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Hurrah for the life of a sailor! Fifty years in the Royal Navy 1900

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Array       HURRAH   FOR   THE   LIFE
OF   A   SAILOR!    f    ~~-
H;3ffAT .#*£.
AU Rights reserved  INTRODUCTION.
Several years ago I wrote a series of articles for
the 'Boy's Own Paper,' relating some of my adventures in the Navy, and my assortment of yarns
was very favourably received by the juvenile public
for whom it was written. I am consequently encouraged to expand these, bringing the story up to
date, and illustrating the principal events, in the
hope that they will make an interesting volume,
and give some grown-up boys an idea of a sailor's
life and experiences during nearly fifty years in
her Majesty's service.
The sporting pictures in the volume have been
drawn from my rough sketches at the Studio of
Design under the supervision of Mr Harry Furniss.
I do not pretend to draw figures and animals sufficiently well for reproduction. Otherwise, the illustrations are my own, and most of them are original.
That of Fatshan Creek is slightly altered from Mr
Brierley's picture; while the " Calcutta in a Gale "
and the " Attack on the Taku Forts " are from (but a INTRODUCTION.
long way after) Mr Bedwell's spirited drawings. The
"Last of the Three Deckers," the old "Victoria," is
reproduced from a painting of mine which was exhibited in the Naval Exhibition of 1892. The pictures of Landverk, our home in Sweden, and of the
fish, are from photographs by Miss Mabel Stopford.
I take this opportunity of tendering my grateful
thanks to my old friend Chevalier De Martino, who
very kindly looked over my black-and-white drawings
of ships, junks, &c, and pointed out certain errors in
perspective which I have rectified. The drawings are
still far from perfect, but I hope that they will fulfil
their purpose of indicating the scenes they are
intended to illustrate.
A fox-hunt on the Rodney—The biter bit—With the Channel
Squadron . . . . , . .       1
Overboard at the opera—The massacre of Sinope—Flogging in
/the navy—Steering for the Crimea       . ...       8
The gallant Rodney—In a gale at Balaklava—In the trenches—
With the Naval Brigade—The Redan—The Black Sea and
Sebastopol—A letter from Sir Edmund Lyons . .17
On the way to the China station—Sea-bathing in the China Seas     3& Vlll CONTENTS.
The Coromandel fires the first shot—Three months in an open
boat—The bombardment of Canton—Chinese fire-junks—The
action of November 6—Bombardment of the Bogue Ports      .     38
Chinese rockets — A fire in the Factories — " Give 'em some
' spiritual case,' sir "—Sport in the river—A dare-devil dash
—Touch-and-go—Death of young Pearn . . .53
Chinese rank—Lin-Tsih-Sen's vainglory—Return to Hong-Kong
—Snipe-shooting in the paddy-fields—Between the devil and
the deep sea—Another fight imminent . . . .69
The opposed forces—Keppel leads straight for the junks—Battle
of Fatshan Creek—Sir Henry Keppel's account of the action
—Back at Hong-Kong—A false alarm—Hunting the pirates—
A pirate lorcha burned—The Algerine engages the pirates—A
munificent reward! . . . . .84
An ultimatum delivered—The attack—A curious casualty—The
bluejacket as connoisseur — A long spell in the river —
Napoleon's grave ...
Six weeks in England in nine years—The Wasp—Various adventures—On the rocks—Sport in Robben Island—On the lookout for slavers—Ashore on a coral reef—Our troubles continue
—A loyal coxswain—The track of the cutter—Zanzibar at last
—The Iskundah Shah—The opium eomes in handy—Back in
the Wasp—An abominable traffic ....
The ascent of the " Peter Botte "—Bermuda—Simon's Bay—A
villainous Portuguese—The man who was not—A close shave
—A sporting expedition—Sport in Albania—The Melita goes
to pieces ........    148
A race for Rio—A revolution in Peru—The murder of the President—An anxious time—A night alarm—To the coast of
Mexico—" The Tiger of Tepic "—A successful ruse .
San Salvador destroyed by earthquake—After the earthquake—
Sport in Vancouver—The soft answer—The Irishman and the
Yankee—A neat retort—A torpedo accident—The burning of
the Anita—Off Cape Horn—Home again . . .    187 X CONTENTS.
The Newfoundland fisheries—A phantom ship—A fight between
stags—Icebergs—The sailor as J.P.—The hand of Providence
—Monarch of all he surveys—Jamaica niggers in a regatta     .    208
Havana—Captain overboard !—British Honduras—Vaudouism—
President Salamon ......    224
Ignorance about the navy—The coastguard—Mr B. on his defence
—Shooting caribou—Bill Smith ....    234
RUBY,  1887-1889.
The Recife at Pernambuco—Trinidad in the South Atlantic—
The south-east station of South America—Their Lordships'
binoculars—San Bias—Sport at San Bias—The Welsh settlement of Chupat—Sport in Patagonia—The Patagonian Indian
—Cracker Bay—The Falklands .....    244
Bishop Stirling—" Down East"—The South American mission—
A hospitable estancia—Mr Walter Ross-Raleigh CONTENTS.
Rodriguez—The gale of March 1895—The chasses in Mauritius—
Sport in Mauritius—Deer-stalking—Father O'Flinagen
Reunion and Madagascar—Farquhar Island
Their strategic importance—Land-tortoises—"Wiping the Admiral's eye"       .......
Native  petitions—Bombay—Carnation  carp—The Andamans—
Sport at Colimere Point .....    305
Indian shikar—The wisdom of the elephant—A kill—A hand
some pair .....
A mixed bag—Stalking chincara
Muscat—The Garden  of Eden—The  old palace  of Darius—
Bagdad 381
Duck-shooting—A ball on board the Boadicea—Sweden . ,    341
portrait of admiral Kennedy            .           .           . Frontispiece
BATTLE  OF FATSHAN  CREEK            .                .                .                . n 87
FIGHT WITH PIRATICAL JUNKS IN MIRS BAY       .               . it 101
ALBANIA            ...... ii 167
CHARGE  OF THE  BLACK  BULL        .               .               .                . n 180
H.M.S.   LIFFEY AND  BURNING SHIP              .                .                . n 203
DRUID—"CAPTAIN  OVERBOARD!"                .                .                . m 227
ADMIRALTY HOUSE,   TRINCOMALEE                .                .                • n 305
HAULING THE  SEINE  AT BARRACKPORE   .                .                . n 311
THE  HIMALAYAS FROM DARJEELING           .                .                • n 312
THE tiger's  CHARGE          .              .              .              .              . ll 323
plan of action of nov. 6, 1856          .... 47
plan of boat action, jan. 4, 1857     .... 64
plan of the battle of fatshan creek, june 1, 1857       . 89
destruction of piratical lorcha by calcutta's pinnace   . 99
attack on the peiho forts     ..... 107
wasp ashore on a coral-reef in the mozambique channel 129
chart of the east coast of africa .... 137
tailpiece ........ 147
a glacier in smyth's channel . . . .172
druid in bon avista bay . . . . .215
the skipper painting the ruby's stern windows   .           . 223
fernando do noronha ...... 246
ruby leaving fernando do noronha            .           .           . 247
trinidad—general view          ..... 248
the monument rock, trinidad           .... 249
ruby in a pampero       ...... 254
john gilpin's ride         ...... 256
ushuwaia,  the   headquarters   of  the   south   american
MISSION              ....... 270
THE  CORPS  DE  GARDE,  MAURITIUS              .... 281
VIEW FROM MR  BATY's  GARDEN,   MAHE\   SEYCHELLES      .                . 298
LANDVERK,  OUR  HOME  IN SWEDEN             .... 347
AN EVENING'S CATCH  OF TROUT  ..... 347 s^EJM'1'- i
There is an old service yarn told of a kind-hearted
captain, addressing a youngster who had just joined
the navy, by way of encouragement, " Well, my boy,
I suppose it's the old story—• The fool of the family
sent to sea.'" "Oh no, sir," replied the lad, "things
have changed since your time!" and so they have,
and much for the better. Everything has changed
—officers, men, ships, and guns.
Fifty years ago any schoolboy of moderate acquirements could pass the requisite examination for the
navy; now I don't suppose many admirals or captains
could pass the test. The medical examination alone
is responsible for many fine lads being rejected, principally on account of eyesight; and I have known
several cases of otherwise healthy lads being turned
back on this score : not but what it is necessary that
a boy should know the difference between green and
red; but to reject him because he cannot read print
across a room, or because he has lost a tooth or two,
seems to me over-scrupulous.
Anyhow, there were no such service tests when I
joined the service on the 10th December 1851, and
was entered on the books of the Victory, to be presently transferred to the Rodney, a fine 90-gun, sailing line - of - battle ship, then lying in Portsmouth
harbour waiting for her crew. This operation often
took six months at that time, instead of as many
hours as at present. The crews were picked up
anyhow—long-shore loafers, jail-birds, and suchlike,
with a sprinkling of good seamen amongst them—
and it took the first year of the commission to knock
them into shape.
Captain Graham was an officer of the old school
and a fine seaman, and the commander, George
Randolph, one of the smartest officers of the day,
and a strict disciplinarian. It was for that reason,
I suppose, that we had sent to us, in the shape of
old midshipmen, some of the choicest specimens of
humanity it has ever been my lot to be shipmates
with. Most of them were notorious characters, who,
having failed to pass their examinations, had been
kicked out of one ship after another, and were sent
to the Rodney on probation, to be finally disposed
of according to their merits. There were nine of us
naval cadets on first entry, the total being made
up with clerks, master's assistants, and assistant-
surgeons, bringing up our complement to thirty in
the gunroom. During our long stay at Portsmouth
some of the above, having their leave stopped for
various offences, had abundant leisure to bully us
unfortunate youngsters. An account of their amusements will scarcely be credited at the present day. A  FOX-HUNT  ON  THE  RODNEY.
There were four in the gang, whose names it is
unnecessary to mention. They were all drunkards,
and were turned out of the service before the ship
went to sea. The fun (?) used to begin in the
evening, when most of the respectable members
had gone ashore. We were sent down to put on
our tail-coats and swords, and then, after being
paraded, were made to sit across chairs and attack
each other. At the order "Draw swords !" at it we
went, cutting and slashing, four on each side, the odd
one, there being nine of us, being kept in reserve,
and pitched bodily into the mdlee when the combat
was most lively. The next part in the programme
was a fox-hunt! This was the signal for us to off
coats and swords. One of the youngsters, appropriately named Fox, had a curved crumb-brush tied
on to him. Chairs and other obstacles were placed
round the tables, and off we went in full chase, one
of the party standing on the table and slashing into
us, without "partiality, favour, or affection," while
the rest of the "crew" looked on admiringly over
stiff tumblers of grog.
The proceedings were usually brought to a conclusion by prayer ! Divested of our coats and shoes,
we were made to kneel on the lockers round the
stern-ports, which were closed at that time, and at
a given signal—a blow on the back with a hammer
—we all commenced praying in a loud voice, our
prayers being brought to an abrupt conclusion by a
blow on the feet from the hammer. These prayers
were all directed to the same end — viz., that our
persecutors might pass their examinations with
credit, and rise to the highest ranks in the service!
But as our petitions were not expressed in the same THE  NAVY  AS   IT  WAS.
form, the babel of tongues can be more 'easily
imagined than described: nor were they very successful, as having on one occasion prayed for the
best part of the evening for two of this precious
gang, who were going up for their examinations
on the following day, and were both, unfortunately
for us, rejected, the result was we were flogged
all round. > It is quite likely that the fact of our
having some foul medicines (prescribed for one of
the senior members) forced into our mouths was
not conducive to devotion!
These playful "amusements" were of daily and
nightly occurrence, and glad were we when the
familiar signal, a fork stuck into a beam overhead,
gave notice that it was time for us youngsters to
retire: the rest of the evening was devoted to orgies
by the- old hands. In fact, the intemperate character
of these creatures was to us the greatest blessing,
since it was only when they were helplessly drunk
that we could hope for any peace.
I remember a night when one of them, who went
by the name of Jack, came tumbling down the hatchway in a beastly state of intoxication, closely followed by another of the gang. The pair were then
lashed up in their hammocks by the middle, and
triced up to the beams, the head and foot clews
being let go, and there they hung like the Golden
Fleece till cut down. Soon after this Jack had an
epileptic fit, and was nearly drowned in his bath,
and had to be invalided out of the service. Two
others were dismissed for drunkenness, and only
one remained. This fellow had the credit of being
the ugliest man in the service, and the claim was
not likely to be disputed.    He was seen one day THE   BITER  BIT. 5
admiring himself in the glass, exclaiming, "Well,
you are an ugly brute!" and so he was, and a
coward as well as a bully. However, his turn
was now come; he couldn't tackle us single-handed,
and we felt ourselves strong enough to turn the
tables on him, so we held a council of war in the
main-top, an8. we decided to "bell the cat" on the
first opportunity. Having conveyed our intention
to the individual, and been answered with ridicule
and threats, we armed ourselves with pieces of rope
to bind our victim, and other pieces, knotted at the
end, to punish him when bound, and quietly bided
our time. The opportunity soon arrived. There
were only five of us conspirators out of the nine,
the remaining four having declined to take part in
the operations; so one day, when he had thrashed
one of us for no cause, we sprang on the wretch as
he was leaving the gunroom, knocked him down,
and lashed him " spread-eagle " fashion to iron bolts
in the deck, and gave him such a thrashing that he
was on the sick-list for a fortnight. After every
dozen rounds, administered with a rope's-end or a
sword-scabbard, we asked him if he would leave us
alone in future; but being answered with oaths and
execrations, the punishment was continued till he
had received thirteen dozen, when he fainted and
was cast off. This quieted the scoundrel for a bit,
but he had to have another dose. This time he
armed himself with the office-ruler, with which he
felled one of our party like an ox; but we were on
to him like tiger-cats, and gave him such a dressing
that he was hors de combat for many a day. This
matter came to the commander's ears, and we were
reprimanded for taking the law into our own hands; THE  NAVY  AS   IT  WAS.
but I fancy he winked at it, knowing how the case
stood. Soon afterwards this worthy was dismissed
from the service for drunkenness.
Having thus disposed of the whole gang, I will
dismiss them from my story; but let it not be supposed that the above - mentioned crowd is a fair
specimen of the gunroom officer of that day, for we
had some fine fellows, who have since risen to the
highest posts, and are still living, a credit and an
ornament to the service. There were also others
who, though not so fortunate in that respect, were
at least harmless, and often amusing, messmates.
One had been on a brig on the West Coast of
Africa slave - hunting, and he used to relate how
he had written to his old father, a parson in the
Midlands, telling him of his terrible experience in
the brig—how they had been "running for three
days under close-reefed capstan, with the poop triced
up," and how his father had offered up thanks for
his merciful deliverance, and sent him a £5 note,
with which he went on the spree!
Being desirous of acquiring the rudiments of our
profession, we youngsters spent a good deal of time
with the boatswain, a fine old salt, who used to
entertain us with long yarns of his experiences.
One day, by way of consolation, he thus addressed
one of the youngsters who had left home and was
looking rather miserable: " Well, my boy, did your
father cry when you left 'ome ?" " No," said the boy.
" 'Ard-'arted old scoundrel! Did your mother cry ?"
"Yes." " Pore, soft-'earted old gal! Did your sisters
cry?" "Yes." "Pore, tender-'earted little fools."1 A
few days before we sailed the boatswain gave a tea-
1 This story was illustrated in ' Punch' not long ago. WITH THE CHANNEL SQUADRON.
party in his cabin in the fore-cockpit; his wife and
his wife's sister were of the party, and the cabin-boy
was giving the last finishing touches, when the bo's'n,
by way of showing off his eloquence, thus expressed
himself: "Here, boy, well hexpense with your
services, you disgustable young blackguard!"
At last the time arrived for the Rodney to put
to sea, so we were sent for a cruise in the chops of
the Channel to look for a gale of wind, and we were
not long in finding one.
Anything more miserable I cannot imagine than
an old line-of-battle ship rolling and pitching in the
trough of the sea, the gunroom ports all barred in,
and nothing but " salt horse" to eat, for in those
days we were not allowed to take any live stock to
sea. After this cruise the Rodney was attached to
the Channel Squadron. Whilst cruising with this
squadron we came very near being wrecked on
Lisbon bar. We were being towed out by a steamer
in a dead calm, but there was a terrific sea on the
bar, the hawsers parted, and we were left rolling
helplessly in the trough of the sea, and drifting
towards a most dangerous reef. The tiller broke
off short in the rudder, the rudder-head sprang, and
it seemed all over with us, when a light breeze
came up from seaward, all sail was made, and we
managed to get back into port. From Lisbon we
returned to England, and soon afterwards sailed for
the Mediterranean.
Feb. 1853.—We left Spithead in a snowstorm,
and being discovered snowballing on the poop, the
commander ordered me and another youngster to
remain there for the rest of the day and sweep the
poop clean of snow. CHAPTER II.
Notwithstanding that the Rodney was a dull sailer,
we made a capital passage, and running before a
favouring gale, we passed the Straits of Gibraltar
six days after leaving England; and had it not been
for an accident which befell us when half-way between
Gibraltar and Malta, we should have made a record
passage for a sailing-ship. She was running before
a heavy westerly gale at the rate of 12 knots an
hour, when about midnight the hawse-plugs (blocks
of wood to plug up the hawse-pipes where the cable
passes through) were washed in, and an immense
body of water rushed in and flooded the lower deck.
The pace of the ship through the water made it
impossible to go forward to plug the pipes, and the
sea poured down the hatchways into the cockpit and
holds, and she became nearly water-logged, and in
danger of foundering with all hands.
On deck the uproar was awful: rain was coming
down in torrents, and the wind roaring, so that it
was impossible to hear the orders of the officers.
The ship was running under close-reefed main topsail and reefed fore-sail. All hands were piped to
"save  ship"—one  watch to  shorten  sail, and  the OVERBOARD  AT  THE  OPERA.
watch below to man the pumps. It was decided
to bring the ship to the wind, to stop her way
through the water, always a dangerous operation in
a gale of wind, and, to make matters worse, we were
known to be in the vicinity of the much-dreaded
Sorelli rocks, where H.M.S. Avenger was lost with
all hands. However, it had to be done. The captain,
commander, and master, were among the best seamen
in the service; the ship was brought-to, when bang
went the main top-sail, blown clean out of the bolt-
ropes, and disappearing in the pitchy darkness to
leeward. Meantime the decks were scuttled in
several places, to let the water into the hold; the
chain pumps clanked merrily round, and the ship
was saved.
We reached Malta a few days later, eleven days
from England, and joined the squadron there assembled under Vice-Admiral Sir James Dundas.
Here we remained four months, enjoying ourselves
as midshipmen are so well able to do — riding,
boating, and a turn at the opera when our funds
admitted it.
An absurd adventure happened to two of our
men at this opera. They were in the gallery, and
were both considerably the worse for liquor, when
one of them fell over the railing into the pit. His
chum, under the impression that he had fallen
overboard, took off his coat and went after him.
Wonderful to relate, neither of them was killed.
One broke his leg; the other was unhurt.
, We were not sorry when the time came to leave
Malta, and shaping our course to the eastward,
anchored in Besika Bay, at the entrance to the
Dardanelles.     Here we were joined  by the French 10     INCIDENTS  LEADING  UP  TO   THE  CRIMEAN   WAR.
fleet, and together we remained for several months,
idling our time, so it seemed to us, and varying
the monotony by fraternising with our French
friends. Our captain always took a great interest
in his youngsters, and amongst other things made
us keep an account of our expenditure, which he
said would be useful to us in after-life. We used
to assemble in his cabin every month with ou*r
books, which were carefully balanced to the last
farthing—mostly cooked up with fictitious items.
But one day he sent for us without any warning,
—whether he had a touch of gout or not I don't
know, but this is what he said : " I 've sent for
you youngsters to tell you that your accounts, are
a  d d set of lies  from beginning to end," and
turning to Captain Randolph, he added, " Masthead the young blackguards!" and up we went,
two to each mast-head, the rest on the bitts, till
night. The captain then manned his galley and
went aboard the French flagship to point us out.
After a long spell at Besika, we got orders to
pass the Dardanelles and proceed to Constantinople.
The ship had to be towed up, as the current runs
strong; but Captain Graham in the Rodney and
Symonds of the Arethusa frigate tried to beat up,
an impossible feat, so both ships got ashore, and
had to be towed off again. However, in due course
we reached our destination, and anchored in Beikos
Bay, opposite Therapia, where the combined fleets
made a goodly show.
It was here that we got news of the destruction
of a Turkish and Egyptian squadron of seven
frigates in Sinope Bay, on the south side of the
Black  Sea, by a Russian fleet of six ships of the THE  MASSACRE   OF   SINOPE.
line. This action, commonly known as the massacre
of Sinope, took place on 30th November 1853, and
is justly considered the most disgraceful episode
in the history of the Crimean War. For ten days
before the battle it was known that the Russian
ships had put to sea from Sebastopol, and were
blockading the Turkish squadron in the Bay of
Sinope, although war had not been declared between them. The Turkish commander had sent
despatches overland to Constantinople asking for
assistance; but nothing was done, and on the day
mentioned Admiral Nachimoff demanded the surrender of the squadron, which was indignantly
refused, when a terrible battle ensued. The Turks
and Egyptians, although greatly overmatched,
fought their ships till they sank or blew up. It
was said that in some instances the captains blew
up their ships, preferring death to dishonour; others
went down with their colours flying; but even if
they struck their colours, it made no difference to
the Russian admiral, who continued the slaughter
till the whole squadron was destroyed writh the
exception of one steamer, the Taif, which made her
escape and brought tidings of the disaster to Constantinople. It is said that 4000 Turks and
Egyptians were killed on this occasion, and that
the few who survived were wounded.
Whilst these events were happening a powerful
fleet of English and French ships was lying idle
in the Bosphorus. On receipt of the news we
proceeded with the squadron to Sinope, for what
purpose is not very clear, seeing that the mischief
had been done, and the Russian ships had returned
to   Sebastopol;   and   even   if we  had  intercepted 12      INCIDENTS  LEADING   UP  TO   THE  CRIMEAN  WAR.
them, we could have done nothing, as we were
not at war.
At Sinope we found abundant traces of the conflict : quantities of wreckage and dead bodies strewed
the shore, and guns and anchors were blown far
inland by the force of the explosions. After a
short stay we returned to the Bosphorus, and on
the 28th March 1854 war, was declared with Russia,
and the combined fleets sailed for Odessa.
On arrival off Odessa the steamers of the combined fleets were detailed to shell the place, the
line-of-battle ships remaining at anchor in the
offing, as the forts were not considered of sufficient
importance to require their attention. The Arethusa,
a beautiful 50-gun frigate, also took part in the
bombardment,-manoeuvring in front of the batteries
in the most graceful way.
The bombardment over, the fleet put to sea,
and after cruising for some days off Sebastopol to
try and tempt the Russians to come out, bore up
for Varna and anchored in Balchic Bay, which
became our headquarters for some months, whilst
preparations were made for the invasion of the
Our life at this place was somewhat monotonous,
varied occasionally with some midshipmen's pranks,
which were not always creditable. One day a
couple of us landed to practise with a revolver,
and we had the misfortune to shoot a .horse: the
poor animal kicked up his heels and rolled over
dead. Some Turks, hearing the shot, at once
gave chase; but we were too nimble for them,
and escaped to the beach and so on board, where
we remained for a week in fear and trembling, but FLOGGING  IN  THE  NAVY. 13
we heard no more about it. Another time we were
attacked in a village by three savage dogs, one
of which I killed, while I wounded another; but
we had to fly for our lives, and took refuge in a
barn, from which we with difficulty escaped. None
of these escapades came to the ears of our commander, or we should not have been allowed ashore
again. In those days discipline was maintained
with much more severity than it is at present.
Men were flogged for offences which are now met
with stoppage of grog and leave. I have seen
half a launch's crew receive forty-eight lashes for
drunkenness, and the gunroom steward who supplied
them with grog was served in the same way. No
doubt in war-time it is necessary to be more
severe, and in those days the men were not so
perfectly disciplined as they are now, nor so well
educated or respectable ; nevertheless, it is a good
thing for the service and the country that flogging
is abolished in the army and navy, for there is no
doubt the liberty to use it was often grossly abused.
Some captains have been known to have flogged
every man in the ship. Men used to be flogged
for not coming down smartly enough from aloft,
and suchlike trivial offences, by brutal officers.
My opinion is that an officer who cannot maintain
discipline without flogging is unfit for command.
I have heard of some amusing cases where the
tables have been turned on some of these tyrants.
A small craft was paid off at Devonport many
years ago, on her return from the West Coast of
Africa. Nearly all the ship's company had been
flogged during the commission. The captain was
taking a walk up one of the streets of Devonport 14     INCIDENTS   LEADING  UP  TO  THE  CRIMEAN  WAR.
when an old woman came up to him and said, " Be
you Captain ?"
I Yes, my good woman ; what can I do for you ?"
"Take that! for flogging my son," said she, at the
same time whipping out a hake-fish and " letting him
have it" across the face.
There is an old service yarn of a frigate captain,
a notorious bully, who, not content with using the
foulest language all round, abused his officers in the
same manner. One day the second lieutenant went
up to him, and touching his cap in the most deferential
manner, called the captain all the names he could
think of. The skipper, exasperated beyond measure,
shouted out to several officers who were on deck
to come round, and called upon the officer to repeat
his language, when he altered his tune, and began
some long rigmarole on matters of quite a different
tenor: as there were no witnesses, the captain could
do nothing.
This same skipper was also served a neat trick
by his clerk, who had long suffered from his abuse.
The captain was a small man, the clerk a big, powerful
fellow; so one day he went into the captain's cabin,
knocked him down, and gave him a good thrashing.
The skipper yelled for help, and the sentry rushed in;
but the clerk threw himself on the deck, and dragged
the captain on the top of him, at the same time
shouting for assistance. The only evidence was the
sentry's, and he said that all he saw was the captain
on the top of the clerk, apparently striking him.
This was vouched for to me by an officer who
was in the ship at the time, and I give it as it was
told me.
No one would object to flogging when properly STEERING  FOR  THE  CRIMEA. 15
applied for brutal and cowardly assaults on women
and suchlike, any more than they would to birching
in schools when deserved. I speak feelingly, having
been twice well flogged—once for a most innocent
remark: when our master's wife presented her husband with a son, I asked if the babe had a stiff
leg like his father I The other occasion was perhaps
well deserved, for some of us threw a pail of water
over the master's daughter in bed. She had changed
rooms that night with her brother, for whom the
douche was intended.
To go back to my story.
Whilst lying in Balchic Bay the fleet was visited
by a most terrible attack of cholera, which decimated
the crews of some of the ships, especially the three-
deckers, which were more crowded: some ships lost
over 100 men, and the whole fleet, English and
French, put to sea to get clear of it. In the mean
time transports full of troops were collecting at
Varna, and by the end of August we were nearly
ready for a start. The Turkish squadron now joined
us, making altogether a grand flee't of thirty line-
of-battle ships, besides frigates and steamers, which
with the transports made up the large total of some
300 vessels assembled in the bay. On the evening
of September 6 the French and Turkish fleets put to
sea, and were joined by the English the next day,
the combined fleet steering for the Crimea, the
sailing-ships in tow of steamers, making altogether
a magnificent display.
We had fine weather across the Black Sea, and
arrived without accident at Kalamita Bay on the
14th September. For the next three days we were
hard at work from 3 a.m. till 9 p.m. disembarking 16     INCIDENTS   LEADING  UP  TO   THE   CRIMEAN  WAR.
troops, guns, and stores. Five hundred marines
were also sent to take possession of Eupatoria.
On the 19th September we all shifted berth and
anchored off the Alma, when we observed the
Russian army on the heights. I do not propose
to touch on the subsequent operations on land,
except so far as they concerned the navy. This is
a matter of history, and has been often well described. The battle of the Alma was fought on
20th September; we had a view of it from the mastheads of the ships. The same evening the Russians
retreated into Sebastopol, leaving the Allies in possession of the heights. For several days following
we were busy embarking the wounded on board the
transports, after which we shifted berth and anchored
off the river Katcha, the steamers exchanging shots
with the batteries of Sebastopol. The Agamemnon,
Sir Edmund Lyons' flagship, proceeded to Balaklava,
each ship sending 100 marines to form the garrison.
The London, a fine 90-gun ship, also went there and
landed some of her guns, each ship sending six from
her upper-deck battery. A naval brigade, consisting
of three captains, two commanders, several lieutenants,
mates, and midshipmen, with a proportionate number
of men, was also landed, and we heard no more of
them until our commander, Randolph, and one of our
mates returned to the ship with cholera.
The steamers of the fleet now engaged the batteries
daily with the object of obliging the Russians to keep
them manned. 17
On the 14th of October we heard, to our great
delight, that the ships were to participate in the
bombardment. All was now excitement on board,
clearing for action; top hamper was sent down, '
splinter-nettings got up overhead and between the
guns, spare shot got up from below, and all lumber
cleared away.
Early on the morning of the 17th October 1854
we were woke up by a most awful din, the roar of
hundreds of guns. The fleet was ready, and only
waited the signal to weigh. Each sailing-ship had a
steamer told off to tow her into action.
The Spiteful, a paddle-wheel steamer of six guns,
was lashed alongside the Rodney, and by noon we
were all under weigh, and a beautiful sight it was
to see the fleet standing in for the forts* in line of
battle. As I had never been under fire before—
which is not surprising, seeing that I was but sixteen — I watched the proceedings with the most
intense interest, and having the good fortune to be
the commander's A.D.C., I had a fine view from the
poop. It was arranged that the French ships were
to engage the south forts, the English the northern. 18
The Frenchmen having slightly the start of us, got
into action before us. As we approached the forts,
we beat to quarters and manned the starboard guns,
as it was on that side we were to engage, the Spiteful
being on the port side. Our upper deck was almost
clear, most of the guns and the men belonging to
them being on shore with the Naval Brigade.
The officers on the poop were the captain, the
commander (who, being too ill to stand, was carried
up in a chair), the master, David Craigie, a fine old
Scotsman, the captain's clerk, and myself and signalman. The boatswain was on the forecastle with a
few of his men. We had not been long under weigh
when a round-shot cut away part of the main rigging, and a plunging shot crashed through the poop
between the clerk and myself, covering us with
splinters, but doing us no harm. Captain Randolph
asked us if we were hurt. Another shot lodged in
the poop netting, just alongside of us, and a shell
burst in the dingey, which was stowed on the booms,
blowing her to pieces. All this time we could make
no reply, as the forts from their elevated position
could reach us before we got into range; besides
which it was calm, and the smoke hung so that
we could not make them out. However, we got
into a good position at last, and opened fire from
our starboard broadside. The roar of the guns was
awful, and it was impossible to hear any orders;
but my duty as A.D.C. kept me continually on the
move carrying messages to all parts of the ship.
We had been at it some time when a boat came
from the Agamemnon to say she was in need of
support and being much knocked about, so we at
once weighed and went to her assistance, anchoring
t h
close under her bows, so that our jib-booms crossed.
By this means we took some of the fire from the
Agamemnon on to ourselves, and enabled her to
haul off for repairs. At 4.30 p.m., our stern cable
being shot away, the Rodney swung stern on to
the shore and grounded, in which position we were
faked by the forts,'and could only reply with our
stern guns. The Spiteful, being unable to move us,-
was now cut adrift and sent ahead to tow, but failed,
as the hawsers parted, and she herself was exposed
to a heavy fire while so doing. Our position was
now most critical. Darkness was coming on, and
the rest of the fleet had returned to the anchorage,
leaving us the sole mark for the enemy's fire, of
which they were not slow to take advantage. Shot
and shell raked us fore and aft; some of the former,
being red-hot, set fire to the ship in several places,
but the fire was promptly extinguished by the well-
disciplined crew. Fortunately most of the shot flew
high, striking the upper deck, where there were few
men, or crippling the masts and yards. One shell
burst in the foremast, making such a hole that it was
wonderful the mast did not go over the side. The
Spiteful had her maintop-mast shot away, and received much damage in her hull. All this time the
men worked splendidly, and the orders of the officers
were promptly obeyed; but this availed nothing, and
the destruction of the ship seemed certain. Our
signals of distress could not be seen by the Admiral
owing to darkness, and we must have abandoned
the good old ship, when to our joy we saw the
Lynx, a smart little gun-vessel, coming to our
assistance. She came under our bows in beautiful
style,   engaging  the  forts  with  her  big  Lancaster 20
gun, and took our last remaining hawser. (Captain
Luce of the Lynx was promoted for this gallant
action.) The Spiteful was now again lashed alongside, both vessels went full speed ahead, and at
7.30, it being then pitch dark, the Rodney floated
and was saved, Our damages, though serious, were
nothing to what might have been expected under
the circumstances. The hull was a good deal cut up,
and two lower-deck ports were knocked into one, and
the masts in a tottering state; but our casualties
were small, owing to the elevation of the Russian
guns. The Spiteful suffered severely during the
time she was not protected by the Rodney's hull.
Some of the other ships lost heavily and were much
damaged, especially the Albion, Arethusa, Sans-
pareil, and Agamemnon, the two former being
ordered to Constantinople for repairs.
For the next fortnight we were busy repairing
damages and refitting; but it seemed a pity we did
not have another rub in at the forts, which were
a good deal knocked about and many of the guns
On the 14th November it blew a terrific gale from
the south-west, accompanied by a very heavy sea,
and as the Katcha, where we anchored, was an open
anchorage, we were on a lee shore. Many fine transports were lost along the coast. At Balaklava almost
every ship was driven ashore or went down at her
anchors, and at the Katcha thirteen ships parted
their cables and were driven on shore: only one of
them, the Lord Raglan, was ever got off again. This
vessel was lying near us, and was saved by a fine
piece of seamanship: as she had parted one cable,
her captain cut away his main and mizzen masts, the IN  A  GALE  AT  BALAKLAVA.
result being that when his remaining cable parted,
the wind, catching the fore-mast, canted her round,
and she flew before the gale, with a man at the
wheel, and steering for a sandy beach, ran up high
and dry, instead of drifting broadside on as the others
had done. This ship was got oh after a month's
hard work, when she was uninjured. It was a sad
sight to see so many fine ships drifting ashore with
no possibility of helping them. The moment they
struck the masts went over the side, and the sea
made a clean breach over them. We expected our
turn to come every moment, and preparations were
made to cut away the masts should it be necessary.
A mountainous sea was running, line-of-battle ships
pitching bows under, with their rudders clean out of
water, and straining at their cables, which tautened
out fathoms ahead. We shipped one sea over the
bows which swept aft and flooded the captain's cabin.
Close by us on the starboard side was a large transport crowded with women and children, whose cries
for help could plainly be heard, but no help could be
given them. This ship, however, rode out the gale.
The Sampson, a paddle-wheel frigate, was steaming
ahead at her anchors, when two merchant - ships
drifted down on her, totally dismasting her; but she
held on, and the two went ashore, leaving the
Sampson a wreck. The Terrible, another fine paddle
steamer of great power, steamed out to sea in the
teeth of the gale. It was a curious thing that not a
single man-of-war went ashore at this anchorage,
though some of them parted their cables.
During the height of the gale a Turkish line-of-
battle ship, which was anchored right ahead of us,
cut  away her masts, as the ship was dragging her 22 THE  BOMBARDMENT  OF  SEBASTOPOL.
anchors : the wreckage drifted down across our bows,
and the rigging got foul of our cables, which caused
us to drag, so we let go two more anchors, which
brought us up. We could hear the Turks singing
out to Allah to help them : luckily for us, she drifted
no farther.
It was fortunate that this gale did not happen a
week or so earlier, before we had time to repair our
damaged spars, as some of us must have been dismasted. As soon as the gale abated we devoted our
attention to the ships on shore, each ship sending one
or more boats to their assistance. It was not much
that we could do beyond saving the crewTs; but the
proceedings were enlivened by the Cossacks, who
amused themselves by firing on us from the cliffs
overhead until some shells from the inshore squadron
dispersed them.
Whilst employed on this duty, Purvis1 and I had a
narrow escape of being blown up. We were on board
the Ganges transport saving what we could out of
her, wThen we discovered her to be on fire. The first
intimation we had of it was seeing the flames rushing
up the fore-hatch. As the cargo consisted of gunpowder and spirits, we lost no time in getting our
men into the boat. Some of the men had broached
the cargo and were drunk, and we had some difficulty
in finding them. At last we got them all but one,
when we were obliged to shove off from the ship, as
the flames were bursting through her sides, and it was
-too hot to remain alongside. Still no sign of the
missing man, when at last he appeared through the
smoke, fairly sober, so we hailed him to jump overboard, and we fished him up and gave way as hard as
1 Now Admiral J. C. Purvis. IN   THE  TRENCHES.
we could. We had not gone more than a couple of
hundred yards when the ship blew up with a terrific
explosion, her spars and burning timber falling into
the water around us.
For a month after this we were employed on board
the Lord Raglan, which we got afloat, and some
years afterwards I again met this ship at Hong-
About this time we heard of the death of one of
our midshipmen, Karslake, whose head was carried off
by a round-shot in the trenches. He was a gallant
young fellow, and universally popular. Our worthy
old captain, Charley Graham, now invalided, and
returned home, his place being taken by Captain
King of the Leander. We were sorry to lose our
kind-hearted old skipper, who looked after us youngsters like a father. He was rather eccentric, and his
language was not always parliamentary, but that was
the fashion in those days.
The winter had now set in with great severity : all
the sailing-ships were ordered home except the Rodney and Vengeance, which were shifted into a creek
and moored head and stern. During this time we
had several opportunities of seeing our shipmates
who were serving in the trenches, as they were able
to run down and come on board, where they were
sure of a hearty welcome, a dry bed, and such fare as
the poor state of our commissariat could provide.
We were also able to pay them a visit and see how
they were getting on. The weather was now bitterly
cold, the ground covered with snow many feet deep,
and the poor fellows endured great hardships. From
this time till the beginning of April our work was
most monotonous—clearing transports, towing dead 24
bullocks out to sea, and taking despatches out to the
Admiral, who was lying off Sebastopol. All this had
to be done in sailing-boats, often in very heavy
On 11th April a contingent of one lieutenant, two
midshipmen, and 200 bluejackets was ordered to the
front to reinforce the Naval Brigade. I had the good
fortune to be of the party, and on the 12th we
started for the camp, escorted by the band playing
lively airs. We were lodged m the Rodney's hut
pro tern, until we could get tents The hut being the
property of the wardroom officers, there was no room
for mids. The next day I had my first taste of the
trenches : my turn for duty came on at 6 p.m., and I
remained there till 9 p.m on the following day —
twenty-seven hours of the most miserable time I ever
experienced. Sleep was out of the question, for I was
running messages all through the night, and the shot,
shell, and rifle-bullets flying about kept things lively.
At daybreak the firing increased, and continued till
sundown. One soon got used to it, but at first it was
rather trying, and I expected to be killed any moment. The excitement, however, kept one going, and
one soon ceased to trouble about it, though reminded
now and then by some poor fellow being struck down
by one's side.
In camp we had plenty to do: there were four of
us mids, about sixteen years of age; we had two
tents between us, so we paired off. We were never
at home together, one being in battery whilst the
other busied himself about the tent. First we had
to dig it out, which gave us much more room; then
we dug a trench round outside to carry off the water.
We made lockers and stow-away places, with powder- WITH  THE  NAVAL  BRIGADE.
cases for water, and to keep our little comforts.
Beds we had none, so we lay on the ground wrapped
in our blankets for the first six weeks, after which
we got stretchers, which we raised from the ground,
and so by degrees we shook down. It was a stirring life, and no fear of being monotonous; and as
to being killed, I don't think we ever gave it a
thought after the first day or two. By degrees we
added a few luxuries to our stock, and then we each
bought a pony and rode into Balaklava for provisions, &c. We built a capital stable with sandbags, a kitchen, and a place for fowls. The weather
changed for the better: it became rather too hot,
and in the batteries terribly so, and dusty, but our
tents were tolerably cool.
Occasionally we would ride out to the Tchernaya
and get a bathe in the river, riding our ponies barebacked into the limpid water. One day we made
up a picnic party and rode over to the Monastery
of St George. I was galloping downhill at a breakneck pace, when I came into collision with a Frenchman mounted on a great, heavy cart-horse. The
result was disastrous. My pony and I were capsized,
and rolled over each other down the hill j I was
picked up insensible, and when I came to, found
myself in a tent with a broken nose and my head
being bathed by some kind soldiers.
Hitherto I had been detailed for duty in what was
called the "right attack"; but in May I was shifted
to the left attack, or what was then called the
Greenhill battery, where I remained for the rest of
my time in the Naval Brigade.
On 17th June I was in battery all night as
usual, and at daylight we opened a heavy fire on m
the Russians, as it was intended to celebrate the
anniversary of Waterloo by an assault on the Redan
and Malakoff. The Russians replied with shot for
shot, and the storm of shell and whizzing of rockets
was most awful, and the roar deafening. After two
hours of this work we ceased firing, the signal was
given for the storming-party to advance, and the
rattle of musketry commenced. The valley between
us and the enemy was enveloped in thick fog, so we
could see nothing, but presently the firing slackened
and ceased : we could not tell what had happened,
but hoped our fellows had been successful, so we
gave them some hearty cheers by way of encouragement. By degrees the fog lifted, when, to our
intense sorrow, we discovered that our people had
been repulsed. There was the Redan looking as
grim as ever, its slopes dotted with many a redcoat,
with here and there a bluejacket beside him, the
sailors having been told off to carry the scaling-
ladders. Outside the Malakoff, the Frenchmen, conspicuous by their red trousers, lay even thicker.
