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The life of John Ledyard, the American traveller, comprising selections from his journals and correspondence Sparks, Jared, 1789-1866 1828

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THE
LIFE f-^ïiaa.
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JOHN  LE
THE
AMERICAN TRAVELLER ;
COMPRISING SELECTIONS
FROM HIS JOURNALS AND CORRESPONDENCE.
BY JARED SPARKS.
CAMBRIDGE, ^ «^ ft
PUBLISHED BY HILLIARD AND BROWN ;
AND BY
hilliard, gray, little, and* wilkins, and richardson and lord,
boston; g. and c. carvill, new york; carey, lea,
and carey, philadelphia.
1828. DISTRICT OF MASSACHUSETTS, TO WIT.
District Clerk's Office.
Be it remembered, that on the twentyfourth day of November, 1827, in the
fiftysecond year of the Independence of the United States of America, Hil-
liard & Brown, of the said district, have deposited in this office the title
of a book, the right whereof they claim as proprietors, in the words following, viz.
" The Life of John Ledyard, the American Traveller ; comprising Selections from his Journals and Correspondence.    By Jared Sparks."
In conformity to the act of the Congress of the United States, entitled" An
act for the encouragement of learning, by securing the copies of maps,
charts, and books, to the authors and proprietors of such copies, during tlie
times therein mentioned ;" and also to an act, entitled " An act supplementary to an act, entitled ' An act for the encouragement of learning, by securing
the copies of maps, charts, and books, to the authors and proprietors of such
copies, during the times therein mentioned,' and extending the benefits
thereof to the arts of designing, engraving, and etching historical and other
prints."
JNO.  W. DAVIS,
Clerk of the District of Massachusetts.
/So o lii
rfK„ Zr d. >v>
.    CAMBRIDGE.
Hilliard, Metcalf, and Company,
Printers to the University.
(■tRMBI^Bn^Hni PREFACE.
Soon after the death of John Ledyard, the subject of the
fellowing memoir, some progress was made in collecting materials for an account of his life, by Dr Isaac Ledyard, then of
New York. The biographer's task was never begun, however,
and the project was abandoned ; but the papers procured for the
purpose have been preserved by the family of Dr Ledyard, and
have furnished the facts for much the larger portion of the present narrative. Researches have also been made in other quarters, and important original letters obtained. Particular acknowledgment is due to Mr Henry Seymour, of Hartford,
Connecticut, for the aid he has rendered in this respect. All
the papers that have been used are entitled to the credit of
unquestionable authenticity.
Wherever it could be done, without deviating too much from
a regular and proportionate train of events, the traveller has
been allowed to speak for himself. His manner of thinking,
as well as of acting, was so peculiar, that a true picture of his
mind and genius, his motives and feelings, could with difficulty
be exhibited in any other way with so much distinctness, as
through the medium of his own language. Free and full selections from his letters and journals are interspersed. His incessant activity, want of leisure, and few opportunities of prac- I
PREFACE.
tising composition as an art, afford an apology for the imperfections of his style, which the candid reader will regard in the
favorable light it deserves. His diction is never polished, and
his words are not always well chosen ; but his ideas are often
original, copious, well combined, and forcibly expressed.
In executing this work, the only aim has been to bring
together a series of facts, which should do justice to the fame
and character of a man, who possessed qualities and performed
deeds, that rendered Hm remarkable, and are worthy of being
remembered. If the author has been successful in this attempt,
he is rewarded for the labor it has cost him. CONTENTS
CHAPTER I.
Birth and parentage.—Early education.—Begins the study of the law.—
Enters Dartmouth College with a view to qualify himself to be a missionary among the Indians;—State of the Indian missions at that time.—His
fondness for theatrical exhibitions while at College.-r-Travels among the
Indians of the Six Nations.—His return to College, and adventure in visiting a mountain.—Constructs a canoe at Dartmouth College with his own
hands, and descends the Connecticut river in it alone to Hartford.—Dangers of the passage.—His singular appearance when he met his friends.—
His enterprise compared to that of Mungo Park on the Niger.
CHAPTER II.
His singular letters to President Wheelock.—Commences the study of theology.-—-His embarrassments on this occasion.—Visits several clergymen
on Long Island, and pursues bis studies there for a short time.—Proposes
teaching a school.—Returns to Connecticut, and meets with disappointment in his hopes of being settled as a clergyman.—Abandons his purpose
of studying divinity.—Sails from New London on a voyage to Gibraltar.
—Enlists there as a soldier in tine regular service.—Released at the solicitation of the captain of the vessel in which he sailed.—Returns home
by way of the Barbary Coast and the West Indies.—Resolves to visit
England, and seek for his wealthy family connexions in that country.—
Sails from New York to Plymouth.—Travels thence to London in extreme poverty.—Realizes none of his expectations.—Enlists in the naval
service.—Gains an acquaintance with Captain Cook, and embarks with
him on his last voyage round the world, in the capacity of corporal of
marines.	
CHAPTER III.
Ledyaré's journal of his voyage with Captain Cook.—Testimonyin his favor
by Captain Bumey.—Sails for &e Cape of Good Hope.—Thence to Ker-
guelen's islands and the âotïth of New Holland.—Character of the peo- Vlll
contents.
53
pie on Van Diemen's Land.—Present state of the Colony there.—Arrives
in New Zealand.—Account of the people, their manners and peculiarities.
—Remarkable contrasts exhibited in their character.—Love adventure
between an English sailor and a New Zealand girl.—Omai, the Otahei-
tan.—Vessels depart from New Zealand, and fall in with newly discovered
islands.—Affecting story of three Otaheitans found on one of them.—Arrival at the Friendly Islands.—People of Tongataboo.—Their condition,
mode of living, and amusements.—Ledyard passes a night with the king.
—Wrestling and other athletic exercises described.—Fireworks exhibited
by Cook.—Propensity of the natives to thieving.—An instance in a chief
called Feenou, and the extraordinary measures used to recover the stolen
property.—Departure from Tongataboo.        --..,_
CHAPTER IV.
Society Islands.—Otaheite.—Ledyard's description of the language, customs, religion, laws, and government of the natives.—Their probable faith
in the doctrine of transmigration.—Remarks on his mode of reasoning on
this subject.—His theory of the origin of customs and superstitions.—
Notions of a Deity among the Otaheitans.—Conduct of Omai.—Difficulties attending the efforts to civilize savages.—Sandwich Islands discovered.—The vessels proceed to the American continent, and anchor in
Nootka Sound.—Appearance and manners of the people.—Indian wampum.—-The abundance of furs.—Cannibalism.—Curious digression on the
origin and practice of sacrifices.—Captain Cook passes Bering's Strait,
explores the northern ocean till stopped by the ice, and returns to the
island of Onalaska.—Sends Ledyard with two Indians in search of a Russian establishment on the coast.—His account of this adventure.—In
what manner he was transported in a canoe.—Village of Russians and Indians.—Hot baths.—Their habitations and manner of living described.—
Bering's vessel.—Ledyard returns to the ships, and reports to Captain
Cook.—Expedition returns to the Sandwich Islands.     -
CHAPTER V.
The ships anchored in Kearakekua bay.—First interview with the natives.—
Reverence with which they regarded Cook.—Tents erected for astronomical observations.—Ceremonies at the meeting of Cook with the old
king.—Ledyard forms the project of ascending the high mountain in Hawaii, called by the natives Mouna Roa.—Description of his ascent, and
cause of his ultimate failure.—The natives begin to show symptoms of
uneasiness at the presence of the strangers, and to treat them with disrespect.—Offended at the encroachment made on their Moral.—Cook departs from Kearakekua bay, but is compelled to return by a heavy storm,
that overtakes him, and injures his ships.—Natives receive him coldly.—
37
61 CONTENTS.
They steal one of the ship's boats, which Cook endeavors to recover.—
Goes on shore for the purpose.—Is there attacked by the natives and
slain.—Ledyard accompanied him on shore, and was near his person when
killed.—His description of the event.—Expedition sails for Kamtschatka,
erplores again the Polar seas, and returns to England.—Ledyard's opinions respecting the first peopling of the South Sea Islands.—Other remarks relating to this subject, founded on the analogy of languages, and
manners of the people.—Characteristics of Ledyard's journal.—Estimation in which he held Captain Cook.	
CHAPTER VI.
Ledyard returns to America—Interview with his mother after an absence of
eight years.—Passes the winter in Hartford, and writes his Journal of C ook's
Voyage.'—Visits New York and Philadelphia to concert with the merchants the plan of a commercial expedition.—Robert Morris agrees to engage in a trading voyage, under his direction, to the Northwest Coast.—
Proceeds to Boston, and afterwards to New London and New York to
procure a vessel for the purpose.—Failure of the enterprise, after a year
had been spent in fruitless attempts to carry it into effect.—Letters to his
mother.—Makes a trial in New London to enlist the merchants of that
place in his scheme.—Was the first to propose a voyage for a merchan-
tile adventure to the Northwest Coast.—Sails for Cadiz.—Letters from
that city containing political remarks.—Sails for L'Orient.-—Makes an
agreement with a company of merchants there to aid him in such a
voyage, as he had proposed in America.—After eight months' preparation,
it is given up.—Goes to Paris.     ........
CHAPTER VII.
Meets with Mr Jefferson at Paris.—Project of a voyage to the Northwest
Coast with Paul Jones, for the purpose of establishing a trading factory
there.—Proposes travelling across the continent from Nootka Sound to
the United States.—Thinks of going to Africa with Mr Lamb.—Remarks
on Paris, and various objects that came under his notice.—The king at
Versailles.—Mr Jefferson and Lafayette.—The Queen at St Cloud.—Application through Baron Grimm to the Empress of Russia» to obtain permission for him to travel across her dominions to Bering's Strait.—Colonel
Humphreys.—Contemplates going to Petersburgh, before the Empress'
answer is received.—Curious anecdote of Sir James Hall.—Visit to the
hospitals in Paris.—Tour in Normandy.—Proceeds to London, where he
engages a passage on board a vessel just ready to sail for the Northwest
Coast.—Colonel Smith's letter to Mr Jay.—The voyage defeated.—Resolves anew to go to Russia.—Sir Joseph Banks and other gentlemen
contribute funds to aid him in his travels.       ------
b %
CONTENTS.
CHAPTER VIII.
Ledyard proceeds to Hamburg.—Goes to Copenhagen, where he meets
Major Langborn, another American traveller.—Endeavors to persuade
Langbom to accompany him on his tour, but in vain.—Continues his
route to Sweden, and is disappointed in not being able to cross the Gulf
of Bothnia on the ice.—Journey round the Gulf into the Arctic Circle on
foot, through Sweden, Lapland, and Finland.—Maupertuis' description of
the cold at Tornea.—Arrives at Petersburg, where he is befriended by
Professor Pallas and others.—Procures a passport from the Empress,
through the agency of Count Segur, the French ambassador.—Sets out
for Siberia, and travels by way of Moscow to Kazan, a town on the river
Wolga.—Crosses the Uralian Mountains. Some account of the city of
Tobolsk.—Proceeds to Barnaoul and Tomsk.—Descriptions of the country
and the inhabitants—Character and condition of the exiles at Tomsk.—
Fossil bones.—Curious mounds and tombs of the ancient natives.—
Arrives at Irkutsk. _.-_ 17g
CHAPTER IX.
Residence at Irkutsk.—Miscellaneous remarks on the inhabitants, and the
productions of the country.—Accounts of the Tartars.—Unsuccessful attempts to civilize them.—Fur trade on the American coast.—Visit to the
Lake Baikal.—Further remarks on the character and manners of the Kal-
muks and other Tartars.—Leaves Irkutsk for the river Lena.—Scenery
around the Baikal.—Rivers flowing into it.—Extraordinary depth of its
waters.—They are fresh, but contain seals, and fish, peculiar to the
ocean.—Estimate of the number of rivers in Siberia, and of the quantity
of water they pour into the Frozen Ocean.—Ledyard proceeds down the
Lena in a bateau.—Romantic scenery along the margin of the river.—
Hospitality of the inhabitants.—Ends his voyage at Yakutsk.
208
CHAPTER X.
Intemew with the Commandant at Yakutsk.—Stopped at this place on account of the advanced state of the season.—His severe disappointment
at this event.—Detained under false pretences.—Takes up his residence
in Yakutsk for the winter.—Elephant's bones on the banks of the Lena,
and in other parts of the country.—General remarks on the various tribes
of Tartars in Siberia.—Characteristics of savages in cold and warm cli-
mates.—Kalmuks have two modes of Writing.—Their manner of living.—
The Yakuti Tartars.—Influence of religion upon them.—The love of freedom common to all the Tartars.—Their dwellings.—Intermarriages between the Russians and Tartars.—In what degree the color of descendants is affected by such intermarriages.—Peculiarities of features in the
Tartar countenance.—Form and use of the Tartar pipe.—Dress.—Diffi- CONTENTS.
XI
culty of taking vocabularies of unknown languages.—Marriage ceremonies.—Notions of theology.—Practice of scalping.—Wampum.—Classification of the Tartars and Nor$t American Indians.—Language a criterion
forjudging of the affinity between the different races of men.—Causes of
the difference of color in the human race.—Tartars and American Indians
the same people.        .......... 227
CHAPTER XI.
Climate in Siberia.—Extreme cold.—Congelation of quicksilver.—Images in
Russian houses.—Attention paid to dogs.—Ice windows.—Jealousy of
the Russians.—Moral condition of the Russians in Siberia.—Ledyard's
celebrated eulogy on women.—Captain Billings meets him at Yakutsk,
on his return from the Frozen Ocean.—Bering's discovery of the strait
called after his name.—Russian voyages of discovery.—Bering's death.—
Russian fur trade.—Billings's expedition.—His incompetency to the undertaking.—His instructions nearly the same as those drawn up by Peter
the Great for Bering.—Some of their principal features enumerated.        - 256
CHAPTER XII.
Ledyard departs from Yakutsk, and returns to Irkutsk up the Lena on the ice.—
Is seized by order of the Empress, and hurried off in the charge of two
guards.—Returns through Siberia to Kazah.—His remarks on the peculiarity of his fate.—Further observations on the Tartars.—No good
account of them has ever been written.—Passes Moscow and arrives in
Poland.—Left by his guards, with an injunction never to appear again in
Russia.—Health much impaired by his sufferings.—Proceeds to Konigs-
berg, and thence to London.—Inquiry into the motives of the Empress
for her cruel treatment of him.—Her pretences of humanity not to be
credited.—Her declaration to Count Segur on the subject.—Dr Clarke's
explanation incorrect.—The true cause was the jealousy of the Russian
American Fur Company, by whose influence his recall was procured
from the Empress.—Lafayette's remark on her conduct in this particular. 273
CHAPTER XIII.
Interview with Sir Joseph Banks in London.—Engages to travel in Africa
under the auspices of the African Association.—Remarkable instance of
decision of character.—Letter to Dr Ledyard, containing miscellaneous
particulars respecting his travels and circumstances.—Description of his
Siberian dresses.—Origin and purposes of the African Association.—Ancient and present state of Africa.—Benefits of discoveries in that continent.—Letter from Ledyard to his mother.—His remarks to Mr Beaufoy
on his departure for Egypt.—Visits Mr Jefferson and Lafayette in Paris.— m
su
CONTENTS.
Sails from Marseilles to Alexandria in Egypt.—Description of Alexandria,
in a letter to Mr Jefferson.—Arrives in Cairo.—Description of the city,
and of his passage up the Nile. 289
CHAPTER XLY.
Remarks on the appearance of the country in passing up the Nile.—Condition of a Christian at Cairo.—Interview with the Aga.—Miscellaneous
observations on the customs of the Arabs, and other races of people found
in Cairo.—Information respecting the interior of Africa.—Visit to the caravans and slave markets.—The traveller's reflections on his circumstances
and prospects.—His last letter to Mr Jefferson.—Joins a caravan and prepares to depart for Sennaar.—He is taken suddenly ill.—His death.—
Account of his person and character.	
308
ERRATA.
Page 140, line 20, before Cadiz insert from.
|    178, "     2, and in several instances afterwards, for Langhom read
Langborn. THE
LIFE AND TRAVELS
OF
JOHN LEDYARD
CHAPTER I.
Birth and parentage.—Early education.—Begins the study of the law.—Enters
Dartmouth College with a view to qualify himself to be a missionary among
the Indians.—State of the Indian missions at that time.—His fondness for
theatrical exhibitions while at College.—Travels among the Indians of the
Six Nations.—His return to College, and adventure in visiting a mountain.
Constructs a canoe at Dartmouth College with his own hands, and descends the
Connecticut river in it alone to Hartford.—Dangers of the passage.—His singular appearance when he met his friends.—His enterprise compared to
that of Mungo Park on the Niger.
John Ledyard, the celebrated traveller, was born
in the year 1751, at Groton, in Connecticut, a small
village on the bank of the river Thames, opposite to
New London. The place of his birth is but a few
hundred yards from Fort Griswold, so well known in
the history of the American revolution.
His grandfather, named also John Ledyard, came
in early life to America, and settled at Southold, Long
Island, as a small trader in dry goods. He was a native of Bristol, England, and had been bred a merchant in London.    Being prosperous in business at
1 2
LIFE OF JOHN LEDYARD.
Southold, he was soon married to a lady of amiable
qualities and good fortune, the daughter of Judge
Young, a gentleman of character and influence in
that place. From Southold he removed to Groton,
where he purchased an estate, and resided many years.
He had ten children, and after the death of his
wife he removed to Hartford, in Connecticut,
and there spent the remainder of his life. For his
second wife he married Mrs Ellery, a respectable
widow lady of Boston.
To his eldest son, who had the same name as himself, he gave the estate at Groton. He was a sea
captain, engaged in the West India trade, a man of
sound understanding, vigorous constitution, and industrious habits. But he died at the age of thirtyfive,
leaving a widow and four children, three sons and
one daughter, of whom the subject of this memoir
was the eldest. Colonel William Ledyard, the
brave commander in the memorable action of
Fort Griswold, who was slain after the capitulation, was the second son.
It thus appears, that John Ledyard, the traveller,
was the third of that name in lineal descent. His
mother, who was the daughter of Robert Hempsted
of Southold, has been described as a lady ôf many
excellencies of mind and character, beautiful in person, well informed, resolute, generous, amiable, kind,
and above all eminent for piety and the religious virtues. Such a mother is the best gift of Heaven to
a family of helpless young children. In the present
instance all her courage and all her strength of character were necessary, to carry her ttoough the duties LfflFE OF JOHN LEDYARD.
3
and trials, which devolved upon her. The small
estate, which had belonged to her husband in Groton,
was, by some strange neglect of her friends, or criminal fraud never yet explained, taken from her soon
after his death» During a visit to Long Island, the
deed, which she had left with a confidential person,
disappeared. As this deed was the only evidence of
her title to the property, and her claim could not be
substantiated without it, the whole reverted to its
former owner, her husband's father, who was still
living. The particulars of this transaction are not
now known, nor is it necessary to inquire into them.
It is enough to state the fact that such an event occurred, and that the widowed mother with four infant
children was thus thrown destitute upon the world.
In this condition she and her children repaired to the
house of her father in Southold, w7here they found protection and support. The estate at Groton afterwards fell into the hands of Colonel William Ledyard.
It may be supposed, that misfortune did not weaken her parental solicitude, nor make her neglectful of
her high trust. The education of her children was
the absorbing object of her thoughts and exertions.
Her eldest son was now of an age to receive impressions, that would become deeply wrought into his
mind, and give a decided bias to his future character.
In the marked features of his eventful life, eccentric
and extraordinary as it was, full of temptations, crosses, and sufferings, may often be traced lineaments of
virtues, and good impulses, justly referred to such a
source, to the early cares and counsels of a judicious,
sensible, and pious mother.    Nor were these counsels 4
LIFE OF JOHN LEDYARD.
Kli  I
scattered in a vacant mind, nor these cares wasted on
a cold heart ; in his severest disappointments and privations, in whatever clime or among whatever people,
whether contending with the fierce snows of Siberia,
or the burning sands of Africa, the image of his mother always came with a beam of joy to his soul, and
was cherished there with delight. Such of his
letters to her, as have been preserved, are written
wTith a tenderness of filial affection, that could flow
only from an acute sensibility and a good heart.
A few years after leaving Groton, and settling at
Southold, Mrs Ledyard was married to a second husband, Dr Moore of the latter place. At this time her
son John was taken into the family of his grandfather
at Hartford, who, from that period, seems to have
considered him as wholly under his charge. Tradition tells of peculiarities in his manners and habits at
this early age, of acts indicating the bent of his genius,
and the romantic disposition, that gave celebrity to
his after life. But no record of his schoolboy adventures has come down to us, and we are left to conjecture in what manner the wild spirits of a youth like
his would exhibit themselves. He attended the
grammar school in Hartford, it is to be presumed,
with commendable proficiency, since he was at first
designed for the profession of the law. Several
months were passed by him as a student in the office
of Mr Thomas Seymour, a respectable lawyer of that
place, who had married his aunt. Meantime his
grandfather died, and Mr Seymour became his guardian, and took him to his own house. Whether Ledyard turned his thoughts to the law by his voluntary LIFE OF JOHN LEDYARD.
choice, or by the advice and wishes of his friends, who
desired to quiet his temper, by fixing him in some
settled pursuit, is not related ; most probably the latter, for it was soon manifest, that neither the profound
wisdom, the abstruse learning, nor the golden promises of the law, had any charms for him. It was
decided without reluctance on his part, therefore,
that he should leave the path, which he had
found so intricate, and in which he had made so
little progress, and enter upon one more congenial
to his inclination, and presenting objects more attractive to his taste and fancy.
Here was a difficult point to be determined. The
pursuit, which would accord best with the propensities,
temperament, and wishes of John Ledyard, and best
promote his future usefulness and success, was a thing
not to be decided, even at that time of his life, by the
common rules of judging in such cases ; it was a preliminary, which no one probably would have been more
perplexed than himself to establish. Never was he accustomed to look forward with unwavering predilections, to prepare for contingencies, or to mark out a
course from which he would not stray. To be seeking
some distant object, imposing and attractive in his own
conceptions, and to move towards it on the tide of circumstances, through perils and difficulties, was among
the chief pleasures of his existence. On enterprises,
in which no obstacles were to be encountered, no
chances to be run, no disappointments to be apprehended, no rewards of hazardous adventure to be
looked for, he bestowed not a thought ; but let a project be started, thickly beset with dangers, and prom- mm
WÂ
6
LIFE OF JOHN LEDYARD.
ising success only through toils and sufferings, deeds
of courage, and the resolute efforts of an untiring
spirit, and not a man would grasp at it so eagerly, or
pursue it with so much intenseness of purpose. The
wholesome maxim of providing for the morrow rarely
found a place in his ethics or his practice ; and as he
never allowed himself to anticipate misfortunes, so he
never took any pains to guard against them.
He was now at the age of nineteen, with very
narrow means, few friends, and no definite prospects.
In this state of his affairs, as it was necessary for
something to be done, he was compelled to look
around him, and for a moment to exercise that foresight, which the tenor of his life proves him to have
been so reluctant on most occasions to call to his aid.
And, after all, he was more indebted to accident, than
to his own deliberations, for the immediate events,
that awaited him. Dr Wheelock, the amiable and
pious founder of Dartmouth College, had been the intimate friend of his grandfather, and prompted by the
remembrance of this tie, he invited Ledyard to enter
his institution, recently established at Hanover, New
Hampshire, amidst the forests on the banks of the
Connecticut river. This offer was accepted, and
in the spring of 1772, he took up his residence at
this new seat of learning, with the apparent intention of qualifying himself to become a missionary
among the Indians.
His mother's wishes and advice had probably much
influence in guiding him to this resolution. In accordance with the religious spirit of that day, she felt a
strong compassion for the deplorable state of the
1! LIFB OF JOHN LEDYARD.
Indians, and it was among her earliest and fondest
hopes of this her favorite son, that he would be educated as a missionary, and become an approved instrument in the hands of Providence to bring these degraded and suffering heathen to a knowledge of a puue
religion, and the blessings of civilized life. When she
saw this door opened for the realizing of her hopes,
and her son placed under the charge of the most
eminent laborer of his day in the cause of the Indians,
her joy was complete.
From the first settlement of the country much zeal
and much disinterested philanthropy have been exercised, in attempts to convert the Indians to Christianity,
and induce them to adopt the manners and participate the comforts of civilized men. Eliot (rightly
named the apostle of the Indians), and the Mayhews,
are entitled to the praises, which succeeding times
have bestowed on them ; and the efforts of the Society
in Great Britain for propagating the Gospel in foreign
parts, were prompted by motives of the noblest kind,
and were bestowed with an ardor and with sacrifices,
that demand a generous tribute from the pen of history, and the grateful remembrance of posterity. For
many years little had been done, however, till the
popular talents and fervent zeal of David Brainerd
caused the journals of his missionary tours to be read
throughout the country, his labors applauded, and his
success regarded as an evidence of the great work,
that might be wrought by the use proper of means.
About this time the Reverend Eleazer Wheelock,
who was then a settled clergyman in Lebanon, Connecticut, formed the scheme of an Indian School, 8
LIFE OF JOHN LEDYARD.
^
which should have the double object of preparing
young preachers for the missionary field, and of educating Indian youth, who should return to their tribes,
and become teachers among their own people. Without show or ostentation Dr Wheelock commenced
the school at his own house, and almost at his own
charge. He began with two pupils, one of whom
was Sampson Occum, an Indian of the Mohegan tribe,
afterwards so much celebrated as a preacher, and for
his instructions to the Indians. The school gradually
increased, and so benevolent an undertaking, pursued
with such singleness of purpose, could not fail to
attract public notice and approbation. He was aided
by contributions from individuals, and the province of
Massachusetts voted to pay, for a certain time, the
expense of educating six Indian children. Mr. Joshua
Moor, who owned lands in Lebanon, gave a portion
of them for the benefit of this school, and from this
circumstance, the seminary for the education of Indian boys, afterwards attached to Dartmouth College,
was called Moorh Indian School.
But Dr Wheelock still found, that pupils from the
forest flocked to him faster, than he could provide for
them. He thought it now time to adopt the expedient
of sending to England, and soliciting assistance from
the wealthy and charitable on the other side of the
water. For this object Sampson Occum, and another
clergyman, were sent out as agents, furnished with
testimonials of their character, and certificates of approbation from eminent persons in the colonies. Occum was looked upon as a wonder in England. He
was the first Indian preacher from North America, LIFE OF JOHN LEDYARD.
9
that ever had been seen in the Old World ; wherever
he went crowds gathered around him, and it has been
the lot of few speakers to address audiences so thronged. A North American Indian in a pulpit, eloquently
preaching in the English tongue, was a phenomenon
too nearly miraculous to pass unseen or unheard. It
was said, moreover, that he exhibited in his person and
character, a practical example of what might be done
with Indians, when fairly brought under the influence
of instruction. All this was highly favorable to the
great ends of the mission, and in a few months a subscription was obtained, and money paid to the amount
of nearly ten thousand pounds. The king gave two
hundred pounds, and several gentlemen one hundred
each. The money was deposited in the hands of trustees in England, and drawn out as occasion required.
With this addition to his resources, Dr Wheelock began
to think of enlarging the plan of his school, and
removing nearer to the frontiers, both to diminish
the expense of living, and to be nearer the Indians.
After examining several situations, he selected Hanover, then almost a wilderness, to which place he
removed in 1770, cut away the trees, and erected the
the institution, which he called Dartmouth College^ in
honor of Lord Dartmouth, who had manifested zeal
and liberality in collecting the Indian fund in England.
To this college, about two years after it was founded, Ledyard resorted to prepare himself for the
arduous office of a missionary among the Indians.
The nature of a missionary's life at that time,
and the prospects of the young candidate for such
a station, may be fully realized by a perusal of the
2 10
LIFE OF JOHN LEDYARD.
letters from the Reverend Samuel Kirkland to Dr
Wheelock, written previously to the removal from
Lebanon. Mr Kirkland was a graduate of Nassau
Hall, in New Jersey, and when qualified for the ministry, he undertook a mission to the Seneca Indians, the
most remote and fierce of the confederate nations.
He continued there more than a year and a half, and
gained the confidence of some of the chief persons of
tibe tribe ; but so general was the aversion to the
whites, and to the arts of civilized life, that after a
thorough experiment, he despaired of any such success
as would be adequate to the sacrifices he must make,
and the sufferings he must endure. Leaving the
Senecas, therefore, he next proceeded to the Oneidas,
with whom he took up a permanent residence. Here
poverty, and famine, and wretchedness stared him in
the face.*    Nor were  these  the  worst  evils, with
* During the first year of his sojourning with his tribe (1767), he
wrote to Dr Wheelock as follows.
" I am distressed to know what to do ; the present poverty of these
people cries aloud for the charity of God's people ; two years ago their
corn was cut off by the frost, last year destroyed by the vermin, and
worms threaten the destruction of one half of the present crop. Many
of them for a month past have eat but once a day, and yet continue to
work. From week to week I am obliged to go eeling with the Indians
at Oneida Lake for my subsistence. I have feasted and starved with
them, as their luck depends on wind and weather. If it should be
asked, why they do not support me, the answer is ready, They cannot support themselves. They are now half starved. Some of them
have no more than two quarts of corn. I fear my appearing in such a
servile, beggarly manner will very much disserve the design in view ;
but I must desist, must go down to the lake for eels this day, and
return tomorrow to hill my corn and potatoes."
Again a few weeks afterwards he wrote, " Through the tender mercies of God, I enjoy some degree of health, amidst all my troubles and
distresses, though my strength begins to fail.   I cannot subsist long LIFE OF JOHN LEDYARD.
11
which he was obliged to contend. The capricious
temper and furious passions of the savages, especially
when intoxicated, frequently put his life in jeopardy,
and kept him in a state of unceasing alarm. All these
things were endured by Mr Kirkland with a christian
fortitude, which nothing but a deep sense of the sacred
nature of his duties could have enabled him to maintain.
He triumphed at last ; he lived many years with the
Oneidas, and had the satisfaction to see, that his toils
were not fruitless. The Indians revered him as a
father ; they had the wisdom to respect and sometimes to follow his counsels ; a visible change took
place in their character and modes of life ; the rough
features of the savage were softened, famine and want
chased away, and the comforts of life multiplied.
These advantages the sons of the forest saw and felt.
No man has ever been more successful than Mr
Kirkland in improving the condition of the Indians,
and to the last day of his life, he continued to receive
from them earnest demonstrations of affection and
gratitude.*
without relief. I have ate no flesh in my own house for near eight
weeks. Flour and milk with a few eels have been my living. Such
diet, with my hard labor abroad, doth not satisfy nature. My poor
people are almost starved to death. I a.m grieved to the heart for
them. There is one family, consisting of four, I must support after my
fashion, till squashes come on, or they must perish. They have had
nothing these ten days, but what I have given them. They have only
each an old blanket not worth sixpence, wherewith to buy anything ;
and begging here at this season would be a very poor business. I
would myself be glad of the opportunity to fall on my knees for such a
bone as I have often seen cast to the dogs."
* In speaking of this subject, the name of John Thornton should not
be forgotton, He was a wealthy English gentleman, who was active
in procuring donations to the Indian fund, and himself a large contribu- 12
LIFE OF JOHN LEDYARD.
<M
To this brief sketch it is hardly necessary to add,
that when the revolutionary war came on, a check
was given to the designs of the benevolent in behalf
of the Indians.    They engaged in the strife, which
had been kindled by their white neighbors, and the
voice  of the  missionary  was  silenced  by the  war
whoop, and the din of battle.    Many of Dr Whee-
lock's Indian pupils, having  gone through a regular
course of instruction, had returned to  their  homes,
and were beginning to scatter the light they had received ; but their influence was lost amidst the ravages of war.    Much was it to be lamented, that the
agency of a school, to which Dr Wheelock had devoted the years of a long and toilsome life, and which
had  awakened  a lively  interest   in  the  friends  of
humanity, should be so soon brought to an end, and
nothing be seen in the result but a melancholy waste
of time, talents, and money.
Such was the condition of a missionary among the
Indians, and such the origin and purpose of the Institution, to which Ledyard resorted for an education,
which should qualify him to enter upon his destined
task. Not many memorials remain of his college life.
The whole time of his residence at Dartmouth was not
more than one year, and during that period he was
absent three months and a half, rambling among the
Indians.    A classmate still living recollects, that he
tor; he gave Sampson Occum a pension of one hundred dollars a
year, sent private aid to Dr Wheeloek and Mr'Kirkland, wrote them
frequent letters of encouragement, and was never weary, either by
personal exertions or charitable gifts, of promoting the cause of Indian
Missions. LIFE OF JOHN LEDYARD.
13
had then some amusing singularities, was cheerful and
gay in conversation, winning in his address, and a
favorite with his fellow students. His journey from
Hartford to Hanover was performed in a sulkey, the
first vehicle of the kind, that had ever been seen on
Dartmouth plain, and it attracted curiosity not more
from this circumstance, than from the odd appearance
of the equipage. Both the horse and the sulkey gave
evident tokens of having known better days ; and
the dress of their owner was peculiar, bidding equal
defiance to symmetry of proportions and the fashion
of the times. In addition to the traveller's own
weight, this ancient vehicle was burdened with a
quantity of calico for curtains, and other articles to
assist in theatrical exhibitions, of which he was very
fond. From the character of this outfit we may conclude, that he did not intend time should pass on heavy
wings at Dartmouth. Considering the newness of the
country, the want of bridges, and the bad state of the
roads, this jaunt in a crazy sulkey was thought to indicate no feeble spirit of enterprise. The journey
might have been performed with much more ease and
expedition on horseback, but in that case his theatrical
apparatus must have been left behind.
As a scholar at college he was respectable, but not
over-diligent ; he acquired knowledge with facility,
and could make quick progress, when he chose, but
he was impatient under discipline, and thought nothing
more irksome, than to go by compulsion to a certain
place at certain times, and tread from day to day the
same dull circle of the chapel, the recitation room, the
commons hall, and the study.    It is not affirmed, that 3à
14
LIFE OF JOHN LEDYARD.
he ever ventured to set up any direct hostility to the
powers that ruled, but he sometimes demeaned himself in a manner, that must take from him the praise
of a shining example of willing subordination. In
those primitive times the tones of a bell had not been
heard in the forests of Dartmouth, and the students
were called together by the sound of a conch-shell,
which was blown in turn by the freshmen. Ledyard
was indignant at being summoned to this duty, and
it was his custom to perform it with a reluctance
and in a manner corresponding to his sense of the
degradation.
The scenic materials, brought with so much pains
from Hartford, were not suffered to lie useless. The
calico was manufactured into curtains, a stage was
fitted up, and plays wrere acted, in which our hero
personated the chief characters. Cato was among
the tragedies brought out upon his boards, and in this
he acted the part of old Syphax, wearing a long grey
beard, and a dress suited to his notion of the costume
of a Numidian prince. His tragedies were doubtless
comedies to the audience, but thev all answered his
purpose of amusement, and of introducing a little
variety into the sober tenor of a student's life. At
this period he was much addicted to reading plays, and
his passion for the drama probably stole away many
hours, that might have been more profitably employed
in preparing to exhibit himself before his tutors.
He had not been quite four months in college, when
he suddenly disappeared without previous notice to
his comrades, and apparently without permission from
the president.    The full extent of his travels during
ii LIFE OF JOHN LEDYARD.
15
his absence cannot now be known, but he is understood to have wandered to the borders of Canada,
and among the Six Nations. It is certain, that he
acquired in this excursion a knowledge of Indian
manners and Indian language, which was afterwards
of essential service to him in his intercourse with
savages in various parts of the world. His main
object probably was to take a cursory survey of the
missionary ground, which he was contemplating as the
theatre of his future career, and, judging from what
followed, we may suppose that this foretaste put an
end to all his anticipations. Nothing more is heard of
his missionary projects, although it is not clear at what
time he absolutely abandoned them. When three
months and a half had expired, he returned to college
and resumed his studies.
If his dramatic performances were not revived, as it
would seem they were not, his erratic spirit did not
sink into a lethargy for want of expedients to keep it
alive. In midwinter, when the ground was covered
with deep snow, Ledyard collected a party whom
he persuaded to accompany him to the summit of a
neighbouring mountain, and there pass the night. Dr
Wheelock consented to the project, as his heart was
bent on training up the young men to be missionaries
among the Indians, and he was willing they should
become inured to hardships, to which a life among
savages would frequently expose them. The projector of the expedition took the lead of his volunteers,
and conducted them by a pathless route through the
thickets of a swamp and forests, till they reached the
top of the mountain, just in time to kindle a fire, and 16
LIFE OF JOHN LEDYARD.
arrange their encampment on the snow before it was
dark. The night, as may be supposed, was dreary
and sleepless to most of the party, and few were they
who did not greet the dawn with gladness. Their
leader was alert, prompt at his duty, and pleased with
his success. The next day, they returned home, all
perfectly satisfied, unless it were Ledyard, with this
single experiment of their hardihood, without being
disposed to make another similar trial. He had a
propensity for climbing mountains, as will be seen
hereafter, when we meet him at the Sandwich
Islands.
After abandoning his missionary schemes he began
to grow weary of college, and the more so, probably,
as his unsettled habits now and then drew from the
president a salutary admonition on the importance of
a right use of time, and a regard for the regulations of
the establishment. Such hints he conceived to be an
indignity, and fancied himself ill treated. That there
was value in rules of order and discipline he did not
pretend to deny, but seemed at a loss to imagine
why they should apply to him. That the whole subject might be put at rest, without involving any puzzling questions of casuistry, he resolved to escape.
On the margin of the Connecticut river, which runs
near the college, stood many majestic forest trees,
nourished by a rich soil. One of these Ledyard contrived to cut down. He then set himself at work to
fashion its trunk into a canoe, and in this labor he was
assisted by some of his fellow students. As the
canoe was fifty feet long and three wide, and was to be
dug out and constructed by these unskilful workmen, LIFE OF JOHN LEDYARD.
17
the task was not a trifling one, nor such as could be
speedily executed. Operations were carried on with
spirit, however, till Ledyard wounded himself with
an axe, and was disabled for several days. When
recovered he applied himself anew to his work ; the
canoe was finished, launched into the stream, and, by
the further aid of his companions, equipped and prepared for a voyage. His wishes were now at their
consummation, and, bidding adieu to these haunts of
the muses, where he had gained a dubious fame, he
set off alone with a light heart to explore a river,
with the navigation of which he had not the slightest
acquaintance. The distance to Hartford was not less
than one hundred and forty miles, much of the way
was through a wilderness, and in several places there
were dangerous falls and rapids.
With a bearskin for a covering, and his canoe well
stocked with provisions, he yielded himself to the
current, and floated leisurely down the stream, seldom
using his paddle, and stopping only in 'the night for
sleep. He told Mr Jefferson in Paris, fourteen years
afterwards, .that he took only two books with him, a
Greek Testament, and Ovid, one of wThich he was
deeply engaged in reading when his canoe approached
Bellows's Falls, where he was suddenly roused by the
noise of the waters rushing among the rocks through
the narrow passage. The danger was imminent, as
no boat could go down that fall without being instantly dashed in pieces. With difficulty he gained the
shore in time to escape such a catastrophe, and through
the kind assistance of the people in the neighbourhood,
who were astonished at the novelty of such a voyage
3 18
LIFE OF JOHN LEDYARD.
down the Connecticut, his canoe was drawn by oxen
around the fall, and committed again to the water below. From that time, till he arrived at his place of
destination, we hear of no accident, although he was
cariried through several dangerous passes in the river.
On a bright spring morning, just as the sun was rising,
some of Mr Seymour's family were standing near his
house on the high bank of the small river, that runs
through the city of Hartford, and empties itself into the
Connecticut river, when they espied at some distance
an object of unusual appearance moving slowly up the
stream. Others were attracted by the singularity of
the sight, and all were conjecturing what it could be,
till its questionable shape assumed the true and obvious form of a canoe ; but by what impulse it was
moved forward none could determiiie. Something
was seen in the stern, but apparently without life or
motion. At length the canoe touched the shore
directly in front of the house ; a person sprang from
the stern to a rock in the edge of the water, threw off
a bearskin in which he had been enveloped, and behold John Ledyard, in the presence of his uncle and
connexions, who were filled with wonder at this sudden apparition, for they had received no intelligence
of his intention to leave Dartmouth, but supposed him
still there diligently pursuing his studies, and fitting
himself to be a missionary among the Indians.
However ufiîmportant this whimsical adventure may
have been in its results, or even its objects, it was one
of no ordinary peril, and illustrated in a forcible manner the character of the navigator. The voyage was
performed in the last part of April or first of May, —
LIFE OF JOHN LEDYARD.
19
and of course the river was raised by the recent
melting of the snow on the mountains. This
circumstance probably rendered the rapids less dangerous, but it may be questioned whether there are
many persons at the present day, who would willingly
run the same hazard, even if guided by a pilot skilled
in the navigation of the river.
We cannot look back to Ledyard, thus launching
himself alone in so frail a bark upon the waters of a
river wholly unknown to him, without being reminded
of the only similar occurrence, which has been recorded, the voyage down the river Niger by Mungo Park,
a name standing at the very head of those most renowned for romantic and lofty enterprise. The
melancholy fate, it is true, by which he was soon
arrested in his noble career, adds greatly to the interest of his situation when pushing from the shore his
little boat Joliba, and causes us to read his last affecting letter to his wife with emotions of sympathy more
intense if possible', than would be felt if the tragical
issue were not already known. In many points of
character there was a strong resemblance between
these two distinguished travellers, and they both perished martyrs in the same cause, attempting to explore
the hidden regions of Africa. {■'!;'
HI
20
LIFE OF JOHN LED YARD-
CHAPTER  II.
•■:;::;
1
His singular letters to President Wheelock.—Commences the study of theology*
—His embarrassments on this occasion.—Visits several clergymen on Long
Island; and pursues his studies there for a short time.—Proposes teaching
a school.—Returns to Connecticut, and meets with disappointment in his
hopes of being settled as a clergyman.—Abandons his purpose of studying
divinity.—Sails from New London on a voyage to Gibraltar.-;—Enlists there
as a soldier into the regular service.—Released by the solicitation of the captain of the vessel in which he sailed.—Returns home by way of the Barbary
Coast and the West Indies.—Resolves to visit England, and seek for his
wealthy family connexions in that country.—Sails from New York to ^Plymouth.—Travels thence to London in extreme poverty.—Realizes none of his
expectations.—Enlists in the naval service.—Gains an acquaintance with
Captain Cook, and embarks with him on his last voyage round the world, in
the capacity of corporal of marines.
