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Title: Journal of Voyages - Containing an Account of the Author's being Twice Captured - by the English and Once by Gibbs the Pirate...
Author: Dunham, Jacob, 1779-
Language: English
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[Illustration: CAPT. JACOB DUNHAM.]



JOURNAL OF VOYAGES:

CONTAINING AN ACCOUNT OF
THE AUTHOR'S BEING TWICE CAPTURED BY THE ENGLISH
AND ONCE BY
GIBBS THE PIRATE;

HIS NARROW ESCAPE WHEN
CHASED BY AN ENGLISH WAR SCHOONER;

AS WELL AS HIS BEING
CAST AWAY AND RESIDING WITH INDIANS.

TO WHICH IS ADDED

Some account of the Soil, Products, Laws and Customs of Chagres,
the Musquitto Shore, and St. Blas, at the Isthmus of Darien.

With Illustrations.

BY CAPTAIN JACOB DUNHAM.

NEW-YORK:

PUBLISHED FOR THE AUTHOR,
And Sold by Huestis & Cozans, 104 and 106 Nassau-street.

1850.



Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year of our Lord one
thousand eight hundred and fifty, by JACOB DUNHAM, in the Clerk's Office
of the District Court of the Southern District of New-York.


  D. Fanshaw, Printer and Stereotyper,
  35 Ann, corner of Nassau-street.



CONTENTS.


                                                                  page.

  AUTHOR'S APOLOGY,                                                   9

  EARLY LIFE OF THE AUTHOR,                                          11

  CHAPTER I.--Sloop Rover
      Capture by the English--Sale and sinking of the Sloop Rover,   13

  CHAP. II.--Sloop New-York
      Second capture by the English--Exchange of Prisoners,          30

  CHAP. III.--Sloop Biddle
      Captain's Mitchell and Lafitte, the Pirates,                   37

  CHAP. IV.
      Casting away of the Sloop Biddle near Waa-waa River--with
      some account of the Indians,                                   52

  CHAP. V.
      Pearl Key Lagoon, and more of the Indians,                     70

  CHAP. VI.
      Runaway Negroes among the Indians--The Sookerman,              77

  CHAP. VII.--Visit to Corn Island,                                  89

  CHAP. VIII.--Visit to Bluefields
      Permit of George Frederick, King of the Musquitto Nation,      92

  CHAP. IX.--Mode of Taking Turtle
      Musquitto Laws--Produce--Customs, &c.                          98

  CHAP. X.
      Some description of the country and inhabitants of the
      Musquitto Nation,                                             105

  CHAP. XI.--Sloop Governor Tompkins,                               111

  CHAP. XII.--Schooner Price, First Voyage
      Leading the dance in Old Providence--A ball at St. Andreas,   115

  CHAP. XIII.--Schooner Price, Second Voyage
      Landing at St. Blas,                                          120

  CHAP. XIV.
      The harbor of Little Cordee--Trading with the Indians,        125

  CHAP. XV.--Schooner Price, Third Voyage
      A fleet of Patriots (or pirates) at Old Providence,           140

  CHAP. XVI.--Schooner Price, Fourth Voyage
      Our Boats fired into at Corn Island,                          151

  CHAP. XVII.--Schooner Enterprise,                                 160

  CHAP. XVIII.--Schooner Felicity
      Republicans and Royalists of Port-au-Prince,                  162

  CHAP. XIX.--Schooner Felicity, Second Voyage
      The smartest Padre (or priest) in the West Indies,            167

  CHAP. XX.--Schooner Combine
      Captured by the Pirates--Placed in the ring to be
      shot--Capture of the Aristides by Pirates,                    170

  CHAP. XXI.--Schooner Combine, Second Voyage
      Our trade in Horses--The Yellow Fever at
      Port-au-Prince--Counterfeit Coin--Arbitrary Laws,             187

  CHAP. XXII.--Schooner Combine, Third Voyage,                      194

  CHAP. XXIII.
      Capture of the Piratical Vessels by
      Lieutenant Commandant Allen,                                  199

  CHAP. XXIV.--Schooner Allen
      Chased by an English Schooner--Horrible attrocities
      committed by Pirates on the Spanish Main,                     205

  CHAP. XXV.--Schooner Frances
      Trading Voyage to Musquitto Shore, Chagres,
      Porto Bello, &c.--The Author officiates at a christening,     216

  CHAP. XXVI.--Voyage to New Orleans
      The Hospital--Direful visitation of the
      Yellow Fever--Disposal of the Dead,                           226

  CHAP. XXVII.--Schooner Horizon
      Peak of Teneriffe--Queer Carpenter,                           236

  CHAP. XXVIII.--The Sloop First Consul
      Sinking of the Sloop--and return home penniless,              240



AUTHOR'S APOLOGY.


_In presenting the following Voyages to the public, I must inform my
readers that I have had but a common school education, and am
unaccustomed to composition. I can only tell my story in a plain
straight forward way, not being able to ornament it with flowery
language._

_My Voyages were all written by myself. I employed competent persons to
copy the work from my manuscript, and they corrected the small
inaccuracies that had escaped my observation._

_I thought, that although my book might contain many defects, if
composed by myself, that it would still gain more than it lost, by being
the production of the very person who had seen and taken part in the
scenes he related, and could vouch for the truth of all he had
witnessed. It is not given to the public as a specimen of the beautiful
in style, but as the story of an old sea captain who had lived in one of
the most eventful periods of our country's history; and one who had
nearly arrived at his last anchorage._

_With this brief outline of my life, and this short explanation, I
commit my little book, with confidence, to an indulgent public._

                                        _Jacob Dunham._



RECOMMENDATIONS.


Captain Jacob Dunham, having applied to the Congress of the United
States, for relief, on account of losses sustained by him by piratical
robbery, We, the undersigned, do hereby certify that we are well
acquainted with the said Jacob Dunham, have known him for many years
past, that he is a man of truth and veracity, and that his statements
are entitled to full faith and credit:

  Thomas O'Hara Croswell,
      Post-Master, Catskill.
  Abel Bruce, M. D.
  Robert Dorlon, Esq.
  Orrin Day,
      President of Tanner's Bank, Catskill.
  Hon. Malebone Watson,
      Judge of Supreme Court, New-York.
  Hon. John Adams.
  Caleb Day, Esq.
  J. D. Beers,
      President of Bank of North America, New-York.
  Jacob Haight,
      Treasurer of State of New-York.
  Hon. Zadock Pratt.
  T. K. Cooke,
      Member of New-York Assembly.
  James Powers,
      State Senator.
  Calvin Balis,
      Alderman of New-York City.
  W. P. Hallett,
      Clerk of the Supreme Court of State of New-York.
  Edwin Croswell,
      State Printer, Albany, New-York.

_Catskill, New-York, December 30, 1839_



EARLY LIFE OF THE AUTHOR.


On the twenty-seventh day of April, 1779, in the town of Colchester, in
the State of Connecticut, I was launched into the world, and entered on
the tempestuous voyage of life.

While yet an infant at the breast, FATE snatched me from my mother's
arms, viewed me with a scornful eye, and exclaimed, "I doom this babe _a
slave to hardships, dangers, and disappointments_."

The following pages will show how far the prophecy has been fulfilled.
My father, Samuel Dunham, was a Warrant Officer in the American Navy
during the Revolutionary War, and followed the sea during almost his
whole life-time. Whether the occupation of my father before me has had
anything to do in shaping my course in life, the author is not wise
enough to say, but leaves it to those who make greater pretensions than
himself.

In the year 1785, the Author emigrated, along with his father, to where
the village of Catskill now stands. The whole village contained but
seven houses, and was cut up into cultivated fields and gardens. My
father having bought half an acre of ground situated about where the
Greene County Hotel now stands, built himself a small house. After
living in Catskill about one year, my uncle sent for me to come to
Connecticut and live with him, which I did. I returned to Catskill in
the Spring of 1793, and then went as an apprentice to the Messrs. Thomas
O'H. & Mackay Croswell, Printers, who then published a small newspaper
called _The Catskill Packet_. I lived with the Croswell's about six
years and a half, where I was well treated. Having a great desire to see
some of the world, I went to Charleston, South Carolina, where I found
employment in a Printing Office for a few months. During that winter I
witnessed a large funeral procession in that city in commemoration of
the death of General Washington. In the Spring of 1800, I returned to
Catskill, and found some employment in the coasting trade, on the Hudson
River. During the summer and the winter following, I made three voyages
to Charleston and Savannah, and then returned to Catskill and worked at
the Printing business about two years. I then made one voyage to the
Island of St. Croix as a seaman. During this time I was married, in
Catskill, in August, 1801, to a young woman named Fanny Morgan. I then
found employment in the coasting trade in different vessels for one or
two years, when I entered the employment of Messrs. T. B. & A. Cooke, as
one-fourth owner of a packet sloop which sailed between Catskill and
New-York, where we did a good business for many years. Not being content
in doing well and making money in a moderate way, and a war breaking out
between England and America, I determined to try my luck again on the
Ocean; picturing to myself a rapid increase of the little property I had
gained by hard and slow earnings.

From the time I left this safe business to embark on the Ocean, my
adventures predicted by dame Fate, commenced. Since that time I have
been rudely driven by winds and storms, captured by enemies, robbed by
pirates, and have made many hair-breadth escapes both by sea and land,
until the present time. I have now brought my poor old sheer hulk to
anchor in the harbor of Catskill.

Not having much to occupy my mind, I frequently take a survey of my past
life, which has been checkered with many frightful scenes.

Being strongly urged by many old friends, for several years past, to
publish some account of my unfortunate adventures, I have reluctantly
yielded to their request. In so doing, I must crave the indulgence of my
readers.



CAPTAIN DUNHAM'S
NINETEEN VOYAGES.



CHAPTER I.

  "The sailor ploughs the raging main,
  "In hopes a competence to gain,
  "And when his toil and danger's o'er,
  "Safe anchors on his native shore."

Sloop Rover.


About the middle of May, in the year 1813, having a great desire to
engage in some adventure; and hoping that fortune would smile upon my
undertakings, I purchased of Messrs. Coddington & Thorp, of New-York,
one quarter of an old Sloop called the Rover; for which I paid one
hundred and twenty-five dollars. Messrs. Coddington & Thorp, and Captain
Silus S. Vail, were owners of the other three-quarters.

The Rover was an old condemned sea vessel, having old thin sails, two
deck beams broken, without top-mast, and a large piece of leather two
feet square nailed over a rotten plank in her bottom.

As this was during the last war between the United States and England,
the port of New-York and our whole north-eastern coast was closely
blockaded by English shipping. It therefore became necessary for our
citizens to transport large quantities of flour and other commodities
from Baltimore and adjoining towns, to New-York by land; and from thence
to be conveyed to the Eastern markets. The expense of transporting flour
and other heavy articles by land, caused speculators and traders to seek
shipments by water to Eastern ports. Freights of course were high, and
but little attention paid by merchants to the crafts they chartered. A
number of old vessels were offered for freight, the Rover rating No. 1
among them. The carrying business being well up, and much in that line
offering, I embraced a proposal of one dollar per barrel for
transporting 500 barrels of flour and 70 barrels of bread from New-York
to Providence, Rhode Island.

I sailed from New-York about the 20th of May, intending to run through
the most exposed places in the night, watching the movements of the
blockading vessels closely, and when I got into a good harbor I intended
to remain there until another dark night.

In heavy gales of wind the blockading ships generally put to sea for
their own safety; which gave me an opportunity to make my passage
unmolested.

I arrived, after a passage of forty-eight hours, at Stonington,
Connecticut, without discovering any of the vessels of the enemy. I
found a number of vessels had taken shelter in that harbor to avoid an
English frigate which was cruising between Block Island and Newport. I
remained at Stonington a few days, when a dark night appearing, I again
made sail, and arrived at Providence, my port of destination, in safety.
We landed our cargo, and Mr. Thorp, one of the owners, who had
accompanied me for that purpose, was left to dispose of it.

Two or three days after unloading my vessel, I again sailed for
New-York. We anchored at the mouth of Newport harbor for the purpose of
awaiting an opportunity of returning when the blockading frigate should
stand out to sea. I had to wait but a few days; as soon as I saw she was
far enough from the port I made sail, and by keeping near the shore,
arrived at Stonington without molestation from the enemy. Here I learned
that New London, a port between me and my destination, was closely
blockaded by a British fleet consisting of two 74 gun ships and two
frigates. There were ten or twelve sail of coasting vessels then lying
in the harbor at Stonington, most of which had been East with cargoes,
and were waiting for dark nights or other favorable opportunities to
pass the blockading squadron. I remained here eight or ten days. During
this time the inhabitants of the town were much alarmed, fearing the
enemy would send in armed boats to cut out our vessels, and by that
means annoy the inhabitants and fire the town.

To show our patriotism and courage, a meeting was called of the officers
and crews of all the vessels in the harbor. We volunteered our services
to stand night watches, and do all in our power in case an attack should
be made. Our means of defence were scanty; a few fowling guns being the
only weapons we had on board our vessels.

Some of the inhabitants finally procured for us an old ship gun, which
we loaded with powder, but could not procure balls to fit it. We at
length found one which we imagined we could force into the gun. After a
long time, with a sledge and crowbar, we succeeded in driving it within
six or eight inches of the cartridge.

The captains drew lots for the first watch, which fell upon me. I took
charge of the watch until 12 o'clock that night, and was much pleased
that we were not annoyed by the enemy, as I concluded that the firing of
our own gun would make more havoc among us than all the enemy could
bring against us. At the close of my watch I learned that two Sag-harbor
vessels were getting under weigh, intending to pass through Plum Gut,
which would conduct them some distance from where the enemy lay at
anchor. As it was a dark night, and not being myself a good pilot
through that passage, I concluded to follow them. The wind being light,
they outsailed my vessel until I lost sight of them. About break of day
it was so calm that I could not pass the fleet or get back to
Stonington. I soon discovered a barge in pursuit of me, but there was no
way of escape. The boat had on board a lieutenant, a midshipman, and
twelve armed men. They left a prize master and two men to take charge of
my sloop, and then proceeded to capture another small vessel at that
time in sight. They soon overhauled her; but as she had nothing of value
on board, having only some household furniture, and women and children,
they let her pass. Three of the British vessels after firing a number of
guns toward the shore proceeded to sea, while my vessel was taken within
a small distance of the commodore's ship, which remained at anchor.

And here, as I deem it will not be altogether uninteresting to my
readers, I will make a slight digression, in giving a brief description
of the personal history of Commodore Hardy; for such was the name of the
officer who had command of the fleet which had captured us. Although
some Americans are under the impression that nothing good can come from
British officers, which idea in many instances has been justified; yet,
with regard to Sir Thomas Hardy, it might truly be said, that he was
"One of Nature's noblemen;" for such his conduct to myself and crew
fully showed him to be. He appeared to be a man about forty-five years
of age, about six feet in height, elegantly formed, and possessing a
benign expression of countenance, scarcely to be expected from one who
had been following, from his youth, a sea-faring life, and had been
engaged in some of the most bloody naval battles on record. When a poor
boy he was taken on board the English fleet by Lord Nelson, continued
with him during his various engagements, and became Nelson's principal
fighting commander. At the battle of Trafalgar the admiral died in his
arms.

On a signal being made we were ordered on board the commodore's ship. My
vessel being old and shabby, I thought it best to keep on my working
clothes to show my apparent poverty, which would excite some sympathy,
but I had a good suit of clothes in my chest. When I got on board I
found I was in his majesty's ship Ramillies, Sir T. W. Hardy, commander.
I cast my eyes about in as awkward a manner as I could; the officers
gathered round to have a little sport with a poor Yankee. They commenced
their conversation by asking me if I were ever on board of a
seventy-four before; I answered in the negative. The captain of marines
then, taking hold of my striped cotton pantaloons, asked me if we made
such fine cloth as that in our country. I told him a little, just to
cover our nakedness during the war. Soon after a message came for me to
go aft to see the commodore. I thought I would show myself very
submissive by taking off my hat and putting it under my arm. The first
salutation I had from him was, "Put on your hat, sir. Did you know that
we were lying here." "Yes, sir," was my reply. He said, "How dare you
venture out." I answered that I had been lying at Stonington a number of
days, waiting for a dark night to get past him. He then told me he must
burn my vessel and send me to Halifax. I told him if the sentence was
irrevocable, I had nothing to offer. I then left him and went forward
and sat down on a gun in a pensive manner. He soon accosted me by asking
me to go and get some breakfast, saying, "If I keep you I will not
starve you to death." I thanked him, but told him I had taken breakfast
before I left his prize. I kept my seat on the gun for a long time,
until I excited the attention of the sailors, one of whom accosted me by
saying, "Captain, don't look so sorrowful, our captain is a damned
clever fellow; I guess he will give up your old serving mallet," as he
called my sloop. "Yes," said another, "I would willingly give up my
share, for it will not be enough to make more than a glass of grog
apiece." The officers made themselves merry by passing many jokes with
me, supposing they had a green Yankee to sport with. In the afternoon
the commodore said, pointing towards my vessel, "That is a fine large
sloop of yours; can't you give me fifteen hundred dollars for her; I am
going to send two officers on board to prize her." I told him that was
three times more than she was worth, and five times more than I was
worth; that she was an old condemned vessel; that he could not send her
to Halifax or Bermuda. I told him I thought if I could get on shore I
could raise one hundred dollars, and perhaps that would be a
compensation for the trouble he had in capturing her; that I presumed he
would make a target of her to fire at if he retained her. He then left
me: about half-an-hour after he called me into his cabin and said that
he wanted to raise a little money to distribute among his crew; that he
had not enough to allow one dollar apiece to them. Said he, "I want to
use your old sloop for about three days. If you think you can raise one
hundred dollars by going on shore, you can take your boat and go; and if
you return in three days with the money, you shall have your sloop
restored to you."

My two men immediately hauled the boat alongside ready for embarking. I
bid the commodore good-by, and was going over the ship's side, when he
called me back, saying, "I must parole you before you go!" "Just as you
please," said I. "He said he was only doing me a favor, for then my own
countrymen could neither draft nor impress me after I landed." I then
took my boat and proceeded to Stonington, and arrived there that
evening. I found most of the vessels that I left there before my
departure. The captains assembled around me, eager to learn the news. I
related my story and the bargain I had made with the commodore. Some
thought I had made a good bargain, while others thought me foolish;
saying, that if I returned on board he would keep my hundred dollars and
send me to Halifax as a prisoner. The next day I negotiated with a
merchant of that place for a loan of eighty dollars, by giving a draft
on my friend in New-York for eighty-six dollars, and pledging my watch,
quadrant, charts, &c. and a note I held against a merchant in New-York
of one hundred dollars, as a security for the payment of the draft.
This, with thirty dollars in bills, which I had in my pocket, was more
than sufficient to ransom my vessel.

I returned to the Ramillies that afternoon. The boatswain, a grave
looking old gentleman, very hospitably took me by the hand and asked me
to go and live with him. He conducted me down two or three pair of
stairs into his own room, which I found well furnished, but had no other
light than a lamp, as his room was below the water. He told one of his
boys to make a clean cot for me to sleep in, and to wait on me if I
wanted anything. He treated me with some old rum he said he had kept on
board for three or four years. He lamented much that England and America
were at war with each other; that he never could realize us as
prisoners, because we both spoke the same language and sprung from one
nation.

The next morning I rose early, put on my best suit of clothes and went
on deck. I saw the first lieutenant on the starboard side of the deck
with his hands in his breeches pockets, walking very gracefully to and
fro. To amuse myself I put my hands in my pockets, and commenced walking
the opposite side of the deck in the same manner. He immediately stopped
and looked at me with some surprise, exclaiming, "Is that you? Damn it,
you have better clothes than I have. When we captured and brought you on
board you had on an old short jacket and cotton trowsers, and looked so
pitiful that most of the crew offered to give up their share of your old
shallop if the commodore would let you go. But I give you credit for it.
You have Yankeed us better than any one we have taken yet." I looked
about to see my old vessel which I left at anchor about half a mile from
the ship, but she was missing. He asked me if I was looking for my old
sloop. I told him I was. He said that I would never see her again. I
told him I was not alarmed about it, for I had the commodores word for
it. He said he would be damned if I ever got her again. I told him the
commodore had promised me to give her up in three days, and if he did
not keep his word I would take my boat, land at New London, and get a
warrant for him. He was pleased with the joke and soon after called his
brother officers around him, who took me into a room and treated me with
wine, segars, &c. They were very polite to me during my stay on board.

New London appeared from the deck of the ship to be four or five miles
distant. Fishing boats came every day from the town and fished within a
mile, without interruption. On their return they were often hailed from
the ship to come on board, and the officers and crew purchased what fish
they wanted, and paid a liberal price. I could see from the deck, with
the spy glass, colors flying, and troops marching and re-marching in the
city of New London. Above the city were the frigates United States and
Macedonia, and the sloop-of-war Wasp, at anchor. During my stay of four
or five days on board, the commodore would every afternoon send for me
to come into his cabin, for the purpose of having some humorous
conversation, which caused the time to pass very agreeably. The
remainder of my time was passed among the officers, some of whom had
relatives living in the city of New-York, with whom I had formerly
traded. We became familiar, and they insisted on taking my name and
number of my boarding house, saying, that when they took the city of
New-York they would come and take a bottle of wine with me. I told them
if ever they saw me in the city of New-York after they had captured it,
it would be without a head.

The day before my departure from the ship, finding the commodore in good
humor, I told him that I was a poor man and had a large family to
support with my old sloop, that flour was worth only seven dollars per
barrel in New-York, and was worth fourteen dollars in Boston, and that
it would do him no harm to give me a passport to carry a cargo to Boston
or neighboring ports. He paused for awhile, and then with a smile said,
"You look like a pretty clever fellow, and if you go to New-York and
take in a cargo, and come back here before I leave this station, which
will be in about three weeks, I will then give you a passport. But if
you attempt to run by me in the night, I shall make a prize of you."
The next day my old sloop returned to the Ramillies with a quantity of
beef on board. I made some complaint to the first lieutenant that the
sailors had eaten up all my provisions and lost my lead-line, and
hand-saw, &c. He remunerated me by giving me five times the value of
what I had lost. I paid the commodore the ransom money, received their
best wishes for a prosperous voyage, and departed.

On my arrival in New-York I was much interrogated to know why I had not
obtained a license from Commodore Hardy; to which I gave evasive
answers. Congress having about this time passed some stringent laws
requiring our vessels of war to overhaul and search all vessels bound
to, or coming from an enemy's ship, I thought best to keep my own
secrets. An acquaintance of mine called on me and asked me if I thought
it safe to take a cargo to Boston or some of the Eastern ports. I told
him if I were able to purchase one, I would try it. He told me to call
on him in a short time, as he thought he could procure a freight for me.
He soon obtained five hundred barrels of flour, and seventy barrels of
bread, at one dollar per barrel for freightage, and three per cent
commission for selling. I was to remit the proceeds by mail, or pay it
to their correspondents in Boston.

About the 20th of June I sailed from New-York and arrived within about
five miles of the Ramillies, where I anchored. At daylight I found a
barge coming towards us. My seamen were frightened, and attempted to
make their escape to the shore, a distance of two miles; by threats and
persuasion I prevented them. Soon after the barge came alongside. The
commanding officer asked me what cargo I had on board, and sundry other
questions. He then said, "You must be crazy. It was only last week we
had you prisoner, when we pitied you so much that we volunteered to give
up our shares in your old sloop if the commodore would let you go." I
told him I thought the commodore would let me pass. He replied, "You
need not expect any favor from him, as he has sworn vengeance against
all Americans. Yesterday morning we discovered a schooner lying at
anchor near where you now are. I was ordered to go and capture her. I
proceeded towards her, and saw the crew take her boat and pull for the
shore; when I boarded her I found no person on board. In the cabin I
found a manifest of her cargo, and in the list, some naval stores which
we wanted for the ship's use. We got the schooner under weigh, beat her
up within half a mile of the ship and came to anchor. Mr. Collingwood,
our second lieutenant, whom you well know, was sent to relieve me, and I
went to report to the commodore. The hatches were taken off and the
tackle hooked on to a barrel of naval stores, when the schooner blew up.
There were fourteen men on board, and all were killed except three
seamen who were furling the fore-topsail. Those three were thrown some
twenty rods, when the fore-mast was blown out of her. You cannot expect
any favors of the commodore." Before leaving New-York I learned that
some persons who had been captured by the commodore, ascertained, while
on board, that he was in want of naval stores; as soon as the news got
abroad, some merchants purchased by subscription an old schooner, and
placed thirty casks of powder in her hold. Some machinery was attached
to the powder by a string, which was also fastened to a barrel of naval
stores, and when it was raised had caused the explosion, as related by
the lieutenant.

[Illustration: Blowing up of the old Schooner near the Ramillies.]

My sloop was soon brought and anchored within half a mile of the ship. I
was taken on board the ship and conducted to the commodore, who spoke to
me in a pleasant manner. "Well, sir," said he, "I see you have arrived
here again. What does your cargo consist of? Where are you bound?" I
told him my cargo was flour, and that I was bound to Boston and some of
the neighboring ports. He gave me a passport to protect me from capture
by the English ships, and told me I could proceed on my voyage. I then
steered for Portsmouth, New Hampshire, where I sold some of my flour at
sixteen dollars per barrel. Finding the market dull, I proceeded to
Newburyport, where I found an abundant supply. From thence I proceeded
to Boston, where I sold the remainder of my flour at auction, at
fourteen dollars per barrel.

After my flour was disposed of I purchased a cargo of boards to carry
to Providence, Rhode Island. I loaded the sloop, intending to be ready
to sail in the morning, but the tide receding during the night, the
Rover was left aground at the Long Wharf. When I awoke in the morning I
found my vessel had fallen over on her side, and had five feet of water
in her hold. I procured a caulker, who, with myself and crew, went into
the mud and water and commenced stopping the leaks, while the water was
running out from her bottom from almost every seam. We caulked the
largest with table knives, wooden wedges, &c. We then took four pounds
of candles and a quantity of wood ashes and made a kind of putty, with
which we stopped the remainder. In the mean time my two seamen were
arrested for stealing and sent to jail. I hired a number of men and
bailed and pumped out the water. I then shipped a new crew and proceeded
to Providence. On my arrival there I was cordially greeted by the
inhabitants, and disposed of my cargo very advantageously. In
consequence of my good fortune a number of Quaker, and other persons,
who were strangers to me, urged me to take charge of a good brig;
supposing that I could protect their property. I declined taking another
vessel, as my passport would not protect me with any other than the one
I had. I, however, did not state to them the reason.

The rage for shipping in the Rover was so great that I could get about
five times more for freightage than I could in time of peace. I took on
board 31 pipes of brandy, 20 hogsheads of sugar, and 100 ceroons of
tallow, and sailed for New-York. When I arrived at Hell Gate and was
attempting to pass it, the wind being light, the sloop drifted upon the
rock called the Hog's-back, and the tide falling, her bottom was left
half out of water. At about 11 o'clock at night I made out to remove her
off from the rocks, having four feet of water in her hold. She drifted
back out of the Gate, when I succeeded in hauling her on shore and made
her fast to the rocks. As it was dark and rainy, we could not tell at
the time where we were. On groping my way into the cabin I found the
water six inches deep on the cabin floor. I then lay down with clothes
wet through to my skin. At daylight I found the Rover, the tide having
left her, some rods high and dry upon the rocks, and the water running
from most of her seams. I called all hands and went to caulking with
table knives, &c. We then applied a few pounds of putty and ashes to the
seams. At high water she again floated. After hiring four negroes to go
with us to New-York to assist in pumping and bailing, we proceeded on
our course.

When we got to the city we hauled her into Coenties Slip, where the
bottom is soft and muddy. The mud having filled up her seams in a few
hours, she ceased leaking, and passed for a tight craft. I notified my
consignees of our arrival and then landed the cargo. Five hogsheads of
sugar were damaged in consequence of the leaking of my vessel. The
consignees paid me for all the freight, and threw the loss of the
damaged sugar upon the underwriters in Providence, who insured a
considerable amount in the cargo.

As I had now been some time absent from my family, who resided in
Catskill, I concluded to make them a visit. I agreed with my partners in
the sloop to sell her at auction during my absence. The Rover was
visited by multitudes of people, who pronounced her the most lucky
vessel in the harbor. Many of them, I suppose, thought her to be a
phantom ship. For myself, I felt well satisfied, as I had over two
hundred dollars per month during the three months I sailed her, on a
capital of one hundred and twenty-five dollars.

The fame of the Rover was so great that she sold for $480. The purchaser
took her up the Sound to Long Island, and laid her on shore at high
water. He then loaded her with wood by driving alongside at low water.
But when the tide rose he found her sides broken in and her hold filled
with water. My hand trembles while I write of the untimely end of the
charming sloop Rover.



CHAPTER II.

Sloop New-York.


About the first of November, 1813, having added a little to my small
capital by my late adventure in the Rover, and feeling eager to add
more, again trusting to the smiles of fickle fortune, I purchased a
small sloop called the New-York, of 28 tons burden. Soon after I sold
one-fourth of her to Messrs. T. B. & A. Cook, merchants in Catskill, and
one-half of her to two merchants in the city of New-York. They
considered it a kind of lottery adventure. One of the new owners in
New-York had correspondents in Norfolk, Virginia, who informed us of the
high prices of Northern produce in that city, and the situation of the
English squadron in Lynhaven Bay, and advised us to procure a small
vessel of light draught of water, and that by sailing in over a shoal
called the Horse-shoe, in a dark night, we might avoid coming in contact
with the enemy's fleet.

The American coast was closely blockaded by the English vessels, but
heavy gales of wind frequently drove them off the coast for a short
time, which offered some chance of making passages by keeping near the
land.

The high prices of Northern produce in Southern markets held out great
inducements to shippers to engage in exporting it. Our correspondents
at Norfolk, stated potatoes to be worth one dollar and fifty cents per
bushel; onions, sixteen dollars per hundred ropes; salt, two dollars and
fifty cents per bushel, and cheese twenty-five dollars per cwt.

We loaded the sloop with four hundred bushels potatoes, two hundred
bushels salt, three thousand four hundred and fifty ropes onions, and
eight thousand six hundred pounds of cheese; all shipped on the joint
account of the owners.

I was to purchase and sell the cargo, and when I arrived at Norfolk was
to buy three or four old brigs or schooners, load them with coal, and
when a favorable opportunity occurred by the enemy being driven to sea
by the wind, send them to New-York. Vessels could be purchased in
Norfolk at that time for one-third of their real value in time of peace;
and the price of coal in New-York was three or four times as much as in
Norfolk.

My wages, as master, was one hundred dollars per month, and I drew
one-fourth of the profits of the whole concern.

On the 14th of November I sailed from New-York and proceeded to Sandy
Hook, where I discovered an English frigate close in with the land, in
chase of an American schooner, which she compelled to run ashore near
Shrewsbury. I sailed into Mosquitto Cove, and took shelter among some
thirty American gun-boats, the crews of which went as volunteers to
protect the wreck of the schooner from being plundered by the English
frigate, which they accomplished.

After tarrying two days at Mosquitto Cove, we weighed anchor and
proceeded to sea, keeping as near the land as we could without being in
danger of running aground, until we were some distance south of Cape
Henlopen, when a violent gale of south-east wind commenced, and with our
utmost exertions we succeeded in running into the bay.

Here I ascertained that my pilot, whom I had taken much pains to obtain,
and who at the time I employed him had informed me he was well
acquainted with that coast, had deceived me; he now for the first time
informed me that he knew nothing of the different shoals and inlets on
the Southern coast. I had now no alternative but to run by chance and
keep a sharp look out for breakers. My little sloop was literally buried
under water. The gale kept increasing until near night, when she struck
upon a shoal. She thumped terribly, and almost every sea was breaking
entirely over us when a seaman exclaimed, "She is bilged, a plank has
come up from her bottom." On examination we found it was the shoe of her
keel. We tried the pump and found we could keep her free of water by
pretty hard labor. Soon after, she thumped over the shoal into nine feet
water, where she did not strike so often, and remained there until dawn.
At daylight we cast out the anchors and succeeded in getting her into
three or four fathoms water.

We then commenced repairing damages in the best manner we could. Her
false keel had been broken and had swung across her main keel, which we
could not repair. We then made sail for Chesapeake Bay and arrived that
day about sun-set, without any material mishap.

Soon after, a light easterly wind sprung up, and we made sail for
Norfolk. After entering the bay the wind slackened. About 11 o'clock in
the evening it became a dead calm, with a thick fog: a strong tide set
in, which prevented my going out to sea again. Soon after midnight we
heard the cry, "Past 2 o'clock, and all's well," which I afterwards
ascertained proceeded from His Britanic Majesty's ship Dragon, 74 guns,
commanded by Commodore Barry, lying at anchor in the bay.

We continued drifting into the bay until about sunrise, when a light
breeze sprung up and dispersed the fog, and we found ourselves drifting
directly towards an English 20 gun brig called the Sophia, and the Acton
of 16 guns, both lying at anchor within a mile of us. We were soon
boarded from the Sophia, and we and our baggage taken on board of her.
The brigs then got under weigh and proceeded up the bay, taking my sloop
in tow, and anchored at the mouth of the river Severn.

During the next night they fitted out an expedition of four or five
boats, and sent them up the river to cut out two or three of our vessels
which were lying in the harbor, but they soon returned without
accomplishing their design, having only obtained a quantity of plunder.
They told me the inhabitants gave them a warm reception, by firing from
behind trees and fences, and caused them to abandon the vessels. They
weighed anchor the next morning, and after cruising about the bay, again
took their station near Watt's Island. Here they made their rendezvous
for some time; the officers occasionally going on shore, some days
cruising about, and returning to the usual anchorage at night. They
procured an abundance of cattle, sheep and poultry from the Island, and
in about nine or ten days captured eight old schooners loaded with
flour, from the Rappahannock, and bound to the Eastern markets. They
sailed from there and anchored in Lynn Haven Bay, where we were sent on
board the commodore's ship Dragon. I found twelve American captains
prisoners on board the commodore's ship, who had been captured by the
Squadron. The prizes which they had taken were small old vessels, some
of which they stripped of their rigging and sails and set on fire; some
parted their cables in a gale of wind and drifted to sea, my vessel
among them. But my sloop, the New-York, and one or two others were
afterwards towed back by the frigate and sent to Bermuda.

The American captains were quartered with the petty officers, such as
midshipmen, captain's clerks, &c. and were treated with gin, segars, &c.
and passed their time very jovially in telling stories, bragging of our
naval engagements, &c. I must here tell a story related to me by one of
the officers of the Dragon.

He said the Americans ought to be damned if they did not make an admiral
of one Captain Turner, who commanded a Baltimore schooner. He said that
while they were blockading the coast of France they captured him and his
schooner; they put a prize-master and crew on board, and the crew of the
schooner were put on board the Squadron, except Captain Turner and the
cook, who remained on the schooner, which was ordered to sail for
England. The next day Turner succeeded in getting the prize-master and
crew drunk, killed the prize-master and part of the crew, and confined
the remainder. He then returned to France with his vessel, shipped a new
crew, and put to sea again. One morning they discovered from the
Squadron, a schooner in company with two frigates, being between the
schooner and the land. The Dragon steered directly for the schooner,
while the frigates steered in different directions, to prevent the
schooner from going back again into port. The Dragon by setting all her
light sails was fast coming up with her, and commenced firing her bow
guns, to which the schooner paid no attention. They soon came within
musket-shot and fired a number of volleys which riddled the schooner's
sails. The captain of the Dragon then gave orders to cease firing, as he
considered it cold-blooded murder. On coming within a few rods of the
schooner they saw but one man on board, and standing at the wheel. When
within a short distance he suddenly put down her helm, which brought her
broad side across the ship's bow, intending that the ship should run
over her. But the ship's helm was immediately put up, which caused her
to strike the schooner near the bow and brought her alongside of the
ship. They then hailed, "What schooner is that?" To which the man at the
helm replied, "The Prize, Captain Turner, the very man you are looking
for." On boarding the schooner, they found the crew all below, except
the captain, who said he did not wish to expose his crew to their fire.
He said the excitement was great on board the ship: that all the
officers signed a petition to mitigate Turner's punishment.

