of sharing equally the profits at
the end of the voyage. Having become proprietor of the cutter,
which, with all additional expenses, cost, ready for sea, about one
thousand dollars, an investment of articles best suited to the market
of the Isle of France was purchased to the amount of three thousand five hundred dollars; making vessel and cargo amount to four
thousand five hundred. It is not probable that the annals of commerce can furnish another example of an Indiaman and cargo being
fitted and expedited on so humble a scale.
4* 1
I had now the high gratification of uncontrolled action. An innate
love of independence, an impatience of restraint, an aversion to
responsibility, and a desire to have no other limits to my wanderings
than the' globe itself, reconciled me to the endurance of fatigues and
privations, which I knew to be the unavoidable consequence of navigating in so frail a bark, rather than to possess the comparative ease
and comfort, coupled with the restraint and responsibility which the
command of a fine ship belonging to another would present.
As there are, doubtless, many persons, not excepting those, even,
who are familiar with commercial and maritime affairs, who will
view this enterprise as very hazardous from sea risk, and as offering
but a very small prospect of emolument, it is proper, so far as I am
able, to do away such impressions by briefly stating the object I had
in view. On my late voyage to the Isle of Bourbon, I had perceived
a great deficiency in the number of vessels, requisite for the advantageous conveyance of passengers and freight to and from the Isles
of France and Bourbon. If my cutter had been built expressly for
the purpose, she could not have been more suitable. With a large
and beautifully finished cabin, where passengers would be more comfortably accommodated than in many vessels of greater dimensions ;
with but small freighting room, and requiring, therefore, but little time
to load, and of greater speed in sailing than the generality of merchant vessels, I had no doubt of being able to sell her there for more
than double the cost; or*I might find it to be more advantageous to
employ her in freighting between the islands. In either event, I felt
entire confidence in being amply remunerated for the time and risk*.
On the cargo, composed of such articles as my late experience had
proved to be most in demand, I had no doubt of making a profit of
from fifty to one hundred per cent on its cost. The proceeds of
vessel and cargo, invested in the produce of the island, and shipped to
Europe or the United States, would, at that time, have yielded a
clear gain of thirty-three and one third per cent Thus, in the course
of one year, I should make two hundred per cent, on the original capital ; a result which might be considered abundant compensation for
the time it would consume, and should take from the enterprise the
character of quixotism, with which it had been stigmatized.
As soon as- it became known at Havre that my destination was the DANGEROUS  VOYAGE.
Isle of France, some of my friends, anxious for rny safety, and perceiving in the enterprise only the ardor and temerity of inexperienced
youth, endeavored to dissuade me from it, by painting to me, in glowing colors, the distress and probable destruction I was preparing for
myself and men. But, however friendly and considerate the advice,
I felt myself more competent to judge of the risk than they were,
and, consequently, disregarded them.*
The vessel, being all ready for sea on the 20th of September,
1797, was detained several days by the difficulty of procuring men.
Those who were engaged one day would desert the next; and the
dangerous character of the enterprise having been discussed and
admitted among the seamen in port,I began to be seriously apprehensive that I might not succeed in procuring a crew. At length, however, with much difficulty, and some additional pay, I succeeded in
procuring four men; and, having previously engaged a mate, our
number was complete.
To delay proceeding to sea a moment longer than was necessary,
would have been incurring a risk of the loss of my men, and the pay
I had advanced them. Hence I*was induced to sail when appearances were very inauspicious. A strong north wind was blowing
into the bay with such violence as already to have raised a considerable sea; but I flattered myself that, as the sun declined, it would
abate; that, if we could weather Cape Barfleur, we should make a
free wind down channel; and that, if this should be found impracticable, we could, at all events, return to Havre Roads, and wait there
a more favorable opportunity.
