Full Text Archive logoFull Text Archive — Books, poems, drama…

Ned Myers by James Fenimore Cooper

Part 4 out of 5

Adobe PDF icon
Download this document as a .pdf
File size: 0.5 MB
What's this? light bulb idea Many people prefer to read off-line or to print out text and read from the real printed page. Others want to carry documents around with them on their mobile phones and read while they are on the move. We have created .pdf files of all out documents to accommodate all these groups of people. We recommend that you download .pdfs onto your mobile phone when it is connected to a WiFi connection for reading off-line.

as I had been rated in the Delaware; with this difference, that, for my
service in the Brandywine, I received my regular eighteen dollars a month
as a petty officer; whereas, though actually captain of the Delaware's
forecastle for quite two years, and second-captain nearly all the rest of
the time I was in the ship, I never got more than seaman's wages, or
twelve dollars a month. I do not know how this happened, though I supposed
it to have arisen from some mistake connected with the circumstance that
I was paid off for my services in the Delaware, by the purser of the
frigate. This was in consequence of the transfer.

The Brandywine sailed in March for the Gulf. Our cruise lasted about five
months, during which time we went to Vera Cruz, Pensacola, and the Havana.
We appeared to me to be a single ship, as we were never in squadron, and
saw no broad-pennant. No accident happened, the cruise being altogether
pleasant. The ship returned to Norfolk, and twenty-five of us, principally
old Delawares, were discharged, our times being out. We all of us intended
to return to the frigate, after a cruise ashore, and we chartered a
schooner to carry us to Philadelphia in a body, determining not to
part company.

The morning the schooner sailed, I was leading the whole party along one
of the streets of Norfolk, when I saw something white lying in the middle
of the carriage-way. It turned out to be an old messmate, Jack Dove, who
had been discharged three days before, and had left us to go to
Philadelphia, but had been brought up by King Grog. While we were
overhauling the poor fellow, who could not speak, his landlady came out to
us, and told us that he had eat nothing for three days, and did nothing
but drink. She begged us to take care of him, as he disregarded all she
said. This honest woman gave us Jack's wages to a cent, for I knew what
they had come to; and we made a collection of ten dollars for her,
calculating that Jack must have swallowed that much in three days. Jack we
took with us, bag and hammock; but he would eat nothing on the passage,
calling out constantly for drink. We gave him liquor, thinking it would do
him good; but he grew worse, and, when we reached Philadelphia, he was
sent to the hospital. Here, in the course of a few days, he died.

Never, in all my folly and excesses, did I give myself so much up to
drink, as when I reached Philadelphia this time. I was not quite as bad as
Jack Dove, but I soon lost my appetite, living principally on liquor. When
we heard of Jack's death, we proposed among ourselves to give him a
sailor's funeral. We turned out, accordingly, to the number if a hundred,
or more, in blue jackets and white trowsers, and marched up to the
hospital in a body. I was one of the leaders in this arrangement, and felt
much interest in it, as Jack had been my messmate; but, the instant I saw
his coffin, a fit of the "horrors" came over me, and I actually left the
place, running down street towards the river, as if pursued by devils.
Luckily, I stopped to rest on the stoop of a druggist. The worthy man took
me in, gave me some soda water, and some good advice. When a little
strengthened, I made my way home, but gave up at the door. Then followed a
severe indisposition, which kept me in bed for a fortnight, during which I
suffered the torments of the damned.

I have had two or three visits from the "horrors," in the course of my
life, but nothing to equal this attack. I came near following Jack Dove to
the grave; but God, in His mercy, spared me from such an end. It is not
possible for one who has never experienced the effects of his excesses, in
this particular form, to get any correct notions of the sufferings I
endured. Among other conceits, I thought the colour which the tar usually
leaves on seamen's nails, was the sign that I had the yellow fever. This
idea haunted me for days, and gave me great uneasiness. In short, I was
like a man suspended over a yawning chasm, expecting, every instant, to
fall and be dashed to pieces, and yet, who could not die.

For some time after my recovery, I could not bear the smell of liquor; but
evil companions lured me back to my old habits. I was soon in a bad way
again, and it was only owing to the necessity of going to sea, that I had
not a return of the dreadful malady. When I shipped in the Delaware, I had
left my watch, quadrant, and good clothes, to the value of near two
hundred dollars, with my present landlord, and he now restored them all to
me, safe and sound. I made considerable additions to the stock of clothes,
and when I again went to sea, left the whole, and more, with the
same landlord.

Our plan of going back to the Brandywine was altered by circumstances; and
a party of us shipped in the Monongahela, a Liverpool liner, out of
Philadelphia. The cabin of this vessel was taken by two gentlemen, going
to visit Europe, viz.: Mr. Hare Powell and Mr. Edward Burd; and getting
these passengers, with their families, on board, the ship sailed. By this
time, I had pretty much given up the hope of preferment, and did not
trouble myself whether I lived forward or aft. I joined the Monongahela as
a forward hand, therefore, quite as well satisfied as if her chief mate.

We left the Delaware in the month of August, and, a short time out,
encountered one of the heaviest gales of wind I ever witnessed at sea. It
came on from the eastward, and would have driven us ashore, had not the
wind suddenly shifted to south-west. The ship was lying-to, under bare
poles, pressed down upon the water in such a way that she lay almost as
steady as if in a river; nor did the force of the wind allow the sea to
get up. A part of the time, our lee lower yard-arms were nearly in the
water. We had everything aloft, but sending them down was quite out of the
question. It was not possible, at one time, for a man to go aloft at all.
I tried it myself, and could with difficulty keep my feet on the ratlins.
I make no doubt I should have been blown out of the top, could I have
reached it, did I let go my hold to do any work.

We had sailed in company with the Kensington, a corvette belonging to the
Emperor of Russia, and saw a ship, during the gale, that was said to be
she. The Kensington was dismasted, and had to return to refit, but we did
not part a rope-yarn. When the wind shifted, we were on soundings; and, it
still continuing to blow a gale, we set the main-topsail close-reefed, and
the foresail, and shoved the vessel off the land at the rate of a
steam-boat. After this, the wind favoured us, and our passage out was very
short. We stayed but a few days in Liverpool; took in passengers, and got
back to Philadelphia, after an absence of a little more than two months.
The Kensington's report of the gale, and of our situation, had caused much
uneasiness in Philadelphia, but our two passages were so short, that we
brought the news of our safety.

I now inquired for the Brandywine, but found she had sailed for the
Mediterranean. It was my intention to have gone on board her, but missing
this ship, and a set of officers that I knew, I looked out for a
merchantman. I found a brig called the Amelia, bound to Bordeaux, and
shipped in her before the mast.

The Amelia had a bad passage out. It was in the autumn, and the brig
leaked badly. This kept us a great deal at the pumps, an occupation that
a sailor does anything but delight in. I am of opinion that pumping a
leaky ship is the most detestable work in the world. Nothing but the dread
of drowning ought to make a man do it, although some men will pump to save
their property. As for myself, I am not certain I would take twenty-four
hours of hard pumping to save any sum I shall probably ever own, or
ever did own.

After a long passage, we made the Cordovan, but, the wind blowing heavy
off the land, we could not get in for near a fortnight. Not a pilot would
come out, and if they had, it would have done us no good. After a while,
the wind shifted, and we got into the river, and up to the town. We took
in a return cargo of brandy, and sailed for Philadelphia. Our
homeward-bound passage was long and stormy, but we made the capes, at
last. Here we were boarded by a pilot, who told us we were too late; the
Delaware had frozen up, and we had to keep away, with a South-east wind,
for New York. We had a bad time of it, as soon as night came on. The gale
increased, blowing directly into the bight, and we had to haul up under
close-reefed topsails and reefed foresail, to claw off the land. The
weather was very thick, and the night dark, and all we could do was to get
round, when the land gave us a hint it was time. This we generally did in
five fathoms water. We had to ware, for the brig would not tack under such
short canvass, and, of course, lost much ground in so doing. About three
in the morning we knew that it was nearly up with us. The soundings gave
warning of this, and we got round, on what I supposed would be the
Amelia's last leg. But Providence took care of us, when we could not help
ourselves. The wind came out at north-west, as it might be by word of
command; the mist cleared up, and we saw the lights, for the first time,
close aboard us. The brig was taken aback, but we got her round, shortened
sail, and hove her to, under a closed-reefed main-topsail. We now got it
from the north-west, making very bad weather. The gale must have set us a
long way to leeward, as we did not get in for a fortnight. We shipped a
heavy sea, that stove our boat, and almost swept the decks. We were out of
pork and beef, and our fire-wood was nearly gone. The binnacle was also
gone. As good luck would have it, we killed a porpoise, soon after the
wind shifted, and on this we lived, in a great measure, for more than a
week, sometimes cooking it, but oftener eating it raw. At length the wind
shifted, and we got in.

I was no sooner out of this difficulty, than a hasty temper got me into
another. While still in the stream, an Irish boatman called me a "Yankee
son of a-----," and I lent him a clip. The fellow sued me, and, contriving
to catch me before I left the vessel, I was sent to jail, for the first
and only time in my life. This turned out to be a new and very revolting
school for me. I was sent among as precious a set of rascals as New York
could furnish. Their conversation was very edifying. One would tell how he
cut the hoses of the engines at fires, with razor-blades fastened to his
shoes; another, how many pocket-books he and his associates had taken at
this or that fire; and a third, the mariner of breaking open stores, and
the best mode of disposing of stolen goods. The cool, open, impudent
manner in which these fellows spoke of such transactions, fairly astounded
me. They must have thought I was in jail for some crime similar to their
own, or they would not have talked so freely before a stranger. These
chaps seemed to value a man by the enormity and number of his crimes.

At length the captain and my landlord found out where I had been sent, and
I was immediately bailed. Glad enough was I to get out of prison, and
still more so to get out of the company I found in it. Such association is
enough to undermine the morals of a saint, in a week or two. And yet these
fellows were well dressed, and well enough looking, and might very well
pass for a sort of gentlemen, with those who had seen but little of men of
the true quality.

I had got enough of law, and wished to push the matter no farther. The
Irishman was sent for, and I compromised with him on the spot. The whole
affair cost me my entire wages, and I was bound over to keep the peace,
for, I do not know how long. This scrape compelled me to weigh my anchor
at a short notice, as there is no living in New York without money. I went
on board the Sully, therefore--a Havre liner--a day or two after getting
out of the atmosphere of the City Hall. They may talk of Batavia, if they
please; but in my judgement, it is the healthiest place of the two,

Our passages, out and home, produced nothing worth mentioning, and I left
the ship in New York. My wages went in the old way, and then I shipped in
a schooner called the Susan and Mary, that was about to sail for Buenos
Ayres, in the expectation that she would be sold there. The craft was a
good one, though our passage out was very long. On reaching our port, I
took my discharge, under the impression the vessel would be sold. A notion
now came over me, that I would join the Buenos Ayrean navy, in order to
see what sort of a service it was. I knew it was a mixed American and
English affair, and, by this time, I had become very reckless as to my own
fate. I wished to do nothing very wrong, but was incapable of doing
anything that was very right.

My windfall carried me on board a schooner, of eight or ten guns, called
the Suradaha. I did not ship, making an arrangement by which I was to be
left to decide for myself, whether I would remain in her, or not. Although
a pretty good craft, I soon got enough of this service. In one week I was
thoroughly disgusted, and left the schooner. It is well I did, as there
was a "_revolution_" on board of her, a few days later, and she was
carried up the river, and, as I was told, was there sunk. With her, sunk
all my laurels in that service.

The Susan and Mary was not sold, but took in hides for New York. I
returned to her, therefore, and we sailed for home in due time. The
passage proved long, but mild, and we were compelled to run in, off Point
Petre, Gaudaloupe, where we took in some provisions. After this, nothing
occurred until we reached New York.

I now shifted the name of my craft, end for end, joining a half-rigged
brig, called the Mary and Susan. I gained little by the change, this
vessel being just the worst-looking hooker I did ever sail in. Still she
was tight, strong enough, and not a very bad sailing vessel. But, for some
reason or other, externals were not regarded, and we made anything but a
holiday appearance on the water. I had seen the time when I would disdain
to go chief-mate of such a looking craft; but I now shipped in her as a
common hand.

