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Title: A Journal of a Young Man of Massachusetts, 2nd ed. - Late A Surgeon On Board An American Privateer, Who Was - Captured At Sea By The British, In May, Eighteen Hundred - And Thirteen, And Was Confined First, At Melville Island, - Halifax, Then At Chatham, In England ... And Last, At - Dartmoor Prison. Interspersed With Observations, Anecdotes - And Remarks, Tending To Illustrate The Moral And Political - Characters Of Three Nations. To Which Is Added, A Correct - Engraving Of Dartmoor Prison, Representing The Massacre - Of American Prisoners, Written By Himself.
Author: Waterhouse, Benjamin, 1754-1846
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "A Journal of a Young Man of Massachusetts, 2nd ed. - Late A Surgeon On Board An American Privateer, Who Was - Captured At Sea By The British, In May, Eighteen Hundred - And Thirteen, And Was Confined First, At Melville Island, - Halifax, Then At Chatham, In England ... And Last, At - Dartmoor Prison. Interspersed With Observations, Anecdotes - And Remarks, Tending To Illustrate The Moral And Political - Characters Of Three Nations. To Which Is Added, A Correct - Engraving Of Dartmoor Prison, Representing The Massacre - Of American Prisoners, Written By Himself." ***

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A

JOURNAL,

OF

A YOUNG MAN OF MASSACHUSETTS,

LATE

A SURGEON ON BOARD AN AMERICAN PRIVATEER,

WHO WAS CAPTURED AT SEA BY THE BRITISH, IN MAY, EIGHTEEN HUNDRED
AND THIRTEEN, AND WAS CONFINED FIRST,

AT MELVILLE ISLAND, HALIFAX, THEN AT CHATHAM,
IN ENGLAND ... AND LAST,

AT DARTMOOR PRISON.

INTERSPERSED WITH

OBSERVATIONS, ANECDOTES AND REMARKS,

TENDING TO ILLUSTRATE THE MORAL AND POLITICAL CHARACTERS
OF THREE NATIONS.


TO WHICH IS ADDED,

A CORRECT ENGRAVING OF DARTMOOR PRISON,

REPRESENTING THE MASSACRE OF AMERICAN PRISONERS,


WRITTEN BY HIMSELF.


"Nothing extenuate, or set down aught in malice."... SHAKESPEARE.

THE SECOND EDITION,
With considerable Additions and Improvements.

BOSTON:
PRINTED BY ROWE & HOOPER ... 78 STATE-STREET,

1816.



_District of Massachusetts, to wit:_

                                            _District Clerk's Office._


(L. S.)

Be it remembered, that on the sixth day of March, A. D. 1816, and in
the fortieth year of the Independence of the United States of America,
ROWE & HOOPER, of the said District have deposited in this Office, the
title of a book, the right whereof they claim as Proprietors, in the
words following, to wit:

"A Journal of a Young Man of Massachusetts, late a Surgeon on board an
American privateer, who was captured at sea by the British, in May,
eighteen hundred and thirteen, and was confined first, at Melville
Island, Halifax, then at Chatham, in England, and last at Dartmoor
Prison. Interspersed with Observations, Anecdotes and Remarks, tending
to illustrate the moral and political characters of three nations. To
which is added, a correct Engraving of Dartmoor Prison, representing
the Massacre of American prisoners. Written by himself." "Nothing
extenuate, or set down aught in malice."... Shakespeare.

In conformity to the Act of the Congress of the United States,
entitled "An Act for the encouragement of learning, by securing the
copies of Maps, Charts and Books, to the Authors and Proprietors of
such Copies, during the times therein mentioned;" and also to an Act
entitled, "An Act supplementary to an Act, entitled an Act for the
encouragement of learning, by securing the copies of Maps, Charts and
Books, to the authors and proprietors of such copies during the times
therein mentioned; and extending the benefits thereof to the arts of
designing, engraving and etching, historical, and other prints."

                             WM. S. SHAW,
                             _Clerk of the District of Massachusetts._



TO

THE COMMON SENSE,

AND

HUMANE FEELINGS

_OF THE PEOPLE OF AMERICA_,

THIS JOURNAL IS INSCRIBED,

BY A LATE

_PRISONER OF WAR_

_WITH THE BRITISH_.


_Massachusetts, County of_ }
_Hampshire, 1815._         }



A JOURNAL OF A YOUNG MAN OF MASSACHUSETTS


In December 1812, I found a schooner fitting out of Salem as a
privateer. She had only four carriage guns and ninety men. By the
fifth of January, 1813, she was ready to sail and only wanted some
young man to go as assistant surgeon of her. The offer was made to me,
when without much reflection or consultation of friends, I stepped on
board her in that capacity, with no other ideas than that of a
pleasant cruise and making a fortune. With this in view we steered for
the coast of Brazil, which we reached about the first of February.

Our first land-fall was not the most judicious, for we made the coast
in the night, and in the morning found ourselves surrounded with
breakers. Fortunately for us a Portuguese schooner was outside of us,
and we hoisted out our boat and went on board her and received from
her commander and officers directions for clearing ourselves from
these dangerous breakers. We were then about sixty miles below Cape
St. Roque. The captain of the Portuguese vessel kindly informed us
where to get water, in a bay then before us. We had English colours
flying, and all this time passed for a British vessel.

In a few hours we cast anchor in the bay, when our Captain went on
shore and when he had discovered the watering place he returned on
board, and sent his water casks to be filled; but the inhabitants
collected around our men, and shewed, by their gestures and grimaces,
a disposition to drive us away. It is probable that they only wanted
to make us pay for the water; for it is the way of all the inhabitants
of the sea shores every where to profit by the distresses of those who
are cast upon them. But pretending not to understand them, we got what
water was necessary.

The next day a Portuguese ship of war came into the bay, on which we
thought it prudent to haul off, as we thought it not so easy to
impose on a public ship as on a private one, with our English colours
and uniform. In beating up to Pernambuco, we spoke with vessels every
day, but they were all Portuguese. When near to St. Salvadore, we were
in great danger of being captured by a British frigate, which we
mistook for a large merchantman, until she came within half musket
shot of us; but, luckily for us, it died away calm, when we out with
our oars, which seamen call _sweeps_, and in spite of their round and
grape shot, we got clear of her without any serious injury.

We would remark here, that sailors have a dialect of their own, and a
phraseology by themselves. Instead of right side, and left side, they
say _starboard_ and _larboard_. To tie a rope fast, is to _belay_ it.
To lower down a sail, or to pull down a colour, is to _dowse_ it; and
so of many other things. These peculiar phrases have been adopted from
the Dutch, and from the Danes: nations from whom the English learnt
navigation. We may occasionally use some of these terms, when it
cannot well be avoided.

Our captain was not an American, neither was he an Englishman. He was
a little bit of a man, of a swarthy complexion, and did not weigh
perhaps more than an hundred pounds by the scale. During the firing,
our little man stood upon the taffrail, swung his sword, d--d the
English, and praised his own men. He had been long enough in the
United States to acquire property and information, and credit enough
to command a schooner of four guns and ninety men. The crew considered
him a brave man, and a good sailor, but not over generous in his
disposition. Whether the following is a proof of it, I cannot
determine.

He allowed the crew but one gill of New England rum per day, which
they thought an under dose for a Yankee. They contended for more, but
he refused it. They expostulated, and he remained obstinate; when at
length they one and all declared that they would not touch a rope
unless he agreed to double the allowance to half a pint. The captain
was a very abstemious man himself, and being very small in person, he
did not consider that a man four times as big required twice as much
rum to keep his sluggish frame in the same degree of good spirits. He
held out against his crew for two days, during which time they never
one of them so much as lifted a spun-yarn. The weather was, be sure,
very mild and pleasant. I confess, however, that I was very uneasy,
under the idea that we might all perish, from the obstinacy of the
crew, on one side, and the firmness of the little man on the other.
Our captain found that his government was democratical; and perceiving
that the weather was about to change, he conceded to the large and
fearful majority; and New England spirit carried the day against a
temperate European commander.

This habit of rum drinking makes a striking difference between the
military of ancient and modern days. If a Roman soldier, or a
Carthagenian sailor, had his clothing, his meat, and his bread, and
his vinegar, he was contented, and rarely was guilty of mutiny. But
the modern soldier and sailor must, in addition to these, have his
rum, or brandy, and his _tobacco_; deprive him of these two articles,
which are neither food nor clothing, and he infallibly mutinies: that
is, he runs the risk of the severest punishment, even that of death,
rather than renounce these modern luxuries. I have observed among
sailors, that they bear the deprivation of rum with more patience than
the deprivation of tobacco. On granting the crew half a pint of rum a
day, they gave three cheers, and went to work with the greatest
cheerfulness and alacrity.

The Americans, I believe, drink more spirits than the same class of
people in England. The labouring people, and sailors, cannot get it in
Britain. A soldier whose regiment was quartered in Boston, just before
the revolution, held up his bottle to one of the new comers, and
exclaimed, "Here is a country for you, by J--s; I have been drunk once
to-day, and have got enough left to be drunk again: and all for six
coppers!" What they then called _coppers_, we now call _cents_, and
the Londoners _hap-pennies_.

The next day we descried three sail steering for St. Salvadore. We
gave chase to them; but when we came within gun shot of the stern
most, she fired her stern chasers at us. We brought our four guns on
one side, to attack, or to defend, as we should find ourselves
circumstanced; but night coming on, we saw no more of them.

Our water becoming short, we determined to gain our former watering
place; but not being able to reach it easily, we anchored off a little
settlement, twenty miles distant from the place where we watered
before. Here our captain put on a British uniform, and waited on the
commandant of the place who, although he treated him with politeness,
gave evident suspicions that he was not an English officer. To
prevent the awkward consequences of a detection, our captain promised
to send off a barrel of hams, and a keg of butter. Under the
expectation of the fulfilment of this rather rash promise, our crafty
commander returned to his vessel, and left the place very early next
morning.

It was now the middle of March, and we had taken nothing; neither had
we fired our cannon, excepting at a miserable sort of a half boat and
half raft, called a catamaran: made of five light logs, with a
triangular sail. From the men on this miserable vessel we got
information of a good watering place, where we soon anchored. The
commandant of this little settlement was of the colour of our North
American Indians, and so were his family, but the rest were nearly as
black as negroes. He lived in a house covered and worked in with long
grass; he offered us snuff out of a box tipped with silver, but every
thing else looked very rude and simple. While we were getting our
water, the females hovered round us. They had long, black, and shining
hair, and wore a long white cotton garment, like a shirt or shift.
They seemed to admire our complexions. One of these women, more
forward than the rest, opened the bosom of one of our fairest young
men, to see if his body was as white as his face. She appeared to be
highly amused with the discovery, and called her companions to come
and view the phenomenon. He shewed a similar curiosity as it concerned
her, but she shrunk from it with the apparent delicacy of polished
life, before so many men. The colour of these merry girls was that of
the inside of a new leather shoe.

Just as we were about embarking, the commandant told our captain that
he had just received a message from the commandant of Gomora, to seize
him and all his crew and send them to Pernambuco, but that he should
not obey him. We now set sail for the United States, and had not been
at sea long before we were chased by a frigate, but out sailed her.

On the 20th of May we made Gay Head, which is the shining remains of
an extinguished volcano, on the west end of Martha's Vineyard. The
next morning we discovered a ship and a brig standing for us. We
tacked and stood for the ship until we found that she was a man of
war, and then we wore round for the brig, she being nearest of our own
size. We now, for the first time, hoisted American colours, when the
brig gave us a broadside, and kept up a constant fire upon us; but we
soon left her by our superior sailing and management. The frigate, for
such she proved to be, was not so easily got rid of. She was to the
windward of us when we first saw her; and she came within gun shot
about noon. She firing her bow-chasers, and we our stern-chasers. At
length she came almost within musket shot of us, when she fired
repeated broadsides into our little schooner, so as to cut away almost
all our rigging, when our brave little captain went down below, after
telling the men "to fight it out;" but they prudently struck their
colours. A boat soon came on board of us with a lieutenant and twelve
marines, swearing most bravely at the d--d _Yankees_. The name Yankee
is used with pride by an American sailor or soldier; but with derision
by the British. But as our men had, according to custom, when a vessel
surrenders, seized whatever casks of liquor they could come at, soon
filled out a few horns of gin, and passed it round among the marines,
which inspired them with good nature, and for a moment they seemed
"all hale fellows well met." The boarding officer did not appear to be
so intent in securing the vessel, as in searching every hole and
corner for small articles to pocket. The Americans disdain this
dishonourable practice. The officers and crews of our men of war have
never soiled their characters by taking from their enemies the
contents of their chests and pockets, as the commanders of the British
frigates, whom we have captured, can testify. We were soon ordered on
board of his Britannic Majesty's ship the _Tenedos_, captain Parker.

I had always entertained a respectable opinion of the British,
especially of their national marine. I had read British history, and
listened to British songs, and had heard from my childhood of the
superior bravery and generosity of the British sailor, and had
entertained a real respect for their character; and being of a family
denominated _federalists_, I may be said to have entered the frigate
Tenedos, captain Parker, with feelings and expectations very different
from what I should have felt, had we been at war with the French, and
had it been a frigate of that nation that had captured us. The French
are a people marked by nature, as well as by customs and habits, a
different nation from us. Their language is different, their religion
is different, and so are their manners. All those things have
conspired in making a wall of separation between us and that lively
people. But it is not so with the English. Our language, religion,
customs, habits, manners, institutions: and above all, books have
united to make us feel as if we were but children of the same great
family, only divided by the Atlantic ocean. All these things have a
natural and habitual tendency to unite us; and nothing but the
unfeeling and contemptuous treatment of us by the British military
generally, could have separated us. With all these feelings and
partialities about me, I went from our schooner over the side of the
British frigate with different feelings from what I should, had I been
going on board an enemy's ship of the French, Spanish, or Portuguese
nation. But what was my change of feelings, on being driven with the
rest all up in a corner like hogs, and then marched about the deck,
for the strutting captain of the frigate to view and review us; like
cattle in a market, before the drover or butcher.

When our baggage was brought on board, the master of arms took every
portable article from us, not leaving us a jack-knife, pen-knife, or
razor. We Americans never conduct so towards British prisoners. We
always respect the private articles of the officer and sailor.

On the same day we were put on board the brig Curlew, lieutenant Head,
a polite and humane gentleman, and much beloved by his own crew. He
is, I am informed, son of an English baronet. He is a plain, honest
man, with easy, elegant manners, and very unlike the sputtering
commander of the Tenedos: a man who allowed us to be stripped of all
our little pocket articles: not much to the honour of his commission,
or credit of his nation. We were kept very close while on board the
Curlew, because her crew was very weak, principally decrepid old men
and boys; but then we were kindly spoken to, and respectfully and
humanely treated by lieutenant Head, and his worthy surgeon. We can
discover real gentlemen at sea as well as on shore.

We were landed in Halifax, the principal British port of North
America, and the capital of Nova Scotia, on the 29th of May, 1813. We
were soon surrounded by soldiers, and being joined by a number of our
countrymen, recently captured, we were attempted to be marshalled and
paraded in military order, so as to make as grand a show as possible,
while marching through the streets to prison. The first thing they
did was to make us stand in platoons, and then the commanding officer
stationed a soldier on the flanks of each platoon to keep us regular,
and to march and wheel according to rule. The word was then given to
_march_, when we all ran up together just as we were when the
strutting captain Parker reviewed us on the deck of the Tenedos. We
were then commanded to _halt_. As we have no such word of command on
board of an American privateer, some crowded on, while a few stopped.
The young officer tried again, and made us stand all in a row. Some of
the crew told their comrades that when the captain sung out "_halt_,"
he meant "_avast_," and that then they should all stop. When we were
all in order again, the scarlet-coated young gentleman, with a golden
swab on his left shoulder, gave a second time the word of command,
"_march_;" by which word we all understood he meant, "_to heave a
head_," when we got into the like confusion again, when he cried out
in a swearing passion, "_halt_," on which some stopped short, and some
walked on, when the whole squad burst out a laughing. I know not what
would have been the consequence of his ridiculous passion had not a
navy officer, standing by, observed to him, that they were not
soldiers but sailors, who knew nothing about military marching, or
military words of command, when the young man told us to march on in
our own way; upon which our sailors stuck their fists in their
pockets, and scrabbled and reeled on as sailors always do; for a
sailor does not know how to walk like a landsman. On which account I
have been informed, since my return from captivity, that all our
seamen, that were sent from Boston to Sackett's harbour, on Lake
Ontario, were transported in coaches with four horses, chartered for
the express purpose; and that it was common, for many weeks together,
to see a dozen of the large stage coaches, setting out from Boston in
a morning, full of sailors going up to the lakes, to man the fleets of
commodores Perry, Chauncey and M'Donough. The former of these
commanders told the writer, that he never allowed a sailor destined
for his squadron to walk a single day. These merry fellows used to
ride through the country with their colors, and streamers and music,
and heaving the lead amidst the acclamations of the country people,
who delight in a sailor and in a ship. While these things were thus
conducted in New-England, the people of Old England were simple enough
to believe that the war with England was unpopular. They judged of us
by our party newspapers.

The soldiers marched us about two miles, when we came to the spot,
where we were to take boat for Melville Island, the place of our
imprisonment. When we arrived at the gates of the prison, hammocks and
blankets were served out to us, as our names were called over. We were
then ordered into the prison yard. And here I must remark, that I
shall never forget the first impression, which the sight of my
wretched looking countrymen made on my feelings. Here we were, at
once, surrounded by a ragged set of _quidnuncs_, eagerly inquiring
_What news?_ where we were taken? and how? and what success we had met
with before we were taken? and every possible question, for American
curiosity to put to a promiscuous set of new comers.

After satisfying these brave fellows, who felt an uncommon interest in
the events of the war, and the news of the day, I had time to notice
the various occupations of these poor fellows. Some were washing their
own clothes; others mending them. Others were intent on ridding their
shirts and other clothing from lice, which, to the disgrace of the
British government, are allowed to infest our prisoners. It may, in
part, be owing to the nastiness and negligence of the prisoners
themselves, but the great fault and the disgrace, remain with the
British. Whoever could say that criminals, confined in our state
prisons, were infested with vermin?--Were our prison ships in Boston
or Salem ever known to be lousy? Shame on, you Britons!

The buildings on Melville Island are constructed of wood. Beside the
prison, there is a cooking house, barracks for soldiers, and a
store-house; a house for the officers, and another for the surgeon.
There are a couple of cannon pointing towards the prison; and a
telegraph, for the purpose of giving intelligence to the fort, which
overlooks this island and the town of Halifax. These buildings are
painted red, and have upon the whole, a neat appearance. The prison
itself is two hundred feet in length, and fifty in breadth. It is two
stories high; the upper one is for officers, and for the infirmary and
dispensary; while the lower part is divided into two prisons, one for
the French, the other for Americans. The prison yard is little more
than an acre--the whole island being little more than five acres. It
is connected on the south side with the main land by a bridge. The
parade, so called, is between the turnkey's house and the barracks.
From all which it may be gathered that Melville Island is a very
humble garrison, and a very dreary spot for the officer who commands
there.

The view from the prison exhibits a range of dreary hills. On the
northern side are a few scattered dwellings, and some attempts at
cultivation; on the southern nothing appears but immense piles of
rocks, with bushes, scattered here and there in their hollows and
crevices; if their summer appearance conveys the idea of barrenness,
their winter appearance must be dreadful in this region of almost
everlasting frost and snow. This unfruitful country is rightly named
_New Scotland_.--Barren and unfruitful as old Scotland is, our _Nova
Scotia_ is worse. If Churchill were alive, what might he not say of
this rude and unfinished part of creation, that glories in the name of
"_New Scotland?_" The picture would here be complete if it were set
off with here and there a meagre and dried up highlander, without
shoes, stockings or breeches, with a ragged plaid, a little blue flat
bonnet, sitting on a bleak rock playing a bag-pipe, and singing the
glories of a country that never was conquered! To finish the picture,
you have only to imagine a dozen more ragged, raw-boned Scotchmen,
sitting on the bare rocks around the piper, knitting stockings to send
to England and America, where they can afford to wear them. Such is
Scotia, old and new, whose sons are remarkable for their inveterate
hatred of the Americans, as we shall see in the course of this
narrative.

As to the inside of the prison at Melville Island, if the American
reader expects to hear it represented as a place resembling the large
prisons for criminals in the United States, such as those at Boston,
Charlestown, New York, or Philadelphia, he will be sadly disappointed.
Some of these prisons are as clean and nearly as comfortable, as some
of the monasteries and convents in Europe. Our new prisons in the
United States reflect great honor on the nation. They speak loudly
that we are a considerate and humane people; whereas the prison at
Halifax, erected solely for the safe keeping of prisoners of war,
resembles an horse stable, with stalls or stanchions, for separating
the cattle from each other. It is to a contrivance of this sort that
they attach the cords that support those canvass bags, or cradles,
called hammocks. Four tier of these hanging-nests were made to swing
one above another, between these stalls or stanchions. To those unused
to these lofty sleeping-births, they were rather unpleasant situations
for repose. But use makes every thing easy.

The first time I was shut up for the night, in this prison, it
distressed me too much to close my eyes. Its closeness and smell were,
in a degree, disagreeable, but this was trifling to what I experienced
afterwards, in another place. The general hum and confused noise from
almost every hammock, was at first, very distressing. Some would be
lamenting their hard fate at being shut up like negro slaves in a
Guinea ship, or like fowls in a hen coop, for no crime, but for
fighting the battles of their country. Some were cursing and
execrating their oppressors; others, late at night, were relating
their adventures to a new prisoner; others lamenting their aberrations
from rectitude, and disobedience of parents, and head strong
wilfulness, that drove them to sea, contrary to their parents' wish,
while others of the younger class, were sobbing out their lamentations
at the thoughts of what their mothers and sisters suffered, after
knowing of their imprisonment. Not unfrequently the whole night was
spent in this way, and when, about day break, the weary prisoner fell
into a dose, he was waked from his slumber by the grinding noise of
the locks, and the unbarring of the doors, with the cry of "_turn
out--all out_," when each man took down his hammock and lashed it up,
and slung it on his back, and was ready to answer to the roll call of
the turnkey. If any, through natural heaviness, or _indisposition_,
was dilatory, he was sure to feel the bayonet of the brutal soldier,
who appeared to us to have a natural antipathy to a sailor, and from
what I observed, I believe that in general little or no love is lost
between them.

This prison is swept out twice a week, by the prisoners.--The task is
performed by the respective messes in turns.--When the prison is
washed, the prisoners are kept out until it is perfectly dry. This, in
the wet seasons, and in the severity of winter, is sometimes very
distressing and dangerous to health; for there is no retiring place
for shelter; it is like a stable, where the cattle are either under
cover, or exposed to the weather, be it ever so inclement.

When we arrived here in May, 1813, there were about nine hundred
prisoners; but many died by the severity of the winter; for the
quantity of fuel allowed by the British government was insufficient to
convey warmth through the prison. The men were cruelly harrassed by
the barbarous custom of mustering and parading them in the severest
cold, and even in snow storms. The agent, _Miller_, might have
alleviated the sufferings of our people, had he been so disposed,
without relaxation of duty. But he, as well as the turnkey, named
_Grant_, seemed to take delight in tormenting the Americans. This man
would often keep the prisoners out for many hours, in the severest
weather, when the mercury was ten and fifteen degrees below zero,
under a pretext that the prison had been washed, and was not
sufficiently dry for their reception: when in fact every drop of water
used was in a moment ice. People in the southern states, and the
inhabitants of England and Ireland, can form no adequate idea of the
frightful climate of Nova Scotia. The description of the sufferings of
our poor fellows the past winter, was enough to make one's heart ach,
and to rouse our indignation against the agents in this business.

Our people are sensible to kind treatment, and are ready to
acknowledge humane and considerate conduct towards themselves, or
towards their companions; but they are resentful in proportion as they
are grateful. They speak very generally of the conduct of Miller, the
agent, and Grant, the turnkey, with disgust and resentment. A
complaint was made to him of the badness of the beef served out to the
prisoners, upon which he collected the prisoners, and mounting the
stair-case, began a most passionate harrangue, declaring that the beef
was good enough, and a d--d deal better than they had in their own
country: and if they did not eat it they should have none. He then
went on as follows "Hundreds of you, d--d scoundrels, have been to
me begging and pleading that I would interpose my influence that you
might be the first to be exchanged, to return home to your families,
who were starving in your absence; and now you have the impudence to
tell me to my face, that the king's beef is not good enough for your
dainty stomachs. Why some of that there beef is good enough for me to
eat. You are a set of mean rascals, you beg of an enemy the favours
which your own government won't grant you. You complain of ill
treatment, when you never fared better in your lives. Had you been in
a French prison, and fed on horse beef, you would have some grounds of
complaint; but here in his Britannic Majesty's royal prison, you have
every thing that is right and proper for persons taken fighting
against his crown and dignity. There is a surgeon here for you if you
are sick, and physic for you to take if you are sick, and a hospital
to go to into the bargain; and if you die, there are boards enough
(pointing to a pile of lumber in the yard) for to make you coffins,
and an hundred and fifty acres of land to bury you in; and if you are
not satisfied with all this, you may die and be d--d." Having finished
this eloquent harrangue, orator Miller descended from his rostrum, and
strutted out of the prison yard, accompanied with hisses from some of
the prisoners.

On a re-examination, however, of the "king's beef," some pieces were
found too much tainted for a dog to eat, and the prisoners threw it
over the pickets. After this the supply of wholesome meat was such as
it ought to be; full good enough for Mr. Miller himself to eat; and
some of the very best pieces good enough for Mr. Grant, the turnkey.

In all this business of provision for prisoners of war, one thing
ought to be taken into consideration, which may be offered as an
extenuation of crime alledged against the British agents for
prisoners; and that is, that the American soldier and sailor live
infinitely better in America, than the same class of people do in
Great Britain and Ireland. Generally speaking, an American eats three
times the quantity of animal food that fall to the share of the same
class of people in England, Holland, Germany, Denmark, or Sweden. He
sleeps more comfortably, and lives in greater plenty of fish, flesh,
vegetables, cider, and spirituous liquors. Add to this, his freedom is
in a manner unbounded. He speaks his mind to any man. If he thinks he
is wronged, he seeks redress with confidence; if he is insulted, he
resents it; and if you should venture to strike him, he never will
rest quiet under the dishonour; yet you seldom or ever hear of
quarrels ending in murder. The dagger and pistol are weapons in a
manner unknown. The fist, _a la mode_ de John Bull, is commonly the
ultimatum of a Yankee's revenge.

We often hear the British, if they are unsuccessful, lamenting the war
between England and America; they call it an unhappy strife between
brethren; and they attribute this "unnatural war," to a French
influence; and their friends in New England, who are denominated
_tories_, use the same language. They say that all the odium of the
war ought to fall on our administration and their wicked seducers, the
French; and yet you will find that both in England, and at Halifax,
the French meet with better treatment than their dear brothers, the
Americans.

We found that there were about two hundred French prisoners in Nova
Scotia. Some had been there ever since 1803. Few of them were confined
in prison. The chief of them lived in or near the town of Halifax,
working for the inhabitants, or teaching dancing, or fencing, or their
own language. Some were employed as butchers and cooks; others as
nurses in the hospital; and they were every where favoured for their
complaisance, obedience, and good humour. They had the character of
behaving better towards the British officers and inhabitants than the
Americans, and I believe with reason; for our men seem to take a
delight in plaguing, embarrassing, and alarming those who were set
over them. A Frenchman always tried to please, while many Americans
seemed to take an equal delight in letting the Nova Scotians know that
they longed to be at liberty to fight them again. I confess I do not
wonder that the submissive, smiling Frenchmen made more friends at
Halifax than the ordinary run of American seamen, who seemed too often
to look and speak as if they longed to try again the tug of war with
John Bull.

Sunday being a leisure day among the men of business in Halifax and
its vicinity, the old _refugees_ from the United States used to come
round the prison to gratify their evil eyes, instead of going to a
place of worship, with the sight of what they called "_rebels_." These
are generally Scotchmen, or sons of Scotchmen, and are very bitter
against the Americans. Some of this class were clergymen, who came
occasionally to pray and preach with us in prison. We paid every mark
of respect to every modest and prudent minister who came among us to
perform divine service; but we never could restrain our feelings, when
one of these refugee gentlemen came among us, praying for king George
and the royal family of England. The men considered it as an insult,
and resented it accordingly. Some of these imprudent men would
fulminate the vengeance of Heaven, for what they conceived
_political_, instead of moral errors. The prisoners respected some of
these reverend gentlemen highly, while they despised some others. The
priesthood, however, have less hold on the minds of the people of the
United States, than of any other people on earth.

The Bishops and Church of England are fast destroying their own craft,
by aiding the sly _dissenters_ in spreading the bible through every
family in Britain, and in America. In reading this blessed book, the
people will see how Christianity has been corrupted. They will compare
the archbishops and dignified clergy of the present degenerate days,
with the plainness of our Saviour, and with the simplicity of the holy
fishermen, and other of his disciples. Before this book the factitious
institutions and gorgeous establishments of the modern priesthood will
fade and die, like Jonah's gourd. The English Episcopacy never has,
nor ever will, take deep root in the United States. It can never
flourish in the American soil. Even the Roman Catholic religion is
here a humble and rational thing. Its ministers are highly respected,
because their lives adorn their doctrines; and the parochial care of
their flock, who are principally Irish, is seen and commended. It is
observed throughout our sea ports, that the seafaring people are
generous supporters of their ministers; but these same people can
never be made to pay tythes, or to hear and support a minister whom
they had not directly or remotely chosen. This is the predominant
sentiment of all the Anglo-Americans.

The daily allowance of the British government to our prisoners, is
one pound of bread, one pound of beef, and one gill of peas. Over and
above this we received from the American agent a sufficiency of
coffee, sugar, potatoes, and _tobacco_. The first may be called the
bare necessaries of life, but the latter contribute much to its
comfortable enjoyment. Whether the British government ought not to
have found the whole, I am not prepared to determine; but certainly,
before this addition from our own agent, our men complained bitterly:
and it is a fact, that the agent here more than once detained tobacco,
sent as a present to us from our agent at Boston.

In justice to Mr. Miller, the British agent, I ought to record that he
paid great attention to the cleanliness of the prison, and to the
clothes of the men; and I must, at the same time, say that some of our
men were very dirty, lazy fellows, that required constantly spurring
up to keep them from being offensive. This indolent and careless
disposition was observed to be chiefly among those who had been
formerly intemperate; they felt the loss of their beloved stimulus,
their spirits sunk, and they had rather lay down and rot, and die,
than exert themselves. There were a few who seemed to be like hogs,
innately dirty, and who had rather lie dirty than clean. Mr. Miller
had therefore great merit in compelling these men to follow the rules
prescribed to the whole prison. For this he had the thanks of every
considerate American.

It was a common remark, that the most indolent and most slovenly men
were the most vicious; and a dirty external was a pretty sure
indication of a depraved mind. Such as would not conform to the rules
of cleanliness were committed to the _black hole_, which was under the
prison, and divided into solitary cells. The agent had the power of
confining a prisoner in one of these dungeons during ten days. It is
to the credit of our seamen to remark, that they co-operated with the
agent most heartily in whatever tended to preserve the cleanliness of
their persons, and they applauded the confinement of such as were
disinclined to follow the salutary rules of the prison.

We were one day not a little shocked by the arrival of a number of
American soldiers who were entrapped and taken with Colonel
_Boestler_, in Upper Canada. They exhibited a picture of starvation,
misery, woe, and despair. Their miserable condition called forth our
sympathy and compassion, and I may add, excited our resentment against
the authors of their distress. These unfortunate landsmen had never
been used to "rough it" like sailors, but had lived the easy life of
farmers and mechanics. Some of them had never experienced the
hardships of a soldier's life, but were raw, inexperienced militia
men. They were taken at some creek between Fort George and Little
York, by the British and their allies the Indians, who stripped them
of most of their clothing, and then wore them down by very long and
harrassing marches; first to Montreal, and then to Quebec; and soon
after crowded them on board transports, like negroes in a Guinea ship,
where some suffered a lingering death, and others merely escaped it.
It appears from their account, and from every other account, that the
treatment of these poor fellows at their capture, and on their march,
and more especially _on board the transports from Quebec to Halifax_,
was barbarous in the extreme, and highly disgraceful to the British
name and nation.

We have it asserted uniformly, that the prisoners, who came from
Quebec to Halifax and to Boston, down the St. Lawrence, were treated
and provided for in a manner little above brutes. Colonel SCOTT, now
Major General Scott, came by that route from Quebec to Boston, and it
is well known that he complained, that there were neither
accommodations, provisions, nor any thing on board the ship proper for
a gentleman. He spoke of the whole treatment he received with deep
disgust and pointed resentment. If an officer of his rank and
accomplishments had so much reason for complaint, we may easily
conceive what the private soldier must have endured.

We paid every attention in our power to these poor soldiers, whose
emaciated appearance and dejection gave us reason to expect that an
end would soon be put to their sufferings by death. They, however,
recruited fast; and we were soon convinced, that they were reduced to
the condition we saw them in, absolutely _for want of food_. The
account which these soldiers gave of their hardships was enough to
fill with rage and resentment the heart of a saint. Four men were not
allowed more provisions than what was needful for one. They assured
us, that if they had not secretly come at some bags of ship bread,
unknown to the officers of the transport, they must have perished _for
want of food_. We cannot pass over one anecdote. Some fish were caught
by our own people on the passage, in common with the crew, but they
were compelled to deliver them all to the captain of the ship, who
withheld them from the American prisoners. Some of the prisoners had a
little money, and the captain of the transport was mean enough to take
a dollar for a single cod fish, from men in their situation. This fact
has appeared in several Boston papers, with the names of the persons
concerned, and has never been contradicted or doubted. We give this as
the common report; and as the Boston newspapers circulated freely
through Nova Scotia and Canada, we infer, that had the story been void
of truth, it would have been contradicted. This has been amply
confirmed.

Those Americans who have no other knowledge of the English character,
but what they gather from books made in London; and from their
dramatic productions, and from their national songs, would believe, as
I myself once did, that _John Bull_, (by which name Dean Swift
personified the whole nation) was a humane, tender-hearted, generous
gentleman; but let him be once in the power of an Englishman, or what
is still worse, of a Scotchman, and it will correct his erroneous
notions. An Englishman is strongly attached to his king and country;
and thinks nothing on earth can equal them, while he holds all the
rest of the world in comparative contempt. Until the days of
Bonaparte, the people of England really believed that one Englishman
could flog six Frenchmen. They, at one time, had the same idea of us,
Americans; but the late war has corrected their articles of belief.
The humanity of the British is one of the most monstrous impositions,
now afloat in the world.

The most glaring feature in the English character is a vain glorious
ostentation, as is exhibited in their elegant and costly steeples,
superb hospitals, useless cathedrals, _lying_ columns; such as the
monument near London bridge, which as Pope says of it,

    "Lifts its tall head and _lies_."

But if you wish to learn their real character, look at their bloody
code of laws, read their wars with Wales, with Scotland, and with
Ireland. Look at India, and at their own West India Islands. Look at
the present "border war" carried on by associating themselves with our
savages; look into this very prison, ask the soldiers just brought
into it, what they think of British humanity or British bravery. A
reliance on British veracity and honour caused these poor fellows to
surrender, when they found them worse than the Indians. These things
may be forgiven, but they ought never to be forgotten.

NOVA SCOTIA, or _New Scotland_, was formerly called _Chebucto_ by the
native Indians. It is a dreary region. The country, for many miles
west of Halifax, is a continued range of mountains, rising one over
the other, as far as the eye can reach. The winters are severe, and
the springs backward. The trees appeared to be as bare on the 26th of
May as the same kind of trees do in the middle of March, with us in
Massachusetts. To us there was something hideous in the aspect of
their mountains; but this may have been partly owing to our own
hideous habitation, and low spirits. The same objects may have
appeared charming in the eyes of a Scotch family, just arrived from
the fag-end of the Island of Great Britain.

The capital, _Halifax_, was settled by a number of British subjects in
1749. It is situated on a spacious and commodious bay or harbour,
called Chebucto, of a bold and easy entrance, where a thousand of the
largest ships might ride with safety. The town is built on the west
side of the harbor, and on the declivity of a commanding hill, whose
summit is two hundred and thirty-six feet perpendicular from the level
of the sea. The town is laid out into oblong squares; the streets
parallel and at right angles. The town and suburbs are about two miles
in length; and the general width a quarter of a mile. It contained in
1793, about four thousand inhabitants and seven hundred houses. At the
northern extremity of the town, is the king's naval yard, completely
built and supplied with stores of every kind for the royal navy. The
harbor of Halifax is reckoned inferior to no place in British America
for the seat of government, being open and accessible at all seasons
of the year, when almost all other harbors in these provinces are
locked up with ice; also from its entrance, situation, and its
proximity to the bay of Fundy, and principal interior settlements of
the province. This city lying on the S coast of Nova Scotia has
communication with Pictou, sixty-eight miles to the NE on the gulf of
St. Lawrence, by a good cart road finished in 1792. It is twelve miles
northerly of Cape Sambro, which forms in part the entrance of the bay;
twenty-seven south easterly of Windsor, forty N by E of Truro, eighty
NE by E of Annapolis, on the bay of Fundy, and one hundred and
fifty-seven SE of St. Ann, in New Brunswick, measuring in a straight
line. N lat. 44, 40, W lon. 63, 15.

It was settled chiefly by Scotchmen; and since the revolutionary war,
which secured our independence, they have received considerable
additions from the United States, of a class of men denominated
refugees, who exiled themselves, on account of our republicanism, and
of their own attachment to the best of kings. They show too often
their hatred to us. To this day they call us "_rebels_;" and they
speak to us in a style and tone as if they were sorry they could not
murder us without the risk of being hanged.

In 1757 to 1759, when the British were engaged in a war with the
French and Indians, and were in possession of Halifax with a large
land and naval force, they were obliged to fetch their wood for fuel
from Boston, as they could not venture, (says Capt. Knox, their
military historian) beyond their walls and breastworks; and yet
"_thinking Johnny Bull_" sent a land and naval force to conquer us, in
1814! of all "_thinking_" beings, of which we have ever had an
account this Mr. _Bull_ is the strangest! Peradventure much thinking
has had the same effect on this poor gentleman that _much learning_
has had on another.

It is strange, it is passing strange, that a whole people should be so
strongly attached to the honor, crown and dignity of their conquerors,
as the Scotch are to the present royal family of England, whose
ancestor was, in fact, an usurper of the crown and dignities of the
Scotch race of kings, the self sufficient Stewarts. The most
remarkable thing in the reign of George the 3d (besides that of
loosing America) is the perfect conciliation of the Scotch. Whether
this was owing to my Lord Bute, or to his relation, I am unable to
say; but it is a singular thing in the history of nations, when we
take into consideration the cruel treatment of the Scotch so low down
as the year 1745. As there is no new thing under the sun, and what has
been may be again, who knows but that the _Cherokees_ and _Choctaws_,
the _Chippewas_, the _Hurons_, the _Pottowatomies_ and _Kickapoos_,
may hereafter become most attached to our government, and afford us
Judges, Secretaries of State, Admirals, Generals, Governors of
Provinces, Grooms of the Poet's Stool, and Historians? Who knows but
the day will come, when there shall spring up from the mud and ooze of
our own trifling lakes, another _Walter Scott_, who shall sing as
sublimely the story of _our_ border-wars; and who shall be able to
trace a long and illustrious line of ancestry, up to the renowned
chief _Split-log_, _Walk-in-the-water_, _Hanging-maw_, or to
_Tecumsch_? Who knows but that among these American Highlanders, we
may find another _Ossian_ and another _Fingal_? for what has been,
under similar circumstances, may be again.

Early in the month of July, we were not a little disturbed by the
arrival of the crew of our ill omened, ill fated Chesapeake.

The capture of this American frigate by the British frigate Shannon of
equal force, was variously related. From all that I could gather, she
was not judiciously brought into action, nor well fought after Capt.
Lawrence fell. It is too much like the British to hunt up every
possible excuse for a defeat; but we must conclude, and I have since
found it a general opinion in the United States, that the frigate was
by no means in a condition to go into action. The captain was a
stranger to his own crew; his ship was lumbered up with her cables and
every thing else. She ought to have cruised three or four days before
she met the Shannon, and that, it seems, was the opinion of the brave
captain of the British frigate; who was every way prepared for the
action.

The rapid destruction of the British sloop of war Peacock, gave
Lawrence high reputation; and he felt as if he must act up to his high
character. He seemed like an hero impelled, by high ideas of chivalry,
to fight, conquer or die, without attending to the needful cautions
and preparations. His first officer he left sick on shore, who died a
few days after the battle; his next officer was soon killed; soon
after which he fell himself, uttering the never to be forgotten words,
"DON'T GIVE UP THE SHIP," which has since become a sort of national
motto. While the British captain prudently dressed himself in a short
jacket and round hat, so as not to distinguish himself from the other
officers, our Capt. Lawrence, who was six feet and upwards tall, was
in his uniform and military hat, a fair and inviting mark for the
enemy's sharp shooters. No one doubted his bravery, but some have
called his prudence in question.

This heroic man and his Lieutenant, _Ludlow_, were three times buried
with great military pomp; first at Halifax--then at Salem, and last of
all at New-York. The name of Lawrence is consecrated in America, while
his ever unlucky ship is doomed to everlasting ignominy; for this was
the vessel that preferred allowing the British ship Leopard _to muster
her crew_, instead of sinking, with her colors flying.

In the month of August, Halifax was alarmed, or pretended to be
alarmed, by a rumor that the prisoners on Melville Island, which is
about three miles, or less, from the town, meditated a sally, with the
determination of seizing the capital of Nova Scotia. They immediately
took the most serious precautions, and screwed up their municipal
regulations to the highest pitch. All the loyal citizens entrusted
with arms, were ordered to keep themselves in readiness to march at a
minute's warning to repel the meditated attack of about a thousand
unarmed Yankees, rendered formidable by a reinforcement of a few dozen
half starved soldiers, who were taken by the Indians and British, and
sent from Quebec down the river St. Lawrence to the formidable
American post on Melville Island, under the command of turnkey Grant!
who was himself under the command of Lieut. General Mr. Agent Miller!

It was reported and believed by many in Halifax, that the prisoners
had made arrangements for the attack, and had sworn to massacre every
man, woman and child. When we found that they really believed the
ridiculous story, we must confess that we enjoyed their terror, and
laughed, inwardly, at their formidable precautions of defence. They
placed a company of artillery, with two pieces of cannon on a height
south of the prison; and cleared up a piece of land, and stationed
another corps of artillery with a cannon so placed as to rake our
habitation lengthwise, while sentries were placed at regulated
distances on the road, all the way into the town of Halifax. An
additional number of troops were stationed on the island, who
_bivouacked_[A] in the open air near to the officers' dwellings; in
other words, they were placed there to prevent us from cutting the
officers' throats with clam shells, or oyster shells, for we had
nothing metallic for the purpose.

When we saw these formidable preparations, and reflected on our own
helpless condition, without any means of offence, beside our teeth and
nails, we could not but despise our enemies; and we did not omit to
increase their ridiculous alarm, by whispering together, pointing our
fingers sometimes E. and sometimes W. and sometimes N. and sometimes
S. and rubbing our hands and laughing, and affecting to be in high
spirits. The conduct of the agent at this threatening crisis of his
affairs, did not diminish our contempt of him. He would often mount
his rostrum, the head of the stair-case, to address us, and assure us,
that we should soon be delivered from our confinement, and be sent
home. He said that he did not expect to see any of us in prison six
weeks longer; and that our detention was then only owing to some delay
of orders from admiral Warren; but that he expected them every moment.
He therefore entreated us to remain contented and quiet a little
longer, and not obstruct the kind intentions that were in train for
our deliverance from captivity; and he assured us, upon his honour,
that every thing should be done in his power to expedite our return
home; that there were then three cartels getting ready to convey us
away. In the mean time every thing was said and done at Halifax to
make us satisfied and quiet.

While the agent was making his declarations of friendship, and
protesting upon his honour, that we should be sent home, he knew full
well that the greatest part of the prisoners were to be sent across
the Atlantic, to suffer the punishment of a British prison. The policy
of the English government was, it seems, to discourage the enlistment
of soldiers into our service by sending the prisoners, taken on the
frontiers, to England. They meant also to distress us by accumulating
our seamen in their prisons; and this they imagined would disenable us
from manning our men of war, or sending out privateers. They preferred
every mode of distressing us to that of fair fighting; for, in fair
fight and equal numbers, we have always beat them by sea, and by land.

We were in good humor and high spirits, at the prospect of leaving our
loathsome den, and once more returning home to see our mothers and
fathers, sisters and brothers, and school-fellows, and the old jolly
companions of our happy days. We smiled upon Mr. Agent Miller, and he
upon us. We greeted our turnkey, the now and then smooth tongued Mr.
Grant, with a good morrow, and all feelings of hostility were fast
subsiding; and one told him that he should be very glad to see him in
Boston; another said he should be very glad to see him in Marblehead,
and another at New-York, and Baltimore, and so on.

Towards the close of the month of August, and after Mr. Agent Miller
and the military had taken the most effectual method to provide
against the possibility of resistance from the prisoners, reports now
and then reached us, that the expected exchange was unhappily broken
off, and that it was the fault of the American government. These
things were hinted with great caution, as not entitled to entire
credit; the next day it was said, that the business of exchange was in
a prosperous train. All this was done by way of feeling the pulse of
the most respectable of the prisoners; those most likely to take the
lead in an insurrection. We could easily trace all these different
stories to the cunning Mr. Miller, through his subordinate agents.

On the first day of September, 1813, an hundred of us prisoners were
selected from different crews, and ordered to get our baggage ready
and be at the gate at a certain hour. On enquiring of our keeper, Mr.
Grant, what was the design of this order, he replied with his habitual
duplicity, that we were "_to be sent home_." When Mr. Miller was
asked the same question, he replied, that he had a particular reason
for not answering the question; but none of us doubted, from the
selection from different crews, but that we were about to be sent to
our beloved country and natal homes. We left the prison with light
hearts, not without pitying our companions, who were doomed to wait a
while longer before they could be made so happy as we then felt. We
stepped on board the boats with smiling countenances. The barge men
told us that the ships we were going to were cartels.

Having arrived among the shipping, the officer of the boat was asked
which of these several ships was the cartel--"_There_," said he,
pointing to an old 44, "_is the ship which is to take you to old
England_." Heavens above! What a stroke of thunder was this! We looked
at each other with horror, with dismay, and stupefaction, before our
depressed souls recoiled with indignation! such a change of
countenance I never beheld! Had we been on the deck of a ship, and
been informed that a match was just about being touched to her
magazine of powder, we should not have exhibited such a picture of
paleness and dismay. The deception was cruel; the duplicity was
infamous. The whole trick from beginning to end, was an instance of
cowardice, meanness and villany. It proves that cowards are cruel;
that barbarity and sincerity never meet in the same bosom.

We now saw that the rumor of our rising upon our keepers, and marching
to Halifax was a miserable falsehood, spread abroad for no other
purpose than to double our guards, and prevent the imagined
consequences of desperation, should it be discovered that we were to
be sent across the Atlantic. It is possible we might have succeeded in
disarming the soldiers on the island, and taken their cannon; but for
want of more arms we could have done but little. Had we all been
armed, we could have entered Halifax, and put to the test the bravery
of these loyalists: but an unarmed multitude are nothing before an
eighth part of their number of regular soldiers. Military men in
Halifax could never have had a moment's serious apprehension from the
prisoners on Melville Island. It is my firm opinion, however, that had
we been apprized of our cruel destination, we should have risen upon
the boats, and attempted an escape, or sold our lives dearly. Revenge
and desperation have done wonders; and both would have steeled the
heart and nerved the arm of our little band of sufferers. Had we not
been beguiled with the lies of the agent and his turnkey, we should
have given our enemies a fresh proof of American bravery, if not
imprudence. Had Miller been on board the boat with us, we should most
certainly have thrown him overboard. His base and dishonourable
artifice, first to raise our hopes and expectations to the height of
joy, and then to sink us in despair, was an infamous deed, worthy such
a reward. Speaking for myself, I declare, that my heart sunk within
me, and I came near fainting, and it was some time before tears came
to my relief; then in a burst of indignation, I cursed the perfidious
enemy, and felt my soul wound up to deeds of desperation.



CHAPTER II.


Had the agent informed us of the orders of his government, and made us
acquainted with our destination, we should have braced our minds up to
the occasion, and submitted to our hard fate like men. We should have
said to each other in the language of Shakespeare--"_if these things
be necessities, let's meet them like necessities_;" but to be deceived
and duped, and cajoled into a state of great joy and exultation, and
then, in an instant, precipitated into the dark and cold regions of
despair, was barbarous beyond expression. As much resentment as I feel
towards Miller and his subalterns, I cannot wish either of them to
suffer the pangs I felt at the idea of this floating dungeon.

The late Governor GERRY, in one of his communications to the
legislature of Massachusetts, when speaking of the impressment and ill
usage of our seamen by the English, calls a British man-of-war "_a
floating Pandemonium_." I never felt the force of that expression
until I entered on board this floating hell.

After some difficulty and delay we got ourselves and bedding up the
side of the ship; and as our names were called over, our bedding was
served out to us. We informed the officer that there were but seventy
blankets for an hundred men; to which he replied, that he had orders
to serve out blankets in the same proportion as they served out our
provisions. To understand this, the reader must know that the British
have been in the habit, all the war, of giving to their prisoners a
less quantity of food than to their own men. They uniformly gave to
_six_ of us the same quantity which they gave to _four_ of their own
sailors. If what they allowed to their own men was barely sufficient,
what they gave to us could not be enough to satisfy the cravings of
hunger; and this we all found to be the case.

The crew of the man of war sleep on the deck which is next under the
gun deck, while our destination was on the deck under that. It was to
the ship what the cellar is to a house. It was under water, and of
course, without windows, or air holes. All the air and light came
through the hatch way, a sort of trap door or cellar way. In this
floating dungeon, we miserable young men spent our first night, in
sleepless anguish, embittered with the apprehension of our suffering
cruel death by suffocation. Here the black hole of Calcutta rose to my
view in all its horrors; and the very thought stopped my respiration,
and set my brain on fire. In my distress, I stamped with my feet, and
beat my head against the side of the ship in the madness of despair. I
measured the misery of those around me by what I myself suffered. Shut
up in the dark with ninety-nine distressed young men, like so many
galley slaves, or Guinea negroes, excluded from the benefit of the
common air, without one ray of light or comfort, and without a single
word expressive of compassion from any officer of the ship. I never
was so near sinking into despair. We naturally cling to life, but now
I should have welcomed death. To be confined, and even chained any
where in the light of the sun, is a distressing thing, especially to
very young men, but to be crowded into a dirty hole in the dark, where
there was no circulation of air is beyond expression horrible. Perhaps
my study of the human frame, and my knowledge of the vital property of
the air, and of the philosophy of the vital functions, may have added
to my distress. I remembered what I had read and learnt in the course
of my education, viz: that every full grown person requires
_forty-eight thousand_ cubic inches of air in an hour, or _one
million, one hundred and fifty-two thousand_ cubic inches in the
course of a day; and that if this is once received into the lungs and
breathed out again, it cannot be breathed a second time, till it is
mixed with the common atmospheric air. When I considered that our
number amounted to an hundred, I could not drive from my mind this
calculation, and the result of it nearly deprived me of my reason. The
horrors of the _Black Hole of Calcutta_ have been long celebrated,
because _Englishmen_ suffered and perished in it. Now the English have
more than a _thousand_ black holes into which they unfeelingly thrust
their impressed men, and their prisoners of war. Their tenders that
lay in the Thames, off Tower-wharf, are so many _black holes_ into
which they thrust their own people, whom their press gangs seize in
the streets of London, and crowd into them like so many live rabbits
or chickens carrying in a cart to market. My reflections on these
things have greatly changed my opinion of the English character in
point of humanity.

After passing a wretched night, one of the petty officers came down to
us, by which event we learnt that it was morning. I found myself much
indisposed; my tongue was dry and coated with a furr; my head ached
violently, and I felt no inclination to take any thing but cold water.
A degree of calmness, however, prevailed among my fellow prisoners.
They found lamentations unavailing, and complaints useless. Few of
them, beside myself, had lost their appetites, and several expressed a
wish for some breakfast. Preparations were soon made for this
delicious repast. The first step was to divide us into messes, six in
a mess. To each mess was given a wooden _kid_, or _piggin_, as our
farmers call them, because it is out of such wooden vessels that they
feed their pigs that are fatting for the market. At 8 o'clock one was
called from each mess, by the whistle of the boatswain's mate, to
attend at the galley, the nautical name for the kitchen and fire
place, to receive the breakfast for the rest. But what was our
disappointment to find instead of coffee, which we were allowed by our
own government at Melville prison, a piggin of _swill_, for we
farmers' sons can give no other name to the disgusting mess they
brought us. This breakfast was a pint of liquid which they call
_Burgoo_, which is a kind of oatmeal gruel, about the consistence of
the swill which our farmers give their hogs, and not a whit better in
its quality. It is made of oatmeal, which we Americans very generally
detest. Our people consider ground oats as only fit for cattle, and it
is never eaten by the human species in the United States. It is said
that this oatmeal porridge was introduced to the British prisons by
the Scotch influence, and we think that none but hogs and Scotchmen
ought to eat it. A mess more repellant to a Yankee's stomach could not
well be contrived. It is said, however, that the highlanders are very
fond of it, and that the Scotch physicians extol it as a very
wholesome and nutritious food, and very nicely calculated for the
sedentary life of a prisoner: but by what we have heard, we are led to
believe, that oatmeal is the staple commodity of Scotland, and that
the highly favoured Scotch have the exclusive privilege of supplying
the miserable creatures whom the fortune of war has thrown into the
hands of the English, with this national dish, so delicious to
Scotchmen, and so abhorrent to an American.

Excepting this pint of oatmeal porridge, we had nothing more to eat or
drink until dinner time; when we were served with a pint of
_pea-water_. Our allowance for the week, for it is difficult to
calculate it by the day, was four and a half pounds of bread, two and
a quarter pounds of beef or pork, one and a quarter pounds of flour,
and the _pea-water_, which they called "_soup_," five days in every
week. Now let any man of knowledge and observation judge, whether the
portion of food here allotted to each man was sufficient to preserve
him from the exquisite tortures of hunger; and perhaps there is no
torture more intolerable to young men not yet arrived to their full
growth. We had been guilty of no crime. We had been engaged in the
service of our dear country, and deserved applause, and not torture.
And be it forever remembered, that the Americans always feed their
prisoners well, and treat them with humanity.

The _Regulus_, for that is the name of the ship we were in, is, if I
mistake not, an old line of battle ship, armed _en flute_, that is,
her lower deck was fitted up with bunks, or births, so large as to
contain six men in a birth. The only passages for light or air were
through the main and fore hatches, which were covered with a grating,
at which stood, day and night, a sentinel. The communication between
our dungeon and the upper deck was only through the main hatch way, by
means of a rope ladder, that could be easily cut away at a moment's
warning, should the half starved American prisoners ever conclude to
rise and take the ship, which the brave British tars seemed constantly
apprehensive of. You may judge of their apprehensions by their
extraordinary precautions--they had a large store of muskets in their
tops to be ready for their marines and crew, should we Yankees drive
them from the hull to seek safety above. They had two carronades
loaded with grape and canister shot on the poop, pointing forward,
with a man at each; and strict orders were given not to hold any
conversation with the Americans, under the penalty of the severest
chastisement. However improbable the thing may appear, we discussed
the matter very seriously and repeatedly among ourselves, and compared
the observations we made when on deck, in our council chamber under
water. It seems that the British are apprized of the daring spirit of
the Americans; they watch them with as much dread as if they were so
many tigers.

Just before we sailed, our old friend, Mr. Miller, came on board, and
we were all called upon deck to hear his last speech, and receive his
blessing. We conceited that he looked ashamed, and felt embarrassed.
It is probable that the consciousness of having told us things that
were not true, disconcerted him. He, however, in a milder manner and
voice than usual, told us that we were going to England _to be
exchanged_, while there were some in another ship going to England _to
be hanged_. Beside this enviable difference in our situation, compared
with those traitorous Irishmen, who had been fighting against their
king and _country_, we were very fortunate in being the first selected
to go, as we should of course, be the first to be exchanged and sent
home. He told us that he thought it probable, that we should be sent
home again before spring, or at farthest in the spring; he therefore
exhorted us to be good boys during the passage, and behave well, and
obey orders, and that would ensure us kind and humane treatment; but
that if we were mutinous, or attempted to resist the authority of the
officers, our treatment would be less kind, and we should lose our
turn in the course of exchange, and that our comfort and happiness
depended entirely on our own submissive behaviour. He every now and
then gave force to his assertions, by pledging _his honor_, that what
he said was true, and no deception.

As this was probably the last time we should have an opportunity of a
personal communication with Mr. Agent Miller, we represented to him,
that there were several of the prisoners destitute of comfortable
clothing; that the clothes of some were not even decent to cover those
parts of the body that even our savage Indians conceal, and he
promised to accommodate them: but we never heard any more of him or
the clothing. However it may be accounted for, we saw this man part
from us with regret. It seemed to be losing an old acquaintance, while
we were going we knew not where--to meet we knew not what.

Previous to our sailing we had applied to _Mr. Mitchell_, the American
agent, for a supply of clothing; but from some cause or other, he did
not relieve the wants of our suffering companions. Mr. Mitchell may be
a very good man; but every good man is not fit for every station. We
had rather see old age, or decrepitude, pensioned by the government we
support, than employed in stations that require high health and
activity. Disease and infirmity may check, or impede the benevolent
views of our government, and cast an odium on the officers of
administration. After all, we may find fault where we ought to praise.
It is possible that we may not have made due allowance for Mr. Miller,
the British agent, and we may sometimes have denounced him in terms of
bitterness, when he did not deserve it. His general conduct, however,
we could not mistake.

On the third of September, 1813, we sailed from Halifax in company
with the _Melpomene_, a man of war transport, armed en flute. On board
this ship were a number of Irishmen, who had enlisted in our
regiments, and were captured in Upper Canada, fighting under the
colours of the United States of America! or, in the language of the
English government, found fighting against their king and _country_.
The condition of these Irishmen was truly pitiable. Unable to live in
their own oppressed country, they, in imitation of our forefathers,
left their native land to enjoy the liberty, and the fruits of their
labor in another. They abandoned Ireland, where they were oppressed,
and chose this country, where they were protected and kindly treated.
Many of them had married in America, and considered it their home.
Here they chose to live, and here they wished to die. As few of them
had trades, they got their living as laborers, or as seamen. The
embargoes and the war threw them out of business, and many of them
enlisted in our army; that is, in the army of the country which they
had chosen, and had a right to choose. Their consciences forbade them
not to fight for us against the English and their allies the Indians.
In their eyes, and in the eye of our laws, no imputation of crime
could be attached to their conduct; yet were these men seized from
among other prisoners, taken in battle, and sent together in one ship,
as traitors and rebels to _their country_. We fled from our native
land, said these unfortunate men, to avoid the tyranny and oppression
of our British task-masters, and the same tyrannical hand has seized
us here, and sent us back to be tried, and perhaps executed as rebels.
Beside the privations, hunger and miseries that we endured, these poor
Irishmen had before their eyes, the apprehension of a violent and
ignominious death. While we talked among ourselves of the hard fate of
these brave Hibernians, we were ashamed to lament our own.

I cannot help remarking here, that the plan of retaliation determined
by President Madison, merits the respect and gratitude of the present
and future generations of men. It was this energetic step that saved
the lives, and insured the usual treatment of ordinary prisoners of
war to these American soldiers of Irish birth. This firm determination
of the American executive arrested the bloody hand of the British.
They remembered Major _Andre_, and they recollected Sir _James
Asgill_, under the administration of the great WASHINGTON, and they
trembled for the fate of their own officers. May eternal blessings
here, and hereafter, be the reward of MADISON, for his righteous
intention of retaliating on the enemy any public punishment that
should be executed on these American soldiers, of Irish origin. While
we feel gratitude and respect to the head of the nation for his scheme
of retaliation, we cannot suppress our feelings of disgust towards the
faction in our own country, who justified the British government in
their conduct towards these few Irishmen, and condemned our own for
protecting them from an ignominious death. I speak it with shame for
my country--the ablest writers of the oppositionists, and the oldest
and most celebrated ministers of religion, employed their venal pens
and voices to condemn Mr. _Madison_, and to justify the British
doctrine. This is a deep stain on the character of our clergy; and the
subsequent conduct of the British, may serve to shew these ever
meddling men, that our enemies despised them, and respected Madison.

Our voyage across the Atlantic afforded but few incidents for remark.
Every day brought the same distressed sensations, and every night the
same doleful feelings, arising from darkness, stench, increased
debility and disease. The general and most distressing in the
catalogue of our miseries was the almost unceasing torment of hunger.
Many of us would have gladly partaken with our father's hogs, in their
hog-troughs. This barbarous system of starvation reduced several of
our hale and hearty young men to mere skeletons. What with the
allowance of the enemy, and the allowance from our own government, in
which was good hot coffee for breakfast, we were generally robust and
hearty at Melville Island. Some of our companions might well be called
fine looking fellows, when we came first on board the Regulus; but
before we arrived on the coast of England, they were so reduced and
weakened, that they tottered as they walked. It was the opinion of us
all, that one young man absolutely died for want of sufficient food!
Yes! Christian Reader, a young American, who was carried on board the
Regulus man of war transport, perished for want of sufficient to eat.
In this insufficiency of food, complaint was made to the captain of
the Regulus, but it produced no increase of the scanty allowance; and
had the common sailors possessed no more humanity than their officers,
we might all have perished with hunger. You who never felt the
agonizing torture of hunger can have no idea of our misery. The study
of my profession had acquainted me, that when the stomach is empty and
contracted to a certain degree, that it, in a measure, acts upon
itself, and draws all the neighbouring organs into sympathy with its
distress: this increases to an agony that ends in distraction; for it
is well known that those who are starved to death, die raving
distracted! Some of us in the course of this horrid voyage could have
eaten a puppy or kitten, could we have laid hands upon either.