It was a sickening sight. At 8 a.m. we returned
to camp to learn the melancholy news. About ten
officers and sixty of our bluejackets were killed and
wounded. I saw the last of a fine young fellow,
Lieutenant Kidd : he was shot through the lungs,
and lived for an hour after we carried him to his
tent. The Rodney had suffered severely, several of
our best men being killed with the scaling-ladders,
and also in the trenches. One of our guns burst
in the battery, killing every man at the gun. The
captain of the gun lay dead at his post, and round
about were the mangled and blackened corpses of
his crew. THE  REDAN.
There was a mortar battery close by ours, and I
strolled over to see the artillerymen firing their
mortar, when a shell burst just over the parapet,
taking off one man's head as clean as though it
had been done with an axe, and disembowelling
another, whose screams were awful to hear. I crept
back to my station without delay. During all this
time we lived on ship's rations and no extras; ship's
pork, which we had to cook ourselves; ship's biscuits,
and a glass of rum every twenty-four hours. I was
sitting under the lee of the parapet munching my
grub one day; alongside me was a fine young bluejacket, when a shell burst over our heads. A piece
hit him on the thigh; he was carried to the rear,
and was dead before night. Even a slight wound
generally mortified owing to hospital gangrene,
due to overcrowding, and possibly deficient medical
The day after the failure of the Redan, I was sent
to the hospital to collect limbs which were being amputated : it was a ghastly sight to see the doctors,
with sleeves rolled up, cutting off legs and arms,
and throwing them away, to be taken off and buried
in quicklime; but such sights as these soon make
one callous, even when young.
About the end of June I had to return to the ship
with an attack of cholera, which carried off so many;
but I soon recovered, and as there was not much
for me to do on board the Rodney, Admiral Sir E.
Lyons transferred me to the Sphinx, a paddle steam
sloop, mounting six guns, so that I should see more
active service. We soon afterwards sailed for Eupa-
toria, and from thence to Perekop, when we returned
to Sebastopol, and remained there till the place fell 28
on the 8th September. From the anchorage we
had a splendid view of the whole thing—the burning of the south side, the retreat of the Russians
to the north, followed by the blowing up of the
southern forts—a glorious sight.
Soon after the fall of Sebastopol the Sphinx was
ordered to Constantinople with despatches. We
made a fine run down, and after colliding with a
ship and knocking her bowsprit out of her, anchored
in the Golden Horn.
The entrance to the Bosphorus from the Black
Sea is very 'deceptive, and iri thick weather it is
difficult to distinguish between the real entrance
and a false one lying a little to the northward. By
this mistake two Egyptian frigates were lost with
all hands. It was blowing a gale at the time, and
they only discovered their error when too late.
After a short spell at Constantinople we were
ordered to rejoin the fleet with all despatch, so,
taking a collier in tow, we picked them up at
anchor off Odessa. All the ships were cleared for
action with springs on their cables. On October 14
the combined fleet weighed, and anchored the same
evening off Kinburn.
The defences of Kinburn consisted of three forts,
the largest mounting fifty guns, the others about
twenty guns each. Standing on a low spit of land,
they would have been formidable against a small
force, but stood no chance against the enormous
fleet opposed to them. On the night of the 14th the
gunboats of the squadron ran through a passage and
took up a position inside the spit in rear of the forts.
Next morning one of them came out again to rejoin
the fleet, and was fired upon by the nearest fort, so THE  BLACK  SEA  AND   SEBASTOPOL.
we weighed in the Sphinx and stood in to draw the
fire off the gunboat and exchanged shots with the
fort. We were then recalled by signal and returned
to our anchorage. The following morning our captain, Eardley-Wilmot, who was eager for the fray,
asked permission to " shift berth," and on the signal
being affirmed, got under weigh, beat to quarters,
and commenced firing on the forts without orders.
After the exchange of several shots we were recalled.
The 16th it blew a gale of wind, so nothing was
done but on the 17th, the anniversary of the bombardment of Sebastopol, the welcome signal was made
to prepare for action, and at noon we weighed and
stood in for the batteries in majestic style
The Russians, though quite overmatched, opened
a spirited fire as we advanced, to which the ships
vouchsafed no reply till they had anchored in line
parallel with the shore, when they discharged their
broadsides with a deafening roar. In an hour's time
the forts were completely silenced, being crushed
from the first by the overwhelming fire. When the
signal was made to cease firing, and the smoke had
cleared away, all that was to be seen was a heap of
ruins. A boat was sent in wTith a flag of truce, and
soon returned with the news that the place had
With the fall of Kinburn the operations in the
Black Sea were concluded. We remained a few
days to embark wounded Russians, and then returned to Sebastopol. Whilst there I had the
opportunity of visiting the camp and the south side
of the city, with the ruins of the forts and docks.
One could understand how it was the Redan and
Malakoff held out so long; for the immense strength I
of the structure was apparent when one was inside,
the parapets being of enormous thickness and height
compared with ours, besides which, the Russians had
bomb-proof shelters, where they retired whenever
our fire was too warm to be pleasant.
In November 1855, the war being over, I was
delighted when the Admiral transferred me to the
Algiers, in which 'ship I returned to England after
an absence of four years.
It has often occurred to me that the part played
by the Rodney during the bombardment of Sebastopol
was never properly acknowledged. Since writing
these reminiscences, I have been much pleased to see
in Captain Eardley - Wilmot's interesting - Life of
Lord Lyons,' that he, at all events, did fully appreciate her share in the day's work, as the following
quotations will show.
Captain Eardley-Wilmot writes : " Captain Graham
in the Rodney gallantly brought his ship as close
as possible to the Agamemnon and anchored on her
starboard bow—-in fact, the two ships were in contact,
and the Agamemnon had to haul astern to clear. At
a quarter-past five the Agamemnon slipped her cable
and backed astern, the Rodney being aground just
ahead of her. That ship got off, however, shortly
But the following letter from Admiral Sir Edmund
Lyons to Captain Graham, written two days after
the action, is conclusive. Quoting again from the
' Life of Lord Lyons,' I find :—
My dear  Graham,—The  more I think  of   the   noble
bearing of the Rodney when she came down to succour the A   LETTER  FROM   SIR   EDMUND  LYONS.
Agamemnon and the Sanspareil, the evening before last, the
more I admire it, and the more I feel obliged to you and the
fine fellows under your command, and I am very anxious
you should do yourself, and them, justice in the letter you
write to report that the ship touched the ground. That you
will give a plain statement of facts, and that that statement
of facts will reflect honour upon all of you, are two things
quite certain; but you must take care that you do not write
as if you were defending yourself against a presumed mistake
or error of judgment, when in truth all was honourable to
your professional knowledge and pluck.
Lookers-on generally see things in the ensemble better than
those actually engaged, and what appears to me to have been
the case was simply as follows : You came down to the succour
of the Agamemnon and Sanspareil, which ships were sorely
pressed by the four batteries with which they had been
engaged for more than three hours. You gallantly steered
so as to be between them both, and take the fire from them;
but at the critical moment the Sanspareil forged ahead, and
you, in order not to get on board her, and at the same time
determined not to swerve from your resolution of supporting
us by getting as near to the large battery as possible, backed
astern, and ranged past, outside of the Agamemnon obliquely,
and when the Rodney's bow was parallel with the Agamemnon's bow, you very judiciously, both as to time and place,
let go your anchor; but as the ship swung with her stern a
- few yards nearer the forts than the Agamemnon, she tailed
on the ground.
The Agamemnon, quite unaware of your being aground, but
finding you close athwart her hawse, the jib-guys touching,
and hampered with the steamer alongside of you, a steamer—
the Spiteful, I believe—that seemed to be doing her work
admirably, apprehending the two ships might fall on board
of each other, and get on shore together (for the Agamemnon
had only two feet of water under her keel all day), slipped her
bower and steamed astern out of your way. It was getting
dusk, and I made a sweep to get another lick at the two
batteries that had been cutting me up all day.    I saw no 32
more than a signal from you that you wanted a steamer,
which I repeated to two or three close to me.
But though I did not see what occurred on board the
Rodney after I hauled astern of her, I know that nothing
could be more honourable and creditable to all on board than
the measures taken to extricate her from the perilous position
in which she was Nothing could be finer than the way in
which the men at the after-quarters kept up a strong fire
upon the large battery within 800 yards of you, whilst those
at the foremost quarters weighed the anchor, and all this
under a tremendous fire from three or four forts.
These things should be known, for they reflect honour, not
only on those immediately concerned, but upon our glorious
profession generally. And it is my fear that your modesty
may stand in the way of their being known that induces me
to write my views of the matter.—Yours sincerely,
Edmund Lyons.
Captain Eardley-Wilmot goes on to say : " This
letter explains why the Agamemnon moved away
from the Eodney, upon which action of the former,
Kinglake, who in 1873 endeavoured without success
to get access to Sir Edmund's papers through the
second Lord Lyons, in his History makes some ill-
natured remarks. The Agamemnon was obliged to
haul out, because the Eodney lay over her anchor,
and she had to shift her position to prevent being
pushed on to the shoal."
It is marvellous that the Eodney escaped with only
two men wounded: but it was due to her being so
close, for the Eussians could not depress their guns
sufficiently to hull her frequently. 33
On arriving in England, I applied for the place of,
and was appointed, midshipman to H.M.S. Calcutta,
then fitting out at Portsmouth as flagship of Sir
Michael Seymour, Commander-in-Chief in the East
Indies and China station.
The Calcutta was a fine 84-gun sailing line-of-battle
ship, built of teak, and, like most of her class, a good
sailer. She carried long 32-pounders on her main and
lower decks, and 32-pounder carronades on the forecastle. A gunboat with one long gun would be more
than a match for her at the present day.
Sir Michael Seymour had gone out to Hong-Kong
overland some time previously, and we had orders to
follow as fast as we could, so on 7th May 1856 we
sailed from Plymouth Sound, and were soon bowling
down Channel at eleven knots an hour.
Nothing of importance occurred during our passage
to the Cape. We passed Madeira seven days out, and
the Cape de Yerdes a few days later; had a spell of
calms in the " doldrums," and picked up the south-
cast trades a few degrees north of the equator. The
usual ceremonies observed on crossing the line were
dispensed with by the captain's order, which was
c 34
lucky for such of us as were crossing for the first
time. Whilst becalmed, we had some sport with
sharks, which are always to be met with in those
latitudes : one monster was hooked and hauled up on
to the poop to his intense disgust, which he showed
by lashing about with his tail till deprived of that
appendage. We hooked another out of the gunroom
port and hauled him aboard. The brute lashed out in
all directions, sending chairs and tables flying all over
the place. Every one armed himself with a weapon,
and while one belaboured him with a handspike,
others attacked him with swords and dirks, and a
kettle of boiling water played on his nose. In the
midst of this uproar the captain, W. King-Hall, and
Commander W. E. Eolland, appeared on the scene
and watched the proceedings with much interest, the
commander observing that we might clear up the
mess in the gunroom ourselves, which we did. Having cut off the shark's tail, we cut him up and cooked
him for supper. The flavour of shark-steaks is not
particularly choice, but when a midshipman has been
on salt horse for several weeks he will eat anything.
We carried the south-east trade wind to lat. 35° S.,
when we lost it, and had to contend with light and
contrary winds to the Cape.
On the 25th June a man fell overboard, and as the
ship was running fast it was some time before he was
picked up and taken below to have the water pumped
out of him. As soon as the doctors had done with
him the parson approached, and, after alluding to his
merciful preservation, asked him if he knew to whom
he owed his providential escape. The parson's disgust may be imagined when the man simply replied,
"Well, sir, I don't exactly know .what his name is, ON  THE  WAY  TO  THE  CHINA  STATION. 35
but it was that officer who wears the Crimean ribbon
on his breast!" (Lieutenant Hallowes, who was in
the boat).
We remained only three days at the Cape to
replenish water and provisions, and soon were scudding before a strong north-west gale, passing many
homeward-bound vessels lying to under their close-
reefed top-sails. With favouring breezes we ran on for
several days without meeting a sail, till on the 21st
August we sighted Java Head, and next morning
bore up and ran through the Straits of Sunda,
dividing the islands of Java and Sumatra. The
scenery of these coasts is most beautiful, and we
enjoyed the refreshing sight of the well-wooded
hills luxuriant with tropical vegetation.
Everything looked so fresh and green, the sea so
smooth and blue, the coral-reefs plainly distinguishable
beneath the clear waters. The air also was loaded with
scent from the spice which abounds on these lovely
islands. We could see monkeys skipping from tree
to tree, and many parrots and cockatoos flew about,
making the air resound with their discordant cries.
The same evening we anchored off Anger Point;
the ship was immediately surrounded by canoes
bringing off cocoa-nuts, bananas, cockatoos, and Java
sparrows, &c.
Next morning we weighed anchor, and for several
days threaded our way through intricate channels,
passing lovely islands, till we anchored in Singapore
Eoads on 28th August. The bum-boats were soon
alongside with fruit, vegetables, poultry, and parrots.
The boatmen were fine muscular fellows, nearly
black; their bodies smeared over with cocoa-nut oil,
giving  them  a  very sleek  appearance:   the  water 36
ran off them as from the back of a duck. Here we
met with Chinese junks for the first time—great,
clumsy-looking craft, painted all the colours of the
rainbow, with an eye in the bows; for, as the
Chinamen say, " Suppose no got eye how can see ?
These trading junks are only able to sail before the
wind, running down from Hong-Kong before the
north-east monsoon, and returning with the southwest, thus making two voyages in the year. The
mandarin junks, or men-of-war, were built on fine
lines, sailed remarkably well, and carried a number
of guns: we were destined to become better
acquainted with them soon. After leaving Singapore we picked up the south-west monsoon, and
reached Hong-Kong on the 8th September, after a
passage of 120 days from England. This may
seem an absurdly long time to the present generation, when fast steamers do the same vid the Suez
Canal in less than six weeks, but for a sailing-ship
going round the Cape of Good Hope it was nothing
We found the usual amount of shipping at Hong-
Kong, including men-of-war of various nationalities,
and a fleet of opium-clippers. These beautiful little
vessels were mostly top-sail schooners, or brigs, of
about 300 tons, built for speed, and heavily armed
to protect themselves against pirates. They, and
also tea-clippers, have been quite superseded by
fast steamers vid the Suez Canal—the romance of
sailing is over.
Whilst running up the China Seas I practised a
form of sea-bathing which I have never heard of
being done before or since, nor do I recommend its
adoption, and that is going  overboard  whilst the SEA-BATHING IN  THE  CHINA  SEAS. 37
ship is under weigh, and being towed by a rope
alongside. Every morning, until I was stopped by
the officer of the w7atch, I went down the side and
slipped into the water with a rope from the lower
studdingsail-boom and had a bath. One would suppose that a person would be towed under, but such
was not the case, and I tried it successfully with
the ship going nine and ten knots: a short scope
of rope is necessary, for with a long rope one would
be dragged under. 38
We were not destined to remain long inactive, for
hardly had we refitted after our long sea cruise
when troubles arose at Canton. The British flag
had been insulted by the Chinese, and as no apology
was forthcoming, and our ultimatum received with
ridicule and contempt, war was declared with China
in October 1856.
Meanwhile the Winchester 50-gun frigate arrived
from the northward, having on board our gallant
Commander-in-Chief, Admiral Sir Michael Seymour,
whose flag was shifted to the Calcutta. The small
paddle - steamer Coromandel was commissioned as
tender to the flagship and manned from her. A
few hours after receipt of the Governor's despatch
announcing that negotiations had failed, the Calcutta sailed from Hong-Kong, steering for the Canton river and towing the boats of the Winchester,
manned and armed, astern.
The Canton river is at its mouth so broad that
for miles one cannot distinguish the banks on either
side; but after thirty miles it narrows rapidly, until
the Bogue Forts are reached. At this place, seventy
miles from Hong-Kong and thirty from Canton, it is THE  COROMANDEL   FIRES   THE   FIRST  SHOT.
about a mile wide, and soon afterwards not more
than a quarter.
The wind falling light, we were taken in tow by
the Barracouta till night, when we anchored, and in
the morning again proceeded to another anchorage
a few miles above the Bogue Forts, which was as
far as the depth of the water would allow us to go.
The Barracouta then went on up the river, towing
the boats of the Winchester, Comus, and Bittern.
The Calcutta's boats were now manned and armed,
and at 3 a.m., October 23, we left the ship and proceeded in tow of the Sampson up the river. The
flotilla consisted of the launch, two. pinnaces, and
cutter, under the orders of Commander Eolland of
the Calcutta, who took me in the launch. We made
good progress during the day, and at dark the Sampson anchored: at daylight we pushed on till we
reached the bar, where she grounded and we left
her. The Coromandel, with the Admiral and Staff
on board, had meanwhile gone up another branch
of the river, which branch joins the main stream
at Canton, fifteen miles farther up.
The Coromandel and Barracouta took possession of
the Barrier Forts with slight opposition, the first
shot in the war being fired from the Coromandel.
After leaving the Sampson we pulled up the river
in the direction of Canton, when about four miles
from the city we were joined by Captain Bate of
the Actseon, whose knowledge of the. people and
locality was most useful. Acting upon his advice
it was arranged to attack the Macao Fort.
This formidable fort was built on an island in the
middle of the river, commanding the passage on both
sides.     Ninety guns of large calibre were mounted i
within its walls, which wTere of immense thickness,
and the fort was fully manned.
The importance of capturing this fortress was
evident, but the force at our disposal was absurdly
inadequate for the undertaking, consisting of three
boats of the Calcutta, armed with a small brass
howitzer apiece, and Captain Bate's whale-boat—
about eighty men all told. Nevertheless, it was
decided to make the attempt.
The Chinamen were watching our movements with
unconcern, doubtless never dreaming that we should
have the audacity to molest them with such an
insignificant force. Great must have been their
surprise when with three hearty cheers we made
a dash at the fort, and before they had time to
fire a shot we were alongside and into it. A well-
directed broadside would have blown us out of the
water, but not a shot was fired on either side. We
turned out the garrison bag and baggage and took
possession, whilst Captain Bate went on to report
proceedings to the Admiral.
Simultaneously with the capture of Macao Fort,
the "Bird's-nest Fort," mounting thirty-five guns,
and another small fort opposite the English quarter
of the city, were captured without opposition; also
the Shamean Forts at the head of the Macao passage,
all the guns being destroyed.
In Macao Fort we found many beautiful brass
guns, some of them 14 inches in the bore, or twice
as large as anything on board the Calcutta.
Leaving a pinnace in charge of the fort, and
another a mile or so above it, we went on in the
launch to Canton, where we found the Encounter
screw corvette moored off the city. THREE   MONTHS  IN  AN  OPEN   BOAT. 41
The river was alive with every kind of craft, from
the little sampan, propelled by a single oar in the
stern, to the heavy trading junk with her single iron-
wood mast and mat sails. Numerous flower-boats
belonging to wealthy mandarins were moored off the
town, conspicuous by their gaudy paint, and crowded
with laughing girls, who kept up an incessant chatter
as they peeped out at the foreign devils !
We were now ordered to drop down the river and
rejoin our pinnace, so we anchored near her and
made ourselves snug for the night. This was not
so easy, as we had brought no blankets and the
nights were cold. Moreover, being given to understand that I should be away only for a day or two,
I had nothing but what I stood up in. As a matter
of fact, I was away from the ship three months, living in the open boat, faring like my boat's crew on
ship's pork, biscuit, dirty water, and a ration of rum.
We got some clothes later on from the ship, and having my gun with me, I was able to supplement our
diet with an occasional duck or snipe, and now and
then a few fowls, which we looted from the villages
near the banks of the river. About midnight we
were alarmed by firing down the river, so we up
anchor and pulled to the spot. We found the pinnace engaging something, but what it was we could
not make out, as it was as dark as pitch. We could
distinguish some figures running to and fro, returning the pinnace's fire with a few scattering shots;
so we pulled in to close quarters and fired our 24-
pounder howitzer into the mass, when all was silent,
and we anchored till daylight, when we discovered
five large junks moored alongside each other, close
to the bank.    They had no masts, and not a living 42
soul could be seen, all their ports being closed; so
we pulled alongside and boarded, when we found
them to be peaceable trading junks. The poor fellows had mistaken our pinnace for a pirate coming
to attack them, and had opened fire upon her. They
had paid dearly for their mistake, for we found one
man dead and two severely wounded by our fire.
We sent the latter on board the Barracouta for surgical treatment and returned to Canton. On the 24th
October a detachment of marines was landed to protect the Factories (the English quarter of the city),
reinforced subsequently by another party and some
bluejackets. Advanced posts and field-guns were
stationed at the most important points, and barricades thrown across the streets to guard against
surprise. On the 25th an attack was made upon
the pickets by a body of Chinese soldiers, but they
were repulsed by the marines with a loss to the
Chinese of fourteen killed and wounded.
The marines and bluejackets were housed in the
library and boathouse; the Admiral and Staff took
up their quarters in Mr Dent's house. The portion
of the city occupied by the English, called the
"Factories," included the merchants' houses, library,
church, billiard-room, and boathouse, all of which
were garrisoned by our people. On the 25th October
the Dutch-folly Fort, mounting fifty guns, was taken
possession of and garrisoned by 150 men of the Calcutta. The Dutch-folly, like the Macao Fort, was
built upon an island abreast of the town, and commanded both approaches up the river: its position
rendered it impregnable in the hands of any other
people than the Chinese, and it is extraordinary
that they made  no  effort  to  defend it.     In  the THE BOMBARDMENT OF CANTON.
middle of the fort was a joss-house enveloped in
trees, the whole enclosed in a strong granite wall.
Guns and mortars were mounted in this fort, so as
to play upon the city walls at a distance of 400
yards. Governor Yeh having refused to redress
the insult committed by his officials in having on
October 8 forcibly seized twelve of the crew of the
British lorcha Arrow and hauled down her flag, the
Admiral decided to bombard the city. On the 27th
Sir Michael sent an ultimatum to Yeh, warning him
that should he refuse reparation he would open fire
on the'town at 1 p.m. that day. As no notice was
taken of this, the Encounter fired the first gun
punctually to time, and kept up the fire at regular
intervals till sunset. The firing was principally
directed against Governor Yeh's palace. The Barracouta also shelled some troops assembled on the hills
at the back of the town, from a position she had taken
in Sulphur Creek. The bombardment was continued
on the 28th, by which time a breach was made in
the city walls abreast of the Dutch-folly Fort, and
preparations were made for storming.
On the 29th the marines and bluejackets, and
part of the 59 th Eegiment, detailed for the storm-
ing-party, were embarked in boats. The space between the landing-place and the breach was not
more than 300 yards: it had at one time been
occupied by houses, but was now a heap of ruins.
Firing a few shots to clear the way, we landed
the storming-party, who quickly covered the space
to the breach, where they were received by a sharp
fire of gingalls (an antiquated kind of musket) and
other weapons, killing three and wounding several
more of our men;  but the party, gallantly led by ill
Captain Bate, pushed on, arid were soon in possession
of the walls. This was all that was required, and
indeed as much as could be done for the time, as
our small force was not sufficient to hold the place;
they were therefore re-embarked, and returned to
the Factories. Our loss was small, but the Chinese
suffered heavily. At daylight next morning we
found that the enemy had filled up the breach, so
we scattered them with a few shells.
The bombardment was now continued eve^ day
from October 30 to November 5 by H.M. ships
Encounter and Sampson, and from the Dutch-folly,
the fire being directed against the Government
buildings in the Tartar city and the fortifications
in rear of it.
As we had reason to believe the Chinese would set
fire to the houses in the vicinity of the Factories,
with the intention of burning us out, a party of
bluejackets was employed for three days pulling
them down, so as to leave a space clear around.
On the night of the 4th November an attempt was
made to blow us up by exploding a boat full of
powder under the Club House. Fortunately the
explosion did little damage, but after this performance all Chinese boats were cleared out of the
To guard against
a boom across the r
necting it with the
junks were moored
the shipping; these
the shore, leaving
this space was also
be removed  at pie
fire-rafts and torpedoes we made
iver with spars and chains, con-
shore on both sides.    Some old
in mid-stream above and below
junks were also connected with
a passage for a friendly vessel;
closed by chains, which  could
asure.     On  board  each junk  a CHINESE  FIRE-JUNKS. 45
guard was placed, and a 32-pounder gun mounted,
and as an additional precaution our boats rowed guard
outside the boom • all through the night. These
measures were most necessary, as the Chinese were
very cunning in the use of torpedoes and infernal
machines, for which the Canton river was well
adapted. Almost every night we received some
kind attention in the shape of a junk loaded with
combustibles, floated down with the stream, and set
on fire when close to us. Another clever apparatus consisted of one or more iron tanks filled with
powder, sunk to the level of the water. On the
outside were wire springs connected with a trigger,
so as to explode on touching a ship's side. These
were more dangerous than the junks or fire-ships,
being so low in the water as to require the utmost
vigilance to detect them. Our business was to sink
or explode them before they got near enough to
do us any harm, but it was not always possible: at
times we managed to destroy some, others drifted
wide of the mark, but they very nearly succeeded
on one occasion. On November 8, at 4 a.m., four
fire-junks came down with the tide on the top of
the Barracouta anchored outside the boom, and had
she not promptly slipped her cable she must have
been set on fire or blown up.
On the 13th a most audacious attempt was made to
blow up the Niger steam-sloop. In broad daylight
two sampans, with one man in each, came under the
bows of the ship; the men jumped overboard and
escaped, and the sampans blew up without doing any
damage, but covering the ship, masts, and rigging
with filth. This was apparently intended more as an
insult than anything else, and the Nigers got consid- 46
erably chaffed about it. At this time I was in charge
of the Calcutta's pinnace, the launch having been sent
back to the ship. Our life under the circumstances
above mentioned was anything but monotonous; indeed we had a lively time of it—hard work all day,
with a good chance of being blown up during the
On the evening of the 5 th November I received
orders to accompany the Barracouta on a secret expedition at daylight the following morning. Lieutenant
H. Beamish, gunnery lieutenant of the Calcutta, came
in my boat and took charge, as I was only a midshipman. The object of the expedition was known only
to Captain Fortescue of the Barracouta, but it mattered little to us what the job was. Daylight of the
6th saw us alongside the Barracouta, which immediately weighed and stood down the river towards the
French-folly Fort. This fort was built on an island
about a mile distant from the Dutch - folly, and
mounted twenty-six heavy guns. It was, moreover,
backed by twenty-five mandarin junks, heavily armed
and moored under the guns of the fort. These junks
had been collected with a view to attack our ships,
and our object was to destroy them. (See plan and
> The Barracouta was ordered to engage the junks,
and our business was to lay out her stern anchor and
enable her to bring her broadside to bear. We soon
sighted the junks, and very formidable they looked
in the morning sun with all their banners flying.
They were moored in a crescent, with the horns
towards us, supported by the fort in a very strong
position. The Barracouta mounted only six guns,
and the pinnace a 12-pounder howitzer, an absurdly THE  ACTION   OF  NOVEMBER   6.
small  force for the work; but we  had  learned to
despise our enemy, and laughed at any odds.
The Chinamen were fully prepared for us: the
junks lay broadside on, with their guns run out on
one side, springs on their cables to keep their broadside bearing, and "stink-pots" at the mast-heads.
These offensive weapons are deserving of description.
The stink-pot is an earthenware vessel filled with
powder, sulphur, &c. Each junk had cages at the
mast-head, which in action were occupied by one or
more men, whose duty it was to throw these stinkpots on to the decks of the enemy, or into boats attempting to board ; and woe betide any unlucky boat
that received one of these missiles: the crew would
certainly have to jump overboard or be stifled.
As soon as we hove in sight the junks beat to
quarters, and kept up a hideous din with gongs and
tom-toms; their crews, stripped to the waist, stood
to their guns, matches in hand, but waiting, according
to their usual tactics, for the first shot. 48
si J
The Barracouta steamed slowly towards them, her
guns cleared for action, every man at his post. Our
little gun was loaded with grape, and trained on the
nearest junk. It was an exciting moment, as we
advanced till we were within 300 yards of the centre
junk, and the horns of the crescent overlapped us.
The Barracouta now anchored, and simultaneously
fired her bow gun loaded with shell into the midst of
the junks. At the same instant the junks opened fire
with a deafening roar, and were enveloped in fire and
smoke. Eound-shot, grape, canister, and scrap iron
hurtled through the air, and the water was ploughed
up around us. The Barracouta's men worked well,
directing their fire towards the thickest of the smoke;
but owing to the ship being bows-on, only one gun on
the forecastle could bear on the enemy. Shots were
flying in all directions, knocking about spars and
cutting away ropes; but fortunately their aim was
too high, as we were so close. Loud above the din
could be heard the yells of the Chinamen and the
clanging of their gongs. Captain Fortescue now
ordered us to lay out his stern anchor, as his ship
was being raked and her forecastle swept by the storm
of missiles.
Having got the anchor in our boat, we proceeded to
lay it out, being exposed meantime to a murderous
fire of grape. A shot struck one of my boat's crew
in the head, killing him instantly, and spattering us
with his blood; but we dropped the anchor in the
right place, and enabled the Barracouta to bring her
broadside to bear on the junks, thus bringing three
more heavy guns into action: our little brass gun
also did some execution on the crowded decks of the
Having deposited the body of our shipmate on
board the Barracouta, we continued the action: meantime the heavy metal of that ship began to tell, and
some of the junks blew up with all their crew as their
magazines ignited. Several more were in flames, and
the fire of the others began to slacken. It was evident they had had enough of it, and soon we had the
satisfaction of seeing all the junks on fire and their
crews making for the shore. The Coromandel, with
the Admiral on board, towing the boats of the squadron, now made her appearance, coming to our support;
but the action was over. The boats formed line and
pulled for the shore; the fort fired a few shots as we
approached, but was speedily abandoned, and so
ended the capture of the French-folly Fort and the
destruction of twenty-five of the finest mandarin
junks in the imperial navy.
The rest of the day we were busy spiking the guns
and levelling the parapets, after which we returned to
On November 11 we all embarked on board the
Coromandel and proceeded down the river to the
flagship, anchored above the Bogue Forts. We heard
that we were to bombard the forts the following day,
unless the mandarin in charge was prepared to hand
them over without fighting. Happily there was no
chance of that; for, according to the custom of the
country, he would certainly have been beheaded or
disembowelled if he gave up the forts without resistance. Any doubts on the subject were removed
the next morning by the gallant old fellow sending
off a message to the Admiral to say he was quite
ready for us whenever we chose. And he had reason
too on his side, seeing the enormous strength of the
D 50
forts, four of which mounted 410 guns between them,
while three others were equally well armed in proportion to their size.
The Admiral's reply to the polite invitation of the
governor was not made public; if any, it was probably concise and to the point. Our subsequent
proceedings were sufficient. I give herewith the
names of the forts and number of guns mounted,
so far as we knew, also the force opposed to them :—
North Anunghoy ") ...'   ,'.; ,,        01r.
n    .,   A       ?,. . ■ > mounting between them 210 guns.
bouth Anunghoy  J
North Wantung ) OAn
South Wanting  J 200 gmu.
Chuenpee Fort       "j
Ty-Cock-Tow Fort > number of guns not known.
Tiger Island J
All the above were comprised under the term
Bogue Forts.
The ships opposed to them were—
H.M.S. Calcutta (flagship)
Nankin (frigate)   .
Encounter (corvette)
Hornet (sloop)
Barracouta (sloop)
Coromandel (tender)
84 guns.
175 guns.
But this must be divided by two, as a ship cannot
fight her guns on both sides when engaging shore
At daylight, November 12, the ships cleared for
action, and took up their appointed station, the
Calcutta having the post of honour, abreast of and
within a few hundred yards of the South Wantunp;,
mounting   100  guns.     Our   position was   so  well BOMBARDMENT   OF  THE  BOGKJE  FORTS. »51
chosen that only a few guns could bear upon the
ship. The Chinamen, with incomprehensible stupidity or indifference, allowed the ships to take up
their positions and moor head and stern right under
their guns without firing a shot, nor was it till we
had carefully laid our guns and delivered a concentrated broadside that they condescended to reply.
The result of these tactics was that we had it all
our own way. The Nankin and the small craft
having taken a position to engage the other forts,
at a signal from the Calcutta the action commenced.
As anticipated, after an hour-and-a-half's firing
the batteries were silenced, having been crushed from
the beginning by the terrible fire from the ships.
Orders were now given to prepare to storm the
forts; the ships ceased firing, and we pulled for
the shore. But little resistance was offered : we had
a scramble up a very steep hill to reach the wall,
and while taking breath preparatory to climbing in
through an embrasure, a Chinese soldier threw a
stink-pot, which exploded at our feet, doing no harm.
We then rushed in, followed by the men as they
came up. The Chinamen stood for a moment, and
then bolted to the opposite side of the fort, where
boats awaited them. Orders were given to cease
firing and let the poor fellows go; but such was the
panic that many of them, unable to find room in the
boats, took to the water and endeavoured to swim,
in attempting which numbers were drowned.
The next day we bombarded the Anunghoy Forts :
these, unlike the Wantung, which were built upon
islands in the river, stood upon the mainland; the
whole commanded the passage of the river, and
should have been impregnable in other hands.    We 52
found many beautiful brass guns in the forts of
enormous calibre and fine workmanship.
For several days following we were employed
blowing up the parapets, bursting the guns, and
generally demolishing the forts—an arduous duty
under a burning sun when all excitement is over.
On the 15th I was ordered up the river again
to Canton, and started in tow of the Barracouta.
There were three boats towing astern—the Calcutta's
pinnace (my boat), the cutter, and the Nankin's
pinnace. All went well until we were within a few
miles of Canton, the Barracouta making ten knots
through the water: my boat was towing from the
starboard sponson, the Nankin's from the port. For
better security whilst towing we had sent most of
the crews in-board, and dismounted the boats' guns,
so as to bring their bows out of the water.
Suddenly the Nankin's coxswain left the helm; in
an instant the boat sheered into the wake of the
wheels, and went down bows foremost, appearing
some way astern bottom up. We at once slipped
our painter and went to her assistance, in time to
pick up two of the crew and some gear that was
floating about; but the gun and all the heavy things
were lost, and two men sank to rise no more. Proceeding on our way, we reached Canton without
further adventure. .53
A few days after our return to Canton I was ordered
down the river in tow of the Coromandel to destroy
some mandarin junks which were building at a kind
of dockyard on the river's bank. We soon found
them: thirty-five junks were on the stocks, some
only in frame, others ready for launching. We
burnt the lot. It seemed a pity to destroy them,
as they were fine handsome craft and worth a lot
of money, but they made a grand blaze.
For the next few weeks we were busy making and
repairing fire-booms, and at night guarding them
against the enemy's fire-rafts. The work was hard,
and there were only four boats to do it—two of the
Calcutta's and two Nankin's. It must be remembered also that in those days we had no steam-
launches or torpedo-boats, so everything had to be
done by rowing-boats—even sails were useless for
that work.
Life in an open boat for months together would
have been wearisome but for the constant excitement. There was not much room to move about,
and only a plank to lie on at night. Pork, biscuit,
and river-water constituted our daily fare, no extras. 54
My kit consisted of a blanket, two flannel shirts—
one on and one off—tooth-brush, comb, towel, and
soap. For society I had my coxswain and boat's
crew, working under a broiling sun by day, with
a chance of being blown up at night, or having one's
head taken off by a round-shot next morning. But
there is a charm in having a command of one's own,
be it ever so humble, at eighteen years of age. My
coxswain, Jim Parnell, captain of the foretop of the
Calcutta, was as fine a seaman as ever I came across :
being thrown, together so much, I got to know his
value, and he backed me up on several occasions
when I was in a tight place.
We were not only shipmates, but messmates; for
our stock of crockery—never very great—had been
sadly diminished by a shot which smashed the
greater part; and we had but one basin to eat our
pea-soup out of, and this was afterwards rinsed out
for our grog. Our evenings used to be spent according to fancy—some sleeping, others smoking or joining in a song, whilst I generally played cribbage
with the coxswain or the gunner's mate, until the-
time came for us to take up our station for the
I often think that it is on detached service of this
sort that bluejackets show to advantage — always
cheerful and contented and respectful at a time
when it is not easy to enforce the discipline of a
man-of-war. No matter whether the pork was rancid
or the water stank, I never heard a murmur of discontent : they knew that what did for them did for
me. One day our coppers—the only cooking apparatus we had—was lost overboard, and it could not
be replaced for some days, so we had to eat our CHINESE  ROCKETS. 55
pork raw, but we all shared alike. I had no medicines in the boat—we couldn't afford to be sick—
but I told the men that if any of them were really
ill they should have an extra glass of rum from our
limited store, and some of us would go without it. I
never had a single application, nor did I have a case
of sickness in the boat, although we drank the river-
water, about the same colour and consistency as that
of the Thames at London Bridge; and at this very
time the Calcutta's men were dying in the hospitals
at Hong-Kong from dysentery, caused by drinking
impure water. The Calcutta, being a sailing-ship,
had no condenser on board. During this time the
Chinamen had not been idle: they repaired the
French-folly Fort and mounted some guns, making
it as strong as it was before; so it became necessary
to give them another lesson. On 4th December the
Encounter and Coromandel, towing the boats of the
squadron, steamed down and opened fire on the fort;
the boats lay on the off side of the ships so as" to be
protected by their hulls until the fort was silenced,
when our turn came, and we pulled in to the assault
under a scattered but ill-directed fire from gingalls
and rockets. Having driven out the garrison, a
party remained to dismount the guns and destroy
the fort.
Our casualties were slight: a marine was killed by
a rocket, and a few were wounded. As a rule, these
Chinese rockets did little harm, and as often as not
they doubled back from whence they came. Whilst
we were in the pinnace, lying quietly at anchor off
the fort after the business was over, a sneaking rascal
fired a rocket at us from amongst the ruins. The
rocket came over one side of the boat, set fire to 56 OPERATIONS  IN  THE  CANTON  RIVER.
some bread-bags in the bottom, and popped over
the other side without hurting us. I always kept
a loaded rifle handy, but before I could get it to my
shoulder the villain was gone.
Our cutter was also struck by a rocket, which
burnt a hole in her. This boat was under my orders
as well as the pinnace ; she was in charge of a young
master's assistant named Pearn, and as he was seventeen years old and I eighteen, and a midshipman, I
was the senior officer! We were great chums. A
report reached us that the Chinese intended to burn
the English quarter in return for the injuries we had
inflicted on them. We had always expected something of the kind, and prepared for it by placing
sentries about. The merchants had removed their
property to Hong-Kong, so that beyond the fact
of its being useful to us as our headquarters, its
destruction mattered little. However, the sentries
were doubled, and we kept a sharp look-out every
night; but notwithstanding all our precautions, the
Chinamen were too sharp for us.
One night, about the middle of December, there
was an alarm of fire in the Factories. The boats
were at this time moored in the camber, close at
hand, so we were quickly on the spot. It was to
no purpose: the Chinese soldiers, reckless of life,
ran from house to house with lighted torches in
their hands, and as fast as we shot them down
others would take their places. All that night the
fire raged, and the next day it was still burning.
We made desperate efforts to save the Consulate,
by blowing down the adjacent walls with gunpowder, but without avail. Every one, from the
Admiral downwards,  worked  with  a  will;   and it A  FIRE  IN  THE  FACTORIES.
was amusing to see captains, lieutenants, mids,
bluejackets, and soldiers passing the water along
in every conceivable conveyance. Pearn and I
were pointing a hose till we could hold it no
longer on account of the heat, and every stitch we
had on was wet through. During the night I was
working in a house trying .to get the fire under,
when some one shouted out that the roof was
falling, and that if there was any one inside to
come out directly. The room I was in was filled
with boxes of prime Manilla cigars, so taking a
box under each arm, I bolted from the house just
as the walls caved in with a crash. Trifles such
as these cigars were very acceptable, and after
the fire we managed to pick up a few things which
were of use to us, living as we were on the meanest
fare. But these expeditions were rather risky, as
the Chinese authorities offered 500 dollars for the
head of any Englishman dead or alive, and already
some poor fellows had been captured, their heads
at the time adorning the wTalls of the city: in
fact, it was dangerous to wander only a few hundred
yards from our boats, as the following adventure
will show.
One day, in company with Pearn, we took advantage of a spare hour when the men were at
dinner to ramble amongst the ruins of the Factories.
We were exploring the inside of a house the walls
of which, with the staircase, remained standing.
We had not been long upstairs when we heard a
noise in the street, and on looking out we perceived, to our horror, a mob of Chinese soldiers
round the only entrance to the house, with the
evident  intention   of   capturing  us  alive  or  dead. 58
We were caught in a trap : there was but one stair,
and our retreat was completely cut off.
There was no time for reflection. Fortunately
we had our revolvers with us, and knew how to
use them, so without a moment's delay further than
a grasp of each other's hands, we rushed down the
stairs into the street. Our' sudden appearance
took the Chinamen, by surprise. Pearn fired his
revolver in the first man's face, the man staggered
but did not fall, and to this day I cannot think
what happened, as he couldn't have missed. In
front of me stood a big brawny fellow armed with
a pike; I shot him through the body, and he
doubled up and fell on his face. Pearn fired again,
and the whole lot bolted—from two boys, for we
were nothing more; and we were saved. I raked
another as he ran, and saw the blood spurt from
his neck. We then cut the tail off my man and
made tracks for the boats. We never made mention of this adventure, as we had no business there,
and we should have been forbidden m to leave our
boats in future.