We sailed for Para, in Brazil, a port nearly under the line, having
gunpowder, dry-goods, &c. Our passage, until we came near the coast of
South America, was good, and nothing occurred to mention. When under the
line, however, we made a rakish-looking schooner, carrying two topsails,
one forenoon. We made no effort to escape, knowing it to be useless. The
schooner set a Spanish ensign, and brought us to. We were ordered to lower
our boat and to go on board the schooner, which were done. I happened to
be at the helm, and remained in the Mary and Susan. The strangers ordered
our people out of the boat, and sent an armed party in her, on board us.
These men rummaged about for a short time, and then were hailed from their
vessel to know if we promised well. Our looks deceived the head man of the
boarders, who answered that we were _very_ poor. On receiving this
information, the captain of the schooner ordered his boarding party to
quit us. Our boat came back, but was ordered to return and bring another
gang of the strangers. This time we were questioned about canvass, but got
off by concealing the truth. We had thirty bolts on board, but produced
only one. The bolt shown did not happen to suit, and the strangers again
left us. We were told not to make sail until we received notice by signal,
and the schooner hauled her wind. After standing on some time, however,
these gentry seemed indisposed to quit us, for they came down again, and
rounded to on our weather-beam. We were now questioned about our
longitude, and whether we had a chronometer. We gave the former, but had
nothing like the latter on board. Telling us once more not to make sail
without the signal, the schooner left us, standing on until fairly out of
sight. We waited until she sunk her topsails, and then went on our course.

None of us doubted that this fellow was a pirate. The men on board us were
an ill-looking set of rascals, of all countries. They spoke Spanish, but
we gave them credit for being a mixture. Our escape was probably owing to
our appearance, which promised anything but a rich booty. Our dry-goods
and powder were concealed in casks under he ballast, and I suppose the
papers were not particularly minute. At any rate, when we get into Para,
most of the cargo went out of our schooner privately, being landed from
lighters. We had a passenger, who passed for some revolutionary man, who
also landed secretly. This gentleman was in a good deal of concern about
the pirates, keeping himself hid while they were near us.

Chapter XVI.

Our passage from Para was good until the brig reached the latitude of
Bermuda. Here, one morning, for the first time in this craft, Sundays
excepted, we got a forenoon watch below. I was profiting by the
opportunity to do a little work for myself, when the mate, an
inexperienced young man, who was connected with the owners, came and
ordered us up to help jibe ship. It was easy enough to do this in the
watch, but he thought differently. As an old seaman, I do not hesitate to
say that the order was both inconsiderate and unnecessary; though I do not
wish to appear even to justify my own conduct, on the occasion. A hasty
temper is one of my besetting weaknesses, and, at that time, I was in no
degree influenced by any considerations of a moral nature, as connected
with language. Exceedingly exasperated at this interference with our
comfort, I did not hesitate to tell the mate my opinion of his order.
Warming with my own complaints, I soon became fearfully profane and
denunciatory. I called down curses on the brig, and all that belonged to
her, not hesitating about wishing that she might founder at sea, and carry
all hands of us to the bottom of the ocean. In a word, I indulged in all
that looseness and profanity of the tongue, which is common enough with
those who feel no restraints on the subject, and who are highly
exasperated.

I do think the extent to which I carried my curses and wishes, on this
occasion, frightened the officers. They said nothing, but let me curse
myself out, to my heart's content. A man soon wearies of so bootless a
task, and the storm passed off, like one in the heavens, with a low
rumbling. I gave myself no concern about the matter afterwards, but things
took their course until noon. While the people were at dinner, the mate
came forward again, however, and called all hands to shorten sail. Going
on deck, I saw a very menacing black cloud astern, and went to work, with
a will, to discharge a duty that everybody could see was necessary.

We gathered in the canvass as fast as we could; but, before we could get
through, and while I was lending a hand to furl the foresail, the squall
struck the brig. I call it a squall, but it was more like the tail of a
hurricane. Most of our canvass blew from the gaskets, the cloth going in
ribands. The foresail and fore-topsail we managed to save, but all our
light canvass went. I was still aloft when the brig broached-to. As she
came up to the wind, the fore-topmast went over to leeward, being carried
away at the cap. All the hamper came down, and began to thresh against the
larboard side of the lower rigging. Just at this instant, a sea seemed to
strike the brig under her bilge, and fairly throw her on her beam-ends.

All this appeared to me to be the work of only a minute. I had scrambled
to windward, to get out of the way of the wreck, and stood with one foot
on the upper side of the bitts, holding on, to steady myself, by some of
the running rigging. This was being in a very different attitude, but on
the precise spot, where, two or three hours before, I had called on the
Almighty to pour out his vials of wrath upon the vessel, myself, and all
she contained! At that fearful instant, conscience pricked me, and I felt
both shame and dread, at my recent language. It seemed to me as if I had
been heard, and that my impious prayers were about to be granted. In the
bitterness of my heart, I vowed, should my life be spared, never to be
guilty of such gross profanity, again.

These feelings, however, occupied me but a moment. I was too much of a
real sea-dog to be standing idle at a time like that. There was but one
man before the mast on whom I could call for anything in such a strait,
and that was a New Yorker, of the name of Jack Neal. This man was near me,
and I suggested to him the plan of getting the fore-topmast staysail
loose, notwithstanding the mast was gone, in the hope it might blow open,
and help the brig's bows round. Jack was a fellow to act, and he succeeded
in loosening the sail, which did blow out in a way greatly to help us, as
I think. I then proposed we should clamber aft, and try to get the helm
up. This we did, also; though I question if the rudder could have had much
power, in the position in which the brig lay.

Either owing to the fore-top-mast staysail, or to some providential sea,
the vessel did fall off, however, and presently she righted, coming up
with great force, with a heavy roll to windward. The staysail helped us, I
feel persuaded, as the stay had got taut in the wreck, and the wind had
blown out the hanks. The brig's helm being hard up, as soon as she got
way, the craft flew round like a top, coming up on the other tack, in
spite of us, and throwing her nearly over again. She did not come fairly
down, however, though I thought she was gone, for an instant.

Finding it possible to move, I now ran forward, and succeeded in stopping
the wreck into the rigging and bitts. At this time the brig minded her
helm, and fell off, coming under command. To help us, the head of the
spencer got loose, from the throat-brail up, and, blowing out against the
wreck, the whole formed, together, a body of hamper, that acted as a sort
of sail, which helped the brig to keep clear of the seas. By close
attention to the helm, we were enabled to prevent the vessel from
broaching-to again, and, of course, managed to sail her on her bottom.
About sunset, it moderated, and, next morning, the weather was fine. We
then went to work, and rigged jury-masts; reaching New York a few
days later.

Had this accident occurred to our vessel in the night, as did that to the
Scourge, our fate would probably have been decided in a few minutes. As it
was, half an hour, in the sort of sea that was going, would have finished
her. As for my repentance, if I can use the term on such an occasion, and
for such a feeling, it was more lasting than thorough. I have never been
so fearfully profane since; and often, when I have felt the disposition to
give way to passion in this revolting form, my feelings, as I stood by
those bitts, have recurred to my mind--my vow has been remembered, and I
hope, together, they did some good, until I was made to see the general
errors of my life, and the necessity of throwing all my sins on the
merciful interposition of my Saviour.

I was not as reckless and extravagant, this time, in port, as I had
usually been, of late years. I shipped, before my money was all gone, on
board the Henry Kneeland, for Liverpool, vi New Orleans. On reaching the
latter port, all hands of us were beset by the land-sharks, in the shape
of landlords, who told us how much better we should be off by running,
than by sticking by the ship. We listened to these tales, and went in a
body. What made the matter worse, and our conduct the less excusable, was
the fact, that we got good wages and good treatment in the Henry Kneeland.
The landlords came with two boats, in the night; we passed our dunnage
down to them, and away we went, leaving only one man on board. The very
next day we all shipped on board the Marian, United States' Revenue
Cutter, where I was rated a quarter-mate, at fifteen dollars a month;
leaving seventeen to obtain this preferment!

We got a good craft for our money, however. She was a large comfortable
schooner, that mounted a few light guns, and our duty was far from heavy.
The treatment turned out to be good, also, as some relief to our folly.
One of our Henry Kneelands died of the "horrors" before we got to sea, and
we buried him at the watering-place, near the lower bar. I must have been
about four months in the Marion, during which time we visited the
different keys, and went into Key West. At this place, our crew became
sickly, and I was landed among others, and sent to a boarding-house. It
was near a month before we could get the crew together again, when we
sailed for Norfolk. At Norfolk, six of us had relapses, and were sent to
the hospital; the cutter sailing without us. I never saw the craft
afterwards.

I was but a fortnight in the hospital, the disease being only the fever
and ague. Just as I came out, the Alert, the New York cutter, came in, and
I was sent on board her. This separated me from all the Henry Kneelands
but one old man. The Alert was bound south, on duty connected with the
nullification troubles; and, soon after I joined her, she sailed for
Charleston, South Carolina. Here a little fleet of cutters soon
collected; no less than seven of us being at anchor in the waters of South
Carolina, to prevent any breach of the tariff laws. When I had been on
board the Alert about a month, a new cutter called the Jackson, came in
from New York, and being the finest craft on the station, our officers and
crew were transferred to her in a body; our captain being the senior of
all the revenue captains present.

I must have been at least six months in the waters of South Carolina, thus
employed. We never went to sea, but occasionally dropped down as far as
Rebellion Roads. We were not allowed to go ashore, except on rare
occasions, and towards the last, matters got to be so serious, that we
almost looked upon ourselves as in an enemy's country. Commodore Elliott
joined the station in the Natchez sloop-of-war, and the Experiment,
man-of-war schooner, also arrived and remained. After the arrival of the
Natchez, the Commodore took command of all hands of us afloat, and we were
kept in a state of high preparation for service. We were occasionally at
quarters, nights, though I never exactly knew the reasons. It was said
attacks on us were anticipated. General Scott was in the fort, and matters
looked very warlike, for several weeks.

At length we got the joyful news that nullification had been thrown
overboard, and that no more was to be apprehended. It seems that the crews
of the different cutters had been increased for this particular service;
but, now it was over, there were more men employed than Government had
needed. We were told, in consequence, that those among us who wished our
discharges, might have them on application.

I had been long enough in this 'long-shore service, and applied to be
discharged, under this provision. My time was so near out, however, that I
should have got away soon, in regular course.

I now went ashore at Charleston, and had my swig, as long as the money
lasted. I gave myself no trouble about the ship's husband, whose
collar-bone I had broken; nor do I now know whether he was then living, or
dead. In a word, I thought only of the present time; the past and the
future being equally indifferent to me. My old landlord was dead; and I
fell altogether into the hands of a new set. I never took the precaution
to change my name, at any period of my life, with the exception, that I
dropped the Robert, in signing shipping-articles. I also wrote my name
Myers, instead of Meyers, as, I have been informed by my sister, was the
true spelling. But this proceeded from ignorance, and not from intention.
In all times, and seasons, and weathers, and services, I have sailed as
Ned Myers; and as nothing else.

It soon became necessary to ship again; and I went on board the Harriet
and Jesse, which was bound to Havre de Grace. This proved to be a
pleasant, easy voyage; the ship coming back to New York filled with
passengers, who were called Swiss; but most of whom, as I understand, came
from Wurtemberg, Alsace, and the countries on the Rhine. On reaching New
York, I went on to Philadelphia, to obtain the effects I had left there,
when I went out in the Amelia. But my landlord was dead; his family was
scattered; and my property had disappeared. I never knew who got it; but a
quadrant, watch, and some entirely new clothes, went in the wreck. I
suppose I lost, at least, two hundred dollars, in this way. What odds did
it make to me? it would have gone in grog, if it had not gone in
this manner.

I staid but a short time in Philadelphia, joining a brig, called the
Topaz, bound to Havana. We arrived out, after a short passage; and here I
was exposed to as strong a temptation to commit crime, as a poor fellow
need encounter. A beautiful American-built brig, was lying in port, bound
to Africa, for slaves. She was the loveliest craft I ever laid eyes on;
and the very sight of her gave me a longing to go in her. She offered
forty dollars a month, with the privilege of a slave and a half. I went so
far as to try to get on board her; but met with some difficulty, in having
my things seized. The captain found it out; and, by pointing out to me the
danger I ran, succeeded in changing my mind.

I will not deny, that I knew the trade was immoral; but so is smuggling;
and I viewed them pretty much as the same thing, in this sense. I am now
told, that the law of this country pronounces the American citizen, who
goes in a slaver, a pirate; and treats him as such; which, to me, seems
very extraordinary. I do not understand, how a Spaniard can do that, and
be no pirate, which makes an American a pirate, if he be guilty of it. I
feel certain, that very few sailors know in what light the law views
slaving. Now, piracy is robbing, on the high seas, and has always been
contrary to law; but slaving was encouraged by all nations, a short time
since; and we poor tars look upon the change, as nothing but a change in
policy. As for myself, I should have gone in that brig, in utter ignorance
of the risks I ran, and believing myself to be about as guilty, in a moral
sense, as I was when I smuggled tobacco, on the coast of Ireland, or opium
in Canton. [15]

As the Topaz was coming out of the port of Havana, homeward bound, and
just as she was abreast of the Moro, the brig carried away her bobstay. I
was busy in helping to unreeve the stay, when I was seized with sudden and
violent cramps. This attack proved to be the cholera, which came near
carrying me off. The captain had me taken aft, where I was attended with
the greatest care. God be praised for his mercy! I got well, though
scarcely able to do any more duty before we got in.