With such impressions, we sailed from Havre on the 25th of September. A great crowd had assembled on the pier head to witness
our departure, and cheered us as we passed. It was about noon, and
we were under full sail; but we had scarcely been out two hours,,
when we were obliged to reduce it to a .double-reefed mainsail, foresail, and second-sized jib* With the sail even +-hus diminished, the
vessel, at times, almost buried herself; stiJH, as every part of the
*In conformity with a condition in the contract for the vessel, she was called the
Caroline. We navigated with such papers only as our foreign consuls were, at that
period, in the habit of giving on similar emergencies; the bill of sale and consular
certificate attached, which were respected by the belligerents. 44
equipment was new and strong, I flattered myself with being able to
weather the Cape, and pressed forward through a'sea in which wo
were continually enveloped, cheered with the hope that we had
nothing worse to experience, and that we should soon be relieved by
the ability to bear away and make a free wind. I was destined, however, to a sad disappointment; for the wind and sea having increased
towards midnight, an extraordinary plunge into a very short and sharp
sea completely buried the vessel, and, with a heavy crash, snapped
off the bowsprit by the board. The vessel then luffed into the wind,
in defiance of the helm, and the first shake of the foresail stripped
it from the bolt rope.
No other alternative now presented than to endeavor to regain the
p6rt of Havre ; a task, under existing circumstances, of very difficult
and doubtful accomplishment. The sea had increased in so great a
degree, and ran so sharp, that we were in continual apprehension of
having our decks swept. This circumstance, combined with the seasickness, which none escaped, retarded and embarrassed. the operation of wearing round on the other tack. The violent motion of the
vessel had also prevented the possibility of obtaining sleep ; indeed,
no person had been permitted to go below before the disaster ; and
none had the disposition to do so afterwards; but all were alert in the
performance of their duty, which had for its immediate object the
getting of the vessel's head pointed towards Havre.
This was at length effected; but, as we had no spar suitable for a
jury bowsprit, we could carry only such part of our mainsail as was>
balanced by a jib, set in the place of a foresail.    With this sail we
made so much lee way, that it was evident, as soon as  daylight
enabled me to form a judgment, that we could not reach Havre; nor
was it less evident, that nothing but an abatement of the gale could
save us from being stranded before night.    With the hope of this
abatement, the heavens were watched with an intensity of interest
more easily imagined than described; but no favorable sign appeared;
and before noon we had evidence of being to leeward of the port of
Havre.    We now cleared away the cables and anchors, and secured
with  battens the  communications with the  cabin and  forecastle
While thus engaged, the man at the mast head announced the appall
ing, but expected intelligence, of " breakers under the' lee." SAFELY   LANDED.
This information had the effect of an electric shock to rouse the
crew from that apathy which was a natural consequence of twenty-
four hours' exposure to great fatigue, incessant wet and cold, and
want of sleep and food; for we had not been able to cook any thing.
The rapidity with which we were driven to leeward, soon made the
breakers discernable from deck ; and they were of such extent as to
leave us no choice whether we headed east or west; for the forlorn
hope of being held by our anchors was ail that remained to us. No
one on board possessed any knowledge of the shore we were approaching ; but our chart denoted it as rocky. It was easy to perceive, that
to be thrown among rocks, by such a sea, must be the destruction of
us all. Hence it was of the utmost importance to discover, and to
anchor off* the part of the shore which appeared to be most free from
rocks; and with this.view the mate was looking out from the mast
head. As he perceived an apparently clear beach east of us, and
within our ability of reaching, we steered for it; and when the water
was only six fathoms deep, we lowered our sails and came to anchor.
But as our anchor dragged, a second was let go, which, for a moment
only, brought the vessel's head to the sea, when one cable parted;
and as we were drifting rapidly with the other, we cut it, then hoisted
the jib, and steered directly for the clear space in the beach. Going
in with great velocity, on the top of a high breaker, we were soon
enveloped in its foam, and in that of several others which succeeded.
The vessel, however, notwithstanding she struck the ground with a
violence which appeared sufficient to dash her iji pieces, still held
together, in defiance of this and several minor shocks; and, as the
tide was falling, she soon became so still, and the water so shoal, as
to enable us to go on shore.