It may seem rather cold - blooded, waiting to.
cut the man's pig-tail off, but we were not in the
humour to discuss that question. Had we been
captured we should have been first tortured, then
beheaded. Shortly after this occurrence the Admiral
decided to burn down part of the suburbs of the
city as a reprisal for burning the Factories, and
we were ordered to prepare fire-balls for the
The necessary arrangements being complete, we
were attached as before to the Barracouta, and
proceeded with her to a  spot  about  a mile  from • GIVE    EM   SOME     SPIRITUAL   CASE,    SIR.'
our quarters. Another party went in the opposite
direction, so as to fire the city simultaneously in
several places. The Barracouta having anchored,
we pulled up a creek in the pinnace and threaded,
our way through the streets (which are really
waterways, the houses in the suburbs being built
on piles), keeping a sharp look out for ambuscades.
Having advanced as far as we could, we landed,'
and set to work, firing the houses right and left.
This accomplished, Captain Fortescue, who had
accompanied us so far in his galley, returned on
board to breakfast, leaving me in the pinnace with
orders to shoot down any one who attempted to
interfere with us.
Presently a mob of Chinamen appeared on the
scene, and would have made short work of us,
but a few rounds from the howitzer dispersed
them. The creek we were in was blocked with
a barricade of piles, so we lashed the boat's bow
to the piles, pointing the gun through them, and
whenever any soldiers appeared "we let them
have it."
The gunner's mate was in the stern, passing the
ammunition forward to me in the bows, and exclaiming in his excitement, " Give 'em some ' spiritual
case,' sir," meaning "spherical case" (canister containing musket-balls, a very effective missile at
' close quarters). The creek was only a few yards
broad, with houses down to the water on both
sides, affording shelter for a hidden enemy. Whilst
our attention was directed to those in front, a
soldier stepped out from behind a door on our
right and took a deliberate pot-shot at me from
only a few yards off.    It was a shocking bad shot, 60
as he missed, and stepped back behind the door,
probably to load. I snatched up a rifle and fired
slap through the door, and then thought no more
about it. When the time came for us to retire I
went ashore and out of curiosity looked behind the
door, when, lo!   my friend was lying there dead.
We then returned to the Barracouta to report proceedings and have dinner. Christmas came round in
due time, and we determined to keep it in good old-
fashioned style, and enjoy a good dinner if it could
be got; so we cleared away the billiard-room, the
only building left standing, and had our dinner
there, and a very good dinner it was, considering
the circumstances. I had shot some ducks a short
time before, which came in handy, and we had
looted a few bottles of wine from the ruins of the
houses, so the toasts went merrily round, | absent
friends" not being forgotten. At midnight I left
to row guard as usual. I had to keep watch ahead
of the Hornet, which was at anchor outside the
On returning to my boat, I found that my boat's
crew had also been keeping Christmas, having probably cleared the consul's cellar for the purpose:
they were all helplessly drunk, excepting the coxswain and one other. What was to be done? I
dared not report them unfit for duty, as I should
have been punished for not looking after them; so,
making the two sober ones take an oar and taking
the helm myself, I pushed off into the stream, having first refreshed the rest of the crew by a few
buckets of water thrown over them.
We managed to reach a position ahead of the
Hornet,   when,  seeing  the  impossibility  of rowing SPORT  IN  THE  RIVER.
guard with only two oars against a strong current,
I dropped anchor, and making the two sober men
take a couple of oars each and keep dipping them
in the water, I kept a good look out till daylight,
when we returned to the camber.
Fortunately the Chinamen did not attempt to
molest us that night, or the consequences might
have been disastrous. The best of the joke was,
the captain of the Hornet, Commander Forsyth,
sent for me and complimented me upon the admirable way we had kept guard during the night.
Whilst in the river I used frequently to be sent
away with despatches to various parts, and I always
took advantage of these occasions to replenish our
larder. Having delivered the despatches, I devoted
the return journey to sport, shooting along the
banks whilst the boat was being tracked against the
current like a canal-boat, this being less labour for
the boat's crew than pulling. One day, whilst
engaged in this way, we saw two fat ducks on the
bank, which were bagged. The bowman, who retrieved them, said there was a whole flock of them
in the paddy-fields, so I landed and blazed into the
crowd till all the ammunition was expended, when
we gathered up the slain, amounting to 180—sufficient to supply the squadron. It is almost needless
to say they were tame ducks. Sometimes we raided
a village for fowls, keeping the boat handy, so as to
cover our retreat in case of accidents! I got an
invitation once to visit a village in this way, but I
took care to have a previous engagement. Sometime afterwards Lieutenant Bedford Pirn, the commander of the Banterer, was chased, with some of
his boat's crew, and cut off from his boat: they had 62
to fight  their way down, losing several men, Pirn
himself being severely wounded.
New Year's Day had come and gone, and this
brings me to a very sorrowful part of my story.
I have already mentioned my young shipmate,
Pearn, a charming fellow and a great favourite.
We had been up-river together from the first, and
I entertained a great affection for him, coupled with
admiration for his coolness and gallantry.
On Sunday, January 4 (1857), our worthy captain,
W. King-Hall, read service, and preached a sermon
in the little English church attached to the Factories,
which had escaped from the general destruction. As
we had not had the opportunity of attending church
since we left the ship, nearly three months before,
Pearn and I agreed to go; so to church we went,
and heard a very good discourse from our kind
skipper, on.readiness to die, and such like.
Coming out of church we met Captain Eolland, our
commander, who told me I was wanted to go down
the river with despatches for Macao Fort, which was
now garrisoned by a party from H.M.S. Sybille,
under Lieutenant Alston of that ship. Nothing
pleased me better; so as soon as my men had
finished dinner I started in the pinnace, calling
alongside the Coromandel to pick up another young
midshipman, Mather Byles, who was a particular
friend of mine, and who. agreed to accompany me
on the trip.    It was as well he did.
We had got about a mile from Canton when we
met with a boat coming up from Macao Fort with
all speed: she was in charge of a midshipman
named Eden, who reported that a large fleet of
mandarin junks  had  come  out   of  Fatshan  creek
with the evident intention of attacking the fort,
and Alston had sent this boat to inform the
Admiral and ask for immediate assistance. Having
told us this much, the boat proceeded on her way.
Byles and I immediately held a council of war, and
having taken the coxswain into our confidence, we
decided to attack the junks. My duty was clearly
to deliver my despatches and place myself under
the orders of Lieutenant Alston, especially as the
fleet of junks, which we could now plainly see
drawn up in order of battle, was beyond the fort.
But such a chance was not to be thrown away, and
we thought there could be no harm in having a
brush with the junks before the boats of the
squadron could arrive. Having thus decided, we
swept rapidly down the river with the current. On
passing Macao Fort we were hailed by Lieutenant
Alston to know where we were going; for answer I
pointed to the junks ahead. Some orders were
shouted out, but we pretended not to hear, and
paid no attention.
I am not prepared to justify this foolish proceeding, which was not only contrary to orders, but
altogether preposterous, seeing that the junks, numbering at least eighty (the same fleet which we
subsequently destroyed at Fatshan on the 1st
June), were armed with 32-pounders and crowded
with men, whilst we were in an open boat, armed
with a 12-pounder howitzer, and a crew of fourteen all told, besides ourselves, two mids! But
at eighteen midshipmen are not always gifted with
On getting within range we opened fire with our
little   gun, pitching shot after   shot well  into the 64
. brown of them. The junks were at anchor, swung
to the current, with their heads up-river; they were
formed in a crescent right across the river, one horn
extending up the Fatshan creek (see plan).
At first the Chinamen took no notice of us, apparently disdaining so insignificant a foe; but as we
drew closer and our shots began to tell, they suddenly with one accord opened fire on us right along
the line. Some of the junks, hauling in the springs
on their cables, slewed broadside to us; and others,
manning their sweeps, advanced to meet us. We
now saw, when too late, that we had gone too far.
The current, which we had not allowed for, was
sweeping us down on to the junks, and retreat was
impossible. There was nothing for it but to do our
best, so, putting a bold face on it, we blazed away,
keeping the boat's bow to the enemy, the men backing with their oars against the stream.
I was forward in the bows working the gun; Byles
was at the helm, and Jim Parnell passed the powder TOUCH-AND-GO.
forward, when one of those panics occurred which
sometimes take place even with the best men. One
fellow threw his oar overboard and lay down in the
bottom of the boat, and, to their shame be it said,
nine others followed his example, only leaving their
oars in the boat. In vain I ordered, entreated, and
even threatened them with my revolver. Byles
gallantly supported me, using the boat's tiller on
their heads with good effect, and so did the coxswain
and three brave fellows who were helping me with
the gun. The boat meanwhile was drifting helplessly
to destruction, and we could hear the yells of the
Chinamen as their prey seemed within their reach.
In Macao Fort they had no large guns to help us,
but we could hear the cheers of the garrison as they
manned the parapets to encourage us.
At last the boat's crew became alive to the danger
and returned to their duty. Manning the oars, and
facing forwards, they backed against the stream. To
turn tail would have been fatal, as some of the junks,
called fast-boats, pulled one hundred oars apiece, and
would have caught us in no time, so we steadfastly
faced the enemy still and kept the gun going. But
this unequal contest could not last long; shots were
dropping round us, wetting us with spray, or whizzing over our heads. They dropped among the oars,
plunged under the bows, shook the ensign staff—in
fact, did everything but hit us. It was, however,
only a question of time; for sooner or later a shot
must strike the boat, and then it would have been all
over with us, and I should not be alive to tell the
tale. The junks were slowly but surely advancing,
when, looking backwards, we saw, to our joy and
relief, the Coromandel  coming down the river with 66
the Admiral's flag flying, and towing the boats of the
It was none too soon, for we were nearly done.
The little brass gun had served us well, and was so
hot I could hardly bear to touch it, and kicked so,
that at the fifty-sixth round the breeching broke and
the gun came over backwards, nearly on the top of
me. At this critical moment the Coromandel got
within range and opened fire; but by this time we
were so mixed up with the junks that the shots from
our people fell dangerously close to us. The Chinamen now turned their attention to the Coromandel,
and in the confusion we managed to escape.
But it was still a most unequal fight, for the little
Coromandel with her 24-pounder pop-guns was no
match for a whole fleet of heavily armed junks, carrying twenty broadside guns apiece and a 32-pounder
in the bows. As soon, as the vessel stopped we slipped
alongside and put Byles on board. The Admiral
sent for me on the bridge, just to tell me I had no
business to be where I had been; but it was no time
for explanation, the Chinamen had got our range, and
shot were flying thick about us. Just as I stepped
back into my boat I met Pearn, who was in the cutter. " Why don't they let us go at the beggars ?"
said he. Poor fellow, they were his last words, for
at that moment a round-shot came skipping along the
water and struck him in the chest.
The Admiral now ordered all the boats to land to
protect Macao Fort, and the Coromandel backed
astern, as there was no room for her to turn in that
part of the river. We landed at the back of the fort,
and manning the parapets, kept up a brisk fire on the
junks from our rifles.    The Chinamen approached to DEATH  OF  YOUNG  PEARN.
within 300 yards, and hammered away at their own
fort, sending the stones flying, but doing us no harm.
Finding they were getting well peppered themselves,
they retreated leisurely to their old quarters in the
Fatshan creek. We discovered that their object in
coming out was to sink some junks loaded with stones
on the bar, and thus block the river and cut us off
from Hong-Kong.
The Encounter had been ordered to come down
to our assistance; but she managed to get ashore,
and was of no use whatever,—a most unfortunate
mishap, to say the least of it, as she might have
given a good account of a number of the junks.
As soon as the action was over, I went aboard the
Coromandel to see the last of my poor shipmate,
whose body had been sent to that vessel. I found
him lying in a cot, his countenance quite composed,
and he looked as if he were asleep. The shot appeared to have grazed his chest, and a piece of
iron had pierced his lungs. I cut off a lock of his
hair and kissed the cold forehead, and having
reverently covered the remains. with the union-
jack, returned sadly in my boat to Canton. The
next day the body was sent down to Hong-Kong
to be laid alongside others of his shipmates in
I Happy Valley."
The morning after poor young Pearn's death I
was busy cleaning out my boat in the camber, when
the Admiral and Captain Hall came by: they
wished me good morning, and asked particularly
after the action of the previous day, and especially
as to the behaviour of my boat?s crew. I suppose
they must have had an inkling of the affair,
though not from me.    I was obliged to tell them 68
the whole story: how the coxswain and those who
worked the gun with me had nobly supported me,
and how the others had disgraced themselves. The
captain was so indignant that he seized one man
—the one who threw his oar overboard—by the
throat, and declared he would hang him at the
Calcutta's yard-arm. To make a short story of it,
they were disrated on the spot and the others
promoted, and I was sent down the river to the
Calcutta to choose another crew and return as soon
as possible.
The ship was lying at the Bogue Forts, so thither
we went, and I was not long in picking up a new
crew, as the whole ship's company volunteered.
In forty-eight hours I was back again, tracking the
boat along the bank and shooting in the paddy-
fields abreast of her. An amusing thing occurred
on this trip: two of the boat's crew could not
agree, and as they kept on squabbling, I landed
them in a paddy-field to fight it out. A ring was
formed, and my coxswain and the gunner's mate
attended to see fair play. After a few rounds, one
of the combatants measured his length in the mud:
they then shook hands, and were the best of friends
ever afterwards. 69
On January 8, 1857, the Calcutta returned to
Hong-Kong, and Captain Hall went down to take
charge of her. It was also decided to evacuate
our position before Canton, as we had no force
to maintain it, nor object in doing so, especially
as several gunboats were on their way out
from England, and on their arrival we could resume operations. Accordingly, we cleared out of
the Factories and the Dutch-folly Fort, and established ourselves in the Bird's-nest Fort; but as
this fort was unprotected from the rear, and we
should be exposed to attacks from that quarter, we
fell back on the Macao Fort, where we remained
till the 23rd, when we all returned to Hong-Kong.
I was not sorry to get back to the ship after being
in my boat for ninety days.
Soon after our return the captain sent for me,
and after some complimentary remarks, which it
is not necessary to repeat, he told me that there
was a rumour that a night attack was intended on
Hong-Kong by a fleet of mandarin junks, and that
it was considered advisable to have a guard during
the  night, and  that  he should give me the com- 70 EVACUATION  OF  CANTON.
mand of a small paddle-wheel steamer called the
Eaglet to cruise about the harbour. The Eaglet,
temporarily commissioned for this purpose, was
an old craft mounting nine guns—viz., one long
18-pounder on a swivel on the forecastle, and two
9-pounders, four 6-pounders, and two 3-pounders
on her broadside; the total weight of her broadside being 42 lb., the swivel firing on either side.
Her speed was about 5 knots. However, as a midshipman eighteen years of age, I was as proud of
my first command as though she were a frigate!
I had a boat's crew and a cutter from the flagship
with me. My orders were to weigh every evening
at sunset, cruise about the harbour all night, and
return to the Calcutta to report myself at daylight. I was to prevent any junks from entering
the harbour during the night, and an exciting
time we had — boarding junks which hung about
the entrance in the early morning waiting for
the sea-breeze to come into harbour. These craft
usually turned out to be trading vessels, bringing
fowls, fruit, and vegetables for the Hong-Kong
market, but we could never tell for certain till we
got alongside.
One suspicious craft we boarded had two 32-
pounder carronades mounted on board, marked with
the broad - arrow, proving they were English, of
which they could give no satisfactory account: they
had undoubtedly been stolen, and she was probably
a pirate, so we gave them the benefit of the doubt!
Having hitched all the crew by their tails to the
rigging, hoisted out the carronades, which I sold
for the benefit of my crew, I sent the craft adrift!
One morning we really thought we were in for CHINESE  RANK.
a fight. Just as day was breaking we made out
a large fleet of junks bearing down to the harbour
by the western passage. They loomed large in the
morning mist, and we made sure they were
mandarin junks; so we cleared for action and
stood towards them, when, to our disgust, they
proved to be peaceable traders.
I spent a very pleasant six weeks on board the
Eaglet, and, absurd as it may seem, the projected
attack on Hong-Kong was abandoned on account
of the "fire-ship" which kept guard during the
night. This we gathered from some despatches
which fell into our hands, together with some most
amusing and vainglorious instructions for destroying our ships, issued by one of the mandarins,
Lin-Tsih-Sen, Governor -General of Two-Kwang,
the translation of which I give presently; but
before doing so it may be as well to mention the
marks distinguishing the different degrees of rank
belonging to the order of mandarin in the Chinese
There are altogether nine grades, their rank being
distinguished by different - coloured buttons worn
on the cap. The highest rank is a red button,
only worn by nobles; second grade, red flowered
gem; third grade, light-blue stone; fourth, dark-
blue stone; fifth, light crystal; sixth, opaque, white;
seventh, eighth, and ninth, gold buttons. A peacock's feather is sometimes worn in the cap, an
honour similar to a decoration. The feather is
inserted in a hollow tube of green jade-stone.
But to return. The proclamation is entitled,
| Seven General Rules for the Extermination of
the Barbarian Forces." 72
1. Although the "barbarian war-vessels are so many tens
of feet long, you must not look at their length; although
they have so many guns, you must not be afraid of the
number or size of these. For as the barbarian guns are
all in the sides of their vessels, our forces have only to attack
them at the prow and stern. Suppose the ship stands with
its prow to the south, if the wind is north, attack the stern;
if the wind is south, attack the prow. If the prow stands
east, and the wind is east, attack the prow ; but if the wind
is west, attack the stern (!).
Taking advantage of the wind and avoiding the fire from
the guns, the character of the tide must also be considered;
proceeding with the tide, victory is certain.
The largest of the barbarian ships draw upwards of 20
feet of water, the smallest draw above 10; but our ships
only draw a few feet, so that taking a wide circuit, they can
always secure the wind in their favour. In attacking the
prow, the figurehead must be first fired at; in attacking the
stern, the cabin must be first aimed at. The stern cabin has
glass windows, it being occupied by the highest officer on
board; the powder magazine and appendages are also in the
same part of the ship, and a continuous cannonade is sure to
effect an opening, when the powder will explode. Although
the rudder is cased with copper, yet it is cast copper, and
may be broken with cannon-balls.
When the figurehead is broken off and the rudder broken,
there is no means of controlling the ship; and while there
are an extraordinary number of hands engaged with the
sails fore and aft, a few rounds from our guns will send
them dropping into the sea, when, the ship being short of
men, it will not be able to move, and the large guns will
thus fall into our possession.
2. In approaching the prow or stern of a barbarian ship,
our vessels must divide into two squadrons right and left,
and advance in the form of the wings of a goose, in an
oblique direction, closing up in front and opening out behind : in this manner a great many ships may be assembled
without the risk of firing into our own fleet.    Suppose the LIN-TSIH-SEN S  VAINGLORY.
prow of a barbarian ship stands east, our ships, taking
advantage of a west wind, will attack it aft; on nearing the
starboard side, our ships must stand towards the south-east;
on nearing the larboard side, our ships must stand towards
the north-east. Thus, all taking an oblique position, the fire
from our guns will unavoidably strike the barbarian ship and
will not touch our own vessels. The same principle may be
applied to other positions. This all depends on the efficiency of the helmsman in handling the rudder. Let those
who are expert and active be rewarded several fold; and
.when money, watches, cloth, or other articles are captured
on board the barbarian ships, let a double portion be given to
the helmsman. But if at the given time they mistake their
business, omitting to advance when they ought to advance,
or neglecting to turn when they ought to turn, then let the
helmsmen be decapitated as a warning to the fleet.
3. On getting within cannot-shot reach, begin to open fire
with the cannons; coming within musket-reach, commence
the attack with muskets, approaching till rockets and stinkpots are available. These may be used without restriction,
the more the better; but care must be taken that they reach
the barbarian ships, it being most important that they should
not fall amongst our own. The following is the method for
casting stink-pots from the mast-head :—
Let two men be selected wearing bamboo helmets, with a
small rattan shield on the breast, tied on with a cord at the
back, having a double sword at the waist and the matches
also attached. One man ascends the foremast, and one the
mizzen-mast, all going to the very top and remaining on the
highest yard. Two men stand at the foot of each mast and
haul up the baskets containing the stink-pots by means of a
pulley. Each basket. contains ten or more stink-pots, and
every pot has 4-pounder rolls enclosed in cotton cases.
These being drawn up briskly, the men at the mast-head then
apply the matches, when they are instantaneously discharged.
When one basket is emptied, another is hauled up, so as to
keep up an uninterrupted delivery on board the barbarian
ship.    The attack being thus unremitting, the barbarian ship 74
will to a certainty be set on fire, if it is not reduced to
ashes; yet when the fire is raging the barbarians will
assuredly seek to move off, and our men can embrace the
opportunity to board them.
Having boarded the ship, our stink-pots and rockets may
cease, as they will then be of no use.
4. When our men board a ship, they must immediately
put to the sword every barbarian they meet, and leave their
heads to be counted afterwards, for there ought not to be an
urgency in presenting the heads to the neglect of more
important business. Having decapitated the barbarians,
the next matter, of greatest importance respects the wheel
and rudder bands, the stays, ropes, and lines: let all these
be cut, and the ship is ours—there need be no anxiety
with respect to the money or goods on board. When a
barbarian ship is captured, those who board it must make an
equitable distribution of the money and goods, awarding
the additional prize-money where due; but those who first
enter the ship are by no means allowed to begin plundering, and so neglect the more important work of slaying
the thieves. Those who disobey will be visited with the
rigour of military law.
5. Our vessels advancing obliquely to attack the barbarian
ships at the stem and stern, let gun-vessels be placed opposite
the four corners, at most not more than four to each corner
—if large ones, three will be sufficient—and let there be a
simultaneous attack at the four corners.
As there will be only twelve or fifteen vessels thus engaged in the attack on one barbarian ship, and as there will
be many more vessels at disposal, they may separate and
attack other ships; they must not crowd up in one place,
giving rise to disorder and confusion. If occasion requires
a conjoint attack by a great number of vessels, attention
must be paid to the orders of the officer in command.
When the drum beats a heavy roll, and the red flag is
hoisted as a summons, the vessels must assemble for a
combined attack. If it happens that the foremost company of  vessels  are  long  engaged  in  the  oblique attack LIN-TSIH-SEN S  VAINGLORY.
without apparent success, they should rest for a little and
let the hinder company close up obliquely; but these
changes must be always in obedience to the orders of the
commanding officer: let none act on their own responsibility.    Decapitation is the penalty of disobedience.
6. Let thirty small boats be obtained, on which place a
quantity of hay, rosin, and coarse hemp soaked in oil, with
from a tenth to a fifth part of the same amount of gunpowder, all bound together with straw ropes and covered
with a rush mat. Let one or two small chains about 5
feet long be placed at the stem and stern ends of the boat,
one end fastened by an iron ring and a large iron nail 7
or 8 inches long fixed to the other end with a very sharp
point. Let two iron hammers be placed on the boat, and
let three or four expert swimmers, with half their bodies
under water and half leaning against the sides of the boat,
act as oars in .propelling it: the deeper they are in the
water the better, that so the barbarian guns may not
reach them.
Having drawn close up to the barbarian vessel, either in
the stem, stern, or sides, they can drive in the nail securely,
fasten the fire-boat to the barbarian ship, set fire to the
combustibles, and then diving under water make their
The very largest barbarian ship, with ten or more of such
fire-boats nailed to and burning round it, will infallibly be
consumed. Now, if there is a discharge of stink-pots and
rockets amongst the rigging above, and our gallant braves
ascend the masts and board the ship midway, while the
fire is raging below, the barbarians will find they have three
tiers of adversaries, and while attempting to defend themselves against one tier, they will be constrained to neglect
the other, and thus deliver their heads over to us.
7. Yalour and courage are the qualities most in esteem
for the defeat of the enemy; for when valour is great and
courage unbending, victory is certain.
On the present occasion, whoever kills a white barbarian
will  be rewarded  with  a hundred  dollars, and half the 76
amount will be given for a black barbarian; for taking one
alive, extraordinary rewards will be conferred, according to
the rank of the individual. Thus for killing ten barbarians
a thousand dollars may be obtained; for killing a hundred
barbarians ten thousand dollars; for a greater number an
official appointment will be granted besides. What a
happy prospect! Any one who falls in the contest will
receive a reward of two hundred dollars, that so all who
show their bravery at the risk of their lives may establish
their merit and be duly recompensed. 'Should any withdraw during the contest, their heads will be instantly
taken off and suspended on poles as a warning to all!
So ends this precious document. It would appear
from it that a good many Chinamen's heads ought
to have been "suspended on poles," as, from our
experience, their invariable practice was to " withdraw during the contest" at the earliest opportunity.
Not but what the Chinaman is a brave man if
properly led, which he never was, the mandarins
having invariably a pressing engagement elsewhere
when the fight was at its height; so the poor
soldiers followed their example, and I believe that
those of any other nation would do the same if
their officers were the first to fly.
In February two fine brigs, the Elk and Camilla,
arrived from England: the latter was subsequently
lost with all hands in a typhoon, and not a trace
of her was ever found.
On 16th February information was received of the
whereabouts of some notorious pirates who had committed various outrages along the coast, so H.M.S.
Niger and the East India Company's steamer Auckland • were sent after them, and two of our boats—
my old pinnace being  one—were  attached  to  the RETURN  TO HONG-KONG.
expedition. We found the vagabonds easily enough,
a regular nest of them; but they bolted at our
approach, leaving some fine junks in our possession.
We shot a few of the pirates as they clambered up
the hills, but the majority escaped; so, taking the
junks in tow, we returned to Hong-Kong.
Soon after this, news reached us of the capture
of a passenger steamer called the Queen, and the
brutal massacre of her passengers and crew. The
Queen was on a voyage from Hong-Kong to Macao.
Some Chinese soldiers, disguised as ordinary passengers, had gone on board, and while the saloon
passengers were down below at luncheon, these
rascals seized the arms, which had most foolishly
been left on deck, and fired down the skylight,
killing every soul but one, a gallant fellow named
Cleverley, who, though badly wounded, managed
to defend himself against the gang, two of whom
he shot, and then escaped by jumping out of the
stern-port. He was afterwards picked up by a
lorcha and lived to tell the tale, otherwise we
should never have had the details of this unfortunate affair.
The Chinese, having massacred the crew, ran the
vessel ashore and gutted her, taking out the engines
and boilers. The latter were converted into 1 infernal
machines," filled with powder, and used against us.
After our exciting times up the river, existence
at Hong-Kong was very monotonous : the weather
was hot, and the season unhealthy, and many of
our poor fellows died of dysentery from drinking
bad water. For a long time 1 had to go to the
hospital ship, regularly at 4 p.m., to take any men
who had died in the night and bury them in the 78 EVACUATION  OF  CANTON.
English cemetery at "Happy Valley," the portico
of which bore the cheerful inscription, " Hodie mihi,
eras tibi" (To-day my turn, to-morrow thine). This
duty, as may be supposed, was not a pleasant or a
very healthy one, and I can't say I hankered after
it. One afternoon I had just shoved off from the
hospital ship with my ghastly cargo, the boat piled
up with coffins, on the top of which I sat smoking
a big cheroot (a very necessary precaution), when
the doctor hailed me to say that one of the men
was a Koman Catholic, but he did not say which;
so, taking a piece of chalk, I marked the coffin on
which I was sitting with a cross. Arriving at
Happy Valley, we were met by the two parsons—
one Church of England, the other Eoman Catholic.
The man marked with an X was buried in accordance with the rites of the Eoman Catholic Church,
and I apprehended it did not make much difference
to the poor fellow mostly concerned.
Apropos of this scene, I accompanied the Eoman
Catholic coffin to the burial-ground with the bluejackets carrying the remains. The last rites were
being observed with due reverence, and all went
well till the priest sprinkled the coffin with holy
water, when I heard one bluejacket say to another,
"What's that, Bill?" "Why," said the other,
I samshu, of course!" (samshu being a fiery spirit
made from rice). This was too much for me, and
I collapsed, much to my shame and regret; but I
really could not help it—it was too comical. I
sincerely hope the good priest did not notice it, but
that if he did he attributed my emotion to a
different cause, and not from any want of respect
to his office or the solemn occasion. SNIPE-SHOOTING  IN  THE   PADDY-FIELDS.
Besides the cemetery, Happy Valley contained a
racecourse, which, from its beautiful situation, was
a favourable place for picnics, and many a jovial
party assembled there.
We also got a little shooting on the mainland
opposite Hong-Kong, a place called Kowloon, where
barracks and storehouses and docks are now established.     But in those days there was nothing but
rice-grounds, with a village some miles inland, into ' o "
habited by a gang of most treacherous scoundrels.
These rice-grounds—or paddy-fields, as they are
called—used to be my favourite resort, and I have
reason to remember them, for on two occasions I
had a narrow escape there. The first time was
when I was snipe-shooting alone. I got bogged,
and sank to my arm-pits, and there remained quite
helpless. Whilst in this position, a water-buffalo
spotted me and charged. I had my arms free, and
gave the brute a charge of snipe-shot in the face
at five yards : this slewed him round, and the second
barrel, under the tail, quickened his movements.
After a time I got out.
The second adventure was more serious. As I
had never been molested, I had grown careless, and
having wandered far inland, found myself near to
the village. The day being hot, I sat down on
the top of a hill to smoke and enjoy the breeze,
but keeping my eyes open, when something flashing in the sun attracted my attention. I soon
made this out to be a spear-head moving below
me; this was followed by another, and then the
bearers of them came in sight. There were seven
of them, all armed. It struck me at once that
they were stalking me, and were working round so 80
as to cut off my retreat from the boat, which I
had left four miles off with orders to await my
return in the evening. Taking in the situation,
I drew the shot from the barrels of my gun and
substituted ball, and then sloped quietly down the
hill. The Chinamen, seeing my tactics, immediately
gave chase. My head was worth 500 dollars to
them, and much more to me: no doubt this fact
did not retard me. Moreover, I was young and in
splendid condition. I noticed that one at least of
the party carried firearms, so tightening up my
belt, I flew along with the seven scoundrels in full
cry astern.
Looking over my shoulder, I soon found that
I had the heels of them, except one fellow who
kept about the same distance, and he carried an
enormously long matchlock, or gingall, as it is
called in China. These weapons are usually loaded
with a handful of slugs, and scatter over a large
area at 100 yards. I made up my mind to shoot
this fellow if he gained on me; but I could not
afford to lose time, unless he came dangerously
close, as I should have been unable to load my
muzzle-loader. He stopped twice to draw a bead
on me, but did not fire, and I gained some yards.
Presently I came to a river, which took me up to
my arm-pits and lost me some time, enabling my
pursuers to gain somewhat; but once on the other
bank, I bounded along as fresh as ever. On topping
a hill, I saw my boat, but at anchor a long way
from the shore. Yelling out at the top of my
voice, I was rejoiced to see that Amoy, our faithful Chinese boatman, had observed me, and began
weighing his anchor; but, to my dismay, he pulled BETWEEN THE DEVIL AND THE DEEP SEA.
in for the shore in my direction. Had he continued his course I must have been captured, as
they would have been down on the beach before
the boat reached it, so I waved to Amoy to pull
to a point of land farther off. At this moment
my pursuers were in full sight streaming down
the hill. I was between the devil and the deep
Amoy, now understanding the situation, altered
his course, so that we should reach a given spot
together. I got there a little before the boat,
plunged into the water, and was hauled on board
just as the Chinamen reached the beach. They
shouted out something to Amoy. "What do they
say ?" I inquired. § They say, \ Suppose I bring
you ashore they give me 500 dollars,'" and he
added, "Suppose I bring .you ashore they cut off
your head, and mine too." In reply I fired both
barrels over their heads, and hoisting our sail, we
soon put a safe distance between us.
I have often wondered since why I did not
shoot a couple of the scoundrels, as I could easily
have done; but I was thankful for my escape, and
could afford to be generous. I kept this adventure
quiet, as we should have certainly been barred
from landing again on that side, and it was our
best snipe-ground; but I told one of my messmates
about it, Lieutenant the Hon. J. B. Vivian, and
we arranged to pay that village a visit. So one
day, having armed ourselves with revolvers, we
went there, and by way of commencement we shot
several of their tame ducks. The villagers turned
out and surrounded us, and things began to look
ugly.    One  of the men  laid hands on J. B., who 82
. let him have it across the mouth with a bunch of
ducks, knocking him down. We then drew our
revolvers and threatened to shoot any who approached : We kept them off, but had to retreat,
leaving the ducks.
About this time reinforcements began to arrive
from England—the Inflexible paddle-wheel sloop,
with the Starling gunboat in tow, the pioneer of
a whole fleet of these useful little vessels, which
have done such good service since in China. Some
of these gunboats were commanded by officers who
have since risen to the highest rank in the service,
and who, happily, still adorn it. Others are no
more. There was one, a most amusing character,
who commanded a small 40-horse-power gunboat.
This individual stood six feet in his stockings,
and could not stand upright in his cabin, so he
used to perform his toilet partly on deck and
partly below, his body being in the cabin, and his
head through the skylight, with a shaving-pot and
looking-glass on deck. He used to say that,
having no doctor on board, he mixed the medicines provided in a chest into two bottles, and
whenever any of his crew happened to be sick, he
drew an imaginary line across the man's stomach,
and according as the pain was above or below
that line, he gave him a dose out of number one
or number two! He claimed that no man ever
came to him twice, which was very likely.
One Sunday morning in April, a French steamer,
the Catinat, brought news of the total loss of
H.M.S. Ealeigh, a fine 50-gun frigate, commanded
by Commodore Harry Keppel, now Admiral of
the Fleet Sir H. Keppel.     As the gallant Admiral ANOTHER  FIGHT  IMMINENT,
has given us an account of his adventures, it is
unnecessary for me to allude further to this disaster. The Ealeigh was beached in Macao Eoads,
and became a total wreck; but her guns, spars,
&c, were saved, and her officers and crew were
distributed amongst the squadron, and did good
service in the subsequent operations. Sir Michael
Seymour's command having been further augmented
by the Fury paddle-wheel steam sloop, the Highflyer corvette, and the Tribune frigate, we looked
forward to the prospect of another brush with the
Chinamen in the Canton river; and towards the
end of May it was decided to attack the fleet of
mandarin junks assembled in Fatshan Creek. 84
The boat action of Fatshan Creek is justly considered
the most desperate cutting-out affair of the China
war, and it is reckoned that more Englishmen were
killed and wounded in this fight than fell before the
walls of Acre.
It must be remembered that up to this date all the
operations in China had been carried out by open
boats propelled by oars, but now we were reinforced
by a fleet of smart little gunboats, commanded by
most capable officers, eager for any service.
On the evening of May 28, 1857, I was ordered on
board the Haughty gunboat, Lieutenant Vesey Hamilton in command, with my pinnace and my old crew,
and away we went up the river, buoyant with the
prospect of paying off old scores with the rascals who.
had defied us so long and given us a dressing on 4th
January. Next day we reached the rendezvous, where
we found several small craft already assembled. Some
of the boats had had a sharp brush with a batch of
mandarin junks a day or two previously in Escape
Creek, and captured several of them. Fine rakish-
looking craft, armed with a long 32-pounder gun in
the bows and several smaller ones on the broadside, THE  OPPOSED  FORCES.
they drew but three feet of water, and were thus
well adapted to navigate in shallow waters.
On 31st May our force was all complete. Sir
Michael Seymour's flag was flying on board the Coromandel, tender to the flagship; a party of marines
who were told off to carry a fort at the entrance of
the creek were also on board this vessel. Besides the
Coromandel, we had the Haughty and Plover gunboats, the hired steamers Hong-Kong and Sir Charles
Forbes, and all the available boats of the squadron.
The enemy's force consisted of one hundred heavily
armed junks, the pride of the imperial navy. Eighty
of these were moored some three miles from the
mouth of the creek, commanding an almost impregnable position, their broadsides bearing on the only
direction from which they could be attacked; the
remaining twenty were moored about four miles
farther up the creek, with their guns concentrated on
a narrow passage and a bar, which the boats would
• have to cross to get at them. The junks presented a
picturesque and formidable appearance, with banners
and streamers flying, guns run out on one side, and
boarding nettings triced up ready to drop on us when
we got alongside, so as to spear us when entangled in
the meshes.    All had stink-pots at the mast-heads,
• and it was evident that they were prepared to give
us a warm reception, and were confident of success.
And well they might be ; for, owing to the shoalness
of the water, not one of the gunboats could get to
close quarters, so that the brunt of the action would
fall as usual upon the row-boats. In fact, as it turned
out, the junks were lying on the mud at low water,
but this we had no means of ascertaining at the
On the night of the 31st May all our preparations
were complete, and we lay down to get a few hours'
rest, so as to be ready for action at daylight.
An old messmate of mine in the Eodney, a midshipman named Harry Barker, had just arrived on
the station in the Tribune, and was now about to be
initiated to Chinese warfare for the first time. We
■yarned about old times till near midnight, when I
wished him good night. I never saw him again. A
few hours later he was on his way to Hong-Kong
with a grape-shot through his lungs, from which he
My orders were to lie alongside the Plover for the
night, as she was to tow us into action in the morning. At 3- a.m. we roused out and had a basin of
ship's cocoa and a biscuit, and by daylight we were
ready. The morning of the glorious 1 st June—happy
anniversary of Lord Howe's action, and also of that
of the Shannon and the Chesapeake—broke fine and
warm, the sun shining in a cloudless sky. The Coromandel, with the Admiral on board, was already
under weigh, leading into action, towing the boats
with the marines who formed the storming-party:
she took the passage between Hyacinth Island and
the mainland.
The Admiral's last orders were, that no one was to
weigh anchor till the Coromandel was well up with
the fort, so we waited till she was abreast of Hyacinth
Island and already engaged with the fort.
The next to weigh was the Hong-Kong, flying the
broad pendant of Commodore Keppel, closely followed
by the Haughty and Plover, with the boats towing
Passing the Coromandel aground, the gunboats took  IS'
the right-hand passage and stood towards the junks,
wThich at once opened fire, the compliment being
returned by the gunboats. Presently, to the disgust
of the gallant commanders of those vessels, the gunboats, with the exception of the Haughty, grounded ;
so now came our turn. The boats shoved off, and
:with a rattling cheer made a dash for the junks under
a terrific fire of round-shot, grape, canister, scrap-iron,
and bags of nails. Fortunately for us, the space to be
traversed was only a few hundred yards, otherwise
not a soul could have lived through it. As it was,
every boat was struck in several places, and many a
poor fellow lost the number of his mess in those few
minutes. The water was ploughed up by the storm
of shot, and the air whistled with the hail of grape
and canister. However, before the Chinamen could
reload we were alongside. Without waiting to drop
the netting and spear us like eels in the meshes, they
jumped overboard on one side as we clambered up on
the other, and the first lot of eighty junks was ours.
Meanwhile the marines had done their work in gallant
style, and captured the fort without any serious
But our work was by no means accomplished : the
remainder of the fleet, numbering twenty junks, were
still to be accounted for, so having set fire to the first
lot of junks, Keppel called out to the boats to follow
him,'and all who heard him responded to the call,
the boats of the Calcutta being well to the fore.
Leading the way in his galley, the gallant commodore made straight for the junks, the heavy boom-
boats following as fast as they were able. All went
well for a while, as we rapidly swept towards the
junks without a shot being fired on either side.    It BATTLE OF FATSHAN CREEK.
looked as if we were going to have a walk over. We
were soon to be undeceived.
When within about 400 yards of the junks the
istream became forked, the low land between being
an island. We took the right-hand branch, and had
not gone up it many yards when the boats grounded.
We were fairly caught, and the Chinamen were masters of the situation. The junks were all aground,
and knowing that our boats would also ground on
the bar, they laid their guns for the spot, *and as
soon as they saw us in difficulties, opened upon us a
concentrated fire. The uproar was awful, and loud
above the din could be heard the beating of gongs
and the yells of the Chinamen.
Not a shot could we return, as the boats got broadside on, and the crews were employed in trying to
shove them off the sandbank, whilst a perfect hail of
shot poured upon us. The commodore's galley was
cut in three pieces, and every boat was struck; men
were falling fast; we could not stay where we were;
to advance was impossible, there was nothing to do
but retreat. Keppel gave the order and jumped into
the Calcutta's barge, which with my pinnace was close
at hand. The graphic picture of this event, painted
by Mr Brierley from description, though correct in
most details, is misleading, inasmuch as two boats
are depicted close to the commodore's galley, one
flying the white ensign, the other the blue, which
would seem to imply that one boat was the Calcutta's,
the other the Ealeigh's. This mistake -may be perhaps excused, seeing that Brierley was not present,
and he would naturally wish to put one of the
Ealeigh's boats well to the fore, the picture being
painted for Sir Henry Keppel;  but as a matter of BATTLE   OF  FATSHAN   CREEK.
89 90
fact, the two boats almost touching the commodore's
galley at the moment were, as I have said, the Calcutta's barge, with Lieutenant Culme-Seymour, the
Admiral's nephew (now Admiral Sir Michael Culme*
Seymour), in charge, and my pinnace, under Lieutenant Winnyat, I being forward working the gun.