A short voyage gives short commons; and I was soon obliged to look out for
another craft. This time I shipped in the Erie, Captain Funk, a Havre
liner, and sailed soon after. This was a noble ship, with the best of
usage. Both our passages were pleasant, and give me nothing to relate.
While I was at work in the hold, at Havre, a poor female passenger, who
came to look at the ship, fell through the hatch, and was so much injured
as to be left behind. I mention the circumstance merely to show how near I
was to a meeting with my old shipmate, who is writing these pages, and yet
missed him. On comparing notes, I find he was on deck when this accident
happened, having come to see after some effects he was then shipping to
New York. These very effects I handled, and supposed them to belong to a
passenger who was to come home in the ship; but, as they were addressed to
another name, I could not recognise them. Mr. Cooper did not come home in
the Erie, but passed over to England, and embarked at London, and so I
failed to see him.

In these liners, the captains wish to keep the good men of their crews as
long as they can. We liked the Erie and her captain so much, that eight or
ten of us stuck by the ship, and went out in her again. This time our luck
was not so good. The passage out was well enough, but homeward-bound we
had a hard time of it. While in Havre, too, we had a narrow escape.
Christmas night, a fire broke out in the cabin, and came near smothering
us all, forward, before we knew anything about it. Our chief mate, whose
name was Everdy,[16] saved the vessel by his caution and exertions; the
captain not getting on board until the fire had come to a head. We kept
everything closed until an engine was ready, then cut away the deck, and
sent down the hose This expedient, with a free use of water, saved the
ship. It is not known how the fire originated. A good deal of damage was
done, and some property was lost.

Notwithstanding this accident, we had the ship ready for sea early in
January, 1834. For the first week out, we met with head winds and heavy
weather; so heavy, indeed, as to render it difficult to get rid of the
pilot. The ship beat down channel with him on board, as low as the
Eddystone. Here we saw the Sully, outward bound, running up channel before
the wind. Signals were exchanged, and our ship, which was then well off
the land, ran in and spoke the Sully. We put our pilot on board this ship,
which was doing a good turn all round. The afternoon proving fair, and the
wind moderating, Captain Funk filled and stood in near to the coast, as
his best tack. Towards night, however, the gale freshened, and blew into
the bay, between the Start Point and the Lizard, in a heavy,
steady manner.

The first thing was to ware off shore; after which, we were compelled to
take in nearly all our canvass. The gale continued to increase, and the
night set in dark. There were plenty of ports to leeward, but it was
ticklish work to lose a foot of ground, unless one knew exactly where he
was going. We had no pilot, and the captain decided to hold on. I have
seldom known it to blow harder than it did that night; and, for hours,
everything depended on our main-top-sail's standing, which sail we had set,
close-reefed. I did not see anything to guide us, but the compass, until
about ten o'clock, when I caught a view of a light close on our lee bow.
This was the Eddystone, which stands pretty nearly in a line between the
Start and the Lizard, and rather more than three leagues from the land.
As we headed, we might lay past, should everything stand; but, if our
topsail went, we should have been pretty certain of fetching up on those
famous rocks, where a three-decker would have gone to pieces in an hour's
time in such a gale.

I suppose we passed the Eddystone at a safe distance, or the captain would
not have attempted going to windward of it; but, to me, it appeared that
we were fearfully near. The sea was breaking over the light tremendously,
and could be plainly seen, as it flashed up near the lantern. We went by,
however, surging slowly ahead, though our drift must have been
very material.

The Start, and the point to the westward of it, were still to be cleared.
They were a good way off, and but a little to leeward, as the ship headed.
In smooth water, and with a whole-sail breeze, it would have been easy
enough to lay past the Start, when at the Eddystone, with a south-west
wind; but, in a gale, it is a serious matter, especially on a flood-tide.
I know all hands of us, forward and aft, looked upon our situation as very
grave. We passed several uneasy hours, after we lost sight of the
Eddystone, before we got a view of the land near the Start. When I saw it,
the heights appeared like a dark cloud hanging over us, and I certainly
thought the ship was gone. At this time, the captain and mate consulted
together, and the latter came to us, in a very calm, steady manner, and
said--"Come, boys; we may as well go ashore without masts as with them,
and our only hope is in getting more canvass to stand. We must turn-to,
and make sail on the ship."

Everybody was in motion on this hint, and the first thing we did was to
board fore-tack. The clews of that sail came down as if so many giants had
hold of the tack and sheet. We set it, double-reefed, which made it but a
rag of a sail, and yet the ship felt it directly. We next tried the
fore-topsail, close-reefed, and this stood. It was well we did, for I feel
certain the ship was now in the ground-swell. That black hill seemed
ready to fall on our heads. We tried the mizen-topsail, but we found it
would not do, and we furled it again, not without great difficulty. Things
still looked serious, the land drawing nearer and nearer; and we tried to
get the mainsail, double-reefed, on the ship. Everybody mustered at the
tack and sheet, and we dragged down that bit of cloth as if it had been
muslin. The good ship now quivered like a horse that is over-ridden, but
in those liners everything is strong, and everything stood. I never saw
spray thrown from a ship's bows, as it was thrown from the Erie's that
night. We had a breathless quarter of an hour after the mainsail was set,
everybody looking to see what would go first. Every rope and bolt in the
craft was tried to the utmost, but all stood! At the most critical moment,
we caught a glimpse of a light in a house that was known to stand near the
Start; and the mate came among us, pointed it out, and said, if we
weathered _that_, we should go clear. After hearing this, my eyes were
never off that light, and glad was I to see it slowly drawing more astern,
and more under our lee. At last we got it on our quarter, and knew that we
had gone clear! The gloomy-looking land disappeared to leeward, in a deep,
broad bay, giving us plenty of sea-room.

We now took in canvass, to ease the ship. The mainsail and fore-topsail
were furled, leaving her to jog along under the main-topsail, foresail,
and fore-topmast staysail. I look upon this as one of my narrowest escapes
from shipwreck; and I consider the escape, under the mercy of God, to have
been owing to the steadiness of our officers, and the goodness of the ship
and her outfit. It was like pushing a horse to the trial of every nerve
and sinew, and only winning the race under whip and spur. Wood, and iron,
and cordage, and canvass, can do no more than they did that night.

Next morning, at breakfast, the crew talked the matter over. We had a hard
set in this ship, the men being prime seamen, but of reckless habits and
characters. Some of the most thoughtless among them admitted that they had
prayed secretly for succour, and, for myself, I am most thankful that _I_
did. These confessions were made half-jestingly, but I believe them to
have been true, judging from my own case. It may sound bravely in the ears
of the thoughtless and foolish, to boast of indifference on such
occasions; but, few men can face death under circumstances like those in
which we were placed, without admitting to themselves, however
reluctantly, that there is a Power above, on which they must lean for
personal safety, as well as for spiritual support. More than usual care
was had for the future welfare of sailors among the Havre liners, there
being a mariners' church at Havre, at which our captain always attended,
as well as his mates; and efforts were made to make us go also. The effect
was good, the men being better behaved, and more sober, in consequence.

The wind shifted a day or two after this escape, giving us a slant that
carried us past Scilly, fairly out into the Atlantic. A fortnight or so
after our interview with the Eddystone we carried away the pintals of the
rudder, which was saved only by the modern invention that prevents the
head from dropping, by means of the deck. To prevent the strain, and to
get some service from the rudder, however, we found it necessary to sling
the latter, and to breast it into the stern-post by means of purchases. A
spar was laid athwart the coach-house, directly over the rudder, and we
rove a chain through the tiller-hole, and passed it over this spar. For
this purpose the smallest chain-cable was used, the rudder being raised
from the deck by means of sheers. We then got a set of chain-topsail
sheets, parcelled them well, and took a clove hitch with them around the
rudder, about half-way up. One end was brought into each main-chain, and
set up by tackles. In this manner the wheel did tolerably well, though we
had to let the ship lie-to in heavy weather.

The chain sheets held on near a month, and then gave way. On examination,
it was found that the parcelling had gone under the ship's counter, and
that the copper had nearly destroyed the iron. After this, we mustered all
the chains of the ship, of proper size, parcelled them very thoroughly,
got another clove hitch around the rudder as before, and brought the ends
to the hawse-holes, letting the bights fall, one on each side of the
ship's keel. The ends were next brought to the windlass and hove taut.
This answered pretty well, and stood until we got the ship into New York.
Our whole passage was stormy, and lasted seventy days, as near as I can
recollect. The ship was almost given up when we got in, and great was the
joy at our arrival.

As the Erie lost her turn, in consequence of wanting repairs, most of us
went on board the Henry IVth, in the same line. This voyage was
comfortable, and successful, a fine ship and good usage. On our return to
New York most of us went back to the Erie, liking both vessel and captain,
as well as her other officers. I went twice more to Havre and back in this
ship, making four voyages in her in all. At the end of the fourth voyage
our old mate left us, to do business ashore, and we took a dislike to his
successor, though it was without trying him. The mate we lost had been a
great favourite, and we seemed to think if he went we must go too. At any
rate, nearly all hands went to the Silvie de Grasse, where we got another
good ship, good officers, and good treatment. In fact, all these Havre
liners were very much alike in these respects, the Silvie de Grasse being
the fourth in which I had then sailed, and to me they all seemed as if
they belonged to the same family. I went twice to Havre in this ship also,
when I left her for the Normandy, in the same line. I made this change in
consequence of an affair about some segars in Havre, in which I had no
other concern than to father another man's fault. The captain treated me
very handsomely, but my temperament is such that I am apt to fly off in a
tangent when anything goes up stream. It was caprice that took me from the
Silvie de Grasse, and put me in her sister-liner.

I liked the Normandy as well as the rest of these liners, except that the
vessel steered badly. I made only one voyage in her, however, as will be
seen in the next chapter.

Chapter XVII.

I had now been no less than eight voyages in the Havre trade, without
intermission. So regular had my occupation become, that I began to think I
was a part of a liner myself. I liked the treatment, the food, the ships,
and the officers. Whenever we got home, I worked in the ship, at day's
work, until paid off; after which, no more was seen of Ned until it was
time to go on board to sail. When I got in, in the Normandy, it happened
as usual, though I took a short swing only. Mr. Everdy, our old mate in
the Erie, was working gangs of stevedores, riggers, &c., ashore; and when
I went and reported myself to him, as ready for work in the Normandy
again, he observed that her gang was full, but that, by going up-town next
morning, to the screw-dock, I should find an excellent job on board a
brig. The following day, accordingly, I took my dinner in a pail, and
started off for the dock, as directed. On my way, I fell in with an old
shipmate in the navy, a boatswain's-mate, of the name of Benson. This man
asked me where I was bound with my pail, and I told him. "What's the use,"
says he, "of dragging your soul out in these liners, when you have a
man-of-war under your lee!" Then he told me he meant to ship, and advised
me to do the same. I drank with him two or three times, and felt half
persuaded to enter; but, recollecting the brig, I left him, and pushed on
to the dock. When I got there, it was so late that the vessel had got off
the dock, and was already under way in the stream.

My day's work was now up, and I determined to make a full holiday of it.
As I went back, I fell in with Captain Mix, the officer with whom I had
first gone on the lakes, and my old first-lieutenant in the Delaware, and
had a bit of navy talk with him; after which I drifted along as far as the
rendezvous. The officer in charge was Mr. M'Kenny, my old first-lieutenant
in the Brandywine, and, before I quitted the house, my name was down,
again, for one of Uncle Sam's sailor-men. In this accidental manner have I
floated about the world, most of my life--not dreaming in the morning,
what would fetch me up before night.

When it was time to go off, I was ready, and was sent on board the Hudson,
which vessel Captain Mix then commanded. I have the consolation of knowing
that I never ran, or thought of running, from either of the eleven
men-of-war on board of which I have served, counting big and little,
service of days and service of years. I had so long a pull in the
receiving-ship, as to get heartily tired of her; and, when an opportunity
offered, I put my name down for the Constellation 38, which was then
fitting out for the West India station, in Norfolk. A draft of us was sent
round to that ship accordingly, and we found she had hauled off from the
yard, and was lying between the forts. When I got on board, I ascertained
that something like fifty of my old liners were in this very ship, some
common motive inducing them to take service in the navy, all at the same
time. As for myself, it happened just as I have related, though I always
liked the navy, and was ever ready to join a ship of war, for a
pleasant cruise.

Commodore Dallas's pennant was flying in the Constellation when I joined
her. A short time afterwards, the ship sailed for the West Indies. As
there was nothing material occurred in the cruise, it is unnecessary to
relate things in the order in which they took place. The ship went to
Havana, Trinidad, Curaoa, Laguayra, Santa Cruz, Vera Cruz, Campeachy,
Tampico, Key West, &c. We lay more or less time at all these ports, and in
Santa Cruz we had a great ball on board. After passing several months in
this manner, we went to Pensacola. The St. Louis was with us most of this
time, though she did not sail from America in company. The next season the
whole squadron went to Vera Cruz in company, seven or eight sail of us in
all, giving the Mexicans some alarm, I believe.