As Ledyard left Hanover when Dr Wheelock was
absent, this was probably seized upon by him as a fit
opportunity for taking his departure. A few days
after his arrival in Hartford, his uncle thought proper
to show him some of Dr Wheelock's letters, in which
were very just complaints of his conduct, his disregard
of discipline, and particularly his thoughtless waste of
the small means he possessed, which his friends flattered themselves might, with good economy, be made
to pay the expenses of his education. These letters of
the president were apparently written not so much by
way of accusation, as to vindicate himself from any
charge of neglect that might be made against him,
on account of the ill success of his efforts to manage a
young man, whom he had no other motive for taking
under his particular care, than good will for the
grandson   of  his   deceased   friend,  and regard for LIFE OF JOHN LEDYARD.
21
his family. Ledyard was much incensed at these
letters, and replied to them under the impulse, of
feelings not the most kindly or respectful. From his
nature he was extremely impatient of reproach, and
ever deemed it an unpardonable offence in any one to
question his motives, or insinuate that he could act
deliberately and intentionally wrong. His foibles he
could bear to have touched with a gentle hand, but no
one ventured a suspicion of his integrity, or of the kindness of his heart, with impunity. He often lamented
the failure of purposes caused by his fondness for
change and love of adventure ; but at no time did he
allow himself to think, that he was not pursuing great
and worthy objects, and such as would redound to his
honor, and the good of mankind. With this disposition, and this confidence in himself, it was natural
that he should sometimes regard the opinions, which
others entertained of his conduct, with stronger feelings of disapprobation, than the merits of the case
required. In reading the following extracts from a
a letter to Dr Wheelock, these particulars should be
kept in mind ; and it should moreover be remembered,
that, whether right or wrong, he really fancied himself
not well treated at Dartmouth.
"When I sit down to write," says he, 11 know not
where to begin, or where to end, or what to say,
especially since I have the contents of two of your
letters concerning my affairs. What do I see ? Who
is this that assumes the port of compassion, kindness,
benevolence, charity, and writes as he writes ? You
begin, sir, with a surprise, that my legacy was so
much exhausted.    Justly might you, sir, but not more 22
LIFE OF JOHN LEDYARD.
i lr
m
so than my unfortunate self; and if truth has not
turned liar, if any protestations, any declarations of
honesty, uprightness, or anything else can avail, I
now, under the most sacred obligations, bona fide
declare I was not aware of it ; and when I saw the
letters and account, I was so much ashamed of my
inadvertency, and so justly culpable before you, that
I could not compose myself to come before you, and
answer for my misconduct. But from that moment,
with much anxiety and care, I studied to remedy the
matter. This I declare was the honest purpose of
my heart ; and to make you reparation still is ; and,
under Heaven, you shall say you are satisfied. Then,
sir, you say, a little after, that you could have no confidence in me, after the character given of me by Mr
Seymour.    I am sorry, sir, you could not.
" I take what you have said, in regard to my pride,
very ill-natured, very unkind in you. So far as I
know myself, I came to your college under influences
of the good kind, whether you, sir, believe it or not.
The acquaintance I have gained there is dearer than
I can possibly express. Farewell, dear Dartmouth.
Doctor, my heart is as pure as the new fallen snow.
Farewell, and may the God of Abraham, Isaac, and
Jacob, bless you and yours. I am, honored and reverend sir, though sorely beset, your obliged and dutiful young servant."
Here end all the particulars, which have come to
my knowledge, respecting Ledyard's college life.
He next appears before us in the character of a student in divinity. Within a month after mooring his
canoe at the river's bank in Hartford, he is found at WFE OR JOHN LEDYARD.
23
Preston, in Connecticut, advising with the reverend
Mr Hart, a clergyman of that town, on the subject of
his theological studies and prospects, and also wijth the
reverend Dr Bellamy, at that time a preacher of wide
fame in Connecticut. Both of these clergymen gave
him such encouragement, that he resolved to apply
himself immediately to a preparation for discharging
the sacred functions of a divine, and turn the ruffled
tenor of his life into the quiet and grateful occupation
of a parish minister. He speaks of his anticipations
on.this occasion with a heartiness and enthusiasm,
which show, at least, that he imagined * himself sincere, and that in the future he fancied he had only
to look for the unalloyed blessings of tranquillity^
competence, and peace. Such was his haste to
realize these precious hopes, that he had not patience to wait the usual term required of young
candidates, who had not been graduated at a college. To facilitate the attainment of this end, his
advisers recommended that he should go to Long
Island, and there pass through his initiatory studies,
where, it was said, smaller «attainments were required
for admission to the desk ; and when once admitted^
he might return and procure a settlement wherever
there should be an opening. With this scheme he
was well satisfied, and being fomished by the above
gentlemen with suitable letters of recommendation,
he mounted his horse amd set off for Long Island, with
the same buoyancy of spirits, as when, two months
before, he entered his canoe at Dartmouth, and with a
purpose rn^eh more definite, and higher expectations. Si
ara
«lis
24
LIFE OF JOHN LEDYARD.
In describing this tour I shall let him speak in his
own language, as contained in a letter written to a
friend at the time.
| Equipped with my credentials, I embarked for
Long Island. The next day I fortunately arrived at
Southold, surprised my mother with a visit, and after
remaining with her twenty-four hours, I rode to the
eastward. With another recommendatory letter from
the reverend Mr Storrs, I crossed Shelter Island ferry,
and thence to East Hampton, where I met with a
kind reception from the reverend Mr Buell, moderator of the Synod, an influential man, and a glorious
preacher. Here I was introduced to a very large
library, and, in company with another young candidate, I spent about a month wTith intense application
to study. But this was only an interregnum. Mr
Buell let me know, that the presbytery here proceed
in these matters with a perfect extreme of deliberation ; and since my circumstances were as they were,
he advised me to comply with the dispensations of
Providence, and seek a school, and study under some
divine. I knew his advice to be as that from a father
to a son, and, without a moment's hesitation, wiping
the sweat of care from my brow, I bestrided my
Rosinante with a mountain of grief upon my shoulders, but a good letter in my pocket. I jogged on
groaning, but never desponding, passed to Bridgetown,
thence to Southampton, and through many little villages to Sataucket Quorum, then to Smithtown, Fireplace, Oyster Bay, and so on, visiting and making
acquaintance with the clergy wherever I went. LIFE OF  JOHN   LEDYARD.
25
" At length, after a ride of almost one hundred
miles, by crossing the island I arrived at Huntington,
a large town about forty miles from New York, where
I visited the minister of the place, old Mr Prime.
After about twelve days' feasting upon his great library, and a quickly made friendship with the ingenious
Dr Prime formerly of New York, and a fruitless
attempt to get a school, I was returning, but stopped
to become acquainted with the excellent Irishman, the
reverend Mr Caldwell of Elizabeth Town, and the
popular Dr Rogers of New York ; and, after some
cordials of consolation and encouragement, they bade
me go on, and God speed me. They told me that the
sufferings I met with, and the contemptuous ideas the
people where I was born and educated had of me,
were nothing strange, but reflected honor on me,—
that a prophet is hardly accepted in his own country,
and the like.
"I returned after a very fatiguing journey to Mr
Buell's, and staid a short time with that hermit, where
and with whom I longed to be buried in ease' ; but I
scorned to be a coward, and chose to die in front of
battle if anywhere. We advised together anew, and
it was resolved, that since I was so disappointed I
should proceed with renewed vigor. Accordingly,
with warm letters I came again to the continent,
where I arrived in the evening, but thought it most
prudent not to stop there, no, not where I was born.
I dropped a tear upon the occasion, and rode on toward
Preston till eleven at night, when, feeling quite exhausted, for I had been severely sea-sick, I dismounted, left my horse to graze, looked up to heaven, and
4 26
LIFE OF JOHN LEDYARD.
fr 1
kgiil ! to
under its canopy fell asleep, The next morning I
rode to my cousin Isaac's house, and being refreshed, I
advanced once more to Mr Hart's, where I was again
handsomely and kindly received."
Thus disappointed in his expectations on Long
Island, his ardor were somewhat damped, but his resolution remained unshaken. He made up his mind
to apply again to his old friends, and seek their sympathy and counsel. As they had expressed themselves
warmly in his favor, and recommended him in flattering terms to the Long Island clergy, he was sanguine
in the faith, that they would not, when things came to
an extremity, hesitate to do, on their own part, what
they had encouraged so earnestly in their brethren.
With some confidence, therefore, he repeated his solicitations to Mr Hart. The result shall likewise be
given in his own words.
I We have advised together, and read the aforesaid
letters. The amount of all is this, j Don't be discouraged, Mr Ledyard ; you will think the better of
fair weather after this storm. My private sentiments,
and my public conduct in your case, are two things.
I don't doubt one single instant of your probity and
well-meaning. What the world does, I cannot say ;
but as I officiate in a public character, I must deal with
you as so officiating, and for that reason, as well as
securing your future tranquillity in the ministry, by
making a good beginning, I by all means advise, first,
that you write speedily to the reverend Mr Whitman,
and get him to write to us respecting you what he
can, as you have lived long under him ; secondly, that
you write also to Dartmouth, to procure a regular dis-
II; LIFE OF JOHN LEDYARD.
27
mi&rfon from the president. When we have these, we
shall proceed with confidence in the face of all men,
and not be ashamed to introduce you anywhere.'
Now, Sir, though but very brief, I have given you an
exact account of my situation, and the fatigues of my
pursuits. You see what bars my sitting directly down.
" As Dartmouth is at such a distance, the clergy
here do not insist on a return from that place so soon
as from Hartford, but the sooner I have an answer
from Mr Whitman, the sooner will my mind be at rest.
There are four ministers that stand ready to advance
me the moment this is done, among whom the famous
Dr Bellamy is one. The clergy are very exact in
these things, and I have sometimes thought that they
meant to keep me humming around them till I was
tired, and so get clear of an absolute refusal, or, as
Dr Young expresses it, to
Fright me, with terrors of a world unknown,
From joys of this, to keep them all their own.
They have found me affliction-proof, if this was their
motive ; but I plainly see they mean it for my honor
—and their own too. The request, in short, which I
make of you is, that you will please to wait on Mr
Whitman with my letter, hurry him for an answer,
and send it to me by the earliest opportunity."
That such an answer never came, may be inferred
from the fact, that he was never licensed as a preacher ; and the judgment of his friends, the clergymen,
is not to be so much censured in this, perhaps, as in
the unjustifiable encouragement they held out to him.
They could not suppose him qualified for the clerical
office, with the limited knowledge and experience he 23
LIFE OF JOHN LEDYARD.
111!
possessed, and it was wrong to delude him with the
notion, that they would under any circumstances publicly approve him as such, merely upon receiving two
letters, which at most could testify only to his general
character. His attainments were afterwards to be
made. He was doubtless importunate, and Mr
Hart and Dr Bellamy were goodnatured, but their
kindness would have been better applied, especially
on a mind like that of Ledyard's, if they had been
more frank and decided in the outset. His sensibility
was keenly touched by the disappointment, which, as
much as anything perhaps, drove him, somewhat
disgusted, from prosecuting his theological studies.
That he engaged in them with considerable ardor, no
one can doubt after reading his remarks above ; that
he would have continued long of the same mind is not
very likely ; but it was a mistaken exercise of benevolence to foster hopes, which there was no chance of
seeing ripened into realities, and thus enticing him into
a profession, for which he was hardly in any one respect fitted. As a further proof, that he was in earnest
at the beginning, it maybe mentioned, that he not only
applied himself assiduously to study, but was accustomed to declaim in the woods and retired places,
that he might discipline his voice, and prepare himself
for public speaking.
But his studies in theology were of short duration.
He was mortified at the ill success of his application to
the clergy for being approved as a candidate, and other
circumstances concurred to annoy and wound him. The
effect of these on his feelings will appear in the following postscript to a letter, written three months after the LIFE OF JOHN LEDYARD.
29
one last quoted, g I send you this from Groton, even
the little Groton, where it seems I must at last hide
my head, and relinquish all the glorious purposes I
had in view. 'Tis hard. Do you not wonder that I
still live, when there is such inquiry about the strange
man in Hartford, when I am the mark of impertinent
curiosity, when everything around me opposes my
designs ? Do you not wonder, that I have my senses
in so great a degree as to let you know, that I am as
unmoved as my observers and opposers ? " These
hints are enough to show that obstacles of a serious
kind, whether imaginary or real, met him in various
quarters, and that a weight of corroding cares hung
upon his soul.
But we are not left long to sympathize with him in
his griefs. All thoughts of divinity being now abandoned, he is introduced to us a few w7eeks afterwards
in a totally new character, that of a sailor on board a
vessel bound to Gibraltar. Captain Deshon, who resided in New London, and sailed from that port, had
been his father's friend, and the hero of our narrative
now shipped with him for a voyage to the Mediterranean. He entered as a common sailor, but was treated by the captain rather as a friend and associate, than
as one of the ordinary crew, and his good humour,
suavity of manners, and comparative intelligence,
made his company highly acceptable to all on board.
The voyage was first to Gibraltar, next to a port on
the Barbary coast for taking in a cargo of mules, and
thence homeward by way of the West Indies.
One incident only has been transmitted, as worthy
of notice during this voyage.    While the ship was 30
LIFE OF JOHN LEDYARD.
m
lying at Gibraltar, Ledyard was all at once missing,
and it was some time before anything could be^beard
of him. There came a rumor at length, that he
was among the soldiery in the barracks. A person
was sent to make inquiry, who descried him in the
ranks, dressed in the British uniform, armed and
equipped from head to foot, and carrying himself with
a martial air and attitude, which proved that to whatever vocation he might be called, he was not to be outdone by his comrades. Captain Deshon went to his
quarters, and remonstrated with him for this strange
freak, and urged him to return. He said he enlisted
because he was partial to the service, and thought the
profession of a soldier well suited to a man of honor
and enterprise ; but that he would not be obstinate,
and was willing to go back, if the captain insisted on
it, and would procure his release. When the circumstances were made known to the British commanding
officer, he consented to release his new recruit, who
returned on board the ship and prosecuted his voyage.
While at Gibraltar he wrote home a very full and
amusing account of what he saw in that place, but
the letter has been lost.
Within a year from the time of sailing from New
London, the vessel anchored again in the same harbor, and the only profit yielded by the voyage to our
young adventurer was a little experience of the^iard-
ships of a sailor's life, and knowledge of the mysteries of his profession. However valuable might be
this species of gain as stock on hand for future use,
it had no power to satisfy immediate want ; poverty
stared him in the face ; and at the age of twenty-two LIFE OF JOHN LEDYARD.
31
he found hypself a solitary wanderer, dependent on
the bounty of his friends, without employment or
prospects, having tried various pursuits and failed of
success in all. Neither his pride, nor his sense of
duty, would suffer him to remain in this condition one
moment longer, than till he could devise a method of
escape from it ; yet the peculiar frame of his mind
and temper was such, that nothing would have been
more idle, either in himself or any other person, than
to thinJk of chaining him down to any of the dull
courses of life, to which the great mass of mankind
are contented t%] resort, as the means of acquiring
a fortune, gaining a competence, or driving want
from the door. That he must provide for himself
by his own efforts, was a proposition too forcibly
impressed upon him to be denied ; but there seemed
^ot a single propensity of his nature, which inclined
him to direct these efforts in the same manner
as other people, or to attain common ends by common means. Poverty and privation were trifles of no
weight with him, compared with the irksome necessity
of walking in the same path that all the world walked
in, and doing things as all the world had done them
before. He thought this a very tame pursuit, unworthy of a rational man, whose soul should be fired with
a nobler ambition.
Entertaining such views of the objects of human
life, it is not surprising that he should feel hin^self
hanging loosely upon society, and should di^gover that
while he continued without purpose and without property, he would exhibit slender claims to the respect
of the community, or the confidence of his fqends. 32
LIFE OF JOHN LEDYARD.
PF
Their sympathy he might have, but this was a boon
which he disdained to accept, when elicited by misfortunes springing from his own improvidence, or by
evils which he had power to avoid. That he had no
intention of fixing himself down in any steady occupation, is proved by a remark in a letter written from
Gibraltar. " I allot to myself," said he, " a seven
years' ramble more, although the past has long since
wasted the means I possessed." Often had he heard his
grandfather descant on his ancestors, and his wealthy
connexions in England ; and the thought had entered
our rambler's head, that one day it might be no unwise
thing for him to visit these relatives, and claim alliance with them as a hopeful branch of so worthy a
stock. In this stage of his affairs he was convinced,
that the proper time had come, and he suffered now
and then a bright vision to play before his fancy, of
the happy change that would ensue, by the aid and influence of his newly found friends in England, who
would receive with joy so promising a member of
their family from America. Elated with dreams like
these, he took a hasty leave of the place of his nativity, and the associates of his youth, and made the best
of his way to New York, there to seek out a passage
to the land of promise.
The first vessel about to sail for England was bound
to Plymouth, and in this he obtained a birth, probably
on condition of working as a sailor. His trip to the
Mediterranean was now to yield its fruits. On his
arrival in Plymouth and leaving the vessel, he was reduced to the extreme of want, without money in his
pocket, or a single acquaintance to whom he could LIFE OF JOHN LEDYARD.
33
apply for relief. Thus situated it behoved him to
make haste to London, where he looked for an immediate welcome and a home among the relations, whose
wealth and virtues he had heard so much extolled by
his grandfather. As the good fortune of the moment
would have it, he fell in with an Irishman, a genuine
specimen of the honesty, frankness, and good nature,
which characterize many of the sons of Erin ;
whose plight so exactly resembled his own, that they
formed a mutual attachment almost as soon as they
came in contact with each other. There is a sympathetic power in misfortune, which is heedless of
the forms of society, and acts not by any cold rule of
calculation. Both the travellers were pedestrians
bound to London, both were equally destitute, having
nothing wherewith to procure a subsistence. They
agreed to take turns in begging on the road. In this
manner they travelled harmoniously together, till they
reached London, without having any reason to complain that Providence had neglected them on the way,
or that there was a lack of generous and disinterested
feeling in the human kiâd.
Ledyard's thoughts were now gay, for although in
beggary, he fancied that the next step would place him
at the summit of his wishes, and open to him wide the
door of prosperity. Had he possessed the very lamp of
Aladdin, and been endued with tfee Dervise's power, he
could not have been more confident or happy. To find
out his relations was now his only anxiety, By accident he saw the family name on a carriage, and he
inquired of the coachman where the owner lived, and
what was his  occupation.    The  answer was, that
5 .
34
LIFE OF JOHN LEDYARD.
he was a rich merchant, and the place of his residence was pointed out. Our eager traveller hastened
to the house, inquired for the occupant, and ascertained that he was not at home. A son was there,
however, who listened to his story, but gave him soon
to understand, that he put no faith in his representations, as he had never heard of any such relations as
he told of in America. He observed, moreover, that
he resembled one of the family, who had been absent
some years in the East Indies, and whom they were
extremely anxious to see, assuring him, that if he
were really the person, he would be received with
open arms. This was a very unlucky interview, for
nothing ever raised Ledyard's anger to so high a pitch,
as a suspicion expressed or implied of his integrity and
honest intentions. He seemed from that moment
determined to prosecute his inquiry after his family
connexions no further, but to shun all that bore the
name. The son pressed him to remain till his father
should return, but he abruptly left the house, and
never went back.
Some time afterwards, when he had gained acquaintances of respectable name in London, to whom
he related his story, they went with it to the same
gentleman, telling him, that the young man seemed
honest, and they doubted not the truth of what he had
stated. The gentleman refused at first to credit
him, unless he would bring some written evidence.
Upon further inquiry, however, he was better satisfied,
and sent for Ledyard to come to his house. This invitation was declined in no very gracious manner ; and
when money was sent to him afterwards by the same LIFE OF JOHN LEDYARD.
35
person, who had heard that he was in distress, he
rejected it with great indignation, and commanded the
bearer to carry it back to his master, and tell him that
he belonged not to the race of the Ledyards. Such
was the end of his dreams about his rich relations, and
it must be acknowledged, that his own haughty spirit
seems to have been the chief enemy to his success.
He would probably have called it magnanimous self-
respect ; and, name it as we will, since it operated
wholly against himself, he must certainly be freed from
any charge of mean motives, or selfish ends.
It was just at this time, that Captain Cook was
making preparation for his third and last voyage round
the world. So successful had he been in his former
expeditions, and so loud was the sound of his fame,
that the whole country was awake to his new undertaking, and the general sensation was such, as to inspire adventurous minds with a wish to participate in
its glory. Nothing could more exactly accord with
the native genius and cherished feelings of Ledyard.
As a first step towards becoming connected with this
expedition, he enlisted in the marine service, and then
by his address he gained an introduction to Captain
Cook. It may be presumed, that on an occasion of so
much moment to him, he would set himself forward
to the best advantage ; and he had great power in recommending himself to the favor of others, whenever
he chose to put it in action. His manly form, mild but
animated and expressive eye, perfect self-possession, a
boldness not obtrusive, but showing a consciousness of
his proper dignity, an independent spirit, and a glow
of enthusiasm giving life to his conversation and his 36
LIFE OF JOHN LEDYARD.
whole deportment,—these were traits which could not
escape so discriminating an eye as that of Cook ; they
formed a rare combination peculiarly suited to the
hardships and perils of his daring enterprise. They
gained the confidence of the great navigator, who immediately took him into his service, and promoted hint
to be a corporal of marines.
In this capacity he sailed from England, but tradition reports, on what authority I know not, that he
was in due time raised to the post of sergeant.
That he should have been willing to undertake so
long a voyage, in so humble a station, can be accounted for only from his burning desire to be connected with the expedition. His skill in nautical
matters was not yet such as to qualify him for a higher
place, even if he had been able to exhibit stronger
pretensions through the agency and influence of
friends. But he was in the midst of strangers, without
any other claims to notice, than such as he presented
in his own person. These were his only passport to
the favor of Cook, and in relying on them no one
was ever deceived. i^m
LIFE OF JOHN LEDYARD.
37
CHAPTER III.
Ledyard's journal of his voyage with Captain Cook.—Testimony in his favor by
by Captain Burney.—Sails for the Cape of Good Hope.—Thence to Kergue-
len's Islands and the south of New Holland.—Character of the people on Van
Diemen's Land.—Present state of the colony there.—Arrives in New Zealand.—Account of the people, their manners and peculiarities.—Remarkable
contrasts exhibited m. their character.—Love adventure between an English
sailor and a New Zealand girl.—Omai, the Otaheitan.—Vessels dejjart from
New Zealand, and fall in with newly discovered islands.—Affecting story of
three Otaheitans found on one of them.—Arrival at the Friendly Islands.—
» People of Tongata%oo.—Their condition, mode of living, and amusements.—
Ledyapd jpasses a night with the King.—Wrestling and other athletic exercises
described.—Fireworks exhibited by Cook,—Propensity of the natives to
thieving.—An instance in a chief called Feenou, and the extraordinary measures used to recover the stolen property.—Departure from Tongataboo.
The particulars of this voyage have been so often
repeated from the official narrative, and are so well
known, that any formal attempt to give a connected
series of events would be superfluous and without
interest. I shall, therefore, chiefly confine myself to
such incidents as came ustmder am traveller's observation, and to such remarks and reflections of his own,
as indicate his opinions and the character of his mind.
He fept a private journal of the whole voyage, but on
the return of the expedition, before any person had
landed, all papers of this description were taken away,
from both officers and men, by order of the commander, and Ledyard's journal among the rest. This
precaution was necessary to prevent an imperfect account of the voyage going abroad, before one could be
issued under the sanction of the admiralty. 38
LIFE OF JOHN LEDYARD*
w»
Ledyard never recovered his papers, but when he
returned to Hartford, more than two years after the
termination of the voyage, his friends induced him to
write the short account, which appeared with his
name. To satisfy public curiosity till a complete work
could be prepared, a very brief sketch of the voyage
in a single volume had already been published by
authority in England. This volume Ledyard had procured, and he relied on it for dates, distances, the
courses of the vessels, and for other particulars-serving
to revive his recollection of what he had experienced
and witnessed. Extracts are made without alteration
in two or three instances, and several of the last
pages are literally copied. With no other written
materials Ledyard produced his manuscript journal,
which he sold to Mr Nathaniel Patten, publisher in
Hartford, for twenty guineas. It was printed in a
duodecimo volume containing a chart, and a dedication to Governor Trumbull, expressive of the author's
gratitude for the generosity and kindness, which he
had received from that veteran patriot.
A narrative thus drawn up must of course be in
many respects imperfect, but the narrator makes no
high pretensions; he never taxes our faith beyond
the obvious bounds of probability, nor calls our attention to hearsay reports and speculations of others. He
describes what he saw and heard, and utters his own
sentiments. In a few instances he varies from the
accounts afterwards published in England ; but these
commonly relate either to occurrences as to which he
had a better opportunity for personal knowledge, or
concerning which for various reasons it was the policy Il
LIFE OF JOHN LEDYARD.
39
of the leaders of the expedition to preserve silence.
The train of events at the Sandwich Islands, which led
to the death of Captain Cook, is narrated by Ledyard
in a manner more consistent and natural, than appears
in any other account of it. The precipitancy of
the officers, and of Cook particularly, or at least their
want of caution, which was the primary cause of the
tragical issue, was kept out of sight by the authorized
narrators, and a mystery long hung over that catastrophe, owing to the absence of any obvious coherency
between causes and effects. On this point Ledyard's
narrative is full and satisfactory, as will be seen in its
proper place.
As a proof of our traveller's activity of mind, and his
ardor of inquiry, during this voyage, I shall here quote
a passage from a work recently published by Captain
James Burney, entitled, A Chronological History
of Northeastern Voyages of Discovery. The author
of this book was a lieutenant under Cook in his two
last voyages, son of Dr Burney, and consequently
brother of Madame D'Arblay, the celebrated novelist.
He is repeatedly mentioned in Ledyard's journal, and
was a very enterprising officer. The estimation in
which our hero was held by him will appear by the following extract, as wrell as by other parts of the work.
" With what education I know not," says Captain
Burney, " but with an ardent disposition, Ledyard had
a passion for lofty sentiment and description. When
corporal of marines on board of the Resolution, after
the death of Captain Cook, he proffered his services
to Captain Clerke to undertake the office of historiographer to our expedition, and presented a specimen, 40
LIFE OF JOHN LEDYARD".
Kan
which described the manners of the Society Islanders,
and the kind of life led by our people whilst among
them. He was not aware how many candidates he
would have to contend with, if the office to which he
aspired had been vacant ; perhaps not with fewer than
with every one in the two ships who kept journals.
Literary ambition and disposition to authorship led us
in each ship to set up a weekly paper. When the
paper in either ship was ready for delivery, a signal
was made, and when answered by a similar signal from
the other ship, Captain Cook, if the weather was fine,
would good-naturedly let a boat be hoisted out to
make the exchange, and he was always glad to read
our paper, but never favored our editors with the contribution of a paragraph. I believe none of these
papers have been saved, nor do I remember by what
titles we distinguished them. Ledyard's performance
was not criticised in our paper, as that would have
entitled him to a freedom of controversy not consistent
with military subordination. His ideas were thought
too sentimental, and his language too floidd. No one,
however, doubted that his feelings were in accord with
his expressions ; and the same is to be said of the little,
which remains of what he has since written, more
worthy of being preserved, and which its worthiness
will preserve, and particularly of his celebrated commendation of women in his Siberian Tour."
Ledyard's contributions to the paper here mentioned, and his account of the Society Islanders, were
probably taken ftom him with his manuscript journal,
as I have found no remnants of them among his papers.
His printed Journal contains a graphic and animated
1 LIFE OF JOHN LEDYARD.
description of the Society Islands, but it was evidently
written from recollection, like the rest of the volume.
This testimony of Captain Burney in favor of his
habits of observation, and literary industry, may justly
inspire confidence in his writings.
The last expedition under Captain Cook, and the
one in which our traveller was engaged, left England
on the twelfth of July, 1776. It consisted of two
ships, the Resolution and Discovery, the former commanded by Captain Cook, and the latter by Captain
Clerke. After touching at Teneriffe, they proceeded
to the Cape of Good Hope, and came to anchor in
Table Bay, where they were to refit, lay in a new
stock of provisions, and prepare for encountering
the inconveniences and dangers of a long voyage in
the great Southern Ocean, with the certainty that
many months must elapse, before they could hope to
arrive again in a port of civilized people.
Several days were passed here in getting all things
in readiness ; the men of science employed themselves
in short excursions into the country ; provisions were
collected by the proper officers, and the sailors were
busy at their daily tasks. Last of all were taken
on board various live animals, designed to be left at
the islands where they did not exist, making, in connexion with those brought from England, a motley
collection of horses, cattle, sheep, goats, hogs,
dogs, cats, hares, rabbits, monkeys, ducks, geese,
turkeys, and peacocks ; thus, says our voyager, " did
we resemble the Ark, and appear as though we were
going as well to stock as to discover a new world."
iEsop might have conversed for weeks with such a
6 42
LIFE OF JOHN LEDYARD.
BW
congregated multitude. The monkeys and peacocks
seem to have been out of place in this assembly of
sober and useful animals, and in the end they did little
credit to their community. The monkeys never ceased
from mischief, and the gay attire of the peacocks
tempted a chief of Tongataboo to steal and carry
them off.
On the first of December, Cook departed from the
Cape of Good Hope, and proceeded in a southeasterly
direction, intending to shape his course around the
southern extremity of New Holland. After sailing
twentyfive days and passing two islands, the tops of
which were covered with snow, although it was midsummer in those latitudes, he came to anchor at an
island, which had been recently discovered by Kergue-
len, a French navigator. A bottle was found suspended by a wire between two rocks, sealed, and containing a piece of parchment, on which was written in
French and Latin an account of Kerguelen's voyage
and discovery. The island was desolate, without
inhabitants, trees, or shrubs. A little grass was
obtained for the cattle, and a species of vegetable was
found resembling a wild cabbage, but of no value. It
rained profusely, streams of fresh water came down
from the hills, and the empty casks were replenished.
The shore was covered with seals and sea-dogs, the
former of which, apparently unconscious of danger,
were killed without difficulty, and they afforded a
seasonable supply of oil for lamps and other purposes. Vast flocks of birds hovered around, and
the penguins, so little did they understand the character of their visiters,  would allow themselves  to LIFE OF JOHN LEDYARD.
43
be approached and knocked down with clubs. Man
was an enemy, whose sanguinary prowess these
tenants of the lonely island had never learnt to
fear, and the simple penguin received his death blow
with a composure and unconcern, that would have immortalized a stoic philosopher. The sailors were
indulged in celebrating Christmas at Kerguelen's
Island, after which the ships sailed, and the next harbor to be gained was Adventure Bay, in Van Diemen's
Land, being at the southern limits of New Holland.
As no discoveries were to be attempted during this
run, they proceeded directly to the point of destination, at which they safely arrived within less than two
months after leaving the Cape of Good Hope.
The ships being moored in this bay, called by Tas-
man, who discovered it, Frederic Henry's Bay, the
sailors were sent out in parties to procure wood, water,
and grass, all of which existed there in great plenty.
No inhabitants appeared, although columns of smoke
had been seen here and there rising through the woods
at some distance, affording a sign that people were in
the neighbourhood. After a day or two the natives
came down to the beach in small parties, men, women,
and children, but they seemed the most wretched of
human beings, wearing no clothes, and carrying with
them nothing but a rude stick about three feet long,
and sharpened at one end. Their skin was black,
hair curly, and the beards of the men, as well as their
hair, besmeared with a red oily substance. They
were inoffensive, neither manifesting fear, nor offering annoyance to their visiters. When bread was
given them, it was thrown away without being tasted, 44
LIFE OF JOHN LEDYARD.
Kr'
although they were made to understand that it was to
be eaten ; the same they did with fish, which had been
caught in the harbor ; but they accepted birds, and
intimated a fondness for that kind of food. When a
gun was fired, they all ran off like wild deer to the
woods, and were seen no more that day ; but their
fright was not of loner duration, for they came again
the next mornin°: with as little unconcern as ever. In
all respects these people appeared in the lowest stage
of human advancement. " They are the only people,"
says Ledjard, " who are known to go with their persons entirely naked, that have ever yet been discovered. Amidst the most stately groves of wood, they
have neither weapons of defence, nor any other species
of instruments applicable to the various purposes of
life ; contiguous to the sea, they have no canoes ; and
exposed from the nature of the climate to the inclemency of the seasons, as well as to the annoyances of
the beasts of the forest, they have no houses to retire
to, but the temporary shelter of a few pieces of old
bark laid transversely over some small poles. They
appear also to be inactive, indolent, and unaffected
with the least curiosity." Cook remarked, that the
natives here resembled those, whom he had seen in
his former voyage on the north part of New Holland,
and from this and other circumstances it was inferred,
that New Holland from that point northward was not
divided by any strait. Subsequent discoveries overthrew this conjecture, and it has since been made
known, that Van Diemen's Land is an island separated
from New Holland by a passage, or strait, nearly one
hundred   miles  broad,  and containing many small LIFE OF JOHN LEDYARD.
45
islands. It is remarkable, that no resemblance has
been discovered between the language of the natives
here, and that spoken by the New Hollanders.
On Van Diemen's island are now some of the most
flourishing settlements in the British dominions. The
wilderness is disappearing before the strong arm of
enterprise, and under the hand of culture the hills and
valleys yield in abundance all the products, common to
similar latitudes in the north. Emigrants from England annually flock to that country, invest their capital
in lands, and engage in agricultural pursuits. Towns
have been built, and commerce established. Wheat,
maize, wool, cattle, and other articles, are largely exported, and there is hardly recorded in history an
instance of a new colony having increased so rapidly
in numbers and wealth. The wild men, like our
North American Indians, retreat and leave their native
soil to a better destiny.
When Cook had provided his ships with wood and
water, they were unmoored, and their course directed
to New Zealand, where they entered a cove in Queen
Charlotte's Sound. Here they remained a month,
which afforded time for observations, and for laying in
such provisions as were found in the country. New
Zealand consists of two islands, which are situate between parallels of latitude on the south of the equator,
nearly corresponding with those of the United States
on the north, thus having a variable climate, and a soil
suited to most of the productions of temperate regions.
In the character of the inhabitants are exhibited contrasts never perceived in any other people. They
are cannibals, devouring human victims with eagerness
ill 46
LIFE OF JOHN LEDYARD*
ij
mv
and delight, ferocious beyond example in their wars,
deadly in their revenge, and insatiable in their thirst for
the blood of their enemies ; yet they have many of
the opposite traits, strong attachment to friends, with
a quick sensibility to their sufferings, and grief inconsolable at the death of a relative ; nor are they devoid
of generosity, or unsusceptible of the tender passion.
Living as they do in a temperate climate, they are an
athletic, hardy race of people, whose progress in refinement bears no proportion to their natural powers
of body and mind ; and thus no proper balance being
maintained, the contending elements of human nature,
the propensities, passions, and affections, shoot forth
into the wildest extremes. How they should differ
so entirely from their neighbours, the New Hollanders, who are in nearly the same external condition, is
a question upon which the curious may speculate, but
will hardly come to a satisfactory conclusion. Plausible reasons may nevertheless be adduced to prove,
that the New Zealanders and New Hollanders, notwithstanding their proximity, have originated from
stocks widely remote.
While the ships lay at anchor in Queen Charlotte's
Sound, a singular love adventure occurred between a
young English sailor and a New Zealand girl, the particulars of which are related in Ledyard's journal, as
they are also in Cook's Voyages, and which prove the
softer sex among savages, even the daughters of cannibals, to be capable of deep affection and strong
attachment. An intimacy was contracted between a
sailor and a native girl about fourteen years of age,
which grew stronger from day to day, till at length all LIFE OF JOHN LEDYARD.
47
the time he could spare from his duties was devoted to
her society. He furnished her with combs to decorate
her hair, and with ornaments for her person ; and, to
make himself more attractive in her eyes, he submitted to be tattooed according to the custom of the
country. His passion was reciprocated in the most
ardent and artless manner by the maiden, Gowanna-
hee, whom no conventional rules had taught to
conceal the emotions of nature ; and although they
understood not each other's language, yet love whispered in accents, which they found no difficulty in
comprehending. Thus their days and hours flew
rapidly away, till the time of separation approached.
Gowannahee was much distressed when such an event
was hinted at ; she would throw her arms around her
lover's neck, and insist that he should not go ; and
such were the alluring arts she used, and such the
willingness of the youth to be led by them, that he
resolved to desert from the ship and remain behind.
He contrived to remove his clothing and other effects
on shore, and to escape by the stratagem of dressing
himself in the costume of the natives and mingling in the
crowd, just as orders were given to sail, and the New
Zealanders were required to leave the ships. When
the roll was called to ascertain if all hands were on
board, his absence was discovered. The cause was
easily apprehended, and some of the officers were disposed to let such an instance of true love have its reward, and not to disturb the enamored sailor in his
dreams of future felicity among the savages of New
Zealand. The less sentimental Cook was not moved
by these mild counsels ; he saw mischief in such a 48
LIFE OF JOHN LEDYARD.
K*
precedent, and he was inflexible ; a guard of marines
was despatched to search for the truant, and bring him
back to duty. He had proceeded to the interior and
secreted himself with his faithful Gowannahee, but
his hiding-place was at last discovered. As soon as
she perceived their intention to take him away, she
was overwhelmed with anguish, and at the parting
scene on the beach she yielded herself up to expressions of grief and despair, which the stoutest heart
could not witness unmoved. The young sailor was
examined and tried for his misdemeanor, but Cook
was so much amused with the schemes he had devised
for himself, and the picture he had drawn of his future
prospects and greatness, as the husband of Gowannahee, and a chief of renown, that he forbore to aggravate the pains of disappointed hope by any formal
punishment.
Recent observations have confirmed all that was
said by Cook and his companions of the New Zealan-
ders. English missionaries have for some years past
been stationed among them, and possessed the means
of becoming perfectly acquainted with their character
and habits. They have witnessed their banquets of
human flesh, their extremes of passion, their savage
barbarity at one time, and their docile, affectionate
temper, and keen sensibility at another War is their
highest delight, and in pursuing an enemy, nothing of
the human being seems left, except his reason maddened with revenge, and making him adroit in the
work of death. In several instances, boats' and ships'
crews have been cut off and devoured by them. Yet
these people are superstitious and full of religious fear, LIFE OF JOHN LEDYARD.
49
imagining themselves to be surrounded by invisible
spirits, who have power over them, and who must be
conciliated by prayers and ceremonies ; who control
the elements, bring rain on the land, and rouse up the
winds and waves at sea. The missionaries have
known persons become so frantic, at the death of a
near relation, as to commit suicide ; and it is a common
thing for them to wound and mangle their bodies in a
frightful manner on such occasions. When Mr Mars-
den made his second missionary tour to these islands,
after having been away two or three years, his old
acquaintances burst into tears in talking of their
friends, who had died during his absence. History
does not acquaint us with more eminent examples of
humanity and pious efforts, of resolution and self-
denial than are manifested in the missionaries, who
have forsaken even the common comforts of civilized
life, and settled down with a determination to pass
their days in this region of moral darkness and human
debasement.
While Cook was at New Zealand he was greatly
assisted in his intercourse with the people by Omai, a
native of the Society Islands, whom he had taken to
England on a former voyage, and who was now returning to his country, loaded with presents from the
king, and other persons whom curiosity had drawn
around him, in Great Britain. Although Omai had
never before seen a New Zealander, yet the language
so much resembled his own, that he could easily converse with the inhabitants. As he knew English, he
thus became a ready interpreter.   This was an advan-
7 o
0
y
LIFE OF JOHN LEDYARD.
tage, which Cook had never been able to enjoy on
any former occasion.
The vessels weighed anchor and departed from
Queen Charlotte's Sound, destined to Otaheite, or, as
it is now called, Tahiti^ the largest of the Society
Islands, and about fifteen hundred miles distant from
New Zealand. Head winds and boisterous weather
forced them out of their course ; grass and water for
the cattle, as well as fresh provisions for the men, began to fail ; and it was thought best to bear away for
the Friendly Islands, where a supply could be at once
obtained. On this passage they fell in with several
islands never before discovered, but their shores were
so closely bound with coral reefs as to prevent the approach of the ships. The natives came off in canoes,
and brought hogs and fruit, which they gave in exchange for articles of little value.
A small party, consisting of Mr Burney, three or
four other officers, and Omai, landed on one of these
islands, called Watteeoo, where they were immediately plundered of everything they had about them, and
detained through the day. Great crowds gathered
around, and annoyed them much, but no violence was
offered to their persons. Here Omai was astonished
to find three of his own countrymen. Their story
Was affecting. Several years before, they had set off
in a large canoe with a party of about twenty persons,
men, women, and children, to pass from Otaheite to
Ulietea, a neighbouring island. A storm overtook
them, and, after continuing three days, drove them so
far out to sea, that they knew not where they were,
nor what course to steer.    Some of the women and LIFE OF  JOHN   LEDYARD.
51
children had perished in the storm, and others were so
much exhausted as to survive no longer. The canoe
was carried along by the current from day to day ;
water and provision failed ; some of the survivors died
of hunger and fatigue ; others in the frenzy of despair
jumped overboard and were drowned ; and after thirteen days, when the canoe was discovered by the
natives of Watteeoo, it contained but four men, and
these so much reduced by famine and suffering, as to be
unconscious of their situation, and scarcely to be distinguished from the dead bodies, with which they were
promiscuously lying, in the bottom of the boat. They
were taken on shore, and by kind treatment they
gradually recovered their consciousness and strength.
One had since died, but the other three said they
were happy in their adopted country, and declined
Omai's invitation to return with him to their native
islands, adding that their nearest relatives had perished
before their eyes on the disastrous voyage, and it
would only be renewing their grief to visit again the
places, in which they had formerly known them.
The distance between Otaheite and Watteeoo is
more than fifteen hundred miles, and this voyage of a
canoe affords an important fact in solving the great
problem, which has so long perplexed geographers and
speculating philosophers, as to the manner in which
the innumerable clusters of islands in the Pacific ocean
have been peopled. We here have proof incontestible,
that a communication between remote islands was
possible, even by such means only as the natives
themselves possessed. This single fact, in short, is
enough to settle the question. 52 LIFE OF JOHN LEDYARD.
After touching at Anamoca, and remaining some
days at the Happaee Islands, Cook came to anchor in
a harbor of Tongataboo, on the ninth of June. Here
they staid twenty-six days, collecting a great abundance of provisions, and living on social and friendly
terms with the natives. This island is exceedingly
fertile, covered with forests and luxuriant herbage.