As the alarm gun had been fired, the peasantry had come down in
great numbers ; and when they perceived us leaving the vessel, they
ran into the surf, and, with such demonstrations of humanity and
kindness as our forlorn situation was calculated to excite, supported
us to the shore, which we had no sooner, reached, than they complimented us on the judicious selection we had made of a place to come
on shore. And it was now obvious to us, that if we had struck half
a mile, either on one side or the other from this spot, there would
have been scarce a possibility of saving our lives. I
We were fortunate, not only in the selection of the spot, but
also in the circumstance of its being nearly high water when the
vessel struck. The concurrence of two such circumstances turned
the scale in my favor; and immediately after landing I was convinced that the vessel and cargo, though much damaged, would both
be saved. When the tide had so fallen as to leave the vessel dry,
the inhabitants showed no disposition to take advantage of our distress, by stipulating for a certain proportion of what they might
save, before going to work ; but, prompted by their humane feelings,
set about discharging the vessel, in such numbers and with such earnestness, that before sunset she was completely unloaded, and the
cargo carried above high water mark.
The gale, towards evening, had very much abated, and, before the
next high water, was fortunately succeeded by a calm and a great
decrease of sea. In the mean time, the leaks made in the bottom
were stopped, as well as time and circumstances would permit; an
anchor was carried as far as the retreat of the tide would admit, and
the cable hove taut Having made these dispositions, I engaged a
pilot and a sufficient number of men to attend, at full tide, to heave
the vessel off", and to endeavor to remove her into the river Orme,
which was near by. These arrangements being made, I went with
my men to an inn, in the neighboring town of Oistreham, to get
some refreshment, and to pass the night; compelled by exhaustion
to place entire dependence on those who were strangers to us, for
getting the vessel afloat, as well as to secure the cargo from being
Though worn out by fatigue and anxiety, my distress of mind was
so great that I could not sleep. The thoughts that I had contracted
a debt which I might never be able to pay, that no insurance had
been effected, that, without credit, I might be compelled to sacrifice
what had been saved to defray the expenses incurred, and that my
fortune and prospects were ruined, were so incessantly haunting my
imagination, that the night rather added to, than diminished my feelings of exhaustion.
The following morning I found the vessel lying safely in the river
Orme; and men were also mere, ready to make those temporary
repairs which were indispensable to enable us to return to Havre. PROCEED  TO   HAVRE.
In the forenoon it was required of me to go to Caen (two or three
miles distant) for the purpose of making the customary report to the
municipal authorities, which was a business of very little intricacy
and very speedy accomplishment. An examination of the vessel
and cargo satisfied me that the former could be repaired at very
trifling expense, and the latter was not damaged to* much amount.
The alacrity to render us assistance, in the people of this place, from
the beginning of our disaster, was extended to the period when, the
cargo having been transported to the vessel and re-shipped, we were
prepared to return to Havre. |H
As in cases of vessels stranding, it seems to be a practice, sanctioned by long established usage, (particularly on the other side of
-the channel,) to consider the unfortunate as those abandoned by
Heaven, from whom may lawfully be taken all that the elements have
spared, I was prepared for a demand of salvage to a considerable
amount But in this expectation I found I had done great injustice to
these good people ; for, on presenting their account, it appeared they
had charged no more than for ordinary labor, and that at a very
moderate rate. It is a circumstance, also, very creditable to them,
that notwithstanding some packages of the cargo, of much value, and
of such bulk as to be easily concealed, were in their possession,
exclusively, for several days and nights, yet nothing was lost. Although these transactions are of a date so remote, that probably many
of the actors therein have " ceased from their earthly labors," yet I
never recall them to mind without a feeling of compunction that I
had not ascertained the names of the principals in the business, and
made that public acknowledgement for the disinterested and important services rendered me, which gratitude, no less than justice
demanded. For this omission my perturbed state of mind is my only
With a favorable wind for Havre, we proceeded for that port,
where we arrived in about ten days after having sailed from there.
