The monotony of their existence is well described:—
"Few incidents chequered the monotony of our existence. 'Who has got a piece of steel in his eye?'—'Who has gone to the hospital?'—'How many came to-day in the carry-all?' were almost the only questions we could ask. A man falling from the new prison, and breaking his bones in a fashion not to be approved, was a conversational godsend. One day the retiring tide left a small box on the sands at the bottom of the house of correction wharf, which was picked up by a convict, and found to contain the bequest of some woman who had 'loved not wisely, but too well,' namely, a pair of new-born infants. In my mind, their fate was happy. If they never knew woman's tenderness, neither did they ever know woman's falsehood. There is less pleasure than pain in this bad world, and the earlier we take leave of it the better."
He complains of due regard not being paid to the cleanliness of the prisoners:—
"A great defect in the police of the house was the want of baths. We were shaved, or rather scraped, but once a week. Washing one's face and hands in ice-cold water of a winter morning, is little better than no ablution at all. The harbour water is interdicted, lest the convicts should swim away, and in the stone-shop there are no conveniences for bathing whatever: they would cost something! In the wool-shop, forty men have one tubful of warm water once a-week. When I say that shirts are worn a week in summer, and (as well as drawers) two or three weeks in winter, it will at once be conceded that some farther provision for personal cleanliness is imperatively demanded. I hope neither this nor any other remark I may think fit to make will be taken as emanating from a fault-finding spirit, since, while I pronounce upon the disease, I suggest the remedy."
Speaking of his companions, he says:—
"I had expected to find myself linked with a band of most outrageous ruffians, but such did not prove to be the case. Few of them were decidedly of a vicious temperament. The great fault with them seemed to be a want of moral knowledge and principle. Were I to commit a theft I should think myself unworthy to live an instant; but some of them spoke of the felonies for which they were adjudged to suffer with as much nonchalance as if they were the every-day business of life, without scruple and without shame. Few of them denied the justice of their sentences; and if they expressed any regret, it was not that they had sinned, but that they had been detected. The duration of the sentence, the time or money lost, the physical suffering, was what filled their estimate of their condition. Many had groans and oaths for a lost dinner, a night in the cells, or a tough piece of work, but none had a tear for the branding infamy of their conviction. Yet some, even of the most hardened, faltered, and spoke with quivering lip and glistening eye, when they thought of their parents, wives, and children. The flinty Horeb of their souls sometimes yielded gushing streams to the force of that appeal. But there were very few who felt any shame on their own account. Their apathy on the point of honour was amazing. A young man, not twenty-five years old, in particular, made his felonies his glory, and boasted that he had been a tenant of half the prisons in the United States. He was sentenced to four years' imprisonment for stealing a great number of pieces of broadcloth, which he unblushingly told me he had lodged in the hands of a receiver of stolen goods, and expected to receive the value at the expiration of his sentence. He relied on the proverbial 'honour among thieves.' That fellow ought to be kept in safe custody the remainder of his natural life."
Certainly those remarks do not argue much for the reformation of the culprit.
By his account, a parsimony in every point appears to be the great desideratum aimed at. Speaking of the chaplain to the institution, he says:—
"Small blame to him; I honour and respect the man, though I laugh at the preacher. And I say, that seven hundred and thirty sermons per annum, for three hundred dollars and a weekly dinner, are quite pork enough for a shilling. No man goeth a warfare on his own charges, and the labourer is worthy of his hire. I do not see how he can justify such wear and tear of his pulmonary leather, for so small a sum, to his conscience. What is a sixpenny razor or a nine-shilling sermon? Neither can be expected to cut—not but his sermons would be very good for the use of glorified saints—but, alas! there are none such in the House of Correction. What is the inspiration of a penny-a-liner? I will suppose that one of the hearers is a sailor, who would relish and appreciate a sausage or a lobscouse. Mr — sets blanc mange before him.—Messrs. of the city government give your chaplain two thousand dollars a-year, so that he may reside in the house of correction, without leaving his family to starvation; let him visit each individual, learn his circumstances and character, and sympathise with him in all his sorrows, and, my word for it, Mr — will have the love and confidence of all. He will be an instrument of great good by his counsel and exhortations. But as for his public preaching, this truly good, pious, and learned man might as well sing psalms to a mad horse. Fishes will not throng to St Anthony, or swine listen to the exorcism of an apostle, in these godless days. If you think he will be overpaid for his services, you may braze the duty of a schoolmaster, who is very much needed, to that of a ghostly adviser.
"Mr — never fails to pray strenuously that the master and officers may be supported and sustained, which has given rise to the following tin-pot epigram:—
"Support the master and the overseers, O Lord! so runs our chaplain's weekly ditty; Unreasonable prayers God never hears, He knows that they're supported by the city."
He complains bitterly of the convicts not being permitted the use of any books but the Bible and temperance Almanac. It is rather strange, but he says that he supposes that a full half of the inmates of the house of correction can neither read nor write.
"Is it pleasant to look back on follies, vices, crimes; presently on blasted hopes, iron bars, and unrequited labour; and forward upon misery, starvation, and a world's scorn? In some degree the malice of this regulation, which ought only to be inscribed on the statute-book of hell, is impotent. The small glimpse of earth, sea, and sky a convict can command, a spider crawling upon the wall, the very corners of his cell, will serve, by a strong effort, for occupation for his thoughts. Read the following tea-pot-graven monologue, written by some mentally-suffering convict, and reflect upon it:—
"Stone walls and iron bars my frame confine, But the full liberty of thought is mine, Sad privilege! the mental glance to cast O'er crimes, o'er follies, and misconduct past. Oh wretched tenant of a guarded cell, Thy very freedom makes thy mind a hell. Come, blessed death; thy grinded dart to me, Shall the bless'd signal of deliverance be; With thy worst agonies were cheaply bought, A last release, a final rest from thought."
"If the pains of a prison be not enough for you, I will teach you a lesson in the art of torture which I learned from our chaplain, or one of his substitutes.—'Make your cells round and smooth; let there be no prominent point for the eye to rest upon, so that it must necessarily turn inward, and I will warrant that you will soon have the pleasure of seeing your victim frantic.' Look well to the temperance trash you physic us with, and you will find, in the Almanac for 1837, a serious attempt to make Napoleon Bonaparte out a drunkard, and to prove that a rum-bottle lost him the battle of Waterloo. The author must himself have been drunk when he wrote it. Are you not ashamed to set such pitiful cant, I will not say such wilful falsehood and slander, before any rational creature? Did you not know that an overcharged gun would knock the musketeer over by its recoil? I do not tell you to give the convicts all and any books they may desire; but pray what harm would an arithmetic do, unless it taught them to refute the statistics of your lying almanac, which gravely advises farmers to feed their hogs with apples, to prevent folks from getting drunk on cider? Why not tell them to feed their cattle with barley and wheat for the same reason? What mind was ever corrupted by Murray's Grammar, or Washington Irving's Columbus? When was ever falsehood the successful pioneer of truth!"
His remarks upon visitors being permitted to see the convicts are good.
"Among the annoyances, which others as well as myself felt most galling, was the frequent intrusion of visitors, who had no object but the gratification of a morbid curiosity. Know all persons, that the most debased convict has human feelings, and does not like to be seen in a parti-coloured jacket. If you want to see any convict for any good reason, ask the master to let you meet him in his office; and even there, you may rely upon it, your visit will be painful enough; to be stared at by the ignorant and the mean with feelings of pity, as if one were some monster of Ind, was intolerable. I hope a certain connexion of mine, who came to see me unasked and unwelcome, and brought a stranger with him to witness my disgrace, may never feel the pain he inflicted on me. To a kind-hearted 'Mac,' who came in a proper and delicate way to comfort when I thought all the world had forsaken me, I tender my most grateful thanks. His kindness shall be remembered by me while memory holds her seat. Let the throng of uninvited fools who swarmed about us, accept the following sally of the house of correction muse, from the pen, or rather the fork, of a fellow convict. It may operate to edification.
"To Our Visitors.
"By gazing at us, sirs, pray what do you mean? Are we the first rascals that ever were seen? Look into your mirrors—perhaps you may find All villains are not in South Boston confined.
"I'm not a wild beast, to be seen for a penny; But a man, as well made and as proper as any; And what we most differ in is, well I wot, That I have my merits, and you have them not.
"I own I'm a drunkard, but much I incline To think that your elbow crooks as often as mine; Ay, breathe in my face, sir, as much as you will— One blast of your breath is as good as a gill.
"How kind was our country to find us a home Where duns cannot plague us, or enemies come! And you from the cup of her kindness may drain A drop so sufficing, you'll not drink again.
"And now that by staring with mouth and eyes open, We have bruised the reeds that already were broken; Go home and, by dint of strict mental inspection, Let each make his own house a house of correction.
"This morceau was signed 'Indignans.'"