Agriculture and the arts of life were carried to a much
greater extent here, than at New Zealand, or indeed
most of the South Sea islands. The kind disposition
of the people had given to Tongataboo, and the cluster of islands in its neighbourhood, the name of the
Friendly Islands. Later experience has proved, that
they had a smaller claim to this distinction, than was
at first supposed. It is very probable, however, that
their acquaintance with civilized men was the principal
cause of their apparent change of character. They
learnt new vices faster than they acquired a knowledge
of their criminality, or the moral power of resisting
temptation. Nowhere have the missionaries found
their situation more uncomfortable, or their task more
difficult, than at the Friendly Islands. When visited
by Cook, the people were comparatively amiable, simple, and happy, addicted to the weaknesses, but not
to the grosser crimes of the savage state ; accustomed
to warlike enterprises, but not making them, as did
the New Zealanders, the chief source of their
pleasure, and the great business of their lives. On
the contrary, they had amusements of an innocent
kind, as well as curious religious ceremonies, which
occupied much of their time, and were suited to a
state of peace and tranquillity.     These were often LIFE OF JOHN LEDYARD*
53
exhibited, and obviously as much with a desire to
please their visitants, as to show off their skill to advantage, or promote their own gratification. The
king, or great chief, whose name was Poulaho, treated
Cook with marked respect, and caused all his people
to do the same, as far as he could exercise his power
to that end. Ledyard describes in an agreeable manner the scenes, that came under his observation at
Tongataboo. The day after landing, it was his duty
to be on shore, and he passed the night with Poulaho,
who had declined Cook's invitation to go with him on
board.
"It was just dusk," says Ledyard, "when they
parted, and as I had been present during a part of this
first interview, and was detained on shore, I was glad
he did not go off, and asked him to my tent ; but Pou-
lako chose rather to have me go with him to his house,
where we went and sat down together without the
entrance. We had been here but a few minutes, before one of the natives advanced through the grove to
the skirts of the green, and there halted. Poulaho
observed him, and told me he wanted him, upon
which I beckoned to the Indian, and he came to us.
When he approached Poulaho, he squatted down upon
his hams, and put his forehead to the sole of Poulaho's
foot, and then received some directions from him, and
went away, and returned again very soon with some
baked yams and fish rolled up in fresh plantain leaves,
and deposited in a little basket made of palm leaves,
and a large cocoanut shell full of clean fresh water,
and a smaller one of salt water. These he set down,
and went and brought a mess of the same kind, and 54
LIFE OF JOHN LEDYARD.
5SK
set them down by me. Poulaho then desired I would
eat ; but preferring salt, which I had in the tent, to the
sea water which they used, I called one of the guard,
and had some of that brought me to eat with my fish,
which was really most delightfully dressed, and of
which I ate very heartily.
" Their animal and vegetable food is dressed in the
same manner here, as at the southern and northern
tropical islands throughout these seas, being all baked
among hot stones laid in a hole, and covered over first
with leaves and then with mould. Poulaho was fed
by the chief who waited on him, both with victuals
and drink. After he had finished, the remains were
carried away by the chief in waiting, who returned
soon after with two large separate rolls of cloth, and
two little low wooden stools. The cloth was for a
covering while asleep, and the stools to raise and rest
the head on, as we do on a pillow. These were left
within the house, or rather under the roof, one side
being open. The floor within was composed of coarse
dry grass, leaves, and flowers, over which were spread
large well wrought mats. On this Poulaho and I removed and sat down, while the chief unrolled, and
spread out the cloth ; after which he retired, and in a
few minutes there appeared a fine young girl about
seventeen years of age, who, approaching Poulaho,
stooped and kissed his great toe, and then retired and
sat down in an opposite part of the house. It was
now about nine o'clock, and a bright moonshine ; the
sky was serene, and the winds hushed. Suddenly I
heard a number of their flutes, beginning nearly at the
same time, burst from every quarter of the surrounding LIFE OF JOHN LEDYARD.
grove ; and whether this was meant as an exhilarating
serenade, or a soothing soporific to the great Poulaho,
I cannot tell. Immediately on hearing the music he
took me by the hand, intimating that he was going to
sleep, and showing me the other cloth, which was
spread nearly beside him, and the pillow, invited me
to use it."
After describing the occupations of the natives,
their traffic, articles of trade, and some of their customs, he speaks of their amusements.
" The markets being over, there were generally an
hour or two, and those before dark, in which the natives, to entertain us and exhibit their own accomplishments, used to form matches at wrestling, boxing,
and other athletic exercises, of which they were very
vain, and in which they were by far the best accomplished of all the people we ever visited before or
after. These exercises were always performed on the
green within the circle, and among the Indian spectators there were a certain number of elderly men, who
presided over and regulated the exercise. When one
of the wrestlers, or combatants, was fairly excelled,
they signified it by a short sonorous sentence, which
they sung, expressing that he was fallen, fairly fallen,
or that he was fairly conquered, and that the victor
kept the field. From this there was no appeal, nor
indeed did they seem to want it, for among their
roughest exercises I never saw any of them choleric,
envious, malicious, or revengeful ; but preserving their
tempers, or being less irascible than we generally are.
they quit the stage with the same good nature with
which they entered it. 56
LIFE OF JOHN LEDYARDi
$ When they wrestle, they seize each other by a
strong plaited girdle, made of the fibres of the cocoa-
nut, and worn round the waist for that purpose ; and
they describe nearly the same operations in this contest that we do in what we call hugging or scuffling.
In boxing their manoeuvres are different. They had
both hands clenched, and bound round separately with
small cords, which perhaps was intended to prevent
their clenching each other when closely engaged, thus
preventing foul play ; or it might be to preserve the
joints of the fingers, and especially the thumb, from
being dislocated. Perhaps the best general idea I can
convey of their attitudes in this exercise, is to compare them with those of the ancient gladiators of
Rome, which they much resembled.
" They are very expert and intrepid in these performances, but as they are mere friendly efforts of skill
and prowess, they continue no longer than till the purposes of such a contention are answered ; and the
combatant, as soon as he finds that he shall be conquered, is seldom such an obstinate fool, as to be beat
out of his senses to be made sensible he is so, but retires most commonly with a whole skin. But the
exercise of the club is not so, and as these contests
are very severe, and even dangerous, they are seldom
performed. We never saw but one instance of it, but
it was a most capital one, as the performers were
capital characters ; and though we expected the exhibition to be very short, yet it lasted nearly twenty
minutes, protracted by the skill of the combatants in
avoiding each other's blows, some of which were no
less violent than artful.    After being pretty well buf- LIFE OF JOHN LEDYARD.
57
feted about the body, a fortuitous blow upon the head
of one decided the matter, and the conquered was
carried off, while the victor, elated with success, stood
and enjoyed the subsequent shouts of praise, that proceeded from the spectators. When these shouts ended, the young women round the circle rose, and sang,
and danced a short kind of interlude in celebration of
the hero."
Not to be outdone by the monarch of the Friendly
Isles in politeness and attempts to please, Cook got up
a brilliant exhibition of fireworks, with which Poulaho
and all his people were greatly astonished and delighted. The mathematical and astronomical instruments,
which had been fitted up in tents on shore, were also
matters of curiosity and wonder. The natives were
particularly amused, likewise, with the horses, cows,
sheep, goats, and other animals, which Ledyard said,
on leaving the Cape of Good Hope, made the ships
resemble Noah's ark. As dogs and hogs were the
only animals found on the islands, and of course the
only ones ever before seen by the inhabitants, they
seemed completely puzzled to know what to make of
these new orders of* the creation. The sheep and
goats they called birds ; but the horses, cows, cats, and
rabbits, were nondescripts for which no place had been
assigned in their scientific arrangement.
Thus agreeably passed the days at Tongataboo;
the good-natured people omitted nothing, which was
in their power, to gratify their visiters, wThether by
supplying them with the best provisions the islands
afforded, or by amusing them with innocent pastimes.
One thing only marred the harmony 6f their inter-
8
/ 68
LIFE OF JOHN LEDYARD.
s ■.,   !
mm
course. These simple and hospitable people, each
and all, from the highest rank downwards, were incorrigible thieves ; that is, they made no scruple to take
whatever they could lay their fingers upon, and appropriate it to their own use. This habit was prevalent
throughout all the South Sea islands, but nowhere had
the voyagers been so much annoyed by it, as at these
islands of friendship. Cook resorted to summary and
severe measures to teach the natives what he thought
of this vice, and sometimes inflicted punishments little
suited to the moral light of the people, whom he
arraigned as transgressors. It does not appear that
pilfering was deemed a crime, or a disreputable offence, and indeed the historian of Cook's Voyages
declares, that " the inhabitants of the South Sea
islands in their petty larcenies were actuated by a
childish disposition, rather than a thievish one." In
this view of the subject, it can hardly be imagined
that there was any natural right in the civilized visiters to inflict harsh punishment on their ignorant and
kind entertainers ; on the contrary, it was cruel and
unjust ; it was the last way to gain friends, or to inspire the natives with a love of tiie moral code. Ledyard speaks with warmth of some examples of this
kind, which came under his notice, but adds, alluding
to Cook, È It must be remembered that the ability of
performing the important errand before us, depended
very much, if not entirely, upon the precarious supplies
we might procure from these and other such islands,
and he must of consequence be very anxious and solicitous in this concernment; but perhaps no consideration will excuse the severity, which he sometimes used LIFE OF JOHN LEDYARD.
59
towards the natives on these occasions ; and he would
probably have done better to consider, that the full exertion of extreme power is an argument of extreme
weakness ; and nature seemed to inform the insulted
native^ of the truth of this maxim, for before we quitted Tongataboo, we could not go anywhere into the
country upon business or pleasure without danger."
One instance is related with more particularity than
others, as it occurred in high life, and was made a
state concern. In Tongataboo was a chief called
Feenou, a man of fine personal appearance, graceful
and commanding in his carriage, frank in his disposition, generous, enterprising, and bold ; in short, he
was the idol of the people, and throughout all the isles
there was no chief, whose renown was so loudly and
heartily trumpeted as that of Feenou. He was the
man, whom the great Poulaho delighted to honor
above others. When the strangers came, Feenou was
their early and devoted friend, and his attachment and
kind offices held out to the last. " If they lost any
goods, and these were carried either to the interior of
Tongataboo, or to any of the detached islands, their
only confidential resource was Feenou ; or if any other
emergency required despatch, policy, courage, or
force, Feenou was the man to advise and act." Such
Were the character and deeds of this chief. He could
subdue the hearts of men, and the strength of an enemy, but he could not conquer the tyranny of habit.
From day to day he had gazed wWi inward raptures
upon the gaudy plumage of the peacocks, which had
been brought with much care and trouble from England ; their charms were irrésistible ; just fcs the vessels were about to sail, the peacocks disappeared ; 60
XIFE OF JOHN LEDYARD.
Feenou was also out of the way ; he had stolen the
birds, and concealed himself with his booty.
The affront was resented by Cook in an extraordinary manner ; he immediately ordered Poulaho, the
king, to be arrested, and placed a guard over him in
his own house, giving him to understand that he
should be held a prisoner till the peacocks were restored. This was a novel mode of making a king
answerable for the acts of his subjects. Much disorder ensued ; the chiefs felt the insult offered to their
sovereign, and began to assume a warlike attitude, and
threaten the guard ; but Poulaho advised them to desist, and preserve peace till a reconciliation should be
attempted ; and when Cook appeared, the king saluted him with dignity and respect, but with a manifest
sense of the injustice that was practised upon him.
His coolness and counsel kept the people from offering
violence to the guards, who surrounded him with fixed
bayonets; and the next day Feenou himself came
forward, entreated for the release of the king, and
assured Cook that the birds should be returned to him
before sunset. Thus the affair was happily terminated, leaving a much stronger proof of the firmness
than the prudence of the great navigator. The reconciliation was followed by magnificent presents of
red feathers and provisions on the part of Feenou, and
others equally valuable from Cook. He gave Poulaho
some of the domestic animals, which he had brought
from England for the purpose of distributing among
the islands. All parties separated mutually satisfied
with each other, and with as warm tokens of friendship from the natives, as could be expected after the
recent transactions. LIFE OF JOHN LEDYARD.
61
CHAPTER IV.
Society Islanlds.—Otaheite.—Ledyard's description of the language, customs,
religion, laws, and government of the natives.—Their probable faith in the
doctrine of transmigration.—Remarks on his mode of reasoning on this subject.—-His theory of the origin of customs and superstitions.—Notions of a
Diety among the Otaheitans.—Conduct of Omai.—Difficulties attending the
efforts to civilize savages.—Sandwich Islands discovered.—The vessels proceed
to the American continent, and anchor in Nootka Sound.—Appearance and
manners of the people.—Indian wampum.—The abundance of furs.—Canni-
• balism.—Curious digression on the origin and practice of sacrifices.—Captain
Cook passes Bering's Straits, explores the northern ocean till stopped by the
ice, and returns to the island of Onalaska.—Sends Ledyard with two Indians
in search of a Russian establishment on the coast.—His account of this
adventure.—In what manner he was transported in a canoe.—Village of
Russians and Indians.—Hot baths.—Their habitations and manner of living
described.—Bering's vessel.—Ledyard returns to the ships, and reports to
Captain Cook.—Expedition returns to the Sandwich Islands.
We shall next join our navigators at the Society
Islands, where they arrived on the fourteenth of August. Many of the officers and seamen, who had been
there on a former voyage, were recognised by the natives, and received with great cordiality ; the day of
landing at Otaheite was given up to festivity and
mutual congratulations between old acquaintances.
The occurrences during their stay at these islands,
are related in a lively manner by Ledyard. He describes the natural productions of the Society Islands,
the appearance and condition of the natives, their
food, clothing, and houses, their language, customs,
religion, laws, and government. From the minuteness with which he speaks on most of these subjects,
it is evident that the principal points in the essay 62
LIFE OF JOHN LEDYARD.
mentioned by Mr Burney were still fresh in his
memory, and moreover that he was a close and inquisitive observer of everything, which came within
his reach or knowledge.
" The inhabitants," he remarks, " are of the largest
size of Europeans ; the men are tall, strong, well
limbed, and fairly shaped. The women of superior
rank among them are also in general above our middle
size, but those of the inferior rank are far below it ;
some of them are quite small. Their complexion is a
clear olive, or brunette, and the whole contour of the
face quite handsome, except the nose, which is generally
a little inclined to be flat. Their hair is black and
coarse ; the men have beards, but pluck the greatest
part of them out ; they are vigorous, easy, graceful,
and liberal in their deportment, and of a courteous,
hospitable disposition, but shrewd and artful. The
women cut their hair short, and the men wear theirs
long. They have a custom of staining their bodies in
a manner that is universal among all those islands, and
is called by them tattooing; in doing this they prick
the skin with an instrument of small sharp bones,
which they dip as occasion requires into a black composition of coal dust and water, which leaves an indelible stain. The operation is painful, and it is some
days before the wound is well.
"Their clothing consists of a cloth made of the
inner rind of the bark of three different kinds of trees,
the Chinese paper mulberry, the bread-fruit tree, and
a kind of wild fig tree, which, in the formation of difr
ferent kinds of cloth, are differently disposed of by
using one singly, or any two, or all of them together. LIFE OF JOHB LEDYARD.
63
The principal excellences of this cloth are its coolness
and softness; its defects are its being pervious to
water and easily torn. They sometimes, especially if
it is wet, wear fine mats of which they have a great
variety.
" Their amusements are music, dancing, wrestling,
and boxing, all which are like those of Tongataboo.
"As to the religion, laws, and government of these
people, much has been said about them by former
voyagers ; and in truth too much, especially about
then* religion, which they are not fond of discovering,
and therefore, when urged on the matter, they have
often, rather than displease those who made the inquiry, told not only different accounts, but such as
were utterly inconsistent with what we knew to be
true from ocular demonstration. They assured us,
for instance, that they never sacrificed human bodies,
but an accident happened, that contradicted it, and
gave us the full proof of it, the operation and design.
" They believe in the immortality of the soul, at
least its existence in a future state ; but how it exists,
whether as a mere spiritual substance, or whether it
is united again to a corporeal or material form, and
what form, is uncertain. It is supposed they have
notions of transmigration. Our conjectures originate
from observing that universal, constant, and uniform
regard, which they pay in a greater or less degree to
every species of subordinate beings, even to the minutest insect, and the most insignificant reptile. This
was never esteemed a philosophical sentiment, nor a
mere dictate of nature, because the people who entertain these notions are not led to embrace them by the 64
LIFE OF JOHN LEDYARD.
n
unbiassed impulses of nature, which would lead them
to regard their own species more than any other. It
must, therefore, be from other motives, and I know of
none so probable as religion or superstition, which are
indeed synonymous terms when applied to these people ; besides, it is well known to have been a religious
sentiment among many other people, both ancient and
modern, who have claimed the appellation of civilized.
It exists now among several Asiatic sects, both east
and wTest of the Ganges, particularly among the
Banians, who abstain from all animal food. It is well
known, that some tribes in Asia have built hospitals
for certain species of subordinate beings."
The author's reasoning here about the doctrine of
transmigration is somewhat curious, but his inference
that the natives believed in it, because they showed a
regard for inferior animals, is at least questionable.
He goes on to enforce his opinion, however, by remarking that they eat little animal food, and abstain
from the flesh of some kinds of birds altogether. In
killing animals, also, they are careful to inflict as little
pain as possible ; they are extremely indulgent to rats,
with which they are much infested, and rarely do
them any harm ; when stung by flies or musquitoes,
they only frighten them away. This lenity towards
animals, however commendable in those who practise
it, will hardly prove their faith in the doctrine of
transmigration, or that these savages refrained from
crushing a fly or musquito, because they apprehended
a spirit, which had once animated a human form,
had been doomed to an existence in one of these
insects.   It is a favorite theory of the author, at which LIFE OF JOHN LEDYARD.
65
he hints on several occasions, that such habits and
superstitions of a people, as are woven into their character and history, must have come down from some
very remote time, and not have sprung out of casual or
local circumstances, of which any knowledge exists.
He says, " all the customs of mankind appear to be
derivative and traditionary." How far he would carry
back the tradition, he does not add ; but this doctrine
of transmigration he traces to Asia, and supposes it to
have found its way to the islands of the Pacific with
the first settlers, who came from that quarter, and to
have kept its place through all subsequent changes
among the superstitions of their descendants.
" Their notions of a Deity," he continues, " and
the speculative parts of their religion, are involved
even among themselves in mystery, and perplexed
with inconsistencies ; and their priests, who alone pretend to be informed of it, have, by their own industrious fabrications and the addition of its traditionary
fables, shut themselves up in endless mazes of inextricable labyrinths. None of them act alike in their
ceremonies, and none of them narrate alike when inquired of concerning the matter ; therefore, what they
conceive respecting a God we cannot tell ; though we
conclude upon the whole that they worship one great
Supreme, the author and governor of all things ; but
there seems to be such a string of subordinate gods
intervening between him and the least of those, and
the characters of the whole so contrasting, whimsical,
absurd, and ridiculous, that their mythology is very
droll, and represents the best of the group no better
than a harlequin.
9 êâà
LIFE OF JOHN LEDYARD.
| The government of Otaheite resembles the early
condition of every government, which, in an unimproved and unrefined state, is ever a kind of feudal
system of subordination, securing licentious liberty to
a few, and a dependant servility to the rest."
Having above spoken of Omai, the native of the
Society Islands, whom Cook had taken with him to
England on a former voyage, and who had received
every possible advantage for becoming acquainted
with the habits, arts, and enjoynlents of civilized life,
the reader may be curious to know, in what manner
he demeaned himself when he returned to his native
country, and what were the prospects of his being
benefited by his acquisitions and experience. In this
case, as in many others, it will be seen, that the attempt to enlighten the ignorance and change the
character of the savage was unsuccessful. On landing
at Otaheite, says Ledyard, " we had a number of
visiters, among whom was à sister of Omai, who came
to welcome her brother to his native country again ;
but the behavior of Omai on that occasion was consonant to Ms proud, empty, ambitious heart, and he
refused at first to own her for his sister ; the reason
of which was, her being a poor obscure girl, and as he
expected to be nothing but king, the connexion would
disgrace him." In a few days the vessels sailed over
to Hueheine, the native island of Omai, at which
he was finally to be left. Here a small house was
built for him, in which his effects were deposited.
About an acre of ground adjoining the house was purchased of the natives, surrounded with a ditch, and
converted into a garden, in which various European LIFE OF JOHN LEDYARD.
67
seeds -were planted. Several of the live animals,
brought from Englaffid, were also put on shore, and left
under his charge.
" When ready to sail, Captain Cook made an entertainment on behalf of Omai at his little house, and in
order to recommend him still further to the chiefs of
the island, he invited them also. Every body enjoyed
himself but Omai, who became more dejected as the
time of his taking leave of us for ever approached ;
and when he came finally^to bid adieu, the scene was
very affecting to the whole company. It is certainly
to be regretted, that Omai will never be of any service
to his country by bis travels, but perhaps will render
{lis countrymen, and himself too, the more unhappy»"
The subsequent fate of Omai is not known, but
had his knowledge, his efforts, or his example produced any valuable effects in his native island, the
monuments of them would have* been obvious to
future voyagers. There has never been a more idle
scheme of philanthropy, than that of converting a
savage into a civilized man. No one attempt, it is
believed, has ever been successful. Even Sampson
Occum, before his death, relapsed into some of the
worst habits of his tribe, and no North American Indian of unmixed blood, whatever pains maj have been
taken with his education, has been known to adopt
the manners of civilized men, or to pass his life among
them. The reason is sufficiently plain, without resorting to natural instinct. In a civilized community, a
man who has been a savage, must always feel himself
inferior to those around him ; this feeling will drive
linn to his native woods, where he can claim and 68
LIFE OF JOHN LEDYARD.
iwr
maintain an equality with his associates. This is the
universal sentiment of nature, and none but a slave
can be without it. When a man lives with savages,
he will assume the habits of a savage, the light of
education will be extinguished, and his mind and his
moral sense will soon adapt themselves to his condition.
The vessels at length departed from the Society
Islands, and took a northerly course, with the intention of falling in with the coast of America, at about
the fortieth degree of north latitude. After sailing
six weeks, without approaching any other land, than
an uninhabited island, consisting chiefly of a bed of
coral rocks, and abounding in turtle of a fine quality,
the mariners were greeted with a view of high land at
a distance, which was not marked on the charts. It
proved to be a new discovery, and was one of the
group of islands, named afterwards by Cook the Sandwich Islands. A safe harbor was found and entered,
in which the vessels were no sooner anchored, than
they were surrounded by canoes filled with the
natives, who regarded the new comers with inexpressible surprise, though not with apparent fear. A
source of astonishment to the navigators was, that the
people should speak a language differing but little from
those of the Society Islands and New ^ealand, which
were distant, the first nearly three thousand, and the
other four thousand miles, with an ocean intervening.
The wide extent of the Polynesian dialects was not
then known. Although very shy at first, the natives
were not long in summoning courage to go on board.
They looked with wonder upon the objects around LIFE OF JOHN LEDYARD.
69
them, examined the hands, faces, and clothes of the
sailors, and inquired if they could eat. When satisfied
on this head, by seeing them devour dry biscuit, the
simple islanders were eager to show their hospitality,
and presented them with pigs, yams, sweet potatoes,
and plantains, thus verifying a declaration of Ledyard
on another occasion, that " all uncivilized men are
hospitable." A friendly intercourse was established,
and provisions were given in barter for old iron, nails,
and other articles of little intrinsic value, but important to the natives.
Cook remained ten days only at these islands, and
then sailed for the American coast, intending to visit
them again on his return from the north in the following winter. It was now the first of February, and no
time was to be lost in hastening his voyage to the
northward, for his plan was to proceed along the
American shore, and run through Bering's Strait, so
as to explore the polar latitudes at the proper season.
Without any remarkable accident or adventure he
reached the continent, and anchored in Nootka Sound.
This is an extraordinary bay, extending several
leagues into the country, and completely land-locked.
On the first night the ships were anchored in water
nearly five hundred feet deep, and in other parts it
was more than six hundred. A convenient harbor
was found the next day. The bay is surrounded by
lofty hills, and the shore is so bold, that the ships
were secured by ropes fastened to trees.
Our wanderer was now on his native continent, and
although more than three thousand miles from the
place of his birth, yet he could not resist the sensa- 70
LIFE OF JOHN LEDYARD.
tions kindled by the remembrance of home. All the
deep emotions, says he, " incident to natural attachments and early prejudices played around my heart,
and I indulged them." The feeling was spontaneous
and genuine. Ledyard saw in the inhabitants, likewise, indications of an affinity between them and the
Indians, whom he had visited in his native country.
In all his travels he manifests a remarkable acuteness
in observing the human character in its various gradations of improvement, and particularly in detecting
resemblances between uncivilized people of different
regions. Whether among the South Sea Islands, on
the Northwest Coast of America, in Kamtschatka, Siberia, or Egypt, remarks of this sort escape him continually. He seems to have had in his mind a scale
upon which he graduated the nations of men, and
which he studied so carefully, that he could assign
to each its proper place. His observations were not
restricted to one class of qualities or circumstances,
but they extended to all that constitute individual and
national peculiarities, to the intellect, physical characteristics, modes of living, dress, warlike implements,
habitations, furniture, government, religion, social
state, and domestic habits. Nor was he merely observing and inquisitive ; he was addicted to thought
and reflection. His theories were raised on the basis
of facts ; his results were sustained by reasons, satisfactory at least to himself. He was fond of pursuing
analogies, especially in regard to the origin, customs,
and characters of the various races of men, and here
the wide compass of his inquiries supplied him with
so many materials not accessible to others, that h<& LIFE OF JOHN LEDYARD.
71
sometimes came to conclusions less obvious to those
who follow him, than they were to his own mind.
His description of the people of Nootka is here inserted.
" I had no sooner beheld these Americans, than I set
them down for the same kind of people, that inhabit
the opposite side of the continent They are rather
above the middle stature, copper-colored, and of an
athletic make. They have long black hair, which
they generally wear in a club on the top of the head ;
they fill it, when dressed, with oil, paint, and the down
of birds. Tney also paint their faces with red, blue,
and white colors, but from whence they had them, or
how they were prepared, they would not inform us,
nor could we tell. Their clothing generally consists
of skins, but they have two other sorts of garments ;
the one is made of the inner rind of some sort of
bark, twisted and united together like the woof of our
coarse cloths ; the other very strongly resembles the
New Zealand toga, and is also principally made with
the hair of their dogs, which are mostly white and of
the domestic kind. Upon this garment is displayed,
very well executed, the manner of their catching the
whale ; we saw nothing so well done by a savage in
our travels. Their garments of all kinds are worn
mantlewise, and the borders of them are fringed, or
terminated with some particular kind of ornament.
Their richest skins, when converted to garments, are
edged with a great curiosity. This is nothing less,
than the very species of wampum, so well known on
the opposite side of the continent. It is identically
the same ;  and this wampum was not only found 72
LIFE OF JOHN LEDYARD.
among all the aborigines we saw on this side of the
continent, but even exists unmutilated on the opposite
coasts of North Asia. We saw them make use of no
coverings to their feet or legs, and it was seldom they
covered their heads. When they did, it was with a
kind of a basket covering, made after the manner and
form of the Chinese and Chinese Tartars' hats.
Their language is very guttural, and if it were possible to reduce it to our orthography, it would very
much abound with consonants. In their manners they
resemble the other aborigines of North America.
They are bold and ferocious, sly and reserved, not
easily provoked, but revengeful ; we saw no signs of
religion or worship among them, and if they sacrifice,
it is to the god of liberty.''
The fact here stated, respecting wampum, is curious,
and confirms a remark of the author, that the diffusive
power of commerce extended at that time throughout
the whole continent of North America. " Nothing,"
says he, " can impede the progress of commerce among
the uninformed part of mankind, but an intervention of
too remote a communication by water." Civilized
nations may impose restrictions, or adopt regulations,
under the name of protecting laws, and thereby embarrass commerce, but when left free to move in its own
channels, there is no obscure nook of human society,
which it will not pervade. Ledyard discovered,
among the natives on the Northwest coast, copper
bracelets and knives, which could only have come to
them across the continent from Hudson's Bay. Clap-
perton found articles of English manufacture in the
heart of Africa ; and the Russian embassy to Buka- LIFE OF JOHN LEDYARD.
73
ria met with others from the same source in central
Asia. The wampum of the North American Indians
has been an article of traffic, and probably passed as
a kind of currency among all the tribes from time
immemorial.
Ledyard's views of the commercial resources of
Nootka Sound, and other parts of the Northwest
Coast, must not be overlooked in this place, because
they were the foundation of many important succeeding events of his life, in suggesting to him the benefits
of a trafficing voyage to that coast. It will be seen
hereafter, that he was the first, whether in Europe or
America, to propose such a voyage as a mercantile
enterprise, and that he persevered against numerous
obstacles for several years, though with fruitless endeavors, to accomplish his object. The furs, purchased of the natives for a mere trifle, were sold in
China at an enormous advance, which had not been
anticipated, but which gave ample proof of the advantages of such a commerce, undertaken, upon a large
scale. After enumerating some of the productions of
the soil, he adds, " The light in which this country
will appear most to advantage respects the variety of
its animals, and the richness of their furs. They have
foxes, sables, hares, marmosets, ermines, weazles,
bears, wolves, Jeer, moose, dogs, otters, beavers, and a
species of weazle called the glutton. The skin of this
animal was sold at Kamtschatka, a Russian factory on
the Asiatic coast, for sixty rubles, which is near twelve
guineas, and had it been sold in China, it would have
been worth thirty guineas. We purchased while here
about fiteen hundred beaver, besides other skins, but
10 74
LIFE OF JOHN LEDYARD*
ft
Ï
took none but the best, having no thoughts at that
time of using them to any other advantage, than converting them to the purposes of clothing ; but it afterwards happened that skins, which did not cost the purchaser sixpence sterling, sold in China for one hundred
dollars. Neither did we purchase a quarter part of the
beaver and other fur skins we might have done, and
most certainly should have done, had we known of
meeting the opportunity of disposing of them to such
an astonishing profit."
At Nootka Sound, and at the Sandwich Islands,
Ledyard witnessed instances of cannibalism. In both
places he saw human flesh prepared for food, but on
one occasion only at each ; for, he says, the sailors expressed such a horror at the sight, that the natives
never ventured to repeat the act in their presence. In
this part of his narrative he makes a digression on
sacrifices, which I shall quote, not so much for its
originality, or the conclusiveness of its reasoning, as
to show his manner of considering the subject. His
notion is, that cannibalism, or the custom of eating
human flesh, which has by no means been uncommon
among savage tribes, had its origin in the custom of
sacrificing human victims. There is good evidence,
that other tribes of North American Indians, besides
those at Nootka, have been cannibals, if they are not
so even at the present day. There was a time, when
some philanthropists professed to doubt the existence
of this habit, so shocking to humanity, but the mass
of testimony brought to light since Cook's first voyage
is such, as to conquer the most obstinate reluctance to
conviction. Let the skeptic look at New Zealand,
and cease to doubt. LIFE OF JOHN LEDYARD.
75
" The custom of sacrificing is very ancient. The first
instance we have of it is in the lives of Cain and Abel.
Their sacrifices consisted in part of animal flesh, burnt
upon an altar dedicated to God. This custom exists
now among all the uncivilized and Jewish nations, in
the essential rites requisite to prove it analogous to the
first institution. The only material change in the
ceremony is, that the barbarous nations have added
human flesh. Whether this additional ingredient
in the oblation took place at a remote subsequent
period, by the antecedent intervention of any extraordinary circumstance independent of the original form,
does not appear, unless we place the subsequent period
below the time of Abraham, or perhaps below the
time of Jephthah. The circumstance of Abraham's
intended sacrifice of Isaac, to which he was enjoined
by the Deity, though he absolutely did not do it, yet
was sufficient to introduce the idea, that such a sacrifice was the most pleasing to God, and as it was an
event very remarkable, it probably became an historical subject, and went abroad among other tribes, and
was handed down among them by tradition, and liable
to all the changes incident thereto ; and in time the
story might have been, that Abraham not only offered,
but really did sacrifice his own son. But perhaps the
story of Jephthah, judge of Israel, is more to the point.
It is said, he sacrificed his daughter as a burnt-offering
to the god, who had been propitious to him in war ;
which does appear to be an act independent of custom,
or tradition, as it was performed wholly from the obligations of a rash vow, made to the Deity in the fulness
of a heart surcharged with hopes and fears.   It is also 76
LIFE OF JOHN LEDYARD.
ft
I
a fact, that after this, particularly in the reign of the
wicked Ahaz, it was a general custom, especially
among the heathen, to make their children 'pass
through the fire ; ' by which I suppose it is understood,
that they were sacrificed with fire.
" It seems, then, that the circumstance of adding
human flesh in the ceremony of sacrificing, did take
place in the years antecedent to Christ, and most
probably from the example of Jephthah. After this we
find it shifting places, attending the diffusive emigrations of the tribes, and commixing with mankind in
general, but especially with those disunited from the
chosen descendants of the great Abraham ; whose descendants, being constantly favored with civil and
religious instructions from Heaven itself, were not only
preserved from superstition and barbarity themselves,
but were the means of furnishing the detached heathen
with a variety of customs and ceremonies, that from
the mere light of nature they never could have thought
of; nor could they preserve them pure and uncorrupt
after they had adopted them. Even the favored
Israelites were perpetually deviating into schisms and
cabals, and frequently into downright idolatry, and all
the vanity of superstition and unbridled nonsense,
from the imbecility of human policy, when uninfluenced by heavenly wisdom and jurisprudence. No
wonder, then, that the separate tribes from the house
of Abraham, though they primarily received many of
their principles of civil and religious government from
a pure fountain, should debase and contaminate them
by the spurious conjunction of things derived from
their own imaginations.   And this seems to have been LIFE OF JOHN LEDYARD.
77
the course of things to this day. There hath always
been a part of mankind conspicuous for knowledge,
superior in wisdom, and favored by Heaven, from
whom others are separated ; and these, like the moon,
have only shone with borrowed light. Some customs
may be local and indigenous to particular times and
circumstances, both in the civilized and uncivilized
world, but far the greater part are derivative, and
were originally bestowed on man by his supreme
Governor ; those that we find among the civilized and
wise, measured on a philosophic scale, are uncorrupt-
ed, while those that we find existing in parts remote
from civilization and knowledge, though they have a
resemblance which plainly intimates from whence they
came, are yet debased, mutilated, and by some hardly
known. But who, that had seen a human body sacrificed at Otaheite to their god of war, would not perceive an analogy to ancient custom on those occasions,
and attribute it rather to such custom, than to any
other cause whatever. And the custom is not confined to Otaheite alone ; it pervades the islands
throughout the Pacific ocean. It was the case with
the ancient Britons. The Mexicans depopulated
society by this carnivorous species of sacrifice. This
could not be the effect of accident, want, or caprice.
It may be wrorthy of notice to remark furthermore,
that in the time of Ahaz, these! sacrifices were
made in high places. It was so in Mexico, and is so
at Otaheite and other islands. The Mexicans flung
their victims from the top of their temple, dedicated
to their god of war. The Otaheitans and the other
islanders prepare those oblations on their Morais." 78
LIFE OF JOHN LEDYARD.
SI
Captain Cook remained a few days only at Nootka
Sound, and then sailed northward coasting along the
American shore, and making various geographical discoveries till he came to Bering's Strait, which separates Asia from America. In passing through this
Strait, Ledyard says both continents were distinctly
seen at the same time. Cook traversed the polar
seas in the month of August, as far north as the ice
would permit, in search of a northwest passage, but
without success. As the season advanced, he returned
to the south, intending to renew his attempts the next
year.
Few occurrences are recorded in the voyage back
to the Sandwich Islands. There is one, however,
which merits particular attention in this narrative,
since our hero was the chief actor. The adventure
is mentioned in Cook's Voyages, and by Captain
Burney, as highly creditable to the enterprise and discretion of Ledyard. It happened at the island of
Onalaska, on the Northwest Coast. Ledyard himself
wrote a particular description of it, which hardly
admits of abridgment, and which may best be given,
therefore, in his own words.
" I have before observed, that we had noticed many
appearances to the eastward of this, as far almost as
Sandwich Sound, of an European intercourse, and
that we had at this island in particular met with circumstances, that did not only indicate such an intercourse, but seemed strongly to intimate, that some
Europeans were actually somewhere on the spot. The
appearances that led to these conjectures were such
as these.   We found among the inhabitants of this LIFE OF JOHN LEDYARD.
island two different kinds of people, the one we knew
to be the aborigines of America, while we supposed
the others to have come from the opposite coasts of
Asia. There were two different dialects also observed, and we found them fond of tobacco, rum, and
snuff. Tobacco we even found them possessed of,
and we observed several blue linen shirts and drawers
among them. But the most remarkable circumstance
was a cake of rye meal newly baked, with a piece of
salmon in it, seasoned with pepper and salt, which
was brought and presented to Cook by a comely
young chief, attended by two of those Indians, whom
we supposed to be Asiatics. The chief seemed
anxious to explain to Cook the meaning of the present, and the purport of his visit ; and he was so far
successful as to persuade him, that there were some
strangers in the country, who were white, and had
come over the great waters in a vessel somewhat like
ours, and though not so large, was yet much larger
than theirs.
" In consequence of this, Cook was determined to
explore the island. It was difficult, however, to fix
upon a plan, that would at once answer the purposes
of safety and expedition. An armed body would
proceed slowly, and if they should be cut off by the
Indians, the loss in our present circumstances would
be irreparable; and a single person would entirely risk
his life, though he would be much more expeditious if
unmolested, and if he should be killed the loss would
be only one. The latter seemed the best, but it was
extremely hard to single out an individual, and command him to go upon such an expedition ; and it was 80
LIFE OF JOHN LEDYARIX.
therefore thought proper to send a volunteer, or none.
I was at this time, and indeed ever after, an intimate
friend of John Gore, first lieutenant of the Resolution,
a native of America as well as myself, and superior to
me in command. He recommended me to Captain
Cook to undertake the expedition, with which I immediately acquiesced.*    Captain  Cook assured  me,
* The following biographical sketch has been furnished from a
source which gives it a claim to confidence.
Captain John Gore was born about the year 1730, in the Colony of
Virginia. It may be reasonably inferred, that he was brought up to the
sea, as he served a long time on board the Windsor man-of-war, during
the contest which preceded the American Revolution. In the successive voyages of the Dolphin, under Byron and Wallis, he served as
a master's mate, and on his return to England with the latter, was
promoted to a lieutenancy. The Endeavour was then preparing for a
similar expedition, and having been appointed her second lieutenant,
he accompanied Captain Cook in his first voyage round the world. In
the following year, 1772, he was appointed to the command of a merchant-ship, which had been engaged by Sir Joseph Banks for the purpose of visiting Iceland and the Hebrides ; and did not return again
until after the departure of the Resolution and Adventure.
In the last voyage of Captain Cook, he served as first lieutenant of
the .Resolution, and on the death of the navigator, and of Captain
Clerke, he respectively succeeded to the captaincy of the Discovery
and to the chief command. On his arrival in England, he was imme-
diately promoted to the rank of Post Captain, and shortly after to the
station in Greenwich Hospital, which was to have been resumed by
Captain Cook, in the event of his having returned. He remained in
this honorable retirement till his death, which is recorded in a publication of the time, in the following words.
" August 10, 1790—At his apartments in Greenwich Hospital, sincerely regretted by all who had the pleasure of his acquaintance, Captain John Gore, one of the Captains of Greenwich Hospital, a most
experienced seaman, and an honor to his profession. He had sailed
four times round the world ; first with Commodore Byron ; secondly,
with Captain Wallis, and the two last times with Captain James
Cook." LIFE OF  JOHN   LEDYARD.
that he was happy I had undertaken it, as he was
convinced I should persevere ; and after giving me
some instructions how to proceed, he wished me well,
and desired I would not be longer absent than a week
if possible, at the expiration of which he should expect me to return. If I did not return by that time,
he should wait another week for me, and no longer.
The young chief before-mentioned, and his two at-
JO 7
tendants, were to be my guides. I took with me
some presents adapted to the taste of the Indians,
brandy in bottles, and bread, but no other provisions.
I went entirely unarmed, by the advice of Captain
Cook. The first day we proceeded about fifteen
miles into the interior part of the island, without any
remarkable occurrence, until we approached a village
just before night. This village consisted of about
thirty huts, some of them large and spacious, though
not very high. The huts are composed of a kind of
slight frame, erected over a square hole sunk about
four feet into the ground ; the frame is covered at the
bottom  with turf, and upwards  it is thatched with
In the theoretical attainments of his profession, Captain Gore may
have been equalled by many, but as a practical navigator he was
surpassed by none. As an officer, he appears to have blended a proper
degree of prudence with the most unshaken intrepidity ; and his illustrious commander declares, that he ever reposed the fullest confidence
in his diligence and ability. In his disposition he was benevolent ; and
his generosity (as is remarked by Captain King) was manifested on all
occasions. But the character of a " very worthy man," ascribed to
him by Van Troil, in his letters on Iceland, will comprise the enumeration of his virtues.
Of his particular kindness and attention to his countrymen, we
have a striking proof in the case of Ledyard.
11 82
LÎFE OF JOHN LEDYARD.
coarse grass ; the whole village was out to see us, and
men, women, and children crowded about me. I was
conducted by the young chief, who was my guide,
and seemed proud and assiduous to serve me, into one
of the largest huts. I was surprised at the behavior
of the Indians, for though they were curious to see
me, yet they did not express that extraordinary curiosity, that would be expected had they never seen an
European before, and 1 was glad to perceive it, as it
was an evidence in favor of what I wished to find
true, namely, that there were Europeans now among
them. The women of the house, which were almost the
only ones I had seen at this island, were much more
tolerable,i than I expected to find them ; one, in particular, seemed very busy to please me ; to her, therefore, I made several presents, with which she was
extremely well pleased. As it was now dark, my
young chief intimated to me, that we must tarry
where we were that night, and proceed further the
next day ; to which I very readily consented, being
much fatigued. Our entertainment, the subsequent
part of the evening, did not consist of delicacies or
much variety ; they had dried fish, and I had bread
and spirits, of which we all participated. Ceremony
was not invited to the feast, and nature presided over
the entertainment.
" At daylight Perpheela (which was the name of the
young chief that was my guide) let me know that he
was ready to go on ; upon which I flung off the skins
I had slept in, put on my shoes and outside vest, and
arose to accompany him, repeating my presents to my
friendly hosts.    We had hitherto travelled in a north- LIFE OF JOHN LEDYARD.
83
erly direction, but now went to the westward and
southward. I was now so much relieved from the
apprehension of any insult or injury from the Indians,
that my journey would have been even agreeable, had I
not been taken lame, with a swellinginthe feet, which
rendered it extremely painful to walk ; the country
was also rough and hilly, and the weather wet and
cold. About three hours before dark we came to a
large bay, which appeared to be four leagues over.
Here my guide, Perpheela, took a canoe and all our
baggage, and set off, seemingly to cross the bay. He
appeared to leave me in an abrupt manner, and told
me to follow the two attendants. This gave me some
uneasiness. I now followed Perpheela's two attendants, keeping the bay in view, but we had not gone
above six miles before w7e saw a canoe approaching us
fern the opposite side of the bay, in which were two
Indians ; as soon as my guides saw the canoe, we ran
to tJie shore from the hills and hailed them, and finding they did not hear us, we got some bushes and
waved them in the air, which they saw, and stood
directly for us. This canoe was sent by Perpheela to
bring me across the bay, and shorten the distance of
the journey.
