Of Crustacea, the Prawns and the smaller kinds of Crabs may be admitted to the aquarium, though but sparingly. They are rude, noisy, quarrelsome, and somewhat destructive,—but, for the same reason, amusing tenants of the tank.
All are familiar with the mode in which the Soldier or Hermit Crab takes possession of and lives in the shells of Whelks and Snails. Poorly protected behind by Nature, the homeless crab wanders about seeking a lodging. Presently he meets with an empty shell, and, after probing it carefully with his claw to be sure it is not tenanted, he pops into it back foremost in a twinkling, and settles himself in his new house. Often, too, he may be seen balancing the conveniences of the one he is in and of another vacant lodging he has found in his travels; and he even ventures out of his own, and into the other, and back again, before being satisfied as to their respective merits. In all these manoeuvres, as well as in his daily battles with his brethren, he is one of the drollest of creatures.
As we advance in our practice with the aquarium we may venture to introduce more delicate lodgers. Such are the beautiful family of the Annelidae: the Serpula, in his dirty house; and the Terebella, most ancient of masons, who lays the walls of his home in water-proof cement.
The great class of Zooephytes can be introduced, but many varieties of them will be found already within the aquarium, in the company of their more bulky neighbors. These peculiar creatures, or things, form the boundary where the last gleam of animal life is so feeble and flickering as to render it doubtful whether they belong to the animal or vegetable kingdom. Agassiz calls them Protozoa,—Primary Existences. Some divide them into two great classes, namely: the Anthozoa, or Flower-Life; and the Polyzoa, or Many-Life, in which the individuals are associated in numbers. They are mostly inhabitants of the water; all are destitute of joints, nerves, lungs, and proper blood-vessels; but they all possess an irritable system, in obedience to which they expand or contract at will. Among the Anthozoa are the Anemones; among the Polyzoa, are the Madrepores, or Coral-Builders, and many others. Many are microscopic, and belong to the class of animalcules called Infusoria.
A very remarkable quality which the Infusoria possess—one very useful for the aquarium, and one which would seem to settle their place in the vegetable kingdom—is that they exhale oxygen like plants. This has been proved by Liebig, who collected several jars of oxygen from tanks containing Infusoria only.
A piece of honeycomb coral (Eschara foliacea) is easily found, and, when well selected and placed in the aquarium, may continue to grow there by the labors of its living infusorial tenants: they are not unworthy rivals of the Madrepores, or deep-sea coral-builders of warmer latitudes. The walls of its cells are not more than one-thirtieth of an inch in thickness, and each cell has its occupant. So closely are they packed, that in an area of one-eighth of an inch square the orifices of forty-five cells can be counted. As these are all double, this would give five thousand seven hundred and sixty cells to the square inch. Now a moderate-sized specimen will afford, with all its convolutions, at least one hundred square inches of wall, which would contain a population of five hundred and seventy-six thousand inhabitants,—a very large city. So says Mr. Gosse. We cannot forbear, with him, from quoting Montgomery's lines on the labors of the coral-worms, which modern science has enabled us to study in our parlors.
"Millions on millions thus, from age to age, With simplest skill, and toil unweariable, No moment and no movement unimproved, Laid line on line, on terrace terrace spread, To swell the heightening, brightening, gradual mound, By marvellous structure climbing towards the day. Each wrought alone, yet all together wrought, Unconscious, not unworthy instruments, By which a hand invisible was rearing A new creation in the secret deep. .....I saw the living pile ascend, The mausoleum of its architects, Still dying upwards as their labors closed; Slime the material, but the slime was turned To adamant by their petrific touch: Frail were their frames, ephemeral their lives, Their masonry imperishable."
The deep-sea soundings taken recently for the Atlantic telegraph have demonstrated the existence of organic life even at the bottom of the ocean. Numerous living Infusoria have been brought to the light of day, from their hidden recesses, by the lead. "Deeper than ever plummet sounded" before these latter days, there exist myriads of minute creatures, and of Algae to furnish their food. It is an unanswered problem, How they can resist the enormous pressure to which they must be there subjected, amounting, not infrequently, to several tons to the square inch. And still another point of interest for us springs from this. It is an inquiry of practical importance to the aquarian naturalist, How far the diminished pressure which they meet with in the tank, on being transferred from their lower homes to the aquarium, may influence their viability. May not some of the numerous deaths in the marine tank be reasonably attributed to this lack of pressure?
What a difference, too, has Nature established, in the natural power to resist pressure, between those creatures which float near the surface and those which haunt the deeper sea! The Jelly-fish can live only near the top of the water, and, floating softly through a gentle medium, is yet crushed by a touch; while the Coral-builder bears the superincumbent weight of worlds on his vaulted cell with perfect impunity.
Another important question is, How far alteration in the amount of light may affect the more delicate creatures. What fishes do without light has been solved by the darkness of the Mammoth Cave, the tenants of whose black pools are eyeless, evidently because there is nothing to see. The more deeply located Infusoria and Mollusks must dwell in an endless twilight; for Humboldt has found, by experiment, that at a depth one hundred and ninety-two feet from the surface the amount of sunlight which can penetrate is equal only to one-half of the light of an ordinary candle one foot distant.
Thus ever in gloom, yet in a state of constant safety from storms and the agitations of the upper air, the thousand forms of low organic life and cryptogamic vegetation live and thrive in peace and quietness.
"The floor is of sand like the mountain drift, And the pearl-shells spangle the flinty snow; From the coral rocks the sea-plants lift Their boughs, where the tides and billows flow.
* * * * *
"And life in rare and beautiful forms Is sporting amid those bowers of stone, And is safe, when the wrathful spirit of storms Has made the top of the waves his own."[C]
[Footnote C: Percival.]
Upon the bottom, at various depths, lies that brilliant Radiate—type of his class—the Star-fish. These are quiet and harmless creatures, and favorites in the aquarium, from the pretty contrast they make with marine plants and other objects.
The perfect transparency, elegant form, and graceful navigation of the Medusae, or Jelly-fishes, render them much admired in their native haunts, and prized for the aquarium. But they are very delicate. How beautiful and remarkable are these headless Discophori, as they float, and propel themselves with involutions of their disks and gently trailing tentacles, and the central peduncle hanging far below, like the clapper of a transparent bell! And yet these wonders are but so much sea-water, inclosed in so slight a tissue that it withers in the sun, and leaves only a minute spot of dried-up gelatinous substance behind.
Finally come the Fishes, many of which are of similar genera to those recommended for the fresh-water tank. The Black Goby is familiar, tamable, but voracious; the Gray Mullet is very hardy, but also rather savage; the Wrasses are some of the most showy fish,—called in some parts of the country Cunners,—and of these, the Ancient Wrasse, (Labrus maculatus,) covered with a network of vermilion meshes on a brown and white ground, is the most elegant.
Some points of general management are so important, and some dangers so imminent, that we cannot pass them by unnoticed. The aquarian enthusiast is very apt to be in too great haste to see everything going on, and commits the common error of trying too many things at once. The aquarium must be built up slowly and tentatively, object by object: plants first, and of the simplest kinds; and not until they are well settled, and the water beaded with oxygen bubbles, should we think of introducing living creatures,—and even then only the hardier kinds of actinias, mollusks, and crabs. All delicate animals must be intrusted one by one to their new home, and carefully watched for deaths and decay, which, whether arising from dead plants or animals, ruin everything very quickly, unless they be promptly removed. For sulphuretted hydrogen, even in very minute quantities, is sure death to all these little creatures.
The emanations from paint and putty are often fatal in new tanks. Several weeks' exposure to water, air, and sunlight is necessary to season the new-made aquarium. Of equal consequence is it that the water be absolutely pure; and if brought from the sea, care must be exercised about the vessel containing it. Salt acts upon the glazing of earthen ware of some kinds. Stone or glass jars are safest. New oak casks are fatal from the tannin which soaks out; fir casks are safe and good. So delicate and sensitive are the minute creatures which people the sea, that they have been found dead on opening a cask in which a new oak bung was the only source of poison. And no wonder; for a very slight proportion of tannic acid in the water corrugates and stiffens the thin, smooth skin of the anemone, like the tanning of leather.
A certain natural density of the sea-water must also be preserved, ranging between no wider limits than 1026 and 1028. And in the open tank evaporation is constantly deranging this, and must be met by a supply from without. As the pure water alone evaporates, and the salts and earthy or mineral constituents are left behind, two things result: the water remaining becomes constantly more dense; and this can be remedied only by pure fresh water poured in to restore the equilibrium. Hence the marine aquarium must be replenished with fresh water, until the proper specific gravity, as indicated by the hydrometer, is restored.
The aquarium may be found some morning with a deep and permanent green stain discoloring the water. This unsightly appearance is owing to the simultaneous development of the spores of multitudes of minute Algae and Confervae, and can be obviated by passing the water through a charcoal filter. When any of the fishes give signs of sickness or suffocation, by coming to the surface and gulping air, they may be revived by having the water aerated by pouring it out repeatedly from a little elevation, or by a syringe. The fishes are sometimes distressed, also, when the room gets too warm for them. A temperature of 60 deg. is about what they require. And they will stand cold, many of them, even to being frozen with the water into ice, and afterwards revive.
The degree of light should be carefully regulated by a stained glass side, or a shade. Yet it must be borne in mind that sunlight is indispensable to the free evolution of oxygen by the plants. And when the sun is shining on the water, all its occupants appear more lively, and the fishes seem intoxicated—as they doubtless are—with oxygen.
A novice is apt to overstock his aquarium. Not more than two moderate-sized fishes to a gallon of water is a safe rule. Care, too, must be taken to group together those kinds of creatures which are not natural enemies, or natural food for each other, or a sad scene of devastation and murder will ensue.