The following muster-roll of crime, as he terms it, which he obtained from the master of the prison, is curious, as it exemplifies the excess of intemperance in the United States—bearing in mind that this is the moral state of Massachusetts.
"The whole number of males committed to the house of correction from the time it was opened—July 1st, 1833, to September 1st, 1837,—was 1477. Of this number there were common drunkards 783, or more than one-half.
"The whole amount of females committed to this institution from the time it was opened to Sept 1837, was 869. Of this number there were common drunkards 430, very nearly one-half.
"And of the whole number committed there were—"
+========================+====+==============++ YNatives of MassachusettsY 720YEngland Y 104Y +————————————+——+———————-+——+ YNew Hampshire Y 175YScotland Y 38Y +————————————+——+———————-+——+ YMaine Y 130YIreland Y 839Y +————————————+——+———————-+——+ YVermont Y 17YProvinces Y 69Y +————————————+——+———————-+——+ YRhode Island Y 35YFrance Y 10Y +————————————+——+———————-+——+ YConnecticut Y 28YSpain Y 2Y +————————————+——+———————-+——+ YNew York Y 50YGermany Y 2Y +————————————+——+———————-+——+ YNew Jersey Y 3YHolland Y 2Y +————————————+——+———————-+——+ YPennsylvania Y 28YPoland Y 2Y +————————————+——+———————-+——+ YDelaware Y 6YDenmark Y 2Y +————————————+——+———————-+——+ YMaryland Y 10YPrussia Y 1Y +————————————+——+———————-+——+ YVirginia Y 20YSweden Y 8Y +————————————+——+———————-+——+ YNorth Carolina Y 10YWest Indies Y 12Y +————————————+——+———————-+——+ YSouth Carolina Y 1YCape de Verde Y 1Y +————————————+——+———————-+——+ YGeorgia Y 5YIsland of MaltaY 1Y +————————————+——+———————-+——+ YDistrict of Columbia Y 3YAt Sea Y 7Y +————————————+——+———————-+——+ Y Y YForeigners Y1100Y +————————————+——+———————-+——+ YUnited States Y1241YUnknown Y 5Y +————————————+——+———————-+——+ YMORAL States Y1905Y Y Y +————————————+——+———————-+——+ YOther States Y 236YTotal Y2346Y +==================++============+====+
He sums up as follows:—
"I have nearly finished, but I should not do justice to my subject did I omit to advert to the beggarly catch-penny system on which the whole concern is conducted. The convicts raise pork and vegetables in plenty, but they must not eat thereof; these things must be sent to market to balance the debit side of the prison ledger. The prisoners must catch cold and suffer in the hospital, and the wool and stone shops, because it would cost something to erect comfortable buildings. They must not learn to read and write, lest a cent's worth of their precious time should be lost to the city. They may die and go to hell, and be damned, for a resident physician and chaplain are expensive articles. They may be dirty; baths would cost money, and so would books. I believe the very Bibles and almanacks are the donation of the Bible and Temperance societies. Every thing is managed with an eye to money-making—the comfort or reformation, or salvation, of the prisoners are minor considerations. Whose fault is this?
"The fault, most frugal public, is your own. You like justice, but you do not like to pay for it. You like to see a clean, orderly, well conducted prison, and, as far as your parsimony will permit, such is the house of correction. With all its faults, it is still a valuable institution. It holds all, it harms few, and reforms some. It looks well, for the most has been made of matters. If you would have it perfect you must untie your purse-strings, and you will lose nothing by it in the end."
VOLUME THREE, CHAPTER FORTY.
Isolated as the officers are from the world, (for these forts are far removed from towns or cities,) they contrived to form a society within themselves, having most of them recourse to matrimony, which always gives a man something to do, and acts as a fillip upon his faculties, which might stagnate from such quiet monotony. The society, therefore, at these outposts is small, but very pleasant. All the officers being now educated at West Point, they are mostly very intelligent and well informed, and soldiers' wives are always agreeable women all over the world. The barracks turned out also a very fair show of children upon the green sward. The accommodations are, generally speaking, very good, and when supplies can be received, the living is equally so; when they cannot, it can't be helped, and there is so much money saved. A suttler's store is attached to each outpost, and the prices of the articles are regulated by a committee of officers, and a tax is also levied upon the suttler in proportion to the number of men in the garrison, the proceeds of which are appropriated to the education of the children of the soldiers and the provision of a library and news-room. If the government were to permit officers to remain at any one station for a certain period, much more would be done; but the government is continually shifting them from post to post, and no one will take the trouble to sow when he has no chance of reaping the harvest. Indeed, many of the officers complained that they hardly had time to furnish their apartments in one fort when they were ordered off to another—not only a great inconvenience to them, but a great expense also.
The American army is not a favourite service, and this is not to be wondered at. It is ill-treated in every way; the people have a great dislike to them, which is natural enough in a Democracy; but what is worse, to curry favour with the people, the government very often do not support the officers in the execution of their duty. Their furloughs are very limited, and they have their choice of the outposts, where they live out of the world, or the Florida war, when they go out of it. But the greatest injustice is, that they have no half-pay: if not wishing to be employed they must resign their commissions and live as they can. In this point there is a great partiality shown to the navy, who have such excellent half-pay, although to prevent remarks at such glaring injustice to the other service, another term is given to the naval half-pay, and the naval officers are supposed to be always on service.
The officers of the army are paid a certain sum, and allowed a certain number of rations per month; for instance, a major-general has two hundred dollars per month, and fifteen rations: According to the estimated value of the rations, as given to me by one of the officers, the annual pay of the different grades will be, in our money, nearly as follows:—
+================+====+========+==+ YArmy YpoundsYNavy YpoundsY +—————————+———+————-+———+ YMajor-General Y 850Y Y Y +—————————+———+————-+———+ YBrigadier-General Y 570YSame rankY 960Y +—————————+———+————-+———+ YColonel Y 340YDo. Y 830Y +—————————+———+————-+———+ YLieutenant-ColonelY 280Y Y Y +—————————+———+————-+———+ YMajor Y 225YDo. Y 525Y +—————————+———+————-+———+ YCaptain Y 200YDo. Y 380Y +—————————+———+————-+———+ YFirst Lieutenant Y 150Y Y Y +—————————+———+————-+———+ YSecond Lieutenant Y 140Y Y Y +—————————+———+————-+———+ YCadet Y 90YDo. Y 156Y +==============+==+======+======+
The cavalry officers have a slight increase of pay.
The privates of the American regular army are not the most creditable soldiers in the world; they are chiefly composed of Irish emigrants, Germans, and deserters from the English regiments in Canada. Americans are very rare; only those who can find nothing else to do, and have to choose between enlistment and starvation, will enter into the American army. They do not, however, enlist for longer than three years. There is not much discipline, and occasionally a great deal of insolence, as might be expected from such a collection. Corporal punishment has been abolished in the American army except for desertion; and if ever there was a proof of the necessity of punishment to enforce discipline, it is the many substitutes in lieu of it, to which the officers are compelled to resort—all of them more severe than flogging. The most common is that of loading a man with thirty-six pounds of shot in his knapsack, and making him walk three hours out of four, day and night without intermission, with this weight on his shoulders, for six days and six nights; that is, he is compelled to walk three hours with the weight, and then is suffered to sit down one. Towards the close this punishment becomes very severe; the feet of the men are so sore and swelled, that they cannot move for some days afterwards. I inquired what would be the consequence if a man were to throw down his knapsack and refuse to walk. The commanding-officer of one of the forts replied, that he would be hung up by the thumbs till he fainted—a variety of piquetting. Surely these punishments savour quite as much of severity, and are quite as degrading as flogging.
The pay of an American private is good—fourteen dollars a month, out of which his rations and regimentals take eight dollars, leaving him six dollars a month for pleasure. Deserters are punished by being made to drag a heavy ball and chain after them, which is never removed day or night. If discharged, they are flogged, their heads shaved, and they are drummed out at the point of the bayonet.
From the conversations I have had with many deserters from our army, who were residing in the United States or were in the American service, I am convinced that it would be a very well-judged measure to offer a free pardon to all those who would return to Canada and re-enter the English service. I think that a good effective regiment would soon be collected, and one that you might trust on the frontiers without any fear of their deserting again; and it would have another good effect, that is, that their statements would prevent the desertion of others.
America, and its supposed freedom, is, to the British soldiers, an Utopia in every sense of the word. They revel in the idea; they seek it and it is not to be found. The greatest desertion from the English regiments is among the musicians composing the bands. There are so many theatres in America, and so few musicians, except coloured people, that instrumental performers of all kinds are in great demand. People are sent over to Canada, and the other British provinces to persuade these poor fellows to desert, promising them very large salaries, and pointing out to them the difference between being a gentleman in America and a slave in the English service. The temptation is too strong; they desert; and when they strive, they soon learn the value of the promises made to them, and find how cruelly they have been deceived.