" It was beginning to be dark when the canoe came
to us. It was a skin canoe, after the Esquimaux plan,
with two holes to accommodate two sitters. The
Indians that came in the canoe talked a little with my
two guides, and then came to me and desired I would
get into the canoe. This I did not very readily agree
to, however, as there was no other place for me but to
be thrust into the space between the holes, extended 84
LIFE OF JOHN LEDYARD.
at length upon my back, and wholly excluded from
seeing the way I went, or the power of extricating
myself upon any emergency. But as there was no.
alternative, I submitted thus to be stowed away in
bulk, and went head foremost very swift through the
water about an hour, when I felt the canoe strike a
beach, and afterwards lifted up and carried some distance, and then set down again ; after which I was
drawn out by the shoulders by three or four men, for
it was now so dark that I could not tell who they were,
though I was conscious I heard a language that was
new. I was conducted by two of these persons, who
appeared to be strangers, about forty rods, when I saw
lights and a number of huts like those I left in the
morning. As we approached one of them, a door
opened, and discovered a lamp, by which, to my joy
and surprise, I discovered that the two men, who held
me by each arm, were Europeans, fair and comely,
and concluded from their appearance they were Russians, which I soon after found to be true. As we
entered the hut, which was particularly long, I saw,
arranged on each side, on a platform of plank, a
number of Indians, who all bowed to me ; and as I
advanced to the farther end of the hut, there were
other Russians. When I reached the end of the
room, I was seated on a bench covered with fur skins,
and as 1 was much fatigued, wet, and cold, I had a
change of garments brought me, consisting of a blue
silk shirt and drawers, a fur cap, boots, and gown, all
which I put on with the same cheerfulness they were
presented with. Hospitality is a virtue peculiar to
man, and the obligation is as great to receive as to LIFE OF JOHN LEDYARD.
8*
confer. As soon as I was rendered warm and comfortable, a table was set before me with a lamp upon
it ; all the Russians in the house sat down round me,
and the bottles of spirits, tobacco, snuff, and whatever
Perpheela had, were brought and set upon it ; these I
presented to the company, intimating that they were
presents from Commodore Cook, who was an Englishman. One of the company then gave me to
understand, that all the white people I saw there were
subjects of the Empress Catherine of Russia, and
rose and kissed my hand, the rest uncovering their
heads. 1 then informed them as well as I could, that
Commodore Cook wanted to see some of them, and
had sent me there to conduct them to our ships.
These preliminaries over, wTe had supper, which consisted of boiled whale, halibut fried in oil, and broiled
salmon. The latter I ate, and they gave me rye-bread,
but would eat nqne of it themselves. They were very
fond of the rum, which they drank without any mixture
or measure. I had a very comfortable bed composed
of different fur skins, both under and over me, and
being harassed the preceding day, I went soon to rest.
After I had lain down, the Russians assembled the
Indians in a very silent manner, and said prayers after
the manner of the Greek church, which is much
like the Roman. I could not but observe with what
particular satisfaction the Indians performed their devoirs to God, through the medium of their little crucifixes, and with what pleasure they went through the
multitude of ceremonies attendant on that sort of
worship. I think it a religion the best calculated in
the world to gain proselytes, when the people are either LIFE OF JOHN LEDYARD.
H
unwilling or unable to speculate, or when they cannot
be made acquainted with the history and principles of
Christianity without a formal education.
" I had a very comfortable night's rest, and did not
wake the next morning until late. As soon as I was
up, I was conducted to a hut at a little distance from
the one I had slept in, where I saw a number of platforms raised about three feet from the ground, and
covered with dry coarse grass and some small green
bushes. There were several of the Russians already
here, besides those that conducted me, and several
Indians who were heating water in a large copper
caldron over a furnace, the heat of which, and the
steam which evaporated from the hot water, rendered
the hut, which was very tight, extremely hot and suffocating. I soon understood this was a hot bath, of
which I was asked to make use in a friendly manner.
The apparatus being a little curious, I consented to it,
but before I had finished undressing myself, I was
overcome by the sudden change of the air, fainted
away, and fell back on the platform I was sitting on.
I was, however, soon relieved by having cold and
lukewarm water administered to my face and different
parts of my body. I finished undressing, and proceeded as I saw the rest do, who were now all undressed. The Indians, who served us, brought us, as
we set or extended ourselves on the platforms, water
of different temperatures, from that which was as hot
as we could bear, to quite cold. The hot water wTas
accompanied with some hard soap and a flesh-brush ;
it was not however thrown on the body from the dish,
but sprinkled on with the green bushes.    After this, LIFE OF JOHN LEDYARD.
87
the water made use of was less warm, and by several
gradations became at last quite cold, which concluded
the ceremony. We again dressed and returned to our
lodgings, where our breakfast was smoking on the
table ; but the flavor of our feast, as well as its appearance, had nearly produced a relapse in my spirits, and
no doubt would, if I had not had recourse to some of
the brandy I had brought, which happily saved me.
I was a good deal uneasy, lest the cause of my discomposure should disoblige my friends, who meant to
treat me in the best manner they could. 1 therefore
attributed my illness to the bath, which might possibly
have partly occasioned it, for I am not very subject to
fainting. I could eat none of the breakfast, however,
though far from wanting an appetite. It was mostly
of whale, sea-horse, and bear, which, though smoked,
dried, and boiled, produced a composition of smells
very offensive at nine or ten in the morning. I therefore desired I might have a piece of smoked salmon
broiled dry, which I ate with some of my own biscuit.
" After breakfast I intended to set off on my return
to the ships, though there came on a disagreeable snow
storm. But my new-found friends objected to it, and
gave me to understand, that I should go the next day,
and, if I chose, three of them would accompany me.
This I immediately agreed to, as it anticipated a favor
I intended to ask them, though I before much doubted
whether they would comply with it. I amused myself within doors, while it snowed without, by writing
down a few words of the original languages of the
American Indians, and of the Asiatics, who came over
to this coast with these Russians from Kamtschatka. 88
LIFE OF JOHN LEDYARD.
" In the afternoon the weather cleared up, and I
went out to see how those Russian adventurers were
situated. I found the whole village to contain about
thirty huts, all of which were built partly under
ground, and covered with turf at the bottom, and
coarse grass at the top. The only circumstance that
can recommend them is their warmth, which is occasioned partly by their manner of construction, and
partly by a kind of oven, in which they constantly
keep a fire night and day. They sleep on platforms
built on each side of the hut, on which they have a
number of bear and other skins, which render them
comfortable ; and as they have been educated in a
hardy manner, they need little or no other support,
than what they procure from the sea and from hunting. The number of Russians were about thirty, and
they had with them about seventy Kamtschadales, or
Indians from Kamtschatka. These, with some of the
American Indians, whom they had entered into friendship with, occupied the village, enjoyed every benefit
in common with the Russians, and were converts to
their religion. Such other of the aborigines of the
island, as had not become converts to their sentiments
in religious and civil matters, were excluded from such
privileges, and were prohibited from wearing certain
arms.
I also found a small sloop of about thirty tons burthen lying in a cove behind the village, and a hut near
her, containing her sails, cordage, and other sea equipage, and one old iron three pounder. It is natural to
an ingenuous mind, when it enters a town, a house, or
ship, that has been rendered famous by any particular LIFE OF JOHN LEDYARD.
89
event, to feel the full force of that pleasure, which results from gratifying a noble curiosity. I was no sooner
informed, that this sloop was the same in which the
famous Bering had performed those discoveries, which
did him so much honor, and his country such great
service, than I was determined to go on board of her,
and indulge the generous feelings the occasion inspired. I intimated my wishes to the man that
accompanied me, who went back to the village, and
brought a canoe, in which we went on board, where I
remained about an hour, and then returned. This
little bark belonged to Kamtschatka, and came from
thence with the Asiatics already mentioned to this
island, which they call Onalaska, in order to establish a pelt and fur factory. They had been here
about five years, and go over to Kamtschatka in her
once a year to deliver their merchandise, and get a
recruit of such supplies as they need from the chief
factory there, of which I shall take further notice
hereafter.
" The next day I set off from this village, well satisfied with the happy issue of a tour, which was now
as agreeable as it was at first undesirable. I was accompanied by three of the principal Russians, and
some attendants. We embarked at the village in a
large skin boat, much like our large whale-boats, rowing with twelve oars ; and as we struck directly across
the bay, we shortened our distance several miles, and
the next day, passing the same village I had before
been at, we arrived by sunset at the bay where the
ships lay, and before dark I got on board with our new
acquaintances.    The satisfaction this discovery gave
12 90
LIFE OF JOHN LEDYARD,
Cook, and the honor that redounded to me, may be
easily imagined, and the several conjectures respecting
the appearance of a foreign intercourse were rectified
and confirmed."
Such other researches, as could be pursued at that
season, having been made at Onalaska, and along the
coast, Cook left the continent and shaped his course
for the Sandwich Islands. Two months' sailing
brought him in view of one of the group, not discovered on his voyage to the north, called by the natives
Owhyhee, or Hawyhee, as Ledyard writes it, or
Hawaii, according to the modern orthography of the
missionaries.* As our traveller is more minute in his
description of the events that happened at this island,
and particularly in his account of the death of Captain
Cook, than most narrators, and as he describes only
wrhat came within his own knowledge, it may be
worth while to dwell a little upon these topics.
* It is to be observed, that the sound expressed by Ledyard's orthography, and that of the missionaries, is exactly the same, he preserving
the English sounds of the vowels, and they adopting the Italian. MFE OF JOHN LEDYARD,
91
CHAPTER V.
The ships anchored in Kearakekua bay.—First interview with the natives.—
Reverence with which they regarded Cook.—Tents erected for astronomical
observations.—Ceremonies at the meeting of Cook with the old king.—
Ledyard forms the project of ascending the high mountain in Hawaii,
called by the natives Mouna Roa —Description of his ascent, and cause
of his ultimate failure.—The natives begin to show symptoms of uneasiness at the presence of the strangers, and to treat them with disrespect.—
Offended at the encroachment made on their Morai.—Cook departs
from Kearakekua bay, but is compelled to return by a heavy storm, that
overtakes him, and injures his ships.—Natives receive him coldly.—They
steal one of the ship's boats, which Cook endeavors to recover.—Goes on
shore for the purpose.—Is there attacked by the natives and slain.—Ledyard
accompanied him on shore, and was near his person when killed.—His description of the event.—Expedition sails for Kamtschatka, explores again the
Polar seas, and returns to England.—Ledyard's opinions respecting the .first
peopling of the South Sea Islands.—Other remarks relating to this subject,
founded on the analogy of languages, and manners of the people.—Characteristics of Ledyard's journal.—Estimation in which he held Captain Cook.
The ships were several days among the islands,
sailing in different directions, before a harbor was dis-
covered, in which they could anchor with safety, and
where water and provisions could be procured. At
length they entered a commodious bay on the south
side of Hawaii, extending inland about two miles
and a half, having the town of Kearakekua on one
side, and Kiverua on the other. These towns contained fourteen hundred houses. The crowds of
people that flocked to the shore, as the vessels sailed
in and came to anchor, were prodigious. They had
assembled from the interior and the coast. Three
thousand canoes were counted in the bay, filled with
men, women, and children, to the number of at least •
92
LIFE OF JOHN LEDYARD.
fifteen thousand, besides others that were swimming
and sustaining themselves on floats in the water. The
scene was animated and grotesque in the extreme.
" The beach, the surrounding rocks, the tops of
houses, the branches of trees, and the adjacent hills
were all covered ; and the shouts of joy and admiration,
proceeding from the sonorous voices of the men, confused with the shriller exclamations of the women
dancing and clapping their hands, the oversetting of
canoes, cries of the children, goods afloat, and hogs
that were brought to market squealing, formed one of
the most curious prospects, that can be imagined."
But amidst this immense concourse, all was peace,
harmony, hilarity, and good nature. Many of the
natives were contented to gaze and wonder ; others, by
their noise and actions, gave more imposing demonstrations of their joy and admiration ; while others
were busy in bartering away hogs, sweet potatoes,
and such provisions as they had, for articles that
pleased their fancy.
Cook's first visit to the shore was attended with a
good deal of ceremony. Two chiefs, with long white
poles as ensigns of their authority, made a passage
among the canoes for his pinnace, and the people,
as he was rowed along, covered their faces with their
hands. When he landed, they fell prostrate on the
beach before him, and a new set of officers opened a
way for him through the crowd. The same expressions of awe were manifested, as he proceeded from
the water's edge. " The people upon the adjacent
hills, upon the houses, on the stone walls, and in the
tops of the trees, also hid their faces, while he passed LIFE OF JOHN LEDYARD.
93
along the opening, but he had no sooner past them,
than they rose and followed him. But if Cook happened to turn his head, or look behind him, they were
down again in an instant, and up again as soon, whenever his face was reverted to some other quarter.
This punctilious performance of respect in so vast a
throng, being regulated solely by the accidental turn
of one man's head, and the transition being sudden
and short, rendered it very difficult even for an individual to be in proper attitude. If he lay prostrate but
a second too long, he was pretty sure not to rise again
until he had been trampled upon by all behind him,
and if he dared not to prostrate himself, he would
stumble over those before him who did. This produced a great many laughable circumstances, and as
Cook walked very fast to get from the sand into
the shades of the town, it rendered the matter still
more difficult. At length, however, they adopted a
a medium, that much better answered a running compliment, and did not displease the chiefs ; this was to
go upon all fours, which was truly ludicrous among at
least ten thousand people." This confusion ceased,
however, before long, for Cook was conducted to the
Morai, a sacred enclosure, which none but the chiefs
and their attendants were allowed to enter. Here he
was unmolested, and the presents were distributed.
His first object was to procure a situation on shore
to erect tents, and fit up the astronomical instruments.
A suitable spot was granted, on condition that none of
the seamen should leave the place after sunset, and
with a stipulation on the part of the chiefs, that none
of their people should enter it by night.    To make 94
LIFE OF JOHN LEDYARD.
H
this effectual, the ground was marked out by white
rods, and put under the restriction of the tabu, which
no native dared violate, being restrained by the superstitious fear of offending the atuas, or invisible spirits
of the island. This caution surprised Cook a little,
as he had not witnessed it among the natives of the
other South Sea Islands. It appeared reasonable, and
he consented to it, not foreseeing the mischiefs ta
which it would ultimately lead. Ledyard considers it
the origin of all the disasters that followed. Restrictions were imposed, which could not be enforced ;
they were violated secretly at first, then with less reserve, and at last openly. The men in the tents were
the first to transgress, by going abroad contrary to the
agreement. The native women were tempted by
them to pass over the prescribed limits, although they
shuddered at the apprehension of the consequences,
which might follow such a disregard oi the tabu.
When they found, however, that no harm came upon
them from the enraged atuas, their fears by degrees
subsided. This intercourse was not such, as to raise
the Europeans in the estimation of the islanders. It
was begun by stealth, and prosecuted in violation of
the sacred injunction of the tabu, and as no measures
were taken to prevent it, the chiefs naturally considered it an infraction of the agreement. Ledyard was
himself stationed on shore with a guard of marines to
protect the tents, and enjoyed the best opportunity for
seeing and knowing what passed in that quarter.
Harmony, and a good understanding among all
parties, prevailed for several days. Cook went
through the ceremony of being anointed with cocoa- LIFE OF JOHN LEDYARD.
95
nut oil by one of the chief priests, and of listening to
a speech half an hour in length, on the occasion,
from the same high dignitary. When Teraiobu, the
king, a feeble old man. returned from one of the other
islands, where he had been on a visit, there was another
ceremony, conducted with great form, at his meeting
with Cook. Entertainments succeeded, and good
cheer and good humor were seen everywhere. Cook
first invited Teraiobu and his chiefs on board to dinner.
They were temperate, drinking water only, and eating
but little. The old king satisfied himself entirely
with bread-fruit and water, but the younger chiefs
comprised in their repast the luxury of pork and fowls.
They all went away well pleased, and the king invited
Cook to dine with him the next day at his royal residence. The invitation was accepted ; and when the
hour came, the navigator and his officers were sumptuously feasted on baked hog and potatoes, neatly
spread out on green plantain leaves, and for beverage
they were supplied with cocoanut milk. The day
was closed with gymnastic exercises, wrestling and
boxing, ordered by the old king for the amusement of
his guests. On the next evening Cook in his turn
exhibited fireworks on shore, much to the amazement
of the beholders, who had never before seen such a
display. Many laughable incidents occurred. When
the first sky-rocket was discharged, the multitude was
seized with the greatest consternation. Cook and his
officers " could hardly hold the old feeble Teraiobu,
and some elderly ladies of quality that sat among
them ; and before they had recovered from this paroxysm, nearly the whole host, that a moment before 96
LIFE OF JOHN LEDYARD.
tf*
surrounded them, had fled." Some were too much
frightened to return any more, but others came back
as their fears abated, and had the courage to keep
their ground through the remainder of the exhibition.
Thus all things were proceeding, as Ledyard expresses it, " in the old Otaheite style ; " the visiters
and the islanders were mutually pleased with each
other, kind offices were reciprocated, abundant stores
of provisions were carried on board, and prospects
were favorable.
Wnile affairs were in this train, Ledyard formed the
design of ascending the high peak, which rises from
the centre of the island, and is called by the natives
Mouna Roa. Although this mountain stands on an
island only ninety miles in diameter, yet it is one of
the highest in the world. Its elevation has been estir
mated to be about eighteen thousand feet, and its
summit is usually covered with snow. From his sta-
tion at the tents, Ledyard sent a note .on board the
Resolution to Captain Cook, asking permission to
make this jaunt, for the double purpose of exploring
the interior, and, if possible, climbing to the top of the
mountain. The request was granted. The botanist,
and the gunner of the Resolution, were deputed by
the commander to accompany him. Natives were
also engaged to carry the baggage, and serve as guides
through the woods. A tropical sua was then pouring
its rays on them at the bay of Kearakekua, but the
snows visible on the peak of Mouna Roa warned
them to provide additional clothing, and guard against
the effects of a sudden transition from heat to cold*
The party at length set off.   On first leaving the town LIFE OF JOHN LEDYARD.
97
their route lay through enclosed plantations of sweet
potatoes, with a soil of lava, tilled in some places with
difficulty. Now and then a patch of sugar-cane was
seen in a moist place. Next came the open plantations, consisting chiefly of bread-fruit trees, and the
land began to ascend more abruptly.
" We continued up the ascent," he writes, " to the
distance of a mile and a half further, and found the land
thick covered with wTild fern, among which our botanist
found a new species. It was now near sunset, and
being upon the skirts of these woods, that so remark-
adWjf surrounded this island at a uniform distance of
four our five miles from the shore, we concluded to
halt, especially as there was a hut hard by, that wxould
afford us a better retreat during the night, than what
we might expect if we proceeded. When we reached
the hut, we found it inhabited by an elderly man, his
wife, and daughter, the emblem of innocent, unin-
structtd beauty. They were somewhat discomposed
at our appearance and equipment, and would have left
their house through fear, had not the Indians, who
accompanied us, persuaded them otherwise, and at
last reconciled them to us. We sat down together
before the door, and from the height of the situation
we had a complete retrospective view of our route, of
the town, of part of the bay, and one of our ships,
besides an extensive prospect on the ocean, and a distant view of three of the neighboring islands.
" As we had proposed remaining at this hut through
the night, and were willing to preserve what provisions we had ready dressed, we purchased a little pig,
and had him dressed by our host, who, finding his ac-
13 98
LIFE OF JOHN LEDYARD.
S3
count in his visitants, bestirred himself and soon had
it ready. After supper we had some of our brandy
diluted with the mountain water, and we had so long
been confined to the poor brackish water at the bay
below, that it was a kind of nectar to us. As soon
as the sun was set, we found a considerable difference
in the state of the air. At night a heavy dew fell,
and we felt it very chilly, and had recourse to our
blankets, notwithstanding we were in the hut. The
next morning, when we came to enter the woods, we
found there had been a heavy rain, though none of it
had approached us, notwithstanding we were within
two hundred yards of the skirts of the forest. And it
seemed to be a matter of fact, both from the information of the natives and our own observations, that
neither the rains nor the dews descended lower than
where the woods terminated, unless at the equinoxes
or some periodical conjuncture, by which means the
space between the woods and the shore is rendered
warm, and fit for the purposes of culture, and the
vegetation of tropical productions. We traversed
these woods by a compass, keeping a direct course for
the peak, and was so happy the first day as to find a
footpath that tended nearly our due course, by which
means we travelled by estimation about fifteen miles,
and though it would have been no extraordinary march,
had circumstances been different, yet, as we found
them, we thought it a very great one ; for it was not only
excessively miry and rough, but the way was mostly an
ascent, and we had been unused to walking, and especially to carrying such loads as we had. Our Indian
companions were much more fatigued than we were, LIFE OF JOHN LEDYARD.
99
though they had nothing to carry, and, what displeased
us very much, would not carry anything. Our botanical
researches delayed us somewhat. The sun had not
set when we halted, yet meeting with a situation that
pleased us, and not being limited as to time, we spent
the remaining part of the day as humor dictated, some
in botanizing, and those who had fowling-pieces with
them in shooting. For my part I could not but think
the present appearance of our encampment claimed a
part of our attention, and therefore set about some
alterations and amendments. It was the trunk of a
tree, that had fallen by the side of the path, and lay
with one end transversely over another tree, that had
fallen before in an opposite direction, and as it measured twentytwo feet in circumference, and lay four
feet from the ground, it afforded very good shelter
except at the sides, which defect I supplied by large
pieces of bark, and a good quantity of boughs, which
rendered it very commodious. We slept through the
night under it much better than we had done the preceding, notwithstanding there was a heavy dew, and
the air cold.
"The next morning we set out in good spirits,
hoping that day to reach the snowy peak ; but we
had not gone a mile, before the path, that had
hitherto so much facilitated our progress, began not
only to take a direction southward of west, but had
been so little frequented as to be almost effaced. In
this situation we consulted our Indian convoy, but to
no purpose. We then advised among ourselves, and
at length concluded to proceed by the nearest route
without any beaten track, and went in this manner 100
LIFE OF JOHN LEDYARD.
about four miles further, finding the way even more
steep and rough, than we had yet experienced, but
above all impeded by such impenetrable thickets, as
rendered it impossible for us to proceed any further.
We therefore abandoned our design, and returning in
our own track, reached the retreat we had improved the
last night, having been the whole day in walking only
about ten miles, and we had been very assiduous too.
We found the country here, as well as at the seashore,
universally overspread with lava, and also saw several
subterranean excavations, that had every appearance of
past eruption and fire. Our botanist to day met with
great success, and we had also shot a number of fine
birds of the liveliest and most variegated plumage,
that any of us had ever met with, but we heard no
melody among them. Except these we saw no other
kind of birds but the screechowl ; neither did we see
any kind of quadruped, but we caught several curious
insects. The woods here are thick and luxuriant, the
largest trees being nearly thirty feet in the girth, and
these with the shrubbery underneath, and the whole
intersected with vines, render it very umbrageous.
" The next day, about two in the afternoon, we
cleared the woods by our old route, and by six o'clock
reached the tents, having penetrated about twentyfour
miles, and, we supposed, within eleven of the peak.
Our Indians were extremely fatigued, though they had
no baggage." *
* This mountain was never ascended to the top, till very recently. Mr Goodrich, one of the American Missionaries on the island,
was the first person, who persevered in reaching the summit. He
ascended on a side of the mountain nearly opposite to that, where
Ledyard made the attempt. LIFE OF JOHN LEDYARD.
101
Were we to follow the author closely in his narrative, we should here introduce his description of the
island of Hawaii, and of the various objects that attracted his notice. He speaks of the geological stiiic-
ture of the island, its soil, productions, climate, and
animals ; the customs of the natives, their superstitions, government, and criminal offences ; their way
of living, and the remarkable differences between
them and the other islanders of the South Sea. Qir
some of these topics his remarks are original and
striking, but we must pass over them, and hasten to
particulars of higher interest.
Before two weeks had expired, the natives began to
show symptoms of uneasiness at the presence of the
foreigners, and to treat them with diminished respect.
In truth, very little pains were taken to preserve
their good opinion, or to keep alive their kind feelings ;
and one untoward event after another was perpetually
occurring to lessen the admiration, which novelty had
excited, and to alienate them from their newly made
friends. Ledyard mentions several incidents of this
description, which are not alluded to in the authorized
account of Cook's last voyage. Some of them,
probably, were not known to the writer, and others
were omitted from motives of policy, as being rather
evidences of neglect or injudicious management, than
of cautious or discreet measures. The natives first
began to practise slight insults, which seemed to proceed rather from a mischievous, than a malignant
temper. The master's mate was ordered to take on
board the rudder of the Resolution, which had been
sent ashore for repairs.    It was too heavy for his men 102
LIFE OF JOHN LEDYARD.
to remove, and he asked the natives to assist them*
Fifty or sixty immediately caught hold of the rope
attached to the rudder, and began to pull. But
whether in sport, or by design, they caused only embarrassment and disorder. "This exasperated the
mate, and he struck two or three of them, which being
observed by a chief that was present, he, interposed.
The mate haughtily told the chief to order his people
to assist him, and the chief as well as the people having no intention, but of showing their disregard and
scorn, which had long been growing towards us,
laughed at him, hooted him, and threw stones at him
and the crew, who taking up some trunnels that were
lying by, fell upon the Indians, beat many of them
much, and drove the rest several rods back ; but the
crowd collecting at a little distance, formed, and began
to use abusive language, challenge our people and
throw stones, some of which came into our encampment." Ledyard's guard of marines was ordered out,
" at least to make a show of resentment," and the
commanding officer at the tents went out himself to
quell the disturbance ; but they were all pelted with
stones, and retired, leaving the field to the natives till
night, when the rudder was taken on board.
" Instances of this kind, though of less apparent
importance, had happened several times before this on
shore ; but on board hardly a day passed after the first
week, that did not produce some petty disturbance in
one or both of the ships, and they chiefly proceeded
from thefts perpetrated by the natives in a manner
little short of robbery. Cook and Teraiobu were fully
employed in adjusting and compromising these differ- <X<    -^fc-V^^-V
?
>
&
f-^
LIFE OF JOHN LEDYARD.
103
ences, and as there was really a reciprocal disinterested
regard between him and this good old man, it tended
much to facilitate these amicable negotiations. But
in the midst of these measures, Cook was insensible
of the daily decline of his greatness and importance
in the estimation of the natives ; nay, so confident was
he, and so secure in the opposite opinion, that on the
fourth of February he came to Kearakekua, with his
boats, to purchase and carry off the fence round the
Morai, which he wanted to wood the ships with.
When he landed, he sent for the Priest Kikinny, and
some other chiefs, and offered them two iron hatchets
£
•/
/
*•
for the fence.   The chiefs were astonished, not only ater      s^t
the inadequate price, but at the proposal, and refused      J/ *>v J
him.
> \,v
r
V
JL^y
.j»"**3
8.
" Cook was as much chagrined as they were sur- j*
prised, and, not meeting with the easy acquiescence    ^ y^
he expected to his requisitions, gave immediate orders />
to his people to ascend the Morai, break down the ^^^^l^
fence and load the boats with it, leading the way him- o^c
self to enforce his orders. The poor dismayed chiefs,
dreading his displeasure, which they saw approaching,
followed him upon the Morai to behold the fence that
enclosed the mansions of their noble ancestors, and
the images of their gods, torn to pieces by a handful
of rude strangers, without the power, or at least
without the resolution, of opposing their sacrilegious
depredations. When Cook had ascended the Morai,
he once more offered the hatchets to the chiefs. It
was a very unequal price, if the honest chiefs would
have accepted of the bribe ; and Cook offered it only
to evade the imputation of taking their property with- 104
I LIFE OF JOHN LEDYARD.
'#,
out payment. The chiefs again refused it. Cook
then added another hatchet, and, kindling into resentment, told them to take it or nothing. Kikinny, to
whom the offer was made, turned pale, and trembled
as he stood, but still refused. Cook thrust them into
his garment, that was folded round him, and left him
immediately to hasten the execution of his orders.
As for Kikinny, he turned to some of his menials, and
made them take the hatchets out of his garment, not
touching them himself. By this time a considerable
concourse of the natives had assembled under the
walls of the Morai, where we were throwing the wood
down, and were very outrageous, and even threw the
ÉÏ wood and images back as we threw them down ; and
I cannot think what prevented them from proceeding
to greater lengths ; however, it so happened that we
got the whole into the boats, and safely on board."
This story is told differently by Captain King, who
wrote that part of Cook's Third Voyage, which relates
to the Sandwich Islands. As he represents it, no objection was made to the proposal for taking away the
enclosure of wood, that surrounded the Morai, and even
the images were tumbled down and carried off, under
the eyes of the priests, without any resistance or disapprobation on their part. This would seem improbable. The Morai was the depositary of the dead, a
place where the images of the gods were kept, and
solemn ceremonies performed. It is not easy to reconcile the two accounts, but Ledyard was employed
with others in removing the fence, and he manifestly
describes what he saw. He may not have been so
well acquainted with the manner and conditions of LIFE OF JOHN LEDYARD.
105
the purchase, as Captain King, yet in the detail of
occurrences in which he was engaged, and their
effects on the people around him, it is hardly possible
that he should have been mistaken.   Again, he writes,
" On the evening of the fifth we struck our tents,
and everything was taken on board, and it was mani-
festly much to the satisfaction of the natives. A
little after dark an old house, that stood on a corner
of the Morai, took fire and burnt down ; this we supposed was occasioned by our people's carelessly leaving their fire near it, but this was not the case. The
natives burnt it themselves, to show us the resentment
they entertained towards us, on account of our using
it without their consent, and indeed manifestly against
it. We had made a sail-loft of one part of it, and an
hospital for our sick of the other, though it evidently
was esteemed by the natives as holy as the rest of the
Morai, and ought to have been considered so by us."
They had now been nineteen days in Kearakekua
bay ; the ships had been repaired, the seamen recruited after their long toils, provisions for several
months laid in, and nothing more was wanting to enable them to go again to sea, but a supply of water.
This was not to be had at Kearakekua, except of a
brackish quality, and it was resolved to search for it
on some of the other islands. For this object the
vessels were unmoored, and sailed out of the harbor. No sooner had they got to sea, than a violent
gale came on, which lasted three days and injured so
seriously the Resolution's foremast, that Cook was
compelled to return speedily to his old anchorage
ground and make repairs.    Our voyager is so circum-
14 106
LIFE OF JOHN LEDYARD.
stantial in his account from this point, till the tragical
death of Captain Cook, that I shall not mar his narrative by curtailing it. The only thing necessary to be
premised is, that he was one of the small party, who
landed with the unfortunate navigator on the morning
of his death, and was near him during the fatal contest, although this does not appear from his own statement.
" Our return to this bay was as disagreeable to us,
as it was to the inhabitants, for we were reciprocally
tired of each other. They had been oppressed, and
were weary of our prostituted alliance, and we were
aggrieved by the consideration of wanting the provisions and refreshments of the country, which we had
every reason to suppose, from their behavior antecedent to our departure, would now be withheld from us,
or brought in such small quantities as to be worse than
none. What we anticipated was true. When we entered the bay, where before we had the shouts of thousands to welcome our arrival, we had the mortification
not to see a single canoe, and hardly any inhabitants
in the towns. Cook was chagrined, and his people
were soured. Towards night, however, the canoes
came in, but the provisions both in quantity and quality plainly informed us, that times were altered ; and
what was very remarkable was the exorbitant price
they asked, and the particular fancy they all at once
took to iron daggers or dirks, which were the only articles that were any ways current, with the chiefs at
least. It was also equally evident from the looks of
the natives, as well as every other appearance, that
our former friendship was at an end, and that we had LIFE OF JOHN LEDYARD.
nothing to do but to hasten our departure to some different island, where our vices were not known, and
where our extrinsic virtues might gain us another
short space of being wondered at, and doing as we
pleased, or, as our tars expressed it, of being happy
by the month.
" Nor was their passive appearance of disgust all
we had to fear, nor did it continue long. Before dark
a canoe with a number of armed chiefs came alongside of us without provisions, and indeed without any
perceptible design. After staying a short time only,
they went to the Discovery, where a part of them
went on board. Here they affected great friendship,
and unfortunately overacting it, Gierke was suspicious, and ordered two sentinels on the gangways.
These men were purposely sent by the chief, who
had formerly been so very intimate with Clerke, and
afterwards so ill treated by him, with the charge
of stealing his jolly-boat. They came with a determination of mischief, and effected it. After they
were all returned to the canoe but one, they got their
paddles and everything ready for a start. Those in
the canoes, observing the sentry to be watchful, took
off his attention by some conversation, that they knew
would be pleasing to him, and by this means favored
the designs of the man on board, who watching his
opportunity snatched two pairs of tongs, and other iron
tools that then lay close by the armorers at work at
the forge, and mounting the gangway-rail, with one
leap threw himself and his goods into the canoe, that
was then upon the move, and, taking up his paddle
joined the others ; and standing directly for the shore 108
LIFE OF JOHN LEDYARD.
they were out of our reach almost instantaneously,
even before a musket could be had from the arms-
chest to fire at them. The sentries had only hangers.
This was the boldest exploit that had yet been attempted, and had a bad aspect. Clerke immediately
sent to the commodore, who advised him to send a boat
on shore to endeavor at least to regain the goods, if
they could not the men who took them ; but the
errand was as ill executed as contrived, and the master of the Discovery was glad to return with a severe
drubbing from the very chief, who had been so maltreated by Clerke. The crew were also pelted with
stones, and had all their oars broken, and they had not
a single weapon in the boat, not even a cutlass,
to defend themselves. When Cook heard of this, he
went armed himself in person to the guard on shore,
took a file of marines and went through the whole
town demanding restitution, and threatening the delinquents and their abettors with the severest punishments ; but not being able to effect anything, he came
off just at sunset highly displeased, and not a little
concerned at the bad appearance of things. But even
this was nothing to what followed.
" On the thirteenth, at night, the Discovery's large
cutter, which was at her usual moorings at the bower
buoy, was taken away. On the fourteenth the captains met to consult what should be done on this
alarming occasion ; and the issue of their opinions was,
that one of the two captains should land with armed
boats and a guard of marines at Kiverua, and attempt
to persuade Teraiobu who was then at his house in
that town, to come on board upon a visit, and that LIFE OF JOHN LEDYARD,
109
when he was on board he should be kept prisoner, until
his subjects should release him by a restitution of the
cutter ; and if it was afterwards thought proper, he, or
some of the family who might accompany him, should
be kept as perpetual hostages for the good behavior of
the people, during the remaining part of our continuance at Kearakekua. This plan was the more approved of by Cook, as he had so repeatedly on former
occasions to the southward employed it with success.
Clerke was then in a deep decline of his health, and
too feeble to undertake the affair, though it naturally
devolved upon him, as a point of duty not well transferable ; he therefore begged Cook to oblige him so
much, as to take that part of the business of the day
upon himself in his stead. This Cook agreed to, but
previous to his landing made some additional arrangements, respecting the possible event of things, though
it is certain from the appearance of the subsequent
arrangements, that he guarded more against the flight
of Teraiobu, or those he could wish to see, than from
an attack, or even much insult. The disposition of our
guards, when the movements began, was thus. Cook
in his pinnace with six private marines ; a corporal,
sergeant, and two lieutenants of marines went ahead,
followed by the launch with other marines and seamen
on one quarter, and the small cutter on the other,
with only the crew on board. This part of the guard
rowed for Kearakekua. Our large cutter and two
boats from the Discovery had orders to proceed to the
mouth of the bay, form at equal distances across, and
prevent any communication by water from any other
part of the island to the towns witnin the bay. or from h
'<-*ks
110
LIFE OF JOHN LEDYARD,
those without. Cook landed at Kiverua about nine
o'clock in the morning, with the marines in the pinnace, and went by a circuitous march to the house of
Teraiobu, in order to evade the suspicion of any design. This route led through a considerable part of
the town, which discovered every symptom of mischief, though Cook, blinded by some fatal cause,
could not perceive it, or too self-confident, would not
regard it.
" The town was evacuated by the women and children, who had retired to the circumjacent hills, and appeared almost destitute of men ; but there were at that
time two hundred chiefs, and more than twice that
number of other men, detached and secreted in different parts of the houses nearest to Teraiobu, exclusive
of unknown numbers without the skirts of the town,
and those that were seen were dressed many of them
in black. When the guard reached Teraiobu's house,
Cook ordered the lieutenant of marines to go in and
see if he was at home, and if he was, to bring him
out ; the lieutenant went in, and found the old man
sitting with two or three old women of distinction,
and when he gave Teraiobu to understand that Cook
was without, and wanted to see him, he discovered
the greatest marks of uneasiness, but arose and accompanied the lieutenant out, holding his hand. When
he came before Cook, he squatted down upon his hams
as a mark of humiliation, and Cook took him by the
hand from the lieutenant, and conversed with him.
" The appearance of our parade both by water and
on shore, though conducted with the utmost silence,
and with as little ostentation as possible, had alarmed
\
H LIFE OF JOHN LEDYARD.
11
the towns on both sides of the bay, but particularly
Kiverua, where the people were in complete order for
an onset ; otherwise it would have been a matter of
surprise, that though Cook did not see twenty men in
passing through the town, yet before he had conversed
ten minutes with Teraiobu, he was surrounded by
three or four hundred people, and above half of them
chiefs. Cook grew uneasy when he observed this, and
was the more urgent in his persuasions with Teraiobu
to go on board, and actually persuaded the old man to
go at length, and led him within a rod or two of the
shore ; but the just fears and conjectures of the chiefs
at last interposed. They held the old man back, and
one of the chiefs threatened Cook, when he attempted
to make them quit Teraiobu. Some of the crowd
now cried out, that Cook was going to take their king
from them and kill him, and there was one in particular that advanced towards Cook in an attitude that
alarmed one of the guard, who presented his bayonet
and opposed him, acquainting Cook in the mean time
of the danger of his situation, and that the Indians in
a few minutes would attack him ; that he had overheard the man, whom he had just stopped from rushing in upon him, say that our boats which were out in
the harbor had just killed his brother, and he would
be revenged. Cook attended to what this man said,
and desired him to show him the Indian, that had
dared to attempt a combat with him, and as soon as
he was pointed out, Cook fired at him with a blank.
The Indian, perceiving he received no damage from
the fire, rushed from without the crowd a second time,
and threatened any one that should oppose him. Cook^ 112
LIFE OF JOHN LEDYARD.
uk
M
perceiving this, fired a ball, which entering the Indian's
groin, he fell and was drawn off by the rest.
" Cook perceiving the people determined to oppose
his designs, and that he should not succeed without
further bloodshed, ordered the lieutenant of marines,
Mr Phillips, to withdraw his men and get them into
the boats, which were then lying ready to receive
them. This was effected by the sergeant, but the instant they began to retreat, Cook was hit with a stone,
and perceiving the man who threw it, shot him dead.
The officer in the boats observing the guard retreat,
and hearing this third discharge, ordered the boats
to fire. This occasioned the guard to face about and
fire, and then the attack became general. Cook and
Mr Phillips were together a few paces in the rear of the
guard, and, perceiving a general fire without orders,
quitted Teraiobu, and ran to the shore to put a stop
to it, but not being able to make themselves heard,
and being close pressed upon by the chiefs, they joined
the guard, who fired as they retreated. Cook, having
at length reached the margin of the water, between the
fire of the boats, waved with his hat for them to cease
firing and come in ; and while he was doing this, a
chief from behind stabbed him with one of our iron
daggers, just under the shoulder-blade, and it passed
quite through his body. Cook fell with his face in the
water, and immediately expired. Mr Phillips, not
being able any longer to use his fusee, drew his
sword, and engaging the chief whom he saw kill Cook,
soon despatched him. His guard in the mean time
were all killed but two, and they had plunged into
the water, and were  swimming to the boats.    He LIFE OF JOHN LEDYARD.
118
stood thus for some time the butt of all their force, and
being as complete in the use of his sword, as he was
accomplished, his noble achievements struck the barbarians with awe ; but being wounded, and growing
faint from loss of blood and excessive action, he
plunged into the sea with his sword in his hand and
swam to the boats ; where, however, he was scarcely
taken on board, before somebody saw one of the
marines, that had swum from the shore, lying flat upon
the bottom. Phillips, hearing this, ran aft, threw
himself in after him, and brought him up,with him to
the surface of the water, and both were taken in.
" The boats had hitherto kept up a very hot fire, and,
lying off without the reach of any weapon but stones,
had received no damage, and, being fully at leisure to
keep up an unremitted and uniform action, made great
havoc among the Indians, particularly among the
chiefs, who stood foremost in the crowd and were
most exposed ; but Whether it was from their bravery,
or ignorance of the real cause that deprived so many
of them of life, that they made such a stand, may be
questioned, since it is certain that they in general, if not
universally, understood heretofore, that it was the fire
only of our arms that destroyed them. This opinion
seems to be strengthened by the circumstance of the
large, thick mats, they were observed to wear, which
were also constantly kept wet ; and, furthermore, the
Indian that Cook fired at with a blank discovered no
fear, when he found his mat unburnt, saying in their
language, when he showed it to the by-standers, that
no fire had touched it. This may be supposed at least
to have had some influence;    It is, however, certain,
15 114
LIFE OF JOHN LEDYARD.
whether from one or both these causes, that the numbers that fell made no apparent impression on those
who survived ; they were immediately taken off, and
had their places supplied in a constant succession.
" Lieutenant Gore, who commanded as first lieutenant under Cook in the Resolution, which lay opposite
the place where this attack was made, perceiving with
his glass that the guard on shore was cut off, and that
Cook had fallen, immediately passed a spring upon
one of the cables, and, bringing the ship's starboard
guns to bear, fired two round shot over the boats into
the middle of the crowd ; and both the thunder of the
cannon, and the effects of the shot, operated so powerfully, that it produced a most precipitate retreat from
the shore to the town."
" Our mast that was repairing at Kearakekua, and
our astronomical tents were protected only by a corporal and six marines, exclusive of the carpenters at
work upon it, and demanded immediate protection.
As soon, therefore, as the people were refreshed with
some grog and reinforced, they were ordered thither.
In the mean time the marine, who had been taken up
by Mr Phillips, discovered returning life, and seemed
in a way to recover, and we found Mr Phillips's
wound not dangerous, though very bad. We also observed at Kiverua, that our dead were drawn off by
the Indians, which was a mortifying sight; but after
the boats were gone they did it in spite of our cannon,
which were firing at them several minutes. They
had no sooner effected this matter, than they retired
to the hills to avoid our shot. The expedition to
Kiverua had taken up about an hour and an half, and
we lost, besides Cook, a corporal and three marines. LIFE OF JOHN LEDYARD,
lis
É Notwithstanding the despatch that was used in
sending a force to Kearakekua, the small party there
were already attacked before their arrival, but by an
excellent manoeuvre of taking possession of the
Morai, they defended themselves without any material
damage, until the succours came. The natives did
not attempt to molest the boats in their debarkation of
our people, which we much wondered at, and they
soon joined the others upon the Morai, amounting in
the whole to about sixty. Mr Phillips, notwithstanding his wound, was present, and in conjunction with
Lieutenant King carried the chief command. The plan
was to act only defensively, until we could get our mast
into the water, to tow off, and our tents into the boats •
and as soon as that was effected, to return on board.