While we were lying in Lynn Haven Bay, the Dragon had captured a small
vessel, put on board of her a cannonade or short nine-pounder, a
quantity of small arms, and called her the "Snap Dragon." They sent her
out in pursuit of plunder and slaves, about one hundred and fifty of
whom were captured as runaways from their masters. But on one of the
expeditions of the Snap Dragon, she was captured by the Americans,
having thirty men on board, and the prisoners sent to Baltimore. Soon
after an exchange was agreed upon by which the prisoners of the Snap
Dragon were exchanged for the Americans on board the ship. When the crew
of the Snap Dragon were brought on board the ship we were all
discharged, which caused no little rejoicing among us. We then returned
to Baltimore, took leave of each other and made our way to our
respective homes.



CHAPTER III.

Sloop Biddle.


Soon after my unfortunate adventure in the New-York, I took command of a
schooner called the Caty Ann, and made a voyage to Savannah and back to
New-York, without capture. Although Sir James Yeo, in the South Hampton
frigate, was closely blockading Savannah at the time, I made a second
attempt to proceed to the same port. After sailing a few miles south of
Sandy Hook light-house we were chased back by an English frigate, and
the schooner narrowly escaped being captured. The whole coast was so
closely blockaded that I abandoned going to sea again until after peace
was proclaimed.

About the first of May, 1813, I took charge of the brig Cyrus, of
New-York, and made one voyage to Georgetown, South Carolina, and back,
and then made another to Bermuda and Turk's Island.

Ever ready to sacrifice my personal comfort for the prospect of
increasing the means of gaining an honest living--being in the prime of
life and enjoying good health, and that huge monster, Fear, seldom
throwing his dark shadow across my path--I engaged again to open a
trade with the Indians on the Musquito Shore, on the borders of South
America, now called New Greneda, or Central America. This country
formerly belonged to the government of Spain, which still tried to
exercise authority over it, although rebellions had broken out both in
the North and South of it; and, the then called government of Columbia,
under General Bolivar, aided by a number of Americans and others, with
vessels commissioned as privateers, and land forces, made a strong
resistance to the Spanish government. They fought many desperate battles
with the royalists, under what was then called the Patriot, or Columbian
flag. Carthagena, their largest sea-port, was taken and re-taken three
several times, and every man in it put to death.

The king of the Musquito Indians claims the sea-coast of that country
from the False Cape, lat. 15° 14' N. to Port Boro Toro, lat. 9° 29' N.
The government of Old Spain likewise claimed it, but never had been able
to dispossess the Indians. The sea-board of this country is very level,
interspersed with lakes, rivers and creeks. From May until November the
country is visited with heavy showers of rain. In many places I have
from time to time walked in water some inches deep to go from one house
to another. The Indian towns are mostly built some distance up the
rivers or creeks, to secure them from any attacks from the sea-board.
They have no roads inland, their whole travel being in canoes, by which
means they can visit the different tribes, hauling them across narrow
necks of land that separate one lake or river from another.

The Spanish government, under an old blockading decree had declared that
any person found trading with these Indians, if captured, should lose
his cargo by confiscation, and be sent to the mines for life. The
government of Spain likewise claimed three small islands near the
Musquito Shore, viz: Old Providence, lying in lat. 13° 27' N. long. 80°
39' W. This island I found inhabited by about thirty families of free
people of different nations and colors, and from five to thirty slaves
to every free person in the island. St. Andreas, lying in lat. 12° 33'
N. long. 81° W. It contains about seventy-five families of free people,
and about eight hundred slaves; it was lately the residence of a Spanish
Governor named Gonzales. This place had a small fort, garrisoned with
about thirty soldiers. I shall hereafter give the reader a further
description of the island, related to me by Captain Mitchell, commonly
called Mitchell the Pirate.[A] Great Corn Island lays in lat. 12° 19'
N. long. 82° 11' W. about forty miles from the main land. Little Corn
Island, lying about ten miles from the great one, is inhabited, and
produces large quantities of cocoa nuts and wild fruits.

     [A] The only account I have ever read of Mitchell is, that he
     was a partner with Lafitte, the Pirate, when they took
     possession of Baratara, where they carried their prizes. They
     kept possession of the place for some considerable time,
     bidding defiance to the authorities on that coast. Governor
     Claibourne, of Louisiana, afterwards issued a proclamation,
     offering these pirates a free pardon on condition that they
     would join the army then under command of General Jackson, for
     the defence of New Orleans. They accepted of the Governor's
     terms, repaired to that place with all their men, and put
     themselves under the command of the General, who placed them in
     the hottest part of the battle, where they fought in the most
     gallant manner. Lafitte and Mitchell both held commissions
     under the government of the Republic of Columbia at this time.

The staple produce of the above named island is cotton. The soil is
fertile and produces plantains, yams, sweet potatoes, and Tropical
fruits in abundance. The inhabitants raise plenty of hogs and poultry,
which they fatten on cocoa nuts, the oil from which, while fresh, is
equal to lard for cooking fish, &c. and after it becomes rancid burns
well in lamps.

About the first of January, 1816, I made a contract with the Messrs.
Cotheal & Hoff and Mr. A. S. Hallett, merchants of New-York, to take
charge of a small sloop called the Biddle, of thirty-two tons burthen. I
was to proceed to Musquito Shore, land at the island of Old Providence,
(if I saw no suspicious looking vessels in the harbor;) and open a trade
with the Indians for the purchase of tortoise shell, which was very
valuable at this time; these Indians furnish large quantities of that
article. I likewise had orders to exchange my goods for hides,
deer-skins, cochineal, gum elastic or India rubber, gum copal, cotton,
fustic, sarsaparilla, &c.

I took on board an assorted cargo, calculated for a barter trade. As I
was totally unacquainted with the trade, this voyage was considered an
experimental trip. On my arrival the inhabitants informed me that they
had not seen the American flag flying there for the last fourteen years.

I could not procure any correct charts of that coast. I found many
shoals that never had made their appearance on any chart, so little had
these seas been surveyed. I suppose young mariners have less difficulty
in that respect now, as Queen Victoria has become god-mother to the
young king of Musquito Shore, and taken him under her parental care, to
assist him in robbing his neighbors' territories.

I will here give the reader a short description of the country, the
undertaking, and some account of the disasters which befell me in the
prosecution of the voyage. Having loaded my little sloop, (about the
size of a clam boat,) I soon shipped a crew, which consisted of a North
River captain, who had never been out of the sight of land, to act as my
mate; and two old broken-down sailors, one acting as seaman and the
other as cook. We sailed about the first of February, with a fair wind,
and made our passage in twenty-two days to the Island of Old Providence,
where we hoisted our flag for a pilot. I soon discovered a fishing
canoe, having one white man and three or four negroes on board, who
volunteered to pilot us into the harbor. I inquired of the white man,
whose name was John Taylor, one of the largest planters in the island,
for a Mr. Hoy, to whom I had a letter of introduction. Mr. Taylor
replied that Mr. Hoy was dead, that he was his father-in-law. He took
the letter, promised me friendly assistance, and piloted my vessel into
the harbor. The inhabitants soon came on board and commenced a brisk
trade with me. Previous to leaving New-York, I was advised not to enter
the harbor of Old Providence if I saw any vessel looking like a
privateer or man-of-war in sight of the place. In the afternoon I kept a
good look out with my spy-glass, until near sun-set, when I discovered a
schooner beating up under the lee of the island. I immediately applied
to my new friend, Taylor, to pilot me out of the harbor, promising him
to return again in a few days, which he utterly refused. He told me that
the vessel in sight was a privateer belonging to Captain Mitchell, who
commanded her--that Captain M. kept his (Taylor's) daughter as a wife,
and that Mitchell was a clever fellow and would not molest me. As the
channel of the harbor was narrow and difficult to pass through, I
decided to remain at anchor rather than run the risk of getting the
vessel on shore, considering it was best to keep quiet and trust to
fortune. I felt somewhat agitated as the privateer approached the land,
it being a dark night.

About 12 o'clock she anchored a short distance from us, when I was
hailed from her, asking, "What sloop is that, and from whence come you?"
I answered, "Sloop Biddle, from New-York." In a few moments a boat came
alongside with the captain and eight men, all armed. I showed the
captain my papers, and assured him my cargo was _bona fide_ American
property. He answered me, saying, "We shall see more about that
to-morrow morning." He then left me and returned to his own vessel. Soon
after I heard the report of a large cannon from the privateer, which was
mounted on a circle, filled with chain and grape-shot, and pointed
towards the shore, where it cut a decent road through the small trees.
The next morning Captain Mitchell told me the gun was loaded full to the
muzzle, and that when he loaded it he intended to fire into my vessel
without hailing her, supposing she was Spanish, to whom he showed no
quarter. On a second reflection he thought it best to hail the sloop
before he fired. He said, "Had I fired into you, I should have cut your
vessel all in pieces." He discharged the gun toward the shore as a
signal to send a horse to convey him to Mr. John Taylor's, whom he
called his father-in-law, as he kept his daughter Sarah as a wife.

Mitchell appeared to have full control over the island, and no one dare
question his authority. He had made this place his rendezvous for some
time past, bought all the provisions they could spare, both from masters
and slaves, and paid them liberally, having plenty of money on board,
and, like most seamen, was lavish in its expenditure. He had lately
escaped from Carthagena, and brought a few half-starved passengers from
that city. In running past one of their forts, a cannon ball had struck
the schooner's fore-mast and cut it half off.

One of the passengers informed me that Carthagena was so closely
besieged by the royalists at that time, that cowhides were sold at
twelve dollars apiece, for food, and that he was obliged to pay three
dollars for a pilot-biscuit, to prevent starvation. Some time after, I
learned that the city was taken and all the inhabitants put to death.

The next morning after my arrival I was visited by Captain Mitchell,
John Taylor, and most of the inhabitants of the island, who were much
pleased to see an American vessel in the harbor, saying it was the only
one that they had seen there in many years past. I was invited on shore
to dine at Mr. Taylor's, in company with Captain Mitchell, where a good
dinner was provided for us, consisting of roast pig, poultry, &c. My
plate was plentifully supplied by Captain Mitchell. On looking over the
table I did not discover any bread. Soon after a plate of roasted
plantains was set before me. I took one, not knowing how to use it, this
being the first I had ever seen of this kind of food. I soon found it to
be the common bread of the country. We were politely waited upon, having
a negro boy, from ten to fourteen years old, without one rag of clothing
about him, standing behind the chair of each person at table, with a
bush in his hand to keep the flies from annoying the company. The
following day I was invited to dine on board Captain Mitchell's vessel.
His boat was sent for me at the proper hour, and I was politely
received on board and soon after conducted to the table, which was
elegantly furnished with silver platters, plates, knives, forks, spoons,
pitchers, tumblers, &c. and with the exception of knife-blades, every
other article on the table was pure silver. He showed me many valuable
diamonds, and large quantities of old gold and silver; and the least
valuable article I saw on board his vessel was the schooner's ballast,
which consisted of brass cannon.

I opened a good trade with the inhabitants, selling goods at retail,
from one to three hundred per cent profit. In ten days I sold over
eighteen hundred dollars' worth; about one-half was received in money,
and the remainder in cotton. I took part of the cotton on board, and the
balance was to be paid on my return to that port.

Captain Mitchell visited me daily, and told me some of his adventures.
He said that a few months previous he had captured a small trading
schooner, armed her for a privateer, and appointed one Captain Rose to
the command of her, who was then on a cruise. A short time before, Rose
had been with him in Old Providence. "While laying here," said he, "I
made up my mind to sail for New-York, and there sell my vessel and cargo
and retire to private life, thinking my means would support me. One
morning, while contemplating my future enjoyments when I got well
settled in New-York, I thought it would much disturb my mind to think
that old Gonzales should boast that he had frightened Mitchell, who
dared not attack him. He had sent me many saucy messages, by trading
vessels, saying, I dare not come to St. Andreas, to annoy him, as I had
the inhabitants of Providence, who were afraid to resist me. These
reflections so affected my mind that I immediately ordered my boat
manned and went on board of Rose's vessel. I told Rose that we would
never leave these seas until we had made an attack on St. Andreas, and
that he must prepare himself to join me on the morrow. The next day we
made the necessary preparation and sailed for that island, a distance of
about sixty miles, where we arrived early in the evening, ran into the
harbor and came to anchor. All hands on board, being only forty-six,
including officers and seamen, had volunteered to make an attack on the
island. We all landed, about 11 o'clock at night, except one man in each
vessel. Being well acquainted with the local situation of the island, I
proceeded to the plantation of Mrs. Lever, and captured her
negro-driver, whose name was Frank, and told him to conduct me secretly
to his young master William, if he did not I would kill him instantly.
Frank soon led me to William's house, where we found him in bed. We
seized him without making any alarm, and told him that death was his
portion if he did not go with us without making any noise and strictly
obey my orders. I had often heard of the boastings this young Lever had
made of what he would do if he could catch Mitchell, and thought the
present a good opportunity to retaliate upon him. I then told him he
must conduct me to the house of Governor Gonzales without making any
alarm, call the governor from his bed and tell him that Captain Mitchell
was near the island with two privateers; that you imagine the island in
great danger, and think it necessary to prepare for immediate defence.

"We marched directly to the house, where we found the governor in bed. I
kept my men still, not allowing a loud word to be spoken. Lever obeyed
my orders punctually, calling the old man out of bed by telling him his
alarming tale. As soon as the old man opened the door I took hold of him
and conveyed him on board of my vessel. We landed a six-pound brass
cannon during the night, unroofed the governor's house, and mounted the
gun on the second floor of the building. I sent a party to the fort, who
put to death a few soldiers they found sleeping there. A number having
taken lodgings with their families prevented their sharing the same
fate.

"I took possession of the governor's house for my head quarters, where I
issued a proclamation, addressed to the inhabitants, inviting them to
surrender their arms, and by complying with the request, all private
property should be respected. About ten o'clock the next morning I
discovered a collection of about sixty men with two nine-pound carriage
guns, on their way to my head quarters. Immediately beating up for
volunteers, sixteen men agreed to follow me. On marching towards the
enemy they abandoned their field-pieces and dispersed in great haste. We
dismounted the guns and spiked them, burnt the carriages, and returned
to our head quarters unmolested. Three days after, the inhabitants
accepted of the proposed terms, and all opposition to my command ceased.
I took the governor's negroes, money, plate, &c. and repaired on board,
where I remained some days, treating the old fellow politely at my
table, feeding him on the best the island produced, furnishing him with
wine at his dinner, and plenty of Spanish segars. In a few days he
appeared cheerful, composed, and conversed with me in a familiar manner.
On the tenth day after his capture I gave him a good dinner, took a
glass of wine with him, and told him I was going to hang him that
afternoon. He laughed, supposing it a joke, and that I had no intention
of harming him. He was sitting in an armed-chair near the cabin door, on
deck, smoking a segar, when I ordered one of the seamen to reave a
yard-rope from the fore-yard, bring the end aft and put it round his
neck. He was soon dragged from the chair to the fore-yard-arm."

[Illustration: Captain Mitchell hanging Governor Gonzales.]

After Captain Mitchell had related his story, I asked him what he did
with his body; he replied, "I let him hang about an hour, and then cut
the rope and let the old devil go adrift." I said he should have spared
his life, he being an old man who could never do him much harm. He
replied, "I have served him the same as they will serve me when they
catch me."

Captain Mitchell told me he was now bound to New-York, which he intended
to make his permanent residence, but he must go by the way of New
Orleans, as he had fourteen negro slaves he wanted to sell there. I told
him the laws of the United States strictly forbid the carrying of slaves
into that country; if he was caught in the act his vessel and cargo
would be forfeited. He said he was well acquainted with one Sisson, a
New Orleans pilot, who would smuggle them on shore for him. I cautioned
him against the attempt, by saying, "Captain Mitchell, be careful that
those negroes do not sell you before you do them." He has often, since
the loss of his vessel and cargo, repeated to me the caution I then gave
him. He made a contract with me to return to Providence, after I had
been to Musquito Shore and disposed of my cargo, and take Miss Sarah
Taylor (whom he called his wife) and her servant to New-York, agreeing
to pay me three hundred and thirty dollars for their passages; saying he
intended to proceed along the coast of Cuba in search of Spanish
vessels, and in all probability would have some hard engagements, and
did not want a woman sniffling about him; and that he would eventually
meet her in New-York.

Miss Sarah Taylor was educated in Jamaica, and had the appearance of a
lady of some accomplishments, although she was living as a concubine.

Captain Mitchell was a man of some education, about five feet six inches
high, dark hair and eyes, and had the appearance of a gentleman; was
very liberal to unfortunate seamen, and one of the greatest tyrants to
exercise authority over them that I have ever heard of. He had at that
time two sailors lying in the stocks near Taylor's house, with their
ancles two feet above the ground, they lying out of doors on their
backs, their bodies exposed to the sun for two or three days. He
informed me that he had captured a prize some time previous, and the
prize-master and crew had run away with the vessel; that he then took an
oath to shoot any of the crew if he ever saw them again. A few months
after, he visited Corn Island, where one of the crew happened to arrive.
Some of the inhabitants cautioned the man to keep out of his sight. He
boastingly replied that Mitchell dared not shoot him. Mitchell said he
hoped the man would not appear in his presence, as he did not want to
kill him. "But," said he, "one day when I was taking a walk on the
island he (knowing I had made the threat) presented himself a short
distance before me, when I took a musket and shot him dead."

Some of the inhabitants informed me that the negro cook belonging on
board his vessel asked him one day what he should cook for his dinner.
Mitchell told him to kill a pig which they had on board. The cook did
not understand his answer, and knowing his ungovernable temper, dared
not ask him a second time, but built his fire and had his water
boiling. At twelve o'clock Mitchell asked him what he was cooking for
dinner, to which the cook replied, "I did not understand what you wanted
for dinner." Mitchell seized him by the hair of his head with one hand,
and with a ladle in the other poured the boiling water on him until he
scalded him to death. One of the sailors told him he thought that was
hard usage. Mitchell immediately drew a pistol from his belt and shot
the sailor dead and then threw him overboard.

Captain Mitchell informed me that some years since he was cast away on
the shore of the Pacific Ocean, and found it necessary to cross over the
country by land to the Atlantic coast to get home, that he was arrested
for not having a passport to travel. He was thrown into prison and for
some misdemeanor was put into the stocks, where he had to lie on his
back for some months, and while thus confined he had taken an oath that
he would never die in peace until he had killed one hundred Spaniards
with his own hands. Some three years after this time I accosted him in a
humorous manner, by saying, "Mitchell how many have you due now?" He
replied, "Seventeen, by G--d, Dunham, I have killed eighty-three with my
own hands."



CHAPTER IV.


After ten days successful trade at Old Providence, I got under weigh and
proceeded towards Musquito Shore, and in the day-time ran in near the
land, but could not discover any settlements. I kept beating to the
northward, keeping as near the shore as safety would admit, with a good
look-out for houses or canoes. By my observations I found a strong
current setting to the southward. After beating up three days, we
discovered a number of Indian houses near the entrance of a bay which
appeared like a good harbor. From my reckoning I supposed this place to
be Cape Gracios a Dios, (mercy of God.) I carefully sounded my way into
the harbor and anchored.

Soon after we anchored, a canoe containing six or eight Indians, having
a stripe of hair about three inches broad, extending from one ear to the
other across the top of their heads, which were shaved close to the
skin, came out to our vessel. They spoke to us in broken English. I
asked them if this place was called the Cape. They answered "Yes." We
discovered an English Island flag flying on shore near the largest
house, and asking them who owned the house where the flag was flying;
they answered "Admiral Dalby;" looking at me with some surprise, they
exclaimed, "Don't you know Admiral Dalby?"

Supposing I had to appear before some great chief, whose name sounded
so loud in my ears, I put on my best go-a-shore suit, to use an old
sailor phrase, and treating the Indians with rum, &c. went on shore with
them, and was conducted to the house of Admiral Dalby, whom I found
dressed in a clean shirt and white pantaloons, a cotton handkerchief
tied on his head, and an old English Admiral's red vest, with some old
lace trimmings, having long skirts extending nearly to his knees, and
without shoes. Seeing his _majestic_ appearance, I approached him with
all the politeness of a French dancing-master. After the ceremonies were
ended, he asked me what country I came from, and what articles I wanted
to purchase. I replied that I came from New-York, in North America, and
that I belonged to the same continent that he did; that I wanted to
purchase tortoise-shell, cow-hides, deer-skins, gum elastic, gum copal,
cochineal, &c. We spent some time in ascertaining the Indian names of
the gums, &c. before he understood what articles I wanted to purchase.
He said, "Indian man and American man all one country belongs to, all
the same as brothers, me right king's officer, all white men must help
um; me good man, have good head, savy good? this place all me belong to.
To-morrow I send plenty men to fetch you skins, gums, and every thing
you want."

After all our arrangements were completed, it being the first time I
ever had the honor of negotiating with an _admiral_, I invited him to go
on board my vessel and drink tea with me; which invitation he readily
accepted. On our arrival on board, my little table was soon placed on
deck under an awning. The cook supplied us with the best our little
sloop afforded; the _admiral_ was seated at the head of the table, and
waited on in the politest manner. After he had finished his tea, he
drank a few glasses of rum and returned to his home.

When the cook set his table the next morning, he missed his tea spoons.
Diligent search was made for them, but they could not be found. We
charged the poor old cook with throwing them overboard in shaking out
his crumbs of the table-cloth, which he strongly denied. The spoons cost
about two or three cents apiece. The next day I called at the admiral's
house, where I saw his children playing with my spoons. On inquiring I
found the admiral had carried them on shore in his breeches pocket.

I remained at the Cape about one week, where I purchased a small
quantity of tortoise-shell, some hides, deer-skins, tiger-skins, gums,
&c. My owners had given me orders on my arrival in that country to
procure an Indian pilot who was well acquainted with the coast.

My old friend, Admiral Dalby, procured me a pilot to conduct me to Pearl
Key Lagoon, where most of the inhabitants spoke good English. I had a
letter of introduction to an inhabitant of that place, whose name was
Edward Patterson, a native of Curracoa, who had lived with the
Musquitoes many years, and intermarried with them. The pilot and his
son-in-law came on board. I was compelled to hire the latter that he
might assist his father-in-law in returning with his canoe. The price
agreed on was ten yards of Osnabergs to each; no difference in the
price, whether the voyage was performed in one week, or I detained him
three months: it was all the same.

We weighed anchor and proceeded to the southward, intending to stop at
every settlement between the Cape and Pearl Key Lagoon. The next day we
anchored at Sandy Bay. Soon after, we were visited by Governor Clemente,
Admiral Hammer, General McLean, and many petty officers and citizens.
After treating with a few gallons of rum, by way of introduction, I
opened a brisk trade with them, bartering my goods for the same kind of
articles I had bought at the Cape. The governor brought on board with
him one of his nine living wives. After remaining here three days, we
got under weigh and steered southward, keeping near the land, under the
direction of the pilot. In the evening I began to doubt his skill, and
often hove the lead to satisfy myself, the pilot being stationed forward
to keep a good look-out. About ten o'clock I heard the sound of out,
out, out. I looked under the lee of the boom and discovered we were near
the breakers. We attempted to tack ship, but found it impossible. In a
few moments we were driven upon the reef, unshipping our rudder and
thumping so hard that I expected she would break in pieces. About an
hour after, she beat over the shoal into nine feet water, where we came
to anchor. The next day I sounded a passage out between the shoals. In
heaving the vessel through the passage we broke our largest anchor, and
finding it impossible to save her, hoisted the jib and ran her on shore.
When the wind abated we landed our sails, dry goods and hardware. We
built a comfortable tent, which protected our goods from the rains which
visit that country almost every day from May until November. We found
ourselves near the mouth of a river called Waa-waa, some fifteen miles
from the residence of Governor Clemente. After remaining here a few days
I sent the pilot to the governor's residence, claiming his protection
and requesting him to furnish me with men and canoes to transport my
goods to Pearl Key Lagoon, and I would pay them a liberal compensation
for their services. The messenger returned with an answer, that the
governor had gone on an excursion through his dominions, and was not
expected to return in less than two or three weeks. We passed our time
in shooting deer, conies, parrots, boobies, gulls, &c. and catching
fish, which we found in abundance.

After we had remained here four weeks, the governor arrived, accompanied
by forty or fifty Indians. I provided a good dinner for the governor,
his lady and officers, who were invited to my table. Rum, gin, and
Catalonia wine, were served out in abundance. The governor promised me
protection and assistance; but his business required his return home
immediately, but added that he would send me relief the next day. Before
we had finished dinner the mob of Indians commenced stealing our
tumblers from the table, likewise knives, forks, some empty kegs, and a
fine pig, which we had fattened, as well as most of the loose articles
about our premises. I had made the governor many presents for his
promised protection, and I remonstrated with him against this wanton
outrage, without obtaining any redress.

About sunset the Indians all left my camp, except four canoes of country
Indians, who lived four days paddle up some of the rivers: and according
to the pilot's interpretation, they did not associate with the
governor's gang, who treated them with contempt. After the governor and
his tribe had left us, these Indians came to my tent, whom I treated
with hospitality, and they encamped near us that night. The next morning
my mate advised me to hire these Indians to take me to Pearl Key Lagoon
in their canoes, taking my money, dry goods, and all my valuable
articles with me, and he and the two sailors would remain by the wreck
and take care of the heavy goods until I could procure some vessel or
large craft to transport them to that place. Fearing an attack from the
governor's party, I employed the pilot to negotiate a bargain with these
Indians, as they could not speak English. He soon made an agreement by
which I was to give two officers, captains of towns, ten yards of check
shirting cloth each, and the soldiers, as he called them, five yards
each, and five yards for the hire of a large canoe.

The bargain being closed we loaded the four canoes, together with the
pilot's, with dry goods, cutlery, &c. In the large canoe I put my chest,
charts, quadrant, clothing, nine hundred dollars in specie, and a ten
gallon keg of rum, knowing it would stimulate them to perform the voyage
with despatch, by giving them a drink on arriving at certain places we
could see ahead. The cook had boiled me a piece of salt beef to carry
with me, and put up two or three pounds of sea-bread. I took a jug of
rum in addition to the ten gallon keg, on board of the canoe in which I
embarked, and put a tea-cup in my pocket to serve as a tumbler. As soon
as the canoes were loaded I measured ten yards to each of the officers,
according to our contract, and then measured off five yards and gave it
to one of the soldiers, who threw it on the ground, when the Indians
commenced unloading the canoes. I called on the pilot for an
explanation, and was informed that the soldiers said they had to work as
hard as the officers, and would not proceed with me unless I gave them
ten yards each. I was unable to avoid the extortion, and gave them the
same quantity I had given the officers. In complaining to the pilot of
the treatment I had received from the Indians, and the crime they had
committed in stealing from me, he replied, "Tief man can't go and live
wit God, Devil must catch um." After I had given the check to each of
the twelve Indians who were to convey me to Pearl Key Lagoon, one of
them seized his and escaped to the woods, which was the last I saw of
him.

All things being ready, we made sail, myself taking charge of the large
canoe, with orders for them all to keep close company, by shortening
sail when necessary, so that they could assist one another should any
accident happen. I now began to reflect on my forlorn situation, having
five canoes under my control, twelve Indians, and only one that could
speak English, the naked ocean on one side, the wilderness on the other,
and a passage of one hundred and twenty miles to make before I could
find a civilized habitation. We proceeded about ten miles on our way,
when we ran our canoes on shore and drew them up on the beach, which was
performed in great haste to prevent their filling with water and wetting
the goods, to avoid which, I covered all the cargoes with cowhides.

Having secured our canoes, the Indians took cutlasses and dug a spring
of fresh water, which after bailing out two or three times appeared
clear, and we drank it with a real good will after we had mixed it with
rum. I had made an agreement with them, by interpretation of the pilot,
that I would treat them every time I drank myself, and at no other time,
which was considered a fair bargain. They then took my meat and bread,
and ate it all at one meal; after which they made a large fire on the
ground to keep away tigers, panthers, &c.

I landed two chests, one containing my money and clothing, the other my
most valuable goods; and wrapping myself in an old bed quilt, which
protected me from the mosquitoes, took lodging on my chests, the Indians
taking their station near the fire. The next morning we had nothing to
eat. About nine o'clock the Indians went into the woods, _progging_, as
they termed it, and after being gone some time returned with a few small
oysters and some wild honey, which was all the food we got that day. The
next morning we got under weigh and proceeded a few miles, when the wind
rising created a heavy sea, and we were obliged to run our fleet on
shore and remain until the following day.

In the afternoon the Indians unloaded two of the small canoes, (the wind
having ceased blowing,) paddled out some distance and caught a large
quantity of fish. At night they boiled three or four pots full, setting
up until twelve o'clock and devouring all the fish they had caught. I
thought they consumed five or six pounds each. The next morning we got
under weigh and proceeded on our voyage until the afternoon, when the
wind increasing, it was found necessary to lighten my canoe. I made a
signal for the pilot to come alongside, he immediately obeyed, calling
one of the captains of a town to join: when, after a short consultation,
it was agreed to take some boxes of check shirting and the ten gallon
keg of rum out of my canoe and put them on board of theirs. Strict
orders were again given to keep close together, that assistance might
be rendered to each other if necessary, the sea running high at the
time. The captain's and pilot's canoes soon out-sailed the rest of the
fleet. I made signals for them to shorten sail, which they paid no
attention to, and at sun-set they were so far ahead that we could not
discern them.

We then landed with the three canoes, made our fire and brought my two
chests ashore, as on the night previous. Not having had any food that
day I went a short distance into the woods, where I found some old
cocoa-nuts, of which I made a poor supper. Not having any one to
converse with, I laid down on my chests near the fire, my eight Indians
near me. They soon commenced a long conversation, and being somewhat
anxious to learn the subject of it, I lay listening very attentively.
Having a fire-light I could see all their movements. I heard one of them
repeat the word "_Buckra_" at the same time drawing his hand across his
throat. I then imagined they were concocting some plan to kill me. In
the morning they went into the woods, caught a land-tortoise, and laying
him on a large fire with his back down, kept him there until he was
dead, and then cutting a hole in his side, took out his inwards and
roasted him in the shell, from which we made our breakfast.

[Illustration: Indians making motions to kill Captain Dunham.]

I had discovered that these Indians had but little strength of body, in
loading and unloading canoes; in handling heavy chests and boxes, it
always took three Indians to carry one end when I could carry the
other. Wishing to try their strength, by signs I introduced wrestling,
jumping, &c. I found I could throw three of them on the ground at one
time without much trouble. I then took my pistols from my chest, fired
at targets, and performed many other exercises in order to show them my
strength was much greater than theirs, that they might be cautious how
they attacked me.

[Illustration: Indians Cooking an Alligator for breakfast.]

In the afternoon we got under weigh and proceeded a few miles, when we
encamped for the night. The next morning the Indians went into the swamp
after some food, and returned in a short time with a young alligator
three or four feet in length, which they had caught: having tied up his
mouth with a bark rope, they dragged him along on the ground by it. They
also brought some alligator's eggs, which we boiled. They placed the
middle of the alligator on the top of the fire, one holding the rope
which secured his mouth, another his tail, (he being yet alive,) and
burned him to death; after which they cut him to pieces and boiled his
flesh in the pot, from which we made our breakfast. I ate some of the
eggs, which I found very tough. Our jug of rum had been exhausted two or
three days, and the Indians had lost all their ambition. I tried to make
them understand, by signs, that when we arrived at Great River we should
find our comrades who had left us in the two canoes, and get rum and
provisions for the remainder of our voyage. Soon after, they showed me a
point of land some distance ahead, and repeated the words, "Great
River." I took a paddle in my hand and assisted them, at the same time
making signs, by lifting the jug to my mouth, giving them to understand
that they should have plenty of rum when we arrived there. When we were
within two miles of the mouth of the river the Indians suddenly ran the
canoes on shore, hauled them up on the land, unloaded all my goods and
ran toward the woods, leaving me alone on the beach. I felt much
surprised at being left in this sudden manner, half starved with hunger,
and my strength exhausted for want of sleep. After piling up all my
goods in the best manner I could, I re-loaded my pistols and prepared to
defend myself. Hunger now prompted me to look for something to eat. I
saw a large green turtle, some four feet in length, laying upon his back
a few rods from my goods. I then walked in a different direction from
the turtle, in pursuit of something to allay my hunger. Suddenly I
discovered a large, strange Indian approaching toward me, having two
small ropes in his hand, with eyes spliced in the ends, which he was
slipping backward and forward as he approached near me. I slowly
retreated some distance, casting my eyes over my shoulder, looking for
some weapon to defend myself, when I discovered a stick of wood about
the size of a man's wrist, which I quickly secured. He, advancing, asked
if I was captain of the American vessel that was cast away on the coast
a few weeks since, and if I was hungry. I told him yes: he still
approached me during this conversation; upon which I raised my club and
told him if he came any nearer to me I would kill him. He said if I
would go with him to Admiral Drummer's house, which was but a short
distance, I could get plenty to eat. I informed him that the Indians I
had hired to carry my goods to Pearl Key Lagoon, had thrown them on
shore here, left me, and that I dare not leave my goods unprotected on
the beach. He said he would tell the Admiral of my situation, and
informed me that two days ago two canoes, having some of my goods on
board, arrived at the mouth of the river, that one of them had upset in
passing the bar and lost one keg of rum and one box of dry goods, which
had sunk, and that they had been fishing for them but could not find
them. He then took his leave, and going to the turtle put the ends of
his rope on his flippers, placed the middle across his breast and
dragged him off.

Admiral Drummer hearing of my arrival here, sent an Indian slave with a
gold headed cane, which he considered as a badge of his office, inviting
me to his house to take some breakfast. I returned my reasons for not
accepting his invitation, by saying "I dare not leave my goods
unprotected." Soon after the admiral brought me some warm cocoa, smoked
meat and roasted plantains to eat. My appetite being good I made a
hearty dinner. After some time my Indians returned from the woods with
some coarse food they had gathered in the swamps. I told the admiral I
had paid these Indians in advance to transport my goods to Pearl Key
Lagoon, that they had broken their contract, and that they appeared
determined to leave me here. After conversing with them some time, he
told me they said they were half starved, had not any provisions to
proceed with, and would not go any farther. He also said they were
mountain Indians, living in the interior of the country, and were not
under his control, but ordered them to put the goods into their canoes
and carry me into the mouth of the river, where I would find the two
boats which had left me some days before.

In the afternoon I was visited by the admiral, his two wives, and a
number of his tribe. I made him and his wives many presents, and he
promised to meet me the next day at the mouth of the river, when he
would furnish me with men and canoes to carry me to the Lagoon. He left
me soon after to return to his home. We proceeded with our three canoes
into the mouth of the river, where I found the other two, one of them
belonging to the pilot, who told me that, in crossing the bar at the
mouth of the river, the captain's canoe had turned over and lost one box
of check cloth, the ten gallon keg of rum, and they had both sunk, that
they had fished for them a long time, but could not find them; also,
that the captain had lost his dinner-pot by upsetting his canoe, and I
must pay him for it, because he was at work for me. Another Indian had
wrapped himself in his canoe-sail, and had laid so near the fire he had
burnt a hole in it, and I must pay for it because he was in my employ.