The manner in which the English generally treat their _poor_ in their
work-houses, in England, is infinitely worse than the treatment of our
convicts in our state prisons. There are no very heavy chains, huge
blocks, or iron stanchions in our prisons, as there are in the
receptacles of the poor in England. We treat them with tenderness, as
unfortunate fellow creatures, and not with harshness, as criminals.

Our constitutions, mind and body united, were so constantly impressed
and worried with the desire of eating, that the torment followed us
in our sleep. We were constantly dreaming of tables finely spread with
a plenty of all those good and savory things with which we used to be
regaled at home, when we would wake smacking our lips, and groaning
with disappointment. I pretend not to say that the allowance was
insufficient to keep some men pretty comfortable; but it was not half
enough for some others. It is well known in common life, that one man
will eat three times as much as another. The quality of the bread
served out to us on board the Regulus, was not fit and proper for any
human being. It was old, and more like the powder of rotten wood than
bread stuff; and to crown all, it was full of worms. Often have I seen
our poor fellows viewing their daily allowance of bread, with mixed
sensations of pain and pleasure; with smiles and tears; not being able
to determine whether they had best eat it all up at once, or eat it in
small portions through the day. Some would devour all their bread at
once, worms and all, while others would be eating small portions
through the day. Some picked out the worms and threw them away; others
eat them, saying, that they might as well eat the worm as his
habitation. Some reasoned and debated a long time on the subject.
Prejudice said, throw the nasty thing away, while gnawing hunger held
his hand. Birds, said they, are nourished by eating worms; and if
clean birds eat them, why may not man? Who feels any reluctance at
eating of an oyster, with all its parts: and why not a worm?

One day while we were debating the subject, one of our jack tars set
us a laughing, by crying out: "_Retaliation, by G--, these d--d worms
eat us when we are dead, and so we will eat them first._" This shews
that misery can sometimes laugh. I have observed that a sailor has
generally more laughter and good humour in him than is to be found
among any other class of men. They have, beside, a greater share of
compassion than the soldier. We had repeated instances of their
generosity: for while the epauletted officers of this British ship
treated us like brutes, the common sailors would now and then give us
of their own allowance; but they took care not to let their officers
know it.

The Regulus had brought British soldiers to America, and among the
rags and filth left behind them were myriads of fleas. These were at
first a source of vexation, but at length their destruction became an
amusement. We could not, however, overcome them; like the persecuted
Christians of old times, when you killed one, twenty would seem to
rise up in his place. Had I have known what I have since learnt and
had been provided with the essential oil of pennyroyal, we should have
conquered all these light troops in a few days. A few drops of this
essential oil, dropped here and there upon the blankets infested with
fleas, and they will abandon the garment. The effluvium of it destroys
them.

Confined below, we knew little of what was going on upon deck; some of
us, however, were more or less there every day. Nothing occurred
worthy of notice during our passage to England, excepting the retaking
of a brig captured a few hours before on the Grand Bank, by the
frigate President, commodore Rodgers. From information obtained from
the midshipman who commanded the prize, we learnt the course of the
President, whereupon we altered ours to avoid being captured. A few
hours after this we fell in with the Bellerophon, a British
seventy-four, who went, from our information, in pursuit of the
President. We could easily perceive that the fame of our frigates had
inspired these masters of the ocean with a degree of respect bordering
on dread. We overheard the sailors say that they had rather fall in
with two French frigates than one American. We thought, or it might be
conceit, that we were spoken to with more kindness at this time. I
have certainly had occasion for remarking, that prosperity increases
the insults and hard heartedness of the British; and that we never
received so much humane attention as when they apprehended an attack
from us, as in the case of alarm at Halifax. I am more and more
convinced that cowardice is the mother of cruelty. Were I to draw the
picture of cruelty, I would paint him with a feminine faintness. The
free and horrible use of the _halter_ in London, is from _fear_. I was
brought up, all my life, even until I left my father's house, and came
off without calculation, or reflection on this wild adventure in a
privateer, in the opinion that the English were an humane, generous,
and magnanimous people, and that none but Turks, Frenchmen, and
Algerines, were cruel; but my experience for three years past has
corrected my false notions of this proud nation. If they do not impale
men as the Algerines and Turks do, or roast a man as the Indians do,
and as the Inquisitors do, they will leave him to starve, and linger
out his miserable days in the hole of a ship, or in a prison, where
the blessed air is changed into a poison, and where the articles given
him to eat are far worse in quality than the swill with which the
American farmer feeds his hogs. How can an officer, how can any man,
holding in society the rank of a gentleman, sit down to his meal in
his cabin, when he has a hundred of his fellow creatures, some of them
brought up with delicacy and refinement, and with the feelings of
gentlemen: I say, how can he sit composedly down to his dinner, while
men, as good as himself, are suffering for want of food. There is in
this conduct either a bold cruelty, or a stupidity and want of
reflection, that does no honour to that officer, or to those who gave
him his command.

It happened when some of us were allowed in our turn to be on deck,
that we would lay hold and pull or belay a rope when needed. When we
arrived at Portsmouth, which was the 5th of October, we were visited
by the health officer; and when we again weighed anchor to go to the
quarantine ground, the boatswain's mate came to tell us that it was
the captain's order that we should tumble up and assist at the
capstan. Accordingly three or four went to assist; but one of our
veteran tars bid him go and tell his captain that hunger and labour
were not friends, and never would go together; and that prisoners who
subsisted three days in a week on _pea-water_, could only give him
pea-water assistance. This speech raised the temper of the officer of
the deck, who sent down some marines, who drove us all up. There was
among us a Dutchman, who was very forward in complying with the
officers' request; but being awkward and careless withall, he suffered
himself to be jambed between the end of the capstan-bar and the side
of the ship, which hurt him badly. Some of the prisoners collected
round their wounded companion, when the officer of the deck ordered
them to take the d--d blunderheaded fellow below, and let some
American take his place; but after this expression of brutality
towards the poor jambed up Dutchman, not a man would go near the
capstan, so one of their own crew filled up the vacancy made by the
wounded Hollander.

A Mr. S----, who had some office of distinction in Newfoundland, if I
mistake not he was the first in command of that dreary island. This
gentleman, who I think they called general Smith, was passenger on
board the Regulus. One day when I was upon deck, he asked me how many
of the hundred prisoners could read and write. I told him that it was
a rare thing to find a person, male or female, in New England, who
could not write as well as read. Then, said he, New England must be
covered with charity schools.--I replied, that we had no _charity_
schools, or very few; at which he looked as if he thought I had
uttered an absurdity. I then related in a few words our school system.
I told him, that the primary condition or stipulation in the
incorporation of every town in Massachusetts, and which was a "_sine
qua non_" of every town, was a reserve of land, and a bond to maintain
a school or schools, according to the number of inhabitants; that the
teachers were supported by a tax, in the same way as we supported our
clergy; that such schools were opened to _every_ child, from the
children of the first magistrate down to the children of the
constable; and that there was no distinction, promotion or favour, but
what arose from talent, industry and good behaviour. I told him that
the children of the poorest people, generally went to school in the
winter, while in the spring and summer they assisted their parents.

He walked about musing awhile, and then turning back, asked me if the
clergy did not devote much of their time to the instruction of our
youth--very seldom, sir--our young students of divinity, and
theological candidates very often instruct youth; but when a gentleman
is once ordained and settled as a parish minister, he never or very
rarely keeps a school. At which the general appeared surprised. I
added that sometimes episcopal clergymen kept a school, but never the
presbyterian, or congregational ministers. He asked why the latter
could not keep school as well as the former; I told him, because they
were expected to write their own sermons, at which he laughed.
Besides, parochial visits consume much of their time, and when a
congregation have stipulated with a minister to fill the pulpit, and
preach two sermons a week, visit the sick and attend funerals, they
think he can have not too much time for composing sermons. They
moreover consider it derogatory to the honor of his flock to be
obliged to keep a school--when I told him that our clergymen bent all
their force to instructing youth in morality and religion, he said,
then they attempt to raise a structure before they lay a foundation
for it. He seemed very strenuous that our priests should be employed
in the education of youth, as he conceived that hired school masters
had not the pious zeal that the priest would have. I suspect said
General S. that your ministers are too proud and too lazy. I perceived
his idea was, that a school master, hired to undergo the drudgery of
teaching boys, was too much of an _hireling_ to fill up to the full
the important duties of a teacher; but he judged of them by the
numerous Scotch school masters here and there in Canada, Nova Scotia,
the West India islands and every where else, teaching for money
merely. He did not know that our New England school masters were men
of character, and consequence. Some of our very first men in these
United States, have been teachers of youth. At this present time some
of the sons of some of the first men in Massachusetts are village
school masters; that is, they keep a school in the winter vacations of
the University; and some of them for the first year after leaving
college.

I was much pleased with the general; and have since learnt, that he
was a very worthy and benevolent man; and that he had paid great
attention to the education of youth in Newfoundland; and that it was,
in a degree, his ruling passion.[B] I wish I had then known as much of
our school system, and of our system of public education at our
Universities, as I do now; for I might have gratified his benevolent
disposition by the recital. The ignorance of English gentlemen of the
people of America, and of their education, is indeed surprising as
well as mortifying. By their treatment of us, it is evident they
consider us a sort of white savages, with minds as uncultivated, and
dispositions as ferocious as their own _allies_, with their tomahawks
and scalping knives. After conversing with this worthy Englishman,
about the education of the common people in America, I could not but
say to myself, little do you, good sir, and your haughty, and
unfeeling captain imagine, that there are those among the hundred
miserable men whom you keep confined in the hold of your ship, like so
many Gallipago turtles, and who you allow to suffer for _want of
sufficient food_; little do you think that there are among them those
who have sufficient learning to lay the whole story of their
sufferings before the American and English people; little do you
imagine that the inhumane treatment of men every way as good as
yourselves, is now recording, and will in due time be displayed to
your mortification.

Our sailors, though half starved, confined and broken down by harsh
treatment, always kept up the genuine Yankee character, which is that
of being grateful and tractable by kind usage, but stern, inflexible
and resentful at harsh treatment. One morning as the general and the
captain of the Regulus were walking as usual on the quarter deck, one
of our Yankee boys passed along the galley with his kid of "burgoo."
He rested it on the edge of the hatch-way, while he was adjusting the
rope ladder to descend with his "swill." The thing attracted the
attention of the general, who asked the man, how many of his comrades
eat of that quantity for their breakfast? "_Six Sir_," said the man,
"_but it is fit food only for hogs_." This answer affronted the
captain, who asked the man, in an angry tone, "_what part of America
he came from?_" "near to BUNKER HILL, Sir--_if you ever heard of that
place_." They looked at each other and smiled, turned about and
continued their walk. This is what the English call _impudence_. Give
it what name you please, it is that _something_ which will, one day,
wrest the trident from the hands of Britannia, and place it with those
who have more humanity, and more force of muscle, if not more
cultivated powers of mind. There was a marine in the Regulus, who had
been wounded on board the Shannon in the battle with the Chesapeake,
who had a great antipathy to the Americans, and was continually
casting reflections on the Americans generally. He one day got into a
high dispute with one of our men, which ended in blows. This man had
served on board the _Constitution_, when she captured the _Guerriere_
and afterwards the _Java_. After the two wranglers were separated, the
marine complained to his officer, that he had been abused by one of
the American prisoners, and it reaching the captain's ears, he ordered
the American on the quarter deck, and inquired into the cause of the
quarrel. When he had heard it all, he called the American sailor a
d--d _coward_ for striking a wounded man. "_I am no coward, Sir_,"
said the high spirited Yankee; "_I was captain of a gun on board the_
Constitution _when she captured the_ Guerriere, _and afterwards when
she took the_ Java. _Had I been a coward I should not have been
there._" The captain called him an insolent _scoundrel_, and ordered
him to his hole again. What the British naval commanders call
insolence, is no more than the undaunted expression of their natural
and habitual independence. When a British sailor is called by his
captain, in an angry tone, on to the quarter-deck, he turns pale and
trembles, like a thief before a country justice; but not so the
American; he, if he be innocent, speaks his mind with a firm tone and
steady countenance; and if he feels himself insulted, he is not afraid
to deal in sarcasm. In the instances just mentioned, _Jonathan_ knew
full well that the very name of _Bunker Hill_, the _Guerriere_, and
the _Java_, was a deep mortification to _John Bull_. Actuated by this
sort of feeling, the steady Romans shook the world.

From this digression, let us return, and resume our Journal. We
arrived off Portsmouth the fifth of October, 1813; and were visited by
the health officer, and ordered to the Mother-bank, opposite that
place, where vessels ride out their quarantine. The next day the ship
was fumigated, and every exertion made by the officers to put her in a
condition for inspection by the health-officer. Letters were fumigated
by vinegar, or nitrous acid, before they were allowed to go out of the
ship. Their attention was next turned to us, miserable prisoners. We
were ordered to wash, and put on clean shirts. Being informed that
many of us had not a second shirt to put on, the captain took down the
names of such destitute men, but never supplied them with a single
rag.

The prisoners were now as anxious to go on shore, and to know the
extent of their misery, as the captain of the Regulous was to get rid
of us. The most of us, therefore, joined heartily in the task of
cleansing the ship, and in white-washing the lower deck, or the place
we occupied. Some, either through laziness or resentment, refused to
do any thing about it; but the rest of us said, that it was always
customary in America, when we left a house, or a room we hired, to
leave it clean, and it was ever deemed disreputable to leave an
apartment dirty. The officers of the ship tried to make them, and
began to threaten them, but they persisted in their refusal, and every
attempt to force them was fruitless. I do not myself wonder that the
British officers, so used to prompt and even servile obedience of
their own men, were ready to knock some of our obstinate, saucy
fellows, on the head. This brings to my mind the concise but just
observation of an English traveller through the United States of
America. After saying that the inhabitants south of the Hudson were a
mixed race of English, Irish, Scotch, Dutch, Germans and Swedes, among
whom you could observe no precise national character; he adds, "but as
to New-England, they are all true English; and there you see one
uniform trait of national manners, habits and dispositions.--The
people are hardy, industrious, humane, obliging, obstinate and brave.
By kind and courteous usage, mixed with flattery, you can lead them,
like so many children, almost as you please;" _but_, he adds, "_the
devil from h--l, with fire in one hand, and faggots in the other,
cannot drive them_." Neither Cæsar, nor Tacitus ever drew a more true
and concise character of the Gauls, or Germans, than this. Here is
seen the transplanted Englishman, enjoying "_Indian freedom_," and
therefore a little wilder than in his native soil of Albion; and yet
it is surprising that a people, whose ancestors left England less than
a century and a half ago, should be so little known to the present
court and administration of Great Britain. Even the revolutionary war
was not sufficient to teach _John Bull_, that his descendants had
improved by transplantation, in all those qualities for which _stuffy
John_ most values himself. The present race of Englishmen are puffed
up, and blinded by what they _have been_, while their descendants in
America are proud of what they are, and what they know _they shall
be_.

After the ship had been cleansed, fumigated and partially
white-washed, so as to be fit for the eye and nose of the health
officer, she was examined by him, and _reported free from contagion_!
Now I conceive this line of conduct not very reputable to the parties
concerned. When we arrived off Portsmouth, our ship was filthy, and I
believe contagious; we miserable prisoners, were _encrusted_ with the
nastiness common to such a place, as that into which we had been
inhumanly crowded. It was the duty of the health officers and the
surgeon of the Regulus, to have reported her condition when she first
anchored; and not to have cleaned her up, and altered her condition
for inspection. In the American service the captain, surgeon and
health officer would have all been cashiered for such a dereliction of
honour and duty. This is the way that the British board of admiralty,
the transport board, the parliament, and the people are deceived, and
their nation disgraced; and this corruption, which more or less
pervades the whole transport service, will enervate and debase their
boasted navy. We cannot suppose that the British board of admiralty,
or the transport board would justify the cruel system of starvation
practised on the brave Americans who were taken in Canada, and
conveyed in their floating dungeons down the river St. Lawrence to
Halifax. Some of these captains of transports deserve to be hanged for
their barbarity to our men; and for the eternal hatred they have
occasioned towards their own government in the hearts of the surviving
Americans. We hope, for the honor of that country whence we derived
our laws and sacred institutions, that this Journal will be read in
England.

The Regulus was then removed to the anchoring place destined for men
of war; and the same night, we were taken out, and put on board the
_Malabar_ store ship, where we found one hundred and fifty of our
countrymen in her hold, with no other bed to sleep on but the stone
ballast. Here were two hundred and fifty men, emaciated by a system of
starvation cooped up in a small space, with only an aperture of about
two feet square to admit the air, and with ballast stones for our
beds! Although in harbor, we were not supplied with sufficient water
to quench our thirst, nor with sufficient light to see our food, or
each other, nor of sufficient air to breathe; and what aggravated the
whole, was the stench of the place, owing to a diarrhoea with which
several were affected. Our situation was indeed deplorable. Imagine
yourself, Christian reader! _two hundred and fifty_ men crammed into a
place too small to contain one hundred with comfort, stifling for want
of air, pushing and crowding each other, and exerting all their little
remaining strength to push forward to the grated hatch-way to respire
a little fresh air. The strongest obtained their wish, while the
weakest were pushed back, and sometimes trampled under foot.

    Out stretch'd he lies, and as he pants for breath,
    Receives at every gasp new draughts of death.
                                                                TASSO.

God of mercy, cried I, in my agony of distress, is this a sample of
the English humanity we have heard and read so much of from our school
boy years to manhood? If they be a merciful nation, they belong to
that class of nations "whose tender mercies are cruelty."

Representations were repeatedly made to the captain of the Malabar, of
our distressed situation, as suffering extremely by heat and stagnant
air; for only two of us were allowed to come upon deck at a time; but
he answered that he had given orders for our safe treatment, and safe
keeping; and he was determined not to lose his ship by too much
lenity. In a word, we found the fellow's heart to be as hard as the
bed we slept on. Soon after, however, our situation became so
dangerous and alarming, that one of the marine corps informed the
captain that if he wished to preserve us alive, he must speedily give
us more air. If this did not move his compassion, it alarmed his
fears; and he then gave orders to remove the after hatch, and iron
bars fixed in its place, in order to prevent us from forcing our way
up, and throwing him into the sea, a punishment he richly deserved.
This alteration rendered the condition of our "_black hole_," more
tolerable; it was nevertheless a very loathsome dungeon;--for our poor
fellows were not allowed to go upon deck to relieve the calls of
nature, but were compelled to appropriate one part of our residence to
this dirty purpose. This, as may be supposed, rendered our confinement
doubly disgusting, as well as unwholesome.

I do not recollect the name of the captain of the Malabar, and it may
be as well that I do not; I only know that he was a Scotchman. It may
be considered by some as illiberal to deal in national reflections, I
nevertheless cannot help remarking that I have received more
ill-treatment from men of that nation than from individuals of any
other; and this is the general impression of my countrymen. The poet
tell us, that

    "Cowards are cruel, but the brave
    Love mercy, and delight to save."[C]

The Scotch are brave soldiers, but we, Americans, have found them to
be the most hard hearted and cruel people we have ever yet met with.
Our soldiers as well as sailors make the same complaint, insomuch,
that, "_cruel as a Scotchman_," has become a proverb in the United
States.--The Scotch officers have been remarked for treating our
officers, when in their power, with insolence, and expressions of
contempt; more so than the English. It is said that a Scotch officer,
who superintends the horrid whippings so common in British camps, is
commonly observed to be more hard hearted than an English one. It is
certain that they are generally preferred as negro-drivers in the
West-India islands. It has been uniformly remarked that those
Scotchmen who are settled on the Canada frontiers are remarkable for
their bitterness towards our men in captivity.

We speak here of the _vagrant_ Scotch, the fortune-hunters of the
Caledonian tribe; at the same time we respect her philosophers and
literary men, who appear to us to compose the first rank of writers.
Without mentioning their Ossian, Thompson and Burns, we may enumerate
their prose writers, such as Hume, and the present association of
truly learned and acute men, who write the _Edinburgh Review_. A
Scotchman may be allowed to show pride at the mention of this
celebrated work. As it regards America, this northern constellation of
talent, shines brightly in our eyes. The ancient Greeks, who once
straggled about Rome and the Roman empire, were not fair specimens of
the refined Athenians.

Our peasantry, settled around our own frontier, and around the shores
of our lakes, have a notion that the Scotch Highlanders were, not long
since, the same kind of wild, half-naked people compared with the true
English, that the _Choctaws_, _Cherokees_, _Pottowatomies_ and
_Kickapoo Indians_ are to the common inhabitants of these United
States; and that less than an hundred years ago, these Scotchmen were
in the habit of making the like scalping and tomahawking excursions
upon the English farmer, that the North American savage makes upon the
white people here. This is the general idea which our common people
have of what Walter Scott calls "_the border wars_." Some of them will
tell you that the Scotch go half naked in their own country--wear a
blanket, and kill their enemies, with a knife, just like Indians. They
say their features differ from the English as much as theirs do from
the Indian. In a word, they suppose the Scotch Highlanders to be a
race who have been conquered by the English, who have taught them the
use of fire arms, and civilized them, in a degree, so as to form them
into regiments of soldiers, and this imperfect idea of the half savage
_Sawney_ will not soon be corrected; and we must say that the general
conduct of this harsh and self-interested race towards our prisoners,
will not expedite the period of correct ideas relative to the
comparative condition of the Scotch and English. The Americans have
imbibed no prejudice against the Irish, having found them a brave,
generous, jovial set of fellows, full of fun, and full of good, kind
feelings; the antipodes of Scotchmen, who, as it regards these
qualities, are cold, rough and barren; like the land that gave them
birth.

We moved from Portsmouth to the _Nore_ or Noah, for I know not the
meaning of the word, or how to spell it. The place so called is the
mouth of the river Thames, which runs through the capital of the
British nation. We were three days on our passage. Here we were
transferred to several tenders in order to be transported to Chatham.
We soon entered the _river Medway_, which rises in Sussex, and passes
by Tunbridge, Maidstone and Rochester, in Kent; and is then divided
into two branches, called the east and west passage. The chief
entrance is the west; and is defended by a considerable fort, called
_Sheerness_. In this river lay a number of Russian men of war,
detained here probably by way of pledge for the fidelity of the
Emperor. What gives most celebrity to this river is _Chatham_, a naval
station, where the English build and lay up their first rate men of
war. It is but about thirty miles from London; or the distance of
Newport, Rhode Island, from the town of Providence. We passed up to
where the prison ships lay, after dark. The prospect appeared very
pleasant, as the prison ships appeared to us illuminated. As we were
all upon deck, we enjoyed the sight as we passed, and the commander of
the tender appeared to partake of our pleasure. We were ordered on
board the _Crown Prince_ prison ship; and as our names were called
over, we were marched along the deck between two rows of emaciated
Frenchmen, who had drawn themselves up to review us. We then passed on
to that part of the ship which was occupied by the Americans, who
testified their curiosity at knowing all about us; and sticking to
their national characteristic, put more questions to us in ten
minutes, than we could well answer in as many hours. We passed the
evening and the first part of the night in mutual communications; and
we went to rest with more pleasure than for many a night before.

Our prison ship was moored in what they called Gillingham _reach_. We
would here remark, that the river, and Thames, and Medway make, like
all other rivers near to their outlets, many turnings or bendings;
some forming a more obtuse, and some a more acute angle with their
banks. This course of the river compels a vessel to _stretch_ along in
one direction, and then to _stretch_ along in a very different
direction. What the English call _reaching_, we in America call
_stretching_. Each of these different courses of the river they call
"_reaches_." They have their _long reach_ and their _short reach_, and
a number of reaches, under local, or less obvious names. Some are
named after some of their own pirates, which is here and there
designated by a gibbet; a singular object, be sure, to greet the eye
of a stranger on entering the grand watery avenue of the capital of
the British empire. But there is no room for disputing concerning our
tastes. The reach where our prison was moored was about three miles
below Chatham; and is named from the village of Gillingham. Now
whether _reach_ or _stretch_ be the most proper term for an effort to
sail against the wind, is left to be settled by those reverend
monopolizers of all the arts and sciences, the _London Reviewers_;
who, by the way, and we mention it _pro bono publico_, would very much
increase their stock of knowledge and usefulness, if they would depute
a few missionaries, for their own reverend body, to pass and repass
the Atlantic in a British transport, containing in its _black hole_ an
hundred or two of Yankee prisoners of war: We do wish that the _London
Quarterly Reviewers_ particularly would take a trip in the _Malabar_;
it would, if they should be so fortunate as to survive the voyage,
make them better judges of the character of the English nation, and of
the American nation, and of that nearly lost tribe, the Caledonian
nation.

There were thirteen prison ships beside our own, all ships of the
line, and one hospital ship, moored near each other. They were filled,
principally, with Frenchmen, Danes and Italians. We found on our
arrival _twelve hundred_ Americans, chiefly men who had been
_impressed_ on board British men of war, and who had given themselves
up, with a declaration that they would not fight against their own
countrymen, and _they were sent here_ and _confined_, without any
distinction made between them and those who had been taken in arms.
The injustice of the thing is glaring. During the night the prisoners
were confined on the lower deck and on the main deck; but in the day
time they were allowed the privilege of the "pound," so called, and
the forecastle;--which was a comfortable arrangement compared with the
_black holes_ of the Regulus and Malabar. There were three officers on
board our ship, a lieutenant, a sailing master, and a surgeon,
together with sixty marines and a few invalids, or superannuated
seamen to go in the boats. The whole were under the command of a
commodore, while captain _Hutchinson_, agent for the prisoners of war,
exercised a sort of control over the whole; but the butts and bounds
of their jurisdiction I never knew. The commodore visited each of the
prison ships every month, to hear and redress complaints, and to
correct abuses, and to enforce wholesome regulations. All written
communications, and all intercourse by letter passed through the hands
of captain Hutchinson. If the letters contained nothing of evil
tendency, they were suffered to pass; but if they contained any thing
which the agent deemed improper, they were detained.

We found our situation materially altered for the better. Our
allowance of food was more consonant to humanity than at Halifax, much
more to the villanous scheme of starvation on board the Regulus, and
the still more execrable Malabar. Our allowance of food here was half
a pound of beef and a gill of barley, one pound and a half of bread,
for five days in the week, and one pound of cod fish, and one pound of
potatoes, or one pound of smoked herring, the other two days; and
porter and small beer were allowed to be sold to us.--Boats with
garden vegetables visited the ship daily; so that we now lived in
clover compared with our former hard fare and cruel treatment. Upon
the whole, I believe that we fared as well as could be expected, all
things considered; and had such fare as we could do very well with;
not that we fared so well as the British prisoners fare in America.
Rich as the English nation is, it cannot well afford to feed us as we
feed the British prisoners; such is the difference in the two
countries in point of cheap food. On thanksgiving days, and on
Christmas days, and such like holy days, we, in America, used to treat
these European prisoners with geese, turkies, and plumb pudding. Many
of these fellows declared that they never in their lives sat down to a
table to a roasted turkey, or even a roasted goose. It is a fact, that
when the time approached for drafting the British prisoners in Boston
harbor, to send to Halifax to exchange them for our own men, several
of the _patriotic_ Englishmen, and many Irishmen, ran away; and when
taken showed as much chagrin as our men would have felt, had they
attempted to desert and run home from Halifax prison, and had been
seized and brought back! This is a curious fact, and worthy the
attention of the British politician. _An American, in England, pines
to get home; while an Englishman and an Irishman longs to become an
American citizen!_ Ye wise men of England! the far famed England! the
proud island whence we originally sprang, ponder well this fact; and
confess that it will finally operate a great change in our respective
countries; and that your thousand ships, your vast commerce, and your
immense (factitious) riches cannot alter it. This inclination, or
disposition, growing up in the hearts of that class of your subjects
who are more disposed to follow the bent of their natural appetites
than to cultivate patriotic opinions, will one day hoist our "_bits of
striped bunting_" over those of your now predominating flag, and you
long sighted politicians, see it as well as I do. The hard fare of
your sailors and soldiers, the scoundrelism of _some_ of your
officers, especially those concerned in your provision departments;
but above all, your _shocking cruel punishments_ in your navy and in
your _army_, have lessened their attachment to their native country.
England has, from the beginning, blundered most wretchedly, for want
of consulting the human heart, in preference to musty parchments; and
the equally useless books on the law of nations. Believe me, ye great
men of England, Scotland, Ireland and Berwick upon Tweed! that one
chapter from the _Law of Human Nature_, is worth more than all your
libraries on the _law of nations_. Beside, gentlemen, your situation
is a new one. No nation was ever so situated and circumstanced as you
are, with regard to us, your descendants. The history of nations does
not record its parallel. Why then have recourse to books, or maritime
laws, or written precedents?--In the code of the law of nations, you
stand in need of an entirely _New Chapter_. We Americans, we despised
Americans, are accumulating, as fast as we well can, the materials for
that chapter. Your government began to write this chapter in blood;
and for two years past we co-operated with you in the same way.
Nothing stands still within the great frame of nature. On every
sublunary thing _mutability_ is written. Nothing can arrest the
destined course of republics and kingdoms.

    "WESTWARD the course of empire takes its way."... _Dean Berkley._

It is singular that while the Englishman and Irishman are disposed to
abandon their native countries to dwell with us in this new world, the
Scotchman has rarely shown that inclination. No--_Sawney_ is loyal,
and talks as big of _his_ king and his _country_, as would an English
country squire, surrounded by his tenants, his horses, and his dogs.
It is singular that the Laplander, and the inhabitant of Iceland, are
as much attached to their frightful countries, as the inhabitant of
Italy, France or England; and when avarice, and the thirst for a
domineering command leads the Scotchman out of his native rocks and
barren hills, and treeless country, he talks of it as a second
paradise, and as the ancient Egyptians longed after their onions and
garlics, so these half-dressed, raw-boned-mountaineers, talk in
raptures of their country, of their bag-pipes, their singed sheep's
head, and their "_haggiss_." The only way that I can think of, (by way
of preventing the hearts blood of Old England from being drained off
into America,) is to people Nova Scotia and Newfoundland with
Scotchmen; where they can raise a few sheep, for _singing_, and for
_haggiss_; and where they can wear their Gothic habit, and be indulged
in the luxury of the bag-pipe, enjoy over again their native fogs, and
howling storms, and think themselves at home. Nature seems to have
fixed the great articles of food in Nova Scotia to fish and potatoes;
this last article is of excellent quality in that country. Then let
these strangers, these transplanted Scotchmen, these _hostes_, these
antipodes to the Americans, man the British fleet; and fill up the
ranks of their armies, and mutual antipathy will prevent the dreaded
coalition.

But I hasten to return from these people to my prison ship. Among
other conveniences, we had a sort of a shed erected over the
hatch-way, on which to air our hammocks. This was grateful to us all,
especially to those whose learning had taught them the salutiferous
effects of a free circulation of the vital air. It is surprising, that
after what the English philosophers have written concerning the
properties of the atmospheric air; after what Boyle, Mayhew, Hales and
_Priestly_ have written on this subject: and after what they have
learnt from the history of the _Calcutta black hole_; and after what
_Howard_ has taught them concerning prisons and hospitals, it is
surprising that in 1813, the commanders of national ships in the
English service, should be allowed to thrust a crowd of men into those
hideous _black holes_, situated in the bottom of their ships, far
below the surface of the water. I have sometimes pleased myself with
the hope that what is here written may contribute to the abolition of
a practice so disgraceful to a nation; a nation which has the honor of
first teaching mankind the true properties of the air; and of the
philosophy of the healthy construction of prisons and hospitals; and
one would suppose of healthy and convenient ships, for the prisoner,
as well as for their own seamen.

Our situation, in the day time, was not unpleasant for prisoners of
war. Confinement is disagreeable to all men, and very irksome to us,
Yankees, who have rioted, as it were, from our infancy, in a sort of
Indian freedom. Our situation was the most unpleasant during the
night. It was the practice, every night at sun-set, to count the
prisoners as they went down below; and then the hatch-ways were all
barred down and locked, and the ladder of communication drawn up; and
every other precaution that fear inspires, adopted, to prevent our
escape, or our rising upon our prison keepers; for they never had half
the apprehension of the French as of the Americans. They said the
French were always busy in some little mechanical employment, or in
gaming, or in playing the fool; but that the Americans seemed to be on
the rack of invention to escape, or to elude some of the least
agreeable of their regulations. In a word, they cared but little for
the Frenchmen; but were in constant dread of the increasing
contrivance, and persevering efforts of us Americans. They had built
around the sides of the ship, and little above the surface of the
water, a stage, or flooring, on which the sentries walked during the
whole night, singing out, every half hour, "_all's well_." Beside
these sentries marching around the ship, they had a floating-guard in
boats, rowing around all the ships, during the live long night.
Whenever these boats rowed past a sentinel, it was his duty to
challenge them, and theirs to answer; and this was done to ascertain
whether they were French or American boats, come to _surprise_, and
carry by boarding, the Crown Prince! We used to laugh among ourselves
at this ridiculous precaution. It must be remembered, that we were
then up a small river, within thirty-two miles of _London_, and _three
thousand_ miles from our own country. However, "a burnt child dreads
the fire," and an Englishman's fears may tell him, that what once
happened, may happen again. About one hundred and fifty years ago,
viz. in 1667, the Dutch sent one of their admirals up the river
Medway, three miles above where we now lay, and singed the beard of
_John Bull_. He has never entirely got over that fright, but turns
pale and trembles ever since, at the sight, or name of a _republican_.



CHAPTER III.


Our prison ship contained a pretty well organized community. We were
allowed to establish among ourselves an internal police for our own
comfort and self government.--And here we adhered to the forms of our
own adored constitution; for in place of making a King, Princes,
Dukes, Earls, and Lords, we elected a PRESIDENT, and twelve
Counsellors; who, having executive as well as legislative powers, we
called _Committee men_. But instead of _four_ years, they were to hold
their offices but _four_ weeks; at the end of which a new set was
chosen, by the general votes of all the prisoners.

It was the duty of the President and his twelve counsellors, to make
wholesome laws, and define crimes, and award punishments. We made laws
and regulations respecting personal behaviour, and personal
cleanliness; which last we enforced with particular care; for we had
some lazy, lifeless, slack twisted, dirty fellows among us, that
required attending to, like children. They were like hogs, whose
delight it is to eat, sleep and wallow in the dirt, and never
work.--We had, however, but very few of this low cast; and they were,
in a great measure, pressed down by some chronical disorder. It was
the duty of the President and the twelve committee men, or common
council, to define, precisely, every act punishable by fine, whipping,
or confinement in the _black hole_. I opposed, with all my might, this
last mode of punishment, as unequal, inhuman, and disgraceful to our
national character. I contended that we, who had suffered so much, and
complained so loud of the _black hole_ of the Regulus, Malabar, and
other floating dungeons, should reject, from an humane principle, this
horrid mode of torment. I urged, as a medical man, that the punishment
of a confined black hole, was a very unequal mode of punishment; for
that some men of weak lungs and debilitated habit, might die under the
effects of that which another man could bear without much distress. I
maintained that it was wicked, a sin against human nature, to take a
well man, put him in a place that should destroy his health, and, very
possibly, shorten his days, by engrafting on him some incurable
disorder. Some, on the other side, urged, that as we were in the power
of the British, we should not be uncivil to them; and that our
rejection of the punishment of the _black hole_ might be construed
into a reflection on the English government; so we suffered it to
remain _in terrorem_, with a strong recommendation not to have
recourse to it but in very extraordinary cases. This dispute plunged
me deep into the philosophy of _crimes and punishments_; and I am
convinced, on mature reflection, that we, in America, are as much too
mild in our civil punishments, as the British are too severe. May not
our extreme lenity in punishing theft and murder, lead, in time, to
the adoption of the bloody code of England, with their horrid custom
of hanging girls and boys for petty thefts? Is it not a fact, that
several convicted murderers have escaped lately with their lives, from
a too tender mercy, which is cruelty? By what I have heard, I have
inferred, that the Hollanders have drawn a just line between both.

We used to have our stated, as well as occasional courts. Beside a
bench of judges, we had our orators, and expounders of our laws. It
was amusing and interesting, to see a sailor, in his round short
jacket, addressing the committee, or bench of judges, with a phiz as
serious, and with lies as specious as any of our common lawyers in
Connecticut.--They would argue, turn and twist, evade, retreat, back
out, renew the attack, and dispute every inch of the ground, or rather
the deck, with an address that astonished me. The surgeon of the ship
said to me, one day, after listening to some of our native salt water
pleaders, "these countrymen of yours are the most extraordinary men I
ever met with. While you have such fellows as these, your country will
never lose its liberty." I replied, that this turn for legislation
arose from our being all taught to read and write.--"That alone, did
not give them," said he, "this acuteness of understanding, and
promptness of speech. It arises," said he, with great justness, "from
fearless liberty."

I have already mentioned that we had Frenchmen in this prison-ship.
Instead of occupying themselves with forming a constitution, and
making a code of laws, and defining crimes, and adjusting punishments,
and holding courts, and pleading for, and against the person
arraigned, these Frenchmen had erected billiard tables, and
_rowletts_, or wheels of fortune, not merely for their own amusement,
but to allure the Americans to hazard their money, which these
Frenchmen seldom failed to win.

These Frenchmen exhibited a considerable portion of ingenuity,
industry and patience, in their little manufactories of bone, of
straw, and of hair. They would work incessantly, to get money, by
selling these trifling wares; but many of them had a much more
expeditious way of acquiring cash, and that was by gaming at the
billiard tables and the wheels of fortune. Their skill and address at
these, apparent, games of hazard, were far superior to the Americans.
They seemed calculated for gamesters; their vivacity, their readiness,
and their everlasting professions of friendship, were nicely adapted
to inspire confidence in the unsuspecting American Jack-Tar; who has
no legerdemain about him. Most of the prisoners were in the way of
earning a little money; but almost all of them were deprived of it by
the French gamesters. Our people stood no chance with them; but were
commonly stripped of every cent, whenever they set out seriously to
play with them. How often have I seen a Frenchman capering, and
singing, and grinning, in consequence of his stripping one of our
sailors of all his money? while our solemn Jack-Tar was either
scratching his head, or trying to whistle, or else walking slowly off,
with both hands stuck in his pocket, and looking like _John Bull_,
after concluding a treaty of peace with _Louis Baboon_.

I admire the French, and wish their nation to possess and enjoy peace,
liberty and happiness; but I cannot say that I love these French
prisoners. Beside common sailors, there are several officers of the
rank of captains, lieutenants, and, I believe, midshipmen; and it is
these that are the most adroit gamesters. We have all tried hard to
respect them; but there is _something_ in their conduct so much like
swindling, that I hardly know what to say of them. When they knew that
we had received money for the work we had been allowed to perform,
they were very attentive, and complaisant, and flattering. Some had
been, or pretended to have been, in America. They would come round and
say, "_ah! Boston fine town, very pretty--Cape Cod fine town, very
fine. Town of Rhode Island superb. Bristol-ferry very pretty. General
Washington tres grand homme! General Madison brave homme!_" With these
expressions, and broken English, they would accompany, with their
monkey tricks, capering and grinning, and patting us on the shoulder,
with "_the Americans are brave men--fight like Frenchmen_:" and by
their insinuating manners, allure our men, once more, to their wheels
of fortune and billiard tables; and as sure as they did, so sure did
they strip them of _all_ their money. I must either say nothing of
these Frenchmen, officers and all; or else I must speak as I found
them. I hope they were not a just sample of their whole nation; for
these gentry would exercise every imposition, and even insinuate the
thing that was not, the more easily to plunder us of our hard earned
pittance of small change. Had they shown any generosity, like the
British tar, I should have passed over their conduct in silence; but
after they had stripped our men of every farthing, they would say to
them--"_Monsieur, you have won all our money, now lend us a little
change to get us some coffee and sugar, and we will pay you when we
shall earn more._" "_Ah, Mon Ami_," says Monsieur, shrugging up his
shoulders, "_I am sorry, very sorry, indeed; it is le fortune du
guerre. If you have lost your money, you must win it back again; that
is the fashion in my country--we no lend; that is not the fashion._" I
have observed that these Frenchmen are _fatalists_. Good luck, or ill
luck is all _fate_ with them. So of their national misfortunes; they
shrug up their shoulders, and ascribe all to the inevitable decrees of
fate. This is very different from the Americans, who ascribe every
thing to prudence or imprudence, strength or weakness. Our men say,
that if the game was wrestling, playing at ball, or foot-ball, or
firing at a mark, or rowing, or running a race, they should be on fair
ground with them.--Our fellows offered to institute this game with
them; that there should be a strong canvass bag, with two pieces of
cord four feet long; and the contest should be, for one man to put the
other in the bag, with the liberty of first tying his hands, or his
feet, or both if he chose. Here would be a contest of strength and
hardihood, but not of cunning or legerdemain. But the Frenchmen all
united in saying, "_No! No! No! It is not the fashion in our country
to tie gentlemen up in sacks._"

There were here some Danes, as well as Dutchmen. It is curious to
observe their different looks and manners, which I can hardly believe
to be owing, entirely, to the manner of bringing up. Here we see the
thick skulled plodding Dane, making a wooden dish; or else some of the
most ingenious making a very clumsy ship: while others submitted to
the dirtiest drudgery of the hulk, for money; and there we see a
Dutchman, picking to pieces tarred ropes, which, when reduced to its
original form of hemp, they call oakum; or else you see him lazily
stowed away in some corner, with his pipe, surrounded with smoke, and
"steeping his senses in forgetfulness;" while here and there, and
every where, you find a lively singing Frenchman, working in hair; or
carving out of a bone, a lady, a monkey, or the central figure of the
crucifixion! Among the specimens of American ingenuity, I most admired
their ships, which they built from eight inches to five feet long.
Some of them were said by the navy officers, to be perfect, as
regarded proportion, and exact, as it regarded the miniature
representation of a merchantman, sloop of war, frigate, or ship of the
line. By the specimens of ingenuity of these people, of different
nations, you could discover their respective _ruling passions_.

Had not the French proved themselves to be a very brave people, I
should have doubted it, by what I observed of them on board the
prison-ship. They would scold, quarrel and fight, by slapping each
other's chops with the flat hand, and cry like so many girls. I have
often thought that one of our Yankees, with his iron fist, could, by
one blow, send monsieur into his nonentity. Perhaps such a man as
Napoleon Bonaparte, could make any nation courageous; but there is
some difference between courage and bravery. I have been amused, amid
captivity, on observing the volatile Frenchman singing, dancing,
fencing, grinning and gambling, while the American tar lifts his hardy
front and weather beaten countenance, despising them all, but the
dupe of them all; just about as much disposed to squander his money
among girls and fiddlers, as the English sailor; but never so in love
with it, as to study the arts, tricks and legerdemain to obtain it. I
have, at times, wondered that the hard fisted Yankee did not revenge
impositions on the skulls of some of these blue-skinned sons of the
old continent. Is there not a country, where there is one series or
chain of impositions, from the Pope downwards? There is no such thing
in the United States. That is a country of laws; and their very
sailors are all full of "rights" and "wrongs;" of "justice and
injustice;" and of defining crimes, and ascertaining "the butts and
bounds" of national and individual rights.

It was a pleasant circumstance, that I could now and then obtain some
entertaining books. I had read most of _Dean Swift's_ works, but had
never met with his celebrated allegory of _John Bull_, until I found
it on board this prison-ship. I read this little work with more
delight than I can express. I had always heard the English nation,
including kings, lords, commons, country squires, and merchants,
called "_John Bull_," but I never before knew that the name originated
from this piece of wit of Dean Swift's. Now I learnt, for the first
time, that the English king, court and nation, taken collectively,
were characterized under the name of _John Bull_; and that of France
under the name of _Louis Baboon_; and that of the Dutch of _Nick
Frog_; and that of Spain under _Lord Strut_; that the church of
England was called _John's mother_; the parliament his WIFE; and
Scotland his poor, ill-treated, raw-boned, mangy _Sister Peg_. While I
was shaking my sides at the comical characteristical painting of the
witty Dean of St. Patrick, the Frenchmen would come around me to know
what the book contained, which so much tickled my fancy; they thought
it was an obscene book, and wished some one to translate it to them:
but all they could get out of me was the words "_John Bull_ and _Louis
Baboon_!"

It is now the 30th of November, a month celebrated to a proverb in
England, for its gloominess. We have had a troubled sky and foggy for
several weeks past. The pleasant prospect of the surrounding shores
has been obscured a great portion of this month. The countenances of
our companions partake of our dismal atmosphere. It has even sobered
our Frenchmen; they do not sing and caper as usual; nor do they swing
their arms about, and talk with strong emphasis of every trifle. The
thoughts of home obtrude upon us; and we feel as the poor Jews felt on
the banks of the Euphrates, when their task-masters and prison-keepers
insisted upon their singing a song. We all hung up our fiddles, as the
Jews did their harps, and sat about, here and there, like barn-door
fowls, when molting.

Our captivity on the banks of the river _Medway_, bordered with
willows, brought to my mind the plaintive song of the children of
Israel, in captivity on the banks of the river _Euphrates_, which
psalm, among others, I used to sing with my mother and sisters, on
Sunday evenings, when an innocent boy, and long before the wild notion
of rambling, from a comfortable and plentiful home, came into my head.
It is the 137th Psalm, Tate and Brady's version.

    When we our weary limbs to rest
      Sat down by proud Euphrates' stream,
    We wept, with doleful thoughts opprest,
      And _Salem_ was our mournful theme.

    Our harps, that, when with joy we sung,
      Were wont their tuneful parts to bear,
    With silent strings, neglected hung,
      On willow trees, that wither'd there.

    Meanwhile our foes, who all conspir'd
      To triumph in our slavish wrongs,
    Music and mirth of us requir'd,
      "Come, sing us one of Zion's songs."

    How shall we tune our voice to sing?
      Or touch our harps with skilful hands?
    Shall hymns of joy to GOD, OUR KING,
      Be sung by slaves in foreign lands?

    O, SALEM! Our once happy seat,
      When I of thee forgetful prove,
    Let then my trembling hand forget
      The speaking strings with art to move!

    If I, to mention thee, forbear,
      Eternal silence seize my tongue!
    Or if I sing one cheerful air,
      Till my _deliv'rance_ is my song.



CHAPTER IV.


I come now to a delicate subject; and shall speak accordingly, with
due caution; I mean the character and conduct of _Mr. Beasly_, the
American Agent for prisoners. He resides in the city of London,
thirty-two miles from this place. There have been loud and constant
complaints made of his conduct towards his countrymen, suffering
confinement at three thousand miles distance from all they hold most
dear and valuable; and he but half a day's journey from us. Mr. Beasly
knew that there were some thousands of his countrymen imprisoned in a
foreign land for no crime; but for defending, and fighting under the
American flag, that emblem of national independence, and sovereignty;
if he reflected at all, he must have known these countrymen of his
were, in general, thinking men; men who had homes, and "fire
places."[D] He knew they had, some of them, fathers and mothers, wives
and children, brothers and sisters, in the United States, who lived in
houses that had "_fire places_," and that they had, in general, been
brought up in more ease and plenty than the same class in England; he
knew they were a people of strong affections to their relatives, and
strong attachments to their country; and he might have supposed that
some of them had as good an education as himself; he must, or ought to
have thought constantly that they were suffering imprisonment,
deprivations and occasionally sickness in a foreign country, where he
is specially commissioned, and placed to attend to their comforts,
relieve, if practicable their wants, and to be the channel of
communication between them and their families. The British commander,
or commodore of all the prison ships in this river visited them all
once a month; and paid good attention to all their wants.

When we first arrived here, we wrote in a respectful style to Mr.
Beasly, as the Agent from our government for the prisoners in England.
We glanced at our sufferings at Halifax; and stated our extreme
sufferings on the passage to England, and until we arrived in the
river Medway. We remarked that we expected that the government of the
United States intended to treat her citizens in captivity in a foreign
land all equally alike. We represented to him that we were, in
general, destitute of clothing, and many conveniences, that a trifling
sum of money would obtain; that we did not doubt the good will, and
honorable intentions of our government; and that he doubtless knew of
their kind intentions towards us all.--_But he never returned a word
of answer._ We found that all those prisoners, who had been confined
here at Chatham, from the commencement of the war, bore Mr. Beasly an
inveterate hatred. They accuse him of an unfeeling neglect, and
disregard to their pressing wants. They say he never visited them but
once; and that then his conduct gave more disgust, than his visit gave
pleasure. "Where there is much smoke there must be some fire." The
account they gave is this--that when he came on board, he seemed
fearful that they would come too near him; he therefore requested that
additional sentries might be placed on the gangways, to keep the
prisoners from coming aft, on the quarter deck. He then sent for one
of their number, said a few words to him relative to the prisoners;
but not a word of information in answer to the questions repeatedly
put to him; and of which we were all very anxious to hear. He acted as
if he was afraid that any questions should be put to him; so that
without waiting to hear a single complaint, and without waiting to
examine into any thing respecting their situation, their health, or
their wants, he hastily took his departure, amidst the hooting and
hisses of his countrymen, as he passed over the side of the ship.

Written representations of the neglect of this (nominal) agent for us
prisoners, were made to the government of the United States, which we
sent by different conveyances; but whether they ever reached the
person of the Secretary of State, we never knew. Several individuals
among the prisoners wrote to Mr. Beasly for information on subjects in
which their comfort and happiness were concerned, but received no
answer. Once, indeed, a letter was received from his clerk, in an
imperious style, announcing that no notice would be taken of any
letters from individuals; (which was probably correct) but those only
that were written by the committee collectively. The committee
accordingly wrote; but their letter was treated with the same silent
neglect. This desertion of his countrymen, in their utmost need,
excited an universal expression of disgust, if not resentment. Cut off
from their own country, surrounded only by enemies, swindled by their
neighbors, winter coming on, and no clothing proper for the
approaching season, and the American agent for themselves and other
prisoners, within three or four hours journey, and yet abandoned by
him to the tender mercies of our declared enemies, it is no wonder
that our prisoners detested, at length, the name of Beasly. We made
every possible allowance for this gentleman; we said to each other, he
may have no funds; he may have the will, but not the power to help us;
his commission, and his directions may not extend so high as our
expectations; still we could make no excuse for his not visiting us,
and enquiring, and seeing for himself our real situation. He might
have answered our letters; and encouraged us not to despair, but to
hope for relief; he might have visited us as often as did the English
Commodore, which was once in four weeks; but he should not have
insulted our feelings, the only time he did visit us, and humble and
mortify us in the view of the Frenchmen, who saw, and remarked that
our agent considered us no more than so many hogs. The Emperor
_Napoleon_ has visited some of his hospitals in cog. has viewed the
situation of the sick and wounded; examined their food, and eaten of
their bread; and once threw a cup of wine in the face of a steward,
because he thought it not good enough for the soldier; but--some of
our agents are men of more consequence, in their own eyes, than
Napoleon!

During the war it was stated to our government that _six thousand two
hundred and fifty-seven_ seamen had been pressed and forcibly detained
on board British ships of war.--Events have proved the correctness of
this statement; and this slavery has been a subject of merriment, and
a theme for ridicule among the "_federalists_." They say it makes no
more difference to a sailor what ship he is on board, than it does to
a hog what stye he is in. Others not quite so brutal, have
said--"hush! it may be so; but we must bear it; England is mistress of
the Ocean; and her existence depends on this practice of impressment;
her naval power must be submitted to--give us, merchants, commerce,
and these Jack Tars will take care of themselves; for it is not worth
while to lose a profitable trade for the sake of a few ignorant
sailors, who never had any rights; and who have neither liberty,
property or homes, but what we merchants give to them."

The American Seamen on board the Crown Prince, were chiefly _men who
had been impressed into the British Navy previous to the war_; but
who, on hearing of the Declaration of War against Great Britain by the
people of the United States, gave themselves up as prisoners of war;
but instead of being directly exchanged, the English Government
thought it proper to send them on board these prison ships to be
retained there during the war; evidently to prevent them from entering
into our own navy. It should be remembered that they were all citizens
of the United States, sailing in merchant ships; and yet the
merchants, at least those of Boston, and the other New-England
sea-ports, have, very generally, mocked the complaints of impressed
seamen, and derided their representations, and have even denied the
story of their impressment. Even the Governor of Massachusetts
(Strong) has affected in his public speeches to the Legislature to
represent this crying outrage, as the mere groundless clamor of a
party opposed to his election? Whether groundless or not, I will
venture to assert, that the names of many of the leading federalists
in Massachusetts, and a few others will never be forgotten by the
inhabitants of the prison ships at Chatham, at Halifax, and in the
West Indies.

We are now at peace, and the tide of party has so far slackened, that
we can tell the truth without the suspicion of political, or party
designs. I shall relate only what I have collected from the men
themselves, who were never in the way of reading our newspapers, or of
hearing of the speeches of the _friends of the British in Congress_;
or in our State Legislatures. I think I ought, however, here to
premise, that my family were of that party in Massachusetts called
_Federal_, that is, we voted for Governor Strong, and federal Senators
and Representatives; our clergyman was also federal, and preached and
_prayed_ federally; and we read none but _federal_ newspapers, and
associated with none but _federalists_; of course we believed all that
Governor Strong said, and approved all that our Senators and
Representatives voted, and believed all that was printed in the
Boston _federal_ papers. The whole family, and myself with them,
believed all that Colonel Timothy Pickering had written about
impressment of seamen, and about the weakness, and wickedness of the
President and administration; we believed them all to be under the pay
and influence of Bonaparte, who we knew was the first Lieutenant of
Satan. We believed all that was said about "_Free trade and sailors'
rights_," was all stuff and nonsense, brought forward by the
Republicans, whom we called _Democrats_ and _Jacobins_, to gull the
people out of their liberty and property, in order to surrender both
to the Tyrant of France. We believed entirely that the war was
"unnecessary" and "wicked," and declared with no other design but to
injure England and gratify France. We believed also that the whole of
the administration, and every man of the Republican party, from
Jefferson and Madison, down to our ---- was either fool or knave. If
we did not believe that every republican was a scoundrel, we were sure
and certain that every scoundrel was a republican. In some points our
belief was as strong and as fixed as any in the papal dominions; for
example--we maintained stiffly that Governor Strong, Lieut. Governor
Phillips, H. G. Otis, and John Lowell and Francis Blake, Esqrs. were,
for talents, knowledge, piety and virtue, the very first men in the
United States, and ought to be at the head of the nation: or--to
express it _all_ in one word, as my sister once did, "_Federalism is
the politics of a GENTLEMAN, and of a LADY_; but _Republicanism is the
low cant of the vulgar_; of such men as your Tom Jeffersons, Jim
Madisons, and John Adams', and Col. Monroes."

With these expanded and enlightened ideas of men and things, did I,
_Perigrinus Americanus_, quit my father's house ease and plenty, to
make a short trip in a Privateer, more for a frolic than for any thing
serious, being very little concerned whether I was taken or not,
provided my capture would be the means of carrying me among the people
whom I had long adored for their superior bravery, magnanimity,
_religion_, knowledge, and justice; which opinions I had imbibed from
their own writers, in verse and prose. Beside the federal newspapers,
I had dipped into the posthumous works of Fisher Ames, enough to
inspire me with adoration of England, abhorrence of France, and a
contempt for my own country; or to express all in a fewer words, _I
was a Federalist of the Boston stamp_. These are the outlines of my
preconceived opinions, which I carried with me into Melville Prison,
at Halifax. I was not the only one by many, who entered that abode of
misery with similar notions. How often have I wished that Governor
Strong, and his principal supporters, were here with us, learning
wisdom, and acquiring just notions of men, things and governments.

But to return from the Governor and Council, and other great men of
Massachusetts, to the British prison ship at Chatham.--The British had
been in the habit of pressing the sailors from our merchant ships,
ever since the year 1755. The practice was always abhorred, and often
resisted, and sometimes even unto death. We naturally inferred that,
with our independence, we should preserve the persons of our citizens
from violence and deep disgrace; for, to an American, a whipping is a
degradation worse than death.--Since the termination of the war with
England, which guaranteed our independence, the British never
pretended to impress American citizens; but pretended to the right of
entering our vessels, and taking from them the natives of Britain or
Ireland, and this was their general rule of conduct;--they would
forcibly board our vessels, and the boarding-officer, who was commonly
a lieutenant, completely armed with sword, dirk, and loaded pistols,
would muster the crew, and examine the persons of the sailors, as a
planter examines a lot of negroes exposed for sale; and all the thin,
puny, or sickly men, he allowed to be Americans--but all the stout,
hearty, red cheeked, iron fisted, chestnut colored, crispy haired
fellows, were declared to be British; and if such men showed their
certificates of citizenship, and place of birth, they were pronounced
forgeries, and the unfortunate men were dragged over the side into the
boat, and forced on board his floating hell! Not a day in the year,
but there occurred such a scene as this, somewhere on the seas; and to
our shame be it spoken, we endured this outrage on man through the
administration of _Washington_, _Adams_,[E] and _Jefferson_, before we
declared war to revenge the villany. If an high spirited man, thus
kidnap'd, refused to work, he was first deprived of victuals; and if
starvation did not induce him to work, he was stripped, and tied up,
and whipped like a thief!--and many a noble spirited fellow suffered
this accursed punishment. If he seized the first opportunity, as he
ought, to run away from his tyrants, and was taken, he was severely
whipped; and for a second attempt the punishment was doubled, and for
the third he was hanged, or shot.

It happened on our declaration of war, chiefly on account of this
atrocious treatment of the sailors, that thousands of our countrymen
had been impressed into the British navy, and more or less were found
in almost every ship; most of these informed their respective
captains, that being American citizens, they could not remain in the
service of a nation, to aid them in killing their brethren; and in
pulling down the flag of their native country. They declared firmly,
that it was fighting against nature for a man to fight against his
native land, the only land to which he owed a natural duty. Some noble
British commanders admired their patriotic spirit, and permitted them
to quit their ships, and go to prison: while other captains, of an
opposite and ignoble character, refused to hear their declarations,
and ordered them to return to what they called _their duty_; which
they accompanied with threats of severe punishment if they disobeyed.
But some, whose noble spirits would have honored any man, or station,
adhered to their first determination, _not to fight against their own
brothers; or aid in pulling down the flag of their nation_. These were
immediately put in irons, and fed on scanty allowance of bread and
water; for if any thing can bring down the high spirit of an hearty
young man, it is _the slow torture of hunger and thirst_; when it was
found that this had not the effect of debasing the American spirit,
the young sufferer was brought upon deck, and stripped to his waist,
and sometimes lower, and--Oh! my pen cannot write it for indignation!
resentment, and a righteous revenge shakes my hand with rage, while I
attempt to record the act of villany. Yes, my countrymen and my
countrywomen, our noble minded _young men_, brought up in more ease
and plenty than half the officers of a British man of war, are
violently stripped, and tied fast and immoveable by a rope, to a
cannon, or to the iron railing of what is called the gang-way, and
when he is so fixed as to stretch the skin and muscles to the utmost,
he is whipped by a long, heavy and hard knotted whip, four times more
formidable and heavy than the whip allowed to be used by the carters,
truck, or carmen, on their horses. With this heavy and knotted
scourge, the boatswain's mate, who is generally selected for his
strength, after stripping off his jacket, that he may strike the
harder, lashes this _young man_, on his delicate skin, until his back
is cut from his shoulders to his waist! Few men, of ordinary feelings
of humanity, could bear to see, without great emotion, even a thief,
or a robber, so severely punished. But what must be the feelings of an
American, to see such a cruel operation upon the body of his
countryman, of his mess-mate and companion? We will venture to say,
that if a dog, or an horse, were tied fast to a post, in any street of
any town in America, and lashed with such an heavy knotted whip, swung
by the strong arm of a vigorous man, although their skins were covered
and defended by their hair, or fur, we do not believe that the
inhabitants would see it inflicted on the poor beast, without carrying
the whipper before a magistrate, to answer for his cruelty. Yet what
is the whipping of a beast, devoid of reason, and covered with fur, to
this severe operation upon the delicate skin and flesh of one of our
young men? And all, for what? For nobly maintaining and upholding the
first and great principle of our nature. Yet has this heroism of our
enslaved seamen been overlooked; and even derided by the federal
merchant and the federal politician, and the federal member of
congress, and the federal clergyman! Some of our brave fellows have
been brought upon deck, every punishing day, and undergone this horrid
punishment, three or four times over, until the crews of the men of
war were disposed to cry out shame, upon their own officers! Some of
our poor fellows could not sustain these repeated tortures, which is
not to be wondered at, and have finally gone to work as soon as they
recovered from their barbarous usage. Others, of firmer frames and
firmer minds, have wearied out their persecutors, whose infernal
dispositions they have defied, and triumphed over; such have been sent
out of the ship into our prison-ships; and here they are, to tell
their own story, to show to their countrymen the everlasting marks of
their tormentors, the British navy officers. With what indignation,
rage and horror, have I seen our brave fellows actuated, while one of
these heroes of national rights, and national character, has been
relating his sufferings, and showing his degrading scars, made on his
body by the accursed whip of a boatswain's mate, by order of an
infamous captain of the British navy! You talk of peace, friendship
and cordiality with the nation from whom most of us sprang! It is
well, perhaps, that the two nations should be at peace politically;
but can you ever expect cordiality to subsist between our impressed
and cruelly treated sailor, and a British navy officer. It is next to
impossible. Our ill treated sailor, lacerated in his flesh, wounded in
his honor, and debased by the slavish hand of a boatswain's mate,
never can forget the barbarians; nor ever can, nor ever ought to
forgive them. The God of nature has ordained that nations should be
separated by a difference of language, religion, customs, and manners,
for wise purposes; but where two great nations, like the English and
American, have the same language, institutions and manners, he may
possibly have allowed the devil to inspire one with a portion of his
own infernal spirit of cruelty, in order to effect a separation, and
keep apart two people, superficially resembling each other.

It may be for good and wise purposes, in the order of Providence, that
there should be a partition wall between us and Britain. We have had
to deplore that three thousand miles of ocean is not half enough; for
avarice, fashion and folly, are continually drawing us together; and
these often drown the still small voice of patriotism, whose language
is, "_Come out of her, O my people!_" There is nothing that tends so
strongly to keep us asunder, as the different _dispositions_ of the
two people. The Americans are a kind, humane, tender-hearted people,
as free from cruelty as any nation upon earth; and possessing as much
generosity towards an enemy they have vanquished, and who is at their
mercy, as any people to be found on the records of the human kind.
Their laws express it; the records of their courts prove it; the
history of the war illustrates it; and I hope that all our actions
declare it. We may change, and become as hard hearted and cruel as the
English. It may be that we are now in the _chivalrous_ age, or that
period of our political existence, which is the generous, youthful
stage of a nation's life; this may pass away, and we may sink into the
cold, phlegmatic, calculating cruelty of the present Britons; and
become, like them, objects of hatred to our own descendants. Whatever
we may, in the course of degeneration, become, we assert it, as an
incontrovertible fact, that the Britons are now, and have been for
many generations past, vastly our inferiors on the score of polished
humanity. On this subject, we would refer the reader to the _History
of England_, written by eminent Englishmen and Scotchmen, and to
Shakespeare's historical plays; and to the records of their courts,
the annals of Newgate, and of the Tower; and to their penal code,
generally; but above all, to their horrid _military_ punishments, in
their army, and in their navy; and then contrast the whole with the
history of America; of her courts, and of her army, and navy
punishments.