Cleansing cannot be always intrusted to snails. But the sides may be scrubbed with a soft swab, made of cotton or wick-yarn. Deaths will occasionally take place; and even suicide is said to be resorted to by the wicked family of the Echinoderms.
To procure specimens for the aquarium requires some knack and knowledge. The sea-shore must be haunted, and even the deep sea explored. At the extreme low-water of new or full moon tides, the rocks and tide-pools are to be zealously hunted over by the aquarian naturalist. Several wide-mouthed vials and stone jars are necessary; and we would repeat, that no plant should be taken, unless its attachment is preserved. It is often a long and difficult job to get some of the Algae; with their tender connections unsevered from the hard rock, which must be chipped away with the chisel, and often with the blows of the hammer deadened by being struck under water. It is by lifting up the overhanging masses of slimy fuel, tangles, and sea-grass, that we find the delicate varieties, as the Chondrus with its metallic lustre, and the red Algae, or the stony Corallina, which delights in the obscurity of shaded pools.
The sea-weeds will be found studded with mollusks,—as Snails and Periwinkles of many queer varieties. Anemones, of the more common kinds, are found clinging to smooth stones. Crabs on the sand. Prawns, Shrimps, Medusae, and fishes of many species, in the little pools which the tide leaves behind, and which it will require a sharp eye and a quick hand to explore with success. But the rarer forms of Actinias, Star-fishes, Sepioles, Madrepores, Annelidae, and Zoophytes, of a thousand shapes, live on the bottom, in deep water, and must be captured there.
For this purpose we must dredge from a boat, under sail. The naturalist's dredge is an improved oyster-dredge, with each of the two long sides of the mouth made into a scraping lip of iron. The body is made of spun-yarn, or fishing-line, netted into a small mesh. Two long triangles are attached by a hinge to the two short sides of the frame, and meeting in front, at some distance from the mouth, are connected by a swivel-joint. To this the dragging rope is bent, which must be three times as long, in dredging, as the depth of the water. This is fastened to the stern of a boat under sail, and thus the bottom is raked of all sorts of objects; among which, on emptying the net, many living creatures for the aquarium are found. These may be placed temporarily in jars; though plants, mollusks, Crustacea and Actiniae may be kept and transmitted long distances packed in layers of moist sea-weed.
For all this detail, labor, and patient care, we may reasonably find two great objects: first, the cultivation and advancement of natural science; second, the purest delight and healthiest amusement.
In the aquarium we have a most convenient field for the study of Natural History: to learn the varieties, nature, names, habits, and peculiarities of those endless forms of animated existence which dwell in the hidden depths of the sea, and at the same time to improve our minds by cultivating our powers of observation.
The pleasure derived from the aquarium comes from the excitement of finding and collecting specimens, as well as from watching the tank itself. There can be no more pleasant accompaniment to the sea-side walk of the casual visitor or summer resident of a watering-place, than to search for marine plants and animals among the fissures, rocks, and tide-pools of the sea-washed beach or cape.
Nature is always as varied as beautiful. Thousands of strange forms sport under the shadow of the brown, waving sea-weeds, or among the delicate scarlet fronds of the dulse, which is found growing in the little ponds that the inequalities of the beach have retained. It is down among the great boulders which the Atlantic piles upon our coast, that we may find endless varieties of life to fill the aquarium, though not those more gorgeous hues which distinguish the tenants of the coral reefs on tropical shores. Yet even here Nature is absolutely infinite; and we shall find ourselves, day after day, imitating that botanist who, walking through the same path for a month, found always a new plant which had escaped his notice before. So, too, in exploring the open sea, besides the pleasure of sailing along a variegated coast, with sun and blue water, we have the constant excitement of unexpected discovery: for, as often as we pull up the dredge, some new wonder is revealed.
Words fail to describe the wonders of the sea. And all that we drag from the bottom, all that we admire in the aquarium, are but a few disconnected specimens of that infinite whole which makes up their home.
So, too, in watching the aquarium itself, we shall see endless repetitions of those "sea-changes" which Shakspeare sang. Ancient mythology typified the changing wonders of aquatic Nature, as well as the fickleness of the treacherous sea, in those shifting deities, Glaucus and Proteus, who tenanted the shore.
The one the fancy of Ovid metamorphosed from a restless man to a fickle sea-god; the other assumed so many deceptive shapes to those who visited his cave, that his memory has been preserved in the word Protean. Such fancies well apply to a part of Nature which shifts like the sands, and ranges from the hideous Cuttle-fish and ravenous Shark to the delicate Medusa, whose graceful form and trailing tentacles float among the waving fronds of colored Algae, like
"Sabrina fair, Under the glassy, cool, translucent wave, In twisted braids of lilies knitting The loose train of her amber-dropping hair."
* * * * *
THE YOUNG REPEALER.
About eighteen years ago, when I was confined to two rooms by illness of long standing, I received a remarkable note by post one day. The envelope, bearing the Dublin postmark, was addressed in a good, bold, manly handwriting; but the few lines within showed traces of agitation. What I am going to relate is a true story,—altogether true, so far as I can trust my memory,—except the name of the Young Repealer. I might give his real name without danger of hurting any person's feelings but one; but, for the sake of that one, who will thus be out of the reach of my narrative, I speak of him under another name. Having to choose a name, I will take a thoroughly Irish one, and call my correspondent Patrick Monahan.
The few lines which showed agitation in the handwriting were calm in language, but very strange. Patrick Monahan told me that he was extremely unhappy, and that he had reason to believe that I, and I alone, could do him good. This, with the address,—to a certain number in a street in Dublin,—was all.
There was little time before the post went out; I was almost unable to write from illness; but, after a second glance at this note, I felt that I dared not delay my reply. I did not think that it was money that he wished to ask. I did not think that he was insane. I could not conceive why he should apply to me, nor why he did not explain what he wished from me; but I had a strong impression that it was safest to reply at once. I did so, in half a dozen lines, promising to write next day, after a further attempt to discover his meaning, and begging him to consider how completely in the dark I was as to him and his case. It was well that I wrote that day. Long after, when he was letting me into all the facts of his life, he told me that he had made my replying at once or not the turning-point of his fate. If the post had brought him nothing, he would have drowned himself in the Liffey.
My second letter was the only sort of letter that it could be,—an account of my own conjectures about him, and of my regret that I could see no probability of my being of use to him, except in as far as my experience of many troubles might enable me to speak suitably to him. I added some few words on the dangers attending any sort of trouble, when too keenly felt.
In answer to my first note came a few lines, telling me that the purpose of his application was mainly answered, and that my reply was of altogether greater consequence than I could have any idea of. He was less unhappy now, and believed he should never be so desperately wretched again. Wild as this might appear, I was still persuaded that he was not insane.
By the next post came a rather bulky packet. It contained, besides a letter from him, two or three old parchment documents, which showed that Patrick's forefathers had filled some chief municipal offices in the city in which the family had been settled for several generations. I had divined that Patrick was a gentleman; and he now showed me that he came of a good and honorable family, and had been well-educated. He was an orphan, and had not a relation in the world,—if I remember right. It was evident that he was poor; but he did not ask for money, nor seem to write on that account. He aspired to a literary life, and believed he should have done so, even if he had had the means of professional education. But he did not ask me for aid in trying his powers in literature. It was very perplexing; and the fact became presently clear that he expected me to tell him how I could be of use to him,—he being in no way able to afford me that information. I may as well give here the key to the mystery, which I had to wait for for some time. When poor Patrick was in a desperate condition,—very ill, in a lodging of which he could not pay the rent,—threatened with being turned into the street as soon as the thing could be done without danger to his life,—galled with a sense of disgrace, and full of impotent wrath against an oppressor,—and even suffering under deeper griefs than these,—at such a time, the worn man fell asleep, and dreamed that I looked kindly upon him. This happened three times; and on this ground, and this alone, he applied to me for comfort.
Before I learned this much, I had taken upon me to advise freely whatever occurred to me as best, finding Patrick entirely docile under my suggestions. Among other things, I advised him not to take offence, or assume any reserve, if a gentleman should call on him, with a desire to be of use to him. A gentleman did call, and was of eminent use to him. I had written to a benevolent friend of mine, a chief citizen of Dublin, begging him to obtain for me, through some trusty clerk or other messenger, some information as to what Patrick was like,—how old he was, what he was doing, and whether anything effectual could be done for him. Mr. H. went himself. He found Patrick sitting over a little fire in a little room, his young face thin and flushed, and his thin hands showing fever. He had had inflammation of the lungs, and, though he talked cheerfully, he was yet very far from well. Mr. H. was charmed with him. He found in him no needless reserves, and not so much sensitive pride as we had feared. Patrick had great hopes of sufficient employment, when once he could get out and go and see about it; and he pointed out two or three directions in which he believed he could obtain engagements. Two things, however, were plain: that there was some difficulty about getting out, and that his mind was set upon going to London at the first possible moment. He had not only the ordinary provincial ambition to achieve an entrance into the London literary world, but he had another object: he could serve his country best in London. Mr. H. easily divined the nature of the obstacle to his going out into the fresh air which he needed so much; and in a few days Patrick had a good suit of clothes. This was Mr. H.'s doing; and he also removed the danger of Patrick's being turned out of his lodging. The landlord had no wish to do such a thing; the young man was a gentleman,—regular and self-denying in his habits, and giving no trouble that he could help: but he had been very ill; and it was so desolate! Nobody came to see him; no letters arrived for him; no money was coming in, it was clear; and he could not go on living there,—starving, in fact.