Having got the boats afloat, we reluctantly turned
our backs to the enemy and retreated down the
creek. My boat was badly hulled below the water-
line ; a round-shot passed through both sides, smashing the magazine, but fortunately not exploding it,
and wounding the two stroke-oarsmen : however,
we plugged the hole with a bluejacket's frock, and
finding our launch in a sinking state, we ran alongside her and took out her crew and her gun. Our
boat was now so deeply loaded we could scarcely
keep her afloat. The Chinamen continued to pepper
us as long as we were within range, one shot breaking
all the oars on one side of the barge.
Having rested alongside of the gunboats till the
o o o
tide rose, we again shoved off and resumed the
attack. There was no hitch this time : we passed
the bar all right, and with a cheer dashed at the
junks. My old boat could hardly keep up, so deep
was she in the water, and leaking like a basket; but
we staggered on, firing our 12-pounder brass howitzer
into the brown of them. The Chinamen knew now
that the game was up, and firing their last broadside
as we closed on them, they deserted the junks and
escaped across the paddy-fields.
Taking possession of the junks, we pushed on to
the city of Fatshan, where we piped to dinner; for
although it was only 9 a.m., we had been hard at it
since sunrise, and stood in need of refreshment.   The SIR  HENRY. KEPPEL S  ACCOUNT  OF  THE  ACTION.      91
junks meanwhile had been set on fire, and made a
fine spectacle: their shotted guns exploded now and
then, and occasionally one would blow up, sending
guns and masts into the air.
After a short spell at Fatshan—a dirty, unfortified
town, which we did not molest—we returned to the
gunboats to hear the news. Besides young Barker,
there was a long list of killed and wounded, both
officers and men ; but really nothing like what might
have been expected, considering the odds against us
and the strong position we had to assail.
Had the Chinamen stuck to their guns till we were
close alongside, and then carried out their intention
of first netting and then spearing us in the meshes,
the result might have been very different. However,
the Admiral had every reason to be satisfied: the
attack was well planned and gallantly executed, and
was a complete success.
Our work in the Canton river was now concluded
for the present.    By this action we had utterly de
stroyed the mandarin fleet, and we returned to Hong-
Kong, where my old boat was hoisted in for repairs.
Since writing the above I have read Sir Henry
Keppel's account of the action, from which it would
appear that the Ealeigh's boats did all the work, and
no mention is made of the Calcutta's, who had borne
all the burden of the events in the Canton river long
before Keppel and his crew appeared on the scene,
and were well to the fore on this occasion. In
making these remarks I have no wish to detract in
.any way from Keppel's gallant action—nothing could
be finer than the way he led us to attack the second
lot of junks; but, with many other followers of our
- gallant old chief Sir Michael Seymour, we do not like
^ 92
to see him practically ignored, and all the honour
and glory of the action reflected on Keppel and the
Ealeighs, whereas the whole plan of the action had
been carefully prepared beforehand by the Admiral,
and carried out. by him in person.
On June 27 Lord Elgin arrived in H. M. S.
Shannon and landed under the usual salutes. As
Special Commissioner his Excellency was armed
with extraordinary powers to deal with the high
Chinese authorities. Baron G-ros, representing
French diplomacy, took up his quarters on board
the French frigate Capricieuse. America was represented by Mr Eeid on board the Minnesota,
and Eussia by Count Putiatine.
From this time till the close of the year negotiations were said to be proceeding between the
foreign diplomats and the Chinese authorities, but
nothing came of them, and in the month of
December it was decided to bombard the city of
Canton. In the mean time several more vessels
had arrived from England, including the Amethyst
frigate of twenty-six guns, and several gunboats.
Having passed my examination for lieutenant,
in the early part of the year I had the good fortune
to be promoted at the age of nineteen and retained
in the flagship as acting lieutenant. The operations, concluding with the bombardment and capture
of Canton, being a matter of history, I will pass
over quickly.
On 14th December Sir Michael Seymour with
his Staff proceeded up the river in the Coromandel,
and on the 19th the island of Hassan was taken
possession of by the marines and small-arm men
of the squadron.    This was a most important posi- BACK  AT  HONG-KONG.
tion directly facing the city. Several 13-inch
mortars, which had arrived from England, were
mounted on the Dutch - folly Fort, and on the
28th December and following day that city was
bombarded, and Fort Gough was stormed, on which
occasion the gallant Captain Bate was killed.
On January 5, 1858, the city walls were stormed,
and Commissioner Yeh and the Tartar general taken
prisoners. Yeh was without doubt one of the most
cruel tyrants that ever lived. He claimed that
during the previous two years he had beheaded
70,000 of his countrymen, and it is computed that
during his time of office over 100,000 men, women,
and children had been slaughtered by this monster.
Yeh was sent as a prisoner on board the Inflexible,
and in her conveyed to Calcutta, where he soon
afterwards died.
By the middle of January, arrangements having
been made for the ransom of the city, the troops
were withdrawn and returned to Hong-Kong, and
in February the blockade of the Canton river was
raised, and the muddy stream was once more
thronged with junks, sampans, and flower-boats,
plying their usual avocations.
Things had settled down to their normal condition at Hong-Kong when we heard of some
murders and robbery having been committed by
pirates in the neighbourhood of the island, so an
expedition was at once organised for their pursuit.
The Forester gunboat was detailed for this service,
and I was ordered to accompany her with the
pinnace and cutter of the flagship, also two midshipmen, and an assistant-surgeon, named Murphy,
under my orders. 94
After leaving Hong-Kong we steered for Lintin
Island, where we hoped to find the piratical
vessels; but before reaching that place we observed a junk under the land, to which we gave
chase. The crew of the junk, finding escape impossible, ran their craft ashore and deserted her.
Leaving a party on board the junk, we again
shaped our course for Lintin, keeping a sharp look
out, but seeing no junks, till having rounded the
island we were about to give up the search and
return, when we spied a white pole rising as it
were out of the ground. A closer inspection
proved it to be the mast-head of a large junk or
lorcha, moored in a snug little harbour, the entrance
of which we could not at once perceive. Manning
the boats, we pulled in and made out the entrance,
which was so narrow that we had to toss oars
to get through. The passage opened into a lovely
little harbour with a village at the head of it.
This was the pirates' stronghold, and a more perfect retreat could not be found. Off the village
lay a fine lorcha with her broadside commanding
the entrance. We fully expected a desperate resistance, and were prepared for it. With a cheer
we dashed at the vessel and boarded, when to our
surprise we found both the lorcha and village
deserted. The pirates had no doubt observed us
from the shore, and finding their retreat discovered,
had cleared out. This was a great disappointment;
however, we had secured a fine prize, so taking
the lorcha in tow, we brought her off to the gunboat, which had been waiting for us outside, and
made her fast astern. We found her to be an
English   vessel   which   the   pirates   had   captured. A  FALSE  ALARM.
She had a valuable cargo on board, besides a
quantity of beer, wine, and spirits, but no signs
of the crew could we discover. They had all been
murdered by the pirates.
Having placed a corporal's guard on board to
keep sentry over the liquor, we returned to the
Forester and prepared to make all snug for the
night. And now a most ridiculous thing happened.
We had not long retired to rest, and were rolled
up in our blankets on deck, when about midnight
we were roused up by frightful yells from the
lorcha. We could make out, "Help! the pirates
are on us !"
To seize our swords and revolvers and jump into
the cutter alongside was the work of a few moments,
and hauling the boat astern by the hawser, we were
soon alongside and swarmed up the side, expecting
to be confronted by some of the pirate crew, when,
to our astonishment, not a pirate could we see.
The corporal and the sentry were both sprawling on
the deck, calling loudly for assistance, and declaring that the pirates had knocked them down. A
glance showed the true state of affairs. The gallant
marines had broached the cargo, and had lost the
use of their legs, both being gloriously drunk. The
vessel was rolling considerably with the swell, and
the lorcha's main-boom had got adrift and was swinging to and fro, and had knocked them both down
several times. In their drunken stupidity they
imagined that the pirates had attacked them, and
so raised the alarm. Having relieved this precious
guard we turned in again, and were undisturbed for
the rest of the night. The next morning we returned to Hong-Kong with our prize in tow. 96
On February 22, 1858, a few days after the
expedition with the Forester, I was ordered to
repair to the Algerine gunboat, with two of the
Calcutta's boats, the pinnace and cutter, as before,
and the same officers, all under the orders of
Lieutenant Forbes, commanding the Algerine. Our
orders were to search in the neighbourhood of Mirs
Bay for some notorious pirates who had for a long
time committed a series of atrocities in those
waters, plundering and murdering inoffensive fishermen or any. defenceless trading vessels they might
happen to come across. We took with us two fishermen as informers to direct us to the pirates' haunt.
Eunning through the Lymoon passage, we met
with a very heavy sea, which caused the gunboat
to knock about to such an extent that her 68-
pounder gun broke adrift and gave us some trouble
to secure. On approaching Mirs Bay the water
became smoother, and we steamed through a group
of islands, disturbing large flocks of wildfowl, but
seeing nothing of the game we were after.
By sundown we had pretty well explored the
greater part of the bay without success, and we
began to fear that the informers were romancing;
but they seemed so positive, pointing to certain
likely spots on the chart where they said we
should be sure to meet some of the rascals, that
we decided to continue the search the following
day, and the Algerine anchored for the night.
Next morning at daylight we weighed anchor and
stood farther in to the bay to the northward,
threading our way through a perfect labyrinth of
islands in which the pirates could easily hide and
carry on  their games with   impunity.     We  were HUNTING THE  PIRATES.
approaching a place called Grass Island, behind
which we were assured by the informers we should
certainly find some of the scoundrels, so we arranged
a plan whereby to cut off their retreat should they
attempt to bolt, the Algerine going round to the
north of the island, whilst I with the boats went
round the south. We had not gone far before we
fell in with a small junk which had evidently been
sent out as a decoy to lead us in the wrong direction. Having captured her and left a guard on
board, we now gave chase to a large lorcha which
we observed standing out to sea, endeavouring to
escape. This she would have had no difficulty in
doing, as there was a strong breeze blowing, and
these craft sail well, and we should have had no
chance with her but for the fact that we were so
placed as to be able to head her off. As we
approached her we noticed that she carried several
guns on her broadside, and that her decks were
crowded with men, whilst we had but our 12-
pounder brass howitzer and crew of fourteen men.
If we ever entertained any doubts as to her character, we were soon enlightened by a • shower of
grape with which they favoured us, the shots
fortunately going over our heads. The compliment
was promptly returned, whereupon the cowardly
crew altered course and steered straight for the
shore, with the evident intention of running the
craft aground. It was a bold manoeuvre, and a
risky one, as a heavy surf was breaking on the
rocks; but they managed the vessel beautifully.
When close to the breakers they let go two anchors;
the lorcha swung round, with her bows to seaward
and her stern touching the rocks.    The crew then
G 98
escaped over the stern and scrambled up the hills,
their movements being assisted, or at all events
hastened, by the shots we sent after them. Some
may have been drowned in the surf; but of this I
could not be sure, as we had to look to the safety
of the boats, which were now on a lee shore with
half a gale blowing.
Being desirous- of getting on board the lorcha,
I went in as close as we dared in the pinnace, and
then got into the cutter, a handier boat in a surf.
Having dropped her anchor, we veered in till I
was able to jump aboard with the coxswain and
two bluejackets. The cutter was nearly swamped
in this evolution, and shipped a sea which filled
her to the thwarts, so she hauled off to bale whilst
we proceeded to search the vessel.
We found her to be a beautiful model, mounting
seven guns on each side, and a 32-pounder in the
bows, sufficient to have sunk us with a broadside
if they had stuck to their guns. She was fully
equipped with swords, pikes, gongs, josses, &c, all
of which we collected with a view of saving. One
of the crew who had not had the courage to jump
overboard we made prisoner.
Down in the hold we found an old man chained
by the arms, legs, and neck to the bottom of the
vessel: he had been captured by the pirates, and
had already been tortured several times. Having
released the poor fellow, we brought him on deck,
and prepared to leave the vessel. With that object
I hailed the cutter and then set fire to the ship.
The cutter now veered in as before, when a heavy
sea broke right over her, half filling her, and she
had to haul off to bale. A PIRATE LORCHA BURNED.
Meanwhile the wind and sea were steadily increasing, and the flames, fed by the high wind, had spread,
so that the whole of the after-part of the vessel was
burning, and we were driven forward into the bows.
At this moment two small Chinese fishing-boats hove
in sight, and seeing our critical position, the men
most gallantly came in to take us off; but the sea
tossed their frail craft against the sharp bows of the
Destruction of piratical lorcha by Calcutta's pinnace.
lorcha, dashing them to pieces, and to our dismay the
two poor fellows in them were drowned in the surf
without our being able to afford them the least assistance. The cutter's crew now veered breakers1 astern
by lines, hoping they might drift down to us, but
the wind and sea took them wide of the mark. Dr
Murphy, who was in the cutter, now took off his
1 Small casks for holding water. 100
coat, and with a line round his body was preparing
to jump overboard, to swim to our assistance; but
no swimmer could live in that sea, so I hailed him
to stay where he was.
By this time the flames had spread with great
rapidity, and the whole midship part of the vessel
was in a blaze ; the fire was working steadily forward
to where we wTere standing, and the heat was intense.
Moreover, the craft showed signs of breaking up, and
the rocks were already through her bottom. Every
moment I expected the magazine to explode, and it
seemed to be a choice of being blown up or drowned.
We were now huddled together in the bows of the
lorcha, the bluejackets and myself, the prisoner, and
the poor old man who was too feeble and helpless
to save himself. The boat was plunging at her
anchor only a few yards away, so I told the bluejackets to throw away their rifles and save themselves if they thought they could reach her. Two
of them did so, and jumping overboard, were hauled
into the boat by lines which were thrown to them.
There now remained the coxswain and myself and
the prisoner, whom we did not like to desert: he
was so weak from starvation he could scarcely stand.
They now made a supreme effort in the cutter to
help us, and she came so close under the bows we
were able to pitch the old man into her, and jumping
overboard ourselves, we were dragged into the boat;
the oars were manned, the cable hauled in, and we
were soon clear of the breakers and safe. We had
not got more than fifty yards from the lorcha when
she blew up, sending her guns and spars flying over
our heads into the sea, and covering us with splinters
and burning pieces of wood.  1*11
\wkmifm:      Ji'P1
i    181   ' P
We now pushed on to join the Algerine as arranged;
but seeing a junk escaping up a creek, we gave chase
and captured her, the crew deserting on our approach.
This was an old craft, and had evidently been a trader
until captured and turned into a pirate. She had
only two guns mounted. Leaving our prisoner and
a couple of hands aboard, we now gave way to join
the Algerine, whose guns we could plainly hear. On
rounding a point we came upon her engaging two
large piratical junks, which were moored head and
stern off a village, their broadside commanding the
approach. Our arrival was most opportune, as we
found one man badly wounded on board the gunboat, and as she had no doctor, Murphy's services
were needed.
It seems that these junks opened fire on the
Algerine directly she came in sight round the point.
Her gallant commander, Forbes, was in his glory,
working the pivot gun with his coat and hat off, and
giving the Chinamen a severe dressing at close range,
in which we were delighted to join. The junks were
returning a scattered but ill-directed fire from about
twenty or thirty guns of all sizes, when a well-
directed shell from the Algerine blew up the largest
of them, sending her masts, guns, and crew into the
air—a magnificent sight, which we greeted with three
Nothing daunted' by the fate of their comrades,
the crew of the remaining junk replied with yells
of defiance and continued the action; but presently
her fore-magazine exploded, blowing out her bow and
killing several of the crew: the remainder jumped
overboard and made for the shore. We now manned
the boats and pulled in for the village, which we gSSSI
destroyed, and examined what was left of the junks.
One was burnt to the water's edge; the other was
partially destroyed, her stern with about ten guns
being still above water. By this time we had had
a hard and exciting day's work, and being a bit
tired and hungry, we returned to the Algerine and
piped to dinner.
Whilst enjoying our well-earned repast, we noticed
numbers of the pirates come down from the hills and
go on board the junk, whose stern was still above
water, probably to save some of their effects. Not
wishing to molest them further, as they had received
a pretty severe lesson, we sat watching them, smoking our cigars, when suddenly the after-magazine of
the remaining junk blew up, sending the greater part
of them into the air. We then pulled in again to try
and recover some of the guns; but they had mostly
sunk in deep water, so having picked up a few which
were in shoal water, we re-embarked, and shortly after
got under weigh for Hong-Kong.
As the Algerine steamed away we saw several of
the pirates watching us from the hills, showing that
they were not all exterminated; but we had destroyed
their stronghold and their ships, and a great many of
their people, which must have had a discouraging
effect on the survivors. They had fought well, with
a halter round their necks it is true, and one might
have been sorry for them if it were not for their
horrible brutality to those unfortunates who fell into
their hands.
We towed back the two small junks we had captured, which were of no value, and reached Hong-
Kong the same night. Had we been able to save
the lorcha and the two large junks, we should have A  MUNIFICENT  REWARD !
made a handsome sum in prize - money, as their
spars and guns were of considerable value. As it
was, we got nothing beyond the warm approval of
our Commander-in-Chief, the thanks of the Lords
of the Admiralty, and subsequently a liberal Parliament voted us the munificent sum of £180, to be
divided amongst the officers and ship's companies
engaged in the undertaking! 104
As there was nothing more to be done in these waters,
the Admiral decided to leave for the northern part of
the station, and on March 25, 1858, the Calcutta
sailed from Hong-Kong, bound for the G-ulf of Pichili.
Lord Elgin had already sailed for that place, taking
with him H.M.S. Pique, Furious, Nimrod, Cormorant,
and Slaney. The north-east monsoon was blowing
strong, and it took the old ship fifteen days to thrash
up as far as the Eugged Islands, at the mouth of the
Yangtze. The Admiral paid a short visit to Shang-
hae, and on his return we again put to sea, and after
a tedious passage of ten days, during which we
carried away our mainyard (see sketch), we anchored
off the Peiho river. The water in the gulf is so shallow that we had to anchor nine miles from land,
which was scarcely visible from the deck. We found
a large number of ships assembled here. Besides our
own ships, there was a French squadron, several
Americans, and a Eussian. Lord Elgin was on board
the Furious, and the French Admiral's flag was flying
on the Audacieuse. The small craft, including gun-
boats, the Coromandel, the Nimrod, and Cormorant,
despatch-vessels, were anchored inside the bar, from   AN   ULTIMATUM   DELIVERED.
which anchorage a fine view of the forts guarding the
entrance to the river was obtained. These presented
a formidable appearance, provided with heavy guns,
and evidently well manned. Banners of many colours
floated from the parapets, and it looked as if the
Chinamen were well prepared to receive us.
From this time to the middle of May negotiations
were carried on between the diplomats and the mandarins with a view to come to some conclusion satisfactory to both parties, but without success, and on
the 19th it was known that we should have a fight.
The time had not been wasted on our side; the
men had been regularly drilled, and landing-parties
organised. On the evening of the 19th May the
Admiral's arrangements were complete, and our boats
with the landing-parties crossed the bar and went on
board the Slaney gunboat. I had the good fortune
to be in charge of the left wing of the storming-party.
Another of our lieutenants was in command of the
right wing, and Lieutenant Cator, our first lieutenant,
was in charge of the boats.
The night before the battle we had a jovial party
on board the Slaney to wish success to the undertak- r
ing. At daylight of the 20th all the gunboats were
ready with steam up, and cleared for action. The
Chinamen were also ready, and, it was reported, had
sent a message off to say that if we were afraid they
were not, and that if we did not begin they would.
I can hardly credit it, because it was not our experience of their usual tactics. However, at nine o'clock
Captain King-Hall landed in his galley with an interpreter, to give a final ultimatum to the head mandarin in command : if no answer was returned by ten
o'clock we would open fire.     What the ultimatum 106
was about was no concern of ours—we didn't know
and we didn't care; but we passed an anxious hour,
fearing they might give in at the last moment.
Ten o'clock came, however, without any sign, so our
Admiral made the signal to begin.
Sir Michael Seymour and the French Commander-
in-Chief hoisted their flags together on board the
Slaney, and the boats with the landing-parties were
sent to another gunboat, the Firm, which vessel towed
us into action.
The Chinamen had stretched a boom across the
mouth of the river to keep hostile vessels from entering. This boom was composed of spars, chains, and
hawsers, and was sufficiently strong to keep out boats
or junks, but not a steam vessel going at high speed.
The Cormorant, Commander Saumarez, led the way
in gallant style, snapping the chains like thread.
The forts opened fire on her as she passed the barrier ; but not a shot was fired in reply till the Admiral made the signal to " engage," when each vessel
hoisted a yellow flag at the mast-head, and the action
The Cormorant was followed by a French gunboat,
then by one of ours, then another Frenchman, and so
on alternately. As each vessel passed the narrows
where the boom had been she received a heavy fire,
as the Chinamen had concentrated their guns on that
spot, and did not seem to be able to fire in any other
direction. From our position in the boats, towing
astern, we had a good view of the proceedings. Although exposed to the enemy's fire, we could not
return it, and had only to look on till our turn came*
It was a lovely sight, the little gunboats making excellent practice, bursting, their shells over the parapets THE ATTACK.
and in the embrasures. The Chinamen stuck to their
guns well, and returned the fire with spirit, hulling
each vessel repeatedly as she entered the river; but
once inside, they turned their attention to the next.
The Firm got her share as she passed, and so did
we in the boats; indeed it looked as though every
vessel must be sunk, having to run the gantlet of
heavy earth-batteries firing at her from both sides of
the river at close range. And so they would have
been if the Chinamen had kept their guns trained on
Attack on the Peiho Forts.
the ships; but they seem to have had no notion of
being attacked in flank and rear, and were only prepared for an enemy in front, probably under the
belief that no ship could pass the boom at the river's
After a while the fire from the forts slackened, as
well it might under the terrible hail which was
poured upon them, and in an hour and fifty minutes
they were completely silenced.    The boats were then
ordered to land the storming-parties.
were put mm
ashore in a paddy - field, where we sank up to our
knees in mud, and having formed our men in as good
order as we could, we rushed for the forts. Fortunately for us, the Chinamen no sooner saw us coming
than they bolted, the mandarins leading the way on
horseback. The head mandarin was struck by a
bullet and fell off his horse, and before we could come
up to him to take him prisoner he drew his sword
and cut his throat from ear to ear, and fell back dead
in the mud. In a very few minutes from the time
of landing the forts were in our possession, and the
English and French flags were floating from the
The wisdom of Sir Michael Seymour's plan of
attacking the forts at low water was most apparent,
for in the event of any ship getting ashore, she
might float off with the rising tide, whereas to get
ashore at the top of high water in the face of an
enemy and a falling tide would most certainly lead
to disaster. Our work was by no means concluded
with the capture of the forts—in fact, it had only
commenced. We had to set to work dismounting
guns and levelling the parapets, with the thermometer 100° in the shade. Amongst the guns were
some of very beautiful design and large calibre.
Some of them had inscriptions, such as " Barbarian
destroyer" and other facetious mottoes : these, we
were told, had been sent down from Pekin for our
especial benefit.
We had not been long at work when a terrific
explosion took place in the fort next to ours: the
magazine had been blown up, killing and wounding
some thirty-four Frenchmen. Whether this was
caused by accident or, more likely, by a train having A  CURIOUS  CASUALTY.
been laid and a fuse left burning by the Chinese, can
never be known. These explosions are of frequent
occurrence in Chinese warfare, owing to the careless
way they leave powder lying about. In consequence
of this, I was ordered to flood the magazine in our
fort. Having entered the place, I found several large
chatties more or less full of powder. We filled these
to the brim with water, and having thus destroyed
the powder as far as we could, I was leaving the
magazine with my men when we met the carpenter of
the Fury coming along and swinging a large hammer.
He entered the magazine, and immediately there
was a fearful explosion, wrecking the building and
blowing the man to pieces. It is probable that
the poor fellow struck one of the chatties with his
hammer, thus causing a spark, and that the water
had not had time to soak through the powder; but
it may have been caused by a train laid by the
I lost one of my men in a very curious way
whilst storming the fort. We were running across
the mud-flats from the boats in somewhat irregular
fashion, and one was a good way ahead of the
party, when, happening to see a Chinese tent, he
went in, and finding a dead Chinaman inside, the
silly fellow put on the dead man's hat and cloak, and
coming out of the tent continued his course, when a
sergeant of marines, seeing what he took to be a
Chinese soldier running away, shot him dead.
Finding it to be one of my men, I sent his body
down to the boat. The boat-keeper was away, having
joined in the attack with his shipmates. On his
return one of the boat's crew called his attention to a
bundle in the bottom of the boat covered over with
H If;!
ri,t ■
an old bread-bag. " What's that, Bill ?n says he.
I Why," said the other, lifting up the corner of the
bag and exposing the face of the corpse, " bio wed if it
ain't my poor cousin ! "
After a very hard day's work dismantling the forts
and spiking the guns we were glad of a rest. The
men were billeted in the Chinamen's tents, which
were left standing complete with cooking utensils
and plenty of rice. The head mandarin's house made
an excellent officers' quarters. Sentries were posted,
and we made all snug for the night.
The next two days were devoted to embarking the
guns preparatory to sending them to England: many
of them were of brass, and of great value. The forts
were then blown up, and I was sent up the river
to Tientzin with the Calcutta's launch and pinnace,
leaving a party to complete the destruction of the
forts and shipment of the guns. The Peiho river is a
dirty, muddy stream, very tortuous, and the current
runs strong. We were towed up by the Coromandel;
but owing to the current and the sharp bends our
progress was slow, added to which the river was
blocked with junks, so we had to cut their cables and
send them adrift. Several gunboats, both English
and French, followed in our wake; but as the latter
kept constantly getting ashore, I was sent in the
launch to their assistance. No sooner was one afloat
than another got ashore, and we had to lay out their
anchors and heave them off; so it is not surprising
that it took us several days to reach Tientzin, a
distance of sixty miles.
Arrived at Tientzin, I was ordered down again to
help another French gunboat in distress. Having got
her afloat, we had reached within a mile or so of the THE  BLUEJACKET  AS  CONNOISSEUR.
city when we came across another Frenchman, the
Avalanche, high and dry, with the French Admiral's
flag flying on board her. We promptly went to her
assistance, and at length hove her off, and proceeded
with both vessels to Tientzin. The French Admiral
most kindly asked me to dine with him, but as I had
no clothes but what I stood up in, I declined; whereupon the gallant old Frenchman lowered down a
basket of good things into the boat, including some
wine for the men—a very acceptable change to our
daily fare of salt pork, biscuit, and rum. I am
afraid the bluejackets did not half appreciate the vin
ordinaire, for I heard one of them remark, "What
do you call this stuff, Bill ?" " Why, they calls it
port, I believe; but I'm d—d if I wouldn't sooner
have starboard!"
The city of Tientzin, like the generality of Chinese
towns, is a filthy place surrounded by a moat. The
inhabitants were greatly astonished at the barbarian
fire-ships, the first they had ever seen. The Coromandel, being the only paddle-wheel steamer, attracted
much attention.
On our arrival the people sent to warn us off; but
as no attention was paid to this request, they pretended to believe we had come to trade, and wished
to know what description of goods we had aboard.
It is reported that Sir Michael's reply was, " Hardware." At all events, as soon as it was known that
we required provisions, they were ready to do business, and we were quickly supplied with bullocks,
sheep, fowls, fruit, vegetables, and ice in abundance.
They swam off to the boats and exchanged baskets of
fruit for ship's biscuits.
We soon settled down to the quiet monotony of 112
if I if
boat life, to which we had so long been accustomed in
the Canton river, but without the excitement, as there
was no more fighting to be done. The sun was
so hot during the day that it was dangerous to
move about, and even sitting quietly in the boat
under double awnings was almost unbearable. The
thermometer stood at 110° Fahrenheit in the deck
cabin of the Coromandel. Under these circumstances
we seldom moved, unless there was work to be done,
before 5 p.m., when we sometimes took a stroll with a
gun to shoot pigeons, which abounded in the neighbourhood. The country was not very settled, and we
were occasionally mobbed and once or twice stoned;
hut, as a rule, the people took no notice of us.
Lord Elgin and his Staff" were established in a joss-
house close to the landing-place.
One morning after my usual dip in the river I was
.sent to assist a French gunboat, the Dragonne, which
we found high and dry. Having hauled her off, we
proceeded up the river till night, when she anchored,
as it was pitch-dark. At 11 p.m. the French captain
asked me if I could pilot his ship up the river to
Tientzin, and on my agreeing to do so, he got under
weigh. The night was dark as pitch, but by climbing up the rigging I could just make out the windings of the river, and we arrived at our destination
at 3 a.m. without accident. This sort of thing was
of frequent occurrence, but we rather liked it, as it
gave us some occupation. Fortunately I had for a
messmate a charming companion, N. Bowden-Smith,
so the time passed pleasantly. Smith was a mate at
that time, and I was acting lieutenant, but by a turn
of the wheel of fortune he has since gone ahead.
We had every variety of weather during our long A LONG SPELL IN THE RIVER.
spell in the river. One night it rained heavily,
wetting us to the skin; another time it blew a gale
of wind, and we were half blinded and suffocated by
dust: but we lived well, and had a plentiful supply
of ducks and fowls. A pretty little bantam hen
which I had looted out of a joss-house sat on her
eggs in a cigar-box in the stern sheets of the launch,
and there remained till she hatched out her family.
During the first part of our stay we were much
annoyed by dogs, which kept up such a chorus that
we could not sleep ; but I had an air-gun, and used it
with such beneficial effect that during the latter part
we were not molested, and perfect silence reigned.
One day there was a disturbance ashore, and some
Chinamen came off with broken heads to complain of
my boat's crew. I believe they were guiltless on this
occasion, but as there had evidently been some misunderstanding somewhere, I was sent back to the
ship in the pinnace to change the crew. We had
a very pleasant trip, shooting our way down, and
reached the forts at the mouth—sixty miles in two
days—without accident, beyond striking on a sunken
rock, on which the boat hung; and as she would not
come off, we all jumped overboard, when she floated :
we then had another ten miles to reach the ship outside the bar. Having changed my crew, I returned
to Tientzin.
On the 26th June Lord Elgin arranged to meet
the Chinese Commissioners to sign a Treaty of Peace.
Several officers came up from the fleet to be present
on the occasion. Having donned our full uniforms,
we joined the procession, his Excellency Lord Elgin
leading the way in a sedan - chair, followed by the
Admiral with his Staff and the rest of the officers. 114
The ship's band and marines accompanied us, and
everything was done to make the ceremony as imposing as possible. On arriving at a joss-house, Lord
Elgin was received with a guard of honour and a
burst of Chinese music. We were shown into a room
illuminated with Chinese lanterns. Three tables were
arranged side by side. Lord Elgin took his seat in
the centre, the Admiral and the highest mandarin on
the right, the second highest mandarin on the left.
These two officials were said to be the highest in the
empire, and wore the pink opaque button, denoting
their rank.
The ceremony occupied a very short time, after
which tea and cakes were handed round the band
struck up | G-od save the Queen!" and the treaty
of peace with China was concluded. How it was
shamefully broken the following year, when our poor
fellows were so roughly handled at the Peiho Forts, is
a matter of history, and is no part of this narrative.
We left Tientzin, re-embarked on board our respective ships, and sailed for Nagasaki, in Japan, where
Lord Elgin presented the Tycoon with a beautiful
steam yacht from her Majesty Queen Victoria.
After a most delightful stay at this beautiful place,
we left for Hong-Kong; and soon - afterwards the
Calcutta sailed for England, where we arrived without further adventure after an absence of three years
and nine months. Before leaving the station the
English .merchants presented Sir Michael Seymour
with a magnificent service of gold plate in recognition of his eminent services—a compliment which was
appreciated by all who had the honour of serving
under his flag, for never was a commander-in-chief
more respected and beloved than our gallant and
courteous Admiral. At Singapore we shipped a lot of parrots for
passage home. Most of the birds died before we
reached England, but one of the survivors, belonging
to my servant, an old marine, contracted some very
bad language. Old "Forty-eight," as the marine
was called, being desirous of curing his bird of this
bad habit, took him into the parson's cabin (" Forty-
eight" was also the parson's servant). Next morning
the parson saw the bird and said, | Good morning,
pretty Polly !" | Go to the devil!" said the parrot.
The parson sent for " Forty-eight," and asked him
what he meant by bringing such a foul - mouthe*d
bird into his cabin. " Why, to learn him some good
discourse, to be sure," said "Forty-eight." The last
I saw of poor old "Forty-eight" he was scudding
along on the crest of the waves in his coffin! The
poor old fellow died at sea, and being a great favourite on board, he was put into a coffin, instead of,
as by usual custom, being sewn up in his hammock
and committed to the deep. The coffin was well
ballasted with shot, and holes were bored in it to
let the water in; but notwithstanding these precautions it floated, and when last seen was making good
weather of it; but I expect it struck soundings in time.
Whilst we were at St Helena, a party of us rode to
Longwood to see Napoleon's grave. . The body had
lately been removed to France, but a guard of French
soldiers remained. We shipped some of the poor
fellows, who were suffering from dysentery, and a
day or two afterwards one of them was reported to
be dying. He asked if he might smoke his pipe in
his hammock, a request that was readily granted.
The band played the Marseillaise, the pipe was finished, and the gallant soldier lay back in his hammock, dead. 116
During the passage home I had to consider the'
prospect of passing my examination in navigation
and nautical astronomy on my arrival in England.
This was a serious matter for me; for, being now an
acting lieutenant of two.years' standing, I should for-,
feit all that time if I failed, and never having had
the benefit of a naval instructor, owing to being otherwise employed during the Crimean war and in China,
my education had been sadly neglected in this respect.
Moreover, now that I had time to work, our naval
instructor, J. K. Laugh ton (now Professor Laughton),
one of the best mathematicians in the service, was
too ill to do much to help, so the only thing was
to buckle to and work by myself. With this end
I made a map of the starry heavens, took daily and
nightly observations for latitude and longitude, besides double altitudes of the sun, moon, and stars for
latitude; also practised the method of ascertaining
the longitude at sunrise and sunset, which is useful
when, as often happens, the sun is obscured during
the day. It is not the fashion nowadays to trouble
about lunar observations, though our forefathers
had to trust to them entirely before  the  days  of SIX  WEEKS  IN  ENGLAND  IN  NINE  YEARS.
chronometers, and I know of one Admiral who
believes in them to this day. At anyrate, my
work during the passage home served my purpose,
and enabled me to work a college sheet without
The Calcutta was paid off at Devonport after a
commission of three years and nine months. Our
kind captain, W. King-Hall, left us to go out to
the North American station as flag-captain to Admiral Sir Houston Stewart, and I would gladly have
followed him; but being acting lieutenant, I had to
pass my examination in gunnery and navigation, and
so had to remain, to my very great regret. Captain
Hall had always been a good friend to me, and
what I know of seamanship I owe to him. He was
a thorough sailor of the old school, and though
sometimes abrupt and plain-spoken, was one of the
kindest of men. I was twice under arrest on the
voyage home—once for " mutiny," as he called it,
and also for breaking my leave at the Cape; but
he never thought the worse of me, nor I of Mm,
for that matter, and we parted the best of friends,
and he gave me the best certificate I ever saw.
I had just a month to get through my examinations, and having done so with satisfaction to myself,
I looked forward to a spell ashore, having been only
six weeks in England in nine years, when, to my
intense disgust, I was ordered to join the Trafalgar
in the Channel Squadron without delay; and to
report the day I joined her. It is such treatment
as this that disgusts officers with the naval service,
and drives many out of it. A soldier would have
had at least a year's leave after serving such a time.
Happily, things are better now, though there is still 118
room for improvement, and officers are granted a
certain period of full-pay leave in proportion to the
time they have been absent from home. The Trafalgar was commanded by Captain Edward Fanshawe
(now Admiral Sir E. Fanshawe), one of the smartest
and most popular officers in the navy.
Amongst the officers was one most amusing old
fellow, generally distinguished for his slovenjy appearance and bad language. He had served most
of his time in brigs and small craft, and was not
quite at home in a big ship. Some of his yarns
are worth repeating. As midshipman of a brig on'
the West Coast, the gunroom officers were kept waitr
ing for their pea-soup, and going forward to ascertain
the cause, he found the black steward washing his
feet in the soup-tureen, preparatory to " dishing up " I.
The boatswain of .the brig was challenged by the
captain of a French ship for having insulted him,
and a rendezvous was arranged on shore. The
boatswain landed with a ship's pistol, and observing the Frenchman waiting with his second under
a palm-tree, he at once opened fire on him, and
advanced loading and firing till the Frenchman
took to his heels.
The captain of the brig was much disliked by his
officers, and being ill with yellow fever and likely
to die, the first lieutenant used to drill the marines
in the Burial Service on the deck over the captain's
cabin, by way of cheering him up, the corporal
giving his orders in a loud voice thus, " The corpse
is now a-coming up the 'atchway—reverse harms! 1
The skipper ultimately recovered.
My eccentric shipmate at one time commanded
a gunboat   up   the   Baltic, and   having   had   the THE  WASP.
misfortune to run her ashore, with no leadsman in
the chains, he was ordered to be tried by court-
martial. The night before the trial he sent for a
trusty old quartermaster into his cabin, when the
following conversation took place :—
I What soundings did you get immediately before
•the ship struck ? "
Quartermaster. "Me, sir! why, I wasn't in the
Captain. " Silence, sir! Eemember you are on
oath !    What soundings did you get ? "
Quartermaster. "Ten fathom, sir"!
Captain (handin g him a stiff glass of grog). '' You're
prepared to swear to that ?" And so he did next
day, and the captain was acquitted.
After six months' Channel groping I had had
enough of it, and having applied for foreign service,
was appointed first lieutenant of the Wasp, a steam
sloop of thirteen guns commissioned for service on
the east coast of Africa for the suppression of the
slave trade. This appointment was a good one for
my standing, as I was only twenty-two years of age,
and had two and a half years' seniority as lieutenant;
and so it might have been, but for the unfortunate^
circumstances attending the Wasp's short but disastrous commission, which I will now relate.
The Wasp has been a name of ill-omen in H.M.
service of late years. Two vessels of that name
have been totally lost—one on the west coast of
Ireland, when a number of officers and men perished ,
and later the other, a gun-vessel, foundered in the
China seas, and not a trace of her was ever heard
of. The one I was appointed to was certainly not
lost, but  came  very near being  so,, and  she  met 120
with so many mishaps during her short commission
of twenty months that it is a wonder she ever
reached England again, or that any of us lived to
relate our adventures. She was an auxiliary steam-
sloop of 1000 tons, mounting twelve guns of small
calibre on the broadside and a pivot gun on the
forecastle. She was well sparred, and sailed well,
but her small steam-power (100 power nominal)
only sufficed to propel her seven knots under
favourable circumstances. She was, therefore, to
all intents and purposes a sailing-vessel; and she
carried 175 officers and men all told.
On June 9, 1860, we slipped our moorings at
Sheerness and proceeded under sail to the Downs,
where we were delayed by a heavy gale from the
north-west; but the wind veering round enabled
us to make a run for Spithead. Owing to a thick
fog and a most incompetent navigator, we overshot the mark, and when the fog lifted we found
ourselves off Portland, having narrowly escaped
being wrecked at the back of the Isle of Wight—
a bad beginning. We then had to beat back to
Spithead. From there we proceeded to Plymouth,
and whilst standing "off-and-on" near the breakwater, we very nearly went on the rocks at Penlee
Point. Owing to these blunders we got rid of our
incapable navigator and shipped another in lieu,
and I am not sure that he was very much better.
Having made this necessary change, and likewise
discharged a drunken lieutenant, we took our final
departure from the shores of Old England on
June 16.
On the 22nd, whilst the ship was running under
sail before a nice breeze, a man fell overboard about   VARIOUS  ADVENTURES,
6 p.m. As occasionally happens in a newly commissioned ship, the life-buoy got foul and could not
be let go, and the boat which was being lowered
capsized at the davits, throwing all her crew into
the water. By this time the man was a long way
astern, and seeing that he could not swim, and
must certainly be drowned, I went overboard after
him, and was fortunate in reaching him before he
sank. Meanwhile the life-buoy had been let go,
but was a very long way off: the ship was therefore now hove-to, and the boat having been righted,
the crew got into it again and pulled to our assistance. During these operations we had ample leisure
to admire our little ship as she gracefully bowed to
the sea with her main-topsail to the mast. To cut
the story short, we were both rescued after being
half an hour in the water, none the worse for our
ducking, though the bluejacket was never of much
account afterwards, and took the first opportunity
of deserting.
The next day we picked up the north-east trade-
wind, which carried us to Madeira, where we spent a
few days very pleasantly. On leaving the island our
usual bad luck (or some might call it bad seamanship) attended us. The captain, who had a decided
objection to Using steam, got under weigh in a flat
calm ; having made sail, we drifted helplessly about
the bay till we fell foul of a Portuguese schooner
at anchor, and smashed her up considerably. Her
skipper, awoke from his slumbers, used some shocking language, which I am bound to say was excusable.
Having got clear of this craft, we drifted foul of
another, and remained grinding her down till two
o'clock   in   the   morning,  when  wTe  separated  and 122
. drifted ignominiously out of the bay, leaving two
vessels wrecked, and being much damaged ourselves.