We would not indulge invective, nor lightly give vent to the language
of resentment; but truth and utility compels us to speak of the
English as they really are. Their whole history marks them a hard
hearted, cruel race, and such we prisoners have found them. We will
not have recourse to so early a period as the reign of Richard the 3d,
or Harry the 8th, or his cruel daughter Mary, but we refer to the
latter part of Charles 2d, a reign of mirth, frolic and unusual gaiety
of heart, and not a period of austerity and gloom. The instance we
here adduce, was not the furious cruelty of a mob, or of exasperated
soldiery storming a town; but of _courtiers_, privy counsellors, and
advisers of the good humored Charles the 2d.

William Carstares, confidential Secretary to King William, during the
whole of his reign; afterwards Principal of the University of
Edinburgh, was a sincere and zealous friend both to religious and
civil liberty, and he lived in reputation and honor till Dec. 28th,
1715. This worthy man was put to the torture before the privy council,
in the latter end of the reign of Charles the Second. The Rev. Joseph
M'Cormick, D.D. who has written his life, and detailed an account of
his fortitude and sufferings in the cause of liberty, says, "that all
his objections and remonstrances being over-ruled by the majority of
the privy counsel, the public executioner was called upon to perform
his inhuman office. A thumb-screw had been prepared on purpose, of a
peculiar construction. Upon its being applied, Mr. Carstares
maintained such a command of himself, that, whilst the sweat streaming
over his brow, and down his cheeks, with the agony he endured, he
never betrayed the smallest inclination to depart from his first
resolution. The Earl of Queensberry was so affected, that, after
telling the chancellor, that he saw that the poor man would rather
die than confess, he stepped out of the council, along with the duke
of Hamilton, into another room, both of them being unable longer to
witness the scene; whilst the inhuman Perth sat to the very last,
without discovering the least symptom of compassion for the sufferer.
On the contrary, when the executioner, by his express order, was
turning the screw with such violence, that Mr. Carstares, in the
extremity of his pain, cried out, that now he had squeezed the bones
in pieces, the chancellor, in great indignation, told him, that, if he
continued longer obstinate, he hoped to see every bone of his body
squeezed to pieces. At last, finding all their efforts by means of
this machinery fruitless, after he had continued no less than an hour
and an half under this painful operation, they found it necessary to
have recourse to a still more intimidating species of torture. The
executioner was ordered to produce the iron boots, and apply them to
his legs; but happily for Mr. Carstares, whose strength was now almost
exhausted, the fellow, who was only admitted of late to this office,
and a novice in his trade, after having attempted in vain to fasten
them properly, was obliged to give it over; and the counsel adjourned
for some weeks."

If to this shameful account we add their cruelty to the vanquished
Scotch, in 1745, and of late years towards the brave Irish, together
with what _we_ have known of them in the revolutionary war, and in the
present one, we can feel no pride in claiming kindred with them. They
are a sluggish, cold, hard-fibred race of men, on whom soft and
delicate airs of music make no agreeable impression. Loud and
thundering sounds, such as the ringing of heavy bells, beating of
drums, and firing of cannon, and the gothic _hourra_ are requisite to
move the phlegm that surrounds the tough heart of old _John Bull_.

When the Algerines captured some of our vessels, and made slaves of
the crew, a very high degree of sensibility was excited. It was the
theme of every newspaper and oration, and the subject of almost every
conversation. The horror of Algerine slavery was considered as the ne
plus ultra of human misery; but it has so happened, that we have many
sailors returned again to their country, who have been enslaved at
Algiers; and have been impressed and detained on board British men of
war, and afterwards thrown into their prison-ships. The united opinion
of these people is, the Algerine slavery is much more tolerable than
the _British_ slavery. The Algerines make the common sailors work
from six to eight hours in the day; but they give them very good
vegetable food, and enough of it; and lodge them in airy places; and
always dispose the officers _according to their rank_; whereas the
British seem to take a delight in confounding and mixing together, the
officers with their men. As to their punishments among themselves,
they will cut off a man's head; and strangle him with a bowstring, in
a summary manner; but a Turk, or Algerine, would sicken at the sight
of a whipping in the navy; and in the _army_ of the _Christian_ king
of England. There is no nation upon this globe of earth that treats
its soldiers and sailors with that degree of barbarity common to their
camps, garrisons and men of war; for what they lack in the number of
lashes on board a ship, they make up in the severity of infliction, so
as to render the punishment nearly equal to the Russian _knout_.

If any one is curious to see British military flogging treated
scientifically, I would refer him to chapter xii, vol. 2d, of _Dr. R.
Hamilton's Duties of a Regimental Surgeon_, from page 22 to 82. The
reading of it is enough to spoil an hungry man's dinner. We there read
of the suppuration, and stench that follow after seven or eight
hundred lashes; and that some men have complained that its
offensiveness was almost equal to the whipping. We there read of the
surgeon discharging a pound and a half of matter from an abscess,
formed in consequence of a merciless punishment.--The reader may also
be entertained with the discussion, whether it is _best_ to wash the
_cats_ clear from the blood, (for the executioners lay on twenty-five
strokes, and then another twenty-five, and so on, till the nine
hundred or a thousand, ordered, are finished) or whether it is best to
let the blood dry on the knots of the whip, in order to make it _cut
the sharper_. There, too, you may learn the advantage of having the
naked wretch tied fast and firm, so that he may not wring and twist
about to avoid the torture, which, he says, if not attended to, may
destroy the sight, by the whip cutting his eyes; or his cheeks and
breasts may be cut for want of this precaution. He says, however, that
in those regiments, who punish by running the gauntlet, it is almost
impossible to prevent the man from being cut from the nape of the neck
to his hams. You will there find a description of a neat contrivance,
used at Gibraltar, which was compounded of the stocks and the
pillory. The soldier's legs were held firm in two apertures of a thick
plank, while his body and head were bent down to a plank placed in a
perpendicular direction, to receive the man's head, and two more
apertures to confine his arms. In this immoveable posture, human
beings, _Englishmen_, _Irishmen_ and _Scotchmen_, have had their flesh
lacerated for more than half an hour! But the Doctor informs us, that
the men did not like this new contrivance, as it checked their
vociferation and injured their lungs; so it was discontinued; and they
returned again to the halberts, where their hands were tied up over
their heads. Some of these poor wretches have been known to gnaw the
flesh of their own arms, in the agonies of torture; and many of them
have died with internal impostumes.

AMERICANS! think of these barbarities, and bless the memories of those
statesmen and warriors, who have separated you, as a nation, from a
cruel people, who have neither bowels of compassion, nor any
tenderness of feeling, for the soldier, or the sailor. They value
them, and care for them on the same principle that we value a horse,
and no more, merely as an animal that is useful to them. I have for
some time believed that America would be the grave of the British
character. Our free presses dare speak of their military whippings,
without fearing the punishment inflicted on the Editor of their
_Political Register_, as drawn by one of themselves.[F]

Those pressed men liberated from the British men of war, and sent on
board this ship, the Crown Prince, that is, sent from one prison to
another, are large, well made, fine looking fellows, for such they
usually select as Englishmen.--Some of them were men of colour. The
following anecdote does honor to the character of Sir Sidney Smith, as
well as to that of our brave tars. Sir Sidney was then off Toulon. On
the news reaching the crew that the UNITED STATES had declared war
against England, all the Americans on board had determined not to
fight against their country, or aid in striking its flag; they
therefore asked permission to speak with Sir Sidney, who permitted
them to come altogether on the quarter deck; they told him they were
all Americans by birth, and impressed against their will into the
British service; and forcibly detained; that although they had
consented to do the duty of Englishmen on board his ship, they could
not fight against their own country.--"_Nor do I wish you should_,"
was the answer of this gallant knight. On being reminded by one of his
officers, that they were nearly all petty officers--he observed to
them, that they had been promoted in consequence of their good
behaviour; and that if they could, as he hoped they would, reconcile
themselves to the service, he should continue to promote them, and
reward their good behaviour. They thanked him; but assured him that it
_was against their principles_, as Americans, and against a _sense of
duty_ towards their _beloved country_, to fight against _their
brethren_, or to aid in _pulling down the emblem of their nation's
sovereignty_. He promised to report the business to his superiors; and
turning to one of his officers, said, "_I wish all Englishmen were as
strongly attached to their country, as these Americans are to
theirs._"

Another instance of a British commander, the opposite of this, is
worth relating. I give it as the sufferer related it to us all; and as
confirmed by other testimony beside his own. The man declared himself
to be an American, and as such, asked for his discharge. The captain
said he lied; that he was no American, but an Englishman; and that he
only made this declaration to get his liberty; and he ordered him to
be severely whipped; and on every punishing day, he was asked if he
still persisted in calling himself an American, and in refusing to do
duty? The man obstinately persisted. At length the captain became
enraged to a high degree; he ordered the man to be stripped, and tied
up to the gratings, and after threatening him with the severest
flogging that was in his power to inflict, he asked the man if he
would avoid the punishment, and _do his duty_? "Yes," said the noble
sailor, "_I will do my duty_, and that is _to blow up your ship the
very first opportunity in my power_." This was said with a stern
countenance, and a corresponding voice. The captain seemed astonished,
and first looking over his larboard shoulder, and then over his
starboard shoulder, said to his officers, "_this is a damn'd queer
fellow! I do not believe he is an Englishman. I suppose he is crazy;
so you may unlash him, boatswain_:" and he was soon after sent out of
that ship into this prison-ship. This man will carry the marks of the
accursed cat to his grave!

O, ye Tories! ye Federalists, ye every thing but what you should be,
who have derided the sufferings of the sailor, and mocked at his
misery--had you one half of the heroic virtue that filled and
sustained the brave heart of this noble sailor, you would cease to
eulogize these tyrants of the ocean, or to revile your own government
for drawing the sword, and running all risks to redress the wrongs of
the oppressed sailor. The cruel conduct of the British ought to be
trumpeted through the terraqueous globe; but we would feign cover
over, if possible, the depravity of some few of our merchants and
politicians, who regard a sailor in the same light as a truckman does
his horse.

Several of these impressed men have declared, that in looking back on
their past sufferings, on board English men of war, and comparing it
with their present confinement at Chatham, they feel themselves in a
Paradise. The ocean, the mirror of heaven, is as much the element of
an American as an Englishman. The great Creator has given it to us, as
well as to them; and we will guard its honor accordingly, by chasing
cruelty from its surface, whether it shall appear in the habit of a
_Briton_ or an _Algerine_.



CHAPTER V.


It is now the last day of the year 1813; and we live pretty
comfortably. Prisoners of war, confined in an old man-of-war hulk,
must not expect to sleep on beds of down; or to fare sumptuously every
day, as if we were at home with our indulgent mothers and sisters. All
things taken into consideration, I believe we are nearly as well
treated here, in the river Medway, as the British prisoners are in
Salem or Boston; not quite so well fed with fresh meat, and a variety
of vegetables, because this country does not admit of it. We
nevertheless do suffer as we did at Halifax; and above all, we
suffered on board the floating dungeons, the transports, and
store-ship Malabar, beyond expression.

All the Frenchmen are sent out of the ship, excepting about forty
officers; and these are all gamblers, ready and willing, and able to
fleece us all, had we ever so much money. I wonder that the
prison-ship-police has not put down this infamous practice. It is a
fomenter of almost all the evil passions; of those particularly which
do the least honor to the human heart. Our domestic faction have
uttered a deal of nonsense about a _French influence_ in America.--By
what I have observed here, I never can believe that the French will
ever have any influence to speak of, in the United States. We never
agreed with them but in one point, and that was in our hatred to the
English. There we united cordially; there we could fight at the same
gun; and there we could mingle our blood together. The English may
thank themselves for this. They, with their friends and allies, the
_Algerines_ and the _Savages_ of our own wilderness, have made a
breach in that great Christian family, whose native language was the
English; which is every year growing wider and wider.

_January, 1814._--We take two or three London newspapers, and through
them know a little what is going forward in the world. We find by them
that Joanna Southcote, and Molenaux, the black bruiser, engross the
attention of the most respectable portion of _John Bull's family_. Not
only the British officers, but the ladies wear the orange colored
cockade, in honor of the Prince of Orange, because the Dutch have
taken Holland. The yellow, or orange color, is all the rage; it has
been even extended to the clothing of the prisoners. Our sailors say
that it is because we are under the command of a _yellow Admiral_, or
at least a _yellow Commodore_, which is about the same thing.

About this time there came on board of us a recruiting sergeant, to
try to enlist some of our men in the service of the Prince Regent. He
offered us sixteen guineas; but he met with no success. Some of them
"_bored_" him pretty well. We had a very good will to throw the slave
overboard; but as we dare not, we contented ourselves with telling him
what a flogging the Yankees would give him and his platoon, when they
got over to America.

About five hundred prisoners have recently arrived in this "_reach_,"
from Halifax. There are between one hundred and fifty and two hundred
of Colonel Boestler's men, who were deceived, decoyed, and captured
near Beaver Dams, on the twenty-third of June, 1813. These men were
principally from Pennsylvania and Maryland. It is difficult to
describe their wretched appearance; and as difficult to narrate their
suffering on the passage, without getting into a rage, inconsistent
with the character of an impartial journalist.

To the everlasting disgrace of the British government, and of a
British man of war, be it known, that these miserable victims to
hardheartedness, were crowded together in the _black hole_ of a ship,
as we were, just like sheep in a sheep-fold. They allowed but two to
come upon deck at a time. They were covered with nastiness, and
overrun with vermin; for these poor creatures were not allowed to wash
their clothes, or themselves. O, how my soul did abhor the English,
when I saw these poor soldiers! It is no wonder that people who only
see and judge of the Americans by the prisoners, that they conceive us
to be a horde of savages. They see us while prisoners, in the most
degraded and odious light that we ever before saw or felt ourselves
in. I can easily conceive how bad and scanty food, dirt, vermin, and a
slow chronical disease, or low spirits, may change the temper and
character of large bodies of men. I would advise all my countrymen,
should it ever be their hard lot to be again in British bondage, to
exert themselves to appear as clean and smart in their persons, as
their situation will possibly admit. That I may not be accused of
pronouncing the English a cruel people, without proving my assertions,
I will here ask my reader to have recourse to the speech of _Sir
Robert Heron_, made in Parliament, in April, 1816, where he recites
the treatment of the poor in the alms-houses at Lincoln. After a
painful recital of the miserable state of the work-house in that city,
he mentioned "that there were five cells strongly guarded with iron
bolts, not for the reception, of lunatics, but for the punishment of
such _poor persons_ as might fall into any transgression. In each of
these were strong iron staples in the wall and floor, to which the
_poor_ delinquent was _chained_. Among several instances of cruelty,
the worthy Baronet mentioned that a Chelsea pensioner, _seventy years
of age_, and _totally blind_, had been for a _whole fortnight chained
to the floor_, because he had been drunk! That a very young girl,
having contracted a certain disease, had been chained in a similar
manner to the floor, lest she should contaminate others. Would it be
believed, said Sir Robert to the House, that _one chain fixed round
her body, had been weighed, and was found no less than twenty-eight
pounds weight_!"--From what I have heard of the generous turn of the
_Prince Regent_, his sympathetic heart would be moved to compassion
for these two frail mortals, the one very old, the other very young.
But what are we to think of his master, the magnanimous _John Bull_? I
believe a soldier feels more of the martial spirit when in uniform,
than in a loose drab coat. The same feeling may extend to a judge in
his robes, and to a parson in his gown. They all may feel braver, more
consciencious, and pious, for this "outward and visible sign," of what
the inward ought to be.

These poor soldiers were, of all men among us, the most miserable;
they had suffered greatly for want of good and _sufficient food_; as
six of them had to feed on that quantity which the British allowed to
four of their own men. By what we could gather, the most barbarous,
the most unfeeling neglect, and actual ill treatment, was experienced
on board the _Nemesis_. This ship seems, like the Malabar, to be
damned to everlasting reproach. I forgot to enquire whether her
Captain and her Surgeon were Scotchmen.

We turn with disgust and resentment from such ships as the Regulus,
the Malabar, and the Nemesis, and mention with pleasure the
_Poictiers_, of 74 guns. The captain and officers of this ship behaved
to the prisoners she brought, with the same kindness and humanity, as
I presume the captain, officers and crew of an American man of war
would towards British prisoners. They considered our men as living,
sensitive beings, feeling the inconveniences of hunger and thirst, and
the pleasure of the gratifications of these instinctive appetites;
they seemed to consider, also, that we were rational beings; and it is
possible they may have suspected that some of us might have had our
rational and improvable faculty increased by education; they might,
moreover, have thought we had, like them, the powers of reminescence,
and the same dispositions to revenge; or they might not have thought
much on the subject, but acted from their own generous and humane
feelings. I wish it were in my power to record the names of the
officers of the _Poictiers_. Of this ship we can remark, that she had
long been on the American station; long enough to know the American
character, and to respect it. Her officers had a noble specimen of
American bravery and humanity, when the American sloop Wasp took the
British sloop Frolic, and both were soon after taken by the Poictiers.
The humane, and we dare say, brave _Capt. Beresford_, has the homage
of respect for his proper line of conduct towards those Americans whom
the fortune of war put under his command. We drank the healths, in the
best beer we could get, of the captain, officers and crew, of his
Britannic Majesty's line of battle ship, _Poictiers_.

That we may not be thought to accuse the British of barbarity without
proof, we shall give an instance of their shocking inhumanity towards
the inhabitants of Canada, in the year 1759, when their army was under
the command of a _Wolfe_, extracted from Knox's historical journal of
the British campaign in Canada, p. 322, vol. 1st, dedicated by
permission to Gen. Anchers. "Yesterday Capt. Starks brought in two
prisoners, one of them a lad of fifteen years of age, the other a man
of forty, who was very sullen, and who would not answer any questions.
This officer also took two male children, and, as he and his party
were returning, they saw themselves closely pursued by a much superior
body, some of whom were Indians, (_probably the father and mother of
the young children, and other relatives, and a few humane
Indians_)--he wished to be freed from the children, as, by their
innocent cries and screeches, they directed the pursuers where to
follow. Capt. Stark's lieutenant made many signs to them to go away
and leave him, but they not understanding him, still redoubled their
lamentations, and finding them hard pressed, he gave orders that the
infants should be taken aside and KILLED, which was done"!!!--What is
the reason this diabolical barbarity was never before condemned in
print? The reason is plain--_they were the children of Frenchmen_.
This shocking deed was perpetrated by the officers of General Wolfe's
army, and published by one of his captains, under the sanction of Lord
Amherst!

It may be tedious to our readers, especially if they be British, but
we cannot yet leave the subject of the inhuman treatment of the
American prisoners of war, while on their passage from Halifax to
Chatham. The condition of the soldiers was the most deplorable. Some
of these men were born in the interior, and had never seen the salt
ocean; they enlisted in Boestler's regiment, and were taken by the
British and Indians, somewhere between fort George and York, the
capital of Upper Canada. They were pretty much stripped of their
clothing, soon after they were taken, and their march to Montreal was
conducted with very little regard to their feelings; but when sick,
they were well attended to by the medical men of the enemy; their
passage from Quebec to Halifax, down the river St. Lawrence, was
_barbarous_. They suffered for victuals, clothes, and every other
conveniency. The men say that they had more instances of real kindness
from the Indians, than from the British. But on their passage across
the Atlantic, their situation was horrible, as may be well supposed,
when it is considered that these soldiers had never been at sea, and
of course could not shift, and _shirk_ about, as the sailors call it,
as could the seamen; they were of course, sea sick; and were
continually groping and tumbling about in the dark prison of a ship's
hold. They suffered a double portion of misery compared with the
sailors, to whom the rolling of the ship in a gale of wind, and the
stench of bilge-water, were matters of no grievance; but were serious
evils to these landsmen, who were constantly treading upon, or running
against, and tumbling over each other. Many of them were weary of
their lives; and some layed down dejected in despair, hoping never to
rise again. Disheartened, and of course sick, these young men became
negligent of their persons, not caring whether they ever added another
day to their wretched existence; so that when they came on board the
prison ship, they were loathsome objects of disgust. A mother could
not have known her own son; nor a sister her brother, disguised and
half consumed as they were, with a variety of wretchedness. They were
half naked, and it was now the middle of winter, and within _thirty_
miles of London, in the _nineteenth_ century; an era famous for _bible
societies_, for _missionary_ and _humane_ societies, and for all proud
boastings of Christian and evangelical virtue; under the reign of a
king and prince, renowned for their liberality and magnanimity towards
_French_ catholics; (but not _Irish_ ones,) and towards _Ferdinand_
the bigot, his holiness the _Pope_, and the venerable institution of
the _holy Inquisition_. Alas! poor old _John Bull_! though art in thy
dotage, with thy thousand ships in the great salt ocean; and thy half
a dozen _victorious ones_ in the Serpentine River, alias the splendid
gutter, dug out in Hyde Park, for the amusement of British children
six feet high! Can the world wonder that AMERICA, in her present age
of chivalry, should knock over these doating old fellows, and make
them the derision of the universe?

I can no otherwise account for this base treatment of the Americans,
than by supposing that the British government had concluded in the
summer and autumn of 1813, that America could not stand the tug of war
with England; that MADISON was unpopular; and that the federalists, or
_British faction_ in America, were prevailing, especially in
New-England; and that, being sure of conquest, they should commence
the subjugation of the UNITED STATES by degrading its soldiery and
seamen; as they have the brave Irish.--They may have been led into
this error by our _federal_ newspapers, which are generally vehicles
of misinformation. The faction may impede, and embarrass for a time;
but they never can long confine the nervous arm of the American
Hercules.

Candor influences me to confess, that there were more attempts than
one, to rise and take these men of war transports. I find that several
experiments were made, but that they were always betrayed, by some
Englishman, or Irishman, that had crept into American citizenship. I
hope the time is not far off, when we shall reject from our service
every man not known absolutely to have been born in the United States.
Whenever these foreigners get drunk, they betray their partiality to
their own country, and their dislike of ours. I hope our navy never
will be disgraced or endangered by these renegadoes. Every man is more
or less a villain, who fights against his own country. The Irish are
so ill treated at home, that it is no wonder that they quit their
native soil, for a land of more liberty and, plenty; and they are
often faithful to the country that adopts them; but never trust an
Englishman, and above all a _Scotchman_. It is a happy circumstance
that America wants neither. She had rather have one English
manufacturer than an hundred English sailors. We labor under the
inconvenience of speaking the same language with the enemies of our
rising greatness. I know by my own personal experience, that English
books, published since our revolutionary war, have a pernicious
tendency in anglifying the American character. I have been amused in
listening to the wrangling conversation of an English, Irish and
American sailor, when all three were half drunk; and this was very
often the case during this month of January, as many of our men who
had been in the British naval service, received payment from
government; and this filled our abode with noise, riot, confusion,
and sometimes fighting. The day was spent in gambling, and the night
in drunkenness; for now all would attempt to forget their misery, and
steep their senses in forgetfulness. The French officers among us,
seldom indulged in drinking to excess. Our men said they kept sober in
order to strip the boozy sailor of his money, by gambling.

While the Frenchmen keep sober, the American and English sailor would
indulge in their favorite grog. In this respect, I see no difference
between English and American. Over the can of grog, the English tar
forgets all his hardships and his slavery--yes, _slavery_; for where
is there a greater slavery among white men, than that of impressed
Englishmen on board of one of their own men of war? The American, over
his grog, seems equally happy, and equally forgetful of his harsh
treatment. The Englishman, when his skin, is full of grog, glows with
idolatry for his country, and his favorite lass; and so does the
American: The former sings the victories of Bembow, How, Jervase and
Nelson; while the latter sing the same songs, only substituting the
names of Preble, Hull, Decatur and Bainbridge, Perry and Macdonough.
Our men parodied all the English national songs.--"_Rule Britannia,
rule the waves_," was "_Rule Columbia_," &c. "_God save great George,
our King_," was sung by our boys, "_God save great Madison_;" for
every thing like federalism was banished from our hearts and ears;
whatever we were before, we were all staunch _Madisonians_ in a
foreign land. The two great and ruling passions among the British
sailors and the American sailors, seemed, precisely the same, viz.
_love of their country_, and _love of the fair sex_. These two
subjects alone entered into all their songs, and seemed to be the only
dear objects of their souls, when half drunk. On these two strings
hang all our nation's glory; while, to my surprize, I found, or
thought I found, that the love of money was that string which vibrated
oftenest in a Frenchman's heart; but I may be mistaken; all the nation
may not be gamblers.--Remember, politicians, philosophers, admirals,
and generals, that _Love_ and _Patriotism_ are the two, and I almost
said, the only two passions of that class of men, who are destined to
carry your flag in triumph abound the terraqueous globe, by skillfully
controlling the powers of the winds, and of _vapor_.

One word more, before I quit this national trait. The English naval
muse, which I presume must be a Mermaid, half woman and half fish,
has, by her simple and half the time, nonsensical songs, done more
for the British flag than all her _gunnery_, or naval discipline and
tactics. This inspiration of the _tenth_ muse, with libations of
_grog_, have actually made the English believe they were invincible on
the ocean, and, what is still more extraordinary, the French and
Spaniards were made to believe it also. This belief constituted a
_magical circle_, that secured their ships from destruction, until two
American youths, _Isaac Hull_, from Connecticut, and _Oliver H.
Perry_, from Rhode Island, broke this spell by the thunder of their
cannon, and annihilated the delusion. Is not this business of
_national songs_ a subject of some importance? _Love_ and
_Patriotism_, daring amplification, with here and there a dash of the
supernatural, are all that is requisite in forming this national band
of naval music. We all know that "_Yankee Doodle_," is the favorite
national tune of America, although it commenced with the British
officers and Tories, in derision, in the year 1775. When that
animating tune is struck up in our Theatres, it electrifies the pit
and the upper galleries. When our soldiers are marching to that tune,
they "tread the air." "With that tune," said general M----, the same
gallant officer, who took nine pieces of cannon from the British,
planted on an eminence, at the battle of Bridgewater--"_with that tune
these fellows would follow me into hell, and pull the devil by the
nose_." For want of native compositions, we had sung British songs
until we had imbibed their spirit, and the feelings and sentiments
imbibed in our youth, are apt to stick to us through life. It is high
time we had new songs put in our mouths.

Unless we attend to the effects of these early impressions, it is
almost incredible, the number of false notions that we imbibe, and
carry to our graves. A considerable party in the United States have
sung Nelson's victories, until those victories seemed to be their own.
Even on the day of the celebration of the Peace, the following Ode was
sung in the hall of the _University of Cambridge_--a captain and a
lieutenant of the navy being among the invited guests. It was written
by the son of the keeper of the States Prison, in Massachusetts.


    _ODE, &c._

    COLUMBIA and BRITANNIA
    Have ceased from Warfare wild;
    No more in battle's rage they meet,
    The parent and the _child_.
    Each gallant nation now lament
    The heroes who have died.
      _But the brave, on the wave,
      Shall yet in friendship ride,
      To bear BRITANNIA'S ancient name,
      And swell COLUMBIA'S pride._

    The flag-staff of COLUMBIA
    Shall be her mountain Pine;
    Her Commerce on the foaming sea
    Shall be her golden mine.
    Her wealth from every nation borne,
    Shall swell the ocean wide,
      _And the brave, on the wave_, &c. &c.

    To Britain's _Faith_ and _Prowess_,
    Shall distant nations bow,
    The _Cross_ upon her topmast head,
    The _Lion_ at her prow.
    No haughty foe shall dare insult,
    No _Infidel_ deride;
      _For the brave, on the wave_, &c. &c.

    For now the _kindred_ nations
    Shall wage the fight no more;
    No more in dreadful thunder dash
    The billows to the shore:
    Save when in firm _alliance_ bound
    Some common foe defied;
      _Then the brave, on the wave_, &c. &c.

This captivity in a foreign land, has been to me a season of
thoughtfulness. Sometimes I thought I was like a despised Jew, among
the sons of the modern Babylon, which I might have sunk under, but for
the first principles of a serious education; for I was born and
educated in the state of Massachusetts, near an hundred miles from
Boston. The subject of education has greatly occupied my mind, and I
rejoiced that I was born in that part of the United States, where it
is most attended to. It is an injury to our national character, that
most of the books we read in early life, were written by _Englishmen_;
as with their knowledge we imbibe their _narrow_ prejudices. The
present war, has, in a degree, corrected this evil; but time alone can
effect all we wish.

A dispute arose between us and our commander, relative to the article
of bread, which served to show Englishmen how tenacious we, Americans,
are on what we consider to be our rights.

Whenever the contractor omitted to send us off soft bread, provided
the weather did not forbid, the said contractor forfeited half a pound
of bread to each man. The prisoners were not acquainted with this
rule, until they were informed of it by the worthy captain Hutchinson;
and they determined to enforce the regulation on the next act of
delinquency of the contractor. This opportunity soon occurred. He
omitted to send us off soft bread in fair weather; our commander, Mr.
O. thereupon ordered us to be served with hard ship bread. This we
declined accepting, and contended that the contractor was bound to
send us off the soft bread, with an additional half pound, which he
forfeited to us for his breach of punctuality. Now the contractor had
again and again incurred this forfeiture, which went into Mr. O's
pocket, instead of our stomachs, and this mal-practice we were
resolved to correct. Our commander then swore from the teeth outwards,
that if we refused his hard bread, we should have none; and we swore
from the teeth, inwardly, that we would adhere to our first
declaration, and maintain our rights. Finding us obstinate, he ordered
us all to be driven into the pound by the marines, and the ladder
drawn up. Some of the prisoners, rather imprudently, cast some
reflections on Mr. O. and his family; in consequence of which, he
ordered us all to be driven below, and the hatches closed upon us; and
he represented to the commodore that the prisoners were in a state of
mutiny. He was so alarmed that he sent the female part of his family
on shore for safety, and requested a reinforcement of marines. At the
same time we made a representation to the commodore, and stated our
grievances, in our own way, and we demanded the extra half pound of
soft bread, forfeited by the contractor. In all this business we were
as fierce and as stubborn, and talked as big as a combination of
collegians, to redress bad commons. We remained in this situation two
days; one from each mess going on deck for a supply of water, was all
the intercourse we had with our superiors. During all this time, we
found we had got hold of the heaviest end of the timber. We found it
very hard contending against increasing hunger, and should have been
very glad of a few hard biscuit. Some began to grow slack in their
resistance; and even the most obstinate allowed their ire to cool a
little. To lay such an embargo on our own bowels was, be sure, a
pretty tough piece of self-denial; for we found; in all our
sufferings, that bread was, the staff of life. We were about taking
the general opinion by a vote, whether it was best to eat hard
biscuit, or starve? Just as we were about taking this important vote,
in which, I suspect, we should have been unanimous, the commodore and
Capt. Hutchinson came on board to inquire into the cause of the
dispute; and this lucky, and well timed visit, saved our credit; and
established the Yankee character for inflexibility, beyond all doubt
or controversy. These two worthy gentlemen soon discovered that Mr. O.
had made representations not altogether correct. They therefore
ordered the hatches to be taken off, and proper bread to be served
out, and so the dispute ended.

What added to our present satisfaction was, that _Mr. my Lord Beasly_
was to allow us two pence half penny sterling per day, for coffee,
tobacco, &c. We now, to use the sailor's own expressive phrase, looked
up one or two points nearer the wind than ever.

That Mr. O. had been in the royal navy from his infancy, and now, at
the age of forty five, ranks no higher than a lieutenant. He once
commanded a sloop, and had the character of severity. He had an
amiable wife and many children, who lived in the prison ship. Lieut.
O. was not the wisest man in all England. He exercised his cunning, it
was said, in making money out of his station; but he was under the
immediate control of two _honorable_ gentlemen, otherwise, it is
probable, we should have felt more instances of his revenge than he
dared, at all times, show.



CHAPTER VI.


It is now the last day of February, 1814. The severity of an English
winter, which is generally milder than the winters of New-England, is
past; and we are as comfortable as can be expected on board a prison
ship; we have a few cents a day to buy coffee, sugar or tobacco; add
to these, we have the luxury of newspapers, which is a high
gratification to the well known curiosity of a _genuine Yankee_, by
which cant term we always mean a New-England man. We have been laughed
at, by the British travellers, for our insatiable curiosity; but such
should remember, that their great moralist, Johnson, tells us that
curiosity is the thirst of the soul, and is a never-failing mark of a
vigorous intellect. The Hottentot has no curiosity--the woolly African
has no curiosity--the vacant minded Chinese has no curiosity--but the
brightest sons of Old England and New, are remarkable for it; insomuch
that they are often the dupes of it. How many thousand guineas a year
are acquired by artful foreigners, in feeding this appetite of our
relation, the renowned _John Bull_? and yet he is never satisfied; his
mouth is open still, and so wide, very lately, that Bonaparte had like
to have jumped into it, suit and all!!

We should have taken, perhaps, more satisfaction in the perusal of
these newspapers, had they not been so excessively expensive. We took
the _Statesman_, the _Star_, and _Bell's Weekly Messenger_; and some
part of the time, the _Whig_. The expense of the Statesman was
defrayed by the sale of green fish to the contractor. The Star was
taken by the Frenchmen; the Whig and Bell's Weekly Messenger, by
individuals. We paid twenty-eight shillings sterling per month, for
the Statesman, which is twice the price of a newspaper in Boston, for
a whole year. Besides it costs us sixteen shillings per month to get
these papers conveyed on board. The reader will probably say, in the
language of Dr. Franklin's allegory, that considering our destitute
condition, "we paid dear for our whistle." These newspapers were
smuggled, or pretended to be smuggled; our commander's pocket was not
the lighter for New-England "_quidnuncism_." But every day afforded
instances of meanness; scraping misery to the bone, for a few pence.

The United States is the region of all regions of the earth for
newspapers. _There are more newspapers printed in the United States,
than in all the rest of the world besides._ We do not mean a greater
number of copies of the same title, but a greater number of different
titles; insomuch, that invention is nearly exhausted to afford them
new names. In England, newspapers pay a very high tax; in America,
they are perfectly free, and their transport by the mails is nearly
so; and this is because our government, that is to say, the _people_,
consider newspapers one of the necessaries of a Yankee's life. In the
definition of a New-England man, you should always insert that he is
"_a go to meeting animal_, and _a newspaper reading animal_!" The sums
which we poor prisoners paid for one English newspaper a year, would
have paid the annual board of a man in the interior of our own
plentiful country. I am firmly of opinion, however, that Boston has
and will have reason to curse her _federal_ newspapers. They, like,
the "_Courier_" and "_Times_," of London have spread false principles,
and scattered error amongst a people too violently prejudiced to read
both sides of the question.

I thought that, at this time, we were as happy, or as free from
misery, as at any time since our captivity. The pleasant season was
advancing, the days growing longer, and the nights shorter, and our
condition seemed improving, when a dreadful calamity broke out upon
us; I mean the _Small pox_. There are no people on the face of the
earth, who have such a dread of this distemper as the people of
New-England. Their laws and their municipal regulations prove this. No
person can remain in his own house with this disorder; but certain
municipal officers take charge of him, and convey him to the small pox
hospital, provided by the laws for the reception of such patients. If
the disorder has progressed so far as to render it, in the opinion of
physicians, dangerous to life to remove him, then the street, where he
lives, is fenced up, and a guard placed so that no one can pass, and a
red flag is hoisted on the house. These formidable precautions may
have added to the dread of this loathsome disease.

When this alarming distemper first appeared in the ship, the surgeon
had all the prisoners mustered, to inquire of them who had had the
small pox, and who the _kine_ pock; or, as they call it in England,
the _cow_ pock. He vaccinated a number. But there were several
instances of persons who said they were inoculated with the kine pock
in America, who took the small pox the natural way at this time. I do
not consider this as, in any degree diminishing the value of this
important discovery and practice. Very few practitioners understand
this business; and a great number of people in the United States have
inoculated themselves, without knowing at what period to take the
matter; and without knowing the true pustule from the spurious. Many
of our prisoners absolutely refused to be vaccinated, although they
believed in its efficacy of guarding them from small pox. I was
greatly surprised at this, until I found that they felt no disposition
to preserve their lives any longer. It seemed that their misery had
so far lessened their attachment to life, that they were indifferent
as to any method of preserving it. I was surprized to find this in
some who I had considered as among the most cheerful. I was shocked to
find among these a weight of woe I little expected. Several of them
told me that life was a burthen; that pride of character kept them
from whining, and forced a smile on their countenance, while their
being penned up, like so many dirty hogs, had chilled their souls, and
sunk them, at times, into despondency. Some said, that nothing but the
hope of revenge kept them alive.

There are two extremes of the mind producing a disregard for life. The
one is, the fever or delirium of battle, augmented and kept up by the
cannon's roar, the sight of blood, and military music; here a man,
being all soul, thinks nothing of his body. The other case is, where
his body is debilitated, his spirit half extinguished, and his soul
desponding, and his body paralized. Here existence is a burden, and
the attachment to life next to nothing. It is here that death appears
to open the gate of the prison. I found, to my surprize, that several
of our countrymen were in this desponding state.

Some refused to be vaccinated, from a persuasion that the kine pock
was no security against the small pox. When I endeavoured to convince
several of them of their error, one asked me if a weak man could drive
away a strong one; or a small evil drive away a great one? A man need
not despair in making a certain class of people believe any thing but
truth.

It is surprizing that when our countryman, Dr. Waterhouse, first
introduced this new inoculation into America, in the year 1800, what
an opposition the practice met with; and nothing but the most
persevering and unwearied exertions, and public experiments, could
overcome the reluctance, in numbers, to receive this great blessing.
The same perversity of judgement was observable among individuals in
this prison ship.

As the spring advanced, the men, contrary to my expectation, became
more desponding, and the _Typhus fever_, or rather the _jail fever_,
appeared among them. From four to six are taken down with it every
day. We have about nine hundred men on board this ship; eight hundred
of us wretched prisoners, and one hundred Englishmen. We are more
crowded than is consistent with health or comfort. Our hammocks are
slung one above another. It is warm and offensive in the middle of our
habitation; and those who have hammocks near the ports, are unwilling
to have them open in the night. All this impedes the needful
circulation of fresh air. It is a little singular, that it is the
robust and hearty that are seized with this fever, before those who
are weak in body, and, apparently, desponding in mind.

As the appropriate hospital-ship is now crowded with sick, we are
obliged to retain a number in the Crown Prince. The _sick bay_ of this
ship is now arranged like to an hospital ship; and the hospital
allowance served out; and the chief surgeon visits us every week. Our
committee, composed of the oldest and most respectable men amongst us,
do every thing in their power to keep the ship and the prisoners
clean. Men are appointed to inspect the prisoners' clothes and
bedding; and even to punish those who refused, or were too indolent to
wash themselves and their clothing; for there were some who were more
like hogs than men; such is the effects of situations and
circumstances. Our most influential men set the example of
cleanliness; and endeavoured to instill into the minds of others the
great importance of being free from all kinds of filth.

It is now the first day of April, 1814, and the small pox and typhus
fever still prevail in the different ships, especially on board the
ship called the Bahama. One hundred and sixty-one Americans were put
on board her in the month of January. She had been used as a prison
for Danish sailors, many of whom were sick of typhus fever. These
Americans came, like the rest of us, from Halifax; being weary,
fatigued, and half-starved, their dejected spirits and debilitated
bodies, then aptly disposed to imbibe the contagion. Accordingly soon
after they went on board, they were attacked with it. All the Danes
are sent out of her; and her upper deck is converted into an hospital;
and the surgeon has declared the ship to be infectious; and no one
communicates with her but such as supply the ship and attend the sick.

While "_sick and imprisoned_," Mr. Beasly "_visited us not_"; but sent
his clerk, a Mr. Williams, to supply the most needy with clothes; and
instead of applying to the committee, who could have informed him
correctly who most needed them, he adopted the mode most liable to
lead to deception and injustice. This Mr. B. seems, from the
beginning, to have considered his countrymen as a set of cheating,
lying, swindling rascals; and a mutual contempt has existed between
them. We wish all our officers and agents would bear in mind this
fact, that complacency begets complacency; and contempt begets
contempt.

We, Americans, have seen and severely felt the highly pernicious and
demoralizing tendency of _gambling_; and we have been long wishing to
break up the practice; and our selectmen, or committee, were
determined to effect it. We accordingly took a vote, agreeably to the
custom of our country, and it was found to be the will of the majority
to prohibit the practice of it. We began with the _roulette_ table, or
as our men called them, "wheels of fortune." After no small opposition
from the French officers, we succeeded in putting them down; but we
could not succeed so easily against the billiard tables. It was
contended by many that it was an exercise, and a trial of skill; and
if confined to a halfpenny, or one cent a game, it could not be
dangerous to the morals, or property of the community. On this a warm
and long dispute arose, in defining gambling. The playing of billiards
for a cent a game, was contended to be a muscular exercise, and not
gambling; whereas cards were denounced, as a studied, sedentary
contrivance, for the artful to draw money from the pockets of the
artless.

The owners of "the wheels of fortune" were, perhaps, envied. They made
money, and lived better than the rest; and the same remark was made of
the owners of the billiard tables. In the course of debate they were
tauntingly called the _privileged order_, and rising from one degree
of odious epithet to another, I could not help laughing, on hearing
one angry orator pronounce this scheme of screwing money out of the
pockets of the artless, and then laughing at their poverty and
distress, to be down right FEDERALISM. Now it should be known that a
_Federalist_ and _Federalism_, are the most odious ideas that can be
raised up in the minds of every American prisoner in this river. A law
was, therefore, proposed, to fine any American prisoner, who should
call another a _Federalist_.

This state of contention continued five or six days; when, I am sorry
to say it, the gambling party increased rather than lessened. At
length two of the party ventured to recommence gambling--one of them
was immediately sent for by the committee, who ordered him to be
confined in the _black hole_. This lit up a blaze the committee little
contemplated. The whole body of the commons cried out against this
summary and arbitrary proceeding. This was pronounced to be such an
alarming attack on the liberty of the prisoners, that every freeman in
the prison ship was called upon to rise up and resist the daring
encroachment on the birthright of an American. A strong party was at
once formed in favor of the man who was imprisoned without a trial. On
this occasion the names of _Hamden_, _Sidney_, and _Wilks_, were
echoed from all quarters of our prison. The liberty of the citizen,
and false imprisonment were discanted on in a loud and moving manner.
Some talked of a writ of habeas corpus, but others knew not what it
meant; but all agreed that it was unconstitutional to confine a man in
prison without trial. One man had the imprudence to say that they
would have French fashions among them, of imprisoning and hanging a
man, and trying him afterwards. This roused the ire of some of the
officers of that nation, who declared in a rage, that it was not the
fashion in France to hang a man and try him afterwards. They all
agreed, however, that it was an illegal act to confine the man without
trial; and that this was a precedent dangerous to the liberties of the
prisoner, and that they ought to protest against it. This was a
curious scene to the surgeon, and some other pretty sensible English
officers; one of whom observed to another, in my hearing, these
Americans are certainly the most singular set of men I ever met with.
The man who had been confined, was allowed to come from his
confinement, and speak for himself. He had "the gift of the gab," and
a species of forcible eloquence that some of our lawyers might envy.
He would have distinguished himself in any of our town meetings; and
with cultivation, might have shown in history. He, however, committed
that very common fault among our popular orators,--_he talked too
much_. The President of the Committee was not much of a speaker; but
he was a man of sense and prudence. Cool as he was, he was thrown a
little off his guard by an intemperate phrase of the culprit; who in
the ardor of his defence, accused the President of being a
_Federalist_; and this turned the current of favor against the
unguarded orator, and he was from all sides, hissed. When quiet was
restored, the President took advantage of the current just turned in
his favor, and said, "Fellow Prisoners! I perceive that I have
committed an error in confining this man without a previous trial, and
I am sorry for it. At the time, I thought I was doing right; but I
now see that I was wrong." He then proposed to have the accused
regularly tried, before the full committee, which he hoped would prove
themselves the real representatives of the community, collected in
course of events within the planks of an enemy's prison ship. He
exhorted the committee not to be influenced by party, prejudice, or
local attachment, but to act justly and independently. The accused was
allowed to speak for himself. He was not an old Jack Tar, but the son
of a respectable New England yeoman, with a clear head, and not
destitute of learning, nor was he ignorant of the law. He defended
himself with real ability, and the spirit of Emmet spoke with him.
Among other things, he said--"What have I done to bring down upon me
the resentment of the committee, and the vengeance of its President?
In attempting to establish the rights of this little community, I have
suffered the ignominy of a close confinement, by the order of my own
countrymen. While we are suffering oppression, degradation and insult,
from the external enemy, shall we redouble our misery, by wrongfully
oppressing one another? I thought it my duty to exert myself in favor
of an equality of rights among us. I could not bear to hear the
domineering language, and see the overbearing conduct of the purse
proud among us; of a set of cunning, tricking, slight-of-hand men, who
were constantly stripping the unwary and artless American, of the
small sums he had acquired, not by gaming, but by labor and good
behaviour. I was an enemy to all this; but I was a friend to the
freedom of judgment, and the freedom of action, provided it did not
injure the whole. If after what has been experienced, our countrymen
will gamble with certain Frenchmen, above the rank of common seamen,
let them do it, and endure the consequences. It is wrong to attempt to
abridge the liberty of amusement, if that amusement does not harm, or
endanger the comfort of the whole." The man was acquitted, and
escorted to his birth in triumph.

It is surprising what trifling things will influence a crowd! A few
minutes previous to this man's bold harrangue, every one, almost, was
against him; but as soon as he tickled their ears with a flourishing
speech, where much more ability was shewn than was expected, instantly
they clap their hands, admire his talents, applaud his sentiments, and
think directly contrary to what they did five minutes before. From
this incident have I been seriously impressed with the dangerous
effects of eloquence. Here this man made "the worse appear the better
reason." But how many instances have we of the same effect in the
Grecian, Roman, English and French history!

This trial, and this specimen of oratory, convinced me that Liberty is
the parent of eloquence. I have noticed a striking difference between
our men and those of England, with all their loud talk of English
freedom. When an American speaks to an officer set over him, he utters
all that he has to say in a ready and fearless manner; but when these
Englishmen come on board of us to bring vegetables, or any thing else
to dispose of, they stand with their caps off, scratching their heads,
through awe and embarrassment; and every other word is, "Yes, your
Honor," or, "Will your Honor have this, or your Honor have that;" and
"your Honor knows best;" and all such mean and slavish language. It is
remarkable that you never hear this sort of language, and see this
servile manner, in the common savages of our wilderness. It belongs
only to the common people, and I am told, to the shop-keepers of
England, and to our negroes. Necessity first inspires the poor with
awe for the rich, and by and by it grows into a principle.

A day or two after these transactions we resumed the consideration of
the practice of gambling, and we turned the tables against the
billiard players; and they were taken down by an almost unanimous
consent; whatever some individuals thought or wished, the general
opinion was so strong that they dare not express it. The authority of
the committee and the authority of the President, were established
more firmly than ever.

While writing down these occurrences, I have thought that we might
here see the great characters and the important doings of the Grecian,
Roman and American Republics, in a very small compass. Here we saw the
struggles of vice and virtue, wisdom and folly, and the desire of
distinction, and the ambition of taking the lead, and the little
workings of emulation, amid rags and tatters. As often as I moaned
over wearied moments of captivity, I do not think the time entirely
lost to me. I learnt a great deal. I saw close to them the first
workings of those springs which set republics, kingdoms, empires, and
armies in motion; the winds and tides, without which, the great ocean
of human life would stagnate, and all within its vast bounds would
perish--until now, I saw the human heart covered over by pride,
encrusted by avarice or cloaked round by hypocrisy; I now saw it
exposed, naked and bare, to the inspection of each man's neighbour.

There are among us Americans on board this prison ship, some men of
sense and principle; but there are many more, especially among the
soldiery, some of the lowest of the American community; the very dregs
of the American people. They are lazy, dirty, lying, and profligate;
and yet they are total strangers to some of the worst vices of these
Frenchmen. But I forbear to enlarge, and shall quit this odious
subject by wishing that all young Americans may stay at home, and if
possible, never mix with these veterans in vice, who inhabit what is
called the old world. Next to the French, I believe the Irish the next
in vicious actions. An Irishman appears to have more spirit than
brains. There are only two situations in which an Irishman seems
perfectly happy, viz. when he has plenty of liquor to drink, and a
number of friends to give it to; and perhaps we may add, when he is
wrangling in a mob. They are amiable, yet bloody; they have the
noblest feelings, with savage hearts. Their passions have the most
rapid transitions, so that they will hug a man one minute, and the
next knock him on the head. I speak only from my observations in this
confined place.--With the same limitation I speak of the Portuguese
and Spaniards, a few of whom are here among us. They are rattlesnakes;
shining, glossy, malignant and revengeful beyond any fellows I ever
met with. They are void, however, of one virtue of our rattlesnakes;
they will stab a man to the heart without giving him any warning. I
have charitably supposed that when in a violent passion, they are
bereft of reason, and become entirely insane. My observations,
however, like my remarks on Frenchmen are confined to the narrow
space of this floating prison. We should be very cautious in making
general or national censures. I have suspected whether among the Roman
Catholics, the practice of confession and absolution had not opened a
door for some horrid crimes, such as murder. It may be too, that they
look upon us, Protestants, as the Mahomedans do the Christians, a sort
of outcasts, the killing of whom amounts not to the horrid sin of
murder. It is certain that some of these people have been known to
plunge a knife into a man with no more compunction than an Englishman
or an American would use his fist.



CHAPTER VII.


_April 30th, 1814._--The good effects of the abolition of all the
apparatus of gambling were more and more apparent. Those who were
heretofore employed merely in rattling of the dice and shuffling of
cards, were now occupied in matters more becoming a rational and
accountable being. They are now busily employed in reading, writing,
drawing, and in studying arithmetic and navigation. Our ship begins to
wear the appearance of a seminary of learning; for we have established
numerous schools in various parts of the ship; and there appears a
strong desire for improvement among the younger class of the
prisoners. Every one is now convinced of the pernicious effects of
gambling. In order to improve this praiseworthy disposition, the
committee, which is in fact a board of selectmen, applied to the
agent, Mr. Beasly, for stationery; he accordingly sent us a ream of
writing paper, a few slates, and a few copies of a small treatise on
arithmetic. His supply was by no means equal to our needs. Four times
the number would have been in constant use; for it checked the
emulation of some when they could not obtain what they wished.

It was pleasing to see a number of quite young men preferring
education to gaming, noise and uproar; not but what we had among us a
set of noisy, thoughtless, giggling idle fellows, mere drums, that
sounded loud by reason of their emptiness. I never was so thoroughly
convinced of the great importance of a good education, grounded on
sound and serious principles, as since I have formed one among this
congregation of wretchedness. I fear I shall betray my partiality if I
should candidly write down my observations on this subject. We
Americans are taught from our infancy not only to believe, but to
think, compare and hold fast that which we find to be good. It seems
to me that the Roman Catholic religion takes all the trouble of
thinking and examining from off the mind of their believers. It is a
scheme of rules and discipline not very unlike that of the military,
and its punishments horrible. The Episcopal church of England treads
close upon the heels of the papal, and has formed a system all cut and
dried, like the Catholic, for a man to believe and be saved. Both of
them make religion a stationary point, and not a motive of principle,
forever progressing to perfection. One never dares to think or speak
beyond the bounds of that common prayer book, established by the king
and his council: whereas an American reads or hears read the bible
from his infancy, and thereby acquires a freedom of thinking unknown
even to the generality of Englishmen. I should never have thought so
much on these subjects had I not remarked the difference of thinking,
and behavior of the different people here crowded together. I do not
presume to say which is best or which is worst; I can only say which
is the freest from bigotry, and which is least trammelled by
ordinances merely political.

The ragged and despised legislators of the _Crown Prince_ prison ship,
in solemn council between decks convened, never adopted a wiser
measure than that of breaking up the dangerous habit of gambling. I
had an idea that gaming often become the ruling passion; but I never
before had an idea of its fascinating power. Some of our crew, of
reputed good habits, became so bewitched with gaming that they
plundered their companions and returned to their cards and wheels of
fortune with a serious and anxious ardor, totally void of pleasantry,
that seemed to me to border upon insanity.

After the gaming tables were demolished, some of our companions amused
themselves by running, and tumbling, and scampering about the ship,
disturbing those who were disposed to read, write and study
navigation. Not content with this, they hollowed, ridiculed and
insulted people passing in vessels and boats up and down the river.
The commander had no small difficulty in putting a stop to this
disgraceful river-slang.

On receiving a month's pay from Mr. Beasly, our agent, so called,
every prisoner contributed three pence towards a fund for purchasing
beer. They formed themselves into classes, like our collegians, and
these appointed persons to sell it to those who wished for it; and
each member of the class shared his proportion of the profits. This
answered a very good purpose; it checked the monopolizers and
muckworms that infested our ship, and fattened on our wastefulness. It
also benefitted those who did not choose to drink beer, or _porter_,
as they call it in England.

Some disagreeable and very mortifying occurrences took place among us
in the course of this spring. Four of our men agreed together to go on
to the quarter-deck and offer themselves to the commander, to enter
into the service of the British. Their intention was discovered before
they had an opportunity of putting it in execution. Two of them were
caught, and two escaped. These two were arraigned and sentenced to be
marked with the letter T, with Indian ink, pricked into their
foreheads, being the initial of the word _Traitor_; after which, one
went aft and entered; the other judged better, and remained with his
countrymen. Had these been Englishmen we should have applauded them;
and had they been Irishmen, we had no right to blame them; but we had
the mortification to know that they were, by birth, Americans. Some
thought the punishment was too severe, and which we had no right to
inflict; others thought that the letter in their foreheads should have
been F, for FEDERALIST; for this was the name they ever afterwards
were known by.

The Frenchmen were now (in the month of May) leaving the reach. Many
of them had been in prison ever since 1803. These men are going home
to live under a government forced upon them by foreigners! How unlike
Americans, who had rather perish under tortures, than submit to the
yoke of a foreigner. Our Frenchmen always spoke in raptures of the
emperor NAPOLEON, and with contempt of _Louis_. When we spoke in
praise of Bonaparte, they would throw their arms around us, and cry
out, one bon American! But these men are all passion and no principle;
they are fit for any thing but liberty. I cannot judge of the whole
nation; but those I have seen here, are an abandoned set of men. I
dare not write down their incredible vices. There has been a great cry
of _French influence_ by the British party in New England. I never
thought it ever existed, and I am very certain that it never will
exist, unless they, and we should become a very altered people. It is
a happy circumstance that the wide Atlantic rolls between us and
France, and between us and England.

LOUIS 18th, passed through Chatham this month, for France. The tops of
the carriages, only, were to be seen by the prisoners. On this
occasion, the cannon were firing from London to Sheerness. Our
Frenchmen looked blacker than ever. They were, be sure, obliged to
stick the white cockade on their hats, but they told us they had
Bonaparte's cockade in their hearts. They checked the expression of
their feelings lest it should retard their liberation.

On the news of taking of Paris, and of the flight of Bonaparte to
Elba, all our prison-keepers were alive for joy.--"Thank God that I am
an _Englishman_," says our commander, lieut. O.--and "thank God I am a
_Briton_," says our surgeon, who is a Scotchman. _John Bull_ is now on
the very top of the steeple, hourrowing and swinging his hat, and
crying out to the whole universe, "_I'm thinking Johnny Bull_, the
magnanimous John Bull, the soul of the continental war, the protector
of France, the restorer of his holiness the Pope, and of Ferdinand the
_Great_, the terror and admiration of the whole world. I have nothing
now left me to do, but to flog the yankees, and depose MADISON; and
burn the city of Washington, disperse the Congress, establish in their
place the _Hartford Convention_, and raise Caleb Strong to the high
rank his devotion merits. After this, I will divide the world between
me and ----. _Prevost_, who is, beyond doubt, at this very moment, at
the city of Hartford, in Connecticut; or at the city of North Hampton,
the capital of my province of Massachusetts."

_John Bull_[G] is, be sure, an hearty old fellow, with some very good
points in his odd character; but, dwelling on an island, he oft times
betrays an ignorance of the world, and of himself, so that we cannot
help laughing at him, once in a while, for his conceitedness. His
ignorance of America, and Americans, is a source of ridicule among us
all. An English lady said to one of the officers, who had the care of
American prisoners in England, "I hear, Sir, that the Americans are
very ingenious in the manufactory of many little articles, and should
like to have some of them."--The officer replied that she might
herself give directions to some of the Americans, whom he would direct
to speak with her. "O," said she, "how can that be, _I cannot speak
their language_!" The individuals of the navy of England, have pretty
correct ideas of us; but the soldiery of England have betrayed their
ignorance in a manner that is astonishing, and some times truly
laughable, even among their officers, who have taken prisoners. To
this ignorance of free and happy America, and to the very generally
diffused blessings of a respectable education, which we all enjoy, is
to be attributed the base treatment we have experienced in some
periods of our painful captivity. Who could have entertained any
respect, or good opinion of a set of miserable looking, half naked
dirty men, such as we all were when we arrived in the different ships
from America? Our own parents, our brothers and sisters, would not
have recognized us as their relatives. The soldiers taken under
Boestler, were the verriest looking vagabonds I ever saw. They
resembled more the idea I have formed of the lowest tenants of St.
Giles', than American citizens, born and bred up in a sort of Indian
freedom, and living all their lives in plenty, and never knowing,
until they came into the hands of the English, what it was to be
pinched for food, or to be infested by vermin. This short, severe, and
for America, _most glorious war_, has given all ranks of the British
nation more correct ideas of that people, who have vanquished them in
every contest, the ill-omened frigate Chesapeake alone excepted.
During this short war, the British have learnt this important truth,
that the Americans are a brave and skilful people, who, though they
appear to differ among themselves, _are all united against any attack
from the English_; and on our side we have learnt, that to carry on a
war, as we have done, is _pretty expensive_.

The surgeon of this ship, who is a clever Scotchman, speaks of the
English nation as in a state of starvation in the midst of her great
power, and abounding wealth, and matchless glory; for the late capture
of Paris, _by the English_, with a _trifling_ assistance of the
allies, has absolutely intoxicated the whole nation, so that every man
of them talks as if he were drunk. He told me, "that although the ship
carpenters, at Chatham, received two guineas a week, (which, by the
way, is not so much as our carpenters receive in America) they were
always poor, and could lay up nothing against the accidents of
sickness; but that when such misfortunes came upon them, they, in
common with the manufacturers of England, with their families, went
upon the parish, or into some hospitals. He said, such laboring people
laid out too much in flesh meat, and in porter; which was not the
custom in Scotland; and that there it was considered an indelible
disgrace to a family to be maintained by the parish; but that it was
so common in England, that no disgrace was attached to it. We, in
Scotland, said he, would work our hands off, before any of our family
should ask the parish for assistance to live." It appears from
authentic documents, published in London, that, young and old, there
are little short of two millions of paupers in England, including
common beggars, and persons in alms-houses; that is, upon an average,
about _one_ pauper, or beggar, to every _four_ who are not paupers or
beggars.

In the parish of _St. Sepulcher_, which is in the heart of the city of
London, there were last January, (1816,)

    Paupers in the work-house,                 227
    Children at nurse,                          25
    Insane poor,                                 8
    Relieved out of the house,                  92
    Relieved in the country,                     9
                                               ---
                                               361

Now the number of persons _who pay_ poor rates in this parish, was at
the same time, 612. The annual amount of the expenses about _l_6,600.
This is from an official account given by Mr. Miller and Wm. Scaife.
Such is the picture of the _prosperity_ of the _opulent_ city of
London, when at peace with all the world; after they had put down
Bonaparte, and set up the Pope, and Ferdinand the 7th, and restored
Louis 18th to the throne of the Bourbons, and revived the holy
inquisition, with all its fervours!--Read this, Americans, and bless
God that your lots (lines) have fallen in pleasant places.

A century ago, a Scotch writer, Fletcher, of Saltoun, gives this
account of the beggarly state of Scotland.--"There are," says he, "at
this day in Scotland (besides a great many poor families meanly
provided for by the church boxes, with others, who, by living upon bad
food, fall into various diseases) two hundred thousand people begging
from door to door. These are not only no way advantageous, but a very
grievous burden to so poor a country; and though the number of them be
perhaps double to what it was formerly, by reason of this present
great distress, yet in all times there have been about one hundred
thousand of those vagabonds (gipsies) who have lived without any
regard or subjection either to the laws of the land, or even those of
God and nature.

"No magistrate could ever discover, or be informed, which way one in a
hundred of these wretches died, or that they were ever baptized. Many
murders have been discovered among them; and they are not only a most
unspeakable oppression to poor tenants (who, if they give not bread,
or some kind of provisions to perhaps forty such villains in one day,
are sure to be insulted by them;) but they rob many poor people who
live in houses distant from any neighborhood. In years of plenty, many
thousands of them meet together in the mountains, where they feast and
riot for many days; and at country weddings, markets, burials, and
other the like public occasions, they are to be seen, both man and
woman, perpetually drunk, cursing, blaspheming, and fighting
together."

Among the evils imported from Britain, America has never been cursed
with that part of their population called GIPSIES, forming in England
an _imperium in imperio_. The famous "_orders in council_," can be
clearly traced up to a Gipsy origin. The Londoners imitate and follow,
but originate nothing.--One of the monarchs of Scotland acknowledged
the _Gipsies_ as a separate and independent race. The word is a
corruption of _Egyptians_.

The Surgeon also talked much about the poor laws; and the taxes to
support the vast number of the poor in England. I told him that in
Massachusetts, which contained about half a million of people, we had
not more than a thousand persons maintained at the public charge; and
that this thousand included foreigners--English, _Scotch_, Irish,
Germans, Danes, Swedes, and not a few negroes. He seemed surprized at
this account; but after a little pause, he said, "it was just like
Scotland, where they had very few poor; and of those, very few were so
degraded in mind, as to go into an alms-house, like an Englishman."