The Florida war has been a source of dreadful vexation and expense to the United States, having already cost them between 20,000,000 and 30,000,000 of dollars, without any apparent prospect of its coming to a satisfactory conclusion. The American government has also very much injured its character, by the treachery and disregard of honour shown by it to the Indians, who have been, most of them, captured under a flag of truce. I have heard so much indignation expressed by the Americans themselves at this conduct that I shall not comment farther upon it. It is the Federal government, and not the officers employed, who must bear the onus. But this war has been mortifying, and even dangerous to the Americans in another point. It has now lasted three years and more. General after general has been superseded, because they have not been able to bring it to a conclusion; and the Indians have proved, to themselves and to the Americans, that they can defy them when they once get them among the swamps and morasses. There has not been one hundred Indians killed, although many of them have been treacherously kidnapped, by a violation of honour; and it is supposed that the United States have already lost one thousand men, if not more, in this protracted conflict.
The aggregate force under General Jessup, in Florida, in November, 1837, was stated to be as follows:—
==========+ YRegulars Y4,637Y +———————- YVolunteersY4,078Y ———————-+ YSeamen Y 100Y +———————- YIndians Y 178Y ———————-+ Y Y8,893Y +============
It is supposed that the number of Indians remaining in Florida do not amount, men, women, and children, to more than 1,500 and General Jessup has declared to the government that the war is impracticable.
Militia.—The return of the militia of the United States, for the year 1837, is as follows:—
The number of Militia in the several states and territories, according to the statement of George Bomford, Colonel of Ordnance, dated 20th November, 1837.
================================================ YStates and TerritoriesYDate of ReturnYNumber of MilitiaY ——————————————————————————- YMaine Y 1836Y 42,468Y ——————————————————————————- YNew Hampshire Y 1836Y 27,473Y ——————————————————————————- YMassachusetts Y 1836Y 44,911Y ——————————————————————————- YLouisiana Y 1830Y 14,808Y ——————————————————————————- YMississippi Y 1830Y 13,724Y ——————————————————————————- YTennessee Y 1830Y 60,982Y ——————————————————————————- YVermont Y 1824Y 25,581Y ——————————————————————————- YRhode Island Y 1832Y 1,377Y ——————————————————————————- YConnecticut Y 1836Y 23,826Y ——————————————————————————- YNew York Y 1836Y 184,728Y ——————————————————————————- YNew Jersey Y 1829Y 39,171Y ——————————————————————————- YPennsylvania Y 1834Y 202,281Y ——————————————————————————- YDelaware Y 1827Y 9,229Y ——————————————————————————- YMaryland Y 1836Y 46,854Y ——————————————————————————- YVirginia Y 1836Y 101,838Y ——————————————————————————- YNorth Carolina Y 1835Y 64,415Y ——————————————————————————- YSouth Carolina Y 1833Y 51,112Y ——————————————————————————- YGeorgia Y 1834Y 48,461Y ——————————————————————————- YAlabama Y 1829Y 14,892Y ——————————————————————————- YKentucky Y 1836Y 71,483Y ——————————————————————————- YOhio Y 1836Y 146,428Y ——————————————————————————- YIndiana Y 1833Y 53,913Y ——————————————————————————- YIllinois Y 1831Y 27,386Y ——————————————————————————- YMissouri Y 1835Y 6,170Y ——————————————————————————- YArkansas Y 1825Y 2,028Y ——————————————————————————- YMichigan Y 1831Y 5,478Y ——————————————————————————- YFlorida Territory Y 1831Y 827Y ——————————————————————————- YWisconsin Territory Y —Y —Y ——————————————————————————- YDistrict of Columbia Y 1832Y 1,249Y ——————————————————————————- Y Y Y 1,333,091Y ============================================
This is an enormous force, but at the commencement of a war not a very effective one. In fact, there is no country in the world so defenceless as the United States, but, once roused up, no country more formidable if any (attempt) is made to invade its territories. At the outbreak of a war, the states have almost everything to provide; and although the Americans are well adapted as materials for soldiers, still they have to be levied and disciplined. At the commencement of hostilities, it is not improbable that a well-organised force of 30,000 men might walk through the whole of the Union, from Maine to Georgia; but it is almost certain that not one man would ever get back again, as by that time the people would have been roused and excited, armed and sufficiently disciplined; and their numbers, independent of their bravery, would overwhelm three or four times the number I have mentioned.
Another point must not pass unnoticed, which is, that in America, the major part of which is still an uncleared country, the system of warfare naturally partakes much of the Indian practices of surprise and ambuscade; and the invaders will always have to labour under the great disadvantage of the Americans having that perfect knowledge of the country which the former have not.
Most of the defeats of the British troops have been occasioned by this advantage on the part of the Americans, added to the impracticability of the country rendering the superior discipline of the British of no avail. Indeed the great advantages of knowing the country were proved by the American attempts to invade Canada during the last war, and which ended in the capitulation of General Hull. In an uncleared country, even where large forces meet, each man, to a certain degree, acts independently, taking his position, perhaps, behind a tree (treeing it, as they term it in America), or any other defence which may offer. Now, it is evident that, skilled as all the Americans are in fire-arms, and generally using rifles, a disciplined English soldier, with his clumsy musket, fights at a disadvantage; and, therefore, with due submission to his Grace, the Duke of Wellington was very wrong when he stated, the other day in the House of Lords, that the militia of Canada should be disbanded, and their place supplied by regular troops from England. The militia of Upper Canada are quite as good men as the Americans, and can meet them after their own fashion. A certain proportion of regulars are advantageous, as they are more steady, and in case of a check can be more depended upon; but it is not once in five times that they will, either in America or Canada, be able to bring their concentrated discipline into play. But if the Americans have not the discipline of our troops, their courage is undoubted, and even upon a clear plain the palm of victory will always be severely disputed. A Vermonter, surprised for a moment at finding himself in a charge of bayonets, with the English troops, eyed his opponents, and said, "Well I calculate my piece of iron is as good as yourn, anyhow," and then rushed to the attack. People who "calculate" in that way are not to be trifled with, as the annals of history fully demonstrate.
A war between America and England is always to be deprecated. Notwithstanding that the countries are severed, still the Americans are our descendants; they speak the same language, and (although they do not readily admit it) still look up to us as their mother country. It is true that this feeling is fast wearing away, but still it is not yet effaced. It is true also that, in their ambition and their covetousness, they would destroy the mutual advantages derived by both countries from our commercial relations, that they might, by manufacturing as well as producing, secure the whole profits to themselves. But they are wrong; for great as America is becoming, the time is not yet arrived when she can compete with English capital, or work for herself without it. But there is another reason why a war between the two countries is so much to be deprecated, which is, that is must ever be a cruel and an irritating war. To attack the Americans by invasion will always be hazardous, and must ultimately prove disastrous. In what manner, then, is England to avenge any aggression that may be committed by the Americans? All she can do is to ravage, burn, and destroy; to carry the horrors of war along their whole extended line of coast, distressing the non-combatants, and wreaking vengeance upon the defenceless.
Dreadful to contemplate as this is, and, even more dreadful the system of stimulating the Indian tribes to join us, adding scalping, and the murdering of women and children, to other horrors, still it is the only method to which England could resort, and, indeed, a method to which she would be warranted to resort, in her own behoof. Moreover, in case of a future war, England must not allow it to be of such short duration as was the last; the Americans must be made to feel it, by its being protracted until their commerce is totally annihilated, and their expenses are increased in proportion with the decrease of their means.
Let it not be supposed that England would harass the coasts of America, or raise the Indian tribes against her, from any feeling of malevolence, or any pleasure in the sufferings which must ensue. It would be from the knowledge of the fact that money is the sinews of war; and consequently that, by obliging the Americans to call out so large a force as she must do to defend her coast and to repel the Indians, she would be put to such an enormous expense, as would be severely felt throughout the Union, and soon incline all parties to a cessation of hostilities. It is to touch their pockets that this plan must and will be resorted to; and a war carried on upon that plan alone, would prove a salutary lesson to a young and too ambitious a people. Let the Americans recollect the madness of joy with which the hats and caps were thrown up in the air at New York, when, even after so short a war with England, they heard that the treaty of peace had been concluded; and that too at a time when England was so occupied in a contest, it may be said, with the whole world, that she could hardly divert a portion of her strength to act against America: then let them reflect how sanguinary, how injurious, a protracted war with England would be, when she could direct her whole force against them. It is, however, useless to ask a people to reflect who are governed and ruled by the portion who will not reflect. The forbearance must be on our part; and, for the sake of humanity, it is to be hoped that we shall be magnanimous enough to forbear, for so long as may be consistent with the maintenance of our national honour.
VOLUME THREE, CHAPTER FORTY ONE.