Soon after my arrival in the mouth of the river the pilot told me he
would go to the admiral's house and procure me some provisions; he left,
followed by the whole gang, except one sick Indian who remained with me,
with whom I could not converse except by signs. Knowing that a keg of
rum would not sink in the water, I thought it best to search the shore
and see what discoveries I could make. After walking about one-fourth of
a mile I discovered a cow-hide secreted in the edge of the woods, which
drew my attention to it. By removing the hide I discovered the box of
dry goods and the dinner-pot for which he had demanded payment. I walked
back to our landing place, took one of the canoes and carried the box,
pot, &c. to my camp, where I opened the box and found some of the check
a little wet, but not from the upsetting of the canoe. I searched the
beach for some time, but could not find any traces of the rum-keg.
Having no companion left with me except my sick Indian, and no food to
eat, I was obliged to pick up old cocoa-nuts or any other articles I
could swallow to satisfy my craving appetite.

On the evening of the third day after my arrival here my Indians
returned much intoxicated, without the pilot. They picked up their
baggage and prepared for their departure; then laid themselves down
near the fire, and soon fell asleep. I piled up my goods as compactly
as I could, loaded my pistols and laid myself down on the top of them,
supposing they would attempt to rob me, and escape with their plunder. I
did not shut my eyes until about four o'clock and then fell asleep,
which continued about half-an-hour, when I awoke and found they were
taking their departure. I took a hasty look at my goods and found they
had only taken from me one empty jug and a few small articles of little
value.

A few hours after, the pilot, accompanied by Admiral Drummer, his two
wives, and thirty or forty Indians arrived, bringing me some provisions,
which I ate greedily. After making the admiral and his wives many
presents, I asked his price to carry me and my goods to Pearl Key
Lagoon. He told me I must pay him the same price I had paid the Indians
who had left me here--ten yards of check cloth to each man, and ten
additional yards for the hire of a large canoe belonging to himself. The
bargain being closed, the admiral and his party all left me, except
those I had employed to carry me to the Lagoon.

After the pilot had returned from the admiral's I asked him the cause of
their tarrying so long, knowing my destitute situation. He said they had
been to a drink-about of pine-liquor--a custom I did not then
understand. During my residence at the Lagoon I have been an invited
guest to drink-abouts. Pine-apples are raised in abundance in this
country, which the inhabitants of a number of settlements from time to
time collect in large quantities, and assemble at some central place,
where they convert them into a kind of pulp and then press out the
juice, put it into some old cask and let it remain a few days, when it
becomes the most palatable liquor I ever drank, and produces
intoxication when taken in large quantities.

Some months after, I learned the deception these Indians had practised
upon me. The pilot and his comrades, who had run away from me with the
keg of rum and box of dry goods, arrived at Great River two days before
me. They poured some water on the box of dry goods, and then carried the
keg of rum to the admiral's house. After our arrival at Great River they
left me on the beach, half starved, as stated above, and returned to the
admiral's, where they remained drunk about three days.

The contract being finished, we loaded the canoes and I paid the men in
advance, according to the custom of the country. I urged them to launch
the canoes and proceed on our voyage immediately, which they refused to
do, saying that night would overtake us before we could arrive at the
Lagoon. They said they would sail the next morning at daylight, and then
laid themselves down near the fire for the night. I wrapped myself up in
the old bed-quilt and took lodging on my chests as usual, the mosquitoes
so thick about us that we could not see any thing at a distance; they
annoyed the Indians so much that they lost all patience. At eleven
o'clock they launched their canoes and we proceeded on our voyage.
Before we took our departure I had given them orders to keep the canoes
near together for mutual safety. After we had gone a short distance, I
discovered by the stars that the captain of my canoe had lost his
course, and was running from the land into the ocean. I remonstrated
with him by making signs. About two o'clock I made out to convince him
of his error, when he steered towards the land, which brought us into
the trough of the sea, and I was compelled to bail water without
intermission until daylight, when I found we were within three miles of
the land, but could not discover any canoes in sight of us. We steered
our boat in near the land where the water was not so rough, and kept in
close to the shore. When we came to the mouth of Pearl Key Lagoon we saw
smoke a short distance from the mouth of the harbor, and going to the
place from which it proceeded found our comrades cooking some fish, they
had caught, for breakfast. We joined with them and took a scanty meal.
Soon after, we all got under weigh and proceeded about three miles, when
we arrived at the village of Pearl Key Lagoon, to my great joy, after a
passage of ten days. I was so thoroughly exhausted that I could not walk
from the canoe to the house without assistance.



CHAPTER V.


Pearl Key Lagoon lies in latitude 12° 10' N., longitude 82° 54' W. The
village is situated about four miles from the entrance of the Lagoon, or
_Lake_, into the sea. The village contains thirteen houses; the
inhabitants generally speak English, and are more civilized and
hospitable than the neighboring tribes. This place is the centre of
trade for the whole coast, and is often visited by English traders.

I was hospitably received by Edward Patterson, a native of Curracoa, who
had resided here many years. He had three wives living with him, all
enjoying peace and good will towards each other. Patterson gave me a
hearty welcome to his house, and provided me a room in it to retail my
goods. He furnished his table with the best food the country produced,
cleanly cooked in English style. Two days after my arrival here my mate
and the two seamen arrived from the wreck of the sloop. They informed me
that a large number of Indians had encamped near the wreck and commenced
plundering the vessel, and they considered it unsafe to remain there any
longer. They repaired the sloop's boat, put their clothing and some
light goods on board, and after a few days' hard rowing reached this
place, with health and strength much exhausted. Two or three days after
a small English schooner arrived here, and I gave the captain two
hundred dollars to carry me to the wreck and bring back all the goods we
could save from it. We sailed the next day, and arrived there two days
after. We found the shore white with cotton, the Indians having cut open
the bales and carried away the sacks, leaving the cotton loose on the
beach, which the winds had scattered all along the shore for a great
distance. They had emptied two pipes of Catalonia wine on the ground and
carried away the casks; also emptied some cases of Holland gin and
filled the bottles with rum, cut many holes in the vessel to get out the
iron, and committed many other depredations. On inquiry I found that
most of the goods had been carried to Governor Clemente's house, about
thirty miles up the Waa-waa river. We employed some Indians to carry us
in their canoes to the governor's residence, there being no roads for
travelling by land in the country. When we arrived at his excellency's
dwelling we found a collection of forty or fifty Indians assembled
there, raving with intoxication; a hogshead of rum placed in the middle
of the house, with the bung taken out and the Indians filling their
calabashes by pouring it out of the bung-hole, wasting one-half in
pouring it out. The governor's invitation to spend the night with him
was readily accepted. He promised me he would restore all my goods that
could be found about his premises. The next day I found one pipe of gin
and one hogshead of rum unopened, which he consented to restore to me.
Here a difficulty arose: the distance from his house to the landing
place at the river was about one and a half miles, and no way of
conveyance except rolling the casks. I requested the governor to furnish
me men, and I would pay them liberally for their services in conveying
the goods to the landing place. He said he could not compel them to
assist me. My mate and two men I had brought with me succeeded in
rolling the casks to the shore after a tedious job of one and a half
days. I found sixteen barrels of salt belonging to me about the
premises, which we undertook to roll to the landing, but the governor
pursued us with his axe and broke the staves of the casks, when we
abandoned them. I then picked up all the remaining goods I could find
belonging to me, sent them on board the canoes, and putting my mate and
seamen on board as sentries for the night, took lodgings at the
governor's house. In the morning my attention was drawn towards the
governor's nine wives, who were seated round a fire outside of the
house, eating their breakfast in perfect harmony. From appearance their
ages were from sixteen to sixty years. I afterwards learned that eight
of the Indians had died from the effects of the liquor which they had
stolen from the wreck.

The governor and his gang had destroyed and robbed me of about eighteen
hundred dollars' worth of property, for which I could not obtain any
redress. We embarked in our canoes and proceeded to the schooner, where
we took the goods on board, and the next day landed them at the Lagoon.
My property being all collected together, I fitted up my store and
received calls from all parts of the country, having that load-stone
_Rum_ to attract them.

Among the visiters who came to console me in my unfortunate situation,
was a Sookerman, named Hewlett, who brought me a present of two
pine-apples, for which I offered him twelve and a half cents in payment,
he refused it, saying, "I was a poor cast-away thing, and all Indians
must help me." I placed a bottle of gin upon the table and invited him
and his comrade to drink, which they readily accepted, remaining with me
until near night, when they had emptied the bottle; then taking an empty
bottle from his pocket, he had the modesty to ask me to fill it for him
to carry home. I was selling gin at this time for fifty cents per
bottle. Pine-apples are considered of little value in this country,
being worth from one to two cents apiece.

A Sookerman practices as a physician in sickness, but always abandons
his patient before the approach of death; he tells fortunes, can
discover thieves, and when the hurricane months are near approaching, he
resorts to some hill with his cutlass in his hand, which he waves in the
air to prevent the gales from destroying their crops of vegetables. He
collects an annual tax from all the inhabitants of his district, for his
services in cutting the breeze as they call it. If they refuse to pay
his tax the laws of the country allow him to seize upon any property he
can find, not excepting a man's dinner-pot. If a gale of wind happens to
sweep over the country and destroy their crops, he screens himself by
saying, "Some rascals have neglected the payment of their tithes." He
cannot see a woman in child-bed, or the woman or child under nine months
after the birth of it. He is prohibited from seeing any dead corpse, as
he imagines the sight of either of these would cause his immediate
death. The Sookerman makes all his journies in canoes, accompanied by
some of his friends. When they approach any village, he lays down in the
bottom of his canoe, and a sail is covered over him to protect his eyes,
while some of his comrades visit the houses of the villagers to
ascertain whether there are any of those dread sights in their houses.
When his wife shows signs of pregnancy she retires to a house built in
the woods, where she must remain nine months after her accouchment,
before she can return to her husband.

My landlord, Patterson, informed me that he knew a Sookerman who landed
at a village in a canoe, without sending a messenger before him to
discover the object of his danger; it being stormy weather he landed in
great haste and ran to the nearest house for a shelter, and opening the
door quickly, the first object he saw was a woman holding a child in her
arms. The shock was so great that he fell down on the threshhold of the
door and died the third day after.

Two miles from the village where I had located myself was another
settlement called Bigman Bank, a village of some renown, being the
residence of General Bigman and Admiral Walkin. Soon after I had my
store arranged to receive company I was visited by a number of young
ladies from Bigman's Bank who were considered the belles of the village.
The Indians residing in villages on the sea-coast imagine themselves far
superior to the inland tribes. They form the same opinion that a fopish
city dandy does of a country farmer, supposing him to be destitute of
common sense because he does not put all his earnings on his back and
cheat the tailor and shoemaker out of more.

After the young ladies were all seated in the house, my friend Patterson
introduced me to them, and requested me to fill some glasses with gin
and pass them round, saying, "They had never drank any gin before, and
did not know the strength of it, that we should soon see sport." After
remaining some time and drinking freely, they attempted to depart, when
one of them, named Betsey Young, a girl possessing a pleasant and
beautiful countenance found herself unable to walk, and her comrades
took her on their backs and departed apparently much mortified as I was
myself. After they returned to their homes Betsey's mother gave her a
severe reprimand for her intoxication. The next morning she bent the top
of a small tree to the ground, tied a handkerchief to it and putting one
end round her neck let the tree straighten up, which hung her in the
air. Soon after her mother discovering her unfortunate situation cut
her down and restored her to life. A few months after she became one of
the king's wives.

I was visited by a respectable Frenchman, named Ellis, residing thirty
miles up a river called Waa-waa-han, which empties into the Lagoon a few
miles from this place. The Musquito king had given him a tract of land
seven miles in length, bounded on the river, a well cultivated
plantation, producing coffee, sugar-cane, corn, yams, sweet potatoes,
all kinds of tropical fruits, and bread-stuffs in abundance. He owned
twenty or thirty slaves, and cultivated a good garden. He informed me
that he had fought for my country in the Revolution, under Count de
Grass. His nearest neighbor, named Gough, resided twelve miles from him,
who had a grant of land extending twelve miles along the river, and
owned a few slaves, but paid little attention to cultivation. I found
Mr. Ellis a very honest man, and a true friend to me. He kept a mulatto
woman as his wife, whose name was Fanny. He sent many orders to me to
bring out such articles as he wanted. He told me that one evening he was
making out an order for goods and asked his wife if she wanted any thing
added to the order. She answered by saying, "Tell Captain Dunham to
fetch me out one man-goose and one woman-goose." Mr. Ellis often sent me
garden vegetables, cucumbers, water-mellons, tropical fruits, &c.



CHAPTER VI.


Among my new neighbors I found eight runaway negro slaves who had
deserted from the Island of St. Andreas, in canoes, a distance of about
two degrees, and took refuge here. To make the reader understand the
tragic scenes that follow, I shall describe them by giving the names of
the tribes they belonged to in their native country. Two of them being
called Jim, I shall be obliged to attach to the name of each that of the
tribe to which he belonged, to distinguish the parties.

The English traders from Jamaica, who have monopolized the trade of this
country, frequently visit this place, stopping at St. Andreas and Corn
Island on their passage. They are often commissioned to apprehend
runaway slaves, return them to their masters, and receive their rewards.
These negroes were well apprised of this custom, and took great
precaution to arm and defend themselves if they were attacked. On the
arrival of any English vessel in the harbor, they retreated to the woods
and remained until the vessel left the port before they made their
appearance among us again, when they returned to the house which they
occupied when I first landed in the place, situated about fifty rods
from my store. When they went upon any excursion they were each armed
with a loaded musket and plenty of ammunition, determined never to be
taken prisoners alive. In addition to their armament, they purchased
from me five cutlasses, which they ground very sharp and carried with
them daily. Scotland and Jim belonged to the Ebo tribe in Africa, their
native country. Moody and the other Jim to the Mandingo tribe in the
same country; another negro, named Prince, was a native of Jamaica.
Scotland had a daughter with him, Moody and Mandingo Jim, both had their
wives with them. There always appeared a national antipathy existing
between the Ebo and Mandingo negroes, which caused many disputes between
them. Prince always tried to remain neutral between the parties, often
acting as umpire in the settlement of their difficulties. On the arrival
of any vessel, or any dangerous report, they compromised all their
private quarrels and united for the common defence.

The negroes soon discovered that I had no means to annoy them, and that
the English traders were very jealous of me as a trespasser on their
exclusive right to trade here, I being the first American who had
attempted to open a trade with the Indians within the last fourteen
years. These negroes soon commenced trading with me, having fifty or
sixty dollars in money, and earnestly solicited my friendly aid, by
informing them of any plot I should discover from the English traders,
or the Mosquito king's officers to apprehend them, promising on their
part to sell me all the tortoise-shell they could catch, and purchase
all their goods from me. I readily ratified the treaty for my own
safety. To use an old adage, "Those who live in glass houses must never
throw stones."

My goods were poorly protected against robbers, my store being covered
on the outside with thin slips of wood, resembling lath wove together
like a basket and admitting light through the spaces sufficient to read
or write without windows. A man could kick a hole through it in two
minutes.

Soon after I purchased a mahogany canoe, made a sail to fit her, and
took a number of excursions to the neighboring villages, purchasing
shell, gum, &c. It frequently happened that I did not see a white man in
two or three weeks. The negroes often got alarmed by hearing false
reports about their apprehension, and finding that I sometimes did not
reach home until after dark, they came to my store and requested me to
wear a white chip hat when I went on any excursion, or appeared out
after dark, that they might know me, as they had agreed to shoot any
strange white man who should approach them in the night. I complied with
their request for my own safety. I have frequently called at their house
in the night to procure a light, always calling them by name before I
approached their door, and always found them laying on their arms, ready
to repel any attack.

Some weeks after, my landlord purchased from me a quantity of goods,
and I advanced him about six hundred dollars in cash, which he agreed to
pay me in tortoise-shell, at two dollars per pound, it being worth at
that time seven dollars in New-York. He embarked in a large canoe on a
trading voyage, along the southern coast of that country, a distance of
about two degrees. Most of the able-bodied men of this and the
neighboring villages fitted themselves out for a three months' voyage to
the southward, to catch turtle. After they had all embarked I found
there was no male inhabitant left except myself, my five negroes, two or
three old infirm Indians, and a whole village of women and children. The
negroes gave me the title of governor, and agreed to submit to such laws
as I should prescribe for them. One of the laws I passed was to sell
them only one bottle of rum per day, which they agreed to, and behaved
themselves well for two or three weeks, caught some shell, and sold it
to me. Ebo Jim I found to be a good marksman with a gun, and I furnished
him often with powder and shot, with which he killed a great many wild
parrots for me to eat, from which I had a number of good meals.

After a few weeks the negroes imagining there was a plot laid to entrap
them, agreed to retire to a house they had found in the woods, where
they thought themselves secure, and live in peace together. Scotland,
Moody and the two Jims, took their leave of me and departed. Prince, the
neutral negro, remained in the village. He was a coarse carpenter, and
made some tables and sundry little articles for the Indians, and had
many friends among them. Scotland and his party visited me two or three
times after they had gone to their new habitation, and were supplied
with their one bottle of rum per day, according to agreement, when they
would depart peaceably to their new home. The fourth time they visited
me they asked me for their bottle of rum, as usual, which was furnished
them. They then left for a short time and returned with a request that I
would fill the bottle again for them, which I refused to do, by telling
them it was a breach of our agreement; but on their promising me
faithfully if I would let them have another bottle they would not broach
it until they got home, I filled it; they left, and as I supposed, had
gone home. About one hour after, a number of women and children appeared
at my door, where I had laid myself down in my hammock, reading, and
making a most hideous noise, called on me to come out, as Scotland was
killing Moody. I ran as fast as I could until I came near to the
combatants, when I saw Scotland thrust his cutlass into the thick part
of Moody's thigh, near the bone, the point running at least one foot
through. Moody being vanquished, Mandingo Jim, his comrade, then rushed
forward with cutlass in hand and struck at Scotland's head, who dodged
the blow, at the same time returning a blow with his cutlass which
struck Jim near the wrist, severing his hand from his arm, leaving it
hanging by a small string of skin and flesh. Ebo Jim then ran into the
battle with his gun cocked to shoot down his conquered adversaries, when
I interfered, and by threats and persuasion prevented any further
effusion of blood. The battle being ended, I proposed to cut off the
wounded hand, but my opinion was overruled by the company, who decided,
to use their own language, that "The hand could be mended up again." My
landlord's oldest wife, whose name was Sally, and who was considered a
great doctress among the inhabitants of this region of country, procured
some splinters of wood, dressed the wound with wild honey and bound it
up, Sally acting as head surgeon among the company. I furnished them
with candles, which they made great use of as salve to dress the wounds.
On the third morning after, Sally came to my store and told me that
Jim's hand was all spoiled, that she had ground up her butcher knife to
cut it off. She repaired to the room and requested Jim's wife to open
the wound that she might dress it, which she complied with. Sally
instantly drew her knife, which was concealed behind her, and cut the
hand off, to the great surprise of all the spectators. She continued the
application of honey and tallow for three or four weeks, when Jim so far
recovered as to be able to shoot parrots for me again. After the battle,
Scotland and Ebo Jim retired to their habitation in the woods, and in
the course of three or four weeks Moody and Mandingo Jim removed to
Bigman's Bank, about two miles from this place.

[Illustration: Triangular fight between three Colored Men.]

A few weeks after, Moody and his partner Jim came to my store on some
errant. My provisions getting short, I agreed to accompany them home to
Bigman's Bank and procure a fresh supply of such articles as I stood in
need of. I got on board of their canoe, which had but two seats, and
placed myself by the side of Moody, who commenced a long negro story
which absorbed our attention. On the way I discovered a pelican sitting
in a tree near by, and called on Jim to shoot it; he drew up his gun and
cocked it: at that instant the pelican flew from the tree before he had
time to fire: the old negro laid his gun down on the seat along side of
us, and proceeded on with his long story, carelessly holding his hand
over the muzzle. By some accidental movement, unobserved by me, the gun
was discharged, and having a lead slug in it, cut a large piece of flesh
from the thick part of his hand, and took off three of his fingers,
leaving them hanging by small pieces of skin. We made the best way we
could to the village, where I procured a pair of scissors and severed
the fingers from the hand.

Some time after, another report was circulated that some of the king's
officers had received orders to arrest these negroes, which gave them
great alarm. Ebo Jim implored me to write to Mr. Ellis, my old friend,
begging his protection until he could procure a passage back to his
former owner, which Mr. Ellis readily granted, and making me a visit
soon after, he took Jim home with him and afterwards sent him back to
his former mistress. I was much pleased to see Mr. Ellis, he being the
first white man I had seen within the last three weeks.

Moody, Mandingo Jim and Scotland, had a meeting soon after, and agreed
to forgive and forget all their former difficulties and return to their
old retreat for safety, and there unite for the defence of each other.
All their former contests being settled, I advised them to retire and
live peaceably together, and not annoy me or the Indians any more with
their private quarrels, which they faithfully promised to adhere to.

I now employed myself cheerfully in reading and other amusements for a
few days, when suddenly an Indian called at my door and told me that
Scotland wanted me to come down to the landing place, that he was lying
in his canoe badly wounded. I repaired to the place, where I found his
sail spread over his canoe, and he lying on the bottom. I perceived that
the blood had covered the whole bottom of the canoe, apparently one inch
or more deep. On examination of his body I found he had received a large
charge of shot in his right breast, which had cut out about one pound of
flesh; and another in his thigh, which had severed the bones, and cut
the flesh to pieces in the most shocking manner. I asked him how this
misfortune happened to him. He answered me by saying, "Captain, Jim and
Moody do me too bad. This morning Jim and me go a hunting together, we
come home about eleven o'clock, I feel tired and lay down on my crawl
and go to sleep; first I know, I hear a gun go pow, I look at the door
and see Jim stand there, I say, 'Jim, see what these Indians do me;' Jim
say, Moody give it to him, Moody fire his gun and break my thigh, and
then both run away and left me. By and by one Indian come, and I give my
gun to paddle me here to see you. Now I want you to get Sally and the
other woman to mend me up again."

I called on my hospitable Sally, who hastily declared she would not try
to mend Scotland up, or have him left in the village, and I must send
him back to his house in the bush: if she should mend him up again he
would kill Moody and Jim, and that she would have no farther trouble
with these negroes. There being no white person to advise with, I called
Prince, the neutral negro, and told him he must take Scotland back to
his house, help him on his crawl or bed, set a calabash of water within
reach, and leave him. Prince hesitated some about obeying my orders, but
by persuasion and some reward, he embarked in the canoe and paddled him
back to his house, helped him into it, placed him on his crawl, and at
his request built a fire, set water within his reach, loaded his gun,
and placed ammunition near him, for he was determined to defend himself
as long as he had breath.

After they had departed, I sat down on the beach and reflected on the
forlorn situation of this unfortunate desperado. He well knew he must
die from his wounds, or be murdered by Moody and Jim, or destroyed by
tigers, his hut having no doors to protect him from wild beasts. When
Prince returned I asked him if he had any conversation with Scotland on
the passage. He replied, "Yes, I told Scotland that Moody and Jim would
kill him this night. He replied, then they will say, there is a _man_
dead."

At night I retreated to my lodgings in my store, where I slept for the
protection of my property. At this time I had learned that the English
traders on the coast had held a meeting and entered into an agreement,
pledging themselves never to carry me, nor take any letters to Jamaica
or elsewhere, to help me to get away from this coast. Having no white
friends to console me, and being more than two thousand miles from my
family and friends, I retired to bed with solitary feelings. Not having
much inclination for sleep, I remained awake until about twelve o'clock,
when I heard the report of a gun, which I imagined had ended the
tragedy.

At daylight I arose and called on an old negro who had resided here with
his family many years, the Indians called him _darmer_, equivalent to
grandfather in the English language, who conducted me to Scotland's hut.
I found the old negro laying dead on his crawl, or bed, a musket ball
having passed through his body. Having met Moody and Jim, before our
arrival at Scotland's house, I compelled them to go back with me. I
accused them with having committed the murder, and endeavored to impress
upon their minds the enormity of the crime. They denied the firing of
the last fatal shot, by saying, Scotland had tied the trigger of his gun
to the side of his house, placed the muzzle against his side, and by
pulling the gun discharged the contents, becoming his own executioner. I
selected a place to bury the remains of the old negro, but having no
shovels to dig with, we were obliged to use wooden paddles, my only help
being Moody and Jim, and they both cripples, we made but slow progress.
Soon after Prince arrived, when I sent him to an Indian house some
distance from the place, to borrow a hoe, to assist in digging the
grave. The woman of the house refused to lend it, saying, "Her daughter
was sick, and if she lent the hoe to dig a grave the doctor or
_sookerman_, who attended her, would forsake the house if he knew the
hoe had been used for that purpose." We finally succeeded in digging two
or three feet deep, when I sent home and got a saw and cut Scotland's
canoe in two pieces, then placing the corpse between them, put him,
together with all his clothes in the grave, according to the custom of
the country. Previous to interring the corpse, I offered to give away
his clothes, but no person would accept of them, because the owner was
dead. The funeral ceremonies being ended, I returned home, hoping to
enjoy some repose after the long annoyance from these negroes.

Fresh reports were soon circulated that the king had commissioned one of
his officers, called Sambo Tom to arrest Moody and Jim. They hearing of
this report, determined to leave this part of the country, and pass
through a border settlement inhabited by a tribe of Indians called the
Woolwas, adjoining the Spanish settlements, and seek protection from the
Spaniards. Sambo Tom pursued, but not daring to arrest them himself, he
employed the Woolwas to do so. The negroes having arrived among the
Woolwas, hired some of them to transport them in their canoes to the
Spanish settlements; but being well armed, and having plenty of
ammunition, the Indians were afraid to attack them, and therefore
professed great friendship, agreeing to convey them where they wished to
go. Two canoes joined in this expedition, and while passing a fall in
the river the Indians upset the one containing the negroes, which wet
their guns and ammunition, when the Indians in the other canoe threw
their lances and killed them in the water. Their wives were given up to
their former owners at St. Andreas.

Little did I think when I landed in this country among a mixed race of
Indians, that I should find some _blood_ relations, so called by the
natives, among them. An Indian woman, calling her name Sally Bryant, the
wife of Scipio, one of the king's quarter-masters, called on me and told
me she was a blood-relation of mine, and claimed some present as an
acknowledgment of it on my part. I asked her what evidence she had of
our relationship. She replied, "That her father was an American." The
argument was so conclusive that I did not think it necessary to
contradict it, but gave her some small presents, which were well repaid.
Sally often volunteered to assist me in selling my goods, and brought me
many customers by saying to the Indians, "My countryman's goods are
better and cheaper than them Englishman's, and he no rogue, like them
English traders."

Soon after, a Curracoa man arrived from Bluefields, one of the
wealthiest men of that place, who brought a message from his wife, known
by the name of Mrs. Peggy, requesting me to furnish her with some goods
to sell on commission, and she would deal honestly by me, having heard
of my misfortune in losing my vessel, &c. that she wanted to see me very
much, and pitied me more because I was a relative of hers, her father
being an American. I forwarded Mrs. Peggy two or three hundred dollars'
worth of goods to sell on commission, the greatest part of which she
sold, made good returns, and I found her more honest than white
relations generally are in their trade with each other.



CHAPTER VII.

Visit to Corn Island.


I sold the Biddle's sails, which I had saved from the wreck, for eighty
pounds of tortoise-shell, payable at Corn Island, which lies in the
wide ocean, forty miles from the main land. I soon received a message,
saying the shell was ready for delivery, but I must come and receive it.
Having been advised of the danger of leaving it there, and that delays
were dangerous in dealing with those I had bargained with, and fearing I
should lose my debt if I neglected it, I determined upon making the trip
in my canoe, the only conveyance I had for getting there. The easterly
trade-winds constantly prevail here, except the westerly land breezes,
which blow during the night, and extend out a few miles from the shore.
My canoe was fitted in Indian style, having a number of small holes
bored in her sides near the top, and small cords attached to them, to
which we tied our dinner-pot, gun, or any other articles we wished to
carry with us, which I found a safe plan for preserving the necessaries
we carry on board. If the canoe happens to turn over, such accidents
having frequently happened to me, the whole crew swim along side, turn
her up, and by rolling her quickly soon discharge most of the water.
This being done, one man gets into the canoe and bails out the remainder
with his hat or paddle, while the goods remain hanging by the ropes.
After this is accomplished all hands get on board and go on.

I hired three Indians, took some provisions, a jug of rum and a
dinner-pot on board, and proceeded on the voyage. After losing the land
winds we had to paddle our canoe directly against the wind and a rough
sea. We paddled about fifteen miles, when we landed on a small desolate
island or sand bank, having no vegetation on it except half-a-dozen
small trees about the size of a man's leg. It being nearly dark, we
hauled our canoe up the beach, cooked and ate some fish, and then laid
ourselves down on the ground to sleep. Soon after, it commenced raining,
when the Indians got up and stripped themselves naked, turned the canoe
bottom upwards and put their clothes under it. I followed their example,
and we all sat down naked on the ground, leaning against some small
trees, and remained in that situation until about daylight, the rain
pouring down in torrents during the night. As the sun arose the weather
became pleasant, and we proceeded on our voyage, arriving at Corn Island
that evening, after a hard days' paddle.

Great Corn Island lies in latitude 12° 10' N., longitude 82° 11' W. and
is about six miles in circumference. The soil is fertile, producing good
cotton, abundance of provisions, and all kinds of tropical fruits;
breeds good horses, cattle, hogs, poultry, &c. and has abundance of
fish. The Island contains about twenty-five dwelling houses, and from
one to two hundred slaves. Little Corn Island lays about ten miles north
of the Great one, is uninhabited, but produces an abundance of
cocoa-nuts.

I remained at Corn Island two days, where I was treated with the
greatest hospitality, being furnished with plenty of provisions, fruits,
&c. and having collected my shell, I embarked early in the morning,
with a fair wind, for Pearl Key Lagoon. The wind soon died away and left
us with a dead calm, and we were obliged to paddle under a burning sun
during the day, which blistered my cheeks and ancles, not having any
stockings on my feet. We arrived at our home about eleven o'clock that
night.



CHAPTER VIII.

Visit to Bluefields.


Bluefields lies about twenty-five miles south of Pearl Key Lagoon on the
main land, and has a good harbor for small vessels, the water on the bar
at the mouth being about nine feet deep.

The English government took possession of it many years ago, but
afterwards exchanged their possessions here with the Spanish government
for the Bay of Honduras. Colonel Hudson, an English planter from the
Island of Jamaica, settled here with a number of negro slaves. By the
exchange of the country, he found it difficult to remove his slaves, who
had intermarried with the Indians, and he was obliged to sell them their
freedom and take their security for the payment of the debt, which was
to be paid in yearly instalments. From what I could learn from these
negroes, he never realized much from them. The inhabitants of
Bluefields are mostly called Samboes, being a mixture of negro, Indian,
and white blood.

After remaining a few months at the Lagoon, and receiving many
invitations, I concluded to make a visit to Bluefields, form some new
acquaintance, and call on my _countrywoman_, Mrs. Peggy, who claimed to
be a relation of mine because her father was said to be an American, and
ascertain what progress she made in disposing of the goods I had sent to
her to sell on commission.

I fitted up my canoe, hired three Indians, put our dinner-pot, gun,
fishing spears and some provisions on board, and launched out into the
broad ocean again. After we had proceeded about fifteen miles the wind
increased, which caused the sea to run so high that we were obliged to
run our canoe on shore, and hauling her up we built a fire, a precaution
necessary in travelling in this country to avoid being attacked by wild
beasts, and after cooking a scanty meal took lodging on the ground. We
were much annoyed during the night by musquittoes and small gnats, or
sand-flies, which allowed us but little sleep. The next morning, the
wind having moderated, we got under weigh and proceeded to Bluefields,
where we arrived about sunset.

Here we learned that a negro man had lately been employed in cutting up
a large green turtle on the shore near that place, and while stooping
down to accomplish his undertaking, a tiger sallied out of a thicket of
bushes, sprang upon his back and struck one of his claws into the back
of his neck, inflicting a mortal wound which caused his death the third
day after.

I was joyfully received by Mrs. Peggy, my countrywoman, and all her
family: also received invitations to visit most of the families of the
town. A good supper was provided for me, and I was treated with the best
food and fruits that the country afforded. The usual lodgings in this
country is hammocks, suspended across the house, in which a person
accustomed to them can sleep very comfortably. Mrs. Peggy wishing to
treat me with extraordinary kindness, I being a kinsman of hers,
furnished me with what she called a crawl, fitted up in a spare bedroom,
for my lodging.

A crawl is made by cutting four small crotched sticks of wood, three or
four feet in length, which are driven into the ground, (the house having
no floor,) and two sticks some three feet in length, placed across the
ends, then a number of round sticks, much resembling hoop-poles roughly
trimmed with the bark on them, are laid closely together, resting on the
cross-poles and covered over with a piece of Indian cloth, which forms
the sacking of the bedstead. I retired to my lodging at an early hour,
as I had not enjoyed much sleep the preceding night, and laying myself
down on the crawl thought to take some repose, but I soon found the
knots in the poles were harder than my flesh. "So coy a dame was sleep
to me, with all the weary courtship of my care-tried thoughts, I could
not win her to my bed," and I was glad to _crawl_ off the crawl and take
up my lodgings on the ground under it.

The next day Mrs. Peggy wishing to treat me with the best food the
country afforded, procured a large fat monkey, had it neatly dressed,
and roasted in good style for dinner. As it was roasting before the fire
it looked so much like a human being that I felt my appetite crawl off,
and told my good countrywoman that I had made an engagement to meet an
Indian at a village about two miles from that place, at 12 o'clock, to
purchase a quantity of shell, and wished to be punctual in my promise.
This excuse for absence obtained her reluctant consent to let me go, and
I lost my dinner. I left Bluefields the next day and returned to Pearl
Key Lagoon.

I must here relate a humorous conversation I heard at Bluefields between
two of the most respectable young ladies of that place, named Mary and
Mauger. A vessel having arrived there from Curracoa, the captain and two
others came on shore, and setting down along side of these young ladies,
commenced a vulgar conversation with Mauger. Mary having more modesty
than her companion, immediately called Mauger away from them, and said,
"Mauger, you fool gal, why you talk them Curracoa Buckras, mind by and
by, mouth fly off."

The father of the present Musquitto king must have been fond of women,
as he had no less than fourteen wives. He was a great tyrant, and was
murdered by his subjects for his tyranny over them. The English
government ordered his two eldest sons to be carried to Jamaica and put
under the care of the Duke of Manchester, then governor of that island,
where they remained about six years and obtained a fair English
education. The present king, who calls his name George Frederick, was
furnished with a large outfit from the duke, consisting of a suit of
clothes worth eighteen hundred dollars, repairs of his father's crown
fifteen hundred dollars, and four thousand dollars' worth of goods and
presents to distribute among his subjects. A sloop of war was fitted out
to carry him to the Bay of Honduras, where he was crowned, and from
thence conveyed to his own dominions.

Soon after my return from Bluefields I was visited by the new king, it
being his first visit to the Lagoon. After my introduction I told him
the English traders on the coast were determined to prevent my opening a
trade with his subjects, and solicited his protection. He readily agreed
to give me a permit, which he himself signed, and is as follows:

                                 "Pearl Key Lagoon, _July 20th, 1815_.

     "Permission is hereby given to Captain Jacob Dunham, a citizen
     of the United States of America, to touch and trade in all
     parts of my dominions in any vessel from North America.

