It was not considered ominous when, in 1838, the Admiralty had requested proposals for a steam service to America. This demand was prompted by the voyages of the Sirius and Great Western, wooden-hulled sidewheelers which thrashed along at ten knots' speed and crossed the Atlantic in fourteen to seventeen days. This was a much faster rate than the average time of the Yankee packets, but America was unperturbed and showed no interest in steam. In 1839 the British Government awarded an Atlantic mail contract, with an annual subsidy of $425,000 to Samuel Cunard and his associates, and thereby created the most famous of the Atlantic steamship companies.
Four of these liners began running in 1840—an event which foretold the doom of the packet fleets, though the warning was almost unheeded in New York and Boston. Four years later Enoch Train was establishing a new packet line to Liverpool with the largest, finest ships built up to that time, the Washington Irving, Anglo-American, Ocean Monarch, Anglo-Saxon, and Daniel Webster. Other prominent shipping houses were expanding their service and were launching noble packets until 1853. Meanwhile the Cunard steamers were increasing in size and speed, and the service was no longer an experiment.
American capital now began to awaken from its dreams, and Edward K. Collins, managing owner of the Dramatic line of packets, determined to challenge the Cunarders at their own game. Aided by the Government to the extent of $385,000 a year as subsidy, he put afloat the four magnificent steamers, Atlantic, Pacific, Baltic, and Arctic, which were a day faster than the Cunarders in crossing, and reduced the voyage to nine and ten days. The Collins line, so auspiciously begun in 1850, and promising to give the United States the supremacy in steam which it had won under sail, was singularly unfortunate and short-lived. The Arctic and the Pacific were lost at sea, and Congress withdrew its financial support after five years. Deprived of this aid, Mr. Collins was unable to keep the enterprise afloat in competition with the subsidized Cunard fleet. In this manner and with little further effort by American interests to compete for the prize, the dominion of the Atlantic passed into British hands.
The packet ships had held on too long. It had been a stirring episode for the passengers to cheer in mid-ocean when the lofty pyramids of canvas swept grandly by some wallowing steamer and left her far astern, but in the fifties this gallant picture became less frequent, and a sooty banner of smoke on the horizon proclaimed the new era and the obliteration of all the rushing life and beauty of the tall ship under sail. Slow to realize and acknowledge defeat, persisting after the steamers were capturing the cabin passenger and express freight traffic, the American ship-owners could not visualize this profound transformation. Their majestic clippers still surpassed all rivals in the East India and China trade and were racing around the Horn, making new records for speed and winning fresh nautical triumphs for the Stars and Stripes.
This reluctance to change the industrial and commercial habits of generations of American shipowners was one of several causes for the decadence which was hastened by the Civil War. For once the astute American was caught napping by his British cousin, who was swayed by no sentimental values and showed greater adaptability in adopting the iron steamer with the screw propeller as the inevitable successor of the wooden ship with arching topsails.
The golden age of the American merchant marine was that of the square-rigged ship, intricate, capricious, and feminine in her beauty, with forty nimble seamen in the forecastle, not that of the metal trough with an engine in the middle and mechanics sweating in her depths. When the Atlantic packet was compelled to abdicate, it was the beginning of the end. After all, her master was the fickle wind, for a slashing outward passage might be followed by weeks of beating home to the westward. Steadily forging ahead to the beat of her paddles or the thrash of her screw, the steamer even of that day was far more dependable than the sailing vessel. The Lightning clipper might run a hundred miles farther in twenty-four hours than ever a steamer had done, but she could not maintain this meteoric burst of speed. Upon the heaving surface of the Western Ocean there was enacted over again the fable of the hare and the tortoise.
Most of the famous chanteys were born in the packet service and shouted as working choruses by the tars of this Western Ocean before the chanteyman perched upon a capstan and led the refrain in the clipper trade. You will find their origin unmistakable in such lines as these:
As I was a-walking down Rotherhite Street, 'Way, ho, blow the man down; A pretty young creature I chanced for to meet, Give me some time to blow the man down. Soon we'll be in London City, Blow, boys, blow, And see the gals all dressed so pretty, Blow, my bully boys, blow.
Haunting melodies, folk-song as truly as that of the plantation negro, they vanished from the sea with a breed of men who, for all their faults, possessed the valor of the Viking and the fortitude of the Spartan. Outcasts ashore—which meant to them only the dance halls of Cherry Street and the grog-shops of Ratcliffe Road—they had virtues that were as great as their failings. Across the intervening years, with a pathos indefinable, come the lovely strains of
Shenandoah, I'll ne'er forget you, Away, ye rolling river, Till the day I die I'll love you ever, Ah, ha, we're bound away.
CHAPTER IX. THE STATELY CLIPPER AND HER GLORY
The American clipper ship was the result of an evolution which can be traced back to the swift privateers which were built during the War of 1812. In this type of vessel the shipyards of Chesapeake Bay excelled and their handiwork was known as the "Baltimore clipper," the name suggested by the old English verb which Dryden uses to describe the flight of the falcon that "clips it down the wind." The essential difference between the clipper ship and other kinds of merchant craft was that speed and not capacity became the chief consideration. This was a radical departure for large vessels, which in all maritime history had been designed with an eye to the number of tons they were able to carry. More finely molded lines had hitherto been found only in the much smaller French lugger, the Mediterranean galley, the American schooner.
To borrow the lines of these fleet and graceful models and apply them to the design of a deepwater ship was a bold conception. It was first attempted by Isaac McKim, a Baltimore merchant, who ordered his builders in 1832 to reproduce as closely as possible the superior sailing qualities of the renowned clipper brigs and schooners of their own port. The result was the Ann McKim, of nearly five hundred tons, the first Yankee clipper ship, and distinguished as such by her long, easy water-lines, low free-board, and raking stem. She was built and finished without regard to cost, copper-sheathed, the decks gleaming with brasswork and mahogany fittings. But though she was a very fast and handsome ship and the pride of her owner, the Ann McKim could stow so little cargo that shipping men regarded her as unprofitable and swore by their full-bodied vessels a few years longer.
That the Ann McKim, however, influenced the ideas of the most progressive builders is very probable, for she was later owned by the New York firm of Howland and Aspinwall, who placed an order for the first extremely sharp clipper ship of the era. This vessel, the Rainbow, was designed by John W. Griffeths, a marine architect, who was a pioneer in that he studied shipbuilding as a science instead of working by rule-of-thumb. The Rainbow, which created a sensation while on the stocks because of her concave or hollowed lines forward, which defied all tradition and practice, was launched in 1845. She was a more radical innovation than the Ann McKim but a successful one, for on her second voyage to China the Rainbow went out against the northeast monsoon in ninety-two days and came home in eighty-eight, a record which few ships were able to better. Her commander, Captain John Land, declared her to be the fastest ship in the world and there were none to dispute him.