Once able to go about again, Patrick cheered up; but it was plain that there was one point on which he would not be ruled. He would not stay in Dublin, under any inducement whatever; and he would go to London. I wrote very plainly to him about the risk he was running,—even describing the desolate condition of the unsuccessful literary adventurer in the dreary peopled wilderness, in which the friendless may lie down and die alone, as the starved animal lies down and perishes in the ravine in the desert. I showed him how impossible it was for me or anybody to help him, except with a little money, till he had shown what he could do; and I entreated him to wait two years,—one year,—six months, before rushing on such a fate. Here, and here alone, he was self-willed. At first he explained to me that he had one piece of employment to rely on. He was to be the London correspondent of the Repeal organ in Dublin,—the "Nation" newspaper. The pay was next to nothing. He could not live, ever so frugally, on four times the amount: but it was an engagement; and it would enable him to serve his country. So, as there was nothing else to be done, Mr. H. started him for London, with just money enough to carry him there. Once there, he was sure he should do very well.
I doubted this; and he was met, at the address he gave, (at an Irish greengrocer's, the only person he knew in London,) by an order for money enough to carry him over two or three weeks,—money given by two or three friends to whom I ventured to open the case. I have seldom read a happier letter than Patrick's first from London; but it was not even then, nor for some time after, that he told me the main reason of his horror at remaining in Dublin.
He had hoped to support himself as a tutor while studying and practising for the literary profession; and he had been engaged to teach the children of a rich citizen,—not only the boys, but the daughter. He, an engaging youth of three-and-twenty, with blue eyes and golden hair, an innocent and noble expression of countenance, an open heart, a glowing imagination, and an eloquent tongue, was set to teach Latin and literary composition to a pretty, warm-hearted, romantic girl of twenty; and when they were in love and engaged, the father considered himself the victim of the basest treachery that ever man suffered under. In vain the young people pleaded for leave to love and wait till Patrick could provide a home for his wife. They asked no favor but to be let alone. Patrick's family was as good as hers; and he had the education and manners of a gentleman, without any objectionable habits or tastes, but with every possible desire to win an honorable home for his beloved. I am not sure, but I think there was a moment when they thought of eloping some day, if nothing but the paternal displeasure intervened between them and happiness; but it was not yet time for this. There was much to be done first. What the father did first was to turn Patrick out of the house, under such circumstances of ignominy as he could devise. What he did next was the blow which broke the poor fellow down. Patrick had written a letter, in answer to the treatment he had received, in which he expressed his feelings as strongly as one might expect. This letter was made the ground of a complaint at the police-office; and Patrick was arrested, marched before the magistrate, and arraigned as the sender of a threatening letter to a citizen. In vain he protested that no idea of threatening anybody had been in his mind. The letter, as commented on by his employer, was pronounced sufficiently menacing to justify his being bound over to keep the peace towards this citizen and all his family. The intention was, no doubt, to disgrace him, and put him out of the question as a suitor; for no man could pretend to be really afraid of violence from a candid youth like Patrick, who loved the daughter too well to lift a finger against any one connected with her. The scheme succeeded; for he believed it had broken his heart. He supposed himself utterly disgraced in Dublin; and he could live there no longer. Hence his self-will about going to London.
In addition to this personal, there was a patriotic view. Very early in our correspondence, Patrick told me that he was a Repealer. He fancied himself a very moderate one, and likely on that account to do the more good. Those were the days of O'Connell's greatest power; or, if it was on the wane, no one yet recognized any change. Patrick knew one of the younger O'Connells, and had been flatteringly noticed by the great Dan himself, who had approved the idea of his going to London, hoped to see him there some day, and had prophesied that this young friend of his would do great things for the cause by his pen, and be conspicuous among the saviours of Ireland. Patrick's head was not quite turned by this; and he lamented, in his letters to me, the plans proposed and the language held by the common run of O'Connell's followers. Those were the days when the Catholic peasantry believed that "Repale" would make every man the owner of the land he lived on, or of that which he wished to live on; and the great Dan did not disabuse them. Those were the days when poor men believed that "Repale" would release every one from the debts he owed; and Dan did not contradict it. When Dan was dead, the consequence of his not contradicting it was that a literal-minded fellow here and there shot the creditor who asked for payment of the coat, or the pig, or the meal. For all this delusion Patrick was sorry. He was sorry to hear Protestant shopmen wishing for the day when Dublin streets would be knee-deep in Catholic blood, and to hear Catholic shopmen reciprocating the wish in regard to Protestant blood. He was anxious to make me understand that he had no such notions, and that he even thought O'Connell mistaken in appearing to countenance such mistakes. But still he, Patrick, was a Repealer; and he wished me to know precisely what he meant by that, and what he proposed to do in consequence. He thought it a sin and shame that Ireland should be trodden under the heel of the Saxon; he thought the domination of the English Parliament intolerable; he considered it just that the Irish should make their own laws, own their own soil, and manage their own affairs. He had no wish to bring in the French, or any other enemy of England; and he was fully disposed to be loyal to the Crown, if the Crown would let Ireland entirely alone. Even the constant persecution inflicted upon Ireland had not destroyed his loyalty to the Crown. Such were the views on which his letters to the "Nation" newspaper were to be grounded. In reply, I contented myself with proposing that he should make sure of his ground as he went along; for which purpose he should ascertain what proportion of the people of Ireland wished for a repeal of the Union; and what sort of people they were who desired Repeal on the one hand, or continued Union on the other. I hoped he would satisfy himself as to what Repeal could and could not effect; and that he would study the history of Irish Parliaments, to learn what the character and bearing of their legislation had been, and to estimate the chances of good government by that kind of legislature, in comparison with the Imperial Parliament.
If any foreign reader should suppose it impossible, that, in modern times, there can have been hopes entertained in Dublin of the streets being inundated with blood, such reader may be referred to the evidence afforded of Repeal sentiment five years later than the time of which I write. When the heroes of that rising of 1848—of whom John Mitchell is the sample best known in America—were tracked in their plans and devices, it appeared what their proposed methods of warfare were. Some of these, detailed in Repeal newspapers, and copied into American journals, were proposed to the patriotic women of Ireland, as their peculiar means of serving their country; and three especially. Red-hot iron hoops, my readers may remember, were to be cast down from balconies, so as to pin the arms of English soldiers marching in the street, and scorch their hearts. Vitriol was to be flung into their eyes. Boiling oil was to be poured upon them from windows. This is enough. Nobody believes that the thing would ever have been done; but the lively and repeated discussion of it shows how the feelings of the ignorant are perverted, and the passions of party-men are stimulated in Ireland, when unscrupulous leaders arise, proposing irrational projects. The consequences have been seen in Popish and Protestant fights in Ulster, and in the midnight drill of Phoenix Clubs in Munster, and in John Mitchell's passion for fat negroes in the Slave States of America. In Ireland such notions are regarded now as a delirious dream, except by a John Mitchell here and there. Smith O'Brien himself declares that there is nothing to be done while the people of Ireland are satisfied with the government they live under; and that, if it were otherwise, nothing can be done for a people which either elects jobbers to Parliament, or suspects every man of being a traitor who proceeds, when there, to do the business of his function. I suspected that Patrick would find out some of these things for himself in London; and I left him to make his own discoveries, when I had pointed out one or two paths of inquiry.
The process was a more rapid one than I had anticipated. He reported his first letter to the "Nation" with great satisfaction. He had begun his work in London. He went to the House of Commons, and came away sorely perplexed. After having heard and written so much of the wrongs of Ireland under the domination of the English Parliament, he found that Ireland actually and practically formed a part of that Parliament,—the legislature being, not English, but Imperial. He must have known this before; but he had never felt it. He now saw that Ireland was as well represented as England or Scotland; that political offices were held in fair proportion by Irishmen; and that the Irish members engrossed much more than a fair share of the national time in debate and projects of legislation. He saw at once that here was an end of all excuse for talk of oppression by Parliament, and of all complaints which assumed that Ireland was unrepresented. He was previously aware that Ireland was more lightly taxed than the rest of the empire. The question remained, whether a local legislature would or would not be a better thing than a share in the Imperial Parliament. This was a fair subject of argument; but he must now dismiss all notions grounded on the mistake of Ireland being unrepresented, and oppressed by the representatives of other people.
In the letter which disclosed these new views Patrick reported his visit to O'Connell. He had reminded his friend, the junior O'Connell, of Dan's invitation to him to go to see him in London; and he had looked forward to their levee with delight and expectation. Whether he had candidly expressed his thoughts about the actual representation of Ireland, I don't know; but it was plain that he had not much enjoyed the interview. O'Connell looked very well: the levee was crowded: O'Connell was surrounded by ardent patriots: the junior O'Connell had led Patrick up to his father with particular kindness. Still, there was no enthusiasm in the report; and the next letter showed the reason why. Patrick could not understand O'Connell at all. It was certain that Dan remembered him; and he could not have forgotten the encouragement he gave him to write on behalf of his country; yet now he was cold, even repellent in his manner; and he tried to pretend that he did not know who Patrick was. What could this mean?
Again I trusted to Patrick's finding out for himself what it meant. To be brief about a phase of human experience which has nothing new in it, Patrick presently saw that the difficulty of governing Ireland by a local legislature, and executive is this:—that no man is tolerated from the moment he can do more than talk. Irish members under O'Connell's eye were for the most part talkers only. Then and since, every Irishman who accepts the office so vehemently demanded is suspected of a good understanding with Englishmen, and soon becomes reviled as a traitor and place-hunter. Between the mere talkers and the proscribed office-holders, Ireland would get none of her business done, if the Imperial Government did not undertake affairs, and see that Ireland was taken care of by somebody or other. Patrick saw that this way of putting Government in abeyance was a mild copy of what happened when a Parliament sat in Dublin, perpetrating the most insolent tyranny and the vilest jobs ever witnessed under any representative system. He told me, very simply, that the people of Ireland should send to Parliament men whom they could trust, and should trust them to act when there: the people should either demand a share of office for their countrymen, or make up their minds to go without; they ought not first to demand office for Irishmen, and then call every Irishman a traitor and self-seeker who took it. In a very short time he told me that he found he had much to unlearn as well as learn: that many things of which he had been most sure now turned out to be mistakes, and many very plain matters to be exceedingly complicated; but that the one thing about which there could be no mistake was, that, in such a state of opinion, he was no proper guide for the readers of the "Nation," and he had accordingly sent in his resignation of his appointment, together with some notices to the editor of the different light in which Irish matters appear outside the atmosphere of Repeal meetings.