So much for economising coal, a ton or so of which
would have saved all the troubles. The next few
days was pleasant sailing. We passed in sight of
Palmas, one of the Canary group, and crossed the
equator on 16th July with the usual ceremonies.
One night, when running before a strong westerly
gale in the latitude of the Cape of Good Hope, we
were taken flat aback in a heavy squall. It was an
awful night, as dark as pitch, with thunder, lightning, and torrents of rain ; a heavy sea was running,
and the ship was rolling 40° each way; sails splitting,
spars crashing, shot and other raffle flying about.
All hands were on deck shortening sail, but it
was next to impossible to. stand; and the men
aloft had as much as they could do to hold on. In
the midst of the confusion the wTind shifted suddenly
again, taking us aback, and it seemed as if we were
about to founder or be dismasted. The sea at this
time was fearful to behold, and looked as if it was
coming aboard us every moment. We had run into
the centre of a cyclone. Down below everything was
thrown about in hopeless confusion, chests and boxes
flying about all over the place. The doctor was lying
under the wardroom-table, where he remained till
morning, when we dragged him out more dead than
When daylight broke the gale had subsided, and
we were able to clear away the wreck of broken spars
and make things ship-shape. Numbers of whales
were spouting round the ship, and albatross and other
sea-birds followed in our wake. On 17th August,
being becalmed, I took a boat and left the ship to ON   THE ROCKS.
shoot albatrosses, many of which were in sight.
Sailors have a superstition against shooting these
birds, fearing that some disaster will befall the ship
in consequence, and in this case they were right.
However, none of the birds we shot were wasted: their
feet made excellent baccy-pouches, their down went to
stuff pillows, and we made a pie of their bodies. One
hears fabulous accounts of the size of an albatross,
some averring they have known them to measure 16
feet across the wings. The ones we shot averaged 12
to 13 feet across the wings, and 4 feet from tip of
beak to tail. The head and beak measured fully 18
inches. The latter is a formidable weapon, with a hook
at the end. On the 24th August we were again becalmed within one hundred miles of the Cape, so we
had another go at the albatross, whereon the old salts
shook their heads. The same evening we met the
mail-steamer from Cape Town, it having left that
morning. After parting with her we got up steam
for the first time since leaving England two months
The morning of the 25th was ushered in with a
dense fog, so that we could not see a ship's length-
ahead. According to custom, I had the morning
watch, so I put leadsmen in the chains and lookout
men on the forecastle, and kept a sharp look out.
On the captain coming on deck at 7.30 I asked him
if he did not intend to stop on account of the fog.
He said he should do so at eight o'clock. As eight
bells were reported, the cry came from forward,
I Breakers ahead !" Instantly the engines were reversed and the helm put hard-a-port; but too late I
and with an awful crash she was on the rocks, her
frame quivering from stem to stern.    For the next 124
few minutes it seemed as if it was all up with the
ship : she bumped heavily, and presently large pieces
of timber detached from her bottom came up alongside. Looking over the side, the rocks could be
plainly observed, with kelp as thick as a man's leg
attached to them, but no sign of land could we see
though so close at hand.
The pinnace was now hoisted out and an anchor
laid out astern—a matter of no small difficulty with
the ship bumping and straining, the masts quivering,!
and the decks heaving as though she were breaking
up. In the midst of all this excitement, the doctor's
voice could be heard loud above the din, crying
out, " Oh, she's going to the bottom! she's going
to the bottom!" Turning to the master, who was
alongside me on the bridge, I told him to go and
calm the doctor. So, putting his head down the
hatchway, he sang out, " Why, you old fool, she's
on the bottom!" After this there was silence
The position of the ship at this time was most
critical. There wras a heavy swell setting in from
seaward, lifting up the stern and bringing it down
again with a crash that set all the bells ringing and
the masts shaking as though they were going over
the side. An iron ship must have broken up quickly,
but being a stout oak-built little craft she stood a lot
of bumping. During this time the anchor was laid
out and the cable hove taut, the engine going full
speed astern; but all to no purpose* the ship would
not start, so the captain ordered me to heave the guns
overboard, with the exception of two which were firing
signals of distress. Whilst in the act of carrying out
these orders the ship slipped off into deep water just SPORT  IN   ROBBEN   ISLAND..
in time to save the guns. The fog now lifted, showing the cliffs towering high above our mast-heads, and
the surf breaking heavily on the rocky coast. We had
struck on a part of the coast midway between Simon's
Bay and Table Bay, a spot at which no ship that
had gone on shore ever came off again. We now let
go our anchor and sounded the pumps, when we found
her to be leaking badly. Meantime our guns had been.
heard at Simon's Bay, and the Sidon came out to
our assistance and escorted us to the anchorage. An
examination of the ship showed her to be very seriously damaged, the divers reporting that most of the
main keel was gone ; and as there was at that time no
dock on the station, we were ordered to Mauritius to
be docked. Our departure was, however, delayed for
two months, to enable the ship to take part in the
ceremony of laying .the foundation-stone of the breakwater in Table Bay by the Duke of Edinburgh. During the festivities connected with the function I took
the opportunity of visiting Eobben Island for the
purpose of shooting.
Eobben Island was then, and I believe is still, used
as a convict settlement, a lunatic asylum, and a leper
hospital. The island swarmed with game, and I had
a good time, returning to the ship with a heavy bag
of francolin, rabbits, and quail. The doctor in charge
was most kind, and put me up in the lunatic asylum.
I dined at his table; his servants were all lepers, and
his guests lunatics, so we were a very mixed party.
The doctor also provided me with a guide to show me
the whereabouts of the game. This individual, by
name Dick, was a criminal lunatic, having murdered
his father; but he was pronounced to be quite harmless, and he certainly was a most amusing companion: ill
still, I took care not to lend him my gun, as I had no
wish to be served the same way as he had served his
On 2nd October 1860 we sailed for the Mauritius, and on the 21st arrived at Port Louis and
docked in the Trou Fanfaron. The next two months
were most pleasantly spent in this lovely island,
during which time we made many friends, and enjoyed the hospitality for which all classes of the
community are celebrated. The island of Mauritius
is of volcanic origin, though no active volcano exists
at the present time. The celebrated § Peter Botte "
mountain is the highest, rising to about 4000 feet,
and is of remarkable shape. It has been frequently
ascended during recent years, but at the time of our
visit only two parties had ever reached the summit.
The captain and I determined to attempt it, and wTith
this object we made a preliminary expedition. We
reached the shoulder of the mountain without difficulty, but finding it impossible to proceed higher
without ropes and other appliances, we deferred
further proceedings till another occasion, an account
of which I will relate by-and-by.
A day or two before the ship was ready for sea an
amusing thing happened. Near by us was a merchant
bark, and on one of her ropes was hanging a seaman's
frock. Now this is a recognised signal, well under-
stood by seamen all over the world, that on board
that ship is a man who is desirous of joining a man-
of-war, so we sent a boat aboard her and she brought
back a fine-looking man named John Sutton. I asked
him his reason for wishing to leave his ship. He
modestly replied that it was owing to a little misunderstanding with the captain.     I then sent the
boat back for further particulars. The captain informed me that Sutton had thrown him overboard !
We shipped him at once, and he proved a valuable
acquisition: he stood by me at a very critical time,
and remained in the ship as long as I was in her; but
I heard that afterwards he ran away, and probably
returned to the merchant service, where the discipline
is not so strict as on a man-of-war.
The Admiral, Sir Henry Keppel, arrived at Mauritius before we sailed, and a court of inquiry was
held on the Wasp's grounding off the Cape, the result
being that nobody was held to blame. As the Admiral
had expressed his opinion that he wouldn't give a
damn for any one who did not get his ship ashore,
the verdict of the court was not unexpected.
On December 1st we sailed for the Seychelles,
where we remained ten days to give the men a run
ashore, when we left for the Mozambique in company
with the Persian brig. We outsailed the brig, and
arrived off Zanzibar twenty-four hours ahead of her;
but instead of going into harbour, the captain, to our
disgust, bore away for the Mozambique Channel.
By this evolution we lost a most valuable prize,
which had been detained by our consul to await the
arrival of the first man-of-war. Arriving off the
island of Monfia, I was sent away in the pinnace to
look for slavers. My orders were to board any suspicious-looking dhows : if they had no papers they
were to be seized as prizes and taken to the nearest
port; but should they have papers, it was considered
a still more suspicious circumstance, and they were to
be taken possession of. Unfortunately we saw none;
but I had a pleasant cruise, and rejoined the ship at a
rendezvous a week afterwards.    During this trip we 128
ascended the Lufigy river to look for slave-dhows.
The river had never been explored, and it was
necessary to take a pilot, as there was a dangerous
bar across the mouth. I told the pilot that if we
touched on the bar he would be thrown overboard.
Sure enough we struck, and overboard went the pilot,
who escaped to the shore. We then continued down
the coast, visiting some of the Portuguese settlements,
as far as Ibo, when we turned about and steered to
the northward. The navigation of this part of the
coast is particularly dangerous, being imperfectly
surveyed, and abounding in coral-reefs extending far
out from the mainland, and the currents are so strong
that on one occasion we were set 120 miles to the
southward in twenty - four hours. After coasting
along for some distance, we crashed upon one of
these coral-reefs at 6 p.m., where we remained for
the night. The spot where we had piled up was in
lat. 12° S. and long. 40° E., near to a small island
called Congo,—a desolate, uninhabited place covered
with low scrub and a few trees. The chart marked
five fathoms at low water where the ship was aground;
but this was not the case, and at low water the ship
was high and dry. There was a rise and fall of 13
feet, so at top of high water she was afloat; but the
first night she lay over on her beam-ends, and we
walked round her, having first secured everything to
prevent its fetching away.
The next morning, having laid out an anchor
astern, we hove her off into deep water; and we
might have got clear away without further damage,
but unfortunately, in seeking for a passage through
the reef, we managed to get ashore again, in a far
worse position than we were before.    This time we ASHORE  ON  A  CORAL  REEF.
failed to move her, notwithstanding all 'our efforts;'
and as the tide fell, she rested on a rock under her
bilge, causing her to creak and groan as if her back
was broken. The engines also were lifted from their
bed, so we were deprived of their help. The ship was
now heeling 17°, so we hove the guns overboard, and
landed some provisions and water in case of her
breaking up.    The ship was straining much, several
Wasp ashore on a i
tefin the Mozambique Channel.
of her beams broke, and the water poured into her
as into a basket. Anchors were laid out ahead and
astern, and preparations made for landing the crew,
tents rigged, and tanks got up from below, as there
was no water on the island. The sick men were
landed with the assistant-surgeon and a guard of
marines. For several days we worked hard at
landing provisions and stores preparatory to leav- I
ing the ship. During this time the men were
exposed to a tropical sun, and the labour was most
On the 3rd February the captain ordered me to
get ready to proceed to Zanzibar in the cutter, a
small open boat 25 feet long; and the same evening
I started with a full boat's crew, an interpreter, and
as much water and provisions as we could stow. The
position of the ship at this time was such that it
seemed extremely unlikely she would ever come off,
or would float if she did. I felt sorry for the
captain, and said good-bye to my shipmates, feeling doubtful if I should ever see them again, for
indeed the chances were against it. The prospect
before us was not very cheerful. Zanzibar was at
least four hundred miles off and dead to windward,
and the north-east monsoon blew right in our teeth,
against which I should have to thrash in an open
boat, with no sort of shelter from the weather; moreover, the boat was dangerously deep in the water. I
wanted to leave some of the men behind, but the
captain would not allow it, thinking it safer to take
the whole boat's crew, in case of accidents, or trouble
with the natives, who are notoriously hostile on that
part 'of the coast. Our troubles soon began, for we
were hardly out of sight of the ship when we were
struck by a heavy squall, which threw the boat on
her beam-ends, although we shortened all sail. The
squall came down as black as night, accompanied by
thunder, lightning, and blinding rain; the water
poured over the gunwale, and we nearly foundered.
I jammed the helm up, and ordered the men to throw
the water-breakers overboard to lighten her. The
boat righted as she got before the wind, and flew OUR  TROUBLES  CONTINUE.
before the gale till the squall passed, leaving us half
drowned, with the loss of provisions and water, except one breaker. However, after baling out the
boat, and serving out a glass of grog all round, we
felt better, and hauled to the wind. After beating
two days and nights we reached a place called Tongy
Bay, where we landed to stretch our legs and dry
our clothes. An Arab chief kindly gave us a sheep,
which was very acceptable, as, owing to the heavy
sea, we had not been able to cook anything, and had
to eat our pork raw.
The next morning we again started, feeling much
refreshed; but' we met with so heavy a sea we had
to bear up for Tongy, where we anchored for the
night. The next day we succeeded in weathering
Cape Delgado, and fetched in off the mouth of the
Eovuma river. By this time I found that the coxswain, John Sutton, was the only man who could
be trusted to steer, so he and I took turn and turn
about night and day for the rest of the voyage. On
the 9th February it came on to blow hard, with
the usual accompaniments of thunder, lightning, and
heavy rain, so I ran for shelter to Kiswara, a slaving
port, where we remained for the night, and replenished our stock of water and got a few cocoa-nuts.
For the next forty-eight hours we continued beating
to windward, eating our food raw as before, as it was
impossible to cook it. Getting an observation of the
sun, I found we were in lat. 8° 57' S., and being off
the port of Quiloa, I ran in and anchored for the
night. We found some old fortifications at this
place, also barricades for slaves.
On the 12th we sailed at daylight, and after beating to windward all day,  arrived at another port, 132
called Kivinge. Our appearance caused quite a
sensation as we stood into the harbour with colours
flying and ran the boat on the beach. It was rather
risky, but we wanted food and water. We were
immediately surrounded by a mob of blacks, who
had probably never seen a white man before. They
could easily have massacred the lot of us; but thinking it was wise to put on a bold face, I told the
interpreter to inquire for the Arab chief, and we
went up to the village together, taking no weapons.
We found the old chief enjoying his pipe in front
of his house, and at his wish I sat down beside him.
He was a fine, benevolent-looking old fellow, with a
long white beard and blue eyes, and he took much
interest in our adventures. I showed him my chart,
pointing out the position of the ship, and explained
the object of our mission. He would not believe we
had come all the way in an open boat, and insisted
on coming to look at it; and when he heard we
had been already ten days at sea, he said he should
send me the rest of the way to Zanzibar in a dhow.
Thanking him for his kindness, I told him I would
wait thirty-six hours to recruit my men and obtain
some provisions, and if the dhow was then ready I
would accept his offer, but if not, I must go on in
the boat. The old man then gave me a bullock,
which I promptly shot. He also gave us some dates,
and ordered a house to be prepared for me; but the
place was so filthy I preferred to sleep in my boat,
as well as for better security in the event of treachery,
as we had no reason to be liked by the Arabs, our
vocation being opposed to their proceedings. Spreading the sails over the boat, we passed a peaceful
night, being only disturbed by the barking of a dog. OUR TROUBLES CONTINUE.
However, I settled him with a rifle - ball. In the
morning the owner of the dog demanded satisfaction,
which he failed to obtain. Whilst having our breakfast the natives again thronged us, and as they
became a nuisance, and the bouquet dJAfrique was
rather pronounced, I directed one of the boat's crew
to disperse them, which he did by charging into the
midst of the crowd with a 4-lb. piece of pork tied to
a string, with which he struck out right and left.
The natives, who abhor pork, fled in all directions,
and molested us no further. I informed the chief
that I should sail at daylight, whether the dhow was
ready or not; and as she did not appear, I departed,
leaving the interpreter behind, his room being preferable to his company.
Noon of the 13th February, we anchored under
the lee of Tonga Island, where we remained for the
night, as we were all exhausted and wet to the skin.
One of the boat's crew showed symptoms of illness,
so I dozed him with rum and quinine, and several
others complained from being constantly wet. The
next morning we were working to windward when
it fell flat calm, and we were rapidly drifted by a
strong tide-race towards a coral-reef, upon which a
fearful sea was breaking. The sails being useless,
we took to the oars; but the broken water knocked
them out of the men's hands. It was too deep to
anchor, and we were helpless. The black rocks stood
up like a wall, with a raging surf breaking against
them. The sea was now coming over both gunwales,
and our destruction seemed certain, for the instant the
boat touched the rocks she would have been dashed
to pieces and every soul devoured by sharks, which
crowded round us eager for their prey.    Just as it
jf 134
seemed we were about to be dashed upon the rocks
a breeze sprang up from off the land, which soon,
by God's mercy, carried us out of danger. We
hoped to have reached the shelter of Chooga Island
before dark, but the wind blew so strongly in our
teeth that we were unable to fetch it; so we had
to carry on all night, and at daylight we found
ourselves off the mouth of the Lufigy river. We
then tried to run under the lee of the island of
Monfia, but were blown to leeward, and it took us
all night to work up to it. On the 16th, however,
we managed to fetch the south end of the island,
where we landed and hauled the boat up on the
beach, that we might be able to replenish our water-
breaker, and lay in a stock of cocoa-nuts, and dry
our clothes in the sun.
For some time previously I had overheard some
grumbling amongst the men, who despaired of our
ever reaching Zanzibar. Up to this time I had
taken no notice of their remarks, considering that
under the circumstances, and allowing for the hardships they had undergone, some grumbling might
be excused; but thinking this a favourable moment,
I harangued them on the beach. I told them that
*I had heard their remarks and did not blame them,
as we had had a bad time, and that probably more
hardships were in store for us before we reached our
destination; but as we had performed two-thirds of
our perilous voyage, I had no doubt of completing
the remainder. I told them I only wanted volunteers, and would have no pressed men with me, and
that if only three would help me to work the boat,
I would put the rest of them on board a dhow which
I saw at anchor in the bay, and send them in her A  LOYAL  COXSWAIN.
to Zanzibar. This arrangement, I pointed out, would
have the advantage that if the boat were lost, those
in the dhow would communicate with the consul,
and inform him of the critical condition of the ship.
Besides this, the boat, being lighter, would sail faster.
I felt that I should not be very sorry to get rid of
them, but this I kept to myself. The men were a
good deal surprised, and somewhat ashamed; but
at the conclusion of my speech four of them immediately stepped forward and said they would go
anywhere with me. Foremost among these was John
Sutton, the coxswain, who expressed his readiness to
go to h— with me if I desired. As I had no wish
to test the honest fellow's loyalty to this extent, we
embarked in the boat and boarded the dhow. The
Arab captain wras somewhat astonished when a boatload of sunburnt sailors, in very ragged clothes and
no shoes, scrambled over the side. My own attire
consisted of a flannel shirt, duck trousers, and an
old uniform cap—no shoes or stockings. None of
us had shaved since leaving the ship, and altogether
we must have presented a ruffianly appearance, and
were probably taken for pirates. Having no interpreter, I had some difficulty in explaining that he
had to go to Zanzibar with some of the men. When
he did understand he strongly objected, as his course
lay in the opposite direction, and he was inclined
to be saucy; but a loaded rifle applied to his head
had a wonderful effect in quickening his understanding. So we soon arranged matters, and gave him
to understand that he would be well paid for the
job on arrival at Zanzibar., Having divided the provisions—namely, half a keg of dates and a little pork
—and given them one of the two rifles we possessed, \u\
we parted. I waited to see the dhow fairly started,
and then returned to the shore to fill our breaker
with water and get some cocoa-nuts.
The tide being unfavourable, I remained at anchor
for the night; and the next morning, having shot a
monkey and a few pigeons, we started, but soon had
to anchor again, on account of the wind and current
being against us. Several dhows also anchored near
us. The next day, February 19, whilst getting under
weigh, a dhow fell foul of us, carrying away our
bowsprit; but during the confusion that ensued we
boarded her and took a fine spar out of her to
make a new one, when we sheered off and beat up
between the mainland and Monfia. The boat sailed
much better than before, but was so lively that she
shipped a lot of water, obliging us to be constantly
baling. The same evening we overhauled the dhpw
with our men on board, and soon after we anchored
for the night. Next morning I went ashore with
Sutton on a foraging expedition, as our provisions
were nearly exhausted. There was a village about
a mile inland, the natives of which were known to
be hostile; so I anchored the boat some little way
from the beach and hauled her stern in to the
shore ready for a start in case of any trouble, so
that we could get aboard quickly, and told the
men to keep a sharp look-out. Sutton and I then
proceeded to reconnoitre the village. I was armed
with a rifle loaded with chopped-up lead, as we
had no shot. Presently we espied two fine fat
geese feeding, so getting their heads in a line I
knocked them both over. The report aroused the
villagers, who at once gave chase. Sutton seized
one  goose,  I the other, and  made  tracks  for  the THE  TRACK   OF  THE   CUTTER.
boat; but we had not gone far when Sutton rolled
over into some thorny scrub and said he could go
no farther,  as his feet were full  of thorns.     Our
from Congo Island to Zanzibar, showing the track of the Wasps Oil
against the S.E. Monsoon, with her position indicated at noon <
•pursuers, armed with spears, were now only a few
hundred yards off, and there was no time to lose,
so I pulled the thorns out of his feet and got
him on his legs again, when we started afresh, he 138 THE  CHANNEL  SQUADRON  AND  WASP.
leaving his goose but I sticking to" mine; and we
reached the boat, jumped in, and hauled off to
our anchor. The men had seen the chase and
were all ready for us, so, hoisting our sail, we
were soon out of reach of our pursuers, who stood
on the beach shaking their spears at us whilst we
plucked the goose over the stern. Sutton's version
of the above incident, as told to an admiring,
audience on the Wasp's forecastle after our return
to the ship, was very fine. When he came to the
part where he dropped his goose he used to wind
up, "And I says to Mr Kennedy, How about the
goose ?" The language which he put into my
mouth relative to that goose (to which, however,
I don't plead guilty) always brought down the
house, and was received with roars of laughter by
the ship's company.
February 20 we met with a strong breeze against
us, but made good progress, though shipping a lot
of water, keeping us constantly wet and giving
us plenty to do baling out the boat. Our provisions were now reduced to the lowest ebb, and
there was no prospect of getting more till we
reached Zanzibar. At noon we were in lat. 7° 6' S.,
and no land in sight. We carried a heavy'press
of sail all night, Sutton and I taking turns at the
helm, steering by the stars.
February 21, no land visible, provisions completely
exhausted, and wind dead foul. I found some cigars
in the bottom of the boat, which I served out equally.
The men were very cheery, singing songs and asking
for another slice of turkey and ham, and suchlike
chaff. Whilst taking my noon observation I fell
overboard, but was soon picked up, sextant and all. ZANZIBAR  AT  LAST.
At sunset land was sighted on the starboard-bow
and greeted with cheers, but it was still a long way
off, and the wind was contrary. We carried on
all through the night, and at daylight, February
22, the south end of Zanzibar was well in sight.
At this time we had not a drop of water left,
and had been without food for three days. A
fishing-boat was sighted to windward, to which we
gave chase, and after firing several shots I put a
ball through her sail, which brought her to. We
got a large bread-fruit out of her, and gave the
owner some powTder in exchange. All day we
worked up against the breeze, and at sunset we
landed on the south side of the island. and procured a plentiful supply of cocoa-nuts, when we
again proceeded, and the next day at 4 p.m. we
ran through the shipping at anchor off the town
with our colours flying, and beached the boat
abreast of the British consulate, having been nineteen days on the passage.
I at once put on my coat and shoes, and reported myself to the consul, Colonel Eigby, a fine
old soldier, who gave me a hearty welcome and
a good dinner, the first I had enjoyed for many
day. Having seen to the berthing of my men, I
accepted the colonel's hospitality and took up my
quarters in the consulate. The consul at once
informed the Sultan of my arrival and of the
position of the Wasp, and he immediately placed
all or any of his ships at my disposal. The choice
lay between a frigate, a brig, and a corvette. I
chose the last, as she was reported to be ready for
sea, and was more suitable for berthing the Wasp's
crew, in the  event  of the  ship  being abandoned. 140
Accordingly the Iskundah Shah, a smart - looking
little vessel, was ordered to prepare for sailing with
all despatch, and her captain, Mohamet bin Hames,
an Arab as black as a coal, was told to place
himself under my orders.
Mohamet had been educated in England, spoke
English fluently, and seemed an intelligent fellow.
I asked him when he could be ready to start; he
replied, " In twenty-four hours;" and he at once went
on board to make the necessary preparations. All
this looked hopeful, and later in the evening he
said he had already filled up with water and provisions, and was nearly ready for a start; but,
alas! the next morning the skipper and his crew
were all helplessly drunk, and remained so for two
whole days. In the mean time the dhow arrived
with the rest of my men: we had beaten her a
clear twenty-four hours in a dead beat to windward. The captain of the dhow, whom we had
pressed into our service, was handsomely rewarded
for his work. He seemed to have done fairly by
the men, and it was as well he did so, for my
orders to them were, in the event of any treachery,
to pitch him overboard. In measuring our track
on the chart, I found we had covered 800 miles
in the boat, an average of fifty miles a-day, allowing
for time spent in harbour. After two days' debauch
Mohamet and his crew returned to work, but now
a fresh difficulty arose. The crew had not been
paid wages for a long while, so they took the
opportunity to strike. It appeared that Mohamet
was in the habit of receiving the wages for his
crew, but considering his own pay insufficient, he
pocketed that belonging to the men, who naturally THE  ISKUNDAH  SHAH.
objected to the arrangement. This little difficulty
having been met, the work of preparing for sea
went on.
During my stay at Zanzibar I received much
kindness from Dr (now Sir John) Kirk. We
visited the slave-market; the value of the slaves
varied according to age and sex. The principal
exports consisted of cloves, cinnamon, nutmegs, and
gum shellac. Before leaving the Wasp our doctor
asked me to bring him some opium, and I was able
to procure a lump of this drug as big as a cocoa-
nut, which proved of great value, as will be
seen presently.
By the evening of the 25th February the
Iskundah Shah was reported ready for sea, and
on the morning of the 26th I repaired on board,
accompanied by Colonel Rigby and Dr Kirk, who
came to wish us bon voyage, and whose kindness
I shall never forget. My boat was hoisted up at
the davits, and we weighed anchor and stood out
of the bay with a light breeze. The ship I now
found myself aboard was a beautiful little craft of
600 tons, mounting twenty guns. She had been
built at Bombay of teak, at a cost of £40,000, and
it was currently reported that Mohamet, who superintended her building, had made a good thing out
of the transaction. Her equipment consisted of two
lieutenants, natives of Zanzibar, and a motley crew
of Arabs and black rascals of various nationalities.
The state cabin was reserved for me, and my men
were berthed on the main deck. As the Arabs
object to pork, or salt meat in any form, a large
supply of live stock had been shipped, and the,
decks  were  lumbered  with  bullocks,   sheep,  goats* 11
and poultry, which creatures, having no particular
space allotted to them, browsed about the deck as
they pleased. We sat down four to dinner in the
cabin—Mohamet, his two lieutenants, and myself.
The fare, as regards quantity, was more than sufficient, but the quality left much to be desired; and
the plates and dishes were not clean, to say the
least of it. On my protesting that the plates were
really too dirty, Mohamet abused the first lieutenant
and sent him out to clean them, an operation I saw
him performing with the tail of his shirt!
It seemed as though the elements were destined
to be always adverse to us, for the north-east
monsoon, which had blown steadily in our teeth
whilst in the boat, and would have been a fair
wind for us now, dropped, and we met with
light and variable airs and vexatious calms. The
ship sailed well; but the Arabs did not know
how to handle her, and when required to " tack
ship," invariably missed-stays and had to " wear"
like a dhow, which craft are unable to tack, by
reason of their rig. It was of no use for. me to
give orders, as the Arab crew would not have
understood me, and my own crew were all more or
less down with fever, .or suffering from the hardships they had undergone. The day after leaving
Zanzibar three of my men were very ill with fever,
and I felt it coming on myself. We had no doctor
on board, nor medicines, but the opium I had with
me proved of great value. I dosed the men with
it, and took large quantities myself. The only
effect of the drug was to keep us in a state of
semi-stupor and to relieve pain. The fever was
accompanied by a burning sensation and complete THE  OPIUM  COMES  IN  HANDY*
loss of appetite. Any attempt to take food was
followed by vomiting. Added to this, all my
joints became swollen; my jaws were separated,
so that I could not close my teeth; and to add to
my other miseries, I became afflicted with ophthalmia. All this was doubtless caused by being wet,
day and night, for nearly three weeks, sleeping in
wet clothes and drying them on our backs under
a tropical sun, added to bad and insufficient food.
There happened to be a pair of scales in the cabin,
and with these I measured out a portion of opium,
either for myself or for any of the men; but after
a while even this seemed to lose its power, and
although I took enormous doses, I could not sleep
for pain.
For ten long miserable days we were becalmed
or knocking about with light baffling winds, during
which time I took nothing but opium and lemonade.
The noise the Arabs made on deck during this time
was very annoying, and in the cabin they smoked
some vile decoction which caused a sickening stench.
The officer detailed for navigating duties used to
bring me his wTork for correction, but I had no
means of ascertaining whether the chronometers
were correct, without which his calculations, except
for latitude, would be worthless, as indeed they
proved to be.
One night Sutton came into the cabin and told
me that one of our men was dying. I crawled
down on to the main deck and found the poor
fellow stretched upon the deck apparently lifeless.
I could detect no beating of the heart, so, concluding he was dead, I put a lump of opium in his
mouth and left him, and went back to the cabin. I
Strange to say, the next morning he was better,
and he ultimately recovered. Another night, when
sitting in the cabin in a kind of torpor, the pilot
came down and said something in Arabic to the
captain. I saw by the fellow's look that there was
something wrong, so I asked Mohamet what he
said. "He says we must be off' the mouth of a
river, as the water tastes quite fresh; but he lies,
as we must be sixty miles from the land by our
reckoning;" with which remark he went on smoking and took no further notice. Presently the
pilot came down again and repeated his former
assertion, whereupon I told Mohamet to go on
deck and see if it was true, as I was too weak to
go myself. He went on deck and tasted the water,
and returned saying the pilot, had lied, and that
it was quite salt. With this statement I was forced
to be content, and as it was a fine night I thought
no more about it, and was soon dozing off in my'
chair, where I always passed the night. Presently
Sutton came down and told me he thought he
could hear the roar of breakers. With his assistance
I was soon on the poop, and sure enough could see
a line of breakers right ahead. Seeing that Mohamet
was quite incompetent, I took charge, and sending
one of my men to the wheel and another into the
chains to get a cast of the lead, I ordered the helm
to be put down. The leadsman reported fifteen
fathoms, so I let go the anchor and told them to
shorten and furl sails. The next morning we found
ourselves off the mouth of the Eovuma river. The
pilot had spoken the truth: we were sixty miles
out in our reckoning, and would have been ashore
in ten minutes.     Mohamet was  no ways abashed RACK  IN  THE WASP.
when I told him of it, and was evidently quite
used to that sort of thing.
On 28th February I was so weak I could hardly
scrawl in my journal, " Oh that I could but see
our little doctor! he would soon put me to rights."
I found afterwards that the poor fellow actually
died that day.
March 4 was my birthday, and a more wretched
one I never wish to spend. We had by this time
drifted about two-thirds of the distance to where
we had left the Wasp, so slowly had we progressed,
and my anxiety to see the ship once more was
great: my joy and astonishment may therefore be
imagined when on March the 7th we observed the
Wasp lying at anchor "all ataunto," as if nothing
had happened to her, with all her stores and guns
aboard. I could hardly believe my eyes. However, there was no mistaking the old ship, so we
fired a gun and hoisted the boat's ensign to call
their attention, and in a short time a boat came
alongside to take us on board. Bidding adieu to
Mohamet, I was soon alongside, and had just
strength left to clamber on deck and receive the
congratulations of my shipmates, whom I never
expected to see again.
It seems that some days after I left the ship
they made a last effort to heave her off without
success. The cables were hove taut, and the foresail, the only sail left on board, was set to assist,
as a good breeze was blowing right aft. The men,
worn out with their exertions, were getting their
supper, when off she came by herself, and bumping
over the reef, she slipped into deep water, where
she  was  anchored.      The  curious  part of it  was, 146
that although she leaked like a basket whilst
ashore, she leaked no more when afloat, the seams
having taken up; but she was, nevertheless, very
badly injured, and from that time till she reached
England the engines were of no further use.
The men had worked hard to recover the stores,
guns, shot, powder, and provisions, &c, so that
nothing was lost. One doctor and several men had
died from exposure, and one-half of the entire ship's
company were on the sick-list. The senior surgeon
was so unnerved that he was never fit for further
service, and wTas invalided, and soon afterwards died.
The captain had almost despaired of ever seeing us
again: he intended to have w7aited a few days
longer, and then to proceed to Johanna, one of
the Comoro Islands ; so, as there was nothing further
to detain us, we sailed for that place, and anchored
there on the 20th March. Here we remained two
months waiting for a ship to convoy us to Mauritius.
During this time we made excursions about the
lovely island. We had a visit from the King of
Johanna, a full-blooded negro, who was received
with a royal salute! We also met with Dr Livingstone, the celebrated African traveller, who arrived
in the Pioneer, a small steamer belonging to the
Central African Mission. He and his party remained with us three weeks. The mission proved
a failure, and almost all the members of it died,
including Bishop Mackenzie,  who was in charge.
One day a schooner flying French colours anchored
close to us with a cargo of slaves on board, and
sent to us for provisions and medical assistance,
which we gave them. Being under French colours
we  could not molest them,  although  our mission AN   ABOMINABLE  TRAFFIC.
was for the suppression of the slave-trade. This
abominable traffic was at that time carried on by
the French under the title of the " Free Emigration Trading Company," and years afterwards, when
I was in command of the East India station, this
scandalous state of things still existed, ship-loads
of slaves being conveyed from the mainland to
Madagascar in Arab dhows sailing under French
colours, and it was more than our cruisers dared to
interfere with them. The unfortunate slaves on
board this schooner were all naked, and were
huddled together regardless of age or sex. Many
of them were in the last stages of disease, suffering
from dysentery, and looked as if they would soon
be released from their sufferings. They had been
captured On the coast of Mozambique, and were
being taken to Bourbon to work on the sugar
plantations, from whence they never returned.
On 7th May H.M.S. Ariel arrived from the Cape
to escort us to Mauritius, and after an uneventful
passage we reached Port Louis, and once more
docked in the Trou Fanfaron. !S»KB!»«^^HHHBB«
Fortunately for us, the ship was found to be so
seriously damaged as to necessitate a long stay at
this delightful island. Our friends gave us a
hearty welcome, and we much appreciated their
hospitality after the monotony of boat-cruising on
salt grub. We now considered the practicability
of attempting the ascent of the " Peter Botte," which
the captain and I had reconnoitred on our previous
visit. On this matter we could obtain but little
information, most people maintaining that it was
impossible, so we determined to make the attempt
with our own resources. These consisted of a few
fathoms of rope, some long bamboos, a lead and
line, an axe, a saw, and a flag and staff to plant
upon the top. I also took with me a long piece of
twine with a bullet attached to it, and this proved
the most useful of all. We selected eight of the
smartest bluejackets in the ship from a host of
volunteers. The party now consisted of the captain
and myself, three friends from the shore, a midshipman, and the bluejackets—fourteen  in all.
We  left the  ship   before  daylight,   and  after  a
three  hours' walk  reached  the  foot  of the moun- THE ascent of the
tain by a circuitous route. Here we rested, had
some refreshment and a bathe: we then divided
the ropes, bamboos, &c, between the party, and
started, each one provided with a bottle of water.
In about an hour we reached the spot from whence
the captain and I had taken our observations, and
halted for the stragglers. Our idea was to have
made a ladder of bamboos to scale the precipice
at this place; but our party was already thinned
out, some of the bamboo-bearers never turned up,
and our water-bottles were empty. We were
already suffering from want of water, and the heat
was terrible, so we decided to push on.
The bare face of the rock rose up before us for 25
feet like a wall. On either side of it the mountain
went down sheer to the plain below for 1600 feet.
Above the precipice was a narrow ridge rising at a
sharp angle, then a smaller precipice, followed by
some roughish ground to the rocks whereon stood
the big boulder forming the head of the mountain.
All this we could see from where we stood, and the
more we looked at it the less we liked it. At the
upper part of the wall of rock before us was a cleft
extending downwards for about 10 feet, with some
scrub growing in it. Our longest bamboos reached
within a short distance of the cleft, so planting them
firmly in the ground, supported by two of the men,
I shinned up with a line round my waist, and succeeded in reaching the cleft, and scrambled to the
top. With the small line a stouter one was hauled
up and made fast round a rock, by which line the
rest of the party followed.
From thence we all went straddle-legged along the
ridge, with our legs hanging over the precipice on
_S* 150
either side. It was not, however, difficult or dangerous so long as one kept one's head cool and did not
look down. The rotten stones kept falling, making
it lively for those behind, and some of them, feeling
giddy, decided to go no farther. After negotiating
the ridge, we came to the second and smaller precipice, which we easily surmounted, and reached the
neck, with nothing but the huge mass of rock forming the head above us. This was the most difficult
part, without doubt, and we had been offered many
suggestions on the subject — such as flying kites
and rockets—to surmount it; but as the rock overhung its base, it is difficult to see how this could be
done. At all events, we decided to try our own way.
We first tried heaving the lead — a very difficult
matter, seeing that the one who hove it had to lean
backwards over a fearful precipice, with a line round
his body, and heave the lead back-handed, or the
reverse way to what is used on board ship. Several;
of us tried this method without success, as the lead
kept striking the rock and falling down nearly on
the head of the leadsman.
We had but an hour of daylight left, and things
began to look serious, and we suffered much from
want of water. It looked as if we must abandon
the attempt, and return without having accomplished
our purpose, to be laughed at by those below, who
were anxiously watching us. At this critical moment
I bethought me of the bullet and twine in my pocket,
and leaning back with the rope round my waist, I
succeeded after several attempts in throwing the
bullet over the top.
Our troubles were not yet over, for the bullet only
hung down about half-way on the other side, far  fill
beyond our reach; so we had to send down for a
bamboo, and with this we managed to reach the
bullet and pull it down. Once we got hold of the
line, the rest was easy. Binding a stouter line on
to the twine, we pulled it over, then a stouter
piece on to that, and so established a communication.
Having made a ladder of bamboo, we pulled it up by
the rope and made it fast round the neck. We then
swarmed up the ladder, and at last stood upon the
top of the famous Peter Botte.
We found ourselves upon a platform about 20 feet
across each way, with a yawning precipice on every
side except the way we came up, where it slanted a
little. We planted the union-jack on a boarding-
pike, and as the flag floated out on the breeze, we
could see the answering pendants hoisted on the
ships in the harbour of Port Louis, 4000 feet below
and many miles distant. From our elevated position
we had a magnificent panorama of the island mapped
at our feet. But we had no time to enjoy the view,
so having fired a rocket and given three cheers, we
prepared to descend. On reaching the neck we threw
our ropes and bamboos over the precipice, keeping
one rope to lower ourselves down the steep places.
The descent was not so easy, as darkness overtook
us; but we reached the shoulder without accident.
Thence to the bottom was a regular race over
break-neck ground, and in another half-hour we
were safe and sound on the plain.
We camped that night by the banks of the stream,
and smoked our pipes with the satisfaction of having
successfully accomplished what we had intended.
Out of our party only five reached the top — the
captain, Mr Lonsdale (a civilian), two bluejackets, 152
and myself.    The rest broke down.    The next morning we returned to the ship, and when we left Mauritius some weeks later, our flag was still floating.
proudly from the summit of the Peter Botte.1
Leaving Mauritius, we called at the Cape of Good
Hope, where a court-martial assembled to try our
captain for getting the Wasp ashore. The court
acquitted him of all blame, and expressed an
opinion that "the officers and ship's company deserved great credit for their exertions in getting her
afloat." After the court-martial on the Wasp the
ship was inspected by Admiral Sir Baldwin Walker,
our new Commander-in-Chief, who paid me the compliment of asking me to join his flagship, the Narcissus, a beautiful 50-gun frigate, in splendid order—
an offer I was fool enough to decline. But it came
all right later on.
The Wasp was ordered home, and we sailed from
Simon's Bay for Spithead. The day after we left,
our new navigator forgot to wind up the chronometer, so the ship was navigated by dead reckoning
and lunars till we reached St Helena, where the
clocks were set going again. A beautiful tea-clipper,
the Ethereal, was lying in the roads, and her captain
bragged about her sailing, saying he would soon
run us out of sight; and so he did, but astern ! The
Ethereal sailed an hour or two before us, but we
soon overhauled her, and by sunset left her, hull
down, behind us. We made a fast passage home
for a sailing-ship, and ought to have anchored at
Spithead forty-eight hours sooner than we did; but
running up Channel with a south-west gale behind
1 The Peter Botte has been frequently ascended since, and the ascent
made easy by driving iron spikes into the face of the rock. BERMUDA.
us,   we   overshot   the   mark,   found   ourselves   off
Brighton next morning, and had to beat back.
After being inspected at Spithead, we were
ordered into harbour to pay off and turn over to
the Chanticleer; but as I wished to have a change,
I applied for the Narcissus, Sir Baldwin Walker
having asked me to join his flagship. In reply to
my application I was ordered to join the Hero, a
screw line-of-battle ship of 90 guns, then lying at
Spithead under sailing orders for Bermuda; so
bidding my shipmates adieu, I went straight aboard
her, and an hour afterwards we were under weigh,
the band playing "I'm off to Charlestown." Our
relations with America were somewhat strained at
the time, in consequence of the Mason and Slidell
affair, and a large squadron was ordered to assemble
at Bermuda to augment the North American Fleet
under Admiral Sir Alexander Milne. Happily the
matter was peacefully arranged without bloodshed.