The reception I met with at Havre, from my friend James Price, Esq.
of Boston, who was more largely interested in the adventure than any
other individual excepting myself, was kind and friendly in the
extreme, and tended to counteract the effects of my deep mortification,
and to raise my spirits for the prosecution of the original plan.    He 48
relieved my anxiety relative to the means of defraying the expenses
of repairs, by engaging to provide them. He gave me a room at his
house ; and while I was ill there, (for this I did not escape,) he facilitated my recovery by his care and kindness. With such attentions,
my health was soon re-established, my spirits renewed, and I pursued
the repairing aftid refitting the vessel with my accustomed ardor.
On examination of the cargo, it was found to be very little damaged. The vessel was considerably injured so near the keel, that it
was necessary to lay her on blocks, where it was discovered that the
lower plank was so much broken that several feet of it would require
to be replaced with new. This being accomplished, the other repairs
made, and the cargo again put on board, there was nothing to pre-!
vent proceeding immediately to sea, excepting a difficulty in procuring
men, which seemed to be insurmountable. No one of my former
crew, excepting a black man, (George,) would try it again. We
had arrived at the close of the month of November; and each day's
delay, by the advance of winter, increased the difficulty and danger
of our enterprise. Indeed, the westerly gales were already of frequent occurrence; the nights had become long, and when I heard the
howling winds and beating rain, and recollected in what a frail boat
I had to contend with them, I wished that my destiny had marked out
for me a task of less difficult accomplishment CHAPTER  III.
Difficulty in procuring Men—Partially accomplished—Sail from Havre—A British
Frigate—Ushant—Sketch of the Crew—Anecdotes of George—His Bravery and
Fidelity— Swimming after the Pig—British Frigate Stag—Danger of Contact—
Chased off Cadiz—Boarded from a French Privateer—Released unharmed—Cape
de Verde Islands—A Gale—Lose a Cask of Water—Causes a Necessity of Stopping at Cape of Good Hope—Arrival—Interview with the Admiral—Many Visitors — Suspicion of our Object — Interview with Lord Macartney — Searched
for Papers — Sell the Vessel—Trouble with the Collector—Appeal to Lord Macartney— Adjusted—Ths Vessel despatched—Never heard of after.
difficulty of procuring men seemed to increase with each additional day's detention.    Those
whom I engaged one day, would desert the next,
alarmed  by some exaggerated story of our first
attempt.    In the course of three weeks I shipped
no less than four different men as mates, and as
many different crews, and each, in turn, abandoned
me.    At length I procured an active and capable
young seaman from a Nantucket ship, one whom the
captain recommended, as mate, and another man and a
boy in addition to George, who had held true to his engagement.    I was desirous of procuring one more, but
my attempt to do so was unsuccessful; and fearing that, by
any delay for this purpose, I might lose those already on
board, I sailed immediately.
Our expedition had become a subject of general^conversa-
tion in the town; and the difficulty ofgetting away the Indiaman (as she
was called) was known to every one. The day, therefore, that we
sailed, the pier-head was again thronged with people, who cheered us
as we passed by, wishing us un bon voyage ; but no small portion of
them considered us as bound to certain destruction. It was now the
twenty-first day of December; a season of the year when the loss
of a few hours only of the easterly wind, then blowing, might be at- \
tended with disagreeable, if not disastrous consequences. We therefore set all our sail to improve it, and, while making rapid progress
towards the channel, were brought to by a British frigate, commanded by Sir R. Strachan. The Boarding officer was very civil. He
declared our enterprise to be a very daring one ; caused us as little
detention as possible, and, returning to his ship, immediately made
the signal that we might proceed.
It was soon very evident that no person on board, excepting the
mate and myself, was capable of performing the very common and
indispensable business of steering; and though there was no doubt
our men would soon learn, yet, in the mean t