This we did in about an hour's time, but not without
killing a number of the natives, who resolutely attacked
us, and endeavored to mount the walls of the Morai,
where they were lowest ; but being opposed with our
skill in such modes of attack, and the great superiority
of our arms, they were even repulsed with loss, and at
length retreated among the houses adjacent to the
Morai, which affording a good opportunity to retreat
to our boats, we embraced it, and got off all well.
Our mast was taken on the booms, and repaired there,
though to disadvantage."
This account is the more valuable, as having been
drawn up by one, who had a personal knowledge of
all that passed. Neither Captain King, nor Captain
Burney, each of whom has described the transactions,
was on shore with Cook. Nor indeed, as hinted
above, can it be inferred with certainty from anything
Ledyard says, that he was in that part of the fray. 116
LIFE OF JOHN LEDYARD.
But the confidence and particularity with which he
speaks wTould seem to indicate actual observation.
We have Captain Burney's testimony, moreover,
which may be deemed conclusive. He says, that
" Cook landed with Lieutenant Molesw7orth Phillips of
the marines, Sergeant Gibson, Corporals Thomas and
Ledyard, and six private marines, being in the whole
eleven persons."* It follows, that Ledyard must have
been near Cook from the time he left the ship till he
was killed, and that he heard and saw distinctly all
that happened. Four marines were killed, thvee
w7ounded, and three escaped unhurt, of which last
number he was one.
After this melancholy catastrophe, the ships remained six days in the harbor, till the defective mast
was repaired, aud a supply of water obtained. This
latter was effected with difficulty, howrever, as the
watering parties were repeatedly assailed by the natives, and skirmishes ensued. It may well be imagined,
therefore, that the hour of departure was hailed with
joy by all on board. They passed ten days more among
the islands, and, the water on board being bad, a fresh
supply was procured at the island of Atui. The season
being now advanced, and everything in readiness, they
launched out again into the great ocean, pursuing a
northerly course, with the design of making a second
attempt to explore the polar regions, in search of a
northwest passage. In six weeks they approached the
shore of Kamtschatka, and anchored in the harbor of
St Peter and St Paul. The result of the expedition is
well known.  They passed through Bering's Strait, and
* Chronological History of Northeastern Voyages of Discovery
p. 260. LIFE OF JOHN LEDYARB.
117
groped among islands of ice in a high latitude, but with
no better success, than the year before. They touched
again at Kamtschatka on their return, and, proceeding
by the way of China and the Cape of Good Hope,
they reached England, after an absence of four years
and three months.
Many facts and speculations in our traveller's journal, not a little curious in themselves, have been
omitted in the preceding sketch, because they would
occupy a space not consistent with the nature or limits
of the present memoir. I am tempted, however, in
this connexion to quote his remarks on the mode in
which the South Sea Islands were probably first peopled. The subject has since been much discussed by
philosophers and geographers, but no one before him
had examined it with views so much enlarged by experience and observation ; and it is believed he-was the
first to advance the opinion, that the inhabitants of
those islands, scattered as they are through an ocean
of vast extent, " wTere derived from one common origin." Of this he will not allow that there is any room
for doubt; and the only question is, whether they came
from Asia or America. Whichever way this question
may be answered, there will remain objections not
easy to be removed, if we attempt to find out a resemblance in every peculiarity of character and manners, or to explain obvious differences. He does not
pretend to solve the problem, but only to throw out
such hints illustrative of the subject as occurred to
him, and as tend to establish the possibility, that an
emigration from either of the continents might have
reached to all the islands, without any other means of 118
LIFE OF JOHN LEDYARD.
transportation, than such as  the  people themselves
possessed.
" The New Zealanders say their ancestors came
from an island called Hawyjee ; now Owyhee, as we
carelessly pronounce it, is pronounced by its inhabitants Hawyhee. This is a curious circumstance, and
admits of a presumption, that the island of Owyhee, or
Hawyhee, is the island from w7hich the New Zealanders originally emigrated. It supersedes analogical
evidence. But Owyhee is in twenty north, and New
Zealand is in forty south, and not above three
hundred leagues distant from the southern parts of
New Holland, and is besides situated in the latitudes
of variable winds, which admit of emigrations from
any quarter. On the other hand, the languages of
Owyheé and New Zealand were originally the same,
and as much alike as that of Otaheite and New Zealand ; not to mention other circumstances of the like
kind. Whereas the languages at New Zealand and
New Holland have very little or no resemblance to
each other. This difference, with many others, between New Zealand and New Holland, cannot be
reconciled ; but the difficulties that may arise from
considering the distance between New Zealand and
Owyhee may be, as there are clusters of islands that
we know of, and there may be others unknown, that
occupy, at no great distance from each other, the intermediate ocean from Owyhee to New Zealand. The
obvious reasonings, that would be used to conclude the
New Zealanders emigrants from Owyhee, would be,
first, to suppose them from the Friendly Isles, then the
Society Isles, and then the Sandwich Isles ; and the LIFE OF JOHN LEDYARD.
119
gradation thus formed is very rational and argumentative, because all their manners and customs have the
same cast. Suppose, then, that the islands we have
mentioned were peopled from Owyhee, and suppose it
to be the first island settled, the second and ultimate
question is, From which of the continents, America or
Asia ? Its situation respecting America, and the trade
winds, strongly intimate from that continent, for it is
twice the distance from Asia that it is from America ;
and a ship, fitted for the purpose at China, which is in
a paralled latitude, would be more than two months in
reaching it, and we must suppose the emigrations that
respect these people to have been merely fortuitous ;
but a canoe, driven by stress of weather from the
southern part of California, or the coast of New Gali-
cia, the opposite parallel, would reach Owyhee in a
direct course in half the time or less. The distance
is about nine hundred leagues, and we saw people at
the island Watteeoo, who had been driven from Otaheite there, which is five hundred leagues.
" But if we suppose Owyhee peopled from South
America, we shall be somewhat disappointed in supporting the conjecture by arguments, that respect their
manners and customs, and those of the Californians,
Mexicans, Peruvians, or Chilians. There is but a
faint analogy, compared with that which we should
find on the southeastern coasts of Asia in these
respects. Let us then, without attending to the few
analogical customs, that subsist between the Owyhee-
ans and the South Americans, reverse our system of
emigration. Suppose the inhabitants of the Sandwich
Islands to have come from the Society Islands, and 120
LIFE OF JOHN LEDYARD.
those from the Friendly Isles, and the New Zealanders from them ; the inhabitants of the Friendly Isles
from New Caledonia, from the New Hebrides, New
Guinea, Celebes, Borneo, Java, or Sumatra, and finally
from the continent at Malacca. Supposing the emigration we are now speaking of to have taken this
course, the most apparent argument in its favor is, the
proximity of the several islands to each other, from I he
Friendly Isles to the continent ; but its sufficiency
will abate, if we consider emigrations, as I think they
are, oftener the effects of accident than previous intention ; especially when out of sight of land. Besides,
it is evident from ocular proof, that, though New
Guinea and New Holland are very near to each other,
there has never been any intercourse between them ;
and yet, from many appearances, there seems to have
been one between New Guinea, the New Hebrides,
and the Friendly Isles, although farther distant from
each other. The»*e is indeed no remarkable similarity
in the people, customs, and manners of New Guinea
and the Friendly Isles, but an exact conformity between the domestic animals and vegetable productions
of both countries. Some fruits, that we call tropical,
are peculiar to all places within the tropics ; but
bread-fruit is nowhere known, but among these islands
and the islands further northward on the coast of
Asia. It is not known at New Holland, but it is
at New Guinea. Therefore, wherever I can find this
bread-fruit in particular, I shall suppose an intercourse
to have once subsisted, and the more so, when I find a
correspondent agreement between the animals of different places ; and it ought to be remembered also, ■w»
LIFE OF  JOHN   LEDYARD.
121
that there are no other animals throughout those
islands, unless they are near the continent ; those
remote islands have no other. It is the same with
their vegetables. The remote islands have no watermelons, guavas, and such other fruits.
" These observations will essentially apply to the
circumstances of emigration. A canoe, in passing
along its own coast, or visiting a neighboring island,
would take on board a hog, a dog, a fowl, and breadfruit for subsistence, in preference to a monkey, a
snake, or a guava ; and if the canoe is driven accidentally on some foreign island, they turn to greater
advantage."
Since these remarks were written, there have been
many opportunities for further discovery, but very
little has been added to the stock of knowledge on
the subject. The missionaries, during a residence of
thirty years in the Society Islands, have found nothing
among the traditions or customs of the people, from
which their origin can be deduced. It was supposed
for a time, that the languages of the islanders in the
Pacific Ocean would afford a clue, that might lead to
a solution of the difficulty ; but hitherto all inquiries
in this quarter have failed, and contributed rather to
confirm than diminish the uncertainty, which existed at
first. It is proved, that in all the islands, constituting
that portion of the globe denominated in recent
geography Polynesia, a multitude of dialects prevail,
which have so near an affinity to each other, as to
make it demonstratively certain, that they all sprang
from the same stock. It is moreover remarkable,
that none of these dialects, which has as yet been ex-
16 122
LIFE OF JOHN LEDYARD.
Li;
amined, bears any analogy to other known languages,
except those in use among the natives of these
islands. It is true, that in the Friendly Islands, New
Zealand, and some others bordering on the Asiatic
islands, a few Malayan words are intermixed with the
Polynesian, but so sparingly as to make a very small
part only of the whole, and with characteristics
plainly indicating their foreign origin. If we may
judge from the grammars prepared by the missionaries, as well as from their own declarations, very few
languages are more widely different in their principles,
structure, and vocabulary, than the Malayan and Polynesian. No argument, therefore, drawn from the
analogy of languages, any more than from striking
traits of character in the people, can be urged to
prove the Polynesians to have come originally from
the islands on the south of Asia.
The same may be said in regard to northern Asia, and
South America. No resemblances in language have
been discovered, and very slight ones only in prevailing customs ; and these, after all, may be accidental.
Malte-Brun is opposed to the theory of an emigration
from South America, on the ground, that the islands
nearest the coast are not inhabited. But this reason
has very little weight. In the first place, these islands
are small, and would thus be the less likely to be met
by canoes, floating at random over the ocean, which
was undoubtedly the condition of the first emigrants ;
and in the next place, they are sterile, and might not
have afforded subsistence to people landing on them.
Again, these islands are not in clusters, but scattered
remotely from each other, and many casualties may LIFE OF JOHN LEDYARD,
123
be imagined by which settlers on them might have
been cut off, even if accident had thrown them there.
In short, little can be said, as to the mode of the
first peopling of the Polynesian islands, with any
approach to certainty. The study of the language,
which the missionaries are now prosecuting, will open
a new channel of investigation, from which some
favorable results may be hoped. Nothing will probably put the question beyond controversy, but the discovery of a language among some of the tribes of
Asia, or America, which bears a close resemblance to
the Polynesian. As no written memorials of the languages of these tribes remain, if it should have happened, that the nation from which the islanders
descended has become extinct, together with its language, which is most likely to be the case, the problem must go down to future ages, a theme only for
ingenious conjecture and speculation. When the prevalence of the trade wind is considered, always setting
towards the west, the probability of a migration from
America is much stronger, than of one from Asia.
Ledyard considers the emigration to have been comparatively recent, because the islands are volcanic, having
been formed by violent eruptions from the earth; and
many centuries must have elapsed after such an event,
before they could be habitable.
The journal, which has now passed under our
notice, can in no respect be regarded as a complete
narrative of Cook's Third Voyage. It was written,
as heretofore stated, under many disadvantages, in
haste, and without the aid of the author's original
notes ; and to all appearance the manuscript was
printed without his correction and supervision*    The 124
LIFE OF JOHN LEDYARD.
part prepared by himself breaks off, indeed, more than
a year before the end of the voyage, and was probably filled out by the publisher from the brief account
before printed in England. Ledyard's descriptions
agree in the main, however, with those contained in
the large work, which afterwards appeared under the
authority of the Admiralty. Occasional differences
will of course naturally be expected, when we take
into view the different circumstances under which the
commanding officer, and a corporal of marines, would
observe the objects and events they described. The
latter was often in situations to witness and contemplate occurrences, which could not come to the
knowledge of the former, and which, to a mind acute
and observing like his, would make impressions
worthy to be recorded. Nor is it any disparagement
of the other writers to say, that several of Ledyard's
descriptions of the manners and peculiarities of the
natives are written with a vivacity, descrimination,
and force, which they have not equalled. He utters
his own sentiments with a boldness, and expresses
himself with a confidence, that convince us of his
sincerity, honest zeal, and mental vigor, even when
we cannot assent to his opinions. He sometimes censures his superiors in office with a freedom not altogether commendable, and imagines them to have been
actuated by motives, which could scarcely exist. This
may be perceived in the tone, which pervades some
of the extracts quoted above. His station was not
one, in which he could be acquainted with the views
and plans of the commander, and yet his inquisitive
temper, and high sense of his dignity as a man, prompted him to think for himself, and put much reliance in LIFE OF JOHN LEDYARD.
125
the conclusions of his own mind. When these were
thwarted, as they often would be, it was natural that
he should suppose his superiors in an error, especially
if ill consequences resulted from their measures.
He was accustomed to speak with high respect of
Captain Cook, although he thought his proceedings
towards the natives sometimes rash, and even unjustifiable, i But this was no more than has been thought
by many others. Nobody has ever doubted the purity
of Cook's intentions, or his humanity, but he adopted
a system of conduct towards the savages, especially
in punishing slight offences, the policy and good effects
of which were less obvious to others than to himself.
Pilfering was so universal in all the South Sea islands,
that it was hardly recognised in the moral code of the
natives as an offence, much less a crime ; yet he invariably punished transgressions of this kind with severity. A long course of experience had confirmed the
navigator in this system, and he practised it usually
with success. We have seen how he applied it in the
case of Feenou, who stole the peacocks at Tongataboo, and many similar instances might be cited. It
was his rigid adherence to this course, in fact, which
at last caused his death ; for he landed at Kiverua with
the express purpose of enticing the old king on board,
that he might retain him there as a hostage, till the
stolen boat should be given up. The opinions of
Ledyard on this head, therefore, though sometimes
expressed with earnestness, argue no disrespect or
want of esteem for the commander, whom he honored
for the high station to which his merits had raised
him, and whom he admired for his many great and
good qualities. 126
LIFE OF JOHN LEDYARD.
CHAPTER VI.
Ledyard returns to America.—Interview with his mother after an absence of
eight years'.—Passes the winter m Hartford, and writes has Journal of Cook's
Voyage.—Visits New York and Philadelphia to concert with the merchants a
plan of a commercial expedition.—Robert Morris agrees to engage in a trading
voyage, under his direction, to the Northwest Coast.—Proceeds to Boston,
and afterwards to New London and New York, to procure a vessel for the
purpose.—Failure of the enterprise, after a year had been spent hi fruitless
attempts to carry it into effect.—Letters to his mother.—Makes a trial in New
London to enlist the merchants of that place in his scheme.—Was the first
to propose a voyage for a mercantile adventure to the Northwest Coast.—Sails
for Cadiz.—Letters from that city containing political remarks.—Sails for
L'Orient.—Makes an agreement with a company of merchants there to aid
him in such a voyage as he had proposed in America.—After eight months'
preparation it is given up.—Goes* to Paris-
During the two years succeeding our traveller's
arrival in England from Cook's last expedition» he
continued in the navy, but what rank he held, or on
what stations he served, cannot now be ascertained.
It is only known, that he refused to be attached to
any of the squadrons, which came out to America,
giving as a reason, that he would not appear in arms
against his native country. Growing weary, however,
of a mode of life little suited to his disposition, unless
on some adventurous enterprise, like that from which
he had lately returned, his thoughts began to wander
homeward, and to dwell on the scenes of his youthful
days. Apparently conquering the scruples, which he
had hitherto urged as the motives of his reluctance,
he sought the first opportunity to be transferred to the
American station, and in December, 1782, we find
him on board a British man-of-war in Huntington
Bay, Long Island Sound. LIFE OF JOHN LEDYARD.
127
It was natural that his first impulse should be to
visit his mother, who lived at Southold. Ostensibly
for this purpose he obtained permission of seven days'
absence from the ship, but evidently intending to
return no more. Long Island was then in the possession of the British. He remained but a short time
among his old acquaintances at Huntington, where, it
will be recollected, in his theological tour ten years
before, he had " feasted twelve days on Mr Prime's
great library." From this place he hastened to South-
old, and the first interview with his mother is represented as affecting. She kept a boarding-house,
which was at that time occupied chiefly by British
officers. He rode up to the door, alighted, went
in, and asked if he could be accommodated in her
house as a lodger. She replied that he could, and
showed him a room into which his baggage was conveyed. After having adjusted his dress, he came out
and took a seat by the fire, in company with several other officers, without making himself known to
his mother, or entering into conversation with any
person. She frequently passed and repassed through
the room, and her eye was observed to be attracted
towards him with more than usual attention. He still
remained silent. At last, after looking at him steadily for some minutes, she deliberately put on her spectacles, approached nearer to him, begging his pardon
for her rudeness, and telling him, that he so much resembled a son of hers, who had been absent eight
years, that she could not resist her inclination to view
Mm more closely. The scene that followed may be
imagined, but not described ; for Ledyard had a tender 128
LIFE OF JOHN LEDYARD.
heart, and  affection  for  his  mother was among its
deepest and most constant emotions.
As he had already resolved to quit the British service, being persuaded that no principles of justice cf
honor could make it his duty to act with the enemies
of his country, he thought it prudent, before the seven
days had expired, to leave his mother's house, and go
over to the continent. The recollections of his childhood detained him a short time at New London and
Groton, and he then proceeded to Hartford, where,
after a ten years' wandering in the remotest corners
of the globe, he received the cordial greetings of
his early friends, and found a kind home under
the roof of his uncle and former guardian. His feelings on this occasion will be understood from his
remarks in a letter, written shortly after he reached
Hartford. "You will be surprised to hear of my
being at Hartford ; I am surprised myself. I made
my escape from the British at Huntington Bay. I am
now at Mr Seymour's, and as happy as need be. I
have a little cash, two coats, three waistcoasts, six
pair of stockings, and half a dozen ruffled shirts.
I am a violent whig and a violent tory. Many are my
acquaintances. I eat and drink when I am asked, and
visit when I am invited ; in short, I generally do as I
am bid. All I want of my friends is friendship ; possessed of that, I am happy." In writing to other persons he expresses similar satisfaction, and although,
in alluding to the toils and sufferings he had undergone, he declares himself to have been worn down by
them to such a degree, as to make his person so
" perfect  a   contrast   to   beauty  or  elegance,  that LIFE OF JOHN LEDYARD.
129
Hogarth himself could not deform it ; " yet he writes
with a gaiety and playfulness, which show the sorrows
of the past to have been forgotten in the felicity of
the present, and that no gloomy anticipations of the
future were allowed to mingle their alloy.
In Hartford he remained four months, that is, from
the first of January till about the first of May, in
which period he wrote the Journal of Cook's Voyage.
In this occupation, and in visiting his friends, he
passed the winter. His restless spirit could be tranquil no longer. He had great projects in view, which
he was impatient to see executed. New adventures
courted his fancy, and flattering hopes as usual pressed
him forward with an ardent, determined, and ceaseless
zeal. Bidding adieu to his friends in Hartford, he
repaired to New York, where he unfolded his plans to
such persons, as he thought might be induced to patronize them ; but not meeting with encouragement
adequate to his sanguine expectations, he hastened
onward to Philadelphia. He had but just arrived in
that city, when he described his condition to his
cousin, Dr Isaac Ledyard, in a manner so characteristic, that no apology will be necessary for quoting the
letter in full.
" The day after I parted with you, I took the Bor-
dènton route, and the next morning landed at the
Crooked Billet, where I breakfasted, and sallied out to
view the nakedness of things here. I first went to
McClanagan ; he had no navigation ; next to two other
houses, but to no purpose. I then went among the
shipping, and examined them pretty thoroughly. I
doubt that I should even be put to it to get to sea be-
17 130
LIFE OF JOHN LEDYARD.
fore the mast. The most of the shipping here are
foreigners. Sixteen sail of seven different maritime
powers arrived a few days ago. Fourteen sailors
went out to the northward the morning I arrived, for
want of employ, and numbers are strolling the docks
on the same account. There is at present little home
navigation.
" After a walk of about four hours I returned to
my quarters, asked for a room to change my dress,
and went up and counted my cash; turned it over
and looked at it ; shook it in my hand ; recounted it,
and found two French crowns, half a crown, one
fourth of a dollar, one eighth of a dollar, and just
twelve coppers. Shall I visit H's ? I looked at my
stockings ; they wall do ;—my shoes—if I look that
way, my two crowns and I shall part. We did part,—
I put my new pumps on, washed, shaved, and went to
H's, where I had determined not to go. Mr H. is
now waiting for his horse ; he is going to Princeton.
This will go by him. I am at a loss whether to say
anything about money here, or depend upon this letter
meeting you at Princeton, wait the return of Mr H.,
the chance he has of seeing you, or—I don't know
what to do.—1 am determined. Send me either by
Mr H. or the first conveyance—some cash.    Adieu."
In this state of embarrassment he continued for
several days, seeking employment without success,
mortified at the defeat of all his purposes, and chagrined that his schemes should be so coldly received
by those, whom he had fondly hoped would understand and promote them. By another letter, however,
written two or three weeks after the above, it would LIFE OF JOHN LEDYARD^
131
appear, that a gleam of light was breaking in upon
him, and that his perseverance had not been wholly
fruitless.    He writes again to his cousin ;
"It is uncertain by what medium of conveyance
this may reach you. I design it for the Amboy House,
and thence to Middletown. A duplicate will be
directed to Princeton. It is abundantly manifest, that
this argues anxiety, and of so intense a kind too, as
to prompt a wish for the possibility of the annihilation
of time and distance. I have been so often the sport
of fortune, that I durst hardly credit the present dawn
of bright prospects. But it is a fact, that the Honorable Robert Morris is disposed to give me a ship to go
to the North Pacific Ocean. I have had two interviews wxith him at the Finance Office, and tomorrow
I expect a conclusive one. What a noble hold he instantly took of the enterprise ! I have been tw7o
days, at his request, drawing up a minute detail of a
plan, and an estimate of the outfits, which I shall
present him with tomorrow ; and I am pleased to find,
that it will be two thousand pounds less than one of
his own. I take the lead of the greatest commercial
enterprise, that has ever been embarked on in this
country ; and one of the first moment, as it respects
the trade of America. If the affair is concluded on,
as I expect it will be, it is probable I shall set off for
New England to procure seamen, or a ship, or both.
Morris is wrapt up in the idea of Yankee sailors.
" Necessity has overcome my delicacy. I have
unbosomed myself to H. and laid my poverty open to
him. He has relieved me for the present, which I
have told him to drawT on you for.    Send me some
M LIFE OF JOHN LEDYARD.
money, for Heaven's sake, lest the laurel, now suspended over the brows of your friend, should fall irrecoverably into the dust.    Adieu."
The enterprise to which he alludes in this letter, as
having been concerted with Mr Morris, and which had
occupied his thoughts ever since his return from Cook's
expedition, was a trading voyage to the Northwest
Coast. At this time no such mercantile adventure
had been attempted, either in this country or Europe,
nor is it known that anything of the kind had even
been contemplated. Ledyard's knowledge of the
resources of the Northwest Coast in furs, derived from
his observations while there, particularly at Nootka
Sound and the Russian establishment on the island of
Onalaska, together with the enormous advances, which
he had seen paid in Canton on the original cost of this
article, had convinced him that great profits might
be realized by a voyage, fitted out expressly for this
trade. Hitherto no market had been opened to the
natives, by which they could dispose of the superabundance of their furs, or receive such articles in
exchange, as might suit their fancy or convenience ;
hence the furs could be purchased extremely low, and
paid for in commodities of little intrinsic value, and at
such prices as the vendor might choose to affix. It
was clear, therefore, in his mind, that they, who
should first engage in this trade, would reap immense
profits by their earliest efforts, and at the same time
;ain such knowledge and experience, as would enable
them to pursue it for years with advantages superior
to any, that could be commanded by the competitors,
who might be drawn into the same channel of com- LIFE OF JOHN LEDYARD.
133
So strong had grown his confidence in the accuracy
of his opinions, by long reflection on the subject, and
such was the eagerness of his desire to prove the
truth of his theory by actual experiment, that he applied the whole energy of his mind and character to
the task of creating an interest in his project among
the merchants, who had the means of carrying it into
effect, and without whose patronage nothing could be
done. In New York he was unsuccessful ; his scheme
was called wild and visionary, and set down as bearing the marks rather of a warm imagination, and
sanguine temperament, than of a sober and mature
judgment. No merchant was found willing to hazard
his money, or his reputation, in an adventure so novel
in its kind, and so questionable in its promise, a
scheme not only untried, but never before thought of.
His first inquiries in Philadelphia met with no better
favor, till Mr Robert Morris, with an enlargement of
mind and purpose, which characterized his undertakings, entered into his views, and made arrangements
to furnish the outfits of a voyage, according to the
plan he drew up.
The first thing to be done was to procure a ship
suitable for such a voyage. At that time there was
none unemployed in Philadelphia, and Ledyard was
despatched to Boston, where it was thought a purchase might speedily be effected, and where progress
was actually made in the preparation of a vessel
for this purpose ; but for some cause not now known
it was taken for a voyage of a different kind. He
next proceeded to New London, where the Continental frigate, Trumbull, was engaged for the voy- 134
LIFE OF JOHN LEDYARD.
È
Ij'ij'
11
age, but this ship was afterwards diverted to another
adventure, suggested by this plan. The Count d'Artois, a large French ship then lying in the harbor of
Newr London was next thought of, but was finally
otherwise destined. Again, a ship in New York, of
about three hundred tons, was provided ; but on
examination it proved to be so old and defective,
that it wras condemned as unsafe for a voyage of such
length and hazard. The season was by this time too
far advanced to think of prosecuting the voyage before
the next spring. Meantime Mr Daniel Parker was
employed to purchase a ship in New York, and to
have it in readiness as soon as the favorable season for
its sailing should arrive. A ship was procured accordingly, but the outfits were delayed from time to time,
till the winter passed by, and then the spring, and at
last it was sent on an adventure to Canton. Thus a
year was spent, in a vexatious and fruitless struggle
to overcome difficulties, which thickened as he advanced, till his patience, and that of Mr Morris also,
would seem to have been exhausted, for the voyage
was altogether abandoned.
While he was in New London negotiating for the
ship Trumbull, after his return from Boston, he wrote
a letter to his mother, from which an extract here
follows.
I This is the first opportunity in reality, wiiich I
have had of writing to you, since I have been in this
country. My ambition to do everything, which my
disposition as a man, and my relative character as a
citizen, and more tenderly as the leading descendant
of a broken and distressed family, should prompt me LIFE OF JOHN LEDYARD.
135
to do, has engaged me in every kind of speculation,
which afforded the least probability of advancing my
interest, my happiness, or the happiness of my friends.
These different engagements have led me into different
conditions ; sometimes I have been elated with hope,
sometimes depressed with disappointment and distress.
I postponed informing you of my circumstances, indulging the constant hope of their soon being better,
until which time I was determined you should not
know anything particularly concerning me. If that
time is now arrived, it has been more from the influence of a kind Providence, than my own merits. My
prospects at present are a voyage to the East Indies,
and eventually round the world. It will be of two or
three years' duration. If I am successful, I shall not
have occasion to absent myself any more from my
friends ; but above all, I hope to have it in my power
to minister to the wants of a beloved parent, and
others who languish and fade in obscurity. My dear
sisters engage my tenderest love, and solicitude for
their future welfare. My best wish is, that they may
be educated and disposed of suitably to the beauty of
their persons, and their excellent hearts, and that I
could be instrumental in conferring such a kindness.
I beg my brotherly salutations to them. Tell them I
long to strew roses in their laps, and branches of palm
beneath their feet."
It ought to be recorded in this place, that while
Ledyard was in New York, anxiously waiting for a
vessel, his embarrassments, occasioned by the want of
money, were often relieved, in a spirit of great kindness, by Mr Comfort Sands.   This gentleman became ÉÊÊ
«
136
LIFE OF JOHN LEDYARD.
acquainted with him in Philadelphia, and early approved and promoted the enterprise, which he had in
contemplation ; he proposed sending an adventure by
the same voyage, and during the whole preparation
rendered him essential services, for which it is believed he never received any other returns, than such as
always attend the consciousness of benevolent acts,
and of having aided the advancement of large and
useful designs.
Not discouraged by the ill fortune, which he had so
signally experienced, Ledyard resolved not to relinquish his purpose, till he had made other trials to carry
it forward. He repaired to New London, and suggested the same adventure to persons of commercial
pursuits in that port. He was particularly strenuous
in persuading Captain Deshon, who owned a fine new
ship then lying in the harbor, and well constructed for
such a voyage, to embark with him in a trading
expedition to the Northwest Coast. Captain Deshon
wTas the nephew of the commander of the vessel, in
which Ledyard sailed to Gibraltar, and although at
that time a youth, he was himself on board in the
service of his uncle. A friendship had ever afterwards
subsisted between the two voyagers, and Captain
Deshon was now willing to join with his friend in any
mercantile adventure, which should seem to him practicable, safe, and affording a reasonable prospect of
gain. But Ledyard drew so glowing a picture of the
advantages to be derived from his projected voyage,
the trifling value of the articles necessary for an outward cargo, and the immense advances that would be
received on the price of the articles purchased ; in LIFE OF JOHN LEDYARD.
137
short, his enthusiasm gave so bright a coloring to his
representations, and such amplitude to his hopes, that
Captain Deshon could not so far resist the dictates of
prudence, as >io participate in feelings and view's,
which hei deemed little short of romantic, and as
more strongly tinged with the native warmth of his
character, than with that trait of mind, which weighs
and deliberates cautiously before it resolves. It is
needless to add, that, under these impressions, he
could not prevail on himself to second his friend's
wishes ; yet he was afterwards heard to say, that
Ledyard's account, in its minutest details, was verified
by the first voyages of that kind from the United
States, and that he had often regretted his not having listened to him, and prosecuted the voyage in
compliance with his solicitation. As far as can be
ascertained-, Ledyard's views of the subject, both as
unfolded in the transactions with Mr Morris and with
Captain Deshon, accorded exactly with those acted
upon by the first adventurers, who were rewarded
with extraordinary success. It was a part of his plan
to purchase lands of the natives, and establish a factory, or colony, for the purpose of a continued intercourse and trade.
Weary of making fruitless applications in his own
country, Ledyard determined to embark for Europe,
where he might expect better patronage from larger
capitalists, and in a wider field of commercial activity.
Mr Morris had made him some compensation for the
time he had spent in his service, and favored him
with several letters of recommendation to eminent
merchants abroad, particularly in France.    He took
18 138
LIFE OF JOHN LEDYARD.
passage in a vessel from New London, bound to Cadiz. On the first of June, 1784, he wrote as follows
to his mother.
" Since I saw you last, I have passed through a
great many difficulties and disappointments, which
my most intimate friends are, and must be for the
present, at least, unacquainted with, as it will answer
no good purpose to break their repose, or add to my
cares, by reflecting on what is past, and thence anticipating evil. You have no doubt heard of my very
great disappointment at New York. For a moment,
all the fortitude, that ten years' misfortune had taught
me, could hardly support me. I am now very well
in health. This will probably be the last letter I shall
write you from this country. I shall sail within
twrelve days for Spain, whence I expect to go to
France, and there again to renew the business I was
so unfortunate in at New York. If I succeed in my
wishes, it may be two or three years before I return.
In this interim, I pray you to give me your blessing
and your prayers. My sisters I hope are well, and
beg them to accept a brother's love. Please to present my kind love to my brothers. May that Being,
who is infinitely great and infinitely good, be the
friend of them, and of us all."
He sailed for Spain, as here intimated, shortly after
writing this letter, having been the first, whether in
America or Europe, to suggest a scheme of trade with
the Northwest Coast, which has since proved to be a
very lucrative field of commerce to merchants in
both hemispheres. It was more than a year after his
earliest application to the merchants in New York, LIFE OF JOHN LEDYARD.
139
before any expedition of the kind wras fitted out from
Europe. The first voyage from the United States to
the Northwest Coast was in the ship Columbia, of
three hundred tons, which sailed from Boston under
the command of Captain John Kendrick, about three
years after Ledyard's visit to that place, in search of
a ship for Mr Morris. He may justly be considered,
therefore, the first projector of this branch of commerce. Captain Kendrick so far adopted his ulterior
purpose, as to purchase lands of the natives, with
a view of founding a colony there, when a proper
occasion should offer. To this end he took formal
deeds of the land, confirmed by the signs manual of
the chiefs, who claimed the territory.* To some of
his friends, Ledyard mentioned his intention of leaving
the ship on the coast, when the cargo should be
obtained, and exploring the country over land from
Nootka Sound, or some point farther north, across to
the Mississippi and Ohio rivers, thus traversing the
whole space between the Pacific and Atlantic oceans.
Meantime the vessel was to proceed to China, and
thence to return and meet him in New York, ready
for another voyage.
But all the fine prospects, which he had dwelt upon
in anticipation, are to be given up for the present, and
we must follow him to Europe. The passage to
Cadiz was favorable and expeditious. He does not
seem to have had any special design in visiting Cadiz,
* The original deeds are now in the office of the Secretary of State
in Washington. In company with the Columbia was the Washington,,
a vessel of one hundred tons' burden, commanded by Captain Robert
Grey. 140
LIFE OF JOHN LEDYARD,
<
in reference to the m'ain object of his crossing thé
Atlantic. This destination probably awaited him, in
consequence of an opportunity presenting itself of a
more direct passage to that port, than to any other
in the south of Europe. L'Orient was the city,
which he intended to visit, and in which he had been
encouraged to look for patrons of his projected enterprise. He had been furnished with letters to wealthy and enterprising merchants there, and he made all
haste to be on the spot. Various causes of delay kept
him in Cadiz more than a month. This time he filled
up as well as he could, in gaining information of the
place, of its resources and trade, and of the manners
and character of the people. He also endeavored to
drive away the melancholy thoughts, incident to the
anxiety of his situation, by mingling in social circles,
and contriving to be entertained by the public amusements, that were much frequented by all ranks of
people. On the sixteenth of August he wrote thus
Cadiz to Dr Ledyard.
" Just as I was seated, and had dated my letter,
the carriage of General O'Reilly hove in view, a
clumsy, gothic vehicle, dragged by five jaded mules to
the bull-fight. Who is General O'Reilly ? A poor,
migrating, Irish cadet ; a soldier that was scalded at
the storm of Gibraltar. O'Reilly is to Cadiz, and all
within his jurisdiction, which consists of two provinces, what Czar Peter was to Russia. The reform he
has made in the minutest parts of his government, as
well as the most important, is looked upon as a phenomenon in this country. He has, with a boldness
that characterizes an enterprising commander and LIFE OF JOHN LEDYARD.
141
legislator, even struck at those old habits among a
people, so dangerous to be meddled with. Envy is
the natural concomitant of such merit, and O'Reilly
has probably greater friends and enemies at the court
of Madrid, than any other character in the kingdom ;
and both parties had a fair opportunity of contesting
their ascendency, after the miscarriage of the late
descent against the Moors; but his conquering his
court enemies at home fully compensated that misfortune abroad, and confirmed his fame, nay, added to its
lustre.* To execute all these great matters, O'Reilly
is not the man you would suppose. His education is
contracted ; he is capricious, severe, and arrogant ;
ordinary in his person, and forbidding in his address.
" The exhibition of the bull-fights is in a spacious
amphitheatre, that will accommodate twelve thousand
spectators. The horsemen display more skill and
courage, than the footmen. But it is a barbarous
amusement. There are many Irish inhabitants here,
all of whom are particularly friendly to Americans.
I am now writing at the house of Mr Harrison, handsomely situated on the side of the Alameda. I take a
family dinner with him to-day, having already taken
* This alludes to an attack by the Spaniards on Algiers in the year
1775. A formidable armament of six ships of the line, twelve frigates,
a large number of smaller vessels, and twentyfive thousand men, all
under the command of the Conde de O'Reilly, formed that expedition. A large part of the army was landed, and a partial battle ensued,
in which the Spaniards met with a signal and most disgraceful defeat.
Severe censures were passed on O'Reilly, and a general spirit of indignation existed against him throughout Spain, but the weight of his
talents, and his influence at court, enabled him to triumph over his
enemies, and to sustain himself in the highest stations. 142
LIFE OF JOHN LEDYARD.
a formal one. The British consul also receives me
with great politeness. But what I am doing among
these gentry, with only half a dollar and four reals in
my pocket, you must, with me, wait for time to de-
velope. I shall soon leave this place for France, and
my route will be either up the Mediterranean to Marseilles, and thence on the grand canal west to Bour-
deaux ; or along the coast of Spain and Portugal by
sea. I yesterday conversed with an Englishman, who
is commissioned to treat privately with our States in
behalf of the Emperor of Morocco ; but if I can persuade him to send his Arabic commission back, and
join me with his cash and importance at Bordeaux, or
Nantz—. The preliminary step is accomplished, and
he is now somewhere in the town as busy in the
affair, as a dozen such heads as mine could be."
Since no more is heard of this commissioner from
the Emperor of Morocco, it is presumed the preliminary step was the only one taken in the business.
Ledyard remained in Cadiz, apparently waiting for a
passage either to Marseilles, or to some port in the
west of France, as chance might offer. He wrote to
his friends, communicating his observations on what
passed around him, but said little of his own circumstances or prospects. The remarks now about to be
quoted, are contained in a letter written to his correspondent in America, after he had been two weeks at
Cadiz, and are not more curious for their singularity,
than for the historical hints they convey, in regard to
the state of knowledge and feeling, which then prevailed in the south of Europe, respecting the United
States. LIFE OF JOHN LEDYARD.
143
" The people in this, as in other parts of Europe,
are  more  systematic than  you [Americans]  are in
everything.    Here the routine of life, however varied,
is   still  uniform,  whether   composed   of  virtue   or
vice, wisdom or folly.    Before dinner, the merchant,
mechanic, and ordinary laborer, are assiduously intent
on their different employments.    After dinner, they
as regularly devote themselves to their several gratifications, which consist either of conversation or sleep.
The opulent and polite adopt the first.    At a polite
table,  therefore, you hear the very best things they
are capable of saying.   Here, then, I am told you err in
your politics ; I mean that kind of policy, which your
independence has given birth to.    The general disapprobation of your present government on this score, is
the sentiment of those, who are subjects of other nations, as well as of this ; but I am happy to say, that
I have found no character, who any otherwise thinks
ill of you.    This is not a negative regard, bestowed
on a people they think cannot approximate their importance, and therefore deserve pity ; it is a positive
one ; and you may please yourself with the assurance
of its originating from your general conduct during
the war.    Another feather in your cap, and that not
an obscure one, let me tell you, is the plain, affable,
and honest deportment of your kinsfolk, who sojourn
hereabout.    Brother Jonathan is an agreeable singularity.    These observations, which you are included
in, did not come from the cabinet of Charles, or the
Pope, who no doubt hate you very sincerely ; the one
for your laws, which he fears ; and the other for your
religion, which he is unwise enough to abominate. 144
LIFE OF JOHN LEDYARD.
" The great complaint, which people make against
your government is the obscure, unimportant, unener-
getic investitures of Congress. So strongly are they
impressed with the idea of the degree of power,
which Congress ought to hold, compared with what
they now conceive it to be invested with, that they
declare the resolve of a Boston committee commands
more immediate attention in Cadiz, than a congressional one would do ; observing, that although Congress claims more respectability, it only demands
what it ought to have, and not what it is possessed of.
They further add, that whatever embarrassments may
attend the progress of a young nation, and however
excusable some exigences may have rendered some
parts of your conduct, yet surely the leading preliminaries, the first strong outlines, that form the basis of
a great republic, cannot be thus lost sight of without
reflecting; on your councils. Have you formed even a
treaty of friendship with that pestilential meteor in
power, Hamet, Emperor of Morocco? No. Have
you in your own right a Mediterranean passport?
No. What security have you then for your Straits-
men ? The savage, Hamet, knows no medium in
such kind of friendship ; never dreamt of such a
thing as an independent neutrality. What will you
do then ? Eat all your flour, cod, spars, and potash,
or ransom your captivated countrymen at fifteen
hundred pounds a head, and lose your produce ?
Hamet wants your alliance. Give the snarling mastiff a bone, and while he is gnawing it you can do as
you please. It is certain, that your unorganized system of government is here much talked of, and you LIFE OF JOHN LEDYARD,
145
know the consequence of these matters being much
talked of. Your paltry state schisms are considered to
be such vulgar errors, as a people aiming at the most
refined system of government could not commit, without the imputation of perfect insanity. But adieu,
politics. Indeed I know not what humor prompted
me to offer my advice to you in this way.
" If the incongruity of my letter bespeaks a perturbation of mind, it will not deceive you. It is a
cloudy day with me. However, my hobby tells me it
"will be fair weather tomorrow ; and I believe it, because I wish it. You will probably next hear from
me in France. In the mean time, let me make sure
of one cdrcumstance, and if tomorrow bring its misfortunes, they will be less severe, when I reflect on
having said to those I know will believe me, that no*
evil, till that which is esteemed the last of evils, can
ever obliterate, or even obscure, that lasting affection
and esteem, which I have for you and your best of
brothers.,   My other remembrances I commit to your
care.
53
He remjained in Cadiz but a few days after this letter
was written, when he somewhat unexpectedly procured a passage for Brest, on board the French ship
Boarbon. It was rare for him to be out of health,
but in Cadiz he was attacked with a fever, which had
scracely left him when he went to sea. While on
board he writes, " My fever was in consequence of a
slight cold originally, and heightened by a fit of uncommon melancholy ; but I am getting about again,
and excepting a slight debility, and some of Cook's
rheumatism in my bones, I  am well."    His spirits
19 ' 146
LIFE Of JOHN LEDYARD.
if
■
H   :1
Kill':
were not unfrequently oppressed, when the various
turns in his affairs left him inactive, with precarious
means of support, and uncertain as to the future ; but
he took great pains to conceal the symptoms of gloom
from his friends. They are occasionally discovered
in his letters, rather from his forced attempts to be
cheerful and gay, when it is evident by the general
tenor of his thoughts, that his heart is sad, than from
any formal complaints of his ill fortune, or repinings
at the will of Providence. He was now visiting
Europe in the prosecution of what he deemed a noble
and important enterprise ; but he wTas going among
strangers, who could only be induced to listen to his
proposals by motives of interest, and 'whom he must
inspire with some portion of his own enthusiasm, before they could be expected to favor his schemes, or
even comprehend his views. The task thus presented
to him was disheartening. But however despondency
might sometimes give a hue to his thoughts, he never
suffered it to weaken his resolution, or repress his
ardor. The great object of pursuit was never lost sight
of, while his way to. its accomplishment was lighted by
a gleam of hope. The whole force of his mind was
now bent upon a voyage of trade and discovery to
the Northwest Coast. He was powerfully impressed
with the belief, that such an enterprise would redound
to the honor of those engaged in it, and confer new
benefits upon the commercial world ; and was not a
little chagrined at the small encouragement, which his
strenuous exertions had received in his own country.