                                 "GEORGE FREDERICK,
                                 King of the Musquitto Nation."

I made the king a few presents, and the inhabitants gave us a ball,
where we amused ourselves by dancing on a ground floor. The king left us
a few days after.

I soon became familiar with the Indians, by joining in their amusements
and obtaining a knowledge of their laws, customs, &c. I received an
invitation to go to what they call "a drink-about of pine-liquor." I
quickly dressed myself in Indian fashion, having my face ornamented with
red paint, forming curls and other figures, and my hat ornamented with
beautiful plumage plucked from the birds of the forest. I proceeded
about two miles in company with most of the inhabitants of our place to
the village of Bigman's Bank, where we were joined by the principal
inhabitants of the neighboring villages within five or six miles of that
place, who had previously brought their pine-apples, pealed them, grated
them up fine and squeezed out the juice into a sixty gallon cask, which
was full, and had been in a state of fermentation for some days past,
but had now become pure, and contained spirit sufficient to intoxicate
all those who drank much of it. Before the drinking commenced the men
gave up their knives and other weapons to the squaws. The men remained
there two or three days, but I returned home the first evening, fully
satisfied. I continued my trade with the Indians, bartering my goods for
tortoise-shell, cow-hides, deer-skins, tiger-skins, gum copal, India
rubber, &c.

Having much leisure time, I devoted a great part of it to learning
their language, customs, laws, manner of taking turtle, fish, birds and
different animals; mode of agriculture; births, marriages and burials,
of which I shall endeavor to give the reader some information.



CHAPTER IX.

Mode of Taking Turtle.


There are three kinds of turtle inhabiting these seas: the first and
most valuable are the hawk-bill, they are caught for the beauty of their
shell, which contains thirteen pieces, covering the thick callipach of
the turtle, which is from two to four feet long. The outer shell is
taken from the carcase by setting it up before a warm fire, when it
peels off. The second is called loggerhead turtle, having a shell much
resembling the hawk-bill, but not worth anything for manufacturing. The
third is the green turtle, whose flesh is very delicious, and so well
known that I consider any description unnecessary. The Indians take them
by what they call striking, having a pole about the size of a fishing
rod, with a small spear, two or three inches long, well barbed at the
point, to which one end of a small cord, about sixty feet long, is made
fast and wound round a piece of cork-wood, resembling a weavers spool.
He then stands up in his canoe, and by taking aim hits his mark and
secures his prey.

Another mode of taking turtle is by making set nets, about thirty feet
square, from large twine, they then carve imitation turtle out of soft,
light wood, which are smoked over the fire to give them a turtle color,
and then attached to the upper side of the net, where they float on the
surface of the water as buoys, while the bottom is anchored with stones.
The turtle resort to the nets to play with the wooden decoys, and during
their sport generally get one of their flippers entangled, and by
struggling to extricate themselves get into the net and are easily
taken.

The next operation of catching them is performed by three or four
Indians going to the resort of the turtles, where they build a temporary
hut to live in, each takes possession of his ground, say one quarter or
half a mile; on which he walks backwards and forwards like a sentry on
guard during the night, watching the movements of his game; and when the
turtles crawl up the beach to deposit their eggs, during the laying
season, he turns them over on their backs, where they remain until he
wants to take possession. When ready, he removes them at pleasure.

The turtle generally crawls up about ten rods from the sea-shore on the
soft beach-sand, making a large track with its flippers, and digging a
hole in the sand about two feet deep, lays forty eggs, and returns to
the sea again the same night. About fifteen nights after, the identical
turtle returns to the same nest and lays forty more eggs, then retreats
into the sea again and returns there no more during that season.

The manatee, or sea-cow, is from ten to fourteen feet long, and has a
head much resembling our common cow without horns. They often get asleep
on the surface of the water, when the Indians very carefully paddle
their canoes to them, and by throwing their small spears into them,
capture them in the same manner they do the turtle. The beef when cut up
is twelve or fourteen inches thick, having a strip of fat and lean
intermixed about every inch, being the handsomest beef I ever beheld or
tasted, and having no kind of fish taste or smell.

The coast here abounds with a variety of good fish; the larger ones are
mostly taken by spearing.

The Indians have often brought me beef of the mountain-cow, which I
found of a very good flavor. I never saw but one young one of that
species, and cannot give a very good description of them. The young one
I saw, much resembled a young fawn. They are killed by shooting.

Parrots, when cooked, taste much like our wild pigeons, and are taken in
abundance by shooting. A few tame ones are kept about the houses, which
fly into the shade-trees near the premises, and serve as stool-pigeons
to call down the wild flocks that are daily passing over the villages.

The armadilla also inhabits this country, and is considered very
palatable food. The guana, resembles the common lizard in shape and
color, and is from two to four feet in length, in this country its flesh
is considered delicious meat.

The cattle are much larger than those of the United States. They seldom
milk the cows, which run in herds, and are not domesticated. Each
inhabitant marks his calves when young; and when he wants to kill a beef
he shoots one of his own mark. They domesticate but few horses, having
scarcely any roads, the country being cut up with lakes, rivers, and
creeks, without bridges. The principal travel is performed in canoes.
The horses are well formed, but a kind of tick eats the gristle out of
their ears, which causes them to fall down on their head, giving them
the appearance of lopped eared hogs.

They have abundance of hogs and poultry, which are cheaply fed on
cocoa-nuts that grow wild along the sea-coast, and are gathered in large
quantities. The first work of the morning, performed by the Indian
women, is breaking cocoa-nuts for the hogs, and cracking some for the
dogs, then cutting up fine for the poultry. They grate up a large
quantity with tin graters, put it in pots and extract the oil, which
makes good lard for frying fish; and when it turns rancid becomes very
fair lamp oil. Forty cocoa-nuts will produce one gallon of it.

The forests abound with wild hogs of two different species, called Warry
and Pecara, having a small tit or navel on their backs. When they are
shot the Indians immediately cut out the tit to prevent its scenting the
meat. I have ate the flesh of it often, and found it equal to other meat
of the pork kind.

Plantain is the principal bread food of the country, and easily
cultivated. It also produces yams, cassauder, sweet potatoes or eddies,
and many other vegetables; but the natives are too indolent to cultivate
them. I lived seven months among them without tasting a mouthful of
bread, or even craving it.

I will now give a small extract of Musquitto laws, viz: If a man commits
adultery with his neighbor's wife, and it comes to the knowledge of her
husband, he takes his gun and goes to the forest where he finds a herd
of cattle belonging to the neighborhood; he shoots a good fat bullock
and calls on the neighbors to assist him to dress it and convey it home,
where he makes a great feast, inviting the man who committed the
offence, and all the neighbors to partake with him, when the offender,
who is bound by law, pays for the bullock and all is amicably settled.

If a man prevails on another man's wife to leave her husband and live
with him, the law compels him to pay a fine of four backs of
tortoise-shell, worth six dollars each, amounting to twenty-four
dollars, and a receipt in full is verbally acknowledged, without any
hard feelings between the parties.

I once witnessed a settlement between two men in a cause of this kind,
both parties appeared well satisfied, and parted on the most friendly
terms.

They have a singular law for the collection of debts. If I trust an
Indian goods, he belonging to another town or settlement, and he
neglects to pay me, and I find another Indian belonging to the same
town, having tortoise-shell or other produce in his canoe, I can take it
away from him for the debt, and he must look to the man who was indebted
to me, for remuneration.

Marriage contracts are made by parents while the children are infants.
Two families living in one neighborhood, one of them having a son and
the other a daughter, enter into a contract that they shall be
considered man and wife. When they are of a proper age to be joined
together, all the inhabitants of the place assemble together, build them
a house, help them to a hammock to sleep in, and a dinner-pot for
cooking, and they commence as house keepers. After living together for
some years as man and wife, the husband receives a present of a female
child from _its_ parents, which he carries home, and calls it his _young
wife_, the first wife taking the same care of it she would of her own
children until it becomes of proper age, when the husband builds a new
house for the first wife to live in, and takes the young wife for a
house-keeper. I have often been invited into Indian houses and
introduced to the family in this manner: "This is my old wife," pointing
to an elderly woman, and "This is my young wife," pointing to a girl
from six to ten years old. The old wife would smooth her hair and
appear to feel a great deal of pride in being presented to me.

On the day a woman is delivered of a child she goes to the sea-side,
wades into the water knee depth, washes herself and infant, and the next
day slings the child on her back, gets into a canoe and paddles two or
three miles to visit her friends.

I here take my leave of Musquitto laws and customs for the present.

As the plan of cutting a canal from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean,
by the way of the River St. Johns, which leads from the Atlantic into
the Lakes Nicaragua and Leon, has so much engaged the attention of the
public latterly, my thoughts have been carried back to a conversation I
had with an old Musquitto Indian about thirty-five years since.

He said, "The Indians frequently paddled their canoes up the St. John's
River, through Nicaragua Lake into Lake Leon, where they found a small
river, and proceeded to the head of it, which brought them so near the
head of another river which led into the Pacific, that they hauled their
canoes over by land from the head of one river to the other, and then
passed through into the Pacific Ocean."



CHAPTER X.


The bite of many of the snakes of this country is so poisonous as to
cause death in a few hours. During my residence at the Lagoon I was
visited by an Indian admiral, named Drummer, who resided at Sandy Bay,
some forty miles north of the Lagoon; he related the following story,
which happened a few weeks before. "He sent an Indian slave to his
plantain walk, distant two or three miles, to cut some bread-stuffs; not
returning that night, he the next morning sent his son-in-law to look
after the slave. He not returning, the following morning a number of the
inhabitants proceeded to the plantain walk, where they found the dead
bodies of the two men, and the snake which had caused their death lying
near them."

Some hurricanes occasionally visit this coast, which destroy their crops
of bread-stuffs, and cause temporary famine in certain districts.

While cruising along the coast some months after the occurrence of one
of these tornadoes, I landed within a few miles of the residence of
Admiral Hammer, in company with a man named Benjamin Downs, who was well
acquainted with the admiral. We proceeded to his house and asked for
something to eat, when he told us his bread-stuffs had all been
destroyed by a gale of wind, and addressed Downs as follows: "Ben Downs,
don't you think the Almighty little bit too bad this time?" "Why, and
what do you mean?" asked Downs. The admiral replied, "He send too much
strong breeze and broke all the plantain walk."

The country is infested with numerous insects, &c. such as mosquittoes,
sand-flies, fire-ants, chigoes, centipedes, scorpions, cock-roaches, and
an immense number of alligators. The ground in many places is overrun
with large ants, called the travelling army, which destroy whole fields
of vegetation. It is also infested by insects called dog-fleas, which
are a great annoyance at night; and the sea-coast abounds with sharks of
a very large size.

To give the reader a short description of the country and inhabitants I
shall quote from a late writer. "The Musquittoes are a small nation of
Indians, never conquered by the Spaniards, the country being so situated
as to render any attempts against them impracticable; for they are
surrounded on all sides by land, by morasses or impassable mountains,
and by sea with shoals and rocks; besides, they have such an implacable
hatred to the Spaniards, for inhumanity and cruelty in destroying many
millions of their neighbors, that they would never have any
correspondence with them; for whenever they sent any missionaries or
other agents amongst them, they _hid them_, that is, put them to death.
The king has little more than the title, unless the nation is at war;
having no revenues, and few prerogatives; being obliged in time of peace
to fish and fowl for the support of himself and family. He hath indeed
some distinction shown him, and now and then presents made him by the
governor of Jamaica, and the English traders, who frequently touch and
trade there."

I occupied my time in selling goods and purchasing shell, skins, gums,
&c. and during my leisure hours partook of the sports of the Indians,
that I might pass away the time as agreeably as my situation would admit
of, not knowing how I could get away from the country, as the English
traders [the only people who visited the Musquittoes] had agreed never
to carry me to Jamaica, or take any letters that would assist me to get
to my family, fearing I should become a rival in the trade, and be the
means of introducing others into it.

About the first of November a Captain Humphreys, one of the Jamaica
traders, arrived in the harbor, and came on shore and took supper with
me. The Indian ladies got up a ball on the occasion. After dancing was
over, Captain H. and myself took a walk together. During which he said
to me, "Dunham, your case is a hard one, the old English traders on this
coast, myself among them, have agreed never to carry you to Jamaica, or
to assist you to get away from here, or take any letters from you to
Jamaica or elsewhere, notwithstanding we consider you a very clever
fellow; but if we assist you to get home, you will lead down twenty
Yankee traders and destroy our business with the Indians." Captain H.
appeared to possess the feelings that one seaman should have for
another, and continued, "Dunham, if you can get ready to go with me in
two days I will carry you to Jamaica; but I will not carry your shell,
or any other articles you have bought of the Indians." I expressed my
sincere thanks for his kind offer, but told him I did not wish to be
taken there for nothing; that I had money, and was willing to give him
one hundred dollars for my passage. I informed him that I had kept one
half barrel of pork and a case of gin hid away for some months,
intending to purchase a large canoe with them to carry me to the Bay of
Honduras, if no other conveyance offered. He refused to accept any
compensation whatever for my passage.

The next day I packed up my shell, amounting to five hundred and
seventy-two pounds, and the remnants of my goods, and sent them thirty
miles up the river Waa-waa-han to be left with my worthy old French
friend, Mr. Ellis. I then called on my landlord for his bill for the
rent of my store, and board for two or three months. He laughed at my
being so simple as to suppose he would charge anything for it, and
peremptorily refused; but as he was indebted to me for goods, I deducted
forty dollars from his account, which he reluctantly accepted. The
vessel being now ready for sea, the inhabitants of the village all
escorted me to the beach, bringing me many presents of fruits, and
shaking me by the hand, with downcast eyes bade me a hearty farewell.

Captain H. had to proceed to the coast of St. Blas to settle with his
traders, having left goods with three or four Indians, at different
settlements, to sell for him. This circuitous route made the distance to
Jamaica five or six hundred miles further, stopping at a number of
places on the Musquitto Shore, viz: St. John's River, Boco Toro and
Crekimala, where we took on board a quantity of sarsaparilla and sundry
other articles, and then proceeded to St. Blas. On our arrival there we
were visited by a large number of Indians in canoes, who commenced
trading with us. One of them acting as clerk took charge of the goods
and dealt them out to the others by fathoming them off with his arms,
this being their custom of measuring cloth. The goods being mostly
staple articles, the prices there seldom varied. Shell had a fixed price
of one dollar per pound. The captain paid little attention to the trade.
A small pump was left in a hogshead of rum, from which the clerk filled
the bottle and passed it round as often as it was called for, and every
few hours he would call the captain and give him a handful of money,
saying, "Here is so much," which he would put in his pocket, neither of
them counting it, nor would the captain ask anything about the trade.
Often the captain and myself took a canoe and went off fishing, leaving
fifty or sixty Indians on board dealing with the clerk, who had the sole
control of the trade. When we had finished trading at one place the
Indians piloted us to another harbor on the coast, where we proceeded in
the same manner. We sailed along the coast more than one hundred miles,
touching and trading at the different towns. Two of the natives took
passage with us for Jamaica, where we arrived about the first of
December. Here I tasted bread for the first time in eight months, having
lived on Indian bread-stuffs during that time, and seldom thinking of
any other, being well satisfied with that food. On our arrival at
Montego Bay the captain took me home to his house, and treated me very
politely.

Soon after my arrival in Jamaica I found a brig bound to Baltimore, and
took passage in her; I arrived there after a voyage of twenty-five days,
and sailed for New-York, where I had an interview with my owners, and
obtained a furlough from them for a few days, that I might visit my
family; after which I returned to New-York and proceeded back to the
Musquitto Shore.



CHAPTER XI.

Sloop Governor Tompkins.


In February, 1817, I took charge of the Sloop Governor Tompkins, of
thirty-four tons, belonging to the same owners that the Biddle did;
being promoted two tons in the size of the vessel. I took on board an
assorted cargo, bound for Old Providence, Corn Island, and Musquitto
Shore. I took with me a young man named Samuel B. Warner, to serve as
clerk of our store at Pearl Key Lagoon, where I intended to resume the
trade I had left. My crew consisted of a mate, two seamen, and a cook.
In the Gulf-stream we encountered a violent gale of wind, shipped a
heavy sea, which swept our deck and washed the cook overboard, and I
never saw him again. I made a passage of seventeen days to Old
Providence, where I met with a heavy sale of goods; from thence I went
to Corn Island, and to Pearl Key Lagoon. There I hired part of an Indian
house, landed some goods, and Mr. Warner opened a store. From thence I
sailed for Cape Gracios a Dios, and visited the king, who entertained me
with a ball and other amusements. I then proceeded back to the Lagoon,
touching and trading at Sandy Bay, where I was visited by a large number
of Indians, who brought on board tortoise-shell, tiger-skins,
deer-skins, India rubber, gum copal, &c. which I bought in exchange for
goods. The chiefs and their subjects got very drunk on the occasion, and
as it was difficult to suppress the quarrels that arose among them, I
was obliged to get my vessel under weigh to rid myself of them. I
returned to the Lagoon, where Mr. Warner had opened a very good trade
with the Indians, and appeared well pleased with the country.

I hired three Indians to man my canoe, and took a trip up the river
Waa-waa-han, to visit my old friend Mr. Ellis, with whom I had left the
tortoise-shell and other articles previous to my embarking with Captain
Humphreys for Jamaica. On my passage up the river I called on Mr. Gough,
an Englishman, whom I have spoken of in a former chapter; I remained but
a few hours with him, having but little leisure to view his plantation,
which had the appearance of a good soil, but lacked cultivation. When I
arrived at the house of Mr. Ellis I was received with a hearty welcome,
and treated with the best the country afforded. After taking some
refreshments we took a walk over his grounds, which were well
cultivated, having a beautiful orange walk, with two rows of trees set
out in straight lines for nearly half a mile, forming a most
delightfully shaded road. I purchased two or three tons of coffee from
him, which he had raised on his place, and kept on hand for want of
purchasers, the Jamaica traders always refusing to buy it. He told me
he had plenty of cattle on his premises, which could be made very useful
in clearing the ground, by breaking them in to work with ploughs. I told
him to make out a memorandum, and I would bring him out ploughs, chains,
ox-yokes and such other articles as he wanted. He gave me a list of what
he needed, which I furnished him on the next voyage, when he broke in
his cattle, cleared up new lands, and used his ploughs with very good
success for many years afterwards. Mr. Ellis agreed to send my shell,
goods, and coffee, down to the Lagoon in canoes, which promise he
punctually performed. I remained with him during that night. In the
morning, soon after I arose, I heard the bellowing of a cow near the
house, and running out of the door a laughable scene attracted my
attention. Mr. Ellis had domesticated a large ring-tailed monkey, and
raised a long pole near the house, on the top of which was put a box for
the monkey to sleep in; having fixed a small chain around his neck, with
the end fast to the pole, jocko was furnished sufficient length of chain
to go up and down at his pleasure. Mr. Ellis kept two or three docile
milch cows about his premises, and one of them having ventured near the
monkey's pole, he ran down and seized the end of her tail, taking a
couple of turns round the pole and holding fast to the end of her
switcher; the poor cow struggled and bellowed to get her liberty, but
jocko held on until his master appeared with a cane, when he reluctantly
gave up his sport.

[Illustration: Jocko amusing himself with a Cow.]

I took leave of my old friend and proceeded down the river. The weather
being clear and warm, the woods and banks swarmed with macaws, parrots,
bill-birds, and others of variegated plumage. An immense number of
monkeys, chattering and jumping from one tree to another with great
rapidity, formed a most pleasing and lively scene; added to which was
the fragrance of countless flowers.

I arrived at the Lagoon that evening. The next day I took my coffee,
shell, &c. on board, arranged my business with Warner, took leave of my
Indian friends, and sailed for home.

Nothing very material happened on the way except contrary winds, which
prolonged our passage. We arrived in New-York after an absence of one
hundred and one days from the time we left that city, having made a
profitable little voyage, which always procures a captain a good
reception from all concerned in it. I then returned to Catskill, where I
found my family and friends all well. Finding the Tompkins too small and
uncomfortable, I requested the owners to purchase a larger craft. After
remaining six days with my family, I received a letter from them, saying
they had exchanged the Tompkins for a more commodious vessel, and
requesting me to come to New-York as soon as circumstances would permit.
Two days after the receipt of the letter I arrived there.



CHAPTER XII.

Schooner Price.--First Voyage.


About the last of May, 1817, my former owners of the Biddle and Tompkins
purchased the Schooner Price, built at Baltimore, sixty-eight tons
burden. On my last two voyages I found all the harbors along the Spanish
Main so destructive to a wood-bottomed vessel, that in a few months it
would be entirely destroyed. The fresh water emptying into the sea at
these places make the water brackish, which increases the quantity of
worms. The Price being iron fastened, obliged us to cover her bottom
with zinc instead of copper, which was accomplished in a few days. We
then put an assorted cargo on board suited to that market.

On the second day of June I sailed from New-York, bound to Old
Providence, St. Andrews, Corn Island, and Musquitto Shore. Nothing
worthy of notice took place on the passage. We arrived at Old Providence
in seventeen days, where I commenced a brisk trade. The inhabitants
urgently requested me to give them a ball. I had on board a drummer and
a cook who played the flute; they had a fiddler and triangle player on
shore. I complied with their request, they agreeing to make all the
necessary arrangements, as my time was occupied in selling goods, (such
as calicoes, jackonets, muslins, shoes, ribbons, jewelry, cologne water,
pomatum, beads, liquors, &c.) having an invoice of one hundred and sixty
different articles to be sold at retail. During the day the managers of
the ball came on board, and I furnished them with coffee, sugar,
crackers, cheese, &c. Soon after sunset I went on shore, where I found a
motley group of English, Spanish, and Curracoa natives of all colors. I
was introduced to a young white lady as a partner, who had been educated
in Jamaica, and understood the rules of country dances. According to the
custom of the place, the person giving a ball is expected to lead the
figure during the whole night. I conformed to the fashion of course. On
examining the room, I soon found it had no floor, but being an old
sailor, thought I could beat my way, which I accomplished in as gallant
a manner as did Lord Nelson when he fought through the combined fleet.

I had a trunk full of sheep skin morocco ladies' shoes on board, which
cost at auction thirty-one cents per pair, I sold most of them here at
two dollars per pair; many of them were danced out in one night. I sold
many other articles at about the same per centage.

By the custom of the Island, every person invited to a ball must give
one in return. One of the ladies who attended my ball gave one two
nights after. Her outlay for goods bought from me was over sixty
dollars.

Two or three days after the second ball I sailed for St. Andrews, where
we arrived the same evening. Immediately on our anchoring a large number
of the inhabitants of the Island came on board, ours being the first
American vessel they had seen there in fourteen years. I commenced a
heavy trade with them. This Island contains three times the population
of Old Providence. As these Islanders had heard that I gave a ball at
Providence, it would not do to refuse them one. It being agreed upon, I
told them to appoint their own managers, and then send on board and get
such articles as they required to treat their company with, not wishing
to be annoyed until they were ready; and as I was a stranger, I did not
want to have anything to do with giving the invitations. At the
appointed hour I went on shore, a horse and servant were waiting to
convey me to the ball-room, where I found a polished English lady, who
was to act as my partner, and lead the figure during the night, which I
was compelled to submit to until the ball ended. There was a floor in
the ball-room here, which made our dancing less laborious. We kept it up
briskly until 12 o'clock, and then partook of some refreshments. We then
recommenced dancing, and kept perseveringly at it until sunrise next
morning. But my trouble had just commenced. More than one half of the
free inhabitants were colored, whom I afterward found to be my best
customers, none of whom had been invited to the ball except an old man,
by the name of Bent, the wealthiest man on the Island, owning about
ninety slaves, whom the whites dare not overlook. I satisfied the
colored people that it was no fault of mine that they had not received
an invitation to my ball, at the same time treating them with the
greatest politeness, inviting them on board to partake of refreshments.
They, in order to be revenged on their white neighbors, gave a ball two
or three nights afterward, passing a resolution that no white man except
Captain Dunham should be invited.

At the appointed time a horse and waiter were sent to convey me to the
dance, which I knew it was my interest to attend. On arriving at the
place I found everything in good order, and was received with the most
facinating flourishes of high life, and introduced to a partner
three-fourths white, dressed in silk. I was called upon again to lead
the figure for the night. At 12 o'clock partook of refreshments, and
retired at four next morning, highly delighted with my prowess in
dancing.

By this introduction I secured all the trade of the colored population,
and retained it until I left, which was several years after the dance.

We next sailed for Corn Island, having parted with all the inhabitants,
both white and black, on the most friendly terms. We arrived in two
days, and commenced trade, as usual; we procured hogs, poultry, and
fruits in abundance. Our trade was unexpectedly interrupted by a gale of
wind which parted my largest cable. I lost the anchor, was driven over
a reef of rocks, broke the rudder, and found myself at sea in a gale,
which lasted about three days; after which we rigged a spar to act as a
substitute for a rudder, by which means we regained the harbor. There we
repaired the damage, and sailed for Pearl Key Lagoon, where I found Mr.
Warner in good health and spirits, and my Indian friends overjoyed to
see me. I landed many goods here, that I might get at my assortment and
recruit our store, and sold some articles to the inhabitants.

We then sailed for Cape Gracios a Dios. On our arrival, the king, who
had built himself a new house, came on board, with some of his admirals
and other great men, whom I treated with liquor until they were all
badly intoxicated. I bartered some goods in exchange for shell, skins,
gums, &c. and proceeded down along the coast to Bluefields, touching and
trading at the different harbors, and then returned to the Lagoon, where
I landed the remainder of my goods at our store, and then sailed for
New-York. Nothing material happening on the passage, I shall omit a
description of it. On arriving in the city I was well received by my
owners and friends, having made a prosperous voyage. After discharging
my cargo, I visited my family in Catskill, where I spent ten days, and
then returned to New-York to prepare for another voyage.



CHAPTER XIII.

Schooner Price.--Second Voyage.


Finding our trade increasing, my owners and myself thought it would be
much advanced by sending out a small vessel to be stationed on the
coast, and employed in running along the shore selling goods, and
collecting return cargoes for the Price, viz: tortoise-shell, hides,
skins, gums, sarsaparilla, &c. The owners of the Price then purchased a
small sloop, called the Traverse, of near nineteen tons burden, having a
mast fifty feet long. We sheathed her bottom with zinc, and rigged her
for sea. My old mate, Captain N. Soper, volunteered to take command of
her; a man from Troy, named Thomas Teft, shipped as mate, and a man from
Staten Island as seaman. I had an Indian boy who was bound to me as an
apprentice, who volunteered as cook. The Price was armed with a
six-pound cannon, well mounted, and the Traverse with a swivel. We soon
got our cargoes on board, and insured both vessels. The intention was to
keep company as long as the weather would permit. Both were placed under
my control. The weather being very cold, and our little vessels deeply
loaded, a heavy sea in the harbor had coated them with ice.

On the nineteenth day of February, 1818, we got under weigh, the
wharves being lined with spectators to see a vessel of eighteen tons
commencing a voyage of over two thousand miles. They gave us three
hearty cheers, which we answered by discharging our cannon. A fair wind
carried us to sea, where we kept company for three days, when a violent
gale separated us. I cruised the whole of next day in search of the
Traverse, without finding her. Thinking it useless, I resumed my course
and proceeded to the Island of Old Providence, where we arrived after a
passage of seventeen days, and opened my trade as usual. The Traverse
arrived four days after, having sprung her mast near the deck.

The next day we hauled the Traverse along side of the Price, raised her
masts with the schooner's purchases, sawed off the broken part, about
five feet, took her sails on shore and shortened them to fit the mast,
put them in good order for sea, exchanged part of her goods and gave her
a suitable cargo to retail along the coast. Two or three days after I
gave the captain orders to proceed to the Main and stop to trade at
sundry ports, named in his instructions, and from thence proceed to St.
Blas, where he would meet me in the Price. I took Henry T. Smith with me
to Lagoon, to act as clerk in our store, in place of Mr. Warner, who
wished to return to New-York. I remained here two or three days, and
then sailed for the Lagoon. On my arrival Mr. Warner was in good health,
and much pleased to find himself released by Mr. Smith's taking his
place as clerk in the store. We landed the most of our heavy goods,
made every necessary arrangement for business, and giving the proper
directions, I proceeded to Bluefields, sold a few goods, cancelled some
old debts, and procured a pilot for the coast of St. Blas, for which we
soon after sailed.

I obtained information at Corn Island, at the Lagoon, and at Bluefields,
of the English traders having heard that I intended to extend my trade
to that coast. They had employed an agent whom they had supplied with
the necessary articles of trade, and told the inhabitants that if they
traded with that Yankee captain they would withdraw from them; and also
told them that the Yankee captain might sell them some articles a little
cheaper at first, but that he was a worthless fellow, and could not
continue the trade long, when they would be left destitute, as no
Englishman would supply them. The English traders urged the Indians to
put myself and crew to death, and burn our vessel. My friends who gave
me the information, strongly remonstrated against my going to St. Blas,
saying that my life would be sacrificed in so doing. In a conversation
afterwards with one of the English traders, I spoke of the cold-blooded
murder they wished the St. Blas Indians to be guilty off, which he
denied, but admitted that they told the Indians to destroy our goods.

However the minds of the Indians might have been operated upon at the
time of hearing their murderous proposals, they made no attempt to harm
me.

[Illustration: Captain Dunham landing at St. Blas.]

On our arrival on the coast of St. Blas, not knowing the channel, we
came to anchor near an island, where we discovered a number of canoes,
and thirty or forty Indians on the shore. Being short of water, I
concluded to take a small water-keg into my canoe and land among the
Indians for the purpose of procuring some, and also to get a pilot, if
possible, to take the vessel into the harbor. Before leaving the vessel
I told the mate that the Indians had such an inveterate hatred against
the Spaniards, that if any of their vessels were cast away on this coast
they would massacre every person on board; that I thought they had never
seen the American flag, and bade him keep a good look-out with the
spy-glass, and not hoist our colors until he saw me safe among the
Indians, fearing they might suppose it to be Spanish, or some enemy's
flag. My mulatto pilot and sailor, and myself, then proceeded toward the
island where we had seen the Indians. When within about one hundred rods
of the shore there were about thirty bows and arrows pointed towards us.
On looking back to the vessel I saw the colors hoisted and streaming
with the wind. It being too late to retreat, and perceiving that the
water was only about two feet deep, I jumped overboard, and told my men
to follow; having no other clothes on save our shirts and pantaloons,
the water was not particularly annoying. I took my hat in my hand and
extended my arms full length, showing thereby that there were no weapons
about me. As I approached the shore they all laid down their bows and
arrows and met us with a hearty welcome. The Indian arrows are made of
strong reed, four or five feet long, pointed with nails or spikes about
fourteen or fifteen inches in length, which they sharpen with files or
cold chissels. With these they kill wild beasts, fowls and fish. When
shot into the water the reed is so buoyant that the light end swims
about one foot above the surface.

Previous to my departure from the Price, my Mate took a scissors, a
knife, and some other articles out of the goods belonging to the cargo,
and left them lying carelessly about the vessel. I requested him to put
them back into the packages, together with any articles he might use;
but he told me very abruptly that _he_ purchased them in New-York. Some
angry words passed between us. As he was an intemperate, bad
dispositioned man, I had reason to suppose that he hoisted the colors
for the purpose of revenging himself on me; thinking, doubtless, that
the Indians would murder me, though he excused himself by saying he
thought I had landed before he hoisted them.



CHAPTER XIV.


St. Blas has no king, but is a kind of Patriarchal government, being
ruled by the old men and the sookerman of the Island, whose laws are
obeyed in the strictest manner. The sookerman acts as physician, and
also foretells future events. Theft or adultery is seldom known in that
country. The civilized world talk of liberty, but these savages alone
truly enjoy it. They pay no tithes or taxes, require no locks to protect
themselves from thieves, have neither taverns nor boarding houses, every
traveller being made welcome at whatever house he may happen to stop.
There he will receive such entertainment and fare as is provided for the
family. Their hospitality is the same, whether he remains a day, a
month, or longer. I never heard of but one woman of that tribe who had
issue by a white man. The father of the child was a captain of a Jamaica
trading vessel. When the Indians discovered her situation, she was
separated from the tribe, placed in a house built for her in the woods,
entirely deprived of all kind of intercourse with them; being considered
as an outcast. When the child was three or four years of age it was put
on board of a Jamaica vessel and banished from the country.

In describing my next voyage I shall narrate many of the customs and
manners of this region. The Indians brought their canoes alongside of
our vessel and piloted us safely into the harbor, called Little Cordee,
where we found good anchorage; we were immediately visited by some
thirty or forty canoes. One of the Indians asked the privilege of
trading for me. I told him he might if he got permission from the old
men and sookermen, as we had not yet their leave so to do. He paddled to
the shore, and returned in a short time with three old men and a
sookerman, from whom we received the license which we desired.

I gave them plenty to eat and drink; they in return invited me on shore,
where I was well entertained. My Indian trader then commenced the
business for me by fathoming off cloth, many articles of staple goods,
such as shirting, check, powder and shot, &c. all of which had been sold
at one uniform price for many years. The Indians also had always
received one dollar per pound for tortoise-shell. When any goods
differed from such as the English traders had sold them, my Indian agent
would ascertain the price from me and proceed in his usual way in
bartering and selling. It was entirely unnecessary for me to trouble
myself about his bargains. He would come to me with his hands full of
silver change, saying, here captain, is so much money, and without
further remark would again turn to his business of salesman.

After remaining three or four days, my clerk asked me if he might be my
trader during the season of taking turtle, which lasted four or five
months. His price was ten pounds Jamaica currency, about thirty dollars.
This being pretty reasonable, I answered him in the affirmative, telling
him to select such goods as he wished for his trade, I at the same time
taking an account of them, although I dared not let him know that I had
done so. I furnished him with the means of preserving his goods from the
rain, supplied him with steelyards, and every article necessary for the
trade on that coast. The goods amounted to about six hundred dollars. He
then volunteered to pilot us along the coast free of expense, except his
board and liquor.

We at length got under weigh, having about twenty canoes in tow,
proceeded a few miles and came too at night under the lee of an island.
In the morning we started again, and arrived at the River Caledonia;
here we obtained permission to trade, the inhabitants giving us a hearty
welcome. After remaining here two or three days we sailed for the River
Mona, opening our trade immediately on our arrival, having obtained such
license from the proper authorities, remained but a few days, and sailed
for the River De Ablo, or River Devil. Here I engaged an Indian named
Billy, who had sailed with Captain Humphrey, an English trader, some two
years before. Billy was much pleased to see me, and immediately
commenced trading in my service, upon the same terms as those on which I
had engaged the former Indian, Campbell; he selected his goods and took
about the same quantity as Campbell had, and was fitted out much in the
same manner, having everything necessary to carry on the trade during
the season. After remaining here three or four days, we sailed back to
the River Cordee, where I had ordered Captain Soper to meet me with his
sloop.

I remained at Cordee about two weeks, waiting for the appearance of the
vessel. On her arrival we took out all the cargo she had collected along
the coast, and put it on board the Price, and took what was left on
board the Price and put it on board the Traverse, and, according to my
letter of instruction, gave Captain Soper command of the Price, with
directions to proceed to New-York; he took Mr. Warner with him. On
taking charge of the Traverse myself, I retained Mr. Tefts, my Indian
apprentice boy, also an Indian lad who was one of the Musquitto king's
brothers with me, and one of the St. Blas Indians, who acted as seaman.
The schooner soon sailed for New-York, and we for Corn Island, where we
arrived in four days. After touching at Corn Island, we sailed from
thence to Cape Gracios a Dios, where we were visited by the king, who
invited us to his house, which I accepted of. Remaining here some days,
my little sloop was overloaded with Indians, eating and drinking, the
king being constantly intoxicated. He gave me directions not to trust
any Indian on his account without a written order from him. He came on
board one day and asked me for the amount of his account, which was
near one hundred dollars. He examined it silently, then ordered his men
into his canoe and abruptly left the vessel. I felt somewhat surprised
at his leaving in this manner without an explanation.