The Doctor observed, "that the English were full of money; that they
gave large and long credit, and that tailors, shoe-makers and hatters,
gave a generous credit, and could afford so to do." He said, "that the
'_capitalists_' ruled and turned the wheels of the government at their
will and pleasure; they have great influence in the nation, but they
have no ancestors, nor any thing to boast of but their money, which
gives them all their consequence; for it is true if they shut their
purses, the whole machinery of the government must stop." I could have
told this discontented Caledonian a different story. I could have told
him that all our capitalists, merchants and monied men, especially in
New England, had shut their purses against our administration, and
yet, in spite of these detestable sons of mammon, our governmental
machine went steadily on, while we vanquished our enemy by land and by
sea; but I did not wish to mortify a civil, friendly man. "In
England," continued he, "the merchant governs the cabinet; and the
cabinet governs the parliament; and the sovereign governs both; but,"
said he, "the capitalists, (by which he meant the mercantile interest)
govern the whole." I did not choose to controvert his opinions; but,
"thinks-I-to-my-self," ah! Sawney, thou art mistaken; America,
democratic America, has proved that the most democratical government
upon the terraqueous globe, has gone steadily on to greatness, to
victory and to glory, with the capitalists or mercantile interest, _in
direct opposition to its wondrous measures_!

I believe that our surgeon was a good man, and not ill qualified in
his profession; but no politician, and pretty strongly attached to
his tribe; who, from his account, never spent much money in buying
meat and strong beer. He talked much of the machine and _wheels_ of
government; from all which I concluded, that the court of St. James's
was the hub, or nave, where all the spokes of the great wheel of the
machine terminated; and that the laboring people, manufacturers, and
merchants were doomed, all their days, to grease this wheel. It is
remarkable that David, the royal Psalmist, among the severest of the
curses bestowed on his enemies, expressly says, "_Lord, make them like
unto a wheel._"



CHAPTER VIII.


The month of April, which is just past, is like our April in New
England, raw, cold, or as the English call it, _sour_.--But their
month of May, which is now arrived, is pleasanter by far, than ours.
By all that I can observe, I conclude that the vernal season of this
part of the Island of Britain, is full fifteen days, if not twenty,
earlier than that of Boston. I conjecture that this spot corresponds
with Philadelphia.

The Medway, though a small river in the eyes of an inhabitant of the
new world, is a very pleasant one. The moveable picture on its
surface, of ships, tenders, and barges, is very pleasing, while its
banks are rich and beautiful.--Oh, what a contrast to horrid Nova
Scotia, with her barren hills, and everlasting bleak mountains!--The
picture from the banks of the river to the top of the landscape, is
truly delightful, and beyond any thing I ever saw in my own country;
and this is owing to the hedges, which are novelties in the eyes of an
American. In our country, the fields, meadows and pastures are divided
by stone walls, or the rough post-and-rail fence; but here their
fields, pastures and enclosures, which are very small, compared with
ours, are made by hedges, or living growing vegetables, of a deep and
most beautiful green. It gives a richness to the English landscape,
beyond all expression fine. How happens it, I wonder, that hedges have
never been introduced into _New_ England, who has copied so closely
every thing belonging to _Old_ England? Should I ever be permitted to
leave this Babylonish captivity, and be allowed once more to see our
own Canaan, the enclosures of hedge shall not be forgotten.

Nearly opposite our doleful prison stands the village of _Gillingham_,
adorned with a handsome church; on the side next _Chatham_, stands the
castle, defended by more than an hundred cannon. These fortifications
were erected soon after the Dutch republicans sailed up to Chatham,
and singed John Bull's beard; since which it is said, he changes
countenance at the name of a republic, or republican. We are told in
the history of Gillingham, that here, the famous Earl Goodwin murdered
six hundred Norman gentlemen, belonging to the retinue of Prince
Alfred. But some such shocking story is told of almost every town in
England that has an old castle, an old tower, or an old cathedral.
This village once belonged to an Archbishop of Canterbury, vestiges of
whose palace are yet to be seen. This place is also noted for making
what is absurdly called _copperas_, which is the chrystalized salt of
iron, or what is called in the new chemical nomenclature _sulphate of
iron_; or in common parlance, _green vitriol_; which is manufactured,
and found native in our own country, in immeasurable quantity.

Near this village of Gillingham, is a neat house, with a good garden,
and surrounded by trees, which was bequeathed by a lady to the oldest
boatswain in the Royal Navy.--The present incumbent is eighty years of
age. Within our view is a shepherd attending his flock, with his
canine lieutenants, who drive them into their pen in the evening, as
our shepherds do us on board the Crown Prince. In a clear day the
masts of the ships can be seen passing up and down the Thames. This
brings to our minds our own gallant ships, whose decks we long, once
more, to tread.

The Britons pursue a malignant policy, in confining us in a loathsome
prison. The Britons know, probably, that a long and lingering
imprisonment weakens the body, and diminishes the energy of the mind;
that it disposes to vice, to a looseness of thought, and a destruction
of those moral principles inculcated by a careful and early
education.--Such a sink of vice I never saw, nor ever dreamt of, as I
have seen here. Never was a juster saying than this;--"_Evil
communications corrupt good manners._" One vicious fellow may corrupt
an hundred, even if he speak another language. I have been thoroughly
convinced of the wisdom of _solitary_ imprisonment. By what I have
seen and heard in this ship, where there are generally from seven to
nine hundred men, I am convinced that such collections are so many
hot-beds of vice and villany. It is a college of Satan, where degrees
of wickedness are conferred _e merito_. Here we have freshmen,
sophomores, juniors, and seniors, in roguery, together with Bachelors,
Masters of Arts, and Doctors.

Is it not a shame and a disgrace to a Christian nation, that, because
a man has had the virtue to step forward in the cause of his country,
in the cause of "free trade and sailors' rights," or from that glow of
chivalry that fills a youthful bosom, or the sound of the warlike drum
and trumpet, and the sight of the waving flag of his insulted country;
is it not a shame that such a young man of pure morals and careful
education, should be plunged into such an horrid prison as this? amid
vice, and roguery, and every thing else, debasing to the character of
so moral a people as the Americans really are?

The prisoners and the commander had lived in pretty good harmony,
until very lately. Some of our men had absolutely cut a hole through
the ship, near her stern, and cut the copper all round the hole,
excepting at the under side, which enabled them to bend down the
copper at their pleasure, and open a passage into the water, and to
re-close it in such a manner as to escape detection. It was effected
with a great deal of art and good management, with tools which we had
procured, and cunningly concealed.

The first dark night after this newly contrived stern-port was
finished, sixteen of the prisoners passed through it into the water,
and swam safely on shore, notwithstanding a sentinel was stationed
directly above the hole. They took care, however, to allure him as far
forward as they could, by singing droll songs, and handing about some
grog, which had been provided for that purpose. Sixteen was thought to
be as great a number as could be prudently ventured to escape at once.
One night the copper, which operated like a door upon its hinge, was
considerably ruptured, and the prisoners gave over the attempt, and
retired to their hammocks again.

The next evening the prisoners were to be counted; and it was of the
first importance to keep up the entire number, and prevent the
detection of our plot. To this end we cut a hole through one deck, big
enough for one man to pass from one enclosure of prisoners to the
other. There was always a number of prisoners left on each deck, who
were counted by the sergeant below; while the sergeant passed from the
lower deck to the next above it, sixteen men slipped through the hole,
and were counted over again; and this deception kept the numbers good,
and this trick was practised several times with success. The nights
were now too light for a second attempt to escape. When they became
sufficiently dark again, we prepared for a second attempt. After
drawing lots for the chance, each man was provided with a little bag
of clothes, plaistered over with grease, to keep them water-tight;
they then passed agreeably to lots drawn, to the hole near the stern
of the ship.--Two got well into the water, but one of them was tender
and timid. Trepidation and the coldness of the water made him turn
back to regain the hole he crept out of. In coming near the staging
where the sentinel was posted, he heard the poor fellow breathe, and
at length got sight of him;--"Ah," says Paddy, "here is a porpoise,
and I'll stick him with my bayonet." On which the terrified young man
exclaimed--"don't kill me, I am a prisoner." The sentinel held out his
hand, and helped him on to the staging, and then fired his gun to give
the alarm. The guard turned out, and the officers ran down in a
fright, not being able to conceive how the man could have got
overboard, surrounded with a platform, and guarded as this ship
was.--They ran here and there, and questioned, and threatened and
rummaged about; at length they discovered the sally port of the enemy.
The officers stood in astonishment at the sight of a hole big enough
for a man to creep out, cut through the thick planking of a ship of
the line! While they stared and looked pale, many of the prisoners
burst out a laughing. None but an American could have thought, and
executed such a thing as this. One of the officers said he did not
believe that the Devil himself would ever be able to keep these
fellows in hell, if they determined on getting out.

The poor fellow who had crept out, and crept back again, was so
chilled, or petrified with fear, that he could give the officers no
account of the matter. In the mean time, muskets were fired; and a
general alarm given through the fleet of prison ships, fifteen in
number. The river was soon covered with boats; but not a man could
they find. The next day the man who escaped was found dead on the
beach, where he lay two days in the sight of us all. At length a
coroner's inquest was held upon him; but no one was examined by the
jury, excepting the crew of the boat, who first discovered him. It was
said that there were bruises about his head. His ship-mates said, that
he was one of the best swimmers they ever knew. It was strongly
suspected that he was discovered swimming, and that some of the
marines knocked him on the head, in revenge for turning them out of
their hammocks in the night. His clothing, his money, and his watch,
were taken by lieutenant _Osmore_, the commander of this prison ship.
It was disgraceful to the civil authority, to allow the man to lay
such a long space of time, unexamined, and unburied, on the shores of
a Christian people.

When the prisoners were called to answer to their names, those absent
were called over several times; when some of the prisoners answered,
that "the absentees had been paroled by the commander, and gone on
shore." This saucy answer enraged the commander, excited his
resentment, and laid the foundation for future difficulties.

I must needs say, that some of our young men treated Mr. Osmore, the
first officer of this prison ship, in a manner not to be excused, or
even palliated. If they did not love him, or esteem him, still, as he
was the legally constituted commander of this depot of prisoners, he
was entitled to good manners, which he did not always receive, as the
following anecdote will show. Not long after the escape of the sixteen
men, our commander and his family were getting into the boat to go on
shore, on a Sunday, when a boy looked out of a port near to him, and
cried out _baa! baa!_ This, Mr. Osmore took as an insult, and ordered
the port to be shut down; but the messes that were accommodated by the
light from it, forced it up again. Now the origin of this ludicrous
and sheep-like interjection was this: a story was in circulation, that
lieutenant O. had taken slyly some sheep from the neighboring marshes,
without leave or license, and converted them to his own use; and that
the owner being about to prosecute him, the affair was made up, by the
interposition of friends, on compensation being made. Now it is
probable that there was not a word of truth in this story; but that
was the report. The commander, therefore, on finding his orders
resisted by the prisoners, directed some marines to shut the port, and
confine it down with spikes; and ordered the sentinel to fire into the
port if they forced it open again. Upon this, some of the prisoners
tore up a large oaken bench, with which they forced open the port; and
kept the bench out, so as to keep up that valve, or heavy shutter,
sustained on hinges, which when down, closes the port hole, at the
same time the sheepish note of _baa! baa! baa!_ was uttered from every
part of the ship; sounding like an immense flock of sheep, that might
have been heard full a mile. Although none of us could help joining in
the loud laugh, for laughter is contagious, the most prudent of our
countrymen condemned the conduct as highly improper. It was said, if
one man is determined to insult another, let him do it, and abide the
consequences; but never insult a man in the presence of his family. If
we Americans are in the habit of ridiculing ribbands, and garters and
keys, and crowns and sceptres, and mitres, and high sounding titles,
let us never attempt to diminish the dignity of _patriarchal_ rank.

The riot did not end here; for when the commander found that he could
not keep the port entirely shut, he ordered the marines to drive the
prisoners off the forecastle down into the pound, which occasioned the
boys to sing out as before; and even to be more insulting. This he was
determined to bear no longer; and he therefore drove them all below,
allowing only the cooks to remain in the galley, and the caterers to
go upon deck, to get water from the tanks. The market boats were
forbidden to come near us; and in this state of embargo we remained
during two days, all the time confined merely to the government
allowance of food. At length, the committee requested the commander to
transmit some letters for them to the American agent for prisoners,
and to the British commodore. This he could not well refuse. These two
officers accordingly came down to us. They requested the president of
the committee to state to them the cause and course of the dispute.
Mr. _Osmore_ stated his complaint, and the president of our committee
replied, and stated ours; and among other things, observed that the
word "_baa_," had no more meaning than a thousand other senseless
cries, uttering constantly from the throats of idle, thoughtless boys;
and begged Mr. Osmore to explain how such an unmeaning sound could be
construed into an insult to him; that if he and his officers should
cry _baa! baa! baa!_ all day, none of the Americans would think
themselves injured or affronted. As to forcibly keeping the port open,
the president observed, that however offended he might be, with a
saucy boy, the men did not deserve to be deprived of the light of
heaven, and to be confined below, and reduced to a smaller allowance
of food. The result was, the hatches were ordered to be taken off; and
we were all restored to our former situation. Capt. Hutchinson
acquired an additional stock of popularity with the prisoners for this
decision in our favor. The prisoners are discriminating, and not
ungrateful. The sailing-master, who is a Scotchman, has always treated
us with great tenderness and humanity. He has attended to our little
conveniences; and forwarded our letters. Mr. Barnes never descends to
little contemptible extortions; nor is he on the continual watch, lest
his dignity should suffer by a look, a tone, or a playful
interjection. When Osmore is absent, and Barnes gives orders, they are
instantly and cheerfully obeyed. If there is any disorder, this worthy
Scotchman can, by a word, restore harmony, of which we might give many
instances. In reprimanding a boy, the other day, for ill behavior, he
said to him, "I expect better things of you as an American; I consider
you all in a different light from that of a d--d set of French
monkies."

Mr. Galbreath is, likewise, a Scotchman; and he, too, is a very worthy
man. These two worthy Caledonians operate together in alleviating our
hard lot; and they do as much to please us, as the jealous and
revengeful disposition of some body else will admit of. We are all
pretty healthy, and the hospital arrangements on board are broken
up.--Some few remain on board the hospital ship.

Tenders are daily passing down the river, filled with seamen and
marines, bound to America. As they pass by us, they play "_Yankee
Doodle_," and cry out to us, that they are bound to America, to flog
the Yankees. We hollow to them, in return, and tell them what they
will meet there, and predict to them their fate. Some of these fellows
have been seven years at sea; and would desert to our colors the first
opportunity. These white slaves expected to enjoy a little something
like freedom, at the conclusion of the peace; but instead of setting
their feet on shore, they are now sent off to leave their bones in
America, without a moment's previous notice of their destination.

_June 30th, 1814._ Early in this month three men concealed themselves
in the water-tank, through the connivance of the corporal of the
guard; and so escaped from prison. More would have gone off by the
same conveyance, had not one of the fugitives written an ironical
letter to the commander, thanking him for his tenderness, humanity and
extreme kindness, and foolishly acquainting him with the method he
took to effect his escape; and this led to his recapture. Another
fellow had the address to conceal himself in an old worn out copper
that was sent to the dock to be exchanged for a new one. This man got
safe out of the copper, but he found himself as bad off in the dock as
in the prison ship. After roving and rambling about the dock, he was
taken up by the guard, and rather than be sent on board a man of war,
he confessed he had broken out of the prison ship; and he was
immediately brought back to his former companions.

A rage exists for cutting holes through the wood work and copper of
the ship; but no one has succeeded in escaping through them; neither
have the enemy succeeded in their search after our tools. The holes
were always discovered as the men were ready to enter the breach,
which led us to suspect that we have secret informers among our crew,
perhaps some Irish, Dane, or Dutchman.

A most daring attempt to escape was made on board the commodore's
ship, the _Irresistible_, by four American prisoners. It is worth
relating for its boldness; for it was in the open day, when all eyes
were upon them. The jolly-boat lay near the stairs, with her oars in,
under the care of a sentry. Notwithstanding she was thus guarded, four
brave Americans resolved to seize her in spite of musketry, and row on
shore, and run for it. One of them was from Rhode Island, being an
Indian of the Narraganset tribe; he was a man of large stature and
remarkable strength; and it was agreed that he should lead the way, in
the bold enterprize. This stout man, whose name I wish I could
remember, saw, as he thought, a favorable moment, and went down the
side of the ship, followed by three others; he seized the sentry, and,
in a moment, disarmed him, and threw him into the jolly-boat, which
was below the staging, where the sentinel was placed. He immediately
jumped in after him, the other three closely followed him, when they
instantly pushed off, snatched up the oars, and rowed direct for the
shore, with the agility of so many Nantucket-whalemen. The rapidity
and complete effect with which all this was done, was astonishing to
the British! They were, however, soon fired upon by all the sentries,
who had any chance of reaching them, from all the ships as they
passed. They got out their numerous boats with all speed; and placed
in the bow of each as many marines as could well stand; and these kept
up a continued fire of musketry upon the four fugitives in the
jolly-boat, ballasted with a British prisoner. Notwithstanding close
and heavy firing, they wounded but one of the four; so that three of
them were able to run for it when the boat reached the shore. As soon
as they sat foot on shore, they made directly for the fields. The
marines soon followed, firing every few moments upon them, but without
hitting them. Our men so completely distanced them, that we all
thought they would make their escape from his majesty's marines, and
they would have effected it, had not the country people poured out of
the farm-houses, and the brick-yards. In a few minutes the fields
appeared covered with people. They outran the marines, and pursued our
brave adventurers so closely from all points, that they exhausted them
of breath, and fairly run them down, all except the nervous Indian,
and he did honor to the Narraganset tribe, and his brave ancestors, so
renowned in New England history. We saw him from the Crown Prince
prison ship, skipping over the ground like a buck, and defying his
pursuers; but unfortunately for this son of the forest, he sprained
his ancle in leaping a fence, which compelled him to surrender;
otherwise he might have ran on to London, in fair chase, before they
could have come up with him.

While sitting on the ground, and unable to walk, by reason of his
dislocated bone, the country people approached him with caution. They
did not think it quite safe to come close up to a man of his
extraordinary stature, and commanding aspect. He was, however soon
surrounded by a large number of marines, who had the great honor of
recapturing a lame Indian, and conducting him back again to his
Britannic majesty's fleet of three deckers, at anchor off his royal
dock of Chatham!

We made several attempts to gain our liberty while lying in the river
Medway; but none of our daring feats equalled this of the Indian. We
gave him the name of _Baron Trenck_, and pronounced him his superior;
for he had to pass the fire of several ships; and the jolly-boat
appeared to be surrounded in a shower of shot, and yet only one man
was wounded in the leg. When the Indian had made the fields, and was
ascending the rising ground, all the prisoners in our ship gave him
three cheers. We cheered him as he came along back in the boat with
his comrades, and drank their healths in the first liquor we obtained.
It is for deeds of bravery, and indications of a commanding mind, and
superior strength, and agility of body, that our aboriginals in North
America, appoint their kings; and certainly there is more sense and
reason in it, than making the son a king because his father was king.
This Indian was, by nature, a commander.

Something of the same cool and daring character was conspicuous in the
master and crew of a very small New England schooner, in September
1759, when General Wolfe was investing Quebec by sea and land, and
when the army and fleet under admiral Holmes, were cannonading and
bombarding the city and numerous batteries of the French.

Amidst the grand movements of the army and navy, a schooner of the
most diminutive size, which the navigator after called "_the Terror of
France_," weighed her little anchor, and, to the astonishment of every
one, was seen sailing past the batteries, up to the city. The French
fired a great number of shot at her; nevertheless _Jonathan_ steered
steadily on, and got safe up, with her colors flying; and coming to
anchor in the upper river, she triumphantly saluted admiral Holmes
with a discharge from all her swivels. She met with no accident,
except one man being slightly wounded on board. During this, says
captain Knox, our batteries fired briskly on the town, to favor her as
she passed. While the officers and gunners were enraged at what they
deemed a contempt of their formidable batteries, other officers
apologized afterwards for firing at this diminutive vessel, which was
not much bigger than a man of war's launch, observing, that they
imagined her passing to be the result of a frolicsome wager. They
little thought that she was a New England trader, or rather huxter,
ladened with _notions_, such as apples, dried and green, apple-sauce,
onions, cheese, molasses, New England rum, and gingerbread, and a
number of little ditto's, suitable, as the skipper thought, for the
Quebec market, after it should have changed masters.

When the _Captain_ of this famous little schooner went on board the
British admiral, he enquired the name of his vessel. He replied, "_The
Terror of France_;" which was painted on her stern. How are you armed?
_We have four swivels, three muskets, and one cutlass, beside a broad
axe._ How many men have you? _We have three souls and a boy._--And
where does your vessel belong, _Captain_, when you are at home?
_Updike's Newtown._ And where is that, Sir? _Does not Admiral Holmes
know where Updike's Newtown is?_ says Jonathan, with a look of
surprize. I do not at this moment recollect, Sir. _Why Updike's
Newtown is half way betwixt Pautuxet and Connanicut._ The British
admiral did not choose to risk his reputation with this fearless
waterfowl, by asking him any more geographical questions.

We have dwelt on this ludicrous anecdote for the sake of one serious
remark. Capt. John Knox, of the 43d British regiment, whose Historical
Journal, in 2 volumes quarto, is dedicated to General Lord Amherst,
never once intimates that this courageous man was from New England,
but leaves the reader to infer that he and his "three souls and a
boy," were Englishmen. In this way have all the British writers
treated us Americans, although we all know in this country, that
Louisbourg was taken by New-England-men. Throughout the whole war of
1758, and 1759, the English strained their voices to magnify
themselves, and debase our character.

In this anecdote we see the first glimmerings of the New England
character, which defies all danger, in the pursuit of gain. Here we
see the characteristic marks of the _Yankee_, full twenty years before
that term was ever used. The greatest things were once in embryo.
These incipient germs will one day grow up to a naval and commercial
greatness, that will infallibly push into the back-ground the
conquerors of Quebec; and the spirit, which impelled and directed that
diminutive schooner in passing safely hundreds of heavy cannon, and
showers of bombs, may one day become not only the _terror of France_,
but of _England_ also. Great effects flow from trifling causes. It was
a woman's[H] love of finery that peopled New England.

It was, to be sure, an extraordinary sight, mixed with something of
the ludicrous, to see three white Americans, and one Indian, with a
disarmed British red coat under their feet, in the jolly-boat, not
daring to raise his head, while about thirty boats, with above 250
seamen, and nearly as many marines, were rowing, and puffing and
blowing, and firing and loading, and loading and firing at a small
boat, containing three American seamen and one Indian, without any
weapon or instrument, except the oars they rowed with! While the
British marines were ruffling the water around the flying boat with
their bullets, we, on board the prison ships, sensible of their
danger, felt as much interest, and probably more apprehension, than
the fugitives themselves.--It was an anxious period of hope, fear and
animating pride, which sometimes petrified us into silence, and then
caused us to rend the air with acclamations, and clapping of hands.
The Indian was, however, the hero of the piece. We saw, and admired
his energetic mind, his abhorrence of captivity, and his
_irresistible_ love of freedom. This fellow was not, probably, at all
below some of the Grecian captains, who went to the siege of Troy; and
he only wanted the advantages of education, and of modern discipline,
to have become a distinguished commander. The inspiring love of
liberty was all the theme, after the daring exploit of our countrymen;
and it made us uneasy, and stimulated us to contemplate similar acts
of hardihood. We had now become pretty nearly tired of cutting holes
through the ship's bottom and sides; for it was always detected, and
we were made to pay for repairing the damage out of our provisions.
After seeing what _four_ men could effect, our thoughts turned more
upon a general insurrection, than upon the partial escapes of a few.
We perceived, clearly enough, that our keepers dreaded our
enterprizing spirit; and we could discover that they knew we despised
them, and ridiculed them. Some of our saucy boys, studying arithmetic,
with their slates and pencils in their hands, would say out loud, as
if stating a sum, "_if it took 350 British seamen and marines to catch
four yankees, how many British sailors and marines would it take to
catch ten thousand of us?_"

We could perceive a general uneasiness throughout our ship; even our
good friend, Mr. ----, the worthy Scotchman, said to me, about this
time, "your countrymen are such a restless, daring set of beings, that
it is not safe to befriend you, and I wish you were all safe and happy
in your own country; and all of us at peace." A change of situation
was foretold; but of what kind, we know not.--The next chapter will
inform us all about it.



PART SECOND.



CHAPTER I.


In consequence of various attempts to escape prison, and of the late
daring enterprise at noon-day, the officers of this ignoble fleet of
prison ships grew very uneasy.--They, doubtless, felt that there was
neither honor nor pleasure, but much danger, in this sort of service.
It was often said among them, that they felt perfectly safe when they
had several thousand French prisoners under their charge. These lively
people passed their time in little ingenious manufactures, and in
gaming; and seemed to wait patiently until their day of liberation
should come; but these Americans, said they, are the most restless,
contriving set of men we ever saw; their amusement seems to be
contriving how to escape, and to plague their keepers. They seem to
take a pleasure in making us uneasy, and in exciting our apprehensions
of their escape; and then they laugh and make themselves merry at our
anxiety. One of the officers said, that the American prisoners "had
systematized the art of tormenting." There is a sort of mischievous
humor among our fellows, that is, at times, rather provoking, to
officers habituated to prompt obedience, and to a distance, and
deference bordering upon awe, which our countrymen never feel for any
man.

It seems that the British government, or the admiralty department,
were fully acquainted with this state of things, and with the
difficult task which the miserable officers of this miserable
Medway-fleet had to perform. The government did not seem to wish to
exercise a greater degree of rigor over the American prisoners;
because they knew, and all Europe knew, that _the United States
treated their prisoners with distinguished humanity_; and yet they
firmly believed that unless more rigor was exercised, the Americans
would rise upon their keepers before the winter commenced.

The rumor is, that we are to be sent to _Dartmoor prison_. Some of our
crew have lately received a letter from a prisoner in that depot of
misery, for such he describes it. He tells us that it is situated in
the most dreary and uncultivated spot in England; and that to the
sterility of the soil are added the black coloring of superstition.

A _Moor_, a word not used in America, is used in England to denote a
low, marshy piece of ground, or an elevated sterile spot, like our
pine-barren's, divested of every thing like a pine tree. It denotes
something between a beach and a meadow. It is a solemn-faced-truth in
this country of our superstitious ancestors, that every extensive and
dreary _moor_, in England, is haunted by troubled ghosts, witches, and
walking dead men, visiting, in a sociable way, each other's graves. It
is really surprising, to an intelligent American, and incredible, that
stout, hearty, and otherwise bold Englishmen, dare not walk alone over
the dreary spot, or _moor_, where the prison now stands, in a dark and
cloudy night, without trembling with horror, at _a nothing_! The minds
of Scotchmen, of all ranks, are more or less beclouded with this sort
of superstition. They still believe in ghosts, witches, and a _second
sight_! Free as we are from this superstition, we have rather more of
it than the French. The English and American theatres still relish
Macbeth and Hamlet. Beside the stories of witches flying about in the
air, and dead men strolling over the _moor_, the letter contained an
account of the origin of this new famous prison. It stated that this
_Dartmoor_ belonged to that beautiful gambler, the Dutchess of
Devonshire;[I] who lost it in a game of hazard with the Prince of
Wales; who, to enhance the value of it, (he being, as all the world
knows, a very contriving, speculating, economical, close fisted,
miserly genius) contrived to have erected there a species of a
fortress, enclosing seven very large buildings, or prisons, for the
reception of captured seamen; from which establishment its royal
landlord received a very handsome annual rent; and this princely
anecdote is as firmly believed as the stories of the witches, and the
walking dead men. The only remark we would make upon it here, is, that
_Dartmoor_ has a dismal idea associated with it--and that was
sufficient to make our people conceive of it as a place doleful as a
coal-pit.

Not long after the receipt of this letter, one hundred and fifty of
our countrymen were sent off, by water, to this _Dartmoor Prison_; but
the measles appearing among them, they were stopped at the _Nore_,
which is at the entrance of the Thames. They are every day drafting
more, which are destined for the dismal prison house. We are all
struck with horror at the idea of our removal from our ships in the
river Medway, which runs through a beautiful country. It is "the
untried scene," that fills us with dread, "for clouds and darkness
rest upon it." Last year we were transported from inhospitable Nova
Scotia, over the boisterous Atlantic; and suffered incredible
hardships in a rough winter passage; and now we are to be launched
again on the same tumultuous ocean, to go four hundred miles
coast-wise, to the most dismal spot in England. Who will believe it?
the men who exercised all their art and contrivance, and exerted all
their muscular powers to cut through the double plankings and copper
of a ship of the line, in hopes of escaping from her, now leave the
same ship with regret! I have read of men who had been imprisoned,
many years, in the Bastile, who, when liberated, sighed to return to
their place of long confinement, and felt unhappy out of it! I thought
it wondrous strange; but I now cease to be surprised. This prison
ship, through long habit, and the dread of a worse place, is actually
viewed with feelings of attachment. Of the hundred men who were sent
hither last year, from Halifax, there are only about seventy of us
remaining on board the Crown Prince. The next draft will lessen our
numbers; and separate some of those who have been long associates in
bondage. It is not merely the bodily inconvenience of being
transported here and there, that we dread, so much as the exposure to
insult, and sarcasm of our unfeeling enemies. We have been, and still
dread to be again placed in rows, on board of a ship, or in a prison
yard, to be stared at by the British vulgar, just as if we were Guinea
negroes, exposed to the examination of some scoundrel negro merchants,
commissioned to re-stock a plantation with black cattle, capable of
thinking, talking, laughing and weeping. This is not all. We have
been obliged often to endure speeches of this sort, most commonly
uttered in the _Scotch_ accent.--"My life on't that fellow is a
renegado Englishman, or Irishman--an halter will be, I hope, his
portion. D--n all such rebel-_looking_ rascals." Whatever our feelings
and resentments may be on account of impressment, inhuman treatment,
and plundering our fobs and pockets, and of our clothing, we never
speak of the British king and government in terms of gross indecency;
whereas, we American prisoners of war, are often assailed with the
bitterest sarcasms and curses of the _President_ of the UNITED STATES,
the CONGRESS, and some of our military commanders.

The British have been long in the habit of treating the Americans
contemptuously. It began as long ago as 1757, when _Lord Loudoun_,
_General Abercromby_, _Admiral Holborne_, _Admiral Boscawen_, _Lord
Colville_, _Sir Jeffry Amherst_, and _General Wolfe_, came over here
to cut the wings and tail of the wild descendants of Englishmen, in
order to make of them a kind of sea poy soldiery. It is a curious
fact, that some of the Scotch highlanders were at that time shot by
our Yankee sentinels, because they did not know enough of the English
language to give _Jonathan_ the counter-sign! So long ago did mutual
contempt begin between the natives of _Old_ England and _New_.

I have already mentioned that all my family, as well as myself, were
what they called "_Federalists_," or _fault-finders_, and opposers of
_Madison's_ administration; and that I, and all the rest of us, dropt
every trait of federalism in the British prisons, where, to call a man
a _Federalist_, was resented as the deepest insult. I appeal to _all_
my companions in misery, for the accuracy of this opinion. A man who
is willing to expose his life to the balls and bayonets of his
country's foes, to the enemies of his government, and to the
independence and union of his nation, holds his country and the
government of his choice, in higher estimation than his life. Such a
man cannot hear the _United States_ and their _President_ spoken of in
terms of contempt, without feeling the keenest anguish. This I have
felt; and have remarked its effects in the countenances of my insulted
comrades. Situated as we are, it would be great imprudence to resent
what we are often obliged to hear. Captivity, under British
prison-keepers, and British captains of transport-men-of-war, are the
proper colleges for teaching the love of our republican government,
and attachment to its administration; and they are proper places to
make the rankest federalist abjure his errors, and cling to the
constituted authorities of the country whose flag he adores, and for
whose defence he exposes his life. It is inconceivable how closely we
are here pressed together in the cause of our dear country; and in
honor of its high officers. Were all the inhabitants of the United
States as unanimous in their political sentiments, as we are, in the
river Medway, they would all be ready to exclaim, each man to his
neighbour,

    Rouse, and revive your ancient glory,
    UNITE--and drive the world before you.

_July 1st, 1813._--Our feelings are all alive at this joyous season,
for we are now making preparations for celebrating the birth-day of
our nation; and though in captivity, we are determined not to suffer
the glorious _Fourth of July_ to pass over without testifying our
undivided attachment to our beloved country, and to the cause it is
fighting for.--Each mess are making arrangements in, besure, a small
and humble, but a hearty way, for the celebration; and it is a curious
spectacle to see the pleasureable anticipations of the prisoners, in a
feast of good things, all of which would not amount to so plentiful a
repast, as that which the criminals in our State Prison, near Boston,
enjoy almost every day, the plenty of good porter excepted.
Application has been made to Capt. Hutchinson, for an additional
allowance of beer and porter, which request he has granted, with his
usual goodness. Every brain is at work to know how to spend what we
have been accumulating for the _Fourth of July_, with the most
pleasure, and the most propriety.

The FOURTH OF JULY, 1813, is past. We petitioned the commander to
allow us to hoist the American flag, but he refused to gratify us.
Application was then made to the Commodore, who gave permission that
we might hoist our national colors, as high as the top of our
railings; and the same permission was granted to all the other prison
ships. We had obtained a drum and fife; and being all assembled on the
forecastle, and such other parts of the ship as were accessible to us,
prisoners, we in the morning struck up the animating tune of _Yankee
Doodle_; and saluted the Nassau prison ship with three cheers, which
was returned; the ships more distant caught the joyful sound, and
echoed it back to its source. The fife and drum, the latter ornamented
with the king's arms, played the whole forenoon, while the jovial
prisoners drank, in _English porter_, SUCCESS TO THE AMERICAN CAUSE!

At twelve o'clock, an Oration, hastily prepared, and rather too
inflammatory for about a tenth part of our audience, was delivered, by
a prisoner of respectable talents; a man, who, having been impressed
into the British service, had been promoted to the rank of boatswain
of a frigate; and liberated from the service in consequence of his
declaring it against his honor and conscience to fight against his
countrymen, or aid in pulling down the colors of his nation. This man,
very deliberately, mounted an elevation, and with great force, and
with a characteristical freedom, pronounced an Address, which the
prisoners listened to with profound silence, excepting the clapping of
hands, and sometimes cheers, at the end of such sentences as warmed
and overpowered their silence. At the close of the whole, the orator
was greeted with three times, three cheers, throughout the ship, which
reached even to the shores. The oratory of the boatswain seemed to
electrify the officers and men set over us. The master and the surgeon
appeared _really_ pleased; even Osmer, our jailor, "grinn'd horribly a
ghastly smile."

After the Oration, we returned below to our prepared dinners, at which
our reverend orator asked a blessing, with more fervor than is
commonly observed in our Cossack clergymen; and we fell to, with a
zest and hilarity rarely to be found among a large collection of
prisoners. If, like the captive Jews on the Euphrates, we had hung our
harps upon the willows of the Medway, we took them down on this joyous
occasion. We felt the spirit of freedom glow within us; and we
anticipated the day when we should celebrate our anniversary in that
dear land of liberty, which we longed to see, and panted after, as the
thirsty hart pants after the water brooks.

The Fourth of July was celebrated in a very becoming manner on board
the _Nassau_ prison ship, by similar acts of rejoicing. I have
obtained a copy of the Oration, delivered by a seaman, on that day.
Among the audience, were several ladies and gentlemen from the
neighbourhood.


    AN ORATION,[J]

    _Delivered by permission, on board the Nassau prison ship, at
    Chatham, England, by an American Seaman, prisoner of war._

    MY FELLOW PRISONERS, AND BELOVED COUNTRYMEN,

    We are assembled to commemorate that ever memorable Fourth of
    July, 1776, when our forefathers, inspired with the love of
    liberty, dared to divest themselves of the shackles of tyranny and
    oppression: yes, my friends, on that important day these stripes
    were hoisted on the standard of liberty, as a signal of unity, and
    of their determination to fight under them, until America was
    numbered among the nations of the globe, as one of them, a free
    and independent nation. Yes, my countrymen, she was determined to
    spare neither blood nor treasure, until she had accomplished the
    grand object of her intentions; an object, my friends, which she
    was prompted by Heaven to undertake, and inspired by all that
    honor, justice, and patriotism could infuse; her armies were then
    in the field, with a WASHINGTON at their head, whose upright
    conduct and valorous deeds you have often heard related, and the
    memory of whom should be held sacred in the breasts of every
    true-born American. Let his heart beat high at the name of
    WASHINGTON! Sacred as the archives of heaven! for he was a man of
    truth, honor, and integrity, and a soldier fostered by the gods,
    to be the saviour of his country.

    The struggle was long and arduous; but our rallying word
    was--"Liberty or Death!" Torrents of blood were spilt; towns and
    villages were burnt, and nothing but havoc, devastation and
    destruction, was seen from one end of the continent to the other;
    and this was not all; but, to complete the horrid scene, an
    infernal horde of savage murderers was prompted by our enemy to
    butcher our helpless wives and children! Then did our fathers'
    patriotic hearts swell in their bosoms, and they were ten-fold
    more resolved to break the yoke of the tyrant.

    I recite these things, my countrymen, that you may know how to
    prize your liberty, that precious gem for which your fathers
    fought, wading in rivers of blood, until it pleased the Almighty
    to crown their arms with success; and, glorious to relate, America
    was acknowledged free and independent, by all the powers of
    Europe. Happy period! then did our warriors exult in what they had
    so nobly achieved; then commerce revived, and the _thirteen
    stripes_ were hoisted upon the tall masts of our ships, and
    displayed from pole to pole; emigrants flocked from many parts to
    taste our freedom, and other blessings heaven had bestowed upon
    us; our population increased to an incredible degree; our commerce
    flourished, and our country has been the seat of peace, plenty and
    happiness, for many years. At length the fatal blast reached our
    land! America was obliged to unsheath the sword in justification
    of her violated rights. Our ships were captured and condemned upon
    frivolous pretensions; our seamen were dragged from their lawful
    employment; they were torn from the bosom of their beloved
    country; sons from their fathers; husbands from their wives and
    children, to serve with reluctance for many years, under the
    severity of a martial law. The truth of this many of you can
    attest to, perhaps with inward pining and a bleeding heart!

    My countrymen! I did not mount this rostrum to inveigh against the
    British; only the demagogues, the war faction I exclaim against.
    We all know, and that full well, that there are many honest,
    patriotic men in this country, who would raise their voices to
    succour us, and their _arms_ too, could they do it with impunity.
    The sympathetic hearts of the good, feel for the oppressed in all
    climes. And now, my countrymen, it is more than probable, that the
    land of your nativity will be involved in war, and deluged in
    blood, for some time to come; yes, my friends, that happy country,
    which is the guardian of every thing you possess, that you esteem,
    near and dear, has again to struggle for her liberty. The British
    war faction are rushing upon us with their fleets and armies,
    thinking, perhaps, to crush us in a moment. Strange infatuation!
    They have forgotten Bunker's Hill! They have forgotten Saratoga,
    and Yorktown, when the immortal WASHINGTON, with his victorious
    army, chased them through the Jerseys, under the muzzles of their
    ship's cannon for protection! They have forgotten that the sons of
    America have as good blood in their veins, and possess as sound
    limbs and nerves as they; strange infatuation! I repeat it, if
    they presume to think that eight millions of free people will be
    very easily divested of their liberty; my word for it, they will
    not give up at the sight of their men-of-war, or their red coats;
    no, my friends, they will meet the lads who will play them the
    tune of yankee doodle, as well as they did at Lexington, or Bunker
    Hill. Besides, my countrymen, there is a plant in that country,
    (very little of which grows any where else) the infusion of which
    stimulates the true sons of America to deeds of valor. There is
    something so fostering in the very sound of its name, that it
    holds superiority wherever it grows; it is a sacred plant, my
    friends, its name is LIBERTY, and may God grant that that plant
    may continue to grow in the United States of America, and never be
    rooted out so long as it shall please Him to continue the
    celestial orb to roll in yon azure expanse.

    Ah! Britons! Britons! had your counsellors been just, and had they
    listened with attention, and followed the advice of the immortal
    _William Pitt_[K], Britain and America might have been one until
    the present hour; and they, united, in time might have given laws
    to the inhabitants of this terrestrial ball.

    Many of you, my friends, have voluntarily embraced this loathsome
    prison rather than betray your country; for by the laws of your
    country, to aid or give any assistance to an enemy, is treason, is
    punishable with death. I hope, therefore, that your country will
    reward you abundantly for your toil. And one and all, let us
    embrace the icy arms of death, rather than cherish the least
    symptoms of an inclination to betray our country. Some have done
    it, who have pretended to be Americans, so far as to shield
    themselves under the name.--Whether they were _real_ Americans or
    not, it is hard for me to say; but if they were, they have put
    their hand to the plough, and not only looked back, but have
    _gone_ back. I have not the least doubt but they will meet their
    reward; that is, they will be spurned at by those very people that
    laid the bait for them. Such characters will forever be condemned,
    and held in detestation by both parties. Therefore all you who
    feel the tide of true American blood flow through your hearts, I
    hope never will attempt to flee from the allegiance of your
    country. It is cowardice, it is felony; and for all those who have
    done it, we may pray that the departed spirits of their fathers,
    who so nobly fought, bled, and fell in the conflict to gain them
    their liberty, will haunt them in their midnight slumbers, and
    that they may feel the horrors of conscience and the dread of a
    gallows! Also, that they may have no rest, but like the dove that
    Noah sent out of the ark, be restless until they return to the
    allegiance of their country.--And now, my countrymen, let us join
    in unison to correct our own morals; let us be vigilant over
    ourselves while in this situation. And although it is not in our
    power to assist our countrymen in the present conflict, yet if we
    are good the power of Heaven will fight for us; for the good must
    merit God's peculiar care. The powers of Heaven fought for us;
    they assisted us to gain our liberty, it is evident from the very
    circumstance, that in our struggle with Great Britain for our
    liberty, we had no navy, or none of any consequence, yet Great
    Britain lost more line of battle ships in that war than she did
    with France, although France is a great naval power. And we should
    be thankful to God for all the blessings he hath bestowed upon us
    from time to time, and in particular for the blessings of that
    unity which we are recently informed prevails among our countrymen
    in America; united they stand, nor will the powers of hell be able
    to overthrow them. And now let us appeal to the God of Sabaoth,
    that is, to the God of armies--let us appeal to Him who holds the
    balance, and weighs the events of battles and of realms, and by
    his decision we must abide. And may He grant us health, peace and
    unity in this our disagreeable situation; and let us all join in
    concord to praise the Ruler and Governor of the universe. Amen.
    Amen.

Among the songs sung on this occasion, were several composed by
seafaring people, in our own country. The following drew tears from
the eyes of our generous hearted sailors. It pathetically describes
what many of them had experienced, the _impressment of an American
sailor boy_, by a British man of war, _the tearing up of his legal
protection_, and of his _sinking under a broken heart_. It was written
by Mr. _John De Wolfe_, of Rhode Island.


    _The Impressment of an American Sailor Boy._

    A SONG,

    _Sung on board the British prison ship Crown Prince, the Fourth of
    July, 1813, by a number of the American prisoners._

    The youthful Sailor mounts the bark,
      And bids each weeping friend adieu;
    Fair blows the gale, the canvass swells;
      Slow sinks the uplands from his view.

    Three mornings, from his ocean bed,
      Resplendent beams the God of day;
    The fourth, high looming in the mist,
      A war-ship's floating banners play.

    Her yawl is launch'd; light o'er the deep,
      Too kind, she wafts a ruffian band;
    Her blue track lengthens to the bark,
      And soon on deck the miscreants stand.

    Around they throw the baleful glance;
      Suspense holds mute the anxious crew--
    Who is their prey?--poor sailor boy!
      The baleful glance is fix'd on you.

    Nay, why that useless scrip unfold?
      They damn the "_lying yankee scrawl_,"
    Torn from thine hand, it strews the wave,--
      They force thee, trembling, to the yawl.

    Sick was thine heart, as from the deck,
      The hand of friendship wav'd farewell;
    Mad was thy brain, as, far behind,
      In the grey mist, thy vessel fell.

    One hope, yet, to thy bosom clung,
      The captain mercy might impart;
    Vain was that hope, which bade thee look,
      For mercy in a _Pirate's_ heart.

    What woes can man on man inflict,
      When malice joins with uncheck'd pow'r;
    Such woes, unpitied and unknown,
      For many a month, the sailor bore!

    Oft gem'd his eye the bursting tear,
      As mem'ry lingered on past joy;
    As oft they flung the cruel jeer,
      And damn'd the "_chicken liver'd boy_."

    When sick at heart, with "hope deferr'd,"
      Kind sleep his wasting form embrac'd,
    Some ready minion ply'd the lash,
      And the lov'd dream of freedom chas'd.

    Fast to an end his miseries drew;
      The deadly hectic flush'd his cheek;
    On his pale brow the cold dew hung,
      He sigh'd, and sunk upon the deck!

    The sailor's woes drew forth no sigh;
      No hand would close the sailor's eye;
    Remorseless, his pale corse they gave,
      Unshrouded, to the friendly wave.

    And, as he sunk beneath the tide,
      A hellish shout arose;
    Exultingly the demons cried,
      "_So fare all Albion's REBEL foes!_"

The power of music and of song, on such occasions, has been witnessed
in all ages of the world, especially in the youthful, or chivalric
period of a nation's existence, which is the present time, in the
history of the UNITED STATES. We all have felt and witnessed the
animating effects of the simple national tune of _Yankee Doodle_. Our
New England boys cannot stand still when it is played. To that tune
our regiments march with an energy that no other music inspires. At
its sound, the sentinel on his post slaps his musket, and marches his
limits with a smartness, that shows that his brave heart pulsates to
the warlike drum. Such a people, thus animated and united, is
absolutely invincible, by all the powers of Europe combined.

Time, situation, and circumstances, will give us national songs. Many
ages passed away, before England was animated by a national hymn. The
Americans have parodied this hymn, substituting, "_GOD save great
Washington!_" &c.

Our orator, considering where he was, and that he had an hundred
British hearers, used pretty harsh language. He apostrophised the
English thus: "Haughty nation! with one hand thou art deluding and
dividing thy victims in New England, and with the other, thou bearest
the weapon of vengeance; and while employing the ruthful savage, with
his tomahawk and scalping knife, thou art boasting of thy humanity,
thy magnanimity, and thy religion! Bloody villains! detestable
associates! linked together by _fear_, and leagued with savages by
_necessity_, to murder a Christian people, for the alledged crime of
fighting over again the battle of independence. Beware, bloody nations
of Britons and savage Indians, of the recoiling vengeance of a brave
people. For shame--talk no more of your Christianity, of your bible
and missionary societies, when your only aim is to direct the scalping
knife, and give force to the arm of the savage. No longer express the
smile of pleasure, on hearing a stupid Governor proclaim you to be
'_The Bulwark of our Religion!_' You have filled India with blood and
ashes; you have murdered the Irish for contending for liberty of
conscience; you continue the scourge of war in Spain; you pay Russia,
Sweden, Germany, and Holland, the price of blood; and to crown all,
decorate your colors, and your seats of legislation, with scalps, torn
from Americans, male and female; and you are sowing discord, and
diffusing a jacobinical spirit through a protestant country, which you
cannot conquer by force. But," continued the orator, waving his sinewy
arm, and hard and heavy hand, "the time is not far distant, when your
guilty nation will be duly appreciated, and justly punished;" and
saying this, he drove his iron fist into the palm of his left hand,
and stamped with his foot on the capstan, where he stood, while his
admiring countrymen rewarded the herculean orator with three cheers.

There is no disguising it--these Englishmen not only respect us, but
_fear_ us. They perceive a mighty difference between us, and the
cringing, gambling Frenchmen. If they are tolerably well informed, and
think at all, they must conclude that we Yankees, are filled with, and
keep up that bold and daring spirit of liberty, which made England
what she is; and the loss of which is now perceived by their
surrendered ships, and beaten armies in America. All these things will
hereafter be detailed by some future Gibbon, in _the History of the
Decline and Fall of the BRITISH EMPIRE_.

We closed the day, on this memorable _Fourth of July_, pretty much as
we began it; we struck our flag at sun-set, and saluted the other
ships with three hearty cheers.--Throughout the whole, the prisoners,
even to the boys, behaved with becoming decorum; and the whole was
concluded without any disagreeable accident, or any thing like a
quarrel; and in saying this, we desire to acknowledge the
extraordinary good behaviour of all the British officers and men on
board the Crown Prince.

Excepting the apprehensions of being sent off to _Dartmoor prison_, of
which we entertained horrid ideas, we were tolerably happy. After the
measles ceased, we were all very healthy; and there exists a good
understanding between the prisoners and our commander, Osmore; which
they say, is owing to the influence of his amiable wife.--This worthy
woman has discovered that we are not a gang of vagabonds, but that
many of the American prisoners are not only men of solid
understanding, and correct principles, but men whose minds have been
improved by good education. The manner and style in which we
celebrated our national independence, have created a respect for us.
The officers extend a better course of treatment towards _us_; and
this has occasioned our treating _them_ with more respect. Politeness
generates politeness, and insult, insult.--They find that coaxing and
fair words is the only way to manage Americans.

There is a set of busy-idlers amongst us, a sort of newsmongers,
fault-finders, and predictors, who are continually _bothering_[L] us
with unsubstantial rumors. The newspapers we take, are enough to
confound any man; but these creatures are worse than the London
news-writers. Sometimes we are told that Baltimore is burnt; and then
that New York is taken; and we have been positively assured that _old_
New England has declared for the British; and that the governor of
Massachusetts and his council had dined on board a British man of war
in Boston harbor; and that PRESIDENT MADISON had been hanged in effigy
in Boston, Newburyport and Portsmouth. At other times we were told
positively, and circumstantially, that three frigates sent their boats
into Marblehead, and after driving out all the women and children, set
fire to the town, and reduced the whole to ashes; and this was for
some time credited. We have a number of fine Marblehead men here in
captivity, all staunch friends of their country's cause. I well
remember since that period, that it was told us, that peace between
America and England was concluded; and that one of its conditions was
_giving up the fisheries on the banks of Newfoundland_. This alarmed
the Marblehead men more than the report of burning their town; they
raved and swore like mad men. "If that be the case," said they, "_I am
damned_--Marblehead is forever _damned_--and _we are all damned_; and
_damnation_ seize the peace-makers, who have consented to this
condition." On this subject they worked themselves into a fever; and
were very unhappy all the time the story was believed. Such like
stories were told to as, oft times, so circumstantially, that we all
believed them. When discovered to be false, they were called _galley
news_, or galley _packets_. These mischievous characters are
continually sporting with our feelings; and secretly laughing at the
uneasiness they occasion. There is one man who has got the name of
_lying BOB_; who is remarkable for the fertility of his invention;
there is so much apparent correctness in all he advances, that we too
often believe his sly quizzing rodomontades. He mentions and describes
the man who informed him, states little particulars, and relates
circumstances, so closely connected with acknowledged facets, that the
most cautious and incredulous are often taken in by him. He is a
constitutional liar; and the fellow has such a plausible mode of
lying, and wears throughout such a fixed and solemn phiz, that his
news has been circulated by us all, with all our wise reasons, and
explanations, and conjectures, that although we are sometimes angry
enough to knock his brains out, we cannot help laughing at the _hoax_.
To the name of lying Bob, we have added that of "_Printer to Prince
Belzebub's Royal Gazette._"

This little community of ours, crowded within the planks of a single
ship, is but the prototype of the great communities on the land. Here
we see working, all those passions, hopes, fears, emulations, envies,
and even contentions for distinction, which, like the winds and tides
of the ocean, keep the human mind healthy, vigorous, and progressing
to general benefit. Amidst it all, we could discover "_the ruling
passion_," the love of country, and a firm belief that our countrymen
understood rational liberty better, and could defend it longer, than
any nation now in existence.

Many people are beguiled with an idea, that sailors have no serious
thoughts of religion; because they use swearing, and, too often, a
profane phraseology, without any meaning. But seamen generally have
as serious ideas of religion, as landsmen; and are, in my opinion,
full as good. Hypocrisy is not among their vices. They never pretend
to more religion than their conduct proclaims. You see and hear the
worst of them; and that cannot always be said of our brethren on
shore. We have had a methodist preacher exhorting us twice a week,
until lately; but he has discontinued his visits; for he found the
hearts of _some_ of our fellows as hard as their faces, and he
relinquished the hope of their conversion to methodism. There was, at
one time, on board our ship, a little, ugly French surgeon's mate, who
had lived several years in London, and in the southern part of
America. He could speak, and read the English language equally well
with his own. He ridiculed _all_ religion, and talked in such an
irreverent style of the bible, of Jesus Christ, and of the Virgin
Mary, that our sailors would not associate with him, nor, at times,
eat with him. On one occasion, his profanity was so shocking, that he
ran some risk of being thrown overboard. He was a witty, comical
fellow, and they would listen and laugh at his drollery; but they
finally stopped his mouth from uttering things, for which he would be
severely punished in England and in America; and skinned, or fried, or
slowly roasted, in Spain.

Generally speaking, in the religious notions of our sailors, there is
mixed a portion of that superstition which we, our forefathers, and
foremothers brought with them from England, Scotland and Ireland. They
believe, for example, in spirits, or ghosts, and that they haunt
houses and ships; and that they have sometimes appeared with horrid
visage, and menacing countenances, at the bed-side of a cruel captain;
and above all, to the false hearted Tar, who cruelly deserted his too
credulous Poll, who drowned herself in despair. The common sailor
often tells such stories, and sings them in ballads, both which are
generally ended with the good moral sentiment of the punishment of
cruelty and treachery; and the reward of the kind hearted and humane.

It may appear singular that men whose conduct generally is so opposite
to the prescribed rules of the Priest, should have so firm an opinion
of another life, after their bodies are eaten up by sharks, or blown
to atoms; but it is really the case with the British and American
sailors; for they have the strongest belief in the existence of
spirits; and all their stories and traditions tend to confirm this
superstition. How often have I known them huddled together in the
night, telling stories of feats of danger and desperation! a ghost or
spirit is generally brought into the history. Nothing suits these
daring set of men better than a solemn narrative of a supernatural
achievement, and a supernatural escape; but to be charming, it must
have a tinge of the horrible. _Shakespeare_ would have recognized some
of these men as his kindred, and they him as a relation. Good luck and
ill luck, lucky days and unlucky days, as well as lucky ships, attach
themselves strongly to a sailor's mind. A remarkable instance of this
we have in our ill-fated frigate _Chesapeake_. Ever since the British
ship, _Leopard_, fired into this American frigate, in a period of
profound peace, and caused her to strike her colors, and which led to
her being boarded; and her men to be mustered by compulsion, and some
of her crew taken and carried forcibly on board the Leopard, one of
which was afterwards hanged; after this deep wound on our country's
honor, this frigate was ever after viewed as _unlucky_, and shunned
accordingly.

In confirmation of this nautical curse, she met with a series of
disasters during the war, which were not attributed to ill management,
but to ill luck. Thus, one time she was coming up the harbor of
Boston, from a cruise, where she lost spar after spar, and topmast
after topmast; and when in full sight or the town, and not much wind,
over board went her fore-top-mast, and several men were drowned in
their fall from the rigging. This was not attributed to lack of
judgment, but to ill luck. When this ill-omened ship lay in Boston
harbor, previous to her last and fatal cruise, she could not get men;
and that from the impression on the minds of sailors, that _she was an
unlucky ship_. This operated to her final misfortune; for her crew was
made up of every thing that offered. Her captain was a stranger to his
crew, and to his officers; his first lieutenant lay at the point of
death when she sailed; her motley crew mutinied, on account of their
pay, before they weighed anchor; her brave, I had like to have said
rash commander, sailed out in a great hurry; her cables were not quite
stowed away, nor other things arranged in their places, when she bore
down on the cool and orderly Shannon; and to crown all, her intrepid
commander, a man six feet two inches, went into action within half
pistol shot, in full uniform, as if he defied the power of the
British musketry. I have conversed with some of her officers and men
in my captivity, and think that I am warranted in saying, that there
was much more high-toned bravery exhibited on that day, than good
conduct.--The sailors, however, think differently; they all attribute
it to that unavoidable fatality which forever adheres, like pitch, to
an _unlucky_ ship. O, my country!

    "It was that fatal and perfidious bark,
    Built in th' eclipse, and rigg'd with curses dark,
    That sunk so low that sacred head of thine!"
                                                     MILTON'S LYCIDAS.



CHAPTER II.


_August 30th._--Drafts continue to be made from this ship to be sent
off to Dartmoor Prison. There are but few of us remaining, and we are
every day in expectation of removal. All go off with evident
reluctance, from an apprehension that the change will be for the
worse. It is the "untried scene," that fills us with anxiety. We are
more disposed to bear our present ills, "than fly to others which we
know not of."

Oh, how we envy the meanest looking wretch we see, crawling on the
shore, gathering sticks to cook his fish. There the beggar enjoys the
natural inheritance of man, sweet LIBERTY; if the unfeeling, the
avaricious and morose, refuse his petition, he can sweeten the
disappointment with the reflection, that he has liberty to walk where
he pleases. He is not shut up, in the prime of life, and cut off from
all intercourse with those he holds most dear; he is not lingering out
his life and health under the morose countenance of an unfeeling
jailor. He has not, like us, a home, where peace, plenty, and every
good, await to welcome us. Who can express the anguish felt by some of
us, wretched prisoners, here crowded together, like sheep, men who
have broken no law of either country; but who have stood courageously
forth in supporting the sacred cause of our country, and in defending
"_free trade and sailors' rights_." Should this war continue some
years longer, or should peace be restored, and another war with
Britain commence, I will venture to predict that our enemies will take
but _few_ prisoners _alive_. My own mind is entirely made up on this
head. I hope to stand ready to risk my life for the liberty and
independence of our nation, and for the preservation of my own
personal liberty; but unless wounded and maimed, I never will be again
a prisoner to the British.

The American sailor has a beloved home; he was born and brought up in
a house that had a "fire place" in it.--Many of them here, in
captivity, have wives and children, most of them have parents, and
brothers and sisters. These poor fellows partake, at times, the misery
of their dear relatives, at three thousand miles distance. They
recollect their aged mothers, and decrepid fathers, worn down with
age, labor, and anxious thoughts for the welfare of their absent sons.
Some have wives, and little children, weeping for their absent
husbands, and suffering for the good and comfortable things of this
life, having none to help them. In families, neighborhoods, and
villages, men are supported by leaning on each other; or by supporting
each other; and we have here endeavored to do so too; but now our
numbers are thinning, some of our best, our steadiest, and most
prudent men, have left us, and gone to Dartmoor Prison. I have felt
very low spirited for some days past. It is true, our numbers are now
so few, that we can run about, and beguile the tedious hours by a
greater variety of exercise and amusement than heretofore; but then,
our soberest men are gone, and left behind some of the most noisy and
disorderly of our whole crew; and young as I am, I am little disposed
to make a riot or noise, merely for noise sake.

A disturbance took place last night, which deprived all of us of
sleep. It was owing to the unaccommodating disposition of our
commander, Mr. Osmore. About thirty prisoners were selected, and
called aft, with their hammocks all tied up, to be ready to go off
early in the morning in a tender. The tender did not arrive as was
expected; the sergeant was ordered to count us over in the evening to
go to rest; whereupon the thirty drafted men went aft, and requested
their hammocks to sleep in; Mr. Osmore replied, that, as they were to
go off early in the morning, they would only detain the tender, if
they had their hammocks to take down and pack up again, on which
account he refused to let them have their usual accommodations for
sleeping.--The men went below, very much dissatisfied at the churlish
disposition of the commander; and as they despaired being able to
sleep themselves, on bare boards, they all determined that Osmore
should not himself sleep. They waited quietly till about ten o'clock,
when the commander usually went to bed; and then they tore up the
large oak benches, tied ropes to them, and run with them round the
deck, drawing the benches after them like a sled, at the same time
hollowing, screaming and yelling, and making every noise that their
ingenuity or malice could devise. Sometimes they drove these oaken
benches full butt against the aft bulk head, so as to make the ship
tremble again with the noise, like cannon. They jarred down the
crockery belonging to the marines, which was set up on the opposite
side of the cock-pit, and frightened their wives out of their beds.
The noise and jarring were so great, that it seemed as if they were
breaking up the ship, for the sake of her iron work. Lieut. Osmore
sent a marine down, to order them to be still and go to sleep. They
replied, that they had no conveniences for sleeping, and that Osmore
had acted like a villain, in depriving them unnecessarily of their
hammocks, for which brutality, they were determined that he should not
sleep more than they. After which they recommenced their riot and
thundering noise, which brought Osmore out of his cabin, who called
one of the committee to him, and told him to tell the men, that if
they did not directly cease their noise, he would confine every man of
them below, for three days. The committee man replied, that nothing
could then be done, for that the mob had fairly capsized the
government of the ship; and all that he could say, would only add to
the riot and confusion. "Then," said he, "I'll be d--d if I do not
fire upon them." Some of the mob answered, "fire, and be d--d." And
the commander hesitated a moment, and returned to his cabin; for he
saw the men were wrought up to the battle pitch, and rather wished him
to fire, by way of excuse for their attack upon him, whom they most
cordially despised.

Directly upon this, they collected all the tin and copper pans, pots
and kettles, and every sonorous metallic substance they could lay
their hands on. These they tied together, and hitched bunches of them
here and there, upon the oaken planks; and then, what with screaming,
yelling, like the Indian war-whoop, cheering, and the thundering
noise of the planks, grating along the deck, together with the ringing
and clattering of their metallic vessels, they made altogether such a
hideous "rattle-come-twang," that it was enough to raise all Chatham.
All this was transacted in utter darkness. The officers doubtless saw,
that bloodshed and promiscuous death would be the consequence of
firing among the rioters, and prudently left it to subside with the
darkness of the night. These disorderly fellows would go round the
decks twice, with all this thundering noise and clatter, and then be
silent for about half an hour, or until they thought Mr. Osmore had
got into a doze; and then they would recommence their horrible
serenade. At length Osmore became so enraged, that he swore by his
Maker, that he would order every marine in the ship to fire in among
them; but on some of the committee observing to him that he would be
as likely to kill the innocent as the guilty, and as they were then
silent, he went off again to his cabin; but within a quarter of an
hour they begain their shocking serenade, and continued it, at
provoking intervals, all the night, so that none could sleep in the
ship.