In this state of mind it is no wonder, that he should
express himself in the  following language  on  his LIFE OF JOHN LEDYARD.
147
voyage to Brest. " I saw an English gentleman at
Cadiz, who assured me, that about six months past a
ship of seven hundred tons, commissioned by the Empress of Russia, was fitted out in the English Thames
on a voyage to the back parts of America ; that she
was armed, and commanded by a Russian, and that
some of her officers wrere those, who had been with
Cook. You see the business deserves the attention I
have endeavored, and am still striving to give it ; and
had Morris not shrunk behind a trifling obstruction, I
should have been happy, and America would this moment be triumphantly displaying her flag in the most
remote and beneficial regions of commerce. I am
tired of my vexations."
He arrived, after a short passage, at Brest, and set
off by land through Quimper to L' Orient. " I am
now at Quimper," he writes, " and tomorrow, if my
horses please, I will be in L' Orient. { What will you
do there ? ' The best I can. Brest is a naval arsenal, but not so respectable as I had imagined. Monsieur de Kerguelen, the great navigator, lives within
nine miles of me, but a Holland consul has me by the
button, and I cannot see him. The dialect of Bretagne has some resemblance both to the Irish and
Welsh. But, good night ; I must sleep. Tired nature will have it so." From Quimper he proceeded
to L' Orient, where he immediately began to put his
affairs in train.
The letters he brought with him from respectable
sources, procured him a speedy acquaintance with gentlemen of the first character in the place ; and his plan
was received with so much approbation, that within 148
LIFE OF JOHN LEDYARB.
twelve days he completed a negotiation with a com*
pany of merchants, and a ship was selected for the in*
tended voyage. Mutual engagements were entered into by the parties, and everything seemed to
wear the most promising aspect. So unaccustomed
had he been to such good fortune, that he could hardly realize at first the happy issue of events as they
then stood. " I have been so much the sport of ac*
cident," said he, " that I am exceedingly suspicious.
It is true, that in this L' Orient negotiation, I have
guarded every avenue to future disappointment, with
all possible caution ; yet this head I wear, is so much
a dupe to my heart, and at other times my heart is so
bewildered by my head, that in matters of business I
have not much confidence in either." He then speaks
of the poiiit to which the negotiation had been brought*
and adds, " but here comes a but,—ah, these buts ;
pray Heaven they may not but the modicum of brains
out of my head, which Morris has left there. The
but is this. I have arrived so late in the se&sbn, that
the merchants have procrastinated the equipment until next summer, and requested me to stay here till
then, allowing me genteelly for that purpose. And
were I but certain, that no cruel misfortune would
eventually happen, I should be quite happy, for present
appearances could not be better. Upon any consideration, it is for my interest to wait the event ; and as I
hourly perceive the folly pf repining at a disappointed
wish, or, indeed, of suffering what I may happen to call
inisfortune, whether present or anticipated, to meet
any other reception from me, than the most undaunted
Which my experience can enable me to meet it with^ LIFE OF JOHN LEDYARD. 149
I am determined to sit down, not despondingly, dejectedly, or supinely—what a vile row of adverbs-—
but contemplatively, cheerily, and industriously. It
seems decreed by somewhat, that I shall be driven
about the world in a most untraversable way ; but in
whatever clime I may alight, my ardent desire is, that
the friendship of my friends may greet me w<ell. This
done, I have drunk my cordial, and there is not a richer
in France—and only in America one, which perfumed
the ait from M— to Amboy House."
Alt things being thus arranged to his mind, and having nothing to regret but the procrastination of his
voyage, which he perceived to be unavoidable, he resolved to spend the winter in L' Orient, and be in
readiness to commence preparations the moment that
the season would admit. It was now October, and
the opinion of the merchants w'as, that a suitable vessel could not be obtained and properly fitted out before
the succeeding August. Ten months for such an object seemed a long period to Ledyard, as well indeed they might, but experience had taught him patience ; and the fair prospects held out by this negotiation, together with the consideration, that, by leav* ! ÏH
ing France at the close of summer, he would pass
round Cape Horn into the Pacific Ocean at the most
favorable season, reconciled him to the delay. In the
mean time, being supplied with a liberal income by
the mercantile company mentioned above, he frequented the best society ik L' Orient, to w7hom his extensive knowledge of the world, his general intelligence,
unpretending manners, and frank and generous temper, always made him acceptable.   Nothing occurred
i 150
LIFE  OF JOHN LEDYARD.
to interrupt his happiness, or darken his hopes, during
the four months that followed, except occasional reflections on the time that had been lost in his fruitless
endeavors, and the glory that others were reaping in
the field of discovery, which he ought to have been
the first to explore.
" I wrote you last," says he, " that a Russian ship
had been sent into that part of the vast Pacific Ocean.
Four nights ago, I saw a Russian gentleman from
Petersburg, who informed me of twro ships having
been sent thither. In our yesterday's paper, it is said
that the ship Seahorse, belonging to the English Hudson's Bay Company, had made a voyage thither, and
returned well. You see what honorable testimonies
daily transpire to evince, that I am no otherwise the
mad, romantic, dreaming Ledyard, than in the estimation of those who thought me so. The flame of
enterprise, that I kindled in America, terminated in a
flash, that bespoke little foresight or resolution in my
patrons. Perseverance was an effort of understanding, which twelve rich merchants were incapable of
making ; and whether I now succeed or not, the obstacles I have surmounted, to reach my present attainment, infer some small merit, which I do not blush to
own among my private pleasures."
The winter soon passed away, and near the end of
February measures began to be taken for equipping the
vessel for sea. It was intended, that a commission
from the king should be obtained to sail on a voyage
of discovery. Some advantages, it was supposed,
would thus be derived to the mercantile interests of
the  voyage, as the vessel would be clothed with a LÎFÉ OF JOHN LEDYARD-
151
lie character, and from this circumstance ensure a
greater respect from any foreigners she might fall in
with, as well as enable the owners to claim, in the
name of the King of France, any islands or unknown
regions, that might be actually discovered. A memorial, and other suitable papers, were sent to the king's
ministers, applying for such a privilege, and for letters
of recommendation to the European public agents
residing in those parts of the world, at which the vessel would probably touch. On the twentythird of
February, 1785, Ledyard wrote to his brothers from
L'Orient ; " My affairs in France are likely to prove
of the greatest honor and advantage to me. I have a
fine ship of four hundred tons, and in August next I
expect to sail on another voyage round the world, at
the end of which, if Heaven is propitious to me, I hope
to see you. In the mean time, may the God of nature
spread his mantle over you all. If I never see you
more, it shall be well ; if I do, it shall be well ; so be
happy and of good cheer." From this tone of his
feelings, it is evident that his heart was light, and his
hopes high. Up to this point all things had proceeded
according to his expectations and wishes ; he had
passed an agreeable winter in a social and refined circle of friends, and he began now to enjoy in anticipation the triumphs of his zeal and perseverance.
But unfortunately this flattering vision was soon to
be dissipated, like the many others, by which he had
been elated and deceived ; again was he to be made,
in his own phrase, " the sport of accident ; " again
was the burden of a cruel disappointment to weigh
on his spirits,  and disturb his repose.    After  the 152
LIFE OF JOHN LEDYARD.
l€
date of Ae above letter, we hear no more of the
L'Orient negotiation, except that it failed. Whether
this result, so desolating to the hopes of our adventurer, w^s produced by tfee caprice of the merchants,
who had united with him in the undertaking, or
by aay sudden change in their affairs, which took
from them the ability of fulfilling their contract, or
by the refusal of the government to grant such a
commission as was expected, or by all these combined, is not known. It is enough, that the voyage ww entirely abandoned, and Ledyard was left
with no other recompense for this new vexation, than
Ms. own mortified feelings, and the prospects of a future li©o gloomy even for him to contemplate unmoved.
The slender stock of money, with whi&h he landed in
Europe, was completely exhausted ; he could expect
no more fnom the L'Orient merchants, rtor fmm any
©river- quarter ; and, what afflicted him more severely
than* all the rest,, the last resort for carrying into effect
his cforlmg plan of northwestern discovery and trade,
had been tried in vain. No consolation remained
fo» his baffled purposes and wasted zealL Yet fi%en
years' experience, in buffeting the rough) and sometimes, perilous cprce^it of life, had taught him othet
lessons than those of despondency, and nerved him
for other- deeds than a tame submission to the control
of untoward ci»eu instances. His bewildering doubts,
as to what course he should pursue, detained him a
short time in L'Orieot. He looked to Paris as the
theatre, on which he would be mpst likely to better
hip fortunes, and after his concerns relative to the
voyage were etosed^ he hastened to that capital. LIFE OF JOHN LEDTARD.
153
CHAPTER VII.        "
Meets with Mr Jefferson at Paris.—Project of a voyage to the Northwest Coast
with Paul Jones, for the purpose of establishing a trading factory there.—
Proposes teavelliqgvacross the continent from Nootka Sound to the United
States.—Thinks of going to Africa with Mr Lamb.—Remarks on Paris, and
various objects that came under his notice.—The King at Versailles.—Mr
Jefferson and Lafayette.—The Queen at St Cloud.—Application through
Baron Grimm to the Empress of Russia, to obtain permission for him to travel
across her dominions to Bering's Strait.—Colonel Humphreys.—Contemplates
going to Petersburg, before the Empress' answer is received.—Curious
anecdote of Sir James Hall.—Visit to the hospitals in Paris.—Tour in Normandy.—Proceeds to London, where he engages a passage on board a vessel
just ready to sail for the Northwest Coast.—Colonel Smith's letter to Mr
Jay.—The voyage defeated.—Resolves anew to go to Russia.—Sir Joseph
Banks and other gentlemen contribute funds to aid him in his travels.
At this time Mr Jefferson was minister from the
United States at the court of France. That patriot,
equally ardent in the love of science, and friendly to
every enterprise, which had for its object the improvement of his country, received Ledyard with great
kindness, and approved most highly his design of an
expedition to jthe Northwest Coast of America. He
perceived at once the advantages, that would flow from
such a voyage, not merely in its immediate mercantile
results, but in its bearing on the future commerce and
political interests of the United States. No part of
that wide region had then been explored, nor *any
formal possession taken of it, except the few points
at which Cook's vessels had touched, and others
where the Russians possessed small establishments for
the prosecution of the fur trade with the Indians.
These latter wrere also probably confined to the
20 154
LIFE OF JOHN LEDYARD.
mi.
islands. To a statesman like Mr Jefferson it was
evident, that, a large portion of that immense country,
separated from the United States by no barrier of
nature, would eventually be embraced in their territory.
He was convinced of the propriety, therefore, of its
being explored by a citizen of the United States, and
regretted the failure of Ledyard's attempts in his
own country to engage in a voyage before the same
thing had been meditated anywhere else. These
views w7ere deeply impressed on the mind of Mr
Jefferson, and in them originated the journey of Lewis
and Clark over land to the Pacific Ocean, twenty
years afterwards, which was projected by him, and
prosecuted under his auspices.
Ledyard had not been many days in France, before
he became acquainted with Paul Jones, at that time
acting under a commission from the Congress of the
United States, to demand the amount of certain prizes,
which he had taken during the war, particularly in the
famous capture of the Serapis and the Countess of
Scarborough, and sent into French ports. This intrepid adventurer, being now unemployedl&n any military
or public service, eagerly seized Ledyard's idea, and
an arrangement was closed, by which they agreed to
unite in an expedition, on a scale somewhat larger
than Ledyard had before contemplated. Two vessels
were to be fitted out, and, if possible, commissioned
by the king. Jones was to use his influence at court,
to persuade the government to enlist in the enterprise,
or at least to furnish the vessels and the requisite naval
armament. If this could not be effected, it was resolved that the outfits should be reduced within the LIFE OF JOHN LEDYARD.
155
limits of Jones's private means, and the two partners
would act wholly on their own responsibility and risk.
If it should be found necessary to pursue the enterprise, on their private account alone, the two vessels
were to proceed in company to the Northwest Coast,
and commence a factory there under the American
flag. The first six months were to be spent in collecting furs, and looking out for a suitable spot to establish a post, either on the main land, or on an island.
A small stockade was then to be built, in which Ledyard Was to be left with a surgeon, an assistant, and
twenty soldiers ; one of the vessels wras to be despatched, with its cargo of furs, under the command of
Paul Jones, to China, while the other was to remain in
order to facilitate the collecting of another cargo during
his absence. Jones was to return wkh both tha vessels
to China, sell their cargoes of furs, load them with
silks and teas, and continue his voyage round the
Cape of Good Hope to Europe, or the United States.
He was then to replenish his vessels with suitable
articles for traffic with the Indians, and proceed as
expeditiously as possible round Cape Horn, to the
point ofjiis departure in the Northern Pacific. Meantime Ledyard and his party wTere to employ themselyes
in purchasing furs, cultivating a good understanding
with the natives, and making such discoveries on the
coast, as their situation would allow. Ledyard supposed he should be absent four or five years, and perhaps six or seven.I
* A voyage from Canton to the Northwest Coast, and back» to that
port, for purposes similar to those meditated by Ledyard and Paul 156
LIFE OF JOHN LEDYARD.
Ffcl
Here was a scheme, that might give full scope to
the imagination of the two heroes by whom it had
been conceived, presenting at once the prospect of
hazard, adventure, fame, and profit. They dwelt upon
it with complacency, and so much was Jones taken
with it, that he advanced money to Ledyard with
which to purchase a part of the cargo for the outfit,
even before he had applied to the government for aid,
being determined to prosecute it at his own risk if he
failed in that quarter. But at this moment, his affairs
in regard to the prize-money assumed a crisis, which
compelled him to go from Paris to L'Orient, where
he wTas detained nearly three months ; and although he
was ultimately successful, yet his zeal for this<new
scheme gradually cooled down, as he probably found
that the government would do nothing in the matter,
and that his private fortune was not adequate to so
expensive an undertaking. At any rate, it fell through,
and after four or five months of suspense, Ledyard had
the renewed mortification of another disappointment,
and of seeing his ardent wishes no nearer their accomplishment, than w7hen he left L'Orient. The only
advantage he had derived from his intercourse with
the Chevalier, was an allowance of money sufficient
for his maintenance, which Jones had stipulated at
the commencement of the~ negotiation, and which he
had promptly paid.
Jones, was performed fourteen years afterwards by Captain Richard J.
Cleveland. Whoever would understand the difficulties and dancers of
such an enterprise, at that time, will be pleased with reading a brief
account of Captain Cleveland's voyage, in the North American Review
for October, J 827. No. 57. LIFE OF JOHN LEDYARD.
157
Just at this time Mr Lamb, the diplomatic agent
appointed by the Congress of the United States to
treat with the Dey of Algiers, arrived in Paris. Ledyard met him occasionally at Mr Jefferson's, took an
interest in his mission, and had serious thoughts of
joining him and going to Africa, but for what specific
purpose is not told. The lingering desire, however,
of still being able to conquer the fatality of circumstances, which had hitherto impeded his progress to
glory, in the course his fancy had pictured to him,
continued to sustain him with the hope of a better
turn of fortune, and to urge him forward to untried
expedients.
In Paris he associated with several Americans, who
approved and encouraged his ardor, and whose society
afforded him consolation in the midst of his misfortunes, but who wrere not in a condition to promote his
wishes, or remove his embarrassments. The question,
what was to be done, which he had so often been
compelled to ask himself, in cases of similar extremity,
nowr recurred anew, and with as small a prospect as
ever of its being answered in such a manner, as to
lull his apprehensions, or relieve his anxiety. He
determined to adventure one effort more, and submit
the same proposition to a mercantile company in Paris,
which he had done in L'Orient. Some progress was
made in an attempt to organize such a company, but
it was never matured. It was his intention, after he
had visited the coast, and procured a full cargo of furs,
to despatch the vessel to China under proper officers,
and return himself across the continent to the United
States, thus accomplishing the  double  object  of a 158
LIFE OF JOHN LEDYARD.
lucrative voyage, and a tour of discovery through an
unexplored wilderness of four thousand miles in extent. Afterwards he would join the expedition in the
company's service, either in France, or any other part
of the world, as circumstances might dictate. Such
was the compass of his desires ; yet he would have
relinquished the idea of this exploratory tour, and rejoiced to engage in a voyage merely for commercial
ends, if even that could have been effected.
Several months were passed in unavailing efforts to
conquer obstacles, which seemed to thicken as he advanced, and in vainly striving to enlighten ignorance
and overcome prejudice, till his perseverance could
hold out no longer, and he was forced to abandon the
thought of a voyage by sea to the Northwest Coast,
either for trade or discovery. He continued in Paris*
but felt himself, as he really was, a wanderer without
employment or motive. With Mr Jefferson, the
Marquis de la Fayette, Mr Barclay the American consul, and other gentlemen of character and consequence, he was on terms of intiniacy. In this society,
and enjoying the amusements afforded in the capital
of France, his time passed away agreeably enough,
and in some of his letters he speaks of his happiness ;
yet he was far from being satisfied ; he suffered under
the pressure of want and a corroding sense of dependence ; and occasionally his finances were at so low
an ebb, that he was compelled, however reluctantly, to
be a pensioner on the bounty of his friends. So disinterested were his aims, however, and so entirely did
he sacrifice every selfish consideration in prosecuting
them ; so benevolent was his disposition, and so en- LIFE OF JOHN LEDYARD.
159
larged his views of serving mankind, that no one considered favors of this sort in the light of obligations
conferred, nor so much acts of charity, as a just tribute to the singleness of his heart, the generosity of
his purposes, and the effective warmth of his zeal.
A few miscellaneous extracts from his letters, written during the first months of his residence in Paris,
may properly come in here. They will give some
insight into his occupations, as well as his habit
of observing events and objects in the great world
around him.
" Paris is situated in an extended plain, rising on
all sides into gradual elevations, and some little hills
happily interspersed in the borders of its horizon. Its
extent, viewed from the tower of Notre Dame, appeared to me less than London, though it must be
larger. The public buildings are numerous, and some
of them magnificent. Paris is the centre of France,
and its centre is the Palais Royal, the resort of the
greatest virtues and the greatest vices of such a kingdom. It is France in miniature, and no friend to
France should ever see it. The Tuilleries afford a
consummate display of artificial elegance and grandeur ; the gardens of the Luxembourg are much inferior. The Boulevards were originally fortifications,
and they now form a broad way that surrounds the
city, separating it from the suburbs. It is well lined
with fine umbrageous elms on each side, forming a
beautiful course for coaches and horsemen ; but the
farmers-general, to prevent illicit trade, are walling it
in, at the expense of a thousand, lamentations of the
Parisians, and several millions of livres.    I have been 160
LIFE OF JOHN LEDYARD.
once at the king's library. Papa Franklin, as the
French here call him, is among a number of statues
that I saw. The bust of Paul Jones is also there.
Did you ever know, that Captain Jones was tw7o or
three nights successively crowned with laurels, at the
great Opera House in Paris, after the action between
the Bon Homme Richard and the Serapis ?
" I find at our minister's table between fifteen and
twenty Americans, inclusive of two or three ladies.
It is very remarkable, that we are neither despised nor
envied for our love of liberty, but very often caressed.
I was yesterday at Versailles. It was the feast of St
Louis, but I never feasted so ill in my life, as at the
hotel where I dined, and never paid sojjiear for a dinner. I was too late to see the procession of the king
and queen, but I was little disappointed on that account, as I had already seen those baubles. The
king I saw a fortnight before to very great advantage,
being near to him while he was shooting partridges in
the fields. He was dressed in common musqueto
trowsers, a short linen frock, and an old laced hat
without a cockade. He had an easy, gentlemanly
appearance ; and had it not been for his few7 attendants, I should have taken him for the captain of a
merchant ship, amusing himself in the field. The
Palace at Versailles, and its gardens, are an ornament
to the face of the globe. It was dirty wTeather. I
wore boots, and consequently was prohibited from
visiting the galleries. I wras in company with our
Mr Barclay, Colonel Franks of the American army, a
young Virginian, and an English sea officer. Franks
was booted too ; but though honest Tom Barclay was LIFE OF JOHN LEDYARD.
161
not, he had no bag on, and they were dismissed also ;
so that boots on^ and bags off, are sad recommendations
at the court of Versailles."
"If the two Fitzhughs remain in town a week
longer, you shall have a week's detail. They dine
with me to day in my chamber, together with our
worthy consul Barclay, and that lump of universality,
Colonel Franks. But such a set of moneyless rascals
have never appeared, since the epoch of the happy
villain Falstaff. I have but five French crowns in the
world ; Franks has not a sol ; and the Fitzhughs
cannot get their tobacco money.
" Mr Jefferson is an able minister, and our country
may repose a confidence in him equal to their best
wishes. Whether in public or private, he is in every
word and every action, the representative of a young,
vigorous, and determined state. His only competitors
here, even in political fame, are Vergennes and La
Fayette. In other accomplishments he stands alone.
The Marquis de la Fayette is one of the most growing
characters in this kingdom. He has planted a tree in
America, and sits under its shade at Versailles. He
is now at the court of old Frederick. I am sure, that
you could not yourself have manifested more alacrity
to serve me, than he has done. The Marquas is a
warm friend to America. It will be difficult for any
subsequent plenipotentiary to have as much personal
influence in France, as Dr Franklin had ; it will at
least be so, till the causes, which created that venerable
patriot's ascendency, shall become less recent in the
minds of the people. I had the pleasure of being but
once at his house, before his departure, and although
21 162
LIFE OF JOHN LEDYARD.
bent down with age and infirmities, the excellent old
man exhibited all the good cheer of health, the gay
philosopher, and the kindness of a friendly countryman."
" It has been a holiday to day ; the nativity of the
Virgin Mary. My friend, the Abbé D'Aubrey, tells
me, that they have but eightytwo holidays in the year,
which are publicly regarded ; but this is a mistake ;
they have more. We both agree, that they have
eightytwo less than they formerly had. There are
certainly a hundred days in this city every year,
whereon all the shops are shut, and there is a general
suspension of business ; for the good policy of which,
let them look to it. You will hear in your papers of an
affair, between a certain Cardinal and the Queen of
France. It has been the topic of conversation here
for thirty «days ; and forty fools, that have expressed
themselves too freely in the matter for the police, are
already in the Bastile. We have news to day, that
the king will have him tried by the Parliament, and
has written to that dying meteor, the Pope, not to
meddle in the business."
11 was late home yesterday evening from the feast
of St Cloud, held at a little town of that name on
the bank of the Seine. It is particularly remarkable
for having the Queen's Gardens in it, and a house
for the Queen, called a Palace. The chief circumstance, which renders the village a place of curiosity
to strangers, is the waterworks, which, after the labor
of many years and vast expense, exhibit a sickly cascade, and three jets d'eau, or fountains, that cast water
into the air.    The largest of these throws out a col- LIFE OF  JOHN   LEDYARD.
163
umn as big as a man's arm, which rises about thirty
yards. In the evening I entered a part of the gardens,
where some fireworks were played off. The tickets
were twenty four sols. The fireworks were very few,
but good. This little rustic entertainment of the
Queen's, was with great propriety attended with very
little parade about her person. It was a mere rural
revel, and never before did I see majesty and tag-rag
so philosophically blended ; a few country fiddlers
scraping, and Kate of the mill tripping it with Dick
of the vineyard.
" Thus you see how some few of my days pass
away. I see a great deal, and think a great deal, but
derive little pleasure from either, because I am forced
into both, and am alone in both."
By these methods he endeavored to amuse himself,
and forget his favorite scheme of traversing the western continent, and ascertaining its physical character
and commercial resources ; but this was not possible ;
it had taken too strong a hold of him to admit of
being driven altogether from his mind. As fate seemed to throw difficulties insurmountable in the way of
a passage by sea, he bethought himself of the only
femaining expedient, by which a part of his original
design might be carried into execution ; and that was,
to travel by land through the northern regions of
Europe and Asia, cross over Bering's Strait to the
American continent, and pursue his route thence down
the coast, and to the interior, in such a manner as the
exigencies of his condition might point out to him
when on the spot. 164
LIFE OF JOHN LEDYARD.
The first object requiring attention, was to gain
permission of the Empress of Russia to pass through
her immense territories to Kamtschatka. Mr Jefferson, who heartily approved the project, interested
himself in this preliminary measure, and applied to
M. de Simoulin, mimiter plenipotentiary from Russia
at the court of France, and especially to the Baron de
Grimm, minister from Saxe-Gotha at the same court.
Grimm was a correspondent and private agent of the
Empress, and wTould be likely to have as much influence with her in a matter of this sort, as her public
minister. Both these gentlemen very readily acceded
to Mr Jefferson's request, and made in his name a
direct application to the Empress, soliciting permission for Ledyard, in the character of an American
citizen, to travel through her dominions. As haste is
not a characteristic of transactions of this sort with
crowned heads, the impatient traveller resolved to
busy himself in the best manner he could, at least till
a reasonable time should elapse for a reply. In the
interim he retired to St Germain, where he afterwards commonly resided during his stay in France.
The letter, which contains the following passages, is
dated at St Germain, on the eighth of April, 1786.
" If Congress should yet be at New York, this will be
delivered to you by my friend, and almost every body's
friend, Colonel Humphreys, whom you knew in days
of yore. He is secretary to our legation at the court
of France, has a good head and a good heart ; but his
hobby is poetry, and as the English reviewers allow him
merit therein, I may very safely venture to do it. He is
a friendly, good soul, a sincere yankee, and so affection- LIFE OF JOHfl LEDYARD.
165
ately fond of his country, that to be in his society here
is at least as good to me, as a dream of being at home.
I imagine he takes despatches, but as we are republicans a little more polished, than on your side of the
water, we never presume to ask impertinent questions.
" You have doubtless by this time received my letters by Mr Barrett. Your hearing from me so often
by those, who intimately know my situation, and who
are so much my friends, is a happy circumstance ; but
I would freely have relinquished the pleasure, which I
take in writing this letter, to have been where I supposed I should be when I wrote you last. But soon
after the departure of Mr Barrett, our minister, the
Russian minister, and the Marquis de la Fayette, took
it into their heads, that I should not go directly to
Petersburg, but wait till I was sent for, which is the
occasion of my being here to write you at this time.
You see that I have so many friends, that I cannot do
just as I please. I am very well in health. A gracious Providence, and the Indian corn diet of my
childhood, added to the robust scenes I have since
passed through, have left me at the same age at
which my father died, I healthy, active, vigorous, and
strong.' * I am for a few weeks at the little town
wThere my letter is dated, and as I live upon the skirt
of a royal forest, I am every day in it, and it is usual
for me to run two miles an end and return. I am like
one of Swift's Houyhnhnms. Ask Humphreys if I
did not walk into Paris last week, and return to dine
with Madam Barclay the same morning, a distance
* A line fifcm his father's tombstone ; he died at the age of thirtyfim 166
LIFE OF JOflN LEDYARD.
equal at least to twTentyfour of our miles. But this is
not the work of nature ; she made me a voluptuous,
pensive animal, intended for the tranquil scenes of
domestic life, for ease and contemplation, and a thousand other fine soft matters, that I have thought
nothing about, since I was in love with R. E. of Ston-
ington. What fate intends further, I leave to fate ;
but it is very certain, that there has ever been a great
difference between the manner of life I have actually
led, and that which I should have chosen ; and this is
not to be attributed more, perhaps, to the irregular incidents that have alternately caressed and insulted
me, than to the irregularity of my genius. Tom
Barclay, our consul, who knows mankind and me very
well, tells me that he never saw such a medley as in
me. The Virginian gentlemen here call me Oliver
Cromwell, and say, that, like him, I shall be I damn'd
to fame ; ' but I have never dared to prophesy, however, that it would be by a Virginian poet.
" I every hour expect my summons to Petersburg from the Russian minister. I shall have a delightful season to pass through Germany, though it
does not suit my tour well. I shall lose a season
by it. I am not certain about the result of this business, and shall not be perfectly at ease, till I have been
introduced to the Empress."
From a remark above, it may be inferred, that
Ledyard* wished to begin his journey to Petersburg
before any intelligence had been received by the
Russian minister in reply to his application. His
principal motive doubtless was, that he might take
advantage of the season, and reach Siberia so far in LIFE OF JOHN LEDYARD.
167
anticipation, of the severest parts of the winter, as not
to be blocked up for several months by the snows in
that frigid region. His advisers considered such a step
ill judged, inasmuch as a formal petition had been sent
to the Empress, and it would evince a want of proper
respect to set out on the journey, before her answer
had been returned, however strong might be the probability that her consent would be granted. These
points of etiquette were overlooked by the traveller,
in his eagerness to be on the road, and he moreover
thought the business might as well be settled at the
court of the Empress in Petersburg, as through
her minister in Paris. The event proved his impressions not to be ill founded. His forebodings were
verified, for he was kept in daily expectation for more
than five months, without receiving an answer, or
hearing anything on the subject either from M. de
Simoulin, or the Baron de Grimm. His last letter
from France is a very long one, dated at St Germain,
the eighth of August, 1786. It touches on a great
variety of topics, and was written at different times.
" Since I wrote to you by Colonel Humphreys,"
says he to his friend, " I have been at St Germain,
waiting the issue of my affair at Petersburg. You
wonder by what means I exist, having brought with
me to Paris this time twelve months only three
louis d'ors. Ask vice-consuls, consuls, ministers, and
plenipotentiaries, all of whom have been tributary to
me. You think I joke. No ; upon my honor, and,
however irreconcileable to niy temper, disposition,
and education, it is nevertheless strictly true. Every
day of my life, my dear cousin, is a day of expectation, 168
LIFE OF JOHN LEDYARD.
and consequently a day of disappointment. Whether
I shall have a morsel of bread to eat at the end of
two months, is as much an uncertainty, as it was fourteen months ago, and not more so. The near approach, that I have so often made to each extreme of
happiness and distress, without absolutely entering
into either, has rendered me so hardy, that I can meet
either with composure.
"Permit me to relate to you an incident. About a
fortnight ago, Sir James Hall, an English gentleman,
on his way from Paris to Cherbourg, stopped his
coach at our door, and came up to my chamber. I
was in bed at six o'clock in the morning, but having
flung on my robe de chambre, I met him at the door
of the antechamber. I was glad to see him, but surprised. He observed, that he had endeavored to make
up his opinion of me, with as much exactness as possible, and concluded that no kind of visit whatever
would surprise me. I could do no otherwise than
remark, that his opinion surprised me at least, and the
conversation took another turn. In walking across the
chamber, he laughingly put his hand on a six livre
piece and a louis d'or, that lay on my table, and with
a half stifled blush, asked me how I was in the money
wray. Blushes commonly beget blushes, and I blushed
partly because he did, and partly on other accounts.
6 If fifteen guineas,' said he, interrupting the answer
he had demanded, 'will be of any service to you,
there they are,' and he put them on the table. | I am
a traveller myself, and though I have some fortune to
support my travels, yet I have been so situated as
to want money, which you ought not to do.    You LIFE OF JOHN LEDYARD.
169
have my address in Loudon.' He then wished me a
good morning and left me. This gentleman was a
total flrjuiger to the situation of my finances, and one
that I had by mere accident met at an ordinary in
Paris* We had conversed together several times, and
he once sent his carriage for me to dine with him. I
found him handsomely lodged in the best Fauxbourg
in the city. Two members of the British House of
Commons, two lords, Beaumarchais, and several
members of the Royal Academy, were at his table.
He had see& me two or three times after that, and
always expressed the highest opinion of the tour I had
determined to make, and said he would, as a citizen
of the world, do anything in his power to promote
it ; but I had no more idea of receiving money from
him, than I have this moment of receiving it from Tip-
poo Saib. However, I took it without any hesitation,
and told him I would be as complaisant to him, if ever
occasion offered."
" I have once visited the Foundling Hospital, and
the Hospital de Dieu, in Paris ; twice I never shall.
Not all the morality from Confucius to Addison could
give me such feelings. Eighteen foundlings were
brought the day of my visit. One was brought in while
I was there. Dear little innocents ! But you are,
happily, insensible of your situations. Where are your
unfortunate mothers ? Perhaps in the adjoining hospital ; they have to feel for you and themselves too.
But where is the wretch, the villain, the monster— ?
I was not six minutes in the house. It is customary to
leave a few pence ; I flung down six livres and retired.
Determined to persevere, I continued my visit ovsr
22 170
LIFE OF JOHN LEDYARD.
the way to the Hospital de Dieu. I entered first the
apartments of the women. Why will you, my dear
sisters, I was going to say as I passed along between
the beds in ranks, why will you be—but I was interrupted by a melancholy figure, that appeared at its
last gasp, or already dead. \ She 's dead,' said I to a
German gentleman, who was with me, i and nobody
knows or cares anything about it.' We approached
the bedside. I observed a slight undulatory motion in
one of the jugular arteries. 'She 's not dead,' said I,
and siezed her hand to search for her pulse. I hoped
to find life, but it was gone. The word dead being
again pronounced, brought the nuns to the bed. i My
God ! ' exclaimed the head nun, ' she 's dead ; '—
5 Jesu, Maria ! ' exclaimed the other nuns, in their defence, I she's dead.' The head nun scolded the others
for their mal-attendance. I My God ! ' continued she,
* she is dead without the form.' j Dieu ! ' said the others,
4 she died so silently.' g Silence,' said the elder, ' perhaps she is not dead ; say the form.' The form was
said, and the sheet throw7n over her face."
" While in Normandy I was at the seat of Conflans,
the successor of him, who was so unfortunate in a
naval affair with Hawke of England. It is the lordship of the manor/ The peasants live and die at the
smiles or frowns of their lord, and, avaricious of the
former, they fly to communicate to him any uncommon
occurrence in the village ; and such they thought our
arrival. The place, to be sure, is very remote, and
the gentleman I accompanied, who was an Englishman, rode in a superb manner. His coach and servants were in a very elegant style.    M. Conflans was LIFE OF JOHN LEDYARD.
171
informed of it. On that day it was my turn to cater,
and the little country taverns in France are such, as
oblige one to cook for himself, if he would eat. I was
consequently very busy in the kitchen. The Otaheite
marks on my hands were discovered ; the mistress
and the maids asked our servants the history of so
strange a sight. They were answered that I was a
gentleman, who had been round the world. It was
enough ; Conflans knew7 of it, and sent a billet, written
in good English, to inquire if we would permit him the
honor of seeing us at his mansion ; and, if he could be
thus distinguished, he would come and wait on us
thither himself. It was too late ; the Englishman
and I had begun pell-mell upon a joint of roast. If
Jove himself had sent a card by Blanchard inviting us,
it would have been all one. We would honor ourselves with waiting on the Marquis de Conflans in the
evening. We did so, and we could not but be pleased
with the reception we met with ; it was in the true
character of a French nobleman."
" I took a walk to Paris this morning, and saw the
Marquis de la Fayette. He is a good man, this same
Marquis. I esteem him, and even love him, and so we
all do, except some few, who worship him. I make
these trips to Paris often; sometimes to dine with
this amiable Frenchman, and sometimes with-our
minister, who is a brother to me. I am too much
alive to care and ambition to sit still. The unprofitable life I have led goads me ; I would willingly crowd
as much merit as possible into the autumn and winter
of it. Like Milton's hero in Paradise Lost, (who
happens, by the way, to be the evil one himself,) it behoves me now to use both oar and sail to gain my port. OB
■
172
LIFE OF JOHN LEDYARD.
" The Paris papers of to day announce the discovery of some valuable gold mines in Montgomery
county, Virginia, which I rejoice to hear ; but I hope
they will not yield too much of it, for, as Poor Richard says, jj too much of one thing is good for nothing.' All that I can say is, that, if too much of it is
as bad as too little, the Lord help you, as he has me,
who, in spite of my poverty, am hearty and cheerful.
I die with anxiety to be on the back of the American
States, after having either come from or penetrated to
the Pacific ocean. There is an extensive field for the
acquirement of honest fame. A blush of generous
regret sits on my cheek, when I hear of any discovery
there, which I have had no part in, and particularly at
this auspicious period. The American Revolution invites to a thorough discovery of the continent, and the
honor of doing it would become a foreigner, but a
native only can feel the genuine pleasure of the
achievement. It was necessary, that a European
should discover the existence of that continent, but,
in the name of Amor Paùriœ, let a native explore its
resources and boundaries. It is my wish to be the
man; I will not yet resign that wish, nor my pretensions to that distinction. Farewell for the present.
I have just received intelligence, which hurries me to
London. What fate intends is always a secret ; fortitude is the word. I leave this letter with my brother
and my father, our minister. He will send it by the
first conveyance.    Adieu."
The intelligence here alluded to, "was from his eccentric friend, Sir James Hall, who had returned to
London.    In six days Ledyard was with him in the   \ LIFE OF JOHN LEDYARD.
173
British capital. He there found an Engjish ship in
complete readiness to sail for the Pacific ocean. Sir
James Hall introduced him to the owners, who immediately offered him a free passage in the vessel, with
the promise, that he should be set onshore at any
place on the Northwest Coast, which he might choose.
The merchants, no doubt, hoped to profit somewhat
by his knowledge and experience, and he could not
object to such an exchange, as these were his only
possessions. One of Cook?s officers was also going
out in the same vessel. The day before he was to go
on board, Ledyard wrote to Mj Jefferson in the following animated strain*
I Sir Jâfmes Hall presented me with twenty guineas
pro bono publico. I bought two great dogs, an Indian
pipe, and a hatchet. My want of time, as well as
of money, will prevent my going any otherwise than
indifferently equipped for such an enterprise ; but it is
certain, that I shall be more in want before I see Virginia. Why should I repine ? You know how much
I owe the amiable la Fayette. Will you do me the
honor to present my most grateful thanks to him ? If
I find in my travels a mountain, as much elevated
above other mountains, as he is above ordinary men, I
will name itcLa Fayette. I beg the honor, also, of my
compliments to Mr Short, who has been my friend,
and who, like the good widow in Scripture, cast in
not only his mite, but more than he*was aWe, for my
assistance."
The equipment of two dogs, an Indian pipe, and a
hatchet, it must be confessed, was very scanty for a
journey across  a continent, but they were selected 174
LIFE OF JOHN LEDYARD.
with an eye to their uses. The dogs would be his
companions, and assist him in taking wild animals for
food, the pipe was an emblem of peace to the Indians,
and the hatchet would serve many purposes of convenience and utility. His choice could not have fallen,
perhaps, upon three more essential requisites for a
solitary traveller among savages and wild beasts ; they
would enable him to provide for his defence, and procure a friendly reception, covering, and sustenance.
All these were necessary, and must be the first objects
of his care.
His plan was fully arranged before entering the ship.
He determined to land at Nootka Sound, where he
had passed some time with Cook's expedition, and
thence strike directly into the interior, and pursue his
course as fortune should guide him to Virginia. By
his calculation, the voyage and tour would take him
about three years. He was much gratified with the
reception he met in London, and particularly from Sir
Joseph Banks, and some other gentlemen of science,
who entered warmly into his designs. It was believed, that his discoveries would not fail to add valuable
improvements to geography and natural history ; and
there was a romantic daring in the enterprise itself,
well suited to gain the applause of ardent and liberal
minds. Thus^encouraged, his enthusiasm rose higher
than ever, and his impatience to embark increased
every moment.
While in Paris the preceeding year, he had become
acquainted with Colonel Smith, Secretary of Legation
to Mr Adams, at that time American minister in London.    Colonel Smith befriended him after his arrival LIFE OF JOHN LEDYARD.
175
in England, and, conceiving the journey he wras about
to undertake, as promising to be highly important to
America, he wrote an account of it to Mr Jay, then
Secretary of Foreign Affairs in the United States.
After a few remarks relative, to Ledyard's previous attempts and objects, Colonel Smith proceeds ;
| In consequence of some allurements from an English nobleman at Paris, he came here with the intention of exploring the Northwest Coast and country ;
and a vessel being on the point of sailing for that
coast, after supplying himself with a few necessary
articles for his voyage and march, he procured a passage with a promise from the captain to land him on
the western coast, from which he means to attempt
a march through the Indian nations to the back parts
of the Atlantic states, for the purpose of examining
the country and its inhabitants ; and he expects to be
able to make his way through, possessed of such information of the country and people, as will be of great
advantage to ours. This remains to be proved. It is
a daring, wild attempt. Determined to pursue the
object, he embarked the last week, free and independent of the world, pursuing his plan unembarrassed by
contract or obligation. If he succeeds, and in the
course of two or three years should visit our country
by this amazing circuit, he may bring with him some
interesting information. If he fails, and is never heard
of more, which I think most probable, there is no harm
done. He dies in an unknown country, and if he
composes himself in his last moments with the reflection, that his project was great, and the undertaking
what few men are capable of, it will to his mind soothe 176
LIFE OF JOHN LEDYARD.
the passage. He is perfectly calculated for the attempt, robust and healthy, and has an immense passion to make discoveries, which will benefit society,
and ensure him, agreeably to his own expression, | a
small degree of honest farne.' It may not be improper
for your excellency to be acquainted with these circumstances, and you are the best judge of the propriety
of extending them further."
The vessel went down the Thames from Deptford,
and in a few days put to sea. Ledyard thought it the
happiest moment of his life. But alas ! how uncertain
are human expectations. Again wras he doomed to
suffer the agonies of a disappointment more severe
than any that had preceded, because never before
were his wishes so near their consummation. He
looked upon the great obstacles as overcome, and regarded himself as beyond the reach of fortune's
caprice. This delusion soon vanished. The vessel
was not out of sight of land, before it was brought
back by an order from the government, and the voyage
was finally broken off. He went back to London, as
may be supposed, with a heavy heart. A month afterwards he wrote to Dr Ledyard,
" I am still the slave of fortune, and the son of
care. You will be surprised that I am yet in London,
unless you will conclude with me, that, after wThat has
happened, nothing can be surprising. I think my last
letter informed you, that I was absolutely embarked
on board a ship in the Thames, bound to the Northwest
Coast of America. This will inform you, that I have
disembarked from said ship, on account of her having
been unfortunately seized by the customhouse, and LIFE OF JOHN LEDYARD.
177
eventually exchequered ; and that I am obliged in consequence to alter my route ; and, in short, everything,
all my little baggage—shield, buckler, lance, dogs,
squire,—and all gone. I only am left ;—left to what ?
To some riddle, I'll warrant you ; or, at all events, I
will not warrant anything else. My heart is too much
troubled at this moment to write you as I ought to do.