Even the Rainbow however, was eclipsed when not long afterward Howland and Aspinwall, now converted to the clipper, ordered the Sea Witch to be built for Captain Bob Waterman. Among all the splendid skippers of the time he was the most dashing figure. About his briny memory cluster a hundred yarns, some of them true, others legendary. It has been argued that the speed of the clippers was due more to the men who commanded them than to their hulls and rigging, and to support the theory the career of Captain Bob Waterman is quoted. He was first known to fame in the old Natchez, which was not a clipper at all and was even rated as slow while carrying cotton from New Orleans to New York. But Captain Bob took this full-pooped old packet ship around the Horn and employed her in the China tea trade. The voyages which he made in her were all fast, and he crowned them with the amazing run of seventy-eight days from Canton to New York, just one day behind the swiftest clipper passage ever sailed and which he himself performed in the Sea Witch. Incredulous mariners simply could not explain this feat of the Natchez and suggested that Bob Waterman must have brought the old hooker home by some new route of his own discovery.
Captain Bob had won a reputation for discipline as the mate of a Black Ball liner, a rough school, and he was not a mild man. Ashore his personality was said to have been a most attractive one, but there is no doubt that afloat he worked the very souls out of his sailors. The rumors that he frightfully abused them were not current, however, until he took the Sea Witch and showed the world the fastest ship under canvas. Low in the water, with black hull and gilded figurehead, she seemed too small to support her prodigious cloud of sail. For her there were to be no leisurely voyages with Captain Bob Waterman on the quarter-deck. Home from Canton she sped in seventy-seven days and then in seventy-nine—records which were never surpassed.
With what consummate skill and daring this master mariner drove his ship and how the race of hardy sailors to which he belonged compared with those of other nations may be descried in the log of another of them, Captain Philip Dumaresq, homeward bound from China in 1849 in the clipper Great Britain. Three weeks out from Java Head she had overtaken and passed seven ships heading the same way, and then she began to rush by them in one gale after another. Her log records her exploits in such entries as these: "Passed a ship under double reefs, we with our royals and studdingsails set.... Passed a ship laying-to under a close-reefed maintopsail.... Split all three topsails and had to heave to.... Seven vessels in sight and we outsail all of them.... Under double-reefed topsails passed several vessels hove-to." Much the same record might be read in the log of the medium clipper Florence—and it is the same story of carrying sail superbly on a ship which had been built to stand up under it: "Passed two barks under reefed courses and close-reefed topsails standing the same way, we with royals and topgallant studding-sails," or "Passed a ship under topsails, we with our royals set." For eleven weeks "the topsail halliards were started only once, to take in a single reef for a few hours." It is not surprising, therefore, to learn that, seventeen days out from Shanghai, the Florence exchanged signals with the English ship John Hagerman, which had sailed thirteen days before her.
Two notable events in the history of the nineteenth century occurred within the same year, 1849, to open new fields of trade to the Yankee clipper. One of these was the repeal of the British Navigation Laws which had given English ships a monopoly of the trade between London and the British East Indies, and the other was the discovery of gold in California. After centuries of pomp and power, the great East India Company had been deprived of its last exclusive rights afloat in 1833. Its ponderous, frigate-built merchantmen ceased to dominate the British commerce with China and India and were sold or broken up. All British ships were now free to engage in this trade, but the spirit and customs of the old regime still strongly survived. Flying the house-flags of private owners, the East Indiamen and China tea ships were still built and manned like frigates, slow, comfortable, snugging down for the night under reduced sail. There was no competition to arouse them until the last barrier of the Navigation Laws was let down and they had to meet the Yankee clipper with the tea trade as the huge stake.
Then at last it was farewell to the gallant old Indianian and her ornate, dignified prestige. With a sigh the London Times confessed: "We must run a race with our gigantic and unshackled rival. We must set our long-practised skill, our steady industry, and our dogged determination against his youth, ingenuity, and ardor. Let our shipbuilders and employers take warning in time. There will always be an abundant supply of vessels good enough and fast enough for short voyages. But we want fast vessels for the long voyages which otherwise will fall into American hands."
Before English merchants could prepare themselves for these new conditions, the American clipper Oriental was loading in 1850 at Hong Kong with tea for the London market. Because of her reputation for speed, she received freightage of six pounds sterling per ton while British ships rode at anchor with empty holds or were glad to sail at three pounds ten per ton. Captain Theodore Palmer delivered his sixteen hundred tons of tea in the West India Docks, London, after a crack passage of ninety-one days which had never been equaled. His clipper earned $48,000, or two-thirds of what it had cost to build her. Her arrival in London created a profound impression. The port had seen nothing like her for power and speed; her skysail yards soared far above the other shipping; the cut of her snowy canvas was faultless; all clumsy, needless tophamper had been done away with; and she appeared to be the last word in design and construction, as lean and fine and spirited as a race-horse in training.
This new competition dismayed British shipping until it could rally and fight with similar weapons The technical journal, Naval Science, acknowledged that the tea trade of the London markets had passed almost out of the hands of the English ship-owner, and that British vessels, well-manned and well-found, were known to lie for weeks in the harbor of Foo-chow, waiting for a cargo and seeing American clippers come in, load, and sail immediately with full cargoes at a higher freight than they could command. Even the Government viewed the loss of trade with concern and sent admiralty draftsmen to copy the lines of the Oriental and Challenge while they were in drydock.
British clippers were soon afloat, somewhat different in model from the Yankee ships, but very fast and able, and racing them in the tea trade until the Civil War. With them it was often nip and tuck, as in the contest between the English Lord of the Isles and the American clipper bark Maury in 1856. The prize was a premium of one pound per ton for the first ship to reach London with tea of the new crop. The Lord of the Isles finished loading and sailed four days ahead of the Maury, and after thirteen thousand miles of ocean they passed Gravesend within ten minutes of each other. The British skipper, having the smartest tug and getting his ship first into dock, won the honors. In a similar race between the American Sea Serpent and the English Crest of the Wave, both ships arrived off the Isle of Wight on the same day. It was a notable fact that the Lord of the Isles was the first tea clipper built of iron at a date when the use of this stubborn material was not yet thought of by the men who constructed the splendid wooden ships of America.