In the morning the tender came along side, and they all went on board
of her. When they had all got in, and pushed off from the ship's side,
and while Osmore was superintending their departure, they all cried
out, _baa! baa! baa!_ until they got out of hearing. The next day he
betrayed a disposition to punish, in some way, those prisoners that
remained; but it was remarked to him, that it was utterly impossible
for any of them to stop the riot, or to keep their disturbers quiet,
and that they, themselves, were equally incommoded with him and his
family, he therefore prudently dropped the design. Although many of us
disapproved of this behavior of the men, none of us could help
laughing at the noise, and its ludicrous effects. It is a fact, that
the officers and marines of the Crown Prince prison ship, were more
afraid of the American prisoners, than they were of them. This last
frolic absolutely cowed them. One of the officers said to me, next
day, "Your countrymen do not seem to be a bloody minded set of men,
like the Portuguese and Spaniards; but they have the most, d--d
provoking _impudence_ I ever saw, in any men; if they did not
accompany it all with peals of laughter, and in the spirit of fun, I
should put them down as a set of hell-hounds." I told him that I
considered the last night's riot, not in the light of a mutiny, or a
serious attempt to wound or scratch any man, but as a high frolic,
without any real malice, and was an evidence of that boisterous
liberty in which they had been bred up, and arising also from their
high notions of right and wrong. To which the worthy Scotchman
replied, "I hate a Frenchman, a Spaniard, and a Portuguese; but I
never can hate an American; and yet the three former behave infinitely
better; and give us far less trouble than your saucy fellows." Had
British prisoners behaved in this manner, in the prison ships in the
harbor of _Boston_, or _Salem_, would our officers have borne it with
more patience?

As there were but few prisoners now remaining, and ample room to run
and jump about for exercise, our men evidently recruited; and being in
good spirits, the rose of health soon bloomed again on their manly
cheeks. The soldiers, made prisoners in Canada, evidently gained
strength, and acquired activity. If we compare their miserable,
emaciated looks, on their arrival at Melville Prison, from their
wretched voyage down the St. Lawrence, with their present appearance,
the difference is striking. The wretched appearance of these new made
soldiers, reflects no credit on the British. The savages of the forest
never starve their prisoners. The war department of the United States
having ordered these men a portion of their pay, they appropriated it
chiefly to purchase comfortable clothing, which has been productive of
great good, and has probably saved the lives of some of them; others
squandered away their money in dissipation and gambling.

A becoming degree of tranquillity prevailed on board this prison ship,
during my residence in it. On the 15th of September, we were all sent
on board the Bahama prison ship, which lay farther up the reach. Here
we found about three hundred of our countrymen, who received us with
kindness, and many marks of satisfaction. I could, at once, perceive
that their situation had been less pleasant than ours, in the Crown
Prince. Little attention had been paid to cleanliness, and gambling
had been carried to as great excess as their means would admit of.
They seemed to lack either the power, or the resolution of adhering to
and carrying into effect, good and wholesome regulations. I never saw
a set of more ragged, dirty men in my life; and yet they were
disposed to sell their last rag to get money to game with.--Their
misfortune was, they had too few men of sense and respectability among
them. They had no good committee men; not enough to bear down the
current of vice and folly. We dread the contagion of bad example. Some
of our men soon resorted to their detestable gambling tables; and
pursued their old vices with astonishing avidity. We seriously
expostulated with our companions, on their returning to the pernicious
practice of gambling, after they had had the virtue of refraining on
board the Crown Prince; and our advice induced nearly all of them to
renounce the destructive practice. I had read, but never saw
convincing evidence before, of gaming being a passion, that rages in
proportion to the degrees of misery, until it becomes a species of
insanity.

We, new comers, introduced certain measures that had a tendency to
harmonize our sailors and soldiers. The disorders on board the Bahama
arise, principally, from having on board a number of these two classes
of men. Our sailors view a soldier as belonging to an order of men
below them; and it must be confessed that our first crop of recruits,
that were huddled together soon after the declaration of war, in some
measure justified this notion. They were, many of them, idle,
intemperate men, void of character and good constitutions. The high
flying _federal clergy_, among other nonsense, told their flocks that
the war would demoralize the people; whereas it had the contrary
effect, as it regarded the towns an hundred miles from the sea coast.
It absolutely picked all the rags, dirt, and vice, from our towns and
villages, and transported them into Canada, where they were either
captured, killed, or died with sickness, so that our towns and
villages on the Atlantic, were cleared of idlers and drunkards, and
experienced the benefit of their removal. The second crop of recruits,
in 1814, were of a different cast. The high bounty, and the love of
country, induced the embargoed sailor to turn soldier; to these were
added young mechanics, and the sons of farmers. These were men of good
habits, and of calculation. They looked forward to their bounty of
land, with a determination of settling on their farms at the close of
the war. These were moral men, and they raised the character of the
soldier, and of their country. These were the men who conquered at
Chippewa, Bridgewater, Erie, and Plattsburg. Of such men was composed
that potent army of well disciplined militia, who reposed within
twenty miles of the sea shores of New-England, during 1814 and
1815--especially of Massachusetts and Connecticut; and who, had the
British attempted a landing, would have met them, with the bayonet, at
the water's edge, and crimsoned its tide.

Our captivated sailors knew nothing of this fine army; they only knew
the first recruits; and it is no wonder they viewed them as their
inferiors, as they really were. Even the officers were, generally
speaking, much inferior to those who closed the war. The American
sailor appears to be a careless, unthinking, swearing fellow; but he
is generally much better than he appears. He is generally marked with
honor, generosity, and honesty. A ship's crew soon assimilates, and
they are all brother tars, embarked together in the same bottom, and
in the same pursuit of interest, curiosity or fame; while the rigid
discipline of an army does not admit of this association and
assimilation. A sailor, therefore, greets a sailor, as his brother;
but has not yet learned to greet a soldier as his brother; nor has the
American soldier ever felt the fraternal attachment to the sailor. It
should be the policy of our rulers, and military commanders, to
assimilate the American soldier and sailor; and there is little doubt
but that they will amalgamate in time. In France, the soldier looks
down upon the sailor; in England, and in America, the sailor looks
down on the soldier. We must learn them to march arm in arm.

Confinement, dirtiness, and deprivations, have an evil operation on
the mind. I have observed some who had a little refinement of manners,
at the commencement of their captivity, and regarded the situation and
feelings of others near them, with complacency, but have lost it all,
and sunk into a state of misanthropy. We, Americans, exercise too
little ceremony at best, but some of our prisoners lost all deference
and respect for their countrymen, and became mere hogs, the stronger
pushing the weaker aside, to get the most swill.

    "Jove fix'd it certain, that the very day
    Made man a slave, took half his worth away."----_Homer._

All our industrious men were well behaved; and all our idle men were
hoggish. Some of our countrymen worked very neatly in bone, out of
which material they built ships,[M] and carved images, and snuff
boxes, and tobacco boxes, and watch cases. Some covered boxes, in a
very neat manner, with straw. The men thus employed, formed a strong
contrast to those who did nothing; or who followed up gambling. Our
ship afforded striking instances of the pernicious effects of
idleness; and of the beneficial effects of industry. We, on board the
Crown Prince, instructed the boys; but in this ship, there has been no
attention paid to them; and they are, upon the whole, as vicious in
their conduct, and as profane in their language, as any boys I ever
saw. Frenchmen are bad companions for American boys. They can teach
them more than they ever thought of in their own country.

In January last, three hundred and sixty American prisoners were sent
on board this ship. Great mortality prevailed among the Danish
prisoners, prior to the arrival of our countrymen, on board the
Bahama. The Danes occupied her main deck, while we occupied the lower
one.--When our poor fellows were tumbled from out of one ship into
this, they had not sufficient clothes to cover their shivering limbs,
in this coldest month of the year. They were, indeed, objects of
compassion, emaciated, pale, shuddering, low spirited, and their
constitutions sadly broken down.--Their morbid systems were not strong
enough to resist any impression, especially the contagion of the jail
fever, under which the Danes were dying by dozens. Out of three
hundred and sixty one Americans, who came last on board, eighty-four
were, in the course of three months, buried in the surrounding
marshes, the burying place of the prison ships. I may possibly
forgive, but I never can forget the unfeeling conduct of the British,
on this occasion. Why send men on board a crowded prison ship, which
they knew was infected with a mortal contagion? Their government
_must_ have known the inevitable consequences of putting three hundred
debilitated men on board an infected ship, where there were not enough
well to attend on the sick.--If we, Americans, ever treated British
prisoners in our hands, in this cruel manner, the facts have never
reached my ears. Here was an opportunity for redeeming the blasted
reputation of the British, for the horrors of their old Jersey prison
ship, in the revolutionary war. But they supposed that our affairs
were so low; and their own so glorious, that there was no room for
retaliation. The surrounding marshes were already unhealthy, without
adding the poison of human bodies, which were every hour put into
them.--Several persons, now prisoners here, and I rank myself among
that number, had a high idea of British humanity, prior to our
captivity; but we have been compelled to change our opinions of the
character of the people from whom we descended. The commander of the
Bahama, Mr. W. is a passionate and very hot tempered man, but is, upon
the whole, an humane one. We have more to praise than to blame in his
conduct towards us. He is not ill disposed to the Americans,
generally, and wishes for a lasting peace between the two contending
nations. His mate is the reverse of all this, especially when he is
overcharged with liquor.

As characteristic of some of our imprudent countrymen, I insert the
following anecdote. The _Bellecean_, (or _Bellauxcean_) prison ship,
lay next to us. She was filled with Norwegians, and were detained in
England, while Norway adhered to a king of their own choice. The
commander of her was a nettlesome, fractious, foolish old fellow, who
was continually overlooking us, and hailing our commander, to inform
him if any one smuggled a bottle of rum from the market boats. His
Norwegians gave him no trouble; they were a peaceable, subservient
people, with no fun in their constitutions, nor any jovial cast in
their composition.--They were very different from the British or
American sailor, who will never be baulked of his fun, if the devil
stands at the door. This imprudent, meddling old commander, of the
_Bellauxcean_, was forever informing the officer of the deck of every
little pickadillo of the American prisoners; and he, of course, got
the hearty ill will of all the Americans in the ship Bahama. He once
saw a marine connive at the passing a couple of bottles of liquor
through the lower ports, and he hailed the commander, and informed him
of it; and the marine was immediately punished for it. This roused the
_Americans_ to revenge; for the _British_ soldier, or marine, is so
much of a slave, that revenge never dare enter his head. _Retaliation_
belongs alone to the free and daring American. He alone enjoys the
_lex talionis_, and glories in carrying it into execution.

Fish and _potatoes_ constituted the diet of the following day. What
does our "dare devils" do, but reserve all their potatoes to serve as
cold shot to fire at the fractious commander of their next neighbor,
the Bellauxcean. Accordingly when they observed the old man stubbing
backwards and forwards his quarter deck, and stopping now and then to
peak over to our ship to see if we smuggled a bottle of liquor, they
gave him a volley of potatoes, which was kept up until the veteran
commander hailed our captain and told him that if the Americans did
not cease their insult he would order his marines to fire upon them;
but his threatenings produced no other effect than that of increasing
the shower of potatoes; so that this brave British tar was compelled
to seek shelter in his cabin; and then the potatoe-battery ceased its
fire. When all was quiet, the old gentleman seized the opportunity of
pushing on board of us. When he came on our quarter deck, rage stopped
all power of utterance, he foamed and stamped like a mad man. At
length, he asked Mr. Wilson how he could permit a body of prisoners
under his command and control, to insult one of his majesty's officers
in his own ship? To which Mr. Wilson replied, that he should use his
influence to prevent a repetition of the insult, and restore harmony;
and that he was sorry that his men should get into any difficulty with
those of another ship; and he recommended moderation, but the old
commander swore and raved terribly; when our worthy protector reminded
him that he was not on his own quarter deck. The coolness of Mr.
Wilson still further enraged our exasperated neighbor, and he left the
ship execrating every one on board, and swearing that he would make
complaint to the commodore.

When the prisoners saw how their own commander viewed the interference
of another, they collected all the potatoes they could find, and I am
sorry to add, pieces of coal, and as soon as he left the side of the
Bahama, they pelted him till he fairly skulked under cover in his own
prison ship. He directly drew his marines up in battle array, on his
quarter deck, when the captain of the Bahama seeing his folly, and
knowing his disposition, exerted himself to make every American go
below, and enjoined upon them _a cessation of potatoes_. We gained,
however, more by this short war, than most of the nations of the
world, for it entirely removed the cause for which we _took up
potatoes_ against one of his Britannic majesty's officers, within ten
leagues of the capital of his empire. I overheard captain Wilson say
to the second in command, "these Americans are the sauciest dogs I
ever saw; but damn me if I can help liking them, nor can I ever hate
men who are so much like ourselves--they are _John Bull_ all over."

In a course of kind and flattering treatment, our countrymen were
orderly and easily governed; but when they conceived themselves ill
treated you might as well attempt to govern so many East India tygers.
The British officers in this river discovered this, and dreaded their
combined anger; and yet the Americans are seldom or ever known to
carry their vengeance to blood and murder, like the Spaniard, Italian
and Portuguese.

A Swedish frigate has just arrived in the reach, to take away those
good boys, the Norwegians. _King Bernadotte_ sent them two and six
pence a piece, to secure their affections, and provide them with some
needed articles for their passage to Norway. A cartel is hourly
expected from London, to take home some of their soldiers. The Leyden,
an old Dutch 64, is preparing, at the Nore, to take us away.

We are induced to believe that our emancipation is nigh. We are every
day expecting, that we, too, shall be sent home; but this hope,
instead of inspiring us with joy and gladness, has generated sourness
and discontent. It seems that the government of the United States give
a preference to those who had enlisted in the public service over such
as were in privateers. We have felt this difference all along. Again,
the government are disposed to liberate the soldiers before the
sailors, because their sufferings are greater than those of sailors,
from their former mode of life and occupations. They were farmers, or
mechanics, or any thing but seamen; and this makes their residence on
ship-board very irksome; whereas, the sailor is at home on the deck or
hold of the ship. Most of these soldiers were from the state of
Pennsylvania and New York, and many from the western parts of the
union. These men could not bear confinement like sailors; neither
could they bear a short allowance of food; nor could they _shirk_[N]
for themselves like a Jack tar. A sailor could endure with a degree of
patience, restraints and deprivations that were death to landsmen.
Many of these youthful soldiers had not long left their native
habitations, and parental care, when they were captured; their morals
and manners were purer than those of sailors. Such young men suffered
not only in their health, but in their feelings; and many sunk under
their accumulated miseries; for nourished by indulgence, in the midst
of abundance, many of them died _for want of sufficient food_. These
miserable beings were, as they ought to be, the first objects of the
solicitude of government.

The prisoners were seen here and there, collected in squads, chewing
together the cud of discontent, and grumbling at the imagined
partiality and injustice of their rulers. These discontents and
bickerings too often damped the joy of their prospect of liberation
from captivity. The poor privateers' men had most reason for
complaining, as they found themselves neglected by one side, and
despised by the other.

The sufferings of soldiers, many of whom were militia, who were taken
on the frontiers of Canada, are not to be withheld from the public.
They were first stripped by the savages in the British service, and
then driven before them, half naked to the city of Quebec; from thence
they were sent, in ill-provided transports, to Halifax, suffering all
the way, the torments of hunger and thirst. When they arrived at
Melville prison, they were shocking objects to the prisoners they
found there; emaciated, weak, dirty, sickly, and but half clothed,
they excited in us all, commisseration for their great misery; and
indignation, contempt and revenge, towards the nation who could allow
such barbarity. The cruel deception practised on their embarkation for
England, instead of going home; their various miseries on ship-board,
where as landsmen, they underwent infinitely more than the sailors;
for many of them never had seen the salt ocean; and their close
confinement in the hold of a ship, gave them the idea of a floating
hell. The captivity of the sailors was sufficiently distressing; but
it was nothing to that of the wretched landsmen, who considered a ship
at all times, a kind of dungeon. The transporting our soldiers to
England, and their sufferings during their passage, and while confined
in that country, has engendered a hatred against the British nation,
that ages will not obliterate, and time scarcely diminish. We,
Americans, can never be justly accused of want of humanity to the
English prisoner.

If the young American wishes to see instances of British barbarity,
let him peruse the journal of the campaigns under Armherst, Wolfe,
Abercromby and others; there he will find that the British soldiers
under these commanders, committed barbarities in the French villages,
for which they deserved to be hanged. They even boasted of _scalping_
the French. Every body of ordinary information in New England, knows
that _Louisbourg_ could not have been taken, without the powerful aid
of the New England troops; yet in the historical journal by Knox,
sanctioned by general Armherst, there is only the following
gentlemanlike notice of our countrymen. The author, captain Knox, says
that the transport he was in, was in miss-stays, and was in danger of
being dashed to pieces on a ledge of rocks, when the master instantly
fell on his knees, crying out--"what shall we do? I vow, I fear we
shall all be lost; let us go to prayers; what can we do, dear
Jonathan? Jonathan went forward muttering to himself--Do? I vow
Ebenezar, I don't know what we shall do any more than thyself!" When
fortunately one of our soldiers (who was a thorough bred seaman, and
had served several years on board a ship of war, and afterwards in a
privateer,) hearing and seeing the helpless state of mind which our
poor New Englandmen were under, and our sloop drawing towards the
shore, called out, "why, d--n your eyes and limbs, down with her
sails, and let her drive a--e foremost, what the devil signifies your
praying and canting now?" Ebenezar quickly taking the hint, called to
Jonathan to lower the sails, saying he believed that young man's
advice was very good, but wished he had not delivered it so
profanely!!--and the soldier took the helm and saved the sloop. If
captain John Knox should be living, the old gentleman would blush
should he read this extract.

I have frequently thought that the over-rated and highly boasted
British bravery and humanity, would find their graves in America. The
treatment these soldiers experienced has stigmatised the English
character, and deservedly so. It is not in the power of words, and
scarcely in the power of the painter's pencil, to convey an idea of
their wretchedness. They were covered with rags, dirt, and vermin.
They were, to us, objects of pity, but to all others, objects of
disgust; even we, their brothers, recoiled, at times, on approaching
them. _Was there any design in this?_ Did our enemies wish to impress
their countrymen with _an abhorrence of a yankee_? How else can we
account for a treatment which our people never experienced when
prisoners of the Indians? No--the savages never starve their
prisoners, nor deprive them the use of water. Dispirited, and every
way disheartened, our poor fellows had, generally speaking, the aspect
of a cowardly, low spirited race of men, and much inferior to the
British. We here saw how wretched circumstances, in a short time,
debases a brave and high spirited man. When people from the shore
visited our ship, and saw our miserable soldiers, we do not wonder
that they despised them. We sometimes had the mortification of hearing
remarks in the Scotch accent, to this effect: "So, these are samples
of the brave yankees that took the _Guerriere_ and _Java_; it proves
to a demonstration, that the American frigates were manned with
British deserters."

The sailors often tried to spirit up the soldiers, and to encourage
them to cleanliness; but it was in vain, as most of them were
depressed below the elasticity of their brave souls; yet amidst their
distress, not a man of them would listen to proposals to enter the
British service. Every one preferred death, and even wished for it.
The Americans are a clean people in their persons, as well as in their
houses. None of them are so poor as to live in cabins, like the Irish;
or in cottages, like the Scotch; but they are brought up in houses
having chimnies, glass windows, separate and convenient rooms, and
good bedding; and to all these comfortable things we must add that the
poorest of our countrymen eat meat once every day, and most of them
twice. To young men so brought up and nourished, a British captivity
on board their horrid transports, and even on board their
prison-ships, is worse than death. If we, Americans, treat British
prisoners as they treat ours, let it be sounded through the world to
our disgrace. Should the war continue many years, I predict that few
Americans will be taken alive by the English.

After these poor fellows had received money and clothing from our
government, they became cheerful, clean, and many of them neat, and
were no bad specimens of American soldiery. We are sorry to again
remark, that there was observed something repulsive between the
soldier and the sailor. The soldier thought himself better than the
Jack tar, while the sailor, felt himself, on board ship, a better
fellow than the soldier; one was a fish in the water; the other a
lobster out of the water. The sailors always took the lead, because
they were at home; while the dispirited landsman felt himself a
stranger in an enemy's land, even among his countrymen. It would be
well if all our sea and land commanders would exert themselves to
break down the partition wall that is growing up between our sailors
and soldiers; they should be constantly reminded that they are all
_children_ of _one_ and the _same great family_, whereof the
_President of the United States_ is _Father_; that they have all been
taught to read the same bible, and to obey the same great moral law of
loving one another. I observed, with pain, that nothing vexed a sailor
more, than to be called by a brother tar, a soldier-looking son of a
----. This term of contempt commonly led to blows. This mutual dislike
bred difficulties in the government of ourselves, and sometimes
defeated our best regulations; for it split us into parties; and then
we behaved as bad as our superiors and richer brethren do on shore,
neglecting the general interest to indulge our own private views, and
spirit of revenge. I thought our ship often resembled our republic in
miniature; for human nature is the same always, and only varies its
aspect from situation and circumstances.

It is now the latter end of September; the weather pretty pleasant,
but not equal to our fine Septembers and Octobers in New-England. We
are, every hour, expecting orders to quit this river, to return to our
own dear country.



CHAPTER III.


_October 2d, 1814._--We were now ordered to pick up our duds and get
all ready to embark in certain gun-brigs that had anchored along side
of us; and an hundred of us were soon put on board, and the tide
favouring, we gently drifted down the river Medway. It rained, and not
being permitted to go below, and being thinly clad, we were wet to the
skin. When the rain ceased, our commander went below, and returned, in
a short time, gaily equipped in his full uniform, cockade and dirk.
He mounted the poop, where he strutted about, sometimes viewing
himself, and now and then eyeing us, as if to see if we, too, admired
him. He was about five feet high, with broad shoulders, and portly
belly. We concluded that he would afford us some fun; but we were
mistaken; for, with the body of Dr. Slop, he bore a round, ruddy, open
and smiling countenance, expressive of good nature and urbanity. The
crew said, that although he was no seaman, _he was a man_, and a
better fellow never eat the king's bread; that they were happy under
his command; and the only dread they had was, that he, or they should
be transferred to another ship. Does not this prove that seamen can be
better governed by kindness and good humor than by the boatswain's
cat? We would ask two of our own naval commanders, B. and C. whether
they had not better try the experiment? We should be very sorry if the
infant navy of our young country, should have the character of too
much severity of discipline. To say that it is requisite is a libel on
our national character. Slavish minds alone require the lash.

On board this brig were two London mechanics, recently pressed in the
streets of the capital of the English nation--a nation that has long
boasted of its liberty and humanity. These cocknies wore long coats,
drab-coloured velvet breeches, and grey stockings. They were
constantly followed by the boatswain's mate; who often impressed his
lessons, and excited their activity with a rope's end which he carried
in his hat. The poor fellows were extremely anxious to avoid such
repeated hard arguments; and they kept at as great a distance from
their tyrant as possible, who seemed to delight in beating them. It
appeared to me to be far out-doing in cruelty, the Algerines. They
looked melancholy, and at times, very sad. May America never become
the greatest of naval powers, if to attain it, she must allow a brutal
sailor to treat a citizen, _kidnapped_ from his family in the streets
of our cities, worse than we use a dog. I again repeat it, for the
thousandth time, the English are a hard hearted, cruel and barbarous
race; and, on this account alone, I have often been ashamed, that we,
Americans, descended mostly from them. When a man is ill used, it
invites others to insult him. One of our prisoners, who had been
treated with a drink of grog, took out his knife, and, as the
cockney's face was turned the other way, cut off one skirt of his long
coat. This excited peals of laughter. When the poor Londoner saw that
this was done by a roguish American, at the instigation of his own
countrymen, the tear stood in his eye. Even our jolly, big bellied
captain, enjoyed the joke, and ordered the boatswain's mate to cut off
the other skirt, who, after viewing him amidst shouts of laughter,
damned him for a land lubber, and said, now he had lost his ring-tail,
he looked like a gentleman sailor.

Although our good natured captain laughed at this joke, I confess I
could not; all the horrors of impressment rushed on my mind. This
mechanic may have left a wife and children, suffering and starving,
from having her husband and their father kidnapped, like a negro on
the coast of Guinea, and held in worse than negro slavery. But this is
_Old England_, the residence of liberty and equal laws; and the
_bulwark of our holy religion_! The crimes of nations are punished in
this world; and we may venture to predict, that _the impressment of
seamen_, and _cruel military punishments_, will operate the downfal of
this splendid imposter, whose proper emblem is a bloated figure,
seated on a throne, made of dead mens' bones, with a crown on its
head, a sword in one hand, and a cup filled with the tears of widows
and orphans in the other.

Mr. Peel, a member of the British parliament, delivered an unfeeling
speech relative to Ireland, in which he speaks of their _untameable
ferocity_, and _systematic guilt_, supported by perjury, related this
most affecting anecdote, which was to shew the feeling of abhorrence
entertained against those who gave evidence against those who were
tried for resisting a government they detested.--A man who was
condemned to death was offered a pardon, on the condition that he
would _give evidence_, which they knew he could give, after having
actually given a part of his testimony, retracted it in open court;
_his wife, who was strongly attached to her husband, having prayed him
on her knees, with tears, that he would be hanged rather than give
evidence_. The house burst out into a loud and general LAUGH!!!

Here was an heroic woman who leaves the wife of Brutus and of Poelus
far behind her. If this extraordinary and shockingly affecting scene
had taken place in the Congress of the United States of America, would
it have excited LAUGHTER, or deep commisseration? Greater men than
members of parliament, can _laugh_ at misery. See what Junius says of
king George the 3d and Chancellor York.

There is another Irish anecdote worth relating.--During the troubles
in Ireland a Boy 16 years old was seized by the military, who demanded
of him to whom he belonged. He refused to tell. They tied him up to
the halberts, and he endured a severe whipping without confessing whom
he served. At length his sister, who was about 18, unable to endure
the sight of his torture any longer, run to the officer and told him
that he was in the service of Mr. ---- a suspected man. The brave boy
damned his sister for a blabbing b-- _for now said he the cause of
Ireland is betrayed and ruined_. Here are traits of Spartan virtues,
that a modern British house of commons are past comprehending. A
stronger proof of debasement cannot well be imagined in the Senate of
England.

We passed by Sheerness, and, in our passage to the Nore, came near
several hulks filled with convicts. We soon came along side the
Leyden, an old Dutch 64, fitted up with births, eight feet by six, so
as to contain six persons; but they were nearly all filled by
prisoners who came before us, so that we were obliged to shirk
wherever we could.

We found the captain of the Leyden very much such a man as the
commander of the Malabar. Our allowance of food was as short as he
could make it, and our liquor ungenerous. He said we were a damn set
of rebel yankees that lived too well, which made us saucy. The first
lieutenant was a kind and humane gentleman, but his captain was the
reverse. He would hear no complaints, and threatened to put the bearer
of them in irons.

The countenance, and whole form of this man was indicative of malice;
his very step was that of an abrupt and angry tyrant. His gloomy
visage was that of an hardened jailor; and he bore towards us the same
sort of affection which we experienced from the refugees in Nova
Scotia.--He caused a marine to be most severely flogged for selling
one of the prisoners a little tobacco, which he saved out of his own
allowance. The crew were forbidden to speak with any of us; but, when
they could with safety, they described him to be the most odious of
tyrants, and the most malicious of men. They said he never appeared
pleased only when his men were suffering the agonies of the
boatswain's lashes. In this he resembled the demons among the damned.

Upon calling over our names, and parading ourselves before captain
Davie, we could discover, in a second, the harsh temper of the man. We
at length weighed anchor, passed a fleet of men of war, and in a few
days arrived in Plymouth harbor. The captain went immediately on shore
and left the command to his worthy and humane lieutenant. The next day
a great many boats came off to us filled with Cyprian dames. They
were, generally, healthy, rosy looking lasses. Their number increased
every hour, until there were as many on board of us as there were men.
In short, every man who paid the waterman half a crown had a wife; so
that the ship, belonging to the bulwark of our religion, exhibited
such a scene as is described by the navigators, who have visited the
South-Sea Islands. We read, with surprise and pity, the conduct of the
female sex, when European ships visit the islands in the Pacific
ocean;[O] and we are unwilling to give credit to all we read, because
we, Americans, never fail to annex the idea of modesty to that of a
woman; for female licentiousness is very rarely witnessed in the new
world. This has rendered the accounts of navigators, in a degree,
incredible; but we see the same thing in the ports of England--a land
of Christians--renowned for its bishops and their church, and for
moral writings and sermons, and for their bible societies, and
religious institutions, and for their numerous moral essays, and
chaste poetical writings. Yes, Christian reader! in this religious
island, whereof George the 3d is king, and Charlotte the queen, the
young females crowd the prison ships, and take for husbands the ragged
American prisoners, provided they can get a few shillings by it! What
are we to think of the state of society in England, when two or three
sisters leave the house of their parents, and pass a week on board of
a newly arrived ship? What can be the sentiments of the daughters?
What the feelings of their mothers, their fathers, and their brothers?
In the South Sea Islands, young females know not what modesty means;
neither that nor chastity is a virtue in those regions.[O] But it is
not quite so in England; there this lewd conduct is a mark of
debasement, depravity and vice. The sea-ports of England, and the
_streets_ of her capital, and, indeed, of all her large cities are
filled with handsome women, who offer themselves as wives to men they
never saw before, for _a few shillings_; and yet this is the country
of which our reverend doctors, from the pulpit, assure us, contains
more religion and morality than any other of the same number of
inhabitants; nay, more, our governor has proclaimed it to the world
over, as being the very "bulwark of the religion we profess." If
cruelty to prisoners, cruelty to their own soldiers, if kidnapping
their mechanics, by press gangs, if shocking barbarity be exercised
towards prisoners, and if open, shameless lewdness, mark and disgrace
their sea-ports, their capital, and all their large cities, are the
modest and correct people, inhabiting the towns and villages of the
United States, to be affronted by being told publicly, that they have
less religion, less morality than the people of England? How long
shall we continue to be abused by folly and presumption? We,
Americans, are yet a modest, clean, and moral people; as much so as
the Swiss in Europe; and we feel ourselves offended, and disgusted
when our blind guides tell us to follow the example of the English in
their manners, and sexual conduct. Could I allow myself to
particularise the conduct of the fair sex, who crowd on board every
recently arrived ship, and who swarm on the shores, my readers would
confess that few scenes of the kind could exceed it. The freedom of
the American press will give to posterity a just picture of British
morals, in the reigns of George the 3d and 4th.

While laying in Plymouth harbor, we received the news of the _capture
of the City of Washington_; and the burning of its public buildings
with the library. The burning of the public buildings and the library
of books at Washington has been execrated by all the civilized world.
The British are famous, or rather infamous for this barbarous mode of
warfare. We find this passage in Captain John Knox's historical
Journal of the Campaigns in North America in 1758--"Brigadier Wolfe
has been also successful at Gaspe, and the N. N. E. parts of this
province, (Nova Scotia) he has burned, among other settlements a most
valuable one called Mount St. Louis: the intendant of the place
offered 150,000 livres to ransom that town and its environs, which
were _nobly_ rejected: all their magazines of corn, dried fish,
barrelled eels, and other provisions which they had for _themselves_,
and other provisions for Quebec market, were all destroyed. Wherever
he went with his troops desolation followed."--And this, reader, was
the _glorious_ General Wolfe, whom his barbarous nation, and our own
fools have extolled to the skies in marble monuments, and his sons.
Cockburn was nothing compared with this _immortal_ plunderer and
burner of villages and destroyer of the provisions laid up for the
men, women and children of the French settlements in Arcadia. General
Wolfe perpetrated this savage deed in the latter end of November,
1758, when the wretched inhabitants had a long and dreary winter
before them. But Wolfe and Ross were punished, by the just avenger.

"Capt. M'Curdie was killed by the falling of a tree on the 30th, and
Lieut. Hazen commands at present, who returned last night from a scout
up this river: he went to St. Ann's and burnt 147 dwelling houses, 2
mass-houses, besides all their barns, stables, out-houses, granaries,
&c. He returned down the river about ---- where he found a house in a
thick forest, with a number of cattle, horses and hogs; these he
destroyed. There was fire in the chimney; the people were gone off
into the woods; he pursued, killed and _scalped_ six men, brought in
four, with two women and three children; he returned to the house, set
it on fire, threw the cattle into the flames, and arrived safe with
his prisoners."--from page 230 of Captain Knox's Historical Journal of
Campaigns in North America from 1756 to 1760. This work in two 4to.
vol. is dedicated by permission to Lieutenant General Sir Jeffrey
Amherst, and printed in London by Dodsley, 1769. It has for its motto
_ne quid falsi, dicere audeat, ne quid veri non audeat_.

Every body around us believed that America was conquered, and the war
over. After we had read the account in the newspaper, the Lieutenant
came down among us, and talked with us on the event; and asked us if
we did not think that America would now submit and make peace on such
terms as Great Britain should propose? We all told him with one voice,
_no! no!_ and that the possession of the whole sea-coast could not
produce that effect. We explained to him the situation of Washington;
and described the half built city; and soon convinced him that the
capture of Washington, was by no means an event of half the importance
of the capture of _Albany_, or _New-York_, or _Baltimore_. We all
agreed that it would make a great sound in England, and throughout
Europe, but that it was, in fact, of little consequence to the UNITED
STATES. Why should a _republican_ weep at the burning of a _palace_?

About a week after we entered Plymouth harbor, two hundred of us were
drafted to be sent to _Dartmoor Prison_, instead of being sent, as we
expected, to America.

We were conveyed in boats, and saw, as we passed, a number of men of
war on the stocks; and, among others, the Lord Vincent, pierced for
120 guns. One of our prisoners told the lieutenant that he was in that
battle with Lord St. Vincent, and of course helped him gain the
victory, and here he was now sailing by a most noble ship, (built in
honour of that famous admiral) on his way to a doleful prison! This
man had been pressed on board a British man of war, and was given up
as such; but instead of being sent home as he ought, he was detained a
prisoner of war, and yet this unfortunate man exposed his life in
fighting for the British off Cape St. Vincents, as much as the noble
Lord himself. Such is the difference of rewards in this chequered
world!

My mind was too much oppressed with the melancholy prospect of
Dartmoor prison, to notice particularly the gallant show of ships; and
the beautiful scenery which the dock and bay of Plymouth afforded.
When we landed a short distance from the dock, we were received by a
file of soldiers, or rather two files, between which we marched on to
prison. This was the first time we touched the soil of England with
our feet, after laying under its shores nearly a year. It excited
singular and pleasant sensations to be once more permitted to walk on
the earth, although surrounded by soldiers and going to prison. The
old women collected about us with their cakes and ale, and as we all
had a little money we soon emptied their jugs and baskets; and their
cheering beverage soon changed our sad countenances; and as we marched
on we cheered each other. Our march drew to the doors and windows the
enchanting sight of fair ladies; compared with our dirty selves, they
looked like angels peeping out of Heaven; and yet they were neither
handsomer, or neater than our sweethearts and sisters in our own dear
country.

After we left the street, we found the road extremely dusty, which
rendered it very unpleasant in walking close to each other. Before we
got half way to the prison, there was a very heavy shower of rain, so
that by the time we arrived there we looked as if we had been
wallowing in the mud. Our unfeeling conductors marched us nine miles
before they allowed us to rest; never once considering how unfit we
were, from our long confinement, for travelling. Where we were allowed
to stop, a butt of beer was placed in a cart for sale. Had British
prisoners been marching through New-England, a butt of beer, or good
cider would have been placed for them free of all expense; but Old
England is not New-England by a great deal, whatever Governor STRONG
may think of his adorable country of kings, bishops and missionary
societies.[P] Here a fresh escort of soldiers relieved those who
brought us from Plymouth. The commanding officer of this detachment
undertook to drive us from the beer-cart before all of us had a taste
of it; he rode in among us, and flourished his sword, with a view to
frighten us; but we refused to stir till we were ready, and some of
our company called him a damned lobster backed ----, for wishing to
drive us away before every one had his drink. The man was perplexed,
and knew not what to do. At last the booby did what he ought to have
done at first--forced the beer-seller to drive off his cart. But it is
the fate of British officers of higher rank than this one, to think
and act at _last_ of that which they ought to have thought, and acted
upon at _first_. They are no match for the yankees, in contrivance, or
in execution. This beer barrel is an epitome of all their conduct in
their war with America. What old woman put the idea into this
officer's head I know not; but it is a fact, as soon as the beer
barrel was driven off, we were all ready to march off too! And few
companies of vagabonds in England ever marched off to prison in better
spirits; we cheered one another, and laughed at our profound leader,
until we came in sight of the black, bleak, and barren moor, without a
solitary bush or blade of grass. Some of our prisoners swore that we
had marched the whole length of England, and got into Scotland. We all
agreed that it was not credible that such a hideous, barren spot could
be any where found in England.

Our old men-of-wars-men suffered the most. Many of these had not set
their feet on the earth for seven years, and they had lost in a
measure, the natural operation of their feet and legs. These naval
veterans loitered behind, attended by a guard. In ascending a hill we
were some distance from the main body, and by turning a corner the
rear was concealed from the van. Two young men took advantage of this,
and jumped over a wall, and lay snug under it; but being observed, the
guard fired, which alarmed those in front, when some soldiers pursued
them, and seeing the impossibility of escaping, the young men jumped
over the wall again, and mixed in with their companions without their
being able to identify their persons. Our driver was extremely
perplexed and alarmed at our daring attempts.

On crawling up the long and ragged hill, we became wearied, and
refused to walk so fast as did the guard. No prudent officer would
have driven men on as we were driven. We should have rested every two
or three miles.--The sun was sinking below the horizon when we gained
the top of the hill which commanded a view of _Dartmoor prison_. We
passed through a small collection of houses called Princetown, where
were two inns. The weather was disagreeable after the shower, and we
saw the dark-hued prisons, whose sombre and doleful aspect chilled our
blood. Yonder, cried one of our companions, is the residence of _four
thousand five hundred_ men, and in a few minutes we shall add to the
number of its wretches. Others said, in that place will be sacrificed
the aspiring feelings of youth, and the anxious expectations of
relatives. There, said I, shall we bury all the designs of early
emulation. I never felt disheartened before. I shed tears when I
thought of home, and of my wretched situation, and I cursed the
barbarity of a people among whom we were driven more like hogs than
fellow men and Christians. I had weathered adverse gales with
fortitude; and never flinched amidst severities. "_A taught
bowstring_," was always my motto; but here I gave way for a moment, to
despair, and wished the string to snap asunder and end my misery; for
I had not even the consolation of a criminal going to execution to
brace up the cord of life and inspire hope beyond the grave. The idea
of lingering out a wretched existence in a doleful prison, dying by
piece-meals, my flesh wasting by hunger, my frame exhausting by
thirst, and my spirits broken down by a tyrant, and by jostling with
misfortunes, I could not avoid. If death, instead of knocking at my
prison door, would enter it at once, I would thank the goal deliverer.
I am now comforted with the conviction, that nothing but an early
religious education could have preserved me at this, and some other
times of my misery, from destroying myself.

We soon arrived at the gates of this very extensive prison, and were
admitted into the first yard, for it had several. We there answered to
the call of our names; and at length passed through the iron gates to
prison No. 7. We requested the turnkey to take in our baggage, as it
contained our bedding; but it was neglected, and rained on during the
night; for on this bleak and drizzly mountain there are not more than
ninety fair days in the year. It took us several days to dry our
_duds_, for they merited not the name of baggage.

The moment we entered the dark prison, we found ourselves jammed in
with a multitude; one calling us to come this way, another that; some
halloing, swearing and cursing, so that I did not know, for a moment,
but what I had died through fatigue and hard usage, and was actually
in the regions of the damned. Oh, what a horrid night I here passed!

The floors of this reproach to Old England were of stone, damp and
mouldy, and smelling like a transport. Here we had to lay down and
sleep after a most weary march of 15 miles. What apology can be made
for not having things prepared for our comfort? Those who have been
enslaved in Algiers found things very different. The food and the
lodging were in every respect superior among the Mahometans, than
among these boasting Christians, and their general treatment
infinitely more humane; some of our companions had been prisoners
among the Barbary powers, and they describe them as vastly more
considerate than the English.

After passing a dreadful night, we next day had opportunity of
examining our prison. It had iron stanchions, like those in stables
for horses, on which hammocks were hung. The windows had iron
gratings, and the bars of the doors seemed calculated to resist the
force of men, and of time. These things had a singular effect on such
of us, as had, from our childhood, associated the idea of _liberty_
with the name of _Old England_; but a man must travel beyond the smoke
of his own chimney to acquire correct ideas of the characters of men,
and of nations.--We however saw the worst of it at first; for every
day our residence appeared less disagreeable.

We arrived here the 11th of October; and our lot was better than that
of thirty of our companions, who came on a little after us from
Plymouth. These 30 men were sent from the West-Indies, and had no
descriptive lists, and it was necessary that these men should be
measured and described as to stature, complexion, &c.--Capt. Shortland
therefore ordered them to be shut up in the prison No. 6. This was a
more cold, dreary and comfortless place than No. 7. Their bed was
nothing but the cold damp stones; and being in total darkness they
dare not walk about. These 30 men had been imprisoned at Barbadoes;
and they had supposed that when they arrived at this famous birth
place of liberty, they should not be excluded from all her blessings.
They had suffered much at Barbadoes, and they expected a different
treatment in England; but alas! Captain Shortland at once dissipated
the illusion and shewed himself what Britons really are. The next
morning they were taken up to Captain Shortland's office to be
described, and marked, and numbered. One of the thirty, an old and
respectable Captain of an American ship, complained of his usage, and
told Shortland that he had been several times a prisoner of war, but
never experienced such barbarous treatment before. The man only
replied that their not having their beds was the fault of the Turnkey;
as if that could ever be admitted as an excuse among military men.
[--> _For a minute description of Dartmoor Prison see the engraving._]

Dartmoor is a dreary spot of itself; it is rendered more so by the
westerly winds blowing from the Atlantic ocean, which have the same
quality and effects as the easterly wind, blowing from the same ocean,
are known to have in New-England. This high land receives the sea mist
and fogs; and they settle on our skins with a deadly dampness. Here
reigns, more than two thirds of the year, "_the Scotch mist_," which
is famous to a proverb. This moor affords nothing for subsistence or
pleasure. Rabbits cannot live on it. Birds fly from it; and it is
inhabited, according to the belief of the most vulgar, by ghosts and
dæmons; to which will now doubtless be added, the troubled ghosts of
the murdered American prisoners; and hereafter will be distinctly seen
the tormented spirit of the bloody Capt. Shortland, clanking his
chains, weeping, wailing and gnashing his teeth! It is a fact that the
market people have not sufficient courage to pass this moor in the
night. They are always sure to leave Princetown by day light, not
having the resolution of passing this dreary, barren, and
heaven-abandoned spot in the dark. Before the bloody massacre of our
countrymen, this unhallowed spot was believed, by common superstition,
to belong to the Devil.

Certain it is, that the common people in this neighbourhood were
impressed with the notion that Dartmoor was a place less desirable to
mortals, and more under the influence of evil spirits, than any other
spot in England. I shall only say, that I found it, take it all in
all, a less disagreeable prison than the ships; the life of a prudent,
industrious, well behaved man might here be rendered pretty easy, for
a prison life, as was the case with some of our own countrymen, and
some Frenchmen; but the young, the idle, the giddy, fun making youth
generally reaped such fruit as he sowed. Gambling was the wide inlet
to vice and disorder; and in this Frenchmen took the lead. These men
would play away every thing they possessed beyond the clothes to keep
them decent. They have been known to game away a month's provision;
and when they had lost it, would shirk and steal for a month after for
their subsistence. A man with some money in his pocket might live
pretty well through the day in Dartmoor Prison; there being shops and
stalls where every little article could be obtained; but added to this
we had a good and constant market; and the bread and meat supplied by
government were not bad; and as good I presume as that given to
British prisoners by our own government; had our lodging and
prison-house been equal to our food, I never should have complained.
The establishment was blessed with a good man for a physician, named
M'Grath, an Irishman, a tall, lean gentleman, with one eye, but of a
warm and good heart. We never shall cease to admire his disposition,
nor forget his humanity.

The Frenchmen and our prisoners did not agree very well. They
quarrelled and sometimes fought, and they carried their differences to
that length, that it was deemed proper to erect a wall to separate
them, like so many game cocks, in different yards. When this Depot was
garrisoned by Highlanders, these Scotchmen took part with the
Americans against the French. Here the old presbyterian principle of
affinity operated against the papal man of sin. It cannot be denied
that there is a deep rooted hatred between the Briton and the
Frenchman.

While at Dartmoor Prison, there came certain French officers wearing
the white cockade; their object seemed to be to converse with the
prisoners, and to persuade them to declare for Louis 18th; but they
could not prevail; the Frenchmen shouted _vive l'Empereur!_ Their
attachment to Bonaparte was remarkably strong. He must have been a man
of wonderful powers to attach all ranks so strongly to him. Before the
officers left the place, these Frenchmen hoisted up a little dog with
the white cockade tied under his tail. Soon after this the French
officers, who appeared to be men of some consideration, left the
prison.

I have myself had nothing particular to complain of; but the prisoners
here speak of Captain Shortland as the most detestable of men; and
they bestow on him the vilest and most abusive epithets. The prisoners
began to dig a hole under prison No. 6, and had made considerable
progress towards the outer wall, when a man, who came from Newburyport
betrayed them to Capt. Shortland. This man had, it was said, changed
his name in America, on account of forgery.--Be that as it may, he was
sick at Chatham where we paid him every attention, and subscribed
money for procuring him the means of comfort. Shortland gave him two
guineas, and sent him to Ireland; or the prisoners would have hanged
him for a traitor to his countrymen. The hypocritical scoundrel's
excuse was conscience and humanity; for he told Shortland that we
intended to murder him, and every one else in the neighbourhood.
Shortland said he knew better; that "he was fearful of our escaping,
but never had any apprehensions of personal injury from an American;
that they delighted in plaguing him and contriving the means of
escape; but he never saw a cruel or murderous disposition in any of
them."

The instant Capt. Shortland discovered the attempt to escape by
digging a subterraneous passage, he drove all the prisoners into the
yard of No. 1, making them take their baggage with them; and in a few
days after, when he thought they might have begun another hole, but
had not time to complete it, he moved them into another yard and
prison, and so he kept moving them from one prison to the other, and
took great credit to himself for his contrivance; and in this way he
harrassed our poor fellows until the day before our arrival at the
prison. He had said that he was resolved not to suffer them to remain
in the same building and yard more than ten days at a time; and this
was a hardship they resolved not voluntarily to endure; for the
removal of hammocks and furniture and every little article, was an
intolerable grievance; and the more the prisoners appeared pestered,
the greater was the enjoyment of Captain Shortland. It was observed
that whenever, in these removals, there were much jamming and
squeezing and contentions for places, it gave this man pleasure; but
that the ease and comfort of the prisoners gave him pain. The united
opinion of the prisoners was, that he was a very bad hearted man. He
would often stand on the military walk, or in the market square,
whenever there was any difference, or tumult, and enjoy the scene with
malicious satisfaction. He appeared to delight in exposing prisoners
in rainy weather, without sufficient reason. This has sent many of our
poor fellows to the grave, and would have sent more had it not been
for the benevolence and skill of Dr. M'Grath. We thought Miller and
Osmore skilled in tormenting; but Shortland exceeded them both by a
devilish deal. The prisoners related to me several instances of cool
and deliberate acts of torment, disgraceful to a government of
Christians; for the character and general conduct of this commander
could not be concealed from them. He wore the British colours on his
house, and acted under this emblem of sovereignty.

It was customary to count over the prisoners twice a week; and after
the sweepers had brushed out the prisons, the guard would send to
inform the commander that they were all ready for his inspection. On
these occasions, Shortland very seldom omitted staying away as long as
he possibly could, merely to vex the prisoners; and they at length
expressed their sense of it; for he would keep them standing until
they were weary. At last they determined not to submit to it; and
after waiting a sufficient time, they made a simultaneous rush
forward, and so forced their passage back into their prison-house. To
punish this act, Shortland stopped the country people from coming into
market for two days. _At this juncture we arrived_; and as the
increase of numbers, increased our obstinacy, the Captain began to
relax; and after that, he came to inspect the prisoners, as soon as
they were paraded for that purpose. It was easy to perceive that the
prisoners had, in a great measure, conquered the hard hearted, and
vindictive Capt. Shortland.

The roof of the prison to which we were consigned, was very leaky; and
it rained on this dreary mountain almost continually; place our beds
wherever we could, they were generally wet. We represented this to
Capt. Shortland; and to our complaint was added that of the worthy and
humane Dr. M'Grath; but it produced no effect; so that to the ordinary
miseries of a prison, we, for a long time endured the additional one
of wet lodgings, which sent many of our countrymen to their graves.

We owe much to the humanity of Dr. M'Grath, a very worthy man, and a
native of Ireland. Was M'Grath commander of this Depot, there would be
no difficulty with the prisoners. They would obey him through
affection and respect; because he considers us rational beings, with
minds cultivated like his own, and susceptible of gratitude, and
habituated to do, and receive acts of kindness; whereas the great
Capt. Shortland considers us all as a base set of men, degraded below
the rank of Englishmen, towards whom nothing but rigor should be
extended. He acted on this false idea; and has like his superiors
reaped the bitter fruit of his own ill judged conduct. He might, by
kind and respectful usage, have led the Americans to any thing just
and honorable; but it was not in his power, nor all the Captains in
his nation, to force them to acknowledge and quietly submit to his
tyranny.

Dr. M'Grath was a very worthy man, and every prisoner loved him; but
M'Farlane, his assistant, a Scotchman, was the reverse; in dressing,
or bleeding, or in any operation, he would handle a prisoner with a
brutal roughness, that conveyed the idea that he was giving way to the
feelings of revenge, or national hatred.[Q] Cannot a Scotchman
testify his _unnatural_ loyalty to the present reigning family of
England without treating an American with cruelty and contempt.

Dr. Dobson, the superintendant physician of the Hospital-ship at
Chatham, was a very worthy and very skilful gentleman. We, Americans,
ought never to forget his goodness towards us. Some of us esteem him
full as high as Dr. M'Grath, and some more highly. They are both
however, worthy men, and deserve well of this country. There is
nothing men vary more in than in their opinion of and attachment to
physicians. Dobson and M'Grath deserve medals of gold, and hearts of
gratitude, for their kind attention to us all.



CHAPTER IV.


The establishment of prison-ships at Chatham is broken up, and the
last of the prisoners were marched from Plymouth to this place, the
30th of November. They were marched from that place to this, in one
day, half leg deep in mud. Some lost their shoes; others, to preserve
them, took them off, and carried them in their hands. When they
arrived here, they were indeed objects of pity; nevertheless they were
immediately shut up in a cold, damp prison, without any bedding, or
any of the ordinary conveniences, until they could be examined and
described in the commander's books; after which they were permitted to
mix with the rest of their countrymen. We found many of them, the day
after their arrival, unable to walk, by reason of their too long
protracted march, in a very bad road. A prudent drover would not have
risked his cattle by driving them through such a road in a few hours.
Such a thing never was done in America, with British prisoners.

I find all the prisoners here deeply exasperated against Captain
Shortland, and too much prejudiced to hear any thing in his favor. I
presume they have reason for it. As I have but just arrived, I have
had but little opportunity of seeing and judging his conduct. Instead
of his being a bad hearted man, I am disposed to believe that the
fault is in his understanding and education. I suspect that he is a
man of narrow views; that he has not sufficient information, or
capacity, to form a right judgment of the peculiar cast and character
of the people under his charge. He has never, perhaps, considered,
that these descendants of Englishmen, the free inhabitants of the new
world, have been born and brought up in, if we may speak so, Indian
freedom; on which freedom has been superinduced an education purely
democratic, in schools where degrading punishments are unknown; where
if a schoolmaster exercised the severity common in English and German
schools, they would tie the master's hands with his own bell-rope. He
has never considered that our potent militia choose their own
officers; and that the people choose all their officers and leaders
from among themselves; and that there are very few men indeed, none,
perhaps, in New-England, who would refuse to shake hands with a decent
yeoman. It is probable that Captain Shortland has never once reflected
that there are fewer grades of men between the lowest white man under
his charge and the highest in America, than there are between him and
the highest ranks in England. He has never considered the similarity
between the ancient Roman republican, and the republican of the United
States of America; nor why both republics deemed it abhorrent to
inflict stripes on their citizens. Shortland had not sufficient
sagacity to discover that playfulness, fun and frolic, formed a strong
trait in the character of the American sailor and militia man, for
they had hardly become, what is called in Europe, soldiers; drilling
and discipline had not obliterated the free and easy carriage of a
bold and fearless Yankee.

Sir Guy Carlton, afterwards Lord Dorchester, was Governor of Canada,
during the revolutionary war, and proved himself a wise man. He
penetrated the American character, and treated the American prisoners
captured in Canada, accordingly; and by doing so, he came near
breaking up our army; for our prisoners were softened and subdued by
his kindness and humanity; he sent them home well clothed, and well
fed, and most of them declared they never would fight against Sir Guy
Carlton. He knew the American character thoroughly; and was convinced
that harshness and severity would have no other effect than to excite
revenge and hatred. On the other hand, our prisoners could have no
very great respect for a _captain_, an officer, which they themselves
created by their votes, at pleasure; add to this, that several of the
prisoners had the title of _captain_ in their own country. Had the
commander of Dartmoor Prison been an old woman, the Americans would
have respected her sex and years, and obeyed her commands; but they
despised and hated Shortland, for his deficiency of head, heart, and
education; from all which originated those sad events which have
disgraced one nation, and exasperated the other forever. Shortland may
be excused, when it is considered that England lost her colonies by
not studying the American character; and the same inattention to the
natural operations of the human heart, is now raising America
gradually up to be the first naval power on the terraqueous globe. And
thus much for contempt.

There was an order that all lights should be put out by eight o'clock
at night, in every prison; and it was doubtless proper; but this order
was carried into execution with a rigor bordering on barbarity. On the
least glimpse of light discoverable in the prison, the guard would
fire in amongst us; and several were shot. Several Frenchmen were
wounded. This story was told--that a French captain of a privateer,
the night after he first came, was undressing himself, by his hammock,
when the sentry cried, "_Out lights!_" The Frenchman not understanding
English, kept it burning; the sentry fired, and scattered his brains
over the place; but this did not occur while I was there; but this I
aver, that several were shot, and I wondered that many were not
killed. I was shocked at the barbarity of the order.

About this time, the Derbyshire militia were relieved by a regiment of
regulars, who had been in Spain. They were chiefly Irish; and treated
us better than we were treated by the militia. They had infinitely
more generosity and manliness, as well as more intelligence. They
acted plays in the cock loft of No. 5. They have good music, and
tolerable scenery; and charge six pence for admission, to defray the
expense. This is a very pleasant way of making the British soldier
forget his slavery; and the American prisoner his bondage. These
generous hearted Irishmen would sometimes give us a song in honour of
_our_ naval victories. O, how we did long to be at liberty, when we
heard songs in honour of the _Constitution_ and of the _United
States_![R]

Some men are about to be sent off to Dartmouth, to return to the
United States; this has occasioned us to write letters to our friends
and connexions; but Captain Shortland is very jealous on this head; he
will not allow us to write to any of the neighbouring country people.
The English dare not trust their own people, much more the American
captives.

This is the latter part of the month of November; and the weather has
been generally rainy, dark, dismal and foggy. Sometimes we could
hardly see the sentinels on the walls. Sorrow and sadness within;
gloom, fog, or drizzly rain without. If the commissioners at Ghent do
not soon make peace, or establish an exchange, we shall be lost to our
country, and to hope. The newspapers now and then enliven us with the
prospect of peace. We are told that growing dissentions at Vienna will
induce Great Britain to get rid of her transatlantic enemy, in order
to combat those nearer home. Whenever we see in the newspapers an
article captioned "_News from Ghent_," we devour it with our eyes; but
instead of substance, generally find it empty wind. We are wearied
out. I speak for myself; and I hear the same expression from others.
Winter is commencing to add to our miseries. Poor clothing, miserable
lodging, poor, and inadequate food, long dismal nights, darkness, foul
air, bad smells, the groans of the sick, and distressed; the
execrations and curses of the half distracted prisoner, the unfeeling
conduct of our keepers and commander--all, all, all conspire to fill
up the cup of our sorrow; but we hope that one drop will not be added
after it is brim full; far then it will run over, and death will
follow!

_December._ Nothing new, or strange, worth recording; every day, and
every night brings the same sad picture, the same heart sinking
impressions. Until now, I could not believe that misfortune and
confinement, with a deprivation of the accustomed food, ease and
liberty enjoyed in our own dear country, could have wrought such a
change in the human person. The young have not only acquired wrinkles,
but appear dried up, and contracted in body and mind. I can easily
conceive that a few generations of the human species, passed in such
misery and confinement, would produce a race of beings, very inferior
to what we now are. The sailor, however, suffers less in appearance
than we landsmen; for my short cruise in a privateer, does not entitle
me to the name of a sailor. How often have I reflected on my rash
adventure! To leave the house of plenty, surrounded with every thing
comfortable, merely to change the scene, and see the watery world. To
quit my paternal roof, half educated, to dress wounds, and cut off the
limbs of those who might be mutilated, was about as mad a scheme as
ever giddy youth engaged in. But repining will do no good. I must not
despair, but make the best of my hard lot. If I have lost a portion of
ordinary education, I have passed the severer school of misfortune;
and should I live to return to America, I must strive to turn these
hardships to the best advantage. He who has not met adversity, has not
seen the most profitable part of human life.

There were times, during my captivity, especially in the long and
cheerless nights, when home, and all its endearments, rushed on my
mind; and when I reflected on my then situation, I burst into tears,
and wept aloud. It was then I was fearful that I should lose my
reason, and never recover it. Many a time have I _thought_ myself into
a fever, my tongue covered with a furr, and my brain seemed burning up
within my skull. It was company that preserved me. Had I been alone, I
should have been raving distracted. I had committed no crime; I was in
the service of my country, in a just and necessary war, declared by
the _people_ of the UNITED STATES, through their representatives in
_Congress_, and proclaimed to the world by our supreme executive
officer, _James Madison_. On this subject, I cannot help remarking the
ignorance of the people of England. In their newspapers, and in their
conversation, you will constantly find this idea held up, that the war
was the work of _Mr. Madison_ and _Bonaparte_. This shows their
ignorance of the affairs of our country. They are too ignorant to talk
with on the constitution of our government; and on the character and
conduct of our administration. It is no wonder that they are
astonished at our victories, by sea and by land, when they are so
totally ignorant of our country, of its endless resources, of its
invincible republican spirit, of its _strong_ government, founded on
the affections of the people; and of the vigor, and all commanding
intellect that pervades and directs the whole.

On the 28th of this month, December, 1815, the news arrived here that
a treaty of peace was signed the 24th instant, at Ghent. After a
momentary stupor, acclamations of joy burst forth from every mouth. It
flew like wild fire through the prison; and _peace! peace! peace!_
echoed throughout these dreary regions. To know that we were soon to
return home, produced a sensation of joy beyond the powers of
expression! Some screamed, hollowed, danced, sung, and capered, like
so many Frenchmen. Others stood in amaze, with their hands in their
pockets, as if doubtful of its truth. In by far the greater part,
however, it gave a glow of health and animation to the wan cheek of
the half sick, and, hitherto, cheerless prisoner. Some unforgiving
spirits hail the joyful event as bringing them nearer the period of
revenge, which they longed to exercise on some of their tyrannical
keepers. Many who had meditated escape, and had hoarded up every penny
for that event, now brought it forth to spend in celebration of their
regular deliverance. Even hard hearted Shortland appeared to bend from
the haughty severity of his jailor-like manner, and can now speak to
an American as if he were of the same species with himself. He has
even allowed us to hoist our national colors on these prisons; and
appears not to be offended at the sound of mirth and hilarity, which
now echoes throughout these extensive mansions. I say extensive, for I
suppose the whole of these prisons, yards, hospitals, stores and
houses, are spread over twenty acres of ground. [_See the plate._]

We calculate that the ratification of the treaty by the _President_ of
the _United States_, will arrive in England by the 1st of April, at
which period there will not be an American left in this place. The
very thoughts of it keep us from sleeping. Amidst this joy for peace,
and for the near prospect of our seeing, once more, our dear America,
there is not a man among us but feels disposed to try again the tug of
war with the Britons, should they impress and flog our seamen, or
instigate the savages of the wilderness to scalp and tomahawk the
inhabitants of our frontiers. This war, and this harsh imprisonment,
will add vigor to our arms, should the people of America again
declare, by their representatives in congress, that individual
oppression, or the nation's wrongs, render it expedient to sail, or
march against a foe, whose tender mercies are cruelty. We can tell our
countrymen, when we return home, what the Britons are, as their
prisoners can tell the English what the Americans are.--"_By their
fruits shall ye know them._"

We invite our readers to peruse the _historical journal_ of the
campaigns of 1759, by Capt. Knox, where the immortal Wolfe cut such a
glorious figure in burning the houses, and plundering the wretched
peasantry of Canada. He says, "The detachments of regulars and
rangers, under Major Scott and Captain Goreham, who went down the
river on the 1st instant, are returned. They took a great quantity of
black cattle and sheep; an immense deal of plunder, such as _household
stuff, books and apparel, burnt above eleven hundred houses, and
destroyed several hundred acres of corn_, beside _some fisheries_, and
made sixty prisoners;"--and this just before winter! Have we,
Americans, ever been guilty of such deeds? Yet we, Yankees, have been
taught from our childhood to eulogize _Wolfe_, and _Amherst_, and
_Monckton_, and to speak in raptures of the glorious war in 1759, when
British soldiers joined the savages in scalping Frenchmen!

During this month, a number of prisoners have been sent to this prison
from Plymouth. They came here from Halifax; they were principally
seamen, taken out of prizes, which the English retook. They all make
similar complaints of hard usage, bad and very scanty food, and no
attention to their health or comfort. There are now, at this depot,
about _Twenty-Three Hundred and Fifty Americans_, who were
_impressed_, previously to the war, into the British service, by
English ships and English press-gangs. They are the stoutest and most
hardy looking men in the prison. This is easily accounted for. When
the British go on board an American merchant ship to look for English
sailors, they adopt one easy rule, viz.--they select the stoutest,
most hardy, and healthy looking men, and swear that they are
Englishmen. After they have selected one of these fine fellows, it is
in vain that he produces his protection, or any other evidence of his
American birth and citizenship.

We learn from these seamen, that as soon as conveyed on board the
British men of war, they are examined as to the length of time they
have been at sea; and according to the knowledge and experience they
appear to have, they are stationed; and if they grumble at the duty
assigned them, they are called mutinous rascals, and threatened with
the cat; the warrant officers are charged to watch them closely, lest
they should attempt to pervert the crew, and to prevent them from
sending letters from the ship to their friends. Should any letters be
detected on them, the sailors are charged, on pain of the severest
punishment, to deliver them to some of the commissioned officers.

If they complained of their hard fate to their messmates, they were
liable to punishment, and if they attempted to regain their liberty,
and were detected, they were stripped, tied up, and most cruelly and
disgracefully whipped, like a negro slave. Can any thing be conceived
more humiliating to the feelings of men, born and brought up as we all
are? Can we ever be cordial friends with such a people, even in time
of peace? Will ever a man of our country, or his children after him,
forgive this worse than Algerine treatment?

Several of the most intelligent of these impressed men related to me
the particulars of the treatment, they, at various times, received;
and I had committed them to paper; but they are too mean, low and
disgusting to be recorded. The pitiful evasions, unworthy arts, and
even falsehoods of some captains of his Britannic majesty's line of
battle ships, when a seaman produced his protection; or offered to
prove his nativity, or identify his person, as marked in his
descriptive roll, were such, as to make me bless my stars that I did
not belong to their service. There were, however, some instances of
noble and generous conduct; which came up to the idea we, once,
entertained of English honor, before the solid bullion of the English
naval character was beaten into such thin, such very thin gold leaf,
as to gild so many thousands of their epauletted seamen. The officers
of the _Poictiers_ were spoken of with respect; and, by what I could
learn, the smaller the vessel, the worse treatment was experienced by
our prisoners, and impressed seamen; your little-big-men being always
the greatest tyrants. Among these small fry of the mistress of the
ocean, "_you damned Yankee rascal_," was a common epithet. Our own
land officers had often to remark, when they came in contact with the
British, especially in the night, as at Bridgewater, and at the
repulse at Fort Erie, that the British colonels and other officers,
were heard repeatedly to use expressions of this sort--"No quarter to
the _damned yankees_!" "Form! Form! for the _damned yankees_ are close
upon us!" Colonel _Drummond's_ last words, when he surmounted the
rampart at Fort Erie, was in the like style of language. How many
lives have these expressions of contempt cost the British!

Many of the impressed seamen now here, have told me, that they have
been lashed to the gang-way, and most severely whipped, even to the
extent of three dozen, for refusing to do, what the captain of a
British man of war called "THEIR DUTY!" Some of these men have
replied, "it is _my duty_ to serve _my own_ country; and fight against
its enemies;" and for saying so, have been farther abused. Have ever
the French, Spaniards, Portuguese, Italians, Germans, Dutch, Danes,
Swedes, Russians, Prussians, Turks, or _Algerines_ treated American
citizens in this way? And yet our federalists can never bear to hear
us speak, in terms of resentment, against "the bulwark of our
religion." O, Caleb! Caleb! Thou hast a head and so has a beetle.[S]

We had all more or less money from the American government; and some
of the impressed men brought money with them. This attracted the
avaricious spirit of our neighbors; so that our market was filled, not
only with vegetables, but animal food. There were also seen in our
market, piles of broad cloth, boxes of hats, boots, shoes, and many
other articles. The greatest pick-pockets of all were the Jews, with
their watches, seals and trinkets, and _bad books_. A moral commander
would have swept the prison yard clean of such vermin. The women who
attend our market are as sharp as the Jews, and worse to deal with;
for a sailor cannot beat them down as he can one of these swindling
Israelites. Milk is cheap, only 4d. per gallon, but they know how to
water it.

The language and phraseology of these market people are very rude.
When puffing off the qualities of their goods, when they talk very
fast, we can hardly understand them. They do not speak near so good
English as our common market people do in America. The best of them
use the pronoun _he_ in a singular manner--as can _he_ pay me? Can
_he_ change? For can _you_ pay me? Or _you_ change? I am fully of
opinion with those who say that the American people taken
collectively, as a nation, speak the English language with more purity
than the Britons, taken collectively. Every man or boy of every part
of the United States would be promptly understood by the men of
letters in London; but every man and boy of Old England would not be
promptly understood by the lettered men in the capital towns of
America. Is it not the bible that has preserved the purity of our
language in America? These English men and women do not speak with the
grammatical correctness of our people. As to the Scotch, their
barbarisms that are to be found even in print, are affrontive to the
descendants of Englishmen. Where, among the white people of the United
States, can we find such shocking barbarities as we hear from the
common people of Scotland? And yet we find that the Prince Regent is
at the head of an institution for perpetuating the unwritten language
to the highlanders. We shall expect to hear of a similar undertaking,
under the same patronage, for keeping alive the language of his dear
allies, the _Kickapoos_ and _Pottowattomies_!! for the language of
slaves or savages, are the needed props of some of the thrones in
Europe.

I am sorry to remark that the Christmas holy-days have been recently
marked with no small degree of intoxication, and its natural
consequence, quarrelling among the prisoners. The news of peace; and
the expectation of being soon freed from all restraint, have operated
to unsettle the minds of the most unruly, and to encourage riot.
Drinking, carousing, and noise, with little foolish tricks, are now
too common.--Some one took off a shutter, or blind, from a window of
No. 6, and as the persons were not delivered up by the standing
committee, Captain Shortland punished the whole, college fashion, by
stopping the market, or as this great man was pleased wittily to call
it, _an embargo_. At length the men were given up to Shortland, who
put them in the _black hole_ for ten days.

To be a cook is the most disagreeable and dangerous office at this
depot. They are always suspected, watched and hated, from an
apprehension that they defraud the prisoner of his just allowance. One
was flogged the other day for skimming the fat off the soup. The grand
Vizier's office at Constantinople, is not more dangerous than a
cook's, at this prison, where are collected four or five thousand
hungry American sons of liberty. The prisoners take it upon themselves
to punish these pot-skimmers in their own way.

We have in this collection of prisoners, a gang of hard-fisted
fellows, who call themselves "THE ROUGH ALLIES." They have assumed to
themselves the office of accuser, judge and executioner. In my
opinion, they are as great villains as could be collected in the
United States. They appear to have little principle, and as little
humanity, and many of them are given up to every vice; and yet these
ragamuffins have been allowed to hold the scale and rod of justice.
These _rough allies_ make summary work with the accused, and seldom
fail to drag him to punishment. I am wearied out with such lawless
anti-American conduct.

_January 30th._ The principal conversation among the most considerate
is, when will the treaty be returned, ratified; for knowing the high
character of our commissioners, none doubt but that the President and
Senate will ratify, what they have approved. We are all in an uneasy,
and unsettled state of mind; more so than before the news of peace.
Before that news arrived, we had settled down in a degree of despair;
but now we are preparing and planning our peaceable departure from
this loathsome place.

I would ask the reader's attention to the conduct of Capt. Shortland,
the commanding officer of this depot of prisoners, as well as to the
conduct of the men under his charge, as the conduct and events of this
period have led on to a tragedy that has filled our native land with
mourning and indignation. I shall aim at truth and impartiality, and
the reader may make such allowance as our situation may naturally
afford, and his cool judgment suggest.

In the month of January, 1815, Captain Shortland commenced a practice
of counting over the prisoners out of their respective prisons, in the
cold, raw air of the yard, where we were exposed above an hour,
unnecessarily to the severity of the weather. After submitting to this
caprice of our keeper, for several mornings, in hopes he would be
satisfied as to the accurate number of the men in prison, we all
refused to go out again in wet and raw weather. Shortland pursued his
usual method of stopping the market; but finding that it had no
effect, he determined on using force; and sent his soldiers into the
yard, and ordered them to drive the prisoners into the prison _in the
middle of the afternoon_, whereas they heretofore remained out until
the sun had set, and then they all went quietly into their
dormitories. The regiment of regulars had been withdrawn, and a
regiment of Somersetshire militia had taken their place, a set of
stupid fellows, and generally speaking ignorant officers. The regiment
of regulars were clever fellows, and Shortland was awed by their
character; but he felt no awe, or respect, for these irregulars.

The prisoners told the soldiers that this was an unusual time of day
for them to leave the yard; and that they would not tamely submit to
such caprice. The soldiers could only answer by repeating their
_orders_. More soldiers were sent for; but they took special care to
assume a position to secure their protection. The soldiers began now
to use force with their bayonets. All this time Shortland stood on the
military walk with the major of the regiment, observing the progress
of his orders. Our men stood their ground. On observing this
opposition, Shortland became enraged; and ordered the major to give
the word for the soldiers _to fire_. The soldiers were drawn up in a
half circle, to keep them from scattering.

We were now hemmed in between No. 7, and the wall, that divided this
from the yard of No. 4. The major then gave orders to the officer in
the yard, to "charge bayonet." This did not occasion our prisoners to
retreat; they rather advanced; and some of them told the soldiers,
that if they pricked a single man, they would disarm them. Shortland
was watching all these movements from behind the gate; and finding
that he had not men enough to drive them in, drew his soldiers out of
the yard. After this, the prisoners went into the prison of their own
accord, when the turnkey sounded a horn.

These militia men have been somewhat intimidated by the threatenings
of the "rough allies," before mentioned. These national guards thought
they could drive us about like so many Frenchmen; but they have found
their mistake. A man escaped from the black-hole, who had been
condemned to remain in it during the war, for attempting to blow up a
ship. The prisoners were determined to protect him; and when Shortland
found that the prisoners would not betray him into his hands, he
resorted to his usual embargo of the market; and sent his soldiers in
after the prisoner; but he might as well have sought a needle in a
hay-mow; for such was the difficulty of finding an individual among
_six thousand_. They ransacked every birth, and lurking place, and
passed frequently by the man without being able to identify him, as
our fellow had disguised himself both in face, and in person. The
prisoners mixed in so entirely with the soldiers, that the latter
could not act, and were actually fearful of being disarmed. When these
Somersetshire militia found that we were far from being afraid of
them, they ceased to be insolent, and treated us with something like
respect. There was a considerable degree of friendship between us and
the late regiment of regulars, who were gentlemen, compared with these
clumsy militia.

There are about four hundred and fifty negroes in prison No. 4; and
this assemblage of blacks affords many curious anecdotes, and much
matter for speculation. These blacks have a ruler among them whom they
call _king DICK_. He is by far the largest, and I suspect the
strongest man in the prison. He is six feet three inches in height,
and proportionably large. This black Hercules commands respect, and
his subjects tremble in his presence. He goes the rounds every day,
and visits every birth to see if they are all kept clean. When he goes
the rounds, he puts on a large bear-skin cap; and carries in his hand
a huge club. If any of his men are dirty, drunken, or grossly
negligent, he threatens them with a beating; and if they are saucy,
they are sure to receive one. They have several times conspired
against him, and attempted to dethrone him; but he has always
conquered the rebels. One night several attacked him while asleep in
his hammock; he sprang up and seized the smallest of them by his feet,
and thumped another with him. The poor negro who had thus been made a
beetle of, was carried next day to the hospital, sadly bruised, and
provokingly laughed at. This ruler of the blacks, this _king RICHARD_
the IVth, is a man of good understanding; and he exercises it to a
good purpose. If any one of his color cheats, defrauds, or steals from
his comrades, he is sure to be punished for it. Negroes are generally
reputed to be thieves. Their faculties are commonly found to be
inadequate to the comprehension of the moral system; and as to the
Christian system, their notions of it, generally speaking, are a
burlesque on every thing serious. The punishment which these blacks
are disposed to inflict on one another for stealing, partakes of
barbarity; and ought never to be allowed, where the whites have the
control of them.--By a punishment called "_cobbing_," they have
occasioned the glutæus muscles to mortify.

Beside his majesty _King Dick_, these black prisoners have among them
a Priest, who preaches every Sunday. He can read, and he gives good
advice to his brethren; and his prayers are very much in the strain of
what we have been used to hear at home. In the course of his
education, he has learnt, it is said, to know the nature of crimes and
punishments; for, it is said, that while on board the Crown Prince
prison-ship at Chatham, he received a dozen lashes for stealing some
clothing; but we must make allowance for stories; for preachers have
always complained of the calumnies of their enemies. If his whole
history was known and correctly narrated, he might be found a duly
qualified preacher, to such a congregation as that of prison No. 4.

This black man has a good deal of art and cunning, and has drawn
several whites into his church; and his performances have an imposing
cast; and are often listened to with seriousness. He appears to have
learnt his sermons and prayers from a diligent reading of good books;
but as to the Christian system, the man has no more idea of it than he
has of the New Jerusalem; but then his good sentences, delivered,
frequently, with great warmth, and his string of good advice, given in
the negro dialect, make altogether, a novelty, that attracts many to
hear him; and he certainly is of service to the blacks; and it is a
fact, that the officers have heard him hold forth, without any
expressions of ridicule; while the majority of these miserable black
people are too much depraved to pay any serious attention to his
advice.

It is curious to observe the natural alliance between _king_ Dick and
this _priest_. Dick honors and protects him, while the priest
inculcates respect and obedience to this _Richard the 4th_. Here we
see the _union of church and state_ in miniature. Who told this negro,
that to maintain this influence, he must rally round the huge club of
the strongest and most powerful man in this black gang of sinners? And
who told king Dick that his nervous arm and massy club, were
insufficient without the aid of the preacher of terror? Neither of
them had read, or heard of Machiavel. Who taught this black orator,
that the priesthood must seek shelter behind the throne, from the
hostilities of reason? And who told "the rough allies," the Janisaries
of this imperium in imperio, that they must assist and countenance
both Dick and the priest? The science of government is not so deep and
complicated a thing as king-craft and priest-craft would make us
believe, since these rude people, almost deserving the name of a
banditti, threw themselves into a sort of government, that is to be
discerned in the early stages of every government. The love of power,
of influence, and of distinction, is clearly discernible, even among
the prisoners at Dartmoor. When I think of these things I am disposed
to despise what is called _education_, which is, after all, but a
_wooden leg_, a mere clumsy, unfeeling substitute for a live one,
barely sufficient to keep a man out of the mud.

Beside king _Dick_, and _Simon_, the priest, there was another black
divine, named _John_. He had been a servant of _Edward, Duke of Kent_,
third son of the present king of England; on which account, black John
assumed no small state and dignity. He left the service of his royal
highness; and was found on board of an American ship, and was pressed
from thence into a British man of war, where he served a year or two,
in the station of captain's steward; but disliking the service, he
claimed his release, as an American; and was sent with a number of
other pressed men, to the prison ships at Chatham; and he came to this
prison, with a number of other Africans. After king Dick, and Simon,
the priest, _black John_ was the next man of the most consequence
among the negroes; and considering his family connections; and that he
knew how to read and write, it is not much to be wondered at. John
conceived that his influence with his royal highness was sufficient to
encourage him to write to the Duke to get him set at liberty; who
actually applied to the transport-board with that view; but they could
not grant it. He received, however, a letter from Capt. Hervy, the
Duke's secretary, on the subject, who added, that as he had been so
unwise as to refuse to serve his majesty, he must suffer for his
folly. We have been particular in this anecdote; and we request our
readers to bear it in mind, when we shall come to contrast this prompt
answer of the royal Duke to the letter of a negro, with the conduct of
Mr. Beasley, our agent for prisoners. The prisoners themselves noticed
it; and envied the negro, while they execrated the haughty, unfeeling
agent, who seldom, or ever answered their letters, or took any notice
of their applications.

The poor negro consoled himself for his disappointment by turning
Christian; and being a pretty clever fellow, and having formerly
belonged to the royal family, it was considered an act of kindness and
magnanimity, to raise him to the rank of _deacon_ in Simon's church.
_Deacon John_ generally acts as a privy counsellor to the king; and
is sometimes a judge in criminal cases, when his majesty allows of
one, which is not very often; for he most commonly acts in as despotic
and summary a manner as the _Dey_ of Algiers himself.

King Dick keeps a boxing-school, where the white men are sometimes
admitted. No. 4 is noted, also, for fencing, dancing and music; and,
however extraordinary it may appear, they teach these accomplishments
to the white men. A person, entering the cock-loft of No. 4, would be
highly amused with the droll scenery which it exhibited; and if his
sense of smelling be not too refined, may relish, for a little while,
this strange assemblage of antics. Here he may see boxing, fencing,
dancing, raffling, and other modes of gambling; and to this, we may
add, drawing with chalk and charcoal; and tricks of slight-of-hand;
and all this to gratify the eye; and for the sense of hearing, he may
be regaled with the sound of clarionets, flutes, violins, flagelets,
fifes, tambarines, together with the whooping and singing of the
negroes. On Sundays this den of thieves is transformed into a temple
of worship, when _Simon_, the _priest_, mounted on a little stool,
behind a table covered with green cloth, proclaims the wonders of
creation, and salvation to the souls of true believers; and hell fire
and brimstone, and weeping, and wailing, and gnashing of teeth, to the
hardened and impenitent sinner, and obstinate rebel of proffered
mercy. As he approaches the end of his discourse, he grows warmer and
warmer, and, foaming at the mouth, denounces all the terrors of the
law against every heaven-daring, God-provoking sinner. I have
frequently noticed the effect of this black man's oratory upon some of
his audience. I have known him to solemnize his whole audience, a few
numskulled negroes alone excepted. While he has been thus thundering
and lightning, sullen moans and hollow groans issue from different
parts of the room; a proof that his zealous harrangue solemnizes some
of his hearers; while a part of them are making grimaces, or betraying
marks of impatience; but no one dare be riotous; as near the preacher
sat his majesty king Dick, with his terrible club, and huge bear-skin
cap. The members of the church sat in a half circle nearest the
priest; while those who had never passed over the threshold of grace,
stood up behind them.

A little dispute, if not quite a schism, has existed between Simon,
the priest, and deacon John. The latter, while in the family of a
royal Duke, had learned that it was proper to read prayers, already
made, and printed to their hands; but Simon said, he should make but
few converts if he _read_ his prayers. He said that prayers ought to
spring at once, warm from the heart; and that _reading_ prayers was
too cold a piece of work for him or his church. But John said, in
reply, that _reading_ prayers was practised by his royal highness the
duke of Kent, and all the noble families in England, as well as on
board all his Britannic majesty's ships of war. But Simon, who had
never waited on royalty, nor ever witnessed the religious exercises of
an English man of war, would not believe this practice of the British
nation ought to have weight with the reformed Christians of the
_United States_. There was a diversity of opinion in the black church;
and the dispute once grew so warm, that Simon told John, that it was
his opinion, that "he who could not pray to his God, without a book,
would be damned."

His majesty king Dick finding that this dispute might endanger the
peace of the church, and, possibly, diminish his own influence,
advised that the dispute should be left to the decision of a
neighboring methodist preacher, who sometimes visited the prison, in a
labor of love. The preacher came, and heard patiently, the arguments
of both sides, and finally decided, as king Dick doubtless foresaw, in
favor of Simon. He said that the reason why his royal highness the
duke of Kent, and all the royal family, and all the nobility and
parliament men _read_ their prayers, was, because they had not time to
make them, each one for himself. Now Deacon John was a better reasoner
than Simon; but Simon had the most cant; and he, of course, prevailed.
It is probable that John had concluded, that if he could carry a vote
for _reading_ prayers, he, himself, would be the reader; and then he
should become as conspicuous as Simon. Emulation, and the desire of
distinction, the great, and indeed main-spring of this world, was as
apparent among these degraded sons of Africa, as among any white
gentlemen and ladies in the land. John's ambition, and his envy,
operated just like the ambition and envy of white people. At length,
when the deacon found that, since the decision of the methodist, his
supporters deserted him, he made his mind up to follow the current,
and to justify his conduct by inculcating a spirit of conciliation and
union. This shrewd fellow knew, that if he did not follow the
current, he should lose the privilege he enjoyed of sitting at the end
of the table, opposite to Simon; and of leaning his head on the great
bible, while Simon was preaching; privileges too great to be slighted
in such a church; and directly after a religious dispute.

Since I returned home, and while transcribing this journal for the
press, I have thought that the conduct of deacon John was from the
self same principle with that which actuated the federalists, since
the dissolution and disgrace of the _Hartford Convention_. This
faction, it seems, found themselves after the peace, and after the
battle of New Orleans, going fast down the stream of popular opinion;
and then it was that they preached up conciliation, liberality, and
union; then it was they caught hold of the skirts of the land and
naval heroes; nay, they went so far as to hail Jefferson and Madison
as brother _Unitarians_! In short, the situation of black John, and
the federalists of Massachusetts, was exactly the same; and their
conduct in every point, similar; and the leading federalists of Boston
have been left, like the deacon of the negro congregation, in No. 4,
Dartmoor prison, to lean upon the great bible; which sacred volume
these persons are sending to all parts of the world, not being
sufficiently awake to consider it will _democratize_ other parts of
the world, beside America.

When the British General Prescott commanded at Rhode Island, in the
revolutionary war, (the same whom our Major Barton stole, and carried
off in the night, from his head quarters, in a whale boat) he was very
much disliked for his silly haughtiness, and unbecoming pride. One day
a Baptist preacher waited upon him to complain of an oppression
exercised on some of his followers, by the military, and taking his
bible out of his pocket, he began to read a passage which he deemed
applicable to the case; on sight of which the General flew into a
rage, and drove the preacher, with his bible, out of the room, saying,
"_if it had not been for that d--d book, we should not have had this
rebellion_." Bating the profane epithet, we give the angry Scotchman
credit for his sagacity. The observation would not have disgraced his
countryman, David Hume.

Simon, the priest, enjoyed one great and envied privilege, which John
never pretended to, namely, an acquaintance and intercourse with the
angel _Gabriel_. He had many revelations from this celestial
messenger, and related them to his church. They related principally
to the fate of his fellow prisoners; one, in particular, he told to
his church with awe and solemnity.

I saw, said he, a great light, shining only through the grates of one
window, before the hour of day break. I looked up, and saw something
like a man with wings. I was at first frightened, and cried out, "_who
comes dare?_" for I could not see his face. Directly the bars of the
window beat each way, and his head and shoulders came in, when I knew
him to be the angel _Gabriel_. "Simon," said he, "I am come to tell
you that this prison will be sunk before forty days, because its
inhabitants are so wicked, and will not repent." _Den I tank him_; and
he drew back his head again; and the iron bars were restored to their
place again, when he spread out his wings, which were covered with ten
thousand stars, which made a great light when he flew away. Such was
the method used, by this artful black man, to rouse his countrymen out
of the sink of vice; and it had the desired effect. This prediction
solemnized several of the negroes, and had more or less effect upon
all of them. They became more liberal in their contributions, which
enabled Simon to purchase a new green coat. It seemed as if the most
profligate of these fellows, had a secret dread of Simon's prediction,
and were willing to gain his favor by _contributions_, instead of
repentance. Has not this disposition founded churches, monasteries and
nunneries? Many of Simon's church are strongly impressed with the
apprehension of the prison sinking within forty days.

These blacks have been desirous of having their prison the centre of
amusement. They act plays twice a week, and as far as close imitation
of what they have seen and heard, and broad grimace, they are
admirable; but they are, half the time, ignorant of the meaning of the
words they utter.--The gate-ways and century-boxes are plaistered over
with play-bills, announcing--OTHELLO, for the first time, by Mr.
_Robinson_--DESDEMONA, by Mr. _Jones_. I seldom failed to attend these
exhibitions, and must confess that I never before or since, or perhaps
ever shall laugh so heartily as at these troglodyte dramas. Their
acting was assuredly the most diverting beyond all comparison, or
example, I ever saw. They would cut so many negroish capers in
tragedy, grin and distort their countenances in such a variety of
inhuman expressions, while they kept their bodies either stiff as so
many stakes, or in a monkeyish wriggle, and ever and anon such a
baboon stare at Desdemona, whose face, neck and hands, were covered
with chalk and red paint, to make _him_ look like a beautiful white
lady--was altogether, considering that they themselves were very
serious, the most ludicrous exhibition of two legged ridiculousness I
ever witnessed. In the midst of my loud applauses, I could not, when
my sore sides would allow me to articulate, help exclaiming--O!
Shakespeare! Shakespeare!--O! Garrick! Garrick!--what would not I give
(an indigent prisoner) could I raise you from the dead, that you might
see the black consequences of your own transcendent geniuses!--When
Garrick rubbed himself over with burnt cork to make himself look like
a Moor, or with lamp-black to resemble Mungo, it did pretty well; but
for a negro man to cover his forehead, neck and hands with chalk, and
his cheeks with vermillion, to make him look like an English, or
American beauty, was too much. Had I been going up the ladder to be
hanged, I should have laughed at this sight; for to all this
outrageous grimace, was added a fantastic habiliment, and an odour
from Desdemona and company, that associated the ideas of the skunk or
the polecat. I presume that their august majesties, the emperor and
empress of Hayti, have some means of destroying this association of
ideas, so revolting to Americans.

After all, this may be in us a disgust grounded more in prejudice than
nature. What we call delicacy is a refinement of civilization; and of
course a departure from nature. See how the brutes enjoy rolling and
wallowing in what _we_ call dirt; next to them, we may observe the
love of what _we_ call filth in savages, and of those persons in our
cities who stand nearest to them. Extreme cleanliness is the offspring
of riches, leisure, luxury, and extreme refinement; nevertheless it is
true what Swift says, that "persons with nice minds have nasty ideas."
I suffered greatly, and so did many of our countrymen, on our first
acquaintance with filth and vermin in this our British captivity. Many
a time have I got up from my dinner as hungry as I sat down, when
disgust has been greater than appetite. I have, however, gradually
surmounted antipathies I once thought insurmountable. I am not the
only one who has often retired from our disgusting repast, to my bunk
or sleeping birth, in silent agony, there to breathe out to my Maker,
woes too great for utterance. _O, Britain! Britain!_ will there not
be a day of retribution for these thy cruelties!

There are some in this dismal prison, who have been used all their
lives, not to conveniences only, but to delicacies; who are obliged to
submit to the disagreeables of this uncivilized mode of incarcerating
brave men, for one of the first of Grecian, Roman, English and
American virtues, the _love of country_, or _patriotism_. These
unfortunate men, with minds far elevated beyond the officers who are
placed here to guard, and to torment them, submit to their confinement
with a better grace than one could have expected. When these men have
eaten their stinted ration, vilely cooked, and hastily served up, they
return to their hammocks, or sleeping births, and there try "to steep
their senses in forgetfulness," until the recurrence of the next
disgusting meal. On the other hand, some have said that they never
before eat with such a keen appetite; and their only complaint has
been, that there was not one quarter enough for them to devour. I was
often satisfied with a quantity of food that was not half enough for
my companions. Some have since said, that they devoured their daily
allowance at Dartmoor, with more relish than they ever have since,
when set down at tables, covered as our American tables are, with
venison, poultry, the finest fish, and the best fruits of our country,
with choice old cider, and good foreign wines.

A thing very disagreeable to me, arose from causes not occasioned by
the enemy. I have been squeezed to soreness, by a crowd of rough,
overbearing men, who oft times appeared to be indifferent whether they
trampled you under feet or not. The "_rough allies_," so called, had
no feeling for men smaller and weaker than themselves. From this gang,
you could seldom get a civil answer. Their yells, and whooping, more
like savages than white men, were very troublesome. The conduct of
these, proved that it was natural for the strong to tyrannize over the
weak. I have often thought that our assemblage of prisoners, resembled
very much the Grecian and Roman democracies, which were far, very far,
beneath the just, rational, and wisely guarded democracy of our dear
America, for whose existence and honor we are all still heartily
disposed to risk our lives, and spill our blood.

As not allowing us prisoners a due and comfortable portion of clean
food, is the heavy charge I have to make against the British nation,
I shall here, once for all, attempt to describe the agonies I myself
sometimes felt, and observed others to endure, from cravings of
hunger; which are keen sensations in young men, not yet arrived to
their full growth. The hungry prisoner is seen to traverse the alleys,
backwards and forwards, with a gnawing stomach, and a haggard look;
while he sees the fine white loaves on the tables of the bread-seller,
when all that he possesses cannot buy a single loaf. I have known many
men tremble, and become sick at their stomachs, at the sight of bread
they could not obtain. Sometimes a prisoner has put away a portion of
his bread, and sworn to himself that he would not eat it until such an
hour after breakfast; he has, however, gone to it, and picked a few
crumbs from it, and replaced it; and sometimes he could no longer
resist the grinding torments of hunger, but devoured it with more than
canine appetite; for it must be understood that the interval between
the evening and morning meal was the most distressing. An healthy,
growing young man, feels very uncomfortable if he fasts five hours;
but to be without food, as we often were, for fourteen hours, was a
cruel neglect, or a barbarous custom. Our resource from hunger was
sleep; not but that the sensations of hunger, and the thoughts of the
deprivation, often prevented me from getting asleep; and at other
times, when wrapt in sleep, I have dreamed of setting down to a table
of the most delicious food, and most savory meats, and in the greatest
profusion; and amidst my imagined enjoyment, have waked in
disappointment, agony and tears. This was the keenest misery I ever
endured; and at such times, have I cursed the nation that allowed of
it, as being more barbarous than Algerines or wild Indians. The
comparative size of the pieces of beef and bread is watched with a
keen and jealous eye; so are even the bits of turnip in our soup, lest
one should have more than the other. I have noticed more acts of
meanness and dishonesty in men of respectable character, in the
division and acquisition of the articles of our daily food, than in
any other transaction whatever. Such as they would despise, were
hunger out of the question. The best apology I can make for the
practice of gaming is, the hope of alleviating this most abominable
system of starvation. Had we been duly and properly fed, we never
should have run so deeply into the hell of gambling. We did not want
money to buy clothing, or wine, or rum, but to buy beef, and bread,
and milk. I repeat it, all the irregularities, and, finally, the
horrors and death, that occurred in a remarkable manner, in this den
of despair, arose from the British system of scanty food for young
men, whose vigorous systems, and habits of being full fed, demanded a
third more solid flesh meat, than would satisfy a potatoe-eating
Irishman, an oat-feeding Scotchman, or an half starved English
manufacturer. After we have finished our own dinners in New England,
we give to our cats and dogs, and other domestic animals, more solid
nourishment, the remnant of our meals, than what we had often allowed
us in the ships and prisons of "_the world's last hope_,"
Pickering's[T] "_fast anchor'd isle_."

Among the abuses of Dartmoor prison, was that of allowing Jews to come
among us to buy clothes, and allowing some other people, worse than
Jews, to cheat us in the articles we purchased. How far our keepers
went "snacks" with these harpies, we never could know. We only
suspected that they did not enjoy all their swindling privileges
gratuitously. Before the immoral practice of gambling was introduced
and countenanced, it was no unusual thing to see men in almost every
birth, reading, or writing, or studying navigation. I have noticed the
progress of vice in some, with pain and surprise. I have seen men,
once respectable, give examples of vice that I cannot describe, or
even name; and I am fearful that some of our young boys, may carry
home to their hitherto pure and chaste country, vices they never had
any idea of when they left it. I believe Frenchmen, Italians, and
Portuguese, are much worse examples for our youth, than English,
Irish, or Scotchmen. I must say of the British that they are generally
men of better habits and morals than some of the continental nations.
But enough, and more than enough, on the depravity of the oldest of
the European nations.

_February 28th, 1815._--Time hangs heavily on the weary and restless
prisoner. His hopes of liberation, and his anxiety, increase daily and
hourly. _The Favorite! The Favorite_, is in every one's mouth; and
every one fixes the day of her arrival. We have just heard that she
was spoken near the coast of America, by the Sultan, a British 74, on
the 2d of February. If so, then she must arrive in a few days, with
the news of the ratification or rejection of the treaty of peace, by
Mr. Madison; and on this great event our happiness depends. Some of
the English merchants are so confident that our President will ratify
the treaty, that they are sending vast quantities of English
manufactures out to Halifax, to be ready to thrust into the ports of
America, as soon as we shall be able, legally, to admit them. It is
easy to perceive that the English are much more anxious to send us
their productions, than we are to receive them.

Our anxiety increases every day. We inquire of every one the news. We
wait with impatience for the newspapers, and when we receive them are
disappointed; not finding in them what we wish. They, to besure, speak
of the sitting of the _Vienna Congress_; and we have been expecting,
every day, that this political old hen had hatched out her various
sort of eggs. We expected that her motley brood would afford us some
fun. Here we expected to see a young hawk, and there a goslin, and
next a strutting turkey, and then a dodo, a loon, an ostrich, a wren,
a magpie, a cuckoo, and a wag-tail. But the old continental hen has
now set so long, that we conclude that her eggs are addled, and
incubation frustrated. During all this time, the Gallick cock is on
his roost at Elba, with his head under his wing.

We but now and then get a sight of Cobbett's Political Register; and
when we do, we devour it, and destroy it, before it comes to the
knowledge of our Ceroebrus. This writer has a manner _sui generis_,
purely his own; but it is somewhat surprising, how he becomes so well
informed of the actual state of things, and of the feelings and
opinions of both parties in our country. His acuteness, his wit, his
logic, and his surliness, form, altogether, a curious portraiture of
an English politician. We, now and then, get sight of American papers;
but they are almost all of them _federal_ papers, and contain matter
more hostile to our government than the _English_ papers. The most
detestable paper printed in London, is called, "_The Times_;" and that
is often thrown in our way; but even this paper is not to be compared
to the "Federal Republican," printed at Washington or Georgetown, or
to the Boston federal papers. When such papers are shown to us by the
English here we are fairly brought up, and know not what to say.

I cannot answer precisely for the impressions Governor Strong's
speeches and proclamations have made on others, I can only answer for
myself. They very much surprised and grieved me. I was born in the
same county where Mr. Strong resided, and where I believe he has
always lived and I had always entertained a respect for his serious
character, and have, from my boyhood, considered him among the very
sensible men, and even saints of our country; and all my connections
and relations gave their votes for good _Caleb Strong_, on whose
judgment and public conduct, my parents taught me to rely, with as
much confidence as if he had actually been a thirteenth apostle. Just
then what must have been my surprise, on reading his proclamations for
fasts and thanksgivings, and his speeches and messages to the
legislature and his conduct relative to the general government and the
militia; and above all for his strange conduct in organizing a
convention of malcontents at Hartford, in Connecticut. No event in New
England staggered me so much. When we learnt that he proclaimed
England to be "_the bulwark of the holy religion we profess_," I
concluded that it was a party calumny, until I saw its confirmation in
the attempts of his friends to vindicate the assertion. I then
concluded that one of two things must have existed; either Mr. Strong
had become superannuated and childish, or that the English Faction had
got behind his chair of government and under the table of the
counsel-board, and in the hollow panels of his audience chamber, and
completely bewitched our political _Barzilla_. I suspected that gang
of Jesuits, the _Essex Junto_, had put out his eyes, and was leading
him into danger and disgrace. It is undeniable that Governor Strong
has, in his public addresses, sided more with the declared enemy,
Britain, than with his own national government; and that he has said a
great deal tending to encourage the enemy to persist in their demands,
and to pursue the war, than he has to discourage them. It appears, in
truth, that the English consider him in a great measure their friend
and well wisher.

Is it possible that Governor Strong can be deluded away by the
missionary and bible societies of Old England, so as to mistake the
English for a religious people? I am very confident that there is
_less_ religion, or appearance of it, in London and in all their large
cities, than in any other civilized country of the same numbers, in
Europe. Their national churches are empty, while their streets and
their harbors are full of lewdness; and they have more thieves,
gamblers, forgers, cheats and bawds than any other nation upon earth.
Add to this, their laws are bloody, beyond modern example, their
military punishments horrible, and their treatment of prisoners of
war a disgrace to the name of Christians. Can Governor Strong be
totally ignorant of the policy of some in patronizing bible and
missionary societies? And does he not see the impracticability of the
scheme contemplated by the latter? If we divide the known countries of
the globe into thirty equal parts, _five_ will be found to be
_Christians_, _six Mahometans_, and _NINETEEN Pagans_. It is difficult
to believe that the first man, the governor and commander in chief of
the great and respectable commonwealth of Massachusetts, can seriously
expect that the missionary societies of England and of Boston can
effect this immense task or that it ever was the design of Providence
that all the families of the earth should think alike on subjects of
religion. Let us take things as the sons of men have always found
them, and not presume to oppugn Providence, who has decreed that there
shall be, every where, men of different colours, countenances, voices,
manner of speaking, of different feelings and views of things, and
also of different languages and of different opinions, as it regards
the Deity, and his government of the world; and that among this great
and doubtless necessary diversity of the views of him, we may have the
most pure and rational system of any. Let us then enjoy that system,
encourage a virtuous education and love one another, and leave to his
direction and control the myriads of rational beings on earth, of
which we, Christians, make so small a part. No, no, my countrymen, if
Governor Strong will not attend exclusively to the mere affairs of the
state, with its relative duties, and leave the great world to the
legislation of its great Creator, you had better allow him to retire
to Northampton, there to study in silence how to govern his own heart,
and how to work out his own salvation, instead of continuing the tool
of a turbulent and vicious party. I still think Mr. Strong is a man of
good intentions, and an honest patriot; but that he has been deluded
by artful men, who in their scheme of governing the whole nation have
found their account in placing at the head of their party in
Massachusetts, a man of correct morals and manners, and of a reputed
religious cast of mind. But Mr. Strong should reflect; and being a
phlegmatic man, he is able to reflect calmly, and consider things
deliberately. He should reflect, I say, on the impression his
remarkable conduct must have on the minds of his countrymen, who have
risked their lives, and are now suffering a severe bondage in that
great national cause of "FREE TRADE AND NO IMPRESSMENT," which led the
American people to declare war against Britain, by the voice of their
representatives, in congress assembled. How strange, and how painful
must it appear to us, and to our friends in Europe, that the governor
of a great state should lean more towards the Prince Regent of
Britain, than to the _President_ of the _United Stales_! If,
therefore, we consider Mr. Strong as a sensible and correct man, and a
true patriot, his conduct as _governor of Massachusetts_, especially
as to _the time_ of organizing a convention, of which the English
promised themselves countenance and aid, must have appeared more than
strange to us in captivity.

If we contemplate the character of the leading men of that party which
put into office, and still support Governor Strong, and with whom he
has co-operated, we cannot clear this gentleman of reproach.
Previously to our late contest with Britain, it was the unceasing
endeavor of the leaders of the federal party to bring into discredit,
and contempt, the worthiest and best men of the nation; to ridicule
and degrade every thing American, or that reflected honor on the
American Independence. So bitter was their animosity; so insatiate
their thirst for power, and high places, that they did not hesitate to
advocate measures for the accomplishment of their grand object, which
was _to get into the places of those now in power_. How often have we
seen the party declaring in their venal prints, that the American
administration was base, and cowardly, and tamely suffering the
outrages, abuses and contempt of the nations of Europe, without
possessing the spirit to resent, or the power to resist them; and that
"_we could not be kicked into a war_." Yet after the administration
had exhausted every effort to bring England to do justice, and war was
declared, these very federalists called the act wicked and inhuman;
and denounced the President for plunging the country into hostilities
with the mistress of the ocean, the most powerful nation of the
earth! They called this _act_ of Congress, "_Madison's War_," and did
every thing in their power to render that upright man odious in the
eyes of the unthinking part of the community. This was not all; these
arrogant men, assumed to themselves "_all the talents_," and "_all the
virtues_" of the country, used every mean in their power to paralyze
the arm of government, and reduce the energies of the nation, in the
face and front of our adversary. By arguments and threats, they
induced the monied men in Massachusetts, very generally, _to refuse
loans of money to government_; and to ruin our resources. Did not this
party, denominated _federalists_, exult at the disasters of our arms;
and did they not vote in the Senate of Massachusetts, that "it was
unworthy a religious and moral people, to rejoice at the immortal
achievements of our gallant seamen?" In the midst of our difficulties,
when this powerful enemy threatened us by sea and land, with an army
force from Penobscot, another through Lake Champlain, another at the
Chesapeake, while nothing but resistance and insurgency was talked of
and hinted at within! Did they not in this state of things, and with
these circumstances, did not Governor Strong, and the federal party
generally, seize hold of this alarming state of our affairs, to call
the _Convention at Hartford_, and that not merely to perplex the
government, but to be the organ of communication between the enemy and
the malcontents? Did they not _then_ talk loudly of our worm eaten
Constitution; and did they not call the Union "_a rope of sand_," that
could no longer hold together? If there be a line of transgression,
beyond the bounds of forgiveness, the _leaders_ of that party, who put
Mr. Strong up for Governor, have attained it. These things I gather
from the papers, and from the history of the day, as I have collected
them since my return home. And to all this must be added the damning
fact of _Te Deums_, orations, toasts, and processions of the clergy,
and the judges, with all the leaders of the federal, or opposition
party, in celebration of the success of the Spaniards in restoring the
_Inquisition_, and recalling the _reign of superstition_ and _terror_;
against which _we_ have been preaching and praying ever since the
first settlement of our country.

Our American newspapers, if they are not so correctly written as the
London papers, are informing and amusing.--They show the enterprize,
the activity, and the daring thoughts of a free and an intrepid
people; while the London papers are filled with a catalogue of
nobles, and noblesses, who were assembled to bow, to flatter, to
cringe, and to prink at the levee of the _Great Prince Regent_, the
presumptive George the IVth, with now and then some account of his
wandering wife, the _Princess of Wales_. We are there also entertained
with a daily account of the health and gestation of _Joanna
Southcote_; for whose reputation and welfare, "thinking Johnny Bull"
is vastly anxious; insomuch that were any continental nation to run
obstinately counter to the popular opinion respecting her, we do deem
it not impossible that the majority of the nation might be led to sign
addresses to the Prince to go to war with them, in honor of Saint
Joanna! Their papers, likewise, contain a particular account of the
examination of rogues by the Bow-street officers, highway robberies,
and executions; together with quack puffs, and miraculous cures.
These, together with the _most glorious_ and _unparalleled_ bravery of
their _officers_ and _seamen_, and of their _generals_ and _soldiers_,
with the highest encomiums on the _religion_, the learning, the
generosity, _contentment_, and _happiness_ of the people of Britain
and _Ireland_, make up the sum and substance of all the London papers,
_William Cobbett's_ alone excepted; and he speaks with a bridle in his
mouth!

This month (February) Captain Shortland stopped the market for six
days, in consequence of some unruly fellows taking away certain wooden
stanchions from Prison No. 6. But the old market women, conceiving
that the Captain encroached upon their copy-hold, would not quietly
submit to it. They told him that as the men were going away soon, it
was cruel to curtail their traffic. We always believed that these
market women, and the shop and stall keepers, and Jews, purchased, in
some way or other, the unequal traffic between them and us. Be that as
it may, Shortland could not resist the commercial interest, so that
he, like good Mr. Jefferson, listened to the clamor of the merchants,
and raised the embargo.

No sooner was quiet restored, and the old women and Jews pacified, but
a serious discontent arose among the prisoners, on discovering that
these Jews, of all complexions, had raised the price of their
articles, on the idea, we supposed, that we should not much longer
remain the subjects of their impositions. The _rough allies_, a sort
of regulators, who were too stout, and most commonly too insolent, to
be governed by our regular and moderate committees, turned out in a
great rage, and tore down several of the small shops, or stalls, where
slops were exposed for sale. These fellows, at length, organized
themselves into a company of plunderers. I have seen men run from
their sleeping births, in which they spent nearly their whole time,
and plunder these little shop keepers, and carry the articles they
plundered, and secrete them in their beds. These mobs, or gangs of
robbers, were a scandal to the American character; and strongly
reprobated by every man of honor in the prisons. Some of these little
British merchants found themselves stripped of all they possessed in a
few minutes, on the charge of exorbitant prices. We never rested, nor
allowed these culprits to rest, until we saw the cat laid well on
their backs. These plunderings were in consequence of informers, and
there was no name, not even that of _a federalist_, was so odious with
all the prisoners, as that of an _informer_. We never failed to punish
an informer. Nothing but the advanced age of a man, (who was sixty
years old) prevented him from being whipped for informing Captain
Shortland of what the old man considered an injury, and for which he
put the man accused, into the black hole. An informer, a traitor, and
an avowed federalist, were objects of detestation at Dartmoor.

During the time that passed between the news of peace, and that of its
ratification, an uneasy and mob-like disposition, more than once
betrayed itself. Three impressed American seamen had been sent in here
from a British ship of war, since the peace. They were on board the
Pelican, in the action with the American ship Argus, when fell our
brave Captain Allen. One day, when all three were a little
intoxicated, they boasted of the feats they performed, in fighting
against their own countrymen; and even boasted of the prize money they
had shared for capturing the Argus. This our prisoners could not
endure; and it soon reached the ears of the _rough allies_, who seized
them, and kicked and cuffed them about unmercifully; and they took one
of them, who had talked more imprudently than the rest, and led him to
the lamp iron that projected from one of the prisons, and would, in
all probability, have hanged him thereon, had not Shortland rescued
him by an armed force. They had fixed a paper on the fellow's breast,
on which was written, in large letters, _a Traitor_ and _a
Federalist_.

It may seem strange to some, but I am confident that there is no class
of people among us more strongly attached to the American soil, than
our seamen, who are floating about the world, and seldom tread on the
ground. The sailor who roams about the world, marks the difference of
treatment, and exults in the superior advantages of his countrymen.
The American custom of allowing on board merchant ships the common
sailors to traffic a little in adventures, enlarges their views, makes
them think and enquire, and excites an interest in the sales of the
whole cargo. The common sailor here feels a sort of unity of interest;
and he is habituated to feel as a member of the floating store-house
which he is navigating. It is doubtful whether the British sailor
feels any thing of this.

I have had occasion often to remark on the tyrannical conduct, and
unfeeling behaviour of Captain Shortland, but he had for it the excuse
of an enemy; but the neglect of Mr. Beasley, with his supercilious
behaviour towards his countrymen here confined, admits of no excuse.
He was bound to assist us and befriend us, and to listen to our
reasonable complaints. When _negro John_ wrote to his Royal Highness
the Duke of Kent, son of king George the 3d, and brother of the Prince
Regent, he received an answer in terms of kindness and reason; but Mr.
Beasley, who was paid by our government for being our agent, and
official friend, never condescended to answer our letters, and if they
ever were noticed, it was in the style of reproof.--His conduct is
here condemned by _six thousand_ of his countrymen; and as many curses
are daily uttered on him in this prison. It is almost treason in this
our dismal Commonwealth, or rather common misery, to speak in his
favour. If Shortland and Beasley were both drowning, and one only
could be taken out by the prisoners of Dartmoor, I believe in my soul,
that _that_ one would be Shortland; for, as I said before, he has the
excuse of an enemy.

The prisoners have been long determined to testify their feelings
towards Mr. Beasley, before they left Dartmoor; and the time for it
has arrived. The most ingenious of our countrymen are now making a
figure resemblance, or effigy of this distinguished personage. One has
contributed a coat, another pantaloons, another a shirt-bosom or
frill, another a stuffed-out-cravat; and so they have made up a pretty
genteel, haughty-looking-gentleman-agent, with heart and brains full
equal, they think, to the person whom they wish to represent. They
called this figure Mr. B----. They then brought him to trial. He was
indicted for many crimes towards them, and towards the character of
the United States. The jury declared him to be guilty of each and
every charge; and he was sentenced by an unanimous decree of his
judges, to be hanged by the neck until he was dead, and after that to
be burnt. They proceeded with him to the place of execution, which was
from the roof of prison No. 7, where a pole was rigged out, to which
was attached an halter. After silence was proclaimed, the halter was
fastened round the neck of the effigy; and then a solemn pause ensued;
which apparent solemnity was befitting the character of men who were
convinced of the necessity of the punishment of the guilty, while they
felt for the sufferings and shame of a fellow mortal. After hanging
the proper time, the hangman, who was a negro, cut him down; and then
the _rough allies_ took possession of him, and conducted him to a
convenient spot in the yard, where they burnt him to ashes. This was
not, like the plunder of the shop-keepers, the conduct of an infuriate
mob; but it was begun and carried through by some of the steadiest men
within the walls of Dartmoor prison.--They said they had no other way
of testifying their contempt of a man, who they supposed had injured
them all, and disgraced their country. Such was the fact; as to the
justness of their charges, I have nothing to say. I hope Mr. B. can
vindicate his conduct to the world; and I hope this publication may
lead to a thing so much wished for. The accusations of the multitude
are commonly well founded, but often too high coloured. If this
gentleman has never been censured by our government, we may conclude
that he has not been quite so faulty as has been represented.

During all this solemn farce, poor Shortland looked like a culprit
under sentence of death. Some of the rogues had written, with chalk,
on the walls, BE YOU ALSO READY!--This commander's situation could not
be an enviable one. He was, probably, as courageous a man as the
ordinary run of British officers; but it was plainly discoverable that
he was, half his time, in dread, and during the scene just described,
in terror, which was perceivable amidst his affected smiles, and
assumed gaiety. He told a _gentleman_, belonging to this depot, that
he never saw, nor ever read, or heard of such a set of _Devil-daring,
God-provoking fellows, as these same Yankees_. And he added, _I had
rather have the charge of five thousand Frenchmen, than FIVE HUNDRED
of these sons of liberty; and yet_, said he, _I love the dogs better
than I do the damn'd frog-eaters_.

On the 30th of March we received the heart-cheering news of the total
defeat of the British army before NEW-ORLEANS, with the death of its
commander in chief, Sir _Edward Pakenham_, and Generals _Gibs_ and
_Kean_, with a great number of other officers, and about five thousand
rank and file killed and wounded; and what appeared to be absolutely
incredible, this unexampled slaughter of the enemy was achieved with
the loss of less than twenty killed and wounded on our side. Instead
of shouting and rejoicing, as in ordinary victories, we seemed mute
with astonishment. Yes! when we saw the Englishmen walking with folded
arms, looking down on the ground, we had not the heart to exult,
especially as the war was now ended. I speak for myself--there was no
event that tended so much to reconciliation and forgiveness as this
immense slaughter of the English. We felt that this victory was too
bloody not to stifle loud exultation.

We had heard of Generals Dearborn, Brown, Scott, Ripley, Gaines and
Miller, but no one knew who _General Andrew Jackson_ was; but we said
that it was a New-England name, and we had no doubt but he was a full
blooded yankee, there being many of that name in New-Hampshire,
Massachusetts, Vermont, Rhode Island and Connecticut.--But I have
since heard that he was a village lawyer in Tennessee, and a native of
South Carolina.

The more particulars we hear of this extraordinary victory, the more
we were astonished. We cannot be too grateful to Heaven for allowing
us, a people of yesterday, to wind up the war with the great and
terrible nation, the mistress of the ocean, in a manner and style that
will inspire respect from the present and future race of men. Nothing
now is thought of or talked of, but _New-Orleans_ and _Jackson_, and
_Jackson_ and _New-Orleans_. We already perceive that we are treated
with more respect, and our country spoken of in honorable terms. The
language now is "we are all one and the same people. You have all
English blood in your veins, and it is no wonder that you fight
bravely!" Sometimes they have uttered the slang of "_The Times_," and
cast reflections on the government, and on President Madison, but we
have always resented it, nor do we ever allow any one to speak
disrespectfully of our illustrious chief magistrate.

About the middle of the present month, (March) we received the news of
the landing of _Napoleon_ in France, while every one here supposed him
snug at Elba. The news came to England, and passed through it like
thunder and lightning, carrying with it astonishment and dismay. But
as much as they dread, and of course hate Bonaparte, the British
cannot but admire his fortune and his glory. There are a number of
Frenchmen yet here; and it is impossible for man to shew more joy at
this news from France. They collected together and shouted _Vive
l'Empereur!_ and the yankees joined them, with _huzza_ for Bonaparte;
and this we kept up incessantly, to plague the British. The English
bear any thing from us with more patience, than our expressions of
affection for the Emperor Napoleon. Now the fact is, we care no more
for the French, than they do for us; and there is but little love
between us; yet we _pretend_ great respect and affection for that
nation, and their chief, principally to torment overbearing surly John
Bull, who thinks that we ought to love nobody but him, while he
himself never does any thing to inspire that love.

About the 20th of this month, we received the heart cheering tidings
of the RATIFICATION OF THE TREATY OF PEACE, by the PRESIDENT OF THE
UNITED STATES. This long expected event threw us all into such a
rapturous roar of joy, that we made old Dartmoor shake under us, with
our shouts; and to testify our satisfaction we illuminated this depot
of misery. Even Shortland affected joy, and was seen more than once,
like Milton's Devil, to "_grin horribly a ghastly smile_."

As there can be now no longer a doubt of our being soon set at
liberty, our attention is directed to the agent for prisoners for
fixing the time, and arranging the means. Mr. Beasley had written that
as soon as the Treaty was ratified, he would make every exertion for
our speedy departure. He must be aware of our extreme impatience to
leave this dreary spot, whose brown and grassless surface renders it a
place more proper for convicts, than an assemblage of patriots.

We are all watching the countenance and conduct of our surly keeper,
Shortland: and it is the general opinion that he is deeply chagrined
at the idea of no longer domineering over us. It may be, also, that
the peace may reduce him to half pay. I, myself, am of opinion, that
he is dissatisfied at the idea of our escaping his fangs, with whole
skins; and his dark and sullen countenance gathers every day
additional blackness.

_April 4th._--The contractor's clerk being desirous to get off his
hands the hard biscuit, which had been held in reserve in case of bad
weather, attempted to serve it out to the prisoners at this time; but
the committee refused to receive it. Nothing but _hard_ bread was
served out to them this day. In the evening, several hundred of the
prisoners entered the market square, and demanded their _soft_ bread;
but it was refused. The officers persuaded them to retire, but they
would not, before they received their usual soft bread. The military
officers, finding that it was in vain to appease them, as they had but
about three hundred militia to guard five or six thousand, complied
with their request, and all was quietness and contentment.

During this little commotion, Captain Shortland was gone from home. He
returned next day, when he expressed his dissatisfaction at the
conduct of the military, who he said, should not have complied with
the demand of the prisoners. As it was, however, past, and the
prisoners were tranquil, and no signs of disturbance remaining, he
grew pacified.

On the 4th of April, we received intelligence, which we supposed
correct, that seven cartel ships were to sail from the Thames for
Plymouth, to transport us home, and that several more were in
preparation. This inspired us with high spirits, and good humor; and I
distinctly remember that the prisoners appeared to enjoy their
amusements, such as playing ball and the like, beyond what I had ever
before observed. We all, in fact, felt light hearted, from the
expectation of soon leaving this dreary abode, to return to our dear
homes, and adored country. But how was the scene changed before the
light of another day! Dead and wounded men, blood and horror, made up
the scenery of this fatal evening!

The best account that could possibly be given, is that of a
respectable committee, selected from among the best characters in this
large assemblage of American prisoners. The greater part of this
committee, were men of no mean talents. They were not young men, but
had arrived at that period of life, when judgment is the soundest, and
when passion does not betray reason. The anxiety of all to know the
truth, and the solemn manner in which the evidence was collected and
given, stamped the transaction with the characters of truth. I did not
see the beginning of this affray. I was, with most of the other
prisoners, eating my evening's meal in the building, when I heard the
alarm bell, and soon after a volley of musketry. There were, I
believe, before the alarm bell rung, a few hundred prisoners,
scattered here and there about the yards, as usual; but I had no idea
of any particular collection of them, nor had I any suspicion of any
commotion existing, or meditated. But I forbear; and will here insert
the report of the committee, in the correctness of which I place an
entire confidence.


    DARTMOOR MASSACRE.

    Having seen in print several different statements of the massacre
    of the American prisoners of war at Dartmoor, and, on perusal,
    finding, that, though they corroborate each other, as to the
    leading facts, yet it seems the public are not in possession of
    all the particulars necessary to form a proper judgement of the
    same.

    While in prison, we having been members of the committee through
    whom was transacted all their public business, and through whose
    hands passed all their correspondence with their agent in London,
    and having in our possession several documents relating to the
    before mentioned brutal butchery, we deem it a duty we owe to our
    murdered countrymen and fellow-citizens in general to have them
    published.

    Respecting the conduct of T. G. SHORTLAND, (commander-of the depot
    of Dartmoor) prior to the bloody and ever memorable sixth of
    April, it was a series of continued insult, injury and vexation to
    the prisoners generally. Incapable of appreciating the beneficial
    effects of the liberal policy of a gentleman, his sole study
    appeared to be devising means to render the situation of the
    prisoners as disagreeable as possible. To instance a few of his
    proceedings will sufficiently warrant the foregoing assertion. His
    conduct to the American officers was marked with peculiar baseness
    and indignity. In the construction of the depot at Dartmoor, there
    was a separate prison, built and enclosed for the more commodious
    accommodation of those officers (prisoners of war) who were not
    considered by them entitled to a parole. Instead of Shortland
    allowing those officers to occupy that prison, they were turned
    into the other prisons promiscuously, with their men. His conduct
    to the prisoners generally was of the same stamp. There not being,
    at any time, a sufficient number to occupy all the prisons, he
    kept the two best, which were built by the Frenchmen during their
    confinement, and more conveniently fitted for the accommodation of
    prisoners, shut and unoccupied, while the upper stories of those
    prisons in which the Americans were put, were in such a state
    that on every rain storm the floors were nearly inundated. The
    pernicious effect this had on the health of the prisoners may be
    easily judged of by the great mortality that prevailed among them
    during the last winter season.

    Another instance of his murderous disposition, was his ordering
    his guards to fire into the prisons, when, at any time, a light
    was seen burning during the night, as specified in the general
    report. While the Frenchmen were confined in that depot, it was a
    custom for the turnkey, with a sentry, to go into each prison, and
    see the lights extinguished at a stated hour; although frequently
    lighted again there was no further molestation. Instead of
    pursuing this plan with the Americans, Shortland gave orders for
    the guards to fire into the prisons whenever there should be a
    light burning. Frequently, on the most trivial occasions, he would
    prevent the prisoners, for ten days at a time, from purchasing, in
    the market, of the country people, such articles of comfort and
    convenience as their scanty means would admit of. His last act of
    this kind, was but a short time previous to the massacre, and his
    alledged reason for it was, that the prisoners would not deliver
    up to him a man who had made his escape from the black hole, (a
    place of confinement for criminals) and had taken refuge among the
    prisoners in general. This man was one of a prize-crew, who was
    confined in that dark and loathsome cell, on a short allowance of
    provisions, from June, 1814, until the ratification of the treaty.
    On that man being demanded, the prisoners stated to Shortland,
    that they did not presume that the British government would expect
    them to stand sentry over each other--that he might send his
    turnkeys and soldiers in and look for the man, but they would not
    seek him and deliver him up--upon which he ordered the military to
    fire upon the prisoners, but owing to the coolness and
    deliberation of the then commanding military officer, in
    restraining them, this order was not obeyed.

    To sum up the whole in a few words, his conduct, throughout, was
    marked by the same illiberal prejudice, overbearing insult, and
    savage barbarity, which characterizes the majority of English
    officers when they have Americans in their power.

    The enclosed papers, from No. 1 to 16 inclusive, are the
    depositions taken by the committee of investigation on the 7th.
    Colonel AYRE arrived from Plymouth and took command of this depot.
    Shortland sent in a message to the committee, requesting their
    attendance at his office, to which was returned for answer, that
    considering him a murderer, they were determined to have no
    communication with him--but added, if the commanding officer from
    Plymouth had any thing to communicate, they would wait on him;
    and, at his request, they went up to the gate, where they stated
    to him all the particulars of the affair.

    He expressed great regret for what had occurred, and assured the
    prisoners that no further violence should be used upon them. In
    the mean time Shortland made his appearance. Instantly the
    indignant cry of murderer, scoundrel, villain, burst from the lips
    of hundreds. The guilty wretch stood appalled, not daring to offer
    a syllable in vindication of his conduct; but with a pallid visage
    and trembling step, returned to his guard-house, from whence he
    was never seen to emerge while we remained there. In the course of
    the day, a rear-admiral and post captain arrived from Plymouth,
    sent by Sir J. T. Duckworth, commander in chief on that station,
    to enquire into the transaction; to whom we likewise fully stated,
    by the committee, all the particulars, together with Shortland's
    previous infamous conduct. Their scandalous misrepresentation of
    the same to the admiralty board, as will be seen in their
    statement No. 20, is truly characteristic of the British official
    accounts. We likewise wrote to Mr. Beasly on that day, giving him
    a short history of the affair, but as he did not acknowledge the
    receipt of the letter, we concluded it had been intercepted. On
    the 14th we received a letter from him dated the 12th, of which
    No. 18 is a copy--in answer to which No. 19 is a copy. On the 16th
    we received another from him, of which No. 20 is a copy; in the
    interim he had seen a copy of our report, sent by a private
    conveyance, which seemed to have greatly altered his opinion
    concerning the affair. In his letter of the 14th was an extract
    from the statement or report sent him by the admiralty board. On
    receiving which we wrote to admiral Duckworth, of which No. 21 is
    a copy.

    On the 22d of April, Mr. King, appointed by the American agents at
    London, and a Mr. Larpent on the part of the government, with a
    magistrate of the county of Devon, arrived at the depot to
    investigate the affair; they were employed the greater part of
    three days in taking the deposition, respecting the same; and
    though we would not hastily prejudge Mr. King's report, we deem it
    necessary to state, that our anticipations of it are not of the
    most favourable nature, from his not appearing to take that
    interest in the affair which the injuries his countrymen had
    received demanded, as far the greater part of their time was
    employed in taking the depositions of Shortland's witnesses, most
    of whom were the principal actors, on that day, and of course were
    implicated with him in his guilt. On learning Mr. King was about
    leaving the depot, we addressed a note to him, stating, that we
    had a number of witnesses waiting, whose depositions we conceived
    would be of importance, and requested him to have them taken; we
    received to this note no answer, and he immediately left the
    depot. The particular points on which those depositions would have
    born, related to the picking the hole in the wall and breaking the
    locks of the gate leading into the market-square--they would have
    exonerated the prisoners generally from having any share in those
    acts, or even a knowledge of their having been committed. As these
    were the two principal points on which Shortland rested his plea
    of justification, we deemed it highly necessary that they should
    have been placed in a proper point of view. As for an idea of the
    prisoners attempting to break out, a moment's reflection would
    convince any impartial man of its improbability. Every prisoner
    that had a sufficiency of money to defray his expenses, could
    obtain his release and a passport, by applying to Mr. Beasly, or
    through their correspondence in England; those who had not funds
    would not have left the depot had the gates been thrown open,
    having no means of subsistence in a foreign country, and there
    being a very hot press of seamen at that time, they knew their
    risk of being kidnapped was great, and when, by staying a few
    days longer, they were assured they would be embarked for their
    native country. The infamous falsehoods circulated in the English
    prints, of the prisoners having armed themselves with knives,
    clubs, stones, &c. seized a part of the guard and disarmed them,
    and other similar reports, are unworthy of notice; for when the
    disturbance occurred on the fourth of April, concerning bread, the
    prisoners having burst open the inner gates, had they the least
    disposition, they might have immolated the whole garrison, as they
    were completely surprised and panic struck.