In thus cutting loose from his only means of pecuniary support, Patrick forfeited also his patriotic character. He was as thoroughly ruined in the eyes of Repealers as if he had denounced the "Saxon" one hour and the next crept into some warm place in the Custom-House on his knees. Here ended poor Patrick's short political life, after, I think, two letters to the "Nation," and here ended all hope of aid from his countrymen in London. His letter was very moving. He knew himself to be mortified by O'Connell's behavior to him; but he felt that he could not submit to be regarded with suspicion because he had come to see for himself how matters stood. He did not give up Repeal yet: he only wanted to study the case on better knowledge; and in order to have a perfectly clear conscience and judgment, he gave up his only pecuniary resource,—his love and a future home being in the distance, and always in view, all the time. Here, in spite of some lingering of old hopes, two scenes of his young life had closed. His Irish life was over, and his hope of political service.
I had before written about him to two or three literary friends in London; and now I felt bound to see what could be done in opening a way for him. He had obtained the insertion of a tale in a magazine, for which he had one guinea in payment. This raised his spirits, and gave him a hope of independence; for it was a parting of the clouds, and there was no saying how much sunlight might be let down. He was willing to apply himself to any drudgery; but his care to undertake nothing that he was not sure of doing well was very striking. He might have obtained good work as classical proof-corrector; but he feared, that, though his classical attainments were good, his training had not qualified him for the necessary accuracy. He had some employment of the sort, if I remember right, which defrayed a portion of his small expenses. His expenses were indeed small. He told me all his little gains and his weekly outlay; and I was really afraid that he did not allow himself sufficient food. Yet he knew that there was a little money in my hands, when he wanted it. His letters became now very gay in spirits. He keenly relished the society into which he was invited; and, on the other hand, everybody liked him. It was amusing to me, in my sick room, three hundred miles off, to hear of the impression he made, with his innocence, his fresh delight in his new life, his candor, his modesty, and his bright cleverness,—and then, again, to learn how diligently he had set about learning what I, his correspondent, was really like. In his dreams he had seen me very aged,—he thought upwards of eighty; and he had never doubted of the fact being so. In one letter he told me, that, finding a brother of mine was then in London, he was going that afternoon to a public meeting to see him, in order to have some idea of my aspect. A mutual friend told me afterwards that Patrick had come away quite bewildered and disappointed. He had expected to see in my brother a gray-haired ancient; whereas he found a man under forty. I really believe he was disturbed that his dreams had misled him. Yet I never observed any other sign of superstition in him.
At last the happy day came when he had a literary task worthy of him,—a sort of test of his capacity for reviewing. One of the friends to whom I had introduced him was then sub-editor of the "Athenaeum,"—a weekly periodical of higher reputation at that time than now. Patrick was commissioned to review a book of some weight and consequence,—Sir Robert Kane's "Industrial Resources of Ireland,"—and he did it so well that the conductors hoped to give him a good deal of employment. What they gave him would have led to more; and thus he really was justified in his exultation at having come to London. I remember, that, in the midst of his joy, he startled me by some light mention of his having spit blood, after catching cold,—a thing which had happened before in Ireland. In answer to my inquiries, my friends told me that he certainly looked very delicate, but made light of it. It happened, unfortunately, that he was obliged just then to change his lodging. He increased his cold by going about in bad weather to look for another. He found one, however, and settled himself, in hope of doing great things there.
He had not been there a week before he rang his bell one day, and was found bleeding from the lungs. His landlady called in a physician; and it is probable that this gentleman did not know or suspect the circumstances of his patient; for he not only ordered ice and various expensive things, but took fees, while the poor patient was lying forbidden to speak, and gnawed with anxiety as to where more money was to come from, and with eagerness to get to work. His friends soon found him out in his trouble; and I understood from him afterwards, and from others who knew more about it than he did, that they were extremely kind. I believe that one left a bank-note of a considerable amount at the door, in a blank envelope. All charges were defrayed, and he was bidden not to be anxious. Yet something must be done. What must it be?
As soon as he was allowed to raise his head from his pillow, he wrote me a note in pencil; and it afforded an opening for discussing his affairs with him. He had some impression of his life's being in danger; for it was now that he confided to me the whole story of his attachment, and the sufferings attending it: but he was still sanguine about doing great things in literature, and chafing at his unwilling idleness. I was strongly of opinion that the best way of dealing with him was to be perfectly open; and, after proposing that we should have no reserves, I told him what (proceeding on his own report of his health) I should in his place decide upon doing. His pride would cause him some pain in either of the two courses which were open to him,—but, I thought, more in one than the other. If he remained in his lodgings, he would break his heart about being a burden (as he would say) to his friends; and he would fret after work so as to give himself no chance of such recovery as might be hoped for: whereas, if he could once cheerfully agree to enter a hospital, he would have every chance of rallying, and all the sooner for being free from any painful sense of obligation. If the treatment should succeed, this passage in his life would be something to smile at hereafter, or to look back upon with sound satisfaction; and if not, he would have friends about him, just as he would in a lodging.
The effect was what I wished. My letter gave no offence, and did him no harm. He only begged for a few days more, before deciding that he might satisfy himself whether he was getting well or not: if not, he would cheerfully go wherever his friends advised, and believe that the plan was the best for him.
In those few days arrangements were made for his being received at the Sanatorium,—an institution in which sick persons who had either previously subscribed, or who were the nominees of subscribers, were received, and well tended for a guinea a week, under the comfortable circumstances of a private house. Each patient had a separate chamber; and the medical attendance, diet, and arrangements were of a far higher order than poor Patrick could have commanded in lodgings. Above all, the resident surgeon—now a distinguished physician, superintendent of a lunatic asylum—was a man to make a friend of,—a man of cultivated mind, tender heart, and cheerful and gentle manners. Patrick won his heart at once; and every note of Patrick's glowed with affection for Doctor H—. After a few weeks of alternating hope and fear, after a natural series of fluctuations of spirits, Patrick wrote me a remarkably quiet letter. He told me that both his doctors had given him a plain answer to his question whether he could recover. They had told him that it was impossible; but he could not learn from them how long they thought he would live. He saw now, however, that he must give up his efforts to work. He believed he could have worked a little: but perhaps he was no judge; and if he really was dying, he could not be wrong in obeying the directions of those who had the care of him. Once afterwards he told me that his physicians did not, he saw, expect him to live many months,—perhaps not even many weeks.
It was now clear to my mind what would please him best. I told him, that, if he liked to furnish me with the address of that house in Dublin in which his thoughts chiefly lived, I would take care that the young lady there should know that he died in honor, having fairly entered upon the literary career which had always been his aspiration, and surrounded by friends whose friendship was a distinction. His words in reply were few, calm, and fervent, intimating that he now had not a care left in the world: and Doctor H—wondered what had happened to make him so gay from the hour he received my letter.
His decline was a rapid one; and I soon learned, by very short notes, that he hardly left his bed. When it was supposed that he would never leave his room again, he surprised the whole household by a great feat. I should have related before what a favorite he was with all the other patients. He was the sunshine of the house while able to get to the drawing-room, and the pet of each invalid by the chamber-fire. On Christmas morning, he slipped out of bed, and managed to get his clothes on, while alone, and was met outside his own door, bent on giving a Christmas greeting to everybody in the house. He was indulged in this; for it was of little consequence now what he did. He appeared at each bedside, and at every sofa,—and not with any moving sentiment, but with genuine gayety. It was full in his thoughts that he had not many days to live, but he hoped the others had; and he entered into their prospect of renewed health and activity. At night they said that Patrick had brightened their Christmas Day.
He died very soon after,—sinking at last with perfect consciousness,—writing messages to me on his slate while his fingers would hold the pencil,—calm and cheerful without intermission. After his death, when the last offices were to be begun, my letters were taken warm from his breast. Every line that I had ever written to him was there; and the packet was sent to me by Doctor H—bound round with the green ribbon which he had himself tied before he quite lost the power. The kind friends who had watched over him during the months of his London life wrote to me not to trouble myself about his funeral. They buried him honorably, and two of his distinguished friends followed him to the grave.
Of course, I immediately performed my promise. I had always intended that not only the young lady, but her father, should know what we thought of Patrick, and what he might have been, if he had lived. I wrote to that potential personage, telling him of all the facts of the case, except the poverty, which might be omitted as essentially a slight and temporary circumstance. I reported of his life of industry and simple self-denial,—of his prospects, his friendships, his sweet and gay decline and departure, and his honorable funeral. No answer was needed; and I had supposed there would hardly be one. If there should be one, it was not likely to be very congenial to the mood of Patrick's friends: but I could hardly have conceived of anything so bad as it was. The man wrote that it was not wonderful that any young man should get on under the advantage of my patronage; and that it was to be hoped that this young man would have turned out more worthy of such patronage than he was when he ungratefully returned his obligations to his employer by engaging the affections of his daughter. The young man had caused great trouble and anxiety to one who, now he was dead, was willing to forgive him; but no circumstance could ever change the aspect of his conduct, in regard to his treacherous behavior to his benefactor; and so forth. There was no sign of any consciousness of imprudence on the father's own part; but strong indications of vindictive hatred, softened in the expression by being mixed up with odious flatteries to Patrick's literary friends. The only compensation for the disgust of this letter was the confirmation it afforded of Patrick's narrative, in which, it was clear, he had done no injustice to his oppressor.
