fellow from kissing her. I felt very sorry for her, and on going home promptly reported the outrage to my mother. She evidently did not approve, but did not make as much of a demonstration over it as I had expected. I doubt now, if the teacher was as greatly in need of my sympathy as I then thought. The Babcocks all went to the war, as I am told, and one of them became colonel of his regiment. He came home to be fatally and mysteriously shot one night on his way to his room in Chicago; the why and how were never revealed.
The winter after I was six years old I went to a school taught by a fine young man named Martin Piper, a relative of Uncle Ben’s. The next summer he enlisted in the Mexican War with another of our young neighbors, John Bradshaw. I saw the volunteers from Watertown filling two wagons that carried them to Milwaukee, and I could not keep the tears back, for I feared I should never see John and Martin again. And so it was; they both perished at Vera Cruz.
My last winter’s school was taught by my father. I remember that we used to cross the river, which only froze along the edges, on cakes of ice which he would cut out and pole across. The school closed in the spring with an “exhibition,” consisting of declamations, dialogues, a little “play,” and a spelling contest. The whole countryside was there, and about thirty of us youngsters were put up in the attic, which was floored over with loose boards, to make room for our elders. The only light we had was what percolated up through the cracks, and all that we could see of the exhibition was through them. As we hustled around, sampling them to see where we could see best, we made a good deal of disturbance.
The best place, next the chimney, we were driven back from, for repeated burning had weakened the support. (The beam next to the chimney used to catch fire nearly every day, and we younger ones used to watch it and report to the teacher, who would calmly throw a dipper of water up and put the fire out for the time being.) A fat woman sat under the dangerous place that evening, and made a great outcry if we came near to enjoy the desirable outlook–stout people always seem fearful that something will fall on them. I remember also that her little girl, a pretty creature in curls and a pink dress, spoke “Mary had a little lamb,” by having it “lined out” to her.
Our schoolhouse was so set in a noble grove of oaks, elms and maples with a heavy undergrowth, that we could not be seen from the road. Nearly every day droves of cattle went by, and we used to run up through the thicket to see them. It must have been an odd sight to the drovers to see a dozen or more little half-scared faces peering out of the brush, and no building in sight. They would often give us a noisy salute, whereupon we would scamper back, telling of our narrow escape from dangerous beasts and men.
The presidential election in the fall of 1848 aroused a good deal of interest, for Wisconsin had now become a state, and citizens could vote for national candidates. I was in Jonathan Piper’s store one evening, with my father, when about a dozen men were present. A political discussion sprang up and grew hot, and finally a division was called for. Two or three voted for Zachary Taylor, the Whig candidate; one for Lewis Cass, the Democrat; and the rest for Martin Van Buren, Free Soiler. The State went with the lone voter, for Cass carried it by a small plurality.
Good health was the rule among the hardworking, plain-living pioneers, but plowing up the soil released the poison which nature seemed to have put there on guard, and every one at one time or another came down with the “shakes.” However, the potent influence of sunshine, quinine, and cholagogue speedily won their way, and in a few years malaria had become a mere reminiscence.
In November, 1848, my parents moved to Beaver Dam, and thus our life in the Rock River country came to an end. The splendid primeval forest has now gone, and even before we left much of it had been converted into log heaps and burned. Every night scores of fires would gleam out where the finest hardwood logs, worth now a king’s ransom, were turned into smoke and ashes. Even the mills which that grand pioneer, Andrew Hardgrave, had built in 1844, to the great rejoicing of all the people, are gone, and the river flows on over its smooth limestone floor, unvexed as of old. But fine brick buildings have taken the place of the old log structures, and land brings at least twenty times as much per acre as then. Who can argue against that?
During the seventeenth century there were a great number of pirates who committed serious ravages upon the settlements in the West Indies and upon the mainland adjacent, and whose expeditions extended even to the coasts of Chili and Peru. These men were called buccaneers; and the meaning of the word gives some intimation of the origin of the buccaneers themselves.
At an earlier day, many of the settlers in the island of Hispaniola, or Hayti, made their living by hunting cattle and preserving the meat by the _boucan_ process. These hunters used to form parties of five or six in number, and arming themselves with musket, bullet bag, powderhorn and knife, they took their way on foot through the tangled forests of the country. When they killed one of the wild cattle, its flesh was cut into long strips and laid upon gratings, constructed of green sticks, where it was exposed to the smoke of a wood fire, which was fed by the fat and waste parts of the animals. The grating upon which the meat was laid was called a _boucan_, and the hunters were called _boucaniers_. Later these hunters were driven from Hayti by the Spaniards and took refuge in some of the neighboring islands, where they revenged themselves for some of the ill-treatment by preying upon the possessions of their oppressors wherever they could find them.
At the same time affairs in Europe brought France and England on the one hand, and Spain on the other, into collision; and as a result, the Spanish possessions in America became the object of French and English attacks. Accordingly, those two nations were inclined to look with a lenient eye upon the depredations committed by the buccaneers, so long as the property of the English and French was respected. As a natural consequence, many of the disreputable and daring characters of both nations joined themselves with the original buccaneers, whom they soon made as corrupt as themselves. Eventually these pirates increased so in number, and grew so daring in their operations that it was necessary for all nations to unite in putting them down; and by that time, the word _buccaneer_ had come to mean _pirate_ in its worst sense.
From time to time there arose among the buccaneers leaders whose success brought a large following from men of other companies, and in one or two instances a particularly strong man gathered about him almost all the men who were willing to engage in such enterprises. At such times the pirates formed a very powerful organization, and none of the smaller cities were proof against their ravages. Whether the band was large or small, however, the method of operation was always practically the same.
Naturally there were preliminary meetings in which a few men discussed plans and decided upon an expedition of some sort. Then a preliminary meeting was held at which the object of attack was determined, funds were raised, officers were elected, and the smaller details of the expedition were determined. Then articles of agreement were drawn up, signed by the buccaneers, and usually kept with remarkable exactness. In conformity with these agreements, the spoils of the expeditions were distributed among the individuals according to rank, each individual of the ordinary class receiving one share of the plunder, while the officers were given from two to eight, according to their position and influence.
It was customary, however, before any allotment was made to the individuals, to set aside a certain portion of the spoils to be distributed among those who had suffered some injury in the expeditions, and in case any of the members died, that member’s share was distributed to his heirs. Besides this, there were special rewards given to the first man who should sight a prize, to the first man to board a ship, and to other men who were noticeably brave and successful.
It was quite customary for two buccaneers to swear brotherhood each to the other, to make written agreements to stand by each other during life, to sign these agreements with their own blood; and then to keep these curious partnerships to the end. There are numerous touching accounts of the devotion with which a friend often followed the fortunes of his sworn brother. In fact, the buccaneers usually dealt honestly and fairly with one another, and in the same way with the Indians, notwithstanding the fact that they were bloodthirsty, cruel and heartless in their treatment of the captives they made on their expeditions.
The usual place of meeting for the buccaneers was upon the west end of the island of Tortuga, which lies off the northern coast of Hayti, although the English pirates after 1654 met on the island of Jamaica. The traders and planters of these islands and of others in the vicinity were not averse to having the buccaneers among them, for no sooner had the latter returned from a successful expedition than they spent, with lavish hand, the money which they had made.
While it is true that between these forays the pirates were given to the wildest excesses, and were anything but a desirable addition to a community, yet there are always plenty of people who are willing to profit by the wastefulness and dissipations of others. Many of the buccaneers, accordingly, had homes which they visited in the intervals of their cruises, where, although their business was well known, they were in a certain sense respected. However, before the pirates were wholly subdued, they had become less and less acceptable residents in any community, and finally were at enmity with every soul not in their own occupation.
That these buccaneers had a large amount of physical bravery, goes without saying; for only a man who feared nothing could undertake such apparently hopeless tasks as these wild plunderers carried to a successful conclusion. In fact many times they were successful for the reason that the vessels or towns they attacked deemed themselves secure from attack by so small a force as the pirates could muster. They were inured to hardship and willing to undergo any amount of pain and suffering, if they could but gather the riches for which they sought. The accounts of their adventures are filled with description of daring deeds, which if undertaken in a better cause would have made the men famous for all time.
The beginning of these expeditions may be placed at about 1625, and the last important cruise of the pirates was made in 1688. After the latter date they gradually dispersed, and the buccaneers appeared no more. In 1664, Mansveldt, who was one of the ablest of the pirate chiefs, conceived the idea of forming an independent government with a flag of its own, and locating his capital at Santa Katalina. His early death prevented him from realizing his purpose; and though his successor, the famous Henry Morgan, attempted to carry out the plan, it met with such opposition from the Governor of Jamaica that it was definitely abandoned. It was under the leadship of this same Morgan that the buccaneers reached the height of their reputation, and executed their most daring and successful raids. Among Morgan’s performances was the capture of the town of Puerto del Principe in Cuba, and the cities of Porto Bello, Maracaibo and Gibraltar in South America. His greatest exploit, however, occurred in 1670, when at the head of the fleet of thirty-seven ships of all sizes manned by more than two thousand pirates, he captured the forts on the Chagres River, marched across the Isthmus of Panama, and after ten days of incredible hardship and suffering, fighting against a force of twenty-five hundred men, captured the city of Panama. After a stay of about three weeks he returned across the Isthmus.
So unsatisfactory in value were the spoils of this expedition, that Morgan was accused of embezzling some portion, and in consequence became very unpopular with his followers.
However, as this expedition was made against the Spanish, it received some approval from the English; and Morgan, abandoning his career as a pirate, accepted the lieutenant-governorship of Jamaica, and was subsequently made governor of that island, in which capacity he did much toward suppressing piracy in the Caribbean Sea.
We have two notable accounts of the deeds of the early buccaneers. One was published in 1678 in Amsterdam by John Esquemeling, who wrote from observation, as he was himself one of the pirates, and present at many of the conflicts which he describes. The second account is the journal of Basil Ringrose, who, as a pirate, took part in Sharp’s voyage around South America, and was finally killed in a plundering raid.
CAPTAIN MORGAN AT MARACAIBO
[Footnote 1: This account of Henry Morgan’s deeds at Maracaibo is taken from the narrative of John Esquemeling, but no attempt has been made to give a literal translation of his words. Morgan had passed through the Gulf of Venezuela, captured the town of Maracaibo and made his way through the narrow passage into the lake of the same name, where he captured and despoiled Gibraltar. At the opening of this sketch, he is in Lake Maracaibo, seeking an opportunity to return to the open sea.]
Captain Morgan had been so long absent from Maracaibo that he knew that the Spaniards had had sufficient time to fortify themselves strongly, and so hinder his departure from the lake. Without waiting to collect the full sum he had required from the inhabitants of Gibraltar, he demanded some of the townsmen as hostages, whom he might carry with him on his return journey, and whom he would release upon the full payment of the tribute he had levied.
Four persons who had been agreed upon were delivered to him as hostages for the sums demanded, and at last Morgan weighed anchor and set sail with great haste, directing his course toward Maracaibo. Four days later, he arrived in front of the town and found things very much in the same condition as that in which they had been left, yet he was very much disturbed when he learned from an old man, who had been left alone and sick in the village, that three Spanish men-of-war were lying at anchor in the entrance to the lake, waiting patiently for the return of the pirates. Moreover, the great castle that stood at the opening of the channel had been again repaired, provided with great guns and garrisoned by a strong force which was well supplied with ammunition.
Morgan was indeed in a dangerous predicament, for the passages leading out of the lake were narrow and tortuous. In order to learn just what force he had to meet, he sent his swiftest boat scouting through the inlet, while his ships remained within the lake.
The next day the boat came back, confirming what the old man had said and assuring Morgan that it had been so close to the Spanish ships that it was in great danger of being sunk by their shells. The biggest ship carried forty guns, the second had thirty and the smallest twenty-four. As Morgan’s largest ship did not carry more than fourteen small guns, the Spanish forces appeared much superior. In fact, every one thought that Morgan must lose all hope, considering the difficulty of his passing safely with his little fleet through these winding passages, amidst the great ships and by the strong fort. Moreover, there appeared no way of escape by land, and there was certainly no other outlet into the sea.
Captain Morgan, however, was not a man to be easily discouraged, and these terrible dangers left him wholly undaunted. In a spirit of bravado he boldly sent a Spanish prisoner to the admiral of the ships commanding of him a considerable tribute or ransom, threatening, in case the ransom was not promptly paid, to set the city of Maracaibo in flames and to destroy the whole Spanish fleet. After two days the Spaniard returned, bringing from the admiral a letter which read much as follows:
“To Captain Morgan, Commander of the Pirate Fleet:
“Having understood by all our friends and neighbors that you have dared to attempt and commit hostilities in the countries, cities, towns and villages belonging to the dominions of his Catholic Majesty, my Sovereign Lord and Master, I let you understand by these lines that I have come here and have put into a very good state of defense that castle which you took out of the hands of a parcel of cowards; for I have again mounted the artillery which you spiked and made useless.
“My intent is to dispute with you your passage out of the lake and to follow and pursue you everywhere. Notwithstanding, if you be content to surrender with humility all that you have taken, together with the slaves and all other prisoners, I will let you pass freely and without trouble or molestation, providing you agree to return to your own country at once.
“But in case you make any resistance or opposition to my offers, I assure you I will utterly destroy you and put every man of you to the sword. This is my last absolute resolution. Be prudent, therefore, and do not abuse my bounty. I have with me very good soldiers who desire nothing more ardently than to revenge on you and your people all the infamous cruelties and brutal acts that you have committed upon the Spanish nation in America.
“Dated on board the royal ship Magdalena, lying at anchor at the entry of Lake Maracaibo, this twenty-fourth day of April, Sixteen Hundred Sixty-nine.
_Don Alonso del Campo y Espinosa_.”
As soon as Captain Morgan had received this letter, he called all his men together in the market place at Maracaibo, and after reading the contents both in French and in English, he requested the advice of his companions upon the whole matter, and asked whether they preferred to surrender all they had gained in order to obtain their liberty, or if they wished to fight for their possessions. With one voice they cried: “We will fight and spill the very last drop of blood in our veins rather than surrender the booty which we have captured at the risk of our lives.”
Among those who shouted most loudly was one who pushed his way forward to Captain Morgan and said: “If you will take care of the rest, I, with only twelve men, will agree to destroy the biggest of those ships. I will take that vessel which we captured in the River of Gibraltar and make of her a fire ship. However, to conceal our purpose from the enemy, we will fill her decks with logs of wood standing erect and wearing hats and caps. We will put more of these logs at the portholes where they can be made to counterfeit cannon. At the stern we will hang out the English colors, and so make the enemy think that she is one of our largest ships well equipped for battle.”
Everybody agreed to the sailor’s proposal, but after all they were not fully satisfied nor fully relieved of their fears, and on the next day they tried again to come to some agreement with Don Alonso. Morgan sent him two messengers bearing the following propositions:
First, that he would quit Maracaibo without doing any damage to the town, or taking any ransoms.
Second, that he would set at liberty half of his slaves and all the other prisoners without ransom.
Third, that he would send home freely those four chief inhabitants of Gibraltar whom he held as hostages for the ransoms which had been promised.
Don Alonso rejected these propositions instantly, considering it dishonorable to grant them. In return he sent back a message to the effect that if the pirates did not surrender themselves voluntarily into his hands within two days under the conditions of his letter, he would immediately come and force them to do it.
Deeply angered by this message, Captain Morgan put everything in order for fighting, resolving to get out of the lake by main force without surrendering anything. In the first place he commanded that all the slaves and the prisoners should be tied and guarded very closely. After this his men gathered all the pitch, tar and brimstone they could find in the town, and with them stocked the fire ship, which we have spoken of before. They mixed the powder, the brimstone and the tar with great quantities of palm leaves, and arranged everything so that it would burn quickly and furiously. They set their counterfeit cannon in proper position at the portholes, and under each fastened heaps of powder so that they would explode with great force and noise. In some of the portholes they fastened little native drums, and upon the decks they placed logs of wood dressed as men, wearing hats and coats and carrying swords and muskets.
When the fire ship was fully fitted out in this manner, they prepared to enter the passageway into the lake. The prisoners were all put into the great boat, and in another they placed all the plate, jewels and other rich things which they had acquired. In the same ship were placed the women and the wounded and suffering. The heavy goods and bulky merchandise were distributed among other vessels, each of which was manned by twelve well-armed sailors.
The fire ship was ordered to go ahead of the rest of the vessels, and at the earliest moment to grapple with the largest of the Spanish ships. Before starting, Morgan had exacted from each of his comrades an oath in which he vowed to defend himself and his comrades against the Spaniards, even to the last drop of his blood, and never under any circumstances to beg for quarter. In return for these pledges, Morgan promised his men that all should be very well rewarded if they were successful.
It was on the thirtieth day of April, 1669, that the buccaneers made their courageous start to find the Spanish. It was growing dark when Captain Morgan found the three ships riding at anchor in the middle of the passageway into the lake, and fearing to attack in the darkness, he ordered his vessels to come to anchor, resolved that if the Spanish attacked he would fight them from that position.
All that night the valiant captain and his men kept a careful and vigilant watch, for the Spanish were almost within gunshot. No sooner had daylight come, however, than the buccaneers weighed anchor and again set sail, starting their course for the Spanish vessels. The latter, seeing them come, themselves put on sail and moved to meet the attack. The fire ship in its place at the head of the line soon met the largest ship, and instantly grappled itself firmly to her side. Too late the Spaniards discovered their terrible danger, and although they made strenuous efforts to free themselves, they were unable to do so. The flames from the burning vessel seized upon the timber and rigging of the ship, and in a very short space of time consumed the stern of the vessel, leaving the fore part to sink into the sea, carrying with it the survivors.
[Illustration: THE FIRE SHIP GRAPPLED THE SPANIARD]
The second Spanish ship, seeing that the pirates were successful in destroying the admiral’s vessel, fled toward the castle, but being unable to escape, they sunk their vessel, preferring to lose their ship rather than fall into the hands of the bloodthirsty pirates. A portion of the sunken ship extended above the shallow water and was set on fire. The third vessel was captured by the pirates, all of whom now gave their attention to the Spaniards who were swimming toward the shore from the two wrecked vessels. Many were overtaken, but none would ask for quarter, preferring to die rather than be given life by the pirates.
Rejoicing at their wonderful and almost unexpected victory, the buccaneers pushed rapidly to the shore and attacked the castle with great vigor, but the walls were strong and were defended with such skill that the assailants were driven back time and again. The pirates had nothing but small guns with them, and although they advanced close to the castle walls and kept up a constant fire, yet they were able to do very little damage. On the other hand, the Spaniards were well armed, and in the course of the day succeeded in killing and wounding no less than sixty of the pirates. Toward evening the buccaneers retired discouraged to their ships.
All that night the Spaniards labored hard to strengthen their castle and to put things in readiness for the renewal of the attack which they expected on the morrow. However, Captain Morgan did not continue his attack on the second day, but busied himself in taking prisoner such of the sailors as he could find in the water or on the shore, and trying to recover some of the riches that were lost in the two ships.
Among those whom he captured was the pilot of the second vessel. This man was a stranger among the Spanish, and from him Morgan gathered much information. By this means he discovered that the Spanish Council of State had sent six well-equipped men-of-war with instructions to drive the English pirates out of the seas, and to destroy as many of them as possible. This vigorous action was taken at the order of the Spanish monarch, who had frequently complained to the English of the depredations their subjects were committing on the Spanish possessions, but had never been given the least satisfaction. When, however, the ships arrived at Cartagena, two of the six were found to be too large for cruising along the shallow waters of the coast, and were returned to Spain. The remaining four sailed toward Campeche to seek out the English, but in the port of that city one of the ships was lost in a fierce gale, and only the three which Morgan had now captured remained to act against the pirates. The night before Morgan arrived, the admiral had given a banquet to all his people, and on that occasion he persuaded them neither to take nor to give quarter; and this was the reason why the sailors fought even in the presence of death by drowning. It seems that Don Alonso had been warned by a deserting negro that the buccaneers were building a fire ship, but he deemed it impossible that they should construct one that would menace the safety of his vessels.
More important information which the pilot gave, however, was that in the vessel which had been sunk by the fire ship, was a great quantity of gold and silver plate, together with other riches to the value of forty thousand pieces of eight.
[Footnote 2: The piece of eight was equivalent to about $1.25 of our money.]
Morgan directed one of his ships to remain near the sunken vessel, drive away the native boats which prowled around in that vicinity, and try to recover the treasures. As for himself, the pirate returned to Gibraltar, where he transferred himself and his sailors to the larger and stronger ship which he had captured from the Spaniards.
When he was well established in this new ship, he sent word to the Spanish admiral, who had escaped on shore and who was assisting in the defense of the castle, that a large ransom must be paid or the town would be burned to the ground. The admiral flatly refused to pay a single dollar to Morgan; but the garrison, remembering how successful Morgan had always been and how fierce was his revenge, concluded to pay the ransom freely. Accordingly, after some discussion, it was agreed that the Spaniards should pay twenty thousand pieces of eight and deliver five hundred beeves on the following day. This was done, and the pirates salted the flesh of the cattle and stored it away for their voyage.
Notwithstanding Captain Morgan had promised to deliver the prisoners if the ransom was paid, he was so much in fear of destruction by shells from the castle as he was passing out of the lake that he told them he would release none of them until he was entirely out of range and safe in the open sea. In the meantime his men had recovered from the sunken ship fifteen thousand pieces of eight, besides much plate and valuable goods, such as the hilts of swords, and a great quantity of pieces of eight that had melted and run together from the heat of the burning vessel.
After thinking the matter over more fully, Morgan decided that it would not be safe even yet for him to attempt to pass the castle, and accordingly he called before him his prisoners and told them that unless the admiral and the garrison of the castle should promise him free passage out of the lake, he would hang every prisoner on the yards of his ship. Accordingly, the prisoners sent a deputation to Don Alonso beseeching and supplicating him to have pity on the prisoners, who with their wives and children were still on board the ship with Captain Morgan, and to give his word of honor to permit the buccaneers to pass freely; for if such a promise were not given, every one of those in captivity would surely be killed by the sword or hanged.
The reply of Don Alonso was characteristic of the brave leader: “If you had been as loyal to your king in hindering the entry of these pirates as I shall be in preventing their going out, you had never brought this trouble upon yourselves nor upon our nation, which has now suffered so much through your cowardice. In a word, I shall never grant your request, but shall endeavor to maintain to its fullest the respect which is due to my king.”
In deep despair over the result of their interview, the Spaniards returned to their fellow-prisoners, and delivered to Captain Morgan the admiral’s answer. Morgan replied simply–“If Don Alonso will not give me permission to pass, I must find a way of going without his consent.”
In preparation for his dangerous voyage, Morgan gathered his men on shore, and required them to bring to him all the spoils, of whatever nature, they had taken on the cruise. When these were assembled, it was found that besides a huge quantity of merchandise and a large number of slaves, the buccaneers had acquired plate, jewels and money to the value of two hundred fifty thousand pieces of eight. All of this magnificent prize was divided among the buccaneers according to the agreements which had been made before they began the expedition. Each man was permitted to take his share with him upon his own vessel. Morgan made the distribution of his spoils at this time in order not to risk the loss of the entire treasure by the sinking of one ship, and in order that no one faction of his party might succeed in carrying off all the plunder.
After everything was in readiness for the voyage, Morgan perfected a little stratagem by which he hoped to make his escape more safely. He announced to all his men that on a certain night they would sail through the narrow channel, his own ship leading the way. On the day preceding that night the Spaniards in the castle observed great activity in the pirate fleet. Canoes and boats loaded with men left the ships and pulled to the shore some distance away from the castle and on the side away from the channel. Here, overhanging trees hid the boats from the onlookers in the castle so that the latter were not aware that when the boats returned from the shore the men, with the exception of one or two who rowed, were lying concealed in the bottoms of the boats. Not a one was landed on shore, although it appeared that Morgan was preparing to attack the castle from the land side.
All day long the boats plied back and forth, apparently leaving men and returning empty to the ships. Expecting a heavy assault, the Spaniards moved their best guns and a greater part of their garrison to that side of the castle which faced the land, and thus left the water side comparatively harmless.
As soon as night came on, the pirates weighed anchor, and by the light of the moon, without setting their sails, they glided slowly out with the ebbing tide, which brought them down almost in sight of the castle. They then spread their sails as quietly and with as great haste as possible. The Spaniards saw them and opened fire, hastily moving their guns back to the water side; but a favorable wind blew the vessels past the danger point before the men in the castle could put their guns into position to do any great damage.
When Morgan was safely out of reach of the guns of the castle, he gave his prisoners a boat and sent them ashore, retaining, however, the hostages which he had demanded from the city of Gibraltar, because that place had not yet paid its ransom. Just as he was sailing away, Morgan fired seven great shells against the castle as a farewell message, but the Spaniards did not reply even with so much as a musket shot.
The day after their departure, the buccaneers were overtaken by a terrible tempest which forced them at first to cast anchor, but as the wind increased in force they were compelled to draw their anchor and to put out to sea. Here they were indeed in great danger, for if they were cast on shore, they certainly would receive no mercy from either the Spaniards or the Indians. Once more, however, fortune smiled on Captain Morgan, and after a day or two the wind ceased and the buccaneers went on their way rejoicing.
_By_ BENJAMIN FRANKLIN
NOTE.–When it became evident that the conflicting land-claims of the French and English in America would admit of no peaceable settlement, a convention of representatives from the colonies was called to consider a union of the colonies and to find ways of establishing friendly relations with the Indians, especially with the redoubtable Five Nations. This convention met at Albany in 1754, and adopted a plan of union which had been drawn up by Franklin. However, the plan, when submitted to the colonies and to the British government, pleased no one. The colonies rejected it because it gave too much power to the king, the king because it gave too much power to the colonies. Franklin’s own account of what followed is here given:
The British government, not choosing to permit the union of the colonies as proposed at Albany, and to trust that union with their defence, lest they should thereby grow too military and feel their own strength, suspicions and jealousies at this time being entertained of them, sent over General Braddock with two regiments of regular English troops for that purpose. He landed at Alexandria, in Virginia, and thence marched to Fredericktown, in Maryland, where he halted for carriages. Our Assembly apprehending, from some information, that he had conceived violent prejudices against them, as averse to the service, wished me to wait upon him, not as from them, but as postmaster-general, under the guise of proposing to settle with him the mode of conducting with most celerity and certainty the despatches between him and the governors of the several provinces, with whom he must necessarily have continual correspondence, and of which they proposed to pay the expense. My son accompanied me on this journey.
We found the general at Fredericktown, waiting impatiently for the return of those he had sent through the back parts of Maryland and Virginia to collect wagons. I stayed with him several days, dined with him daily, and had full opportunity of removing all his prejudices, by the information of what the Assembly had before his arrival actually done, and were still willing to do, to facilitate his operations. When I was about to depart, the returns of wagons to be obtained were brought in, by which it appeared that they amounted only to twenty-five, and not all of those were in serviceable condition. The general and all the officers were surprised, declared the expedition was then at an end, being impossible, and exclaimed against the ministers for ignorantly landing them in a country destitute of the means of conveying their stores, baggage, etc., not less than one hundred and fifty wagons being necessary.
[Illustration: BENJAMIN FRANKLIN 1706-1790]
I happened to say I thought it was a pity they had not been landed rather in Pennsylvania, as in that country almost every farmer had his wagon. The general eagerly laid hold of my words, and said, “Then you, sir, who are a man of interest there, can probably procure them for us; and I beg you will undertake it.” I asked what terms were to be offered the owners of the wagons; and I was desired to put on paper the terms that appeared to me necessary. This I did, and they were agreed to, and a commission and instructions accordingly prepared immediately. What those terms were will appear in the advertisement I published as soon as I arrived at Lancaster, which being, from the great and sudden effect it produced, a piece of some curiosity, I shall insert it at length, as follows:
“LANCASTER, April 26, 1755.
“Whereas, one hundred and fifty wagons, with four horses to each wagon, and fifteen hundred saddle or pack horses, are wanted for the service of his Majesty’s forces now about to rendezvous at Will’s Creek, and his excellency General Braddock having been pleased to empower me to contract for the hire of the same, I hereby give notice that I shall attend for that purpose at Lancaster from this day to next Wednesday evening, and at York from next Thursday morning till Friday evening, where I shall be ready to agree for wagons and teams, or single horses, on the following terms, viz.: 1. That there shall be paid for each wagon, with four good horses and a driver, fifteen shillings per diem; and for each able horse with a pack-saddle or other saddle and furniture, two shillings per diem; and for each able horse without a saddle, eighteen pence per diem. 2. That pay commence from the time of their joining the forces at Will’s Creek, which must be on or before the 20th of May ensuing, and that a reasonable allowance be paid over and above for the time necessary for their travelling to Will’s Creek and home again after their discharge. 3. Each wagon and team, and every saddle or pack horse, is to be valued by indifferent persons chosen between me and the owner; and in case of the loss of any wagon, team, or other horse in the service, the price according to such valuation is to be allowed and paid. 4. Seven days’ pay is to be advanced and paid in hand by me to the owner of each wagon and team or horse, at the time of contracting, if required, and the remainder to be paid by General Braddock, or by the paymaster of the army, at the time of their discharge, or from time to time, as it shall be demanded. 5. No drivers of wagons, or persons taking care of the hired horses, are on any account to be called upon to do the duty of soldiers, or be otherwise employed than in conducting or taking care of their carriages or horses. 6. All oats, Indian corn, or other forage that wagons or horses bring to the camp, more than is necessary for the subsistence of the horses, is to be taken for the use of the army, and a reasonable price paid for the same.
“Note.–My son, William Franklin, is empowered to enter into like contracts with any person in Cumberland County. B. FRANKLIN.”
“_To the Inhabitants of the Counties of Lancaster, York, and Cumberland_
“FRIENDS AND COUNTRYMEN–Being occasionally at the camp at Frederick a few days since, I found the general and officers extremely exasperated on account of their not being supplied with horses and carriages, which had been expected from this province, as most able to furnish them; but, through the dissensions between our governor and Assembly, money had not been provided, nor any steps taken for that purpose.
“It was proposed to send an armed force immediately into these counties, to seize as many of the best carriages and horses as should be wanted, and compel as many persons into the service as would be necessary to drive and take care of them.
“I apprehend that the progress of British soldiers through these counties on such an occasion, especially considering the temper they are in, and their resentment against us, would be attended with many and great inconveniences to the inhabitants, and therefore more willingly took the trouble of trying first what might be done by fair and equitable means.
“The people of these back counties have lately complained to the Assembly that a sufficient currency was wanting; you have an opportunity of receiving and dividing among you a very considerable sum; for, if the service of this expedition should continue, as it is more than probable it will, for one hundred and twenty days, the hire of these wagons and horses will amount to upward of thirty thousand pounds, which will be paid you in silver and gold of the king’s money.
“The service will be light and easy, for the army will scarce march above twelve miles per day, and the wagons and baggage horses, as they carry those things that are absolutely necessary to the welfare of the army, must march with the army, and no faster; and are, for the army’s sake, always placed where they can be most secure, whether in a march or in a camp.
“If you are really, as I believe you are, good and loyal subjects to his majesty, you may now do a most acceptable service, and make it easy to yourselves; for three or four of such as can not separately spare from the business of their plantations a wagon and four horses and a driver, may do it together, one furnishing the wagon, another one or two horses, and another the driver, and divide the pay proportionately between you; but if you do not this service to your king and country voluntarily, when such good pay and reasonable terms are offered to you, your loyalty will be strongly suspected.
“The king’s business must be done; so many brave troops, come so far for your defence, must not stand idle through your backwardness to do what may be reasonably expected from you; wagons and horses must be had; violent measures will probably be used, and you will be left to seek a recompense where you can find it, and your case, perhaps, be little pitied or regarded.
“I have no particular interest in this affair, as, except the satisfaction of endeavoring to do good, I shall have only my labor for my pains.
“If this method of obtaining the wagons and horses is not likely to succeed, I am obliged to send word to the general in fourteen days; and I suppose Sir John St. Clair, the hussar, with a body of soldiers, will immediately enter the province for the purpose, which I shall be sorry to hear, because I am very sincerely and truly
“Your friend and well-wisher,
I received of the general about eight hundred pounds to be disbursed in advance-money to the wagon owners, etc.; but that sum being insufficient, I advanced upward of two hundred pounds more, and in two weeks the one hundred and fifty wagons, with two hundred and fifty-nine carrying horses, were on their march for the camp. The advertisement promised payment according to the valuation, in case any wagon or horse should be lost. The owners, however, alleging they did not know General Braddock, or what dependence might be had on his promise, insisted on my bond for the performance, which I accordingly gave them.
While I was at the camp, supping one evening with the officers of Colonel Dunbar’s regiment, he represented to me his concern for the subalterns, who, he said, were generally not in affluence, and could ill afford, in this dear country, to lay in the stores that might be necessary in so long a march, through a wilderness, where nothing was to be purchased.
I commiserated their case, and resolved to endeavor procuring them some relief. I said nothing, however, to him of my intention, but wrote the next morning to the committee of the Assembly, who had the disposition of some public money, warmly recommending the case of these officers to their consideration, and proposing that a present should be sent them of necessaries and refreshments. My son, who had some experience of a camp life, and of its wants, drew up a list for me, which I enclosed in my letter. The committee approved, and used such diligence that, conducted by my son, the stores arrived at the camp as soon as the wagons. They consisted of twenty parcels, each containing–
6 lbs. loaf sugar.
6 lbs. good Muscovado ditto.
1 lb. good green tea.
1 lb. good bohea ditto.
6 lbs. good ground coffee.
6 lbs. chocolate.
1-2 lb. pepper.
1-2 cwt. best white biscuit.
1 quart best white wine vinegar.
1 Gloucester cheese.
1 keg containing 20 lbs. good butter. 2 doz. old Madeira wine.
2 gallons Jamaica spirits.
1 bottle flour of mustard.
2 well-cured hams.
1-2 dozen dried tongues.
6 lbs. rice.
6 lbs. raisins.
These twenty parcels, well packed, were placed on as many horses, each parcel, with the horse, being intended as a present for one officer. They were very thankfully received, and the kindness acknowledged by letters to me from the colonels of both regiments, in the most grateful terms. The general, too, was highly satisfied with my conduct in procuring him the wagons, etc., and readily paid my account of disbursements, thanking me repeatedly, and requesting my further assistance in sending provisions after him. I undertook this also, and was busily employed in it till we heard of his defeat, advancing for the service of my own money upward of one thousand pounds sterling, of which I sent him an account. It came to his hands, luckily for me, a few days before the battle, and he returned me immediately an order on the paymaster for the round sum of one thousand pounds, leaving the remainder to the next account. I consider this payment as good luck, having never been able to obtain that remainder, of which more hereafter.
This general was, I think, a brave man, and might probably have made a figure as a good officer in some European war. But he had too much self-confidence, too high an opinion of the validity of regular troops, and too mean a one of both Americans and Indians. George Croghan, our Indian interpreter, joined him on his march with one hundred of those people, who might have been of great use to his army as guides, scouts, etc., if he had treated them kindly; but he slighted and neglected them, and they gradually left him.
In conversation with him one day, he was giving me some account of his intended progress. “After taking Fort Duquesne,” says he, “I am to proceed to Niagara; and, having taken that, to Frontenac, if the season will allow time; and I suppose it will, for Duquesne can hardly detain me above three or four days; and then I see nothing that can obstruct my march to Niagara.” Having before resolved in my mind the long line his army must make in their march by a very narrow road, to be cut for them through the woods and bushes, and also what I had read of a former defeat of fifteen hundred French, who invaded the Iroquois country, I had conceived some doubts and some fears for the event of the campaign. But I ventured only to say, “To be sure, sir, if you arrive well before Duquesne, with these fine troops, so well provided with artillery, that place not yet completely fortified, and as we hear with no very strong garrison, can probably make but a short resistance. The only danger I apprehend of obstruction to your march is from ambuscades of Indians, who, by constant practice, are dexterous in laying and executing them; and the slender line, near four miles long, which your army must make, may expose it to be attacked by surprise in its flanks, and to be cut like a thread into several pieces, which, from their distance, cannot come up in time to support each other.”
[Illustration: ON THE MARCH]
He smiled at my ignorance, and replied, “These savages may, indeed, be a formidable enemy to your raw American militia, but upon the king’s regular and disciplined troops, sir, it is impossible they should make any impression.” I was conscious of an impropriety in my disputing with a military man in matters of his profession, and said no more. The enemy, however, did not take the advantage of his army which I apprehended its long line of march exposed it to, but let it advance without interruption till within nine miles of the place; and then, when more in a body (for it had just passed a river, where the front had halted till all were come over), and in a more open part of the woods than any it had passed, attacked its advanced guard by a heavy fire from behind trees and bushes, which was the first intelligence the general had of an enemy’s being near him. This guard being disordered, the general hurried the troops up to their assistance, which was done in great confusion, through wagons, baggage, and cattle; and presently the fire came upon their flank: the officers, being on horseback, were more easily distinguished, picked out as marks, and fell very fast; and the soldiers were crowded together in a huddle, having or hearing no orders, and standing to be shot at till two-thirds of them were killed; and then, being seized with a panic, the whole fled with precipitation.
[Illustration: THE AMBUSH]
The wagoners took each a horse out of his team and scampered; their example was immediately followed by others; so that all the wagons, provisions, artillery, and stores were left to the enemy. The general, being wounded, was brought off with difficulty; his secretary, Mr. Shirley, was killed by his side; and out of eighty-six officers, sixty-three were killed or wounded, and seven hundred and fourteen men killed out of eleven hundred. These eleven hundred had been picked men from the whole army; the rest had been left behind with Colonel Dunbar, who was to follow with the heavier part of the stores, provisions, and baggage. The flyers, not being pursued, arrived at Dunbar’s camp, and the panic they brought with them instantly seized him and all his people; and, though he had now above one thousand men, and the enemy who had beaten Braddock did not at most exceed four hundred Indians and French together, instead of proceeding, and endeavoring to recover some of the lost honor, he ordered all the stores, ammunition, etc., to be destroyed, that he might have more horses to assist his flight toward the settlements, and less lumber to remove. He was there met with requests from the governors of Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania, that he would post his troops on the frontiers, so as to afford some protection to the inhabitants; but he continued his hasty march through all the country, not thinking himself safe till he arrived at Philadelphia, where the inhabitants could protect him. This whole transaction gave us Americans the first suspicion that our exalted ideas of the prowess of British regulars had not been well founded.
In their first march, too, from their landing till they got beyond the settlements, they had plundered and stripped the inhabitants, totally ruining some poor families, besides insulting, abusing, and confining the people if they remonstrated. This was enough to put us out of conceit of such defenders, if we had really wanted any. How different was the conduct of our French friends in 1781, who, during a march through the most inhabited part of our country from Rhode Island to Virginia, near seven hundred miles, occasioned not the smallest complaint for the loss of a pig, a chicken, or even an apple.
Captain Orme, who was one of the general’s aides-de-camp, and, being grievously wounded, was brought off with him, and continued with him to his death, which happened in a few days, told me that he was totally silent all day, and at night only said, “_Who would have thought it_?” That he was silent again the following day, saying only at last, “_We shall better know how to deal with them another time_;” and died in a few minutes after.
The secretary’s papers, with all the general’s orders, instructions, and correspondence, falling into the enemy’s hands, they selected and translated into French a number of the articles, which they printed, to prove the hostile intentions of the British court before the declaration of war. Among these I saw some letters of the general to the ministry, speaking highly of the great service I had rendered the army, and recommending me to their notice. David Hume, too, who was some years after secretary to Lord Hertford, when minister in France, and afterward to General Conway, when secretary of state, told me he had seen among the papers in that office, letters from Braddock highly recommending me. But the expedition having been unfortunate, my service, it seems, was not thought of much value, for these recommendations were never of any use to me.
As to rewards from himself, I asked only one, which was that he would give orders to his officers not to enlist any more of our bought servants, and that he would discharge such as had been already enlisted. This he readily granted, and several were accordingly returned to their masters, on my application. Dunbar, when the command devolved on him, was not so generous. He being at Philadelphia, on his retreat, or rather flight, I applied to him for the discharge of the servants of three poor farmers of Lancaster county that he had enlisted, reminding him of the late general’s orders on that head. He promised me that, if the masters would come to him at Trenton, where he should be in a few days on his march to New York, he would there deliver their men to them. They accordingly were at the expense and trouble of going to Trenton, and there he refused to perform his promise, to their great loss and disappointment.
As soon as the loss of the wagons and horses was generally known, all the owners came upon me for the valuation which I had given bond to pay. Their demands gave me a great deal of trouble, my acquainting them that the money was ready in the paymaster’s hands, but that orders for paying it must first be obtained from General Shirley, and my assuring them that I had applied to that general by letter, but he being at a distance, an answer could not soon be received, and they must have patience; all this was not sufficient to satisfy, and some began to sue me. General Shirley at length relieved me from this terrible situation by appointing commissioners to examine the claims, and ordering payment. They amounted to nearly twenty thousand pounds, which to pay would have ruined me.
Before we had the news of this defeat, the two Doctors Bond came to me with a subscription paper for raising money to defray the expense of a grand firework, which it was intended to exhibit at a rejoicing on receipt of the news of our taking Fort Duquesne. I looked grave, and said it would, I thought, be time enough to prepare for the rejoicing when we knew we should have occasion to rejoice. They seemed surprised that I did not immediately comply with their proposal. “Why…!” says one of them, “you surely don’t suppose that the fort will not be taken?” “I don’t know that it will not be taken, but I know that the events of war are subject to great uncertainty.” I gave them the reasons of my doubting; the subscription was dropped, and the projectors thereby missed the mortification they would have undergone if the firework had been prepared. Dr. Bond, on some other occasion afterward, said that he did not like Franklin’s forebodings.