I will only add, that I am going in a few days to make
the tour of the globe from London east on foot. I
dare not write you more, nor introduce you to the real
state of my affairs. Farewell. Fortitude ! Adieu."
By this it will be seen, that his Siberian project was
again revived ; and, in fact, a subscription to aid him
in this object had already been commenced in London,
under the patronage of Sir Joseph Banks, Dr Hunter,
Sir James Hall, and Colonel Smith. " I fear my
subscription will be small," he says, in a letter to Mr
Jefferson ; " it adds to my anxiety to reach those
dominions, where I shall not want money. I do not
mean the dominions, that may be beyond death. I shall
never wish to die while you and the Marquis are alive.
I am going across Siberia, as I before intended." The
amount collected by his friends is not mentioned, but
it was such, as to induce him to set out upon the journey; which, indeed, he probably would have done,
had he obtained no money at all. He had lived too
long by expedients to be stopped m his career, by an
obstacle so trifling in his imagination as the want of
money, and he was panting to get into a country,
where ils use was unknown, and where of course the
want of it would not be felt.
23 178
LIFE   OF JOHN LEDYARD.
CHAPTER VIII.   '
Ledyard proceeds to Hamburg.—Goes to Copenhagen, where he meets Major
Langhorn, another American traveller.—Endeavors to persuade Langhorn to
accompany him on his tour, but in vain.—Continues his route to Sweden, and
is disappointed in not being able to cross the Gulf of Bothnia on the ice.—
Journey round the Gulf into the Arctic Circle on foot, through Sweden, Lapland, and Finland.—Maupertuis' description of the cold at Tornea.—Arrives
at Petersburg, where he is befriended by Professor Pallas and others.—Procures a passport from the Empress, through the agency of Count Segur, the
French ambassador.—Sets out for Siberia, and travels by way of Moscow to
Kazan, a town on the river Wolga.—Crosses the Uralian Mountains.—Some
account of the city of Tobolsk.—Proceeds to Barnaoul and Tomsk.—Descriptions of the country and the inhabitants.—Character and condition of the
exiles at Tomsk.—Fossil Bones.—Curious mounds and tombs of the ancient
natives.—Arriyes at Irkutsk.
Leaving London in December, Ledyard went over
to Hamburg, whence he immediately wrote to Colonel
Smith. From the account of his finances contained
in that letter, it would not seem that he was encumbered, at his departure from England, with a heavy
purse. He makes no complaint however ; on the
contrary, he expresses only joy, that the journey, which
he had so long desired, wras actually begun.
" I am here," he says, " with ten guineas exactly,
and in perfect health. One of my dogs is no more.
I lost him on my passage up the river Elbe to Hamburg, in a snow storm. I was out in it forty hours in
an open boat. My other faithful companion is under
the table on which I write. I dined to day with
Madam Parish, lady of the gentleman I mentioned to
you. It is a Scotch house of the first commercial distinction here. The Scotch have by nature a dignity
of sentiment,   that renders them  accomplished.    I LIFE OF JOHN LEDYARD.
179
could go to heaven with Madam Parish, but she had
some people at her table, that I could not go to heaven
with. I cannot submit to a haughty eccentricity of
manners. My fate has sent me to the tavern, where
Major Langhorn was three weeks. He is now at Copenhagen, having left his baggage here to be sent on
to him. By some mistake he has not received it, and
has written to the master of the hotel on the subject.
I shall write to him, and give him my address at
Petersburg. I should wish to see him at all events,
but to have him accompany me on my voyage would
be a pleasure indeed."
This Major Langhorn turns out to be an American
officer, lately arrived in Hamburg from Newcastle,
" a very good kind of a man, and an odd kind of a
man," as the master of the hotel called him, one who
had travelled much, and was fond of travelling in his
own way. He had gone off to Copenhagen without
his baggage, taking with him only one spare shirt, and
very few other articles of clothing. It does not appear, that Ledyard had ever been acquainted with
Langhorn, or even seen him ; but he had heard such a
description of him from Colonel Smith, and others, that
in fancy he had become enamored of the originality and
romantic turn of his character, and particularly of his
passion for travelling. Carried away with this whimsical prepossession, he had got it into his head, that
Langhorn was the fittest man in the world to be the
companion of his travels. An imaginary resemblance
between their pursuits, condition, and the bent of their
genius, created a sympathy, that was not to be resisfr-
ed.    He moreover suspected from hints, which he saw 180
LIFE OF JOHN LEDYARD.
1
i
i
ta
in Langhorn's letter, inquiring about his trunk, that
he was in want of money. Here was another appeal
to his generosity, and one which he could never suffer
to be made in vain, when he had ten guineas in his
pocket. "I will fly to him with my little all, and
some clothes, and lay them at his feet. At this
moment I may be useful to him-; he is my countryman, a gentleman, a traveller. He may go with me
on my journey; if he does, I am blessed; if ncft, I
shall merit his attention, and shall not be much out of
my way to Petersburg."
With this state of his feelings it is not wonderful,
that we should next hear from him at Copenhagen.
He hastened on to that city, and arrived there about
the first of January, 1787, although it was taking him
far aside from his direct course, and exposing him to
all the fatigues and perils of a long, tedious winter
passage through Sweden and Finland. He found
Langhorn in a very awkward situation, without money
or friends, and shut up in his room for the want of
decent apparel to appear abroad in ; and, what was
worse, incurring the suspicions of those around him,
that he was some vagabond, or desperate character, whose conduct had rendered it expedient for him
to keep out of sight. Imagination only can paint the
joy, that glowed in our traveller's countenance, when
he saw the remains of his ten guineas slip from his
fingers, to relieve the distresses of his new found
friend. All that could now be said of them was,
that their poverty was equalized; the Major could
walk abroad, and his benefactor had not means to
carry him beyond the bounds of the city.    The road LIFE OF JOHN LEDYARD.
181
to Petersburg was many hundred miles long, through
snows, and over ice, and presenting obstacles enough
at that season to appal the stoutest heart, even with all
the facilities for travelling, which gold could purchase.
What then was the prospect for a moneyless pedestrian ?
These reflections were not suffered to intrude upon
the pleasures of the moment. His money was gone,
it was true, but a worthy man, and a traveller, had
been made happier by it. How he should advance
further was a thing to be thought of tomorrow, yet
the doubt never came into his mind, that anything
could stop him, when the time should arrive for him to
move forward. Neither confidence nor fortitude ever
forsook, him. Two weeks were agreeably passed in
the society of Langhorn, but no inducements could
prevail on him t$ undertake the Siberian tour, muck
less to hazard the dangerous experiment of entrusting
himself among the wild barbarians of North America.
His humor was not of this sort, yet it was scarcely
less peculiar, than if it had been. " I see in him,"
says Ledyard to Colonel Smith, " the soldier, the
countryman, and the generous friend ; but he would
hang me if he knew I had written a word about him ;
and so I will say no more, than just to inform you,
that he means to wander this winter through Norway,
Swedish Lapland, and Sweden ; and in the spring to
visit Petersburg. I asked to attend him through this
route to Petersburg ;—'No ; I esteem you, but I can
travel in the way I do with no man on earth.5 " After
this avowal, the Major certainly merits the praise of
frankness, if not of compliance ; and Ledyard must JmWÊM
182
LIFE OF JOHN LEDYARD.
have possessed a larger share of practical philosophy,
than falls to the lot of most men, to have been perfectly reconciled to this abrupt declaration, after coming so far out of his way, and spending much time and
all his money in search of a companion, who he fondly
hoped would participate in his adventures.
When this visit of friendship was closed, and the
hour of departure approached, the necessity was pressed upon him of looking about for money. He drew a
small bill on Colonel Smith, and good fortune put in
his way a merchant, who consented to accept it, and
pay him the amount. " Thompson's goodness to
me," he writes to Colonel Smith, " in accepting the
bill on you, relying on my honor, has saved me from
perdition, and will enable me to reach Petersburg."
A small sum, to meet such an exigency, had been left
in Colonel Smith's hands, but not to the full amount of
the draft. Ledyard apologizes for the addition, and
tells his friend, that he must put it to the account of
charity, for his necessities only had compelled him to
overdraw. The draft was kindly accepted by Colonel
Smith, when it came to hand. Thus replenished, our
traveller parted from the eccentric Major, crossed over
into Sweden, and arrived in Stockholm towards the
end of January.*
* Langhorn pursued his route, as he had proposed, wandering over
Sweden, Norway, and Lapland. The summer following he arrived in
Tornea, at the proper season for witnessing the sight, which has drawn
other travellers to that place. Tornea is but a few miles south of the
Arctic Circle, and at the time of the summer solstice the sun appears
above the horizon, as observed by Maupertuis, " for several days together without setting."   Travellers are then favored with what is LIFE OF JOHN LEDYARD.
183
The common mode of travelling from Stockholm to
Petersburg in the summer season, is to cross the Gulf
of Bothnia to Abo in Finland by water, touching at
the isles #of Aland on the passage. In winter the
same route is pursued, when the sea is frozen so hard
as to admit of sledges being drawn from one island to
another on the ice. The greatest distance to be passed over in this manner, without touching land, is
about thirty miles. Under the most favorable circumstances this passage is troublesome and dangerous. It
is well described by Acerbi. " My astonishment was
greatly increased," says he, " in proportion as we advanced from our starting post. The sea, at first
smooth and even, became more and more rough and
unequal. It assumed, as we proceeded, an undulating
appearance, resembling the waves by which it had
been agitated.    At length we met with masses of ice
called rt a view of the sun at midnight." Acerbi was there in 1799, and
he mentions Langhorn. In the church of Jukasjeroi, a town at some
distance to the north of Tornea, and the Ultima Thule of travellers in
that direction, there is a book in which are written the names of visiters, with such remarks as their humor prompted them to indite.
These are copied into Acerbi's Travels, amounting to only seven in
number. The first record was by Regnard, on the 18th of August,
1681. The following is a literal transcript of another. " Justice bids
me record thy hospitable fame, and testify it by my name. W. Langhorn, United States. July 23d, 1787." This was six months after
Ledyard left him in Copenhagen. Acerbi says he was travelling on
foot from Norway to Archangel.
There is another record in the Album of Jukasjeroi, entered by a
character noted for his singularities, and his passion for rambling, and
who is still remembered in the United States, as well as in many other
parts of the world, by the name of the Walking Stewart. " Non mihi
fama, sed hospitalitatis et gratitudinis testimonium. S. Stewart, Civis
Orbis.   30 Julii, 1787." LIFE OF /OHN LEÔVÀRD.
heaped oBê upon the other, and some of them seeming as if they were suspended in the âÉr, while others
were raised in the form of pyramids. On the whole,
they exhibited a picture of the wildest and most
savage confusion, that surprised the eye by the novelty
of its appearance. It was an immense chaos of icy
ruins, presented to view under every possible form,
and embellished by superb stalactites of a blue green
color." Over this rough sufiface, and between the
broken waves of ice, the passengers are drawn in
sledges, muffled up in wolf skins and other furs. The
chief danger consists in the sledges being repeatedly
upset, and the horses sometimes taking fright, and
running away like wild deer. Acerbi had a serious
adventure of this sort, but he luckily escaped without
harm, as he did from many other adventures, which
awaited him in his travels to the North Cape.
This is the method of crossing the Gulf of Bothnia
in common seasons, but there is occasionally an open
winter, when it is impassable, either by water or on
the ice, for if the passage does not freeze entirely over,
the water contains so much floating ice, that no vessel
can sail through it. When this happens, the only way
of going to Petersburg is around the Gulf, a distance
of twelve hundred miles, over trackless snows, in
regions thinly peopled, wThere the nights are long
and the cold" intense, and all this to gain no more than
fifty miles.
Such was unfortunately the condition of the ice,
when Ledyard arrived at the usual place of crossing.
It had not been frozen solid from the beginning of the
winter, and no traveller could pass.    Of all his dis- LI2FE OF JOHN LEDYARD.
185
appointments, none had afflicted him more severely
than this. The only alternative was, either to stay
kt Stockholm 1$1 the spring should open, or to go
around the Gulf into Lapland, and seek his way from
the Arctic Circle to Petersburg, through the whole extent of Fikiland ; and in either case he foresaw, that
he should arrive so late in Russia, that another season
would be wasted in Siberia, before he could cross
to the American continent. The single circumstance,
therefore, of the passage to Abo being thus obstructed,
was likely to keep him back a full year from the attainment of his grand object. But he did not deliberate long. He could not endure inactivity, and new
difficulties nerved him with new strength to encounter
and subdue them. He set out for Tornea in the heart
of winter, afoot and alone, without money or friends,
on a road almost unfrequented at that frightful season,
and with the gloomy certainty resting on his mind,
that he must travel northward six hundred miles, before he could turn his steps towards a milder climate,
and then six or seven hundred more in descending to
Petersburg, on the other side of the Gulf.
When Maupertuis and his companions were about
leaving Stockholm, on their journey to Tornea, for the
purpose of measuring a degree of the meridian under
the Polar Circle, the King of Sweden told them, that
" it was not without sensible concern, that he saw
them pursue so desperate an undertaking ; " yet they
were prepared with every possible convenience for
travelling, and protection against the rigors of a northern winter. A better idea of the degree and effects
of cold, at the head of the Gulf, cannot be formed,
24
m 186
LIFE OF JOHN LEDYARD.
perhaps, than from Maupertuis' description. " The
town of Tornea, at our arrival on the thirtieth of
December, had really a most frightful aspect. Its
little houses were buried to the tops in snow, which,
if there had been any daylight, must have effectually
shut it out. But the snows continually falling, or
ready to fall, for the most part hid the sun the few
moments, that he might have showed himself at midday. In the month of January the cold was increased
to that extremity, that Reaumur's mercurial thermometers, which in Paris, in the great frost of 1709,
it was thought strange to see fall to fourteen degrees
below the freezing point, were now down to thirty-
seven. The spirit of wine in the others was frozen.
If we opened the door of a w7arm room, the external
air instantly converted all the air in it into snow7,
whirling it round in white vortexes. If we went
abroad, we felt as if the air were tearing our breasts in
pieces. And the cracking of the wood whereof the
houses are built, as if the violence of the cold split it,
continually alarmed us with an approaching increase
of cold. The solitude of the streets was no less, than
if the inhabitants had been all dead ; and in this
country you may often see people that have been
maimed, and had an arm or a leg frozen off. The
cold, which is always very great, increases sometimes
by such violent and sudden fits, as are almost infallibly
fatal to those, that happen to be exposed to it. Sometimes there arise sudden tempests of snow, that are
still more dangerous. The winds seem to blow7 from
all quarters at once, and drive about the snow with
such fury, that in a moment all the roads are lost. LIFE OF JOHN LEDYARD.
187
Unhappy he, who is seized by such a storm in the
fields. His acquaintance with the country, or the
marks he may have taken by the trees, cannot avail
him. He is blinded by the snow, and lost if he stirs
but a step." *
These were the scenes, that awaited our pedestrian
in his winter excursion to the Polar Circle. How far
they were realized by him must be now left to conjecture. No part of his journal during this tour has been
preserved, nor is it known what course he took from
Tornea to Petersburg. The common route is along
the border of the Gulf to Abo, but in winter the road
is much obstructed by ice, and is extremely bad.
Linnaeus passed it in September, when returning from
his scientific tour to Lapland, and he estimates the
distance from Tornea to Abo at upwards of six hundred English miles. From a remark in Ledyard's
letter-to Mr Jefferson, which will be quoted below, it
would seem, that he took a different direction, and
passed farther into the interior of Russian Finland.
This route, as he intimates, must have been wholly
unfrequented by travellers, although the distance must
be shorter, and at that season perhaps the difficulties
to be encountered were not greater, than down the
Gulf.
Be this as it may, he reached Petersburg before the
twentieth of March, that is, within seven weeks of
the time of leaving Stockholm, making the average
distance travelled about two hundred miles a week.
* See Maupertuis' Discourse before the Royal Academy of Sciences
in Paris.   November 13th, 1737.
m
•il ÊËmm
188
LIFE OF JOHN LEDYARD.
It is evident, therefore, that he met with no obstacles,
which his resolution did not speedily overcome. His
letter to Mr Jefferson, dated Petersburg, March 19th,
1787, will acquaint us with the state of his feelings,
and his prospects, at this stage of his travels.
"It will be one of the remaining pleasures of my
life, to thank you for the many instances of your
friendship, and, wherever I am, to pursue you with
the tale of my gratitude. If Mr Barclay should be
at Paris, let him rank with you as my next friend. I
hardly kn$w how to estimate the goodness of the
Marquis de la Fayette to me, but I think a French
nobleman, of the first character in his country, never
did more to serve an obscure citizen of another, than
he has done for me ; and I am sure, that it is impossible, without some kind of soul made expressly for the
purpose, that an obscure citizen in such a situation can
be rn^ffe grateful thaat I am. May he be told so, with
my compliments to his lady.
" I cannot tell you by what means I came to Petersburg, and hardly know by what means I shall quit it,
in the further prosecution of my tour round the
world by land. If I have any merit in the affair, it is
perseverance, for most severely have I been buffeted ;
and yet still am even more obstinate than before ; and
fate, as obstinate, continues her assaults. How the
matter will terminate I know not. The most probable conjecture is, that I shall succeed, and he buffeted
around the world, as I have hitherto been from England through Denmark, through Sweden, Swedish
Lapland, Swedish Finland, and the most unfrequented
parts of Russian Finland, to this aurora boKealis of a LIFE OF JOHN LEDYARD*
189
city. I cannot give you a history of myself since I
saw you, or since I wrote you last ; however abridged,
it would be too long. Upon the whole, mankind
have used me well ; and though I have as yet reached
only the first stage of my journey, I feel myself much
indebted for that urbanity, which I always thought
more general, than many think it to be ; and were it
not for the mischievous laws and bad examples of
some governments I bave passed through, I am persuaded I should be able to give you a still better account of our fellow creatures. But I am hastening to
countries, where goodness, if natural to the human
heart, will appear independent of example, and furnish
an illustration of the character of man, not unworthy
of him, who w7rote the Declaration of Independence.
I did not hear of the death of M. de Vergennes until
I arrived here. Permit me to express my regret at
the loss of so great and so good a man. Permit me,
also, to congratulate you, as the minister of my country, on account of the additional commercial privileges
granted by France to America, and to express my
ardent wishes, that the friendly spirit, which dictated
them, may last for ever. I was extremely pleased at
reading the account, and to heighten the satisfaction,
I found the name of La Fayette there.
"An equipment is now on foot here for the sea of
Kamtschatka, and it is first to visit the Northwest
Coast of America. It is to consist of four ships.
This, and the expedition that went from here twelve
months since by land for Kamtschatka, are to cooperate in a design of some sort in the Northern Pacific
Ocean ;  the  Lord knows what, nor does it matter ' fcM
190
LIFE OF JOHN LEDYARD.
what with me, nor indeed with you, nor any other
minister, nor any potentate, south of fifty degrees of
latitude. I can only say, that you are in no danger of
having the luxurious repose of your charming climates
disturbed by a second incursion of either Goth, Vandal, Hun, or Scythian.
" I dined today with Professor Pallas. He is an
accomplished man, and my friend, and has travelled
throughout European and Asiatic Russia. I find the
little French I have, of infinite service to me. I
could not do without it. It is a most extraordinary
language. I believe wolves, rocks, woods, and snow
understand it, for I have addressed them all in it, and
they have all been very complaisant to me. We had
a Scythian at table, who belongs to the Royal Society
of Physicians here. The moment he knew me and
my designs, he became my friend ; and it will be by
his generous assistance, joined with that of Professor
Pallas, that I shall be able to procure a Royhl Passport, without which I cannot stir. This must be
done through an application to the French minister,
there being no American minister here ; and to his
secretary I shall apply with Dr Pallas tomorrow, and
shall take the liberty to make use of your name, and
that of the Marquis de la Fayette, as to my character.
As all my letters of recommendation were English,
and as I have hitherto been used by the English with
the greatest kindness »and respect, I first applied to
the British minister, but without success. The apology was, that the present political condition, between
Russia and England, would make it disagreeable for
the British minister to ask any favor.    The secretary LIFE OF JOHN LEDYARD*
191
of the French embassy will despatch my letter, and
one of his accompanying it, to the Count Segur tomorrow morning. I will endeavor to write you again
before I leave Petersburg, and give you some further
accounts of myself. Meantime, I wish you health.
I have written a short letter to the Marquis.   Adieu."
It will be remembered, that at this time the Empress w7as absent on her famous jaunt to Kerson and
the Krimea. She had left Petersburg in January,
accompanied by Prince Potemkin, and many others of
the courtiers, and of the Russian nobility. The Austrian and French ambassadors were also in her train.
She passed through Smolensk, and w7as now at Kief,
where she remained amidst a brilliant assemblage of
nobles from Poland and her Russian territories, till
the spring was so far advanced, that she could proceed
by wTater down the Dnieper, in the magnificent gallies
prepared for the purpose.
While the Empress and her retinue were at Kief, a
round of splendid entertainments, ceremonies, and
visits from eminent personages, occupied her time, and
absorbed her thoughts, in addition to the great political projects, which she is said to have been meditating
in regard to the conquest of Turkey. Had the
French ambassador found an opportunity, therefore,
amidst these scenes of gaiety and bustle, to present a
petition to the Empress from an unknown individual,
for a passport to travel through her dominions, it could
not be thought strange, that she should have neglected
to attend to it with the promptness, which more important affairs might require. Weeks passed away,
and no answer was returned.     Ledyard's patience 192
JuWm OF JOHN LEDYARD.
was seve^ly tried by this delay, and he began to talk
of going forward Tfôfrhout any passport. On the fiÉk
tee nth of May, after waiting nearly two months at
Petersburg, he writes to Colonel Smith, " My heart is
oppressed ; my designs are generous ; why is my fate
otherwise ? The Count Segur has not yet sent me
my passport. But this shall not stop me ; I shall
surmount all things, and at least deserve success."
About this time he became acquainted with a Russian
officer, who belonged to the family of the Grand
Duke, and who took a lively interest in his concerns,
and proffered his services. Ledyard says he was not
only " polite and friendly, but a thinking Russian."
By the kind assistance of this gentleman he obtained
his passport in fifteen days, and was prepared foiihis
departure.
It was fortunate, that just at this time Mr William
Brown, a Scotch physician, was going to the province
of Kolyvan, in the employment of the Empress.
Ledyard j©ined him, and thus had a companion on his
tour for more than three thousand miles. From this
arrangement he eajoyed an important advantage, for
Brown travelled at the expense of the government,
and as Ledyard went with him by permission of the
proper authority, his travelling charges were probably
defrayed in part at least from the public funds.
And, indeed, without this aid, it would have been
impossible for him to move a step, for his own resources were completely exhausted. On his arrival
in Petersburg his necessities were extreme, as his
money was gone, and he was almost destitute of
clothes.    In this extremity he drew a bill for t#enty LIFE OF JOHN LEDYARD.
193
guineas on Sir Joseph Banks, which he found some
friend willing to accept, although he confessed, that
Sir Joseph had not authorized him to draw, and that
the payment of the bill would depend on his generosity. It was immediately paid when presented in London, much to the honor of that munificent patron of
science and enterprise. It is said, that a quantity
of stores was sent under the care of I)r Brown, to be
forwarded to Mr Billings at Yakutsk, who was em-
plojfed in exploring those remote regions of Siberia
and Kamtschatka, in the service of the Empress.
The party left Petersburg on the first of June, and
in six days arrived at Moscow. During the last day's
ride they overtook the Grand Duke and his retinue,
who were going to Moscow to meet the Empress on
her return from her pompous journey to the Krimea,
The two travellers remained but one day in Moscow.
They hired a person to go with them to Kazan, a distance of five hundred and fifty miles, and drive their
kibitka with three horses. " Kibitka travelling,"
says Ledyard in his journal, " is the remains of caravan travelling ; it is your only home ; it is like a ship
at sea." In this vehicle they were hurried along with
considerable speed towards Kazan, through Vladimir,
Nishnjei Novogorod, and other towns. Kazan stands
on the right bank of the majestic Wolga, and is the
capital of a province of the same name. It is ranked
among the first cities in the empire, containing a university, churches, convents, and other public buildings,
some of which are magnificent, and finished with
much architectural taste and elegance. Immense
quantities of grain are produced in this province, and
25 194
LIFE OF JOHN LEDYARD.
also flax and leather for exportation. The soil is well
cultivated, but low and unhealthy, and the inhabitants
are a mixed population of Russians and Tartars.
They staid a week at Kazan, and then commenced
their journey to Tobolsk, wrhere they arrived on the
eleventh of July, having crossed the Ural mountains,
and passed the frontiers of Europe and Asia. The
face of the country had hitherto been level, with
hardly an eminence springing from the great plain,
which spreads over the vast territory from Moscow
to Tobolsk. The ascent of the Ural mountains was
so gradual, as scarcely to form an exception to this
general remark, and nothing could be more monotonous and dreary, than the interminable wastes, over
which their route had led them since leaving Kazan,
with here and there a miserable village, and unpro-
ductive culture of the soil. " The WTetched appearance of the inhabitants," says our journalist, " is such
as may generally be observed in a greater or less degree in those places, which are so unhappy as to be
the frontiers between nations ; like step-children are
they." This is especially the condition of the people
throughout the whole extent of the China frontiers,
that border on Russia. It is the policy of the government to preserve this belt of desolation, as a barrier
against the too easy access of foreigners, and as a
means of preventing contraband trade.
Tobolsk is a city of considerable interest, having
been once the capital of all Siberia, and in early times
the scene of a great battle between the renowned
hero Yermak, and the Tartar prince, Koutchum Khan,
in which the former was victorious.    The city stands LIFE OF JOHN LEDYARD.
195
at the junction of twro large rivers, the Tobol and
Irtish, which there unite and flow on together, till
their waters are mingled with the Obe, and thence
conveyed to the Northern Ocean. It consists of the
upper and lower towTn, the latter situate oh the margin
of the river, and the former on a commanding eminence, which overlooks the lower town and much of
the adjacent country. Captain Cochrane, who visited
his place a few years ago, was greatly pleased with its
natural advantages and scenery, and the condition and
comforts of the people. The town is well laid out into
streets., contains handsome churches and other edifices, a well regulated market, and provisions of all
kinds in abundance, and exceedingly cheap. He was
not less charmed with the society, for although Tobolsk is the residence of exiles, they are such as have
been sent to Siberia for political reasons, and not malefactors, these latter being accommodated with a residence and employment much farther in the interior
towards Kamtschatka. These political exiles are commonly persons of some culture and intelligence, for,
as this author justly remarks, no government banishes
fools; and the social circles of the better sort indicate
a refinement and happiness, which might be envied in
more civilized parts of the globe. So much was this
traveller pleased with the w;ild and beautiful scenery
on the banks of the Irtish, that he followed up the
stream to the borders of China, enraptured at every
step ; nor was he satisfied, till he had contemplated
by moonlight the deep solitudes and lofty granite
mountains, that constitute the bulwark of this northern boundary of the Celestial Empire. 196
LIFE OF JOHN LEDYARD.
But Captain Cochrane was an amateur traveller,
wandering for amusement, and seeking odd adventures
in the most promising theatre for them. Ledyard, on
the contrary, was impelled forward by a single motive,
and he would gladly have annihilated space and time,
if he could have set his foot the next moment on the
American Continent. He did not traverse the wild
wastes of Siberia to make discoveries, gaze at mountains, trace rivers to their sources, nor even to examine
the economy of society and the condition of the people. He had a soul to admire whatever was grand or
beautiful in nature, and to be strongly affected with
the various states of human existence, as his observations abundantly prove ; but he suffered these to make
an incidental claim only on his attention, keeping
them subordinate to his great design and absorbing
purpose. Hence he stopped no longer in any place,
than was necessary to prepare for a new departure.
Three days he and his companion stayed at Tobolsk,
and then continued their journey to Barnaoul, the
capital of the province of Kolyvan. At this place he
was to leave Dr Brown and proceed alone. For this
gentleman he had contracted a sincere esteem, and
was prevailed upon to remain in Barnaoul a w7eek, out
of regard to the kindness and in compliance with the
Solicitation of his friend.
In many respects Barnaoul is one of the most agreeable places of residence in Siberia. The province, of
which it is the capital, is a rich mining district, and
this brings together in the town persons of science
and respectability, who are employed as public officers
to superintend the working of the mines.    The sur- LIFE OF  JOHN   LEDYARD.
197
rounding country, moreover, is well suited to agriculture, abounding in good lands for pasture and grain,
supporting vast herds of cattle, and producing vegetables in great profusion. In consequence of these
bounties of nature, there is an overflowing and cheap
market, an absence of want, and much positive happiness among the people.
Ledyard was lodged at Barnaoul in the house of
the treasurer, by whom he w7as treated with great hospitality. He dined twice with the governor, and also
with two old discharged officers of the army, who, at
their owTn request, had quitted the service, and become
judges and justices of the law. He was shown the
armorial bearings of fortytwo provinces in the empire.
The governor told him, that the salt, produced by the
salt lakes in the province of Kolyvan, yielded somewhat more to the revenue than the mines, and also
that the aggregate amount of revenue from that province was greater than from any other. In respect to
gold and silver, this is no doubt the case at the present
day, but in regard to the salt it is uncertain. There
are said to be salt lakes in Siberia, so much saturated
with saline matter, that the salt crystalizes of its
own accord, and adheres in this state to pieces of
wood and other substances put into the water.
Kolyvan is near the middle point between Petersburg and Okotsk, it being somewhat more than three
thousand miles in opposite directions to each of those
places.*    Barnaoul stands on the bank of the river
* In his Journal, Ledyard enters the following distances, which he
«ays were taken from a Russian Almanac.   In the second column I 198
LIFE OF JOHN LEDYARD.
Obe, wrhich is a broad and noble stream where it
passes the town. It is in the fifty third degree of north
latitude, and in the last week of July the mornings
were exceedingly hot, the sky cloudless and serene,
and the atmosphere perfectly calm. In the afternoon
a gentle breeze would spring up, increase by degrees
till evening, and continue through the night. Rains
are not frequent in Kolyvan.
The following extract is from that part of the journal, which was written at Barnaoul, and contains remarks on what came under the waiter's notice during
his journey to that place.
" The face of the country from Petersburg to Kolyvan is one continued plain. The soil before arriving
at Kazan is very well cultivated ; afterwards cultivation gradually ceases. On the route to Kazan we saw
large mounds of earth, often of twenty, thirty, and
forty feet elevation, which I conjectured, and on inquiry found, to be ancient sepulchres. There is an
analogy between these and our own graves, and the
Egyptian pyramids ; and an exact resemblance between
them, and those piles supposed to be of monumental
earth, which are found among some of the tribes of
North America.    We first saw Tartars before our ar-
have reduced the versts to English miles.   Three versts are equal to
two miles.
Versts. Wiles»
From Petersburg to Barnaoul  4539 . . . 3026
"    Barnaoul to Irkutsk  1732 . . . 1155
S    Irkutsk to Yakutsk  2266 . . . 1510
|    Yakutsk to Okotsk  952 ...   635
|    Okotsk to Awateka in Kamtschatka    *   . 1065 . . .   710
Whole distance from Petersburg to Kamtschatka 10554 . . . 7036 LIFE OF JOHN LEDYARD.
199
rival at Kazan ;   and  also a woman with her nails
painted red, like the Cochin Chinese.
" Notwithstanding the modern introduction of linen
into Russia, the garments of the peasantry still retain
not only the form, but the manner of ornamenting
them, which was practised when they wore skins.
This resembles the Tartar mode of ornamenting, and
is but a modification of the wampum ornament, which
is still discernible westward from Russia to Denmark,
among the Finlanders, Laplanders, and Swedes. The
nice gradation by which I pass from civilization to
incivilization appears in everything; in manners, dress,
language ; and particularly in that remarkable and
important circumstance, color, which I am now fully
convinced originates from natural causes, and is the
effect of external and local circumstances. I think the
same of feature. I see here the large mouth, the thick
lip, the broad flat nose, as well as in Africa. I see also
in the same village as great a difference of complexion ;
from the fair hair, fair skin, and white eyes, to the
olive, the black jetty hair and eyes ; and these all of the
same language, same dress, and, I suppose, same tribe.
I have frequently observed in Russian villages, obscure
and dirty, mean and poor, that the women of the peasantry paint their faces, both red and white. I have
had occasion from this and other circumstances to suppose, that the Russians are a people, who have been
early attached to luxury. They are everywhere fond
of éclat. i Sir,' said a Russian officer to me in Petersburg, 'we pay no attention to anything but éclat.'
The contour of their manners is Asiatic, and not European.    The Tartars are universally neater than the j
200
LIFE OF JOHN LEDYARD.
Russians, particularly in their houses. The Tartar,
however situated, is a voluptuary ; and it is an original and striking trait in their character, from the
Grand Seignior, to him who pitches his tent on the
wild frontiers of Russia and China, that they are more
addicted to real sensual pleasure, than any other people. The Emperor of Germany, the Kings of England and France, have pursuits that give an entirely
different turn to their enjoyments ; and so have their
respective subjects. Would a Tartar live on Vive le
Roi ? Would he spend ten years in constructing a
watch ? or twenty in forming a telescope ?
" In the United States of America, as in Russia,
we have made an effort to convert our Tartars to
think and act like us ; but to what effect ? Among
us, Sampson Occum was pushed the farthest within
the pale of civilization, but just as the sanguine
divine, who brought him there, was forming the
highest expectations, he fled and sought his own ely-
sium in the bosom of his native forests. In Russia
they have had none so distinguished ; here they are
commonly footmen, or lackeys of some other kind.
The Marquis de la Fayette had a young American
Tartar, of the Onandago tribe, who came to see him,
and the Marquis, at much expense, equipped him in
rich Indian dresses. After staying some time, he did
as Occum did. When I was at school at Mount Ida
[Dartmouth College], many Indians were there, most
of whom gave some promise of being civilized, and
some were sent forth to preach ; but as far as I observed myself, and have been since informed, they all
returned to the home and customs of their fathers, and LIFE OF JOHN LEDYARD.
201
followed the inclinations, which nature had so deeply
enstamped on their character."
To these remarks is here added part of a letter,
written to Mr Jefferson from Barnaoul, dated on the
twentyninth of July, 1787.
" How I have come thus far, and how I am to go
still farther, is an enigma that I must disclose to you
on some happier occasion. I shall never be able,
without seeing you in person, and perhaps not then, to
inform you how universally and circumstantially the
Tartars resemble the Aborigines of America. They
are the same people ; the most ancient and the most
numerous of any other ; and had not a small sea
divided them, they would all have been still known by
the same name. The cloak of civilization sets as ill
upon them, as. upon our American Tartars. They
have been a long time Tartars, and it will be a long
time before they will be any other kind of people.
| I shall send this letter to Petersburg, to the care of
Professor Pallas. He will transmit it to you, together
with one for the Marquis, in the mail of the Count*
Segur. My health is perfectly good ; but notwithstanding the vigor of my body, my mind keeps the
start of me, and I anticipate my future fate with the
most lively ardor. Pity it is, that in such a career one
should be subjected, like a horse, to the beggarly impediments of sleep and hunger.
" The banks of the large rivers in this country
everywhere abound with something curious in the fossil world. I have found the leg-bone of a very large
animal on the banks of the Obe, and have sent it to
Dr Pallas, requesting him to render me an account of
26 202
LIFE OF JOHN LEDYARD^
it hereafter. It is either an elephant's, or rhinoceros*
bone. The latter animal has been in this country.
There is a complete head of one in a state of high
preservation at Petersburg. I am a curiosity here
myself. Those who have heard of America flock
round to see me. Unfortunately the marks on my
hands * procure me and my countrymen the appellation
of wild men. Among the better sort we are somewhat more known. The governor and his family have
got a peep at the history of our existence, through the
medium of an antiquated pamphlet of some kind. We
have, however, two stars, that shine even in the galaxy
of Barnaoul, and the healths of Dr Franklin and of
General Washington have been drunk, in compliment
to me,at the governor's table. I am treated with the
greatest hospitality here. Hitherto I have fared comfortably when I could make a port anywhere, but when
totally in the country I have been a little incommoded.
Hospitality, however, I have found as universal as the
face of man. When you read this, perhaps twp months
before you do, if I do well, I shall be at Okotsk,
where I will do myself the honor to trouble you
again, and if possible will write more at large. My
compliments wait on all my Parisian friends."
After spending a week very agreeably in Barnaoul,
he made preparations for recommencing his journey.
From this place to Irkutsk it was arranged, that he
should travel post with the courier, who had charge of
the mail. All things being in readiness, he writes,
" I waited on the governor with my passport ; he was
* The tattoo marks made on his hands at Otaheite. LIFE OF.iïOHN LEDYARD*
203
wejl pleased with it ; gave me a corporal to conduct
the affairs of the mail ; said I had nothing to do but
sit in the kibitka, and mustered up French enough to
say, Monsieur, je vous souhaite un bon voyage. I took
an affectionate farewell of the worthy Dr Brown, and
left Barnaoul." The next stopping-place on the route
was Tomsk, distant three hundred miles, which were
passed over in two days and three nights. The river
Tom, which flows near this town, is as large as the
Irtish, where it is crossed by the main road above
Tobolsk, and was the first river met with by our traveller since leaving Petersburg, which had either a
gravelly bottom or shore. On its banks were found
little mounds of earth, which were ascertained to have
been the habitations of the natives, who dwelt there
before the conquest of the country by the Russians.*
* In Bell's Journey from Petersburg to Pekin, with the Russian embassy, in the year 1720, the author gives a curious account of the
mounds in the regions about Tomsk. He considers them the tombs of
ancient heroes, who fell in battle. " Many persons go from Tomsk,'»
he observes, " and other parts every summer to these graves, which
they dig up, and find among the ashes of the dead considerable quan-
ties of gold, silver, brass, and some precious stones ; but particularly
hilts of swords and armour. They find, also, ornaments of saddles and
bridles, and other trappings for horses ; and even the bones of horses,
and sometimes those of elephants. Whence it appears, that when any
general or person of distinction was interred, all his arms, his favorite
horse, and servant, were buried with him in the same grave. This
custom prevails to this day among the Kalmuks and other Tartars, and seems to be of great antiquity. It appears from the number
of graves, that many thousands must have fallen on these plains, for
the people have continued to dig for such treasure many years, and
still find it unexhausted. They are sometimes, indeed, interrupted and
robbed of all their booty by parties of the Kalmuks, who abhor the
disturbing the asbes of the dead."   Vol. I. p. 253. 204
LIFE OF JOHN LEDYARD.
The nights, he remarked, were very cold, more so
than he had known them in any country, where it w7as
at the same time so hot by day. All the way from
Barnaoul, and particularly in its neighborhood, were
perceived the ruinous effects of the violent winds, that
frequently produce great devastation in those parts of
Siberia. Forest trees and fields of grain were indiscriminately blown down and destroyed. The hospitality of the inhabitants, however, was unabated.
They could rarely be prevailed upon to take anything
for provisions or accommodation. On one occasion,
for as much barley soup, onions, quass, bread, and
milk, as made a hearty meal for the traveller and his
corporal, the good woman, who furnished them, consented to receive one kopeek, and nothing more.*
They were detained two or three days at Tomsk,
waiting for a mail, that was coming by another route
from Tobolsk ; but the commandant was affable and
generous, and did not allow the time to pass heavily.
He was somewhat of a singularity, being a Frenchman, born in Paris, now seventy three years old, having
resided twentyfive years in Siberia, and more than
thirty in Russia. He spoke his native language imperfectly, and wrote it still worse. His favorite topic
was the dignity of his birth, and the high rank of his
family. But Ledyard wished to know more about
Siberia at that moment, than of the genealogy or rank
of the families in France, and he ventured to ask the
* The value of the kopeek varies at different times. Ledyard states
it to have been about one tenth of an English penny, when he was in
Siberia. In Dr Clarke's Travels it is put down as equal to an English
halfpenny. " ■•
LIFE OF JOHN LEDYARD.
205
old man if the town, or its environs, afforded anything
valuable or curious in natural history. His answer
was, that there were thieves, rogues, liars, and villains
of every description. The conversation was pushed
no further in the way of philosophical inquiry, for it
was evident the Frenchman's thoughts had run very
little in that channel.
There was truth in his remark, although uttered
somewhat out of place. Tomsk had long been the
rendezvous of the worst class of exiles, who had been
banished for their crimes, and could not be expected
to exercise a very salutary influence on society, or to
become pattern members of it themselves. Poverty
and wretchedness, the accompaniments of vice, formed
here some of the prominent objects in the foreground
of the picture, and beggars daily thronged the streets,
as in the most populous regions of the civilized world.
The charity and kind feelings of the better sort of
inhabitants, however, afforded a pleasing contrast to
this debasement and suffering. Ledyard observes,
that the family with whom he lodged, were accustomed every morning to lay aside in the window ten or
twelve farthing pieces j for the charitable purposes of
the day. Considering the extraordinary cheapness of
food, this would afford relief to many persons. The
beggars began their rounds at an early hour, and went
regularly from house to house, and were very rarely
sent away without something. Those, who did not
give money, gave bread. Some of the beggars were
in irons. The people asked no questions, but appeared
to give cheerfully and without grudging. The demand was uniformly made, pour Vamour de Dieu,
il
■'
i! 206
LIFE OF JOHN LEDYARD.
" for which," says the journalist, " one may have more
in this country, than in any other I have seen."
In ten days from the time of leaving Tomsk, the
traveller and his corporal were safely arrived in Irkutsk, over a road, of which he speaks in no terms of
commendation. The river Yenissey was crossed at
the town of Krasnojarsk, where the commandant
pressed him to stop long enough to dine, and celebrated the event of a stranger's arrival, with such free
potations as to become intoxicated. From Tomsk to
Yenissey the country exhibited rather an agreeable
aspect, and marks of cultivation. Ledyard observes,
that in this region he " first finds the real craggy,
peaked hill, or mountain," and from Krasnojarsk to
Irkutsk was the first stony road, which he had passed
over in the Russian dominions. The streets of Tobolsk, and some of the other towns on his route, were
paved with wood.
" Passing on east from the Yenissey to Irkutsk the
country is thinly peopled. A very few, and those
miserable houses, are to be seen on the road, and none
at all at a distance from it. The country is hilly,
Tough, mountainous, and covered with thick forests. The rivers here also have all rocky beds, and
are rapid in the degree of three to five miles an hour.
The autumnal rains are begun, and they have set
in severely. I am now in Irkutsk, and have stayed in
my quarters all day to take a little rest-, after a very
fatiguing journey, rendered so by sundry very disagreeable circumstances ; going with the courier, and driving with wild Tartar horses, at a most rapid rate, over
a wild and ragged country; breaking and upsetting LIFE OF JOHN LEDYARD.
207
kibitkas; beswarmed with musquetoes ; all the way
hard rains ; and when I arrived at Irkutsk I was, and
had been for the last fortyeight hours, wet through
and through, and covered with one complete mass of
mud."