But the Florida war gave us the most occupation. I was out in all sorts of
ways, on expeditions, and can say I never saw an Indian, except those who
came to give themselves up. I was in steamboats, cutters, launches, and on
shore, marching like a soldier, with a gun on my shoulder, and precious
duty it was for a sailor.

The St. Louis being short of hands, I was also drafted for a cruise in
her; going the rounds much as we had done in the frigate. This was a fine
ship, and was then commanded by Captain Rousseau, an officer much
respected and liked, by us all. Mr. Byrne, my old shipmate in the
Delaware, went out with us as first-lieutenant of the Constellation, but
he did not remain out the whole cruise.

Altogether I was out on the West India station three years, but got into
the hospital, for several months of the time, in consequence of a broken
bone. While in the hospital, the frigate made a cruise, leaving me ashore.
On her return, I was invalided home, in the Levant, Captain Paulding,
another solid, excellent officer. In a word, I was lucky in my officers,
generally; the treatment on board the frigate being just and good. The
duty in the Constellation was very hard, being a sort of soldier duty,
which may be very well for those that are trained to it, but makes bad
weather for us blue-jackets. Captain Mix, the officer with whom I went to
the lakes, was out on the station in command of the Concord, sloop of war,
and, for some time, was in charge of our ship, during the absence of
Commodore Dallas, in his own vessel. In this manner are old shipmates
often thrown together, after years of separation.

In the hospital I was rated as porter, Captain Bolton and Captain Latirner
being my commanding officers; the first being in charge of the yard, and
the second his next in rank. From these two gentlemen I received so many
favours, that it would be ungrateful in me not to mention them. Dr.
Terrill, the surgeon of the hospital, too, was also exceedingly kind to
me, during the time I was under his care.

As I had much leisure time in the hospital, I took charge of a garden, and
got to be somewhat of a gardener. It was said I had the best garden about
Pensacola, which is quite likely true, as I never saw but one other.

The most important thing, however, that occurred to me while in the
hospital, was a disposition that suddenly arose in my mind, to reflect on
my future state, and to look at religious things with serious eyes. Dr.
Terrill had some blacks in his service, who were in the habit of holding
little Methodist meetings, where they sang hymns, and conversed together
seriously. I never joined these people, being too white for that, down at
Pensacola, but I could overhear them from my own little room. A Roman
Catholic in the hospital had a prayer-book in English, which he lent to
me, and I got into the habit of reading a prayer in it, daily, as a sort
of worshipping of the Almighty. This was the first act of mine, that
approached private worship, since the day I left Mr. Marchinton's; if I
except the few hasty mental petitions put up in moments of danger.

After a time, I began to think it would never do for me, a Protestant born
and baptised, to be studying a Romish prayer-book; and I hunted up one
that was Protestant, and which had been written expressly for seamen. This
I took to my room, and used in place of the Romish book. Dr. Terrill had a
number of bibles under his charge, and I obtained one of these, also, and
I actually got into the practice of reading a chapter every night, as
well as of reading a prayer, also knocked off from drink, and ceased to
swear. My reading in the bible, now, was not for the stories, but
seriously to improve my mind and morals.

I must have been several months getting to be more and more in earnest on
the subject of morality, if not of vital religion, when I formed an
acquaintance with a new steward, who had just joined the hospital. This
man was ready enough to converse with me about the bible, but he turned
out to be a Deist, Notwithstanding my own disposition to think more
seriously of my true situation, I had many misgivings on the subject of
the Saviour's being the Son of God. It seemed improbable to me, and I was
falling into the danger which is so apt to beset the new beginner--that of
self-sufficiency, and the substituting of human wisdom for faith. The
steward was not slow in discovering this; and he produced some of Tom
Paine's works, by way of strengthening me in the unbelief. I now read Tom
Paine, instead of the bible, and soon had practical evidence of the bad
effects of his miserable system. I soon got stern-way on me in morals;
began to drink, as before, though seldom intoxicated, and grew indifferent
to my bible and prayer-book, as well as careless of the future. I began to
think that the things of this world were to be enjoyed, and he was the
wisest who made the most of his time.

I must confess, also, that the bad examples which I saw set by men
professing to be Christians, had a strong tendency to disgust me with
religion. The great mistake I made was, in supposing I had undergone any
real change of heart. Circumstances disposed me to reflect, and reflection
brought me to be serious, on subjects that I had hitherto treated with
levity; but the grace of God was still, in a great degree, withheld from
me, leaving me a prey to such arguments as those of the steward, and his
great prophet and master, Mr. Paine.

In the hospital, and that, too, at a place like Pensacola there was little
opportunity for me to break out into my old excesses; though I found
liquor, on one or two occasions, even there, and got myself into some
disgrace in consequence. On the whole, however, the discipline, my
situation, and my own resolution, kept me tolerably correct. It is the
restraint of a ship that alone prevents sailors from dying much sooner
than they do; for it is certain no man could hold out long who passed
three or four months every year in the sort of indulgencies into which I
myself have often run, after returning from long voyages. This is one
advantage of the navy; two or three days of riotous living being all a
fellow _can_ very well get in a three years' cruise. Any man who has ever
been in a vessel of war, particularly in old times, can see the effect
produced by the system, and regular living of a ship. When the crew first
came on board, the men were listless, almost lifeless, with recent
dissipation; some suffering with the "horrors," perhaps; but a few weeks
of regular living would bring them all round; and, by the end of the
cruise, most of the people would come into port, and be paid off, with
renovated constitutions. It is a little different, now, to be sure, as the
men ship for general service, and commonly serve a short apprenticeship in
a receiving vessel, before they are turned over to the sea-going craft.
This brings them on board the last in a little better condition than used
to be the case; but, even now, six months in a man-of-war is a new lease
for a seaman's life.

I say I got myself into disgrace in the hospital of Pensacola, in
consequence of my habit of drinking. The facts were as follows, for I have
no desire to conceal, or to parade before the world, my own delinquencies;
but, I confess them with the hope that the pictures they present, may have
some salutary influence on the conduct of others. The doctor, who was
steadily my friend, and often gave me excellent advice, went north, in
order to bring his wife to Pensacola. I was considered entitled to a
pension for the hurt which had brought me into the hospital, and the
doctor had promised to see something about it, while at Washington. This
was not done, in consequence of his not passing through Washington, as had
been expected. Now, nature has so formed me, that any disgust, or
disappointment, makes me reckless, and awakens a desire to revenge myself,
on myself, as I may say. It was this feeling which first carried me from
Halifax; it was this feeling that made me run from the Sterling; and which
has often changed and sometimes marred my prospects, as I have passed
through life. As soon as I learned that nothing had been said about my
pension, this same feeling came over me, and I became reckless. I had not
drawn my grog for months, and, indeed, had left off drinking entirely; but
I now determined to have my fill, at the first good opportunity. I meant
to make the officers sorry, by doing something that was very wrong, and
for which I should be sorry myself.

I kept the keys of the liquor of the hospital. The first thing was to find
a confederate, which I did in the person of a Baltimore chap, who entered
into my plan from pure love of liquor. I then got a stock of the wine, and
we went to work on it, in my room. The liquor was sherry, and it took nine
bottles of it to lay us both up. Even this did not make me beastly drunk,
but it made me desperate and impudent. I abused the doctor, and came very
near putting my foot into it, with Captain Latimer, who is an officer that
it will not do, always, to trifle with. Still, these gentlemen, with
Captain Bolton, had more consideration for me, than I had for myself, and
I escaped with only a good reprimand. It was owing to this frolic,
however, that I was invalided home--as they call it out there, no one
seeming to consider Pensacola as being in the United States.

When landed from the Levant, I was sent to the Navy Yard Hospital,
Brooklyn. After staying two or three days here, I determined to go to the
seat of government, and take a look at the great guns stationed there,
Uncle Sam and all. I was paid off from the Levant, accordingly, and
leaving the balance with the purser of the yard, I set off on my journey,
with fifty dollars in my pockets, which they tell me is about a member of
Congress' mileage, for the distance I had to go. Of course this was
enough, as a member of Congress would naturally take care and give himself
as much as he wanted.

When I got on board the South-Amboy boat, I found a party of Indians
there, going to head-quarters, like myself. The sight of these chaps set
up all my rigging, and I felt ripe for fun. I treated them to a breakfast
each, and gave them as much to drink as they could swallow. We all got
merry, and had our own coarse fun, in the usual thought less manner of
seamen. This was a bad beginning, and by the time we reached a tavern, I
was ready to anchor. Where this was, is more than I know; for I was not in
a state to keep a ship's reckoning. Whether any of my money was stolen or
not, I cannot say, but I know that some of my clothes were. Next day I got
to Philadelphia, where I had another frolic. After this, I went on to
Washington, keeping it up, the whole distance. I fell in with a soldier
chap, who was out of cash, and who was going to Washington to get a
pension, too; and so we lived in common. When we reached Washington, my
cash was diminished to three dollars and a half, and all was the
consequences of brandy and folly. I had actually spent forty-six dollars
and a half, in a journey that might have been made with ten, respectably!

I got my travelling companion to recommend a boarding-house, which he did.
I felt miserable from my excesses, and went to bed. In the morning, the
three dollars and a half were gone. I felt too ill to go to the Department
that day, but kept on drinking--eating nothing. Next day, my landlord took
the trouble to inquire into the state of my pocket, and I told him the
truth. This brought about a pretty free explanation between us, in which I
was given to understand that my time was up in that place. I afterwards
found out I had got into a regular soldier-house, and it was no wonder
they did not know how to treat an old salt.

Captain Mix had given me a letter to Commodore Chauncey, who was then
living, and one of the Commissioners. I felt pretty certain the old
gentleman would not let one of the Scourges founder at head-quarters, and
so I crawled up to the Department, and got admission to him. The commodore
seemed glad to see me; questioned me a good deal about the loss of the
schooner, and finally gave me directions how to proceed. I then discovered
that my pension ticket had actually reached Washington, but had been sent
back to Pensacola, to get some informality corrected. This would compel me
to remain some time at Washington. I felt unwell, and got back to my
boarding-house with these tidings. The gentleman who kept the house was
far from being satisfied with this, and he gave me a hint that at once put
the door between us. This was the first time I ever had a door shut upon
me, and I am thankful it happened at a soldier rendezvous. I gave the man
all my spare clothes in pawn, and walked away from his house.

I had undoubtedly brought on myself a fit of the "horrors," by my recent
excesses. As I went along the streets, I thought every one was sneering at
me; and, though burning with thirst, I felt ashamed to enter any house to
ask even for water. A black gave me the direction of the Navy Yard, and I
shaped my course for it, feeling more like lying down to die, than
anything else. When about half-way across the bit of vacant land between
the Capitol and the Yard, I sat down under a high picket-fence, and the
devil put it into my head, that it would be well to terminate sufferings
that seemed too hard to be borne, by hanging myself on that very fence. I
took the handkerchief from my neck, made a running bow-line, and got so
far as to be at work at a standing bow-line, to hitch over the top of one
of the poles of the fence.

I now stood up, and began to look for a proper picket to make fast to,
when, in gazing about, I caught sight of the mast-heads of the shipping at
the yard, and of the ensign under which I had so long served! These came
over me, as a light-house comes over a mariner in distress at sea, and I
thought there must be friends for me in that quarter. The sight gave me
courage and strength, and I determined no old shipmate should hear of a
blue-jacket's hanging himself on a picket, in a fit of the horrors.
Casting off the bowlines, I replaced the handkerchief on my neck, and made
the best of my way towards those blessed mast-heads, which, under God's
mercy, were the means of preventing me from committing suicide.

As I came up to the gate of the yard, the marine on post sung out to me,
"Halloo, Myers, where are you come from? You look as if you had been
dragged through h--, and beaten with a soot-bag!" This man, the first I
met at the Navy Yard, had been with me three years in the Delaware, and
knew me in spite of my miserable appearance. He advised me to go on board
the Fulton, then lying at the Yard, where he said I should find several
more old Delawares, who would take good care of me. I did as he directed,
and, on getting on board, I fell in with lots of acquaintances. Some
brought me tea, and some brought me grog. I told my yarn, and the chaps
around me laid a plan to get ashore on liberty that night, and raze the
house from which I had been turned away. But I persuaded them out of the
notion, and the landlord went clear.

Alter a while, I got a direction to a boarding-house near the Yard, and
went to it, with a message from my old shipmates that they would be
responsible for the pay. But to this the man would not listen; he took me
in on my own account, saying that no blue-jacket should be turned from
_his_ door, in distress. Here I staid and got a comfortable night's rest.
Next day I was a new man, holy-stoned the decks, and went a second time to
the Department.