Lively or exciting stories are so interesting that we are inclined to read too many of them, and to read them too carelessly. By so doing, we fail to get the highest pleasure reading can give, and never receive the great benefit that is ours for the taking. If we let our arms rest idle for a long time, they become weak and useless; if a boy takes no exercise he cannot expect to be a strong man. So, if he reads nothing that makes him exert his mind, he becomes a weakling in intellect and never feels the pure delight that the man has who can read in a masterful way a masterly selection.
As a matter of fact, history when well written is as fascinating as any story that ever was penned, and it has the merit of being true. Sometimes it is a little harder to read than the light things that are so numerously given us by magazines and story books, but no one shuns hard work where it yields pleasure. A boy will play football or tramp all day with a gun over his shoulder, and not think twice about the hard work he is doing. Reading history bears about the same relation to reading mild love stories and overdrawn adventures that football or skating bears to stringing beads.
Not all history is hard to read; in some of it the interest lies so close to the surface that it grips us with the first glance. Such is the kind we read in the beginning. The adventures of King Arthur, the Cid, Robin Hood, and other half mythical heroes are history in the making–the history that grew up when the world was young, and its great men were something like overgrown boys. That is why we who have boyish hearts like to read about them. Then Robert the Bruce, Caesar and Alexander are more like the men of to-day and appeal a little more strongly as we get more mature. And finally we have Washington, Lincoln, Lee and Grant as men nearer our own time, whose lives and deeds require our careful thought and our serious study, because they had to contend with the same things and overcome the same obstacles that confront us.
There is really no use in trying to tell just how and in what way history becomes interesting, and nobody cares to read a long article about history. What we older people would wish is merely this: that our young friends should begin to read history and so find out for themselves just how fascinating it is. We can perhaps give a word or two of warning that may save much hard work and many discouragements. Macaulay, Gibbon, Hume and others are great men, and in the tomes they have written are pages of exciting, stimulating narrative; yet one must read so many pages of heavy matter to find the interesting things that it is not worth the time and exertion a young person would need to give. On the other hand, there are writers like Parkman and Prescott who are always readable and entertaining.
The best way to learn to like history is to begin with such readable things as are put into these volumes, and then follow any line of interest that is discovered.
Franklin’s description of Braddock’s defeat is interesting in itself, and it calls attention to the French and Indian War and to the wonderful career of Franklin himself. These are lines of interest that you may follow out in histories or in works of reference.
THE AMERICAN FLAG
_By_ JOSEPH RODMAN DRAKE
When Freedom, from her mountain height, Unfurled her standard to the air,
She tore the azure robe of night,
And set the stars of glory there! She mingled with its gorgeous dyes
The milky baldric of the skies,
And striped its pure, celestial white With streakings of the morning light,
Then, from his mansion in the sun, She called her eagle bearer down,
And gave into his mighty hand
The symbol of her chosen land!
Majestic monarch of the cloud!
Who rear’st aloft thy regal form, To hear the tempest-trumpings loud,
And see the lightning lances driven, When strive the warriors of the storm, And rolls the thunder-drum of heaven,– Child of the Sun! to thee ‘t is given
To guard the banner of the free,
To hover in the sulphur smoke,
To ward away the battle-stroke,
And bid its blendings shine afar,
Like rainbows on the cloud of war. The harbingers of victory!
Flag of the brave! thy folds shall fly, The sign of hope and triumph high!
When speaks the signal-trumpet tone, And the long line comes gleaming on,
Ere yet the life-blood; warm and wet, Has dimmed the glistening bayonet,
Each soldier’s eye shall brightly turn To where thy sky-born glories burn,
And, as his springing steps advance, Catch war and vengeance from the glance. And when the cannon-mouthings loud
Heave in wild wreaths the battle shroud, And gory sabres rise and fall
Like shoots of flame on midnight’s pall, Then shall thy meteor glances glow,
And cowering foes shall shrink beneath Each gallant arm that strikes below
That lovely messenger of death.
Flag of the seas! on ocean wave
Thy stars shall glitter o’er the brave; When death, careering on the gale,
Sweeps darkly round the bellied sail, And frighted waves rush wildly back
Before the broadside’s reeling rack, Each dying wanderer of the sea
Shall look at once to heaven and thee, And smile to see thy splendors fly
In triumph o’er his closing eye.
Flag of the free heart’s hope and home, By angel hands to valor given,
Thy stars have lit the welkin dome, And all thy hues were born in heaven.
Forever float that standard sheet! Where breathes the foe but falls before us With Freedom’s soil beneath our feet,
And Freedom’s banner streaming o’er us?
This is a poem that may need a little explanation if every one is to appreciate it.
How fancifully the poet tells of the origin of the flag in the first stanza! The blue field and the stars are taken from the sky, and the white from the milky way which stretches like a broad scarf or baldric across the heavens. The red is from the first red streaks that in the morning flash across the eastern skies to herald the rising sun. The eagle, our national bird who supports the shield in our coat of arms, had by the old legends the power to fly full in the face of the sun, and to shield its eyes from the blaze was gifted with a third eyelid. In the talons of this lordly bird Freedom placed our chosen banner.
The second stanza continues the tribute to the eagle. To this regal bird it is given to fling high among the clouds and smoke of battle our brilliant banner, whose bright colors like the rainbow signify victory and peace–the flag of victory, the bow of promise.
The remainder of the lines are so clear in their meaning and so smooth in their structure that they stir our blood with patriotic fire.
BATTLE HYMN OF THE REPUBLIC
_By_ JULIA WARD HOWE
Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord: He is trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored; He hath loosed the fateful lightning of his terrible swift sword. His truth is marching on.
I have seen him in the watch-fires of a hundred circling camps; They have builded him an altar in the evening dews and damps; I have read his righteous sentence by the dim and flaring lamps. His day is marching on.
I have read a fiery gospel, writ in burnished rows of steel: “As ye deal with my contemners, so with you my grace shall deal; Let the Hero, born of woman, crush the serpent with his heel, Since God is marching on.”
He has sounded forth the trumpet that shall never call retreat; He is sifting out the hearts of men before his judgment-seat: O, be swift, my soul, to answer him! be jubilant, my feet! Our God is marching on.
In the beauty of the lilies Christ was born across the sea, With a glory in his bosom that transfigures you and me; As he died to make men holy, let us die to make men free, While God is marching on.
“‘STONEWALL’ JACKSON’S WAY”
_By_ J. W. PALMER
NOTE.–Thomas J. Jackson, the great Confederate general, better known as “Stonewall” Jackson, was loved and admired by his men not only for his military ability, but for his personal virtues, and even for his personal peculiarities as well. He was a deeply religious man, and never began a battle without prayer or failed to give public thanks to God for a victory.
While he believed that the people through whose land he was passing, and indeed all non-combatants, should be guarded as far as possible from the evil results of war, he showed no compassion for the enemies sent against him, and pushed the battle against them with all his might. His death in 1863 was a great loss to the Confederate cause.
Come, stack arms, men! Pile on the rails, Stir up the camp-fire bright;
No matter if the canteen fails,
We’ll make a roaring night.
Here Shenandoah brawls along,
There burly Blue Ridge echoes strong, To swell the brigade’s rousing song
Of “‘Stonewall’ Jackson’s way.”
[Illustration: Thomas J (“Stonewall”) Jackson 1824-1863]
We see him now–the old slouched hat Cocked o’er his eye askew,
The shrewd, dry smile, the speech so pat, So calm, so blunt, so true.
The “Blue-Light Elder” knows ’em well; Says he, “That’s Banks–he’s fond of shell, Lord save his soul! We’ll give him”–well, That’s “‘Stonewall’ Jackson’s way.”
[Footnote 1: Nathaniel Prentiss Banks was a Federal general who was pitted against Jackson in several engagements.]
Silence! ground arms! kneel all! caps off! “Old Blue-Light’s” going to pray.
Strangle the fool that dares to scoff! Attention! it’s his way.
Appealing from his native sod,
“_In forma pauperis_” to God–
“Lay bare thine arm, stretch forth thy rod! Amen!” That’s “‘Stonewall’s way.”
[Footnote 2: _In forma pauperis_ is a Latin legal expression, meaning _as a poor man_.]
He’s in the saddle now–Fall in!
Steady! the whole brigade!
Hill’s at the ford, cut off–we’ll win His way out, ball and blade!
What matter if our shoes are worn? What matter if our feet are torn?
“Quick-step! we’re with him before dawn!” That’s “‘Stonewall’ Jackson’s way.”
The sun’s bright lances rout the mists Of morning, and, by George!
Here’s Longstreet struggling in the lists, Hemmed in an ugly gorge.
Pope and his Yankees, whipped before,– “Bay’nets and grape!” hear “Stonewall” roar; “Charge, Stuart! Pay off Ashby’s score!” In “‘Stonewall’ Jackson’s way.”
[Footnote 3: Ambrose P. Hill was a prominent Confederate general.]
[Footnote 4: James Longstreet was one of the most distinguished of the Confederate generals.]
[Footnote 5: John Pope, the Federal general, was badly defeated by Jackson and Robert E. Lee in the second battle of Bull Run, August 29 and 30, 1862.]
[Footnote 6: James E. B. Stuart, a cavalry leader in the Confederate army, took a prominent part in the second battle of Bull Run, and was with Jackson in other engagements.]
[Footnote 7: Turner Ashby, a Confederate general, had greatly aided Jackson by covering the latter’s retreat before General Banks. He was killed in a skirmish in June, 1862.]
Ah! maiden, wait and watch and yearn
For news of “Stonewall’s” band!
Ah! widow, read with eyes that burn That ring upon thy hand.
Ah! wife, sew on, pray on, hope on! Thy life shall not be all forlorn;
The foe had better ne’er been born That gets in “‘Stonewall’s’ way.”
Collected in a book called _The Travels of Baron Munchausen_ is a series of the most extravagant stories imaginable. No one can possibly believe them to be true, and yet when we are reading them they do not appear so absurdly ridiculous as they seem afterward when we think of them. The book is said to have been written by a German named Rudolph Erich Raspe, but we cannot be sure of it, as there are no proofs. It is said, too, that there was a German officer, a Baron Hieronymous Karl Friedrich Munchausen who lived in the early part of the eighteenth century and who told such marvelous stories that he was very popular among his fellow officers and that his stories have been collected in a book. The book appeared first in 1793, and some have believed that it was written to ridicule the books of travel which had appeared from time to time, some of which contained narratives not much less incredible than some of the Baron’s fanciful tales. It is probable, however, that the book is merely a collection of very old stories with many newer ones included among them, and that it was written solely for entertainment.
The Baron always insists upon the strict truthfulness and accuracy of his stories and grows quite indignant when his veracity is questioned. To verify his words he printed the following notice at the beginning of his book:
_TO THE PUBLIC:_–Having heard, for the first time, that my adventures have been doubted, and looked upon as jokes, I feel bound to come forward, and vindicate my character _for veracity_, by paying three shillings at the Mansion House of this great city for the affidavits hereto appended.
This I have been forced into in regard of my own honor, although I have retired for many years from public and private life; and I hope that this, my last edition, will place me in a proper light with my readers.
AT THE CITY OF LONDON, ENGLAND
We, the undersigned, as true believers in the _profit_, do most solemnly affirm, that all the adventures of our friend Baron Munchausen, in whatever country they may _lie_, are positive and simple facts. _And_, as we have been believed, whose adventures are tenfold more wonderful, _so_ do we hope all true believers will give him their full faith and credence.
_Sworn at the Mansion House 9th November last, in the absence of the Lord Mayor_.
JOHN (_the Porter_).
In this volume a few of his most amusing stories are printed–all, perhaps, that it is worth while to read.
Some years before my beard announced approaching manhood, or, in other words, when I was neither man nor boy, but between both, I expressed in repeated conversations a strong desire of seeing the world, from which I was discouraged by my parents, though my father had been no inconsiderable traveler himself, as will appear before I have reached the end of my singular, and, I may add, interesting adventures. A cousin, by my mother’s side, took a liking to me, often said I was a fine, forward youth, and was much inclined to gratify my curiosity. His eloquence had more effect than mine, for my father consented to my accompanying him in a voyage to the island of Ceylon, where his uncle had resided as governor many years.
We sailed from Amsterdam with despatches from their High Mightinesses the States of Holland. The only circumstance which happened on our voyage worth relating was the wonderful effects of a storm, which had torn up by the roots a great number of trees of enormous bulk and height, in an island where we lay at anchor to take in wood and water; some of these trees weighed many tons, yet they were carried by the wind so amazingly high that they appeared like the feathers of small birds floating in the air, for they were at least five miles above the earth: however, as soon as the storm subsided they all fell perpendicularly into their respective places, and took root again, except the largest, which happened, when it was blown into the air, to have a man and his wife, a very honest old couple, upon its branches, gathering cucumbers (in this part of the globe that useful vegetable grows upon trees): the weight of this couple, as the tree descended, overbalanced the trunk, and brought it down in a horizontal position: it fell upon the chief man of the island, and killed him on the spot; he had quitted his house in the storm, under an apprehension of its falling upon him, and was returning through his own garden when this fortunate accident happened. The word fortunate here requires some explanation. This chief was a man of a very avaricious and oppressive disposition, and though he had no family, the natives of the island were half starved by his oppressive and infamous impositions.
The very goods which he had thus taken from them were spoiling in his stores, while the poor wretches from whom they were plundered were pining in poverty. Though the destruction of this tyrant was accidental, the people chose the cucumber-gatherers for their governors, as a mark of their gratitude for destroying, though accidentally, their late tyrant.
After we had repaired the damages we sustained in this remarkable storm, and taken leave of the new governor and his lady, we sailed with a fair wind for the object of our voyage.
In about six weeks we arrived at Ceylon, where we were received with great marks of friendship and true politeness. The following singular adventures may not prove unentertaining.
After we had resided at Ceylon about a fortnight I accompanied one of the governor’s brothers upon a shooting party. He was a strong, athletic man, and being used to that climate (for he had resided there some years), he bore the violent heat of the sun much better than I could; in our excursion he had made a considerable progress through a thick wood when I was only at the entrance.
Near the banks of a large piece of water, which had engaged my attention, I thought I heard a rustling noise behind; on turning about I was almost petrified (as who would not be?) at the sight of a lion, which was evidently approaching with the intention of satisfying his appetite with my poor carcass, and that without asking my consent. What was to be done in this horrible dilemma? I had not even a moment for reflection; my piece was only charged with swan-shot, and I had no other about me; however, though I could have no idea of killing such an animal with that weak kind of ammunition, yet I had some hopes of frightening him by the report, and perhaps of wounding him also. I immediately let fly, without waiting till he was within reach, and the report did but enrage him, for he now quickened his pace, and seemed to approach me full speed: I attempted to escape, but that only added (if an addition could be made) to my distress; for the moment I turned about, I found a large crocodile, with his mouth extended almost ready to receive me. On my right hand was the piece of water before mentioned, and on my left a deep precipice, said to have, as I have since learned, a receptacle at the bottom for venomous creatures; in short, I gave myself up as lost, for the lion was now upon his hind legs, just in the act of seizing me; I fell involuntarily to the ground with fear, and, as it afterwards appeared, he sprang over me. I lay some time in a situation which no language can describe, expecting to feel his teeth or talons in some part of me every moment. After waiting in this prostrate situation a few seconds I heard a violent but unusual noise, different from any sound that had ever before assailed my ears; nor is it at all to be wondered at, when I inform you from whence it proceeded: after listening for some time I ventured to raise my head and look round, when, to my unspeakable joy, I perceived the lion had, by the eagerness with which he sprung at me, jumped forward as I fell, into the crocodile’s mouth! which, as before observed, was wide open; the head of the one stuck in the throat of the other! and they were struggling to extricate themselves! I fortunately recollected my hunting knife, which was by my side; with this instrument I severed the lion’s head at one blow, and the body fell at my feet! I then, with the butt end of my fowling piece, rammed the head farther into the throat of the crocodile, and destroyed him by suffocation, for he could neither gorge nor eject it.
[Illustration: THE LION HAD JUMPED INTO THE CROCODILE’S MOUTH]
Soon after I had thus gained a complete victory over my two powerful adversaries, my companion arrived in search of me; for finding I did not follow him into the wood, he returned, apprehending I had lost my way, or met with some accident.
After mutual congratulations we measured the crocodile, which was just forty feet in length.
As soon as we had related this extraordinary adventure to the governor, he sent a wagon and servants who brought home the two carcasses. The lion’s skin was properly preserved with the hair on, after which it was made into tobacco pouches and presented by me, upon our return to Holland, to the burgomasters, who in return requested my acceptance of a thousand ducats.
The skin of the crocodile was stuffed in the usual manner, and makes a capital article in their public museum at Amsterdam, where the exhibitor relates the whole story to each spectator, with such additions as he thinks proper.
I set off from Rome on a journey to Russia, in the midst of winter, from a just notion that frost and snow must of course mend the roads, which every traveler had described as uncommonly bad through the northern parts of Germany, Poland, Courland, and Livonia. I went on horseback, as the most convenient manner of traveling: I was but lightly clothed, and of this I felt the inconvenience the more I advanced northeast. What must not a poor old man have suffered in that severe weather and climate, whom I saw on a bleak common in Poland, lying on the road, helpless, shivering and hardly having wherewithal to cover his nakedness? I pitied the poor soul: though I felt the severity of the air myself, I threw my mantle over him, and immediately I heard a voice from the heavens blessing me for that piece of charity, saying, “You will be rewarded, my son, for this in time.”
I went on: night and darkness overtook me. No village was to be seen. The country was covered with snow, and I was unacquainted with the road.
Tired, I alighted and fastened my horse to something like a pointed stump of a tree, which appeared above the snow; for the sake of safety I placed my pistols under my arm, and lay down on the snow, where I slept so soundly that I did not open my eyes till full daylight. It is not easy to conceive my astonishment to find myself in the midst of a village, lying in a churchyard; nor was my horse to be seen, but I heard him soon after neigh somewhere above me. On looking upwards I beheld him hanging by his bridle to the weathercock of the steeple. Matters were now very plain to me: the village had been covered with snow over night; a sudden change of weather had taken place; I had sunk down to the churchyard whilst asleep, gently, and in the same proportion as the snow had melted away; and what in the dark I had taken to be a stump of a little tree appearing above the snow, to which I had tied my horse, proved to have been the cross or weathercock of the steeple!
Without long consideration, I took one of my pistols, shot the bridle in two, brought down the horse, and proceeded on my journey.
For several months (as it was some time before I could obtain a commission in the army) I was perfectly at liberty to sport away my time and money in the most gentlemanlike manner. You may easily imagine that I spent much of both out of town with such gallant fellows as knew how to make the most of an open forest country. The very recollection of those amusements gives me fresh spirits, and creates a warm wish for a repetition of them. One morning I saw, through the windows of my bedroom, that a large pond not far off was covered with wild ducks. In an instant I took my gun from the corner, ran downstairs, and out of the house in such a hurry that I imprudently struck my face against the doorpost. Fire flew out of my eyes, but it did not prevent my intention; I soon came within shot, when, leveling my piece, I observed to my sorrow, that even the flint had sprung from the cock by the violence of the shock I had just received. There was no time to be lost. I presently remembered the effect it had on my eyes, therefore opened the pan, leveled my piece against the wild fowls, and my fist against one of my eyes. A hearty blow drew sparks again; the shot went off, and I killed fifty brace of ducks, twenty widgeons, and three couple of teals.
I dare say you have heard of the hunter and sportsman’s saint and protector, Saint Hubert, and of the noble stag which appeared to him in the forest, with the holy cross between his antlers. I have paid my homage to that saint every year in good fellowship, and seen this stag a thousand times either painted in churches, or embroidered in the stars of his knights; so that, upon the honor and conscience of a good sportsman, I hardly know whether there may not have been formerly, or whether there are not such crossed stags even at this present day. But let me rather tell what I have seen myself. Having one day spent all my shot, I found myself unexpectedly in presence of a stately stag, looking at me as unconcernedly as if he had known of my empty pouches. I charged immediately with powder, and upon it a good handful of cherrystones, for I had sucked the fruit as far as the hurry would permit. Thus I let fly at him, and hit him just on the middle of the forehead between his antlers; it stunned him–he staggered–yet he made off. A year or two after, being with a party in the same forest, I beheld a noble stag with a fine full-grown cherry tree above ten feet high between his antlers. I immediately recollected my former adventure, looked upon him as my property, and brought him to the ground by one shot, which at once gave me the haunch and cherry sauce; for the tree was covered with the richest fruit, the like I had never tasted before. Who knows but some passionate holy sportsman, or sporting abbot or bishop may have shot, planted and fixed the cross between the antlers of Saint Hubert’s stag, in a manner similar to this?
[Illustration: I BEHELD A NOBLE STAG]
I remember with pleasure and tenderness a superb Lithuanian horse, which no money could have bought. He became mine by an accident, which gave me an opportunity of showing my horsemanship to a great advantage. I was at Count Przobossky’s noble country seat in Lithuania, and remained with the ladies at tea in the drawing-room, while the gentlemen were down in the yard to see a young horse of blood which had just arrived from the stud. We suddenly heard a noise of distress; I hastened downstairs, and found the horse so unruly that nobody durst approach or mount him. The most resolute horsemen stood dismayed and aghast; despondency was expressed in every countenance, when, in one leap, I was on his back, took him by surprise, and worked him quite into gentleness and obedience, with the best display of horsemanship I was master of. Fully to show this to the ladies, and save them unnecessary trouble, I forced him to leap in at one of the open windows of the tea room, walk round several times, pace, trot, and gallop, and at last made him mount the tea table, there to repeat his lessons in a pretty style of miniature which was exceedingly pleasing to the ladies, for he performed them amazingly well, and did not break either cup or saucer. It placed me so high in their opinion, and so well in that of the noble lord, that, with his usual politeness, he begged I would accept of this young horse, and ride him to conquest and honor in the campaign against the Turks, which was soon to be opened, under the command of Count Munich.
We had very hot work once in the van of the army, when we drove the Turks into Oczakow. My spirited Lithuanian had almost brought me into a scrape: I had an advanced forepost, and saw the enemy coming against me in a cloud of dust, which left me rather uncertain about their actual numbers and real intentions: to wrap myself up in a similar cloud was common prudence, but would not have much advanced my knowledge, or answered the end for which I had been sent out; therefore I let my flankers on both wings spread to the right and left, and make what dust they could, and I myself led on straight upon the enemy, to have a nearer sight of them; in this I was gratified, for they stood and fought, till, for fear of my flankers, they began to move off rather disorderly. This was the moment to fall upon them with spirit; we broke them entirely–made a terrible havoc amongst them, and drove them not only back to a walled town in their rear, but even through it, contrary to our most sanguine expectation.
The swiftness of my Lithuanian enabled me to be foremost in the pursuit; and seeing the enemy fairly flying through the opposite gate, I thought it would be prudent to stop in the market place, to order the men to rendezvous. I stopped, gentlemen; but judge of my astonishment when in this market place I saw not one of my hussars about me! Are they scouring the other streets? or what is become of them? They could not be far off, and must, at all events, soon join me. In that expectation I walked my panting Lithuanian to a spring in this market place, and let him drink. He drank uncommonly, with an eagerness not to be satisfied, but natural enough; for when I looked round for my men, what should I see, gentlemen! the hind part of the poor creature–croup and legs–were missing, as if he had been cut in two, and the water ran out as it came in, without refreshing or doing him any good! How it could have happened was quite a mystery to me, till I returned with him to the town gate. There I saw that when I rushed in pell-mell with the flying enemy, they had dropped the portcullis (a heavy falling door, with sharp spikes at the bottom, let down suddenly to prevent the entrance of an enemy into a fortified town) unperceived by me, which had totally cut off his hind part, that still lay quivering on the outside of the gate. It would have been an irreparable loss, had not our farrier contrived to bring both parts together while hot. He sewed them up with sprigs and young shoots of laurels that were at hand; the wound healed, and, what could not have happened but to so glorious a horse, the sprigs took root in his body, grew up, and formed a bower over me; so that afterwards I could go upon many other expeditions in the shade of my own and my horse’s laurels.
[Illustration: THE HIND PART OF THE POOR CREATURE WAS MISSING]
Success was not always with me. I had the misfortune to be overpowered by numbers, to be made prisoner of war; and, what is worse, but always usual among the Turks, to be sold for a slave. In that state of humiliation my daily task was not very hard and laborious, but rather singular and irksome. It was to drive the Sultan’s bees every morning to their pasture grounds, to attend them all day long, and against night to drive them back to their hives. One evening I missed a bee, and soon observed that two bears had fallen upon her to tear her to pieces for the honey she carried. I had nothing like an offensive weapon in my hands but the silver hatchet, which is the badge of the Sultan’s gardeners and farmers. I threw it at the robbers, with an intention to frighten them away, and set the poor bee at liberty; but, by an unlucky turn of my arm, it flew upwards, and continued rising till it reached the moon. How should I recover it? how fetch it down again? I recollected that Turkey-beans grow very quick, and run up to an astonishing height. I planted one immediately; it grew, and actually fastened itself to one of the moon’s horns. I had no more to do now but to climb up by it into the moon, where I safely arrived, and had a troublesome piece of business before I could find my silver hatchet, in a place where everything has the brightness of silver; at last, however, I found it in a heap of chaff and chopped straw. I was now for returning: but, alas! the heat of the sun had dried up my bean; it was totally useless for my descent; so I fell to work and twisted me a rope of that chopped straw, as long and as well as I could make it. This I fastened to one of the moon’s horns, and slid down to the end of it. Here I held myself fast with the left hand, and with the hatchet in my right, I cut the long, now useless end of the upper part, which, when tied to the lower end, brought me a good deal lower: this repeated splicing and tying of the rope did not improve its quality, or bring me down to the Sultan’s farm. I was four or five miles from the earth at least when it broke; I fell to the ground with such amazing violence that I found myself stunned, and in a hole nine fathoms deep at least, made by the weight of my body falling from so great a height: I recovered, but knew not how to get out again; however, I dug slopes or steps with my finger-nails, and easily accomplished it.
Peace was soon after concluded with the Turks, and gaining my liberty I left Saint Petersburg at the time of that singular revolution, when the emperor in his cradle, his mother, the Duke of Brunswick, her father, Field-Marshal Munich, and many others were sent to Siberia. The winter was then so uncommonly severe all over Europe that ever since the sun seems to be frost-bitten. At my return to this place I felt on the road greater inconveniences than those I had experienced on my setting out.
I traveled post, and finding myself in a narrow lane, bade the postilion give a signal with his horn, that other travelers might not meet us in the narrow passage. He blew with all his might; but his endeavors were in vain; he could not make the horn sound, which was unaccountable, and rather unfortunate, for soon after we found ourselves in the presence of another coach coming the other way: there was no proceeding; however, I got out of my carriage, and being pretty strong, placed it, wheels and all, upon my head: I then jumped over a hedge about nine feet high (which, considering the weight of the coach, was rather difficult) into a field, and came out again by another jump into the road beyond the other carriage: I then went back for the horses, and placing one upon my head, and the other under my left arm, by the same means brought them to my coach, put to, and proceeded to an inn at the end of our stage. I should have told you that the horse under my arm was very spirited, and not above four years old; in making my second spring over the hedge, he expressed great dislike to that violent kind of motion by kicking and snorting; however, I confined his hind legs by putting them into my coat pocket. After we arrived at the inn my postilion and I refreshed ourselves; he hung his horn on a peg near the kitchen fire; I sat on the other side.
Suddenly we heard a _tereng! tereng! teng! teng!_ We looked round, and now found the reason why the postilion had not been able to sound his horn; his tunes were frozen up in the horn, and came out now by thawing, plain enough, and much to the credit of the driver; so that the honest fellow entertained us for some time with a variety of tunes, without putting his mouth to the horn–The King of Prussia’s March–Over the Hill and over the Dale–with many other favorite tunes; at length the thawing entertainment concluded, as I shall this short account of my Russian travels.
I embarked at Portsmouth, in a first-rate English man-of-war, of one hundred guns, and fourteen hundred men, for North America. Nothing worth relating happened till we arrived within three hundred leagues of the river Saint Lawrence when the ship struck with amazing force against (as we supposed) a rock; however, upon heaving the lead, we could find no bottom, even with three hundred fathom. What made this circumstance the more wonderful, and indeed beyond all comprehension, was, that the violence of the shock was such that we lost our rudder, broke our bow-sprit in the middle, and split all our masts from top to bottom, two of which went by the board; a poor fellow, who was aloft, furling the main-sheet, was flung at least three leagues from the ship; but he fortunately saved his life by laying hold of the tail of a large sea-gull, who brought him back, and lodged him on the very spot from whence he was thrown. Another proof of the violence of the shock was the force with which the people between decks were driven against the floors above them; my head particularly was pressed into my stomach, where it continued some months before it recovered its natural situation. Whilst we were all in a state of astonishment at the general and unaccountable confusion in which we were involved, the whole was suddenly explained by the appearance of a large whale, who had been basking, asleep, within sixteen feet of the surface of the water. This animal was so much displeased with the disturbance which our ship had given him, for in our passage we had with our rudder scratched his nose, that he beat in all the gallery and part of the quarter deck with his tail, and almost at the same instant took the main-sheet anchor, which was suspended, as it usually is, from the head, between his teeth, and ran away with the ship, at least sixty leagues, at the rate of twelve leagues an hour, when fortunately the cable broke, and we lost both the whale and the anchor. However, upon our return to Europe, some months after, we found the same whale within a few leagues of the same spot, floating dead upon the water; it measured above half a mile in length. As we could take but a small quantity of such a monstrous animal on board, we got our boats out, and with much difficulty cut off his head, where, to our great joy, we found the anchor, and above forty fathom of the cable concealed on the left side of his mouth, just under his tongue. (Perhaps this was the cause of his death, as that side of his tongue was much swelled, with a great degree of inflammation.) This was the only extraordinary circumstance of this voyage.