    The artful policy of the British officers in coupling the
    transactions of the 6th of April with that of burning Mr. Beasly's
    effigy, may easily be seen through; the latter was done a
    fortnight previous, by a few individuals, without its being
    generally known, or the least disturbance concerning it; and we
    deem it but justice to state, that whatever negligence Mr. Beasly
    may have been guilty of, respecting the affairs of the prisoners,
    he should be totally exonerated from all blame respecting the
    massacre.

    There was an instance that occurred on the evening of the 6th,
    which reflects so much credit on the Americans, it should not be
    passed over in silence. When the brutal soldiery were following
    the prisoners in the yards, stabbing and firing among them, a lamp
    lighter, who had come in a few moments previous, ran into No. 3
    prison, to escape being murdered by his own countrymen; on being
    recognized, a rope was fixed for hanging him immediately. In this
    moment of irritation, when their slaughtered and bleeding
    countrymen lay groaning around them in the agonies of dissolution,
    such an act of vengeance, at that time would not have been
    singular--but on its being represented to them, by some
    influential characters, that such a deed would stain the American
    name, to their honour be it recorded, that humanity triumphed over
    vengeance, the trembling wretch was released, and told to go--"_We
    disdain to copy after your countrymen, and murder you at this
    advantage, we will seek a more noble revenge._"

    We deem it necessary here to remark, as some editors have
    manifested a disposition to vindicate Shortland's conduct, that,
    allowing every circumstance to be placed in the most unfavourable
    point of view for the prisoners, suppose, for a moment, it was
    their intention to break out, and a number had collected in the
    market square for that purpose, when, being charged upon by the
    military, they retreated out of the square into their respective
    prison-yards, and shut the gates after them without making any
    resistance whatever; under such circumstances no further
    opposition could have been expected, and, consequently, their
    intention must have been completely defeated. What justification
    can there then be made to appear for the subsequent brutal,
    unprecedented butchery and mutilation? NONE! The most shameless
    and barefaced advocates and apologizers for British injustice
    cannot produce any.

                                         WALTER COLTON, } _Members of_
                                         THOS. B. MOTT, }     _the_
                                         WM. HOBART,    } _Committee._


    DEPOSITION No. I.

    I, _Addison Holmes_, being solemnly sworn on the holy evangelists
    of Almighty God, depose and say--

    That on the 6th of April, about 6 o'clock in the evening, I was in
    the market-square, where the soldiers were drawn up. There was a
    number of Americans in the square--to the best of my judgment,
    between fifty and a hundred. I distinctly heard Captain Shortland
    order the soldiers to charge on the prisoners, which they did not
    do till the order was repeated by their own officers, when they
    charged, and the prisoners retreated through the gates, which they
    shut to after them. In this interim I had got behind a sentry box,
    in the square, and the soldiers went past me. I saw Captain
    Shortland open the gates, and distinctly heard him give the word
    to fire, which was not immediately obeyed, the commanding officer
    of the soldiers observing, that he would not order the men to
    fire, but that he (Shortland) might do as he pleased. I then saw
    Captain Shortland seize hold of a musket, in the hands of a
    soldier, which was immediately fired--but I am not able to say
    whether he or the soldier pulled the trigger. At this time I was
    endeavouring to get through the gate to the prison-yard--in so
    doing several stabs were made at me with bayonets, which I evaded.
    Immediately after the firing became general, and I retreated, with
    the remainder of the prisoners, down the yard, the soldiers
    following and firing on the prisoners; after I had got into No. 3
    prison, I heard two vollies fired into the prison, that killed one
    man and wounded another--and further the deponent saith not.

                                                       ADDISON HOLMES.

    We, the undersigned, being duly appointed and sworn as a committee
    to take the depositions of those persons who were eye witnesses of
    the late horrid massacre, certify that the above deponents, being
    duly and solemnly sworn on the holy evangelists of Almighty God,
    did depose and say as before written, which was severally read to
    each one who subscribed the same.

                                                    _William B. Orne_,
                                                    _Francis Joseph_,
                                                    _Walter Colton_,
                                                    _Wm. Hobart_,
                                                    _James Adams_,
                                                    _James Boggs_.

    [A certificate similar to the foregoing, is attached to each of
    the depositions. The originals are now in our hands.]


    No. II.

    We, the undersigned, being each severally sworn on the holy
    evangelists of Almighty God, depose and say--

    That on the 6th of April, about six o'clock in the evening, as we
    were walking in the yard of No. 1 and No. 3 prisons, just before
    the usual time of turning in, we heard the alarm bell ring. At
    this time most of the prisoners were in the prisons; a number with
    us ran up the market square, out of curiosity, to see what was the
    matter; there were about one hundred collected in the square, and
    a number were standing by the gates inside the prison yard; the
    soldiers were drawn up in the upper part of the square; orders
    were given them to charge, on which the prisoners retreated out of
    the square, and some of the last which came through the gates,
    shut them to; the soldiers then commenced firing on them through
    the iron pailings, and fired several vollies in succession. The
    prisoners were, at this time endeavouring to get into their
    respective prisons, when the soldiers perceived that they were all
    dispersed from the gates, they followed them into the yard, and
    continued firing on them; and after all the prisoners had got into
    the prisons, a party of soldiers pursuing them, came up to the
    door of No. 3 prison, and fired two vollies into the prison, which
    killed one man and mortally wounded another.

    We further solemnly declare, that there was no pre-concerted plan
    or intention among the prisoners to make an attempt to break out,
    or to resist, in any manner, the authority of the government of
    the depot.

                                                   _John T. Foster_,
                                                   _Elisha Whitten_,
                                                   _Isaac L. Burr_,
                                                   _Charles Perry_,
                                                   _James Grennlaw_,
                                                   _Wm. B. Orne_,
                                                   _Geo. Stinchecomb_,
                                                   _William Perry_,
                                                   _Richard Downing_.

    Done at Dartmoor Prison, this 7th day of April 1815.


    No. III.

    I, _Andrew Davis, jun._ being solemnly sworn upon the holy
    evangelists of Almighty God, depose and say--

    That on the 6th of April, about six o'clock in the evening, while
    walking in the yard of No. 3 prison, I heard the alarm bell ring,
    and I went up towards the gate: I saw several men bearing a
    wounded man towards the gate, whom it appeared had been wounded by
    the soldiers' bayonets; when the prisoners were retreating out of
    the square, I heard Captain Shortland order a part of them to let
    go the wounded man, which some of them did; one of the remaining
    remonstrated to Captain Shortland, saying that the man was so
    badly wounded that it required several to support him; on which
    Captain Shortland struck him several blows with his fists, and he
    appeared to me, from the whole of his conduct, to be much
    intoxicated with liquor--and further the deponent saith not.

                                                    ANDREW DAVIS, JUN.


    No. IV.

    We, the undersigned, depose and say--

    That on the 6th of April, in the evening, we were in the yard of
    No. 1 and No. 3 prisons, when we heard the firing at the gates,
    and saw the prisoners all endeavoring to get into their respective
    prisons. In going down towards the lower door of the prisons, we
    saw a party of soldiers, who were posted on the walls, commence
    firing on the prisoners, and we saw a man fall, who immediately
    died, and several others were badly wounded before they were able
    to get into the prisons.

                                                    _Amos Cheeney_,
                                                    _Washington Fox_,
                                                    _John Smith_,
                                                    _Harris Keeney_,
                                                    _James Coffen_,
                                                    _Thomas Williams_,
                                                    _Henry Casey_.


    No. V.

    _Homer Hull_, after being duly sworn on the holy evangelists of
    Almighty God, deposeth and saith--

    On the 6th of April, about six o'clock in the evening, I was
    walking in the yard of No. 7 prison; all being as tranquil among
    the prisoners as usual; I observed an unusual number of soldiers
    mounting the walls; and one of them called to one of the
    prisoners, and told him he (the prisoner) _had better go into the
    prison, as the prisoners would soon be charged upon_. While he was
    asking the cause of such a proceeding, I heard the alarm bell
    ringing. I immediately run to the gates leading to the square,
    when I saw Captain Shortland at the head of the armed soldiery
    marching down to the gratings, the prisoners at the same time
    running to see what was the matter; on the soldiers coming to the
    gratings, Capt. Shortland ordered them to charge, which they did;
    the prisoners immediately run to their respective prisons; on
    passing through the inner gate they closed it after them. Then I
    heard Captain Shortland order the soldiers to FIRE, which they
    commenced to do in every direction of the yard, when the prisoners
    were making every effort to reach their prisons. I did not see any
    violence used on the part of the prisoners, nor do I believe any
    violence was intended or premeditated.

                                                           HOMER HULL.

    I, _Joseph C. Morgan_, having been duly sworn, and having read the
    foregoing deposition, do declare the statement therein mentioned,
    to be true.

                                                         J. C. MORGAN.


    No. VI.

    We, the undersigned, depose and say--

    That, on the 6th of April, about 6 o'clock in the evening, we were
    in the market square--we distinctly heard Captain Shortland give
    orders to the soldiers to charge on the prisoners--and after we
    retreated through the gates, we heard him give orders to the
    soldiers to FIRE, which, on his repeating several times, was
    executed.

                                                     _Joseph Reeves_,
                                                     _James Greenlaw_,
                                                     _Isaac L. Burr_,
                                                     _Thomas Tindal_.


    No. VII.

    We, the undersigned, depose and say--

    That on the 6th of April, in the evening, after all the prisoners
    in No. 1 and 3 yards had got into their respective prisons, a
    party of soldiers came up to the door of No. 3 prison--we were
    standing near the door at the time, and saw them fire TWO VOLLIES
    into the prison, which killed one man and wounded another.

                                                     _William Scanck_,
                                                     _James Greenlaw_,
                                                     _John Latham_,
                                                     _John Glass_.


    No. VIII.

    _Enoch Burnham_, having been duly sworn, deposeth--

    That he was standing at the market gate at the time Capt.
    Shortland came into the market square with a large party of
    soldiers (it being then about 6 o'clock.) They immediately formed
    a line in the square--at that time a number of prisoners got into
    the square from the yard of No. 1 prison, and had advanced a few
    steps; the soldiers then charged, and the prisoners immediately
    retreated to their prisons, without the least resistance. After
    the prisoners had retired to the yards of the prison, the soldiery
    formed a line, and commenced firing in the yards, the prison gates
    being closed by the prisoners; shortly after they kept up a heavy
    fire, and I saw one man fall. I immediately hastened to No. 5
    prison, but on reaching No. 7, I found there was a party of
    soldiers on the wall, firing from every direction. I then got safe
    in No. 7, where, after remaining at the north end window for a few
    moments, _I saw a man (a prisoner) leaning against the wall,
    apparently wounded, with his hands in a supplicating posture--at
    the same time, I saw several soldiers present and fire at the
    prisoner, and he fell dead on the spot_.

                                                        ENOCH BURNHAM.


    No. IX.

    _Edward Coffin_, being duly sworn, deposed, that on the sixth of
    April, about six o'clock in the afternoon, a few prisoners
    belonging to No. 5 and 7 prisons, broke a hole through the wall
    opposite No. 7 prison, as they said, to get a ball out of the
    barrack yard, which they had lost in their play. After they had
    broke through the wall, the officers and soldiers that were in the
    barrack yard, told them to desist, or they would fire upon them.
    Immediately after that the drum beat to arms, and the square was
    filled with soldiers, and without telling the prisoners to go to
    their prison, immediately commenced to charge and fire upon them.
    I immediately started to go to No. 5 prison, and the soldiers on
    the platforms on the walls commenced firing, and I should think
    near forty fired at myself and three others, as I am sure there
    were no other men in sight at that time between Nos. 5 and 6
    prisons. In going round No. 5 cook house, a prisoner was shot and
    killed very near me.

                                                        EDWARD COFFIN.

                                                _Attest_, HENRY ALLEN.


    No. X.

    _Thomas B. Mott_, having been duly sworn, deposed--

    About six o'clock in the evening of the 6th of April, I was called
    on by a number of persons, requesting me as one of the committee,
    to put a stop to some boys, whom they said were picking a hole
    through an inner wall, for which, they said, our provisions would
    be stopped to pay for. I asked what was their intentions in making
    the hole? They said it was for the purpose of obtaining a ball
    which they had lost in their play. I then repaired, with a number
    of respectable men, to make them desist; but before we got into
    the yard, a quick firing commenced. On my walking up the yard, was
    met by a number of prisoners retreating to their prisons, much
    alarmed; one of which I observed was badly wounded; he was
    bleeding freely from his wound--I could see the yard was clear of
    prisoners, or not more than two or three to be seen, and they
    retiring fast. I requested the wounded man to lean upon me, and I
    would assist him in some medical aid.--We had not advanced but a
    few steps, when we were fired on. I advanced, assuring the
    soldiery we had no hostile intentions. I then took the fainting
    man in my arms, when a volley of musketry was discharged full at
    us. I then retired immediately; there was but one of my prison
    doors unlocked, which was on the back of the prison. On turning
    the corner of the cook house, I found myself unexpectedly open to
    the fire of soldiers on the ramparts of the south wall;--their
    fire was kept up in so brisk a manner, that it appeared almost
    impossible to enter without being shot; but finding my situation
    very dangerous, I was determined to enter the prison, or die in
    the attempt. For that purpose, myself, with a number of others
    that had been standing behind the wing of the cook house, sallied
    out for the purpose of gaining our prison door, when a volley of
    musket balls showered in amongst us, killing two, and wounding
    others. On our entering the prison our doors were shut to keep
    them from firing in. Some little time after, the turnkey enquired
    for me; I went forward to the window; he requested me to deliver
    up the dead and wounded; I requested him to open the door, which
    he did, for that purpose. On passing out the dead and wounded, I
    was insulted by the soldiery, and on my replying, was charged
    upon, and with difficulty escaped, without being butchered; they
    likewise insulted the wounded as I gave them up, and threw the
    dead down in the mud, and spurned at them in a very unfeeling
    manner.

                                                        THOS. B. MOTT.


    No. XI.

    I, _William Mitchell_, being duly sworn upon the holy evangelists
    of Almighty God, depose and say--

    That, on the evening of the 6th of April, when the alarm
    commenced, I was in the lower part of No. 1 yard. I walked up
    towards the gate to learn the cause; when I had got about half
    way, I heard a single musket fired, and immediately after a whole
    volley. I then saw several men carrying one that was wounded, the
    soldiers keeping up the whole time a steady fire, and the
    prisoners all endeavoring to get into the prisons; the lower doors
    being closed in the interim; it was with much difficulty they
    could get in, the soldiers pursuing them the whole time, and
    charging them with bayonets; and after getting into the prison, I
    heard the firing of musketry in all directions round the prison:
    and further the deponent saith not.

                                                     WILLIAM MITCHELL.


    No. XII.

    I, _John G. Gatchell_, having been duly sworn, depose and say--

    That I was walking in the yard, towards the gate. The first I
    knew, was the soldiers coming into the yard, with Capt. Shortland
    at their head, when an immediate fire began from the soldiers, and
    one man fell within six feet of me. While in the act of rendering
    this man assistance, I heard Captain Shortland order the soldiers
    to kill the damn'd rascal--meaning me; immediately the soldiers
    came and pricked me with their bayonets, and I was forced to run
    to the prison at the hazard of my life, and leave the man that was
    wounded.

                                                     JOHN G. GATCHELL.


    No. XIII.

    _James Taylor_, having been duly sworn, deposeth, that he was
    standing at the gate in the market square, at the time Captain
    Shortland, with a file of soldiers, entered the square. Captain
    Shortland ordered a prisoner in the square to go into the prison,
    when he immediately complied. He then ordered the soldiers to
    charge; and instantly observed to the commanding officer of the
    military--"It is no use to charge on the damn'd Yankee
    rascals--FIRE"--when this commenced immediately. The prisoners at
    that time were rushing in the prisons as fast as possible, and
    principally out of the square.--After the prisoners were mostly in
    the prison of No. 4, a boy, of ten years of age, was shot through
    the body and killed, while in the door passage trying to get in,
    by the soldiers in the yard, in my presence, I being inside the
    prison; likewise one other man was shot through the thigh.

                                                         JAMES TAYLOR.


    No. XIV.

    _Samuel Lowdy_ having been duly sworn, deposeth as follows:

    That he was in the yard of prison No. 4, at the time Robert
    Haywood was shot by the soldiery. He immediately took him up, for
    the purpose of carrying him to the hospital. In the square he met
    Capt. Shortland, and said, Capt. Shortland, this man is very badly
    wounded--I want to carry him to the hospital. Capt. Shortland
    replied, you damn'd son of a bitch, carry him back to the prison;
    and he was obliged to comply. After getting to the prison, one of
    the soldiers called him back, and he went up to the square with
    the man, and met Capt. Shortland, who said, heave him down there,
    (pointing to a sentry box) and away with you to the prison. At
    that time they were firing in the different yards. On leaving the
    square, we found the man was dead.

                                                         SAMUEL LOWDY.

    _John Battice_ having been sworn, corroborates the evidence of
    Samuel Lowdy.

                                                         JOHN BATTICE.


    No. XV.

    _William Potter_, having been duly sworn, deposed--

    That while passing between No. 5 and 6 prisons, the soldiers
    commenced firing from the walls in three divisions, at a few of
    us; at that time there were only four prisoners in sight. After
    advancing a few steps, I found a man badly wounded. I stopped and
    picked the man up; during which time the soldiers kept an
    incessant fire at us, as likewise till we got to the prison of No.
    5.

                                                       WILLIAM POTTER.


    No. XVI.

    I, _David S. Warren_, being duly sworn on the holy evangelists of
    Almighty God, depose and say--

    That, on the evening of the 6th of April, when the alarm
    commenced, I was in the lower part of the yard No. 1 prison. I
    walked up to the gate to learn the cause. I there saw there were a
    number of prisoners in the market square, and a great number of
    soldiers drawn up across the same; soon after they charged on the
    prisoners, who retreated out of the square into their respective
    prison yards, and shut the gates after them. I saw the soldiers
    advance up to the gates, and heard Capt. Shortland order them to
    fire, which they not immediately obeying, I saw him seize hold of
    a musket in the hands of a soldier, and direct it towards a
    prisoner, and heard him again repeat--"_fire; God damn you,
    fire_." Immediately afterwards the firing became general; the
    prisoners were all endeavoring to get into the prisons, which was
    attended with much difficulty, all the doors but one being
    closed--and further the deponent saith not.

                                                      DAVID S. WARREN.


    No. XVII.

    We, the undersigned, being each severally sworn on the holy
    evangelists of Almighty God, for the investigation of the
    circumstances attending the late horrid massacre, and having heard
    the depositions of a great number of witnesses, from our own
    personal knowledge, and from the depositions given in as
    aforesaid,

    =REPORT AS FOLLOWS:=

    That on the 6th of April, about six o'clock in the evening, when
    the prisoners were all quiet in their respective yards, it being
    about the usual time of turning in for night, and the greater part
    of the prisoners being then in the prisons, the alarm bell was
    rung, and many of the prisoners ran up to the market square to
    learn the occasion of the alarm. There were then drawn up in the
    square several hundred soldiers, with Capt. Shortland (the agent)
    at their head; it was likewise observed at the same time, that
    additional numbers of soldiers were posting themselves on the
    walls round the prison yards. One of them observed to the
    prisoners, that they had better go into the prisons, for they
    would be charged upon directly. This, of course, occasioned
    considerable alarm among them. In this moment of uncertainty, they
    were running in different directions, enquiring the cause of the
    alarm; some toward their respective prisons, and some toward the
    market square. When about one hundred were collected in the
    square, Capt. Shortland ordered the soldiers to charge upon them,
    which order the soldiers were reluctant in obeying, as the
    prisoners were using no violence; but on the order being repeated,
    they made a charge, and the prisoners retreated out of the square,
    into their prison yards, and shut the gate after them. Capt.
    Shortland, himself, opened the gates, and ordered the soldiers to
    fire in among the prisoners, who were all retreating in different
    directions towards their respective prisons. It appears there was
    some hesitation in the minds of the officers, whether or not it
    was proper to fire upon the prisoners in that situation; on which
    Shortland seized a musket out of the hands of a soldier, which he
    fired. Immediately after the fire became general, and many of the
    prisoners were either killed or wounded. The remainder were
    endeavoring to get into the prisons; when going towards the lower
    doors, the soldiers on the walls commenced firing on them from
    that quarter, which killed some and wounded others. After much
    difficulty, (all the doors being closed in the entrance, but one
    in each prison) the survivors succeeded in gaining the prisons;
    immediately after which, parties of soldiers came to the doors of
    Nos. 8 and 4 prisons, and fired several vollies into them through
    the windows and doors, which killed one man in each prison, and
    severely wounded others.

    It likewise appears, that the preceding butchery was followed up
    with a disposition of peculiar inveteracy and barbarity.

    One man who was severely wounded in No. 7 prison yard, and being
    unable to make his way to the prison, was come up with by the
    soldiers, whom he implored for mercy, but in vain; five of the
    hardened wretches immediately levelled their pieces at him, and
    shot him dead on the spot. The soldiers who were on the walls,
    manifested equal cruelty, by keeping up a constant fire on every
    prisoner they could see in the yards endeavoring to get into the
    prisons, when their numbers were very few, and when not the least
    shadow of resistance could be made or expected. Several of them
    had got into No. 3 prison cook house, which was pointed out by
    the soldiers on the walls, to those who were marching in from the
    square. They immediately went up and fired into the same, which
    wounded several. One of the prisoners ran out, with the intention
    of gaining his prison, but was killed before he reached the door.

    On an impartial consideration of all circumstances of the case, we
    are induced to believe that it was a premeditated scheme in the
    mind of Capt. Shortland, for reasons which we will now proceed to
    give.--As an illucidation of its origin, we will recur back to an
    event which happened some days previous. Captain Shortland was at
    the time, absent at Plymouth; but before going, he ordered the
    contractor, or his clerk, to serve out one pound of indifferent,
    hard bread, instead of one pound and a half of soft bread, their
    usual allowance. This the prisoners refused to receive. They
    waited all day in expectation of their usual allowance being
    served out; but at sun-set, finding this would not be the case,
    burst open the lower gates, and went up to the store, demanding to
    have their bread.

    The officers of the garrison, on being alarmed, and informed of
    these proceedings, observed that it was no more than right the
    prisoners should have their usual allowance, and strongly
    reprobated Captain Shortland, in withholding it from them. They
    were accordingly served with their bread, and quietly returned to
    their prison. This circumstance, with the censures that were
    thrown on his conduct, reached the ears of Shortland, on his
    return home, and he must then have determined on the diabolical
    plan of seizing the first slight pretext to turn in the military,
    to butcher the prisoners for the gratification of his malice and
    revenge. It unfortunately happened, that in the afternoon of the
    6th of April, some boys who were playing ball in No. 7 yard,
    knocked their ball over into the barrack yard, and on the sentry
    in that yard refusing to throw it back to them, they picked a hole
    in the wall, to get in after it.

    This afforded Shortland his wished for pretext, and he took his
    measures accordingly. He had all the garrison drawn up in the
    military walk, additional numbers posted on the walls, and every
    thing prepared, _before the alarm bell was rung_; this he
    naturally concluded would draw the attention of a great number of
    prisoners towards the gates, to learn the cause of the alarm,
    while the turnkeys were dispatched into the yards to lock all the
    doors but one, of each prison, to prevent the prisoners retreating
    out of the way, before he had sufficiently wreaked his vengeance.

    What adds peculiar weight to the belief of its being a
    premeditated, determined massacre, are,

    _First_--The sanguinary disposition manifested on every occasion
    by Shortland, he having prior to this time, ordered the soldiers
    to fire into the prisons, through the prison windows, upon unarmed
    prisoners asleep in their hammocks, on account of a light being
    seen in the prisons; which barbarous act was repeated several
    nights successively. That murder was not then committed, was owing
    to an overruling Providence alone; for the balls were picked up in
    the prisons, where they passed through the hammocks of men then
    asleep in them. He having also ordered the soldiers to fire upon
    the prisoners in the yard of No. 7 prison, because they would not
    deliver up to him a man who had escaped from his _cachot_, which
    order the commanding officer of the soldiers refused to obey; and
    generally, he having seized on every slight pretext to injure the
    prisoners, by stopping their marketing for ten days repeatedly,
    and once, a third part of their provisions for the same length of
    time.

    _Secondly_--He having been heard to say, when the boys had picked
    the hole in the wall, and some time before the alarm bell was
    rung, while all the prisoners were quiet as usual in their
    respective yards--"_I'll fix the damn'd rascals directly._"

    _Thirdly_--His having all the soldiers on their posts, and the
    garrison fully prepared before the alarm bell rang. It could not
    then, of course, be rung to assemble the soldiers, but to alarm
    the prisoners, and create confusion among them.

    _Fourthly_--The soldiers upon the wall, previous to the alarm bell
    being rung, informing the prisoners that they would be charged
    upon directly.

    _Fifthly_--The turnkeys going into the yard and closing all the
    doors but one, in each prison, while the attention of the
    prisoners was attracted by the alarm bell. This was done about
    fifteen minutes sooner than usual, and without informing the
    prisoners it was time to shut up. It was ever the invariable
    practice of the turnkeys, from which they never deviated before
    that night, when coming into the yard to shut up, to halloo to the
    prisoners, so loud as to be heard throughout the yard, "_turn in,
    turn in!_" while on that night it was done so secretly, that not
    one man in a hundred knew they were shut; and in particular, their
    shutting the door of No. 7, prisoners usually go in and out at,
    and which was formerly always closed last, and leaving one open in
    the other end of the prison, which was exposed to a cross fire
    from the soldiers on the walls, and which the prisoners had to
    pass in gaining the prisons.

    It appears to us that the foregoing reasons sufficiently warrant
    the conclusion we have drawn therefrom.

    We likewise believe, from the depositions of men who were eye
    witnesses of a part of Shortland's conduct, on the evening of the
    6th of April, that he was intoxicated with liquor at the time;
    from his brutality in beating a prisoner then supporting another
    severely wounded, from the blackguard and abusive language he made
    use of, and from his frequently having been seen in the same
    state. His being drunk was, of course, the means of inflaming his
    bitter enmity against the prisoners, and no doubt was the cause of
    the indiscriminate butchery, and of no quarter being given.

    We here solemnly aver, that there was no pre-concerted plan to
    attempt a breaking out. There cannot be produced the least shadow
    of a reason or inducement for that intention, because the
    prisoners were daily expecting to be released, and to embark on
    board cartels for their native country. And we likewise solemnly
    assert, that there was no intention of resisting, in any manner,
    the authority of this depot.

    N. B. Seven were killed, thirty dangerously wounded, and thirty
    slightly do. Total, sixty-seven killed and wounded.

                                    _Wm. B. Orne_,      }
                                    _James Boggs_,      }
                                    _J. F. Trowbridge_, } SIGNED,
                                    _John Rust_,        }
                                    _Walter Colton_,    }

                                    _Wm. Hobart_,       }
                                    _James Adams_,      }
                                    _Francis Joseph_,   } _Committee_.
                                    _Henry Allen_,      }
                                    _Thomas B. Mott_,   }


    No. XVIII.

    Letter from Mr. Beasly, agent for American prisoners of war at
    London, to the Committee of American prisoners of war in Dartmoor
    prison.

                             _Agency for American prisoners of war_, }
                             _London, April 12, 1815_.               }

    GENTLEMEN--It having been stated in some of the newspapers
    published here, that the American government intended to send some
    ships of war bound to the Mediterranean, to this country, for the
    purpose of completing their crews from among the prisoners; and
    having been informed that this idea has got among the prisoners,
    it becomes my duty to request, that you will inform them that the
    fact is not so.

    I have already informed you of the measures which had been taken
    to provide conveyances for the prisoners. You will let them know,
    that eight large transports have been engaged, some of which must
    be now at Plymouth; others will follow, until the whole of the
    prisoners are sent off.

    It is much to be lamented, that at a moment when every exertion
    was making to restore them to their country, _they should have
    fallen into an excess which has proved fatal to some_. And I am at
    a loss to conceive how they could, under such circumstances,
    pretend to say, that the cause of this unfortunate but shameful
    conduct, was the neglect of their government or its agent. This, I
    am informed, they have stated to the officers who were sent to
    examine into the affair. I am, gentlemen, your obedient servant,

                                                         R. G. BEASLY.

    _The Committee of the American prisoners, Dartmoor._


    No. XIX.

                                             DARTMOOR, April 14, 1815.

    SIR--Yours, of the 12th inst. came to hand this morning. It is
    with astonishment we note its contents, that the officers who came
    to inquire into the circumstances of the late unfortunate affair,
    should have informed you, that the prisoners stated to them the
    cause of that event was that their government or its agent had
    neglected them. This is a most deliberate falsehood, let your
    authors be who they may. We deny not that the anxiety of the
    prisoners to get released from here, has been great; they have
    even censured you as being dilatory in your preparations for that
    purpose--but their government they have never implicated--and you
    may rest assured, that they have too much of the genuine spirit of
    Americans, to apply to the officer of a foreign government for
    relief, or to make them a party in any dispute with the government
    or its agents.

    We solemnly assure you, that whatever anxiety among the prisoners,
    or want of confidence in your exertions, as above stated, may have
    existed among them, that it can in no way be construed to have any
    collusion or connection with the late event, and was expressly so
    stated to the admiral, who came here from Plymouth.

    We, on the contrary, in the name of the five thousand prisoners
    confined here, accuse Shortland of a deliberate, pre-determined
    act of atrocious murder--we have sufficient evidence in our
    possession to prove it to the world, and we call on you (there
    being at present no accredited minister, or charge des affairs at
    the court of London) to make strict inquiries into the
    circumstances of the case, and procure all the evidence necessary
    for a proper investigation into the same; for well do we feel
    assured, that our government will not thus suffer its citizens to
    be sacrificed, for the gratification of national prejudice, malice
    or revenge, of the petty officers of a foreign state.

    We are at no loss to impute the misrepresentation of the British
    officers to their proper motives. They artfully wish to excite in
    your breast a spirit of enmity and resentment against the
    prisoners, that you might use less perseverance, or feel yourself
    less interested in making the proper inquiries into the late
    affair.

    With much respect, we remain, Sir, your most obedient and humble
    servants,

                                                       WILLIAM HOBART,
                                                       WALTER COLTON,
                                                       HENRY ALLEN.

    _R. G. Beasly, Esq. Agent for Prisoners, London._


    No. XX.

    Second Letter from Mr. Beasly to the American Committee.

                             _Agency for American Prisoners of War_, }
                             _London, April 14, 1815_.               }

    GENTLEMEN--My letter to you of the 12th inst. on the subject of
    the melancholy event, was written under an impression which I
    received from a report of it, transmitted to me by this
    government: I have since received your report of the
    circumstances. Had I been in possession of the information therein
    contained, the letter would have been differently expressed. I am,
    gentlemen, your obedient servant,

                                                         R. G. BEASLY.

    _Committee of American Prisoners, Dartmoor._

    P. S. I subjoin an extract of the report alluded to from the Lords
    Commissioners of the Admiralty:

    "The rioters, it appears, endeavored to OVERPOWER the guard, to
    force the prison, and had actually seized the arms of some of the
    soldiers, and made a breach in the walls of the depot, when the
    guard found itself obliged to have recourse to their fire arms,
    and five of the rioters were killed, and thirty-four wounded,
    after which the tumult subsided, and the depot was placed in a
    state of tranquillity and security.

    "Admiral Sir J. T. Duckworth, Commander in Chief at Plymouth,
    having received information of this unfortunate event, lost no
    time in directing Rear Admiral Sir Josias Rowley, Baronet, K. C.
    B. and Schornberg, the two senior officers at that port, to
    proceed to Dartmoor, and to inquire into the circumstances. Those
    officers accordingly repaired to the depot, where they found, on
    examination of the officers of the depot, and _all the American
    prisoners who were called before them_, that the circumstances of
    the riot were as before stated; but that no excuse could be
    assigned for the conduct of the prisoners, but their impatience to
    be released; and the Americans unanimously declared, that their
    complaint of delay was not against the British government, but
    against their own, which ought to have sent means for their early
    conveyance home, and in replies to distinct questions to that
    effect they declared they had no ground of complaint whatsoever."


    No. XXI.

                                             DARTMOOR, April 17, 1815.

    _To Rear Admiral Sir J. T. Duckworth._

    SIR--The officers whom you sent to this place to inquire into the
    circumstance of the unfortunate occurrence of the 6th inst.
    whatever right they had to represent the conduct of Captain
    Shortland in the most favorable manner, we conceive it an act of
    gross injustice that they should have given to you such a false
    and scandalous representation of what they were told by the
    prisoners.

    In the report from the admiralty board to Mr. Beasly, (a copy of
    which he has transmitted to us) it is stated that the prisoners,
    when called upon to give an account of the circumstances of the
    6th, exonerated Captain Shortland and the English government from
    any blame respecting the same, and accused their own government
    and its agent of being the cause.

    We, on the contrary, solemnly declare, that it was expressly
    stated to Admiral Rowley, that whatever anxiety might have existed
    among the prisoners for a speedy release, could, in no way
    whatever, be construed to have had any collusion or connection
    with that event.--That the prisoners, so far from having any idea
    of attempting to break out, if the gates had been opened, and
    every one suffered to go who might wish to do so, not one in a
    hundred would have left the prison, having no means of subsistence
    in a foreign country, and being likewise liable to IMPRESSMENT,
    when by staying a few days longer, they would, probably, be
    embarked for their native country.

    They, on the contrary, accused Captain Shortland of being the sole
    mover and principal perpetrator of the unprovoked and horrid
    butchery.

    Conceiving, from your well known character in the British navy for
    integrity and candor, that you would not wish to have your name
    the medium of imposing such a gross misrepresentation and such
    direct falsehoods on the admiralty board and the British public,
    we have taken the liberty of thus addressing you, and have the
    honor to subscribe ourselves, your most obedient and very humble
    servants,

                         _Wm. Hobart_, _Walter Colton_, _Henry Allen_,
                         _Thomas B. Mott_, _Wm. B. Orne_,

                            Committee of American Prisoners, Dartmoor.

    [In addition to the documents furnished by the committee of the
    Dartmoor prisoners, we lay the following affidavit of Archibald
    Taylor before the public. Will people doubt this evidence also? Is
    it likely that common soldiers, hired assassins, would make use of
    similar expressions from their own impulses? or is it not much
    more conformable to common sense to believe that this was the
    language held by their officers, and that they echoed it.]

                                               _City of New York, ss._

    _Archibald Taylor_, late commander of the Paul Jones, private
    armed vessel of war, being duly sworn, doth depose and say--

    That he was a prisoner in Dartmoor prison at the time of the late
    massacre of Americans; that after the affair of the 6th of April,
    and on the night of the same day, he was in the prison No. 3,
    assisting Thomas Smith, late his boatswain, who was shot through
    his leg by the soldiers in the yard, when an order was received to
    have all the wounded removed from the prisons to the hospital; and
    while this deponent was carrying the said Thomas Smith to the door
    of the prison, to deliver him to the guards selected to receive
    him, some of the soldiers observed to this deponent, "this is in
    turn for the affair at New Orleans, where you killed our men, and
    now we have our revenge"--and further this deponent saith not.

                                                     ARCHIBALD TAYLOR.

    Sworn before me, this 28th June, 1815.

                                     AARON H. PALMER, _Notary Public_.

           *       *       *       *       *

    KING AND LARPENT'S REPORT.

                                         _Plymouth, 18th April, 1815._

    We the undersigned commissioners, appointed on behalf of our
    respective governments, to inquire into and report upon, the
    unfortunate occurrence of the 6th April inst. at Dartmoor Prison;
    having carefully perused the proceedings of the several courts of
    inquiry, instituted immediately after that event, by the orders of
    Admiral Sir John T. Duckworth and Major-General Brown,
    respectively, as well as the depositions taken at the coroner's
    inquest upon the bodies of the prisoners, who lost their lives
    upon that melancholy occasion; upon which inquest the jury found a
    verdict of justifiable homicide; proceeded immediately to the
    examination upon oath in the presence of one or more of the
    magistrates of the vicinity, of all the witnesses, both American
    and English, who offered themselves for that purpose; or who could
    be discovered as likely to afford any material information on the
    subject, as well as those who had been previously examined before
    the coroner, as otherwise, to the number in the whole of about
    eighty. We further proceeded to a minute examination of the
    prisons, for the purpose of clearing up some points which, upon
    the evidence alone, were scarcely intelligible; obtaining from the
    prisoners, and from the officers of the depot, all the necessary
    assistance and explanation; and premising, that we have been from
    necessity compelled to draw many of our conclusions from
    statements and evidence highly contradictory, we do now make upon
    the whole proceedings the following report:--

    During the period which has elapsed since the arrival in this
    country of the account of the ratification of the treaty of Ghent,
    an increased degree of restlessness and impatience of confinement
    appears to have prevailed amongst the American prisoners at
    Dartmoor, which, though not exhibited in the shape of any violent
    excesses, has been principally indicated by threats of breaking
    out if not soon released.

    On the 4th of this month in particular, only two days previous to
    the events which are the subject of this inquiry, a large body of
    the prisoners rushed into the market-square, from whence, by the
    regulations of the prison they are excluded, demanded bread
    instead of biscuit, which had on that day been issued by the
    officers of the depot; their demands having been then almost
    immediately complied with, they returned to their own yards, and
    the employment of force on that occasion became unnecessary.

    On the evening of the 6th, about 6 o'clock, it was clearly proved
    to us, that a breach or hole had been made in one of the prison
    walls, sufficient for a full sized man to pass, and that others
    had been commenced in the course of the day near the same spot,
    though never completed.

    That a number of the prisoners were over the railing erected to
    prevent them from communicating with the sentinels on the walls,
    which was of course forbidden by the regulations of the prison,
    and that in the space between the railing and those walls they
    were tearing up pieces of turf, and wantonly pelting each other in
    a noisy and disorderly manner.

    That a much more considerable number of the prisoners was
    collected together at that time in one of their yards near the
    place where the breach was effected, and that although such
    collection of prisoners was not unusual at other times (the
    Gambling Tables being commonly kept in that part of the yard) yet,
    when connected with the circumstances of the breach, and the time
    of the day, which was after the hour the signal for the prisoners
    to retire to their respective prisons had ceased to sound, it
    became a natural and just ground of alarm to those who had charge
    of the depot.

    It was also in evidence that in the building formerly the petty
    officers' prison, but now the guard barrack, which stands in the
    yard to which the hole in the wall would serve as a communication,
    a part of the arms of the guard who were off duty, were usually
    kept in the racks, and though there was no evidence that this was,
    in any respect, the motive which induced the prisoners to make the
    opening in the wall, or even that they were ever acquainted with
    the fact, it naturally became at least a further cause of
    suspicion and alarm, and an additional reason for precaution.

    Upon these grounds captain Shortland appears to us to have been
    justified in giving the order, which about this time he seems to
    have given, to sound the alarm bell, the usual signal for
    collecting the officers of the depot and putting the military on
    the alert.

    However reasonable and justifiable this was as a measure of
    precaution, the effects produced thereby in the prisons, but which
    could not have been intended, were most unfortunate, and deeply to
    be regretted. A considerable number of the prisoners in the yards
    where no disturbance existed before, and who were either already
    within their respective prisons, or quietly retiring as usual
    towards them, immediately upon the sound of the bell rushed back
    from curiosity (as it appears) towards the gates, where, by that
    time, the crowd had assembled, and many who were at the time
    absent from their yards, were also from the plan of the prison,
    compelled, in order to reach their own homes, to pass the same
    spot, and thus that which was merely a measure of precaution, in
    its operation increased the evil it was intended to prevent.
    Almost at the same instant that the alarm bell rung, (but whether
    before or subsequent is upon the evidence doubtful, though captain
    Shortland states it positively as one of his further reasons for
    causing it to ring) some one or more of the prisoners broke the
    iron chain, which was the only fastening of No. 1 gate, leading
    into market square by means of an iron bar; and a very
    considerable number of the prisoners immediately rushed towards
    that gate; and many of them began to press forwards as fast as the
    opening would permit into the square.

    There was no direct proof before us of previous concert or
    preparation on the part of the prisoners, and no evidence of their
    intention or disposition to effect their escape on this occasion,
    excepting that which arose by inference from the whole of the
    above detailed circumstances connected together.

    The natural and almost irresistible inference to be drawn,
    however, from the conduct of the prisoners by captain Shortland
    and the military was, that an intention on the part of the
    prisoners to escape was on the point of being carried into
    execution, and it was at least certain that they were by force
    passing beyond the limits prescribed to them at a time when they
    ought to have been quietly going in for the night. It was also in
    evidence that the outer gates of the market square were usually
    opened about this time to let the bread waggons pass and repass to
    the store, although at the period in question they were in fact
    closed.

    Under these circumstances, and with these impressions necessarily
    operating upon his mind, and a knowledge that if the prisoners
    once penetrated through the square, the power of escape was almost
    to a certainty afforded to them, if they should be so disposed;
    captain Shortland in the first instance proceeded down the square
    towards the prisoners, having ordered a part of the different
    guards, to the number of about fifty only at first, (though they
    were increased afterwards) to follow him. For some time both he
    and Dr. Magrath endeavored by quiet means and persuasion, to
    induce the prisoners to return to their own yards, explaining to
    them the fatal consequences which must ensue if they refused, as
    the military would in that case be necessarily compelled to employ
    force. The guard was by this time formed in the rear of captain
    Shortland, about two thirds of the way down the square--the latter
    is about one hundred feet broad, and the guard extended nearly all
    across. Captain Shortland, finding that persuasion was all in
    vain, and that although some were induced by it to make an effort
    to retire, others pressed on in considerable numbers, at last
    ordered about 15 file of the guard, nearly in front of the gate
    which had been forced, to charge the prisoners back to their own
    yards.

    The prisoners were in some places so near the military, that one
    of the soldiers states that he could not come fairly down to the
    charge; and the military were unwilling to set against an enemy.
    Some struggling ensued between the parties, arising partly from
    intention, but mainly from the pressure of those behind preventing
    those in front from getting back. After some little time, however,
    this charge appears to have been so far effective, and that with
    little or no injury to the prisoners, as to have driven them for
    the most part quite down out of the square, with the exception of
    a small number who continued their resistance about No. 1 gate.

    A great crowd still remained collected after this in the passage
    between the square and the prisoners' yards, and in the part of
    those yards in the vicinity of the gates.--This assemblage still
    refused to withdraw, and according to most of the English
    witnesses and some of the American, was making a noise, hallowing,
    insulting and provoking, and daring the military to fire, and
    according to the testimony of several of the soldiers, and some
    others, were pelting the military with large stones, by which some
    of them were actually struck. This circumstance is, however,
    denied by many of the American witnesses; and some of the English,
    upon having the question put to them, stated that they saw no
    stones thrown previously to the firing, although their situation
    at the time was such as to enable them to see most of the
    proceedings in the square.

    Under these circumstances the firing commenced.--With regard to
    any order having been given to fire the evidence is very
    contradictory. Several of the Americans swear positively, that
    captain Shortland gave that order; but the manner in which from
    the confusion of the moment, they described this part of the
    transaction, is so different in its details that it is very
    difficult to reconcile their testimony. Many of the soldiers and
    other English witnesses, heard the word given by some one, but no
    one of them can swear it was by captain Shortland, or by any one
    in particular, and some, amongst whom is the officer commanding
    the guard, think, if captain Shortland had given such an order
    that they must have heard it, which they did not. In addition to
    this captain Shortland denies the fact; and from the situation
    which he appears to have been placed at the time, even according
    to the American witnesses, in front of the soldiers, it may appear
    somewhat improbable that he should then have given such an order.

    But, however, it may remain a matter of doubt whether the firing
    first began in the square by order, or was a spontaneous act of
    the soldiers themselves, it seemed clear that it was continued and
    renewed both there and elsewhere without orders; and that on the
    platforms, and in several places about the prison, it was
    certainly commenced without any authority.

    The fact of an order having been given at first, provided the
    firing was under the existing circumstances justifiable, does not
    appear very material in any other point of view, than as shewing a
    want of self possession and discipline in the troops if they
    should have fired without order.

    With regard to the above most important consideration, of whether
    the firing was justifiable or not, we are of opinion, under all
    the circumstances of the case, from the apprehension which the
    soldiers might fairly entertain, owing to the numbers and conduct
    of the prisoners, that this firing to a certain extent was
    justifiable in a military point of view, in order to intimidate
    the prisoners, and compel them thereby to desist from all acts of
    violence, and to retire as they were ordered, from a situation in
    which the responsibility of the agents, and the military, could
    not permit them with safety to remain.

    From the fact of the crowd being so close and the firing at first
    being attended with very little injury, it appears probable that a
    large proportion of the muskets were, as stated by one or two of
    the witnesses, levelled over the heads of the prisoners; a
    circumstance in some respects to be lamented, as it induced them
    to cry out "blank cartridges," and merely irritated and encouraged
    them to renew their insults to the soldiery, which produced a
    repetition of the firing in a manner much more destructive.

    The firing in the square having continued for some time, by which
    several of the prisoners sustained injuries, the greater part of
    them appear to have been running back with the utmost
    precipitation and confusion to their respective prisons, and the
    cause for further firing seems at this period to have ceased. It
    appears, accordingly, that captain Shortland was in the market
    square exerting himself and giving orders to that effect, and that
    lieutenant Fortye had succeeded in stopping the fire of his part
    of the guard.

    Under these circumstances, it is very difficult to find any
    justification for the further continuance and renewal of the
    firing, which certainly took place both in the prison yards and
    elsewhere; though we have some evidence of subsequent provocation
    given to the military, and resistance to the turnkeys in shutting
    the prisons, and of stones being thrown out from within the prison
    doors.

    The subsequent firing rather appears to have arisen from the state
    of individual irritation and exasperation on the part of the
    soldiers, who followed the prisoners into their yards, and from
    the absence of nearly all of the officers who might have
    restrained it as well as from the great difficulty of putting an
    end to a firing when once commenced under such circumstances.
    Captain Shortland was from this time busily occupied with the
    turnkeys in the square, receiving and taking care of the wounded.
    Ensign White remained with his guard at the breach, and
    lieutenants Ayelyne and Fortye, the only other subalterns known to
    have been present, continued with the main bodies of their
    respective guards.

    The time of the day, which was the officers' dinner hour, will in
    some measure explain this, as it caused the absence of every
    officer from the prison whose presence was not indispensable
    there. And this circumstance which has been urged as an argument
    to prove the intention of the prisoners to take this opportunity
    to escape, tended to increase the confusion, and to prevent those
    great exertions being made which might perhaps have obviated a
    portion at least of the mischief which ensued.

    At the same time that the firing was going on in the square, a
    cross fire was also kept up from several of the platforms on the
    walls round the prisoners where the sentries stand, by straggling
    parties of soldiers who ran up there for that purpose. As far as
    this fire was directed to disperse the men assembled round the
    breach, for which purpose it was most effectual, it seems to stand
    upon the same ground as that in the first instance in the
    square.--That part which it is positively sworn was directed
    against straggling parties of prisoners running about the yards
    and endeavoring to enter in the few doors which the turnkeys,
    according to their usual practice, had left open, does seem, as
    stated, to have been wholly without object or excuse, and to have
    been a wanton attack upon the lives of defenceless, and at that
    time, unoffending individuals.

    In the same, or even more severe terms, we must remark upon what
    was proved as to the firing in the door-ways of the prisons, more
    particularly into that of No. 3 prison, at a time when the men
    were in crowds at the entrance. From the position of the prison
    and the door, and from the marks of the balls which were pointed
    out to us, as well as from the evidence, it was clear this firing
    must have proceeded from soldiers a very few feet from the door
    way; and although it was certainly sworn that the prisoners were
    at the time of part of the firing at least, continuing to insult
    and occasionally to throw stones at the soldiers, and that they
    were standing in the way of, and impeding the turnkey, who was
    there for the purpose of closing the door, yet still there was
    nothing stated which could, in our view, at all justify such
    excessively harsh and severe treatment of helpless and unarmed
    prisoners, when all idea of escape was at an end.

    Under these impressions, we used every endeavor to ascertain if
    there was the least prospect of identifying any of the soldiers
    who had been guilty of the particular outrages here alluded to, or
    of tracing any particular death, at that time to the firing of any
    particular individual, but without success; and all hopes of
    bringing the offenders to punishment would seem to be at an end.

    In conclusion, we, the undersigned, have only to add, that whilst
    we lament, as we do most deeply, the unfortunate transaction which
    has been the subject of this inquiry, we find ourselves unable to
    suggest any steps to be taken as to those parts of it which seem
    to call for redress and punishment.

    (Signed)

                                              CHARLES KING,
                                              FRANCIS SEYMOUR LARPENT.


                                           _Plymouth, April 26, 1815._

    SIR--In pursuance of the instructions received from Messrs. Clay
    and Gallatin, I have now the honor to transmit to you the report
    prepared by Mr. Larpent and myself on behalf of our respective
    governments, in relation to the unfortunate transactions at
    Dartmoor Prison of War, on the 6th of the present month.
    Considering it of much importance that the report, whatever it
    might be, should go forth under our joint signatures, I have
    forborne to press some of the points which it involves, as far as
    otherwise I might have done, and it therefore may not be improper
    in this letter to enter into some little explanation of such parts
    of the report.

    Although it does appear that a part of the prisoners were on that
    evening in such a state, and under such circumstances as to have
    justified in the view which the commander of the depot could not
    but take of it, the intervention of the military force, and even
    in a strict sense, the first use of fire arms, yet I cannot but
    express it as my settled opinion, that by conduct a little more
    temporising this dreadful alternative of firing upon unarmed
    prisoners might have been avoided. Yet as this opinion has been
    the result of subsequent examination, and after having acquired a
    knowledge of the comparatively harmless state of the prisoners, it
    may be but fair to consider, whether in such a moment of confusion
    and alarm, as that appears to have been, the officer commanding
    could have fairly estimated his danger, or have measured out with
    precision the extent and nature of the force necessary to guard
    against it.

    But when the firing became general, as it afterwards appears to
    have been, and caught with electric rapidity from the square to
    the platforms, there is no plea nor shadow of excuse for it,
    except in the personal exasperation of the soldiery, nor for the
    more deliberate, and therefore more unjustifiable firing which
    took place into three of the prisons, No. 1, 3 and 4, but more
    particularly into No. 3, after the prisoners had retired into
    them, and there was no longer any pretence of apprehensions, as to
    their escape.--Upon this ground, as you, sir, will perceive by the
    report, Mr. Larpent and myself had no difference of opinion, and I
    am fully persuaded that my own regret was not greater than his at
    perceiving how hopeless would be the attempt to trace to any
    individuals of the military these outrageous proceedings.

    As to whether the order to fire came from captain Shortland, I yet
    confess myself unable to form any satisfactory opinion, though
    perhaps the bias of my mind is, that he did give such an order.
    But his anxiety and exertions to stop it after it had continued
    for some little time, are fully proved, and his general conduct
    previous to this occurrence, as far as we could with propriety
    enter into such details, appears to have been characterized with
    great fairness, and even kindness, in the relation in which he
    stood towards the prisoners.

    On the subject of any _complaints against their own government_
    existing among the prisoners, it was invariably answered to
    several distinct questions put by me on that head, _that none
    whatsoever existed or had been expressed by them_, although they
    confessed themselves to entertain some animosity against Mr.
    Beasly, to whom they attributed their detention in this country;
    with what justice, you, sir, will be better able to judge. They
    made no complaint whatsoever as to their provisions and general
    mode of living, and treatment in the prison.

    I have transmitted to Mr. Beasly, a list of the killed and wounded
    on this melancholy occasion, with a request that he would forward
    it to the United States, for the information of their friends at
    home, and I am pleased to have it in my power to say, that the
    wounded are for the most part doing well.

    I have also enclosed to Mr. Beasly, the notes taken by me of the
    evidence adduced before us, with a request that he would have them
    fairly copied, as also a copy of the depositions taken before the
    Coroner, and desired him to submit them to you when in order.

    I cannot conclude, sir, without expressing my high sense of the
    impartiality and manly fairness with which this enquiry has been
    conducted on the part of Mr. Larpent, nor without mentioning that
    every facility was afforded to us in its prosecution, as well by
    the military officers commanding here and at the prison, as by the
    magistrates in the vicinity.

    I have the honor to be, with much respect, your most obedient
    humble servant.

    (Signed)

                                                         CHARLES KING.

    _His Excellency John Q. Adams, &c. &c._


    DARTMOOR PRISON.

    _A Return of American prisoners of war killed and wounded in an
    attempt to force the military guard on the evening of the 6th of
    April, 1815._

  -------+-------+-----------+--------+--------------+----------+---------
         |       |           |        |              |Whether   |
         |Number |           |        |              |man of    |
         |on     |           |        |              |war,      |
         |general|           |        |              |merchant  |
  Current|entry  |           |        |              |vessel, or|
  No.    |book.  |Names.     |Quality.|Ship.         |privateer.|Remarks.
  -------+-------+-----------+--------+--------------+----------+---------
                                  KILLED.
  -------+-------+-----------+--------+--------------+----------+---------
       1 |  4884 |Wm.        |Seaman, |Enterprize,   |Privateer,|
         |       |Leveridge, |        |prize to      |          |
         |       |           |        |Saratoga.     |          |
         |       |           |        |              |          |
       2 |   970 |James Mann,|do.     |Siro.         |Lett.     |
         |       |           |        |              |Marque,   |
         |       |           |        |              |          |
       3 |  3134 |John       |do.     |_Gave himself |          |Impres'd.
         |       |Haywood,   |        |up from H. M. |          |
         |       |           |        |Ship Scipion._|          |
         |       |           |        |              |          |
       4 |  1347 |Jo. T.     |do.     |Paul Jones,   |Privateer,|
         |       |Johnson,   |        |              |          |
         |       |           |        |              |          |
       5 |  3936 |John       |do.     |Rolla,        |Merch.    |
         |       |Washington,|        |              |vessel,   |
  -------+-------+-----------+--------+--------------+----------+---------
                                  WOUNDED.
  -------+-------+-----------+--------+--------------+----------+---------
       1 |  6520 |Tho.       |Boy,    |_Gave himself |          |Imp. died
         |       |Jackson,   |        |up from H. M. |          |Ap. 7,
         |       |           |        |Ship Pontes._ |          |1815
         |       |           |        |              |          |
       2 |  2647 |James      |Seaman, |_Gave himself |          |Imp. died
         |       |Campbell,  |        |up from H. M. |          |Ap. 7,
         |       |           |        |Ship          |          |1815
         |       |           |        |Volontaire._  |          |
         |       |           |        |              |          |
       3 |  5769 |John Gier, |do.     |Rambler,      |Merch.    |
         |       |           |        |              |vessel,   |
         |       |           |        |              |          |
       4 |  1722 |William    |do.     |Dispatch,     |do.       |Impres'd,
         |       |Penn,      |        |              |          |at London
         |       |           |        |              |          |
       5 |  5003 |Cornel.    |do.     |Invincible,   |Lett.     |
         |       |Garrison,  |        |              |Marque    |
         |       |           |        |              |          |
       6 |  3614 |H.         |do.     |Homeby.       |Privateer,|
         |       |Hontcalm,  |        |              |p. G. Tom.|
         |       |           |        |              |          |
       7 |  1965 |Robert     |do.     |_Gave himself |          |Impres'd.
         |       |Willett,   |        |up from H. M. |          |
         |       |           |        |Ship          |          |
         |       |           |        |Andromache._  |          |
         |       |           |        |              |          |
       8 |  5326 |John Peach,|do.     |Enterprize,   |Privateer,|
         |       |           |        |              |          |
       9 |  2148 |Edw.       |do.     |_Gave himself |          |Impres'd.
         |       |Wittlebark,|        |up from H. M. |          |
         |       |           |        |Ship Ro.      |          |
         |       |           |        |William._     |          |
         |       |           |        |              |          |
      10 |  1881 |James      |Boy,    |Elbridge      |Privateer,|
         |       |Thornbull, |        |Gerry,        |          |
         |       |           |        |              |          |
      11 |  3652 |James      |Seaman, |Thorn,        |do.       |
         |       |Wells,     |        |              |          |
         |       |           |        |              |          |
      12 |  1236 |Philip     |do.     |_Gave himself |          |Impres'd.
         |       |Ford,      |        |up from       |          |
         |       |           |        |H. M. S.      |          |
         |       |           |        |Sult._        |          |
         |       |           |        |              |          |
      13 |   685 |James Bell,|do.     |Joel Barlow,  |Merch.    |
         |       |           |        |              |vessel,   |
         |       |           |        |              |          |
      14 |    94 |John Grey, |do.     |St. Martin's  |do.       |
         |       |           |        |Planter,      |          |
         |       |           |        |              |          |
      15 |   436 |Wm.        |do.     |Magdalene,    |do.       |
         |       |Leversage, |        |              |          |
         |       |           |        |              |          |
      16 |  1024 |Edw.       |do.     |Joseph,       |do.       |
         |       |Gardner,   |        |              |          |
         |       |           |        |              |          |
      17 |  1546 |Stephen    |do.     |Zebra,        |Lett.     |
         |       |Phipps,    |        |              |Marque,   |
         |       |           |        |              |          |
      18 |   486 |John       |do.     |Two Brothers, |          |Impres'd,
         |       |Roberts,   |        |              |          |at Cork.
         |       |           |        |              |          |
      19 |  1640 |Thomas     |do.     |Paul Jones,   |Privateer,|
         |       |Smith,     |        |              |          |
         |       |           |        |              |          |
      20 |  1819 |Caleb      |do.     |_Gave himself |          |Impres'd.
         |       |Codding,   |        |up from H. M. |          |
         |       |           |        |Ship          |          |
         |       |           |        |Swiftsure._   |          |
         |       |           |        |              |          |
      21 |  5015 |John Davis,|do.     |Charlotte,    |Privateer,|
         |       |           |        |p. to Mammoth,|          |
         |       |           |        |              |          |
      22 |  2013 |James      |do.     |G. Tomkins,   |do.       |
         |       |Esdaille,  |        |              |          |
         |       |           |        |              |          |
      23 |   380 |Peter      |do.     |Virginia      |Merch.    |
         |       |Wilson,    |        |Planter,      |vessel,   |
         |       |           |        |              |          |
      24 |  2834 |Wm. Blake, |do.     |_Gave himself |          |Impres'd.
         |       |           |        |up from       |          |
         |       |           |        |H. M. S.      |          |
         |       |           |        |Repu._        |          |
         |       |           |        |              |          |
      25 |   338 |John       |2d Mate,|Good Friends, |Merch.    |
         |       |Hogabets,  |        |              |vessel,   |
         |       |           |        |              |          |
      26 |  4153 |Eph.       |Seaman, |Argus,        |do.       |
         |       |Lincoln,   |        |              |          |
         |       |           |        |              |          |
      27 |  4493 |Thomas     |do.     |Enterprize,   |Privateer,|
         |       |Findlay,   |        |              |          |
         |       |           |        |              |          |
      28 |  4109 |John       |do.     |Flash,        |do.       |
         |       |Howard,    |        |              |          |
         |       |           |        |              |          |
      29 |  1228 |Joseph     |do.     |_Gave himself |          |Impres'd.
         |       |Masick,    |        |up from H. M. |          |
         |       |           |        |Ship Furieux._|          |
         |       |           |        |              |          |
      30 |  6123 |Robert     |do.     |Grand Turk,   |Privateer,|
         |       |Fillez,    |        |              |          |
         |       |           |        |              |          |
      31 |  1812 |John       |do.     |_Ga. himself  |          |Impres'd.
         |       |Willet,    |        |up from       |          |
         |       |           |        |H. M. S.      |          |
         |       |           |        |Rosario._     |          |
         |       |           |        |              |          |
      32 |  3080 |John Perry,|do.     |_Do fr H. M.  |          |Impres'd.
         |       |           |        |S. Tiger._    |          |
         |       |           |        |              |          |
      33 |  2662 |John       |do.     |_Do fr H. M.  |          |Impres'd.
         |       |Wilson,    |        |S. Fortuna._  |          |
  -------+-------+-----------+--------+--------------+----------+---------

    (Signed)

                                     THOMAS GEORGE SHORTLAND, _Agent_.

    (Signed)

                                     GEORGE MAGRATH, _Surgeon_.


    Reply to KING and LARPENT'S Report.

    _To the People of the United States._

    Having perused, with attention, the report of Mr. CHARLES KING,
    and FRANCIS SEYMOUR LARPENT, on their examination of the
    _unfortunate_ occurrence at Dartmoor, on the 6th of April last:

    We, the undersigned, being there at the time this _unfortunate_
    occurrence took place, deem it a duty we owe to the surviving
    sufferers of that bloody transaction, to our fellow citizens, and
    ourselves, to make some remarks upon such a singular report.
    Although we presume the door is forever closed against any further
    investigation of that ever to be remembered transaction, we cannot
    help, however contrary it may be to our wishes to irritate the
    public feeling, already so much excited, entering into a detailed
    investigation of that report.

    In the committee's address to the public on the 27th of June last,
    preceding the publication of the affidavits of some of the
    prisoners, taken on that melancholy affair, they have justly
    anticipated what would be the report of the commissioners, after
    their investigation; they drew their conclusions from the singular
    manner in which the investigation was conducted. The report
    commences by stating, that, after carefully perusing the
    proceedings of the several courts of inquiry, instituted
    immediately after that event, they proceeded immediately to the
    examination, upon oath, of ALL the witnesses, both American and
    English, who offered themselves for that purpose.--How far this
    part of the report is correct, we shall leave the public to judge.