I have not bestowed so much thought as this on the man and his letter, from the day I received it, till now; but it was necessary to speak of it at the close of the story. I lose sight of the painful incidents in thinking of Patrick himself. I only wish I had once seen his face, that I might know how near the truth is the image that I have formed of him.
There may have been, there no doubt have been, other such young Irishmen, whose lives have been misdirected for want of the knowledge which Patrick gained in good time by the accident of his coming to England. I fear that many such have lived a life of turbulence, or impotent discontent, under the delusion that their country was politically oppressed. The mistake may now be considered at an end. It is sufficiently understood in Ireland that her woes have been from social and not political causes, from the day of Catholic emancipation. But it is a painful thought what Patrick's short life might have been, if he had remained under the O'Connell influence; and what the lives of hundreds more have been,—rendered wild by delusion, and wretched by strife and lawlessness, for want of a gleam of that clear daylight which made a sound citizen of a passionate Young Repealer.
BREAD AND THE NEWSPAPER.
This is the new version of the Panem et Circenses of the Roman populace. It is our ultimatum, as that was theirs. They must have something to eat, and the circus-shows to look at. We must have something to eat, and the papers to read.
Everything else we can give up. If we are rich, we can lay down our carriages, stay away from Newport or Saratoga, and adjourn the trip to Europe sine die. If we live in a small way, there are at least new dresses and bonnets and every-day luxuries which we can dispense with. If the young Zouave of the family looks smart in his new uniform, its respectable head is content, though he himself grow seedy as a caraway-umbel late in the season. He will cheerfully calm the perturbed nap of his old beaver by patient brushing in place of buying a new one, if only the Lieutenant's jaunty cap is what it should be. We all take a pride in sharing the epidemic economy of the time. Only bread and the newspaper we must have, whatever else we do without.
How this war is simplifying our mode of being! We live on our emotions, as the sick man is said in the common speech to be nourished by his fever. Our common mental food has become distasteful, and what would have been intellectual luxuries at other times are now absolutely repulsive.
All this change in our manner of existence implies that we have experienced some very profound impression, which will sooner or later betray itself in permanent effects on the minds and bodies of many among us. We cannot forget Corvisart's observation of the frequency with which diseases of the heart were noticed as the consequence of the terrible emotions produced by the scenes of the great French Revolution. Laennec tells the story of a convent, of which he was the medical director, where all the nuns were subjected to the severest penances and schooled in the most painful doctrines. They all became consumptive soon after their entrance, so that, in the course of his ten years' attendance, all the inmates died out two or three times, and were replaced by new ones. He does not hesitate to attribute the disease from which they suffered to those depressing moral influences to which they were subjected.
So far we have noticed little more than disturbances of the nervous system as a consequence of the war excitement in non-combatants. Take the first trifling example which comes to our recollection. A sad disaster to the Federal army was told the other day in the presence of two gentlemen and a lady. Both the gentlemen complained of a sudden feeling at the epigastrium, or, less learnedly, the pit of the stomach, changed color, and confessed to a slight tremor about the knees. The lady had a "grande revolution," as French patients say,—went home, and kept her bed for the rest of the day. Perhaps the reader may smile at the mention of such trivial indispositions, but in more sensitive natures death itself follows in some cases from no more serious cause. An old gentleman fell senseless in fatal apoplexy, on hearing of Napoleon's return from Elba. One of our early friends, who recently died of the same complaint, was thought to have had his attack mainly in consequence of the excitements of the time.
We all know what the war fever is in our young men,—what a devouring passion it becomes in those whom it assails. Patriotism is the fire of it, no doubt, but this is fed with fuel of all sorts. The love of adventure, the contagion of example, the fear of losing the chance of participating in the great events of the time, the desire of personal distinction, all help to produce those singular transformations which we often witness, turning the most peaceful of our youth into the most ardent of our soldiers. But something of the same fever in a different form reaches a good many non-combatants, who have no thought of losing a drop of precious blood belonging to themselves or their families. Some of the symptoms we shall mention are almost universal; they are as plain in the people we meet everywhere as the marks of an influenza, when that is prevailing.
The first is a nervous restlessness of a very peculiar character. Men cannot think, or write, or attend to their ordinary business. They stroll up and down the streets, they saunter out upon the public places. We confessed to an illustrious author that we laid down the volume of his work which we were reading when the war broke out. It was as interesting as a romance, but the romance of the past grew pale before the red light of the terrible present. Meeting the same author not long afterwards, he confessed that he had laid down his pen at the same time that we had closed his book. He could not write about the sixteenth century any more than we could read about it, while the nineteenth was in the very agony and bloody sweat of its great sacrifice.
Another most eminent scholar told us in all simplicity that he had fallen into such a state that he would read the same telegraphic despatches over and over again in different papers, as if they were new, until he felt as if he were an idiot. Who did not do just the same thing, and does not often do it still, now that the first flush of the fever is over? Another person always goes through the side streets on his way for the noon extra,—he is so afraid somebody will meet him and tell the news he wishes to read, first on the bulletin-board, and then in the great capitals and leaded type of the newspaper.
When any startling piece of war-news comes, it keeps repeating itself in our minds in spite of all we can do. The same trains of thought go tramping round in circle through the brain like the supernumeraries that make up the grand army of a stage-show. Now, if a thought goes round through the brain a thousand times in a day, it will have worn as deep a track as one which has passed through it once a week for twenty years. This accounts for the ages we seem to have lived since the twelfth of April last, and, to state it more generally, for that ex post facto operation of a great calamity, or any very powerful impression, which we once illustrated by the image of a stain spreading backwards from the leaf of life open before us through all those which we have already turned.
Blessed are those who can sleep quietly in times like these! Yet, not wholly blessed, either; for what is more painful than the awaking from peaceful unconsciousness to a sense that there is something wrong, we cannot at first think what,—and then groping our way about through the twilight of our thoughts until we come full upon the misery, which, like some evil bird, seemed to have flown away, but which sits waiting for us on its perch by our pillow in the gray of the morning?
The converse of this is perhaps still more painful. Many have the feeling in their waking hours that the trouble they are aching with is, after all, only a dream,—if they will rub their eyes briskly enough and shake themselves, they will awake out of it, and find all their supposed grief is unreal. This attempt to cajole ourselves out of an ugly fact always reminds us of those unhappy flies who have been indulging in the dangerous sweets of the paper prepared for their especial use.
Watch one of them. He does not feel quite well,—at least, he suspects himself of indisposition. Nothing serious,—let us just rub our fore-feet together, as the enormous creature who provides for us rubs his hands, and all will be right. He rubs them with that peculiar twisting movement of his, and pauses for the effect. No! all is not quite right yet.—Ah! it is our head that is not set on just as it ought to be. Let us settle that where it should be, and then we shall certainly be in good trim again. So he pulls his head about as an old lady adjusts her cap, and passes his fore-paw over it like a kitten washing herself.—Poor fellow! It is not a fancy, but a fact, that he has to deal with. If he could read the letters at the head of the sheet, he would see they were Fly-Paper.—So with us, when, in our waking misery, we try to think we dream! Perhaps very young persons may not understand this; as we grow older, our waking and dreaming life run more and more into each other.
Another symptom of our excited condition is seen in the breaking up of old habits. The newspaper is as imperious as a Russian Ukase; it will be had, and it will be read. To this all else must give place. If we must go out at unusual hours to get it, we shall go, in spite of after-dinner nap or evening somnolence. If it finds us in company, it will not stand on ceremony, but cuts short the compliment and the story by the divine right of its telegraphic despatches.
War is a very old story, but it is a new one to this generation of Americans. Our own nearest relation in the ascending line remembers the Revolution well. How should she forget it? Did she not lose her doll, which was left behind, when she was carried out of Boston, then growing uncomfortable by reason of cannon-balls dropping in from the neighboring heights at all hours,—in token of which see the tower of Brattle-Street Church at this very day? War in her memory means '76. As for the brush of 1812, "we did not think much about that"; and everybody knows that the Mexican business did not concern us much, except in its political relations. No! War is a new thing to all of us who are not in the last quarter of their century. We are learning many strange matters from our fresh experience. And besides, there are new conditions of existence which make war as it is with us very different from war as it has been.
The first and obvious difference consists in the fact that the whole nation is now penetrated by the ramifications of a network of iron nerves which flash sensation and volition backward and forward to and from towns and provinces as if they were organs and limbs of a single living body. The second is the vast system of iron muscles which, as it were, move the limbs of the mighty organism one upon another. What was the railroad-force which put the Sixth Regiment in Baltimore on the 19th of April but a contraction and extension of the arm of Massachusetts with a clenched fist full of bayonets at the end of it?
This perpetual intercommunication, joined to the power of instantaneous action, keeps us always alive with excitement. It is not a breathless courier who comes back with the report from an army we have lost sight of for a month, nor a single bulletin which tells us all we are to know for a week of some great engagement, but almost hourly paragraphs, laden with truth or falsehood as the case may be, making us restless always for the last fact or rumor they are telling. And so of the movements of our armies. To-night the stout lumbermen of Maine are encamped under their own fragrant pines. In a score or two of hours they are among the tobacco-fields and the slave-pens of Virginia. The war passion burned like scattered coals of fire in the households of Revolutionary times; now it rushes all through the land like a flame over the prairie. And this instant diffusion of every fact and feeling produces another singular effect in the equalizing and steadying of public opinion. We may not be able to see a month ahead of us; but as to what has passed, a week afterwards it is as thoroughly talked out and judged as it would have been in a whole season before our national nervous system was organized.
"As the wild tempest wakes the slumbering sea, Thou only teachest all that man can be!"
We indulged in the above apostrophe to War in a Phi Beta Kappa poem of long ago, which we liked better before we read Mr. Cutler's beautiful prolonged lyric delivered at the recent anniversary of that Society.