We all remember Captain Phipp’s (now Lord Mulgrave) last voyage of discovery to the north. I accompanied the Captain, not as an officer, but a private friend. When we arrived in a high northern latitude I was viewing the objects around me with the telescope, when I thought I saw two large white bears in violent action upon a body of ice considerably above the masts, and about half a league distant. I immediately took my carbine, slung it across my shoulder, and ascended the ice. When I arrived at the top, the unevenness of the surface made my approach to those animals troublesome and hazardous beyond expression: sometimes hideous cavities opposed me, which I was obliged to spring over; in other parts the surface was as smooth as a mirror, and I was continually falling: as I approached near enough to reach them, I found they were only at play. I immediately began to calculate the value of their skins, for they were each as large as a well-fed ox: unfortunately the very instant I was presenting my carbine my right foot slipped, and I fell upon my back, and the violence of the blow deprived me totally of my senses for nearly half an hour; however, when I recovered, judge of my surprise at finding one of those large animals I have just been describing had turned me upon my face, and was just laying hold of the waistband of my breeches, which were then new and made of leather: he was certainly going to carry me feet foremost, God knows where, when I took this knife (showing a large clasp knife) out of my side pocket, made a chop at one of his hind feet, and cut off three of his toes; he immediately let me drop, and roared most horribly. I took up my carbine, and fired at him as he ran off; he fell directly. The noise of the piece roused several thousands of these white bears, who were asleep upon the ice within half a mile of me; they came immediately to the spot. There was no time to be lost. A most fortunate thought arrived in my pericranium just at that instant. I took off the skin and head of the dead bear in half the time that some people would be in skinning a rabbit, and wrapped myself in it, placing my own head directly under bruin’s; the whole herd came round me immediately, and my apprehensions threw me into a most piteous situation to be sure: however, my scheme turned out a most admirable one for my own safety. They all came smelling, and evidently took me for a brother bruin: I wanted nothing but bulk to make an excellent counterfeit: however, I saw several cubs amongst them not much larger than myself. After they had all smelt me, and the body of their deceased companion, whose skin was now become my protector, we seemed very sociable, and I found I could mimic all their actions tolerably well; but at growling, roaring, and hugging, they were quite my masters. I began now to think how I might turn the general confidence which I had created amongst these animals to my advantage.
I had heard an old army surgeon say a wound in the spine was instant death. I now determined to try the experiment, and had again recourse to my knife, with which I struck the largest in the back of the neck, near the shoulders, but under great apprehensions, not doubting but the creature would, if he survived the stab, tear me to pieces. However, I was remarkably fortunate, for he fell dead at my feet without making the least noise. I was now resolved to demolish them every one in the same manner, which I accomplished without the least difficulty; for, although they saw their companions fall, they had no suspicion of either the cause or the effect. When they all lay dead before me, I felt myself a second Samson, having slain my thousands.
To make short of the story, I went back to the ship, and borrowed three parts of the crew to assist me in skinning them, and carrying the hams on board, which we did in a few hours, and loaded the ship with them. As to the other parts of the animals, they were thrown into the sea, though I doubt not but the whole would eat as well as the legs, were they properly cured.
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I have already informed you of one trip I have made to the moon in search of my silver hatchet: I afterwards made another in a much pleasanter manner, and stayed in it long enough to take notice of several things, which I will endeavor to describe as accurately as my memory will permit.
I went on a voyage of discovery at the request of a distant relation, who had a strange notion that there were people to be found equal in magnitude to those described by Gulliver in the empire of Brobdingnag. For my part I always treated that account as fabulous; however, to oblige him, for he had made me his heir, I undertook it, and sailed for the South Seas, where we arrived without meeting with anything remarkable, except some flying men and women who were playing at leapfrog, and dancing minuets in the air.
On the eighteenth day, after we had passed the island of Otaheite, a hurricane blew our ship at least one thousand leagues above the surface of the water, and kept it at that height till a fresh gale arising filled the sails in every part, and onwards we traveled at a prodigious rate; thus we proceeded above the clouds for six weeks. At last we discovered a great land in the sky, like a shining island, round and bright, where, coming into a convenient harbor, we went on shore, and soon found it was inhabited. Below us we saw another earth, containing cities, trees, mountains, rivers, seas, etc., which we conjectured was this world, which we had left. Here we saw huge figures riding upon vultures of a prodigious size, and each of them having three heads. To form some idea of the magnitude of these birds, I must inform you that each of their wings is as wide and six times the length of the main-sheet of our vessel, which was about six hundred tons burden. Thus, instead of riding upon horses, as we do in this world, the inhabitants of the moon (for we now found we were in Madam Luna) fly about on these birds. The king, we found, was engaged in a war with the sun, and he offered me a commission, but I declined the honor his majesty intended me. Everything in _this_ world is of extraordinary magnitude! a common flea being much larger than one of our sheep: in making war their principal weapons are radishes, which are used as darts: those who are wounded by them die immediately. Their shields are made of mushrooms, and their darts (when radishes are out of season) of the tops of asparagus. Some of the natives of the dog-star are to be seen here; commerce tempts them to ramble; and their faces are like large mastiffs’, with their eyes near the lower end or tip of their noses: they have no eyelids, but cover their eyes with the end of their tongues when they go to sleep; they are generally twenty feet high. As to the natives of the moon; none of them are less in stature than thirty-six feet: they are not called the human species, but the cooking animals, for they all dress their food by fire, as we do, but lose no time at their meals, as they open their left side, and place the whole quantity at once in their stomach, then shut it again till the same day in the next month; for they never indulge themselves with food more than twelve times a year, or once a month. All but gluttons and epicures must prefer this method to ours.
There is but one sex either of the cooking or any other animals in the moon; they are all produced from trees of various sizes and foliage; that which produces the cooking animal, or human species, is much more beautiful than any of the others; it has large, straight boughs and flesh-colored leaves, and the fruit it produces are nuts or pods, with hard shells, at least two yards long; when they become ripe, which is known from their changing color, they are gathered with great care, and laid by as long as they think proper; when they choose to animate the seed of these nuts, they throw them into a large cauldron of boiling water, which opens the shells in a few hours, and out jumps the creature.
Nature forms their minds for different pursuits before they come into the world; from one shell comes forth a warrior, from another a philosopher, from a third a divine, from a fourth a lawyer, from a fifth a farmer, from a sixth a clown, etc., etc., and all of them immediately begin to perfect themselves by practicing what they before knew only in theory.
When they grown old they do not die, but turn into air and dissolve like smoke! As for their drink, they need none. They have but one finger upon each hand, with which they perform everything in as perfect a manner as we do who have four besides the thumb. Their heads are placed under their right arm, and when they are going to travel or about any violent exercise, they generally leave them at home, for they can consult them at any distance: this is a very common practice; and when those of rank or quality among the Lunarians have an inclination to see what’s going forward among the common people, they stay at home, i.e., the body stays at home and sends the head only, which is suffered to be present _incog._, and return at pleasure with an account of what has passed.
[Illustration: WARRIORS OF THE MOON]
Their eyes they can take in and out of their places when they please, and can see as well with them in their hand as in their heads! and if by any accident they lose or damage one, they can borrow or purchase another, and see as clearly with it as their own. Dealers in eyes are on that account very numerous in most parts of the moon, and in this article alone all the inhabitants are whimsical: sometimes green and sometimes yellow eyes are the fashion. I know these things appear strange; but if the shadow of a doubt can remain on any person’s mind, I say, let him take a voyage there himself, and then he will know I am a traveler of veracity.
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During the early part of his present Majesty’s reign I had some business with a distant relation who then lived on the Isle of Thanet; it was a family dispute, and not likely to be finished soon. I made it a practice during my residence there, the weather being fine, to walk out every morning. After a few of these excursions, I observed an object upon a great eminence about three miles distant: I extended my walk to it, and found the ruins of an ancient temple: I approached it with admiration and astonishment; the traces of grandeur and magnificence which yet remained were evident proofs of its former splendor: here I could not help lamenting the ravages and devastations of time, of which that once noble structure exhibited such a melancholy proof. I walked round it several times, meditating on the fleeting and transitory nature of all terrestrial things; on the eastern end were the remains of a lofty tower, near forty feet high, overgrown with ivy, the top apparently flat; I surveyed it on every side very minutely, thinking that if I could gain its summit I should enjoy the most delightful prospect of the circumjacent country. Animated with this hope, I resolved, if possible, to gain the summit, which I at length effected by means of the ivy, though not without great difficulty and danger; the top I found covered with this evergreen, except a large chasm in the middle. After I had surveyed with pleasing wonder the beauties of art and nature that conspired to enrich the scene, curiosity prompted me to sound the opening in the middle, in order to ascertain its depth, as I entertained a suspicion that it might probably communicate with some unexplored subterranean cavern in the hill; but having no line, I was at a loss how to proceed. After revolving the matter in my thoughts for some time, I resolved to drop a stone down and listen to the echo; having found one that answered my purpose, I placed myself over the hole, with one foot on each side, and stooping down to listen, I dropped the stone, which I had no sooner done than I heard a rustling below, and suddenly a monstrous eagle put up its head right opposite my face, and rising up with irresistible force, carried me away, seated on its shoulders: I instantly grasped it around the neck, which was large enough to fill my arms, and its wings, when extended, were ten yards from one extremity to the other. As it rose with a regular ascent, my seat was perfectly easy, and I enjoyed the prospect below with inexpressible pleasure. It hovered over Margate for some time, was seen by several people, and many shots were fired at it; one ball hit the heel of my shoe, but did me no injury. It then directed its course to Dover Cliff, where it alighted, and I thought of dismounting, but was prevented by a sudden discharge of musketry from a party of marines that were exercising on the beach; the balls flew about my head, and rattled on the feathers of the eagle like hailstones, yet I could not perceive it had received any injury. It instantly reascended and flew over the sea towards Calais, but so very high that the Channel seemed to be no broader than the Thames at London Bridge. In a quarter of an hour I found myself over a thick wood in France, when the eagle descended very rapidly, which caused me to slip down to the back part of its head; but as it alighted on a large tree, and raised its head, I recovered my seat as before, but saw no possibility of disengaging myself without the danger of being killed by the fall; so I determined to sit fast, thinking it would carry me to the Alps, or some other high mountain, where I could dismount without any danger. After resting a few minutes it took wing, flew several times round the wood, and screamed loud enough to be heard across the English Channel. In a few minutes one of the same species arose out of the wood, and flew directly towards us; it surveyed me with evident marks of displeasure, and came very near me. After flying several times round, they both directed their course to the southwest. I soon observed that the one I rode upon could not keep pace with the other, but inclined towards the earth, on account of my weight; its companion perceiving this, turned round and placed itself in such a position that the other could rest its head on its rump; in this manner they proceeded till noon, when I saw the rock of Gibraltar very distinctly. The day being clear, the earth’s surface appeared just like a map, where land, sea, lakes, rivers, mountains, and the like were perfectly distinguishable; and having some knowledge of geography, I was at no loss to determine what part of the globe I was in.
While I was contemplating this wonderful prospect a dreadful howling suddenly began all around me, and in a moment I was invested by thousands of small black, deformed, frightful-looking creatures, who pressed me on all sides in such a manner that I could neither move hand nor foot; but I had not been in their possession more than ten minutes when I heard the most delightful music that can possibly be imagined, which was suddenly changed into a noise the most awful and tremendous, to which the report of a cannon, or the loudest claps of thunder could bear no more proportion than the gentle zephyrs of the evening to the most dreadful hurricane; but the shortness of its duration prevented all those fatal effects which a prolongation of it would certainly have been attended with.
The music commenced, and I saw a great number of the most beautiful