For the peculiar requirements of the tea trade, English maritime talent was quick to perfect a clipper type which, smaller than the great Yankee skysail-yarder, was nevertheless most admirable for its beauty and performance. On both sides of the Atlantic partizans hotly championed their respective fleets. In 1852 the American Navigation Club, organized by Boston merchants and owners, challenged the shipbuilders of Great Britain to race from a port in England to a port in China and return, for a stake of $50,000 a side, ships to be not under eight hundred nor over twelve hundred tons American register. The challenge was aimed at the Stornaway and the Chrysolite, the two clippers that were known to be the fastest ships under the British flag. Though this sporting defiance caused lively discussion, nothing came of it, and it was with a spirit even keener that Sampson and Tappan of Boston offered to match their Nightingale for the same amount against any clipper afloat, British or American.
In spite of the fact that Yankee enterprise had set the pace in the tea trade, within a few years after 1850 England had so successfully mastered the art of building these smaller clippers that the honors were fairly divided. The American owners were diverting their energies to the more lucrative trade in larger ships sailing around the Horn to San Francisco, a long road which, as a coastwise voyage, was forbidden to foreign vessels under the navigation laws. After the Civil War the fastest tea clippers flew the British flag and into the seventies they survived the competition of steam, racing among themselves for the premiums awarded to the quickest dispatch. No more of these beautiful vessels were launched after 1869, and one by one they vanished into other trades, overtaken by the same fate which had befallen the Atlantic packet and conquered by the cargo steamers which filed through the Suez Canal.
Until 1848 San Francisco had been a drowsy little Mexican trading-post, a huddle of adobe huts and sheds where American ships collected hides—vividly described in Two Years Before the Mast—or a whaler called for wood and water. During the year preceding the frenzied migration of the modern Argonauts, only two merchant ships, one bark and one brig, sailed in through the Golden Gate. In the twelve months following, 775 vessels cleared from Atlantic ports for San Francisco, besides the rush from other countries, and nearly fifty thousand passengers scrambled ashore to dig for gold. Crews deserted their ships, leaving them unable to go to sea again for lack of men, and in consequence a hundred of them were used as storehouses, hotels, and hospitals, or else rotted at their moorings. Sailors by hundreds jumped from the forecastle without waiting to stow the sails or receive their wages. Though offered as much as two hundred dollars a month to sign again, they jeered at the notion. Of this great fleet at San Francisco in 1849, it was a lucky ship that ever left the harbor again.
It seemed as if the whole world were bound to California and almost overnight there was created the wildest, most extravagant demand for transportation known to history. A clipper costing $70,000 could pay for herself in one voyage, with freights at sixty dollars a ton. This gold stampede might last but a little while. To take instant advantage of it was the thing. The fastest ships, and as many of them as could be built, would skim the cream of it. This explains the brief and illustrious era of the California clipper, one hundred and sixty of which were launched from 1850 to 1854. The shipyards of New York and Boston were crowded with them, and they graced the keel blocks of the historic old ports of New England—Medford, Mystic, Newburyport, Portsmouth, Portland, Rockland, and Bath—wherever the timber and the shipwrights could be assembled.
Until that time there had been few ships afloat as large as a thousand tons. These were of a new type, rapidly increased to fifteen hundred, two thousand tons, and over. They presented new and difficult problems in spars and rigging able to withstand the strain of immense areas of canvas which climbed two hundred feet to the skysail pole and which, with lower studdingsails set, spread one hundred and sixty feet from boom-end to boom-end. There had to be the strength to battle with the furious tempests of Cape Horn and at the same time the driving power to sweep before the sweet and steadfast tradewinds. Such a queenly clipper was the Flying Cloud, the achievement of that master builder, Donald McKay, which sailed from New York to San Francisco in eighty-nine days, with Captain Josiah Creesy in command. This record was never lowered and was equaled only twice—by the Flying Cloud herself and by the Andrew Jackson nine years later. It was during this memorable voyage that the Flying Cloud sailed 1256 miles in four days while steering to the northward under topgallantsails after rounding Cape Horn. This was a rate of speed which, if sustained, would have carried her from New York to Queenstown in eight days and seventeen hours. This speedy passage was made in 1851, and only two years earlier the record for the same voyage of fifteen thousand miles had been one hundred and twenty days, by the clipper Memnon.
Donald McKay now resolved to build a ship larger and faster than the Flying Cloud, and his genius neared perfection in the Sovereign of the Seas, of 2421 tons register, which exceeded in size all merchant vessels afloat. This Titan of the clipper fleet was commanded by Donald's brother, Captain Lauchlan McKay, with a crew of one hundred and five men and boys. During her only voyage to San Francisco she was partly dismasted, but Lauchlan McKay rigged her anew at sea in fourteen days and still made port in one hundred and three days, a record for the season of the year.
It was while running home from Honolulu in 1853 that the Sovereign of the Seas realized the hopes of her builder. In eleven days she sailed 3562 miles, with four days logged for a total of 1478 knots. Making allowance for the longitudes and difference in time, this was an average daily run of 378 sea miles or 435 land miles. Using the same comparison, the distance from Sandy Hook to Queenstown would have been covered in seven days and nine hours. Figures are arid reading, perhaps, but these are wet by the spray and swept by the salt winds of romance. During one of these four days the Sovereign of the Seas reeled off 424 nautical miles, during which her average speed was seventeen and two-thirds knots and at times reached nineteen and twenty. The only sailing ship which ever exceeded this day's work was the Lightning, built later by the same Donald McKay, which ran 436 knots in the Atlantic passage already referred to. The Sovereign of the Seas could also boast of a sensational feat upon the Western Ocean, for between New York and Liverpool she outsailed the Cunard liner Canada by 325 miles in five days.
It is curiously interesting to notice that the California clipper era is almost generally ignored by the foremost English writers of maritime history. For one thing, it was a trade in which their own ships were not directly concerned, and partizan bias is apt to color the views of the best of us when national prestige is involved. American historians themselves have dispensed with many unpleasant facts when engaged with the War of 1812. With regard to the speed of clipper ships, however, involving a rivalry far more thrilling and important than all the races ever sailed for the America's cup, the evidence is available in concrete form.
Lindsay's "History of Merchant Shipping" is the most elaborate English work of the kind. Heavily ballasted with facts and rather dull reading for the most part, it kindles with enthusiasm when eulogizing the Thermopylae and the Sir Launcelot, composite clippers of wood and iron, afloat in 1870, which it declares to be "the fastest sailing ships that ever traversed the ocean." This fairly presents the issue which a true-blooded Yankee has no right to evade. The greatest distance sailed by the Sir Launcelot in twenty-four hours between China and London was 354 knots, compared with the 424 miles of the Sovereign of the Seas and the 436 miles of the Lightning. Her best sustained run was one of seven days for an average of a trifle more than 300 miles a day. Against this is to be recorded the performance of the Sovereign of the Seas, 3562 miles in eleven days, at the rate of 324 miles every twenty-four hours, and her wonderful four-day run of 1478 miles, an average of 378 miles.