It may be inferred that I naturally directed my attention to everything connected with the American marine, and circumstances eventually induced me to search much more minutely into particulars than at first I had intended to do.
The present force of the American navy is rated as follows:—
Ships of the Line
+==========++ Yof 120 gunsY 1Y +—————-+—+ Y 80 gunsY 7Y +—————-+—+ Y 74 gunsY 3Y +—————-+—+ YTotal Y11Y +==========+==+
Frigates, 1st Class.
========+ YOf 54 gunsY 1Y +—————— Y44 guns Y14Y ——————+ YTotal Y15Y +========
Frigates, 2nd Class
========+ YOf 30 gunsY2Y +======
========+ YOf 20 gunsY12Y +—————— Y18 guns Y 3Y ——————+ YTotal Y15Y +========
+==========++ YOf 10 guns Y 6Y +—————-+—+ YOthers Y 7Y +—————-+—+ YTotal Y13Y +—————-+—+ YGrand TotalY56Y +==========+==+
Vessels of War of the United States Navy, September 1837.
Ships of the Line
==================================================== YName YRateYWhere built YWhenYWhere employed Y ————————————————-———————————————— YFranklin Y 74YPhiladelphia Y1815YIn ordinary at New York Y ————————————————-———————————————— YWashington Y 74YPortsmouth, NH.Y1816YDo. do. Y ————————————————-———————————————— YColumbus Y 74YWashington Y1819YAt Boston (repaired) Y ————————————————-———————————————— YOhio Y 80YNew York Y1820YDo. do. Y ————————————————-———————————————— YNorth CarolinaY 80YPhiladelphia Y1820YIn commission (Pacific) Y ————————————————-———————————————— YDelaware Y 80YGosport Y1820YAt Norfolk (repaired) Y ————————————————-———————————————— YAlabama Y 80Y Y YOn stocks at Portsmouth, NH.Y ————————————————-———————————————— YVermont Y 80Y Y YDo. at Boston Y ————————————————-———————————————— YVirginia Y 80Y Y YDo. do. Y ————————————————-———————————————— YNew York Y 80Y Y YOn stocks, at Norfolk Y ————————————————-———————————————— YPennsylvania Y 120YPhiladelphia Y1837YAt Philadelphia Y ======================================================
Frigates, 1st Class
====================================================== YName YRateYWhere built YWhenYWhere employed Y ——————-————————————————————————- YIndependence Y 54YBoston Y1814YOn the coast of Brazil Y ——————-————————————————————————- YUnited StatesY 44YPhiladelphiaY1797YIn commission (Mediterranean)Y ——————-————————————————————————- YConstitution Y 44YBoston Y1787YDo. do. Y ——————-————————————————————————- YGuerriere Y 44YPhiladelphiaY1814YIn ordinary at Norfolk Y ——————-————————————————————————- YJava Y 44YBaltimore Y1814YReceiving ship, do. Y ——————-————————————————————————- YPotomac Y 44YWashington Y1821YIn ordinary at do. Y ——————-————————————————————————- YBrandy Wine Y 44YWashington Y1825YDo. do. Y ——————-————————————————————————- YHudson Y 44YPurchased Y1826YReceiving vessel at New York Y ——————-————————————————————————- YColumbia Y 44YWashington Y1836YIn ordinary at Norfolk Y ——————-————————————————————————- YSantee Y 44Y Y YOn stocks, at Portsmouth, NH.Y ——————-————————————————————————- YCumberland Y 44Y Y YDo. at Boston Y ——————-————————————————————————- YSabine Y 44Y Y YDo. at New York Y ——————-————————————————————————- YSavannah Y 44Y Y YDo. do. Y ——————-————————————————————————- YRaritan Y 44Y Y YDo. at Philadelphia Y ——————-————————————————————————- YSt Lawrence Y 44Y Y YDo. at Norfolk Y ======================================================
Frigates, 2nd Class
============================================================ YName YRateYWhere built YWhenYWhere employed Y ——————-——————————-———————————————- YConstellationY 36YBaltimore Y1797YIn commission (West Indies)Y ——————-——————————-———————————————- YMacedonian Y 36YNorfolk (rebuilt)Y1836YReady for sea at Norfolk Y ====================================================
Sloops of War
==================================================== YName YRateYWhere built YWhenYWhere employed Y ————————————————-———————————————- YJohn AdamsY 20YNorfolk (rebuilt) Y1820YReady for sea at New York Y ————————————————-———————————————- YCyane Y 20YBoston (rebuilding)Y Y Y ————————————————-———————————————- YBoston Y 20YBoston Y1825YAt sea Y ————————————————-———————————————- YLexington Y 20YNew York Y1825YAt sea Y ————————————————-———————————————- YVincennes Y 20YNew York Y1826YIn ordinary at Norfolk Y ————————————————-———————————————- YWarren Y 20YBoston Y1826YDo. do. Y ————————————————-———————————————- YNatches Y 20YNorfolk Y1827YIn commission (West Indies)Y ————————————————-———————————————- YFalmouth Y 20YBoston Y1827YAt sea Y ————————————————-———————————————- YFairfield Y 20YNew York Y1828YOn the coast of Brazil Y ————————————————-———————————————- YVandalia Y 20YPhiladelphia Y1828YIn commission (West Indies)Y ————————————————-———————————————- YSt Louis Y 20YWashington Y1828YDo. do. Y ————————————————-———————————————- YConcord Y 20YPortsmouth Y1828YIn commission (West Indies)Y ————————————————-———————————————- YErie Y 18YNew York (rebuilt) Y1820YAt Boston Y ————————————————-———————————————- YOntario Y 18YBaltimore Y1813YAt sea Y ————————————————-———————————————- YPeacock Y 18YNew York Y1813YIn ordinary at Norfolk Y ========================================================
================================================================ YDolphin Y10YPhiladelphiaY1821YOn the Coast of Brazil Y —————————————————————————————————— YGrampus Y10YWashington Y1821YIn commission (West Indies) Y —————————————————————————————————— YShark Y10YWashington Y1821YIn the Mediterranean Y —————————————————————————————————— YEnterprise Y10YNew York Y1831YIn commission (East Indies) Y —————————————————————————————————— YBoxer Y10YBoston Y1731YIn the Pacific Y —————————————————————————————————— YPorpoise Y10YBoston Y1836YAtlantic coast Y —————————————————————————————————— YExperiment Y 4YWashington Y1831YEmployed near New York Y —————————————————————————————————— YFox (hulk) Y 3YPurchased Y1823YAt Baltimore (condemned) Y —————————————————————————————————— YSea Gull (galliot)Y YPurchased Y1823YReceiving vessel at PhiladelphiaY ================================================================
==================================================== YRelief Y YPhiladelphiaY1836Y Y ———————--———————————————————————- YBarque Pioneer Y YBoston Y1836YNew York (nearly ready for sea)Y ———————--———————————————————————- YBarque Consort Y YBoston Y1836Y Y ———————--———————————————————————- YSchooner ActiveY YPurchased Y1837Y Y ==================================================
The ratings of these vessels will, however, very much mislead people as to the real strength of the armament. The 74's and 80's are in weight of broadside equal to most three-decked ships; the first-class frigates are double-banked of the scantling, and carrying the complement of men of our 74's. The sloops are equally powerful in proportion to their ratings, most of them carrying long guns. Although flush vessels, they are little inferior to a 36-gun frigate in scantling, and are much too powerful far any that we have in our service, under the same denomination of rating. All the line-of-battle ships are named after the several states, the frigates after the principal rivers, and the sloops of war after the towns, or cities, and the names are decided by lot.
It is impossible not to be struck with the beautiful architecture in most of these vessels. The Pennsylvania, rated 120 guns, on four decks, carrying 140, is not by any means so perfect as some of the line-of-battle ships.
Note. The following are the dimensions given me of the ship of the line Pennsylvania:—
======================================================== Y YfeetYinchesY ————————————————————————————— YIn extreme length over all Y 237Y Y ————————————————————————————— YBetween the perpendiculars on the lower gun-deckY 220Y Y ————————————————————————————— YLength of keel for tonnage Y 190Y Y ————————————————————————————— YMoulded breadth of beam Y 56Y 9Y ————————————————————————————— Ydo. do. from tonnage Y 57Y 6Y ————————————————————————————— YExtreme breadth of beam outside the wales Y 59Y Y ————————————————————————————— YDepth of lower hold Y 23Y Y ————————————————————————————— YExtreme depth amidships Y 51Y Y ================================================
Burthen 3366 tons, and has ports for 140 guns, all long thirty-two pounders, throwing 2240 pounds of ball at each broadside, or 4480 pounds from the whole.
The Ohio is, as far as I am a judge, the perfection of a ship of the line. But in every class you cannot but admire the superiority of the models and workmanship. The dock-yards in America are small, and not equal at present to what may eventually be required, but they have land to add to them if necessary. There certainly is no necessity for such establishments or such store-houses as we have, as their timber and hemp are at hand when required; but they ate very deficient both in dry and wet docks. Properly speaking, they have no great naval depot. This arises from the jealous feeling existing between the several states. A bill brought into Congress to expend so many thousand dollars upon the dock-yard at Boston, in Massachusetts, would be immediately opposed by the state of New York, and an amendment proposed to transfer the works intended to their dock-yard at Brooklyn. The other states which possess dock-yards would also assert their right, and thus they will all fight for their respective establishments until the bill is lost, and the bone of contention falls to the ground.
+======================================++ YHer mainmast from the step to the truckY 278Y +———————————————————-+——+ YMain yard Y 110Y +———————————————————-+——+ YMain-topsail yard Y 82Y +———————————————————-+——+ YMain-top-gallant yard Y 52Y +———————————————————-+——+ YMain-royal yard Y 36Y +———————————————————-+——+ YSize of lower shrouds Y0 11Y +———————————————————-+——+ YDo. of mainstay Y0 19Y +———————————————————-+——+ YDo. of sheet-cable Y0 25Y +====================================+====+
The sheet-anchor, made at Washington, weighs 11,660 pounds
Main-topsail contains 1,531 yards.
The number of yards of canvass for one suit of sails is 18,341, and for bags, hammocks, boat-sails, awnings, etcetera, 14,624; total 32,965 yards.
The Americans considered that in the Pennsylvania they possessed the largest vessel in the world, but this is a great mistake; one of the Sultan's three-deckers is larger. Below are the dimensions of the Queen, lately launched at Portsmouth
==================================== Y YfeetYinchesY —————————————————-————— YLength on the gun-deck Y 204Y 0Y —————————————————-————— YDo. of keel for tonnage Y 166Y 5.25Y —————————————————-————— YBreadth extreme Y 60Y 0Y —————————————————-————— YDo. for tonnage Y 59Y 2Y —————————————————-————— YDepth in hold Y 23Y 8Y —————————————————-————— YBurden in tons (No. 3,099) Y Y Y —————————————————-————— YExtreme length aloft Y 247Y 6Y —————————————————-————— YExtreme height forward Y 56Y 4Y —————————————————-————— YDo. midships Y 50Y 8Y —————————————————-————— YDo. abaft Y 62Y 6Y —————————————————-————— YLaunching draught of water, forwardY 14Y 1Y —————————————————-————— YDo. abaft Y 19Y 0Y —————————————————-————— YHeight from deck to deck, gun-deck Y 7Y 3Y —————————————————-————— YDo. middle-deck Y 7Y 0Y —————————————————-————— YDo. main-deck Y 7Y 0Y ========================================
Note. There are seven navy yards belonging to, and occupied for the use of the United States, viz.—The navy yard at Portsmouth, NH, is situated on an island, contains fifty-eight acres, cost 5,500 dollars.
The navy yard at Charlestown, near Boston, is situated on the north side of Charles river, contains thirty-four acres, and cost 32,214 dollars.
The navy yard at New York is situated on Long Island, opposite New York, contains forty acres, and cost 40,000 dollars.
The navy yard at Philadelphia is situated on the Delaware river, in the district of Southwark, contains eleven acres to low water mark, and cost 27,000 dollars.
It is remarkable that along the whole of the eastern coast of America, from Halifax in Nova Scotia down to Pensacola in the Gulf of Mexico, there is not one good open harbour. The majority of the American harbours are barred at the entrance, so as to preclude a fleet running out and in to manoeuvre at pleasure; indeed, if the tide does not serve, there are few of them in which a line-of-battle ship, hard pressed, could take refuge. A good spacious harbour, easy of access, like that of Halifax in Nova Scotia, is one of the few advantages, perhaps the only natural advantage, wanting in the United States.
The American navy list is as follows:—
+========================+==+================+==+ YCaptains or Commodores Y 50YPassed MidshipmenY181Y +————————————-+—-+————————-+—-+ YMasters Commandant Y 50YMidshipmen Y227Y +————————————-+—-+————————-+—-+ YLieutenants Y279YSailing-Masters Y 27Y +————————————-+—-+————————-+—-+ YSurgeons Y 50YSail-makers Y 25Y +————————————-+—-+————————-+—-+ YPassed Assistant SurgeonsY 24YBoatswains Y 22Y +————————————-+—-+————————-+—-+ YAssistant Surgeons Y 33YGunners Y 27Y +————————————-+—-+————————-+—-+ YPursers Y 45YCarpenters Y 26Y +————————————-+—-+————————-+—-+ YChaplains Y 9Y Y Y +========================+==+================+==+
The pay of these officers is on the following scale. It must be observed, that they do not use the term "half pay;" but when unemployed the officers are either attached to the various dockyards or on leave. I have reduced the sums paid into English money, that they may be better understood by the reader:
========================================================+ YSenior captain, on service Y960Y +————————————————————————————- YOn leave i.e. half-pay Y730Y ————————————————————————————-+ YCaptains, squadron service Y830Y +————————————————————————————- YNavy Yard and other duty, half pay Y730Y ————————————————————————————-+ YOff duty, ditto Y525Y +————————————————————————————- YCommanders on service Y525Y ————————————————————————————-+ YNavy-yard and other duty, half pay Y440Y +————————————————————————————- YOn leave, ditto Y380Y ————————————————————————————-+ YLieutenants commanding Y380Y +————————————————————————————- YNavy-yard and other duty, half pay Y315Y ————————————————————————————-+ YWaiting orders, ditto Y250Y +————————————————————————————- YSurgeons, according to their length of servitude, fromY210Y ————————————————————————————-+ YTo Y500Y +————————————————————————————- YAnd half pay in proportion Y Y ————————————————————————————-+ YAssistant Surgeons, from Y200Y +————————————————————————————- YTo Y250Y ————————————————————————————-+ YChaplains; sea service Y250Y +————————————————————————————- YOn leave, half pay Y170Y ————————————————————————————-+ YPassed midshipmen, duty Y156Y +————————————————————————————- YWaiting orders, half pay Y125Y ————————————————————————————-+ YMidshipmen; sea service Y 33Y +————————————————————————————- YNavy-yard and other duty, half pay! Y 72Y ————————————————————————————-+ YLeave, ditto! Y 63Y +————————————————————————————- YSailing-masters; ships of the line Y228Y ————————————————————————————-+ YOther duty, half pay Y200Y +————————————————————————————- YLeave, ditto Y156Y ————————————————————————————-+ YBoatswains, carpenters, sailmakers, and gunners Y Y +————————————————————————————- YShips of the line Y156Y ————————————————————————————-+ YFrigate Y125Y +————————————————————————————- YOther duty, half pay Y105Y ————————————————————————————-+ YOn leave, ditto Y 75Y +======================================================
The navy yard at Washington, in the district of Columbia, is situated on the eastern branch of the Potomac, contains thirty-seven acres, and cost 4,000 dollars. In this yard are made all the anchors, cables, blocks, and almost all things requisite for the use of the navy of the United States.
The navy-yard at Portsmouth, near Norfolk in Virginia, is situated on the south branch of Elizabeth river contains sixteen acres, and cost 13,000 dollars.
There is also a navy-yard at Pensacola in Florida, which is merely used for repairing ships on the West India station.
It will be perceived by the above list how very much better all classes in the American service are paid in comparison with those in our service. But let it not be supposed that this liberality is a matter of choice on the part of the American government; on the contrary, it is one of necessity. There never was, nor never will be, anything like liberality under a democratic form of government. The navy is a favourite service, it is true, but the officers of the American navy have not one cent more than they are entitled to, or than they absolutely require. In a country like America, where any one may by industry, in a few years, become an independent, if not a wealthy man, it would be impossible for the government to procure officers if they were not tolerably paid; no parents would permit their children to enter the service unless they were enabled by their allowances to keep up a respectable appearance; and in America everything, to the annuitant or person not making money, but living upon his income, is much dearer than with us. The government, therefore, are obliged to pay them, or young men would not embark in the profession; for it is not in America as it is with us, where every department is filled up, and no room is left for those who would crowd in; so that in the eagerness to obtain respectable employment, emolument becomes a secondary consideration. It may, however, be worth while to put in juxtaposition the half-pay paid to officers of corresponding ranks in the two navies of England and America:
================================================================ YOfficers YAmericaYEnglandY ——————————————————————————-———-———- YHalf-pay post-captains, senior, on leave Y Y Y ——————————————————————————-———-———- Ycorresponding to commodore or rear-admiral in EnglandY 730Y 456Y ——————————————————————————-———-———- YPost captains off duty - that is duty on shore Y 730Y Y ——————————————————————————-———-———- YOn leave Y 525Y 191Y ——————————————————————————-———-———- Ycommanders off sea duty Y 440Y Y ——————————————————————————-———-———- YIn yards and on leave Y 380Y 155Y ——————————————————————————-———-———- YLieutenants, shore duty Y 315Y Y ——————————————————————————-———-———- YWaiting orders or on leave Y 250Y 90Y ——————————————————————————-———-———- YPassed midshipmen, full pay Y 156Y 25Y ——————————————————————————-———-———- YHalf-pay Y 125Y 0Y ——————————————————————————-———-———- YMidshipmen, full pay Y 83Y 25Y ——————————————————————————-———-———- YHalf-pay Y 63Y 0Y ================================================================
My object in making the comparison between the two services is not to gratify an invidious feeling. More expensive as living in America certainly is, still the disproportion is such as must create surprise; and if it requires such a sum for an American officer to support himself in a creditable and gentlemanlike manner, what can be expected from the English officer with his miserable pittance, which is totally inadequate to his rank and station! Notwithstanding which, our officers do keep up their appearance as gentlemen, and those who have no half pay are obliged to support themselves. And I point this out, that when Mr Hume and other gentlemen clamour against the expense of our naval force, they may not be ignorant of one fact, which is, that not only on half-pay, but when on active service, a moiety at least of the expenses necessarily incurred by our officers to support themselves according to their rank, to entertain, and to keep their ships in proper order, is, three times out of four, paid out of their own pockets, or those of their relatives; and that is always done without complaint, as long as they are not checked in their legitimate claims to promotion.
In the course of this employment in the Mediterranean, one of our captains was at Palermo. The American commodore was there at the time, and the latter gave most sumptuous balls and entertainments. Being very intimate with each other, our English captain said to him one day, "I cannot imagine how you can afford to give such parties; I only know that I cannot; my year's pay would be all exhausted in a fortnight." "My dear fellow," replied the American commodore, "do you suppose, that I am so foolish as to go to such an expense, or to spend my pay in this manner; I have nothing to do with them except to give them. My purser provides everything, and keeps a regular account, which I sign as correct, and send home to government, which defrays the whole expenses, under the head of conciliation money." I do not mean to say that this is requisite in our service: but still it is not fair to refuse to provide us with paint and other articles, such as leather, etcetera, necessary to fit out our ships; thus, either compelling us to pay for them out of our own pockets, or allowing the vessels under our command to look like anything but men-of-war, and to be styled, very truly, a disgrace to the service. Yet such is the well-known fact. And I am informed that the reason why our admiralty will not permit these necessary stores to be supplied is that, as one of the lords of the admiralty was known to say, "if we do not provide them, the captains most assuredly will, therefore let us save the government the expense."
During my sojourn in the United States I became acquainted with a large portion of the senior officers of the American navy, and I found them gifted, gentleman-like, and liberal. With them I could converse freely upon all points relative to the last war, and always found them ready to admit all that could be expected. The American naval officers certainly form a strong contrast to the majority of their countrymen, and prove, by their enlightened and liberal ideas, how much the Americans, in general, would be improved if they enjoyed the same means of comparison with other countries which the naval officers, by their profession, have obtained. Their partial successes during the late war were often the theme of discourse, which was conducted with candour and frankness on both sides. No unpleasant feeling was ever excited by any argument with them on the subject, whilst the question, raised amongst their "free and enlightened" brother citizens, who knew nothing of the matter, was certain to bring down upon me such a torrent of bombast, falsehood, and ignorance, as required all my philosophy to submit to with apparent indifference. But I must now take my leave of the American navy, and notice their merchant marine.
Before I went to the United States I was aware that a large proportion of our seamen were in their employ. I knew that the whole line of packets, which is very extensive, was manned by British seamen; but it was not until I arrived in the states that I discovered the real state of the case.
During my occasional residence at New York, I was surprised to find myself so constantly called upon by English seamen, who had served under me in the different ships I had commanded since the peace. Every day seven or eight would come, touch their hats, and remind me in what ships, and in what capacity, they had done their duty. I had frequent conversations with them, and soon discovered that their own expression, "We are all here, sir," was strictly true. To the why and the wherefore, the answer was invariably the same. "Eighteen dollars a-month, sir." Some of them, I recollect, told me that they were going down to New Orleans, because the sickly season was coming on; and that during the time the yellow fever raged they always had a great advance of wages, receiving sometimes as much as thirty dollars per month. I did not attempt to dissuade them from their purpose; they were just as right to risk their lives from contagion at thirty dollars a-month, as to stand and be fired at a shilling a day. The circumstance of so many of my own men being in American ships, and their assertion that there were no other sailors than English at New York, induced me to enter very minutely into my investigation, of which the following are the results:—
The United States, correctly speaking, have no common seamen, or seamen bred up as apprentices before the mast. Indeed a little reflection will show how unlikely it is that they ever should have; for who would submit to such a dog's life (as at the best it is), or what parent would consent that his children should wear out an existence of hardship and dependence at sea, when he could so easily render them independent on shore? The same period of time requisite for a man to learn his duty ay an able seaman, and be qualified for the pittance of eighteen dollars per month, would be sufficient to establish a young man as an independent, or even wealthy, land-owner, factor, or merchant. That there are classes in America who do go to sea is certain, and who and what these are I shall hereafter point out; but it may be positively asserted that, unless by escaping from their parents at an early age, and before their education is complete, they become, as it were, lost, there is in the United States of America hardly an instance of a white boy being sent to sea, to be brought up as a foremast man.
It may be here observed that there is a wide difference in the appearance of an English seaman and a portion of those styling themselves American seamen, who are to be seen at Liverpool and other seaports; tall, weedy, narrow-shouldered, slovenly, yet still athletic men, with their knives worn in a sheath outside of their clothes, and not with a lanyard round them, as is the usual custom of English seamen. There is, I grant, a great difference in their appearance, and it arises from the circumstance of those men having been continually in the trade to New Orleans and the South, where they have picked up the buccaneer airs and customs which are still in existence there; but the fact is, that, though altered also by climate, the majority of them were Englishmen born, who served their first apprenticeship in the coasting trade, but left it at an early age for America. They may be considered as a portion of the emigrants to America, having become in feeling, as well as in other respects, bona fide Americans.
The whole amount of tonnage of the American mercantile manner may be taken, in round numbers, at 2,000,000 tons, which may be subdivided as follows:
======================+ Y YRegisteredY +———————-————— Y YTons Y ———————-—————+ YForeign trade Y 700,000Y +———————-————— YWhale fishery Y 130,000Y ———————-—————+ YEnrolled Y Y +———————-————— YCoasting trade Y 920,000Y ———————-—————+ YSteam Y 150,000Y +———————-————— YCoast FisheriesY 100,000Y ———————-—————+ YTotal Y 2,000,000Y +========================
The American merchant vessels are generally sailed with fewer men than the British calculate five men to one hundred tons, which I believe to be about the just proportion. Mr Carey, in his work, estimates the proportion of seamen in American vessels to be 44 to every one hundred tons, and I shall assume his calculation as correct. The number of men employed in the American mercantile navy will be as follows:—
==================+ Y YMen Y +———————-——— YForeign trade Y30,333Y ———————-———+ YWhale fishery Y 5,000Y +———————-——— YCoasting trade Y39,000Y ———————-———+ YSteam Y 6,500Y +———————-——— YCoast fisheriesY 4,333Y ———————-———+ YTotal Y85,790Y +====================
And now I will submit, from the examinations I have made, the proportions of American and British seamen which are contained in this aggregate of 85,799 men.
In the foreign trade we have to deduct the masters of the ships, the mates, and the boys who are apprenticed to learn their duty, and rise to mates and masters (not to serve before the mast). These I estimate at:—
==============================================+ YMasters Y1,500Y +—————————————————————————- YMates Y3,000Y —————————————————————————-+ YApprentices Y1,500Y +—————————————————————————- YDitto, co'ld men, as cooks, stewards, etceteraY2,000Y —————————————————————————-+ YTotal Y8,000Y +================================================
which, deducted from 30,333, will leave 22,333 seamen in the foreign trade; who, with a slight intermixture of Swedes, Danes, and, more rarely, Americans, may be asserted to be all British seamen.
The next item is that of the men employed in the whale fishery; and, as near as I can ascertain the fact, the proportions are two-thirds Americans to one-third British. The total is 5,633; out of which 3,756 art Americans, and 1,877 British seamen.
The coasting trade employs 39,000 men; but only a small proportion of them can be considered as seamen, as it embraces all the internal river navigation.
The steam navigation employs 6,500 men, of whom of course not one in ten is a seaman.
The fisheries for cod and herring employ about 4,333 men; they are a mixture of Americans, Nova Scotians, and British, but the proportions cannot be ascertained; it is supposed that about one-half are British subjects, i.e. 2,166.
When, therefore, I estimate that the Americans employ at least thirty thousand of our seamen in their service, I do not think, as my subsequent remarks will prove, that I am at all overrating the case.
The questions which are now to be considered are, the nature of the various branches in which the seamen employed in the American marine are engaged, and how far they will be available to America in case of a war.
The coasting trade is chiefly composed of sloops, manned by two or three men and boys. The captain is invariably part, if not whole, owner of the vessel, and those employed are generally his sons, who work for their father, or some emigrant Irishmen, who, after a few months practice, are fully equal to this sort of fresh-water sailing. From the coasting trade, therefore, America would gain no assistance. Indeed, the majority of the coasting trade is so confined to the interior, that it would not receive much check from a war with a foreign country.
The coast fisheries might afford a few seamen, but very few; certainly not the number of men required to man her ships of war. As in the coasting trade, they are mostly owners or partners. In the whale fishery much the same system prevails; it is a common speculation; and the men embarking stipulate for such a proportion of the fish caught as their share of the profits. They are generally well to do, are connected together, and are the least likely of all men to volunteer on board of the American navy. They would speculate in privateers, if they did anything.
From steam navigation, of course, no seamen could be obtained.
Now, as all service is voluntary, it is evident that the only chance America has of manning her navy is from the thirty thousand British seamen in her employ, the other branches of navigation either not producing seamen, or those employed in them being too independent in situation to serve as foremast men. When I was at the different seaports, I made repeated inquiries as to the fact, if ever a lad was sent to sea as foremast-man, and I never could ascertain that it ever was the case. Those who are sent as apprentices, are learning their duty to receive the rating of mates, and ultimately fulfil the office of captains; and it may here be remarked, that many Americans, after serving as captains for a few years, return on shore and become opulent merchants; the knowledge which they have gained during their maritime career proving of the greatest advantage to them. There are a number of free black and coloured lads who are sent to sea, and who, eventually, serve as stewards and cooks; but it must be observed, that the masters and mates are not people who will enter before the mast and submit to the rigorous discipline of a government vessel, and the cooks and stewards are not seamen; so that the whale dependence of the American navy, in case of war, is upon the British seamen who are in her foreign trade and whale fisheries, and in her men-of-war in commission during the peace.
If America brings up none of her people to a seafaring life before the mast, now that her population is upwards of 13,000,000, still less likely was she to have done it when her population was less, and the openings to wealth by other channels were greater: from whence it may be fairly inferred, that, during our continued struggle with France, when America had the carrying trade in her hands, her vessels were chiefly manned by british seamen; and that when the war broke out between the two countries, the same British seamen who were in her employ manned her ships of war and privateers. It may be surmised that British seamen would refuse to be employed against their country. Some might; but there is no character so devoid of principle as the British sailor and soldier. In Dibdin's songs, we certainly have another version, "True to his country and king," etcetera, but I am afraid they do not deserve it: soldiers and sailors are mercenaries; they risk their lives for money; if is their trade to do so; and if they can get higher wages they never consider the justice of the cause, or whom they fight for. Now, America is a country peculiarly favourable for those who have little conscience or reflection; the same language is spoken there; the wages are much higher, spirits are much cheaper, and the fear of dejection or punishment is trifling: nay, there is none; for in five minutes a British seaman may be made a bona fide American citizen, and of course an American seaman. It is not surprising, therefore, that after sailing for years out of the American ports, in American vessels, the men, in case of war, should take the oath and serve. It is necessary for any one wanting to become an American citizen, that he should give notice of his intention; this notice gives him, as soon as he has signed his declaration, all the rights of an American citizen, excepting that of voting at elections, which requires a longer time, as specified in each state. The declaration is as follows:—
"That it is his bona fide intention to become a citizen of the United States, and to renounce forever all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign power, potentate, state, or sovereignty whatever, and particularly to Victoria, the Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, to whom he is now a subject." Having signed this document, and it being publicly registered, he becomes a citizen, and may be sworn to as such by any captain of merchant vessel or man-of-war, if it be required that he should do so.
During the last war with America, the Americans hit upon a very good plan as regarded the English seamen whom they had captured in our vessels. In the daytime the prison doors were shot and the prisoners were harshly treated; but at night, the doors were left open: the consequence was, that the prisoners whom they had taken added to their strength, for the men walked out, and entered on board their men-of-war and privateers.
This fact alone proves that I have not been too severe in my remarks upon the character of the English seamen; and since our seamen prove to be such "Dugald Dalgettys," it is to be hoped that, should we be so unfortunate as again to come in collision with America, the same plan may be adopted in this country.
Now, from the above remarks, three points are clearly deducible:—
1. That America always has obtained, and for a long period to come will obtain, her seamen altogether from Great Britain.
2. That those seamen can be naturalised immediately, and become American seamen by law.
3. That, under present circumstances, England is under the necessity of raising seamen, not only for her own navy, but also for the Americans; and that, in proportion as the commerce and shipping of America shall increase, so will the demand upon us become more onerous; and that should we fail in producing the number of seamen necessary for both services, the Americans will always be full manned, whilst any defalcation must fall upon ourselves.
And it may be added that, in all cases, the Americans have the choice and refusal of our men; and, therefore, they have invariably all the prime and best seamen which we have raised.
The cause of this is as simple as it is notorious; it is the difference between the wages paid in the navies and merchant vessels of the two nations:
================================================+ Y Ypounds shils pounds shilsY +————————————-————————————- YAmerican ships per month Y 3 10Y ————————————-————————————-+ YBritish ships ditto Y2 2 to 2 10 Y +————————————-————————————- YAmerican men-of-war dittoY 2 0Y ————————————-————————————-+ YBritish men-of-war ditto Y 1 14Y +================================================
It will be observed, that in the American men-of-war the able-seaman's pay is only 2 pounds; the consequence is that they remain for months in port without being able to obtain men.
But we must now pass by this cause, and look to the origin of it; or, in other words, how is it that the Americans are able to give such high wages to our seamen as to secure the choice of any number of our best men for their service; and how is it that they can compete with, and even under-bid, our merchant vessels in freight, at the same time that they sail at a greater expense?
This has arisen partly from circumstances, partly from a series of mismanagement on our part, and partly from the fear of impressment. But it is principally to be ascribed to the former peculiarly unscientific mode of calculating the tonnage of our vessels; the error of which system induced the merchants to build their ships so as to evade the heavy channel and river duties; disregarding all the first principles of naval architecture, and considering the sailing properties of vessels as of no consequence.
The fact is, that we over-taxed our shipping.
In order to carry as much freight as possible, and, at the same time, to pay as few of the onerous duties, our mercantile shipping generally assumed more the form of floating bores of merchandise than sailing vessels; and by the false method of measuring the tonnage, they were enabled to carry 600 tons, when, by measurement, they were only taxed as being of the burden of 400 tons: but every increase of tonnage thus surreptitiously obtained, was accompanied with a decrease in the sailing properties of the vessels. Circumstances, however, rendered this of less importance during the war, as few vessels ran without the protection of a convoy; and it must be also observed, that vessels being employed in one trade only, such as the West India, Canada, Mediterranean, etcetera, their voyages during the year were limited, and they were for a certain portion of the year unemployed.
During the war the fear of impressment was certainly a strong inducement to our seamen to enter into the American vessels, and naturalise themselves as American subjects; but they were also stimulated even at that period, by the higher wages, as they still are now that the dread of impressment no longer operates upon them.
It appears, then, that from various causes, our merchant vessels have lost their sailing properties, whilst the Americans are the fastest sailers in the world; and it is for that reason, and no other, that, although sailing at a much greater expense, the Americans can afford to outbid us, and take all our best seamen.
An American vessel is in no particular trade, but ready and willing to take freight anywhere when offered. She sails so fast that she can make three voyages whilst one of our vessels can make but two: consequently she has the preference, as being the better manned, and giving the quickest return to the merchant; and as she receives three freights whilst the English vessel receives only two, it is clear that the extra freight wilt more than compensate for the extra expense the vessel sails at in consequence of paying extra wages to the seamen. Add to this, that the captains, generally speaking, being better paid, are better informed, and more active men; that, from having all the picked seamen, they get through their work with fewer hands; that the activity on board is followed up and supported by an equal activity on the part of the agents and factors on shore—and you have the true cause why America can afford to pay and secure for herself all our best seamen.
One thing is evident, that it is a mere question of pounds, shillings, and pence, between us and America, and that the same men who are now in the American service would, if our wages were higher than those offered by America, immediately return to us and leave her destitute.
That it would be worth the while of this country, in case of a war with the United States, to offer 4 pounds a-head to able seamen, is most certain. It would swell the naval estimates, but it would shorten the duration of the war, and in the end would probably be the saving of many millions. But the question is, cannot and ought not something to be done, now in time of peace, to relieve our mercantile shipping interest, and hold out a bounty for a return to those true principles of naval architecture, the deviation from which has proved to be attended with such serious consequences.