Oftentimes, in paroxysms of peace and good-will towards all mankind, we have felt twinges of conscience about the passage,—especially when one of our orators showed us that a ship of war costs as much to build and keep as a college, and that every port-hole we could stop would give us a new professor. Now we begin to think that there was some meaning in our poor couplet. War has taught us, as nothing else could, what we can be and are. It has exalted our manhood and our womanhood, and driven us all back upon our substantial human qualities, for a long time more or less kept out of sight by the spirit of commerce, the love of art, science, or literature, or other qualities not belonging to all of us as men and women.
It is at this very moment doing more to melt away the petty social distinctions which keep generous souls apart from each other, than the preaching of the Beloved Disciple himself would do. We are finding out that not only "patriotism is eloquence," but that heroism is gentility. All ranks are wonderfully equalized under the fire of a masked battery. The plain artisan or the rough fireman, who faces the lead and iron like a man, is the truest representative we can show of the heroes of Crecy and Agincourt. And if one of our fine gentlemen puts off his straw-colored kids and stands by the other, shoulder to shoulder, or leads him on to the attack, he is as honorable in our eyes and in theirs as if he were ill-dressed and his hands were soiled with labor.
Even our poor "Brahmins,"—whom a critic in ground-glass spectacles (the same who grasps his statistics by the blade and strikes at his supposed antagonist with the handle) oddly confounds with the "bloated aristocracy," whereas they are very commonly pallid, undervitalized, shy, sensitive creatures, whose only birthright is an aptitude for learning,—even these poor New England Brahmins of ours, subvirates of an organizable base as they often are, count as full men, if their courage is big enough for the uniform which hangs so loosely about their slender figures.
A young man was drowned not very long ago in the river running under our windows. A few days afterwards a field-piece was dragged to the water's edge and fired many times over the river. We asked a bystander, who looked like a fisherman, what that was for. It was to "break the gall," he said, and so bring the drowned person to the surface. A strange physiological fancy and a very odd non sequitur; but that is not our present point. A good many extraordinary objects do really come to the surface when the great guns of war shake the waters, as when they roared over Charleston harbor.
Treason came up, hideous, fit only to be huddled into its dishonorable grave. But the wrecks of precious virtues, which had been covered with the waves of prosperity, came up also. And all sorts of unexpected and unheard-of things, which had lain unseen during our national life of fourscore years, came up and are coming up daily, shaken from their bed by the concussions of the artillery bellowing around us.
It is a shame to own it, but there were persons otherwise respectable not unwilling to say that they believed the old valor of Revolutionary times had died out from among us. They talked about our own Northern people as the English in the last centuries used to talk about the French,—Goldsmith's old soldier, it may be remembered, called one Englishman good for five of them. As Napoleon spoke of the English, again, as a nation of shopkeepers, so these persons affected to consider the multitude of their countrymen as unwarlike artisans,—forgetting that Paul Revere taught himself the value of liberty in working upon gold, and Nathaniel Greene fitted himself to shape armies in the labor of forging iron.
These persons have learned better now. The bravery of our free working-people was overlaid, but not smothered, sunken, but not drowned. The hands which had been busy conquering the elements had only to change their weapons and their adversaries, and they were as ready to conquer the masses of living force opposed to them as they had been to build towns, to dam rivers, to hunt whales, to harvest ice, to hammer brute matter into every shape civilization can ask for.
Another great fact came to the surface, and is coming up every day in new shapes,—that we are one people. It is easy to say that a man is a man in Maine or Minnesota, but not so easy to feel it, all through our bones and marrow. The camp is deprovincializing us very fast. Poor Winthrop, marching with the city elegants, seems almost to have been astonished to find how wonderfully human were the hard-handed men of the Eighth Massachusetts. It takes all the nonsense out of everybody, or ought to do it, to see how fairly the real manhood of a country is distributed over its surface. And then, just as we are beginning to think our own soil has a monopoly of heroes as well as of cotton, up turns a regiment of gallant Irishmen, like the Sixty-Ninth, to show us that continental provincialism is as bad as that of Coos County, New Hampshire, or of Broadway, New York.
Here, too, side by side in the same great camp, are half a dozen chaplains, representing half a dozen modes of religious belief. When the masked battery opens, does the "Baptist" Lieutenant believe in his heart that God takes better care of him than of his "Congregationalist" Colonel? Does any man really suppose, that, of a score of noble young fellows who have just laid down their lives for their country, the Homoousians are received to the mansions of bliss, and the Homoiousians translated from the battle-field to the abodes of everlasting woe? War not only teaches what man can be, but it teaches also what he must not be. He must not be a bigot and a fool in the presence of that day of judgment proclaimed by the trumpet which calls to battle, and where a man should have but two thoughts: to do his duty, and trust his Maker. Let our brave dead come back from the fields where they have fallen for law and liberty, and if you will follow them to their graves, you will find out what the Broad Church means; the narrow church is sparing of its exclusive formulae over the coffins wrapped in the flag which the fallen heroes had defended! Very little comparatively do we hear at such times of the dogmas on which men differ; very much of the faith and trust in which all sincere Christians can agree. It is a noble lesson, and nothing less noisy than the voice of cannon can teach it so that it shall be heard over all the angry voices of theological disputants.
Now, too, we have a chance to test the sagacity of our friends, and to get at their principles of judgment. Perhaps most of us will agree that our faith in domestic prophets has been diminished by the experience of the last six months. We had the notable predictions attributed to the Secretary of State, which so unpleasantly refused to fulfil themselves. We were infested at one time with a set of ominous-looking seers, who shook their heads and muttered obscurely about some mighty preparations that were making to substitute the rule of the minority for that of the majority. Organizations were darkly hinted at; some thought our armories would be seized; and there are not wanting ancient women in the neighboring University town who consider that the country was saved by the intrepid band of students who stood guard, night after night, over the G.R. cannon and the pile of balls in the Cambridge Arsenal.
As a general rule, it is safe to say that the best prophecies are those which the sages remember after the event prophesied of has come to pass, and remind us that they have made long ago. Those who are rash enough to predict publicly beforehand commonly give us what they hope, or what they fear, or some conclusion from an abstraction of their own, or some guess founded on private information not half so good as what everybody gets who reads the papers,—never by any possibility a word that we can depend on, simply because there are cob-webs of contingency between every to-day and to-morrow that no field-glass can penetrate when fifty of them lie woven one over another. Prophesy as much as you like, but always hedge. Say that you think the rebels are weaker than is commonly supposed, but, on the other hand, that they may prove to be even stronger than is anticipated. Say what you like,—only don't be too peremptory and dogmatic; we know that wiser men than you have been notoriously deceived in their predictions in this very matter.
Ibis et redibis nunquam in bello peribis.
Let that be your model; and remember, on peril of your reputation as a prophet, not to put a stop before or after the nunquam.
There are two or three facts connected with time, besides that already referred to, which strike us very forcibly in their relation to the great events passing around us. We spoke of the long period seeming to have elapsed since this war began. The buds were then swelling which held the leaves that are still green. It seems as old as Time himself. We cannot fail to observe how the mind brings together the scenes of to-day and those of the old Revolution. We shut up eighty years into each other like the joints of a pocket-telescope. When the young men from Middlesex dropped in Baltimore the other day, it seemed to bring Lexington and the other Nineteenth of April close to us. War has always been the mint in which the world's history has been coined, and now every day or week or month has a new medal for us. It was Warren that the first impression bore in the last great coinage; if it is Ellsworth now, the new face hardly seems fresher than the old. All battle-fields are alike in their main features. The young fellows who fell in our earlier struggle seemed like old men to us until within these few months; now we remember they were like these fiery youth we are cheering as they go to the fight; it seems as if the grass of our bloody hill-side was crimsoned but yesterday, and the cannon-ball imbedded in the church-tower would feel warm, if we laid our hand upon it.
Nay, in this our quickened life we feel that all the battles from earliest time to our own day, where Right and Wrong have grappled, are but one great battle, varied with brief pauses or hasty bivouacs upon the field of conflict. The issues seem to vary, but it is always a right against a claim, and, however the struggle of the hour may go, a movement onward of the campaign, which uses defeat as well as victory to serve its mighty ends. The very weapons of our warfare change less than we think. Our bullets and cannon-balls have lengthened into bolts like those which whistled out of old arbalests. Our soldiers fight with Bowie-knives, such as are pictured on the walls of Theban tombs, wearing a newly-invented head-gear as old as the days of the Pyramids.
Whatever miseries this war brings upon us, it is making us wiser, and, we trust, better. Wiser, for we are learning our weakness, our narrowness, our selfishness, our ignorance, in lessons of sorrow and shame. Better, because all that is noble in men and women is demanded by the time, and our people are rising to the standard the time calls for. For this is the question the hour is putting to each of us: Are you ready, if need be, to sacrifice all that you have and hope for in this world, that the generations to follow you may inherit a whole country whose natural condition shall be peace, and not a broken province which must live under the perpetual threat, if not in the constant presence, of war and all that war brings with it? If we are all ready for this sacrifice, battles may be lost, but the campaign and its grand object must be won.
Heaven is very kind in its way of putting questions to mortals. We are not abruptly asked to give up all that we most care for, in view of the momentous issues before us. Perhaps we shall never be asked to give up all, but we have already been called upon to part with much that is dear to us, and should be ready to yield the rest as it is called for. The time may come when even the cheap public print shall be a burden our means cannot support, and we can only listen in the square that was once the market-place to the voices of those who proclaim defeat or victory. Then there will be only our daily food left. When we have nothing to read and nothing to eat, it will be a favorable moment to offer a compromise. At present we have all that Nature absolutely demands,—we can live on bread and the newspaper.
* * * * *
"UNDER THE CLOUD AND THROUGH THE SEA."