In the afternoon some Indians came on board who had been in the habit of
bringing the king's verbal orders for goods, and said the king had sent
them to get a ten gallon keg of rum for him; not wishing to offend him,
I asked the Indians where he, the king, was, they replied, "We must
paddle up the river a little bit, and then ride horse a little bit."
Determined to know if there was any fraud in the verbal order, I started
with the Indians to see the king.

We paddled up the river about four or five miles, when we landed. A
horse was brought for each man; our leader mounted, taking his ten
gallon keg up before him; each was supplied with a bunch of plantain
leaves for a saddle. The night being dark, and the rain falling in
torrents, we groped our way through thick woods, my horse acting as my
guide. I kept my hand extended before my face to protect my eyes from
the limbs of the trees for some distance, when we arrived at a small
creek; we dismounted and crossed over in a canoe, the Indians swimming
their horses across. Being mounted again we rode about three miles
further through a level prairie land. The foot-path being covered with
water about four inches deep, and the rain falling incessantly. At
length we arrived at the king's house, his majesty not having a dry
thread of clothes about him. On entering I found an Indian by the name
of Thompson, an old acquaintance, acting as door-keeper, who conducted
me into the house and presented me with a hammock; and being very much
fatigued, begged him not to tell the king that I had arrived. He
promised he would not. Soon after I got in my hammock, the king, who lay
in an adjoining room, called for a drink of water, which was brought.
The servant at the same time telling him that the American captain had
arrived (that being the name by which I was known on the Indian coast.)
He immediately arose, told his servants, called quarter-masters, to
bring the women for a dance. To please him I had to put on an Indian
dress, have my face painted, and my head ornamented with feathers. The
king took the lead in the performances, which lasted until morning; he
ordered a bullock to be killed for breakfast, which made a very good
repast, after which I retired, much fatigued, to a hammock, where a
sound sleep soon refreshed me. The king retired to rest, slept until
dark, when, springing up suddenly, he ordered his quarter-masters to
bring the horses. I remonstrated with him, saying, "For pity sake, king,
do not take me through that wilderness this night." Rubbing his eyes, he
declared, "It is not night, but morning." After some time, being
convinced of his mistake, he ordered the quarter-masters to collect the
women again for another dance, which was kept up until 11 o'clock that
night, when I begged permission to retire.

Next morning the king apologized to me by saying, since he had detained
me so long, I should be remunerated with some tortoise-shell, for "I
know," said he, "you would willingly stop any where, two or three days,
if you could get a few pounds of tortoise-shell." Our horses were soon
brought, rigged as usual, with a bunch of plantain leaves for a saddle,
and a bridle made of bark. The king mounted, one of his queens being
placed behind him on the same horse; the gristle of his horse's ears
being removed, caused them to lap down on his head much like a
long-eared hog. I mounted the other. The mud and water was at least four
inches deep on the road, being the rainy season. We proceeded about a
quarter of a mile, when the king dismounted, and getting up behind me,
called to his waiters to get him a large stick, which he applied to my
poor old horse's flank without mercy; off we went in a smart gallop, the
mud and water flying in every direction. Having proceeded about a mile
we came to a small lane leading from the main road, which we were
travelling, along which were three small houses to be seen. The king
halted, saying to me, "Go up here and I will get you some shell." I rode
with the king to the front of the house, where a young Indian girl,
apparently eighteen years of age, stood near the door. The king
addressing me, asked if I did not think her handsome. My answer, of
course, was in the affirmative. The king then commanded his
quarter-masters to catch her and throw her on behind me. The girl having
an old dress on, ran into the house and returned with a clean one, the
quarter-masters then lifted her on behind me astride the horse. The king
kept in the rear to drive my horse into a canter, the mud and water
flying into our eyes at such a rate that I could hardly keep the road.
When we came to the creek the horses swam across, while the king, the
two women, and myself crossed in a canoe; the king trying to upset us,
which I prevented almost by main force, as the creek swarmed with
alligators. Having passed it, we travelled through woods for two or
three miles, when we embarked in a canoe for the Cape. Gladly did I
return to my vessel. The king, not unmindful of his promise to make me
some remuneration for my detention, sold me some thirty or forty pounds
of shell, which he owed to an English trader.

[Illustration: Mosquito King and Captain Dunham taking an airing.]

There was at the time two English trading vessels lying in the harbor. I
had one passenger on board, belonging to Corn Island. One day the
English captains, my passengers, and myself, being overtaken by a rain
storm on shore, took shelter under an old woman's roof, where she was
engaged in frying fish for her dinner. Her house was built like many
houses in that country, simply of a thatched roof, supported by
crotches, having no sides. As we were assembled here, the notion got
into our heads to try the old lady's temper and placing ourselves at
the four corners of her domicile, clapped our shoulders under the
roof and bore it off, leaving the poor old woman frying her fish in the
rain, which soon put out her fire, while we received a volley of curses
for our sport. We, however, returned it to its proper place, breaking
the poor old creature's crockery in so doing, which was all she
possessed. We invited her on board our vessels the next day, telling her
we would make good her loss; nor were we unmindful of our promise when
she made her appearance. We supplied her with plates, cups, saucers,
knives, forks, &c. so that her house was better furnished with these
articles than any in the town. We also threw in a bottle of rum to make
the affair perfectly satisfactory to her.

After remaining at the Cape a few days, where I purchased some shell, a
considerable quantity of India rubber, gum copal, deer and tiger-skins,
and deer-horns, paying for them in goods, we proceeded to Sandy Bay,
where, after bartering four or five days for such articles as we got at
the Cape, we next sailed for Great River, continuing our bartering for
the same articles, and then started for Corn Island, intending to take
in provision there, it being decidedly the best place for that purpose
in the country. From thence we sailed for the Lagoon, where having
landed such goods as were needed to keep a good assortment in our store,
we proceeded along the coast, touching at Bluefields, Martina,
Buckatora, and some other small ports, and then returned to Corn
Island. Here I met the schooner Price, which had arrived two days
previous, direct from New-York, with a new supply of goods. Captain
Soper informed me that he had lost one man overboard on his passage
home. I found on board the Price a man named Mores, who had some
interest in the cargo. I gave the command of the sloop to Mr. Tefts, and
took charge of the schooner again. I supplied Captain Tefts with a new
assortment of goods, and ordered him to proceed along the Musquitto
coast and procure all the return cargo he could, and from thence to St.
Blas, where he could meet me in the Price. I proceeded with the Price
direct to St. Blas, where I repainted her. Here Mr. Morse was taken sick
and died, and we buried him on an uninhabited island, and then sailed
for the harbor of Cordee, where I found my Indian trader, Campbell, who
came on board and brought the returns for the goods I had left with him
to sell. He brought on board a quantity of shell, a few bags of cocoa, a
purse of money, and the remnants of the goods, and told me he had three
or four canoe loads of fustic, laying on the beach, which he had
purchased for me. He laid the shell, cocoa, return goods, and the purse
of money down on the deck, telling me that was all he had. I asked him
if he had taken out his wages. He said he had, and we considered all
accounts between us settled, without making any figures. We remained
here two or three days, and purchased a few thousand cocoa-nuts, and
then sailed for the River De Ablo, where I met my other trader, Billy,
who came on board with his returns, which being the same as Campbell's,
I settled his account in the same manner, with one exception. I asked
him if he had taken out his wages, he answered, "Not all," when I handed
back the purse of money to him, and he took out fourteen dollars, and
then returned it, saying, "Now we are even," which was as good as a
receipt.

Campbell was on board acting as pilot, and he and Billy told me they
must go and see my country, which request I readily granted. I purchased
more cocoa-nuts, and took them on board when the Traverse arrived. I put
all the goods I had left of her cargo on board the schooner Price, and
prepared to sail the next morning. That evening we were visited by all
the old men and sookermen in that vicinity, together with forty or fifty
young men; the bottle of rum was passed round among them often during
the night by Campbell or Billy, the old men relating stories and giving
their charge to my traders, who were going to New-York with me. The St.
Blas Indians have a peculiar custom about talking: when an old man is
speaking, all the company are silent, not one lisp is heard from any
other person, except at the end of every sentence, when each listener
says, "Ah!" When one old man has ended his story another commences
without any interruption. I laid down to sleep at eleven o'clock and
slept till five in the morning, when I awoke and found them talking.
Some time after, I called one of the Indians aft who spoke English, and
asked him why this talk had continued all night: he answered me by
saying, "The old men had told Campbell and Billy that they would be the
first of their tribe whoever visited my country; that they must keep
sober and honest, and conduct themselves like gentlemen."

Having all things ready for sea, I took leave of the old patriarchs by a
hearty shake of the hand, and proceeded on my voyage.

Nothing material occurred until we got into the latitude of 24°, when
our main-mast was carried away and we rigged a temporary jury-mast:
having a long fore-sail, we were enabled to keep the schooner on her
way; and being a sharp Baltimore clipper, she made pretty good headway
under her fore-sail. Three days after, while laying too in a gale of
wind, we lost one of our seamen, named William Latch, overboard. After a
passage of thirty-five days we arrived in New-York. My Indians knew not
what cold meant, and having some flannel on board, I made them some
shirts on the passage, and gave them some old cast-off woollen clothing
to protect them from the wintry weather of our coast. When we approached
the cold latitudes we had a warm south-east wind, which brought us into
the harbor of New-York without experiencing much of the severity of the
weather. The first night after our arrival I went to my boarding house,
where I tarried until early next morning, when I went to visit the
schooner. As I approached the wharf where she lay, I saw Campbell
looking at his fingers, turning his hands over and viewing them very
closely. I accosted him in his accustomed manner of speaking, saying,
"Campbell, what de matter?" he replied, "My God! captain, somet'ing bite
me and I can't see 'im." His own country being infested with
musquittoes, sand-flies, fire-ants, and sundry insects, which he could
see, this invisible sting of cold he could not account for. I took them
to a clothing store and rigged them with winter dunage. I then took them
to a boarding house, and in the evening the mate escorted them to the
play-house, thinking he could astonish them. The next morning I asked
Campbell how he liked the play, he replied, "Too much fight; one old man
go dead." In spite of all my efforts to the contrary, they would follow
me at a distance. One day being near the City Hall, my two Indians
following, as usual, I thought I would stop and let them overtake me,
and have a view of the building, knowing that Campbell had never seen
even a frame house, previous to his arrival in New-York. As they came up
with me the keeper came out, and invited us up into the picture gallery,
where we saw full-length portraits of all the governors of the State,
and many other distinguished men, which the Indians viewed without any
manifestation of surprise. We soon after went down Broadway, and as we
approached St. Paul's Church, Campbell observing the covered figure of
the Saint, set in the wall of the building, stopped, and looking at it
some time, said, "Captain what dat old man tand dare for?" We passed on
a little further, when I met my old acquaintance, Doctor Samuel L.
Mitchell, who had visited me on my return from every voyage since I had
been in this trade, in consequence of my furnishing him with roots,
plants, and Indian curiosities. He was pleased at seeing the Indians,
and asked what country they came from, their customs, manners, &c. I
gave him a brief explanation, and he then insisted upon my going home
with him, saying, "Mrs. Mitchell must see them," to which I consented.
We repaired to his house, where I made a short visit, and he agreed to
let me retire, provided I would come to the college at two o'clock that
day, as he was to lecture there at that hour. On my return from the
doctor's I passed through Maiden Lane, where many of the windows were
decorated with toys. My Indians stopped to view them, and I could not
get them any further until I entered the stores and purchased some
whistling birds, swimming geese, &c. which they looked upon as the
greatest curiosities in the whole city. At two o'clock I repaired to the
college with my Indians. The doctor felt of their heads, looked down
their throats, &c. and said they belonged to the same species as those
who inhabit the Sandwich Islands and a part of Asia. The students gave
them a donation of eight dollars, and we returned to our respective
boarding houses.

A few days after, General Jackson visited New-York, which caused
considerable noise and bustle. My Indians called on me to conduct them
to the place of his landing, which was Whitehall, saying, "Me want to
see dat big big American gineral." I conducted them to the place of
landing, and the first object which attracted their attention was the
military officers forming the procession, with long feathers on their
hats, and they begged me very hard to go purchase some of those feathers
for them. These Indians had every temptation to get intoxicated, having
plenty of money given them by the owners of the Price and myself, and a
donation of eight dollars from the students of the college: in addition
to which the cartmen daily put up six-penny pieces for them to shoot at
with their bows and arrows, which they generally got. We made them
acquainted with a number of pleasant liquors which they had never before
tasted, such as wine, cordial, beer, &c. but nothing could induce them
to get drunk, having received a strict charge from the old men of their
own country before they left home to keep sober until they returned.

After going through the necessary forms at the Custom House, the vessel
was unloaded, and I obtained a furlough of two weeks to visit my family
at Catskill, whom I found in good health. At the appointed time I
returned to New-York and made the necessary preparations for another
voyage.



CHAPTER XV.

Schooner Price.--Third Voyage.


Having purchased a suitable cargo for the trade, and got it on board, we
were prevailed upon to take as passengers, a man and his wife, with two
small children and a black servant, whom we tried hard to get rid of, by
charging them an exorbitant price; but the man insisted on going, having
been formerly a resident of Old Providence, and one of my old customers
in that island. My cabin was not larger than a farmer's hen-roost,
having only four berths, and those so narrow that one could hardly turn
over in them. At night we covered the floor of the little cabin
completely; the man and his wife, two children, the black servant, my
two Indians, cabin boy, the mate and myself, all lodged in one nest. We
sailed from New-York about the third of March, 1819, bound to Old
Providence, St. Andreas, Corn Island, Musquitto Shore, and St. Blas.
When we arrived in latitude 32° we were overtaken by a violent gale of
wind, which obliged us to heave the vessel too. As the gale abated (the
sea running very high) we shipped a sea which swept our deck, taking the
cook and caboose, which was well served down to ring-bolts, drove into
the deck, but they were drawn out by the violence of the waves. Our
boat, oars, and other articles on deck were all swept overboard. By
means of some spare running gear the cook was hauled on board. The next
day the sea moderated, when we opened the hatches and got out a new
caboose. On my departure from Corn Island I had taken an order from an
English trader to bring out two patent American cabooses for him, which
I then had on board. We rigged our new caboose and proceeded on our
voyage, meeting with no further disasters worthy of notice. On our
arrival at Old Providence I found a small fleet of vessels there, called
patriots, (another name for pirates,) who had taken possession of the
island, and had hoisted the Columbian flag. On my entering the harbor
they laid an embargo on my vessel for a few days. The expedition was
commanded by a man who called himself Aurey, assisted by another, styled
Admiral Bogar, and the third went by the title of Commodore Parker.
Their squadron consisted of two small gun brigs, and two or three
privateer schooners. Their land force amounted to two or three hundred
men: they had what they called an English camp, a French camp, and an
American camp. They had hanged one American, and severely flogged
another for some crime, giving him one hundred lashes under the gallows.
They pretended to hold some commission under General Bolivar. I demanded
a return of my vessel, which they reluctantly granted me, and I sailed
for the Island of St. Andreas, where I found another squadron of vessels
from England, consisting of a twenty-gun brig, commanded by Captain
Hudson, with three transport ships, having about five hundred officers
and soldiers on board, bound to Porto Bello, all under the command of
Sir Gregor McGregor. On my arrival I was visited by an old English
officer, named Rafter, who was apparently a gentleman, he acted as
commander in the absence of Sir Gregor McGregor, who had not arrived at
that time; he wanted to purchase a pipe of gin from me for the use of
the troops, and give me a bill on London in payment. The next day Sir
Gregor arrived from St. Domingo, in company with an old Spanish
gentleman, named Lopes, from whom he had borrowed about twelve thousand
dollars, and promised to make him governor of the first city he should
capture.

The next day Commodore Hudson came on board the Price, and offered me
one hundred dollars per day and a handsome present for myself, to join
the fleet and go on an expedition with them for a few days. I told him
that my vessel was insured, and that it would be a total breach of my
orders to comply with his request. In the afternoon they laid an embargo
on the Price. The following day was appointed for a great celebration,
which was to take place at the house of Mrs. Lever, a respectable widow
lady. I visited the place where they landed the troops from the vessels,
raised a flag staff and hoisted the New Grenadian flag. Silk cushions
were brought into the house and placed on the table where General
McGregor, Governor Lopes, and other officers, took the oath of
allegiance to the government of New Grenada; most of the officers being
under half pay from the English, looked sad when they renounced their
allegiance to their own country. Three days after, they sailed for Porto
Bello, taking Colonel Woodbine as pilot, and proceeding within a few
miles of that place, they landed in a thicket of woods; then taking a
foot-path, they entered the city undiscovered by the inhabitants, and
took possession of the place without the loss of a man. Most of the
inhabitants fled from their houses and left them to the conquerors. Old
Lopes was appointed governor, and the officers taking possession of the
vacant dwelling houses which the Spaniards had left, sat themselves down
like private gentlemen. Soon after the soldiers revolted and refused to
do duty, alledging that the general had promised them twenty dollars
bounty for the first city they should capture. Before the insurrection
could be put down, the general raised eight dollars per man and
distributed it among them, and then issued a proclamation to the
inhabitants, inviting them to return to their habitations and take the
oath of allegiance to the new government, when private property would be
respected. Most of the people complied with his request, by taking the
oath required of them. In the meantime information was secretly sent
over to the Pacific by these Spaniards, where they raised an army of
eight hundred men, who marched across the Isthmus, and lay encamped in
the woods three or four miles back of the city; while those who had
taken the oath of allegiance were keeping up a regular communication
with them. The soldiers who had possession of the city having procured
an abundance of liquor, all got intoxicated, and the officers retired to
their beds without placing any sentries on duty. The Spaniards in the
city sent spies to the royalists, informing them that the patriot
soldiers were all drunk, and totally off their guard. During the night
the royalists marched into the city and took possession of the forts,
which were very strong, (one in particular is said to mount three
hundred and sixty-five guns,) without meeting with any resistance, or
the loss of a single man. They killed about thirty of the patriots and
made the remainder prisoners, only twelve escaping. I here give you a
sketch of the complete success of the Spaniards, as recited by the
General's right hand man. Lieutenant Cookley, aid-de-camp to General
McGregor, about three weeks after the loss of the army, said, "That on
the night of the re-capture of the city by the royalists, he was
quartered in the second story of the government house in Porto Bello,
General McGregor occupying one room, and Governor Lopes another, and
being himself very unwell, he was obliged to get out of his bed and walk
the room. Between three and four o'clock he heard some persons coming up
stairs. Feeling alarmed, he seized his sword and pistols and ran to the
door of the room, where he met three men well armed; he shot one, and
killed another with his sword, the third one retreated with a slight
wound; in the meantime he cried out, 'General McGregor, you are
betrayed.' The general sprang from his bed, and taking his mattrass,
dropped it from the window on the ground; then letting himself down to
it, ran for the shore, and jumping into the sea attempted to swim to the
commodore's vessel; but being unskilled in swimming, he was picked up by
a boat and carried on board, having no clothing on except his shirt.
Another division of Spaniards ascended the stairs of the government
house, and proceeding to the room of Governor Lopes, killed him in his
bed."

Those taken prisoners were marched across the Isthmus to the South Sea,
where they were compelled to work in chains on the fortifications. Some
months after I learned that these prisoners, in trying to effect their
escape, were most of them butchered by the Spaniards.

After my release from the embargo at St. Andreas I sailed for the coast
of St. Blas, where I arrived without any further molestation, at the
harbor of De Ablo. My vessel was soon surrounded with canoes, filled
with old men and young ones. No ambassador returning from a foreign
mission to his own country was ever received with a more hearty welcome
than my Indians were by their own countrymen. Liquor was soon passed
around, and a long conversation commenced, which lasted, with little
intermission, until the next morning; and my traders seemed to be
absolved from the injunction laid upon them by the old men, not to get
drunk during their voyage, as I discovered that Campbell was so drunk
before twelve o'clock, that he could not rise from his seat without
help. While relating his adventures he gave his hearers a long
description of the white rain he had seen in New-York, (meaning snow,)
and sundry other wonderful events and curiosities.

The Andes mountains on this coast extend near the sea-shore, and are
inhabited by baboons and other large monkeys, who keep up a hideous
noise during the night, which was a great annoyance to our slumbers, as
the echo passes from mountain to mountain. The next day after our
arrival here we experienced a violent thunder storm, the noise of the
thunder echoed in a most tremendous manner from different hills, which
appeared like a cannonading along the whole coast. I sat amazed at the
sound, when an old Indian who was intoxicated, broke silence, by saying,
"That thunder is great rascal, he make too much quarrel here."

My traders now applied for another outfit of goods for the coming
season, which I readily supplied them with, they taking about the same
quantity as on the previous voyage.

The men of St. Blas are of small stature, generally about five feet two
or three inches high; wearing their hair long on the back of the head,
cued down on their backs with a cotton ribbon of their own manufacture,
the hair cut straight across the forehead, high cheek bones, and of a
light copper complexion. They dress in check or flannel shirts, with
linen trowsers. The young men are not allowed to wear their shirt flaps
inside of the waist-bands of their trowsers until they are about forty
years old, when they assume the character of old men. The women are
small and delicately formed, having very small feet and hands, and are
remarkably modest in their behaviour. Their dress consists of a piece of
blue cloth, about four feet long, wrapped around their bodies under the
arms, and extending to their knees, a string or two of coral beads tied
around their legs, below the knee, and another around above the ankle.
The women all wear a piece of pure gold wire of large size, in the form
of a triangle, stuck through the inside of the nose. The old men wear a
number of strands of coral beads around their necks, and hanging down on
their bosoms. The sookerman wears two or three pounds of large coral
beads hanging closely about the neck, and the old men wear their shirt
flaps inside of their waist-bands as a mark of their dignity. From the
best information I can obtain, St. Blas is the oldest Republic on the
Continent of America, and should be a model government for Mexico and
the South American Republics, which are constantly driving their rulers
out of the country and changing Republics into Empires.

The soil of St. Blas produces an abundance of bread-stuffs, such as
yams, sweet potatoes, cassader, eddies, plantains, &c. Also cocoa-nuts,
lemons, oranges, sugar cane and cocoa. They here breed a great number
of hogs, poultry, &c. The country abounds with large quantities of wild
hogs, mountain cows, armadillas, deer, conies, and innumerable wild
fowl. The whole coast swarms with turtle, craw-fish, manatee's, and a
great variety of shell-fish. There are some four hundred islands, lying
from two to four miles from the main land-shore, which forms an inland
sea, making the whole coast a good harbor. Every one of these islands
produces limes, or lemons, bird, cayenne, gourd and squash peppers. When
a table is set in this country a green pepper and lemon are placed by
the side of your plate, which serves for pepper and vinegar to season
your meat or vegetables. After clearing up half an acre of ground, ten
days labor of one man in each year would produce bread-stuffs sufficient
for a family of fifteen persons. Plantains set out on good soil will
yield a crop, every nine months, for twenty years. Yams and sweet
potatoes require planting and digging yearly.

Having given the reader a short description of St. Blas, which may
appear somewhat imperfect, I hope it will be recollected, should there
be any imperfections, that I have no history of that country to refer
to; most of my information having been obtained from the natives, who
speak broken English. On taking leave of St. Blas I proceeded to St.
Andreas, at which place I arrived after a passage of two days. Here I
met General McGregor, who appeared much dejected, having among other
losses left all his clothing behind, which fell into the hands of the
enemy. Lieutenant Coakley came on board my vessel and related to me all
the particulars of the expedition which I have narrated. Of the land
forces, only twelve returned out of five hundred who left here some
three weeks before. After remaining here three or four days, we sailed
for Cape Gracios a Dios. On my arrival there I commenced trading, as
usual. The next morning, it being the Fourth of July, and being in a
strange port, I thought I would not make any preparations for
celebrating the day. I told the mate, however, that he might release the
crew from work and give them some extra rations of grog, &c. Before I
had finished giving my orders to the mate, the king came on board with a
large canoe, loaded with Indians, and saluting me with a loud voice,
said, "Blast your eyes, why don't you fire a salute, hoist your colors
and celebrate your country's holyday." I answered him, by saying, "I
have nothing good to eat." He replied, "You shall soon have something;"
when getting into the canoe with the Indians, they paddled him on shore,
and killing a beef, soon returned with two quarters. We then hoisted our
colors and fired a salute; and a number of the king's officers coming on
board, we partook of a good dinner; and not forgetting plenty of liquor,
we made ourselves delightfully merry. At night the king and company
retired very peaceably.

The king had frequently solicited me to take him home with me, but never
got himself ready to embark, and he now renewed the conversation on the
subject. I told him that my family did not reside in the city of
New-York, but lived two degrees north of it, at a small village called
Catskill, near a mountain of that name. He replied, that would suit much
better, as he wanted to see the country and my home. He then said,
"There is one condition in the bargain; if I go home with you, you may
call me major, or colonel, or some other officer; but if you call me
king I will be the death of you, for I am not going home with you to be
made a damned puppet-show of."

Having finished my trade here, I sailed down along the coast, touching
and trading at the different harbors, as usual, until I arrived at the
Lagoon, where I landed the goods from the vessel at the store, and
taking in all the exchange goods collected there, sailed for Corn
Island, where we took in some more return cargo. While at Corn Island
Captain Mitchell gave me an order to bring him a new boat, thirty feet
long, to row with six oars, &c.

We now sailed for New-York, where we arrived without meeting with any
occurrence worth recording. After discharging our cargo I again visited
my family at Catskill, whom I found in good health. I remained with them
about eight days, and then returned to New-York. In the course of a few
days we had procured another cargo, which taking on board, together with
the new boat for Captain Mitchell, we were again ready for sea.



CHAPTER XVI.

Schooner Price.--Fourth Voyage.


The Price being now ready for sea, about the first of August we got
under weigh and proceeded on our voyage towards Old Providence, St.
Andreas, Corn Island and the Main. We made our passage to Old Providence
in seventeen days, where we remained about three days bartering off
goods in our usual manner. We then sailed for St. Andreas. On the
passage we, in a squall, carried away the head of the schooner's
main-mast, above the eyes of the shrouds. On our arrival at that port I
repaired the mast-head by cutting off five or six feet, and forming a
new one. This altered the appearance of the vessel very much, when
viewed from a distance. We remained some time at St. Andreas, selling
goods, collecting debts, taking in all the cotton and other freight we
could procure. Here I took on board a captain and crew belonging to
Jamaica, whose schooner had been upset in a squall and lost near this
island. I agreed to carry them to the Main, where they expected to get
on board of some of their own country vessels. We got under weigh and
sailed for Corn Island with a light breeze. When we arrived within seven
or eight miles of Great Corn Island the wind died away to a dead calm,
and we lay drifting at the mercy of the sea. I was in great haste to
get on shore at the island, as I had ordered Captain Teft, who commanded
the sloop Traverse, to meet me there in the Price on the tenth of
September, which time had expired some days before. Fearing he would be
discouraged by waiting, and sail for some other port, which would cause
a great delay in our meeting, and there being no signs of a wind that
would carry the Price into the harbor that night, I was advised to hoist
out the new boat which we carried out for Captain Mitchell; having a
double boat's crew with the Englishmen, we could man her with six oars
and soon row in. The boat was accordingly hoisted out and manned, and we
proceeded toward the shore. It being a star-light evening, and the
harbor having some rocks and stones on the bottom, I seated myself on
the taffrail of the boat, which raised my head some two feet above the
heads of the crew, and enabled me to see any dangerous rocks, and steer
clear of them, it being what seamen call a bright bottom. I had on my
head a large brimmed white Panama hat, of course a good mark to shoot
at. A few days previous to my leaving Corn Island, on my last voyage, it
was currently reported there that the United States man-of-war Schooner
Fire Brand was cruising in these seas. We approached the harbor about
nine o'clock in the evening. As we came near the shore we were hailed by
one of the gang who were there, saying, "What boat is that?" My schooner
always carried canoes instead of boats, which we found much better to
land in the surf, and for that reason I had abandoned the use of the
latter in this trade, for the last three years, and all the inhabitants
of that island knew it. My boat being long, and much resembling what is
called on board of a man-of-war the captain's gig, I answered, "United
States Schooner Fire Brand." They said, "pull in then." At that instant
fourteen men fired into us, the shot whistling past my head so close
that it appeared to deafen me for a moment. As soon as they hailed us, I
told the men in the boat to stop rowing, so that the questions and
answers could be distinctly heard. As soon as they had fired, a favorite
old sailor in the boat, who pulled the after oar, with his back toward
the shore, being between me and those who fired at us, spoke to me in a
very mild tone, saying, "Captain, I am wounded." I then told the crew to
pull away, they all gave way upon their oars except this man, who laid
still in the bottom of the boat; this irritated me so much, thinking
that my favorite old tar should be the first to skulk from danger, not
supposing from the mildness of his expression that he was much wounded,
I jumped from the tiller of the boat in great haste, caught him by the
collar and gave him a shake, saying, "Pull away, you skulking fellow."
You may imagine my astonishment when I found that he was a lifeless
corpse. In the meantime I heard the company on shore ramming down their
cartridges into their guns, preparing for another fire. All the time
keeping a bright look-out alongside of the boat, for fear of running
her on the rocks, I discovered that we had got into two or three feet
water, and were not more than one hundred and fifty feet from those who
were preparing to fire a second time. I ordered my men to stop rowing
and follow me, which they immediately did. I jumped overboard into the
water, my crew following me. We then made our way to our assailants,
when I found my own clerk, and Captain Tefts, of the little sloop
Traverse, who were here waiting for my arrival, Captain Mitchell, for
whom I brought the boat, and Benjamin Downs, father of a colored
apprentice boy I had then on board. In short, they were all old
acquaintances of mine. I was highly excited on the occasion. They made a
long apology by saying, that the royalists in Porto Bello had fitted out
two armed schooners to scour the coast, and that they had captured two
English vessels found trading with the Indians: that they mistook the
Price for one of them, her appearance being so much altered by the loss
of the head of her main-mast, that they supposed I had been captured by
one of these vessels and was a prisoner in the boat, and compelled to
answer their questions, as they all knew my voice, and that if they
suffered a crew to land they would all be butchered, as they had given
aid and shelter to the patriots for a long time. I landed the body of my
unfortunate man and placed it under the care of some of my friends,
procured a pilot, went on board the Price, and brought her into the
harbor the next morning. I then buried the poor sailor in as decent a
manner as the country would admit of, collecting most of the inhabitants
of the island to join the funeral procession. There being no clergymen
in the island, I read the burial service at the grave, this being my
usual custom at sea on committing dead bodies to the ocean.

[Illustration: Captain Dunham landing at Corn Island.]

I fitted out the Traverse for another cruise by giving Captain Teft a
new supply of goods, when he proceeded on a trading voyage to the Main.
I took Mr. Smith, the clerk of the store on board, and sailed for the
Lagoon, when we took on board all the goods we had there, and proceeded
to a small harbor, called Salt Creek, supposed to be a better place for
our trade. I also took a few Indians to assist in building the store,
which I landed there, with myself and crew, and erected a comfortable
building in less than four days, modeled after the houses of that
country, landed a supply of goods, and left Mr. Smith to dispose of
them, sold the Sloop Traverse, and took Captain Teft and his crew on
board. Having learned that the royal governor of Porto Bello had fitted
out one or two man-of-war schooners, which had captured two English
traders on the coast of St. Blas, where it was necessary for me to
proceed, I hired three men in addition to Captain Tefts and his little
crew, to proceed with me to that place. My schooner being armed with a
six-pound cannon, with about thirty fowling guns, plenty of cutlasses,
and some boarding pikes, we proceeded to the coast of St. Blas, where
we were advised by the Indians to put the schooner into a small river,
about two hundred feet wide, and wait a few days before we proceeded to
the River De Ablo, our port of destination. We warped the schooner into
the mouth of the river, in shoal water, where we supposed the enemy's
vessels could not come near enough to injure us, and prepared ourselves
for an encounter with their boats if they sent them to attack us, by
making cartridges of musket-balls and buck-shot, put up in bags of six
pounds each, in addition to round balls and cannister-shot. I likewise
supplied about thirty Indians with ammunition, who promised to come to
my assistance if the enemy disturbed me. I divided my men into two
watches, and kept a good look-out four days and nights. About the fifth
night we heard the sound of a horn a number of times; about 12 o'clock
all hands were called to quarters. We soon discovered, however, that the
sound proceeded from a canoe, which when we had let it approach within
hail, we found to contain the crew of an English trader, who had been
captured by a royal privateer and carried into Porto Bello, where they
had escaped from their prison, stolen a canoe, and then paddled to this
place, a distance of about sixty miles, without food. Soon after, we
learned from the Indians that the cruisers had left the coast. We then
proceeded to the River De Ablo, where I found my traders waiting my
arrival. They brought their returns, goods, &c. on board, and a
settlement was made in a satisfactory manner on both sides in less than
one hour. I purchased a few thousand cocoa-nuts and some fustic, which I
took on board, and sailed for Cape Gracios a Dios, touching at Corn
Island.

On my arrival at the Cape I took on board all the return cargo I could
procure, and proceeded to the Lagoon, stopping at the different harbors,
as usual. When at the Lagoon I made known my intention of leaving the
trade, when a number of sookermen assembled to bestow their farewell
benediction upon me, saying that I had traded a long time with them, and
that they were much pleased with me, and did not blame me for leaving
them, as they supposed I wanted to stop at home and mind my wife and
pickaninies (meaning children) for a time, but should never die until I
returned to that country, and would never die there, but return to my
own country, after I had visited them, and die at my own home. After
taking an affectionate leave of them all, we took our departure toward
home.

After buffeting the storms and tempests of the ocean for nearly four
years, carrying on an average, a crew of six persons, including the mate
and myself, and having lost six, viz: one by desertion, one by death on
board, one shot, and three by drowning, I thought it best to seek some
more comfortable trade in which to gain a support for myself and family,
and one less exposed to hardships, and such constant risk of health and
life. I was always compelled, while on this trading business, to sleep
on deck, my cabin being small and dark, having no windows. If I laid
down in the cabin I was soon covered with cock-roaches, musquittoes, and
fire-ants, besides being exposed to centipedes, scorpions, &c. which
terrified me so much that I dare not take lodging there while we were in
the tropical climes, although I needed shelter from the excessive rains
which visit that country from May until November. Having a good awning,
which was always spread when the vessel was anchored, we generally ate,
drank and slept on deck until we arrived in the cold latitudes, when
those insects became torpid, and cold weather compelled me to seek
shelter in the cabin. On parting with the Indians I felt distressed, and
could not avoid showing my gratitude toward them for their native
kindness, and the many evidences of friendly intent which they had shown
for me. I had often called at their hovels when out on excursions, being
fatigued and hungry, needing food and rest, when the poor Indian, having
but one plate and one old knife and fork in his house, would place them
on his little table, or some substitute for one, and cook the best meal
he could procure, making me take a seat by the table, and with a hearty
good will urging me to eat, while he, sharpening the end of a stick that
he might take the meat out of the pot with it, would sit down on the
ground-floor and eat his dinner, refusing to come to the table with me,
because he had but one set of dishes. Having but one hammock to sleep in
himself, he invariably left that for me, while he would take his
lodging on a cow-skin placed on the ground-floor.