The Thermopylae achieved her reputation in a passage of sixty-three days from London to Melbourne—a record which was never beaten. Her fastest day's sailing was 330 miles, or not quite sixteen knots an hour. In six days she traversed 1748 miles, an average of 291 miles a day. In this Australian trade the American clippers made little effort to compete. Those engaged in it were mostly built for English owners and sailed by British skippers, who could not reasonably be expected to get the most out of these loftily sparred Yankee ships, which were much larger than their own vessels of the same type. The Lightning showed what she could do from Melbourne to Liverpool by making the passage in sixty-three' days, with 3722 miles in ten consecutive days and one day's sprint of 412 miles.
In the China tea trade the Thermopylae drove home from Foo-chow in ninety-one days, which was equaled by the Sir Launcelot. The American Witch of the Wave had a ninety-day voyage to her credit, and the Comet ran from Liverpool to Shanghai in eighty-four days. Luck was a larger factor on this route than in the California or Australian trade because of the fitful uncertainty of the monsoons, and as a test of speed it was rather unsatisfactory. In a very fair-minded and expert summary, Captain Arthur H. Clark, * in his youth an officer on Yankee clippers, has discussed this question of rival speed and power under sail—a question which still absorbs those who love the sea. His conclusion is that in ordinary weather at sea, when great power to carry sail was not required, the British tea clippers were extremely fast vessels, chiefly on account of their narrow beam. Under these conditions they were perhaps as fast as the American clippers of the same class, such as the Sea Witch, White Squall, Northern Light, and Sword-Fish. But if speed is to be reckoned by the maximum performance of a ship under the most favorable conditions, then the British tea clippers were certainly no match for the larger American ships such as the Flying Cloud, Sovereign of the Seas, Hurricane, Trade Wind, Typhoon, Flying Fish, Challenge, and Red Jacket. The greater breadth of the American ships in proportion to their length meant power to carry canvas and increased buoyancy which enabled them, with their sharper ends, to be driven in strong gales and heavy seas at much greater speed than the British clippers. The latter were seldom of more than one thousand tons' register and combined in a superlative degree the good qualities of merchant ships.
* "The Clipper Ship Era." N.Y., 1910.
It was the California trade, brief and crowded and fevered, which saw the roaring days of the Yankee clipper and which was familiar with racing surpassing in thrill and intensity that of the packet ships of the Western Ocean. In 1851, for instance, the Raven, Sea Witch, and Typhoon sailed for San Francisco within the same week. They crossed the Equator a day apart and stood away to the southward for three thousand miles of the southeast trades and the piping westerly winds which prevailed farther south. At fifty degrees south latitude the Raven and the Sea Witch were abeam of each other with the Typhoon only two days astern.
Now they stripped for the tussle to windward around Cape Horn, sending down studdingsail booms and skysail yards, making all secure with extra lashings, plunging into the incessant head seas of the desolate ocean, fighting it out tack for tack, reefing topsails and shaking them out again, the vigilant commanders going below only to change their clothes, the exhausted seamen stubbornly, heroically handling with frozen, bleeding fingers the icy sheets and canvas. A fortnight of this inferno and the Sea Witch and the Raven gained the Pacific, still within sight of each other, and the Typhoon only one day behind. Then they swept northward, blown by the booming tradewinds, spreading studdingsails, skysails, and above them, like mere handkerchiefs, the water-sails and ring-tails. Again the three clippers crossed the Equator. Close-hauled on the starboard tack, their bowsprits were pointed for the last stage of the journey to the Golden Gate. The Typhoon now overhauled her rivals and was the first to signal her arrival, but the victory was earned by the Raven, which had set her departure from Boston Light while the others had sailed from New York. The Typhoon and the Raven were only a day apart, with the Sea Witch five days behind the leader.
Clipper ship crews included men of many nations. In the average forecastle there would be two or three Americans, a majority of English and Norwegians, and perhaps a few Portuguese and Italians. The hardiest seamen, and the most unmanageable, were the Liverpool packet rats who were lured from their accustomed haunts to join the clippers by the magical call of the gold-diggings. There were not enough deep-water sailors to man half the ships that were built in these few years, and the crimps and boarding-house runners decoyed or flung aboard on sailing day as many men as were demanded, and any drunken, broken landlubber was good enough to be shipped as an able seaman. They were things of rags and tatters—their only luggage a bottle of whiskey.
The mates were thankful if they could muster enough real sailors to work the ship to sea and then began the stern process of whipping the wastrels and incompetents into shape for the perils and emergencies of the long voyage. That these great clippers were brought safely to port is a shining tribute to the masterful skill of their officers. While many of them were humane and just, with all their severity, the stories of savage abuse which are told of some are shocking in the extreme. The defense was that it was either mutiny or club the men under. Better treatment might have persuaded better men to sail. Certain it is that life in the forecastle of a clipper was even more intolerable to the self-respecting American youth than it had previously been aboard the Atlantic packet.
When Captain Bob Waterman arrived at San Francisco in the Challenge clipper in 1851, a mob tried very earnestly to find and hang him and his officers because of the harrowing stories told by his sailors. That he had shot several of them from the yards with his pistol to make the others move faster was one count in the indictment. For his part, Captain Waterman asserted that a more desperate crew of ruffians had never sailed out of New York and that only two of them were Americans. They were mutinous from the start, half of them blacklegs of the vilest type who swore to get the upper hand of him. His mates, boatswain, and carpenter had broken open their chests and boxes and had removed a collection of slung-shots, knuckle-dusters, bowie-knives, and pistols. Off Rio Janeiro they had tried to kill the chief mate, and Captain Waterman had been compelled to jump in and stretch two of them dead with an iron belaying-pin. Off Cape Horn three sailors fell from aloft and were lost. This accounted for the casualties.
The truth of such episodes as these was difficult to fathom. Captain Waterman demanded a legal investigation, but nothing came of his request and he was commended by his owners for his skill and courage in bringing the ship to port without losing a spar or a sail. It was a skipper of this old school who blandly maintained the doctrine that if you wanted the men to love you, you must starve them and knock them down. The fact is proven by scores of cases that the discipline of the American clipper was both famously efficient and notoriously cruel. It was not until long after American sailors had ceased to exist that adequate legislation was enacted to provide that they should be treated as human beings afloat and ashore. Other days and other customs! It is perhaps unkind to judge these vanished master-mariners too harshly, for we cannot comprehend the crises which continually beset them in their command.