So moved they, when false Pharaoh's legion pressed, Chariots and horsemen following furiously,— Sons of old Israel, at their God's behest, Under the cloud and through the swelling sea.
So passed they, fearless, where the parted wave, With cloven crest uprearing from the sand,— A solemn aisle before,—behind, a grave,— Rolled to the beckoning of Jehovah's hand.
So led He them, in desert marches grand, By toils sublime, with test of long delay, On, to the borders of that Promised Land Wherein their heritage of glory lay.
And Jordan raged along his rocky bed, And Amorite spears flashed keen and fearfully: Still the same pathway must their footsteps tread,— Under the cloud and through the threatening sea.
God works no otherwise. No mighty birth But comes by throes of mortal agony; No man-child among nations of the earth But findeth baptism in a stormy sea.
Sons of the Saints who faced their Jordan-flood In fierce Atlantic's unretreating wave,— Who by the Red Sea of their glorious blood Reached to the Freedom that your blood shall save!
O Countrymen! God's day is not yet done! He leaveth not His people utterly! Count it a covenant, that He leads us on Beneath the Cloud and through the crimson Sea!
JOURNAL OF A PRIVATEERSMAN.
The following journal was written by the Captain's Quartermaster on board the Sloop Revenge, of Newport, Rhode Island, on a cruise against the Spaniards in the year 1741. Rhode Island was famous at that time for the number and the success of her privateers. There was but little objection felt to the profession of privateering. Franklin had not yet roused by his effective protest the moral sentiment of the civilized world against it. The privateers that were fitted out in those days were intended for service against foreign enemies; they were not manned by rebels, with design to ruin their loyal fellow-citizens. England and Spain were at war, and the West Indian seas were white with the sails of national fleets and private armed vessels. Privateering afforded a vent for the active and restless spirits of the colonies; it was not without some creditable associations; and the life of a privateersman was full of the charms of novelty, adventure, and risk. This journal shows something of its character.
A journal of all the transactions on board the sloop REVENGE, Benj'n Norton Com'r by God's grace and under his protection, bound on a cruising voyage against the Spaniards. Begun June the 5th, 1741.
Friday, 5th. This day, at 4 A.M., the Cap't went from Taylor's wharf on board his sloop, which lay off of Connanicut, & at 6 o'clock Cap't John Freebody [the chief owner] came off in the pinnace with several hands. We directly weighed anchor with 40 hands, officers included, bound to New York to get more hands, a Doctor, and some more provisions and other stores we stood in need of. The wind coming contrary, was obliged to put back. Came to an anchor again under Connanicut at 8 P.M.
Saturday, 6th. Weighed from under Connanicut at 4 A.M. with a small breeze of wind. Met several vessells bound to Newport and Boston. At 7 P.M. anchored under Block Island, over against the L10,000 Pear [pier?]. Bought 10s. worth of Codfish for the people.
Sunday, 7th. About 4 A.M. weighed from Block Island, and Monday, the 8th instant, at 9 A.M., anchored in Huntington Bay.
Tuesday, 9th. Weighed from Huntington Bay at 3 P.M. At 11 came to the white stone. Fired a gun & beat the drum to let them know what we were. The Ferryboat came off & told us we could not get hands at York, for the sloops fitted by the country had got them all. At 12 came to anchor at the 2 Brothers. At 4 took an acc't of all the provisions on board, with the cost; together with a list of all the people on board. Price, a hand that came with us from Rhode Island, askt leave to go to York to see his wife. Set a shilling crazy fellow ashore, not thinking him fit to proceed the Voyage, his name unknown to me.
Wednesday, 10th. This morning, about 5 A.M., Cap't Freebody went up to York in the pinnace to get provisions and leave to beat about for more hands. At 1 P.M. the Pinnace returned and brought word to Cap't Norton from Mr. Freebody that he had waited on his Honour the Gov'r, and that he would not give him leave to beat up for Volunteers. The chief reason he gave was that the City was thinned of hands by the 2 country sloops that were fitted out by the Council to cruise after the Spanish privateers on the coast, and that his Grace the Duke of Newcastle had wrote him word, that, if Admiral Vernon or Gen. Wentworth[A] should write for more recruits, to use his endeavors to get them, so that he could not give encouragement to any privateers to take their men away. Three of the hands that went up to York left us. At 4 P.M. Edward Sampford, our pilot, went ashore in a canoe with four more hands, without leave from the Cap'n. When he came on board again the Cap'n talked to him, & found that he was a mutinous, quarrelsome fellow, and so ordered him to bundle up his clothes & go ashore for good. He carried with him 5 more hands. After they were gone, I read the articles to those on board, who readily signed; so hope we shall lead a peaceable life. Remain, out of the 41 hands that came with us from Rhode Island, 29 hands.
[Footnote A: Admiral Vernon (whose name is familiar to every American,—Mount Vernon was named in his honor) was in command of the British fleet in the Spanish Main. General Wentworth, an officer "without experience, authority, or resolution," had command of the land forces in the West Indies. All the North American, colonies, except Georgia, which was too recently settled, and whose own borders were too much exposed, had been called upon to give aid to the expedition against the Spaniards, and a regiment thirty-six hundreds strong was actually supplied by them. The war was one in which the colonists took an active interest.]
Friday, 12th. Went to York with a letter from the Cap'n to Mr. Freebody, who ordered the vessel up to York. Three of our hands left me to see some negroes burnt,[B] took a pilot in to bring the vessel up, and so returned on board at 3 P.M.
[Footnote B: This little, indifferent phrase refers to one of the most shocking and cruel incidents of the colonial history of New York, the result of a delusion "less notorious," says Mr. Hildreth, (Hist, of the United States, ii. 391,) "but not less lamentable, than the Salem witchcraft. The city of New York now contained some seven or eight thousand inhabitants, of whom twelve or fifteen hundred were slaves. Nine fires in rapid succession, most of them, however, merely the burning of chimneys, produced a perfect insanity of terror. An indented servant-woman purchased her liberty and secured a reward of one hundred pounds by pretending to give information of a plot formed by a low tavern-keeper, her master, and three negroes, to burn the city and murder the whites. This story was confirmed and amplified by an Irish prostitute convicted of a robbery, who, to recommend herself to mercy, reluctantly turned informer. Numerous arrests had been already made among the slaves and free blacks. Many others followed. The eight lawyers who then composed the bar of New York all assisted by turns in behalf of the prosecution. The prisoners, who had no counsel, were tried and convicted upon most insufficient evidence. Many confessed to save their lives, and then accused others. Thirteen unhappy convicts were burned at the stake, eighteen were hanged, and seventy-one transported." Such are the panics of a slaveholding community!]
Saturday, 13th. At 5 A.M. weighed from the 2 Brothers and went to York. At 7 anchored off the town. Saluted it with 7 guns. Ship't 7 hands to proceed the voyage.
Sunday, 14th. Between 6 & 7 A.M. came in a brig from Aberdeen with 40 servants,[C] but brings no news.
[Footnote C: At this time much of the agricultural and domestic labor in the colonies, especially south of New England, was performed by indented servants brought from Great Britain, Ireland, and Germany. They were generally an ill-used class. Their services were purchased of the captains who brought them over; the purchaser had a legal property in them during the time they were bound for, could sell or bequeath them, and, like other chattels, they were liable to be seized for debts.]
Thursday, 18th. At 11 A.M. our pilot came on board with 4 of our men that had left us when the Cap'n turned Edward Sampford ashore. At 2 P.M. the Cap'n ordered our gunner to deliver arms to them that had none. 25 hands fitted themselves. Great firing at our buoy, supposing him a Spaniard. I hope to God their courage may be as good, if ever they meet with any.
Saturday, 20th. At 10 A.M. there came in the Squirrel man of war, Cap'n Warren[D] Com'r, from Jamaica, who informed us that Admiral Vernon had taken all the forts at Carthagena except one, and the town.[E] We saluted him with 3 guns, having no more loaded. He returned us one, and we gave three cheers, which were returned by the ship. He further told the Captain, that, if he would come up to York, he would put him on a route which would be of service to his voyage.
[Footnote D: Captain, afterward Sir Peter Warren, was a distinguished naval officer in his day. In 1745 he was made Rear-Admiral for his services at the siege of Louisbourg. He married in New York.]
[Footnote E: The report of the taking of Cartagena was false, and the colonists were greatly disappointed at the failure of Vernon's great enterprise.]
Tuesday, 23d. Wrote a letter, by the Captain's order, to get Davison to go as mate with us. Our Captain went to York to carry it to Capt. Potter. At 3 P.M. came in a sloop from Jamaica, in a 20 days passage, from which we learn that Admiral Vernon's fleet was fitting out for Cuba.[F] I wish them more success than what they got against Carthagena; for by all report they got more blows than honour. At 4 P.M. the Captain returned and brought a hand with him, John Watson, Clerk of a Dutch church.
[Footnote F: Five hundred additional men were sent from Massachusetts to take part in this new expedition. It was a total failure, like the preceding one, and Few of the colonial troops lived to return home.]
Wednesday, 24th. About 10 A.M. the pilot came on board with a message from Capt Freebody, who was returned from Long Island, to agree with a Doctor who had offered to go with us. At 1 P.M. came in a sloop from Jamaica, a prize of Capt Warren, which had formerly been taken by the Spaniards. She belonged to Providence, and had been retaken by the Squirrel. At 6 P.M. Mr. Stone & the Doctor came on board to see the Captain, but, he being at York, they went there to see him.
Thursday, 25th. Nothing remarkable the fore part of the day, but quarreling not worth mentioning. At 1 P.M. a sloop came in from Jamaica, and brought for news that they had spoken an English man of war at Port Marant, by which they had been informed that a fresh war was daily expected; also that the Bay was entirely cut off by the Spaniards. No Doctor as yet, for he that the Captain went to agree with was a drunkard and an extortioner, so we are better without him than with him.