Fast-sailing vessels will always be able to pay higher wages than others, as what they lose in increase of daily expense, they will gain by the short time in which the voyage is accomplished; but it is by encouragement alone that we can expect that the change will take place. Surely some of the onerous duties imposed by the Trinity House might be removed, not from the present class of vessels, but from those built hereafter with first-rate sailing properties. These, however, are points which call for a much fuller investigation than I can here afford them; but they are of vital importance to our maritime superiority, and as such should be immediately considered by the government of Great Britain.
VOLUME THREE, CHAPTER FORTY TWO.
It had always appeared to me as singular that the Americans, at the time of their Declaration of Independence, took no measures for the gradual, if not immediate, extinction of slavery; that at the very time they were offering up thanks for having successfully struggled for their own emancipation from what they considered foreign bondage, their gratitude for their liberation did not induce them to break the chains of those whom they themselves held in captivity. It is useless for them to exclaim, as they now do, that it was England who left them slavery as a curse and reproach us as having originally introduced the system among them. Admitting, as is the fact, that slavery did commence when the colonies were subject to the mother country admitting that the petitions for its discontinuance were disregarded, still there was nothing to prevent immediate manumission at the time of the acknowledgement of their independence by Great Britain. They had then everything to recommence they had to select a new form of government, and to decide upon new laws; they pronounced, in their declaration, that "all men were equal;" and yet, in the face of this declaration, and their solemn invocation to the Deity, the negroes, in their fetters, pleaded to them in vain.
I had always thought that this sad omission, which has left such an anomaly in the Declaration of Independence as to have made it the taunt and reproach of the Americans by the whole civilised world, did really arise from forgetfulness; that, as is but too often the case, when we are ourselves made happy, the Americans in their joy at their own deliverance from the foreign yoke, and the repossessing themselves of their own rights, had been too much engrossed to occupy themselves with the undeniable claims of others. But I was mistaken; such was not the case, as I shall presently show.
In the course of one of my sojourns in Philadelphia, Mr Vaughan, of the Athenium of that city, stated to me that he had found the original draft of the Declaration of Independence, in the hand-writing of Mr Jefferson, and that it was curious to remark the alterations which had been made previous to the adoption of the manifesto which was afterwards promulgated. It was to Jefferson, Adams, and Franklin, that was entrusted the primary drawing up of this important document, which was then submitted to others, and ultimately to the Convention, for approval and it appears that the question of slavery had NOT been overlooked when the document was first framed, as the following clause, inserted in the original draft by Mr Jefferson, (but expunged when it was laid before the Convention,) will sufficiently prove. After enumerating the grounds upon which they threw off their allegiance to the king of England, the Declaration continued in Jefferson's nervous style:
"He [the king] has waged cruel war against human nature itself, violating its most sacred rights of life and liberty, in the person of a distant people who never offended him; captivating and carrying them into slavery, in another hemisphere, or to incur miserable death in their transportation thither. This piratical warfare, the opprobrium of infidel powers, is the warfare of the Christian king of Great Britain, determined to keep open a market where men should be bought and sold; he has prostituted his negative for suppressing every legislative attempt to prohibit or restrain this execrable commerce; and that this assemblage of horrors might want no fact of distinguished dye, he is now exciting these very people to rise in arms among us, and to purchase that liberty of which he has deprived them, by murdering the people upon whom he also obtruded them; thus paying off former crimes committed against the liberties of one people, with crimes which he urges them to commit against the lives of another."
Such was the paragraph which had been inserted by Jefferson, in the virulence of his democracy, and his desire to hold up to detestation the king of Great Britain. Such was at that time, unfortunately, the truth; and had the paragraph remained, and at the same time emancipation been given to the slaves, it would have been a lasting stigma upon George the Third. But the paragraph was expunged; and why I because they could not hold up to public indignation the sovereign whom they had abjured, without reminding the world that slavery still existed in a community which had declared that "all men were equal;" and that if, in a monarch, they had stigmatised it as "violating the most sacred rights of life and liberty," and "waging cruel war against human nature," they could not have afterward been so barefaced and unblushing as to continue a system which was at variance with every principle which they professed.
Note. Miss Martineau, in her admiration of democracy, says, that, in the formation of the government, "The rule by which they worked was no less than the golden one, which seems to have been, by some unlucky chance, omitted in the Bibles of other statesmen, 'Do unto others as ye would that they should do unto you'" I am afraid the American Bible, by some unlucky chance, has also omitted that precept.
It does, however, satisfactorily prove, that the question of slavery was not overlooked; on the contrary, their determination to take advantage of the system was deliberate, and, there can be no doubt, well considered—the very omission of the paragraph proves it. I mention these facts to show that the Americans have no right to revile us on being the cause of slavery in America. They had the means, and were bound, as honourable men, to act up to their declaration but they entered into the question, they decided otherwise, and decided that they would retain their ill-acquired property at the expense of their principles.
The degrees of slavery in America are as various in their intensity as are the communities composing the Union. They may, however, be divided with great propriety under two general heads—eastern and western slavery. By eastern slavery, I refer to that in the slave states bordering on the Atlantic, and those slave states on the other side of the Alleghany mountains, which may be more directly considered as their colonies, viz, in the first instance, Maryland, Delaware, Virginia, North and South Carolina; and, secondly, Kentucky and Tennessee. We have been accustomed lately to class the slaves as non-predial and predial,—that is, those who are domestic, and those who work on the plantations. This classification is not correct, if it is intended to distinguish between those who are well, and those who are badly treated. The true line to be drawn is between those who work separately, and those who are worked in a gang and superintended by an overseer. This is fully exemplified in the United States, where it will be found that in all states where they are worked in gangs the slaves are harshly treated, while in the others their labour is light.
Now, with the exception of the rice grounds in South Carolina, the eastern states are growers of corn, hemp, and tobacco; but their chief staple is the breeding of horses, mules, horned cattle, and other stock: the largest portion of these states remain in wild luxuriant pasture, more especially in Virginia, Kentucky, and Tennessee, either of which states is larger than the other four mentioned.
The proportion of slaves required for the cultivation of the purely agricultural and chiefly grazing farms or plantations in these states is small, fifteen or twenty being sufficient for a farm of two hundred or three hundred acres; and their labour, which is mostly confined to tending stock, is not only very light, but of the quality most agreeable to the negro. Half the day you will see him on horseback with his legs idly swinging—as he goes along, or seated on a shaft-horse driving his wagons. He is quite in his glory; nothing delights a negro so much as riding or driving, particularly when he has a whole team under his control. He takes his wagon for a load of corn to feed the hogs, sits on the edge of the shaft as he tosses the cobs to the grunting multitude, whom he addresses in the most intimate terms; in short, everything is done leisurely, after his own fashion.
In these grazing states, as they may very properly be called, the negroes are well fed; they refuse beef and mutton, and will have nothing but pork; and are, without exception, the fattest and most saucy fellows I ever met with in a state of bondage; and such may be said generally to be the case with all the negroes in the eastern states which I have mentioned. The rice grounds in South Carolina are unhealthy, but the slaves are very kindly treated. But the facts speak for themselves. When the negro works in a gang with the whip over him, he may be overworked and ill-treated; but when he is not regularly watched, he will take very good care that the work he performs shall not injure his constitution.
It has been asserted, and generally credited, that in the eastern states negroes are regularly bred up like the cattle for the western market. That the Virginians, and the inhabitants of the other eastern slave states, do sell negroes which are taken to the west, there is no doubt; but that the negroes are bred expressly for that purpose, is, as regards the majority of the proprietors, far from the fact: it is the effect of circumstances, over which they have had no control. Virginia, when first settled, was one of the richest states, but, by continually cropping the land without manuring it, and that for nearly two hundred years, the major portion of many valuable estates has become barren, and the land is no longer under cultivation; in consequence of this, the negroes, (increasing so rapidly as they do in that country.) so far from being profitable, have become a serious task upon their masters, who have to rear and maintain, without having any employment to give them. The small portion of the estates under cultivation will subsist only a certain portion of the negroes; the remainder must, therefore, be disposed of, or they would eat their master out of his home. That the slaves are not willingly disposed of by many of the proprietors I am certain, particularly when it is known, that they are purchased for the west. I know of many instances of this, and wins informed of others; and by wills, especially, slaves have been directed to be sold for two-thirds of the price which they would fetch for the western market, on condition that they were not to leave the state. These facts establish two points, viz, that the slaves in the eastern states is well treated, and that in the western states slavery still exists with all its horrors. The common threat to, and ultimate punishment of, a refractory and disobedient slave in the east, is to sell, him for the western market. Many slave proprietors, whose estates have been worn out in the east, have preferred migrating to the west with their slaves rather than sell them, and thus is the severity of the western treatment occasionally and partially mitigated.