All the gentlemen in the office showed a desire to serve and advise me.
The Pension Clerk gave me a letter to Mr. Boyle, the Chief Clerk, who gave
me another letter to Commodore Patterson, the commandant of the Navy-Yard.
It seems that government provides a boarding-house for us pensioners to
stay in, while at Washington, looking after our rights. This letter of Mr.
Boyle's got me a berth in that house, where I was supplied with
everything, even to washing and mending, for six weeks. Through the
purser, I drew a stock of money from the purser at New York, and now
began, again, to live soberly and respectably, considering all things.

The house in which I lived was a sort of half-hospital, and may have had
six or eight of us in it, altogether. Several of us were cripples from
wounds and hurts, and, among others, was one Reuben James, a thorough old
man-of-war's man, who had been in the service ever since he was a youth.
This man had the credit of saving Decatur's life before Tripoli; but he
owned to me that he was not the person who did it. He was in the fight,
and boarded with Decatur, but did not save his commander's life. He had
been often wounded, and had just had a leg amputated for an old wound,
received in the war of 1812, I believe. Liquor brought him to that.

The reader will remember that the night the Scourge went down I received a
severe blow from her jib-sheet blocks. A lump soon formed on the spot
where the injury had been inflicted, and it had continued to increase
until it was now as large as my fist, or even larger. I showed this lump
to James, one day, and he mentioned it to Dr. Foltz, the surgeon who
attended the house. The doctor took a look at my arm, and recommended an
operation, as the lump would continue to increase, and was already so
large as to be inconvenient. I cannot say that it hurt me any, though it
was an awkward sort of swab to be carrying on a fellow's shoulder. I had
no great relish for being carved, and think I should have refused to
submit to the operation, were it not for James, who told me he would not
be carrying Bunker Hill about on _his_ arm, and would show me his own
stump by way of encouragement. This man seemed to think an old sailor
ought to have a wooden leg, or something of the sort, after he had reached
a certain time of life. At all events, he persuaded me to let the doctor
go to work, and I am now glad I did, as everything turned out well. Doctor
Foltz operated, after I had been about a week under medicine, doing the
job as neatly as man could wish. He told me the lump he removed weighed a
pound and three quarters, and of course I was so much the lighter. I was
about a month, after this, under his care, when he pronounced me to be
sea-worthy again.

I now got things straight as regards my pension, for the hurt received on
board the Constellation. It was no great matter, only three dollars a
month, being one of the small pensions; and the clerks, when they came to
hear about the hurt, for which Dr. Foltz had operated, advised me to get
evidence and procure a pension for _that_. I saw the Secretary, Mr.
Paulding, on this subject, and the gentlemen were so kind as to overhaul
their papers, in order to ascertain who could be found as a witness. They
wrote to Captain Deacon, the officer who commanded the Growler; but he
knew nothing of me, as I never was on board his schooner. This gentleman,
however, wrote me a letter, himself, inviting me to come and see him,
which I had it not in my power to do. I understand he is now dead. Mr.
Trant had been dead many years, and, as for Mr. Bogardus, I never knew
what became of him. He was not in the line of promotion, and probably left
the navy at the peace. In overhauling the books, however, the
pension-clerk came across the name of Lemuel Bryant. This man received a
pension for the wound he got at Little York, and was one of those I had
hauled into the boat when the Scourge went down. He was then living at
Portland, in Maine, his native State. Mr. Paulding advised me to get his
certificate, for all hands in the Department seemed anxious I should not
go away without something better than the three dollars a month. I
promised to go on, and see Lemuel Bryant, and obtain his testimony.

Quitting Washington, I went to Alexandria and got on board a brig, called
the Isabella, bound to New York, at which port we arrived in due time.
Here I obtained the rest of my money, and kept myself pretty steady, more
on account of my wounds, I fear, than anything else. Still I drank too
much; and by way of putting a check on myself, I went to the Sailor's
Retreat, Staten Island, and of course got out of the reach of liquor. Here
I staid eight or ten days, until my wounds healed. While at the Retreat,
the last day I remained there indeed, which was a Sunday, the physician
came in, and told me that a clergyman of the Dutch Reformed Church, of the
name of Miller, was about to have service down stairs, and that I had
better go down and be present. To this request, not only civilly but
kindly made, I answered that I had seen enough of the acts of religious
men to satisfy me, and that I believed a story I was then reading in a
Magazine, would do me as much good as a sermon. The physician said a
little in the way of reproof and admonition, and left me. As soon as his
back was turned, some of my companions began to applaud the spirit I had
shown, and the answer I had given the doctor. But I was not satisfied with
myself. I had more secret respect for such things than I was willing to
own, and conscience upbraided me for the manner in which I had slighted so
well-meaning a request. Suddenly telling those around me that my mind was
changed, and that I _would_ go below and hear what was said, I put this
new resolution in effect immediately.

I had no recollection of the text from which Mr. Miller preached; it is
possible I did not attend to it, at the moment it was given out; but,
during the whole discourse, I fancied the clergyman was addressing himself
particularly to me, and that his eyes were never off me. That he touched
my conscience I know, for the effect produced by this sermon, though not
uninterruptedly lasting, is remembered to the present hour. I made many
excellent resolutions, and secretly resolved to reform, and to lead a
better life. My thoughts were occupied the whole night with what I had
heard, and my conscience was keenly active.

The next morning I quitted the Retreat, and saw no more of Mr. Miller, at
that time; but I carried away with me many resolutions that would have
been very admirable, had they only been adhered to. How short-lived they
were, and how completely I was the slave of a vicious habit, will be seen,
when I confess that I landed in New York a good deal the worse for having
treated some militia-men who were in the steamer, to nearly a dozen
glasses of hot-stuff, in crossing the bay. I had plenty of money, and a
sailor's disposition to get rid of it, carelessly, and what I thought
generously. It was Evacuation-Day, and severely cold, and the hot-stuff
pleased everybody, on such an occasion. Nor was this all. In passing
Whitehall slip, I saw the Ohio's first-cutter lying there, and it happened
that I not only knew the officer of the boat, who had been one of the
midshipmen of the Constellation, but that I knew most of its crew. I was
hailed, of course, and then I asked leave to treat the men. The permission
was obtained, and this second act of liberality reduced me to the
necessity of going into port, under a pilot's charge. Still I had not
absolutely forgotten the sermon, nor all my good resolutions.

At the boarding-house I found a Prussian, named Godfrey, a steady, sedate
man, and I agreed with him to go to Savannah, to engage in the
shad-fishery, for the winter, and to come north together in the spring. My
landlord was not only ill and poor, but he had many children to support,
and it is some proof that all my good resolutions were not forgotten, that
I was ready to go south before my money was gone, and willing it should do
some good, in the interval of my absence. A check for fifty dollars still
remained untouched, and I gave it to this man, with the understanding he
was to draw the money, use it for his own wants, and return it to me, if
he could, when I got back. The money was drawn, but the man died, and I
saw no more of it.

Godfrey and I were shipped in a vessel called the William Taylor, a
regular Savannah packet. It was our intention to quit her as soon as she
got in--by running, if necessary. We had a bad passage, and barely missed
shipwreck on Hatteras, saving the brig by getting a sudden view of the
light, in heavy, thick weather. We got round, under close-reefed topsails,
and that was all we did. After this, we had a quick run to Savannah.
Godfrey had been taken with the small-pox before we arrived, and was sent
to a hospital as soon as possible. In order to prevent running, I feigned
illness, too, and went to another. Here the captain paid me several
visits, but my conscience was too much hardened by the practices of
seamen, to let me hesitate about continuing to be ill. The brig was
obliged to sail without me, and the same day I got well, as suddenly as I
had fallen ill.

I was not long in making a bargain with a fisherman to aid in catching
shad. All this time, I lived at a sailor boarding-house, and was
surrounded by men who, like myself, had quitted the vessels in which they
had arrived. One night the captain of a ship, called the Hope, came to the
house to look for a crew. He was bound to Rotterdam, and his ship lay down
at the second bar, all ready for sea. After some talk, one man signed the
articles; then another, and another, and another, until his crew was
complete to one man. I was now called on to ship, and was ridiculed for
wishing to turn shad-man. My pride was touched, and I agreed to go,
leaving my fisherman in the lurch.

The Hope turned out to be a regular down-east craft, and I had been in so
many flyers and crack ships as to be saucy enough to laugh at the
economical outfit, and staid ways of the vessel. I went on board half
drunk, and made myself conspicuous for such sort of strictures from the
first hour. The captain treated me mildly, even kindly; but I stuck to my
remarks during most of the passage. I was a seaman, and did my duty; but
this satisfied me. I had taken a disgust to the ship; and though I had
never blasphemed since the hour of the accident in the way I did the day
the Susan and Mary was thrown on her beam-ends, I may be said to have
crossed the Atlantic in the Hope, grumbling and swearing at the ship.
Still, our living and our treatment were both good.

At Rotterdam, we got a little money, with liberty. When he last was up, I
asked for more, and the captain refused it. This brought on an explosion,
and I swore I would quit the ship. After a time, the captain consented, as
well as he could, leaving my wages on the cabin-table, where I found them,
and telling me I should repent of what I was then doing. Little did I then
think he would prove so true a prophet.

Chapter XVIII.

I had left the Hope in a fit of the sulks. The vessel never pleased me,
and yet I can now look back, and acknowledge that both her master and her
mate were respectable, considerate men, who had my own good in view more
than I had myself. There was an American ship, called the Plato, in port,
and I had half a mind to try my luck in her. The master of this vessel was
said to be a tartar, however, and a set of us had doubts about the
expediency of trusting ourselves with such a commander. When we came to
sound around him, we discovered he would have nothing to do with us, as he
intended to get a crew of regular Dutchmen. This ship had just arrived
from Batavia, and was bound to New York. How he did this legally, or
whether he did it at all, is more than I know, for I only tell what I was
told myself, on this subject.

There was a heavy Dutch Indiaman, then fitting out for Java, lying at
Rotterdam. The name of this vessel was the Stadtdeel--so pronounced; how
spelt, I have no idea--and I began to think I would try a voyage in her.
As is common with those who have great reason to find fault with
themselves, I was angry with the whole world. I began to think myself a
sort of outcast, forgetting that I had deserted my natural relatives, run
from my master, and thrown off many friends who were disposed to serve me
in everything in which I could be served. I have a cheerful temperament by
nature, and I make no doubt that the sombre view I now began to take of
things, was the effects of drink. It was necessary for me to get to sea,
for there I was shut out from all excesses, by discipline and necessity.

After looking around us, and debating the matter among ourselves, a party
of five of us shipped in the Stadtdeel. What the others contemplated I do
not know, but it was my intention to double Good Hope, and never to
return. Chances enough would offer on the other side, to make a man
comfortable, and I was no stranger to the ways of that quarter of the
world. I could find enough to do between Bombay and Canton; and, if I
could not, there were the islands and all of the Pacific before me. I
could do a seaman's whole duty, was now in tolerable health and strength,
and knew that such men were always wanted. Wherever a ship goes, Jack must
go with her, and ships, dollars and hogs, are now to be met with all over
the globe.

The Stadtdeel lay at Dort, and we went to that place to join her. She was
not ready for sea, and as things moved Dutchman fashion, slow and sure, we
were about six weeks at Dort before she sailed. This ship was a vessel of
the size of a frigate, and carried twelve guns. She had a crew of about
forty souls, which was being very short-handed. The ship's company was a
strange mixture of seamen, though most of them came from the north of
Europe. Among us were Russians, Danes, Swedes, Prussians, English,
Americans, and but a very few Dutch. One of the mates, and two of the
petty officers, could speak a little English. This made us eight who could
converse in that language. We had to learn Dutch as well as we could, and
made out tolerably well. Before the ship sailed, I could understand the
common orders, without much difficulty. Indeed, the language is nothing
but English a little flattened down.

So long as we remained at Dort, the treatment on board this vessel was
well enough. We were never well fed, though we got enough food, such as it
was. The work was hard, and the weather cold; but these did not frighten
me. The wages were eight dollars a month;--I had abandoned eighteen, and
an American ship, for this preferment! A wayward temper had done me
this service.

The Stadtdeel no sooner got into the stream, than there was a great
change in the treatment. We were put on an allowance of food and water,
in sight of our place of departure; and the rope's-end began to fly round
among the crew we five excepted. For some reason, that I cannot explain
neither of us was ever struck. We got plenty of curses, in Low Dutch, as
we supposed; and we gave them back, with interest, in high English. The
expression of our faces let the parties into the secret of what was
going on.