We remained four months at Bermuda. During
this time the Orpheus arrived on her way to Australia : one of her lieutenants was anxious to exchange into the Hero, and although I was most
happy in the ship, and the Orpheus was just the
reverse of comfortable, I was so eager to go to
Australia that I agreed to exchange. The arrangements were almost completed when the Orpheus'
lieutenant changed his mind. The ship was afterwards totally lost on Manakau bar, New Zealand,
with nearly all hands, this officer amongst the
. From Bermuda we left with the squadron for
Halifax, where we had a very good time shooting
and fishing, and enjoying the hospitality for which
_S* 154
that station is so celebrated, and consequently so
popular with the navy; but having unfortunately
run upon a sunken rock near Halifax in a dense
fog, we were ordered home to pay off after a happy
commission. On arriving in England, I found that
Sir Baldwin Walker, mindful of his promise, had
applied for me, and I was ordered to join the
Buzzard at Devonport for passage to the Cape. On
going on board the Buzzard to report myself, I
found she was going to the West Indies, not the;
Cape, so I returned to London, waited till I saw in
the papers that the Himalaya had sailed for the
Cape with supernumeraries, and reported myself at
the Admiralty. So I was ordered to go out by
mail steamer, and thus gained a month ashore on
full pay.
I spent a most enjoyable year in the Narcissus,
and received much kindness from the Admiral and
his charming family. The ship was most of the
time at Simon's Bay, where we found plenty of
amusement, shooting and hunting. Our parson
wTas a great hunter : one day he asked me to try
a horse he had just bought out of a team from up
country; he said he had to attend a funeral and
couldn't try it himself. The brute never had been
in harness or had had a saddle on him. He was
harnessed to a country waggon, and when all was
ready I jumped up and took the reins. The first
thing he did was to kick the bottom of the cart in,
and then bolt down the main street of Simon's
Town. I had to let him go, and he galloped as
hard as he could lay legs to the ground for four
miles, when we came to a hill where I managed
to stop him, and there left him, not best pleased SIMON S  BAY.
with the dirty trick the parson had played me.
A settler kept a pack of hounds with which he
hunted deer, foxes, and other game: as I had no
horse, I used to attend on foot, and managed
occasionally to be in at the. death.
There was no railway at that time, and one day
I walked up to Cape Town and back, a distance
of forty-seven miles, for a wager. Another time
I walked up to Cape Town, and went up Table
Mountain the same day. A very curious thing
happened on this occasion. Whilst on the top of
the mountain, my companion, who had separated
a short distance from me, called out to me to come.
He was pressing his foot on a tuft of moss from
which came a hissing sound: we stooped down to
see what it was, when he jumped back, saying,
" Good God, it's a puff-adder!" And so it was :
his foot was on the beast's neck, and the snake
was trying to bite him. Had it done so, he would
have been dead in Hxe minutes. We killed the
reptile, and descended to the plain.
One day I was returning to Simon's Bay by the
mail-coach, drawn by four horses. I was the only
passenger. We had got more than half-way when
it was evident the Hottentot driver was drunk.
He began lashing the horses till they bolted, and
after reeling about, the driver fell out of the cart,
and being entangled in the harness, was dragged
along some yards, the wheels going over his head
with a bump, and leaving him on the ground.
While this was going on, I seized the reins and
endeavoured to stop the horses, which were now
going as hard as they could gallop; but the reins
broke,  so  looking out for  a  soft  place,  I jumped ill
out, and had to walk the rest of the way to Simon's
Bay. The horses never stopped till they got to
their stables, dragging what was left of the cart
.after them. The driver turned up some time afterwards none the worse.
After swinging round our moorings in Simon's Bay
for several months, the Admiral sent us for a cruise
to Saldhana Bay, where we had some capital shooting.
About a mile from where the ship was anchored was
an island called Eabbit Island; so supposing there i
would be rabbits on it, I asked leave to go there.
It was blowing a gale at the time, so my request
was refused, as the captain said he would not lower
a boat in such weather. I then asked if I might go
ashore if I found my own way. This was granted,
as it seemed absurd and impossible. The ship's
washerman had on board a small cockle-shell of a
dinghy about 6 feet long, just big enough to hold
one man. I got this boat over the side, put my
gun into it, and wrapping up my powder-flask, caps,
and wads to keep them dry, got in myself and shoved
off. The island lay dead to leeward, and away I
scudded before the wind and sea. As I approached
the shore I saw a line of heavy rollers breaking on
the beach, and a man standing there waving frantically to me to go back. This was impossible. I had
no control over the boat, which was presently carried
on the crest of a wave and capsized, turning bottom
up, and depositing me and my chattels on the beach.
Having recovered my gun and dried my things, I
interviewed the solitary occupant of the island—an
old Portuguese of villainous appearance and foul of
speech. He said he was in charge of the island,
collecting guano—the deposit of sea-birds, penguins, A   VILLAINOUS  PORTUGUESE.
&c.—and that if I did not instantly take my departure he would kill me, at the same time producing a long knife and using the most blasphemous-
language. However, as my gun was now clear for
action, I told him I had come to shoot rabbits, and
•should begin by shooting him; so he became more-
civil, and it ended by my having a capital afternoon's
sport, bagging twenty-eight fine rabbits. The wind
went down in the evening, when they sent a boat-
for me and took me on board. On parting wTith the
old ruffian, he assured me that if ever I came again
he would certainly kill me. I laughed at his threats,-
and the first fine day again visited the island along
with some of my shipmates. We landed in a different
place; but, sure enough, there was the old scoundrel
waiting to receive us with a huge stone, with which
he threatened to sink the boat. However, we laughed
at him, landed, and had another day's capital shooting. Besides this, we had some good sport on the-
mainland with buck, paau (a sort of bustard), horan
(a species of guinea-fowl), partridges of two kinds,
and a fine bird locally called a pheasant, but in
reality a francolin.
The American Civil War was now in full blast, and
we had several visits from the celebrated Confederate-
cruiser Alabama, and fraternised considerably with
Captain Semmes and his officers. No sooner was the
Alabama outside the harbour than the United States
cruiser Vanderbilt would come in. They professed
to be in search of. each other, and were both eager
for a fight, but they never met. At this time the
law-officers of the Crown were much exercised in their
minds as to the right of the Alabama to send her
prizes into Simon's Bay.    One of these vessels, called 158 VARIED   EXPERIENCES.
the Tuscaloosa, had been fitted out as a tender to
the Alabama, and visited Simon's Bay for supplies.
After her departure it was decided—wrongly, I believe—that if she again made her appearance she
would  be  detained.     Accordingly,   on   her   second
I visit I was sent aboard by the Admiral's orders with
an armed boat's crew of the Narcissus to take possession of her. The lieutenant in charge protested
against this proceeding as a breach of hospitality.
He then gave up command of the ship to me, and
went ashore. I remained in charge for six weeks,
never leaving the ship for a moment. The sails
were unbent and the ship stripped to prevent any
attempt at escape; but the American crew, who
remained on board, accepted the situation, and were
quite reconciled to their enforced idleness. When
we left for England the Tuscaloosa was still there,
but I believe was eventually restored to Semmes,
and our action repudiated.
On the passage home we touched at Ascension,
and hearing that there were pheasants on the Green
Mountain, I determined to have a go at them,
and applied for a licence to shoot. The authorities
were equally determined to prevent me, and placed
every obstacle in my way. The night before we
were to sail for England I was dining ashore at the
marines' mess when I obtained the licence, which
permitted me to shoot one cock - pheasant. This
was intended as a bit of sarcasm, as they knew the
ship was to sail at 10 a.m. I at once went aboard,
shifted my clothing, landed, and reached the top of
the Green Mountain (2500 feet) just as dawn was
breaking, when up got a cock - pheasant, which I
promptly bagged.     The  shot  brought  the  keeper,
an old marine, to the spot. I showed him my
licence, and added, "You don't suppose I was fool
enough to come up here after one pheasant," at the
same time slipping half-a-sovereign into his hand.
" You're just the fellow I've been looking for," said
the keeper; and as we thoroughly understood one
another, we proceeded to beat the bushes, with the
result that I shot three brace of pheasants, a rabbit,
and a partridge. Well satisfied with my bag, I made
haste down the mountain, and got on board as the
ship was getting under weigh.
A very ridiculous thing happened on this passage.
One dark and squally night I had just been relieved
by the middle watch (coming on deck at midnight).
We had been reefing topsails and making things snug,
and I was about to turn in, when the cry was heard
from aloft, " Man overboard ! " The life-buoy was
let go, sail shortened, ship hove to, and the lifeboat
manned in less time that it takes to relate it. Rushing up from my cabin, I jumped into the lifeboat,
which was lowered, and speedily disappeared into
the darkness. We soon reached the life-buoy, which
was burning brightly, but could see no trace of the
man; so we searched diligently for half an hour or
so, and then, concluding that the poor fellow was
gone, we picked up the life-buoy and sadly returned.
On approaching the ship we were hailed to know if
the man was saved. We reported he was lost. The
boat was then hoisted up, and the ship filled on her
course. The hands were now mustered to find out
who was missing, but, to our great amusement and
satisfaction, no one was absent. It seems that one
of the men whilst reefing topsails had fallen off the
yard, and his mates at once gave the alarm, " Man 160
overboard!" But he never reached the water, and
catching a rope in his descent, got on to the deck
and went to his station, supposing it was some one
else overboard, never dreaming that he was the
individual. However, it was very good practice,
and no one was a bit the worse for it.
Our next port of call was Sierra, Leone, where I
landed with my gun to search for bush-fowl ^
(francolins), which were said to abound there. Taking a nigger for a guide, he led me an awful dance;
and as the heat was terrific, and we had not seen
a feather, I pretended to be very angry, and told
him I should certainly shoot him in default of other
game. This seemed to have the desired effect, and
he took me to a cassava-field, where we put up a
flock of francolins, of which I bagged several.
From thence we made a long passage to Plymouth,
where the ship was paid off. After a spell ashore,
to which I think I was entitled, I was appointed
first lieutenant of the Victoria, a screw three-decker,
flagship of Sir Robert Smart, in the Mediterranean.
With my old shipmates, Goodenough, flag-captain,
and Codrington, commander, I joined the ship at
Barcelona, and spent a pleasant time cruising about
the station till Sir Robert's time expired, and he
was relieved by Admiral Lord Clarence Paget.
During a spell at Malta I got permission to take
a trip to Tunis in the Tyrian gunboat, commanded
by my old friend Pat Murray,—an expedition that
very nearly ended my career in this world. We
arrived at our destination all right, and a party of
us started inland, and put up at a French "fabric"
where they manufactured clothes for French soldiers, and next day we set off after partridges.    Hav- A  CLOSE  SHAVE.
ing bagged several of these handsome birds, we
prepared to return. A Mr Kirby and I were
driving, and a young Fenchman riding a fine Arab
horse. The Frenchman had his gun slung across
his back, loaded, and with the hammers let down
on the caps,—a most dangerous thing to do, but
frequently practised by French sportsmen. Whilst
showing off his horsemanship, the Arab kicked him
over his head, landing him on his back, and breaking his gun across the stock. Having picked up
the Frenchman and caught his horse, I turned my
attention to his gun, and, lifting the hammers, I.
threw away the caps to make it all safe. I then
went to place it in the trap, where Kirby was
already seated, and not wishing to push the barrels
against his leg, I took them by the muzzle and
passed them carefully into the trap, when off went
one barrel, the charge passing between my right
arm and my body, singeing my coat. I then drew
the weapon out, lifted the hammer of the loaded
barrel, and turning the muzzle to the ground,
discharged that also. The fact was that the blow
on the ground had forced the detonating powder
into the nipples, so that when I threw the caps
away, I merely threw away the empty shells. It
was a very close shave.
Soon after Lord Clarence took command he proceeded to Constantinople in the Psyche with his
Staff, and he very kindly asked me to accompany
him. My brother was then in the embassy at
Constantinople, on the staff of Lord Lyons, so I
gladly accepted, and we had a most enjoyable time,
being entertained hospitably by the Ambassador,
whose  father,  Sir  Edmund,  had  been  so  kind  to 162 VARIED   EXPERIENCES.
me as a midshipman. Whilst on this cruise Lord
Clarence asked me to be his flag-lieutenant, so I
had to give up my billet as first lieutenant in the
Victoria and assume my new duties; but I may
say that, owing to the great kindness I always
received from the Admiral and Lady Clarence, I
never regretted the change, and I remained in that
capacity until the Victoria was ordered home.
Captain Goodenough had, greatly to my regret,
gone home with his old chief, his place as flag-
captain being. taken by Captain Alan Gardner; but
Codrington remained as commander,—one of the
smartest officers in the service, and the best all-
round man I ever met, so the efficiency of the
Victoria was never impaired. She was, indeed, in
beautiful order and splendid discipline, though she
never came up to the Marlborough in the matter
of drills.
By permission of the Admiral I joined a party
(the others being Commanders Hopkins and Fairfax)|
on a yachting cruise to the coast of Albania,—an
expedition that promised well in the matter of
sport, but which ended disastrously, as I will now
We had arranged to go in an old dockyard craft
called the Azof, which had at one time been a
mortar-vessel, and being schooner-rigged, answered
our purpose very well. At the last moment, however, when all our arrangements were complete, the
master-shipwright, informed the superintendent of
Malta dockyard, Admiral Kellett, that the craft was
unseaworthy, and so the Admiral refused to let
us   have   her.     I  told  the   Admiral   that   if   the
1 Now Admirals Sir John Hopkins and Sir Henry Fairfax. A  SPORTING EXPEDITION.
master-shipwright would take his oath that she
would go down outside Malta harbour, I and my
friends would go in her. All the Admiral said was,
" By God, the man's mad!" This was a great
disappointment to us, and we were forced to look
out for another craft. We finally selected a rotten
old cutter called the Melita, of 26 tons. The
Maltese owner of this craft evidently did not think
much of her seaworthy qualities, and wanted us
to insure her, which we declined to do, as we argued
that if she went down we should go down in her,
so what was the use ? So we squared the matter
by an agreement that if we lost the vessel we
should pay him £200.
The night of the 31st December 1867 we danced
the old year out at Admiralty House, where Lord
and Lady Clarence Paget gave a ball, and in the
early hours of the 1st January 1868 we repaired on
board and made sail out of the harbour. Our party
consisted of the above-named officers, two bluejackets, a Maltese servant, and myself. We made
a good start, and by sunset had left Cape Passaro
astern, and were spinning along before a fine
southerly breeze, and at daylight of 2nd January
Mount Etna was well abaft the beam. The breeze
now freshened considerably, obliging us to reduce
our canvas till we were running under a square
sail, which we had borrowed at Malta. As night
came on the wind and sea had increased to such
an extent that it became a question whether to run
any longer or lay-to. After a consultation we decided to let her run and chance it; but in thus
deciding we made a mistake, for by midnight it
was blowing a whole gale with a heavy sea, so tha.t Pi
it became most dangerous to run and too late to
heave-to. The sea at this time was rolling up
behind us so as to becalm the sail as the little
craft sank into the hollow of the waves, and we
momentarily expected that the next sea would be
aboard us. Our safety now depended on keeping
ahead of it: if anything happened to the sail it
wTould have been all over with us. We passed a
most anxious night. One of the bluejackets, who
had been accustomed to small fore-and-aft vessels,
took the helm, and stuck to it bravely all through
the dreary hours: the danger we had most to
fear was her broaching-to in the trough of the sea.
To add to our troubles, the wretched old craft
sprang a leak. We manned the pumps, but they
became choked, and we had to clear away below,
and throw about a ton of ballast overboard before
we could get them to draw. Towards morning
the gale moderated, but left a nasty sea in which
the yacht tumbled about most uncomfortably. We
had no sights since leaving Valetta, but by dead
reckoning we made ourselves to be about twenty
miles from the land, and at 10 a.m. we sighted the
island of Faro to the northward of Corfu. That
night we were becalmed off the island, and had to
get the boat out to tow her clear of the rocks.
The next morning it blew hard from the southeast directly in our teeth, and the little craft,
lightened of her ballast, was nearly on her beam
ends; but at midnight the wind shifted to the
north-west, and we reached the anchorage off Corfu
at three in the morning, thoroughly worn out, as
we had had no rest since leaving Malta. It now
blew   hard  from  the  northward,  and   we  dragged SPORT  IN  ALBANIA.
our anchor till her stern was almost touching the
rocks, in which position we remained for the rest
of the night. At daylight the captain of a Greek
steamer sent us a warp, which enabled us to haul
into a better berth.
After a run ashore to stretch our legs and get
another anchor, we started for the opposite coast
of Albania, taking with us a Greek beater and his
two dogs, and we anchored in the harbour of Catito
in time for an evening's shoot, when we bagged
ten couple of woodcock, some snipe, and ducks.
From thence we went to Butrinto and had another
day's shooting, when we returned to Corfu for
supplies, and having shipped another beater, we
sailed for the Gulf of Arta, where we hoped to get
some good sport. Our bad luck continued, the
south-east wind blowing strong against us; so we
put into the snug little harbour of Levitatsa, where
we had a capital day's shooting, bringing back
twenty-one couple of cock. The next day we put
into Phanare harbour, but finding the shooting indifferent, we only remained one day, leaving again
on the morning of the 15 th January. The
wind from the old quarter was blowing hard, and
finding we could make nothing against it, we put
back to Phanare and anchored, intending to proceed overland if the wind continued foul. The
night of the 15th set in dark and lowering; both
wind and sea had increased greatly, and the yacht
rode uneasily at her anchors, rolling gunwale under,
throwing our traps about, and making us generally
miserable. By midnight it was blowing a gale,
accompanied by heavy squalls of rain and snow.
The poor little craft plunged   bows   under   as she 166 VARIED  EXPERIENCES.
tugged and strained at her cables. Sleep was out
of the question, and we waited anxiously for the
return of day.
About 3 a.m. the wind shifted in a heavy squall to
the south-west, and the sea broke right across the
harbour's mouth, taking us on the broadside. Everything broke adrift: the dogs howled with fright, and
the Greek beater joined in the chorus. The yacht
was overwhelmed with the sea, anol began to drag
her anchors. Our position was nowT most critical:
on the port side was a flat, sandy beach, the heavy
rollers breaking far from the shore, while right astern
was a precipitous coast with sharp - pointed rocks
showing here and there through the breakers, towards which we steadily drifted. It was now all
over with the yacht, and we had not long to wait.
A heavy sea lifted the vessel and hurled her with
a fearful crash upon the rocks, turning her broadside to the sea and canting her, fortunately with
her deck towards the shore. The night was dark
as pitch, lit up occasionally by forked lightning,
making the scene, if possible, more awful. Rain
was coming down in sheets, and the roaring of the
surf drowned our voices as the doomed craft was
lifted and again crashed upon the rocks, which stove
in her side, filling the saloon with water. It was
now every man for himself, and God for us all.
Indeed it was too dark for one to see what any one
else was about. Fortunately we all kept cool, with
the exception of Christo, one of our Greek beaters,
who after calling to all the saints to help him,
jumped overboard and disappeared. Thinking it was
of no use getting ashore on this inhospitable coast
without  a  gun,   I  groped my way down into the ^ I
saloon, found my gun and a bag of cartridges, and
made for the ladder, the water being up to my
waist and rising fast. Calling my dog, I then
jumped overboard into the raging surf, followed by
the dog. A big sea carried me well up on to the
rocks, up which I clambered, and then held on to
prevent my being swept off* by the backwash. Feeling something move under my hand, I asked who
it was, and found it was one of the bluejackets, who
said, " It's me, sir;" so I sang out, " All right, my
lad, we are all tarred with the same brush now."
The others got ashore somehow, and in a short time
we were all safe except Christo, who was jammed
between the rocks and the vessel's side. We heard
his cries, but were unable to help him till daylight,
when we found him insensible, with some of his ribs
and a leg broken. The yacht bumped for a short
time longer, and we had to climb higher up the
rocks to avoid the mast, which beat about our heads.
But she soon went to pieces, and at daylight there
was nothing left of the ill-fated Melita but broken
spars and a few planks. We waited some time in
hopes of recovering some of our property, but in
vain; so, carrying poor Christo, we made our way
to the village of Phanare, not far away. The first
thing was to send for a doctor from a neighbouring
village to attend to the wounded beater. The doctor
said he would die, so we then sent for a priest to administer the last rites. I may say here that the man
eventually recovered.
We remained in the village two days and nights,
endeavouring to procure horses to take us to Pre-
vesa, a town situated forty miles to the southward.;
but the Albanians refused to assist us, as they wanted 168
to get all the money we had with us. Suspecting
treachery, we kept a sharp look-out, being determined to defend our lives and property (which latter
did not amount to much) at all costs. Finding it
useless to wait any longer, we slipped off one morning before daylight, and reached Prevesa after a
weary tramp. Mr Barker, the vice-consul, received
us most hospitably, and did all he could for us during our stay, till the French consul very kindly
lent us his small yacht, in which we returned to
Corfu. From thence we went by a Greek steamer
to Patras, where Mr Wood, our consul, was most
kind, and kept us till we found a steamer to take
us back to Malta.
This affair not only cost us the price of the yacht
and our effects, but I also lost a very pleasant trip
by it; for during our absence Lord Clarence went
to Alexandria in the Psyche to attend the opening of the Suez Canal,—a very grand function, in
which I, as flag - lieutenant, would have been included. However, I never regretted the adventure
—an experience of that sort does one good; and if
nothing else came of it, it consolidated a friendship with two fine fellows which can never be
The Victoria's turn on the station having expired,
she returned to England in charge of Captain Cod-
rington, and I was restored to my old billet as first
lieutenant. On arrival at Spithead their Lordships
appointed me flag-lieutenant to the Board of Admiralty at the Naval Review, and handed me my commander's commission at its conclusion. * p
After promotion came a spell, and one I thoroughly
enjoyed, enabling me to see something of my friends
and relations. But a time comes in the life of all
sailors and soldiers when they have to choose between giving up their profession and all chances of
further advancement, or breaking up a happy home.
Some elect the former, but most who do so live to
regret it sooner or later. I chose the latter. It
was a bitter wrench, but I did right, and with a sorrowful heart I again left the shores of Old England in
1871 to join the Vestal in the West Indies.
This was one of the first experiments of re-commissioning a ship on a foreign station, and, like
many others, was a failure. The Vestal had already
served four years in the West Indies, and was
thoroughly worn out — so much so that the first
time we lighted a boiler for condensing purposes it
spouted like a watering-pot. On my reporting the
circumstance to the Admiral the ship was ordered to
England, and we were turned over to the Reindeer,
a beautiful little sloop of 1000 tons, ship-rigged, and
a smart sailer, besides being able to steam 10 knots;
and so at the age of thirty-two I found myself in ill
command of as bonny a little craft as ever gladdened
the eyes of a sailor, and on the 26th August 1871 we
sailed for the Pacific.
Of my crew, 175 all told, there was not one of
them thirty years of age; mostly they were about
twenty—a smart set of young fellows. In fact, I
was the oldest man in the ship except the chief
engineer, the doctor, and the blacksmith. We could
do anything with our little craft—reef topsails in
stays; and when going into Rio harbour, with the
sea-breeze, studding-sails both sides, we shortened
all sail and made a running moor (a thing never
seen nowadays), to the admiration of the foreign
men-of-war in the harbour.
In a small ship the captain knows all about his
ship's company — their names, ages, and acquirements. The men look to him as a father, and follow
his advice with touching simplicity, even changing
their religion at his suggestion, and asking his
opinion on every subject, sometimes a delicate one.
A young fellow came before me to wish to become
a Roman Catholic. " For what reason ? " I inquired.
"Because my father was one." "Then you cannot
do wrong to follow his example," said I, and he was
forthwith entered on the books R.C. Another poor
fellow came to ask my advice in the following interesting case. When we had been eighteen months
from home some kind friend sent him word that his
wife had been delivered of twins! and he said his
messmates chaffed him about it. Things did seem
rather mixed somehow. " Why," I exclaimed, " that's
all right; your messmates are a set of fools. It's only
nine months for each child ! " He went away perfectly
satisfied, saying, " The captain says it's all right!"
• ■ A  RACE   FOR  RIO.
At Madeira we fell in with a German corvette,
the Nymphe, and as she was the same size as the
Reindeer, and we were both bound to Rio de
Janeiro, we agreed to race to that port, and we
beat her by eleven days. We were unfortunately
detained at Rio for three weeks on account of a
difference between some of our marines and some
Brazilian boatmen, resulting in the death of two of
the blacks, and I was accused of screening my men,
so it was not till the 18th October we were allowed
to depart. On the 2nd November we anchored in
Port Louis, one of the snug harbours of the Falkland Isles, and the next day proceeded to Port
Stanley, the principal harbour and seat of government. After a very pleasant fortnight's stay, during
which we enjoyed some capital sport amongst the
wildfowl which abound there, we left for Valparaiso
vid the Straits of Magellan. These straits are now
so well knowTn as to need no description. Four
days after making the eastern entrance we sighted
the Pacific Ocean and entered Smyth's Channel,
thereby securing smooth water for 400 miles before
taking to the open sea. The scenery in Smyth's
Channel is very fine—lofty mountains capped with
eternal snow, and glaciers coming down to the
water's edge.
Some of the harbours, though small, are very
secure; but one night we failed to reach the port
we were making for, and being overtaken by darkness, mistook our route and found ourselves in a
cul-de-sac surrounded by floating ice. We passed
a most anxious night, the ice grinding against the
ship's side; and at daylight, whilst running out of
the sound, we came into collision with a huge piece I lit
of ice on a level with the water, which brought us
up with a violent shock and damaged the stem
and detained us somewhat, so that it was not till
a week afterwards we reached Valparaiso, where
we found orders from the Admiral to proceed to
Callao. We had a tame cat on board which used
to jump overboard from the gangway after fish
heads which were   thrown overboard by the native,
A glacier in Smyth's Channel.
fishermen alongside. Having secured the prize,
she would swim down to the gangway and mew
to be taken on board again. I never heard of such
a thing, and would not have believed it if I had
not seen the performance many times.
We had been but a few days at Callao when I
received a telegram from the Admiralty to return
to Rio on account of the murder of the black
boatmen, in  compliance with which we started  on A   REVOLUTION  IN   PERU.
a long cruise, intending to go round the Horn;
but fortunately when three weeks out we sighted
the island of Juan Fernandez, and being desirous
of visiting the spot associated with the story of
' Robinson Crusoe,' I dropped anchor in the roads,
and there found HM.S. Scylla, and learnt from
the captain that our orders to return to Rio had
been countermanded, their Lordships being satisfied
with my explanation; so we remained a few days
at this lovely island, hunting the wild goats and
thoroughly enjoying ourselves. The day before
our departure some of our sportsmen accidentally
set fire to the brushwood and destroyed a quantity
of stacked timber. A claim was made against me
for 2000 dollars for the damage done, so I was involved in two suits at the same time,—one for
being accessory to a murder, and the other for
arson,—neither of which, however, came to anything.
On the passage to Valparaiso, whither we were
now ordered, we sighted the Andes before sunrise
at the amazing distance of 180 miles! This is not
so astonishing as it appears, when the height of
the mountains is considered, some of the peaks
being over 20,000 feet high. From Valparaiso we
returned to our station at Callao, where we remained till, on the 22nd July 1872, a most serious
and bloody revolution broke out without warning.
I was on the point of stepping into the train for
Lima that evening when a rumour reached me that
a revolution had broken out in that city, and that
President Balta had been thrown into prison, so I
returned on board to wait events. The report
proved to be true, the principals engaged in the
transaction being General Tomas Gutierrez and his } 11
two brothers, Silvestre and Marcelliano. The former
proclaimed himself Dictator, and issued a bombastic
proclamation, calling upon the citizens, the army,
and the navy to support him. In Callao the naval
commanders met together and resolved to ignore
the Dictator, and the Peruvian fleet left the
harbour and anchored off San Lorenzo, out of
reach of the batteries at Callao. Gutierrez, having
secured the person of the President, endeavoured
to induce the principal officers of the army to
recognise him as their chief, but to their credit
they all declined to do so, and resigned their commissions.
In Callao all remained quiet up to this time, although business was suspended, and the prefect,
Don Pedro Balta, a brother of the President, gave
up his command, and the soldiers quartered at
Callao were relieved by others from Lima, under
the command of Silvestre Gutierrez. Some stray
shots were fired in the streets of Callao that night,
and the captain of the port and other officials sent
in their resignation, which did not tend to allay
the general excitement. The foreign merchants
therefore formed themselves into a guard for the
protection of their property. I now offered to all
who might seek the protection of the British flag
an asylum on board the Reindeer; in response to
which many people came on board, amongst them
Colonel F. Balta, another brother of the President.
Gutierrez, being in want of funds, seized the money
in the mint, and threatened several bank managers
with imprisonment unless they advanced him all
he required : in this way he procured some 300,000
dollars, part of which, however, was never paid. THE  MURDER   OF  THE  PRESIDENT.
On the evening of the 24th July sharp firing
.commenced in the streets of Callao, the ■ soldiers
firing indiscriminately on all they saw: the inhabitants resisted as well as they could, several
being killed on both sides during the night. On
the 25 th the city of Lima was placed under martial
law; the rails connecting Lima and CallaoN were
torn up, and all communication between the two
cities cut off. Heavy firing continued in Callao
during the night, the forts being taken by the
soldiers and retaken by the people. Many of the
soldiers having deserted, Silvestre rode to Lima for
reinforcements, leaving orders to his soldiers to
shoot every man, woman, or child they might see,
and declaring his intention of returning in a few
hours to burn Callao. Happily he was destined
never to return to carry out his evil intentions,
for being recognised, he was shot in the railway
station in Lima. His brother Marcelliano, hearing
of the occurrence, determined to wreak his vengeance
on the President, and calling the officer of the
guard, they proceeded to the prison where Balta
was confined. Marcelliano fired his revolver at
him as he lay on his couch; the officer of the guard
followed his example, and the soldiers completed
the work with their bayonets. Having perpetrated
this atrocious murder, Marcelliano, escorted by a
body of soldiers, returned to Callao, telling his
men that they should have one hour for cutting
throats and two more for sacking the town. Most
providentially the bloodthirsty villain never lived
to carry out his threat, for whilst pointing a gun
for the destruction of the town, he was killed by
a rifle-ball. 176
Whilst these events were taking place we were
not altogether idle spectators on board the Rein^
deer. On the evening of the 25th a deputation of
gentlemen waited upon me, on behalf of the
British residents, and asked me to protect them, as
all authority and order were at an end, and the
town at the mercy of an armed and lawless mob.
I was now placed in a difficult position, for my
orders were most positive not on any account to
mix myself up with any revolutionary proceedings.
On the other hand, I could not look on and see
my countrymen, and women and children, being
butchered without doing something; so I returned
a civil answer to the gentlemen forming the deputation, and assured them that I would do what I
could to assist them. The Pensacola, an American
frigate flying a commodore's broad pendant, was
lying in the roads, also a French gunboat, so I
hoped that between us we might land sufficient
men to protect our friends from the brutality of
the soldiery. It was now 10 p.m., so I went aboard
the Pensacola to see the commodore, being sanguine
of success. The commodore had turned in, but I
insisted on seeing him, explained the state of
affairs, and asked for his co-operation. He flatly
declined, saying he had seen a good deal of these
revolutions. I said, " Do you intend to stand by
and do nothing whilst our countrymen are being
slaughtered ashore ?" " Well," said he, "I guess
they'll have to go." Finding it useless to remain
longer, I returned to my ship much disheartened,
as I could not land many men from my small ship's
company. It was of no use asking help from the
French  gunboat,  as  she was  a  very  small  vessel AN  ANXIOUS  TIME.
and had but few men; so, after consulting with
my first lieutenant, I landed some picked men, and
distributed them in the houses of the principal
residents, more to give, them a feeling of security
than actual force. The men were armed with
revolvers, and supplied with signal - rockets, so as
to keep up communication with the ship in case
; further assistance was required. They were instructed to confine themselves strictly to the protection of the houses in which they were lodged,
and not to interfere in any way with the contending parties. I passed a most anxious night —
anxious for the safety of my friends; also, had any
collision ensued between my men and the rabble
and any of the former been killed, I should have
been court - martialled for direct disobedience of
orders, and my commission would have been forfeited. But it was no time to think of that, so I
put my instructions away and waited events.
The following morning I landed with my coxswain, carrying a white ensign, and visited several
houses of the British residents. Mr M, P. Grace's
house was in a very exposed position, and had
been pierced with rifle-balls in several places. The
guns at the castle were also directed on it. The
ladies of the family were naturally much alarmed,
and were desirous of going on board the Reindeer.
but whilst making their preparations, sharp firing
recommenced, the street in front of the house was
raked by rifle-balls, several of which came through
the walls and fell into the rooms where we were
assembled. We .therefore placed the ladies in an
inner room for extra security until a temporary
lull in the firing enabled us to sally forth, the cox-
M 178
swain leading with the boat's ensign. After traversing a few streets, we reached my boat and
were soon safely on board. On our return to the
house some four days afterwards, when peace had
been restored, we found that a shell had pierced
three walls, and lodged in the very room where
the ladies had been placed, wrecking the furniture.
By the death of Marcelliano the safety of Calico
was secured and order soon re-established: at the
same time news was received of the death of General
Tomas Gutierrez in Lima. The bodies of the three
brothers were hung up naked from the cathedral
towers in Lima, and afterwards cut down and
publicly burnt in the Plaza. With this closing
scene of the drama the revolution ended as suddenly
as it had begun, and Senor Pardo was proclaimed
President of the Republic.
Nothing of importance occurred during the remainder of our stay in Callao, and I was pleased
to receive the approval of my commander-in-chief,
Admiral Farquhar, and subsequently that of the
Lords of the Admiralty, for my share in the proceedings, although they did not approve of the
landing of my men.
On leaving Callao we were ordered to the coast
of Mexico, and when three days out we sighted
the Galapagos Islands, lying on the equator, and
dropped anchor in Post Office Bay, Charles Island,
the southernmost of the group. At daybreak the
next morning I started in company with several of
the officers and some bluejackets to explore the
island. A trail led us up through. a desolate region
with cinders underfoot interspread with thorny
jungle, till  at an altitude of  1000 feet we reached A  NIGHT  ALARM.
a plateau, and emerged from a wilderness to a
beautiful park-like country, with hills and valleys
and fine forest trees, rich grass under our feet, and
many varieties of fruit-trees and wild-flowers. The
temperature also was delightful: in fact we were in
a different climate. We at length reached a settlement consisting of two huts, where we met with a
cordial welcome from Colonel Zerda, the commandant of the island, whilst a couple of dusky damsels
prepared us an excellent repast. In the colonel's
garden splendid potatoes, lettuces, maize, bananas,
oranges, lemons, coffee, and tobacco flourished in
profusion. The colonel told us that there were
plenty of wild cattle, pigs, and goats on the island,
so after a spell we started off in search of them,
and succeeded in bagging a fine young bull, when
we retraced our steps to the ranch, and after a
good supper turned in for the night, but had
hardly done so when a terrific uproar ensued. It
seems that the island was a penal settlement belonging to Ecuador, and some very notorious characters were transported there. One of these rascals
came to the ranch during the night with the intention of murdering the colonel, who was luckily
on his guard, and seeing the man approaching him
knife in hand, he broke his revolver over his head:
all six barrels exploded simultaneously, and the
man fell, as we supposed, dead, The colonel was
swearing in Spanish and the girls screaming. However, order was at length restored, and we turned in
again, and were unmolested for the rest of the night.
The next morning we made an early start for
the hills, dividing the party, my coxswain accompanying me.     Presently   we   heard   the   lowing of
JT it.
cattle in a valley below us, and several shots fired,
one ball coming unpleasantly near us, followed by
the crashing of timber, as though some beasts were
coming our way, so we stepped behind a boulder,
when a fine brindled bull appeared not forty yards
off. I gave him the first barrel behind the shoulder,
which dropped him on his knees; but he was
quickly up again, when a second ball crashed
through his ribs, rolling him over. I had hardly
reloaded when an immense black bull hove in sight
and received a ball in the shoulder, dropping him
in his tracks. He was followed by two others, at
which I fired; but they turned and galloped down
the hill, and I lost sight of them. Thinking that
both the others were dead, I walked up to where
the first was lying, and found him dead. Whilst
admiring his proportions, my coxswain suddenly
cried out, " Look out, sir, here comes the other! |
I turned round just in time, and sure enough there
was the black bull that I had wounded charging
down upon us not ten yards off. He was a
desperate-looking brute, his head down and blood
pouring from his nostrils as he charged; but a ball
between the eyes at point-blank range stopped him,
and he rolled over dead at my feet. We were now
joined by the rest of the party: they had also
killed a bull in the valley, and there seemed to be
considerable diversity of opinion as to who had
killed it, one claiming that he had given the coup
de grace whilst in the act of charging, whereas the
principal wounds were in the stern! However, we
had bagged three bulls before breakfast, which was
not so bad.
We   remained   another    day   with   the   colonel, ffl
1 ■ HI m
hunting cattle and pig with varied success. We
also came across a herd of wild asses, and were
told that horses, goats, and domestic fowl ran wild,
were to be met with, which I can well believe*
We saw none of the terrapin, or land - tortoises,
which used to abound on these islands. they appear to have been wellnigh exterminated by the
whalers, who killed them for food. We saw
numerous iquanas, both land and water specimens,
the latter most repulsive-looking reptiles, which
took to the water on being disturbed. The colonel
and the two girls escorted us to the boat. On the
way down we met with one of the colonel's men,
a villainous - looking scoundrel armed with a long
knife, the same man who had had the revolver
broken over his head. The colonel immediately
"went for him," and tried to draw a bead on him
with his rifle; but the man dodged behind the trees,
showing great agility. The women began howling,
and we sat down and smoked to watch the performance. After considerable theatrical display and
a great deal of bad language the parties were reconciled, but the colonel said he should certainly shoot
the fellow on the first opportunity. We dined on
board, and passed a merry evening; and the next
morning, having loaded our kind host with presents
in return for his hospitality, among the presents
being a revolver and a pair of handcuffs, we weighed
anchor, and making sail to a fresh breeze, soon left
the island astern.
A smart passage took us to Mazatlan, the principal
seaport on the coast of Mexico, where wTe enjoyed
some capital duck-shooting, especially in the early
mornings and evenings.    On one of these occasions II
I was. out with an Irish assistant-surgeon: we were
waiting for ducks on the borders of a lagoon just
before daybreak, when the doctor said he saw an
alligator. There certainly was a movement in the
water and some object just awash, so the doctor
fired. Immediately there was a great commotion,
followed by some choice Spanish oaths. It seems
an Indian was stalking the ducks, and was creeping
along the bottom with only his head above water,
his stern just breaking the surface, in which part
of his person he received the charge. The doctor
had a pressing engagement elsewhere, but he assured
me afterwards that as he had only snipe-shot, he
didn't think there was much damage done. One
day whilst quail-shooting at the back of the town,
accompanied by my coxswain, we were surprised
by the report of artillery, and a round-shot pitched
close to us, followed by a shell which burst in a
bush close by, upon which we moved on. It appeared that the Mexican artillerymen were out
practising in anticipation of an attack from the
rebels, who were said to be in the neighbourhood.
At this time we heard rumours of a probable revolution in the town of Tepic, a place of considerable
importance situated fifty-six miles inland from San
Bias; and on receipt of an urgent letter from Mr
Heaven, one of the principal residents there, I proceeded in the Reindeer to San Bias, and started
immediately for Tepic by mail-coach, taking with
me a couple of officers and two bluejackets. It
appeared that a notorious chief, named Lousada,
who had governed the province for some years,
being called on to tender his submission to the
President, declined to do so, and prepared to resist. "the tiger of tepic."
This action caused much alarm amongst the residents, who appealed to me for assistance. Tepic
being so far from the coast, it was not easy for me to
afford it; but the moral support of an English officer
coming to stay with them gave great satisfaction to
the foreign community, and I spent a very pleasant
six weeks in their society as the guest of Messrs
Barron, Forbes, & Co., of which house Mr Heaven
was the manager.
At the expiration of this time it became necessary
for me to return to my ship, as Lousada had declared
war against the Government, and announced his intention of marching on Mazatlan with 5000 men,
at the same time despatching a force of like number
to attack the city of Guadalajara. Under these circumstances it seemed to me that my presence was
required at Mazatlan, and I notified the residents at
Tepic of my intention of proceeding there. When
on the point of sailing for that port, I received a
letter, signed by the leading merchants of Tepic,
begging me to remain at San Bias, as things had
assumed a very threatening aspect in Tepic : the
telegraph wires had been cut by orders ol Lousada,
and his soldiers lined the roads, cutting off all communication with the city. The difficulty now was
to oblige both parties, as I could not be in both
places at once; so knowing that it would take
Lousada's troops six days to reach Mazatlan, I agreed
to remain forty-eight hours longer at San Bias. In
reply to this I received a letter from Mr Heaven,
sent by a circuitous route, to say that he was going
to make the attempt to reach San Bias with his wife
and family, and that several other families would
follow his example. I
The next morning on landing I found the CUStom-
house deserted by the employees, and the captain of
the port had disappeared, their places being filled
by Lousada's officials. Having borrowed a mule, I
started on the road to Tepic to meet my friends,
and after riding twenty miles I had the pleasure of
finding them, and returned with them to San Bias,
where they took up their quarters in a house belonging to Mr Barron.
That night, as I was about to retire, Mr Heaven
came alongside in a canoe, having been warned by
a friendly Indian that Lousada had sent orders from
Tepic to arrest him and take him back to that city,
with the view of a heavy ransom ; so making him comfortable for the night, I sent an officer and a guard
of bluejackets to protect the house, in case the ladies
and children should be molested. The next morning,
when Lousada's soldiers appeared and demanded Mr
Heaven to be given up, they were surprised to find
their bird flown and the premises in possession of
English seamen well armed and ready for action.
On this being reported to me, I landed and interviewed the official who had attempted the arrest.
I found him at his office with his secretary! and
a more rascally pair of scoundrels it would be difficult
to find. They sat together at a table, each grasping
a revolver pointing my way, so I told them to turn
the barrels away, which they did. I then asked for
an explanation as to why an English gentleman and
my guest had been so grossly insulted. They replied that they were acting under instructions, and
intended to carry them out if they could; so I told
them that Mr Heaven was safe on board the Reindeer,
and likely to remain there.    The same night a rein- A  SUCCESSFUL  RUSE.
forcement of soldiers arrived from Tepic, and we
doubled the guard at the house.
Meanwhile my forty-eight hours' grace had nearly
expired. During this time many families had left
Tepic and arrived at San Bias, to place themselves
under the protection of the British flag, so we made
preparations to embark these poor people and convey
them to Mazatlan. With this object in view I landed
on the 25th January, leaving orders for steam to be
ready at 2 p.m. On landing, two letters from the
before-mentioned official were given me, forbidding
me to embark any refugees on board the Reindeer,
and coolly requesting me to comply with the demand
by orders of Lousada ! The letters were in Spanish,
with which I was familiar; but being desirous of
gaining time, I pretended not to understand them,
and requested the aid of an interpreter. In the
meantime I sent word to the first lieutenant to despatch all the boats ashore "manned and armed."
The people flocked down to the beach, and whilst I
was puzzling over the letters at the captain of the
port's office, upwards of one hundred men, women,
and children, with all their effects, were embarked.
Wishing the officials a fond adieu, I then embarked
myself, and soon afterwards the Reindeer was steaming out of harbour bound for Mazatlan. I heard
afterwards that the captain of the port considered
I had played him a dirty trick.
Fortunately we had a quick and smooth passage.
As we had no accommodation for so large a number,
the greater part had to remain on deck—no great
hardship in that fine climate. We spread sails for
them to sleep on, and awnings sloped over them,
and with the flags of England and Mexico draped 186
around, the deck looked very cheerful and home-like.
The difficulty of feeding them was got over by rigging
a long table on deck, where relays of " square " meals
were served, the ladies being accommodated in my
cabin. Our reception at Mazatlan was most enthusiastic, and we were in good time, for Lousada's forces
had met with a repulse some leagues from the city.
Lousada was soon afterwards defeated and fled to
the mountains, where he was betrayed and captured.
He was tried by court-martial in Tepic and shot.
Thus perished the robber chief of Mexico — the
"Tiger of Tepic," as he was appropriately called—
one of the most celebrated bandits of the day. For
fourteen years he had defied the authorities, eluding
the troops sent to capture him, and only leaving his
retreat in the mountains to kill and torture with
horrible cruelty. His name will ever be associated
with the most diabolical outrages and unrelenting
brutality to men and women. 187
On the 19th February 1873, affairs at Mazatlan
having resumed their normal condition, I left for
Panama and intermediate ports, and, after a short
stay at Acapulco and Manzanilla, where we had
some capital duck-shooting, reached Fonseca Bay,
one of the most beautiful and hottest places on
the coast, on the 18th March. Two days afterwards,
when I was on the point of starting for Panama with
steam up, a rumour reached me that a terrible earthquake had taken place in Salvador, and that the city
of San Salvador, the capital of the state, had been
destroyed. I could gain no information from the
authorities on shore, and those with whom I consulted discredited the story. Just at this time an
American mail-boat came in, and her captain told me
that he had met with very bad weather outside, and
that when leaving the port of Realejo the sea was so
confused that his ship was almost unmanageable.
This convinced me that some convulsion of nature
had taken place, and I determined to proceed at once
to La Libertad, the seaport of San Salvador, and see
for myself what had happened.    So the same night I 188 DESTRUCTION  OF  SAN  SALVADOR.
put to sea, and arrived at La Libertad the following
morning. The captain of the port confirmed the
report of the earthquake, and said that the city of
San Salvador no longer existed ! I at once engaged
a coach and four mules, and, accompanied by two of
the officers—one being the surgeon—started for the
capital. The distance was but thirty-six miles, but
the road was so bad we only reached a village about
half way by nightfall, where we put up for the night.
The house where we slept had been much shaken and
cracked by the earthquake, and in the morning we
were told that they fully expected it to fall during
the night. However, no such catastrophe occurred,
and we made an early start, reaching Santa Tecla, a
considerable town, three leagues from the capital, by
8 a.m. This place had been severely shaken. Most
of the houses were cracked, but none thrown down.
We here met with many poor families who had left
San Salvador with all their worldly goods. The
bullock-drivers were doing a roaring business, charging ten times their ordinary fare.
Driving through Santa Tecla, we pushed on for the
capital. As we approached the city, signs of destruction were everywhere visible. A massive aqueduct,
by which the city was mainly supplied, was demolished, the ruins almost blocking up the road, so that
we had some difficulty in passing; and thence to the
suburbs of the city our progress was constantly interrupted with the debris of fallen houses, till at last
our driver said he would go no farther; but having
threatened him with a revolver, he pushed on and
drove us into the Plaza, where we found the President and many of the inhabitants encamped. I at',
once wTaited upon his Excellency and made known to   SAN  SALVADOR  DESTROYED   BY  EARTHQUAKE.      189
him the object of our visit, and assured him of our
sympathy and desire to assist him. The President,
General Santiago Gonzeles, a fine old soldier, received
us with much cordiality, and expressed in the
warmest terms his gratitude and astonishment at
an offer of assistance from so unexpected a quarter.
Having paid our respects, we made our Way with
much difficulty to what had been the British Consulate, but was now a heap of ruins surmounted by the
English flag. Here we found the vice-consul, Mr
Blair, with a few other English gentlemen, who gave
us a hearty welcome and insisted on our sharing a
tent which they had pitched amidst the ruins. We
then proceeded to make a tour through the city. It
was, indeed, a sad scene of desolation : the once thriving place, containing 40,000 inhabitants, was completely destroyed. As the captain of the port had
stated, it no longer existed.
Curiously enough, the only two houses left standing were built of wood, showing the advantage of
that material over stone for withstanding the shocks
of an earthquake. The palace was completely
destroyed, and the cathedral and all the churches
substantially built of stone were a heap of ruins.
The cathedral spire or belfry remained in the position
I have represented in my sketch; one of the bells
must have swung completely round and remained
mouth up.
It seems that the first shock took place on the 4th
March, and the quaking of the earth continued at
intervals till the 19th, when a very violent shock
completed the destruction. Fortunately the previous
shocks had warned the people, and many had left
their houses and camped out, otherwise the destruc- 190
tion of life, which was considerable, would have been
much greater. The United States Minister, Mr
Biddle, had a very narrow escape: his house having
fallen, he had barely time to save himself and his
family by rushing into the patio. An English lady
was sleeping in the consulate when the wall fell, and
the room she was in was completely wrecked, and
she must have been killed but for some beams whicfy
lodged diagonally across the room and prevented the
walls from crushing her.
Accounts differed as to the numbers killed, and the
truth could not be ascertained, as many bodies lay
buried under the ruins. In the hospital several poor
wretches, unable to escape owing to their infirmities,
were killed by falling walls ; and some prisoners were
killed in the jail before they could be removed. In
places the earth had opened, leaving great fissures ;
and graves had been rent asunder and the bodies
exposed. The action of the Government during this
terrible time was most praiseworthy. The President,
by his admirable regulations and the discipline he
enforced, maintained order. The city was placed
under martial law, and those found in possession of
property of which they could give no satisfactory
account were ordered to be shot.
During our stay—some forty-eight hours—we experienced seven shocks of earthquake of more or less
intensity: they seemed to come on about sunset and
daybreak, but they did no further damage, as there
was not much more that could be done unless the
•earth opened and swallowed us up, and with this
we were threatened, some of the cracks being of
considerable width and depth. The effect produced
upon the nervous system by these constant shocks AFTER  THE   EARTHQUAKE.
was such that several persons became insane, and
upon animals and birds it was remarkable. Horses
and mules wrere rendered useless from fright, and
trembled at the slightest sound. At every shock
cocks crowed and pigeons wheeled wildly in the air.
The city of San Salvador had been already entirely destroyed by earthquakes eight times within
150 years, and partially so every ninth year : the
ground on which it is built is a mere shell, and
produces a hollow sound when struck. Notwithstanding this, the President issued a decree on the
day following the disaster, saying that the city
would be rebuilt upon its old site. One cannot
help admiring the pluck of the old soldier, which,,
however, in this case partook of obstinacy
San Salvador has no less than seven active volcanoes within a radius of thirty miles, and the
mountain of Ysalco was in full blast during this
time, but the suppressed volcano of St Thomas was
supposed to be the one which did the mischief
Much sympathy was shown to the poor Salva-
dorians during these calamities, one town contributing one hundred cart-loads of provisions and a
considerable amount in cash. It was not much we
could do in this way, as we were already short of
provisions; but we sent all we could spare, reserving
barely sufficient to carry us to Panama.
The President, the American Minister, and the
English consul having gratefully declined to take
shelter on board the Reindeer—gallantly preferring
to remain at their posts — and the services of our
surgeon not being required, there was no object in
remaining longer in the city, and we returned to
the   ship,   escorted  by  some  of our   newly   found m
friends. We reached La Libertad after a ride of
five hours, and found the ship rolling heavily at
her anchors; so having embarked a few refugees,
we sailed for Fonseca Bay, and from thence to
Panama, arriving there on 3rd April. Being short
of provisions, I went ashore to see the contractor,
and arranged for a supply of prime American salt
pork, which duly arrived on board. Before stowing it under hatches we fortunately opened one of
the casks. The result was a stampede : the deck was
cleared at short notice, the cask headed up, and the
whole consignment returned. Some time afterwards
I met the contractor, and upbraided him for sending
us stinking pork. " Well, captain," said he, " I'm
so sorry; but the pork wasn't so bad. I sold it
afterwards to a French gunboat, and they said it
was first-rate." The gunboat sailed from Panama
and was never heard of again !
Incendiary fires used to be so common in Panama
that at last the insurance companies refused to have
any further dealings with them. It was a common
remark, | How is So-and-so ? " " Oh, he's all right;
he had a good fire last week !" I was spending the
evening with a friend on shore, and he told me he
had been very badly treated by an English insurance
company. " Would you believe it," said he; "I had
a splendid fire, everything went off first-rate, and
yet those rascals refused to pay because the policy
had not reached them in time, and they disputed the
dates. Had it not been for my brother-in-law, who
altered the dates, I should not have got my money!
and how could I support my large family ?" I
sympathised with the poor fellow in this hard case,
and went sadly down the street. SPORT  IN  VANCOUVER.
We had not been twenty-four hours in that port
when a revolution broke out, and rifle-balls were
flying about the streets. Fortunately order was soon
restored, a few black soldiers only being killed. We
found orders from the commander-in-chief directing
us to proceed to Vancouver Island as soon as we
had refitted—a prospect we all hailed with. delight0
Leaving Panama on the 30th April, we touched once
more at the Galapagos Islands, and on the 22nd June
we anchored in the beautiful harbour of Esquimalt,
Vancouver Island.
We came to Vancouver prepared to be pleased,
and we were not disappointed. To my mind it is
one of the most delightful of our colonies, combining
as it does the rare attractions of pleasant society,
lovely scenery, and good sport with gun, rifle, and
rod. We arrived at the very best time of year, and
thoroughly enjoyed ourselves—fishing for salmon in
the harbour, and trout-fishing in the rivers and lakes,
following up with grouse and wildfowl-shooting and
hunting deer in the woods. Salmon make their appearance ' in the harbour in July, and may be taken
trolling with spoon bait or herring. They do not,
as a rule, take the fly, but they have been known
to do so. Grouse - shooting begins on August 1.
There are two sorts of grouse to be found in the
woods, the blue and the willow. The former are
fine birds of a dark slaty colour, but give poor sport,
as they take to the trees when flushed and remain
•there to be shot. Willow grouse are smaller and
handsomer birds, and are considered the best for
the table. Black-tailed deer used to be plentiful in
the neighbourhood of Esquimalt, but have probably
been thinned out since my time, and I have enjoyed
1 194
good sport " still-hunting" them in the woods with
In company with Mr Coleridge, one of the flagship's officers, I had some capital sport: we often
brought back from ten to fifteen brace of grouse, a
few ducks, and now and then a deer. This same
officer accompanied me to Horseshoe Bay, about
fifty miles from Victoria, where we had excellent
sport; also at Chemainus, and on Admiral and
Thetis Islands, in the sound between Vancouver and
the mainland. On one of these occasions we met with
a most amusing adventure. We happened to look
in at a farmhouse to ask for a glass of water, or
milk if we could get it. The farmer's wife seemed
a crusty old party,- and gave us a reception the
reverse of cordial. My poor old dog Rose was the
first to catch it, for having taken up her quarters
under the table, she was speedily ousted with a
broom-stick, and we were soundly rated for a pair
of poaching vagabonds. We were given a glass of
skimmed milk, and were glad to clear out. The
following Sunday I invited all the neighbouring
farmers with their wives and families to come on
board the Reindeer for divine service, and to dine
with me afterwards. To our great amusement one
of the first arrivals was our excitable hostess, arrayed
in her best clothes. The old lady's horror and
astonishment was great on finding that the two
dirty poachers were officers in her Majesty's service;
but to make matters worse, whilst we were at dinner
in my cabin, and the poor soul was my honoured
guest, the quartermaster reported that a dog had
swum off to the ship, so I gave orders to bring him
down  and give him   his   dinner.     Presently a big THE  SOFT  ANSWER.
shaggy poodle came into the cabin dripping with
water and leaving a trail behind him; the old lady,
at once recognising her dog Peter, gave a shriek
and went off into hysterics. Her apologies for
having treated us so shabbily were rather embarrassing. However, we pacified her by promising
to look in again at her house, which we did some
days afterwards, when we met with a very different
reception. Old Rose was treated to as much milk
as she could stow, and my coxswain was loaded
with a cargo of fruit, eggs, and butter, &c, to last
us, a fortnight. Our best day's sport was twenty-
two brace of grouse and a couple of deer on Thetis
Some very fine timber is grown on the main
island, and we brought back a shipload to Esquimalt. Some of the trees measure 300 feet in
height, as straight as a candle, and one that we
measured was 57 feet in circumference. One of
the midshipmen of the squadron was the proud
possessor of a new double-barrelled gun, given him
by his father. One day he went out shooting in
the woods accompanied by an Indian, who led him
some miles away from the settlement. Presently
the Indian saw, or pretended to see, a partridge in
a tree. The mid could not see anything, so taking
the gun and directing the lad to keep still, the
rascal commenced crawling, looking back occasionally
to beckon the youngster not to move on any account.
The last the poor middy saw of the Indian he was
still crawling, and he never saw him or his. gun
Besides "still-hunting" in the woods, deer are
hunted with dogs, driven into the water, and shot; i
but this is not a very sportsman-like proceeding.
In speaking of deer, I allude to the black-tail buck,
which are common in the island: there are also
wapiti, bears, and panthers in the interior.
After a most delightful four months spent at
Vancouver, we received orders to proceed to Panama,
touching at San Francisco and other ports en route,
and we took our departure with much regret on
the 28th  October.
Whilst coaling at San Bias, I took a run up to
Tepic to see my friends there. We started before
daylight in the mail-coach, and arrived at Navaretti,
the first halting-place, at daybreak. Here I was
horrified to find that one of the other passengers
sitting opposite to me was suffering from smallpox
in the most virulent form. Fortunately I had
been recently revaccinated, but it made me feel
very uncomfortable for the rest of the journey.
However, we filled the coach with tobacco smoke
and kept our pipes going all the time, and were
none the worse. We met with a very cordial reception in Tepic, and a grand fSte was given in our
honour, followed by a ball and a garden-party, and
on taking our departure the general provided a
guard of cavalry to escort us back to San Bias.
Whilst waiting for supernumeraries at Panama,
I found time for some shooting in the neighbourhood, and bagged many ducks and alligators in
.the Pacora river, besides an occasional deer. One
night a great fire broke out in the city, destroying
the Grand Hotel and other buildings. We landed
a party from the ships and assisted greatly in
saving the city from destruction. The' picturesque
old  cathedral was fortunately saved, but one-third THE  IRISHMAN   AND  THE   YANKEE.
of the town was destroyed before we got the fire
During our stay in Panamanian waters I was
ordered by the Admiral to report on the different
projects for connecting the Pacific with the Atlantic
Ocean. Of the many schemes proposed, the two
which found favour were the Nicaraguan route and
Panama Canal: as we now know, the latter has
proved a failure, and the Nicaraguan. Canal is in
process of construction. There can be no doubt of
the success of this undertaking when once the
canal is made, and of the immense traffic at present
carried round Cape Horn and through the Straits
of Magellan that would be diverted through this
channel. •
Whilst examining the Isthmus of Panama in the
neighbourhood of the Chagres river, I came upon
an Irishman prospecting for gold. He told me that
there was plenty of gold in the country, and showed
me specimens of the precious metal he had obtained,
but he said he had been very unfairly treated by
a smart Yankee in New York to whom he had
sent a sample of earth to be assayed. To his
disgust the answer came back that it was worthless—when, said he, "I salted it myself!" meaning
that he had mixed a large quantity of gold-dust
with the earth!
On the 9th April we returned to the coast of
Mexico, and, after some splendid duck-shooting at
Acapulco, proceeded up the coast, visiting our old
haunts, and including a very interesting cruise in
the Gulf of California, where we found the small
Mexican deer fairly numerous, also hares and duck;
but the terrible heat made hunting very laborious.
II 198
Lower California is rich in minerals—copper, silver,
and gold; and at La Paz there is a valuable pearl-
fishery, the pearls being in no way inferior to
Oriental ones.
On our return to Mazatlan I heard of my promotion to post-captain, and at Acapulco I found
Commander Anson waiting to relieve me; so having
transferred the command to him, I took leave of
the Reindeer, and returned home vid San Francisco
and New York, breaking my journey at Salt Lake
City and Niagara. At Salt Lake I took the opportunity of interviewing that gross impostor Brigham
Young, and hearing one of his sermons, a copy of
which I procured.    Here is an extract:—
"I wish my women to understand that what I
am going to say is for them as well as others, and
I want those who are here to tell their sisters.
Yes! all the women in the community. I am
going to give you from this time till the 6th of
October next for reflection, that you may determine whether you wish to stay with your husbands
or not, and then I am going to set every woman at
liberty and say to them, Now, go your way. And
my wives have got to do one of two things : either
round up their shoulders to endure the affliction of
the world, and live their religion—that is, polygamy
—or they must leave, for I will not have them about
me. I will go to heaven alone rather than to have
scratching and fighting about me. I will set all
at liberty. What! first wife too ? Yes ! liberate
them all.
11 want to go somewhere or do something to get
rid of the winners.
"If you stay with me you shall comply with the A NEAT  RETORT.
law of God without whining, and round up your
shoulders to walk up to the mark without any
grunting! 1
At Buffalo my travelling companion, a charming
young Frenchman, was taken suddenly ill in the
middle of the night with all the symptoms of Asiatic
cholera, which he had contracted in Tonquin, I
knew no one in the place, but I went to a drug
store, bought up all the mustard - plasters I could
get, and covered him with them, and having filled
him with brandy, left him for the night. Next
morning I fetched a doctor, who ordered perfect
rest; but I had to catch the steamer Russia at
New York, and my poor friend begged me not to
desert him, as he said he would certainly die; so I
engaged an invalid carriage, got him aboard, and
took him to New York, and so to England, where,
I am happy to say, he completely recovered. Captain
Cook of the Russia was a well-known character, a
strict martinet, not given to wasting words with his
passengers. One cloudy day he was endeavouring
to get a sight of the sun for his daily reckoning,
when an American passenger observed, 11 guess,
captain, you didn't get that observation." " Which
didn't prevent you from making yours, sir," was the
neat reply.
Soon after I had returned to England and settled
down for a long spell, with prospects of unlimited
shooting and fishing for at least two or three years,
I received an offer from Admiral Hancock, who was
appointed commander-in-chief in the Pacific, to serve
as his flag-captain. It was too good an offer to be
refused, especially as the admiral was one of the
kindest  and  best of men, and an excellent   officer. 200
Moreover, I knew the station from end to end. The
Shah was to be his flagship—a fine vessel, fast under
steam and sail, and fitted with all the latest improvements of that date. So to Portsmouth I went, and
began fitting her out.
The admiral went out by mail steamer, and we
were to follow as soon as the ship was ready. The
Shah was one of the first ships fitted with the
Whitehead torpedo, which had only then been
introduced into the service; and as it was considered necessary that the captain should be familiar
with this formidable weapon, the chief engineer,
the gunnery lieutenant, and myself underwent daily
instruction in it. Having mastered the details of
its construction, we were sent out to Spithead every
day in an old paddle-steamer, the Vesuvius, to practise at a moving target. We had almost completed
our course when a terrible accident happened. We
were steaming out of Portsmouth Harbour as usual,
and charging the torpedo with compressed air. The
working pressure usually employed was 1000 lb. to
the square inch. I noticed the gauge mark 600 lb.
and then remain stationary, although the air-pump
was still working at full speed, and I pointed out the
circumstance to Mr Blank, the engineer, who was
instructing us. He noticed at once that something
was the matter, and stooped down to rectify it, when
at that moment the air-pump burst, scattering large
pieces of the iron casing in all directions. There
were five of us in the little compartment—the chief
engineer, the gunnery lieutenant of the Shah, Mr
Blank (his real name), Mr Hook, another engineer
belonging to the Vesuvius, and myself. The next
instant there were but three of us left standing and A   TORPEDO   ACCIDENT.
unhurt: the two engineers were apparently dead.
Poor Blank's head was off, and we were bespattered
with his blood and brains ; the other lay still. We
at once put back into harbour and landed the two
victims. Happily Mr Hook was not killed, and
he eventually recovered. His jaw was broken, and
he was otherwise injured; but being well nursed by
his wife, he pulled through. This accident threw a
gloom over us all, and cut short our course of instruction ; but we had had enough of the Whitehead
torpedo for the time.
Just when the Shah was ready for the pendant,
and I was looking forward to commissioning her and
joining the admiral at Valparaiso, I received a telegram from' him to say he was invalided and on his
way home. He reached home only to die, and I
never saw his face again. This was not only a
heavy blow to me, losing a kind friend with whom
I looked forward to spending a happy commission,
but was also professionally disastrous; for on another
admiral being appointed, it became necessary for me
to tender my resignation, and I was once more thrown
out of employment, and lost not only a splendid appointment, but my home in Scotland, which I had
given up and could not recover. And so it came about
that, instead of ploughing the blue waters of the
Pacific, that autumn found me in Norway, consoling
myself with rod and gun, and it was not till May
1878 that I again took to the water.
The old store-ship Nereus, which had done duty
at Valparaiso for many years, being quite worn out,
it was decided to replace her, and the Liffey frigate
was selected for the purpose, when I was offered the
job of taking her out and returning home by mail
I 202
steamer. It was not quite the sort of service I
should have chosen, but I gladly accepted it, as it
offered a pleasant cruise, a speedy return, and would
be sure to lead to a better appointment. The Liffey
had at one time been a smart 50-gun screw frigate,
but her engines were removed and only a few guns
left; on the upper deck: she was ballasted with coal
to give her stability, and her spars were reduced, sp
she was nothing else than an undermasted, undermanned coal-hulk—not quite the sort of craft to
be proud of.  .
We left Plymouth Sound on the 26th May, and
owing to light winds and calms made a long passage
to Madeira, where we enjoyed a pleasant stay. Sail-;
ing again on the 16th June, we picked up the northeast trade-winds, and were making good progress to
the southward, when, two days afterwards, we spoke
the German bark Anita of Hamburg, bound for the
West Coast of Africa. The smart little craft outsailed
us, and was soon lost sight of. About 9 p.m. the
officer of the watch reported a light on the starboard
bow and a rocket in the same direction, so we altered
course and soon made out a sail, and running close
under her lee, hailed her to know what she wanted.
The answer came back> " Ship on fire." We at once
hove-to on her weather beam and sent a boat on
board. She proved to be our little friend the Anita
with her cargo on fire. I then went on board with
another boat, taking the fire-engine and a party
of men with buckets. The captain told me that
his cargo was a most combustible one, consisting
of demijohns of a fiery spirit made out of rotten
potatoes,  intended for the West African  negroes;   THE  BURNING  OF  THE  ANITA.
also barrels of petroleum and gunpowder, a chest of
the latter being stowed in his cabin. As I stepped
on board the flames burst out of the cabin, in which
was the captain s dog howling for assistance. We
made desperate attempts to save the poor animal,
but were unsuccessful: one of our men, being overcome by the smoke, had to be dragged out by the
heels in an asphyxiated condition. Meantime the
pumps were rigged and volumes of water poured
upon the cargo, but without avail, as the flames-
had got too firm a* hold; so, after working hard for
two hours, I determined to abandon the ship, which
might blow.up at any moment. The crew and all
the live stock were therefore transferred to the Liffey,
the boats hoisted up, and we remained at hand watching the destruction of the ill-fated bark. The flames
now mounted up the' masts and rigging, setting fire
to the sails on the main- and mizzen-masts, making a
grand spectacle. Presently an explosion took place
in the after part, blowing up the poop and taking the
mizzen-mast over the side. And now a curious thing
happened. The bark, deprived of her after-sail, fell off
before the wind, and scudded along under the sails
on the foremast; but as the braces burnt and the
yards swung forward, she would luff up in the wind
till the head-sails filled and paid her off again, thus
performing many graceful evolutions — a phantom
ship without a soul on board her. The scene at
this time was grand in the extreme: the flames
leaping from spar to spar, catching each sail in succession, illuminating the sea for miles around, and
casting a lurid light upon the sails and rigging of
the frigate, which hovered upon her weather quarter, 204
following her motions, but always keeping well to
windward to avoid the sparks, which fell in showers
to leeward. I sketched the scene from the poop, the
weeping skipper beside me. Presently the main-mast,
■divested of the rigging, began to rock to and fro
with the rolling of the vessel, and then fell over the
side with a crash, sending a shower of sparks and
burning dSbris into the sea. Still the doomed craft
sailed on under her foresail and foretopsail until that
also disappeared, and the Anita lay a helpless log
upon the water, rolling gunwale under, the sea washing over her decks and pouring out of her scuppers.
By this time dawn was breaking, so leading, the
skipper below, we filled away on our course, leaving
the bark to the mercy of the waves, which soon
overwhelmed her.
Steering for St Vincent, one of the Cape de Verde
Islands, we landed the crew there on the 25th, and
sailed the same day for the neighbouring island of
St Jago, and anchored in the harbour of Porto Praya.
Curiously enough, the only notice taken of this adventure by the authorities at home was a letter from
the Admiralty (probably one of the clerks) to know
by what authority I had fed these poor things, who
must certainly have been drowned or blown up had
it not been for the fortunate circumstance of our
being near at hand, and " under what grant" the
payment of the same came ! Some years afterwards,
Captain Schroder, commanding the German corvette
Nymphe, was dining with me on board the Druid,
the ship I then commanded on the North American
station, and seeing a picture I had painted of the
burning ship in my cabin, he asked me about it. OFF  CAPE  HORN.
Learning that it was one of his countrymen in
distress, he asked what his Government had done
in the matter. "Nothing," I replied; "I don't
suppose they ever heard of it, certainly not from
me " ; whereupon he danced round the cabin, and said
it was a scandal and he should report it, which he
did. The result was that not long afterwards I received a handsome acknowledgment from Count
Mtinster, through the Admiralty, acknowledging
the service rendered to his countrymen, and apologising for the delay, as he had not heard of it
My object in going into Porto Praya was to " hogg
ship " (scrub the ship's bottom), her bottom being so
foul she would hardly move through the water. This
was due to a patent anti-fouling composition with
which the copper had been painted whilst in dock
at Plymouth. I noticed this at the time, and inquired the reason, as I had never seen copper painted
before; but I was assured by the master-shipwright
that it was necessary, so I said no more. The anti-
fouling composition certainly had a remarkable effect,
acting like guano as applied to soil, and produced a
fine crop of rich grass, impeding the ship's progress-
through the water. I reported the circumstance to
the Admiralty, but heard no more of it; but I should
have been glad to know " under what grant" this
expense was incurred.
After leaving Porto Praya, where we had some-
excellent quail-shooting, we touched at Bahia and
Monte Video, and then shaped course for the Falkland Islands; but being unable to weather them, we
ran to the northward, and passing through the Straits 206 DESTRUCTION  OF  SAN  SALVADOR.
of Le Maire, rounded Cape Horn the same night.
Here we met with a succession of gales and snowstorms, against which we battled for nine days; but
by taking advantage of the shift of wind, and standing to the south-west when the wind was north-west
and vice versd, we made an average of fifty miles
dead to windward every twenty-four hours; and
on the ninth day we were becalmed to the westward
of Cape Pillar, the western entrance to the Straits
of Magellan, reaching Valparaiso without further
After six weeks' stay at Valparaiso we sailed for
Coquimbo with the Shah and Triumph. On the way
round, Admiral de Horsey ordered the ships to try
rate of sailing. The poor old Liffey, being heavily
loaded and undermasted, stood no chance with the
Shah, the admiral's flagship. Whilst staggering
along in her wake a man fell overboard: the Liffey
was promptly rounded-to, the life-buoy let go, and a
boat lowered. By this time the man was a long way
astern, as a fresh breeze was blowing and the ship
going fast through the water. All eyes were directed
to the poor fellow in the water, when, to our horror
and astonishment, we saw a large albatross swoop
down on him. We could see the man wave his
arms to keep the bird off; but it returned, and, after
swooping down three times, settled on the water
near by, with the evident intention of picking out
his eyes as soon as he was dead or helpless. Fortunately the boat reached the spot in time and the man
was saved, and all we could get out of him when he
was brought on board was, " Oh, that bloody bird !"
Whilst on this subject I may mention that I have
had many men fall overboard from ships that I have commanded or been in, and never lost one.    No less
than five fell from the Liffey.    How true it is-
" There's a sweet little cherub that sits up aloft,
To keep watch for the life of poor Jack."
Leaving the old Liffey at Coquimbo, I returned
home vid Panama and New York, to find that the
Atlanta, a ship I had applied for, had been commissioned, sailed for the West Indies, and gone down
with all hands on her passage home! 208
I had hardly time to look round on my return home
from the Liffey when I was offered the command of
the Druid, an old-fashioned corvette mounting fourteen guns of an obsolete pattern. But though the
ship was not much to brag of, the appointment was,
nevertheless, a very good one—namely, senior officer
on the coast of Newfoundland, for the protection of
the fisheries. The post had heretofore been filled by
one of the ships of the North American station, the
selection of the officers being left to the discretion
of the admiral on that station; but this arrangement
not proving satisfactory, it was thought advisable to
send an officer to carry out the duties for a term
of three years instead of a different one every year.
No doubt this was a better plan, for on the old
system, by the time a captain had become familiar
with his duties, which are mostly diplomatic, he was
removed, and his place taken by another, who had in
his turn to learn his work. The French Foreign
Office also approved of the new arrangement, the
result being that for the three years I was on the
station I had for a colleague a charming fellow-
worker in Commodore Devarenne, whose broad pen- THE   NEWFOUNDLAND   FISHERIES.
dant was flying in the Clorinde. Since that time
the senior officer is given the temporary rank of
commodore whilst doing duty in Newfoundland;
but I was simply " captain" and " senior officer,"
with three or four ships under my orders, from
June till October, when we rejoined the Admiral at
Twenty years ago Newfoundland was not so well
known as it is now. The British public cared but
little about it, and the questions at issue between
the French and ourselves were familiar only to the
diplomats, and such naval officers as had been employed on the fisheries. Of late Newfoundland has
been much before the public, and though the situation remains much as it has been for the last hundred
years, negotiations have been going on between the
two Governments which will, it is to be hoped, lead
to a satisfactory conclusion,—by wThich I mean the
total expulsion of the French from the fishing-
grounds. The French fishery has declined so much
of late years as to be of very little value to them,
and they are at last open to some arrangement, and
would, I believe, accept compensation, either in
money or in kind, in exchange for their undoubted
rights, ceded to them by treaties which are not in
accordance with present conditions. But in 1879
the French fishery was in full swing; a large fleet
assembled at St Pierre as soon as the ice was off
the coast, and distributed themselves along the
shores, to the detriment of the native fishermen,
between whom and the French constant conflicts
The business of the French and English officers
was, and is still, to endeavour to keep the peace
o 210 THE  DRUID.
■ |i:
between the contending parties,—not an easy task, as
one naturally inclined towards one's own countrymen
whilst endeavouring to do justice to the other side.
The situation was a difficult, almost an impossible
one, requiring tact, temper, and patience on both
sides. It seemed hard that the natives of the soil
should be debarred from prosecuting their sole industry in their own waters, and should have to give way
to foreigners who had no interest in the country, and
who returned home with their gains at the conclusion
of the season; but there was no getting over the fact
that by the terms of the treaties they were within
their rights. Such was the position of affairs when
the Druid arrived at St John's on the 24th May 1879.
Our first experience in navigating these coasts was
not a pleasant- one. Leaving Halifax in a dense fog
and snowstorm, we shaped a course to the southward
of St Pierre and Migelon, running a line of soundings
with the patent lead. On approaching the islands
(although by our reckoning well clear of them) one
evening, the ship being under sail with a fresh breeze
blowing, we were startled by hearing a gun, followed
by another, and then a third. What could it mean
but a warning that we were running into danger!
Visions of the ill-fated Niobe, which was lost on
Migelon, flashed across my mind. We answered the
signal, gun for gun, and hauled our wind with our
head to the southward. Just then we caught a
glimpse of a schooner standing across our wake, but
we soon lost sight of her in the fog. We lay-to all
night, and at daylight bore up on our course, the fog
still as thick as ever, rounded Cape Race by the sound
of the fog-horn in the lighthouse, wno\felt our way by
the lead till we judged ourselves to be off the harbour
■      .191
of St John's, when we furled sails and stood in for the
land, keeping a sharp look-out with leadsmen in the
chains. Still nothing could be seen, till the first lieutenant, George King-Hall, son of my old captain,
went to the foretopmast cross-trees and piloted the
ship into the harbour, no land having been seen since
leaving Halifax. Curiously enough, we never heard
more of the " phantom ship." From the fact of her
firing guns we concluded she must be a man-of-war.
The French had two armed schooners in their fishery
squadron, and when I met the French commodore I
asked him about it, but he assured me that none of
his ships were in that locality at that time. So it
has ever remained a mystery. What was she, and
why did she fire signal-guns, seeing that we were not
running into danger, as proved by our subsequently
resuming our course and reaching our destination ?
What made it the more suspicious was the fact that
if we had been twenty miles or so out of our course,
the line of soundings exactly corresponded with those
of our supposed position, in which case we should have
been running into danger.
These fogs are very prevalent, on the coast, always
appearing when the wind blows towards the land,
. and adding much to the dangers of navigation. After
the first season we got so used to them we did not
mind, and found the safest course was to steer boldly
in for the land, keeping a sharp look-out till we saw
and heard the breakers, when we generally managed
to feel our way into port. In this way I have frequently groped into a harbour without seeing anything,—hearing dogs barking on shore, breakers on
both sides, and people's voices, but seeing nothing,
even after the anchor was let go.    The worst of it Ill
i     (
was, the water is deep close-to, so we could not get
soundings till actually inside the harbour. During
the summer months icebergs are another fruitful
source of danger, especially in a fog, when it is impossible to see them till close aboard. The thermometer gives no warning of their proximity until too late,
the sea and air being of equal temperature. One of
my little squadron, the Flamingo, ran into an iceberg
a few hours after leaving St John's and smashed her
bows in. We rigged a caisson under her bows, and
repaired her in four days with the artificers of the
Our duties kept us constantly at sea, going from
port to port; but we generally managed to get to an
anchor before dark, when every one that could be
spared landed with his fishing-rod in quest of salmon
and sea-trout, which abound in all the rivers on the
coast. By the end of September, when the French
fishery fleet had departed, we were also able to indulge in sport with gun and rifle, and many a noble
caribou was added to the bag. In my opinion Newfoundland is the finest sporting country it has ever
been my lot to enjoy. I have fished in every river,
crossed the island from east to west, and hunted in
every part of it. At that time it was free to all, and
no licence required; but since then a tax of 100 dollars (£20) has been placed on the gun, and sportsmen
are restricted to a very limited number of caribou,
although the settlers may massacre them as they
please, which they do in such numbers that shiploads
of frozen carcasses of deer are sent to the market at
St John's by the local steamers plying around the
coast. The result of this act is that English sportsmen are scared from visiting the island for sporting  'If A   FIGHT  BETWEEN  STAGS.
purposes, preferring the more adjacent shores of Scandinavia, to the great benefit of that country.
I was out after caribou with one of the officers of
the Druid one bitter cold day, a gale blowing- with
occasional snow-squalls, when we came across a big
stag and followed it into the forest, but lost it. Proceeding downwards, we presently sighted a herd of
caribou in a valley, and managed to get quite close to
them, when we made out one fine stag. I was just
going to shoot it when we heard the roar of another
stag, the one we had been following. The master of
the herd instantly challenged back, and having
gathered all his hinds together, started off at a gallop to meet his antagonist. Immediately afterwards
we heard a crash as their heads met, and we also ran
to see the fight. The curious part of it was that the
hinds came too, taking no notice of us, and we all
met where the two big stags were fighting, and
watched them for several minutes at a distance of
only a few yards. The stags paid no attention to us,
so intent were they on the combat, until one was
getting the worst of it and seemed inclined to bolt;
so fearing to lose them, we fired simultaneously, and
finished them off with another shot. It was a grand
sight, and the heavy snowstorm added to the scene.
A few minutes later the storm passed, the sun shone
out, and the two gladiators lay peacefully with their
faces upturned to a cloudless sky. It was a picture
worthy of Landseer's pencil. The hinds remained for
some time longer, but presently departed to look for
another master.
The inhabitants of Newfoundland are almost
entirely Irish or of Irish descent, with a sprinkling of Mecmac Indians, who are fast  dying  out. I'lfl
The latter are born hunters and trappers, and I
always engaged two on my hunting expeditions.
They are all Eoman Catholics, and sincere ones, as
I proved; for on one occasion we ran short of flour,
tea, and sugar, and as it was their fast-time, they
were in danger of starving, although we had meat
in abundance. Under these circumstances I told
them I was authorised to give them a dispensation, whereupon they gorged themselves with
about 4 lb. of venison apiece ! I afterwards told
the Eoman Catholic archbishop, a personal friend
of mine, what I had done, and he said I was perfectly justified.      'j* ~;^.
Twenty years ago the coast was not so well surveyed as it probably is now, and we occasionally
discovered unknown rocks by bumping on them.
I noticed a fine harbour on our charts with an
estuary leading up to it for forty miles. It had
not been surveyed since the days of Captain Cook,
but as the chart showed five fathoms all the way,
I determined to visit it. All went well till we
Opened the mouth of the harbour, when we struck
upon a rock in mid-channel not marked on the chart.
The old ship took it like a hunter, rose up, heeled
over, and slid down on the other side, leaving 20
feet of her keel and a bit of her forefoot behind
her. Another time I. was approaching Twillingate,
a place on the east coast, when= I found the passage
barred by field-ice. There was no time to get round
it, and darkness was,coming on, so we "put her at
it." The first shock brought all hands on deck, but
by keeping the screw going we forced her through
without damage.
• These ice-fields are very deceptive, seven-eighths
of the floes being under water, as are the large
icebergs. Sometimes as many as a hundred of the
latter could be seen at once, some of gigantic dimensions. I have endeavoured to depict a scene of this
description in Bonavista Bay.
The Straits of Belleisle are always full of icebergs,
generally enveloped in fog, and the harbour of St
John's is occasionally blocked by a berg. The Druid's
-engines were constantly breaking down, and occasion-
Druid in Bonavista Bay.
ally landed me in a tight place. I was standing into
-a harbour on the south coast in a dense fog, no land
in sight, but we could hear the breakers on both
bows: we had leadsmen in the chains, look-out men
aloft and on the forecastle, and a boat ahead, when
a man fell overboard. The engine-room telegraph
was put to full speed astern, but the engineer said
he couldn't move the engines ahead or astern! At
fthis moment the look-out man saner out, "Breakers
I 216
ahead!" The leadsmen could get no soundings, so
we could not anchor—we were helpless ! Meantime
a boat was lowered, the man saved, and the engines
began slowly to move astern, the ship being, then
within 20 yards of the rocks. We then crept into
harbour, arriving before our boat, which could not
find the entrance till we had anchored and notified
our position by fog-horn. We found it a good plan
when coming along the coast to sound the siren constantly and judge our distance by the reverberation
from the cliffs. One evening, when we were groping
about in a dense fog off Cape Eace, the officer on
the forecastle reported a fishing-boat close under the
bows: the helm was put hard-a-starboard to clear
her, but still she wras said to be close under the bow.