No more extreme clipper ships were built after 1854. The California frenzy had subsided and speed in carrying merchandise was no longer so essential; besides, the passenger traffic was seeking the Isthmian route. What were called medium clippers enjoyed a profitable trade for many years later, and one of them, the Andrew Jackson, was never outsailed for the record from New York to San Francisco. This splendid type of ship was to be found on every sea, for the United States was still a commanding factor in the maritime activities of South America, India, China, Europe, and Australia. In 1851 its merchant tonnage rivaled that of England and was everywhere competing with it.
The effects of the financial panic of 1857 and the aftermath of business depression were particularly disastrous to American ships. Freights were so low as to yield no profit, and the finest clippers went begging for charters. The yards ceased to launch new tonnage. British builders had made such rapid progress in design and construction that the days of Yankee preference in the China trade had passed. The Stars and Stripes floated over ships waiting idle in Manila Bay, at Shanghai, Hong-Kong, and Calcutta. The tide of commerce had slackened abroad as well as at home and the surplus of deep-water tonnage was world-wide.
In earlier generations afloat, the American spirit had displayed amazing recuperative powers. The havoc of the Revolution had been unable to check it, and its vigor and aggressive enterprise had never been more notable than after the blows dealt by the Embargo, the French Spoliations, and the War of 1812. The conditions of trade and the temper of the people were now so changed that this mighty industry, aforetime so robust and resilient, was unable to recover from such shocks as the panic of 1857 and the Civil War. Yet it had previously survived and triumphed over calamities far more severe. The destruction wrought by Confederate cruisers was trifling compared with the work of the British and French privateers when the nation was very small and weak.
The American spirit had ceased to concern itself with the sea as the vital and dominant element. The footsteps of the young men no longer turned toward the wharf and the waterside and the tiers of tall ships outward bound. They were aspiring to conquer an inland empire of prairie and mountain and desert, impelled by the same pioneering and adventurous ardor which had burned in their seafaring sires. Steam had vanquished sail—an epochal event in a thousand years of maritime history—but the nation did not care enough to accept this situation as a new challenge or to continue the ancient struggle for supremacy upon the sea. England did care, because it was life or death to the little, sea-girt island, but as soon as the United States ceased to be a strip of Atlantic seaboard and the panorama, of a continent was unrolled to settlement, it was foreordained that the maritime habit of thought and action should lose its virility in America. All great seafaring races, English, Norwegian, Portuguese, and Dutch, have taken to salt water because there was lack of space, food, or work ashore, and their strong young men craved opportunities. Like the Pilgrim Fathers and their fishing shallops they had nowhere else to go.
When the Flying Cloud and the clippers of her kind—taut, serene, immaculate—were sailing through the lonely spaces of the South Atlantic and the Pacific, they sighted now and then the stumpy, slatternly rig and greasy hull of a New Bedford whaler, perhaps rolling to the weight of a huge carcass alongside. With a poor opinion of the seamanship of these wandering barks, the clipper crews rolled out, among their favorite chanteys:
Oh, poor Reuben Ranzo, Ranzo, boys, O Ranzo, Oh, Ranzo was no sailor, So they shipped him aboard a whaler, Ranzo, boys, O Ranzo.
This was crass, intolerant prejudice. The whaling ship was careless of appearances, it is true, and had the air of an ocean vagabond; but there were other duties more important than holystoning decks, scraping spars, and trimming the yards to a hair. On a voyage of two or three years, moreover, there was always plenty of time tomorrow. Brave and resourceful seamen were these New England adventurers and deep-sea hunters who made nautical history after their own fashion. They flourished coeval with the merchant marine in its prime, and they passed from the sea at about the same time and for similar reasons. Modernity dispensed with their services, and young men found elsewhere more profitable and easier employment.
The great days of Nantucket as a whaling port were passed before the Revolution wiped out her ships and killed or scattered her sailors. It was later discovered that larger ships were more economical, and Nantucket harbor bar was too shoal to admit their passage. For this reason New Bedford became the scene of the foremost activity, and Nantucket thereafter played a minor part, although her barks went cruising on to the end of the chapter and her old whaling families were true to strain. As explorers the whalemen rambled into every nook and corner of the Pacific before merchant vessels had found their way thither. They discovered uncharted islands and cheerfully fought savages or suffered direful shipwreck. The chase led them into Arctic regions where their stout barks were nipped like eggshells among the grinding floes, or else far to the southward where they broiled in tropic calms. The New Bedford lad was as keen to go a-whaling as was his counterpart in Boston or New York to be the dandy mate of a California clipper, and true was the song:
I asked a maiden by my side, Who sighed and looked to me forlorn, "Where is your heart?" She quick replied, "Round Cape Horn."
Yankee whaling reached its high tide in 1857 when the New Bedford fleet alone numbered 329 sail and those owned in other ports of Buzzard's Bay swelled the total to 426 vessels, besides thirty more hailing from New London and Sag Harbor. In this year the value of the catch was more than ten million dollars. The old custom of sailing on shares or "lays" instead of wages was never changed. It was win or lose for all hands—now a handsome fortune or again an empty hold and pockets likewise. There was Captain W.T. Walker of New Bedford who, in 1847, bought for a song a ship so old that she was about to be broken up for junk and no insurance broker would look at her. In this rotten relic he shipped a crew and went sailing in the Pacific. Miraculously keeping afloat, this Envoy of his was filled to the hatches with oil and bones, twice running, before she returned to her home port; and she earned $138,450 on a total investment of eight thousand dollars.
The ship Sarah of Nantucket, after a three years' cruise, brought back 3497 barrels of sperm oil which sold for $89,000, and the William Hamilton of New Bedford set another high mark by stowing 4181 barrels of a value of $109,269. The Pioneer of New London, Captain Ebenezer Morgan, was away only a year and stocked a cargo of oil and whalebone which sold for $150,060. Most of the profits of prosperous voyages were taken as the owners' share, and the incomes of the captain and crew were so niggardly as to make one wonder why they persisted in a calling so perilous, arduous, and poorly paid. During the best years of whaling, when the ships were averaging $16,000 for a voyage, the master received an eighteenth, or about nine hundred dollars a year. The highly skilled hands, such as the boat-steerers and harpooners, had a lay of only one seventy-fifth, or perhaps a little more than two hundred dollars cash as the reward of a voyage which netted the owner at least fifty per cent on his investment. Occasionally they fared better than this and sometimes worse. The answer to the riddle is that they liked the life and had always the gambling spirit which hopes for a lucky turn of the cards.