It is scarcely necessary to add, that we English and Americans soon
repented of the step we had taken. I heartily wished myself on board the
Hope, again, and the master's prophecy became true, much sooner, perhaps,
than he had himself anticipated. This time, I conceive that my disgust was
fully justified; though I deserved the punishment I was receiving, for
entering so blindly into a service every way so inferior to that to which
I properly belonged. The bread in this ship was wholesome, I do suppose,
but it was nearly black, and such as I was altogether unused to. Inferior
as it was, we got but five pounds, each, per week. In our navy, a man
gets, per week, seven pounds of such bread as might be put on a
gentleman's table. The meat was little better than the bread in quality,
and quite as scant in quantity. We got one good dish in the Stadtdeel, and
that we got every morning. It was a dish of boiled barley, of which I
became very fond, and which, indeed, supplied me with the strength
necessary for my duty. It was one of the best dishes I ever fell in with
at sea; and I think it might be introduced, to advantage, in our service.
Good food produces good work.

As all our movements were of the slow and easy order, the ship lay three
weeks at the Helvoetsluys, waiting for passengers. During this time, our
party, three English and two Americans, came to a determination to abandon
the ship. Our plan was to seize a boat, as we passed down channel, and get
ashore in England. We were willing to run all the risks of such a step, in
preference of going so long a voyage under such treatment and food. By
this time, our discontent amounted to disgust.

At length we got all our passengers on board. These consisted of a family,
of which the head was said to be, or to have been, an admiral in the Dutch
navy. This gentleman was going to Java to remain; and he took with him
his wife, several children, servants, and a lady, who seemed to be a
companion to his wife. As soon as this party was on board, the wind coming
fair, we sailed. The Plato went to sea in company with us, and little did
I then think, while wishing myself on board her, how soon I should be
thrown into this very ship--the last craft in which I ever was at sea. I
was heaving the lead as we passed her; our ship, Dutchman or not, having a
fleet pair of heels. The Stadtdeel, whatever might be her usage, or her
food, sailed and worked well, and was capitally found in everything that
related to the safety of the vessel. This was her first voyage, and she
was said to be the largest ship out of Rotterdam.

The Stadtdeel must have sailed from Helvoetsluys in May, 1839, or about
thirty-three years after I sailed from New York, on my first voyage, in
the Sterling. During all this time I had been toiling at sea, like a dog,
risking my health and life, in a variety of ways; and this ship, with my
station on board her, was nearly all I had to show for it! God be praised!
This voyage, which promised so little, in its commencement, proved, in the
end, the most fortunate of any in which I embarked.

There was no opportunity for us to put our plans in execution, in going
down channel. The wind was fair, and it blew so fresh, it would not have
been easy to get a boat into the water; and we passed the Straits of
Dover, by day-light, the very day we sailed. The wind held in the same
quarter, until we reached the north-east trades, giving us a quick run as
low down as the calm latitudes. All this time, the treatment was as bad as
ever, or, if anything, worse; and our discontent increased daily. There
were but one or two native Hollanders in the forecastle, boys excepted;
but among them was a man who had shipped as an ordinary seaman. He had
been a soldier, I believe; at all events, he had a medal, received in
consequence of having been in one of the late affairs between his country
and Belgium. It is probable this man may not have been very expert in a
seaman's duty, and it is possible he may have been drinking, though to me
he appeared sober, at the time the thing occurred which I am about to
relate. One day the captain fell foul of him, and beat him with a rope
severely. The ladies interfered, and got the poor fellow out of the
scrape; the captain letting him go, and telling him to go forward. As the
man complied, he fell in with the chief mate, who attacked him afresh, and
beat him very severely. The man now went below, and was about to turn in,
as the captain had ordered,--which renders it probable he had been
drinking,--when the second mate, possibly ignorant of what had occurred,
missing him from his duty, went below, and beat him up on deck again.
These different assaults seem to have made the poor fellow desperate. He
ran and jumped into the sea, just forward of the starboard
lower-studdingsail-boom. The ship was then in the north-east trades, and
had eight or nine knots way on her; notwithstanding, she was rounded to,
and a boat was lowered--but the man was never found. There is something
appalling in seeing a fellow-creature driven to such acts of madness; and
the effect produced on all of us, by what we witnessed, was profound
and sombre.

I shall not pretend to say that this man did not deserve chastisement, or
that the two mates were not ignorant of what had happened; but brutal
treatment was so much in use on board this ship, that the occurrence made
us five nearly desperate. I make no doubt a crew of Americans, who were
thus treated, would have secured the officers, and brought the ship in. It
is true, that flogging seems necessary to some natures, and I will not say
that such a crew as ours could very well get along without it. But we
might sometimes be treated as men, and no harm follow.

As I have said, the loss of this man produced a great impression in the
ship, generally. The passengers appeared much affected by it, and I
thought the captain, in particular, regretted it greatly. He might not
have been in the least to blame, for the chastisement he inflicted was
such as masters of ships often bestow on their men, but the crew felt very
indignant against the mates; one of whom was particularly obnoxious to us
all. As for my party, we now began to plot, again, in order to get quit of
the ship. After a great deal of discussion, we came to the following
resolution:

About a dozen of us entered into the conspiracy. We contemplated no
piracy, no act of violence, that should not be rendered necessary in
self-defence, nor any robbery beyond what we conceived indispensable to
our object. As the ship passed the Straits of Sunda, we intended to lower
as many boats as should be necessary, arm ourselves, place provisions and
water in the boats, and abandon the ship. We felt confident that if most
of the men did not go with us, they would not oppose us. I can now see
that this was a desperate and unjustifiable scheme; but, for myself, I was
getting desperate on board the ship, and preferred risking my life to
remaining. I will not deny that I was a ringleader in this affair, though
I know I had no other motive than escape. This was a clear case of mutiny,
and the only one in which I was ever implicated. I have a thousand times
seen reason to rejoice that the attempt was never made, since, so deep was
the hostility of the crew to the officers,--the mates, in
particular,--that I feel persuaded a horrible scene of bloodshed must have
followed. I did not think of this at the time, making sure of getting off
unresisted; but, if we had, what would have been the fate of a parcel of
seamen who came into an English port in ship's boats? Tried for piracy,
probably, and the execution of some, if not all of us.

The ship had passed the island of St. Pauls, and we were impatiently
waiting for her entrance into the Straits of Sunda, when an accident
occurred that put a stop to the contemplated mutiny, and changed the whole
current, as I devoutly hope, of all my subsequent life. At the calling of
the middle watch, one stormy night, the ship being under close-reefed
topsails at the time, with the mainsail furled, I went on deck as usual,
to my duty. In stepping across the deck, between the launch and the
galley, I had to cross some spars that were lashed there. While on the
pile of spars, the ship lurched suddenly, and I lost my balance, falling
my whole length on deck, upon my left side. Nothing broke the fall, my
arms being raised to seize a hold above my head, and I came down upon deck
with my entire weight, the hip taking the principal force of the fall. The
anguish I suffered was acute, and it was some time before I would allow my
shipmates even to touch me.

After a time, I was carried down into the steerage, where it was found
necessary to sling me on a grating, instead of a hammock. We had a doctor
on board, but he could do nothing for me. My clothes could not be taken
off, and there I lay wet, and suffering to a degree that I should find
difficult to describe, hours and hours.

I was now really on the stool of repentance. In body, I was perfectly
helpless, though my mind seemed more active than it had ever been before.
I overhauled my whole life, beginning with the hour when I first got
drunk, as a boy, on board the Sterling, and underrunning every scrape I
have mentioned in this sketch of my life, with many of which I have not
spoken; and all with a fidelity and truth that satisfy me that man can
keep no log-book that is as accurate as his own conscience. I saw that I
had been my own worst enemy, and how many excellent opportunities of
getting ahead in the world, I had wantonly disregarded. Liquor lay at the
root of all my calamities and misconduct, enticing me into bad company,
undermining my health and strength, and blasting my hopes. I tried to
pray, but did not know how; and, it appeared to me, as if I were lost,
body and soul, without a hope of mercy.

My shipmates visited me by stealth, and I pointed out to them, as clearly
as in my power, the folly, as well as the wickedness, of our contemplated
mutiny. I told them we had come on board the ship voluntarily, and we had
no right to be judges in our own case; that we should have done a cruel
thing in deserting a ship at sea, with women and children on board; that
the Malays would probably have cut our throats, and the vessel herself
would have been very apt to be wrecked. Of all this mischief, we should
have been the fathers, and we had every reason to be grateful that our
project was defeated. The men listened attentively, and promised to
abandon every thought of executing the revolt. They were as good as their
words, and I heard no more of the matter.

As for my hurt, it was not easy to say what it was. The doctor was kind to
me, but he could do no more than give me food and little indulgencies. As
for the captain, I think he was influenced by the mate, who appeared to
believe I was feigning an injury much greater than I had actually
received. On board the ship, there was a boy, of good parentage, who had
been sent out to commence his career at sea. He lived aft, and was a sort
of genteel cabin-boy He could not have been more than ten or eleven years
old but he proved to be a ministering angel to me. He brought me
delicacies, sympathised with me, and many a time did we shed tears in
company. The ladies and the admiral's children sometimes came to see me,
too, manifesting much sorrow for my situation; and then it was that my
conscience pricked the deepest, for the injury, or risks, I had
contemplated exposing them to. Altogether, the scenes I saw daily, and my
own situation, softened my heart, and I began to get views of my moral
deformity that were of a healthful and safe character.

I lay on that grating two months, and bitter months they were to me. The
ship had arrived at Batavia, and the captain and mate came to see what was
to be done with me. I asked to be sent to the hospital, but the mate
insisted nothing was the matter with me, and asked to have me kept in the
ship. This was done, and I went round to Terragall in her, where we landed
our passengers. These last all came and took leave of me, the admiral
making me a present of a good jacket, that he had worn himself at sea,
with a quantity of tobacco. I have got that jacket at this moment. The
ladies spoke kindly to me, and all this gave my heart fresh pangs.

From Terragall we went to Sourabaya, where I prevailed on the captain to
send me to the hospital, the mate still insisting I was merely shamming
inability to work. The surgeons at Sourabaya, one of whom was a Scotchman,
thought with the mate; and at the end of twenty days, I was again taken on
board the ship, which sailed for Samarang. While at Sourabaya there were
five English sailors in the hospital. These men were as forlorn and
miserable as my self, death grinning in our faces at every turn. The men
who were brought into the hospital one day, were often dead the next, and
none of us knew whose turn would come next. We often talked together, on
religious subjects, after our own uninstructed manner, and greatly did we
long to find an English bible, a thing not to be had there. Then it was I
thought, again, of the sermon I had heard at the Sailors' Retreat, of the
forfeited promises I had made to reform; and, more than once did it cross
my mind, should God permit me to return home, that I would seek out that
minister, and ask his prayers and spiritual advice.

On our arrival at Samarang, the mate got a doctor from a Dutch frigate,
to look at me, who declared nothing ailed me. By these means nearly all
hands in the ship were set against me, but my four companions, and the
little boy fancying that I was a skulk, and throwing labour on them. I was
ordered on deck, and set to work graffing ring-bolts for the guns. Walk I
could not, being obliged, literally, to crawl along the deck on my hands
and knees. I suffered great pain, but got no credit for it. The work was
easy enough for me, when once seated at it, but it caused me infinite
suffering to move. I was not alone in being thought a skulk, however. The
doctor himself was taken ill, and the mate accused him, too, very much as
he did me, of shirking duty. Unfortunately, the poor man gave him the
lie, by dying.

I was kept at the sort of duty I have mentioned until the ship reached
Batavia again. Here a doctor came on board from another ship, on a visit,
and my case was mentioned. The mate ordered me aft, and I crawled upon the
quarter-deck to be examined. They got me into the cabin, where the strange
doctor looked at me. This man said I must be operated on by a burning
process, all of which was said to frighten me to duty. After this I got
down into the forecastle, and positively refused to do anything more.
There I lay, abused and neglected by all but my four friends. I told the
mate I suffered too much to work, and that I must be put ashore. Suffering
had made me desperate, and I cared not for the consequences.

Fortunately for me, there were two cases of fever and ague in the ship.
Our own doctor being dead, that of the admiral's ship was sent for to
visit the sick. The mate seemed anxious to set evidence against me, and he
asked the admiral's surgeon to come down and see me. The moment this
gentleman laid eyes on me, he raised both arms, and exclaimed that they
were killing me. He saw, at once, that I was no impostor, and stated as
much in pretty plain language, so far as I could understand what he said.
The mate appeared to be struck with shame and contrition; and I do believe
that every one on board was sorry for the treatment I had received. I took
occasion to remonstrate with the mate, and to tell him of the necessity of
my being sent immediately to the hospital. The man promised to represent
my case to the captain, and the next day I was landed.