The officer said he could not see anything, but he
could hear her blocks creaking; so round we went
in a circle, but still the mysterious sound followed
us, until, having completed a circle about three times,
I went forward and found that the sound came from
our own iron cat-block, which creaked occasionally
as the ship rolled in the swell, but could not be
seen owing to the thick fog. That officer did not
hear the last of it for some time.
Not the least in importance of the duties entailed
upon the captains of H.M. ships in Newfoundland
waters are the magisterial. All captains, commanders, and lieutenants commanding are sworn in as J.P.'s
during their time of service on the coast, and many
amusing stories, more or less founded on fact, are told
of their judgments. Judge Prowse, the author of a
valuable and exhaustive book on Newfoundland, and
a most genial and popular sportsman, relates how the
captain of one of H.M. ships, having a difficult case to   THE  SAILOR  AS  J. P.
investigate, ordered all the parties to repair on board
his ship at 9 A.M., by which time the ship was steaming out of the harbour. It is possible that the legal
knowledge of naval captains might have been wanting,
but in place of it was usually to be found a good
common-sense opinion; and as no fees were expected,
the contending parties preferred to have their claims
settled by us rather than by the more intricate and
expensive process of the law courts. Moreover, they
were always satisfied with our judgments, although
they might not be approved of at headquarters; and
I was accused of having on one occasion compounded
a felony for having squared a case qf arson, and was
threatened with an action for contempt of court in a
case of seduction!
The doctors of H.M. ships also had a lively time of
it, and as they gave their advice gratis, and dispensed medicine freely, they were consulted on every
possible occasion. The consumption of bread-pills
and distilled water was enormous. Men came aboard
to see the doctor because they had been troubled
with a cold last fall! or having nothing; the matter
with them, they thought they might be ill in the
winter; women suffering from indigestion caused by
wholesale drinking of strong tea, whereby their in-
sides were tanned like leather, or because they had
no family I
I have stated that in my opinion Newfoundland is
the finest sporting country I ever had the good
fortune to visit. It would be difficult to close this
chapter without some allusion to the sport to be
obtained there, in corroboration of the above statement. Not only is there deer-stalking, but very fair
grouse-shooting,  also  salmon and sea-trout fishing,
Nil I'll
218 ,        THE  DRUID.
the latter first-rate. The salmon-fishing has much
improved of late years, due principally to the fact of
so many senior officers being keen sportsmen, who
have endeavoured to suppress the pernicious custom
of barring the rivers, as practised by the settlers.
This abominable and short-sighted practice had
wellnigh exterminated salmon in the best rivers of
the island, and during my time it was very few that
found their way into our bags. The sea-trout-fishing was always good, owing to the fact that these
fish are mostly to be found at the mouths of rivers,
coming in and going out with the tide. Moreover,
being smaller fish, many of them escaped through
the meshes and reached the spawning-grounds. The
largest salmon I ever remember to have caught
during three seasons was but 12 lb.; since then I
have heard of 20 and 30 pounders being creeled. Of
grilse we always secured a fair amount, but our best
bags were sea-trout. One day I got 98 lb. of sea-
trout in four hours in a small river in Bonne Bay,
and could have doubled the bag had I wished.
■ As regards grouse—or "partridge," as they are
called! by the natives—a good dog is necessary; and
even then it would be difficult to make a big bag, as
the birds are so scattered, but with straight powder
ten to twenty brace may be secured on good ground
by a couple of guns—enough to satisfy any old-
fashioned sportsman. Judge Prowse and I made
some very pretty bags in the, neighbourhood of St
Mary'sj on the south coast, shooting over dogs. The
best sniper-shooting is in the neighbourhood of St
John's. On the high " barrens" they are scarce,
much as they are on the fjelds of Norway and
Sweden, though both places seem admirably suited THE  HAND  OF  PROVIDENCE.
for them. Woodcocks are unknown, though so
plentiful in Nova Scotia. But the sport par
excellence is with the rifle, hunting the caribou or
woodland reindeer. .This animal is a finer beast than
the Norwegian reindeer, and carries more massive
antlers. I generally found time for a week's hunting
towards the end of the season, and I never had any
difficulty in getting four or five good heads each trip,
which was all I wanted. The sport I enjoyed on
these occasions would fill a volume, but I have not
space to relate it here. Besides deer, there are bears,
wolves, beavers, otters, hares, and rabbits; but they
cannot be said to afford sport, and are usually killed
by trapping.
On the* coast of Labrador the sport is equally
good, especially fishing. Several fine rivers running into the Straits of Belleisle are famous for
salmon and trout, notably the Forteau river, which
is second to none in Newfoundland. This part of
the country is sparsely populated, and the settlers
are very, poor, and often half starved. They depend
a good deal on wrecks, which are frequent in the
straits by reason of the fogs. One old settler told
me that he and his family were on the point of
starving in the winter, when, as he put it, " The
Lord God Almighty, who never forgets those who
put their trust in Him, in His merciful providence
sent us relief! A. fine steamer, sir, came ashore
quite handy : she was loaded with flour, on which
we have been living ever since. The Lord be praised
for all His mercies!" The old man evidently considered the ship was sent for his especial benefit, and
he related how they could see the ship!s mast-heads
over the fog as she came in. 'hwaf'v# II
In justice to the French, I must say we had very
little trouble with them.during my three years on
the coast. Indeed they.were very kind to the poor
settlers, and were liked by them. . Occasionally they
would try and bounce about their rights, but a little
courtesy generally put things straight. Whilst cruising along the west coast I observed a French flag
flying on Eed Island, in contravention of the treaties,
which do not permit any rights of sovereignty; so I
landed and interviewed the PrudJhomme or headman
on the subject After smoking a cigarette, I inquired
the reason of the French flag being hoisted. He
said he had flown it for six years, and that no one
had ever objected. So I told him that as the island
belonged to Great Britain and not to France, I should
be obliged to him to haul it down, whilst fully appreciating his politeness in showing his colours to a
man-of-war! After a little protest he did so, and
I requested him not to hoist it again. If I had
hauled it down, as I might certainly have done, it
would have been described as an " outrage."
By the end of October, our work being over for
the season, we joined the Admiral at Halifax, and
from thence went on to Bermuda to refit preparatory
to leaving for the West Indies, where we spent the
winter. In this way we had the best of the station
all the year round. There is not much to do at Bermuda except boat-sailing and sea-fishing. The sea
swarms with fish of every size and colour, and the
camber where we were lying was packed with them.
One day we exploded a charge of fulminate of mercury
in the camber. The shock was terrific, and fish came
up in thousands. The bottom was paved with dead
fish, and our men were employed for several days MONARCH  OF  ALL  HE  SURVEYS.
taking boatloads of stinking fish out to sea. The
senior officer in charge of the dockyard said we had
shaken the foundations of the buildings, and would
cause a plague with the fish. However, we sailed
for the West Indies, and heard no more of the
Leaving Bermuda for the southward, a ship, if
under sail, generally steers for the Mona Passage,
between the islands of Puerto Eico and Hayti, before
reaching which the north-east trade-wind will be
picked up. It is then that the sailor, if he has any
sentiment in him, can realise the romance of the sea
(much of which has departed in these days of purely
steam-ships). As his ship flies through the blue and
sparkling waters, her sails swelling to the breeze,
flying-fish leap in shoals from the bows, pursued by
albacore, bonito, and the many-hued dolphin ; whilst
overhead sea-birds are ever on the watch for the
unlucky flying-fish, whose life must be one of constant excitement, and not all joy.
I always maintain that the pleasantest time in a
naval officer's life is as a post-captain in command of
a corvette or frigate, especially if on detached service ;
for however kind and charming the admiral may be,
we all like our independence, and a captain who loves
his ship—and who does not ?—with a nice set of
officers and a slashing crew, is in an enviable position. At sea he is " monarch of all he surveys," and
when he reaches port he is always welcome.
The old Druid, as I have already observed, was -
not much to brag of, with her saucy ram-bow, her
wall sides, and goose stern.    Her raking masts gave
her a smartish look, which her ugly upright funnel
belied.    She would sail fairly well off the wind, and
# 222 THE .DRUID.
we made some good passages under sail; but she had
no more weatherly qualities than a hay-stack, and
her engines would have disgraced a tramp. Notwithstanding these defects, we loved the old boat,
and took a pride in her. My zealous first lieutenant
kept her as clean as a new pin. Her guns shone like
mirrors, and she was in perfect order and discipline.
I always painted the stern windows myself, and spent
many an hour slung over the quarter, paint-brush in
hand, pipe in mouth, attired in an old duck suit,
daubing away. Not a very dignified position for
the captain, I hear some one say; but our painter
(Joshua Eeynolds by name!) had no artistic qualifications, so I preferred to do the work myself—a
practice I have always since adhered to.
An amusing thing happened apropos of this fancy
of mine. Some years afterwards, when in command
of the Euby, a beautiful corvette, I was at Monte
Video, senior officer on the station, when the President of the Eepublic of Uruguay came off to pay
me an official visit en grande tenue. I had no notice
of his intended visit, and at the time of his coming
on board I was over the stern on a grating, painting
the stern windows, and bespattered with paint.
George Callaghan, the first lieutenant, explained
that I was not on board, which was the truth, as
I was out board!
Our first port of call in the West Indies was Port
Eoyal, Jamaica, where we came under the orders of the
Commodore, and remained on his part of the station
till the time arrived again for our northern flight.
In this way the time passed most pleasantly, the
climate of the West Indies being delightful during
the winter months, varied by an occasional cruise JAMAICA  NIGGERS  IN  A  REGATTA.
to Belize, Cuba, Hayti, or the Spanish main, as the
exigencies of the service demanded. Whilst we were
at Jamaica a naval regatta was organised, and great
was the competition for the Commodore's prize.
At the last moment, just before the boats were assembled, and the Commodore's barge, which was the
favourite, was having the finishing touches put to
her, a boatload of. Jamaica niggers came down from.
Kingston and entered for the race; and, much to
our astonishment, they won, the Commodore's boat
being nowhere! On hauling her up to see what
was the matter, the coxswain, to his intense disgust,
found a basket full of stones hitched on to the rudder
pintles. The boat had dragged this all round the
course, which accounted for her being " kinder sluggish," as the coxswain had said she was. The niggers,
having got the cup, disappeared very suddenly and
were no more seen, though the Commodore's coxswain
was inquiring after them.
The Skipper painting the Ruby's stern windows. 224
In January 1880 we were ordered on a round of
visits, including Belize, in British Honduras, and
Cuba. I embarked on this occasion General Gamble,
his wife, and staff, who were on a tour of inspection ;
also Bishop Tozer, an old friend of East African memory, and his chaplain : so my cabins were pretty full.
Amongst the bishop's luggage was a long box, which
I took for a fishing-rod box. I was not aware that
his lordship was a sportsman, and he rose considerably in my estimation. I said I was so glad he had
brought his tackle, as I heard there were some good
fish in the river at Belize. The bishop replied quite
meekly, " That's not my salmon-rod, my dear captain;
it's my pastoral staff!"
We made a quick run to Belize, where I landed
my passengers and remained some weeks. The
anchorage abounds with sharks of a most voracious
and bloodthirsty description. We used to fish for
them with a piece of pork in which was placed a
disc of gun-cotton connected by wire with the ship.
As soon as the shark pouched the tempting morsel
we pressed the button and blew off his head. I had
on board a beautiful Irish setter named Paddy, which HAVANA.
was turned into a pointer in the West Indies on
account of the heat. One day when Paddy and
I were at a garden party at the Governor's, one of
the guests observed to me, " That's a handsome dog,
captain, but he is not thoroughbred!" "How's
that?" said I. "He hasn't enough hair on his
belly !" " Well, sir," said I, " if my coxswain had
been clipping you all the morning, I don't think you
would look thoroughbred !" and he didn't.
From Belize we went to Havana, and arrived
there in the nick of time; for our consul-general,
Mr Crowe, had just been the victim of an outrage
which very nearly terminated his existence. The
Spanish authorities thought very naturally that we
had come in consequence of this affair, and were
profuse in their apologies,—the captain-general, on
whom I waited, even offering to hang; or shoot
twenty or thirty ruffians he had in jail, but who
had nothing whatever to do with this particular
case. Mr Crowe, who had acted throughout with
great pluck, and who was the object oi much sympathy, especially from the ladies, declined this handsome offer, and the real perpetrators escaped
After visiting Matanzas and other places of interest in Cuba, we returned to Jamaica. During our
stay at this place I heard a curious story, told by
a man named Curry, of some hidden treasure which
he claimed to have discovered in a cave in the island
of Santa Catalina, off the Mosquito Coast Like most
stories of this description, it was on the face of it
highly improbable; but many people believed in it,
and Curry made a very good living by offering to
share his gains, for which he received substantial
assistance   in   advance.     Curiously  enough,   I  had Ill Pi
already heard of this matter whilst crossing the
Isthmus of Panama on my way home in 1879. At
that time Mr Malet, our consul, said he had seen
Curry, who showed him some old Spanish coins dated
1625, which he said he had discovered in the cave
afore mentioned, and that having filled his pockets,
he was driven off by the natives, but not before he
had opened some jars and boxes containing doubloons, golden crucifixes, and precious stones, &c.
Mr Malet said that however improbable the story
was, he could not but believe there was some truth in
it. I had quite forgotten the matter until the reappearance of Curry revived my interest, so I interviewed him. He swore steadily to the story, and
even offered to go with me in the Druid and show
me the place, notwithstanding that I told him I
should certainly hang him if his story proved to
be false. It was well known that Morgan, the
celebrated buccaneer, had amassed enormous wealth
in those seas, notably at the sacking of Panama,
when he and his men brought over to Chagres 175
mule-loads of plunder. Several of Morgan's gang
were subsequently hanged at Port Eoyal, Jamaica,
and Captain Kidd is said to have offered his weight
in gold on condition that his life should be spared.
The offer was declined, and the secret died with him.
In consequence of this information, and being anxious
to test the truth of the story, I asked the commodore
to let me visit the island in the Druid, but was flatly
refused—the terms pirate, filibuster, and buccaneer
being freely applied to my name ; and to prevent my
surreptitiously visiting the spot on my next cruise,
the Commodore forbade me to go to the westward of
a certain latitude, and I went to Carthagena instead.   CAPTAIN  OVERBOARD !
During this cruise5 which was rather a monotonous
one, being desirous of giving my crew a little diversion and test their smartness, I jumped overboard
one evening and was very promptly picked up0 The
entry in the ship's log ran thus: "H.M.S. Druid.
Carthagena to Jamaica, Sunday, March 25, 1880.
Lat. 13° 38' N., long. 77° 5V W., 5.15 p.m. Captain
fell overboard. Up mainsail, squared main-yard, let
go life - buoy, lowered cutter, picked captain up.
Filled and proceeded/' It was a pretty evolution,
smartly done. Some years afterwards I happened
to be in the Naval Exhibition looking around, when
my eye caught a very sensational picture of a man
overboard at sea, with the extract above reproduced,
winding up with the remark that the man was picked
up in two minutes, and that the boat was fitted " with
Messrs Hill & Clarke's boat-lowering apparatus." It
was just an advertisement Seeing that I was interested in the picture, the gentleman presiding over
the department came up and assured me that it was
true. Whereupon I said that I was the man, so he
gave me the picture; but as this was an exaggeration, I have done another which more truly describes
the scene.
That same evening we caught a big shark, a very
hungry old lady with twelve little sharks inside her.
As some sceptics may doubt this, seeing sharks generally lay eggs, I may explain that this one belonged
to the ovo-viviparous species, which produce their
young alive.
To go back to the story of Curry and the treasure.
In the year 1882 the Commodore at Jamaica was
invalided, and I became acting Commodore pro tern.;
and on  being  superseded by the new Commodore 228 BRITISH  HONDURAS   AND   HAYTI.
from England, I induced him to let me go to Cata-
lina. Curry offered to accompany me, but failed
at the last moment, as I felt sure he would. However, we went without him, and after three days'
pleasant sailing we sighted the island of Old Providence, and anchored off Santa Catalina, where we
heard the true story of Curry and his ill-gotten
sains.    It seems he had been servant to some old
curio-hunter, who had collected a lot of coins and
precious stones, and at this man's death — it was
currently reported he had been murdered by Curry
—the rascal stole all his property and invented
this plausible tale. The natives of the island were
greatly interested in Curry's yarn, and in consequence searched the island all over, and one of them
actually found a jar full of doubloons at the bottom
of a well. The amount must have been considerable,
as he was able to build a house and buy a schooner
with the proceeds. I have no doubt there is plenty
more buried amidst the ruins of the old fort, which
had at one time been the stronghold of the buccaneers. A remarkable rock, called Morgan's Head,
stands immediately abreast of the anchorage of Santa
After a few days spent here we left for the Bay
Islands, touching at Swan Island en route. This
place is so insignificant as to be scarcely visible on
an ordinary chart, and we were surprised to find
inhabitants living on it—three Americans collecting
guano, who, having had no news from the outer
world, were delighted to see us. We supplied them
with tea, sugar, tobacco, flour, and the latest papers,,
and had a capital day's shooting, bagging over four
hundred   bald - pated   pigeons,  and  obtained  some BRITISH  HONDURAS.
turtles. From thence we visited the Bay Islands,
and anchored off Bonacca. There are three islands
in the group-—Bonacca, Euatan, and Utilla—which
at one time belonged to Great Britain, but, in an
evil day for them, were ceded to Honduras, since
when the poor inhabitants have been brutally misused. They still claim to be British subjects and
speak English. The poor things complained bitterly
of their treatment by the Honduranian Government,
and welcomed our arrival, but we were powerless to
help them, However, we were able to be ot some
use, and I remained over Sunday at their particular
request. On that day the ship was thronged, and
after divine service we had no less than seven weddings and twenty-four christenings on board, so
anxious were they to have the ceremony performed
under the British flag. With universal lamentations
we bade adieu to these lovely islands and the simple
inhabitants. In conversation with Mr Barlee, the
Governor of British Honduras, he said to me, | In
no part of her Majesty's dominions are British subjects so shamefully ill-treated as are the Bay Islanders;
but they have no one to help them, and even the
captains of H.M. ships are told not to listen to their
During one of our annual visits to the West
Indies, I was ordered to Hayti to show the British
flag, interview the consul, and report generally on
the condition of the island. My report, which is far
too long to reproduce here, covered the agricultural,
financial, political, and social state of the island as
I found it. I received the thanks of the Foreign
Office for it, with a notification that they did not
recommend its being published,—which I can well 230
. understand, seeing that it was a complete expose
of the iniquitous practices carried on under the cloak
of religion by the name of " Vaudouism " or serpent-
worship, and corroborating in every detail the reports
of Sir Spencer St John and Mr Stewart, two of EM.
ministers who had been successively accredited to the
republic. It would be useless, and indeed nauseous,
to recapitulate the horrors in the form of cannibalism, secret poisoning, child-slaying, and other disgusting customs which undoubtedly existed at that
time, and, for all 1 know, do still, in that black
When first apprised of its existence, I could scarcely
believe such things possible in the nineteenth century
in a country professing to be civilised, but I soon
found out that there was no exaggeration, and that
things were, if possible, worse than what had been told
to me. I obtained my information from undoubted
sources—from those long resident in the island, both
black and white—and there seems no doubt that the
horrible customs of the black savages of the West
African coast have been handed down to their descendants, the present population of Hayti, and that
their civilisation is merely a veneer, and their religion, ostensibly Eoman Catholic, a fraud. During
the • French occupation they appear to have been
debarred from practising their orgies; but since the
French evacuated the island, some one hundred years
ago, they have indulged in them. Priests belonging
to the order of vaudoux are to be found in every
village, and temples for the practice of their diabolical rites and ceremonies are scattered over the
eountry. At these places at regular times, corresponding with our Christmas, Easter, and Whitsun- VAUDOUISM.
tide, the most disgusting orgies and sacrifices take
Passing over details, I may mention that a clergyman of the Church of England residing in the island
told me that Vaudouism interfered greatly with his
work. He substantiated the horrible atrocities perpetrated all over the country, and said that a woman
offered human flesh at his door, and that his wife was
nearly buying it, believing it to be pork. It seems
scandalous that such a beautiful island should be
defiled by such wretches as these. Better had it
been if Columbus had left the simple, harmless race
who at that time inhabited the island, instead of
brutally ill-using them and substituting such barbarians. Philanthropists may claim that the black
man is intellectually equal to the white and capable
of self-government. It is an insult to one's intelligence to suppose so..
Before leaving the station I paid another visit to
Hayti, and had the satisfaction of obtaining redress
for some outrages perpetrated on foreigners by the
Haytian authorities.
On my return from a cruise round Jamaica, I
found that alarming telegrams had come from our
consul-general at Port-au-Prince, urgently requiring
the presence of a man-of-war. Our Commodore,
having only lately taken office, was new to the
extraordinary proceedings of these folk, and seemed
inclined to make light of the matter, so I asked him
to send me without delay, which he did, and in a
couple of hours we were steaming out of harbour.
Our first visit was to Miragoane, a small port on
the west coast of Hayti, where Mr Ahrendt, a German
subject, but vice-consul for Great Britain, had been 232 BRITISH  HONDURAS  AND  HAYTI.
insulted and imprisoned, and a Mr Hadleigh, an
American citizen, had been treated in the same way.
Mr Bain, a Scotchman in business in Port-au-Prince,
was also in prison awaiting his trial on frivolous
charges. It was certainly time we came. Having
released these gentlemen and embarked them, we
proceeded to Port-au-Prince, to communicate with Mr
Hunt, our energetic consul-general. Having saluted
the Haytian flag with twenty-one guns, I went
ashore and found a lively state of affairs. A French
gentleman had been illegally imprisoned; two Englishmen, friends of the consul, were unable to leave
house for fear of being seized and thrown into
prison for no offence whatever. The consulate was
shadowed by hired ruffians, ladies and gentlemen
were insulted in the streets, and British subjects
imprisoned without cause. In fact, the Haytian
authorities seemed to be most impartial in their
favours. Mr Hunt said he could obtain no redress
or satisfaction of any kind, his protestations being
treated with contempt. He therefore placed the
matter in my hands. There was no time to be lost:
one gentleman had been in prison for three weeks,
and three weeks in a filthy Haytian jail with bad
food and thermometer at 120° is no joke. I at once
wrote to the President, a full-blooded negro named
Salamon, demanding the immediate release of this
gentleman, and that he and the others who had been
unlawfully imprisoned should be awarded 100 dollars
(£20) a-day as compensation for the period of their
incarceration, and an apology be offered for the
insult to their persons, also that the officials who
committed these outrages should be dismissed from
their posts.    The communication produced evasive PRESIDENT  SALAMON.
replies, couched in very polite language, for the
Haytians are a most polite nation, whatever may be
said of their habits. As the object was clearly to
gain time, the Druid was moored within convenient
range of the principal fort, and preparations made
to cut out a Haytian man-of-war lying in the harbour. Fortunately these persuasive measures succeeded ; the authorities agreed to the terms, and the
matter ended.
Before leaving the port I landed to pay my respects to the President, who was really a fine old
fellow, and hardly responsible for the high-handed
acts of his subordinates. He received me with every
honour, guard, and band; but it was difficult to
keep one's countenance when his Excellency was
announced, supported on either side by a gorgeous
A.D.C., one dressed in scarlet, the other in green,
like the bow-lights of a steamer looming through
a fog, with the President's huge figure between them.
I expressed to his Excellency my satisfaction at the
peaceful termination of our correspondence, and so
we parted.
The foreign consuls and charge-a" affaires came to
wish us good-bye, and were very grateful for our
visit. Having seen the cash paid at the British
consulate, we sailed for Jamaica, and soon afterwards
returned to England to pay off.
It was a source of great gratification to me to
receive on my return home, not only their Lordships'
approval, but a very handsome acknowledgment
from the Foreign Office, for all our proceedings in
Newfoundland, and also in Hayti. ill
After a spell of over thirty years' constant employment at sea on p.jgg]mm p?T"fl:''bil1et ashore^, and such
was offered me in the command of H.M.S. Lord
Warden, coastguard ship stationed at Queensferry in
the Firth of Forth. This was in every way a most
charming appointment, entailing plenty of work inspecting the coastguard stations and the drill-ships of
the naval reserve around the coast of Scotland, from
Berwick-on-Tweed round the north coast to Ullapool
on the west, and including the Orkney and the Shetland Isles. Besides the coastguardsmen, I had some
5000 naval reserve men under my orders. These
were mostly fishermen from the Orkneys and Shet-
lands, Aberdeen, Wick, and Inverness, and also a
fair proportion of whalers from Dundee and Peterhead, and other ocean-going seamen. They were,
taking them all round, a fine body of men, most
zealous at their drills, and I doubt not would prove
an efficient auxiliary in time of war, when accustomed
to the discipline of a man-of-war. At that time,
1882-84, they were drilled with the same class of
guns as were used at the battle of Trafalgar! the
modern form of ordnance being considered too expen- TGNORANCE ABOUT THE NAVY.
sive and too complicated for their understanding. It
is difficult to imagine of what use the old drill could
have been to them, but for that I was not responsible.
In the Shetlands alone we turned out 1800 strapping
fellows, and it occurred to me that here would be a
fine stock from which to recruit our navy. Never
was a greater mistake. In reply to my suggestion, I
was ordered to the Shetlands to obtain recruits for
the navy. No sooner had the Lord Warden anchored
at Lerwick than the natives fled to the mountains,
fearing the pressgang. In vain I held a meeting at
the town hall, and pointed out the advantages of the
navy; not a single recruit did I get The fishermen
explained afterwards that it was more to their advantage to keep their boys to help with the fishing than to hire others in lieu. Much disgusted,
I returned to the Forth, and never repeated the
To my mind the ignorance of all that concerns the
navy was one o± the most remarkable traits in our
people. It is easy to understand that the natives oi
our midland counties, who have never seen the sea
nor any craft larger than a barge, should not be able
to appreciate the -necessity of the navy for this empire ; but this ignorance or indifference was not confined to the lower classes, and I have been asked
before now, Of what use is the navy? Are we not
afraid of pirates ? and suchlike, by people who ought
to know better. On one occasion an old lady at
Inverness station took me for the railway guard, not
knowing the naval uniform, and asked me to find her
a carriage, which I did- In refusing the customary
tip, I told her confidentially that I wTas not the guard,
but that he wTas a cousin of mine, at which she seemed 236 THE  LORD   WARDEN.
much pleased. At another place in Scotland I was
taken for a Salvation Army captain : I explained that
my lecture would come off at 4 p.m., by which time I
took care to be in the train. But these amusing incidents were quite eclipsed some years later at Calcutta, where on the occasion of my wife's "At Home"
one old lady apologised for being late because the
boatman had taken her on board a " dirty little river-
steamer," pointing to the Marathon, one of my smartest cruisers; whilst another remarked to Captain
Giffard, my flag - captain, " she so loved to see the
dear sailors lying drunk about the streets, it reminded
her of home !" a compliment that was hardly appreciated by him, seeing that our men were remarkably
well behaved.
But this state of affairs has happily now changed,
and during the last ten years—dating, in fact, from
the Naval Exhibition—the interest in the navy has
increased to a remarkable extent, so much so that
we have now no reason to complain of neglect. This
satisfactory result has been attained mainly by a
few eminent naval officers who have so earnestly
and eloquently appealed to the public, placing before
them the absolute necessity for a powerful navy,
and how the existence of our empire depended on
it. In this direction they have been nobly supported
by the press, irrespective of party. The result is
that at the present time we possess a navy which
in strength and efficiency has had no parallel in
the history of the nation.
A word also about the coastguard. Until I had
anything to do with them I had no idea what a
fine body of men they were, many in the prime of
life,—not  the decrepit old shell-backs which  some THE  COASTGUARD.
suppose them to be, whose duty would appear to
be looking after nursery-maids and perambulators
on Southsea beach. The days of smuggling are
probably past, but when the storm ariseth and
men are in peril on the sea, then the coastguards-
men are in their glory, helping to man the lifeboat or hasten to the wreck with the rocket
apparatus. This is especially the case on the
stormy coasts of Scotland, where the coastguard
stations are not so well manned as on the south
coast of England, and the work is harder. I had
occasion, when returning thanks for the navy at
the annual banquet of the Scottish Academy in
Edinburgh, to give effect to these sentiments, which
I am pleased to say were very well received by a
sympathetic audience.
In going my rounds of the coastguard stations in
Scotland, I had occasion to visit a place called Tongue,
in Sutherlandshire, which had not been inspected for
three years. It was an out-of-the-way place, the nearest station to it being some forty miles off, and there
was only a solitary coastguardman there. I thought
it was about time he was looked up, so I went round
that way, and found him living in a neat cottage with
his wife and family. Having inspected him, I returned to my hotel, and the next morning started in
a close carriage for Lairg, a forty-seven-mile drive.
It was pitch dark, and the ground was covered with
snow, it being the depth of winter. Just as I was
leaving the hotel the man appeared at the window.
I What is it ?" I said. 1 Please, sir, it's twins ! Boy
and girl, sir—Mrs Taylor, sir—sudden shock of your
visit, so unexpected like. Mother and children doing
well, sir "    It is an interesting fact that the dis- 238 THE  LORD  WARDEN.
trict captain's visit should have had such a magical
During this round of inspection I was accompanied
by the divisional officer, who asked my permission
to bring his dog, a retriever, with him. The poor
animal was in very low condition, and I remarked,
" What a mean-looking dog!" He said he had paid £10
for him to a keeper, so I wrote out a bogus certificate
to certify that the dog had been examined by a vet.,
and stating that he was suffering from every complaint which dogs are liable to, and concluding that
he had evidently been scandalously treated, and was
not worth the money paid for him. This certificate
was forwarded to the keeper, who, after abusing the
vet., practically admitted the charge, and remitted
£6 out of the £10 originally paid for the animal.
One of Lord Moray's keepers, an old fellow named
Anderson, was a special favourite of mine, and I used
to give him a roll of ship's tobacco now and then.
This tobacco is made up in a curious way, being
tightly bound round with canvas and laid over with
tarred rope. On meeting Anderson some time afterwards I asked him how he liked the baccy. " Weel
captain," said he, "the tobacco is verra fine, but it's
a pity it is so much adulterated ! " " Why," I said,
" it's pure Virginia!" I found he had cut up and
smoked it, canvas, tarred rope, and all!
We had on board the Lord Warden two boatswains,
one for deck duty, the other the bo's'n of the ship:
they lived together in a mess by themselves. One
day Mr S., the supernumerary bo's'n, reported his
messmate, Mr B., for having used violent and threatening language to him. I investigated the case,
when the following evidence was adduced:— MR  B.   ON   HIS  DEFENCE.
Mr S. (a little man with a squeaky voice). " Please,
sir, I went into my mess, when Mr B. abused me in
the most shocking manner, using language which wTas
certainly not parliamentary! and threatened to kick
me out of the mess."
"Well, Mr B., what have you got to say to the
charge ?"
Mr B. (a big burly fellow). " No, sir; I spoke to
Mr S. firmly but kindly !"
I thereupon turned to the complainant and asked
him if he could repeat the language, which he did,
but it was of so foul and disgusting a nature as to be
unfit for publication. I thereupon informed Mr B.
that if he did not apologise in writing I should try
him by court-martial. Having thus expressed myself,
I rushed to my cabin and rolled on the sofa with
laughter. The apology was at once made, and the
two boatswains remained fast friends to the end of
the commission.
One advantage in a home billet is that the captain
as well as the crew gets a bit of leave once a-year.
When it came to my turn I sent in my application
in the usual way. On one column of the form the
applicant has to say how much leave he has had and
when was the last occasion. I filled this in, " Have
never had a day's leave on full pay since I have been
in the service 1" Considering that this represented
over thirty years, I think it a fair record.
In due course the Lord Warden was inspected by
Admiral Sir A. Hoskins, the Superintendent of Naval
Eeserves. We were supplied with a patent fire-
extinguisher of the red pillar-post pattern, so to
test this apparatus I prepared a spare cabin, filled
it with oakum soaked in parafin, and set fire to it* mm
We gave it five minutes' start and then opened
the door and turned on the jet, when the fire was
immediately extinguished. Subsequently Sir Anthony hoisted his flag in the Lord Warden, and we
had a pleasant cruise to Norway, Heligoland, and
along the Scottish coast; but the squadron was a
scratch pack, hardly any two ships alike, and none
of them worth much, with their thin armour, slow
speed, and obsolete armament. As for the Lord
Warden herself, she was so rotten we could dig dry
wTood out of her with a pickaxe, and fungus grew
between the beams. However, she answered my
purpose very well in peace-time, her accommodation
being excellent; but when there appeared a prospect
of war with Eussia in 1884, I felt compelled to inform their Lordships that the ship I had the honour
to command could neither fight nor run away. The
result of this letter was my transference to the Ajax,
a new ironclad of a novel design.
The exploits of this eccentric craft would fill a
volume and be scarcely credited. On leaving Sheer-
ness for the first time on a trial trip with Admiral
Sir John Corbett, the Commander-in-Chief, and a
party of ladies on board, she took charge, and very
nearly ran down an Indiaman crowded with troops.
She next parted her cable in a dead calm in Dover
Eoads through sheering about with the tide and bringing the cable across the ram ; and the next day, going
down Channel at full speed, she carried her helm
three turns a-starboard for six hours, when without
warning she, as sailors say, "broke her sheer" and
came round on a pivot, scattering the merchant
vessels in all directions, till we got her straightened
up again, when she carried her helm hard-a-port all SHOOTING CARIBOU.
the rest of the way to Portsmouth. In fact there
was no knowing what tricks the old girl was up to.
The reason of this extraordinary performance was
due to the fact that she was shaped like a spoon,
being too broad for her length and flat-bottomed;
and having a coarse run, she carried a huge body of
water in her wake, in which the rudder was useless.
After nearly ramming the Agincourt she was paid off
as too dangerous to manoeuvre with a fleet.
I took this opportunity, being unemployed, to
take a trip to Newfoundland to shoot caribou with
the late Sir A. Fowler. During this expedition we
had many adventures, being half-starved for several
days owing to our having got separated from our
boats with the stores. We were reduced to a small
piece of pork, as salt as Lot's wife, and a few biscuits,
which were so hard that we had to soak them in
water and break them with a stone. Fortunately we
met with two caribou and killed them both, so when
our men overtook us we had abundance of meat.
We also captured a beaver, and ate his tail, which
is considered a great delicacy; but, taken on an
empty stomach, it made me sick.
On this trip we struck in at Hall's Bay and crossed
the island from east to west, coming out at the Bay
of Islands, where we were hospitably entertained by
the Eev. Mr Curling, who lived there for many years,
devoting his time and much of his fortune to the
poor settlers, by whom he was universally beloved.
A day or two before we reached the west coast we
were camped on the shores of Grand Pond when
our hut caught fire in the middle of the night, and
we were just able to save ourselves and our effects
when the roof fell in. ! fill nil
The best route to reach the barrens for hunting
caribou is by either Hall's Bay or the Bay of Islands.
In either case deer may be met with in forty-eight
hours. On one of these expeditions I was accompanied by the late Sir Eose Price, a capital sportsman. Soon after we started it was evident that
we had not sufficient men to pole our boats up
stream, and it was necessary to procure another
"hand"; but where to get one was the trouble.
To return was out of the question. Whilst crossing
a lake and thinking the matter over, I happened
to hear the sound of an axe in the wood; so proceeding to the spot, I landed, and came across a
lumberer's camp with one man, a splendid young
fellow, at work, when the following conversation
took place: I Good morning, my lad; what's your
name ?" " Smith, sir." " What! John Smith ? "
" No, sir; William Smith." " Why, the very man
I am looking for: you've got to come along with
me."    " Me, sir ?—I am working for Mr ."    " Oh,
that's all right; don't you make any mistake about
it, so come along at once;" and come he did, and
he proved the best man of the party, so cheery and
willing, and as strong as a horse. Ten days later
we were on our way back, and Smith had to be
returned to his rightful owner. I had killed a big
stag that morning, and brought down his haunches
as a peace-offering for Smith's master. We reached
his camp after dark, and I led the way, followed
by Bill bearing the haunches of venison. The lumberers were having tea, so I joined them and wished
the "boss" good evening. I fancied his reception
was not cordial: however, I took no notice, and
smoked a pipe and had a pannikin of tea, when I BILL  SMITH.
rose to go, and left the venison. Then it all came
out. The " boss" followed me, and accused me of
taking away his best man, and said he had had
to hire a horse to do his work. Expressing my
regret and astonishment, I explained that the whole
affair was a complete misunderstanding. However, I paid the poor fellow for his horse, and we
parted good friends, though to this day I expect he
is at a loss to know exactly where the "misunderstanding " arose. The only thing clear about it was,
that our expedition would have been a failure but
for the help of Bill Smith. I
RUBY,   1887-1889.
Soon after my return to England I was appointed
to the Euby, senior officer on the south-east coast
of South America,—an independent command, and
about the best billet for a captain in her Majesty's
service. The south-east coast of the South American
station extends, roughly, from the equator to Cape
Horn, including the Falkland Islands, thus embracing some 55° of latitude. It used to be a rear-
admiral's command, and the senior officer1 really
does the duty of an admiral, and the French and
American squadrons in those waters are both admiral's commands. It is a delightful station, and
with such a range of latitude one can always secure
a good climate, and avoid the hot season on the coast
of Brazil.
The climate of Monte Video and Buenos Ayres
is superb, and from that latitude to Cape Horn
is healthy and bracing, though somewhat boisterous
and cold to the southward of 40° south. The headquarters of the station are at Monte Video; but as
the senior officer is free to go where he pleases, the
ships of the squadron are generally dispersed either
1 He is now made a commodore. THE  RECIFE  AT  PERNAMBUCO.
up the river or at Eio Janeiro or the Falklands,
taking turn at each place. The Eiver Plate has
always been a favourite station with naval officers,
principally on account of sport, which is first rate,
especially in the neighbourhood of Buenos Ayres
and up the Parana river, and from thence down
the coast of Patagonia to the Falkland Isles. The
northern portion, including Brazil, is rather too hot
for that amusement; but on all parts of the station
there are British interests to protect, and work to
do in view of the revolutions which are so common
in South America, though happily not so frequent
as they used to be. The drawback to the station
is the lack of good harbours. True that Eio Janeiro
is the finest in the world, and Bahia is a good one;
but from that southwards they are few and far between till the Falkland Islands are reached, where
there are excellent harbours, sufficient for the navies
of the world. On the whole coast of Patagonia there
is but one really good harbour. Monte Video is an
open roadstead, exposed to pamperos, and Buenos
Ayres is so shallow that ships have to lie a long
way out.
One of the most interesting places on the coast of
Brazil is Pernambuco, on account of the Eecife, or
inner harbour, which is formed by a remarkable reef
running parallel to the coast, with a depth of 10 to
30 feet inside. The Euby, drawing 20 feet, moored
head-and-stern with hawsers to the reef. The
general belief is that this natural breakwater has
been formed by the coral zoophyte ; but this is
erroneous, as it is composed of sandstone consolidated
by minute marine animals, without whose assistance
the sandstone would have long ago been worn away 246
RUBY,  1887-1889.
by the action of the sea. These animalculse, having
served their purpose, have perished, and their shells
form a concrete against which the waves have beaten
for centuries in vain. To this cause Pernambuco is
indebted for its prosperity, for without this reef it
would have no port at all.
A short distance to the northward of Pernambuco
is the island of Fernando do Noronha, which we
ido do Noronha.
visited, and where we spent a few days. It is used
as a penal settlement by Brazil, and a better place
could not be selected. There is not a tree upon it,
so the convicts cannot build boats to escape. Some
two thousand of them, mostly murderers, were living
there, and perfect order was maintained. A remarkable peak, 1000 feet high, is a good landmark for
making the island.
A more interesting place is Trinidad Island in the TRINIDAD  IN  THE  SOUTH  ATLANTIC.
South Atlantic—not to be confounded with the fine
island of the same name in the West Indies. Trinidad is about equidistant from Eio Janeiro and Bahia.
It was first brought into notice by Mr Knight in his
interesting ' Cruise of the Falcon,' and it has subsequently been the cause of some correspondence with
the Brazilian Government, who up to that time had
Ruby leaving Fernando do Noronha.
attached no importance to it. Being desirous of
visiting the place after reading Knight's graphic
account, I hove-to off the island on the passage
home, there being no good anchorage, and landed
there; but not till we had been nearly capsized in
the surf, and had to jump overboard to get ashore.
-The island is of volcanic formation, with lofty and 111!
RUBY,   1887-1889.
inaccessible crags and frowning precipices : it is surrounded by reefs on which a heavy surf constantly
beats. We found the shore covered with rank grass
and pieces of timber, washed down from the mountain-tops by torrents in the rainy season; also a
small stream of: excellent water,-thereby disproving
the official statement that, there is no .water-on-the
island.    Thousands of disgusting-looking;  land-crabs
Trinidad—general viert
disputed our approach, staring at us with their protruding eyes. They were of all colours—red, yellow,
blue, and black ; their average size was about that of
a coffee-cup, with legs the diameter of a saucer. We
saw no other living creature, except sea-birds, which
flew round us in thousands with loud screams. . Having er