    On the arrival of the commissioners at the depot, the committee of
    the prison were sent for; after waiting some time at the door of
    the room, where the inquiry was held, they were called in
    separately and questioned as to their knowledge of the
    transactions of the sixth.--The depositions of those who were eye
    witnesses of that disgraceful scene were taken; some were
    questioned as to the general conduct of Shortland, previous to
    that affair; it was represented by them as it would have been by
    all, as being universally _cruel, overbearing and oppressive_.
    After having finished the examination of the committee, they
    requested them to bring forward all the evidence that was likely
    to cast any light on the subject of inquiry. They accordingly
    returned into the prison, and drew up a list of the names of some
    of the eye-witnesses of that day's occurrence. Although they could
    have brought hundreds to the examination, and the sum of whose
    evidence would have amounted to the same, yet the committee not
    wishing to impede the progress of the investigation, by a
    redundancy of evidence, they were careful to select such men as
    were most likely to give a clear and distinct account of all the
    circumstances as they occurred under their knowledge, taking care,
    at the same time, to procure those whose different situations
    afforded them an opportunity of witnessing that transaction, from
    the commencement to the close. Such was the evidence the committee
    had selected, to the number of about fifty, VERY FEW of whom were
    ever examined, although they were kept waiting in the turnkey's
    lodge (where they were ordered to stay until called for) during
    the hours of investigation. In the course of the inquiry, it
    seems, the commissioners found it necessary to survey the
    particular situation of the prisons, and the points from which the
    different attacks were made; they accordingly came into the yard
    for that purpose, and after having been shown all the places from
    whence the firing was continued, where the crowd of prisoners had
    assembled on the first alarm, and where the hole, so much made a
    handle of, had been made--after a slight survey of these different
    places, they retired into their session room, leaving orders, once
    more, with the committee to hold their evidence in readiness, as
    they would soon be called upon for examination. The committee
    replied that they had been in readiness since the commencement of
    the inquiry, and were then only waiting their orders to appear
    before them, feeling happy in the idea of having it in their power
    to show to the court, and to the world, by the evidence they had
    to produce, that the attack of Shortland on the defenceless
    prisoners, was premeditated and unjustifiable in ANY point of
    view.

    After attending in the turnkey's lodge during the sitting of the
    commissioners, until the middle of the third day, without having
    but very few of the evidences sent for, and being fearful that
    they might be waiting for them, the committee sent them word that
    the witnesses were still in attendance. No answer being returned
    to this message for some time, the committee became uneasy on
    account of the long examination of the officers, soldiers, clerks,
    and turnkeys, attached to the depot, without admitting the
    prisoners to an equal privilege; and understanding the
    commissioners were about closing their inquiry, they again sent
    word they would be glad to have an interview for a few moments,
    for the purpose of explaining the nature of their evidence, and
    the necessity of a full hearing on both sides of the question. NO
    ANSWER BEING RETURNED TO THIS REQUEST, and still waiting with the
    anxious hope that they would soon send for some of us, when we
    were told by one of the turnkeys, that the commissioners were
    prepared to depart, having finished the examination. Astonished to
    think they meant to leave the depot without clearly investigating
    the circumstances that were the cause of their meeting, and
    feeling indignant that a cause of so much importance should be
    passed over so partially, the committee addressed a note to Mr.
    King, begging him not to shut the door of communication against
    the prisoners, by closing the inquiry without giving them the
    privilege of a hearing, as the greatest part of our witnesses were
    yet unexamined, and their evidence they conceived to be of the
    utmost importance to the investigation. _No reply was made to this
    note_; but, in a few moments, we were told, that the commissioners
    had left the depot. How far they are justifiable in saying they
    examined ALL the evidences that offered themselves, we think is
    sufficiently shewn.

    The commissioners next go on to mention the insurrection of the
    prisoners about the bread, on the 4th, two days previous to the
    events, the subject of that inquiry. Although the report correctly
    states, the prisoners quietly returned to their own yards, after
    their demands having been complied with, Mr. King forgot to
    mention, that it was clearly represented to him, had the
    prisoners been so disposed, on that night, they could have easily
    made their escape. Although that transaction had nothing to do, as
    relates to the prisoners, with the events of the 6th, we merely
    represent this circumstance to show, that there was no intention
    whatever on their part to break out of the prison, as Shortland
    and his adherents have attempted to prove.

    The report now goes on to mention, that on the evening of the 6th
    of April, about six o'clock in the evening, a hole was made in one
    of the walls of the prison sufficient for a full-sized man to
    pass, and others had been commenced, but never completed, and that
    a number of the prisoners were over the railing erected to prevent
    them from communicating with the sentinels on the walls, and that
    they were tearing up pieces of turf, and wantonly pelting each
    other, in a noisy manner.

    As to the hole made in the wall, we believe the causes and reasons
    have been already sufficiently explained by the affidavits laid
    before the public. With respect to the prisoners being between the
    iron paling and the wall, it could have been, if it was not,
    easily explained to Mr. King, had he given an opportunity. It
    seems, that on the afternoon of the 6th, some of the prisoners
    having obtained _leave_ of the sentinels on the walls to go over
    and lay upon the grass, others seeing them laying so much at their
    ease, went over to enjoy the same privilege; and as the sentinels
    made no objection to this proceeding, the number was soon
    increased to such a degree, that it became no longer an enjoyment
    to those who first obtained the privilege; some scuffling then
    ensued among themselves, and they began to pelt each other with
    turf and old shoes, principally in play, and among so many, no
    doubt, there must have been considerable noise; but how they can
    possibly connect this circumstance with the hole made in the wall,
    is entirely out of our power to conceive, as the iron railings
    separated them from the pretended breach in the wall, and distant
    from it more than half the length of the yard; of course, had the
    hole been intended as a breach, the iron paling would have become
    a barrier, instead of facilitating the means of an escape.

    As to that part of the report which mentions the guard-barracks
    being the repository for the arms of the guard off duty, and of
    its standing in the yard to which the hole in the wall would serve
    as a communication, and of its being a further cause of suspicion
    and alarm to Captain Shortland--to one acquainted with the
    situation of the prison, such an idea would be ridiculous; but to
    those who are not acquainted with it, it will be only necessary
    for us to mention, that if the prisoners had the intention of
    breaking out through this passage, and had actually got into the
    barrack-yard, the difficulties they would then have to encounter
    would be much greater than to break a passage through the market
    square, or the back part of the yard. As to the idea of their
    possessing themselves of the muskets standing in the racks in the
    guard-barracks (even if they knew of any being there) it is
    childish; for how easy would it have been for the commanding
    officer, on the shortest intimation of such an attempt, with one
    blast of his bugle, to have called all his guards to the spot
    before a hundredth part of the prisoners could have got into the
    yard, and by that means instantly put a stop to any further
    proceedings on their part.

    We cannot conceive how Mr. King can possibly come forward and say,
    on these grounds, it appeared to him that Captain Shortland was
    justified in giving the order for sounding the alarm bell, when,
    if he found the prisoners were conducting themselves improperly,
    had he sent for the committee (as always had been his custom
    heretofore, when he had any charge against the prisoners for
    improper conduct) and told them that the prisoners were breaking
    the wall (which circumstance, as has been published before, was
    not known to one tenth of the prisoners) and requested them to
    have represented to those engaged in it, the consequences that
    must ensue if they persisted in such conduct, we have not a
    moment's hesitation in saying, they would have put a stop to any
    further proceedings of that kind.

    That part which relates to the breaking of the iron chain which
    fastened No. 1 gate, and which follows next in the report, says
    there was no evidence to show whether it was done before or after
    the alarm bell rang. As this was a material point on which they
    grounded Shortland's justification, we have to regret that the
    evidence we had to lay before the commissioners, and which would,
    in our opinion, have sufficiently cleared up that point, was not
    examined.

    On the ringing of the alarm bell, the rush towards the gates
    leading into the market square was so great (attracted as has been
    before stated by curiosity) that those in front were irresistibly
    pushed forward by those in the rear, and if the chain had not
    broke, the lock must have given way to the pressure, and by this
    opening, it is but natural to suppose, that a number must have
    been shoved into the square, in front of the soldiers, who were
    drawn up in a line across the square, with Shortland at their
    head.

    If, as the report now goes on to state, there was no direct proof
    before them of a previous concert or preparation on the part of
    the prisoners, and no evidence of their intention or disposition
    to effect their escape on this occasion, excepting that which
    arose by _inference_ from the whole of the detailed circumstances
    connected together, had Mr. King examined the evidence on the part
    of the prisoners, as minutely as it seems he examined those on the
    part of Shortland, he could not even have drawn the _shadow of an
    inference_ of that being their intention.

    Where the commissioners got their evidence for asserting that
    Captain Shortland, by quiet means and persuasion, endeavored to
    persuade the prisoners to retire into their respective yards, is
    unaccountable to us, as those who know Captain Shortland, know he
    is not a man of persuasion. It is correct that Dr. M'Grath used
    every exertion to persuade the prisoners to retire out of the
    square, which if Shortland had allowed sufficient time, would have
    been quietly done; but the crowd, by this time, had become so
    great, and the pressure from the rear so strong, that those in
    front could not retreat until time should be allowed for those in
    the rear to fall back, but the hasty, haughty, and overbearing
    temper of Shortland, could not allow him to use such conciliatory
    means. He orders (the report says) fifteen file of the guard
    fronting the open gate, to the charge; and after some little time
    the charge was so effectual, with but very little or no injury to
    the prisoners, as to drive them, for the most part, quite out of
    the square, with the exception of a small number who continued
    their resistance about No. 1 gate. Under these circumstances,
    continued the report, the firing commenced.

    Here we beg leave to request an attentive perusal of the
    affidavits of some of the prisoners, taken by the committee, and
    which relate particularly to this part of the transaction. It is
    there positively stated, that on the soldiers coming to the
    charge, the prisoners ALL retreated into the yard, and pushed the
    gate to after them. If the commissioners had examined the
    evidence, this part of the report ought to have been differently
    expressed.

    We cannot conceive how Mr. King finds it difficult to reconcile
    the testimony respecting Captain Shortland's giving the orders to
    fire; when he reports that SEVERAL of the Americans SWEAR
    POSITIVELY, that Captain Shortland gave that order--and many of
    the soldiers and the English witnesses heard the word given by
    some one, but could not swear it was by Captain Shortland; and
    some of them (among whom is the officer commanding the guard)
    THINK, if Captain Shortland had given such an order, they must
    have heard it, which they did not. Thus, then, stands the
    foundation for this part of the report. An English officer THINKS
    it is not so, and several Americans SWEAR it is so; and he finds
    it very difficult to reconcile their testimony.--The lightness
    with which they seem to have passed over this most important point
    of that day's transaction, cannot but be deeply regretted by those
    who feel for the unhappy sufferers, when they go on to state, "It
    may remain a matter of doubt whether the firing first began in the
    square by an ORDER, or whether it was a spontaneous act of the
    soldiers themselves; it seemed clear it was continued and renewed
    both there and elsewhere, without orders--and that on the
    platforms and several places about the prison it was _certainly
    commenced without any authority_." We must once more request the
    attention of the public to the affidavits already published; it is
    there sworn by one of the witnesses, that PREVIOUS to the alarm
    bell being rung, and while walking in the yard, _a soldier called
    to him from the walls_, and _told him to go in_, as they would
    soon be fired upon. How, then, can it be possible, that a soldier
    on the walls should know that they would soon be fired upon, if
    the order had not been previously given to that effect? And had
    the bugle-man been examined, he could have stated that, previous
    to the ringing of the alarm bell, he received orders to _sound to
    fire_; so that when the soldiers took their stations on the walls,
    they were charged and prepared for that purpose. With such
    information, we conceive the committee to stand fully justified in
    stating in their report, the belief of its being a pre-concerted
    plan, on the part of Shortland; and if the commissioners had
    possessed themselves with a knowledge of these circumstances,
    which they could and ought to have done, would they, then,
    reported Shortland as justifiable, even in a _military_ point of
    view?

    The next thing we have to notice in the report is, that very
    singular paragraph, which says, "from the fact of the crowd being
    so close, and the firing at _first_ being attended with _very
    little injury_, it appears probable, that a large proportion of
    the muskets were, as stated by one or two of the witnesses,
    levelled over the heads of the prisoners, a circumstance, in some
    respects, to be _lamented_." Is it, then, to be _lamented_, that
    the soldiers did not level their pieces, on the _first_ fire,
    directly into the crowd, which they have stated to be so great and
    so close that a soldier declared he could not come fairly down to
    a charge? or is it to be _lamented_, that one or two hundred were
    not killed at the first discharge, and a thousand or two wounded?
    If so, we think it much to be _lamented_, that the reporters were
    not there, and placed foremost in the crowd.

    The circumstance of so few being hurt at the first discharge is
    not strange to those who are acquainted with the situation; and
    this occurrence alone corroborates the American evidence, and
    ought to have been sufficient proof to the commissioners, that the
    prisoners upon being charged upon, retreated through the gates,
    and shut them after them, before the firing commenced; and which
    circumstance, alone, should have shut the door of justification
    against Shortland for commencing a fire upon them, as they were in
    their own yards. As this was the actual situation of the prisoners
    on the first discharge, and the soldiers having to fire through
    the iron paling, and the prisoners retreating on a descending
    ground, of course brought the muskets, when down to a level, over
    the heads of the prisoners--it was owing to this _fortunate_
    circumstance that so few were injured on the first discharge of
    the musketry; and it seems the inhuman Shortland was aware of this
    circumstance, when he was distinctly heard to order his soldiers
    to fire low. This does not appear to correspond with that part of
    their report which says, "Captain Shortland was in the market
    square, exerting himself in giving orders to stop the firing."

    That there was any provocation given to the soldiers to justify
    their subsequent brutal conduct, the commissioners themselves seem
    to find it very difficult to trace any evidence, although they
    say, it appears, that there was some resistance made to the
    turnkeys in shutting the prison, and that stones were thrown at
    the military. Had they examined the _prisoners_ sufficiently, they
    would have been convinced that no resistance was made to the
    turnkeys in shutting the doors. As to throwing stones at the
    military, while they were chasing them from corner to corner, and
    firing at them in every place where they had taken shelter from
    the balls, could it be expected but they would seize on something
    for self defence, when they saw the soldiers running at them with
    their bayonets, and having no possible means of escape, as it has
    been before stated, all the doors in the prisons had been
    previously closed except one, and that one perhaps, the length of
    the prison from him. Is there a man, in such a situation, but
    would seize on the first weapon that offered itself, and sell his
    life as dear as possible. How can they, then, make that the
    slightest justification for such outrageous conduct on the part of
    Shortland or the military?

    As to most of the officers being absent is erroneous; it could
    have been proved that there was an officer in every yard, and in
    one instance where he was heard to give the order to fire on a
    party of prisoners close by the door, and running and making every
    exertion to enter the prison.

    As to Captain Shortland being busy in the square with the
    turnkeys, receiving and taking care of the wounded, certainly
    shows the commissioners' want of correct information, for it is
    already before the public, in affidavit, the cruel manner in which
    the wounded were treated by him, and of his abuse to the prisoners
    who were bearing the wounded to the hospital gate. That part of
    the report which relates that the time and commencement of this
    transaction was the officers' dinner hour, is too ridiculous for a
    comment. We do not believe that there was a prisoner in the depot
    that knew when or where the officers dined, and therefore, can be
    no ground for an argument, that the prisoners were taking this
    opportunity to escape.

    The report goes on to state, "the cross fire, which was kept up
    from several of the platforms on the walls round the prison, and
    directed against straggling parties of prisoners, running about
    the yard, endeavoring to enter the prison by the door which the
    turnkey left open, according to their usual practice, _does seem_
    to have been without object or excuse, and to have been a wanton
    attack upon the lives of defenceless, and, at the same time,
    unoffending individuals." In answer to this paragraph, we shall
    only reply, that had the commissioners examined ALL the American
    evidence, and attached the same credit to it, which it appears
    they have done to ALL the English evidence, similar expressions
    would have been made use of against Shortland's conduct throughout
    the whole of their report.

    It appears to us, after an attentive examination of this report,
    that the commissioners meant to justify Shortland in commencing
    his murderous attack upon the prisoners, and to condemn the
    soldiers for continuing it. Singular as this idea appears, it is
    no less strange to us, how it can be possible they could reconcile
    it to their feelings to make up a report containing such a direct
    contradiction to reason; for surely if Shortland could be
    justified in using coercive measures in the first instance, the
    military certainly should be acquitted for the subsequent
    massacre, as the whole was conducted under his immediate
    command;--and if he had A RIGHT to kill one, on the same ground he
    might have extended it to a thousand. And, on the other hand, if
    any part of the transaction is to be condemned, Shortland should
    answer for the whole; for what necessity could there be made to
    attempt identifying any of the soldiers? Surely the commissioners
    could not think of bringing them to punishment, as they acted by
    the direct orders of Shortland and his officers!--and if any one
    could or ought to be made to answer for the outrage, it should be
    Shortland.

    In addition to the contradictions contained in the commissioners'
    joint report, Mr. King, in his letter to his excellency J. Q.
    Adams, almost denies the ground on which they have, in part,
    founded Shortland's justification, when he says (alluding to have
    heard several Americans _swear, positively_, that Shortland did
    give the order to fire, and an officer of the guard _thinking_
    that he did not, as he should have heard him) "perhaps the bias of
    my mind was, that Shortland did give that order; and wishing the
    report to go forth under our joint signatures, I forbore to press
    some of the points so far as otherwise I MIGHT have done."

    If, then, any part has been neglected, or passed over for
    accommodation, or any other purpose (and one there certainly has,
    in not paying the same attention to the American as was done to
    the English evidence) it is to be regretted that Mr. King should
    so far forget the sacred duties attached to the appointment of a
    commissioner to enquire into the murder of his countrymen, as to
    pass over any points which might have brought to light the means
    of punishment for the murder, or obtained in some measure an
    indemnity for the surviving unhappy sufferers.

    Will not the shades of the departed victims haunt him in his
    midnight slumbers, and, pointing to their lacerated bodies, say,
    these still remain unavenged? Will not the unhappy survivors show
    the stumps of their amputated limbs, and say, these wounds fester,
    and still remain unatoned? Will not the widow and the helpless
    orphan raise their innocent hands to heaven, and cry, why was
    justice denied us? Why was the heart so callous to our sufferings?
    And why was the bosom shut to sympathy? Let Mr. King point out
    some means to appease these bitter complaints, and we shall be
    satisfied.

    We shall now close these unpleasant remarks, by noticing another
    unaccountable error in Mr. King's letter to Mr. Adams, where he
    mentions, speaking of Shortland, "and his general conduct,
    previous to this occurrence, as far as I could with propriety
    enter into such details, appears to have been characterized with
    great fairness, and even kindness, in the relation in which he
    stood towards the prisoners."--We shall not pretend to ask Mr.
    King where he obtained the evidence on which he grounds this
    assertion; we are sure it was not from the prisoners, who ought to
    have been the best judges of that circumstance; but, instead of
    all that, all the Americans who were permitted to express an
    opinion on that subject, at the examination, declared, without
    reserve, as would all the prisoners in the depot, had they been
    asked the question, that Shortland's conduct, from the
    commencement of his appointment to that station, had been cruel,
    oppressive, and overbearing; and, instead of taking measures to
    alleviate the distresses of the wretched objects under him, as a
    feeling man would have done, he seemed to take a pleasure in
    harrassing them whenever he could find the slightest pretext for
    so doing.

    _W. Colton_, _Joseph Swain_, _Arch'd Taylor_, _David Ingalls_,
    _Reuben Sherman_, _Arch'd I. Mackay_, _Philip Black_, _Homer
    Hall_, _James B. Mansfield_, _Abr'm M'Intire_, _Wm. Cochran_,
    _Henry Dolliver_, _John Jones_, _B. Weeks_, _Wm. Demerell_,
    _Thomas Ward_, _William K. White_.


    REMARKS.

    In presenting to the world the record of a transaction, probably
    the most barbarous which the history of modern warfare can
    furnish, we cannot refrain from remarks.--Whatever our feelings
    may be, upon a subject so amply calculated to excite the
    indignation and abhorrence of every friend to humanity, and every
    one who has respect for the laws of civilized and mitigated
    warfare, we will, nevertheless, refrain, so far as the
    circumstances of outraged humanity will permit, from the violence
    of invective, and wholly from unwarranted crimination. Those, into
    whose hands these documents may fall, will, however, preserve them
    as a monument erected to the memory of their slaughtered
    countrymen, and a memento of the unfeeling cruelty of our late
    enemy.

    Though we are far from believing that there are not persons of
    noble and humane minds in the English nation, yet, a uniformity of
    conduct, on the part of the Government and its agents, has taught
    us to believe that they, at least, are blood thirsty and cruel.

    The incarceration of Americans in the Jersey Prison Ship at
    New-York, and Mill Prison, in England, in the Revolutionary war,
    raised in the minds of the sainted heroes of those times, the most
    exalted feelings of indignation and abhorrence. The history of
    those prisoners, where hundreds were compelled to wear out an
    existence, rendered miserable by the cruelty of an enemy,
    professing a reverence for the sublime principles of Christianity,
    is already familiarized to the minds of the American people. If
    the feelings of Americans were then indignant, what should they
    be, on beholding those cruelties renewed with more than ten fold
    severity? The conduct of Thomas George Shortland, the agent at
    Dartmoor Prison, is such as should "damn him to everlasting fame."

    Upon what principles the conduct of this man, precedent to the
    ever memorable 6th of April, 1815, can be justified, we cannot
    determine. The indiscriminate confinement of both officers and men
    in the same prisons, and those the most unfit, decayed, and
    loathsome of any which the Government could furnish, was an
    infraction of the established laws of civilized nations for the
    treatment of prisoners of war. It was equally abhorrent to the
    principles of humanity, and only sanctioned by British
    governmental agents, and those petty Nations of Savages, whose
    known usages of warfare have hitherto kept them beyond the pale of
    national law. The history of modern European wars can furnish no
    parallel to this part of the history of Dartmoor. But when we
    arrive at the slaughter of prisoners on the 6th of April, the
    climax of barbarity is complete, and the mind is sated with the
    contemplation of principles as shocking to humanity as the
    consequences are degrading to the character of the English nation.

    An eminent writer upon national law, has formerly extolled the
    "English and French for their treatment given to prisoners of
    war," and at the same time mentions the case of Charles I. King of
    Naples, who, having defeated and taken prisoner Conrade, his
    competitor, caused him, together with his fellow-prisoner,
    Frederick of Austria, to be beheaded at Naples. Upon this case our
    author has the following pertinent remarks:--"This barbarity
    raised an universal horror, and Peter the third, King of Arragon,
    reproached Charles with it, as a detestable crime, till then
    unheard of among Christian princes. However, the case was of a
    dangerous rival contending with him for the throne. But, supposing
    the claims of his rival were unjust, Charles might have kept him
    in prison until he had renounced them, and given security for his
    future behavior." If this act of Charles raised an "universal
    horror," what should be the excitement produced by the cold
    blooded massacre of a number of unarmed and unoffending prisoners
    of war in confinement? Humanity shudders at the thought, and
    language furnishes no appropriate epithet with which to brand the
    infamous perpetrator of so foul, so hitherto unheard of a crime.
    Did that writer now live, he would no longer extol the humanity of
    the English nation, but in common with the friends of humanity, he
    would join in the "universal horror" which British cruelty has
    excited.

    The complexion of this transaction is rendered still more dark and
    barbarous, and its criminality most shockingly enhanced, by the
    circumstances under which many of those unfortunate men became
    prisoners, and finally were offered up as victims to gratify the
    cruel and insatiate feeling of the British agent. They were
    American Citizens, who had been impressed into the service and
    bondage of Great Britain, in time of peace. They had served that
    government from a necessity, arising from the assumed principle of
    a right to search neutral vessels for British seamen, and the
    practice of taking Americans and compelling them to service. We
    cannot, however, too much applaud the magnanimity of those men, in
    refusing to fight against and slaughter their countrymen; nor can
    we too much detest the conduct of Great Britain, in confining them
    as prisoners of war.

    This practice assumed as a right in the first moments of our
    existence as an independent and commercial nation, has "grown with
    our growth," and the evil thereof has increased in proportion as
    our commercial rivalship has become more alarming to the pride and
    injustice of Great Britain. It is a practice which cannot be
    traced to any principle of justification; and yet we have seen
    the legislators of Massachusetts, clothed with a garb of official
    sanctity, send to the world a report, amounting almost to a
    denial, that such a practice was in existence! We pretend not to
    judge of their motives: but we remark, how soon they are
    confounded by the report of Shortland and Magrath. By that
    instrument it appears, that of thirty-eight who were killed or
    wounded, twelve were of the number of Impressed Americans, who had
    given themselves up as prisoners of war, upon the commencement of
    hostilities. If this be the correct proportion of their prisoners,
    who have been impressed from American vessels, and as it is an
    official document of British authority, we cannot believe the
    ratio to be less, we see the advocates of British magnanimity
    confounded and put to shame, by the testimony of those same
    British agents, whose justification they have so eagerly, though
    unsuccessfully attempted. It might, indeed, have been supposed,
    that after having so frequently been treated with the same
    contempt, they might have learned sufficient caution, at least, to
    stay their measures until the pleasure of their transatlantic
    friends should be known. But their overweening anxiety has only
    tended to plunge them in deeper embarrassments, and should teach
    them, that more prudence and less zeal in the cause of a national
    enemy, might secure them a safer retreat in the moments when those
    whose friendship they had so anxiously sought, had deserted, and
    condemned them.

    By the report of the Legislature of Massachusetts upon the subject
    of impressments, it would appear that no more than sixteen had
    been impressed from this Commonwealth. What must be our conclusion
    upon a comparison of this report, with that of Messrs. Shortland
    and Magrath? It is irresistable, either that the former did not
    report the full number of impressments, or that the latter have
    aggravated their guilt and condemnation, by swelling the number to
    a degree beyond what the facts would justify, from some cause,
    unknown to their American advocates, and in favor of the facts and
    principles, for which the American government have uniformly
    contended. A few of those assumed as facts, by the present
    dominant party in New-England, may aid us in this enquiry, and
    perhaps conduct us to a correct conclusion. They have repeatedly
    told us, that New-England, and more particularly Massachusetts,
    has ever been the nursery of our seamen. That this section had
    furnished more than the whole remaining part of the United States.
    Admitting the correctness of the report of Shortland and Magrath,
    we are wholly unable to reconcile the report of our Legislature
    with those which they assume as facts, and upon which the
    principles of their report were, in part, predicated. It exhibits
    to our view a disposition to fritter away the enormities of the
    British Government, and a determination to justify them in every
    act of barbarity, however unjustifiable in its circumstances, or
    however shocking in its operation.

    The report of Messrs. King and Larpent may here claim a portion of
    our attention. Unpleasant as the task may be, to reflect, even
    indirectly upon the conduct of one of our countrymen, acting in
    the high and solemn capacity to which Mr. King was called, we
    cannot, however, without doing violence to our own feelings, and
    criminating numbers of our countrymen, perhaps equally entitled to
    credibility with Mr. King himself, afford our credence to his
    singular report; especially when we see it contradicted
    unconditionally, by the unfortunate witnesses of the unhappy and
    barbarous transaction.

    Even Mr. King himself, in his letter to Mr. Adams, furnishes a
    tardy acknowledgment, that he had not completed the duties to
    which he had been called. "Considering it of much importance (he
    says) that the report, whatever it might be, should go forth under
    our joint signatures, I have forborne to press some of the points
    which it involves as far as otherwise I might have done." And why
    did Mr. King forbear to press every point involved in the report?
    Was it from a disposition to perform his whole duty to his
    country; or, rather, from a too common admiration of British
    principles and British characters.

    The numerous affidavits accompanying the report made by the
    committee of the prisoners, together with the reply to the report
    of Messrs. King and Larpent, afford the most positive testimony in
    contradiction to many of its prominent features. We can form no
    other opinion respecting this report, than either that Mr. King
    was overreached by his colleague, or that he was pre-determined to
    fritter down the abuses which the British Government and its
    agents had lavished upon their American prisoners. Why either
    Messrs. King or Larpent should decline the examination of all the
    witnesses offered by the prisoners, is wholly inexplicable, unless
    we attribute to them a mutual and fixed determination to justify
    the conduct of Shortland and his accomplices, at the expense of
    criminating hundreds of Americans, who were no less entitled to
    credibility than either of themselves. Hereafter "let no such men
    be trusted."

    The treatment of the prisoners appears to have proceeded from the
    same principles of inhumanity, which have given rise to the
    hostile operations of the British Commanders upon our maritime and
    inland frontiers, during the continuance of the late contest. Such
    principles belong only to Savages or their allies. The outrages at
    the river Raisin, Hampton, Havre de Grace, Washington, and those
    attempted at New-Orleans, it was thought, might have filled the
    measure of British barbarities. But to the prisons of Dartmoor was
    transferred the scene of its completion. Americans, armed in
    defence of their soil, their Constitution, and natural rights,
    were too invincible to the "veteran" conquerors of the East.
    Prisoners of war in confinement, and without arms, were selected
    as the objects upon which they might glut their malice.

    We have heard much from a certain class of our politicians of the
    burning of Newark and St. David's; but little have they said of
    the destruction of Buffalo, of Washington City, or the massacre of
    our unfortunate countrymen at Dartmoor; and that little has been
    directed to the justification of the perpetrators. The
    conflagration of our Capitol, with the appendages of art and
    taste, and even the slaughter of our countrymen, could not excite
    in those minds one feeling of indignation; whilst the unauthorized
    destruction of a few houses, within the territorial limits of our
    enemy, not only excited their warmest sympathies for the enemy,
    but their foulest denunciations of our own Government.

    We might here attempt a comparison of the treatment of each
    Government to their prisoners. But the contrast is so evident,
    that we shall commit it to our readers without remark.

    Where is the American, whose feelings do not become indignant,
    after a full and dispassionate view of all the circumstances
    connected with this savage transaction. Though we may again be
    told, that Great Britain is the 'Bulwark of our Religion;' yet it
    may be hoped, that few, indeed, will be found to worship in a
    temple stained with the blood of their countrymen, or consign
    their consciences to the keeping of the upholders of the temple of
    Juggernaut, or the restorers of Papal power.

    Though our policy as an Independent Republic is pacific, yet
    should our rights again be assailed, and future wars ensue, WE
    WILL REMEMBER DARTMOOR!

           *       *       *       *       *

    We here subjoin a letter from the Right Honorable Lord Castlereagh
    to our Commissioners at Ghent, with their answer, together with
    the reply of our Secretary of State to the British charge des
    affairs at Washington:

    _Lord Castlereagh to Messrs. Clay and Gallatin._

                                         Foreign Office, May 22, 1815.

    GENTLEMEN--I lost no time in laying before the Prince Regent the
    report made by Mr. Larpent and Mr. King, respectfully appointed on
    the part of his majesty's government, and that of the United
    States of America, to enquire into the circumstances of the late
    unfortunate occurrence at Dartmoor Prison.

    His Royal Highness has commanded me to express, through you, to
    the government of America, how deeply he laments the consequences
    of this unhappy affair.

    If any thing can tend to relieve the distress which his Royal
    Highness feels on this occasion, it is the consideration, that the
    conduct of the soldiers was not actuated from any spirit of
    animosity towards the prisoners, and that the inactivity of the
    officers may be attributed rather to the inexperience of militia
    forces, than to any want of zeal or inclination to afford that
    liberal protection which is ever due to prisoners of war.

    But as his Royal Highness has observed, at the same time, with
    sincere regret, that although the firing of the troops upon the
    prisoners may have been justified at its commencement, by the
    turbulent conduct of the latter, yet that the extent of the
    calamity must be ascribed to a want of steadiness in the troops,
    and of exertion in the officers, calling for the most severe
    animadversion. His Royal Highness has been pleased to direct the
    commander in chief to address to the commanding officer of the
    Somerset militia, his disapprobation of the conduct of the troops,
    which it is trusted will make a due impression on the minds of the
    officers and men who were engaged in this unfortunate transaction.

    As an additional proof of the sentiments which animate the Prince
    Regent on this occasion, I am further commanded to express his
    Royal Highness' desire to make a compensation to the widows and
    families of the sufferers; and I have to request that you,
    gentlemen, would make this known to your government, inviting
    them, at the same time, to co-operate with his majesty's charge
    d'affairs in the United States, in investigating the respective
    claims, for the purpose of fulfilling his Royal Highness'
    benevolent intentions upon this painful occasion.

    I request that you will accept the assurance of the distinguished
    consideration with which I have the honor to be, &c.

    (Signed)

                                                          CASTLEREAGH.

    To Henry Clay, Esq. and Albert Gallatin, Esq.


    _Copy of a letter from Messrs. Clay and Gallatin, to Lord
    Castlereagh._

                       Hanover Street, Hanover Square, March 24, 1815.

    MY LORD--We have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your
    lordship's official note of the 22d inst.

    Having, as we have already informed your lordship, no powers on
    the subject to which it refers, we will lose no time in
    transmitting it to our government.--We will also place in the
    possession of the American minister, near his Britannic majesty's
    government, whose arrival here we daily expect, a copy of your
    lordship's note, together with a statement of what had previously
    passed respecting the unfortunate event at Dartmoor.

    We embrace the opportunity of tendering, &c.

    (Signed)

                                                      H. CLAY,
                                                      ALBERT GALLATIN.

    The Right Honorable Viscount Castlereagh, Secretary of State for
    the Foreign Department, &c. &c.


    _The Secretary of State to Anthony St. John Baker, Esq. his
    Britannic majesty's charge d'affairs._

                   Washington, Department of State, December 11, 1815.

    SIR--I have the honor to receive your letter of the 3d of August,
    communicating a proposition of your government to make provision
    for the widows and families of the sufferers in the much to be
    lamented occurrence at Dartmoor.

    It is painful to touch on this unfortunate event, from the deep
    distress it has caused to the whole American people. This
    repugnance is increased by the consideration that our governments,
    though penetrated with regret, do not agree in sentiment,
    respecting the conduct of the parties engaged in it.

    Whilst the President declines accepting the provision contemplated
    by his royal highness, the Prince Regent, he nevertheless does
    full justice to the motives which dictated it. I have the honor to
    be, &c.

    (Signed)

                                                         JAMES MONROE.

    Anthony St. John Baker, Esq. his Britannic majesty's charge
    d'affairs.


From all which it appears that nothing further can now be done
relative to this shocking transaction. The government and the people
of America have similar feelings. His Royal Highness the Prince Regent
of England offers to give money by way of compensating the widows and
families of the slain, as was offered in the affair of the Chesapeake;
but the PRESIDENT very properly refused the price of blood. There is
now no constituted earthly tribunal before which this deed can be
tried and punished, it is therefore left, like some other atrocities
from the same quarter, with the feelings of Christian people. They
have already tried it, and brought in their verdict.--But, "_vengeance
is mine, and I will repay saith the Lord_;"--and to HIM we leave it.

The night following the shocking massacre was spent in deep
disquietude. As we knew not what had actually occasioned this, in some
degree, deliberate slaughter, so we were filled with anxiety as to its
final termination.--The horrors of Paris, under Robespiere, rose to
view, and deprived us of sleep; or if wearied nature got a moment's
relief, many waked up screaming with the impression, that they were
under the hands of a murderer dressed in red.

The gates of our prison were closed up in the morning, and each one
seemed describing to his neighbor what he had seen and heard; and
every one execrating the villain who had occasioned the massacre. In
the course of the day, a British colonel, whom we had never before
seen, appeared at the inner gate, attended by the detestable
Shortland, who was pale and haggard like ordinary murderers. The
colonel asked us, generally, _What was the cause of this unhappy state
of things?_ We related some particulars as well as we could; but all
united in accusing captain Thomas Shortland of deliberate murder. On
Shortland's denying some of the accusations, the colonel turned round
to him, and said, in a very serious tone, "_Sir, you have no right to
speak at this time._" Upon which I thought the valiant captain would
have fainted. He, doubtless, thought of a halter. The colonel went to
the other yards, and received, as we were informed, statements not
materially differing from what he first heard. The colonel's manner
left an agreeable impression on our minds. He appeared to be seriously
grieved, and desirous to find out the truth.

The next day major general Brown came up from Plymouth in the
forenoon, and made some trifling enquiries in the afternoon. Soon
after came admiral Rowley, and a captain in the navy, whose name I do
not remember. They went into the military walk over the gates, when
the space below was soon filled with prisoners. The admiral did not
impress us quite so agreeably as the colonel, who seemed to speak and
look his own good feelings; while the former appeared to have got his
lesson, and have come prepared to question us like an attorney, rather
than like a frank and open seaman. The admiral informed the prisoners
that he was appointed by the commander in chief at Plymouth, to
inquire, _whether the prisoners had any cause for complaint against
the British government, as to their PROVISIONS_?--There ensued a short
silence, until our countryman, Mr. _Colton_, a man who was neither
intimidated by rank, nor disconcerted by parade, answered him and
said, that "the affair of _provisions_ was not the occasion of their
present distress and anxiety, but that it was the horrid massacre of
their unoffending and unresisting countrymen, whose blood cried from
the ground, like the blood of Abel, for justice. We have nothing now
to say about our provisions; that is but a secondary concern. Our cry
is for due vengeance on the murderer, Shortland, to expiate the
horrors of the 6th of April. We all complain of his haughty, unfeeling
and tyrannical conduct at all times, and on all occasions."--"THAT WE
HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH," said the admiral, and then repeated the
former question, relative to the British government and the
provisions; to which Mr. Colton replied in a still more exasperated
tone of accusation against the murderer and the murder. "_Then you do
not_," said the admiral, "_complain of the British government for
detaining you here_?" "By no means," said our spokesman, "the
prisoners, one and all, ascribe our undue attention here, to a neglect
of duty in our own agent, Mr. Beasly." "_Then I hope_," said the
admiral, "_that you will all remain tranquil. I lament AS MUCH AS YOU,
the unfortunate occurrence that has taken place._" Upon this Mr.
Colton mentioned particularly the murder of the boy who was shut up in
No. 4, after the prisoners were all driven in through the doors, and
averred that he was killed by the direct order of a British officer,
who came to the door with some of the guard. "_That is the
lobster-backed villain_," exclaimed a young man, "_that stands behind
you, sir! who, I heard deliberately order his men to fire on the
prisoners, after they had all got into the building. I saw him, and
heard him give the orders, and had like to have been bayoneted myself
by his soldiers._"--The admiral looked round on the officer, who
reddened almost to a purple, and sneaked away, and was seen no more;
and thus was ended what was probably called Admiral R's examination
into the _causes_ of the massacre!

I know of no examination after this, if such an interview may be
called an examination; for, on the ---- of April, myself and a few
others were set at liberty. We had made application the night before,
and passed the night in sleepless anxiety. At 10 o'clock orders were
sent down to collect our things. We dare not call our wretched
baggage, by any other than the beggarly name of "_duds_." In
consequence of this order, the turnkey conveyed us to the upper gate,
where we remained a while fluttering between fear and hope. At length
the sergeant of the guard came, and opened the gate, and conducted us
to the guard room, where our fears began to dissipate and our hopes to
brighten.--When the clerk entered, he must have seen anxiety in our
countenances, and was disposed to sport with our feelings. He put on a
grave and solemn phiz, mixed with a portion of the insolence of
office, as if he were about to read our death-warrants, while we cast
a look of misery at each other. At length, with apparent reluctance,
he vouchsafed to hand to each of us, like a miser paying a debt, the
dear delicious paper, the evidence of our liberty! on which was
written, "by order of the transport board." This was enough, we
devoured it with our eyes, clinched it fast in our fists, laughed,
capered, jumped, screamed, and kicked up the dirt like so many mad
men; and away we started for Princetown, looking back as we ran, every
minute, to see if our ceroebrus, with his bloody jaws, was not at our
heels. At every step we took from the hateful prison, our enlarged
souls expanded our lately cramped bodies. At length we attained a
rising ground; and O, how our hearts did swell within us at the sight
of the OCEAN! that ocean that washed the shores of our dear America,
as well as those of England! After taking breath, we talked in strains
of rapture to each other. "This ground, said I, belongs to the
British; but that _ocean_, and this air, and that sun, are as much
ours as theirs; or as any other nations. They are blessings to that
nation which knows best how to deserve and enjoy them. May the arm of
bravery secure them all to us, and to our children forever!" Long and
dismal as our captivity has been, we declared, with one voice, that
should our government again arm and declare war, for "_free trade and
sailors' rights_," we would, in a moment, try again the tug of war,
with the _hard hearted Britons_; but with the fixed resolution of
never being taken by them alive; or, at least, unwounded, or
unmutilated. I see, I feel that the _love of country_ is our "ruling
passion;" and it is this that has and will give us the superiority in
battle, by land and by sea, while the want of it will cause _some
folks_ to recoil before the American bayonet and bullets, as the
British did at Chippewa, Erie, Plattsburg and New Orleans.

While the British prisoner retires from our places of confinement in
good health, and with unwilling and reluctant step, we, half famished
Americans, fly from theirs as from a pestilence, or a mine just ready
to explode. If the British cannot alter these feelings in the two
nations, her power will desert her, while that of America will
increase.

After treading the air, instead of touching the ground, we found
ourselves at the Devonshire arms, in Princetown, where the comely
bar-maid appeared more than mortal. The sight of her rosy cheeks,
shining hair, bright eyes, and pouting lips wafted our imaginations,
in the twinkling of an eye, across the Atlantic to our own dear
country of pretty girls. I struck the fist of my right hand into the
palm of my left, and cried out--"_O, for an horse with wings!_" The
girl stared with amazement, and concluded, I guess, that I was mad;
for she looked as if she said to herself--"poor crazy lad! who ever
saw a horse with wings?"

We called for some wine, and filling our glasses, drank to the
_power_, _glory_, and _honor_, and _everlasting happiness of our
beloved country_; and after that to all the _pretty girls_ in America.
During this, we now and then looked around us, to be certain all this
was not a dream, and asked each other if they were sure there was no
_red coat_ watching our movements, or surly turnkey listening to our
conversation? and whether what we saw were really the walls of an
house, where ingress and egress were equally free? It is inconceivable
how we are changed by habit. Situations and circumstances ennoble the
mind, or debase it.

From what I myself experienced, and saw in others, on the day we left
our hateful prison, I do not wonder that sudden transitions from the
depressing effects of imprisonment, sorrow, chagrin, impatience, or
feelings bordering on despair, to that of liberty and joy, should so
affect the vital organs, as to bring on a fatal spasm; or that the
sudden exhilarations of the animal spirits, might produce phrenzy. We
were animated anew with a moderate portion of generous liquor; but
absolutely intoxicated with joy. We asked a thousand questions without
waiting for an answer. In the midst of our rapture we had a message
from Shortland, who seemed to be afraid that we should be so near him,
and yet out of his power, that if we did not hasten our march on to
Plymouth, he would have us brought back to prison. At the sound of his
hateful name, and the idea of his person, we started off like so many
wild Zebras. We, however, stepped a little out of the road to an
eminence, to take another, and a last look of the Dartmoor depot of
misery, when we saw waving over it, the _American flag_, like the
colors _sans tache_, waving over the walls of Sodom and Gomorrha. We
gave three cheers, and then resumed our road to Plymouth, where we
soon after arrived.

While dining at the inn, an old man, in the next room, hearing we were
Americans, came in and asked us if we knew his son who lived in
America, and mentioned his name. "Yes," said one of my companions; "he
is a mechanic; I think a carpenter--I know him very well, and he is a
very clever fellow." The old man caught hold of him, and shook him by
the hand as if he would shake his arm off. "Yes, yes, you are right,
my son is a ship carpenter, and it almost broke my heart when he went
off to seek his fortune in a far country." In the fulness of his
heart, the poor old man offered to treat us with the best liquor the
house afforded; but we all excused ourselves and declined his
generosity. This would have been carrying the joke too far, for
neither of us ever had any knowledge of his son. We felt happy; and we
thought, if we thought at all, that we would make the old man happy
also. The English and Americans are equally addicted to _bantering_,
_hoaxing_, _quizzing_, _humming_, or by whatever ridiculous name we
may denote this more than ridiculous folly. I never heard that the
French, Germans, Spaniards, or Italians, were addicted to this
_unbenevolent_ wit, if cowardly imposition can merit that name.

As we strolled through Plymouth, we gazed at every thing we saw, as if
we had just fallen into it from the moon. In staring about we lost
our way, and accosted a grave looking, elderly man, who directed us.
As we asked him several questions, he thought he had a right to ask
one of us; when, to our surprise, he asked us _if we had any gold to
sell?_ We now perceived that we had taken for our director one of the
sons of Abraham, whose home is no where; and that he took us to be
either privateersmen or pick-pockets. Piqued at this, we thought we
would be even with him, and we asked him if his name was not
_Shortland_? He said no. We asked him if he had no relations of that
name. He enquired if "dit Shortland vas Jew or Christian?" We told him
he was neither one nor the other. "Den," said Moses, "he must be
_Turk_; for dere be but three sort of peoples in the world;" and this
set us a laughing at the expense of the despised Israelite, until we
lost him in some of the dirty alleys of this noisy seaport.

I slept that night at the Exchange Coffee House. It was so long since
I had been cut off from the decencies of life, that I could hardly be
said to enjoy them. I could not, at first, reconcile myself to the
civil attention of servants and waiters. At the hour of sleep, I was
shown to such a bed as I used to sleep on in my father's house. But
who would believe it, that my predominant misery during this night,
was a _feather bed_ and a _pillow_, rendered uneasy because it was
soft as down! Yes, astonished reader! I felt about as uneasy in a
feather bed, as Mr. Beasly, or any other fine London gentleman would,
at laying on a plank, or the ballast of a transport. Such is the power
of habit, and such the effect of custom.

The next morning before I left my bed, I pondered over the events and
conduct of the preceding day, but not with satisfaction, or self
approbation. The seventh chapter of Ecclesiastes came fresh to my
mind. I said to myself, adversity and constraint are more favorable to
wisdom, than liberty and prosperity; or to express it in better
words--"_sorrow is better than laughter, for by the sadness of the
countenance the heart is made better_;" and for this maxim of wisdom
we are indebted to a Jew.

We remained a fortnight longer in Plymouth, and learnt by degrees to
relish civility. We were kindly noticed by several good people who
seemed to be rather partial to us, Americans, than otherwise. While
there, I heard but very little uttered against America, or Americans.
We were spoken to, and treated infinitely better than at Halifax. By
the time of our embarkation, which was the 23d of April, 1815, we felt
considerable attachment to the people about us. We arrived at New-York
the 7th of June following, without any thing occurring in the passage
worth committing to paper, unless it be to record the striking
contrast in our feelings in our passage _to_ and FROM England.

My sensations on first setting my foot once more on my native soil,
were such as I have not power to describe. Tears gushed from my eyes,
and had I not been ashamed, I should have kneeled down and kissed the
earth of the UNITED STATES. I believe similar sensations, more or less
fervent, fill the bosom of every American, on returning to his own
country from British captivity. It is hardly possible that I shall, so
long as my faculties remain entire, forget the horrors of the British
transports, and several scenes and sufferings at Dartmoor Prison: yet
I hope to be able, before I quit this world of contention, to forgive
the contempts, the contumely, the starvations and filthiness inflicted
on me, and on my countrymen, by an unfeeling enemy, while we remained
in his power as prisoners of war.

    "Return we, from this gloomy view,
    To native scenes of fairer hue.
    Land of our sires! the Hero's home!
    Weary and sick, to thee we come;
    The heart fatigued with foreign woes,
    On thy fair bosom seeks repose.
    COLUMBIA! hope of future times!
    Thou wonder of surrounding climes!
    Thou last and only resting place
    Of Freedom's persecuted race!
    Hail to thy consecrated domes!
    Thy fruitful fields and peaceful homes.
    The hunter, thus, who long has toil'd
    O'er mountain rude, and forest wild,
    Turns from the dark and cheerless way,
    Where howls the savage beast of prey,
    To where yon curls of smoke aspire,
    Where briskly burns his crackling fire;
    Towards his cot delighted moves,
    Cheer'd by the voice of those he loves,
    And welcom'd by domestic smiles,
    Sings cheerly, and forgets his toils."



POSTSCRIPT.


Some, to whom I had shown my Journal in manuscript, have thought that
I had, now and then, expressed my feelings too unguardedly against
some of the subjects of Great Britain, and some of my own countrymen.
In consequence of this friendly remark, I have struck out a few
passages, but have not been able to comply with all the wishes of my
connexions. But, after all, had a political cant phrase or two been
omitted, some good people would have been gratified, and the
publication not the worse for it. I have severely suffered, felt
keenly, and expressed myself honestly, and without malice. I may not
have made due allowance for the conduct of certain officers and
agents. I may not have entered, as far as I ought, into their
situations; and there might have been reasons and excuses, that my
chafed feelings prevented me from attending to. If so, the cool and
candid reader, both here, and on the other side the Atlantic, will
make that allowance which I could hardly make myself. I must,
nevertheless, maintain, that I have expressed the feelings of the
moment, and cannot now honestly alter my language; for whenever my
soul calls up many occurrences in my captivity, my tongue and my pen
will be found the faithful organs of my feelings.

I have endeavored to give due credit to the humane conduct of several
sailors, soldiers, and private subjects of the enemy. But, if, at this
period of peace, when it may be supposed that resentment was cooled
down, I try to obliterate the impressions made by cruelty and by
_contempt_, and find I cannot, then must the reader take it as a trait
of the imperfect character of a young man, on whose mind adversity has
not had its best effect.

If an animosity actually exists between the English and Americans, do
you mend the matter by denying the fact? This animosity has been
avowed to exist, within a few months past, in the parliament of
England. The following article is extracted from a London paper.--In a
debate, (Feb. 14th, 1816) a member said, "the spirit of animosity in
America, would justify an increase of the naval force in the West
Indies." This called up Lord Castlereagh, who said--"As to America, if
it is said great prejudices exist there against us, it must be
recollected that great prejudices exist here against her. It was," he
said, "his most ardent wish to discountenance this feeling on both
sides, and to promote between the two nations feeling of reciprocal
amity and regard."

What has occasioned this avowed animosity in us towards the British?
Our merchants, generally, feel not this animosity; neither is it to be
found, in a great degree, amongst our legislators. _How came we by
it?_ Our sailors and our soldiers, who have been in British prisons,
and on board British men of war, and _transports_, have brought with
them this animosity home to their families and their friends. They
tell them their own stories, in their own artless, and sometimes
exaggerated way; and these are reported with, probably, high coloring;
whereas, I have made it a point of honor, a matter of conscience, and
a rule of justice, to adhere to truth; and am contented that the
British reader should say all that fairness admits, to soften down the
coloring of some of the pictures of British barbarity, provided he
does not attempt to impeach my veracity.

Beside individual animosity, there may possibly be a lurking national
one, thinly covered over with the fashionable mantle of courtesy. The
conflicting interests of the two nations may endanger peace.--The
source of national aggrandizement in both nations, is commerce; and
the high road to them the ocean. We and the British are travelling the
same way, in keen pursuit of the same object; and it is scarcely
probable, that we shall be preserved in a state of peace, by abstract
love of justice.

I have been disposed to allow that the conduct of our countrymen,
while on board the prison ships, and at Dartmoor, was, at times,
provoking to the British officers set over them; but never malignant,
much less, bloody. It could be always traced to a spirit of _fun_ and
frolic, which our people indulge in beyond all others in the world;
and this ought to be considered as one of the luxuriant shoots of our
_tree of liberty_; for it is too harsh to call it an excrescence. It
shows the strength, depth and extent of its roots, and the richness of
the soil.

This Journal has not been published to increase the animosity now
subsisting between the American and British people. So far from it,
the writer pleases himself with the idea that this publication may
remedy the evils complained of, or mitigate them; and cut off the
source of deep complaint against the English, for their treatment of
prisoners, should war rage again between the two nations. If the
present race of Britons have not become indifferent to a sense of
national character, their government will take measures to wipe off
this stain from her garments. Let the nations of Europe inquire how
the Americans treat their prisoners of war. If we treat them with
barbarity, publish our disgrace to the wide world, and speak of us
accordingly. But let them, at the same time, inquire how the English
treated those of us who have had the great misfortune of falling into
their hands; and let them be spoken of accordingly. My serious opinion
is, that this little book will aid the great cause of humanity.

Although I, with some thousands of my countrymen, were inclosed in a
large prison during the greater part of the war, it fared with us as
with those people who seldom go out of their houses, who hear more
news than those who are abroad in the world. It was, however, pretty
much all of one sort; for we seldom saw any other American newspapers,
than those of the fault finding, or opposition party. These were
generally filled with abuse of the PRESIDENT, and of the government
generally, and with praises of the English, which, in our situation,
produced a strong sensation; as our support, our protection, our
pride, our _honor_, were identified in the person of the President,
and his administration. The efforts of the federal party in
Massachusetts to embarrass and tie the hands of our government, and
disgrace its brave officers, created in us _all_, a hatred of the very
name of _federalism_. _I record the fact, and appeal to all the
prisoners who have now returned home, to confirm my assertion_; and I
declare I have erased not a little on this head, out of courtesy to a
large and sanguine party; who have erred, and strayed from the right
way, by not knowing the true character of the English.

I feel no animosity, or disrespect to any gentleman of the federal, or
fault finding party; but they must excuse me for remarking, that their
conduct, and their sentiments, as they appeared in messages,
proclamations, speeches and resolves; and their combinations for
_withholding loans of money from government_, with their denunciations
of a war, waged professedly, and as we knew, really, for "_Sailors'
Rights_," made an impression on our minds so decidedly against the
federalists, that the very term _federalism_, was with us _all_,
without one single exception, a term of deep reproach. Let him who
doubts it, ask any prisoner who made a part of the six thousand
confined in England during the two years of our late bitter war with
the English, and he will be satisfied that I have "_nothing
extenuated, or set down aught in malice_."

I hope and pray for UNION among ourselves; and that all party names
and distinctions may be lost in that of AMERICANS.

    "Henceforth, let _Whig_ and _Tory_ cease,
    And turn all party rage to peace;
    Rouse, and revive your ancient glory,
    UNITE, and _drive the world before you_!"



FOOTNOTES:

[A] _Bivouacked_ is laying, sleeping, eating, and drinking on the
ground with their arms, without tents, or any covering, and is only
voluntarily resorted to, when the greatest danger is apprehended.

[B] By what I have just seen in the newspapers, I have reason for
believing that Nova Scotia is like to be blessed with this gentleman
for a governor.

[C] The Emperor _Maurice_ being, says _Montaigne_, advised by dreams
and several prognostics, that one _Phoeas_, an obscure soldier, should
kill him, questioned his son-in-law, Philip, who this Phoeas was, and
what was his nature, qualities, and manners; and as soon as Philip,
amongst other things, had told him that he was "_cowardly and
timorous_," the Emperor immediately thence concluded that _he was
cruel and a murderer_. What is it, says Montaigne, that makes tyrants
so bloody? 'Tis the solicitude for their own safety, and their _faint_
hearts can furnish them with no other means of securing themselves,
than in exterminating those who may hurt them. See his Essay entitled,
_Cowardice the Mother of Cruelty_.--Vol. 2d, chap. xxvii.

[D] _Fire places_ gave rank among the Romans. It was a privilege to be
a Roman soldier, and in the best days of Rome no man was allowed to be
in the ranks of their army, who had not a _fire place_ in his house.
In the reign prior to Queen Elizabeth, there were scarcely any beds,
or brick fire places in the houses of the common people of London.

[E] What Mr. Adams has written on this subject, has put _impressment_,
or _man-stealing_, beyond all future controversy. His masterly
pamphlet was a warlike trumpet in the ears of our nation.

[F] If any man wishes to see the true character of the English, let
him read the 8th chapter of HUME'S History of England, especially
where it treats of severities and barbarities toward the virtuous Mr.
PRYM.

[G] Our youngest readers need not be told, that by _John Bull_, we
mean the English nation _personified_. See Dean Swift's admirable
history of _John Bull_, his _wife_, and his _mother_, and his mangy
sister Peg.

[H] Queen Elizabeth.

[I] The letter writer, we suspect, had not studied, carefully, the
laws and customs of England, where all landed property belongs to the
king; who allows the _eldest male_ of a family to possess it _during
his good behaviour_.

[J] _This Oration was first printed in England._

[K] _The celebrated Earl of Chatham._

[L] An Irish word, meaning: a distraction of attention by reason of
words striking our intellect through _both ears_ confusedly.

[M] Some of these were so exquisitely wrought, as not to disgrace the
first cabinets in the world.

[N] _Shirk_--Shift, turn, twist, accommodate, and make the best of a
disagreeable situation. It also means contrivance, cunning and
evasion.

[O] See the Journals of English Navigators generally; and Captain
Porter's Journal of his cruise in the U. S. frigate Essex.

[P] The Yankees first taught the British soldiery to brew _spruce_
beer at the siege of Louisbourg. The reader may find directions for
making it in general orders issued by General Amherst in Sept. 1758.
See Captain John Knox's Historical Journal, Vol. I, page 184, where it
says that one gallon of this beer costs, molasses and all, less than a
penny sterling a gallon.

[Q] Lest some might suspect that I have recorded this rough treatment
of the sick by an individual, as casting unjustly a reflection on
many, I shall here subjoin a passage from a Journal of a tour and
residence in Great Britain during the years 1810 and 1811 by a French
Traveller--a very popular work in England and much commended by the
Reviews there. The reader will perceive that he is much severer than
we are. I have been carried, says the Traveller, to one of the
Hospitals of this great town, supported by voluntary contributions. I
shall relate what I saw. The physician seated at a table in a large
hall on the ground floor, with a register before him ordered the doors
to be opened; a crowd of miserable objects, women, pushed in, and
ranged themselves along the wall; he looked into his book, and called
them to him successively.--Such a one! The poor wretch leaving her
wall, crowded to the table. "How is your catarrh?"--"Please your
honour, no offence, I hope, it is the Asthma. I have no rest night and
day, and"--Ah, so it is the Asthma; it is somebody else that has the
Catarrh. Well you have been ordered to take, &c.--"Yes, Sir, but I
grow worse and worse, and"--That is nothing, you must go on with it.
"But Sir, indeed, I cannot." Enough, enough, good woman, I cannot
listen to you any more; many patients to get through this
morning--never do to hear them talk--go and take your draught.--The
Catarrh woman made way for a long train of victims of corruption,
cases of fever, dropsy, scrofula, and some disorders peculiar to
women, detailed without any ceremony before young students. This
melancholy review of human infirmities was suddenly interrupted by the
unexpected entrance of a surgeon, followed by several young men,
carrying a piece of bloody flesh on a dish. "_A curious case_," they
exclaimed, placing the dish on the table; "an ossification of the
lungs!--Such a one, who died yesterday--just opened. This is the state
of his lungs.--See these white needles, like fish bones, shooting
through here and there; most curious indeed."--Then they handled, and
cut open, and held up between the eye and the light, these almost
palpitating remains of an human creature who breathed yesterday. The
symptoms of his disorder, and the circumstances of his death, were
freely talked over, and accurately described in the hearing of the
consumptive patients, who felt, I dare say, the bony needles pricking
their own lungs at every breath they drew, and seemed to hear their
own sentence of death pronounced.

The women being dispatched, 20 or 30 male spectres came in, and
underwent the same sort of summary examination. The only case I
recollect was that of a man attacked with violent palpitations,
accompanied with great pain in the shoulders. His heart was felt
beating hard through the sternum, or even under the ribs on the right
side. "His heart has moved from its place!" The unhappy man thrown
back on an arm chair--his breast uncovered--pale as death--fixed his
fearful eyes on the physicians, who successively came to feel the
pulsations of the breast, and reason on the cause. They seemed to me
to agree among themselves, that the heart had been pushed on one side,
by the augmentation of the bulk of the viscera; and that the action of
the Aorta was impeded thereby. The case excited much attention, but no
great appearance of compassion. They reasoned long on the cause,
without adverting to the remedy till after the patient had departed,
when he was called back from the door, and cupping prescribed!

The medical men next proceeded to visit the resident patients, I
followed. The apartments were clean and spacious, and the sick not
crowded, which is no doubt of the greatest importance. I was shocked,
however, with the same appearance of insensibility and precipitation.

    _La le long de ses lits ou gemit le malheur,
    Victimes des secours plus que de la douleur,
    L'ignorance en courant fait sa ronde homicide,
    L'indifference observe et le hazard decide._

These are the sentiments and feelings of a sensible French gentleman
who had resided 20 years in the U. S. and whose journal of his Travels
through England has been highly praised by the British Reviewers for
its liberality, candor, justness and good sense. "By the mouth of two
witnesses all things shall be established."

[R] Two celebrated American Frigates.

[S] When we have read in the American newspapers, which sometimes
reached Dartmoor prison, the speeches and proclamations of the
governor of Massachusetts, some of us have blushed at the degradation
of our native state. That state which once took the lead in the
opposition to Britain; and that Boston, once considered the cradle of
liberty, has become among us, a name of reproach. Such are the effects
of an unprincipled faction--a faction that are despised even by these
Britons, who expected their assistance in dividing the Union; and
founding "_the kingdom of New-England_."

[T] The mention of this celebrated member of the _Essex Junto_ brings
to our mind a fact in chemistry, viz. that the best of wine, when kept
too long _in a hot place_, turns to the sharpest vinegar. Pickering's
"_fast anchor'd isle_," is now (autumn of 1816) entirely afloat in an
ocean that deserves not the name of _pacific_.



TRANSCRIBER'S NOTE.


The pointing finger symbol has been transcribed as '-->'.

The engraving of Dartmoor Prison referred to within the text is
missing.





*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "A Journal of a Young Man of Massachusetts, 2nd ed. - Late A Surgeon On Board An American Privateer, Who Was - Captured At Sea By The British, In May, Eighteen Hundred - And Thirteen, And Was Confined First, At Melville Island, - Halifax, Then At Chatham, In England ... And Last, At - Dartmoor Prison. Interspersed With Observations, Anecdotes - And Remarks, Tending To Illustrate The Moral And Political - Characters Of Three Nations. To Which Is Added, A Correct - Engraving Of Dartmoor Prison, Representing The Massacre - Of American Prisoners, Written By Himself." ***

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