My two great desires were to get to the hospital and to procure a bible. I
did not expect to live; one of my legs being shrivelled to half its former
size, and was apparently growing worse; and could I find repose for my
body and relief for my soul, I felt that I could be happy. I had heard my
American shipmate, who was a New Yorker, a Hudson river man, say he had a
bible; but I had never seen it. It lay untouched in the bottom of his
chest, sailor-fashion. I offered this man a shirt for his bible; but he
declined taking any pay, cheerfully giving me the book. I forced the shirt
on him, however, as a sort of memorial of me. Now I was provided with the
book, I could not read for want of spectacles. I had reached a time of
life when the sight begins to fail, and I think my eyes were injured in
Florida. In Sourayaba hospital I had raised a few rupees by the sale of a
black silk handkerchief, and wanted now to procure a pair of spectacles. I
sold a pair of boots, and adding the little sum thus raised to that which
I had already, I felt myself rich and happy, in the prospect of being able
to study the word of God. On quitting the ship, everybody, forward and
aft, shook hands with me, the opinion of the man-of-war surgeon suddenly
changing all their opinions of me and my conduct.

The captain appeared to regret the course things had taken, and was
willing to do all he could to make me comfortable. My wages were left in a
merchant's hands, and I was to receive them could I quit this island, or
get out of the hospital. I was to be sent to Holland, in the latter case,
and everything was to be done according to law and right. The reader is
not to imagine I considered myself a suffering saint all this time. On the
contrary, while I was thought an impostor, I remembered that I had shammed
sickness in this very island, and, as I entered the hospital, I could not
forget the circumstances under which I had been its tenant fifteen or
twenty years before. Then I was in the pride of my youth and strength;
and, now, as if in punishment for the deception, I was berthed, a
miserable cripple, within half-a-dozen beds of that on which I was berthed
when feigning an illness I did not really suffer. Under such
circumstances, conscience is pretty certain to remind a sinner of
his misdeeds.

The physician of the hospital put me on very low diet and gave me an
ointment to "smear" myself with, as he called it; and I was ordered to
remain in my berth. By means of one of the coolies of the hospital, I got
a pair of spectacles from the town, and such a pair, as to size and form,
that people in America regard what is left of them as a curiosity. They
served my purpose, however, and enabled me to read the precious book I had
obtained from my north-river shipmate. This book was a copy from the
American Bible Society's printing-office, and if no other of their works
did good, this must be taken for an exception. It has since been placed in
the Society's Library, in memory of the good it has done.

My sole occupation was reading and reflecting. There I lay, in a distant
island, surrounded by disease, death daily, nay hourly making his
appearance, among men whose language was mostly unknown to me. It was
several weeks before I was allowed even to quit my bunk. I had begun to
pray before I left the ship, and this practice I continued, almost hourly,
until I was permitted to rise. A converted Lascar was in the hospital, and
seeing my occupation, he came and conversed with me, in his broken
English. This man gave me a hymn-book, and one of the first hymns I read
in it afforded me great consolation. It was written by a man who had been
a sailor like myself, and one who had been almost as wicked as myself, but
who has since done a vast deal of good, by means of precept and example.
This hymn-book I now read in common with my bible. But I cannot express
the delight I felt at a copy of Pilgrim's Progress which this same Lascar
gave me. That book I consider as second only to the bible. It enabled me
to understand and to apply a vast deal that I found in the word of God,
and set before my eyes so many motives for hope, that I began to feel
Christ had died for me, as well as for the rest of the species. I thought
if the thief on the cross could be saved, even one as wicked as I had been
had only to repent and believe, to share in the Redeemer's mercy. All this
time I fairly pined for religious instruction, and my thoughts would
constantly recur to the sermon I had heard at the Sailor's Retreat, and
to the clergyman who had preached it.

There was an American carpenter in the Fever Hospital, who, hearing of my
state, gave me some tracts that he had brought from home with him. This
man was not pious, but circumstances had made him serious; and, being
about to quit the place, he was willing to administer to my wants He told
me there were several Englishmen and one American in his hospital, who
wanted religious consolation greatly, and he advised me to crawl over and
see them; which I did, as soon as it was in my power.

At first, I thought myself too wicked to offer to pray and converse with
these men, but my conscience would not let me rest until I did so. It
appeared to me as if the bible had been placed in my way, as much for
their use as my own, and I could not rest until I had offered them all the
consolation it was in my power to bestow. I read with these men for two or
three weeks; Chapman, the American, being the man who considered his own
moral condition the most hopeless. When unable to go myself, I would send
my books, and we had the bible and Pilgrim's Progress, watch and watch,
between us.

All this time we were living, as it might be, on a bloody battle-field.
Men died in scores around us, and at the shortest notice. Batavia, at that
season, was the most sickly; and, although the town was by no means as
dangerous then as it had been in my former visit, it was still a sort of
Golgotha, or place of skulls. More than half who entered the Fever
Hospital, left it only as corpses.

Among my English associates, as I call them, was a young Scotchman, of
about five-and-twenty. This man had been present at most of our readings
and conversations, though he did not appear to me as much impressed with
the importance of caring for his soul, as some of the others. One day he
came to take leave of me. He was to quit the hospital the following
morning. I spoke to him concerning his future life, and endeavoured to
awaken in him some feelings that might be permanent, he listened with
proper respect, but his answers were painfully inconsiderate, though I do
believe he reasoned as nine in ten of mankind reason, when they think at
all on such subjects. "What's the use of my giving up so soon," he said;
"I am young, and strong, and in good health, and have plenty of sea-room
to leeward of me, and can fetch up when there is occasion for it. If a
fellow don't live while he can, he'll never live." I read to him the
parable of the wise and foolish virgins, but he left me holding the same
opinion, to the last.

Directly in front of my ward was the dead-house. Thither all the bodies of
those who died in the hospital were regularly carried for dissection.
Scarcely one escaped being subjected to the knife. This dead-house stood
some eighty, or a hundred, yards from the hospital, and between them was
an area, containing a few large trees. I was in the habit, after I got
well enough to go out, to hobble to one of these trees, where I would sit
for hours, reading and meditating. It was a good place to make a man
reflect on the insignificance of worldly things, disease and death being
all around him. I frequently saw six or eight bodies carried across this
area, while sitting in it, and many were taken to the dead-house, at
night. Hundreds, if not thousands, were in the hospital, and a large
proportion died.

The morning of the day but one, after I had taken leave of the young
Scotchman, I was sitting under a tree, as usual, when I saw some coolies
carrying a dead body across the area. They passed quite near me, and one
of the coolies gave me to understand it was that of this very youth! He
had been seized with the fever, a short time after he left me, and here
was a sudden termination to all his plans of enjoyment and his hopes of
life; his schemes of future repentance.

Such things are of frequent occurrence in that island, but this event made
a very deep impression on me. It helped to strengthen me in my own
resolutions, and I used it, I hope, with effect, with my companions whose
lives were still spared.

All the Englishmen got well, and were discharged. Chapman, the American,
however, remained, being exceedingly feeble with the disease of the
country. With this poor young man, I prayed, as well as I knew how, and
read, daily, to his great comfort and consolation, I believe. The reader
may imagine how one dying in a strange land, surrounded by idolaters,
would lean on a single countryman who was disposed to aid him. In this
manner did Chap man lean on me, and all my efforts were to induce him to
lean on the Saviour. He thought he had been too great a sinner to be
entitled to any hope, and my great task was to overcome in him some of
those stings of conscience which it had taken the grace of God to allay in
myself. One day, the last time I was with him, I read the narrative of the
thief on the cross. He listened to it eagerly, and when I had ended, for
the first time, he displayed some signs of hope and joy. As I left him, he
took leave of me, saying we should never meet again. He asked my prayers,
and I promised them. I went to my own ward, and, while actually engaged in
redeeming my promise, one came to tell me he had gone. He sent me a
message, to say he died a happy man. The poor fellow--happy fellow, would
be a better term--sent back all the books he had borrowed; and it will
serve to give some idea of the condition we were in, in a temporal sense,
if I add, that he also sent me a few coppers, in order that they might
contribute to the comfort of his countrymen.

Chapter XIX.

About three months after the death of Chapman, I was well enough to quit
the hospital. I could walk, with the aid of crutches, but had no hope of
ever being a sound man again. Of course, I had an anxious desire to get
home; for all my resolutions, misanthropical feelings, and resentments,
had vanished in the moral change I had undergone. My health, as a whole,
was now good. Temperance, abstinence, and a happy frame of mind, had
proved excellent doctors; and, although I had not, and never shall,
altogether, recover from the effects of my fall, I had quite done with the
"horrors." The last fit of them I suffered was in the deep conviction I
felt concerning my sinful state. I knew nothing of Temperance
Societies--had never heard that such things existed, or, if I had, forgot
it as soon as heard; and yet, unknown to myself, had joined the most
effective and most permanent of all these bodies. Since my fall, I have
not tasted spirituous liquors, except as medicine, and in very small
quantities, nor do I now feel the least desire to drink. By the grace of
God, the great curse of my life has been removed, and I have lived a
perfectly sober man for the last five years. I look upon liquor as one of
the great agents of the devil in destroying souls, and turn from it,
almost as sensitively as I could wish to turn from sin.

I wrote to the merchant who held my wages, on the subject of quitting the
hospital, but got no answer. I then resolved to go to Batavia myself, and
took my discharge from the hospital, accordingly. I can truly say, I left
that place, into which I had entered a miserable, heart-broken cripple, a
happy man. Still, I had nothing; not even the means of seeking a
livelihood. But I was lightened of the heaviest of all my burthens, and
felt I could go through the world rejoicing, though, literally, moving
on crutches.

The hospital is seven miles from the town, and I went this distance in a
canal-boat, Dutch fashion. Many of these canals exist in Java, and they
have had the effect to make the island much more healthy, by draining the
marshes. They told me, the canal I was on ran fifty miles into the
interior. The work was done by the natives, but under the direction of
their masters, the Dutch.

On reaching the town, I hobbled up to the merchant, who gave me a very
indifferent reception. He said I had cost too much already, but that I
must return to the hospital, until an opportunity offered for sending me
to Holland. This I declined doing. Return to the hospital I would not, as
I knew it could do no good, and my wish was to get back to America. I then
went to the American consul, who treated me kindly. I was told, however,
he could do nothing for me, as I had come out in a Dutch ship, unless I
relinquished all claims to my wages, and all claims on the Dutch laws. My
wages were a trifle, and I had no difficulty in relinquishing them, and as
for claims, I wished to present none on the laws of Holland.

The consul then saw the Dutch merchant, and the matter was arranged
between them. The Plato, the very ship that left Helvoetsluys in company
with us, was then at Batavia, taking in cargo for Bremenhaven. She had a
new cap tain, and he consented to receive me as a consul's man. This
matter was all settled the day I reached the town, and I was to go on
board the ship in the morning.

I said nothing to the consul about money, but left his office with the
expectation of getting some from the Dutch merchant. I had tasted no food
that day, and, on reaching the merchant's, I found him on the point of
going into the country; no one sleeping in the town at that season, who
could help it. He took no notice of me, and I got no assistance; perhaps I
was legally entitled to none. I now sat down on some boxes, and thought I
would remain at that spot until morning. Sleeping in the open air, on an
empty stomach, in that town, and at that season, would probably have
proved my death, had I been so fortunate as to escape being murdered by
the Malays for the clothes I had on. Providence took care of me. One of
the clerks, a Portuguese, took pity on me, and led me to a house occupied
by a negro, who had been converted to Christianity. We met with a good
deal of difficulty in finding admission. The black said the English and
Americans were so wicked he was afraid of them; but, finding by my
discourse that I was not one of the Christian heathen, he altered his
tone, and nothing was then too good for me. I was fed, and he sent for my
chest, receiving with it a bed and three blankets, as a present from the
charitable clerk. Thus were my prospects for that night suddenly changed
for the better! I could only thank God, in my inmost heart, for all
his mercies.

The old black, who was a man of some means, was also about to quit the
town; but, before he went, he inquired if I had a bible. I told him yes;
still, he would not rest until he had pressed upon me a large bible, in
English, which language he spoke very well. This book had prayers for
seamen bound up with it. It was, in fact, a sort of English prayer-book,
as well as bible. This I accepted, and have now with me. As soon as the
old man went away, leaving his son behind him for the moment, I began to
read in my Pilgrim's Progress. The young man expressed a desire to examine
the book, understanding English perfectly. After reading in it for a short
time, he earnestly begged the book, telling me he had two sisters, who
would be infinitely pleased to possess it. I could not refuse him, and he
promised to send another book in its place, which I should find equally
good. He thus left me, taking the Pilgrim's Progress with him. Half an
hour later a servant brought me the promised book, which proved to be
Doddridge's Rise and Progress. On looking through the pages, I found a
Mexican dollar wafered between two of the leaves. All this I regarded as
providential, and as a proof that the Lord would not desert me. My
gratitude, I hope, was in proportion. This whole household appeared to be
religious, for I passed half the night in conversing with the Malay
servants, on the subject of Christianity; concerning which they had
already received many just ideas. I knew that my teaching was like the
blind instructing the blind; but it had the merit of coming from God,
though in a degree suited to my humble claims on his grace.

