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The Crater by James Fenimore Cooper

Part 7 out of 9

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drags, and heavy work, they could be, and were, made to do a vast deal.
The first great object of the governor had been to get his people all
comfortably housed, beneath good roofs, and out of the way of the rains.
Fortunately there were no decayed vegetable substances in the group, to
produce fevers; and so long as the person could be kept dry, there was
little danger to the health.

Four sorts, or classes, of houses were erected, each man being left to
choose for himself, with the understanding that he was to receive a
certain amount, in value, from the commonwealth, by contribution in
labour, or in materials. All beyond that amount was to be paid for. To
equalize advantages, a tariff was established, as to the value of labour
and materials. These materials consisted of lumber, including shingles,
stone, lime and bricks; bricks burned, as well as those which were
unburned, or adobe. Nails were also delivered from the public store,
free of charge.

Of course, no one at first thought of building very largely. Small
kitchens were all that were got up, at the commencement, and they varied
in size, according to the means of their owners, as much as they
differed in materials. Some built of wood; some of stones; some of
regular bricks; and some of adobe. All did very well, but the stone was
found to be much the preferable material, especially where the
plastering within was furred off from the walls. These stones came from
Rancocus Island, where they were found in inexhaustible quantities,
partaking of the character of tufa. The largest of them were landed at
the Reef, the loading and unloading being principally done by the
Kannakas, while the smallest were delivered at different points along
the channel, according to the wishes of the owners of the land. More
than a hundred dwellings were erected in the course of the few months
immediately succeeding the arrival of the immigrants. About half were on
the Peak, and the remainder were in the group. It is true, no one of all
these dwellings was large; but each was comfortable, and fully answered
the purpose of protection against the rain. A roof of cedar shingles was
tight, as a matter of course, and what was more, it was lasting. Some of
the buildings were sided with these shingles; though clap-boards were
commonly used for that purpose. The adobe answered very well when
securely roofed, though it was thought the unburnt brick absorbed more
moisture than the brick which had been burned.

The largest of all the private dwellings thus erected, was thirty feet
square, and the smallest was fifteen. The last had its cooking apartment
under a shed, however, detached from the house. Most of the ovens were
thus placed; and in many instances the chimneys stood entirely without
the buildings, even when they were attached to them. There was but one
house of two stories, and that was John Pennock's, who had sufficient
means to construct such a building. As for the governor, he did not
commence building at all, until nearly every one else was through, when
he laid the corner-stones of two habitations; one on the Peak, which was
his private property, standing on his estate; and the other on the Reef,
which was strictly intended to be a Government, or Colony House. The
first was of brick, and the last of stone, and of great solidity, being
intended as a sort of fortress. The private dwelling was only a story
and a half high, but large on the ground for that region, measuring
sixty feet square. The. government building was much larger, measuring
two hundred feet in length, by sixty feet in depth. This spacious
edifice, however, was not altogether intended for a dwelling for the
governor, but was so arranged as to contain great quantities of public
property in its basement, and to accommodate the courts, and all the
public offices on the first floor. It had an upper story, but that was
left unfinished and untenanted for years, though fitted with
arrangements for defence. Fortunately, cellars were little wanted in
that climate, for it was not easy to have one in the group. It is true,
that Pennock caused one to be blown out with gun-powder, under his
dwelling, though every one prophesied that it would soon be full of
water. It proved to be dry, notwithstanding; and a very good cellar it
was, being exceedingly useful against the heats, though of cold there
was none to guard against.

The Colony House stood directly opposite to the drawbridge, being placed
there for the purposes of defence, as well as to have access to the
spring. A want of water was rather an evil on the Reef; not that the
sands did not furnish an ample supply, and that of the most delicious
quality, but it had to be carried to inconvenient distances. In general,
water was found in sufficient quantities and in suitable places, among
the group; but, at the Reef, there was certainly this difficulty to
contend with. As the governor caused his brother, the surveyor-general,
to lay out a town on the Reef, it was early deemed necessary to make
some provision against this evil. A suitable place was selected, and a
cistern was blown out of the rock, into which all the water that fell on
the roof of Colony House was led. This reservoir, when full, contained
many thousand gallons; and when once full, it was found that the rains
were sufficient to prevent its being very easily emptied.

But the greatest improvement that was made on the Reef, after all, was
in the way of soil. As for the crater, that, by this time, was a mass of
verdure, among which a thousand trees were not only growing, but
flourishing. This was as true of its plain, as of its mounds; and of its
mounds, as of its plain. But the crater was composed of materials very
different from the base of the Reef. The former was of tufa, so far as
it was rock at all; while the latter was, in the main, pure lava.
Nevertheless, something like a soil began to form even on the Reef,
purely by the accessions caused though its use by man. Great attention
was paid to collecting everything that could contribute to the formation
of earth, in piles; and these piles were regularly removed to such
cavities, or inequalities in the surface of the rock, as would be most
likely to retain their materials when spread. In this way many green
patches had been formed, and, in a good many instances, trees had been
set out, in spots where it was believed they could find sufficient
nourishment. But, no sooner had the governor decided to build on the
Reef, and to make his capital there, than he set about embellishing the
place systematically. Whenever a suitable place could be found, in what
was intended for Colony House grounds, a space of some ten acres in the
rear of the building, he put in the drill, and blew out rock. The
fragments of stone were used about the building; and the place soon
presented a ragged, broken surface, of which one might well despair of
making anything. By perseverance, however, and still more by skill and
judgment, the whole area was lowered more than a foot, and in many
places, where nature assisted the work, it was lowered several feet. It
was a disputed question, indeed, whether stone for the building could
not be obtained here, by blasting, cheaper and easier, than by
transporting it from Rancocus Island. Enough was procured in this way
not only to construct the building, but to enclose the grounds with a
sufficient wall. When all was got off that was wanted, boat-loads of mud
and sand were brought by Kannakas, and deposited in the cavity. This was
a great work for such a community, though it proceeded faster than, at
first, one might have supposed. The materials were very accessible, and
the distances short, which greatly facilitated the labour, though
unloading was a task of some gravity. The walls of the house were got up
in about six months after the work was commenced, and the building was
roofed; but, though the gardeners were set to work as soon as the stones
were out of the cavities, they had not filled more than two acres at the
end of the period mentioned.

Determined to make an end of this great work at once, the Abraham was
sent over to young Ooroony to ask for assistance. Glad enough was that
chief to grant what was demanded of him, and he came himself, at the
head of five hundred men, to aid his friend in finishing this task. Even
this strong body of labourers was busy two months longer, before the
governor pronounced the great end accomplished. Then he dismissed his
neighbours with such gifts and pay as sent away everybody contented.
Many persons thought the experiment of bringing so many savages to the
Reef somewhat hazardous; but no harm ever came of it. On the contrary,
the intercourse had a good effect, by making the two people better
acquainted with each other. The governor had a great faculty in the
management of those wild beings. He not only kept them in good-humour,
but what was far more difficult, he made them work. They were converted
into a sort of Irish for his colony. It is true, one civilized man could
do more than three of the Kannakas, but the number of the last was so
large that they accomplished a great deal during their stay.

Nor would the governor have ventured to let such dangerous neighbours
into the group, had there not been still more imposing mysteries
connected with the Peak, into which they were not initiated. Even young
Ooroony wag kept in ignorance of what was to be found on that dreaded
island. He saw vessels going and coming, knew that the governor often
went there, saw strange faces appearing occasionally on the Reef, that
were understood to belong to the unknown land, and probably to a people
who were much more powerful than those who were in direct communication
with the natives.

The governor induced his Kannakas to work by interesting them in the
explosions of the blasts, merely to enjoy the pleasure of seeing a
cart-load of rock torn from its bed. One of these men would work at a
drill all day, and then carry off the fragments to be placed in the
walls, after he had had his sport in this operation of blasting. They
seemed never to tire of the fun, and it was greatly questioned if half
as much labour could have been got out of them at any other work, as at

A good deal of attention was paid to rendering the soil of the colony
garden fertile, as well as deep. In its shallowest places it exceeded a
foot in depth, and in the deepest, spots where natural fissures had
aided the drill, it required four or five feet of materials to form the
level. These deep places were all marked, and were reserved for the
support of trees. Not only was sand freely mixed with the mud, or muck,
but sea-weed in large quantities was laid near the surface, and finally
covered with the soil. In this manner was a foundation made that could
not fail to sustain a garden luxuriant in its products, aided by the
genial heat and plentiful rains of the climate. Shrubs, flowers, grass,
and ornamental trees, however, were all the governor aimed at in these
public grounds; the plain of the crater furnishing fruit and vegetables
in an abundance, as yet far exceeding the wants of the whole colony. The
great danger, indeed, that the governor most apprehended, was that the
beneficent products of the region would render his people indolent; an
idle, nation becoming, almost infallibly, vicious as well as ignorant.
It was with a view to keep the colony on the advance, and to maintain a
spirit of improvement that so much attention was so early bestowed on
what might otherwise be regarded as purely intellectual pursuits which,
by creating new wants, might induce their subjects to devise the means
of supplying them.

The governor judged right; for tastes are commonly acquired by
imitation, and when thus acquired, they take the strongest hold of those
who cultivate them. The effect produced by the Colony Garden, or public
grounds, was such as twenty-fold to return the cost and labour bestowed
on it. The sight of such an improvement set both men and women to work
throughout the group, and not a dwelling was erected in the town, that
the drill did not open the rock, and mud and sand form a garden. Nor did
the governor himself confine his horticultural improvements to the
gardens mentioned. Before he sent away his legion of five hundred,
several hundred blasts were made in isolated spots on the Reef; places
where the natural formation favoured such a project; and holes were
formed that would receive a boat-load of soil each. In these places
trees were set out, principally cocoa-nuts, and such other plants as
were natural to the situation, due care being taken to see that each had
sufficient nourishment.

The result of all this industry was to produce a great change in the
state of things at the Reef. In addition to the buildings erected, and
to the gardens made and planted, within the town itself, the whole
surface of the island was more or less altered. Verdure soon made its
appearance in places where, hitherto, nothing but naked rock had been
seen, and trees began to cast their shades over the young and delicious
grasses. As for the town itself, it was certainly no great matter;
containing about twenty dwellings, and otherwise being of very modest
pretensions. Those who dwelt there were principally such mechanics as
found it convenient to be at the centre of the settlement, some half a
dozen persons employed about the warehouses of the merchants, a few
officials of the government, and the families of those who depended
mainly on the sea for their support. Each and all of these heads of
families had drawn their lots, both in the group and on the Peak, though
some had sold their rights the better to get a good start in their
particular occupations. The merchants, however, established themselves
on the Reef, as a matter of necessity, each causing a warehouse to be
constructed near the water, with tackles and all the usual conveniences
for taking in and delivering goods. Each also had his dwelling near at
hand. As these persons had come well provided for the Indian trade in
particular, having large stocks of such cheap and coarse articles as
took with the natives, they were already driving a profitable business,
receiving considerable quantities of sandal-wood in exchange for their

It is worthy of being mentioned, that the governor and council early
passed a sort of navigation act, the effect of which was to secure the
carrying trade to the colony. The motive, however, was more to keep the
natives within safe limits, than to monopolize the profits of the seas.
By the provisions of this law, no canoe could pass from Betto's group to
either of the islands of the colony, without express permission from the
governor. In order to carry on the trade, the parties met on specified
days at Ooroony's village, and there made their exchanges; vessels being
sent from the Reef to bring away the sandal-wood. With a view to the
final transportation of the last to a market, Saunders had been
instructed to purchase a suitable vessel, which was to return with the
Rancocus, freighted with such heavy and cheap implements as were most
wanted in the colony, including cows and mares in particular. Physical
force, in the shape of domestic animals, was greatly wanted; and it was
perhaps the most costly of all the supplies introduced into the
settlements. Of horned cattle there were already about five-and-twenty
head in the colony--enough to make sure of the breed; but they were
either cows, steers too young to be yet of much use, and calves. Nothing
was killed, of course; but so much time must, pass before the increase
would give the succour wanted, that the governor went to unusual expense
and trouble to make additions to the herd from abroad.