The countless episodes of fragile boats smashed to kindling by fighting whales, of the attack renewed with harpoon and lance, of ships actually rammed and sunk, would fill a volume by themselves and have been stirringly narrated in many a one. Zanzibar and Kamchatka, Tasmania and the Seychelles knew the lean, sun-dried Yankee whaleman and his motto of a "dead whale or a stove boat." The Civil War did not drive him from the seas. The curious fact is that his products commanded higher prices in 1907 than fifty years before, but the number of his ships rapidly decreased. Whales were becoming scarce, and New England capital preferred other forms of investment. The leisurely old sailing craft was succeeded by the steam whaler, and the explosive bomb slew, instead of the harpoon and lance hurled by the sinewy right arm of a New Bedford man or Cape Verde islander.
Roving whaler and armed East Indiaman, plunging packet ship and stately clipper, they served their appointed days and passed on their several courses to become mere memories, as shadowy and unsubstantial as the gleam of their own topsails when seen at twilight. The souls of their sailors have fled to Fiddler's Green, where all dead mariners go. They were of the old merchant marine which contributed something fine and imperishable to the story of the United States. Down the wind, vibrant and deep-throated, comes their own refrain for a requiem:
We're outward bound this very day, Good-bye, fare you well, Good-bye, fare you well. We're outward bound this very day, Hurrah, my boys, we're outward bound.
CHAPTER X. BOUND COASTWISE
One thinks of the old merchant marine in terms of the clipper ship and distant ports. The coasting trade has been overlooked in song and story; yet, since the year 1859, its fleets have always been larger and more important than the American deep-water commerce nor have decay and misfortune overtaken them. It is a traffic which flourished from the beginning, ingeniously adapting itself to new conditions, unchecked by war, and surviving with splendid vigor, under steam and sail, in this modern era.
The seafaring pioneers won their way from port to port of the tempestuous Atlantic coast in tiny ketches, sloops, and shallops when the voyage of five hundred miles from New England to Virginia was a prolonged and hazardous adventure. Fog and shoals and lee shores beset these coastwise sailors, and shipwrecks were pitifully frequent. In no Hall of Fame will you find the name of Captain Andrew Robinson of Gloucester, but he was nevertheless an illustrious benefactor and deserves a place among the most useful Americans. His invention was the Yankee schooner of fore-and-aft rig, and he gave to this type of vessel its name. * Seaworthy, fast, and easily handled, adapted for use in the early eighteenth century when inland transportation was almost impossible, the schooner carried on trade between the colonies and was an important factor in the growth of the fisheries.
* It is said that as the odd two-master slid gracefully into the water, a spectator exclaimed: "See how she scoons!" "Aye," answered Captain Robinson, "a SCHOONER let her be!" This launching took place in 1718 or 1714.
Before the Revolution the first New England schooners were beating up to the Grand Bank of Newfoundland after cod and halibut. They were of no more than fifty tons' burden, too small for their task but manned by fishermen of surpassing hardihood. Marblehead was then the foremost fishing port with two hundred brigs and schooners on the offshore banks. But to Gloucester belongs the glory of sending the first schooner to the Grand Bank. * From these two rock-bound harbors went thousands of trained seamen to man the privateers and the ships of the Continental navy, slinging their hammocks on the gun-decks beside the whalemen of Nantucket. These fishermen and coastwise sailors fought on the land as well and followed the drums of Washington's armies until the final scene at Yorktown. Gloucester and Marblehead were filled with widows and orphans, and half their men-folk were dead or missing.
* Marvin's "American Merchant Marine," p. 287.
The fishing-trade soon prospered again, and the men of the old ports tenaciously clung to the sea even when the great migration flowed westward to people the wilderness and found a new American empire. They were fishermen from father to son, bound together in an intimate community of interests, a race of pure native or English stock, deserving this tribute which was paid to them in Congress: "Every person on board our fishing vessels has an interest in common with his associates; their reward depends upon their industry and enterprise. Much caution is observed in the selection of the crews of our fishing vessels; it often happens that every individual is connected by blood and the strongest ties of friendship; our fishermen are remarkable for their sobriety and good conduct, and they rank with the most skillful navigators."
Fishing and the coastwise merchant trade were closely linked. Schooners loaded dried cod as well as lumber for southern ports and carried back naval stores and other southern products. Well-to-do fishermen owned trading vessels and sent out their ventures, the sailors shifting from one forecastle to the other. With a taste for an easier life than the stormy, freezing Banks, the young Gloucesterman would sign on for a voyage to Pernambuco or Havana and so be fired with ambition to become a mate or master and take to deep water after a while. In this way was maintained a school of seamanship which furnished the most intelligent and efficient officers of the merchant marine. For generations they were mostly recruited from the old fishing and shipping ports of New England until the term "Yankee shipmaster" had a meaning peculiarly its own.
Seafaring has undergone so many revolutionary changes and old days and ways are so nearly obliterated that it is singular to find the sailing vessel still employed in great numbers, even though the gasolene motor is being installed to kick her along in spells of calm weather. The Gloucester fishing schooner, perfect of her type, stanch, fleet, and powerful, still drives homeward from the Banks under a tall press of canvas, and her crew still divide the earnings, share and share, as did their forefathers a hundred and fifty years ago. But the old New England strain of blood no longer predominates, and Portuguese, Scandinavians, and Nova Scotia "Bluenoses" bunk with the lads of Gloucester stock. Yet they are alike for courage, hardihood, and mastery of the sea, and the traditions of the calling are undimmed.
There was a time before the Civil War when Congress jealously protected the fisheries by means of a bounty system and legislation aimed against our Canadian neighbors. The fishing fleets were regarded as a source of national wealth and the nursery of prime seamen for the navy and merchant marine. In 1858 the bounty system was abandoned, however, and the fishermen were left to shift for themselves, earning small profits at peril of their lives and preferring to follow the sea because they knew no other profession. In spite of this loss of assistance from the Government, the tonnage engaged in deep-sea fisheries was never so great as in the second year of the Civil War. Four years later the industry had shrunk one-half; and it has never recovered its early importance *
* In 1882, the tonnage amounted to 193,459; in 1866, to 89,336.
The coastwise merchant trade, on the other hand, has been jealously guarded against competition and otherwise fostered ever since 1789, when the first discriminatory tonnage tax was enforced. The Embargo Act of 1808 prohibited domestic commerce to foreign flags, and this edict was renewed in the American Navigation Act of 1817. It remained a firmly established doctrine of maritime policy until the Great War compelled its suspension as an emergency measure. The theories of protection and free trade have been bitterly debated for generations, but in this instance the practice was eminently successful and the results were vastly impressive. Deepwater shipping dwindled and died, but the increase in coastwise sailing was consistent. It rose to five million tons early in this century and makes the United States still one of the foremost maritime powers in respect to saltwater activity.
To speak of this deep-water shipping as trade coastwise is misleading, in a way. The words convey an impression of dodging from port to port for short distances, whereas many of the voyages are longer than those of the foreign routes in European waters. It is farther by sea from Boston to Philadelphia than from Plymouth, England, to Bordeaux. A schooner making the run from Portland to Savannah lays more knots over her stern than a tramp bound out from England to Lisbon. It is a shorter voyage from Cardiff to Algiers than an American skipper pricks off on his chart when he takes his steamer from New York to New Orleans or Galveston. This coastwise trade may lack the romance of the old school of the square-rigged ship in the Roaring Forties, but it has always been the more perilous and exacting. Its seamen suffer hardships unknown elsewhere, for they have to endure winters of intense cold and heavy gales and they are always in risk of stranding or being driven ashore.
The story of these hardy men is interwoven, for the most part, with the development of the schooner in size and power. This graceful craft, so peculiar to its own coast and people, was built for utility and possessed a simple beauty of its own when under full sail. The schooners were at first very small because it was believed that large fore-and-aft sails could not be handled with safety. They were difficult to reef or lower in a blow until it was discovered that three masts instead of two made the task much easier. For many years the three-masted schooner was the most popular kind of American merchant vessel. They clustered in every Atlantic port and were built in the yards of New England, New York, New Jersey, and Virginia,—built by the mile, as the saying was, and sawed off in lengths to suit the owners' pleasure. They carried the coal, ice, lumber of the whole seaboard and were so economical of man-power that they earned dividends where steamers or square-rigged ships would not have paid for themselves.
As soon as a small steam-engine was employed to hoist the sails, it became possible to launch much larger schooners and to operate them at a marvelously low cost. Rapidly the four-master gained favor, and then came the five- and six-masted vessels, gigantic ships of their kind. Instead of the hundred-ton schooner of a century ago, Hampton Roads and Boston Harbor saw these great cargo carriers which could stow under hatches four and five thousand tons of coal, and whose masts soared a hundred and fifty feet above the deck. Square-rigged ships of the same capacity would have required crews of a hundred men, but these schooners were comfortably handled by a company of fifteen all told, only ten of whom were in the forecastle. There was no need of sweating and hauling at braces and halliards. The steam-winch undertook all this toil. The tremendous sails, stretching a hundred feet from boom to gaff could not have been managed otherwise. Even for trimming sheets or setting topsails, it was necessary merely to take a turn or two around the drum of the winch engine and turn the steam valve. The big schooner was the last word in cheap, efficient transportation by water. In her own sphere of activity she was as notable an achievement as the Western Ocean packet or the Cape Horn clipper.
The masters who sailed these extraordinary vessels also changed and had to learn a new kind of seamanship. They must be very competent men, for the tests of their skill and readiness were really greater than those demanded of the deepwater skipper. They drove these great schooners alongshore winter and summer; across Nantucket Shoals and around Cape Cod, and their salvation depended on shortening sail ahead of the gale. Let the wind once blow and the sea get up, and it was almost impossible to strip the canvas off an unwieldy six-master. The captain's chief fear was of being blown offshore, of having his vessel run away with him! Unlike the deep-water man, he preferred running in toward the beach and letting go his anchors. There he would ride out the storm and hoist sail when the weather moderated.
These were American shipmasters of the old breed, raised in schooners as a rule, and adapting themselves to modern conditions. They sailed for nominal wages and primage, or five per cent of the gross freight paid the vessel. Before the Great War in Europe, freights were low and the schooner skippers earned scanty incomes. Then came a world shortage of tonnage and immediately coastwise freights soared skyward. The big schooners of the Palmer fleet began to reap fabulous dividends and their masters shared in the unexpected opulence. Besides their primage they owned shares in their vessels, a thirty-second or so, and presently their settlement at the end of a voyage coastwise amounted to an income of a thousand dollars a month. They earned this money, and the managing owners cheerfully paid them, for there had been lean years and uncomplaining service and the sailor had proved himself worthy of his hire. So tempting was the foreign war trade, that a fleet of them was sent across the Atlantic until the American Government barred them from the war zone as too easy a prey for submarine attack. They therefore returned to the old coastwise route or loaded for South American ports—singularly interesting ships because they were the last bold venture of the old American maritime spirit, a challenge to the Age of Steam.
No more of these huge, towering schooners have been built in the last dozen years. Steam colliers and barges have won the fight because time is now more valuable than cheapness of transportation. The schooner might bowl down to Norfolk from Boston or Portland in four days and be threshing about for two weeks in head winds on the return voyage.
The small schooner appeared to be doomed somewhat earlier. She had ceased to be profitable in competition with the larger, more modern fore-and-after, but these battered, veteran craft died hard. They harked back to a simpler age, to the era of the stage-coach and the spinning-wheel, to the little shipyards that were to be found on every bay and inlet of New England. They were still owned and sailed by men who ashore were friends and neighbors. Even now you may find during your summer wanderings some stumpy, weatherworn two-master running on for shelter overnight, which has plied up and down the coast for fifty or sixty years, now leaking like a basket and too frail for winter voyages. It was in a craft very much like this that your rude ancestors went privateering against the British. Indeed, the little schooner Polly, which fought briskly in the War of 1812, is still afloat and loading cargoes in New England ports.
These little coasters, surviving long after the stately merchant marine had vanished from blue water, have enjoyed a slant of favoring fortune in recent years. They, too, have been in demand, and once again there is money to spare for paint and cordage and calking. They have been granted a new lease of life and may be found moored at the wharfs, beached on the marine railways, or anchored in the stream, eagerly awaiting their turn to refit. It is a matter of vital concern that the freight on spruce boards from Bangor to New York has increased to five dollars a thousand feet. Many of these craft belong to grandfatherly skippers who dared not venture past Cape Cod in December, lest the venerable Matilda Emerson or the valetudinarian Joshua R. Coggswell should open up and founder in a blow. During the winter storms these skippers used to hug the kitchen stove in bleak farmhouses until spring came and they could put to sea again. The rigor of circumstances, however, forced others to seek for trade the whole year through. In a recent winter fifty-seven schooners were lost on the New England coast, most of which were unfit for anything but summer breezes. As by a miracle, others have been able to renew their youth, to replace spongy planking and rotten stems, and to deck themselves out in white canvas and fresh paint!