( 208
LIFE OF JOHN LEDYARD.
CHAPTER IX.
y
Residence at Irkutsk.—Miscellaneous remarks on the inhabitants, and the
productions of the country.—Accounts of the Tartars.—Unsuccessful attempts
to civilize them.—Fur trade on the American coast.—Visit to the Lake Baikal.—Further remarks on the character and manners of the Kalmuks and
other Tartars.—Leaves Irkutsk for the river Lena.—Scenery around the
Baikal.—Rivers flowing into it.—Extraordinary depth of its waters.—They
are fresh, but contain seals, and fish, peculiar to the ocean.—Estimate of the
number of rivers in Siberia, and of the quantity of water they pour into the
Frozen Ocean.—Ledyard proceeds down the Lena in a bateau.—Romantic
scenery along the margin of the river.—Hospitality of the inhabitants.—Ends
his voyage at Yakutsk.
o»
*«    Ledyard staid in Irkutsk about ten days, and his
VO^ ' ^Observations and general reflections during that time
&x      may be best understood by extracts from his journal,
>
y^ ^j^    as they were written on the spot.    They are rather in
f-    the nature of hints and first thoughts, than of a regu
ry
lar narrative, but they will show his inquisitive turn
of mind, and his eagerness for acquiring such knowledge, as accorded with the general objects of his
travels.
" August 16th. I have not been out this morning,
but I shrewdly suspect by what I see from my poor
talc window, that I shall even here find the fashionable follies, the ridiculous extravagance, and ruinous
éclat of Petersburg.—I have been out, and my suspicions w7ere well founded. Dined with a brigadier, a
colonel, and a major, a little out of town ; they are Germans. Had at the table a French exile, who had been
an adjutant. Scarcely a day passes but an exile of some
sort arrives.    Most of the inhabitants of this remote LIFE OF JOHN LEDYARD.'
209
part of Siberia are convicts. The country here was
formerly inhabited by the Mongul or Kalmuk Tartars,
who are, I conclude, the same people. Find no
account of the Calumet. The French exile had been
at Quebec, and thinks the Tartars here much inferior
to the American Indians, both in their understanding
and persons. I observe the Tongusians have not the
Mongul or Kalmuk faces, but moderately long, and
considerably like the European face. These Tongusians form the second class of Tartars, so obviously
distinguishable by their features from other Tartars,
and from Europeans. What I call the third class are
the light eyed and fair complexioned Tartars, which
class I believe includes the Cossacs. The Tchuk-
tchi are the only northern Tartars, that remain unsub-
jected to the government.
" The town of Irkutsk is the residence of the Governor-General, Jacobi, and of a military commander,
and has in it two battalions of infantry. It has tw7o
thousand poor log houses, and ten churches. Jacobi's
authority extends from here to the Pacific Ocean, an
immense territory. I waited this morning on the
director of the bank, Mr Karamyscheff, who was a
pupil of Linnseus. He is very assiduous to oblige me
in everything, and sent for three Kalmuks in the
dress of their country. Nothing particularly curious
about them, but their pipes, wrhich are coarsely
made of copper by themselves ; the form altogether
Chinese. Karamyscheff informs me, that the Monguls
and Kalmuks are the same people. From his house I
went with the Conseiller d'Etat, who introduced me
to Jacobi, the Governor. He is an old, venerable man,
27 fil
Ml
210
LIFE OF JOHN LEDYARD.
and although I believe, with Pallas, that he is un
homme de bois, yet he received me standing and uncovered. Our conversation wras merely respecting my
going with the post, which he granted me, and, besides, told me that î should be particularly well accommodated, wished me a successful voyage, and that my
travels might be productive of information to mankind»
I conversed with him in French, through the interpretation of the Conseiller.
" This latter gentleman gave me the following information. J The white Tartars you saw about Kazan
are natives of that country, and we call them Kazan
Tartars. Kazan was once § a kingdom of theirs.
From this place to Yakutsk you pass among the Kalmuks. At Yakutsk you wTill see the Yakuti, and also
the Tongusians, who are more personable than the
Kalmuks, or Monguls, and more sensible ; but the
Yakuti are more sensible than either. They are
indeed a people of good natural parts and genius, and
by experience are found capable of any kind of learning. From Yakutsk you pass through the Tongusians
all the way to Okotsk. In the time of Jenghis Khan
the Thibet Tartars, that is, the Kalmuks, or Monguls,
made incursions into this country. We have two
hundred thousand Russians, and, as nearly as we can
estimate, half that number of Indians of all descriptions in this province. Marriages in and near the villages take place between the Russians and Tartars,
but they are not frequent. I believe the extreme cold,
and want of snow here during winter, and the sudden
change of weather in the summer, to be the reason
why we can have no fruit here.   We have often, in the LIFE OF JOHN LEDYARD.
211
months of May and June, ice three and four inches
thick. Besides, this country, as you have observed, is
subject to terrible gales of wind, which blow away
both bud and blossom. We have nevertheless a few
little apples, which we eat at our tables, and they are
not without flavor.'    Thus much the Conseiller.
" The forest trees in this country are almost altogether birch ; they are generally rotten at the heart.
Mr Karamyscheff tells me, that there are many bones
of the rhinoceros in these parts of Siberia, and also
the same large bones, that are found on the banks of
the Ohio in America. It seems, that the places in
which to find those bones, and other curious^ fossils,
are at the mouths of the great rivers Yenissey, Lena,
Kolyma, and others, among the islands that are formed
where they flow into the sea. Here they are all
lodged, after having been washed from under ground
by the rivers in the different countries, which they
traverse.
fig August 17th. Today it seems the jubilee is observed, on account of the Empress having reigned
twentyfive years. In coming from Karamyscheff's I
met the Governor-General and his suite of officers,
the brigadier I dined with yesterday, and other dignitaries, to the number of two hundred, all going to
dine with the Governor, who keeps open house on the
occasion. The governor and other officers saluted me
as they passed ; those, who did not know me, wondering what could procure such attention to one so poorly
and oddly attired. I was pressed by some of the
company to go and dine. Had my clothes been good,
I would have gone.    But I dined with Karamyscheff. 212
LIFE OF JOHN LEDYARD.
It te a Tartar name, and he is of Tartarian extraction.
Saw an apple tree in his garden. The fruit, as he described it, would be as large as a full sized pea in
Framce or England. It is the genuine appletree, and
their naturalists distinguish it by the name of the
pyrus baccata. These are the only apples in Siberia.
" Karamyscheff says the Yakuti Tartars are the
véritables Tartars, by which I understand, that they
are a less mixed race than the others. Their language
he says is the oldest language, and that other tribes
understand it. The Yakuti, formerly possessed this
country, but they were driven out by the Kalmuks,
who made a succession of attacks upon them, and
pursued them to the Lena, down which they fled, and
settled at Yakutsk. Karamyscheff has in his house
four children descended from a Kalmuk father and
Russian mother. The first resembles the father, and
is entirely Kalmuk ; the second the mother, with fair
hair and eyes ; one of the others is Kalmuk, and the
other Russian. They are all healthy and well looking children. I saw three of them. Karamyscheff
knows not am§ng what people to rank the Kamtscha-
dales. He acknowledges with me, that their faces
are entirely Kalmuk, but says they calme from America. This controverts the common opinion, that
America was peopled after Asia. But he is carried
away with the wild notions of the French naturalist,
Buffon. I find universally, that the Tartars wrear
their beards. The ears of Kalmuk, or Mongul Tartars, project universally farther from the head, than
those of Europeans. I measured the ears of the Kalmuks at Karamyscheff's today, and on an average LIFE OF JOHN LEDYARD.
213
they projected one and a half inch, and they were by
no means extraordinary examples. The ears of the
Chinese are similar.
" We have French and Spanish wines here, but so
adulterated, that I was told of it before I knew it to
be wine. Karamyscheff is fully sensible of the luxury
and vanity I complain of in this country, which is
but beginning to begin, as I told him today. He
laments it, and declared frankly to me, that patriotism and the true solid virtues of a citizen are hardly
known. The geographical termination of Russia,
and the commencement of Siberia, is at the city
of Perm. The natural boundary is the river Yenissey. I observe that the face of the country is very
different on this side of the Yenissey, and Karamyscheff, who is a botanist, says the vegetable productions differ as much.
" August 18th. Went this morning to see some
curiosities from different parts of Siberia. Saw also
a piece of Sandwich Island cloth, which was obtained
from Captain Cook's ship at Kamtschatka, when he
was there. In the collection was the skin of a Chinese goat, the hair of wThich was the wdiitest, longest,
and most delicate that I ever saw ; also some excellent sea-otter skins, the largest of which were valued
at two hundred roubles ; likewise a bow, quiver, and
all the military apparatus of a Kalmuk, which was
very heavy. The Kalmuks and Monguls here receive
the common name of the Buretti.
I went to the Archbishop's to see a young savage of
the Tchuktchi. The good bishop had taken great
pains to humanize him (as Dr Wheelock had done 214
LIFE OF JOHN LEDYARD,
with Sampson Occumf whose story I related on this
occasion) ; but he informed us, that he had lately
taken to drink, and died drunk ; or, in the bishop's
own words, I somebody had one day given him half a
rouble, and he went out with it, %ut never returned,
and was found dead by theSide%f a Kabak.' Dined
with my friend Karamyscheff again today, who presented me, in lieu of a domestic, a young lieutenant
to go with me and buy a few things ; 'But,' said he,
' don't put any money in his hands, he will not return
it.' We had at table the wife of a clerk to Mr
Karamyscheff, whose mother was a savage from the
Tchuktchi regions, and her father a Russian. She is
a fine creature, and her complexion a good middling
color. It strengthens my opinion,N;hat the difference
of color in man is not the effect ûf any design in the
Creator, but of causes simple in themselves, which
will perhaps soon be well ascertained. It is an extraordinary circumstance, but I think I ought not on that
account to conclude, that it is not the result of natural
causes.
"August 19th. For the second time I have ob-
served, that in the wells, about twelve feet down,
there is a great deal of ice adhering to the sides. I
went this morning to see a merchant, who was the
owner of a vessel, that had passed from Kamtschatka
to different parts of the coast of America. He
showed me some charts rudely descriptive of his voyages ; says there are, onr different parts of the coast
of America, two thousand Russians ; and that, as
nearly as he can judge, the number of skins, procured
by them in that country, amounts to twelve thousand. LIFE OF JOHN LEDYARD,
215
He has a vessel at Okotsk, which leaves that place for
America next summer, a®d he offers me a passage in
her.
" Dined today with a German colonel, and after
dinner set out for the Lake Baikal, which, in the Kalmuk language, signifies the 'North Sea. The Kalmuks,
or Monguls, originally lived on the south of this lake,
towards China and Thibet. After a good and cheerful dinner with the colonel, we mounted his drosky,
with post horses, and took our departure for the lake.
After seven hours' ride over a miserable road, we arrived at the little hamlet of St Nicholas, where formerly the Russian ambassadors resided, before they
embarked to cross the lake for China. This village
has a church in it, dedicated to St Nicholas, and all
the sailors on the lake resort to it. We lodged here
through the night, and early next morning resumed
our journey, and reached the border of the lake. Here
are six or seven houses, among which the largest was
ordered to be built by the Empress for the accommodation of all strangers that pass this way ; and also a
galliot, which plies as a packet in the summer across
the lake.
" We hailed the galliot, which was at anchor in the
lake. The captain came ashore, and w7e went off
with him in a small boat, with line and lead to take
soundings ; but having only fifty fathoms of line, and
it raining very hard, we could not make much progres|.
At the distance of one hundred feet from the shore,
my whole length of line was taken up. We retired to
the house, breakfasted, and waited an hour for the rain
to abate ; but, finding it to continue, we requested the 216
LIFE OF JOHN LEDYARD.
captain to send us in his boat to Irkutsk. He complied with our request, and made us a canopy of hides
to defend us from the rain. We sent our drosky back
by the postboy, and embarked with two sailors to
row us. We passed along the margin of the lake to
the outlet, where the river Angara begins, and thence
down the river to Irkutsk, a distance of about forty-
five miles. This lake is seven hundred and sixtynine
versts (five hundred and thirteen miles) in its longest
part, and sixty versts (forty miles) in its broadest. Its
depth is said to be unfathomable. It has an annual
ebb and flux ; the one is caused by the autumnal rains,
and the other by the dry season in spring. It has
emptying into it one Hundred and sixtynine small
streams, from twenty to eighty yards wide, and three
larger ones from a quarter to half a mile wide. It has
but one outlet, by which to dispose of the redundancy
from all these influxes, and that is the river Angara,
which is a Kalmuk name. It is no more than a quarter of a mile wide, where it springs from the lake, is
very shallow, and far from being rapid.
"August 22d. The government of Irkutsk has
four provinces,, namely, Irkutsk, Yakutsk, Nartschintsk,
and Okotsk. These are divided into several districts
each. The governor sent me a surveyor, with the
latest chart of the great territory embracing these
provinces. By measurement I found its latitudinal
extent, from its southern extremity to the Icy Ocean
north, to be two thousand seven hundred versts, and
its longitudinal extent, from its western boundary to
Tchuktchi Nos, its eastern extremity at Bering's
Strait, to be three thousand nine hundred versts. LIFE OF JOHN LEDYARD.
217
" I am informed by the Governor, that the post will
not be ready for three days.
" August 23d. The commerce of Irkutsk is very
small with Europe, and consequently at present at a
very low ebb, since there is no open trade with the
Chinese, i&i nearest neighbors of a commercial character. The frontiers, between this country and China,
are principally defended by an army of Buretti, or
Kalmuk Tartars. They are mostly horsemen, like
the Cossacs in the western dominions, and amount to
more than five thousand men.    There are two con-
I
vents near this town, one of men and the other of
women, separated by a river. I observe in Siberia,
that in all the cities there is one great burying place,
and that wTherever this is (and it is commonly out of
the town), there is likewise a church, and the best
church of the place. This is but another kind of
pyramid, a large mound, or a mound modified.
" August 25th. This morning I leave town. The
land is well cultivated on the borders of the river, and
is good. Among the Buretti, or Kalmuks, I observe
the American moccasin, the common moccasin, like
the Finland moccasin. The houses of the Buretti
have octagonal sides, covered with turf, with a fireplace
in the centre, and an aperture for smoke ; the true
American wigwam, and like the first Tartar house I
sawr in this country, which was near Kazan. Mr
Karamyscheff says they have the wild horse on their
Chinese frontiers. The Buretti here ride and work
the horned cattle ; they perforate the cartilage of the
nose, and put a cord through it to guide them by.  This
28 218
LIFE OF JOHN LEDYARD.
is to be wondered at, as the country is level, and they
have vast droves of horses.
u August 2§th. Hard white frost last night, and
very cold. Run away writh by these furious unbroke
Tartar horses, and saved myself each time by jumping out of the kibitka. Thank Heaven, ninety versts
more will probably put ant end to my kibitka journeying for ever."
Such are some of the brief notes entered in his
journal, while he was at Irkutsk. He was detained
on account of the delay of the post, and made the
best use of his time in collecting such information, as
he supposed would be serviceable to him in his future
travels. The-inquiries, of which he w7as peculiarly
fond, respecting the different races of men, their origin, classification, and distinctions, were here pursued
with his customary diligence and discrimination. But
it should always be borne in mind, that he did not
intend his journal for anything more than a repository
of loose hints, which might assist his recollection,
when the occasion for using them should occur.
They were never afterwards revised, or altered, but
have been preserved in the original form, in which he
recorded them on his journey. This fact should
claim for them all the indulgence, which their incohe-
rency, or want of maturity, may seem to require.
The Lake Baikal in some respects is one of the
most remarkable bodies of wrater on the globe. Other
travellers have given its dimensions somewhat differently from Ledyard, varying from three hundred to
six hundred miles in length, and from fortyfive to sixty
miles in width where it is the broadest.    Ledyard LIFE OF JOHN LEDYARD.
219
probably measured it on the chart just mentioned. All
travellers agree, however, that the scenery around this
lake is the most picturesque, bold, and imposing imaginable. The Angara bursts out from the lake, between immense battlements of perpendicular rocks,
which, if we may judge from Bell's description of them,
surpass in grandeur the famous passage of the Potomac through the Blue Ridge at Harper's Ferry. For
about a mile after leaving the lake, there is a contins
ed rapid, extending across the whole breadth of the
stream, and admitting of no boat communication, ex-
#§pt by a narrow channel on the east side, up which
boats are towed, and propelled with poles, from the
village of St Nicholas into the lake. Around the entire circumference of the lake, and particularly on the
north, lofty and craggy mountains are seen piled one
above another, in the wildest confusion, and masses of
rock rising like towers from the very margin of the
water. Down the ravines and precipices thus formed,
the numerous tributary streams pour themselves into
this great reservoir. Pallas was inclined to believe,
that the enormous gulf, which forms the basin of the
Baikal, was caused by a violent disruption of the earth,
at some very remote period.
The Selihga, a river which empties itself into this
lake from the south, is larger at its mouth than the
Angara, where it issues from the lake. It has its
source in the Chinese dominions, and is navigable for
many miles into the interior. Another river, called
the eastern Angara, and probably larger than the
Selinga, comes in from the north. To these must be
added the contributions of more than a hundred and 220
LIFE OF JOHN LEDYARD.
sixty other streams of various sizes. It is difficult t&-
imagine, what becomes of the immense quantity of
water thus poured into the lake, when it is considered
that there is but a single outlet. The width of this
outlet Ledyard states at a quarter of a mile, but
Bell says it appeared to him a mile. In either case
the water discharged by it wêuld be in no proportion
to the quantity, which falls into the lake. In a
warmer region, as in that where the lake Tsad is
situate in Africa, the surplus might be easily disposed
of by evaporation, but in so cold a climate as that of
Irkutsk, this is hardly possible. The conjecture of an
internal communication with the great ocean, would
seem to afford the only plausible solution of the difficulty. Lake Superior contains a larger body of water,
has a small outlet, and is in a climate perhaps as cold,
but it receives comparatively slender contributions
from rivers. A similar remark may be made as to the
Caspian Sea, and the Sea of Aral. The water of the
Baikal is fresh. No bottom has ever yet been reached
bv the sounding; line. When Bell crossed it, a hu#
dred years ago, with the Russian ambassador on his
way to Pékin, a line of more than nine hundred feet
m length was let down, without touching the bottom.
The report of Professor Pallas on this point is not so
explicit, as might have been expected from a scientific
traveller. He says, that a ball of packthread, weighing more than an ounce, had been used as a sounding
line, but no  bottom   was  found.*    What length he
* " Le Baikal a une si grande profondeur dans le milieu, et sur les
côtes septentrionales, qu'on a déroulé un peloton de ficelle pesant plus
d'une once, pour sonder, sans trouver de fond." Voyages du Professeur Pallas, Tom. VI. p. 118. LIFE OF JOHN LEDYARD.
221
would assign to an ounce of packthread is not revealed
to his readers. We have seen, that one hundred feet
from the shore, Ledyard's line of three hundred feet
met with no obstruction. On all sides the shore is
bold and dangerous, with hardly an anchoring place,
except at the mouths of the large rivers. If the water
could be removed, there would probably be exposed a
cavity, or fissure, equal to the present dimensions of
the lake, and extending to a great depth into the
earth. Professor Pallas thinks the ordinary level of
the^ake was once higher, and that it flowed ovef the
low country at the mouth of the SeMnga, which is
now inhabited. No lava, or volcanic appearances, have
been noticed in the regions about the lake.
It is considered very remarkable, that the fish called
Chien de mer is found in the Baikal. This is mentioned by Pallas and Ledyard. The natural element
of this fishfis the ocean, and it is very rarely known, as
the Professor says, to enter rivers even for a small
distance. How it should get into the Baikal, a fresh
water lake at least three thousand miles from the
ocean, taking the windings of the river into the account, is deemed a problem of no easy solution, especially as this fish has never been known either in the
Yenissey, or Angara, by which the waters of the lake
pass into the Northern Sea.* He is not satisfied with
this course of migration, and would look for a more
extraordinary ca&fce, but does not venture an opinion
on the subject. The Baikal contains locals, also, whose
usual residence is in the salt water.    Whether they
* The Angara falls into the Yenissey on its way to the ocean.
fil 222
LIFE OF JOHN LEDYARD.
came up the Yenissey and Angara, is another question to be settled. Bell thinks they did. Pallas is
silent on the subject, and so is Ledyard. The skins
of these seals are preferred to those of salt water
seals. The inhabitants have a treacherous mode of
taking these animals. In winter the seals are obliged
occasionally to come up through holes in the ice for
respiration ; over these holes the seal-catcher spreads
nets, in which the unwary animal is entangled, when
he escapes from his nether element.
In the part of the journal to which we have now
come, are contained some curious speculations respecting the number of rivers in Siberia, and the quantity
of water, which is continually disembogued by them
into the Northern Ocean. On his route from Moscow
to Irkutsk, Ledyard had crossed twrentyfive large navigable rivers, whose courses were north. The Yenissey, where he passed it, runs at the rate of about five
miles an hour, and generally the rivers on the east of
the Yenissey run two or three miles in an hour swifter
than the western ones, between the Yenissey and
Moscow. He thinks these twentyfive rivers, taken
together, had an average width of half a mile where he
crossed them. He, also, ascertained that there were
twelve rivers of a similar description between Irkutsk
and Kamtschatka, making in all thirty seven. Allowing
these rivers to be twice as wide at their mouths, as at
these interior points, which is evidently a moderate
estimate, we shall have a column of water thirty seven
miles wide, and of the average depth of rivers a mile
in width, constantly flowing into the Frozen Ocean,
with a velocity of at least three or four miles an hour. LIFE OF JOHN LEDYARD.
His inference from the whole is, that such an immense body of fresh water incessantly discharged, at
points so near each other and so near the pole, must
have a sensible effect in creating and perpetuating the
ice in those latitudes. Whatever may be thought of
this theory, it is an unquestionable fact, that a
much larger quantity of water is conveyed by rivers
from Siberia into the Frozen Ocean, than runs into
the sea in any other part of the globe, within the
same compass. Whether these streams are mainly
fed by native springs, or by the melting of snows, and
whether the superabundance of these snows is produced by vapors wafted from warmer climes, are
topics of inquiry that must be left to those, who are
inclined to pursue them. Snow cannot be formed
without moisture, but where the surface of the earth
is bound in frost six or eight months in a year, there
can be little evaporation or moisture. If snow still
continues to fall and accumulate, whence is it that the
atmosphere is surcharged with the vapors necessary
for this operation ?
We left our traveller with his kibitka, on his first
day's journey from Irkutsk northward. It was now
the twentysixth of August, and the forest trees had
begun to drop their foliage, and put on the garb of
autumn. The country in the environs of Irkutsk was
well cultivated, containing fine fields of wTheat, rye,
barley, extensive pasture lands, and a good breed of
cattle. The sheep were of the large-tailed kind, such
as are found at the Cape of Good Hope, but the mutton was not well flavored.
i;fl
mm
si
liMa
hsw LIFE  OF JOHN LEDYARD.
In company with Lieutenant Laxman, a Swedish
officer, Ledyard embarked on the river Lena, at a
point one hundred and fifty miles distant from Irkutsk,
with the intention of floating down its current to
Yakutsk. This river navigation was fourteen hundred
miles. Where they entered their boat, the stream
was no more than twenty yards broad, with here and
there gentle rapids, and high, rugged mountains on
each side. They were carried along from eighty to
a hundred miles a day, the river gradually increasing
in size, and the mountain scenery putting on an
infinite variety of forms, alternately sublime and
picturesque, bold and fantastie, with craggy rocks
and jutting headlands, bearing on their brows the
verdure of pines, firs, larches, and other evergreens,
and Alpine shrubs. All the way to Yakutsk, the
river was studded with islands, recurring at short
intervals, which added to the romantic effect of the
scenery, and made a voyage down the Lena, notwithstanding its many privations, by no means an u^
pleasant trip to a true lover of nature, and a hardy,
veteran traveller. The weather was growing: cold,
and heavy, fogs hung about the riyer till a late hour in
the morning. They daily passed small towns and
ivillages, whore they went ashore for provisions, or refreshment, as occasion required.
"August 30th. We stopped at a village this
morning to procure a few stores. They killed for us
a sheep, gave us three quarts of milk, two loaves of
bread, cakes with carrots and radishes baked in them,
onions, one dozen of fresh and two dozen of salt fish,
straw and bark to mend the covering of our boat; LIFE OF JOHN LEDYARD.
225
and all for the value of about fourteen pence sterling.
The poor creatures brought us the straw, to show us
how their grain was blasted by the cruel frost, although
it had been reaped before the twentyfirst of August.
She peasants say the mountains here are full of bears
and wolves. We have seen a plenty of wild fowl,
which we shoot as we please. In the river is the
salmon-trout. The people fish with seines, and also
with spears by torchlight. This latter custom is a
very universal one ; they fish with a torch at Otaheite.
The double headed or Esquimaux paddle is used here.
" September 2d. My rascal of a soldier stole our
brandy, and got drunk, and was impertinent. I was
obliged to handle him roughly to preserve ordei.—
Fixed a little sail to our boat.
"September 4th. Arrived at the town of Keringa
at daylight, and stayed with the commandant till noon,
and was treated very hospitably. Some merchants
sent us stores. It is the custom here, if they hear of
the arrival of a foreigner, to load him with their little
services. It is almost impossible to pass a town of
any kind, without being arrested by them. They
have the earnestness of hospitality ; they crowd their
tables with everything they have to eat and drink, and,
not content with that,, they fill your wallet. I wish I
could think them as honest, as they are hospitable.
The reason why the commandant did not show his
wife, was because he was jealous of her. I have
observed this to be a prevailing passion here. The
river on each side as we pass is bounded by vast
rocky cliffs, the highest mass of rocks I ever saw.
29 m>^m
%Zb LIFE OF JOHN LEDYARD.
" September 15th. Snow squalls with fresh gales ;
up all night at the helm myself.
"September 17th. Ninety versts from Yakutsk.
Passed yesterday a very odd arrangement of rocks,
which line the margin of the river for sixty versts.
They are of talc, and appear formerly to have been
covered with earth, but are now entirely bare. They
are all of a pyramidal form, and about one hundred
and fifty feet in height ; detached at their bases, and
disposed with extraordinary regularity. These rocky
pyramids appear to terminate the long mountainous
south and east banks of the Lena, which have uniformly continued from Katchuga, where 1 first embarked on the river."
On the eighteenth of September he arrived at Yakutsk, after a fatiguing voyage of twenty two days, in
a small bateau on the Lena. During this period, he
had passed from a summer climate to one of rigorous
cold. When he left Irkutsk, it was just in the midst
of harvest time, and the reapers were in the fields ;
but when he entered Yakutsk, the snow was six
inches deep, and the boys were whipping their tops
on the ice. He debarked from his bateau two miles
above the town, and there mounted a sledge, drawn by
an ox, with a Yakuti Indian on his back, and guided
by a cord passing through the cartilage of his nose.
■■■■■ LIFE OF JOHN LEDYARD.
227
CHAPTER X.
Interview with the Commandant of Yakutsk.—Stopped at this place on account
of the advanced state of the season.—His severe disappointment at this
event.—Detained under false pretences.—Takes up his residence in Yakutsk
for the winter.—Elephant's hones on the banks of the Lena, and in other
parts of the country.—General remarks on the various tribes of Tartars in
Siberia.—Characteristics of savages in cold and warm climates.—Kalmuks
have two modes of writing.—Their manner of living.—The Yakuti Tartars.—
Influence of religion upon them.—The love of freedom common to all the
Tartars.—Their dwellings.—Intermarriages between the Russians and Tartars.—In what degree the color of descendants is affected by such intermarriages.—Peculiarities of features in the Tartar countenance.—Form and use of
the Tartar pipe.—Dress.—Difficulty of taking vocabularies of unknown languages.—Marriage ceremonies.—Notions of theology.—Practice of scalping.—
Wampum.—Classification of the Tartars and North American Indians.—
Language a criterion for judging of the affinity between the different races of
men.—Causes of the difference of color in the human race.—Tartars and
American Indians the same people.
Ledyard immediately waited on the commandant,
delivered his letter from the Governor General, and
made known his situation and designs. It was his
wish to press forward with as much expedition as possible to Okotsk, lest the wrinter should shut in before
he could reach that town, where he hoped to seize
upon the first opportunity in the spring, to secure a
passage to the American continent. The distance
from Yakutsk was between six and seven hundred
miles. Lodgings w7ere provided for him by order of
the Commandant, with whom he had already dined,
and who soon after came to see him. Imagine his
dismay, when the Commandant assured him, that the
season was already so far advanced as to render a
journey to Okotsk impossible. 8
LIFE OF JOHN LEDYARD.
" What, alas, shall I do," exclaims he in his journal,
" for 1 am miserably prepared for this unlooked for delay. By remaining here through the winter, I cannot
expect to resume my march until May, which will be
eight months. My funds ! I have but two long frozen stages more, and I shall be beyond the wrant, or
aid of money, until, emerging from the deep deserts,
I gain the American Atlantic States ; and then, thy
glowing climates, Africa, explored, I will lay me down,
and claim my little portion of the globe I have viewed ; may it not be before. How7 many of the noble
minded have been subsidiary to me, or to my enterprises ; yet that meagre demon, Poverty, has travelled
with me hand in hand over half the globe, and witnessed what—the tale I will not unfold ! Ye children
of wealth and idleness, what a profitable commerce
might be made between us. A little of my toil
might better brace your bodies, give spring to mind and
zest to enjoyment ; and a very little of that wealth,
which you scatter around you, would put it beyond
the power of anything but death to oppose my kindred
greetings with all on earth, that bear the stamp of
man. This is the third time, that I have been overtaken and arrested by winter ; and both the others, by
giving time for my evil genius to rally his hosts about
me, have defeated the enterprise. Fortune, thou hast
humbled me at last, for I am this moment the slave of
cowardly solicitude, lest in the heart of this dread
winter, there lurk the seeds of disappointment to my
ardent desire of gaining the opposite continent. But
I submit." LIFE OF JOHN LEDYARD.
229
These melancholy forebodings were but too literally
verified, as the issue will prove. In a letter to
Colonel Smith from Yakutsk, he speaks again of this
disappointment in the following manner.
I The Commandant assured me, that he had orders
from the Governor General to render me all possible
kindness and service ; ' But, Sir,' continued he, | the
first service I am bound to render you is, to beseech
you not to attempt to reach Okotsk this winter.' He
spoke to me in French. I almost rudely insisted on
being permitted to depart immediately, and expressed
surprise that a Yakuti Indian, and a Tartar horse,
should be thought incapable of following a man, born
and educated in the latitude of forty. He declared
upon his honor, that the journey was impracticable.
The contest lasted two or three days, in which interval, being still fixed in my opinion, I was preparing
for the journey. The Commandant at length waited
on me, and brought with him a trader, a very good,
respectable looking man of about fifty, as a witness to
the truth and propriety of his advice to me. This
trader, for ten or twelve years, had passed and repassed
often from Yakutsk to Okotsk. I was obliged, however severely I might lament the misfortune, to yield to
two such advocates for my happiness. The trader
held out to me all the horrors of the winter, and the
severity ôf the journey at the best season ; and the
Commandant, the goodness of his house and the society here, all of which would be at my service. The
dijficuMy of the journey I was aware of; but when 1
assented to its impracticability, it was a compliment ;
for I do not believe it is so, nor hardly anything else. 230
LIFE OF JOHN LEDYARD.
" It is certainly bad in theory to suppose the seasons
can triumph over the efforts of an honest man. The
proffered hospitality of the Commandant I have no
doubt was sincere, because in Russia generally, and
particularly in Siberia, it is the fashion to be hospitable. It is probable, also, that it is a natural principle.
I should, however, have said less to them about the
matter, had I not been without clothes, and with only
a guinea and one fourth in my purse ; and in a place
where the necessaries of life are dearer than in Europe, and clothing still dearer by the same comparison.
And, besides, the people of all descriptions here, as far
as they are able, live in all the excess of Asiatic luxury, joined with such European excesses, as have
migrated hither. Add to all these, that they are universally and extremely ignorant, and adverse to every
species of intellectual enjoyment, and I will declare to
you, that I was never before so totally at a loss how to
accommodate myself to my situation. The only consolation I have, of the argumentative kind, is to reflect,
that he who travels for information must be supposed
to want it. By being here eight months, I shall be
able to make my observations much more extensive,
respecting the country and its inhabitants, than if I
had passed directly through it ; and this also is a
satisfaction."
It being thus determined, against his opinion and
wishes, that he should not proceed, he resolved to
reconcile himself to his fate, and to make the best use
of his time, which circumstances wrould allow. He
had entered the following memorandum in his journal,
while coming down the Lena.    " Yakutsk is the last LIFE OF JOHN LEDYARD.
231
place where I shall be able to make any inquiries,
therefore let them be extensive." He now set himself earnestly to the task of complying with this injunction, and of collecting as much information as
possible. The facts and reflections, which he thought
worth preserving, are recorded in his diary without
method or connexion. It was his manner, as we have
already seen, to write down only hints, to state facts
briefly, and throw out his own remarks upon them in
language concise and unstudied. These particulars,
as heretofore, must be remembered in reading the free
extracts, which will be made from the part of his
journal written at Yakutsk.
There is some room for doubt, whether the Commandant was perfectly honest, in advising and persuading Ledyard to desist from his purpose of proceeding immediately to Okotsk. In the first place, it
was certainly not an uncommon thing to perform that
journey in the winter, and the Commandant's tender
concern for the sufferings of the traveller, who knew
what was before him, and was eager to grapple with
every hardship in the way, could scarcely be such as to
induce him, from this motive alone, to urge his delay
for eight months in Yakutsk. His bringing in the
trader to strengthen his argument, on the same benevolent grounds, is moreover a suspicious circumstance.
Ledyard yielded to their persuasions, against his will
and his judgment, and was only surprised that he
should meet two men in Siberia, entire strangers to
him, who should have his happiness so much at heart.
Again, the original letter of recommendation from
Jacobi, the Governor General of Irkutsk, to the Com-
<mm LIFE OF JOHN LEDYARD.
mandant of Yakutsk, has been preserved amongst
Ledyard's papers. It is written in the Russian language and character.* After recommending the bearer
in general terms, and stating that he wished to pass
through to the American continent, with a view of
acquiring a knowledge of that country, Jacobi adds ;
" His object seems to be, that of joining a certain
secret naval expedition ; I earnestly request you,
therefore, to receive Mr Ledyard most kindlv, and to
assist him every possible way in all his wishes, and to
forward him without the least delay to the above mentioned expedition." The passage in this letter demanding particular attention, is that in which the
Governor General enjoins it on the Commandant, with
marked emphasis, to treat him kindly, and send him
forward according to his wishes without delay. Now
if he^had given this order seriously, it would not haV&
been done, unless it was intended to be obeyed, and
Jacobi knew very well whether the journey was practicable at the season, w7hen the letter would arrive ;
and if it was in fact a serious and positive order, it is
not likely that the Commandant would have hesitated
to carry it instantly into effect. My inference is, that
there were secret instructions sent at the same time
to detain Ledyard in Yakutsk, and that the Comman-
dant for this purpose resorted to the artifice of a pretended concern for his health and comfort, that all
suspicions of any designed interference might be lulled
* A translation of this letter was procured from the Russian Legation, through the politeness of Mr Poletica, while he was minister from
the cttttrt of PetersJrarg to the United States* LIFE OF JOHN LEDYARD.
233
to sleep. It is remarkable, too, that the tetter of
recommendation was sent open, and was returnee to
Ledyard after having been read by the Commandant.
This manœuvre was artfully contrived to quiet his apprehensions, and cause him to believe, that the Governor General had taken a lively interest in his success, and was disposed to render him efficient aid. To
thii subject I shall have occasion to recur.
Meantime let us return to the occupations of the
traveller, while he was thus unconsciously a prisoner
at Yakutsk. He pursued with diligence his inquiries,
and lost no opportunity of seeking knowledge wherever he could find it, particularly on those topics,
which he was fond of contemplating. In the letter
to Colonel Smith, mentioned above, are contained
some observations, besides those ^already quoted, which
are in harmony with the writer's usual turn of mind,
and mode of expressing his thoughts.
" I cannot say, that my voyage on the Lena has
furnished me with anything new, and yet no traveller
ever passed by scenes, that more constantly engage
the heart and the imagination. I suppose no two
philosophers would think alike about them. A painter
and a poet would be much more likely to agree.
Thete are some things, however, not unworthy of a
philosophical inquiry. The Lena is very indifferent
for navigation, from this place towards Irkutsk. In
some mountains near the river are large salt mines,
which afford a supply to all the adjacent country. It
is pure, solid, transparent, mineral salt, and found in
veins. The pieces that I have seen, with the Commandant here, are six and nine inches square.    When
30 234
LIFE OF JOHN LEDYARD.
pulverized for the table, it is much the most delicate
salt I ever saw, of a perfect white, and an agreeable
taste, but I imagine not so strong by one third, as our
West India salt. There are also upon the banks of
the Lena, and àideed all over this country, great
quantities of elephants' bones. The Commandant
possesses some of the teeth of that animal, larger than
any I saw in the royal museum a% Petersburg, ^nd
they are as sound as they ever were. The hafts of
knives, spoons, and a variety of other things are here
made of them, and they equal any ivory I have seen
from Africa. If I can, h will send you a specimen of
this fine bone, and of the salt likewise. Indeed, I
want to send you many things, but it is an embarrassing circumstance, when one has correspondents in the
antipodes. *gAnd though no man could ^show more
kindness, or render more service to a traveller, than
Dr Pallas has done to me, yet I am reserved in asking
them upon all occasions. Brown and Porter, too ;—I
wonder their patience is not exhausted. It has been
as thoroughly tried, as yours was while I was at Petersburg.
" The fact is, I am a bankrupt to the world, but I
hope it will consider well the occasion of my being
such. I believe it will. My English creditors are
the most numerous, and I have great consolation on
that account, because they think and act with such
heavenly propriety. In most parts of the world, and
as much in Russia as anywhere, and in Siberia most
of all, it is the custom not to thjnk at all. In this
case it is difficult to liquidate, rationally, a receipt and
expenditure of three dinners and  a bow.    For the
SSL'iJ LIFE OF JOHN LEDYARD.
235
same reason, when I left France my accounts were
not closed, and from that day to this I know not
whether I owe France, or France owes me. But here
at Yakutsk it will be infinitely worse, and without
any violence to the metaphor, or pedantfe affectation,
I declare to you, that, td leave Yakutsk with respectability and reach Okotsk alive, will be to pass a Scylla
and Charybdis, which I have never yet encountered.
Both you, myself, and my friends, had formed at
London very erroneous opinions of the equipment
necessary to pass through this country, and particularly as to the manner of travelling. It has been the
source of alj my troubles. They have been many,
and I have done wrong to feel them so severely. I
owe the world some services, which I shall make
great efforts to perform. Make my best compliments
to my friends, and tell them that I have a heart as big
as St Paul's Church in such service as theirs."
The mistake here alluded to, in regard to the mode
of travelling, was the plan formed by himself and his
friends in London, that he should walk, as being more
economical. By experiment he proved this to have
been an ill advised scheme, for walking not only consumed a great deal more time, but the expenses in the
aggregate w7ere higher, than by the usual mode of
travelling post through those countries. In a letter
from Irkutsk he says, " It has been to this moment a
source of misfortune to me, that I did not begin to
ride post from Hamburg. I have footed it at a great
expense, besides the loss of my baggage, which I
severely feel. Never did I adopt an idea so fatal to
my happiness."    The   reason why he  viewed  this 236
LIFE OF JOHN LEDYARD.
oversight in so serious an aspect was, that it would
inevitably be the cause of keeping him back, a full
season, from his passage across the sea to the American continent, and thus in the end a whole year
would beiost. Add to this the innumerable accidents,
that might intervene to defeat his purpose altogether.
Whereas, had he proceeded by the shortest conveyance
from Hamburg to the Russian capital, he might with
great ease have reached Kamtschatka the same season. The origin of his disasters may chiefly be referred, however, te^his fit of romantic benevolence in
seeking out Major Langborn; wasting his precious
time in Copenhagen, and sharing with his erratic
countryman his scanty means, which, in their whole
amount, were scarcely enough to keep himself alone
from beggary.
I shall now bring together, in as connected a form
as the nature of the particulars will admit, Ledyard's
observations on various tribes of Tartars, with whom
he became more or less acquainted in Siberia. His
researches were desultory, but pursued with inquisi-
tiveness ; his statements are often curious, sometimes
important ; they will afford amusement to the general
reader, as well as information to the philosophical
inquirer.
£& Of ail the gradations of men, the savage is the
most formal and ceremonious, notwithstanding his
wants and occupations are few, and he can with happy
indifference endure privation. His heaven is peace
and leisure. Ceremonials, like the uninterrupted
tenor of his mind, may be supposed to be transmitted
unchanged through many generations.    Hence many
%
m'A' LIFE OF JOHN LEDYARD.
237
things, which marked the earliest period of history,
and which have left no vestige with civilized man,
show themselves at this day among savages. Their
luxuries, if such they may be called, are of that kind
which nature suggests. Dress, which in hot climates
is an inconvenience, does not become so much the object of attention and delight ; and here, therefore, the
savage is more nice in the indulgence of his appetites.
On the contrary, in cold climates, bodily cohering
being all important, ingenuity is directed to that point.
A feeble kind of infant fancy grows out of the efforts
of necessity, and displays its little arts in adorning
the person with awkward and fantastic decorations.
But here the appetites are less lively and distinguishing. With respect to food, the vilest, and that totally
unprepared, does not come amiss, and the most delicate is not seized with eagerness. Give a cake to a
Swedish Laplander, Finlander, or northern Tartar,
and he eats it leisurely ; do the same to an Otaheitan,
Italian peasant, or Spanish fisherman, and he will put
the whole cake into hi® mouth if he can. The Empress has caused houses to be built in the Russian
manner, at the expense of government, and ordered
them to be offered to the Yakuti, upon the single condition of their dwelling in them ; but they have universally refused, preferring their apparently more uncomfortable Yourtes or Wigwams.
" The Tongusians are a wandering people, living
solely by the chase. They rarely stop above two or
three days in a place. They have tents or yourtes,
made of bark, which they leave on the spot where
they have encamped.    When they march they tell 238
LIFE OF JOHN LEDYARD.
their women that they are going to such a mountain,
river, lake, or forest, and leave them to bring the baggage. They are extremely active |n the chase, and
instances have occurred in which they were found
dead, having pursued thehf game down some precipice.
" The Kalmuks, or Buretti, write their language in
columns, like the Chinese ; the Kazan Tartars from
right to left, like the Hebrews.* The reason why the
Buretti have the arfyof writing is, that they last migrated from the borders of Thibet. There is not
another Asiatic tribe in all Siberia, that write their
language, or have any remains of writing among