As for the horses, but three had been brought over, two of which were
mares. The last had foaled twice; and there were four colts, all doing
well, but wanting age to be useful. All the stock of this character was
kept on the Peak, in order to secure it from invaders; and the old
animals, even to the cows, were lightly worked there, doing a vast deal
that would otherwise remain undone. It was so obviously advantageous to
increase the amount of this sort of force, that Saunders had strict
orders to purchase the vessel mentioned, and to bring over as many
beasts as he could conveniently and safely stow. With this object in
view, he was directed to call in, on the western side of Cape Horn, and
to make his purchases in South America. The horned cattle might not be
so good, coming from such a quarter, but the dangers of doubling the
Cape would be avoided.

While making these general and desultory statements touching the
progress of the colony, it may be well to say a word of Rancocus Island.
The establishments necessary there, to carry on the mills, lime and
brick kilns, and the stone-quarry, induced the governor to erect a small
work, in which the persons employed in that out-colony might take
refuge, in the event of an invasion. This was done accordingly; and two
pieces of artillery were regularly mounted on it. Nor was the duty of
fortifying neglected elsewhere. As for the Peak, it was not deemed
necessary to do more than improve a little upon nature; the colony being
now too numerous to suppose that it could not defend the cove against
any enemy likely to land there, should the entrance of that secret haven
be detected. On the Reef, however, it was a very different matter. That
place was as accessible as the other was secure. The construction of so
many stout stone edifices contributed largely to the defence of the
town; but the governor saw the necessity of providing the means of
commanding the approaches by water. Four distinct passages, each
corresponding to a cardinal point of the compass, led from the crater
out to sea. As the south passage terminated at the bridge, it was
sufficiently commanded by the Colony House. But all the others were
wider, more easy of approach, and less under the control of the adjacent
islands. But the Summit had points whence each might be raked by guns
properly planted, and batteries were accordingly constructed on these
points; the twelve-pounder being used for their armaments. Each battery
had two guns; and when all was completed, it was the opinion of the
governor that the post was sufficiently well fortified. In order,
however, to give additional security, the crater was tabooed to all the
Kannakas; not one of whom was permitted ever to enter it, or even to go
near it.

But defence, and building, and making soil, did not altogether occupy
the attention of the colonists during these important twelve months.
Both the brothers of the governor got married; the oldest, or the
attorney-general, to the oldest sister of John Pennock, and the youngest
to a sister of the Rev. Mr. Hornblower. It was in this simple colony, as
it ever has been, and ever will be in civilized society, that, in
forming matrimonial connections, like looks for like. There was no
person, or family at the Reef which could be said to belong to the
highest social class of America, if, indeed, any one could rank as high
as a class immediately next to the highest; yet, distinctions existed
which were maintained usefully, and without a thought of doing them
away. The notion that money alone makes those divisions into castes
which are everywhere to be found, and which will probably continue to be
found as long as society itself exists, is a very vulgar and fallacious
notion. It comes from the difficulty of appreciating those tastes and
qualities which, not possessing ourselves, are so many unknown and
mysterious influences. In marrying Sarah Pennock, John Woolston was
slightly conscious of making a little sacrifice in these particulars,
but she was a very pretty, modest girl, of a suitable age, and the
circle to choose from, it will be remembered, was very limited. In
America that connection might not have taken place; but, at the crater,
it was all well enough, and it turned out to be a very happy union. Had
the sacrifice of habits and tastes been greater, this might not have
been the fact, for it is certain that our happiness depends more on the
subordinate qualities and our cherished usages, than on principles
themselves. It is difficult to suppose that any refined woman, for
instance, can ever thoroughly overcome her disgust for a man who
habitually blows his nose with his fingers, or that one bred a gentleman
can absolutely overlook, even in a wife, the want of the thousand and
one little lady-like habits, which render the sex perhaps more
attractive than do their personal charms.

Several other marriages took place, the scarcity of subjects making it
somewhat hazardous to delay: when Hobson's choice is placed before one,
deliberation is of no great use. It was generally understood that the
Rancocus was to bring out very few immigrants, though permission had
been granted to Capt. Saunders to take letters to certain friends of
some already settled in the colony, with the understanding that those
friends were to be received, should they determine to come. That point,
however, was soon to be decided, for just a year and one week after the
Rancocus had sailed from Betto's group, the news reached the Reef that
the good ship was coming into the northern roads, and preparing to
anchor. The governor immediately went on board the Anne, taking Betts
with him, and made sail for the point in question, with a view to bring
the vessel through the passage to the Reef. The governor and Betts were
the only two who, as it was believed, could carry so large a vessel
through; though later soundings showed it was only necessary to keep
clear of the points and the shores, in order to bring in a craft of any
draught of water.

When the Anne ran out into the roads, there she found the Rancocus at
anchor, sure enough. On nearing her, Capt. Saunders appeared on her
poop, and in answer to a hail, gave the welcome answer of "all well."
Those comprehensive words removed a great deal of anxiety from the mind
of the governor; absence being, in one sense, the parent of uncertainty,
and uncertainty of uneasiness. Everything about the ship, however,
looked well, and to the surprise of those in the Anne, many heads
belonging to others beside the crew were to be seen above the rail. A
sail was in sight, moreover, standing in, and this vessel Capt. Saunders
stated was the brig Henlopen, purchased on government account, and
loaded with stock, and other property for the colony.

On going on board the Rancocus it was ascertained that, in all, one
hundred and eleven new immigrants had been brought out! The circle of
the affections had been set at work, and one friend had induced another
to enter into the adventure, until it was found that less than the
number mentioned could not be gotten rid of. That which could not be
cured was to be endured, and the governor's dissatisfaction was a good
deal appeased when he learned that the new-comers were of excellent
materials; beings without exception, young, healthful, moral, and all
possessed of more or less substance, in the way of worldly goods. This
accession to the colony brought its population up to rather more than
five hundred souls, of which number, however, near a hundred and fifty
were children, or, under the age of fourteen years.

Glad enough were the new-comers to land at a little settlement which had
been made on the island which lay abreast of the roads, and where,
indeed, there was a very convenient harbour, did vessels choose to use
it. The roads, however, had excellent anchorage, and were perfectly
protected against the prevailing winds of that region. Only once,
indeed, since the place was inhabited, had the wind been known to blow
_on_ shore at that point; and then only during a brief squall. In
general, the place was every way favourable for the arrival and
departure of shipping, the trades making a leading breeze both in going
and coming--as, indeed, they did all the way to and from the Reef. A
long-headed emigrant, of the name of Dunks, had foreseen the probable,
future, importance of this outer harbour, and had made such an
arrangement with the council, as to obtain leave for himself and three
or four of his connections to exchange the land they had drawn, against
an equal quantity in this part of the group. The arrangement was made,
and this little, out-lying colony had now been established an entire
season. As the spot was a good deal exposed to an invasion, a stone
dwelling had been erected, that was capable of accommodating the whole
party, and pickets were placed around it in such a way as to prove an
ample defence against any attempt to carry the work by assault. The
governor had lent them a field-piece, and it was thought the whole
disposition was favourable to the security of the colony, since no less
than eleven combatants could be mustered here to repel invasion.

The immigrants, as usual, found everything charming, when their feet
touched terra firma. The crops _did_ look well, and the island being
covered with mud, the sand had done wonders for the vegetation. It is
true that trees were wanting, though the pickets, or palisades, being of
willow, had all sprouted, and promised soon to enclose the dwelling in
a grove. Some fifty acres had been tilled, more or less thoroughly, and
timothy was already growing that was breast-high. Clover looked well,
too, as did everything else; the guano having lost none of its virtue
since the late arrivals.

The governor sent back the Anne, with instructions to prepare room for
the immigrants in the government dwelling, which, luckily, was large
enough to receive them all. He waited with the Rancocus, however, for
the Henlopen to come in and anchor. He then went on board this brig, and
took a look at the stock. Saunders, a discreet, sensible man, so well
understood the importance of adding to the physical force of the colony,
in the way of brutes, that he had even strained the point to bring as
many mares and cows as he could stow. He had put on board twenty-five of
the last, and twenty of the first; all purchased at Valparaiso. The
weather had been so mild, that no injury had happened to the beasts, but
the length of the passage had so far exhausted the supplies that not a
mouthful of food had the poor animals tasted for the twenty-four hours
before they got in. The water, too, was scarce, and anything but sweet.
For a month everything had been on short allowance, and the suffering
creatures must have been enchanted to smell the land. Smell it they
certainly did; for such a lowing, and neighing, and fretting did they
keep up, when the governor got alongside of the brig, that he could not
endure the sight of their misery, but determined at once to relieve it.

The brig was anchored within two hundred yards of a fine sandy beach, on
which there were several runs of delicious water, and which communicated
directly with a meadow of grass, as high as a man's breast. A bargain
was soon made with Dunks; and the two crews, that of the Rancocus, as
well as that of the brig, were set to work without delay to hoist out
every creature having a hoof, that was on board the Henlopen. As slings
were all ready, little delay was necessary, but a mare soon rose through
the hatchway, was swung over the vessel's side, and was lowered into the
water. A very simple contrivance released the creature from the slings,
and off it swam, making the best of its way towards the land. In three
minutes the poor thing was on the beach, though actually staggering
from weakness, and from long use to the motion of the vessel. The water
was its first aim. Dunks was there, however, to prevent it from drinking
too much, when it made its way up to the grass, which it began to eat
ravenously. All the rest went through the same process, and in a couple
of hours the poor things were relieved from their misery, and the brig,
which smelled like a stable, was well quit of them. Brooms and water
were set to work immediately, but it was a month before the Henlopen
lost the peculiar odour of the cattle.

Nor were the human beings much less rejoiced to go ashore than the
brutes. Dunks gave them all a hearty welcome, and though he had little
fruit to offer, he had plenty of vegetables, for which they were quite
as thankful. Melons, however, he could and did give them, and the human
part of the cargo had an ample feast on a sort of food to which they had
now so long been strangers. The horses and cows were left on Dunks's
Island, where they stayed until word was sent to the governor that they
had eaten down all his grass, and would soon be on allowance again,
unless taken away. Means, however, were soon found to relieve him of the
stock, though his meadows, or pastures rather, having been seldom cut in
that climate, were much improved by the visit paid them. As for the
animals, they were parcelled out among the different farms, thus giving
a little milk, and a little additional force to each neighbourhood.
Fowls and pigs had been distributed some time previously, so that not a
man in the group was without his breeding sow, and his brood of young
chickens. These were species of stock that increased so rapidly, that a
little care alone was wanting to make eggs and pork plenty. Corn, or
maize, grew just for the planting; though it was all the better,
certainly, for a little care.

After sufficient time had been allowed to make the necessary
preparations, the vessels sailed with the immigrants for the Reef. There
was many a glad meeting between friends and relatives. Those who had
just arrived had a great deal to tell those who had preceded then by
eighteen months, and those who now considered themselves old settlers,
entertained the new ones with the wonders of their novel situations.

Chapter XXIV.

"Welter upon the waters, mighty one--
And stretch thee in the ocean's trough of brine;
Turn thy wet scales up to the wind and sun,
And toss the billow from thy flashing fin;
Heave thy deep breathing to the ocean's din,
And bound upon its ridges in thy pride,
Or dive down to its lowest depths, and in
The caverns where its unknown monsters hide
Measure thy length beneath the gulf-stream's tide."

Brainard's _Sea-Serpent._

The colony had now reached a point when its policy must have an eye to
its future destinies. If it were intended to push it, like a new
settlement, a very different course ought to be pursued from the one
hitherto adopted. But the governor and council entertained more moderate
views. They understood their real position better. It was true that the
Peak, in one sense, or in that which related to soil and products, was
now in a condition to receive immigrants as fast as they could come; but
the Peak had its limits, and it could hold but a very circumscribed
number. As to the group, land had to be formed for the reception of the
husbandman, little more than the elements of soil existing over so much
of its surface. Then, in the way of trade, there could not be any very
great inducement for adventurers to come, since the sandal-wood was the
only article possessed which would command a price in a foreign market.
This sandal-wood, moreover, did not belong to the colony, but to a
people who might, at any moment, become hostile, and who already began
to complain that the article was getting to be very scarce. Under all
the circumstances therefore, it was not deemed desirable to add to the
population of the place faster than would now be done by natural means.

The cargoes of the two vessels just arrived were divided between the
state and the governor, by a very just process. The governor had
one-half the proceeds for his own private use, as owner of the Rancocus,
without which vessel nothing could have been done; while the state
received the other moiety, in virtue of the labour of its citizens as
well as in that of its right to impose duties on imports and exports. Of
the portion which went to the state, certain parts were equally divided
between the colonists, for immediate use, while other parts of the cargo
were placed in store, and held as a stock, to be drawn upon as occasion
might arise.

The voyage, like most adventures in sandal-wood, teas, &c., in that day,
had been exceedingly advantageous, and produced a most beneficent
influence on the fortunes and comforts of the settlement. A
well-selected cargo of the coarse, low-priced articles most needed in
such a colony, could easily have been purchased with far less than the
proceeds of the cargo of tea that had been obtained at Canton, in
exchange for the sandal-wood carried out; and Saunders, accordingly, had
filled the holds of both vessels with such articles, besides bringing
home with him a considerable amount in specie, half of which went into
the public coffers, and half into the private purse of governor
Woolston. Money had been in circulation in the colony for the last
twelve months; though a good deal of caution was used in suffering it to
pass from hand to hand. The disposition was to hoard; but this fresh
arrival of specie gave a certain degree of confidence, and the silver
circulated a great deal more freely after it was known that so
considerable an amount had been brought in.

It would scarcely be in our power to enumerate the articles that were
received by these arrivals; they included everything in common use among
civilized men, from a grind-stone to a cart. Groceries, too, had been
brought in reasonable quantities, including teas, sugars, &c.; though
these articles were not so much considered _necessaries_ in America
fifty years ago as they are to-day. The groceries of the state as well
as many other articles, were put into the hands of the merchants, who
either purchased them out and out, to dispose of at retail, or who took
them on commission with the same object. From this time, therefore,
regular shops existed, there being three on the Reef and one on the
Peak, where nearly everything in use could be bought, and that, too, at
prices that were far from being exorbitant. The absence of import duties
had a great influence on the cost of things, the state getting its
receipts in kind, directly through the labour of its citizens, instead
of looking to a customhouse in quest of its share for the general

At that time very little was written about the great fallacy of the
present day, Free Trade; which is an illusion about which men now talk,
and dispute, and almost fight, while no living mortal can tell what it
really is. It is wise for us in America, who never had anything but free
trade, according to modern doctrines, to look a little closely into the
sophisms that are getting to be so much in vogue; and which, whenever
they come from our illustrious ancestors in Great Britain, have some
such effect on the imaginations of a portion of our people, as purling
rills and wooded cascades are known to posses over those of certain
young ladies of fifteen.

Free trade, in its true signification, or in the only signification
which is not a fallacy, can only mean a commerce that is _totally
unfettered by duties, restrictions, prohibitions, and charges of all
sorts_. Except among savages, the world never yet saw such a state of
things, and probably never will. Even free trade ports have exactions
that, in a degree, counteract their pretended principle of liberty; and
no free port exists, that is anything more, in a strict interpretation
of its uses, than a sort of bonded warehouse. So long as your goods
remain there, on deposit and unappropriated, they are not taxed; but the
instant they are taken to the _consumer_, the customary impositions must
be paid.

_Freer_ trade--that is, a trade which is less encumbered than some
admitted state of things which previously existed--is easily enough
comprehended; but, instead of conveying to the mind any general theory,
it merely shows that a lack of wisdom may have prevailed in the
management of some particular interest; which lack of wisdom is now
being tardily repaired. Prohibitions, whether direct, or in the form of
impositions that the trade will not bear, may be removed without leaving
trade _free_. This or that article may be thrown open to the general
competition, without import duty or tax of any sort, and yet the great
bulk of the commerce of a country be so fettered as to put an effectual
check upon anything like liberal intercourse. Suppose, for instance,
that Virginia were an independent country. Its exports would be tobacco,
flour, and corn; the tobacco crop probably more than equalling in value
those portions of the other crops which are sent out of the country.
England is suffering for food, and she takes off everything like imposts
on the eatables, while she taxes tobacco to the amount of many hundred
per cent. Can that be called free trade?

There is another point of view in which we could wish to protest against
the shouts and fallacies of the hour. Trade, perhaps the most corrupt
and corrupting influence of life--or, if second to anything in evil,
second only to politics--is proclaimed to be the great means of
humanizing, enlightening, liberalizing, and improving the human race!
Now, against this monstrous mistake in morals, we would fain raise our
feeble voices in sober remonstrance. That the intercourse which is a
consequence of commerce may, in certain ways, liberalize a man's views,
we are willing to admit; though, at the same time, we shall insist that
there are better modes of attaining the same ends. But it strikes us as
profane to ascribe to this frail and mercenary influence a power which
there is every reason to believe the Almighty has bestowed on the
Christian church, and on that alone; a church which is opposed to most
of the practices of trade, which rebukes them in nearly every line of
its precepts, and which, carried out in its purity, can alone give the
world that liberty and happiness which a grasping spirit of cupidity is
so ready to impute to the desire to accumulate gold!

Fortunately, there was little occasion to dispute about the theories of
commerce at the Reef. The little trade that did exist was truly
unfettered; but no one supposed that any man was nearer to God on that
account, except as he was farther removed from temptations to do wrong.
Still, the governing principle was sound; not by canting about the
beneficent and holy influences of commerce, but by leaving to each man
his individuality, or restraining if only on those points which the
public good demanded. Instead of monopolizing the trade of the colony,
which his superior wealth and official power would have rendered very
easy, governor Woolston acted in the most liberal spirit to all around
him. With the exception of the Anne, which was built by the colony, the
council had decided, in some measure contrary to his wishes, though in
strict accordance with what was right, that all the vessels were the
private property of Mark. After this decision, the governor formally
conveyed the Mermaid and the Abraham to the state; the former to be
retained principally as a cruiser and a packet, while the last was in
daily use as a means of conveying articles and passengers, from one
island to the other. The Neshamony was presented, out and out, to Betts,
who turned many a penny with her, by keeping her running through the
different passages, with freight, &c.; going from plantation to
plantation, as these good people were in the practice of calling their
farms. Indeed, Bob did little else, until the governor, seeing his
propensity to stick by the water, and ascertaining that the intercourse
would justify such an investment, determined to build him a sloop, in
order that he might use her as a sort of packet and market-boat, united.
A vessel of about forty-five tons was laid down accordingly, and put
into the water at the end of six months, that was just the sort of craft
suited to Bob's wishes and wants. In the mean time, the honest fellow
had resigned his seat in the council, feeling that he was out of his
place in such a body, among men of more or less education, and of habits
so much superior and more refined than his own. Mark did not oppose this
step in his friend, but rather encouraged it; being persuaded nothing
was gained by forcing upon a man duties he was hardly fitted to
discharge. Self-made men, he well knew, were sometimes very useful; but
he also knew that they must be first _made_.

The name of this new sloop was the Martha, being thus called in
compliment to her owner's sober-minded, industrious and careful wife.
She (the sloop, and not Mrs. Betts) was nearly all cabin, having lockers
forward and aft, and was fitted with benches in her wings, steamboat
fashion. Her canvas was of light duck, there being very little heavy
weather in that climate; so that assisted by a boy and a Kannaka, honest
Bob could do anything he wished with his craft. He often went to the
Peak and Rancocus Island in her, always doing something useful; and he
even made several trips in her, within the first few months he had her
running, as far as Betto's group. On these last voyages, he carried over
Kannakas as passengers, as well as various small articles, such as
fish-hooks, old iron, hatchets even, and now and then a little tobacco.
These he exchanged for cocoa-nuts, which were yet scarce in the colony,
on account of the number of mouths to consume them; baskets, Indian
cloth, paddles which the islanders made very beautifully and with a
great deal of care; bread-fruit, and other plants that abounded more at
Betto's group than at the Reef, or even on the Peak.

But the greatest voyage Betts made that season was when he took a
freight of melons. This was a fruit which now abounded in the colony; so
much so as to be fed even to the hogs, while the natives knew nothing of
it beyond the art of eating it. They were extraordinarily fond of
melons, and Bob actually filled the cabin of the Martha with articles
obtained in exchange for his cargo. Among other things obtained on this
occasion, was a sufficiency of sandal-wood to purchase for the owner of
the sloop as many groceries as he could consume in his family for twelve
months; though groceries were high, as may well be supposed, in a place
like the Reef. Betts always admitted that the first great turn in his
fortune was the money made on this voyage, in which he embarked without
the least apprehension of Waally, and his never-ceasing wiles and
intrigues. Indeed, most of his sales were made to that subtle and active
chief, who dealt very fairly by him.

All this time the Rancocus was laid up for want of something to freight
her with. At one time the governor thought of sending her to pick up a
cargo where she could; but a suggestion by a seaman of the name of
Walker set him on a different track, and put on foot an adventure which
soon attracted the attention of most of the sea-faring portion of the

It had been observed by the crew of the Rancocus, not only in her
original run through those seas, but in her two subsequent passages
from America, that the spermaceti whale abounded in all that part of the
ocean which lay to windward of the group. Now Walker had once been
second officer of a Nantucket craft, and was regularly brought up to the
business of taking whales. Among the colonists were half a dozen others
who had done more or less at the same business; and, at the suggestion
of Walker, who had gone out in the Rancocus as her first officer,
captain Saunders laid in a provision of such articles as were necessary
to set up the business. These consisted of cordage, harpoons, spades,
lances, and casks. Then no small part of the lower hold of the Henlopen
was stowed with shook casks; iron for hoops, &c., being also provided.

As the sandal-wood was now obtained in only small quantities, all idea
of sending the ship to Canton again, that year, was necessarily
abandoned. At first this seemed to be a great loss; but when the
governor came to reflect coolly on the subject, not only he, but the
council generally, came to the conclusion that Providence was dealing
more mercifully with them, by turning the people into this new channel
of commerce, than to leave them to pursue their original track.
Sandal-wood had a purely adventitious value, though it brought,
particularly in that age, a most enormous profit; one so large, indeed,
as to have a direct and quick tendency to demoralize those embarked in
the trade. The whaling business, on the other hand, while it made large
returns, demanded industry, courage, perseverance, and a fair amount of
capital. Of vessels, the colonists had all they wanted; the forethought
of Saunders and the suggestions of Walker furnished the particular
means; and of provisions there was now a superabundance in the group.

It was exceedingly fortunate that such an occupation offered to interest
and keep alive the spirit of the colonists. Man must have something to
do; some main object to live for; or he is apt to degenerate in his
ambition, and to fall off in his progress. No sooner was it announced
that whales were to be taken, however, than even the women became alive
to the results of the enterprise. This feeling was kept up by the
governor's letting it be officially known that each colonist should
have one share, or "lay," as it was termed, in the expected cargo; which
share, or "lay," was to be paid for in provisions. Those actually
engaged in the business had as many "lays" as it was thought they could
earn; the colony in its collected capacity had a certain number more, in
return for articles received from the public stores; and the governor,
as owner of the vessels employed, received one-fifth of the whole cargo,
or cargoes. This last was a very small return for the amount of capital
employed; and it was so understood by those who reaped the advantages of
the owner's liberality.

The Rancocus was not fitted out as a whaler, but was reserved as a
ware-house to receive the oil, to store it until a cargo was collected,
and then was to be used as a means to convey it to America. For this
purpose she was stripped, had her rigging thoroughly overhauled, was
cleaned out and smoked for rats, and otherwise was prepared for service.
While in this state, she lay alongside of the natural quay, near and
opposite to some extensive sheds which had been erected, as a protection
against the heats of the climate.

The Henlopen, a compact clump of a brig, that was roomy on deck, and had
stout masts and good rigging, was fitted out for the whaler; though the
Anne was sent to cruise in company. Five whale-boats, with the necessary
crews, were employed; two remaining with the Anne, and three in the
brig. The Kannakas were found to be indefatigable at the oar, and a good
number of them were used on this occasion. About twenty of the largest
boys belonging to the colony were also sent out, in order to accustom
them to the sea. These boys were between the ages of eight and sixteen,
and were made useful in a variety of ways.

Great was the interest awakened in the colony when the Henlopen and the
Anne sailed on this adventure. Many of the women, the wives, daughters,
sisters, or sweethearts of the whalers, would gladly have gone along;
and so intense did the feeling become, that the governor determined to
make a festival of the occasion, and to offer to take out himself, in
the Mermaid, as many of both sexes as might choose to make a trip of a
few days at sea, and be witnesses of the success of their friends in
this new undertaking. Betts also took a party in the Martha. The
Abraham, too, was in company; while the Neshamony was sent to leeward,
to keep a look-out in that quarter, lest the natives should take it into
their heads to visit the group, while so many of its fighting-men, fully
a hundred altogether, were absent. It is true, those who stayed at home
were fully able to beat off Waally and his followers; but the governor
thought it prudent to have a look-out. Such was the difference produced
by habit. When the whole force of the colony consisted of less than
twenty men, it was thought sufficient to protect itself, could it be
brought to act together; whereas, now, when ten times twenty were left
at home, unusual caution was deemed necessary, because the colony was
weakened by this expedition of so many of its members. But everything is
comparative with man.

When all was ready, the whaling expedition sailed; the governor leading
on board the Mermaid, which had no less than forty females in
her--Bridget and Anne being among them. The vessels went out by the
southern channel, passing through the strait at the bridge in order to
do so. This course was taken, as it would be easier to turn to windward
in the open water between the south cape and the Peak, than to do it in
the narrow passages between the islands of the group. The Mermaid led
off handsomely, sparing the Henlopen her courses and royals. Even the
Abraham could spare the last vessel her foresail, the new purchase
turning out to be anything but a traveller. The women wondered how so
slow a vessel could ever catch a whale!

The direction steered by the fleet carried it close under the weather
side of the Peak, the summit of which was crowded by the population, to
see so unusual and pleasing a sight. The Martha led, carrying rather
more sail, in proportion to her size, than the Mermaid. It happened, by
one of those vagaries of fortune which so often thwart the best
calculations, that a spout was seen to windward of the cliffs, at a
moment when the sloop was about a league nearer to it than any other
vessel. Now, every vessel in the fleet had its whale-boat and
whale-boat's crew: though the men of all but those who belonged to the
Henlopen were altogether inexperienced. It is true, they had learned the
theory of the art of taking a whale; but they were utterly wanting in
the practice. Betts was not the man to have the game in view, however,
and not make an effort to overcome it. His boat was manned in an
instant, and away he went, with Socrates in the bows, to fasten to a
huge creature that was rolling on the water in a species of sluggish
enjoyment of its instincts. It often happens that very young soldiers,
more especially when an _esprit de corps_ has been awakened in them,
achieve things from which older troops would retire, under the
consciousness of their hazards. So did it prove with the Martha's boat's
crew on this occasion. Betts steered, and he put them directly on the
whale; Socrates, who looked fairly green under the influence of alarm
and eagerness to attack, both increased by the total novelty of his
situation, making his dart of the harpoon when the bows of the fragile
craft were literally over the huge body of the animal. All the energy of
the negro was thrown into his blow, for he felt as if it were life or
death with him; and the whale spouted blood immediately. It is deemed a
great exploit with whalers, though it is not of very rare occurrence, to
inflict a death-wound with the harpoon; that implement being intended to
make fast with to the fish, which is subsequently slain with what is
termed a lance. But Socrates actually killed the first whale he ever
struck, with the harpoon; and from that moment he became an important
personage in the fisheries of those seas. That blow was a sort of Palo
Alto affair to him, and was the forerunner of many similar successes.
Indeed, it soon got to be said, that "with Bob Betts to put the boat on,
and old Soc to strike, a whale commonly has a hard time on't." It is
true, that a good many boats were stove, and two Kannakas were drowned,
that very summer, in consequence of these tactics; but the whales were
killed, and Betts and the black escaped with whole skins.

On this, the first occasion, the whale made the water foam, half-filled
the boat, and would have dragged it under, but for the vigour of the
negro's arm, and the home character of the blow, which caused the fish
to turn up and breathe his last, before he had time to run any great
distance. The governor arrived on the spot, just as Bob had got a hawser
to the whale and was ready to fill away for the South Cape channel
again. The vessels passed each other cheering, and the governor
admonished his friend not to carry the carcass too near the dwellings,
lest it should render them uninhabitable. But Betts had his anchorage
already in his eye, and away he went, with the wind on his quarter,
towing his prize at the rate of four or five knots. It may be said,
here, that the Martha went into the passage, and that the whale was
floated into shallow water, where sinking was out of the question, and
Bob and his Kannakas, about twenty in number, went to work to peel off
the blubber in a very efficient, though not in a very scientific, or
artistical manner. They got the creature stripped of its jacket of fat
that very night, and next morning the Martha appeared with a set of
kettles, in which the blubber was tried out. Casks were also brought in
the sloop, and, when the work was done, it was found that that single
whale yielded one hundred and eleven barrels of oil, of which
thirty-three barrels were head-matter! This was a capital commencement
for the new trade, and Betts conveyed the whole of his prize to the
Reef, where the oil was started into the ground-tier of the Rancocus,
the casks of which were newly repaired, and ready stowed to receive it.

A week later, as the governor in the Mermaid, cruising in company with
the Henlopen and Abraham, was looking out for whales about a hundred
miles to windward of the Peak, having met with no success, he was again
joined by Betts in the Martha. Everything was reported right at the
Reef. The Neshamony had come in for provisions and gone out again, and
the Rancocus would stand up without watching, with her hundred and
eleven barrels of oil in her lower hold. The governor expressed his
sense of Betts' services, and reminding him of his old faculty of seeing
farther and truer than most on board, he asked him to go up into the
brig's cross-trees and take a look for whales. The keen-eyed fellow had
not been aloft ten minutes, before the cry of "spouts--spouts!" was
ringing through the vessel. The proper signal was made to the Henlopen
and Abraham, when everybody made sail in the necessary direction. By
sunset a great number of whales were fallen in with, and as Capt. Walker
gave it as his opinion they were feeding in that place, no attempt was
made on them until morning. The next day, however, with the return of
light, six boats were in the water, and palling off towards the game.

On this occasion, Walker led on, as became his rank and experience. In
less than an hour he was fast to a very large whale, a brother of that
taken by Betts; and the females had the exciting spectacle, of a boat
towed by an enormous fish, at a rate of no less than twenty knots in an
hour. It is the practice among whalers for the vessel to keep working to
windward, while the game is taking, in order to be in the most
favourable position to close with the boats, after the whale is killed.
So long, however, as the creature has life in it, it would be folly to
aim at any other object than getting to windward, for the fish may be
here at one moment, and a league off in a few minutes more. Sometimes,
the alarmed animal goes fairly out of sight of the vessel, running in a
straight line some fifteen or twenty miles, when the alternatives are to
run the chances of missing the ship altogether, or to cut from the
whale. By doing the last not only is a harpoon lost, but often several
hundred fathoms of line; and it not unfrequently happens that whales are
killed with harpoons in them, left by former assailants, and dragging
after them a hundred, or two, fathoms of line.

It may be well, here, to explain to the uninitiated reader, that the
harpoon is a barbed spear, with a small, but stout cord, or whale line
fastened to it. The boat approaches the fish bow foremost, but is made
sharp at both ends that it may "back off," if necessary; the whale being
often dangerous to approach, and ordinarily starting, when struck, in a
way to render his immediate neighbourhood somewhat ticklish. The fish
usually goes down when harpooned, and the line must be permitted to
"run-out," or he would drag the boat after him. But a whale must breathe
as well as a man, and the faster he runs the sooner he must come up for
a fresh stock of air. Now, the proper use of the harpoon and the line is
merely to fasten to the fish; though it does sometimes happen that the
creature is killed by the former. As soon as the whale re-appears on
the surface, and becomes stationary, or even moderates his speed a
little, the men begin to haul in line, gradually closing with their
intended victim. It often happens that the whale starts afresh, when
line must be permitted to run out anew; this process of "hauling in" and
"letting run" being often renewed several times at the taking of a
single fish. When the boat can be hauled near enough, the officer at its
head darts his lance into the whale, aiming at a vital part. If the
creature "spouts blood," it is well; but if not hit in the vitals, away
it goes, and the whole business of "letting run," "towing," and "hauling
in" has to be gone over again.

On the present occasion, Walker's harpooner, or boat-steerer, as he is
called, had made a good "heave," and was well fast to his fish. The
animal made a great circuit, running completely round the Mermaid, at a
distance which enabled those on board her to see all that was passing.
When nearest to the brig, and the water was curling off the bow of the
boat in combs two feet higher than her gunwale, under the impulse given
by the frantic career of the whale, Bridget pressed closer to her
husband's side, and, for the first time in her life, mentally thanked
Heaven that he was the governor, since that was an office which did not
require him to go forth and kill whales. At that very moment, Mark was
burning with the desire to have a hand in the sport, though he certainly
had some doubts whether such an occupation would suitably accord with
the dignity of his office.

Walker got alongside of his whale, within half a mile of the two brigs,
and to-leeward of both. In consequence of this favourable circumstance,
the Henlopen soon had its prize hooked on, and her people at work
stripping off the blubber. This is done by hooking the lower block of a
powerful purchase in a portion of the substance, and then cutting a
strip of convenient size, and heaving on the fall at the windlass. The
strip is cut by implements called spades, and the blubber is torn from
the carcass by the strain, after the sides of the "blanket-piece," as
the strip is termed, are separated from the other portions of the animal
by the cutting process. The "blanket-pieces" are often raised as high
as the lower mast-heads, or as far as the purchase will admit of its
being carried, when a transverse cut is made, and the whole of the
fragment is lowered on deck. This "blanket-piece" is then cut into
pieces and put into the try-works, a large boiler erected on deck, in
order to be "tryed-out," when the oil is cooled, and "started" below
into casks. In this instance, the oil was taken on board the Abraham as
fast as it was "tryed-out" on board the Henlopen, the weather admitting
of the transfer.

But that single whale was far from being the only fruits of Betts'
discovery. The honest old Delaware seaman took two more whales himself.
Socrates making fast, and he killing the creatures. The boats of the
Henlopen also took two more, and that of the Abraham, one. Betts in the
Martha, and the governor in the Mermaid towed four of these whales into
the southern channel, and into what now got the name of the Whaling
Bight. This was the spot where Betts had tryed out the first fish taken,
and it proved to be every way suitable for its business. The Bight
formed a perfectly safe harbour, and there was not only a sandy shoal on
which the whales could be floated and kept from sinking, a misfortune
that sometimes occurs, but it had a natural quay quite near, where the
Rancocus, herself, could lie. There was fresh water in abundance, and an
island of sufficient size to hold the largest whaling establishment that
ever existed. This island was incontinently named Blubber Island. The
greatest disadvantage was the total absence of soil, and consequently of
all sorts of herbage; but its surface was as smooth as that of an
artificial quay, admitting of the rolling of casks with perfect ease.
The governor no sooner ascertained the facilities of the place, which
was far enough from the ordinary passage to and from the Peak to remove
the nuisances, than he determined to make it his whaling haven.

The Abraham was sent across to Rancocus Island for a load of lumber, and
extensive sheds were erected, in time to receive the Henlopen, when she
came in with a thousand barrels of oil on board, and towing in three
whales that she had actually taken in the passage between Cape South and
the Peak. By that time, the Rancocus had been moved, being stiff enough
to be brought from the Reef to Blubber Island, under some of her lower
sails. This moving of vessels among the islands of the group was a very
easy matter, so long as they were not to be carried to windward; and, a
further acquaintance with the channels, had let the mariners into the
secret of turning up, against the trades and within the islands, by
keeping in such reaches as enabled them to go as near the wind as was
necessary, while they were not compelled to go nearer than a craft could

Such was the commencement of a trade that was destined to be of the last
importance to our colonists. The oil that was brought in, from this
first cruise, a cruise that lasted less than two months, and including
that taken by all the boats, amounted to two thousand barrels, quite
filling the lower hold of the Rancocus, and furnishing her with more
than half of a full cargo. At the prices which then ruled in the markets
of Europe and America, three thousand five hundred barrels of
spermaceti, with a due proportion of head matter, was known to be worth
near an hundred thousand dollars; and might be set down as large a
return for labour, as men could obtain under the most advantageous

Chapter XXV.

"The forest reels beneath the stroke
Of sturdy woodman's axe;
The earth receives the white man's yoke,
And pays her willing tax
Of fruits, and flowers, and golden harvest fields,
And all that nature to blithe labour yields."


Notwithstanding the great success which attended the beginning of the
whaling, it was six months before the Rancocus was loaded, and ready to
sail for Hamburgh with her cargo. This time the ship went east, at once,
instead of sailing to the westward, as she had previously done--taking
with her a crew composed partly of colonists and partly of Kannakas. Six
boys, however, went in the ship, the children of reputable settlers; all
of whom the governor intended should be officers, hereafter, on board of
colony vessels. To prevent difficulties on the score of national
character, on leaving America the last time, Saunders had cleared for
the islands of the Pacific and a market; meaning to cover his vessel,
let her go where she might, by the latter reservation. This question of
nationality offered a good deal of embarrassment in the long run, and
the council foresaw future embarrassments as connected with the subject;
but, every one of the colonists being of American birth, and America
being then neutral, and all the American-built vessels having American
papers, it was thought most prudent to let things take their natural
course, under the existing arrangement, until something occurred to
render a more decided policy advisable.

As soon as the Rancocus got off, the Henlopen went out again, to cruise
about two hundred leagues to windward; while the inshore fishery was
carried on by Betts, in the Martha, with great spirit and most
extraordinary success. So alive did the people get to be to the profit
and sport of this sort of business, that boats were constructed, and
crews formed all over the colony, there being often as many as a dozen
different parties out, taking whales near the coasts. The _furor_
existed on the Peak, as well as in the low lands, and Bridget and Anne
could not but marvel that men would quit the delicious coolness, the
beautiful groves, and all the fruits and bountiful products of that most
delightful plain, to go out on the ocean, in narrow quarters, and under
a hot sun, to risk their lives in chase of the whale! This did the
colonists, nevertheless, until the governor himself began to feel the
necessity of striking a whale, if he would maintain his proper place in
the public opinion.

As respects the governor, and the other high functionaries of the
colony, some indulgence was entertained; it being the popular notion
that men who lived so much within doors, and whose hands got to be so
soft, were not exactly the sort of persons who would be most useful at
the oar. Heaton, and the merchants, Pennock, and the two younger
Woolstons, with the clergyman, were easily excused in the popular mind;
but the governor was known to be a prime seaman, and a silent
expectation appeared to prevail, that some day he would be seen in the
bow of a boat, lancing a whale. Before the first season was over, this
expectation was fully realized; Governor Woolston heading no less than
four of what were called the colony boats, or boats that belonged to the
state, and fished as much for honour as profit, taking a fine whale on
each occasion. These exploits of the governor's capped the climax, in
the way of giving a tone to the public mind, on the subject of taking
whales. No man could any longer doubt of its being honourable, as well
as useful, and even the boys petitioned to be allowed to go out. The
Kannakas, more or less of whom were employed in each vessel, rose
greatly in the public estimation, and no _young_ man could expect to
escape animadversion, unless he had been present at least once at the
taking of a whale. Those who had struck or lanced a fish were now held
in a proportionate degree of repute. It was, in fact, in this group that
the custom originally obtained, which prohibited a young man from
standing at the head of the dance who had not struck his fish; and not
at Nantucket, as has been erroneously supposed.

In a community where such a spirit was awakened, it is not surprising
that great success attended the fisheries. The Henlopen did well,
bringing in eight hundred barrels; but she found six hundred more in
waiting for her, that had been taken by the in-shore fishermen; some
using the Abraham, some the Martha, some the Anne, and others again
nothing but the boats, in which they pursued their game. In the latter
cases, however, when a fish was taken, one of the larger vessels was
usually employed to take the creature into the Bight. In this way was
the oil obtained, which went to make up a cargo for the Henlopen. The
governor had his doubts about sending this brig on so distant a voyage,
the vessel being so slow; but there was no choice, since she must go, or
the cargo must remain a long time where it was. The brig was accordingly
filled up, taking in seventeen hundred barrels; and she sailed for
Hamburgh, under the command of a young man named Thomas. Walker remained
behind, preferring to superintend the whaling affairs at home.

So high did the fever run, by this time, that it was determined to build
a couple of vessels, each to measure about a hundred and eighty tons,
with the sole object of using them to take the whale. Six months after
laying their keels, these little brigs were launched; and lucky it was
that the governor had ordered copper for a ship to be brought out, since
it now came handy for using on these two craft. But, the whaling
business had not been suffered to lag while the Jonas and the Dragon
were on the stocks; the Anne, and the Martha, and the single boats,
being out near half the time. Five hundred barrels were taken in this
way; and Betts, in particular, had made so much money, or, what was the
same thing, had got so much oil, that he came one morning to his friend
the governor, when the following interesting dialogue took place between
them, in the audience-chamber of the Colony House. It may as well be
said here, that the accommodations for the chief magistrate had been
materially enlarged, and that he now dwelt in a suite of apartments that
would have been deemed respectable even in Philadelphia. Bridget had a
taste for furniture, and the wood of Rancocus Island admitted of many
articles being made that were really beautiful, and which might have
adorned a palace. Fine mats had been brought from China, such as are,
and long have been, in common use in America; neat and quaint chairs and
settees had also been in the governor's invoices, to say nothing of
large quantities of fine and massive earthenware. In a word, the
governor was getting to be rich, and like all wealthy men, he had a
disposition to possess, in a proportionate degree, the comforts and
elegancies of civilized life. But to come to our dialogue--

"Walk in, Captain Betts--walk in, sir, and do me the favour to take a
chair," said the governor, motioning to his old friend to be seated.
"You are always welcome, here; for I do not forget old times, I can
assure you, my friend."

"Thankee, governor; thankee, with all my heart. I _do_ find everything
changed, now-a-days, if the truth must be said, but yourself. To me,
_you_ be always, Mr. Mark, and Mr. Woolston, and we seem to sail along
in company, much as we did the time you first went out a foremast-lad,
and I teached you the difference between a flat-knot and a granny."

"No, no, Bob, everything is not so much changed as you pretend--I am not
changed, in the first place."

"I confess it--_you_ be the same, governor, blow high, or blow low."

"Then Martha is not changed, or nothing worth mentioning. A little more
matronly, perhaps, and not quite as much of a girl as when you first
made her acquaintance; but Martha, nevertheless. And, as for her heart,
I'll answer for it, that is just the colour it was at sixteen."

"Why, yes, governor; 'tis much as you say. Marthy is now the mother of
four children, and that confarms a woman's appearance, depend on't. But,
Marthy is Marthy; and, for that matter, Miss Bridget is Miss Bridget, as
much as one pea is like another. Madam Woolston does full credit to the
climate, governor, and looks more like eighteen than ever."

"My wife enjoys excellent health, Betts; and grateful am I to God that
it is so. But I think all our women have a fresh and sea-air sort of
look, a cheerful freshness about them, that I ascribe to the salt and
the sea-breezes. Then we have mountain air, in addition, on the Peak."

"Ay, ay, sir--I dare say you've got it right, as you do most matters.
Well, governor, I don't know which counts up the fastest in the colony,
children or whales?"

"Both flourish," answered Mark, smiling, "as our reports show. Mr.
Secretary tells me that there were, on the first of the last month,
three hundred and eighteen children in the colony under the age of ten
years; of whom no less than one hundred and ninety-seven are born
here--pure Craterinos, including your children and mine, Betts."

"It's a fine beginning, governor--a most capital start; and, though the
young 'uns can't do much at taking a whale, or securing the ile, just
now, they'll come on in their turns, and be useful when we're in dock as
hulks sir."

"Talking of oil, you must be getting rich, Captain Betts. I hear you
got in another hundred-barrel gentleman last week!"

"Times is altered with me, governor; and times is altered with you, too,
sir, since you and I rafted loam and sea-weed, to raise a few cucumbers,
and squashes, and melons. _Then_, we should have been as happy as
princes to have had a good roof over our heads."

"I trust we are both thankful, where thanks are due, for all this,

"Why, yes, sir, I endivour so to be; though men is desperate apt to
believe they desarve all they get but the ill luck. I and Marthy try to
think of what is all in all to us, and I believe Marthy does make out
pretty well, in that partic'lar, accordin' to Friends' ways; though I am
often jammed in religion, and all for want of taking to it early as I
sometimes think, sir."

"There is no doubt, Betts, that men grow in Christian character, as well
as in evil; and the most natural growth, in all things, is that of the
young. A great deal is to be undone and unlearned, if we put off the
important hour to a late period in life."

"Well, as to unl'arnin', I suppose a fellow that had as little edication
as myself will have an easy time of it," answered Betts, with perfect
simplicity and good faith; "for most of my schoolin' was drowned in salt
water by the time I was twelve."

"I am glad of one thing," put in the governor, half in a congratulating
way, and half inquiringly; "and that is, that the Rev. Mr. Hornblower
takes so well with the people. Everybody appears to be satisfied with
his ministrations; and I do not see that any one is the worse for them,
although he is an Episcopalian."

Betts twisted about on his chair, and seemed at first unwilling to
answer; but his natural frankness, and his long habits of intimacy and
confidence with Mark Woolston, both as man and boy, forbade his
attempting anything seriously in the way of concealment.

"Well, governor, they _do_ say that 'many men, many minds,'" he replied,
after a brief pause; "and I suppose it's as true about religion, as in a
judgment of ships, or in a ch'ice of a wife. If all men took to the same
woman, or all seamen shipped for the same craft, a troublesome
household, and a crowded and onhealthy vessel, would be the upshot

"We have a choice given us by Providence, both as to ships and as to
wives, Captain Betts; but no choice is allowed any of us in what relates
to religion. In that, we are to mind the sailor's maxim, 'to obey orders
if we break owners.'"

"Little fear of 'breaking owners,' I fancy, governor. But, the
difficulty is to know what orders is. Now, Friends doesn't hold, at all,
to dressing and undressing in church time; and I think, myself, books is
out of place in praying to God."

"And is there much said among the people, Captain Betts, about the
parson's gown and surplice, and about his _reading_ his prayers, instead
of writing them out, and getting them by heart?"

There was a little malice in the governor's question, for he was too
much behind the curtain to be the dupe of any pretending claims to
sudden inspirations, and well knew that every sect had its liturgy,
though only half-a-dozen have the honesty to print them. The answer of
his friend was, as usual, frank, and to the point.

"I cannot say but there is, Mr. Mark. As for the clothes, women will
talk about _them_, as you well know, sir; it being their natur' to be
dressing themselves out, so much. Then as to praying from the book,
quite half of our people think it is not any better than no praying at
all. A little worse, perhaps, if truth was spoken."

"I am sorry to hear this, Betts. From the manner in which they attend
the services, I was in hopes that prejudices were abating, and that
everybody was satisfied."

"I don't think, governor, that there is any great danger of a mutiny;
though, many men, many minds, as I said before. But, my business here is
forgotten all this time; and I know it isn't with your honour now as it
used to be with us both, when we had nothing to think of but the means
of getting away from this place, into some other that we fancied might
be better. I wish you joy, sir, in having got the two new brigs into the

"Thank you, Captain Betts. Does your present visit relate to either of
those brigs?"

"Why, to come to the p'int, it does, sir. I've taken a fancy to the
Dragon, and should like to buy her."

"Buy her! Have you any notion what such a vessel will cost, Betts?"

"Not a great way from eight thousand dollars, I should think, governor,
now that the copper is on. Some things is charged high, in this part of
the world, about a wessel, and other some isn't. Take away the copper,
and I should think a good deal less would buy either."

"And have you eight thousand dollars at command, my friend, with which
to purchase the brig?"

"If ile is money, yes; if ile isn't money, no. I've got three hundred
barrels on hand, one hundred of which is head-matter."

"I rejoice to hear this, Captain Betts, and the brig you shall have. I
thought to have sold both to the merchants, for I did not suppose any
one else, here, could purchase them; but I would greatly prefer to see
one of them in the hands of an old friend. You shall have the Dragon,
Betts, since you like her."

"Done and done between gentlemen, is enough, sir; not that I set myself
up for a gentleman, governor, but I've lived too long and too much in
your respected society not to have l'arn'd some of the ways. The brig's
mine, if ile will pay for her. And now, sir, having completed the trade,
I _should_ like to know if your judgment and mine be the same. I say the
Dragon will beat the Jonas half a knot, the best day the Jonas ever

"I do not know but you are right, Bob. In looking at the two craft, last
evening, I gave the preference to the Dragon, though I kept my opinion
to myself, lest I might mortify those who built the Jonas."

"Well, sir, I'm better pleased to hear this, than to be able to pay for
the brig! It is something to a plain body like myself, to find his
judgment upheld by them that know all about a matter."

In this friendly and perfectly confidential way did Mark Woolston still
act with his old and long-tried friend, Robert Betts. The Dragon was
cheap at the money mentioned, and the governor took all of the old
seaman's 'ile' at the very top of the market. This purchase at once
elevated Betts in the colony, to a rank but a little below that of the
'gentlemen,' if his modesty disposed him to decline being classed
absolutely with them. What was more, it put him in the way of almost
coining money. The brig he purchased turned out to be as fast as he
expected, and what was more, the character of a lucky vessel, which she
got the very first cruise, never left her, and gave her commander and
owner, at all times, a choice of hands.

The governor sold the Jonas to the merchants, and took the Martha off
Betts' hands, causing this latter craft to run regularly, and at stated
hours, from point to point among the islands, in the character of a
packet. Twice a week she passed from the Reef to the Cove at the Peak,
and once a fortnight she went to Rancocus Island. In addition to her
other duties, this sloop now carried the mail.

A post-office law was passed by the council, and was approved of by the
governor. In that day, and in a community so simple and practical,
new-fangled theories concerning human rights were not allowed to
interfere with regulations that were obviously necessary to the comfort
and convenience of the public.

Fortunately, there was yet no newspaper, a species of luxury, which,
like the gallows, comes in only as society advances to the corrupt
condition; or which, if it happen to precede it a little, is very
certain soon to conduct it there. If every institution became no more
than what it was designed to be, by those who originally framed it, the
state of man on earth would be very different from what it is. The
unchecked means of publicity, out of all question, are indispensable to
the circulation of truths; and it is equally certain that the
unrestrained means of publicity are equally favourable to the
circulation of lies. If we cannot get along safely without the
possession of one of these advantages, neither can we get along very
safely while existing under the daily, hourly, increasing influence of
the other--call it what you will. If truth is all-important, in one
sense, falsehood is all-important too, in a contrary sense.

Had there been a newspaper at the Crater, under the control of some
philosopher, who had neither native talent, nor its substitute
education, but who had been struck out of a printer's devil by the rap
of a composing-stick, as Minerva is reported to have been struck,
full-grown, out of Jupiter's head by the hammer of Vulcan, it is
probable that the wiseacre might have discovered that It was an
inexcusable interference with the rights of the colonists, to enact that
no one should carry letters for hire, but those connected with the
regular post-office. But, no such person existing, the public mind was
left to the enjoyment of its common-sense ignorance, which remained
satisfied with the fact that, though it might be possible to get a
letter carried from the Reef to the Cove, between which places the
communications were constant and regular, for half the money charged by
the office, yet it was not possible to get letters carried between some
of the other points in the colony for twenty times the regulated
postage. It is probable, therefore, that the people of the Crater and
the Peak felt, that in supporting a general system, which embraced the
good of all, they did more towards extending civilization, than if they
killed the hen, at once, in order to come at the depository of the
golden eggs, in the shortest way.

In the middle ages, he who wished to send a missive, was compelled, more
than half the time, to be at the expense of a special messenger. The
butchers, and a class of traders that corresponds, in part, to the
modern English traveller, took charge of letters, on the glorious Free
Trade principle; and sometimes public establishments hired messengers to
go back and forth, for their own purposes. Then, the governments,
perceiving the utility of such arrangements, imperfect as they were, had
a sort of post-offices for their use, which have reached down to our own
times, in the shape of government messengers. There can be little doubt
that the man who found he could get a letter safely and promptly
conveyed five hundred miles for a crown, after having been obliged
previously to pay twenty for the same service, felt that he was the
obliged party, and never fancied for a moment, that, in virtue of his
_patronage_, he was entitled to give himself airs, and to stand upon his
natural right to have a post-office of his own, at the reduced price.
But, indulgence creates wantonness, and the very men who receive the
highest favours from the post-offices of this country, in which a letter
is carried five-and-twenty hundred miles for ten cents, penetrating,
through some fourteen or fifteen thousand offices, into every cranny of
a region large as half Europe, kicks and grows restive because he has
not the liberty of doing a few favoured portions of the vast enterprise
for himself; while he imposes on the public the office of doing that
which is laborious and unprofitable! Such is man; such did he become
when he fell from his first estate; and such is he likely to continue to
be until some far better panacea shall be discovered for his selfishness
and cupidity, than what is called 'self-government.'

But the Craterinos were thankful when they found that the Martha was set
to running regularly, from place to place, carrying passengers and the
mails. The two businesses were blended together for the sake of economy,
and at the end of a twelvemonth it was found that the colony had nothing
extra to pay. On the whole, the enterprise may be said to have
succeeded; and as practice usually improves all such matters, in a few
months it was ascertained that another very important step had been
taken on the high-road of civilization. Certainly, the colonists could
not be called a letter-writing people, considered as a whole, but the
facilities offered a temptation to improve, and, in time, the character
of the entire community received a beneficial impression from the
introduction of the mails.

It was not long after the two brigs were sold, and just as the Martha
came into government possession, that all the principal functionaries
made a tour of the whole settlements, using the sloop for that purpose.
One of the objects was to obtain statistical facts; though personal
observation, with a view to future laws, was the principal motive. The
governor, secretary, attorney-general, and most of the council were
along; and pleasure and business being thus united, their wives were
also of the party. There being no necessity for remaining in the Martha
at night, that vessel was found amply sufficient for all other purposes,
though the "progress" occupied fully a fortnight, As a brief relation of
its details will give the reader a full idea of the present state of
the "country," as the colonists now began to call their territories, we
propose to accompany the travellers, day by day, and to give some short
account of what they saw, and of what they did. The Martha sailed from
the cove about eight in the morning, having on board seventeen
passengers, in addition to two or three who were going over to Rancocus
Island on their regular business. The sloop did not sail, however,
directly for the last-named island, but made towards the volcano, which
had of late ceased to be as active as formerly, and into the condition
of which it was now deemed important to make some inquiries. The Martha
was a very fast vessel, and was soon quietly anchored in a small bay, on
the leeward side of the island, where landing was not only practicable
but easy. For the first time since its existence the crater was
ascended. All the gentlemen went up, and Heaton took its measurement by
means of instruments. The accumulation of materials, principally ashes
and scoriae, though lava had begun to appear in one or two small streams,
had been very great since the governor's first visit to the spot. The
island now measured about two miles in diameter, and being nearly round,
might be said to be somewhere near six in circumference. The crater
itself was fully half a mile in diameter, and, at that moment, was quite
a thousand feet in height above the sea. In the centre of this vast
valley, were three smaller craters or chimneys, which served as outlets
to the fires beneath. A plain had formed within the crater, some four
hundred feet below its summit, and it already began to assume that
sulphur-tinged and unearthly hue, that is so common in and about active
volcanoes. Occasionally, a deep roaring would be succeeded by a hissing
sound, not unlike that produced by a sudden escape of steam from a
boiler, and then a report would follow, accompanied by smoke and stones;
some of the latter of which were projected several hundred yards into
the air, and fell on the plain of the crater. But these explosions were
not one-tenth as frequent as formerly.

The result of all the observations was to create an impression that this
outlet to the fires beneath was approaching a period when it would
become inactive, and when, indeed, some other outlet for the pent
forces might be made. After passing half-a-day on and around the
volcano, even Bridget and Anne mustered courage and strength to ascend
it, supported by the willing arms of their husbands. The females were
rewarded for their trouble, though both declared that they should ever
feel a most profound respect for the place after this near view of its
terrors as well as of its beauties.

On quitting the volcano, the Martha proceeded directly to leeward,
reaching Rancocus Island about sunset. Here the sloop anchored in the
customary haven, and everybody but her crew landed. The fort was still
kept up at this place, on account of the small number of the persons who
dwelt there, though little apprehension now existed of a visit from the
natives; with the exception of the Kannakas, who went back and forth
constantly on board the different craft in which they were employed, not
a native had been near either island of the colony since the public
visit of young Ooroony, on the occasion of bringing over labourers to
help to form the grounds of Colony House. The number and force of the
different vessels would seem to have permanently settled the question of
ascendency in those seas, and no one any longer believed it was a point
to be controverted.

The population on Rancocus Island did not amount to more than fifty
souls, and these included women and children. Of the latter, however,
there were not yet many; though five or six were born annually, and
scarcely one died. The men kept the mill going, cutting lumber of all
sorts; and they made both bricks and lime, in sufficient quantities to
supply the wants of the two other islands. At first, it had been found
necessary to keep a greater force there, but, long before the moment of
which we are writing, the people had all got into their regular
dwellings, and the materials now required for building were merely such
as were used in additions, or new constructions. The last, however, kept
the men quite actively employed; but, as they got well paid for their
work, everybody seemed contented. The Martha never arrived without
bringing over quantities of fruits, as well as vegetables, the
Rancocusers, lumber-men like, paying but little attention to gardening
or husbandry. The island had its productions, and there was available
land enough, perhaps, to support a few thousand people, but, after the
group and the Peak, the place seemed so little tempting to the farmers,
that no one yet thought of using it for the ordinary means of supporting
life. The "visitors," as the party called themselves, had an inquiry
made into the state of the animals that had been turned loose, on the
pastures and mountain-sides of the island, to seek their own living. The
hogs, as usual, had increased largely; it was supposed there might be
near two hundred of these animals, near half of which, however, were
still grunters. The labourers occasionally killed one, but the number
grew so fast that it was foreseen it would be necessary to have an
annual hunt, in order to keep it down. The goats did particularly well,
though they remained so much on the highest peaks as to be seldom
approached by any of the men. The cow had also increased her progeny,
there being now no less than four younger animals, all of whom yielded
milk to the people. The poultry flourished here, as it did in all that
region, the great abundance of fruit, worms, insects, &c. rendering it
unnecessary to feed them, though Indian-corn was almost to be had for
the asking, throughout all the islands. This grain was rarely harvested,
except as it was wanted, and the hogs that were fattened were usually
turned in upon it in the fields.

It may be well to say, that practice and experience had taught the
colonists something in the way of fattening their pork. The animals were
kept in the group until they were about eighteen months old, when they
were regularly transported to the cove, in large droves, and made to
ascend the steps, passing the last two months of their lives amid the
delightful groves of the Peak. Here they had acorns in abundance, though
their principal food was Indian corn, being regularly attended by
Kannakas who had been trained to the business. At killing-time, each man
either came himself, or sent some one to claim his hogs; all of which
were slaughtered on the Peak, and carried away in the form of pork. The
effect of this change was to make much finer meat, by giving the animals
a cooler atmosphere and purer food.

From Rancocus Island the Martha sailed for the group, which was visited
and inspected in all its settlements by the governor and council. The
policy adopted by the government of the colony was very much unlike that
resorted to in America, in connection with the extension of the
settlements. Here a vast extent of surface is loosely overrun, rendering
the progress of civilization rapid, but very imperfect. Were the people
of the United States confined to one-half the territory they now occupy,
there can be little question that they would be happier, more powerful,
more civilized, and less rude in manners and feelings; although it may
be high treason to insinuate that they are not all, men, women and
children, already at the _ne plus ultra_ of each of those attainments.
But there is a just medium in the density of human population, as well
as in other things; and that has not yet been reached, perhaps, even in
the most thickly peopled of any one of the Old Thirteen. Now, Mark
Woolston had seen enough of the fruits of a concentrated physical force,
in Europe, to comprehend their value; and he early set his face against
the purely skimming process. He was resolved that the settlements should
not extend faster than was necessary, and that as much of civilization
should go with them as was attainable. In consequence of this policy,
the country soon obtained a polished aspect, as far as the settlements
reached. There were four or five distinct points that formed exceptions
to this rule, it having been considered convenient to make
establishments there, principally on account of the whalers. One, and
the largest of these isolated settlements, was in the Whaling Bight,
quite near to Blubber Islano, where a village had sprung up, containing
the houses and shops of coopers, rope-makers, boat-builders, carpenters,
blacksmiths, &c.; men employed in making casks, whaling gear, and boats.
There also were the dwellings of three or four masters and mates of
vessels, as well as of sundry boat-steerers. In the whole, there might
have been fifty habitations at this particular point; of which about
two-thirds were in a straggling village, while the remainder composed so
many farm-houses. Everything at this place denoted activity and a
prosperous business; the merchants taking the oil as fast as it was
ready, and returning for it, hoops, iron in bars, hemp, and such other
articles as were wanted for the trade.

By this time, the Rancocus had returned, and had discharged her
inward-bound cargo at the Reef, bringing excellent returns for the oils
sent to Hamburgh. She now lay in Whaling Bight, being about to load anew
with oil that had been taken during her absence. Saunders was as busy as
a bee; and Mrs. Saunders, who had come across from her own residence on
the Peak, in order to remain as long as possible with her husband, was
as happy as the day was long; seeming never to tire of exhibiting her
presents to the other women at the Bight.

At the Reef itself, an exceedingly well-built little town was springing
up. Since the removal of the whaling operations to the Bight, all
nuisances were abated, and the streets, quays, and public walks were as
neat as could be desired. The trees had grown wonderfully, and the
gardens appeared as verdant and fresh as if they had a hundred feet of
loam beneath them, instead of resting on solid lava, as was the fact.
These gardens had increased in numbers and extent, so that the whole
town was embedded in verdure and young trees. That spot, on which the
sun had once beaten so fiercely as to render it often too hot to be
supported by the naked foot, was now verdant, cool, and refreshing,
equally to the eye and to the feelings. The streets were narrow, as is
desirable in warm climates--thus creating shade, as well as increasing
the draughts of air through them; it being in the rear that the houses
obtained space for ventilation as well as for vegetation. The whole
number of dwellings on the Reef now amounted to sixty-four; while the
warehouses, public buildings, ships, offices, and other constructions,
brought the number of the roofs up to one hundred. These buildings,
Colony House and the warehouses excepted, were not very large certainly,
but they were of respectable dimensions, and neat and well put together.
Colony House was large, as has been mentioned; and though plain, certain
ornaments had been completed, which contributed much to its appearance.
Every building, without exception, had some sort of verandah to it; and
as most of these additions were now embowered in shrubs or vines, they
formed delightful places of retreat during the heat of the day.

By a very simple process, water was pumped up from the largest spring
by means of wind-sails, and conveyed in wooden logs to every building in
the place. The logs were laid through the gardens, for the double
purpose of getting soil to cover them, and to put them out of the way.
Without the town, a regular system had been adopted, by which to
continue to increase the soil. The rock was blown out, as stone was
wanted; leaving, however, a quay around the margin of the island. As
soon as low enough, the cavities became the receptacles of everything
that could contribute to form soil; and one day in each month was set
apart for a "bee;" during which little was done but to transport earth
from Loam Island, which was far from being exhausted yet, or even
levelled, and scattering it on those hollow spots. In this manner, a
considerable extent of surface, nearest to the town, had already been
covered, and seeded, and planted, so that it was now possible to walk
from the town to the crater, a distance of a quarter of a mile, and be
the whole time amid flowering shrubs, young trees, and rich grasses!

As for the crater itself, it was now quite a gem in the way of
vegetation. Its cocoa-nut trees bore profusely; and its figs, oranges,
limes, shaddocks, &c. &c., were not only abundant, but rich and large.
The Summit was in spots covered with delicious groves, and the openings
were of as dark a verdure, the year round, as if the place lay twenty
degrees farther from the equator than was actually the case. Here Kitty,
followed by a flock of descendants, was permitted still to rove at
large, the governor deeming her rights in the place equal to his own.
The plain of the crater was mostly under tillage, being used as a common
garden for all who dwelt in the town. Each person was taxed so many
days, in work, or in money, agreeably to a village ordinance, and by
such means was the spot tilled; in return, each person, according, to a
scale that was regulated by the amount of the contribution, was allowed
to come or send daily, and dig and carry away a stated quantity of
fruits and vegetables. All this was strictly regulated by a town law,
and the gardener had charge of the execution of the ordinance; but the
governor had privately intimated to him that there was no necessity for
his being very particular, so long as the people were so few, and the
products so abundant. The entire population of the Reef proper amounted,
at this visitation, to just three hundred and twenty-six persons, of
whom near a hundred were under twelve years of age. This, however, was
exclusively of Kannakas, but included the absent seamen, whose families
dwelt there permanently.

The settlement at Dunks' Cove has been mentioned, and nothing need be
said of it, beyond the fact that its agriculture had improved and been
extended, its trees had grown, and its population increased. There was
another similar settlement at East Cove--or Bay would be the better
name--which was at the place where Mark Woolston had found his way out
to sea, by passing through a narrow and half-concealed inlet. This
entrance to the group was now much used by the whalers, who fell in
with a great many fish in the offing, and who found it very convenient
to tow them into this large basin, and cut them up. Thence the blubber
was sent down in lighters to Whaling Bight, to be tryed out. This
arrangement saved a tow of some five-and-twenty miles, and often
prevented a loss of the fish, as sometimes occurred in the outside
passage, by having it blown on an iron-bound coast. In consequence of
these uses of the place, a settlement had grown up near it, and it
already began to look like a spot to be civilized. As yet, however, it
was the least advanced of all the settlements in the group.

At the West Bay, there was a sort of naval station and look-out port, to
watch the people of the neighbouring islands. The improvements did not
amount to much, however, being limited to one farm, a small battery that
commanded the roads, and a fortified house, which was also a tavern.

The agricultural, or strictly rural population of the group, were seated
along the different channels nearest to the Reef. Some attention had
been paid, in the choice, to the condition of the soil; but, on the
whole, few unoccupied spots could now be found within a league of the
Reef, and on any of the principal passages that communicated with the
different islands. There were foot-paths, which might be used by
horses, leading from farm to farm, along the margins of the channels;
but the channels themselves were the ordinary means of communicating
between neighbours. Boats of all sorts abounded, and were constantly
passing and repassing. Here, as elsewhere, the vegetation was luxuriant
and marvellous. Trees were to be seen around the houses, that elsewhere
might have required three times the number of years that these had
existed, to attain the same height.

The visitation terminated at the Peak. This place, so aptly likened to
the garden of Eden, and frequently so called, could receive very little
addition to its picturesque beauties from the hand of man. Parts of it
were cultivated, it is true; enough to supply its population (rather
more than three hundred souls) with food; but much the greater portion
of its surface was in pasture. The buildings were principally of stones
quarried out of the cliffs, and were cool as well as solid edifices.
They were low, however, and of no great size on the ground. At the
governor's farm, his private property, there was a dwelling of some
pretension; low, like all the rest, but of considerable extent. Here
Bridget now passed much of her time; for here it was thought best to
keep the children. So cool and salubrious was the air on the Peak, that
two schools were formed here; and a large portion of the children of the
colony, of a suitable age, were kept in them constantly. The governor
encouraged this plan, not only on account of the health of the children,
but because great care was taken to teach nothing but what the children
ought to learn. The art of reading may be made an instrument of evil, as
well as of good; and if a people imbibe false principles--if they are
taught, for instance, that this or that religious sect should be
tolerated, or the reverse, because it was most or least in conformity
with certain political institutions, thus rendering an institution of
God's subservient to the institutions of men, instead of making the last
subservient to the first--why, the less they know of letters, the
better. Everything false was carefully avoided, and, with no great
pretensions in the way of acquisitions, the schools of the Peak were
made to be useful, and at least innocent. One thing the governor
strictly enjoined; and that was, to teach these young creatures that
they were fallible beings, carefully avoiding the modern fallacy of
supposing that an infallible whole could be formed of fallible parts.

Such is an outline of the condition of the colony at the period which we
have now reached. Everything appeared to be going on well. The Henlopen
arrived, discharged, loaded, and went out again, carrying with her the
last barrel of oil in the Bight. The whalers had a jubilee, for their
adventures made large returns; and the business was carried on with
renewed spirit. In a word, the colony had reached a point where every
interest was said to be prosperous--a state of things with communities,
as with individuals, when they are, perhaps, in the greatest danger of
meeting with reverses, by means of their own abuses.

Chapter XXVI.

"Cruel of heart, and strong of arm,
Proud in his sport, and keen for spoil,
He little reck'd of good or harm,
Fierce both in mirth and toil;
Yet like a dog could fawn, if need there were;
Speak mildly when he would, or look in fear."

Dana--_The Buccaneer._

After the visitation, the governor passed a week at the Peak, with
Bridget and his children. It was the habit of the wife to divide her
time between the two dwellings; though Mark was so necessary to her as a
companion, intellectually, and she was so necessary to Mark, for the
same reason, that they were never very long separated. Bridget was all
heart, and she had the sweetest temper imaginable; two qualities that
endeared her to her husband, far more than her beauty. Her wishes were
centred in her little family, though her kindness and benevolence could
extend themselves to all around her. Anne she loved as a sister and as a
friend; but it would not have been impossible for Bridget to be happy,
had her fortune been cast on the Reef, with no one else but Mark and
her two little ones.