The captains of these craft foregather in the ship-chandler's shops, where the floor is strewn with sawdust, the armchairs are capacious, and the environment harmonizes with the tales that are told. It is an informal club of coastwise skippers and the old energy begins to show itself once more. They move with a brisker gait than when times were so hard and they went begging for charters at any terms. A sinewy patriarch stumps to a window, flourishes his arm at an ancient two-master, and booms out:
"That vessel of mine is as sound as a nut, I tell ye. She ain't as big as some, but I'd like nothin' better than to fill her full of suthin' for the west coast of Africy, same as the Horace M. Bickford that cleared t'other day, stocked for SIXTY THOUSAND DOLLARS."
"Huh, you'd get lost out o' sight of land, John," is the cruel retort, "and that old shoe-box of yours 'ud be scared to death without a harbor to run into every time the sun clouded over. Expect to navigate to Africy with an alarm-clock and a soundin'-lead, I presume."
"Mebbe I'd better let well enough alone," replies the old man. "Africy don't seem as neighborly as Phippsburg and Machiasport. I'll chance it as far as Philadelphy next voyage and I guess the old woman can buy a new dress."
The activity and the reawakening of the old shipyards, their slips all filled with the frames of wooden vessels for the foreign trade, is like a revival of the old merchant marine, a reincarnation of ghostly memories. In mellowed dignity the square white houses beneath the New England elms recall to mind the mariners who dwelt therein. It seems as if their shipyards also belonged to the past; but the summer visitor finds a fresh attraction in watching the new schooners rise from the stocks, and the gay pageant of launching them, every mast ablaze with bunting, draws crowds to the water-front. And as a business venture, with somewhat of the tang of old-fashioned romance, the casual stranger is now and then tempted to purchase a sixty-fourth "piece" of a splendid Yankee four-master and keep in touch with its roving fortunes. The shipping reports of the daily newspaper prove more fascinating than the ticker tape, and the tidings of a successful voyage thrill one with a sense of personal gratification. For the sea has not lost its magic and its mystery, and those who go down to it in ships must still battle against elemental odds—still carry on the noble and enduring traditions of the Old Merchant Marine.
As a rule, American historians like McMaster, Adams, and Rhodes give too little space to the maritime achievements of the nation. The gap has been partially filled by the following special works:
Winthrop L. Marvin, "The American Merchant Marine: Its History and Romance from 1620 to 1902" (1902). This is the most nearly complete volume of its kind by an author who knows the subject and handles it with accuracy.
John R. Spears, "The Story of the American Merchant Marine" (1910), "The American Slave Trade" (1901), "The Story of the New England Whalers" (1908). Mr. Spears has sought original sources for much of his material and his books are worth reading, particularly his history of the slave-trade.
Ralph D. Paine, "The Ships and Sailors of Old Salem: The Record of a Brilliant Era of American Achievement" (1912). A history of the most famous seaport of the Atlantic coast, drawn from log-books and other manuscript collections. "The Book of Buried Treasure: Being a True History of the Gold, Jewels, and Plate of Pirates, Galleons, etc." (1911). Several chapters have to do with certain picturesque pirates and seamen of the colonies.
Edgar S. Maclay, "A History of American Privateers" (1899). The only book of its kind, and indispensable to those who wish to learn the story of Yankee ships and sailors.
J. R. Hutchinson, "The Press Gang Afloat and Ashore" (1914). This recent volume, written from an English point of view, illuminates the system of conscription which caused the War of 1812.
Nothing can take the place, however, of the narratives of those master mariners who made the old merchant marine famous:
Richard Henry Dana, Jr., "Two Years Before the Mast" (1840). The latest edition, handsomely illustrated, (1915). The classic narrative of American forecastle life in the sailing-ship era.
Captain Richard Cleveland, "Narrative of Voyages and Commercial Enterprises" (1842). This is one of the fascinating autobiographies of the old school of shipmasters who had the gift of writing.
Captain Amasa Delano, "Narrative of Voyages and Travels" (1817). Another of the rare human documents of blue water. It describes the most adventurous period of activity, a century ago.
Captain Arthur H. Clark, "The Clipper Ship Era" (1910). A thrilling, spray-swept, true story. Far and away the best account of the clipper, by a man who was an officer of one in his youth.
Robert Bennet Forbes, "Notes on Ships of the Past" (1888). Random facts and memories of a famous Boston ship-owner. It is valuable for its records of noteworthy passages.
Captain John D. Whidden, "Ocean Life in the Old Sailing Ship Days" (1908). The entertaining reminiscences of a veteran shipmaster.
Captain A. W. Nelson, "Yankee Swanson: Chapters from a Life at Sea" (1913). Another of the true romances, recommended for a lively sense of humor and a faithful portrayal of life aboard a windjammer.
There are many other personal narratives, some of them privately printed and very old, which may be found in the libraries. Typical of them is "A Journal of the Travels and Sufferings of Daniel Saunders" (1794), in which a young sailor relates his adventures after shipwreck on the coast of Arabia.
Among general works the following are valuable:
J. Grey Jewell, "Among Our Sailors" (1874). A plea for more humane treatment of American seamen, with many instances on shocking brutalities as reported to the author, who was a United States Consul.
E. Keble Chatterton, "Sailing Ships: The Story of their Development" (1909). An elaborate history of the development of the sailing vessel from the earliest times to the modern steel clipper.
W. S. Lindsay, "History of Merchant Shipping and Ancient Commerce," 4 vols. (1874-76). An English work, notably fair to the American marine, and considered authoritative.
Douglas Owen, "Ocean Trade and Shipping" (1914). An English economist explains the machinery of maritime trade and commerce.
William Wood, "All Afloat." In "The Chronicles of Canada Series." Glasgow, Brook and Co., Toronto, 1914.
J. B. McMaster, "The Life and Times of Stephen Girard, Mariner and Merchant," 2 vols. (1918).
The relation of governmental policy to the merchant marine is discussed by various writers:
David A. Wells, "Our Merchant Marine: How It Rose, Increased, Became Great, Declined, and Decayed" (1882). A political treatise in defense of a protective policy.
William A. Bates, "American Marine: The Shipping Question in History and Politics" (1892); "American Navigation: The Political History of Its Rise and Ruin" (1902). These works are statistical and highly technical, partly compiled from governmental reports, and are also frankly controversial.
Henry Hall, "American Navigation, With Some Account of the Causes of Its Former Prosperity and Present Decline" (1878).
Charles S. Hill, "History of American Shipping: Its Prestige, Decline, and Prospect" (1883).
J. D. J. Kelley, "The Question of Ships: The Navy and the Merchant Marine" (1884).
Arthur J. Maginnis, "The Atlantic Ferry: Its Ships, Men, and Working" (1900).
A vast amount of information is to be found in the Congressional Report of the Merchant Marine Commission, published in three volumes (1905).