The whole furniture of each Indian family would not cost ten dollars.

We stopped at Corn Island, collected all the return we could obtain, and
sailed for New-York, where we arrived about the first of January, 1820,
without any particular incident worth notice, discharged the cargo,
settled with my owners, and returned to Catskill, where I found my
family in the enjoyment of their usual health. I now determined to
remain at home during the winter, and enjoy some repose from the toils
of the sea, having spent but five or six weeks with my family during the
last five years.

I now entered into an agreement, in company with Mr. Apollos Cooke,
merchant, of Catskill, to open a trade from that place to the West
Indies. During the winter we purchased a cargo of lumber for that
market, intending to charter or purchase a vessel to carry it there as
soon as the navigation of the Hudson River opened.



CHAPTER XVII.

Schooner Enterprise.


Early in the month of March, 1820, I proceeded to New-York, for the
purpose of chartering or purchasing a vessel to carry our timber to the
West India market, and spent a few days in the city on that business.
While sitting at the breakfast table one morning, I was asked by a
ship-master, an old acquaintance, if I did not want to take a voyage to
Bermuda. I replied no; that I came to New-York to charter a vessel to go
to Catskill, and take in a cargo of lumber there. He said he thought I
might make some sale or contract for it in that place. Here our
conversation ended, and I thought no more about it. After breakfast he
asked me to take a walk with him. When we had journeyed some little
distance, we met a man with whom he passed the usual compliment of good
morning, and said, "This is Captain Dunham, of whom I spoke to you." He
asked me what wages I would require to take charge of a schooner to go
to Bermuda. I told him fifty dollars per month. He said he had agreed
with a captain to go the voyage for forty dollars per month, but he was
unfortunately taken sick and could not go. I bid him good morning, and
had proceeded a few rods when he called on me to stop, saying he would
split the difference with me. I told him I would go. He then took me
into a store, saying, "There is your mate and crew, and I wish you to
take them to a Notary Public's office in Pine-street, and have the
shipping papers made out, and I will come there with the money and pay
the expenses;" which he soon performed. After this was accomplished we
went to the Custom House and obtained a clearance, and then parted and
went to dinner. He requested me to call immediately after dinner at a
lumber-yard he mentioned, where I would find him on board the schooner,
as he had engaged a passage for New-Haven at four o'clock that
afternoon, where he resided. He handed me a letter addressed to the
captain of the Schooner Enterprise, containing direction for the voyage;
and telling me he hoped I would do for him as I would for myself, took
leave of me. I found the schooner to be one of the large full-built
Eastern vessels, having the deck loaded to the height of eight feet. I
hurried and got some clothing and a small out-fit, and having left some
old clothes and bedding, charts, quadrants, &c. in New-York, on my last
voyage; I had them put on board that afternoon, procured a pilot and
went to sea at eight o'clock the next morning. We made our passage to
Bermuda in seven days, where we discharged our cargo, and taking on
board a ballast of fustic, returned from Bermuda to New-York in seven
and a half days; making the whole time gone only twenty-nine days, being
one of the most pleasant voyages I ever made. My acquaintance with the
owner was so short, that, after my return, when he came on board and
gave me his hand, I looked for some time before I could recollect him.
When I left Catskill I took with me only two or three changes of shirts,
&c. promising my family to return in a few days. In the journey I so
unexpectedly took there was nothing interesting, and I merely insert it
to keep up the chain of my voyages.



CHAPTER XVIII.

Schooner Felicity.


About the first of June, 1820, I chartered the Schooner Felicity in
New-York, and proceeded to Catskill, and took in a cargo for St.
Domingo; returned to New-York, and after shipping a crew, sailed on the
twenty-second of June for Port au Prince, in the Island of St. Domingo,
where we arrived after a passage of eighteen days, without the
occurrence of anything which would interest the reader. I found Port au
Prince to be a large but dirty city, no care being taken to clean the
streets, the yellow fever often raging here, particularly among the
shipping. The government is called a Republic, with a president elected
for life, receiving a salary of forty thousand dollars for his services,
and thirty thousand for his table expenses. The president being a
military chieftain, exercises great power over his subjects, who have
only the shadow of a Senate and Assembly, as they are subservient to his
will. The soil of the Island is very fertile, producing sugar-cane,
coffee, cocoa, and three crops of corn in one year; also, beans,
cabbages, water-mellons, and most kinds of garden vegetables: plantains,
yams, and every variety of tropical fruits in abundance. The Island at
this time was divided into three departments; the northern part was held
by a black royal Emperor, who styled himself Christoff, and exercised as
much power over his subjects as does the Emperor of Russia over his. The
southern part was owned by the Spaniards, as a Republic; the western by
the Republicans called Haytians, who were then at war with the Royalists
under the command of the black emperor. The war between those two
parties had been carried on for many years, and ended in the total
overthrow of the Royalists; the emperor blowing his brains out with his
pistol.

The president of this Republic lays heavy export duties on the produce
of the Island. The stamp duties on paper are said to amount to over two
millions per annum. All merchants and mechanics pay a heavy tax for
licenses to carry on their business. Whites are excluded from carrying
on their trades in their own names, or from purchasing real estate in
this Republic. A white can take a black partner, male or female, and do
business in his or her name. Most of the white men settled here prefer
the latter. This government has a mint, and coin their own money, which
contains ten per cent of silver mixed with other metal. They coin no
pieces larger than twenty-five cents, none smaller than six and a
quarter. This coin is considered a lawful tender, and the laws strictly
prohibit the carrying of any foreign gold or silver out of the country,
on penalty of forfeiting it. This compels any person selling a cargo
there to lay the returns out in some of the produce of the Island, which
is consequently the cause of heavy losses to the shippers. The
inhabitants are a mixed race of black and white, varying in color from
the blackness of charcoal to almost the whiteness of a snow-ball, and
hundreds of them have to take hard oaths to satisfy the authorities that
they have some black blood running through their veins, which entitles
them to the rights of citizenship in the Island. I have seen many
red-whiskered fair complexioned men pass themselves off for men of
color. Their national religion is Roman Catholic, no other being
tolerated, but strictly prohibited. The president keeps up a standing
army of forty thousand men, well uniformed, disciplined and equiped. As
I shall have to refer to their laws, customs and manners in my next
voyage, I shall leave the subject for the present.

Not being able to sell my timber at Port au Prince without a sacrifice,
my consignee applied to the government agent to purchase it, of which he
acquainted the president, who gave me a letter addressed to the public
administrator of Jerimie, and requesting me to proceed with my vessel
and cargo to that port, which I immediately complied with, after getting
a letter of address from an Italian Jew I found in Port au Prince, but
who resided in Jerimie, addressed to Messrs. Laforet & Brier, to whom I
consigned my vessel and cargo. On my arrival at that place my consignees
sold to the administrator all the timber he wanted, and the remainder at
an under price to individuals. My provisions sold at a saving. Jerimie
contains about two hundred houses, most of them being in a dilapidated
condition, in consequence of the constant alarm in which the inhabitants
have been kept by a troop of banditti, headed by an insurgent colonel,
who had deserted from the army, and had so terrified the people that the
women and children took shelter in the forts during the night, while the
men were kept under arms, being obliged to suspend all agricultural
pursuits, and leave their villages to decay. A few months since, the
chief of the banditti had been killed, his troops surrendered their arms
and received a pardon from the president. The inhabitants were now
making great preparations to repair their buildings and call back their
former trade.

While in this port, the padre, or priest died; he was carried to the
church in a chair, being tied fast to it, in a sitting posture, a book
placed in his hands. The corpse remained in this situation until about
four o'clock in the afternoon, when a marble slab was taken out of the
floor, an excavation made in the ground, the body deposited in the hole
with the clothes on, and then covered with a thick coat of lime.

A friend of mine, named Ghio, arrived here from Port au Prince in
company with one Captain Mills, from New-York, and while he and the
captain were walking the streets of Jerimie, Ghio for the first heard of
the death of the padre, when bursting into a flood of tears, he
exclaimed, "Captain Mills the poor padre is dead, and I suppose I shall
have to fill his place again," weeping at the same time. After a moments
pause, he said, "Captain Mills, it is a damned good berth, I can make
ten dollars a day by it." Ghio acted as a substitute in the place of the
deceased padre until his place was supplied by another.

I remained at Jerimie three or four weeks, employed in selling out my
cargo and obtaining a return freight of coffee, &c. I procured many
orders for house frames and other articles, and was strongly urged to
bring out some carpenters and a blacksmith, whom the inhabitants
promised to aid and assist in their business. Having disposed of all my
cargo and taken on board my return freight, I proceeded to sea, bound to
New-York, where I arrived in safety after a passage of eighteen days,
sold my return cargo, and sailed for Catskill, where I arrived about the
first of November. I then repaired the schooner and prepared for another
voyage.



CHAPTER XIX.

Schooner Felicity.--Second Voyage.


At Catskill I procured another cargo, filled up all my orders, and
taking on board four carpenters as passengers, bound to Jerimie, sailed
for New-York, where we remained three or four days employed in shipping
a crew, purchasing stores, &c. We sailed from New-York about the eighth
of December, and arrived at Jerimie about the first of January, 1821. On
my arrival I called on my old friends, Leforet & Brier, where I was
politely received, particularly by Mr. Brier, who escorted me to his
house to take breakfast. After inquiring about the passage of my vessel,
news in New-York, &c. he said he had news to tell me. I told him I
should be pleased to hear it. He said, "Captain Dunham, we have got a
new padre here since you left for home; he is the smartest padre we ever
had; he can beat any man in Jerimie playing at billiards, boxing,
fencing, or jumping; he has killed two men in duels, and I assure you,
sir, he is the smartest padre in all the West Indies."

Among the orders given me, was one for thirty thousand loose cedar
shingles, which, when landed on the beach, I learned were intended to
re-cover the church. All the ladies in the town soon assembled at the
place where the shingles were landed; rich and poor, some dressed in
silk, and others with fine muslin gowns, having hoops in their hands,
which they stuck full of shingles, and laying them on their backs
carried them to the church, when they were taken by the carpenters, who
put them on the roof, not allowing one of them to be carted; thus
showing great zeal to protect from contamination every thing connected
with their church.

The negroes on this Island are far more numerous than the mulattoes,
mustees, and other colors. The old mulattoes being the heirs of their
former masters, were many of them sent to France and educated; and the
president being a mulatto, gives them as many offices as he dare; but is
obliged to confer some on the blacks to prevent an insurrection; still I
found there was considerable hatred between them. One day while walking
the streets I heard a quarrel between a mulatto and a negro. The mulatto
commenced, "What are you doing, nigger?" the negro replied, "Who are
you, mulatto? you no got any country; white man got country and negro
got country, mulatto no got any country, he's a damned _mule_."

My carpenters landed and were seeking some employment, when they were
informed that they could not make any contracts in their own names,
being white men, and not having any license, and the laws of the country
not allowing a white man to obtain one. To obviate this a petition was
drawn up and signed by most of the inhabitants, and sent to the
president, for a special permit for the eldest carpenter to carry on
his trade. Some weeks after the president sent him a license, the rest
of the carpenters working under him. I was very fortunate in the
disposal of my cargo, most of it selling at a good profit, and by paying
a large premium I procured about twenty hundred Spanish dollars, which
were smuggled on board and brought to New-York.

Coffee being high in that port, I was obliged, in purchasing it, to
dispose of the St. Domingo coin I received in payment for my cargo.
Being ready for sea, I took leave of my friends and sailed for New-York,
where we arrived about the first of May, 1821. The schooner having
proved leaky on the passage, I refused to make another voyage in her.
Soon after my arrival in New-York I received a letter from my old
friend, Mr. Apollos Cooke, of Catskill, advising me to purchase, on our
joint account, a schooner called the Combine, which was now laying in
New-York, and could be procured very cheap. On viewing the Combine I
found her timbers sound, but her decks and upper works badly worn, so I
called on the agent, and after some time spent in chaffering, purchased
her and left for Catskill, where I arrived about the 26th of May.



CHAPTER XX.

Schooner Combine.

  "A wolf will not a wolf ensnare,
  "And tigers their own species spare,
  "Man more ferocious, bends his bow,
  "And at his fellow aims the blow."


After the arrival of the Combine at Catskill, we had her well examined
by a carpenter, who found her timbers sound. We then agreed to repair
her by laying a new deck, putting in new ceiling, and giving her a
thorough overhauling, so as to fit her for a sea voyage, which was done
at an expense of nine hundred dollars. Large quantities of freight was
offered for shipment, which I advised to take some part of, informing my
partner in the vessel, Mr. A. Cooke, that I had but little over two
thousand dollars, which would fall short of paying for one-half of the
vessel and cargo; but he preferred our owning the whole cargo jointly,
saying, "I will advance you any money you may want until you make the
voyage." We then purchased a suitable cargo and filled up many orders I
had brought from Jerimie. After we had gathered all our bills together,
I found my money exhausted and myself indebted five hundred and
seventy-two dollars to my partner. The vessel being repaired and
loaded, we took on board four passengers, bound to Jerimie, and sailed
for New-York. On my arrival at New-York I made it my first business to
apply to the Marine Insurance Office for insurance, expecting I should
have to pay an extra premium, my vessel being seventeen years old. After
applying at all the offices in the city, and producing a certificate
from old respectable carpenters, and some of our best citizens, that
they considered her timbers as good as any North River vessel of two
years old, my application was rejected, and I had no alternative but to
proceed to sea as my own insurer, having my little all at stake, except
a small homestead. I shipped a crew and made the necessary preparation,
put to sea about the 10th of August, and shaped my course for Jerimie,
where we arrived the sixth of September.

On my arrival at that port I sold my cargo, as usual, with the
assistance of my former consignees, Messrs. Laforet & Brier. Jerimie
being a dangerous port in heavy gales of wind, I was advised to send my
vessel to Corail, a distance of twenty miles, to remain a few weeks, it
being a safe harbor, while I remained in Jerimie to collect debts and
procure a return cargo. After remaining here some fourteen or fifteen
days, I was attacked with a violent fever, which confined me to the bed
until the vessel was ready for sea, when I was taken on board, hoping
the air would restore me to health. After being at sea some thirty-six
hours, my mate found the fever increasing on me so fast that he gave up
all hopes of my recovery, and asked my permission to return to Jerimie,
to which I consented. The vessel was put about and steered for that
port, we neared the entrance of the harbor early the next morning, when
I thought the fever began to abate, and requested the mate to put to sea
again and proceed toward home. My health improving slowly, I was helped
on deck every morning, where I remained during the day, lying under a
small awning to screen me from the scorching sun, and helped into the
cabin at night to protect me from the heavy dews. My health continued to
improve daily. On the eleventh day of October we discovered land ahead,
which proved to be the south side of the Island of Cuba. Finding it
impossible to beat up against the current, we concluded to run round the
west end of the island. Nothing material occurred until the thirteenth
of October, in the morning, when I discovered land, which I identified
as Cape Antonio; my health by this time was so much improved that I was
able to get on deck without assistance. I told the mate to go below and
get some repose, he having had but little rest during my sickness, and
that I was well acquainted with the passage round the Cape.

About nine o'clock, while doubling the Cape, we discovered three small
schooners, one small sloop, and a large open boat lying at anchor about
two miles from the land. In about the space of fifteen minutes the whole
fleet got under weigh and bore down for us. One of the largest
schooners ran down within musket-shot of us, fired a gun, and we hove
too, while the rest of the fleet surrounded us. The largest schooner
immediately sent a boat alongside of us, containing eight or nine men,
who boarded us with muskets and drawn cutlasses in their hands, each of
them having a long knife and a dagger slung by his side. Immediately
after getting on deck, one of them cried out, "Foward," two or three
times in broken English, pointing at the same time toward the
fore-castle. The mate, sailors, and two passengers who were on board,
ran forward and jumped into the fore-castle. I being very weak, dragged
along slowly, when the man who gave the order commenced beating me
severely with the broad side of his cutlass. I remonstrated with him,
saying I was sick and could not walk any faster; he answered me, "_No
intende_." I then discovered he was a Portuguese, and not understanding
that language, I excused myself as well as I could in the French
language, hoping he understood me; but I found it did not relieve my
back, as he continued to beat me all the way to the fore-scuttle, and
there giving me a heavy blow on the head as I descended, closed it,
where we remained about half an hour; they in the meantime appeared to
be searching the vessel. After letting us up from the fore-castle they
ordered the sailors to work the vessel in near the land and anchor her,
which was soon accomplished. While beating the vessel toward the shore,
they told me if I would give up my money they would let me go with my
vessel. This I readily complied with, hoping to save the vessel and
cargo. I then gave them all the money I had, consisting of four hundred
and eighty dollars in gold and silver. After they had received it they
broke open our trunks, seized all our clothes, taking the finest shirts
and vests, and putting them on one over another.

As soon as they had anchored my vessel they hauled their largest
schooner alongside, while the rest of the fleet were laying within a few
rods of us, and then all hoisted the bloody flag, a signal for death. I
was ordered into the cabin, where one of the pirates, having found a
bottle of cordial, took it up in one hand, and drawing his cutlass with
the other, struck off the neck and handed it to me, flourishing his
cutlass over my head, and making signs for me to taste it, which I found
it difficult to do on account of the broken particles of glass. After I
had tasted it he went to a case of liquor standing in the cabin, took
out the bottles and compelled me to taste of them. After this ceremony
was over one of the pirates drew a long knife from its sheath, and
taking hold of the hair on the top of my head, drew the knife two or
three times across my throat near the skin, saying, "Me want to kill
you." Another pirate soon approached me with a dagger, with which he
pricked me lightly in the body, two or three times, saying, "Me kill you
by and by." I was then dismissed from the cabin and driven into the
fore-castle with the sailors and passengers. My cook was put on board
the schooner lying alongside of us. Some of the pirates went aloft on
board my vessel and cut loose her square-sail, top-sail, and
top-gallant-sail, and afterwards took our fore-sail, boat, oars, loose
rigging, one compass, one quadrant, all our beds and bedding,
tea-kettle, all our crockery, knives and forks, buckets, &c. leaving us
destitute of every kind of cooking utensil except the caboose. We
remained some time in the fore-castle, when suddenly the fore-scuttle
was opened and the mate called on deck, and the scuttle again closed,
leaving us in the dark in a state of uncertainty. We soon heard them
beating the mate; after that noise had ceased, we heard the word,
"Fire," given with a loud voice, then after a moment's pause another
voice was heard, saying, "Heave him overboard." I had a desperate
sailor, called Bill, who flew to his chest for his razor to cut his own
throat, saying he would be damned before he would be murdered by them
rascals. The pirates had previously robbed the sailors' chests of all
the articles they contained, and among them Bill's razor. After a little
while the scuttle was again opened, when they called for a sailor. There
were four in the fore-castle, who looked earnestly at each other, when
Brown, a favourite old sailor, arose and addressed me, saying, "Captain,
I suppose I might as well die first as last," then taking me by the hand
gave it a hearty shake, saying, "Good bye." I told Brown to plead with
them in the French language, as I thought I had seen some Frenchmen
among them, and knew that he spoke French fluently. When he had got upon
deck I heard him speak a few words in that language, but soon after we
heard them beating him severely. As soon as they had finished beating
him we again heard the word fire, and soon after, heave him overboard.
Shortly after, the scuttle was again opened and the captain was loudly
called. I crawled up the scuttle, being very feeble; they then told me
if I did not tell them where the money was they would serve me as they
had the mate and sailor, shoot and then throw me overboard. I still
persisted that there was no money on board, and entreated them to search
the vessel. An old Spaniard was pointed out to me who they said was the
commodore. I asked him what he wanted of me, looking him earnestly in
the face. He replied, he wanted my money. I told him I had no money, but
if I had I would give it to him; that the property belonged to him, but
he had no right to take my life, as I had a family depending on me for
support. Previous to this, the man who had flogged me before had made a
chalk ring on the deck, saying, "Stand there," beating me with the flat
side of a heavy cutlass until the blood ran through my shirt. During my
conversation with the commodore, finding all my entreaties unsuccessful,
and my strength much exhausted, I took a firm stand in the ring marked
out for me, hoping to receive a ball through the heart, fearing if I was
wounded I should be tortured to death to make sport for the demons.
Two of the pirates with loaded muskets took their stand and fired them
toward me, when I cast my eyes down toward my feet looking for blood,
thinking that I might have been wounded without feeling the pain. During
this time the man who had beat me before commenced beating me again,
pointing aft toward the cabin door, where I proceeded, followed by him,
beating me all the time: he forced me into the cabin, at the same time
giving me a severe blow over the head with his cutlass. When I entered I
found both the mate and sailor there whom I supposed had been murdered
and thrown overboard. The next person called out of the fore-castle was
Mr. Peck, a passenger, who was immediately asked where the money was; he
told them he knew of no more money on board. One man stood before him
with a musket and another with a cutlass, they knocked him down and beat
him for some time, took him by the hair and said they would kill him. He
was then ordered to set upon the bit of the windlass to be shot and
thrown overboard, as the captain and others had been. He took his
station by the windlass, when a musket was fired at him; he was then
driven into the cabin. They then called up the remainder of the men from
the fore-castle, one after the other, and beat and drove them into the
cabin also, except a Mr. Chollet, a young man, passenger, who escaped
beating. We were kept in the cabin some time, and after repeated threats
that they would kill us, were all driven into the fore-castle again.
They took out all our cargo, consisting of coffee, cocoa,
tortoise-shell, eight kedge anchors, all our provisions, except part of
a barrel of beef and about thirty pounds of bread. After they had taken
all the cargo, spare rigging, &c. of any value, they shifted all the
ballast in the hold of the vessel in search of money, and calling us on
deck, we were told to be off. After getting under weigh we proceeded but
slowly, having no other sails left but the two jibs and the main-sail.
We looked back with a great deal of anxiety, and saw the pirates seated
on the deck of the largest schooner, drinking liquor and making
themselves merry, while we feared that they might change their minds,
pursue us and take our lives. Night beginning to approach, I thought
best to go down into the cabin and see what we had left to eat or drink.
As soon as I had reached the cabin, it being dark, I stumbled against
something on the floor, which I found to be our cook, whom we supposed
we had left behind, having seen the pirates put him on board the
schooner which was lying alongside of us, but knew nothing of his
return. I spoke to him, but received no answer, I hustled him about the
cabin, but could not make him speak. I at last got a light and looked
about for some provisions, cooking utensils, &c. and found about thirty
pounds of bread, a little broken coffee, and most of a barrel of beef,
but no cooking utensils except the caboose, with one or two pots set in
it. The next morning I called all hands into the cabin, showed all the
bread we had left, and told them it was necessary to go on allowance of
one biscuit a day per man, which was agreed to, until we could get
further supplies. I then questioned the cook, (knowing that he was
driven into the hold of the pirate schooner,) as to what kind of a cargo
she had. He said there were calicoes and all kinds of dry goods
scattered about, and more than a hundred demijohns; and "O captain, it
was the best old Jamaica rum that you ever tasted." I told him if the
pirates had caught him drinking their rum they would have killed him. He
said it looked so tempting he thought he would try it. I suppose that
after having drank a large quantity he made his escape on board of the
Combine before he felt the effects of it, as he was not aware of our
release.

[Illustration: The Pirates' plan of exercising the nerves of Captives.]

The next day we were boarded by a boat from a Spanish man-of-war brig. I
plead hard with the officer who boarded us to go in pursuit of the
pirates, which he refused to do, saying it was out of their limits to
cruise. I asked him for a supply of bread, which he denied me. In our
crippled state we reached Havanna in nine days, where we put in for
supplies.

On my arrival at Havanna I was met by Captain Dimond, master of the brig
Harriet, of Baltimore, who had been robbed by these pirates at the same
place, on the 12th of October. Captain Dimond informed me that the
pirates put a rope around his neck and hoisted him up to the fore-yard
of the brig three times, and then let the rope loose, which caused him
to fall on the deck, where he lay insensible for some time. I asked him
why he did not give up his money as I had done. He said that twenty-five
hundred dollars of the money belonged to himself, which was all he was
worth, and having a family to support, he thought he had almost as well
part with his life as his money. After he had recovered his senses they
made another attempt to put the rope round his neck the fourth time,
when one of the pirates told his comrade to let him alone, because he
had children. They hauled their vessels alongside of his brig and took
out all his cargo, also the greatest part of the brig's sails, rigging,
&c. together with twelve thousand dollars, which they found while
removing a quantity of fire-wood, and then let him depart.

I proceeded to the American Consul's office, having on an old straw hat,
which the pirates had put on my head in place of my own, an old ragged
jacket, one pump, one shoe, and an empty pocket. I entered a protest,
and asked him to render me some assistance, for which I would give him a
draft on New-York at sight. This he refused unless I would bottom the
vessel, but referred me to the house of Grey, Fenandes, & Co. who
attended to my wants in the most friendly manner. Three days after, the
ship Lucies, of Charleston, arrived in the harbor, having a prize-master
on board, who informed me that the United States Brig Enterprise,
Captain Kearney, had re-captured the Lucies from these pirates, and had
taken three of the piratical vessels, (the crews having escaped to the
shore,) and sailed for some port of the United States. I called again on
Mr. Grey, and told him that Captain Kearney would probably steer for
Charleston or New Orleans with his prizes, and I felt anxious to
communicate with him as soon as possible, to reclaim my property. He
said they had a very respectable correspondent in Charleston, named John
Stoney, to whom he would write to claim my property for me if he should
arrive in that port; that I could write to Captain Kearney and enclose
his letter to Mr. Stoney. Fearing he might sail for New Orleans, I
addressed a letter to a friend of mine living there, to claim the
property for me, should the Enterprise arrive at that port.

I learned here that these pirates had been fitted out in this port,
where most of their cargoes were to be disposed of, and was advised not
to make much noise about my robbery, as they had many friends here who
would assassinate me. I found a number of American vessels here, but got
little assistance from any of them except the captain of a small sloop
from Bristol, Rhode Island, who tendered me a loan of thirty dollars,
for which he got my draft on New-York. He gave me many articles which I
stood in need of, for which I shall ever feel grateful. After my vessel
was under weigh the captain of a Baltimore ship, who had arrived an hour
before, learning my misfortune, sent his boat alongside with a barrel of
beef, some flour, wine, &c. with a message to me, saying, if I wanted
any other articles he would send them on board. We put to sea with next
to no conveniences, having no beds or bedding, and but three or four
knives and forks, some trifling cooking utensils, and all my wardrobe on
my back. Without any additional sails for our vessel we shaped our
course for New-York. The winds proving favorable we performed the
passage in sixteen days.

For a particular account of the capture of the piratical vessels I refer
the reader to the following letter, published in the papers of the day:

     "_Capture of the Aristides by Pirates._

     "Copy of a letter from Captain Couthony, late master of Brig
     Aristides, to Mr. Edward Cruft, the owner, in this town, giving
     the particulars of the capture of that vessel by pirates.

     "_At Sea, United States Brig Enterprise, October 24, 1821._

     "_Dear Sir_:--The melancholy news which I am about to relate
     will be extremely afflicting to you. We sailed from Liverpool
     the 28th of August, and had a very pleasant passage till off
     the west end of Cuba, which we made on the 15th of October at 6
     P. M. When off Cape Antonio were assailed by five piratical
     vessels, three schooners, one sloop, and an open boat; the
     latter after firing several shots at us came alongside with
     nine men in her; the men mounted the deck, armed with
     cutlasses, pistols and dirks; on coming on board one took the
     helm, another knocked me down, seized my watch, &c. and the
     others ran into the cabin. By this time the other pirates got
     close around us, and I discovered they were about to run my
     vessel on shore. On begging them to desist from this design, I
     was again knocked down; on rising, a musket was pointed at me
     and one of the villains made several passes at me with a
     dagger, which I avoided by running forward.

     "We were soon in shoal water, when I again begged of them for
     God's sake not to run the vessel ashore. They ordered us to let
     go the anchor.

     "I then went into the cabin, where I found all my trunks,
     chest, &c. on the floor, and the pirates filling bags,
     handkerchiefs, &c. with my clothes. They took my chronometer
     and everything I had, even robbing me of the jacket I had on,
     and leaving me almost naked. They then ordered us to open the
     hatches, beating every one of the crew they came across,
     declaring they would kill every man on board, beginning with
     me, saying they were pirates, and should not be discovered.
     During the night our vessel began to strike very hard, when
     they compelled us to weigh anchor and the vessel was run on
     shore.

     "They then commenced loading their craft with the most valuable
     part of our goods, remarking that we should be put to death in
     the morning to prevent discovery. They struck me down several
     times, beating the mate and threatening him with instant death
     if he did not discover where the most valuable goods were. They
     nearly strangled the boy, bidding him tell where my money was
     stowed. In the morning they had one of their cruisers loaded
     with dry goods, and a number of packages in the others; when on
     the 16th, at 7 A. M. a sail was discovered coming round the
     Cape. They then consulted on the expediency of murdering me;
     but one, more humane than the others, dissuaded them from
     committing the crime. Perceiving the sail to be a vessel of
     war, they took to their boats, pulled for their vessels and
     immediately proceeded along shore.

     "They had stove our yawl to prevent our using her, but we
     patched her so that she floated, and went on board the vessel
     that was approaching. She proved to be the United States Brig
     Enterprise, L. Kearney, Esq. commander. I stated to him my
     dreadful situation, and pointed out to him the five piratical
     vessels in shore; he immediately made all sail in pursuit, but
     a reef prevented his getting within gun-shot. He armed all the
     boats, and with the crews of the ship Lucies, and an English
     brig, which were likewise in the hands of the pirates, gave
     them chase, and overhauling them fast, they rowed their vessels
     on shore inside the Cape, set the loaded one on fire, and took
     to the woods. Lieutenant M'Intosh, who went on the expedition,
     took four of the vessels, the boat having escaped. The vessel
     sat on fire was entirely destroyed, but few remnants of goods
     were saved, and those partly burnt. The pirates had a train of
     powder to blow up the vessel on the approach of the boats.

     "On the 17th, at noon, Capt. Kearney brought all the vessels at
     anchor near our wreck, and sent his crew to our assistance, the
     Combine being in a bilged condition, with seven feet of water
     in her hold, and her rudder unshipped. He then loaded three of
     the late piratical vessels out of the cargo of the Aristides,
     also the American Schooner Bold Commander, of Staten Island,
     with goods, one cable, and some of her sails. The brig has on
     board some goods, a chain cable and a hawser, the latter taken
     from the pirates.

     "Captain Kearney, after having done his utmost, and saved all
     he could, in loading the four vessels and his brig, set the
     wreck on fire on the 20th, at 7 P. M. and remained by her until
     she was burnt to the water's edge. She was in ten feet of water
     when I abandoned her, 8 A. M. all in flames. This whole
     dreadful calamity has nearly overpowered me. A Columbian
     schooner of one long gun and eighty men likewise anchored near
     the wreck before she was destroyed, and took a few casks porter
     and a few bales goods, which would otherwise have been burnt
     with the vessel. This was done with the consent of Captain
     Kearney after he had loaded all the other vessels.

     "I shall ever be grateful to Captain Kearney for his kind
     assistance, friendship and hospitality. He offered me his own
     clothes, as I was destitute of everything. He will call at
     Havanna, and from thence proceed to Charleston, where he will
     deliver the vessels and goods to the proper authorities."

Captain Kearney proceeded with his prizes to Charleston, where the
vessels and goods were condemned, and sold within eleven days after his
arrival to accommodate him and his crew, when he sailed on another
cruise. This gave me no opportunity to reclaim my property, Mr. Stoney
having neglected to claim it for me. Some weeks after, having learned
that the property had been carried into Charleston and sold, I proceeded
to that place and applied to the District Judge of the United States,
who, after a detention of thirty days, awarded me about seven hundred
dollars. A large portion of the coffee, and other articles, which were
taken on board my vessel at Jerimie during my sickness, not being
marked, caused much difficulty in identifying them. I saw in the
possession of purchasers at that sale, eight anchors, two saddles, four
bridles, a number of coffee bags, and other articles of mine; also a
quantity of tortoise shell, which cost me eight dollars per pound. The
expenses on what I recovered consumed the greatest part of the goods;
deducting one-fourth for salvage, duties, cartage, storage, commissions,
court fees, &c. the remainder went into the Treasury of the United
States, or should have gone there. I have petitioned Congress for some
remuneration, which claim has been denied.

On my arrival in New-York (being literally clothed with rags) I was met
on the way to my boarding house by some of my kind friends, who took me
to their houses and fitted me with a temporary suit of clothes, and some
of them advanced me money to purchase more. Mr. Luman Reed loaned me two
or three hundred dollars to pay the wages due my crew, and defray other
expenses. Soon after, I proceeded to Catskill with the schooner, sold
one half of my interest in her; and after paying my old friend, Mr. A.
Cooke, all the money he had advanced on the out bound cargo for me, I
proceeded to Charleston to claim my property, as I have before related.

On my return from that port we refitted the Combine with new sails,
rigging, &c. and agreed to take out an assorted cargo in her hold, and a
deck load of horses, to the Island of St. Domingo.



CHAPTER XXI.

Schooner Combine.--Second Voyage.


About the middle of May, 1822, we commenced loading at Catskill, and
finished in about ten days, when we sailed for New-York, where I shipped
a crew and left for Cape Francios, in the Island of St. Domingo. We met
with light winds and strong currents on the passage, which carried us
some distance to the leeward of our course, and obliged me to put into
the harbor of Port-au-Prince, where we arrived without any material
incident. I landed my horses, and having procured a stable for them, was
advised to select ten or twelve of the handsomest and proceed with them
to the president's country seat, about six miles from the city, where
he was confined by ill health. This I consented to as a matter of
courtesy, and a black colonel, named Burblong, volunteered to accompany
me. I took my hostler and an interpreter and proceeded to his house. At
his residence there was an extensive park enclosed by a high brick wall,
which we entered after passing two armed sentries, when we drew near to
a large wooden building fitted up in good style, having a piazza all
round it, and six or eight sentries walking on it, well armed and
uniformed. As we approached the outside door of the house we found a
sentry stationed there, who conducted us into the hall, where we found
another who conducted us into the president's room, which was splendidly
furnished, where I was introduced to his excellency by Colonel Burblong.
After the introduction was over, he invited us to take a glass of wine
with him. The horses were then brought near the door, which, having
examined, he said were worth two hundred dollars apiece; but since I had
been so polite as to call on him, he would give me two hundred and fifty
for as many as his groom should select. The president is about six feet
in height, of a mulatto color, rather thin in flesh, and makes a good
appearance on horseback, particularly in reviewing his army, who perform
their evolutions in the most graceful and soldier-like manner. I sold
the president one pair of horses, and disposed of a few to individuals
at a fair profit; the remainder sold at a loss, after deducting
expenses. The slow sale of horses detained me nearly two months, during
which time the yellow fever made its appearance, and raged with unabated
violence until our departure, particularly among the shipping. By the
laws of the country a ship-master is obliged to land all persons seized
with sickness on board of his vessel, and place them under the care of
the nurses of the city, who receive them into their houses at a charge
of two dollars and fifty cents per day for seamen, and three dollars per
day for masters and mates. If a seaman dies on board, the master is
fined five hundred dollars.

About three weeks after our arrival here my cook and one sailor were
attacked by the yellow fever, I took them ashore and placed them under
the care of nurses; the hostler was next landed with the same complaint,
and the third day after I put on shore another seaman in like condition.
During this day, after a long walk in the hot sun, I retired to the
house of one of the nurses, where I was taken down with the same fever;
my cook dying about the time I became fairly sick. The next day one of
the seamen died. The seamen, hostler, and myself were put under the care
of different nurses, and in a few days such of us as were spared
returned to duty.