The Peak, proper, had got to be a sort of public promenade for all who
dwelt near it. Here the governor, in particular, was much accustomed to
walk, early in the day, before the sun got to be too warm, and to look
out upon the ocean as he pondered on his several duties. The spot had
always been pleasant, on account of the beauty and extent of the view;
but a new interest was given to it since the commencement of the whaling
operations in the neighbourhood. Often had Bridget and Anne gone there
to see a whale taken; it being no uncommon thing for one of the boys to
come shouting down from the Peak, with the cry of "a fish--a fish!" It
was by no means a rare occurrence for the shore-boats to take whales
immediately beneath the cliffs, and the vessels could frequently be seen
to windward, working up to their game. All this movement gave life and
variety to the scene, and contributed largely to the spot's becoming a
favourite place of resort. The very morning of the day that he intended
to cross over to the Reef, on his return from the "progress," the
governor and his wife ascended to the Peak just as the sun was rising.
The morning was perfectly lovely; and never had the hearts of our
married couple expanded more in love to their fellows, or been more
profoundly filled with gratitude to God for all his goodness to them,
than at that moment. Young Mark held by his mother's hand, while the
father led his little daughter. This was the way they were accustomed to
divide themselves in their daily excursions, it probably appearing to
each parent that the child thus led was a miniature image of the other.
On that morning, the governor and Bridget were talking of the bounties
that Providence had bestowed on them, and of the numberless delights of
their situation. Abundance reigned on every side; in addition to the
productions of the island, in themselves so ample and generous, commerce
had brought its acquisitions, and, as yet, trade occupied the place a
wise discrimination would give it. All such interests are excellent as
_incidents_ in the great scheme of human happiness; but woe betide the
people among whom they get to be _principals!_ As the man who lives only
to accumulate, is certain to have all his nobler and better feelings
blunted by the grasping of cupidity, and to lose sight of the great
objects of his existence, so do whole communities degenerate into masses
of corruption, venality, and cupidity, when they set up the idol of
commerce to worship in lieu of the ever-living God. So far from denoting
a healthful prosperity, as is too apt to be supposed, no worse signs of
the condition of a people can be given, than when all other interests
are made to yield to those of the mere money-getting sort. Among our
colonists, as yet, commerce occupied its proper place; it was only an
incident in their state of society, and it was so regarded. Men did not
search for every means of increasing it, whether its fruits were wanted
or not, or live in a constant fever about its results. The articles
brought in were all necessary to the comfort and civilization of the
settlements, and those taken away were obtained by means of a healthful

As they ascended the height, following an easy path that led to the
Summit, the governor and his wife conversed about the late visitation,
and of what each had seen that was striking and worthy of comment. Mark
had a council to consult, in matters of state, but most did he love to
compare opinions with the sweet matronly young creature at his side.
Bridget was so true in all her feelings, so just in her inferences, and
so kindly disposed, that a better counsellor could not have been found
at the elbow of one intrusted with power.

"I am more uneasy on the subject of religion than on any other,"
observed the governor, as he helped his little companion up a difficult
part of the ascent. "While out, I took great pains to sound the people
on the subject, and I found a much greater variety of opinions, or
rather of feelings, among them than I could have believed possible,
after the quiet time we have hitherto had."

"After all, religion is, and ought to be, more a matter of feeling, than
of reason, Mark."

"That is true, in one sense, certainly; but, it should be feeling
subject to prudence and discretion."

"Everything should be subject to those two qualities, though so very few
are. I have all along known that the ministrations of Mr. Hornblower
were only tolerated by a good number of our people. You, as an
Episcopalian, have not been so much in the way of observing this; for
others have been guarded before _you_; but, my family is known not to
have been of that sect, and I have been treated more frankly."

"And you have not let me know this important fact, Bridget!" said the
governor, a little reproachfully.

"Why should I have added to your other cares, by heaping this on your
shoulder, dear Mark? The thing could not easily be prevented; though I
may as well tell you, now, what cannot much longer be kept a secret--the
Henlopen will bring a Methodist and a Presbyterian clergyman in her,
this voyage, if any be found willing to emigrate; and I have heard,
lately, that Friends expect a preacher."

"The law against the admission of an immigrant, without the consent of
the governor and council, is very clear and precise," answered the
husband, looking grave.

"That may be true, my love, but it would hardly do to tell the people
they are not to worship God in the manner that may best satisfy their
own consciences."

"It is extraordinary that, as there is but one God, and one Saviour,
there should be more than one mode of worshipping them!"

"Not at all extraordinary, my dear Mark, when you come to consider the
great diversity of opinion which exists among men, in other matters.
But, Mr. Hornblower has a fault, which is a very great fault, in one
situated as he is, without a competitor in the field. He lays too much
stress on his particular mission; talking too much, and preaching too
much of his apostolic authority, as a divine."

"Men should never blink the truth, Bridget; and least of all, in a
matter as grave as religion."

"Quite right, Mark, when it is necessary to say anything on the subject,
at all. But, after all, the apostolic succession is but a _means_, and
if the end be attainable without dwelling on these means, it seems to me
to be better not to conflict with the prejudices of those we wish to
influence. Remember, that there are not fifty real Episcopalians in all
this colony, where there is only clergyman, and he of that sect."

"Very true; but, Mr. Hornblower naturally wishes to make them all

"It really seems to me, that he ought to be content with making them all

"Perhaps he thinks the two identical--necessary to each other," added
the governor, smiling on his charming young wife, who, in her own
person, had quietly consented to the priestly control of her husband's
clergyman, though but half converted to the peculiar distinctions of his
sect, herself.

"He should remember, more especially in his situation, that others may
not be of the same way of thinking. Very few persons, I believe, inquire
into the reasons of what they have been taught on the subject of
religion, but take things as they find them."

"And here they find an Episcopalian, and they ought to receive him

"That might do with children, but most of our people came here with
their opinions formed. I wish Mr. Hornblower were less set in his
opinions, for I am content to be an Episcopalian, with you, my dear
husband; certain, if the authority be not absolutely necessary, it can,
at least, do no harm."

This ended the conversation at that time, for just then the party
reached the Peak. Little, however, did the governor, or his pretty wife,
imagine how much the future was connected with the interest of which
they had just been speaking, or dream of the form in which the serpent
of old was about to visit this Eden of modern times. But occurrences of
another character almost immediately attracted their attention, and
absorbed all the care and energy of the colony for some time. Scarcely
was the party on the Peak, when the keen, lively eyes of the younger
Bridget caught sight of a strange sail; and, presently, another and
another came into view. In a word, no less than three vessels were in
sight, the first that had ever been seen in those seas, with the
exception of the regular and well-known craft of the colony. These
strangers were a ship and two brigs; evidently vessels of some size,
particularly the first; and they were consorts, keeping in company, and
sailing in a sort of line, which would seem to denote more of order and
concert than it was usual to find among merchantmen. They were all on a
wind, standing to the southward and eastward, and were now, when first
seen, fairly within the strait between the Peak and the group,
unquestionably in full sight of both, and distant from each some five or
six leagues. With the wind as it was, nothing would have been easier for
them all, than to fetch far enough to windward to pass directly beneath
the western cliffs, and, consequently, directly in front of the cove.

Luckily, there were several lads on the Peak, early as was the hour, who
had ascended in quest of the berries of certain plants that flourished
there. The governor instantly despatched one of these lads, with a note
to Heaton, written in pencil, in which he desired that functionary to
send a messenger down to the cove, to prevent any of the fishermen from
going out; it being the practice of many of the boys to fish in the
shade of the cliffs, to leeward, ere the sun rose high enough to make
the heat oppressive. Hitherto, the existence of the cove, as it was
believed, remained unknown even to the Kannakas, and a stringent order
existed, that no boat should ever enter it so long as craft was in
sight, which might have any of those men on board it. Indeed, the whole
Peak was just as much a place of mystery, to all but the colonists, as
it was the day when Waally and his followers were driven away by their
superstitious dread.

Having taken this precaution, and kept the other lads to send down with
any farther message he might deem necessary, the governor now gave all
his attention to the strangers. A couple of glasses were always kept on
the Peak, and the best of these was soon in his hand, and levelled at
the ship. Bridget stood at her husband's side, eager to hear his
opinion, but waiting with woman's patience for the moment it might be
given with safety. At length that instant came, and the half-terrified
wife questioned the husband on the subject of his discoveries.

"What is it, Mark'?" said Bridget, almost afraid of the answer she was
so desirous of obtaining. "Is it the Rancocus?"

"If the Rancocus, love, be certain she would not be coming hither. The
ship is of some size, and appears to be armed; though I cannot make out
her nation."

"It is not surprising that she should be armed, Mark. You know that the
papers Captain Saunders brought us were filled with accounts of battles
fought in Europe."

"It is very true that the whole world is in arms, though that does not
explain the singular appearance of these three vessels, in this remote
corner of the earth. It is possible they may be discovery ships, for
wars do not always put a stop to such enterprises. They appear to be
steering for the Peak, which is some proof that they do not know of the
existence of the settlements in the group. There they might anchor; but
here, they cannot without entering the cove, of which they can know

"If discovery vessels, would they not naturally come first to the Peak,
as the most striking object?"

"In that you are probably right, Bridget, though I think the commodore
would be apt to divide his force, having three ships, and send one, at
least, towards the group, even if he came hither with the others. No
nation but England, however, would be likely to have vessels of that
character out, in such a war, and these do not look like English craft,
at all. Besides, we should have heard something of such an expedition,
by means of the papers, were there one out. It would be bad enough to be
visited by explorers; yet, I fear these are worse than explorers."

Bridget very well understood her husband's apprehensions on the subject
of exploring parties. As yet, the colony had got on very well, without
having the question of nationality called into the account; but it had
now become so far important, as, in a small way, to be a nursery for
seamen; and there was much reason to fear that the ruthless policy of
the strong would, in the event of a discovery, make it share the usual
fortunes of the weak. It was on account of this dread of foreign
interference, that so much pains had been taken to conceal the history
and state of the little community, the strongest inducements being
placed before all the seamen who went to Europe, to be discreet and
silent. As for the Kannakas, they did not know enough to be very
dangerous, and could not, at all, give any accurate idea of the position
of the islands, had they been better acquainted than they were with
their relation to other communities, and desirous of betraying them.

The governor now sent another note down to Heaton, with a request that
orders might be forwarded along the cliffs, for every one to keep out of
sight; as well as directions that care should be taken not to let any
smoke even be seen to rise from the plain. This message was speedily
followed by another, directing that all the men should be assembled, and
the usual preparations made for defence. He also asked if it were not
possible to send a whale-boat out, by keeping immediately under the
cliffs, and going well to windward, in such a manner as to get a
communication across to the Reef, in order to put the people on their
guard in that quarter. One or two whale-boats were always in the cove,
and there were several crews of capital oarsmen among the people of the
Peak. If such a boat could be prepared, it was to be held in readiness,
as the governor himself might deem it expedient to cross the strait.

All this time the strange vessels were not idle, but drew nearer to the
Peak, at a swift rate of sailing. It was not usual for mere merchantmen
to be as weatherly, or to make as much way through the water, as did all
these craft. On account of the great elevation at which the governor
stood, they appeared small, but he was too much accustomed to his
situation not to know how to make the necessary allowances. After
examining her well, when she was within a league of the cliffs, he came
to the opinion that the ship was a vessel of about six hundred tons, and
that she was both armed and strongly manned. So far as he could judge,
by the bird's-eye view he got, he fancied she was even frigate-built,
and had a regular gundeck. In that age such craft were very common,
sloops of war having that construction quite as often as that of the
more modern deep-waisted vessel. As for the brigs, they were much
smaller than their consort, being of less than two hundred tons each,
apparently, but also armed and strongly manned. The armaments were now
easily to be seen, as indeed were the crews, each and all the vessels
showing a great many men aloft, to shorten sail as they drew nearer to
the island.

One thing gave the governor great satisfaction. The strangers headed
well up, as if disposed to pass to windward of the cliffs, from which he
inferred that none on board them knew anything of the existence or
position of the cove. So much care had been taken, indeed, to conceal
this spot from, even the Kannakas, that no great apprehension existed of
its being known to any beyond the circle of the regular colonists. As
the ship drew still nearer, and came more under the cliffs, the governor
was enabled to get a better view of her construction, and of the nature
of her armament. That she was frigate-built was now certain, and the
strength of her crew became still more evident, as the men were employed
in shortening and making sail almost immediately under his eye.

Great care was taken that no one should be visible on the Peak. Of the
whole island, that was the only spot where there was much danger of a
man's being seen from the ocean; for the fringe of wood had been
religiously preserved all around the cliffs. But, with the exception of
the single tree already mentioned, the Peak was entirely naked; and, in
that clear atmosphere, the form of a man might readily be distinguished
even at a much greater elevation. But the glasses were levelled at the
strangers from covers long before prepared for that purpose, and no fear
was entertained of the look-outs, who had their instructions, and well
understood the importance of caution.

At length, the vessels got so near, as to allow of the glasses being
pointed directly down upon the upper deck of the ship, in particular.
The strangers had a little difficulty in weathering the northern

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