Friday, 26th. The most remarkablest day this great while. All has been peace & quietness. Three ships came down the Narrows, one bound to London, another bound to Newfoundland, & the third to Ireland.
Saturday, 27th. This morning, about 10, the Cap't went to York to take his leave of Cap't Freebody, who was going to Rhode Island. At 2 P.M. he came on board & brought with him 2 bb's of pork. At 3 came in a privateer from Bermudas, Capt Love Com'r, who came here for provisions for himself & his consort, who waited for him there. This day we heard that the two country sloops were expected in by Wednesday next. Lord send it, for we only wait for them in hopes of getting a Doctor & some more hands to make up our complement.
Friday, July 3d. At 5 A.M. we saw three hands who had left us the day before on board the Humming Bird privateer, who had been enticed by some of the owners to leave us by making of them drunk. About 10 we saw their canoe going ashore with our hands in her, also Joseph Ferrow, whom we had brought from Rhode Island, and since given him clothes, but who had entered on board that sloop as boatswain. As soon as they had done watering, and were returning to the ship, we manned our pinnace, and, having boarded their canoe, took our three hands out of her, and brought them and Joseph Ferrow aboard. Some time after, the Humming Bird's canoe coming alongside, Ferrow jumpt into it, and they put off. Our pinnace being hauled up in the tackles, we immediately let her down, but unfortunately the plug was out, and the hands which had jumped into her being raw, she almost filled with water, which caused such confusion that the canoe got on board before we got off. Our hands then went to demand Ferrow, but the privateersmen got out their arms and would not suffer us to board them. At 4 P.M. the Cap' of the little Privateer came on board of us to know the reason of the disturbance between his people and ours. Our Captain told him the reason, and forbid him to carry that fellow away, for, if he did, he might chance to hear of him in the West Indies, &, if he did, he would go 100 leagues to meet him, and take ten for one, and break up his voyage, & send him home to his owners, and give his people a good dressing. (I don't doubt but he'll be as good as his word.) Opened a bbl of bread. Thunder and lightning with a great deal of rain.
Saturday, 4th. This morning, about 5 A.M., came in a ship from Marblehead bound to S'o Carolina. She had lost her main mast, mizzen mast, & fore topmast. In Latitude 35 she met with a hard gale of wind which caused the disaster, and obliged her to put in to New York to refit. About 11 o'clock the Humming Bird weighed anchor for Philadelphia to get hands. At 4 P.M. the Lieu't and 2 sergeants belonging to Capt Rigg's Company came on board to look for some soldiers who were supposed to be on board the Humming Bird, which was lying off Coney Island, but, the wind and tide proving contrary, they were obliged to return. At 6 came in a ship from Lisbon, having made the passage in 6 weeks; also a sloop from Turks Island: both loaded with salt. The ship appearing to be a lofty vessel, our people were panic struck with fear, taking her for a 70 gun ship, and, as we had several deserters from the men at war, they desired the Cap't to hoist the Jack and lower our pennant as a signal for our pinnace, which was then ashore, so that, if she proved to be a man of war, they might get ashore, and clear of the press. But it proved quite the contrary; for the ship & sloop's crew, taking us, by the signal we had made for our pinnace, for a tender of a man of war, laying there to press hands, quitted their vessels and ran ashore, as soon as they saw our pinnace manned, and made for the bushes. At night the Cap' gave the people a pail of punch to recover them of their fright. Thunder & lightning all this day.
Sunday, 5th. At 5 A.M. shipped a hand. Our mate went ashore to get water. About 8 he returned, and informed us that the two country sloops lay at the Hook, and only waited for a pilot to bring them up, which I hope will prove true. We are all tired of staying here. At 2 P.M. weighed anchor and got nearer in shore, out of the current. Rainy, squally, windy weather. Here lie a brig bound to Newfoundland, a ship to Jamaica, and a sloop which at 6 P.M. weighed anchor, bound to Barbadoes, loaded with lumber and horses. This day being a month since we left our commission port, I have set down what quantity of provisions has been expended, viz., 9-1/2 bb's of beef, 1 bb of pork, 14 bb of Bread. Remaining, 49-1/2 bb's of beef, 29 bb's of pork, 40 cwt of bread.
Monday, 6th. About 6 A.M. came in the two Country sloops so long waited for. They were fitted out to take a Spanish privateer that has been cruising on the coast, and has taken several of our English vessels. A ship from Newfoundland also came up, and also the Humming bird privateer, which had been to meet them to get hands. Cap't Langden, Com'r of one of the above sloops, as he came alongside, gave us three cheers, which we returned. The Cap't went up to York to get a Doctor and some hands. One promised to give him an answer the next day. At 10 a hand came on board to list, but went away without signing.
Tuesday, 6th. This morning the Captain went up to York, and at last agreed with a Doctor who had been in the employ of Capt Cunningham, Com'r of one of the Privateer Sloops that came in the day before. His name is William Blake. He is a young gentleman, and well recommended by the Gen'l of York. At 6 P.M. the Captain returned on board, and brought with him a chest of medicines, a Doctor's box which cost 90L York currency; also 10 pistols and cutlasses.
Tuesday, 14th. Weighed about 2 P.M., from the Hook with the wind at W.S.W, with a fresh gale, & by God's leave and under his protection, bound on our cruise against the proud Dons, the Spaniards. The Captain ordered the people a pail of punch to drink to a good voyage. Opened a bb of beef & a tierce of bread. The people were put on allowance for the time, one pound of beef per man & 7 pounds of bread, per week.
Wednesday, 15th. At 3 P.M. set our shrouds up. There was a great, swelling sea. About 5 A.M. saw a sail under our bow, about a league distant. All hands were called upon deck, and got ready to receive her, should she prove an enemy. We fired one of our bow chasers & brought her to, and found that she was a sloop from Nantucket, Russell Master. He said he had met nothing since he had been out, which was 4 days. Our people returned to their statu quo, being all peaceable since they have got a Quartermaster to control them.
Tuesday, 28th. About 5 A.M. spied a sail under our lee bow, bore down on her, and when in gunshot fired one of our bow chasers. She immediately lowered all her sails, & went astern of us. We then ordered the master to send his boat aboard, which he did, and came himself with one hand. Upon examination, we found that she was a sloop belonging to some of the subjects of his Brittanick majesty, & was taken by a Spanish privateer. The sloop had been taken off of Obricock,[G] near N. Carolina, and when taken by us was in Latitude 31 deg. 59' N., Longitude 73 deg. 6' W. The master, when he came aboard, brought three Spanish papers, which he declared to be, the first, a copy of his commission; the second, Instructions what signal to make when arrived at S't Augustine, where she was to be condemned; and the third paper was to let him know what route he was to steer. We sent our Lieu't aboard, who reported that she was loaded with Pork, Beans, Live Hogs, &c., and a horse, & had on board 2 Englishmen; the Master, who is a Frenchman born, but turned Spaniard; 3 Spaniard slaves, & one negro. Upon examination, John Evergin, one of the owners, declared that he had been taken some time in April last by Don Pedro Estrado, Cap't of the privateer that had taken this sloop, & that he forced him to list with them, and to pilot their vessel on the coast of N. Carolina, and that then they took this sloop at Obricock, on July 5'th; also 2 more sloops and a ship loaded with lumber & bound to S'o Carolina; that the Cap't of the privateer put him on board with the French master, and another Englishman, Saml Elderidge, to navigate the vessel to Augustine, and that they were making the best of their way to that place. We sent our Master on board to fetch all the papers & bring the prisoners as above mentioned. At 11 A.M. sent Jeremiah Harman & John Webb with four hands to take care of the prize, the first to be master & the other mate. The Captain gave the master & mate the following orders, viz.,—
[Footnote G: Perhaps a misspelling of Occacoke, an island on the coast of North Carolina.]
On Board the Revenge,
July 28th, 1741.
You, Jeremiah Harman, being appointed Master, & you, John Webb, mate, of a sloop taken by a Spanish privateer some time ago, belonging to some of the subjects of his Brittanick Majesty, and retaken by me by virtue of a commission granted to me by the Hon'ble Ritchard Ward, Esq., Gov'r in chief over Rhode Island & Providence plantations, &c., in New England, I order, that you keep company with my sloop, the Revenge, as long as weather will permit, & if by the Providence of God, by stormy weather, or some unforeseen accident, we should part, I then order you to proceed directly to the island of Providence, one of the Bahamia islands, and there to wait my arrival, and not to embezzle, diminish, waste, sell, or unload any part of her cargo till I am there present, under the penalty of the articles already signed by you. Upon your arrival at Providence, make a just report to his Hon'r the Gov'r of that place of the sloop & cargo, & what is on board, & how we came by her. I am y'rs,
B. NORTON. To Jeremiah Harman, Mas'r & John Webb, mate.
For signal, hoist your Dutch jack at mast head; if we hoist first, you answer us, & do not keep it up long.
Wednesday, 29th. About 4 P.M. saw a sloop. Gave chase, but, the weather being calm, was forced to get out our oars. Fired our bow chase to bring her to; but as the people were in confusion, the ship tacking about, and the night coming on very foggy, we were unable to speak to her. By her course she was bound to the North'd. Lost sight of our prize. The two Englishmen, who were taken prisoners by the Spanish privateer, signed our articles to-day.
Saturday, Aug 1st. The prize still alongside of us. Ordered the Master to send us the negro prisoner, having been informed that he was Cap't of a Comp'y of Indians, mulattoes, and negroes, that was at the retaking of the Fort at St Augustine, which had formerly been taken while under the command of that worthiest G—O—pe,[H] who by his treachery suffered so many brave fellows to be mangled by those barbarians. The negro went under the name of Signior Capitano Francisco. Sent one of the mulattoes in his room on board the prize. Gave the people a pail of punch.