After the death of my cook I hired an English negro, (who had deserted
from Turks Island and taken refuge here,) on condition that he should
serve a few days on trial, and if both parties were suited he was to act
as cook until the voyage was ended, and to receive the same wages I had
given his predecessor. After remaining on board a few days, the mate
sent a message to me on shore, informing me that the cook had threatened
the lives of some of the sailors by attacking them with an axe. I sent a
note to the mate requesting him to send the cook on shore. He soon made
his appearance, when I took him to the store of my consignees and made
out an account of his time, allowing him wages at the rate of fourteen
dollars per month, according to agreement. I read the statement to him
and he appeared well satisfied. I then asked one of the firm to pay the
bill. He said his partner had stepped out with the key of the money
drawer in his pocket, but as soon as he returned it would be paid, and
asked the cook to take a seat; he walked out of the door and was missing
for some time, when he entered the store in company with a black man,
dressed in a sergeant's uniform, with a sword and bayonet hanging by his
side, who introduced himself by saying he had a warrant for me. I was a
little surprised, and asked him if he wanted me to go with him, or
required any security for my appearance. He said he did not, and told me
I must appear in the third ward, No. ----, to-morrow, at 11 o'clock. The
next day I called at the store of my consignees and got the clerk to
accompany me to the court. On our way we met a genteel looking, well
dressed mulatto man, who asked the clerk where we were going. The clerk
related the story to him, and he volunteered his service to defend my
cause, and accompanied us to the court room. After we got inside of the
door I discovered a sentry dressed in full uniform, with side arms,
walking in front of the door. As I entered the court room I took off my
hat to show some respect to the honorable black justice. Soon after, my
antagonist, the cook, entered the door with his hat on his head, when
the sentry approached him without uttering a word and struck him a heavy
blow with his flat hand on the side of his head, which knocked his hat
across the room; this caused the poor fellow to look amazed for a few
moments, when he picked up his hat very carefully. The trial was soon
called on. I related the whole story by my interpreter, and the judge,
without calling a witness on either side, decided that I should pay him
the same amount of money I had offered him, and that he should pay the
costs, which was one dollar and fifty cents, being one-half the sum he
recovered from me.

When I returned to the wharf to go on board my vessel I found the poor
fellow had been impressed, and sentenced to go on board of a man-of-war,
and was then lodged in the guard house. He sent a message to me
imploring my pardon, and begging my assistance to obtain his release.

About this time there was a very great excitement raised in the city in
consequence of the circulation of counterfeit coin, in imitation of the
government silver, and a story had been circulated that a considerable
quantity of this spurious silver was expected from Baltimore. As
several vessels arrived from that place soon after, they were strictly
searched, by boring barrels of flour, breaking open boxes and packages
of goods, by custom house officers, and otherwise searching them. After
some days it was discovered that the counterfeit coin was brought from
Jamaica by a Jew, who had been lurking about the city. He was arrested
and brought before the president for trial, and a report circulated that
he would certainly be hanged. The president sent for a silver-smith to
examine the coin, who pronounced it to be one-half pure silver, while
the government coin was only one-tenth part silver: upon which the
president said, "Damn him, let him go, for his money is better than
ours."

The laws of this country are very arbitrary, although they help to
encourage industry and suppress idleness and dissipation. The president
makes donations from the public lands to all poor individuals who will
cultivate them. After they take possession of a lot he obliges them to
cultivate it. To accomplish this, he sends a small military guard
through the new settlements, accompanied by an officer, who stops at
every house, where he makes the following inquiries: "Is this your house
and plantation?" which being answered in the affirmative, he proceeds,
"How large is your family?" The man answers, a wife and ---- children.
The officer then compels him to go and show him the plantation, and to
point out the number of coffee trees he has planted, &c. If, on
examining the premises the officer finds only a few trees, and is
convinced of the indolence of the occupant, he says, "You cannot
maintain your family by this, and must be a cheat, or steal, you must
therefore go with me," and he is obliged to join the army or navy.

The farmers being out of the cities and villages, are not allowed to
come to market except two days in each week, say Sundays and Wednesdays,
without a special permit. All persons found drinking or rioting about
public places or grog shops are immediately taken up under the vagrant
act, sent to prison, and then transported to the army or navy as a
punishment. The authorities of cities and villages license a limited
number of butchers in each town, and compel them to keep the market
supplied with meat every day, and limit the price to twelve and a half
cents per pound.

Since my last voyage to this Island the president, at the head of his
army, had many engagements with the royalists under the emperor
Christophe, whom he conquered, and had obtained possession of all his
dominions. The emperor, fearing he should be taken prisoner, committed
suicide by blowing his own brains out with his pistol. The president
took possession of his castle, where they found about seven millions of
dollars. By their wars with the French, and their internal wars among
themselves, they have reduced the male inhabitants so much that they now
estimate there is eleven females to one male, throughout all their
dominions.

Having disposed of my cargo and got a return freight on board, I sailed
for the port of Jerimie, where we arrived the twenty-fourth of July.
Here I collected about eight hundred dollars in coffee, which was due
from my last voyage. I sailed for New-York on the twenty-eighth, and
arrived at Staten Island after a passage of twenty-two days, where we
were compelled to perform a quarantine of thirty days, at the expiration
of which time we proceeded to the city, where I disposed of my cargo and
then returned with the schooner to Catskill, when we refitted her
previous to the next voyage.



CHAPTER XXII.

Schooner Combine.--Third Voyage.


We loaded the schooner's hold with an assorted cargo, and her deck with
twenty-eight horses, about fifty hogs, a number of coops of poultry; and
taking on board three passengers bound for the Island of Trinidad,
sailed from Catskill the tenth of November, 1822, and arrived in
New-York after a passage of two days, where I shipped a crew and
prepared for the voyage. About the seventeenth of November we sailed
from New-York, bound to the Island of Trinidad. After we got under
weigh I found the greater part of my crew so badly intoxicated that they
could not stand upon deck, but having fair wind and good weather I
proceeded to sea; the mate, cooper, and cook, being sober, I thought we
could manage the vessel until the crew could attend to their duty. We
passed the night without getting any assistance from them. The next
morning I ordered the mate to go into the fore-castle, where they slept,
and search for liquor, and if necessary, break open all the seamen's
chests, and if he found any he was to break the bottles or heave them
overboard. He returned to the cabin with one bottle containing about a
pint, being all he could find. We learned afterwards that they had some
more secreted, which he was not able to discover. Towards evening the
second day we were able to get them all at work but one. About eight
o'clock in the evening that one came on deck and appeared somewhat
bewildered with delirium tremens.

I was then called to my supper, being much fatigued, having stood at the
helm over twenty-four hours, while the mate, cooper, and cook took care
of the stock on deck. Within two minutes after I entered the cabin I
heard the cry, "He is overboard," when I jumped on deck and threw over
many articles of lumber, long lines, &c. but the night being dark, and a
heavy sea running, we soon lost sight of him. This seaman's name was
James Currie, who said he was born in Rhode Island, and I found by the
papers he left, that he had lately been discharged from the Frigate
Constellation. One of his shipmates informed me that he had just arrived
from a three years' cruise, and had received three hundred dollars when
he was paid off, but had spent the whole of it in three weeks, and was
indebted to his landlord about seventeen dollars more. My seamen were
all sober and at their duty in a couple of days, and we proceeded on the
voyage without any other occurrence worth recording, and arrived, after
a passage of thirty-five days, at Port Spain, in the Island of Trinidad,
where we landed our horses, which had stood on their feet the whole
passage. Many of them had the heaves badly when they were taken on
board, but were perfectly cured when they landed. This being the third
time of successful experiment with diseased horses as a veterinarian, I
pronounced a sea voyage a perfect cure for the heaves, whether in horses
or other animals.

The Island of Trinidad was ceded to the English by the Spanish
government, and by the law of Nations the Spanish laws were to remain in
force for twenty years after the transfer, which time had not expired. A
Spanish governor is clothed with almost as much power as an emperor. Sir
Ralph Woodford had been selected as governor, and was a tyrannical man,
and very unpopular among the inhabitants. The city of Port Spain is one
of the pleasantest places I have ever seen in the West Indies. The
streets are kept very clean and in good order. No man can leave the
Island without a permit from the governor. A merchant of Port Spain
visited the Island of Tobago, a distance of about sixty miles, where he
remained two or three days and then returned, when the governor had him
arrested and committed to jail, where he remained six days: his only
crime was leaving the Island without a passport signed by the governor.

A Mr. J. Robbins, an American, informed me that he owned a house in one
of the principal streets in the city, which street the governor ordered
to be paved, and a tax laid on the property in that street to defray the
expenses of flagging. The tax on his house and lot amounting to over six
hundred dollars, and not being able to pay it, the property was sold at
a great loss.

The license to retail liquors in the city is sold annually at auction,
to the highest bidder; one person purchasing the license for the whole
town, gives security, and then divides it as he pleases. The soil of
this Island is rich, producing sugar-cane and cocoa in abundance.
Coffee, and all kinds of tropical provisions and fruits are raised here
in large quantities. The Island abounds with snakes of an enormous size.
I visited an American gentleman, residing in the country about twelve
miles from Port Spain, who had a snake-skin stuffed which was
twenty-three feet long; it was shot by one of his negroes, and on
opening it they found a whole deer. A few hours before we left the port
news was received from the interior of the Island that a snake had been
shot containing the bodies of a black woman and child. The principal
currency of the country is Spanish dollars punched through the centre,
making a hole about the size of a five cent piece; the dollar still
passing for the same value in the way of trade, and the plug which is
taken out passes for one-eighth of a dollar. After passing through a few
hands they find their way to some Jew, who reams the hole so large that
you can pass a twenty-five cent piece through them, but they still pass
for a dollar by way of trade. To prevent deception and loss, most
bargains are stipulated to be paid in whole dollars.

The English government has made a strong effort to introduce the
cultivation of tea into this Island, by importing a number of Chinese
laborers; it has proved to be a thorough failure. After their arrival in
the country they became so indolent that it was found impossible to make
them cultivate the land. They intermarried with the negroes, and became
useless to society, laboring only to supply their daily wants.

Having sold all my cargo, and taken on board over a hundred hogsheads of
molasses, I sailed for New-York, where we arrived about the first of
April, 1823. On the passage home we experienced a heavy gale of wind,
which caused the loss of one thousand gallons of molasses.

On selling the cargo we found the West India trade unprofitable, in
consequence of the low prices of the produce of the Islands, which
caused heavy losses on return cargoes. I held a consultation with my
partners in the vessel, when it was agreed to sell the Combine at
auction and abandon the trade.



CHAPTER XXIII.


The following, copied from the _Northern Whig_ of December 3d, 1822, is
a correct account of the capture of the piratical vessels by Lieutenant
Commandant Allen, who lost his life during the engagement:

     "It becomes our painful duty to record the death of Lieutenant
     William Howard Allen, of the United States Navy. He commanded
     the United States Schooner Alligator, and on the 11th of
     November last, while leading his brave tars in the Alligator's
     boats to attack a nest of pirates near Matanzas, was shot by
     them in the head and breast, and survived but four hours.
     Undaunted, even in death, he cheered his men, and had the
     consolation of witnessing the surrender of one of the piratical
     vessels, and the re-capture of five merchantmen before he
     expired. He was buried on the succeeding day at Matanzas, with
     military honors.

     "Lieutenant Allen was a native of this city, (Hudson,) was born
     on the 8th of July, 1790, entered the navy in the 20th year of
     his age. He was Second Lieutenant on board the Argus, in the
     summer of 1813, and during the bloody conflict between the
     Argus and the Pelican, the command of the former devolved for a
     time upon him. W. H. Watson, the First Lieutenant of the Argus,
     a brave and worthy officer, speaks of his conduct in high and
     merited terms. He was also in the Congress Frigate during her
     cruise in the Chinese Seas.

     "He was attached to his profession, courted glory, and feared
     no danger. In the last war he saw much service; and whether in
     war or peace, never failed to do his duty.

     "We shall conclude our brief observations with the following
     remarks, which have been kindly furnished us at the particular
     request of a number of the friends of Lieutenant Allen, and
     which were the conclusion of a discourse delivered from the
     pulpit, by the Reverend B. F. Stanton, on the Sunday succeeding
     the day on which the afflictive news of the death alluded to
     arrived here.

     "After a reference had been made to the frequent instances in
     which, for a few years past, the inhabitants of Hudson have
     been suddenly and unexpectedly deprived of some of their most
     respected and valued fellow citizens, it was observed, that, in
     addition to all the previous calamities of the nature which we
     had experienced, we have recently been called upon by the
     righteous Providence of Him whose 'path is in the great deep,
     and whose footsteps are not known,' to contemplate another,
     which, in some of its features, perhaps, is the heaviest of
     all. I shall undoubtedly be readily understood, by most of my
     hearers, to refer to the tidings which have lately reached us
     of the lamented death of Lieutenant William H. Allen, a native
     of this town, and an officer in the United States Navy.

     "It is not any design on this occasion to attempt to do justice
     to his memory by pronouncing his eulogy. This will probably be
     done by abler pens and more eloquent tongues. My aim at present
     is merely to advert to a few of the leading traits in his
     character, and to call on those who hear me to listen to the
     monitory voice of Heaven which addresses us in this afflictive
     dispensation. As a son he was filial, as a brother he was kind
     and affectionate, as a gentleman he was amiable and
     accomplished in his manners, as a friend he was trusty and
     sincere, as a man he was humane and generous: he had a soul
     that was indignant at meanness and vice! In his morals, I
     believe, he was free from those defilements which are too often
     known to tarnish the reputation of those in his profession, and
     to which they are so peculiarly liable: In his religious
     sentiments, if I am not mistaken, he was a candid believer in
     divine revelation: As a lover of his country, he was ardent and
     ever eager, when summoned by her call, to be foremost in her
     defence; and as an officer he was active, faithful, skilful,
     and courageous. In the engagement that terminated his naval
     career, he occupied a post most pregnant with danger, and
     though mortally wounded in the early part of it, he still
     animated his valiant tars, while the life-blood was fast ebbing
     from its seat, to persevere till the victory was gained. By
     these encomiums, however, it is not intended that he was
     exempted from a participation in that polution of our nature
     which is common to every individual of the human family. Though
     he was possessed of excellencies which _we_ may be allowed to
     admire and applaud; in the sight of infinite purity, like every
     other human being, he was a ruined sinner,

          "Sprung from the man whose guilty fall,
          "Corrupts our arce and taints us all."

     But neither the personal excellencies which so strongly
     endeared him to those who knew him, the affections of his
     numerous friends, nor the wants of his country, could render
     him impervious to the shaft of death. No, his generous spirit
     is fled. Though brave, he has fallen a victim to the king of
     terrors, who conquers all. A band of piratical marauders, whose
     iniquitous occupation is the plunder of the seas, and whose
     perfidies and cruelties, which are audaciously committed on the
     broad highway of nations, are continually augmenting, and in
     our opinion, loudly call for the interfering arm of national
     government, to extirpate, if possible, these freebooters, from
     the face of the earth; a horde of these unprincipled
     miscreants, who are the stigma of the human kind, have deprived
     his country of his valuable services. He has lain down and will
     rise not. 'Till the heavens be no more he shall not awake, nor
     be raised out of sleep. His mangled remains are deposited in a
     land of strangers, and far from his family and his home. He
     will no more return to alleviate, by his presence, the severe
     and long continued afflictions of 'the mother that bare him,'
     to meet the embraces of the fond sisters that loved him, and to
     receive the gratulations of the inhabitants of this place, who
     were proud to claim him as their fellow-citizen. Yes, his
     generous spirit has gone! The war song has died away upon his
     ear. By the thrilling notes of the clarion, which once prompted
     him to deeds of valor, he is now unmoved! His body is silent
     and still in 'the narrow house of all living.' He reposes, with
     others of his valiant compeers, to await 'the sound of the
     archangel and the trump of God.' But it is the consolation of
     surviving friends to reflect, that, though he sleeps, and they
     shall behold him no more, he has fallen in the arms of victory,
     and in the common cause of his country and of mankind. His
     memory will be for ever embalmed in the tenderest recollections
     of his acquaintances. His loss will be deplored as a national
     calamity; and we would reverently trust, that, before his
     spirit took its returnless flight, as he had been educated in
     the principles of the Christian faith, and knew to whom a
     sinner has to go, if his soul is ever saved, from his bloody
     bed of glory he raised his dying eyes and his supplicating
     voice to that God who is no respecter of persons, but who is
     rich in mercy unto all that call upon him, in whose presence
     the rich and the poor alike meet together; with whom the high
     and the low, the noble and the ignoble, stand upon the same
     level, in the effulgence of whose holiness the lustre of the
     hero is dimmed, who permits none to glory before Him, save in
     the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, and with whom alone can
     avail the sacrifice of a broken and a contrite heart."

       *       *       *       *       *

     From the New-York Evening Post.

     "With emotions of indignation and unavailing grief, we find
     from the following article, that one of our bravest American
     officers and most valuable citizens, Lieutenant Commandant
     Allen, has fallen by the merciless hands of the sea-robbers who
     for several years have roamed the seas unchecked, fearlessly
     plundered our vessels, and remorselessly assassinated their
     crews with every species of barbarity that hellish ingenuity
     could invent."

       *       *       *       *       *

     From Relf's Philadelphia Gazette.

     "MELANCHOLY TIDINGS.--We have to-day to record an event which
     must excite in the breast of every American, and we may venture
     to add, in that of every civilized man, emotions of profound
     regret and indignation--Lieutenant Commandant Allen, one of the
     rising stars in our national galaxy, has fallen by the hands of
     unprincipled pirates. In the earnest and honorable execution of
     his duty to his country and to mankind, this gallant and
     accomplished young officer has become the victim of a gang of
     desperate buccaneers; but in this, as in most of the
     occurrences of our naval warfare, he died in the lap of
     victory. This melancholy intelligence was received this morning
     from an intelligent gentleman, passenger in the Mary Ann,
     Captain Cory, from Havanna, (now below,) and is furnished to us
     in these words:

     "About the 9th, two masters of American vessels came to
     Havanna for the express purpose of raising money for the ransom
     of their vessels, bound to Havanna, which with two other
     Americans (bound to New Orleans) had been recently captured by
     two piratical schooners near Key Romain, and left at anchor in
     that neighborhood waiting their return. Captain Allen, of the
     Alligator, on coming into port next day, being informed
     thereof, started, without coming to anchor, in search of the
     pirates, whom on that or the next day he discovered in the
     channel of Matanzas. The Alligator drawing too much water, two
     boats were manned and stood for them; an action ensued, in the
     early part of which Captain Allen received two musket balls,
     one in the head, the other in his breast, and soon died,
     encouraging his men to do their duty; which they nobly
     performed, for after a short contest the pirates abandoned
     their vessel and swam to the shore. The vessels were taken
     possession of by the victors and carried into Matanzas.

     "They mounted one gun each, amid-ship, with forty men each,
     well armed, and considerable plunder on board. Our informant
     does not know what became of their prizes.

     "The Mary Ann has despatches on board from the American Agent
     at Havanna, furnishing official information in relation to this
     disastrous occurrence.

     "Since the above was in type, (says _The Evening Post_,) the
     following letter was handed us, confirmatory of the melancholy
     truth of the account, with further particulars. We cannot but
     express our unqualified admiration of the gallantry of spirit
     that impelled the undaunted Allen, undismayed by the bloody
     signal of _no quarter_, which waved aloft, to attack an armed
     vessel, with a desperate crew in an open boat, and with only a
     few men. His virtuous indignation bore away all prudent
     reflections, and he rushed into the jaws of death itself to
     rescue or avenge his fellow citizens. Captain Allen is a native
     of Hudson, in this State, where his mother and sisters now
     reside. May we not hope that the vessels in our harbor will
     unite in giving at least one outward testimony of their
     mourning for his loss, by raising their flags half-mast high
     to-morrow.

                                   "Matanzas, November 11, 1822.

     "To Messrs. G. G. & S. Howland,

     "My dear Sirs:--The gallant Allen is no more! You witnessed the
     promptitude with which he hastened to relieve the vessel which
     I informed him had been captured off this port. He arrived
     just in time to save five sail of vessels, which he found in
     possession of a gang of pirates, three hundred strong,
     established in the Bay of Lejuapo, about fifteen leagues east
     of this. He fell, pierced by two musket balls, in the van of a
     division of boats, attacking their principal vessel, a fine
     schooner of about eighty tons, with a long eighteen-pounder on
     a pivot, and four guns, _with the bloody flag nailed to the
     mast_. Himself, Captain Freeman, of marines, and twelve men,
     were in the boat much in advance of his other boats, and even
     took possession of the schooner after a desperate resistance
     which nothing but a bravery almost too daring could have
     overcome. The pirates, all but one, escaped by taking to their
     boats and jumping overboard, before the Alligator's boats
     reached them. Two other schooners escaped by the use of their
     oars, the wind being light.

     "Captain Allen survived about four hours, during which his
     conversation evinced a composure and firmness of mind, and
     correctness of feeling, as honorable to his character and more
     consoling to his friends than even the dauntless bravery he
     before evinced.

     "The Alligator arrived here to-day, in company with the prize,
     and five re-captured vessels. Arrangements are making with the
     governor, with the concurrence of the commander of the Spanish
     Brig of war Marte, [of whose conduct the officers of the
     Alligator speak in the highest terms,] to inter him with the
     honors of war to-morrow morning. It is certain that the pirates
     are but little weakened by this contest, and there is reason to
     fear that our commerce with this Island and New Orleans will be
     almost annihilated, unless an effectual force is stationed here
     to prevent it. But the best comment I can make is to add a list
     of vessels re-taken, and to state that many of the men are
     missing, and probably have been murdered. Should any of our
     vessels of war arrive, please state these facts, and leave no
     efforts untried to procure some additional force to come
     immediately here.

                                   "In great haste, your's very truly,
                                   "Francis Adams.

     "Loss in Alligator's two boats--Captain Allen and two oarsmen
     killed; two men mortally wounded; three severely.

     "[By an arrival at Philadelphia we learn that the United States
     Schooner Alligator had arrived at Matanzas with the pirate
     schooner and the vessels re-taken from the pirates, (the Ship
     William & Henry, of New-York, Brig Iris, of Boston, and Brig
     Sarah Marael, of New-York, bound to New Orleans; Schooner
     Sarah, of Boston, for Mobile, Schooner Mary Ann, of Salem, for
     Matanzas,) are all ordered for Charleston. The pirate schooner
     has arrived, it is said, at Norfolk.]"

After the arrival of the piratical schooner at Norfolk she was condemned
and sold to a citizen of that place, who gave her the name of Allen, in
remembrance of the brave but unfortunate commander who lost his life in
capturing her. Some time after she was purchased by Messrs. H. & D.
Cotheal and A. D. Hallett, the former owners of the Price, and I was
employed to take the command of her, and proceed to the Island of St.
Andreas, and from thence to Chagres.



CHAPTER XXIV.

Schooner Allen.


About the twenty-seventh of December, 1823, I took charge of the Allen.
She was a small sharp-built schooner, armed with a long six-pound
cannon, mounted on a circle, with a patent slide, and was well fitted
for sea. My crew were three seamen, a mate and cook. We sailed from
New-York the twenty-ninth of December, and made our passage to the
Island of Old Providence in seventeen days, where we stopped and traded
two or three days, and then proceeded to the Island of St. Andreas,
where I met Mr. Henry T. Smith, who had been my former clerk in the
Indian trade. I supplied him with what goods he wanted and then sailed
for Chagres. On my arrival there I wrote a letter to the American Consul
at Panama, informing him that I had a consignment of goods on board for
him. After a few days I received a letter from a Mr. Montaudevert,
informing me that Mr. Craig, the consul had left Panama and departed for
New-York on a visit, leaving him in charge of his business during his
absence. In three or four days after I received his letter he arrived at
Chagres and took lodgings on board with me. The next day he hired a
large canoe to take the goods up the river to a place called Cruses, a
distance of forty-two miles, which is said to be the head of canoe
navigation on that river. The provisions I had on board was all put up
in half barrels for the customary mule transportation over the Isthmus,
by slinging two across each mule's back, two half barrels being a load
for a mule. After all our arrangements were made the canoe was hauled
alongside of the Allen. When she made her appearance there I was struck
with surprise at her length and breadth, she being some feet longer than
my little schooner. I took up a rule and measured her breadth, which I
found was eight feet from one side to the other, and her length over
sixty feet, being dug out of one solid tree, free from shakes or cracks.

In the morning we loaded the canoe with one hundred and forty-one half
barrels of flour, and twenty half barrels of pork and mackerel, and two
hogsheads filled with firkins of butter. The canoe had a large quantity
of other freight on board before she come alongside of the Allen. After
delivering all the goods consigned to Mr. Craig, I sold Mr. Montaudevert
thirteen hundred and forty dollars' worth of goods consigned to myself,
on a credit of ninety days, and took his note, payable in gold dust, at
two hundred and fifty dollars per pound, or Spanish dollars, at my
option. Mr. Montaudevert told me if I returned there in the Allen next
voyage he would ship on board of her on freight, thirty thousand
dollars' worth of dust. This may show the reader that gold dust has been
gathered in that region for many years; and if that country was as well
searched as California is at this day, no doubt many beds of that
valuable ore might be found. I remained in Chagres eight or ten days,
selling goods from the vessel at retail at good prices. Having four
hogsheads of rum and brandy on board, which I found was a contraband
article in that government, I entered them at the custom house for
exportation, and afterwards sold them to an American captain, who agreed
to meet me a few miles at sea, out of the jurisdiction of that
government, where I delivered them and received my pay.

The river Chagres is navigable for small vessels about half a mile
inside of the bar, which has about eleven feet of water on it at full
tide. The town contains about fifty huts, called houses, built after the
model of the Indians. The inhabitants are called Samboes, being a
mixture of native Indian, Negro, and white blood. They are a very
indolent, harmless, and inoffensive race; and their customs and manners
are much like the native Indians.

I got under weigh and proceeded a few miles to sea, when I found the
vessel lacked ballast, so we ran into Porto Bello and purchased a few
tons of fustic, which put her in good sailing trim, when we shaped our
course back towards the Island of St. Andreas, where I took Mr. Henry T.
Smith, and his return cargo on board, consisting of four hundred pounds
of tortoise shell, and five or six thousand dollars in gold and silver,
which he had collected for the owners of the Allen. We soon got under
weigh and shaped our course for New-York.

As my little schooner was a fast sailor, pilot-boat model, I beat to the
windward, hoping to get sight of the Island of St. Domingo and sail
through the windward passage. After a few days we succeeded in obtaining
sight of that Island and sailed along under the lee of it; keeping a
bright look-out for suspicious looking vessels. Knowing that my vessel
had been taken from the pirates, I was fearful that some of the former
gang who once had possession of her might capture me, when I could not
expect anything but immediate death.

[Illustration: Schooner Renegade firing into the Schooner Allen.]

The morning after we got sight of the Island we discovered a suspicious
looking schooner laying at anchor near the land, about five miles to the
windward of us, who got under weigh in great haste. I soon perceived
with my spy glass that her deck was full of men. She bore down towards
us, we hauled close upon the wind, which brought her into our wake about
four miles astern of us. Both vessels had their colors flying. Neither
of us dared to trust the other. Our new neighbor soon after rounded too,
hauled up his fore-sail, and fired a large shot, which we could plainly
discover skipping on the surface of the water some distance from us. I
took the helm myself and kept the vessel close to the wind, fearing my
seamen would be careless about steering her. The strange schooner
continued firing at us about every half hour, while we were going fast
to the windward of him, until about twelve o'clock. In the afternoon the
wind became light, when we discovered that the strange vessel was
gaining upon us. The captain afterwards informed me that he had thirty
sweeps, and most of his men employed in rowing for some hours, being
determined to overhaul us. We kept on our course until about 3 o'clock,
when we found ourselves near the land on the Island of Cuba, and the
suspicious craft gaining fast upon us. We had no alternative but to tack
ship; soon after, he fired a shot which struck under our bowsprit, and
wet our fore-sail up to the gaff, this was followed by another that
grazed our mast-head, and another fell a few feet under the stern. The
fourth shot struck the after leach of the main-sail and cut off the bolt
rope and the after-cloth of the sail, and glancing downwards, struck the
trunk-deck and entered the cabin, passed through my bed, and then
followed the ceiling into the hold, cutting away the plank and three
timbers and landed in a bag of cotton. Although the ball, weighing
thirty-two pounds, passed through the deck within six feet from where I
stood at the helm, being much engaged in giving orders to set the
square-sail, I did not discover that it had passed through the deck
until some minutes after, when the cook came out of the cabin and told
me that Mr. Smith was wounded by a splinter striking him on the head. I
then raised my spy-glass and took a good survey of my antagonist,
supposing him to be a pirate. On looking at him some time, (all hands on
board the Allen being greatly agitated,) I discovered a number of red
coats on her deck, when our grief was turned to joy, being satisfied
that they were English marines. Soon after she approached within hailing
distance of us, when I was ordered to hoist out my boat and come on
board of her. When I got on board I was accosted by the captain with,
"Did you not see the colors flying on board of my vessel." I answered,
"Yes, sir, but I do not trust to colors in these piratical days." He
then said, "You have cost me a great deal of powder and shot this day."
I answered, by saying, "Never mind, King George is able to pay for it."
He then asked me if my vessel leaked badly. I told him that I had but
little time to ascertain how bad she did leak, but knew that she had
some holes in her. He sent a lieutenant, carpenter, and four men on
board of the Allen to examine and pump her out, and invited me into the
cabin to drink with him. I told him I did not drink any ardent spirits;
he then said, "Damn it, you're a Yankee, and can take a bottle of cider
with me." After we entered the cabin and were seated, he looked at me
with a smile, saying, "Curse me if you ain't game, you stand fire well."
In the mean time he called the gunner to the cabin door, saying,
"Gunner, how many shot have you fired at this man this day." The gunner
answered him, "Sixteen thirty-two pound shot, and four long
twelve-pounders."

He then told me, if I thought it necessary to put into some port for
repairs, he would recommend Kingston, Jamaica, as the best to sail for;
and if I had any valuable articles in her, he would take them on board
of his vessel for safety, and convoy me to that port. I informed him
that I had over eight thousand dollars in specie, and four hundred
pounds of tortoise-shell, worth ten dollars per pound. In the mean time,
the lieutenant arrived from the Allen and reported that he thought she
could be kept perfectly free from water by having the pump well manned.
After some consultation together, he agreed to let his carpenter,
sailing master, and four seamen remain on board the Allen, and he would
hoist lights and signals, and convoy her to Kingston for repairs. He
then gave his name, and a history of himself and the schooner he now
commanded. He said, "About one year since I obtained a furlough from my
government, and took charge of a merchant ship bound from Liverpool to
Jamaica and back to that port. On my passage from Jamaica towards home I
was captured by the pirates, robbed of eight thousand dollars, and many
articles, and most cruelly beaten and horribly tortured. The vessel he
was now in was taken from the pirates by one of his Majesty's ships, and
carried into Jamaica, condemned, and then fitted out under the name of
the Renegade, for the purpose of capturing pirates; and that he was
appointed to the command of her, and was determined to cruise after them
until he had obtained some satisfaction from them." After this
conversation ended I went on board my vessel and followed the Renegade,
who shaped her course for Kingston. Night soon approached, when she
showed her signal light, which we followed. During the night the light
winds and smoky weather caused us to lose sight of her until the next
morning, when we found ourselves near a place called the White Horse,
about twelve miles from Port Royal, which lies at the entrance of
Kingston harbor. Our vessels were now laying becalmed a short distance
from each other. Soon after the sea-breeze arose, both vessels being
under weigh, near together, we set all our sails and steered for the
mouth of the harbor, and the Allen arrived there three miles ahead of
the Renegade. This satisfied me that the use of the sweeps on board of
the Renegade caused the long chase between us, and the loss of his
Majesty's powder and shot.

On my arrival at Kingston I called on Messrs. O'Hara & Onfloy for
advice, when we applied to the admiral on that station to allow the
Allen to be taken into the king's dock-yard for repairs, which he
refused. We then applied to the collector of the port for leave to take
out her cargo, in order to heave her bottom out of water and repair it.
The collector informed us that he could not grant us that leave without
permission from the governor, who resided at Spanish Town, twelve miles
from Kingston. We had to employ a competent person to draw the petition,
who let us know that we must advance him thirty dollars to purchase a
sheet of stamped paper to write the petition upon. After the article was
drawn I was obliged to hire a man and furnish him with a horse and
carriage to convey it to the governor, who granted my request. The only
favor I had to acknowledge was, the governor's sending me the thirty
dollars which I paid for the sheet of stamped paper, in consequence of
the assault being committed by an English-government vessel.

The carpenter hove the schooner's bottom out and repaired her in three
or four days; but I was detained eight days in obtaining a permit to
land the cargo for that purpose. The whole of the expenses were about
two hundred and sixty dollars. During this time I often met Captain
Fiatt, the commander of the Renegade, at public houses and elsewhere,
who was a gentleman in all respects. He was profuse in expressing his
regret that the unfortunate occurrence had happened to my vessel; and
was still full of his determination to pursue the pirates until he got
some revenge for the injuries he had received from them. After the
vessel was repaired I took on board four thousand six hundred dollars
belonging to my owners, and returned with the Allen to New-York. About
one year after, I visited Kingston on my way home from the Spanish Main.
When I inquired after Captain Fiatt, whom I left in the Renegade, an
English naval officer informed me that while cruising he landed with his
boat and crew on the Isle of Pines, and was missing for some time, when
another man-of-war's boat was sent in search of him. When the officer
and boat's crew landed on the Island they found the bodies of Captain
Fiatt and his boat's crew strewed on the ground, riddled with balls, and
the captain so horribly and vulgarly mangled as showed that none but
fiends could have been guilty of murdering them.

To give the reader some idea of the horrible atrocities committed by the
pirates at that time, I have thought proper to insert the following
account, copied from _The Evening Post_ of April 15th, 1822:

     "_Commodore Porter's Squadron._

     "_Piracies._--The last news that has been received from this
     squadron is contained in the New-York papers extracted from the
     _St. Thomas' Times_ of March 5. On the 4th the squadron got
     under weigh and put to sea from St. Thomas'. Piracies of an
     enormity that the bare recital of them make the blood run cold,
     are continually taking place. A Dutch Brig was taken in sight
     of Moro Castle, at Havanna. The French Brig La Jeune Henrietta
     was taken on the 17th of March, the captain, passengers, and
     all the crew were most cruelly beaten, and they and the vessel
     robbed. The Schooner Success, from Matanzas, bound to New
     Providence, was captured and converted into an assistant
     pirate, two ladies, passengers, made prisoners, one of whom was
     hanged up till life was almost extinct, in order to make her
     confess where the money on board was secreted. The Dutch Brig
     Minerva was captured and burned. The Brig Columbia, from
     Washington, North Carolina, was captured, robbed of parts of
     her cargo and sails. The Brig Alert, from New Orleans, was
     boarded off the Moro by three boats, the captain and cook
     killed, and one man mortally wounded. A brig has lately arrived
     from the Balize, belonging to Kennebunk, formerly commanded by
     Captain Perkins, she was from Port-au-Prince, via Campeachy,
     where he was boarded by a pirate schooner of about forty tons,
     manned by forty ruffians. 'They stabbed Captain Perkins in a
     cruel manner and cut off one of his arms; he then told them
     where the money was, which amounted to two hundred doubloons;
     after which they cut off his other arm and thigh, placed oakum
     dipped in oil under his body and in his mouth, and set fire to
     it, which soon put an end to his life. The mate had a sword
     thrust through his thigh, and the vessel was robbed of
     everything moveable, such as cables, anchors, charts, books,
     rigging, sails, &c.' It would seem by these accounts, which
     have all come to hand the past week, that our squadron was of
     little or no use in those seas. The true way we think would be
     to put armed crews on board of merchantmen, at sea, after they
     had left the port they sailed from, and in this way the pirates
     could get no intelligence of vessels destined to go against
     them.

     "Captain Harding, of the Schooner Aspray, who arrived at Boston
     last Monday, from Havanna, in twelve days, informs that he was
     chased out of the Bay of Matanzas by two piratical boats, and
     running down for Havanna threw off her deck load to get clear
     of a piratical schooner. Brig Alert, of Portsmouth, from New
     Orleans, had just arrived off the Moro with a deck load of
     hogs. She was boarded in the night by two piratical boats, with
     six men each, and Captain Charles Blunt was murdered and thrown
     overboard; the cook was stabbed, thrown among the hogs and
     partly devoured by them. The crew were maltreated, and the
     vessel plundered. Captain Harding states, that when she sailed
     from Havanna it was hourly expected that orders would be issued
     for the detention of French vessels in port."



CHAPTER XXV.

Schooner Frances.


On the sixteenth day of July, 1824, I made a contract with one Captain
Oliver C. Murray, master of the Schooner Frances, of New-York, to
proceed with him on a trading voyage to the Musquitto Shore, Chagres,
Porto Bello, St. Blas, &c. as a pilot and assistant trader.

We took on board an assorted cargo, and sailed from New-York about the
last of July. After being at sea some three days Captain Murray was
taken sick, when he called the mate and crew into the cabin and told
them that he had given up the charge of the schooner to me, that they
must obey me accordingly. This was unsolicited by me. We then proceeded
direct to Porto Bello, where we opened a trade with the inhabitants,
remaining there about three weeks, experiencing heavy showers of rain
every day we tarried there, it then being the rainy season on that
coast. We proceeded from that port to Carthagena, a distance of about
two hundred and sixty miles, where we were informed by the inhabitants
that there had not fallen a drop of rain in that place during the last
ten months.

Carthagena is the strongest fortified city I ever visited, being
enclosed with a wall some fifteen feet high, which is approached by a
slope of easy assent. The wall appears to be from fifteen to twenty feet
thick, having embrasures with heavy cannon mounted on it, about one
hundred feet from one to another, all around the city, with a good road
on the top of the wall. On the outside of the wall there is a deep
trench, where water can be let in five or six feet deep if the city
should be invaded by an enemy. Vessels bound into the harbor are obliged
to keep close to the main land, which brings them near a long tier of
forts. The greatest part of the channel is filled in with large stones,
which appears to have been the work of ages.

We remained here about two weeks, and were visited by numbers of
captains of Columbian privateers, most of them Americans, who had
obtained commissions signed by General Bolivar; they purchased many
articles from us. Before we got the schooner under weigh we took on
board three members of the Columbian Congress and their servants. A son
of one of the congressmen had been educated in Europe, and spoke good
English. We agreed to convey them to Chagres. They came direct from
Bogata, the seat of government of this Republic, their congress having
just adjourned; they were on their way home, across the Isthmus. The
Columbian Congress had passed a law to raise the duties on imports about
twelve per cent. We had a large assortment of goods on board, which we
sold at retail at every port where we landed. On our passage these
members of congress, who had come direct from the seat of government,
and assisted to pass laws to raise the revenue and prevent smuggling,
purchased over three hundred dollars' worth of goods of us on the
passage, and had them put up in proper packages to pass through the
custom house as their baggage, so as to defraud the government of the
duties.

A short time before we arrived at Chagres one of them, who had an
English negro servant, ordered him to tell Captain Murray that he could
put some of his goods amongst their baggage if he wanted to smuggle them
on shore through the custom house, as their baggage was considered
sacred, and that no custom house officer dare to examine it. Being well
acquainted with the tricks of these Spanish officers, I prevailed on
Murray not to trust them, telling him this was only a trick to cheat him
out of his goods, as I had heard, from good authority, of a number of
tricks of this kind which had been practised by the collector of Porto
Bello and other ports on the Main.

We landed our passengers and remained some days at Chagres, where we
sold some goods and then returned to Porto Bello. We purchased some
fustic and other articles, and proceeded to the coast of St. Blas,
touching at a number of small harbors, where we bought fustic in small
quantities. While laying in the mouth of one of these narrow rivers,
called Nombre Dios, (name of God,) I found by inquiry that I was only
about thirty miles from the residence of one of my old traders, named
Campbell, who had visited New-York with me in the Schooner Price, and
was there when General Jackson made his first visit to that city. I told
Captain Murray that I should feel much pleased to visit Campbell, and I
would willingly assist to paddle a canoe thirty miles to see any honest
friend. This pleased him much, as he wanted an introduction to the trade
on that coast. The next morning we fitted out our canoe, by putting a
dinner-pot, fire-works, and some provisions, and a large jug, containing
two or three gallons of gin, on board, to treat my Indian friends on my
arrival among them. We were now well prepared for the trip, having
plenty to eat and drink. If the winds or weather detained us on the
passage we could go on shore, haul up our canoe, build a fire, cook our
provision and then lay down on the ground and get a comfortable sleep,
by keeping a kind of watch amongst ourselves to prevent the fire from
going out, that being our only protection from tigers, panthers, and
other wild beasts, who will never approach a fire. They are very
numerous on this coast. I tried this experiment many years successfully.

We left the schooner early in the morning and proceeded more than one
half of our journey, when a strong breeze of head wind compelled us to
go on shore and take up our lodging for the night. The next morning, the
wind having abated, we got under weigh, and reached Campbell's house
that afternoon. I was received by my old friend in the most affectionate
manner. He, knowing that I was very fond of craw-fish, wilkes, &c.
despatched a number of young men to fish for them, and others to go and
gather some of their best fruits for us to eat. At the same time the
most of his neighbors visited his house, many of them bringing fruits,
sugar-cane, &c. We were treated to the best supper the country afforded,
and he furnished us with clean hammocks to sleep in. The morning after,
we made a good breakfast; a large assemblage of Indians met at
Campbell's house, when he asked me to christen his children, which I
declined, by saying I had no book with me. I soon discovered that he
felt dissatisfied with my denial, for he had invited all his neighbors
there to witness the performance. He earnestly entreated me a second
time to perform the ceremony. After some further entreaty I yielded to
his request, which seemed to throw a gleam of joy on all the assembly of
Indians, whose eyes were steadily fixed upon me. When I got prepared to
perform the ceremony, I asked Campbell in his usual way of speaking
English, "What him name." He answered me, saying, "Dat General Jackson."
I then sprinkled water on his head, laid my hand upon it, and pronounced
his name with an audible voice; this was the oldest boy. I called for
the next, when he brought forward a younger lad; when I asked his name,
the answer was, "Dat must be your name," so I christened him Jacob
Dunham; then calling for another, he brought me a small girl, when I
asked concerning the name, he answered me, "Dat must be your wife name,"
and I christened her Fanny Dunham. The fourth one being called for,
Captain Murray requested Campbell to have it christened after his wife;
he agreed to it, as it was a small girl, and I named her Lucretia
Murray. After the ceremony was ended Captain Murray presented the
children with fifty cents each. A good dinner was prepared on the
occasion, which we partook of in the most jovial and friendly manner,
after which we visited a number of the neighboring houses in company
with my friend Campbell, where we were received with a hearty welcome,
and presented with such fruits as the country afforded.

In the morning, while we were preparing to return to the schooner,
Campbell called me out to a small store house, where he took up the hind
quarter of a baboon or large monkey, well smoked, and presented it to me
to eat on our passage back to the schooner. I did not like to wound his
feelings by refusing his present. On looking into his store room I
observed a number of large smoked birds about the size of a common
turkey, which I told him suited my taste much better than monkey, which
he readily exchanged, as the natives consider a fat monkey the best
meat that the country produces. He supplied us with bread-stuff and
fruits. We took our departure for the vessel, and arrived on board that
night.

We continued trading along the coast a few days, when we fell in with an
old schooner under Columbian colors, but American built, said to belong
to a man named Varney, who was on board of her, but could not hold her
papers while sailing under that flag, not being a naturalized citizen of
that government. It appeared he had employed a black citizen of that
country to hold her papers, in the capacity of captain, who was then
laying sick in a canoe on the schooner's deck.

Captain Murray told me he had heard from Carthagena that a government
schooner was cruising in pursuit of the Frances to capture her for
trading on this coast without license, that we must take the goods out
of her and put them on board of Varney's old schooner as speedily as
possible, and then proceed to sea with her immediately; that I must go
on board of her and take charge of the goods as supercargo. The goods
were transferred that afternoon in great haste, without my having time
to examine the old vessel as I ought to have done. She had a motley crew
of different nations on board. When I took a view of them, I told Murray
that I would not trust my life on board of her without he gave me two or
three of the Frances' crew to go with me, which request he complied
with, when we hurried to sea, bound to the Island of St. Andreas. After
we got out a little from the land we tried the pump, and found she
leaked very badly, but dared not put back, fearing we might be captured.
So we all agreed to pursue the voyage. We were now compelled to try the
pump every fifteen minutes during the passage to St. Andreas, which was
twenty-three days.

Immediately after our arrival in that harbor I took all the goods on
shore. Two days after, Varney undertook to heave the old schooner out,
to repair her bottom, when the deck slid off, and she sunk, never to
rise again. The negro captain died the second day after we went to sea,
when we committed his body to a watery grave.

Some time after Captain Murray arrived with the Frances in the harbor
and learned the fate of Varney's old vessel, when he chartered a small
schooner belonging to St. Andreas to take the remainder of his goods on
board, and carry them to St. John's, on the Spanish Main. The next day
they were all put on board of the new schooner. Murray now made up his
mind to send the Frances back to New-York, and wanted me to take charge
of her as master, which I refused to do, knowing it to be a broken
voyage, and if I acted as master of her I could not libel the vessel for
my wages. I told him he could give the mate charge of the Frances, and
that I would assist to navigate her back to New-York, which he agreed
to. He and Varney went on board of the new chartered schooner, and
proceeding to St. John's, took out the goods and transported them up
that river into Nunanger Lake, on a trading voyage. All our arrangements
being finished, both vessels proceeded to sea, when we shaped our course
for New-York.

Soon after we got to sea I examined the list of return cargo which
Murray had left on board the Frances; it consisted mostly of fustic,
which was selling in New-York at that time at reduced prices, and I
found that the whole cargo would not pay the charter of the schooner,
which was two hundred dollars per month, besides victualing, manning and
port charges.

The Frances proved to be such a dull sailer that we could seldom force
her more than seven knots per hour, in addition to which her sails and
rigging had been badly injured by the continued rains on that coast,
which rendered her unfit for any voyage. We were beating to the
northward about fourteen days before we made the land, which proved to
be Cape Antonio, we then steered into the Gulf-stream, which assisted us
to work our way to the northward and eastward, and were a number of days
sailing in the Gulf before we reached the latitude of Charleston, where
we encountered a succession of heavy gales of wind which split our sails
and carried away the greatest part of our running rigging. Finding our
water and provisions growing short, we concluded to put into Charleston
for relief, and the next day the wind proving favorable we steered
direct for that port, where we anchored in a crippled condition. After
our arrival there, we wrote to the men whom we supposed were Captain
Murray's sureties for the charter of the Frances, informing them of our
misfortune, when they applied to the underwriters for relief. When we
had waited two or three weeks in Charleston, an agent of the
underwriters arrived there from New-York, bringing with him rigging and
sails, when we made some tempory repairs, and then sailed for New-York,
where we arrived after a passage of two weeks.

After we arrived in port it was discovered that Murray had not over
twenty dollars when he first undertook the voyage. He was a good looking
man, and belonged to the Masonic order, could sing a good song, and tell
a humorous story, and had a peculiar way of gaining the confidence of
his associates. He had but few personal acquaintances in the city; but
had obtained security from two or three responsible merchants for the
charter of the schooner Frances for a voyage of some months, at two
hundred dollars per month, and they had loaned him money to pay the
advance wages of the mate and seamen, and supplied him with ship stores,
besides making large shipments of goods on their own account. He took
many goods from different people in invoices of from fifty to one
thousand dollars, agreeing to carry them free from freight, and return
them one-half of the net profits. Among the shippers was his landlady, a
poor widow woman, whom he persuaded to make a shipment of crockery
amounting to fifty or sixty dollars, who, no doubt expected it would be
sold at California prices. I have since conversed with many of the
shippers by the Frances on this voyage, who say that they never received
any returns for the goods which they shipped on board the schooner, or
any account of the sales of them. The sureties were compelled to pay the
seamen's wages and all other expenses. Some years after I learned that
Murray died in some part of Central America.



CHAPTER XXVI.

Voyage to New Orleans.


About the first of December, 1831, I entered into an agreement in
Philadelphia with a large contractor, who had engaged to open a canal
from the city of New Orleans to Lake Ponekertrain. He had hired about
one hundred and fifty men, and chartered a brig to carry them to New
Orleans. We sailed about the sixth of December, and made our passage out
in twenty days. The captain of the brig was a young man who was but
little acquainted with that coast. As he found that I was more
experienced than himself, he was very civil to me. I gave him
information about this dangerous coast. On our arrival at New Orleans
we were conveyed to some large shantees, built for the accommodation of
the workmen. I was stationed in the store-room, with orders to weigh out
the provisions, keep a daily account of the expenditures, and make
weekly returns to the treasurer. This I found a very disagreeable
situation, as the men were constantly finding fault with their
provisions, although they were furnished with good tea, coffee, sugar,
smoked shoulders, potatoes, salt fish, wheat bread and butter every
Friday, fresh beef twice in the week, and eight glasses of whiskey per
day. Notwithstanding this good treatment, we had riots among the men
every few days, and all deficiency in stores or cooking was laid to my
charge, and they often threatened my life. There were two other
encampments on the same canal, one on the lake side, and one in the
middle station, where they murdered one cook, mortally wounded one
overseer, and severely injured many others.

A few months after they grew so riotous that the City Guards had to be
called out to suppress them, when they were discharged by the company,
and I was released from my contract. After they had spent all their
wages they returned to their work and were very orderly. This canal is
only six and a half miles long, and eight feet deep, but has added
greatly to the wealth of the city. There was an old canal, formed mostly
by nature, running nearly parallel with this new one, having about five
feet depth of water in it, but it was often so much out of repair as to
make it difficult to navigate, and as it did not answer the desired
purpose, the new one was made. I obtained employment in a little
schooner, which ran between New Orleans and Covington, through the old
canal, crossing the lake and ascending a small river called Chepunkee,
navigable some twenty-two miles. We sailed into the mouth of it about
three miles, and then took in our sails and towed her the remaining
distance to the little village called Covington. The river is so narrow
in many places that vessels have scant room to pass by each other; a
slight current sets down the river the whole time.

At Covington I found a number of steam sawmills, and abundance of sawed
timber and boards, a few hotels, boarding houses, stores, and a printing
office and several dwelling houses. This place is considered a healthy
resort in the sickly season. Many small vessels find employment here in
transporting lumber, brick, and cotton. We soon took in a cargo of
lumber and returned to New Orleans, where we discharged it; when I
entered on board of another schooner and made a trip to Mobile, which I
found a very handsome city. The houses are built in modern style, the
place has in it a number of large elegant hotels and stores, and many
handsome streets. I was much annoyed with musquittoes while we remained
in port, but soon left for New Orleans, where we landed after a passage
of two days. In a short time I started for another trip across the
lake. On my return I was taken sick. Finding that my small means would
not support me long at a boarding house, and also pay the doctor's
bills, I applied to the collector of the port, who gave me an order to
go to the Marine Hospital, supposing I had a just claim to go there
after paying hospital money to support such institutions over thirty
years. During my stay in the hospital I found it was a private
institution; that the collector and the keeper of it were kinsmen, and
that the collector paid the keeper seventy-five cents per day for the
board of every seaman he sent there. The daily rations allowed each man
were about eight or ten ounces of bread, and five or six ounces of fresh
meat, with the accompaniment of a small bowl of tea. The whole would not
cost per day over twelve cents per man.

A number of seamen remain here a long time after they are restored to
health, without receiving a discharge from the doctor, who is making
fifty cents per day, or more, for their board. These men leave the
hospital in the morning in pursuit of work, which they generally find,
purchase their dinners at eating houses, and return to the hospital at
night, where they receive their small rations and lodgings, the keeper
pocketing his seventy-five cents per day from government during their
stay here. They are left to decide for themselves when it is best to be
well. In consequence of this, many of the sick in the hospital are
crowded out of comfortable lodgings.

It will easily be seen that the greatest part of the tax collected from
the hard earnings of seamen is used to enrich political favorites. I
remained in this establishment about sixty days, during that time the
yellow fever raged there violently, causing a number of deaths in the
house. Many patients were brought there who were unable to walk or stand
on their feet, and were most of them soon cured.

After I left the hospital I found some light employment for a few days,
when I agreed to take another trip across the lake. Previous to my going
on board of the vessel I returned to the hospital, where I had left some
of my clothing, took with me such as I wanted, and left some of my heavy
articles in charge of a sailor named Daniel Dunn, with whom I had formed
a short acquaintance in the hospital, and proceeded over the lake, where
we remained a few days, and then returned to the city. On my return I
found the cholera had broken out and was raging to such an alarming
degree that the inhabitants were terror-struck. The returns of deaths
were over two hundred per day. Laborers wages for digging in the church
burying ground was seven dollars per day. Not being able to procure
laborers sufficient to dig single graves, they dug canals about one
hundred rods in length, of sufficient depth to place three coffins one
above the other, the water in the bottom of it being about eighteen
inches deep. All graves dug in New Orleans are half filled with water
before the coffins are deposited in them.

The morning after my return I proceeded to the hospital to see after my
clothing. On visiting the building I was much surprised on walking
through many of the rooms without seeing a living soul. In the back yard
I found eight or ten dead bodies laying on the ground in a putrid state.
I then searched the upper stories, and in a room called the small-pox
ward, I found one dead body laying on a bed covered with a woollen
blanket, in a very putrid state, the offensive gas rising through the
blanket like a dense fog. Some few were still alive, but suffering for
want of attendance. On descending the stairs I met the assistant
physician of the hospital, and asked him the cause of this great neglect
of the few who were still living. He told me that Doctor M'Farlane, the
proprietor, was very sick, and that the cook, steward, washer woman, and
the black man who conveyed the corpses to the grave, were all dead, and
that they could not procure any assistance. He asked me if I would try
to hire some help for him. I told him that I would use my best exertions
to procure him some, but if I could not obtain any I would assist him
myself. I then left him and returned to my lodgings. Just before I left
my boarding house to visit the hospital I heard one of the boarders, a
journeyman hatter, who had been on a drunken frolic for some days, say
that he had spent all his money and had not enough left to get his
bitters that morning. Knowing that the want of money in such
circumstances stimulate men to undertake unpleasant jobs sooner than go
without their bitters, I proposed his going to work with me at the
hospital, and rendering the doctor all the assistance in our power,
which he readily agreed to. When we arrived at the place I introduced
the doctor to the hatter. After the introduction was over my partner
showed a great anxiety to fix on the price of our day's work, which was
soon settled at five dollars each. The bargain being closed we were
presented with some antidote, which we were ordered to snuff up our
noses.

About this time three or four carts arrived at the door, when we were
requested to assist in carrying out the few sick persons that remained
in the building, which we found to be only sixteen, being all that were
left alive out of about sixty inmates that I left there some ten days
before.

The doctor showed us a number of rough boxes, called coffins, which were
placed in the back yard. Many of them were made very wide, that they
might hold two dead bodies. He requested us to harness up a poor old
half-starved horse, which we found on the premises. After a long search
we found the old harness scattered about the yard, which we gathered up,
both of us being ignorant of the way of putting it together. After a
long consultation we placed it on the horse's back, which was so sore
that he trembled badly during the operation. After we had rigged him and
the cart, we agreed to take on one of the double coffins for the first
load. We opened one of them and placed a large body in it, and then
hunted for a small one to crowd into the same box; when we had
accomplished this we attempted to lift the double coffin on to the cart;
finding that we were not able to accomplish it we were obliged to roll
it on. I asked the hatter if he would drive the horse to the grave-yard,
telling him I was unacquainted with that employment. He told me he was a
stranger to that business, and insisted upon it that I must be the
driver. I mounted the cart and proceeded towards the burying ground, on
the road we found the mud so deep that the cart wheels buried themselves
nearly up to the hubs. After driving nearly a mile we arrived at the
Catholic burying ground, where we found a long canal and twenty or
thirty men employed in digging and receiving dead bodies. Before our
arrival there, a board burst off from the coffin, which caused one arm
to hang out. The Irish laborers employed there commenced a quarrel with
us, swearing that they would be the death of us if we brought any more
coffins there in that situation, and we found some difficulty in
prevailing upon them to receive the present one. They at last agreed to
help lift it off the cart. It was then placed in the canal, where the
water was about two feet deep, two men stood upon it until they put
another coffin on the top of it, when they placed the third one on the
top of the second one, making the tier three deep, laying the coffins
crossways in the canal. When one tier was finished they hove large
quantities of lime upon it and commenced another.

We now returned to the hospital and took in two more bodies, enclosing
them in single coffins. This time we found a number of chickens busily
employed in the hospital yard picking maggots out of the eyes and ears
of the putrid bodies laying on the ground in the yard. The hatter and
myself had a long consultation about handling the putrid carcases, and
agreed between ourselves to pick out the soundest of them first. We
noticed some cartmen drawing a number of loads of wood and depositing
them on a vacant lot of ground near the hospital. A report was
circulated that the Mayor of the city had ordered the building to be
burned down that night. We proceeded back to the grave-yard, where we
met with a more peaceable reception. On our return we found the fowls
still busily engaged on the dead bodies, which had become more putrid
during our short absence. This was one of the most unpleasant scenes I
ever witnessed. We stopped on our way and took some refreshments, and
then conveyed two more loads to the burying ground, carrying two at each
load.

About sunset we unharnessed our old horse and put him in his place.
Having satisfied our employer we took our discharge. We agreed between
ourselves to stop at the hospital a short time and see what disposal was
to be made of the remaining dead bodies. Soon after sunset some eight or
ten men made their appearance and took up an old door and bored one or
two holes through it, and putting a rope through the holes, rolled two
of the putrid bodies upon it, and then took hold of the rope and dragged
it to a vacant lot near the hospital, which process they continued until
they had gathered them all into one heap, when they went to the various
rooms and took all the beds and bedsteads containing the dead bodies,
and carried them into the same yard and deposited them on the putrid
heap; they next broke down the fence to more readily kindle the fire on
this offensive mass, when they piled on the three cords of wood which
the Mayor had sent there for that purpose, set it on fire, and consumed
the whole of it.

On viewing the place, while passing it the next morning, I could not
discover a particle of bone larger than a man's finger-nail left.

The Cholera raged in New Orleans to a frightful degree for some months
after; the average number of deaths in the city was two hundred per day
for several weeks.

Soon after this I made a trip in a little schooner to St. Marks, and a
small port called Magnolia, in West Florida, and then returned to the
city, where I remained about two months, when I found employment as a
mate on board of a brig called the Commodore Barry, bound to New-York,
where I was to receive my wages and be discharged. We performed our
passage home without meeting with any occurrence worth recording.

New Orleans is one of the most immoral cities I ever visited. All kinds
of amusement are indulged in on Sundays: most of the military
companies, both foot and horse, are assembled on that day in a public
square in front of the Mayor's office and drilled. The Sabbath is the
day elected for sham fights. The piazzas of the largest hotels are
filled with bands of musicians, playing enchanting tunes to attract
customers. The doors of billiard rooms are thrown open to public view,
and large sums of money are often bet on the games. Strolling negro
musicians are found playing on their banjoes and tamborines at the
corners of the streets. On Sunday evenings, circuses, play-houses and
gambling rooms, attract a large collection of people.



CHAPTER XXVII.

Schooner Horizon.


Having lost all my property except a small homestead, by the many
captures I had experienced, the perils of the sea, and the fluctuations
of prices in the West India produce, and being now out of employment,
and looking upon every man as slothful who remained idle when he could
earn a competence by working for less wages then he formerly received, I
agreed with a young inexperienced captain to perform a voyage with him
in a small schooner of seventy tons, called the Horizon, from New-York
to the Island of Teneriffe. My name was entered on the shipping articles
as mate, although it was verbally understood that I was to be considered
as the navigator and sailing master.

We commenced loading about the first of January, 1835, with staves and a
few other articles, and went to sea about the eighth, the vessel being
deeply loaded, which made her wet and uncomfortable for a winter's
voyage. We proceeded on the passage without any material accident until
we arrived in the latitude of Teneriffe, when we were overtaken by a
violent gale of wind, which lasted nearly two days; we shipped a number
of seas, which cleared our decks of staves, carried away our bulwarks,
broke our bowsprit, and sprung the head of our fore-mast; rendering the
schooner totally unmanageable. The next day the wind abated, and the sea
became more moderate, when we made all the repairs that our scant
materials would admit of, and in the afternoon discovered the high Peak
of Teneriffe. Finding our water running low, having had our last cask
stove during the gale, we agreed to come upon an allowance of one bottle
of water for each man per day. The weather became mild, with light
variable winds, which rendered the vessel quite unmanageable, as we had
no head sail to keep her before the wind in light breezes. With longing
eyes we viewed the majestic pyramid for fourteen days, the wind
remaining the same during all that time, when we approached so near the
harbor of Oratava that we were boarded by a pilot who conducted us into
that port. Our schooner's cables being only about forty fathoms long,
would not reach the bottom in that harbor, and we were obliged to hire a
cable and anchor to ride by during our stay in port.

While lying here it is necessary to keep a pilot constantly on board,
that we may be ready to proceed to sea the moment the wind changes so as
to blow towards the land. After we had remained in the harbor some four
or five days, and procured carpenters to repair our vessel, a gale of
wind commenced, and we were compelled to slip our cable and go to sea
again, where we remained about two days, when we put into the Island of
Palmos, at which place we continued three or four days. After the gale
abated we returned to our former anchorage in Oratava harbor.

The harbor of Oratava is surrounded by high rocks, almost perpendicular,
faced with sharp points, which makes it impossible to ascend them. When
vessels are wrecked in this place they are very soon dashed to pieces,
and their crews meet a watery grave. The anchorage is situated about
twelve miles from the foot of the Peak, where the weather is so mild
that sailors are working on board vessels with no clothing except shirts
and trowsers, while the Peak is covered with snow. Our pilot informed me
that snow fell on the Peak every month in the year except March. The
snow, from the appearance, forms a body of ice, and the brilliant rays
of the sun at its rising are reflected on this ice-capped mountain with
such dazzling light that the beholder is struck with awe as he surveys
this mighty wonder of the world. I had but one opportunity to visit the
shore, where I remained but a few moments while signing a protest. My
short stay prevents my giving the reader any description of the place.

We employed two native carpenters to repair the damages the schooner had
received on the passage, they came on board early every morning,
bringing their dinners with them, which consisted of a six cent loaf of
wheat bread, one head of lettuce, and a bottle of wine; this being the
only food they had. At twelve o'clock they sat down on deck, made their
meal and drank the wine. They brought on board a few very coarse
carpenter's tools, among which was a hand-saw that attracted my
particular attention, as it had a small hole in the point of it, through
which they put a nail gimblet; when they wanted to split a board they
lined in the usual manner, then placed one end on the deck and raised
the other end up to an angle of about forty-five degrees, being
supported by a saw-bench, when one of them took the saw by the handle in
the common way, while the other put the gimblet through the hole in the
point, which he took hold of by placing his fingers on both sides of the
blade, and assisted in drawing the saw through the board, his comrade
shoving on the other end; this was the first time I ever knew that it
took two men to work one hand-saw.

The expenses of repairs here are very great. I think one American
carpenter will perform more labor in one day than six of those natives.

We were detained here a long time in discharging our cargo for want of
lighters, being obliged to land it in small boats, which made but a few
trips on shore each day, the same boats bringing back our return cargo.
Our supply of fire wood getting very short we inquired the price of that
article on shore, and found that they asked twenty dollars per cord for
it. We purchased a few sacks of coal for the return passage. After
remaining here some weeks we sailed for New-York, where we shortly
arrived, all in good health. The cargo was soon discharged, all hands
paid, and I returned to my home.



CHAPTER XXVIII.

Sinking of the Sloop First Consul.


About the first of September, 1842, two of my friends in New-York
purchased a Sloop called the First Consul, about twenty-five tons
burden, and gave me the charge of her with orders to employ her in any
trade I thought proper to earn a living in. I remained in the city some
weeks seeking employment for my vessel, but after many applications for
freights, without success, I found myself disappointed in my
calculations in obtaining business for her in the city. As a last
resort, I determined to proceed up the Hudson River as far as Rondout,
where I expected to procure some small freights of coal to deliver at
the neighboring villages on the river.

On the fifteenth of October I left New-York for Rondout, where I
obtained a freight of about thirty tons of coal to be delivered at
Poughkeepsie. We loaded and left for our port of destination, where we
discharged our cargo and agreed to return and take in another for the
same company. Finding the sloop proved leaky I proceeded home to
Catskill, where I procured a caulker and gave her some repairs, when we
returned to Rondout and took on board another cargo of coal. Supposing
the vessel to be perfectly tight in her upper works after the
overhauling she had received, we loaded her deep, in order to take a
full canal boat's cargo on board. After we had proceeded some distance
on our passage we discovered that the vessel leaked badly. We had light
baffling winds during the night, and tried the pump hourly. Finding we
could keep her free without very heavy fatigue, we apprehended no
serious danger, and soon arrived at the same wharf in Poughkeepsie where
we had landed our last cargo, and hauled into a small slip which I
considered a very safe harbor. I had one man on board with me, whom I
told we would get some breakfast, when we would go below and take a
short nap, as we had been on deck all night; after which would find the
owner of the coal and obtain leave to discharge the deck load that day,
although it was Sunday. We then retired into the cabin and laid down to
sleep, it being about eight o'clock in the morning. After laying about
two hours I was aroused by a loud cry, "Come out, come out, you are
sinking." I sprang upon my feet, determined to save my trunk and
clothing, which I was prevented from doing by a column of water rushing
in at the cabin door. I forced myself upon deck, which at this time was
some feet under water, when I found my legs entangled with old rigging
and lumber. While trying to extricate them, the shore being steep the
vessel settled down, which parted the hawser that held her fast to the
wharf, when she slid off into the channel and sunk in thirty feet water,
with all my clothing, &c. and I was compelled to swim on shore, which I
reached in a shivering condition, but was soon furnished with dry
clothing, and treated in the kindest manner by a gentleman living near
by.

Two or three days after I hired two vessels, procured spars, chains, and
necessary apparatus, together with a number of men, and made an attempt
to raise the First Consul. After several days' hard labor and fatigue we
succeeded in raising her, so as to float her on the flats, when we
bailed the water out and discharged the coal from her hold, the bulk of
the deck load having been washed overboard. I found most of my clothing,
books, papers, &c. in the cabin in a very dirty condition. My troubles
did not end here: before I could receive any assistance from my friends,
the sloop was attached for the expenses of getting her up, and sold for
less than the amount of the bills, when I returned home penniless, my
mind fixed on the distich--

  Since all things to destruction tend,
  My voyage of life will shortly end.



FINIS.



Transcriber's Notes.

There are many spelling irregularities and inconsistencies in this book.
The ones most obviously printing errors have been corrected as noted
below. Others were left as printed in the text. These include: "ancles"
and "ankles;" "alledging;" "armadilla;" "attrocities" and "atrocities;"
"Baratara" is probably "Barataria;" "bed quilt" and bed-quilt;" "Bigman
Bank" and "Bigman's Bank;" possibly "Boro Toro" and "Boco Toro" are the
same place; "Bogata" for "Bogota;" "Britanic;" "callipach" for
"carapace;" "cassader" and "cassauder" for "cassava;" "chissels;"
(Emperor) "Christoff" and "Christophe," presumably the same person;
"Lieutenant Coakley" and "Lieutenant Cookley;" "cocoa nuts" and
"cocoa-nuts;" "cowhides" and "cow-hides;" "errant" for "errand;"
"equiped;" "facinating;" "favourite" and "favorite;" "fopish;"
"gratulations;" "Grenada" and "Greneda;" "guana" is possibly "iguana;"
(Captain) "Humphreys" and "Humphrey", probably the same person;
"journies;" "Leforet" and "Laforet;" "Lynn Haven" and "Lynhaven;"
"mattrass" for "mattress;" "Mr. Mores" and "Mr. Morse", on page 134;
"Musquitto," "Musquito," "Mosquitto" and "Mosquito" (the tribe and
coast); "musquitto," "mosquito" and "mosquitto" (the insect); "out-fit"
and "outfit;" "out-sailed" and "outsailed;" "polution;" "Ponekertrain"
for "Ponchartrain;" "Port au Prince" and "Port-au-Prince;" "practice(s)"
and "practise(d);" "sailer" and "sailor" for a ship (not a seaman, which
is always "sailor"); "shantees;" "St. Andrews" and "St. Andreas;"
"sun-set" and "sunset;" "Captain Teft" and "Captain Tefts;" "temporary"
and "tempory;" "threshhold;" "too," as in "laying too," "hove too,"
etc.; "visiters;" "water-mellons;" "wilkes" for "whelks."

Left "Captain's Mitchell and Lafitte" on page 4, although "Captains"
would have been more grammatical.

Changed period to comma on page 7: "Corn Island,"; and on page 8:
"Royalists of Port-au-Prince,".

Changed "Schoouer to "Schooner" on page 8: "English Schooner."

Changed "Croswel" to "Croswell" on page 10: "Thomas O'Hara Croswell."

Added comma after "Stonington" on page 14: "Stonington, Connecticut."

Left "the commodores word" on page 22, although "commodore's" would have
been more grammatical.

Changed "Ramalies" to "Ramillies" in the caption to the figure for page
26.

Changed "patatoes" to "potatoes" on page 31: "potatoes to be worth."

Changed period to comma on page 37, after "blockading Savannah at the
time."

Changed "sailidg ing" to "sailing" on page 37: "After sailing."

Changed "blocakding" to "blockading" on page 39: "an old blockading
decree."

Changed "fustick" to "fustic" on page 40: "fustic, sarsaparilla, &c."

Changed "he" to "the" on page 50: "made the threat."

Added closing double quote on page 53 after: "and every thing you want."

Changed "ran" to "run" on page 68: "who had run away."

Changed "day-light" to "daylight" on page 69: "until daylight."

Changed "Coloured" to "Colored" in the caption to the figure on page 88.

Left "a weavers spool" as is on page 98, even though "weaver's" would
have been more grammatical.

Changed "licence" to "license" on page 126: "received the license."

Changed "lea" to "lee" on page 127: "lee of an island."

Changed "feathes" to "feathers" on page 130: "ornamented with feathers."

Changed "traveling" to "travelling" on page 131: "we were travelling."

Left "manatee's" on page 148, even though "manatees" would have been
more grammatical.

Changed "birth" to "berth" on page 166: "a damned good berth."

Page 187 refers to "Cape Francios" in the Dominican Republic. Although
this is probably "Cape Francois", it was left as is.

Removed extra single quote before "in addition" on page 200.

Left "your's very truly" on page 204, even though "yours" would have
been more grammatical.

Changed "anothor" to "another" on page 209: "followed by another."

Changed "throwu" to "thrown" on page 215: "thrown overboard."

Changed "earnesly" to "earnestly" on page 220: "He earnestly entreated."





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