In the morning, these Malays gave me breakfast, and then carried my chest
and other articles to the Plato's boat. I was happy enough to find myself,
once more, under the stars and stripes, where I was well received, and
humanely treated. The ship sailed for Bremen about twenty days after I got
on board her.

Of course, I could do but little on the passage. Whenever I moved along
the deck, it was by crawling, though I could work with the needle and
palm. A fortnight out, the carpenter, a New York man, died. I tried to
read and pray with him, but cannot say that he showed any consciousness of
his true situation. We touched at St. Helena for water, and, Napoleon
being then dead, had no difficulty in getting ashore. After watering we
sailed again, and reached our port in due time.

I was now in Europe, a part of the world that I had little hopes of seeing
ten months before. Still it was my desire to get to America, and I was
permitted to remain in the ship. I was treated in the kindest manner by
captain Bunting, and Mr. Bowden, the mate, who gave me everything I
needed. At the end of a few weeks we sailed again, for New York, where we
arrived in the month of August, 1840,

I left the Plato at the quarantine ground, going to the Sailor's Retreat.
Here the physician told me I never could recover the use of my limb as I
had possessed it before, but that the leg would gradually grow stronger,
and that I might get along without crutches in the end. All this has
turned out to be true. The pain had long before left me, weakness being
now the great difficulty. The hip-joint is injured, and this in a way that
still compels me to rely greatly on a stick in walking.

At the Sailor's Retreat, I again met Mr. Miller. I now, for the first
time, received regular spiritual advice, and it proved to be of great
benefit to me. After remaining a month at the Retreat, I determined to
make an application for admission to the Sailor's Snug Harbour, a richly
endowed asylum for seamen, on the same island. In order to be admitted, it
was necessary to have sailed under the flag five years, and to get a
character. I had sailed, with two short exceptions, thirty-four years
under the flag, and I do believe in all that time, the nineteen months of
imprisonment excluded, I had not been two years unattached to a ship. I
think I must have passed at least a quarter of a century out of sight of
land.[17]

I now went up to New York, and hunted up captain Pell, with whom I had
sailed in the Sully and in the Normandy. This gentleman gave me a
certificate, and, as I left him, handed me a dollar. This was every cent I
had on earth. Next, I found captain Witheroudt, of the Silvie de Grasse
who treated me in precisely the same way. I told him I had _one_ dollar
already, but he insisted it should be _two_. With these two dollars in my
pocket, I was passing up Wall street, when, in looking about me, I saw the
pension office. The reader will remember that I left Washington with the
intention of finding Lemuel Bryant, in order to obtain his certificate,
that I might get a pension for the injury received on board the Scourge.
With this project, I had connected a plan of returning to Boston, and of
getting some employment in the Navy Yard. My pension-ticket had, in
consequence, been made payable at Boston. My arrival at New York, and the
shadding expedition, had upset all this plan; and before I went to
Savannah, I had carried my pension-ticket to the agent in this Wall street
office, and requested him to get another, made payable in New York. This
was the last I had seen of my ticket, and almost the last I had thought of
my pension. But, I now crossed the street, went into the office, and was
recognised immediately. Everything was in rule, and I came out of the
office with fifty-six dollars in my pockets! I had no thought of this
pension, at all, in coming up to town. It was so much money showered down
upon me, unexpectedly.

For a man of my habits, who kept clear of drink, I was now rich. Instead
of remaining in town, however, I went immediately down to the Harbour, and
presented myself to its respectable superintendant, the venerable Captain
Whetten.[18] I was received into the institution without any difficulty,
and have belonged to it ever since. My entrance at Sailors' Snug Harbour
took place Sept. 17, 1840; just one month after I landed at Sailors'
Retreat. The last of these places is a seamen's hospital, where men are
taken in only to be cured; while the first is an asylum for worn-out
mariners, for life. The last is supported by a bequest made, many years
ago, by an old ship-master, whose remains lie in front of the building.

Knowing myself now to be berthed for the rest of my days, should I be so
inclined, and should I remain worthy to receive the benefits of so
excellent an institution, I began to look about me, like a man who had
settled down in the world. One of my first cares, was to acquit myself of
the duty of publicly joining some church of Christ, and thus acknowledge
my dependence on his redemption and mercy. Mr. Miller, he whose sermons
had made so deep an impression on my mind, was living within a mile and a
half of the Harbour, and to him I turned in my need. I was an
Episcopalian by infant baptism, and I am still as much attached to that
form of worship, as to any other; but sects have little weight with me,
the heart being the main-stay, under God's grace. Two of us, then, joined
Mr. Miller's church; and I have ever since continued one of his
communicants. I have not altogether deserted the communion in which I was
baptized; occasionally communing in the church of Mr. Moore. To me, there
is no difference; though I suppose more learned Christians may find
materials for a quarrel, in the distinctions which exist between these two
churches. I hope never to quarrel with either.

To my surprise, sometime after I was received into the Harbour, I
ascertained that my sister had removed to New York, and was then living in
the place. I felt it, now, to be a duty to hunt her up, and see her. This
I did; and we met, again, after a separation of five-and-twenty years. She
could tell me very little of my family; but I now learned, for the first
time, that my father had been killed in battle. Who, or what he was, I
have not been able to ascertain, beyond the facts already stated in the
opening of the memoir.

I had ever retained a kind recollection of the treatment of Captain
Johnston, and accident threw into my way some information concerning him.
The superintendant had put me in charge of the library of the institution;
and, one day, I overheard some visiters talking of Wiscasset. Upon this, I
ventured to inquire after my old master, and was glad to learn that he was
not only living, but in good health and circumstances. To my surprise I
was told that a nephew of his was actually living within a mile of me. In
September, 1842, I went to Wiscasset, to visit Captain Johnston, and found
myself received like the repentant prodigal. The old gentleman, and his
sisters, seemed glad to see me; and, I found that the former had left the
seas, though he still remained a ship-owner; having a stout vessel of five
hundred tons, which is, at this moment, named after our old craft,
the Sterling.

I remained at Wiscasset several weeks. During this time, Captain Johnston
and myself talked over old times, as a matter of course, and I told him I
thought one of our old shipmates was still living. On his asking whom, I
inquired if he remembered the youngster, of the name of Cooper, who had
been in the Sterling. He answered, perfectly well, and that he supposed
him to be the Captain Cooper who was then in the navy. I had thought so,
too, for a long time; but happened to be on board the Hudson, at New York,
when a Captain Cooper visited her. Hearing his name, I went on deck
expressly to see him, and was soon satisfied it was not my old shipmate.
There are two Captains Cooper in the navy,--father and son,--but neither
had been in the Sterling. Now, the author of many naval tales, and of the
Naval History, was from Cooperstown, New York; and I had taken it into my
head this was the very person who had been with us in the Sterling.
Captain Johnston thought not; but I determined to ascertain the fact,
immediately on my return to New York.

Quitting Wiscasset, I came back to the Harbour, in the month of November,
1842. I ought to say, that the men at this institution, who maintain good
characters, can always get leave to go where they please, returning
whenever they please. There is no more restraint than is necessary to
comfort and good order; the object being to make old tars comfortable.
Soon after my return to the Harbour, I wrote a letter to Mr. Fenimore
Cooper, and sent it to his residence, at Cooperstown, making the inquiries
necessary to know if he were the person of the same family who had been in
the Sterling. I got an answer, beginning in these words--"I am your old
shipmate, Ned." Mr. Cooper informed me when he would be in town, and
where he lodged.

In the spring, I got a message from Mr. Blancard, the keeper of the Globe
Hotel, and the keeper, also, of Brighton, near the Harbour, to say that
Mr. Cooper was in town, and wished to see me. Next day, I went up,
accordingly; but did not find him in. After paying one or two visits, I
was hobbling up Broadway, to go to the Globe again, when my old commander
at Pensacola, Commodore Bolton, passed down street, arm-in-arm with a
stranger. I saluted the commodore, who nodded his head to me, and this
induced the stranger to look round. Presently I heard "Ned!" in a voice
that I knew immediately, though I had not heard it in thirty-seven years.
It was my old shipmate--the gentleman who has written out this account of
my career, from my verbal narrative of the facts.

Mr. Cooper asked me to go up to his place, in the country, and pass a few
weeks there. I cheerfully consented, and we reached Cooperstown early in
June. Here I found a neat village, a beautiful lake, nine miles long, and,
altogether, a beautiful country. I had never been as far from the sea
before, the time when I served on Lake Ontario excepted. Cooperstown lies
in a valley, but Mr. Cooper tells me it is at an elevation of twelve
hundred feet above tide-water. To me, the clouds appeared so low, I
thought I could almost shake hands with them; and, altogether, the air and
country were different from any I had ever seen, or breathed, before.

My old shipmate took me often on the Lake, which I will say is a slippery
place to navigate. I thought I had seen all sorts of winds before I saw
the Otsego, but, on this lake it sometimes blew two or three different
ways at the same time. While knocking about this piece of water, in a good
stout boat, I related to my old shipmate many of the incidents of my
wandering life, until, one day, he suggested it might prove interesting to
publish them. I was willing, could the work be made useful to my brother
sailors, and those who might be thrown into the way of temptations like
those which came so near wrecking all my hopes, both for this world, and
that which is to come. We accordingly went to work between us, and the
result is now laid before the world. I wish it understood, that this is
literally my own story, logged by my old shipmate.

It is now time to clew up. When a man has told all he has to say, the
sooner he is silent the better. Every word that has been related, I
believe to be true; when I am wrong, it proceeds from ignorance, or want
of memory. I may possibly have made some trifling mistakes about dates,
and periods, but I think they would turn out to be few, on inquiry. In
many instances I have given my impressions, which, like those of other
men, may be right, or may be wrong. As for the main facts, however, I know
them to be true, nor do I think myself much out of the way, in any of
the details.

This is the happiest period of my life, and has been so since I left the
hospital at Batavia. I do not know that I have ever passed a happier
summer than the present has been. I should be perfectly satisfied with
everything, did not my time hang so idle on my hands at the Harbour. I
want something to occupy my leisure moments, and do not despair of yet
being able to find a mode of life more suitable to the activity of my
early days. I have friends enough--more than I deserve--and, yet, a man
needs occupation, who has the strength and disposition to be employed.
That which is to happen is in the hands of Providence, and I humbly trust
I shall be cared for, to the end, as I have been cared for, through so
many scenes of danger and trial.

My great wish is that this picture of a sailor's risks and hardships, may
have some effect in causing this large and useful class of men to think on
the subject of their habits. I entertain no doubt that the money I have
disposed of far worse than if I had thrown it into the sea, which went to
reduce me to that mental hell, the 'horrors,' and which, on one occasion,
at least, drove me to the verge of suicide, would have formed a sum, had
it been properly laid by, on which I might now have been enjoying an old
age of comfort and respectability. It is seldom that a seaman cannot lay
by a hundred dollars in a twelvemonth--oftentimes I have earned double
that amount, beyond my useful outlays--and a hundred dollars a year, at
the end of thirty years, would give such a man an independence for the
rest of his days. This is far from all, however; the possession of means
would awaken the desire of advancement in the calling, and thousands, who
now remain before the mast, would long since have been officers, could
they have commanded the self-respect that property is apt to create.

On the subject of liquor, I can say nothing that has not often been said
by others, in language far better than I can use. I do not think I was as
bad, in this respect, as perhaps a majority of my associates; yet, this
narrative will show how often the habit of drinking to excess impeded my
advance. It was fast converting me into a being inferior to a man, and,
but for God's mercy, might have rendered me the perpetrator of crimes that
it would shock me to think of, in my sober and sane moments.

The past, I have related as faithfully as I have been able so to do. The
future is with God; to whom belongeth power, and glory, for ever and ever!

The End.

Footnotes

[1]: The writer left a blank for this regiment, and now inserts it from
memory. It is probable he is wrong.

[2]: Edward, Duke of Kent, was born November 2, 1767, and made a peer April
23, 1799; when he was a little turned of one-and-thirty. It is probable
that this creation took place on his return to England; after passing some
six or eight years in America and the West Indies. He served in the West
Indies with great personal distinction, during his stay in this
hemisphere.--Editor.

[3]: This is Ned's pronunciation; though it is probable the name is not
spelt correctly. The names of Ned are taken a good deal at random; and,
doubtless, are often misspelled.--Editor.

[4]: I well remember using these arguments to Ned; though less with any
expectations of being admitted, than the boy seemed to believe. There was
more roguery, than anything else, in my persuasion; though it was mixed
with a latent wish to see the interior of the palace.--Editor.

[5]: Second-mate.

[6]: 22d--Editor.

[7]: When Myers related this circumstance, I remembered that a
Lieutenant-Colonel Meyers had been killed in the affair at Fort George,
something in the way here mentioned. On consulting the American official

Book of the day: